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Coffee Date #2


As a reminder, this post style (the coffee date concept) was an idea I borrowed from the Fitnessista (with her knowledge and permission). If you’re into fitness, check out her blog. She offers tons of FREE workout guides, videos, healthy recipes, and more. See my last coffee date post here


If we were having coffee right now….

  • I’d tell you all about the drama in mine and hubs’ families right now. There’s been a LOT. Hospitalization, rehabilitation (not the drug kind, the physical/health kind), threats of lawsuits, and icky job-related stuff. Nothing that directly impacts me or hubs and (knock on wood) things are going well with us, but these issues have been in the forefront of our minds as we’ve been having LOTS of phone calls home recently to discuss various issues.
  • I’d invite you and the kiddos to the zoo with us! We’ve been making great use of our family pass, going once a week for the past several weeks. The girls’ favorite thing is to see the gibbons swinging around (and they now know the difference between a gibbon, monkey, and gorilla). A close second is seeing the peacocks (since they wander freely the girls always try to chase them), and feeding the giraffes! It’s so fun to talk later all about what we saw and did.


Intently watching the gibbons!

  • Speaking of doing stuff with the kids, I’d probably try to convince you to go camping with us in April! The town where we live hosts a big family camping night once per year and I really want to go this time. It’s super cheap ($5 for a family of 4), and the town does a big-screen movie in the park, has a huge bonfire, does tent decorating prizes, has a storyteller, offers crafts, and lots more (all for just the $5 admission). Hubs and I used to be big campers pre-babies but haven’t gone a single time since the girls were born. This would be our first family camping experience and I think it sounds like a lot of fun.
  • I’d have to tell you that I didn’t get the job I recently interviewed for. They haven’t sent an official rejection, but I was told the decision would be made the first week of February. Seeing as its now the last week of February…I think its safe to say I didn’t get it. It’s a big bummer, but not the end of the world.
  • Speaking of jobs, I’d tell you about my current employment situation. I’ve hinted at it before, but things went a little downhill with “University B” (the research job) at the end of last year. I got my last paychecks in January and haven’t worked for them since. Things with “University A” (where I teach online) are still going well, though I’ve had some frustrating class experiences. The past 2 semesters in a row I’ve had a class cancelled due to low enrollment. That’s not my employers’ fault, but its super frustrating when I’m expecting “X” number of dollars from 3 classes, but then get downgraded to only 2 classes. Next semester I’m going to insist/beg/plead/whatever it takes to move up to 3 classes (even if it means changing up the classes I usually teach). I really do get paid very well from them (like…. literally twice as much as the local community college pays), but I need a third class to boost my income a little after my loss-of-income from University B.

If we were having coffee right now we’d probably be chasing the kids around the park and trying to keep them from hurting themselves. It’d be a coffee date and playdate rolled into one. I’d thank you for meeting me and hanging out on such a beautiful day (sorry to those of you in cold places….it’s been in the mid-70s in Tucson). We should do this again soon!

If we were having a coffee date, what would you tell me?

PS: What do you think about the stock photo (of the coffee cup)? Trying to decide if I want to start sprinkling in additional photos to my posts. I’m a TERRIBLE photographer, so my own iphone-quality photos have been few and far between. But there are lots of free photos available through various websites that I can use (for free, duh!), but not sure if it would seem cheesy or if you guys like the pics to break up the text? Tell me what you think!


  • Reply Kristen |

    I don’t mind the stock photo at the top, and welcome as many photos of your real life you would like to share. However, when I read this blog it is for substance, not entertainment, and I love opening the post to see a lot of text. Just my personal preference – I will keep reading either way.
    Thanks for the glimpse into your life. It is nice to get a little extra info every once in awhile. Plus… Stupid universities. Sorry 🙁

  • Reply Mel |

    Kristen wrote almost exactly everything I was going to 🙂

    Ashley, you really are an exceptional writer on all your posts. I enjoy these not-strictly-debt-related stories because they make a personal connection; there’s not just a financial robot on the other end of the blog. I don’t see a need for the stock photos but they don’t bother me. The personal photos are always nice, but no need to include more than you already do. The text is the appeal of the blog. Sorry about the university situation. Wishing for bigger and better things to come your way soon!

  • Reply hp |

    You may still hear from the job you applied for–I know our hiring takes FOREVER. Plus, if the top choice declines, they may go to number two (which takes even more time). The fact that you haven’t heard ANYTHING leads me to believe that either (1) they haven’t extended an offer yet or (2) the top choice has declined or is trying to negotiate. Our offers usually go out within a few weeks of the interview sessions but last year, we didn’t have a firm commitment until a few months later.

    • Reply Ashley |

      It’s true; there’s still a (very) slim possibility something could work out….but I’m not holding my breath over it. Also, I’ve applied for plenty of jobs where I’ve received no notice (like “sorry, we’ve gone with someone else”) at all. So who knows if/when I’ll hear something.
      As a (related) aside, I know that last year someone was offered this position, accepted it, others were notified they were not selected….and then the person who took the job ended up reneging and going to work at a different university and they were left high & dry since they’d already told everyone else they weren’t selected. So they could be simply trying to be conservative. No idea.

  • Reply adam |

    i heard there was a huge national adjust faculty protest/boycott/teach-in/strike thingy yesterday. did you participate or support it in any way?

    • Reply Ashley |

      hmmm, i’ll have to google that. Never heard anything about it. In general I agree that adjunct faculty are woefully underpaid, but I’m not really the boycotting/striking type. Also, I don’t feel like I fall into that category since I get paid so well. I wasn’t at all exaggerating when I said I literally make twice as much per class as I got paid when I worked at the local community college (plus working online is SOOO much easier than in-person since I get to make my own schedule and don’t have expenses like professional clothing, gas to/from campus, and parking costs). I’m very lucky with that.

  • Reply Georgie |

    Isn’t there a jobs wiki where you can find out if an offer’s been made? They exist for most subdisciplines now, I think.

  • Reply Julene |

    I don’t mind the photos but would be just as happy without the stock ones and just the personal ones on occasion. They are much cuter anyway. 🙂 Coffee date with me would find me trying to get the motivation to start actual budgeting again and not just wading through the month. You encourage me to do a better job of keeping track and get back into the process. I know floating doesn’t get me anywhere so I need to get back to writing everything down and tracking. Maybe I’ll make baby steps in March. Keep up the good work – love hearing it (and the personal stuff does help the connection too). Good luck with the classes.

    • Reply Ashley |

      Thanks Julene! It can definitely be challenging to track everything so closely, but I really think that careful budgeting has been one of the biggest game-changers in getting our debt paid down!

  • Reply amy |

    If we were having coffee, I would be telling you about our house selling and buying adventures. Like how we found THE PERFECT house at a ridiculously low price, but the commute is too long for the hubs. So we have found a house that would be okay and has potential to be great….but the cost is more. Paying more for less stinks!

    • Reply Ashley |

      So stressful! My mom is a real estate broker so I’ve heard plenty of stress stories over the years! For what it’s worth, I know I’ve read statistics before that say that commute length is directly related to overall happiness (with lower commute = more happiness), so even though the closer house isn’t the perfect house, it could actually help boost happiness : )

  • Reply Sue |

    I would TOTALLY be at the zoo with you guys – my favorite place on earth!!! I would love to spend time with the girls too (really want to be a grandma, can you tell).

    Sorry about the job/family stuff – life can really be challenging sometimes!!!

    I don’t really care about the stock photos either way but love to see the pics of the girls – puts such a personal perspective on things – a face with a blog so to speak!

    • Reply Ashley |

      Thanks, Sue! I’d love to have you at the zoo with us – have someone help me wrangle the girls! Luckily its never too busy on weekdays, but I’d be nervous to go alone on a weekend bc the girls are always running in different directions (and, of course, too independent and strong-willed to ride in the stroller or wagon these days) : )

  • Reply Cathy D |

    Thanks so much Ashley for your regular posts. I hardly ever comment, but just wanted to let you know how much you motivate me! January and February are always financially difficult for us because of birthdays and annual payments that are due, but I look forward to getting back on track in March and just love hearing your stories! Thanks for sharing the visit to the zoo. It brought back such memories of when my kids were little and less expensive! I have been following this blog for several years, back to Becks, and have been paying off debt for years. My husband is not on board and I find it so helpful when you and your husband resolve your issues. You have really been through some financial trials this past year. Best of luck to you and thanks again for continuing to share all your efforts to pay off debt. Also good luck with the job search. Love hearing how this journey is going.

    • Reply Ashley |

      Thanks for the comment and for being a long-time reader! It would be very difficult to pay down debt when your spouse isn’t on board. I’m lucky that hubs is behind the debt-reduction mission, though we’ve definitely had our disagreements about spending and debt payments. I love having you along on our journey! : )

  • Reply Kerstin |

    I think there are better stock photos of coffee…that one looks very computer generated. Love the personal photos. I think whatever pics you choose are great! I love your posts. You are my favorite blogger right now (don’t be sad the rest of you, I love you too, but as a young woman I identify with Ashley). If we had coffee I would tell you about also NOT getting a job I recently (thought) I rocked the interview for and was really excited about, but that’s ok. Better things to come. And about potential big life changes coming and how hard it is to live your normal life when things are gonna happen that you can’t control! Oh and how much I love weekends!!!!

    • Reply Ashley |

      Sorry about not getting the job! I really like to try to have the mentality that “if it were meant to be…” you know? I don’t know what your big life changes are ahead, but I can give you some advice that I try to personally follow. If there are potentially big life changes ahead (like cross-country move, which is what I’ve experienced), just try to live in the moment. It drives you crazy thinking about and planning all the “what if” logistics until the change has been 100% determined. If it’s just a possibility on the horizon then that’s fine. And it’s not bad to think about it a little. But instead of really mulling over every single detail and planning out your future (for a future that’s not even certain), just live in the moment and worry about the potential future changes when they get here. That’s what I try to do anyway, and it’s been helpful for me. Hope it helps you, too!

  • Reply Chris |

    Love the photos of the kids and would be fine without the stock photo (or an Iphone of your real coffee).

    Hope you keep up the coffee postings – it does make things feel more real and gives context for the whole life picture

So, what do you think ?