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Update...err...it's been 2 months

October 18th, 2014 at 01:18 pm

Well it has been a few months, but I am alive and doing well. I dropped off the blogging trail when I was re-hired at my old company and that became a whirlwind of putting in my two weeks, starting training, and having the husband adjust to my increased work hours. Two months into employment and things are now at a more manageable level.

Financially- I have no idea where we are. I know that my employer decided to drop the 5% 401.k company match about a week into my employment. They have also not once diverted my requested 20% contribution into my retirement account. After 2 phone calls to HR and being told to wait for the next pay period to see if it has been fixed, I kind of dropped the issue for now.

Husband was APPROVED for govt disability! He has been trying for almost 3 years. After the last final denial, we switched lawyers and the new lawyer got it approved on the first attempt! So we missed out on about $18k that could have come in during those 2 years of using the first lawyer. After that fiasco- I have learned not all lawyers are equal- even if it is something that seems procedural like getting disability. So we will get an income boost of $1200/month once the disability starts coming in.

Husband went out of state recently for round 2 of Stem Cell treatments. The first treatment went ok. His body responded to the treatment, but not amazingly. He is growing some cartilage back in his knee, but there has been no change in his back beyond that he can now move all 5 toes on his leg that drags a bit. So Round 2, we will see what happens. Financially, we have to pay cash for the treatments (experimental and not covered by insurance), so we are using up the Workers Compensation to pay for it.

Our rental properties have been full and quiet. The property we are managing for FIL has been nothing but drama for the last 2 months. Husband rented it to an out of state professional sight unseen- and once the guy moved in- it was daily service calls. Daily repair requests. And then 2 weeks of moving in- the guy moved out because he did not like the neighborhood. So its back up for rent- but we missed the "renting window" when everyone is looking to rent before school starts.

Our credit card bills have gotten pretty high (we can not pay it in full at the end of the month). I am not sure how that happened given I am now making almost twice the amount I was making at the barn. But I think it is associated with a mindset of "we can spend/buy and not have to delay luxuries anymore" mindset. So this weekend, now that I know what my paycheck will look like, and we can add in the disability payments, I will sit down with husband and we will rework a new budget and start tracking our spending.

The baby is doing well. We are getting everyone together for her 1 year birthday party next weekend!

Have you guys tried Clothes Mentor?

July 28th, 2014 at 06:10 pm

Thanks fgor all the encouraging feedback regarding negotiating for a better starting salary. I tried to follow the advice. I tried to play hardball. But the guy just said that was the salary and I can think about it. So I thought about it for a few hours and took it. I have accepted the position. I'm trying not to dwell on the negatives. The negatives (bad hours/ harder quota based job/difficulty getting time off/starting over with same pay and now no seniority at former company) will rear their ugly head over and over I'm sure.

I'm enjoying the positives for now. I went SHOPPING! I'm actually not a big shopper, but once or twice a year I'll get a shopping craving and buy everything all at once. Today I spent almost $200 but I got tons of clothes for my new job and a new purse.

There is a store called Clothes Mentor that buys gently used clothes from people and resells it. This was my first time stopping in. I loved it! I'm not partial to wearing a strangers old clothes- but I guessed people also brought in new, unused clothes with tags attached. (Clothes that never fit once purchased/gifts/stuff that just never got returned). I was right! I was able to find really high end brands like DKNY, Loft, White House/Black Market with tags still attached and the items were $10-$20 each. It takes a lot of concentration not to get sucked into cute clothes and only search for original store tags- but I enjoyed the hunt. New favorite store.

The purse I found at TJ Maxx on clearance for $28. I really wanted a $128 purse at TJ Maxx...but could not justify it.

And that was the end of my shopping spree. So I'm set for my new job.

I have created a new monthly budget to reflect the new income. I'm still tinkering with it though.

The job interview...pay is not good and the hours are really bad.

July 23rd, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Ok, had my interview yesterday. My fears were confirmed.

The pay is a few hundred dollars/ year more than my old job. The hours SUCK. And the job is harder.

I don't know what happened. I just froze up when they told me the pay. I just quietly said "ok" and then he moved on.

So I'm not really feeling this job.

I need this job. But I'm already dreading starting this job.

I'm really disappointed in myself, frustrated in general. I thought writing would make me feel better but it is not.

Job Interview Today...Comments Appreciated

July 22nd, 2014 at 01:54 pm

I am checking in. It's been a few weeks. The latest on my mind has been finding a full time office job. The equestrian job has peaked- I really appreciate getting to turn my hobby into a job- but I'm ready to turn it back into a hobby.

Last week I went and visited my old employer. Its a large multi-building university and I spent several hours going from office to office to catch up with everyone. I put the word out that I was looking.

The VERY NEXT DAY the university President called me and said he had just been handed a resignation letter and would I be interested in an Admissions Assistant job? Heck yeah!

So we set up an interview for today. I would be reporting to someone new. Several of my old colleagues have worked with this guy- though I never have. So it was explained that this is kind of a "meet n greet" to make sure everyone gets along.

The job will have quotas. High pressure deadlines and (if its like my previous work environment), lots of scapegoating. The intense work atmosphere is what made me hesitant to return to the working world and instead seek out a barn job.

But talking to old collegues- the pressure has really calmed down since I've been away. Apparently it all came to a head right after I resigned and there was a lot of turnover (and visits to HR). It took almost a year but now things have quieted down and become more fun.

And even if it's stressful- I enjoyed working with these people who became my friends. I enjoyed challenging myself and feeling like I was improving my resume.

And I want to eliminate my $1000/month private health insurance bill.

So today I interview.

I spent $115 on a new suit. It was 60% off- so I look like I'm wearing a $250 suit! It makes me feel good to wear it. Like "well one less thing to worry about- I don't have to think about how I look."

Now for the salary. UGH. I was hired right before a freeze on raises at this company. So although I worked there almost 4 years- I only received a 3% raise once (big reason for my resignation!).

Then a few months after resigning- the company restructured their pay scale and raised everyone's salary to match competitive raises. So I'm hoping they will just offer me $2-3k over my old salary. And then if I'm able to negotiate anything (which I have NEVER SUCCESSFULLY been able to negotiate salary), it's a bonus.

If they offer me my old salary then I'll be starting out disappointed which is not how I want to start this job. Feeling defensive and unappreciated.

I know the President looks at it as saving his budget to get me a cheaply as possible. He is very smart and intimidating. I've learned that I cant faithfully try to "prove my worth" and think it will get recognized and be rewarded with a raise or promotion.

I tried that tactic last time and was told several times that they would not promote me because I was already doing the work of a superior, so there was no need to promote me and hire someone below me. I was managing both jobs on my own. And the company couldn't justify a pay raise without a title change. UGH it was maddening!

So I just want to start out making the money I would have earned if I had stuck it out to work through the "competitive wage" increases.

I am optimistic because I talked with a co-worker- (who is my potential bosses boss), and she said my new job is considered a level above my old job. Although totally different departments- this new job is a small step up the corporate ladder. (So small that I thought the job was a parallel jump.)

Ok, so the plan is to prepare for the job interview.

But what I REALLY need to prepare for is the disappointment if I wind up with my old salary or a few hundred dollars more.

I have not been called in to interview anywhere else that I have submitted an application. The job market is not really jumping for me right now.

BTW- I pulled a muscle (s) in my shoulder/neck area at the barn the other day and I'm on muscle relaxers right now. I'm a bit woozy as I type this so forgive any ridiculously bad spelling. I'm hoping this woozy feeling wears off by interview time! Otherwise I'll have to take something to wake up!

So about that "follow your passions" job...

July 2nd, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Hello Everyone,
I've been periodically reading blogs but not posting. I have not had a long period of quiet time where I could put my thoughts down. So I have been bottling up all my thoughts and activities.

But now the baby is quietly playing on the kitchen floor with cooking ware, and husband is asleep.

Hmmm where to start.

Husband had his experimental stem cell treatment. It went GREAT! He came home in more pain than normal- the Dr told him it will take 2 weeks for the injections sites to heal. I was at the end of my tolerance level for his pain and "I cant do anything" mantra- so him coming home MORE helpless made me so angry.

But in a few weeks his attitude turned much brighter. He was more helpful to me- getting off the couch to bring me a drink, going up the stairs multiple times a day. Keeping the house a little less cluttered.

And then one day I came home to see the baby playing in the kitchen. Husband cooking spaghetti, the house was vacuumed & mopped! It was wonderful! I felt like I was getting back the man that I married. So he is recovering and healing in minutia ways. But it feels like huge leaps for me when it's not an argument just to take out the trash.

In other news- my equestrian job is going great. I have really become part of the team and I am competent at my job.

HOWEVER- the pay and other sacrifices are just not cutting it for me anymore. I'm looking for an office full time job.

I know. After all that fighting with the husband!

This job was meant to provide me with an ease-in to working after having the baby. In an uncertain time when life was changing rapidly- I wanted a stress-free job where I would be just as happy at my job as I was being at home. With a newborn baby I was going to give up horse riding and working at a barn would be my way of not giving it up. But also not taking time and money away from the family to pursue it. So overall I have enjoyed it the last 6 months.

BUT- my body is much older than I "feel". Doing manual labor day in/day out is EXHAUSTING. My body just screams at me when I come home from work. I'm so stiff and achy. I cant keep this up. No way. This is a twenty-somethings job.

And I never see my friends. I work every weekend until 8pm, and every holiday. I'm off on random weekdays. Requesting time off is kind of a drama-fest because people have to cover. I reserve my requests off for visiting family and husband's medical treatments. I've never had so much trouble making plans with friends. And missing out on everything (like cookouts for 4th of July). It seems trivial but I was really lonely in California and I place a lot of value on being with my friends and sharing in their lives.

$10/hr does not stretch nearly as far as it did the last time I was earning this kind of money. I'm making $1050/month and over $200 is spent in gas commuting the 25 miles to work. My windshield has broken twice driving on the highway in my commute. Relatively inexpensive costs like a $40 broken windshield really set you back on such a limited income. And forget the big costs. I took my dog to the vet for annual shots and a year of heartworm protection- $420! That was almost 2 weeks pay! No way do I want to kill my body for 2 weeks to pay for a few vaccines.

And so I got to thinking about the budget. How could I make the money stretch? Our largest monthly expense is the private health insurance. It is $980/month.

If I worked full time at the barn I could get health insurance. It would probably be $4-500/month for the family. So if I work an additional 10 hrs a week I could cut my health insurance bill in about half.

But then I figured if I'm working full time why not go get a salaried office job making more than $10/hr? Plus the benefits of getting holidays off and working in heated/air conditioned rooms?

I initially started working 30/hrs week because I didn't know how husband could take care of the baby without me. It was hard for him. We had to figure out a lot of stuff. But now he's got it. I can work full time and he'll be fine.

And the riding...I'm not riding everyday at work. And I'm not riding at the competitive level I want to be. So its not as satisfying as I had hoped. I'm ready to let it go for a little bit and enjoy my home life more.

So it was a good 6 month transition back into the working world.

With that said- I've applied to a job at my old company. I'm a little hesitant because that company is very high pressure and disorganized. I know I'll get roped into lots of regular overtime and stress. And I'm uncertain I can get my old salary back. I'm talking with people and it seems I was at the top of my pay grade for my skills. If I start a new job in a new department I might have to take a 5-6k paycut. Which is still about double what I'm making now.

I also applied to another company a bit further away- half hour drive- with a definite $6k pay cut from my old job. but I'm hoping it will be less stressful. It's a govt job.

My office job skills are so rusty at this point. Just spelling is a struggle. I'm nervous to get back into that environment. But confident my computer/business skills will come back quickly. I hope I don't make too many mistakes in the meantime!

So that's what I'll be doing for a while. Applying to jobs.

Catching Up

June 9th, 2014 at 03:36 pm

Well, husband is traveling for his Stem Cell treatment. He'll be gone for 3 days and I have no idea what to expect his condition to be when he returns. I don't know if the relief starts immediately or what. I do know he will need two more treatments over the next 6 months. So we'll see.

Financially things are going ok.

We have an offer out on a foreclosure house to fix up and resell. The property might need too much work though. It's a high crime area and the house needs a few walls removed in addition to a new kitchen and 3 new bathrooms. So we're going to see how negotiations go and then bring in our contractor partner to get his opinion.

My job is still going well. I had my 90 day review recently and everything was great. My boss wants to put me on more horses and says she envisions me as a riding instructor/trainer and her hiring someone else to do the barn work. But that wont be for a while yet when we have the business to justify adding more employees. That would not be a pay raise- just something to help justify a raise in my yearly annual review. I do know that this company gives annual raises in $.20-$.60/hr increments. (We have an employee who is very open about their pay.) So this job is definitely meant for enjoyment and riding opportunities.

The baby is doing well. She is 7 months. Not crawling and not consistently rolling. She doesn't seem to "want" to be mobile. She is happy sitting and watching the world around her. I'm going to wait another few months before I get concerned.

Thats it, I'll check back later!

Apartment Rented in One day

June 3rd, 2014 at 06:46 pm

Checking in. The property that husband & I offered on is...complicated-ish. The For Sale by Owner guy has a verbal deal with someone who needs some time to get the money together for the property. The owner asked us to check back in a couple of weeks. We called back with an increased offer and was told that he really needed to give the other guy time to see if he could buy it. So to call back in a week. So...we are waiting on that one.

Good-ish news- one of our properties went vacant June 1st. Rent has increased over the last year and this is the first property we could raise our rent. Husband wanted me to increase the rent by $60/month...but I got nervous we would get stuck with an empty apartment so I increased it by $10/month. I listed the property on Craigslist and got a request to show it within an hour. The couple liked it but wanted to think about it. We then showed it to one of our current tenants who wanted to line it up for August when she was moving out of the current place. We didn't want to wait so long to have it filled so we held out. We had many more showings lined up. Then the first couple came back and said they wanted it. They gave us a deposit, signed a lease and will move in 3 weeks. So we lost a month of rent (June) but finding a renter challenge is over.

The upstairs of the same building becomes vacant in July. We are offering our tenant to take the upstairs unit, but she will be living by herself and it is a 3 bedroom apartment. So although we are offering her a pretty steep discount ($200/month discount) because we feel bad she didn't get the downstairs unit and if she moves in with her dog, we wont be replacing the carpeting, she might not be able to afford it/doesn't want it. I'll almost be happier if she does not take it so we can charge an increased rent.

So overall, I should have been more aggressive raising the rent- but filling the place in 1 day is a new record. Holding my breath to try and fill the August apartment fast as well.

Our spending money and bill paying money comes from these rentals, so even one month of vacancy means we have to curb the monthly spending or pull the money from savings.

Still in the Real Estate Game

May 31st, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Hello all,
Checking in. Husband & I are putting in an offer on a SFH today. We plan to buy it, fix it and sell it. If we get it, I'll post the numbers.

I'm not WICKED excited about it because the neighborhood has me a little cautious. It's on a very busy road, and the quieter neighborhood roads around it are a little run down. So taking that into account our re-sale value would be lower than normal.

But I think the house will compensate for the neighborhood shortcomings. It is a 3000 sq ft craftsman bungalow (HUGE for a bungalow), 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths on a double sized lot. You just don't see that anywhere in the city.

Its a For Sale by Owner where the owner grew up in the house. His parents converted it from a side by side duplex to a SFH. That is why it's so huge.

And awesome for us- the owner has a "For Sale by Owner" sign in a place behind some bushes that is really hard to see from the road. And it is a busy road where people are going about 30 mph. So if you blink you miss the house. The house is nowhere on the internet. My realtor happened to see the sign while searching for an MLS listed property a few blocks down the road. She immediately thought of us and I think we really lucked out.

Real Estate in our price range has been moving overnight. We tried to bid on 3 houses so far to find that another full price offer came in before we could offer. We actually put in a full price offer sight unseen one time the day it came on the market. We got the house! But it was so termite infested the floor had crashed in and an exterior wall..had a lot of sunlight coming through. So we backed out of the contract the next day.

Anyways, this property has been listed for sale for a little while and we are the first to offer on it. I'm pretty sure no one knows it exists.

So we'll see. But we are excited. I'll let you know!

Refocusing

May 13th, 2014 at 06:43 pm

2 entries in one day! I feel like I need to give an update (reality check) to the sidebar goals I set in the 2014 new year euphoria.

1. Stick to a monthly budget- I HAVE STUCK TO IT. But I am THINKING of deviating. My credit cards have been creeping. I set a tight budget thinking husband would get disability (he has not) and thinking I could live very frugally while getting my life under control. Instead- husband has been spending WAY more than he normally does- and baby keeps being ready for more crap! We got her an excersaucer and a few weeks later a high chair- and so the credit cards are hitting- scary land. I'm THINKING of stopping putting money towards savings and just increasing our monthly spending budget. Reality check- we spend more than our monthly budget allows. ...Still pondering that. I HATE BREAKING A GOAL. I HATE CREDIT CARD DEBT. So we'll see.

2. I am adding $900 a month to our monthly income! But spending $200/month in gas to get to/from the job. $200/month dilligently goes to saving for the baby- the remaining amount- gets spent. Is not going to horseback riding. But I ride horses at my job...so...thats kind of still meeting the goal..ish?

3.I am horseback riding! Not in the competitive atmosphere I prefer. But I am tral riding and in the industry!

4. I'm not buying a horse. My plan to own a horse in 2015 is to not get one. This job has been a reality check- too expensive.

5. I HAVE been adding $100/month to the mortgage!

6. I have been saving for a future car purchase- that is on track.

7.I have been saving in the emergency fund. Thinking of raiding it to pay off the credit cards. Still pondering that one.

8. I hit my goal weight! Awesome!

9. I have not been saying No. He's kind of stopped running things by me and just does it- giving me no opportunity to say No. Sounds worse than it is- his purchases are a few hundred dollars- not enough to have a real discussion over- but then they have been adding up. Ugh. I need to work on this one.

Ok- writing this out. I'm doing way better than I thought! I have been staying on track, even though unexpected stuff has come up that could have derailed me. This gives me motivation to really refocus.

Baby Picture Time

May 13th, 2014 at 05:56 pm

Hello everyone,
Not a whole lot to report but I wanted to check in and say hello. The real estate market is still pretty hot n heavy here, we have tried to offer on a few properties but they have all been taken before we could submit a contract.

The baby is now 6 months old and doing really well. She recently mastered sitting up unassisted. Its much easier posing her for pictures without having to also hold her!

The weather is hot, hot, hot here. We only had a few days of spring before it skyrocketed into the mid eighties.

We have a rental unit going vacant June 1st, but luckily an old tenant from years ago called because he is moving back into the area in June. I was able to rent him his old apartment! That was easy.

I have been on a cleaning spritz the last few days. The downstairs is SPARKLING! Our cleaning lady canceled the last session and I have not rescheduled. I can clean better than her- the problem was making it a priority with my job and the baby. With no cleaning lady it rose to the top of my priority list and I'm loving walking into a clean house. I'm tackling the upstairs tomorrow.

Oh yeah. My Dyson vacume cleaner broke down today. I was running it and it started smelling burned. Husband looked at it and said it's trashed. It's 9 years old- it had a good run. So...$300 for a new one- this is unexpected and I don't have money set aside for it. But its a HIGH PRIORITY item for me so I'll be charging it and trying to divert funds to it over the next few weeks.

And in more fun news- Babies mother day picture!

Back from our trip

April 30th, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Just returned from a 5 day trip to New York. Spring was blooming and the weather was great. It was a wonderful trip, everyone really enjoyed themselves. The baby got to meet her 87 yr old great grandmother, and also meet lots of other friends and family. Husband also enjoyed it. He was in pain, but mentally stimulated and engaged. It kept his spirits high and he's still in a batter mood because of the trip. Baby took her first airplane ride and she was really well behaved. The whole trip she was really well behaved actually.

We stayed at Great grandmas house. Its the first house she & her husband ever owned and they still have it 60 yrs later. She raised her 2 kids in it. Its in pristine condition, but all around her the houses have been torn down for a McMansion, or added on- the neighborhood is a weird hodgepodge of mismatched houses from different decades. But I went for a few walks with husbands father and he relived a lot of old memories growing up there.

Now we are back home. Our dog has an ear infection so she went to the vet yesterday. $320 later...ouch! But she also got heartworm tested and switched to a new 6 month brand. Still- this vet is uber expensive. We go because it is walking distance of the house and the vet is our age and really nice. She came out to our house and put down our cancer riddled dog so that the dog could go more peacefully. And she did the whole visit free of charge. We don't go to the vet very often- ideally once a year for shots- so we stick with this place.

Other than that we are just looking forward to husband's stem cell procedure in June.

Real Estate Values are Rocketing UP!

April 24th, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Lots of stuff going on...

In my last post I whined about not being able to get a horse. I feel a little bad about that. I have a pretty cushy life, I can stop whining about first world problems like not getting a horse.

I did bring up the horse to my boss- and she said she is looking for horses to bring into the barn to use as lesson horses. She is in the process of talking to the owner now to schedule a time to go out and see the horse. I'm not sure he is right for beginner riders...but I'm not sure he is a bad fit- so I'll let the trainer decide. So he might be coming to my barn anyways! Weird turn of events.

I received $2300 as a tax refund. I don't know how much my CPA will charge me to do the preparations. I planned to keep the money in my checking account as a "cushion" for unexpected bills. Well today I had to pay my property taxes. $1700. So there goes my cushion! Glad I got the refund!

Real Estate in my neighborhood has been climbing. I knew it was going up but kind of stayed distant from thinking about it. I'm biased & emotionally attached so its hard to gauge the value of MY property. I've always stuck with a conservative number that gives us tons of equity and been happy with that.

Almost a year ago a townhouse across the street, smaller and builder grade sold for about $100k over what I would have expected. That was a nice surprise that confirmed my value in my mind. This is the townhouse:


Yesterday a few places went up for sale in my neighborhood and the asking prices are so so so high. A SFH same sq footage, same bedrooms, same bathrooms is priced $200k over what I value our place to be! Granted it has upgrades beyond ours, and it is a SFH whereas we have a townhouse. But still- I'm totally shocked! These are the two new construction that are listed for $200k over mine:


A few months ago I called a For Sale on a small fixer in the neighborhood and the asking price was what I value my house at. I laughed and laughed thinking they were out of their mind. I thought that was a fluke crazy listing. Now...that crazy asking price seems to line up with the other crazy prices...

I guess we will see what everything sells for.

In other good news, I'm really getting into the groove at my job. It was really tough to acclimate but now everything goes smooth like clockwork. I'm really enjoying it. And husband has totally stopped complaining.

That's it. Now we are headed to NY for 5 days to visit husband's family. So I'll talk to you guys later!

Free Horse

April 18th, 2014 at 02:24 pm

G-dammit. I was just offered a very nice horse. For free. An aquaintance of mine from a previous barn is going tyo have her knee replaced and cant afford to keep her horse because she'll be missing out on months of work. She's also just getting older and the horse is becoming more of a burden than enjoyable.

So she's offered him up for sale. She privately messaged me and said she'll give him to me for free if I was interested. In a year or so she can take him back if I wanted to give him up.

She was hoping I qualified for free or reduced board at the barn I'm working for (I don't).

I like this guy. I haven't ridden him but seen him go several times and he just moves nice, has a pleasant personality, and lots of potential.

But even at a free price, horses are friggen expensive. I would need to purchase all the equipment for him (conservatively guessing about $2k) and then upkeep. My barn charges $800/month.

It's not an option to take him at this time. Sucks.

Odds and ends

April 18th, 2014 at 01:34 pm

Hello Everybody,
Just checking in. Things here in Tasha-land are slow and boring.

Husband has completely come around about my job. A friend of ours is a teacher and is regularly having parent conferences on Sundays and often not getting home till 8pm. I told husband that is how the working world is for everyone and maybe he can appreciate that I only get held up at my job 1-2 hrs sometimes? And I have never been called in on my day off? Husband agreed that my job isn't so bad.

We have an expensive summer coming up. Most likely we will be spending more than we bring in this summer.

We have a duplex that might be completely vacant come June. Husband has not called the tenants to see about their plans yet. But their leases will be up. We have a rental savings cushion to pay the mortgage for 2 months before it starts hitting our personal savings.

That property provides about $400/month in spending money for us, so our personal budget will be taking a hit.

And husband has this stem cell experimental procedure coming up in June. It will be 3 procedures total that he'll receive over 9 months time. The total cost is looking to be $6600. We'll take it out of our savings we have planned to use on the next real estate property. Not ideal but that's where we have enough to pay for the procedure.

Husband has fired his disability lawyer and hired another. We spent 2 years and 3 denials with this guy. I think we gave him a fair chance to get it done. Now we wait another 6 months before we can try again.


Offer Not Accepted

April 13th, 2014 at 01:00 pm

So the bank took someone else offer over ours. Everyone is bummed but feeling optimistic that another house project will come around.

The house was listed for $37k. We were planning to put $25-40k into it and list it for $150-$170k.

Our highest and best offer was $45,800. Looking back we should have raised that offer but when you are blindly offering...we didn't want to just offer thousands over every other offer when a more conservative offer would do the job as well.

My friend recently went into a highest and best situation and offered $500 over list price and got it. So I thought our offer was strong.

Anyways, I haven't really even had time to be disappointed. I've been sick with a head cold and had to call in sick to work twice. We are gearing up at work for a busy Easter week. And after that we will go to New York to visit husband's family.

Highest & Best

April 9th, 2014 at 12:42 pm

We put in an offer on the victorian house Monday. We knew there was already another offer at full price or maybe above. We thought more offers would come in as well. On Tuesday the bank came back and asked for highest & best.

Our first offer was almost 10% above asking.

Yesterday we went 25% above asking.

Before you freak- this house is listed for less than $40k so 25% is not as dramatic as it would seem.

Hoping for an answer today.

I was feeling confident last night. Then when we were reviewing sold comps...the market has been so strong lately I can see someone just putting in an offer to blow everyone else out of the water. Today I'm wishing we had increased our security deposit or shortened our due diligence period to look more attractive.

The contractor came over last night and I feel we had a good conversation.

He still feels we can get the house done for $25k including labor.

He has a plumber & electrician working in his crew that will accept payment when the house sells.

He does not think he can handle central air installation and we'll need to pay retail for that.

He thinks he can sand & save the hardwood upstairs. He thinks the vinyl glued to the hardwood downstairs is too expensive to try and save. He wants to just re-hardwood the downstairs. My husband wants to try a few methods to remove the glued down vinyl first.

Contractor said it will be 2-3 months till the house is done, rather than the 2 months we were hoping.

Contractor plans to work his other jobs while working on this one. So he wont be at the house 40 hrs a week, but he can send a crew member over every day as long as husband stops in regularly to supervise.

The roof is the big unknown right now. It LOOKS good from the ground. So we'll see.

Contractor has given us a few scavenger items to find like window sashes and antique columns we'll need for the project.

Contractor wants a contract in writing outlining the partnership. Since our (mine & husbands) names will be on title, he's at a disadvantage. I'm working on that today.

So overall, progress. Hoping for a positive phone call today. I'll discuss numbers if we get the house. Fingers crossed! In the meantime it is BEAUTIFUL outside and I cant wait to take the dog for a walk. I hope your days are beautiful too!

Real Estate Offering!

April 8th, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Ok we have an offer in on the house I recently blogged about. There is already one offer in and our realtor got the hint that it was higher than asking. So we went in almost 10% above asking. I am expecting that more offers will come in as well. The house is a few streets away from me and every time I go by it has someone looking at it.


The house needs a good overhaul inside. Outside is very pretty.

If we get it- we have a few options for it:

Ideally we want to partner with our contractor. He is coming over tonight to discuss things with us. We will pay for the house and holding costs, he will supply materials & labor. We will split the profits 50/50. Our contractor has sheet rock, sinks, ceiling fans, tile, misc. from other jobs in storage. He also will get the labor cheaper because there is no fee to pay him as a middleman for the labor. He said he can "get it done" for $25k. The question becomes- what is his version of "get it done" and what is ours? Since we have not partnered together I'm not sure how far our visions range from one another. But this is the safest option for us right now because we wont have to max out our savings to complete the job.

A second option is to flip the house ourselves. I don't think we can "get it done" for $25k. I would guess it will be about $50k for us because we are paying labor/ retail prices/ and don't have materials in storage. We don't have the full $50k unless we called in some loans that people owe us. And I'm not sure they can pay. So the job might not get done as nicely as we would like/ or we would stretch ourselves more than we feel comfortable.

And a third option is to put in minimal upgrades and rent the house. This is not a bad option at all considering that the market is climbing and the neighborhood is transitioning in a good direction. We could recover our purchase price and fix up investment within a few years because the house is so under priced compared to rent in the area. However- I don't really want to tie up the last of our savings and be responsible for another property right now. I feel like every property needs a substantial "cushion" of savings to be available for repairs- especially a new and unknown house- and we wont have that cushion after we spend money to make the place renter -grade. So for 6-7 months while we build that cushion, things would be tight and stressful. I'd rather just get in and get out at this time.

Ok, so I'll post numbers if we actually get the place. I feel like I am jinxing things to plan too much beforehand.

We should know something in a few days!

My background

April 6th, 2014 at 02:16 pm

After reading comments on my last blog posting I realized how disorganized my money reflections are. Especially to the new members that were not privy to the posts I submitted when I was called Gamecock.

So to help everyone, including myself, I'm going to try and outline my financial standing.

I received an inheritance 7 yrs ago that, if treated correctly, could support me for...maybe my lifetime? As inflation rises it will cover less and less expenses. I'm not an economist, or schooled in money management so I'm still treating the money and my future with uncertainty.

It's not enough to draw on directly and live off for the next 30 years. But if it is invested correctly, it could produce interest that will enable me to live- or almost live comfortably.

So I invested about 20% in the stock market for a retirement account. My financial adviser tells me that if I allow it to grow in the stock market I should have enough to retire when it is time to retire.

The rest has kind of gone into real estate. I say "kind of" because I made two big mistakes which I have blogged about. I invested in a great real estate deal but gave the property to a family member for my wholesale costs. Rather than being paid in one lump sum as expected to allow me to re-invest elsewhere, the payments have been pieced together over the last 2 years and the small & large payments that have gotten...spent. On what I'm not sure. I know husband got a truck. And that truck got about $15k in repairs. And then there were other misc purchases...sigh. I hate that everything played out as it did.

The second mistake was taking the remaining liquid money and trying to start a "cant fail business" with a good friend. There were lots of reasons I tried it and the result is it was a BIG HUGE F**ing FAIL.

But luckily it was not all foolishly spent. We got 2 duplex's (1 has a mortgage), and our primary residence without a mortgage. These properties are generating income for our day to day lives. So I am trying to live off the interest of this inheritance. The principal amount is in these properties- but my day to day income comes from the rent generated.

After recovering from the failed business I told husband we need to stick with what we are good at. Real Estate.

So we have some remaining money left and it has been earmarked for 1 last property purchase. I still have money owed to me for the two big financial mistakes made- but you cant invest what you don't have. So I cant use that money right now.

So that's why I blog about my monthly expenses being tight, and my worries about day to day finances.

Along the way of this journey- my husband became disabled and has not worked in almost 3 years. And we added a baby. So the inheritance now needs to cover 3 people.

I have learned that if I have liquid money accessible then I spend it. So I'm trying to get it out of reach. Trying to tie it up in investments. My husband has taken much longer to the mindset of preserving it than I would like. He has a much "risk taker' mindset than me. Both big financial mistakes were his ideas. But our biggest money maker duplex was his idea as well. And he persuaded me to buy what is now our primary residence. So he's at about a 50% success rate right now.

And any financial decision is both of ours to bear the responsibility (even if it was his dumb decision in the first place- it was me who controls the bank accounts.) So we share the results of our finances.

So yeah- thats my situation. And this is my journey. Will I wind up penniless in 10 years? Maybe. Especially if something catastrophic happens to real estate. But right now today we are comfortable. I'm just trying not to have to get a full time job right now. But who knows what will happen in the future.

Real Estate Pondering

April 4th, 2014 at 01:41 pm

Checking in. Things here are going fine. Husband and I are back on an even keel. We recently traveled to FL for two days to visit family and friends.

Also I talked to my work about getting some time off to travel to far away family. Since it is the beginning of the "slow season" when several horses leave for cooler climates- she told me to choose the days. I gave her a requested 5 days off. Then she created the schedule and gave me 8 consecutive days off!

Tomorrow morning we are going to look at a SFH that is listed for sale as a foreclosure. The house is identical in architecture to the home run property we gave to FIL. But this one is in much worse condition. It is listed for $60k less than what we paid for the home run property. (I call it a home run property because it was under priced when we bought it- it appreciated about 50k after we fixed it up- and has since appreciated about an ADDITIONAL $75k. I still get mad at myself for letting that go.)

We feel that this property is perfect to flip. Depending on what the finished product looks like- We can make $20-100k on it. We have the money to buy it- but not all the money to fix it. Actually- we DO have almost all the money to fix it- but that would wipe our savings dry. And HUSBAND says it makes him nervous to do that! I'm not sure if it was the recent episode of straining to pay basic bills in CA that taught him, or if he is maturing, or if -maybe I am the over optimistic person regarding this deal.

So we are cautiously excited. A deal this good has not hit the market since we have been looking over the last 7 months.

We might buy it and hold to resell when the market is stronger. We think the property will appreciate in just the condition it is in because it is in an upward transitional neighborhood and it is under priced right now.

We might buy it and fix what we can with it. We have enough to fix over half of it.

Or we might do the deal with our contractor. He has materials (sheet rock/sinks/counter tops)sitting on his property (collected from previous jobs) and can do the labor himself and with his crew. Obviously we just came out of partnering with someone and it went bad. So I'm not at all eager to do it again. This is different because it is one deal a few blocks from my house- rather than setting up an entire business across the country.

We are all going to look at it tomorrow. I've been around the outside, and husband has noticed several groups of people walking around it. (He has driven by it about 10 times since it came on the market 2 days ago).

The outside is MUCH better condition than the inside.

So we might not even get it. To be continued.


Updates

March 29th, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Well to update on my latest posts:

I talked to my employer about the concerns that have been brought up. She told me several times she is not trying to "lose me" as an employee but she needs to keep things fair. Using the guard gate parking lot is not feasible to meet husband and feed. So I'll try meeting him down the street at a gas station parking lot. She's not giving me extra time to commute but I'm sure I can take an extra 5 -10 mins and it wont be a problem providing I'm not late to provide a barn service (like a trail ride or lesson). I think she is cautious about telling me "yes" on special requests because she's afraid of exactly what is happening now- me getting special permission for something. I'm GUESSING the newest employee asked or thought he could bring his kids around an didn't understand that he couldn't because he sees my husband pull up regularly.

I asked about taking 4 consecutive days off to go out of town. Boss said absolutely after Easter. That is the start of our slow season where several horses will be leaving and things will relax. She told me to look up airfare and talk to family and give her the dates I'm requesting off.

So I feel that things at work have kind of been addressed.

At home things are better too. Husband and I kind of "cleared the air" during our day of fighting. So yesterday everything was good.

Husband made a big effort to feed the baby solids yesterday in an attempt to get baby accepting solids as a meal replacement during my shorter 6 hr shifts. That means he would only need to come out to meet me on my lunch break 2x week during my 9 hr shifts.

We started baby on solids about 2 weeks ago. For the most part she will accept 5-6 spoonfuls before turning her head and pushing the spoon away. They are not full mouthfuls. She kind of lets the food sit in her mouth while she stares at you and it just dribbles down her chin. Then after a minute she will swallow what is left.

Yesterday during my 6 hr shift, husband fed baby 3x and she only started having a meltdown the last 30 minutes before I arrived home. So I feel we are on the "other side of the hill" regarding this eating problem. Hopefully things will continue to improve and driving out to meet me for feedings is very short term.

And I'm HOPING that when the baby is regularly eating solids during my work shifts- she wont feel the need to feed all night long as a way to recoup those lost meals. And maybe we can get some sleep! I'm hoping that is why the baby is only sleeping for an hour or two long stretches at night.

But you know what? I have a masters degree. I did the research while I was pregnant. I have tried DOZENS of tips and methods-
AND I LEARNED THAT I GIVE UP!

The baby has beaten me. I cant get her to do anything she doesnt want to do. I don't know what I'm doing. I have always been able to train dogs beautifully and felt pretty confident when I got pregnant that I was educated, I had the resources, I knew the research- I could totally handle a baby and I would do it BETTER than all those mom's with no sleep and crazy heathen toddlers.

But I was wrong. I give up. I have a happy, laughing, animated baby who is meeting all the milestones and doing it while coyly refusing the bottle and screaming to be held when placed in her crib at night. So husband and I are jumping through hoops to get her food- and the darn baby is sleeping in the bed with me (I SWORE THIS WOULD NOT HAPPEN!).

But if its not this it will be something else. I'm sure some other baby curve ball is around the corner. I give up. I don't know how to grow a baby. I throw up my hands. I'll let the baby lead the way and we will follow along making sure she is headed towards becoming a happy and healthy toddler.

Not Quitting the job...I guess?

March 28th, 2014 at 01:32 pm

ok you guys are right about a lot. Husband has become an isolated, closed off person with a diminishing world view. He is increasingly angry at the world and everyone in it. He likes to obsess about ways to "stick it" to someone that he feels deserves it. He is definitely not a "live and let live" person anymore. I call him a "grumpy old man" to my friends.

I have placated him a lot and tried to take on more of the life responsibility so he can focus on being pain free. I'm trying to keep the peace and then I go out and do with friends what I no longer can do with him (go for walks, restaurants, hang out). It's not working. I need to stand up to him.

My baby has taught me- If I'm not happy I need to scream at the top of my lungs until someone fixes it. And keep yelling until I am happy.


So next time I'm putting my foot down. I'll tell him to stop meddling in my decisions and to support me in my decisions. If I want to be under-employed and have a boss that kind of makes me jump through hoops- then that's my decision. Its not actually hurting anyone. Maybe its costing me money (in commuting) but that's the price for most jobs.

Anyways- to update about yesterday. After lots of arguing- Husband told me to do what I want to do. What I want to do is talk to boss about being allowed to feed in the guard gate parking lot. She said no family members can come through the guard gate- so maybe that spot will work. And I'll talk to her about requesting vacation time off. If I'm not happy with her response then I'll quit. But its my decision. Not my husbands who has never even met my boss.

We went through a lot of arguing to get to that point. Wasted the whole day.

Husband suggested I keep working till I found another job. I told him Looking for a job IS a job and asked him how many hours he will be willing for me to hole up on the computer each week during my time off work. He was annoyed about that thinking I'm being dramatic. He thinks I can just get a job if I want one.

I told husband I think I should stay at home and fix this baby. Shes not sleeping in her crib. Not sleeping through the night. Not taking a bottle. I'll live off our savings and be a SAHM. Husband didn't like the idea of going through our savings that way. He didn't really pick up on the theme of "I'll attack your job (taking care of baby) since your attacking mine." Cant even hit him where it hurts.

I asked him to get a job since mine is not working out for him. That set off an argument.

Finally we just wore each other out.

He understood its not a good idea to quit a job when nothing is lined up. Especially if the rentals go vacant (as they did last summer). I understood that my job does not bring in $1k a month as my paycheck implies because of cost of gas.

So I'll talk to my boss today.

I posted my complaints yesterday because often you guys have good arguing points, or a perspective I hadnt considered. But yesterday you made it clear that husband is overstepping his boundaries and I need to point that out to him.

I was hoping that allowing him some control over things would make him feel better. But his world view has become so skewed and angry that I don't trust his opinion anymore.

He is seeing a therapist. For a few years. Maybe its time for couples therapy.

Quitting my job...I guess

March 27th, 2014 at 10:47 pm

Hey Everyone,
I'm sorry I have not checked in- things were settling into a nice routine and there were not much financial goings on.

Today that has all changed. (sad face)

I am settling into my current equestrian job after working there nearly 2 months. My husband has never liked me working there and I often felt conflicted -trying to please my husband and my boss.

My boss is not very good with time management and requests more tasks to be completed than my shift allows. Or she'll give me a time consuming task shortly before my shift ends. Or she will schedule my shift to end as large daily tasks need to be performed. Because of this I routinely stay 30 mins - 1 hr beyond my scheduled shift. My husband hates that because he is expecting me home at a specific time and he is often ready to hand the baby to me. So I'm often feeling like I let my boss down when I leave with tasks not completed. Or I stay at work and listen to my husband curse and whine that I'm not home when expected.

I requested a weekend off from work and was told that I'm not done with my 60 day probation time so I am not allowed to request time off. I work part time and gave my availability as "anytime day or night" and now that seems to be biting my ass. I cant really plan any outside activities because I might be working- but it's a part time job so I was expecting more flexibility. Husband is trying to get me to request off a 4 day period next month so we can travel to visit his grandparents- and I'm afraid to ask- I'm afraid it wont be allowed and it will cause a fight with my husband.

My husband does not feel that my hourly pay is worth the 30 minute each way commute. He thinks I am spending too much money in gas/ mileage to warrant my paycheck.

Also the baby refused to take a bottle starting the week I started working. For the past 2 months- husband has driven baby to me on my lunch break so I can feed her. This is a big inconvenience to husband and he hates how much he is spending in gas to do this.

The final straw came today where husband is demanding that I quit.

My boss told me that she cannot allow my husband to drive the baby to my work anymore for me to feed her. It's private property and technically no employee friends or families are allowed within the guard gates. But she allowed it thinking it was a short term request but it has persisted and now someone has complained. I'm not sure if it was a client or another staff member but my boss just said its not fair to the other staff and she cannot allow it to continue. I have to drive off property to meet husband and feed her. But I only get a half hour for lunch and she wont extend my lunch to accommodate my commute time cutting into the feeding. Husband is furious and says we should sue. Obviously I'm not going to do that but now husband is even less supportive of my job. He felt inconvenienced before and now he's not even allowed on the property when he felt he was disrupting his day to drive out there and back.

And in the same conversation my boss told me that my pre-determined lunch breaks are not working out. She said the barn has a dynamic schedule and she cant have me going off to lunch as the barn needs me. So me going off to take lunch when husband drives up is not working. She needs me to take lunch when there is down time- not when my husband shows up. From my perspective I'm trying to schedule husband to come during downtime- but I still have to coordinate him to come out in advance..he drives 30 mins- I cant just have him appear on a moments notice.

Bottom line is husband is not supportive of this job. He's telling me to find something closer to home. He wants me to find a part time job close to home that pays more. When I told him jobs are hard to find and its not very easy to get them- he told me to go work in a gas station- maybe it will pay the same but at least I wont be spending my paycheck commuting.

Mentally I think he is embarrassed that I work in a barn. He doesn't like telling people what I do- he doesn't like bending over backwards for a job he thinks is beneath me (or him). He describes my job to me with such anger and disgust like I'm so much better than it. He thinks my employer is taking advantage of me and that I'm overqualified for the job.

So to stop his ranting and anger- I told him I'll quit if he can cut our budget to accommodate the loss of my income. He said we will cut out cable, the house cleaner and his monthly massages.

He thinks I'll have another job in a few weeks and that I should spend as much time with the baby as I can before I go back to work.

He doesn't even want me to give 2 weeks notice to my current employer. He thinks I should just stop going.

So we are fighting.

I'm so disappointed this job didn't work out. I'm so disappointed that my husband who has never had an office job or tried to get a job (and is certainly not volunteering to find a job now) thinks I should just walk out my front door and find a replacement job that pays better, has better hours and allows me to set my own schedule around family trips and the babies needs.

Reworked the budget

March 12th, 2014 at 03:56 pm

Well I reworked the budget to accommodate our cleaning service and monthly massage membership. I talked to husband about the budget as I did it.

I re-routed my paycheck from the attic renovation to paying for these luxuries and our monthly spending.

I made it clear that we are in trouble if I lose my job because it is paying for his spending allowance and massages. That should stop all negative talk regarding how my job is burdening the family.

Since August I've been tracking our net worth on a monthly spreadsheet. I'm thrilled to report that most months, our net worth increases. Primarily due to retirement account increases. I'm SO HAPPY to be out of a situation where we are losing massive amounts of money. I know we are not adding to our net worth actively, but we are not taking a sledgehammer to it anymore either.

Just a good day all around. I can pay my bills. In full. Loving it!

Added a Cleaning Lady & Massage Membership to my Budget

March 11th, 2014 at 08:55 pm

Things are going well over here in Tasha-land. I'm still working at the horse farm and I'm finally feeling like I have a solid hang of things. The only riding I am doing is leading trail rides- but I'm staying in the equestrian industry which is important to me.

The baby is doing well. We feel like we kind of have a hang on her as well. She's still not sleeping through the night. She's still refusing a bottle. We are starting her on some solids now to get her weight up. I'm refusing to sweat this stuff. Common problems. Could be much worse. Time to get over it.

Husband is doing ok. He was turned down for govt disability again- which a big blow for us and our budget. When husband went before a judge 3 months ago it seemed like the judge understood everything. But the paperwork explaining the disability denial makes it seem like the judge did not remember the hearing. The explanation goes into detail regarding husband's first back surgery- which he had some pain relief. But his second back surgery is what disabled him. And the paperwork indicates the judge did not read the file thoroughly enough to see there was a second surgery and the impacts it had on husband's body. So there is room to argue- we are appealing. But its been almost 2.5 years now and we are at the last appeal option. So a little more patience I guess. Of course getting the disability denied blows my budget to hell and I've gotta rework some stuff. Tomorrow I'll work on it.

We are still waiting to hear if husband is eligible for this experimental treatment being done by an out of state Dr.

I broke down and got a house cleaner. I spend 30 hrs a week doing physical labor- I have no motivation to clean when I got home. Husband has not cleaned once since the baby was born. The house had reached a new level of dirtiness not previously seen. I really don't want to argue with husband that he needs to clean while I'm at work. That will open an argument that he watches the baby for me and I'm not earning enough money for the burden my job is putting on the family.

So I had two cleaning women come out for $100. They spent a total of 6 hrs cleaning and it SPARKLES. I wont get into the irony that they make 50% more than I do. This house cleaning service is an addiction I cant shake. I'm hooked. They are coming back again next month.

So I need to rework the budget anyways to account for this new housekeeping service.

Between husband being denied disability, my house cleaning service, and the monthly massage membership I gave husband for valentines day- I'm re-routing my paycheck from saving for the attic renovation to paying for our spending and these new expenses.

It seems a little absurd that I'm underemployed, our family increased by a baby, we lost a ton of money in 2013, and yet we are adding a house keeping service and massage membership. Yes. I understand its totally illogical. All I know is that right now I'm trying to find stable ground on a regular basis. I'm still fighting to get back money ex business partners owes me. I'm trying to balance baby with the rest of my priorities. I'm trying to give the baby the life I want her to have and be the mom she can admire and respect. That image includes a clean house and a father with a little less pain in his day. And a mom who follows her passion to work with horses. And I cant actually accomplish all of those things at the same time right now. So I have outsourced some of it. And that means our attic renovation has been delayed until I learn to do it all without the outsourcing, or we generate some added revenue. We'll see what happens.

That's about it. The rentals are pretty calm right now. I look forward to reading about everyone's progress.

Medical Expenses Possibly

February 26th, 2014 at 11:51 pm

Checking in. Things are going ok. Trying to get in an update before the baby gets bored of whatever toys have been placed in front of her.

So husbands truck broke down yesterday. The brakes went out. $600 to fix. What else is new. We have put in more money to fix that truck than we paid for it. And we paid $15k for it. Husband keeps telling me "There is NOTHING left to break except the engine." But about a month ago the starter needed to be replaced. And now the brakes. Whats next? Whatever. I know husband bought a dud truck. He knows it. And at some point the damn thing will be full of brand new parts and should run forever.

Good news. Husband got a phone call from an Illinois woman looking for an apartment for her college aged daughter. She called out of the blue- we don't have any vacancies. When husband asked how she got his number- she said the local college has a Facebook page for parents looking for housing and we have had 5 good reviews on it! That was a pleasant surprise! We have a lease ending about the time the student needs a place- so we might be able to work it out. Or maybe our tenants will continue to stay. To be determined.

Also GREAT NEWS-Husband's Dr gave husband a tip on an out of state Dr doing a research study on stem cells and helping people with my husband's medical condition. Basically- it's not FDA approved- no insurance will cover this treatment- but our Dr had a patient in the study and they had AMAZING results. So our Dr has passed the information on to us. The Dr made it clear shew didn't prescribe it as a DR- but as a friend. Since its not FDA approved- as a Dr it cant be medically advised. But a person talking to a person- we got the contact information. Since it's a research study, a grant is covering a lot of expenses- so the cost for treatment is only a few thousand dollars- supposedly. There are a lot of loose variables yet to be determined- but husband is getting an MRI as we speak so he can send it to this Dr to maybe be included in the study. There is a possibility that husband can get real medical help! No pills. No technology and batteries being inserted in him! No sleeping through the day from being so drugged up. Wow. Imagining a future with a healthy or even somewhat healthy husband is so exciting. We both had resigned ourselves to his current condition. Getting this glimpse of hope is so tantalizing. So the money we have earmarked for our next and last rental property is now on hold to be used for this treatment if we go through with it. Supposedly the treatment will be less than $5k- but I'm holding ALL money in case. In case the treatment costs more. In case the treatment goes badly and more medical treatments are consequently needed. In case this treatment has short term effects and needs to be repeated at various intervals. Getting husband even a fraction more comfortable in his day to day life is worth whatever money we can afford to help him. It will pay off in quality of life for the whole family. I am kind of holding my breath on this one. Just waiting for the bad news to break.

So that's about it- I'll update more when I have time.

Drum Roll...Baby Slept in Her Crib Last Night

February 15th, 2014 at 03:22 pm

After all the support I received yesterday, of course I need to provide an update of how the baby slept last night!

It was her first full night in her crib in her own bedroom. She did...better than expected, room for improvement.

She took about 2 hrs to fall asleep (standard),I tried to put her down 3x and she would instantly awake and cry to be picked back up. Finally on the 4th attempt to put her down she slept from 9-11pm. Then she & I fell asleep in the twin bed until 3am (not my intention). Then she slept in the crib 3-6am. At that point she was awake for the day.

So overall not bad. Still sleeping in short stretches. But I can handle this, I feel like we are making progress.

I used my sweatshirt as her blanket so my smell would be near her. I think that might have kept her from waking panicky.

We'll keep at it. I kind of like sleeping in her room with her. I decorated the nursery to be all girly and soothing. I like spending time in there. And I'm not fighting for blankets with the dogs. Or listening to my husband start snoring. It feels like a little shared moment with just her and I sleeping in the nursery. I'm sure the novelty will wear off, but for now- it's kind of nice.

No Sleep...ever again?

February 14th, 2014 at 01:53 pm

I'm not looking for advice on this one, I need to vent and try to mentally prepare for the next few days. The sleep patterns of my baby is getting worse. Her eating is getting worse. Pretty much the misery in my life is mounting and she is smiling, wiggling and happily causing it, as babies tend to do.

She is 3.5 months old. I am a breastfeeding mom. She sleeps in a cradle beside our bed.

At her best point around 2.5-3 months old she was sleeping in 4 hr stretches. She would give me a 4 hr stretch and then a 2 or 3 hr stretch. I was excited, she was slowly increasing her night time sleep stretches. Husband and I decided that once she was sleeping through the night we would transition her to the crib in her bedroom.

Then the week before I started work, so at 3 months- her sleep steadily deteriorated. She was waking more constantly, and her longest sleep stretch would be 3 hrs max. I knew it could be work related and knew we would get through it. But it's been almost 3 weeks now and it has not improved.

Lately she has been waking to feed at night and she will eat for HOURS. Previously she would wake and feed for 30 mins- 1 hr. The last few nights she has nursed for 2 -3 hrs straight in the middle of the night. On top of nursing for 2-3 hrs before going to bed. It's miserable. But I think it is related to problem #2.

Problem #2: Eating
She's a breastfed baby, but at 1 month we introduced her to the bottle and she took it like a champ. Husband would feed her from the bottle while I would be away from the house. The only problem we had was him running out of milk because she took the bottle so well.

The day I started work- baby REFUSED the bottle. All day long. She would play with it in her mouth, but act like she had no clue what it was. Eventually she would tire of husband trying to get her to take it and she would cry, push it away. Apparently the sight of the bottle now sometimes makes her get hysterical.

Its been 2 weeks of me working and baby has not taken the bottle. She would just scream from hunger during my 8 hr shifts, but refuse the bottle.

We tried reheated milk, fresh milk, daddy giving her bottle, mommy giving her bottle, different feeding positions, different bottle brands.

I have found that baby will take a liquid eye dropper and swallow milk inserted in her mouth. Husband thinks that method is ridiculous and time consuming and refuses to do it.

He has been driving her the 30 minutes each way to my work so I can feed her on my lunch break. Not very cost effective.

We thought maybe she is eating so much at night because she is not eating enough during the day. But I was off from work Wed/Thurs/Fri this week and she has been fed plenty during the day- still waking up every 2-3 hrs at night to feed for hours.

So last night I decided maybe she has outgrown the cradle. She can still fit in it fine but its a tighter fit. Maybe its waking her up often because she can not stretch out.

So last night at 3am I made the decision to move her into her crib. I decided this because she has never been fond of the cradle. She will scream and scream if she wakes in it. And often transitioning her from my bed to the cradle makes her wake and instantly cry to be returned back to the bed. Last night after nursing her for 2 hrs and putting her sleeping self into the cradle only to have her instantly awaken and cry to be picked back up- I decided it's crib time.

I nursed her and put her sleeping- into the crib. She slept for 3 hrs and woke. I nursed her again and put her back in the crib. She slept for 10 minutes and woke. And has not fallen back asleep since. It's like she is onto my game and refuses to sleep so she wont be transferred to the crib.

She's not afraid of the crib. She plays in the crib every morning as part of our routine. She is placed in the crib and all her toys are given to her to hold and put in her mouth. She enjoys that time.

So basically I have a baby that is:
Sleeping in shorter stretches.
Nursing for much longer between the stretches.
Refusing to eat from a bottle even if it means she goes for over 8 hrs without eating.

And now I'm putting her in the crib in the hopes that she will sleep through the night because she has room to stretch out.

This is not good. I don't know how long it will take for her to adjust to the crib. A week? Longer?

And once she is adjusted then maybe she will sleep in longer stretches or nurse for shorter periods between sleep stretches. Or worse case- maybe she wont and I am dooming myself to sleeping in the nursery on an uncomfortable twin bed for eternity, getting up every 2 hrs to feed the baby for 2 hrs at a time.

Or much worse case- maybe she will make the association between falling asleep in my arms at night and waking in her crib- and refuse to fall asleep at night completely. She's already nursing for 2 hrs straight- I imagine she can do it for 5 or 6 hrs if she became determined.

I just thought her sleeping would get better and better and better. Not worse. I never even got the luxury of 1 full nights sleep! I feel so jilted and deprived. Especially knowing that the crib transition is going to make it worse before it might get better.

And whats up with the $350 electric pump I bought to give her bottled milk? Was that a total waste of money or will she eventually take a bottle again?

That's it. This is the biggest problem in my life. This is what is (literally) keeping me awake at night.

Nothing New

February 13th, 2014 at 04:35 pm

Not much to report financially. Things are kind of quiet right now.

My new job is going well. Very physically demanding. I'm exhausted on my days off. I actually got a $50 massage yesterday to try and feel better. I'm not a massage type of girl (this was my second one in my life). But since Charlotte was born- my body has not been quite right. My back feels tight- riding and lifting things often feels like something is pinched. And the circulation in my legs has decreased where I have a lot of pain in my feet after resting. So I was hoping the massage could re-align things a bit. It helped. I don't think I'll be getting another though. The massage was SO NICE that I could easily get hooked. Not an addiction I can afford to feed.

ok, gonna log off now. Its my day off and I'm too tired to type.

Equestrian Job Going Great

February 3rd, 2014 at 10:30 am

I have had one shift at my equestrian job so far. It went great! Physically demanding as expected but I know I'll get faster and stronger in no time. Getting physically fit has been a low priority goal of mine so the job has an added benefit.

After my shift finished I talked with my employer. She was happy with me and told me she has a small budget to invest in the riding progression for her employees. So she asked if I would be interested in riding and clinics later on! She told me she wants to get me at my peak riding level soon (since I took 11 months off to have a baby) so I am to bring my riding clothes on my next shift! That was unexpected and awesome.

Husband had no problems with the baby while I was away for 9 hours. She took her bottle and slept for most of the time I was gone. I "facetimed" with her (where the phone camera allows me to see & talk to her- and she can see & talk to me). She was making all sorts of excited noises during our facetime. Husband told me she had a mini-fit after the camera turned off when we ended the session. She never has that reaction after facetimes with her grandparents- so it is endearing that she recognizes and loves me. Though husband said he's not sure he wants to do facetime with me very often given how upset she is afterward. (heart melt)

And I went out to my old barn to get in a ride yesterday to try and get in shape before my employer watches me ride. I met up with a casual riding friend. She is an older woman who is very successful. She has a high paying corporate job- beach house, horse farm, several horses. She said she was jealous of my horse job and has been running numbers for a few months trying to figure out how she can get out of corporate life. She wants to be in an outdoor job with a relaxed atmosphere. I told her the trade off in pay and she said it was to be expected but at some point the corporate job isn't worth it no matter what the pay is. She had been thinking of going to work at Home Depot and working in their gardening center! She asked me for the contact info of my employer so she can get her resume on file in case they hire more help in the future.

That conversation made me feel really good. She was the first person (besides several of you guys) to understand the benefits of my job and make me feel good about taking a significant pay cut. She echoed my sentiment that at some point (if you can afford it)- taking a pay cut but highly satisfying job can be rewarding and provide non financial riches to your life. She - with all her expensive "toys" and admirable job title wanted my job! It feels so good to have someone share my mindset after so much negativity coming from my husband and friends.

That's it. Just wanted to report that so far- so good on the job. I made the right decision for me to pursue this job.

What I'll do with my paycheck

January 30th, 2014 at 02:22 pm

Thanks for the support regarding yesterdays post. I was really disappointed that a moment that should have been excitement was instead met with stress and unhappiness.

Husband still says things alluding to requesting me to quit. Mostly because he thinks he'll be lonely while I'm gone.

Anyways- I'm getting much more excited.

Before I accepted the position I got the employer to agree to raise my pay from $8.50/hr to $10/hr after 60 days rather than the standard 90. So in 2 months I'll get a nice raise.

So I'll be clearing about $900/month for the first 2 months.

The plan is to set $200/month aside for babies private school.

The remaining $700/month will be set aside to remodel our unfinished attic. We should have enough to remodel the attic by August.

Husband needs a project to keep him busy. He likes construction projects. So I'd like him to get started on the attic as soon as possible. That will keep him occupied and happier.

And today I go in to complete the paperwork for my new job!


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