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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!

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!

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.


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.

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!

Took Job #1-DRAMA Vent

January 29th, 2014 at 05:15 pm

I took the job at the multi-million dollar equestrian facility. I wish I could recapture the enthusiasm I had when I applied and interviewed- but too many people around me have said negative things about it and now I'm doubting everything.

I took the job because it was INITIALLY the job I wanted. I REALLY wanted this job. So even though I am filled with doubt and uncertainty now I took the job hoping that it will be everything I initially thought it would be.

Husband thinks the pay is a waste. He said to me last night "C'mon Tasha. Is $900/month REALLY going to make a difference to us?"

I personally think $900/month is the difference between paying credit cards in full vs the minimum. Gosh- I can think of so much I could do with $900/month! But he felt that the burden placed on the family for me being out of the house 35 hrs /week was not worth the income. That hurt. Made me feel like I am doing a disservice to the family. Made me feel selfish getting a job working with horses instead of a higher paying corporate-type job.

My 2 close friends think the pay is a waste. They said after taxes and gas it will be a wash. One told me I'll be basically volunteering to go do manual labor. And if I cant ride then there are no perks in the job for me.

I'm frustrated because I DON'T NEED the money in a desperate way. I don't need to chase the money. Sure- I can think of plenty of stuff I can not afford. But husband, baby and I live comfortably on our rental income except for a few hundred dollars short of my comfort level.

If I increased our income by about $700/month I would feel better. If I raised it by $3000/month I'd feel even better of course. But overtime/stress/deadlines/quotas and competitiveness comes with the $3000/month jobs.

Relaxation/pursuing your passion/quiet silence comes with the $900/month job.

Husband HATED my corporate job because I came home from work so stressed out, always getting work calls while I was home, going into the office at 6am just to "get ahead" of the workload.

And now he says me returning to work is not worth it unless I'm making more money.

I have held my tongue reminding him that HE has not volunteered to get a job. I didn't remind him that I paid off our mortgage, bought the rental properties, bought him the car he drives and paid for his failed business attempt. I don't want to make him feel like a loser because I know he physically cant work. Him staying at home with the baby is going to be very valuable.

But why does he make me feel like a dead weight because I'm not out there trying to get a higher paying corporate job? It's not like the job would be a really impressive high paying gig. I am not a headhunter's dream. I have degrees- in liberal arts. I've never had a big caliber job and I have no skills that are in demand. I've accepted that I wont be a big-badass corporate leader making more money than I can spend. My husband still thinks I can get that job. Which makes me mad considering he has never held that job or tried to even get a corporate job at all. So why is he telling me to go get one?

So I'm having doubts. I'm worried I'll resent my employer because I wont think I am earning enough money. I'm worried I wont get to ride any horses and I'll resent that I'm not accomplishing my equestrian goals. I'm worried I'll be expected to watch the baby every hour that I'm not at work and I wont get to do anything outside of work that I value.

Hold on- I'm about to yell at my husband.

Ok I'm back. Crying. Husband's pissed off.

He kept saying "If this is a job you enjoy then I support it." And didn't understand why it made me mad. Because it sounds like he is saying "If you come back from work everyday fulfilled and content then- that is the value of the job." But its a job. A JOB. Its not being a rock star or supermodel. It's not going to fill me with contentment and fulfillment. It's going to earn me money while furthering my knowledge in an industry that I enjoy. It will fill me with MORE happy moments than my old corporate job- but it's not like I am going to work everyday because it is MORE enjoyable than hanging out at home and socializing with my friends. So that sent me yelling.

And then husband says "I just meant that if you enjoy it enough to make up for the pay." Which sent me yelling that if the money doesn't make a difference to him then I prefer NOT to take it. If he doesn't want our daughter to go to private school then I don't need the job. If he doesn't want the attic to get refinished this summer then I don't need the job.

And at some point husband said something to the effect of "You need to enjoy the job enough to give up horseback riding. Because I'm not watching the baby while your at work all day and then again while you go horseback riding." To which I said "I cant go horseback riding anymore anyways. If I get a corporate job that pays for riding then I wont have time to go riding and you wont watch the baby. So I don't get to go riding no matter what job I take." Husband agreed and that made me sad. It sucks that I have to give up personal activities because this job takes up all time that is allotted for "Me time".

Then husband threw up his hands and walked away. Then he comes back a minute later and said "Mike knows of a cleaning lady that will deep clean the house for $100." (He knows I have a cleaning thing and dust makes me anxious.) "Maybe she can come by like twice a month and really get under all the furniture and stuff." I said- "That sounds great. I've always wanted a cleaning person. But I'll have to work like - a whole week to pay for one cleaning." And husband laughed and said something about maybe I should get a better paying job. To which I WENT OFF ON HIM telling him to stop increasing our standard of living. I was crying and yelling that "every time we get money he thinks of a way to spend it."

So we're not talking right now.

That's all. Just wanted to vent.

2 very different job opportunities

January 28th, 2014 at 04:55 pm

UGH. Two not ideal working options. I'm really conflicted. Let me just vent and try to work through my feelings on this one.

Job goal: I'd like to work 20 hrs a week for an equestrian facility so that I do not need to spend my paycheck or days off on my horse hobby.

Personal goal: I want to improve my riding skills so that I am capable of upper level riding. (Currently there are no upper level trainers in my area. So I have been stuck at lower level riding for the past several years.)

Ok, OPTION #1:
the first option is working as a stable hand for a small multi million dollar equestrian facility (I blogged about it in the past). The facility does not offer horse training in my personal riding discipline.

PROS:
I will be exposed to premium horse care/technology.

Dynamic atmosphere filled with the ubber wealthy and lots of seasonal horses coming and going.

Pay is $8.50/hr (about $800/month take home).

The CONS are:
The job is a non-riding position. The employer told me there are riding opportunities but other barn employees would get the chances first due to seniority. However- I might be able to overcome that obstacle because the other riders do not ride the same discipline as me and horse owners might start requesting my expertise as it is unique among the staff. (MAYBE)

Job is for 29 hrs a week. Work 4 days a week. Add lunch breaks and commuting- it will be 35 hrs a week that I'll be gone from my 3 month old baby.

The trainer at the facility does not ride my particular discipline. This means that any riding I get is on my own as a "practice ride" and there is no instruction available to advance my skills. I will not reach my personal goal to learn the upper levels in my riding discipline, because there is no one to teach me.

Pay is $8.50/hr. I really thought $10/hr is the standard minimum and I don't think I'll be happy working more hrs than I wanted/ not riding/working in the hot/cold elements and providing premium service for below average wage.

OPTION #2:
The 2nd opportunity is pretty opposite of the first. There is a small 6 stall backyard barn looking for horse help in exchange for riding lessons.

PROS
The owner is a trainer in my field of riding discipline. She can teach me the upper levels.

The work required is minimal. 6 stalls to clean, turnout, grooming and feeding. No additional chores to fill a work shift. When I am done, I am done. Looks like it will be about 10 hrs of work a week (20 hrs when commuting and riding is added).

I can create my own schedule.

CONS:
The owner/trainer does not have upper level horses to teach me on. She has a mid- level horse that will help firm up some of my weaknesses- but after 4-6 months I will probably have outgrown the horse.

The facility is small and lacking training tools. There is talk of a riding arena to be built- not currently there.

No paycheck. I work in exchange for lessons. The lessons cost $40/hr so it averages out to about $12/hr which is almost double the first place. But I don't have a paycheck to distribute the pay towards various goals. Payment is in the form of lessons meant to advance my riding skills.

So sigh. I put it all down and I'm still conflicted. I am leaning towards option #2. Mostly because my husband wants me to do it. I think he is really hating the amount of hours the first option requires. And he does not see $8.50/hr as a worthwhile tradeoff for me being away from the baby so much.

He feels that 10-20 hrs of making my own schedule is much more accommodating and the second option gives me a fighting chance to accomplish my personal goal of riding upper level. The first option has a slim to none chance of accomplishing my personal goal.

I just feel that the second option is the equivalent to "not working." Working in exchange for my hobby seems pretty selfish and unnecessary. My husband and baby will get zero benefit from my working option #2.

Working at a ridiculous HOA

January 24th, 2014 at 02:38 pm

So my job interview went well. They did not offer me the job on the spot- but sent me for a drug test and said they'll be doing a background check.

The job is 90% great but the pay is a big troubling point though. It pays $8.50 an hour.

I assumed it would pay $10/hr since that is the going rate around here. I was hoping to negotiate up to $11-$12/hr. When the employer told me the pay I was speechless.

I tried to get $10/hr and the employer told me after 90 days they can probably increase to $10/hr. But that was a stretch so they didn't want me coming back at 90 days and trying to ask for higher thsn $10.

So for 3 months its $8.50/hr and then it goes up to what I thought I would minimally accept.

I have a bad feeling in my stomach about this because I've always accepted less than I wanted in pay and within a year I am really bitter. I really dont want to let money get in the way of my enjoyment of the job.

In all other aspects its an awesome job.

And LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THIS PLACE! You guys wont believe it. WONT BELIEVE IT!

The job is working at a riding stable in a HOA. The HOA is an all inclusive sportsmans place. It has an equestrian center, golf course and boating marina for members (homeowners) to use only.

To buy into this place you have to submit an application with references and bank statements. Then you pay a $125,000 buy in fee so you can be allowed to purchase a property.

Then you buy a property. Bare lots are priced from $15k-$1 million. I found an 1100 sq ft guest house on an acre advertised for $400k with architectural drawings so you can build a main house. That was the only house I found for sale under $500k. The most expensive house has an asking price of $7 million.

Then you move in and pay $18k in annual membership dues.

You pay $2750 for maintenance.

You must spend at least $1500/yr at the restaurants in food and drinks.

You are charged $100/month for landscaping.

So your paying about $25k EACH YEAR to maintain your membership- after you paid $125k to become a member! And you still need to buy your property!

Then all the amenities have individual charges. If you call and schedule a riding lesson- there is a charge. There is a charge to have your horse bathed or body clipped. Any extra- the staff will jump to it- and then charge your account.

That's why I'm shocked they have the lowest pay rate of any barn in the area.

If offered- I'll still take it and hope there are perks to offset the low pay. Maybe I'll get to ride a lot. Or maybe the members tip. Or maybe we get sweet christmas bonuses.



I REALLY REALLY REALLY want this job

January 16th, 2014 at 11:19 pm

I have a job interview next week! It is the #1 job that I wanted when I was putting in applications. I can do the job perfectly and I would be excited to go to work everyday. I really hope they hire me.

Its a part time job (29 hrs) at a barn as a show groom. This barn is- awesome. Its a multi-million dollar equestrian community barn. Only people who live in the community have access to the barn services. The philosophy is customer service to the clients.

I really wanted to get a job at a barn to get my horse fix in. With a new baby I don't really have the finances or time to splurge on the luxury of lessons. This way I can still be with horses, get paid, and not spend any extra time away from the baby. This way I can take my entire paycheck and put it towards savings/expenses- without using it for riding.

I really really really really want this job. I really want this job. I wish the interview was tomorrow. I'm scared she will hire someone before she meets me!

Financial Security is Within My Grasp

January 14th, 2014 at 03:18 pm

OK, yesterday was my annual meeting with my financial adviser. All news was better than expected! It gave me a great boost of confidence and enthusiasm.

My family and I are ahead of the curve on every aspect. Whew!

I inherited an IRA 7 yrs ago and my adviser manages it. The IRA finished the year up 19.5%. Great news. My own 401k self managed was up 18% so my adviser earned his 1% commission there.

Since I am no longer working and we have increased our family size, my adviser believes we have dropped into the 15% tax bracket. The good news for us is that we now don't need to pay taxes on dividends, or capital gains.

Therefore, the annual IRA distribution that I am required to take is no longer taxed. Whoohoo!

Ok- more good news. We have figured out the baby college account. My adviser created a model showing me that if baby attends a 4 yr college at $25k a year with a 4% annual inflation rate- then my annual IRA distribution will almost cover the cost completely if I start saving it now. So we would essentially move the money from the IRA into a college dedicated account. Whoohoo! College is covered!

We opted to use a regular investment account because my adviser told me the 529 plans and such are tax sheltered accounts. Basically the big draw is that recipients don't pay taxes when the money is withdrawn. But if I remain in the 15% tax bracket then I wont need to pay taxes anyways. So its not a benefit. And since I wanted the money to be accessible in case baby encounters medical problems, early education costs or does not go to college- having the money in a regular account is going to fit my needs. YAHOO! College is figured out!

And then we tackled retirement. My adviser had a model to show me the expected returns on the IRA. He said that since we are not using the IRA we can expect it to grow 10% annually and it potentially could be multi-millions by the time I die.

But before I broke out the bubbly- he brought me to reality showing me another model. He said that right now we are living off the rental property income. He assumed the rent will increase 1% a year but expenses (taxes, maintenance) will increase 4% a year. So given that- By the time I retire, I will need the IRA to supplement as my rental income stops reaching as far. So I will be fine for retirement, given a small social security supplement- but I need to be aware that I will need to use the money given our current earning trajectory. Its not for frivolous expenses because it will be needed eventually.

And just as I was ready to jump out of my chair in celebration- he showed me a third model. If we were to start taking annual deductions now to supplement our income- the money will be gone by retirement. Boo.

So lesson is that my inheritance has given me the foundation to live a nice middle class life and leave a similar nest egg to our daughter provided that we live within our means and have very few large frivolous expenses. I think we can do that. We must do that!

Ahhh....I'm going to relax today and just enjoy the feeling of financial security. Obviously I would be no where as secure without my parents and their planning. I'm attributing my reality mostly to their hard work and just a tiny fraction to my own hard work.

I hope 2014 is starting out in a good direction for all of you as well.

I told my husband NO!

December 23rd, 2013 at 08:32 pm

Husband approached me yesterday and said our handyman (who was standing right there next to him) is selling enough wood flooring to finish our attic for $200 total. He said, "That's a really good deal, it's already stained. What do you think?"

I knew there was a catch somewhere. It has become my job to find the catch, cuz if I don't, I'll be sorry later.

"How much is it going to cost to install?" I asked.

"$500" replied the handyman selling the flooring.

Ahhh hah!! there was the catch. I wouldn't be committing to a $200 purchase, which would be a good deal. It was a $700 purchase.

I shook my head and said "No." Husband whined.

I told him I was still thinking I wanted carpet up there anyways. Husband argued that this wood is cheaper than carpet.

So I shrugged and said "I'm out of money. It's coming from your workman comp savings account. If you want to pay $700, then do it. But I don't. Just make sure the workers do it in a few consecutive days. I don't want this dragging out for months."

Then the handyman broke in and said "well, nothing should be done until the rest of the space is done. Flooring should go in last."

ANOTHER CATCH! We would need to replace the sheet rock, baseboards, quarter inch molding and stairway wall before the flooring could be installed!

I looked at husband and said "So we were going to buy this wood and we cant even use it until we remodel the rest of the space?!" Husband shrugged and said "We'll just store it in the attic until we are ready to use it. It's a really good deal."

"NO!" I said. We had just (true story) PAID the same handyman and his crew several hundred dollars to CLEAN OUT the attic. They hauled away wood scraps, insulation, boxes and crap. And now husband wants to fill the freshly clean space with more wood?! No Way!

My "No" was met with more whining. Husband said (another true story) "well I won $250 in my fantasy football league, and the handyman just paid me $100 for my xbox stuff- that's like half the money right there. We would just need to come up with the rest (he was referring to ME putting in the rest) and we'll have flooring in the attic."

I said, "If you want to use your Football winnings on a pile of wood- go ahead. But I dont want to half ass the attic and put down flooring that looks bad when we fix the walls and replace the stairway banister. So we'll wait to install it until we can afford the rest of the work. I really thought you would want to spend that money on video games and electronics."

Husband thought for a second and said "your right. I do want some new video games. I wont get the wood. I just thought it would be a good investment in the house. We would spend $200 and get like, $5000 back when we sell the house." Hmmm...That was a manipulative sentence. Because it would be financial
stupidity to ignore a return on investment like that. Except he is omitting the part about $500 to install the wood. I don't think anyone is going to pay $5000 for a pile of wood in the attic.

And did you catch that he still wants video games?! He would use his money to buy the woodpile...and a week later when the pile of wood is no longer entertaining- he would whine to me that he wants new video games but spent all him money on the attic flooring. He would say he nobly sacrificed his spending money on investing in the house...so he would want me to buy him video games. I know how he thinks.

So the conversation is over. That last piece was husband trying to get me to cough up the remaining amount so we can have the flooring installed. Which I will refuse until the rest of the work is done, so I'll find money to remodel the whole attic. And he knows this. He just needed to lure me by making me think $200 was going to get us an attic with pretty new hardwood floors. Then I'd be trapped. I already spent the money and bought the wood- so he'd be able to argue much easier to get the rest of the work done.

BUT I CAUGHT HIM! I played the game and WON!
No attic wood pile for husband.

And he is not all that mad about it. Actually- he's already forgot the whole episode.

This game is fun now that I know how to play.

Cleanup Before the New Year

December 22nd, 2013 at 12:52 pm

This will be a bit of a brain dump.

I appreciate the comments from yesterday's post. It was so long I am surprised you read it until the end! But I had a bit of an epiphany there and kept going with it.

To address one comment- husband is pretty disabled and for a few years that kept me skeptical of having a child. I didn't want to get 100% responsibility due to his injuries.But as it always is when husband wants something he can argue me until he gets it. And he really wanted a child. He's not nearly as useful as a normal functioning human. But because he can't function so well- he can't work- so he's home all day. That gives him time and focus to put all energy to the baby with no other responsibility (except the rentals, but they require minimal hours). So he does about 40% of the baby care. Which is probably more than a man with a full time job does. But that was a good point that we might need to bring in help sometimes. I didn't think of that, but it is a possibility down the road.

In other news- There are a few minor financial things I'm working on.

One of the renters for FIL's property has not paid his portion of the rent for 3 months. FIL had a property manager while we were in California and the manager collected the rent and deposited it. FIL never checked the account, just assumed all was good.

When we moved back to GA we didn't want to manage that property while the baby was coming. Too much already trying to get our properties in order and us settled in.

We just took over property management in December and I followed the bank account to see the rent was not in the full amount every month. It was short $450/month in Oct & November. In talking to the former manager- he said he was told by the tenant they had worked out an agreement with the owner.

So we called the tenant. He's a waiter, claimed business was so slow and he was cut off from his parents. He would get back on track.

Well no December payment and January is due now. So we have to meet with him and his roommates.

Additionally, one of the roommates Dec check bounced.

On Monday I need to work on our health insurance. We have been paying $1500/month, but it was going up to $3000/month in January.

So I found new insurance for $985/month. But when I received the package of info- the deductible is $950 PER PERSON and I thought it was per family. So I'm not excited.

Meanwhile I got a letter from my old insurance saying my bill would be $950/month. Not $3000/month as I thought. So I need to compare coverages on Monday.

My FIL is coming to visit for Christmas, and then right after he leaves- my brother & his family are coming to visit. They have never seen the new house so I'm excited.


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