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Cleanup Before the New Year

December 22nd, 2013 at 04:52 am

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.

2014 Future Accomplishments! Goal Setting.

December 21st, 2013 at 12:40 am

Goals have always been hard for me because I find it difficult to make plans when there are uncertain variables looming. But if everyone else can do it- I will as well.

In 2014 I will...

1) STICK TO the monthly budget I have already prepared.

2) Add $700/month to our income. Of that money; $200/month goes to baby future education & $500/month goes to horseback riding.

3)Start horseback riding when extra funding for it has been created.

4) Develop a plan to own a horse in 2015.

5) Add $100/month towards the monthly mortgage payment.

6) Finish 2014 with $3800 saved towards future car purchase.

7) Finish 2014 with $1300 saved in Emergency Fund.

8)Finish out the year at my goal weight of 120 lbs.

9) Tell my husband NO twice a month.

Of those goals, #4 (develop a plan to own a horse in 2015) is the biggest stretch. I have denied myself a horse up to this point saying it was unaffordable.

Right now we are the leanest we have ever been and I'm tired of denying myself this indulgence. If push came to shove- we really CAN afford afford a horse, but since they are such a huge financial drain I have never allowed myself to get a horse.

But 2013 was husbands year. Between his "repair sucking truck" purchase & his failed "spend everything we have in the bank to stay afloat in California" plan we ended up spending the money it would have taken to comfortably house a horse for 4 years. I'm tired of denying myself the luxury when husband does not do the same. I feel that the money will get spent by him if I don't jump in and claim it for myself.

And also don't freak out thinking we will only have $1300 in an emergency fund while I am out gallavanting on horses. We do have money tucked away in nooks and crannies that have no immediate future use that can be used in an emergency. But currently we have no dedicated emergency fund. Ok, we HAD one that I had been trying to fund on/off for a few years but it never got off the ground. Husband does not appreciate the concept/think we will ever encounter an emergency/thinks his impulse purchases ARE an emergency and is always demanding we use the money to fund his next idea. He can see the money sitting in the bank and the next time an unorthodox purchase comes up that is not in the budget he argues with me to use that money. I end up giving in (because I ALWAYS give in), and the account goes empty. Its like he sees the money in the bank account and thinks to himself "hmmm...we have $5200 sitting there...what can I buy?" NOT THIS YEAR! I am in recovery from California mode, I now realize it is never a one-time-purchase with him, I see that he actually has NO sense of risk/boundaries when it comes to spending money and if allowed he would spend every dollar we have in the bank (well- he did do that this year), so I'm feeling DEAD SET DETERMINED to tell him No.

You know what? That is going to be a goal. To tell my husband "No" on purchase requests. Goal #9. Tell my husband "NO" on 10...no..24! Purchase requests in 2014. That is 2 denials a month. Twice a month when my husband runs some idea by me to purchase an unnecessary TV (well he already did that. We have a 55 inch TV sitting in its box in the attic.) Ok when he wants to...I don't know...make an unnecessary improvement at a rental property or buy some electronic gadget...I will tell him "NO!", I will tell him "2014 is for SAVING NOT SPENDING!"

And he will argue that it is just a small amount of money compared to how much it will save us/make us money in the long run.

And I will have a gut feeling that it is not true. But he will have a rebuttal to every argument I put up.He will argue me until I can see no reason not to buy a TV set for an unfinished attic because one day it is going to be a man cave.

And he will huff and whine and get angry if I tell him the answer is no.

And I will feel guilty because he is disabled and in pain. More pain than I could tolerate for even a day. And all he can do is sit around and think of things to buy that will make him temporarily happy. And I know that while he is purchasing the item or using the item his pain becomes a little more tolerable and life is better for him. So I sigh and give in. I tell him to do whatever he wants.

But NOT THIS YEAR! Because I know that the purchased item will soon be forgotten and he will be on to the next want. And I will forever be staring at a repair sucking truck/trying to collect on money spent in California/an Apple TV remote that is NEVER USED/an air conditioner for the attic that has broken twice in the 1 month since we had it installed (AC guy is coming in the morning)and created HIDEOUS gutter pipes on the outside of our house.

THIS IS THE YEAR I will tell him "No". This is the year I will stop looking at crap I never would have purchased and had a bad feeling about but didn't know why until after he bought the item and it required $17k in repairs/cost 10x more than he anticipated/created ugly gutter pipes that run down the exterior of the house.

I now have come to realize that ALL of his plans cost more than he says they will, and cause additional purchases. I don't know if he purposely leaves out information when he explains his plan to me, or if he really is unaware of the extra required purchases...but this is the year I will not find out the hidden costs to his plans. Because I told him "No".

Seriously. I think goal #9 that will save us $30-50k this year.







Tasha 2013 Review

December 20th, 2013 at 07:48 am

Like Monkey Mama- I am DONE with 2013! Aside from my daughter's birth- I am remembering a lot of bad times.

2013 was one of those years where so much happened- it feels like it was 5 years long.

In the past I tracked my net worth randomly. So I don't have exact numbers.

Surprisingly (shockingly), we are UP in net worth at the end of this year. This is surprising considering that we have so many people who owe us money. And we spent so much money in California. And I quit my job in April. And our rentals were all vacant at one time or another for multiple months this year. And husband bought a used $12k truck that turned out to be a lemon and has cost us $17k in repairs (seriously I want to heave that truck over a cliff). And I have paid out over $12k in COBRA since I quit my job.

The reason we are up is threefold: Our real estate properties have increased in value because the market has gone up. And my mortgage payments decreased our debt. Also our retirement accounts have gone up. And husband got a workman comp settlement.

So amazingly our net worth has increased although liquid cash is way down.

2014 is going to be a banner year though. I am back on my A game.

Going to create goals in the next few days.

Baby Pictures!

December 16th, 2013 at 05:51 am

I am posting pictures of my baby girl. Everyday I get such cute pictures and I have no one to admire them!




And Merry Christmas!



In other news I have a job interview tomorrow! It's for a Regional Territory Manager. I didn't apply for the job, a recruiter found my resume on Monster.com.

It sounds super sales-y, just from the job title. I'm not a hard sales type of person. But the term "Manager" perked my interest. So I'll go and see if it is something I want to spend 40 hrs a week doing.

Applying for jobs

December 14th, 2013 at 05:30 am

OK so I have recovered from the idea of getting the rental property back. Mentally I had to present my proposal and hear "No" to get me over it.

Financially- we don't have enough money to buy another rental property. Even if FIL paid me today- we don't have enough money to buy a rental. The working properties are priced at $150k and above. Anything priced below that needs renovations and it would make us liable for repairs that we might not be able to pay for. That's why I was so fixed on getting that particular property back. So without the income stream that a rental would provide I am turning my energy elsewhere.

Moving on....

I plan to apply for jobs today. I know it is unlikely to hear anything over the holidays but at least my resume will be in the system when people return from their vacations.

There is a job as a Proofreader at an advertising company about an hour away. Grammar and spelling are not my greatest skills but if I am getting paid to pay attention then I will focus on my weaknesses and the work/practice will get me the expertize. -That was a run on sentence...wasn't it?

But I worry the HR dept will somehow 'KNOW' that I am not super qualified. I'm an "Underpromise/Overdeliver" type of girl. I've never applied for a job where I didn't think I could nail the workload quickly.

But I have often seen people less qualified and less capable then myself getting jobs above me. I figure the job requirements might be more like guidelines, and maybe HR is not expecting applicants who can meet every requirement. So I have decided to apply for a 'reach' job.

And of course I am applying for basic administration jobs too.

So that's what is going on here. Me (My? I think it is My working.) working and disabled husband staying home with the baby...sigh. Not the best arrangement. He loves her to pieces and is a better mother then I am. But since I am breastfeeding..well whenever I leave the house he is always calling me to cut my errands short to come home because the baby is screaming and he is out of milk. But we are new parents and we will get the hang of it. Millions do it everyday, we can as well.

$27,200 owed to me

November 27th, 2013 at 06:57 am

Ahh well this is a little drama update so that everyone out there can shake their heads and say they are glad they didn't lend these people money...

Regarding the guy in CA who purchased our business and owes me money. He was supposed to pay me $25k in one large upfront payment and $3k a month for 10 months.

It took him 3 months to pay $24,800. As it turns out he could not make 1 large payment as he promised me- It was coming in chunks as he was able to pay it.

Then about a month ago I reached out several times to get a gameplan for the remainder due. No response. After a few weeks of reaching out- I contacted his business partner and then his brother.

His brother responded right away and told me the person had been institutionalized! Supposedly it was regarding some DUI stuff and needing to go through this to get his license back...sounds shady but I really don't care about the story if the bottom line is he is out of the picture.

Brother is trying to handle his brother's businesses now. Brother is aware of debt owed to me and asked for a few days to get a plan in place.

Meanwhile the business partner called me back and went on a rant about how the partner owed so many people money (including him) and institutionalized himself to get away from creditors and regroup for a few months. And left everyone in a big lurch for leaving so suddenly. But this partner acknowledged that he was aware of the debt owed to me. He said he will personally pay me half of the remainder as that was his original plan until his partner said he would cover the full debt to me as a re-payment for money owed to the partner. He asked for a few days to get a plan in place.

The brother contacted me a week later and promptly sent me $3k. The brother then alluded to the new business partner buying out the original partner and so the original institutionalized partner and brother would no longer be a part of things. Since everything was so up in the air I am giving it some time to settle before trying to figure out who will pay me the remaining amount.

So as of a week ago I started calling the new business partner to get a game plan in place. No response.

I also talked to an old employee who is working there but plans to move on soon and he said things are going ok but not great. The people in charge are leaving less competent people to run things and laziness is starting to take over.

Not great for me as I would love for everyone to be really happy and making great money so they can pay me my remaining money. I don't like that people are giving up (even though that's what I did).

So now on a semi regular basis I am calling and leaving escalating-ly concerned messages for the new business partner.

Sigh. I am getting a lot of experience as a bill collector. Re-affirms that I don't want to ever get a job in the collections industry.

On good news- the baby is doing great.

Random Tidbits

November 13th, 2013 at 06:26 am

Hello!
Trying to get back into the blogging habit. Charlotte is doing well. All house guests have finally left and we have peace at the house. (The chairs all held up well- all new chairs were used.)

I'm finding myself googling about newborns a lot more than saving money.

Now that we have bought everything for Charlotte, I don't see her incurring many additional expenses for the next few weeks. So our budget will stabilize now.

We are still short monthly from our rental income to our monthly expenses. But it's not much longer until that reverses due to husbands disability court hearing in December, and new cheaper health insurance kicking in January. So January should bring in a whole new budget!

Still pondering what to do with money that has come in specifically for Charlotte. Thinking Cloverdell might be an ok option. Or I still might just open up a 1 yr CD to give myself some more time to research it. I appreciate all your responses to my request for advice. I need to re-read them as I read them before but cant really remember the details (sleep deprived).

Ok, so this was not a great post. But its a start to get back in the habit. Going to check on the baby now.

$950.00

November 8th, 2013 at 07:23 am

Charlotte has received $950.00 so far from friends and family. I have not yet deposited any money because I'm uncertain the best place to put it.

If it goes in a savings account then it will get spent. And not by her.

I am open to an education fund but am leery of them as well. I feel like the 529's and such are new-ish products and worry about how great of an idea they will be 16 -18 years from now when we use the money. I have heard some limit the colleges she can attend, some have large fees if she does not attend college, and some have fees just to invest the money.

And we are uncertain about putting her into a private high school which is currently costing about $8- $10k a year on average here in my town. So we might want to use the money when she is about 14 yrs old towards her private schooling.

I looked into TIAA Cref and they seem pretty standard. As I understand it, the money is currently accumulating 1% interest, and that is variable. The money has a 10% penalty when not used for school. And we get a $2k tax credit per year for investing the money. If money is used for school we pay no taxes towards interest accrued on account.

But I worry things will change once the money is locked up. Like the govt has discussed making ROTH's less attractive, and cutting Social Security, and all the other programs the govt changes it's mind about.

Do you guys have any opinions or advice?

At this point I am thinking of opening a 1 year CD and spending the year thinking about what to do with the money.

I had a baby!

November 5th, 2013 at 06:17 pm

8 days ago I had a baby. Her name is Charlotte. She is healthy other than jaundice and we love her very much. Husband has stepped up to the plate and he is as hands on as possible. He is physically pushing himself beyond his limits but not complaining at all. We are exhausted. I'll post more another time. Thanks for thinking of us!

Baby Baby Baby

October 25th, 2013 at 06:51 am

I'm having a C-Section in 3 days. I'm not into "saving money" right now like I was a week ago. I'm more into "please don't make me get off this couch" mode. So I have not been checking in with you guys.

Though one thing that is interesting is my sudden about change regarding baby consumerism.

Up until a week ago I was the pregnant lady who was content to let her baby bang pots and pans together and play with boxes. My baby didn't need all the stuff Target tried to sell me.

Then suddenly I panicked. I heard one to many stories about a baby screaming for 40 hours straight from colic. About a baby screaming for hours because they wouldnt take the pacifier given to them. Refusing to breast feed (or getting sick from breast milk) and taking formula only. Specific brand of formula making baby sick and more screaming.

I DO NOT WANT A SCREAMING BABY. I will buy whatever it takes to avoid 40 hours of straight screaming.

So suddenly it occured to me that I better have all these items on hand "just in case" I needed them. Its easier to buy them now than it is when the baby is screaming.

So I own 11 different pacifiers (because baby might only like a certain brand, so you better have it on hand.) I have 5 bottles even though I plan to breast feed and 2 different brands of formula. I have 17 cloth diapers...but in case that doesn't work out I also have 200 disposable diapers. I have a changing pad in the nursery and another downstairs. I have a crib in the nursery and a pack n play downstairs. I bought a CD player to play soothing baby white noise, but also picked up some classical music CDs for her as well. And then I also have all other baby essentials...I think.

I think I have spent about $1000 on this baby so far and she is not even born. (I bought all her clothes used.)

I am SHOPPED OUT. I feel like Consumerism at its strongest. I hope I never need to go to a baby store again. And if I hear husband say "we need to buy..." I will collapse.

ok, so this might be my last post for a while. I'll be back...maybe when the baby is a few weeks old.

Any baby advice, feel free to post it! As a first time mom I'm kind of lost.

Holy *!$!* Health Insurance Increases!** Updated

October 22nd, 2013 at 04:16 pm

So everyone is always horrified hearing about my $250 deductible $1532/month COBRA payment that I pay for my spouse and I.

I received a package today outlining price increases effective Jan 1, 2014.

I'll be upgrading to a family plan (because we will have a baby by then), and the monthly rate will be $2,999.00/month with a $750 deductible.

That is $36,000 a year! plus my co-pays and deductible. No dental.

That is more money than I even earned at my old employer in a year.

Why is the rate doubling?! Husband says its Obamacare but has no explanation for how he is impacting this.

I am just totally frustrated and sad.

I know I'll be looking for a job with benefits prior to Jan 1, and I hope to sign up for Obamacare (but have not figured out where the website is), but this being a last resort is really no resort at all.

Do babies REALLY need healthcare? If they are born healthy? I imagine vaccines are cheaper to pay for than this monthly rate and husband and I can go without for a few months until I get a job with benefits.

** update** OK- I just called another company. A compare different company rates person. She said that there is a healthcare company called Assurance that has rates effective Jan 1 ranging $700-$1000 /month. The best package for $1000/month has dental, $0 deductible, covers name brand prescriptions. She said she is calling me in December to get me signed up for Jan 1. If I sign up prior then I have to go through underwriting and husband with all his preexisting conditions might be difficult to push through. But come Jan 1 it will get approved automatically.

I told husband to contact his Doctors to see if they take that health insurance. I'll check to see if the pediatrician takes it. I feel much relieved.

8 days to go on the pregnancy front

October 20th, 2013 at 01:47 am

Well the baby is coming in 8 days and its interesting how husband and I are reacting to the stress.

From my perspective:

I am in spending lockdown and scouring the internet obsessively checking my retirement accounts/bank accounts/projected SS benefits (thank you CCFree for putting that on my radar)/potential healthcare options for Obamacare (where is the official sign up website? I cant find it). I am reading blogs, forums, and stories about everything money related from bankruptcy to extreme high net worth.

It's like I am so avoiding the arrival of baby- reading about babies makes me feel physically ill. It is too real at this point.

I'm also in cleaning/ decluttering mode. Which is hard to do with all these contractors in our house every day (more on that later). I am trying to have the house sparkling all day so I can relax my mind and not run through a mental checklist constantly of what needs to be done. I feel like we have accumulated so much for the baby- I want to get rid of stuff. I mean jeeze- we have way to many chairs in this house now! And the dining room now houses a pack n play, stroller, and baby swing. It's very visually cluttered over here.

Husbands erratic behavior:

Husband is burying himself in projects. He has chosen THIS WEEK to get A/C installed in our attic to start to "finish out the attic".

We have had contractors traipsing through the house for the last 3 days. They are back to finish up tomorrow. I am regretting giving him cart blanch on that project because at the time of planning I was too distracted with, oh I don't know, the BABY COMING IN 2 WEEKS!

I told him to do whatever- this project wasn't a priority to me. Well, I swear he told me the A/C guys would have a few wires trailing down the side of our house to attach the new exterior unit to the unit in the attic.

The reality is TWO WHITE METAL GUTTER PIPES housing all the wires. It is so MANLY.

So typical to take a plain, unnoticeable BLUE side of the house and visually clutter it up with your electrical wires and WHITE pipes running from the 3rd story down to the ground to make sure EVERYONE can see that there is technology and gadgetry going on. Every time I think about it I get irritated. But its done. And husband and workmen are happy with the result.

I try to repeat to myself that a finished attic increases our property value more than the new curb appeal decreases it.

Then on Monday we have a handyman coming to cut open some drywall to expand the attic space, he'll install a firewall to protect us from our attached neighbors, and add plywood decking to the expanded area.

Because a partially finished attic is exactly what we need right now.

Husband is also scrolling the internet looking for rental properties. I KNOW WE CANT AFFORD ANY RIGHT NOW which is why I just don't worry about that. Given that there is 0 chance of a purchase, I just humor him. His choice to waste his time looking for something that doesn't exist.

He also looks at adoption websites for a dog. A DOG! We lost Copi about 2 months ago- so we have the room for another. But Please. No. We still have a 2 year old dog that is too strong on the leash for me to walk safely in my pregnant state. Why don't you focus on better leash training our existing dog Mr. TashaC?

hmmmpff...so that's whats going on in my household.

And in defense of the husband, he is pretty sweet to me on a daily basis making me meals and fetching things I need when I am too tired/comfortable to get off the couch.

I did throw two pieces of bread at his head a few nights ago and he took the beating like a champ.


Furniture Auction Yesterday

October 14th, 2013 at 01:16 am

Yesterday was the furniture auction for the items I let go of to clear some space in the attic and make some extra cash.

The auction house is in my town, and over the last few years I have bought several items from them. As a buyer, the prices are on par with Craigslist, but then you have to pay a 10% buying fee and tax. As a seller, you net a little less than Craigslist because you pay a 35% selling fee. The advantage is that around 600 items are sold at each auction. So you are bound to find several items you like as opposed to driving from home to home to look at Craigslist items. A lot of antique dealers frequent it to fill their shops.

I had 9 items go up on the auction block, all 9 sold for a total of $660.00. One antique Victorian couch sold for $120, down to a white wicker bedside tray sold for $10.

The house takes a 35% cut, so I will get a check for about $430.

There are 2 items that did not make it into this auction, maybe they will get in the next one in 2 weeks.

I thought it would be an exciting day, but it was sad. I maybe should not have gone. These are items I inherited and carted from state to state as I moved because I thought of them as sentimental or high quality. But ultimately they have been in attic storage since I got them because I do not have a use or room for them. I does not look like we will be moving anytime soon, so they were slated to stay in the attic indefinitely.

But seeing poker faced strangers bidding on the items and seeing them sell for not a lot of money made me sad. I do not know where they are going, and do not have the satisfaction of knowing that they are going somewhere to be used, admired and appreciated. I am sure they are...it is just that I am used to Craigslist where you meet the buyer and you can explain the history of the item.

Anyways, the attic is emptier now. I STILL have stuff up there that I can not part with even though I can not find a place for it in the house. Husband is just thrilled that about 50% of the attic is clear.

My check will be sent to me within 2 weeks. I'm not sure where I want to put the money. We will have a baby at that time, so it will probably pay for a hospital bill.

Baby Shower

October 13th, 2013 at 05:33 am

Well last night we had the baby shower at my house. My two friends hosted it and it was just our core group of girls, plus some of my old work friends. 10 people total.

I am so completely overwhelmed by their generosity and support. Almost everyone who was invited came, and made an effort to make sure it was great.

I had a friend HAND MAKE Pad Thai (which I did not know could be cooked in a regular kitchen). Another friend made egg rolls and spring rolls. They also made Edumame, cupcakes got me a cake. They knew I love Thai food and chocolate, so they surprised me with the complete spread. Everything was vegetarian too- which was so nice. I did not request that because it can really inconvenience guests getting a limited food offering. But these girls did not think twice about accommodating my lifestyle.

And they came up with games. A friend bought a bunch of white baby onsies and fabric markers for everyone to decorate a onsie for the baby. So thoughtful.

A friend brought her professional work camera over to get pictures of everything and everyone.

Another friend brought over non alcoholic champagne, and non alcoholic beer. for me. They brought Red and White wine for everyone else.

And then they ALL also brought gifts! I feel like the baby is now OVERPREPARED. I have multiples of a lot.I know I will use it up, I am just not used to needing a STOCKADE of stuff. 10 pacifiers, 3 teething toys, 3 things of diaper wipes, 2 boppy pillows... It was great because they got me stuff I did not know I needed. So I was able to ask questions and understand better how to use a lot of the stuff.

This baby and I received so much love and sincerity last night I do not know how to repay them. I really hope this baby turns into a loving and generous person like the "aunties" who are welcoming her into the world.

Even my husband supported me by helping me clean for 2 days, spent the evening at a vacant rental property with the dogs hanging window treatments to stay out of the party.



I do not know how I can tell these people how much they made me feel appreciated and loved in just a thank you card.

Changes to my Tickers!

October 11th, 2013 at 04:17 pm

Hey notice anything different about my sidebar??

The credit card debt is gone! No ticker because it's been paid in full!

Husband's settlement money eliminated it...and now we need to save for the next rental property.

In other sort of related news...our guy in CA who owes us money requested that I set up a Bank of America account so he can just deposit payments into my account. I set up a Money Market Account with them today. I guess it was casual Friday because a man in jeans approached me to set up my account. IT FREAKED ME OUT! I was internally trying to determine if he was a random man posing as a bank employee to get my identity or private account information. The bank was busy and I was worried none of the "real employees" would notice a random guy taking over an office for a few minutes while he "set up an account for me" but really just got my info so he could clear out my account.

Reluctantly I agreed to deal with him, and felt more comfortable as he was able to confidently explain different account options with me.

As I was leaving the bank I noticed other employees coming out of their offices in jeans too. That's when I figured out "casual Friday" theme.

I tell you I was ALL FOR Casual Fridays when I was in the workforce...but it's unnerving to see it as a customer! I don't know that I'll participate in the future if my next employer offers it.

That's it. I hope you guys had a good day too!

10 million pictures of various CHAIRS

October 8th, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Ok so this entry is entirely about chair shopping. If you have never had a particular interest in chairs, then feel free to skip this one.

Now for those of you who DO have an interest in chairs, I declare VICTORY from today's shopping!

I started by going to all the shops that I DIDN'T go to yesterday. I'm not sure if rumors were spread around town that there is a pregnant woman determined to buy several different types of chairs, but in these stores I hit up today, they all had what I needed!

The most important was the living room chair. Now called "the Occasional Chair". It couldn't be heavy because it was going to be moved in and out of storage except for when I needed it "occasionally". It also had to be cushioned so it is comfortable. And it needs to be sturdy for people of all sizes to use. Below are some contenders:

This was my least favorite option. But it would work in a pinch:



This was the most expensive option ($280 with tax!). But it fit all criteria so it was my "I'll get it if I cant find anything else." I was worried about the fabric being WHITE. So it was not completely perfect.



Then I saw this antique french chair. I was strangely drawn to it. Over and over again I would look at the price tag hoping it did not say $300 (It always did). I kept shaking it trying to convince myself it was more sturdy than it was. I kept staring at the bright busy pattern that I normally would NEVER like, and tried to figure out why it was not bugging me. In the end, I walked away because I couldn't justify $300 for a an un-sturdy chair that would accommodate petite people only. That would make it the "Rare Occasion chair", and I'd still be hunting for an "Occasional Chair" to use for everyone else.



In the end, it was tied between this chair (below) and the chair I actually bought. I preferred this chair because it better matched our living room colors, and the dark fabric would hide dirt. But when I sent husband pictures, he said he preferred the other chair even though it was more expensive (by $15). I decided to throw husband a bone because he always complains he has no say in decorating our house. So his whining has won him an Occasional Chair pick.



So this chair is still available if any of you want it.


So here is the winner sitting in my living room ($125)!



Next I focused on my kitchen chair replacement set. In the interest of saving money- I thought I would get 2 matching kitchen chairs and mix them in with my 2 original weakling chairs and have an eclectic look. Walking through the stores I found good contenders that came solo. So I called husband and he agreed that if I place a sturdy chair in the most accessible spot of the kitchen, then our guest will gravitate towards it and bypass the weakling chairs. So instead of buying a 4 chair set, I now only needed 1 kitchen chair.

These would work as a pair. But they totally don't work with the burnt orange Chinese rug I wanted to buy for the kitchen. So I couldn't pull the trigger.



For $48 this chair was SO TEMPTING. I could cover the yellow seat with one of my burnt orange seat cushions and it would be a good match with my other chairs. I stared, walked by, sat in this chair a dozen times.



In the end, I found a plainer chair for $34. Here it is mixed in with the other chairs! Pretty good fit.



So I have a living room chair, and a kitchen chair that can also be used in the guest room for our work-from-home guest.

That leaves the last chair. The chair to go into the already crowded nursery. The chair that husband told me yesterday HAD to be a rocking chair. The chair he has now started calling The Nursing Chair. He thinks this new title will suddenly elevate it to the top of my priority list. Silly husband. My reluctance to add a chair in the babies room will not change because he is now referring to it as The Nursing Chair.

So I have not found The Nursing Chair. I have not even tried. Accommodating husbands request is less of a priority than accommodating our incoming guests requests, I guess. Wow, that's a sad way to look at it. I better get husband a The Nursing Chair soon so he doesn't realize he's at the bottom of my priority list.

And to satisfy MY request (because my needs are at the top of my priority list) I BOUGHT THE RUG! But it's still in the truck, husband said he will unload it tomorrow (so maybe my requests are at the bottom of his priority list as well? LOL).

Here is a sneek peak of it still in the store:



I'm not in love with the pattern, I know the chairs/table will cover that. And the rug looks better in real life than this picture. It will look better in my kitchen than this picture. I bought it for the color and got $50 off the price! I paid $240.







I'm having a baby in 3 weeks- I need to buy CHAIRS!

October 7th, 2013 at 04:54 pm

ok, taking a break from the vacant rental (which is still getting spruced up daily and has had no calls).

Today I search high and low for some new furniture. Sure we live in a beautifully furnished house. But we are having a baby and have received furniture requests from family that will be visiting. (this is totally normal I'm sure -sarcasm)

One family member needs a chair in the living room. Couches are uncomfortable for her to get up and off from. So she needs somewhere to sit in a room full of couches.

She has also requested a chair in the nursery so she can comfortably sit and hold the baby. The nursery already has a twin bed in it which is what I planned to use. But once again, a bed is too difficult to get on and off from. So we have to get a chair.

The nursery is full. bursting at the seems with a twin bed, crib, 2 dressers and 2 bookcases. The chair will sit in the middle of the room for everyone to navigate around. Husband has recently said it has always been a dream of his for a ROCKING CHAIR to be in the nursery, so he can watch me sit in it with our baby. I fought him about the rocker because they take up even more space than a kitchen chair- but then he was really adamant about it. So what the hell- he's putting in his request for a chair too.

Another family member has requested a chair for our guest room. They will be staying a week and plan to use the desk in the guest room to work from home. Our guest room has a giant wood desk, but no chair. There is not really room for a chair and I use the desk for storage. So the request has come in for an office chair to be added to that room.

And also our kitchen chairs....I have 4 pressed back, painted and stenciled antiquey white chairs for our kitchen table. I love them. They have butterflies painted on them! They are a little rickety. We have some guests coming in town who are a little heavy for these beautiful but not strong chairs. Rather than risking one of my kitchen chairs getting broken and ruining my most loved kitchen set ever- I am opting to get a set of replacement chairs to put around the table for when our guests are in town. So I guess that is MY chair request.

All these chairs will be stored in the attic and brought out only when the specific guest comes in that needs their specific chair. We don't really have room for all these chairs and I am not planning to permanently clutter up my home because of these requests.

So another aspect I need to consider when looking at chairs is their weight. They need to be lightweight enough that I can lug them in and out of the attic.
Sadly, the older wing back armchairs I'm liking are very heavy.

So this seems insane. I know. It took me weeks to take these request seriously. But time is ticking to baby and the reality is that we have family coming into town for days on end and they need to be comfortable. And they will probably be coming in more frequently because they want to visit the baby.

So my day was spent chair hunting. I went everywhere. At an antique store I found a faded burnt orange Chinese rug that I love for our kitchen. But I resisted it and kept looking for chairs.

I found a contender for the living room on Craigslist for $10. I'm going to look at it tomorrow. I found a backup at Homegoods for $280 if I cant find anything else.

I found a distressed white rocking chair on Craigslist for $45. Waiting for the seller to reply to me if it is still available.

I have found several contenders for the guest room so I put that to the bottom of the priority list.

I have NOT found a set of 4 kitchen chairs. Husband thinks I'm being ridiculous buying an extra set of kitchen chairs and wont entertain my whining about it. But he has also told me I need to just accept they are going to get broken because I bought old chairs that wont support heavy people. So he ADMITS these chairs are in danger, but thinks its a waste of money to prevent the damage. I'm not listening to him, I found these chairs years ago on Craigslist and I call them the SCORE of my lifetime. (Ironically the reason the couple was selling these chairs was because they no longer felt the chairs were safe for heavy use and replaced the set with generic, stronger chairs.)

So yeah. I'm having a baby and my shopping for baby is spending my days hunting for multiple chairs to put in the house. Though it is acting as a great distraction from my anxiety over labor.

My kitchen chairs. Don't you think a burnt orange Chinese rug would look FABULOUS under that table? I cant stop thinking about it.


Money has arrived!

September 28th, 2013 at 09:34 am

My payment from CA came in today! $8K came in, its already deposited in the bank, and I already have $8k of payments waiting for the mailman to pick up.

In other news- it seems that the tenant is not going to move into our soon to be vacant property. She met up with husband yesterday and its drama.

She does not have 5 people moving in, she has 2 people (herself and one other). And the other roommate can only pay 1/4th of the rent because his sole job is selling timeshares. Tenant cant cover the remaining 3/4th of the rent by herself, she was expecting to also pay 1/4 as she had previously been paying. She or WE (her expectations) would find people to fill up the remaining 2 rooms. She was expecting to rent a room from us basically.

We have always rented out the entire apartment to a group and allowed them to give us separate checks that will cover their portion of the rent. I guess this girl thought she had been renting a room the whole time she had previously lived there.

So husband told her to find a way to pay the entire $1800/month by the 1st or we would find new tenants.

I am ok with losing this potential tenant and losing out on 1 month of rent because of it. This girl seems like drama with her sudden decision to move out of our place, causing all the other tenants to be displaced, so they all have to give notice and find other accommodations. Then she moved into another place and weeks later decides she wants to return to my place. Without a plan to get enough roommates to cover the rent. And she wants a 9 month lease because she is graduating from school in May.

So it looks like we will be finding new tenants. I'm up for the challenge!

Craigslisting all this new furniture

September 23rd, 2013 at 06:14 am

So we moved to California. We planned to live there about 2 years. We actually lived there for 5 months. We decided to leave our current stuff in our GA home, and buy furniture in CA.

We bought a Tempurpedic bed. We bought a huge TV (which was lost by the moving company). We bought a new couch, and a new recliner. The rest of the house was furnished with thrift store/antique store finds.

When it came time to move back to GA, The only thing we really wanted was the Tempurpedic bed, recliner and TV. Since we needed a moving company for those 3 items, we added in a lot of other stuff and figured we'll sort it out in GA.

The moving company delivered the stuff late last week.


Some stuff was picked up on our curb by passerby as free stuff.

After 2 days of craigslist with no success, I got impatient and called a local auction house. They came out and said my stuff has no real value because it is all modern and reproductions. Some stuff might sell for $100 each. Ouch considering I paid 2 - 4x that amount just a few months before. And then the auction house said their fee is 35%! So for $700 worth of stuff, I'll recoup a fraction.

I kept on with the Craigslisting. Finally, yesterday I got a bite. A young couple came to look at my couch, which they bought. And they bought my entertainment center! So that's $250 I collected for $550 worth of items. Better than the auction house.

Then tonight I have a girl coming to look at a table! I have it listed for $150- exactly what I paid for it. I'll go down to $100 on it. If that sells its a pretty great money recoup. Better than the auction house.

Anything else that does not sell on craigslist is being picked up Wed to go to the Auction House.

I'm going through my attic today to see if there are more items to add to the Auction House pick up. If nothing else the auction house will be a cool experience.








Dog Entry

September 23rd, 2013 at 05:24 am

ok, so at some point I will go into more detail sharing all that I learned from our failed business venture. But right now I want to look forward and think about our next few steps. This post might be all over the place as I sort things out in my head.

First: our animal situation. It is always important to introduce new family members! We still have Tylene (Thai), a rottweiler we rescued from a shelter in NY (that took a lot of dedicated people to get her to GA for us and a lot of trust on our part that she was sane and a good fit for the family). But she is great! We have had her about 4 yrs. She did have a toe removed last year for cancer. We were told it will come back in a few years on another toe. And so forth. So we hope to have a few more years with her.

We lost Casey Jones a yr and half ago when she slipped her collar/leash on a busy road and was hit by a car. I was walking her and it was really devastating. She felt no pain.

We just lost Copi 3 weeks ago. She was a senior and ultimately had cancer in her heart, liver and lungs. She was acting normal one day, and the next she was showing all kinds of weird symptoms. We put her down when it was determined she was in a lot of pain and a natural death would be very ugly for her. That was hard and I still cry over her being gone. We had her for 11 years.

We added Bocephus (Bo) to our clan about a year ago when we lost Casey Jones. He came from a small pit bull rescue that was local. He is hyper but trying to have manners. He is not friendly with strange dogs unless introduced formally to them (he will not tolerate a dog running up to him to sniff), so that is a challenge we are always working on.

So we are short a dog right now. We normally have 3. We went to the Humane Society a few days ago but I just want another Copi and didn't see any with the potential for that. Our local shelter is a low kill and told me that the 1 dog I was sort of into would probably be adopted within a week. She had just arrived the day before. I decided with the baby coming to just hold off on a third dog and not deal with all the hyperness and training that goes into a new dog. I am pretty sure a new dog will "appear" in our lives in the next few months anyways. It seems like thats what happens a lot.


Tylene and Bo sitting on our front porch

After a long hiatus...I'm back. Humbled.

September 22nd, 2013 at 07:45 am

Hello Everyone,
I am humbly returning after 4-5 years away from this website. I was never in better control or in a better frame of mind than when I was regularly blogging here.

For the veterans of this site, this is Gamecock returning. New identity, fresh start. I am sorry I disapeared unexpectedly so long ago- I got caught up in large decisions and big purchases. I don't think I wanted to go through the daily "is this the right thing to do?" that a blog will produce during time intensive renovations and large purchases. Especially since I was uncertain to begin with.

To catch everyone up- buying a 1900 rowhouse, gutting it and building it from the studs up was a GOOD DECISION. This house is AMAZING and has appreciated instantly. This house has given us a good amount of equity.

After this project was completed, we made another GOOD decision to buy a rental duplex. It was a foreclosure in pretty good shape and has brought in a substantial amount of income every month.

After that duplex, we made another GOOD decision to buy a single family house (SFH) as a rental. It has turned out to be a GOLDMINE.

You see why I thought I didnt need this website or blog?

After that, I snowballed a few BAD decisions to get me where I am today.

A week or so after buying the GOLDMINE SFH, my FIL asked if he could have the property so he could get into the rental business. He said he would pay me exactly what I put into it (it was undergoing $45k/2 months time in renovations to finish it out). I said okay and thought I would reinvest the money in another. Well, FIL paid me in small and large chunks at various times over the last year and it was difficult to track and difficult to save. He still owes me about 1/3rd of the money- but the 2/3rd he gave me has been spent. Not re-invested, but SPENT. poof. gone. I finally told him this summer to pay me the remaining amount IN FULL when he has it. What did he do- put small chunks in a bank account with my name in it so I can access it. I think at this rate he will have paid in full in another 12 months.

After that terrible decision, I allowed husband to talk me into taking a large chunk from his payments and invest in a business across the country with our good friends. To give me credit, it took him a YEAR to talk me into this. But sigh. I took most of our liquid cash and put a down payment on a business in California. Our friend was going to be the brains, we were going to be the money. Everyone was going to make TONS of money.

Except our friend was less brains than we expected. Costly mistakes ensued that slowed down profit timelines by WEEKS and exploded the budget.

Except the initial budget was totally inadequate. The realistic budget was 4 times as much as we expected, and we spent EVERYTHING to keep afloat, and racked up $50k in credit card debt to get us through to the first payday.

Except that we were so SURE we were going to make TONS of money that we bought new furniture for our place in California and splurged on high end items, putting them on store charge cards. Then we had to pay thousands of dollars to bring those items back to our fully furnished home in GA and craigslist stuff for a fraction of what we paid.

Except that I trusted husband to run the business and I checked out from the beginning. I had no interest in the industry and I was promised that I didn't have to work and I took advantage of that promise. So I just wrote checks and trusted everything was okay.And I was promised a horse. I never got my horse and I'm bitter that I was manipulated by the promise of a horse.

Except that we got in a GIGANTIC fight with our business partner/friend and promptly everything fell apart. We no longer speak to our good friends that we moved across the country with which to partner up.

Except that I HATED California. I found nothing to like and I was unhappy/homesick/bored every single day. And I was pregnant too. And there are WOLF SPIDERS in CA. They are the size of an actual baby wolf and like to crawl up my drain pipes and hang out in sinks and bathtubs. The internet tells me they are non venomous so I learned to see them and ask them to not be there the next time I entered the room. Usually they would stick around just to add stress to my day. I'm not going to discuss the rattlesnake population that caused husband to buy rattlesnake protectant boots that he never used because we never saw a rattlesnake. But we saw some small wildfires and heard about decimating wildfires nearby. California is NO JOKE.

Except that we sold our interest in the business to someone for exactly the price that we had borrowed and took a verbal promise from this investor that we would get paid the rest of our investment to break even in certain sums over the next 10 months. We have received 1 payment so far 4 weeks later than agreed on and for less than half the amount agreed. Our former business partner negotiated to get himself paid back IN FULL PLUS $16k out of the deal.He negotiated this on the side unbeknown to us and we found out when our first payment was delayed because the guy paid the ex partner so much already.

But as of 3 weeks ago we are back in Georgia and back in our HOME! There is value in quality of life, and my life has dramatically brightened since coming home.

So that is where I stand today. $30k in credit card debt. $5k in the bank. A roof that leaked while we were gone causing $10k in damage. A baby coming in 5 weeks. And a husband that LOVED California and is convinced that if we just move to a different area, we can run the business successfully and make TONS of money. He muses about this on a semi-regular basis and if he really pursues it I might divorce him. True- infuriating-story.

Neither of us are working right now. This is the first time we will be DEPENDENT on the rental income rather than using it as a supplement. So this will be interesting.

But you know what? In California we spent 5 months FLOATING bills. We were making partial payments on everything from electricity to credit cards just to get through until payday. Guess what? In Georgia we can pay our bills IN FULL. It feels SO GOOD to not avoid the mailbox, to not feel dread as I open the bills. It feels SO GOOD to mail off payments in full now.

ok, so that's my story. Looking forward to coming back to this blog and returning to the GOOD decisions that this website instilled in me and taught.


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