Archive for the ‘finances’ Category

Gaining Control

Wow!  It’s been two months since I last posted.  OVER two months.

My bad.

It’s hard to come up with things to write about, but it’s not like I have a fan-base here.  This is 100% for me.  Those others who read and comment are just a bonus.


The last few months have been jam-packed.  My Peanut turned 13 in February.  THIRTEEN!  I am officially the mom of a teenager.  WTF?!  LOL  However, he’s a REALLY good kid, so I can’t say I’m dreading the teens too much. 

After THAT milestone, we moved forward to adopt a rescue dog. 

Mona's Home!

Mona is a full bred German Shepherd Dog (seriously, that’s their “official” name).  She is absolutely wonderful and we love her tons!

Mona and Peanut

The first night we had her, she spent the whole night checking on my boys (I had my nephew that day too).  Would get up, check on them and then go lay back down.  All.  Night.  She’s still skittish, but she’s getting braver, gaining weight and playing.  She’s an absolute joy.  :-)In some sad news, we had to send our kitty, Flash, to live with my sister and nephew.  He was getting beat up by the bully (Tiger) and was terrified of the dog.  He rarely came out of the basement.  My nephew’s cat (Jackson) had recently died and Jackson’s sister, Miley, was sad and lonely.  Flash just happened to be their sibling, so it was a win-win arrangement.  My nephew wound up with a super loveable fuzzball and Flash had a new, stress-free home 🙂  We miss him terribly, but being good parents, we knew he had to be in a calmer environment (didn’t hurt that we can visit him whenever :-p)

I celebrated my 39th birthday.  It was a very nice time.  I missed my mom tho.  However, I DID have a card from her.  She apparently had shopped for it over the summer and stashed it.  My sister found it while going through papers.  It was seriously cool (although, I have my suspicions that my sister actually got the card and made up the story, but I’ll choose to believe the story 😉

Went on a crafting weekend with my Bitches.  LOL  We had a great time and I got quite a few pages done (scrapbooking).  I’m quite enamored with them and am proud of my accomplishments.

Last weekend was 6 months that my mother has been gone.  😦  It seems like forever and yesterday.  I miss her so much it’s painful.  She didn’t get to see her first grandchild become a teenager.  She didn’t get to hear about the lovely, lovely compliments I get from Peanut’s homeroom/Language Arts teacher.  She didn’t get to meet Mona (or slap me in the head for getting yet ANOTHER pet).  There’s a hole that I don’t know how to fill.  I know it will never heal, but the edges are still raw and the scab has yet to begin forming.  *sigh*  It’s gonna be a long road.

Which leads me to the fact that we’re seriously beginning to empty her house and prepare her “estate”.  It’s frustrating, heart-wrenching and ridiculous all at the same time.  We’ve giggled.  We’ve cried (well, *I* did) and we’ve fought.  The fighting I could do without, tyvm!  Siblings are fun…sometimes.

I’ve been seeing a therapist since the month after my mom died as well as taking some medications.  We’ve tweaked the meds a bit, but have discovered the original plan seems to work best for me (went from Celexa to Welbutrin, back to Celexa).  I have sleep issues, but the Welbutrin wasn’t helping with my short fuse.  The Celexa allows me to just let things “roll off”, but I still have a “normal” range of emotions.  I’m also on Lamictal (because I’m apparently bi-polar…not really hard to swallow, but kinda hard to admit).  Also taking 1000 mg of Vitamin D (because I was pretty deficient).  Have yet to buy more of my multivitamin, but I’m getting there.

Back to therapy.  It’s been helpful, but I seem to ramble on about everything and nothing and my choo-choo jumps tracks about fifty’leven times.  This, among other things/habits, makes my therapist think I may have ADD.  There’s also a possibility that I have a twinge of OCD.  Now, I’ve been joking for years that I have ADD/OCD, but I was just joking.  Apparently, I just might really have them.  Have to talk to my doc and see what she says/suggests.  Yet another thing to remember to talk about.

I have to talk to my doc about the pain in my hip (yoinked it over the weekend).  Sometimes it paralyses me (especially when I’m prone) and hurts like the dickens!  I’ve also discovered a lump on my right foot.  It’s hard, but not particularly painful, so I shall have to get that checked out too.

On top of all this, I’ve made a complete and utter mess of my finances.  I chalk that up to the med changes and stupidity.  Yet again, I have to maniacly play games to fix everything.

It’s so much fun being me!


ADD is NOT Conducive to Productivity (and Organization!!!)

I think I have *finally* identified the reason for my inability to keep my house as clean and organized as I’d like.


Freakin’ ADD. 

I used to joke that I had “Adult On-Set ADD”.  Apparently, I may have had it all my life.  I thought ADD was just the inability to pay attention (for long periods of time).  Well, that’s a part of it.  You can hyper-focus on things as well!  Well, shit.  I hyper focus on cleaning/organizing to the point that nothing gets done.


So, I’m here to ask for your help.

My house has…lemme think…carry the 2, divide by 4…10 rooms; 7 closets;  and a bazillion piles o’ crap.  I need to list and prioritize what needs to be done.  I’ve done this a million times.  The problem?  I bounce from room to room and nothing gets fully completed (um…anyone remember my kitchen remodel?  Yeah, it’s still not done…AND I want to change some things…)

So…here’s the breakdown:

Living Room:  I want to paint it.  Currently it’s an ugly cream color…and paint is chipping, peeling and dirty.  And flat.  Flat paint is next to impossible to clean.  I want to paint the room Pewter from Benjamin Moore.  It’s a nice neutral color and still blends well with the color in my Dining Room (LR opens to DR…this would be so much easier to explain if I gave you a layout and pictures, wouldn’t it?).  The decor in my LR is mostly pink roses and coordinating accessories.  I’m not a “girly-girl”, but I do like floral decor.  Not overwhelming amounts of it.  I also have medium wood furniture and hardwood floors.  I love my hardwood floors, but they need some love.  The kind of love they need isn’t even in my dream budget, so I’m considering area rugs.

OMG I can’t even stay focused on THIS!

Dining Room:  Walls just need a little touch up and the window frames need painting.  I want to move some furniture around and hang artwork.  My walls are Dragonfly (smoky purple/lavendar) from Ralph Lauren (sorry folks, can’t find a pic right now).  All the trim, throughout the house, is white (except for my son’s room). 

Kitchen:  I love my Kitchen.  I just want it to flow a little better.  And add some artwork.  My kitchen is RED.  My cabinets are white (but somehow doesn’t look like a candy cane GO ME!).  The floor is black.  The counters are silver/faux stainless.  I want to move the fridge 90-degrees so I can do another 1.5 walls of wrap-around counters.  I like to cook, so I need lots of prep space.  I’d love an island, but the kitchen is not large enough for that (phooey).  I’d like to get a new back door and have it open the other way (currently opens right-to-left, so when open, covers two cabinets and the dishwasher.  If it opened the opposite way, would just open into the side of the fridge (once it’s moved).  I can deal with that.  I *still* need to change out the light fixture over the sink.  Currently it’s a really UGLY flourescent tube light.  I have a triple pendant light for that space, just haven’t done it yet (electricity is NOT my friend.  However, I will play with it if I *have* to).  Oh, and I still need to put 1/4-round along the floor.  And fix a threshold that I frogged when I originally did the kitchen.

Downstairs Bathroom:  DISASTER!  Needs a new floor.  Tile needs to be removed from teh walls.  I don’t even know if you can really call it tile.  It’s PLASTIC.  And the previous owners just painted over it.  UGLY.  I’d like to take that down (it’s chair rail height) and maybe put up beadboard with a chair rail cap.  Currently it’s yellow and navy blue.  I want to paint it black/white.  I’d like the walls to be white, but above the chair rail, I’d like to do some sort of frilly black stenciling.  Needs a new sink/faucet (I have a bead on the sink…just need to pick out a faucet) and a new floor.  UGLY ASS FLOOR.  My only concern with tearing up the floor is the possibility that the tiles are asbestos.  The house is just under 60 years old, so it’s prime construction for asbestos tile.  Joy!  Oh and should I mention that ALL the insulation is blown-in (again, possible asbestos containing) and has settled over the years so there is next to ZERO insulation in the walls?  Joy again!

Studio:  Believe it or not, this room isn’t too bad.  I’d like to sand and paint the doors (actually, I’d like to do that in most of the rooms in the house…and change out hardware, but with 17 doors in the house, this is a BIG, expensive project).  My conundrum in the Studio is the closet.  It’s about 8 feet long and 3 feet wide.  Not bad, but it’s ALL behind the wall (meaning you open the door and turn 90-degrees into the closet).  I’m trying to come up with the best way to utilize that space.  It needs to hold office supplies, school supplies, craft supplies and fabric.  I have some ideas, but there’s a lot of crap already stored in that closet that would need to find new homes (like Jake’s old table and chairs).

Stairs:  Really?  Just needs a coat of paint (they’re basically IN the living room, but I don’t necessarily want to paint it the same color) and some wall art.  Would like a gallery wall, but the boy still runs his hands along the wall when going up or down the stairs *sigh*

Jake’s Room:  *I* want to paint it, but Jake is happy with it, so it stays.  Just need to paint the trim around the windows.  Need to re-arrange furniture and somehow incorporate bookcases for his out-of-control sports card collection.  Also need to figure out how to arrange his closet.  His room has a gable in it, so the closet slopes down toward the back.

Upstairs Bathroom:  This is the full bath.  I’d like a new tub-surround, as the one I have is stained, not sealed all that well.  And, well, UGLY.  The walls need some color (although, I DID checker the ceiling).  The vanity and medicine cabinet are both a dark wood, in a room that is white, light blue and chrome.  So, they need to be painted.  And, so does the window frame (surprise, surprise).

My Room:  The room itself is not too bad.  Needs some artwork, but I’m pretty happy with it (right now).  I need help with my closets.  Yep, I said “closets”.  As in plural.  I have your typical reach-in closet and a LARGE walk-in closet.  My walk-in closet is a gable.  It also has two “Alice-In-Wonderland” doors on either side of it.  One leads to the attic, the other leads to behind the wall storage.  The attic part of it creeps me out, so I’ve never been up there (when I opened that door, after I bought the house, there was a crucifix on a shelf; an empty, yet sealed glass jar; and crosses painted all over the shelves.  Kinda gave me pause, but the I found out the original owners had a son who became a priest.  However, fear of bugs and other creepy crawlies keeps me from exploring that potentially mamoth storage space.  I don’t do bugs.  Probably my only girlie-girl claim).  Since it is a gable, it has a pitched ceiling.  A very steeply pitched ceiling.  Which makes “furnishing” it difficult.  I’ve currently got one PAX unit from IKEA in there and want to get another.  There are book cases in there (full of, books, go figure).  It’s also become THE dumping ground for items with no home or stuff that needs to be dealt with.  I hate going in there, but it needs to be cleaned/organized before I give in to my inner pyromaniac.

The Basement:  Ugh.  3/4 is finished.  And 1/2 of that flooded last summer.  The carpet is dry, but STILL needs to be pulled up and replaced.  Can’t decide between re-carpeting the entire space or just pulling up the section that got wet and putting down some sort of laminate flooring.  1/2 of that space used to be my studio (and now you understand why I took over a perfectly good guest room) and of course, that’s the side that flooded.  The other side was my son’s playroom.  He’s a tad old for a playroom at this point, but it would still be a good rec room.  AND there’s been two ideas being bounced around for this space as well.  One:  an “apartment” for my brother, should he want to move in.  OR BACK to a studio/rec room.  But in order for me to bring the studio down, it would need a LOT of extra lighting and a door to keep nosey hands and pets OUT.

The Utility Room:  It’s what you’d think.  Dark, dank and ugly.  I’m not really THAT upset with it, but I’d like it to be more functional…and have more light.  Currently, you open the door and then have to walk all the way down to the back to turn on a light (26-feet).  I’d like to be able to flip a switch at the entrance and have the whole area light up.  Again, me and electricity are not good friends and it requires buying some lighting.  Probably shop lighting, but I seriously hate flourescent tubes.  It currently holds all my holiday decorations, the oil tank, the large freezer, washer & dryer, water heater, and litter boxes.  I’d like to put some sort of drying system over/around the dryer to get laundry off the floor (and away from cat temptation) and to have an area to air-dry items rather than trying to find a nail in the exposed beams.

There’s all kinds of other shit that needs to be done (landscaping, roof repair, etc.). 

But I don’t know where to start!!!!

So, my question to you, dear readers is this…

Where the hell do I start?!?!

02 – Things To Improve

Oy, this list could be QUITE long…

I need to improve my work-ethic.  It has nothing to do with my actual job and more to do with avoidance of what’s been going on in my personal life.  MUST.  STOP.

I need to improve my appearance.  That can be taken in a number of ways, and probably every way you’re thinking.  My weight, my hair (although, I just dyed it again), my clothing (I dress like a comfy slob)…maybe start wearing make-up again.  I’m working on it, just slowly…

I need to improve my energy levels.  I’m ALWAYS. EFFIN. TIRED.  I’ve started taking a vitamin (with Iron), but I think most of my problem is sleep.  Can’t fall asleep.  Can’t stay asleep.

I need to improve my finances.  Since my mother’s death, I don’t think I’ve paid a bill (at least, none that I actually had to write a check for, thank goodness for automatic withdrawals).  I need to get a better handle on what’s coming in and what’s going out.  Along those lines…

I need to improve my food purchases.  As in, STOP going out to eat.  Cook at home more.  I *like* to cook (I just don’t like to clean up afterward).  I *will* get better at this…

I need to improve my relationship with Jake.  Not that’s it’s bad, but it *has* been suffering since mom’s death.  To be honest, it probably started a while before that, but has certainly come to a head since.  I took the day off yesterday to work on plans for my mother’s Memorial Service, but I also made sure to schedule and spend some time with Jake.  We went out to breakfast together and did a little shopping.  It was nice. 🙂

I need to improve my “lack of faith”.  No, I’m not planning a “come to Jesus” revival.  I plan to start pulling out my craft books and reading them and starting to practice again.  I need to feel empowered again, and I’m the only one who can do that for me.

I need to improve my home.  It’s a disaster.  Cluttered, messy, dirty, broken.  So much to be done; and in typical DW form, I don’t know where to start, so I do…NOTHING.  Enter FlyLady.  And babysteps.  I’m working on creating, or more specifically, REcreating my Control Journal.  I’m even going to start with just hand-written notes!  *gasp*  I know!  ME…actually starting with a rough draft!  Will wonders never cease?

I need to improve my friendships.  Again, with my need to withdrawal when I’m overwhelmed, in pain, etc., I’ve let friendships twist.  I know most of them understand, but I still feel bad.  I need to initiate more and cancel less.

I should probably have discussed my plans to improve these, but it’s too much work to go back and do that now.  So, I will re-cap next month, to add-in what I’ve done to improve and then expand upon my list.  Eventually, we’ll see things drop off…at least, that’s the plan.

Hurricane Irene

Many of you knew my aunt, Inny (a nickname my son created when he couldn’t say “Ginny”).

Her *real* name was Irene.  So, when I heard Hurricane Irene was coming, I had to giggle.

See, my aunt died back in February and I’ve been waiting for a spiritual visit.  You know, dream-walking or finding something of hers in a seriously silly spot.  I never imagined she’d bear down on the east coast like an angry witch!

However, I wasn’t all that concerned.  Yes, she [the hurricane] was powerful but I wasn’t afraid she’d do too much damage.

Besides, I had coconut juniors, Inny’s favorite, and I was willing to offer them to the bitchy goddess in a beg for leniency.

I did what most people did; got rid of all the potential flying debris in my yard, taped up windows and tried my best to tarp and caulk a window in my basement that I thought was the culprit of my indoor pool.

Irene bore down on us and blew us about a bit.  Dumped a lot of rain, but left my house blissfully alone (thank you Tastykake!)

Or so I’d thought.

I *did* get more water in my basement and in areas that don’t normally “flood”.  Nothing major, but my carpet had JUST dried out from the last storm, damnit!

I had a call into my insurance company because of the previous water intake, but wasn’t getting to excited about help.  To be honest, I was anxious about NOT getting help.

I’m an engineer.  I make good money.  But I’m also a single mom who’s had quite a few financial attacks in the last year or two (Jake’s surgeries, a water heater that needed replacing, a chimney that needed re-pointing and the death of my aunt).  The idea of trying to fix damage from Hurricane Irene had me VERY anxious.  I haven’t slept since Hurricane Irene.  Seriously.  And sleep is my best friend (deserting bitch!)

Yesterday, the adjustor and his team showed up to walk around and through my disgustingly dirty/messy house (hey!  I clean on weekends and Irene knocked out my power for a bit, so nothing got vacuumed).

While outside, he looked at my tarped basement window and told me water taken-on from ground level wasn’t covered.

My heart dropped.  Shit.

While we went into the basement to check out damage, his team went up on my roof.

I showed him the wet (now dry) carpeting and told him I just threw out a bunch of stuff (which I did) because it was wet and smelled AWFUL.  While measuring it all and writing it up, he found water stains on my drop ceiling tiles.


Magically, my water damage was now covered because it was coming from above!

I was floored. (bwahahaha, no pun intended, didn’t catch that until the read-through)

We go upstairs and I fend off the cats so he could cut a piece of my carpeting to take as a sample and then go into my [messy] office to show him pics I had taken of my gutter damage (which CAUSED the water damage in the basement).

Apparently, my retarded, acrobatic pictures were exactly what he needed (they showed that the gutters had pulled away and pulled some of my siding away as well…BINGO, that’s where the water came in).

His assistant (who so happened to be his son) came in to show me damage to my roof.

Um, WHAT?!

I have wind damage, missing shingles, brittle shingles, and my chimney has cracking along the roof line.


At this point, I’m about ready to just curl in a ball and start keening.

I turn to the adjustor to ask a question and he tells me I’m getting a new roof.

I don’t know how I did it, but I held it together until they left the house (they weren’t even to their cars yet) and I started bawling.


A huge weight lifted.  I think, subconsciously, I was extremely worried about my roof.  I know every time I was outside, I’d look at it (what I could see of it) and silently pray it would keep holding.  I knew it was about 8 years old when I bought the house and that it had FOUR layers of shingles in spots, but I don’t think I REALLY grasped it all.

And I know, I’m a grown-ass woman with a freakin’ engineering degree, I should have known better.  Or at least done some mental calculations about weight ratios and surface area vs. wind gusts (and we get some SERIOUS gusts in my area), but it was something that was monetarily out of my league and it never occured to me to turn to my homeowners’ insurance.

I’m glad I listened to my friends.

So, LONG story short, I asked for help and I got it, in spades.

I’m still a little leary because nothing’s been written up yet and I still have to get estimates and crap, but someone finally took pity on me and sent me a boon.

Thanks, Inny.

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