Many Different Thoughts & 18/52: Wet

It’s been raining pretty aggressively here all night and all day. I think it’s beautiful when it’s so gray, misty, and muted outside. I’d rather be in bed but then again, I don’t have a window with this view in bed so you win some you lose some.

Did you notice the figurines? My daughter was here with me last Thursday and apparently she thought the little guys would much rather look out the window and enjoy that view than stare at my back all day. Smart girl.

Do you know what this is?

Pardon my French but there’s just no other way to describe that. She’s standing still in this shot because it’s the only way I could get any sort of clear shot. The rest of time I saw her she was out there pounding away at the pavement.

She’s not even tuned into a music player and I know there was not a single break in the rain this morning so this girl laced up and went out there in the pouring rain because she can and because she wanted to and because I needed to see something awesome like that this morning.

Don’t get me wrong, part of me wanted to hate her with her perfect body and blonde hair and youthful carefree life that allows for running in the rain but that was such a tiny part and it stood no chance against just how awesome I think she is really.

You know how the phrase, “You go, girl” got way overdone? Well this is the kind of situation that no other phrase more adequately describes. Girl power, indeed.

I’m trying a couple of things this month. I’m not necessarily challenging myself because I feel sort of beat up and need a break but my brain doesn’t do well when it has nothing to toy with.

I’m talking to my kids in Spanish all month. I didn’t make an announcement to them, I just stopped talking in English on Monday. I’m trying to make it exclusively in Spanish but it is really hard to do and sometimes completely ineffective.

Eldest has turned into a surprisingly accurate translator for Daughter who’s decided she doesn’t understand a lick of Spanish and believes the best approach to my current language of choice is a completely blank dumbfounded stare more suited to a thirteen year old who’s just heard you admit you have no clue who this Justin Bieber person is they keep going on about.

It seems Baby understands as much Spanish as English so that’s working ok. I figured I won’t press them to speak back to me in Spanish. What I’m hoping is that I can keep this going and that at the very least they absorb Spanish vocabulary, pronunciation, etc.

The next step would be that they sometimes respond to my Spanish with their own Spanish as an experiment (Do I have this right?) and then after that they respond to my Spanish with Spanish naturally.

Besides, I need to keep practicing my Spanish. My job requires a pretty high level of fluency and I don’t feel as comfortable as I’d like with my conversational Spanish.

Financially, I’m trying something else too. I’m sort of toying with a weekly budget but this is already turning into a challenge and I don’t know that I have the mental energy to stick to it.

I thought I had it pretty figured out this week until my son came home last night and informed me he needs a mouth guard and cup for his Karate tournament Saturday. The same tournament that had a $50 registration fee I just paid because it was budgeted for.

So, I’m not really sure it’s worth it to me to make the switch from what I had going and really the problem with the budget system I have in place isn’t my budget skills it’s the unpredictable income stream.

This month with the tax refund, it should be a bit more stable. Besides, that court-ordered income deduction will go into effect this month. It will, I know it. I believe in the system.

Oh, I had my annual check-up with my doctor yesterday. She’s changed my birth control to a more inexpensive option. I’m happy to be paying $45 less a month but not thrilled I’ll be back on daily pills. She’s urging me to explore the possibility of an IUD. She thinks I’m an excellent candidate for it if the insurance covers it at a reasonable rate.

Other than that, the doctor thinks everything’s good. She says, even though I disagree, my weight is perfectly fine where it is. She does want me to drink more water and milk. She let me know women store calcium until the age of 35 so I’ve got a few years left and she wants me to make the most of them. She’s asked me to aim for about 1500mg of calcium a day.

I took a deep breath with the craft projects I’m working on and decided to stop stressing the stupid deadline and just enjoy working on them. I haven’t picked up the knitting one since I started the crochet one, but I’ll be getting back to it soon enough.

Tomorrow I’ll have to take a break to go and do a merchandising job. I signed up with a company to do merchandising and mystery shops. I like it because the jobs are quick and relatively easy. They get me out of the house and out of my routines. I try and do them when I don’t have the kids but this one was way too good to pass up and gives me the opportunity to earn up to $30 every two weeks to the end of June. They cut my first check for last month for $40 and they’re still pending a couple of assignments.

It might sound really small and meaningless to you but it’s $40 I didn’t have before. The more work I take on for them, the more often they call me for assignments with bonuses on them and such things. If I averaged $40 a month from them, that’s almost $500 at the end of the year which would be a nice thing to throw at debt, don’t you think?

Oh, there’s one more financial change I’m making this month but this one has to wait until the very end to happen. On payday, I’m going to open one more account with ING. This will be my Wants fund and 5% of any money I’ve managed to save up will go into that account. The rest will be used as a debt snowball as I am confident the child support issue will at least stabilize this month, one way or another.

Ideally, the court-ordered income deduction goes into effect but at the very least, he’ll pay what he paid last month. Although it’s not the full amount, it’s more than I’ve gotten for many months now and it helps cover the essentials.

I figure if I reward myself with 5% of my savings, it could motivate me to keep expenses low and put off the little things for something larger. Plus it gives me an outlet to enjoy the money. I can use that Wants fund for anything from haircuts to a family trip to books to new clothes to a really nice birthday dinner. Last month, it would’ve only been $4.55 but I’ve had some months with great success, especially when I was receiving child support and not having the burden of kiddie expenses on me and me alone. It would’ve been nice to have a piece of my hard work for something “indulgent”. And budgeting, saving money, and tracking expenses is hard work.

By the way, here’s some cute Budgeting humor from last Sunday’s paper. I love the comics section and always want to share at least one piece with everyone I know.

One more thing I’m doing this month is taking on household projects in very small bites. I’m telling you, I feel sort of bowled over with a bit of depression and you can tell when you walk into my house. This is always a problem for me because the worse it gets, the less happy I get and the less happy I get, the less I want to do anything which leads to a further decay of things. So last night I told myself I’d clear the dining table and nothing else but the dining table. It took me a while and I had to sit every now and then or take a drink break or something but I did it. And I made sure everything I cleared was put away, not just moved to another place.

This approach works very well for me when I’m in this state. It gives me small rewards and small challenges. It forces my focus on one thing and stops my mind from going everywhere else. Plus the actual task of sorting, trashing, filing, etc keeps my mind preoccupied and that means it doesn’t sit there and talk trash at me.

If you’re having problems like this, I strongly suggest you try this approach. For more benefit, choose a pretty small thing in an area you see a lot through the course of your day. Say, the end table in the living room or a particular chair or one side counter or something like that. I think this is why FlyLady loves the kitchen sink so much.

My problem is the kitchen sink gets disgusting fast and that’s really hard for me to overcome so I have to work my way over to it before I’m ready. Not sure I’m ready but my kitchen is starting to smell yucky and that turns my smile upside down.

When my Mother’s Day presents are all done, do you know what I’m going to do?

This.

And not necessarily in that order.

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13 thoughts on “Many Different Thoughts & 18/52: Wet

  1. I’ve been lurking in your blog for a couple of months and I really enjoy reading it.

    I totally understand what you mean about the mystery shopping money. I started doing it last year. Not that you asked for advice, but I thought I’d share my experience with you. A couple of things to remember — particularly because you are budget-conscious. First set aside a third of it for taxes. (Boo.) You can’t claim it as a hobby if you make a profit. Second, keep all records in the same place. I was all over the house scrounging for receipts and stubs at tax time.

    I hope you enjoy the fun of busting out of the day-to-day routine. It’s a nice diversion for me, too.

    Reply
    • Thanks for de-lurking! I actually created a folder for it in my files so that’s where everything’s been going. Saving a third of it for tax time is definitely on my mind.

      Reply
  2. Good luck with the Spanish! My husband’s bilingual English and Serbian and his parents speak Serbian. My in-laws speak mostly Serbian around my kid (they watch him every Wednesday during the day/evening) and he’s picking up a LOT and understands even more (he’s 2). My husband doesn’t speak in Serbian to him as much as he should to enforce the language, but every bit helps.

    Reply
    • Yes, my grandmother speaks in Spanish to them. Funny enough, my parents don’t and it drives me nuts. They were born in Cuba. Spanish is their first language. How do they not speak it more? I’m always teasing them about it especially since they used to torture us with Spanish. My grandparents are primarily the way we learned Spanish so I really try and push my parents to do it more around them. It’s hard though. You talk in Spanish and they reply in English and then you reply in English! AGH!

      Reply
  3. Only spending 5% of what you save? Is that enough incentive? I suppose you could start there and up it later. Knowing I can frivolously spend all of what I save over and above my normal budget is a huge incentive to me to keep regular costs down.

    Yay for you for bringing in extra money! My friend tried mystery shopping last year – she found that when they’re desperate, they go up to 5 times regular rate. Nice.

    Reply
    • Well, for right now it’s more than nothing 🙂 And I still have debt to pay. Once debt goes away I can have a LITTLE more fun.

      I have found that to be the case with the merchandising jobs! I just got one that’s double the regular rate and it’s through May and June, every other week. And I got another one that’s three times the regular rate. They call me all of the time for assignments so I’m liking it quite a bit!

      Reply
  4. I love the cartoon. Thanks for sharing it. I can so relate to the whole house projects. I love flylady. She has been my savior when it comes to my house.

    Reply
  5. Love gray rainy days. It’s one of the reasons I loved living in the Pacific Northwest back when. We moved when XH and I got engaged since he suffers from SAD and general clinical depression on top of it, and needed to live in a less gray climate. I still miss it.

    I like the 5% of your savings idea. It might not be a huge amount, but it’s enough to motivate to save more and be consistent. Even a $6 latte splurge can help when you’re feeling overwhelmed and like you’re not making progress. 🙂

    Rose is Rose is one of my favorite comics. I know it can get a bit sloppy and cheesy at times, but Rose *is* my mother. (Including the crazy biker-chick side of her.) When I really really get to missing my mom, I read old Rose is Rose comics and it makes me feel better.

    Reply
    • We get a very nice mix of weather down here. Now as we approach the rainy season, we’ll have glorious sunshine and then around three o’clock the clouds roll in until like five or six.

      Yeah see as of now, I haven’t really splurged much on anything so even having a little something to play with is nice. I haven’t gotten a haircut since last August because my hair stylist is expensive but she’s the only one I’ve ever gone to that I leave feeling amazing about my hair so it’s worth it even if it’s only once a year.

      I actually first fell in love with the Rose comics because of the cat 🙂

      Reply
  6. My mother’s day present to myself was to clean the house. Is that masochistic or what? There were just too many piles everywhere all over the house. It felt so good starting monday with the house clean and the surface free of piles of clothes and papers..my desk on the other hand still needs work.

    $40 does make a difference. I had some side income in my paypal account and I needed to replace some of my kid’s jelly jars they drink out of and keep smashing. It was so nice paying with the fun money.

    Reply
    • I totally get what you mean. I often fantasize about taking a week off work just so I can scrub the house top to bottom, inside out.

      Yeah, I think it adds up pretty well. We’ll see. They keep calling me a lot to go on assignments and I’m averaging about $15 each one, at least once a week. The merchandising ones are where it’s at. The mystery shopping has been eh. I’ve got one today that only reimburses $1.50 of a purchase. What do I buy at a computer store for $1.50?!

      Reply

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