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Archive for March, 2013

family and funerals

March 26th, 2013 at 10:06 pm

I went to the funeral of my aunt today. In my last post I mentioned that she is the estranged sister of my father who I happen to be emotionally divorced from (of my own will, and while I haven't seen him in three years, I have spoken to him several times by phone). A cousin from a different deceased aunt came into town for the funeral. We had a very nice get together on Sunday night and I was reminded that before all of this stuff in the present, we were at some point a normal family. We went to the zoo and amusement parks, spent time at our grandparents' summer house, went to Bozos Circus, etc. It made me very nostalgic and it then didn't feel right that I wasn't going to go, to be with my cousins who were grieving the loss of their mom, who I did have fond memories of. I skipped the wake, fearing too much intimacy, or not quite being sure of how I would be regarded. I went to the funeral with my children, and I am glad that I did. I was able to say I was sorry about the loss, and I had a very embarrassing sobbing moment with my uncle and oldest cousin who I hadn't spoken to since hearing of the loss. I'm a loud crier, who in turn caused my children to cry. No words were needed.

Then I took my kids to the Seminary at Mundelein which happened to be a few miles down the street. Here are some pictures that took my breath away. More than money, life is.



Organization, phase IV

March 24th, 2013 at 01:20 am


The carpeting went in yesterday, in the four bedrooms that it is. I was having some major claustrophobia with the contents of all of those rooms in the living room and the dining room (insert hyperventilation sounds here). The kids have switched rooms. The cost for painting and supplies for three bedrooms (girls/boys/guest) was about $160 (that was a five gallon bucket, rollers, liners, edger refills). The kids' rooms each have an accent wall, free courtesy of an offer at Ace last Saturday. I also spent an additional $100 at Walmart for four panels of room darkening curtains, and two accent carpets to tie into the accent walls.

The carpeting itself was at the high end of my estimated range. I took the funds from the EF. Well worth it, and I'm not looking back. Old me would have berated myself for not having the full amount liquid, but life is too short for such nonsense.

Spent the greater part of today moving into the rooms and purging further yet. I'm doing this without Dh and oldest son who are off on a Boy Scout outing.

It *is* looking better. And it is ALL ORGANIZED.

slump

March 20th, 2013 at 03:23 pm


Oh, it is one of those days. Second day with a sick child who doesn't have strep throat but feels like it, and if this is the virus the doctor predicts, it could be a full five days before he's feeling better.

Finances: nothing major is going on. Our spending is in line for the "contained" category. Finally tonight the carpet people are coming for us to look/buy/order. The bedrooms are empty and painted and all of the stuff is in the living/dining room (although contained and organized), I'm feeling "squeezed". We've already parted with lots, but I think a lot more can "go". So looking forward to a normal house with new carpeting. Smile

My aunt died yesterday. This is from the branch of the family that I've essentially divorced myself from. My biological father himself brings drama and chaos, and it has been a blissful going-on-four-years that DH hasn't worked for him and biological father has held a grudge. No more crazy tenants or his crazy girlfriend. Or crazy him. So it was his older sister. Sad that they were the last surviving members of the family. I have fond memories of my aunt growing up, she was always nice to me. Later on, it got bitter when people were fighting over my grandma's things.

But I did post a picture from 1929 of my grandma and tagged my aunt. I did hear from her (my aunt) ten days ago and she said she liked the picture, thanked me for sharing, said it was really a Confirmation picture and not a Communion picture, and she wished me well. And she died of a heart attack yesterday while visiting my cousin who just had baby number three.

Again, I'm feeling that money doesn't really much matter in the long run. I think about how sad it would be if my children grew up to fight and be alienated. Sure, they bicker a lot lately since the time change, but they are "thicker than thieves" as someone recently said. My younger daughter stated she would wait until my older daughter reached the age of majority to be her Confirmation Sponsor (though the Pastor and Bishop granted a dispensation of Canon Law so that younger daughter won't need to wait). And they look out for one another, younger daughter is still quite the Mother Hen to her younger sibs as school.

I don't imagine that I'd fight with my brother given an inequitable distribution of inheritance. I've moved to place where I'm not counting on anyone's money to take care of me. Anything that comes my way is a blessing, not a right. There cannot be drama if one doesn't create it.

Slump Frown

Completely Overwhelmed ...

March 15th, 2013 at 11:46 pm


I was loving the whole idea of organization and simplification. I examined the situations of the household and determined what I am lacking in some situations is efficiency. DH brought me home a bonanza of bankers boxes and I'm filling and removing items from the house. It is very liberating. I actually tackled my closet and had a very honest heart-to-heart with myself. I will not ever be a sustainable size 4 again. Those items went to my mom. I am most likely not going to be a size ten either (I was briefly) and I boxed those items to give to my best friend. I will be a 6/8 probably for the intermediate while and I tried everything on and everything fits and is comfortable. I even like the way my closet looks. I got rid of hand-me-downs from my brother's girlfriends. I parted with my preschool teacher sweaters which were fine when I had a bunch of little kids. It pained me to do that, but I did - no more bunnies on Easter sweaters or snowmen on Christmas sweaters. I imagine I can always get scarves for the seasons.

Now is the weekend of painting and switching rooms. Well, not exactly switching until the new carpet goes in. Oldest son is very sad that the mural we painted in his room will be leaving. We've got a photo op to commemorate it tomorrow - it has been five years since I drew the barn and cows and pig, and he drew the sheep. His wall had a mama sheep and baby sheep (he and I). Even I am kind of bummed about it, but I think a few good pictures will be great for recall.

We are organized in the moving out of things, but it is overwhelming.

March mush

March 13th, 2013 at 05:20 pm


The ravages of the time change has reared its ugly face here at my house. Who would think that losing one extra hour would wreck havoc? I had one child home Monday because he was up all night with allergies and no sleep (thanks to the mid-afternoon Sunday nap). I have another one home today, but his is more of a mental health day given he would have had to deal with the sub from Hell today. I can't say that I blame him for his tizzy this morning, though I did encourage him to be reasonable next time in the presentation of his case rather than a "I'm not going to SJS" five minutes before we're ready to leave and strip out of his uniform starting at the door, leaving a trail of clothing items all the way up to his room, where he ultimately was hiding under the blankets. All I'm asking for is reasonable, folks ...

Then older daughter achieved her goal of straight As for the third quarter, putting her GPA for the quarter at 4.33 (even pulled an A in Spanish II which was a huge hurdle for her). Younger daughter didn't advance to State with her Science Fair Project. Last year of the 8 that went to Regionals, 7 went to State. This year of the 9 that went to Regionals, only 2 are going to state (out of 3 that got gold). Daughter only got a Silver, which means her score was in the 81-90 range. I had to lament with her that it wasn't fair, but all I could zero in on was unfair it was the only 2 of the 3 Gold get to go. And she's very emotional this week. And tired. It all leaves me tired, but parenting was never said to be easy, right?

Went to Goodwill today and found the EXACT Ralph Lauren sweater I was contemplating (not for very long) buying at TJ Maxx for $39.99. I like the color and fit and it is spring colored, but still warm enough for this chilly transition time in the Midwest. Final cost: $3.99. Also purchased the sickling that happened to be with me three books, illustrated Children's Classics that will be easy for him to read (given his reading challenges).

So, that is it. Payday and rent collection on Friday. Looking forward to a new spending period. Goal will be to keep grocery costs as low as possible.

Any thrifty blogs you follow regularly?

March 12th, 2013 at 02:25 pm


I was wondering if there are any thrifty blogs (of course outside of the SA community) that you follow regularly.

I follow: the peaceful mom (mostly for her $125/week grocery challenge, because that is about what I spend and our family sizes are somewhat similar).

I recently came across "blissful and domestic" after reading about the family's living on $14K per year.

I've spent some time going through the recipes of each and am putting together a new recipe binder of things I'd like to incorporate into our menu plan - everything from smoothies to main entrees.

My next goal is going to do entirely away with processes foods, but I need to get a better game plan in place before that can really happen.

Debut of new work station

March 11th, 2013 at 03:07 pm

Here is a picture of the new-to-us workstation ($250 on craigslist, plus $21.50 truck rental and $4 gas for rental truck).

I am very pleased with it, much more efficient given the previous "work station".



I'll include a final photo once we're officially set up. I'm loving organization, and simplified living. I'm so glad that I found this piece and it was a great fit with need and available funds! I don't feel that I compromised at all, and am so happy that I didn't spend $600 on some laminate stuff that would have taken DH twelve hours to assemble. It is real wood and heavy.

ETA: The top of the station itself extends over the work space on the top of the desk and has three pop lights in to fully illuminate the work space. Additional money saved from not having to buy a desk lamp.

Update I: Organizational Overhaul

March 9th, 2013 at 03:38 pm

Remember the last picture that I posted (shamefully, head hung low shaking back and forth at the imaginary finger waggling at me), I am pleased to report that great progress has been made. As in cleared out, vacuumed, ready for the new desk/hutch/office furniture that DH is picking up. I found it on craiglist (in my town) for $250. This was in reaction to doing a little pre-shopping before placing an order for something nowhere near as nice for $600 at OfficeMax. I knew I was in for good luck when I turned up at the house and it happened to be a grand new construction house with a circular driveway, just very grand and elegant.

So DH and oldest son are riding over in the rental truck ($25 for two hours) and are getting it loaded in, and DB will meet him here to bring it in. The last time I was this excited was when I found my Ethan Allen sofa and loveseat on craigslist last August (for $500).

So, in the meantime preparing for this, I've managed to organize ALL of the office supplies and paper products in the house. And there were quite a bit. I've pared down to shoe box sized containers of markers/crayons/pen & pencils/general office supplies/hardly used supplies (like hole punchers and glue gun). Loving the way that organization feels.

Haven't spent much money lately. I was a judge at the Regional science Fair yesterday and spent ALL day judging 7th and 8th grade projects. (whew, glad that is over) an then I took the girls to see the musical at DD's high school. DH stayed home with the boys and spent $12 on a movie and snacks, still cheaper than bringing all four of them.

Will post final update on Monday.

ETA: The furniture has arrived and we ended up with a bonus matching filing cabinet. So excited to move in. Everyone agrees (husband and brother) that it was well worth the $250.

Organizational Overhaul!

March 6th, 2013 at 05:12 pm

Despite the turbulent times and uncertainty of DH's employment (details haven't been divulged about merger/acquisition), DH's employer made revenue goals for the first time in the six years DH has worked there. This translated to a $1,500 bonus which resulted in a budget surplus of $960 after taxes.

We found a desk/hutch unit on craigslist located in our town. A very nice and large workstation, complete with a storage and work space. We're picking it up this weekend and I've needed to address our very cramped and dysfunctional work space. I am posting it below:



This islike airing my dirty laundry. What is missing from the picture is a tall seven shelf plastic drawer unit that contained office and school supplies.

We're also getting new carpeting in the four bedrooms and all the contents of those rooms need to removed. We had a snow day yesterday and moved all the photo albums/books down, and I'm pleased to say that we're somewhat organized. We did an initial purge and yielded one large bag of garbage, three large bags of items to donate, and one large bag of things to pass on to our friends. I've also decided to part with two CD holders from when I went through a British-inspired phase of life (Big Ben and the Red Call Box) which will be headed to a consignment shop.

So you will see how inefficient life has been here (I will add that most homework is obviously done between the kitchen table and dining room table and the computer is only used for printing out assignment and typing papers/research. The second CPU to the left died last week, so I can part with that. The lamp is ridiculously bright and matches the one on my dresser. There are also markers, odd cards, ipods plugged in and tons of chords. Also a collection of hex bugs (spider, crab, bug) around. It is time to embrace a simplified way of life!! And it is only costing us $250.

It will only get better with the new furniture coming. I'll post the AFTER pictures next week. Smile