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Archive for January, 2013

Perceptions, Reality, and What Would You Do?

January 31st, 2013 at 11:00 am


I have a dilemma, and I need some advice on a situation.

I found myself in the uncomfortable situation as being a sort of "quasi Committee Chair" for our Cub Scout Pack. I have three Scouts and my husband is leader for the 2nd Grader Den. I am the secretary/quasi leader for the 5th grader who is moving on to Boy Scouts later in February.

The guy who is stepping up to be the new Cubmaster or Committee Chair is a high-maintenance sort of guy, and I wake up to daily emails from him that do pertaining to Scouting, but some of it is just odd. I realize that he probably thinks that we are friends, given we spent a day with his family at their beach house and had a great time. Other than that, we don't socialize outside of school. He is abrasive and has alienated those in charge who are moving on. They don't want to deal with him, and consequently everyone choses to deal with ME and I'm in the middle. My role for the new regime is "Treasurer" (I have plenty of other volunteer work to keep me busy outside of Scouts).

On Friday night when others were assembling the Pinewood Derby Track he sent me an email (via text) that said "I think I am getting the cold shoulder." OK?

The most recent email last night had to do with the new policy regarding gays in Scouting.

I assume he perceived me to share the doctrinal view of homosexuality. I love my faith for lots of things, and do not agree with everything. I don't personally chose to use birth control and have a largish family (it would be large if all of my pregnancies ended in healthy, live children). It is none of my business what people chose to do to limit the size of their families. We are pretty devout in our faith life and my children know a lot of their religion inside and out. But guess what, my girls wear bikinis and one even has multiple piercings, and she's waiting until 16 so she can have her cartilage pierced. Because we limit our social obligations during the times of Advent and Lent to focus on our family, we are perceived as "the way right". And guess what, we are Pro-Lifers with the exception of rape/incest/life of the mother. However, I wouldn't even dare to pass judgment on someone who has an abortion. Ultimately it isn't up to me.

I pointed out to this person that I like an inclusive view of Scouts, and DH and I signed the petition to let the gay Eagle Scout be an Eagle Scout. What does it really have to do with life? We can't even say that Scouting is Christian when there are Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish awards of faith. I am dealing with some who wants to blend the issues.

We're butting heads on things like money now. The budget for our annual banquet is $2,300 for 100 people. Last year there were 130 and they did the whole thing for $1,700. This guy is a foodie who wants to do it organically. which I don't think we can afford. $5.50 for one chicken breast?

The worst thing is we are having three long-time individuals "graduate" and in the past the budget has covered their appreciation gifts/plaque. This guy is saying this year we're taking up a collection because it isn't coming out of the budget.

I'm thinking about fighting for the budget to cover these items as it always has in the past. Or do I just resign and let him deal with it all.

I'm already in hot water because our banquet is in the school hall (basement) of our 100 year old school, and I moved it to the basement of our new church so the mother with ataxia and a walker can come without a problem. Oy, do you fight or resign?

January Wrap-Up

January 30th, 2013 at 01:02 pm


Recap for January; all in all I'm pretty proud.

1) Paid January and February mortgage payments, including an additional $933 additional bringing us to an even $258,000 owed.
2) I made January and February payments for braces ($426, $406 regular plus $20 additional) and for tuition ($350, $300 regular plus additional $50)
3) Made a $1,500 contribution to my IRA
4) Upped 401K for DH to 11%, adding $640 roughly to the vanguard money
5) Used credit card not at all
6) Skipped ads and coupons and shopped at Aldi's keeping grocery spending down
7) Four Rxs (new and transferred) added $100 gift cards to the grocery spending
8) Finished the taxes, getting back $4,526 for Federal and $967 from state (It helps to have a large family, actually my children were referred to as a "tribe" at the ortho appointment, someone didn't believe I had that many of them).
9) I paid cash for the hotel for our weekend away in March
10) I did a great job finding bargains on clothing items purchased
11) Extraneous spending including new sporting equipment for the kids (helmet for skier, and new soccer ball and shin guards for the boys).
12) Finished Scholarship paperwork for oldest daughter
13) Making decent progress on paperwork for younger daughter's scholarship

Whew, feels like I've accomplished a lot, since losing the last two weeks to illness. I have two home today. Oh, well.

I should disclose that this isn't going to be our average months. We had some generous Christmas gifts (monetary ones) thrown our way to help up make major progress.

I also opened the Chase account and will get $100 back after I spend $500, and I will make $75 after I transfer $10K from the $20K EF to the Sharebuilder account.

I am ready for February.

I am richer than Zimbabwe

January 30th, 2013 at 06:49 am


According to someone high up in the government of Zimbabwe, the country only has a balance of $217 in their savings account.

I've got more than that in my checking account right now, and payday/rent collection is in two days.

I'm sleep deprived, but have turned the corner in the "poor me" department. Finding out that an acquaintance's child has been diagnosed with leukemia can be a definite wake-up call to be thankful for what you have.

I am off to the doctor again with yet another child who most likely has strep.

The humorous moment yesterday that made me laugh hysterically when sick daughter retold it: She was in the School Office talking to the secretary about her sore throat when the principal walked in and said to her "Well, N, if your skirt were longer it would keep you warmer, and you wouldn't be sick." HA! My daughter has three more months left at that school in that uniform skirt and there isn't anything left to let out. Let's hope the weather warms up and this won't be the cause of her illness. Smile

Thankfully it is most likely another case of strep

January 29th, 2013 at 08:12 pm


I am adding gratitude to my list of "ism" lately: my whines and sighs and groans as yet another child is down.

Younger daughter came home with a sore throat, the exact same kind that oldest son experienced prior to be diagnosed with strep. I just got my older daughter on the mend after an allergic reaction to trace elements of tree nuts.

I can't complain though because a 4th grader at our parish was just diagnosed with leukemia. No details were released, just an 8PM rosary tonight, which I didn't go to. It certainly was a slap in the face to me when I complain about my lot with these germ puffs.

So here I sit in my pajamas, thankful for the health of my children. And my husband. And that my mother's case of the shingles isn't too bad.

Money is just a tool that makes the economy go around. Health and happiness can't be bought. I'm going to say a rosary and count my blessings.

Thanks for listening.

Yay for small successes ...

January 28th, 2013 at 06:56 pm


I had to go back to bed this morning and clocked a four hour nap before waking up at noon. DD was feeling better, ate and kept the food down, caught up on some tv, then did her homework. I managed to get to the grocery store spending $40 on an odd assortment of groceries and items (from the top of my head). I also got the 5th grader caught up on the work he missed last week. And two loads of laundry and one dishwasher load. I straightened and it looks less like a hobo or gypsy camp around here. I also breaded some chicken tenderloins, made a side of pasta noodles, and found a box for cinnamon bread in the cabinet leftover from the holidays, so I made that. Feeling much more productive.

And then I sat down and entered all the information into Turbo Tax. Our federal refund is $4,400 ($300 less than last year) and our state return is $974 ($50 less than last year). Sigh of relief ... I can now get going on the scholarship and financial aid paperwork.

So I am feeling again like a productive member of society. I'm hoping that everyone is back in school tomorrow ... might I dare to wish.

"Whine"

January 28th, 2013 at 05:47 am


First for the money stuff: am going to file taxes and take care of financial aid and scholarship paperwork for daughters early this week. Have an offer from Sharebuilder for $75 additional funds deposited if I transfer in $10K. We have $20K EF sitting there in the money market, so might take advantage of that twice (one for me, one for DH). Also was approved for the Chase Card that pays $100 if you spend $500 in three months (that is my grocery/household budget for the month, so will be easily able to knock that out of the park).

Now for the whine:

Was a hectic, but enjoyable weekend, despite feeling really bad. We had the Pinewood Derby for Cub Scouts on Saturday. Yesterday we had Open House for Catholic Schools Week, and I set up for the Father Daughter Dance and then helped daughter get ready for it. On top of this, I had one child miss 2.5 days of a 4 day school week, so we had lots of make up work to do. Life with sick kids makes it hard to get anything done (as most parents here know). So I'm behind on laundry, grocery shopping, and general cleaning. I am proficient in making beds in the family room, finding missing remotes, making gross medication taste better, and I am a good Lego builder.

I've had a long string of sick ones here: first DH with his peritonsillar abscess, then son with first Step test negative, a week of non eating, and finally a positive strep test. I've also had a daughter with a bad knee from stretching while doing the splits (this really only required an Ace bandage and advil, but still had to deal with it). Also had the random sick feeling child home for one day here of there.

Last night, DH and daughter came home early from the dance. Daughter felt sick and went right to bed, only to wake up three hours later to several rounds of vomit. And she spent the rest of the night in my bed saying she didn't feel well, etc. She's obviously home today and I've been up since about 2:30. DH was a bit foul as things at work are getting really bad.

*whine* I don't wanna do this any more *whine*

Now me ... defintiely not ideal

January 26th, 2013 at 08:15 am


OK, I think the germ puff that tested + for Strep yesterday has passed it on to me? Feels like razor blades reside in the back of my throat?

And this is not the weekend to be sick:
Today - Cub Scout Pinewood Derby
Tomorrow - Open House for Catholic Schools Week AND the Father Daughter Dance for the 9th grader

The sickling who has Strep, tested - on Monday (apparently testing too early). He's not eaten solid food since Sunday and has lost 5 pounds according to the scale at the Dr.s yesterday (from a previous visit in Oct was the starting point I used). I spent $15 at the grocery store yesterday on things he thought he'd like to eat, of those only one can of spaghettios has he attempted. We had a ton of $1 fruit smoothies from Burger King, so he's eaten at least one a day, and I got him a shake from McD's yesterday.

This means that I haven't tracked the spending too closely because I have tons of receipts piling up. Not too interested right now.

8th Grader for her science fair project advanced to the next round of Regionals. I'm pretty confident that she'll go to state which is May 3-4 and we've got the 2nd grader's Communion at 5:00 Mass on Saturday. It will all work out ...

Oh well, thanks for listening ...

Ugh ... when will it end ... and joining the soccer cult?

January 25th, 2013 at 10:31 am

Oldest son tested negative for Strep on Monday. He was home on Tuesday, did school on Wednesday, came home sick yesterday. He went today still complaining of a sore throat. The pediatrician wanted to see him again before the weekend. Friday's test for Strep: Positive.

Another round of antibiotics in my house.

And, oh joy, my boys are all invited to join the soccer club. And I am requested to forward headshots of them for their player cards?! This is like a testosterone version of "Dance Moms" with Miss Abbey and her dance pyramid.

...

Kids and Money

January 24th, 2013 at 05:25 pm


My kids have been talking about money lately.
1) Younger daughter drilled a newbie Irish dancer and was paid $20/hour. She gave me half for her savings account.
2) Older daughter had her braces adjusted today and will have another adjustment in 3 weeks. She's on pace for being out of them in the allotted 15 months, as she's 4.5 months in. The agency she has been scouted by (a large one with a Chicago office) lists their average hourly pay rate at $325. She said that would be a nice way to defray college costs.

Life. Money. Soccer.

January 24th, 2013 at 06:29 am


Money-wise, it's all looking good. One week to pay day/rent collect. Enough remaining in the gas and groceries categories to get us through.

This week was Open Evals for the soccer club in our area (read this as "elite" players). Due to our economic situation, my boys are park district players (read this as "affordable"). Last Summer/Fall, my husband (for his Fraternal Organization) partnered up with this Club in order to run a Soccer Challenge. My 10-year old ended up beating out the Club players and took first in state. The President of the club was in contact with DH about having my son come and try out. DH was smart enough to mention that "our schedule and budget would dictate if this is a possibility, but thank you." So, we've had the "please don't let money be an issue to dissuade you from pursuing this" conversation.

Evaulations for two of three boys have been completed, and I'm already sensing that I won't be fitting in with this group of Soccer Moms. I successfully managed to avoid being a Dance Mom in all of my years with Irish Dance.

Still waiting to hear what sort of discounted fees they'll charge.

Funny note to end on, my mom was at the resale shop associated with our local hospital and she came across a sweatshirt from this soccer club; she picked it up to buy it, until she realized that there was a last name on the back ...

The Germ Dance Continues

January 22nd, 2013 at 05:51 am


DH had his go with the abscess on the tonsils last week, with follow up yesterday. He was told he has an increased likelihood of this happening again, and if it does: tonsils out. He said he laughed at that prospect; he is 44.

Had the 5th grader to the pediatrician yesterday and he's got acute pharyngitis. No Rx required, but he can't swallow and is sort of high-strung, so I'm hoping he makes a speedy recovery.

DH just took the kids to school and the 2nd grader started sobbing, didn't want to go, and starting coughing with the croupy-like bark. Uhhh ... at least this was after yesterday's open evaluations for our community's soccer league.

Money-wise, we're looking OK. Our weekend entertainment spending didn't exceed $25 - $15 for pizza on Friday when there was a sleepover, $6 at Family Video to rent a game for the XBOX and a movie, and $4 to get into the basketball game at the grade school.

I found out from the 8th grader who was tubing yesterday that to rent a helmet was $10. Makes me glad we bought hers for $19 + tax at Walmart. Odds are she'll use it again since she declares she now loves winter sports.

I did the right thing regarding a situation with the Cub Scout's Blue & Gold Dinner. It is held in the basement of our antiquated school which isn't handicapped accessible (read: lots of stairs). I sent out the Evite and was shocked that one response was from a mother with ataxia who can't do stairs. We've got a nice room in the church basement, but we've got an elevator there. Type A planner going out isn't happy, new leader coming in is fine. I don't know how this can even be an issue ...

Sunday's unplanned expenses

January 21st, 2013 at 04:57 am


$19.99 for a Walmart purchase. A sports helmet for the 8th grader who is off on her Ski Trip today. Today: the day that will be the coldest in two years with Arctic breezes making their way south to the Midwest. We checked at Play It Again Sports and they had nothing. At least it was new and pretty and pink and she'll be safe AND warm.

$10 for two of the boys to go to see "Lincoln". A friend's husband is out of town and she was looking for something to do with her three boys, and our local theatre was playing it. The 5th grader is learning about the Civil War and we have a local place that we visited that was a stop on the Underground Railroad. So off he and his brother went. One of mine fell asleep, but the 5th grader had a good time with the 8th grade brother and mother/my friend. It was PG-13, but because of the historical significance I thought it was a wise parenting decision.

Todays's anticipated spending: minimal.

Benefits of a budget and Money Moons aligning

January 20th, 2013 at 07:56 am


The budget is pretty much fixed and accurate these days. I was able to defray the spending for groceries by using $75 in gift cards from three Rxs new to Jewel. (I've been average $110 a week for everything, with the last two only being $95).

8th Grade Daughter has quite a few functions coming up: Father Daughter Dance, Valentines Day Dance, Confirmation, May Crowning and Graduation. She is a sweet girl who said she'd be happy to wear her sister's hand-me-downs for some events, but wanted two new dresses (Father Daughter Dance and Graduation). We were shopping at delias yesterday looking to see if the dress she wanted was finally on sale and I had a $10 off of $30 purchase. It was on sale, and because she is so small there were tons of size 0s on clearance. She bought a beautiful black and sparkly dress for the Father Daughter Dance, a periwinkle colored dress with scalloped skirt for the school Dance, and a beautiful pink/gray lace dress for graduation. Here is the best part: after the reductions and the coupon, I paid $59.50! I about did the dance of joy right there. Had the money in the checking account (no plastic no more).

And it gets even better that older daughter wants to wear one for the turnabout dance. Smile

Payday. tired, bored

January 18th, 2013 at 09:48 am


It's "money in, money out" day here, and the benefits of a well-laid plan are you know exactly what goes where and when. The budget is pretty much set in stone for the next three months and I'm working on the "extraneous funds account" now.

Our spending for the last period (1/4-1/17) looked like this:
$60 basketball class for Y, $50 refunded
$150 balance for DH's gym/work out/training (Jan-Mar, already paid $100 in December)
$50 for 8th grader's ski trip
$30 for 8th grader's test fee for high school
$60 for ticket to 9th graders Father Daughter Dance

This go around it appears it will be
$28 for ticket to 8th Graders Father Daughter Dance
$35 for annual dues for DH's fraternal organization
$56 for 8th grader's dance class

Small extraneous expenses from Living Expenses Account will be oil change ($18 after coupon), new soccer ball because Club Evals are next week for the boys.

I spent $72 on groceries today to round out yesterday's $68 trip (covered by gift cards). Put $50 in gas.

So in the money category, I'm bored. In real life, I'm tired. Yesterday wiped me out, especially after the urgent care doctor said it was highly unlikely that DH had an abscess on the tonsils, and he'd have to do blood work and a CT because it was suspicious. Glad it turned out to be totally negligible in the scheme of worrisome medical conditions, but today I'm feeling an emotional toll taken. The only upside to the whole event is DH and I were able to spend quality time together, albeit in medical establishments. Reminds me how lucky I am to share my life with a man who shares the same vision for our future. The singles in my life are all looking for love and not finding it, or settling for OK situations.

Deciding how to spend out extra money $725 this period, the braces and tuition payments are current and I might throw some extra onto the next mortgage 2/1 and maybe make additional payments on both braces ($203 monthly with a balance of $2,820, and balance of tuition for elementary school kids is $556 which we pay $150 a month.) An additional $433.57 will bring us to an even $257,000 owed on the mortgage.

Oh, well. All for now.