Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Great Roommate Search

Since I don't generally look at my prior posts before I post another one and I'm really forgetful, I'm not sure if I have mentioned that as part of my financial cleanup I'm looking for a roommate.

It has been argued that I am not trying hard enough, but a few things come into play. I don't want to post my info all over the internet, so I am not placing an ad. Ok, I admit, my info is already all over the internet, but right now, I don't want to deal with a bunch of creepers calling me.

Instead, I am looking in the "housing wanted" section of craigslist. I have contacted a few people. One got so far as talking about a meeting, through her friend's mom, but never actually set one up.  Another is supposed to let me know when he actually arrives in town. We communicated via text. Tomorrow is February 1, I don't think I'm going to hear from him. I'm thinking that his Girlfriend didn't actually want him to follow her to college. A couple decided that my home would not be a good fit, one because it was not geographically convenient (reasonable) one because she wanted housing for her and her 90 pound dog for $200 per month or less since she is a student and can only eat organic food, which, of course is expensive and eats up most of her schooling budget. She won't work during the semester and has been unable to get temporary employment during breaks. I'm thinking, based on her diet, that working at McDonalds just isn't an option for her.

There's some really interesting people out there, so I did what any mediocre blogger would do, I started filming myself reading the posts to you. I have one in my pocket. It's short. And unedited. Not because I can't edit it, but because I started to and then I got bored and went back to Netflix and Knitting. In my world, knitting and Netflix is way more exciting than video editing.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Crafts for the single and childless

I am a maker. This is not news.

I love pinterest. This is also (probably) not news.

Pinterest helps me in many ways. It provides an easy reference for inspiration and easy to find instructions (mostly) and allows me a virtual place where I can save all those neat things I find on the internet which USED to get printed out but now get pinned. So there is less paperwork and random napkins with websites jotted down.


However, Pinterest, very early on, was overtaken by Mommy Bloggers and super moms who homeschool their children and, from what I hear from many moms, create an unrealistic expectation on how you should be raising your kid.

I don't know, I don't have kids. But if I did, and I thought I was supposed to be making them homemade play dough and sprinkling their dreams with fairy dust every night, I might feel a little guilty about using cake mix instead of doing everything by scratch and organically. With fantastic pictures. Because we are all professional photographers and with the advent of the digital camera, there is no excuse not to take perfect pictures. (sarcasm. I'm better at it than photography)


I digress. I'm good at that too. (digression?)

Since plan A for my yearly homemade Valentines Day cards didn't work out due to faulty rubber stamps (damnit), I went to Pinterest to find fresh inspiration. What I found was that unless I have some little baby feet to stamp onto my cards and decorate to appear like animals, I may as well take my pathetic barren uterus and find a depressing closet to curl up in. I'm thinking the coat closet since in addition to the vacuum, dog hair tends to gather there.

I'm kidding about my uterus. I like it empty. Can you imagine if I had accidentally gotten knocked up at some point over the years? My poor warped children would be stuck with me as a mom and well, we know I'm not really very good at picking out men for myself. Good guys, remember, just not generally good for me.

I guess the point is that I'd better start making some inspirational stuff for those of us who don't have a plethora of baby feet to paint and press on stuff. I'll get right on that. I should probably dust off the digital camera first...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

And then the Enablers

I received a text message from my mom the other day. It was a link to a sale going on at *insert national chain of craft stores here*. It said something to the effect of, I know you aren't spending right now, but remember that yarn you wanted?

I did see some yarn I wanted while I was in San Diego last time and although I carried it around for a bit, I remembered that I don't actually NEED more yarn. In fact, since I am a spinner, I have more yarn than I tend to use. The colors were stunning, and in a hat, would have been stripey. At the time, I reminded myself that I shouldn't spend money on something I could make AND that I was on a budget AND didn't actually have a project in mind. I still have three scarves that are looking for a home.

I didn't buy it then, and though it's tempting, I won't be buying it now.

My mom, she means well. And since she didn't get to spoil me as a child, likes to spoil me now. She would have bought that yarn for me that day except she really can't afford, well, anything right now. She also knew that if she had offered I would have refused. In her mind, even though it's not in my budget, it would be okay to buy that yarn because I like it, I wanted it, and it's on sale.

Exactly the attitude that gets me in trouble.

It's difficult enough to tell myself that I can't have liquid coffee creamer this week because it will put me over budget (actually, I think I CAN have it this week). Every time I dump the powdered stuff into my cup I think about how I put myself in this situation.

By buying everything I want because I want it and maybe it might even be on sale.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Hmm. choices, choices.

Since I am coming to understand that while my desire for things and experiences is infinite, my income is not, I'm finding myself having to make choices.

I'm not really very good at making choices. Too many options and I shut down. It's another of the many things I struggle with on a daily basis. I've learned to limit my own choices so as not to be annoying when I can't decide what I want to order off a menu (if it comes down to it, I will close my eyes and point) and try to help other people deal with my indecision by explaining that I need three choices, and I will pick from there. Any more than that and I am likely to go blank and take so long to decide that we may as well just starve. If you ask me what I want to do today, chances are I'm going to look at you like a deer in the headlights because while I may know what I want to do with my day by myself, I likely have no idea what I want to do WITH someone. So I will defer to your idea OR try and come up with something you will enjoy. This is probably the reason why, when the inner brat starts in, I give in, because it's just NICE to be passionate about wanting something.

Some choices are logical and I can use hard data to help me make a decision.

Other times, it's not so easy.

I'm finding myself torn between Netflix and a Gym Membership.

Netflix, of course, provides a great deal of entertainment at my house. I like getting a DVD in the mail every few days and use it as an opportunity for either downtime or crafting time on the couch. In other words, Netflix = Relaxation. I don't have cable so barring the DVDs and Videos I have been watching over and over for years, Netflix is my source for new entertainment. I have recently been watching Hulu, but that is limited to what is available. And if it's a current show, and I don't know the back story, well, I may as well have Netflix.

The Gym would save me about $2 per month. And I would love to go. I felt GREAT during those three months I gave myself for my birthday and would have kept on going if I hadn't run into the money wall. I found a place that is the same distance away as the community center with a pool, better hours and options, and for $20 less per month. The Gym = health. But it also means a little less time with the pup and less down time, which, I think we all need.

I feel like I am building a character on The Sims or a similar geeky game. Where I have finite funds and finite personal resource and I have to build myself into the best person I can. No wonder those games are so popular; allocating the resources is as easy as clicking an icon.

In case you are wondering why I don't use Derby as my exercise, my injuries are such that I can only participate in SOME of the drills which means I spend a lot of time helping with Fresh Meat. I don't get a lot of exercise that way (I DO get a lot of personal satisfaction though!). In a 2 hour practice, I'm lucky to get 30 minutes of hard exercise. Typically, it's closer to 15.  In addition to that, I plateaued with skating, fitnesswise. I need to change it up to get the right amount of exercise in order to meet my heath and weight loss goals. This means that I can't JUST skate, I need other forms of exercise as well. Since I don't like jogging about the neighborhood, and I'm likely to get distracted at home, the gym is my best choice for a well rounded exercise regime.

It would be easy if there weren't benefits to both. I do consider the Library an option for movies, I just don't know if they have a good selection. And I'm bad about returning things. I owe them money. On the flip side, I work less than a block from one! So there really isn't a good excuse there.

Both is not currently an option. Sigh.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Support System

It's amazing how when you start out on a journey, you don't know you will need a support system until it comes out of the woodwork to help you.

I'm fortunate. I got to watch Bratty for a long time before I decided that I wanted a similar level of financial comfort as she enjoys. She isn't wealthy, but she doesn't sweat it if she forgets her lunch at home and has to order delivery. She's kind enough to listen when I tell her all about my latest scheme for saving money, usually something she's already done, and doesn't fault me when I splurge a little on something.

I'm fortunate. My Wife gets it too. As a recent college graduate, she has to watch her pennies carefully. So if I tell her I can't come out because it's not in the budget, she gets it. While I am deeply honored that I have friends who want my company so much that they are willing to ignore my budget shortfalls and will try to convince me to go out, what I need is people who will accept that I can't right now, so that I CAN in the future.

I found a surprising ally in my journey the other night in my friend Russ. It was he that got to hear the brunt of my inner child's hamburger temper tantrum the other night because we happened to be texting when it hit. Russ has seen all of my food related issues. He's seen me "normal", he's seen me famished and unsure what I want, just that I need to eat SOMETHING and soon. And now, he's seen the ugly flip side of that. It happens, I laugh about it, I try to avoid the behavior, like so many bad behaviors I have.

Russ considered taking me out to dinner that night so that I could have a burger and fries. But he realized that by doing so, he wasn't helping me. And he's right. Spending his money doesn't fix the problem where I overspend mine. He even said I sounded like a 5 year old throwing a tantrum. He has kids, he knows that you can't give them what they want, even when that kid is hiding in the body of an adult. I laughed, I saw that too. I agreed with him that those temper tantrums need to stop, that although they are funny, and stem from my body needing specific nourishment (there are exceptions to this), it can be annoying and expensive to give into those. I do not wish to be spoiled and demanding in any way, shape or form, and I am fortunate to have friends that not only know that, but want to help me on my financial journey so that I can avoid being that way.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

You're in charge, so act like it

I don't talk about Derby very often because I don't want to talk shit and then deal with the aftermath. As we know, there is always aftermath. It's funny how I will talk all day about how I am rearranging my money and I don't talk about two things that affect me on a day to day basis. Derby and Men.

Today (which is actually a couple of days ago for you) I ran practice.

I've done this before, with just the Reno Roller Girls, but since practice space is scarce in this town, we have been sharing the Rink with the Battle Born Derby Demons. It seems to be working out pretty well for both leagues.

Since our Freshmeat coach had to bow out, I stepped up to watch over Freshmeat as long as I have a syllabus. I don't mind working with FM because they are still really open to learning. It's a place where I feel like I can do the most good with the least amount of attitude.

When I looked over the syllabus, it turned out that I was running the whole practice. Vets, Freshmeat, everyone. Oh my.

So I owned it. And really, for the most part, it went just fine. But with any situation where you have strong heads, there were a couple of times that I had to assert myself. When some of the girls decided during an endurance drill that they were going to throw in some blocking, I had to put a stop to it. While it is true that they hit me while they were doing it, that's not why. I can take a hit (I wasn't wearing most of my pads though so this wasn't wise) but there were untested skaters out there that aren't ready. AND veteran skaters who weren't in a mindset for contact.

The ladies settled down without a fuss. Then there were a couple who decided that they needed to skate in the opposite direction (this keeps our bodies even. It is important, but everyone needs to be going in the same direction together) I reminded them that doing this would screw up the skaters going in the correct direction so they left the track to do their own thing. I had to call them back. Twice.  I was nice about it, but really? We're adults and should able to follow the leader without wandering off.

All in all, it was a good practice. And I am proud of myself for calling out the skaters that decided they didn't have to do what everyone else was doing. Being in charge isn't easy, but I faked it. And I think it will be easier in the future.

Monday, January 14, 2013


I live in a world where there are consequences for my actions. They may not happen right away, but eventually the things I do catch up with me.

It drives me crazy, by the way, to be around people who have no apparent consequences to their actions.

This is the reason for the budget, as I have been pounding into the blogosphere for the last couple of months. In just a few years, I have managed to put myself right back into the same amount to debt I was in when I got my job at Starbucks. Clearly, I just didn't learn my lesson the first time.

I'm doing good. I'm avoiding situations where I might spend money, even if it means that I miss out on the fun, but since I'm at home, I'm having to find things to do, which means catching up on projects that I would otherwise be putting off.

Today I had an invitation to go to breakfast after practice. There would be lots of great derby girls there and a chance to get to know people I don't normally hang out with. It was easy to say no, because it isn't in my budget. (Technically, this would be in the entertainment budget but that's gone) what wasn't easy was refusing the kind offer to have my breakfast paid for. I didn't want to be rude, but...

I don't want to be that girl, and I think I have been in the past. The one who lives beyond her means by letting other people take care of her. Like the night I popped in to say hi to the ladies who were having dinner after practice,  not intending to stay, knowing I didn't have the money, and ended up having my dinner paid for. This wasn't by design, I would have done the same for someone else, but it doesn't make me feel good about myself.

Missing these things is the repercussion for overspending. It's a price I have to pay for getting myself in order and getting my bills paid off so that in the future I CAN go to breakfast or go get a burger without counting the change in the change jar. That $10 I would have spent on breakfast is $10 I need to fix my car or the fence or to go to LA for my sister's birthday.

I know I talk about it a lot, but I'm seeing money in a whole new way. Not as an infinite resource but as a precious commodity that I need to survive I the manner to which I am accustomed. Except that I can't do it in the manner to which I am accustomed because that way is more than I have. And that means not spending what other people have as  well.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Shut up, you.

So, strangely, I have been having a lot of run ins with my inner child. I think all this budget madness is bringing her out. She's even appearing in my dreams. How else can you explain the presence of a blond girl who looks suspiciously like me around age 11?

Next time I see her, we're gonna have a little chat.

Anyhow, I get home from the grocery store where, because I was using coupons, I spent this week's AND last week's food budget (getting ahead means a trip to Costco for meat and such), Coupons. They trip me up a lot because they are often 50 cents or $1 off... of 15. And I think, WHAT A GREAT DEAL!! and end up spending $20 to save $1.

The manufacturers are laughing all the way to the bank. I need to be more careful.

So, I go to the store and I come home and I'm hungry. And the inner child announces she wants a hamburger. With big thick salty steak fries. NOTHING ELSE WILL DO.

So I tell her, I will feed you crescent rolls! (NO!) I will feed you biscuits!! (NONONO!!)

I checked the change jar. A trip to wherever is going to be at least $10 and at the rate I'm going, I'm not going to escape without a milkshake. (this inner child of mine isn't just a brat, she's a fat kid). There's like, $5 in there. Can't use the travel budget, I overspent many months of that on Six Flags.

I joked to a friend of mine that I considered selling the dog.

Thankfully, I managed to distract her with promises of pork chops and mashed potatoes. Biscuits. Because really a craving is your body telling you it needs something. In my case, meat and carbs. I will likely sneak some broccoli in there. I wonder if it's too late to put carrots in the mashed potatoes? (probably)

And I get it. I've been really really good. Eating well and sticking not only to my budget but to a menu as well. But my inner child, she's tired of lentil soup.

But I can't let her go on running my life. She's not very good with money. I have a full candy jar that will attest to that!

Friday, January 11, 2013

The state of the budget

The state of the budget is good. I managed to go 2 weeks without spending anything outside my budget with the exception of celebrating the New Year. Last week I only spent money on gas. I was thrilled to see, when I checked my bank account last night pre pay, that there were no surprises and no fees. My belly is full, the critters are fed, and the fence fell down again.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Sometimes, I think I sound needy when I'm not. But Sometimes, I kind of am.

Saturday I spent most of my day in the Studio cleaning and organizing, a project that started last weekend but wasn't done this weekend. In between lifting and carrying, I would check my facebook. Saw one post from my wife that said she was at Six Flags for the second time that week.

Two things went through my brain.

1. I have a free ticket from buying a pass last week. She totally should have grabbed it from me! (this was posted to facebook)
2. How come I wasn't invited? (this was NOT posted to facebook!)

I hate to be left out. Hate it. This is an issue I've dealt with since childhood and I am actively working on fixing it. If people are having fun, I want to be there. If they are hanging out, I want to be there. You never know when something exciting is happening. Thus far, the only time I don't pout about being left out is when I'm out doing something equally fun. I can be unreasonable, but generally, the logic of knowing that I can't be in two places at one time wins out. Add all that to my insecurity about whether people like me in general, and you can see where a flip out is possible. I try to hide those. I'm not going to pretend that they haven't happened.

This has affected friendships. It has affected relationships. I actively work on dealing with these issues.

So, once I got over the initial reaction to not being invited, I went back to my cleaning and it wasn't too long before I realized a couple of things.

1. Another trip to Six Flags this week is not in my budget. In fact, the trip I took last week wiped out my entertainment budget for the next several months. So unless I can teleport to the park and back for free and learn to survive without food while I am out, I can't really afford to go.
2. If I were at Six Flags playing, I wouldn't be cleaning, and I'm really proud to have focused that time and energy on a project that I have essentially been putting off for three years.

Happy, I returned to my previously scheduled activity. I no longer felt left out, I felt a bit relieved that I WASN'T invited because I would have gone if I was, and just extended my entertainment budget out another month. This is no way to stay on a budget!! (BTW, the reasoning for not being asked had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with me as a person, which, is probably the case 99% of the time)

I mentioned it to my wife yesterday when I called her after practice, and as I told her the story, and she defended her actions, I realized that I sure did sound needy. And that even though I was really okay with the situation, it may not sound that way. And that by telling her how it made me feel, she might be hearing "you hurt my feelings" not "I'm glad you had a good time, I'm really glad I stayed at home and worked on my house"

Somewhere along the line, I have discovered that I have a need to tell everyone what I am thinking all the time. All the details. And to those who don't know me (you know, like my family) comments might come across wrong. "Your shampoo makes my hair fluffy!" might be taken as "your amenities suck" rather than "Ha, ha! everyone laugh at my wafro!", which is what I really mean.

I don't know. Maybe I'm worrying about stupid stuff too much. But a bit of censoring won't hurt around people who don't know me yet (and a bit around people who do) AND it will be good to remember that chances are, whatever it is, isn't personal. It's just how things work out sometimes.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

My Epiphany

As you know from my last post, after reading about an Epiphany cake, I decided I needed to make one. Then I remembered that I don't have money to put in said Epiphany cake. Which is probably good because I'm not actually Christian, do not celebrate Epiphany, and would likely make a mockery of this occasion.

The universe in all it's wiseassery, still answered my Epiphany prayer. I'm still giggling.

I spent most of my weekend cleaning out and reorganizing my Studio (which really needs a more creative name. I'm open for suggestions. G Rated ones. I can't go around on the Bubbly Creations blog and Twitter talking about my Sadomasochistic Sex Dungeon, which, I have friends that swear existed in my last house. I never found it).

About halfway through yesterday, I decided I needed a cookie. After all, I CLEANED OUT THE STUDIO. It's so clean that I can roll my chair at high speeds from one corner to the other. I even took a video of it. The chair rolling.

I stopped the madness for a few minutes (BEFORE I threw up from all that chair rolling) and made some chocolate chip cookies.

I use the term "chocolate chip" loosely because it turns out that before he went off to his new home, Oliver ate all but about 10 of my delicious 60% cocoa dark chocolate chips without telling me JUST TO SPITE ME one last time.

I mixed them in anyway. The cookies are delicious. And, maybe, just MAYBE, you'll get one with a prize inside! One tasty melty molten chocolate chip surprise. Happy Epiphany to me!

To use the alternate definition of epiphany, I had one. Then I forgot what it was. But since I want to upload said video, I might remember before you even knew I forgot.

30 seconds later... Oh yeah! I should probably check stock on my chocolate chips more often now that Oliver has a new home and won't be eating them all when I am not paying attention...

The video. Watch at your own risk.

Monday, January 07, 2013

It's a new year. Again.

I don't really make resolutions. Or at least, not ones that I intend to keep. I'd rather act on bettering myself NOW as opposed to saving it for the end of the calendar when I might have forgotten how I wanted to better myself AND when there is so much expectation. This is why I started organizing my life back in July. And why I started exercising more in June, with a step up in August. It's why I took my finances by the horns in November even though we were THIS CLOSE to the traditional period of goal setting.

Somehow that went a lot more in a serious direction than I intended, but I'm also going though a more serious period.

Which is why it was really good that I decided to pretend for a little bit that I couldn't afford it and head over the hill to Six Flags for New Year's Eve.

When the clock struck twelve, I was on a roller coaster. The fireworks were going off and my wifey was by my side. There were no new year kisses, no boys (Holger doesn't count), and for a rare occasion, I was okay with that. As I rode that coaster twice more (all together 4x in a row) I thought about how my life is going right now and how good it feels to be putting it all together and heading in a positive direction. I also thought about how a fifth round would likely make me puke.

To me, my New Year holiday was perfect. A little bit of adventure, and a bright outlook for the future. Good company, and a unique way to hurtle into 2013.

Friday, January 04, 2013

I'm going through spending withdrawls!

I admit that I spent some on New Year's Eve, about which I have already written but have not posted because I want to attach a picture and I forgot to take care of it last night.

Not the point. The point is, that I have not wandered off my budget (excepting one 5 layer burrito and New Year's Eve) since I placed it and I'm finding it difficult to remain that way.

I'm not saying I won't. For example, I managed to spend only $.68 over on my grocery budget the other day, and I am really proud. I didn't buy anything that wasn't on my list, and to be truthful, I forgot something. BUT remembered that I had the ingredients at home so instead of buying cornbread mix, I made it from scratch. And it was delicious. And only slightly not-cooked. Apparently, in addition to a new fence, I also need a new stove. Or a stove repair. I may just have to be half baked for awhile.

I am, by nature, a pretty social person and I really like to do fun little things. Like today when I got a bug to make an Epiphany cake. Only with stuff in there that is relevant to my life and that of my friends, since none of us are particularly religious OR if we are, we don't advertise. That's private stuff, you know?

As I started plotting what I would put in my trinket cake, I remembered something really important. Trinkets cost money.

Darn. Kill that idea.

And then think about how no one really needs that crap anyway and while it would be FUN to do something like that, and I might find a reason to do it at some point, there's no reason to do things just for the sake of doing things if all they do is cost money, create random crap, and make me fat. I do love cake.

It's hard not to spend money when I have a million great ideas. I'm discovering though, that it's a lot of fun to find ways around the money issue without cramping my style! Mmmm. Cornbread.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Just come right out and say it

I did something tonight that I am proud of.

I have been avoiding talking about the state of my love life for a variety of reasons. It's partially because  I don't want to talk about things that should be left private. Goodness knows, talking about things here has bitten me in the butt before and I really don't want that to happen again.

It's partially because I often blog when I am frustrated and in case there is someone listening who is or knows someone I am dating, it's better that I deal with them directly rather than have them learn how I am feeling here.

It's tough, keeping all those secrets, but I suppose it's better to have some and be healthy than to spill it all and drown.

Today I received a message from a man who used to date a friend of mine. She had told me a long time ago that he had a bit of a crush, but, although I was flattered, I didn't think anything of it. This man is at least 10 but probably closer to 20 years older than me. The breakup is fairly recent.

He asked me out for drinks or dinner.

I thought about how to respond. I don't ever want to be cruel, but I also didn't want to lie. Am I seeing anyone? Well, there's that one guy who I see once in awhile who I care about but doesn't really act like he returns my esteem so, no, can't really say that. Well I could. But it would feel like lying. How often do you see someone to be counted as "seeing" them? Dig any deeper than that and I am likely to spill over, so lets just get on with the story.

I was truthful. I told him that although I am flattered that he would want to spend time with me, that I am not interested. Perhaps he will understand. Perhaps he will be angry. I'm not sure. It doesn't matter. What matters is that I was honest, and maybe a little blunt, but that he can't really come back and say that I left the option open, because I really didn't. I told him I wasn't interested and left it at that, which means he can move right along to a different crush who may just turn out to return the feeling.

Later, I thought about all the times I have held onto the hope that so and so might decide they really do want to spend their time with me because they left that option open. I thought about how often I could have been saved a lot of heartache if people had been honest and blunt. How the times that people were honest and blunt I was able to move along with my life so much quicker because I didn't hope for a change in outcome.

I feel a little bit like a grown up right now.