Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Outdoor Blogging Continues

The weather is absolutely beautiful. The crocuses are in bloom and the tulips are nearly up.

77 + degrees and sunny.

I've been clearing off the front porch of Mr F's miscellaneous piles of jumper cables, scrub brushes, crushed kleenex boxes, and whatnot. One good thing about living here is no one judges you for white trashing up your front porch.

The girls are enjoying the weather.

Baby's enjoyment seems to always involve a pillow and blanket.

Kid has been *teaching* Baby how to scooter.

Have I mentioned what a fantastic older sister she is? I definitely had them in the right order! She even changed Baby's diaper and got her dressed today. For reals.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Thanks for everyone's comments and emails.

I'm spent.

I've been on the phone and computer all day trying to get insurance quotes. This stuff is unnecessarily complicated... there are no directly comparable plans. And I have no time to spare since I need to get us insured by April 1st and because of Kid's health history that isn't as easy as it could be. On the upside one of insurance agents said I was the most informed person they had ever talked with... I laughed and said that I'd had a fair amount of experience dealing with medical stuff (unfortunately). I've also got Baby whining and clinging and crying all day because she is both sick and being ignored.

So my goals are to get everyone into the dentist before the end of the month. We will not be continuing any dental coverage so I want to take advantage of this while we can.

Oh and Baby goes for her 2 year check up tomorrow.

Kid told her "I'm going to play but you're going to the doctor to get SHOTS which are sharp things they poke into your arms or legs and they go through you to the other side."

Awesome. Thanks for that.

Oh and I'll just 'fess up now that I haven't worked out the last two nights or calorie counted.

Trying Not To Lose It

I suppose both figuratively and literally.

I had finally gotten to the point that I thought I could make things work for us financially. With work. I could pull us through. I was starting to feel a little confidence and hope.

I may not have been happy about a lot of our living arrangements but I felt this was a good career move for Mr F, he was happy and engaged at work; Kid was happy at school... and healthy... I could suck it up for a year or more. That was my plan. Suck it up until something better came along.


Nausea sets in. And tears. And hyperventilating.

We can't cut 15% of our expenses to make up for the 15% cut in take home pay. It's not possible.

We can't pay our mortgage, utilities & food and also pay the premiums.


The plan was NOT to move the kids all over the country chasing down the bare minimum of our cost of living.

I told Mr F "I want you to know that I don't blame you for this." And I don't. It's important that we don't shut down because of the imploding financial stress.

I now scan all the rooms looking with "if we had to downsize what could we get rid off?" glasses on. If we move to NYC and rent a 2 bedroom apartment we'd need to let go of almost everything. But I look at everything and see all the money we invested in it that we can't get back but through it's enjoyment. How much can I ask myself to give up in one year? How much can I ask of the kids? Oh I know we could do it... but the losing of your dream, and hope, and security.... makes it much harder to let go of what you *own*... or at least is does for me.

What if the next place isn't any better?

What if there isn't a next place?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Shit Hit The Fan

I don't know if I can blog now or what.

Mr F came home and said that his job is no longer covering our health insurance.

That is a serious problem.

#1 without warning they have deducted the full premium from our paycheck.

#2 we can not pay our bills now as the insurance premium is higher than we can afford. Period.

#3 Kid has a preexisting condition and getting a cheaper health plan may not be a possibility.

#4 We would never have accepted a job without health coverage.

#5 Did I mention NO WARNING.

Let Me Paint You A Picture Of Last Night

"Waaaaaah Waaaaaah Waaaaaah!"

repeat every 30 minutes or so

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009

Miracle Of Miracles

Unfortunately I failed to snap a true "Before" picture... I only remembered to document my progress once I was in the initial stages of sorting. Also it would have been impossible to truly document since art supplies were scattered in every room of the house (and closet, drawer, crevice under the fridge, etc).

Anyway I stuck at this all day.... and managed to take this job to completion (a huge undertaking as it is a snow day and my efforts were constantly being undermined by both kids).

This Week The Plan

Well today is another Snow Day. Snow Day's are more fun (for the parent) when they are a surprise mid-week.

Things are turning around. Not at a quick pace... but... I they are indeed turning. This week I started working out again. I'm going to do 7 days a week for the entire month of March. No days off. It has been a long time for me and I really need to just throw myself into the routine of it. I'm still too susceptible to sabotage if I give myself a rest day. Also I'm not able to really challenge myself in my workouts and I know that in order to see the results I want to see I need to put in some serious time.
I also recommitted to both daily food journaling and calorie counting. Both of which are harder to start doing than to actually do them. I would really like to get back to where I was last year in terms of fitness and body composition and I'm giving myself a 4 months to do it. I'll be putting up progression shots for that soon.

On the financial front I feel like we are finally moving through this little by little. We are successfully not failing. And that is an accomplishment. Medical bills keep on coming and I'm starting to get confused about what I've paid and what I owe and to whom. I seem to have gotten billed for every aspect of my ER visit by every conceivable specialist separately... but also combined by the hospital. So this week I'm going to organize all the medical bills and see if I can't figure out what is going on. Then I'm calling the hospital billing department and asking what kind of discount they can give me if I can settle it in cash. My goal is to have it sorted out and paid by March 17th (which is when we get our next pay check and I'll have the cash in hand necessary).

Menu Planning:

Sunday - Steak bites, mashed potatoes & peas, jam thumb print cookies

Monday - Cornflake Crusted Tilapia, garlic sauteed broccoli, brownies

Tuesday - Chicken & Dumplings Soup, crusty bread, brownies

Wednesday - Turkey & Black Bean Tacos w/ avocado, brownies

Thursday - Tomato & Meatball Soup, lemon cookies

Friday - Pizza, Salad, lemon cookies

Saturday - Black Bean Quesadillas, ice cream sundaes

Errands & Chores:
Our house is actually in such a state that I can't even do a normal house cleaning. I have some goals for long term functioning but I plan on doing baby steps to get there and just acknowledge that when I don't and I get all extreme "all or nothing" I end up with nothing. Case in point my desk. So I am going to attempt to a 15 minute clean up with the kids each night at 5 PM. While they clean up toys I am going to spend that time picking up the kitchen. I'm also going to reward their 15 minutes with 15 minutes of book time before I start dinner. Oh and a quarter. I am also going to spend 15 minutes working on cleaning off my desk each night once the kids are in bed. JUST 15.

Sunday - groceries
Monday - organize art supplies (still haven't done this)
Tuesday - put away clothes
Wednesday - laundry
Thursday - put away clothes

Sunday, March 1, 2009

So What Do We Make Of This?

For a pretty non religious person I seem to think God is sending me messages quite a bit. Things happen in interesting ways around here and I sometimes think that if there is a God maybe he's trying to convert me himself... I know... how very narcissistic of me. Or maybe life is filled with meaningless coincidences. Or maybe I'm psychic. Only time will tell.

Okay so here is the latest... make of it what you will...

As you know we have been trying to sell Mr F's Volvo sedan. We bought it used a couple of years ago and snagged a really good deal on it. It was already 5 years old and we paid less than it's actual value. It was worth about 12K and we got it for 10K.

Well, I've been really worried about our 2008 taxes. Mr F had still had his freelance work while we were in Michigan and we hadn't paid any estimated taxes. In 2007 we owed around 10K in taxes. This year I knew wouldn't be as much since we only had about 6 months of ever dwindling freelance work.... but I didn't know how much we would owe. I thought it best to guesstimate 50% of our 2007 tax bill which would mean we could need about 5K in a month and a half.

We don't have 5K sitting around since we didn't get Mr F's bonus in December as we had hoped/expected. The only disposable asset we have is Mr F's car. The truth is we don't need that nice of a 2nd car. Up until he bought that one he had driven two junkers into the ground. We figured we could sell it, pay our taxes, and then just get another piece of crap that would suffice for his 4 mile drive downtown. Or better yet he could ride his bike (the one he bought 2 years ago because he was going to commute to work on it).

So Mr F priced his car at what he felt was a good (for us) price. It wasn't the most expensive Volvo listed but it was up there. It's a beautiful car so that seemed warranted. Plus if someone wants it at that price... we need as much as we can get.

No one wanted it. We've had it listed for weeks. People came but no one bit. Mr F kept lowering his price little by little.

At the same time I've been doing our taxes on It's free for your federal return and you pay for your state returns. Better yet you don't pay until you file. Up until now we have used an accountant to prepare our taxes. We pay around $200- $300 for that. Mr F has his business stuff and we have investment stuff... and it is just what we have always done. This year we don't have $200 -$300 sitting around so I figured I'd give this online resource a shot. If I felt like I couldn't do it I could just send the stuff to our accountant... and I would have organized our stuff in the meantime. Plus (the real reason behind all this to begin with) I'd get a pretty good estimate of what we'd owe.

I am so glad I did this!! We don't owe any federal money and we only owe Michigan less than a thousand bucks. That is a huge relief and an upside to our down turned financial existence. So with that information in hand I told Mr F that it wasn't imperative that we sell his car. I mean the worst thing that could happen is we sell a well maintained used car (that we own outright) for a junker that might need 2K put in it 6 months later (it's happened). If we don't need the money why take the gamble... we can always sell it at a lower price if we need to down the road. But it's used and it's getting older and since it is a high end car it's not going to depreciated much year to year... we could sell it next year for a very similar price.

We felt good about that decision. I thought it was a prudent smart choice.

Then the phone started ringing. In less than 24 hours two people have made offers on the car.

I feel like I'm being tested. But I don't know what is the right answer. Stick with my gut and hold onto the car... or sell it for less than we want to get the cash reserve?

Remember when I thought God was telling me to homeschool? But I didn't do it I put Kid in her private school. Then she loved it and I dismissed a high power intervention. Then Mr F lost his freelance & bonus and it turned out if we had homeschooled we would have avoided financial ruin. I thought at the time that the message was about Kid's happiness but then later in retrospect maybe it was about our financial situation. You know? If you were to side on that having been a providential message.
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