Thursday, September 9, 2010

Got Money?

Hey everyone,

I just ran across a blog about money management that has impressed me: Len Penzo Dot Com. This blog is written by a non-professional (he's an engineer by trade), and he doesn't seem to be selling anything.

He's done analyses of all kinds - consumer products, pros and cons of credit cards, interest savings on pre-paying mortgage principal, the lowdown on rechargeable batteries, and of course, financial tips and strategies.

Check it out.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick

Yeah, it's been awhile.

Nobody needs to get excited that I'm up and blogging again. I'm making no promises. But I have some things rattling around in my head that I want to get down.

Life has a way of jerking you around. You think things are how you want them, and suddenly they change. I hate change. And yet it seems to be the one thing in life I can always count on.

I am reeling today from two recent changes in my life.

First, my BFF of two years moved away a couple of weeks ago, taken 3 hours away by her husband's new job. It's a really great opportunity for their family: Better pay and benefits, shorter commute, solid company that values its employees, opportunity for promotion-- really a no-brainer. I was as supportive as I knew how to be. I was heavily involved in the process of packing and moving. I tried to do whatever I could to smooth the incredibly stressful process of moving a family of seven, like a good friend should. I'm thrilled for them, truly I am. But I am also totally and completely left behind, and feeling somewhat sorry for myself about that.

Desolate is the word that comes to mind.

And while it's true that I have more time for my own projects now, and I'm keeping up on the housework better than I did for the last month (which surely pleases my husband), I miss her terribly. I spent the last two plus years spending at least part of almost every weekday with this chick, and that will never happen again. I feel like someone died. And even though I can still talk to her on the phone and go to visit from time to time, it will never be the same again. And that makes me very sad.

Did I mention I hate change?

Second, my oldest daughter went to college this week. I helped her move her things to her apartment on Wednesday. I have felt oddly unemotional about the whole thing, and have wondered how I could be so untouched by this huge event. Perhaps I've been so preoccupied with the First big change (see above), that I didn't really give much attention to this other thing I hate but can't control.

It was our idea, my husband's and mine, for her to move out for college, even though the school is only 10 miles to the north of us. We believe that children are meant to grow up and live their own lives someday - and we've based our whole philosophy of parenting on the principle of independence. We wanted her to have the full college experience, and believed that is hard to do when a student commutes from home. She's learned as much as she can while living at home, and it's time for the next stage of her growth living independently, or as much as one can be independent when mom and dad are paying for room and board, anyway.

The move went well, and our goodbye was tear-free. I actually haven't spoken to her since then, although my husband has. I think about her several times every day, wondering what she's doing and hoping that she's enjoying her new life.

And then this afternoon I was planning what to fix for dinner tonight, and my mind automatically calculated what quantity of food to prepare based on who would be in attendance. And then it hit me: she won't be here tonight, and will never eat dinner here on a regular basis again. And suddenly her move became real, and those oddly absent emotions rose up without warning and made my eyes sweat a little. I felt a little silly that my grief took two whole days to surface. My friend apparently thought so too, judging by the chortling that came over the phone line when I shared my quasi-epiphany with her.

And now I'm sitting here thinking of all the things we didn't do before she left, and wishing I had paid more attention and planned better for her exodus. My bad. My loss.

Please Lord, no more changes this month.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pop-up harassment

So I'm looking into booting my daughter out of the house in the fall. Along with having control over her life, I figure she should have control over her cell phone bill (as in pay for it). You know? So I'm online looking at different options, and I browse on over the the Cricket Wireless website. I'm looking at the chart showing the various individual plan offerings, when the screen grays out and this little pop-up, well... pops up! Apparently I took too long to click on an option and they think I need help from their live chat person in India. I don't want to talk to someone from India at the moment and so I look for the little x that will close the pop-up. And guess what-- There isn't one. No apparent way to close the box. It just sits there, right in the middle of the website, following my every mouse move. I scroll up, it scrolls up. I click on an option, it follows me to the next page. There is no getting rid of this thing! The only options I seem to have is either to click on the "chat" button in the middle of the pop-up, or close the browser and escape the webpage.

So what do you think I did?

in reference to:

- Cricket Wireless | Prepaid Cell Phone Plans, Unlimited Cellular Plans (view on Google Sidewiki)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Five Minute Friday - March 5

Every now and then I think I should post, but don't want to take the time to compose, proofread, edit, over and over as I was trained to do in college. It all sounds like too much work, so I end up not posting at all. So today I'm going to just write for five minutes, and when the buzzer goes off, I'll stop.

And I'm drawing a blank...

last night we went to Karianne's choir concert at the high school. She sang and danced so well and I have to admit that I was proud. My dad came down for the evening and it's always nice to have him visit.

The house is essentially finished - meaning that we're using all the rooms now, including the kitchen. Our beautiful cabinets and countertops are in and we LOVE THEM! Nathan remarked the other night that it is actually fun to do dishes in a nice kitchen that looks good when you clean it up. I figured it also helps that now the TV is facing the ktichen he can watch the BYU basketball game while he works so it doesn't seem like so much of a chore. That was one of our goals in building on -- so that the person in the kitchen wasn't isolated from the rest of the family. Mission accomplished on that one.

Tomorrow the electrician will come to install the last of the lights, and then all that is left is some paint touch up and to make a decision about the kitchen backsplash. Oh, and design and install shelving for the pantry. Does anyone know of a good, affordable closet place they can recommend?

Susan has a drumline competition at her high school Saturday afternoon. We are excited to go and support her and the team in this regional competition. If you don't know what drumline is, come and find out! You'll be very pleasantly surprised! Tickets are $5 per person, $20 per family.

And... that's all folks. Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

You know that girl?

The one who strings along four guys at once, and the one she likes best is the last one she made out with?

I feel like that girl.

I am courting several granite countertop guys. First there's Steve. My sister introduced me to him. He did countertops for her last townhome project (her husband is a builder). Steve is the lowest bidder, but doesn't have the expensive high tech CNC machines and water jet cutters. I find myself wanting to hire him because of my sister's recommendation, but I just don't feel right about it.

Then there is Juan. Juan got our number from the building permit we filed with the city. He talks too much, and I always find myself cringing when I see his number on my phone. But he's attentive, and other people who have used his company are very happy with their work. He doesn't seem to know exactly what kind of tools they use at his shop. But his bid is only a few hundred more than Steve's. I'm going tomorrow to see some of his work.

Dave is kind of the strong silent type. I've never actualy met him. When I talked to him he seemed a little annoyed when I challenged him on the cost of a certain type of granite. He claims they do it better than anyone else, with fancy schmancy equipment, water cooled diamond tipped saws (aren't they all diamond tipped?), and computerized laser templates. Whatever that means. His bid is $500 to $1000 more than Juan's. I haven't talked to him in awhile... and I'm not sure why.

BJ is a tall strapping young man who is sure his product is superior to anything else. He may be right, but that's what everyone else is telling me as well, so it's hard to know. His website is flashy and comprehensive and lists an obscene number of projects. I'm waiting for him to get me some contacts so I can talk to real customers. His bid is about the same as Dave's.

Then there is Matt. Matt runs his family's countertop business, which has been around for decades. That is encouraging. However, Matt's bid came in far and away the highest -- and it is completely out of my reach. Maybe his granite is laced with gold, but it's too rich for my blood.

So here I am, keeping them all on a string and I'm afraid to break up with any of them. What if I break up with "THE ONE"? How do I know I'm making the right choice? And I really hate to hurt them. But since I'm pretty sure polyandry is illegal, not the mention the fact that I'm already married to the perfect man, I'm going to have to break some hearts.

Wish me luck!