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good news (finally!)

April 21st, 2015 at 07:48 am

I'M EMPLOYED!!!

Yes, that deserves all caps and three exclamation points. Not only did I just accept a position at a great place, my salary is right where I wanted it (read: much higher than I've made at former jobs), and it really seems to be a great fit. The people were genuinely nice, it ties into one of my college majors a bit, and I think I'll get to use most of my skills. Plus it's a brand new position, so I'll be building it from the ground up. I start in a couple of weeks.

I'm seriously thrilled. I can't wait! It doesn't seem real!

Tonight I'm looking at a duplex that's available May 1. It seems pretty perfect. There is a lot of interest in it, so we'll see... but if I want it and get it, I'll be moving ASAP. The actual act of moving is not something I look forward to, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Things finally feel like they are moving forward!

Now I need to buy a few key work clothing pieces and to lose these 10 pounds of stress weight I've gained in the last six months. All in due time. I think I'll have the opportunity to walk a lot more at my new job, and they have an in-house gym!

March

March 16th, 2015 at 05:35 pm

Checking in, even though I haven't got much news to report!

I've still not found a job, but I have a ton of applications out. I'm applying to jobs that will get me close to being able to afford a decent place in a decent neighborhood. I'm so grateful for online crime maps, especially for the parts of the city that I don't know well, even after 14 years of living here. I've lived in four different suburbs and have friends all over, so I have a pretty good sense of most of it, but not all.

Packing takes roughly 879 times longer than I expect it to. I brought 10 bags of books to Half Price Books, and they didn't pay well at all, but whatever. I sold one book on Amazon. Several things are up on craigslist, and I've received numerous bizarre messages and one no-show. I suspect that is the norm for craigslist.

Several people I follow on Instagram are currently obsessed with Marie Kondo's book,

Text is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing and Link is http://www.amazon.com/The-Life-Changing-Magic-Tidying-Decluttering/dp/1607747308
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of D.... After seeing their results, I want to read it. I still have 10 boxes of books, 10+ boxes of kitchen stuff, and let's not even talk about the boxes dedicated to my hobbies. I realized I have at least 13 hobbies, which explains why I have So Much Stuff. Downsizing is hard.

My former employer hasn't sold their building yet, and it's still partially furnished. They are giving me a loveseat, a recliner, a folding screen, and a small bookshelf for my new place. I am so, so grateful. I just need to move before they sell the building, or I'll need to get a storage unit.

My check engine light came on over the weekend. I had a minor emotional breakdown once I made it home because it's one more stressor that I just don't need right now. I'm bringing the car into the shop tomorrow.

I find myself vacillating between confident hope for the future and utter despair, and not a lot in between. I can't wait for this period of my life to be over, to be perfectly honest. I'm ready to move on to greener pastures.

and then...

May 27th, 2014 at 11:08 am

Life has been a whirlwind since my last post.

- SO had eye surgery and his vision thankfully improved in that eye. The other eye became substantially worse in the meantime, so he is on the same path to surgery with that one. We'll find out more in August.

- We both found health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. It made more sense to do that than to take my job's insurance, because I'd rather not change ALL of my doctors, and it wasn't much cheaper. It turns out ACA insurance was a better choice anyway because...

- A dramatic few weeks at work resulted in the "owners" of the organization I work for deciding to close it at the end of June. I'm getting laid off...AGAIN. I will get a small severance, but no unemployment. In the meantime, I am the go-between for my coworkers who abhor each other.

- My car's muffler pipe broke off earlier this month and needed to be repaired immediately. $300

- Our cat started acting strangely last week so I brought him in to the emergency vet. Bladder stones. One day at the emergency vet, surgery at a regular vet, and three days there = $3300. Now, we have savings, and I have no qualms whatsoever on spending that on him - he's my big, sweet baby. But damn, that's a lot of money. Especially because...

- SO is still unemployed. Still. Unemployed.

- I had an interview two weeks ago that went smashingly and was one of three called back for a second interview. That went really well too - so well, in fact, that they were calling my references as I was leaving the building. They said I'd hear back from them the following afternoon. That was last week and I've not heard one word. I am incredibly disappointed.

On the plus side, I have a ton of people praying for me. I'm not a religious person, but I will take any and all good thoughts. I got 2 of my vegetable gardens planted. We're going camping next month. I'm very under budget on May groceries.

I just have to keep breathing.

cobra coverage=$$$

February 26th, 2014 at 04:01 pm

Thanks for your insights. The job thing worked itself out without me having to say a thing (which, incidentally, seems to be the best policy around my workplace lately anyway). I'll be starting 30 hours a week next week, which is just perfect for right now.

SO is having complications from type 1 diabetes and found out that he will need to have eye surgery next month. We are getting a second opinion later this week.

It makes sense for him to choose Cobra coverage for now, since he has to have this surgery and has already reached his deductible. I won't get health insurance through my job until April. The cost of Cobra is absolutely prohibitive for me. After being unable to register on the MNsure website today, I filled out a paper form and will wait for them to send me information. If something terrible happens between now and April, I can still backdate my Cobra.

I was about to head to Trader Joe's after work today, but I knew shopping with a hungry stomach would be a bad idea, so I went home instead. After updating YNAB, I realized that if I hang in there until March, I will actually be *under* my grocery budget this month! So I think I'll wait. Nothing is pressing, so I can hang on for a bit longer!

This winter is really a long one - I can't wait for spring, especially with the seed catalogs are already filling my mailbox!

job hours

February 17th, 2014 at 06:32 pm

My boss wants me to increase my hours. The desired amount of the increase seems to change from week to week. Right now I work 20 hours, and could go to 30 or possibly 40. Boss asked if I would do 40 today. No talk of a higher salary.

Pros of 30:
- get benefits at a lower cost than I would at 20 hrs
- extra free time and ability to visit family on short notice (which I value intensely since my layoff and family illnesses/deaths)
- more time to apply to other jobs and interview

Cons of 30:
- can't cover the mortgage
- will I be viewed as lazy by society at large? (do I care?)
- if I need to increase my hours down the road, they may not go for it

Pros of 40:
- more money coming in
- looks better on a resume
- get benefits at a lower cost than I would at 20 hrs
- we need all the money we can get since SO is out of work, even though it would barely cover the mortgage
- I could conceivably support myself if necessary

Cons of 40:
- I don't think I like where the company is going (and my job satisfaction has greatly decreased)
- Boss sometimes makes me uncomfortable
- Less free time
- Would it really be 40 hours, or more? Weekend expectations?
- More exposure to in-fighting among coworkers
- Would likely greatly upset a difficult coworker whose hours and benefits would get cut so mine could be increased
- I'd be making what I was making in 2001, which frankly is not great. If I'm working full time and exchanging my precious free time, I feel like I should be making far more than that. I guess I justified 20 hours a week at this salary because I could balance it with my free time.

Making this list helped clear my thoughts a bit, but I'm still torn.

Happy 2014!

January 25th, 2014 at 11:56 am

Hi all!

I've still been reading the blogs, just not posting!

Since the last update in 2011:

- I gave the photography business a go, but realized over the last year that portraiture is not my thing, so I'm closing my LLC and re-evaluating.

- I started a new part-time job, with the hope that it would go full-time. A year later, I'm still hoping. I'm applying to lots of full-time jobs.

- My SO was laid off from the job he loved last month. I'm shocked by how unstable his career has been since 2009. He has a great, in-demand skill set, but employers are offloading again right now, it seems. Unfortunately that was the source of 90% of our income and our health insurance. Thankfully they gave him a short severance, he can apply for unemployment, and we have some savings to fall back on...but he really can't be out of work for too many months. My salary will not cover the mortgage. And now we need health insurance. Time to look more closely at ACA.

- I fully took over all of our finances in early 2012. Up until that point, I kept things separate, and had just a vague idea of how much credit card debt SO had. He wasn't exactly honest about it, which led to some tough conversations. Thankfully we have paid off over half of it now and should be rid of it soon, assuming things turn out on the job front.

- I'm exploring new career ideas, again, always. I'm still not one of those people who knows what they want to be when they grow up. Will that ever happen?

It's good to page through the blogs and the forums here. It centers me and reminds me that keeping a handle on the finances and increasing our savings can make for a more secure landing when life inevitably throws a curve ball.

Things I need to do:
- Look into the Affordable Care Act
- Plan meals every week and use up what we have
- Look into selling photography gear
- Reduce my car insurance premium
- Get SO's retirement funds consolidated

Longer term:
- Bulk up our savings
- Create a long-term financial plan for SO's increasing medical expenses
- Max out our Roth IRAs
- Create a savings fund for my parents

hi there!

April 2nd, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Hi!

Yes, it's been a couple of years since I last checked in. Sorry about that. I've still been reading your blogs and commenting when I can.

Since my last post, I haven't worked full-time. I've been looking, applying and occasionally interviewing, but nothing has come through. I am very lucky to have SO, because he has pulled us through. Unfortunately he was laid off again a week ago, and is scrambling to try to find something new. Fortunately he has marketable skills!

We bought a house over a year ago and adopted another cat. Living in our own home (with a garden!!) is so fantastic. I can't wait for spring so I can plant again.

An elderly family member passed away and left me a bit of money, which I've used to pay off my student loans (wheeeeee!!!) and invested in my photography business. I am officially up and running now, all the legal business hoopla done, and trying to launch this thing. I am slightly dreading doing my taxes next year because of it, but I have to hope that it will all pay off in the long run. I won't get studio space until I have consistent paying clientele, so at the moment I drag all my equipment around, but that's ok. I love being a photographer.

I need some sort of small business financial software. Any suggestions?

one job found

February 16th, 2009 at 06:53 am

Good news - SO found a job. In fact, he found one so quickly that he ended his last job on a Friday and started the new one on a Monday! Not only that, but the new job pays over twice what the old job paid - a very, very good thing, considering I cannot find a job in my field to save my life.

I had a couple of interviews at one place, but they didn't call me back for a third. I asked for feedback from the interviewer (because frankly, I could have done that job in my sleep, not that I said that!), but she never responded. At least I am able to collect unemployment - that will help pay the bills until August, anyway. The bills are piling up, too. I just got one for a medical appointment I had in March 2008!

I thought staying at home all day would be fun, and that I'd accomplish so much, but I never factored in the inevitable depression. I should be happy as a clam, but the combination of being laid off so soon from a job that I thought was perfect for me and being unable to find anything remotely applicable is taking its toll. Combined with freezing temperatures, ice, snow, sleet, and no sunshine....I'm trying to be positive, but it's hard.

I wish spring would come! That would help!

laid off x 2

January 8th, 2009 at 11:42 am

I was laid off on Tuesday; my last day is the 15th. Several people from the company are getting canned, and I knew things were bad, but I was surprised to be one of those cut. The magazines I worked on only had three employees as it was - now there's one. Sounds like a setup for failure to me.

I went home that day, dreading telling SO, just because I knew it would complicate things. He asked me how my day was...I said, not so great, I got laid off today. He said, are you kidding me? No, not kidding....and then he said he got laid off, too. ON THE SAME DAY. That sounds like a script from a poorly written melodrama, but unfortunately, it's true. It was so absurd, we just laughed. They gave him a month's notice.

So...I'm job searching again, in earnest. Fun times. I am trying to convince SO that we should move, since now we've got nothing tying us down. Costa Rica! Mexico! Oregon! Washington! Wink Really, though, it's everything I can do not to ball up into the fetal position.

2008 update

November 30th, 2008 at 08:11 am

Good grief, I've been away for a while. I guess I haven't felt particularly inspired to post because I felt like I was repeating myself. People continually comment on a couple of posts I wrote over two years ago, which is really fun and interesting, so I thought I'd stop by and say hi!

It was three months ago already, but it was awesome to get to meet baselle. She and her DH were really fun to hang out with, and gave us some great pointers about moving out there (namely, visit in the winter!). Hopefully we'll get a chance to do that soon.

I've got a new editorial job, one that I took a pay cut for, but it's much more creative than what I was doing. The only catch? The person who was supposed to be my boss quit right after I started. I am now stuck with someone else as a boss, and we don't jive. I'm pretty sure I know the difference between first, second, and third person, thankyouverymuch, even if I didn't go to journalism school. Anyway. If I can stick it out for a year, maybe I will get enough experience to move on to something with higher pay.

My photography has really improved! I was just looking at some shots from last year and am pretty happy with how far I've come...though I have a long way to go! After my Project 365 ended in April, I took a part-time job at a portrait studio. I have been photographing friends and family on my own, and building up a portfolio. SO is creating a photography business website for me, and I just got some business cards. I am really excited about the prospect of all of this! Times are tough, yes, and people aren't spending as much, but there are still moments you want captured by a professional photographer. I can't compete with the prices at Target or Walmart (nor do I want to), but I think coming to someone's home and spending an hour or two with them warrants spending a few extra dollars. We'll see. Smile

I'm slowly chipping away at the student loans...still have a long way to go, but that's ok for now. SO and I were contemplating buying a house, but now that it seems we'd need to have at least 20% down...ouch. I'm sure I don't have to say this to the SA crowd, but check your credit reports, people. A close relative of SO went off the deep end, stole all of their identities, and wracked up big credit bills in their names. Luckily we caught it early, so SO's credit isn't completely trashed, but dang...you just never know.

So, anyway...hi! and please know that even if I don't post regularly here, I do check your blogs for updates. Save on!

nicest home on the web

July 30th, 2007 at 11:01 am

Wow - what wonderful feedback! This really is the home of the nicest, most helpful people on the web, I'm convinced. I feel lucky to be a member of this community. Thank you so much for your support and ideas.

I am definitely going to learn more about stock photography. I'd love to assist a photographer, so I'm perusing the ads on craigslist, and I belong to a local photography meetup.com group. There's also a craft sale at work twice a year, so I may mount some of my photographs and see if any sell (if I am still working here then). I know there are some near my home, too. Etsy is a great idea too!

I searched through all the local colleges and community ed locations for photography classes. Last night I pored over a few photography career books at the book store but didn't buy any. I'll check the library.

As for the job hunt, well, I've been getting seven different daily job notice emails for over a year (some for several years). I also periodically check the websites of places I'd like to work, just to see if they have announced anything new. I think that's partially why I'm so frustrated - I feel like I've been continously job hunting for six years. I should have kept track of how many interviews I've had along the way (although that might be more depressing).

My ideal job traits:
- Good benefits and pay
- Relatively creative
- Variety of tasks
- Flexible schedule
- Minimal supervision
- Friendly atmosphere

I know I can't expect my job to make me happy. It would be nice to do something that doesn't make me dread getting up every morning, though. Ideally, it would pay me enough to allow me to do what I want in my free time (travel, attend orchestra concerts, donate to causes, help out my family, etc). I don't need a McMansion, or a garage full of cars, or a fridge full of caviar (yuck). I just want to get paid what I'm worth, and feel like my skills are appreciated. Do I ask too much?

On that note, here's the tiny foot of my friend's two-week-old baby. Remember feeling like you could do anything in life? I hope she always feels that way.