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Paid It Off!

December 10th, 2015 at 01:00 pm

I forgot the best news when I updated yesterday!

It took forever, but I had to wait to hear from the lawyer - I used the "joint savings" (which was only joint because I put away money from the joint account, as the man person never saved. Ever) to pay off almost ALL of the "joint debt" (this was definitely JOINT).

I paid off two medical accounts, a store credit card, and about 4000 towards the Discover. It still carries a balance, as I use it instead of my debit card and then pay off whatever I've put on it, plus whatever else I can towards it. BUT, the balance was pretty much cut in half, AND I won't have any other monthly payments going towards the other two.

I'm really thrilled by this, and I am hoping to be able to pay off the Discover completely within the next year and a half.

I'm not sure how long it will take, as with my current job situation, I'm trying to put aside money for the summer months, when I won't be able to sub or temporary teach. I'm not quite sure WHAT I'll do, as childcare for kid for all day for a full time minimum wage job would be astronomical - but not working means no income at all except for the proofreading secondary job, and that's even more terrifying!

Regardless! Things are PAID OFF!

Checking In

December 9th, 2015 at 12:06 pm

It's been a little bit since I've been around, but things have been a tiny bit crazy.

I have a new part time special education teaching job that is only for this year, but I'm working three days a week from 8:45 to 2:15 (one day until 3:15), which means I get to drop off and pick up the kid at school most days, which is less money to daycare - about $20 less a week! And I'm getting paid hourly at a teacher wage.

I don't have any benefits, but I didn't have benefits subbing either.

It also means that I can sub Mondays and Fridays if I want to - and sometimes I want to, and sometimes I'd like to set Mondays on fire, but it's nice to have the option to bring in a little more money every week.

The divorce drags on and on, and my lawyer is awesome but expensive. I just want to be DONE.

Voldemort and I are making most of our holiday gifts this year.

Voldemort made these snowball soaps for their (pronoun switch again!) cousins, and it was super easy and fun. And cheap! We used old lego figures that V doesn't play with anymore to put inside the snowballs.

I'm making dry erase placemats for V and the cousins as well, which I hope they'll like.

The sisters are getting homemade clove lip balm - my SIL loved the Burt's Bees clove balm, but they aren't making that anymore, so I found a recipe and played with it a bit, and I think I got pretty close!

I also have vanilla brewing for the sister who bakes, and I took an extra vanilla bean and decided to make some vanilla sugar while I was at it.

My dad will get cookies, and my sister is getting my mom a crockpot, so I'm going to get her a crockpot cookbook to go with it.

And that's pretty much everybody - there are still some bought things that I'm getting for the kid - and I'm having no luck finding a decent pair of roller skates used, so I might have to go new for those - but mostly, gifts are taken care of!

Yay for PayDay and Frugality

September 30th, 2015 at 10:13 am

Today I got paid for 4.5 days of subbing last month - I would have done much more, only they didn't get me in the system until the 8th, I had to take a day off, and the end of the pay period is the 14th. So, I got a gross payment of $430ish. Which, yay.

Of course, seeing as my actual check was $168, I then emailed the school district to ask why the heck they were charging me for vision and dental insurance when I'm not eligible to be getting those through the district.


But hey, I've been subbing at the same place for two weeks, and practically every day since the new pay period (one or two half days in there, plus one day off to stay home with pukey kid), so I have high hopes for next month's paycheck. And the majority of the last full time teacher paycheck was put in savings specifically for this month, so I will make it.

I've also sold a textbook on half.com for $109, which will help, and I invoiced for $195 for proofreading in September, both of which will help.

Frugal stuff I've been doing:

-The majority of Voldemort's fall/winter wardrobe was found at the thrift store for about $30 total. She'll (we're in the midst of playing with pronouns, currently V is a "boy who uses she/her") need a few more things, and is requesting a "stylish winter jacket," but we'll hit up the thrift store again soon and might be able to flesh the wardrobe out a little more.

-I figured out how insanely easy it is to make mac and cheese from scratch on the stovetop without a box. Not saving a lot of money, no, but a little bit helps.

-I've been doing better at making smoothies in the morning to take in the car on the way to work. If I don't, I always end up stopping and picking up a coke and a candy bar - which isn't awesome for my health or my wallet.

-applied for Medicaid while I'm subbing - both the kid and I were approved, so that's a big relief. The male person has supposedly added the kid to his insurance, but seeing as there is still no card in my hand nor insurance number provided, I'd rather know the kiddo is covered somehow!

What about you? Any fun new frugal things?

Hearts and Beds

September 7th, 2015 at 04:49 pm

Voldemort asked several times over the past two months if we could get him a "low down bed," as he was getting frustrated hitting his head on the ceiling and his inability to make his bed in the loft.

We bought the loft four years ago when we moved to CO. We happened upon it at a yard sale, and I think we paid about $40 for it.

I listed it on craigslist after looking at several other listings, and it went within 24 hours for $60!

That left Voldemort sleeping on his mattress on the floor for a few days until we found a twin bed listed that Voldemort decided fit his vague requirements.

("What do you want? What would you like in a bed?"

"I'll know it when I see it, Mama!")

We ended up calling Amyes, the mother of Voldemort Jr, for help, as she has an SUV, and I have a tiny Civic.

She helped pick it up and put it together - throwing in adding a plywood platform and an extra brace on a leg neither of us was too sure of.

In return, the kids amused each other, and I made dinner for all of us!

We joked that she was now the Man of the House, as she uses power tools and fixes things, whereas I'm much more comfortable in the kitchen and with my sewing machine.

If only I was a lesbian and she was attracted to me, we'd be all set, but oh well!

The loft sold for $60, the twin cost $30, the braces and plywood ran about $20, leaving me with $10 left over.

I think I did pretty well!

Divorce with a Side of Paperwork

August 19th, 2015 at 02:45 pm

This week, I've been drowning in paperwork from the lawyer - I've been busy filling out a sworn financial statement, which has included tracking down all statements for stocks, IRAs, bank accounts, blue book values of cars, zillow estimates of houses..

And while I've been doing that, I've been working on getting everything set up to start subbing on Monday, getting the kiddo's stuff together for his school, and meeting with his teacher and the dean of students to go over not only the divorce and how he might react, but also the yearly "my kid scoffs at your gender boxes and here's how to handle that without being a jerk."

He goes back to school tomorrow, and I have to admit I'll be glad for the break. I'll still be worrying about financial stuff, but at least he'll be busy!

Too Fast Through My Fingers

August 9th, 2015 at 02:52 pm

With some of the stuff going on with the male, my lawyer recommended a protection order. Setting that up burned through WAY too much of the $5000 retainer, and now I have to call and put more money in. Yuck.

To my complete lack of surprise, the male lasted six whole days in rehab and then checked himself out, claiming that he had defeated alcoholism. *sigh* I havent spoken to him since he was served with the divorce paperwork and the protection order, and I have to go back to court this Thursday to review the protection order.

I just wonder if he's even looked at the paperwork and knows to come.

Regardless, I've been working to continue cutting costs. Here's a few frugal things I've done in the past week or so:

- set up our own netflix account for 7.99 instead of 8.99. Not a lot, but hey.

- snagged a copy of the school supply list from the website and have gone through last year's supplies to reuse what we can

- packed our lunch to take to the science museum instead of buying food there

- started to cancel my audible membership but was diverted with a $20 credit. As soon as I spend that, I'll cancel.

- used the food processor to chop up a giant zucchini to make muffins and froze the unused bits

- applied and interviewed for guest teaching in my district this year, as full time work still feels wildly overwhelming

Pennies on the Side

July 22nd, 2015 at 09:21 am

The kid and I have been traveling for the past week and a half, and are finally due to head back to CO today.

I had a conference, and so I dropped Voldemort off with my sister and her family so he and his cousin could run wild. We both had fabulous times, although mine was frequently interrupted by phone calls and negotiations with CO friends in dealing with the male type person who had decided to stay in my house while I was gone, get REALLY drunk, and is supposedly starting inpatient rehab today - which I will believe when I see monkeys and pigs fly past the airplane later today.

While this was an expensive trip, I've done what I can to reduce that - we're taking the bus to the metro, which will take us to the airport, which will take us back to CO and to a car that I am currently hoping does not have a flat tire in the parking lot.

I did have a question, though - I've been wanting to do Financial Peace University for years and have never been able to convince the male. Now that we're getting divorced, I don't have to take him into account anymore. Any experiences with taking Financial Peace as a single parent? I'd love to hear how it was helpful.

Paying for Divorce

July 5th, 2015 at 09:07 pm

After the hell that was this past week, I've decided to go forward with the divorce. I was hoping, I really was, but he still doesnt even understand the full mess that he is in.

He called me Thursday night from the emergency room. He'd be picked up where he was "sleeping it off" in hais truck. I have no idea if he pulled over to drink, or if he was drinking and thought driving would be a super swell idea.

That was upsetting enough, as he had just hit a full 60 days sober, but he called again at 5am on Friday, asking for me to come and pick him up.

If I had been more awake, I probably would have told him no and had him call an AA buddy. But I didn't.

Instead, I put our eight year old in the car and drove 40 minutes to go pick up his still drunk daddy from the hospital.

When I picked him up, the nurse said his BAC was currently .16. When the ambulance had brought him in, his BAC was .435.

Just to clarify, legal blood alcohol content level is .08. At .36, you have the same level as sedation for surgery. At .4, you're at high risk of death.

I can't live like this. I can't be dreading every phone call.

So, divorce it is. I've already spoken to a lawyer and I can do a little of the paperwork myself. However, because it does involve me wanting the courts to monitor B's visits with the Dark Lordling, as well as insist on breathalyzers before seeing him, a lawyer is necessary to make sure I don't screw something up horribly.

And the lawyer needs a $5000 retainer.

Quick Made Money Update

May 29th, 2015 at 11:39 am

I've sold 8 diapers for a total of $70 (minus shipping and handling, which is about $3.50 per order, and most diapers sell in 2s and 3s).

I invoiced for the proofreading I've done, which is at least $90. It will actually be a little over that, because one was a rush proof and I'll be paid for my time on that.

I still have 9 fitted diapers and 5 Flips covers left to sell. Hopefully they'll go soon.

I am currently in the middle of proofing an anthology, and I want to be able to invoice for each story in the anthology on one invoice, so I'm holding on to those for now, even though I've finished 3 and could invoice for them if I wanted to.

So hey, that's $160 for savings right there. Not too bad for this month.

Sell Sell Sell

May 27th, 2015 at 11:16 am

One of the side effects of Brandus moving out is that I've finally admitted we won't be having any other kids. We tried for several years, then put everything on hold starting last year when he first started really struggling with alcoholism.

Which means I am finally clearing out my favorite cloth diapers that I saved from when Voldemort was a baby. They're really cute and super soft and I love them, but they make me sad, and I would rather they go to a kiddo who needs them.

I've sold four so far for a grand total of $35, and have several more listed, so hopefully the rest will go soon as well.

As it's summer coming up, my time to proofread has increased as well. Currently, I'm proofing an anthology ($15 each story), a second proofing on a novel ($30), and a novella ($30). I've also yet to invoice on second proofs for two novels ($60). It doesn't leave me rolling in dough or anything, but it definitely helps over the summer when I'm trying to bank as much of my teaching paycheck as I can.

Voldemort does still go to childcare over the summer - not full time, just two days a week - because I have to pay to keep his spot open anyway, so why not make sure he gets to spend time with other kids and I get to spend time NOT dealing with the eight billion questions a day he likes to ask. Smile

We're getting there.

One Bite at a Time

May 22nd, 2015 at 08:59 am

The husband cancelled our couples counseling appointment yesterday, and when I told him I was upset and wasn't interested in talking to him at the time, he said he has the right to be upset and take some time too.

Whatever that means.

But, he did actually reschedule the appointment for June 9th, so at least he took it seriously when I told him it was up to him now.

I'm still working on cutting costs - I decided to reschedule the cleaners for every other week instead of weekly, which does save about $130 per month.

I didn't cancel my uppercase box subscription entirely, but I did take it down to the next level, which is only about $7 difference a month, but still!

I also cancelled the kiddo's subscription to Kidstir, which is a cooking box. It's a lot of fun, but he's barely touched the last two boxes, so I put it on hold until we've got a little more wiggle room and he shows an interest in starting it again. So that's about $25, I think - I'm too lazy to check right now.

Adding up those changes plus the ones I cut before brings the amount per month that I am going to be able to reallocate to $443 per month!

Which leads us to...

I did give in last night and order a new laptop, which was desperately needed. I waited until Dell posted their Memorial Day sales, and only spent $400, which I think is fair. I had the money in my personal savings account, but I put it on the Discover because they were offering an extra cash back if I paid with my card.

So, $443 less going out plus $400 for a new computer leads to no increased money out of pocket - technically, I think.

I'm planning on putting at least another hundred towards the Discover every month and the rest in savings. Because even though I might be blase about currently not being set up for a job next year doesn't mean the idea doesnt occasionally strike terror into my heart.

Worker Bee

May 21st, 2015 at 09:22 am

At the end of this year, my classroom is closing.


I am an early childhood special ed teacher, and I teach an inclusion classroom - meaning some of my children are typically developing, and some have a variety of disabilities.

This means that my classroom is very dependent on the number of children placed (kids with disabilities) and children enrolled (typical peers).

Right before the winter holidays, the principal called me down to tell me my projected numbers for next year were low, and so my classroom was closing.

This isn't the first, or even the second time this has happened. It is, in fact, the third.

I hate it. Because I can never get fully comfortable in any school because I'll probably be moving on in a couple of years.

It also means that I have to apply and interview for the school where they are opening a classroom.

In the midst of all of the personal life mess, I just don't have the energy to jump through that many hoops - especially because I've turned in applications for several jobs already.

So, I'm solo parenting, my husband has made no progress that I can see towards starting any type of treatment, and come August I will no longer be pulling a regular paycheck.

I probably should be panicking, but I'm not.

I'm a special education teacher - I can sub every single day of the school year if I want to. It's not as high of a paycheck, but we'll get by. We might have to tighten the belts a bit more, but we have a good amount in our "taxes" fund that hasn't been needed, plus my second job (proofreading) brings in a hundred or so per month. Not a lot, true, but that will cover groceries.

Plus, I need time. The flexibility of subbing means that I can take days off when I need to. It means I can make it to Voldemort's field days and school plays without having to beg for a personal day.

I have concerns, of course - health insurance, for one big thing.

But the benefits are looking better and better.

I might still get another teaching job, and that will be ok. But if I don't, I'm ok.

We'll be ok.

Cheap Fun

May 18th, 2015 at 08:22 am

The past two weekends have been pretty good low cost weekends.

Last weekend, Voldemort and I met up with a friend of mine and her kiddo, Voldemort II (they have the same name - it's pretty hilarious), and we went to Big Time Trampoline, which is a big warehouse type place with trampolines, a foam pit, and a maze.

I had won passes to there during the Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference a month or so ago, and when my friend mentioned that she wanted to go and take the boys, I handed over one of the passes, and so both boys got in free!

We spent a few quarters on arcade games and claw games, but overall, it just cost us the gas to get there.

This weekend, I met up with the same friend to take the kids to the zoo this time around. We used to be members, but our membership has lapsed, but we still had two passes to get in and one free ticket for the train or the carousel.

Voldemort and I packed our lunch, but we bought chips and drinks inside the zoo to fill them out a little, as we had sandwiches and an orange each, and that much walking makes you hungry!

The boys were far more interested in using the map to navigate than they were in seeing the animals, but we had a blast.

And then last night, for a special treat, Voldemort got a Happy Meal with a free coupon I had gotten a while ago. I had pasta salad made at home, as McDonalds tends to give me stomach aches.

Overall, not too much out of pocket. And it's awesome having a friend to hang out with while the boys run wild. VII is 5, while V is 8, but they don't seem to mind too much. And my friend is a single parent, so having someone to bounce thoughts and frustrations off of while I'm solo parenting is really helpful.

Just writing down some changes..

May 15th, 2015 at 11:54 am

I'm skipping any and all talk of brandus right now, as he has given me a headache with his inability to get off his pity pony and deal with his mess.

So, instead! Budget!

I cancelled one of my subscription boxes, Homegrown Collective, as I'd signed up for a 6 month subscription two months ago but the two boxes I've gotten so far don't thrill me to pieces, so that's $156 I'll get back.

I have another subscription box that I will most likely cancel - Uppercase, which sends out a personally selected YA novel each month, which i ADORE. But, I have about 17 library books gathering dust at home that I haven't read yet, and it would put $32 in the wallet every month.

The husband cancelled cable, leaving me internet, which is what I use anyway, and phone. So that will go from $200 or so (I KNOW, I don't want to talk about it), to $65, saving $135 every month.

He didn't end up cancelling the cleaners, and I'm torn on that. On the one hand, it would save $90 a week, but on the other hand, if we don't have cleaners, things like mopping and vacuuming will NEVER EVER HAPPEN. I'm pretty good at keeping up with dishes and laundry, but anything else - especially while working full time - ain't gonna happen.

Cancelling the dairy delivery is something like $30 a week, but we haven't had that long so I'm not going to count it at the moment.


Cancelling and downgrading those things is going to wind up saving $206 per month, which is a pretty good chunk that can go towards the only cc that carries a balance (Discover - $8034), or, in the savings account, as my classroom is closing at the end of the this year and I don't have a job secured for next year. But that's a story I'll get into later.

ETA: I totally forgot to add in the return of the rented violins! I'm returning them after work today, and they are $37.40 each, so that's an additional $75, bringing the total of money no longer going out up to $281!

Following Up

May 13th, 2015 at 12:21 pm

I've had a few questions about brandus and plans and alcoholism and stuff, so I figured I would put the answers in one new post instead of trying to answer in comments.

1. Yes, Brandus usually goes to daily AA. Sometimes. When he hasn't gone for several days, I usually expect a relapse. I'm not paying for his hotel, so I'm trying to stay out of it, other than offering to help him find a place. He is unwilling to contact his friends to ask for help, so.

2. I've gone to Al-anon in the past and hated it. I did have a family support group through health insurance, but it was cancelled last month due to low numbers. It was very helpful, so I was very unhappy at it closing. At the moment, I go to individual therapy and couples. I can't find an al-anon that works with my schedule, as i can't take the kiddo - regardless of my feelings, I don't think he needs to know the nitty gritty of his father's issues. I AM looking for a group I can attend.

3. I am keeping Voldemort as shielded as I can from all this. Brandus is not allowed to drive him anywhere, and I'd prefer they be somewhat supervised. I have family and friend support, thank goodness - family is far flung, but we're working on figuring out how to make sure the kid is somewhere safe and cared for the brief times I am scheduled to be out of town.

My BFF is coming to visit in June, and we're scheduling her return home to coincide with my trip out, and she will escort kiddo to my parents' house.

The return trip might be un-escorted minor, so if anyone has done that with a kid, please share!

My other sister has a good friend in Denver who has a kid a few years younger, and we've been trying to set it up so that we can trade the kids back and forth and give both of us a breather.

We've got two week long summer day camps set up for him as well (robots! space!), and there is Michael's Arts and Crafts summer program that he can participate in, which is low cost and easily available.

The nice thing about being a teacher is having some wiggle room in the summer for scheduling - I'll probably still have him in child care two days a week or so to give him a chance to spend time with other kids, but mostly, he can be home with me.

I hope that answers some questions!

Turn It Off

May 12th, 2015 at 12:25 pm

The husband and I are still separated, and he swings back and forth between understanding and totally ass. He's managed to find a long term stay hotel, which is still pricey, but not as bad as a hotel room every night.

It feels like we're moving closer to divorce, instead of moving towards healing.

He's cancelled cable entirely - he kept wifi, which is what I mostly use. I don't really watch tv.

He cancelled the local dairy delivery.

He's cancelled the weekly cleaners.

All of these are things that impact me more than him, as he's not at the house, but they are all things I've okay'd for him to do.

And I have to admit that those things together are a good size chunk of money that will no longer be outgoing.

But it's still weird and hard. I've noticed that we turn the lights off when we leave, and the heater/ac stays at the level I put it before bed.

The bed stays made. The dishes get done.

But I also make the kid's lunch and get him to and from school. I check all the homework, deal with all of the whining, do all of the laundry.

I feel off balance. I'm still looking for my new normal.

Some Found Money

May 7th, 2015 at 01:42 pm

Over lunch, I pulled out a stack of medical bills from Brandus' seizure - ambulance, ER doctor, substance abuse evaluation, etc - and prepared myself for pain and agony. Last time I called, we had realized that our insurance hadn't been applied, so I was calling to see if it had gone through, and what the balances looked like now.

I thought I had maybe $300 in my flex account for medical bills, but I had $841!

I immediately paid off my personal medical balance, which was a little over $300 - I had an ultrasound and some fun additional uterus related testing a few months ago, and those add cost fast.

I then called about the ER doctor, which was originally $1200. After insurance went through, it was knocked down to $112! I paid that one off in full!

I called on another two as well, but the insurance was still processing, so there was nothing I could do today. The ambulance had only sent the cost to insurance on May 1st, so who knows how long that will take.

But we still have $429 in the flex account, which means I can take care of a chunk of Voldemort's lingering medical bills (it's been a rough few years. Seriously) when I get home. We had that one set up on a payment plan, but I managed to space when the payment was due, so I have to call and what I can do about that.

Yikes. So many medical bills!

Another Day, Another..Wait, Where are My Dollars?!

May 7th, 2015 at 07:34 am

I checked my bank balance this morning, and SURPRISE, we're down to under $300. And it's only the 7th.


Admittedly, Brandus did text me last night and told me he would transfer money from his account into the joint account, as he had accidentally put his hotel for the past few nights onto our card instead of his. So that's a little over $300 back in.

But still. I double checked the numbers, and it seems to be pretty in order.

These medical bills are killer. I'm going to have to call and redo our payment plans on some of them.

I am proud that I managed to talk myself out of fast food last night, and instead made sandwiches and packed them for the kid and I to eat in the car (the plan was the park, but it was raining) before taking him to his piano lessons.

I had nearly convinced myself to grab fast food for lunch today, too, but at the last minute, I went with a sandwich again. I packed Voldemort a simple lunch out of what was in the fridge, so it wasn't anything special, but he's generally happy with pepperoni, crackers, and fruit, and then I threw in a homemade banana bread muffin that I had forgotten we had in the fridge, so yay for no spending on eating out!

I'm still working on cutting down our spending, too. We do have several things we can cut entirely, but some of them do require TIME, like the violins that Brandus rented for him and the Dark Lord to learn to play. We've had them 5 months, and except for the first two weeks or so, neither boy has touched them. They're a $37 each rental, but the rental place is 45 minutes away from both my work and my house, and this week has involved a lot of after school running around, so I haven't been able to do that yet. And until this past few weeks before we separated, I had been asking Brandus to take care of it. He's unemployed, so he should have the time, but oh well.

Hopefully on Saturday I'll have a chance to take that $75 monthly charge out of our spending, which would be a relief.

Still Juggling

May 6th, 2015 at 09:24 am

Couples counseling last night was hard. I told Brandus that I needed to see him complete either an inpatient or intensive outpatient program before coming home. He was upset and even with the counselor helping facilitate the discussion, it was still hard and he was angry and I was crying.

But I feel ok.

He did text this morning and apologized for how he acted, and I told him I still want us to go see Annie as a family, as we got tickets a while ago, and I think it would be a low stress way to spend time together. I'm not backing down on what I need to see from him, and I have an individual appointment with the therapist next week, and another couples in two weeks.

So, another month, at least, of solo parenting, depending on how long it takes him to follow through on completing a program.

I had told him I want to spend time with him, and I want Voldemort to spend time with him, but with him being so incredibly out of it the other day I don't feel safe with them just being left alone, and I sure as HELL don't feel safe with him driving the Dark Lord around.

So I'm trying to figure out how to juggle family prior plans and the Dark Lord's schedule and still have time to take care of myself, which is all very complicated.

I forgot to pack Voldemort's lunch last night, and we were rushing around this morning to get to work on time for professional development, so he had to buy lunch today. He has the money in his account, but I try to pack his lunch most days.

I did pack my lunch last night, as we had ravioli with zucchini and brown butter for dinner, and I made off with ALL of the leftovers, because it is delicious - and because, Voldemort, of course, turned his nose up at the zucchini.

Regardless, I am managing to keep us both fed and the house vaguely clean, so I'm counting the sudden solo parenting to be going successfully, although any and all advice from anyone who has gone through anything similar would be awesome.

Crockpot Dinner and Leftover Lunch

May 4th, 2015 at 06:36 pm

In my ongoing quest to not think about the couples counseling appointment I have tomorrow to see if we are going to be able to work things out, I bring you: my dinner.

I was so pleased this morning when I remembered to load the crockpot and turn it on before leaving the house - Crockpot Pesto Ranch Chicken, which is ridiculously easy.

Toss in some chicken thighs, most of a jar of pesto, packet of ranch dressing, and a little bit of chicken broth, ignore for 8 hours on low, then stuff face.

I had planned to have it for dinner tonight, then have pesto chicken and motz sandwiches later this week. Unfortunately, I underestimated how much the thighs would shrink, so after Voldemort and I ate our portions and I packed my lunch, we have MAYBE enough for one sandwich.

Which can work - I'll shred it pretty fine before layering it on the sandwich, we'll split it, and add some veggies and fruit on the side and it will all work out just fine.

I also took a small piece of the chicken for my lunch.

I pack bento most days, even if mine aren't as cute as many, and the easiest way to do that is to use leftovers. So here we have brown rice, pesto ranch chicken, parmesan corn, cucumber, and grape tomatoes. I will most likely add a snack of an apple and a peanut butter yogurt dip that is super yum in a sidecar container.

Voldemort's lunch hasn't been packed yet, but I'm planning on monkey towers (banana peanut butter bites on crackers), grape tomatoes, a plum, and...something.

I just hope I can actually eat tomorrow - when anxious, my stomach gets a little cranky, and I'm thinking the couples counseling definitely qualifies as something anxious making.

A Day at a Time

May 3rd, 2015 at 02:37 pm

It's been a long time since I've updated, and it's been a very long two years.

Since B's mother has died, we still have not sold the house. Mainly because he hasn't done anything with it. No estate sale, no setting things up with a realtor, nada.

More importantly, he lost his job.

October 2013, his school called me to come get him. He was well above the legal limit for alcohol. I picked him up, got him home, tried to get him help.

We've been fighting this battle for so long.

This past December, he had a grand mal seizure from detoxing, in front of my entire family and a bunch of kids, on the Santa Clause train.

In March, he was brought home by the cops.

We're separated at the moment, and I'm trying to stay hopeful, but it's really hard.

We're meeting with the couples counselor on Tuesday, where there will be ultimatums given, and I find myself looking at the budget and wondering what the hell to do.

I know I can survive as a single parent. I know. We've been living on my income primarily anyway. But there is also the crazy amount of medical expenses due to ambulance rides, ER visit, intake, and 3 days stay in the hospital - and it's under my insurance, so yes, it is my responsibility.

So I'm trying to cut some corners anyway. And because I don't want to talk about my marriage anymore, I'm going to talk about money.

I called Comcast and cancelled two of the premium channels B had insisted on, plus the $5 "insurance" fee that Comcast charges: $25/monthly right there.

I downgraded my Audible membership from Premium to Gold, from 22.95 to 14.95, saving $8/monthly.

I cancelled our forgotten Care.com membership - of course, AFTER we had been billed again, but still, that's $50 every six months, which adds up.

I have a subscription box I can cancel, and if things do go south and B and I can't come to an agreement about his treatment, I can cancel the local milk delivery, as that is mostly for him.

I know I have a lot of options to be able to cut corners without changing much around my house, but I am hoping the corner I don't have to cut is my marriage.

I Think My Brain is Melted

December 1st, 2012 at 09:01 pm

We've made two trips to Brandus' mom's house trying to get the estate worked out - the first one we turned in the probate paperwork and got the worst of the disgusting mess up in the house - and the second we took the probate paperwork to the bank and closed out her accounts, spoke to a realtor, and had a meeting with an estate planner.

We were dreading closing out her accounts because we had no idea how much would be in there. And it's not like we want to make money necessarily, but we DID want to be able to pay ourselves back for the cremation, the cleaning, and the hotel costs - as those were all paid for out of the money we had earmarked for our trip over Christmas to see my family. Fortunately, there was enough in the accounts to cover all of that, so we do still get to go to Maryland later this month.

We also have an appointment with an estate lawyer, as we found out Mimi hadn't paid taxes on their business since they started it. And that they had a stack of credit cards at least 2 inches thick, leftover medical bills from when Brandus' dad was sick/died, and who knows what else.


The up side of this mess is that, as their business was a coffee and tea business, we have all of our holiday gifts taken care of. We have bags upon bags upon BOXES of whole bean coffee, ground coffee, expresso beans...With the exception of Voldemort and his same age cousin, the Critter, everyone we know will be getting coffee for the holidays.

Hilariously, neither Brandus nor I drink coffee. But I really wish we did right now, because I can't help but think the caffeine would really help.

Knee Deep

November 11th, 2012 at 02:51 pm

We used the money we had earmarked for getting our leaky toilet fixed to help pay for the cremation - which obviously couldn't be put off. And while we'll be ok, as I'm waiting for a replacement check from a former job, it still makes me rather cranky to know that I have to put off calling the plumber.

I appreciate all of the comments and good thoughts, although I have to admit that I am happily avoiding dealing with any more of this mess at the moment.

Instead, I am baking. Baked goods make all things better.

Holy Hannah, This Past Week

November 10th, 2012 at 07:55 am

I'm sitting in a hotel zoning on infomercials while my husband attempts to get the kiddo to eat breakfast downstairs, and I'm still just..blitzed after this week.

Sunday, brandus told me he hadn't heard from his mom in a week. This is unusual, as they usually chat once a day. He called his uncle, her brother - uncle hadn't heard from her since Tuesday. Worried, he called the cops to go check her house, as she lives 5 hours away from us.

She isn't at the house.

I suggest calling the hospital, as her health has been poor, which is why we were moving her down to our town before Thanksgiving.

He calls the hospital, and there she is, and has been there since Thursday. She drove herself and checked herself in with an infected cat bite, but hadn't called because she "couldn't figure out how to use the phone."

Um. Then you could have used your cell?

Brandus talked to the nurse, and told her of all of our concerns about his mother's health, which included her getting out of breath easily, her inability to walk more than 6 feet without having to hold on to something, etc. We were told they weren't sure when she'd be released, so Brandus made flight arrangements to fly up Tuesday morning - leaving Monday to arrange lesson plans for the week.

We find out Monday at 4 or 5 that she was released from the hospital at 1. We hadn't heard from her. We called several times, called and checked the kennel where she had not picked up the dog.

We waited until 7 or 8 before calling the cops again.

They went past her house - the car was there. The lights were on. They could see into her bedroom and she wasn't in bed.

We authorized a "dire need" entry, and they found her on the kitchen floor. She had fallen and hit her head, and she was dead.

4 hours after she left the hospital, she was dead.

Brandus is grim faced and easily irritated - we've been up here dealing with everything since Tuesday - we managed to get his plane ticket refunded and drove up, all 3 of us. She had told us multiple times that Brandus' name had been put on accounts and on the house and that she had a will, but all of that was a lie.

Voldemort has been a rockstar - he shouldn't have to know that we have to clean up the blood where his Mimi died. He shouldn't have had to see the condition of the house - where it was so bad the first day we wouldn't let him come inside. He has been kept happy playing with my husband's original transformers and hot wheels and helping us by counting all of the change we found in the house ($36.78 at last count).

We managed to get a lot done - cremation done, animals found and relocated to a no-kill shelter, cleaner hired to help, estate salesperson shown the house - but there is so much left to do.

The issue at this point is that we can't access her accounts yet, so everything has to be paid out of pocket. The cremation was almost $2000, the cleaner was $300 (and worth every penny for me not having to deal with the toilet and the bathtub and the cat feces everywhere), the kennel for the dog was $98, the cost of staying in a hotel for 4 nights, eating out, gas, etc...The rest of the month will be very tight. We had to split up the cost of the cremation onto two different credit cards - we couldn't pay for it out of our account or else we wouldn't be able to buy groceries for the rest of the month.

We'll be back up over thanksgiving, and we hope to be given access to her accounts then - we can't afford to pull up and replace the carpet by ourselves, and the cleaner needs to come back to deal with the deep cleaning.

My head hurts. So much to do.


November 2nd, 2012 at 07:43 am

Hypothetically, if one were to have discovered an entire bag of melted gummy candy all over one's car upholstery, what exactly should one do to remove the very gross mess?


Under the Umbrella

October 30th, 2012 at 09:45 am

I'm a little boggled today.

Yesterday, I got a letter from my school district in North Carolina stating that my last paycheck - dated 6/2011, had never been cashed. And would I like all $2560 of it reissued in a new check?


All I can think of that could have happened is that this was smack dab in the middle of us moving across the country to Colorado with three cats and a preschooler and all of our stuff. So, either I didn't get it, or it got misplaced in the mess, or we tried using the online deposit system through USAA and did something stupid. Who know?

But, I have an affidavit to fill out, a notary to track down, and a copy of my driver's license to scan and send in, and I will be $2500 closer to paying off the Discover card.

This was exciting enough.

But then this morning, I got an email from Family Fun magazine, from a survey I had done a while ago and promptly forgotten about asking about fun things I do with my kid. They wanted more information and if it runs, they'll pay me $100.

I emailed back with more information, and LESS THAN A MINUTE LATER, had an enthusiastic thank you from one of the editors.

I have NO idea what's going on, but I LIKE it!


October 25th, 2012 at 09:32 am

Awesome news! I heard back from the Director of the Masters program in Early Childhood Special Education, and even though she "strongly recommends" that I take the Place or the Praxis Elementary Education test, she is willing to waive that requirement for me.

Of course, she also warned me that I would not be able that I would NOT be allowed to teach K-3 general education without taking the test.

Which, seeing as I teach PreK SPECIAL ED, does not exactly concern me.

So, I'm in the program. And my school district will reimburse me for PART of my tuition. Which is great- once we come up with the initial cost of my classes, as I REFUSE to take out student loans with the amount of loans we still have to pay off for my husband. *sigh*

BUT! I'm in the program! Which means my job is safe for the rest of the year! *cheers*

We Don't Need No Education

October 23rd, 2012 at 11:36 am

For the past 5 years, I've been teaching Preschool Special Education. I hold a K-12 Special Education license, and in North Carolina, I had to take 2 additional classes to be certified in Birth to Kindergarten education.

In Colorado, things have gotten a little more complicated.

Last year before we moved, the principal at the school I ended up teaching in when we got here (which is not where I am now, which is a long story involving feeling picked on and including a few anxiety attacks) asked if I thought my Colorado teaching license would cover PreK SpEd. "Sure," I said, and that was the end of it, even when I applied for and got my Colorado K-12 SpEd license.

This year - new school, new system, new requirements. In order to teach here, I have to get my Masters in Early Childhood Special Ed. Ok, sure, if it will keep me in PreK, I'll do it, even though I think it's unfair that they can't work me and just require a couple more classes.

So, I've been applying for the UNCo Masters in Early Childhood Special Education. I was accepted to the grad school itself, and now need to be accepted into the program. Only I sent off my application packet over a month ago, and have heard nothing.

So, this morning, I emailed. I explained the situation with my application, and was concerned that my packet might have gotten lost in the mail.

Oh no, they told me, we have your packet. And we still need a copy of your PRAXIS or PLACE scores in Elementary Education. Or a copy of my Elementary Education teaching license.

Well, says I, I sent you a copy of my SPECIAL EDUCATION teaching license, and can get you a copy of my SPECIAL EDUCATION Praxis or Place scores if you need them.

No thank you, says they. You need to take the Elementary Education Praxis or Place.

What? Says I. Why? I have taken the Place AND the Praxis in SPECIAL EDUCATION and am licensed in SPECIAL EDUCATION. Seeing as I am interested in a Masters in Early Childhood SPECIAL EDUCATION, I am unclear as to why I would need to take the Elementary Education Praxis or Place in order to qualify for your program.

Because, says they. It's required.

This has been going on all morning, and I'm about to beat my head against the wall.

If it would be easier to take the stupid test, I would, but I don't feel like paying $85 out of pocket for a test I would desperately need to study for (as I don't TEACH Elementary Education, and know little about the content needs), and STILL am not sure I would pass on the first go round because I DONT TEACH ELEMENTARY ED.

I hate all things right now. Except chocolate. But I don't have any chocolate, so I'm just going to go send my husband angry text messages about why I hate this school.

Over the Shoulder

October 22nd, 2012 at 11:24 am

You might want to look away, guys, as this post is all about bras.

Or you might want to stick around for that reason, but unless you wear bras (hey, no judgement here, do whatever you gotta do), it might not be that fun, as we're going to be talking about BUYING bras.

As every woman knows, a well fitting bra is worth its weight in gold.

And for those of us who are a bit more...er..gifted in that area, the COST of a well fitting bra is way more than it's weight in gold.

I went to Victoria's Secret this weekend to get fitted, as my current bras have been fitting a little funny. I'm of the belief that EVERY woman should get properly fitted for bras - some department stores do it, just ask, and both Lane Bryant and Victoria's Secret do it. It's fast and easy and FREE and will save you tons of uncomfortable moments of having to readjust your boobs in public. Not that I would ever do that. Ahem.

I'm up another cup size (WHY? FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, THEY ARE BIG ENOUGH), so new bras had to be bought.

Now, before people point out to me that you can get bras MUCH cheaper than Victoria's Secret, I know that. I spent two hours in four different department stores and Target a few years ago, tried on every single style of bra in my size as I could, decided on two, took them home, and then discovered they just didn't give me the support needed for all day. Vicky's is EXPENSIVE, but give me support and comfort. Like I said, worth its weight in gold.

2 bras? Ninety seven bucks, kids. NINETY SEVEN DOLLARS.

At least they gave me a free pair of panties.

Forget About the Price Tag

October 16th, 2012 at 07:12 am

I got my paycheck for my second job yesterday, which is $330 I get to put towards my fun trip this summer. I'm treating myself to the BlogHer Conference in Chicago in July, which I'm very excited about. Plus, my sister and her wife live in Chicago, which means I'll get to see them and my nephew, who is expected to arrive sometime in February.

I got my paycheck, though, and started giggling, wondering how I would explain exactly what it is I do on the side - as it would probably appall some of my readers.

No, I'm not a phone sex operator. But my second job probably will raise some eyebrows. My father is certainly horrified.

I proofread gay erotica for an online publishing company.

It is sometimes hilarious, sometimes frustrating, but always fun. I'm getting paid to read, basically, and seeing as I read anything that isn't nailed down anyway, it's an awesome side job for me. I don't make much, as I proof anywhere from 3 to 6 short stories to novel length stories a month, but the extra is very nice, is all mine, and as a bonus, I get to tell people what I do and laugh at their expressions.

There is really no down side to it!

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