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!
Viewing the 'Kid stuff' Category
It's been a little bit since I've been around, but things have been a tiny bit crazy.
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?
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!
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!
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.
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.
We're getting there.
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!
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?
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?
WHY YES. YES I WOULD.
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!
1. My father in law died 2 years ago, and since then, Brandus' mom has gone drastically downhill. I know she's dealing with depression, but she's also in poor health herself. And she flat out refuses to go to the doctor.
She passed out when she was talking to someone a few months ago - fortunately, a cop who quickly called an ambulance, but she brushed it off and said, "oh, they just said it was low blood sugar."
I'd told Brandus the last time she came to visit that I didn't feel comfortable leaving her watching Voldemort anymore, and HE brushed that off.
This last visit was his eye opener, though. She can barely make it up and down the stairs. She has to cling on to the walls and the railing. Her hair is very thin, she's lost weight, and her arms are two huge age spot bruises. She looks like my 94 year old grandfather, and she's only 64. And once she gets started coughing, she can't stop.
So, he called his uncle, and with both of them putting pressure on her, she's agreed to sell the house and move down here. NOT IN WITH US, because NO NEVER EVER, but to our town. Our job is to find her an apartment she can afford. We're hoping we can put more pressure on her and actually get her in to a doctor down here, but it's doubtful.
This is 1)good, as it will reduce Brandus' stress level, and 2)bad, as it will increase my stress level. Oy.
2. Brandus and I want another kid, but haven't been having any luck for the past 2 years or so. We've seen the fertility doc and have tried a couple of things, but so far, no luck. When Voldemort comes home from Kindergarten with pictures he's drawn of the brother he wants, it really kind of sucks.
3. To go along with that, Brandus and I are looking into the foster/adopt program for our county. We've been planning on this regardless of fertility and whatever happens with that. We have an informational meeting later this month, and then we have to start jumping through hoops. I know there will be applications and home visits, but I'm not sure what else will be needed to be done. Anybody gone the foster/adopt or domestic adoption route?
Thanks so much for the welcome back! I'm excited anybody remembers me!
One of the biggest activities we do on the weekend is hitting up parks and playgrounds. We live in a city with about 8 different parks, and we're within easy driving distance of about 5 more. And when you've got a 5 year old, you get desperate for anything that gets them out of the house and doing physically active things.
They sleep better and are much less whiny when they've been running around outside for a while. TRUST ME.
So, we go to playgrounds and parks. We have 1 close enough to walk to, and we hit that one on a pretty regular basis, but we like to change things up so nobody gets bored.
So, yesterday we packed up ourselves, some sandwiches/chips/fruit, and headed out to the "Castle Playground." Unfortunately, the Castle playground is a pretty good distance away - about 30 minutes - but we had my mother in law with us, and Voldemort wanted to show off his favorite playground. We really don't go there very often, but it is REALLY cool. It has a fountain and a small water area, and the rest of the place actually looks like a castle.
We did stop by Whole Foods to pick up a few things, so it wasn't a completely cheap trip, but we didn't end up eating out and the park is free, so other than Whole Foods and the cost of gas, it was a pretty frugal day out.