So, I have been on vacation since like 3:00 on the 20th.
Now, I love vacations and I love staycations. There is nothing better for me than a week and a half at home. I can clean and read and catch up plus sleep in and stay up and drink and watch TV. This vacation? Not so much.
We got an effing ice storm.
I got a Friday night and a Saturday and then Sunday morning I got up for a mid-night bathroom break and a drink of water and looking out my back window I thought, “Wow. The douche bag behind us seems to have a pretty dark house.” And that was because we didn’t have power.
Not having power in Michigan in the winter is no fun. We don’t have a fireplace, something that seemed inconsequential when I was purchasing my first house on my own. Now, it had moved up a few notches on my wish list. Sunday through Wednesday was spent mostly staying with the in laws and checking on the cats. Their water started to ice over, it got so cold. We had in law Christmas by generator and my family Christmas at my brother’s (with a show, yay!). We lose power pretty regularly. Usually for no reason. We have never lost power in the winter for this long.
It was beautiful. The trees were crystals and then they were coated with snow… However, my magical shedding maple in front of the house shed so many branches that the former resident actually wrote me to say that there was a tree down behind my car. It was scary and it was uncomfortable. I wanted only to be home for the days we spent driving around town “in case we had to go to the bathroom.”
It didn’t take long for me to lose it. I am usually really good about not being physical with my anger. I can contain it and deal with it and move on. This week, however, I dented the brand new fridge because it hit me in the head while we were attempting to save food. I slammed it multiple times into the wall. It was hard dealing with cold cats and the loss of food we had just purchased and basically not knowing when I could be in my own comfortable house with a blankie and my kitties and the comforting sound of TV that I don’t care about. The relief of being home was destroyed by the trips for groceries and returns after Christmas. On our first night home we discovered a leak that was apparently an old one and had started some mold. Our tree was beyond dead by the day and both sets of parents had to shower here, my parents informing us of a major mold problem in the bathroom that we hadn’t noticed.
Basically, at the end of Christmas I got my bitchin’ motorcycle jacket and about $1k worth of repairs in my home, at least. There’s no happy way to finish this post. Just a, “Merry Christmas, kiss my ass. Kiss your ass. Kiss his ass.”
This first month of 2014 will be spent trying to get my finances back in order. Basically, this is an exercise is self-restraint. I understand what needs to be done to get my money in order, it’s the doing it that screws me up.
A couple of times now I have done the Dave Ramsey plan. I build a small savings. I start to pay off bills using the debt snowball. Then I buy something like a house or a car. Well, next December we intend to look for a new place and until then I would like to focus on the first two steps of Ramsey’s plan, just to get things back in order. These are:
- Start a $1000 emergency fund
- Use the debt snowball to pay down debts. (The debt snowball is a method where you pay of your lowest debt first and then apply that money as extra to your next lowest. Thus, snowballing the amount you pay on each loan.)
Here are my goals for the month of January:
- Pick a budget and stick to it. Now, this is a hard one for me. What I like to do is give myself $80/week in cash for groceries and whatever. I have an additional $20/week that I leave on my debit card for all of those things that I tend to think that I need. It makes me feel treated. I also just fill my gas tank when I need it and leave an extra $50/week for that, though I hardly use it all. The end result? $150/week for gas and groceries and goodies.
- Put aside an emergency “fun” fund. In the past I’ve used bottle money and change for this. The idea is to put away a little here and there that is seemingly inconsequential and then use it for going and doing things that we may not have money for. Like, every year we have been together we’ve promised to go to the zoo but haven’t had time and money at the same time. That would be a use for the emergency fun fund.
- The first two steps of Dave Ramsey’s plan.
January should not be a strenuous month. These are goals that should be always in the background. Still, I think that it will be nice to start the year with something other than reducing my weight.
It may be obvious that Christmas is not my favorite holiday. Actually, I’d be fine with scrapping everything from December 1st to March 1st. I don’t like the winter and Christmas and Valentine’s Day are such a struggle that the only bright light is New Years.
Every year since we have been together (and this will be our 4th Christmas), the Hubby throws a fit abut the Christmas tree. We’re never having another one. He can’t stand the cats messing with it. It sheds too many pine needles. There’s glitter everywhere. The Christmas tree is the only real tradition that we have. This is the second year we’ve had a real one and we’ve gone and bought new shatterproof ornaments and had a completely different tree. I look forward to it.
If anything, I am a person of tradition and the more I think about it the more I wonder if this recent dislike for Christmas has to do with the lack of tradition. It used to be that I spent Thanksgiving decorating with my parents. Now I spend it trying to get everything ready in time to go wherever we are going for the day. Mom and I used to bake. We tried last year but it just kind of didn’t work out right. We used to drive through Crossroads Village to see the lights every year.
I have been trying to think of a new tradition to start. Something that the Hubby will like too. It’s just hard, you know. You work all day and you’re sick for two weeks running and you have to sweep every day and run the dishes and clean up the messes that accumulate in 24 hours. By the time you have a spare moment you’re too tired to do much more than stare at the TV until you fall asleep. We haven’t had candy canes this year and we haven’t watched more than 30 minutes of a holiday movie. Being around such a humbug has made me more of a humbug. I just got my cards done and hung up the ones we’ve received.
Yesterday when I got home I took the long way around the neighborhood and looked at the lights. You know, I never thought that I would be the kind of person who didn’t have lights.
I have a cold.
When I am sick, a large part of me understands that I just have to get on with life. I put my makeup on a little lighter, to prevent mascara runs and blatant nose shininess. I put on a comfy cardigan and suck it up and get my ass to work. It’s just a cold. You can’t do anything about it except take it easy and drink your fluids.
Then there is the other part of me that is screaming, “OH MY GOD! MY BRAINS ARE COMING OUT OF MY NOSE! MY EYES HAVE BECOME BURNING JELLY! I AM GOING TO DIE!”
And still I have my shit together more than most people. Amazing.
It is no secret around here that I L-O-V-E love a new year. The people who know me know that I spend months thinking about what I will do with the new year. I over resolute myself. Last year… God. I can’t even tell you what last year’s resolutions were! I was going to lose weight, I think, and I know I meant to read 50 pages a day and write 500 words a day. I didn’t do too poorly, I guess. I’m behind on my reading but probably right on with my writing. Let’s not discuss that weight thing.
The problem is that all of this excitement just builds and builds and my goals stack one on top of another and by the time the new year starts I’m kind of burned out.
Last year I toyed with a lot of stuff. I was going to do a happiness project. I was going to write a novel a month (an idea that Hubby came up with because “one of them would have to be good”). I decided to go with smaller goals because I was getting married and I knew that would take up most of my time and energy and holy shit it did. Ha ha.
And so I have taken to asking myself what it is that I want out of 2014.
As usual, I want it all.
I want to be healthier and happier and smarter. I want to take more time for myself and I want to take up the things I have been meaning to take up. I want to be more spiritual and spend more time outdoors. I want to grow a garden and I want to play the banjo. I want to write AND I want to edit. I want to laugh with my friends. I want to be beautiful and comfortable in my own skin again. I want to get back on solid financial footing.
I have decided to do a happiness project because of all the things that I want. I’ve started the planning, beginning with money so I don’t get sucked into the New Years Dieting Game. On top of this, I will continue with the great goal of reading 100 books in ayear. I did it once. I can do it again.
I have a feeling that this is going to be the longest week ever.
I am only five workdays away from vacation, a week and a half of laying around the house, reading, and cleaning. Those five days are also some of the slowest five days of my job. I have no story times, freeing up a extra 6 hours at my desk. I have everything ready for the next session so I just have a regular week’s worth of work to do in my office, which is already something have down to a science and it just won’t take up enough time. I usually use this time to clean my office, which is actually a storage closet that holds stuff for our Friends group, story time stuff, and anything else that anybody could possibly think to shove in there. The first two years that I did this job I kept a tight ship. After a while, though, you get stuck under piles of stuff that nobody seems willing to throw away or nobody knows where it came from.
Anyway, to top it all, I have a cold! I have these stupid things. They just throw such a wrench into things. So, I skipped my workout and tried to get some extra sleep. Extra sleep did not actually happen. Hubby had every light in the house on and the cats wanted to crawl all over me. My throat is itchy and I miss breathing through my nose.
Christmas is a week and a half away.
Now that we are two weekends away from Christmas, my world is overflowing with it.
Last night was my work party. I actually really enjoyed myself. We played spoons.
Today is my big family party. We will most likely play spoons.
Next weekend we’ll do dinner with my aunt and uncle.
Christmas Eve will be spent with my mom and then my mother-in-law.
Christmas with my father-in-law.
It gets busy. I have a plan for some drinking following the party tonight. lol