Tuesday, January 26, 2010

good management "NOW".

Ah, Mondays. I thought mine was going less than swimmingly until my husband forwarded me this correspondence from his oh so tactful (and well-written!) supervisor. If you think you are fed up with your job/boss, read this and you'll be thankful for what you've got. It is verbatim, except the names have been altered slightly so when poor Laron Washingtan, who is already embarrassed for being singled out by the delinquent boss, googles himself he won't find this.

Please let's not adopt the practice of "Out of Sight Out of Mind". This morning I asked you to supply me with any change(s) you may have in the February, 2010, Visitation Schedule. Up to now I have only received responses from Valerie Gallup, Art Square, Larry Marton, Roscoe Hensin, Marlin Johnston, and Laron Washingtan. Needless to say this is totally unacceptable that out of 15 people I have only 6 responses. I have a deadline to keep and when I have to gather information from people responding at the last minute it makes you look bad and it makes me look bad. I don't like it when I look bad and you should not like it when you look bad. I need this information "NOW".

Needless to say, Kyle continues to search for a new job. Happy Tuesday.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

budgeting 101

One of our goals for 2010 is to create and stick to a budget. Sub-goals include giving more to church and charities, saving more in our 403b/IRA, and saving for a big trip we're planning with Tera and Brett. I love Excel so I made a kick-@$$ (why did that create a link? I don't know. where does it link to? Please don't blame me if it's something dirty...I was trying to keep it clean!) spreadsheet to track our expenditures. It's on google documents, allowing me to update whenever, wherever, we'll always be together. I'll be there and you'll be here -- oh sorry, Shakira took hold of me there for a minute!

Anyway, back on track! I've still got a ton to learn about money management and budgeting, but I feel like we're on a really good start after a couple very expensive years of getting married, buying and renovating a house, and generally living a carefree newlywed lifestyle. It is SO much easier to say no to impulse purchases if you know you have to go home, enter it into that spreadsheet, and watch the balance for that category decline. It's really been making me re-consider my choices and only purchase things I love. And I get to use Kyle's favorite phrase of the post-Pike ladies "I don't love it", which of course conveys a feeling only slightly better than indifference.

Now, onto the GO DO THIS RIGHT NOW part of the post. I just got off the phone with Comcast and had our monthly cable/internet bill reduced from $109.25 pre-tax to $84.95 pre-tax, and ended up with 20+ more channels, including HBO! Oh, Larry, Brett and Jemaine, how I've missed you! I had put off calling for several weeks since I'd heard that my sweet-as-pie sister-in-law Lesley did this, because I really hate confrontation and asking for things, even when it's over the phone and I know I could just hang up the minute things get awkward if it bothers me enough! But I worked up the courage and got a really nice girl on the phone, whom I told that I was considering switching providers because I just couldn't justify spending more when others were offering the same service for much less. Without question, she offered me the current promotions being offered to new Comcast subscribers.

Off I went to my budget spreadsheet and changed the cable category from $120/month to $95/month (just in case we are too lazy to go to the redbox and fall victim to the temptation of pay-per-view). That extra $25/month will be going toward paying off my new bike and our other athletic pursuits. What would you use it for?
I heart

Monday, January 11, 2010

back to school

An intellectual shock looms this coming weekend as I return to school after taking the fall semester off. Evenings spent on the couch with Kyle, feeling smart because we beat the nerdy high schoolers on the Jeopardy Teen Tournament (Just put some mousse in that hair, sweetie! Hey kid, they even make contacts for moles like you these days!) and casting our vote for who should be told to pack up their knives and go home on Top Chef will be distant memories.

I'm a little more than halfway through my Masters program in Counseling. With about 18 classroom credits and a semester-long internship to go, I should be ready to graduate in May 2012. Even though I'm going to miss that free time to log a few extra miles or grab a drink with a girlfriend, I am planning to come back with a vengance this spring.

Why? Being halfway done with something, no matter how long the task, definitely helps motivate me to push through to the finish. Also, I'm taking Human Development from the professor who challenged me enough to lose a few decimal points from my GPA, and I want to show her and myself that I can do without that dreaded "-" after my grade.

This weekend's academic activity should help prepare me both for that class and for my busy semester and spring in general. I'm taking a quick 2-day 1-credit class on Reality Therapy, a modality which empowers the client to make real changes in his or her life through problem-solving type techniques and cognition, from one of the top practitioners and researchers of it today. See below for the title of one of the books we'll be using:

Yes, friends, this is why I study counseling. Some day it will be great to help others learn how to put and keep themselves together, but for now, it's not a bad deal to learn it for myself, for free (thanks, Hopkins!), and from one of the best. I'll letcha know how it goes.

P.S. Sign up in the comments section to borrow this book from me after class is over. :-)

Friday, January 8, 2010


I guess it's time to jump on the New Year bandwagon and resolve to get back to this darn blog. I have some reservations about continuing it this year, such as:

- Um, we're not in pursuit of the place anymore. We found it like 2 years ago.
- I'm kind of sick (ok, really sick) of the title. I never really liked it in the first place but my laziness beat out my creativity and that's whatcha got stuck with. I do, however, still like the picture of the guy picking up trash by the bench proclaiming Baltimore's greatness. You might have to live here to understand.
- Once we found the house, the blog turned into a journal of our renovations. Well guess what, my husband has been busy and we're almost done with those too.
- I'm really busy! Like, REALLY! Here's what I do (prepare for the sub-list): Run 5-6 mornings a week, swim or bike a couple days a week, book club once a month (ok, wine club), string quartet rehearsal every other week (another wine club), bible study group every Tuesday night and church on Sunday(gotta repent for all that wine consumption), class one night a week for my Master's program, various volunteer activities and get-togethers as assigned for Back on My Feet, and oh yeah, my job. And I'd like to fit in the Financial Peace University classes that Tera & Brett gave us, and a date night (as much as I hate that lame term) with Kyle.
- I don't know what else I would write about. My life is not that interesting.

There are a few good reasons to keep going, which include:

- Blogging lets people choose whether or not they want to see my photos/hear about the mundane details of my life, instead of me inundating their email inboxes.
- Who am I kidding about business being a factor against it. I blog at work. Duh.
- Blogging makes me feel cool because my big sister and her friends do it. It's kinda the same feeling I got when Megan would convince Tera to just let me ride to school in the uterus with them already.
- Once we have kids in like 10 years, I won't have to set up a new blog to share every single detail of my pregnancy with the world.

Weighing the pros and cons....weighing, weighing....Oh! I almost forgot! My awesomely creative sister and brother-in-law think I am a good writer. (despite my, albeit intentional, overuse of the word "like"). Decision made. I shall press on. Thank you, TPS and BS - haha!!! Funniest set of married people initials ever!! - for your votes of confidence. I'm sorry, but few things feel better in life than the approval of your older sis.

Now, what to write about... here's what's on the docket so far for 2010:

- a few final renovation postings, including a grande finale before and after!
- funny names I encounter at work while cleaning hundreds of thousands of records in preparation for mass mailings
- a new name/look for the blog
- maybe some training stuff as I prepare for Boston and my first triathlon, but no self-congratulatory bs, I promise.
- a continuation of the great words-we-hate family email exchange started last night

Whatever else you guys (all 2.5 of you) want.

Finally, here's a cute picture from my Christmas vacation. Other people's kids are the best!