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Lull June 14, 2010

Posted by Kimmothy in Friends, Health, Home Life, Money.
8 comments

Let’s go ahead and get the complaint out of the way first: it’s fucking hot. At the risk of Heather Jo making fun of me for stating the obvious (one of the things we talk about frequently is weather and she laughs at people who complain or act surprised when they’ve lived somewhere forever and should know by now what the deal is), I can’t reiterate enough how much I hate it. Unlike her, who is one of the lucky people who seem to have a high tolerance for a wide array of temps, I think I’m starting to become opposite of that. Brian says I have a comfort range of about five degrees and I’m starting to think he’s right (although 65 – 75 is probably more like it, so okay, ten).

We’ve had high 90’s or low 100’s for the past few days and as you may guess, it makes me want to punch something. I love being outside but when it’s like this I avoid it as much as possible and then I get sad and feel like a cave dweller.

 Luckily Saturday evening we had something to do, which forced us to leave the house. I was thankful for it. Friends of ours just moved into a new house and needed our truck to move some of the leftover big things, including a treadmill which weighs more Earth. We waited until almost sundown to get started and though it was still steamy out, it was a vast improvement. It was sweaty work to be sure, but we always have fun hanging out with them and were really happy to be able to help because we know how much moving sucks ass. They have a gorgeous new house and I’m really excited for them. Sitting out on the deck swatting the moths away, I could visualize how amazing it’ll be to visit and cook out there in good weather!

One thing with hibernating right now though is that when you stay home you’re not spending any money. (Obviously I still could – Amazon is possible no matter what, but I’m avoiding that too and being a good little library goer) Right now we’re on the verge of the car being paid off (so close, so close!) and also repaired, a washing machine that seems to have lost its ability to spin and a truck that has new weird noises every week. It’s frustrating for both of us to feel like we’re holed up every weekend, but on the other hand the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and more real, so we’re trying to stay focused on that. We’ve weathered way worse times and I know we’ll get through this little period of ennui as well.

Working on losing weight helps me too. I know if nothing else, I am making progress with something. If exercising and eating well is the only thing I’ve accomplished that day, well, that’s better than what I was doing before. It does wonders for my mood to put on a pair of pants that didn’t fit a few weeks ago or to see the numbers going in the right direction on the scale. Yesterday I even tortured myself a little and watched Food Network – Paula Deen was making bbq ribs, potato salad, homemade ice cream and oh, I just laughed and laughed as I ate my salad.

One good thing about me – I can always find ways to amuse myself. That’s an important quality to have, especially during times like these.

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Bye Buy January 21, 2010

Posted by Kimmothy in Books, Home Life, Money, Shopping, Weather.
6 comments

We had a bout of ridiculously beautiful weather for the last week or so (sunny, highs in the low 60’s) and it went a long way toward boosting my mood and lifting me out of what I’m guessing is a post-holiday funk. Today it’s back to cold and rainy but that’s not supposed to last and I’m okay with those days as well, as long as there aren’t too many of them in a row. As much as I profess to want to move to the Pacific NW someday, I seriously doubt I’d be good with their weather for very long. It’s been difficult to remain at work during the good weather stretch and I’ve tried to get outside and take as many walks during the day as I could get away with, which on some days was a lot.

Another thing I do to give myself a little lift quite often is buy something. It doesn’t have to be big; it can be as small as a bag of Cracker Jacks or a Cherry Coke. However, we are extremely close to meeting a big financial goal and the closer we get the more excited/anxious I am to pay off the debt. I’ve instituted a self-imposed shopping ban for myself for the next thirty days or so in order to meet the goal as soon as possible. (I’m actually embarrassed to say what the goal is but embarrassment has never stopped me from sharing before, so here it is: we’re finally paying off my ever-aging car, the poor sad Bessie. You may be saying to yourself, But isn’t that an old car, one that should’ve been paid off like two years ago? And my answer to that would be, Don’t ever take finanical advice from me because I’m really, really bad at it.)

Of course normal bills and things like groceries and gas will still be purchased. But once I decided this, which was only three days ago, it has already been dismaying to see how often I get the urge to poop out cash for completely or nearly-completely unnecessary items. Itching to get out of the office? Run to Target during my lunch hour under the guise of “picking up something for the house,” and come home with a new belt or cute new gloves. Standing in line at the grocery check-out? Why not grab the latest issue of Lucky to see what people luckier than me are buying. Feeling that late-afternoon blood sugar drop? Run down the street to the fun convenience store where they know me so well, they let me know when my favorite candy and soda is on sale. Can’t sleep in the middle of the night? Go to Amazon and/or Overstock and take a peek at what books, purses, jewelry, t-shirts, etc. might be on sale. Stop in to say hi to my sister-in-law at her hair salon and go next door to see what new hair product goodies or OPI nail polish might be on clearance.

Oh my God, I suck.

But! That’s all over with for the time being. I may feel the urges still, like any good addict would, but I guess the difference is having the bigger goal within reach. The light at the end of the proverbial tunnel is getting brighter all the time and I’m counting on it to blind me to instant gratification. I’m feeling good and strong.

Even though yesterday I found out the library’s bi-annual book sale is happening this coming Saturday.

God is laughing at me as we speak.

Money, it’s a Gas January 10, 2010

Posted by Kimmothy in Bloggie Friends, Books, Money.
6 comments

We’ve spent most of the first days of the new year hunkered down, as it’s been unusually cold and we’re southern wimps. I like it though; we make a big deal of gathering firewood and maintaining a fire as we all Snuggie together on the couch to read/watch TV – it’s like a license to hibernate, this weather. But the fact I’m actually looking forward to going to the inlaws’ today tells me I wouldn’t do well in a real cabin fever-ish situation; most likely I’d go the way of Jack at the Overlook Hotel after a few weeks.

Oh, speaking of Stephen King! I’m knee-deep in his newest 1,074 page opus Under the Dome and loving every minute of it. I was really scared after reading Cell (garbage) the man was hanging it up, but then he bounced back with Lisey’s Story and Duma Key and now this. I truly don’t know what I’ll do when there’s no more new stuff from him. I’ve told Heather that’s what I’m saving the Dark Tower series for, even though I believe her when she says that’s probably not how I want to go out. It’s too depressing to contemplate, as he’s been a such big part of my literary world since the age of twelve, when I snuck Salem’s Lot and ended up sleeping on the couch for a month in order to be near my parents’ bedroom because I knew logically I was too old to be in their bed. 

We’re kind of in that post-holiday, post-vacation poorhouse, so to have both the house and my car act up this week was a little frightening. Especially since there is some travel potential in my near future and I haven’t quite figured out how I’m going to swing it. Weetabix, one of my first blogging crushes, contacted me the other day to encourage me to attend Weetacon in Green Bay in early March. My happiness was short-lived and stunted by the fact the only thing it hinges on is money. Always money. I haven’t completely discounted it yet, but (insert whiny voice) when is it going to be that I can just say yes to something like that, without immediately doing calculations in my head: “Well, if I do this, don’t pay that, skip groceries for a month…” Stupid.

Because that’s the thing. If money wasn’t an issue I would travel, like a lot. Both to spend more time with the people I love and to go on adventures to new places I’ve never been. I realize that’s not original and a lot of people would do the same thing. Just thought I’d put it out there.

One exciting thing is that on February 1st, I’m eligible for an upgrade on my phone. Oh happy day. I think I’ve pretty much narrowed it down to two, though I’m going into a Sprint dealer sometime soon to actually hold and play with them, to see which one I like better. I made a hasty, stupid decision with this current piece of plastic poop and I’ve had to live with the suck for a year and a half. Never again. Just to make the point even more clear, at some point this week the back of it fell off leaving the battery exposed and making me the proud owner of the most ghetto-fied phone in the world.

So to recap: I think I need a new house, new car, new phone and some travel money. THAT’S NOT TOO MUCH TO ASK, RIGHT??? Does anyone know of anyplace hiring for part-time night work? I kid, but I’m starting to think that might not be a bad idea, at least for a few months. We’re closer than ever to being okay financially, but the closer we get the more impatient I get. We’ve been in the crapper so long it’s time to do whatever it takes to climb all the way out of it. I want this to be the year.

Getting up off my ass I think would be a good first step.

Ain’t Too Proud to Beg August 12, 2009

Posted by Kimmothy in Experience, Friends, Home Life, Marriage, Money, Travel.
12 comments

This is a blatant cry for help. Okay, or maybe I’m just looking for some ideas.

I’ll try to keep this brief and to the point.

This coming October is our ten year anniversary – whoo! Instead of presents, I’ve been saying for months I’d rather DO something special, take a trip somewhere – and I’ve been heavily hinting about the North Carolina mountains. So far he’s been agreeable, but that’s usually the case during the tentative stages of any plan. Something else to consider is that we already have another trip scheduled: Disney at the end of the month for a few days with my family, the annual reunion thing we do every year. Which I’m also looking very forward to and so is he.

This morning a friend of ours popped online and we chatted for awhile. This is my ex-dude, the one we still socialize with every so often. Every year for the past decade or so, he’s been going to this arts and music festival up in, what do you know, the mountains in North Carolina. It’s called the L.E.A.F (Lake Eden Arts Festival) and he’s been bugging us to go for like, forever. Keep in mind, this is a person I went to a lot of concerts with, including the big Woodstock reunion in 1994 and another music festival in Florida called Livestock. (Yes, Livestock – don’t hate; if it wasn’t for that, I never would have seen fantastic 90’s bands like Every Mother’s Nightmare and Gene Loves Jezebel). He knows I love nothing more than a bunch of hippies getting together to camp, ingest questionable substances and listen to music for days on end. Not to mention this thing is happening exactly WHERE I’d love to be and WHEN I’d love to be there. 

The problem lies in the fact of the Disney trip. I can clearly hear Brian now: “We can afford to do one or the other, but not both and I don’t want to cancel the family trip.” Well, but that’s not a really strong argument because according to what Delorme was saying and in checking the website, this trip would be very affordable. I mean yes, you have to buy tickets, but other than that it’s camping. We already have a tent and camping supplies. Everybody chips in on the food and drink. Delorme also said we could carpool up there to obviously save on gas, etc.

Okay so here’s my strategy. Obviously with these types of things, timing is everything. A lesser experienced female would have already called him at work and excitedly started in with the “Please, please?” thing. Which is never a good idea. It’s a rookie mistake and I’ve made it before. But I’ve learned many things over the years and know a lot more things go my way when I ask for something under the following circumstances:

  • We’re both home from work
  • He’s showered, is refreshed and cooled off
  • He’s been well fed (so glad I remembered to marinate a steak for tonight)
  • He’s relaxed and in nighttime happy mode – and if I have to sacrifice some free time to make sure he’s relaxed as possible, (*Cough – Bjob – cough*) well then I’m more than willing to do so

That’s how I’m going to handle it tonight and I guess we’ll see what happens. But like I said, if you have any additional ideas – I’m sure you’ve convinced your S.O. to do something a time or two – I’d love to hear about it. If only for the amusement factor alone, which is to say you won the debate and got your way.

Update May 21, 2009

Posted by Kimmothy in Home Life, Money.
1 comment so far

This is what I get for talking TRASH (Ha, see what I just did there?)…
Got an email from George just now asking if we’d be able to haul off all the crap from the Rednecks’ old house.
But.
We need to do it. It seems that Brian’s truck is out to force us into the poor house (or should I say the poorER house). Every time we fix something, something else immediately starts to fall apart – it’s like the vehicular version of that movie The Money Pit. Currently it’s making a noise that can only be described as a chorus of baby birds who have taken up residence somewhere deep in the engine…and who are dying a slow painful death.
Hmm.
I think I know what I’M doing this weekend.

My life so totally rocks.

I’d have a more relaxing day if I was at work December 22, 2008

Posted by Kimmothy in Holidays, Money, Shopping, The Man, Walmart.
3 comments

Wanna see my to-do list for today? Sure you do!

1. Post office – What’s that you say about waiting til the last minute? Shut up. I thought I was going to be in Florida to hand deliver these gifts, but I’m not. And I’ve been busy. Shut up.

2. Pay cable and water bills. I suppose I could mail them, but I’m going to stop into my favorite thrift store to visit the girls there and it’s right across the street from the cable company. And I keep forgetting to pay the water bill, so I’m scared if I mail it, it’ll get shut off. It’s happened before. Sadly, our water bill is the cheapest bill we have, but I usually end up screwing it up somehow. And the City of Columbia’s website is so lame, you can’t pay your bill online. They’re in the process of trying to change that because everyone has been telling them how lame it is. But they haven’t changed it yet, so hello water company. That reminds me –

3. Put change in wallet for parking meters. It is because of this fair city I learned how to parallel park for real and not just fake it for my driver’s test. There are meters everywhere and they are strictly enforced. One of my most favorite things to do is put an extra quarter in when I’m leaving so the next person has some free minutes. Good parking karma is very important.

4. Bank. Have to deposit a Christmas check that came early from his dad. Last year he got me a Barnes & Noble gift card. Brian told him to just send us money this year. But I think I’ll stop at Barnes & Noble for a book anyway because I know that’s what his dad would want me to do.

5. The Deathstar. I swore I wouldn’t set foot back in Walmart until after January 1st, but the combination of having to return something, running out of garbage bags and toilet paper simultaneously and needing a few grocery items, well, there you have it. That is the evil genius that is the Mart – having everything you need at prices cheaper than the more civilized stores. Why didn’t I realize about the garbage bags and toilet paper when I was at Target two days ago? Because I’m an idiot.

6. Gamestop. This will be my favorite chore of the day. Brian had his PlayStation 2 stolen a couple of years back, when some asshole broke into his truck. He hasn’t missed it too much since then until now. He saw a commercial for this war game called Call of Duty and lost his mind. I thought about buying the PC version of the game, but the graphics are so amazing, our computer wouldn’t do it justice. I thought of getting him an Xbox or PS3, but then found many more things I could do with the four hundred or so dollars that would take. So I contacted all my gamer friends and asked where I could get a good deal on a PS2 and Gamestop was the suggestion. The store I’m going to is .4 miles from my house and has both the PS2 and the game. They open at 9:00. I’ll be there at 9:05. Yay, Christmas! I can’t wait to see the look on his face. Which is pretty much why I love this time of year so much. Well, that and candy canes.

I hope everybody has a fun and productive day. If you need me I’ll be standing in line somewhere.

How to handle economic crisis November 8, 2008

Posted by Kimmothy in Home Life, Money.
3 comments

This is one of those weeks that happens to us every so often, though luckily not as often as it used to. Even though I deposited his paycheck yesterday, my next one isn’t until next Friday and things are, how do you say…a little thin. The budget is a skinny shoestring and has to be dealt with very carefully for the next few days. The checking account is as tight as Nicole Kidman’s face. We po’.

But the good news is, if there is one thing I’m good at it is living lean (as opposed to livin’ large). Which will come in handy when this country swiftly goes from Recession to Depression – but let’s not get into all that for the moment. Right now I’m here to offer you tips and suggestions, all coming from the wealth (oh look, a pun!) of experience I have on the subject.

This particular crunch came about from a larger-than-expected electric bill. This does not bode well for this winter, as it’s only the beginning of November and already the bill has increased by over a hundred dollars. As much as I like the cold, I don’t like to be cold, and I may have started turning the heat on a little too soon. Like in the wee hours of the morning while getting ready for work. And before going to bed so when I get up to pee in the middle of the night it would be nice and toasty. (I’ve started pricing heated toilet seats for this reason as well.) (The pricing is not encouraging) And maybe there have been a few times I put my clothes in the dryer while I get ready for work so they’re all snuggly when I put them on. Okay, so this one is all me, all my fault. Brian is somehow heated from within and it takes a lot for him to actually be cold, while I won’t be taking socks off for the next four months unless I’m taking a shower. My nose tells the whole story and every time he bitches about me turning the heat on, I make him touch it to prove I’m not full of shit, but rather blocks of ice.

Which brings me to my first tip: If you’re having a tight week, review the bills you have to pay and only pay the necessary ones. This includes the electric bill. Rent, mortgage or car payment due? Eh, skip it! Your landlord and/or finance company will let you slide for a few days; trust me on this. Just don’t let those days slide into weeks – trust me on this too.

Luckily, the cable bill, though not entirely caught up, is paid up enough so that Time Warner is happy. This one is all him, as three Carolina games have already been on Pay Per View, and the fourth one is today. At $25 a pop. It would’ve actually been cheaper to ATTEND one of the games, which are played six miles from here. However, I know what Gamecock football means to my husband, so I haven’t bitched (that much). Which brings me to tip number two. If you’re poor but have cable anyway, make that your prime source of entertainment. No going to the movies, out to eat or to a bar – the only place you’re going is to your couch. Now’s the time to search the channel guide and see what you’ve been missing. There’s HGTV, the Travel Channel, the Cooking Network; watch how the luckier, smarter and more affluent people live and I promise one of two things will happen: you will be inspired to better yourself in order to live more like these lucky bitches, or you will spiral down into a deep depression and wonder where you went wrong in life. Either way – a great time waster.

Speaking of food. I had to be verrry careful at the grocery yesterday, but this is fun since this is one of the few bills you can actually control. I cut coupons, I didn’t get tempted by my insane need to stock up on things like toilet paper and paper towels – the two rolls I have of each are more than enough to get us through the week. I spent $53, being careful we have enough fun food to eat because here’s some good news: junk food is much cheaper than healthy food! This week is all about fillers and starch and how fun is that! True, we might have enough vitamin deficiencies to warrant a scurvy scare, but I’ll be sure to put the old dusty bottle of One a Day for Her vitamins on the kitchen counter and crush one into every dinner I make this week. Problemo solved.

Most people I know don’t love to read like I do, but I’m telling you – there is no cheaper form of entertainment. Well, only if you get your books from the library, which I hate doing since I keep most of the books I read and the library tends to frown on that. Damn library and its silly rules. Luckily I have a few books on my to-read pile, so I am not tempted by the 20% off Barnes & Noble coupon that was emailed to me yesterday. Nope, not tempted at all. But, you can bet I’ll be doing some reading this weekend, out on one of the porches, taking in the beautiful Fall leaves…

Which brings me to my next tip. Today I plan on taking the dog for a long walk around the neighborhood and snapping a bunch of pictures. It seems like right now we’re peaking as far as our foliage is concerned, and it’s going to be gone way too soon, leaving ugly stark tree branches in its wake. Taking pictures is cheap and fun, as long as you don’t go on Kodak, Snapfish or any of the other picture sites and order prints like I just did of our vacation pictures. It was such a good deal though – the whole album for five bucks! Whatever. The pictures I take today will be free as a bird.

You may find when cutting down on expenses, you’re getting cabin fever and damn, it’s not even Winter yet. Luckily gas prices have dropped dramatically, so that if you do feel the need to get out of the house, a short ride won’t cost very much anymore. Yesterday I ran all my errands and tomorrow we’ll be going to his parents’, but other than that, no gas will be used today. His dad, cousin, uncle and half-brother are coming over to watch the game today and since I suspected this might happen, I stocked up on enough food and beer so that we’ll be fine without any last-minute, expensive trips to the convenient store. Though I usually underestimate beer consumption, once they get here, THEY can be the ones to run to the store and pay for more! Always let other people pay for things you aren’t consuming yourself.

This one is mostly for the ladies, though I know a couple of men it applies to as well. You might be like me in that you like to buy yourself presents. Frequently. We’ll get into the psychological aspect of that another day, but for now let’s stick to the practical. Yesterday I was sad knowing I couldn’t buy myself anything. Not that I really even need or want anything right now, but when the choice is removed completely, you may find yourself starting to sweat and/or itch. Then, I came up with the solution. I remembered my favorite thrift store, Sid and Nancy’s, put out a bulletin the other day they need winter clothes and coats. I remembered my coat from last year that no longer fits (yeah, that’s right – a coat that won’t button over your boobs is no coat at all), so I took it on down there and when she said she didn’t have any cash on hand to buy it at the moment, but could offer me store credit, I smiled big and said store credit was just FINE with me. I got two new pairs of courderoys and still have $3 leftover for the next time I go. New clothes for no money! Call your nearest consignment store and go stimulate the economy by getting yourself that well-deserved new outfit!

Another one for the ladies. I know you are like me and have plenty of fun things to do in the bathroom. Dig out that deep conditioning treatment, curling iron or straightener, nail polish, files and clippers, facial scrubs and masks, and give yourself a spa day right there in the comforts of your own home. True, it’s not nearly as much fun as paying someone do all that stuff for you, but damn; you’re broke – you don’t have anything else to do anyway! Plus, the results are the same: you’re prettier and feel better than you did before. Don’t be sad about wasting a good hair and face day by having no one see it; put on that new thrift store outfit and take some new Myspace pictures!

Sex is totally free, unless you’re paying a prostitute. Which I don’t recommend. Personally, I’ve had enough lately so that’s not on my to-do list this weekend. You hornballs are a different story – go get laid! I promise it will take your mind off your money troubles, at least for a short time. (Or a long time, depending on if you’re one of those freaks who like to do it for hours. I don’t get you people. Do you not fear chaffing? Do you really like being naked and sweaty for that long? Does it really hold your interest for more than fifteen minutes at a time? WEIRDOS.)

Last but not least. Again, this has to do with food, because Lord knows there’s a reason my coat from last winter didn’t fit anymore. Since the weather has cooled off in most places, now is the time to rummage aruond in your kitchen and see what ingredients you have lying around. You may need to actually buy one or two things, but make a favorite recipe for yourself and/or other people, one that’s more fun eating in cooler weather. I only had to get butter yesterday, and now I have all the ingredients I need to make the Crack Cookies today. It’s a fun, cheap activity that will make you happy and will garnish praise from all those you feed. Win-win.

So there you have it. Do with this information what you will, but trust me. It’s going to come in handy one of these days.

Rich is the new poor September 23, 2008

Posted by Kimmothy in Money.
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I’m sure you may have heard about the skirmish on Wall Street last week, and you were probably just like me – listened to a news blip, thought “Oh shit, that sounds bad,” and went on your merry way. Well, ignorance is bliss but since I’m married to a newsaholic, I learned more about it last night and wish I hadn’t. Did you know, and this was said by a noted financial expert, we were about five trades away from the entire stock market collapsing? 1929 anyone? Yeah. Most people don’t know that, and that’s probably for the best, since otherwise there would’ve been mass panic and stupid shit happens when people panic.

Without getting into a boring discussion about economics, let me just put it this way. There is a very good chance we’re about to find out what it was like living during the Great Depression. I for one, have always loved dresses and hairstyles from back then, but that doesn’t mean I’d like to start bartering for sugar rations, you know? (Which I would totally do, since there’s no way in hell I’m drinking coffee with Splenda or Equal and Sweet ‘n Low can go straight to the deepest bowels of hell).

Brian and I were watching all this unfold last night and just shaking our heads in disgust. Until we realized something. We’ve ALWAYS been poor! We have no investments, no property and hardly any savings at all! This crisis won’t even affect us – we will live EXACTLY THE SAME as we are living now! Oh my God, did we get a good guffaw over that one. We’ll have to sacrifice going on vacations, going out to eat, buying new high-end appliances and electronics and late model cars? DONE, baby! All taken care of! I’m ready, Recession – bring it on!

Who knew we had the perfect plan in place all along, and that is to have no plan at all.

I think now’s a good time to tell you about my new seminar. It will be held every week and will be free (of course) to the public. It’s called: How To Survive Until the End of the Month When All Your Money Runs Out on the 16th. The course will include many useful tips, including:

Rice: Versatile and Filling
Yes! Ramen Noodles Really Still Are Five for A Dollar!
Repurposing Toilet Paper for Coffee Filters: Not as Gross as it Sounds
Turn off the A/C and Coast Down Hills: Saving Gas in 10 Easy Steps
Breaking Your Habit of Name Brand Cereal
Your Dog Doesn’t Know the Difference Between Science Diet and Ol Roy

So you see, I have a wealth (pun intended) of knowledge on the subject. If the economy’s got you down or worried, come see Dr. Kim – I gots my PhD in Ghetto and I’m ready to use it! (Monetary donations are happily accepted)