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Archive for May, 2008: Going back up that slippery slope...
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Archive for May, 2008

Feeling a case of the yuckies

May 30th, 2008 at 09:15 pm

Rough day at work. Earlier today, our principal rather unprofessionally and thoughtlessly made an announcement that hurt many in my department. It is yet another sign of what he thinks about special education in general. The seniors are enjoying all of their wonderful senior activities. It makes me sad that I don't want to come back next year; I would love to graduate my advisory (they are 2009s) and enjoy that wonderful last year with them. Alas, this work environment is toxic and I just don't think I can do that to myself.

I've come to the understanding that regardless of many things, my principal will be allowed to continue his inept and arrogant way of running this school. It's a shame, but I know I'll find a better place to use my teaching talents and will forget about this experience. We will all continue ticking independent of one another.

Have you ever experienced the look someone gives you when they feel that you are beneath them? I get that look quite often at this school and from many of the staff. I don't particularly consider myself homely--in fact, I was regarded as rather pretty in my youth. There is one teacher in particular who gives me this pity stare every time she sees me. It is just absolutely the most awful thing.

On another note, one week until I get paid which shall retire a bit more debt. Three weeks until bonus time which will mean the retiring of our prosper loan. If we get the extra $1000 bonus for 3 points gain on PLAN scores, which I'm hoping we do (but am not holding my breath) I will put a bit into savings and may also splurge on new running shoes. I've had my current ones for three years (no, I'm not in the habit of running--I'm rather out of shape and am in dire need of a good run). Last year I didn't buy new ones because I promised myself that I'd only buy new ones if I started running again. That did not work as motivation, so perhaps it'll work in the reverse.

fed student loans

May 26th, 2008 at 01:01 pm

I think I've pieced together enough to understand that I can have $5000 forgive now (because I've taught for five years in title I schools) and I can have the rest forgiven in a year and a half when I finish five years of teaching sped. I can also get a deferment for teaching in a shortage area for up to 36 months, which means I won't have to pay back a thing. Woo Hoo! I'm going to have to make my phone calls and confirm all of it, but it's all good. Yay! Yay! Yay! It's a good day.

Debt update

May 23rd, 2008 at 01:51 pm

Today my final payment to HFC will hit and that loan will be closed out. This is very exciting. I decided to take off the federal student loan from my debt total. I've looked into the teacher loan forgiveness program. I qualify to have $5,000 taken off now and in a year and a half the rest will cancel. Psychologically I think it's better to look at the smaller total, you know? It'll feel really good when all of the consumer debt is paid and I just have car/student loan left.

I'm pretty bummed that I've got to save the money that would have gone towards car over the summer, but hey, at least I've gotten realistic. I may not be able to pay off the car until January now. My hopes lie in that a) I'll be making a bit more money in a union school b) they'll have an afterschool program I can do which'll earn a few extra hundred per month to go towards car. I'm going to a job fair next Saturday, so please keep your fingers crossed that something good comes of it.

I get so excited about payday--not to have the money to spend but to have the money to payoff debt. The day when we can put all of that extra money towards saving and when the Veterans' Association of Illinois calls, I'll feel like "sure, I'll give ya lots to help those soldiers!" (They called and I only gave them $15. Makes me feel just awful.)

Happy Memorial Day weekend all! Enjoy some sun, family and fun!

New Kids on the Block

May 16th, 2008 at 01:12 pm

The New Kids on the Block are on the today show. I find that hilarious. Twenty years ago I was in love with Joey. How time flies!

I've got a surprise morning off. The freshmen and sophomores are taking an assessment and I ended up not having to proctor. Woo hoo! But I was asked to do detention and I'm going in this afternoon to get that extra money. It's a great feeling to not NEED that money, but to want it to put towards the debt.

I think I've decided to just stick with excel for my budgeting. I adjust and adjust and adjust and plan and plan and plan using it and it just works best. As the pay date gets closer, I'm able to hone in on how I'll allocate money.

The other day I realized that if I decide to take a new teaching position (which I most certainly will), I won't be paid for the month of August and will most likely not be paid until sometime mid September for the first time. Thus, instead of hammering the car debt I'll have to save that money for that time period. We can definitely cut expenses during that time period, however, we'll need a bit as a cushion just in case. That idea of not being paid would have left me in a panic last year. YESSS!!! Financial planning nirvana!

I'm paying off the HFC personal loan next Friday. I can wait to pay rent until the June 6th pay date, which allows me to save a chunk on interest.

Hugs, hope and happiness to all. And happy Friday! Smile

This time last year...

May 13th, 2008 at 11:13 am

I was knee deep in online payday loans dated back to January to get over that Christmas overspending. I had no credit and no prospects of anything good and blew blew blew tax refund and bonus and bye bye money. Took out prosper loans and HFC loans to get out of payday mess, proceeded to make a hot mess of my finances.

One year later, careful planning is on the scene and we survived Christmas GASP without going completely into debt. May make goals early and am seeing more follow through with my plans. What a difference a year makes. All bills are paid and life is good.

Now, if only I would get off my fat, lazy dair-e-aire to go get myself a better, less spastic, environmentally friendly to the self job. I can do it! Yes I can!

National Train Day

May 10th, 2008 at 06:02 pm

We went to Union Station this morning for National Train Day (The little man is a serious train enthusiast. He has almost every "L" stop on the red and blue lines memorized) Everything was free! Free! Free! Free! He got a train whistle, tons of train themed coloring books, crayons, a bound travel journal, airplane balloon,t-shirt, national train day poster, chocolate samples, conductors hats. We had free train rides, a free tour of an amtrak train WITH free samples of their food, face painting. Needless to say, it was a fantastic, fun-filled morning--all free...except the bus ride. I did, however, purchase a print of a train signed in person by the artist. I guess this guy paints trains for a living and does these amazing works. The actual painting I liked was going for $450, so I bought the print instead for $27. He signed it "Happy Railroading Joseph." I'm going to frame it and add it to my son's train themed room decor. It was a tad expensive, but a nice memento for my son. It's of the California Zephyr (if anyone's a train enthusiast). You can check out his work at

Yay for fun, free and beautiful Saturdays!

rage against the machine and inserting expletives

May 9th, 2008 at 10:38 pm

I am so P.O.'d right now. I can barely even know where to begin. I don't think I've mentioned, but I have two stepdaughters, 16 and 13. They come over every Friday. I get off work on Fridays at 1 and usually clean the house during that time. Before I left for work, my husband informed me that his ex had called earlier in the week and informed him that the girls wouldn't be coming this Friday. He said he would text his eldest daughter, then text me. I got no text, assumed they weren't coming and proceeded to lay in bed for four hours while nursing my cold. I get a phone call at 5PM from the 16 year old asking whether she should come straight to our house or meet her dad at her mom's house. WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

First of all, why is a 16 year old calling at 5PM when she gets out of school at 2:45????? With no one knowing her whereabouts? Hell-freakin-o! We live in Chicago, in the middle of some record breaking violent period. You can't just run rampant and decide when YOU want to come home or call!

OK, not to mention the fact that this last minute BS really ticks me off. I am so tired of the inconsiderate way that those girls and their mother just drop events on us as if we have nothing better to do than cater to their every whim.

My husband just does whatever, but it really incenses me. I didn't sign up for this!

It runs a lot deeper than this. I am a very strong, "you eat what I put in front of you or you don't eat at all" mom. The 13 year old has been allowed for years to pick and choose what she wants to eat. In fact, she's had brown sugar, that's right, brown sugar, added to just about every veggie to get her to eat it. Last week, I made spaghetti squash with butter and cheese in addition to broccoli and barbecued chicken. She refused to eat the spaghetti squash, but wanted to go ahead and eat her treat. I told her (as I was arguing with my four year old about eating HIS spaghetti squash) that if she wanted to eat her treat, she had to eat the squash. I said, "I can't have this battle with your brother if I don't follow through with you too." She went to speak to her father about it. He was ticked at me, but held ground that evening. The next day, I drive her to choir, of course, and she calls to ask if she can hang out with a friend. Fine with me. She calls her sister and tells her to grab the treat I had deprived her of the previous day and put it in her bag. I told her sister to tell her it'd be here for her next week. My husband said, "Give my daughter her treat." WTF?!?!?! I'm good enough to clean this house, deal with last minute plans, drop everything for them, but I mean Jack squat, right?

So I'm already nursing my anger from last week and this happens. I am so PPPPPPPPOOOOOOOO'd. I can't handle it!!!!!!!! And I have a cold!!!! So I can't just say, "That's it! I'm going to my parents house!" With their cancer treatments and my father's already infected surgical openings, they'd be sure to get sicker than me. GRRRRRRR......

Thanks for listening. I just wish I could've thrown some expletives in there.

Getting Wiser?

May 9th, 2008 at 11:15 am

I got PAID today! Got our regular checks, stimulus and the extra money for the "didn't do my homework" club. I paid all the usual suspects, but also wrote out a check for $945 to HFC to start working on that nasty personal loan at 30%. I figured it out and I am going to save a LOT of money in interest by paying it off before anything else. Thanks, Suze Orman!

I also paid off the balance of our Chase credit card, which is being used to pay bills, groceries and gas. It racks up points, so I just make sure to pay it off in full every month. It's good practice for me in using credit wisely and it'll keep my honest about purchases. It's a lot easier to see how much you're spending when it's a building balance rather than depleting ones checking account. We had to buy new tires for the car last month, so that made that bill larger.

Ahhh, well. Life is good!

It's like groundhog's day!

May 7th, 2008 at 10:05 am

We think the election MIGHT be over, but then the groundhog sees his shadow and we've got six more weeks of pandering, whining and false promises....yeesh...

As promised...

May 6th, 2008 at 11:52 pm

Here is a picture of our mother's day gift extravaganza. Wouldn't you love to get one of these bad boys?

auto loan

May 4th, 2008 at 01:17 pm

Just checked my autoloan balance and am very excited to say that I'm almost at the $10,000 mark. We took out a loan for $21,000, so with interest, was going to pan out to be $25,000. This is very exciting. By the time we're ready to start hammering it, the balance should be under $10,000 and we should have it paid off by November!!! And that's without me teaching summer school!!! (OMG...really yummy looking tacos on channel 5 right now.)

I find myself getting really excited about payday--not because we lack money (which is how it used to be), but because I get really excited about paying off the debt and seeing those numbers go down. I had a few setbacks there with over ordering flowers, etc., but the good news is that my budgeting saved us from financial ruin and we got through that period just fine.

What I need to do is start reading up on investing. I asked for advice on the forums and sounded like a total a$$. I am very unknowledgeable about it all and the best defense is to read, read, read. Any suggestions on good literature to learn about investing? I'm all ears Smile

Happy Sunday, all. OH! and mother's day gifts: I went to Joanne Fabrics yesterday and let the little man pick out a craft to make for his three Nanas. He decided to paint birdhouses. It comes out to about $7 per birdhouse and I'm sure will be much more appreciated than anything expensive. I will post pictures once the creations are finished, but we're kind of painting them in stages (in otherwords, the little one finishes up, but then decides he'd like to add more). It's all good; alls fun in the name of creativity!

windfall and stimulus

May 3rd, 2008 at 12:55 pm

I am so very excited. Our principal let us know during our team meeting that we will be getting an extra $1000 in our next check for doing the after school "you didn't do your homework" thing we've done all year. This puts me on track to do a LOT, especially if the government pulls through and I get my stimulus next Friday (by the way, I'll have y'all know that I was totally disappointed--what was the point of sending that money out early if we're all not going to get our money early? whatever...)

My goal of paying off the personal loans and consumer credit crap will be met at the end of June. I will then start hitting that car. My student loans are coming due in July, so I'll make the minimum payments on those. I've chosen the car because it really bugs me that I took out a five year loan. She already has almost 50,000 miles on her and I want to own her flat out NOW! Still pondering summer school, which would put us at paying off the car early.

I hope that if we can pay it off before January that we'll have a nice relaxing Christmas by taking a tiny break from the debt snowball to pay for everything in cash--without going into over withdrawn mode in the checking account like we usually do every year (I've been so bad. I see the error of my ways).

So next week, I'm paying off the remaining balance on our car insurance and renter's insurance which will put us insurance payment free until August, at which time I'll be able to buy the policy in full (yay!) instead of paying in installments for the first time EVER.

I decided to try and get a Chase credit card with rewards so I can start learning how to use it to pay bills and pay it in full every month so we can utilize the rewards. I was pleased when we got a $3,200 credit limit, which is a surprise as my credit has been quite poor for years now. We're charging and paying it off in full. It feels great. Plus, for every so many thousand you spend, you have the opportunity for cash back. My plan is to get a couple hundred back by the end of the year using it for routine bills, etc. It's also allowed me to set up automatic billing for many of our bills. I still keep track of how much we've budgeted for gas and food when we're shopping and I have to use the debit card at Costco still.

No blogging in awhile, but I've been in a total funk. It's all good. The weather is getting better and I'm getting back on track Smile I hope you all are enjoying a beautiful Saturday.