Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Signs of Life

I'm still not ready with pictures and posts from vacation. Maybe it is a sign that I need to savor the memories a bit longer and take a really long time before I commit to computer. No, I'm just being lazy. I do sometimes think about coincidences or challenges as signs that maybe something is meant to be or not meant to be. Take for instance a scheduling challenge with DH's family on a get together for fall and winter birthdays. We all have conflicting weekends and weeknights seem to be equally difficult. In my head, it is a sign that we really can and should just forego these forced get together's. If you can't make something like that work over a few weeks, it really is not that much of a priority in life is it? We're all the way to the end of November without a time that works.

DD1 got the house apartment. She still needs to see it on the inside before committing, but she has first option now. She joined a local gym, one that has multiple branches and both in town and near her work. Was it a sign that the Friday guy was a no show, pushing her to this place which the listing just happened that same day? Probably just coincidences, but maybe.

I'm off to a frustrating week at work. The IT situation has now imploded and now it looks like we are going to get assigned a brand new developer, one that has not worked on our system ever, and is already three months behind in the job list. I see a sh&%&t show coming. I also have a coffee meeting with my friend and colleague N, but this time I have some issues that need to be tackled on her end that caused a lot of frustration for my team. We also as a wide group have less than 6 weeks to complete  a massive grant proposal and there are wide disagreements between partners on the work plan, strategies, and even outcomes. I'm just going to keep this in perspective and know this will pass.

I'm continuing my thrifty September, though life stuff is still present. I sent DD2 $18 for a group senior picture. We did end up getting her some new clothes, though layering deals and clearance, and the damage was pretty low. Yes, I did not just tell her to wear the glow from summer vacation, though I loved that line from Meg B in a past post. I will keep to just regular coffee this morning, despite going to a coffee house with an incredibly yummy flat white, and will pack my lunch. Saturday I need to pay J for DD2's pictures. Oh yeah-the last of the vacation expenses will be coming in the VISA bill, which is the whole point of a thrifty September ...and October, and November.

I guess my checkbook and bank account are signs of my life. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Apartment Hunting and Life Speed

DD1 starts her new job today. She may also have found a place to live in our town. It's been a challenge though. On Friday, less than 30 minutes before she was supposed to see a place, she got a call that the land lord couldn't make it. He didn't offer an alternative time, only said he'll have to reschedule between 2 and 5 some other time. Flaky. She didn't reschedule because just starting a new job, she didn't know if she could find a time between 2 and 5, week days only. Saturday we showed up to look at what she thinks will be her place, but there was a hitch here as well. It is the lower level of a big house that also has an apartment in the basement and one on the second floor. It is about 300 square feet bigger than what she currently has and the others she has and was still going to look at, located in a safe residential neighborhood near parks and convenient to the highway. Unfortunately, she has to schedule another tour because the guy from Renters Warehouse did not have the right keys. She only got to see the  basement laundry units (she'll have her own washer and dryer), the front porch, which she is already picturing as hers for reading books and relaxing, and then had to peer through windows! Unbelievable. She won't finalize until she actually sees the inside but pictures and window peeking's plus what she knows from the details puts it on top. She put in her application as she was worried it would show so well and someone might get to it before he rescheduled an inside showing.  

Two others we viewed Saturday were in the opposite direction of her job from our town, but equal distance to her job. One was incredibly overpriced, and we got the impression people move there for a short time when relocating until they buy a house. They had the most expensive application fee, extra administrative fees, and pretty poor amenities for the rent.The second in the same community was a contender, $275 less than the over priced, but still $200 more than the one she really wants. I know my daughter would be happier in something like the house apartment as well. Plus not to throw shade on other communities, our little town has a better community culture, less store front and big box feel, closer to parks and nature, and just more to her lifestyle. With the rent being lower and her salary increase, she conceivably could be putting away enough in just  a year that a sizable down payment on a home purchase of her own is a reality. I'll keep you posted.

DD2 met with her friends mom, one of the "mom's" I get together with, who will be doing the bulk of her senior pictures. Her session is next Saturday. I'm not sure what they decided but I trust that J will have some creative ideas and they will be fantastic. Today is also the mega photo, mass senior photo day. Life is just moving so fast for my kids right now. Speaking of moving fast, I better get myself pulled together and head to work. Nothing new for me, but I hope it is a good week. I've started on some recap posts from vacation. Maybe tomorrow will be part one. Have a great Monday. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Week Ahead in Meals

I did fairly well with my menu planning, a key component of my savings plan this month.  Here was the intent, but I have crossed off and inserted in red  any deviations.

  • Sunday-veggie curry and rice for DD2 and me, threeFive meatballs with brown gravy and rice for DH (which leaves me still with enough for two one meals with leftovers-he was hungry!)
  • Monday-Spaghetti and meat sauce meatballs,
  • Tuesday-Chicken Cordon Bleu, mashed potatoes, salad macaroni with a garlic sauce, steamed vegetables
  • Wednesday-leftovers as DD2 has show choir and vocal jazz, and I have something that night
  • Thursday-Meatloaf, baked potatoes, steamed vegetables salad and canned green beans
  • Friday-Pasta Fagiole soup, grilled cheese It was just too hot for soup. We all sort of did a fend for yourself, another leftover night
  • Saturday-Tacos or burritos with refried beans and riceI needed many things at Aldi's and picked up another gigantic $5.99 pizza which fed us all.
I spent more than I intended and bought more than I originally thought I would but we had no cold cereal and for some reason, DD2 is not into pancakes this year, and she's been eating as study snacks. With the hot weather, we were craving more fruit so I bought a lot of grapes and strawberries. We now sit at $288, with $62 left if I want to make the challenge of a $450 spend. If I don't, I'll know I will at east reduce my spending. Since we ate down so much in August, this really was an aspiration, if impractical, challenge. Still, I have to try and squeeze that turnip even harder. Meals for the week I think will be:

  • Sunday-Pork loin, potatoes, apple sauce
  • Monday-Pasta fagiole soup (making today, but still very warm so for tomorrow, plus for lunches
  • Tuesday- Veggie or pork fried rice
  • Wednesday-stuffed peppers + leftovers for DD2 to heat up before she starts running
  • Thursday-Spinach and cheese ravioli with red sauce
  • Friday-tacos, burritos with rice, beans, and cheese
  • Saturday-Red lentil Daal (for the girls) +Tuna hot dish, peas, corn

It will be a nothing fancy kind of week, but working on using up all the bits from previous meals and any spare vegetables get thrown in the soup. I'm hoping the soup and peppers stretch to a few lunches as I got sick of sandwiches last week. I ended up at Wendy's one day, more because of timing, but both spending wise and  the impact on my stomach, I regretted it within an hour! DD2 and I also stopped for Subway in between apartment viewings. With the heat and the time, we were both running on empty. We could have packed water and granola bars but I didn't think ahead. We didn't eat supper out, though DD1 had plans last night out and DD2 used her discount and brought her favorite pasta home after work. 

I'm sure there We'll need more milk, bread, eggs, and tortillas by Friday, but that should be it. We don't expect her to, but DD1 bought some specific things she eats that no one else does, and some desk provisions. She is her mother's daughter!  There's my plan. I'm looking forward to a cooler week when I'll be inspired for more sews, hot dishes, and soups. 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

More in Common

DH works on Saturdays so he rarely likes to go out or do things other than perhaps watch a movie n Friday nights. I on the other hand often like something on Friday night, particularly when I have worked that day, to separate the work week. It worked out well that I had my new Mom's of Teen's kick off gathering last night. This was quickly arranged by S, who is the owner of the Performing Arts Center where DD2 took violin for three years. She also is very involved with the community theater and often is in the orchestra pit to accompany the school choirs. She's a really nice, community focused woman who is newer to the world of parenting teens. A few of us laughed a the invite as we have some that have full on flown the coop and are in our last years of parenting teens. That was the point, S responded. Let's learn, lament, laugh, and share from  each others experiences. Works for me. 

The first session was just seven of us, since there was only a weeks notice and too many conflicts, We plan to gather once per month, alternating between a Friday night and Saturday morning for breakfast. It's great to use the art studio space for this, and we pitched in to clean up the wine glasses, coffee mugs, and treat plates. Of the seven, of course I knew S, and two other women more as acquaintances as fellow Strings/choir parents. The other three were considerably younger than me, but interestingly enough, our commonalities were more than just kids in the same demographics. While we joked about solving all woes of parenting teens, we veered off on personal health and wellness, discussing various walking groups and community classes each of us were dabbling in, and issues of elder care. It was a fun evening, and I look forward to the next meeting in October. Those that came last night offered to take care of the breakfast and give S, who still will offer her space, the deserved break. 

I love when women can be of the mindset to lift each other up, not compete. I try in the work place to be collaborative, and with three young 30's on my team, I look for opportunities to be a mentor or support to their career. Sadly, I know young women who have had women bosses that see the young workers as threats. I was blessed with a few bosses that helped me thrive in  my career, never once seeing my "talent" as taking away from theirs. Even my last boss before I left, though we had challenges of priorities and egotism, mentored and tried to cultivate the next generation of leaders. She just wanted them to be cultivated to her ways of thinking. 

I rehash in my head some of my former or failed relationships with other women. Some ended just because of time, distance, and life cycle changes. A few though were very intentional, one or the other of us just simply stopped connecting, stopped inviting the other. I used to feel bad about the disconnect with virtually all of my close high school friends, envious, perhaps jealous, that several have stayed so close. In my wise old age, I realize now that we really did not have that much in common, even back in our own teen years. And a few friends that I lost touch with in high school and college, have now been back in my life and we have more in common now than we ever did before. 

That's what's nice about connecting to people in new ways. Finding the commonality, being able to talk about shared interests and shared problems and challenges without any expectations or assumptions. While I'll have fond memories of my friends in my high school years, I'm happy to keep them there. I hope I don't ever stop meeting new people and building new friendships, even if they are only for  a short while.