Monday, December 31, 2007

Auld Lang Syne

Well, 2007 is winding down to a close. It's been a good year - we went to Vegas, Airbear became a homeowner (and I became a home-resider!), I got to move to the Seattle campus and stop commuting four bojillion miles to work every day, and I feel like I really got the whole manager thing started off well. I've also done really well with money here at the end of the year, and at the beginning of the year demonstrated that I can do really well with eating healthily (even if I am not, at the moment, actually doing so). We both solidified some friendships, too, and I at least feel like I have stopped worrying about the rest of them that are douchebags. Well, most of the time.

So before we head out to a New Year's Party (hosted by some of the aforementioned people), I am shamelessly copying LaRue's look ahead at 2008[1]:

Top 5 Things To Do In 2008
5. Send more letters (real life letters) to some of my "chronologically gifted" relatives
4. Learn new things [2]
3. Dance! Now that I'm at the Seattle campus, there should be lots of studios on my way home. I need to set something up!
2. Encourage political (and other) awareness in my students, and threaten to fail any 18-yr-olds who don't get educated and vote
1. Pay off billz! [3]

Top 5 Things To Avoid In 2008
5. Working too hard on my stupid procert portfolio instead of just getting it over with
4. Getting worked up over stupid people (or determinedly irritating students)
3. Working more than 40 hours/week
2. My crazy boss
1. Meteorites [4]


Happy New Year, everyone!


[1] It's okay because she already shamelessly copied it from something else.
[2] Obviously not during my procert, but afterward.
[3] Year-end bill progress tally and goals to follow in next p0ast.
[4] This was Airbear's suggestion. I was out of ideas.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Ho, ho, ho

I am having a hard time holding on to my money as the holidays approach. I bought a little prize for each of my instructors (a $10 BN gift certificate), but I feel that makes me a good boss who shows appreciation for her workers. So I'm okay with that. But then I also spent like $50 on supplies to make cookies for a couple of Airbear's friends (and only a couple, because most of the rest are big DBs), and then last night went out to industry night with LaRue, who has not been out in a really long time.

Well lo and behold I spent like $40 on dinner and drinks. Damn it.

Then again, the entertainment was worth it :) Now just have to stay out of the movie theater and keep from buying extraneous Christmas presents for 4 more short days. Everyone has presents already, it should not be this hard!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Results: Month 1

You are never going to believe this.

So I scrimped and saved and didn't indulge, and I held my breath for the last week on a $60 checking account balance. But I finally got paid today (whoo!), paid my remaining two bills for the month, and tossed another big chunk at one of the credit card balances. I left myself a little "cushion" this time, because of Christmas, but I have nearly all my presents bought so that cushion should pretty much stay put (and if it survives the holiday, I'm throwing most of it at another credit card). I could probably through another $200 at my debt and still be safe, but you never know what might happen over the holidays (i.e., my mom, Airbear and I might all need massages and/or margaritas).

Anyway, that's not the unbelievable part. Now that all the December bills are paid, I totalled up all the payments I have made to credit cards this month.

(Drum roll, please.)

Monthly total credit card debt reduction: $2,742.19

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

So far, so good...

Another two days of $0... but man, this week is draggin' on. Is it really only Tuesday?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Counting down....

And no, I don't mean "...to Christmas."

When my last paycheck arrived, I paid nearly all of my bills for the month[1] and looked at what I had left over and decided to make an additional lump-sum payment on one of my credit cards. Now, normally, I tell myself that I pay "as much extra as I can" while still leaving myself a nice-sized cushion in the checking account. Then I can always make another contribution later out of what's left of the cushion when the next paycheck arrives, right? But then you know what happens to that cushion. It shrinks a bit. And then a bit more. I'm still pretty tight-fisted when it comes to spending money, so I usually do have cushion left at the end of that pay period and can actually make another contribution to one of the credit cards. And I do! But along the way little bits of that cushion have been spent on things I probably could have done without, and that additional contribution is smaller than it could/should have been. Like I said, I'm not as bad as others, and I am pretty proud of how well I usually do, comparatively speaking. But it's resolution time right now, folks, so it's time to "nut up," as my brother would say.[2]

So, rather than leave a big cushion, I made a big payment and currently have $60 to last me the next 6 days.

Sounds scary!

I used to do it all the time when I was in college--in fact, $60 would have to last me a lot longer than that. I ate at the cafeteria, and I spent all my time studying so entertainment costs were pretty low. Plus, everyone was poor. Those were definitely helpful factors.

But there is no reason why I cannot do this now. First of all, it is only 6 days. Four of those days I will be at work all the time, and that makes it pretty easy. I've got a fridge (well, freezer) full of reheatable foods, so I don't even have to worry about eating cup-o-noodles every meal or something like that. I've even got a mostly full tank of gas, and no "Bring a gift under $x dollars!" holiday parties to go to. Luck is on my side.

If something disastrous happens, I always have an empty credit card as a back-up plan, although of course I am hoping it won't come to that. But as long as a meteor doesn't fall on my car or the roof doesn't cave in, I should be fine. And then I will have the satisfaction of having paid more toward my debt than I would have by playing it safe.

Wish me luck!

[1] There are two bills left to be paid after my 15th paycheck - one because it is auto-pay and the other because it is too big to pay beforehand. But fear not, as soon as that paycheck hits the bank--bang, bang! Down go those bills.
[2] Sorry, mom, he really does.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Good...and bad....but great!!

So I am currently baking a whole bunch of chicken that was on sale at the supermarket (and yet was amazingly low-fat and beautiful!), so that we will have some more freezer dinner options. A couple of the chicken breasts will turn into yummy tortilla soup, and the rest will just be for entrees. Two of the entree ones I rubbed with this stuff, which tastes quite delicious. Not the kind of thing I'd usually buy to try out, but we got a container of it in a little gift bag at a work function of Airbear's. Mmm, mmm, mmm. I also made a big pot of chili last night. Vegetarian, too, but more for cost reasons than out of any moral disinclination to eat meat. But don't tell LaRue that, I'm sure she is thinking I'm reforming. Ha.

Anyway, stocking the fridge back up so that we can continue trying to eat inexpensively. We have been doing so well at not spending money that I still had eight hundred dollars left in my checking account when I got paid on Friday!!!!11! Zomg! But then I paid bills and bought some plane tickets and used my entire paycheck (plus about $300 of that exciting surplus) within a matter of hours. Oh well, the bills are all paid for the month and I will be getting another paycheck in T minus 12 days. And counting. Really counting.

Did well over the weekend, between Airbear working (and eating at work), the snow (i.e., reluctance to step outside my door), and my inability to find certain exorbitantly priced Christmas gifts I wanted to buy. So there's a few days of success, and today I sort of spent $0 again.

Except I sort of didn't spend $0. I actually spent about $200 on a Christmas gift, via my mom, who has this singularly unbelievable amount of positive video game karma. Whenever I want to buy things that are sold out or impossible to find, she manages to locate the one store in the state that has only one left in stock. She is a highly valuable super secret weapon in the quest to buy video games, and I shall hoard her all to myself. Mua ha ha ha ha ha ha. Ha. HA HA! All my other sucker gamer-nerd friends will have to find their own super secret game-hunting weapons.

In summary, I have been doing good...but today was very bad. But it was awesome because it will be a super Christmas present, and Christmas only comes once a year!! Plus, I only have a very small number[1] of presents left to buy, and then I will be able to keep my spending under much better control at least until my mom's birthday in May. ;)

[1] This small number unfortunately includes another of those damnable hijack presents I hate so very hard. I got my invitation to the office holiday party (which, thankfully, is at the same time as our Friday Morning Meeting(TM) this week, meaning a) the meeting will be a party and b) I won't have to attend/try-to-make-Airbear-attend an after-hours holiday party). The downsize is that I have to buy another one of those "$10 limit, pick a good gift that people will want to steal!" hijack presents. A-holes. I hope I buy a $9.10 jar of M&Ms ($9.10 to allow for sales tax), and our boss accidentally thinks $10 = $10K and gives me a yacht. Let's see. ;)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

It's snowing!

LaRue and I went to do some Christmas shopping and all of a sudden it started blizzarding!![1] So we rushed home in order to avoid getting stuck on one of the three million hills between the mall and my house. We were just in time, too - it just kept snowing faster and faster, and now my front yard looks like this:







[1] Blizzarding for Seattle, which means "a trace to two inches."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Happy Christmas!

Just a short note today to post some pictures - we decorated the apartment (just a little) for Christmas, and I am very excited!

http://picasaweb.google.com/denise.hartley/2007Christmas

Of course, part of my excitement may stem from the fact that I got a big, giant present from amazon.com today! ;)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Black...Saturday?

Because this is Gary's first time in Spokaloo and he likes going to new cities, we went downtown today for another day of shopping, eating, and walking around the park a bit. Gary slid down the giant Radio Flyer slide, LaRue finally found the cocktail dress she was looking for, and LaRue, my mom, and I all rode on the 1909 Looff Carousel at the park. I discovered that LaRue had never ridden on a carousel before, and I feel like I have done my duty as a life partner by ensuring that she experienced it. We didn't ride on the gondola over the falls, though, because it was too damn cold.

I did the last of my Spokane shopping today, too, and found an appropriate gift-exchange-appropriate gift for my book club for $20.09. The limit was actually $20, and I would have made it under, except the stupid sales girl wouldn't give me the "4 for $10" price on this bottle of apple-scented soap unless I actually bought 4. You know how often I use girly-flavored soap, so I declined. Irregardless, at least that's taken care of, and hopefully I won't have to purchase any more hijack presents. I do not heart those kind of presents.

LaRue, Eagle and I have all agreed to have a capitalism-free holiday as well, and are going to give each other massages and possibly eat chocolate. The chocolate may call for some outlay of money, but probably not a big one. And really, I am being quite honest when I say that I would prefer hanging out, being silly, and seeing friends to getting gifts. (Even though LaRue does tend to have good taste in gifts and, in the case of emergencies, defaults to a Half Price Books gift card - something I certainly can't argue with.) My best friend from back home and I have a similar arrangement--we are going to go out to lunch and catch up instead of buying presents. And since she and I see each other about once a year, our respective gift radar probably isn't that accurate anyway.

So far, the holiday season has started off with a bang, I think. I've had a lot of fun the last few days, and got to do Christmas-y things like make cookies, sit by the fireplace, and go shopping with mom and laugh our buns off at all the psychotic/overly-stylish/fat/bitchy people running around the mall. We also got to do a lot of rational things, like going through holiday decorations and getting rid of stuff we wouldn't use anymore, or buying thoughtful but reasonable gifts for people. I have been able to restrain myself from doing anything really out-of-control gift-wise (although I have been sorely tempted on a couple of occasions). But all in all I am feeling good. I feel like we've been able to be ... un-gluttonous ... shopping-wise but still celebrate, you know? And that's a nice feeling :)

I am sad to be leaving home tomorrow, but I'll be back in a few weeks with Airbear when it's official holiday time, and I'll be glad to snuggle my honey and the kitties tomorrow. Going to go sleep off some cookies now.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday

Well, I made it well under my $200 shopping limit for the day. In fact, I spent $41 ($22 on Christmas presents), and made* $35. Net spending $6. Ha ha ha.

May do some more shopping tomorrow, so we'll see how that total holds. Although atm I feel pretty thoroughly shopped out!


* Technically, I didn't "make" $35, I just traded a $35 gift card I'd been carrying around for a couple years for $35 cash. So really I already had it, but this way I could actually use it :)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving and Black Friday Eve

Today was Turkey Day, and it was full of delicious food. We even had mashed potatoes with real butter, and stuffing with the crunchy bits on top. Mmm, do I heart the crunchy bits. I carbo-loaded like you wouldn't believe. Well, maybe you would, if you are reading this through a tryptophan-induced coma like everyone else in America. (My blog is very popular.)

Tomorrow is Black Friday, and mom, LaRue, Gary and I are getting up early to go shopping. I made a list of the people I am buying gifts for this year, and ideas for them so that I don't buy a bunch of random, useless shit just because it is ONLY $x.99!!! There isn't really anything on mega-sale that I am looking for anyway--all Airbear's electronic shizz doesn't really ever go on sale, and I don't have kids to buy for so the toys are a moot point. LaRue will be buying a bunch of clothing-type gifts for herself, so I will have to watch out that I do not fall into that trap, but otherwise I think I will do well.

We shall see ;)

P.S. Gobble, gobble, gobble!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Week #2, and time for a challenge...

Started off week 2 strong - $0 today (although I have to admit I was sorely tempted to go out to eat tonight since I will start traveling tomorrow and, you know, any excuse to indulge myself!). But I am eating top ramen and a half a grilled cheese instead. Half because it was the last piece of bread besides the heels, and heel-grilled-cheeses take like 5 times more cheese.

Tomorrow, the spending will have to start, though. At least half a tank of gas, plus any miscellaneous road expenses. But then I will be at mah MAMZ' house! You gots to spend some monies to go on TEH VACATION.

Ah, vacation...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Weekend Recap

Well my $0 continued throughout Saturday. Then Sunday I bought a birthday present and some groceries - necessary from time to time, I suppose ;) I still did pretty well, though, and only spent $67. Today I spent $0 as well, so that makes a whole week with only $67 spent. Not bad at all! I am going to try to be good tomorrow and during the day Wednesday, and then LaRue, Gary and I will be driving to Spocompton for Turkey-Day weekend. This will of course necessitate some expenditures for gas (ugh), but I will try to avoid additional expenditures for things like delicious chicken fries.

Also, Friday is, of course, Black Friday, and we will be out shop-shop-shopping. However, I am going to make a list before I go, and I am not going to buy a bunch of crap I don't need. I will be greatly aided in this by the fact that I will not be buying gifts for my brothers' kids (as I already contributed to their education, and that is all they get). I will most likely look for little (and on mega-sale!!1) girly presents to give people like my sister-in-law and grandmas. Possibly a gadget for my dad. Hopefully there will be lots of salez and I will do very well on my goal. I am hoping to spend under $200. That seems possible, right?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Oh, and about Christmas...

I also found this article and this one about not going broke on holiday shopping. One of them says to make a list of who you're giving presents to, and then set a budget. Sounds wise.

I also read an article by this woman saying that gift cards were lame, and that you shouldn't give them because they aren't thoughtful--that you should know the person better than that and attempt to find out what they want. This makes me consider two important things:

1) But you often do have to buy presents for people you don't know very well, and don't know what they want. My initial thought: isn't it better to let them decide what to pick out for themselves? My thought after a few moments of consideration: maybe you should limit your gift-giving a bit. If you don't have any idea what someone likes, are you guys really that close? If you want to be, maybe use it as an opportunity to reconnect. But it might also just help you stop from buying presents for people you don't need to buy them for :p **

2) People do buy you gifts, too. And many of them don't know what you want. And they would feel bad if you returned it or sold it on eBay. I actually do appreciate the thought that goes into gifts that people buy me, and the fact that they thought I was important enough to give a gift in the first place (even if the gift idea is a little bit deranged). But I swear, I keep telling these people I don't need more things and I don't want them to incur more debt on my behalf. Really! Things that make me happy? Spending time together and laughing. Going out to a yummy dinner together. Playing Warcraft. Books. The first two you can do for free or pretty cheap. The next one my grandparents would never know how to buy me ;) The best way to do the last one without getting a book I already have? Gift cards. Oh, and I'm not adverse to people paying my bills for me, just in case you had that urge ;) But I don't mind receiving gift cards for things I actually like but are hard to pick (like gift cards to the used book store, for instance, or to Safeway--really). I don't think they're offensive or thoughtless. As long as they're not to the Home Depot, of course.

What do you think?


** The exception of course being in-laws. If you have to buy them a present, and will piss them off and look bad if you don't, you're more or less confined to either buying them random crap (like bath products or automatic card shufflers) or gift cards. If you like them, go with gift cards. That's just my opinion.

Money, Continued

So I spent some time today reading financial articles on msn.com. This is not nearly as tedious as it probably sounds. (I particularly enjoy the "Women in Red" series, because it features actual women with financial problems, some even worse than mine, and they have forums and tracking to keep an eye on how they're doing.)

Back at the beginning of the year, I used this blog to keep track of how I was doing with eating healthily and learning to cook more. I think it was really motivating, kept me accountable, and I accomplished my goals. So for awhile I'm going to redirect the blog toward my new financial goals, and see what happens :)

Now, those "Women in Red" post their totals monthly, or something like that, including totals for credit card debt, school debt, retirement, other savings, etc. Posting the actual amounts would freak me out a little bit--not because I would see how bad it is, I know how bad it is--but because I feel like someone would be able to use that information to identity-theft me. However, I do want to take a moment to celebrate some important financial milestones I've achieved this year, so that I can feel good about myself and keep from giving up and going crazy.

Here are the highlights:

* I opened GET (college tuition) accounts for my three nephews. I haven't put a ton into them, but it feels like a very smart move. It keeps me from buying them toys (probably more expensive and totally unnecessary), it can't be screwed up by intermittent periods of financial hardship, and they will really need it when they get older. It also made me feel really rich to do it. I never thought I'd be able to do that kind of thing. Even right now I'm getting a little teary thinking about it ;)

* I started saving for retirement. I've put about $300 in a Roth IRA while waiting for the enrollment period to start for the SIMPLE IRA that my employer will match. I'm also getting the $300-something I have in the state retirement system from an old job transferred into my new account. I will pay a small amount of tax on it now (because it was a pre-tax account and Roth is after-tax), but then I won't have to take taxes out when I withdraw it (and its interest) in 35 years. And that will be a lot more money than $300 by that point ;) Long story short, I had to fill out a million tons of paperwork but I am on the road to retirement savings, finally.

* I started automatic withdrawals into a savings account. I don't miss the money as much as I thought I would, and in fact I am thinking of increasing it. I made a bet with Airbear at the beginning of the year to see if I could get it up to a certain total, and when I did, I paid off my car with it. I had to start over again, but I had paid off my car! I get a higher interest rate on the first $799 in it, so I try to keep at least $800 in it at all times. For now, when I get a chunk above $800, I take it out and apply it (all of it) to one of my credit card balances.

* I paid off my car. It's not a fancy car, but it's mine and I don't have to pay a monthly payment for it. Plus it's good on gas mileage. And owning something that physically large feels like a significant achievement.

Now of course it has not all been that rosy. I still have ... let's just say more than $10,000 on credit cards, and probably in the neighborhood of $30,000 in school loans. I no longer have car debt, so that feels great, and because I managed to luck-out in the rent department with Airbear, I don't have a mortgage. I will be paying the condo dues, though, when they start coming due in 2008.

As far as budgeting goes, I do fairly well - I don't shop, really, and am pretty good with not buying things. As I said in previous posts, my biggest cash outflows come from eating out with Airbear. That's a big current goal. I have spent $0 since Tuesday, which is great! I will have to spend a bit this weekend--I can raid bus money from the Miscellaneous Change Cup (TM), but we're going to need to restock some groceries in order to keep eating frugally at home.

So there's where I am at, and having admitted it will hopefully make me be accountable for it! While I'm not going to post my exact totals online, I am going to go through and figure out what they are and keep you updated on my progress. I'm sure you will be waiting with baited breath. Well, maybe not, but it will make me follow through with it! Hopefully ;)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Day Two

I took lunch again today and have so far spent $0. So far, so good.

Tonight is Industry Night which usually means we go to The Garage and eat a bunch of delicious (if terribly unhealthy and, more importantly for our current purposes, expensive) food. I don't usually drink there, because it sucks to walk there and they have parking. I'd rather drive and drink diet cokes. Besides, their drinks are moderately overpriced and, well, moderate. But still, the food is a chunk of change.

So the plan is this: I am eating some reheated shepherd's pie (mm, garlic mashed potatoes) before Airbear gets home, and then we can go to Industry Night and I'll just drink soda and hang out. They'll probably give me the soda for free anyway--most bars do, assuming you must be the D.D. I'm sure the waitress would like it better if I spent $50 on food and drinks, but I'm sure the rest of the geeks present will spend enough to make up for me anyway.

We will see if this plan works. :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Day One

Technically, I had the Capitalism Revelation on Saturday, so this is several days from then, but I made the resolution last night--so today is day one. And today, I spent ....

... $0.

Yes!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Teacher, what does "in the red" mean?

So I had a humbling experience over the weekend.

I had to go to the doctor, and like
47 million other Americans I do not have health insurance. (Thanks, Fartless School!). So I looked through a bunch of doctors listed on the website of my boyfriend's insurance (which I cannot be on because we are not a gay couple and thus not discriminated-against enough), and found "Country Doctor Community Health Clinic," which had a bunch of family practice docs, sounded harmless enough, and was close to my house. I called them, and they even said that they had a sliding scale for patients like me without insurance, and that there would be a billing specialist on hand (during my Saturday appointment, no less) who could talk to me about my special circumstances and determine what I would have to pay.

Well it turns out it was the scary, "poor-people-get-inferior-health-care" kind of doctor you have probably seen on TV. Among other problems I experienced there (including waiting in my little smock in the freezing appointment room for an hour), there was in fact no billing specialist on hand to talk about my special circumstances and, besides, they do not consider tens of thousands of dollars of debt special circumstances. Or at least special circumstances they care about. So I would have to pay for the whole appointment by myself.*

Anyway, long story short I learned a lesson I had learned in the past before. It is possible to be not quite poor enough. You can have no money, you can spend every dime you get paying bills, you can have a tuition bill roughly 12,000 x more than you can afford to pay, but someone can still determine that you technically make too much money to qualify for help. This happened to me while filling out my FAFSA for college loans, and at various other points. Granted, at this point in my life I am less poor than I have ever personally been, and I feel extremely grateful for that. It is only when I am afraid that my doctor bill might be two thousand dollars or something that I get worried about it. That or when they tease me with the idea of a mythical sliding scale. I am pretty broke at the moment, I think, and the vast majority of my paycheck is earmarked for paying down debt. So I don't have a bunch of money sitting around for medical expenses, and help sounds great.

I guess it's the only way that social programs make sense--you can't help everybody, right, and technically I accrued all those school loans and credit card bills myself, so the welfare state should not be obligated to help me. That jackass on the phone just shouldn't have mentioned the sliding scale at all and I probably wouldn't have even thought about it.

But the grand conclusion I decided to come to was that if the welfare state thinks I make enough money to not be broke, then I am going to stop being broke. (Rather than just be pissed off about not getting help, which I admittedly did do for awhile in the waiting room.) There are millions and millions of people who need that help more. The only reason I struggle is because of this debt: if I didn't have these payments to make each month, then life would be pretty easy. I do actually make a decent living wage (although of course I should make more, as I am teaching teh childrenz while my bosses are out building yachts for fun). I just spend a much-too-large portion of that wage on credit card bills and school loans.

So I am making a resolution. I know it's not New Year's, yet, but maybe that will help (since those resolutions never stick anyway). I am going to use fewer parentheses in my writing.

Just kidding.

We all know I'm not going to stop that.

(Just kidding again.)

My real resolution is going to be to make a serious, dedicated effort to pay down my debt. I go out to dinner several times per week with Airbear, particularly on the weekends, and I am going to see how few times I can do that. During the week shouldn't be hard, as he is entering crunch mode at his work for a few weeks and they'll be catering dinner there, so I can eat very inexpensively at home. I can also suggest cooking on the weekends, and Airbear gets excited by "real" food, so hopefully that will feel like a treat and will help encourage me to do it. I am going to keep myself out of used bookstores, too. I currently have fifteen tons of homework to do anyway and no time to read books, so that shouldn't be hard. I am going to take lunch to work (which I do most of the time anyway). I am going to make sure I get up early enough on Fridays to take a bus to my volunteering job so that I don't pay for gas (or $11 parking!!!). I am still going to drive to work Monday-Thursday, though, because my hours are just too long those days to add additional hours of bus time.
Sorry, Al Gore.

When I was growing up, we didn't eat out all the time. Almost never, in fact. And when we did, it was a treat. It's like a fact of life for these crazy gamer kids, and once I get my debt paid down I can do it too. But I am going to do this, because I don't want to have it hanging over my head. The school loans are one thing--they're for a good cause and the interest is tax-deductible. It's not the end of the world. But I do not want to have credit card debt anymore. It means I can't comfortably go back to school; it means I have to have a job, which can put you in less-than-desirable situations; and I want it gone before I get married or have kids. Plus just think of all the books I could buy guilt-free.

But almost everyone I know is living in debt, and still buying more stuff they don't need and can't quite afford. Why are we all living beyond our means? Why have we all stopped counting how much money we have left before we think about what we buy? Why have some of us even stopped thinking about what we buy? It's getting out of control, and it's going to break. We don't need this much stuff, and we shouldn't be wasting this much money on it anyway. How did we all get into this mess?

Anyway, I want out. And I hope you will join me, because I would love some company :)

One big problem: what about Christmas?


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* I got a bit upset at this point, because I didn't know how much the appointment was actually going to be, and the guy at the front desk couldn't estimate it for me. So my options were to cancel it and wait another couple months for an appointment slot I could actually attend or have an appointment and hope I would be able to pay for it. It ended up not being that much (because she did NOTHING for me), so it wasn't that expensive, and the front desk guy felt bad about making me get teary, so he only charged me $15. Which just goes to show you that it does not pay to be middle class, but it does pay to be an emotional basket case.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Back from Siberia

Just kidding. I haven't been anywhere. Just busy or, when not busy, lazy ;)

But I finally have pictures of the house! http://picasaweb.google.com/aleiby/CondoFurnished

I bought the multi-colored rug in the main living room (as opposed to the 'piano living room') with my very own monies. It was insanely expensive, as I discovered room-size rugs happen to be. However, I feel like a Real Grown-Up (TM) for buying it, and it does feel nice and homey. (As opposed to "nice and homie," which I originally typed, but which would refer to something else entirely.) Anyway, I am loving the condo. I even got Airbear to go through a big stack of paper crap that he had been letting pile up. As any of you who own a home know, you get a shit-ton of catalogues in the mail. I think this is a new experience for Airbear, and he still feels like he wants to look through them all before he recycles them. Of course, this is stupid, because if he wanted to buy anything, he would buy it on teh internets anyway. I am sure the fit will pass soon.

That or I will just start recycling all the catalogues :)

Friday, September 28, 2007

P.S.

Airbear just sent me an email. It didn't have any text in it, just this link.

Get our your reading glasses...

Ahhhhhhhh, Friday.

I woke up at a glorious 9:00 this morning and am still in my pajamas. I made oatmeal and tea, and leisurely read the internets for a little while. Sooner or later I will have to take a shower and put on real clothes, because a woman is coming to tune the piano at 1:30. But there is a lot of time between now and then that just might--might--be filled with playing video games.

Sure, I could be working on my portfolio, or finishing/editing the 3rd grade page of my "standards matrix," or at least reading my dyslexia (or, as my most favorite school parent EV4R would say, "dick-slessia") book. But I'm not going to. I will persevere in my dedication to relaxing this morning. I already emptied the dishwasher, and that's pushing it perilously close to responsibility. Uh-uh. Not today.

In school news, I did end up hearing back from Grade-Obsessed Dad yesterday. Apparently his wife had not shared the email response I sent her about the issue on Tuesday, so he was uber-pissed that I "hadn't gotten back to him" and restated all his arguments, including how he wanted a "hearing" and how after they got a "settlement" perhaps we could use the situation as a "case study" to teach the instructors at my school how to do things (i.e., give all your students As instead of Bs). He even said that that was "what he paid for." Ha. Anyway, I just said I'd replied to his wife, copied the email (thanking her for understanding that he got a B, as she had sent an email saying so), and said they'd hear from our director of education. She is standing behind me about the grade business, and her letter to them has her phone number on it. So I'm sure he'll still be really mad, but he can call her instead of me. I do not like confrontations or bullies.

I actually find it pretty funny that people with money think that they can act like such bullies and force other people to do what they want. Especially when the people they are threatening are teachers that get paid $0 an hour. That just makes me even less inclined to give you what you want, smart guy. That and the fact that it is just educationally unsound. Forget it.

My difficult morning student has had a great past two days, and has even engaged in conversations with me. He is still kind of ... academically defensive ... but I think it is getting better. I got him all excited about the book he is reading, and we had a conversation about banned books (and movies, games, etc.). He's admitting when specific things are difficult so that I can help him, and he's actually taking time to put his stuff away neatly before he goes running out the door. I feel like I am making a difference, and Thursday's class (the first good one) actually gave me goosebumps because it was so un-bad. That sounds ridiculous, I know. But that's the closest I can come to describing it.

My afternoon student's mom called and told me he had mono*. Although that does make me a bit paranoid (unnecessarily, of course, because it's not like we drink out of the same coffee cup), it also does mean he'll be gone for awhile. And I like him, don't get me wrong. His class has been very enjoyable, and he's been working really hard. But it opens up my work day for a few days (weeks? who knows?) to really get caught up. I hope he feels better.

And finally my night student, whom I am teaching contemporary US history and who is also already a college student despite being only 16, has been a blast. He asks all these earnest discussion questions, and I can refer him to novels that paint a vivid picture of specific historical events, or movies or museum exhibits he should see. He writes them down in the margin of his notes and probably even sees some of them. He was studying the civil rights movement this week, and he has an absolute inability to understand how people could be racist ("I mean, what would it matter if the blacks went to the same school as the whites? It's like they thought they had some kind of disease or something. That just isn't rational!"). He was like that when we talked about the internment of Japanese during WWII, too. I like that there are young people for whom racism is just completely unacceptable, not even a question; people who are infuriated by some of the things that have happened in history (and some that happen today). It makes me feel like the kids that are growing up now actually are more accepting, more culturally aware, more open, and--ironically thanks in large part to our current president--more politically involved. Maybe we won't destroy ourselves after all.

In other upbeat news, my friend Sugar (an alias) is quite, quite pregnant and very happy. She keeps a charming blog about how the pregnancy is coming along, and they've put together a nursery for their daughter-to-be. She said on the blog today that her mother and sister are throwing her a baby shower, and it made me feel warm and happy. I think that's how things are supposed to happen. She's old enough to have a baby on purpose and prepare a wonderful, rich life for it; she will be an involved, nurturing, non-pushover mom; and that baby will come into a huge, loving family. The whole situation makes me happy. I'm been feeling really tired and jaded lately about weddings and babies, maybe because I've been going to weddings that people are having too early and/or for the wrong reasons (i.e., they don't really like each other but both want to get married), and it has felt really forced and dumb. Like we're all just "playing grown-up." But that's not what it's like with Sugar. I'm so happy for her, and it makes me glad to imagine her teaching her little girl to read, and teaching her to make sweet potatoes, and teaching her to call everyone "sugar," like a southern lady should. I know that little girl will doubtlessly be showered with gifts and covered in pink, lacy things, but I also know that Mama will be Boss and the little girl will learn some manners. I also know she will not grow up to be a shithead to her teachers. And that makes me happy :)

Speaking of weddings, we're going to another one in a couple of weeks for one of Airbear's game-programmer friends down in San Francisco. It's in Sonoma, and I think it will be fancy and nice. It will also be a little vacation, and those are always good. But best of all I think it will be a nice wedding. They seem good for each other, and really happy. And really, I think it is good for Airbear to see normal weddings. They're not all bad. Ha ha.

Well, this update has gotten too long and I need to go play some warcraft. Catch you all soon!

* My gay boyfriend kissed one girl in his life, when he was in high school. (He tried very hard not to be gay, you see.) Anyway, that one girl gave him mono. That must have been what decided it ;) **

** I am, of course, just kidding. There's a picture of him as a toddler wrapped in a pink feather boa and don't-look-at-me-I'm-a-celebrity sunglasses. There was never any real question. Plus he can dance. That decides it.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A-holes

I am too tired to write much tonight. Suffice it to say, if your kid gets a B+ in his class instead of an A-, he probably deserved it and you should not spend 40 minutes on the phone yelling at his teacher (or campus manager, as the case may be).

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Can I get a hallelujah!

So my meeting with the procert woman went well. Really, really well. She answered my questions--as it turns out, one of the things I was worrying about doesn't even apply to me, and another one can be easily changed. We didn't even have to rewrite my plan or anything. In fact, going through my plan, I realized how much work I have already done. Much more than I thought.

Anyway, she also showed me about a dozen sample portfolios of various subjects/age ranges, and even let me photocopy some for references/layout suggestions. She had a folder prepared for me with information about the portfolio requirements (information that she usually hands out in the interim "refining seminar" this fall that she suggested I not take because it is BS and it would bore me to death--yeah, I heart her for that too). So now I have specific requirements, a framework, even samples to look at. There is still an enormous amount of work to do to put the portfolio together, but in theory I could do it all right now. Of course I do not need to, because the "culminating seminar" during which we do put the portfolio is not until February (and lasts until June, leaving me plenty of work time then). But knowing what it will be supposed to look like will greatly facilitate my gathering stuff for it now. And, in moments of feverish productivity (they do strike me from time to time, those moments), it will allow me to even work ahead. Man, do I ever love working ahead.

My biggest task for the immediate future will be registering for, beginning, and completing my two SPU distance learning classes. I need to earn 9 total credits for my "core development activities," but I had already done a seminar which offered 1 credit. I am in the process of sending a transcript to the Univ. to make sure that credit gets accepted, and then I will only need 8 credits. And actually, I am going to another conference next Saturday (at 8:15am, boo, but at least it's at the Univ. and that is close by). It doesn't say anything about clock hours or credits on the flyer, but I am going to check it out and make sure. If that did have one credit (it couldn't possibly be worth more than one), then I would only need 7. Whether I need to earn 7 or 8 will decide which SPU classes I take, so I need to find this out first. Then I will sign up and begin distance learning like mad. All credit courses need to be completed (and, I assume, transcripts sent) by February when culminating begins.

Long story short, I am feeling very relieved about this whole procert thing. It is all in practical (and manageable) terms now, and that is much better. I even got all my paperwork and the evidence I have gathered so far organized and put into files for easy access. I'm even reading a dyslexia book for one of my development projects, and have done about eighteen loads of laundry today.

Go me!

P.S. I am celebrating by drinking hot cocoa and eating cookies :)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Fall

I noticed that the grocery stores had big displays of pumpkins out already. I like big displays of pumpkins, because it makes me think of fall and leaves and warmth and candy. And my mom.

But of course I did not buy them, because it is the seventeenth of September. Who starts buying pumpkins now? Either a) people who don't cut them to get out the delicious seeds or 2) the same people that buy their Easter candy the day after Valentine's.

Weird.

I hope kids trick-or-treat in my neighborhood this year :)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Weekend off

I took this weekend off.

Since I had worked 5 out of the last 6 Fridays at school, and since I *technically* was not required to attend the boring Friday progress report training, I did not in any way, shape, or form go in to work on Friday. I could have (you always could find things to work on), but I didn't. I slept in, I watched some stupid television, and I went to meet LaRue at her classroom. I hung out with her while she worked hard and graded a bunch of quizzes. I worked a little on my procert, but not much, for reasons I'll get into shortly. But one thing I did notice for sure was that I did not miss the classroom, and was in fact extremely intimidated by it. The idea of having that many kids at once still feels so much like .... work. And the idea of having a classroom full of kids who a) don't speak English, b) don't remember anything they've ever been taught, and c) could kick my ass....well, let's just say I don't know how LaRue even faces the prospect. To me, it is akin to climbing Mount Everest. I assume it is impossible, and I have no desire to attempt it. Kudos to those few, those proud who can.

In procert news, I managed to talk to someone at the University who is not full of crap. (Can you believe it, such a creature actually does exist!). This woman, whom I will call Hera as she is the goddess of my procert journey thus far, told me *not* to take the "refining seminar" as it would be a complete waste of my time. Instead, I should just focus on my professional development activities and not do more "re-examining the 12 criteria" and longing to throw myself in front of a bus. Not only did she save me from that torture, but she also volunteered to meet with me next Friday, on her day off, to go over my professional growth plan and "amend" it to make it more realistic. She is even going to give me concrete, measurable requirements for what my portfolio will need to look like, so that I don't end up doing 12x more work than necessary. There will also be sample portfolios involved.

Now, if I were a cynic, I would shout to the heavens that this is what the original intro seminar should have been about in the first place. Instead, I will just be thankful and elated that this woman has come into my professional life and saved me from several more months of useless bullcrap. Ah, life is good!

Better go, gotta fit in some more non-working before the new schoolweek arrives.. ;)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Back on my "A Game"...

....whatever that means!

For me, it means that this weekend I got caught up enough to spend some time leisure reading (if you can believe that) and also made a big pot of chili and a bit pot of tortilla soup. I also bought a bunch of healthy groceries, and plan to cook a delicious dinner tomorrow night, consisting of this and this with probably some wild rice. Possibly even an appetizer. Imagine!

Anyway LaRue and I cooked all day and watched sex in the city. Nice :)

I also had a great night last night at the pub chatting it up with Leo and Airbear in the pub, along with my little friend Grinz. It was all fun and adorable. It followed some excruciatingly boring sitting around at S&Js while J and our old 'friend' Crazy talked on and on about vitamins and workout routines. It was Crazy's birthday, though, so it was obligatory. At least it got to end on a charming note.

Starting tomorrow, I shall hire on that new Spanish teacher, reduce some of my own teaching load, and start packing the Seattle campus full of new students! Wish me luck for week 2 :)

Friday, September 7, 2007

Week 1

...is over. And in a revelation that will shock and amaze you, I am actually feeling ... caught up.

Actually, I'm feeling caught up with a slight tinge of panic, because part of me believes that someone must have actually hidden all the things I was supposed to have to do today. I swear I had at least 20 student binders/programs to prepare, and I actually only had to do about five. What's more, because I thought I had 20 to do, I began them with gusto and determination. Accordingly, the 5 student binders I actually had to do got done quickly and I even had to - get this - wait around for it to be 3pm so my interview candidate could show up. I had some spare time to clean out the email inbox a little and make an organized to-do stack for next week. I feel like there must be something wrong for me to be able to be this caught up. I am thoroughly confused. I will update you on Monday when I discover the remaining butt-ton of things I was actually supposed to have to do today, mysteriously reappearing back on my desk. Surely, that must occur.

Speaking of interviews, I had scheduled two of them for today so that I could hire a Spanish teacher to come and start work for me next week. Even though it was supposed to be my day off, it was very important that I come into work and do this because otherwise there is a Spanish student on my schedule for the week and the only Espanol I habla is "uno grande burriTo con queso, por favor," and I am pretty sure that that is not 100% correct. (But if it gets you a burriTo, who cares, right?). Anyway, my first interview didn't even show. My theory is that she arrived, looked at the sign on the door that said we're closed Fridays, and ignored the fact that the lights were all on, believed the sign, and did not try the door to see if anyone was there. Whatever, I still think she is dumb. I will not reward a lack of curiosity/resourcefulness with employment!

My second interview, however, more than made up for it. Not only did the person speak Spanish (as was requested in the ad), but she could also teach math up through calculus. And not only that, but she had the same name as both my boyfriend and my life partner! (My boyfriend and my life partner, if you don't know, are two different people of two different genders who coincidentally happen to have the same name because God knows I can't remember more than one name.) She lives in town, she wants to work for me for at least a year, and she eventually plans on going into the same education graduate program that I went into, so she was impressed with me and interested. I think she looks up to me already. I shall hire her and make her my minion.

Oh, and speaking of minions (!), my Big Boss Lady (yes, the crazy one), said she had an email requesting an internship from some girl in the MA Ed policy program at Univ. Phoenix online. The girl has to work for a school and learn stuff about administration at a school and she wants to work at our school (who knows why), but the catch is she has to work under someone with a Master's, so that basically leaves BBL and myself, since the two other lovely ladies w/Masterses work in admissions and curriculum development, respectively. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I would have my very own minion who would do administrative tasks, learn from me, and work unpaid. On the other, it seems as if I would have to let her do responsibility-type things, like talk to parents, handle files, create student programs, maybe participate in enrollment meetings. And I don't know if I'm into all that. I kind of like it better when there are not additional people getting "all up in my business," as the kids would say. Because what if she screws things up and then I have to deal with the mess? Plus, it's a business built on relationships, so I want the parents (and kids, of course) developing a relationship with me, not someone who's going to be gone in a few months. That just seems like more of a hassle than it's worth. I don't know, what do you think? Oh and also the "site supervisor" (which would be me) is supposed to get a $500 stipend for participating and doing all this mentoring. But I don't know if that $500 actually goes to me or to the school. You know what side logical reason would bet on.

So anyway work seems to be going spectacularly well, and if this week keeps up, perhaps I will ... get ready for it ... not have to go into work next Friday (!!!!!!1). A whole day off. I can hardly imagine. Well, I still have a dentist appointment that day. But sleeping in til 2 and getting my teeth cleaned is nothing compared to the last x number of weeks.

I left work at about 4 today, thrilled with the word and ready to celebrate. Had other people been home, I probably would have put on my party pants, gone to a club, and shook my booty til the sun came up (after it went down, of course, this was only 4pm after all). Alas, everyone was at work for 3 more hours so I came home and watched this silly British show called Coupling and relaxed with the kitties. LaRue came over later and we watched this other silly show (American, and sluttier, surprise) called Sex and the City. Or teh citay, as LaRue would say. Even Airbear watched a bit when he got home, although I'm not sure it made a lot of sense to him. It does sort of shoot waves of estrogen right out of the screen, after all. But I have to say that sitting between my boyfriend and my life partner and collectively eating ice cream out of the pint while watching a sitcom episode about vibrators was quite an entertaining way to spend an evening. Not quite booty-shakin-til-dawn, but it'll do ;)

Happy Weekend!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Day 1 (sort of)

Highlights:

* The power went out this morning about 15 minutes into our first class, so I taught for 45 minutes in the dim light of my front office. But the kid was really nice.

* The power went back on just in time for the second class. Thank goodness.

* Six different parents called wanting to change their children's schedules all around. This sounds like a minor pain in the ass. It actually is a very large one. I got two of them solved.

* One of my teachers, let's call her Cotton, started whining because she has to be at work 11 hours per day. Keep in mind, since we are open four days a week, a full-time employee (which she is) works four 10-hour days. With a 1-hour lunch, that means you are at work 11 hours. But she's been taking half-hour lunches and leaving early, and now that she can't do that (because she has a student first hour and last hour), she's whining about not being able to leave early. I told her that I sympathized, because I know that leaving after 7:30 stinks. After all, I was there til after 7:30 on Friday. (I hope she will realize that we do not actually work on Friday, so that means I work a million more hours than her and she should shut up.)

* Two of my other teachers are brilliant, reliable, calm, efficient, and ever so helpful. I might buy them candy.

* Ever since I started at Seattle campus, I look up at the clock thinking it is 10am and it is instead 5:30pm. It is interesting. I hope that the feeling continues when I am caught up, and my days at work always go by quick as a breeze!

Enrollment meetings tomorrow.. keep your fingers crossed for me that I can fit them into the ever-changing schedule somewhere :)

Monday, September 3, 2007

New Adventures

This will be a very short p0ast, because I am going to try to go to bed early tonight. Tomorrow I begin my New and Improved gig as campus manager of the *Seattle* campus (which of course is much nicer than the 23-mile-away Issaquah campus) of my school. It will be much busier (about 3x), but more profitable and just a lot closer to home. That alone makes it, as my friend Eric Cartman would say, super sweet.

That being said, my "four day weekend" included one full day of working (for free) to try and get ready for the new school year, one full day of attending Puritannica's wedding, and several hours of cleaning and laundry. I am tiard, and will be at work approximately 12 hours tomorrow. So rest is necessary.

Wish me luck tomorrow!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

P.S.

Airbear is still not awake, because he is a bum. As I can't really put away any more of the random moving crap (due to the fact that the crap that's left is all Airbear's), I am not being responsible and proactive and working on my procert stuff or curriculum planning.

Instead I am making a cinnamon crumb cake. It will be delicious.

The Best Day of My Life

I am really on a roll with the blogging lately. Don't mistake this as me being efficient, timely, and/or "on the ball" in any general sense. It's just that my brain is too used up to do any of the million things that are on my to do list. I would write them down but you would get very bored reading it. Suffice it to say, there are so many of them that they come in genres. Yuck.

But this morning is an absolutely glorious morning, and do you want to know why? Because I slept until I woke up. Woke up on my own without some dirty @$%(#! alarm clock telling me to. In fact, I slept so hard and so long that I feel a little drooly and stupid. But it's a beautiful feeling :)

Another boner (*cough*bonus*cough*) for the day is that I made an awesome discovery. This awesome discovery was preceded by a not-quite-so-awesome discovery, namely that since you have to renew your driver's license every 4 years and 16+4=20+4=24+4=28, that meant that I had to renew it this year. I actually knew this already, by some miracle, having managed to think about it a few months ago and put on my endless to-do list "renew license." I even debated putting my Seattle address on my new license, for the first time EVAR, since we (I mean Airbear) actually bought this residence.

However I woke up this morning and the not-quite-so-awesome discovery was that my birthday actually already happened almost a month ago. This means that I am already 28 and not 27-about-to-turn-28 (mildly annoying), and that my drivers license, which expires on my birthday, had already done so. And that, my dear friends, meant that I would have to go to the DMV and take the written test to renew my expired license. Every single part of that sounds like a pain in the ass.

But then today pulled through and continued being the best day of my life by revealing to me that my license, in fact, expires in 2008! I have no idea why this is: I must have bribed a DMV minion while renewing last time, or who knows, maybe I am getting younger. But the net result = no DMV today, which = yay!

Oh and I forgot to mention that the reason I got to sleep in was I told Puritannica's mannish best friend that I "would not be able to make" the 11am "x-rated" segment of Puritannica's bachelorette party today. Of course the truth is that "would not be able to make" is actually "do not want to go to" because I--prepare yourself, this is a shocker--am a bit of a prude when it comes to things like buying sex toys with a bunch of former co-worker girls that I am not really friends with. Now if there was an x-rated party with LaRue and Eagle and my mom, sure. We would look at the moichandise and I would gasp and blush and there would be lots of giggling and drinking mimosas. But with Puritannica, who once got offended at the lifestyle of a character in a book?! No thanks. Besides I did not feel like getting up, driving to Redmond for an 11am x-rated party, and having to stay with those people all damn day (and night) long. The second part of the bachelorette party starts at 6pm at a fancy Italian restaurant in KenandBarbieland. I figure going to that is sufficient punishment--err, participation--for me. And if it's not, well...yes it is :)

The really unfortunate part is that I don't think it will progress the way a real bachelorette party should--with Puritannica taking blowjob shots, dancing on a bar, getting hit on, and all of us co-attendees getting a free pass to be silly and have fun wherever we chose to barhop to. We'll just go to this restaurant, pay too much for Italian food, and listen to Puritannica gush for three more hours about the guy she's going to marry. Or, to be honest, about the fact that she is getting married. Because that's really what it's about. Plus it's in Bellevue, so I can't just drink champagne to improve the conversation. Jerks :P

Oh well, at least for the moment, it is the happiest morning of my life! Let later take care of itself :)

Friday, August 17, 2007

85%

So last night was a pretty successful outing. We started at Industry Night, where I ate chicken strips & taters w/gravy (*insert choir of angelic voices*). We didn't hang out there too long, because there weren't a lot of people around and LaRue suggested we go to her favorite place in the universe, which is a dueling piano bar. Because LaRue is usually very responsible--indeed, one might even say abstemious--when she decides to go out I go along. Besides, you never know what might happen. She ended up getting hit on my some deutschbag(1) in a houndstooth fedora and the 85-year-old piano player. I'm really not kidding. The piano player was in a purple suit, too. But LaRue's boyfriend, the other piano player (who is fewer than 85 years old) wasn't there so before long we headed up to The Pub (TM). Obviously.

Once there, we met back up with Leo and one of his new coworkers. Now, I try to reserve judgement, but--wait, who the hell am I kidding. I never reserve judgement. Judgement is my specialty. This guy is a royal pain in the ass. He's dweeby, but that doesn't usually bother me too much. The thing is...he doesn't know he's dweeby. He is convinced that he is actually charismatic, witty, and Brad-Pitt-tastic. I can assure you that none of these things is remotely true. He made a bunch of not-funny quips at which he himself (and only he himself) laughed and at one point pulled me over. It's kind of hard to explain but I was standing, facing away from him, and he sort of grabbed my sides and pulled me backward so I landed on my butt on the booth seat. I wasn't hurt or anything but I gave a little surprised shriek and The Pub People looked over and I just was sort of embarassed instead of punching the guy in the junk like I should have. I think even Leo wanted to kill the dude. He sent an apologetic text message at 2am and Leo never apologizes for anything. So it wasn't just my usual intolerance, the guy really was a jackass :)

But I danced with LaRue and sang my head off at the piano bar, because that is what girls do when someone starts playing
Bonnie Tyler. Leo and I also gave each other a bunch of crap in the pub, which always entertains me to no end, and my sweet, good Airbear not only went along with us two crazy broads to the piano bar but also (and not for the first time) gave LaRue cash to go up and give the piano players, because she never has any ca$h monies and they were playing shitty country music. (Not only can you pay them to sing, you can pay them to stfu.) What a good Airbear!

So while I did the perfect amount of drinking last night and was able to blow off some serious steam, I did not get to do the perfect amount of sleeping in because of my StupidFridayMeeting. I plan on remedying this situation posthaste.

P.S. Two blog days in a row, BLAM!!


(1) look at me sprecken'in ze deutsch!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Microwave Man

This post is going to have to be "in and out in a minute," a favorite euphemism of an old friend of mine, because I am about to leave and go eat some exquisitely terrible food and drink what I hope will be a giggle-fying amount of alcohols. Because it is Thursday and in the land of my school, Thursday = exhaustion.

Besides that, I am getting A Promotion (TM) and moving to the Seattle Campus. I thought I had a week to train my replacement, and then I would move over to Seattle and get trained for a week before the current guy leaves. Turns out his last week is NEXT week so I am going to do both training and being trained at the same time, including some free work tomorrow on my "day off" and who knows maybe even Saturday too. Oh, what I do to take care of the kiddies.

Their parents should buy me drinks for that!

Ha.

Anyway the condo is starting to feel more like home, I realized today as I came home and checked the mailbox. The mailbox was empty, but still. I have a mail key now, and I didn't before (because there was only one key at the old apartment). Somehow that makes it feel more like a home, because I can check the mail. I also did a load of laundry in our washer & dryer last night, and I know this is going to sound funny but the newness of having a W&D in our own place instead one giant laundry room down in the basement makes doing laundry seem more exciting than it really should be. Of course, our W&D is also not busted and does not require $145 in quarters to run. Hotness.

In unrelated news, LaRue is debating not writing in her blog because it's fall and she's going to be student teaching and she always gets paranoid at this time of the year. Like, ZOMFG, a parent might read my blog and find out I swear.

She really needs to understand this is a bad idea, because her blog is one of my primary sources of entertainment when I come home from work. I am too tired to read anything longer than a blog entry, and it is funny. I do not want to have to become one of those people who reads blogs about "politics". Gross.

If you know LaRue (and you should!), you should post a picket sign outside her house. Something like "Blog Free!" would be good. Red, White & Blue.

Oh! And also: feel free to either a) congratulate me on my new promotion (!) or 2) send me a bunch of advil and/or a flask for once I actually get there and realize what a 2.5x busier campus feels like :)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Abbreviation

1. We moved into a new condo. It is teh awesome. We have put away the books, but there are still approximately 135 million things left to do. Among the fascinating highlights: the washer/dryer repair guy comes on Saturday (4th and hopefully final attempt), a giant Chinese wardrobe gets delivered on Saturday (since we went from 4 to 1.5 closets), and at least 14 miles of cable needs to be strung throughout the condo to hook up Airbear's electronic paraphernalia. But the condo is beautiful and is starting to feel homier. Even the kitties think so.

2. They are going to start doing curriculum/program audits every other week at all the campuses at my work. While this is good news, and ensures a higher level of educational quality (since our hyperbole-adverse but academically hard-assed ed. director will be conducting them), I nonetheless wish it wasn't starting on a week in which I have no time to go through and pre-audit the folders myself :) I did start doing it tonight though and got 8 of 26 done. Yes, that is only 30% (30.8%, actually), but it is still better than none, which is how many I had done this morning.

3. O.G. is coming to sub at my campus on Wednesday! Man, I heart that old guy!

4. I found out that Puritannica is having a bachelorette party on Aug 18 and I have to go, since I missed both the other two parties she got to throw for herself for getting married. Geez, how many parties does one person get to have?! The answer, apparently, is a lot. She better knock it off, though, because there is only so much of my time I am going to allow to be monopolized over this marriage. I can't complain too much, though, because so far I have avoided all the other parties. Ha.

5. I am trying to put together my campus schedule for fall. This is made slightly more difficult by the fact that I have no teachers. Well, one teacher. I hired another who can work for exactly 4 hours per week, and a second teacher who, although limited in subject range, at least allows me to once and for all get rid of the Texter. (And there was much rejoicing. Yaaay!)

6. I cooked my first dinner in the new place tonight. Sure it was only a quesadilla, but I used the oven and everything! Now if I could only find the pizza cutter.

More to come later :)