Monday, April 13, 2009

March Redux... finally!

So I took a couple categories off the posting format, because they kind of overlapped and weren't that useful. But here's the good stuff:

No-Spend Days: 20/20
No Eating Out Days: 25/25
Extra Income: $222.09 ($30.21 rebate from Walgreens, $60 gc for rx transfer, $100 cash back bonus from cc, $31.88 interest)
Money Into Savings: $1605.87
Retirement Savings: $1100
Workout Days: 8
Books Finished: 3
Times Flossed: 6 (still going up!)
Letters/Cards/Contacts: 4
Progress on 2009 Goals:

  • continuing to reduce my Bank of Mom debt (turtling for now to rebuild savings/EF)
  • have kept my card paid off each month – AND I got a $100 cash back reward from them this month for points I’ve accrued so far…without ever having paid them a cent in interest. TAKE THAT, CREDIT CARD COMPANIES!!
  • kept my credit union savings/checking account balances above $750 in each account to take advantage of the special rate – monthly goal MET!
  • met all of the monthly requirements for my Checking ++ account (although the reward rate was lower this month, 4.52% APY, boo! Still better than I can find most anywhere else, though! – monthly goal MET!
  • The 2008 Roth: I wanted to max this out as much as possible by April 15 (with the ultimate max being $5k), but that upper limit was starting to make me consider doing crazy things, like emptying my EF in order to reach a goal just because I wanted to reach it, and not because it would be the financially wisest thing to do. So I decided I would try for $2500 – half of the maximum allowed, and really a pretty awesome amount to have contributed since January of this year. And I did it! Goal met! (and that makes me feel really positive about my ability to get to a point where I can max out 2009’s, too!). Very excited about this one.
  • continued contributing to my SIMPLE IRA (w/matching)
  • kept my "Little EF" above $1,000
  • continued contributing to my "Big EF"
  • decided to go to Vegas with Mom & Dad, Airbear, and some other friends, so I have been putting more into my "vacation fund" so that I will not have to use a credit card to go on the trip! (Well, you know what I mean, I’ll still use the card for the awesome reward points, but be able to pay it off the same month.)
  • Renamed "Special Occasion Fund" as "Wedding Fund," because now it’s official… we got engaged on March 20! Now I’ll just have to start working on filling it… but the vacations are coming up in a month so I have to tend to those first.
  • continuing to post on the No-/Controlled-Spend thread, and got 20/20 no spending days and 25/25 no eating out days – goal (just barely) met!
  • I worked out 8 times this month, but they were very spaced out. I’m going to use the upcoming Vegas trip (swimsuit needed!) to motivate myself to do a lot better in April, including eating healthy. [FWIW I’m off to a great start on this already – 3/5 days worked out so far and 5/5 eating healthy!]
  • Worked hard to stay positive at work this month, and it was a challenge, I’ll say! Some distressing issues, and it’s wearing me down. I’m trying to do a lot of marketing, so I really do hope I will see some results from that in April. Crossing my fingers!
  • Checked my credit report, had a couple of address inaccuracies (really just typos, but you can’t be too careful) fixed, and got my credit score for the first time in my life. It was above 800!! I was so floored, and proud! I am certain it would not have been nearly that good a year ago, and it’s getting even better (since I had just applied for the amazon card not too long ago and had a couple cards closed at my request, which dings the score a bit). Exciting! Goal met!
  • Took a few more surveys.. definitely kept current on the MyPoints ones.. but I’ve been slacking off a bit with the others and missed several because I let them sit too long in my junk email inbox. Of course I might not have qualified for them anyway but I still should be trying. Every little bit helps!
  • Was better about being patient this month. I think :)
  • Sent my Grandma a St. Patrick’s Day card, and called her (and a dear but recently out-of-touch friend) to celebrate the engagement! Also emailed a friend in Japan I haven’t talked to in awhile. The "keeping in contact" goal was one I’ve had on my list of New Year’s Resolutions several times now and I definitely think I’m doing better at it this year. Accountability helps!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

This is the best thing ever

Okay, I know it's Easter, but get ready for one of the deadly sins - envy - because you are really gonna feel it. Look what got delivered on Friday:

Yes, it's really tall. Look just how tall:

We're going to be ordering one of those rolling library ladders for the side of it to help short little me get into it. The kitties don't have a problem with it, although now they can't divebomb us as hard from the kitty tree - unintended bonus.

But wait, there's more! (No, we didn't order 2 for the price of 1). In addition to getting eight more new glorious bookshelves, check out this part:

There's storage! There's even a bookshelf inside the bookshelf bed!! There just are not words to express how awesome this bed is. We get more bookshelves (and really, in a condo this small, there were really not a lot of options for this, and I'm not going to stop getting books), we get bonus storage (in fact we'll get to cancel the storage space after this month if we can figure out what to do with just a few last items!), and we have the most awesome, most unique room ever. It was custom built according to Airbear's "schematic" below [1]:

[1] Gotta love schematics!

You never see it coming...

I don't know if you're a fan of (the new, but now finished) Battlestar Galactica series, but the main points of the show that are important for understanding this particular story are that 1) the show is awesome, and so a ton of our friends would get together on Friday nights and watch it, and 2) there are robots called Cylons. Some of the Cylons evolved and look like humans now (sneaky!), but the old-style ones have this red light that goes back and forth where the eyes would be on their helmet, bwaaah, bwaaah, bwaah, etc. Kind of like KITT, in Knight Rider, remember? Here's a video.

So we have this friend, UnBob. UnBob got engaged last summer, and as seems to be prevalent amongst married or soon-to-be-married folks, started bugging all his friends in relationships to get married too. Which consisted of just me and Airbear. When properly motivated (e.g., drunk), unBob kept bringing up this idea. A few weeks before this past season of Battlestar resumed--a big deal, since it was going to be the last season of the series--he said, "Oh, he's totally going to propose to you at the Battlestar premier!" and, a few drinks later, "He's going to propose with a Cylon helmet instead of a ring!" Ha. That UnBob sure is funny.

A couple weeks later, premier approaching, UnBob was once again 'in his cups' as they say[1], and absolutely positive (and irritatingly insistent) that his scenario was going to play out. Telling him to stuff it didn't work this time, and he was so convinced that he was willing to bet drinks on it. 1 drink for episode 1, 2 drinks if it did/didn't happen by the second episode, and so on. Note that he didn't have any kind of inside information from Airbear (far from it, in fact Airbear wasn't allowed to know about the bet), he was just drunk and foolhardy. I took the bet, 99% sure that I was going to win anyway (and thus sure of a bunch of free drinks), and 1% concluding that even if the 'worst' were to happen, bet-wise, I'd have to buy UnBob 10 drinks on the last day of the season if Airbear proposed. And shoot, if something like THAT happened, I'd probably be buying everyone ten drinks!

Fast forward to five weeks into the series. As usually happens when drunks make bets, UnBob was losing. In fact, he was losing so badly that he was owing me drinks faster than I (and my friend!!) could drink them. He started getting that weepy puppy dog look they put on the Hallmark "sympathy" cards every Friday night when we'd hit the pub after watching the show. And while I knew Eagle would have said to stick it to him, make him pay, teach him a lesson for making stupid bets - it's the Leo way, after all - I am a nice kid at heart and I was starting to feel guilty about bankrupting poor UnBob. After all, I know Airbear a lot better than he does so I really had inside information, in a way. And I had already gotten five weeks' worth of free drinking on Fridays. But ya know if you gotta listen to someone remind you about the fact that you didn't get proposed to, I guess there should be some kind of payment for that.

I enjoyed the rest of the run of the show. Some fans had some complaints with it - I'm sure that's always the case - and of course the guys wanted to see more spaceship battles and less talking, but I thought it kicked ass. (I'm hoping that when the series comes out on DVD it's in a metal box shaped like a robot head with a red light eye that flashes back and forth.) I also have to say that no series finale is ever going to come close to that one. One big spaceship flew into another big spaceship, lots of flying and shooting, some nukes, they finally killed off the president (OMG I was waiting for that the whole show - hated her!), and they found a nice planet to live on. But the best part happened after the credits.

I had actually gotten up and gone to the kitchen to get this bag of little ceramic ramekins and random ingredients I'd left at Eagle's the time before, and most of our buddies were getting up to go to the pub. But then Airbear said loudly, "I have an announcement to make!" and everybody stopped breathing and didn't move, because Airbear never talks, and especially not loudly. I turned around and stepped back into the living room to see WTF could possibly be going on and he got down on one knee and opened up a black velvet ring box.

And I saw this.

I have to be honest: my immediate thought was that he was just frackin' with UnBob about the bet (because we'd canceled it already and now he wouldn't win).

My second thought was oh, shit, shit, talk Nitza talk you're supposed to say something!

I dropped everything on the floor and made quite a racket (between the keys and the ceramic dishware, which I'm surprised didn't shatter all over the floor) and just sort of dove at Airbear to hug him/bury my face in his shoulder and said of course. Everybody was yelling and clapping and I was crying, obviously, and shaking and just a big huge mess.

And no, UnBob didn't know about it either - it was a total surprise. I did buy that kid a drink, though, and he enthusiastically takes credit for instigating the whole thing. He also says he's going to be a Cylon usher in our wedding. We'll see about that part ;)

[1] He really doesn't drink all the time - just when I see him.