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Archive for August, 2007

Part-time jobs.

August 30th, 2007 at 06:54 pm

I have been checking craigslist.org several times a week for possible part-time/temporary jobs. Nothing has really turned up....nothing that wouldn't require me to take some computer courses, anyway. That's always a possibility, but more down the road. Anyway, I was really hoping to find a seasonal/holiday job, though it may be too soon. I went to the newspaper's job website and searched for part-time temp/seasonal jobs. Macy's is already hiring, so I filled out an online application for a retail support type job - not selling, but stocking, moving merchandise, etcetera. I have done the retail thing before and I don't really want to do it again.

I am also going to think about the stores nearby where I'd like to work, make a list of them, and poke around their websites to see if I can apply online. There's a Borders a few miles away, and they have an online job application system. I'd love to work there over the holidays.

I probably need to get a few references lined up, though. I'm feeling really out of touch with this whole job thing - I haven't worked at a REAL job since, well, almost exactly nine years ago (my son turns nine on Monday!). There are at least two people at Michael's school (where I am PTA president) that I know will give me good references if I ask.

I hate to sound superior, and I really don't mean to, but in places like Macy's, I'm amazed that some of those folks have managed to apply for and get jobs. I keep thinking, if some of those clerks can get hired, surely I can. I am reliable, organized, reasonably intelligent and articulate, hardworking and detail-oriented. My resume, though, may make me look both seriously underqualified (not having had paid employment, other than eBay sales, in nine years) AND overqualified (all my work experience is in a professional office).

I just want to work a couple days a week, and on the weekends, through the holidays. I NEED to feel like I have some control over our family finances. I have had enough with living paycheck to paycheck, putting groceries on the credit card, and facing the fact that I am going to have to dip into our retirement fund in order to pay our property taxes in December.

Face it, DH is never going to be a go-getter, aggressive, money-earner. When I hear jokes about rich lawyers, I just want to laugh. Or throw up.

He wants to stay in the realm of the intellectual...he has zero interest in the business side. Court arguments? Loves it. Schmoozing clients? Hates it. Unfortuately, the latter is what gets you money in his field. He does it only reluctantly, and I think it shows. He hasn't gotten a new client in several years, and his ONE fairly big client happens to owe him $10,000 right now. Even when they do pay up, he only gets 15% of that, under the terms of the agreement with the person he works for. As I've said before, his salary pays the bills and his percentage pays for the extras, and there have been very few extras in the last several months. He also has a guy he's doing something for and not charging. I guess he kind of HAS to...he's a guy who's done a bunch of work on our house before, and he's a decent guy. Lee also did another paid legal matter for him recently, but way undercharged him.

Things are tight, getting tighter, and it SUCKS.

He tends to get grumpy when there's nothing exciting to eat...or when I tell him he needs to make his six pack of beer last...dude, it's not exactly fun for me either to have to be imaginative with basic groceries every single night. I know we can't afford the nicer, wider variety of food I used to buy and cook with. And no, we can't afford to eat out either. But taking on yet more FREE legal work isn't putting those groceries back on the table. It's like he's not even trying to do anything about it.....just moping around feeling defeated, snapping at the kids, sitting by himself reading a book. NOT spending more time working. NOT out trying to get clients.

It's not that he's lazy. It's that he's not in the least motivated to be successful, monetarily speaking, at his career. He does a good job. He's smart and likeable and has a lot of experience. He just wants to do his legal thing, have someone else take care of all of the details, and have a nice comfortable paycheck direct-deposited.

And I gotta say, being at the mercy, so to speak, of his funk about developing business, is getting very old. Here I am, out of the workforce for nine years, and my skills are obsolete. I don't regret staying home with my kids at all. DH never "made" me, or tried to control what I did at all. It was our choice, and I wanted to stay home. If money were no object, I'd not be looking for a job at all. But I can't keep on feeling like we are barely keeping ourselves afloat and not do anything about it. I have to have some control over this situation. I feel like there is a very thin financial line we could easily cross over, with one push from a disaster, illness, or major domestic catastrophe.

For all I know, thousands of people apply for these kinds of retail jobs and I may never hear back. But I have to try....I have to do something....I am the kind of worker that employers want. I am willing to learn, I love to learn, I will go the extra mile to help people. I've multitasked, run a household for nine years, volunteered in numerous capacities, served on our neighborhood board for three years, organized & ran the preschool library for three years, and am serving a second term as PTA president. I promise I am a person worth considering for a job.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Bad and good.

August 23rd, 2007 at 10:44 am

Bad: I took DH's car today. On the way home from the Farmer's Market, I hit a curb (or something), heard a really loud BANG! and two seconds later, knew I had a flat. On a busy residential street.

Good: I managed to pull over in the shade and I was only half a mile from DH's office.

Bad: I was supposed to join some friends today for lunch, to celebrate a birthday and I missed it, dealing with the car.

Good: I saved the money I would have spent on lunch.

Bad: DH was wearing a suit today, and I was stopped half on the curb, half off, so we called a tow truck instead of having DH change it (or taking DH home to change, then coming back so he could change the tire). That cost $60.

Good: He only had to tow us half a mile to the Goodyear place.

Bad: Two new tires aren't cheap.

Good: But the Goodyear place is having a special - free oil change with two tires, and DH's car was overdue for an oil change.

We were getting back in my car at the Goodyear place, and I, trying to be all chipper about it, say "When life hands you lemons...." and DH, all grumpy, goes "...pucker up."

I paid myself first.

August 15th, 2007 at 02:51 pm

DH got paid today. I deposited his check in the bank, and when I got home, I went online to ING direct and scheduled $100 to be transferred from my bank account to ING.

Now let's hope I don't wind up having to take that money back out before the end of the month.

I've paid a medical bill, our county property tax bill (the balance is due in November), renewed the paper, deducted our life insurance premium, and picked up DH's shirts from the laundry.

On the topic of DH and his clothes, he took all his suits to the alterations lady today because he has lost 20 pounds since February and they're all too big. So I should probably count on that costing at least $100. It's cheaper than a whole new suit, at any rate.

I also went to Wal-Mart today. I know millions of people shop there regularly, but I hate that place. I went there because my younger son's radio/CD player bit the dust. It was a cheapo I got several years ago with points I earned from doing surveys with Harris Poll. I'm suprised it lasted as long as it did. Anyway, both kids use their CD players on a daily basis for audio books and music, so it needed replacing ASAP. I did a little online research and found that I could get one that was not a complete piece of junk at Wal-Mart for a reasonable amount. I looked at Best Buy's website too, but for what I wanted, I'd wind up spending more than fifty dollars. My older son's cheapo stereo (purchased at Big Lots two years ago) is going to need to be replaced soon too, as the CD player only works intermittently. ANYWAY, long story short, I went to see what Wal-Mart had. They had a reasonable selection of stuff, some off-brand stuff that I wouldn't buy but I found a Memorex CD/radio/cassette player for under $30. I also spotted a kind of nice Sony CD player with remote for $68 that I might buy my older son for his birthday (September 3).

While I was there I needed to pick up a few other things, milk, something for dinner, ibuprofen. I decided to stroll through the grocery aisles to see what their stuff looked like and how the prices were compared to Kroger & Publix.

I don't know if all Wal-Marts carry the same stuff or if it varies by neighborhood, but I thought a lot of the stuff here looked kind of....scary. Some of the meats and processed foods looked incredibly cheap and crappy, full of disgusting chemical ingredients. In fact, the place was loaded with nutritionally void processed junk.

I did find a half-gallon of Horizon Organic milk for a dollar less than Kroger, a package of Nature's Own "double fiber wheat" bread for twenty cents less than Kroger, two pounds of all-natural ground beef marked for quick sale (I'm cooking it tonight), plus a can of mixed nuts and a bag of spinach. And a two-pack of Advil for cheap.

Otherwise, I can't see that I will be doing much shopping for groceries there.

There is supposed to be a Wal-Mart supercenter opening early next year in a neighborhood not too far away. The Wal-Mart I went to today is in a neighborhood that is kind of scary, so it's possible that the new Wal-Mart will carry higher-quality groceries.

I'm not sure that would change my opinion of Wal-Mart, though...the aisles are always filled with displays of crap, making it hard to get through....there are always shopping carts of random stuff everywhere...there are a hundred checkout stations, but only two of them will be open...Target is by FAR the nicer shopping experience.

School started on Monday, so I am hopeful that I can get my eBay business going again, at least a little bit. I have three things up now, plus two more set to launch tonight.

Just because they're so handsome and the light of my life (and I'm glad they're back in school), here's a picture of my kids:


I'll report again once I've dealt with all the bills.

Seeking some clarity.

August 9th, 2007 at 03:18 pm

In an effort to find out WHERE THE HELL IT IS ALL GOING (money, that is) I pulled up our bank account online, had it show all purchases only for the past sixty days, and then printed it out.

Normally, we're not rich or anything, but we can pay our bills with no problems, put a little away in savings, and go out to eat or shop once in a while. That has not been the case this summer.

We started off nearly cleaning out our savings with a $2500 city property tax bill. That might have been part of the problem - no savings to dip into for unexpected bills.

I suspected that a lot of our money was going to summer-related expenses, what with summer camp (though several of those were paid for in the spring) and other recreation. I'm not necessarily regretting any of it, but it does make me feel better to know that it's not going to be situation every month.

Anyway, looking just at where we used the ATM card, not cash or credit card (though ATM would be what we used the most), we have spent $885.48 since June 11 on the following:

- Movies (6 times, all matinees) $19.75 each trip, except for one where all four of us went, for about $27
- Lunches out with the kids (Moe's, Chick-Fil-A, Coldstone Creamery)
- Other kid activities/recreation (Bounce 'n' Bob's, Sun Valley Beach waterpark, a trip to the Lego Store, a weekend camping trip to a state park in Alabama)
- Two trips to the used book store for used DVD movies (about $25 a pop)
- Only a little bit of shopping (once to an antique store, to Old Navy, and to DSW Shoe Warehouse, totalling about $100 altogether; once to REI for something Michael needed for camp)
- Two trips to the liquor store (about $28 each time)
- DH spent $209.60 at various local pubs either with the boys or with "the guys"
- $279.20 spent at either of the local Ace Hardware stores or at Lowe's; most of what I spent at Lowe's was on paint/paint supplies for the kitchen & living room; I know I bought a bunch of plants in June, too.
- $193.92 spent at Target (though I frequently get $20 cash back, so that's not entirely accurate).

This helps explain why we are in the predicament we're in.

It's not like I can eliminate all these expenses and voila! We're flush. However, we won't be going to the movies six times in the next three months, or eating out lunch, or going to Sun Valley Beach. I am also going to mention to DH about what he's spent; he takes the boys to the neighborhood watering hole to let them play pinball, and three beers later, he's spent $25 just like *that*.

I hope I am not just kidding myself thinking that we'll be in better shape once the summer is over (three days!!!). I hope I don't just replace all those summertime expenses with other "stuff".

In other bill news, I was looking at our cell phone bill and saw that when DH was out of town right before the 4th of July with the boys, he called home four times for a grand total of $42 for non-network roaming calls. Part of the time he was camping and part of the time he was calling from a hotel where he said the house phone cost a fortune. Jeez louise! I about crapped a brick when I saw the bill. This is the first bill we've gotten since we switched to a family plan with my provider and got DH a phone, so I was going to be seriously depressed if that was what I was facing every month...however, it's going to be closer to $80. There sure are a lot of damn taxes tacked onto the bill.

In some GOOD bills news for a change, I looked at my BP bill on line and saw it has a zero balance. No one's used the card since I paid the bill last. Huzzah!

School starts on Monday and we have a whopping $64 to last until Wednesday. However, I have food for lunchboxes (we went to Trader Joe's today), the boys are set for clothes, I have half a tank of gas and food for dinner until then. I have to pick up two or three things at Kroger on Monday, but that's it. Fingers crossed there's no crises in the making.