Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Moving Tips

Hubs and I finally got around to debriefing the move. Here are our notes on what went well and what needs to go better next time. We moved about an hour away and we had about a two week overlap between places so we could move most of our things slowly.

Things to Improve

Communication. I thought I told Hubs to pack certain things or to do things and he didn't hear me. We had planned to treat our helpers to lunch and one of them didn't hear us so we were worried about him when he didn't show up. He had stopped at Burger King to get himself lunch. Hubs also packed some of the things that I wanted to throw out.

One of the things I thought I told Hubs was that we should number the boxes and make an index. Hubs did not. When we moved in we weren't really sure where important things were (like batteries and light bulbs). Next time we'll put special stickers on the boxes with important things on them so we know to open those first.

We'll also want to label the furniture so our helpers know which room it should go in.

We need to keep the house better organized in order to pack better and we need to Stop hoarding things in our basement and keep the basement organized so that we can pack it better. Our basement at our old place ended up a pile of trash.

Make a list of things to pack last then pack everything else. Don't save too much for the last day. We rented a moving truck for the last Saturday in our old place. We went back Sunday and still had two carloads of things to bring up because we left a number of things for the last minute. Hubs didn't want to be living out of a suitcase surrounded by boxes so we didn't pack up a lot of stuff until the last minute. We ended up just throwing things in reusable grocery bags and trash bins because we had run out of boxes and couldn't get out to buy more.

Hire cleaners to clean the new place (and maybe the old). We spent a couple of days cleaning our new place (it was incredibly filthy in some of the out of the way places). Then we had to spend a day scrubbing our old apartment. It would have been so much easier if we had, had more help with this. Plus, in our new place while brining furniture in we tracked in so much dirt so sweeping and mopping had been kind of pointless and that time would have been better spent dusting walls and cleaning hard to reach places that wouldn't have gotten dirty again.

Take a trip to the hardware store before moving everything in to get plungers*, fresh cleaning cleaning supplies (I did not want to move our old toilet brush and I wanted a new broom for the upstairs), tools you'll need in the new house like two to three prong outlet converters, and anything else that you'll need new in the new place right away.

Hire movers. My back was too sore to lift things by the end of our big moving day. Hubs back gave out sometime the next week.

Good Things

Mover's plastic wrap was the best thing ever.
As I noted earlier, I used it to seal up bins without tops and wrap shoe boxes together into large bundles. We used it to wrap plastic drawers in and keep the furniture pads on our few nice pieces of furniture.

We cleaned our bathroom and bedroom before we moved in so when we moved in the most important parts of the house were clean.

Yeah for stock pilling paper towels. We haven't had enough rags to do all the cleaning we need to do so, despite our environmentalist tendencies (we wash and reuse ziplock bags), we've been really happy to have tons of paper towels.

I have a hard time focusing on the positives.

Any other suggestions about how to make a move go smoothly?

*One of our helpers had trouble with our toilet. He was able to solve the problem with a stick but then he left the "poop" stick in a trash bag in our bathroom. (We suggested he throw it in the creek in our backyard but he didn't want to do that.) We didn't have an outside garbage bin yet so it had to stay there until we could get one. Ugh.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

I Know I'm Getting Old Because . . .

I usually listen to NPR during my commute. I listen to my oldies stations (90s on 9 and Pop 2k) instead of Top 40 Radio. (I've always listened to real oldies since I like classic rock and Motown.)

I am so confused by piercings and tattoos. I have no idea when they seem to have suddenly become popular and common in the past couple of years.

I have absolutely no time for new tech. I am still rocking my iPhone 4 and I have no use for SnapChat. I am not a fan of the new cars that turn on without keys.

I only wear comfortable flats and I like wearing pantyhose to work.

I am continually surprised by interns who wear too short dresses and skirts to work.

I go to sleep by 10 most nights, even on weekends. Even if I am gripped by insomnia, I am probably in bed.

I have a growing collection of handwritten receipe cards.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


I spent about twenty minutes looking for my oatmeal this morning. Only to remember that it was one of the first things we ended up putting away in our new pantry. Oops.

I didn't quite realize how exhausting and time consuming moving was. I thought I'd have time to queue up a post to go out today about what worked well during our move and what we'll have to change next time. But Hubs and I were to exhausted to even reflect. Hopefully, we'll be able to reflect and I'll be able to post later this week.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

My Life - I Need to Vent

So I try to paint a relatively accurate picture of my life. I don't want to paint my life as all seashells and balloons 24/7/365. I don't think anyone's life is like that no matter how happy they are. Right now my personal life is all sharp broken seashells, sea glass that hasn't been polished by waves enough, and deflated and popped balloons. My parents are getting a divorce. I alluded to this earlier as it made E3's graduation interesting. But it's become slightly overwhelming lately. Moving has also caused complications. And, the world is falling apart.

Head Lice

Hubs went to the doctor yesterday morning because I had bugged him about it. He has some small problems that had bothered him for a long time. One of them was that his head itched. I have bad allergies so I itch all the time and thought nothing of it. Hubs had head lice. (He probably got it from one of his students.) He called me at work to tell me. (Using Foxy Lady as the ring tone for your husband and then not putting your phone on silent will result in embarrassment if he calls you at work.)

I use Hubs as a pillow 45% of nights and the rest of the nights we share a pillow. My head itches and it looks like I have head lice too. Hubs is going to have to comb out my afro with a nit pick. On the plus side it looks like I will be using a sick day on our anniversary so we can socially groom one another like the primates we are.

My Mom

My parents had been in counseling since I was in high school at least. They had trust issues. My sophomore year of college my dad bought a house without telling my mom. A few years after that my dad switched the beneficiary on his life insurance plan from my mom to my sisters and me and my mom flew off the handle. But they kept trying to make things work.

They kept at it until last March when my dad apparently bought a house for his secretary without telling my mom. She thinks he's having an affair. He's not. If you knew him you'd know how implausible that seems. My dad moved out. My mom hired a big shot lawyer who specializes in rich people divorces. They spent a year working on a post-nuptial agreement. That fell thru and my mom filed for divorce this spring.
via Kim Seng

I'll grudgingly admit my mom is justifiably paranoid, my dad has bought houses without telling her. But she has been so unreasonable lately! She told our guests at E3's graduation that he was going to come with his mistress! My dad just has his sister living near by and my mom is slandering my aunt too! My mom has been trying to limit the time we spend with her. E3 called me to vent about how our mom had fought with her about a visit she had planned with our paternal aunt.

The part that sparked this rant is that she won't stop getting us involved in their legal dispute. We keep telling them that we do not want to talk with them about the divorce in any detail. My dad generally respects this. Sometimes I regret asking him certain questions because there's no way for him to answer them without talking about he divorce.

But my mom ignores us. So last month she asked me to talk with my dad about the settlement agreement her attorney has proposed. She told me to "talk to him about the pros and cons as you see it from a legal point of view."

I was so upset when I saw this email in my inbox. I've told her I want to be supportive but I don't want to be involved. I have also told my parents a million times that I cannot give them legal advice because I am not admitted to the bar in their state and that I don't feel comfortable giving them legal advice because I don't like mixing professional and personal relationships (my respect and admiration for my parents clouds my professional judgment).

I took a couple of days to collect myself before responding by saying: "No. I love you both and I do not want to be perceived as taking sides. I think it is unfair that you have asked me to do this." Hubs said this seemed a bit harsh. In retrospect he's probably right but I really thought it was in appropriate for my mom to have asked the question in the first place.

I hopped in the shower and when I got out I had three angry crying voicemail messages from my mom.

She told me about how he felt hurt because her family (me and my sisters) were as supportive of her when she was going through breast cancer induced menopause as her sister-in-law's family was. She told me she was hurt because I was doing the same thing as my dad by refusing to talk to her. In the last message she left she expressed her own disappointment at having raised me to hide from people who were hurting instead of comforting them.

I decided to pretend like I hadn't heard any of the messages and sent her a text saying "I saw you called while I was in the shower." My grandma called me back and we talked.

My mom called later and kind of apologized.

A couple of weeks later, she cc'ed me and my siblings on an email in response to my dad about divorce things. And I was angry all over again.

I am still upset about my mom situation, as evidenced by this long post, and by the fact that I changed her ring tone to the scariest loudest alarm sounding ringtone on my phone. What I hate most about this whole thing is that I feel like this whole thing is mostly my dad's fault (who buys real estate without telling their spouse?!) But he's been the better parent throughout this mess. He doesn't go crazy and leave angry voicemail messages on my phone he doesn't talk about the divorce unless I bring it up first. It's so hard to be sympathetic to my mom's situation when I am down right afraid to tell her to respect my wishes regarding this. I almost feel like she doesn't care that my parents are getting divorced!
via Bernard Blanc

I also really resent how it feels like she's trying to keep me away from my dad. She came out and visited me with E2 over father's day weekend last year and this year she wants us to go to Walt Disney World (without Dad) for the holidays. I worry about my dad. He's 10 years older than my mom, 40 years older than me. He had a DVT, a blood clot in his leg, this year which can be very bad, even fatal. He has high blood pressure (crazy wife maybe?). His hands have started shaking and he went to a Neurologist and it is likely that he has Parkinson's. (The good news is he's gotten real about his estate planning but that lead to him sending a crazy distressing email to his lawyer on which my siblings and I were cc'ed on saying I want to leave everything to my three daughters. I am legit afraid every single time I get an email from my parents because of this shit.*)

My Father-in-Law

Hubs and I are moving about an hour north, as you know. We currently live a 20 minute walk from his parents' house, it's about a mile. My FIL has come over to our place maybe twice. My MIL stops over fairly often, for example she brought us balloons for his birthday and stopped by to hide a graduation present for his sister. My BIL and SIL, they both live with their parents, come over maybe once a month to hang out.

I haven't talked to him about this so what I'm complaining about is all hearsay. But Hubs has said he's incredibly upset about how far away we're moving. He can't handle that and I can't handle how out of sorts it sounds like he is because we're moving just under an hour away. I can't even!

I live a three hour plane ride away from my parents. My mom seems like she might be turning into an alcohol because of divorce stress. My dad has Parkinson's and the DVT this year. My grandma has dementia and is slowly leaving us. At my cousin's wedding in June I realized that the last time I saw my grandpa was at my wedding. He lives in California and I don't have enough time or money to go out there and while he visits my mom our travel schedules never over lap. He fell this winter; he ended up with a skull fracture and had no memory of what happened. Thank goodness my stepgrandma found him. E3 just left to teach in Taiwan for a year.

A week ago I let my homesickness and stress loose on Hubs and I just bawled. Anyway, I am annoyed with my FIL since it kind of seems like he doesn't really care about me or how I've moved so far away from my family so that Hubs can stay near his family. An hour isn't that far away, we'll see them just as often as we used to but I'm still over three hours and $400 away from my family and I love them and I want to see them. I just feel like the sacrifices I've made get no respect or consideration from him.


I have been freaking out about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. I am half-Nigerian. I have and aunt and uncle, their spouses and cousins who live there still. I've only meet my dad's brother and sister because I haven't been there. But there's been two confirmed cases now in Lagos, the largest city and one of the largest cities in the world. A traveler from Liberia wasn't showing symptoms when he got on a plane and when he got off he was sick. Now Nigerians have it. I am so worried.

If it comes to the US I am worried for my dad and E2 since they both work in hospitals where they might be exposed to someone who is contagious before it's confirmed that they have the disease. My dad is old and E2 is type 1 diabetic so I worry about their ability to deal with a bad infection.

</rant> Thank you for reading all those words. I really just needed to let that all out, again since Hubs has already heard this once, and blogging is cheaper than therapy especially since I have a $15 copay.

I thought this was a low blow as I had previously expressed concern that I often half wonder if I should have been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum because I am sometimes socially awkward and as Hubs describes it I have the emotional depth of a small puddle. I'm pretty sure I'm within a standard deviation of normal but sometimes I think I must be pretty close to being outside out one standard deviation from the normal in terms of socialness.

*Please excuse my language this once, this situation calls for strong words.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

New (to Us) House

We're moving to be closer to our work places. Hubs new job would be over an hour commute away from where we live now. Hubs was in charge of looking since he wasn't working every day, teachers work too much during the school year and not enough during the summer.

We had been thinking about buying but it makes more sense (finical and otherwise) to rent. He went looking on a Thursday and was so dejected. He went looking again Friday. He met me for lunch and was so excited about this one house he found. So I gave him the go ahead to rent it sight unseen (he showed me pictures he took on his camera.

We started morning in over the weekend and I took some pictures! I'll be giving a full tour, room by room, once we move our furniture in and unpack all the boxes.


Walking in! The landlord's mother was an artist and she
painted this fresco of Mt. Fuji in the downstairs closet.

Screened in Side Porch

The Living Room


Towards the Front Door and the Porch
(The House Came with a Piano)

The Dining Room

We will use it as a den since the kitchen has a
breakfast nook and we don't have a dining room table.

The Kitchen

I loved the backslash!

Up the Stairs

The Pink Bathroom

The light fixture is the best.

Wallpaper in the bathroom.

A Bedrooms

The Upstairs Laundry Room

Crazy Wall Paper

Downstairs and Outside

My new OOTD Mirror!

The Garage

Moving Tips

If you have to move, movers' plastic wrap will be you new BFF. I've used it to wrap smaller boxes together so it's like I have one big box and I've used to to cover the tops of box sized bins. We'll use it to secure the drawers on our big furniture when we move that.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

New Year Resolution Updates and July Thursday Thankfulness

I saw these cool flowers on a walk.
So these were my new years resolutions and I'll let you know how I think I'm doing:

Exercise Four Times a Week and Stamp Every Day on My WiiFitU Calendar
Um. I stopped playing WiiFit because our neighbor went crazy on Hubs and said we were too noisy. My knee started hurting so I stopped running. I did discover that I had four paid for classes to use up at a local Yoga studio so I've been doing Yoga once a week. But, the only class that works with my work schedule is the gentle one, last week we didn't even stand up. I've started going on walks during my lunch at work in an effort to get up to 10,000 steps a day. I've also been using ClearSky's Pushup, Situp, and Squat apps. I will start doing more exercise after we move. I was so excited to read Ashliegh's post on the Darling Daily about Reflexion Yoga. I don't know if there's a Yoga studio in our new town so I'll sample their at home classes. 

Eat Less Sugar
Um. OMG so much stress eating and that's mostly sugar.

They do taste just like the girl scout cookies.
I did eat the whole box in one afternoon.
It was a rough day.

Use My Clarisonic Five Times a Week
I've been using it everyday I wear make up. So at least once a week.

I couldn't decide what dress to wear, so I wore them all.

Floss 80% of the Time
Oh. I am so off track in this department. Like, I don't even know what floss is anymore.

My 4th of July OOTD
The fireworks were postponed 'til Labor Day Weekend.
The filter I used made it look sunny.

Drink 8 Cups of Water a Day
I think I am meeting this goal during the week thanks to my trusty camel bak. I've stopped tracking how much water I drink. I guess I need to get one of these fancy cups so that I don't have to self report.

I wanted this so bad and I found it on eBay!

Practice Gratitude and Minimize Envy
Um. I've been so bad with my good things journal as you can see below. I do think that I am slowly coming to terms with that fact that I am poorer money wise than I expected to be by this point in my life. Although I've been having mini freak outs since my cousin-in-law told us she was expecting. I am now officially too old to have the four kids I wanted spaced two years apart.

I love this blouse. It is machine washable silk.

Moving is expensive and we are moving to a new more expensive house. Hopefully the fact that our commutes will be shorter will help. I will recalibrate our budget once we move in and figure out how much the utilities there will cost. The house is being switched from oil heat to gas so we have no idea how much our heat will cost this winter.

Try to Spend Less on Beauty Products
I've tried out Boots Expert Sensitive Hydrating Eye Cream, Maybelline® Instant Age Rewind® Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer in Honey, and e.l.f Mineral Face Primer. None of them irritate my skin. The e.l.f. primer is great for $6 and I will probably keep using it until after we've saved up for a house. I still prefer my tarte primer because it is more mattifying and it's made without "yucky" chemicals. When it comes to eyes I only care about what happens to my dark circles. Neither the eye cream nor the concealer seem to make my dark circles less noticeable over the long run, about a week. So I will probably test out a different eye cream after I use this tube up.

I'm also bummed because I've heard wonderful reviews of the Age Rewind Concealer and I'm not sure it will work for me. I actually like the applicator for the Age Rewind concealer, it seemed weird at first, but the color seems to be a bit too light for me and I am pretty sure I bought it in the darkest color offered. (And, I thought I was so pasty.) I can't try out a darker color and see if it works better. I think this might be perfect for me in February so I will hold on to it. What do you guys think?

My no makeup face!
Just the concealer in the same lighting.
My made up face in natural morning sunlight
and the morning fluorescent light of my office.
Is the concealer too light or is it just almost to light? I think it looks okay in natural light but hideous in office light. I've also tried layering my tinted moisturizer over it to tone it down a bit and that seems to work well but I had been applying concealer second to last so I have to rethink my beauty routine.

EDIT I've taken a picture comparing my old concealer, Lancôme Maquicomplet Complete Coverage Concealer in Caramel (right), to the new stuff (left).

Be Nicer to Mr. H.
I've been stressed out and mean lately. I really need to figure out how not to worry about the upcoming move and my parents.

This is a midday top underneath one of my favorite shifts.
I've had the top for years and haven't quite figured out
how to style it. I like it because it's like a sailor dress.

Don't Stop Myself Because of Fear
I have no clue. Hubs and I went to a presentation to learn about how to fill out the form to become foster parents.

I got this tweed jacket from the Talbots' Red Hanger Sale
(It's still happening and I think sale is 50% off!)

The Good Things I Managed to Capture in the Notes on my Phone this Month
June 27 - Quiet party in our apartment with friends.
June 28 - Maybe TMI! My period was unexpectedly heavy last night and I stained my new Lilly Pulitzer Lobstah Roll shorts. An overnight soak in oxy clean has them as good as new. I am so happy.
June 29 - I spent the day with Hubs and it was so nice. We saw X Men: Days of Future Past and I made muffins.
July 1- Hubs had dinner ready when I got home
July 2 - I had a fun day at work because everyone was in an incredibly sociable mood.

I loved the jacket so much I wore it two days in a row.
I work at a remote location with different people one
day a week so only the internet and I know I repeated it.

July 5 - There was a man withal parrot on his shoulder at the farmers' market.
July 6 - Hubs and I played Mario Kart together.
July 7 - I figured out what was going on with the templates on my work computer. I used terminal to I unhide all the folders and I found them and then I just changed that folder to be not hidden. So I can delete the templates that I make and do not like now.
July 29 - I found my pedometer in the couch. I thought I lost it at the beach.

My view right now. We start moving in to our new place tomorrow!
tabbar tabbar!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Book Review: Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover

I found his book incredibly inspirational. My parents' didn't teach me much about managing my money other than telling me to donate 10% of my income and talking about how they financed cars as opposed to paying cash for them even when they could because they wanted to maintain liquidity. So, I needed help and I found it in this book. I had been reading The Simple Dollar, which I've read almost since it began and this book along with Your Money or Your Life are two books the author often recommended. I could not get into Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez since it came off as incredibly preachy and it felt like it was written by two hippies.

via Walmart

So I read the Total Money Makeover and took notes after I started my first real job post law school. My two big take aways from Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover were that if you make sacrifices today you can be safe and secure tomorrow and debt payments are bad because you could be using those payments on things you wanted in the past for things you need or want now.

He recommends a seven step total money make over: (1) You start by putting aside a small emergency fund, (2) then you focus intently on paying off your debts, (3) once your debts are paid off build up a bigger emergency fund, (4) start investing 15% of your before tax income for retirement, (5) save for your children's college, (6) pay off your mortgage, and (7) then have fun and be charitable. I haven't followed his 7 steps perfectly.

via 401kcalculator.org and flickr

We do not have a dedicated emergency fund but we maintain a large cushion in our accounts which serves the same purpose as an emergency fund--we have cash money that we can use if anything goes wrong. I'd recommend having two emergency funds--one for real emergencies like loosing your job or a bad injury and a replacement fund for things that you know will happen but are unpredictable like car maintenance or replacing your computer.

I also disagree with Ramsey about his absolutely no debt philosophy. He says you should rip up your credit card and only use cash. I think if you can you can you should have a little debt to build up credit and I think there are times it makes sense to have debt. If you're going to need a loan to buy a home or anything else you'll want to have a good credit score. Some employees and landlords will check your credit score and in order to have a good credit score you need to borrow money.

I also think that it makes sense to go into debt now so you can make more money later. Student loans are a great example. Hypothetically my BA and JD enable me to make way more money than I could if I only had a high school diploma. Car loans also make sense if you live in a rural area, like we do, and you need reliable transportation to get to work to make money. A mortgage makes sense if buying a home is over all less expensive than renting.

This was a very expensive purple hood and
velvet hat. Hopefully, I will have a good return
on my investment in this academic regalia.

I do think he is wise to encourage caution about loans. You have to be smart about taking out loans. My law school loans have higher interests rates between 8.5% and 6.5% and I borrowed more money than I needed since I rejected my parents' help to pay for living expenses. Student loans for undergrad seems to have far lower interest rates. But you shouldn't borrow any more than you need to get through school and I wish I would have paid interest on my law school loans while in school so the interest wasn't capitalized. You should look at your student loans as an investment so try to pick a field of study that has a high rate of return (computer science, not law school for example).

My husband has good credit so the interest rate on his car loan was low. He bought a used Prius with low milage so we save money on gas. We're paying extra on the car loan so we can pay it off faster. But we didn't do that with his student loans because he knew they'd be forgiven after he taught math in an underserved area for five years.

Filling up the Prius, a Rare Event

Some people say that if you have a low interest rate on a loan, less than the rate the market would return if you invested it, then it makes sense to invest that money instead of pay off the loan faster. I think it depends on what kind of a person you are. I am incredibly risk adverse so I would rather pay of debts that I have to pay off before investing money.

Ramsey's advice to go cash only is great, however, if you've had trouble with credit cards in the past. If you know you'll buy things you don't need and can't afford if you have a credit card then not having a credit card is probably the best thing for you.

This hasn't been a problem for Hubs or me. I forgot to pay my bill once then set it up for autopay and once I charged more than I could pay off at the end of the month (this happened during the most stressful time of my life a few months before the bar exam and I was engaging in so much needed retail therapy but I have better coping strategies now). Hubs and I both like using our credit cards because we don't charge more than we can afford and we get rewards (cash back, we were looking at a getting a card with airlines rewards) so it we get some of the money we spend back.

Have you read the Total Money Makeover? If so what did you think? What's some good finical advice that's been given to you?