Accepting That They’re Just Not That Into Me

Rejection sucks. Whether it’s coming from a guy or a girl, whether you’re four or forty. Whether someone slams the door in your face, or just subtly stops returning your calls and e-mails.

Whether it’s people you grew up with, or people you’ve just met, or people you’ve never met in real life, but spent time with in cyberspace.

At some point you realize that they’re just not that into you.

That happened for me yesterday. Someone who was once a friend, and who I thought still considered me one, showed me today that she doesn’t. No, that’s not right. I just finally accepted that she doesn’t. She didn’t do a thing.

She’s had some stuff going on in her life – the kind of thing where you’d turn to your friends for support but that isn’t life threatening – and I didn’t know anything about it.  Okay, I get it.  I finally get it.

I know I didn’t do anything to her, and we haven’t had a disagreement, and I’m pretty sure it isn’t that she dislikes me or has something against me. There are just others that she values more.

It’s her right. And I’m still hurt.

I’ll get over it, but I’m sad that I have to.

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The Taxman Cometh and the Husband Tries to Taketh Away

I paid my property taxes today. $1840.

Those big checks are so hard to write. Compared to what many have to pay, it’s pretty reasonable – and $100 less than last year. Yay us!

BUT. Since we so much want to be out of here , every mortgage payment, every tax payment, every insurance payment seems more like rent – money down the toilet. I understand that it’s not, and that we continue to reduce our principal with every payment we make, but with falling property values it just feels … not nearly as fun as paying mortgage, taxes and insurance on a new house.

Then, tonight, my husband came home after a bike ride and asked me how long I’d owned the house before we married. I bought it the year before. He then informed me, with a Cheshire Cat grin on his face, that he’d now put more money into it than I had (I’d stopped working shortly after our son was born). So now it was his house.

Not so fast, bub. I put 20% cash down. He hasn’t put more money into it yet, and won’t for quite awhile. Heh.

Besides, it’s in my name alone. Though my state is a community property state, it won’t matter if I bop him on the head.

Tips on Pumping Gas

This info was sent to me in an e-mail, and I thought them worth passing on…


Here are some tricks to get more of your money’s worth for every gallon.

  • Only buy or fill up your car or truck in the early morning, when the ground temperature is still cold. Remember that all service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground. The colder the ground the more dense the gasoline, when it gets warmer gasoline expands, so buying in the afternoon or in the evening….your gallon is not exactly a gallon. In the petroleum business, the specific gravity and the temperature of the gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, ethanol and other petroleum products plays an important role. A 1-degree rise in temperature is a big deal for this business. But the service stations do not have temperature compensation at the pumps, so you get less gas than you pay for.
  • When you’re filling up, squeeze the trigger of the nozzle only to the “low” mode. If you look you will see that the trigger has three (3) stages: low, middle, and high. In slow mode you should be pumping on low speed, thereby minimizing the vapors that are created while you are pumping. All hoses at the pump have a vapor return. If you are pumping on the fast rate, some of the liquid that goes to your tank becomes vapor. Those vapors are being sucked up and back into the underground storage tank so you’re getting less gas for your money.
  • Fill up when your gas tank is HALF FULL (or HALF EMPTY). The reason for this is, the more gas you have in your tank the less air occupying its empty space. Gasoline evaporates faster than you can imagine. Gasoline storage tanks have an internal floating roof. This roof serves as zero clearance between the gas and the atmosphere, so it minimizes the evaporation.
  • If there is a gasoline truck pumping into the storage tanks when you stop to buy gas, DO NOT fill up. Most likely the gasoline is being stirred up as the gas is being delivered, and you might pick up some of the dirt that normally settles on the bottom.

I hope these tips help you get more for your money!

 

 

See the Stretch Your Dollar Page for other money-saving ideas.

Where Did I Learn THAT?

PaidTwice over at I’ve Paid For This Twice Already has a very interesting post today about how her attitudes about money have shifted as she travels her road towards getting rid of debt. She asks of her readers, “What change in your financial behavior happened so gradually you didn’t realize it was happening, but you wouldn’t do without now?”

That started me thinking about my own attitudes about money, and how they came to be. I realize that most of them developed as I grew up, living with and watching my parents and how they interacted with money – just as I’m sure most of you did.

My parents divorced when I was six, and my Dad re-married a short time later. Dad, a Certified Public Accountant, has always been very good with money. My mother… not so much. I was given a unique opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t work regarding money, and make my own choices about how to be.

In my Dad’s house frugality was a second religion. With five kids (his two and her three) there wasn’t much choice. Our clothes came from K-Mart, and hand-me-downs were the norm. We often wore all our clothes at once because the heat was set at 68 degrees. Generic products were used wherever possible, even if they sucked. Light tuna was cheaper than white, so that’s what we had. Orange juice was only available to drink in the mornings. No midday glass of the orange stuff allowed (though I think that was so there would always be OJ when my Dad wanted some). There was even the dreaded powdered milk phase, which my Dad to this day insists was about nutrition. Yeah, right. I’m still having nightmares. He gave us allowances and taught us to save up for the things we wanted. Dad’s frugality is done with an eye to the future, providing for his family’s health, well-being and education, and where he wants our family to be.

In my Mom’s house we went to The Middlesex Diner and McDonald’s quite often, and Carvel even oftener. Three degrees outside and we’d be shivering as we ate our cones. I’m pretty sure we were the reason that guy stayed in business through the frigid New Jersey winters. When we arrived home, though, we could wear our tank tops and shorts, as our heat was kept at 80 degrees. My mother never buys anything on sale, unless it’s an accident, and then she’d want to give the salesperson a twenty for their trouble. We had yummy white tuna and real, non-powdered milk. Moooooo. And we could drink the OJ anytime we wanted. Money was like water running through her hands, but we sure had fun spending it. How can she be out of money? She still has some checks left. Mom lives for the moment, the here and now, not thinking much about the future and what we’ll need when we get there.

Both homes loving, both homes providing everything necessary to grow happy, healthy children. Just differently.

So, I took what I saw in both homes, and here’s some of what I learned.

  • Generic products are to be used, but only where they are an acceptable substitute. Walmart’s generic Great Value Crystal Light-like Tea tastes like ass (according to my husband, and you’d have to ask him how he knows what ass tastes like), but their generic Great Value raisins taste better than SunMaid. Don’t be afraid to try them – just about everywhere will give you a refund if you try and don’t like their store brand. On the other hand, all mayonnaise must be Hellman’s. There is no acceptable substitute. Same with Diet Coke.
  • Heat/AC should be set at the lowest level for which you are comfortable. If you’re wearing so many clothes you can’t bend your arms, it’s not worth the savings.
  • Ice cream is yummy in the winter, but not every day.
  • Save money for your future, as it’s going to get here sooner than you think. Dad is doing pretty well financially. Mom struggles every day, but with some help she’s okay, too.
  • Acquire as little debt as possible, but have some fun with your money, too.
  • Don’t ever, ever give your children powdered milk.

There’s a ton more that I’ll explore in future posts, but really, this is long enough.

File it under “Duh”

A few years ago a seven year old boy had felony charges brought against him for a fight that happened with another boy in first grade. He had punched the boy, then kicked, hit and scratched three other adults as they tried to get him under control.

Today he was found incompetent to stand trial – too young to understand the charges against him.

That’s the first Duh.

The boy is obviously troubled. Violence should absolutely not be tolerated, and intervention was absolutely necessary. Agreed. I’m totally on board. But charging a seven year old with a felony?

“This should have been a whole team of people trying to help a kid, but in reality it turned into an adversarial posture,” the prosecutor said.

That’s the second Duh. What did you think was going to happen? You could have gotten the kid – and the family – help without bringing these ridiculous charges. Help doesn’t need to be court-mandated. It just needs to be.

Children are malleable and capable of learning and should not be shackled with the felon label for life because of an incident such as this at age seven. No weapon. No blood. No permanent – or even semi-permanent injuries. I understand that there could have been. I understand that there could be a next time.

I don’t know at what age children should be held legally accountable for their actions. I just know it’s not seven.

The Toy Trap

I’m not going to fall into the trap this year. I won’t. I swear.

I grew up in a family with five children. Every year our parents would buy toy after toy, and we’d walk downstairs on Hanukkah to find the floor literally covered with presents. It was great fun, and we’d be filled with excitement as we tore off the wrappings and reveled in our good fortune. We’d walk around with our favorites in hand, and go to sleep late because we just couldn’t bear to stop playing with our Crissy dolls, or our Perfume Making Kits (one of my favorite toys!), or our Easy Bake Ovens.

Within two weeks, though, we’d be complaining that we were bored and had nothing to play with. You could literally see the steam coming out of my Dad’s ears. My Dad still talks about the train set that he thought would make our year, that we abandoned completely after the first day.

I most remember the organ. The poor, lonely organ that was Never Touched By Children’s Hands. My poor, misguided Dad.

Every year there seems to be some “it” toy – something the kids must have and that parents go to extraordinary measures to find before Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus. I remember very well the Cabbage Patch Kids craze of 1984. I was working at Richway (similar to Target), and people would line up the night before if they even suspected we were getting a shipment. There was pushing and shoving and actual fistfights, for goodness sake. Before I had kids I would roll my eyes and laugh at these idiots people. “I’ll never do that,” I smugly thought.

Then I became a parent, and that changed everything. My heart wants the floor covered with presents, just to see my son’s face as he opens each one. His smile makes my life. Our budget won’t allow for that kind of spending, our small home won’t allow that kind of clutter, and I honestly don’t think he needs lots of toys.

So, I sure have my head on straight, right?

Well. Last year’s “it” toy was Tickle Me Elmo TMX. He came in a little cardboard suitcase, and people would pay up to double the normal cost to find one at TRU, on Ebay, or Craigslist, on a street corner. I happened to come across one quite easily, and paid the normal price of $39.95, and how I wish I hadn’t. My son played with it exactly once. I knew he wouldn’t play with it, too, as he’s not interested in stuffed toys at all. There was no pressure from him or anywhere else to get one – my son is happier with a 99 cent Hot Wheels car than most middle-aged men are with their Porsches.

I thought it was cute. I got caught up in the excitement. I completely wasted $40. Who’s the idiot now?

I’m not going to fall into the trap this year. I won’t. I swear.

We open most of our gifts on Christmas Day around our Christmas Tree (my husband is Catholic, and I’ve enjoyed a tree for many years). My son’s gifts have been purchased, all 4 of them (plus small gifts like a car or workbook or pencil for each night of Hanukkah). And we’re under budget. They’re all things I know he’ll play with (well, I’m hopeful about the workbooks). I did good.

Then I spent Thanksgiving with my family. We did some shopping, and I found out that this year my nephews and nieces are completely smitten with Webkinz. They’re cute. They’re cuddly. They come with a secret code that gains you entry into a really very cool website where kids can play games and keep track of caring for their “pet” and many other ubercool activities. They can be found as inexpensively as 2 for $20 at our local flea market. Don’t forget the Webkinz clothing, though, or the little charms that let you into other areas of the website, and before you know it you spend $50 on a $10 toy, and your kid won’t let you near your computer…

I’m not going to fall into the trap this year. I won’t. I swear.

But the reindeer Webkinz is really cute.

 

How Hard is it to get a Damn House?

Apparently, very.

We have been wanting to move for four years.   From a townhouse to a house.  In another state.

When we’re finally ready to make the big move, the market here takes a big, old, smelly, stinky dump.

If a seller were to be found, I’d have to take $60k less than I could have a year ago.  A day late and 60,000 dollars  short.

Two years ago I wouldn’t have had to make any improvements at all. I could have put a sign on the window and it would have sold in a week.  Since the market started tanking we’ve made a ton of improvements, and we’re sitting here afraid to put it on the market.

Because nothing is selling.

Nothing.

Thank goodness we didn’t go buy a house, hoping this one would sell.

Thank goodness this home is affordable for us.

Thank goodness.

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