Money

Trying.

I’m not going to lie: I’m so tired, and all I want to do is curl up and go to bed, and yes, I know it’s only 4:30 in the afternoon, but there it is, the truth. I’m forcing myself to play on the computer because I finally got some alone time (Jim went to play Warhammer) and, truth be told, I’ve been neglecting a lot of things. This blog, our forums, my crocheting projects (that I REALLY need to get done soon), and even, heaven forbid, Warcraft.

Thankfully, I’m almost in the second trimester. According to all the books, I should start feeling more energetic. So, yay, because I need it. We have a LOT going on.

(Then again, most things I’ve read–and one nurse I talked to–said nausea should be easing up, and while for the most part it has, I found out the hard way two days ago that I can no longer keep down tortellini. Sad face.)

Anyway, whine, whine, whine, pregnancy is hard on a body, but like I said, we have a lot going on right now. I think I touched on this before, but a couple months ago, I was pulling mad amounts of overtime, with a goal of getting a bunch of bills paid off. Then they took overtime away. Rumor is that it’s not coming back. Enter sheer panic when I realize that without overtime, I have to dip into our savings every month. I began looking through want ads, considering taking on a part-time job, but Jim put his foot down. He didn’t want me working two jobs, especially while pregnant.

However, Jim came up with an idea that might work perfectly. We need to get some things in place first, but if all goes according to plan, we should end up in a much bigger place and saving a lot of money. And I won’t even need to do overtime.

So, that made me feel better. I still need to make some calls, still need to do a lot of work for it, though. As it is, I already feel like that hamster on the wheel–I’ve been trying to get so much done and nothing seems to be working. Example: FMLA papers for the pregnancy. Ugh. It took four calls to the doctor’s office before they even sent the papers (which were late), and then only the time after delivery has been approved. Call back to FMLA to find out why time leading up wasn’t approved. Told info missing. Called doctor’s office again, tell them what’s needed. They resend. FMLA has denied again for insufficient info.

Sigh.

On top of that, there are several accounts that I needed to do some kind of account change/update to. My car payment is still under an old name, as is one of my student loan companies, who, as it turns out, also needs to send me a new payment booklet.  And then there’s PayPal. PayPal is going through some thing where they’re requiring people to send documentation and, until they get it, they put your account on hold. I wouldn’t care, except I use PayPal to pay my sister my half of the phone bill every month.

So I spend an entire evening working on pulling up information that all these places need for whatever needs to be done. Sent the info to Paypal via their website. They claim they didn’t get it. Picked up everything, went to Staples, faxed everything to the car place, PayPal, and…some other place, I don’t even remember. Student loan one was mailed.

To date, NOTHING. The car people say they see that I tried to send a fax, but they didn’t get anything. PayPal claims they only got a photo ID via fax. (I assume that was my driver’s license, although I’m not sure why they didn’t see the rest of it.) I’ve heard nothing from the student loan company.

Grr.

I’m pretty annoyed. Staples charged me quite a lot for faxing this stuff, and NOTHING went through. And our library doesn’t do faxes. I’m going to have to go down there and redo it, and I’m dragging my feet at having to pay money for all that again.

OH. Since I’m on a roll with all this grumbling…I didn’t even mention that I bought a Warcraft authenticator over a MONTH ago, and I still haven’t gotten it. Jim’s ordered a book a while back that still hasn’t come in…it feels like nothing is going right.

I guess except for the really important things, though. Pregnancy so far is good. I’ll be 14 weeks Monday. I had another doctor’s appointment last week, where I got to hear the baby’s heartbeat for the third time, which is always wonderful. (It was at 165. :)) Jim runs a Ravenloft game on Friday nights that seems to be going well. He holds the game here, so I can’t use the computer since everyone is in the living room. Instead, I hide in our bedroom, attempt to finish the crocheting project I’m working on, and 9 times out of 10, find myself dozing off. By the way, once that project is done, I’ll post it over on my craft blog.

Oh, well. It’ll get done. I guess I should probably just enjoy the sleep while I actually can, eh?

Good Day Sunshine.

Well, I’m in a good mood. For one, Jim finally caved and went to the doctor. The diagnosis? Pneumonia. I’m not allowed to mention this on Facebook, by the way. I did have it up for 5 minutes for those who knew Jim was sick, figuring it was a quick way to give everyone an update. (Also, to gloat. After all, I was right that he was sick enough to go to the doctor!) However, Jim made me take the status down, stating that it would just freak his mother out.

Which…well, yeah, probably. Let’s just say Jim gets his drama from somewhere, heh.

Anyway, I’m not happy about Jim being sick, but I am happy that he went to the doctor, got some medicine, and is starting to seem like he’s feeling better.

I’m also happy because we got our tax refund! This is the first year that we did our taxes earlier than usual, albeit just a couple weeks, and we already have it! And it’s just in time because we’re planning on going up north in a few weeks to Medieval Times and to see my family. Hopefully, I’ll see these two:

Lily and Isaiah

Lily and Isaiah

The little girl is my niece Amber’s daughter Lily (the one who was born on the day before my birthday, on my dad’s birthday), and the little boy, Isaiah, belongs to my niece Jasmine. I’ve only seen Isaiah a couple of times, and I’ve yet to meet Lily at all. I’m hoping I will on this trip.

And then, of course, there are Jen’s kids! My most favorite kids in the whole world. I hope to see them as well.

At any rate, I seriously doubt we’re going to spend the entire tax refund while up north. I thought Jim and I would stay out of town for a while, but as we talk, I’m starting to get the impression that we’ll end up drifting back down here after a few days. We were talking about our honeymoon last year, and do you know what we both liked the most about it? All the napping we got to do! Heh. Yeah, and you don’t need to be out of town to do that.

Speaking of our honeymoon…our one year anniversary is coming up. Guess part of the tax refund will be spent getting Jim a present, huh?

At any rate, I seriously doubt we’re going to blow the whole refund up north, so I’ve been looking around the apartment, trying to decide what I want. The first thing that always pops into my mind, of course, is getting a new computer. Just last night, this laptop overheated while I had Word open, reading Jim’s story. Freaking Word, guys. I used to think it was Warcraft that was overheating my computer, but now, I’m convinced that it’s my computer overheating my computer.

I’d also like some end tables…maybe some furniture for our balcony…maybe an iPod because my MP3 player is almost full…and of course, the obligatory CDs, since I listen to music all day at work and always need something new in the mix. But I don’t know what we’re going to get. I’m not even for sure what Jim has in mind. So we shall see!

Mental health day!

No, today is not one of those “official” days where it’s calling awareness to mental health. “Mental health day” is my mental health day, a day I’ve taken off to preserve my sanity. Thanks to a mild winter, all those PTO days that I was hording to use as snow days are going to be used as good, old-fashioned days off instead.

Today is one of them.

I decided to do this last week as I was put on the hotline yet again. I was stressed, and I decided I needed a break.

A more permanent (mental) break, though, seems to finally be coming. Last week, I was approached by my supervisor. They had selected a few written CAs to be protected from the hotline. This is in attempt to sort of wean the phone unit off using the written unit to keep their numbers down. (They have gotten a bunch of new people, after all. The fact they’ve needed us for so long is kind of alarming.) The people chosen to be protected from the hotline were based on stats–whoever had the highest quality and production.

Guess who was one of the selected? :D

(Watch me get jinxed for mentioning this and get an error now.)

Anyway, that is all well and good, but I’m even happier that on Tuesday, we got notice that they were pulling all but 15 people off the phones to focus on–gasp!–our actual work: WRITTEN. Heh. That means that more of my co-workers (but still not all) are now off, too. Since I like my co-workers, I’m happy that they’re also getting protected from the hotline.

So, we appear to be at the end of the tunnel, looking at that light. Remember when I used to like my job? Yeah, it looks like I’ll be going back to my regular duties and back to loving my job again. :)

There has been all sorts of awesome in the last week. Aside from finding out that my job wouldn’t suck for much longer, we finally got our car back, and the mechanic didn’t charge us for the deductible! So that money I had squirreled away for that–totally ours now! Also, we had a dent in our rear bumper that was completely unrelated to Jim’s accident. Well, apparently, the mechanic noticed it and popped it out. It’s barely noticeable now. And we weren’t charged for that either!

To say that I’m going to be recommending this guy to everyone I know is an understatement.

In addition to having money in our pockets from saving on the deductible, Friday was THE payday–the one that included our new raises, as well as our gainsharing checks. And it was AWESOME. The amount of gainsharing you get is dependent on stats and how much overtime you’ve put in over the year. As you can imagine, my gainsharing was pretty freakin’ sweet.

So, that Friday morning, Jim took the car because he had decided to use some of that money to complete our Stargate collection. When I got off work, I added to our DVD collection with the first season of Game of Thrones. I also picked up a  Lacuna Coil CD and Skyrim.

Ladies and gentlemen…we now have a new obsession in the house.

Okay, I can’t tell you a whole lot about it. My character just finally got up to level three. I can tell you that I’ve seen enough to realize that this was the game for the XBox 360 that I’ve been looking for.

However, I haven’t had a chance to play it much. Jim, who was originally completely uninterested in it, is now completely addicted, heh.

In Jim’s defense, I really don’t like playing on the XBox with other people around. I don’t know why. I just don’t like being watched. And since this is a tiny apartment, and Jim pretty much only likes to hang around the living room…you see why I haven’t been playing as much. Jim has been good about consistently offering me a chance at the XBox, and I’ve been declining, spending my time poring through the book I bought for Skyrim instead. I’m a total Virgo in that regard: I’m one of those people who really like to read things like manuals. And if a game has a training mode, so much the better. I don’t like going into something without knowing what I’m doing. I don’t like to “wing” it.

(Incidentally, this is why I really only liked to do spur-of-the-moment dungeon runs in Warcraft with my friends. Kyle always explained what to expect and the best strategies to employ. Most pugs I’ve seen are just crazy, random killing sprees. Ugh.)

Anyway, as you can imagine, most of my mental health day (“stay home or go crazy!”) will probably be dedicated to Skyrim, since Jim plans on spending most of his afternoon playing Warhammer with his friends. I’m pretty excited. The world in this game is just massive, and it looks like there’s a lot to do. I still suck at it, but at least I can walk around without slamming into walls now, heh.

Well, mostly. Hey, I never played the XBox much, so I’m still getting used to the controller.

Still, even just starting out my first character, I’m already thinking of other characters I’d like to try. The character I have now is a high elf mage. She’s going to be pure mage, I think. The book I bought has “archetypes” of characters listed as possible characters to try. One I have my eye on to try down the road is an orc berserker. That totally looks fun.

Speaking of this thing we call “fun,” I think I’m going to go have it!

It’s been a week.

So this week, I’ve:

  • Started crocheting a tiny cthulhu, frogged it, restarted it, and am still working on it as I need supplies.
  • Been getting rides to and from work all week while my car was (and still is, apparently) in the shop.
  • Found out some of my co-workers in Harrisburg are dealing with the aftermath from the F4 tornado.
  • Had to take cover in the women’s bathroom at work as more bad storms passed through the area just a couple days later.
  • Found out that my raise was bigger than I had expected, and my gainsharing was more than I had expected as well. (Jim and I did fist bumps when I showed him the numbers, heh.)
  • Found out that my mom lost her job. (She seems to be surprisingly okay with it, though.)
  • Been doing a lot of reading on my Kindle, trying to catch up with our book club.

By the way, I love my Kindle. I still and always will love regular old books, but now I’m wondering why I held out so long on getting an ebook reader.

And The Walking Dead tonight! My co-worker Ryan told me some of his predictions on the fate of a couple of characters, and I’m curious to see it is plays out as he thinks. I relayed Ryan’s predictions to Jim, and we agree: Very plausible.

We shall see.

Okay, time for more coffee and more Buffy. The marathon continues! I’m on season 4. Now, the question is, do I watch the Angel episodes along with Buffy (because, as you know, several the episodes between the two series “go” together), or do I later give Angel its own marathon? Ah, decisions, decisions…

Okay, okay, okay.

I’m getting very bad about updating, I know. And at first, I started to tell you why (mostly, because I get annoyed at squinting at the screen–my Internet surfing has dropped dramatically as my eyes get worse, let me tell you), but I’ve decided to pitch it. You don’t need to know how much my eyes suck. Just know that they do. They really, really do.

So. A couple days ago was Valentine’s Day. There are some people who complain about it being too commercialized, that it’s just some stupid gimmick for Hallmark to make money. To those people, I say you’ve forgotten the real importance of Valentine’s Day. Or, at least, the importance to me. Wanna know what that is?

It’s a day to cheat on your diet. 

So, yeah, nay-sayers. Shut up. It doesn’t matter who buys you chocolate! Buy it for yourself! Valentine’s Day is an excuse to gorge! Who cares who invented it?

Oh, yeah, and don’t forget to tell someone you love them while stuffing your face. There’s that aspect as well. It can be your dog, though. Hallmark doesn’t judge.

Anyway. Besides chocolate, Jim got me the third volume of the Buffy comics. Turns out, we also had the first and second ones here, but I did not know this. HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS? Apparently, Jim brought them into the relationship and forgot he had them. I’d divorce him for forgetting to tell me, but I’m afraid he’ll take them with him. So I just hog his comics instead.

And his chocolates.

I bought Jim the complete collection of H.P. Lovecraft. Should keep him busy for a while, I think. It’s a pretty big book that would take anyone else forever to read. So for Jim? He’ll probably have it done in a week, once he starts reading it.

Anyway, on Valentine’s Day, Jim and I went to Evelyn’s, which was short-staffed but was still sooo good, and then we went to Walmart and picked up Serenity and Stargate: Season 1. I was excited about Serenity, since I’ve been wanting it for a long time. Admittedly, it was nice to finally get something “frivolous.”

I’ve been thinking about this lately, actually. One of my friends at work told me that I needed to learn to be frivolous sometimes. This is because…well, truth be told, I’m a bit of a tightwad with money. True story. Anything that is not in the food or bills categories gets deemed “non-essential” and I refuse to spend money on it. This is why I haven’t gotten my hair cut since my wedding (why should I PAY someone to TAKE my hair?) and why just about all my clothes have holes in them. Even when I buy yarn, it’s in small amounts to make functional things like dishcloths and beds for the cats.

Luckily, Jim got his loan money in and is able to help out with gas and groceries, allowing me to knock out the car stuff with my check. (The mechanic has ordered the parts! Can’t wait until my girl has her whole face back!) He should be getting paid for painting those Warhammer figures, he’s insisting I take half of it, and he’s suggested that I get a Kindle. (Not sure if it’s really going to help with my reading-on-the-screen issues, but it would be nice to have.) Soon after, we should be getting our raises at work (my review was good!) and our gainsharing checks. I’m hoping to put this check toward a new computer because this laptop, I’m afraid, is on its way out. Although, if I get a new computer, I’m thinking it better have a much bigger screen. Because of, you know, the eye problems.

Anyway, to me, that’s “frivolous,” since technically, my laptop hasn’t broken, and even if it had, it’s not like we couldn’t go to the library to use theirs. Although we can’t if we don’t want to kill someone. The library computers are absolutely awful. Someone remind me, if I’m ever a millionaire, to donate nice computers to our library.

But after that? My eye is on Medieval Times. And maybe even House on the Rock. The ultimate in frivolity. And I will totally get there. Who says I don’t have goals?

Seize the day! Have a burrito!

When did Pandora start displaying ads from Match.com on the right-hand side of the screen? How annoying. Especially when you’re a happily married woman. That’s just a recipe for trouble if your husband happens to walk by, sees the blissful expression on your face, and thinks it has to do with the guys on the screen.

No, honey, really, it’s Amy Lee’s voice that’s doing it for me!

Actually, I don’t know if that explanation would get me in any less trouble, heh.

Anyway. For someone who likes her life to be uneventful, there have been a lot of “events” around here. As promised, Tuesday was hellish. We were on the phones all day; queue times were crazy. Our work served pizza for lunch to help make the day more bearable. That would have been awesome, if I were not on a diet. While I do allow myself a “cheat day” once a week, Tuesday was not that day, and I was not wasting my cheat day for pizza at work. So I had to grit my teeth, take phone calls, and smell pizza I couldn’t have.

To make the day worse, it ended a text from Jim while I was rebooting my computer for something like the third time that day. I glanced at my phone. You’ll need to get a ride home. I’ve been in an accident. I’m okay.

Sigh. I got a ride home from Angela, which was fun, as I haven’t gotten to talk to her in a while. We pulled up in the parking lot and checked out the damage of my car.

My poor car. My cute, little car. Yeah. It’s not so cute right now. The passenger front below the headlight and along the right side over the tire are gone. Now the windshield wiper fluid tank and a tangle of wires around it and the headlight show for all the world to see. You know those sci-fi shows where there’s an android, all nice and human-looking, and the android inevitably gets injured so pieces of flesh go missing, so you see part human face, part scary robot face underneath? Yeah, my car reminds me of that. It’s kinda creepy, if I think about it too much.

Luckily, though, everyone’s okay. Most the damage was taken by our car. The other guy only got a broken finger, and Jim wasn’t hurt at all. With the exception of having to pay my deductible, insurance is paying for everything else. Jim, of course, feels terrible about the whole thing, but hey, when you drive around as much as he does, it’s bound to happen.

Also? This is what insurance is for. I’ve had my own car since I was 18 years old and have never filed a claim. As far as I’m concerned, this is kind of like the pay off for paying through the nose all these years. Kind of a crappy pay off, admittedly.   But still.

Oddly enough, while you would think I would be freaking out about money, I’ve decided that Jim and I should go out to dinner and a movie tonight. There’s nothing like a good, old-fashioned car accident to make you realize that life is short and that you spend too many days doing nothing, saving money for “someday,” when that elusive “someday” may never come. And it’s true: Jim and I rarely go out. Oh, we talk about it. We’ll be like, “Let’s go crazy! Let’s go out! Let’s cut loose and party!” And then we’ll go to Walmart and sulk around the aisles, knowing full well that we’re not going to buy a damned thing.

Tonight, though, it’s gonna be Mexican food and a movie! And it’s gonna be awesome. I’m glad I didn’t give my cheat day up on Tuesday for that stupid pizza. Even now, I’m pretty much skipping lunch to make sure I have plenty of calories to work with for dinner. And let me tell you, I am starving. The fact that I’m daydreaming about what I’ll order tonight is probably not helping.

I just gotta hang in there for three more hours. In just a little under three hours, Jim and I will be celebrating life with a plate of nachos.

Okay, for real? I’m going to find something else to do. Something that will keep my mind off food. Ugh, dieting. Wish me luck!

Well, at least THAT week is done.

Even with a day off in the middle of this week, it’s been a long week. It’ll be even longer because I’ve opted to work overtime tomorrow, but to be honest, not having to cram 10 hours of overtime in 5 days is nice.

And when I’m tired, I just think of this man:

This man needs an ed-u-ma-cay-shun!

This man needs an ed-u-ma-cay-shun!

My boy toy is in college and needs that degree. But he doesn’t need any lessons giving me the old stink-eye to get me out of bed on a Sunday morning.

(OMG, he’s so cute.)

Other sources of inspiration come clad in fur:

Gremlin helping me try to figure out my digital camera.

Gremlin helping me try to figure out my digital camera.

Last weekend, I became obsessed with trying to get better with my digital camera. As you can see, Gremlin tried his best to help me.

Gremlin is giving me the FAIL! look.

Gremlin is giving me the FAIL! look.

As you can tell by the above blurry photo…I’m not good with my digital camera. Sorry, Gremster. You’re still the master.

Anyway, last weekend was a pretty good one–but it didn’t come without an impact.

Jim decided I needed to go out for a change. On a whim, he took me to Michael’s in O’Fallon to buy some yarn. I’d wanted to make Gremlin a cat bed for a while because the poor thing has been pitiful since Emmy peed on his and ruined it. And Gremlin, being the little trooper that he is, kept climbing into empty Coke boxes and sleeping in them.

Anyway, Jim knew that seeing Gremlin sleeping like a HOBO in empty Coke boxes broke my heart into a millions pieces (yeah, I have a heart…weird, I know), so he insisted that I buy some yarn. It was a wicked afternoon. By wicked, I mean delightfully wicked, that we were being bad. We were wasting about a half a tank of gas that I hadn’t budgeted for this little trip, we ate at Arby’s, for which I also hadn’t budgeted, and I bought $15 for 2 skeins of blue and brown yarn. Guess what? I didn’t budget for that either.

We came back and between that day and the next, I made this:

Gremlin's new pad.

Gremlin's new pad.

Okay, so it’s more of a pad with a lip on it than a bed. As it turns out, those 2 skeins of extra bulky yarn were not enough to give it higher sides. Still, I plopped it on the ground, figuring it’ll have to do for now. It’s gotta be better than a Coke box. And guess what? HE LOVES IT.

So do Piper and Emmy, though. Piper’s next on my list. Emmy, since she is the one who PEED IN EVERYONE’S BEDS, can wait. Hmph.

Anyway, actually getting out of the house, driving, and getting something that I wanted for a change–and ask Jim, the last time I actually bought myself something that wasn’t grocery related was sometime in June, and it was yarn for a baby blanket–this was something I really needed.

While I made Gremlin’s so-called bed, Jim carved our pumpkin:

Our first pumpkin together. :)

Our first pumpkin together. :)

Yup, this is our first pumpkin together. We had meant to get one last year, but Jim’s nana died on Halloween–I think it was Halloween, or it might have been the day before–so we never got one. Also, subsequently, because we were so busy with the wake, I never did make Jim that birthday cake I had promised him.

Speed through the week–moves at work, new/old cubicle neighbors, work eval (I’m doing good!)–and we get to yesterday, Jim’s birthday, where I finally realize the impact of our little fun last weekend.

So, yesterday, I had the day off. I took it off just to work on Jim’s birthday cake, buy his present, get ready for his special birthday dinner…all that good stuff. Jim went to school because guess what? They don’t let you out for your birthday, heh.

So I dropped him off, got home, and the first thing I did was checked our bank account.

The amount in the bank wasn’t so horrible. But I had mailed out a couple of bills a few days ago that hadn’t been cashed yet. Figure that amount from what the bank thinks I have.

Bad. Bad. As in I couldn’t even afford Moe’s bad.

Panic. Panic big time. Seriously? How could we have this little after bills? I know we spent a little last weekend, but that can break us?

The answer is yes. It can. I should know better to ever think I can spend $15 on myself. (Or Gremlin.) Good thing I froze my Warcraft account.

I tried to calm down. I knew I was getting paid at midnight, but did I want to risk assuming one of those checked wouldn’t get cashed today?

I checked one of the places that I sent money to. I found an old check, noted the date I had written on it, and saw that it took them about 6 days from that date to cash the check. This last check had only been mailed three days ago. I decided to risk it. But don’t think that it didn’t give me an ulcer.

And if I’m gonna risk it, I’m gonna risk it big. How? I got Jim Batman Arkham City, that’s how. Then I spend $20 on dinner, all while praying that at least one of those checks do not clear within the next 8 hours.

Got everything, came home. Made Jim’s cake. I don’t have round cake pans anymore (another “lost during the divorce shuffle,” I’m guessing), so I have to make do with this rectangle pan whose appearance neither Jim nor I can explain. We both say we didn’t come into the relationship with this pan, and yet…there it is.

So, the recipe says for this 13×9 pan, I need to bake it at least 40 minutes. I happened to check it at 32. “That looks done to me,” I said, confused. I noticed the temperature was above the 350 I had put it at. I took the cake out and checked it with a toothpick. It came out clean.

After a lot of prodding, I finally managed to get the cake out of the pan, but not fully intact. Now, it’s been a while since I’ve made a cake, I’ll grant you, but I’ve never really had problems. I was already annoyed that my cake was breaking apart on me, but when I ate one of those crumbs, I was even more annoyed. It was pretty dry.

I threw it away, picked Jim up, went to watch him play Warhammer at Castle Perilous, read A Dance with Dragons.

Came back home. Tried second batch. Meanwhile, Jim tries the frosting that’s already been made and concurs with my assessment: The frosting is damn good.

The second batch was bad all because I was completely stupid. “3 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda,” I read aloud–as I grabbed the salt. You know how that went.

By now, I’m tired, my feet hurt, and I am furious. I have a breakdown. Jim calms me down. I stand up, ready to try again.

Mix everything up. Wait for oven to preheat to 350.

Wait. It’s at 370. Move the knob down a notch. Check 10 minutes later. It’s at 325.

“Oh,” I groaned. “I forgot…” Our oven doesn’t do 350. It will go above or below, but it will not cook at 350. I put the cake in, already disheartened. I’m hovering over the stove. After it cooks 20 minutes, I’m checking it every five. The minute the toothpick comes out clean, I’m on that thing, pulling it out of the oven.

This time, I had cooked it in a glass pan. I didn’t like how flat the other one had made it. We flipped it over, and we immediately noticed 2 things. 1) This cake didn’t want to slip out easily either, and 2) One side was burnt, while the other was barely browned.

“DAMN IT,” I said. “I completely forgot that our oven doesn’t cook evenly.”

Yes, folks, I did know this. When I cooked bread a couple months ago, I commented to Jim that I didn’t think our oven cooked evenly because one loaf was drier than the other. Want proof that your oven is doing such a thing? Cook a rectangular cake.

So I knew this about our oven…and forgot. I wish I hadn’t forgotten. Maybe I would have thought to ask Jim’s mom to borrow her oven. This should tell you how very little baking we do.

Jim asks that I frost the cake anyway so we can try it. I do. We each had a piece. Jim insisted it wasn’t so bad, but I thought it was awful. My piece was burnt and had this terrible texture. I’ve never cooked anything so terrible in my life. I actually felt humiliated.

“At last you tried,” Jim said, trying to be helpful.

“But I’ve never actually tried and failed,” I complained. “Not with anything I actually cared about. I’ve never failed at baking!”

Jim tried to console me, telling me that it wasn’t my fault. I can’t fight an oven that doesn’t cook evenly. It doesn’t stop me from feeling like a complete failure, though. And what’s worse? Because I made three batches of cake batter, I used most of the milk, so we didn’t have enough milk to make the soup I had planned on making Jim for dinner. We ended up ordering pizza instead, on the credit card that had a little bit of money left on it.

So yeah, I’m pretty sure I ruined Jim’s birthday. But at least he can take solace in Batman, I guess.

So, here are the lessons for the week:

1. Budget for entertainment because if all you do is work, you WILL need something just for you. Even if it’s only for yarn, lunch, and gas.

2. Do your best not to live in crappy apartments with crappy appliances. But if you must, try not to go too crazy on the yarn so you can move ASAP. Preferably in a place with an oven where you can actually cook something at 350 .

3. Husbands are great pumpkin-gutters, but cats are terrible photography instructors.

They’re also bad about reminding you to go to bed because you have work in the morning. Gah! Good night. Here’s hoping this Friday will lead to another awesome weekend–but easier on the wallet.

 

Finally, a bit of relief.

This week was a good week. Another niece had a baby. Went to Jim’s family reunion. We were the most recently married, so we won a peppermill with different kinds of pepper to be used in it. Awesome! I’ve always wanted a peppermill. Went to Jim’s mom’s to see his aunt and cousin. Got belated birthday giftcards, one to Chili’s and the other to Houlihan’s.

Jim and I have already planned on using one of those this weekend. Oh my god, I’ve missed eating out.

A really wonderful thing that we got was from Jim’s aunt. It was a belated wedding present–a check. A check, might I add, that covered the rest of Jim’s school books (we couldn’t afford to get them all) and will pay for his calculator for his math class, too. HUGE WEIGHT off our shoulders, let me tell you. Now the extra money I’ve been making from overtime will be shoved over into savings to save up for new tires instead.

Jim and I have been noticeably less stressed since we got that. Someone is getting a thank you card.

What else? I’ve been cooking a lot. Cookies, pancakes, bread, and brownies–all from scratch, no boxes here! Cheaper to make it yourself. Besides, I miss cooking. Know what I miss even more? A big kitchen to cook in. But at least I have an appreciative husband to eat all this stuff.

Oh, yeah, something I’ve failed to mention: Jim is off the Chantix–he’s been a non-smoker for over two months–but he is now eating a ton. It may sound odd, but it makes me happy. I always hated that I could actually outeat him. Now I can’t keep up.

That’s not the only appetite of his that’s gone up. BOW-BOW-CHIKA-CHIKA-BOW-BOW. (That’s supposed to be porn music, not a weird puppy chow jingle or something.) Needless to say, we’ve been a very happy couple lately.

And you know what was a really nice way to end a really nice week? This link, posted by my friend Paul on his Tumblr. He has to know that I’m going to totally repost an article called “10 Badass Women from Fantasy Literature,” ESPECIALLY when, right at the top, it features one of my favorites from Game of Thrones, Arya Stark.

One could argue that Arya is a little girl, not a woman. I’d like to see how well you argue with Needle up your nose.

Anyway, this reminded me that I had been thinking about writing my own list of my favorite women in sci-fi/fantasy for a while now. (Hm, that seems like a very Paul-like thing to do. Maybe he’s a bad influence on me!) I’ve never written it, though, because it would be hard to do a top 10 or anything like that. I mean, I could come up with ten favorites just from Babylon 5 and Buffy the Vampire Slayer alone.

Still…someday.

But not tonight. Tonight is for sleeping. Tomorrow is for overtime.

This week may have been good, but I didn’t say it was done.

DON’T PANIC.

That’s all I can tell myself today: DON’T PANIC. I tell that to myself between nail-biting and panic attacks, though. So, sorry Hitchhiker’s Guide, but it’s obviously not doing me any good.

If you haven’t been following, I’ve been slammed with a lot of bills this month. I also found that I have waaaaaay less money in my account than I thought I would have after bills. I frantically texted Jim this morning, telling him to not use the debit card for anything like, God forbid, food. Because more than likely, we didn’t have enough money to cover it.

Apparently, all the eating out we did last week due to having a broken fridge has taken its toll.

But, thankfully, we have a lovely thing called a savings account. Money shuffled around, problem solved. Well, not exactly, but we can get by. And I get paid the day after tomorrow. There will probably be more shuffling around with bills, but hey, at least there is no shortage of overtime at work. At least not lately.

Work has been another ball of stress. Recently, they’ve put almost all the written staff on the phones because phones have been so crazy. When you go from never having to take calls to taking calls almost 8 hours a day, that can really mess you up.

So far–knock on wood–I haven’t been one of the people put on the phones. It turns out one of those “special projects” that I’m on has gotten so, um, ”special” that the VP has taken notice, and now those of us who work on that project are considered “resources that cannot be tied up on the hotline.” I believe that’s how my supervisor put it, anyway. I’m relieved, but just hearing my co-workers having to take calls on the hotline all day stresses me out, so I just put in my earbuds and crank up the volume on my MP3 player. I don’t know how I used to do it 40 hours a week less than a year ago.

Also, because I like my co-workers, I wish they didn’t have to be on the phones either. Luckily, they’ve been having to spend less and less time on the phones lately, so that’s good. Especially because, with them on the hotline, written work is piling up, and now we’re getting behind in the written area. But hey! That means more overtime for me. Woot, woot.

Okay, so, wow! That was boring! Sadly, work and bills are pretty much the only things on my mind lately. Oh, and the 10 pounds I’ve gained since the miscarriage. That’s what happens when you resume drinking soda.

Speaking of the miscarriage, I had labs done yesterday and saw the doctor today, and I still have pregnancy hormones in my system. When I groused about this later, Jim said, “I’m not surprised.” Which is just him being a jerk, claiming that I’m picking on him more because there are leftover hormones from the pregnancy. Whatever. Suck it up, buttercup.

At any rate, the hormones, while there, are at least now down to a very low level. As in 8. But I still have to come in for a follow-up visit to check them again. SIGH.

This visit, though, she verified that I wanted to go back on the Pill. Jim and I said yes. We decided that now would not be a good time to get knocked up again because 1) it’s so soon after the last pregnancy, and 2) Jim is on Chantix, and we have no idea how that will affect anything. But then came an interesting moment when she asked how long I wanted to be on the Pill for. The question behind the question was How long do you want to wait before you try again?

It’s a hard thing to decide, being put on the spot like that. She had pen in hand, poised for writing the script. No chance to collogue with my husband. So I opted for three months. We will be back at the end of November to decide what we’re doing next.

Afterwards, Jim was like, “So…you really want until December before trying again?” He sounded disappointed.

I explained that I’m a little gun-shy about getting pregnant again. I’ve been pregnant twice in a span of a little over six months. I’ve had two miscarriages. Neither is fun. Also, both are exhausting. And with the financial crunch that we’re in right now, I cannot afford to be sleeping all the time.

And just…well, like I said…I’m gun-shy, okay? This has been a really rough year. I’m afraid of having another miscarriage, afraid that I’m just setting myself up for more doctor visits to find out what’s wrong, and I just don’t have any more in me to deal with it. Mostly, I just want work a lot, pay off bills, save lots of money, and build up for next year. Because I’ve got a plan! Next year, there will be money in that savings account, a trip in the works, and plans to move into a bigger, nicer place.

So, DON’T PANIC. Because next year is gonna be awesome.

That thing they say about “skin” and “teeth.”

I guess I’d better post now, while Jim’s out with his friends, because this is pretty much the only time I can post.

So, where the hell have I been? Well, I’ve been working a lot, that’s what. As I’ve mentioned before, Jim’s dad loaned us money to help pay for Jim to go to school this semester since Jim was late on getting that stuff done. Half of it is a gift, half of it is not.

Jim’s mom paid half of that half, so now the amount I owe his dad is a quarter of what it was. So that’s good. Although, ideally, I’d like to pay everyone back everything, but it’s helpful to know I only have to pay the much smaller amount.

There’s that. And you know we’re going to have to get Jim’s books as well. Any of you who have ever taken a full college course knows how ridiculous that can be. When I was going to SIU, it was never under $300.

Okay, so that’s the school stuff, right? Well, there’s also the car: I’ve been working on saving money to replace all four tires on our car–our frequent drives have taken a toll on my poor, little car, and the tires are pretty bald–and we’d like to replace the brakes as well. And speaking of the car, it’s time to update the sticker. That’s another $100 due next month.

So, I had already been planning on working overtime with all this stuff. Still, I was okay. But then–then–I came out of work on Tuesday to a very upset Jim.  After a little prodding, I got the story out of him.

Jim had decided he was going to surprise me. Our freezer needed to be defrosted big time. We were starting to have a hard time opening the freezer door. He got a really nice dinner started for us, put it in the fridge, and then went to work on the freezer. He had planned on asking me, once I was home, to get something in the freezer, and then I would open it and see that it was nice and clean and I would be all surprised and happy with him.

What happened instead: He was almost done getting it all cleaned out, tried to scrape off the last bit of ice off the back of the freezer–and punctured it.

Goodbye, Freon. Goodbye, fridge.

When he told me this, I didn’t say anything for a while. He got upset. He wanted me to be upset at him. But how could I? It was an honest mistake, and it was one he made while trying to do something nice for me.

But…I simply didn’t know how I could do any more overtime. I was already exhausted. And I guessed that our fridge would probably cost about $500 to replace. Jim’s uncle and dad (both run a rental property of their own, so they’re more in the know about these things than we are) estimated about the same.

So we had to buy a cooler. I’ll say this: We now have a really nice cooler. I figured if we had to buy one, we might as well buy one for the long haul, right? Poor Jim’s nice dinner he had prepared was ruined, as he had to unplug the fridge after the incident.  We ate Taco Bell instead.

The verdict was that we needed money, we needed a lot of money, and we needed a lot of money fast. Luckily, I work at a place where that is at least a possibility. I’ve never had a job where I could pretty much do overtime whenever, and right now, I’m really grateful to have the job I have.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been doing all week. Working. Working a lot. I’ve worked 7 AM – 5:30 PM every day this week, and I’ve signed up for 6 AM-1 PM tomorrow. Yup, by tomorrow afternoon, I will have worked 17 hours just in overtime.

But–good news! I called the office, and they replaced our fridge, right? I was bracing myself for what they were going charge us. Well, they left a receipt on the fridge. Guess what it said?

$50.

$50. Not $500. I checked and double-checked the placement of that decimal, trust me.

I’m terrified it’s going to be a dream. That they’re going to tell me that $50 was just to haul it up, and I still have to pay the rest of it. But that would be kind of weird if they did. I mean, this isn’t a new fridge that they gave us. It’s obviously used. But if it’s $50, I don’t care. If I don’t have to worry so much about the fridge, I might actually be able to pay all this other stuff off in the next couple of months. I might be able to get by this month, albeit it by the skin of my teeth, but still…I might.

So I’m just going to be happy for now, try not to worry, breathe a sigh of relief–and go to bed. Because, as you can imagine, I’m pretty freakin’ exhausted.

Night, y’all.