Band Parents

Band Parents

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Hey, I think I will post more often and this poor neglected blog. I created a gmail account back in January when I traded in my Blackberry phone for an Android phone. This resulted in me being logged into my browser whit my gmail account but I would have to log off and log back in whit the email account I created this blog with. It was a pain.

So anyways, here is my update... When I was first notified that my job was being eliminated, I had a lot of co-worker express dismay and a lot of people calling their favorite recruiters on my behalf. I even had an interview two weeks out as well as a possible contract job. So I felt like I'd be "doing" something soon. But the Contract job fell through. The interview was for a sales position, but we expect some technical sl;aes support positions to open up in the third quarter that you'd be perfect for. " (yeah, I know, there is still 5-6 weeks left in the quarter.)

Three weeks ago I attended a job search networking group. The once a week meetings have interesting topics but I have to be careful because there are a lot of people who have been there for a long time and you can almost see the Eeyore-type rainy cloud hanging above their heads. I have been fortunate enough to meet with some expert networking and have friends contact me with job openings. So it is a hurry up and wait situation. Guess what, I am not very good at waiting.

I am blessed to have a paycheck through November and my husband is still working so we can maintain shelter, food, clothing and transportation.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Upside down

Almost 4 weeks ago I was led into a conference room and informed that my position was being abolished due to budget cuts and the University where I was working. While I was blind-sided by the announcement, logically it made sense. The system that my team worked on did not really need three of us to maintain it. A year ago I was campaigning to get another system as part of my responsibilities. Obviously I was unsuccessful. I did leave with people telling me they were sorry - and I believed them, and 5 months of my continues paycheck and benefits.

So initially there was a lot of momentum moving forward to find a new job. I reached out to my network and got a lot of positive feedback. I had an interview 2 weeks later. I even had a friend reach out to me on Facebook about a temporary consulting opportunity. Now, almost 4 weeks out and things are quiet. A conference call about the consulting opportunity was postponed from last night until a time TBD next week.

I am not a homebody, I am not used to being home. But when I do venture out, I want to spend money. I don't have money to spend. Our household depends on my income for paying off Hubby's school debt (he went back to school and got his degree in 2005) as well as parochial school tuition for the 16 YO. Fortunately Hubby's income covers most of everything else.

Anyways, as a Catholic Christian I am so trying to be patient and let the Lord's plan for me unfold in His time. I am terrible at this. I am restless. But I am getting items off my to do checklist accomplished, albeit slowly.

I have reorganized my home office (architectural Dining room). I did buy a new printer and a Sauder TV stand to hold the printer. I have cleaned and organized. (am still working on it. This thing is an elephant. )

Monday, March 21, 2011

Update on my pre-teen son

It has been over year since I picked up my younger son from the after school program and told him he was not coming back. In a nutshell, A was engaging in inappropriate social behavior (smart-kid obnoxiousness), and his classmates responded with typical social behavior to pressure him to behave more the norm which then caused A to respond inappropriately that the school administration interpreted as potential violence. Fancy way of saying A liked to brag how smart he was, other kids subtly harassed him (Why do I keep avoiding calling it bullying?) and A responded so vigorously that he was the one viewed as the bully.

So we pulled him from the parochial school and put him in the local public school. I am happy to say he is thriving. His grades are A's with the occasional B thrown in. He did get into an altercation on the playground about 2 weeks before Christmas (there is a pattern here) that was quickly resolved by the principal and the school counselor. He also was involved in an incident with a neighbor boy but thanks to a persistent Mom, It did come out that A's story was the accurate one.

But overall, A had a lot of friends. They do seem to shift. He'll play with one kid for a few weeks and then find another. But there are plenty in the neighborhood. He is learning to distance himself from the neighbor who seems to cause him a lot of problems.

I am very happy with my decision.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

It’s not enough to keep records, you must review them

My Dad is a closet car enthusiast. He built his first go cart at the age of 8 from a lawn mower engine. He admires a nice car but ultimately, he’s cheap and has always driven a car that meets his needs at a reasonable cost. As such Dad started keeping a book in each car he owned, and recorded each fuel-up, service and the associated mileage. This is great for evaluating your gas mileage and determining how log it has been since your last brake job. When I bought my first car, my Dad bought an empty receipt journal for my book.

I own a 2002 Ford Escape and I have my book. When I took a new job in 2006 that has my driving 50 miles one way, I used data from the book to analyze if it would be worth my while to buy a different car 9I determined that a payoff would be 4 years, not worth it.) My husband was starting to complain that we seemed to be dumping a lot of money into my beloved SUV. I kept brushing it off, thinking that the repair were less than car payments on a new car.

Now it is 2011. My oldest son will be 16 in April and we are looking forward to him being able to get himself to school and home on his own. That means a car for a teenage boy. After contemplating different scenarios, I decided to purchase a 2010 Prius for me and hand the escape to the teen. But it has been in the shop 3 times in 2011, and it still is not running right. New problems keep cropping up. So we have the car at home and are ready to take it somewhere else to diagnose the current problem (the last shop wanted to just start replace the three catalytic converters).

But here’s the rub. Last weekend I sat down with my book and gathered all of the receipts I found in the glove compartment and my car file. The results were downright sobering. In 2008 we had transmission replaced for about $2200. In 2009 there were various and sundry issue – new spark plugs and coil, new shocks, tires to the tune of at least $2200. (I was missing a few receipts but my book told me what kind of service we had done.) In 2010 a new fuel pump and rack and pinion was $1400. And in less than 3 months in 2011, we have spent $1400. If I had included reviewing my book in my financial housekeeping, I would have known that my beloved Escape was becoming a money pit and I would have traded it in when I purchased my Prius. Now we need to figure out what to do with this barely-running vehicle.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Giving myself more credit

Gas prices are rising fast with new unrest in the Mideast. Now “they” are saying gas prices as high as $5 a gallon by summer. I sit here and think “Woo-hoo, aren’t I lucky? I bought a hybrid just at the right time.”
But was it really luck? I have been fascinated by hybrids probably since I bought my last vehicle in 2001. The last couple of years, knowing that I would be due to replace my car in 2011 or 2012, I have been thinking/saying “I will see where the alternate fuel cars are when it comes time for my turn to buy a car.”

  • On line searches for a car for the teen that met my criteria showed I could get an 8-10 year old car with 100,000 miles on it for the money I wanted to pay.
  • Financing such a used car would be at 7.5%

Hum, maybe time to rethink that plan.

Then the end of the year car ads started coming. Last year’s model year Prius being sold for 0.9% financing. So I started researching hybrids. At the same time news reports were coming every day warning of rising gas prices this year. Further more, my research said that the Prius is rarely on sale, it usually sells at sticker plus a premium. These were selling at invoice + 3%.

It wasn’t luck. I had done my homework. I knew this was a bargain, a rare occurrence that I was in the position to take advantage of.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I’ve gone tree-hugging crunchy.

I bought a Prius last week. I was not going to buy a new car right away. Hubby and I have successfully implemented a 5 year schedule of replace our oldest car. Hubby’s mini-van was purchased in Feb 2006. So I have one last payment to make on it. My small SUV was purchased Sept 2001. (2 weeks after 9-11). So I really have 8 month to go until it hits the 10 year mark. So why did I cave?

  1. I drive a lot. It’s 20 miles one way to work. In stop and go city traffic. On the interstate.
  2. DS15 will be DS16 in April. Hubby believed that DS should drive to 10 YO SUV and that I should get a new car. I still don’t like the idea of a teen boy and an SUV., so I resisted saying I’d drive the SUV for awhile and get DS15 a small, older stick shift to drive.
  3. I drive a lot. The boys always seem to be going to a practice, game, performance….
  4. I’ve been perusing online lists for used cars. I wanted to spend about $5000. For that money, the cars were all between 8 & 10 years old.
  5. I drive a lot. (80 miles yesterday to work, then running the boys around after work to the Dr, to practice and to the library.)
  6. The SUV get 17 miles per gallon on a good day.
  7. Toyota is running a great deal in December and January on a 2010 Prius.
  8. I drive a lot. My City’s bus system is rather limited and not flexible for me at this point in my life.
  9. Gas prices are going up.
  10. I remembered I drove a full-size van for the first year or so I had my license.

So our car payment went down almost $50 a month. However, we are now insuring 3 cars. I dropped collusion on the SUV and put on the new car and the insurance went up about $50 per month. (until the teen gets his license.)
My fears of feeling like I was sitting on the road after almost 10 years of SUV driving have not come true. It is comfortable enough, and handles well in the snow.
My ultra-conservative (Politically) husband wants to put Republican stickers all over the back on my car lest someone sees him driving it and concludes he’s the least but liberal. But that’s his problem.