Is everyone that desperate for attention?

I just finished all of my Christmas visits with everyone. A big theme I noticed is it was easy to disappear in the background if I didn’t talk. It felt like everyone was competing for attention of someone; it was truly an interesting dynamic to sit back and watch. My mom would try to “one up” pretty much everything I would discuss about my husband’s pain or surgery. My stepmom was doing the same thing. This is something that had literally been going on for years, so I wasn’t surprised. It’s just this week it clicked that it doesn’t matter which parent or family member I’m talking to. We have nothing else in common but our ailments…. And everybody wants to show their expertise and knowledge about something. Hardly anyone asked questions about how someone was actually doing; but if they did ask, they tended to want to just interject their current observations of themselves.

Is this just human nature? Are we really listening to each other? Is this why many of us feel so lonely? Just a few things to think about on this Saturday evening.

2nd dog or not?

Eeek! Last month, our friends adopted a female American Staffordshire from the pound that they thought was fixed. A month later, she had 4 puppies and I WANT ONE!!!! She’s so pretty and the pups are so cute. The pound is covering all expenses including vaccinations and spaying at appropriate ages. And this is mama.

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The problem we’re having is life is upside down right now and our 14 year old mini schnauzer, Buster, might not do so well with all of the changes.

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For one, he doesn’t like meeting new dogs, but he’ll eventually warm up to them after a spell. I guess the change is what has me nervous. All the extra expenses and responsibilities…. Are we ready for that? We cook our dog’s food now, but he’s only 19 lbs wet; This dog will be 4x that size which means 4x the food…. Oh my!!!!

And two, we have a bid on a house that will hopefully finalize in by the end of January. So right when the puppies are weened, we might be moving….

We have about 6 weeks to decide. Tick tock……

Blog Review: Mr. Money Moustache

Mr. Money Moustache (aka MMM) has some pretty interesting concepts. So far, I’ve read the first 12 blogs written in April 2011 and I’ve quickly realized I have a ton of catching up to do! He’s a smart guy. He’s very analytical in nature and occasionally loses me in the details, but he still has a dry sense of humor that comes out in the blog. He understand realism for the most part and helps you come to your own conclusions with the decisions you need to make. I think there are some good things to be learned from him and plan to continue reading his blog to the point of catching up to the most recent posts. It could take a while, but right now, I don’t want to miss anything he has shared.

So far, actions I want to take to compliment our current savings plans:

1) We have currently dropped back on saving to our 401k, so we can pay down debts. I’m not sure if this is a plan MMM suggested, but our financial advisor recommended it. Hopefully this time next year, we will be debt free except a mortgage payment. (Additional savings +$900/month)

2) He suggested biking everywhere you can. The roads we have to take currently have not been very biker-friendly. I believe a house we have a bid on right now is better fit biking to Newburg shops, so I’m mentally committing to biking to the store and post office whenever possible. (Additional savings +$0.50/mile in gas, maintenance and wear and tear AND +$300/month for the house if we get it).

3) I need to calculate what our actual annual living expenses are and apply that in a mortgage calculator MMM provided. I also need to fill in the rest of the blanks and understand them better with our advisor. This will help me understand what we need to save annually to get to our goal of retiring earlier and living off the interest of our savings instead of the principle. MMM provides some interesting concepts in one of his blogs about retirement calculators.

4) I am currently researching all of our current expenses and figuring out ways to cut 10%-75% of the expense. We took advantage of the black Friday sales this week and invested in a new television. My goal is to eventually reduce our monthly cable bill by switching some of our movie channels off and signing up for one of the streaming media subscriptions. Finding other alternatives for the way we live our daily lives will be a focus going forward.

5) Other adjustments I am going to start focusing on:
– master growing vegetables and herbs
– Save for a boat, so we will be able to fish for a majority of our meals
– Actively save money from monthly savings (i.e. put the weekly amount of money not spent on eating out into savings)
– face the monthly fitness issue. Right now, it is around $250/month for the two of us. I know that is ridiculous, hence why I need to call with it.
– Calculate how much we need to earn from Brass Hammer Designs a month to offset any expenses.

And so, this really begins the effort of “my journey out of the rat race.”

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What’s the Secret?!

Seriously? I’m so frustrated with work. I have a great job, but all I think about it how to move on. The job is almost too challenging and I keep wondering if this is what I want to keep doing. I’m sad and depressed waiting to not have to work anymore and I’m only 38! How do people do this?! I still have 27 years of it if you go with current retirement age for my generation. Meanwhile my rich brother is living a dream. I want to live a dream too, but sadly my early retirement plan is playing the lottery and rolling the dice. So far all that had been is the idiot tax that I anticipated.

I really want out of the rat race! How do I do this and what sacrifices are we really making? We need healthcare, we need enough means to live and afford a few amenities. Is it even possible?

How do we tap into our creativity that gets us paid? We have a great retirement business idea, and we’re feeding it as a hobby. My husband is amazingly talented with woodworking. But it’s an expensive hobby and people aren’t willing to pay the process we charge for heirloom pieces. And we don’t exactly have the time to sacrifice to push it to the right people.

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So how do we do it between now and 67? I just found a blog called Mr. Moustache Money that claims to have retired at 30 and he is near my age. I’ll be back – going to study over the long holiday weekend. Happy Turkey Day!

Tough Day to be a Business Woman

I’m searching on line for a clue about a specific behavior I experienced this week with three different business men. Perhaps you can help me out.

I attended a trade show this week. While walking the floor on the second day by myself, an Italian man with a used car salesman flare jumped out into the aisle to talk to me in his booth. He was flattering at first, but talked too much. The more I entertained this man, the more he talked. But at the same time, he is looking all around me almost looking for someone else he would rather talk to. It didn’t leave the best impression on me about him.

Then I experienced it with two other gentlemen that were genuinely interested in seeing me at this show. They were both from the UK. For them, I think they were nervous. The difference that I felt is that they didn’t try to have other conversations with anyone else. The older Italian white haired man was hollering out at people, particularly women, while talking to me.

But maybe I’m just a naive business woman. And maybe you all can tell me what really was happening. I’m forever studying behaviors in my journey.

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I Have a Secret

I’m plotting against my husband!

Christmas is coming and I’m planning something so big I can’t keep quiet. He never sees this blog; he may not know it even exists…. So I’m risking it and sharing with you that I’m getting some provocative pinup style pictures done for him. I’ve never been as excited about a gift for him as I have been for this! It’s so fun. Plus I can’t wait to see how beautiful this photographer will see me. I really feel she will capture a beauty from me that will make me feel beautiful and exotic for him.

I couldn’t keep it in. Thanks for listening. Now, shhhhhh…..

Update 11/30/2014 – the pics are turning out so good!!!! Cannot wait to share! Every woman should do pictures like this to show her how beautiful she is to herself!

Passwords Drive Me BatShit Crazy!

I can’t be the only one that this happens to. I have multiple electronics that have several apps and password requiring databases. I cannot keep track of them!

My mom and stepdad had this spreadsheet for their accounts about 10 years ago and I thought it was just silly.

Now in 2014, I’m fighting all the encrypted mazes and password hacking mechanisms and wondering if my accounts are secure enough to avoid the hands of a psycho killer or a thief.  And just writing about this has me worried that I’m at risk.

Maybe I was naive, but at some point, I thought this stuff would get easier. I thought I’d have less accounts. Somehow society forces me to have more. I’ve been in a continued state of questioning how this keeps happening. The latest addition is health insurance. Work has forced us with fees to have more than one insurance or we’ll pay heavier premiums since we both are eligible for insurance with our employers.  It’s obnoxious!

So as part of my journey out of the rat race, I know I won’t feel free until I can simplify. So that will be the goal that I start working towards. It might be farfetched, but I’m going to try to eliminate one password containing account per quarter for the next year. Hopefully that is realistic and I close at least 4 accounts within the next 12 months. I think I can do this….. U think I can do more, but I’m realistic that I am addicted to many of these accounts.

I think I’ll start with one tonight… Let’s see. What time suck can I eliminate first????

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