November 24, 2009

What to do…

Filed under: children,family,parents — by elysianconfusion @ 7:30 pm
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My four year old doesn’t have school this week (at all) but I still have to work. I know it’s wrong to just let him watch tv and play the Wii… but he will not just play cars or trains or build things quietly. He needs attention. I want to give him attention, but I need to work.

What *do* people do? I work at home… I have no childcare here. Yesterday he had a playdate, that was great. (Except he wanted to come home and play Wii Sports Resort.) We can’t have a playdate every day. My oldest doesn’t come home for another hour, and it’s not like they play *so* well together. They’re more likely to fight, really.

But outside it’s cold and damp, he doesn’t want to play there. We have a million games and toys and puzzles, blocks, train sets, Lincoln Logs, Legos, books… you name it! How do you get your child to engage in indoor independent play?


November 17, 2009


Filed under: children,crazy,mess,parents — by elysianconfusion @ 5:29 pm
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I had a bus issue yesterday with my first grader. This is our first year taking the bus, and honestly so far it’s been pretty uneventful. We missed the bus one morning (I don’t know whose clocks were wrong). The bus absolutely will not stop unless they see you there waiting. You must be visibly there for your child to get picked up and dropped off, no exceptions (I’ve had to RUN from the garden to be at the right spot for stopping, and we only have a little half acre).

So, although I was waiting at the end of the driveway for my oldest to get off the bus, the driver (I know he’s a substitute driver this week) drove right by me and down the street. I ran after on foot, but he must not have seen me.

I raced to the school with my youngest in tow to find out where to get the first grader (I tried calling the school but there was no answer). In the school lot there was another driver there waiting with a child, and she said that our sub didn’t have a radio so she couldn’t call him, but the sub *would* bring him back to school and I should wait at the front of the school. When the driver returned, my child wasn’t on the bus. Already, let me tell you, my heart was racing. Even when the bus didn’t stop at our house I was worried. What do we parents do? We dread lost children, kidnapping, molestation and murder. Even though I don’t watch the news much, this seeps in to fill my heart with fear. And I do *not* know this new driver.

Well, the driver said he left my son at my house. “Isn’t there someone there?” he asked. But no… if the child doesn’t get off for any reason you are supposed to go to the school to pick them up. I drove home as fast as I could but the poor child was already crying and locked out and home alone for the first time in his life. I know it was only a few minutes, and I know he wasn’t harmed. But he was scared, I was scared… I showed him where the spare house key is hidden, told him to let himself  in and dial 911, and that he could walk next door to the neighbors as well.

I think the sub of all people should have a radio or some way to contact him? And shouldn’t he have just brought my son back  to school as they are supposed to? And aren’t they never supposed to leave a child without the parent there to collect them? I guess the sub was from a different town with different guidelines. I wish I’d known what he was going to do.

My sensitive eldest boy is quite upset and doesn’t want to take the bus again until our regular driver comes back, which is fine.

What a scary & stressful day.

November 16, 2009

Flu & Other Fun

Filed under: budgets,children,debt,mess,money — by elysianconfusion @ 5:56 pm

I think I had the swine flu. I mean seriously, what a terrible name. Fortunately I didn’t get too sick & everyone else in the family seems fine.

Anyway, I just did something a little, well, maybe a little silly. I just paid an extra 37$ to my mortgage. It’s not my highest interest, or the intended first payoff, but I was SO close to being under 196k, I just had to give it a little extra. I didn’t have enough to pay off the first bill in the snowball plan (but next month! only 345.65 to go!) Now, I realize it’s ludicrous, but now my mortgage is 195,999.13. Plus that got my total under 386k; my total is now $385,965.25.  And that is 3151.92 down from October. Is that right? Wow, that’s kind of a lot for us.  That’s 686.22 more than last month? How’s that even possible? I don’t know, maybe one of my numbers wasn’t updated last month, because I’ve checked and I think I’m right.

That’s 17,4872.89 less than April. Too bad I can’t just not pay other things and do one at a time. They’d go down really fast with a single 4k+ payment.  JD at Get Rich Slowly reminded me today (via post, not personally) that slow & steady wins the race.  I’ll try not to be too impatient.

Now, anyone have any suggestions for Christmas budgets?

November 6, 2009

Money Matters

Filed under: budgets,children,debt,family,money — by elysianconfusion @ 2:37 pm
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Recently read Small Amounts Matter at Get Rich Slowly. I thought it was a good post, but some of the comments irritated me.

Of course small amounts matter. Especially if you’re in debt and not in the habit of keeping track of every little bit you spend. Equally, of course large amounts matter, how could they not? But if I save 100$ per month on my auto insurance, that’s $1,200/year. Skip Dunkin’ Donuts @ 30 a month, another 360/year. These things do add up.

Especially upsetting? The guy who said “I’ve been able to build a freelance career that nets $300,000 per year, which is a better strategy than focusing solely on reducing my Netflix subscription…”

Um, who has the opportunity to *really* build a 300k/yr income? That’s really not realistic for most of us.

I also don’t understand why you’d have these two choices:

1) Prepare for a long life by saving and investing, but then die tomorrow.
2) Spend money you don’t have now, and then be unable to afford what you need when you’re older.

Ultimately we have no idea when we’ll die. We have *no* idea. Maybe I’m at an advantage, having children, because that makes me sure that it’s important to save no matter what, so I can provide for them somewhat if my husband and I die unexpectedly. It’s also stupid to save money and cut costs to the point that I’m not enjoying my children and my life. Work-life *balance* is so hard to achieve. It’s probably reasonable to talk about debt-life balance as well.

My goal is to pay off all our debt, but if in doing that my husband and I don’t spend any time with our young children, where’s the value in that? I got a windfall — if I  put it towards debt, yes, it would be $1,000 less that I owe, which is great, but instead I put it towards paying cash to fix my kitchen. It was worth it to me. First of all, I got to pay for a house project in cash. That hasn’t happened often, and it feels good and empowering. Second, I got to fix the kitchen, which drove me nuts every single day. I’m already paying $4420.96 toward debt every month. I guess I’m lacking Ramsey’s “gazelle-like” intensity, and yes, it may make my debt payoff take longer, but I hope it also means I enjoy my life, my children and my husband during the payoff period.

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