Yet so little time to get OVER here to post.
I think I need to start carrying a little notebook with me so that I can jot down my thoughts and keep the blog posts growing somewhere. I'll think of something that I want to write about, and then forget it.
Onto the half-year goal review. I wrote these goals down in December, and followed up in February, but haven't done anything since then...good job!
1. Like everyone and their mother, work on exercising more and getting healthier.
Hahaha, I can finally say that I've gotten my butt in gear and am doing something about it! [of course, I always worry about falling off the wagon, like I've done SO. MANY. TIMES.]
Today's weigh in shows a 2.9 pound loss this week, and I've lost 1/2" from my waist, another 1/2 inch from my hips, 1/4 inch from my arms, 1/2 inch from my thighs. Last week during my weigh-in, I'd only lost 0.3 pounds and a 1/2 inch from my hips. I'm glad I stuck with it and didn't freak out too much over slow beginning progress. I guess it's OK to be the Turtle sometimes ;-)
2. Enjoy my free time more, by working on hobbies, taking classes, etc.
Well, I was, then work got SUPER busy, but I can say that I'm doing more things that I want to do in my free time, versus things that I feel like I have to do. Gardening is a pleasure, not a chore. Even setting up a planted area around my mailbox was fun. It took three weekends, and was a lot of hard, manual labor, but in the end I love how it looks and there's a feeling of accomplishment, the "I did that!" feeling that comes over you. My father in law was thoroughly impressed that I did it all by myself, too. My parents haven't seen it yet. (pictures to come)
3. Make more of an effort to be social.
Always could be better. I'm making plans to see people who I haven't seen in a while, but often times it feels one-sided. Of course, the search for more friends for both of us is still there. I'm also thinking about volunteering, just to get out there and do something different, and hopefully meet some like-minded people. Both of us miss having the "call up, pick up and go" friends like we used to have, years ago. Everyone gets so busy and then you stop, realize "I haven't seen so and so in forever!" and you call them and they've been crazy busy too. I've thought more about branching out at work. My coworkers are really fun people, but everyone lives so far away, I don't know if they'd drive an hour to my house for a get-together. Once in awhile, we'll do a happy hour thing, but they've always been when I have something going on! Can't win :)
4. GET OUT of my hellish job that I've been at for over 4 years and MOVE ON with my life.
Going on 4 years and 10 months in a few days. I did have an interview at the beginning of June, and as most of you know, I didn't get the job, but it was a good interview. I know it really wasn't something "wrong" with me, there was just someone a bit better. Then I found out that the company was doing layoffs, so I averted a possible disaster! I haven't been actively looking or applying. I still get Indeed emails every day and skim through them; I will only apply if it's something that interests me a LOT. Nothing casual.
5. Keep improving my relationship with Turtle.
It's been super great, and keeps getting better. Hmm, perhaps it's because HE isn't stressed and I'm not feeling like I need to shoulder all of the work around here? (Granted, a lot of it in the past was self-assumed; he didn't make me do everything or wouldn't help.) With him home, he has picked up a lot of the chores that I was cramming into a day, then feeling stressed and resentful, instead of opening up my BIG MOUTH and asking for help. Life is much more relaxed around here and enjoyable. For the first time in a long time, I'm not running around like a mad woman and am just...very content. (I plan on writing about what exactly has changed in the division of labor soon, as part of my Laid Off Spouse series.)
6. This goes with #4 but find a new job that allows me to shine and share my talents with others; where I am appreciated for who I am and what I contribute. Also, one that is family-friendly and has great benefits.
While I haven't found a new job, I do have new benefits which are much cheaper. I can't wait to see my first paycheck since the new plan has gone into effect (next Thursday!) and see the savings. Which of course will be headed to my 401(k) so that I can do what I want with my money, not be over-taxed.
Work itself has gotten a bit better. My boss is still a wack job nut case, but I've stepped up more, taken on more responsibility and work, and I actually plan on talking to my department head (the wife-owner; I work for a married couple) about a change of title and possibly...a small increase? Just wondering if it's better to do this week, before she leaves for a two-week vacation, or when she gets back...
1. Really finish fixing up and getting settled into our house.
In some rooms, yes; other rooms, not so much. There is one room (my future craft/sewing room) that has become the catch-all for random things that do have a home. We just need to put them IN their home! Then I can make it my own space. I'm very excited about this. I snagged an awesome antique desk at a tag sale and can't wait to add it to the room.
2. Getting this house PAINTED top to bottom. I can do a lot myself, but for some rooms, I will need to call in the pros. The kitchen and our bedroom need to be done by pros b/c I take a long time, and we kinda need those two rooms to live in.
Almost done! In April, I had the kitchen, dining room, library, downstairs hallway, stairwell, upstairs hallway, and the master bedroom painted by a professional. She did a fabulous job in just over a week. And as I documented a few weeks ago, I finished the half bath after two months. The house looks SO much better, and feels more like OURS. The boring white was getting to me. I like white, don't get me wrong, but when you've rented for so many years and had no choice BUT white (and before that, grew up in a post and beam house with NO paint), you want a touch of color.
What's left: master bath, center bath, my craft room, the exercise room, and the guest room. I will probably do the bathrooms and the craft room myself, but I think I'll call back my painter lady for the other two rooms. Someday, God willing, they will be bedrooms for our kids, and I am not really into gender-specific decorating (when it comes to paint, I mean). I'll pick out some cheery neutrals, maybe a yellow in one room and a green in another? and go with that for now. The exercise room consists of a TV on a table, a treadmill, random workout gear (yoga mat, exercise ball, weights) and another table with our seed starting apparatus. It's really classy. Haha. The cats like it!
3. Start our garden in the early spring. We're already looking at seed catalogs (DORKS).
We did this!!! We started lots of stuff from seed and had SUCH a good yield, I was giving plants away! And it is amazing how much the plants took off--we're already harvesting cucumbers!!
4a. Buy new doors for the two bedrooms where the previous owners' sons bashed them in.
Not yet. Probably after the rooms are painted?
4b. New carpet and have the kitchen floor re-done.
I'm adding this in now because at first, I thought I'd wait until our (future) kids were past the puking, spilling, peeing stage, but then I realized, that won't be for at least another 10 years and the carpets are eight years old NOW.
So the plan is to do it sooner rather than later, getting nice DARKER colors that hide ALL stains. We have carpet in our family room, all of the bedrooms and the upstairs hallway. I'd love to go all hardwood (like the downstairs hallway, stairs, library, dining room, and kitchen), since that's how I grew up and it IS so much easier to clean, but I'm constantly vetoed, because it's "too cold in the winter." Boo. Put on some socks!
The kitchen floor needs some serious work. It looks like someone ice skated on it; there are some very weird gashes. And the usual wear and tear that happens when the most popular room in the house is...used. I hope they can just strip and re-do the varnish on the floor without having it look too obvious in the doorways to the dining room and hallway, but that's why I'll let an expert come see it and do the job. My parents house, while all wood, had linoleum (now tile) in their kitchen, so I'm not used to seeing hardwood look THIS beat up!
5. Paint our basement hatchway door.
Not yet, but soon.
6. Figure out a new/better method for firewood storage.
We have a nice box on our front porch for wood to use in the house, and the rest is kept out in our backyard on racks built by Turtle and his dad, covered with tarps. Works for us.
7. Possibly build a shed in our backyard.
Much to my husband's dismay, this is not going to happen for awhile, if ever. His father doesn't want to do it, and keeps finding other projects to help us with instead. Honestly, I don't think we need one yet. Maybe when we have kids with bikes and outside toys? For now, the garage holds our cars, the lawn mower, the snow blower, tools, and other stuff. Plus, they tax you on ANY outdoor buildings around here, and I don't feel like paying more money every year for a SHED.
8. Continue to keep things neat!
Going pretty well, and we're on a much better cleaning routine.
9. Put up some kind of tile/backsplash behind the stove. It gets messy back there and what's the sense in painting it if it's just going to keep getting gross?
On hold for now as I have yet to get the other half on board with this AMAZING idea.
10. More planting! Especially some trees.
Besides the garden, we've also put in two more hydrangeas, a sage bush, and lavender plants. Plus the mailbox area. More in a future post.
1. I've been trying to put away ~$500/month into savings, and I'd like to keep that up, if not increase it.
Ha, no, not with a layoff. But we haven't had to touch our savings in awhile, either. So I'll take it.
2. I've been socking away ~$150/month for a vacation, which I'm still going to do. We were going to go on a "big trip" in 2012/13 for our 5th anniversary, but I think instead we're going to try and go to Maine this summer. Besides a long weekend in Philly for our 1st anniversary, we haven't been away ANYWHERE since our honeymoon. We can still go away for our 5th anniversary, but not a "big trip." Maybe another small one. Who knows where things will be in 2 or 3 years?
Oh, the plans we make. No big trip next year, most likely. No Maine this summer.
3. Get Turtle enrolled in his 403b or whatever it's called. His company matches!
We did this! And they matched SUPER well. Then he got laid off. I'm laughing while typing this, it's SO ridiculous, how everything happened.
4. Get us in to see a financial planner and have him help us make the best of our money.
We did this too! We set up Roth IRAs for both of us, and contributed the maximum for 2010 and 2011. Yes, that is a lot of money. No, we're not crazy. No, no one died and left us money. Maybe some day I will explain more about how that all works, here.
Our financial guy also helped us get Turtle's 403b from a previous job, and invested that in a regular IRA. He's also looking at the Roth I started years ago when I was first out of college and will help grow that too. I am still contributing to my (unmatched) 401k.
5. Keep avoiding credit card debt. We've done GREAT with this for years, and I just want to keep it going.
YES!!!! We only charge if we have the money to pay it off and it's just more convenient than a check or debit card (phone/online orders, for example).
6. As I'm looking for a new job, I hope to be making more money (don't we all!). I want to increase my retirement contributions AND sock more into savings instead of going crazy with more money. Of course, then I'll be too paranoid to spend the money, haha.
As I said earlier, I'm still putting money into my 401k and will be increasing the contributions soon, thank you cheaper health insurance. I've also gotten better about not being so tight with money--not in a careless way, but when the issue of the dress code reared its ugly head, I had to go shopping. I think I did quite well for not too much money and didn't feel panicked about spending.