Last night was a little fun here in ne OK-NOT!

First of all let me say we are fine, just got internet back on and still no cell service, but here’s how it went.
Around here we head for bed between 8:30 and 9 pm because the two men have to get up at 4:30 am to go to work. Me I sometimes stay up a little later, but that was not the plan last night. I was tired and I wanted an early bedtime. It was not to be.
First of all we could not find Felicity Elizabeth (aka: Lizzie Borden) our little calico cat. The three of us looked for that furball for over two hours, inside and out. The lightening was starting and so was the rain by the time ds finally found her hiding in a dark corner of the office (which she’s not allowed in) under a small cloth covered table. I think she knew what was coming.
So about 11 we said good night and went to bed. Sleep had just settled in good when the phones all started shrieking at high pitch. We have NOAA weather alert aps on our phones because tornadoes often hit after bedtime in this area. Only nothing was really going on outside. So while dh started unplugging all the electrical components in this house—a big job with his love of electronics. I tried to watch local weather, the optional word here is tried. We are on satellite and well, the picture wasn’t coming in so good.
Ds opted to stay upstairs to try to get some sleep until, as he put it “the Mama alarm goes off” referring to my self preservation instinct where tornadoes are concerned kicks in. When there is one within 10 miles of us I start physically shaking.
I went ahead and got dressed, just in case, dh (and apparently I later learned ds) preferred to “wait and see”. As we watched the weather reports that kept saying it was going to miss us I lounged on the bed until all the sudden I couldn’t stop shaking.
I told dh to call ds and tell him to get to the basement NOW! Within seconds we could hear the roar of the winds coming across the pastures. I heard tree limbs cracking, and what sounded like a whole tree coming down as I fled the bedroom toward the basement.
Dh made a grab for the younger cats, but they scooted under the water bed where he couldn’t reach them.
Ds was at the basement stairs as I stepped out of our bedroom door—which is right at the basement door. How he got down there that fast I’m not certain. But he was there calling all the cats to join us. All the animals were already hiding under furniture, so none joined us.
All three phones were screaming at top volume again. Ds and I bolted down the stairs, but dh didn’t join us for what seemed like an eternity. He’d stopped to get dressed—we won’t go into what I had to say about that! That’s when we realized ds was standing there in a t-shirt, his underwear and a pair of black slip on shoes only. We NEVER see him in that state of undress, he is very modest. To quote his facebook post this morning” when limbs and hail are hitting your window and your phone is telling you to kiss your ass goodbye you are NOT going to take time out to look for pants.”
We stayed in the basement until well after midnight. Even after the winds died down, we stayed the guys watching me closely. Suddenly the shivering stopped and I called all clear. Then it was upstairs and to bed, after a quick look around to see if we could see any damage without going out into the 4” downpour that was coming down. It was too dark to see a thing.
The guys had to move numerous large branches off the ½ mile long driveway to leave this morning, but as far as they could see in the pre-dawn hours we had sustained no major damage.
Once the sun was up good I bundled up and went to do a walk around, Phone in hand to send the guys photos of any damage. That’s when I discovered I had no cell service. Mainly just downed branches, nothing to really get upset about. All the animals, except the peacock are accounted for and I think she’s on her roof nest where she was pretty sheltered last night, but since it was 80 degrees yesterday and is currently only 43 she won’t leave her infertile eggs (I gotta get that girl a man) for anything.
That is when I found my bright spot of the day in this all. Remember that tree we’ve been really worried about how to get down because there was no good way to fell it without someone getting hurt? The two guys had tied off the top of it one day to hopefully pull it away from the house, pool, and bird pens if it came down on its own. Well the top of it did and it fell EXACTLY where we wanted it to, well not exactly we are now minus a wooden yard bench—but it needed new wood for the seat anyway. The tree is now a straight trunk about 8 foot above the 5 foot fork of the tree and entirely manageable to take down without dropping it on one of the guys. Thank you Lord!
I still have no cell service, but I got my internet back, so life is good.

I know this is way off topic but I need some advice

My husband and I have opted out of 10 year old from state school testing. He’s in 4th grade and we opted him out last year as well.

We had no issue with the this last year and I just took him to school at noon on those days. Legally the school is required to find something for him to during the time he would be testing. But last year we just decided to keep him home and have him work on another project since it was a few hours. It seemed to work best for everyone and since I am a stay at home mom, I didn’t have an issue with it.

Well this year the school is making a big deal about it and the writing testing is two days and all day long. So the advice I need is about how to handle the all day testing. I don’t feel I should keep him home, but I don’t want him to be sitting in the office all day either. I haven’t contacted the school yet. I want to have options to give them when I call and at this point I don’t have any.

Any ideas?

I’m so sorry, I meant to write to you offline and sooner, but I deleted the post

DH pays $20 a month to be put at the top of LinkedIn’s search engine. He is a marketer by nature, and has really honed his LinkedIn profile to maximize job opportunities and references, both of which are equally important (I’d give the edge to references, since they can make or break the job hunt.) He has had three companies approach him due to his LinkedIn profile.

If you need/want help with it, please contact me off list.

Resumes: I won’t even be modest, I write resumes that sell. I’d be happy to help you with yours if you still need it. Email me offlist.

You mentioned you were thinking of paying a job service $1k for this? Yeah, hope you didn’t do that. Email me offlist, I’ll help you for free–I consider it Paying It Forward in good deeds.

All too soon baseball season will be over and I’ll have a solid state of mind!

I absolutely believe in the steps RD has outlined. It works. It got us down to minimum CC payments of $120/month plus the car pmt ($390 but that is down from close to $500). We are in BS2.

HAVING SAID THAT: when DH was let go, his severance amounted to 3 months worth of minimum living expenses (rent, utilities, car pmt, CC, food, gas for car, car insurance). For us, this comes to about $4k a month, $3k if I forego gas for car, food, CC pmts (our rent alone is $2k).

I don’t know what I would have done without that 3 month cushion. I have never had ANY cushion before (we have built and used our $1k BS1 so many times I can’t even count). So when DH gets another job, anything he makes above and beyond our bare minimums is going to go into a FFEF.

Now, it may mean that I put it into a FFEF, and once I hit the total payoff amount for a CC or whatever, I take that $ and pay that debt off, (the car debt for example, which is a huge monthly bill) but I’m not going to onesie-twosie it like we were doing before when we were totally focused on BS2. Having $12k in the bank is way more important to me given what we are currently going through.

But that is just our house. YMMV, and most likely, will 🙂

So we have done two full months of unemployment and are heading in to Month 3

We are doing ok $ wise until the end of May. Come June 1 I may be singing a different tune…but for now we’re good.

DH has gone on about 8 interviews (so, that’s one a week, which is pretty good I guess.) They love him and want to hire him, but not at the money we need. It’s ironic, you’d think it would be better to be employed than not, but that’s actually not the case. I worked the math, and astoundingly:

$60k a year means I can pay the rent, utilities, car, insurance BUT NOT gas for the car, CC pmts, or food. It also means that the services from the county we get now, go completely away (food, medical insurance, presumably a new company would pick up medical insurance.)

$65k a year means I can pay all of the above BUT NOTHING left over, not even a dime.

$70k a year means all of the above with a dime to spare, lol.

anything above that means we can build up a cushion, pay off debt, etc. lower than $60k is not even an option…we can’t do more than rent and utilities and would lose ALL assistance.

I had told him early on that my gut feel was our minimum job acceptance was $65k, but it was just really startling to see just how true that was. So far, his quasi job offers (2) (worded “we’d like to hire you, but can you move on salary? we only slotted $55-60k for that position).

The other good news is that the job I wanted him to apply for when he first was let go is STILL OPEN. It’s the same exact job he had, working for their direct competitor, same or more rate of pay. When DH “applied” I told him it was a two step process, and he needed to double check he had done the two steps. He blew me off, largely IMO, because he wanted to go find a “fun” job.

Well after two plus months he finally listened to me, found out he hadn’t done the “two steps” (and did them) and has been humbled enough that if this company calls and offers him the interview/position, he will likely take it, even if it isn’t his idea of “fun.”

Homemade yogurt and kefir recipes

I’m currently doing research on using my dehydrator to make yogurt. I know Karen has used hers to do so after I told her how mine would work to do it. Ds and I are eating a LOT of yogurt lately and I’m of course working on a blog about making our own and using it. While doing my research I came across this website with recipes to use your yogurt and Kefir I’ve not cruised it a lot, but I have subscribed to their newsletter and so far what I’ve seen I’ve been pleased with. So I thought I’d share the website with you and if you would like me to forward you their most recent newsletter email me off list.

More great utility news:

Gas (heating, hot water) dropped from $68 to $32 this month (20% discount, washing in cold water only)
Cell phone went from $188 to $153 last month when we changed service, to $73 this month where it should stay. That’s huge.
on top of electric which went from $123 to $62.
So that’s $212 I DON’T have to come up with this month or hopefully going forward.
WOW. Grateful for small blessings.

We are having nice weather in Washington

So I listed my Alfa Romeo on Craigslist hoping a cheap convertible will sell quickly. I went to show it to a potential buyer on Friday and the Fuel Pump went out. So $500 later I have it back from the mechanic and am ready to sell it again. The money that I get from the sale will wipe out the last of my fast payday loans. So excited for my Debt Free scream!
I was talking to a family member who was thinking of changing to a more expensive hairdresser. This family member is in need of FPU but hasn’t made that leap for themselves. After talking to them for awhile I realized that living on a budget is starting to feel normal since starting on October 1st. My son and I feel like we’ve splurged if we go to a matinee. Our excitement is coming in $10 under budget at the grocery store and using that money to treat ourselves to frozen yogurt on the way home.
It’s nice having a new “normal” where I feel like I’m in control of my income rather than wondering where it all went.

So many productive things accomplished this weekend!

1. Took out grocery/dining/gas money in cash – $240

2. Made grocery list and planned all 21 meals plus snacks for the week.

3. Budgeted that the groceries would cost aprox $125 – bill came to $114!!!!

4. Filled up gas for car in cash – $50

5. Paid for Cinco de Mayo drinks/apps in cash! – $47

6. Still have $30 leftover for misc food/kid stuff (just in case)

7. Had a budget committee meeting with DH. Very productive and the first in a very, very long time.

8. Planned week’s worth of expenses and funded checking account.

9. Found $178 in a savings account labeled Replace Furniture and paid off couch! $240 It will feel much more comfy tonight.