Saturday, May 20, 2017

We Knew it Was Coming

I spent a nice morning at home and headed to the office mid-morning.  Making good and steady progress on the budget and little by little, it's coming together.  There are a lot of moving parts and I just do one thing at a time and as I think of more things to do or double-triple check, I jot them in a notebook.  Things get highlighted as they are done and one by one, things come off the list.  I hope to be combining my five models into one model early next week and then it will be some final checking and tying to our District's LCAP plan and then on to the State software and all the associated reports along with the 18 pages of detailed assumptions.  Followed by a memo and Power Point to explain it all.  Yikes..that's  a lot.  No wonder I'm tired!

We received notice from the DMV today that H.'s license is suspended effective mid-June.  We're not surprised.  His 'trial by declaration' didn't go in his favor so with that point added, he lost his driving privileges for six months.

He doesn't know yet - J. let him take his car to go to the lab and get blood work - and also help R. (his girlfriend) continue to move things to storage and get out of her (now sold) home.  He hasn't been in touch since he left and frankly, we have no idea where he is.  That's a familiar theme lately.  The two of them disappear for hours on end - no word where they are; when they'll be back.  Or he says when they'll be back only that doesn't happen.  It's the same shit all over again only the difference is there's another person involved.  I often feel like she encourages him to be non-communicative - somehow convincing him he doesn't have to report in to the people he lives with who have supported him six years past the point where we legally have to.

He turns 24 on Thursday....hard to believe.

Earlier this week, QVC phoned asking to speak with me.  I was inclined to just not take the call, but I did.  Good thing.  They let me know that though my last purchase with them was in 2014 (a recliner chair we have by the pool), someone had tried to use my email address to access my account - clearly trying to 'guess' my password.  They cancelled the account to prevent further attempts...which is fine 'cuz QVC isn't something I do much.

Makes me nervous.  I asked J. 'do I cancel that email address?' (Which I've had since we were married and use a lot).  He said 'no, you're email is everywhere....they couldn't get in because they didn't have your password.  I DO think I will be looking at all the accounts where that email is used and either changing the logon to be non-email and/or beefing up my passwords.

J. and I just watched "The Accountant" - we had seen it on the cruise (sort of) - didn't really sit down and watch it but had it on while we were in our cabin.  Today, we watched it and read a synopsis online to help us figure it all out.  Fascinating movie - very complex - I think I want to watch it again now that we've read about it more and have the characters a little more figured out.

Time to head up to bed - get a good night's sleep.  J. is playing music at church tomorrow - I'll do what I did this morning:  linger over an extra cup of coffee; piddle around the homestead a bit and then head out for some more budget work.

I feel pretty good about the budget which only leads me to think 'I must be forgetting a ton of stuff'.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mom's Update II

Good things come to those who wait.

A wonderful card from H. with a sweet handwritten note.  And a box from a jeweler that contained five Alex and Ani bracelets to stack!  And just as I was recovering from those joy-filled things, his girlfriend came in with a huge flower bouquet AND a CHOCOLATE strawberry shortcake!!  Can't wait for dessert.

She is heading to be with her kids - they spent the day with her step mom who has no kids of her own and has always spent the day with her step grand kids - so they kept to tradition this year.

J. and I did a little gardening and gave Chloe a bath.  It's just past 3:30 and while I'm super hungry, I'm trying to resist.  We're having hot dogs and mac 'n cheese for dinner - and while that may not sound like the best Mom's day dinner, it's going to be delicious...and keeps us on our food budget and uses up some hot dogs that we need to use.

It's been a lovely day though it took until 3PM to have any contact at all with son #2 - but it was well worth the wait.

Thank you to my wonderful sons and son #2's girlfriend for spoiling me!

Mom's Day Update

I did go to work - totally forgot the finance system is down today for monthly maintenance.  It's often back up by noonish so I could have stayed until then to see?  But I decided to head home.  My heart wasn't in doing anything but budget and there's no budget to do without the system in which I do it. So it's been a lazy day.

Son #2 still hasn't shown up to wish me a Happy Mother's Day and it's close to 2PM.  And I also can't figure out how his girlfriend - the mom of two - isn't with her kids.

The situation is weird and getting weirder.

I'm going outside to get some Vitamin D.  Even Gilmore Girls doesn't interest me today.

Mom's Day 2017

Son # 1 called first thing this morning - the minute he woke up, judging by his groggy, sleepy sounding voice.  He can't wait to be home in a couple months and the feeling is mutual.  He got me an iTunes gift card (with his Dad's help) and there are a few new albums I'm going to treat myself to later this week - or maybe even tonight.

Son #2 hasn't stirred yet and at this rate, I'll likely see him just before dinner.

Sweet hubby made me super crispy bacon and Kodiak pancakes for breakfast so I am well fed.

Heading to the shower and am going into work because every minute I spend is a minute ahead.  The week looks lighter on the meeting front but I'm driving to Sacramento on Wednesday morning for a budget workshop so that shoots the day entirely.

Wishing I could just be off that afternoon and go to my happy place very nearby for some slot fun - but no.  I can't.  Saving up for our week in Reno - and really no time for fun until we officially have a budget in place.

J. got out one of our heavy cereal bowls and I put some dried meal worms in it for the robin.  He came back this morning, hopping along the fence.  Three minutes later, I saw a cat also on the the robin will stay away for a bit, I suspect.  Still, the meal worms smell awful (according to J. - I can't smell a thing these days) so I'm hoping the robin will find them and partake.

I just reloaded my Starbucks card - it had money on it but you can never have too much available credit.  I'm in need of a Trenta iced tea to get me through the day.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

More Springy!

Over the past few years, J. and I have been adding some drought resistant plants to our backyard landscaping.  We've had years of waiting for things to really be filling in well.  Our gardener's errant help hasn't helped - just last month, they killed two new seedlings in the garden.  The only explanation is his help turns over so quickly and he can't train them fast enough.  The plants we are buying are small and it can take at least a year (sometimes two or even three) before it's clear what's showing isn't a weed or grass of some kind.

We're starting to see the results - more pictures soon because the beds are full of beautiful, flowering plants that are attracting all sorts of birds, butterflies, hummingbirds, etc. to the yard.

Here are today's faves:

Last year, I tossed a bunch of wildflower seeds into this section of the yard.  It was in a moment of irritation with the gardener (who's team had just weed whacked a bunch of new plants).  The seeds were paid for and I figured it couldn't hurt to try.  For a year, the area looked like it was full of weeds. The plants grew and we did pull out things that we were sure weren't going to flower - obvious grass shootings and the usual weeds we see.  And finally - FINALLY - a few weeks ago, we say the first blooms.  The California poppies came first and have been followed by all sorts of other flowers.  It's what I see when I look out the kitchen window and I love it!!

And then this morning, this guy joined the team.  We've had tons of blue jays, lots of sparrows, a dove couple and now a Robin!  I'm so excited!!

We'll take some more pics of the other flowering plants that are blooming this year for the first time but for now, I must head to work.  It's that time of year.  My boss implored me to try to take a day off this weekend (after a hellish week of us torturing each other on a variety of issues.  We came to an impasse on Thursday and acknowledged that we have to challenge each other because that's what our jobs and our roles in the district are all about...but it was a hard, long week and I'm glad it's over).  I might try to be off tomorrow for Mom's day but we'll see.  I told my boss 'I'd rather work earlier in the month as much as possible if it means I will have less panic later in the month as the deadline looms closer'.

It is Mom's Day tomorrow but the son who lives here basically has a 'wife' who keeps him on a short leash - we rarely see him.  They do their own thing - though they did treat us to dinner last night which was nice.

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work I go -

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Feeling Springy!

Winding up the weekend and feel proud of myself for all we accomplished.

I worked both days - full tilt, all out worked.  I had a couple moments each day of 'I think I could head home now' but I kept going.  Promising myself that every minute I spend in early May will be one less hectic, stressful, panicked moment I'll be spending later this month.

I started this past week completely pissed off - my boss having procrastinated us into a corner.  He asked for an extension of a deadline and I bit my tongue off not saying 'you've known about this deadline for months'.  His one huge weakness among many strengths is his constant last-minute nature about things.  And when my deadlines loom and I can't move forward on them because he's last minute again (as usual), it really tweaks me.  I was panicked - about his looming deadline that was thwarting a ton of my looming deadlines.

Once we asked for the deadline extension, he plowed through his stuff and I followed his work by plowing through the things I needed to do after - and by Friday, we were back on track.  Guess we are alike in that respect - we both work very well under pressure and we both are pretty driven when push comes to shove.

I felt two weeks behind on budget - having lost two weeks for his procrastinating - but by late week, I had regrouped and packed as much as I could into every spare minute.  'Cuz yes - on top of my boss' contribution to things being last minute, there are still many things looming in the weeks ahead that having nothing to do with building the budget for next year.  Retirement reception (annual district event), negotiations, meetings in Sacramento and Stockton and a host of other time commitments.

It's crazy, loony busy at the moment. And I'm doing better about it all post a weekend of making progress.

J. and I managed to even wedge in a little gardening this evening - oh, and we cooked a delicious baked chicken dinner.  It felt good to do a small project or two outside and we've decided (with finality and certainty) that we are going to empty the compost bin and get rid of it.  We never have the right 'blend' of green and brown and it's just a box jammed full of yard debris and leaves that's never going to turn into anything usable in the yard.  We've hired H. to empty it out and then we'll put the bin itself in the side yard until we arrange for our annual trash pickup courtesy of the city.  Or we'll post something on Facebook and see if anyone wants it.  I might try putting veggie scraps out in the dirt and just turn it over with a shovel?  We've got an area where we pile extra dirt so I could use that area and give it a try.

H. and his girlfriend R. are spending most nights together here.  She spent the weekend packing up her house and spending time with her kids.  I imagine this is all incredibly hard on her - her amicable divorce isn't - her kids are staying with her Dad and his wife (her step mom who it appears she doesn't get along with much).  She is planning to move into an apartment on June 10th and as far as we know, she and H. will live together as soon as her divorce is final.  Hopefully, they're both looking for work soon.  For now, she stays here many nights and her comings and goings and being here is becoming 'normal'.  She's nice and she and H. seem to be really 'good' together.  On top of everything else, she's had some kidney issues this week and H. has stayed close, taken her to/from doctor appointments and waited for her through procedures - and stayed nearby once she was home to be sure he was there if she needed anything.

J. and I tamp down any misgivings we have because for now?  Who knows what the future will hold. I still have moments when I wonder why she's with him - don't get me wrong - H. is a fine young man and he's got a kind, sweet heart and a good soul.  He's funny and loving and caring - he's a catch, for sure.  But I wonder - is it convenience?  She needs a place to stay so they are together?  Will that change when she's living in her own place with her kids?  I don't know.  We just have to let the situation be what it is and see what happens.  As I do in work, I try my best to always think and assume the best of her - because doing otherwise doesn't help.  She gives H. a list of things to do around his room - 'their' current 'home' - and he does them.  So maybe for the love of a good woman, he will learn to be tidier and clean up his messes and keep his room tidy.  Here's hoping.

H. worked for our gardener on Wednesday and pushed through his fear that he couldn't do it.  It was one of the hottest days we've had since last summer - 90+ degrees and no breeze.  He told J. after an hour 'I don't think I can do this' and J. was his usual encouraging self - telling H. to do the best he can and to not quit until he was ready to drop.  He made it through the entire day (8 hours!) and the gardener told J. 'he's a great worker - follows instructions, works hard'.  He's going to work most Wednesdays and hopefully some Fridays and Saturdays as well.

It's after 9 and I need to get to bed.  I'm trying for 8 hours a night minimum.

Here's to another productive, busy week with (hopefully) fewer frustrations than last week.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Much Ado About a Ton of Stuff

Here we are approaching the end of April...already?  Really?  A friend at work said 'our motto will be 'Finish Strong!'.'.  I replied 'or die trying!'.  My assistant laugh so hard, she almost had coffee coming out of her nose.

I know this time of year is always nuts and this year is a real doozy.  Where do I start....

First, the home front.

I didn't comment much about a lot of drama we've had at Casa Majah post-cruise.  Our son allowed people to stay here for days at a time - people we didn't know and didn't give permission to have sleep over.  There was evidence everywhere that people lived here - the first significant sign was the missing bag of Chloe's prescription dog food that some dog we don't own ate.  Nothing in the food that would hurt a dog - low carb so low grain - which is why it's super expensive.  We had just purchased a new bag before we left and it was gone when we returned home.  A guy who stayed over and brought his dog?  That was the story.  (I still don't know the full story but hope to figure it out someday).  

There was evidence of red hair dye in my bathroom along with long black hairs with red tips in my hairbrush.  Who uses someones hairbrush?  I wouldn't use my best friend's hairbrush - or maybe I would AFTER I'd asked permission.  

Or at least been introduced to the person.  So angry at H. that I basically didn't speak to him for a week.  Just pretended he wasn't here.  He technically was told to leave and he did.  Spent one night with a friend and the next night in a motel - which overdrew his checking account.  How did he think he'd afford a hotel night after night?  We compromised by me insisting he was no longer living here while allowing him to sleep here.  

Yeah.  That's still the status.  Only somewhere in all the drama, we also got him to finally acknowledge what we've suspected for some time:  he's in a relationship with someone - and she's technically still married.  Separated and their physical relationship apparently didn't start until that point?  But yes, she's married, two kids and older.  The same age difference as J. and I only H. is only 24 which makes her mid 30ish.  This revelation led to us meeting her (finally) and we're pretty deep into the 'getting to know you stage'.

It's going fine.  We had a nice 'family' dinner (out - we went to Strings) on Sunday - easy conversation and it was a nice time.

Then we discovered two of our credit cards were missing (or someone took down the info from them) 'cuz we had three separate credit charges on two different accounts (seldom used accounts we don't even carry the cards for much) a week a part.  Which had us feeling violated all over again.

I'm trying to impress upon H. that it's not that this friend is unwelcome - but in the absence of knowing her and him asking permission to have her be in our home often, sometimes overnight, him allowing people to bunk here (whether we're here or not) is wrong.  This is our home.  Not his.  He sleeps here but this property is not owned by him.  He has no rights in deciding who is here and when.  And him presuming he could make this home a flop house the week we were on our cruise was so incredibly wrong of him.  

I think he's starting to get that.  And I sure hope so 'cuz we just booked another cruise - to the Virgin Islands and Nassau in March, 2018 out of Miami.  And since we're traveling all the way to Florida to catch the ship, we're spending a week at Disneyworld, too!!  I can't wait!  I'm already planning to make a cruise payment monthly so it will be paid off in six months and then start paying on the Disney trip, too - with a little careful budgeting, I can pay for those over time without dipping into 'long term' savings.  I love a challenge so we'll see how successful I'll be at my goal.  I got a decent raise so it should be do-able.

Work is super busy and crazy and sort of madly fun.  We're all at the same exact place - it's the end of the year and we're frantically trying to get everything wrapped up.  I haven't started on anything even remotely 'build next year's budget' related - or rolling positions forward into the next year and all the things that go with getting things set up for yet another year while trying to wrap up the current one. It's a zoo - and it's ALL my circus and my monkeys.  

I'll keep trying to remind myself of the 'madly fun' description over the next eight weeks.  

We Knew it Was Coming

I spent a nice morning at home and headed to the office mid-morning.  Making good and steady progress on the budget and little by little, it...