Crossroads

It’s July 6th and I feel like perhaps more than any other time in my life, I am at a crossroads. It’s stressful and scary.

First, I’m in Bloomington living in a two-room (not a two-bedroom) apartment that was created within the detached garage. Now, I must say up front that it’s pretty freaking sweet. It gets a little warm, but it’s mostly yellow with a green accent wall, a full-sized refridgerator, a nice countertop, a loft-style bed, a bookshelf, and my two computers. My PC for work, and my Mac for everything else. It’s $250/month, but I’m also going to have to take on the internet bill and some electricity, which will push it to probably near $350-400.

Well, let me say that I have a standing offer in Greenwood from a cool hippie-chick who owns a big (but old, and sort of unfinished) house with a really great yard. She’s a vegetarian and has a garden and just got chickens. She would charge me $400 all-inclusive. So if my rent here goes over $350, I might very well call upon her to take advantage of the offer, as I’d be closer to places where I could find work. Of course, if I compared Greenwood to Bloomington, it’s a no-brainer. Bloomington is so much nicer. But the point is that I’m here because it’s financially the only thing I can do, and if that loses its value, I might leave.

I’ve also put in applications to 7 or 8 places, including back at Sallie Mae (now Navient), though in Customer Service rather than Collections as I was working last time. So we shall see. I applied around 4pm on Thursday, the 3rd. The day before Independence Day, so I couldn’t have expected anything with the weekend now upon us.

But I also applied for some places in Tampa and Orlando. I haven’t yet looked elsewhere, such as Austin, where I’d consider since I’d lived there 3 years and am at least familiar with it to a good degree. Or I could go to Portland or Seattle, but it really all depends on if anyone would hire me from out of state.

For the Florida jobs, I put Hazel’s parents’ house as the address so I appear close. The main issue is that I have had a lot of jobs in the past few years and that looks unstable on a resume. Ideally, I’d get a decent paying job in Orlando, since I’d love to hang out with Hazel at Disney World, and I’d love to go to Sea World and Universal Studios again on a regular basis. It’d make my days off a lot more enjoyable.

Other than that, I hope I get a job at Sallie Mae again. Maybe it’ll be different in Customer Service, but no doubt, I’ll be better off taking that $400 room rather than paying all of my own bills, which cost me an extra $300-$350/month easily. If I’d have had that situation all along, my card could easily have been $2000 instead of $4800. Or perhaps $3500 at the highest.

Plus my car is getting old and my phone is showing problems. It’s not looking great at the moment.

The next check I get will be the first one with overtime. And I expect I’ll have holiday pay for the 4th of July, so maybe it’ll be $650 or so. It’ll really tell me a lot, once I can calculate the extra hours and how it corresponds to pay.

Also, I’m actually interested in whether or not I’d qualify for food stamps. I know that sounds awful, but whatever. Food is a big expense. I’m trying to cut down. I went through the entire month of June via my bank (which doesn’t include the $100 I spent with my Simple card), and some of it was in Indianapolis and some in Bloomington, so it’s not the best month to use, but I still recognized probably $30 in McDonalds/Taco Bell charges, which are unnecessary. I didn’t calculate it, but probably $60 in Starbucks. The rest was either expenses I had to pay, such as my Disney annual pass, phone bill, rent, and gas, or food. I can’t tell if it was necessary because I could probably have bought cheaper things. But I think i’ve done a pretty good job. I’m just falling behind. Not only did I use my Simple account, but I also had to move $105 from my savings to cover everything, and I’m still only at $17 in my account.

I have a credit balance of $75 on IPL because I double-paid. :( I think I have a refund coming for Comcast too. But I can’t count on that until I receive it.

So that’s my situation right now in that regard.

I’m getting back in to Maya. Trying to find a way to do modeling in an efficient and low-polygon style that will help me with my comics. No needs for super detailed, high poly stuff, since it makes the system go slow and I’d never be able to actually have a whole city, anyway. I tried Sketchup, but honestly I’m more comfortable in Maya. Sketchup is probably better, and I hate to say. But since I’ll be tracing over the models in Illustrator to keep the look consistent, it doesn’t matter. And John is using Sketchup, but he’s tracing over his lines. I don’t understand why.

Hazel bought me a book called “Bachelor Pad Economics” which is cool. It’s basically saying to find out what makes you happy and live beneath your means. There are a lot of other things, but to boil it down, the more bills you have and the more things you own, the more you have to work to pay for them, and the less time you have to relax and do things you want to do.

I think I’m still doing okay. I mean, I don’t have kids and though at the moment, I have a crappy paying job, I think I’ll get a better one and I’m always learning good life lessons and I’m downsizing and working on my artwork and finding time to workout and I think I eat fairly healthy. Lots of yogurt, cottage cheese, soy/black bean burgers, etc. Too much soda and coffee. But no hamburgers, pizza, fast food, beer, chips, etc. It could be way worse.

I’m trying to pick up some overtime. I actually really kind of hate my job. Haha. But if I can squeeze out 2 hours from 10pm-12am on my days off, and maybe 30 minutes from 1-1:30 on the days I work, that’s an extra 6.5 hours per week. At $13.50 for each of those hours, it’s around…$85. After taxes, maybe $45-50 per week. That wouldn’t tax me too much, and could be the difference between depleting my savings or not. And it buys me more time to find a better job.

Speaking of the Florida jobs, if I get one, Hazel said she’ll fly up here, rent a moving truck, and haul my stuff and car down to Orlando to save my car the miles. And my mechanic is down there anyway.

So that’s super awesome. Plus, she’s paying the finance charges on my credit card, which is awfully nice. My minimum is $100.00 exactly. It used to be $140 when I moved to Indy back in June of 2013, so it’s come down quite a bit. The next payment will get it down to around $97 or $98. That’s just a continuing decline, which is great! Slow, but it’ll get there. Hopefully if I get a good job, I can throw $200-300/month and it’ll be a minimum of $80 and then $65 before I know it and it’ll disappear.

Anyway….lots of babbling.

I didn’t even talk about China.

Next time.

Work and Move

I finished page 3 of the Spider-Man comic and am almost done inking most of page 2.  It’s such a slow process and I kind of don’t want to keep at it, but I have to.  For myself and for Tracy, who already paid me for it and it’s my obligation.

I also have decided I need to get back into good shape.  I’m going to work at doing a 3+1 carb cycle from BTFFTM, and my workouts will probably not be great, but that’s okay.  I need to eat more veggies and stick to cleaner foods.  

I still need a good headset or mic for work.  I’ve been looking on Craig’s List, but that all requires cash.  And I could get something at the store, but I don’t really want to.  Ugh.  It’s a no-win situation.  I might have to pick one up, such as a gaming headset sometime this week, but I’d like to find someone who has the same model I have, so that I can hopefully match the settings and find something that works.  I can always upgrade my headset later, but right now money is tight.

So many options!

First, it didn’t work out with the girl from the last post.  Had nothing to do with the child.  More like, I just want to keep my options open as long as I can, and that would really make things difficult.  

I don’t know what I’m going to do.  I’m trying to get back into learning languages – a lifelong pursuit.  

Perhaps I’ll pay off my card and then buy a place in Orlando and invite Kimberly to move in with me and get married and we’ll just live there and she can be my lifelong Chinese language teacher.  Haha. 

But I’m also trying to get back to learning Spanish with my app.  I am going to try to knock out all of the 189 verbs.  I think that would really be helpful.  Also, I’m looking into getting a TEFL certificate, which is Teaching English as a Foreign Language.  I don’t and won’t have a bachelor’s degree, so the next best option is to get some kind of teaching certificate.  But I sort of don’t know if that’s what I’d want to do.  I really don’t know.  Getting the certificate though, would at least open up options in case I wanted to take advantage of it.  And if I earn enough money, I should still be able to pay my credit card while living overseas.

Finally, I’m going to order some yellow/gold travertine brick for a backsplash for the kitchen in my new apartment and paint the walls yellow.  A less bold yellow than what I had in my apartment.

Eh.  Nothing is really going on right now.  I mean, I’m slowly paying off my debt.  That’s really the key to everything.

Big Developments!

Not sure how or where to start with this one.

Three things and in no particular order, they involve dating a single mom, quitting my job in favor of working from home for Convergys, and moving into my mom’s garage.

Alright, I’ll start with the easy one.  I put in my notice at work on Saturday, telling my supervisor face to face, and by email.  Most people are on pace to meet the goal, but I’m not.  I’m the only person on the team who isn’t, and I’m also the only person who has not been eligible for overtime yet.  I can’t work extra hours, I’m not hitting my goal, and I’m not going to get a bonus.  Plus I’ll likely be written up and eventually fired.  So you know what?  Screw it.  I’m out.

I started applying for jobs on Indeed.com.  I started looking for jobs I could do from home, and found the Convergys Work At Home website.  They were contractors when I worked for AT&T and they’re pretty well known in the call center world, so I never doubted they were for real.  In fact, I’ll be working as “AT&T” doing customer service, which is actually a lot better for me than collections, which I’m doing now.  I really prefer people call me, even if it’s to complain.  I don’t like calling people and trying to convince them to accept help and having a monthly goal that you have to meet, no matter if you take vacation or not, meaning taking vacation means you just have to work extra hard.

Anyway, I was offered the job.  I’ve been running around the past few days trying to get all the paperwork done.  It’s all stuff that would normally be done the first day or two at a regular job, but it’s remote, so it has to be done via emails and phone calls.  I did the phone interview, bought a cheap Dell desktop computer (with a keyboard, mouse, and 19 inch monitor for less than $200!!) and an approved flash drive and analog headset.  These are all costs I really didn’t see coming!  But it’ll be worth it.  And I talked to Hazel and she said I could probably get $300 back for my portion of the taxes, so that should pretty much take care of those costs.

Now, I’ll be making $9/hr.  Much less than the $13.44 I am making now.  And no bonuses.  But I am going to work from home, meaning I don’t have to buy clothes, look good, drive anywhere (saving tons of gas and maintenance on my old car), etc.  And in the Winter, the icy roads and snow won’t be a problem at all.  :)  Not to mention, I will save a lot of time.  The time it would take to drive to and from work is time I could spend doing a P90X workout, afterall.  And living in Bloomington out on Bethel Lane means I’m not going to be running to Starbucks or Taco Bell, saving me money and a lot of calories!  

I will buy a ROK espresso maker though.  I’m quite sure of that.  

So yes.  I will be moving to Bloomington at some point prior to the end of my lease on June 10th.  I’ll get through a bit of training here, and then when everything is setup, I’ll move on a weekend that doesn’t mess up my work schedule.

Basically I’ll be moving in to the garage.  It’s detached, so there’ll be plenty of privacy (thank goodness!).  I’ll have my own small fridge, probably a single burner for cooking on, a sink to do both dishes and bathroom stuff, and then a bed and two desks/two computers.  One Mac for my artwork and all my fun stuff, and then the Dell which will be 100% for work.  Not like I’d want to use a PC for anything anyway, unless I have to.  And I have to.

We’re in the process now of cleaning out the garage and Brad has already had some “framing” done.  That means, some 2x4s have been put up, which will be followed by some drywall.  It’s all very cool, and I can’t believe I’m going to have my own 190sq ft or so apartment!  Woohoo!  Yes, it’s very small.  And I’ll have a composting toilet, which will be strange.  But hey, I think it’ll work.  And with rent being only around $250 or so per month, I should still be able to make good progress on paying my card off.  

 

Andrew Pleavin – 5 weeks

The subject of this is one of the actors from the movie 300 and its sequel.  He trained for 5 weeks and went from 18% to 10% bodyfat.  Now, I won’t expect to do that because I simply won’t workout quite that hard.  But I think I can do a pretty decent job of getting in better shape by simply doing P90X3 and following a good diet.

Right now, my diet consists of:

Breakfast – 1/2 cup of oatmeal with 1/2 cup of mixed berries, 1/2 cup of milk (used during cooking), along with 1 cup of egg whites, two eggs, and 1oz feta cheese.  And coffee, which I’m still drinking with cream and Splenda.  

Snack is three deviled eggs made with yolk and omega-3 canola mayo, and an apple.

Dinner is a spinach salad using 4 cups of spinach, 1oz of goat cheese, 1oz of cashews, and 1 tablespoon of sweet almond oil as my dressing.  

I’m also trying to experiment with eating my entire day’s worth of food in a 5 hour window, which will soon come right after working out.  That’s what Andrew does and I think it could work, which will also help me get a lot more water in, as I’ll need something to keep me feeling full.  

I was going to try doing the workouts he did because I have access to them.  But I don’t have a barbell, and I just prefer doing P90X3 anyway.

Starting Monday I’ll be doing a split shift the rest of the month to try making the most of my time since I had vacation and likely won’t hit goal.  But I’ll try!  That gives me from 12 to 5pm each day to do what I want.  I’ll probably work until 1.  Workout.  Then maybe take a nap, but also start my 5 hour window of eating.  

That’ll be it.  I don’t like the split shift as far as I can’t sleep as much as I want.  But it’s definitely the most productive way to get my hours in.  <sigh>  

TMM2

I recently just spent $1000 on trips to Orlando.  First, I got good deals on the airfare to Orlando and Tampa, and a good deal on my hotel to Orlando.  I have an annual pass, and Hazel will be paying for the food while I’m there.  

The second trip is a one day trip to Busch Gardens to meet this girl that I’m pretty darn head over heels about, but I have to meet her.  If it goes well, she’ll come up and visit me, so I shouldn’t expect to pay for much more, and can focus on paying the Chase.

I had to borrow $100 from my savings to cover my checking account until I’m paid on Friday.  I expect to put the $100 back when I’m paid, and still have about $900.  

My plan right now is to just pay the minimums on my cards until the end of April, and keep my spending to a relative minimum.  Once I’ve gotten both my March and April bonus, as well as the April retro check and my tax refund of maybe $700, I’ll pay off my American Express and I hope that leaves me with $1200 at a minimum to pay down the Chase, putting it at around $4000.  

Getting it under $4000 will be great.  I imagine that’ll make the minimum payment around $95, which is pretty awesome.  

Then in mid-April, I’ll look for a place to move into by renting a room and saving money.  Continue to work OT and prepare to move to Florida at the end of the year.

If things go well in Tampa, I’ll move there.  If they don’t, I’ll keep my options open to Tampa or Orlando, depending on where the best job is.  :)

Total Money Makeover

I recently purchased a Nook HD from some guy locally off of Craig’s List.  I really wanted a tablet, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, and my I had gotten my dad a Nook too, so I figured I could use it to swap Micro SD cards full of TV shows and books.  So far, I haven’t figured out how to do that, as the Nook shuts off as soon as I put the card in, and won’t turn on if a card is in there.  I’ll buy another SD card and see if that works.  If not, I’ll have to look into it a little more.

Anyway, I’ll be starting the Total Money Makeover (Dave Ramsey) ASAP.  I don’t get paid again until Friday, but I hope it’s at least a decent check.  The first order of business will be to pick up YNAB (You Need A Budget) app.   It’s $60, but I really feel like it’s money well spent, just as the Nook was.  Afterall, I’m reading the TMT from the Nook.

Dave says to save up $1k in an emergency fund FAST.  Well, as fast as one can.  It’s all about intense focus, so I’ll have a little trouble with that, but I’m going to do my very best by making a detailed budget, cutting back on unnecessary stuff, including clothes and little meals out.  The reason for the emergency fund is for when there’s an emergency, you use your savings/cash and not a credit card.  It’s all about breaking that credit habit.  Thankfully I hate using a credit card.  But still, if I don’t have savings, I would have no choice.

Right now I’m at about $600.  I just need to take whatever money I can from my check, and top that off.  Then I can start paying my debts from smallest to largest.  First, I’m going to see if Gym Jones will let me pay off the remaining balance in one lump sum rather than continuing to pay $50 over the next 5 months or so.  Then I pay my Amex.  Then….Chase.  

Thankfully, even if I can’t pay the Gym Jones in a lump sum, it will expire in the Summer.  And that is also when my dad will turn 62 and be eligible for Social Security, where he won’t have any need for me to send him $100/month.  Or $100 3 out of 4 months.  Those two things will help me a lot!  

Once my dad doesn’t need money every month, Gym Jones is gone, Amex is gone, Savings is $1k, and Chase is gone, I have to top off my emergency fund to where I’m okay for six months if I wasn’t working.  That will be hard!  It will all be hard.  But at least it’s simple.  Just not easy.  I can do it!  I just have to be focused, stick to my budget, and delay some forms of pleasure (Disney vacation, for instance) for a little while so I can experience the joys of being debt-free.

At that point, I have to pick up the book and continue reading.  But the steps laid out so far have to be done in order, and I’m just starting so I don’t want to get too excited or overwhelmed.

And I have to work OT and work at getting bonuses to help me out.  :)  Speaking of which, that is my segue to going now.  Gotta head back to work.  

Cheers