Net Worth Week 76 – Grief Approaches Edition

Gentle Readers,
I went to the baby-shower, and was a good family-member. I  showed up, but then I got the call no one wants. A family member has a terminal illness. The outlook is dim. It is possible he could be the outlier who lives, but the odds are not high. Very not high.
This week has been heavy and so draining. It will get worse.
Next week, I will receive my first set of invisalign and begin adjusting my teeth, and I will try to get everything I can done for my business and my job in anticipation of my flight to visit my family member for potentially the last time.
Thankfully, I work by the hour in my gig. I told them I won’t be there and I don’t have to think about them when I am gone. I do have to think about ensuring I earn enough money. But that is a problem for future ZJ. Right now, I need to be near him.
This week I’ve turned to my friends, without betraying his desire for privacy. I ate in their homes and read bedtime stories to their kids. I told them of my pain and they listened. They show up for me. They provided food and a willing ear.

This week’s net worth numbers

9/15/2017 9/22/2017
 Joy 1109 1109
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 46 46
 Moving 286 286
 EF 11 11
Business 5 5
Life 4107  4548
 IRA  13882  14213
 Brokerage 823  837
 Rewards Card 2 -6345 0
 CC (largest) 0  0
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card 0  -6270 (BT)
SL 1 -105619 -105734
SL 2 -46544 -46596
 Earnest -3154 -3160
 Net Worth -141352 -140664
 Percentage Change -1.14% .49%

How have you handled anticipated grief?

Net Worth Week 75 – Babies R Us Edition


Gentle Readers,
It is almost time to pack my bag to head to the baby-shower I dread. But, my rule as a human is to show up whenever possible. Even if the family member is a schmuck. Definitely for a baby-shower, especially if the family member is a schmuck since the baby needs examples of how to be good when people are unkind.
I have now paid for nearly half of my invisalign and should receive my first trays in the next 1.5 weeks. It’s going to be more painful in the short-term, but will hopefully correct some of my TMJ. My wallet is not pleased. Since I am worried about cash-flow for myself and my business, I’ve initiated a balance transfer to give me breathing space to deal with the preliminary invisalign costs.  I will have until August 2018 to pay it off. It was approved, but has not yet shown up in the statement.
My student loan payments increase in October because I am on IBR and my income last year was higher than the year before, and I now have a monthly recurring payment for the remainder of my invisalign treatment. The last payment for invisalign corresponds closely with my last Earnest payment. It’s going to be a tight few months.
My dentist was surprised that my treatment plan is for five months. She had envisioned it closer to nine months. With her payment plan, patients pay roughly half upfront and then the remainder in equal monthly payments for the duration of treatment. If my invisalign needed longer to correct my teeth, I would have less of a cash-flow worry in the next few months. At the end of the treatment, I’ll need to pay for a new night guard to match my new smile. Unless my TMJ is entirely corrected, which is not the anticipated result

This week’s net worth numbers

9/8/2017 9/15/2017
 Joy 1109 1109
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 46 46
 Moving 286 286
 EF 11 11
Business 5 5
Life 3282  4107
 IRA  13555  13882
 Brokerage 825  823
 Rewards Card 2 -3781 -6345
 CC (largest) 0  0
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card 0  0
SL 1 -105503 -105619
SL 2 -46491 -46544
 Earnest -3147 -3154
 Net Worth -139762 -141352
 Percentage Change .24% -1.14%

How much have you spent at the dentist this year?

Baby Shower Gifts When You Fear How They’ll Raise Children | baby shower gifts

Gentle Readers,

A small contingent of the family that I actually have a relationship with believes that I should stop being a lesbian and marry a man. I don’t know why this younger relative has decided to be such an ass, but he has. I don’t argue with it. I just avoid him as much as possible. I don’t have time for such ridiculous ideas. I am a lesbian. It’s not up for debate.

However, he also has a baby on the way and I have a family duty to let this little girl know that there are many ways to be a good human.

Thus began my quest to find baby books that would not be overtly LGBT-friendly, but covertly allow her to know that there are many wonderful differences in the world.

It’s a fine line. Nothing can say, “Hey your relative is a lesbian and she’s okay,” outright. I just need to plant the seeds that diversity of thought, ethnic group, and sexuality is okay.  To be extra covert, I bought some books that had no such intent, just some wonderful books that any baby would be delighted to chew on. I’m hoping the parents don’t notice what I’m doing.

The baby shower gifts I chose

Spots and Dots (Art Baby) – A beautiful book that can attract a baby’s eye. I think that there should be more art and beauty in everyone’s life.

More More More –  A book about being loved and cared for by parents. This concept is harder for my family than it should be. I hope that the cycle ends.

Spot Goes to the Farm – Dogs need adventures, too. This family member is least likely to leave a fifty-mile radius from his home. He would be well-served by learning about other ways of life. The world is less scary than he imagines.

Baby Loves Quantum Physics – Introducing hard concepts early even just briefly does wonders for expanding imaginations and belief in what is possible. And I’m a nerd who hopes to contribute to other people becoming nerds. My house growing up was filled with upper level books and I remember reading encyclopedias of science. I loved the concepts and hope she does too. I am no scientist now, but my life is enriched by hard concepts.

Whoever You Are = Accepting our differences and our similarities and loving that. This focuses on ethnic groups and nationalities. It’s a Reading Rainbow book and Levar Burton is hard to argue with.

We’re Different, We’re The Same = Sesame Street is hard to argue with, as well. Another book that focuses on visible differences rather than sexuality and gender identity.

Did I toe the line close enough? No rainbows, no two mommies, no genderqueer puppies. Just the smallest idea that there are more ways to be in the world.  Hopefully the parents won’t shut out this idea, but I must be careful.

How do you think I did in this quest?

Net Worth Week 74 – Fall is Coming Edition


Gentle Readers,
With more hurricanes impacting the US South and the Caribbean and earthquakes in Mexico, I’m still supporting Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies. I may add in Doctors Without Borders.
Another week of waiting for my invisalign, and my teeth are unhappy. The nightguard I have has not been appropriate for my mouth’s current configuration for over a year. It’s taking a toll.
Happily, the great press has resulted in one new scheduled client meeting. I don’t yet know if they will hire me, but this is a good first step. I would feel a lot better about my business’ balance sheet if I had one or two new clients. Lastly, my business finally has a Facebook page. Enough people have tried to connect with my personal page that it seemed like a page could be a good idea. No cost and low effort may pay off. I did not have a page previously because my mentor didn’t. I also had followed her advice about websites for our niche, but people who contacted my office wanted one. Responding to your market matters.

This week’s net worth numbers

9/1/2017 9/8/2017
 Joy 1109 1109
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 46 46
 Moving 286 286
 EF 11 11
Business 5 5
Life 3431  3282
 IRA  13495  13555
 Brokerage 825  825
 Rewards Card 2 -3531 -3781
 CC (largest) 0  0
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card 0  0
SL 1 -105647 -105503
SL 2 -46557 -46491
 Earnest -3606 -3147
 Net Worth -140092 -139762
 Percentage Change .42% .24%

How are you supporting after the latest disasters?

Net Worth Week 73 – Harvey Edition

Gentle Readers,
I submitted the small bio and head-shot that my panel required, but mainly this week I focused on Harvey.
My girlfriend moved to Houston earlier this year and now it is underwater. Thankfully, she is safe and able to help from a distance. Every emergency needs people who are good at logistics and connecting folks to the right resources. My job right now is to be supportive without interrupting her.
The organization I am supporting during this event is Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies. People with disabilities are often the worst impacted by natural disasters. Portlight has a respected track record in responding to disasters. You probably saw some videos of people being saved out of their wheelchairs and into boats. Once those people are back to dry ground, they will again need their mobility aids. Chairs and other “durable medical equipment”  are vital to life for some people with disabilities, but not available at the Red Cross. For example, people with tracheostomies need sterile gauze and other equipment or their risk of infection and blockage in their air passageway dramatically rises.
Portlight also assists after the disaster. Following Sandy, they helped rebuild ramps into homes and helped refit homes with other accessibility equipment. The need will exist for a long time, and Portlight will be there. Being a person with a disability is never cheap. It is even more expensive when you are trying to access things vital for your particular survival after a community-wide disaster.
I’m still waiting for my invisalign and that next $2000 payment. I don’t know what the delay is. It is making me hold on to cash without paying down the CC, because I intend to do a balance transfer to keep myself liquid for life and my business. The great press my business received has mainly resulted in folks wanting to volunteer for my business and not any new clients so far. This may be an expensive year.

This week’s net worth numbers

8/25/2017 9/1/2017
 Joy 1108 1109
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 46 46
 Moving 285 286
 EF 11 11
Business 5 5
Life 2961  3431
 IRA  13341  13495
 Brokerage 814  825
 Rewards Card 2 -3283 -3531
 CC (largest) 0  0
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -388  0
SL 1 -105531 -105647
SL 2 -46501 -46557
 Earnest -3598 -3606
 Net Worth -140689 -140092
 Percentage Change -.63% .42%

How are you supporting after Harvey?

Net Worth Week 72 – Keep on Building Edition

Gentle Readers,
My interview happened and was published today! It’s still unreal and wonderful. The author did not expect such a fast turn-around either. She confused one of the minor details, which is important to remember when I read the news. This woman was meticulous and recorded our conversation and asked follow ups, but still misunderstood something.
My panel won’t be for many months, but I have done a tiny bit of the preparation. Small bites makes it less intimidating. Both of these things make me feel that the momentum is finally on my side.
I met with a more experienced woman in my profession this week and got a lot of great advice and camaraderie. It seems that she has sufficient interest in mentoring me. I can relieve some of her overflow work so she can focus on the more lucrative tasks. I get a little money and a little supervision. She gets annoying tasks off her desk. I think we both win here. I look forward to growing this relationship. She was warm and kind and very good at her job.
My business was also nominated for a small local award! It’s been quite a week. Even being nominated is a good sign for my reputation.
I’m still waiting for my invisalign and that next $2000 payment. My teeth are definitely ready. The pain is constant.

This week’s net worth numbers

8/18/2017 8/25/2017
 Joy 1108 1108
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 46 46
 Moving 285 285
 EF 11 11
Business 1005 5
Life 2722  2961
 IRA  13236  13341
 Brokerage 809  814
 Rewards Card 2 -3123 -3283
 CC (largest) 0  0
 CC (longest) -47  0
 Rewards Card -438  -388
SL 1 -105416 -105531
SL 2 -46451 -46501
 Earnest -3591 -3598
 Net Worth -139803 -140689
 Percentage Change .37% -.63%

Do you feel like you are the right side of momentum? 

Net Worth Week 69 – Spinning Round Edition

Gentle Readers,
My tutoring sessions continue to improve my skills greatly. Every day I am more excited about the possibilities on the horizon.
Knowing that I will pay out of pocket for Invisalign the same month that my business has many bills due has been stressful. I think I will have to return the money my business “paid” me back to my operating account. Unless a new client comes in ready to hire me very soon. One current client contacted me yesterday for a tiny bit of work that will help enormously, but not cover everything I have going out this month. I should be able to do everything he needs this weekend.
I am grateful that I have this blog, because it taught me how simple a balance transfer is; it also reminds me that the last time I took this step it was because of dental pain, as well. C’est la vie.  My credit score is good and I have no plans in the next six months to take out a loan of any sort. Knowing that I have significantly higher outlays than projected income in the next two months, my plan is to hold off on paying down my credit card so that I have the funds available for my business, if necessary. Once the first big payment is due for my Invisalign, I’ll put it on my credit card and then initiate a balance transfer. That will buy me many months of no interest for the fee of a 2% balance transfer. This is much cheaper than letting it sit on a credit card with an APR over 10%.  It’s not the greatest situation, but I know better how to use the tools available.
Next week may not have a net worth check in because I will be in Texas visiting my love! I cannot lie, I have been dreaming about TexMex.

This week’s net worth numbers

7/28/2017 8/4/2017
 Joy 1107 1108
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 46 46
 Moving 285 285
 EF 11 11
Business 1004 1005
Life 1499  1818
 IRA  13481  13486
 Brokerage 809  836
 Rewards Card 2 -2406 -2489
 CC (largest) -114  0
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card 0  0
SL 1 -105329 -105444
SL 2 -46411 -46464
 Earnest -4033 -4042
 Net Worth -140010 -139803
 Percentage Change -.46% .15%

How often have you felt the phrase “One step forward and two steps back” in your financial life?

Net Worth Week 67

Gentle Readers,
This week’s heatwave is worse than last week’s heatwave. The bandelettes  are doing their job. I need to venture out of my home this weekend for a friend’s brunch and a community theatre show. I’m not looking forward to foregoing the AC, but friendship decrees it!
This has definitely been a week of learning. I am very glad I attended that training last Friday even though it meant I did not get a full 40 at my gig. The knowledge and networking was worth it. I met a woman in my field who is interested in starting her own similar business now that she is financially successful and does not have to worry about income. We have a lot to discuss.
I continued with the intensive tutoring. Really big breakthroughs are happening, and I am exhausted. 2ish weeks to go! Then maybe a long nap!
This is my second week under -$140K!!!

This week’s net worth numbers

7/14/2017 7/21/2017
 Joy 1107 1107
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 46 46
 Moving 285 285
 EF 11 11
Business 1004 1004
Life 508  1480
 IRA  13304  13479
 Brokerage 817  824
 Rewards Card 2 -1693 -2045
 CC (largest) 0  0
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card 0  0
SL 1 -105098 -105213
SL 2 -46306 -46359
 Earnest -4016 -4025
 Net Worth -139990 -139365
 Percentage Change .69% .45%

How are you handling your heat wave?

Net Worth Week 66 – It’s Hot in Here Edition

Gentle Readers,
My city is experiencing a heat wave, and I may need more bandelettes to continue the good fight against friction.
I’m a bit frustrated with my teeth. I take good care of them, but they cause me enormous bills. I’ve been in constant tooth pain since last summer when my final wisdom tooth came in. It came in such a way to alter the position of my other teeth. That process was painful. Unfortunately, the new position also means that my night-guard which prevents my TMJ from making my pain unbearable is no longer fitted to my teeth as they are. My dentist is aware, but told me that we can’t do anything until 7 + months after my wisdom tooth removal, because my jaw and teeth will still be settling. Then she wants me to do braces and force my teeth into healthier positions to ease some of the pain and tension. For now, I just wait in pain. Wearing the guard causes deep pain in all of my teeth, but not wearing it allows me to grind my teeth causing damage. It’s an expensive and painful position to be in.
I’m really enjoying my tutoring. I am definitely learning a ton, but it is eating in to my sleeping time so I’m extra tired. There will be three more weeks of this, and then I’ll reassess to see if I need to purchase some more. Or if my body can take more, we’ll see what wins out. My progress has definitely kicked up a notch.
Today I’m off work to attend a training for young professionals in my field. I won’t be paid for these hours, but I think I will be much more confident in my business. Definitely worth it.
In more happy news, a potential client contacted my business. He’s been a bit flaky before, but it would be nice to add to my client-base now that I cannot do overtime.
I’m happy to see my debt go down. This is the first time I’ve been under -$140000!

This week’s net worth numbers

7/7/2017 7/14/2017
 Joy 1107 1107
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 46 46
 Moving 285 285
 EF 11 11
Business 1004 1004
Life 500  508
 IRA  13085  13304
 Brokerage 700  817
 Rewards Card 2 -2121 -1693
 CC (largest) 0  0
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card 0  0
SL 1 -105242 -105098
SL 2 -46372 -46306
 Earnest -4008 -4016
 Net Worth -140964 -139990
 Percentage Change .02% .69%

How are you handling your heat wave?

The Heat of A Summer Thigh – The Great Friction Battle

Gentle Readers,

I am a dress-loving femme.

Once I hit 25, my thighs decided it was time to become acquainted. They previously were happy to stand apart and acknowledge one another from a distance. No longer. They love each other and cannot abide separation. But like many loves, there is friction in their relationship.

My thighs cannot be made to play nice on their own, but they refuse to be kept in separate quarters. I had to come up with a solution so that we could all live in harmony, without confining myself to pants when it is oppressively hot in the summer. I needed the freedom to move and the freedom to not perish of heat stroke.

I tried many solutions and can now help everyone solve their personal thigh-fight.

Solutions for Summer Thighs

My least favorite, but workable solution is Anti Monkey Butt Powder. It is calamine and cornstarch. Softening and drying. It is effective, but I don’t like how messy it is to put on. Squeeze some into your hand and then rub it onto the body part that wants less friction. Some always falls from your hand to the floor. There is always residual on your hand. You have to immediately go to the sink to wash it off. Not a convenient solution when you share your bathroom with two others who don’t want you walking around trailing powder.  I love the name though, because I giggle easily. 7/10.

My next workable solution is Friction Defense, aka Chub Rub. It comes in a tube similar to deodorant. You apply it to whatever body part you want to slide easily against something and let it do it’s magic. I love this product. I previously used “BodyGlide” for runners, but I grew frustrated with the company. The company used to sell one BodyGlide product and it was in a nice gray package and marketed to everyone. Suddenly, they decided that they needed one for men and one for women. There was absolutely no difference in the product, but the packaging became blue or pink. The pink one was also priced higher. That pissed me off. There is no need to gender friction. Then I found the Gold Bond version I’m using now and it is also cheaper than BodyGlide.  Definitely workable. The only drawback with this product is that sometimes you have to reapply based on heat and humidity. I keep a stick in my purse. 9/10.

My actual favorite solution is super femme and no one is surprised. Bandelettes are beautiful. You measure your thigh to figure out the appropriate size and then you wait for these lovely helpers to arrive. They come in multiple colors and sizes and I adore them so much. My thighs are protected and get an extra bit of sexy that absolutely impacts my strut. Just put them on and go about your day knowing that your thighs are safe and gorgeous. 10/10 would buy again.

What are your summer wardrobe protection mechanisms?