Net Worth Week 98 – Happy Trend Edition

Gentle Readers,
I have a gig! It’s not as well paying, but I am making money and this is a comparably nice work environment. I’ve never worked for this agency or in this precise location. The commute is nice and there is good coffee with short lines nearby. We didn’t start until Wednesday, so next week will be a relatively small check, but at least it’s a check.
Since I did not work last week, there was nothing coming in and a lot going out for the conference travel. Still glad I did it because the dividends have been felt in my business and career outlook.
My beloved class began again! My teacher is almost ready to give me the A grade I need to do a gig in this skill!  Then I went gay swing dancing; it was a lovely day.
No further word from the good government gig.
I finally got the data I needed from the sibling so that I could fill out the life insurance claim paperwork. My dad was a federal employee so I don’t know how long it will take. What I could see online made it appear that up to two weeks could be reasonable. Non-government insurance appears to pay out faster.
I’m still waiting for something from an overseas family member before I can take next steps with the court about his final bills etc. I’m really glad that he didn’t want a funeral and none of us truly needed the assets from his small estate or life insurance to support ourselves. This has dragged on even though the only true complication was the hospital taking nearly 3 months to sign a death certificate. Imagine how terrible it could have been if the family was fighting, too!

This week’s net worth numbers

2/16/2018 2/23/2018
 Joy 1113 1113
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
Moving 287  287
 EF 57  57
Business 5  5
Life 2140  1582
IRA 16485  16359
Brokerage 852  845
Rewards Card 2 -6023  -7601
CC (largest)  0  0
CC (longest) 0  0
Rewards Card -5000 (BT)  -5000 (BT)
SL 1 -105973  -106088
SL 2 -46705  -46758
Earnest -922  -924
 Net Worth -143643  -146082
Percentage Change .15% -1 .7%

Have you developed a skill over time to drastically impact your earning potential ?

Net Worth Week 96 – Single Edition

Gentle Readers,
My gig ended Monday and I have not yet found a replacement for the time before the good government gig begins. Thankfully, I have business work to attend to and have been able to accomplish some things in my own office during the interim. It’s officially been 6 weeks since the government began processing my paperwork for the good gig. The person who would be my supervisor told me it would likely take 6-8 weeks. I’m hoping I hear soon.  Then I can relax and stop applying for gigs.
My business’ reputation continues to grow, which is very satisfying. Slow and steady.
I dog-sit again this weekend, but in a much more convenient location. I prefer the shorter dog-sitting stays because I don’t have to worry about having enough professional clothes with me.
The combination of barely earning money this week and the stock market correction definitely impacted my numbers. The ride just got noticeably more bumpy.
There’s been progress on the estate. I’ve been told that the death certificate is now signed, but I have not received the copies I’ve paid for yet. So I can still do nothing.
I got my next Invisalign trays. 14 more this round. I guess I can be financially grateful that I will have the next 3 months to pay down what I’ve spent on invisalign before having to shell out for whatever night-guard retainer we decide is best for my TMJ going forward.  Sadly, we couldn’t do the semi-annual appointment and I’ll need to go back in for the cleaning, but I’m going to wait to see what gig I get next, because that will impact my ability to get to the dentist.
 My relationship officially ended last weekend. True to my plan for myself, I am going to as many LGBT events as I can. Surrounding myself in community and making more friends. I had my last soccer game of this season. I’m planning on switching to the team I subbed for. They were a more natural fit for me.

This week’s net worth numbers

2/2/2018 2/9/2018
 Joy 1113 1113
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
Moving 287  287
 EF 57  57
Business 5  5
Life 2040  2140
IRA 17036  15841
Brokerage 884  812
Rewards Card 2 -5040  -5727
CC (largest)  0  0
CC (longest) 0  0
Rewards Card -5000 (BT)  -5000 (BT)
SL 1 -106179  -105857
SL 2 -46799  -46653
Earnest -1384  -920
 Net Worth -142939  -143861
Percentage Change -.63%  -.65%

What do you do to handle a breakup?

Net Worth Week 95 – A Change Is Gonna Come Edition

Gentle Readers,
The conference was exhausting, but served its purpose well.  I met some potentially good connections. I communed with other queer-folks. I saw friends. I agreed to mentor a friend on something I’ve been mentored on for my business and I’m looking forward to it. I even got to tell the person who mentored me how I’m finally able to start paying it forward.
Dog-sitting has reminded me that long commutes are terrible for being able to do anything. It is nice to not be with my roommates though. There has to be a better way to achieve that.
I finally received a small part of the estate paperwork I require, but still no death certificate. I’m wondering if the VA would like some media attention… The man has been dead for a few months. Someone needs to sign the damn certificate. I can’t process anything without it. His creditor would like their money. My siblings would like their life insurance. I would like to begin the process so that I can end the process at some point.
I am still waiting for my dentist to receive my next (last?) sets of invisalign trays. I’ve been wearing the current tray for triple the normal length. We even moved back my semi-annual appointment so that we could do both in one fell-swoop. So close! And my pain is definitely improved. I’m so glad I did this. Even though the expense has been great.
The good government gig is advancing me through. We are still waiting on a start date still. Huzzah! Back to higher pay, fewer hours, and more interesting work. And for the first time since I began temping, a supervisor who will supervise and who seems genuinely interested in my career. Very strange for gig work, but I am excited! It is coming at a good time. The current gig just cut our hours and it looks like at least some of us will be let go soon.
Skill building is still on the low burn, but once I am back in my own place it will be easier to get in to the new routine for what I think I need to focus on next.

This week’s net worth numbers

1/26/2018 2/2/2018
 Joy 1112 1113
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
Moving 286  287
 EF 57  57
Business 5  5
Life 2099  2040
IRA 17216  17036
Brokerage 894  884
Rewards Card 2 -4563  -5040
CC (largest)  0  0
CC (longest) 0  0
Rewards Card -5000 (BT)  -5000 (BT)
SL 1 -106063  -106179
SL 2 -46747  -46799
Earnest -1381  -1384
 Net Worth -142044  -142939
Percentage Change -.28%  -.63%

Have you ever felt a shift for the good in your finances even when they technically are not improving?

Net Worth Week 93

Gentle Readers,
The gig has gone even more ridiculously this week. They let us know on midday Wednesday that for the next three days they’d like us to work even more and that they’ll base their culling decisions on h0w much we work. It’s been exhausting, especially because the systems naturally did not cooperate.
I made it back to the free cabaret and played soccer. My deskmate asked why I was not putting in 15 hour days and then bemoaned that I’m “probably making healthier choices” than them. Yes. Yes, I am.
No advances on the estate paperwork.
I received a present from my girlfriend and her mom. A delicious King Cake. This may signify nothing, or is just a nice thing to do, or maybe I should let hope grow. Outlook unclear. So I’m just going to keep focusing on the things I’m doing to make my life great.
A friend from grad school contacted me at midnight and set me up with tickets to a great networking and learning event. I’ll have to miss four days of work, but, per above, it is not clear that I’ll have the gig by the end of next week anyway. I chose advancing my career. I think it was the right choice.
The numbers look slightly better than they are because my brother has not cashed the check I gave him yet. But I like the trend.

This week’s net worth numbers

1/12/2017 1/19/2018
 Joy 1112 1112
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Moving 286 286
 EF 57 57
 Business 5 5
Life 1479  2128
IRA 16837  16960
 Brokerage  877  896
 Rewards Card 2 -4469  -4114
 CC (largest  0  0
 CC (longest 0  0
 Rewards Card -5400 (BT)  -5000 (BT)
 SL 1 -105832  -105948
SL 2 -46641 -46694
Earnest -1375 -1378
 Repay brother  0! 0!
 Net Worth -143023 -141649
 Percentage Change .16% .96%

Have you ever worked at a job with so much downtime?

Net Worth Week 91 – New Year Edition

Gentle Readers,
I learned on pay day last week that the bonus I earned takes an extra week to pay out. Very strange. There was some progress with the government gig. I’ll be fingerprinted next week. That likely won’t make the progress go faster, but I am glad to see forward motion. It’s good for the heart.
The dog-sitting is at an end for now. Thankfully. I prefer my own bed and access to all of my shoes.  It’s lucrative and gives me a break from my roommates, but definitely has some drawbacks, too. Wearing the same clothes repeatedly, on rotation, gets old. I like my wardrobe.
It’s still really nice to be working again. I know I’ve been at it for a little bit now, but it is so much easier to handle grief and stress when you have something to distract you for part of your days. And I appreciate the impact on my finances, obviously.
Still no life insurance paperwork nor the death certificates I ordered. I’ll have to make some phone calls. But first, I need to do something for a client on Saturday morning before going to my gig. I am working a large amount of overtime right now to try to get myself on more solid footing. Fear not, I am not allowing it to prevent me from seeing friends though. I accept every invite and seek out plans, when possible. This excessive work is short term, and useful, but I do look forward to a more reasonable pace soon.
Thankfully, I got to see a bunch of friends for New Year’s Eve and Day. I got hugs and support and food. And just time and some joy with good people. They encouraged me where I needed it and commiserated where appropriate. I’ve also done a lot of journal writing this week. When I make time for it, I find it to be a very useful activity. The written word can sometimes reveal more of the heart than long talks with people you love. Regardless of the outcome my girlfriend and I decide upon, we both have some important growth to do. For ourselves. Maybe together.

This week’s net worth numbers

12/29/2017 1/5/2018
 Joy 1111 1112
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Moving 286 286
 EF 57 57
 Business 5 5
Life 1633  2719
IRA 16384  16639
 Brokerage  858  866
 Rewards Card 2 -4200  -4200
 CC (largest  0  0
 CC (longest 0  0
 Rewards Card -5600 (BT)  -5400 (BT)
 SL 1 -106039  -106154
SL 2 -46736 -46788
Earnest -1835 -1839
 Repay brother  -600 -600
 Net Worth -144635 -143256
 Percentage Change -.03% .95%

What sort of side-hustle do you engage in that tricks you into forgetting  how annoying it can be? Putting my life on a dog’s schedule is not pleasant. Other people’s homes can have weird sounds at night.

Net Worth Week 89 – A LOT of Work Edition

Gentle Readers,
These past few weeks have been a challenge. Now I’m on to a new type of challenge. I started a high overtime gig and was finally hired by a client for my business. That client, naturally has an immediate emergency order for me to fulfill. This is the first client emergency I’ve had to handle. I learned a lot in the process. Hopefully that will make me a better businesswoman. I also reached out to my mentors for feedback and direction. Vital. It’s very possible that this client may have continuing work for me, if they like me.
But I am earning money again, while waiting for the good government gig to start. It also has overtime, but does not market itself as 40 hours of OT a week for four months. So I am grateful. The vicissitudes of gig-life mean that I have another interview for this gig, but with a different section of the government. This agency is trying to secure me work that would not be impacted by any government shut down.
I still have not received the paperwork I’m expecting for my dad’s estate. I know it’s the holidays, but they told me 3-4 weeks. I’d like to fill it out and get my siblings their life insurance payment. I know that the estate part will still take some time, but it appears that his debts and assets matched up fairly closely. That is less urgent. I also would like the life insurance for me. I have plans for debt reduction and asset purchasing. It would also just feel different to have all of that money in my bank account for a little bit. With the financial uncertainty of this year, it will be nice to get the unexpected influx.
Soccer is on hold for two weeks due to the holidays and I’m trying to stay fit enough with some simple body-weight exercises at home. I have a hard time sticking to this with everything going on. But some planks and stretching do a lot.
I was able to do a few small holiday things, which was nice. I really do like greenery and festive people. I’m so grateful that my friend invited me to her home for Christmas. It’s her first time hosting and I love her and her sister and her sister’s kids.  It’ll correspond with the start of my dog-sitting, but hopefully that just means it will be easier to get out to her.
Yes, I will have a Rover client, a fast-turn around client and a new high overtime gig all at the same time. November and December should have balanced themselves better. But, I am finding that I’ve got the energy to do this all. It is weird, but the energy is there.

This week’s net worth numbers

12/15/2017 12/22/2017
 Joy 1111 1111
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Moving 286 286
 EF 57 57
 Business 5 5
Life 1481 1872
IRA 16064  16077
 Brokerage  863  861
 Rewards Card 2 -2947  -4269
 CC (largest  0  0
 CC (longest 0  0
 Rewards Card -5613 (BT)  -5600 (BT)
 SL 1 -105791  -105923
SL 2 -46623 -46683
Earnest -1827 -1831
 Repay brother  -600? -600?
 Net Worth -143493 -144596
 Percentage Change -.22% -.77%

Are you staying in your own place for the holidays or traveling this year?

Someone’s Blog Made Me Come Out of the Closet – For Real

Gentle Readers,

I had the pleasure of meeting Tanja and Mark from www.ournextlife.com this weekend and it was a blast. If you ever get the chance to share space in a bar with them, I would definitely recommend it. Double-points for a bar with good cider options to go along with the dark beer I love.

There were a ton of local PF/FIRE bloggers and folks who enjoy reading said blogs. I confessed repeatedly that my blog is extremely personal. It is the height of navel-gazing. Its sole purpose is to help me navigate out of debt on the way to FIRE. I sometimes write about more broad personal finance topics, or homophobia, but most weeks, I only have the capacity to post my net worth numbers. It is basically a public diary with myself. I love that people read what I write and encourage me, but I honestly do this for myself and am not entirely sure what others get out of this. Even if you did not read this, I would probably keep writing this. It is a space for me to learn and grow.

I was reminded this weekend that blogs have had an immense impact on my life. Even navel-gazing ones that are “too personal.” I came out of the closet very late in life, and I did it because of a blog. There were good reasons for staying in the closet having to do with my own safety. But, eventually, that changed. I did not anticipate it changing. I actively worked against it changing. But change it did.

In my mid-twenties, I was in grad school in a new city for me; this was a miserable and expensive time in my life. Part of the misery was how sexist my particular school was. I sought refuge with other feminists, and found many of them online. I was looking for like-minded folks to reassure me that there was good in the world, and that this situation would pass. That I was not wrong for wanting women to be treated as equals.

I found someone. She lived in my city and went to a nearby school in a similar program. She was older than me and fierce and feminist and very queer. We began communicating through her blog about our hatred of the kyriarchy (it’s like the patriarchy, but includes all the ways that people are marginalized) and our love of full-fat food. We were soon sending each other long, personal emails about everything in our histories and lives. It was intense and beautiful.

At the time, I was a Christian. My response to some very dangerous homophobia I experienced earlier in life was to try to conform to the religion of my parents. For many years, it worked. As a good Christian woman of a particular type, I could not be expected to date wily-nily. I was able to avoid the question of why I did not desire men by being a good religious observer. There could be no sexual intimacy without marriage. I was safe.

Except that the religion I was part of was not good for me as a woman or a lesbian or someone who cared about the world. It hurt my soul. But it provided cover for my closet. I was miserable, but I felt safe-ish.

But this blogger changed that. She wrote about feminism and sexual violence and what music she loved. I fell for her before I even met her. She told me she loved me over email before we had hugged. She loved me as a friend, but my brain ignored that tiny fact.

I knew I was in dangerous territory. I knew that she could see right through me. I knew that she knew how much I wanted the freedom she had. How much I wanted to be with her. I also knew that nothing could make us be together. She had no interest in me and I couldn’t even write the words “I’m a lesbian” without panicking.

Even still. I read her blog. I saw what possibilities life could have through her posts about Mad Men.

And I jumped.

I finally said out loud that I was a lesbian.

I lied and told her that I never knew before and that my particular brand of religion hadn’t impacted my closet.

She knew I lied. I could not hide how much I wanted her life.

We were only friends for that summer. While it did not feel like it at the time, she mercifully stopped being my friend shortly thereafter. I was bereft. I had to look at myself and go for what I wanted. I had to tell people. I had to pursue people who were kinder than she could ever be. I had to figure out what life out of the closet felt like.

I cried a lot that summer. To my brother. To my erstwhile best friend. To tertiary friends from college who helped me plan to come out to our far more conservative Christian friends. To anyone who would listen.

But then, eventually, I stopped crying. I was excited to be living life truly for the first time. My classmates noticed a change in me and were actually much better to me as an out lesbian. I was happier and folks were happy for me. It was beautiful, but I had a lot to learn about HOW to date. My roommates helped me set up dating profiles and even went to crappy lesbian bars with me when I was too afraid to go alone. They listened to me kvetch. They helped me pick out outfits. They were wonderful.

All of this happened because of someone’s niche blog about feminism and music. I fully intended to remain closeted my entire life. But a glimpse into someone’s personal truth changed everything about how I live.

So I’m glad you read this navel-gazing blog about my money situation. I hope that something here is what you need to read. I hope that you can live life on your terms.

Has a blog ever impacted you like this?

 

Net Worth Week 87 – Desiring Work Edition

Gentle Readers,
Another week without work. The second interview went very well. All of the individuals I met with were impressed by me. But the federal government moves slowly. There was a 2 week continuing resolution passed yesterday, which means that the federal government at least won’t shut down in the next two weeks. Hopefully that means I’ll be employed soon.
Thankfully, my office got a lot minute request for a meeting that I could charge for. It was a small amount, but it will help.
I finally got paid through Rover. Rover’s processes are very slow.  I met with the two potential long-sits for later in the month. One hired me and the other decided that they needed a sitter who could also do the afternoon walk.
I signed up for and played in my first soccer game in over 3 years. I haven’t had time since I began my business. There were some SNAFUs, but I got to run around and be a member of a team. It was great.

This week’s net worth numbers

12/1/2017 12/8/2017
 Joy 1111 1111
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Moving 286 286
 EF 57 57
 Business 5 5
Life 2454 1903
IRA 16098  16027
 Brokerage  858  867
 Rewards Card 2 -1966  -2702
 CC (largest  0  0
 CC (longest 0  0
 Rewards Card -5613 (BT)  -5613 (BT)
 SL 1 -106014  -105692
SL 2 -46724 -46577
Earnest -2284 -2289
 Repay brother  -600? -600?
 Net Worth -142291 -143176
 Percentage Change -.31% -.62%

Do you think the federal government will shut down?

DIY Laundry Detergent

Gentle Readers,

Like many before me, I don’t understand the costs associated with keeping my clothing clean. Dry-cleaners believe that women’s shirts are more expensive to clean than men’s shirt. No one has dared tell me that my sweat is tougher than a man’s to treat. And yet, my fancy professional clothes that cannot touch water must receive a costly treatment after so many wears.

A few years ago, I stopped using dryer sheets in favor of wool dryer-balls. You only purchase the product once, which means less packaging in the world. I also like that they have no scent. Many of my friends are highly allergic to any fragrance and I want my clothing to not impact their health. The environment, my budget, and my friendships all win.

I have been itching to make my own laundry detergent for a few years, but I could not justify it until my detergent ran out. I use less than the recommended amount, because my clothes come out clean with far less than the manufcaturer suggests. I finally finished a container of oxyclean and thus had the space I needed to create my first batch.

There are lots of recipes online, and most of them are the same. For my ratios, I looked here.

You don’t need much for DIY Detergent

I purchased 5 bars of soap (you need one bar, but it was cheaper in bulk), 1 box of washing soda, and 1 box of borax.

Per above, I don’t like scents, so I ignored the advice to add essential oils. I did purchase a microplane after checking out my local hardware store for a suitable alternative. I don’t have a dishwasher, and didn’t want to use my small food processor and end up with soapy pesto later.

Steps to making DIY Laundry Detergent

Once I had the materials and the room in an airtight container to store it, I pulled out the microplane and one bar of soap and grated it while watching music videos on YouTube. It took longer than I anticipated, but was not onerous. I think I was done in 15-20 minutes. Per usual, I knicked one knuckle on the microplane twice. So I will refrain from giving myself a manicure for a few days while I heal. Happy to report that no blood ended up in my detergent.

Then I added one cup of washing soda and one cup of borax. I briefly stirred everything together, while being careful to not get things on my skin as two of the ingredients can be drying.

That’s it. I now have very powerful, much cheaper detergent. Most people advise using one to two tablespoons per load.  I immediately did one load of laundry with this detergent; it included a flannel shirt from my dad who was a hardcore smoker living in a moist apartment. It had smelled of mildew and smoke. No longer. The load came out and appeared far cleaner than my expensive store-bought detergent ever achieved.

One final bonus was learning that the friend who hosted me for dinner and games Sunday night is also interested in making her own detergent, but had not been able to procure washing soda. The box is huge and you take so long to go through it one cup/tablespoon at a time. It will be easy for me to put some in a baggie to share with her.

Have any of you ever made your own detergent? Did you like the results?

 

Net Worth Week 83 – Find Support Edition

Gentle Readers,
My heart is still hurting, but  I must just wait for her. I know that it will likely be many months. My twitter shows how swiftly my feelings and hopes and fears can change about this. However, I am following our boundaries as stated. No matter how I feel at a given moment. I’m really proud of myself.
This post is so late because I had a slumber-party with my friend and her family. It was soul-refreshing. The kids were sad I had to leave, but I can’t sleep on their couch forever. We played. We ate delicious food. We talked. She and I made plans to make plans for a trip. It was lovely. Rejuvenated me.
 I attended a conference about my business this week, and had my gig likely canceled. It is only likely until someone with the authority to fire me is actually at work. The two people authorized to make the decision were out on vacation when my supervisor said that the project is likely over. Thankfully, the conference was very informative and introduced me to people of like mind.
I’ve not further looked into Talk Space yet. I’m not sure that I need it, or that I can afford it since I don’t know if I will be employed come Monday.
This next week should see the biopsy results for my brother. Then we’ll know what steps he’ll need to take. His wife’s c-section is also planned.  I’m really hoping that it goes well and that the baby is healthy.
Per my girlfriend’s request, I’ll have my physical this week and see if any tests would be necessary for me.
For the second week, my dad could not begin chemotherapy because he has not been able to consume enough. It has been four weeks since he has been able to receive any treatment. I fear that means he has only weeks to live.

This week’s net worth numbers

11/3/2017 11/10/2017
 Joy 1110 1110
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 46 46
 Moving 286 286
 EF 11 11
Business 5 5
Life 3159  2047
 IRA  15851  15798
 Brokerage 864  863
 Rewards Card 2  -630  -612
 CC (largest) 0  0
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -5979 (BT)  -5764 (BT)
SL 1 -105989 -105668
SL 2 -46713 -46566
 Earnest -2730 -2270
 Net Worth -140668 -140673
 Percentage Change .43% .–%

Do you think I’ll have a job for the next few weeks?