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 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 68 – This is Gonna Hurt Edition

Gentle Readers,
I’m so glad that the most recent attempt to kill my access to health insurance as a small business owner failed!
The community theatre show was dreadful, but I enjoyed seeing my best friend. Our schedules have not aligned often this summer, and I had missed her.
I had my first chance to test myself in my new skill due a job posting. I did not achieve a high enough score this time, but I have  much better idea about how to move forward. I discussed the test results with my tutor and she is helping me with my plan to re-focus where my skill is lacking. Knowing where you stand is powerful knowledge. I think a few more months of hard focus should have me ready.
I went for my semi-annual cleaning, and happily have no cavities! My dentist has now approved me for invisalign to help fight my TMJ since it seems my teeth have finished shifting after the removal of the final wisdom tooth. It’s going to be an expensive few months. However, I am grateful for this as it should reduce my pain. I’m frankly weirded out by the idea that my smile will be forceably changed. My teeth have always been crooked and I like that about me. I worry that I won’t recognize myself and that I will look less interesting.  But, I must see reason, and know that my teeth are not in the healthiest position currently.
The cost of invisalign would have been easier to handle with a gig in the new skill, but that was not yet to be.

This week’s net worth numbers

7/21/2017 7/28/2017
 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 1480  1499
 IRA  13479  13481
 Brokerage 824  809
 Rewards Card 2 -2045 -2406
 CC (largest) 0  -114
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card 0  0
SL 1 -105213 -105329
SL 2 -46359 -46411
 Earnest -4025 -4033
 Net Worth -139365 -140010
 Percentage Change .45% -.46%

Did you ever have braces?

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?

Net Worth Week 60 – Fly to Love Edition

Gentle Readers,
My bed arrived!!! It has definitely improved my pain and my sleep situation. I got a good memorial day deal, but it still is a tiny setback on the path to FIRE. I think it was the right choice. Unfortunately, I bought a box spring I did not realize I did not need. My bed + frame is currently 34 inches high. It is ludicrous. When I return from visiting my love, my roommate will help me take it down and will see if she likes it under her futon mattress that is currently laying directly on the floor. If she does not like it, I’ll see who in my community needs one.

 

This was week 52 on the current gig. We were told it would last 6 months. Supposedly, we have 3 more weeks on this project. I am skeptical. I think it will last longer. I hope the ability to do OT lasts.  Especially now that I am so close to paying off my credit card debt.

Oh yeah, another credit card vanquished! I am down to one credit card!!!  If my gig lasts, I hope to vanquish this in the next 4-5 weeks.
And I am off to the airport and hopeful that the storms near her will break enough for me to land safely and quickly.

This week’s net worth numbers

5/26/2016 6/2/2017
 Joy 1106 1107
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 285 285
 EF 11 11
Business 1003 1004
Life 1907  1809
 IRA  13106  13166
 Brokerage 698  703
 Rewards Card 2 -2034 -3215
 CC (largest) 0  0
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -1028  0
SL 1 -104808 -104924
 SL 2 -46174 -46226
 Earnest -4883 -4893
 Net Worth -140724 -141086
 Percentage Change -.25% -.26%

Have you ever packed more lipsticks than outfits?

Net Worth Week 59

Gentle Readers,

I enjoyed the graduation party last weekend, but got stuck in the city due to mechanical issues in my plane. Thankfully, airport hotels are comfortable enough and my job is flexible. It will make it harder to get all the OT hours I intended this week, but the travel vouchers will come in handy.  Getting out of town was a definite mood boost. I need to plan for this more often now that my girlfriend lives far away.

I had a client in my office late on Thursday. Not yet sure if they’ll hire me, but good to meet new people.
I’m excited to check out the mattress deals in the suburbs this weekend. Hopefully I can find something that diminishes my pain that does not set me too far back financially, too.

This week’s net worth numbers

5/19/2016 5/26/2017
 Joy 1106 1106
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 285 285
 EF 11 11
Business 1003 1003
Life 1644  1907
 IRA  12883  13106
 Brokerage 685  698
 Rewards Card 2 -1474 -2034
 CC (largest) 0  0
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -918 -1028
SL 1 -104693 -104808
 SL 2 -46121 -46174
 Earnest -4872 -4883
 Net Worth -140374 -140724
 Percentage Change .49% -.25%

Do you have vacation plans lined up this summer?

Planning For a Graduate’s Future – Redux

Gentle Readers,

It is graduation season again, and another family member is finishing high school. This time the plan is to stay in the family home until college starts. I like to not play favorites with siblings, so I am getting her almost the exact same set of books that I got him last year. One small deviation to account for the differences in their characters.

I decided to stick with the perennial favorite, “The Millionaire Next Door.” She plans on a high-paying career, but I think the stealth wealth envisioned here could help her stay on course no matter what happens.

Her personality is very different from her brother and I think she’ll be best served by the framework in “The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke.” That will be on top of her present-stack.

I don’t think she would even read the one I was least sure of for her brother, so I did not buy her it. I don’t want to waste her bookshelf space. She plans on being pre-med. That shelf-space is precious.

She believes in deep thought, supposedly, and I got her the esoteric one, too, “Early Retirement Extreme.” I suspect she won’t touch this either.

The deviation for her was “Truth & Beauty: A Friendship.” I loved this biography and think that many women with deep but fraught friendships could benefit from seeing one displayed in all of its gory richness. Patchett is one of my favorite living authors and this was helpful and painful to read during a particular time in my life. I think this family member may understand my twenties better from reading this. Perhaps not. I hope that she navigates relationships in a far healthier way.

Unlike her brother, I think traditional education is the current best route for her. I think she will flourish in college in a way her brother never would. Maybe I’ll buy a textbook for her? Or leave that to her parents…

What do wish you had read at 18?

Net Worth Week 57 – One is Done Edition!

Gentle Readers,
This week has been a whirlwind. We sat for days at work waiting for our task to be available. Naturally, our supervisor did not communicate with us for two and a half days. So we sat. Thursday morning rolled around and we were told that unlimited OT was being “temporarily” suspended since work was not available. Sensible, but frustrating to my plans. A few hours later, not only do we have work, but we have multiple urgent projects. No word on OT until I had to ask my supervisor if the approval would be back since we have deadlines. This is the uncertainty of my job. We just never know what will happen.
I used my downtime at work to study and it feels like it’s paying off. I’m feeling very hopeful about my ability to get a gig in this new skill soon.
In wonderful news, I paid off the balance transfer ahead of schedule!!! No weird spike in interest rate on that bit of money. I’ve been throwing money at this particular sore-spot for weeks. In mid-April, I still had a balance of over $3000. This is one of the reasons I’ve been working my tail off in overtime. I wanted this gone and now it is!
My remaining credit card debt is $2571. Much better than the almost $6000 it was just a short while ago. I will continue working hard towards demolishing this debt. If my job can keep overtime available, it will be very useful for me. I am traveling next weekend, so my ability to work a ton will be diminished substantially.
This is my fourth week in a row of positive gains. I love that sort of trend!

This week’s net worth numbers

5/5/2016 5/12/2017
 Joy 1106 1106
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 285 285
 EF 11 11
Business 1003 1003
Life 1397  832
 IRA  12937  13002
 Brokerage 689  693
 Rewards Card 2 -1727 -1572
 CC (largest) -879  0
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -1150 -999
SL 1 -104721 -104577
 SL 2 -46134 -46068
 Earnest -5318 -4862
 Net Worth -142414 -141059
 Percentage Change .55 % .95%

Have you paid off something lately ?

Net Worth Week 55

Gentle Readers,
I think I figured out my self-employment taxes last weekend. Based on the forms I filled out, I don’t need to prepay quarterly taxes for Self-Employment Tax purposes because I do not anticipate earning enough through my business this year. I also received my federal refund and immediately plowed it into paying down debt as intended.
My overtime goal was thwarted this week because we were made to leave early on Thursday. I used the “extra” time to mow my lawn before we get into the 90s this weekend, which was great because all of the rain had prevented me from maintaining it properly. The added $30 from my roommates never hurts either.
I’m still doing what I can overtime-wise, but it will be smaller than I intended this week.  My project got a surprise two new coworkers this week. Our project manager is now indicating more strongly that we will have work after the next eight weeks, but there are never any guarantees in this industry. I’m still going to try to overload on OT while I can, because you never know what the future holds.  If all goes according to plan, I will pay off my balance transfer before the 0% interest rate changes in early July. In the past two weeks, I have paid off 49% of the remaining balance. The next two paychecks are entirely devoted to debt reduction.
I have used my girlfriend’s old crock pot twice now, which means my lunches have been far more frugal than usual. I’m still getting the hang of the process and seeking out better recipes. Do you recommend any?
This weekend I’m looking forward to dinner with a friend who is in town and also a college alumnae resistance event. See, I do some balance.

This week’s net worth numbers

4/21/2016 4/28/2017
 Joy 1105 1105
 Travel 1 1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 285 285
 EF 11 11
Business 1002 1002
Life 1239  1324
 IRA  12768  12974
 Brokerage 691  698
 Rewards Card 2 -1000 -1859
 CC (largest) -2761  -1629
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -1176 -1200
SL 1 -104490 -104606
 SL 2 -46029 -46081
 Earnest -5296 -5307
 Net Worth -143478 -143110
 Percentage Change .92 % .26%

Has the rain ended in your area yet?