Friday, June 15, 2007

Random Thursday

OK, it was supposed to be Random Wednesday but I ended up working late & then cleaned the house until 11pm, so I just didn’t have the energy to blog. Here’s a few thoughts:
1. New favorite beverage:GRANDE SUGAR-FREE CARAMEL LATTE. So awesome it deserves all caps. I have always been a fan of the grande latte (4 Splendas, thanks), but the addition of SF Caramel brings it close to coffee nirvana. The day they come out with SF Peppermint is the day I buy stock in Starbucks.

2. I read an article online which stated that in a recent survey of kids aged 13-18, “…teenage boys expected to make an average $174,000 annually. Teenage girls expected to earn $114,200.” Really? And where will this salary be coming from? Shall I start calling you Doctor now, or should I wait until you’ve finished 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, 5 years of residency, and have begun to pay back the minimum $280,000 in debt you’ll have incurred over those 13 years? Yeah – it’ll be like an EXTRA MORTGAGE PAYMENT every month for the next 15 years (and for those of you teens with no concept of how much that is, figure around $2,600 a month, payable to Sallie Mae) You’ll also be at least 31 by then, and likely unmarried and sans-significant other (after all, you’ll have spent EVERY WEEKEND studying just to try and keep up with the pace of 4-years of biology information crammed into 7 months of med school – and that’s just one class). And that’s if you didn’t flunk out of your sophomore year of college from too much trash can punch and too little parental supervision, or if you didn’t take a year off after college because “going to school for 5 years in a row was a lot, dude” – which then turned into 5 years of working retail and living with 3 roommates. Let me know how things turn out for ya, Doctor.

Don’t get me wrong - $175K sounds great. I could spend all that on kate spade bags and high heels, and not feel the tiniest bit guilty. But here’s a few more stats to digest:
* Median earnings of men who worked full time, year round in 2005, the latest year for which Census Bureau statistics are available, was $41,386.
* Women working full time made a median $31,858.
* Fewer than 5% of the U.S. population makes more than $100,000, according to the bureau.
* Only one household out of six report a six-figure income, according to the Federal Reserve's 2004 Survey of Consumer Finances.

I’ve seen these numbers before, but in the context of teen salary expectations, I find it to be illuminating. This tells me that no one is talking about money – particularly parents to their children (and that teens are watching WAY too much My Super Sweet 16 – but we’ll save that for another day). The only time we talked about money in my house was when my Mom and Dad were fighting about Mom’s shopping addiction. Going into college, and even at graduation, I had no concept of what different jobs paid, what a ‘good’ salary was, or what I needed to do to pay the bills. My first job out of college paid $17,000 a year. That was in 1995, before most of those kids surveyed had even been born. I lived on my own and paid the bills, but just barely.
12 years later and I’ve added a master’s degree (plus more student debt). I work in a field for which I have no qualifications on paper – but I kick butt at my job. I am far exceeding the medians above – both of them. Awesome, yes, but here’s the kicker: I’ve made my choices, and I am the sole breadwinner right now. Despite making what I consider to be a good living, we still struggle with money EVERY month. I pay around 24% in taxes. I also participate in a 401K and have health insurance for the family ($450/ month – the reason I can’t get a new car). All of these things take away from what goes into your bank account every 2 weeks. What DOES go into the bank account pays the mortgage, food, utilities, one tiny car payment, student loans, gas for our cars, car insurance, tithing, occasionally a new pair jeans from Old Navy, and an allowance for both of us. Yes, I am 33 and am once again getting an allowance. Notice what’s not in the above: Trips to Mexico, a new car, shopping at Nordstrom, that new Coach bag, or nights out on the town with friends. Yeah, that’s right – my husband and I both drive 10 year old cars, we get $20 a week to spend, and in 7 days we’re going on our first real vacation in 4 years.

I really want to know how people are paying the bills and getting by. According to the US Census Bureau, the Median income of all households is $46,326. Where do these people live? Seriously, is most of the country living like the majority of the population in Louisiana – in trailers on Momma and Daddy’s property?

Maybe I still have a skewed perspective on money and life. Maybe this is how it is. I’m not really complaining – things are OK. All in all, I feel fortunate that we can pay all our bills and still go get pizza and a movie once in a while. Would more money be better? Maybe. Some say that the more you make, the more your lifestyle ‘matches’ your income. Even when Hubby is done with school (YES, he’s going to be DOCTOR – and not the bs PhD kind), and we’ve paid off all the student debt, we’ll never be a Rolex-owning, Mercedes-driving, Maldives-vacation-taking, country club-membership family. And I’m totally OK with that. As long as I get a new Coach bag once in a while.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A fruitful weekend

We got a TON done this weekend. We got all the new cove molding put up in the living room, cleaned a bit, worked in the yard before the rains began on Saturday, did a ton of laundry, moved the furniture around, watched a few movies. All in all, not bad. It was also my last Sunday in Primary, so I'm a bit pumped about that.

Don't get me wrong - my kids were great. I was opposed to the fact that I was OBLIGATED to be there every weekend. It was a big responsibility, and I took it as such, but there were some Sundays that I really just wanted to sleep in and eat pancakes until 11 am. So I finally just laid it on the line and "resigned". As I was never set apart, I figure that I've done my duty for 18 months, and it's time for a break. We're skipping the next 3 weeks anyway, so it's not like I would have been there until July. Ahhh.... freedom.

7 days until M's graduation. I don't know how pumped he is, but I sure as heck am. Not only that, but it's 11 days until we are in Kauai. Still not excited to be seen in public in a bathing suit, but hey, my excitement over a tropical vacation is outweighing my sensitivity to my thigh girth.

I am trying to eat better. This weekend was a bit of a disaster, but I did pretty well all week. I figure I just have to do what I can each day, and I'll move towards consistency. Now if I could just get back to some regular exercise.... One thing at a time.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Obsessions


1. Amy Winehouse. I can't get her songs out of my head. Rehab is genius. And she looks like such a freak, I can't help but love her. If I met her we'd be BFF. We'd get along great - I'd feed her sandwiches and keep her from knocking out more teeth when she gets wasted on a Tuesday night. She'd sing to me and teach me how to tease my hair into that big ol' beehive that looks like a pack of weasels could live in it and she'd never know. Bliss.

2. Puggles. I heard about this on the radio - a cross between a pug and beagle. The Cutest Dog EVER! See above. And if you don't agree I don't care - they are AWESOME, and one will be mine. Hubby had the gall to ask how much they are - as if we have to sully the discussion of the perfect pooch with talk of cash-ola. I think not.
3. The Office. Ah, the perfect TV show. Dave made my day when he handed me 3 Shrute bucks yesterday. Perfect gift: Dwight Shrute Bobblehead.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

More doctor, please

Went to the endocrinologist today. NOT IMPRESSED. I'm starting to think doctors are all a bunch of clowns. Probably not a good attitude to have when the hubby is starting med school in 2 months.


Bottom line - the endocrinologist says my numbers are all "borderline", and then cut out when I started asking why my thyroid antibody numbers were so high and yet I'm just "borderline". THEN his PA proceeds to sit down and go over my lab numbers with me - showing me that my female hormones are all wacky, too. Meaning that it's likely there won't be a clear diagnosis, but an extended period of testing and blood letting and painful exams.


Now, I'm not pumped that no one can give me a straight answer. And less excited that I have to wait another 10 days for more tests. And MORE pissed that the GYN office told me my labs were all normal except for my thyroid - which turned out to not be the case at all.


Net/ net - I know nothing more & have extra stuff to worry about now. Apparently I may have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis or I may have Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. And I get to have multiple ultrasounds with a full bladder. And I have to wait 2 more weeks. So I may have a chronic disease that will force me to take a pill every day for the rest of my life. Or I may have an ovarian condition that will likely render me infertile. Or it could be nothing. Sweet.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Back

I was travelling for work last week, hence the lapse in blogs. I prefer not to use my work computer to blog or do anything too personal. Probably a good policy for more people to have. I'm always amazed when I hear about folks who look at porn while at work, or job hunt while at work. Or who put stuff on their resume like "prefer to work in the nude". Seriously, who decides that that is information that should be shared with HR managers and the EA's who are pre-screening these resumes?



Anyhoo. I was in Boston, then drove to Burlington to take a look around, then back to Boston. A quick trip, and A LOT of driving. My butt is still aching from sitting in the not-so-plush driver's seat of the Toyota Avalon I rented (averaged 25 MPG - I don't recommend it). Thoughts from my trip....



1. I hate Boston. It's probably a cool city, but I got lost. A lot. Like every time I left my hotel room. And not just driving, oh no, I got lost WALKING. Now, It's not like I'm a human compass, but I do have a decent sense of direction. Seriously though, I've never seen streets that bend and curve and disappear like they do in Boston. And the toll roads - don't get me started. I had to stop twice to get more cash because I spent all my money on the freakin' tolls.

2. It was not a 3 hour drive between Boston and Burlington, it was 4+. And decent radio was hard to find in that 4 hours. And so was a bathroom or food. I don't understand why the cities are set so far off the highway. Probably better for the community but crappy for the traveller at large. I couldn't see anything, so had no idea if anything was worth stopping for.

3. The exception to the above was the Yankee Candle Store. Yeah, they're all over the place, but this was the Mothership of Candle Stores. Seriously, it was bigger than some department stores I've been in. And BOY was it smelly. I mean that in a good way, but really, I'd have a never-ending headache if I had to smell those candles all day every day. I wasn't going to buy anything,but finally gave in and stocked up on the 18 votives for $19.99. A smokin' deal for YC's. I WAS amazed at the number of candles people were buying. Seriously - there were a few people toting around 6-8 of the big honkers - the ones selling @ 3 for $50. Again, a good deal, but I personally would have a hard time blowing $250 on candles.