Category Archives: Finance

Rocking Resolutions and a Year in Review

Well folks, I know you’ve all been waiting on baited breath waiting for my traditional “year in review” post. 

Wait…what?  You haven’t been waiting at all?  Pffffttt.  Well, too bad.  I’m writing it anyway.

I’ve been mulling this post over in my head for a while and have even started it a couple of times but couldn’t really decide the direction I wanted to go in.  So I decided to revist my last year’s post to see what I had to say waaaay back then and in doing so, I was reminded of those nasty trolls.  Damn it!  Why did I have to re-read that post.  So, because I usually have to do the same things over and over many times in order to learn my lesson, I decided to revisit that ridiculous website that basically rolls the dice for your resolution (go ahead – I dare you:http://www.moninavelarde.com/newyears/) .  Really, I need to start learning my lessons the first time through.  So, with the same snarky grin on my face, I press the “gimme more” button…

First “roll”: Follow through.

I. Kid. You. Not. Already I know I shouldn’t have hit that button, already I know that this is not going to be the funny, I-pulled-one-over-on-the-universe trick I thought it was going to be.  Shit.  Follow through huh…ok.  I totally get that.  I’m terrible for making plans and then breaking them.  Volunteering for something and just bailing at the last moment.  It also swings into my parenting techniques.  I am the mother of a thousand chances and zero follow-through.  That technique has failed me once, I’ll be damned before I let it affect how the other two turn out.  Follow through…<mumble mumble grumble>…fine.  I’ll work on it.  BUT that’s not a resolution.

Second “roll” (yes, I am really stubborn to a fault): Let go

<insert extreme profanity here>…ok trolls.  I know you’re capable of funny.  I know that you’re capable of humour.  This is supposed to be a funny website.  You, website, are failing.  Epicly.   Let go.  Ok, I get it.  I really, really need to learn this.  I even know I need to learn this.  I even said it to my darling husband just the other day.  “Q1 for counsellor: How do I let things go” – or something along those lines.  Really, it’s my Achilles heel.  I obsess and mull things over for WAY too long, I let it stress me out, I get all tense over it.  Letting go.  Novel thought.  Good skill, guess I’ll have to practice that.  I still don’t think those trolls are funny.

Finally, thinking to myself that this stupid website has made it’s point, I click the button one more time…: Start a piggie bank.

I have never glared at a computer screen so hard in my ENTIRE life.  Alright, alright.  I call mercy.  I get it.  The universe is not just trying to send me a message but she’s slapping me straight upside the head with it. 

In all seriousness though, for the first time, I feel that I actually did make personal progress in 2012.  I can feel it in my own self.  It’s not so much how I do things or even what I’m doing.  It’s a great culmnation of things that are coming together.  I find myself calmer in some ways and more intense in others, except now it’s in the right ways.  I am slowly working to quiet that hateful little voice in my head and even in the hardest moments, when I want to just let ‘er rip, I tell her to sit down and STFU.  She has no place in my life now.  I feel like I am taking the time to really look at myself and those around me, analyse their words, watch their actions and really try to understand them.  I finally, for the first time in my life, am taking a stand with the people in my life.  I have never been good at drawing boundaries.  Lie to me, hit me, disrespect me, use me, make fun of me – I was always more worried about having people in my life vs having quality relationships.  I’m not doing that anymore.  I deserve better than that because I am better than that.  For the first time in my life, I believe I am a good person and deserve better than that.

What will 2013 bring?  Who knows.  We weren’t supposed to get this far.  For me though, it will be much of the same.  Though I have no trophies to display or plaques to hand around, I am proud of my accomplishments over this past year.  I am fighting some of the toughest battles anyone can fight. I am over coming years of mental conditioning that I am not good enough, not important enough, only loved if I’m a certain way.  I am slowly overcoming serious depression without medication (hence shutting up that wicked bitch in the back of my mind).  I am battling anxiety, a highly misunderstood, nearly invisible thing, without medication.  And I’m fighting those battles for me – also a first.

So I guess, even though I always claim to not make resolutions, I do in a way.  They just aren’t based on a year.  I am resolved to live the happiest life I can. 

Happy New Year to you all.  I hope 2013 is everything you hope it will be

Ok, ok, ok…you all know I didn’t stop at three clicks right?  Here are the rest:

Be a leader

Strike up a convo with a stranger

Be true to myself and others

Sing in the shower (FINALLY!)

Join a choir (what’s with the singing?  I am NOT a good singer)

Be happy

and finally…carpool.  Very funny trolls.  Very funny.

2012: A Year in Question

According to some, the world as we know it will be coming to an end in four short days.  While some people scoff at the notion, others are taking it seriously.  I’m not sure what will happen on Friday but it seems to me that some sort of change is in order.  Take a look around – our world is becoming horrific.  

This weekend, I let my mind wander around the hallowed halls of Christmas time memories and traditions.  In talking to my mother-in-law, she was telling us about what Christmas was like for her as a young girl.  Their family didn’t have a lot of money and gifts didn’t cover the living room floor.  They got one small gift each and sometimes had to share that one gift.  The thing that struck me most was that she was remembering her Christmas’ fondly, there was no hurt feelings because she didn’t get a lot of “stuff”.  Christmas for her generation was about family, being together and having a special time.  That didn’t necessarily equate to things.  On that note, I was raised differently.  I was given every thing my heart could desire.  My Christmas mornings were 5 hour long productions, marathon gift opening to be exact. I can’t imagine the debt my parents incurred trying to give me that.  And you know what?  I can’t recall with any clarity what I got on any of those Christmas mornings.  All of that “stuff” has long since disappeared.  My Christmas memories are more about going to Christmas functions, school plays and our own family traditions.  It is difficult to break that cycle but it’s one I’m feeling like I need to break.  I remember being a small child and the idea of Santa not bringing gifts because I was naughty was a real thing.  Now, I think most children would roll their eyes and say “whatever”.  That is what entitlement does to people.

I worry for those children who haven’t learned and are not learning good values, the satisfaction of hard work, are being seduced by fame and mostly who are not being held accountable for who they are and their actions.  This past Friday, our nightmares came true.  A young man walked into a school and murdered students and teachers alike.  I believe that event and the subsequent media frenzy pretty well outlines exactly what is wrong with our world right now.  Firstly, why did that man have such easy access to those weapons?  Why can’t the US get it straight – you should NOT have the right to bear arms.  Your arms laws are making it easier and easier for people to kill one another.  Stop giving everyone a gun.  It’s a bad idea.  Secondly, stop making your health care systems for profit.  These are the people of your nation.  Take care of them.  Stop picking wars with other countries and take care of your own.

I have a hard time writing about this subject because example after example after example of how messed up we are comes to mind.  I simply can’t type fast enough to get it all out.  The indignation, anger and deep sadness I feel for the state of humanity is close to unbearble. 

That all being said, I have spent a considerable amount of time looking within myself to see if I am contributing to this incredible downward spiral or if I am trying to make it better.  I think I am walking both lines.  With the “end of the world” looming ever closer, I have been looking at my loved ones a little closer.  I layed next to my husband last night and looked at him.  Really looked at him, traced each line in his face with my eyes, breathed in the scent of him, put my feet on his and rubbed them just feeling him close to me.  I spend so much of my time focussed on what’s not right, what needs to change and what isn’t getting done, I sometimes forget to just stop and enjoy being with him.  Together we’ve faced incredible adversity, we’ve built a life together, we overcame incredible odds just to be together and we share a love that is deep.  Sometimes I forget that regardless of life’s stresses, life’s worries and life’s horror, I have someone with me.  That’s a lot more than a lot of people have.  Again, with the end of the world looming, I have been hugging my kids more often, hugging them closer, tighter and longer.  My son will be 14 in a few short weeks.  The days of long hugs are going to come to an end.  As he takes his first steps into young adult hood and I fight to keep him small, it will become tougher and tougher to live with one another.  So I’m hugging him more and more.  My little daughter.  She is getting taller and taller and the “tween” years are not too far in the future.  I am praying we get through those years a little better than my Mom did.  I am praying that things are different than with our eldest daughter.  I am praying she remembers how much we love her.  Basically, I’m praying that our parenting is strong enough to get both my son and daughter through the next 5 years clean, successful and still alive.  I worry about this more and more simply because of the state of our world.

So, whether or not the world will truly end at the tail end of this week has yet to be determined but I really believe that something needs to change.  We, meaning humanity, simply can’t carry on the way we have been.

College

I am starting to question my sanity. When Rob and I bought our house, I gave myself a year off. A year off of school, trying to further my career, trying to get “ahead”. I lasted four months. I took the leap and applied to two separate programs. I’m crazy nervous.

I pride myself on over-coming a lot of
statistics. I was a 3x high school drop out BUT I managed to graduate (with honours) in 2009. I was a teenaged mother and went on to have my second baby at 23. Not only have I managed to raise two very beautiful children but I never lost custody, my children have the same father and I didn’t rely on the system to support us. I got my first job with the Government. I am pleased to say I’m coming up on my 10 year service award. I was in an abusive relationship but managed to break free and leave. And finally, I was raised by an alcoholic and I’ve managed to break that cycle.

The reason I laid that all out is to remind myself of everything I’ve faced, worked through and overcome. I need those reminders because I am scared out of my mind to go to college. I don’t know why this scares me so much but it does. I worry about not being smart enough, not being brave enough, not being good enough to succeed at this.

At this point in my life, I have no choice anymore. I am 31 years old. I’m no spring chicken. I need to get my rear in gear and get this done. I feel a real need to have something behind my name. Perhaps this is the final “leg” in a journey of proving myself.

I will have to see what this next chapter brings. I hope it brings knowledge, new experiences and new friends. Guess it’s a wait and see situation.

Thanksgiving

Every year we give Thanks usually around a big dinner table, surrounding by those we love.  It’s an appropriate time to give thanks.  There is a lot to be thankful for.

This year, I want to give Thanks now.  And every day it seems that I am becoming ever grateful for my life and those around me.  For a couple of weeks, I had an intense bout of jealousy.  I was jealous for what other people do.  What other people have.  The lives they lead.  The bodies they’re in.  It was ridiculous and necessary all at the same time. 

Why was my jealousy ridiculous?  Because I have a fabulous life.  My husband is one of the most loving, adoring men I have ever met.  He is so patient with me and puts up with so much of my crap sometimes I’m amazed he doesn’t up and leave.  I am truly blessed to have him as my partner and my lover and my life.  I have beautiful, amazing children.  These kids are good kids.  And that’s not just my bias as a Mom coming out either.  People who spend time around my kids will tell you the same thing.  They are well mannered, polite, interesting, cool people.  I have friends who care.  People who care about me and are there to celebrate, cry and rejoice with me.  I have a job.  Maybe not the ideal one but it’s a job.  It affords me the ability to pay my mortgage, put food on the table and survive in this world.  I have health.  I am not full of cancer, I can breathe, my skin isn’t fighting against me.  I am healthy.  I have a lot to be grateful for and thankful for in my life.  These are all reasons why my jealousy was ridiculous.

Why was it necessary?  Because it made me realize how much I have to be grateful for.  If I cry, I have someone who pulls me close and kisses my forehead.  If I’m afraid, I have someone who holds my hand and tells me it’ll be ok.  I am able to hug and kiss both of my children every day and every night.  I can’t count on both of my hands the number of people I could invite to a party or call up on the phone and all of those people would genuinely be happy to hear from me.  I would say I live a priviledged life.

So what if I’m not living on the coast of Greece.  So what if I can’t buy every new toy.  So what if I’m not thin.  When I’m snuggled up with my family watching yet another animated movie, or when I see my daughter so proud because she just treated her parents to dinner, when I got to experience the excitement of my family when we saw the sold sign on our house…there is nothing in this world that would make me happier.  In the end, I’m thankful that I was able to realize how much joy, richness and fulfillment I have in my life.  I’m thankful for having so much to be thankful for.

Highwire Hopes

We took the plunge.  We offered, they countered.  We accepted.  *eek*

Conditions are set to come off on September 6 with financing closing up the rear on September 8th.  Oh. My. Gawd.  That’s in a WEEK!  To say that I’m nervous is an understatement. 

This state of wait is killing me.  I want to plan, I want to get pack, I want to get this ball a rollin’ but I don’t want to get too far into the process only to have to stop it all because of some hiccup.  My hopes are high, my fear is high – I’m holding excitement at bay.  Or at least I’m trying.  I dont’ think it’s working.

I think we’re ready for this.  I think we’re poised to move forward and I think that we would be oh so happy in the house.  Wait, I don’t think – I know.  I can feel it in my bones.

 

Anticipating disappointment

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh…that was my cyber scream.

I’m feeling so stressed out right now.  We put our offer in on the house last night.  The stress of waiting, the debt, the anticipation…it’s going to kill me!

I want this so badly I could spit.  I want to be out of the place I live in.  I want to own my own home.  I want to own THAT particular home.  I could see our family living there.  I could see my kidlets growing up and remembering that home.  I can see us padding around in our socks.  I can see us grumbling about the amount of housework.  The repairs.  The decorating.  I can visualize it.

I also know that if it doesn’t work out, the let-down is going to be awful.  The disappointment is going to batter my brain like no one’s business.  That’s the part I’m afraid of.  The disappointment.

We are much closer now than we have ever been.  Offer is in.  Down payment is in order.  Financing *should* be a breeze..all that’s left is the Seller has to accept (or reasonably counter) and off we go.

The next two weeks just might be the most emotional weeks I’ve had in a long time.

Living in quick sand

I feel like I’m living in quick sand these past few weeks.  We’re in the process of considering a house.  Yes, just the consideration alone is a process.  Then comes the buying process.  Then the moving process.  And so on…

I am not a “process” person.  I like to make a decision and go with it.  Waffling on my decisions is so not like me yet I can’t seem to escape it.  One minute I want to buy this house; the next minute I see all the spare cash floating right on out the door and I completely change my mind.

I worry about so many different things.  What if’s that I have no control over.  What if Rob loses his job.  What if I lose my job.  What if something goes wrong with the house.  What if, what if, what if…and I find that the what ifs don’t cover what if we’re fine?  What if we’re happy there for many years.  What if it’s the best financial decision we can make for our family. 

The man and I have made it through so many adversities over the years.  We’ve faced it all.  Death, pregnancy, moving, job loss, parenting issues, the whole gamut.  I’m sure we can survive homeownership. 

I remember moving into the co-op.  We always seemed to be waiting for the “landlord’s shoe” to drop.  Three years later…the shoe hasn’t dropped yet.  Why?  Well, because we don’t have landlords.  We ARE the landlords, it just takes a bit to remember that.  If we buy this house, we really won’t have to wait or worry on anyone or anything but ourselves.  It will really be OUR house.  And that thought terrifies the be-jeesus outta me.  How do I get over this fear? 

I guess it’s a waiting game.  A wait and see situation.  Which I suck at.

Frugal Mom

My husband and I have been lobbying the idea of buying a house around.  We’ve gone down the “yes” path and the “no” path and the “I have no freaking idea if this is the right time path” and then we’ve gone down each of them one more time.  At the end of the day, once topic of conversation never seems to change.  Money.

We are incredibly wasteful when it comes to money.  Eating out?  Sure.   Drinking?  Sure.   Toys?  We have LOTS.  The things we don’t have, though, are zero debt-load, a savings account or an “emergency” fund.  The things that a family should really have.  We make enough money that having those things shouldn’t be an issue.  We should not be living pay cheque to pay cheque but for some reason we are.

This has made me stop and really think about the way we are valuing our dollar.  The dollar that we have to earn each and every day.  The dollar that we give up our freedoms and put up with other people’s crap for.  Why are we wasting it?  The answer?  Who knows.  I do know that it has to change. 

I listen to people around me dropping huge cash on toys, vacations, cars, etc and I want that too BUT I also want security. I want the ability to have a savings account and retire in comfort.  I want to be able to own my house and be happy in it.  I want to put my money to better use.

The decision to buy a house or remain where we are hasn’t really been made yet.  The mortgage people are ok with giving us a mortgage.  Our family is very supportive of us buying a house.  I don’t know if we’re really, truely ready to be homeowners yet.  We need to learn a few lessons.  We need to learn how to curb our spending appetites.  We need to learn how to simply say “we can’t afford that” and be ok with it.  That may be our hardest lesson.  Admitting we are chosing to use our money wisely instead of satisfying an immediate need.

I will keep you posted as to how our journey is going.  It’s not one we’ve ever been on before.  I imagine it’s going to be a tough go.  I imagine we’ll get in touch with some of our more basic joys.  There is nothing like sitting on a beach building sand castles with your kids – and it’s free.