Packing for F's school trip next week. It's a 3-night overnight which is hard for both her and me, but packing actually helps, because this way we know she'll be prepared. It's a control thing.
She is borrowing some of my things so that we don't have to buy anything except for a new notebook to write in. We'll go to Office Depot today. We have some little partly used notebooks, but I thought that for minimal cost it will be something nice and new to have that she can pick out herself.
She is taking my wool socks, my long underwear and a pair of my shoes (we share shoes, but I think soon her foot will be bigger than mine). D's headlamp. My sleeping bag (zero degree bag!).
While she is at the camp, I will be doing a lot of cleaning. Free. And watching Doctor Who (behind three episodes). Free. And working hard so that I can finish my work and have time when she's at home this summer to go to the pool a lot. Free.
Goal is no spending while she's away. I am saving so that we can go to a fancy dinner for her graduation from 6th grade.
I got an email from the school, and talked to the mom of one of F's classmates who has an older child who went on this trip 3 years ago, and they said they'll be sending email updates. One of the four teachers has been texting me to see how F is doing and said she'll text me. Another of the four teachers had a long talk with F and she felt better afterward.
I told him about the meditation app we use (it's called Calm and we do 7 days to calming anxiety over and over, not just for 7 days). Free, by the way.
Most of the kids just don't seem to care about going away, but as many of you know, F has some anxiety issues, and this trip pushes all of her buttons (separation from me, not knowing every last detail, not being completely in control).
On the flip side, she has no anxiety about school, public speaking or tests or anything like that. She just did a beautiful presentation with two friends on gender stereotypes. It was fun and engaging and all three girls were equally poised and prepared. The dad of a girl who was in another group (they, ironically, did stress/depression/anxiety) said that clearly F's group was the best. But they were really into the topic and spent a ton of time on it.
Also, not anxious about friendships stuff. We just went to see the 7th/8th grade musical (yes, free!) over at the school she's going to next year. And she saw a bunch of kids she knows in the audience and on stage. That's the advantage of a small town.
Next stop: the library which is open until 6 pm to pick up a book F read about. Free!!!
Viewing the 'Not Really Financial' Category
Packing for F's school trip next week. It's a 3-night overnight which is hard for both her and me, but packing actually helps, because this way we know she'll be prepared. It's a control thing.
I don't want to come on here and talk politics... I'm trying to use this space to talk mostly about finances.
Here's the stuff about finances:
- we are closer to paying off our mortgage
- sold a couple of things on Craigslist $70
- got a rebate check from the energy company
- my nephew is here, but he doesn't eat very much and he's vegetarian, so the grocery bill is not very much bigger
The financial stuff seems less relevant this week, so this where the politics starts. My first and last post on politics. So stop reading now. Really.
How I spent election night: up in my 11 year old daughter's room hugging her as she cried. She wasn't crying because her candidate didn't win. She was crying because she was afraid that someone was going to "come get us" because we're Jewish. I promised that wouldn't happen. She was worried that people would know that I voted for Clinton and punish me for it. I described the democratic process. We talked about other presidents I didn't agree with in my lifetime. I told her that her life would change very little, and that it would be important to do good things for people who will be affected.
I don't think any of them ever actively courted racists (and the KKK!!) to get votes, though, but I didn't discuss this with my daughter. I live in a very liberal city, and I only am friends with one Trump supporter. I wanted to ask her how she can support him when she herself isn't a racist (and has at least one Jewish friend). I wanted to ask her what she'd tell my daughter.
I watched Van Jones (who I really admire) talking to voters in Gettysburg and I do think there needs to be a dialog. But now that they've won this election, I'm not sure Trump supporters want this dialog now.
Not every Trump supporter is a racist, surely. But by courting racists, they have given them legitimacy. And by allying themselves with racists, they've said that it's ok.
Here is what I'm NOT telling my daughter: I am worried, too. I am worried about the climate, rejection of science, our national parks, clean energy. I am worried about women's and LGBT rights. I am particularly worried for Muslims and immigrants and hispanic people. Black lives matter to me! And I am worried for myself and my family; I am worried that I might one day have to make a decision about when is the right time to use my Canadian passport and uproot my family before it's too late. I like to think I'd have more foresight than some of my ancestors did, but I'm scared I will ignore warning signs.
I don't hate most Trump supporters, I just don't understand; and I'm disappointed because all of the values that I think are non-negotiable, they don't agree with or don't think are that important. And they don't understand me either, and probably think I'm being melodramatic. But, these are the things I'm thinking about, and if you read this even though I warned you not to, I'm sorry if I offended anyone.
I have LOVED reading everyone's 20 things... I am not sure there are 20 interesting facts about me... But I will give it a try!
1. My daughter and I are currently doing mother-daughter aerials (trapeze and silks) together!
2. Everywhere I've ever lived is jam-packed with tourists! (Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Fe NM and Dublin Ireland)
3. My 11-year-old daughter is just about my height and wears the same shoe size (I am short).
4. I would prefer to only wear pajamas.
5. My birthday is Halloween (I will be 50 this year!)
6. I have big, wavy, static-filled, crazy-person hair like early Hermione Granger. But only 6 grey hairs so far!
7. I have designed about 12 fire stations.
8. I have an uncontrollable potty mouth, particularly while driving.
9. I hate shopping.
10. I tend to wear my clothes until they shred (see #9)
11. My daughter and I play a game called "Would I Drive that to School" and I would not be embarrassed to drive pretty much anything.
12. I draw a cartoon for my daughter's lunch every day.
13. I can't carry a tune. At all. But I sing often!
14. I wore a uniform in high school and LOVED it (see #9 again)
15. I love animals; we have a dog, cat and bird, but I'd love a goat and chickens and a rat...
16. I don't like soda. Yuck.
17. I love cutting the dog hair off of the vacuum roller. So satisfying!
OK, I got to 17... that's enough, right?
Strangely, in our family we didn't have anyone who served in the armed forces during war (at least not anyone that I knew). Somehow the timing of war or other circumstances intervened.
But... I still think about people on Memorial Day who lost loved ones or who suffered during war.
Here is my family's story:
- My father was an officer in the Navy between Korea and Vietnam. He still has his hat and his ensign whistle, and great stories about being on the ship.
- My grandfather's brother enlisted in WWI even though he was in Canada and they were neutral. I didn't know him, but my grandfather talked about how he watched his brother's dog while his brother was in Europe. That brother did come home, but died before I was born; since he had no children, I have his medal.
- My grandparents emigrated to the US from Canada, and came down on the train on the West Coast the night they bombed Pearl Harbor. My grandfather had rheumatic fever when he was young, so he couldn't serve in WWII. He worked at the post exchange, and my grandmother wrote down POW messages from Japan and the Phillipines and sent word to the POW's families via penny postcards. I have the postcards and letters the families sent back, and I treasure them; they make me cry every time I read them! Some people hadn't heard that their relatives were alive until my grandmother sent those postcards!
- My father-in-law was a young boy during the Blitz in London. His mother didn't send him to the country where it was safer because she wanted him to stay with her. His stories are pretty scary, but he ended up making it through the war! He's 87 now!
I feel like my family was so lucky, and I am very grateful!
Oh my gosh, what a mother's day visit... my parents came out from CA for Grand-friends Day at F's school, and it just happened to be Mother's Day, too.
It was sort of a difficult visit. My mom was nervous, and she's still experiencing pain that she did when we went to LA in March, so she wasn't in the best mood. Nervous and cranky. Nervous, cranky and judgmental.
My mom said she had a wonderful time, though. So I'm thankful for that.
They ended up arranging for a different flight and leaving a day early. I'm not taking it personally. They have to attend a memorial service on Monday, and my mom wanted to make sure she could go home and rest a little first. They had a 7:30 flight out, but they left our house at 3 (but this may be because we don't have television; my mom asked what was on, and when D explained that we don't have cable, she gasped and then said that it was ok, she'd play a game on her phone. She didn't want to go on a walk, she didn't want to go anywhere, she didn't want to do anything except watch TV and we don't have TV. D said we had lots of shows on the internet to watch, but she wanted to flip around the channels, and because we don't have TV, we don't have channels).
After my parents left, we went to the park and played basketball (a game F made up that she and I love) because, after all, it's still Mother's Day and I'm a mother, right? I get to do something with my daughter that we love! We went to Whole Foods and got nice olives and some ice cream, and we had cheese and crackers and olives for dinner (my favorite!) with mint chocolate chip for dessert.
I am still processing the visit. I did a bunch of cartoons (did you know I draw silly cartoons?) to try to figure things out. I read somewhere about this woman who draws cartoons about anxiety, and I thought that it is definitely my medium. I am going to confess now that in my cartoon, my mother is a gorilla with curly hair, and I am a sheep and F is an adorable little piglet. She loves pigs. So there you go.
F (adorable piglet) asks "Didn't you have dance moves when you were young?"
Curly haired gorillas says "No, I was too poor."
OK, you probably guessed that was actual dialog from a discussion about the dab - a dance move which F was trying to explain to my parents who saw it during a Grand-friends Day performance; it still cracks me up.
And, oh - it was a very frugal Mother's Day! Even at Whole Foods, you can't spend too much on olives and ice cream!
I'm not proud of it, but I'm not ashamed either. And maybe it wasn't a bribe; maybe it was a reward.
My poor 10 year old is just having such a hard time with separation anxiety. And she missed day 1 of the class field trip. We drove all the way out and she was told by the teachers that the parent drivers needed to leave in 5 minutes and if she could stay that was good, but she'd need to decide immediately. So she left in the car with me. Luckily it was not as dramatic as the day before at school when she screamed and screamed at dropoff and then called me at 10 am and said she felt sick and then cried on the phone.
We vowed to try the next day for day 2, but I could see she was deflated. And anxious. Really anxious. Only now, it wasn't even about anything. She was just anxious about anxiety.
I told her that we'd try tomorrow, and if she was able to stay then she could pick out a toy. After she read a book and did math on Khan Academy (because it was still a school day and I didn't think being allowed to skip the school trip to play all day was a good idea even if the teachers basically forced her to skip the trip by not giving her enough time to work up the courage to stay), she got on Amazon and found a playmobil set she really wanted. She shyly asked me if it cost too much.
Hell, yes, it cost too much! But I figured if this was something to look forward to and a motivator, than it was actually cheap. I said yes, and she started getting very attached to her playmobil set, even printing out a photo of it to carry in her pocket, and then Istarted worrying that she wouldn't be able to stay for day 2 of the class field trip. And that then she'd be even more upset.
So we started practicing square breathing, which is the only anxiety-reliever that actually works for me.
I worried all night and didn't sleep. I wanted that too-expensive toy her so badly! I knew if she could do it, it'd be a big step forward for her self-confidence.
I drove her back out at 8 am, and we did square breathing the whole way in the car. And then she started weeping quietly. And then the super nice older teacher saw her and came running over. That teacher called over F's best friend K and we stood and talked for a few minutes and we explained square breathing to K and the nice teacher. And then she said "I can't do it" and my heart was racing, so I started square breathing. And then she did. Then we were all square breathing.
And then she said "I'm staying" and I left. Quickly. I almost cried with relief in the car. There was no screaming, and she was still there. On the highway, my phone rang, and I was so relieved to see it was my electrical engineer and not one of the teachers!
Then I got a text and it was another teacher saying "All the girls are so glad she's here!" and then a photo of F in the middle of a bunch of other 5th graders.
When all of the parents went to pick up the kids, one of the 6th grade girls said to me "L and I eat lunch with F and K and A every day. F is so sweet!" F confirmed that she and K and A (also 5th graders) go eat in the 6th grade class with the two 6th graders. And another girl came to say hi and told me she was glad F made it.
F was still clutching the paper with the photo of the playmobil set on it. She asked if she would be able to get it. Um, yes - I already ordered it! It's coming on Sunday!
She said the day was really fun, and they did some great activities, even though the zip line was canceled due to thunder. She felt like part of the group. And maybe Monday dropoff at school will be a little easier? Maybe I'll sleep tonight, to.
So - I bribed my daughter. She might have stayed today anyway, but if the bribe (reward) helped, than I'm ok with it if only for the huge boost in confidence.
With F not on her class trip, I decided to keep things low-key but still have a nice day out.
I had to do a tree survey for one of my projects (listing height, spread and caliper) so I enlisted F to help me; it's what I would have done anyway if she'd been on the trip. We had to enter through the "no trespassing" gate which made her nervous, but I assured her that since this is my project site, we're not actually trespassing. Then we parked the car and had to tromp across what was used for many years as a dump (people tended to just chuck things into arroyos). There were lots of sticker-bushes and old bottles. Even an entire stove and armchair. They've filled in the arroyo with dirt but it's loose and sandy, so we had to watch our footing. When we got to the other side, it was much easier, but we had step over an old barbed-wire fence. This also made F nervous, but it was all fine; we had on good shoes and she is an experienced hiker (since she could walk!).
I think it was good for her to have to confront these kinds of very mild risks (trespassing! cacti! tumbleweeds! rusty fences!) given some of her fears.
After we were done, and I'd closed the "no trespassing" gate, we headed up to Tsankawi, an American Indian ancestral site from about the 1400s. It was windy but beautiful. I thought a hike, being outside, would be good since that's what her classmates are doing, and I think being outside clears your head. The hike was incredible. Not too long. It includes trails heavily grooved into the rock by the former residents, other trails along the mesa top and two kiva-type ladders.
It was a good opportunity to talk about things, and also to think about the people who used to live here. What would it have been like to be a kid back then, living here in a cave in the rock? There were petroglyphs and pot shards, too.
After the hike we stopped for lunch at one of my favorite taco places in Pojoaque. It was 12:30 and it was packed! We got a seat at a table for four, but I saw two women who came after us who were waiting to sit and there were no tables, so I asked them to sit with us. It turned out they were from Picuris Pueblo (one of the 19 Indian pueblos in our state) about an hour from where we live, and they'd been in Santa Fe for the day and were heading home. We chatted about all kinds of stuff (one of them grew up right near where we live).
Before we all went on our way, they invited us to the Picuris Pueblo feast day in August. Such a great opportunity! I know a lot of people go to the Feast Days, but I feel weird if I'm not invited.
It's good to make a connection with people, and I think that's probably exactly what F needed today. Because this is a finance blog, the day cost $35 (that's for lunch and trail passes) and we have a ton of leftover chips and guacamole!
A class trip, overnight, for 4th graders; I guess it depends on the kid, right? My kid, I have mentioned, is a very anxious not-yet-10-year-old. Seriously - she is taking her piano lesson right now and she said "you're not allowed to leave!" which she knows I don't do anyway. When she has soccer practice I like to run around the track, but this also makes her super nervous ("what if something happens to you?" she asks me).
She is about 4 sessions into therapy for anxiety, and it's going really well.
OK, so the trip is basically this:
2.5 hour drive to a national preserve
spend 4 hours doing activities and eating lunch
1 hour drive to where they'll be staying (in the summer it's a camp)
1 hour drive back to the national preserve
1 hour activities
2.5 hour drive back to school
A lot of driving. Did I mention that there isn't cellphone service at the national preserve. She wants me to be max 25 minutes away from her at all times (I have no idea why it's 25 minutes) which is not possible. There is absolutely nothing closer than an hour. Parents are not allowed to go (the chaperones are three teachers and the Principal).
She doesn't want to stay overnight no matter what. She is torn about going on the first day. It's a school day, and my initial thought was that she should do as much of the trip as possible. But I am also worried that if she tries to call/text and it doesn't go through all day she'll freak out and undo the work she's put into the therapy so far.
So... what do I do?
I've offered two options:
1. She can go and do the first day and I will pick her up after dinner (1.5 hour drive) and I'll take her home; on Friday she can help in the Kindergarten class.
2. Skip the whole thing. If that's what she decides, I may take her up to Ghost Ranch which is only an hour away and there are cool education programs (I think Thursday is a hike then lunch then archery). It's the former home of Georgia O'Keeffe. That isn't free, and it's not inexpensive, but I'm ok with it since it's a pretty cool program. We'd bring our paints, too.
Just to add another layer on this: the forecast on Friday is snow and rain. I was thinking I could get a room near the camp and F could spend the night there and I could take her back in the morning, but that is $$ and I don't want to drive home in the snowy rain.
Oh - and another thing. There's another mother that thinks her child is just too young for this. She was going to keep her home from the whole thing, and she can help out with the little kids (we both had the same idea). She and I talked, and if I pick up F at the end of Thursday, she would let her daughter go and I could take her home, too. (If they both don't go, then maybe the three of us go to Ghost Ranch).
The other parents are fine with the trip, or if not fine, their kids want to go.
So, what do you think? You can blast me for terrible parenting; I won't feel bad!
This is for Klarose who has dogs that look kind of like mine. She's a Pyrenees mix (and we're not sure what she's mixed with). She's from our local shelter but she was a transfer from another shelter. I think she might have been a herding dog.
OK, this doesn't have to do with our finances except that she eats a lot of food!!!
We had the meeting up at school the other night - it was with the Principal, former lead teacher, secondary teacher, new lead teacher, all of the parents and the head of the Board. None of the parents were happy; all of us wanted the secondary teacher to step up and be the lead rather than bringing in a new teacher.
The Principal has made his decision, though. The concessions we did get: the new lead will be in the classroom more in the next few weeks to help transition, the secondary teacher will be in our classroom more than her current half time, the intern that comes in 10 hours a week is now coming 20, and last year's secondary teacher (who the kids LOVE) will be coming in for a few hours on Monday and Friday.
I am, in the end, ok with it, as long as there is monitoring to see how they're doing and there is communication about that. Many of the parents are still unhappy.
In good news: our net worth is over $1 million. I am so happy! Now... this is a little misleading because $600k of this is the value of our house, but still... Investments are at $471k approx.
Less stress today than yesterday.
I managed to call a few friends about the office (no takers yet - may have to be a bit more "global" about it and post on facebook to a wider audience).
We received new credit cards the other day, and I activated them this morning, then spent about half an hour changing the credit card info on paypal, amazon, itunes, health insurance company, insurance company, netflix. Luckily I have a list of what is associated with that credit card, so I don't have to think about it. The only reason it took so long is that the health insurance company had me on hold forever. And then they were jerks about it, saying that I had a pending payment, and if it didn't go through then they'd charge me $30. So then I had to call my credit card and make sure they were paying the pending payments (they are).
I almost finished a proposal that is due next week. I am waiting for info from my landscape architect, but that didn't stop me from working on other sections.
I went to my weightlifting class at lunch time.
And then I picked up F from school. We are sitting across from each other at the dining room table; she's doing her homework.
I didn't go to a store, and I didn't spend a dime (not on the internet either).
And F will spend the evening with her friend while D and I are meeting the new teacher. Turns out the school is letting the kids play in the library while we meet, but I think F will be happier playing with a friend.
Trying to practices zen mindset since today has just been... weird... irritating... ugh.
- My uncle is in the hospital in Las Vegas; he probably needs to go into assisted living. This was the uncle who my mother and I are trying to help by setting up automatic bank drafts, etc. My mother has been calling me ten times a day.
- I haven't found a tenant for the office space in our office yet. I wanted my friend K to take it, but she hasn't called me back. I need to start looking in earnest. Tomorrow.
- I bought the countertop for our office, managed to remove the backsplash in one piece so it can be re-used (yay!). But my office mate hasn't been in to help me install. Called him, but he hasn't called me back.
- I do architectural review for a subdivision, and when I called one of the homeowners today who is making a minor change, he told me he would not pay for my time. (Other neighborhoods for which I provide this service pay me directly, but this neighborhood has the owners pay, and if they refuse, the neighborhood pays - it's a pain in the behind).
- Got an email from the school today - F's teacher got a job with the State Educ. Dept. and it starts mid-March, and no, they will not let her start the job 2 1/2 months later, and yes, she is breaking her contract. And my daughter's heart.
- The new teacher is a woman who subs sometimes. According to F, she constantly screws up her name (in fact, today she called her by the wrong name! Two other kids tried to correct her). We'll have to have a talk. It's one thing for the sub to call someone by the wrong name, but very different if the main teacher does it! (Just as an aside - there is NO way she'll be able to spell it if she can't even say it right). I asked the Principal if we could have a "connection conference" with her before she starts; this is something we have at the beginning of each year to talk about our kids and their personalities, etc. (and how you pronounce their names!).
OK, enough venting.
By the way, this was not a no-spend day. After school I took F for ice cream; she was crying in the car. Oh my.