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Archive for December, 2009

not a nice thing to wake up to

December 30th, 2009 at 12:25 am

This morning DF woke me up to tell me someone had thrown a concrete brick through my back car window.

There is glass everywhere that I have to clean up before it rains again (but I want to vent first).

Insurance doesn't cover it because I only have third party property damage, fire and theft. (Because I don't see the point in paying $1500 a year for insuring a car that is only worth $5000 - so instead I pay $383 a year). Even so, if my insurance DID cover it, my excess would have been $500, because I am under 25.

The silver lining in all of this is, because I am a member of an automobile club (which costs $70 a year), I get a 20% discount on glass repairs and replacements with a certain company. I called them, and the cost to replace the window is $570, with a discount that brings it to $456, plus the rubber seals approximately $50. All of this AND they come to my house to do it. So in the end, it's cost me basically the same amount.

So I am feeling a little better after this whole incident. Except now I have to go and clean glass out of my car. And throw out my NEW seat covers. ARGH.

darn it! computer woes.

December 28th, 2009 at 11:00 pm

Something has happened to DF's computer and I don't know how to fix it. Usually I can fix most things (with the aid of google) but this I can't.

Last week he had a virus on it which was tricky to get around but I eventually fixed it.

Now when he starts it, it goes to the error bluescreen and tells me to disable or delete the software & hardware we've recently installed (which is none) and gives me some technical info that I don't really understand, and tells me to use safe mode if I need to (but it won't let me even get into safe mode, it just goes back to the bluescreen) Argh.

DF thinks it is because when he shut it down two days ago (the last time he used it) he accidently flicked the powerswitch off at the wall before it finished shutting down - but I don't think that's it.

It's an old computer but it's not that old - I think he got it in 05 or 06.

Does anyone recommend any good tech help websites? Or has had this happen before?

2010 Goals

December 28th, 2009 at 01:18 am

Home:
- Finish building in double garage downstairs.
- Paint lounge walls.
- Get oven/stove fixed (by end of January)
- Research & purchase air-conditioner in time for spring/summer 2010 (september)
- Continue herb & vegetable growing attempts.
- Buy filing cabinet and sort out paperwork (by march/april)
- Extra storage for clothing in bedrooms.
- Dog kennel for Banjo
- Fence property by Dec 2010.

Finance:
- Keep track of daily spending.
- Build EF to 3 months expenses.
- Pay extra per month on mortgage (min. average $250 month).
- Reduce personal spending and send extra to personal loan
- Pay off personal loan by December 2010.


Health:
- Some form of physical exercise 5-6 days per week, 30 minutes or more.
- Both DF & I to visit skin check clinic.
- Make Dr's appt for myself.
- Get DF to have a full checkup.
- See an alternative health therapist (atleast once if not more).
- Ensure my current weightloss is maintained.
- Further weightloss goal #1: 1kg by January 2010.
- (re-evaluate goal time frame for weightloss based on WG # 1 completion) Weightloss goal # 2: 3kg
- Weightloss goal # 3: 5kg
- Nag at DF until he has 2 x alcohol free days per week Big Grin

Other:
- Ensure Jed & Banjo get walked 5-6 days per week, regular vet visits & flea treatments.
- Continue to utilise library, read 1 x non-fiction and 1 x fiction book per month.
- By December 2010 have decided on major details of wedding (ie. date/venue/food/budget/guest number) and created a loose savings/expenses plan.

woah! renovations!

December 24th, 2009 at 08:48 am

So last week DF and his dad and my little brother started to build in our downstairs area (it's a carport under our house, we are making it so it is an enclosed double garage.)

And today when I got home DF had decided to knock out the wall that separates the hallway and dining room from the lounge room. (Don't worry - the previous builder put in a counterbeam so it is not load bearing).

It took him a couple of hours but it's all done now, and wow! Definately makes a difference. Our house looks totally different inside, it will take some getting used to.

In other news, my cars brake lights won't turn off, even when the car is off and the keys aren't in the ignition. DF had to take the fuse out. WHY does this have to happen on CHRISTMAS EVE!? What the hell! Argh.

I have no idea what we are going to do; tomorrow is christmas and I have lots of driving to do. So I am going to look like an idiot driver that drives with their foot on the brake at all times. I hope I can get my mechanic to look at it on Tuesday, if DF and his BIL can't figure it out on the weekend. Grr. Talk about inconvenient.

Banjo is now with us!

December 23rd, 2009 at 09:58 am

I took him home with me yesterday, and he and Jed get along fine. I think Jed is still a little confused. He keeps looking at us as if to say 'What is this little thing following me around?'

I bought him some things at the discount store today. A lead, the same as Jeds but in a different colour, some feedbowls (there are SIX feedbowls lined up on our verandah! one each for water, dry food and wet food) and a collar. I had to buy him a cat collar because everything else was too big - he will grow out of it in no time though, and then we can get him a proper one. So currently we know where he is 24/7 because he has a little bell on him. So cute!

We have gone a little crazy with spending money this month. It seemed like as soon as we bought one thing, money just kept spilling out!

Granted, we did find some good deals, which is why the money was spent now, instead of later.

DF found series 1 of Supernatural for $29.95. (I've only ever seen it for $40-$50).

And I found series 1 AND 2 of Californication for $24.92 each, so I bought them both Big Grin (We watched them in about two days).

Then I found series 3 of X files for $21 including postage on eBay. I can't get it at the store for less than $32.95 ON SALE.

To balance it out, we used a $20 voucher I got for internet surveys to pay for some of it, and I sold a bottle of skincare product on ebay for $31 ($4.40 postage and $1.31 in ebay fees).

My friend finished watching In Treatment, and once I get it back from my other friend, I will re sell it. Apparently it is fetching around $80 - which is way more than I paid for it a few months back (I think I paid $65). Atleast I will get roughly what I paid for it back.

I also bought some underwear which was around $70, some leggings for $5 and a shirt for $5, and DF bought two tshirts for $20.

So yes, coupled with a couple of breakfasts out and a couple of takeaway dinners, we seem to have had a bit of a spendy month. And it probably won't stop now, we realllllly want to go and see Avatar at the movies, and the only chance we'll get is next week.


updates

December 21st, 2009 at 11:50 pm

I have not been on here for a while - I'll have to go through and read everyones blogs now. (If anything super duper has happened to you, please leave it in a comment! otherwise I might miss it...!)

DF, his dad and my little brother are building in the downstairs area of our house, so we will have a closed in garage, complete with roller doors and windows. All it cost was a few hundred dollars in framing pine - the rest DF has aquired from job sites where clients have told him to take it. Big Grin

We are FINALLY getting Banjo tomorrow. Very exciting. Can't wait to see how he and Jed interact.

I am working four days over the next two weeks. Money-wise it's crap, but I guess it's nice to have a break. I will just have to keep myself away from the shops (and the sales! sigh...) because DF wont be working either. So I guess that buffer that we just increased, will DEcrease again.

I am planning on having a kind of 'spring clean' (even though it's the middle of summer...) on one or two of my days off. I figured we have been here nearly 10 months, it is time to clean up big time.
Walls, skirtings, cupboards, windows, flyscreens, door tracks, drawers etc etc.

What else do you do on a spring-clean? I've never had to do a big clean - we've always moved before time came to do that! Big Grin

We broke our own rule on not buying presents for christmas. We decided to buy my younger brother and sister something because they (like me) do not get much. We bought them both a tshirt with a cool print. My brother got one with a Transformer (can't remember which one - don't care) and my sister got one with pictures of owls on it. If it were my size I'd keep it. Alas, she's smaller than me Frown lol.

That's all my news for now I think.



advice on talking to people in social situations

December 16th, 2009 at 01:42 am

When we bought our house earlier this year, on settlement date the real estate office that handled the sale gave us a bag of goodies. In it was some camembert cheese, champagne, crackers, chocolate, a newspaper subscription, key rings and a book written by a local hinterland author, Allan Pease, about interacting with people, how to be a great conversationalist, how to talk to men/women etc etc. So it turns out that Allan Pease is actually well known in the motivational/public speaking sector, and out of coincidence I heard him on the radio a few days at work, too.

Having never read the book the real estate so kindly gave us, I decided to have a flick through yesterday, and found it to be really good.

I am terrible in social situations. Before I even *arrive* at a party or event my stomach is in knots from anxiety and I feel physically sick. ( I know, Big Grin it's awesome to be me.) I have no idea how to talk to people I don't know so my conversation is stunted and awkward. My mind goes completely blank for any interesting topics of conversation, and any usual questions you would ask someone, even with people I know but don't see a lot.
This book was really interesting and I got a couple of things out of it:

First of all, people don't want to hear about you, they want to talk about themselves. Which sounds kind of harsh but kind of makes sense. So when you're trying to talk to someone you just met, don't sit there waiting for a gap in conversation so you can talk about yourself, keep the focus on the person you're trying to talk to. Eventually conversation will flow freely and they will ask you the same things.

Secondly it talks about the open-ended questions (which we all know is commonsense) but then also talks of using 'bridges' in conversations to keep it flowing, (which is my major downfall) if you are talking to someone who gives short answers. (Bridges are 'such as' 'which means' 'for example' 'how did you...' 'what type of...' etc - they encourage the other person to keep talking and explain their previous answer in more detail).

So anyway, I was wondering what other tips anyone on here has for being the life of the party. Or atleast, tips on not being the poor girl sitting in the corner looking sullen and waiting to go home. Smile How do YOU talk to people? What are interesting conversation starters you use? What types of questions do you ask someone you just met?

living paycheck to paycheck

December 15th, 2009 at 02:08 am

There are two people in my life who are dear to me, who both live exactly the same way.

The first is my closest friend T, and the second is my mother.

They both smoke and drink heavily, and buy impulsively. They both have been/are bankrupt. And they both live paycheck to paycheck.

I admit there have been a few times where I have had to 'wait' until my next wage payment to buy something, or have had a feeling of relief when payday rolled around - but all those times, I have had money aside that I could use if I wanted to, I just chose not to.

There are many of you on this website who do live this way currently because of past choices, but are trying extremely hard to turn the cycle around, and many of you who have overcome this and no longer live this way.

I am worried about my friend as she is only 24 but I can see her staying the exact same way for the rest of her life - and turning out like my mother.

I guess I am wondering, how do you help someone who lives like this? How do you make them realise you don't have to live this way?
T does not seem to have a problem with it. When we meet for coffee on Wednesday, I cannot meet her before 3pm because her wages go in at 3pm. She cannot even afford a drink. I don't want to harp on it too much to her - but I am still unable to understand how she can think this is normal? And my mum too - but she has been like this her whole life, I can't try to help her any more than I already have. I guess I have kind of shifted my energy onto someone that might actually change. They are just so similar it scares me.

And they buy items that are totally unecesary. Atleast, to me I think that. Maybe, well, obviously, they are very much necesary to them. Like a sewing machine (to make curtains), or a surf board because suddenly T is interested in surfing lessons, and 'needs' a surfboard. They both have these obsessions that last about a month, spend a ton of money on and then aren't interested in them anymore.

And I think it's crazy.

Personally it would stress me out too much to live this way. I know it's not an 'ideal' situation, but aren't you meant to live like that temporarily? Aren't you meant to strive toward NOT being broke every payday?

update to the sushi trial

December 13th, 2009 at 08:20 am

An update to my entry about making sushi for the first time:

It worked out splendidly! It rolled perfectly and everything was even, nothing fell apart. DF loved it and took some for lunch the next day.

I think this could well be the start of a new obsession. Atleast it is summer and a good time to be eating cold rice and seaweed. I am sure that it is atleast partly healthy...? We make them with avocado, cucumber, tuna, tofu, carrot, capsicum and pickled ginger in different combinations. I was thinking brown rice would be an interesting experiment, but I am not so sure it would work. Has anyone ever tried this???

While it's not a super-cheap meal, it's not particularly expensive, atleast in my books. Dinner and leftovers for lunch the next day can be made for around $10, which is a pretty ballpark figure for most of our meals. I know many people feed their families of four, five or six for less than this amount, but I like to have fun in the kitchen now and then. And when I find a recipe that I can make without a stove or an oven, don't stand in my way! Lol.

christmas rant

December 11th, 2009 at 07:02 am

So, I know this makes me a horrible horrible person, but I just cannot stand Christmas. Maybe when I have children I will think differently, but honestly I can't see the point in it aside from, yes, the actual 'family gathering' part, which is always good no matter what the day is called: New Years, Labour Day, Australia Day, Queens Birthday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday yadda yadda etc etc.

I realised this (my dislike for all things Christmassy) a good few years ago. I just can't quite get my head around it.

Money is a number one reason why I don't get excited at the mention of tinsel and angels. Yes, yes, I know you can have a perfectly good Christmas without spending a lot of money - that's all good and well.

But it's all this advertising that is thrown up in November/December, designed to make consumers spend money on things that any other time of the year you would look at and go 'there is no way I am spending money that'. That is mainly what makes me feel hate towards Christmas.

And the decorations? The tree? Why would you pay money for either a PLASTIC tree, or a tree that has been cut down so you can have it in your living room for a month and then throw out?

A friend of mine bought me a christmas tree because I don't have one, and because I refused to buy one. "Everyone must have a christmas tree." she said to me. Do you see what I mean? Already, money has been spent on something unneccesary, simply because 'it's christmas'. What am I going to do with it? Pack it away in a box of other crap I don't use, and then eventually it will probably make its way into landfill. Awesome.

And the STRESS. The word 'stress' is thrown about a lot during the Christmas season.
People stress over the food, will there be enough, or not enough? The answer is most likely too much.
They stress over family. Will there be clashes? Does the alcoholic uncle really have to be invited? Yes of course, it's Christmas, you must invite everyone you normally wouldn't sit in the same room with.
People stress over presents, finding the perfect gift, spending too much, spending not enough, how much other people have spent on you, have they already got this one, will it fit, will they like it?

When do the stores close? When do they open? The difficulty in finding a parking space. Car park rage. Shopping rage. Busy stores. Returns. Laybuys. Items out of stock. Not having the right size or the right colour. Overpriced wrapping paper. Overpriced decorations. Overpriced ribbon. Red, Green and White. Sore Feet.

The other reason I don't like Christmas is because of all the disruptions.
I can't work on Christmas, because we're closed, and then the day after is a public holiday, and I am too expensive. DF can't work for over two WEEKS, because most people have relatives staying over and don't want tradesmen trudging through their house with a floor sander.

And then of course, because everyone overspent for Christmas (why? because! it's christmas!) DF has jobs cancelled in January because people are broke, and then February and March are typically slow for the same reason - and my work slows down and everyone wonders when their shifts are going to get cut as well.

I *DO* understand the religious side of it all, and that's fine. I really have NO PROBLEM with families celebrating Christmas when their lives revolve around religion anyway. I have friends that celebrate Ramadan each year and I hear quite a bit about it from them - when I ask, that is. However, I am not in the slightest bit interested in religion, so I don't see why I should have to be bombarded with Christmas every time I step out the door. And I am trying very hard to understand why people get wrapped up (no pun intended) in Christmas when they have no interest in the true roots of it all.

So maybe I'm just an odd, weird, whinging girl, but then again maybe you can begin to get why I just don't understand the madness of it all. Smile

meal plan, sushi?

December 8th, 2009 at 10:48 pm

It's grocery-shopping day for me today so I've been making a loose meal plan for the week. I have nori in the pantry which I have been meaning to use (I usually shred it over miso soup or have it with rice or an omellette). I have never made sushi at home before so I was thinking of doing that some afternoon this week, all I need to buy is some suhi rice as I have everything else at home.
At my staff party we were discussing sushi (as the boss bought a sushi platter). It seems that it is a common mistake that people make in thinking that 'sushi' is rice, seaweed and raw fish. Yes, SOME of it is, but not all of it.

I am hoping to not get a lot of things at the store this week, we don't need a lot. And we have been basically eating salad every night as it's too hot to eat anything else! This is my meal plan for the week (it could change):

- Salad & Steamed Veges (& lamb chops for DF)
- Sushi (well, I will attempt it...)
- Slow Cooked Rosemary Potatoes with salad.
- BBQ'd Veges & Salad
- Fresh Spring Roll Wraps
- Pasta with basil pesto & grilled capsicum


That's all I have for now... Big Grin

goals, heat, gift ideas for a 21st?

December 8th, 2009 at 01:16 am

It's probably about time I start thinking of 2010's goals!
Is it just me or has 2009 gone really fast?

I have completed one goal for December - I went in and got my tattoo touched up. The artist insisted that I parade my leg around to everyone in the shop because it healed so well and he was ecstatic about it; and then went on to tell me that if anyone else came in wanting the touch-up that I asked for (which was really small) he would tell them to go away. I left with my head about ten sizes bigger Big Grin

Jed has been suffering in the heat, he is pooped by the time I get home from a measly 30 minute jog/walk! But I am still going to make sure I keep up to the 6 days a week walking goal. I even updated my iPod shuffle. Big Grin

Christmas season is starting and work is getting busier. I would cross my fingers and hope for a few more shifts, but I know I will lose atleast two (Xmas Day and New Years Day are on Fridays). BUT, that means I possibly may get two long weekends. As long as I don't go out and spend any money, it should be fine!

We are wondering what to give DF's apprentice M for his birthday. It is his 21st next Friday and he has invited both of us - which is kind of nice. I guess DF has been a big part of M's life - he started working with him and training him 4 years ago when he was only 17 and they have established a good relationship. M is rather young (in maturity) and even though DF gets annoyed sometimes because all M ever seems to care about is getting drunk on the weekends at the pub with his mates, in heart he is a good kid. DF is kind of like an older brother to him and I've noticed M has taken on a few of DF's values (values which are NOT present in his friends, lol! DF is rather traditional.)

I think we might just end up giving him $50 or something. It is probably something he would appreciate most, seeing as work slows down from Christmas til February.
What would you give?

things are going well financially

December 3rd, 2009 at 05:29 am

As of yesterday, we have made

- $2733.98 extra payments into the variable portion of our home loan this year and
- $215.15 extra into the fixed portion this year.

Our bills account is sailing along smoothly.

Our 'buffer' in our checking account is over $5000 - by the end of this month I hope it will be $6000.

I haven't the slightest idea how much our superannuation is at, but I think it has now surpassed 30k combined.

We have $500 in cash sitting around at home, and $800 in another account that we will eventually get around to transferring to our mortgage.

I think we might be able to buy the materials to build a fence on or even before the New Year, and whether we need to buy a new stove or fix the old one, I hope it can be done in the next week or two. We can definately afford it, which is a good feeling!

Things are going well financially here.

November: the first good month in a long time, spending-wise!

December 2nd, 2009 at 02:44 am

I am very pleased with our efforts for November in regards to spending!

Even though DF's earnings have been considerably less for October and November, we FINALLY were able to put an extra payment into the mortgage!

Here are our totals:

Mortgage Payments: $1765.84
Groceries: $549.16
Petrol: $208.34
Phone & Internet: $77.20
Electricity: $564.80
House Insurance: $69.39
Life Insurance: $53.67
Personal Loan Payment: $221.35
Pet Supplies: $132.35
House Repairs/Maintenance: $49.95
Work Expenses: $382.79
DF Fun $: $154.30
My Fun $: $136.66
Clothes: $69.95
Dining Out: $33.90
Entertainment: $10.00
Misc: $93.44
Charity/Donations: $30.00
Bank Fees: $2.20
Health/Grooming: $82.95
TOTAL EXPENDITURE: $4688.24

Extra Mortgage Payment: $594.64
Added To Emergency Fund: $945.81

*Whew* I feel like we had a good month over all. Our personal expenditure is down a lot, and so is a lot of other categories. Groceries are higher, which I am going to work at over the next few months. I just need to figure out some cheap, healthy meals.

Next month any leftover money from my personal stash will go toward my personal loan.

December Goals

December 1st, 2009 at 11:55 pm

Not a lot this month, just some things to keep me in check!

- Walk Jed 6 days a week.
- Keep grocery spending to or under budget.
- Get the stove/oven fixed.
- Keep weightloss on track (a loss of 2kg by January is my goal)
- Replant Rosemary & Lettuce
- Get my tattoo touched up.
- Make a doctors appointment.
- Survive the Christmas frenzy!
- Research health insurance.
- Find a cheaper comprehensive car insurance provider before December 19th.
- Research cheaper internet & home phone plans for January/February expiry of current plan.