My holidays have started today! Unfortunately, even though to most a holiday is meant to go hand in hand with sleeping in (in my case sleeping in is 7am - still an extra two hours though!) today, tomorrow and Sunday I have to still get up around 5am but it is all for a good cause.
Today I got up with DF to take Jed for a walk, and then do final cleaning before I meet my parents at the airport.
Tomorrow I am going into work to make the mini custard tarts and ice the mini cupcakes.
And on Sunday I have to get up and make sandwhiches, and then bag a spot at the park so no one else takes it! We are getting there two hours early, because several things are happening in the area and we believe there will be massive amounts of people there. Puts a bit of a damper on the day, but oh well.
Most people have RSVP'd. I have heard from other people that a few are coming who have NOT RSVP'd (which actually annoys me - how hard is it to send a text message??? or a facebook message? or, I know, CALL! Bah!) Anyway. So all up I believe around 45-50 people are going to be there.
If you haven't heard, parts of Australia have been covered in dust storms (that aren't usually).
Google Image 'Dust storms Australia' and you will find some interesting pictures.
It was worse in Sydney and Melbourne than in Queensland, where we live, but my car is covered in a layer of dust, and I was coughing a lot on the day and the day after. When you were outside it was like you were breathing in chalk - eugh!
But, because I have never been in a dust storm of that size and severity, I thought it was beautiful. Everyone was complaining about it, which I suppose is normal, but honestly, it's not something you see every day. I thought it was particularly cool. It's not often the sky is a browny red colour all day, and it's not often you can't see 20 metres in front of you.
Anyway. That's all for now. I may or may not blog for the next week. Enjoy my absence! lol.
Archive for September, 2009
My holidays have started today! Unfortunately, even though to most a holiday is meant to go hand in hand with sleeping in (in my case sleeping in is 7am - still an extra two hours though!) today, tomorrow and Sunday I have to still get up around 5am but it is all for a good cause.
A few weeks ago on the way to DF's sisters wedding, my car overheated. Well, the temperature gauge went right up to high. We were going quite fast and had the airconditioning on as well. We pulled over and DF goes to me "Have you checked the oil lately?" to which I reply "Umm... that would be a no..." (we live on a hill and there is no level ground. when i am at work I always forget to do it. also, i had only gotten it serviced four months ago...)
Anyway, it cooled down and we were able to drive on, but the temperature remained at a quarter to high the entire way. When we got to DF's sisters house we checked everything and it was fine The only thing I noticed was the thermal fan didn't click on after a few minutes running idle. BUT, the car had cooled down considerably as well, so it wasn't a proper test.
When we drove home, and since, the temperature hadn't gone up again.
So yesterday I took the car in for it's service and mentioned it, and the mechanic rang me later to tell me the radiator is blocked and that is what caused it. Because it's aluminium apparently it can't be flushed (I looked it up after DF and his dad both told me I was getting ripped off, and it turns out it IS actually true!) so it needs replacing. Also my battery is on it's last legs.
So I know DF can do all these things (replacing them), but the issue is TIME, and I don't want to be stuck without a car if the battery dies. DF has a lot of work on at the moment and I don't know when he will be able to do it all. Also, the mechanic has fairly good prices, he does not charge huge amounts for labour. It is $280 for the radiator and $105 for the battery.
All up I will be paying around $40 for labour. I am fine with that. The mechanic is a good guy, never does anything without asking me first, and lets me know in advance if he is concerned about anything. I think it helps that I know slightly more than the average girl about cars (atleast, I know where everything is )
So anyway, more expenses! But atleast this time, car repairs comes out of our bills account. Phew!
I ask this because as of this moment, 7 couples that are our friends have all had children in 2009. Because we're all, to a point, open about our finances, I have a good idea where everyone is financially.
A lot of them are actually not doing that great, and all for different reasons.
The economy is partly to blame as one couple lost BOTH their jobs when the wife was 5 months pregnant.
Another couple's bundle of joy was rather unplanned, and until the time of the discovery (that would be in the form of morning sickness) had lived a complete and utter party life. Think big boozefests, weeklong holidays on tropical islands, attending every single music festival under the sun and generally wasting every cent they made. Oh, the father made ridiculous money owning a spa business, but was ridiculously matched in the way he and his partner could spend it.
The next couple you are probably familiar with, DF's sister and BIL. The sister doesn't like work that much (cough cough) and the father, while a hard worker, liked to up until recently, spend a good amount of money on his car. Coupled with the fact that the BIL is self employed, things aren't exactly great at the moment.
Another couple had a boy in high school, and now 10 years later are the parents of a set of twins. Double trouble.
And one of our closest couples have had a lot to deal with in the past year have virtually zero dollars in the bank and are living with the wifes father. This is the only couple who could not control their situation and I feel for them greatly, they are a couple who given the chance would manage their money well and put thought into their financial moves.
I've already mentioned the gambling addict in a previous entry, and the other couple I don't know particularly much about except that they bought a house in the peak of the housing boom in an apparent 'up and coming' suburb, which now has possibly bottomed out because it's right next to an airport.
Naturally having so many children born in our circle has sparked talks about children with DF and I. We've talked many times before about it and before everyone started popping out kids we'd both agreed that children were on the cards before DF turned 33 or 34 (He's 29 now) and I would be 26 or 27 (22 now). If circumstances allow, obviously. Why that age? I am one of those people that believe you should still have energy to throw a ball around with your kid after work - I'm not saying in your late thirties or early forties you can't do that, however I do think you'd have just the teeniest bit more energy comapred. And I guess I just like the idea of having kids around that age. Having experienced life a bit but still have life to give.
There are things that we'd both like to have achieved before this though. They aren't the typical things though.
I have friends that have had children while attending uni part time, so that is not a problem for me, I know it can be done.
Personally I'd like to get to a stage where I am physically fit and what I consider to be healthy. While I have friends who think I am the healthiest person they know, I guess I have a high personal standard or something. I am lax at some things, and not terribly fit. I'd like to lose a few kilograms before I have a baby, so that I know I can do it afterwards. Is that a weird thing to do? I'm fine maintaining my weight, I have for several years, but while I am at a fairly healthy weight I could stand to lose a bit.
The number one thing DF wants to do is stop drinking. At the moment he has a beer or two after work every night, and probably a few more on the weekends. I don't mind, he pays for it out of his portion of money, and it doesn't render him unable to drive each night during the week. But I think he wants to do it because it has become a habit for him, and he doesn't want to have a habit like that when raising kids.
We'd like to build a fence around the property. We have quite a busy road near our house, plus a fence was on the top of our list when we got Jed, so with a baby it would be even more. Luckily the only money we'd have to pay out would be for the materials, and the hard part would be finding the time for DF to do it.
And lastly, I guess the most important, is money. I can work from home for one of my jobs - and if we tried we could trim quite a bit of fat from our budget. So the question is, how much would we want to have saved?
We've tossed around numbers for a few months now, actually probably over a year, and have settled on 30k. Why? It's a little less than my annual wage ($38k) and for some reason that amount just feels safe. This would be on top of mortgage savings and our emergency fund.
So I realise children cost a lot and all that. We will be probably not buying a great deal of items for the baby in the first two years of it's life (yay for hand-me-downs!) I would want to stay home for atleast a year, if not more.
So my question is, how much would you want to have in savings before you decided to try for a baby?
or, how much DID you have in savings?
Did you have a lot? Did it make things easier?
Did you have nothing? How did you make things work?
What else would you want to have done?
Is there anything you will have wanted to achieve? Is there anythign you wished you'd done differently? Why?
I realise there are two extreme points of view out there in the world on the subject of having children. One group thinks children are a gift and that things like that can't be planned, and the other thinks you should have all your ducks in a row before you consider bringing another human being into the world. I think it'd be safe to say the majority of people on this site think the last option is the safest!
Yep, I have, for this moment, decided that I will attempt university next year.
So I realise that this is a complete change of heart from a couple of posts ago. Since then I have realised one thing: I don't actually want to be a baker (I would rather be a chef of some description - which is completely different and I don't intend to follow that dream right now). So I realised I kind of pranced around that aspect last time.
So I think I might start this studying business either in February 2010, or the second semester of 2010. Even if I do a couple of course and realise I don't like it, I will be alright with that, because at least I would have given it a go.
DF's dads Jack Russell 'T' was pregnant with our dogs pups. It was exciting stuff because that was our whole plan from the beginning.
Anyway so T went into labour on Friday night, but by Saturday morning she had not given birth so we had to take her to the vet. It turns out the first one had gotten stuck she had to have an emergency ceasarean. Within 10 minutes of getting there, the vet had cancelled all of his appointments and had taken T into surgery. (we found out later that he was also going on holiday the next day and had not even packed!!!)
Because DF's dad was not there (he was at work, out of range on his mobile), it was just me and my mum and we had to make a quick decision whether to get her spayed. I took the responsibility of the decision and said yes. Not sure if it was the best decision but there is nothing I can do now. Technically this was just a glitch - she probably would have been fine to have pups in the future - but oh well.
Two hours later we picked her up. The vet bought T out in one hand and two gorgeous little Jack Russell pups in the other. T had three but the one that got stuck didn't make it, which is very sad. She has a boy and a girl - the girl looks like Jed and the boy looks like T The boy had a 50/50 chance of survival when he came out but now he seems to be getting on fine. T is doing great and the vet said that everything worked out much much better than he thought.
DF's dad isn't in a great financial place at the moment so DF and I paid for the surgery. We are getting one of the pups as a friend for Jed. He hasn't met the pups yet but in a few weeks I will take him over there.
I bought the vet and his receptionist two boxes of Belgian Guylian chocolates.
I spent a bit of time at DF's dads place yesterday, T is in the middle of the loungeroom in a box with her pups, she's a wonderful mother Everyone in their house just watch the pups now, nothing seems to be getting done no television, no laundry. Everyone is glued to them hehe. It's pretty cute.
I will post pictures soon!
I've been getting to know a friends' friends over the past two years. They're all very lovely people, albeit on a different wavelength to myself most of the time. The main friend, A, I completely click with - the others, while I love to see them, I can go a few weeks between visits . I think I must just be a little old for my age *shrug*
So, two things have happened recently which just completely shock me, only because it's something that I could never see myself doing, and because I think it's very irresponsible and just... plain crazy, to tell you the truth! I don't know, maybe it's not as bad as I think?
So the first thing to happen is this:
B is a friend of A's. B and her boyfriend own a house one suburb away from mine, she's only three years older that myself. B and I are quite similar in a lot of things (which is probably one reason why I was so shocked to begin with). We've had coffee a few times, and they're going to start trying for a baby next year. B's boyfriend J is a tradesman, he earns good money and she is studying business and event management at university.
So I found out that, B likes to go shopping. That's all good and well, except that she buys up big, obviously feels a litte guilty, and then when she gets home, she draws a line through the price, writes 'special' on it, and then writes a lower price on the tag . I asked A, in shock, does J not notice the money coming out of his and B's bank account. A snorts at me, "Whitestripe" she says "it's J we're talking about". Ummmm... ok?
So if that isn't enough, today A and I have coffee. She's trying to get my advice, because apparently I give good advice (?huh?) about an issue a friend of hers is having. She starts off by telling me she can't tell me. She then tells me the story, but doesn't tell me who it is. Then she tell me who it is. *sigh* Don't you just love gossip?
So, N is also a lovely girl. I've spent more time with her than I have with B. She's actually the girl I went shopping with, the one that has the two boys. (The friend I always go grocery shopping with, is the above friend 'A'). Anyway, so N has a two year old and an 8 month old. N and her partner R (the father of the two boys) have been together for two years (yup!). So apparently before N was with R, she had a major gambling problem. A would get calls from N, who lived a few hours away, crying because she'd just spent all her money at the pokies and had no money to get her car out of the car park. Ah huh. That bad.
So when N got together with R and popped out the kids, she had no time or will to go to the pokies, so this little problem seemed to go away.
Until, someone told her she could gamble online (seriously, who does that?). Well, last night she maxed out a $2k credit card on an american online gambling site.
She hasn't told R, because she's mortified, and because he didn't know about her previous problems.
She told A, and A has no idea what to tell her. My initial reaction was to tell A, to tell N, to stop being a fracking idiot, act responsibly, tell her partner, sort it out and never do it again.
So obviously A wasn't quite taken to that idea.
Here's the best part though. N thinks she can win it back. Apparently she was down to $1900 on the credit card, and she won $2000. She the gambled it all away again. This is all in one night.
N doesn't want to tell R. She's worried about what to do, because she is going to New York in a month, and that is when the credit card statement is due, she is worried R will open it.
R is also a tradesman, makes good money, works more than full time hours. N works one day a week, does online study at university and is home with her two boys.
A is really worried about her friends. I would be too - I am worried, but not like A, because I am not as emotionally involved as A. I have not known them for a long time.
I am afraid I did not give the greatest advice. I have, as most of you know, had a lot of experience with gamblers. Personally it does not hold one ounce of interest for me. I find it stupid and boring. When I was 18 I lost $33 on the pokies and felt empty and deflated, it felt like such an anticlimax. But, I do understand why people become addicted, and I KNOW that some people cannot be taught, cannot be told, cannot be shown. They must learn the hard way. Sometimes they do not learn the hard way, even. Sometimes you can't tell a gambler that it is not worth it, that they won't win, that the odds are against them.
And this is what I told A. Of course, I told her, after that, to tell N to talk to her partner and sort it out.
But honestly - does a rational person spend $2000 on a credit card, on an online gambling site? No. They don't.
And so they probably won't take the rational advice either.
But oh dear, I hope she does. Just this one time. There's a glimmer of hope right? She COULD take the advice. Just this once...?
Maybe my form of gambling is watching other people screw up their finances and then hoping they take my advice so they can fix it? It does have a familiar feeling to it, empty like a spent balloon...
I got a nice surpise this week, our annual payrise.
Because it's a federal wage I didn't think we'd get one this year, I don't know why but I had this funny idea what with the recession and all... anyway! Apparently I'm a moron.
It's not a great deal, 53c an hour, but it's better than a kick in the teeth.
It works out to be around $10 a week or so.
My hourly rate goes from $19.78 to $20.31
I was thinking of transferring it to my personal loan to get it paid off quicker. I owe $2700 now, and should be able to pay off a bit extra at the end of this month because my spending has been low(er).
So, yay for payrises!
I am going grocery shopping this afternoon with some friends. I made a list yesterday and just realised as I made myself a coffee at work this morning, that I forgot it! ARGH!
So, to help me remember, I'm going to type up my meal plan for the next week:
Wednesday: Grilled Haloumi & Vegetable Skewers
Thursday: Miso Soup with Tofu & Vegetables
Saturday: ? (Takeaway or a BBQ)
Monday: Carrot, Sweet Potato & Pea Risotto
Tuesday: Romani Gnocchi (Semolina) with salad
Wednesday: Indian Balti Curry
Most of the items I need I already have in the pantry, which is good. I am preparing to be attacked for being 'healthy' this afternoon. (what a laugh! I hardly think we're healthy, I would say we are more 'moderation' eaters)
You see, while one friend is sort of used to my 'unusual' (read: miso, tahini, lentils etc) grocery purchases (she still routinely comments on the weird things I buy and exclaims to the cashier how healthy I am - WHAT?!), I have not yet been grocery shopping with the other friend. I already know that most of the things she buys are prepackaged and 'normal', so I won't be surprised at her purchases, but as I said, I think, no, I KNOW, that she will comment on mine. Not that I care, but I am just preparing for it
I do wonder though, if someone can judge me and make comments on MY purchases, howcome it is deemed rude to say to someone else "Wow, you are so unhealthy."
For example, lentils. Sure, not for all people, I accept that. But someone I know had never even eaten them, bought a packet, cooked them plain, took one bite and told me she could not believe I ate them regularly because they taste like shit.
Well, of course they going to taste a bit bland if you don't cook them properly.
So am I allowed to say to her then, that I can't believe she feeds her children artifically flavoured 'chicken' snacks out of a packet, I mean, do you know how to read? Have you LOOKED at what is in those? Or when she sends her child off to school with a JAM SANDWICH, a packet of teddy bear biscuits and a bottle of cordial for lunch, good manners require me to say nothing to her about the lack of nutritional benefits in that childs lunchbox. I'm a rude SOB if I tell her she may as well give the child a piece of cardboard and a pen lid for their lunch.
*sigh* I don't really know where all that came from. However, having gotten my rant out now, I will not attempt to educate my friend on what is so bad about a pre-made jar of pasta bake sauce
Last night I made Gado Gado salad for the first time. I don't really know if I did it properly (the sauce I mean - chopping vegetables into sticks isn't exactly rocket science...) but it sure tasted delicious! Anyone else ever had it/made it? What did you think?
Tonight I was going to make haloumi & vegetable skewers grilled on the barbecue, but I was flicking through a recipe book to get ideas for next weeks meals, and found a creamy pumpkin pinenut pasta dish that sounded so good, and I had all the ingredients so I decided to make that for dinner instead.
So, tomorrow we will have haloumi & vegetable skewars.
I've updated my favourite website links on my sidebar. I never bothered with them before but decided to put on there the sites I frequent other than Saving Advice.com - it's still in progress though. Enjoy! (but be warned, the content may offend some people)
And I have been thinking about purchasing a couple of clothing items. We are into the third week of September and I have spent way way less than my allotted fun money each week, so this is really the only reason I have been thinking about clothes.
I am going to put on rotation some clothes I haven't worn for a few years, so atleast I have some things that will 'feel' new. But there are some things I still would like to get:
- 2 pairs of shorts (one pair black, tailored and knee length)
- 2 pairs ballet flats (my staple casual footwear)
- 2 plain black tshirts
- 2 or 3 button up short sleeve shirts
I have a habit of screenprinting on my blank shirts and then not having any plain ones. I realised this last year when I had to go to a funeral and had the choice of a green zombie or a red samurai soldier... (Obviously I went and bought a new black tshirt...)
I am also wanting to get two plain black button up shirts for work. My clothes for my other work, thankfully, are all sorted for the next year.
I realised today that our engagement party is a week and a half away! ARGH!
And I haven't done a single thing! eep!
So I am just going to make some notes to get my head around it and figure out what I have to do.
- It is at a park, and we have told everyone to bring their own drinks and seats.
- DF will go there an hour early, with possibly my parents, to get a good spot.
- I will go to my work, to pick up the food (because we have no fridge space).
- The day before, I have to go into work to make some stuff.
- Some people are bringing food.
- My dad is buying half a dozen bottles of Champagne.
- Mini vegetarian quiches
- Savoury Bread pull aparts
- Dips & Sliced Veges
- Cheese Platter & Crackers
- Iced Cupcakes
- Mini Custard Tarts
- Potato Chips/Corn Chips
- Sliced Fruit
Anything else? I can't think of anything!
I was thinking of maybe making some sandwhiches? It all needs to be fingerfood - does anyone have any suggestions?
I have to Buy:
- Plastic champagne glasses
- Some large plates to hold everything
- The dips/chips etc
- All the fresh food items I have to buy the day before at the markets.
I did an impulsive thing yesterday, which, while I completely do NOT regret, think I probably could have restrained myself from.
I got an email from a friend, it was a 'forwarded' email. This friend sends me a lot of Christian emails - she knows I am not religious so I am not sure why she does this, but I don't ever say anything about them, I just delete them.
Yesterday though, I had to respond. I got an email which was basically a 'Muslim hate' email. I was very confused. On one hand, she sends me pro Christian emails and expects me to be ok, and then she sends me this?
I have several Muslim friends, when the first friend reconverted, I admittedly was a little shocked, but I did my best to understand her. People make choices in their life and this is the choice that she made. Since then I have actually learnt a lot about her religion - while I would never devote my life to ANY religion, I am now more comfortable with her and her choice. At first I made the common assumptions that most people seem to make, and felt like a right moron when I realised the true aspects. The part that all of my friends practice, has NOTHING to do with the common misconceptions of unequal rights to women, terrorism, racism etc etc. And each person I know who practice this religion do NOT judge others for not being a part, nor do they try to convert them - which is very important to me.
Anyway. So, back to my story.
I had to respond to this email. I am hoping I don't tarnish the friendship, as I wrote on impulse:
Please don't send me articles like this, I have several muslim friends and find this deeply offensive.
I don't think I wrote anything too horrible?
Recently Watched: The Castle
Not sure if anyone here (other than those who live in AU of course!) have heard of Jessica Watson and her attempt to ber the youngest person to sail around the globe, unassisted? She left a few days ago from Sydney, before crashing into a freighter and having to make a stop near where we live. I've heard a few people's opinions on the subject, but the general concensus is that it's believed she has no idea what she's doing. (of course, she obviously does have SOME idea... otherwise she wouldn't be allowed to do it...) But, from television interviews she does seem a little immature. I can't help thinking that at home she must be a brat that wants some attention.
At work, there is currently a bet on how far she will get before she calls it off
To be honest though, I do hope she makes it. It will be one heck of an experience for her. I remember reading Jesse Martins book when I was about 12 and thinking it was the coolest thing.
In other news... there is no other news
We have enough points from our credit card to redeem for a 64 piece cutlery set, which would dearly come in handy when my parents arrive in a few weeks. We have about three forks, three knives, three spoons, and about 10 teaspoons (for coffees - the most important cutlery item, right? everything else pales in comparison...)
2.00 Staff Lotto
22.00 Beer (DF)
Currently Reading: The Messenger by Markus Zusak
Well, I can explain the jewellery! I got a $25 GC from a jewellery store loyalty card program for my birthday, and they were having a half price off sale. So I bought a butterfly necklace that was $69, for $9! I thought that was not too bad
I just watched a movie called Love The Beast, it is a documentary/movie Eric Bana made about his car I loved it.
Anyway, probably not a mainstream movie in the US so I doubt anyone would know what I'm talking about. But it does have Jeremy Clarkson, DR Phil & Jay Leno in it...
Went to the library on Monday to return some books and borrow new ones (yay! for free books). I am utterly disturbed by one of the books I am reading called Chemical Pink, about bodybuilders. It's like a car crash, you know you shouldn't, but you look anyway. I am a little repulsed by the book but be damned, I'm going to finish it!
Currently Listening To: He Was King - Felix Da Housecat
So, I know I have blogged a few times about this, and I know that I never take any steps to address the problem. As the title suggests, I feel like I am a deer stuck in the bright headlights of an oncoming car; I cannot make a decision to move, and I don't know which way to move either.
I am still at a loss as to what 'path' i choose to take job-wise.
The reason I have begun thinking about this again is because the baker at work looks like he is about to quit. I have been hearing 'rumours' (namely, my boss telling me). And so I have been thinking about things. My boss was telling me how he would have to hire another baker. Things would be exactly the same as before (except that maybe the place might be a bit cleaner!). My colleague T (who is a close friend) is worried she will lose her night shifts if our boss hires someone else, as my colleague is a weird child that likes to start work at midnight. I'm not particularly worried about my place at work; it will not change.
But! I have been thinking, that possibly I could become the other baker. Maybe? I'm not sure. I know I could do it and I know I could learn bread production pretty fast. DF doesn't want me to work night shifts for many reasons - but I know I would not have to do many, as T would absolutely love to have ALL night shifts. So I would probably only have to do 2, or 3 at the most.
This would all involve me becoming an apprentice, instead of a 'hobby chef' which I am now (explanation: an apprentice gets a qualification at the end of the term, which for me would be 18 months, it is normally 4 years. A hobby chef gets a higher rate of pay but no qualification - and is employed under normal circumstances, not under a 'term' or contract). It would see my wage go from $435 for 22 hours a week, to possibly $250 for 38 hours a week. I would still have to work my other job ($270 for 15 hours a week). So I would be working 53 hours a week for $685, instead of currently working 37 hours for $705.
The other direction I could take would be a bachelor of commerce. It would probably also see me decrease my earnings for the next four years (and increase debt ).
I would be doing the course via distance, so I would still be able to work. I would probably do part time for 6 months, save up some money, then do full time for 6 months, etc etc. NO, I am not going to an on campus university. I can't even begin to explain why I don't want to. And YES I know about the workload and difficulty of an online course.
So I guess it all comes down to me deciding what to do, which is the real problem. I know in my heart, I prefer a job where I am 'doing' things, as opposed to sitting. But the earning capacity is also very different, which throws another ball in the court. If I became a baker/pastry chef, my goal would be my own business. If I became an accountant/financial planner/analyst - I can get a salary job OR use the knowledge to own a business. So I guess the common goal is my own business - which would most likely be in the food industry anyway.
I am not one of those people that must have a certain job. I put up with things; I find things I enjoy in any of the jobs I have had, I know that I would be relatively happy with anything really.
So I guess I don't really know what I want to do, and none of this 'thinking on paper' has helped! True to form, I will probably blog about this again in another 4-6 months
Currently Reading: Chemical Pink: A story of obsession