• Organization,  self-improvement,  Simplicity

    How I Spent My Vacation

    Last week I took the first paid vacation at a public job in almost two decades. “What do you plan to do?” Curious friends wanted to know. “Absolutely nothing,” I grinned. I lied to everyone prior to taking those days off. I had something special planned to mark the start of my 49th year of life. While one day had…

  • Finances,  Frugality,  Recycling

    The Art of Building Wealth

    The average person has been led to believe a lie. The average person has been taught that wealthy people can be identified by the clothes they wear, the foods they eat, the home they own, and the cars they drive. They have been taught that the ones with the most expensive wardrobes, homes, and wardrobes are the wealthiest. To quote…

  • Decluttering,  Minimalism

    10 Things Challenge: 20100409

    All in all, it has been a busy few months, yet I feel that I am only beginning the journey I began when I started this blog. I am not eliminating 10 things every week; but overall I am making progress which is the important thing. Already I have a closet filling with items to hand on to my sister, who…

  • Finances,  Food,  Investments

    Income Tax Refund Report

    I spent $296 at the grocery store the day before my birthday. The kid seemed nervous at our barren pantry so I sorted it. I’ll not have her skipping meals because she’s worried that I can’t afford it. Just because she can’t chip in towards the grocery expense right now doesn’t mean that I’ll let her starve. The food should…

  • Finances,  Investments

    2018 Financial Report

    After a huge amount of struggle I finally located an online tax service that would handle the K-1 statement that was giving me so much trouble. I spent $95 to use the service but I consider it money well-spent. They not only managed to increase my refund, they saved me the bother of having to track down someone locally to…

  • Business,  Productivity

    Headless Chicken

    Life has kept me super-busy these past few weeks. I’ve been slowly spring-cleaning my house by doing little things on top of helping Katie adjust to her current situation. At work, my official management training is underway so I stay busier than ever. In order to keep labor costs low, the end of the night has me paired with my…

  • Finances,  Investments

    Taxes are a Pain

    I have just discovered something the hard way: filing your taxes on investments can be a major pain in the butt. I’ve not only discovered that my usual online tax preparation service can’t handle the forms I need to file, but H&R Block wants to charge me an arm and a leg to file this stuff online. For now, I’m…

  • Finances,  self-improvement

    Operation: Katie

    Yesterday morning I was awakened at 8am by the phone. Katie had finished the train part of her journey and wanted to call while she awaited her first bus. She shared with me how she’d decided not to spend the money on a taxi in Chicago; she had gotten turned around and had to ask for help to reach the…

  • Finances,  Investments

    A Tale of Cowardice

    This is the very first year that I will file tax forms in relation to my investments. The very first time in my life that I’ve actually had real, Big Dog investment income to report. I’m having to fight the urge to turn tail and run. The other day I received the small package with the necessary tax forms to…

  • Investments

    (Not So) Light Reading

    You see that gigantic stack of papers in the photo? That’s the latest SEC filings for BlueKnight Energy Partners, one of the dividend companies I’ve invested in. That stack of papers is close to 300 pages of legalese, deliberately designed to be completely incomprehensible to the average person. I have to don a business suit just to get the words…

  • Business,  Investments,  Personal

    Three Jobs?

    Since yesterday was a maudlin day (as you could tell from my post), I called up my beloved Auntie early this morning for some much-needed encouragement. “Well, it’s no wonder you’re exhausted and feeling emotional!” Auntie declared once I’d shared, “You’re working three jobs, taking care of your house, and studying like you were in an actual college class besides!…

  • Empty Nest,  Housing

    Broken Bones

    I received a letter from Katie yesterday. As I was reading it the phone rang. It was the kid. She’d suffered multiple stress fractures in her right leg during a PT test in addition to injuring her knee. As a result, the Navy was sending her home. To say that she was disappointed would be an understatement. Even with a…

  • Cash register
    Business,  Finances

    Surprise Promotion

    While puttering around at work the other day I received a page to the office. “What’s up?” I asked as I stuck my head in. “Have a seat,” the main managers gestured to a chair positioned between them. When I got up from that chair, I had been promoted to management. I started my training the next day. I must…

  • Washing machine
    Finances

    Upgrading My Life

    Every year I try to invest in at least one thing that will improve my quality of life. In 2017 I invested in a refurbished desktop computer to make writing easier. In 2018 I invested in some shelves, a number of books to educate myself, and a larger monitor so that I could see the screen on my computer better.…

  • Empty Nest,  Finances

    First Month Without Katie

    I just finished paying the first round of bills without the kid sharing half of the expenses. I made it. I even had a bit to spare. I must confess that I was worried so I clamped down drastically on my spending. I’m not quite sure why I was worried (this isn’t my first rodeo, after all), but that old…

  • Empty Nest,  Food,  Personal

    The Miracle of Water

    It was close to midnight. I padded into the kitchen to quench my thirst and picked up the water pitcher. I blinked at the heft. Huh? I raised it up to examine the water level. It was full. My water pitcher is never full. The only way I can ever get a drink of water out of it is to fill…

  • Health,  Life,  Personal,  self-improvement,  Success

    The Process of Recharging

    Day by day, in every way, I’m getting better and better. Émile Coué de la Châtaigneraie I sleep in when I can. I rest instead of endlessly working. Bit by bit, I can tell a difference. Instead of scolding the dogs for their excitement in the mornings when they wake me to go potty, I gather my coat and take…

  • Health,  Personal

    Practicing Selfishness

    It has been six days since I watched Katie leave with the recruiter. Five days since I saw her last, on the day she shipped out to BASIC. Four days since I’ve had any contact with her. And I’m doing perfectly fine. I’ve not had a day off work since last Tuesday, the last day I saw my little girl.…

  • Life,  Personal

    New Beginnings

    This is it. Last night I said my final farewell to the kid. The very last call was scripted, just letting me know that she had arrived safely and that she would be out of contact for the next couple of weeks. I am now officially free of the full burden of motherhood. It started a few days ago. We…