Monday, September 1, 2014

It's September!

Well, it's Labor Day and I'm counting down to my friend's visit from the UK.

I went to Ikea and revamped my guest room for a very reasonable amount of money.  New furniture and bedding and voila...... I want to move in to the guest room myself LOL

I am happy to be hosting a guest for a few weeks ..... it has given me a much needed push to finish some painting and cleaning and decluttering.  Some old furniture got sold on Craigslist this week and I have become a fixture at the local thrift shop, taking over donations.

The flies in the ointment are the indoor animals ..... they will all have to go to a kennel during my friend's visit because I won't leave them in the house alone and we will be gone for days at a time.  I do have friends and/or family members who would come in and take care of the situation but ..... the animals start going into puking/crapping/furniture clawing mode when I am not here and I don't want this situation to ruin the visit.  So, next week it's off to the vet for vaccinations.  I hope the animals all survive the kennel experience but there's an outside chance that one of the cats may not.

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Our net worth is going up, thanks to the untrustworthy real estate and stock markets.  We saw a big gain this month again.  We have gone from being bankrupt and flat ass broke less than 6 years ago to now having a net worth in the 6 figures.  Feels good.  Wish, wish, WISH we had started much sooner .... we would be looking at a truly golden retirement had we done so.  Well, I am with the spouse on this one:  he deserves to retire youngish and we WILL make it work.  There is no other alternative. Take a look at the Retirement Calculator on the right ..... when I started with it, we had over 900 days to retirement.  Now look at it!

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Happy Labor Day all.  We are moving towards my favorite month of the year: October.  Love it.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Family Brouhahas

OK, so I have a friend coming to stay with me for a few weeks.  From my school days.  From the UK.  Really looking forward to it.  I'm not exactly flush with cash but I have a full itinerary planned, incorporating as much free stuff to do as possible: walks on the beach, hikes, window shopping and so on.  My house is still unfinished construction wise but I have warned her that she will have to take me as she finds me.

I spent last weekend sorting out the last bits of furniture that I want to get rid of, then changing my mind and hauling some of it back inside the house.  I mean, furniture is expensive and I  just can't accept the departure of a sofa that cost me $750 to some chiseler on Craigslist for $40!!  To my mind, it does not compute.  I can hear you all now: Surely she doesn't have anything left to get rid of after years of decluttering?!  Well, my friends, it has been a long and slow process and I am now down to whittling away the last pieces of the things I love and wanted to keep.  All of the other junk has gone.  Now I have to decide which of the things I wanted to hang onto forever must go too.

One thing I did want to bitch about today concerns the number of animals we have, all because of Cat.  Cat, as I've stated already, has hoarding tendencies too.  Her bedroom right now is a hodgepodge of crap, piled up inside the closet and up against the corners of her room.  It is becoming a fire hazard.  Unlike me, however, Cat is an animal hoarder.  She has brought cats, dogs, mice, fish ..... snakes even..... to the house to 'give them a home'.  The problem is, I am the one who ends up caring for said animals, buying their food, cleaning up their crap, forking over for the vet when necessary.  I didn't mind it for the first couple of decades but now I am becoming increasingly resentful, angry and impatient with the poor critters.  It's not their fault!

I cannot leave the house without organizing said menagerie.  Dogs have to be put in their crates or out in the back yard, which they have destroyed.  Stinky cats have to be locked away in various rooms with litter boxes so that they don't vomit on the carpets or claw the furniture while I am out.  And you know what?  I'm farkin sick of it all now.  I want my own life back!!!  I am tired of cleaning up after other people and other beings.  I just want to selfishly do my own thing, when I want to do it, without the spectre of shitty litter boxes or messy dogs to deal with day in and day out.  I am over the proverbial hill and getting older with each passing day.  I'm tired of breathing cat litter dust!!!  What to do?  Well, the animals are getting older too so there's that.  Before much longer, we will be down 2 cats due to age.  I'm not wishing their little lives away but, for dog's sake, the enjoyment is gone and the resentment, she grows ever larger.

Cat, meanwhile, continues to gallivant around the valley with various men.  The fact that she won't or can't settle down really REALLY bothers me.  I just want her to find a man who can relate to her, who she can relate to, for them to find love and companionship together.  So far, no luck.  Pretty much every man she likes will dump her when her manic behavior becomes too much to bear.  I understand and I sympathize.

I am hoping that FINALLY ..... Cat is beginning to realize the effect of her crazy behavior on others.  I'm not sure how much of this is down to the pot smoking but I am certain that her smoking habit is not helping.  Last week, she was suspended by one of her employers because she isn't getting along with her work team.  I never thought something like that would happen but .... it has.  Another rung on the ladder that leads down.  The employer has suspended her until 2015 but .... I suspect that (just as with everyone else) it is a tactic to get rid of her.  This was a job that paid extremely well with some brilliant perks ..... but Cat has blown it.

I have tried talking to Cat, encouraging her, coaching her, the whole bit.  Now I have finally come to realize that the only person who can save Cat is CAT herself.  It's sink or swim time for sure.  She is staying with some guy for the week but she called me to discuss her latest 'firing' ..... she has come to the conclusion finally that perhaps she is to blame for the state of her life.  Hooray!!  A break through!!!  This is a start.  I happen to know that she hasn't spent hundreds of dollars on pot over the past week so I can only hope that the necessary wake up call has had an effect.  I live in hope.

In other news, my father is spending money like water.  I still have no idea how much cash he has inherited, only that he has gone off the radar.  He no longer feels that he needs to talk to me because he has a new safety net.  He no longer feels that he had better communicate with me, just in case he needs a new car or some bills paid, because obviously he has the means to take care of business for the time being. How much longer before he is broke again??  A fool and his money.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Be Your Own Hero


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wednesday Night Update

Having my kids home from school has produced some surprising results:

I finished painting my living room with their help.

I am enjoying spending a lot of time just hanging out.

With their encouragement, I finished putting together my idea for the product manufacture I talked about a while ago, which was placed on the back burner because I just had too much going on.  I have now accumulated all the supplies I need.  I did a ton more research and, with special equipment, I am producing the product I talked about, here in my home.  NO need to find a chinese manufacturer ..... I did it all myself.  The production problems which rolled  in, one after the other, have all been vanquished and I have ended up with an item that looks 100% professional and ready for sale.  I have been spending a lot of time on the computer, dressing up my website and marketing.  I have already sold a couple of the items so fingers crossed that this idea will become a niche product eventually.  I am quite proud of myself.  Initially, I started out with just the idea of the product and no idea how to produce it, other than the involvement of a 'middle man', the notion of which was just too risky for me.  After hours and hours of research and resource investigation, I have put it all together and it actually looks like it might be something.  We'll see.

With the spouse's impending retirement, this could be a nice side hustle.

I am also working on my health, weight and diet.  This remains a final hurdle but I will overcome.  The weight is slowly coming off and I will post an update shortly.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Suspended (temporarily)

When my kids are home from school, everything in my life is suspended.

Working out.
Cooking.
Diet.
Proper grocery shopping.
Housework.
All other plans.

I love my family dearly but they are all adults now and I want them to get on with their own lives.

When it is just me and the spouse rattling around in this big ole house, I feel free!  I have a definite sense of freedom and independence.  I no longer worry about my adult children to the extent I used to worry about them.  To do so is counterproductive.  My kids are going to do whatever they want to do, regardless of whether I worry/complain/advise or not.

I have adopted an attitude of, "Let the chips fall where they may." I remember my mother doing the same with me and now I understand why.  A person can drive themselves crazy worrying about people, situations and events beyond control.

This post is my way of saying that I will get my freedoms back just as soon as school is back in LOL  Until then, not much is happening around here.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Morning

This past month, it has just been a little crazy around here.

My family on both sides of the Atlantic are driving me nutty.

My sibling keeps calling me to ask me, what are we going to do about mum and dad's hoard?  I have seen the hoard.  I know it's a problem.  A garage stuffed floor to ceiling, back to front with rotten, mildewy furniture and other junk, a barn filled to the rafters with more of same.  My mum never used to hoard when I lived at home, I had no idea what hoarding was.  She kept everything under control and would get rid of unused items.  I have been gone from there for decades now, but things have been done differently in my parents' house over the past 10, 20 years.  They now hold on to everything.

My sibling has no idea just how difficult it will be to get our parents to part with the junk.  My input went thusly: stop stressing about the junk, ask the parents what it is they want to do about the junk, respect their wishes.  Therefore, if the parents want to clean out the garage and barn, they will.  If they don't want to, they won't so move on and find another project, sibling.  My response is not very helpful but ..... I am thousands of miles away and there is nothing I can do about this situation in person.

Stateside, I am beginning to wonder about the spouse's sister's mindset.  Lately, she has become very argumentative which is somewhat unusual.  I mean, she has always gossiped and sniped about people behind their backs but this recent aggression could be indicative of an underlying health issue.  My SIL is 60ish and seems to have undergone a complete character change.  She is now a walking, breathing, talking copy of my dead mother in law.  She is a reincarnation of her mother and it is creepy.  She is wearing the same clothes a 70 year old would wear, she has inflected her speech with the mother's colloquialisms even adopting the same twangy southern accent, and she has this look on her face all the time of bitterness and judgment.  Yep, a carbon copy of my mother in law.  I don't want to be around her anymore and, as I said before, I have pretty much cut her out of my day to day life.  I am done with the D****** family bullshite.

The spouse is fed up with his job and wants out.  He has another year and a half to go and he wonders daily if he has the mental fortitude to do this corporate job for another year and a half.  Constantly, we live with the threat of budget cuts so this problem may very well fix itself, if you know what I mean.  He has just about reached the end of the line and, while he's stressing out and wishing for retirement, I am stressing out and wondering if we are going to be able to work this, financially.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My Sister In Law, A Rant

I've been spending what seems like a lot of time putting out family fires just lately.  Some of the fires have been easy to stamp out.  We discuss, we come up with a plan, we move on.  But one fire in particular has been a smoldering hotspot for a long time.  It began years ago when I overheard my new (at the time) sisters in law gossiping about the spouse and I, in our own home, when they were guests staying with us for a few weeks.  Let me tell you, I could not wait to see the back of those two.  They would sit and smoke cigarettes in our living room,  into the wee hours as the spouse and I tried to sleep upstairs, flicking their ashes over our new furniture and leaving a trail of coffee spatters over our carpeting as they wound their way from the kitchen to ...wherever.  Just so rude and careless.  And dirty.  Slobby.

And so I have finally decided that there are certain extended family members that I'm just going to have to cut out of my life.  I can no longer stand the fakeness or the two-faced-ness.  Don't smile to my face and then stab me in the back ... I'm getting too old for that crap.

Case in point: the spouse's sister.  She is the only sister-in-law I have now.  Well, I have another SIL by marriage, to a BIL we hardly ever see anymore.  Does she count?  Anyway, the spouse's sister has developed an alarming physical and personality likeness to his mother.  I will not say anything derogatory towards my MIL because she is dead now .... just to say that she was hardly the most welcoming/stable/normal person to a young girl from a foreign country (me at the time).  The spouse never let on just how dysfunctional his family was, what with their hoarding/alcoholism/in-fighting/relentless teasing, but boy did I ever find out the hard way.  I ended up moving out of the MIL's house very very soon after arrival .... I just could not take any more of it.  Water under the bridge now, I guess.  Or is it?

The spouse's sister blames me for the fact that she never sees or talks to her brother.  There is nothing stopping her OR him for that matter from picking up the phone and pressing a few buttons .... or sending an email..... or skype-ing vis-a-vis .... or gallivanting about on Facebook ..... but still it seems to be my fault that the spouse can't be bothered to contact his own sister.  He just doesn't care enough to, honey!  He knows what you are.  Always has.  You should hear the things he tells me about you as a kid and the way you treated him back then.

Oh yes, there was a time when I used to pressure the spouse into contacting his sister and I would do that by physically pressing the phone into his hand, turning off the TV and telling him to call her.  I used to do that for his mother too.  Please call your mother!  Please call your sister!  Generally, that was the only way to make sure that the spouse stayed in contact with his nutty family.  Over time, I came to realize just what a bunch of dysfunctional assholes his family really is, what with the way they skip over the fact that they have driven other family members away with their teasing, the way they steal from each other, the way they lived in denial over the spouse's mother's chronic hoarding, the way they turned a total blind eye to the father's alcoholism and eventual early death as a result. 

And so, over the past couple of years in particular, I have stopped caring whether the spouse talks to his family or not.  Let it be his decision.

The spouse's sister is extremely passive aggressive.  When she wants to hurt someone, she'll post a shitty picture of that person on Facebook.  When she wants to find out some dirt or gossip on someone else, she'll e-stalk that person online and ask questions/make surreptitious phone calls until she gets the answers she's looking for.  The woman is a closet case of unbridled jealousy and fakeness.

Well, she stupidly made the mistake of calling one of my adult kids to try and find out some dirt on the spouse and I, namely the way we are handling the situation with Cat.  Instead of calling the spouse and asking him directly, this nosy sister (whose own life is far from perfect by the way) thought that she could gossip behind our backs to glean some dirt which she could then sling around by gossiping with other extended family members.  Luckily, the kid in question shut her down.  Shut her ass down.  Sorry, this blog is the only avenue I have to let loose LOL

J, let me tell you something I bet you didn't know.  Your creepy husband leers lasciviously at both of our daughters whenever he gets the chance.  When Cat was 10 years old, she asked me to never leave her alone with him because he (in her words) grabbed her and tickled her, although she felt that he was working on doing more than just tickling.  Our other daughter just knew to stay clear, never trusted or liked him.  At the last family wedding we attended very recently, the spouse became concerned and slightly angry when he realized that your husband was leering at Cat again, and staring hungrily at her from behind his sunglasses.  As soon as the spouse saw it happening, he nudged me and told me quietly just how disconcerted he was at your husband's unabashed display of lust at the sight of the beauty that is Cat.  Your husband could barely contain himself.

Your husband is a pervert!!!  I know you know what he's doing .... but hey, this is your third marriage and you are pushing 60 so I guess you imagine you're stuck with him.  Yet another example of the way you choose to live in denial.  Well, you can stuff it.  Stay away from my family with your poison and your fakeness.  You are not a nice person.  You have a phony streak in you a mile wide and we see right through you.  Live your life, several states away from us, and don't worry if you don't ever hear from us or see us.  I no longer make it my business to shove a phone into the spouse's hand to call you, haven't for a long time, and you're beginning to realize that he never talks to you.

Guess what?  The only reason he talked to you before was because of ME.  Didn't know that, did you?  Keep doing what you're doing and you're going to find out in no uncertain terms the real truth about a LOT of things, including your giant creep of a sexually frustrated husband.  Take care of your own business.  Stay out of ours.

And I am making it a point of no longer dealing with this family crap.  We are supposed to support each other but that has never, ever happened.  I just need you to know: Cross me and you are OUT.  End.