Greetings and salutations.

It's been a minute. I've been meaning to come back and catch up, but there are a lot of things going on right now and blogging seems about the last thing I want to deal with. But, just in case anyone is wondering, here's the deal.

The merger happened, as well as a round of layoffs. I survived that one and hope to survive the next that supposed to happen early next year. I had a fantastic review so I'm hoping that improves my chances.

Also, I managed to get a raise. Yay!

She was doing really well for a while until the cancer resisted treatment. We are current trying a different chemo but it's really knocking her out. She has her last round of it this month. Hopefully it's working, but it's hard to tell because she feels miserable all the time.

I finally convinced her to do Powers of Attorney and a Will. I was referred to a lawyer who actually came to our home in the evenings to help us sort things out. So all that was finalized this week and I only paid $600 for 2 POAs (health care and property) and the Will. Such a relief to get that out of the way.

Now family members and I are trying to clean up the house and get it ready to sell. The idea being that we move mom in with her sister and unload the house so its not a burden. Living with her sister, all she'll need is her social security.

So that means I should be saving up as much cash as I possibly can, right? Wrong. WRONG. Well, I should be, but I haven't. I spent a lot of money over the Thanksgiving holiday. I'm not in debt, but it was a significant amount of cash for meals out, groceries, etc. The only thing I have to show for it is the extra 5 pounds I gained. But moving forward I'm going to save as much as possible. I'll also have to rethink how the cash I have on hand now needs to be used. Maybe a car will have to wait and the funds used for something else.

That something else could be health care. Long story short I need to have a colonoscopy next month. It could be minor, it could be a big deal. All I know is that I've been in pain lately and have had numerous tests done to rule out other things (like ovarian cancer), and these tests are NOT cheap, even with insurance.

So yeah. There are a lot of questions right now with no answers. Trying to plan for that is a challenge but I'll do the best I can.

One goal down, but does it matter?

I actually reached my $10,000 Move Fund goal a couple weeks ago, however with news of the upcoming merger at work, I'm wondering if these goals are relevant anymore. It's not that I won't need to move at some point, or a car. It's just that it seems a bigger emergency fund might be in order.

But rather than torment myself over something that may or may not happen, I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing. I'll take stock of my situation at the end of the year and see what adjustments need to be made.

Change is the only constant. :)

Well. Wasn't Expecting That.

Woke up to find out my employer will be merging with another company over the next few months. There will be layoffs but no one knows when or where. I suppose the only thing to do is assume it could be me and act accordingly.

1. Update my resume and begin searching.
2. Follow up on all health appointments. Best to get that done sooner rather than later, no?
3. Look at my budget to see if I can squeeze anymore savings from it.
4. Let friends and family know I'm on the lookout for opportunities.
5. Look around for nonprofit organizations I'm interested in to volunteer at if it turns out I will be out of a job. Volunteering is a great way to keep active and productive while looking for a gig.
6. Of course, continue to do a good job at work. I don't know what criteria they will use when shedding jobs. My performance may have have something to do with it, but it might not. It could be that my job is just redundant, they may think I make too much and don't care how good of a job I do. I just don't know, so I'm not going to be overly concerned about this. Just go in and do the best I can like I do every day.

I'm not going to say anything to my mom. I think that would stress her out, and she's in a pretty sensitive state right now. No need to upset her if I don't have to. So right now, the plan is to hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Random: So how are we supposed to afford all this?

It's a rhetorical question, really, but when I go through apartment listings on Craigslist and match up what's available with what is in my budget, it's depressing. How are we supposed to save for retirement and an emergency fund while paying for rent and utilities, and geez...feed ourselves? Damn.

Sooner rather than later

I've decided that it due to my mother's recent diagnosis, it would behoove me to get crackin' on that 2011-2012 Move Fund (which may happen sooner than that), so I've done the following:

  • Decreased my Travel Fund from $4,000 to $2,000. Since I'm going to be home more, I won't need much for travel. Just enough for maybe one or two visits to see the BF for a weekend and my cousin's wedding in September (provided, of course, that my mother is well enough to spend nights alone or one of her sisters could stay with her overnight).

  • Moved $2,000 from the Travel Fund to my 2011-2012 Move Fund. That, along with cutting my grocery budget in half for the next three months will get me to my 10k goal in July rather than September. I'd love to meet in sooner, but there's only so much I can do.
These changes put me at 31% of my $10k goal. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I really won't have to move until 2011 (even if it's in January or February!) but just in case, best to have that cash handy as soon as possible.

Sometimes just going with your gut is good enough

Back in 2004-2005, everyone was asking me why I wasn't trying to buy a house of my own. My response? "I can't afford a mortgage AND furniture. I can only do one or the other." I wasn't trying to be pithy or cute, that was my honest-to-goodness reason. I knew everyone else with income like mine was buying, but I just didn't feel comfortable with it, and that was good enough reason for me. No further explanation needed. I'll spare you the history lesson of what happened with the housing market and people like me who decided to buy a house anyway.

So here we are in 2010 and the pressure is on, but for a different reason: "So when are you and BF getting married/moving in together?" My response? "When the job/housing market allows us to." No one seems satisfied with that response. The look I usually get seems to say, "Well that really shouldn't stop you." And for some people, it doesn't. And they end up in a lot of debt and/or unemployed because of it. Right now we both have a roof over our heads and jobs. Neither one of us have any interest in putting ourselves in financial harm to satisfy people we neither know nor like. I'm sure it seems strange to people on the outside of our relationship to be long-distance for two, projecting into three or so years. But we're doing what feels right for us with the information we know right now. No further explanation needed.

Resisting the smartphone urge...for now

Man, I wouldn't mind having one of those smartphones. They would (or would have) come in so handy when I was traveling to check flight schedules, etc. They would keep me entertained on the long commutes home. I could have gotten one of those new droid thingies for free (well, with the commitment to a 2-yr. contract) since my phone was eligible for an upgrade since 2007. I'd have access to Facebook and Twitter since they are blocked at work! Wouldn't that compel you too? No?

Really, not me either. Especially when I started to think about the additional $30 per month that would be tacked on for the mandatory data package. Then I thought of all the apps that nickel and dime you to death. Suddenly just buying a new battery from my 5-yr. old phone at Radio Shack didn't seem like such a lame idea. No, I can't log into Facebook and Twitter, but I don't need to drain on my productivity. Now that my mom is sick and I have to take care of her, I won't be doing any traveling anytime soon. Last, but no least: When I move, I won't be able to afford the hefty month charges.

So looks I'll be kickin' old school with this phone for a while.