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Archive for October, 2013

Still Busy but Less Busy with a Nice Surprise

October 28th, 2013 at 07:58 pm

I'm finally thinking I'm over the worst of the semester. I have the rest of it planned out, and the best part is now that my evening class is over, I have some more time.

I went to New Orleans from Wednesday-Saturday to do a conference presentation. It went well, and the best part was New Orleans itself. I haven't been there in years, and I had such fun. The university will pay for about half my trip, but I heard great presentations, ate fabulous (and free!) food, and had at least a couple of hours for a wander around. A bunch of folks I was in grad school with were there, and some other former colleagues, so it was fun to go out with them. I didn't spend too much, tried to economize where I could, and got some work done at the airports, on the planes, and in odd snatches of time. So, I'm caught up enough and feel refreshed.

I came home to a registered letter from my adjunct employer which made me a bit anxious. But it turned out to be good news. Their IRS audit revealed they owed me a 403b contribution. Because I work there only sporadically, I don't have a retirement account with them, but apparently I worked enough in the previous year to open an account with an initial $800 deposit made by them. Isn't that peachy?

I hope to clear things up around here this week, completely catch up on work, and clean the house. Maybe I can even turn into Tinkerbell or lose that dread 20 lbs.?

Lots of Financial News for a Change

October 18th, 2013 at 09:53 am

Let's start with the biggest anxiety reliever. DH's contract runs into at least the end of 2013. They sort of casually told him this on Monday after we'd been fretting at the impending end-of-October date. And since they have more money in 2014, it'll likely be extended again. Pheww.

Yesterday a colleague and I had a meeting with our dean about salaries. Our department chair is nice but useless and, as he says" doesn't want to spend HIS capital" arguing for us. Thanks a bunch. Three additional colleagues and I all missed a $2000 salary increase because we "went up" for our tenure equivalency early. The salary bump came six months later, and we were not eligible for it. The university so rarely moves on any of these issues, no one even whimpered publicly. No one except for my colleague who was madder than hell. As it turns out, the dean see our point that it penalizes seniority rather than rewarding it and is pushing our case. Since it was all going so swimmingly, I asked if they could do something about me being on half salary while in London. She was genuinely shocked about that and promised investigation there as well.

So, nothing definite out of it yet, but I'm cautiously optimistic. Cross fingers, please.

Then I narrowly dodged a $65 immunization last night. The school wants 11-year-olds to have a booster tdap vaccine right now. I figured we'd save the doctor visit and went to Walgreen's, but they don't honor my insurance for "medical" vaccines, whatever that means. They were happy to do it for $65, and there were other parents there all grumbling about it. I called our doctor this morning and she'll have it in the office on Tuesday morning-no fee or co-pay. I'm thrilled.

No other big news. DD and I went to Noodles last night for dinner as I had a coupon for a free meal. I'm shocked at how many people and their kids eat dinner out all the time. We spent under $6 for both of us with my birthday coupon, but the couple behind us who confided that Thursday is their Noodles Night spent $54 for themselves and two kids. Eeek.

Pleased with My Stubbornness

October 11th, 2013 at 02:31 pm

I'm happy to say it's been a couple days since I've spent a cent. I had a raft of meetings this morning, preceded by the dentist. The dentist bills me, and as a bonus, I found out my favorite dental hygienist also does dog sitting. If my brother can't take the dog while we're in England, she will.

But I spent nothing on student meetings at the coffee shop, even though they were ordering lattes, I restrained myself. I thought about stopping to pick up a late lunch, but came home and ate a salad.

DH has sent off a resume to another department. The skill set certainly matches his. No definite word on end dates or the possibility of the other contract job.

Now to figure out dinner. Pasta with ?

Building in Some Room

October 9th, 2013 at 07:57 pm

After a very busy week, I decided I needed some wiggle room.
My advanced writers had a workshop today rather than a regular class. I helped those who needed help with their upcoming projects, and those who just needed time took our 90 minutes and worked. It was lovely, and it was pretty funny too.

I held drop-in hours at the library and was joined by students from each class (!), some taking early quizzes, some turning in papers and asking questions, and other talking about projects. And three London students came by. Turns out the dean from our Fine Arts program was at the table across from me. He came by and said, "Man, you have a lot going on. I heard you talking about everything from apostrophe use, to Photoshop edits, to immigration rules, to the London subways." I sometimes envy people who have a more refined focus, but it was a nice variety.

I have a busy rest of the week too--lots of meetings, lots of extra stuff, but I'm determined to give myself a little more time this weekend. I've turned a couple of individual assignments into group drafts to be discussed. They need extra practice, and as much as they hate collaborative work, I think learning to work together is an important and difficult skill.

It's been a "treading water" week, but we're a week from the semester's halfway point. Nothing really financial to report. I had to buy coffee to keep going. I was frustrated with my DD's inability to bring her various hoodies and jackets home from her locker. She complains it's too warm during these October afternoons for a jacket, yet every morning she's freezing. My stopgap solution? I paid her a dime for every one she brought home. Bribery? Yep.
But her locker was jamming because she's such a hoarding little squirrel. So I'm out a dollar on that one.

Looking at this post, I can't decide if I have overload or abundance.

Sundaynightitis

October 6th, 2013 at 07:49 pm

We had a nice weekend, but I am working way too much. Except for a few breaks, I spent all of yesterday (until after midnight) grading papers. DH made dinner, but this is a month full of various commitments including teaching Sunday school, and delivering a conference paper. I seem to be always behind.

But still, it's ok. We had a lot of fun at the "Black Hole Bash" sponsored by our Astronomy department. DD brought a friend who actually stumped two well-known astronomers with her question. I met lots of interesting graduate students from all over the world and learned that we really have a fabulous astronomy department.

I will miss the paycheck when my Monday night adjunct teaching ends, but I am really looking forward to having some more time.

Thirteen for London, Please

October 4th, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Hooray! It looks like I have my numbers for London. I needed 8-10, and we should have 11 or 12, plus me! My iffy one is waiting on a recommendation from a TA. Don't get me started on TAs; I've had several run-ins with one that I'm mentoring. Ah, to be 25 and so damn sure of yourself. But wrong.

I couldn't sleep much last night; way behind in my own work, the house, and now London events. But I don't have to do much for the next couple of weeks except hold a couple of meetings. Still, my head is spinning.

Our chimney rebuild started today, but it's raining so hard, they gave up and went home. It'll be a busy busy weekend here. And hopefully a cheap one too.

Today's Crime Scene

October 2nd, 2013 at 07:52 pm

Today's excitement was non-financial in nature. My second class watched a low-speed chase today. About 10am there was a huge racket, and some kid ran halfway into my classroom carrying something. He ran right back out again, followed by 3 or 4 guys shouting at him. Apparently he'd nabbed something from one of the Business School labs, and it was the IT guys chasing him. Almost immediately the fire door alarm went off, and we all ran to the window to see him sprinting across the street followed by some very slow university cops.

After that my huge drugstore savings and double couponing seemed a bit less exciting.

Some Hopeful News

October 1st, 2013 at 07:17 pm

When DH's boss went into a meeting today, he asked if he could have a copy of DH's CV to circulate as they still suspect they'll run out of work for him. Sure enough, someone said they could perhaps use him until the end of the year. That would give us a bit more room, and perhaps another longer-term contract will come up between now and then. So, we're a bit more hopeful.

But we traced out yet another austerity budget and found that we can live, very carefully, on what I make. And that without my adjunct job at night. We couldn't do it long term, as there's no room for car repairs, house repairs, or much of anything besides property taxes, utilities, food, and other necessities. But it is doable in the short term.

As I was cleaning up the fall garden today, I found some of last spring's spinach and radish seeds. It may be late for them, but I put a row of each in and some lettuce. It's a long shot, but the seeds were just sitting there. Why not, eh?

At Long Last, Payday.

October 1st, 2013 at 06:41 am

The federal government may be a disaster, but thankfully the state government appears to have deposited my university paycheck, my first paycheck since June.

Underlying money anxiety continues here. DH's job appears increasingly shaky;many of the contractors have been let go, and some have been asked to go part time.
My adjunct evening job appears to be fine, although their enrollments are down. I usually have three or four classes a year there, plus my capstone project piecework, but it may only be two classes next year. I may have to scout around for more work come next spring.

Unless DH's job settles down, I think we'll likely abandon some of my sidebar goals. Thinking, thinking, thinking.