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More Juggling In Store

September 27th, 2017 at 03:10 am

Last night at my adjunct class I learned my next session which would start in late October has been canceled due to low enrollment. I think they're going through some tough times there, and I'm not all that surprised. It's not-for-profit, but it is private. So that income--always headed for my big goal-- is gone until my next scheduled session in March. I have mixed feelings, I guess. My regular classes keep me plenty busy, but I like the demographic and the extra cash certainly helps. But I also like being home weeknights to work on house stuff, spend time with my family, and do extra school work. I didn't say anything yet about their security issues, but will still voice my concerns.

In happier news I had a lovely weekend in Chicago with my BFF. We played hipster in Logan Square, ate at great places, drank good beer and fun cocktails, and in last weekend's heat went back downtown for a boat ride on the river and lake. It was a very fun weekend, and my BFF always makes me feel so much better. Not too spendy with a great airbnb and the just the train ticket.

The forecast is for cooler weather tomorrow so I'll roast more tomatoes when I get home from the university--and maybe even do some ironing.

First Day Back

September 6th, 2017 at 01:05 am

The busyness of it all has started in full force. I met 50 new students today, and I'll meet another 50 tomorrow. The administration is really intense the first few days, and I'm tired, tired, tired.

I had the night "off" from my adjunct class last night because of the holiday, but spent most of the evening reading their papers.

In more financial news, we received an unexpected refund from the dentist for $67, and I just did a textbook survey that promises a $50 honorarium. We are pretty darn broke right now without moving cash from savings, so every little helps.

An early bed for me as I have an 8am class in the morning, followed by another one, office hours, DD's dental appointment and the high school meet and greet.

Here it Comes

September 4th, 2017 at 10:38 pm

Yep, the new school year is about 14 hours away. DH and I have spent the day trying to get things done around here. I made quinoa salad for both DD and DH's lunches, made muffin tin fritatas for breakfasts for the week, and got the lunch boxes ready.

I still have a few things to do because we spent yesterday in the Wisconsin Dells taking a boat trip through the Upper Dells. The commercial trashy Dells are pretty awful, but the natural Dells--the beautiful river and rock formations are breathtaking. We saw Stand Rock and the fabulous Witches Gulch. It was a fun day followed by our dinner out using a restaurant gift card.

I look forward to the new school year. Let's go!

My First Cup of Coffee

April 27th, 2017 at 08:07 pm

Let's make that my first cup of coffee shop coffee for the semester. And it was well-deserved, I think. I was up late late late trying to untangle upset students mired in a group project. They hate each other; they want to work independently, they are clearly stressed and crazy. I arranged to meet a couple of them after my classes, and the angry meeting I was anticipating turned out to be sad. Several of them are facing failing classes (not mine) and they were grateful for the few crumbs I had to offer them. Students need some sort of stress mgmt techniques. They exhaust me.

My class is actually writing a report on increasing 401k participation in my fictitious organization. It's to teach them about audience, report formatting, etc. And my secondary (and hidden) purpose was to encourage them to do some research about retirement planning and financial literacy. I'm really pleased with it; several of them have commented about how they're "accidentally" learning so much about pensions and 401ks. Now they're very keen to start investing and enrolling in their plans--which surprisingly are offered by many of their employers. I hope when they have fat retirement accounts they drink a toast to me--or send me $10.

Another NS Day!

April 12th, 2017 at 10:03 pm

And a sunny one at that. My MW classes are working on a big project, so I'm there mostly to give feedback. The Tuesday/Thursday ones are still getting modified lectures, and we're building in some time to work on their projects. My students are really really tired. With four weeks left of the semester, they seem to have hit the wall. I think they'll need some love--probably in the form of doughnuts next week.

I was about to splash out on a coffee during my office hours today, but found one lonely little orange teabag in my work bag, so made a quick cup of tea through the magic of the electric kettle instead. Chalk up a $2 savings.

Our theatre building at the university had a serious fire on Sunday causing over a million in damages. But the local community has been very generous offering us space, extra materials, and cash to rebuild.

Something a little strange has happened with my DH's job prospects. He's heard from a source that his old job may be interested in having him back. I think if they offered him a non-contract job, he'd go back, but we'll talk it through tonight and see how steady it is.

I have indeed deposited $1300 in my new account toward the $100k goal. So, I'm 1.3% of the way there! This may be painstaking progress, but I'm eager.

It's spaghetti night here. Do you all have a regular taco/spaghetti/pizza or something night?

The Power of Sleep!

April 7th, 2017 at 09:42 pm

I've had way too many late nights this week editing a dissertation for a local nursing student. English is her second language, and her grammar and phrasing needed a lot of work. But it was an interesting project, and despite my issues getting her tables to merge into the original copy at 1am this morning, we're finished! She had the original tables, so all is well. I took the dog to have her stitches removed this morning, deposited some rebate checks, came home, and took a nap. Two hours later I felt like a human again and started cleaning the kitchen, catching up on laundry, and grading quizzes. Inspired (as always) by CCF's idea of a new savings goal, I'd like to try to save a big chunk alongside our regular retirement savings before DD heads to college and we consider moving to the UK. Ideally, I'd like to shoot for $100,000, but I'm not sure how realistic that is. The more reasonable figure is $50,000 but I'm going to aim big. Maybe I'm loopy on sunshine. So far it's been a NSD as the stitches removal was free.

One-On-One with Retirement Advisors

March 22nd, 2017 at 04:15 pm

Can you hear me sighing a bit with relief? I spent a very productive 45 minutes with my 403b advisor this morning. She was excellent, and I'm so glad I went.

She plugged IRA values, my state pension values, my 403b, SS, and other numbers in--and generated a rating of worst case/ mid-range/ and best case. Apparently they rank your retirement readiness from 0-150 with 150 being the best. We got a 150+--even with the worst case scenario. Granted that includes DH's new job with a hefty 401k Match--but most of it was from my state pension, SS, and IRA.

She gave me some good advice on shifting cash into DD's 529, and really staying the course--seeing if we could squeeze another couple hundred a month into things to allow us more travel money etc.

But I now foresee a carefully budgeted for bathroom remodel in our future. I am both very relieved, and still a bit anxious. Hopefully that anxiety will disappear after DH gets a few months under his belt.

We also talked college costs--and we decided to shoot for $30,000/year for DD. We have a long way to go on that, but I think it's do-able. She's decided not to go to French camp this year, and I'll try to plop that money into her 529.

It was interesting to hear her cautionary tales of people whose readiness scores were under 20. Now off to BOGO lunch with friends.

In Like a Lion

March 1st, 2017 at 09:35 pm

I walked to school in a rainstorm, but halfway through my class, everyone started oohing and aahing. No, it wasn't my brilliant teaching, it was a big snowstorm. It's heavy wet snow and looks gorgeous.

It looks like another NSD. I had student meetings after class, but managed to make a quick cup of coffee in the office before heading out, ate lunch afterwards at the TIAA Cref seminar held for "America Saves" week. I think the seminar was pretty basic--especially for frugalites like us here at SA, but it was pretty clear not many people thought much about money and debt. They did an interesting exercise--handing out cards with eight categories including housing, savings, debt, transportation, utilities, food, entertainment, and healthcare. Our small groups tried to figure out percentages for each. I was astounded some folks argued for food at 20% of their budget while others thought housing should go to 40%. Then they told us to factor in retirement savings too and figure out where the cash would come from.

It was worthwhile--especially since I won a prize--a small notebook and pen--and several packages of mints for guessing the answers. But I was a bit worried at the level of financial literacy around me. I think perhaps I was one of the few faculty there--lots of admin folks, some unionized cleaners, etc. Financial literacy should be taught earlier, I think. And I think workplace pension contributions should be automatic; folks should have to opt out rather than in. It gave me some good ideas for class projects. But like attending healthy eating seminars, this is information many of us know, but often don't act on.

Now twice buried--snow and still grading.

Free Bagels and a NSD

February 2nd, 2017 at 08:53 pm

Bruegger's Bagels was celebrating their birthday this morning, and I popped in for three free bagels. I (really) ate one in the car on the way to the university but saved the other two for DD who loves their Asiago bagels. Such a simple thing but a nice little treat for still very-frugal me.
My non-frugal office mate scolded me for not going out to lunch with DH while he's unemployed telling me I had no bills. Excuse me? No mortgage maybe, but plenty of bills still.

I had very good classes today which is always fun, and best news of all, my adjunct university offered me a summer class. It's composition--not my favorite subject, but still. That means I'll have summer cash when my regular university salary is over. That gives us a lot more breathing room and we could probably make it even if DH doesn't get a job. But I think he will. Still, a relief.

Hi Ho!

January 18th, 2017 at 01:37 am

I cooked and baked for about half the day yesterday. I made bean salad, quiche, two batches of granola, and two loaves of peach bread. Lots of things went from freezer to the oven. I was pretty beat after all that, but bagged up granola for gifts, wrapped up a loaf of peach bread, and finally delivered gifts to our university admin staff who make life possible. One lot of granola and a loaf of peach bread went to my struggling colleague whose classes have been cut and more awaits another.

The worst part of the day was the meeting from hell with one of my most miserable colleagues. Man alive, after a dozen years of working with her, I'm amazed I'm still standing. She makes the simplest decisions long and agonizing. Our meeting should've lasted 15 minutes and somehow she dragged it out to an hour and a half, making everyone annoyed and impatient along the way.

But honestly, I was happy to get out of the house and off to school. I like to work. I had lunch with an unemployed colleague who insisted on buying lunch with his gift card, but I had a BOGO coupon, so I had a lovely lunch for free. I did errands, went to the bank, picked up milk and got EB at CVS. My office mate bought me lefse. I'm doing pretty well. I wish I could make things go as well for everyone else. Very minimal spending after a NS Day yesterday.

Best of all? The textbook publisher finally paid me the $1000 they've owed me since September.

BTW--I'm very sick of Swagbucks but penny by penny, the cash keeps rolling in.

Scavenging Payoffs

July 8th, 2016 at 02:06 am

Much to my delight, the prepaid Visas earned for our health assessments arrived this week. It was a nice $300. However, my DH seems to feel he should be able to blow that $300. I, of course, disagree. We agreed that we both could have $25 from our cards to spend on whatever. And I spent all but $5 of mine today on the dog's post-operative therapy. Bleah. But I guess it's paid for and not on the credit card.
Our CSA box is keeping us jam-packed full of veggies. I made a big pan of stuffed shells with spinach filling tonight, and we still have loads of things. Last week's box had brilliant strawberries and garlic scapes which I've had lots of fun with. Pole beans will be the challenge of the weekend.

I spent 45 minutes on the phone with Vanguard today, and am again very impressed with their customer service. I still had some stocks rolling around in an old IRA, and we got that all transferred. Looking at the statements led me into doing some retirement calculations. Thanks to some major years of contributions when I was younger, I think I can do 100% income replacement right now. That's with Social Security and that's just me--not my DH who has been lax. He's been a contractor for years without a 401K match, I nag him all the time about restarting IRA contributions, but he HATES finances. I'm going tot have to take over his as well as mine. There's UK money, but not a ton, and there's been no progress on his dad's estate. We actually sat down and talked this through tonight--which is tremendously satisfying for me and boring as heck for him.

Other things accomplished this week has been some minor decluttering and the opening of a new savings account purely for the $200 bonus in 90 days. But all of that is done.

Missionettes Accomplished

May 4th, 2016 at 02:45 pm

Surprisingly everything went according to plan yesterday. I got my new purse for $8, and I like it. DH and I got to our wellness assessment, completed it in record time, and found we're about the same as last year. We both need to lose 10 lbs and eat somewhat better. We've been walking after dinner for a while, so I hope that will help. And we're looking forward to the $300 incentive sometime this summer. After I deposited him back at work, I went out to my adjunct job to drop off some UK gifties for my friends there. I just brought home some tea and canvas bags from Primark for their teenagers who like them much more than the 1.50GBP I paid. And I got the travel authorization process moving. DH's car repair came in under $900, so the car lives on.

Along the way though, I heard several stories of how tough things are in higher ed right now. Our director of Intl Ed has deserted the floundering ship that our state university system now is. She's taken a job in California after 20+ years here. She's originally from our English Department so I've known her for years, and we're all sad--as is she--to see her go. And I met a colleague who is thinking of early retirement before our massive cuts take place next year. She doesn't want to leave, and will be a big loss to us as we have no one with her expertise--and won't be allowed to hire anyone either. And my adjunct job looks bleak too. I have a summer class in late June, but they're ready to let go of some of their classroom space as enrollments suffer. It made my $8 purse seem like a very wise buy.

Happy Dance

July 14th, 2015 at 06:06 pm

Yesterday was testimon(e)y to the KEEP PUSHING mindset. After six months of on- and-off arguing with my dental insurance provider about DD's root canal, we received a check for $707 yesterday. Hooray! And a $5 rebate check. And a $35 credit from Amazon on a trade-in book they apparently "lost."

Granted all of this should have happened automatically. The dental insurance should have paid in January; Amazon should've credited the book. It was a lot of time and aggravation for both me and the endodontist office, and I was on chat with Amazon for at least 25 minutes.

I'm more than excited.

A Few Financial Issues Faced

May 10th, 2015 at 02:53 am

Part of my real and financial housekeeping has been to look hard at all of our upcoming expenses. We both tend to just throw money in a pile, try not to overspend, and hope to find the money in the pile when we need it. Indeed if we want to use some of my nest egg for an English property, we're going to need to examine our domestic spending and goals. That means looking at our spending even more carefully.

My DH doesn't spend a lot on frivolous things, but also never compares prices or thinks about long-term planning. That's just not how he is. Our retirement planning has been my task, and I've done pretty well with it. We also have set aside some money for DD's college expenses, but not really enough. DH had the advantage of a free British university education (no longer the case there), so hasn't really thought through what DD will need. I spent some time running college calculators the past few days, and it's clear we need to save more. Although he fidgeted through the discussion this morning, he actually lasted through the whole thing--culminating in our increasing our 529 contribution significantly.

I'd still like to get a new water heater and a new bathroom in the next year, but I can see I'm going to have to find a bit more freelance editing work over the summer, be more vigilant about expenses, and keep selling clutter.

My current small steps have helped, but I'm committed to examining all our bills--from finding a better phone plan to increasing our insurance deductible on the older car.

Started a New Class Tonight

May 5th, 2015 at 03:37 am

And it looks like we'll have some whining issues. It must be awful to enroll in a literature class and find out you have to read some books. But we got through the first long sessions, and only have six left.

I spent only a bit this afternoon on my way to class--I needed to use an expiring Walgreen's voucher and bought some coffee with coupons.

I decluttered a bit, ridding myself of a big load of postcards for someone who collects them. I have lots to do tomorrow--some financial, some housekeeping.

Mutual Fund Fees

November 2nd, 2013 at 04:00 am

I wager some of my retirement funds that many of you saw the PBS Frontline special, "The Retirement Gamble" when it first aired last spring or maybe when it was rebroadcast last week. Here's a link to it:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/business-economy-financial-crisis/retirement-gamble/the-retirement-gamble-facing-us-all/


It got me mad (as usual) and got me thinking about my own mutual fund holdings and how badly I've probably been stung by the fees. I just did a cost comparison from one of my American Century holdings with a Vanguard Index fund. Now granted, this is Vanguard's site, but if it's near accurate, American Century, whose fees are ranked "below average" is costing me a lot of money. A lot of money.

I'm wondering about how I sweat the small stuff, like the price of coffee, yet these fees, which seem to have little if any relation to performance, are costing me tens of thousands. It sort of makes me sick.

I suppose I'm the only ding-dong here who isn't in all low-expense ratio funds?

Still Busy but Less Busy with a Nice Surprise

October 29th, 2013 at 02:58 am

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 04:53 pm

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.

Sundaynightitis

October 7th, 2013 at 02:49 am

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.

What a Long Day

September 10th, 2013 at 01:45 pm

Except for two breaks yesterday, I taught from 8am until 10pm. Everything went very well, but I'm glad I only have five weeks left of my evening class. What a grind.

Especially when it's a long day like that, I tend to go on auto pilot, making sure students are engaged and getting the information, but not probably as open to their emotional reactions. Last night, my confused student who couldn't find Pride and Prejudice and seems addicted to her phone talked to me after class. She wanted to let me know she'd be late next week as she's having wisdom teeth pulled. Would you go to class after having teeth pulled? I tried to reassure her a bit, but oddly, for someone who usually appears very tough, she broke down in tears and started telling me how scared she was to have her teeth pulled. The emotional angst of first weeks just adds to the exhaustion.

Off to a London meeting this morning before my class. These are busy busy weeks.

A Low-Key Rainy Day

September 8th, 2013 at 03:20 am

Now that school's in session, I think lots of my time will be spent course planning for my new class. While it's mostly seniors, their levels of preparation are widely varied, and I can see the class will need some fine tuning from my original plan.

So, while DD was at a birthday party I spent a few hours plotting the class work and homework for next week.

Spending was confined to a pretty darn frugal grocery store trip. We were very happy to see hours of rain today. We certainly needed it.

One note of hilarity from my evening "open enrollment college" job: Two weeks ago I assigned 50 pages of _Pride and Prejudice._ Tonight a student e-mailed me to tell me she couldn't find the book anywhere. Regular readers of my tales of woe may remember this student being chastised for her cell phone habits during class. I sent her a link to the 162 copies in our county library, assuring her at least one must be available.

Finally

July 9th, 2013 at 05:21 pm

Our state income tax refund finally arrived yesterday. What a relief. We did file late because I was in London, but it's been months. It's almost $700 and I'd like to divide it up into Roths and DD's college fund. That, coupled with a few rebates, will at least get some things rolling.

My study abroad debriefing session is today. Not sure what that all entails, but I'm eager to get going on next year's recruiting. I also need to find a better text for my advanced professional course.

The weather looks a bit scary. Big storms forecast for this afternoon.

Buying, Selling, and Thinking

June 10th, 2013 at 04:19 pm

Perhaps it's turning 50, but DH has England fever again. This always comes and goes, but his aging dad, boring job, and our renewed taste of London living last spring has stoked the fire.

I told him I'd think it through some more. We need to do a more complete financial inventory, and he needs to do some realistic stock taking of his job prospects. But of course, I have money anxiety about the whole thing. I swear, I should not read articles about retirement saving. The one in yesterday's NYT had little to do with our situation as it focused on people who were (in my opinion) too loaded up on bonds. But it always makes me nervous, so some clear-eyed examination of the state of things would help.

My ebay auctions were only somewhat successful. I sold some DVDs that I'll post this morning, but had to relist a couple of items. Several weeks ago when I volunteered to sub tutor for a friend it seemed like a peachy idea. Faced with three nights there this week, I'm not looking forward to it. But often no one shows up for the tutoring hours, so maybe I can get some work done on a prospective UK budget.

Some Good News

May 30th, 2013 at 04:57 pm

All of my university dept colleagues got a very odd letter yesterday that no one could figure out. We've been strongly advocating for more money. If I told you what I was paid, you'd weep. Really. It's why even during the busy semester virtually everyone has extra jobs. Anyway, seven years ago the university agreed to pay people a very small amount ($300 annually) every year to support retention. No one has received any kind of a non-title raise in almost 10 years, so even that small amount was welcome. Well, two years later, they just stopped paying it. No explanation, no nothing.

Every time we asked about it, we were told the money was just no longer available. Yet there seemed, for a while, to be money available for new hires getting paid more than we were. They like to call this salary compression. I guess I have another name for it.

Our department chair told us there was no money, and morale has been very low. A good friend who just won a teaching award told the chancellor--at a planned photo op--that she was quitting because she couldn't afford to work here anymore. So, out of the blue yesterday we all received a letter saying that they'd start this again. And some of it--though how they figured it is very bizarre--will be paid retroactively--very very slowly. To make up for years of NOT paying it, they'll add another $50 each year. Now that may make up for it by the time I retire. But a whopping $233 extra landed in my June 1 paycheck. I know I should be happy about it, and I sort of am, but it again raises the issue of how lousy it is there. Sigh.

Ebay Successes and Class Woes

May 21st, 2013 at 07:11 pm

Just got the news that my summer class was cancelled for low enrollment. Classes across campus were cut, so I don't feel singled out; we just have summer enrollment problems. Students need to work.
Unfortunately, that was, by far, the biggest income source of the summer, so some cutbacks will have to happen.

But in happier news, I'm so glad I listed my ebay items. The total sales were just about $50, so I'll add that to my $15 from the HalfPrice Sales for this month.

Encouraged, as always, by CCF, I did some extra Swagbucks activities and donated the Swagbucks to the Red Cross.

Now to declutter and find more items to sell!

Hallelujah!

December 13th, 2012 at 02:40 am

I suspect there was a large, loud chorus of hallelujahs today because fall semester classes are over. Usually I do a huge happy dance, and I'm indeed happy, just a tiny smidge of bittersweet. This is the first time in 15 years I won't start teaching again in January at my regular shift in my regular classroom. And my last two classes of the day today are my favorites of the term--I was sad to see them go. We really only had about 20 minutes of work and evaluations to do, but most of my last class hung around for over an hour. They like each other, and I sure like them. As I left, I turned out the lights and just looked at my regular classroom for a while. As much as I whinge sometimes, it's really the best job in the world.

But on to less bittersweet things. I had a lovely hour-long conversation with my 95-year-old aunt last night. I can't believe how sharp she is. Christmas and London both beckon--after the grading is done.

I have meetings all day tomorrow, so as much as I'd like to spend the day grading and get it done, it won't be done until the weekend.

Outrage and Frustration

September 27th, 2012 at 03:51 am

That title about sums up yet another delightful day at the university. It appears we have another repeat of last year's payroll debacle. None of our instructors who are teaching overloads are getting paid for them until at least November. My colleagues who have rearranged their lives to slog through five classes have just found that their October paychecks are at least 20% short. And the health insurance deductions are also wrong for many of us. One of my colleagues has been double charged; mine is some odd $116 more than it should be.

Let's just saying tempers are running high. I'm eagerly awaiting the response to my e-mail to the department chair. Not happy. Not happy at all.

Car Mission Accomplished

July 24th, 2012 at 03:57 pm

DH purchased his car last night. Please don't ask me to divulge the kind of car as it's more suitable for someone 40 years older. But despite some last-minute wrangling, we managed to escape for just over $4000. Since he only drives the car to the bus stop and on Saturday errands, I was hoping to pay less. But so many of the used cars we saw were either priced much higher and had mileage over 150K. The mechanic checked it out, and it's in very good shape. It'll need new rear struts sometime, but that can wait until fall.

I'm still trawling the house for more garage sale items, but paused to read this very depressing article (another one?) on retirement. It's here if anyone feels too cheery today: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/22/opinion/sunday/our-ridiculous-approach-to-retirement.html?_r=1

My Next Freelance Gig

May 11th, 2012 at 07:46 pm

My new freelance gig starts tonight--teaching three classes on citation, research writing, and documentation to graduating college seniors who probably should've learned this in middle school.

It's an hour drive, so my usual salary for these folks has been adjusted to compensate. I can't say I'm thrilled about discussing documentation and citation for a couple hours on Friday night, but hey, I can do it for a few weeks.

I'm giving myself the weekend to enjoy dinner out with DH and Mother's Day, then summer frugality sets in.

Rousing the Rabble

January 27th, 2012 at 04:37 am

Yesterday's Outrage

I have two hours a week when I "have" to be online for instant access for my online students. It's a rare week when one of them actually contacts me during those times, so of course I blog, do Swagbucks, and read e-mail. Yesterday--crazy bored--I actually read our horrible HR newsletter. I even clicked on a link from a new HR subcommittee that had ideas to help folks through our state budget cuts--with millions and millions more hanging over our heads.

I was hoping for a small small tidbit of helpful advice on avoiding pension fund fees, maximizing benefits etc. This newsletter goes out to all our employees--most of whom have advanced degrees.

Here's a sample of their advice:

Try a frozen pizza for dinner

Bring leftovers home from your restaurant dinner to eat the next day for lunch.

Instead of that steak dinner, try pizza.

Get a second job. (No awareness that virtually all my colleagues have second and third jobs?)

I swear the whole darn thing was written by second graders. It was awful, horrible, snarky, stupid, and condescending. So, loving to rouse the rabble, I forwarded it to my colleagues' discussion list. Let's just say I set things off. In under three hours, 100 people e-mailed me--equally outraged.

It's not that it was bad advice, but their awareness of the struggles their audience faces was non-existent. The darn thing ended with a listing of FOOD PANTRIES! Thank you, my employer, that you acknowledge some of us are paid so badly we need a food pantry. I cannot even quite figure out my reaction--just that this enraged every single person that read it.

Again, let me say that many people may need to be told things like this--but man--as my boss said--it was a weapon of mass condescension. Someone suggested that our department fridge should have a sign on the front saying "I am bringing my lunch instead of ordering a steak dinner." When I got to work today--it did. And all the various leftovers made into lunches--many had post-its reading, "I'm eating this instead of a steak dinner."

So--I've caused one large uproar so far--and have another in the works.


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