Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I gotta a feeling...

It kind of seems wrong to utter that phrase, which has been one of many catchphrases/battle cries for the ever-faithful Steeler Nation, who fairly regularly has a feeling their (our) team is going to the Super Bowl. But I am not even sure the Steelers are going to pull together more than six wins this season; I am 99 percent certain the playoffs are not in their future.

But the Buccos. Oh, the Buccos.

The Pirates are in the playoffs, baby!

Sure, the longest losing streak in major sports ended a few weeks ago. But the way the season was going, it was not going to be enough to just break even or end up a little over .500. No, the fans (both die-hard and fair-weather) wanted more. Last night, we officially got that. And what an ending it was. I don't remember the last time I was so nervous/excited for a baseball game/play. But to see that tag out at home plate (I have no idea if that would be considered a tag out, but that is what I am calling it).

Here's hoping the Pirates can continue to win (and the Cards lose), so the Pirates can get an actual series going, rather than just one wildcard game. But if that is the cards they are dealt, then here's hoping they can win that game and keep on winning.

Let's go Bucs!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Once bitten, twice shy

I wonder how many others obsess about money the way I do. And by do, I mean do, did, and do again.

When hubby and I were both working for however-many years the last time around, I often worried that we did not have enough money, even though we were able to put a nice chunk of change in the banks every month. I cannot explain this somewhat irrational fear, though I am guessing it is mostly related to our making less than many others I knew. And then when I was first laid off, I worried even more, because all of a sudden our income was drastically reduced. So if I was worried before, it made sense that I would have a world of worry at that point.

But eventually my worrying lessened, even though I went several years without a steady income. Being frugal and boring to begin with meant that we did not have to give up too much (oh, we definitely gave up stuff). And caring very little about material things helped tremendously. If we had been spenders who had debt on our credit cards and lived paycheck to paycheck, I don't know how we would have coped. It was challenging enough being the way we were!

Now that I have been working for almost six months, I have finally sat down and looked at our budget, something I had not done in almost a year. Back then I figured there was little purpose; we did our best on the income we had, and my income was so sporadic that it just seemed pointless. But a few weeks ago, the hubby started talking about getting a (new to him) truck. We sold our very old, rusty thing about 1.5 years ago. And over the past year, his not quite-as-old car had been going downhill. The hubby was afraid the car would break down, particularly now that he picks up the kid from school 95% of the time, and/or the next repair would be a real killer. So he started looking.

And I started fretting. The thought of having a car payment, which we have not had for a couple of years, really bothered me. I could hear Dave Ramsey saying, if you cannot pay for it in cash, you should not buy it. But the thought of taking that money out of our savings to pay for the car bothered me more.

Time was of the essence, and the hub found a nice, used truck that seemed, well, really nice. We bit the bullet and bought it. And, yes, we financed it (puts head down and does not look Dave or friend Mel in the eyes). The last time Brian got a car, we financed it for three years, but paid it off in one year. I would love to do something similar this time around, although this truck cost quite a bit more than the last, so that probably won't work.

I am trying to tell myself that we can afford this (we can; so sayeth the budget). And we could pay it off tomorrow (which again, we can, but there are many other things we should spend that money on).

But then that nagging voice inside me reminds me how easy it is to lose a job in this economy (which has improved, but is still not great). Or all the other things that can go wrong.

And then I wonder, do others fret about this stuff as much as I do? Or do they just buy what they want, credit card interest or no money in the bank be damned, and am I just the silly one?

I do not know.

But I am determined to worry a little less this time around.

Here's hoping I did not just jinx myself...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It still takes my breath away

Every year around this time I write a 9/11 post. This year will be no different. Yet in some ways it is different. As the years pass, I think about it less and less. It used to weigh on my heart as the anniversary was a few weeks away. But this year, I don't think I thought about until it was about a week away. 

Although I don't think time heals all wounds, time can certainly lessen the memories and the pain. But as I watched streaming video of the remembrance ceremony today, I saw just how raw and painful this day is for those who lost loved ones during that relatively short amount of time. My heart ached for the people whose voices cracked as they read the names of their loved ones. My eyes welled up with tears, particularly as I watched and heard young people say the names of their relatives and most definitely when someone had lost a parent or child.

Every year I allow myself to be somber and reflective. I always watch a few 9/11 programs; my favorite is "102 Minutes That Changed America." I am very interested in the personal stories. There are many to be told. 

I will never forget that day, what I was doing, where I was. And my reliving it every year helps to ensure this, even though it is painful to me. No matter how   many times I watch the planes crash into the WTC, watch the towers fall, or see people as they jump to their death, I get choked up. I am pretty sure I always will. 

Tomorrow I will go back to the way things were. 

But not today.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Stop the world. I want to get off.

I am fairly certain at one point, I may have written a blog post with that very title. But I am not willing to take the time to find out. Because the main point of my post is that I don't have time to write blog posts anymore. And, as bad, I am missing out on reading so many of my blogging buddy's posts. I long for the days when I would have read posts from 10 blogs and then the next day I would be all, "Why can't these people write more often?!"

The truth is that I could make time for this. But once I got the iPhone, the computer took a backseat. And it is fairly annoying trying to write a blog post from an iPhone. That was my last post, and it took me probably an hour. I could spend that time playing Scramble with Friends. ;-)

Anyway, let me just throw out a handful or three of updates, in case any of you still happen by these parts.

  • Work has been going pretty well. The busyness comes and goes. It should pick up soon. But overall I'm still happy there.
  • I am now pretty much a bus rider (are you listening, Shannon?!). As it turns out, my usual lot, according to the lot guy, is filled by 8 a.m. or will be for at least the next month or so, with commuting students. I simply cannot get there that early, so I have started to ride the bus, allowing myself one car ride a week, and thus saving some bucks. Look at me giving myself a raise!
  • School has started, and so far, pretty good. I still have no idea how working parents get their kids to after-school activities. My kid does one thing a week, piano, and that works only because it is at the school and she can walk down to after-school care when she is done (which is where she goes every day anyway). We need more evening hours to be able to unwind, do homework, get dinner ready (which hubby does, thankfully), eat, clean up, play outside, make lunches for the next day, and get ready for bed. If we could stop the world for an hour every day, that would be great.
  • I did a 1.5-hour Zumba class on Monday. It simply does not occur to me that I should not be able to pick up where I left off when I last did Zumba in March. So I went full force, and it went well. I realize at 41.5 years, I won't be able to do this picking up where I left off months later indefinitely, but I am going to embrace it while I can. Unfortunately, my riding the bus means I no longer walk up and down about 600 steps daily to and from my lot (my having done that for almost five months was probably the main reason why I could still do Zumba). But I do manage to get in other exercise, including walking up and down (and sometimes jogging) the 75 stairs to my office, the walk from my parking space in the bus lot to the waiting bus, and a walk most afternoons. It adds up. If only all the food I keep consuming was not keeping pace...
  • I stayed up past 11 last night to watch the Pirates. I think it is safe to say I have never done that on a work night in September in my life. You know, because the Pirates have always been out of contention at this point since I have been a grownup.
  • I am pretty sure the Steelers will not make the playoffs. I don't think I have felt this way, at least not in the last 15 to 20 years.What is old is new! Regardless, I think I am okay with it. But only because of my previous point and my next two.
  • I hope the Penn State football team does well. Say what you want about the institution and the people who failed, but those football players had nothing to do with that.
  • Looking forward to hockey season too! I totally expect the Pens to make the playoffs. Not sure about the Cup, however. I do think last year was their best chance.
  • Oh, and I wish the U.S. would stay in our own country and not fight others' battles. I get it, but I don't get it. And that is all I will say about that.
  • Fall is coming. Looking forward to it. Mostly. Now that school is back in, might as well embrace it.