Category: Budget & Finance

Solving the Debt to Income Ratio Problem by Paying Off A Credit Card #NaBloPoMo #HastagsAreSilly

The closing still hasn’t happened. Last we talked to Mortgage Guy™ he said that the Walmart card needed to drop off Mr. Brickie’s credit report (he was an authorized user) or get paid off.

So, while Mr. Brickie was still in Maryland we decided to pay the darn thing off and hope that a job happened soon enough when he got back from the east coast we could boost the checking account back to $8k and actually close on this place.

While he waited in the airport on Friday afternoon, Mr. Brickie texted everyone he knew to try and get a gig that started on Monday. Now that we paid off that $1900 card it was imperative we get that money back into the account by the time Mortgage Guy™ realizes the card is paid off so we can transition smoothly to the closing.

But there were no jobs to be had that started on Monday.

You know I spent the weekend a total mess. I was so happy to have my honey bunny back home but the low grade stress of this closing has been taking its toll. I wasn’t snappy or crabby…just tired and sad. I don’t mind all the planning and problem solving, but it would be nice if things were easy once in a while. A smooth closing. A regular job that didn’t end and require more hustling to find the next gig.

I probably need to meditate.

Monday at 4pm, Mr. Brickie heard back from one of the people he’d contacted and got a phone number to call. He called and the guy gave him the address of where to start work on Tuesday. The job is five-tens (five days a week, ten hours a day) so he’ll get 40 hours in this week even though he didn’t work Monday.

Come to find out no one worked Monday. It was Veteran’s Day. My kids had school so it didn’t dawn on me bricklayers wouldn’t be working that day.

The general consensus is that this job will go until Thanksgiving. So, not a long time but longer than a week so that’s good.

I don’t know if it will be back to hustling after this gig, either. The current company he’s working for is huge. He was talking to another guy on the job who has been working for them a long time (let’s call him Carl) and even though Carl has been listed in the system as a “traveler” they are asking him to stay put in Chicago for a while. They want Carl to stay local. Carl thinks it’s because there’s a lot of work coming up in the area.

Now Mr. Brickie is in that system as well, so maybe the hustle and grind will be a little less grindy for a while.

The fact he’s working during November at all is really a gift. Six years there has been no winter work and now he’s in this whole new field-within-a-field where a lot of the work is indoors and not affected by the weather.

If he’s working in the Chicago area the commute will be worse (probably an hour and a half average one way) but the pay is higher. Enough that it more than covers the difference in gas and tolls.

Enough that we have closing money next week?

It’s going to be close enough that I won’t know until it happens. I’m not great at calculating taxes on overtime. I have the chart from the IRS but it’s still kind of a crap shoot.

I hate surprises.

The Neverending Closing #NaBloPoMo

I have the theme song for The Neverending Story stuck in my head now.

Mortgage Guy™ emailed today and those two pesky accounts are still listing Mr. Brickie as an authorized user even though I took him off those accounts at the end of August.

In case I haven’t said, Mortgage Guy™ said that the letters the companies gave me stating he had been removed were not good enough because “things can be altered” so we had to wait for them to not show up on the credit report anymore.

Now I’m over here and I know beyond knowing that I was removed as someone’s authorized user when I was 15 and that card STILL showed on my credit report when I was 21 and so I never thought it was possible all these cards would somehow magically disappear from his report.

I have probably also mentioned that the amount it would cost to pay off the two cards in question is the same amount we have in the bank right now set aside for closing. We only have enough to close or pay off the cards, not both.

Today, though, he’s saying we just have to pay off the smaller of the two cards and now my ears perk up because yes that sounds like something we might be able to do. I email back and verify we might be able to do that fairly soon because he’s coming back into town and it sounds like he’s going to start working right away as long as it’s really just the one card we need to pay off.

He says it will take too long to pay it off and wait for the credit report to update so we can pay it off at closing and now I’m like WHAT?! we never knew that was an option or this could have been done a month ago. Now I email him back and I’m like, “Hey there, so we just need to have $9700 in cash for closing then or whatever $8k + that one card’s balance equal? Okay then, I’ll talk to Mr. Brickie when he gets out of meetings tonight and we will see if we can find a way to make that happen and I’ll let you know how soon it will be.”

He just emailed back that my math is correct and now I have to somehow come up with $9700 to close on this place.

Right now, in all accounts including THE CHILDREN’S accounts because I’m trash and will borrow money from my children. (Hey, they live here too and I will pay them back. You haven’t seen a refractory paycheck yet I don’t think. Yeah, we can pay them back right quick.)

Checking: $6795.94
Kids’ Savings: $1142.35

So we’ve been floating with $7938.29 (I just paid the NIPSCO bill so that’s why there’s a hair less than $8k) and now we have to make $9700 happen. (Technically that card has a balance of $1871.56 so we actually have to prove we have $9871.56 to close.)

I may tear all the hairs out of my head in ten seconds.

If we can get him back on a night shift he’ll make a hair more than that in a week for take home but that doesn’t include paying bills.

I really want to walk away but I don’t think that’s the right choice. If we couldn’t afford the place I would walk away and not feel an ounce of pain over it, really, I am over having some deep desire to own a house and I am totally over giving a shit what anyone thinks of my rent/own situation in life. I don’t need to own a house to feel fulfilled or secure.

But we’re here and the price is right and we can afford it fairly easily once we get past the closing stuff and I have given it to the universe and the mortgage company haven’t pulled out of the deal so I guess we’re staying. We just have to find two thousand dollars. Or conjure it. Or borrow it.

I’ll talk to Mr. Brickie once he’s done today and figure out our next steps.

My hair tearing moment has passed. It’s only a house. This is only a process. None of it means anything in the long run. We will either close or we won’t. We will come up with the money or we won’t. Either way is fine and in ten years we’ll look back and know in our hearts whichever way it went was really for the best because that’s what humans do and I am deeply and totally human.

No matter what my kids might tell you.

Money and Budgeting and Opportunities for My Kids #NaBloPoMo

I got the kids to testing on time!

I was sure I was going to mess it up. I even managed to make scrambled eggs and toast for them for breakfast before they went. I packed snacks and water bottles. They had sharpened pencils and calculators. I WAS ON FIRE!

I got a few odd looks taking my 12 and 13 year old kids in among the hundred plus high school kids in line but no one said anything and no one questioned it. I’m guessing they were all too nervous. The ladies checking my girls in didn’t look at them twice. I saw one lady look at them then walk back to someone else, say something, and come back but I’m going to choose to believe that was coincidence.

Generally, I keep what I’m doing with my kids close to the vest. I was always an awful “mom blogger” because I hated violating their privacy or telling stories I felt were theirs and not mine. I’m doing what all parents do. Looking at what I’ve been given to work with and figuring out how to best turn it from a lump of kid-clay into a grown-folk who can go out and have a life of their own. I don’t know loads of important people, so I need to get them into environments where they can be seen. I don’t know, really, how smart or talented or funny my kids are. I think they’re great people but I’m not an objective judge of what they really bring to the table. So I research and choose to have them tested to see if they qualify for things like the Northwestern Center for Talent Development. If they don’t, that’s fine. If only one does, that’s fine. (DukeJohns Hopkins, and the Western Academic Talent Search have similar programs.)

I don’t mind if my kids turn down any opportunity, but I would be heartbroken if they didn’t have the option simply because I didn’t do enough research. Of course, the programs they may qualify for will cost money. A lot of money. The summer program is thousands of dollars. It’s the reason Mr. Brickie and I are so happy about the opportunity he has been given through going to this training in Maryland. Our family sacrificing him for two weeks is truly for the whole family. If we can get him in there making money as soon as possible and pay down debt, we’ll be able to use the freed up money to send the kids to camps that will allow them to learn new things and meet new people. People from different places and cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Every day I look at my children and feel this crushing pressure. I have to be good enough for them. I have to do the research and read the reviews and figure out how to help them find what they truly desire in this life. To guide without pushing. To ask without expectation. To help them learn to make decisions and choices on their own. In the meantime, I want them to try as many things as possible so they don’t miss the thing that could have been THEIR thing.

The way I’ve always felt like somehow I missed what my thing was supposed to be. I’m fairly good at a large number of things but there’s no one thing that really defines who I am. I have always wished there was. Like an anchor. Hello, my name is jennydecki and I’m an accountant. Hello, my name is jennydecki and I’m a spree killer. You know, whatever, something that makes me….me. Beyond just my name.

I don’t want my children to spend their lives feeling this constant sense of being adrift.

Training Pays Off and SAT Testing Tomorrow #NaBloPoMo

I’ll split this between Mr. Brickie stuff and Kid Stuff so if you’re only interested in one or the other you can find the heading.

Mr. Brickie Update

When I talked to him earlier tonight (he’s a good egg and calls every night before bed) I reminded him that yesterday after our call he was supposed to get in touch with the gentleman from the union that might have a job lead.

It looks like it’s going to pan out. He told Mr. Brickie to call as soon as he’s back in the state to get more information on the next job.

As much as I believe people when they say work is abundant and as much as I know that when he does this work it’s lucrative there is still part of my brain that lives firmly in the “I’ll believe it when I see it” place.

I’m feeling good about his prospects. Really good.

Even better? I can tell in his body language and bright eyes he’s having fun in training. He truly enjoys this work. It makes my heart so full.

Family Update

I miss my husband. I comforted myself today by repeating, “Next Friday he’ll be home. This is the last repeating day he’ll be gone.” It helped.

I was so worried about not having him home for Halloween and am really proud of myself for handling the holiday as well as i did.

The SAT is tomorrow for the older two and I had to do a last minute run to Office Depot for a calculator for one of the girls. She’s in Algebra but she either uses her phone or her Chromebook for a calculator in class. I didn’t get a graphing calculator because they don’t know how to use them yet and it would have been a waste of money.

After tomorrow’s testing the two younger girls have a volleyball game.

The holiday and the testing are things that would normally be in Mr. Brickie’s wheelhouse. He’s the doer, the buyer of last minute calculators, the driver. But I’ve been fine.

I plan on rewarding myself by doing absolutely nothing on Sunday. You can find me on my couch enjoying tea and a good book.

It’s Dark and Everyone is Sleeping #NaBloPoMo

I considered doing National Novel Writing Month this year but then decided against it because I’m in a place where I’m saying, “No” to everything. Okay, not everything. I’m saying, “No” to everything that isn’t “Yes” to me for the rest of the year.

The kids and husband are part of me, so they don’t have to worry.

I’ve been hesitant to mention this but Mr. Brickie is out of town. He went out of town on Sunday and will be gone until next Friday. A full 12 days gone.

Up until this point in our fifteen year marriage we’ve been apart for two nights, tops. Part of that is because we had nowhere to go separately but another part is absolutely by design.

He’s in Maryland for a couple of certifications. Originally he was going to be back next Wednesday but then it was recommended by someone he knows at the Union to do a two day add-on class so they switched his plane ticket to Friday and he’ll be getting two certifications while he’s gone.

From the sound of it he’ll go straight back to work once he’s home. I’m not 100% sure on that but the signs are good.

I thought I’d be a wreck without him here. So far, I’ve been okay. He calls and we talk for an hour in the evening before he goes to bed (thank goodness for video calling) and says goodnight to the kids and then I put the kids to bed.

Then I have an hour or so to myself and I have to tell you, it’s really peaceful. Like, really really peaceful. I plan what I’m going to do the next day and have a cup of tea and decide to participate in National Blog Post Month (or NaBloPoMo) because no matter what else happens I can’t seem to stop writing.

The biggest fear I had with Mr. Brickie being gone was Halloween. I have the anxiety thing and Halloween is the hardest day of the year. So many strangers. My older two ended up taking the youngest trick or treating without me. I stayed home with my phone ringer up as loud as it could go (in case they called for a ride or needed something) and read a book.

We still haven’t closed on the property and can’t until Mr. Brickie is back in town so that’s still hanging in the air being mildly annoying.

I’m really excited about these certifications. There’s a lot of money in this skill set and a lot of places in the Midwest that need people. It’s all indoor work (as far as I understand) so it’s not affected by the weather. That means we may not suffer through winter waiting for the weather to break this year! (He couldn’t get these certifications or do this work as an apprentice.) The thought of being able to really have a quality shovel to dig out of debt is absolutely thrilling.

A great side-effect is knowing the house and family don’t fall apart if he travels. He knows of someone who plans to go to South Korea for a fifteen month gig and it’s a serious payday but Mr. Brickie just laughed when I asked if he would consider it and told me there was no way he’d stay away from his family that long. I couldn’t argue or complain with that. I did semi-jokingly float the idea that we could retract our offer on the duplex, all move to SK for fifteen months with him, and call it an adventure! He considered it for a little bit with me but ultimately decided we love our current plan and want to stick with it.

The last hurdle for me as “person who does all the grown things” while he’s gone is getting the older two to the SAT on Saturday. No, they’re not in high school yet…It’s to see if they qualify for opportunities with the Northwestern Talent Search. A nice bonus is taking the SAT a few times before they’re in high school will make them more comfortable when they take it for college application purposes. This all started because the youngest scored high on a couple of standardized tests so I got her checked out by an individual who specializes in tests and lo and behold now she’s taking the PSAT because she’s going to get noticed by the Northwestern Talent Search and once she was in I thought I might as well have the other two test as well since they are also gifted.

It’s not something I think about a lot or dwell on, but it is part of the parenting duties, so I do the research and make the best choices I can.

The budget is still a wreck because we are only spending the bare minimum to get by in order to keep the closing money in the checking account free and clear. According to the mortgage guy, even though we only need X amount of cash for closing, in order to get the green light from underwriting we need about 3k more than that in our checking account. I don’t understand why and the way he explained it I don’t think he understands why, either.

So money that could pay off/down credit cards has to sit in the checking account. I try not to think about it but I’m not good at not thinking about things. I want to be done with the closing so I can do a normal budget and get to tax season so I can go back to pre-paying the mortgage with the tax return. Since we won’t have a November lease I can use the entire tax return toward the mortgage and see how far that gets us. I’ve gotten spoiled not having to worry about a monthly housing bill and I’d like to get back to it as soon as possible.

For now, though, it’s time to go to bed. Happy All Saint’s Day, whatever that means to you. Tomorrow is All Soul’s Day so we will put out an extra plate for the souls who are not with us anymore. Next year I think I’m going to let my spirituality freak flag fly a little more, too.

Mortgage Update and Figuring Out the Future #TooLongTitle #NightShiftChronicles

Sometimes I wish I could start blogging over from the beginning and do it all right from the start.

It would be so much easier than figuring out how to go back and fix things. The questions I find myself wondering on are beginner level. I mean…should I even still be using WordPress?

For whatever reason, I cannot get to a place of being rested. It doesn’t matter how much sleep I get, I can’t get to a good place. Last night Mr. Brickie only worked 2.5 hours because a furnace wasn’t cool enough and even with him being home puttering around all night my sleep was fragmented and of poor quality.

I wonder how long he’ll be working nights. I don’t like it at all. I am, however, willing to put up with it. As long as he’s working, that’s what matters. He just texted and is back to 12-hour shifts at least until the end of this week. Great for the bank account, less so for our emotional well-being. But you do what you have to do, right? I’m grateful he was given this opportunity and I’m grateful I am in a position where I can pick up the slack for the rest of the family.

Mortgage Update

I cannot tell you how happy I am not emotionally connected to this place. If I was, this would be an emotional roller coaster. We’re down to one thing needing to happen (a thing Mr. Brickie & I have no control over) and I think my mortgage guy asked me for fraudulent documents today. He was low key about it so I’m not super offended or anything but yeah, no thank you. If I don’t qualify for a mortgage then …. don’t give me one. I mean, I know the problem is our debt to income ratio because they’re going back far enough his five months off work with a busted wrist are included so his income is skewing low. If they deny us, I can pay off credit card debt and apply again in six months.

Part of me thinks he doesn’t like that we aren’t panting and huffing and freaking out about the whole thing. Maybe if we were puffing and hanting it would make the process go more quickly. I don’t know how mortgages and underwriting works so everything I have is a guess. I wonder what credentials you need to be a mortgage underwriter. It feels like something I’d be good at. I wonder how awful it would be to do the job for a couple years to gain an understanding of how it works. (Yes, I hate not knowing how things work enough I’d consider doing a job to learn.) Maybe there’s an online class at one of the free sites online where I could get the basics down. I’ll have to check later.

The seller isn’t going out of town after all, so whenever the information goes through electronically that will trigger the closing and we’ll have keys in three days.

Emotional and Spiritual Well-Being

A few months ago I came across a lovely group online that was doing this cool journaling exercise. For forty days the leader of the group would ask questions and the participants would write their daily affirmations and then answer the question of the day. I found it very helpful. I did two of these forty day rounds. The first one we had to pick something we wanted more of in life and I chose peace. My head felt like static all the time and I needed some clarity and quiet.

Forty days later my mind is so much more quiet. It worked beautifully. I still find myself doodling, “I create peace” when I’m writing to do lists or taking down notes. That’s my little affirmation. I came up with another one when we were focusing on intuition. I really hope the person who ran these goes back to running them. I think she should charge for them because she did more for me in 80 days (two rounds of the session) than I’ve gotten from years of on and off therapy. It won’t cure you if you have something real ailing you, but I’ve learned some great coping mechanisms that I’d never found in self-improvement books or textbooks. (It’s possible I was reading all the wrong stuff, though, who knows!)

I’ve decided to pick a word for 2019 to help focus. The beginning of a five-year plan has the least amount of stuff to do and tends to be a little….boring. A lot of doing the right thing, paying down the credit cards, paying ahead on the mortgage. Lots of not super fun things that take discipline but not a lot of time. In between budgeting and paying those things down and parenting and wifing I’ll have some time on my hands. If I have a focus word, I am more likely to think of it in those moments where I have a few moments and keep myself on the track I’d like to be on instead of spending too much time on social media!

It could take a year to fix up and focus all my social media as well as re-categorize and clean up the design of the blog but I’m not sure I want to devote a whole year to that.

Baby Steps Toward A Hobby

I’m going to sign up for Life Book 2019 through Willowing Arts and get my artistic groove on a bit next year.  (That is not an affiliate link.)

It seems to me I’ve spent a long time now fighting and clawing and scraping and saving the family from emergency after emergency. I’ve come up with so many solutions to so many problems. Now that we are in a more stable place I have to learn how to live without the constant fight or flight input. Calming my mind was a great start but I need something a little more active and meditative and art seems like a good place to start. Plus it’s just a little over a hundred dollars (after the 20% off discount for buying before December) for the WHOLE YEAR of lessons. Most art classes online are way more expensive and I’m nowhere near being able to spend a whole bunch of money on a hobby for myself. This class is a lovely baby step.

I’m grateful to even be able to consider a baby step like this Life Book course. Very grateful.

Back to the Word of the Year

I’m a little nervous about picking a word for the whole year, because I always have terrible luck with things like this. The first song I hear after the new year ball drops is always awful. It’s been Love Shack for two out of the last five years. Ugh.

Maybe I’m afraid to commit to a word or focus at all. I’m scared that committing to a word that isn’t budget or finance based will somehow jinx me back into a place full of stress and financial emergencies one after another.

To heck with it. My word for 2019 is CREATE

Even if it’s doodles. Even if it’s not pretty. Even if it’s black and white without a lick of color. Even if it’s embarrassing. Even if it looks nothing like what I hoped it would.

Budgeting Update

I have used YNAB (You Need A Budget) for about three years, now. It’s really helpful for knowing where your money is going. I was never great at coming up with categories, though. (Sidenote: I seem to have a problem with categorizing things in general. The blog. The budget. Huh. I should meditate on that or something.) Since we started the application process, however, everything has been on hold and I’ve avoided the budget like the plague. There is money in the checking account and I can’t spend it just in case we get the notice closing is in three days.

So I’m over here paying the minimums on all the credit cards and paying the bills the day before they’re due just to keep the daily balance as high as possible.

The mortgage guy is after us because although I’ve removed Mr. Brickie as an authorized user off all the credit cards, there are two still reporting to the credit bureaus. I could almost pay those cards off with the money in the checking account, but then I won’t have the money for closing. It’s a Catch-22 that only time will fix. Either the credit card companies will report that Mr. Brickie is off the cards and we can close or we will manage to save enough money I can pay off those two cards and we can close. Or it takes too long and they cancel the application. Or it takes too long and the seller pulls out. Or it takes too long and the interest rate skyrockets and WE walk away from the deal.

There are many possible outcomes but none of them involve action or planning by us.

So we wait.

I remember when I decided I’d never get emotional about a dwelling again. We were in Chicago visiting the pro bono lawyers that could possibly help us keep the house in Illinois we ended up foreclosing on. A lovely, young lawyer explained what we would have to do and how much money it would cost to fight to keep the house. It was an extensive amount of both time and money. I asked the lawyer, “Why would anyone do all that instead of just walking away?” The lawyer replied, “People have generations of memories in these houses. They’ll do anything to keep it.”

I had this moment where I was reminded I’m not like other people. I don’t get attached to things the way other people do. I mean, there are a few things I haven’t thrown away but I keep them in a bin on a shelf in the basement. Things are things. A house is sticks and bricks and nothing I ever want to be in love with. A house cannot love you back. I’m not giving one ounce of my energy or worry to the process of buying another one.

The only reason I was emotional at all about moving out of the house in Illinois it was worry for the children. Then I realized I didn’t want them to be attached to a pile of sticks and bricks, either, and the best way to do that was to find joy in moving. It was creative re-framing, for sure, but it is not wrong. I want my kids to prioritize people over things. Experiences over stuff. Not to the extreme that I do, but enough to get weird looks from people now and then would be a good gauge they’re doing it right.

Is Reality Even Real? #TrickQuestions #NightShiftChronicles

I need to create more categories for this blog than budget & finance. Real estate will probably be a player in the coming months/years so if I plan on continuing to blog that’s an addition I need to make.

This morning when I checked my email I got one from the Mortgage Guy (who will be known for the rest of this post as MG™) asking how much money we have in our bank accounts right now.

Like, the seller is on vacation from today through the 26th so….why does it even matter? I didn’t ask, because I honestly don’t want to hear the answer. I provided so much paperwork up front and had all my ducks in a row and then he passed it all on and asked for a couple things we had already given him and then he didn’t understand the difference between the available funds and the little number on the far right hand side of the transactions list in your bank online that shows the available funds after those transactions went through. We had a conversation that had me thinking MG™ was legitimately asking me to forge a document and I was like, “Nooooope” because I’m not into that white collar crime game.

After that “is this guy asking me to Photoshop a bank statement?” moment I did my best to foist MG™ on to Mr. Brickie so I wouldn’t have to deal with him anymore.

I wonder if he will email back to tell us why he wanted to know. Maybe he’ll ask for proof so I can show him the balance is over $300 less than it was this morning (online bill pay for a couple things went through) or maybe he’ll hold off and ask again on Friday when our bank balance will be roughly the same because Mr. Brickie will get paid.

Yeah, it seems that Mr. Brickie was removed as an authorized user from two cards on August 31st but they’re still showing on his credit report. As soon as they drop off, we close. It’s that simple.

So now it really is a waiting game.

On the bright side, the seller is no longer leaving town for two weeks so when we are ready to close we’ll be able to close and that will be that.

I hope.

Quicksand would be Faster #NightShift

Closing still hasn’t happened and now the seller is going to be out of town until the 26th so closing is going to continue in its current state of not happening until at least then.

The sticking point is removing Mr. Brickie as an authorized user on multiple credit cards. Adding him to the cards boosted his credit score enough to qualify for the mortgage but increased his debt to income ratio too much so while he needed to be on them for the initial boost, he needs to be off them for closing.

It’s the worst because it’s all semantics. The cards have debt on them (which I’d already be paying off if I had access to the money in the checking account) and removing him as an authorized user does not remove the debt. We are able to pay a mortgage and pay down debt with the job Mr. Brickie has.

According to the mortgage broker, it’s the underwriters wanting to do the crossing and dotting of all the things so they don’t get in trouble. I’m lucky, because I don’t move when I buy so it doesn’t really matter when it happens. That makes it easier to remain patient.

The Future of this Blog

I need to go back and fix formatting and stuff on my early entries. I’d love to be able to pick a really good (simple!) theme to switch to with some solid (simple!) branding. Then I’d like to go through and crosslink posts, link continued stories to one another, and that kind of thing. That may be my main project for 2019. It will probably take that long to get through everything. Ugh.

More on Mr. Brickie and Work

Mr. Brickie is on a new overnight shift at the same steel mill. It looks like the steelworkers might strike at the end of the month and if they do he does, too. Solidarity is what makes unions work so I’m certainly not complaining.

In addition to extra work with this company another guy on the job with Mr. Brickie told him about another company that does refractory work. Since it seems Mr. Brickie really has a knack for this kind of thing, he’s going to sign up if the work with the current company dries up.

That being said, wherever he’s working it’s so nice to know the weather isn’t a factor. It doesn’t matter if it’s snowing, raining, or cold as an ice cube…refractory work keeps on keeping on!

A reliable paycheck will be a whole new experience for us. This time of year he would never get a 40 hour paycheck much less a 50 hour paycheck! I’m excited to see how long he can keep this work stretch going.

Sleep and Overnights

The new ten hour shifts five days a week thing has started. It’s exhausting and I feel really guilty typing up this post while he’s two feet away sleeping, but he insisted I write the post.

He’s really kind. I tend to forget that when I have a cold. I get crabby when I’m low-grade sick.

I think I’m going to hop back in bed and take a little nap before putting dinner in the crock pot. I don’t sleep well when he’s at work so I’m constantly exhausted.

Good News and Fantasy Shopping #NightShiftChronicles

While I may not know what day it is, I’ve set myself up for success with a series of labeled alarms.

I had a Samsung Galaxy S8 and hated that it only gave me 20 characters to label my alarms. I usually label by name of person the alarm is for and then what it’s for. Volleyball Practice is all you’re going to get because it’s 19 characters with the space. Not enough room.

I’m back to my Motorola now and am much happier. Plus it was a third of the price and I swear it’s faster even though CNet says otherwise.

Mr. Brickie heard last night he’s going to be kept on for sure past the first round of layoffs on Wednesday AND that he’ll be invited to the next job.

I cannot tell you how happy this makes me.

Well it makes me happy and a little sad because I do miss him but … I’m excited he likes the work and it pays well. Missing him is a small price to pay.

I do need to try and figure out the taxation on overtime though. The Indiana union checks are super confusing because they list things much more comprehensively and it makes something basic like figuring out a paycheck a bit more difficult than with the Illinois union checks.

Lots of data, most of it not practical for everyday calculations. If he’s going to be in Indiana this much, though, maybe I’ll learn more.

Of course, I don’t even know what the benefits breakdown is per hour or the union dues so although I did spend a bunch of time figuring out the federal taxes … I still am no closer to an answer. I’ll just wait for the check.

We also need to join the credit union (two banks isn’t enough, let’s sign up with a third!) because the Indiana union pays vacation out in cash and it’s either direct deposited into the credit union account or you are supposed to send a SASE (self addressed stamped envelope for those of you younger than me) so they can mail you the check. We’re just going to take the plunge and get the account…..

……after we close on the house, of course. No dings to the credit between now and closing can happen.

Oh, I was going to tell you about fantasy shopping!

Okay…we have a fridge and stove that are both awful. If you put a dozen eggs on the top shelf going front to back and not side to side the front eggs will be warm and the back eggs will be rock-solid frozen in the middle with slush around the outer edges. We have things that will go bad if they’re not in the exact right spot. Food is getting wasted and that’s not good.

The stove usually runs ten degrees cooler than the temperature gauge but once every few times it runs correctly so there’s no way of reliably setting the temperature in the oven.

So I went on this spree to research the best appliance replacements and ended up on the Costco website where we’ll get our relatively inexpensive replacements at some point after closing when our funds aren’t basically frozen.

Update on the closing that will happen eventually but I may be 60 by the time it does. The appraiser needed to come back out and see that the stove was moved out of the basement apartment and the gas line was capped.

The stove was electric.

I emailed and let her know and she said a picture with the stove not in the basement apartment would suffice.

Thank goodness.

I do not know a way to prove definitively we don’t want to rent out that basement apartment. I think, “Anyone who would be willing to pay to live there isn’t someone I’d want for a neighbor” should be more than good enough but what can you do.

Hell, I’m still not sure why it matters if it’s a duplex or a triplex. I got the mortgage calling it a triplex to begin with and only decided on building down and making it a duplex 3/4 of the way through the process.

When I asked the mortgage guy what the difference was he said, “Amount you’d need at closing.”

Like that makes sense. Whatever. We’ve reached the point in the mortgage process where I no longer want to interact with the mortgage guy anymore for any reason for the rest of my life.

I was so tired today I fell asleep in a chair in the living room and could not get my head right. I could wake up for a minute or two but then would be dragged back into slumberland no matter how hard I tried to stay awake. Luckily my older two were happy to walk up to the elementary school and grab the youngest and walk her home.

Mr. Brickie ended up taking the night off (it was offered) because he’s exhausted, too. I guess we aren’t as spry as we’d hoped. That doesn’t mean he’s not going to continue doing this work, though. It’s too lucrative and I’ll figure out a good sleep schedule eventually.

It helps that the next job will be 5 10-hour days with 2 days off instead of this straight-through-until-the-job-is-done schedule. We made it 9 days before wanting to collapse and I feel like if I’d been the wide-eyed bushy-tailed cheerleader I’ve been for the past 9 days he might have made it to work tonight.

But he’s back at it tomorrow night and it’s payday, so I’ll probably spend this weekend paying bills while still hoarding enough for the closing on the house that will happen probably before my kids are all grown.

The Secret We’ve Been Keeping

It’s been quite a long time, hasn’t it? October 9th would have made three months!

Well there was something going on I couldn’t really talk about. I wanted to share it very much but couldn’t.

We were closely guarding a secret.

I spent months scouring the internet for advice anonymously. Read books I could get my hands on even though our local library had only one and it wasn’t even very helpful. Spent so much time keeping my mouth shut I didn’t know how I’d ever start talking about it. I had to make a plan completely without help from my online friends and I hated it!

It’s nothing bad.

I know that might make someone wonder why it would be a big deal, unless it was something negative. It’s simple. I’m very, very good at talking about bad things. Uncomfortable things. I don’t mind talking about food pantries and the best way to make multiple meals out of five dollar’s worth of food from Aldi. I’m comfortable talking about struggle, about strife, about the things that go bump in the financial night.

Good things aren’t my wheelhouse. Saying anything good feels like bragging even if it’s only stating a fact. I don’t have the right words for great stuff on the horizon.

That means when we started seriously considering buying the triplex we have been renting a floor of for the past four-years-in-November I didn’t know how to share the dream. I didn’t want to jinx it or mess it up or have someone read the blog and somehow swoop in and snatch it up. I was scared to share the good thing because I believed that sharing would put it in danger of being taken away.

That’s the mindset you have after years of being poor, I think. It’s the mindset I have, anyway. Your mileage may vary.

We close next week.

The first thing we’re doing is turning it into a duplex. The third apartment is in the basement and the entrance is in the backyard and it’s just a mess all around. It wouldn’t be an apartment that anyone I would want to rent to would want.

Oh my goodness.

“I would want to rent to….”

We’re going to be landlords, y’all.

Space is currently a real struggle in our three bedroom apartment. We’re at right around or just under a thousand square feet, but part of that is a room no one can use and part of that is the very large master bedroom with the ever-so-small closet. So we’re going to expand our apartment into the basement and make it a two-story, four-bedroom, 1.5 bath luxury apartment. We will expand, make improvements, give the kids more space, be landlords, and stay here until we pay it off.

Then we want to buy another one.

In the meantime, we’ll be back to bare bones living in order to pay off the massive debt we’ve accrued over the past few years as well a pay off the mortgage in five years.

You heard me! The goal is a five year payoff. I think we can do it, too.

So this little financial blogging corner of the Internet is back open for business. Not the kind of business that makes money. This blog’s job is to document our lives for future generations. So when I’m old and crabby the grandkids can log on and be shocked I had a sense of humor back in the day.

I am sorry it’s been so long since we’ve talked. I didn’t know what else to talk about because our lives have revolved around buying this property for almost a year now. Well, in theory, even longer. But I still remember first moving here and changing my Twitter background to the picture of the lease with our key on top. That was such an emotional day.

Now when we close, we’ll be getting more keys but will continue to use the same one to open our same front door just like we have been since we moved here.

There aren’t words to properly express how much I really love the idea of not moving. We’re less than a block from a park, two blocks from a bike path, less than two blocks from the middle school and maybe five blocks from the cute downtown area. It’s a great location for the kids.

It’s going to take a long time to get the basement renovated. If you ask Mr. Brickie it won’t take long at all, but I think he’s underestimating how long it’s going to take to do demo, move the furnace and water heaters, and then reframe the whole thing. Then there’s all the stuff that comes after framing.

Loads of work. Plus making changes here on the main floor.

Which means this isn’t just a finance blog anymore. I guess it’s going to be a finance and renovation blog. Or a house hacking blog. Or a fledgling real estate investing blog. It’s still going to be a blog about getting debt-free even though we’ve strayed way far away from that path and getting back is going to be a bit of a struggle.

Take your pick. I’m happy to be blogging again.