In with new, out with something else

It seems I am about to get a different car yet again.

First and foremost, M and I are not frugalistas; we have zillions of ways to waste money and probably do so routinely without giving it a second thought. However, we are also very responsible with money. Big things like savings for retirement, HSA-funding, future spending goals (home and car maintenance and repairs, vacations, birthdays and other gifting events, kitchen remodel, replacement car, etc.), secondary emergency fund investment account all get funded before we start spending each month.

That said, from a purely financial point of view, it makes no sense to sell my 2013 Rav4 and purchase a brand new 2017 Camray. We take care of our cars, and my Rav has less than 35,000 miles on the odometer after 3.5 years in our household and looks pristine. It’s serviced per manufacturer’s schedule and would likely be fine for another 10 to 15 years at the rate it gets driven. Plus, I LOVE that car.

Unfortunately, it has no trunk. The windows are tinted and it is not a simple glance to see whatever I might have in my car (usually nothing but my reusable shopping bags and the plastic box I keep them corralled in when full), but every week I drive and meet with clients and have both personal and business financial documents in my possession. Recently I walked up on a guy trying to break into my car while my work box of files was in the back. I have no idea if he was actually planning to try and steal my car (it has an alarm) or if he was after its contents, but it freaked me out to the point that I now carry my box around with me to meet with other clients.

So there is that.

Add to this that M also drives and AWD SUV, a 2008 Highlander, and it is the go car for us. The Rav commutes to the office, goes to the gym, toodles around town when I go to client offices, but the rest of the time, it’s at home in the garage. M and I are going anywhere, he prefers to take the Highlander.

The Rav has again become “too nice” to take out for a spin on the weekend.

This happened with the first Rav we had, a 2007. I owned it for 4.5 years and sold it with just over 40,000 miles on the odometer because M and I became paranoid about something happening to it. M far more so, but it was infectious. I wanted something older may with a few scratches in the paint to make me feel better.

A 4Runner and a Honda Civic later, and we arrive at the present Rav4. For awhile it was the go car, then we sold M’s older (silver) CRV in favor of a newer (blue) CRV, and in it’s plushy-ness became the go car. Then the Highlander became available, and as it had belonged to my former boss, I knew its entire history and knew it had been well maintained and kept in good repair. So the blue CRV was set aside in favor of it and went off to its next owner. M loves that hulking Highlander beast, so he is set for awhile. But our time with my present Rav4 is about concluded.

Entirely possible the Camray will remain “too nice” to take anywhere, but I doubt it. This would be the ride we choose for coastal adventures where we do not go boonie-crashing down gravel fire roads just because they’re there. And it has a trunk, so I can stash my crap out of sight. I would be really upset if my car was broken into and my gym bag stolen, but I’d be frantic if I lost client documents.

In my life, I have learned that sometimes purchases make no sense on paper or financially. This is another of those occasions. However, as in all things personal finance, it is personal. Yet my inner budget professor is scratching her head trying to make sense of this decision. To her I can only say, the emotional impact of finding some strange man standing next to your car with the slimjim is not to be underestimated. My own sense of personal safety is very well developed, probably overly so, and while this will not advance us financially in any way, shape, or form, it will also not set us back in dangerous ways. So I work another 5 or 6 months before leaving the paid work force, but for me, for us, it makes emotional sense.

On another matter, I have been sorting through photographs from my mom’s house. I’ve taken dozens out of frames and sorted them into me and my kid and my sister and her family. I don’t keep in touch with my nephew, no idea how to reach him, and will keep the pictures in envelopes until I get some motivation to find him.

There is one picture of my oldest daughter, her last school picture. I have dozen of the same photograph, but mom had a wallet framed and kept it in her bedroom. I cannot remove it from the frame and have no reason to keep yet another copy. I am not sentimental; I do not need the framed photo to remember my daughter or my mother. So after 2 weeks of vacillating and trying to decide what to do, I stuck it into the trash and threw it out.

I’m not sentimental at all, yet my stomach aches and I feel out of breath (in the bad ways) thinking about disposing of it this way. It’s not my daughter or my mother. It is simply a duplicate of something I already have and don’t actually need. As for my mom, our relationship was more toxic waste than warmly fuzzy. Thinking about her does not make me happy or sentimental or misty with nostalgia. Frankly, think about mom makes me furiously, irrationally angry, feelings and emotions I would really rather purge from my system and my life.

Even now, 21 years later, I mourn the loss of my child, miss her every single day, and shed a few tears throwing away this single copy of her final school picture, even if I have a framed copy in my family room and dozens of other copies carefully preserved in storage boxes. At the same time, it is one more step in the wall that separates me from my toxic family of origin and the truer horrors of my life.

Life is not fair, and rarely does it balance evenly. But for every bad thing in my history, there is something better, richer, more rewarding.

This week, there will be something new and different, a tool that makes my life easier and work better and strengthens my sense of safety. Out with something else that at once breaks and heals my heart simultaneously.


The best laid plans

Tuesdays I work from home, typically on my own private client work. But as has been happening the last few weeks, I also combine it with my need to get personal stuff done as well.

Today it was gym, car to the dealership, Costco for some additional outdoor lighting and food, then an eye exam. I had hoped to get a chunk of work done this afternoon, but of course it didn’t happen. Gym was fantastic – went through last Thursday’s upper body in the big boys’ room with minimal anxiety and stress. Car went to the dealership, only it was not the mileage point I was expecting. But not worries; it was done earlier than anticipated.

The eye exam became the great black hole that sucked away my productivity day. I like our new optometrist – he’s a hip younger guy that is both very personably and geeky smart. But one of his technicians has been working there for several years and has come to know M and I quite well. He’s become quite serious about weight lifting and we had a long, long conversation about his training, my training, what I’m doing, how I’m doing it, etc. Then M came back from wandering (we were at the mall) and we got onto supplements. The technician is a super nice guy; I told M we needed to invite he and his girlfriend over sometime with trainer J and friend J and anyone else I can think of who dwells in this weight training world.

The point is, by the time we were done there and then driving across town to retrieve my car, it was almost 6, almost a typical workday. And I had really gotten no work-work done. Thankfully there are no pressing deadlines or anything else this week, but still … feeling a bit like a slacker.

Still, it was productive getting personal stuff done. Eye exam, done. Car maintenance, done. Household projects, done. And of course sticking with my exercise consistency.

Talk today on several fronts about vacation has me thinking about it. Maybe a staycation next month for Thanksgiving week? Not sure yet. It’s a short week anyway and all expectations are that the office will be very quiet, with probably 3/4 of the staff taking the week off to see their families, etc. I may just be on call or working from home; I will continue to think about it and decide as the holiday gets closer.

So kind of a boring, so-so productive day. Not everyday gets to be gloriously big on ticking off items on my to-do lists. My car, after 3 years and 30K on the odometer, remains in pristine condition. After chatting with our optometrist technician, I am feeling ridiculously excited about returning to my Lists series tomorrow. How awesome is it for me to have him talking about stuff he is doing and not only recognize the names but the hows and whys of the exercise. Granted he’s probably moving several times more weight than I am, but at least I knew what he was describing, recognized the same teachings and cues I have learned from J, and can now speak from experience about my own journey. He had not heard of Scott Abel, and I suggested he look into his books and social media postings. That was kind of cool; trainer J influence knows no boundaries. Plus my vision is stable, my eyes healthy, and I have insurance, so the cost of service was not as horrific as it has been in the past, even with insurance.

All good things.


In other news

What I anticipated might be another wild west Tuesday is shaping up to be quiet and productive day. I had a couple of early conference calls this morning, caught up on emails and returned phone calls, and all the little loose ends that needed to be tied up and completed.

I love days like this where nothing is pressing, no deadlines looming, everything is caught up. Now that January is winding down with it’s hurry-hurry-rush-rush deadlines and requests from CPAs for taxes and employee for tax forms, it’s nice to be able to not have a long to-do list hanging over my head and following me into the weekend. Maybe I will simply relax this afternoon and remind myself that self-employment cycles do have the occasional upside.

My former full-time job should be winding down soon. I hope. I keep saying that, yet nice me keeps showing up and agreeing to stay a little longer, a little longer. Right now we/they are in the midst of interviews for replacement staff and its uncomfortable to say the least with the admin. She’s understandably upset, but as I told her yesterday, the decision to tell her a replacement was being recruited no longer rests with me. The out of state owner has bluntly told her that she would not be taking over when I finally am able to leave, but again, denial is a powerful thing.

So Mondays come with some drama. Thursdays she is volunteering at her kids’ school and I do not have to listen to her litany of bitches and complaints about all she dislikes about the firm, the owners, her 20+ years of blood, sweat, and tears she has given to that firm, etc., etc., etc.

Being a contractor kind of has its downsides as well.

The replacement bed arrived and has been set-up and installed. M is at jury duty himself today, so I’ve had the house all to myself. My briefcase has been emptied and repacked, my desk is organized and tidy again. Another January is nearly past.

I got all our tax information that has arrived to date input and thus far, we are actually getting a refund, which is good. With the self-employment twist I am always concerned about paying enough in estimated taxes. Worst thing EVER is writing that check to the government to pay taxes each year, but the almost worst things are writing those checks for quarterly estimates. Ugh. Hopefully this year I can just let them keep what they have already collected and have to write one less check this year.

I had a long text chat with a dear friend this morning. Sometimes I think I just need the voice of reasonable common sense replying when I get caught in the whirlwind of negative emotions and criticisms. That sort of thing tends to animate my inner negative girl to bellowing out hateful venom that causes ill will, insecurity, anxiety. Surprisingly I am winning more battles than not with her, when it comes time to our head-to-head battles.

The exercise of self-complimenting has had a curious impact on my thinking and feeling. I cannot shut negative girl up by telling myself good things. But her litany of my shortcomings – the real, the imagined, the exaggerated – currently seem to have less and less power over me. Instead I am thinking about successes with my new career ventures and the happy family events on the calendar this year. Since making the decision to separate from my former full-time job things are lighter in my life. Released from the responsibility of that after nearly 11 years opens up a lot of new ways to think and imagine the future.

It has been a pretty amazing day. Quiet, productive with both work and here at home.

Tonight I am going to the gym to practice my new List and I am ridiculously excited about it. This is my fun recreation for the day, if only because my hamstrings are chattering, have been yammering on and on all day about yoga and stretching and how could you do this to us? Yep, my body parts speak to me … don’t yours? I think this is what J’s doing; he’s taught my limbs to speak. J = the muscle whisperer?

One of those weeks

Allergies are murder right now. I have been taking sudafed to get through the days, and Monday I was desperate enough to purchase a package of 12 hour tablets, because I was at Costco and that was all they had. Tuesday morning I took one at 7 a.m. and had a zoom-Zoom-ZOOM day (i.e., I was hyperactively high as a kite the entire day) and M made me finally go to bed at 1 a.m. on Wednesday morning. I would love to say that my allergies were better, but I do not lie well. I will say I went from having painful, stuffy sinuses and popping ears to a runny nose and constant sneezing.

You would think after 3 hours sleep Wednesday morning I would not take the 12 hour stuff again, but you would be wrong. I took another at 8 a.m. and had a mildly less hyperactive day. I will say Tuesday and Wednesday were extremely productive and I got a lot of problems that I have been paper pushing back and forth across my desk done and filed. In fact, I actually feel caught up at the office and mostly with a few side job projects that I have been attacking here at home.

I crashed at 8 p.m. last night and got a long, 10 hour night of rest. I did not get wired on Sudafed today and was actually, finally feeling better this morning. Then the wind kicked up and I am back to snuffy sinuses tonight. What’s a girl to do? Let’s just say I was weak.


While this solution is not going to do anything good for me, the few spoonfuls certainly tasted heavenly and did wonders for my overall mood. I did an extra 30 minutes of exercise afterwards as penance. And let me tell you, every single bite was worth the extra minutes of stair-climbing cardio.

Maybe M will take pity on me and eat the rest of it later tonight or tomorrow. Otherwise I imagine I’ll be spending extra quality time on the rower or my arc trainer until it’s gone.