Life Updates for Summer 2010

So it’s about the middle of scholastic summer, and it’s been a little busy to be blogging. That and Twitter seems to take care of much of the immediate necessities (if you don’t already follow me on twitter, feel free! @crystalgroves).

Here’s a bulleted list of random updates from me:

  • We’ve had a serious lack of rain in the mid-atlantic, most especially here in northern maryland/southern pa. We’ve had a few spouts of rain recently, but not enough to do counter the damage from the 106 degree heat (which I’ve dubbed #scorchageddon on Twitter to go along with the #snowpocalypse of February) and the wind that dried most of the rain out shortly afterwards. Dad and I decided to invest in an electric submersible pump that we used to draw water out of our stream to water the garden. It works VERY well, but we plan to create more “pockets” of water along the stream now for this purpose and for minor swimming holes. We just need to find a way to get a bobcat over here with a bucket to do this. SWIMMING HOLES! Unfortunately the heat really scorched a good chunk of our garden, so it will not be a very fruitful year. Especially for the potatoes I think. Which sucks because I love potatoes. Last year we dealt with too much rain, this year it’s not enough plus killer heat. Maybe our third year here will be the charm next summer :/.
  • Dad is healing very well. He is still not lifting anything over 10 pounds as much as he can prevent it until we are sure everything is healed. But oddly enough, his back pain from April seems to have disappeared completely since the surgery. Seems the gall bladder had other effects as well.
  • Per my previous post, finances have been a concern over the last month, but only in regards to debt repayment, not actual bills. But when I take the time to sit and think through payment processes for the next three months, I can usually figure out a plan that will get me through any snags in my debt repayment plan.
  • Car Insurance is due in August, and is generally around $450 for both of my vehicles. I put away $42/paycheck every 6 months so I have $502 available every time car insurance is due. Not only does this mean I pay less for car insurance for paying my premium up front, but I also have a $50 cushion that I can then put towards other debt if I choose to. I keep the cushion in case my car insurance premium’s fluctuate, like from speeding tickets (record is clear right now tho!).
  • A co-worker of mine is working on publishing a book of artwork from his awesome blog rarewords.org. He needs to raise an additional $300 to meet the goal for this project. If you have a few extra bucks, please help him out and you’ll receive a small gift in return.
  • I suppose for the next year or so, I’m going to be researching a new used vehicle for dad. I’m looking for something that is 30+ mpg, 4-wheel drive, is either an SUV or truck, has large pedals, or at least pedals that aren’t close together (he has stiff legs), has less than 60k miles, is a 2000 or newer, and is no more than $10k. At least I have an idea of what I’ll be looking for, and I’ll just keep an eye out over the next year while I save up for the actual purchase. If I have a few models that match the above description to look for, then I can keep an eye out for one in that price range. I imagine I’m going to find what I’m looking for in the Jeep brand.
  • There’s really not all that much exciting stuff going on. I have a steady schedule between work, the Grove, spending time with the boy, working on web projects, and enjoying my house. I just recently removed a very large project from my plate, and am enjoying the fact that I no longer have to deal with the stress of it anymore. It’s quite liberating, actually. I plan to utilize a lot of that free time on either freelance, projects around the house, or study work. Time management skillz, I haz them.
  • One of my big projects is going to be a large clean-out of the basement and hopefully a yard sale during the Pippin Fest this September. I’m going to browse craigslist for some cinder-blocks and wooden planks to help with creating shelves for organization on the cheap.
Read More...

Interest Accruing Debt Reduction: February 2010

I’m keeping track of my payments towards the remainder of our interest accruing debt (besides the house) to kinda see the progress as we reach my goal of having this gone by or in February April 2010. So expect these posts monthly! Each month, seeing the progress should hopefully motivate me to stay on track with this.

  • Starting Balance of Debt in February 2010: $2712.16
  • Total Payments in February 2010: $2259.79
  • Total Payments YTD: $11037.22
  • Total Card Charges in February 2010: $900.76
  • Total Finance Charges For February 2010: $25.75
  • Total Finance Charges YTD: $162.41
  • Starting Balance for March 2010: $1353.13
  • $0 Goal: April 2010

Notes for this month:
Tax return was applied to the debt, and I’m hoping that by opening my dad a checking account and stopping him from using this card that it will help immensely.

See also:
January 2010, December 2009, November 2009, October 2009, September 2009

and My series of paying off dad’s loan in 8 months

Read More...

Recent Happenings

Some general updates from lately.

  • Put my car in the shop on Friday to get some brake work done. I suspected it needed heavy work, and I was right. But unfortunately they have to keep it till Monday to fix it. It will cost me about $1400 for everything, since I’m essentially redoing the entire brake system. I had intended on getting the work done next month anyway with tax returns, but didn’t want to wait that long. Fortunately with an emergency savings it is taken care of no sweat, and the taxes will still be coming in so it all works out.
  • Dad and I had family over last night, from my maternal side. I got to see a relative I haven’t seen in 10 years or more, and his beautiful wife.
  • My knee is feeling loads better. I can walk without pain now, but still with a bit of a limp. Sometimes it gets stiff if I’m sitting too long but I’m being careful with it.
  • We had to replace the boiler at the Grove recently. Cost us a big chunk of money, but fortunately I’ve been working on a $20k fundraiser for the next year so it will replenish that and then some. I look forward to the day when I have no debt but the house and can donate more regularly myself. At least now this one is more efficient and will save us money in the long run.
  • I enjoyed a Table 21 dinner at Volt, home of Top Chef contestant Bryan Voltaggio this past Wednesday as a celebration for my raise. We got 21 tasting courses, which I will write up a detailed blog about hopefully later today.
  • I am working on a list of things I want to accomplish this year, and am looking forward to 2010 being as awesome as the last 4 years have been.
  • The sweetheart has been especially awesome lately. I’m very blessed to have him as a support and encouragement system. He’s constantly giving me perspective and balance.
Read More...

New Years

I am spending a quiet New Years at home being productive and working on projects. No need to go out and drink, no need to go out and spend money. I like starting the year out right by moving forward with the things I want to accomplish and knock off my to-do list.

What can I say, that’s just how I roll.

Read More...

Random Updates for July

  • I’ve felt unmotivated to blog lately, but oddly enough have had a lot of different topics I’ve wanted to blog about.
  • The doctors said Dad’s leg looks how they expected it to look, course I don’t know what that means, and since I don’t go with him to the doctors visits cause I work, I probably won’t find out. It’s a slow gradual process I guess.
  • I’m glad I finally got my juicer replacement, as veggies are starting to come in full force. I don’t have as much of a variety of goods as I wanted, mainly due to not planting everything I wanted, and then not fertilizing the soil because we thought it would be rich fresh soil. Still, it’s a start :) Next year will be better.
  • I have about $550 in side work waiting to come in, which will go towards the shoes I still haven’t gotten, and to give my uncle some money for all the work he did on the deck, despite him saying he doesn’t want any. I can be stubborn too, dammit. And to some work on dad’s truck.
  • Had to take my dad’s truck to a dealership to fix something with the computer because the local mechanic didn’t have the right equipment. Will be nice to have that fixed because I want to start cutting firewood again.
  • As mentioned on Twitter, I got my points reduced by half for my speeding ticket, and a slight refund. The officer and I had a chat before we even went in and came to that deal. When we went before the judge (in a courtroom behind a Sunoco gas station, btw. Yay rural PA), it took all of 3 minutes. Quickest trial I’ve ever been to. What’s nice is in PA your points drop after a year of a clean record. I hear that some states don’t even have a point system, I’m not sure how they figure out when to suspend licenses without them.
  • July did not turn into another “no food” month, in fact I’ve spent more than I should have and will have to make up for it by making August a “no food” month. Especially since August 15th is the day dad’s loan of at least 10 years will be paid off within 8 months.
  • I’ve been itching to pick up the guitar again and maybe my mandolin as well. I’ve been neglecting both quite severely.
  • I get an odd sense of fulfillment when I send in our mortgage payment a month and a half early. Knowing we’re paid up till September is very relaxing. I dunno why people wait till the last minute to send theirs in, I think it would stress me out. Actually I know it would stress me out, it used to when I lived on the Naval base.
  • I think this “letting my dad have a credit card on my account” thing is going to work out nicely. At least it is for July so far, and I just gave it to him a few weeks ago. He can get what he needs and I can keep track of it online. I pay it off immediately, and he doesn’t overdraft his bank account.
  • I’ve been horrible about answering emails lately. If you’ve sent one and I haven’t answered, it’s not because I’m ignoring you, I promise!
  • A friend died from cancer this morning. I’ve been working on a song (not mine, but slightly re-written) to play at her memorial.
  • Thinking about death makes me want to focus on getting my dad a will again. As well as myself.
  • I’ve also been focusing on cutting out the toxic people in my sphere of existence. They are unneeded, unwanted, unhealthy, and unnecessary.
  • I’m going to be starting up a big fundraiser here soon to support the Grove for some much needed building repairs that we sorta need ASAP. I’m looking to raise about $20,000. If big churches can do it, dammit so can I.
  • My uncle will be putting on the tin roof to our deck this weekend. Then I’ll take final before/after pictures and post them.
Read More...