Monday, December 2, 2019

Priorities vs goals

The year is winding down, and I am a week a way from beginning a new job. It's a fair time to re-evaluate my life in terms of SWOT. I used to do a self-assessment every new year by taking a sheet of paper and folding it in half twice to outline what I considered my household's SWOT.


I haven't made such a list since I started at FedEx. I don't know when the last time I made one was.
I'm pretty sure my dad was still alive, for I ceased thinking about my work schedule as a Strength once I had my mother available to watch my children.


Being financially prudent is my biggest strength. I've the will to say "no" to avoid racking up debts, but I married someone who had plenty of hidden debt. It will be vanquished, one day... maybe in 2020. I don't pay interest on it, so I have a hard time justifying paying off debt when I can earn interest on the money I'm hoarding by carrying debt. I'm able to juggle new debt, thus enjoy the time I have with my family.


One of the biggest weaknesses was my being behind in terms of saving towards retirement. I have only been full-time a few years while I have been equally unemployed.
When I left Target in 2005, I had roughly $1,300-1,700 in my 401(K) which I rolled into my 401(k) at the hospital. When I was laid-off a year later, I had roughly double in my 401(k) when sat idle until I rolled roughly $8K from my next job's 401(k) into once I was subsequently fired after 4 years leaving me with roughly $12K saved at the age of 32. I worked at the car wash nearly 4 years and rolled an additional $5K upon leaving for FedEx. The account has fluctuated and currently sits at $19K. My FedEx 401(k) was roughly the same as my rollover account at the beginning of 2019, but should be over $41K by the time I start new job. $60K is not much to have saved at 41, but it's something which can grow significantly in 20 years without my meddling. 

Jenn can retire when she turns 56, so my working until who knows how long isn't hateful given she'll need insurance through me.


I will be able to be a father and husband during the week. Once I get myself organized, I should be able to knock out all of my to-do lists around the house that I can DIY and assess what I need to have someone else do. 

I paid off my student loans, so I have started paying more towards the mortgage. We have half a year of car payments, which could go towards another car or the mortgage. Jenn's student loans are about to expire, so that too will free up money towards mortgage.


Being a homeowner, there's always something that can break. We'll need a new dryer, water heater, range, lawnmower, etc sooner or later, but as a whole everything seems fine if you don't consider we have nothing saved for our kids' higher education. Jenn and I both came from such situations, so the prospect of having nothing for our children is not daunting. My kids are all smart, and we will have more money freed up to help them not lean completely on student loans.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

12 more days

I gave my notice on Tuesday following my being given the official start date 12/9.
I had a few matters to resolve, but phone calls and emails have put my mind at ease.
I am looking forward to my new job. I don't hate FedEx, I just feel it's best to move on. My priorities have changed and I just assume not to put up with a nightly shitshow. Money can make one overlook stuff, but the weight of being a stranger in my own home along with our not needing the income, made the choice to leave beyond reasonable.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

reflecting about why I left car wash

I used to like the car wash. I had an easy schedule that didn't conflict with anything except my sleep schedule. The drive was 42 miles round trip, but since I didn't have to utilize child care, it paid enough to offset the cost of gas. When my carpal tunnel became an issue, I started to look for something else. I kept my carpal tunnel in check long enough that I could manage the toll it was taking on my daily life.
After 3 and a half years, my hours began to be cut. I needed to offset the money lost, so I applied for another part-time job. I didn't get it, but came across another opening the day I got rejected only for that job to replace the car wash.
With all the news about vaping being bad, I have to wonder about the chemicals I inhaled while cleaning the car wash for nearly four years. The stuff burned holes through my clothes if it dripped on me.
Considering the car wash was destroyed back in the Spring by a tornado, I am humored. I doubt I would have stayed at the location, given closer stores opened since I left.
The car wash was busiest days after stupid snow storms. 2000+ cars a day is a lot of cars, when the min is $8 a wash.

Monday, November 4, 2019

times are a-changin'

Standard time is the time the body resets... Seasonal depression is just around the corner.
Had a hot summer followed by a hot early fall only to have snow on Halloween.
I am not a fan of cold, it seems. Always preferred cold to heat, but the wind didn't agree with me last week.

Regardless, I'm looking towards not working in the elements as much. It's no secret that I've been annoyed at work, but nothing positive can be said regarding the last few months. Sure I have a job, but between people not carrying their weight, my hours and responsibilities being cut, lack of a true raise, and still not seeing my family during the week, the daily annoyance has taken its toll upon my desire to remain.

I hope to go to AM, but during peak season seems to be a stretch. I have explored my options, and I have plenty of options it seems.

I've little, to no idea, what my children do during the week. Doesn't help that I had a 51happlay bug that forced me to factory reset my phone.

I am on the hold list for LOSERTHINK. Hopefully, it's more helpful than WIN BIGLY.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

long days

Been getting up at 7am M-F to see my children before they go to school. I don't see them much. I work at 3:30pm and the oldest comes home at 2:30. Youngest comes home at noon, while middle at 3:15pm, so I only see the latter before she leaves at 7:30am.

Sucks that I don't see my wife during the week aside from maybe a half hour each day since she leaves at 7:30am as well.

All but my son are asleep by 10pm, so I come home to a quiet house. 

Monday, August 12, 2019

kids are back to school.

Hard to believe how busy summer had been. I recall being home a lot as a boy, but as an adult, I seem to be driving my kids someplace every day.
Boy had a week at 2 separate camps at the beginning and end of June. Four weeks of rowing Monday-Thursday.
Middle Child had music lessons weekly.
Youngest Child had swimming lessons twice a week, speech once a week, and then music once a week for a month.
Middle child had craft things she did at home and such, but as a whole, they all were active.
Now, they all have to be up and out of the house by 8:26.
Meanwhile, I still work second shift, so I will only see the middle child from 6:45am -7:34am.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

when people quit on you

Remember my being annoyed about a "co-worker" last month? Well, her mother died, so she was off last week. A card went around for us to sign and such.
Yes, I signed and wrote words, though I would have preferred not to have been obligated to do so. She was dead to me, so I'm not full of sympathy.
My brother is coming to Ohio this week. He called last weekend. I was thinking of being out of town during his visit, but he's coming  during the week.
Given that I don't care to speak with my brother when he calls, I find my hanging up on him twice only mildly regrettable. He suggested I take time off or something to that effect.
In other news, my finger is healed. Four weeks is ample time to declare it such, though it seemed well after 2 weeks... it's a sealed scar now. I don't even have to worry about the jagged nail, for it's grown out and has been cut.
This will be the last full week of summer for the kids. Been a busy summer, between camps, lessons and appointments of various varieties for all three of them.
K has become more mature... his watching South Park doesn't bother his mother.
B has grown as a musician... playing her ukulele beyond her Wednesday lesson.
D has just grown.
I'm lucky to have such good kids.
I should be a better husband and father. It would be best if I ceased having a smart phone... or hobbies involving my smart phone. Pirates are just lousy of late, so baseball has been cut... while my tinkering with my 401(k) has gotten to be a daily hindrance. I need to cut myself off...maybe I will this week.
18th wedding anniversary is coming up, so I might as well start reforming myself sooner than later.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

July started off with a razor slice through the tip of my index finger

I did something stupid a couple weeks ago. I was unwrapping a pallet of boxes with a box cutter and cut myself in the process. I bled a bit, but it stopped. I considered going to the ER, but I figured there wouldn't be much they'd do aside from making me wait a while. Well, the next day I noticed that the blade cut through my figure nail... thus through the whole finger. Looked like a woodshop mishap.
I kept clean and such, so it's healing.  I took pictures and wrote up a statement for documentation of my workplace injury. Click to see my nifty cut.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

being annoyed for 3 straight weeks

I had trouble sleeping last night. I woke up early today to get my tires rotated. I shouldn't let work get to me, but yet it blinds me and makes me sick to my stomach. I've plateaued or I'm trailing into decline. 
Being home alone doesn't help. With the boy at summer camp, the girls went to see him for family night.
I should concern myself with things that actually matter rather than let my foolish pride dictate my life through emotional meandering of a hopeless circle of anger and disappointment.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Bye-bye Mike's

The last time I quit a job, my hours were cut and I stumbled upon a part-time job that would make up for the missing hours. I was on vacation when I got a rejection email for the job, but as I was looking at my email I saw the posting for job that would replace the job. I applied while on vacation and got interviewed and hired about 12 hours after getting home from vacation.
I'm re-hashing because the car wash was recently damaged by the tornadoes last month and being re-built after being demolished.
Last blog post I hinted about an event, and I'm still annoyed. I feel almost sick going to work. I'm not going to let myself be content with the status quo. Sure I'm an a-h, but I'm done being well meaning and joking about stuff. I'm just going to be blunt and transparent without saying stuff unnecessarily. If people ask or say something than I'll let them know all is fine in the sense that I'm annoyed by a first world problem. If they misunderstand, I'll set them straight in my gripe.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

people quit only to show up next day as though nothing happened

Kief survived NYLT. He's been a little whiny, but he's always been whiny.
Had an event occur at work that has me rather disheartened. Not sure what to do other than put on blinders and not think beyond my own responsibilities.
I could write a comic panel about the situation, or a daydream, at least.

The joke goes: Sometimes, passive aggression is just instant karma given a nudge.

Monday, June 3, 2019

NYLT, start of summer break.

Dropped off Kiefer at camp yesterday. Cricket Holler is just off of Needmore, so I got to see some of the tornado damage along I75. Lots of tarps on roofs and lots of completely gone tarpless roofs could be scene, as well.
Kief's troop volunteered for cleanup on Saturday, but with his begining camp Sunday, we had too much prep to do for his week at NYLT.
Today has been a bit wasted given my slow start and J's saying the girls are not to be out walking after 10am.
I need to prioritize my time better. Pirates aren't great, and the games last too long. I think I can listen to them rather than follow live boxscore action, which should help free up my hands and legs to do stuff.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Nachos are NOT donuts or ice cream

I have ceased eating my usual chocolate donuts for breakfast and moose tracks ice cream for my last "meal" before bed.
I'd eaten a lot of donuts and ice cream since I last had blood work done in February. My weight is about the same and my clothes still seem to fit, but I know a sugar based diet isn't great for any stretch of time... So I am cutting them from my routine until I at least finish a wall of tiling in my bathroom. I've mostly put off doing the project for 5 years. I do a stage and not be sure about the next step until I had to do something towards the goal.
Had to tile floor first. Had to prepare the wall for tile. Had to determine the tile.
Excuses come easy. So now I'm forcing myself to do it to eat donuts without guilt.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Hard to recall March

Being a father of 3 has a lot of perks. One of them is being constantly busy if I don't want to regret being born.
I have a second shift gig, so I don't see my family much during the week since they are mostly gone when I am up or asleep when I come home.
The oldest get home before I leave, but he leaves for school before I get up. My middle one gets up just before I do, but I'm usually still waking up when she leaves for school. The youngest gets up early days she should sleep in but tries to sleep in on days I have to drag her to places for swim lessons or speech therapy.
She's been in afternoon preschool for 2+ years. I've taken her to speech therapy a long time. Probably close to 200 sessions.
Swimming lessons started back in October. Probably 40+ sessions.
It's hard for me to run errands since I have my morning allotted during the start of the week and I am tired by the end of the week to feel like starting errands until I have no time to do them.
Inefficient use of time makes for an angry wife who is tired and annoyed the house isn't perfect upon coming home from a first shift job.
I don't eat with my family, but I wash their dishes.
I tend to the bills, and daydream about a debt-free future and eventual retirement.
I am forty. A long ways from retirement given I work for someone else for a living. A lot of planning seems to be needed to will oneself into being debt-free. After a decade of simply shifting the deep hole of debt around, I can see the light. I mostly have my mother to thank. I can work longer hours with her to watch my youngest, while she also gives freely towards her grandkids' betterment and such.
Aside from credit cards, we have student loans, a car loan, and a mortgage. Student loans and car payments will probably be done in 2020, but there's probably going to be another car on the horizon... there's always another car, right? Mortgage originally was for 30 years, then after a re-fi 20 years, thus paid off by 2031. Could be paid off sooner, but my oldest will be in college in a few years, followed by the other 2 eventually.
We'll probably switch banking institutions. Might come out ahead like when I switched insurance last year and saved a ton on home and auto until the kids start to drive, at least. We're dropping Netflix after they announced their rate hike.
We shop primarily at Aldi and Sam's Club for food with Target and Meijer rounding them out for non-meat matters.
We can drop YMCA membership, but I'm sure a cellphone will be added to the plan to offset the savings.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Life keeps going when I'm still asleep

The week was a blur. Kids were off Monday and Wednesday. Still took D to swimming. Saw my mom 3 times rather than just Friday. I probably should visit her and do her taxes before she pays someone to do them for her.
I enjoy doing taxes. I understand what I'm doing enough that I find it INSANE to pay someone else to do it if filing online is FREE.
Regardless, I'm doing well or at least followup blood and urine tests seem to suggest nothing amiss.
February is a depressing month for me. Aside fom J's B-day and St. V Day,  I find myself pondering my father's meaningless death and how it's a lot like Warhol's.
Speaking of St. V Day, J got me a Bob Evans apple pie. I truly felt surprise. I am blessed to have stumbled through life and to have met someone who mostly gets me.
We ate Logan's carry-out. They had 20% off coupon coupled with the giftcard my mom gave J for her B-day.
Still feeling down... it's that time of month.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

default promotions

I've been anti-full-time ever since I learned that I'd lose any leverage to say "no" to working OT. Given I don't want to be beholden, I also have no interest in being management. One is expected to work for free to gain the experience necessary for management mobility... and one is expected to move if one wants to be a manager.
Spent Thursday night before heading home going over how to do a couple reports. The guy who used to do them is going to the AM shift because he wants to be an AM manager one day. He's fulltime and in the AIM program, so his doing management stuff is expected.
I'm not going to dwell on it and say I feel put upon, I just need to do whatever I can and not let things stress me. I don't do stress well.
Ever since I sprained my shoulder, I started to passively job hunt more closely. I can't have my body fail me, again and expect to keep my job. I can do a lot of things but I just assume not be in constant pain again.
I don't exactly see my family much during the week. The vacation bidding process screwed me out of being off when my kids were off from school. Bidding packets went out last week.
I'm mostly clueless to the everyday procedures of my family. I get up after K leaves usually when I hear J leave. I get to see B a half hour or so until she leaves for the bus. I usually have to get D up and out of the house before 10. K usually gets home before I leave for work and is still up when I get home. Everyone else usually is asleep.
The older two are both busy with school, Jennifer manages the frequent yet random things like band tryouts and college credit plus meetings. The youngest is my responsibility to have active with speech and swimming before pre-school bus wisks her away.
I haven't seen any more blood in my urine, and my blood and urine tests haven't shown anything odd, yet. My sugar actually seems lower.
We saw Lego Movie Part 2 this morning. Family enjoyed it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


I started doing my taxes during my vacation, but discovered Jennifer's W-2 was wrong. Her employer goofed on many others' W-2s, so 10 days later we got a corrected W-2.
Co-workers were discussing taxes last week and were surprised I hadn't done mine yet. I hadn't had time since we got the corrected W-2 back. I worked 43+ hours both weeks since my vacation.
Did taxes Saturday, but I won't get a refund until end of month since I claimed the additional child tax credit. I have 3 kids. The delay occurred last year as well.
Thursday the 7th, I noticed blood in my urine. I was thinking how everything was going well only to look down and see blood dripping. I saw my doctor the next day and he was puzzled. I've not seen blood since said Thursday. I noticed it 4 times that afternoon, so it may have been a fluke, but worth a check of my blood and further specimens. Nothing seems alarming, test -wise, thus far. 

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Vacation reflection

Having a job that gives 2 weeks vacation is something I didn't have for a long time. We're forced to take our time off by the week for logistical reasons. There's a bid process and those with seniority get first dibs and have more weeks to plot.
I couldn't pick any week my kids were off from school more than 1 day. Summer, fall and spring break were all taken, while winter break is blocked due to it being peak.
Well, kids had Monday off and 2 hour delays on Tuesday and Friday, so my week off was mostly with the kids, regardless.
Meh, I didn't do much out of norm, so aside from no work... Wasn't much of a vacation. Nice being away, the daily grind makes every day blur.
I read an article about being more productive by waking up early and utilizing 5am-7am. Not sure it's practical given my schedule, but I used to be a morning person. I haven't been motivated is a very long time. I will look into whether going to bed before 2am is possible. I get home after 10pm and spend time on my phone catching up on world events bore eating and showing. If I can avoid my phone after work and shower promptly, I could sleep without eating...
Most things are easier said than done. I will not set any goals... But if I do something enough times it will become a habit. I need to rid myself of bad habits. Obsessing about my 401(k) is a waste of time when I know the daily ups and downs don't mean anything when I am so far from retiring.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

ice cream

We had snow last couple of weekends. We beat the snow Saturday to hit Young's Dairy to take advantage of their 150th anniversary celebration.

It rained buckets until turning to ice and then snow in the evening.  We ate lunch there. I drove. I usually don't do the driving but I've been less than stellar as a spouse/parent. Season 2 of The Punisher dropped the day before and I had spent too much time devouring episodes.

Thankfully, I finished the whole season before we lost our internet from the ice/snow storm. We didn't get our internet back until 3:39pm on Sunday. We played 2 rounds of Simpsons Clue to kill time.

Yesterday, the kids and I were off, but the weather was cold and Jenn. worked, so we hit Magic Castle for half-price Monday. I drove again. Darcy still had swimming at the Y, but refused to wear her swim cap, so I didn't run errands after wards.

A 2-hour delay messed up my running errands plans today.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

goals don't work

I would like to say I have fully embraced systems thinking with regards to saving money. Primary "goal" is to eliminate credit card debt, secondary "goal" is max out my 401(k) contributions, tertiary "goal" is to maintain a happy household.
I want to be "rich" one day. Not sure how I will get there, but being "rich" is better than being poor.

In September, I was seriously considering canceling our YMCA membership, until I figured it would be better to use it more effectively by enrolling Darcy into swim classes. Darcy was afraid after her first lesson but now is happily going twice a week. Wednesday, She got bumped into the next level. Betsy was re-enrolled in volleyball after taking much of last year off, but it's a no-go given not enough her age enrolled.

We are a 3 cell phone family. I pre-paid for the next few months before the 5% cashback quarter ended on my US Bank card. Now the cashback category is replaced by gym membership. I have no idea if YMCA membership counts. The other 5% category I picked is utilities... our water bill is quarterly, but it's more in that bill for the quarter than all other categories from which we can choose.

My Discover card gets 5% on groceries this quarter. They void 5% at Target and Walmart, while US Bank gives 2% back at Walmart.

Always use my Sam's credit card for gas... it's 5% cashback year round, unlike the random quarter that Chase Freedom currently has. Chase doesn't tell you what's on their yearly quarter schedule like Discover does. They're both meh cards outside their 5% element.

I use my Bank of America card almost exclusively for shopping at Sam's Club for 2% cashback, while the Amex gets used primarily for groceries due to its no strings 3% cashback, whenever a 5% quarterly perk isn't such categories, at least.

The Bank of America card has a changeable 3% bonus that includes online shopping and home improvement, rather than just the default gasoline bonus.

We earned over $1,100 in cashback from credit cards last calendar year. Between Checkout 51 and Ibotta, another $500 cashback.

We maxed out our HSA contributions, and used almost every penny. Seriously, we didn't meet deductibles because Darcy's speech doesn't count towards it after 20 sessions. I took her twice a week for much of the year and spent well over $4,000 of our money. We'll max out again this year. Hopefully we won't spend as much since Darcy is down to weekly sessions, but we still have to see the cardiologist, which we didn't last year.

We saved $1,200 by changing our home and auto insurance companies.

Did I mention our pay raises? We're making roughly $8k more this year, hence we're able to bump up my 401(k) contributions.

Our student loans are on pace to be put to bed in the next year or so, which frees up a good chunk.

Will we ever be "rich?" Being debt-free would be a start...our son will be 17 in 2020, so we'll have to pay federal taxes sooner than later.  We'll have one car paid off 2020, but we'll probably need another... so there's a moot savings.  We'll get to a point that we can pay off more towards the mortgage... but we'll have college age child(ren) sooner than later. I keep getting credit card offers which make urgency in paying off credit cards moot when the 0% interest rate goes 15 months.

Goals don't really work when variables always come up, having a system and continuing with the mindset seems like goal setting but it's a way of life that doesn't stop upon completion.