Friday, January 29, 2010

Blizzard of 2010?!?

Got hubby's W-2 this week. Turns out the new salary is $20K less than last year! Ugh! We'll work it out, though.

We're supposedly in for a big snowstorm this weekend, starting around midnight tonight. Some forecasts say 1-3 inches tonight followed by more tomorrow for a total of 6-10 inches! That would really be something. The kids are so excited! Hayden already has his snowsuit on, and the snow isn't starting until around midnight! LOL. Now that's enthusiasm!

It seems every local weather station says something completely different, so I'm relying on Weatherbug and the National Weather Service. I guess time will tell. Apparently, there's a possibility we could get a layer of ice from sleet underneath the snow. It's anybody's guess! I have lots of stuff to go out for this weekend, though, so I will have to watch what happens. The kids have basketball and cheerleading on Saturday morning until lunchtime, we have church on Sunday morning, and I have a ticket for the symphony on Sunday afternoon!

Monday, January 18, 2010

New Job!

Steve starts his new job today. He's going back to work for Bay Electric where he worked before this. It's been 4.5 years since he worked there last, and they've been so gracious to invite us to their company picnic every summer since he left, so we've maintained a relationship with them all this time. Steve went and met with them 2 days after he lost his job, and they had an offer letter to him the next day. That was a relief! The downside is that now he makes at least $15K less than he made last year. That's a real bummer because it means a total lifestyle change for us. I'll have to find a way to cut back at least $1,250/month going forward. Not sure where to find that many cutbacks. I think this is going to be a really rough year for us. He's essentially making what he started out making 4.5 years ago, so it's a bit of a step backwards. He is a project manager there, as he was at this last employer for most of the his time there, but right now, Bay only has him working on the electrical side of projects, which is pretty limiting since he's been doing general construction management for so long now. But I think they will expand his responsibilities over time. His first project is a new site in Georgia, and he'll be flying down periodically on one of the company's private jets to oversee that project. That ought to be interesting! They also have a company apartment down there, so if he has to stay overnight for any reason, at least he won't have to mess with hotels.

He won't get to take any vacation this year, so no annual family vacation for us to look forward to in 2010. The kids were really disappointed about that, and so was I. And he only gets 1 week/year instead of 2. Also, the health insurance will cost us more than before because the company is smaller.

Sigh. It's a lot for me to take in. He did get a company car and a gas card, so although he has a long commute to Newport News, at least we won't be paying for gas. We have to pay taxes on the commuting mileage, though.

I think we're gonna use our tax refund this year to go ahead and pay off his van. We only had a little over a year left to pay on it anyway, and that will get rid of a payment of $233/month. That's a start, but there's still a long way to go to squeak by. We have another huge credit card bill this month from Christmas expenses, the dogs' annual checkup at the vet, and the lifetime subscription to TIVO, which I did because our 3-year contract was up, and it was before he lost his job. So we'll have to recover from the last of these big expenses and then figure out how we'll get by thereafter.

I went grocery shopping yesterday, and I'm already shopping differently. No more convenience packaged items. Instead of baby carrots and apple slices that are ready to eat, I got regular carrots and whole apples...stuff like that. I didn't buy as much as usual, and I shopped only from my grocery list and skipped all the other aisles. I didn't get the kids any snacks beyond a $1 bag of pretzel sticks and a 62-cent bag of marshmallows. They'll just have to get used to less variety.

So anyway, wish me luck trying to figure out a new budget. It's gonna be a challenge!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Bad news

We got some bad news on Tuesday. Steve lost his job. They gave us no notice or anything! They just created his new position 6 weeks ago, and I guess they decided they couldn't afford it after all. I think our health insurance ended the same day according to our benefits booklet, so that really stinks. He gave me the news by phone just as I was walking out from having my crown re-done again. I had bleeding problems again during the procedure and had to have an adrenaline injection into my gums to stop it. That wasn't fun! I felt like I had run a marathon. Anyway, it was all very surreal. I thought he was joking at first. In this economy, it's definitely not a good time to be looking for a job, especially in construction. He has such an impeccable reputation in his industry, though. Someone made him a job offer before he even got home. But he went yesterday (his birthday) to interview with his former employer from 4.5 years ago, and they offered him a job to start on the 18th. I think he's going to take it, although the salary is $15,000 less than he made last year! That will mean major lifestyle adjustments around here. That's a big owie, for sure. It's also on the other side of the water, so he'll be back to a long commute each day. Hopefully, they will give him a company car, like he had when he worked there before. That would help cut costs, too, by not having to pay for gas and wear and tear on a vehicle. He has been doing so much traveling lately, and it costs a lot. He had a vehicle allowance at his most recent job, but no direct reimbursement. I imagine we will need to get rid of one of our vans to get rid of a car payment, but we owe more on them than they are worth at this point. Not good. Sigh. We haven't been sleeping so well this week, and we're all sick with colds, too. I have a doctor's appointment next week that I can't miss, and it seems we have no health insurance now. Steve is gonna call the Benefits department today and see how to get COBRA coverage, but of course, that will be a big expense, too. I'm not sure how long the waiting period for insurance is with the new job, but I think it's at least 30 days.

Anyway, it's weird for us right now. Not sure what to do with ourselves. I know everything will work out in the end, though. At he won't be unemployed for long.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Holden's First Day of "School!"

Today was Holden's first day of "school!" I stayed up until 1 AM this morning trying to set up a schedule for Sonlight's PK 3/4 program. It comes with just a checklist of things to read and do, but I really wanted a schedule to hold me accountable and balance out the workload. I had tried to put it into a table the way I do the other kids' schedules, but because most of his stories are in treasuries, typing the long names out made it so it wouldn't fit in a traditional scheduling table. So I decided to download the free basic version of Homeschool Tracker and plug it into that to see if it would give me a decent printable schedule to use, and it worked out great! I loved how I didn't have to keep retyping the information...I could just select it from the drop-down menu of resources, and I didn't have to duplicate my efforts. Anyway, I had to do a little tweaking at first, but I stayed at it until I got the first trimester all entered in before I went to bed. Then I added some of the second trimester this morning and got it done all the way through June. So I went ahead and printed out this week's school schedule for him, and he and I sat down and did yesterday's and today's assignments and got all caught up.

I was surprised at how excited he was! He just turned two last week. I asked him if he wanted to sing some songs first, and he said yes and climbed up to the bar and sat beside me like Haylee does for school. It was so cute! I put the disc of Wee Sing Nursery Rhyme songs in my laptop, and we did a couple of them together. He clapped along and smiled and really enjoyed them! Then we read a couple of storybooks and a couple of bible stories. He was really interested in the Picture Book Classics. He really paid attention and pointed to things in the pictures and named them. I could tell he really enjoyed it! The book of bible stories was way beyond him and far too long to hold his interest. I might reschedule those for the end of the year when his vocabulary is a little more advanced, and I'll just substitute the Rhyme Bible Storybook for Toddlers to use right now. I think that's more his speed at this point, and it has very coloful illustrations and short rhyming text. I remember reading that to Hayden when he was this age.

So anyway, all in all, it was very successful! I think I'll do his school with him in the mornings when he is fresh, before I start school with Hayden and Haylee.

Hayden and Haylee are both sick with a nasty cold, and I have to get some serious dental work done this afternoon. I've had two crowns on the same tooth, and it fell out again last week. I think I'm gonna have to get an implant today. Not fun. Maybe they can try recementing this one again. I'm not sure what the problem was. They used a post to support it this last time, so it wasn't supposed to be able to fall out. The dentist says the base of the tooth may have cracked this time, in which case I'll have to do a partial denture or an implant. I just turned 38, so there's no way I'm getting a denture! I don't want a metal crown, either, because it shows when I smile. It's shameful how much money I've had to spend on this tooth already, between the root canal, the first crown, the recementation, the second crown, and now the implant alone will cost over $2,000. Sigh. Always something.