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Archive for May, 2010

Networking

May 27th, 2010 at 03:51 pm

The more and more I think about life... I begin to think success depends on who you know, not always what you know. As long as you have the aptitude, who you know makes a huge difference.

I've been calling around the new area for quite some time trying to find a rental that would be suitable for our family. No luck. When I mention I have pets, no luck.

But in my back pocket, I had contacted a realtor months ago. Knowing our full situation she contacted some of the property management companies in the area. She managed to get me a lead in to a house not on the market yet for rent, but the timing would be perfect.

3 bedroom with a den, area we wanted, seems perfect.

So I called the guy, told him we had pets, our situation, etc. Conversation was like a complete 180 from the ones I had done when I cold-called the property management companies myself without the lead in.

I sent an application in today. Dh and I looked at the GoogleMaps picture of the house, the builder's floorplan, and similar homes for sale online with the exact same floorplan. I'm not buying it, so I'm less picky. I've rented several times site-unseen and never had any problems because I thoroughly do my research beforehand.

I'm hoping we get approved. Our debt is my only concern but the military will give DH a housing allowance of $1638 and the rent at the new place is only $1200 which would cover utilities as well.

I did leave a note explaining the high credit card balances but also included documentation that we've never been late on any payments, our rental is occupied till 6/2011, both jobs are secure, and we have our current property listed for $2100/mo.

We'd also be willing to do an allotment with the landlord. Also included copies of our bank statements showing that aside from the debt we do have $10K in savings for emergencies.

So hopefully all works out. I really can't afford to take much time off to house hunt & 3 bedrooms with a den or a 4 bedroom that accept pets are hard to come by. Probably why I really want this place, I know that our only other option would really be to get a 3 bedroom and be squished.

On the other side of things. I ended up signing with our current property manager after all. I told her I wasn't agreeable to the vacancy fee because it felt like a conflict of interest, she also waived the renewal fee. So the only fees I'm responsible for are similar to what I already have with our other rental but a $50/yr admin fee. I'm fine with that.

The other guy was supposed to come over today but I called him & let him know that I ended up signing with our original agent since we were able to come to an agreement. Painless... everyone understood... all was great.

I still wonder why situations like this cause me anxiety sometimes? I probably care too much what people think.

Anyhow, cause for the rush was Memorial Day weekend. My property manager has several clients flying in from out of town that she'd like to show the property to & this is a big weekend for finding tenants.

Now just need to find the right tenant.

Auditing is DONE!

May 25th, 2010 at 02:57 pm

I just got my result back - 84!

So that at least gives me motivation to tackle BEC and not get too let down from REG.

I think all those auditing classes with our Department Head really paid off. =)

If I pass, it'll be a miracle

May 23rd, 2010 at 08:39 pm

Ugh! Talk about a blow to my self-confidence.

If I pass, I think it will be a miracle. My first testlet was okay, I can calculate basis and deductions just fine.

But the second testlet was more business law and although many will think they know business law (Like I thought I did)... the examiners throw odd questions in there to trick you.

I actually found a few that I knew were thrown in as "distractors" for anyone not reading everything WORD FOR WORD would misunderstand the question & get it wrong.

The communication tabs that I had to write were okay. I knew them, in fact I think one of them was a "test" for BEC's business law simulation that they are going to implement in 2011.

But I did not know the simulation tabs. I struggled on those to the point I finally just had to tell myself "Look, you obviously don't know this as well as you thought... hopefully you at least got SOME of it right."

So we'll see... but I'm not counting on passing. I left FAR and AUD feeling like I did "okay"... and I passed FAR (waiting on AUD).... REG? OMG... talk about a blow to your self-confidence.

So, on to studying for BEC. Hopefully I passed AUD so I'll only need to take REG again. Just got to keep going.

Off to take the 3rd part of the CPA exam

May 23rd, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Taking Regulation today... I think I have the tax stuff down for individuals, corporations, and partnerships. Business law and estates are kind of iffy.

What is tripping me up on business law is commercial paper & negotiability. I keep reading it and thinking WHO DOES THAT? Who take a check from someone, gives it to someone else, who then gives it to someone else, then forges a signature, and gives it to someone else?

Agency laws though, I think I have down simply because of my personal experience with my rental property and such.

So we'll see.

Either way, my biggest motivator to do well on this test is that I do not like/want my job anymore.

I know, I know... I should be thankful to HAVE a job, but when I'm getting "Job opening" notices left and right from my college, I can't help but feel like the market REALLY isn't that bad. Maybe I could be wrong, either way - I see more openings out there and everyday I'm just like "Ugh! I want to leave my current job and actually do what I love/enjoy."

The goal is to start a new job in Aug/Sept... always has been, but that still doesn't make the interim period easier. I like the people I work with, but am tired of feeling underpaid for my qualifications & there is no growth potential.

DH asked why I didn't leave my current job once I graduated & I told him I didn't want to start a new job here knowing we'd be moving & figured this would be a good opportunity to get the CPA exam under my belt so I can start a new job without that added pressure.

Even if I don't pass Regulation this time around, as long as I pass by Aug 2011, I won't have to retake any sections. But even if I don't pass, once we move to Nevada, I'll be applying ASAP to firms in the area.

There is one I'm really interested in, but I need someone to review my resume. I guess I could send it to my college's career management center & make an appointment to do a mock interview, just to make sure I am well prepared to get the job that I want at a firm I'm interested.

Biggest thing I'm wanting out of a firm is that they do auditing work. In Nevada it looks like there are 2 separate types of CPA licenses, and the main one requires auditing experience. So that's the type of firm I plan to go for.

I hope I won't have a problem finding a job. I can get a letter of reference from our CFO at my current company & the Accounting Department Head at my current college (which is an AACSB Accounting program). But navigating the job market in an entirely new area is interesting.

But I make friends easily so hopefully my networking skills can be put to good use. =)

Tough night

May 20th, 2010 at 10:24 am

The vet sent my cat home with me last night hoping I'd be able to get him to eat. But he won't eat or drink... I've never seen him like this before. He's drooling, keeps his tongue out, he looks miserable.

I've tried giving him water with a syringe, letting him rest, and upon the breeder's suggestion... pumpkin. But he just hides in rooms that he otherwise normally would not go, he just wants to be alone. He threw up last night too, which the vet said any amount of vomit would be concerning.

I'm going to take him to the vet one more time and if they say surgery is the only option, we're going to put him to sleep.

The surgery would just be too risky, he's been through too much at this point. So much could go wrong and I could still lose him. He still has barium in his stomach and if that leaks into the abdominal cavity, he could even die from that. He might not even be able to come out of anesthesia. The list goes on... and I've exhausted all my other options.

DH and I talked at length about this. He loves the cat but he doesn't want to do anything to potentially jeopardize our future to save him. Which is entirely logical of him and I know where he's coming from there.

We don't know what is going to happen with our orders... our life after July is a black hole.

But I'm sad nonetheless. He's my first cat and my first pet to die. All my other pets growing up, we either moved or something and I had to find another home for them or they disappeared one day (outside cats). But this cat, he's the first pet I've had that has been with us since he was a baby and till his death.

I'm praying for better news at the vet's... but after spending the night with him last night, I'd have to expect a miracle to think I'll be coming home with a cat who will return to the playful, social cat I knew.

Money well spent

May 18th, 2010 at 04:14 pm

I picked up the dog from the boarder's today and I have to say the difference between the boarder's and the vet's is like night & day.

The vet charges $20/night for boarding, the boarder's is $36/night. But I have to tell you - that extra $16/night is WELL WORTH it.

The vet only took him out 2 times a day. He was left there for a week while we were in Hawaii & when I came back, he had rubbed the fur on his nose off because he was left alone for so long.

The boarder's make it a point to give the dogs treats & lots of playtime. They are given 4-6 potty breaks every day along with nice bedding to sleep on.

I did get our dog groomed while there & that cost $65 but the boarding was $108 for the 15th-18th.

Yet when I got him back, he was happy and had not rubbed his nose raw. He's not an overly emotional dog that gets separation anxiety so I know it doesn't take much to make him happy.

I was just so pleased. I debated about spending more, but after my experience at the vet's in October - I was determined to give this place a shot despite their higher price tag. I have to say it was money well spent.

Finally home

May 18th, 2010 at 02:14 am

The drive down to Charleston wasn't too bad. Have to admit, for someone like me.... a West Coast girl (or more so Hawaii, but I'm partial to the Western states) - I've ALWAYS said I've never had a desire to go to the South. Don't know why, just never have. When I found out we may be moving to Louisiana/Mississippi - I was soooo upset.

I really wasn't expecting to enjoy Charleston but it was nice. The whole Southern hospitality thing grows on you & is pretty apparent. Lots of people I know consider where we are "The South" but I don't really view it that way.

We visited a plantation, walked around downtown, visited an ice cream shop & played mini-golf with the kids.

I think all in all, I spent about $75 driving down there. We packed sandwiches for lunch on the drive down. Then that first night we ate at Applebees for about $57. The next day, DH paid for the plantation tour & parking ($42), I paid for lunch at Moe's Southwest Grill ($25), then we were so full after Moe's that for "dinner" we just went to a local ice cream shop. The kids each had smalls while DH, myself, and the baby shared a banana split for $18. After that, because I paid for Applebees & Moes and was still around $25 away from being "even" with DH... we went to play mini-golf for $30.

This morning we just ate breakfast at the hotel.

On the drive back, I spent $39 on gas and I have just under a quarter of a tank left. DH gave me $40 this morning from his per diem for lunch for the kids, but it only cost $19.50 so I still have some left over.

However, when we got home - I didn't have anything in the refrigerator so we went to the grocery store and spent $60 for the week.

Tomorrow I have to pick up the dog and I'm estimating that will be $70 for the grooming (Already paid the $108 for his boarding).

So all in all, I'm totaling at $483... So we stayed in budget after all! Big Grin

Have to say, it was well worth it. I really enjoyed it, we don't really get away too often and even though it was just for a day - we made the most out of it.

Trip is turning out to be more than I anticipated

May 13th, 2010 at 02:50 pm

Hotel = Free
Food = Breakfasts are covered (at hotel), lunch and dinner for 2 nights (so maybe $100?)
Dog boarding = $175 (with grooming)
Gas = $120

So its turning out mildly more expensive than I anticipated at around $395 already. But I don't plan on doing any shopping or anything.

DH will have some money on him from his per diem. Still waiting on the check from the government for the last trip he took.

The dog boarding... I wish I could cut that out. But we don't have any friends who could take him and last time I boarded him at the vet's, he came back a week later with the hair on his nose rubbed off. Clearly he had been left alone much longer than he should have. So this time I picked a boarding kennel which is 2x the price - but hopefully my dog will have a better experience.

So anyhow, if I can get this trip down to under $500 - I'll be happy. That gives me around $100 of wiggle room for incidentals.

Kids are excited, they want to bring all their toys and I keep reminding them we'll only be there a few days.

My recovery from surgery is still going well. They have a pool at the hotel so I need to call the doc just to make sure its okay to go in. I'm 2 weeks post-op so although I don't think there should be a problem, I want to be on the safe side.

Awesome no-spend mother's day

May 9th, 2010 at 02:47 pm

I woke up to a rustling in the kitchen and three happy kids bringing me some toast with an apple & DH a bowl of cereal.

It got some grape jelly on my white bed spread but who care... its Mother's Day... no matter what my kids did I would have to be grateful for the effort. They are only 9, 8, and 5.

After I came downstairs they had gotten the 2 year old up, the 9 year old changed her with Daddy (this is nothing new) and she had my 2 year old sign the card. Very cute... all homemade. Big Grin

They don't want me doing any chores today and although generous of them to think that, the grape jelly on the floor for their beautiful breakfast kept calling to me so I cleaned the kitchen while they were upstairs cleaning their rooms. Maybe we'll make cheesecake or something together later.

Most of all, I was glad they thought of DH too. I think instead of mother's/father's day... parents should get two days out of the year where their kids celebrate them. How awesome would that be?!?!

Although, I'm sure if you don't have a partner who is as helpful (at least when he is around) as mine... you may feel differently. But with as wonderful as mine is to do a lot of the things the "Mom" usually does, I think he deserves some credit too for picking up some extra slack to keep me sane with 4 kids and his military lifestyle.

Aside from all this, my real treat comes next weekend when we go down to Charleston. I also have exactly 2 weeks to study for Regulation & I must admit... my surgery put a damper on my studying.... I haven't really studied in awhile. But I think it was probably needed because I was getting REALLY burnt out.

So I plan to hit the books full fledge this week and next (taking a minor break for the trip) and taking it on May 23rd.

On that note, for mother's day... I think I'm going to call my Aunt. She isn't a mom but she's been like a 2nd mom to me & my siblings whether she likes it or not. I know she likes the title of being unencumbered by responsibilities... but how can you deny the fact that she should be celebrated on a day like mother's day when she's been a steady maternal force more so than your own mother?

I'll probably call my mom too, I didn't last year. We have a complicated relationship that rarely delves anything into anything more than the basics. She didn't know about my surgery till Thursday and she doesn't know what type it was. My Aunt, she knew about it, why, and we are much closer.

I guess thats the reward for consistent nurturing that you provide to the future generations of the world... when they grow up & think of you on "Mother's Day" or "Father's Day"... will they think of you & smile? Or will they think of someone else who wasn't their parent, but was there for them like theirs should have been?

I hope my kids continue to think of me on mother's day and smile.

As for Father's day... there is no one else that I think of when I think of father's day which I think speaks volumes as to the kind of Dad I had.

Tempted to give up

May 5th, 2010 at 09:06 pm

I'm very tempted to give up at times... convincing myself that you just can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped.

Then I remind myself the person I'm trying to help is 9... soon to be 10.

Maybe it would just be easier on ME to give up. But there is one resounding difference I see in the success in children vs those that end up on the streets or in jail... and that difference is, even when they gave up on themselves - no one gave up on them.

I've been staying up till 10 pm some night with DD #1 helping her with her math homework, drilling her, coaching her, and struggling. I'm trying so hard and she never seems to get it.

I reiterate how education is SO important in life. And yet, today she forgets her math homework for the umpteenth time in a row.

I want to give up... so badly. When I have three other kids who are engaged in learning and want to learn and this ONE child seems hell bent on trying to get bad grades just because.

She's not dumb... she's not. She took her practice Standard Of Learning tests yesterday and got a 95% in reading and a 50% in math.

Parenting is hard, especially when it feels like the kid you're trying to parent feels completely fine with failing. But I'm not... its my role as a parent to care, to always care, and if I have to drag her kicking and screaming she will graduate high school and I will do everything in my power at that point to say I tried to do everything I could to help her succeed.

I wish I knew what to do, what to say to make this easier on her. I wish she didn't think I was the enemy. She's so moody sometimes. I had a nice conversation with DD #2 about vet school (she wants to go to Cornell, at least right now) and we were talking about goals. I could tell this talk was upsetting DD #1 as she walked ahead of us stomping. But we weren't mentioning DD #1 at all, I was just fostering DD #2's dreams. They all know if they do well in college I'll help pay for as much as I can.

I don't know what to do... some days I feel lost. Days where the night before I spent 3 ours helping her with math homework despite being on pain meds because DH is "horrible at math and can't do fractions himself" (So apparently a mom with a Masters in Accounting and on pain meds is better than a sober dad with an Associates degree teaching 4th grade fractions). Then emailing the teacher asking if there are any tutoring resources at the school.

I'm lost... and I want to give up. And the only thing that keeps me from giving up is that I know once I do give up... that's the fate I leave to my daughter. A fate of hating math & never understanding it... as much as trying may feel like hitting my head against a brick wall, right now its the only thing that gives me hope that DD #1 might succeed later in life.

Feeling great

May 3rd, 2010 at 03:00 pm

Its amazing how different a weekend of rest can make things. I'm beginning to feel absolutely wonderful. Things still look a little scary down there but I have a strong feeling that once I'm completely healed I'll be happy with the results.

I don't think I've slept that much since before I had kids. It was WONDERFUL and DH was absolutely fabulous. He's not the doting type either, but I really lucked out with him. He takes care of the kids without any problem and doesn't nag me to do anything while I'm passed out on the couch.

Even this morning, in between working, I laid down on the couch and said "If I'm not up by 11 am, please wake me up - I have to prep for a call at noon". During that "naptime" I could hear in the background DD #3 attempting to take off her diaper and telling DH about it. After a few more moments I could smell why she was trying to do so.

Some men I know would call their wives and wake them up than to change a poopy diaper. But I could hear that he didn't even attempt to bother me.

So I'm feeling much better. Still have a lot more healing to do but I'm starting to get my energy back and feeling back to my old self.

Surgery update

May 2nd, 2010 at 02:51 am

Well, surgery went well. I was fully awake for the procedure (local anesthesia) but I'm in a bit of pain. I'm on painkillers, antibiotics, and valium but I have mixed feelings about the painkillers. They kill my appetite and make me feel sick, hence I throw up.

The day of the surgery I threw up 3 times, I didn't take any yesterday but I was feeling the pain, so I took painkillers today and threw up again.

Aside from that I've been putting ice on the area a lot. Need to keep telling myself its going to look ugly for awhile. And this wasn't even cosmetic, it was to gain relief from the daily discomfort - but it would be nice to not look deformed once I'm done healing. Yet I'm sure once the swelling goes down I'll like the results.

So I'm healing, but functioning. Trying my best to take it easy but we had to take DS to his soccer game today. I'm walking a lot slower than usual but I'm getting around.

Kids don't really know what happened, just that I'm sore & I've told the older ones that when I had DD #1, something went wrong - the doctors never fixed it, so then with the other three kids it just made things worse.

None of this was cosmetic or elective, not when everyday tasks become an issue where you can't even where jeans without being in discomfort. Oh the things we go through as women to become mothers. Simply finding a qualified doc to do the procedure seemed to be an endeavor.

DH has been a gem making dinner & taking care of me. I really can't praise him enough. And none of this was for him, he kept telling me I was fine & he didn't understand why I needed the surgery. I love him but had to also remind him to take his ego down a notch, I'd never consider surgery for him... I love and respect who I am too much to do something to myself just for the sake of someone else.

Anyhow, in other news...

He took the van in on Friday cause the brakes were making funny noises. It was a good thing too because there was a recall on the van. They fixed it and it was all covered under warranty, now it stops as good as our '09 Civic.

We also mailed our computers to Gazelle.com today to get recycled & paid for the two laptops.

But I should get going, I really shouldn't be sitting too much and I feel light-headed if I'm up too much.