Monday, November 24, 2008

This Week I Am...

  • spinning fiber into yarn (an early Christmas gift for me)
  • working every day but Saturday
  • going to a good friend from high school's wedding on my day off
  • eating my first Thanksgiving dinner at my own home (Bear is cooking)
  • completing two knitting projects (I hope)
  • watching my cousin and his wife appear on the Martha Stewart Show
  • getting my own spindle (instead of the borrowed one I'm using)
  • cleaning the kitchen table off
  • folding the eight loads of laundry we did yesterday
  • sleeping in Wednesday morning
  • watching Sweeny Todd (we've had it since May and haven't watched it).

What are you doing this week?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Great Christmas Cotastrophe of 2008

Every year near Christmas time, something magical happens. I'm not referring to Jolly Ol' St. Nick or his eight tiny reindeer - I'm referring to the financial crisis that occurs every holiday season just as we begin to buy gifts for people and each other.

Last year, the cost of heating oil was shooting up and up. I was forced to get a second job and pay for oil a hundred gallons at a time, because we had no money to prebuy and oil companies were refusing to do budget plans. My car needed several repairs and we had very little money to spend on Christmas. We persevered, however, and although it put us further in debt, gave each other the very best Christmas we could.

This year is a little different, in that Bear is taking care of the heating bill this winter. We're still buying a hundred gallons at a time, but the cost is less per gallon and still going down. We may sign up to do a budget plan at a later date. No, this year, we got a letter from the town saying that we haven't paid our taxes from 2006. 2006! The letter said we have until December 15th to come up with $1,200 dollars to pay the bill or they are going to take our house.

I didn't even know they could do that!

Our home is paid for - there is no mortgage. Our annual tax bill is around $900. Since we didn't pay it, fees and interest brought the bill to the $1,200 we now owe. I just about fell down when I read the letter. Normally I wouldn't open a letter addressed solely to my husband, but this time I did. I was glad I did. I was sorry I did.

You see, I leave it to my husband to pay all the bills from the town - taxes, sewer, and water. These bills are some of "his" bills. I tend to pretend they do not exist. He doesn't pay my credit card bills, cell phone bill, or internet bill - we divide and conquer. I have a terrible tendency to ignore what he is and isn't paying until I cannot any longer (like the time the Satellite Dish was shut off for nonpayment, or the time we got a letter from the town telling us they were going to shut our water off in 24 hours if we didn't pay immediately). Is this tax bill Bear's fault? Yes. He chose not to pay it (for very good reasons, I am sure). But is it also my fault for ignoring bills that affect me, too? Yes again. I should have checked, asked, investigated ... and I didn't.

We paid what money we had on us, and are now left with a bill for $850. All the money that was going to go to Christmas gifts for Bear and I will go to this bill, as well as money usually spent other places. We're getting rid of the satellite dish (what good is a dish with no house to put it on?) We have just under a month to scrounge up the rest of the money. We can do it, but it's going to be tight. I am so pissed at the both of us - Bear for not paying this bill and myself for not asking him about it, that I'm ready to say a big "fuck you" to Christmas this year. Seriously - what's the point if there are no presents to give? We will of course be taking care of our extended families, but for us, there will be no presents under the tree. And maybe that's the way it should be; maybe we need to see the bare, uncovered tree skirt, and allow it to remind us that presents are only good if you have a house to open them in.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

No more Lookits, I promise

I know that my non-knitting blog followers are probably getting heartily sick of my incessant knitting-related posts. So I'm done. For now. Unless I knit some booties for a friend's baby, but everyone loves baby booties, right?

I feel like I need John Cleese in here to say, "And now for something completely different."

I love John Cleese. He's definitely my favorite of all of the Monty Pythoners, Eric Idle included. I just heart him. Don't you? All things Monty Python make me laugh. He was just the best at it.

Do you know who else I love? Super Grover.

I wish Super Grover would fly into my house once in a while. I could use his superpowers! I especially love the lightning bolt behind the letter G on his chest. I wonder... is that a tattoo? He's not wearing a shirt...

Finally, let me tell you about one more thing I love:

Peanut butter balls. These aren't mine (mine are better looking and darker, as I use dark chocolate), but you get the idea. I made 48 of the little buggers last night, and all but about a dozen are gone. A dozen each went to two co-workers of Bear's another dozen went into Bear, Snake, and I, and another dozen are at home. I use Reese's Peanut Butter and Hershey's Special Dark chocolate... it creates a rich, decadent treat that isn't too sweet. I serve them chilled.
Hungry yet?


PS A quick update on my pregnant friend - she is still pregnant, although she has been having some troublesome bleeding. Mostly, she's overdoing. A doctor's appointment this week should tell her more. I think she will have to quit one of her two jobs. The baby is doing well, though, and growing like a weed. It has doubled in size from one ultrasound to the next! Keep it up, Baby. Only 27 more weeks to go.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

It's Election Day!

And no, I'm not going to tell you who to vote for, or even pressure you into voting period. I am excited about voting this year, though - it's the first presidential election where I will be voting FOR someone instead of AGAINST someone. I wanted to vote right after school, but Bear is making me wait until he gets home so we can vote together. Grrr. I haven't turned on any election coverage, so I don't know who's winning (if they even have any idea yet). It's easy to get burned out on the coverage, I think. Don't you agree? Too many experts, too little valuable data.

I have the next two nights off from Rite Aid, so I'll be able to get a bit of my household work done - Alice, dishes are at the top of the list. So is vacuuming the livingroom and working on the laundry pile. After that, I think I will knit some. I need to get a lot of knitting done these next couple of days, because I'm getting some more fiber soon to spin into yarn (a silk, wool, merino, and bamboo blend), and since it's a new hobby, I'm totally obsessed with it. If I work *VERY* hard the next two weeks on T-Licious' shawl, I may be able to get it done. It's past time, really.

I know that I haven't been good about commenting on others' blogs recently, and I apologize. I love comments on mine. Please know that I am reading you and loving you, even though I'm not commenting. I will try to do better.


Monday, November 03, 2008

It's November!

It's November in the Bear household. That means that over the next 30 or so days, I'll be doing the following:

  • Voting (Election day is tomorrow - get out and VOTE!)
  • Giving a presentation at an inservice day at school on 11/7
  • Finishing my twelve-day stretch of working at least one job every day
  • Staying home from school on 11/11, Veteran's Day. I will call my daddy to thank him.
  • Completing the winterization of the house by putting plastic over our drafty windows
  • Updating my Christmas list
  • Begin shopping for Christmas gifts for my family and Bear's
  • Getting a new-to-us fridge from Bear's Godparents
  • Visiting my brother and sister-in-law
  • Finishing T-Licious' wedding shawl (it was supposed to be done 10/11)
  • Figuring out what Bear and I are doing for Thanksgiving
  • Going to my friend Caitlin's wedding
  • Knitting my entrelac scarf
  • Working, working, working
It's the last item that's been the toughest lately. I haven't had a day off since October 26, and won't until November 8. I feel like when I type it, it doesn't sound so bad, but the reality is that I can't get anything accomplished at home because I'm working so much, and if I'm not working, I'm too tired to do anything. There are dishes by the sink that have been waiting more than a week to be washed. The floor needs vacuuming, the laundry pile is bigger than I am... there's a lot that needs to be done. Sometimes I'm so overwhelmed I just sit down and look at it all. I don't know where to begin! I think I need someone to tell me what to do first. Then maybe I could get something accomplished.


PS A reminder to Bear - we need to pick our favorite photos to be made into 8x10s tonight to tell your aunt.