Friday, July 30, 2010

Hurry up and wait

The other day, Google Reader recommended an article from a website called Early Retirement Extreme.  I enjoy the thought of early retirement, both for me and my husband, so I poked around a bit.

Basically, to achieve the financial independence necessary to retire significantly early, this website suggests you live like a hobo for five or so years so you can then live like a pauper.  Seriously.  You're supposed to get rid of your car, even if it means walking a couple miles in the snow to work.  I'm sorry, I just don't like snow that much. You also should have a kitchen with basically nothing.  Most of it is camping equipment, naturally.  Heaven forbid you should like to cook things crazy things like cupcakes, because chances are you're not going to have the equipment for it. And if you enjoy entertaining, you should use paper plates, or have them bring their own dishes.  Classy.

His suggested diet is oatmeal, lentil soup, and tuna salad.  That's it.  Buy everything in ten pound bags!  Then if someone invites you over for dinner, even the most boring meal will be new and exciting.

Let's hope your hobbies don't involve any kind of supplies, because they're out the window.  I'm not sure what that leaves; bird watching, maybe?

It goes on and on.  I think it's ridiculous.  I appreciate being thrifty--we've been doing an awful lot of it, and I doubt that will end soon, if I want to stay home with a baby someday--but this is ridiculous.  I don't want to give up all joys in life for the next five years so that I can then not work (but still have no joy in life).  Sometimes I like to go to the movies, or buy a book.  I enjoy having specialized kitchen equipment that allow or facilitate the cooking of more complex things.  I like eating different things for dinner each night, for crying out loud!  Sure, much of the world eats rice and beans (as he points out) but it's because they can't afford anything else.  I'll retire a year later so that we can eat bacon during the next five years.

Is working SO TERRIBLE that you need to live like a miser so that you can stop doing it? It's not like once you quit your job you'll have tons of money for trips to the south of France. Not only do you not have a paycheck, but you don't even have insurance or 401(k) match or any of the other benefits of a job.  It just seems like he's rushing into something that isn't that great.  I'd rather work longer and have a more comfortable retirement.  You know, one where I can have a car or candy from a vending machine.

Maybe it works for some people.  I know I wouldn't mind getting rid of some of our stuff (how many DVD players do we need in the spare room closet?  Zero. How many do we have? Two.  Also two VCRs.) but I don't want to move to Walden Pond.  I just want to weed out some of the things I don't use.

I would like to have a garage sale, but I honestly don't know if I have enough stuff to make it worth my while.   I saw someone's "online yard sale," which was basically a Blogger site with an entry for each item. I could do that.  I guess I could give it all to charity and take the deduction, but it would also be nice to have the cash now, rather than in March.  Everyone says eBay, but I really don't have the time or inclination to deal with that.  There's craigslist and KSL, too, which at least doesn't require me to find a box to ship stuff in.

I dunno.  I just feel antsy.  It looks like we will be moving out of state for a while (I had an entry about that which apparently I never actually posted), though we still don't know when, which is driving me bananas.  (Sing with me. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.)  Actually, we should be moving thrice--once to Arizona, then to California, then back to Utah.  Everything is working out so far, although there are still a couple hurdles before we know for sure. That should be next week, hopefully.  Full of hope-y.

Of course, if we're going to be gone for a year and a half or so, we basically have to sell the condo.  The FHA loan means we can't use it as a rental, and heaven knows I don't want to deal with being a landlord.

So.  Anyone want to buy a lovely two-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath condo?  Or know anyone who does?   If we have to pay realtor fees, I doubt we could ever sell it for enough.  But if we did a non-arms length transaction, we could sell it for less.  Really, everyone wins.  Seriously, we're going to need to sell.  Would you be interested in a post depicting the various highlights of our your future abode?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The only thing I can catch are colds

I hate calling in sick to work.  It's especially bad now that I'm alone in my office; it means someone has to come sit over here all day.  To make things even better, the secretary who usually covers for me told me today that she was glad I was back because she hates my desk.  Yeah, me too.  But thanks for making me feel like an inconvenient jerk.

Anyway, I started feeling pretty lousy on Tuesday.  Sneezing, some congestion.  By the time we were getting ready for bed, I was pretty miserable.  My fabulous husband insisted I stay home.  I told him "We'll see," and he said, "That means no."  But whenever he tells me to stay home and I don't, I usually end up regretting it.  So this time, I sent off an email to my boss before bed so that I wouldn't have to get up and call in.  Adam was shocked that I actually listened, but it turns out I can be taught.

It was a good thing I stayed home; I spent most of yesterday asleep in bed or languishing on the couch.  I had a mild fever according to the thermometer, but I felt like I was going to burst into flames.  We knew something was wrong when I turned down the thermostat.  Me!  I get a blanket while we're watching TV because I get cold when the AC turns on!

But here I am at work, feeling moderately better.  Mostly I had to come in to do payroll.  I didn't want them to think I was secretly making a five day weekend of it, either.  But hey, thanks to Pioneer Day, I'll only have worked three days this week.  Less than, if you count my hour-and-a-half jaunt to the dermatologist on Monday.  They kept passing me between doctors' offices, and I told them if I couldn't get in that day I would just go to urgent care.  They managed to squeeze me in, which saved me ten bucks over going to urgent care, so that was nice.

Not much has been going on lately, except for my little cold.  The nice thing about not being a professional blogger is that I don't have to come up with content every day, even when nothing is going on.

The original purpose of this post, though, was to show you the picture of the delicious pizza I make.


Doesn't that look tasty?  That's a "small."  I always try to make FH's bigger than mine, since he eats so much more than I do.  Plus I need to fatten him up.  So I don't look as fat.

But hey, this is way healthier than a similar quantity of Pizza Hut pizza, which is what I'd be buying if I didn't make my own.  Plus this is way cheaper.  And despite my best efforts to not be a poor newlywed, we rather are.  So cost trumps time, for now.  But one day, we'll live close to a Hungry Howie's, and then all bets are off.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Expanded tweets

I originally joined Twitter just to follow a few amusing celebrities, because it kind of feels like we're friends.  Now I use it as a place for random crap that would otherwise make me a Facebook spammer.   Things I have mentioned lately on Twitter, expanded and updated for your reading pleasure:

My foot is cold.  I couldn't figure out why, until I realized that when I dropped that 32 ounce cup of ice water on the floor, some of it must have hit my foot.  Awesome.

If you are searching for a particularly obnoxious way to tell people that you're a tourist, might I suggest a hansom cab ride?  You have the double benefit of slow moving traffic AND the pervasive smell of horse poo.

Flavor Blasted Xtra Cheddar Goldfish crackers are vastly superior to the original cheddar.  It's not so bad if you eat the original ones first, but then you have some Flavor Blasted and you never want to go back.

A friend posted vacation pictures on Facebook, and either she has gained a bunch of weight lately, or she's pregnant.  She hasn't mentioned it, so--per my strict "no inquiring if people are pregnant unless you are married to or birthed said individual" policy--I'm left wondering.  I'd like to think she's pregnant, but the fact that she posted those pictures but didn't mention being pregnant makes me think she's just gotten pudgy.  Sad.

Chariots of Fire is supposed to be an awesome movie, but except for the classic slo-mo running score, I find it dreadfully dull.

I love the day before payday.  Our paychecks deposit on Thursday, but the bills are scheduled to be paid on Friday.  For a brief 24 hours, I get to feel like we have lots of money.

Speaking of money, I make $XX.942308 per hour.  Rounding it up to the nearest cent would have made it a nice $.95, and been the difference of sixteen bucks.  Those fractions of cents really bother me.

I've decided to use my down time at work to write my Great American Novel.  So far I have a few hundred words.  It's probably not very great.  Must figure out how to work in a werewolf.

Turkish Delight is the sort of thing that is much better in my imagination than in real life.  Although I think I may be imagining something more like baklava coated with powdered sugar.  Maybe I should do that and just call it Turkish Delight.  (Hey, the Greek Festival should be coming up in September.  Take my advice and eat before you go. The food is mostly so-so, but the pastries are amazing!)

There you have it.  Things I've been thinking about lately.  Right now I'm thinking about pizza.  The dough looked a bit dodgy last night (I may not be the most accurate flour measurer around) but I'm sure it will be good.  And even if it isn't, I'm sure my fabulous husband will eat it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I don't need to get rich quick. I just want to wear pants.

So I've been thinking about money making schemes lately.  Mostly because I want to work from home, dang it!  Like Jen of Cake Wrecks!  Or...the Pioneer Woman?  Or my friend's dad, who does reservations for Jet Blue from home.  I want to wear fleece pants, yoga pants, track pants.  Pants, mostly.  No nylons, at the very least.

I considered starting a blog that's sure to be a success.  Something like "Dumb things people say to me" or "Work sucks, I know."  People could submit their experiences and it would be awesome.

But y'know, I don't want to contribute to the cynicism of the internet.  I don't mind some good-hearted snarkiness (such as Cake Wrecks, or even Not Always Right) but I don't want to become FML, you know?  Do we really need another repository for depressing things?  Isn't that what MySpace is for?

Anyway, how many people actually make money off their blogs?  And I've said before that I don't actually want to be a professional blogger.  (Although the idea of a submission-driven site is great, because it's the users generating content.  Hello, Cheezburger network.)

So what feasible moneymaking schemes do I have?  I could actually tutor writing.  Sure, I'd never make much tutoring college students, as they are universally broke.  I guess I could try the rich parents of spoiled high schoolers, but I'd rather work with a slightly older crowd.

But how do I find these people?  Does anyone actually find a tutor of Craigslist?  Maybe I should have the hubs spread the word around his English 101 class.  I could put up fliers by the English classrooms or something.  Man, that's sounding like a lot of work for not a lot of money.

...Or would anyone perhaps be interested in buying some cinnamon rolls?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Old clothes

The skirt I'm wearing today is six years old.  I bought it when I went to London for the first time, in 2004.  It cost ten pounds at this random no-name clothing store we popped into randomly.  I believe we were on our way back to the hotel after our traditional carvery dinner.

I like to buy clothing as souvenirs.  Not touristy clothing.  Regular clothes you'd wear any day of the week.  It's great, because then every time you wear it, you can think about the trip.  I have the skirt from London '04, the red-with-black-polka-dots top from London '06, the floral print top from Newport Beach this spring.  The dress from New York City '09.  It's perfect--I increase my wardrobe and I get souvenirs without clogging up a shelf with shot glasses and snow globes.  Jewelry would work similarly.

But it also gets me thinking. This skirt is six years old!  Most of my button-up shirts are four or five years old.  The black dress that was my bridesmaid dress is six years old this winter.  Shoot, the shirts I paint and color my hair in are from junior high!  Nearly all my heels are four years or older.

People are always talking about how you need to pay for quality items, but do we really?  I mean, how long are we supposed to hang on to a pair of black pants?  Am I supposed to love them for 15 years because I spent a lot on them?  Does anyone even stay the same size for that long?  If I can buy clothes at Target, Old Navy, Ross, etc. and wear them for years, do I really need to pay more?

Now, I know that expensive clothes are supposedly designed better or fit better or whatever, but...I really wouldn't know.  I've never bought an $80 pair of yoga pants, so I can't really say that they superior to my $15 Old Navy yoga pants.  Because let's face it--I'd rather buy five pairs of cheap pants and do laundry less frequently.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dear So-and-so

Dear seal around my front load washing machine,

Thanks for popping in to see me!  But no thanks for popping OUT.  It definitely added some much unneeded excitement to my Friday night.

But hey, thanks for doing it when I was nearby.  In fact, I was in the spare room, looking up the terms of my extended warranty plan (three and a half years left, it turns out).  But fortunately, I am very awesome and perfectly capable of putting you in your place, without the assistance of an RC Willey-contracted serviceman.

I've got my eye on you.

--Cathie

Picky eater's lament

I'm a picky eater.  I'll admit it.  There are lots and lots of things I just can't stand.  It's mostly a texture issue.  I can't even have smoothies with strawberries in them, the seeds bother me so much.  I hate onions for many reasons, which eliminates many recipes, or demands modification.  I sometimes wish I could go to pastry school, but I don't like fruit, and I doubt they make all cream and chocolate desserts.

That's not entirely true.  I do like some fruit.  But there are far more that I don't like than those that I do.  Besides, I don't like cooked fruit at all.  I can choke down an apple crisp or a cherry pie, but given a choice, I would never pick them.

I wish I liked more fruits.  For that matter, I wish I liked more vegetables, too.  Again, I'll eat them, but I wouldn't choose them.  They don't mush up properly in your mouth (or in fancy words, they don't form a bolus) and I find most of them a tad bitter.

Sometimes, though, it makes me sad to see a recipe that looks so yummy, and know that I could never actually make it, because one bite of the berry topping would make me want to gag.  It makes me sad.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Next time: take better notes

Have you seen that episode of Seinfeld where Jerry is dozing on the couch watching a dumb movie, and he writes down a joke, but then in the morning he can't figure out what it says?

Well, the other night I had this vivid dream, that I woke up and thought, "That would make a good book."  (Really, I think it would make a better movie.)  I thought I had a notepad on my phone, but now that I think about it, I deleted that app.  Anyway, I brought up my email and typed it as a draft.  Of course, it was 4:45 in the morning and my phone is bright, so I was trying to keep it short and shield my phone so as not to disturb my fabulous husband.

So I pull up my email when fully awake, and what does it say? "Story of the bus crash. It was all a dream"

That's it.  Not even ending punctuation.  Apparently my great idea was to tell the story of the bus crash,  but it was actually all a dream.  Awesome.  Thanks for including detail, sleepy me.  Should the story cover who shot JR, too?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Kindle for Android

Do you have an Android phone?  Did you know that there is now a free Kindle app for Android phones?  (Apparently they also have one for iPhones? But Apple is...not my favorite company. Although I do really appreciate Steve Jobs' stance on his products being porn-free.)  But I digress.

Kindle on your phone is great! Cheapskate that I am, I downloaded several public domain books.  It's kind of weird to turn the page nonstop (and that being on page 1159 puts me only a quarter of the way through a book), but it's definitely handy to have a book with me wherever I go, no matter how small my purse is.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A tasty romance?

Here is the back of my Triscuit box:


Can someone please explain to me what reduced fat Triscuits have to do with romance?  Is a glass of wine really the right pairing for cheese and salsa on a cracker?  That seems more like a job for Diet Coke or something.  I mean, when I'm trying to set the mood, I don't generally reach for the cheese and crakers.

I'm tagging this one "funny."  But, as the Queen of Hearts said on the old live-action Alice and Wonderland TV show on Disney (wherein the White Rabbit wore roller blades...remember?), "Not funny-ha ha.  Funny as in strange, or different."  Very strange.