31 May 2014

Nearing a Major Milestone

        As the month of May comes to a close, I am finally able to see the end of a very long and difficultl road. Next week I will make the final payment to wipe out a bill that I have been paying off for more than 5 years! It has not been easy, and at times I never thought I would reach this point, but now I realize that I have finally done this!
        There is no one to blame but myself for being in this situation. I made some bad decisions and trusted the wrong people along the way. Finally, I have made it through the tough times and I wish that I could accuarately describe what I am feeling, Actually, there is a sense of dread at the prospect of no longer having to pay this bill every month. I think that I worry about the idea that somehow there will be somr last-minute complication that will derail my achievement. I think that the hardest aspect of this time is overcoming that fear. I have kept meticulous records and am ready to challenge these people if they try something. I suppose it is the fargile nature of things that make me so wary.
        I am not going to fall into this trap ever again. I will eat air before I allow myself to fall into debt again! This is the hard lesson that I have learned from this experience. I think that too often we are willing to look for other things and people to blame our problems on, but the choice always begins with us. Whether it is trusting the wrong people, or thinking that another purchase on a high-limit card won't really hurt anything, the choice was mine.
    The money that currently goes to these payments will go into my Savings account from now on. I have learned to live within a certain level of my own income, and once the payments are gone, I want to continue to live within those boundaries, although there will soon be more reserves in case I truly need them. This experience has taught me about the real difference between a WANT and a NEED. I always go through a range of options before I ever decide to buy anything these days, because in the past, I never worried about it. Now I know better.

30 May 2014

7 weeks

        Today marks 7 weeks until Hal and I move to the new apartment. This has been something that we have been planning for for well over a year. In 2012, we moved to our current apartment in order to save some money. The apartment is rather inexpensive, and of course, that means that there were issues to be expected. The most annoying issue where we live now is the ventilation system in the building. It is an older building that incorporates centrally-controlled climate system. The A/C is either on or off depending on what time of the year it is. Due to the laws here, the building must provide approximately 6 months of heat and 6 months of A/C. Sadly, this formula never works out well since we live on the 17th floor. We have a difficult time maintaining a comfortable temperature in the apartment since heat rises through the building and in our apartment it is rather difficult to get the temperature below 80 degrees at night.
        We will be moving to a building where this will no longer be an issue. We will be able to control the thermostat in our apartment and set the temperature that we want, currently there is no such ability. It is simply time to move on and live in an environment that will be more comfortable for both of us. I just wish that the 7 weeks were over with and we could actually make the move right now!

23 May 2014

Should have refused meeting invite

 Today I had a change to my normal routine. Instead of going to work a few hours today at the client's location, I was able to stay at the office. This resulted in the very poor decision that I made to attend a weekly meeting that I am normally not available for. This ranks as the worst decision I have made today.
    I am alleged to be a Subject Matter Expert. That allegedly means that my inputs about the data contained in our system should carry some serious weight. Obviously, that is not the case at all. The conference call that I agreed to participate in reveals that the developers exist in their own Ivory Towers and cannot be bothered with any real-world facts are concerned. The temptation to just open up on these people over the phone was nearly to much to bear, but I refrained from saying anything after my first several attempts to be heard were not just rejected, but ridiculed by people who have nearly ZERO understanding of the client and the actual information that we are supposedly managing.
    At any rate, there are less than 3 hours until my 4-day weekend starts!

21 May 2014

Waiting for Happy Hour

        This day has been rather busy at the office. Way too many meetings and tasks that appear from nowhere have made this a rather adventurous time. Today is also the day that our team has selected to use for a celebration of accomplishments as directed by the company. We will be leaving the office around 1400 to start our celebration, and we aren't coming back today!
        Normally, I rather dislike socializing with coworkers because there is always way too much drama that spills over from work. Since the company is fronting part of the bill for this event however, I feel that it is my duty to go and have a few drinks and a snack.

18 May 2014

Dinner nearly ruined by Technology

        Hal and I had a wonderful Saturday afternoon and evening together. We went shopping, or rather the plan was for me to accompany Hal as he shopped. Sadly, the first stop we made was at Stein Mart in Chantilly. Stein Mart is a step below Kohl's on the discount department store level, but they do have great merchandise and some awesome deals.
        I walked into Stein Mart and announced that I was off to look at the Menswear section while Hal browsed through everything else. I am always on the prowl for some new shirts to pair up with my suits and jackets in an effort to look fresh each wee when I meet with the clients at work. I made my way to the men's section and almost immediately wished that I hadn't! I saw so many shirts that I wanted to get that would go well with my suits, yet they would be different from what everyone wears and I wanted to purchase several of them. However, with the move coming up in July, I decided against making the purchases. I will be going back to Stein Mart in the future after the move!
    After the trip to Stein Mart, we went on to Fair Oaks Mall. I managed to get away from there spending less than $20, but the evening with Hal was nearly ruined when we went to dinner at Popeye's. We seldom do the expensive dinners, so fast food was enough for us. The Popeye's has it's own seating area so we were not in the vast food court zoo. We had settled down and begun to enjoy our dinners when 2 attractive women walked in and took one of the tables near us.
    While one of the women went to place their order, the other remained at the table and pulled out her iPhone. She called someone and then the drama started. What began as a normal conversation soon turned into a shouting match. Keep in mind that Hal and I can only hear 1 side to this conversation. The trouble was that everyone in the restaurant could also hear this conversation! Within 2 minutes, this grown woman is crying hysterically into her iPhone at full volume and spilling her pointless secrets to everyone within 50 feet! Needless to say, this was NOT the ideal environment for Hal and I to enjoy our dinner.
    Finally, the woman ran out of Popeye's still clutching her phone and crying. Her friend was left at the counter waiting on the order. Hopefully, the woman went to the nearest exit from the mall and continued her hysterics in the parking lot. Her friend looked totally embarrassed as she waited to get their orders (now to go obviously) and left quietly.
    While there are times that technology is a great thing, it does not mean that wrapping oneself into our own little bubble absolves us from the responsibility of acting like an adult around others. Whatever trouble this woman was going through ( and obviously it involved a man) should NEVER have been broadcast at FULL VOLUME to people around her.
    Hal and I finished our dinner, along with the others who were there. A sense of relief and disgust soon evaporated after the woman had left. Sadly, her stupidity nearly ruined a great time for us and everyone else in the restaurant. People should be a bit more considerate when using their technology in a public place.

12 May 2014

Just another day

     As I start another week at the office, I am glad that the weather has warmed up. I am also glad that the apartment search has been completed so we can look forward to living in a much nicer place by late July. 
     I have really felt the pressure of the last month or so. I am feeling run-down and need some time off from the daily grind. I am hoping to hold out until Memorial Day Weekend and then take the following Tuesday off.  I really need some down time.  

04 May 2014

Finally!

     After several months of completely unbearable sleeping in the apartment, the community has FINALLY turned the AC ON! Last night was the most complete night of rest I have had in several months and I feel terrific this morning. This will be the last time that we have to go through this nonsense, because we are moving in July to another apartment community that allows individual control over heat and AC. This is a common occurrence in the DC area with so many older buildings. We have been here for 2 years and it is time to move on to the new place at last.