My Twentysomething Life

I Do, Make, Read, Watch, Eat…

we could be stranded

hitchhikingYesterday I took the car to a wonderful mechanic–Ponder’s Auto in Johnson City.  If you ever need your car looked at or work done on it, I highly recommend them.  They are very nice, kind, professional, and the tell you the truth, even if it is hard to hear, like it was for me yesterday.

We had a turn signal out and our back windows would not stay up, so our backseat kept getting rained on.  So I took the car in and asked them to fix those two things but to also look over the car and see if there are any safety concerns or things I needed to be aware of.  Our car is pretty old and we knew it was probably running out of steam.  It is a 2000 Buick Regal with over 230,000 miles on it.  We knew it could start getting bad, but we were not ready for the bad news.

We have a radiator leak, which means the radiator needs to be replaced and the thermostat.  Our power steering needs to be replaced, and we have a bad oxygen sensor that needs to be replaced.  All of those repairs are about $1000.  And we also need 4 new tires, which is another 4-500 dollars.  The blue book value of our car is $1500.  So if we made all those necessary changes we would be paying the value of the car.  So we knew then that we would probably have to look at selling it.

When I picked up the car I asked the question I really didn’t want the answer to.  How important/necessary are these changes, and in what timeframe.  Basically, if we are going to keep this car for even 3 months the radiator needs to be replaced.  And when I asked about driving it for Christmas traveling they told me that it wouldn’t be safe to even drive it to Kentucky.

Now, we are in a hard place.  We need to sell our car and buy something new.  We have not been bad with money but we haven’t been able to put aside very much for a car.  So needless to say, after that news, my evening was full of stress.  I was thinking of everything I could possibly sell, and every scenario I could think of.  So please pray for us as we try to sell this car and figure out what to do.  It is a stressful time, but I am trying to remind myself every minute that God will take care of us and he will provide.  So keep me in mind if you know of someone selling a good car, relatively cheap, because we could sure use it.

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Learning About Financial Aid

Yesterday and today I spent the full day learning about Financial Aid.  Tomorrow will be more of the same.  We have been learning about how to deal with distressed students, Federal and State programs, and so much more!

Do you know what I am learning?

Learning about Financial Aid depresses me.  It makes me think that aid will be very different and complicated when my children are in college.  And college is probably going to be crazy expensive by then.

I think Adam and I will probably have to start saving now to put our children through school.  Phew.  I’m overwhelmed just thinking about all the money we’ll have to save.

I hope financial aid gets better instead of worse, but I’m not sure how.  We shall see.

 

On the plus side, we got to do some shopping tonight, and I got to go to my favorite store: Kirklands. Yay!

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Thursday-Morning Tell-About

My Movie Queue:Around the World in 80 Days, Cold Mountain, There will be blood, Melinda and Melinda
Pages left to read in my current book:   I just started Les Mis and I am going to find a couple more things to read
I have made: a scarf
I have worked on: cleaning the house, balancing the checkbook, organizing paperwork, basically getting caught up on life
Food made: nothing exciting.
Goals checked off: finished Anna Karenina
Games played: Carccassonne and X Wing miniature game
Favorite Pinterest pin:
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Total Blog views since last Thursday:  135
Number of snow days: 0
Movies Watched: 7: Argo, Pitch Perfect, The Paperboy, The Lion King, Remember the Titans, Bridge over the River Kwai, Top Gun
Books read: I’m More than a Pastor’s Wife, Anna Karenina
This week I love: The Voice!
This week I hate: snow that doesn’t result in a delay or a snow day

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February–a month of ups and downs

If you asked me how my February was I would tell you “Fantastic!”  But then, if I sat down and thought about it, I might have to change my answer.  There were definitely great parts of February, but there were also the bad parts of February.

Bad
Our microwave is dying
I found out I have a torn tendon in my shoulder–read about it here
Sleeping on the couch for most of the month
I only read three books
Stress with money
Got strep
Adam was gone studying a lot
Failed at doilies

Good
My birthday!!
I watched almost a movie a day
I read three really great books
I found out I got a scholarship to attend the Religious Communicators Convention in February
Predicted 21 of the 24 ocscar winners
Valentines day with my hubby
Made some really good recipes (yum)
Was a published guest blogger
Watched 6 best picture movies
Got the most “yes”es at the Emmanuel phoneathon
Crocheted a bearded hat
Finally watched Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
Discovered goodreads.com
And finally, I have all you wonderful people reading my blog!

Well, the good did outweigh the bad, so I think we can still call it a Fabulous February.  Here’s to a Marvelous March!

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Weekend–highs and lows

This weekend was a mix of high and low points.  Even though it wasn’t the most awesome weekend ever, I still could have used some more of it.

highs

Watching Pitch Perfect, Catch Me If You Can, Patton, and The Brave One

Crocheting:  I did a lot of crocheting this weekend because it is one of the only things that doesn’t make my shoulder worse (post to come soon)

Games:  Adam and I played a lot of games together this weekend and we got to hang out with some good friends, Jacob and Lauren to play games also

Pan Pizza from Dominos with a gift card

lows

Shoulder pain all the time

Not being able to sleep for most of the weekend

money stress

movies that weren’t as good as I was expecting

Having a wonderful blog post written about preparing myself for church and having it deleted and the draft not even saved

Never winning a pioneer woman contest

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A Wrench in my Plans

As I write this I am plucking around on my keyboard with one hand.  My right arm is currently in a sling to prevent me from moving my shoulder.  Let me back up and start from the beginning.

In April of last year I was playing basketball with Adam and a bunch of our friends.  At one point during the game I went up for the rebound and the person behind me also jumped and tried to take the ball.  While doing this, my head was pushed forward and my arm was pulled backward.  I heard a pop in my shoulder and was immediately in a lot of pain.  The next day I was still in a lot of pain.  My whole arm was numb and I could not move it, so I went to see a doctor.

The doctor diagnosed me with brachial plexus.  From Mayo Clinic:  “A brachial plexus injury is an injury to the brachial plexus — the network of nerves that sends signals from your spine to your shoulder, arm and hand. A brachial plexus injury occurs when these nerves are stretched or, in the most serious cases, torn. This happens as result of your shoulder being pressed down forcefully while your head is pushed up and away from that shoulder.”

At the time the doctor said I had two options:  1) have an MRI done 2) sling my shoulder for two weeks and then do physical therapy.  Well physical therapy seemed to be the cheapest route so that’s what we decided to do.  I did about four weeks of physical therapy, and while I was never back to normal, I could at least do some of my regular activities.

For the last year I have been able to do what I wanted with only pain doing certain things, but even then t would never last.  Then a month or two ago my shoulder started to hurt again.  It was noticeable, but with ice it would fade enough for me to forget about it.  Then this week I have been in really bad pain.  The pain has woken me from a dead sleep.  It has been miserable.  I have been losing feeling like I had when it first happened.

So on Wednesday I went back to the doctor.  He said that I still had the same two options, but last time after three weeks of physical therapy I should have been back to normal, so he said I needed to get an MRI because I could have torn something in my shoulder.  When they told me that I would have to pay $300 up front for the MRI and then I would be billed for the additional amount after, I knew we didn’t have the money for the MRI.  So the new plan is to rest my shoulder in a sling for 2-3 weeks, do some physical therapy, save some money, and then do the MRI.

So that means I won’t be able to meet my exercise goal because I can’t exercise.  And for the next 3 weeks it will be hard to clean the house.  So there goes two of my daily goals.  Hopefully I won’t lose any more.

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Money, Money, Money

I mentioned before that Adam and I are taking a Financial Peace University Class.  We are starting Week 4 tomorrow.  The homework for this week was to create a zero-based budget.  This is when you figure what your take home pay and then you give each dollar a name so that after subtracting all your expenses you are left with $0.  Dave Ramsey says that if you don’t give every dollar a job it will find a way of wandering away.  And I speak from experience, watching our money wander away, that it will happen.  Doing this budget has helped me look at our expenses and see where we are spending too much.

Here is an example.  When Adam and I first got married, we made a budget and in it we allocated $100 a week for groceries.  We went on this way for the entire school year.  In May when I got a job, we realized that we probably were not going to be able to maintain this while I was working and Adam was in school, so we adjusted it down to $70 a week.  When we made that adjustment and realized that we still had plenty of food to eat we wondered what we had been spending the other $30 on every week.  And I am still not sure.

Now that we are looking at our budget again, and looking at Dave’s suggested percentages, we realized that we are still spending too much on food.  So we adjusted it down to $50 a week.  This week was a trial run, and I was very surprised that I still got lots of food and snacks and spent $50!  I mean, look at all this food I got!

IMG_1496The menu for the week:
Spaghetti, zucchini, and garlic bread
Mini chicken pot pies
Hot Dogs and French Fries

Consider me amazed.

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Almost in Handcuffs

Today I will tell you about the scariest experience of my life.

It was my sophomore year of high school.  Over Christmas break, the marching band went down to Florida to go to Disney.  We marched and played in the New Year’s parade and did all kinds of fun things.  The trip had been awesome.

After we performed in the parade we got to spend the rest of the day at Disney.  After the first fireworks of the new year, we all piled onto our buses and started the long trip back to Illinois.  After the full week we had, we were exhausted.  We woke up when the bus stopped somewhere in Georgia for us to get some breakfast.

We piled out of the buses and formed a very long line inside a McDonalds.  We were all tired and hungry, me especially because I don’t sleep very well in a car.  I got up to the register and ordered a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit meal.  The employee told me the price, and I handed her a $10 bill that I had gotten as change in the park.  She took it, looked at it, looked at me, and then walked to the back.  When she came back she told me that the $10 bill was counterfeit.  I said okay.  She said she would have to keep it and give it to the police.  Again, I said okay.  So then I paid again and stood to the side waiting for my food.

The employee kept staring at me as 20 students ordered and got their food, and I was still waiting.  I was wondering why I hadn’t gotten my food.  And the employee just kept staring at me.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I see two policeman enter into the McDonalds.  One was short and round the other super tall and huge, very intimidating.  They walked up to the counter, and the next thing I knew, the employee was pointing at me and saying, “She’s the counterfeiter!  She admitted it!”

What?!!

“No I didn’t.”

“Yes she did.  I told her it was counterfeit and she said okay!”

“What was I supposed to say?”

At this point the policeman came over to me and said, “Can you come over here, we need to ask you some questions.”  Well I couldn’t really say no…

So they pulled me off to the side and my band director and a few concerned band parents came along with me.  So we were talking, and I was answering their questions, and my band director and I tried to explain to them that we had been at Disney and that’s where I had gotten that change from and I didn’t know it was counterfeit.  At one point a very rambunctious band dad said to the policeman, “You can’t do anything to this girl, she didn’t do anything wrong.”  And then the policeman said, “Sir, we can do whatever we want.  I can talk this girl to jail if I thought it was necessary.”

WHAT?!!!  Hold up band dad—stop talking!  Jail?!  Woah-woah-woah.

Soon we had the whole problem worked out and the police decided that I wasn’t a criminal.  As soon as the police left I broke down and cried.  I had been so scared.  I don’t know how I had held it together for that long.  One very nice band mom asked if I had ever gotten my food and I said no, and that I had even paid for it twice.  She went up to the counter and demanded to know why no one had given me my food and they said because they were afraid that once I got my food I would get away.  So I finally had some food, but I was not very hungry at this point.  It took me a while to calm down, but I was finally able to.

I was afraid to use the money in my wallet for the rest of the trip home.

And that, is the most traumatic moment in my life.

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