It's been about three months since my last update, so here's another one for posterity. Last month I paid off bill #4 which as you already know was the final step towards ending my relationship with a big bank. Bill #5 was supposed to be paid off in 4 months (including this one) but due to a few unexpected expenses and one miscalculation, it might have to be paid off a month later than planned. The unexpected stuff was beagle medical expenses and truck maintenance costs. The miscalculation is the cost of gas for my upcoming trip to California for next months wedding. WoO hOo!!!!
This is the second time in my life I've had this honor. I'm thrilled for my friend's and looking forward to the wedding. However I'm not so thrilled about the best man speech part. It's not a fear of speaking in public so much as I'm just not good at it. I've been doing a little research and hoping the online advice found will get me through this in one piece. The wedding is in two weeks so wish me luck!
This month marks the two year anniversary of the purchase of my travel trailer. I got it after only four months into my work contract. I wouldn't have had the down payment had it not been for my tax return and some money I managed to squirrel away from the new job. Mom put it over the top when she kicked in half of my down and made it possible for me to secure a low interest loan. And now it will be paid off in four months.
Recent conversations with friends have had me looking back and realizing how much has changed. When I bought it my frame of mind was not good at all and I was honestly expecting (anytime) to be out of a job again. Plan for the best and expect the worst they say. I was now planning for the worst after having had the best elude me for so long. That plan consisted of leaving immediately while abandoning my debt and saving every penny until the unemployment benefits ran out. I still owed on my truck at the time and eventually they would come looking to repossess it after missing enough payments. I took solace in knowing that the plan meant I'd be off grid and occasionally mobile. I had even planned for the possibility of my bank accounts being garnished. Here's where I really go down the rabbit hole, so please remember I had 4 really shitty years leading up to this. Basically someone I trust implicitly would receive a copy of my ATM card and withdraw all my funds for safe keeping. Those funds would reach me piecemeal via a rechargeable credit card when needed. I would barter my computer skills for cash or goods to stretch things out in between. There was a lot more planned but this is as far down the hole as I'm willing to take you. It more than illustrates how much things have changed for me over the last two plus years.
No more rabbit holes for me, and just rabbits for dinner instead. I can live with this arrangement and more importantly, live with myself.
Well that didn't take long at all. The little one made a speedy recovery and triumphant return to her gluttonous ways. An unintended but good side effect is that her lump seems to be shrinking since starting her on antibiotics, and we're only halfway through them. I'm hoping the thing will go away faster even after running out.
As of Wednesday 06/13/2012 I officially ended my relationship with a big bank I had belonged to for over 3 decades. Everything I have has been transferred over to NGFCU (Northrop Grumman Federal Credit Union) save a Visa card which I'm keeping for extreme emergencies only. Well, technically I'm using that and one other credit card that I have with another CU for things like gas and groceries, but they are both being paid back in full every month. It keeps them both in play and helps keep my credit rating up. All that matters is that I'm free now and not being nickle and dimed at every turn.
The beagle still insists on resting comfortably beside me, but is a little less emotional than yesterday. My plans for a nice drive out in the country were shot since she wasn't up for it. Instead we watched reruns of Enterprise on Netflix and stuffed ourselves. She with brown rice and shredded chicken and me with pizza and apple pie. A good day!
Bridgette got a long overdue teeth cleaning today. It's been a few years since her last one so I was glad to hear the vet say her teeth were in decent shape. Except for one, the left rear lower molar was loose and needed to come out. She also got a few boosters and tested negative for heart worms. I was set back $134 for the tooth extraction and everything else was covered by her insurance. I'm glad I got it because it would've costed me a total of $584 without the plan. So glad to dodge that bullet!
I've been anchored to the couch since we got home because I need her to rest and she won't leave my side for anything. She's laying against me as I type this and is suffering from one of the side effects of the anesthesia. The handout they gave me says it can last 12-24 hours. Luckily it's not any of the gross, messy, or smelly ones you have to clean up. The vet tech said she was a trooper up until the moment she saw me. My tough as a tank working dog jumped into my arms, began to cry, and held onto me like a baby. This scene played out for 5 minutes to a crowded waiting room before I was finally able to put her back down again. Whimpering was the other side effect, and today I learned that that translates as highly emotional.
I realized I never gave an account of what I owed at the beginning. In the interest of being thorough here's a quick recap of where I started from.
When I rejoined the ranks of the gainfully employed in March 2010 I was somewhere in the neighborhood of being 34k in debt. In July I added another 8k for the trailer, but paid my total down to around 32k by December 2010. In my January 2011 blog post I stated that I owed 28k, but after reviewing records I see that I was incorrect. I had forgotten to add in a 2k surprise bill from the IRS for back taxes owed, so it was actually 30k. These are my best fuzzy guesstimates for 2010 since I nuked the records.
January 2011 was the turning point. I secured a low interest loan to consolidate all my high or variable interest rate loans under 5k each. My new monthly payment was a quarter less than the total I was paying before, but I made the decision to keep paying the same amount. Doing so made it possible for me to pay off a 3 year loan at 10% interest in 11 months time. This last bit and everything that's taken place since is documented in the blog for anyone wondering how things have progressed.
I realize this looks like a good thing, and it is in way. This is also a bad thing. Had I been smarter about my money to begin with I don't think I would've squandered it like I had. All in all, man I've really come a long way!
The beagle is quietly snoring next to me while I catch up with all my online chores before bed. I know there'll be a time when she's no longer with me and I think it's the biggest crime in life that their time here is so short. I'm grateful to have learned to cherish these moments as they happen.
We had some rainfall here last week which probably meant more leaking in the trailer. I know I was supposed to patch it a few weekends ago, but I never got round to it. The denatured alcohol and tube of dicor are patiently waiting on the counter for me to use them still. Anyways, when I checked there was no water in the trailer. Bullet dodged, but I'm working on it next weekend for sure.
I had a minor epiphany today about my desktop pc. It's a powerhouse that does anything and everything I need it to. I realized that I'm no longer doing anything that requires that kind of power. My plan to buy an über gaming laptop to replace (for when I begin full timing) the pc is no longer necessary. I will be able to make due with something mid-line which will save me a fortune.
A few months back I mentioned that I was shopping for land. My experience with the land I purchased in CA was different since I grew up and knew the history of the area. It was easier and part of me thought it wouldn't be too different buying in another state. Wrong. I'm no where near finding what I want yet, but have learned a few things since. Mostly where and what not buy. Some of the deals I had found were anything but.
The beagle has scooted up to, and stretched out against me signalling that it's time for me to go to sleep. Far be it for me to oppose her wishes, so off to sleep I go. G'night!