Thursday, September 30, 2010

This smile cost me $1500

Bean and I returned the borrowed Honda and got back on the public bus for the month of September. We made the most of it, but twice a day I dreaded bumping into the smiling driver who made me pay for the boy's fare as well as mine. Each day I carried $7 to $9 in change with me so I could pay for us both. I was getting tired, and equally tired of relying on my sweetheart to drive me around for errands each weekend.

So I got the Ford fixed, and it cost me $1500. In the three days since I got the car back, I've had a serious smile on my face :) Does it ever feel good to be able to do things again.

For example, Bean was up half the night with an earache. I got through to a doctor's office that is part of our Family Health Team, and they said they had an appointment available in forty-five minutes. There was no way we could get to the south end of town on the bus, but since we have the car back I was able to accept the appointment and get there just in time. If we didn't have the car, getting to an appointment would have been a whole-day affair.

Last night I was able to drive myself to a union meeting, where 54% voted to ratify the agreement on the table. So the smile stays because now I won't have to go on strike. Aside from Bean getting sick, this has been a pretty good week.

Seriously, Karissa

Friday, September 24, 2010

Swearing at Strangers

Twice, in the past three days, I have wanted to swear at strangers.

The first time was at the folks who run the swimming lessons registration at the school gym. I was told that registration would start on Wednesday, and when I hurried over there at lunch time I was told that I would have to come back between 5 and 7 pm. When I told them I wouldn't be able to because I planned to pick up my son from kindergarten at five and we would have to take the bus back UP to campus, the woman just shrugged and said they "had to keep it fair for everyone." FAIR!! How is that fair for us single, car-less moms?! Or are we just nobodies?!

The second time, yesterday morning, was at the city bus driver. Now, I have been threatened numerous times over the past few months that ALL passengers pay $2.25 for their ride, unless they are under two or over sixty-five. Each time I get on the bus with my son, he goes running to the back seat while I pay. Some drivers threaten to make me pay for him, others do not. None have actually made me pay. Until yesterday. The worst part was that this particular driver did it with a smile. She was just so darned pleasant about it, while I told her, in disbelief, "thanks for nothing." I know she was just doing her job, but still. Why doesn't she charge an extra fare to the many many students who take up two seats with their backpacks? I wanted to tell her that just because she has a ____ doesn't mean she has to be one.

The third time I almost swore at someone was this morning. I went back to the gym to see if there was a spot left for Bean's swimming lessons and of course there was not. There wasn't an aquatics supervisor around, but I was told that one would call me later. Shortly after I got into my office I got the call. I explained to her my frustration about the discriminatory 5 to 7 pm window for registration and she said I would have to try again after xmas. I asked her if they would again only offer registration during that stupid little time-frame (I didn't actually use the word "stupid") and she said probably, yes. I was so frustrated that I told her I had to get off the phone. I was afraid I was going to yell "bullshit!" at her. I'm glad I didn't but it would have felt good at the time.

Seriously, Karissa

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

So far, kindergarten sucks

For me anyways. Bean seems to really enjoy it so I guess they're doing something right.

We had a communication breakdown on the second day that wronged me and alienated me from both the JK teacher and the principal. I thought about boycotting the Welcome Back BBQ scheduled for this evening, but decided to go anyways, have a hot dog, and see if the teacher or principal would approach me.

The invitation to the BBQ didn't mention anything about paying for the hot dog. I knew there were raffle tickets, since I was asked to donate candy for a prize basket (which I did, so much for my boycott), so I knew I would have to spend some money there. In the end I bought only one ticket, because a hot dog for me and Bean each, plus a drink cost me $4.50. If the food had been free, like I thought it was supposed to be, I would have spent $6 on raffle tickets instead of only $1.

Then I had the pleasure of dragging Bean out of there, who insisted on staying until they drew his name for the toy basket. At least three times I had to explain to him the concept of the raffle. Well, he's only four.

But seriously, don't you think the school should have advertised the food prices in the BBQ invite? That would have given me a chance to scrounge up some additional change for the endeavor, or go ahead and boycott the event due to poverty and disinterest.

I seriously dislike Bean's new school. I think their communications suck. They had a cop there running police checks for $6 + change but I decided not to bother because I want as little to do as possible with the dump until I can get him into a different school. Maybe after Xmas, but definately by next September.

Oh yes, and neither the teacher nor the principal talked to me. They still suck.

Seriously, Karissa

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

More savings

Well I finally opened an ING savings account, and it took me a few months, but I finally remembered to send a cheque in to get things rolling. The good part is that I got a $25 referral bonus (and I can't remember whose Orange Key I used to get it) and the bad part is that the account is still not linked to my other online bank account. I guess I have to send them another cheque, marked VOID. What a pain. I'll get around to it eventually.

So now I have two Savings progress bars, one for my old account, and one for my new.

ING just started offering a chequing account so I opened one today. I am going have my government incentive cheques (GST, HST, PST) deposited there so that I won't be tempted to spend them. I am also going to send VOID cheques to the companies I use for RESP savings and life insurance to have both withdrawn from the ING account.

The focus of this shift to ING is Bean, and keeping "his" finances separate from the others (rent, food, household, etc.).

If you were thinking of opening an ING account for yourself and would like to take advantage of the $25 bonus incentive, feel free to grab my Orange Key code on the right. We'll both get the $25 bonus, and we'll have the warm fuzzies together :)

Seriously, Karissa

Thursday, September 09, 2010

A new expense

Bean starts Junior Kindergarten tomorrow, bringing a new responsibility for me that will also require a change in the budget: the school lunch. For the past three+ years we have been fortunate to have the daycare provide a hot lunch every day, and I knew it was a matter of time before this luxury came to an end.

Not a complete end, as for the next two years Bean will attend JK every other day, alternating with daycare days. So I will have to be hyper-vigilant about remembering what day it is. If it's a "school day" we will have to pack a lunch and take a walk up the hill to the public school. If it's daycare day then we can leave empty-handed for the bus - or the car if it gets fixed next week like it's supposed to.

Now to go make some jam&banana sandwiches, peel some carrots, and pack some crackers.

Seriously, Karissa

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Progress bars update

Anyone following my progress bars might notice that for this month so far my debt has stayed at $6700 while my savings has increased to $500. Normally I would put most of the savings towards the debt but for the next few weeks I just can't.

Now I know I'm supposed to have at least $1000 saved for emergencies but for a while I was doing it my way and throwing almost every cent on the debt. I'm just that desperate to get it paid off. However this month I'm halfway to a proper EF because the threat of a strike is looming at work and I don't want to rely entirely on my Line of Credit.

If the strike is averted I will probably use the money saved to fix up my Ford, which is still sitting at the shop waiting for a quote. I've asked the mechanic to keep it under $1000 but he thinks it might be more like $1200 - $1500. Hope to find out within a couple of days since I have to return the Honda to its owners tomorrow (with thanks, and hope that they don't mind I didn't tell them about the repairs I had to put on it this summer - I just didn't think it was worth it to bother them while they were overseas).

Seriously, Karissa