$60,000 in Debt: Month 21

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Pretty much everything I'm making now is going straight towards my house fund.  We have a plan... still working on the exact details, but it will most likely require a good chunk of money up front so while I'd love to pay off a few loans, that's where my money is needed.  I also increased the amount I'm aiming for a bit.  I'm hoping that in the next couple of months I'll reach that so I don't have to dip into my emergency savings at all.

In other news I am loving my spreadsheet.  Still working out some kinks, but I already feel like it has had a huge impact on my spending habits and allowed me to put $1500 into my house savings without even feeling it.

Stop Time

Monday, February 8, 2016

Unless temperatures are below freezing my dog almost always wants to be outside.  We laugh at him because he lays at the top of our deck stairs like a sphinx and just stares out into the yard for hours on end.

This past week we had some amazingly warm weather (around 60 the first week of February!) and after my normal weekend morning rush of waking up, walking the dog, throwing in laundry, grocery shopping, etc. I looked outside to see Mac looking out over his kingdom.

I decided to join him for a minute.

I suddenly became completely overwhelmed at how much I've missed just stopping and taking a moment to look around me.  I feel like I am constantly, frantically going.  To and from work, the gym, chores, hobbies.  Even when I'm "doing nothing" I feel compelled to binge watch a show or get through whatever book I'm reading.  Whenever it's possible I'm multitasking.  Listening to audiobooks on my drives and on my walks.  Reading blogs on breaks from work.  Working on sewing projects as soon as I'm home for the night while simultaneously trying to catch up on tv shows. There is just constantly something going on.

I honestly can't remember the last time I just sat and appreciated the sun and the trees and the sounds of outside.  There is so much beauty out there, even in winter, that I used to appreciate on a daily basis, but I've somehow fallen out of touch with it.

It's all my own fault, of course.  I enjoy accomplishing things, creating things with my own hands, but I've somehow forgotten to appreciate not doing all of those things.

I need to start remembering to make time to sit outside with Mac.  I need to start walking in the woods again, and leave the damn audiobooks behind.  I may never stop with the constant go, go, going, but I need make a stronger effort to fit in the stop time as well.

Simplicity 1873

Friday, February 5, 2016

I enjoyed making my Halloween costume so much that I decided I was going to attempt to make something "real" this time.  Everything I have ever made was either a costume, blanket,  or decoration so it was never anything I might actually wear in the real world.

I figured with the holidays coming along I could make something that I'd actually have a deadline for. I chose Simplicity Cynthia Rowley 1873 for my pattern and I ended up doing two variations of it.

The first variation was my holiday outfit.  I used a champagne shantung satin material with a lace overlay ( I went off pattern to do the lace and had no clue what I was doing, but it wasn't bad at all.)  I also had my first experience with pleats.  I find that every line of a pattern is daunting and confusing until I figure it out and then I realize it's almost always pretty simple.  I found I kept having to remind myself to just take it all a step at a time.  I managed to finish it the night before my family Christmas party, and then I wore it again on New Year's Eve.
The second variation was a summer dress.  It took me a while to finish it because it's way too cold to wear anytime soon so I didn't have the same motivation.  I can't remember now what material it was that I bought, but it's something close to a jersey cotton.  In some ways this dress was easier because I had already done the pattern once before, but this material was more difficult to sew because it wasn't as stiff as the shantung.  I also found once I was done that it didn't fit me correctly at all.  I had about 5 inches of extra material in the back.  I'm sure I had the same problem with the first dress, but the material held itself in place while this dress just flopped and sagged.  I ended up having to take the whole back apart and trim and redo it.  It was not fun, but it was a good learning experience.
I haven't decided what I'll do next, but this is definitely a hobby that I think will be sticking with me for a while.

Busy Week Continued

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Hot on the heels of my busy annual sales meeting, I had a busy weekend to follow.  On Friday night we were celebrating one friend's birthday while also saying goodbye to a couple friends who are leaving the country for a while.

We went to Escape the Room in Boston.  I wasn't truly sure what to expect but I had read some great reviews online.  I won't give away any clues, but essentially a group of people are locked in a room, and you have to work together on a series of clues and puzzles that eventually lead to the escape key. I'd like to think we were a relatively smart group of people but we could not escape the room! They said only a very small percentage actually escape, but I like to think that we came really close.  We had debated going in if one hour of entertainment was worth the $30 ticket, but I don't think anyone would argue that after we finished.  I'm already looking forward to going back and doing the other room they have.

Conveniently, Escape the Room was located right next to Fajitas & 'Ritas so we went there afterwards for dinner and drinks.

I didn't sleep very well that night so while Josh and I had plans to go to the movies on Sunday, we decided our time was much better spent napping.  After a great nap we headed down to King's in Burlington for a friend's birthday.  We didn't make a reservation so even though we showed up at 7, we didn't get to bowl until close to 11.

I know weeks and weekends like this are normal for many people, but I'm genuinely shocked with all the "stuff" I did.  I didn't even realize how much I did until I sat down to write it all.  I have to say, I'm pretty proud of myself!

Annual Sales Meeting

Monday, February 1, 2016

This week was our annual sales meeting with work.  All of our staff from around the country come to the area and it's three days of meeting and activities.

This involved a day long meeting on Tuesday (which I kept getting pulled out of since I work in two different departments) and then a dinner that night.  We went to Temazcal Tequila Cantina were I had the best sangria I have ever had.  Seriously.  I texted people about it.

In the past it was only the outside staff who went to this dinner but since the structure of the company changed a bit this past year some of the inside staff was invited as well.  We weren't, however, invited to stay at the hotel that night (we could Wednesday night) which meant I had to drive people back and forth and then do the 40 minute drive home.

Our meeting Wednesday was with the entire US staff (a whopping 34 of us) at the hotel.  Around 2pm our meeting ended and we headed into Boston for our team building activity.  We only find out what we are doing once we get to the activity.  Last year it was a scavenger hunt at the Museum of Science. This year it was a food challenge / cooking class at a restaurant in the North End called Taranta.  We split into four groups, each group in charge of one part of our meal. We got a list of clues that led us around the North End to find the ingredients we needed.  After gathering everything we headed back the the restaurant where our guest chef taught my group how to make tortoloni and gnocchi.  Wine was flowing and we were able to get very hands on with our pasta. I don't cook often but this kind of motivated me to do it more frequently.
We had caprese salad, our pasta, a chicken and pork dish, and then tiramisu for dessert.  All made by us!

We had some time to kill before our next activity so a few people went down to Mike's Pastry while the rest of us headed to a bar for a few drinks (one of the main themes of the annual sales meeting is alcohol).

From there we went to Improv Asylum.  I had been once in college, but I had a lot of fun being with such a big group. I'm sure we were annoying to the smaller groups that were there, but we all definitely enjoyed ourselves.

A group went out to another bar and karaoke after the show but many of us headed back to the hotel.  I was ready for bed, but I was guilt tripped into at least staying up in the hotel bar for a while.  When I finally escaped around midnight I ended up going back to my room and working for a little while before passing out.

The third and final day started around 8am and was another several hours of hotel conference room meetings.   The annual sales meeting week is always a lot of fun but it is so exhausting.  Even more so because you can't work for three days but still have your regular workflow coming in.  I spent all of the next day and a half just trying to sort through my inbox before I could even start getting anything done.