Monthly Archives: March 2010

It hasn’t been ten years already…has it?

So I recently received a message via facebook (of course) regarding plans for my 10 year high school reunion.

Yes, I am completely befuddled as well, Panda.

Seriously, I am so not ready for this. Okay, so actually, I’ve got quite a bit of time. My reunion is two years away, but my over-zealous classmates sort of gave me a small panic attack. I am so not ready to relive the glory days of high school!

Why is that exactly? Well, I feel like I haven’t accomplished enough. I’m not where I want to be and I don’t want my classmates to know it. I mean, really, isn’t the whole purpose of a class reunion to brag about how awesome you are and remind everyone who is clearly less awesome of your superiority? I don’t feel awesome. And I certainly don’t want to fall into the less awesome category.

And what if I was cooler/more accomplished in high school than I am now? Trust me, it’s possible. I was SUPER into high school, like to the point of being ridiculous — into high school as in class president, cheerleading captain, national honor society executive, etc. I realize those things didn’t actually make me cool, but hey, I had my shit together and it was obvious. Oh how the mighty have fallen. I don’t want to go to my reunion and be that person that people are like, man, what happened to Quarterlife? And don’t even get me started on how I look…10 year reunion was added to my giant list of reasons to workout/eat right/lose weight. (It even landed a pretty coveted spot on the list in the top 3 reasons.)

So what can I do about it?

1) Well, first of all, I should probably stop acting like it is a huge deal, because in the big scheme of things, it just isn’t.

2) Remind myself that while I may not be as personally successful as I would like to be, I have been academically successful and somewhat professionally successful so all those married people with kids who immediately lost all their baby weight can suck it. Okay, that wasn’t nice, but you know what I mean.

3) Do some things in the next couple of years that make me feel good so that when reunion time actually rolls around I will be excited to see some old faces and I will feel proud of myself and the things that have happened in my life since I left the hallowed halls of Dear Booker T. Washington High School, the pride of the great southwest… Sorry, got wrapped up in the school song.

Okay, now I have a game plan. I feel much better. Oh, and just so you know, I am so totally on the reunion committee. That’s right, still tryin’ to live the dream. And for your viewing pleasure, a few random high school pics that really embody my complete hondo-ness….

I thought I was hott stuff in my teeny tiny cheer skirt.

Hanging out at Volleyball Camp. Yes, there are ribbons on my flip-flops.

This is what the school looked like when I was there. Now it's all fancy shmancy.

Do you have class reunion anxiety too? Or am I being completely ridiculous (as usual)? What would you look forward to about your high school reunion?

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There’s gold in the air of summer.

Sunrise over Yost Lake, Oklahoma

Memorial Day weekend is a mere 66 days away (yes, I have a countdown) and needless to say, I cannot wait. I initially thought that upon graduation and entrance into the so-called working world, summer would lose its meaning. Much to my own surprise, last year I discovered that somehow, for me anyway, summer is even better now that I am a gainfully employed contributing member of society. (You can break down whether or not you think that’s an accurate description of me at your leisure.)

I think as child and then later, as a perpetual student, summer is something I completely took for granted. It came and went every year as expected. I was entitled to it. Don’t get me wrong, I did not spend my summers living the life of luxury — I worked and had sports practices at crazy hours in all kinds of heat and went to church camp and on family trips that involved riding your bike 400+ miles in a week. (What up Freewheel!) But somehow it was okay because it didn’t really matter if you stayed up too late and there was no homework to forget about or tests to prepare for or crucial winter formal outfits to buy.

Now summer is completely different, but it still has that magical glow of youth about it. And those few precious summer holidays – Memorial, Independence, & Labor Days – are worth so much more to me. What is it about summer, the season, that makes everything seem so much more magical than the rest of the year? Maybe it’s just me, but seriously, everything is more fun in the summer. Work is less stressful (hello, everyone is on vacay!) and somehow my friends seem funnier and my parents are more laid-back. For some reason I have always felt like summer held all the possibilities that were stifled but the drone of the rest of the year.

Now, summer doesn’t necessarily eliminate the hubbub of my day-to-day life, but it just seems to lighten everything. It’s full of laughter and sunshine and sweat and cicadas and that perfectly eerie golden glow of evening. God, I would love to bottle that and have it year round.

Yes, I love summer (clearly) and yes, I am counting down the days until the best season of the year begins. And just for fun, here are some things I love about summer: the smell of sunscreen/tanning oil; gin and tonics; sundresses; big hats; cold beer; games – tennis, kickball, gin, jump or dive, etc. ; over-sized sunglasses; koozies; homemade ice cream; bikes; the lake; guacamole; hot dogs; baseball games (live, not on TV); the smell of charcoal grills and new inflatable rafts; beach reads; natural highlights; and feeling exquisitely sunbaked all the time.

What are your favorite things about summer? Do you love it as much as I do? Or is my golden summer obsession totally weird?

PS – I sort of borrowed this title from a song I adore, Gold in The Air of Summer by Kings of Convenience. Check it out here!

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It’s always something…

…which means I seem to accumulate nothing. So as previously posted here and here, I am trying to clean up my finances this year. One of my major goals is to accumulate some savings! Unfortunately, it seems like there’s always something that I have to save for and then I pay for it and my savings are back at nil, or close to it.

Things that have come up in the last few months: Dental visit ($125); Corneal Ulcer = 5 co-pays plus 3 prescriptions ($155); and Bridesmaid dress alterations ($120). Individually, none of those things is that big of a deal, but they all chip away at the extra $$$ I could be putting into my savings account each month. Plus, there are other expenses that are not part of my monthly budget that I’ve paid lately — Kickball registration ($63), Lake Membership Dues ($589), and OKC Half-Marathon Registration ($70) — but aren’t really necessities. Oh, and I probably need new tires soon ($400 – $500) and prescription sunglasses due to the corneal ulcer ($150).

I know what you’re thinking — um, hello! Re-prioritize! Well, in some ways, I have. I decided to forgo season football tickets this year even though I REALLY want them, my Netflix membership goes buh-bye on Sunday, and I stopped going out to lunch for Lent. Last year, I did all of those things PLUS paid the other unbudgeted items listed above. So see, I’ve made some progress, right?

But last year my lovely madre still paid for all of my teeth cleanings (Yahtzee!), I thankfully had no persistent health problems, and my tax return was far more amazing. It just seems like every year or month there is some different obstacle that is preventing me from accumulating any wealth. I mean, not even wealth, but just a small pile of green in case my car decides to bite the dust — this is one of my biggest fears right now (although, I’m not really sure why – my car is 8 years old and has a little less than 100,000 miles on it, where I come from, that is still new and gently used).

I know that part of my problem is that one of my savings accounts is directly linked to my checking account. I was totally sold by the convenient transfers and keep the change roll-overs. But the problem is the convenient transfers. It is WAY too easy to get money from my savings into my checking account. In fact, I made one such transfer this morning. Not okay. I’ve started putting a little money in a savings account that I have had since birth at another bank, but it is slow going. I’ve just never been good at saving. I can save for something specific — back to school clothes or a trip — but not just to have money available in the event of an emergency because that is the responsible thing to do.

I am trying to eat out less (serious struggle) and spend less money on stupid stuff (I am weaning myself off my weekend Target trips, buying magazines, and paying full price for books). But well, it just sucks. I guess admitting I have a problem saving is the first step to…well, hopefully doing a better job of putting money in savings and actually leaving it there. I seriously have little to no financial discipline.

Do you ever feel like you just can’t get ahead on saving money/planning for your future/retirement funds?

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To buy or not to buy? That really is the question.

Getting the keys to your first kingdom sounds oh so nice...

Buying a home has become a hot topic for quarter-lifers, or at least it has in the hip pocket of the Bible belt. (Okay, really, we’re in the buckle. I just wanted to say hip pocket really badly.) After all, it’s a buyer’s market, or at least that’s what they’re saying on GMA of late, and I’m not gonna lie, that $8500 tax credit sounds pretty sa-weet to me.

Many of my peers are taking the plunge into home ownership. In fact, since the tax credit became available, Mrs. Preppy, Mrs. V, Mrs. B, and Mrs. K Squared have all taken advantage of the benefit and bought their first homes. (Please note that all of the aforementioned friends have their “Mrs.” Cards.) It seems like buying now is the way to go, and I know some singles who have jumped in with all the married couples and made big purchases too. But some other people seem much more hesitant about making the big buy. And by some other people, I mean me.

"Free money" from Uncle Sam? Heck yes!

When the tax credit first became available, my dad, slum lord extraordinaire (aka owner of much rental property), was all over me to take advantage of the deal. Some of my co-workers encouraged me to start the house hunt as well. When I expressed my reservations, one of them said, “Oh, you must not need $8500 then.” Um, no, no, that’s not the case. I always need $8500. But the idea of buying a house…alone…well, it’s just not part of the fantasy. (For more on my unrealistic, juvenile life expectations see this post.) Buying a house by myself just didn’t seem as exciting or meaningful or special as the idea of buying it with a husband (or at the very a least long-term boyfriend) did.

I know, I know. I sound a little, well, pathetic. (Okay, maybe a lot.) But here’s the deal, to me buying a house is: 1) A HUGE commitment; 2) A life change, a new beginning; and 3) A TON of work. In order to conquer all of those things, a partner seems necessary. I know, i still sound pathetic so let’s break down my logic (or lack thereof as the case may be).

1) The Commitment

Despite what you may or may not have inferred from previous blog posts, I’m not a commitment-phobe in general. I think I am responsible and reasonable and I work very hard at keeping the commitments I make to my friends and my self. But committing to a mortgage? Well, that’s a whole other story. First of all, the financial burden completely terrifies me. As we have previously established, I am not a skilled money manager. I know that I could afford to spend more on housing than I currently do, but it seems like all of my money is going other places and I just don’t know how I could redirect it. It overwhelms me. Plus, buying a house seems like the ultimate step in the “settling down” process. Married or not, buying a house is committing to your current location, probably for a while. I really have no intention to move any time in the near future (or probably ever — I’m a total Tulsa hondo) but I enjoy the fact that if I CHOSE to pick up and move at a moment’s notice, I could. (Seriously, I don’t even have a rental lease. I could be out of here in no time flat.)

2) The Life Change

In my mind, buying a new house is a life changing experience. It signifies some kind of new beginning and a definite leap into adulthood. There is something big and important about it. Something that I always imagined I would share with a spouse. Yes, I’m that girl. Buying a house alone just sounds depressing. Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of having more space (I not-so-lovingly refer to my current bedroom as the baby nursery because the only bed that fits in it appropriately would be a crib) and decorating things the way I want to and engaging in a few minor home improvement projects. That all sounds lovely. But it also sounds like something you just don’t do alone. Who wants to nest solo? And, I know this is going to sound really terrible, but it also feels like giving up on finding someone to share your life with. Dramatic, I know. To me buying a house will be a monumental occasion (if/when I ever get around to it) — I won’t be a renter, a transient, a child anymore. I will be an adult and homeowner and a true citizen. And in my head I have always imagined that important step in the American dream being taken with someone. Every body needs support to take the big steps and it seems like this one is being enough that I would need someone to share the burden.

3 The Work

OMG, the work. Let me just tell you what’s been going down at our lovely rental casa: this week our heater broke, we recently discovered that our hot water tank is on its last leg, and there seems to be some sort of roof leak in our dining room, as evidenced by the water streaks running down the wall. Yeah, if I owned this joint, I would be flipping out. I know what you’re thinking — you don’t have to buy that house. You buy a house in better condition. But that’s just it, you never really know the condition. Sure, everything checks out fine, passes inspection, and you think you’re good to go. And two months later, the AC bites the dust. It probably wasn’t foreseeable, it’s just part of the deal. And that part of the deal costs money. Plus, you’ve got to consider property taxes, yard expenses, regular maintenance, insurance, etc. It all adds up financially and in terms of time spent. I currently appreciate the luxury of calling the landlord and having him arrange for things to get fixed, on his dime and on his time. Plus, taking care of a house, no matter house small, and all that it would entail is a lot of work for little ole me. Me, as in the girl who struggles to keep her teeny, tiny bedroom clean and the yard mowed when it is her turn, every third week.

Taking on the responsibility of a house by myself is just more than I am ready for at this point. I love the idea of it and I’m completely jealous of my friends who have recently taken the plunge, but ultimately, it scares the crap out of me. I don’t think that I will always feel this way, with or with a significant other. I know eventually I will take the step and by the house and be a big girl and who knows, I may just decide I can handle it all on my own. But for right now, it definitely isn’t for me and as much as I love to dream of hardwood floors and porch swings, I will continue to be a semi-contented renter. So thanks, but no thanks, Uncle Sam. I really don’t need your $8,500.00.

Have you recently purchased a house? Or though about it? Was it as scary as I have made it out to be or am I just being a big baby?

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