Saturday, March 26, 2011

Where There's A Will...

We've been watching, and following, Suze Orman for five or six years now. I get a big kick out of her "Suze Smackdowns" -- when she basically bitches out a person, or a couple, who is in lala land regarding their financial situation ("Are you KIDDING ME?!?!" she says a lot... love it). I know a certain couple who could use a Suze Smackdown... but that's another story.

Three years ago, when my husband's mother passed away, we used the inheritance to pay off all our outstanding debts - cars, student loans, credit cards, and (most importantly) the house, and opened the "emergency fund" Suze recommends (she says 8 months of living expenses; we had more than that). We've been debt-free ever since.

Anyway, besides the "Can I Afford It" segment (seriously, if you watch Suze's show, you should be able to figure out for yourself if you can afford it or not), my favorite is near the end: "How Am I Doing?" She goes over what debt you have (house, car, credit cards, student loans, etc) and what assets you have, then asks about Estate Planning, Retirement, etc, and figures out if you can retire early, take that anniversary trip, etc... whatever it is you're wanting long-term.

We had everything she recommends except the estate/family planning... and that bugged me. So, I have been pressuring Ace to go take care of this for the last year or so. We finally asked around, and took the suggestion of his attorney (my attorney's boss, also a friend of my mother's), and went to see a Will/Trust attorney, Leanne.

She was perfect -- professional with a hint of personalism -- and very thorough. We felt very comfortable going over all of our financials with her; figuring out how much the kids get (and how it's to be paid out), who gets custody (not as simple as you'd think, considering my & Princess's wishes are not what is the typical arrangement for split families), and our medical wants/wishes. She also told us (since, although we share finances, we don't share bank accounts) to open a joint, easy-access account, and she took care of all the paperwork to get my house changed over to our house.

Two meetings (and a chunk of change, so to speak) is all it took, but we're happy with the results. I know that if I were to call in to Suze's show and ask "Suze, How Am I Doing?", we'd definitely get an "A+"!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Has Sprung...

Basketball's End of Season party (last Saturday) marked the end of winter (even if the weather doesn't agree). Princess had fun, but decided she prefers dance. Her team lost more games than they won, but there was a noticeable increase in all the girls' skills from start of season to end of season. Her coach is moving, as well, so she'll not be playing again next year.

During this past "winter term", Princess also was asked (by her school's music teacher) to join "Superband" -- playing the snare drum, of all things. They meet twice a week at the school (one day before, and one day after), and the instruments stay at school. Here's the best news: her teacher wrote a grant last year, and with the funds, bought a TON of instruments; he also donates his time to teach these kids (a grand total - in all three bands he runs -- of over 80 students!). Last Thursday night, they had their first concert (at a different local grade school).

This spring, instead of softball (which she's played two seasons), Princess decided to join some of her fall teammates for Spring Soccer. League rules state we have one practice per week.... however, we parents decided two is better. Besides, originally, the league had us practicing in another town (only 15 minutes or so from me, but some of the parents would have had to drive at least twice that; after work), and now (with the approval of a nearby church), practice is only 5 minutes from our house! Games start in April... and, per usual, I get to coordinate snacks.

We are also starting the bathroom remodel plans... so far, we've decided on an on-demand water heater for the whole house (replacing the full-size one we currently have), solar tubes over the shower/tub along with a fan/light combo on a timer (we currently have a fan, but it's over the toilet, and the only light for the whole bathroom are the four standards over the vanity), additional lighting, a new vanity with a countertop that matches the ones in the kitchen, a vessel sink, a new faucet, and some combo of greys as the main color (to coordinate with the rest of the house). We went out to a local tile place (one of the biggest selections of tile, flooring, etc) to narrow our choices, but if anything, it made the decisions harder... too many we like!

Last, but not least, our summer plans are coming along nicely... So far, Princess has two camps and her annual trip with Mimi scheduled, plus a family reunion trip with me, and Squeeks has summer camp lined up, with a plan for driver's training & possibly a job. GamerBoy is getting down to crunch time; trying to figure out his college plans (getting finances in order, finishing his senior project, and making the final decision as to which college he'll actually attend - multiple acceptance letters do not make that choice easy for him). Both older kids have some major changes coming up, as well, but until those are finalized, I don't want to share details here (sorry, stalker; you'll just have to wait).

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


"They" make me laugh. "They" will swear 'til they're blue in the face that they don't care about you or what you're doing (what's that old saying about protesting too much?), but they still read & view EVERYTHING you do online (well, publicly, anyway); sometimes even commenting somewhere or to someone. I could block "them" or make more things private, but why? If "they" want to cyberstalk me, I say "Go ahead; I have nothing to hide."

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Knocked Off

Since this is a public blog, and nothing's set in stone, yet... this is going to be short. I will not go into detail, but let's start by saying that SOMEone has been knocked off her pedestal... Let's then say, "What the EFF is WRONG with..." her? She did this to them and to herself, and she should be ASHAMED! I will never abandon my kids and anyone who would doesn't deserve to have them! I suppose time will tell what kind of effect this will have on them (you KNOW there's GOING to be "an effect"); the hope is that they can work through it and still come out on top.

(Side note -- sorry, had to vent somewhere... if you're curious, leave me a comment, and I'll send you a PM.)