Monday, May 14, 2012

A Bit Of Catch-Up

Since I haven't posted anything since my anniversary weekend, and I finally have some free time to do so, I figured I'd catch you all up on what's going on around here. BATHROOM REMODEL: (1) After multiple trips to multiple tile suppliers, as well as trolling online, we've narrowed down our bathroom tile to three choices. All are a charcoal color porcelain with a slate look, but one is about 1/2 the cost of the other two. Since our bathroom is small, it won't make much of a difference, but is something to consider if, once we get the final bid, we want to cut costs somewhere. (2) We had Kristen (install contractor) come out last week to do the measurements for the cabinetry. While she was here, Ace decided to run all our other plans by her, and asked her to do a complete bid (minus demo & painting) -- just so we have a jump-off point. As I said before, we may just let them do it; save ourselves the hassle of coordinating the plumber, electrician, drywallers, tile guys, H.D. (for cabinets), etc. (3) The toilet (in three boxes), the sink, the sink's special stopper, my requested faucet (one of my must-haves for this remodel), and the new mirror are already ordered and waiting in our garage. (4) We went to see Julie today. She had a basic mock-up of plans, but after talking about an hour with her, she had more "homework", so she said she'd take care of the list and get back to us within a week. We need her to check out other suppliers of solar tubes (we have a specific one we're looking at), the specific countertop we want (the same as the kitchen), & frameless glass, plus configure the tile into a few different patterns we can choose from. (5) If they do the job, they'll supply the "Honey Bucket", but we'll be out the bathroom for at least three weeks. Luckily, Ace can shower at work, and Princess & I can shower at my mother's. WORK STUFF: (1) We went to IKEA a couple weeks ago, and bought a few things for the house, as well as my new chair & two new cushions for my work. I have plans to redecorate my studio; a complete overhaul. I will blog about that on my work blog (HERE). (2) Since my interview, I've been super-busy at work (another blog I'm working on). This is great for business, but my clients are going to have to get used to booking ahead, not a day or two prior to the day & time they want. I am currently booking into AUGUST!! (3) My price list for 2013/2014 is done, but I won't be printing it until November (along with new business cards). However, I *do* have revamped "Promo Cards" (which go in the envelope with my gift certificates) in the works (thanks to Megan at the UPS Store near my house). FAMILY STUFF: (1) Still not getting any parenting time with Squeeks, but we *do* chat, game, FB, & text with her on a very regular basis (she wished me a "Happy StepMommy Day!" yesterday via our DRAW SOMETHING game). She's been working her tail off; training/teaching dogs on Saturdays (with her mom) and cleaning houses on Sundays. She officially was given a promotion at her mother's business. We also gave her a cash gift (in an amount equivalent to what we were going to spend on a laptop for her -- her grad gift, just a year early). She should have enough for her own car by summer's end! (2) Princess is doing great. Her Spring soccer season is about halfway over; their last game is June 2nd. Also, her (last) student-led conference (of elementary school) was last Thursday. She was only two points away from being above level in state reading, above level in math (she's been working independently, with a small group, with a higher-level book than the rest of the class, for a few months now), and at level in writing . Her teacher recommended her for the higher-level pre-Algebra class for 7th grade (there is the basic 7th grade one, and one higher than that). I could not be prouder of her. (3) GamerBoy is adjusting, mostly, to being on his own. He mostly focuses on work, school, homework, sleeping, & gaming. He's never been a social person (gets that from his father... lol), so he's not inclinded to spend time hanging with people IRL. I suppose, in his "world", online is easier. With our child support payments (which he finally got transferred to come directly to him instead of his mother), his paychecks, & his grant/scholarship funds, he's supporting himself & his schooling very nicely. He's at a crossroads now, though; trying to figure out what's next (after Spring term). We gave him some advice, but this is *his* path; the choices he makes are his, alone, to make. He must make them based on funds (as much in grants & scholarships, and as little in student loans, as possible), class requirements, interests, etc. He may even decide to take some time off, to figure out what he wants to do, & just focus on working & saving money. That's a perfectly acceptable route to take. I also reminded him that (according to Suze Orman, whom we follow pretty closely), he should focus on getting the best education he can afford, and afford to pay back... NOT the best education money can buy. (4) Ace has been getting some great/long rides in on his motorcycle. He's riding every day to work, and if he can, he takes long breaks to get some riding in. Since the weather's been so warm, a LOT of bikers are on the road, so here's a little reminder: They must follow the same laws & rules of the road that passenger vehicles do. BUT, *YOU!!* need to give them a bit more room. Stop getting up on their tail, turning when you don't have the right of way, etc; you are endangering not only your own lives, but those of the bikers. Not every biker is "an asshole who drives like shit", but they can't stop or turn as fast as you can; one T-Bone accident will kill a motorcyclist. PLEASE be on the lookout for them, and drive safe! (5) My life lately has been a whirlwind of working, classes & shows, bathroom remodel stuff, work remodel stuff, Bunco nights, taxi mom, soccer, etc... As far as the ex goes, {a} I've yet to be reimbursed for his half of Princess' contacts costs (his wife thinks he doesn't have to pay me because she feels that the contacts aren't a "necessary medical expense"; perhaps she needs to reread the court order. Mine doesn't say anything about that; only that he has to reimburse me 1/2 of ALL her uninsured medical expenses.), {b} he still owes me for her mental health appointments from three (or was it four?) years ago. Not a big deal; whether they *think* they don't have to pay it, those bills (as well as child support arrears, and all the attorney's fees judgements) are all accruing interest of 9% per year. {c} The child support has been randomly paid, at $50 each time. I got a $50 payment in November, December, January, two in February, one in March, and one last week. Personally, I think he's either trying to keep his driver's license or (and?) trying to keep his ass out of jail. {d} He hasn't called since Santamas. Yup, that's right... December 25th; four and a half months! {e} He hasn't come to any activity since her last soccer game in early November, either. I don't know why he hasn't just given up all his rights, yet... (You just watch; as soon as his wife reads this blog, he'll start calling again for a while... until he loses interest in Princess again, anyway.) OH, yeah! I almost forgot to mention -- Princess & I went to her new (next Fall) middle school for their Open House last month. They had a scavenger hunt for the sixth graders, and Princess won a lanyard. Last week, we got the planning sheet for next year; she's chosen Art and Life Skills as her electives. I was hoping for a beginner's Spanish class (as it was mentioned in the handbook), but it wasn't on the planning sheet. I sent a note to the counselor, asking about it. Just waiting on an email back, and the finalization of all that...

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