I’ve written briefly about how crazy the last few weeks have been. Over the weekend, while checking in on my dad after his surgery, I found myself getting really stressed out about how unorganized I felt. This is a common problem for me when I’ve been away from home a lot. I lose track of the housework, of my personal goals, of cooking good meals for the family, of my clients’ needs, and pretty much everything else. A short walk (with my dad) and a quick run helped soothe my mind (as usual), and on the drive home, I found myself making mental lists of the things I wanted to do but haven’t had time for this past month. After we got home, I took out my planner and started writing them down. Just writing down the things I’d like to accomplish brings a sense of peace and hopefulness, even when I know it will take weeks to get through them.
I’m glad to have reached this state of peace. I know deep inside that in years to come, I’ll never regret the time I’ve spent with my parents in the past few weeks. I’ll also never regret the little things we’ve been doing to try to help out Todd’s parents during a very difficult time for them. It’s a relief to find a small way to reduce my current stress so that we can make the most of this time.
Worked on the Pile of Stuff for about an hour on Saturday. Although it looks like no progress has been made at all, I’m hoping that having begun, I’ll have more inspiration to finish. Unfortunately, this is another multi-phase, long project . The Pile of Stuff mostly consists of about five years of photos and memorabilia that need to be sorted, and then put in some form where it could actually be looked at…and yes, I have actually thought about this stuff, and wished I could pull it out and look at it. Throwing it all away isn’t an option for me. However, I want to keep both the sorting and the putting away as simple as possible so this doesn’t turn into a 6-month long project. Right now, I’m sorting the Pile into shoeboxes that are labeled for the period of time to which the Stuff pertains. After that, I’ll look at each box of Stuff and decide how best to put it away. With Labor Day weekend coming up, I’ll work towards getting this finished up by September 7.
Meanwhile, Todd has taken over the task of comparing our monthly expenses to our budget (Thank you!).
Emma is sitting on my lap singing her ABCs and “Twinkle Twinkle” as I type this. Mostly she just wanted to see her name on the computer screen…
Yes, I’m a day late on the update. Yesterday was a busy one. We went to Connor’s school to meet his new teacher, and then picked up a couple of his friends for an end-of-summer sleepover. Lots of fun and craziness in this house!
Anyway, the financial organization effort is coming along much better now. We have just a few more accounts to enter into Quicken, and then we’ll finally have a good picture of where we are. Based on the current schedule, stage 1 of the “Understanding the Finances” project should be finished tomorrow. I know it may seem like it’s taken a long time to get the information entered — for a variety of reasons, we have far too many different accounts. One of the longer term financial tasks we’ll need to do is to really examine all these accounts to decide if we are well diversified, or if we just have a bunch of the same kind of investments in a lot of different places.
The next step will be to start examining our budget. Right now, we have a budget based on what we have, with a certain amount set aside for savings and upcoming expenses. I want to see what our actual spending needs really are.
Emma says it’s time to go swimming, so I’m done for now. More to come next week!
Yesterday was a great day for clearing the clutter. After two years of procrastination, I finally attacked the master bedroom closet. I completely emptied it out, collected three bags of shoes and clothes and two shoeracks for Goodwill, and filled the trash can with the rest of the shoes that were too sad-looking to give away. One obstacle down! Amazing how good that felt. I’m still smiling. Plus, this project had the added benefit of making Todd really, really happy. For the first time since our marriage, he’s able to put all his hanging clothes in our bedroom closet. I think Connor’s going to be thrilled too when he finds out he doesn’t have to share his closet with his dad anymore.
For this week, I’m back to Quicken. I’ll still be working on just adding a few accounts each night. We have both kids, and three sleepovers scheduled for this week, so getting a little bit done each day will be the best way to handle it. I’d like to get back to the Big Pile of Stuff as well. It’s really reached a point of constant, nagging, frustration for me and I need to get that mess cleared out so I can devote time and space to doing the things I’d really like to be doing.
I feel so off course right now! In part because I was focused all last week on
planning Todd’s 40th birthday, and in part because our Internet connection went down over the weekend and won’t get fixed until Friday, I’ve gotten completely off track with the financial information updating. Oh, and I got a cold in the middle of it all. I thought I had posted a Friday Finance Update, but obviously I missed that somehow too. Argh!
Well, enough of the whining. Here’s the (late) update: before the Internet went down and I got side-tracked, I had worked through about a third of our accounts.
In a “Why does Comcast make such ridiculously unrealistic commercials?” moment, I learned last night, after about 40 minutes of being on hold, that the first time a Comcast rep could come fix our cable would be on Friday. So…I’m rescheduling my Quicken entries, beginning again on Saturday. Based on the new schedule, I should finish consolidating our financial information during the week of August 23rd, still before my end of August deadline. This will give me the weekend of the 27th to work through some retirement calculators based on our actual current net worth, and to more seriously consider how purchasing a vacation house would work. More on that later.
Rather than just lose the next four nights to TV and irritation at Comcast, I’ll get started on my second task for August: clearing out the Pile of Stuff. I’m afraid this may take the rest of the month even starting now, so maybe there’s a silver lining to this Comcast delay. (No, I will not be doing a commercial in which I thank them for forcing me on a week-long Internet fast.) For this week, while the kids are away, I’ll try to spend about 30 minutes a night on this. I’ll assess my progress on the weekend, and maybe spend a few focused hours digging through the pile on Sunday.