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Archive for June, 2007

Daily report

June 30th, 2007 at 05:48 am

I haven't calculated my June expenses yet -- I'll do that later. I'll get to see how much I've spent on moving, and all that.

Since I've been here, I've spent $3.82 on hangers, $21.07 on a shoe rack, $84.74 on planters, $17.88 on plants, and $5.70 on concrete blocks, which I'm using as stairsteps for my cat to get over the fence. I also had to spend $9 on towing and $34.64 for a new remote for my car. My son, who was helping me move in, washed his shorts with my car keys in his pocket. The remote shorted out, and when we tried to unlock the car with the key, the alarm system went crazy. Had to get it towed to the dealer and buy a new remote. Actually, I was quite grateful it wasn't any more expensive than it was.

I'm still unpacking little by little. Today, a quilt show is on the agenda for me, my sister and my cousins. Eating out afterwards. It should be a good day in retirement-land!

I got my final paycheck deposit from work, with all my unused vacation time included. It was quite a bit more than I expected. I also got a paper check for $950 to tide me over until I pay my insurance premium in two months. My university typically pays two months of the health premium as a retirement benefit, but they are switching over to a new computer system this year, and found that they have to just pay the cash instead. Very nice! I will open my new bank account here in NC with it.

Okay, NOW I'm settling in

June 29th, 2007 at 04:56 am

I wrote yesterday that even though I had successfully made the move, I was upset because my cat was missing in action. He has reappeared, and now I can breathe a sigh of relief and get on with it.

Of course, the most exciting thing is that all my debts are paid off! That's the delightful part about selling a house. Now that I'm living in my cousin's house, as a sort of caretaker, I will have no housing expense. We've also worked out a deal on food. At first she suggested we share food expenses. Reasonable, but then I found out she spends $600 a month on groceries. I didn't like the idea of spending $300 a month, which is easily twice what I was spending on my own. So I have offered to be the "food manager" and I am promising to bring in a lower grocery bill for two than she did for one. This will be easy; I just have to get her out of her wasteful habits and shop with an eye toward value, as I always have.

My "suite" in her her house is basically two rooms -- a nice, but rather small bedroom, with an attached full bathroom and large walk-in closet, and a sitting room with space for a couch and TV, maybe an end table or two. It's not set up yet. I also have my own patio off the bedroom door. My view is a wooded area with mountains in the distance. As my son said, I am a "pretty lucky girl."

My official retirement income is about $600 per month (it will vary a bit, since half of it comes from interest on my TIAA account, the other half is a systematic withdrawal from my CREF account.) I also have an emergency fund of close to $10,000. I will use this for big bills, such as my insurance premiums. I will also have access to make withdrawals from my CREF account, but of course I will have to be careful to protect my nest egg.

Although $600 a month sounds paltry, I think with my limited expenses, it will do me fine. When I'm 62, I can start drawing social security (which I will draw on my ex-husband's salary -- much greater than mine!) If I find I am cash-poor before then, I will get into a temp pool, or work part-time. I really don't want another job. I want some free time to write, to pursue artistic interests, and read all the books I want to!

I have many boxes yet to unpack, but I will be taking my time. I am already functioning pretty well on what I've done already.

It's good to be back, and it's good to be in Carolina!

I'm in Carolina, but I'm sad

June 28th, 2007 at 05:13 pm

So much to tell, and so little heart to tell it. I've arrived safely in North Carolina, and I'm debt-free. The move went well, but my cat has disappeared. He is an outdoor cat, and I let him out yesterday evening, for the first time in his new surroundings. He returned in the night, so I know he knows where the kitty door is and how to use it. But he went out again this morning and hasn't been back all day. I'm so afraid he is lost or hurt. I can't think about anything else.

I should be jumping for joy, with all my debts paid off, and no job to report to. But I'm heartsick. I want my kitty.

Garage sale done

June 23rd, 2007 at 04:12 pm

And the truck is halfway loaded.

I made about $100 on the garage sale -- but spent $31 on the ad. But the good news is I got a lot of stuff cleared out.
Two of my friends and one of my sons helped me out a lot -- so I treated them to lunch at TGIF, which was about $50.

I still have a whole day to load the truck, and my other son, as well as one of my nephews, will be helping tomorrow. I guess I'm doing pretty well, but there is still a shocking amount of stuff around that needs to be corraled somehow.

I have no TV and I guess my library book got packed somehow. So my computer is the only entertainment. Too tired for entertainment, though! I'm going to go nuke a dinner and go to bed.

More packing, and a week to go.

June 17th, 2007 at 04:00 pm

I know I've been a stranger. I am so busy packing. I think I am doing well, but the real test will be whether I will be ready to load the truck on next Sunday.

I've got quite a few garage sale items sorted out, too -- most of them really priced to go. The point this time is clearing out, not making money.

My co-workers gave me a $50 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble on Friday. It will be a pleasure to use it after I get to North Carolina. Hard to believe I have one week left of work! I am truly feeling sad as well as happy. I work with some great people.

Getting closer....

June 12th, 2007 at 02:55 pm

The HVAC tech came today and cleaned the furnace, and replaced a circuit breaker. It was $311.14. More than I expected, but I was charged for a new filter (~$10)and for the trip to Ace Hardware to buy the circuit breaker ($65) and the circuit breaker itself (~$121). I was eager to get it done and out of the way, so when he was quoting costs, I said "Whatever it takes." Don't ever say, "Whatever it takes."

But I had the money, and it is nice to have it done. The appraiser came while he was there, so that is done, too. Now I just have to get the bird's nest out of the garage. And pack, pack, pack.

Tonight I'm going to a good-bye party (potluck) my co-workers are throwing. I warned them that I am using up stuff in my fridge, so I am taking a half-gallon of frozen yogurt and some toppings.

My VP sent out a message to all the staff today announcing my retirement -- a very nice message that made me feel appreciated. Afterwards several people called to wish me well. I hope I can get through this process without a big emotional meltdown. It would be easier if I were dying to leave, but I'm not. There are many things and people I'm going to miss. Thank goodness I will still have you guys!

Fern, you asked where I'm moving from. I'm in central Indiana, land of corn and unpredictable weather. I'm looking forward to the mountains of North Carolina, but I will always be a Hoosier in my heart.

Bird's nest

June 10th, 2007 at 04:16 pm

On Saturday morning I peeked up in the space above the attic to check out the bird's nest. It was there all right, a big mound in the corner, like a coconut. The birds (which have vacated it) apparently had access to it only from the outside, which is good; the attic is not fouled with their droppings. I truly meant to remove it myself, but the stepladder I borrowed was not quite tall enough to boost me safely into the space. And I'm not as agile as I used to be. So I will call my handyman to do it. I will need his expertise to seal off the area where they got in, anyway. I will also need to call a heating/cooling technician to address the furnace and air conditioner problems. Sigh. More money out.

I packed up most of my kitchen stuff today. Then I went out to dinner with a friend (~$9), and stopped at the grocery store to buy some yogurt and frozen dinners for the next two weeks (~$24). I'm done cooking, until I'm in North Carolina.

The packing is going more slowly than I'd like, but I'm taking the time to number the boxes and make lists of what's in each box. I'm also sorting out stuff for the garage sale and putting prices on them. So it's slow, but I feel it will pay off in the end -- if I get it done on time!

House inspection done

June 8th, 2007 at 05:02 pm

I had my house inspection two days ago, and boy, the guy was thorough! I had visions of the sale falling through, he came up with so many things.

Today I got an email from my realtor. The buyers want me to get the furnace cleaned and serviced (that was a whoops! I forgot to do it!) and replace a circuit breaker. Along with the furnace cleaning they want to find out why the furnace is rusting internally. Of course, that was something I had no clue about, and it's the only thing that worries me.

Although they didn't specify this, I also have to clean the attic space above the garage. There were birds nesting there. I knew about it, but I didn't want to do anything until the baby birds were gone. It's safe to do it now, so that's my big chore tomorrow in the cool of the morning.

My packing is stalled; I've been too tired after work to tackle it. So that's something else I have to work on this weekend.

I met with my TIAA-CREF advisor and got my post-retirement finances set up. I'm going to have the interest withdrawn monthly from my TIAA account and get systematic withdrawals of 5% from my CREF account. That should protect my next egg, unless the market totally crashes. My income won't be large, but my expenses will be low. We'll see how it works out. If I'm too poor, I'll temp.

And now for the next phase...

June 4th, 2007 at 03:08 pm

Well, now that I've sold my house, I'm on to my next phase of frantic busyness -- packing. I packed 16 boxes this weekend, but I've only just begun.

Recapping my May expenses, the first bit of good news is that I spent about $1000 less in May than I did in April. However, April was a really high-spending month, well over average. In April I spent $3873; in May it was $2886. I spent quite a bit less in home improvement -- though it was still over $400. Other areas where I improved were utilities, vet/pet supplies, gifts, groceries, vacation/travel, gas, miscellaneous, household supplies, and fees/services. I spent more on loan repayment (that's good!), furniture/equipment, lawn/garden, medical/health, eating out, garbage, personal, and entertainment. Just the same on the mortgage, car payment, insurance, car repair/maintenance, and snacks.

I have a new category: moving expenses. The other day I spent ~$150 for an airline ticket for my son to use after he drives the truck to my new home in North Carolina. Today I spent ~$650 to rent the truck. I got a 10% discount for using the online registration with Penske.

I will be so glad when it's all over!