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4 08 2009

Is this thing on?

Sheesh…what a start-up fail this thing has been.  I have so many ideas for this site but not nearly enough time for it.  If anyone is still out there and interested in guest posting please let me know.


Curiousity hasn’t killed this Kat.

10 04 2009

What to do when rock bottom isn’t very far away.

6 04 2009

So many people that I know are under some sort of financial stress these days.  From people that have outright lost there jobs to those that have had to take furloughs and lost their overtime.  It is unbelievable to me how many people have ended up in a situation where paying the bills from one month to the next is a struggle if not completely impossible.

I was in that same position several years ago.  Unemployed then under-employed.  I played what I called Russian Roulette with the bills each month.  It was hard.  When I signed up for unemployment I quickly discovered that what I would be paid wouldn’t even cover the FIRST mortgage payment on the house.  Not to mention the second.  And that was before food, clothing, fuel and other essentials were even factored in.
So for anyone that thinks I haven’t been there, I have.  I know exactly what it is like to lie awake in bed night after night after night literally wondering how I would feed the children.

The stress of that can be unfreakingbelievable.  I’ve been there.  I know.

Having been there I have a few suggestions for getting through when money is tight.  I’m not a financial expert but some of these things worked for me.  You all have to weigh the pros and cons of what I offer here for yourself.

  1. Call your mortgage lender.  Right now they do not want another foreclosed house so I’m willing to bet they are going to be much more willing to work with you then they used to be.  Make them get your payment to where you need it to be.  You have more power to influence this than you probably think you do.  Figure out what you can afford to pay each month and negotiate with them to pay that amount.
  2. If there is ANY chance you could sell your home and break even consider it.  Especially if you think it is realistic that you could find something for less money.  Putting your house on the market costs NOTHING.  Getting a Realtor to come out and assess what they would try selling it for costs NOTHING.  So by exploring this you have NOTHING to lose.
  3. If you have a car payment and can’t get to work (or job interviews) without a vehicle call and negotiate a freeze on your loan or lower payments.  Again, figure out what you can afford to spend and negotiate to that amount.  Lenders do not want to be taking cars back, they lose money when they do that so it is in their best interest to work with you.
  4. Stop investing in your 401k.   That’s right, you heard me, STOP IT NOW.  You cannot afford to be investing for your retirement if you cannot figure out how to survive now.   Put that little bit of extra money into your pocket and pay your mortgage.  Investing for a  big fat retirement seems silly if you are going to be homeless in 60 days.
  5. Shop for better insurance prices.  Home, auto, medical and dental.  When you signed up for medical at your office you may have been living high on the hog and signed up for the best policy they offered.  Most companies have different plans at different out-of-pocket levels.   Buy the cheapest plan you can afford to buy.
  6. Make sure you pay enough monthly state and federal taxes out of your paycheck that you don’t end up with an IRS bill on April 15th.  It’s too late to do anything about the current tax season but be prepared for the next.   The last thing you need is to find out that you owe the IRS on top of everything else.
  7. Find a neighbor that wants to share trash services.  I don’t know about you but the $50 I spend on trash and recycling seems a bit silly since I don’t fill my bins each week.  You could cut this bill in half by sharing the service with a neighbor.
  8. Join Mint.com.  It is free and if you use it you will see EXACTLY where you are spending your money.  It is eye opening to say the least.  Mint can also offer you suggestions on where you might save some money or make some money thanks to getting higher interest rates using other banks.
  9. Find a job selling pull-tabs, pumping gas or waiting tables.  It doesn’t really matter WHAT you do but if you are unemployed or under-employed every little bit helps.  And sometimes getting out of the house is just what the sanity doctor ordered.
  10. Do NOT NOT NOT be taken by debt relief or other financial/investment scams.  If you are unsure if something is a good bet send me an email.  I can usually determine rather quickly if something is a scam or just a bad idea.

What would you add to the list?

Run, Forest! RUN!

1 04 2009

Those of us that live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area have probably heard about people (men and women) being attacked while running or walking around Lake Phalen.

I am approaching the 1 year anniversary of when I started running but before that I was a fairly regular walker and biker.  If there is one thing I have learned in the last year during my running excursions it is this:

They sell mace for a reason.

If you are going to be out and about, walking your city streets, sidewalks, trails or the like I have a few safety recommendations for you.  These safety tips are for EVERYBODY.  No exceptions.

  1. Get a goddamn RoadID.  Jebus Hubert Christ they are all of $20 and if something happens and you are unable to ID yourself this thing will be worth its weight in gold to the emergency personnel that are tending to you.  I am getting them for my kids and mandating that they wear them all summer long when they are out and about.
  2. Add lights and reflectors to your bikes, your bodies and your clothing.  Depending on how the sun hits a windshield and shadows bounce off of trees these blinking objects can be useful day OR night.
  3. Wear something BRIGHT.  If you are dressed in all black you will blend in with the shadows.  Be seen.
  4. Buddy the fuck up.  My christ are all of your friends gigantic loads?  You can’t find ANYONE to go out with you ever?  No?  You need new friends.  There is safety in numbers.
  5. Get a walking stick or two.   They are good for support AND protection.
  6. Take your cell phone with you.  It doesn’t make you a geek and it doesn’t make you a crackphone addict.  It makes you smart.  If you are away from home and there is an emergency you will wish like hell you had your crackberry in your pocket.
  7. Buy Mace AND a Taser.  There was a time when I thought I only needed one or the other and I still believe I only need one (or the other) at a time.  But there are days when it is simply TOO WINDY to realistically put Mace to use if needed and on those days, I am wishing I had a taser.
  8. Go out with a dog.   The bigger the better and if it is even remotely protective that is even better.  I’m no expert but I am guessing that most thugs won’t mess with someone that has a mid to large size dog that still has all (or most) of its teeth.
  9. Plan your route before you leave the house.   When I run, walk or bike I always make sure to leave a print out and/or communicate my intended trail to SOMEONE.
  10. If you run, walk or bike with an iPod don’t crank the music and only pop in one earbud.  Again, I am no expert but I am guessing most victims are people that are caught off guard because for some reason they were not paying attention.  Turn down the tunes and LISTEN to what is happening around you.
  11. Take a self defense class.  This is never a bad idea.  Go to Google and type in  “self defense classes in” then enter your city.  You’ll find one.

Please leave me a comment and let me what item on this list you plan to comply with starting immediately.

Reading Kazoofus inspired Michelle. Could it inspire you too?

26 03 2009

If you happen to read Kazoofus…oh what am I saying.!?!?!   That is cuhraaaazee talk!  IF you happen to read it? Pish. Everyone reads Kazoofus. Lets try again…

When you read How to be single and not go totally effing mad on Kazoofus you were probably WILDLY inspired to make sweeping changes to your life as a single person. And if you are in a relationship you probably yawned, rolled your eyes and asked yourself why you keep reading this drivel.

Well have no fear, my friends. Michelle has come to your rescue with her spin on that post.

I now present to you (courtesy of Michelle)…drum roll…

What Married Women Should Do:

  1. Learn to actually make the time to ENJOY quiet moments with yourself. Whether you use the time to read, knit, watch movies, exercise, nap, clean, watch paint dry or shop it is CRITICAL that you maintain your own interests and take time for your own company from time to time.
  2. Realize that no man, woman or child (or four legged critter for that matter) should ever serve as any sort of distraction from who you really are. A relationship should enhance our lives, not distract us from them.
  3. Take it day by day. Some days it is a breeze to be in a relationship but when you need someone to steady the ladder, open the jar of Ragu or help you with some other task, don’t be afraid to ask. That’s what love is all about – being there for the little things (as well as the big things).
  4. Remember that like attracts like. Think VERY carefully about who (and what) you want to attract.
  5. If you don’t want to be in a relationship with a drunk loser stop enabling his behavior; if he doesn’t change kick him to the curb; a bad relationship does not have to be forever. This is like rocket science but different.
  6. Never wonder if you are too old to be sexy and lovable. These are not attractive traits…not even to your husband.
  7. Find hobbies that you enjoy, not ones that you think you have to do with your husband.
  8. Get involved with professional networks in your industry. You will be amazed at the number of like-minded individuals you will meet. Granted you might already be married but it having interesting friends can’t hurt, can it?
  9. Spend time with your kids/pet/friends/family. My christ! If I had a dime for every time I have seen a woman in a realtionship give up everything for the man she is with I’d be a fucking millionaire.
  10. Don’t get discouraged if you are struggling to keep your marriage happy and interesting. It means you CARE and are not willing to take the easy way out. This is never a bad thing.
  11. Read books, watch movies and spend time with people that inspire and uplift you…this is true married or single!
  12. Regardless of whether or not you feel like it get up off the couch, take a shower, brush you goddamn teeth, get dressed and get moving, and for god sakes PUT ON SOMETHING SEXY. Always wearing your Hello Kitty flannel pajamas is not going to do anything to spark the romance in your marriage.
  13. Inventory your habits and hobbies. Shitcan the ones that aren’t healthy…this is true married or single!
  14. Learn to say no. Just because your husband “really needs something” doesn’t mean you should always have to say yes.
  15. Figure out what your funk-buster is. Mine was scrubbing the tile in the kitchen and dining room with a toothbrush and a bucket of hot water. If the kids were gone I added loud and obnoxious music…this is true married or single!
  16. Safety first, bitches. Never stay in an abusive realtionship. If he hits you leave. If he is verbally abusive, talk about it try to work it out, if he doesn’t change then leave. If he steals your money, leave. If he treats your family badly, yell at him loudly, try to work it out and if he is still an ass leave (if you like your family).

If I woulda known then…

24 03 2009

Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship

Shortly after my now ex-husband moved out for the very last time (many, many years ago) a good friend of mine suggested I read this book. Which I did. And I loved it.

I wish I would have read it years earlier because I think if I had, I would have made some slightly different choices and my path to divorce would have likely happened sooner rather than later. It was an eye opening book to say the least and while I immediately applied what I learned from the book to my deteriorating marriage, I eventually applied some of the same lessons to my interactions with other people in my life.

Over the years I loaned the book out to many people and unfortunately there eventually came a time when it left my hands and never returned. I think of this book often when dealing with difficult relationships (romantic and otherwise). I still remember one lesson in particular that I think of often. Paraphrased (probably horribly) it is this:

If the person you are with suddenly, magically, unexpectedly changed their behavior and became the man/woman of your dreams, would it still be too late?

What questions do you ask yourself when trying to decide how to deal with a relationship gone bad? What is your process for determining how you move forward or if you move forward with this person in your life?