Daily Post 146: Tags, Taxes, and Trips

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Lots of stuff to write about.

Firstly, I’ve started taking vitamin D gummies in the morning. They’re not bad tasting which is a plus. I do think they have been helping. I’ve only been taking them for roughly a week so I know I don’t have an extended time frame to go off of. Everything I’ve been able to find online says it can take up to a month for blood levels to even out, but I have noticed a significant difference in my energy level and overall mood. I’m not as depressed on my days off. I don’t feel as overwhelmed at work and can react to all of the daily craziness in better stride.

In general, I think the vitamin is helping and even if it’s not, I’m glad for whatever change has occurred to improve my mental state.

Another change on the home front is Papa Ox switching to a mostly keto diet which means, by proxy, Mama Ox is switching to one as well. I’ve taken over a lot of the cooking since I am the one with the most experience in that area. While that means my food budget has increased since I’m buying meals for more people, Mama Ox has offered to help with the grocery bill. It also means that after I work a 12 hour day I have to come home and cook, which sort of sucked yesterday. A large part of that had to do with not having anything planned ahead of time. I had to plan, grocery shop, prep, and cook all in one evening.

I’ll have a better handle on dinners in the coming weeks. I’m glad for this change even if it means a bit more work on my end. It will be easier to stick to my own diet goals because I’m not the only one trying to do something anymore while everyone else eats whatever they want and pressures me into conforming to them.

There’s still a lot of stuff in the kitchen and freezer which should be gotten rid of, but we’re on the right track to everyone having a healthier lifestyle. Ox has been supportive. He ate the stir fry I made last night with zoodles rather than regular noodles and while he said it wasn’t as good as normal noodles, the zoodles themselves weren’t bad and he still enjoyed the meal. He’s open to the idea of trying pizza with cauliflower crust and other recipes which he normally wouldn’t go for. He even had leftovers one night which is something he’s usually against.

Having all of the support I’ve been shown so far in all of the various ways it’s been given has helped motivate me. Being healthy no longer feels like a pointless endeavor that I’m the only one who cares about or wants to do.

In other news, Ox has a new car. It’s a 2018 Chevy Trax. While he says it’s “our” car, everything is in his name and he is / will be the primary driver. There’s a lot of backstory which goes into our decision to get the vehicle. We spent a lot of time researching the car itself and going over both of our finances. We’re keeping his old car in addition to the new one. Eventually, in a few years, when Ornery Ox is old enough to need a car, he’ll be given the Dodge Dart, the old car.

We can afford both car payments and their insurance while still meeting all of our other financial obligations. We both recognize the only reason we’re able to do this is that Ox and I live with his parents rent-free; thus why I’m ok with taking on the added responsibility of providing food for everyone. Ox will continue to be the handyman around the house. It’s reassuring to know that if something were to happen to any one of the cars in the household, there’s a backup. We all work too far away in different directions in the middle of nowhere to not be able to get to work. Having transportation is vital and though this adds additional financial responsibility to the equation, I think it was a smart move.

I also feel like it’s the first really big decision Ox and I have made together aside from the choice to have me move to Nebraska. It wasn’t as scary to talk about finances and budgets and payments as it would have been a year ago. I felt secure and safe through all of the conversations we had. I still feel secure and safe through all of the new conversations we’ve had today since he’s been home. I still stand behind my choices; our choices. I still think we got an amazing deal on an extremely good car. No regrets.

With the additional expense comes the decision for both of use to quit smoking. We haven’t stopped 100% yet, but we’ve cut back significantly which I think is still a win. I’m smoking roughly six a day again, which is under half of what I was doing only a week ago. Small steps. Not perfect, but I’m happy with the progress we’ve made toward our goal and I’m not going to give myself shit for not going cold turkey. I would rather be supportive of my efforts than bash myself. If I can cut my intake in half and be ok, then I can cut out the breaks at work and still be ok. If I can cut out the breaks at work then I don’t really need anything while I’m at home either. My personal goal is to stop completely by the end of March because…

I booked my plane ticket and rental car for my trip to Orlando.

Yep. That’s right.

I’m going to be visiting my younger brother and seeing my dad. I’m looking forward to the trip. I haven’t ironed out anything else out about the trip yet, but that’s because I was still waiting to get family time figured out. It seems like we’ll be meeting up for lunch on Saturday before I fly back to Nebraska. This weekend and the coming week I will be reaching out to people and setting up my social itinerary for the trip. I won’t be there for many days so I’m assuming they’ll be pretty busy.

I was able to plan the trip because I was a diligent adult and filed my taxes. I’m getting a pretty penny back. Ox is too, especially with the amendment he made to last year’s taxes where he gets to claim Ornery Ox as a dependant. Nebraska does sales taxes on cars differently than Florida, so there’s a slight expense to getting plates and tags for the Trax that we need to plan for. The dealership is paying for over half of it, though, so that’s part of what made the deal good. I also will be using part of my tax return to pay off the trip once it comes in. I used the credit card to buy the tickets and arrange everything, but the charge won’t be on there for an extended period of time, so I was ok with using it.

Ox has a few other expenses he wants to get caught up on. They fell behind due to working construction and the weather sucking. It was one of the biggest factors for him switching to his new job where his hours are guaranteed. Even with those expenses taken into account and setting aside a chunk of the money as a buffer for himself, he’s still able to pay me back everything that he currently owes me and then some.

I had wanted to use all of the extra money to go towards my car loan, cutting in it half, but with all of the expenses taken out, the amount of “extra” isn’t as much as my unrealistic brain was hoping for. Damn you logic for making sure everything was accounted for. >.<;

Currently, Ox is making an Excel sheet to go along with our updated budget so we can see which debt should be tackled first. There are three things I could pay off in full and still have money remaining as my own personal buffer. But would paying those debts off be as beneficial as putting the extra money towards the credit card?

With all of the different amounts and interest rates and blah blah blah blah blah numbers and logic and insert unknown factor here… My brain was shutting down and getting frustrated rather than continuing to tackle the question of “What’s the best financial debt to go after first?”

That’s where Ox stepped in to rescue me. He offered to figure it out so that’s what he’s working on while I finish typing about my life. It’s amazing how much more do-able today has been because he was a part of it. He figured out and looked up a lot of the numbers I needed. He helped me keep going as long as I did and was patient with me when I started getting frustrated and is now giving me a break from all of it for a little while. It’s awesome. I’m not the only one working on this project. I’m not the only one trying to figure out life and what the best choice would be. I can tap someone else in when I need to take a step back and vice-versa.

Aside from figuring out a debt battle plan, there’s not a whole lot else going on. I have to get gas for my car before tomorrow. I’m cooking chicken taco soup for dinner tonight. The gear I ordered from Venum won’t be here until tomorrow. It was supposed to be delivered today, but with the snow storms, it got delayed. So much lame. : /

That’s something else that gives me warm fuzzy feelings, though. Ox made sure I ordered my gear before things get tighter budget wise. He didn’t want me to keep putting it off and then not be able to get it later when the new car payment is due. I still had some extra from the overtime I worked during the holidays and after fixing up the car. So those are my Christmas / birthday gifts to myself; new 16-ounce Muah Thai gloves, headgear so I can spare, and a new duffle bag to put everything in since the zipper to my current bag got messed up during my trip to Denver. I was really hoping to be able to take everything with me to work to show one of my patients, but I guess I won’t be able to do that until Monday. It also means I won’t have my new stuff for the dojo tomorrow night, though, with how icky the weather has been I might just come home. I’m not sure yet.

We had a meeting for work on Tuesday. It got pretty heated at a few points. At the end of it, I spoke up and said that all of the issues seemed to stem from a breakdown in communication. The people who needed to hear everything that was being said weren’t there and the information most likely wouldn’t be communicated to them. What the clinic needed was a serious “sit down and come to Jesus” meeting.

When I had a chance to talk to my FA yesterday I apologized if I had stepped out of line with my comment. She sort of snickered and said that I hadn’t and that my mentality was one of the reasons she wanted me to do the leadership class. She said that the other FA for our sister clinic was grateful that I had spoken up and said what I did because no one had seemed to be “getting it.” She said they value my opinion and want me there in the future meeting that will be scheduled as a follow up to the one we just had. Hopefully, in the follow-up, things will get figured out and positive, meaningful steps forward begin to happen.

All in all, I can’t complain about anything in my Life other than it’s freaking freezing outside still and I can’t feel my toes even though I have two sets of socks on. ;-;

Guess that means I have to curl up in bed with my electric blanket and cross stitch so I can get warm. Oh, darn.

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