Daily Post 152: Finally Up to Today

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Just a warning… this will most likely be long-ish post.

It’s 7:30 in the morning. Both kids are already up. Bacon is thawing so we can have breakfast in a little bit. Ox is still sleeping, and though I thought I heard Mama Ox moving around, she must have gone back to her room because I didn’t see her when I got up to use the restroom and make coffee.

I’m hoping to have enough time to catch up on my writing before the day starts in full swing. I sort of feel like the Universe is snickering at me behind my back in that regard since the last two or three posts have all been about events from over a week ago at this point.

Continuing from my last post… Ox and I were “beta-testing”. I had finally admitted after maybe about an hour of not knowing that I wasn’t 100% sure what he had said and that I was sorry for that. I was sorry if I had misheard. I was sorry if I was making a big deal out of nothing. I was sorry for being myself and confused about the emotions I felt.

Ox: I said wife.

Everything inside me went still. Quiet. Calm. I don’t think I have ever felt a warmth like that within my chest before. If I have, it must have been in a slightly different way because nothing comes to mind. It felt like I belonged. It felt right. It felt like I had finally been given something I hadn’t realized I ached for.

Me: Ok. I’m your wife.

And that’s how that went down. No proposal. No romantic down on one knee. It was simpler than that. Deeper than that. It was the stating of a fact and an acceptance of that fact as true. Undeniably accurate.

There still aren’t plans for anything legal or formal. I don’t know if that means it’s less “real” to others or not, but as one person put it I didn’t get married to make them happy. If they want it to play out a different way, they can make their own choices. They can do it differently and in a way that works for them.

This way worked for me and Ox. We affirmed something to each other that I think we’ve felt and known for a long time. That we’re not going anywhere. That we’re together regardless of what the government says or recognizes. We’re loyal, considerate, compassionate, respectful and supportive of each other without a piece of paper saying that’s how we’re supposed to be.

I have a new word, a new title to go along with all of the other ones Ox uses to identify me. I’m his kitten. I’m his Jennifer. I’m his wife. And I’m ok with that.

I don’t really remember a whole lot about Thursday after that point. I don’t think a whole lot happened for the rest of Thursday which was totally ok in my book. Thursday was a hell of a long day full of lots of stuff.

Friday I worked. It was the last day before my stay-cation week; this past week. I was with my FA. It was a smooth day. I didn’t go to the dojo. I came home instead. I was tired. I’m pretty sure I went to bed early-ish.

Saturday and Sunday happened. I don’t remember much about those days either. Well… now that I think a bit harder on it. I do.

Saturday started out rough. I had gotten groceries to make protein waffles to go with the eggs and bacon for breakfast. Papa Ox is doing really well with sticking to a keto diet, but it does sort of suck to feel like you can’t have any of the stuff you like or are used to. I’ve had a recipe from my sister-in-law for a while. It was a recipe she had made for me one morning while I was visiting my older brother. It had turned out good, but since no one was on the “healthy eating” train until recently, I never really had a reason to make the waffles.

Well, that was my project for Saturday, the only downside was I had tried making a homemade syrup and it had turned out awful. And I’m not just saying that to be down on myself. This was Grade-A awful stuff and I don’t even know why it turned out that bad. I followed the recipe…

But it sucked and I was left in a “breakfast is ruined” state before it even really began since I had tried the syrup when I got up that morning. The recipe said to refrigerate it overnight. You can’t have waffles without syrup… You just can’t.

So what was I going to do to recover? Drive to the gas station so I could be out of the house and have a breakdown. That will totally solve all of this.

I called Ox while I was there.

Me: I don’t know what’s wrong, but I’m trying to figure it out and I’m sorry.

We talked on the phone for a little bit. Having distance between me and the crushing feeling of everyone being awake and not having a place to retreat to helped me start to feel a bit better. Hearing Ox’s calm voice helped. I found a different recipe to try on my phone. I came back home and made it, and though it still wasn’t what I had been hoping for as far as a syrup goes, it was passable for the time being. Breakfast was salvaged.

After breakfast Ox and I went back into town. We went to Bed Bath and Beyond to look at waffle makers. We have one, but it’s not a very good one. You can’t pop the waffle molds out to wash them. That really bothers me since I’m a bit of a germaphobe. If I can’t clean it “properly” with hot water and soap, then it’s most likely not clean and shouldn’t be used.

Bed Bath and Beyond didn’t have what I was looking for. Mom had a waffle maker that had different plates that could be swapped out. I was looking for something similar. While we were out Ox and I stopped at a grocery store. There was a particular syrup brand mentioned in the protein waffle recipe that was low carb and ok to use. Walmart hadn’t had it when I went grocery shopping the day before which is why I had tried to make my own.

The store we stopped at on Saturday had a HUUUUGGGGEEEE selection of this particular brand. Walden’s Farms. They have salad dressing, syrups, jellies, all sorts of stuff. And so far, everything we have tried has tasted pretty alright. We got a couple bottles of syrup; one pancake and one blueberry. Breakfast on Sunday went over much better. Everyone is ok with the new waffles and the syrup is a pretty good substitute for normal pancake syrup. You can tell there’s a bit of a difference, but it’s not a bad difference.

So that was last weekend. I got a bunch of the chores done. I’m not sure when I got through chapter two, but at some point, I did that. That was a bunch of emotional stuff. I meal planned for the coming week and had a grocery list made out. I went to sleep Sunday night looking forward to not having to get up early for work.

Monday I had a text message from my FA saying patient census was down and that I didn’t need to come in to help with change over. Score. I still had my meeting with the head of the LPN program at 9:30. I drove down and met with her. We talked for about an hour. She gave me some things to look into as far as the application process goes as well as some ideas for as which classes to register for and how. She gave me a few names of people for me to contact in regards to financial aid and my application, and with that, I had a clearer idea of what I needed to get done for school and when.

Tuesday Ox and I met in town for lunch at Arby’s and to do grocery shopping at Walmart. I woke up tired from not sleeping well the night before. The simple act of walking out to my car to drive had me short of breath; like I had just finished a light workout at the gym. When Ox and I hugged I told him how I was feeling. It didn’t feel like sickness. I wasn’t overly congested or anything. It was just hard to feel like I was breathing right. I didn’t have an arrhythmia… I didn’t get it. I didn’t really think there was a reason for me to be feeling the way I was, but regardless of that, this was how I was feeling.

I had planned to try to get my blood drawn after grocery shopping. The school needs to know my immunization status for a few things as part of the application process.

Ox: Why don’t you save that for Thursday. Today we’ll get lunch, do the shopping, then go home.

I was on board with the “not doing much” idea. Lunch was enjoyable. We tweaked the shopping list a bit to try doing a homemade cauliflower crust pizza since the frozen one had been alright, but not awesome. The shopping trip itself went well. We spent about $110 dollars, keeping a few things I wanted as a separate transaction. Mama Ox had left $60 sitting on the kitchen table for me, so it worked out well.

When Mama Ox got home later that night she asked me how much the grocery bill had been. I told her the amount and that it had worked out perfect. Everyone paid a quarter. She said, no, that she needed to give me more money. As she tried handing me another twenty I asked if I was allowed to not take it. It felt wrong to take more money because Ox and I eat the food, too. It’s not like I was buying stuff that we weren’t allowed to touch. We all ate the same meals and that’s what I had bought on the trip. It was food we all were going to be eating and we all had contributed. So if anything, I owed her $10.

Mama Ox: Next time.

She that certain smile… I think it’s a mom thing. It’s that smile where she knows she’s won and you’re going to accept her decision. End of story.

I sheepishly took the $20.

Me: Next time.

I don’t think Ox’s parents are used to someone being as proactive around the house as I am, or as concerned about balance and fairness. I used the extra $20 yesterday to get Halo Top ice cream for Papa Ox since it’s something that had come up in conversation. I really wanted to find SO coconut ice cream since it’s even lower on carbs, but sadly the Walmart I was at didn’t have that brand. Point being, I still used the money for the family. I didn’t spend it on myself because I didn’t think of it as “mine”.

The new pizza crust recipe turned out better than the frozen store bought one. There wasn’t corn starch in the homemade crust and it had more flavor from added spices. It was still pretty soft though instead of crispy so you had to eat it with a fork. I may or may not have forgotten to spray the foil for the first two crusts as well… >.>;

That was a disaster avoided due to Ox being amazing and helping me salvage the crusts. I now have a bag of almond flour so take three of the pizza crust will hopefully be an outstanding success.

So, that was Tuesday. My breathing got easier as the day went along so I’m still not sure what was up with my lungs in the morning.

Wednesday I went in to work for what I thought would be two hours of helping during change over which turned into 5.5 of making sure the clinic didn’t burn to the ground. Yeah…

So the story behind Wednesday…

I woke up thinking it would be a “normal” day. Normal for dialysis. Oh, how foolish of me.

Right before I got into the shower I got a text message from our float RN. She was going to have to leave the clinic for personal matters and wanted to know if I minded staying the rest of the day to cover for her. Um… Last I checked I wasn’t an RN yet so unless my FA was also going to be at the clinic there wasn’t much I could do as far as covering for her. I could be a third person on the floor, but I couldn’t be charge RN.

I told her to give me a few minutes to figure some stuff out. I had planned to use Wednesday to get through chapter three in my book. I didn’t really have time obligations, but working a mostly full day was definitely not having a “stay-cation”. Arg…

As I was driving down to the clinic I tried to call the float RN to figure out what was going on. Her cell phone doesn’t get good reception in the middle of nowhere so I couldn’t get through to her. I tried calling our new tech who was supposed to be at the clinic covering for me this week, but she didn’t answer either. I wasn’t all that surprised. I was calling right at the start of change over. I talked to Ox a bit to let him know the limited information I had. I told him I would keep him posted as to how my day changed.

When I got to the clinic I went straight to the floor. Good thing, too. The new doctor was rounding on our patients with my FA and the nurse practitioner and shit was hitting the fan. Never fear! PCT Jen is here.

I haven’t sweat that much during a change over in a while.

We got all of our first shift patients rinsed back, taped up, and out to go about their day. We got all of the machines disinfected, restrung and ready to go for second shift. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but I’m pretty sure I rinsed back three of our patients, reset four of the machines and initiated four of our second shift patients. Out of eight, I did half.

Everyone was extremely grateful that I came in. I stayed until around three. That allowed the new PCT to go to lunch. That allowed my FA to talk to the doctor and round with him for the second shift patients. That allowed the float RN to leave once all of the second shift patients had received their meds. I was able to run an extremely important lab over to the hospital; one that was almost forgotten to be drawn.

I apologized to my FA for not knowing about the lab.

FA: Thank you. But it’s not your job.

Accurate… but my FA shouldn’t be the one to make sure everything gets taken care of either. There has to be some level of reliability, and right now it’s really hard to defend our float RN. She’s a great person. I don’t mind working with her as much as I did in the beginning. But when your boss can’t count on you to cover the shifts your scheduled for or to complete the tasks you’re supposed to be in charge of… I don’t know. It’s rough. And there was more than just those two situations that the RN dropped the ball on Wednesday.

I checked my email while I was at the clinic. My yearly review is coming up so I have a self-assessment to complete. More writing… I could feel my fingers glaring at me as I sat down to type out a few of my answers. I didn’t get it finished, but I’m over halfway through it.

I also got to talk to the social worker and my FA about the Wall of Fame I volunteered myself to do. I have some ideas brewing in my head. Unforantetly I haven’t done much in the way of progress on it. The week just hasn’t played out to let me do a whole lot in that regard.

I also got to talk to my FA about the few things I still needed to get taken care of for my LPN application. She gave me some information about the CPR class I need to take. I guess there’s an online option where all I will have to do is show up, provide proof that I’ve completed the online section, test out of my skills, and call it good. I’m down for quick and easy.

So Wednesday was a good day in the end. I’m glad I was able to help my team. It was good to see my patients smile at me. They hadn’t thought I would be there all week so it was a pleasant surprise when I walked out onto the floor.

Patient: What are you doing here? I thought you were on vacation.

Me: I’m here to join the party. : 3

So, five and half hours later, I clocked out and headed home.

Thursday started out better. I tried to register for a class online and found I couldn’t. The step by step instructions started with “click on this tab” only… I didn’t have that tab on my student page for the college’s website. I didn’t know if there was an issue with my application or what, but since I couldn’t complete the first step there wasn’t much else I could do on my end. I showered. I had breakfast. I meet Ox in town to have lunch at our Chinese place again. After we ate he asked if I wanted him to drive me to the different places I needed to go.

Me: I wouldn’t mind spending more time with you.
Ox: In that case… I’m going home.
Me: Wait! I meant I would mind spending time with you. I totally mind.
Ox: Oh… In that case… I’m going home.

I love how we can banter with each other like that. He did stick around, driving me to the clinic I needed to go to for my blood draw. That actually went extremely smoothly. No resticks or anything. They will automatically send my results to the college. Woo. Another item I can scratch off on the college to-do list.

After that, we went to the Lincoln campus to figure out the registration issue I was having. That got taken care of and while I was there I went ahead and registered for Human Anatomy. That’s going to be $417 dollars for just the one class. It will be another roughly $300 to $400 for the two books I need, depending on if I get hardback or not. Since I need the code which comes with the books, it wouldn’t be a good idea to buy them used or to try to rent them through the book store. The upside? These books will also be used for Human Physiology, so theoretically I won’t have to spend much, if anything, on books for that class. We’ll see…

I didn’t have to pay anything on Thursday for the class and I opted to wait on buying the books. I wanted to talk to Jon to see if the book he used was the same one my class was requiring. I sent him a message asking him to send me a picture of his book later when he got home. He said he would and if it was the same one I was welcome to use it. Code and all. Sweet.

Ox and I then went over to the Hy-Vee store where we had successfully found the pancake syrup over the weekend. I wanted to get salad dressing for Papa Ox since a lot of the meals I cook are served with a side salad. We also got a few jellies to try out.

With all of that taken care of, Ox drove me back to my car and we headed home. Once we got home I began taking care of dinner. I had started it before I left since it was a slow cooker recipe. Shredded buffalo chicken bowls. It turned out alright, but it was definitely missing something that I can’t put my finger on. Not sure if I’ll be making it again in the future. I did listen to about half of chapter three. That happened while we were waiting for Mama Ox to come home. I got a bit of stitching done during that time as well.

Instead of cross-stitching after dinner like Ox had wanted me to, I went back to plucking away at my to-do list. I signed up for the CPR class I need to take. That was $55 dollars, but work will reimburse me for it. I set my debit and credit cards up for travel during my trip. I transferred $600 of my tax return to my credit card to cover the plane ticket and rental car I had already paid for. I updated my calendar. I set up the account I needed to begin making payments on the Trax since we’ve had that information for a little bit. That allowed me to put more papers away rather than having them scattered around my desk. I also created a “school” sub-calendar on my Google calendar since my class starts on April 1st. I’ve been told it’s not a joke and class actually will start that day. We’ll see… >.>

Oh! I also posted a daily post as well as my DSS assignment on Thursday.

For the record… the only reason I remember half of this stuff is because I actually wrote out a to-do list for Thursday so I have something to look back on. By the end of Thursday, I was beat. I felt like I had gotten a lot of stuff taken care of, which, I guess I kind of did.

Friday was another good day. It started with a phone call to Jon. It’s been nice talking to him so much. After talking to him I came inside and began writing for a bit. I didn’t get as far as I wanted to before I had to shower and head down to work.

I wasn’t there as long as I had been on Wednesday. Everyone was still glad to see me again which warmed me. It was just the float RN, the new tech, and myself. Originally my FA was supposed to be there, but personal matters came up which kept her from being at the clinic. The day turned out alright. The three of us found a rhythm that worked well. I helped end treatments and clean/reset machines. The new tech helped with ending treatments and walking the patients out. The float RN initiated the treatments for second shift. As the new tech got freed up, she began initiating treatments as well. Once all of the machines were restrung and ready to go, I also jumped in and helped start treatments. I’m the fastest and most experienced with our machines, and while, yes, the new tech is going to need to hone her skills, she’s going to be going back to Cap City for three weeks until our clinic is opened to six days a week again. Yesterday was not the day for skill honing. It was about surviving, and we did, and the system we found worked really well for us. I’m proud of us. Go, team!

I stayed at the clinic while the new tech took lunch. I checked my email again and replied to a few surveys that were sent out. I made sure some of the closing tasks were done so New Tech didn’t have to worry about them. When she came back to the floor I clocked out and hung out for another hour or so making CVC termination packs. I got to chat with our Administrative Assistant (AA) for a while. I got caught up on her new grandbaby stories and I told her about my continuing adventure with schooling. She’s happy for me.

Oh… And something I don’t remember writing about… On Thursday I found out that I made the Dean’s list for the fall quarter. All I did was take a CNA course. I don’t feel like I earned or deserve recognition for “academic excellence” but never the less, I have a certificate saying that I did well.

Both my AA and FA say they’re proud of me and are looking forward to me being a nurse. They say I’ll make a good nurse. I don’t know how I feel about that. There’s a part of my brain that shrinks away from those comments. It wants to say, “I don’t want to be a good nurse. I just want to help people.”

Another part of my brain feels like being “good” means there’s the potential to let people down or not live up to expectations. There’s the potential to fail. I guess that’s something I need to think more on since there’s a bit of discord there. Overall it was a good conversation. I’m looking forward to seeing my AA again on Monday once I’m back at the clinic.

Once I finally left work, I headed to the Beatrice campus for my college. I wanted to talk to someone in financial aid. After getting registered for my class, one of the other tasks I had tried to complete at home was putting my current loans back into forbearance since I’m officially a student again. That hadn’t been the one-step process I had been hoping for. The website did say that the school could send my information for me, though. I also had questions about additional loans. I mean, really, I didn’t have a lot of questions, but I felt better about talking to someone in person if they had time.

When I called to inquire, the woman I spoke with said any time was fine and to stop in whenever. So I stopped in. Yes, they will automatically send my information to the loan company so there’s nothing further I need to do with that. The deadline for scholarship applications with the school ended at midnight that night, Friday night, so if I was quick, I could still potentially get assistance through scholarships. There was also a step by step sheet of instructions for completing FASFA which wasn’t a lost cause. She explained that even though I already had loans that I might be able to get additional assistance for my new endeavor. It wasn’t guaranteed yes, but it wasn’t a guaranteed no, either. The worst they could say is no, and the application process was free to find out.

I thanked her for taking time out of her day to meet with me. I said I had a clearer idea of how to go about my next steps and that I appreciated her help. From the school I headed back home, stopping at the Walmart in Beatrice for a few extra things we would need over the weekend. Ox wanted me to try to make a keto brownie or cake type recipe for Papa Ox. I wanted to see about finding the keto friendly ice creams I had mentioned earlier in the week. I also needed to return a spice shaker I had bought on Tuesday.

Since I’ve been making my own spice mixes for a while, I’ve been wanting a larger container to keep them in with a shaker top. I haven’t been able to find anything in stores and I don’t want to buy something full of spice already, just to dump it out so I can use the container. That just seems ridiculously wasteful to me.

Well… while Ox and I were at the store on Tuesday I found one that I thought “might” be ok. It was pretty enough. It seemed larger than the containers I was currently using, but I wouldn’t really know how I felt about it until I tried it out.

Fast forward a bit to Tuesday evening when I emptied out a Kraft grated parmesan cheese container…

It’s… perfect.

It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for this whole time. I can fit multiple batches of my spice mixes in it, so I don’t have to worry about mixing them so often. Wooo! And there’s a second one in the fridge that’s almost empty and the tops are different colors so it will be easy to tell my spice mixes apart. Omg. My brain was/is so happy over how perfect they are for what I want. I don’t even have to worry about icky glue being on the side of the container because the container design was shrunk wrapped on. All I had to do was cut it off and poof! Perfectly clear, unmarked large plastic container with a shaker top that can come off if I would rather scoop an amount out instead.

So much happy.

Anywho, since I now had the perfect shaker already at home, I didn’t need the smaller one I had bought from the store. That got returned, and once that was done I was able to officially head home for the day. It was later than what I was expecting, but I had taken care of everything that I needed to and it felt good.

When I got home I told Ox about the scholorship application deadline and the FASFA application. Papa Ox and brought home dinner with Ornery Ox so I didn’t have to worry about making anything for the family. I heated up the leftover shredded chicken and began plucking away at the “paying for college” stuff.

I got the scholarship thing done well before the midnight deadline. I figured out FASFA, too, so that should be processed by the college before too long I hope. I had a half cup serving of the black cherry Halo Top ice cream. It’s not bad. Ox and I got some laundry put away. I got two more posts up on my blog. I got a phone call from New Tech letting me know that she hadn’t been able to get to creating the needle packs, but everything else should be in order for Monday. I told her that was fine and that I appreciated her covering my week off for me. We most likely won’t see each other for a while since she won’t be at the meeting on March 5th. I told her if she needed anything to feel free to call me.

And I think that’s about it for Friday. I woke up around midnight and had a hard time falling back asleep. Lame.

I woke up at 7:30 like I said when I started writing this and so far it’s been a good morning. I’ve spent most of it typing and recapping the past week. It’s not what I had in mind when I wrote my DSS post about starting “weekly recaps” again. I haven’t been all that awesome about getting to the gym or writing daily either, but I think I’m staying afloat.

I’ve been back and forth from the computer a bit. Ox and I made breakfast for everyone. The waffles seemed to go over well, though the kids aren’t giant fans of the new syrups. They don’t know that the waffles are made with oatmeal and cottage cheese.

I have plans to finish listening to chapter three in my book once I’m done writing this post. I’ll most likely cross stitch while I do so. Once I reach the end I’ll make my zucchini brownies for Papa Ox along with a batch of “normal” brownies so we can try to work through a bit of the stuff sitting in the cabinets while the kids are here.

Once I complete those kitchen projects, I’ll start work on the reflection sections for chapter three. This chapter is about purpose so I feel like it will be a bit easier to get through it than the previous two chapters. Purpose is a bit more defined for me. I might not have to dig as deep to find the answers to the questions asked. Only one way to find out… >.<;

I’m not sure what time it will be once I complete that task or if I’ll even be able to see that task to its completion today. It would be nice to start the laundry. It would also be nice to figure out the meal plan for the coming week along with the shopping list associated with it. I would like to make green curry. God that would be so awesome to have for lunches.

Anywho, today should continue to be a chill day. We have blizzard advisory warnings for today into the early morning of Sunday. So far it feels pretty nice outside. Cloudy and overcast, but it’s not ridiculously cold, so I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s been raining off and on. It would suck for temperatures to drop and for the roads to freeze over. I haven’t had to deal with black ice yet. At least not that I know of.

So I guess that’s enough procrastinating on my part. Time to go back and half-heartedly proof-read my writing and get it posted so I can continue going about my day.

It feels good to be caught up. It feels good to say I’m in school. I’m officially working on being a nurse. I’m one step closer to being an RN, mom. I know that would make you smile.

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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.