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Archive for February, 2009

Birthday wishes this year...

February 25th, 2009 at 10:48 am

I sit at my desk at my job every morning thinking one of two thoughts: it is to warm in here or it is to cold. I take off a sweater or put one on thinking, why can’t they do something about the temperature in here?

Then I saw a report on the morning news talking about the homeless tent camp here in Sacramento and I was suddenly ashamed for thinking that I am to hot or cold when there are people who are always to hot or cold. There are children without a place to sleep at night, without a hot meal or something to snuggle as they try to sleep on a cold, rainy night.

With the current struggle in the economy homeless programs are projecting a 10%-15% increase in the homeless population this year and more children impacted than ever before. How many times do we go the store and see one of those buy one get one free items and don’t take the free item or take the free item to our already overflowing pantry or cupboards?

This year I turn 35. I realize how blessed I am to have a roof over my head, a well paying job, friends and family that I can turn to when I need help or support. I have enough money to buy what I need and also what I want.

For my birthday instead of gifts I am asking that people donate something to the Sacramento Loaves & Fishes Homeless program or to those of you far away, to one of your community programs. Many of the items found on program wish lists can be purchased at the dollar store, many for less than a dollar. On the Sacramento Loaves & Fishes website they list their needs:

Toilet paper, Paper napkins, Paper towels, Paper cups, Small Dixie cups
Reading Glass (no Rx, available at the Dollar store)

Dining Room & Food Supplies
Coffee mugs, Metal forks, Large zip lock bags, Fast food coupons, Sugar, Coffee, Tea, Salt & Pepper (Large).

Hygiene Items
Razors and after shave, Q Tips, Tampons/Pads, Depends (adult diapers), Tooth paste and brushes, Shampoos (Large & Small), Conditioners (Small), Lotions (Small), Deodorants, Brushes/Combs, Small sewing kits, Small first aid kits.

Baby Items
Diapers (large & toddler sizes), Baby wipes, Baby juices, powdered formula, baby bottles (plastic), Baby food.

Guest’s Gear
Sleeping bags, Blankets, Small plastic tarps, Backpacks, Towels & Washcloths, Small can openers, Bike tire patch kits, Bike lights, Large candles, AA batteries, Reading glasses, RT bus passes.

Special Clothing
Rain ponchos, New socks, New underwear (Men & Women), New bras, Stretch gloves,
Knit hats, Jackets, Tennis Shoes (Men & Women).

I know my birthday is not until July, but turning 35 has really made me start thinking about those things that are important in my life. I know there are people here who are struggling each and every day but it you have a roof over your head, food to eat, clothes to wear, the love of friends and family, and security to know you are moving forward in your life then you are blessed. I ask each of my friends (in real life or on the saving advice website) to pick up one small item and donate it to one of your local programs before July 24th (my birthday).

There was a report on the news sometime in the past few weeks about how our children are responding to the bombardment of horrible news about the state of our economy. What better way to show your children that your family is doing ok, then by talking with them as you purchase and donate someplace.

Drop me a note or comment here and tell me what you did. I’d like to tally and track what our small community can do to change the lives of those who have very little.

January February Update

February 24th, 2009 at 05:57 pm

I know it has been a while since I updated, that seems to be the standard thing for me to say!

Things here at the state have been pretty crazy and now we have two days off a month and a ten percent reduction in pay. I did find out today that my step increase (5%) in July should be based upon my regular salary not my salary during these furlough times. Right around the end of the furloughs in June 2010 when our salaries go back up to our regular amounts I also get another step increase so it will be like getting a 15% raise all at one time. I am hoping that if I am making it ok I am going to put 10% toward my 401k (which got cut to almost nothing with these furloughs/10% cuts) and the other 5% toward my 457. We will see how I can live on this salary for the next few years.

I took close to $4350 out of my bank accounts and used it to pay off some credit cards, two of them! Taking those usual monthly payments and putting it toward the final card means I should be out of credit card debt around this same time or a little later next year. Then all I have left is the student loan. At that point I will put the amounts I am currently paying toward the credit card debt and put it toward the student loans, which means I am paying more each month than the minimum payment. If I could up that to $500 then I could pay off 48k in a little less than 10 years. So… we will see how it goes all pie in the sky ideas right now.

Buying a house is a goal in the next 12 months. I want to be able to take advantage of the tax breaks from the state and the feds. It looks like to housing tax breaks by the state are taking 10k and dividing it over three years of returns and the federal tax break is 8k without having to pay it back like last year 7500 credit. That would be awfully nice to take advantage of!! I know the state is limiting to time period and limited to I think 100 million dollars. (?) So my tax person said she would do some more research for me and send it to me with my completed return.

I sent off my tax paperwork and am waiting to hear if I have to pay or if I get money back. I am hoping that I get just a little back and not have to pay anything. Last year I got money back from the Feds but had to pay the state. That scenario would be fine too!

I am waiting for my state union to begin negotiations with the state. One other union has renegotiated their bargaining unit contract and has limited it to one furlough day and only a 5 % cut. That would be so great!

The hard part for me with these furlough days is that I work an alternate work week (every other Friday off) and I just can’t afford to miss every Friday for the next year and a half. It would be nice but realistically when I sit down and see the work load that I have and the expectations of my agency it just cannot be done. But there comes into play the alternate work schedule, what to do? I figured out that I can work half days on Fridays and keep my hours matching the required numbers of hours so that is nice! My boss is happy because I am still here five days a week for the non furlough days but I still have the afternoons off on Fridays and still get that feel of having the time off. It was a good compromise. I will not have to use a vacation day for the next 18 months with this new schedule. Every weekend feels like a mini vacation.

I have been reading all the blogs and keeping up with everyones exciting news!!

Can you believe already 2 months of the year have gone by?