Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Great Black Boot Quest

Finding a perfect pair of black boots has become as hard as finding a pair of jeans that fit me off the rack.

Earlier this year, I decided to give up my quest for black heeled boots and just go for a pair of cowboy boots. Yeah. Um ... that didn't work out so well. So this year I'm back to just trying to find a decent pair of basic black heeled boots that aren't too high, not too pointy, and still manage to look kinda hot with a skirt. I found a pair at TJ Maxx yesterday, but they were pull-on. I hate pull-on boots because they're such a pain in the ass to take off, but these fit so well and were the right height. So I brought 'em home thinking that maybe, just maybe, it would be easier to pull them off if I had on some trouser socks underneath. Nope. If anything, it was even harder. I don't need something that hard to come off after a long day at work.

So I took them back today. But before I headed home, I stopped at DSW. I never have luck at DSW, but there they were -- a decent pair of black heeled boots. They look so H-O-T on! They fit, but I wanted to walk around in them for a while to see if they'd work. So I bought them, brought them home, and put 'em on. Walked around on the carpet for a half-hour or so.

I'm taking them back tomorrow.

They're an inch too high, and too much pressure is forced on the ball of my foot. I know that if I were to wear them, by the end of the day, it wouldn't be pretty.

They're going back tomorrow before I go to work.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Midmonth Randomness

Goals are great, but sometimes life steps in and you have to adjust things. I'd had a specific savings goal in mind for this year, but now I don't think I'm gonna make it.

And that's OK. Just a few short years ago, I barely had any savings. That I have close to $6,000 now is something to be proud of.

I still have a raging case of the I-Wants. And they're all big-ticket items, too: a flat-panel TV for my bedroom, the new iPod Nano, and a new digital camera. My goal is to wait until the end of the year for at least two of them, and for my birthday in early 2009 for another. Maybe I can catch some after-Christmas sales. And maybe I'll get some Christmas cash ...

The OCD is pretty bad these days, too. With the exception of logging on to schedule some bill payments, my goal is to not check any balances for the next two weeks. And unless something miraculous happens -- say, for example, I win the lottery or my friend pays me back -- I won't post here. Let's see how I do.

Lastly, my mother is coming for a visit at the end of the month, so the monthly update for October will be delayed until October 5. See ya then.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What Did You Learn From This?

I have a good friend who, whenever something doesn't go as expected, asks, "What did you learn from this?"

For example, years ago I received a job offer that was too good to refuse. I was going to manage the art collection of a prominent lobbyist who has a serious contemporary art collection. In addition, I was going to get to travel with him for the Venice Biennale and manage his homes in D.C., Australia, and Italy. At least that's how it was billed when he offered it. I gave notice to my other job and was about to embark on my new adventure.

Never mind that for two weeks I couldn't sleep from worrying about it. Never mind that people who knew Mr. Lobbyist warned me repeatedly about his infamous temper and begged me to reconsider his offer. Never mind that my anxiety level was off the charts -- even for me. I chalked it up to my usual fear of change, not to my intuition all but screaming for me to run in the opposite direction. It was an amazing opportunity, I told myself.

On my next to the last day at my other job, I received the job description for the new position. On it were several things that Mr. Lobbyist had never discussed, a lot of which included handling various financial things that I shouldn't have had any business handling. Lucky for me, my employers were elated when I asked if I could stay. My boss at the time, who had once practiced law, went so far as to tell me that if necessary, I could tell Mr. Lobbyist that my attorney had advised I not take the job. The job that had been too good to refuse was instead a job that was too good to be true.

When I told my good friend about it, she asked that question of hers: What did you learn from this?

My answer included a few expletives, none of which I'll share here. She calmly said, "No. What you learned is that when someone offers you a job, get the job description in writing before you accept it."

I recount this long story for a reason. I've not received the check from my "friend." Despite his insistence that he's paying me back (just today I received a note from him saying that he loves me and is going to make it all "alright"), I'll be surprised if I ever see so much as one red cent.

So, Veronica, what did you learn from this?

Never lend a friend money. If you can't spare it, don't lend it. And if the friend gets upset because you can't do it, well, that person wasn't a friend to begin with.

The fact is that my intuition was screaming NO when he asked for the loan. I should've listened. I didn't, and now I'm out of almost 200 bucks. Worse, I've lost the trust I had in someone I thought would be a dear friend.

This lesson has been expensive in many ways.

In other, happier news, the new iPod Nanos were announced today. I so totally know what I'm getting myself for Christmas. :-)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Neither a Borrower nor a Lender Be

William Shakespeare was a genius.

As much as I dreaded it, I made a point to confront my friend about the money he owes me. While I've called him over the last couple weeks about it, and though I have told him how much I need him to pay me back, I hadn't really allowed my anger and disappointment to show through. Sure, I sounded concerned, but I maintained a hopeful, understanding tone. But that didn't seem to work, so I promised myself that I would be honest about how I was feeling. I didn't yell, but I definitely made my point.

I felt bad about it; I felt like I was shaking him down. But every time I had that thought, I remembered how he had refused to take no for an answer when he called in a panic almost three weeks ago. Despite my obvious discomfort, he didn't mind pressing the issue until I agreed to send him the money. And then I only relented because he promised I'd get my money back immediately. I didn't. I shouldn't have felt bad about asking for what was mine.

But I did. I still do. I don't like that feeling.

He was tired from his job and sounded annoyed that I would be calling yet again, though he insisted he wasn't. He said he had done all he was supposed to do. When the first check didn't arrive, he stopped payment on it and mailed another. When that one didn't arrive, he stopped payment on that one too. (I have no idea what's going on with the mail. It should take only about three days.) He complained that it's costing him too, what with the stop-payment fees. And today he had to pay to send it via FedEx. (Honestly, I'd be annoyed in his situation too, what with my calling him so much. But he could've made the situation better had he touched base and not made me feel like I'd been left hanging.)

I think we both learned valuable lessons. I learned not to lend money to someone I've known only a few short months. And hopefully he's learned never to ask me again. He joked that one day we will laugh about all this. Hmmm. I don't see that happening. I'm sure we'll laugh about something -- indeed, lots of things -- but not about this. He's a sweet guy, and we have the potential to be great friends. But if this doesn't get taken care of and soon, that can't happen.

I should get his check tomorrow. If I don't? Well. That's that.

Monday, September 1, 2008

September 2008 Update

As I predicted, I'm not thrilled about the numbers for this month. They're not horrible, but they're just not where I want them to be. (Though, to be fair, it's going to be a long time before they're exactly where I'd like them, but I digress.)

The Debt: $15,262.11
The Savings: $5,998.60

The debt amount has decreased a paltry $169 and some change. I don't even want to talk about the savings amount.

Granted, part of the problem is that the withdrawal from savings to pay for my personal property tax and to get the Beast's balance where it must be to stay on track for the payment plan has already been posted. But the payment to the Beast hasn't been made yet, so the balance above isn't a true reflection. But it should be reflected in the October 2008 update -- at least I hope so.

The other part of the problem is that I still haven't received the money due from my friend for the loan. I am very frustrated about that.

Things have been kind of tight these days, partly because of the increased fuel costs. Though I don't drive that much or that far (mostly to work and for errands on the weekends), the increase has affected the prices of groceries and other things. And I haven't had much overtime in a while, and the difference is noticeable. I'd wanted to hold off on mailing the invoice for my freelance work, hoping to wait until the balance due hit the $500 mark, but I think I'm going to submit it early. Besides, I should be earning the interest on that amount.

So that's this month's update. I'm not sure how September is going to pan out. My mother is coming up for a week at the end of the month. Thankfully, I think I have enough for us to do around here that we won't go to NYC. I'd have loved to go, but I don't want to spend the money for all that entails.