Friday - 12/28/2012 - Reality Check

Friday 12/28/2012

I still have Mary's car.  It makes life SO much easier having a car!  It's raining outside.  I'm SO grateful not to be going to the bus stop in the rain!

I'm trying to make sure I've written down any shopping or errands I need to do while I have the car, also the things that need transported.  Last time I had her car I reveled so much in being able to get home at a decent time, that I didn't do most of the needed shopping trips!

I'm really grateful for this year and for all I've learned and all the growth I've gone through, but I'm also very happy that the time for doing without my car is almost up!  I've noticed that my mind isn't necessarily taking in the fact that I'm going back to riding the bus after I give her car back.  The year isn't done yet.  I still don't know what to do about getting a car, either.  I'm just hoping it will happen.

I'm leaving later than I meant to.  I also meant to grab things from the garage to take to Avalon for giving away on freecycle.  They'll have to wait till the next trip.  That's one thing I'm definitely better at now, setting firm limits on when I need to leave, and letting go of anything that's not absolutely necessary once that point's reached.  I'm not as good at doing it when I have a car as when I'm riding the bus.  I have the mental building blocks, but I think it's about practicing now.  I actually think staying riding the bus would keep me from growing more.  Isn't that interesting?!

In between yoga classes I'm figuring out the costs of having a car.  There's registration, gas (which I think is a little under $150 a month for me), Insurance, AAA, and any repairs (even the best cars need oil changes, regular maintenance and tires.)  Wow!  It really is a lot more expensive to have a car than to do what I've been doing!  I'm figuring I'll be adding about $220 a month to my total expenses and that isn't taking into account any car repairs.  If you add in $2000 a year for that (yeah, I know, that's probably high, but if you prepare for high and it doesn't happen you are just happy....  if you prepare for low and high happens you can be in a world of hurt!), then its about $385 a month extra, just to have a car and the freedom that goes with it.  That doesn't include any car payment either!  I thought I'd been tightening my belt, but I'm going to have to tighten my belt even more.  I'm also going to have to build a savings account for the car expenses, build it up to the yearly insurance plus $2000 for car repairs and just let it sit there.  That way I'll know I have it.  I still think it's doable and still think it's worth it.  It's a lot though.  If I didn't have any debt it would be definitely doable, it's paying the debt down while doing this that's going to make it tough.  One more reason to stay debt free!

I forgot my wallet at home.  It's in the coat I used last night.  Instead of running errands I'm going home to get it.  Maybe I'll have time for one stop on the way back to Avalon.  At least I have a car so I can go home for it!

I'm almost home.  I've realized it was silly for me to drive all this way for my wallet.  I'm not going to have time to do any errands before work, I'm spending all the time driving.  After work, I'm going over to DD's for dinner.  She hardly ever sees me these days, I need a car to be able to comfortably go home after visiting her.  Anyway, no shopping after work either because I'll be busy!  At least I'll pick up the things I had in the garage for freecycle while I'm home.  The trip won't be a total loss!

Hah!  It turns out I need to go to Home Depot and pick up some things for Avalon.  I couldn't have done that without my wallet.  It was a very good thing I went home for it!


Monday - 10/22/12 - Trying The Earlier Bus

Monday - 10/22/12

I'm so glad I stayed home last night.  It's nice to start out my early morning feeling rested!
I'm leaving the house just a few minutes late.  I could probably make it to my regular bus stop.  I decide not to chance it.  I like that I've drawn a line in the sand.  I know to go to the farther stop if I'm leaving even a couple minutes after 4:30.

On the bus, I'm sitting next to the lady from Disneyland.  We talk a little about weekends and Grandkids.  Then the conversation gets quiet and she dozes off.

I'm at Disneyland, waiting for the 43.  I hope it comes soon.  I had to stand up and move away because there's someone smoking.  He's a little away from the seats.  I'm sure he thinks he's moved away to keep from smoking on people, but he's upwind.  There's another person smoking farther away, still upwind.  There's no where to go where you can't smell the smoke.  There's the bus!  Yay!  It's the earlier one too.  I'll be to the Yoga Center early!

I'm at the next stop, waiting for the 55.  Now that it's dark in the mornings I've stopped going to the bus stop I'd adopted.  I don't like this stop nearly as much, but there are always people here.  In the dark I think that's a good thing.  With the dark I can't see as well to pick trash anyway, and I'm more worried about the bus not seeing me.  I don't want to abandon that stop though.  I'm trying to figure out what to do for the future.

It's almost time to go home!  It's been a frustrating day of trying to rent apartments and having the people who came to view them not want to rent "right now."  I know the units will rent to the right people at the right time.  With the busy week I have ahead and the fact that I've got two more units coming open soon, I'd rather it be now!

I'm calling OCTA.  I want to find out if the bus that never seems to come actually exists.  The lady on the phone says it not only exists, but that it's running on time so far.  OK.  I'll make one more try at taking it.  I need to get home on time tonight.  I'm signing a lease there at 9:30pm.  That was the only time we could work out when everyone could be there.

There's the bus!  It's only a few minutes late!  I should get home on time with no problems!  Yay!

I spoke too soon.  Two people in wheelchairs got on at a later stop, as well as one person not having change and several people futzing with their dollar bills.  We should be at Disneyland by now and we're not even in Anaheim yet.  I could still miss the 460!  How funny is that?!

We're at Disneyland.  It's 7:13.  The 460 leaves from across the street at 7:14.  Wow.  That's just frustrating.  I have no idea how late we are, but the bus that was scheduled to show up at my original stop 20 minutes after this one was scheduled to arrive here 8 minutes ago.  That's why I was sure I'd be able to make it taking this bus.  We have to be something like 40 minutes late.  The good thing is that I know about the far stop.  With my scooter I'm sure I can make there before the bus, but I'm not taking any chances.  I'm going as fast as I can.

Home on time!  Yay!  Now to get everything ready for the lease signing!


Sunday - 10/21/12 - Christina Sings At Church

Sunday - 10/21/12

I'm taking Christina and Logan to church today.  Christina's going to be singing.  If she doesn't have to work overtime, Tracye's going to pick me up on her way home.  I need to be ready by 7, just in case I have to take the bus.  She'll let me know by then.

I've decided to wear a skirt, something I don't seem to ever do any more.  I pick one that's long enough to cover my scraped knee.

Tracye just texted that she'll be here around 7:20!  Woo hoo!   One less series of buses to take!

I almost walked out of the apartment without my scooter!  That would have been frustrating!   Even though I'm getting a ride now, I'll be taking buses later in the day.

It's so nice of Tracye to pick me up!  I'm on her way home, but I know she's really tired.  She works long hours.  I'm sure even adding a little bit to the trip is a lot!  I love that we'll have time alone together.  We rarely have time to talk and share, well, without someone else wanting attention.

At Tracye's.  It's hours before we need to leave for church.  That's a long time that the kids need to be quiet so Tracye can sleep.  They're trying.   It's one of the few times they get to watch TV in the morning and it's still hard for them to be quiet.

I packed for rain.  It'd sprinkled earlier.  Now the day is so beautiful!  We're going to walk to Church!

Christina's group did great singing!  Christina was so different from the first time I saw her sing!   She has definitely grown, changed, learned.

Tracye won't get up till 2.  I'm planning on having us stay away till then.  Right now, we're at Starbucks. The kids are eating lunchables and cake pops.  I'm having tea.  I hadn't realized that the kids corner here had children's books.  Logan's already picked out one he wants me to read.

Well, that's a bummer!  I was going to let myself buy lunch at the Greek Place (Byblos), get it to-go and then take the kids to the center of town and let them play in the park there.  It turns out Byblos is closed on Sundays!  I'll have to remember that!  I'm starving!  We're going to walk down to the wheat free place and see if they have anything I can eat (they do vegan too for somethings.)

They had cookies and candies and frozen dinners I could eat, but nothing substantial for me to eat right now.  We're heading back down the other side of the street.  Curious George is here!  He lets the kids take a picture with him and signals us to a woman who's sitting here.  She is doing face painting for free!  Both kids get their faces painted!  Christina gets a ladybug on her cheek, Logan gets a snake.

This is a picture of her painting the snake on his face, while Christina helps by holding the water.

It turns out this is a grand opening celebration for a new toy store.  We check it out through the window, but don't go in.

Walking home, the kids pretend they have superpowers.  Christina has ladybug superpowers.  She can fly and can make herself big or tinsy tiny.  Logan has snake superpowers.  He can fly too.  He can also scare away anything and anyone that might threaten us.  Both kids have to hold my hands to fly me across the streets.

Back at their house.  Tracye's getting ready to leave for work.  She offers to drive me back home if I want to leave with her.  That's terrific!   I'm looking forward to the ride home with her!

At home now.  I had been debating going to class tonight or not.  I still have a sinus infection and I don't want to overdo it.  With Tracye taking me home, I've decided to stay home.  I'd have to leave in an hour to take the bus down to class and I'm just not up to it.  I want to spend some time at home.


Saturday - 10/20/12 - Doing Errands With The Bike!

Saturday - 10/20/12

I messed up a couple of days ago and paid a bill one day late.  I'd been waiting for my paycheck before paying the 2nd half bills.  I forgot that one normally comes due before my paycheck gets here.  I'm really frustrated at myself for that.  I can probably call them and get the late fee reversed as I only paid a day late and I'm not normally late.  I'll call them during the week next week.  I'm trying to bring my credit score up though and that won't help.  What I really need to do is to put about $600 in the checking account and just leave it sit there so I can have automatic payments happen for all the accounts.  That way there wouldn't be any forgetting or missed timing.  It seems right to do from that angle, and wrong from other angles...  $600 paid toward the highest interest card (instead of sitting in the checking account) could stop a lot of interest.  Well, and I don't have an extra $600 to put in the account.  So, it's just theory.  I'll have to think about it.  If it's really what I want to do, I could put some money toward it every month until I get to that point.

I've got one paycheck that's late, which has caused some juggling.  It's coming though, so I'm not worried.  I'm going to juggle money to pay today's bill.  I can take $60 cash back from my Walmart credit card and not have any interest or fees on it as long as I pay it within 30 days of the statement.  That's a really nice thing they do.  I've used it before to make immediate payments on something.  So, I'm going to go to Walmart, I'll look for the metal strips I've been wanting for the walls, get the $60 cash back, put that into my checking account and pay my bill...  on time!

I'm researching buses to Walmart.  It seems easy enough to get there.  They say it will take a little over 1/2 half hour by bus (actually 5 minutes on the bus and 20 minutes or so walking), or I could walk in 51 minutes.  Google Maps really does NOT know how slowly I walk! - giggle!  Though I probably could get there by scooter in that time.

Hey, wait!  I almost forgot!  I have a bike in the garage for just this kind of thing!  I should try out riding my bike there!  It's sprinkling a little and looks like rain, but I think it will be OK.

The trip to Walmart was easy enough!  I'm paranoid about chaining my bike up anywhere, but you have to trust sometime and I can't use the bike for errands if I never leave it anywhere!

They don't have the metal strips I want for putting pictures up on the walls.  I'm buying an extra bike chain.  This bike has quick release wheels.  My bike chain isn't quite long enough to go through both wheels at some of the bike stands.  I figure I can chain the two chains to each other and that way have both wheels chained.  That should work anywhere.

I'm also buying some Mucinex.  I don't want to use it, but I'm getting concerned about going to the retreat on Palomar mountain next weekend if I still have a sinus infection.  I don't want to be in pain!  One of my yoga students is a nurse.  I remember her saying that the Mucinex they keep behind the prescription counter works terrifically.  I figure I can get it now and then take it in a day or two if I still have a problem.  Either way, it seems like a good thing to have around.

Wow!  How funny!  It turns out you can get anything at Walmart!  There's a machine in the entrance that will engrave id tags.  I'm getting a heart tag for the cat for $4.  You get to watch the engraving happen!  I love the way it pushes the tag out when it's done.  I may have to come back again for another tag, just to watch that!

I'm going back a different way than I came.  That way I can pass by Chase and deposit the money.  I think I'm also going to stop at the 99 cent stores.  I'd love a couple more of the fold up baskets I got at the Dollar store the other day.

This is requiring more trust.  There aren't bike racks in the front of the stores.  There aren't even bike racks in the back.  There's an iron fence a couple of bikes are chained to.  I'm chaining my bike to it too.  There are some stores back here, but mostly it looks like a place that once was teaming with life.  It's sad.  I wish there was a way to re-vitalize this area.  There's a lovely fountain.  I think it would be amazing to have it happily teaming with life again!  There's even this odd shaped building in the center.  I wonder what it was for?  It looks like it might be used for storage or something now, but it would make a perfect Santa House or something like that.  I bet it was wonderful when this place was more alive.  The other bikes here have heavier chains on them then mine.  I'm reminding myself that to make places safer you have to first and foremost be aware and act when you see anything suspicious, but you also have to take the chance and trust.  If everyone lives in fear than nothing is ever safe.  You do what you can to help keep honest people honest and then you trust.  The more people who trust and go out and act on that trust, the more safe a place is.  Trust is one of the blessings I can give, one of the blessings I have to give.  I leave my bike chained up and go off to search the dollar stores.

I didn't find the folding baskets at either store, but I was shopping for awhile and my bike was fine!  Yay!

The movie house here is showing the movie "Brave."  I'd wanted to watch that!  Hey, it turns out they only charge $2 if you come before 2pm, and it's $1.50 all day Tuesday!  I'll have to come watch movies sometimes on Tuesdays!

It's really nice to be able to come and go on my schedule, not have to think about catching or not catching a bus.  I'm ambling home, exploring a bit.  In a parking lot there's this car all decorated up for Halloween.  It might have been part of the Halloween parade that went on today.  It's gorgeous!


Friday - 10/19/12 - Movie!

Friday - 10/19/12

I was supposed to do some paperwork last night, and fell asleep instead.  Here I am doing it before heading off to the bus.  I'm glad I'll have it done and sent off.

I'm leaving the apartment a few minutes late. Part of me is trying to say it would be OK to go to the regular bus stop.  I don't want to risk missing the bus.  So, I'm going to the farther away stop instead.  I'm still happy I stayed and got the paperwork done.  It helps to know I have a ride home tonight and won't have to deal with taking the bus and with it being late.  Mary and I are doing my birthday celebration tonight!

Two seats in front of me on the bus is a white haired gentleman who's in such a deep sleep that he keeps falling forward and knocking his head on the top of the seat rail in front of him.  I don't think it wakes him up, but he corrects and sits up and then falls forward again.  It's like watching one of those plastic birds that "drinks" out of a cup of water.  Disneyland is the end of the line.  Everyone else gets off.  The bus driver has to go back and wake him up.  I hope that's the stop he wanted!

I'm in luck!  The 43 bus pulled up right after us!  I'm going to be at the Yoga Center way early!  That's much better than standing outside in the dark waiting for a bus!  I just have to catch the 55 after this and then I'm there!

I had a great morning teaching yoga!  Now, I'm heading off to Avalon.  I'm going to stop at Ralph's on the way and buy aluminum foil.  I need it for cooking the frozen burrito that I have for lunch.

I kept telling myself I shouldn't look at their discounted flowers while I was here at Ralph's...  but I did.  They have some lovely red roses marked down to $1.99.  I can't resist!  It's going to be awkward taking them on the scooter to Avalon.  I need to stop at Mother's Market on the way too.  I hope they don't die from being out of water that long.  They are so pretty though, it's worth a try!  I'm going to take 1/2 home with me and give the other 1/2 to Mary (if they survive that long.)  I know she likes roses too!

I wasn't going to buy much at Mother's Market, just salad for lunch and maybe a protein bar since I'm hungry.  Walking through the store, I've picked up a lot.  Mostly vegetables.  It seems to make sense to get this stuff now since I have a ride home tonight.  I hope I'll be able to catch the bus from here to Avalon.  It isn't a long way, but it would be really awkward trying to get there with all of this!

I just checked the bus schedule and it's coming by in a few minutes!  I need to get out of here!

Oh no!  I'm at the corner, waiting for the light to change, heading to the bus stop.  The bus just pulled up to the light!  The bus stop is a ways away from the other side.  When the light changes for me to cross, the bus will head off to the bus stop.  There's no way I'll make it in time!  I try signaling the bus driver, just in case he's willing to wait for me.  He isn't looking my way.  The light changes, I head off as fast as I can on my scooter with my backpack on, the bags of groceries hanging from the scooter handlebars and the roses in my hand.  The last person is getting on the bus and I'm still too far away!  I yell out to hold the bus.  I'm too far away.  I'm sure they didn't hear me.

I'm almost there.  The bus hasn't taken off yet!  I keep waiting for it to close it's doors and take off, but it hasn't.  Maybe it's waiting for me!  That's funny!  The driver wasn't waiting for me.  The delay was people futzing with their dollar bills, trying to pay the fare.  I think it's so funny that I was just saved a lot of awkwardness and traveling by the same practice that has so frustrated me in the past!  (Personally, I think they ought to outlaw using bills on the buses.  People should either have to use coins or cards.  That would make it much more likely that the buses would stay on schedule.)  Today though, I'm grateful for the people with the dollar bills!

I only had one person through to look at the studios today.  She does want one, but doesn't want it till next week sometime.  Sometimes waiting for the right person to come through and be ready to rent can be frustrating.

Mary's here!  We place our pizza order for the Z-pizza on Adams (managing to use the Entertainment Book coupon right before it expires at the end of the month!) and I start wrapping things up!  I'm excited!  We're picking up pizza then going up to the drive-in and watching Hotel Transylvania!  It's a double feature with Frankenwenie, but Mary's seen that one.  I don't know if I'll manage talking her into staying for it or not.  She does have a long drive home after.  She'd have to be awake enough to stay too.

The pizza isn't ready and it's getting dark early.  I don't know if we'll make it there for the start of the movie.

The traffic is really backed up!  I'm not sure I've ever seen it backed up here before!  There must be an accident or something.  It's getting darker and darker and we're still far away.

We decided to give up.  We're close to my place.  So, we're going to take our (now) semi-cold pizzas and watch something there.

We watched "Nausicaa of the Valley of The Wind."  I liked it.  It is nice being home.

Here's a picture of my half of the roses.  :-)


Thursday - 10/18/12 - Returning The Car

Thursday - 10/18/12

Tracye texted me yesterday that she doesn't have to go to court first thing.  She's on call instead.  This means I didn't need to show up there at 6am (yay!), and that I'm on call too.  If she does get called in, I'll have to immediately head over there, turn the car back over to her and watch the kids while she's gone.  I hope she doesn't have to go in.  This is her "day off."  It doesn't seem much like a day off, if she has to be at court for all or part of it.

I still need to return the car to her.  I've got a safety meeting for Jamboree this morning.  Since I need to go to Brookside for that anyway, I think I'll drive the car back to her from there.  That should give me the maximum possible time home today (after the bus ride back home) to work on eBay.

A new Dollar Tree store opened up on the way to Tracye's.  I'm stopping to look for some metal strips.  I want to set up an area of wall to display Christina and Logan's artwork.  I think I also want to put up an area for myself and Tracye.  I'm thinking one magnetic strip for each of us would work.  That way I could hang the art works whatever way they work, using magnets.

I didn't find anything I could use for the metal strip.  I found several other things though!  Even the glass cutting board I've been wanting!  It turns out that brand new dollar stores are very well stocked!  I spent a lot more time than I planned.

I'm beginning to wonder if dollar stores are part of why a lot of Americans seem to have lost their work ethic.  I mean, if you can get so much for $1 each, far less than you could make it for, where is the drive or push to learn how to create those things?

I stop and put gas in Tracye's car right before I get to her place.  Another $20 spent.  This year of doing things differently is certainly bringing it home to me not only how much gas costs, but that gas is used by driving, even by driving a little and the result of that is spending money.

At Tracye's Christina wants me to stay tonight. I'm not going to, but I will stay for awhile.  So much for having lots of time at home to work on eBay.  I keep making that time smaller and smaller.  Time with Tracye and the kids is always special and worth it though.

The 54 just pulled up.  It's the first bus on my 3 bus trip home (it seems to generally take me 3 buses to get anywhere.)  The driver isn't collecting our money and is telling us to get on at the back because there's more space there.  It's packed, standing room only.  It's nice of him to try and get us in.  A young man in his late teens, early twenties, who is sitting down asks me if I want his seat.  Since I'm carrying my backpack, a large bag of things from the 99 cent store and my scooter, I say "yes."  It's hard to stand, hold on, and not poke anyone with anything while carrying all of that.

Wow.  I just woke up on the couch!  I fell asleep watching a TV show not long after getting home.  I'm still tired.  I'm going to clean the place a bit and then go to bed.  I guess I won't be working on eBay today.


Wednesday - 10/17/12 - Using Tracye's Car

Wednesday - 10/17/12

It's a good thing I have Tracye's car today!  I would have been late to work otherwise.  I didn't notice the time until now!

I left for work early so I could make the bank deposits on the way.  I'm going to stop at Trader Joe's and pick up something for lunch too.  I missed eating at home and am starving all of a sudden!  I'm so grateful to have the car to make all of that possible!

I just found out one of my tenants moved out last week and never let me know!  How frustrating!  She thinks she's going to get all of her deposit back too!  Rule number 1, if you want all of your deposit back, make sure your apartment manager knows ahead of time when you plan to move out and that you did actually move out!

I've been telling people I didn't have any vacancies!  I've got several units here coming available all of a sudden.  The gentleman in unit 4 is going to counseling and getting back together with his wife.  I think that's awesome.  I remember when he first came here he poo-pooed the idea of counseling.  I'm glad he decided to give it a try even if it means I lose good tenant.  Then, I've got two other units coming open at the end of the month.  I'm going to have my work cut out for me to try and get everything rented to good people fast enough to get my bonuses for both this month and next!  It's Halloween season too.  A lot of people don't look right around Halloween.  Somehow, it will happen.  All the units will get re-rented to nice people.  Things will go on.

Wow!  I just dropped library books off, went to the spa, picked up the caribeener watch I accidentally left there yesterday, did grocery shopping at Mother's Market, stopped at Stater Bros for bread machine yeast and still got home at 8pm.  That's 1/2 hour to an hour before I would have if I'd taken the bus!   That's amazing!