Monday, June 22, 2009

Brief Update

I just want to give a brief follow-up to my last post:

Everyone is fine. Now. A series of doctor visits are to follow. Details of those will be available as the appointments happen.

Hind sight is 20/20 and so I probably overreacted. Slightly. I am still pissed and have been compiling my documentation to insure I post accurate accounts of the events.

I still have a life changing decision to make, but it's not as easy as it seemed to be when I posted last.

I will post most of the details in my next post. Advise on how to proceed will be solicited.

So much for a "boring" life.

I liked boring much better.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I'm feeling faint.



the worst day.




Little/no sleep last night.
Research illness, determine death is a possible outcome.
ER visit.
Potential nervous breakdown in the middle of a wedding while shooting it.
Being treated like low-man-on-totem-pole by the low-man-on-totem-pole.
Mild anxiety attack.
Moderate anxiety attack while driving, coupled with hyperventilating and high blood pressure, tunnel vision and an overwhelming desire to cuss someone.
Contemplating a life altering decision.

On the up side... it can only get better.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Don't mean nothin'

For the better part of my...


For my ENTIRE 20's, I was in college.

I worked full time for the company in which I am still employed* and went to the local University to earn my prize!! My degree in Art Studio.

Oh, I didn't always know I wanted to be an artist. My first degree path was Math. Yes. I am a geek. I love Math. There are infinite things to learn, but once you learn them, they don't change. It's awesome. Then, when I had only 4 classes remaining in the path, I decided programming was the better avenue for my future. So, I registered for the C++ programming class. It was a 200 level course, and I felt like I would be able to successfully complete that course. No problem. Right?

WRONG! See... Prior to that class, I had only dabbled in any kind of programming. I knew (and still only know) just enough to get me in trouble. I should have known that class/degree path wasn't right for me because my Great-grandmother's funeral was on the first day of class. The funeral was held 2 states over and if I missed the first day of this particular class, the University would have systematically dropped me from the course. My unbelievably caring and giving husband offered to fly me there and back. He worked the night shift that "day", flew me to my Great-grandmother's funeral and back, and then went back to work that night. I'm still not able to accurately articulate how much that really meant to me. Unfortunately, all the thoughtfulness and sacrificing he gave couldn't get me a passing grade. I dropped the course with a WF (Withdraw Failing) and a grade of 23%. Horrid.

So, I had a "come to Jesus" meeting with myself and realized I LOVE to learn and master software programs, and I am pretty good at taking pictures, so what better degree path than Art Studio: Graphic Design and Photography? No better. That's what I thought, too. :) So I declared my major and registered for the first available design and photography classes.

I was in love... I was meant to be in the photo classes. I enjoyed the darkroom far more than any normal person should. The smell is unforgettable and my eyes never seemed to take too long to adjust to the amber (safe) light. The systematic and methodical process of developing film and printing complimented my OCD tendencies. I knew exactly how long it would take me to complete everything and still have time to experiment with some burning, dodging, filters, etc... I enjoyed the design classes as well. But the main reason for adding graphic design was an effort to market myself, both, to prospective employers and my own photography business.

After 10 long, hard, unforgiving years... I finally graduated on 2006. The first in my family (paternal linage) to obtain a post secondary degree. My mother didn't graduate high school; she eventually obtained her GED. My dad is, in my opinion, brilliant with OCD tendencies. He calls them idiosyncracies, but let's just keep it real. Shall we?? But even still he only took a few college courses, and at the age of 55, still hasn't finished.

So, I've mentioned before about my own photography business. I can't afford (and never have been able to afford) to market myself. So, by advertising via word of mouth, my website and some social networking sites I was hired to shoot 10+ weddings from August 2004 to December 2006. Since December 2006 (when I found out I was pregnant), I have assisted in 10 more weddings. Sounds pretty successful, huh? I mean... considering I still worked 40 hours each week, I now have a child in addition to a husband. In fact, I am assisting with a wedding this weekend for the studio that has been courting me to join their creative team. (And I will, just as soon as they can pay me at least my current annual salary.) So, in the mean time, I freelance at "a hefty price." (Her words, not mine.)

Well, I was having a round table meeting with the studio owner/lead photographer for the wedding tomorrow as well as the #3 photographer on the job. The #3 photog is a marketing dude with some years of experience in photography, just not in weddings. I've been told he wants to get into that aspect and so he's "interning" with the studio. He and I were chit-chatting and I inquired if he's day job was hiring. (I mean, after all I DO have a degree in graphic design and photography!) He laughed and said "uhm...No." Leaving me with the feeling I wasn't good enough for their group. I'll admit, my graphic design is rusty, at best. But I try hard and I take crit's very well. So, I could fit in there. I boasted about my education in the design field and my years of photography experience. He proceeded to inform me the designers that "work for him" (his words, not mine), don't have degrees in design. But they're brilliant their work is "high-n-tight". In addition, the only person there who has a degree in design is the programmer. So basically "you're degree doesn't mean anything." (His words. NOT mine.)



After all that work...

it doesn't count for anything?

I guess I am destined to always be a geek loser.

happy friday.

* - my current employer is in no way, shape or form related to art or the creation of art.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda...

I should really blog about WTH is going on in my life right now.

But it's the same crap, just different days with a slightly more downward turn.

Although, that's not completely accurate.
Hubby did get that temp job. And he was able to work 36+ hours last week. So his paycheck Friday will be decent. But the hours for this week looks like they will max out at a whopping 16!!

WHOA! Stop the bus... :\

It sux.

Big time.

One of my BFFs had a spare Verizon phone, so I was able to remove the data plan from my package. According to the Customer Service Rep I saved $61! yippy. (Can you feel the sarcasm?) I am waiting for another "friend" to send me another Verizon phone so I can get the Hub's data package removed and possibly save ANOTHER $60+.

Here's what I have learned about Verizon and cell phones...

If you have a PDA/Smartphone like my Treo or a BlackBerry, Verizon requires you to have a data package in addition to your monthly minute/text plan. For me, that was an additional $30-$45 per month on my plan (not including taxes and all the extras they tack on). Now multiply that by two (me and the hubster), and you have an additional $60 to $90+ per month in cell phone bills.

Since Hubby and I both had data packages we were not able to combine our accounts to "share" minutes. I don't know why. We just weren't. I never asked because, at the time, it never bothered me to have two separate accounts. But that was when he was working and making decent money.

So... With the impending arrival (Thank you "O", AHA: JT) of a second non-PDA/Smartphone my "partially employed" husband will be able to have the data package removed from his plan, we will be able to consolidate accounts, share minutes and further decrease our monthly spending because Verizon offers a $9.99 add a line plan. Potentially saving me another $40-$50 per month.

That's a total combined savings of almost: $175 per month. (That's a weeks worth of daycare and a full tank of gas for me (one week) and my husband (a month, at the rate he's going without a job).

By now you're probably wondering my I don't just cancel one or both of the phones all together? Well, I'm so glad you asked. I'll tell you...

We don't have a home phone. Years ago we felt having a home phone was superfluous. So we killed it. I've heard about a home phone that's $19.99 per year. I haven't checked into it because I'll be honest... people won't call it. If they want to talk to me... they call my cell. They don't want to call the house, get Hubby and have to ask for me. People are lazy. So am I. It's easier to just keep my cell phone. (For now.)

HubbyHub is job hunting and needs to have a reliable way for people to get in touch with him. Although, I don't really know how "reliable" it will be if it gets disconnected because we can't afford to pay the $120+ monthly bill.

Me? What about me? Well... It's impossible to run a business without a way for people to contact me. Yes, I have a "real" corporate job. But I would lose that job if I were to try to run my photography business from there. As I have previously established, Hubby is "unemployed" so we need some income to be able to pay for what is absolutely necessary: mortgage, gas, groceries, daycare, etc. I supposed I could cancel it if we had a home phone, but what about all of the business cards with my number on them? These are potential clients that could potentially give me money.

Additionally, I feel every woman should be have a cell phone. If I were to get into an accident, get stranded, fall ill while drive (not likely, but still). There would be no way to get in touch with my family to let them know and if EMTs or police had to contact someone to get permission to perform services to help me, they wouldn't have a clue who to contact in an emergent situation. I've been stranded on the side of an extremely busy expressway, in the middle of winter without a phone. It's not fun. In fact, it's frightening. No one stops, and when they do you're either too desperate to care about your safety or you're so overly cautious you don't allow them to help you. I felt very helpless and vulnerable. (And if you know me personally, you know I just can't allow that to happen ever again.) I even bought my 21-year-old sister a phone because her's died and she couldn't afford another one. She got stranded, and at the time her phone didn't work.

Another reason Hubby or I should not be without a cell phone is because we have a child. Since I work 30+ minutes from home (not to mention the road construction planned for the next 5 years), I would be able to call the daycare and let them know one of my parents will be picking up Cuddle Bug. Further saving me $5 per minute every minute I was late. (And you know... just as soon as I cancel my cell phone one or all of those horrific things will happen.)

We'll try combining accounts first. If I see we're still "wasting" money on cell phones... well, then...

I might just consider suspending my number.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009


The hub got a temp job.

He starts Thursday.

It's better than nothing.
I am proud of him for feverishly job hunting.

Maybe this temp gig will find it's way to a better paying, full time, with benefits, Monday through Friday, 8 to 5 gig.

in the meantime I've:
  1. contacted the mortgage company about a Loss Mitigation Plan
  2. contacted my 401(k) agents and decreased (50%) my contribution
  3. met with my HR rep and decreased my federal and state tax withholdings
  4. contacted the leasing company on my car about a re-fi
  5. found a suitable, non-data package requiring cell phone so I can decrease (50%) my bill
  6. made payment arrangements with the power company for last month's payment
  7. made payment arrangements with the water company for last month's payment
  8. adjusted my credit card payment (50%) to reflect only the minimum due

what else can I do? I am open to suggestions...