Is this a sign?

So yesterday, I spent most of the afternoon watching scary shows on Investigation Discovery. Criminals just make me so mad. How do you just decide to steal someone's things or take someone's life? I don't get it.  I think what scares me the most is how much of the crime on those shows are crimes of opportunity.

The criminal just happened to run into the person they ended up victimizing by chance.

This of course makes it difficult to sleep at night. My backyard has more foot traffic than I anticipated because it backs into an open field and people walk their pets back there. Ugh.

So it's not easy to pick out who doesn't belong.

I've been looking into DIY fencing. Or just some sort of privacy screen that requires someone to make an overt act to step into my space.  Because right now, it's kind of a free for all.

The point is as of late, I've been wondering if I missed some signs moving here. The crime rate in this little enclave matches that of a big city like Washington, DC.  Scary, right?

When I looked on Trulia before buying this place, this area seemed neutral.  Although nothing has happened, I do feel a little more exposed than I did in a 2nd story apartment. There are more points of entry and again the backyard situation makes me a bit uneasy.

And unlike just about every other neighbor, I like to open my curtains and let the sunshine in. Everyone else just seems to keep their blinds shut day and night. I don't get it! How can you live in the darkness?

But again, this goes back to crimes of opportunity. Maybe a criminal will be less likely to steal their stuff if they can't see it because their blinds are always shut.

I don't want to live like that though.

When I went to bed last night, I was talking to God about it. Did I make a mistake not heeding the warnings of others? Did I miss other signs?

2 colleagues mentioned that this area is not safe for someone like me.
The surrounding area has a bad reputation as well due to a lot of homeless and displaced vets.
My being able to work remotely (could have expanded my search).
My aunt dying (somehow)?
COVID (could have been a reason to back out of the deal)?

When I visited, yes, it was a little rough around the edges, but again the crime map I saw on Trulia made this particular neighborhood same okay.

But now that I'm here, I'm starting to wonder if those colleague's warnings were true warnings I should've heeded.

And then today when I went to the local Walmart, in walking distance from my house, it was shut down due to looting in my area. What?! So, is this a sign from the conversation from last night? Did I ask God for a sign, and did he deliver?

If it is, what do I do now?

But then I looked at another headline and they said the looting was in the part of NC I had just moved from, which is safer than this area. So, now I'm just confused.

If I'm supposed to move from this house, where do I go next? 

How I Simply Met the Spend on my First Cashback Credit Card

Today was a very exciting day. After 2 months now of mental consternation over meeting the spend requirement of 3 credit cards, I finally pulled the trigger...on one of them.

You recall, earlier this week I came up with this plan:

Card 1:  $500 visa gift card purchased at a grocery store (should trigger a 5% cashback bonus) (next weekend)

Card 2: Split between Spectrum internet bill and upcoming auto-insurance premium (mid-June)

Card 3: Power bill (mid-June)

But we know by now, if there's something I need to do, I'd rather just get it done.  So after clicking around on my favorite bonus churning site (Doctor of Credit), I decided to go with the gift card route. But instead of holding on to the gift card, I wanted to immediately liquidate it. 

While there are a few small purchases I could make within the upcoming week, I just didn't want the mental load of having to remember to use a gift card. Plus it would interfere with my current system of tracking expenses. 

Now mind you all the expert churners already know and do this, but since credit cards aren't really my churn of choice, it was my first time. 

The Objective: Turn $500 credit card purchase into $500 cash. 

Background

  • So Credit Card 1 is offering 5% cashback at grocery stores. 5% of $500 =  $25 cashback
  • Visa Gift Cards cost $6 in fees at Food Lion (my local grocery store). 
  • Money orders at Food Lion = $0.46 each. 


Action Plan

  • I bought a Visa Gift card at Food Lion with Credit Card 1 (first time buying a gift card with a credit card, btw). 
  • [I actually went to my local Walmart to buy the money order, thinking it'd be cheaper, but they are closed due to local rioting.... #COVID, but I digress. ]
  • Activated and added a pin to the Visa Gift Card in the parking lot.
  • I went to another Food Lion a few miles away, not to raise any suspicion. (Unncessary)
  • Bought a money order for $499.54 and was able to pay with the Visa Gift Card I just bought! 
  • It was so easy! 
  • I immediately deposited the money order in my bank account. 


Now that I know how little attention they pay to me, I don't think I'll be as nervous buying the Gift Card and using the Gift Card in the same visit. But we shall see. 

So in total, what Free Money Wins do I hope to gain: $200 (bonus cashback for spending $500 in the first 90 days) + $25 (cashback for using Credit Card 1 at grocery store) - 6.46 (fees) =  $218!! That's a win especially since the grocery store cashback was not my target at all!

It was really fun and a fun little activity to get out of the house and try. Again, I don't really see myself going for credit card bonuses unless I have a trip planned and want to try to earn bonus miles. I was a victim of identity theft and in lots of credit card debt in the past, so that history make this hobby a little undesirable. 

I like the gift card route though because I don't have to worry about getting my expenses off track or having yet another account to keep track of in terms of tracking expenses.  So now, I'm deciding if I want to do this with the other 2 cards or stick to my plan above.

For right now, if there's a deal on gift cards, I might go the gift card route just to get it over with, but since I already kind of made up my mind to pay the bills above, I might stick with that. I'm just not loving having my credit card attached to all those different accounts. 

I've already made 2 mistakes so far in this churning business, and I don't hope to make anymore. Fortunately, my mistakes haven't cost me any of my own money (just potential bonuses). So that's sort of the urgency I'm putting on myself, to get the spend requirements out of the way and balances paid off so I can free up that mental real estate. 

Have you ever signed up for a credit card or bank account just for the bonus? 

A Resignation, A Burnt Brownie, A Stimulus Check and More Fraud Blocks

Good morning!

I was chomping at the bit yesterday to share all my news, but we lost internet and I got distracted.

Well, yippee the internet is back on!

I formally submitted my resignation email last night at 8:05pm. I woke up thinking about it. I went to bed thinking about it. I also remembered I have to go into our Employee Database and fill out a form there as well. I just did that this morning (Saturday at 5a). Is that suspicious? Oh well.  They asked the reason, and one of the options was Better Opportunity. I just couldn't click it, so I chose Other.

The call I was worried about has already been acted on, and I guess it wasn't so life altering that the feedback had to reach me immediately. So, that's something I guess.

Well by that point, my immediate goal was to submit my resignation before anything negative reached me. Accomplished! Thanks, God!

Stimulus Check
I finally received it! Hallelujah! The yellow change-of-address sticker is dated May 6, so I don't know where's it's been the last 23 days, but oh well. I want to go cash it now.  It's going straight to Regular Savings. I feel like all my chickens are out of the coop and I just want to bring everything home to roost so I can keep an eye on them.

I just get the feeling, the New Job is going to take away my focus from my other personal life tasks.

A Burnt Brownie
So yesterday with nothing to do but wring my hands due to the internet outage, I baked brownies and sauteed some spinach. Vegetables really aren't that tasty. I don't care how much I convince myself to eat them, they're just not my favorite things to eat.  So I wanted some chewy brownies, not the gooey kind most people like, so I baked the brownies on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes. Way too long! They're like one little flat biscuit.  When I baked the boxed brownie for 30 minutes that didn't seem long enough, they were still soft and mushy in the middle. However,  making them from scratch was a different story.  I was tempted to try again, but didn't.

The Fraud, the Fraud!
Another reason I'm trying to keep my money close to my vest is I have been met with the latest fraud block. I can't link my debit card to one of my prepaid cards. I tried two different cards and two different banks, no dice. Now there's a number I have to call. Boo!

In other news, I am crossing all my fingers that my scheduled pull of funds out of the Bank that's blocked my other debit card works. I'll know Monday. The wait is too long! I hope it works so I can swiftly close that account and be on my merry way!

Social contact this week
1_ Female Peer that churns banks bonuses with me sent me a screenshot of a fee she was unexpectedly charged. I sent her the slides I made for her son when I tried to teach him words. (I also remembered why I quit teaching; it's a lot of work for tiny rewards, if any.)

2_An Egyptian girl (who lives in Egypt) I did an internship with a few years back sent me a G-chat message. We chatted briefly.

3_I sent a professional colleague a quick note about Covid vaccine and call volume. I was initially trying to answer a question Big Boss asked but the email chain fizzled out after her initial response to my email.

I think for the most part, I'm keeping up with my Emotional Independence guidelines.

A Friday and A Break-Up

So yesterday, I was having some strong feelings about my job giving me the ole - it's not you, it's me speech unexpectedly.

Today, gratefully, I feel different. I'm about halfway through my shift and I feel as though I'm about to commit an act of betrayal. You see, today is the day I would need to submit my 2-weeks notice. Yes, folks, it's two weeks till New Job.

Breaking up is hard to do. I've never been in a relationship, so I don't have first hand experience, but this just feels bad. Just the fact that they may not have any idea makes me feel like I'm doing something dirty. Are they going to be confused? Am I going to get a lot of questions? I am cowardly sending the letter via email at 8:01pm, 1 min after my shift is over. I wasn't sure if I needed to send it at start of business (9a) or what, but I opted just to wait till my shift was over so I wouldn't have to field any reactionary questions.

Looking back...

I quit my teaching job over email and never looked back. There was no response from them. I quit my non-profit job, and I don't remember it being an issue. I think I may have gotten one or two questions from co-workers, but I don't think I felt any anxiety (at least not that I remember). The company was already laying people off and I was going back to school so it didn't seem "wrong."

But now I'm actively leaving one company for another. It feels adulterous somehow. Oh well.

I'm just glad the mood has shifted to something where I feel like I am the one doing the action and the action isn't being done to me.

Money talk

I spent the morning figuring out my money movement plan for an account I hope to have approved. I was feeling neutral about it until this morning. This morning, the Savings account was denied because they couldn't verify my address. So I re-submitted with the address on my ID and it was instantly approved. This made me hopeful, so I re-submitted for the Checking Account. Nope, still under review.

Since it wasn't quite a denial and I wanted to be ready and not have to carry around the mental load of money movement tasks, I went ahead and charted my plans. Essentially, I have to push and pull about $4-5k out of this account every month for 6 months. I can't keep that in my head and live, so I wrote it all down.  It made it seem very doable. And it was exciting.

Other news

This morning I also got very excited at clean dishes. The dishwasher is like the best magic trick. Recently, I realized the 1 detergent tab I was able to use in the dishwasher in my studio is not cutting it in this family-sized dishwasher. Three times now I've had to re-run it with dishes that came out still gunky.  My choice is either to run it with less or use extra detergent. Obviously, I'm going to try the latter. It may take some finagling to get 2 tabs to fit, but so be it.

This weekend I have 2 scary shows to watch; I might make some brownies; and I feel completely unmotivated to go to the store. Actually I don't mind going to the store, but I just feel like my list is too short to warrant a trip - cooking spray and air filers. We shall see.

Oh another thing. We had an informal Teams meeting just for talk time with our colleagues. During the call, our Big Boss was talking about a new client project and he was trying to figure out questions that might come up when that call center goes live and how much staffing they might need. And in that moment, I felt like, I know! I actually wrote a short paper on that. It felt nice to get some internal validation that I actually have some experience and may be able to contribute something. Of course, I didn't speak up because I've fallen out of the habit of participating in group discussions, but I hope to regain that skill again.

A Bad Call and Some Negative Thoughts

So as of late, I'm on heightened alert that I'm going to do something that forcibly separates me from my job. I just hate negative feedback, and it seems to be in no short supply these days. I take it personally, and it makes me feel as though my job is in jeopardy. Because who really knows what happens right before you lose your job.

Eventhough I have another company that said they want me, if something terrible happens at my current job, it will totally crush my confidence. I hope the Devil isn't going to use my negative thoughts against me.

My negative thoughts are telling me that my two team leads are in cahoots with the client and tracking all my "bad work" to let me go right before I try to leave on my own terms. We know this isn't actually true, because just last week, my actual manager asked me to cover an additional project beginning in mid-June. But I'm still convinced it could happen.

I think part of the reason I haven't told anyone about New Job is because I just have no faith in a happy outcome. For the last few memorable "Big Newsworthy" events, there was always a rocky road to the rainbow, and I don't want that to happen here.

I just feel like the Devil/ Fate/ Karma.. mostly the Devil is just waiting for me to get too happy so he can steal my "joy." Ugh.

So I had a call where a doctor was requesting an MSL (Medical Science Liaison). During the call, I figured I would either need to send it to the field team (commercial) or escalate it to Med Affairs in which case it would probably have to be a more specific question - not just a general request. Because using my experience has been met with such mixed results, I ended the call for the general request.

Then I decided to check with my team lead because I'm trying to shed myself of my prideful ways when it comes to work product, i.e. ask for and accept help and feedback. The Team Lead said that the escalation needed a specific question (one of my initial thoughts). So I called the doctor back and asked for a specific question. When I tried to confirm the question (what I'd been taught to do at my previous job), he started to get frustrated. I offered to review the information we had readily available (usually the expectation), and he got more frustrated.  The doctor said he didn't want the MSL to come out anymore, and he wasn't going to be using our product.

Womp, womp. Am I going to lose my job over this?! 

My mind automatically took that leap because there's such a disconnect between me and the client in terms of expectations, resolutions, and experience.

The thing is, when you're on a call, you can kind of feel out the mood and the disposition of the caller. But all the people who QC just want to make sure you follow the rules, even if you, as the Call Center Agent, don't feel as though the rules makes sense (here's why I am trying to table my pride).

Think about every time you've ever called a Call Center and even though you're frustrated and they didn't help you, the agent still asks you "is there anything else I can help you with" or "have I answered all your questions." As an agent, we get dinged for not saying or doing a prescribed number of things even if those things don't make sense for a given call.

So initially I knew the doctor just kind of wanted general support which is why I ended the initial call. But because I was trying to do better mixed with not trusting my own judgement anymore, I sought confirmation. Then I anticipated the Escalation Team coming back with "did you review the available information," so I tried to do that eventhough I could already sense the doctor again just wanted to have someone come out and talk with him.

Anyway I basically tried to pre-empt a problem, follow the rules, put my pride aside, and it seems to have just made the problem worse.

So now I'm going to be worrying about this. What if the client says they don't want me on the team anymore?

I was trying to be comforted by the fact that I'll be out of the office next Wednesday so I won't hear the feedback during the Team Meeting, but obviously if the outcome is more than negative feedback, it'll find me. I'll be crushed.

To make matters worse, I vented a little to the Lead via chat message and when she didn't respond, I tried to make amends. When she didn't respond to that, I got nervous that I made her mad. Luckily, she at least wrote back, and I got a little reassurance that I didn't do any lasting damage to her feelings.

In other news, I got a message from my Just-In-Case credit card that I needed to make a purchase by July 2020 or they were going to cancel my card. I hadn't used the card since 2016. Eh, I decided I still wanted to keep the card (as opposed to the 3 new ones I signed up for) and was craving some Mexican food.  So, I bought an $8.36 Fiesta Salad, and it was tasty. I have some frozen tortillas from a catered work lunch, so I hope to use that to make little wrap/burritos with the Salad leftovers.

It did help to spew this all out, so thank you for reading.

Happy Thursday!

P.S. - Just as I'm about to publish this post, I get another call that results in an escalation. Ugh. I just want to turn in my resignation letter already! The fear of a negative outcome is messing with my mind! While having a 6-month emergency fund might keep me off the streets, what emotional safety net can I string together to keep me out of the loony bin?! 

Struggling to Track Expenses and Income in the Time of COVID

So with all the new financial transactions I am dealing with these days - moving; COVID-related refunds and free money wins; buying a house; bank bonuses- I'm having trouble figuring out how to track everything.

Am I tracking Expenses? or Income? or Savings? 

Example.
Let's say I make $100 a year and I spent $20 in expenses. But then I got a refund for $2 on an expense. Do I add the Refund ($2) as Income or do I subtract it from Expenses?

I guess it depends on what exactly I'm tracking.

Refund as Income

Let's say I track the Refund as Income in my spreadsheet.

Total Income = $100 + 2 = $102
Expenses = $20
Difference: $102-20 = $82

Savings = $82
Savings Rate = 82/102 =  80.4%

Let's say I subtract the Refund from Expenses

Total Income = $100
Expenses = $20-2 = $18
Difference : 100-18 = $82

Savings = $82
Savings Rate = 82/100 =  82%

In our example, the Savings Amount doesn't change. But depending on where you track the Refund, either your Income increases or your Expenses decrease. And this in turn affects your Savings Rate, if you calculate Savings and Savings Rate as shown above.

Right now, I'm subtracting any applicable Refunds from the corresponding line Item in my Expenses sheet.  So for example, Progressive offered a $10 COVID credit to my car insurance premium for the month of April. I paid for my premium in January, but added the Refund as a credit in my expenses for May which is when the credit posted to my account.  This reduces the total expenses for this line item.

I think in the end I decided to track my Refunds as Expenses, as applicable. For the Progressive car insurance example, I can look back on it and see how much I actually had to pay Progressive for coverage for the year 2020.  And at the end of the year when it's all said and done, whatever I don't list as an expense is considered Savings!

Part of me did want to track all the COVID-related free money wins, but I think I'd have to create a separate spreadsheet for that. 

Here's how my expenses are looking so far this year.



I didn't include YTD totals because my totals don't really make sense right now. All in all my data is a little skewed because of new expense categories; the additional sources of income this year so far, particularly related to lump sums I've received in association with my Aunt's death; and the fact that my money refuses to shelter-in-place due to the opening of new and closing of old accounts.  The new accounts are partially due to bank bonuses and partially due to finding ways to optimize some of my current account holdings (e.g. online savings account for higher yields, new brokerage accounts, cashback debit card offerings, etc).

As always, my spreadsheet is in perpetual tweak mode.  Even though it's not quite perfect, it's a good start to see how much money is coming in (Income) and how much is going out (Expenses).  As the year progresses and I experience new money fluctuations, I'll just keep updating the spreadsheet as best as I can.

More Money Woes!

Oy, another 2.5 hours this morning chasing money. God, I promise I do love you best, but I get such an adrenaline rush solving these money problems, that is when I'm not angry or anxious or upset.

Today's money woes are with Fulton Bank. In trying to get a bank bonus available to only MD residents, I used my family's address in Maryland. I don't know what happened, but on Friday when I finally tried to use the debit card to meet their transaction requirements, my account disappeared and the card is blocked from further transactions.

I've called the customer service number and 3 branches and sent a secure message. They're all telling me I have to go into the branch to reset my pin and possibly verify something.

I can't seem to be able to close the account either. So I accepted that I was not going to be able to get this bonus, but I did not anticipate not being able to access the funds!!

Now what?

My last ditch effort is to try to pull the money externally. I wish I had thought of this on Friday, but alas I was trying to follow their rules (ha!).  My fear is that the transaction gets declined AND I get charged a $25-30 NSF fee from my bank. That would suck! As another safeguard, I also sent a secure message to close the account. Let's see which will be successful. I just hope my different tactics don't make the problem worse!

Lesson Learned: using different addresses sends up all sorts of red flags!!

So that's the start of my Wednesday, other than that, all is well!

The Deposit Finally Came And My Plans For It!

It has been a day of crazy online transactions, but I got a lot of online errands done! So yes, four months after my aunt's passing, I finally received my portion of her death benefit. I can write that without crying. Progress, friends.

I had about given up hope on it, but alas it is here so I won't dwell much longer on the road it took to get here.

Since this is a money blog, let's talk about all the money things!

My hope was to sequester this money until I figured out what to with it. My first hope is to churn it to generate $500 in bank bonus interest. I have my eye on two bonuses at PNC ($300 bonus) and HSBC (up to $825 bonus). So, I'm working on getting approved for those accounts.  Depending on how that goes, I'd like to keep the cash for at least 3 months until my Sept financial check-in.  Then, I'm leaning toward investing it in a Target Date Fund.

I like this plan because it keeps the deposit out of my regular funds; gives me time to think; and keeps it accessible during these COVID days.

Believe it or not, it took me most of the morning to come up with this plan, and I had already laid some groundwork ahead of time. HSBC tripped me up because there were 2 good offers and one  better one that expired but could come around again. Went with a bird in the hand. This brain of mine!

Then I called Spectrum and asked to have an overpayment reversed, and they put in a ticket for me. If that works, then I can move forward with my new plans for the 3 credit card spend requirements I have to meet. I spent a lot of time yesterday weighing out my options.

Money Movement Goals

Objective: Spend $1500 across 3 credit cards by Jun (1) and July (2)

Card 1:  $500 visa gift card purchased at a grocery store (should trigger a 5% cashback bonus) (next weekend)

Card 2: Split between Spectrum internet bill and upcoming auto-insurance premium (mid-June)

Card 3: Power bill (mid-June)

Such a weight lifted on my mind to have a plan for all these pending transactions, you have no idea!!

With as much time as tracking these bonuses take, this is officially a hobby/ interest! 

Dare I mention one account has just disappeared and my card was declined. Already called twice and sent a message, and issue has not resolved.

Work News and Resignation Ruminations
I re-read my resignation letter. I wrote it a week or two ago. It's pretty simple. I also wrote out some answers to questions I might get from my manger or co-workers. I have to say, y'all, I'm really nervous!! Is job-hopping during COVID what I really should be doing? But part of that risk is exciting to me, admittedly. I mean why not now?

Here are some of the responses I came up with. Feel free to tell me what you think!


Where are you going?
Manager(s): I'm not saying just yet…
Peers: I'm not saying just yet [just in case I have to come back]..

Why are you leaving?

Option 1: I'm ready to take a break from the call center.
Option 2/ Mgrs: Another company made me an offer I couldn't refuse. 

I won't bore you with the rest, but that's the gist. I haven't told ANYONE I got the job except for the internet-public.  Part of me wants to make sure it's really going to happen given COVID; part of me wants to keep my secret to myself for now; and another part just wants to make sure I get there and do a good job first.

And there were a couple calls at the Call Center but mostly my attention was split between figuring out where to stash my new funds and how to spend the old funds!

I hope you had a great day!

Leave All Stones Unturned

There was a point in my life where I would unturn all stones in all things. I'm not doing that anymore.  My Emotional Independence spreadsheet has boosted my self-esteem and sense of self-worth in terms of navigating peer relationships.  It was just so much emotional turmoil trying to reconnect with people and not being able to understand what exactly to do next.

Now that that's out of the way, on to money talk! Off we go!

As always, I spent most of my free time today on the Doctor of Credit site. Just clicking around and reading comments on bank bonuses and deals. I did not sign up for any new accounts, but I was tempted!! It got so bad, I left my house suddenly to go save $3 on a Visa gift card at Kroger. We don't have a Kroger nearby, so I tried at Harris Teeter. After almost an hour, downloading 2 apps, giving up all my personal information on my driver's license to get a new Harris Teeter savings card, I walked away with nothing!

Rolls eyes.

Now that I'm estimating not having to move to New City until August, I don't think I'm going to have enough opportunity to meet my $1500 spend requirement across the 3 new credit cards (and get $550 cashback). Initially I was going to easily spend $1k on a washer/ dryer. Then $500 on house furnishings.  That's why I got the 3 cards!  Then COVID kind of put the kibosh on that because I couldn't really go shopping and Lowe's wasn't able to come in and install the washer/dryer.  And now that I've identified and utilized a nearby laundromat, I've also lost the sense of urgency of having those appliances installed right away.

So I thought, no matter. I'm sure with moving and setting up a new apartment, I would easily spend $1k.  Again COVID put the kibosh on that.

So now I have 3 credit cards and 1 to 2 months to spend $1500 while sheltered-in-place.

Thinking out loud...
Some ideas include: buying Visa gift cards from the grocery store (one card is offering 5% cashback at grocery stores); the regular grocery store gift card; Walmart gift card; prepaying car insurance; prepaying Internet bill; or prepaying power bill.

Visa gift card - the pro is being able to use it everywhere; the con is not being able to track my expenses as dilligently; there is also the load fee which is a bit nullified by the cashback on the credit card

Regular grocery store gift card - I was thinking Food Lion; so I looked at 3 statements from 2019 to get an estimate of ~$32/mon at Food Lion. In a year, that's about $360.  Not quite the $500 I was hoping to knock out on one card. Plus, it would make me too anxious to carry around a gift card for a year or more. I like to streamline expenses.

Walmart gift card - pro is that this is probably the store I frequent the most; con is not being able to track expenses; again having to take around an extra card and remember to use it

Prepaying car insurance - I don't think I would want to prepay more than 6 months, but I suppose I could be convinced otherwise

Prepaying internet bill - to reach $500, that would be prepaying almost 7 months. That just seems extreme considering I'll be splitting my time between homes

Prepaying power bill - at an estimated $125/mon, this would be about 4 months of prepay which is a little more palpable; con is there's a $2.50 convenience fee to pay by card, however this would be covered by the 1.5% cashback from the credit card. 

Le sigh. It's just a few things to think about; I know in the end I will just make the easiest decision rather than trying to unturn every cost-savings.

I don't like churning credit card bonuses because I don't really have large expenses.  I'm already looking forward to cancelling them. I might leave one open so that whenever I do get to set up house, it'll be nice to get a few nickels in cashback.  But it's still just a maybe.

Bye!


Emotional Independence, Timelines and a Modest Proposal

I had quite the eventful Sunday. To make it better - I don't have to work tomorrow! It's Memorial Day. The passage of time, as I'm sure many are aware, is quite unremarkable when you're sheltered in place. Nothing about this day feels like the kickoff to summer it usually is.

I've spent the day with my mind a buzz. It started off early with an little emotional fiasco. That did kickoff a brand new spreadsheet in which I listed out my personal and professional contacts by emotional risk categories. You see - earlier this week I lamented about the psychological impact on this single girl when someone leaves my messages unanswered. I'd really had enough - both with people treating me the way they do, and my responses to it.




We are all seeking financial independence, but in light of the unofficial kickoff to the carefree days of summer and coming national Independence Day, I'm taking one giant leap toward Emotional Independence. I'm tired of being indebted to fractured friendships and entrapped within my own emotional prison. I want to be free to feel free of confusing emotional entanglements.  So I created a spreadsheet with which to track, inform, and guide my interpersonal relationships, emotional history, response times, and social obligations.  One of the best things I use to soothe my anxious mind is a plan.

Examples only


When I first attempted to solve this problem, I tried to apply blanket rules to everyone - for example, after 3 unanswered messages, I take a timeout from that person for 3 months. But it was difficult to make that equitable because I have varying amounts of contact with individual people. For example, what if someone leaves 3 of 5 total messages unanswered  vs someone I talk to more regularly who leaves 3 of 100 messages unanswered. It doesn't make sense that they would have the same consequence.

So now I'm trying to set up general guidelines by emotional risk category. And then I left spaces for 3 boundaries/modifications as again my relationship and interaction with each person is different. Since, the need for guidelines and boundaries ultimately stems from the impact interaction with each individual might have on my mood or emotional state, I started there.

This is just the first draft. So I'm allowing myself room for changes, adjustments, and tweaking. To make things easier, I called an official cease-fire to any future attempts to foster or fan the flames of old friendships. I just want to move forward with my new guidelines in place as a guide (a bit on the nose, I know).

Timelines
After getting more insight on how other companies within my industry are opening up their doors, I am leaning toward the possibility of not having to move until August. I think with states and local communities having to make decisions for K-12 students and college students, I think there will be a greater sense of urgency for things re-opening in August.  I was already safely betting on moving no earlier than July 4, and now I am thinking it will be no earlier than August 1, which happens to be a Saturday. Exhale.

I haven't made an official post, but I moved up my death date to the year I turn 45. I can't think of the exact date right now, but I guess nothing really changes about my remaining time in the workforce. It goes a little something like this.

Jun to Dec 2020: New job. New job is my priority. My goal is to excel, be the best. Be everything I haven't been in my current job -  be excited, excel, outperform, create value, be social, wear nice good looking professional clothes, be kind, have a great attitude. I want to make this job a priority, my primary focus. Everything else is secondary. Not that I think this job is A, B, or C. No, I just want to focus on something and given my background goal is financial independence, making work my priority seems to be a good place to start.

Jan to Dec 2021: Continue to do a good job at New Job. Make work my primary focus, from which all decisions are made.  Do a great job to get maximum annual bonus, and if possible, shoot for a raise.

Oct 2021: Plan a 2 -3 week trip to Spain + Portugal. [Note the change. If I stayed at Call Center 2, I was hoping to do Spain in Oct 2020 and Portugal in Oct 2021 before The Final Countdown.]

Jan to March 2022: Stay at New Job long enough to get the annual bonus for the 2021 fiscal year. If I'm planning to work the full 2021 year, might as well stay long enough to get the bonus.  Also, March 2022 can serve as an alternate date for the Spain/Portugal trip since my preference was to take a big trip  right before resigning. And it's also my birthday month. In 2022, I'll be turning 38. Wowzers!

After receiving bonus, resign, move back to "Beach House" full time and begin Final Countdown.

A Modest Proposal
I am supposed to be giving my two weeks notice this coming Friday. It's scary somehow. I'm a bit more nervous than excited.

I haven't had that many professional gigs. So this is the first time I'm actually leaving one job for another.  My first full-time office job I had right out of high school. I was laid off. Then I quit teaching full-time with no job lined up. Then I quit my HR job to go back to school. Then I quit Call Center #1 with no job lined up. And this brings me to Call Center #2.

At Call Center #2, I am on a team of about 6, and I am the only one that works the late shift every week. There are two other girls that alternate late shift week. As a result of working the late shift, I provide evening coverage for 3 other projects after 5p.

It doesn't seem likely, but I'm curious what I would do if Call Center #2 tried to get me to stay. New Job is offering me $120k base salary. Additionally, their bonus incentive is higher; their health insurance premiums are lower; and they match 6% 401k, vested immediately where Call Center #2 matches 4.5% and has currently ceased matching due to COVID.

My default answer was I'd stay at Call Center #2 for $120k carelessly thinking I'd be walking away from sooo much more money at New Job. But in reality, my base salary at New Job is in fact $120k. Yes, New Job's bonus incentive is higher, so in 2021, I might make a little bit more, but then I remembered I'd only get credit for half the year so that would make it about even with Call Center #2.

I think one important factor to consider is the fact that I hope to exit the workforce when I reach $250k, or in or around end of 2021.  Staying at the Call Center would just make my life that much easier (albeit frustrating); I could just stay in my house and continue working from home.

Thinking out loud...
But even if I don't plan on having a career much more than 2 years, I think I still struggle with how to use Death Date. In this moment, I still want to do my best. Death Date is approaching whether I decide (at age 45) or God decides (whenever). In this moment, until I actually die I still want to live "my best life." But do I? So, I still should aim to achieve. Right? In theory, I would want to progress my career because I have the talent and it's an opportunity for growth. Until I actually call it, I think I should want to continue to progress, achieve, excel, and succeed.  Right??

I'm not even convinced.  If Call Center #2 offered me $120k to stay, I would seriously consider the offer. I'd love to say I'd choose the growth opportunity at New Job, but I don't know. If I can make just about the same money and have an easier life staying put, why wouldn't I choose that.

What I will say is, if I thought I had 30 more years in the workforce, then New Job would be the obvious choice. So maybe I'll go with that logic?

When I was struggling with how to allocate my investments, I was torn between allocating based on my early retirement age vs traditional retirement age. I ended up choosing the default of traditional retirement age because compound interest favors a greater time horizon and early retirement still seems like this abstract idea. So maybe using early Death Date vs traditional Death Date to inform decisions will have to be on case-by-case basis. Now I'm just rambling off on a tangent. I think for now, if I were offered $120k to stay at Call Center #2, I would still move forward with New Job because the potential to earn more still exists while still being able to meet my current savings goals. Additionally, it ticks off an archived goal of getting out of the Call Center and finally getting a once-coveted job with Big Pharma.

Shortages
Um... what are people actually doing for toilet paper and paper towel supplies. I have enough for at least a month that could stretch to at most 2 months. What happens then?

Do Not Send Emotionally Charged Emails On Sundays, MERJ!

When will I listen to my own rules. This is when going through steps to retrain an anxious mind would have helped, namely: Examine all the facts!

My brother asked me to make Rice Krispie treats. He lives in Maryland. I have a friend in Maryland who "owes" me some birthday brownies. I asked Friend to make the Rice Krispie treats. I asked Brother on Friday if he could pick them up Sunday. When he didn't respond, at 7a this morning I cancelled it. Then I looked at my timeline of events, i.e. examining all the facts.

11pm Friday - I asked [via Google Hangouts] if Brother could pick up Rice Krispie treats in Exampletown, MD.

12:30am Saturday - He confirms yes [via Google Hangouts].

12:05pm Saturday - I asked [via email] if he could pick up Rice Krispie treats in Exampletown, MD.
[I was not home on my laptop so I couldn't see the Hangouts response.]

3:27pm Saturday - He confirms yes to Exampletown, MD [via email].

9p Saturday- I give him the exact time and exact address of Friend's House to pick up Rice Krispie treats. [sent via text, email, and Hangouts]

I check my email periodically for a few hours later and ultimately head to bed around 1a.

By 7a Sunday, there's still no response. So my brain immediately recalls all his past unflakiness. I'm annoyed that I now have to be checking email all day Sunday to make sure he shows up at Friend's House. My thoughts fast-forward to the future conversation I'll have to have with Friend when he doesn't show up. I work myself into a tizzy.

I'm vacillating between calling the whole thing off.  And then I do - via text, email, and Google Hangouts. To both my Friend and Brother. And then no less than 5 minutes later, I realize my message was sent quite late last night, and this is an acceptable time for someone not to be actively checking their messages. So, I say it's back on again - via text, email, and Google Hangouts. To both my Friend and Brother. 

Not taking a beat and having to consider patterns of behavior of both parties just added to the stewpot of madness.  What's it like to just turn off your mind? What's it like to not have what you know about others be weighed into your own decision-making process?

How this could have been prevented? I knew I didn't like having social obligations on the weekends. I only agreed to Sunday to accommodate my working-mom Friend's availability. I know my brother's general history of flakiness. I knew my brother was going to be in his new place this week, so on reflection, there was a chance he'd be moving this weekend. I know people in my life are historically unresponsive on the weekends.

Had I examined all the facts before freaking out, I would have realized, my brother had indeed confirmed twice. I would have considered the weekend factor. I would have considered not that much time had passed between messages, especially given the weekend.

I let my (non-clinical) anxiousness get the best of me. And I know when it's happening, and I still just say whatever... I just want to feel something other than this feeling.  I'm tired of being broken and still making emotionally charged mistakes at 36.  I want to be a whole fully functioning adults. I let someone else's sense of urgency and the fear of having to clean up a potential mess fuel my decision-making. I'm better than this. I've grown beyond this. This is a child's mistake. I can do better.

Adventures at the Laundromat

Loaded the car around 10a to head to the laundromat. I just picked the first one that popped up during a quick Internet Search. They had a website and a Facebook page.

As I drove to my destination, I started to wonder how much it would cost. A blogger I follow credits herself $3.50 for each load of laundry, so I used that as my starting point. I figured I would spend about $10 across 3 loads and hoped that's what I had in cash in my purse.

My destination was 3.5 miles away, and when I arrived I was happy to learn it was not busy. I left the laundry in the backseat and headed in to poke around and get the lay of the land. The first washer read $11.25. What! That can't possibly be true? So I looked around some more jotting down the prices. Prices ranged from $3 to $11.25 to wash and $0.75 for 17 minutes in the dryer with signs recommending 34 minutes to dry ($1.50).

Conceivably, the wash was more than I was expecting. Since I was halfway thinking I'd do 3 loads, I realized I wouldn't have enough cash to do that.  The wash bin for the $3 wash load looked so tiny but I don't know if that was because of the space or what. I took note of how to load the card and was pleased to learn there wasn't a "card fee." When I've used reloadable cards before, I've had to pay some sort of fee for the service. That's a Free Money Win in my book!

I must have looked extremely confused because an employee approached me and offered to help. I said I was just confused because I didn't expect it to be $11.25 to wash one load of laundry. He said, the machines have numbers on them that tell you how many loads each machine can wash.

Oh!

So for example the $3 machine are supposed to do a double load and the $11.25 is supposed to do 8 loads. I don't know if you ever had those small round plastic laundry bins in college or as a child, but that's about how much I would say 1 load would be.

Once he pointed out the numbers (with images), it all started to make sense. I took notes of the prices and corresponding load size and went back to my car to figure out what I could consolidate.

My main priority was washing the bedding and towels because being WFH I had an unending supply of clothes.  So I grouped those together and pictured them fitting in the $7.25 (6 loads) machine. From there I just kept adding to the pile from the rest of the laundry until I made a pile big enough to feel as though I was getting my money's worth without the risk of bleeding colors.

I know these commercial dryers get really hot and dry clothes quickly, so I planned on $1.50 to dry  with a $1.50 buffer because of a 100% cotton blanket that absorbs water as cotton is made to do.

I get in to Laundromat #1; load my clothes; go to the card machine to buy a wash card and remember seeing a video on their Facebook page about doubling your money. Since I didn't see any signs advertising this, I checked the Facebook page again. It was for a different location! Grrr.. I was already in motion! Should I stay or should I go? I started to sweat a little and realized I had nothing else to do and why should I care that I look a little crazy walking back out with my dirty clothes.

So back I went to my car with my dirty clothes.  By now, it's after 11a. The friendly employee asked me what was wrong, and I explained that the other location was offering double your money. He confirmed that was true and that Laundromat #1 offered the same promotion in April. Well darn!

Now that I knew what to do, my escapade at Laundromat #2 was very simple. I loaded the card with  $5 which presto! turned into $10. Loaded the 6-load washer, and again a friendly bystander offered to help because I was reading all the directions.




My clothes fit; I started the machine and was mesmerized for the 24-minute wash cycle.

I soon realized either I didn't use enough detergent or my detergent is low suds. I think I was a little flustered with the soap dispenser. In general, I'm always a bit dubious with liquid soap dispensers. Because as soon as I poured my detergent into the dispenser, it disappeared. I didn't see it go into the wash bin. When the wash cycle started, I still didn't notice any suds, so I added more detergent, and then a little bit more.

It made me think back to the last 5 years of laundry. I noticed over the years that my clothes had more and more stains that weren't removed in the wash. I'd always thought this was due to the HE washer that came with my studio, but now I'm starting to wonder if it wasn't because of the liquid detergent mysteriously disappearing in the front load washer.

After another uneventful 34 minutes, my clothes were done drying as well.
I forgot how efficient a laundromat could be.
In a house, this would've been an all day affair.
For time-savings alone, I'd come back to the laundromat.

Given COVID (which affects Lowe's coming into the house to install a washer/dryer); my possible move in the near future; and the 2 for 1 deal at the laundromat, I went ahead and put $5 more dollars on the card = $10 credit.

I don't see myself moving any earlier than July 4, so I'll be in the house at least 1 more month. So I know I'll make use of at least 1 more trip to the Laundromat. The promotion ends at the end of May, so I'll think more on if I might need to make any additional trips to the Laundromat.

Lessons learned - $5 is a great deal to get 4-6 loads of laundry done, but cause for pause for the actual price of $10. The 1 hour time frame to finish 4-6 loads of laundry definitely outweighs the inconvenience of traveling to the laundromat.  If I do end up with a front load washing machine in the Townhouse, I may need to switch to powder detergent.

17 minutes until my shift ends

Another blessedly uneventful week. My mind is still in a state of unrest.

Things I'm trying to keep track of:


  • Why did Fulton bank close my account? And where did the money go? Will I get it back? Will I get it back in two weeks? I called twice and they couldn't tell me anything. I really hope it wasn't fraud.
  • Oh, man! I wish I had done the requirement for the bank bonus before Fulton closed my account. 
  • Where is my stimulus check?
  • I have to go to the laundromat tomorrow. I kind of don't want to. I hope I don't forget the bedding and towels. 
  • I ate way too many sweets this week and today.
  • Why doesn't anybody want to be my friend?
  • Ugh, what am I going to do with this hair! This is the third time I'm trying to tackle it. Then I remember how much I hate doing hair. It's so dry and ratty now. 

Had a 1-on-1 with my manager today. It was less than 10 minutes. This time I did not voice any concerns because I knew nothing would change. When she told me I'd be taking on a new project in mid-June, I was actually elated. This meant all the negative feedback I thought we were being told about our work probably hadn't reached her. This meant I was not near the chopping block as my mind tried to fool me into thinking. This meant too, it'll be easy to be agreeable because I hope to be starting my new job by then. 

Finally I was able to complete my onboarding tasks for New Job. I changed my preferred name to something short and easy. I hope it doesn't mess up my direct deposits. One thing I like about Call Center 2 (my current job) is that I can add up to 6 banks on my direct deposit. New Job only allows 3. I actively use 4 slots now for my regular financial transactions - main checking account, savings account for investments, regular savings, and the debit card I use for my monthly allowance of $400.  And I have been using the other 2 slots to meet direct deposit requirement for my bank bonuses

On Direct Deposits
When completing onboarding forms for New Job I thought I'd only be able to add 1 direct deposit to payroll until I actually started. That was not the case, so for no reason at all, I quickly decided to just do 2 direct deposits - main checking and savings account for investments. I figured I could move money to regular savings and my monthly allowance debit card from checking. It's an extra step on my end, but hopefully it'll still be easy to visualize and track. I left one spot open for future bank bonuses. 

After I submitted everything though, I realized I'd rather add the $209/pp for regular savings to the direct deposit going to the savings account for investment vs main checking. I'd rather just have savings start in the right place. I prefer not to see money that's allocated for savings in my checking account at all. There is some psychology to savings after all, at least for me anyway.  I set a notification on Calendar, so I hope I remember what I meant and execute it successfully. 

While the reason for hurrying is unknown, I will give myself some credit for my thought process. I was initially concerned with reaching the limit of 6 withdrawals per month because I already have 3 regular withdrawals coming out of the savings account I use for investments, but I think it'll be fine given my historical financial patterns. I don't typically make unscheduled investments.

What else? 
Well my shift is over. I had hoped to do some stretches to transition into the weekend and put my mind at ease, but I don't want to. Yoga and stretching end up activating me and I'm in quite a languid state of mind right now. 

Oh, how could I forget!?! I got another $75 bank bonus today for referring a friend to Varo! Free money Wins!!

Free Money Wins!

Last night I got one more free bank bonus of $200!



And yesterday was already kind of a not bad day. I think it was yesterday?

Well one of the days, I vacuumed the upstairs including the actual stairs; I did 2 loads of dishes; and returned the router to Spectrum - this involved standing for 45 minutes outside in cool wet weather to save $5.

I'm not even sure they're going to take the $5 off my account without me having to call someone because I think I actually have to change my Internet plan. In fact, I'm pretty sure they're not. The lady at the store was of course less than helpful and by the time I got in the store, I was out of resolve.  Part of it was my fault, I used the wrong words, and by the time I realized it I was already out of the store.

Then I got a call (as I work in a call center)...and I lost my train of thought...

But to follow-up on the post I just published, I actually re-sent 2 emails to a colleague who had left them unanswered.  This did trigger a response - success!

...

Then 2 days passed...

I started writing this post Wednesday morning. It's now Thursday at 9p. Two work shifts later and I'm having a little bit of trouble winding down my day. Still desiring a daily download (preferably with another human).  Until then, it's me and you, dear blog.

Today was rather busy much like yesterday. I logged 4 calls that took me much of the day to document. I actually used the suggested question template and it helped with my call flow and documentation, so I'm thankful about that. I'm still letting my pride get in the way of doing the amount of data entry the project is asking for. It's just unnecessary and tedious and needlessly frustrating. It just plucks my nerves...anyway, let me stop lest I go spinning.

The team meeting this week was especially demoralizing, and I'm feeling checked out. But it's way too early for that.  So, I persist. I'm trying to humble myself and do the job I'm being asked to do, but I just don't want to.

My job is fine and I am lucky to be employed.

I can't help but countdown the days to my next job (of which I am pretty terrified).

I started teaching a colleague's kids 2 words a day in 5 to 15 min increments. It's a win if he can even repeat the word of the day. The first day was a disaster. He had a meltdown and was not having any of it! None.

I think I made a mental early retirement note somewhere to add summer school/camp seasonal work to my early retirement summers. I'll need something to cover my $900/yr in facility fees to the power company.

I made crockpot terriyaki chicken with a powder seasoning packet. Edible.

The same colleague from above is expecting 2 bank bonuses to hit tomorrow- those were amusing to get because they involved some shenanigans.

My routine of the last few days has involved watching 1 - 2 episodes of Jane the Virgin on iPad in bed before my shift starts at work.  The last couple evenings I followed up with a few episodes of  Sweet Magnolias after work. I like the routine.

Haven't tried much to watch TV during the workday because the phone lines at the Call Center are picking back up.

I finally stopped checking the mail daily because I realized I'm expecting nothing.  (My stimulus check is not getting forwarded, unless I ask my old leasing office to check the box and personally mail it to me. Yikes!)

I actually made the effort to speak to a customer service person to get a bank bonus application approved. That's a small win for me!

Still haven't been able to login to my new job's onboarding site. I think once that starts working again, I'll be more motivated to actually start plotting my wardrobe.  I want to get as much of my personal errands done as possible before Jun 15, preferably by May 30, before the mental load of the new job hits. I'm still working under the presumption that I'll be moving no sooner than July 4th.  I'm trying to think worst case scenario...and can't seem to think of when the latest I could be moving is at the moment.

I tried to call Lowe's to see if they were back to offering in-home installation but there was no answer. I didn't want to frustrate myself, so the plan is to head to a laundromat this weekend.

I still wake up feeling a low level of apprehension or unease as though it's Christmas Eve and there are no decorations. But I can't verbalize what has got me entrapped in this sense of disquietude.

What am I looking forward to/ on my agenda:


  • Figuring out my hair
  • Getting laundry done/ going to laundromat

Upon reflection, this is more a list of what outcomes I can control at the present moment.  I think just this general state of limbo - between jobs; between  housing; COVID limitations on everyday life - is contributing to my mental unrest. 

I keep trying to treat it like a long staycation, something I usually like, but the new job has really added a new layer of unknowns. 

What message are you trying to send when you leave a message unanswered?

This is a question on my mind lately as I navigate the waters 1 year after trying to reconnect with friends. Everyone had changed externally except for me; along with the way we were was the way we communicate. None of the friendships easily picked up where they left off. Just about all were easily abortable.

But I hung on by a few loose threads...of electronic communication.

With a a new venture ahead of me, I am trying to filter through the madness.

I mostly email or use G-chat messages to communicate with people outside of the office (for reasons related to my sanity).  Personal emails or messages go unanswered for days, weeks, in the case of one - months.

I don't mind following up because I think it's funny to disrupt whatever message people think they are trying to convey and see what they do. But if I am to pursue any sort of lasting relationship with these people, I need to know what the silence means?

I get it - you're all moms, you're busy. 

“You create for people an environment where they feel as though they could be responded to instantaneously, and then people don’t do that. And that just has anxiety all over it,” says Sherry Turkle, the director of the Initiative on Technology andSelf at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

I've been approaching the follow-ups differently. Instantly offended. Then moving on and following-up anyway because sometimes I have nothing else to do. Quickly forgiven because I know they're busy and that would be their excuse anyway. Simultaneously remembering this is why we stopped being friends anyway -  our friendship (and thus I) stopped being a priority.  It stings.  They're just not that into me. Surreptitiously reminding myself that person can never return to an inner circle of friendship. Instantly reminded that the circle no longer exists. Bouncing back to why I contacted them anyway - I just craved some interaction with human life. Is this still a safe thing for me to do emotionally, if I keep coming back to this negative emotional space? 

Then I read this from The Atlantic.

“I think people react strongly to [the protagonist] because he radically rejected everything that is supposed to make us happy—meaningful relationships, a fulfilling career, material comfort—yet he was content in the woods.”

Then I reflect. Why am I pursuing this thing again when I already know the outcome - me, the single girl, last one on the totem pole, ignored, unheard, unseen. How am I getting sucked back into this cycle? And I am empowered again to continue this life alone...until the next bout of free time with nothing to do with my hands.

And the day got a little bit better

I feel much better than I did this morning. Here's why...


  • I re-confirmed some plans - my panacea for all things angsty
    • May 30: reassess if getting washer/ dryer
    • Jun 15: reassess if moving to The City
    • July 15: personal deadline to reach spending requirement on Credit Card 2 and 3 (because by this time, I will have had the chance to either spent the $1k on w/d or moving!!)
  • I ate cookies
  • I just decided not to panic when 3 calls came in at the last minute
    • Luckily although they were long, one was 20 minutes, I don't think it'll take 4 hours to document tomorrow
    • I went ahead and finished 1 call before tomorrow
  • I double checked resignation guidelines for Call Center 2 (two weeks is all that is required)
  • I didn't obssessively check the mail
    • Having realized the stimulus check isn't going to be forwarded to my new address
    • Having realized my other deposit will come when it comes
    • Having frozen my yet-to-arrive Chase card
  • I made alternate plans for the bank bonus I signed up for in anticipation of the deposit I thought I was going to receive (and didn't)
  • I started spending on Credit Card 1 to reach the $500 spending requirement for the bonus
    • Having realized furniture is on hold for the forseeable future
    • Even found a way to track it (even though with COVID, moving, the new house and switching jobs, my expenses are all over the place in terms of line items)
  • I spoke to my pedantic peer, and I mostly didn't get mad

Thought it was worthwhile to update my day on the upswing, since it started out so frantically. 

Monday morning angst and a regret

With nothing to do with my time, it seems like forever when I am waiting for something to happen.  I've been avoiding Wespath because talking to them makes me upset. But in a moment of weakness, last Thursday no less, I sent them a quick email asking them to go ahead with the deposit.

Thinking they were as anxious to get rid of me as I them, I hoped the deposit would post Friday. It didn't. When nothing posted this morning, I was already wondering what the heck happened. I had tried to table thoughts about them for 6 weeks from now in hopes I would not be as emotionally labile. Fail.

I didn't want to even sign into their secure messaging platform to check their response to my recent request. But I couldn't stop waking up each morning anticipating the deposit either. I had avoided their last voicemail and email messages.

It was a battle between anxiously awaiting the deposit to post at unknown time - so thinking about it first thing in the morning- or risking how their unknown response to my request was going to affect me.  But alas, my impatience got the best of me, and I checked. I hoped for the best possible outcome - eliminating an unknown, i.e. that the email would provide me with confirmation of the date the deposit would post.

It didn't. I regret checking.

I wish I had just checked in with myself and realized not that much time has passed - 2 business days. I wish I had waited at least until the message expired. I didn't want to give them the satisfaction of engaging with them. I want them to feel ignored as they did me. But alas, they win again. The message didn't even give me a timeline. So I got nothing out of it, not even the empowerment of my own restraint. Super fail.

So that's my Monday.

And for some reason, I am feeling extremely warm in the office.

And now all I can think about are the other things I haven't done...


  • Vacuum the stairs
  • Change the air filters
  • Unload the dishwasher
  • Load the dishwasher
  • Clean the kitchen
  • Vacuum upstairs
  • Take the router back
  • Buy an outdoor trash container
  • Why can't I log-in to the onboarding site? 

I make up my mind to do something, and I just let events and people derail me. I don't like that. 

9 minutes later...

As I preview my post, I realize this is not the catastrophe my mind has warped it to be. I weighed the not knowing and waking up angsty for an unknown period of time with the possibility that the email would reveal new information. Although, the email did not give me an exact date the deposit would post, it was a fair gamble. I was trading the possibility of a known to get me out of the gray weeds of the unknown. There was a possibility that there would be an end date to this emotional circus.  I had to give up some power for that trade. That's just the reality. 

To be fair to myself, my response to them on Thursday was after 2 recent voicemails from them and an unanswered email from them the day before. Additionally, I had reached a calm place and wanted to resolve the issue with them a) so they would stop contacting me (ruining my plan to keep them out of my thoughts) and b) so I could have this issue resolved before my life got busier with my new job. 

Exhale. 

What can I do moving forward?
I shall do my best to disengage from the process.
I shall accept that there's nothing more I'm willing to do to speed up the process. 
I shall not follow-up with them anytime between now and the next 6 weeks (to give my emotions time to reset). 
I shall stop being so concerned about money - it's been occupying way too much of my thoughts outside of this. 

I Made it to the Beach!

I did it! I actually did it! I think I was in my 20s the last time I went to the beach, but don't quote me. I did it and I did it by myself.  That might be a first, but I don't want to think too hard on that one.

I woke up after 9a still unsure what I was going to do. I felt the urge. I thought my aunt would like it if I went, so I got out of bed. I thought there's nothing I really have to do today, so I started to get ready.

I hauled my rolling backpack out of the closet along with my old work cooler. I loaded 2 rolls, ham, chips, a juice box, carrots, and 1 Cherry Coke into the cooler. Whoops, I lost all the ice packs during the move. One of them was leaking, and I figured I'd be going nowhere anytime soon, so tossed them all.  I added a semi-full jug of water into the cooler, as well.

In the rolling back pack went my brand new beach towel, beach bottoms (that I hand-washed this morning), iPad (for e-book and audiobook), and another bag of warm clothes collected from pieces that I found strewn about the house. Sometimes after a beach day, I just feel sooo cold, so I brought that bag just in case; I also wanted a plastic bag for wet things.  Off I went, then remembered, I didn't have a bikini top packed! Whoops, back into the house.

As predicted, it was about a 2 hour drive. Not much traffic but I did see a few cars ahead of me with beach gear. There are quite a few beaches in that easterly direction (obviously), so more than one of us had the same idea.

I took the scenic route, let my hair down, and let my fingers sift through the breeze.

I couldn't figure out the parking when I arrived, so I parked on a grassy patch I saw a couple other cars parked. Going to the beach is so much better with less traffic and less sun! 

This is more of a beach town, so there's not a boardwalk or anything like that. It was a good number of people - more or less one row deep- along the beachfront.  Lots of little kids and grandparents, it seemed to me.

I stayed just shy of 5 hours. I even got in the water -twice. The first time it just felt too cold. The second time I was on a mission. I came out here to let go of my burdens, to feel weightless. Between Hour 3 and 4, I finally got in. I let the waves push me around, knock me down, wash over me, refresh me.  I let out out a few yelps. I'd love to say I came out completely healed and renewed. I didn't.

Most of the afternoon, I spent watching the waves, catching some zzz's, snacking, read a little bit, checking email, worrying about unknowns, and surfing the internet. Mostly what I did at home, just outside.

I'm glad I went anyway!


8:14pm - Another Work Week, done and dusted

I couldn't log-off without reflecting on my week, or at least the day, or at least the last few hours.

I was looking forward to so many things this week. Some of these things include - receipt of the stimulus check, my new credit card, perhaps a deposit from an outstanding transaction, churning some more bank bonuses, completing onboarding paperwork for my new job, maybe some clarity on my next stage in life.

I'm not sure where the stimulus check is these days. I really wanted it direct deposited - not only to meet a requirement for a bank bonus but so I could track it since my address changed after my last tax return. I mean who even knows what happens if I don't receive it. I just hope it's not stolen. Good thing I hadn't really earmarked it for anything.

I'm giving Chase another 2 week grace period to send the credit card because I know they have been busy.

I'm chucking the deposit from XXX down the road.

I've reached the max on bank bonuses because now I just get denied, so I'm not sure what to do with my hands during free time at work. Hmmm...

I'm stumped about the onboarding paperwork. I just can't log onto the site. But I know with large corporations, once you veer off the happy trail, it's hard to get things corrected. I guess I can only hope it's fixed before I start. I am happy that I at least have written confirmation that I'm cleared to start. And on Day 1, I'll have access to real Workday, so that'll be good.

As for my life, I made some mental notes to re-assess quite a few things.

Washer/ dryer - check back in 2 weeks (May 30)
Furniture for new house (incl couch, tables, robovac, etc) - hold off until living here permanently; will move leftover earmarked money to House Fund Savings Account.
Security system - probably purchase in 2 weeks

When shall I move?
Right now, I'm estimating having to be on site in The City no earlier than Mon, Jul 6 (two weeks after my hire date).
With that as a tentative goal, I would anticipate moving the weekend of Jul 4.
Obviously this is a moving target, but it gives me at least a timeframe to start from.


Personal life
I missed my old college roommate's birthday by a few days. I used to feel really bad about something like this, but these days I just let it go. I definitely don't feel the pressure I once did to be a "good friend." Everyone I know has made it abundantly clear that their friendship with me is low on the priority totem pole. 

I have identified an emotional space I would like filled. I think I would benefit from having an interaction with a human where I could download my day for 20 or 30 minutes to an hour at least 5 times a week. If I were to imagine it, it would be an easy low-stakes interaction Sun - Thurs after work. I'd love at least 1 free day (Saturday) where I'm not obligated to talk to anyone. And I know Sunday after 5p is always an unhappy time - the dread of the upcoming work week, so I'd definitely want the interaction on that day.

It would be a space where I felt seen and heard. It would be regular, structured, and reliable. It would be one where I always felt good after wards. I would be willing to be that for someone else.

I don't know if this space exists in the current world because humans are so tricky and so unreliable - myself included. But if it did, I sure could use it.   I tried integrating friends back into my life beginning in 2019, and it just didn't produce the results I desired.



9:34am Thoughts - Neighbor, Funeral, Moving

So like the dummy of wishful thinking I am, I, of course, got back on line and the first thing I did was check if Wespath had made a deposit. Nope.  If it wasn't there at 4a, it's not going to be there at 9a. I'm so curious what the reason is, but I refuse to open their emails and listen to their voicemails, lest I break out into tears. I haven't cried in a few days and I'd like to keep it that way.

Other thoughts in my brain at the moment...


  • Why is the neighbor's music still bumping? It was on when I went to bed last night; it was on at 4a and it's still on? How can you listen to thumping music at 9a? Oh, the world! 

  •  I'm excited about possibly opening a new account for bank bonus today. The site said originally it's for Illinois residents only, but some out of state people have been successful. So I'll prob try today if I have free time! That's exciting.

  • I think anxiousness will get the best of me for the Fulton bank bonus. The methods I tried for direct deposit haven't triggered anything, so I might try to meet the debit card transaction requirement instead. My goal is to do it entirely online.  I'm letting impatience win because that bonus should post by next week if I get the transactions done in the next few days.

  • I think I mentally decided to push the move to the City until Jul 1. Meaning, I don't see myself moving to The City for the new job any earlier than July 1. I might either move that weekend or re-assess. 

  • I was scheduled to have 2 days bereavement leave in early June for the memorial service for Aunty MERJ, but the service has been postponed due to COVID. I want to still have the 2 days off, since as of this current moment, I'll be resigning that position anyway. Thus, I won't need to save that time.  My hesitation is that on more than one occasion our project lead has been asking people to update the Time Off Calendar if plans changed due to COVID. I have a feeling it'll be mentioned in passing.  Although the Nervous Nelly I am wants to nip it in the bud now, it's worth waiting until the last minute if the reward is having 2 days off! 

Ahhhh man!

After being rejected for 3 bank bonuses and spending most of my free time yesterday looking for alternate bonuses, I just checked my bank account and the Wespath $$$ didn't post!

My goal was to split the money across no more than 2 accounts to try to generate $500 in bonuses.

Grr! Well, then I guess I'm glad I only was able to open 1 bank bonus yesterday in anticipation of this deposit. I did find an alternate though with HSBC. It was so late and their requirements were so complicated, I decided to hold off until I actually received the Wespath payout. Good on me!

I'm still hoping maybe the funds will post later today, but that's not likely. Grr. I haven't been opening their emails or listening to their voicemails. I still don't plan to engage until my previously scheduled time around mid-June.

That's 3 outstanding financial transactions now - Chase card, stimulus check, and now Wespath payout.

Alright, it's 4a...I'm going to try to get some more sleep.

Cleared for hire and a Beach Day!


1:12pm Phew! After mild panicking this morning about not being able to log onto Big Pharma's onboarding site, I just got a confirmation that I'm cleared for hire. You know my mind just thought the worst - I can't log-in because I don't have the job anymore. So, the email was a welcomed affirmation.

Still can't log-in. I guess I'll try again tomorrow? I've sent two emails now - 1 to the recruiter and 1 to the guy I've been working with for onboarding. Still awaiting a response.

In the meantime, after much hemming and hawing, I applied for the PenFed bank bonus and was DENIED. I had already said I was going to wait till June after a couple recent rejections, but you know me - can't wait.  Well that stopped that train. I wish I had just applied 2 days ago and been denied instead of spending the last 2 days giving it my mental energy just thinking about applying.

If I do get the Wespath deposit tomorrow, there're still 2 more accounts I want to open to churn that money while COVID takes a tour around America. For now, the funds are eventually getting invested, but I want to sit and look at it (j/k) for at least 3 months. It seems like what a financially responsible person would do given #pandemic. Some people seem to be hoarding money anyway.  I hadn't given it much thought. All my regular savings are still on automatic, so it's just these new influxes of money that have a question mark.

And while the stimulus check has not yet been received (I hope it's not lost), I hadn't really thought much about what to do with it. I think I'll churn it if I can otherwise it's going in savings for now, but optioning it for potential homemaking purchases.

Beach Day
It's supposed to be in the 80s this weekend and the North Carolina beaches are mostly open! I haven't been to the beach in at least 5 years, and my grief is just calling to feel weightless and unburdened. So, in the middle of buying bacon this morning, I just decided I was going to the beach.

I bought a beach chair ($6), beach bottoms ($11), sandwich stuff ($3), chips ($1), soda ($3), and a beach towel ($5). Oh and 1/2 a tank of gas ($10). I'm not even totalling it. But the only thing stopping me now is me!

A New Name, A Family Fund and other things

I woke up around 7:30am this morning. I know I didn't head upstairs until around 1:30a, so I don't know how much sleep I've been getting this week and last.

I don't feel particularly tired, but I think I ought to get more sleep. I keep waking up with my heart racing. I don't know if it's hunger or something else.

First, the other things

  • After 2 voicemails and 2 emails (unread) from Wespath, I finally sent an email asking them to go ahead with the Direct Deposit tomorrow (Friday).  I really hope they do and I don't have to communicate with them anymore. This will be one less thing on my anxiety banquet.

  • This limbo situation that I'm in - limbo between jobs; limbo between housing; limbo with COVID is slowly driving me crazy.  If you don't know me, I can tell you I don't do well in grey area.  
    • So I've chosen to just give myself 4-day weekends from now on. That means Friday-Monday = do whatever I want...this mostly just means eating some emotionally satisfying foods, watching what I want, doing what I want and not doing what I don't want. Just taking it easier on these days.  I'll save Tues-Thurs for focusing on work and personal, financial, and business decisions. I guess, just saving big decisions for Tues-Thur, Outside of that, I don't have to think about it.
    • Part of this is weighted by the fact that I feel there may not be another time in my life to take advantage of all this free time. So, I just want to take advantage of it and institute these mini-holidays. 

  • Still haven't received my stimulus check.

  • After putting a moratorium on signing up for new bank bonuses, I felt such a strong urge on Tuesday, it was crazy. It was literally the only thing I wanted to do.

  • Call volume is starting to pick up. As I mentioned in another post, I think everyone is itching to get back to their regularly scheduled life. This will be good for me if I leave Call Center 2 because I didn't want to feel like I left a cushy gig behind. 

  • I believe the Big Pharma background check came back with no follow-up required, but this morning when I went to log-in to complete some onboarding, I couldn't. So that automatically made me nervous. 

  • In light of the grey areas surrounding job and the house, I decided just to make decisions based on my preferred outcome - staying in the house.  So ideally, when I ask myself, whether to buy the washer and dryer, I go with yes, because you're staying in the house. Easier said then done.  
    • Part of the reason I want to get this done, now rather than later, is because I've already set the money aside for this task. If I were to commingle it with regular funds, I think I would get confused...

  • I find myself eagerly wanting to check email every morning and every night before bed - knowing I am usually expecting nothing. This is a habit I've been trying to break for awhile now.  I finally deleted the Mail app off my bedside iPad (for the 12th time) to at least make it a little more difficult to scratch that itch. 

  • I read to deal with a verbose talker - to contribute nothing. I think I will do a bit of that, and a bit of just trying to love them anyway. Accept them as they are. I just have to reconfigure their contribution to my life. It's been over a year of trying to navigate these two relationships, and I'm just tired of being frustrated. I've just been so desperate for human interaction, I'll take less than optimal ones.  One thing I am learning in adulthood, is that change is hard to come by and takes longer to take effect, so I have to remember that. 

The New Name
So if I'm choosing my own adventure, the next 1.5 to 2 years will be anchored by my Big Pharma Life.  As such, I decided to choose a new name. I picked out a new name 3 years ago - it was full of hope, and promise, and new beginnings. That life didn't work out the way I envisioned so I've put that name back into the vault.  

To commemorate this actual next stage in my life, though, I still wanted to choose a new name. I wanted it to capture elements of this next stage in my life. So the name I chose is an abridged, abbreviated, pragmatic, easy version of my old name. It's simple. It offers the option of hope, without the overabundance of hope we are all so quick to glom onto. I like that about it. 

So, let's say my name was Susana Johnson- Berenstein. My new name is Ana Joy. Short, brief, still professional, with a just a little shout-out to God.  I don't know how this will work with new job as far as documents, but my plan is to add it as as my preferred name and I hope it's at least reflected in my email. I won't make a big deal out of it; if asked I'll just say it's what I prefer to be called (at work).

Family Fund updated 14May2020
I just realized I forgot to talk about the Family Fund. In honor of my sainted Aunty MERJ, I decided to set aside ~$500/yr to help out family members. This is what I would hope to generate in savings interest if I were to put the $10k death benefit I'm slotted to receive in a high yield savings account. I know savings rates don't reach 5% APR anymore, but at one point they did.  When I became aware of all the people she listed as secondary beneficiaries, it just touched me and I knew I wanted to try do something for our extended family to honor her memory.

I'm not actually telling my family about the death benefit I received because some of them are funny about money.  But I do want to share with them when I do gift the money that it's in honor of Aunty MERJ.

Then my uncle died. I didn't know him very well, but my Aunt did. So I sent the first payment of $375 from the not-yet-established Family Fund overseas to help with funeral expenses.  As a matter of fact, I haven't even received the $10k yet - talk about counting chickens.  I really selected the $375 because that's how much I've made in bank bonuses so far. That's kind of the shell story I'm telling my family.