My family's journey down the road less traveled....

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's Official...

Today it was officially announced that I am,  or will be on July 1st, the new Food Service Manager at work.  This new position means I get to do things my way...mwhahahaha!!!  Okay, so I will get to change things up but not in an evil overlord kinda way.  After lengthy talks with the camp director we both are looking at taking the food quality in a better direction.  While it is camp, we shouldn't be limited to camp food.  We both want people to walk away saying, "Wow, that was a great meal" instead of , "Wow, that was great.....for camp food."

 I will slowly be incorporating fresher, less processed foods into the menu and am really excited about adding new foods to the repertoire. I've been paying attention to the types of foods and particular dished that are hits and misses.  I have a ton of notes and ideas that I can't wait to implement.  There are a few dishes in particular that I'm looking forward to "taking to the next level".

I haven't had a challenge like this in a long time and cooking and organization is one area where I can shine.  Fingers crossed the "management" aspect doesn't outweigh the creative outlet of the position!!

Bon Appetit....Deborah

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bureaucracy at it's finest

The events of today's travels tested my patience to their limits and I'm proud to day  I held it together!  In the words of Inigo Montoya, "Let me 'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up."  Mr Awesome and I were in need of a car.  Not a new car, just a beater that can better handle his new commute of 80 miles daily. His current car or as I call it, "his mid-life crisis car" was never meant to be driven on gravel roads or to have the wear and tear that those 80 miles daily can cause.  Our good friends Terri and Larry P. run a towing company and impound lost out near our in-laws place and happen to have a decent 95 Honda Accord for $350.  Um...hells yeah!!

Fast forward to today's hair pulling events which entail getting a salvage title and inspection.  Never again!!  We started off at the BMV over near the in-laws house to secure the permit to have the car inspected.  The permit, which allowed me to drive the car without tags for the day cost $53.50.  We then had to drive 75 miles north, past my home to the only inspection site with appointments open.  The site that was closest couldn't get me in until end of July!! 

I then had to get the old salvage title transferred into my name, an additional $29.50.  Back to the inspection office, car was approved, back to the title agency to have a "clean" title issues for another $16.  Then on to the BMV to get license plates costing $57.75.  Since my birthday is in August I was able to get 14 month tags and am good till 2012.

Throw in $20 in gas and our cheap little beater cost a whopping $510.75!!  Not too shabby for a solid, well running little car.  However, I will never, never, never go through that again.  The running back and forth between offices, the sitting and waiting....argh!!!  The BMV needs to take lessons from Walmart and offer one-stop shopping!!!

 greeting from the line @ the BMV....Deborah

Sunday, June 19, 2011

What I learned from my Dads....

Yes, I intentionality wrote Dads...plural.  You see, I am blessed to have not only a biological dad, but the most amazing and loving step-dad, plus the sweetest and most fun father-in-law.  I drew the long straw in this scenario!!

The three men couldn't be more different.  We'll start with Ken, my biological dad.  I don't have any memories of him and my mom together as they divorced when I was 4 years old but my memories of our weekend visits will stay with me forever.  He used to sing silly songs to me all the time.  I was the only kid who knew the lyrics to the Pabst Blue Ribbon song and my favorite was this poem:
One dark day, in the middle of the night
Two dead boys began to fight.
Back to back they faced each other, 
drew their swords and shot each other.
Now a deaf policeman heard this noise, 
and came and killed those two dead boys.
If you don't believe my words are true, 
ask the blind man, he saw it too!!
Pops, as we have grown to call him, is a crotchety old man in every sense of the word. He's gruff, has little to say that is nice about the world and generally thinks everyone is a dumbass....but I love him.  Thanks Pops for teaching me tolerance by watching your actions and for giving me a love of silly songs!!

Jim, my beloved step-dad is a saint.  He married my mom and took on 3 more kids all under the age of 12.  At the time they married, he already had raised a family and his 5 kids were adults with kids of their own!!  Throw into the mix my sister, who challenged authority and was a parent's worst nightmare, and the man has earned his sainthood!!  Jim was a hardworking man and continued to work even after heart surgery and retirement.  He didn't want to sit still.  Up until a fall that left him with a fractured hip at the rip old age of 79, we worked full time at a local department store.  He was supposed to work in housewares but he ended up the official baby greeter.  Kids and babies love him and he loves them!!  From him, I gained my atrocious work ethic, my love of the University of Michigan (Go BLUE), the ability to use a jig saw and most importantly, a feeling of security and unconditional love. 

Lastly, but not at all least in importance is my amazing father-in-law, Chuck.  Or Ralphie, as I call him when I want to ruffle feathers!!  Chuck is another stand up man who married a woman with kids from a previous relationship.  Chuck jumped in to parenthood with both feet and an enthusiasm to be the best Dad he could.  Chuck is boisterous and animated and full of love.  I don't think he's ever met a stranger.  Chuck is able to converse with anyone and instantly make them feel comfortable and welcomed.  I think I love that the most about him.  I thank him for opening the doors for my relationship with God and for always being positive no matter how dark the situation.  He is most certainly a beacon of hope in my world.
On this Father's Day, I wanted to salute the Dad's in my life and I couldn't sign off before thanking Mr. Awesome too.  He's a wonderful dad and husband too.  I thank him for being active and engaged in the lives of the Oompas.  He's a teacher, disciplinarian, cheerleader, chauffeur, and someone who will love and accept them no matter what.  Thank you Mr. Awesome!!!

Off to hug a Dad.....Deborah

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Whooo-Hooo...I get to pay the bills again!!!

Yes, I am excited about paying the bills and NO, I'm not crazy.  Well, actually I am a little crazy but it's not because I am looking forward to cutting checks to pay off debt!!

Yesterday marked the end of an era full of frustration and doubt.  Yesterday, Mr. Awesome received his first paycheck after a little over 8 months of unemployment!!  During that time we put all the medical bills and non-essential debt on "hold".  We were able to keep the utilities and house current but had to let our credit scores take a little hit by stopping payments to the various and numerous medical institutions we've graced with our presence.  I hated doing it but knowing I could put food on the table and keep the kids warm over this long and cold winter was more important.

Thanks to the miracle that is direct deposit, Mr. Awesome's first check arrived in our checking account before I even awoke yesterday.  What a great way to wake up!!  On my agenda today is writing up a budget and breaking back out our trusty envelope system.  Thank you Dave Ramsey!!  If you haven't heard of him...take a moment to check out his message and debt reduction system. 

For the first time in my life I am looking forward to writing checks and paying bills.  I quickly ran numbers in my head , which was a huge feat since I suck at math, and if my calculations are correct we're looking at making our debt free (except for the mortgage) yell in about 18 months.  It'll be sooner than that if I get the promotion to Food Service Manager at work. 

I know budgeting and money management are of great interest to a lot of folks right now so once I'm finished with my budget I'll post it up here for show and tell.  I will also be making frequent updates on how I do sticking to the new schedule.  Publicizing it will hopefully keep me on track and one or two steps closer to being debt free!!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

So I got on my bike and rode....

Yes, I am a "fat bottomed girl".   I was waif-ish as a child due in large part to extensive, bone-breaking orthodontics.   Once those nasty suckers were outta my mouth and I was able eat...I ate.  Along comes the babies and well...I now bear a closer likeness to the Stay Puff marshmallow man than a supermodel.  I openly admit to stress eating.  I learned early on that I can't freak out and scream or cry or throw tantrums when upset but I can quietly eat the stress away.  Well, if I'm being honest it doesn't take the stress away it just stuffs it down to a place where I don't have to deal with it.  I think a lot of overweight folks can relate.  It's very common from what I read. 

Today was one of those crappy, eat an entire bag of Doritos and sit on the couch all day,  kinda day.  My car, which we thought was fixed and running is not.  I had to call off work yesterday which I hate doing.  Even though Mr. Awesome got a new job making good money we still need my income (tiny as it is) to get caught up.  It's been a frustrating ride for us.  We have struggled since day one.  When we first married I'll admit we were both stupid with money and got caught up in the joys of eating out and shopping and golfing (Mr. Awesome's guilty pleasure).  Things only got worse with the addition of our second Oompa, followed shortly by the tragic events of September 11th which led to a lay-off from an awesome job in manufacturing.  It took almost a year to recover then along came Oompa number 3!! 

We struggled greatly for the next 3 years.  When we moved from the city to a little house in the country things turned around.  We were able to do more and go places and afford things.  The savings account grew a little but there always seemed to be a hiccup that would drain it or at least come close.  We were able to buy a nice "forever" house with a little land.  We had begun to relax and feel like we'd finally made it.  Then, last October when Mr. Awesome lost his job we thought we were done for.  I had lost all hope.  Our battle was the largest we had faced to date and we had no weapons at our disposal.  Thankfully, Mr. Awesome landed a good job and started work this week.  I know it was Pollyanna-ish of me to think that this great new job at Honda would magically slay all the demons we are facing.  I'm just so tired of fighting.  I'm plain wore out.  However, with three children who depend on me, quitting is not an option.  Which leads me to the title of this post.

My childhood was good, probably better than most when you block out all the crap my sister inflicted upon the family and some of my fondest memories are of riding my bike all over the neighborhood.  My first bike was a pink and white Huffy with a huge pink banana seat.  It was tres cool!!  I so desperately needed to shed these awful feelings and shrug this terrible weight off my shoulders, even if only for an hour.  So tonight, I dug my bike out of the shed, oiled up the chain, dusted off the seat and rode.  I rode with my kids, laughing and feeling the wind in my face and enjoying the freedom. I rode with no destination in mind, no check list to complete.  I rode for me and for my sanity which is ever so slowly slipping way!!

I rode.....because Fat-Bottomed Girls,  we make the rockin' world go round!!!