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Archive for April, 2009

Looking for a job

April 29th, 2009 at 08:08 am

Well it's been a roller coaster few last days. I am deep in the trenches looking for a job. It is SO FRUSTRATING!! It's hard not to take it personally when you don't get called in for an interview for a job you want. Or worse, a job you think you are way overqualified for.

It's hard not to get discouraged when you spend so much time answering job ads online and the jobs are all FAKE and creative ways to fill your inbox with spam and get you to fill out their phishing pages.

I don't know if its recent but a popular ad on craigslist is advertising great sounding jobs, then when you apply, they send you an email saying that "After reviewing your resume, you have fit the qualifications for the job, but due to the economy/viruses/company policy- they want you to present your credit score to them before they interview you, a free credit check can be found at XXX site." That SOUNDS legitimate! I learned about the scam by responding to their email with a request to do a credit check after the interview and the reply to sender was a fraud account. Since then over 50% of the jobs I apply for send me the same request for a credit check. Ugh. So frustrating that you cant tell legitimate jobs from Spam until after you have applied.

Anyways, I had one legit job offer for a low low wage, but the guy kept commenting on the way I looked and talked about how employees thought he was sleeping with his former assistant-so I declined the offer.

A lot of Work from home jobs that are cleverly disguised on craigslist too.

I have been inundated with commission only jobs selling insurance of some sort. A friend of mine decided to start selling life insurance and he has made about 3k this month...but hes working a lot and has been spouting "living the dream, if I can then I will" motivational stuff that his company is feeding him. He is sounding a bit cultish. Always trying to sell it to me or get me to sell under him.

I was called in yesterday to interview for a retail job. Retail is an industry I have ALWAYS fallen back on and its an industry I excel. It also drives me bat s***crazy. I can only tolerate retail for about a year and then must find a non retail job. I thought my previous retail management experience and degrees would at least get me head manager job, but no. I must complete a corporate mandatory 90 day "manager trainee" program earning MINIMUM WAGE for the 90 days then I am promoted to assistant manager and then can graduate to manager.
I am thinking about actually taking this job, because:
*I MUST wear jeans and flip flops at the store. (yes! I hate professional wardrobes!)
*I can stop looking for a job. (I mentioned looking for a job is ego crushing and awful- right?)
*I do like retail. I am good at it. I can excel at this job very quickly.
* Its fun working with younger college kids, music blaring, and talking about boys and other teenager angst type stuff. I admit I am not so keen on working with
adults who have real problems to deal with.

BUT:
* it pays minimum wage for 90 DAYS. I don't know what it pays after that. (I would guess in the $9-10 hr range). I was hoping to get into this job for maybe a year tops and get out when an office job becomes available.
*I have not worked for $10 hr since 2004. Is it really a huge regression for me to work for pay I earned 5 years ago or is it a sign of the times?
*I am working with teeny boppers. This is a big name brand clothing store that you wish your teenager didn't shop at because the clothes are so incredibly expensive (and they are sold wrinkled!). I think it might be REALLY ego crushing to be working alongside other managers who are 5 years younger than me.

Should I take it? It am so torn. And I just don't know what I am worth right now.

Going green for Earth day

April 23rd, 2009 at 06:48 am

When BB & I bought this house there was no grass on the lawn at all. Savannah has MONTHS where leaves rain down everyday from all the tree lined streets around here. And the leaves smother the grass. Having a grass lawn is difficult to maintain. Luckily we didn't have a yard full of weeds either. We just had a yard full of dirt and leaves.

I have spent the last 2 months growing grass. Every morning and every night I had to hop about on the yard trying to collect the leaves while not crushing baby grass or disturbing seed. (I didn't spring for Sod. At $20 a bag for grass seed and needing 3 bags..I don't know why we didn't get sod.)I spent hours with a watering can watering the yard because hooking a hose up is just to much work when it must be disconnected again or else it will be stolen.

So yesterday it was time to finally buy a lawn mower!!! I had proved grass will grow, and that it will stay alive.

We bought an old fashioned push mower for $95.00. We bought it because the yard is small, and I need something lightweight because we store it underneath the house, in the foundation. (lots of lifting it in and out.)

In addition, another perk is the fact that we don't use gas for it. (yesterday being Earth Day and all.) We initially bought a weed whacker to cut the grass but I have only used it once because I hate the noise, the vibrating and the weight of it.

It takes me about 2x as long to mow with a push mower than an electric mower- but since it takes me 20 min with the push mower I don't see the problem.




We are getting a very expensive roof for a sweet sweet price!

April 20th, 2009 at 11:12 am

So I don't know if I ever got around to posting about our roof issue.

Anyways, we purchased our house 3 months ago with a 4 yr old roof. The roof was in excellent condition- according to our inspector.

So 2 weeks ago we get 3 days of heavy rain, high winds.

Every morning I kept letting the dog out in the backyard to find shingles on the grass. I would mutter about people throwing their trash in my yard and go back inside.

Finally on the 3rd day there was a sheet of shingles hanging from the power lines by the house. No person can make that kind of toss.

BB & I have a roofer at the house the next day. I was still in denial that we had a problem and kind of felt bad for wasting this guys time.

Anyways, the shingles were put on improperly and the storm loosened a bunch, and we were told this will be a re-occuring problem.

I called my home insurance and had an adjuster come out. He agreed to replace 1/2 the roof (2 slopes that were damaged) to a tune of $4500 minus our $1000 deduction.

We talked with the roofer and set up what I thought was a sweet deal. He will replace the two damaged slopes, add a duct venting system to the roof to help the shingles last longer (our inspector did tell us to get this to increase the shingle life), replace 2 slope areas that had been tarred over and not been correctly fitted with metal inserts, and walk the entire roof, re-enforcing any shingles that were loose on the good roof sides. All for $5400. So $1900 out of our pocket.

I thought it was a good deal, but my home insurance company warned me that they will drop my coverage if I file 3 claims in 3 consecutive years, and that was stressing me a bit. I worry that if our entire roof is improperly shingled, then its only a matter of time before the other half of the roof needs to be replaced as well. And that's ANOTHER claim I will need to file.

BB and I actually want a metal roof. The roofs come in pretty colors, they look cool, they are good for the environment, and they last about 30-50 years. We decided when we bought this house 3 months ago to start saving for a metal roof so we would have the $15,000.00+ when our roof needed to be replaced in 10 years. Well 10 years came in 3 months and we don't have the $15 grand needed. We questioned this roofer about it but couldn't get a price below $13,000. BB and I had privately said the only way we will agree to a metal roof is if we can get a quote below $12,000. So we told the roofer "thanks but no thanks" and planned for the shingle repair.

So...this morning roofer guy comes to the house and lays it on the line. He says "I know you guys want a metal roof and I have not worked in a while, I have nothing lined up for 2 weeks, I need a big project and will replace your ENTIRE roof (and front porch roof) with a metal one for an extra $4500.00."

This new opportunity means we will get a metal roof for $9900.00!! This deal is way to good to pass up.

The roofer actually put the metal roof on our next door neighbors house 3 yrs ago. (We contacted this roofer through the neighbors referral) The roofer also directed us to a house that he installed a metal roof on a few streets away. I recognized the address immediately because it was for sale last summer and I spent several weeks trying to configure how I could make another 100k appear in my wallet so I could afford the house! I didn't get that house; but I did get the same roofer the new owners used!

I am excited. Doing the math, we have the $3500 from the insurance claim, we have $4500 leftover from the $8000 first time homeowners credit, and so that leaves $1900 coming out of our savings.

The roofer is coming out tomorrow morning with a new contract for us to fill out.

I cant believe I am so excited about a roof. I have become so boring.

Things I have learned over the past 2 months

April 14th, 2009 at 05:53 am

I am afraid to look at what I have spent in house projects. I know every single project went into the "way overpriced" range. I have learned some things along the home improvement way:

1. When a contractor quotes you a price, get it in writing and make sure it covers the cost of EVERYTHING including materials.

2. Plan out projects. Don't go into demo mode until you have a game plan for the outcome. Making decisions on the fly will have very costly consequences.

3. Always consider the cost of additional tools needed when deciding whether to do a project yourself or hire the job out. Even doing a simple paint job will get very costly when you factor in paintbrushes, tarps, painting tape, ext. if you don't already have that.

4. If you need to embark on a project that
might crop up regularly, buy the tools and do it yourself. Buying paintbrushes and paint supplies is worth it because it is reusable and easy to store. Buying wheelbarrows and sledgehammers to break up and re pour a slab of concrete might not be so re-usable or easy to store.

5. Don't fight the house. Your wallet will lose. If there is a major structural reason you do not like something- learn to overlook it or don't buy the house. I have embraced my closet sized master bath with 5'8" ceilings that BB cannot fit into. The room is mine-all-mine!

6. If you are "not in the mood" to get started, work on a project- don't do it. It will turn out terribly. Likewise with buying something needed for the house. If you need a rug; don't pressure yourself to find a rug just because your husband cant stand staring at a rug-less dining room. The rug you buy will end up very overpriced, poor quality, and not really match the rooms color scheme at all- or any other room in your houses color scheme. Poor quality is poor quality and now you are stuck with the $50.00 rug. (Same goes for a guest room bedspread...and a master bedroom bedspread for that matter.)

7. Craigslist and ebay is only a deal if you are searching for the item listed. If you come across it and it is a "good deal", it "kind of fits the description you need" or "you cant tell from the picture of the quality or color"...don't buy it! You cannot return it, and (if using craigslist) when you go to the persons house it sure is awkward to look at it and say "thanks but no thanks" (not to mention the time wasted). Canoes-yes. ladders and hammers-yes. Rugs- no. curtains-no.

8. Understand the emotional strain of a DIY project. This is the amount of tempers lost, ensueing fights, and petty comments that are created during the project. After numerous project attempts, I learned that my husband has a "the mind is willing but the body cant" attitude and wasted a lot of time buying into BB's plan to fix, put up, renovate this or that..only to get started on the project to learn that 1) his back flat out will not let him do it. or 2)he is determined to do it despite screaming pain and suddenly everything around him is getting on his nerves (including me).

If you must stop a project after its been started and get a pro out to the site to finish, repair, or clean up...you run into lesson #2. If you allow your husband to grit his teeth and attempt to work through the pain...a long, heavy fight is immenent. And if you escape the fight without losing your mind, you have to tolerate his moaning and groaning for the next week every time he needs to perform a mundane task around the house like putting on shoes. Sometimes there are hidden COSTS to a DIY project that has nothing to do with your bank account.

ok the house doesnt look boring

April 13th, 2009 at 02:58 pm

I have been stressing over the house exterior colors and it has come out nicely.

I was totally uncertain right up until the end when the last of the teal was painted over.

Once the teal was gone the rest of the colors came together and made a pretty picture.

We will be painting the "arms" of the cement the brick red color- but we had to stop painting when a tornado came into town this afternoon.

Anyways, this is the finished product. I do like teal...on someone elses house though!



Goodbye teal...added more pics

April 12th, 2009 at 07:51 am

I am repainting a lot of the house this weekend. I am very worried about doing it. I love love love this house. And one reasons I love it is the bright color scheme on the exterior.

But over time I noticed that the house is actually a dark green. The house is painted a dark grey-geen color. This will sound ridiculous but I thought our house was teal.

Our foundation, steps, and front porch are painted a blindingly bright teal color. And the teal was so bright that it was the most noticable color feature of the house and I just assumed the whole house was teal.
I'm not the only one. Our next door neighbor said she has never looked at our house color either because her eyes could not get past the teal.

So I bought "brick red" paint and started working on the foundation. We will paint the porch and steps creamy "Catalina Sand" color, and also have basic white to touch up the trim.

Now I have noticed that the house looks kind of dark. And a bit Primary. I mean primary red with a primary green and a primary white all on one house.

If the teal did one thing it certainly "brightened" up the house. So these paint choices did have this one unintended consequence of "darkening" the house. I think I just need to get used to it. Or maybe once the porch and steps get their coat of creme....

I have come to realize I prefer light colored houses. I like the light green, yellow, white, or light blue houses. This green color would not have been my first choice for a house color (But if the HOUSE was painted in teal I think I would love that!)

Anyways, I have concerns. I am concerned that the house will look mundane and boring now. I am concerned that the "creme" color will look out of place in this sea of primary colors. I am concerned the creme color will look odd next to the white trim (not enough color contrast). I am concerned the house will look overall dark.

But I keep telling myself that if I don't like the final effect then maybe I can paint the foundation the creme color from the porch and steps....Funny how colors sitting next to each other give off such different effects than when they are standing alone.

Anyways, this blog entry was mostly for me to sort out my own mixed emotions about these paint colors...
BEFORE:


Now:



After painting all day:





update

April 10th, 2009 at 06:45 am

I miss you guys. Ya'll were so helpful when I had crazy questions about the economy and encouraging when I was saving for a house. Then I buy a house and *poof* my enthusiasm for this site dissipates.

I really need to get back into this site because the spending has been crazy and there is no accountability.

The house projects are nearing finished. I will be painting our foundation, steps and front porch all weekend. And we need to have our roof repaired after a major storm came through last week.

But BB leaves to play baseball soon so we hope the home improvements will end with his departure.

I have been looking for a job. After learning to sift through the 100% commission sales jobs, I have been on 2 legitimate interview. I have been so distracted with starting a new life here in GA that I have not given the job hunt the commitment it deserves either.

But our new home and new life is better than I expected. We are making friends, and now we live closer to our college friends. So we seem to have house guests or be out several times a week. It's a wonderful change from the feeling of isolation I had in FL.

Anyways, I'm signing off, I am interested to read what is going on in your lives nowadays.