Llorona's Log, Take II

Where are you and where are you going?
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llorona
Posts: 403
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:44 pm
Location: SF Bay Area

Llorona's Log, Take II

Post by llorona »

Hi folks. It's been a little over a year and a half since I've participated in the ERE forum. A lot has changed in my life, so I've decided to resume my journal again.

DETAILS
Name: My handle, pronounced Yo-ROH-Nah, is a play on a Spanish word. The literal meaning is tearful or weepy, and "La Llorona" is a Mexican legend.
Values: Compassion, equality, diversity, transparency, kindness, simplicity, creativity.
Location: SF Bay Area, California, USA
Age: 45
Ethnicity: Mixed Asian/white. I identify as a person of color. I look Latina. Or maybe Nepalese or Egyptian.
Work: Self-employed part-time consultant in the nonprofit industry.
Marital Status: More on this later.

FINANCIALS
Since this is a forum on early retirement, let's start with the financial details. Not quite sure how this happened but my net worth is $900K+. This includes home equity but excludes cars and "stuff." Because I'm more or less the sole breadwinner in an extremely HCOL area, my monthly savings rate is not great. However, the practices of saving windfalls and pinching pennies 'til they squeal, combined with favorable market conditions, has lead to a steady increase in assets.

Home equity comprises approximately one-third of my net worth, largely attributed to buying right as the local housing market was taking off four years ago. One might contend that home equity is meaningless, but I'm including this information because the plan is to sell the house and move someplace cheaper to retire. Hopefully an earthquake will not destroy the house before this happens. However, if this occurs, the land will still be valuable, so I will erect a tiny home and create a mini urban farm with goats and chickens.

RETIREMENT PLANNING
Early retirement is still a ways off, perhaps nine or ten years. Theoretically, retirement might be possible right now in Thailand or a very LCOL part of the U.S.; however, since my work-life balance is positive, I'm okay with continuing to work for a while. Eventually I'd like to move up the coast, perhaps Oregon, and live a simple life with a vegetable garden and small livestock.

LIFE UPDATES
One a personal level, two notable changes have occurred in the past year and a half.

The first is that my father disowned me due to a difference in politics and values. (He is an extremist who believes in racial segregation.) This development was initially hard, but escaping the toxicity of our relationship has been exceedingly liberating and positive. He is dead to me. I have no regrets.

The second development is that my marriage is now open and I have a 20-something boyfriend who lives out of state. Presently, the relationship is a closed V with me at the hinge, meaning that neither my husband nor boyfriend are seeing other people, nor are they involved with one another. This arrangement has been in place for about six months and is going very well. I appreciate the stability of having a loving, established foundation with my husband, as well as an intense mind-body connection with a "cub" who thinks I'm hot.

The rest of my updates, including my ERE sins and transgressions, follow below in pictorial form:

Still gardening and growing fruits & vegetables.
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DH and I redid the backyard last summer. We hired someone to install the patio, but we did the landscaping ourselves, including lugging two tons of ginger rock from the front driveway to the backyard.
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We like to share our garden harvest with neighbors. They, in turn, share with us. Here, I am making limoncello and lemonade with lemons from my neighbor's tree.
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Last fall, I checked an item off my bucket list by visiting the Sedlec Ossuary, also known as the Bone Church, in the Czech Republic. While we were in Europe, we spent time in Prague, Vienna, and Paris. My husband was particularly interested in visiting classical composers' homes.
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A rare indulgence, my husband and I purchased a piano earlier this year. It was not inexpensive, but we got a good deal by buying it at a liquidation sale. My husband is a composer, and I have resumed playing classical piano for the first time in a decade. Currently I'm learning Schubert's Fantasie in F minor for two hands and Mozart's Twinkle Twinkle variations.
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Because I have very little family apart from my husband, friendship means a lot to me. We do a lot of budget entertaining, such as this: butternut squash lasagna, zucchini, tomatoes from the garden, and a $6.99 bottle of wine.
=Image

Until next time.

Fish
Posts: 553
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2016 9:09 am

Re: Llorona's Log, Take II

Post by Fish »

Welcome back llorona. I really like how your backyard turned out. It looks very clean and inviting.

That's a fine musical instrument. For me, it is the best (and possibly the ONLY) reason to own a house. No shared walls and no need to move it every time a lease expires. Might as well get a decent piano since the house is the expensive part of owning one. I'm not sure it's a serious ERE transgression; we purchased something similar about a decade ago (model U1) and the depreciation is about as much as a smartphone. And you get to fill your house with beautiful music while entertaining yourself for hours on end...

The aesthetic conveyed by your pictures is like an ideal vision of adult life, refined and sophisticated. I guess it goes without saying that you don't have children. ;) Would you care to explain how you ended up in the complicated marital situation? I love stories :D

thegreatvoid

Re: Llorona's Log, Take II

Post by thegreatvoid »

You should change your username to Cougar , preying on them young boys :-)

Hopefully sugar-mama relationships are going to be a thing in the future. Faster way to reach ERE. haha

that´s indeed a very good looking backyard and a beautiful piano.

llorona
Posts: 403
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:44 pm
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Llorona's Log, Take II

Post by llorona »

@Fish: Thank you! We've gotten a lot of enjoyment - and vegetables - from the backyard. Will post some photos of our summer harvest and expound on the marital situation in a bit. Also, the U1 was our dream piano but it was out of reach financially. What kind of music do you play? Lastly, you're right. No kids!!!

@TheGreatVoid: Good luck with the sugar mama search. :lol:

@ffj: Thanks for the welcome! No, you're not missing anything. The situation with my father was extremely complicated and full of flawed logic, contradictions, and undiagnosed crazy. Yes, he participated in creating mixed-race me, but a lot of conversations that should have happened over the years about identity never did. He assumed (incorrectly) that I identify as white and share the same racist viewpoints as him - largely because I was knocked speechless at some of the archaic and vitriolic sentiments that would come out of his mouth. After the Charlottesville incident, we finally went head to head and apparently he couldn't handle the fact that I was taking a stand against white supremacy. So, that's that.
Last edited by llorona on Thu Sep 27, 2018 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

llorona
Posts: 403
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:44 pm
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Llorona's Log, Take II

Post by llorona »

MAKING LEMONADE OUT OF LEMONS

A couple months ago, DH and I discovered water damage in our back bedroom. It had been hidden by poofy drapes that came with the house, so we had no idea whether the damage was new or existing. In any event, it looked serious so I called a "friend" who is a handyman and asked him to level with us about the situation and repair the wall. Long story short, the "friend" ended up taking us for a ride and ripping us off for a fairly substantial sum.

Once I stopped crying over spilled milk, I did some thinking about self-sufficiency and decided to recommit to learning more about home/auto maintenance. The following is a list of maintenance and repairs that I've performed in the past eight or so weeks, largely thanks to YouTube. Some of these tasks are very simple, but collectively it's saved a ton of money - and it's been fun!

-Repaired wall-mounted kitchen faucet
-Repaired cracked exterior stucco
-Patched cracks in driveway
-Patched, caulked, and painted wood windows
-Recaulked bathroom vanity
-Redid kitchen sink grout
-Painted front walkway and back deck
-Preemptively replaced five year-old car battery

Unsuccessful: Repair gas dryer that stopped heating.

RANDOM BABBLING ON HOME ECONOMICS
Here are a couple photos of our summer harvest.

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A friend with a Santa Rosa plum tree agreed to share her fruit with me in exchange for a portion of the finished product, so I made plum jam. Roughly 25 more pounds of plums are languishing in the freezer. Guess what everyone's getting for Christmas this year?
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I've been exploring ways to reduce the amount of trash that our household generates. DH and I aren't hardcore environmentalists, but it doesn't make sense to toss out materials that will languish for eons in landfill. Here are a couple new solutions we've implemented at home - hemp facial cleansing rounds (confession: bought these on Etsy) and refillable dental floss.

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In an money-saving endeavor, I tested using Rit dye to give new life to DH's cargo pants with good results. (Sorry for blurry photo quality.)
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Lastly, I joined a neighborhood group that plans an annual community event over monthly potluck dinners. In ERE fashion, I decided to limit the cost of each of my potluck contributions to $5. Here's what I've come up with so far. Because even if you're cheap, it doesn't have to look like it. :D

Cheddar scallion biscuits
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Stuffed eggs
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SECOND RELATIONSHIP
Some folks have asked me to expound on my relationship situation so here goes. About a year ago, I began playing a (free) MMO game which shall remain nameless. By chance, I happened to start talking to someone who piqued my interest due to his intellect, character, and values, not to mention our amazing chemistry.

Around the same time, two separate conversations with friends opened my eyes to the concept of ethical non-monogamy. When I brought it up with DH, he was open to the idea. I think his receptiveness was due in part to the fact that polyamory is not new to DH - although he has never practiced non-monogamy himself, several of his friends have chosen this lifestyle.

At any rate, DH has been highly accepting and supportive of this new relationship. Last month, my boyfriend flew to California to visit me, and the two of them met for the first time over dinner at our place. They both really like each other, and there is no weirdness, jealousy, or competitiveness. I don't know what I've done to deserve two happy and healthy relationships, and I'm not going to question it too deeply. For now, I'm enjoying it for all it's worth. :P
Last edited by llorona on Sun Mar 24, 2019 5:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

llorona
Posts: 403
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:44 pm
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Llorona's Log, Take II

Post by llorona »

FINANCES
Net worth, including home equity, reached $1M in Q3 2018...then promptly took a plunge due to stock market fluctuations.

Still tracking expenses but haven't calculated net worth since then. Spending is still pretty bare bones, but I've been splurging a bit on hosting dinner parties with friends, the occasional Korean body scrub, and classes on weaving using recycled materials, Ukrainian egg decorating, etc. Just bought new towels and clothing. Some of my everyday clothing had practically disintegrated, and my clients were probably tired of seeing me in the same handful of shirts for 10+ years. :lol:

DH just started a new job with the government. It's the first time since we've been together (14 years!) that he has full-time work. Since I'm able to pay our bills out of my own earnings, I'm planning on saving his contributions toward a kitchen remodel. The kitchen was last updated in the 1930's. Thinking about doing some of the work myself.

HEALTH & FITNESS
At $10/month, Planet Fitness is just about the best deal ever. I've been using my membership, too! Managed to do cardio a minimum of 2x per week throughout 2018. In January of this year, I added weightlifting to the mix. My body feels great and the increased strengthen has improved my daily functioning.

HANDINESS
Didn't really do much home maintenance during the winter, although I fixed a leaky vintage window and patched/repainted the wall underneath.

RELATIONSHIPS
The boyfriend ended our one-year relationship in early January. It didn't really come as a surprise -- it's a semi-miracle we made it as far as we did given the 18-year age difference, 2,000 miles of distance between us, and the fact that I'm married. I was bummed for a while, but no regrets all in all. Got to spend some time in the South, plus visited different parts of California when he came to visit. This said, I will never go to such extremes again for a relationship.

Speaking of relationships, my orientation has changed, temporarily at least, from polyamory to ethical non-monogamy, the difference being that I'm dating casually but not opening my heart. I'm shocked at the number of guys who want to date a 46 year-old married lady! While it's fun going out with 30 year-olds, men my own age, perhaps unsurprisingly, seem to have more to offer in terms of life experience, depth, sensitivity, etc. I had a young Dom for a while, but that was short-lived. Currently, I have a lover who is also in an open marriage, and I just met someone else who seems promising.

TRAVEL
DH recently was selected to perform one of his original piano compositions in at a concert hall in Montreal, so we will be heading there this fall.

llorona
Posts: 403
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:44 pm
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Llorona's Log, Take II

Post by llorona »

It's been a while!

FINANCES & INCOME
I don't know my net worth at the moment. I'm scared to look.

Work-wise, spring was already shaping up to be slow, but once the COVID-19 lockdown began in mid-March, projects decreased to a trickle. I have minimal work, meaning I'll be lucky to generate 40% of my typical monthly income in April. Depending on the criteria, I may file for unemployment once California opens up the application process for people who are self-employed. DH was working as an independent contractor in the convention/entertainment industry, so he will need to file, too.

I've been in business for 12 years, and this is the first time that work has been this slow. I should probably be beating the bushes, but I lack the motivation to be a salesperson at this time. I just don't have it in me. Whether that's from the stress of the pandemic or professional burnout remains to be seen.

At the moment, we've got enough cash savings on hand to survive for two years assuming zero income. After that, we'd need to liquidate real estate or tap into retirement funds. Even though I'm not as frugal as many folks here, I'm grateful to have this buffer. It allows me to sleep at night.

HEALTH & FITNESS
Until the gym closed in March, I'd managed to maintain a 16-month streak of consistently lifting weights and doing light cardio at the gym. I'm still taking walks several times a week and doing body weight exercise at home, including using gallon water jugs as weights. Unfortunately, I've probably negated the benefits of exercise by stress eating my way through a small mountain of chocolate.

HANDINESS
DH and I have been working on the vegetable garden and taking care of day to day maintenance. Last year, a corner of the house needed to be reframed so we hired a company to do that. We still need to paint a portion of the exterior and interior, but I'm not in the mood to match shades of paint at Home Depot. In the meantime, I've got a seemingly never-ending list of tasks, from brushing the cats' teeth to hemming curtains.

ART
Prior to this madness, I was having a blast taking watercolor and acrylic painting classes. At the time, I felt a bit guilty about splurging on classes and art supplies, but guess what everyone is getting for birthdays and Xmas presents this year?

RELATIONSHIPS
Poly and kink are on pause. I'd been dating three men for about a year. We're still in touch on a daily or near-daily basis, but we obviously won't see each other for a while. When this all started, my boyfriend (very understandably) decided to bug out to Alaska to be closer to his children. My Dom, who is in an open marriage, is a nurse who is almost exclusively caring for COVID-19 patients. Our relationship isn't romantic in nature, but I'm still concerned for him. My third paramour is someone who I care about very much, although we only see each other once a month or so even under the best of circumstances. In the meantime, I feel super fortunate to be shacked up with DH, who is my favorite person in the world. :)

llorona
Posts: 403
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:44 pm
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Llorona's Log, Take II

Post by llorona »

FINANCES & INCOME

Last time I logged in, business was super slow. My claim for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance was approved, so that provided income during three months of down time. During that time, I worked minimally, maybe three or four hours a week. DH also filed for PUA so we were able to continue to save.

As it turns out, my clients came back in droves in July and now I have a full work load. I've decided to maintain a four day workweek though.

I recently cut down some of our monthly expenses. For instance, we did away with our alarm service ($45/month) because we're always home. In case we're not home, the alarm system still works - it's just not connected to dispatch, which is worthless here anyway. Other savings include homeowner's insurance ($44/month savings) and cell service ($5/month savings).

Home mortgage interest rates were low in August, so I decided to refinance. The old mortgage rate was 30 years @ 3.75% (25 years remaining) and the new rate will be 30 years @ 3%. This means resetting to a 30-year term, but I'd rather pay less on a monthly basis and save the cash. Plus, we weren't intending to pay off the mortgage anyway - our goal is to eventually relocate to a LCOL area and buy a home outright. Or since the monthly mortgage ($1,340 not including property tax, insurance & maintenance) is low for the Bay Area and rents are high ($3,200-$3,500 for a similar home), maybe we'll keep it and rent it out.

Before I refinanced, I did a lot of thinking and fiddling with online calculators. I keep second guessing myself and wondering if I did something stupid. I hope not.

HOME CONSTRUCTION
When DH and I bought the house, it came with a dilapidated freestanding garage that's roughly 220 square feet. Constructed in the 1920s, it's too narrow to store a modern-day vehicle. We knew that we'd eventually have to put money into it and this was the year. Rather than tearing down the structure, we're spending $11K to rehabilitate the garage and transform half of it into a separate room. We're not sure yet what the space will be used for -- music studio? home office? love nest? -- but living in the city, it's a luxury to have an additional room.

Yes, I know this is an ERE forum. No, I do not have the skills, physical strength, or interest in doing the work myself. :?

PANDEMIC LIFE
We're still on semi-lockdown here. Grocery stores and other essential businesses are open. Outdoor dining is allowed, and hair and nail salons will be permitted to open soon provided they operate outside.

We are choosing not to avail ourselves of any of this. The mainstream grocery store delivers for $3.95, and DH goes out once a week to the organic/natural grocery store for produce and meat. A few friends have come by for outdoor garden visits in ones and twos. Outings are pretty much limited to walks and hikes.

Being introverts, this isn't terribly challenging for us. DH has his music and hiking, and I'm content with books, painting, cooking, and gardening, as well as learning Italian and Mandarin. What's more difficult is the understanding that not everyone is fortunate enough to SIP so comfortably.

FIRES
Ugh, wildfire season in California sucks. Last week, the entire county was under evacuation notice due to the prospect of dry lightning. Fortunately that didn't happen. Still, nearby wildfires have left us blanketed under a thick smoky haze for more than a week. On bad days, the smell of smoke is pervasive; there's no getting away from it, and everyone except the most die hard exercise fanatics remain housebound. Physical symptoms include irritated eyes, coughing, headaches, and fatigue. Blech.

HEALTH & FITNESS
Ugh again. Three months ago, I hurt my elbow in my sleep and ended up with a nice case of septic bursitis. During the healing process, I totally slacked of on strength training. It's better now and I need to get on the ball.

I've also been dealing with an Achilles tendon injury. It's slow to heal but improving with home PT exercises.

Lastly, after being diagnosed with severe sleep apnea, I'm now using a CPAP machine to sleep. It's reduced my apnea events from 64/hour to 2-3/hour. My head feels much clearer during the daytime and I'm napping a lot less.

POLY
My new boyfriend of three months is monogamous. He's part of our "pod" and I'm very happy not seeing anyone else.

llorona
Posts: 403
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:44 pm
Location: SF Bay Area

Burnt Orange Sky

Post by llorona »

Today I woke up wondering if our house had teleported to Mars. The sky was freakishly orange and it was so dark that we had to keep the lights on the entire day. A thin layer of ash coated everything outside. Very disconcerting.

7Wannabe5
Posts: 7080
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Llorona's Log, Take II

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Wishing you best of luck with orange sky outlook. I admire your ability to maintain anything resembling polyamory in time of Covid.

llorona
Posts: 403
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:44 pm
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Llorona's Log, Take II

Post by llorona »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 7:25 am
Wishing you best of luck with orange sky outlook.
Thank you! So glad that's over. Here is a photo that a friend in San Francisco took around noon on that day.

Image

llorona
Posts: 403
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:44 pm
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Llorona's Log, Take II

Post by llorona »

FINANCES & INCOME
At the end of November, I finished an part-time interim gig and a government proposal. Earned enough to cover expenses for a couple months, which is good because there's very little solid work on the horizon. For the first time in 12+ years, I'm having to hustle. Have a couple prospective gigs. Would like to avoid digging into savings, but not terribly worries. Having money in the bank is a huge relief. Thank you, Jacob & ERE!

My refinance application received conditional approval in October. A month later, the underwriter came back requesting for more documentation. Then they wanted more. Lending standards must be tightening up. If they come back again, I'm going to give give up. It's been four months, I have nothing left to show, and it's not worth the hassle.

Part of my indifference is that DH and I are starting to look at our next move in earnest. We're hoping to visit Oregon next summer to scope out potential LCOL places to live. Relocation timeline: 2 to 5 years.

On another note, both of our cats have had medical problems. Our girl kitty (shown below) required four vet visits for urinary issues. Her brother has a heart condition that requires annual ultrasounds, plus a liver issue that we're trying to diagnose. Total damage over two months: $3K.

Net worth is roughly $1.2M. Originally, I was thinking that I could retire around age 55 with a paid off house and $1M in the bank. Now, with expenses like the vet bills, I'm thinking that having $1.5-$2M in the bank might be safer. After retiring, I'd be okay with continuing to work part-time on my terms to earn fun or travel money...or support our cats.

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LOCKDOWN PART II
California went back on lockdown on Sunday night. It doesn't make much difference because DH and I never really emerged when people started going about their lives around the end of May. Still, we've been living like this for nine months now. To keep our spirits up and add novelty to our lives, we've been going on little excursions every week. Here are a few pictures:

Tidepooling at Agate State Beach in Bolinas
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The town of Locke in the Sacramento Delta
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Tomales Bay
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ART
I haven't been painting as much as I'd like. Video games are pretty seductive. :lol: But here are a couple of postcards that I painted and sent to friends. These are not original compositions; I followed YouTube tutorials.
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FITNESS
Back on the wagon! I've committed to doing strength, flexibility/mobility, or cardio training six days a week. Although I've fallen short, exercising four days a week is pretty good for me. It's helped to work off some of the aches and pains. This guy's videos have been super helpful.

LOVE SHACK!
At long last, the love shack is done! So far, it's furnished with a bed, nightstand, light, and rug. My husband loves it so much that he prefers to sleep there while my boyfriend and I stay in the main house on overnight visits.

This is the exterior. The right half of the structure is dedicated to storage. The left half is a new 110 square foot room.
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This is me hard at work while my boyfriend poured the concrete floor. :P
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Here's the interior being painted.
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GARDENING
Our yield wasn't terrific this summer, except for passion fruit. Our vine produced maybe 400 of them, which we shared with friends and used to make passion fruit curd, ice cream, etc.

I also had a failed attempt at growing cannabis (which is legal in California). Back in September, I had the bright idea of attempting to grow outdoors. My two clones (shown below) flowered prematurely, leaving me with the world's smallest cannabis buds. In a last ditch effort, I cut off the buds and placed the plants under 24/7 grow lights, but they were goners. Will try again next summer. :mrgreen:

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llorona
Posts: 403
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:44 pm
Location: SF Bay Area

Just The Numbers

Post by llorona »

Just finished tabulating our expenditures for the year. This has been a crazy year financially. It's not looking very ERE.

INCOME
Gross Consulting Income: $75,585 <- this is usually ~$90K working part-time but was unemployed for three months.
Net Consulting Income: $56,688
Gift: $24,000 <- this was from my mom
Tax refund: $15,487
Other: $34,098 <- this came from unemployment, government stimulus, DH's contributions to household expenses, recycling cans, etc.
Total Net income: $130,273

EXPENSES

HOME
Mortgage: $21,500 <- refinance went through, this will be about $15.6K next year ($1,300/month)
Property Tax: $8,829 <- nothing I can do about this except move
Homeowner's Insurance: $972
Home Improvement: $14,135 <- one-time expense to renovate the garage and build the "love shack"
Total Home: $45,436

Utilities
Gas & Electric: $1,744
Water: $871 <- roughly $800 of this is set fees for water service charge and waste water treatment
Garbage: $628 <- have the smallest bin and the lowest possible plan
Alarm: $162 <- cancelled this in March since we're always home now
Total Utilities: $3,405

Auto
Gas: $1,250 <- I'm okay with this. We drove a lot for local excursions.
Insurance: $715
Maintenance & Repair: $1,308 <- oil changes, extension valve replacement, vandalism repair, clock spring repair, brake pad replacement
Registration: $226
Total Auto: $3,498

Regular Expenses
Groceries: $8,404 <- This is ludicrous! It's $2K more than last year. Must work on this. Will be easier when lockdown is over.
Eating Out: $3,682 <- Arggh! Again, this is way up this year. Takeout is seductive. Must work on this.
Household & Garden: $2,944 <- Includes DIY home repair supplies & equipment, gardening supplies, love shack furnishings, etc.
Pet: $3,836 <- Both cats were sick this year, so this is mostly vet bills, lab work, medication, etc.
Medical/HSA: $2,899 <- I guess this counts toward savings for future medical bills?
Health Premiums: $1,863 <- Complicated to explain.
Umbrella Insurance: $178
Gifts: $933 <- We bought ourselves a knock-off Roomba for Christmas, but even so, this is too high. Must cut back.
Miscellaneous: $2,977 <- This got jumbled with other stuff, but includes pre-pandemic art classes and kink events, art supplies, PC games, cannabis, a rug, etc.
Total Regular Expenses: $27,715

Other Stuff
Clothing: $321
Vacation/Travel: $566
Haircuts & Pedicures: $220
Charity: $850
Total Other: $1,957

The Upshot
Total Expenses: $82,012

Total Saved: $48,262

Savings Rate: 37%

The Plan
Everything is so uncertain right now. California has been under restrictions for close to 10 months and my state is getting hammered hard by COVID.

Work-wise, I have projects lined up until early February, then who knows? As a small biz owner, I should be able to apply for a small state grant and possibly a PPP loan, but I'm not counting on anything.

Budget-wise, I'm okay with most of last year's expenses. The Bay Area has a notoriously HCOL so the fact that our expenses were about $68K without home renovation is actually pretty good. However, we REALLY need to work on bringing our food expenses back in check. I'll also be looking closely at our home/garden and miscellaneous expenses.

In terms of upcoming expenses, I'd like to replace the bathroom vanity top this year. It's possible we may need a new roof, so I've been planning for that. Our car has 100K miles on it and while it's running fine, eventually something will break.

The one area I'm planning on truly splurging on this year is travel. For years now, I've been talking about visiting Bodie (ghost town in the eastern Sierras) and Manzanar (Japanese internment camp), as well as trekking up to Oregon to check out possible places to live. If this year has taught me anything, it's to balance saving for the future with living in the now. So, I'm gonna do everything possible to carve aside time and money to go on these trips this year.

7Wannabe5
Posts: 7080
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Llorona's Log, Take II

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

What fun having a love shack in your backyard!

Do you prefer having your lovers add value within the boundary of your domain? It seems like my preference is to visit my lovers at their domains or 3rd place, but NOT living with them on their domains. My experiments with having them add value within the domain of my permaculture project did not end up working out very well. I am thinking about this again because I am considering buying a dilapidated house.

llorona
Posts: 403
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:44 pm
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Llorona's Log, Take II

Post by llorona »

FINANCES
I forgot about finances for a while and I'm not quite sure how it happened, but our net worth hit $1.4M. I'm looking at another seven years of part-time consulting. At that point, I'll probably continue working purely on my terms and on a very, very part-time basis to afford fun stuff like international travel.

WINDFALLS
We received a couple windfalls and I've been working my ass off (for me, that's anything more than 24 hours a week), so we've already saved close to $40K so far this year.

WORK
My attitude toward work and my own self-worth have shifted for the better, I think. First, I got tired of being a bleeding heart and seeing other consultants swoop in and charge more. Second, I had to turn down a lot of business this year due to limited capacity. Third, I decided to respect to my value and expertise. So, I upped my rates for old and new clients alike. They can take it or leave it. I'm willing to negotiate scope of work, but I won't reduce my rates.

I gave notice to a long-term client. I've worked with them for well over a decade. I stayed because they had me on retainer and I was afraid of losing that stability. I'm at a point now where I have enough fuck you money to cut them loose. Interestingly, as soon as I made the decision, another client decided to put me on retainer for even more money and hours.

SPENDING
Looking at my 2020 year-end expenditures highlighted the areas where I want to cut back. I've reeled in the grocery, house & garden, and miscellaneous expenses. The cats have been healthy this year, thankfully. I'm still working on reducing takeout expenses.

In addition to the Roomba, I bought a mopping robot for $170. It was a carefully considered decision. For a while, I'd been envious of friends who had housecleaners, but I just couldn't justify the expense. The mopping and vacuuming robots have been a game changer. Every week, I turn them on and voila, we have clean floors which is really 70% of the cleaning battle in our house.

My clothing is literally falling apart. :lol: Apart from shoes (necessary for my bad feet) and underwear, I've barely bought any clothes in two or three years. At home, I'm perfectly happy wearing literal rags. However, when I attend business meetings or special events, it's important for me to have nice quality clothing. Clothing needs to fit well and feel good on my body. It's hard for me to spend the money, but I'm investing in a few classic, quality pieces.

We're finally going on the trip to Bodie and Manzanar next month! We're renting an SUV (due to the terrain and distance, not sure our car would make it), bringing our own food, and staying in a souped up RV resort. Total cost should be about $1K.

BODY & MIND
Since late December, I've consistently done yoga at least six days a week. I'm never going to be able to do those fancy poses, but my muscle tone, strength, flexibility, and balance are much improved. My aches and pains are gone. My mind is much clearer and I feel so much more grounded. My diet is also much cleaner - lots of eggs, fruit, vegetables, cheese, fish, etc. Haven't felt this good in at least 15 years!

RELATIONSHIPS
Do you all know about attachment theory? I lean anxious, especially when paired with an avoidant partner, and I'm trying to become more secure. It's funny how attachment styles aren't static. With my husband, we have enough trust built up that I'm 97% secure. Once in a while, I need to cling to him. He lets me because it doesn't faze him and he knows that within three minutes, I'll let go and revert to homeostasis.

My last boyfriend initially gave the appearance of being secure, but after a few months, he became more avoidant. It turns out that he was cheating, so my anxiety wasn't unfounded. But the point is that I did a really good job of not centering my whole everything around this relationship. Yoga really helped, not just in terms of learning to breathe, but also making space for daily practice and fiercely guarding that time for myself. As in, unless the house is burning down, NO ONE interrupts my yoga time. And when I found out that he had cheated (in the middle of a pandemic, no less), I immediately dumped him. I'm not completely okay - I'm still trying to work through why I didn't listen to my intuition and red flags around his narcissism and sociopathy - but I'm intact and fully functional.

PANDEMIC
Most businesses in California are at least partially open. I received the first vaccine dose in late March, and my husband just got the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine yesterday. Can't say I'm much looking forward to life returning to "normal." In fact, I hope it doesn't, at least not my life. I want to retain the elements of the slowness of daily life, focus on one thing at a time, and selectively choose who receives my time and energy. I hope I can do this.

7Wannabe5
Posts: 7080
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Llorona's Log, Take II

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@llorona:

Well, at least you probably aren’t wearing the same pair of two sizes too big overalls every day :lol:

I used to be err on the side of anxious/clingy in relationships, but now I am much more self-possessed. I think you are on the right track with your yoga practice. One thing I used to do was sort of a self-care ritual to take back possession of my self after sexual encounter/engagement; I would mindfully brush my hair and put it back into a neat braid.

Also, I highly recommend the difficult practice of “ONLY take men literally.” After I semi-mastered this practice, I would sometimes almost completely forget about the existence of a lover if/when he wasn’t in the room with me. Limiting engagement to fulfillment or realization of literal statement provides for maximization of freedom and minimization of regret or resentment. Also, as you likely just experienced to some extent, it makes it very easy to end a relationship with a man who does not stick to his own literal statements of intent, because he is unreliable, cheater, etc.

Simplest at hand example is wondering if a man will call you for a second date. This is bad practice. If he literally said he would call, then best practice is to not wonder but rather trust that he will and go on with your own life. If he did not literally say that he will, best practice is to not wonder and go on with your own life. If literal statement is not fulfilled, immediately withdraw your trust and go on with your own life.

tsch
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 8:47 pm
Location: Sonoma County, CA

Re: Llorona's Log, Take II

Post by tsch »

Somehow I missed your journal earlier, but just enjoyed finding it.

I really resonated with what you're saying about putting boundaries around your yoga time. I have always, in the past, let go of those kinds of things as others put demands on my time and energy. I've learned that it's a bad sign about the relationship when I start doing that, but it seems so easy to set aside in the moment.

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