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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Don't Spend it all in one place

I know it’s not polite to talk about money, but this one hurts and I have to get it out.

I received an email from my investment company telling me that my “withdrawal” had been processed and a check sent to me. Having requested no transactions I was worried and immediately logged in to see what was happening. Well, it seems that the last of the financial hits from the failure of Mega bank has been finalized in my world.

Earlier in the year I transferred all the actual money from my dead 401k into a new investment fund and it is nicely producing a tiny growth and will eventually be the nest egg it once was. However, when this transaction occurred they didn’t touch the company stock in my portfolio. As a no longer traded item, I’m not sure anyone knew what to do with it – so it sat there.

They finally figured it out and I have been cut a check for a little over $135.00. This will be a nice addition to the upstairs TV fund or a small addition to my short term savings fund but looking at the yearend statement for the fund in total I want to throw up. This tiny little check means that I am “recouping” $0.00376 cents on the $1 of my original holdings. If you’ve got a calculator, I’m sure you can figure out the starting figure. I’d post it, but it makes me too sad.

I know that in the overall course of things, I got off pretty lucky. I walked away with a nice severance, I obtained work right away and am ending the year on very solid footing. I am NOT WHINING. However, this financial loss is real and extends to every shareholder of Megabank stock who didn’t think to sell when the price dropped from $38 a share to $16, and then poof. It’s ‘nice’ that the FDIC seized the bank and sold it for pennies on the dollar to a bigger more stable bank with a more stable portfolio. People who banked at the bank were “secure” in their insured holdings, but the investors… got screwed.

I was at a party earlier in the month and ran into someone I knew briefly at the bank and we had the usual catch up conversation. How are you? Are you working? Is that your choice? And for many people the answers are, I’m good, I miss the people at the bank, I’m (am /not) working (at xxx.com) and I think I (love / hate) it. Many people are not as employed as they were before and have embraced the change. Some have chosen totally different paths, and some are still looking for the right position. This gal, isn’t working (after not looking at all until the fall) and is frankly ANGRY about it. She wanted to know if I was considering suing. Sue!? Who? The state court already said the shareholders didn’t have a case and that the FDIC had every right to seize the bank. (I find it fishy that it all went down less than 10 days before TARP monies were offered…but that’s a different thing.) So, no, I haven’t thought about suing. I lost a lot of money and a job I liked working with a team of people I respected and it is done. Being angry doesn’t change anything.

I think the only thing I can do is learn from it. Lesson 1: don’t buy the CRAP the CEO and CFO tell you. When the stock starts to freefall, get out. Lesson 2: Don’t invest more $$ in the company you work for than you’re prepared to lose. I was only 20% invested in my 401k in Megabank stock. I now see that that was too much and should I be lucky enough to work for a traditional employer again with a 401k I’ll cap that % at a lower rate, especially if stocks are part of my compensation package. (If they are giving me stock, maybe buying more is a silly idea.) And, don’t hold the compensation stock too long. The stock I was “given” as part of my compensation package that I cashed out I turned into my condo which was a very good investment for me. Had I held it, it would have been worth nothing – or rather 0.00376 cents. ICK. Sure I paid taxes on it, but tax is better than a pot full of nothing.

PS – don’t take investment advice from me. I’m just rambling here.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Dress in a box


With the wedding photo books delivered to the parents and in-laws and the thank you notes complete the last wedding chore was to deal with the dress.

I loved my dress. I thought it was simple, pretty and not overly "girly". I also did not spend a small fortune on it, which appeals to my (somewhat) thrifty nature. I wanted a real wedding dress, but I also knew I'd only be wearing it once.

Even though there's no plan to give the dress to a child or a favorite young relative, I couldn't part with the dress (eBay? not for me.) Having it professionally cleaned and boxed was the right way to protect my investment - er vestment.

We dropped by the dry cleaner to pick it up today and I have to say it left me with a weird feeling. Maybe it's the simple fact that I'm no longer "the bride" or that the wedding is over, but since neither of these have been even the smallest of issues I doubt that's the case.

I think maybe it's just that seeing the dress in the child coffin sized box with the view window was disturbing. Seriously, it looks like dead thing, with out a head. The body of the dress is stuffed with (acid free) tissue and even the breast portion is nicely filled out. Maybe even better than my own assets.

Jason kindly stored it in our master closet. We, of course, lost track of which side of the box is "up" so I'm sure my dead dress is now upside down for all eternity.

bye bye dress.

(thank you Matt for this beautiful photo!)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

ooh, the excitement is building.

both sets of parents are here.

we've had our turkey dinner (and I'm so looking forward to left overs today for lunch).

jason had to work today and we've been getting texts all morning (methinks it's not too busy at the office.)

the tree is bursting with wonderful wrapped packages.

the sun is shining and I'm feeling much much better.

hoe you're having a lovely day and that all travel is conducted safely.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I seem to be feeling better. Yesterday, I ventured out with the family to run some early morning errands and man oh man was it too much for my poor little tummy. I started to lose it in Fred Meyer and got a bit spacey. I opted to wait in the car during the Costco run. If I couldn't handle Fred Meyer grocery dept. there's no way I could deal with Costco. Plus, I think four people is too many for a grocery shopping expedition.

We came home, rested for a bit (I did some work for my client) and later we went to lunch. Halfway through, I was done, and thankful I brought my own car. A quick trip to Rite Aid on the way home for some tummy calming medicine and back to bed I went.

Last night we watched Julie & Julia (wonderful) and I managed to sit through the whole movie without having a core shaking temperature change nor needing to make an emergency run to the loo. By the time we went to bed I was practically giddy with glee over how good I felt.

Today, I'll still be taking it easy. I have work to do (bad tp for blogging) and we have a houseful of workers fixing the tiny little things in our house. The caulker arrived at 8 and is busily working on removing and replacing the builders caulk in our bathroom and in the guest bathroom.

A roofer is due here in moments to finally add that last darned bit of flashing on a section of our roof.

Painters are due here any moment to repaint the "wet rooms" aka the bathrooms. We picked up a good quality eggshell paint for the bathrooms and are excited not to have to repaint those areas ourselves. And by ourselves, I mean by myself. I married someone who, in our limited pre-nup called out painting as a task he doesn't do. I believe him. When we breakdown and repaint the main common areas we will hire in help for the stairwells and foyer walls.

So, while this is all going on, I'm finishing up some stuff and working out my travel for the beginning of January.

I did figure out this morning that I'll hit the frequent flier Gold status on my last flight of the year (on 12/31). I think it's funny to meet that level on the last day of the year. It'll be a nice little perk but I promise to not let it get to my head. It means I'm not home as much as I want to be. Getting to jump the security line will be nice and the upgrade coupons will be handy for our joint trips.

I'll mull over an exciting and important topic for the next posting.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Fictionary

New suggestions from the future Mrs. MWR:

Awficles: the awful office cubicle

Thriftwood: accretion of random stuff from thrift stores.

Clearly, she has a better vocabulary than I.

Accretion is in science, accretion is a process in which the size of something gradually increases by steady addition of smaller parts. (Think of driftwood along the beach, or how sand fills in the beachhead in front of a jetty.)

My new word from today:

Pu: Flu-like symptoms that are localized to unpleasant lower intestinal issues. "I don't have a fever, I think I just have the pu."

(TP is still not feeling well, and NO MOM, I'M NOT PREGNANT. Thanks for asking.)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

That's not very nice!

Here we are at the end of the weekend and I'm under the weather.

Friday, our dinner invitee chose to stay home so we tried a new recipe and cracked open an older bottle of wine and talked about life, work and the upcoming holidays.

Saturday we were up early to meet the window shade installers who arrived at 7:15. We used our extra time to vacuum and spiff up the house. We took and "exciting" trip to Fred Meyer.

We picked up the in-laws at the airport after a quick visit to Becky's

Saturday night we had a reservation at el Goucho. Yummmm. Meat! (sorry cow, but you taste good!). The only bummer is that I started to feel ill during dinner and ended up needing to "give back" my dinner before we left the restaurant. Ironically, as I was making the emergency trip to the chic restroom I was asked by a server "How's your dinner?". Some how "It tastes good, but I need to throw up" probably wouldn't go over well, so he got a thumbs up. Throwing up in a fabulous location is awkward. (Throwing up anywhere but home is awkward and awful. )

I thought it was an isolated incident until we had to stand and sing at church this morning. It was clearly to much for me and I have been on the couch in pj's ever since. Jas and his mom and dad had brunch together and then enjoyed a trip to the mall. I feel bad for not joining but am thankful they went rather than watch me drool on the couch all afternoon.

I'm hopeful that a down day will mean I'm right as rain tomorrow. Christmas is coming, I can't be sick.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

2010 The Planning

With Christmas 2009 upon us in mere moments I am, of course, planning summer events.

Some things you talk about doing, but if you don't get it on the books you just don't manage to do. So, we've scheduled and (because of a 20% discount) prepaid for a return trip to Walla Walla wine country with friends.

The Inn only had two rooms available for the weekend which is wonderful news but also a bit of a bummer, in that it would have been fun to invite another couple or 12 to join us.

We (I) selected a weekend in July to venture to Gambleside (Becky's sister's wonderful bay side cabin) last year with all the wedding stuff it just didn't work out, but this year I've got it blocked on the calendar. (Make a note of it, it will be cloudy and cold the weekend of July 25th).

The other summer event will be a trip to the beach. It was so fun last fall and I'd like to repeat it without the impending wedding over our heads. I hope to be better company when I'm not all "invitations and rsvps". I don't think I was horrid, but maybe I was.

Preparations for Jas' 40th birthday are also starting to form in my head. Because I'm kooky I'm planning a theme party. I ordered my Farrah Fawcett wig online today. I hope it's not too cheesy. It needs to be somewhat cheesy but I hope it resembles the online photo (see above). We will see. Yes, we will be venturing back in time to the 70 's. It should be a swinging good time.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

And now I'm pissed

Jas & I have a smallish (but not insignificant) joint savings account at the bank formerly known as WaMu. I noticed today when I transferred a wedding gift into the account that they dinged us for $20 this month and last month.

WHAT THE HELL!?

I called to talk to a telephone banker who told me that when our down payment check cleared our account dropped below the minimum for a free account an now we'll be paying $20 a month until we can add another $5000.00 to the account.

EXCUSE ME?

What I heard them say was "Your account isn't worth our time and we don't really want your business." One phone call to the credit union I tried to quit last year (but didn't) and I find that not only is their money market rate higher but they don't charge a fee unless you go under $1000.00 we are WELL over that amount.

CHASE, I wish I could quit you... AND I CAN.

Now, Jas and I have to discuss the options for moving the savings and maybe all the other accounts. Oh it's a damn hassle, but don't offer me .50% interest but charge me a 2% monthly fee.

You would think I would have broken up with this bank when they gobbled up (or were given) WaMu and I lost my job. I was seduced by their easy locations and thought our long term relationship mattered.

Remember those dumb Sterlings Savings commercials where the local yokels are on the phone with the big New York bank and shocked by what they hear... well FRICK. THAT'S ME RIGHT NOW.

I'M YELLING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Draggin'

I'm pooped today.

Yesterday I was up at 4 am (but awake at 3) to get ready to head to the airport. I was on the 6:20 a.m. flight to San Jose for a meeting with the big boss at eBay. The meeting went well but it was clear that the manager who (has since left) hired me and the big boss weren't on the same page. That's an awkward situation, but fortunately I have a contract that stipulates what I was supposed to be working on (and have delivered!)

So, after the somewhat stressful meeting a quick lunch another meeting I was back to the airport for the 3:30 flight home. One day trips are not the norm but I had a commitment last night that I didn't want to miss. The year end book group meeting is the best!

I ran off the airplane and to the car to join hundreds of commuters stuck behind a disabled Semi under the convention center. It didn't help that it was pitch black and WET outside. I'm not totally comfortable in Jason's car just yet and it was a stressful drive.

I arrived at Amy's with 30 minutes to spare, so I was able to quickly finish the last of the books for our discussion and then headed inside.

The gathering was great (and I'll upload the summary on the other blog later today) but around 9:30 my 3:00am wake up hit me like a ton of bricks. I was in North Seattle and still needed to get to Renton. It took 45 minutes to wrap up (because the ladies are not on my schedule - duh) and I was puttering home.

I walked in the door around 11 and was thankful that although Jason was upstairs tucked into bed that all the Christmas lights were still on. It was a welcoming sight.

I think it's strange that even though I was exhausted I didn't sleep like the dead last night. There were terrible dreams about trying to deal with the Toyota Motor Company and trying to sell a house that was overrun with teenagers. I'm not really sure where any of that came from, the car is fine, the house is fine and the teenagers I know are all nicely housed with their own families. So, I woke up tired and am trying to focus. (Clearly not well if I'm blogging vs. following up on my to do list from the meeting yesterday.)

I'm going to get my work done and hopefully take a Terri Time Out before I start dinner for my little family tonight.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Wedding!

A friend of mine who has been long single and off and on dating of perfectly fine, but not quite right for him ladies has sent a very exciting notice, he's getting married.

I am over the moon excited for him, not just because of the whole "wedding thing" but that he has found his right someone. I think it is sweet that taking this huge step for them seems simply natural. I recall one not-right gal who was offended when he referred to her as a starving student. I guess you could consider that an insult, but all he was trying to say was that he understood why he was usually the one to grab the check. She didn't see it that way at all and showed him the (dorm) door. Oh well, it appears that those missteps were all on the path to his current love. I would also like to point out that at the time I assured him that not ALL women were crazy and it turns out I'm right!

I got wind of this impending union after Jason and I returned from our honeymoon and honestly, at that point I didn't think I could be a happier person, but his announcement swelled the size of my heart like the Grinch when he figures out that Christmas isn't about the stuff.

So, a few short weeks after Christmas they will be married in a tiny private ceremony and then the rest of us riff-raff will join them the next day to eat their reception food and gush over how thrilled we are for them. The gushing is required, but it will come very easily for me.

I know, I use to blog about customer service nightmares and now I'm all happy this and happy that. I'm sure it's getting old. (wink)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Friday!

I'm excited to report that Christmas is in full swing at Casa La TP. Our official tree will be decorated tomorrow ( a bit late, but other parties beckoned.) We are headed to the Seattle Symphony Christmas Pop's concert tonight and have dinner reservations at the new downtown Seattle location of our favorite restaurant.

After decorating our tree tomorrow we are headed to the Big Fancy Annual Christmas event. I have even dusted off a festive dress to wear.

Sunday will see the return of my people to church, where I'm sure our feet will burn as they cross the threshold. (It's been a while.)

I'm excited and happy about the impending holiday and think it will be a blast. It's very family focused this year and I am a bit sad to miss some of the friend events. Matt & JJ are throwing a swinging party on capital hill Saturday and our committment to the other gala will keep us away.

On the work front, I've gotten word that my contract has been extended another 3 months which is great! I'll likely be starting work with a new team who has a position opening in April. My evil plan is to do the work now so they can't stomach the idea of starting over with a greenhorn. Woo Woo. It's a job that is perfect for me and I'm excited.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Good Parking?

Since the day we moved, all these 6 weeks ago Jason has been complaining about foot pain. He's had prior foot issues and uses inserts in his shoes to enable him to walk more than 30 feet without needing a morphine shot. With this minor sharing violation you can see where foot pain is an area of concern.

He broke down and went to the podiatrist about three weeks ago and was told that it was just a sprain. Seems reasonable, he didn't fall or drop anything on his foot. That's not entirely true, a year ago I dropped a Costco sized shampoo bottle on his bare foot. I really doubt it has been waiting in dormancy for the right moment to actually cause pain. (I, by the way, should not be trusted to help with putting away even minorly heavy things around barefooted people.)

Back to our story. Jas was told to take AdvilTM every 6 hours and it would clear up. Well - maybe JUST MAYBE the doctor should have taken an x-ray.

Friday, after the pain in his foot was getting worse he opted to call a different doctor who did take an x-ray and discovered a stress fracture in the 4th metatarsal (the long bone in the foot that would be, on your hand, the "ring finger".) He came home Friday in a boot. Thankfully a plaster cast is not required.

I want to beat up the first doctor a little bit, but think suing for malpractice might be a tiny bit excessive. Just maybe.

(This picture is NOT jason's x-ray. I borrowed it from a helpful website about stress fractures. )

He didn't think to get the parking pass, and I'm ok with that. I would hate to displace some actually disabled person because we wanted kick butt mall parking at Christmas time. I'm evil but still have a heart.

However, we're having people over tonight and in true northwest style I think we'll ask everyone to remove shoes... or at least their left shoe. MWR... calm down, we don't require the removal of shoes in our house. I would ask for the removal of stiletto heels as they can damage the hardwood floors, but regular shoes are welcome. We own a vacuum.

Jason is a good sport and just 24 hours with the boot has made his foot feel better. He is ducking out of dishes and vacuuming, but that's fine. I'll make up for it the next time I have bookgroup at my house. Shhhh.... don't tell him, but I have him convinced that ALL the book group husbands do the cooking and cleaning during the book group meeting. It is an AWESOME thing.

Anyway, Hop-along is calling my name. Gotta run!

Happy Saturday.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Knox Found Guilty of Murder

American college student Amanda Knox was found guilty today of murdering her roommate in Italy.

She will appeal. Her parents will continue to live in limbo and I hope that she actually is guilty. Not that I want her to be a murderer, but if she's going to prison for 26 years I hope it's deserved.

Jason says that the moral of the story is "behave when you're in a foreign country."

My thought is that there is a bright side, she will be fluent in Italian upon her return home. She'll only be 45 and can come home and teach.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Efforts to reach Christ for comment were unsuccessful.

This little article from the AP yesterday made me laugh:

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Court officials say a Birmingham woman who changed her name to Jesus Christ didn't live up to it when she reported for jury duty this week. The woman, previously named Dorothy Lola Killingworth, was sent to Judge Clyde Jones's courtroom for a criminal case Monday.

Court officials told The Birmingham News Tuesday that the 59-year-old was excused because she was disruptive and kept asking questions instead of answering them.

Efforts to reach Christ for comment were unsuccessful.

Court administrator Sandra Turner said people there were shocked when the woman insisted her name was Jesus Christ and some potential jurors laughed out loud when her name was called.

But Turner said unlike some Jefferson County residents, Christ didn't try to get out of jury duty and was "perfectly happy to serve."

Et tu Tiger?


Tiger, Tiger, Tiger.

While I agree that what happens in your family is none of our business, it becomes our business when you endanger innocent fire hydrants.

Honestly, I wish you had heeded the advice of my high school boyfriend's dad, who called out to us while we were getting in the car all dressed up for prom.


Keep it in your pants Dan!


This is good advice Tiger. If you get to keep your family and your fortune I suggest you heed that advice from a grocery store butcher to his 17 year old son and his 80's preppy girlfriend. It served us well.

Look how cute we were on an October night in 1985. He broke up with me about eight weeks later because I talked too much about Duran Duran and he felt like he couldn't compete. Actually, I think he thought I wanted to get married after high school - which scared the sh*t out of him. I had never had that thought because I was 17 and headed to college!

But in the end it all worked out. I had a broken heart and he dated some skanky girl. Then, twenty three years later I met and then married the love of my life.

But we were still cute.


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Check your mailbox

Christmas has arrived in the mail.

Our Christmas cards arrived and I think are cute. I want to shove my work in a drawer and get the cards out, but will be good about doing the work I'm paid to do vs. the playing I want to.

Also, Jason signed up for Amazon Prime, which means 2 day shipping is practically free and some of the stuff I ordered Monday arrived YESTERDAY and I'm expecting the rest today. There are presents to be wrapped.

In my email we got the church holiday schedule and now we're in discussions to plan Christmas eve, and Christmas day festivities.

I spoke with Rico last night and we are signing up today to adopt a family again for the holidays. It's kind of an expensive thing, but wonderful at the same time. I have SO MUCH in my life that this tiny act of giving is a nice way of saying thanks!

So, clearly, I've set aside the ho-hums and am ready to tackle Christmas.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Where is Christmas?

It would be so easy to get mired down in the news of late. I'm heartbroken for four nee five families who have lost members of their families to stupid, senseless violence.

I'm conflicted over the resolution of the manhunt for the 'suspect'. On one hand, I think a trek through our criminal system is the way to go, but clearly that system failed us. It failed the four slain officers, their parents, their kids, their spouses, their friends, their co-workers and all of us. It failed the people he committed (allegedly) other crimes against, and it failed the officer who now has to live with killing him this morning.

On the other hand, wow could he appear MORE guilty of this crime? He had a wound from being shot (which I'm sure will show the age of the wound to coincide with the incident Sunday) and was carrying a firearm removed from one of the dead Parkland Policemen. I think maybe a big "I DID IT" sign may be the only other proof needed.

I was reading the comments that readers posted to the Seattle Times story about the shooting (of the suspect) today and I am confused as to how people can honestly question the actions of the officer. I doubt he was out at 2:45 a.m hoping that he would get to gun down the perp. I know I live in the land of believing the police are here to help us, but this situation seems extremely clear and while I think the benefit of the doubt is a good thing, in this case I have no need for doubt.

So, this story is still all over the news and I hope that the issue of parole is one that isn't forgotten. But... in light of all this doom and gloom I need to get my Christmas on. Thankfully, I live with the happiest Christmas elf on the face of the earth. Friday the morning music selection turned to the holiday mix and I was treated to a joyful dance to "Have a Holy Jolly Christmas" by Burl Ives. (Burl wasn't doing the dancing - only the singing.)

I will shake off my sadness, grab an ornament and get to the things that are enjoyable about the holidays. I'm so happy we'll be spending Christmas morning in our new house with both of our parents. I will hug my parents extra tight when they arrive.

This is the last of the bummer posts for a while. I promise.