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*GULP* I am Management…

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Our team member in Crystal’s Cozy Care Pet Sitting asked for a heavier schedule regularly.  Since we want her to stay with us for as long as she possibly can, we got right on that! We’re basically using October as a test month to see how big of a hit our overall income will take if we fill in her schedule first and just cover a couple of weekday regulars and the few outliers during the busiest times. So far, the experiment is going well.  We are taking a monetary hit, but not as bad as expected.  Plus the decrease in work hours allowed me to catch up on the background parts of running the business, which needed to seriously happen soon anyway. BUT MANAGEMENT AIN’T NO JOKE! Time Management for Management… I honestly thought that having fewer pet sitting jobs would leave me a little extra time to blog or to catch up with chores in our dirty house.  Nope.  All of the extra time has been used on managing the assignments, creating checklists, attending pre-meets, staying in touch with our clients, and doing my side of the record keeping.  Taking time on those tasks has led to more … Read more

Accepting My Current Self

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This is my time of the year. Halloween is my holiday spirit animal, our favorite annual conventions are around the corner, I adore Christmas, we get to chill with family, friends, and food around Thanksgiving through the end of the year, my birthday is in late December, etc. In short, I’m an over-excited hot mess. I’m decking the halls with giant spider webs, jack o’ lanterns, and skulls.  I’m assembling a kick ass costume that I’ll use for Fincon Expo 2017, Halloween, the Renaissance Festival, and the Board Game Geek Convention.  I’ve started hoarding Christmas gifts for others as I see them.  I’m in my seasonal happy spot. Why It’s Harder to Write But during moments of inactivity, I take emotional punches straight to the face.  I dwell.  I dwell on the people that aren’t here anymore.  I dwell on the baby that didn’t happen.  I dwell on my insecurities and short-comings.  I dwell on not being the happier, less wrung-out, younger version of me…the me who started this site back in 2010. I want to be a positive person that others enjoy being around.  I still love helping and aim to make others laugh.  I crave connections.  But it’s … Read more

Let’s Whine About Insurance Costs!

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It’s that time of year for us again – most of our insurance policies are up for renewal.  I cringe every time I pay one of the bills, and yet I know that we’re actually getting fair renewal rates. How do I know?  I shop around every couple of years or when there is a significant jump in cost.  AND I talk a lot about everything to everybody, so I usually have a good idea of what is being paid by others. So chime in below so we can all keep up on the going rates in our own regions.  I’m starting with our most costly out-of-pocket coverage and working my way down.  Knowledge is power…knowledge of costs is the power to save money! Health Care Coverage We don’t technically have health insurance.  We joined Liberty Healthshare in 2016, which is a health cost sharing group.  It’s not actually insurance, but they work similarly.  They don’t guarantee coverage, have a maximum coverage amount of $1,000,000 per incident, and they don’t cover pre-existing conditions fully for the first few years. But they let us join, cost WAY less than our previous health insurance ($299 a month instead of $570+), and have … Read more

Please Stay – Suicide is Too Final #EndtheStigma #DebtDrop

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This blog post is part of the Suicide Prevention Awareness Month blog tour in partnership with Debt Drop.  If you are feeling suicidal, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741.  #EndtheStigma #DebtDrop Last year around this time for #WSPD16, I posted about my own depression and the steps I take to feel less shitty.  But suicide isn’t just considered by people who are depressed.  It’s the ultimate out from anything.  The problem is that once that path is taken, you never get a chance to see what would have happened next.  So before it even gets to that point, how can we avoid wanting to escape? What do you need?  How can we all best be there for you?  What I Need For me, it’s my people – my “tribe”.  My husband, our parents, and our friends make it possible to make it through anything.  My tribe is full of caring, dependable people.  Granted, my support network grows and shrinks and changes with time, but that is okay too.  The key is simply being part of something bigger than yourself. Creating Your Support Network If you don’t have a tribe, reach out to … Read more

Our New Dog and Other Life Updates

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I’m so far behind on keeping y’all updated that it feels overwhelming.  Here…let me unload in sections and then see where we can go from there! We’re Welcoming a New Doggy! We’re finally adopting a pup again!  Her name is Khaleesi (no, we didn’t pick that…I would have gone with Xena, hehehe).  She’s a sweet mutt who is medium-sized (35-45 pounds), 8-10 years old, seems pretty mellow, and likes all humans and other animals. In May, she was near death thanks to starvation and a bad skin condition, so she was about to be euthanized at an animal shelter.  They called one of my Chow-rescuing pet sitting clients, Valory, about the “chow that needs to be saved”.  Well upon arrival, Khaleesi was definitely not a Chow but Valory couldn’t leave her to die, so she has been recovering for a few months.  Now she’ll be part of our family for the rest of her life. We’re excited; though a little worried she may like the cats more than us.  She’s tried licking Miss Rachel’s face multiple times now…and seems to think hissing is an interesting form of showing love.  Len has been calling her Pepe Le Pew since that is … Read more

We Cruised Through Hurricane Harvey…Others Weren’t as Lucky

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You may have noticed that I’m from Houston, Texas and haven’t posted for more than 2 weeks.  We are safe.  Heck, we were more than safe during Hurricane Harvey’s flooding because we were on a 7 day cruise that lasted 13 days. We Were Extremely Spoiled Hurricane Harvey Refugees Hurricane Harvey closed the port of Galveston, so the Carnival Freedom sailed around the Gulf of Mexico and up the Mississippi River to New Orleans a couple of times while we waited for it to be safe to go home.  The first time on Saturday, August 26, was a quick day trip.  The second time, August 29-30, was an overnight stay in that port.  So our Western Caribbean cruise turned into a Mississippi River Boat cruise to New Orleans for the second half.  😉   We had tons of food, lots of fun with Dive-In movies like La La Land and Guardians of the Galaxy 2, enjoyed a couple of hilarious comedians, and had all the regular cruise fun. Our Total Cruise Cost The total cost for our 13 day cruise ended up being less than $2000. $1500 for the 7 day cruise tickets, taxes, fees, and insurance (more than usual … Read more

Our Income Shell Game to Avoid Tax Drama

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Disclosure:  This is a personal story from my point of view.  Don’t mistake this for advice.  Ask a professional for tax advice.  I’m not a professional. In short, don’t be an asshole and blame me for anything.  😉 We DIDN’T Owe the IRS $67,000 If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that we went through a 2 year saga from 2014-2016 with the IRS to prove we DIDN’T owe them nearly $70,000.  To summarize – after some tears, shit tons of frustration, some sleepless nights, and a classically AWFUL experience with a tax lawyer, the IRS agreed with us.  Yep, cost the IRS some paper and stamps for automated scary letters.  Cost us unnecessary stress and $5600 of expenses between the money-hungry lawyer (somehow magically was able to use ALL but $112 of our $5000 retainer to literally file two sets of papers and take 2-3 phone calls) and our new, actually helpful, CPA. Our New System After that total bullshit, we started paying that CPA to file our taxes every year (CPA-filed taxes get picked on less).  We also pulled the trigger to set up both of our main businesses officially (Budgeting in the Fun Stuff and … Read more