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One of my coworkers has left the company due to health issues, and since things are a skosh lean right now, my boss is having me take up her duties.
I certainly have plenty of downtime at work, and things are slower right now, meaning the work she was doing wasn’t particularly heavy volume-wise. So it’s not a huge ask on my boss’s part.
The problem comes from the fact that the decision of my taking over wasn’t made for almost three weeks. So I had/have a backlog to get through.
I got caught up on the big three systems (out of six or seven) that my boss trained me on. Those were and will be the main sources of this work. But the are things in the other system (and things that need to be filed in them) that need dealing with. Knowing that they’re out there makes me itchy.
Once I’m caught up in all of the systems, it shouldn’t actually take too much extra time out of my day to keep up on this stuff. But so far this week, I’ve (gasp) actually had to work most of the time I’m on the clock. Which leaves me feeling a bit drained after work. Which means no posts have been written.
Which is why you’re now reading this exposition.
So all I’ve got for you today are a few tidbits — in no particular order of importance — that probably won’t even be edited very well. Apologies in advance.
Talk money to me
Aaron said one of the sexiest things you can say to a financial nerd: “I think I should probably open an IRA. I need you to give me some information about retirement stuff.” (Well, that combined with his “Oh yeah, completely maxed out the 401(k) already. Yeah, and my HSA.” Soooo hot!)
I gave him a brief rundown about traditional vs. Roth IRA, but we agreed we’d talk about it more the next time he came over. This meant I had to do some reading on IRAs, because I needed to check income limits for deductions/contributions in general. It also meant I had to get a sense of his income level without prying overly. So it led to messages like “If you make more than $X then… you can’t blah blah blah.”
In the end, some questions I had to ask gave me a general idea what he makes anyway. But at least he knows I wasn’t trying to be nosy. Also, I assured him that I make a good living, so I really don’t care what a guy makes as long as he’s able to pay his bills.
I told him the next time he came over, we’d sit down with a retirement calculator to see whether he’s on track, so I’d need him to have a rough idea of what he spends in a month. And there are one or two things I plan to recommend for his overall finances.
Hawwwwwt. By my standards, anyway.
I knew I wasn’t a minimalist but…
I joined a Buy Nothing group on Facebook. It’s not an official one — my area is just barely outside of the limits for like three of those groups, which are suuuuper area-specific — but the Facebook group is still a good place to see what people are needing/offering.
And I was surprised. Because while I’ve never claimed to be a minimalist, I keep being startled when I realize the request someone is making is for things that are just sitting idle in my house.
When I decorated my tree, I found that I had a 24-set of blue plastic ball ornaments plus a string of lights that I didn’t really need. I could have used them on the tree, but they weren’t really necessary. Meanwhile, I’d already seen several requests for trees, ornaments and lights. I couldn’t help with the tree, but some people are apparently planning wall trees so there were still multiple interested parties.
Then came the bags. Tim’s hands got pretty bad for a while, so he hated wrapping gifts. So I’d scooped up a bunch of holiday gift bags on sale at Big Lots, which we used and reused.
But now, they’re kind of pointless. I have things shipped to Mom, and my friends and I just do a White Elephant event each year rather than exchange gifts. So I didn’t need 16 medium-sized bags or quite a bit of the wrapping paper I had. I did hold back some of the less holiday-themed wrapping paper and a couple of gift bags, but I was happy to jettison the rest. And someone was very excited to get them.
A few days after I bought Black Friday deal for new, actually-match-the-duvet sheets, someone posted asking if anyone had king-sized sheets. I told them that if they could wait a few days (until my sheets shipped to the store), I would probably have some I no longer needed. It was two red sheet sets which clash with the blue duvet pretty badly.
I also offered up my old comforter set. Thanks to Josie, it had some picking in the embroidery in spots, so I didn’t think I could get much reselling it. Better it go to a good home (and I be able to do contactless pickup).
Someone else said they had lost everything. They needed clothes, dishes, towels, etc. I realized I had a few older towels I no longer use. I told her they weren’t the prettiest but they were hers if she wanted. Along with a blanket I’d completely forgotten about.
I never heard back, but still I was surprised to realize I had more extraneous stuff.
Someone else asked about scratching posts. I didn’t see the post for a couple of days, but I let him know that I had a big, sturdy one (Patches was a hefty gal and would tip over normal-sized posts) that was still in pretty good shape — and that my current cat ignores for the posts on her cat tree. I didn’t get a response, but yet another thing that I forgot I have (even though I pass by it multiple times a day).
Someone else was looking for an iPod. I didn’t have that, but I do have an old MP3 player. I said to let me know if they couldn’t get a proper iPod. I didn’t get a response, so hopefully that means the person got what they needed. But yet another extraneous item I never even thought about.
So I guess those are things I’ll put up at some point? But next up will be the infamous tilted food/water bowls. And I need to see if anyone wants some Skechers that got very minimal use before I was able to affordably replace by ones I like much better.
Apparently I talk about Baby Yoda too much?
That might seem obvious, since I wrote an entire post about financial lessons from Baby Yoda. But I swear, it’s really not that bad.
Still, when I told Aaron I was writing that post, he chuckled and said I’m obsessed. Which I protested.
I remember once showing him some GIFs of the lil green dude and girl-squealing “Isn’t that ADORABLE? C’mon! It’s ADORABLE!” And I think once or twice I joked about my only Christmas list item being a real, live Baby Yoda. (This was after I’d suggested we not exchange gifts, so it was obviously a joke.) . But beyond that, I don’t recall mentioning good ole BY. So either my memory is bad, or Aaron has a low threshold for “obsessed.”
Anyway, it was so bad (in his mind) that he had looked around at Baby Yodas. But he said he hadn’t found any that were very good. I said that was very sweet but reminded him that I hadn’t wanted to do Christmas gifts anyway. He had thought it’d be a “just cuz” gift, I guess.
But luckily, he seems to have abandoned that search because, as established above, I probably don’t need more “stuff.”
The eyes have it
Ages ago, I caved and got some Urban Decay eye primer when I lucked into a $10 off coupon. Cuz I wasn’t about to pay $24 for a little tube, no matter how many people love the stuff.
Despite using it several times a week, I found that the tube lasted quite a while. I’d say at least seven months? Maybe nine? But it did finally run out.
I didn’t replace it, though, because: $24.
But when I saw that Macy’s had a sale that included beauty products and Mr. Rebates was offering 10% cash back, I decided to see if I could get a decent deal.
When I did a search for Urban Decay, one of the first results was actually a two-tube gift set ($48 value, normally $37.50) that was, inexplicably, half off. After adding the coupon, I paid $16.06 for two full-sized tubes.
Now, I don’t need two tubes. But it was $6 cheaper to buy two tubes than to buy one.
That said, I’m concerned that one tube will last long enough (especially given I’m not using it much in the pandemic) that the second tube will dry up. So I messaged a friend who had — back when the world wasn’t on fire — been thinking about trying the product, and I asked if she wanted a $24 tube of primer for $8.
She’s very interested. I’ll have paid just $8. Everybody wins!
Let’s steel ourselves for 2021
While we’re still far better than many parts of the country, the post Thanksgiving spike is definitely starting. Even if it started to die down in two to three weeks (doubtful), that would put us squarely around the time people are traveling for Christmas.
In other words, this spike is going to likely still be underway in January. So even once the calendar reads 2021, things won’t look immediately better. Even after Biden takes office, he won’t be able to get anything passed immediately. And even in the very doubtful scenario where he imposed a lockdown to get COVID under control, it would take time for the case numbers to go down.
So this is just a reminder to everyone (including myself), that it’s fine to joke about “just making it through December 31st.” But we need to prepare ourselves for everything not magically being better on January 1st. Or January 21st.
Obviously, that’s not to say there isn’t an end in sight. The vaccine seems very promising, which will hopefully make the time between now and getting the shots infinitely more bearable. But many of us will be last in line to get it. (Which is fine. I mean obviously I want it ASAP, but I absolutely support it first going to the groups more at risk than I am.) So according to a local newspaper, I could be looking at sometime in the summer.
Meaning that the vaccine is great, new leadership should definitely help down the line, but let’s all remember not to bank on just surviving til January 1st. Because if we do, we’re going to look around on New Years Day (or January 22nd), see things unchanged and lose our minds. More so than any of us already have.
How’s everyone else holding up?