27 February, 2011


Category: Finance,Health,Stress,Work — Moose @ 11:03 pm

The “bug” isn’t a bug, it’s just an ulcer. Caused by/exacerbated by stress. So the doc recommended a vacation. It took a lot of effort not to laugh. That definitely isn’t happening any time soon, unfortunately.

Work has been spastic all this past week. Shutdown mania hit, and while we may avoid that for a bit longer with the latest 2 week proposal, it’s been a tense time for most folks. I can survive one without too much pain if I cut back on things, but hopefully it won’t get to that. In the meantime, we’re getting a lot of planning done, and that’ll serve us well for the next one of these things. Which will come with the next big fight, over the debt limit.

The only thing that’s really held up personally is the septoplasty, which I’ve not yet scheduled. Understandably, I think. So it’ll wait until after the shutdown drama is done, until August with the break in the race schedule, or until after race season is over.

20 October, 2010

Coming Along Nicely

Category: Finance,Ink,Stuff,Work — Moose @ 9:49 pm

The ink is healing nicely, going through the slightly itchy stage as the scab does its thing. Not bad so far, and apparently no allergies to the ink.

Got the mortgage company on the phone yesterday, finally, and figured out what was up with their odd escrow payment record. They record the payment in the month they receive it, not when it was due, so if I pay “early” (before the first), the escrow is credited when they cash the check. Hence August showing two payments, and June showing none. Ugh. So I suppose I need to time my mailing of the checks so they get there consistently at the beginning of each month, rather than just sending them in when I get paid, so the escrow looks “normal”. Again, would be nice if they explained these things better up front.

I got an award at work, from the Head of the Big Gubm’nt Agency himself. Was kinda cool, and unexpected. Got a pretty clock & certificate for it, so I have stuff to show off in ye olde office, too. Always nice to get recognition for your work, especially when it’s coming from the head honcho.

Otherwise things are ticking along fairly well. New couch came in on Saturday, old couch went out about an hour later (thank you, Craigslist!). Very, very much enjoying having a ‘lounging’ couch again. Being able to sit back and read on the couch is so much nicer. I liked the old couch, but it was not loungeable. This is much better.

To celebrate it (and add some color to the black beast), I got it a pair of cushions:


They’re perfect, both for the space, and for me. Nice and geeky/gamery, and quite fun.

14 February, 2010

Catching Up

Category: Exercise,Family,Finance,Running — Moose @ 12:45 pm

It’s been a heck of a week here. With the snowmageddon, followed by the 3rd blizzard of the season just a couple of days later, I was off work for the majority of the week, and actually chomping at the bit to get back just so I could socialize with people again. Not to say I didn’t see my neighbors on occasion, but it’s not like we spend a ton of time hanging out. Finally got back to work Friday morning only to leave early after getting the news that my grandfather passed away that morning (probably while I was trudging through snow to try to get to work). I’m headed down here in a bit for the funeral, if I can ever get myself moving this morning. I will enjoy getting to see all of my cousins, at least.

In better news, I managed to pay off a student loan last month (the one with the highest interest rate) and just yesterday scheduled a pay off payment for a credit card which should hit that account tomorrow. It’s a card I keep low and try to pay off monthly anyway (I put a couple of recurring bills on ‘autopay’ on it), but I’d gotten a small balance there with an unexpected expense or two, so now that’ll be back to normal. Used the federal tax return to kill that off and rejiggered the budget to put the extra cash I was using to pay it down (less the regular bills) over to paying off the next card. That second one should get paid off by the end of this year at the current pace (9 months?), freeing that cash up for other debt. I know, “been there, done this” with the cards & student loans, but with my mortgage having been sold to an idiot of a company (not to name names, but they go by the initials “Green Tree Servicing”), I want the other things gone so I can do things like fix up the apartment here and have it in a more sellable position, as well as more comfortable/livable in general.

The snow has been limiting on being able to get out and run, so I’m feeling a bit behind on my training for the half in March, but I think I can get some good running in while down at the parentals’ place this week and get back on track.

25 January, 2010

State of the Moose at the End of January

My new mortgage servicing company has made a fine festuche of the escrow statement on my PMI as I moved over to them. Sent them a doc on 12/10/09 to have them correct the error (they somehow assumed I wasn’t going to pay the PMI that was on the bill for December and January, despite never being late with a payment?!?!). Called today because the February bill shows an increase (which was threatened in the incorrect escrow statement) to collect the “missing” PMI. They did indeed get my letter via fax on the 10th, but no one ever bothered to send it to the escrow department to have the thing fixed. Oy. So, step one was having that happen today, and I’ll call to bug them in a week. In the meantime I have to pay the bill with the extra $17 and change on it and then deal later with getting that somehow credited to a future bill or to principle. Right. It’s not a ton of money, but frankly I don’t want to pay them a penny more than I owe them. I have little faith in this new company so far, though the reps I’ve spoken to in the two months I’ve had them have been fairly pleasant to deal with.

Oh, and my favorite part of dealing with them? For the first time since about my third mortgage payment back in 2006 I’m paying my mortgage via check. Why? Because they want to charge me to make the payment online, in an amount that adds about 1% to the bill. No thanks, I’ll happily pay the USPS to deliver it instead. Dingbats.

And there’s some question why people dislike financial institutions?

Anyway. Other than that, training is going okay. My foot began to bother me a little at the end of last week, but several nights of sleeping in the brace has staved off the ever-possible plantar fasciitis. Went absolutely nuts in making soup last week, so I have gobs of the stuff in freezer bags now for easy meals later (whip up some fresh rice and heat up the soup, voila, homemade meal in no time). Curried split pea soup and African bean soup (also slightly curried, but with peanut butter in the broth – yum). Mood is much elevated thanks to regular exercise again.

Mike is looking at condos in Beantown these days. It’s been fun to watch the excitement and apprehension that goes along with that process. In a lot of ways I wish I were up there to look at places with him and watch the possibilities unfold. I did have to admit to him that I was a bit apprehensive when he first said that he was going to buy rather than rent when he moved this spring (it does make the long-distance aspect of the relationship a bit more, well, lasting for the near future), but spitting it out and talking about it with him released that anxiety. Yes, we’ll be traveling back and forth for a while to come, but I think he’s worth it.

Work has been hellacious as we move toward budget hearing time with the President’s budget coming out on Monday. Today was spent going over mind-numbing anticipatory questions and answers (the programs guessing what the Hill is going to ask us, and then answering said questions). On the one hand it’s a good picture of the overall direction of the BGA. On the other, it’s tedious and time-consuming, and one gets tired of correcting grammar and statutory reference mistakes. Eh, as long as they keep paying me. Though I do look forward to getting the ad out on the street for the other appropriations attorney position we’re supposed to be putting out. Soon. I hope. (Help!)

NTP is in full start-up mode. The newbies register on Wednesday and then the fun begins. I have two docs to edit up this week, and then we’re good to get started.

Been thinking a lot about decorating, again. Mainly paint and some minor things around the apartment. It’s been 4 years-ish since I moved in and I’ve not painted a thing. Whoops. I did come up with an idea for the color (though not the exact shade) for the bedroom this afternoon. Looked around when I got home and I think it’ll work. Not saying much past that, but I’m hopeful. Need to find someplace to do some framing for me, too (oooh, and there’s an idea for the front hall. Hmmm…). Anyway, it’s a slow process (re: 4 years, no paint), but is good to get some more concrete ideas. Oh, and cleaning out of closets will happen shortly. Lots to do, lots to do.

17 November, 2009


Category: Coffee,Exercise,Finance,Sleep,Work — Moose @ 5:31 pm

Got caught by a “gotcha” today at work that never should have become a gotcha, but did because of other, more pressing concerns. The joys of too much work, too little time. I think we’re now caught up on it, but I don’t like being in that position, nor do I particularly enjoy putting my boss in that position. Yuck.

Slept poorly last night, a result of a bit over overtraining soreness and late eating caused by needing to run to the grocery store right after running and cleaning up (rather than being able to eat first and then get to the store). Slept in a little, but I suspect I’ll sleep better tonight. Which is good, since tomorrow is my long run of the week.

I got a new pod(people) coffee maker for work, and it’s working out well thus far. Won’t get one for home, I still prefer the French press and grinding my own beans, but it’s a good, and cheaper solution for feeding the addiction at work. It was a freebie via a credit card I hold with otherwise relatively worthless “points” so the sole cost is the coffee itself, which is cheaper then buying it brewed from any of the local vendors. Not bad, though it does cut down on the need to walk out of my office, which is perhaps not the best side effect. I’ll have to take more chances to get up and walk.

15 April, 2009


Category: Finance,Massage,Running,Sleep,Swimming,Weather — Moose @ 3:23 pm

Another beautiful morning for a run. A light mist, low 50s, quite nice. Stretched to 5 miles this morning, and was doing well save for a hot spot caused by the new orthoses. Forgot to put body glide on my arches this morning, and it showed at the end. Not, I suspect, a mistake I’ll often make again.

Set myself up for a massage tomorrow. Yay. Haven’t had one in forever (last summer?), so this should be a treat.

Started tracking my cash spending again after a year or so absence from it. The lack of phone/quicken interface has been a definite hindrance there. I miss having pocket quicken to sync up the two devices. So far, though, I’ve done pretty well in remembering where I’ve been spending cash. Is good to have that awareness again.

Swim went okay this evening. First time back to the pool in 2 weeks (thank you, allergies/head cold). Still did okay, though I’m pretty darned tired this evening. Should sleep nicely. Got a pointer about arm position from a club member who often teaches swim lessons at the pool while I’m there. Was an interesting change, and it actually felt pretty good. Something new to concentrate on while training (and while racing), and I think a helpful thing.

17 February, 2009

One More Down

Category: Body,Exercise,Finance,Friends,Health,Knitting,Motivation — Moose @ 11:18 pm

Thank you, DC Ofc. of Tax & Revenue, for timely processing my tax return. Thanks to that, one more student loan bit the dust tonight. Zing. Just two more to go with that company and all the private loans will be history.

Had dinner with a friend this evening whom I hadn’t seen in a while. He got all boyfriended last year, and between that and my own craziness we hadn’t seen each other in ages. It was nice to catch up, and learn some of his new haunts these days.

I think I’ve figured out a pattern for a scarf for myself. Given that I’ve knit maybe one thing for myself (the brown fingerless gloves, which I’ve not used because they need some repair), I think that’s pretty noteworthy. Well, that and the fact that I really dislike wearing scarves. They’re a necessary evil, and they always seem to be too bulky, which is why I’ve been trying to wrap my head around what I want in a scarf (thin, short, non-bulky – a bit of insulation for the neck, but not something that’ll puff out the jacket). Have to do a test swatch soon in the yarn I think I want to use (yay stash!), and then I’ll get to working it up. In the meantime I’ve made a bunch of progress on a traditional sock, and started a new hat for a friend (to match the one I already gave his boyfriend – same pattern & yarn brand, different yarn colors). Yes, I’ve had knitting on the brain.

Been doing my stability exercises as prescribed. I suspect these, like the IT band stretches before them, will become part of the overall maintenance repertoire. Not a bad thing, certainly something I’ve needed to do, so it’s good to get some direction there.

Which brings me to this race season. I’m signed up for two races at the moment, and I might do them, but I’m not going to focus a lot on racing this year. My focus needs to be more on weight loss and overall stability (i.e., injury proofing). I’ll still be training, but those two things need to be priority over actual racing, so that I can come back with a much better 2010 race season (and a healthier body overall).

29 December, 2008

In Re Vacations

Category: Family,Finance,Leisure,Work — Moose @ 2:49 pm

I thought I’d expand some on the vacation thing and why this is such an unusual occurrence for me.

Growing up, we never took vacations. I can remember a grand total of two that we did when I was a kid (outside of summer camp) – a trip to Disney World when I turned seven, and a month on the road in an RV going to and from New Mexico. In both cases the travel was combined personal and business travel for Dad. The Orlando trip was actually to attend a convention he was going to for work (which happened to coincide with our two birthdays in early October), and the trip to NM was one week getting to Albuquerque, a week in Albuquerque for a convention for Dad (while Mom, my brother and I took day trips around the state), a week at the big boy scout camp in northern NM so my parents could take adult leader training while I hiked the trails and my brother did cub scount stuff, and a week to get home (that was also the trip when Mom finally quit smoking for good).

But that’s really it, again, outside of summer camp with the scouts. We just weren’t a vacation-going family. Not entirely sure why, but we just didn’t take them.

Add to that, once I got out and started working (at the total exclusion of school, that is), I was an intern with a low salary and a crushing amount of student loan debt. Even after paying on these beasts for a decade now, and paying off a couple of them entirely, I still have six figures worth of education debt that I have to service each month. So when I did get out of school, there wasn’t really any excess cash there that was available for “frivolous” things like vacations. Plus the first couple years as a fed they don’t give you a ton of annual leave (until you hit your 3rd year anniversary, where it goes up considerably), so there wasn’t a lot of that available, either. Leave got used to go see relatives for the usual holiday obligations, or on needed errands around town. But going to see relatives is a poor substitute for a vacation (no offense, Mom & Dad!).

Then factor in that I’ve made a nice little niche practice out of doing appropriations law, which is good in that I’m necessary enough to be fairly layoff-proof, but at the same time it means they’re reluctant to let me go for long periods of time because no one else at work does this type of law, so if I’m not there, they tend to stumble hard. This is why I’m not travelling for the inauguration – the closest thing I have to a backup at work will be out on maternity leave sometime close to the inauguration (she’s “due” the day before), so my supervisors had something of a panic attack when I suggested I didn’t want to be here.

Now I’m finally in a place in terms of leave availability (I’m carrying over 80 hours into 2009, plus what I’ll earn over the year) and cash availability (those loans are still there, but are a much smaller percentage of my monthly income, thanks to directed spending on the more expensive ones, and a steady stream of promotions) that I feel like I can take a real, honest-to-heavens vacation. So I am, finally.

Which is all background on why I’m going to be gushing about this for some time to come, and why my planned trip in June/July is so unusual for me. I still can’t quite believe that work gave me over two full weeks of leave at one time; I think I managed to catch my supervisor in the holiday mood with the request and before she had a chance to think about all the “might-be-happenings” while I’m gone (and I fully intend to ignore the work blackberry during this period).

24 November, 2008

Gym Fail

Category: Exercise,Finance — Moose @ 9:08 pm

Well, fuck.

Haven’t been to the gym in months (since August) because of my foot. Finally decided to go back, and to my surprise the locker I’ve been paying to rent was empty, no lock, no stuff (and nothing in the lost and found). And of course, no manager there this evening (he’ll be in in the morning). So I checked dates in my records.

8/14 was last time I swam at the gym. Also when I told them to switch my credit card over from an old one where the number was going to die (it was being switched to a new number and rewards program involuntarily) over to another company. Charges had hit the old card in July and August. I have no record of a payment hitting in September on any of my cards. October and November hit the successor to the new card, and not the one I’d authorized them to charge.

So, perhaps they cut it when a September charge didn’t go through, and I’ll admit I should have been checking the charges more closely, but why not contact me if they didn’t get paid? Anyway, I’ll see the manager in the morning and figure out what the heck is going on.

18 August, 2008

Despite It All

Category: Finance,Food,Friends,Home,Movies,Travel,Work — Moose @ 11:49 pm

Well, despite my irritation over the non-work the cult co-op maintenance folks did on my unit today, I actually had a pretty good evening. Ordered in Thai with a friend, did laundry, and we watched Stardust, which I’d picked up this past weekend. I’d seen it in the movie theater with BC, but I’m glad I picked up a copy as it’s a very fun and cute little film. Not my usual “bad movie” type of thing, but I do like a little sappiness and silliness on occasion.

Get to see Richard tomorrow for dinner and a good look at the living room and some possibilities I’m considering. I value his opinion, and I think it’ll be useful to have someone like him look at what I’m considering before I go nuts.

Just checked the TSP web site and it’s showing that the loan I took out to get rid of my remaining credit card debt is now paid off in full. Sweet! One less payment each month, even if it was an automatic deduction. More money in the pocket is a good thing, even if it’s just going to go to more student loan reduction. Bit by bit it disappears.

Hopefully I’m going to get out of town for Labor Day. Leave is approved, waiting to hear on accommodations, then I’ll purchase the tickets tomorrow evening if all goes well.