Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Life For The Foreseeable Future

School is kicking my butt. Here’s what’s coming up:

-economics test # 1 next Wednesday (worth 25%)

-presentation on Persepolis for my world history class next Thursday (only worth 5%)

*reading week* which will be eaten up with:

-case study paper for Admin Studies due week school returns (worth 35%)

-annotated bibliography for World History (worth 10%)

-economics test # 2 a few weeks later (worth 25%)

All of this is on top of the regular reading I have to do for each class as well as my online class which takes up 6-7 hours of every Sunday with the readings, lecture, and weekly case study assignment.

Oh ya! Did I mention I have to fit sleep, meals and my full-time Monday-Friday job in there sometime too? I know it sounds like I’m complaining but I’m not. I’m just trying to figure out when I will be able to get all of this done. I’m struggling with my economics class so I have to study my ass off for the upcoming test.

I’m also making an advising appointment to see what I need to do to switch my major/degree. At least 4 of the core 6 credit classes required for my current major are only offered through the day during the week and each is a pre-req for the next. Meaning that in order to complete them I would have to tell my employer…. “btw, I’ll be taking 1 day per week off for the next 4 years starting next September”. That’s not going to fly. So I’m trying to switch so I can get my Hons. Bachelor of Administrative Studies (w/ specialization in management) which, as far as I can tell, is all offered online or evenings. This is what I wanted to take anyway, but I didn’t have 2 pre-req HS maths. I’m going to ask them what I need to do to be able to officially switch. It may mean dropping one of my classes next semester and taking and evening math class at a local learning center and then doing the same in the summer, but if I have to, it’s what I’ll do. There’s no point in continuing with this degree when I’ll never be able to finish it. It just would have been nice to know that before I started. So much for offering it “part-time”. If they tell me I won’t be able to switch, I’ll have to look at transferring schools for next year to somewhere that is better suited for my schedule. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can work it all out.

Bub has been great with my crazy schedule. He makes dinner, does extra cleaning and packs my lunches and dinners on school days. I’ve tried to keep Friday evenings and Saturdays as school free days so we can hang-out, but as assignments and tests come up it’s harder to do. Sunday is online class day but I’m done by 6 or 7 so we have dinner together and hang out for the night. Monday and Tuesday I’m home in the evenings but I eat dinner and then disappear into my office to read my textbooks. Wednesday and Thursdays I have class so after Tuesday night, we don’t see each other until Friday after work because he’s gone at 5:30, which is before I wake up at 6:30 and is asleep by the time I get home from class at 11 each night. I don’t have time to come home between work and class. He always leaves my meals in the fridge though and PVR’s my fave shows. He’s a good guy.

As I so dramatically mentioned in my last post, I’m a little overwhelmed. Money is a bigger problem than ever, time is so limited and I’m exhausted. Time wise, I knew what I was getting myself into when I started school so I’m dealing. The money thing is a whole other story. We’re making it work, but a couple things that are coming up are freaking me out (car needs breaks and tires and Christmas is coming).

My plan is to take it one step at a time. I’m going to my advising appointment and seeing about switching my major. From there I’ll have a better idea what my upcoming school schedule will be like and I can start the job hunt again.

All I can say is… thank god for my puppies. No matter what happens in the day, I can go home and cuddle them and everything seems ok.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


AHHHHHHHH! I want to scream right now.

Bub and I are very energy conscious. I’d like to say it’s because we want to do good things for the environment, but it’s really more selfish than that. We want to do good things for our wallets.

We have a lot of rules in the house about lights being left on, water running etc. We have rules like the classic toilet rule thumb: “if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down”. Our hydro bill (electric and water) generally sits around $80/month. So imagine my surprise when in July its $123, in August its $153 and in Sept its $177!!!! It’s all due to our water consumption and the related fees. One line for water on our bill was $17 in May and in September that same line was $77!!!!! Most people would blame this on the fact that its summer and watering the grass etc, but we haven’t really had to do that this year because it’s been so rainy.

I called today to make sure the readings were accurate and they assure me that they are. The woman said that if we haven’t been watering the grass then it’s something in our house (a running toilet etc). So now, we have to pay a plumber to come in and see what the hell is happening. It’s pretty much too late for the next bill so I’m sure it will be super high too and then we’ll have to pay the plumbing bill. We so cannot afford this right now. Our budget is so down to the penny it’s crazy and the extra this month was to pay for our dog to be spayed at the end of next week. I’m seriously on the verge of tears because I’ve just had enough and money is totally freaking me out.

I really wish we had not bought the house and I can’t believe that I’m saying that since buying a house was all I could think about for 4 years. At the time it seemed to make so much sense, but now that I’m back at school and money is super tight, I miss my little $800/month apartment with no property tax, no maintenance, no natural gas bill etc. If I had used the same budget plan when we lived at the apartment that I use now, we would be debt free!!! I can’t believe the disposable income we used to have now that I look back. Incredible.

The more I think about it the more I’m convinced that when the market is back up, we should sell the house (provided we can at least get what we owe on it, which I’m 99% sure we could get at least a little more) and go back to renting a little apartment while I finish school and get some debt paid off. We may not have a choice but to do this since I just learned that some of the classes I have to take for my degree are only offered during the day (so much for being accommodating to my schedule like the program promised to be). This will mean quitting my job at some point and we cannot live in that house off of MH’s income alone. We are just scraping by with two incomes and mine is higher.

I feel like I’m failing… like I’m sinking, in more areas of my life than one. I’m lost and I just can’t find a way out.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I <3 Dirty Dancing

This weekend was a good one.

Friday night we met the IL’s for a beer after work so that FIL could give me $$ to buy a school sweater as a “congrats on going to back to school gift”. That turned into him buying our beers, giving me the cash for the sweater and then inviting us back to their house for Chinese food!  We did a late night grocery shop (so much better when it’s not busy!) and we did some PVR catch-up when we got home.

Saturday morning we drove down to my campus. I gave DH the official tour and then we grabbed some lunch. We then headed over to the sports complex to watch my York Lions take on the McMaster Marauders in the third football game of the season. We won’t be going again because even I, as someone who knows crap all about football, can see how much they suck. We left in the middle of the third quarter because it was hopeless. I’m hoping that the hockey team is better so we can support them. I like hockey better than football anyway. I know we have great volleyball teams, so I’m hoping to catch a couple of those games too.

Saturday night DH was out for a friend’s birthday and my BFF came for a movie night. We went to see drop of her sister’s birthday card at the pub where she works and ended up having a beer and dinner. I had wanted to watch To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar all week IHO Patrick Swayze, and when I told BFF this… well, here’s the convo:

Me: Have you seen To Wong Foo w/ Patrick Swayze?

Her: no

Me: OMG it’s too funny. You have to see it. We’re watching it.

Her: Sure, sounds good!! You know, it’s kinda funny because I’ve never even seen Dirty Dancing.

Me: ______________?

Her: *laughing* Ash?

Me: I’m sorry… WHAT did you just say?

Her: Seriously, I’ve never seen it.

Me: Um? Ok. Sit. Now. Screw Too Wong Fu, we’re watching Dirty Dancing you freak of nature!

So we spent the rest of the evening watching Dirty Dancing. I kept turning to her saying “I can’t believe you’ve never seen this!!!!!! What girl hasn’t seen Dirty Dancing?” This was a childhood staple for me. I can still recite this movie from beginning to end. I have a tee-shirt that says “nobody puts baby in a corner”. How did I not know this about my best friend? I’ve been allowing her to walk around without experiencing the joy that is Patrick Swayze in all his shirtless glory (hellllloooo back muscles… yum yum). I’m a failure as a best friend for allowing that to happen.

Sunday I spent the morning reading my own book and then 6 hours of the afternoon was eaten up by my online class and related work (reading, lecture, notes, case study + progress quiz). We had dinner and then I spent the rest of the evening reading.

I’m still not smoking. I’m in day 6 right now. The first few days weren’t bad, but this weekend was really hard. If there had been cigarettes in the house, I would have smoked them. I came very close to breaking down and buying a pack. I’m so happy I didn’t, but I hope it gets easier because there were moments of torture and I don’t know if I can continue to be strong for a long, long period of time. I’m going to have to get the eating thing under control too, because I don’t want to eat instead of smoking and reverse all my hard work by gaining all my weight back.

This week is pretty much just school. I spend Monday nights doing the readings for my Microeconomics class and Tuesday nights doing the readings for my World History class. Wednesday and Thursday nights I’m in class and then Friday and Saturday are school free days (or at least that’s the plan). I’m hoping for a quiet Friday because some of my shows start this week so I like to stay up Friday nights and catch-up on the PVR. I need to clean the house next weekend for sure because I decided to give myself a break this past weekend.

And now, for your viewing pleasure....

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Round two.... as of today, I am a non-smoker, and this time it's going to stick.  Really!  It has to.

We did up a budget to pay for school and get our debt paid off, and cigarettes just don't fit into that budget.  I don't have a choice.

I have sent advanced apologies to my friends since it's likely I will be extra bitchy for the next little while.  LOL.  I'm in for a long couple of weeks.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I'm a student again?!?!

I’ve been back to school for 1 week and can now safely say that although I know it’s going to be a ton of work and a challenge to stay on top of everything for 3 classes along with a full-time job and just regular life, I’m going to love it. I’m not saying I won’t have moments of stress or that I’ll never feel overwhelmed, but the I appreciate the whole experience that much more this time around since it’s something I have wanted for so long.

I went down early last week on both Wednesday and Thursday to just wander around the campus and get acquainted with it. York is the 2nd or 3rd largest University in Canada (depending on your source), so the campus is the size of a smallish city! It’s a little bit intimidating, but I’m getting used to it. I think the most intimidating thing was when I walked into my class on Wednesday to be greeted by 350 people in a giant room that resembles more of a theatre than a classroom. I expected large lectures, but I was thinking more around 150 people (the size of my Thursday class). What was too funny was that by the time the lecture started, not only were all 350 seats filled, but there were many people sitting in the aisles on the stairs. I’m going to have to get to class early if I want a seat because I really don’t think I could sit on the stairs for 3 hours (although I’m sure as time goes on, the number of people who actually show up to the class will dwindle considerably). I’m adjusting to the different level of study/expectations at the University level, but I’ve always done well academically so I don’t think it will take me long to fall into it.

The drive is not too bad. I found a little short cut to avoid some of the rush hour traffic in the city, so I can get there in under an hour usually. Getting home is much faster because it’s 10pm and most people are off the roads. I got a parking ticket on the first day for $20 ($40 if I didn’t pay it within 10 days) because of my own stupidity. The gates were up on the lot that I park in when I got there on Wednesday and I had a flash back to the college I attended remembering that parking was always free the first week of classes so that you could get a pass or run in to grab paperwork/books etc, so I assumed this was the same. Yeah… not so much. They never use the gates anymore, so they’re always open and the parking payment is all electronic now. Oh well, now I know.

I poked around the library which is FIVE STORIES, and so for a book lover like me, I was in heaven! I think I’ll be spending a lot of time there. My plan is to leave right from work and head down to campus. That gets me there around 5:30 so I have 1.5 hours to study/do readings etc.

I want to be more involved with the school this time around, but with only being physically on campus twice a week, it’s hard. So Bub and I have decided to follow and support some of the sporting teams. Bub was all over this since he’s a sport fanatic. This Saturday we’re going down to watch the York (Lions) vs. McMaster (Marauders) football game. It’s free for students and only $8 for adults so it’s a cheap day out. We plan to follow football and hockey when we can. However, the Lions played an away game on Sunday and got beat 66-8 so I’m not sure that they’re a team that I can really get behind enthusiastically! LOL.

It’s going to be an adjustment. My personal/pleasure reading will go down the tubes because I have so much to do for school and so little time to do it after work and on weekends… but it will be so worth it in the end. I just can’t believe that I can finally say “I’m in University” or “I’m finishing my degree”… it’s something I’ve always wanted and never thought would actually happen. It used to be my immediate answer when someone said “what’s your biggest regret in life”… now I’ll have to think of something else!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Summer's Last Hurrah!

It’s my final week of freedom and I’m rounding it off with a trip to the cottage for Labor Day! How sad is it (and what does it say about Ontario’s weather this year) that this will only be my 3rd trip to the cottage for the whole season? We’re heading up as fast as possible after work and hopefully we can skip the long-weekend cottage country traffic by taking some of the back ways. I’m really looking forward to it, and I’m not at the same time. Last time we were up there my MIL (DH’s step-mom) and I had a “moment”. It was a little tense, alcohol fueled… and very rare for us. We normally get along great. It’s been a little awkward since. Hopefully this weekend will be enough to just let us forget about it The weather is supposed to be great so I hope to float on the water and read all day tomorrow!

After having a little issue with funding for school (we don’t make enough $$ for one kind of loan and we make too much $$ for the other kind of loan) and going through a period that I didn’t think I was going to be able to go back to school I sat down and figured it out, borrowed the $$ for this term from my Mum and worked out a budget so I'll be able to pay it myself going forward. It's going to be really, really, really tight for a while (til' I find a better paying job) but it's going to work. I also got a "distance grant" for $500/ semester because of the length of my commute to the campus so that will help. And, I found out yesterday that I'm taking enough of a course load (60%) to be considered full-time and therefore I don't have to pay back (or get charged interest on) my first student loan while I'm in school. This frees up a little money too!!

I'm so relieved that it worked out. Classes start on Tuesday. I have one online (Intro Admin Studies) and then I'm in class Wednesday and Thursday evenings (microeconomics and "Human Concepts of Globalization"). I can't WAIT to get started.

Last weekend, I went for a sleepover at my BFF’s house. At the last minute we got tickets to see Kathy Griffen at the Casino, and it was hilarious. She has a book coming out this month that I definitely have to read. Sunday, Bub and I made two batches of soup to freeze since life is about to get a little crazy. We made meatball barley- so yummy and a white chili that looks and smells disgusting… so I’m leaving the bulk of it to Bub. I wanted quick, somewhat healthy meals to just grab and warm up on the nights that I have school so that we don’t start eating crap. I plan to do some pasta dishes as well. It was fun… but I wish that the chili had turned out better. I guess it’s just not for me.

6 hours til’ I’m outta here for 3 days! I got all my cleaning done last night so even when we come home on Sunday, I’ll just be able to relax around the house. Have a good weekend!