Thursday, September 19, 2013

Smart Things People Say

I know I've posted before on a certain co-worker who enjoys calling 1-800 numbers every day. Well, that post was written over eight months ago, so allow me to bask in the glory of my wonderfully intelligent co-workersm for a moment.

Please understand, I love people. I love my co-workers. But sometimes they can say some pretty dumb stuff. (And yes, I realize that I can be that person sometimes too.) Then there are others that kind of make you turn your head sideways and wonder where their brain ran off to and if it plans on ever returning.

Case in point:

My workplace has decided to replace the sinks with automatic faucets in an effort to "conserve water and be more sanitary." Read: it's the end of the fiscal year and somebody has some extra money they need to spend. Anyways, they started with our training office before making their way to my building. While attending training last week, a certain fellow employee made the following comment to me, "Don't put your purse in the sink, it'll get wet. Everything that goes in that sink gets wet."

O.o   Huh???

In my past experiences, sinks are used to wash things....with WATER. So in their natural environment, they generally are a little wet.

I of course just politely nodded my head and thanked her for the warning. I then promptly wrote a Facebook status about the incident.

To make things worse, a few days later I was back at my building using the restroom when the same employee entered the bathroom with a friend. "Oh no, they've installed the automatic faucets in this bathroom too. Now I won't be able to put my purse in the sink in here either. You better make sure you don't put yours in there, it'll get wet." 

Please understand that it took every ounce of my self-control to keep my reaction at an unhearable level. I then exited the bathroom and then wrote another Facebook status. Also, please know that the bathroom counters in our bathroom are ridiculously large, so it's not like you would require more space for your purse to sit. Unless of course, your purse is the size of a school bus.

What I really want to know is, why would it ever be a good idea to put your purse in the sink? I understand what this woman was saying, because you can't put anything in front of the sensor because then the sink would come on. So placing your purse in the sink would activate the sensor thereby causing your purse to fill with water and flood out your make-up. But still, even with a manual sink, the bottom of it is still wet (and kind of gross sometimes.) Does she typicall wipe out the inside of the sink so she can put her purse in it? Does she have an empty sink at home that she keeps her purse in next to the front door? Are purse-holding sinks a new design fad I am unaware of? Is there ever an item that you can place in the sink that does not get wet? Water repelling purses? Rapid drying purses?

Maybe I'm just reading into this a little too much. MAYBE.

Perhaps there is a 1-800 number I can call about this new phenomenon of wet sinks. I'm sure my other co-worker would know.

"For the Lord gives skillful and godly wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding."  ~Proverbs 2:6

Monday, September 16, 2013


Life with the Casterlines has been very busy as of late.
We are in a marathon of music right now. Roman was asked to play drums for a friend in a concert this Friday night (with an estimated audience of 7,000(!!!!) people!). For the last few weeks he’s been travelling to Moultrie to attend practices. Read: we may or may not have eaten dinner at 10:45 one night.
On another note (pun intended), we are also playing in a concert this Sunday afternoon at Wild Adventures. Roman will be playing drums and I’ll be playing keys for our church’s Hispanic band. So no, you won’t know anything that gets said unless you know Spanish, but yes, it will be a totally fun (exhausting) day with lots of roller coasters. But unfortunately, this has also resulted in weekly practices. Read: okay fine, we have eaten dinner at 10:45 several nights.
That’s okay though, after this Sunday all of that excitement will be over and we can return to our regular level of busyness. Which means I’ll wake up from my zombie state next week and get back on schedule with life. In the meantime, I’ll just be here….drinking lots of coffee….and eating chocolate. Does anyone want to help me do dishes??? I’ve got a ton waiting for me at home….

"All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty." ~Proverbs 14:23

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Weekend Warriors

Let me tell you, I am very fortunate to have married a man who cuts the grass. Because I totally HATE cutting grass. But y'all, I'm concerned about my husband's love relationship with his new lawn mower.

Meet Larry the Lawn Mower: 

Larry was given to us by some good friends. He's an older guy, and he's definitely not the prettiest, but he runs and cuts grass and that's all we need. Notice the blade guard fashioned out of license plates.....

 Also notice the lack of engine cover.....

Unfortunately, Larry was not quite in working order when we first got him, so Roman had to do some work on him before he started working properly. As in, until recently he could only turn one direction, so Roman had to cut the grass in crop circles. Pretty funny to me, pretty aggravating to my OCD-with-yard-stuff husband. So for a few days my garage had stuff like this in it.....

Y'all. Roman stayed out there until ten-o'clock one night working on the lawn mower. In his words, I have no idea how awful it is for a man to have to borrow another man's lawn mower because his is broke. And I have no idea how awesome it feel to have my own lawn mower. I guess this is one of those "differences between gender" things, because I would love to never own a lawn mower so that I would never have to cut the grass.

But after a few parts and a few hours of tinkering, my husband excitedly entered the house and declared that the repairs were complete and he was about to cut his grass for the very first time in our married life with his very own lawn mower.  A true declaration of manhood, to be sure. Here he is, living it up.

I will keep you all posted on the creepy love status of my husband and Larry the Lawn Mower. In the meantime, I'm just excited that I don't have to cut the grass. And that we no longer have crop circles in our front yard.

Progress folks, progress.

"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever." ~Isaiah 40:8

Thursday, September 5, 2013

September Financial Update

Is anyone else blown away about it being September already, or is it just me? 

This will make the fourth time this year that I write about our finances. The first was this post in February, the second was this post in May, and then the last time was this post in June. 

In the last post, I mentioned that I was nervous about the coming furlough. Now that the furlough is over, I figured it would be a good time to revisit our goals and be accountable on where we are with them. So let's dive in, shall we? #warningitslong

At the end of July, Roman and I re-did our entire budget. For this year, we've kind of had the method of "pay extra on everything-especially whatever has the highest interest rate." But I started to feel like we weren't really getting anywhere. We weren't seeing any success because nothing was actually getting paid off, and then when we weren't able to pay extra because of the furlough, it really started to feel unsuccessful. So one day I decided to cost it out: how much interest were we saving and how soon would everything be paid off after the furlough under our current method, vs. the consolidation method vs. the Dave Ramsey "snowball method". And the results were kind of surprising.

I thought for sure that the consolidation method would be the cheapest and the fastest because we would be able to save interest on our high-interest credit card. But in consolidating, we also lost the benefit of our low-interest credit line and student loan so we actually spent more money on interest. Pretty interesting, huh? (pun 100% intended) We also would not have been debt-free until February of 2015 because of the higher interest we would be paying. So this method wound up being the worst. 

The next-best method was our current method: paying a lot of extra on our high-interest items and paying a little extra on our low-interest method. Although we did save some interest against the consolidation method, because of the furlough we were not going to be debt-free until January of 2015. And it was going to be May of 2014 before anything actually got paid off--that's a long time to wait to see any of the fruits of our labor. 

That leaves the Dave Ramsey method: snowballing. If you aren't familiar with this method, you take the smallest debt you have and pay as much as you can on it while making the minimum payments on everything else. Once it's paid off, you take that money you were paying and add it to the next-smallest debt until it's paid off. You continue this method until everything is paid off. I thought we would be spending more money on interest under this method because our smallest item (credit line) also has one of the lowest interest rates, but I was wrong because under this method our two high interest items (credit card/couch loan) were getting paid off MUCH faster. However, we did tie with our current method as far as timeline goes-thank you, furlough. 

So without further ado, here are our old goals.......

Goal #1: Pay off student loan by end of 2014.

Goal #2: Pay off credit card/credit line by July of 2014. 

Goal #3: Go on a second cruise in October. 

Goal #4: Have $3,000 in savings by end of 2014. 

Goal #5: Pay off our couch loan by end of 2014. 

Goal #6: Be 100% debt-free by end of 2014. 

And here are our updated goals under our new plan......

Goal #1: Pay off student loan by January of 2015.

Goal #2: Pay off credit card by March of 2014.

Goal #3: Pay off credit line by October of 2013. 

Goal #4: Have $3,000 in savings by end of 2014.

Goal #5: Pay off couch loan and car by June of 2014.

Goal #6: Be 100% debt-free by January of 2015.

As you can see, everything gets paid off faster except for the student loan. And the only reason we are behind by one month on the student loan is because we haven't been able to throw as much money towards our debt the past six weeks due to the furlough. 

Another thing we did was start saving for Christmas this month. In the past, we've used a combination of my Christmas bonus and credit to pay for Christmas. This year it's not guaranteed that federal employees will receive a bonus, so I don't want to rely on that. We certainly don't want to go deeper into debt while we are trying to pay it off, so we've done a mini-budget on what we want to spend for Christmas and a savings plan to make sure we have the money available. 

It's really exciting to see Goal #3, because we get to see something paid off by next month. Finally, results! Wahoo!! So congratulations Dave, you win. Not only are we saving money on interest under your method, but we are seeing the fruits of our labor a lot faster too, thereby keeping us motivated and dedicated to reach our financial goals. 

Whew! That was a long one. But you guys are all invited to an ice cream party in January 2015 so we can celebrate our debt-conquering, m'kay?? Bring the cool whip and chocolate syrup! 

Pssst: If you want to learn more about Dave Ramsey and his guide to money management, you can check out his web page here. (Not an affiliate, just really love his product!)

"The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender." ~Proverbs 22:7

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Tale of Ms. Lauren

Meet Lauren.

I normally over-share about Duke, but rarely about this *ahem* darling kitty of ours. My friend calls her the "oil spill kitty". I call her a muskrat.

I am fairly sure she at least a cousin to a muskrat. 

Guys. I know all cats are kind of weird, but this cat goes a little bit beyond the general cat-weirdness. For one, she actually looks like a muskrat. You can't really see it in any of the pictures I have of her, but her body is really chunky, and her legs are really short. This gives her a general muskratty appearance.

This also impairs her from doing normal cat-like things. 

Take jumping for instance. Sometimes she is able to jump on top of the cabinets. Sometimes she halfway makes it and then falls down. Sometimes she runs really fast and forgets to jump at all and just headbutts the cabinet. 

She's just really really weird.

For the past several weeks, she has spent most of her waking hours staring out one of the windows in our bedroom. 

Our house has plenty of windows, but apparently this one has suddenly become special. When I wake up in the morning, she is there. When I come home from work, she is there. 

We thought she was staring at a tree that was growing out of the bush right in front of that window, but Roman cut it down over a week ago. And she is still sitting there. She's probably sitting there as I write this post. 

I'm telling you guys, when my mom rescued her out of our barn when she was just a tiny kitten, I'm certain that she suffered brain damage from malnutrition. I just wish I had known that I was adopting a muskrat. A muskrat that should spend her time staring out of one window and shedding a bucket of fur every day all over my house. A muskrat that would eat the heads off of roaches and leave the rest of them on my floor during the night. A muskrat that never wanted to be petted, but wanted to gnaw on your fingers and toes instead. 

I'm telling you guys, she goes beyond the general level of cat-weirdness. Even Duke doesn't want to chase her. Oh, and did I mention that she likes to chew on his dog toys? (see above)

Weird. Really weird. 

"A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed." ~Proverbs 15:13