Speaking of financials (since I just did them for the month for our family), I did some fancy calculating about our mortgage. (In my head, of course. Kidding! Here’s a great Amortization Schedule excel sheet that you can use. It’s awesome.) Ever since we got our mortgage, we’ve paid an additional amount every month on our principal. This year, DH wanted us to make an extra full payment a quarter. In total, it works out to about 5 extra payments (in full principal, not just paying down interest) a month. When I input that all in the fancy spreadsheet, we will pay off our mortgage in June 2026. That is 14 years from now instead of 30.

FUCKING INSANE.

The power of compound interest and math.

(Incidentally, there will be arguments that it is not wise to put so much money away in our mortgage since it’s not liquid and the opportunity cost of the market. Suffice to say, we have enough in savings/emergency funds and at this rate, the market is volatile and paying down my mortgage “earns” me 4.875%. That’s better than cash and more certain than the stock market. Don’t worry. We have money in the market.)

This is quite the incentive for me to STOP SPENDING SO MUCH MONEY.

But hopefully, not too much In With the New! It is very tempting to fill up all that space that we cleared out of our walk-in closet. It is very tempting to go clothing shopping (but since I’m hugely pregnant, that isn’t really a problem for me at the moment). I really need to re-institute my old college and immediate post-college rule about a clothing item in and then a clothing item out. (Which is very similar to the method I mocked my friend’s husband for, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t a sound principle!)

I am super happy and excited about the clean closet. I really should have taken before and after photos. I still have about 20+ things on my To Do Before DD Comes List but I’m super glad because these were some of the BIG things. The other biggie items on the list include cleaning/clearing out the hall closet (because there is NO room in there – and it’s a Harry Potter type closet in that it goes under the stairs so technically, there should be plenty of room but it’s filled to the brim). And of course, the ever-present, clear out the office/guest room. That room is MUCH better than it used to be, but we could still get rid of more stuff (or at least, organize it in some fashion).

A never-ending task, this purging of clutter. (This is perhaps why I also watch Hoarders so much. You know, to get me motivated to get rid of stuff.) I really am as pleased as punch. So happy!

So this past week, I finally stopped dragging my feet (I know, I know, the galling part of this is that I am a financial advisor – but hey, Doctor! Heal thyself!) and took a good, hard look at what we’re spending. (Or rather, what I’m spending since DH doesn’t spend naught except food and gas. He rather needs to spend money on gas.)

*sigh*

I just want to dig a deep hole, bury myself in it and cover all my shame. In particular because I know there are millions of people out there who would kill to have the income that my husband makes and what do I do with it? Just twiddle it away!! Blargh.

The daunting part is, of course, to stop. Sure, I could just go cold-turkey (and likely, I will have to just forswear Amazon.com and pretend I’ve never heard of its beautiful Amazon Prime 2 day shipping and no CA tax at least until 2012). But if I also want to save an additional $15k next year as well as double our giving (since we’re only giving a paltry 5%), then I HAVE TO MAKE SOME DRASTIC CHANGES.

Problem that I’m facing: most of our expenses are FIXED. The big ones that make a difference in saving or not saving. I can cut my eating out/Costco/Amazon habit by a lot – but even that is a small, pathetic amount compared to the actual amount I want to save. 😦

So, on Saturday morning, I emailed my father and told him that I loved him, and that unless he does certain things, his mother and he were dead to me. He emailed back that he was sorry he wasn’t a better model but I shouldn’t do this to Grandma since it was not logical.

Since he’s dead to me, I can’t really go back and say what I want, which is, “Oh, you’re sorry now? Well, that changes everything. All is forgiven then. Glad that’s cleared up!”

I especially enjoyed how he apologized without saying he was wrong or that he intended to make any changes to his life. Ah, half-assed apologies! They’re the best! And, if he can’t figure out why his mother is also impugned, well then, that’s too bad. She’s another of his victims, but she also made her own choices.

I knew my dad would forward my email to my mother, and he did. According to my brother, she was flabbergasted. I think she somehow thought that we wouldn’t lie anymore to him, but neither would we go on the offensive. I don’t know how he could know we know if we didn’t say anything. Telepathy? *eyerolls*

She says she is glad now and only worries that my dad may retaliate against her and that he may show up at my front door. Well, this is America and I have a fucking alarm system and I have no problem calling the police on him if he should choose to waste his money in such a fashion. I’ve called the police on him before. I have no problem doing it again (especially while eight months pregnant with a twenty-one month old toddler).

Of course, I have wasted too many tears on this man and what he has done to my family. Fuck him. He is no longer welcome.

I’m on the Executive Board of a local community organization and lately, it seems I’ve finally found my voice, so to speak. Oh, not that I wasn’t vocal before, but my first year as a general Board member, I was just focused on learning the ropes and Yes-Manned most items. Last year, my second year as  general Board member and my first year on the Executive Board, I was a little more proactive and gave more dissenting or new opinions. This year, I am finally taking charge and ownership of my role.

If you’ve ever been in a meeting of any kind, I’m sure you’d agree that people either take too long to talk about something that should really take three sentences, or they go completely off topic. (And most times, it’s a rambling combination of both.) In the past, if I wasn’t the leader of the meeting, I’d sometimes contribute my own funny comment or whatever and just let the meeting meander. But I started to get really annoyed because every time I’m at a meeting, it takes time away from DS and my business.

Well, these past few weeks, I’ve taken charge. Even when I’m clearly not the leader of the meeting, I still try and force people back on track. I try to do it politely and graciously (and thus far, it seems to be the case), but I really barrel through. As a result, we actually get a few things done in the meeting and people get to the point so then I know what next steps we have to take. Plus, I think people really appreciate the meeting going shorter. After all, who likes to waste time?

The point of this post wasn’t to laud my awesome meeting leading skills (albeit, incognito). Or my growing ability to ask more pointed questions and not really just Yes-Man everything. (But while we’re at it, Yay me!) I’m just pleased as punch to see that I am actually embracing the power that I have whether it’s in the roles I inhabit every now and then such as the Board position, or in my everyday role as a mommy or spouse.

Even as late as last week, this new found ability seems refreshing and even incredulous. Who in their right mind put me in charge? But now that they have, too bad! I’m gonna do what I want or think is best. It’s hard not to slip back into a previous mental mode and think I’ve somehow gotten away with something. Like I’m a little kid that just fooled the teacher into giving me what I wanted. When really, all I’ve actually done (and seriously, not even actively – it just happened) is let my self-perception catch up with reality.

I wonder how much power and agency I give up on a regular basis because of misconstrued self-perception? How sad. I am glad it’s starting to change.