I find myself making plans for the year ahead in January. I love that I always imagine that THIS year, THIS YEAR, is going to be a great one.

A lot of the time I am right.

OK, so I turned 38 the day before yesterday. I was talking to my cube neighbor about birthdays and he said that he and his oldest son turn 60 and 40, respectively, at about the same time a year from now. They have made plans to go to Ireland for their birthdays. I thought it was a great idea. I’m pretty much due for another big trip, eh?

I tried telling my boyfriend, but he’s not in the frame of mind to dream about going on big trips. Not when we’re so stressed about paying bills. But I get so much joy out of planning and dreaming, that having bills doesn’t take away from that joy. If my 40th birthday trip doesn’t work out exactly as my most cherished dream, then it will still be great no matter where I go. That’s just the sort of mind I have. I like being me.

He suggested Ukiah, CA as a destination he could foresee being able to accomplish.

The brat.

I’m thinking Egypt. Someone told me the Nile is worth traveling along, and the idea hasn’t left my head for years. But like I said, if it ends up being Banff NP instead, I’ll still have fun.

I still like my job. I’m still in training (my first day was Oct 1 – so that’s a bucketload of training), but I am learning so much every day. I do enjoy trying to help out our nation’s veterans. I made my first call to a veteran last week. That was a high point. It is a good feeling to have it confirmed that there are real people with real lives going on behind these stacks of paper files I look at every day.

We had the appraisal come back on the house, and it looks like we will qualify for a conventional loan instead of a rehab loan. This is a tremendous relief. Instead of 20% down, we will put 0 down, and that will be much easier to manage right now. Our stocks have not done as well as we hoped, so that money isn’t much of a nest egg to draw from at the moment.

In any case, the appraisal is for more than our purchase price, so we can now get the mortgage, and then on top of it, get a home equity loan to re-build the foundation. We can pay off the home equity loan more quickly, and that will save us a bundle in the long run.

Yes, the foundation is in such poor condition, it needs to be replaced. Immediately. Looks like we will also be able to move in while the foundation work is going on – wow. It is so exciting to finally be able to say it’s gonna happen. With so many problems, we took a long time deciding whether or not to actually commit to this place. It’s a great home with mounds of potential. But in this case potential translates to the fact that it’s current state leaves a lot to be desired. It’s going to be dry and huge on day 1, and that’s all we need to move in. I think in 5 years it will be pretty neat, and in 10 years it will probably be resembling the final stages. THAT is how much work it needs.

We found my daughter’s Middle School, which is important because when she reaches the 7th grade, she’ll come to live with us during school and with her dad on vacations. The middle school is only about 8 blocks away, so she can walk there. Her high school is up the road apiece, and should be a short and comfortable ride on a TriMet bus each morning. After her 8th grade year, she’ll have friends who will also be making the transition with her, and so I’m thinking it will make an easier shift to public transportation and the responsibility it requires. She is so smart and capable and independent that if she has any worries at all, it won’t last more than a day or two.

Then! Imagine how free she will be! 13 years old and the city’s public transportation at her disposal. That will be so much fun.

It’s raining and raining here, and I love it. It’s been a bit too chilly for my taste, but today was nice. I scraped ice off the windshield on a regular basis, but it warms up as soon as the sun rises. Nothing like New England January. ha ha!

The Uncles sold another puppy over the weekend, so we have only two left of the original 11 Saint Bernards. I hope they find homes for them soon, because little Onyx is about to pop. She’s a schipperke, and is having puppies for the first time. She’s only a foot and half high, so her pups will be tiny and oh, so cute. I am eager to see them.

I have been taking an earlier bus each morning (I drive from our country home into NW Portland and catch a bus from there) so that I can spend more time in the gym at work. It’s such a treat having a free, clean, gym in the same building I work in. Anyway, I get a solid 45 minutes to work out now, and I can really tell the difference after only 10 days of my new plan. At first my body was crying, “WHAT do you think you’re doing to us?!” But now I am finally past that agony, and enjoy a hard work out each morning to get my juices going.

My fantasies for 2008?
1) I’ll finally get my very own cube and desk to sit at to do my work (can you BELIEVE they still don’t have a place to put any of us new hires?)
2) I’ll gain some confidence and become productive at work
3) We’ll get settled in to our new home
4) Tara will reconcile herself to the idea that she must change school districts in two years
5) Mark will gain some confidence and productivity in his job
6) I’ll plan out the perfect kitchen and maybe even begin creating it
7) I’ll make some headway in eliminating my debt
8 ) I’ll sell the house house in Massachusetts and pay back my mother and grandmother the money I borrowed from them to buy the house in the first place.

…that’s a good start anyway.  😮

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