Decisions, decisions

altima_civic

Next week, I will make the final payment on my Nissan Altima. I am elated, but also already feeling the itch to go out and get something newer. I have had my eye on those cute little Honda Civics for quite some time. I’ve even decided that if I buy one, it must be blue with tinted windows.

I’ve also been considering a new Altima, mainly because I have been so happy with the one I currently own. It is an all-around enjoyable automobile; fun to drive, low maintenance, great fuel economy. The latest models have cool features like keyless ignition and transmissions that don’t shift.

Although the thought of a new car sounds quite attractive, I worry about making any kind of big purchase in the current economic climate. My debt-to-income ratio is pretty low at this point, but who knows where I might find myself in a year? Jobless? Homeless? Living in my car?

At least I could enjoy that new car smell all the time.

Feel that? I just stimulated your economy

I mentioned earlier that we are planning on replacing all the doors and trim in our house to get rid of the stained and varnished wood that goes with absolutely nothing. After procrastinating for a few weeks, we finally borrowed Dad’s truck yesterday afternoon and headed for Lowes. Much to our surprise, the doors that were previously over $70 had been reduced to $55. We had great fun picking out regular doors, bifold doors for a couple of closets, and hardware.

So, basically, my entire 2008 tax refund has went back into the marketplace and is probably now lining the pockets of some overpaid, overbonused executive. Oh, well. At least my molding will look better with my paint colors.

‘It’s Electric, Boogie Woogie Woogie’

It felt like someone slapped me in the face when I opened my latest electric bill this afternoon. $227. I have never had a utility bill that expensive. Up until now, the record was around $180.

Our home, which was built in 1971, uses electric baseboard heaters to keep us warm in the winter. While they certainly aren’t the most efficient form of heat, I have been grateful for them over the last couple of years when I would hear about the costs of heating with natural/propane gas.

The reason for the price increase is that our local electric company buys their power from TVA, who decided to raise prices 20% this fall. That is the largest increase in their pricing in 35 years. It seems like it wouldn’t have hurt nearly so bad if they had simply increased their prices slowly over that period of time.

Adding insult to injury, the temperature is supposed to be -2 tonight. It’s currently 8 degrees outside, the baseboard heaters are going full blast, and I’m freezing to death – wrapped in a blanket and sitting in front of a portable electric heater.

Even though it feels like giving blood.

Blogbits

Debt – As of yesterday, I am officially free of credit card debt! I had over $6000 of charges racked up this time last year, so the relief I feel is exquisite.

Cats – I cannot stand having pets in the house. Don’t get me wrong… I love my cats, but life has become a constant cycle of lint rollers, cleaning up cat vomit, and scooping litter boxes. I’m beginning to think that it’s really not worth all the effort.

The Strangers – This was one of the most suspenseful, terrifying movies that I’ve ever seen. I screamed so loud that we were afraid the neighbors might call the police.

Neighbor – Our 90-year-old neighbor took an ambulance ride to the emergency room last night because she was feeling really bad. Turns out the bottom number of her blood pressure was only eighteen! This resulted in her temporarily losing her vision, but after a full checkup and some fluids, she was able to return home around 1 o’clock this morning.

Wal-Mart Sucks – I know I shop at WM way too much, but what other alternatives do I have in this pathetic town? Anystore, I found a bed-in-a-bag set that I really liked and bought it last night. Today, after washing the sheets twice with fabric softener to get them nice and comfy, I discovered that a Wal-Mart “queen” must be a completely different size than anywhere else. The sheets wouldn’t even begin to fit on our bed.

Credit card companies are evil

I’ve been working to eliminate my credit card debt for a while, and it’s just now getting to the point that I have a little breathing room. I find it rather annoying (and slightly creepy) that the lower my debt gets, the more blank checks the credit card companies enclose with the bills. Apparently they have some computer program that singles me out as a prime target based on my history with credit. I guess they think I’m going to stick the checks back and use them for impulse purchases or to get myself out of a bind. I’m not falling for that trick.

I’m determined to get out of credit card debt and stay out. That’s why it feels so good to rip up those checks and throw them in the bin every month.

A nut in a rut

dknysj

I wish I could shake off this overwhelming feeling of discontent that I’ve had for a few days. Since I can’t figure out what it causing it, I can’t do anything to remedy it. Apparently, this is the proverbial “rut” that people talk about being in. I’m bored with my job, my finances aren’t getting any better, and church doesn’t seem to be filling the void that I thought it would.

Maybe I’m just one of those complicated, borderline crazy people. I wonder if DKNY makes straitjackets?

Blogbits

Love – It feels great!

Cats – Blu peed in the floor last night, and it made me very angry, until I realized I hadn’t scooped her litter box the night before. After doing some research online, I realized that it is very important to do that every day, because cats are very particular about cleanliness.

Money – It’s tight right now. I’m trying to sell some things on Ebay to get a little extra cash. I haven’t done that for a long time, so it was a little weird listing items again.

Overtime – I’ve got well over 40 hours this week, and am working today and tomorrow, so that’s got to help a little bit.