ER Rounds – Round 2

This weekend was my 2nd rotation of ER clinicals. MUCH better experience! The hospital was considerably larger than the first one and the staff was awesome. I was paired up with an RN and she was great. She is also a paramedic and explained to me how I can help the paramedic in the field with certain procedures. Another nurse was also very kind and asked me to help her with a few things as well. It was a great learning experience to see how patients are “unpackaged” at the hospital. It’s basically the same thing, only in reverse. And only after scans and X-rays, which I got to watch.

The doctors and PA’s were also very nice. Everyone introduced themselves and asked about my history, interests, etc. Many asked if I would go on to be a Paramedic or go into nursing. To be honest, walking around the hospital and seeing all the different jobs there are, the thought did cross my mind. Even if i didn’t go into nursing, there are a ton of other interesting jobs to have in a hospital, or clinic.

At this point in my life, I don’t think I want to go back to school. I have other goals and dreams that I would like to achieve. I want to pay off our debt. I want to have babies. Therefore, i need to structure my life to achieve those dreams. We are well on our way to pay off debt. Even though my job is neither glamorous nor high paying, it is 1.3 miles from home. This allows me to save gas money, lunch money, fancy clothes money. And is pretty stress free. Hubby’s business is really ramping up with some large accounts. So although i’m not “in love” with my job, it’s a steady paycheck, access to insurance, and close to home. It can allow me to focus on losing weight and gaining fertility.

In financial news, tomorrow we are expecting to receive a payment from our largest customer. This payment will allow us to get caught up on quite a few items. I’ve been faithfully honoring the new basket system and it is working out great so far. After this week, our cash flow should stabilize so i can start entering bills in our bank’s online bill pay feature to pay out on the due date. Once and done. Beautiful idea. But gotta have the funds there when the payment comes out, that’s why we couldn’t do it before.

Looking forward to the future. 🙂

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Modification Woes

Way way wayyyyyy back in November I started the mortgage modification process with the bank. Okay, I guess it has only been 2 months. But i am PUMPED about reducing our overall monthly recurring bills so we can KICK ASS on paying off our debt. I am very anxious to get a lower mortgage payment since that is our single largest money suck. I HATE being in debt and for sooooo0o long it has felt like we were not getting anywhere. But now i can actually start to see the light. THE END IS NEAR!!! I do not have an exact date. Our cash flow is too tight to be able to commit to anything more than minimum payments at this point. Hence the eagerness to lower our mortgage payment so I can throw that money towards the credit card debt.

After paying off more than $50,000 in credit card debt, here is where we are 4 years later:

  • CC1:   14,350
  • CC2:   6,325
  • CC3:   1,025
  • CC4:   4,910
  • CC5:   390
  • CC6:   485
  • CC7:   515
  • CC8:   520
  • CC9:   5,225
  • CC10:   4,150
  • Total CC’s:   37,895
  • Family: 10,000

By the end of the year, 5 credit cards will be completely paid off and the cumulative remaining balance less than $25,000 if i continue making only minimum payments. Its astonishing to see how much debt remains after paying off so much for so long. Its quite a painful look at the reality of the mess we got ourselves into. Two of the credit cards were used exclusively to purchase equipment for the business, so at least there was a return value. Still…. yikes.

So when i called today to follow up on the progress of our loan modification, and was asked to provide YET MORE RECORDS, naturally i was deflated. I was hoping that i would finally hear that our file is in the final review. That they will be making a recommendation soon. But no. I’m not kidding folks; I have already faxed over 1,000 pages of records. I keep them all in a special pile (ya, i know) on the corner of the desk since it doesn’t fit in a folder anymore. I have sent them 4.5″ worth of my financial life. and they still request MORE. What more can there possibly be???

ugh. maybe this will be the final ticket…

Verrrrrry Productive Weekend

Last week I did some investigating on ideas to organize mail and clutter. Also ran across some articles debating “cleaning” vs. “organinzing”. This really got me thinking. All these years I thought i was organized. Turns out that was only half true. I didn’t truly have a system in place to deal with incoming mail, receipts, unpaid bills, etc. It all went into a pile on the counter and once or twice a week went with the laundry upstairs where it joined another existing pile. Then once in a while it would get sorted through and paid/entered/filed.

So, ladies and gentleman, let me tell you about my new system! I was pumped after i received my new basket in the mail on Friday afternoon. I immediately put in my folders labeled: Bills due by the 15th; Bills due by the 30th; Bills due (for those bills i’m not sure when they can get paid); Reciepts; To File; To Enter/To Do. It looked great! But only took up a small portion of the basket.

I decided it would look best and be the most functional on the catch-all counter. *Admit it, you have one in your house too!* Our catch all counter is about 4 feet long and this is where we (previously) piled mail & papers, charged the phone, stored the cookbooks, charger for my MFR radio, charger for the cordless landline phone, kleenex box, etc. Quite the smorgasbord of stuff.

Then, on the main counter under the phone with the answering machine is where i kept the message pad. On the wall under the phone was a wood mailslot box type thing. In that i kept deposit slips, stamps, pens, letter opener, customer phone list. 

Then i had a brain fart. I can put all that stuff in my new basket! So now everything is in ONE place. When it’s time to pay bills or create invoices or work on anything financially, i can just grab the basket and head to the computer. Now I can pay bills every other week without worrying about being late. I send invoices to our customers every other week in the winter, so that information can just accumulate until I’m ready to work. It’s perfect!!! 🙂

So far, it seems to be working perfectly. I bring in the mail, toss the garbage, and sort into the proper folder. No more piles. And i know where to find it when i’m ready to deal with it. My counters are less cluttered alogether and I took down the ridiculous mailslot thingy. Cookbooks that didn’t fit on the shelves went into the cupboard. A nice plant is hiding cords to chargers. I also installed the under-the-counter radio/TV i got for Christmas. Except for a fresh paint job, my kitchen is nearly perfect!

Sunday I spent the day in the ER on my clinical rotation. It was….. not what i expected. I was really looking forward to it. It wasn’t horrible, but it’s definatly not in my career path anymore. The nurses and doctor were very unfriendly. The triage staff were grumpy. I was made to feel like i was in everybody’s way and unwelcome.

I guess I was expecting a tour of how the system works from admitting the patient, to triage, to the actual care of the patient based on their chief complaint and assessment findings. Since I’m an EMT student, I anticipated them explaining how the hospital works and what I can do in the field to make their job easier or better for the patient.

Nothing. Nada. Zip.

I got there about 7:30 am and there was only one patient, so it’s not as though they were busy. All the nurses huddled together and complained about how overworked they were. The doctor – I have no idea where she was half the day. The triage crew were the best. Grumpy, but asking me to help them and explaining what I could do to help. Any time I tried to ask questions, I was either ignored or was given an answer – with attitude. There was one lady there who sat at a desk the whole time. Her scrubs were a different color, so i asked her what her job was. She said “everything” (with flair), and turned to the nurses to bitch about discuss the schedule for the day. I still have no idea what her title is or what her job is.

An ER tech arrived at about 3:00 and he was very nice. He explained to me what his job is, what is required to get the job, and the salary range (which is not very much). The nurses treated him like crap too. But, he was very upbeat and genuinely enjoyed his job. My rotation was over at promptly 4:00 when the next student arrived. Apparently 2 students at once is especially frowned upon.

ugh. Next clinical i will try at another hospital. Maybe it was just a bad experience.

Getting Organized

After much research and thought, I’ve settled on a “solution” to my paper clutter piles. When i bring the mail in, i immediately go through it and throw away the junk. Then everything is piled up and thrown in a pile on the counter. But now, i will set up folders to sort the mail into, and they will live peacefully in this pretty basket on my kitchen counter until i do something with them.

The folders will be labeled:

  • Bills to be paid by the 15th
  • Bills to be paid by the 30th
  • Receipts
  • To Do
  • To File

So as paper comes in the door, it is sorted and kept off the counter. I also like this system because it should help pay the bills on time. Even if I only get around to the basket once a week or every other week, I can easily find the bills that are due and get them paid on time without having to re-sort through everything. And? When hubby empties his pockets and leaves it in a pile on the counter, i can quickly sort out the receipts that need to be kept but don’t have time to handle into the appropriate folder until i’m ready.

I am very excited about this new system! Can’t wait for the basket to arrive from Amazon. It was only $16 and i already have the file folders and labels. I just can’t decide if I should color-code the files to correspond with my file cabinet, or keep them all the same color for aesthetic purposes…. hmmmm…..

Punch 2011 in the face!

Sooooo…….. Remember those goals i posted before the end of the year? Remember how i said i had 4 (paid!) days off from work for a total of 8 days at home (including the weekends)?

ya……. not so productive.

Here’s the original list, and what actually got accomplished in brackets:

  1. File away this pitiful year  [got a good head start… just didn’t make it into a box yet]
  2. Re-organize my home office and filing system [nope]
  3. Re-organize how i handle unpaid bills. Any ideas? For now, mail is opened, looked at, thrown in a pile and shipped upstairs to form a new pile on the desk where it sits until i either a) pay and file it or b) get a late notice, dig it out, pay and file it. I’m thinking it’s not such a good system [nope… and i need ideas!]
  4. Button up my 2011 Budget [yes! lookin gooooood!]
  5. Get way ahead on EMT homework [finished what had to be done at midnight before class the next day… not so good]
  6. Get MFR stuff organized (payroll, PCR’s, Schedule) [not so much. did get some performance charts/attendance charts posted though]
  7. Work on MFR training for 2011 [nope]
  8. Work on Truck Book for Ambulance [ha. nope]
  9. Make and freeze lots of lunches/dinners [made some (burnt) hamburger helper while rushing to finish EMT homework. i’m not counting it]
  10. Clean house top to bottom [ha! i got the Christmas tree down and that’s it]

So, am i a complete and utter failure?

Truth be told, my time off was not consumed by sipping tea on the couch watching movies. I spent a lot of time out and about with my hubby. That was really fun and really rare. He is a very busy guy and it was nice to spend time with him not really doing anything. I/we also spent a good amount of time with our families – at their homes. Can’t complain about that. Good quality time with the fam is priceless. I’ll clear my schedule any day for them.

So, that said, i’ve decided to make my list a goal for the month of January. Perhaps that’s a little more reasonable. I am pretty stoked about wanting to get organized. Seriously need some ideas though. At work i am the most organized, cleanest person you’d ever met. At home – not so much. Perhaps i’m just lacking the proper tools. Some file cabinets, folders, paper trays should/might/hopefully help the problem.

I am geared up and ready to kick some ass this year. *ahem* My goals for 2011:

  1. Pay off dump truck. (Okay so it’s already scheduled to be paid off. I need a win here so go with it, k?)
  2. Pay off 3 credit cards. (Since 3 of them have a balance of approx $500 this is toooootally do-able)
  3. Establish an E-fund. (Yup – had em, used em, had em, used em. Goal is to put the money in and KEEP it there0
  4. Establish savings for: Christmas, Health, Rainy Day. And set it up to contribute automatically. I use ING Direct so this is the easiest thing in the world. Just need to do it. And not “borrow” from it.
  5. Lose some weight. Specific numbers and/or plans seem to have the opposite effect. So, let’s just keep it vague and any victory will be a win!
  6.              a) commit to making healthier meals
  7.              b) get a complete physical
  8.              c) work out at least 1 day a week at the fire hall
  9. Paint the downstairs and decorate. We’ve been there 10 years. It’s about time.
  10. Might as well make it an even 10. Get back into taking lots of pictures and scrapbooking. Now that i have a cricut, i have nothing to do with it! 😦

I’ve heard once that writing down your goals increases the liklihood off accomplishing them. Well there you have it. Dear 2011: watch your back cuz this year is mine!