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Archive for June, 2018

June: Social events, big car repair, organizing, health scare

June 29th, 2018 at 04:50 pm

June was one of my most social months of the year, with a visit to Patient Saver and my annual visit from a friend who is now a snowbird. It was lovely to socialize, and I also look forward to some time to myself during July and August to catch up on other projects.

I also took my annual summer arts & culture class offered as a fundraiser for the local charter arts high school. This summer’s series was on outsider art and was a lot of fun, concluding with a tour of the local “secret art park” designed by our course instructor along with artist Mr. Imagination and a reception and showing of a private collection at the instructor’s home. There still may be a field trip to NYC later this summer.

I went finally to hear a concert by a community orchestra which three friends of mine participate in. I am planning on joining them next Thursday for the rest of the summer at least. I also went to the theatre twice and will go one or possibly two more times during July.

One surprise event during the month was that my car failed an oil consumption test and Subaru replaced the “short block,” a major component of the engine, for free since the car is (just barely!) still under warranty. The part itself costs nearly 6K not to speak of labor, so thank god for the warranty or I’d be car hunting right now. As it is, I will look into renewing the warranty this month. I really enjoyed driving the Forester they gave me as a loaner (my previous car was a Forester and when I bought the current car, I bought an Impreza). If I had any sort of real commute, I would seriously consider trading in my car, but I have lived a mile from where I work for 3 years so upgrading the car is kind of ridiculous. That drive from PA to CT to visit PS is the furthest I’ve driven in a few years. In any case, they said to treat the car as if it had a new engine in terms of the oil change, because in essence, it does--and a new engine for free on a 6-year old car is certainly a good thing!

Right now in terms of work goals, I am working on catch up. I still have a lot to do and hopefully will make more progress in July than I did in June. I also need to work more on studying for the CFP, although I am proud to note that I *finally* understand the basics of A-B trust planning, something which I’ve struggled over for years.

I’m doing very well this year in terms of debt reduction—down about 8.2K for the year and my mortgage will be at 58K even after the July payment hits, something which I should easily pay off in 7-8 years as long as I keep my current job. 7.5 years would make the total payoff an even 20 years.

I actually finally! even made some progress on the “peaceful home environment” goal. I have an acquaintance/friend who is a personal organizer, and I have referred clients to her who have benefitted from her services. Last month as thanks for the business, she gave me a gift certificate for a free 3-hour consultation, which I had today. My work doesn’t allow me to accept the gift, so I paid her her normal fee at the end of our time together, but we organized all my food storage and developed a plan for much of the rest of the organizing work, to be done in bits and pieces this year and next.

The last big issue that will continue on during the month has to do with my thyroid. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis 4 years ago by a chiropractor. Most MD endocrinologists, unfortunately, don’t believe in “treating” the thyroid: their presumption is that diet and lifestyle have no effect and they will just monitor your thyroid levels until they fall and then put you on Synthroid (and I have heard this from at least six MDs). But I figured I should at some point get an assessment from an MD and I did see an endocrinologist this month, who sent me for an ultrasound which reveals that in addition to the Hashimoto's, I have a large nodule on the right half of my thyroid (5.7 cm). I asked about the “watch or wait” approach and my doctor said that, if the nodule were under 2 cm he would be ok with that, but since mine is nearly 3x that size, he very strongly encouraged a biopsy, which I will go in for on the 16th. There’s an 85-90% chance that it will be non-cancerous and we’ll just watch and wait and track it, but there’s also a 10-15% that it could be cancerous and I’d need to have the gland removed, which I am praying doesn’t happen. My followup appointment to get the biopsy results is on July 30th, so if you have some spare prayers between now and then, I’d appreciate them!

Goal review and mini-milestone

June 3rd, 2018 at 01:54 pm

Looking back at my goals for 2018 (in the side bar):

1. I'm falling behind on the CFP coursework--started out strong but the heavy workload at my job from the beginning of the year until now overwhelmed me. Still a work in progress and hoping to catch back up with the CFP over the summer.

2. With the heavy workload came a lack of focus on health. As things have now calmed down, I am turning my attention here as my weight has crept up to the highest in over a decade--ugh. I'm back to intermittent fasting, which worked for me well in 2016 and have lost about 5 pounds in the first 10 days. Water weight, I know, but always nice to get a good start. I am also experimenting with something else that I will blog about eventually if it is successful.

3. The home environment, as ever, ends up on the back burner. I'll really work on it after I'm done with the CFP. But for now, I had the yard cleared out and I'm getting a few big items out of the basement, and my annual visitor comes on the 23rd so the house will get back to its status quo by then, but I'm not sure if I'll make progress on the big decluttering I need to do.

4. Debt reduction is going well so far, although I always make the most progress at the beginning of the year. The mini-milestone is that I'm now back under 88K which was about the level my debt was when I left my teaching career and started the difficult decade of changing careers along with loss of my mom and three pets. So in a way it feels like beginning again, and hopefully it's just downward from here on out. I am making good progress on the mortgage, paying extra each month to get the total down to an even multiple of 100, which amounts to about 1.5 full extra mortgage payments over the course of the year, and I'm feeling relatively certain that I'll pay it off by 2026 and hopeful that I'll meet my goal of paying it off in 2025 (a total of 20 years).

5. I've maintained although not expanded my social life. June is a relatively social month. I'm going to visit Patient Saver next weekend and I have my annual Shakespeare Fest visitor coming on the 23rd.

6. I took a full week off ending with Memorial Day. Just sat by the river and read!