Friday, March 27, 2009

I have this strange desire to blog, like there is a lot on my mind and I want to get it out. But I'm having a tough time coming up with what I actually want to blog about.

Things that have been on my mind lately:

Preparedness- being prepared for any kind of a social or natural disaster. My tin foil hat is only so big, so I'm only looking at a 30 day preparedness cache at this time, but it raises a lot of questions about the value of the paper dollar during a crisis, how to make a fire (it's really hard!) and things like that.

My car/Tracking it. I tracked my car a few weeks ago, and its was incredibly fun. So fun that I want to do it more. But of course, my car is appraoching 100k miles. It will need a new clutch/transmission sometime in the next year, and track days accelerate that timeframe and wear your tires out faster, etc.

My finances. I might get laid off sometime in the next 15 months. We want to recarpet the whole condo. Lots, and lots of things to think about here. We are presisting off of one income, with a child. And doing reasonably well. But it can be mentally tiring, feeling like you are on a tightrope between living month to month and being responsible with your extra cash.

Work. Lots of stuff going on at work. Some people making some decisions without thinking about the consequences, and the political battles that are ensuing. I'm on the front lines of that particular battle, and my boss has assigned me a half dozen extra tasks he wants me to take care of, all of them going in different directions, at the same time.

Young Adults. The leadership team is going through some interesting shifts in philosophy, and it's taking a lot of effort on all of our parts to make sure we are successful. I am also playing drumset weekly for the service, which is a ton of fun, but of course one more stick on the camel's back.

Alone time. I've had a hard time lately finding some time to just play my video games. I did manage to get an hour and a half in last night, which was really great and nice of my wife. I know it sounds particularly selfish, but it's hard for both of us. Judah has to be watched constantly, and it's either me or her, and when he goes down, it's usually our only time together, which means there's no real options for me to play my video games. I know I have some other recreational things I've been doing lately, I went to the track, have gone to a gun show, and go to the range a few times, so I know I don't have much ground to stand on, but I guess it's just something I'm feeling (and feelings aren't always rational).

Fasting. I'm fasting all pop and meat for three weeks. The first week is almost done. And boy, is this hard, and eye opening. I think it's important to constantly experience the world through different glasses, and being a vegetarian for a few weeks is pretty darn eye opening. Plus... pop... mmm. I love Dr. pepper. It's my favorite. And I walk by the fridges full of it every hour or so here at work. I've got a few things I've been focusing on praying about when I'm fasting, and I'm really hoping that I see some breakthroughs in our young adults group, my nervousness around finances, etc.

So I guess I just blogged about each of the areas I could have blogged about. There's of course probably a gazillion more things on my mind I could have blogged about, too... sigh, why is my blog always so boring?

Monday, March 16, 2009

So, the rest of the layoffs at MS are still looming over everyone's head. It's unfortunate that the company is looking at layoffs just to apease investors, when we have 40billion+ in the bank and the stock price is already down 50% from 12 months ago. Ugh.

So kind of as an excercise, I wrote out what a quick plan would be if I got laid off (not that it's likely, but in the unlikely case).

Of course it requires a ton of sacrifice to get the monthly bills down as much as possible. Gotta get rid of erroneous things like netflix, data plans on the cell phone, raise insurance deductibles, sell the car to get rid of the car payment (Thankfully we've got a good 9k or so in equity there) and sell off anything around the house we can. Probably my paintball gear, RC gear, bass, unfortunately, and so on. With all of this, if I was on unemployment, I'd still be around a thousand a month short on basic needs, such as house payment, homeowners dues, insurance, food, and whatnot. Our savings would cover us for a few months, but after that... we'd haveto start getting into debt to sustain us, which is a very dangerous prospect. I'm pretty sure either Rosemary or I could get any kind of job within a few months, so we'd probably be okay, as long as that job makes more than 1300 a month, until unemployment runs out, then we'd both need to be working again. But even then, our earning power adds up pretty well. She's worth a good 2k a month(more, actually), and I'm worth a substantial IT job, if we can find the right jobs.

This downturn is something funny. A few relatives and friends have lost their jobs. Houses are dirt cheap, and so are my house values. It leaves me in an uneasy place financially, where we are living off of one income right now, and don't have a ton of ability to save massive amounts of cash at a time like we have in the past. Our savings is okay, probably better than most, but one big event is all it would take to wipe that out. Say, broken transmission, or something like that. I can tell you though, if we weather the downturn well, have our savings intact, then we will come out on the other side very, very good. Good position to buy a new house, my 401k will rebound over time, no debt, etc, means we could be very agile with the resources we do have.

I guess I'm just kind of rambling about the general unease and strange situation that is the 08/09 recession. One of the things Rosie and I are turning a keen eye to lately is preparedness. It's no secret that the government is trying to repair bad spending habbits with more spending, and that the United States is slowly slipping in the eyes of the world, and sound economists. It's funny, that it's hard to prepare when you need to prepare, but easy of course when times are easy. It can be costly to prepare, between buying foods and water storage, heating units, investing in some precious metals, and so on, especially when you don't have a ton of extra. We'll just do the best we can, try to strike a balance between prepared and broke, and trust that God has got our backs. :)

It's just such a strange world. I mean, I guess I've only been living on my own for what, 3 years now, but I've gotten into the groove of getting used to providing for my family, budgeting out needs and wants, and finding a real good comfort zone. I can adapt just fine, but it sure makes me uneasy.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

My sermon, "Unoffendable" is up on our young adults podcast. You can get it here:

http://newheartworship.org/podcasts/YA/09/20090202_RickyOchs_LearningToNotTakeOffense.mp3

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It's good to hear myself preach, I'm able to critique myself better.