Matthew,

We tried to invite you to the gin-tasting party the first time, and it didn't work out - you had a work function. We missed you, but these things happen.

We should have invited you the second time, but we ended up inviting two other folks instead of you and the Dolan, and it didn't work out. A shame, because when you told me about the Gun Club, I wanted to learn more - and to pour you some. And to get to know you better, but I never will, now, I guess.

I'll just always know you as that guy at the parties with the dapper suit, the inevitable cocktail, the calm, genial presence who was always up for educating a former welfare brat curious about the martini or the brandy poured into the punch. Or I'll remember the story about you sticking a champagne cork in Suzy's mouth at a house party in some distant, never to return past. Or as Dann's ramen buddy and brother.

There's a lot of people with broken hearts now, and I don't know how I feel. Don't know how I'm supposed to feel. Is there a should for this? My lover is broken-vouched from crying, and I'm too far away right now. I half expect to walk into a room and find you with a cocktail in hand, even though I know I won't.

And now I never will again.

I'll miss you, man. And I don't think I'll ever understand.

Pride goeth before a fall, I know this, but apparently it still isn't a lesson I've learned. Normally my children wake up when we tell them it's time to start getting ready for school, they stumble out of bed, bitch about whatever breakfast is being served, scramble to get dressed, and fly out the door at the very last possible second. So I was rather proud of them this morning when the door slammed before 6:30, and I looked through the window to see both of my children outside with their bikes. I've been trying to reduce the amount of food we waste. Last night I stayed up late making asparagus, cauliflower, a bag of frozen vegetables, frozen peas, and squash. There are three apples left, an orange, there's food to eat, but not the food they want to be eating. I made smoothies for supper last night, the girls complained about them, I thought they were great, so I drank theirs and mine.

After the girls left, I noticed that my purse was out on the counter, and my wallet was visible. I thought that was strange, normally I put my purse on the table, but I do occasionally leave it on the counter. I didn't think I had left my wallet exposed like that, when I went to count my cash, I thought I was missing twenty dollars. Sure enough, when I found my receipt for groceries I had bought the other day, and counted my money again, I was missing twenty dollars. On the way to school is a gas station that my girls have stopped at in the past. When I called, the woman who answered the phone reported that two very polite little blonde girls had just finished paying for their purchases with a twenty dollar bill. I hung up feeling very disappointed, sent my husband a text, and went to count the money that he keeps in a desk drawer. The money is from a vending machine he stocks, and it's easier to get away with taking a couple dollars from a stack of singles than it is to take larger sums from your mother's purse.

I counted the money, wrote a note in ink, dated it, and put it in a separate drawer so the adults know how much money is in there. My plan is to not say anything to the girls right away. I have a paycheck to cash. I'm going to stop at the bank, and help myself to money from their accounts. Then I'm going to go to the store, and buy myself some treats. To me a treat is buying the freshest, most wholesome food I can find for my family to feast upon. I'm going to think of a reason to stop at the bank after school. I have the day off, and hopefully the girls will ask if I can sign so they can take money out of their accounts. I haven't decided how much I'm going to take from them, but I want this to hurt because they took my gas and grocery money, and thievery is an abominable trait. The other day my husband thought some of his candy money was missing, but couldn't remember how much he had.

My youngest had a twenty dollar bill to spend, and she is a saver, but normally she gets her allowance in singles, it hasn't been her birthday, and she hasn't gotten any cash from her relatives since she received cards for Valentine's Day. I hate accusing people of things when I don't have proof, but now I'm wondering if her neatly folded twenty dollar bill came from my purse as well because I thought I had twenty-five dollars left, but there was only five dollars in my wallet at the time. I had purchased a book for twenty dollars, like I said, I don't have proof that she's taken money from me in the past, but I'm going to be a lot more careful about it from now on because this is a bad habit that needs to be broken.

In other news, the girl whose mother refused to sign the incident report I wrote was suspended from school for the day after she lied to the people who had questioned her. I forgot to clock in the kids yesterday so someone is going to have to go back into the program and fix my mistakes. I've never done that before, I feel terrible about it, but things happen, and I'm not going to beat myself up over it. A woman whose son is in After School Care is going to be my new workout buddy. We went through the list of classes that the Y offers, and I'm really excited to have a fitness buddy, and an action plan. Her strengths are my weaknesses, and I think we're going to really enjoy our time together doing things that are good for both of us. I've been able to keep my journaling streak going. I had a good writing day yesterday, school is almost out, and I'm so looking forward to more sun and fun this summer.

Take care,

jess

The seasons change again here in the perpetually humid American South. I remain true to my word in my February 28, 2013 daylog and post this as both a first (and only) log for May and only after posting a couple of earlier non-daylog writeups. As a quick update to one of those, shortly after posting about how I could have known everything for five dollars, I returned to the library and rescued the volumes. I have not regretted it for a second, and read them when I'm looking for something brief.

Since my last update, I have finished reading House of Leaves, Pariah (a Dan Abnett Warhammer 40k novel. Don't judge me, we all have our guilty pleasures, and his brain candy is better than most), and the fourth volume of the Starman Omnibus. I have also started A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, but mostly I've been finishing up The Snowball, a sympathetic biography of Warren Buffett. Both Leaves and Snowball took longer than expected, so I am not exactly burning through my reading list I compiled at the beginning of the year.

At the moment I'm listening to Pearl Jam's July 22, 2006 "Live at the Gorge" concert. Any day now StuartO))) is going to send me a private message indicating that not only does he have free tickets to the Wrigley Field Pearl Jam show this summer (currently scalping for insane amounts of money for even marginal seats) but that I can also crash at his house and rely on him for transportation throughout the greater Chicago area. At least in fantasyland. If I knew any other E2 users lived near Chicago, they would also be part of that daydream.

But back to Buffet and the world of finance. I originally stumbled on a recommendation for the book over at the Early Retirement Extreme forums. One of the things that I have focused on this year is becoming more disciplined about long-term financial planning. For several months I have used a phone app to track every single expenditure I made through the month, and then I produce monthly reports that show breakdowns by category and percent increases or decreases from month to month. At the same time, I've been aggressively placing money in savings (I hope to reach 30% to 40% this month of total income saved with an ultimate target of 60% to 70%). This money is invested in different assets with an intent to become financially independent within the next 10 years. That means having the option to not work at all, or walk away from any job. I'm currently formulating a written Investment Policy Statement to help keep me on track. The largest impediment to making this happen is our unsold second home from our move late last year. While priced very competitively in our area, we still have it on the market because housing has not recovered here as it has in many other parts of the country. Our new house is at such a low interest rate (3.25%) and ridiculously low mortgage payment ($300) that once the second home is sold I should be able to save in excess of 60% to 70% of my monthly income.

To make all of this happen I'm doing a lot of reading about financial planning. I spend a lot of time at the previously mentioned ERE forums as well as the Bogleheads (proponents of index investing as started by John Bogle) and and Mr. Money Mustache websites. All three provide interesting perspectives on alternative philosophies of life to what mainstream media in the United States pumps out daily.

We spend a lot of time visiting the library each week. My daughter is learning to read, so we pick up new books for her, but we also heavily utilize their DVD borrowing service. Just this week my wife and I finished Season Two of Downton Abbey, which we were able to check out while at the library with our daughter.

So that's what I've been up to instead of writing here. I still think from time to time about my post last December about deleting what I have here, but only rarely. If the past two years are any indication, come late summer I will be feverishly submitting writeups. Or not.

I hope you are all well,
-- corvus

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