Reading Challenge and a Little Rambling

On the website “goodreads”, I signed up for a challenge to read 36 books this year..comes out to 3 books a month. I got a slow start because I forgot about the challenge, or just didn’t log into the site to keep track of what I was reading.

Anyways, seeing as I am awake super early today, I am taking time to read my current book “Walden on Wheels”, by: Ken Ilungas. I have followed the author on facebook for years and just started following him on goodreads. Even though I bought this ebook for my tablet a couple years ago, I am just now getting around to reading this book. I got interested in this author around the time when he got his first seasonal job in Cold foot Camp, Alaska. It is a location that I had also applied to and after reading of his experience I think maybe it was a good thing that I never got the job. Course he loved it enough to go back quite a few seasons.

While his many adventures are interesting and his experience with paying off his student loan debt was intriguing. I have a student loan debt from 30 years ago, that will probably never be paid off during my lifetime, but that’s because I choose to ignore it and pretend it does not exist. And I am not going to dedicate a whole post about my reasons for this, but usually if anyone hears me say that, then they come up with all kinds of negative events that “could” happen to me. But I just remind them that I lived in my car for about 7 months last year in Georgia…what financial gain would the government (or whoever is in control of student loans) have by putting a homeless grandma in jail.

Anyways, I have now finished reading this book and need to start another one..Ken has a few more books written about his travels, maybe I should look on Amazon to see what it would cost to download them. Except as I sit in my kitchen now, I have no wifi to download anything. I still have a few books in my closet, that I bought in December from the Goodwill store in Flagstaff. Yes, real books where you have to turn the pages..pages that I bend over the corners to remind myself where I left off reading. Which book do you like best…ebooks or the old-fashioned paper filled kind?

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Thursday night I went out with a group of friends (a rare event) to sit around a campfire and drink a few beers. It was the last night that Kimmie and Susan would be here as they left yesterday heading for Denver. Kimmie was my roomie when I worked in Death Valley a couple years ago. Later in April/May they will be working in Glacier National Park. 3 other friends at the campfire will also be in Glacier for the Summer season. 1 friend would be going back to Crater Lake to work during the Summer. I was the only one there that had no idea what I was going to do all Summer and had no real plans.

I have looked online for Summer seasonal jobs on Coolworks and even on my company website. But even though I find jobs in locations that I might like..the #1 problem always comes down to money. You need money to travel to the next location, and if I travel by bus or plane then it takes money to re-buy bedding and everything else that I can’t take with me. I also compare the money I make here “VS” the money I would bring home in other locations. I know, money doesn’t seem to be that big of an issue for alot of people when they are choosing a Summer job…until you ask them if they would work in their chosen location for free. Obviously nobody likes their job that well, because their answer is always “no because they need money”. Well I ain’t so different from everyone else, as I also need money to live”.

Which is 1 big reason for my coming back to the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon really is my safety net, my comfort zone, my home. When I get really desperate for a place to live and need a job, any job to make money it seems like something at the canyon is always available. It’s also a location where I feel safe (maybe to safe… maybe like a grown adult child going back to live in their parents basement forever). Over the last 11 years I have worked in this location 5 different times. Obviously it isn’t perfect or else I would never feel the need to look elsewhere for new jobs.

For now, I seem to just drift on autopilot day after day. Every day seems to be the same thing. Wake up super early to sit in kitchen for couple hours (while all the housemates are sleeping) to drink coffee, have breakfast and read, then after housemates wake up I will go into my room to play games on my tablet for a few hours just waiting for the time to go to work. By the time I get home at night I am usually tired so I get ready for bed. Laundry, organizing my room, or going out to eat is usually done on my weekends. So it seems to me, that most of my time is spent doing nothing…absolutely nothing…at least not anyhing with a purpose or of any value. I really wish I could just sleep longer at night.

Without a car, I can’t even go into the park to see the canyon. I will be glad when the free shuttle buses start running in Tusayan (which should be in about a month). Once the shuttle runs I will go into the park every weekend to shop at the bigger store and visit friends living in the park. Because right now, I live with a house full of people but I wouldn’t really call any of them my friends. Sure I can tolerate my roommate, but I won’t be texting her next weekend once she leaves for Shenandoah Park. Then sometime soon after Arlene leaves, I will get a new roomie and have to get used to living with a whole new personality/quirks.

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Day Off at Starbucks

Seeing as the USB cable (that I bought 2 months ago) stopped charging my phone or tablet 2 nights ago, I had to walk up to the store to buy another cable. I went into the connecting Starbucks to charge my phone.

It was so early and snowy outside, there wasn’t any customers at first. Later a big family came in ordering maybe a dozen different drinks. I would go nuts if I had to make a dozen different coffee drinks at the same time. I just know that I would get them all mixed up.

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Just a random couple that came in. They were checking out travel brochures while having some coffee drink. The wet weather probably but a damper on whatever plans they had originally made for their time here. I had tried the “Coconut Vanilla Latte” before, but today I decided that I will stick to my plain black coffee.

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I did enjoy a breakfast wrap while I charged my phone and typed this post today from my phone. It has spinach, feta cheese and egg whites inside. I couldn’t find the nutrition value of this on the Starbucks website, but probably more carbs then I need.

I have lost about 12 pounds since I arrived here after Thanksgiving weekend, probably lost most of it this year after cutting out most of the carb crap that I used to eat. Oh I still have moments where I crave carbs (obvious by my breakfast wrap).

Well my phone is all charged now, so I will get ready to go back into the store to buy things for lunch and then walk home again. For the moment it has stopped snowing outside. But rain and snow mixture are in the forecast all week.

Housemates and Work

(Sunday) Jess had gotten here around November 11, 2017, after 1.5- 2 weeks working in Wickenburg. She was supposed to be a supervisor in Starbucks but she ended up breaking her leg and having to work in the general store as a cashier. But she wasn’t happy living in Tusayan so she put in her 2-week notice after getting another job offer in Oregon. Then a few days later I heard her mention that the 2-month job got moved to somewhere in Northern California. After that job, I think she still plans on working in the Tetons for the Summer. Well Jess finally left (before the 2 weeks notice was up). Geez, and my family complains about me being flighty/irresponsible and moving around so much…lol.

The picture above is of Jess, when she came into the store on a day off. The cashier is another housemate that has been here 2.5 years.

My roommate, Arlene, has a job offer to work in Shenandoah National Park for a long Summer season. So she will be leaving around February 24th. She has to drive up to Washington first to get her Summer clothes before she meets a friend in Colorado and they both drive across the country to Virginia.

So for now I will have Tuesday and Wednesday off, instead of Monday and Tuesday. So today should have been my Friday but I will have 1 extra night to work before my weekend. Unfortunately it won’t count towards overtime because the pay week ends tonight. Oh, Oh, if anyone is wondering about the extra money on my last paycheck…it was because we got holiday pay for Marin Luther King DAY. I didn’t realize that was a paid holiday before.

Arlene let me know that because Jess is gone and she plans on leaving in less than a month. Emma and Sandra will be moving into the new Starbucks housing soon. That she overheard some of our company bigwigs talking about getting some international kids in to work for a 3-4 month season, starting February 21st. So far I have not heard anything about the jobs I applied for inside the national park yet.

(Tuesday) Oh so thankful for a day off. Even if the only productive thing I do all day is laundry. Last evening while at work I wasn’t feeling good, so I am just taking it easy today. Because I wasn’t feeling well at work yesterday I forgot to ask about getting sick pay for the 2 days I missed, which means that the next paycheck will be alot smaller. Emma and Sandra are both cooking lunch now, so they either worked an early morning shift or have the day off also.

Spinning Out of Control

( Wednesday) Was the ground moving, was I moving? Before I could figure out what was going on I found myself laid-out on the snowy driveway. This happened twice on my way to work. I had a headache and sore knee by the time I arrived at work.

My supervisor found out I was dizzy and fell on the way to work so he had a co-worker drive me to the clinic in the park. I had just been there 2 weeks earlier for the flu and an ear infection. Now I got a case of vertigo which the doctor suspects was brought on from the ear infection. I had been given an antibiotic called “Azithromycin”. On the information paper that came with the antibiotic, it mentioned allergic reactions…and guess What! Severe dizziness was on the list of reactions. So did the ear infection cause it like the doctor assumed or was it caused by the medicine he prescribed? Or was it just me being the usual clutzy scatterbrain that I am?

The co-worker took me back to work, so I could give the supervisor the note saying I could return to work in 2 days. Hopefully, I get paid for 2 sick days. While I was at the store, I bought ice cream and Gatorade because the doctor told me to stay hydrated while I rested at home. Somehow on the walk back home I did something to my foot/ankle. It hurt like hell to move or even flex my toes.

When my roommate got home a few hours later, she lent me some aspercreme with lidocaine to rub all over my ankle. WOW that stuff worked great. I even ordered some on amazon for under $7. While I was on amazon I started looking for other stuff that I thought I needed and/or wanted. I was surprised at how fast I can come up with an order for $100. I ended up deleting half the order. One good thing about terrible wifi service…gives you time to change your mind about shopping online before you get the chance to click a button that will send an order in.

It was just a few days ago that I was thinking about budgets and saving money. Well I did admit before that my money usually went to Amazon and food eaten out somewhere. Not much I can do about the food issue at the moment, but I really need to get my online shopping under control. If my wifi connection would stay on long enough, I could check my bank account to see exactly what I spent at Amazon this month…but that will have to wait until my day off when I can use McDonald’s wifi.

(Friday/Payday) I just checked for my paycheck online. Wow was I ever surprised… $434.17 for 1 week. Someone messed up somewhere. $10.50 X 40/hrs==$420 before rent and taxes are taken out. So how in the world did I get more? I will find out when I go into work today at 1pm, and receive the actual paycheck stub. But I am hoping that they don’t it out of next week’s check to correct their mistake. Actually I will have to put in for 2 sick days.

Quiet Day Off

I rolled out of bed at 7am, after playing games on my tablet for awhile. Still had to be quiet so that my roommate could sleep. So I went to the kitchen to heat water in the microwave for coffee…decided to add a little Swiss Miss Chocolate powder to my coffee. Usually 1 packet of chocolate powder goes into 4 cups of coffee so it lasts awhile.

My roommate got up, dressed for work and was out the door around 10:35am. By noon I figured that most of the housemates would be gone to work so I warmed up some soup in the microwave and started my laundry.

Around 2:30pm, after remaking my bed, I finally decided to jump in the shower. With the house to myself I actually had time to shave my legs without worrying about anyone knocking on the bathroom door. For now, (until my schedule gets changed next week) Tuesday’s has been the only day I allowed myself that luxury. Good thing that I don’t own any shorts right now.

With nobody around to complain about the smell, I took the time to change my nails polish. Took off the teal color and am now wearing very pale pink (almost clear). At least the color is light enough so nobody can really tell if I did a sloppy job of putting it on. I don’t have lots of practice wearing nail polish.

Now I am thinking of watching a DVD movie. I have Home Alone 3, which I have never seen. I’m a little skeptical about it being as good as the first two. But hopefully it will be good for a few laughs. Hopefully the store is busy today or else my roommate might get sent home early before my movie is over.

So If anyone is looking for me online anywhere, sorry you won’t find me because I will be held up in bed snacking on pork rinds and coconut water while watching a movie.

Debts, Budgets and Saving Money

It seems like I can be spontaneous and get some crazy idea to buy something that I could live without ( which means something that I don’t really NEED). Mostly I get these crazy ideas when I am bored or when I am in any stores with friends.  One solution is don’t go to shopping in town with friends. It’s easier to walk out of a store if I am not waiting for someone else who is taking forever to shop.

I have been wanting to save money for:

1. New eye glasses,  2. Alternative Naturopathy Doctor in Flagstaff,  3. Online school,  4. A car (preferably a van/roadtrek),  5. Land

The glasses might be a “need”, the others could be considered a “want”…depending on where I am living. But as long as I want them, then I should figure out a way to pay for them. 

Every now and then, I have a friend that will post something on facebook that came from the debt-guru, Dave Ramsey. Well today I decided to download 2 of his kindle books, along with a few other books on the subject. One is called “How to manage your money when you don’t have any”. That title actually made me laugh, because I am thinking…well that’s easy, no money means nothing to manage.  But after starting to read the book, it’s obvious that the writer has never been homeless in GA, and lived on no money…zip, zilch, Nada, nothing, NO MONEY. Hmm, I wonder what advice the writer would give my friends in GA. 

Another book I downloaded was “The no spend challenge guide”, well now that sounds like a title that my friends in GA could write. I haven’t checked the book out to see what it’s really about yet. But I  will assume it’s like most and that any advice you get from a person who has any money will always be different from advice you get from a person with no money.

Yes I have had my job since right after Thanksgiving, so at this moment I have a little bit of money. But not enough to last me half a month without my job. I am lucky enough to live in a state with a minimum wage of $10.50/hour. My rent of $30/week ($120/month) is automatically deducted from my pay. That includes rent, utilities,  cable (or dish tv??), and free crappy wifi. Unfortunately it also includes 6 housemates with 1 kitchen. Its employee housing, so the housing comes with the job. Not many places in the USA, that will allow you to live somewhere for so cheap. I know others that actually pay over $1,000 just for the rent and then about that much again for all their utilities combined. Now that’s totally ridiculous and high way robbery. 

For the most part I like my job, but I don’t like the housing situation. I have applied for a transfer into the park, (2 different locations) in the village I would live in a dorm-style building. I could live without a car in the village and not worry about budgeting for that now. If I get back to Desert View then I would live in a 2 bedroom apartment with my own bathroom, but would definitely need a car.

 I am getting tired of having to re-buy the same things everytime I move. Who wants to budget for things like pillows, bedding and kitchen supplies every 3-6-9 Months? Which really make big moves so ridiculous, because in the long run I end up losing money instead of saving it

I also have a bad habit of being spontaneous and just leaving this area all-together and ending up in some unknown place which doesn’t work out very well financially. So I end up back at the Grand Canyon eventually because it’s my safety net, it’s my home away from home, and it’s the 1 place that I just know that I can afford to live. Even knowing all that, I have still put in applications for Crater Lake and Zion and Badlands…none of them pay as much as I get now, it would take time and money to arrive at each location, it would take money to re-buy anything that I couldn’t pack to take with me…

Usually most “debt-gurus” will tell you to keep track of where you spend every penny for a week or 1 pay period…depending on how often you get paid. I know where my money goes…amazon and eating out. You see even though I have a nice kitchen at home, I have to many darn housemates so I have no real space to put food or cookware. And most of them are asleep and want the house to stay quiet when I get up in the mornings and/or don’t want to smell food at night either. Which is why I go sit in McDonald’s on Mondays when I am off work.

Maybe instead of worrying about budgets and saving money, I just need to think of staying in 1 spot for awhile. So I really hope I get a job in the village and live in Brandt Hall again. That really would solve some financial issues. Oh and the rent would be the same in the dorm as it is in my house now. The jobs inside the park will be with the same company, going through the same HR office, so if I ever do wander around the country later, it won’t look like I transferred jobs on paper. Yes, hiring managers around the country hate the fact that I can move around so much.

Drinks for Cold Weather

Well the sun was shining, but it was still cold and breezy all day. I walked home from work at 8:30pm. My phone said it was 17 degrees outside. Now I just want some tea and curl up with a book until I can fall asleep.

I have tomorrow off from work, so I plan on going to one of the local hotel/ restaurants for a breakfast buffet..where they will make Omelets to order. I have been craving an omelet for quite awhile..

EDIT: (1/22/2018) It was a bit nippy (7 degrees) out this morning,  but I still went out for breakfast.  The Omelets were so worth it.