I'm very grateful that I have a new job. I loved the old job, and I was extremely good at it. In an economy like we have, and a government like we have, I've been ridiculed for leaving my "cush" state job to go into the private sector. Being driven to give work my best, I wasn't one to take advantage of the state. I put in my time and more. I didn't worry about being laid off or fired but with that came lack of pay and benefits that kept getting undermined. It used to be if you worked for government you'd get less pay but great benefits. (Government rule of thumb - the less educated you are the government pays better than private sector wages. The more educated you are, you are better off in the private sector when it comes to pay.) I wonder what type of person is going to replace me at the state job. Now, I know one of the people I supervised will at some time promote into my job, but who will take theirs? Because of the new retirement rules it will probably be some slacker who won't mind the less pay and less benefits in exchange for not being able to get fired no matter how lousy of a worker they are. I'm still in awe over the pay and benefits of the new job. I get paid more, they offer better retirement than the state, and I get raises and bonuses! But they can on a whim fire me or lay me off.
I had to return my super deluxe Reconyx spy camera. I think I hated to see that go more than the work truck (and not having to pay for my gas). The grand kids and I went to Dick's sporting goods yesterday. It's a new store in the big city near where we live. They had several game trail cameras in stock - although no Reconyx. I bought two at $110 each. I returned them today. They were lousy. I set one up on a chair in the dining room. I pointed it down the hall. I even told the kids that they'd be on camera every time they came out of their rooms and went into the hall. Before I went to bed I paraded up and down the hall several times. This morning I checked to see the pictures and it only captured about a dozen shots. So back they went. Does anyone own any of these types of cameras? I'm looking for something that doesn't cost as much as the Reconyx (about $600 each). But I need it to work so if that's the cost then that's the cost.
With my new job I'm figuring I can spend somewhere between $500 and $750 a month on preparing. But this doesn't just mean buying cool toys. December's prep money was spent buying insulation and wallboard for the bug-out house, which we worked on last weekend. Comfort is important, whether it's in our house that I hope to be able to stay in or the bug-out place. This weekend I spent much of my time working on the fencing in the back pasture. I've had the pastures divided into three parts but I wanted to divide it even further. The back pasture is about 3 1/2 acres and it's are being split into seven separate pastures. The fencing is the heavy duty cattle/hog panels. They are 16 feet long and 4 feet high. I have a 5000 foot roll of wire that I use to wire the panels together. Have fencing tool, can build fences! I didn't get them all done. I'm about 20 panels short plus about 20 t-posts short. Not too long ago I bought about 50 or 60 t-posts. I like using them as I never seem to have enough.
I also want to change the fencing around some of the fruit trees in the front pasture. I had originally cut the panels in half and put the trees in the middle of an 8 foot square fenced area. That didn't work! The sheep were able to push on the panels enough to eat the trees. Not learning my lesson I added a fifth panel. That will be enough to keep them away. No, it didn't. Another year of them pushing on the panels to get to the trees. Before the winter is over I want to put full 16 foot panels around each tree. If I put a t-post in each corner and also one in the middle of each panel the tree will be 8 feet from the side. Even the tree branches will be too far for those pesky sheep to reach. Since each tree has 4 or 5 8-foot panels already, I only need about 20 more panels for the front.
Let's see. That's 40 panels I'm short. At $20 each on sale, that's $800 plus t-posts. Another minor project costing major money! If I buy the camera and the panels, I've spent my prepping money through the spring!
The grand kids did get in some fun this weekend. Extra grand kid came over for the weekend so the three kids and I went to the movies. It's hard to find a movie that two girls and a boy will all like. Since they are all 10 and 11 I am very careful about what movies they watch. Or at least I'm careful with the two that I'm raising. Oldest daughter lets other granddaughter watch TV and movies that I won't let Boy and Girl watch. I'll allow some PG and all G movies. That doesn't give us much of a selection of movies. I picked two - Wreck it Ralph and The Odd Life of Timothy Green. Boy got done with his chores first so he got to pick. You guessed it. Wreck it Ralph. It was a cute kids movie. We will watch the other movie next weekend if Girl gets her chores done without too much nagging from me.
With this new job I leave very early in the morning and get home after our "normal" dinner time. Everything is changing. For the first two weeks of my new job I had the grand kids farmed out. Tomorrow I have to go to work and I'm going to leave the kids home. They have their regular chores to do and a chore to do that should take them two hours. Other than that, they can play, read, ride their bikes in the yard, and go over to the next door neighbor's house. We'll see how they do. In one more week they start school so we don't have to worry about both their school and my new job yet.
I have tomorrow night's dinner already cooked. I just need to heat it up when I return home. My breakfast is packed into my backpack. The kids normally make a bowl of cereal on school days (unless I cook something) so they are going to just do their regular breakfast tomorrow. They usually make their school lunch so it shouldn't be much different with them making their lunch at home tomorrow at lunch time. I told them they can't cook anything.
Girl and I went grocery shopping today. I pretty much bought my normal...wander the store and buy more things to stock in our home store. We didn't need anything. We never do since I have so much food on hand. Even so, I always stock up on more. The kids like Top Ramen but you have to cook that on the stove. I found some in the Styrofoam cup that you just add boiling water and let it sit for three minutes. They even have two or three pieces of dried carrots and peas in the container so they can call it noodles and vegetables! The kids will be able to heat the water in the microwave and then make the noodles if they want. It's not as cost effective buying it in the cups but it's more convenient and at this point I need to get a few convenience items for them. You'll still not catch me buying frozen meals! I'd rather make my own and freeze them myself. The kids can use the microwave to heat them if that's what I'm going to do in the future.
This past two weeks I've gotten myself organized enough that I'm getting to bed early, I'm keeping up with the dishes and laundry, and I've even gotten more organized on the outdoor chores. I'm writing lists for everything. To do lists for me and for the kids. Give it a few more weeks and the new routine will seem like old hat.