Time to Change Things Up

My Bumble activity is a trickle. Here’s my scorecard (in no particular order):

  • Breadcrumb Dude (BC) – he checks in via text about once a week. We haven’t hooked up. Neither of us has asked and I am fine to leave it there.
  • Baywatch – two dates in about 5 weeks. I don’t expect that we will get together more than every two weeks or so at most. I’m OK with this because this is teaching me patience.
  • MeetUp Guy – he was out of town, but is back. He has reached out to say hi, but hasn’t made any plans with me. He reached out at 9:00 on a Friday night. Really? I was at a play with my bestie & her hubby. I saw it when I got home, but didn’t respond until 14 hours later as I sat on the beach. We texted for a bit, but now he’s quiet. He gets his test results back this week from a minor medical procedure. I know he hasn’t been feeling 100%, so no hurry there either.
  • I met a European guy for coffee and thought we hit it off. It has been about 3 weeks and I have decided he is a waste of time. He only texts through Bumble even though I gave him my # twice, won’t make any plans for something like a beach day (which is something he has repeatedly suggested). As they say in Texas, he is all hat, no cattle.
  • Golf guy – he is new on the scene. We went to the driving range and we had a good time, I thought. We will see where that goes.

I am not complaining, don’t get me wrong. I do get several catfish a week also. I told one I was a sex therapist today. Bumble deleted him before I got a response. Bummer. I think that will be my go to answer for catfish from now on. I think I need to move to another dating app to change things up.

I conferred with BC, the ultimate player, on this. He is always honest and said that I would get a lot more activity on Match. He also suggested I lead with “BBW seeking”. Translation: Big, beautiful woman. I was surprised, but he insists I would be deluged. He said it is all about attitude.

I could go that route, but I am working hard on Noom. Part of me feels like I am conceding. BBW is not what I want to acknowledge about myself. However, I went into my Reddit rabbit hole and found evidence that he’s right. Holy cow. Who knew?!

I am willing to dip my toe into the world of Match and toy with BBW, BUT my photo options are limited. I have written a profile that leads with “long-legged curvy woman seeking” and put in what I want. I think it sounds good. BC approved it and suggested what photos I need. I am working on those.

My son took some photos of me recently, so I need to see if he got them developed (he’s an old soul who prefers film). I need to ask my bestie and my work friends to snap some. I just need to ask and remember to take selfies also.

Time to change things up and see what happens. A work exec used Match and met her current BF. Who knows, at the very least this will give me blog fodder…

Photo by Cristina Zaragoza on Unsplash

My Raise

Annual raises were handed out recently. Mine was a lackluster 2.7% even though my review ratings are always superior. The conversation with my boss as she told me was interesting and disconcerting.

She said the company wasn’t doing as well as expected. I knew that. The pandemic has caught up with our sale pipeline, but this is a short term issue. The company is very stable and looking at acquiring others, so that doesn’t fly.

I mentioned in passing about simply wanting to keep up with inflation and that kind of set her off. Interesting. I think that is how they calculated my raise – simply a cost of living raise, but she didn’t want to admit it and probably felt like I called her out on it.

She began comparing me to the other woman in my department and how she has people who report to her and I don’t. She pointed out that the other woman was very busy. My boss has noticed that I have spare time. I mildly said that my colleague’s role was very different than mine. I went on to say that I was hired to be a subject matter expert and I had a vastly different skill set from my colleague.

My boss twice told me in this conversation that my colleague made $15k a year less than me. She repeatedly said that my colleague was vastly underpaid. Not my problem. She claims the CEO blocks her from bringing my colleague to a market salary. Once again, not my problem and why the hell is she telling me this? Both times I mildly pointed out that my position requires a specific expertise that my colleague doesn’t have. She said the CEO didn’t want to pay xx which is $15k more than I earn. That he could simply hire someone for less. I refused to engage on that.

She also mentioned that another person who reports to her also got a paltry raise. I am not surprised. He is a subject matter expert also. Neither one of us have any upward mobility in our careers at this company.

Fascinating. She was defensive the entire conversation, even when I told her that I was thankful for the raise. I didn’t gush, but I was sincerely appreciative (perhaps a bit underwhelmed) for the extra $100 a paycheck (before taxes). She mentioned that it would increase their 401k contribution ($70 annually as I later calculated). She also mentioned that senior leadership has not had a pay increase in two years due to the pandemic. That is the price you pay when you have stock in the company and run with the big dogs. I have zero empathy for them.

The whole conversation left a bad, disgruntled taste in my mouth. My boss does not handle these conversations well. She was defensive although I wasn’t even upset. I simply maintained my position that my role is truly unique and cannot be compared to anyone else.

My boss has the bad habit of pigeonholing people and stifles any opportunity for them to grow. She doesn’t like any competition. She refuses to let me have any one-on-one interactions with the CEO. I prep her for all of her meetings concerning my subject matter including preparation of the actual presentation. I don’t mind – I have just made it part of my job.

For the past two years, the company was paying for my membership to a professional organization for me. It wasn’t the one I wanted, but I went with it so I could have it on my resume. However, this year during my review, she said if I wanted to attend any meetings during business hours, I would have to use my time off. What the fuck is the point of that? I haven’t bothered renewing it. It is not the organization I want AND I can’t go to meetings? Forget it.

The impulsive side of me says go look for a new job. The cautious side says, just ride the ride and collect the paycheck. I know that at age 57, it will be very hard for me to find a new job. I pulled out my copy of “55, Underemployed, and Faking Normal” by Elizabeth White. I need to re-read it and remember that I am fortunate to have a good job, albeit with a crazy boss.

I looked at my retirement account today. If I can simply stay the course until 67, I will have an ample retirement. A decade of this bullshit. Maybe less, but probably at least four more years. I am beginning my third year here. I am not sure I can do it. I like all the other people in the company and oftentimes I like her, but she is crazy and I really don’t want toxic people in my life.

I need to think about this some more. The longer I stay, the more my expertise will be dismissed and negated by my boss. Plus the longer I stay the harder it will be to find another job. However, I don’t think my timeline at this company is a decade. As I have mentioned before, I think the company will sell before then. At that time, my job will probably be eliminated. Is it worth waiting? I need to think about that also.

This is a conundrum that I cannot discuss with anyone except here. I don’t trust anyone at work enough to unpack this. My bestie works in HR, so I don’t want to put her in an awkward position. The other subject matter expert is a weasel. I don’t like or trust him at all. My colleague is out of the question.

Pardon me, I will be doing some deep thinking over the coming days….

Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

Noom Update #3

Holy cow, Noom is still working!! I am now down about 10 pounds. I fit into a super cute dress that had become too snug. Victory!

As I am writing this, it is 8:00 at night and I am mildly hungry. I have to grab some fruit to snack on.

One of my new habits is to walk around the block at work. I try to do this at least once a day, preferably twice. SFLA weather is a humid, rainy mess, so I have to time these jaunts carefully. These walks boost my steps and shorten my evening walks which is nice.

I want to do more BeachBody for toning and stretching. I need to make a list of options, so I can get started more quickly when I want one of their workouts. I find myself leisurely scrolling through the options. It is nothing more than a faintly disguised procrastination and then I get pressed on time.

My food continues to be mostly plant-based. This week I made a Cuban pork with mojo. This will be a treat. I will freeze some for later. I also made a puréed veggie soup as a starter for lunch and sometimes dinner. I eat it cold and it’s delicious. I have tried two carrot-based soup recipes and one is the clear winner.

Food prep is key. If I spend time and energy planning and making meals, it eliminates decision fatigue. Sometimes I feel like a slave to the kitchen as I prep and clean, but the result is I stick to my plan.

Second Date

I had a second date with the super fit guy I wrote about here. I need to give him a name because we may have a few more outings. Let’s call him Baywatch. He loves the water and surfs regularly.

I liked him more this date. He is very nice. Perhaps he was less nervous. We had no problem chatting away. He said I looked great. 🥰

We went out on a Thursday night (which was his Saturday for work because he takes off Thursday, Friday and Sundays). He has a very stable, non-traditional job in a medically-related field. I won’t say what simply because it is TMI, but it is really interesting to me.

Since our last date, he did get his Covid vaccine, so I was pleased about that.

We were at at a hip beer garden and watched golf and dog agility trials on the big TV’s. It was fun. He is very athletic and, of course, can play golf but he swears he’s not good. He prefers to surf, so we talked about our mutual favorite beach, New Smyrna Beach.

He wants to go biking. I said sure, but he needed to realize I had a cruiser, so it would be a leisurely pace. He laughed and said that would be fun.

He is easy to be around. It was a fun evening. However, at the end, just a hug. No kiss, not even a fleeting one. Hmmm, does he still have me in the friend zone?

This is soooo good for me. I have to be patient. I am learning what a seemingly good guy will do for and with a High Value Woman such as myself (I have been down a Reddit hole that discusses this). I deserve this respect and slow approach. I actually like it too, but I also like kissing….

Let’s see what Baywatch dude does next. We had a month between our first and second dates. Will he shorten the gap? Time will tell.

Photo by Austin Neill on Unsplash

MeetUp Guy

I had an actual date with an actual nice, normal, smart, respectful guy. We went to an outdoor tiki bar for drinks and dancing. It was lovely.

Remember MeetUp Guy and how we were rained out of our first meeting? We finally got together after I cancelled on him twice. The first was due to my Covid scare and again because I was double-booked on Book Club night. When I explained the last cancellation, he asked me out on a proper date.

How nice is it to have someone tell you that you “sparkle” and I am beautiful when I smile? And he didn’t even come across creepy or somehow too forward. He was respectful, kissed me on the cheek and was simply pleasant.

It was a short date because he wasn’t feeling 100%, but 1.5 hours is a perfect first date time limit. We left on a high note. His follow up text thanked me for sharing my light. He actually pulls this off without being corny or insincere.

Huh, there are nice, respectful guys in SFLA. I may have found one. Time will tell.

Photo by Emiel Molenaar on Unsplash

What If?

What if?” is an interesting mental exercise. Sometimes good, sometime not so good. For the past several months, my What If has centered around my job. What if I don’t make it 10 years here, which is my plan. My senior leadership team is all of the same age group. From what I have heard, and they say this publicly, they will be retiring over the next 5-6 years. They have been saying this for over three years apparently. Some will be retiring even sooner. My spidey senses have been tingling lately regarding this possibility.

My role will not transition well to the next leadership generation. My role, if we are sold, would not integrate well. I say that realistically without drama. It’s simple fact. I might stay on for a few months or even a year, but it is doubtful there would be a place for me in a new regime. It would be the optimal time to bring on a younger model. If it would be a sale, the buyer would already have another me in place. My colleague would be leaving when senior leadership leaves. My boss and bestie would retire. I could be the last woman standing.

Add into the mix the simple fact that working for another decade is unappealing. If I could work another 5-6 years, get a nice severance package and be able to fill the money gaps with something part-time, count me in!

What I do know is that I have a good team of friends and advisors that I trust who will be able to guide me through all of this if and when it happens. That is all I can ask for at this point. I just need to stay on track with the plan I have and the known factors. That is what my Financial Planner said, “We work with the information we have today.”

I am not freaked out about any of this. It does make the planner in me ponder how to address this. Do I even address it? I always like a strong Plan B. Could I create a side hustle with a part-time retail job fill the gap? When my dad passes, would any potential inheritance fill the gap? Would it help me retire early? Who knows? What would happen to my plan of paying off my new place early? How would that be impacted? Unknown. Should I even buy a place? Too soon to say.

He’s right. But at the same time…..what if….

Photo by Elena Koycheva on Unsplash

Over-sharing

I have the tendency to over-share. My life is an open book for the most part. I try to use this blog to mitigate my “spill the guts” propensity. I can’t say the blog stops me, but I think it slows me down.

I can overshare at any moment. When I was heading home from the crazy funeral, I told my Uber driver about my cousin’s arrest. Why? Because I was bursting.

I can keep some secrets, but it can be an effort. I easily kept one about my daughter from her dad and everyone else. It was not my story to tell. Oftentimes that is what keeps my mouth shut. If it is about someone else, I say that to myself over and over again.

However, if it is about me, my filter can fall right off. Does it matter? Actually, yes. It can provide ammo for folks who should only have unloaded weapons. I am thinking specifically about work right now.

I know I have secrets about myself that would astonish people and cause them to think less of me. I tuck those away. These secrets are generally bad decisions. I probably wrote about most of them on my old blog. They can rest there. I don’t need to disappoint or shock people at this point.

I need to rein in my over-sharing. It isn’t good for dating or work. Perhaps I over-share because I think I am far more interesting than I actually am – LOL. I need to develop my discretion muscle a bit more. I need to hold back a bit and be perhaps more mysterious. That would probably up my dating game.

In the meantime, I have started to rein myself in when chatting on Bumble. I don’t volunteer as much as I use to. That’s a start. Plus one person I hold back from is my boss. There is very little in my personal life she needs to know….because it will all come back and bite me.

Future Goals

I have been thinking about some self-improvement/self-love things I want to do over the next several years or so. I am blogging so I don’t forget this stuff. Sometimes my bright ideas are like a SnapChat – only here for a minute…. Here are these goals:

Financially

  • I still need to cash in my whole life insurance fund and get that money in my bank account. That money will fund my house down payment. I need to do this before the end of the year, so I don’t have to pay another premium.
  • I am about $3,000 from completing the funding of my Emergency Fund. What a tremendous milestone for me. It will be my first fully funded Emergency Fund.
  • Buy my new home – this is another huge milestone. Next summer I will start the pre-qualifying process and the other things necessary to prepare for the purchase.
  • Begin a new savings account that will hold all my sinking fund monies.
  • Create sinking fund allotments for purchasing a “new to me” car in 2024 at the earliest (current car will be 7 years old by then), home improvements and travel. Those are the primary categories right now.

It is an interesting concept for me to remember that once I complete my Emergency Fund, it is really just that – complete. Yes, I may need to replenish it from time to time, but for the most part, it will simply sit there. I haven’t really had that before.

Physically

I want to do some work on me physically. It is long overdue for me to put me first. I have been maxing out my HSA account since starting this job. Even with some normal expenditures, I am hoping to have almost $9,000 in that account by the end of 2022. I don’t want to do anything too radical like DD breast implants, but here is my list of items:

  • Lasik – I have wanted Lasik for years. Yes, it makes me a bit nervous to do elective surgery on my eyes, but I think the medical advances mitigate the risk. I have horrible vision and now astigmatism. I would really like to lose the contacts and glasses. I don’t mind if I need reading glasses in the future, but I would like to have better vision. This could be the first item to check off, so I am estimating doing it sometime in 2022.
  • Smile Direct – I had braces many years ago. I endured teeth removal, headgear, rubber bands and all the pain entailed by having braces for 2+ years. Now my bottom teeth are crowding. I want to improve my smile because it is one of my best assets. I don’t think it is so complicated that I need anything more than 6 months or so of Smile Direct. There is even a nearby Smile Direct location where they can do the impressions and other necessary exams, so I don’t have to do that at home. Invisalign is more than twice the cost. I need to have some deep cleanings completed before I proceed, so this would be sometime in 2022.
  • Tummy Tuck – when (not if), I lose my 45 pounds, I will need to address the excess skin which will be primarily in my stomach area. I know a tummy tuck is painful, but I think that this is something that will really keep me accountable for keeping the weight off. I want to look sexy (or more sexy than I am today – LOL). The earliest I would be ready to do this would be sometime in 2024. This last item is one that could or could not happen, but I want it on the list for now.

I could add more stuff like love, friendship, travel and whatever, but for now these are the items that are at the top of my list. I will revisit this in a year or so to see how I am doing. My fingers are crossed.

Birdie is getting her shit together…

Bumbling Along Update #2

Bumble is a very strange place. People’s insecurities and issues pop out at a moment’s notice.

For example, I spent a good part of Sunday texting with a seemingly nice guy. A little younger by 5-6 years, stable job in a highly-skilled trade, military vet, divorced after 20 years. We bantered and it seemed fine.

The next day we chat a little more. This time his messages are a little accusatory. He asks if I am a man-hater at one point, but I laugh that off. I asked if we could meet for coffee or a drink. He came back saying I was being passive-aggressive. Really? I thought, “Hmmm, am I seeing red flags here?”

I explain it wasn’t my intent to be passive-aggressive and that tone is lost in texting. He chuckles and asks if I want to exchange phone numbers. I sent a thumbs up emoji and BOOM – he unmatched. WTF?

In my mind, I thought, “Whew, dodged that gas-lighting, insecure dude”. He probably thinks he pulled one over on me. As I write this, it dawns on me that something was going on with him. I think he was drinking.

On the same day, I had a catfish. You can tell when there is virtually no info on their profile and within their first two messages they want your email. BAM, I unmatched.

Attractive guy seeking monogamous relationship asks me twice if I’m single. He unmatched within 3 messages. Meh, another weird dude dodged.

One of my matches is a bona fide wedding singer. Hilarious. He sent me his website. The girls at work loved it. I doubt we will meet, but it would be fun.

Another guy seems OK, but I am not excited to meet. He asked for my number. I stalled a day or two and then told him I am starting to see someone, so I want to give it some space to see how it develops. He appreciated my “honesty”. Was I honest? You will soon find out…

Where Did It Go?

This year my discretionary spending has skyrocketed. Year-to-date I have spent over $3,500 on travel, $2,000 on gifts and $1,800 on the financial planner. That is $7,300 that did not go into my savings account. I am also over $1,300 on my clothing budget.

Fortunately over-budget does not mean in debt. I am paying all of this off as I go along and have not accrued any credit card interest. That’s the good news. If my monthly stipend to my son ended, this would be a non-issue – another glimmer of good news.

Right now, I still help my son out financially. I pay for his cell phone ($50/month) and send him $650 a month for living expenses. My plan is to continue this until the end of the year. I think he will be launched by then, so we should be fine. He knows the stipend will be ending then.

Although I enjoyed all of these trips and the bulk of these gifts were for milestone events for my kids (graduations, new baby), I also need to rein it all in once again. I have personal financial goals including purchasing a home.

I am anticipating a steep rent increase in December when my apartment lease expires. I am not anticipating a robust raise. I am hoping that it outpaces inflation, but at best it will keep me level with it.

I make a good salary. If I reduced my savings and eliminated my son’s stipend, I would have a hefty amount of discretionary income. But those are non-negotiable right now. I haven’t been able to save much this summer, so I need to get back on track with that.

I still have another trip when the baby is born. Fortunately, my daughter and her hubby will take care of my lodging for that visit. Then we will have the holidays. Will I return to see the new family? Possibly. Hopefully they will handle my lodging again.

My house fever hit me again, so that will help keep me on track. I really want to buy a townhouse in a particular neighborhood. Right now there is not one for sale with the floor plan I want. I’ll consider that a win because it keeps me in check. LOL

Focus. I just need to keep my eye on the prize 😊

Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash
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