Tag Archive for New Year

I am the Family CFO.

1-2013-02-06 19.15.29It’s the beginning of a New Year, and it’s a good time to get the paperwork in order around here.  New Year, clean file cabinets, that’s my motto right now.  One of my main job titles here at home is Family CFO.  I take care of all of the family finances.  There is no way I would want my Travel Guy to have this task on his shoulders.  He has enough to worry about going from city to city, and staying on task with his job.

Here’s what I have been working on since the New Year started.  I have a fairly decent filing system for all of the paperwork.  Designated by income info,  banking info, auto info, mortgage and house info, utility info, and medical info.  These are my major filing groups.  I still have a fair amount of papers to file every month, but more and more have gone paperless over the last two years.   Since January, I have been going through my files and archiving any papers over a year old.  I like to keep the last year’s paperwork in my current files just in case I have to refer back to any numbers.  This is especially the case with any medical bills.

All of my bills are paid online through my bank’s bill pay feature.  Most of the bills are scheduled to be paid automatically, so they are just set on auto-pilot. I do make a point to go in and review the payments at the beginning of the month, just to be sure everything is in order.  This is a handy way to pay the bills, and allows me to have the bills and the receipts for the payments right at my fingertips on the banking bill pay site.

One other tool that I like to use for organizing the paperwork is Microsoft One Note.  You can print any bills or receipts that you want to organize directly to One Note.  In One Note you are able to create notebooks, and then organize the “paperwork” in each of the notebooks for any future reference.  For example, you can have a notebook for medical receipts, major purchases, paid receipts for any bills that you want to get your hands on quickly.  It’s a great tool, and similar to Evernote.

One last item that takes time in the finance part of my world is keeping Travel Man all put together with his expenses.  Once a month or more, depending on the current travel frequency, I go through and audit his expense reports against our credit card statement.  Some months when the trips are back to back it becomes important to be sure we are getting reimbursed for all the travel expenses owed back from the company.  This is a quick task for me to take care of to be sure there is nothing missed.  Of course coming from a bookkeeping background does help a little in this department too.

Oh, and I do have to mention that Travel Man and I do discuss our finances on a regular basis.   The finance meetings happen most often via email or a Skype call.  But we stay on track together, and try not to have any big hiccups.  Like I have said before, it’s a bit of a crazy existence, but right now it’s what works for us.

How do you like to organize your bills and such?  Paper or paperless?

It’s a Wonderful, sometimes Crazy Life

1-IMG_0692Today is Travel Man’s first work trip for the New Year , and he is traveling overseas to Bangkok.  My husband’s work life involves travel, lots and lots of travel.  Last year he logged over 160,000 air miles.    He was supposed to be in the air yesterday, but due to some bad weather in some other part of the world, his flight was cancelled, and he got rescheduled for a departure today.

It’s funny you know, he doesn’t have the normal commute, doesn’t have “normal” work hours, and frequently works the weekends.  But he does get to use his home office as his base of operations, and we work around his days at home to get to spend time with one another, and spend time with other family members.  I consider us incredibly lucky in that regard.

When his travel plans got shuffled yesterday, which I have to say does not happen very often, we rearranged our day, and actually were able to spend time with our grandkiddos together.  He surprised Evan and picked him up at school.  Which was fun for Travel Man, because we found out from our daughter earlier in the day that Evan was a little bummed because he did not get to give his Papa a goodbye,  travel hug.  (That’s what Evan called it. )

1-IMG_0112The difficult part for me in all of the travel shuffling was saying goodbye to Travel Man twice.  And yesterday when he was leaving I got teary eyed,  this hardly ever happens to me.  I’m saying goodbye to my guy many times during any given month.  But yesterday was different.  We had stayed at a hotel near LAX Sunday night so the trip to the airport the next morning would take no time at all.  This meant that Travel Man could just catch the hotel shuttle bus to get to the airport.  I went down with him to see him off when the shuttle bus got there.  We said our goodbyes, he went to the shuttle bus, and I was waiting for him to look up at me so I could give him that one last wave.  And then we had a moment.  My loving husband came back inside the hotel lobby to give me one more  hug.  When I realized he was walking back in that’s when the tears started.  No warning, I just got emotional and there the tears were.  We got in one last hug, and my Travel Man reassured me there was no reason to be upset, and then he was off.

Of course, he came back to the hotel in about an hour, and now this morning he is off again.  One more goodbye, and he is off to his “work travel”.  Back in work mode, back in “travel mode”.  That’s what Travel Man calls it.

I think with my blogging this year I will try to share more stories with all of you about how Travel Man and I get through the crazy travel times with his job, and how we get along with it all.  It’s a good life, sometimes crazy, but it’s what we do.

Does your Family have a Christmas Project?

My parents started a wonderful holiday tradition well over 15 years ago.  They print a family photo calendar for the New Year filled with pictures and memories of the past year, or even from many years ago.  I have blogged about this project in the past, but it becoming such a time-honored tradition it’s a story that bears repeating.  When this annual project started,  in 1997 my Mom was the editor, and set up girl.  She would collect pictures that had been taken by family members for the prior years happenings, and use those to put the pages together for the New Years calendar.  The calendar also includes all of the family member birthdays and anniversaries.  So there’s no forgetting any important dates.

1997 Calendar 0011999 calendar page 001

Over the years the process of putting the collected the pictures, and scanning, and building the calendar pages has transformed into a completely digital process.  Now a days the pages are put together using Picasa’s collage feature.  Pictures for each month’s page still have to be collected, but the process of putting the pictures on the pages is a much easier process and allows for a greater number of pictures to be included.

This is a page from our 2013 calendar:

August Calendar page

Credit for this collage collection goes to Travel Man.

The printing process of the calendar is another piece of family history.  For many, many years my Mom would put the calendar together in “old-school” fashion.  Cutting and pasting each picture to the page and then scanning it in for the final copy.  My Dad was in charge  of printing all of the copies. They did all of this, including the printing, at home, and I’m sure they were printing 10 or more copies.  Quite a venture.  And with your parents being the “project managers” on this type of project, you knew you had to meet the picture deadline.

Of course pictures submissions have always been  strictly voluntary, but everyone likes to be included on this project.  And even more exciting for the 2013 calendar, a few of the pictures that Evan  took during the year made it on the calendar too.  That would mean that this year’s calendar was put together by four (yes that’s 4) generations of family members.  Wow!!  I just realized that fact.  Isn’t that amazing?

In the younger years of our family calendar, the kids would all count how many times they made an appearance in the calendar, and of course compare their counts.  (I think my Mom went a little nuts with this one.). And they were also quick to let their grandma know if a picture had been duplicated.

For quite a few years we only included pictures from the previous year. Then in 2004,  my mom surprised us all and threw in old pictures of some of us, and it was a great blast from the past.  From that year on we have had pictures from the here and now,  and a few from the past mixed in as well.

We have now been doing the calendar for so long that someone will take a really great picture or a really funny one, and we’ll say, “That’s a calendar shot!”.

A few years ago my Mom commandeered help from everyone who wanted to help put  together the pictures for the calendar. So, around Thanksgiving time my mom will post a message on Facebook for what month people would like to be responsible for. Once the months are all assigned then the picture collecting frenzy begins.  I always tell myself I’m going to collect the great calendar shots as we go through the year, and then life sets in and I forget,and the first week of December I’m scrambling to find pictures.  Oh and there is also someone assigned for the picture on the cover of the calendar. This is a coveted position each year.

The updated printing process has now been assigned to Staples. Once the editing is complete the calendar goes on a flash drive and a few days later, voila the calendar is finished.  I think my parents print around 20 copies of the calendar each year now, and they’re always ready for our family’s Christmas day get together.

The calendar has created a wonderful  pictorial of the family history. Watching the kids grow up, and ourselves getting older.  I have all the picture portions of my calendars in binders, so we can page through the years, and enjoy all of the pictures quite easily.  The binders become a great conversation piece at family parties.  Travel Man will carry a calendar with him this year, as he loves to share pics of his family, and we’re hoping he’ll feel like he has a little piece of home with him.

Our 2013 Family Calendar is a sight to behold, and welcomes the newest member of the family, Miss Madison.  Hats off to my parents for keeping this tradition going.  It is a memory that I’m certain will be treasured for years and years to come.

This post has been linked to the GRAND Social linky

Is Your Household Battling this Cold Thingy?

kleenexOk New Year’s fans it’s only the second week of the New Year, and I’m tired of my family being sick.  We all have had a cold and cough for the past week or so, every single one of us.  Sneezing, coughing, kleenex, cough syrup, cough drops, Emergen C.  I did not have a big enough stock pile for all of us to have colds at  the same time.  Yikes!!

Break out the Lysol, Clorox wipes, and hand sanitizer.  This thing has got to go away, enough already.  This is southern California for heaven’s sake.  Land of sunshine, and warm weather.  We should be at the beach or Disneyland, not sitting at home sniffling, and coughing.  This cold has been seriously eating into my New Year’s resolutions to get fit, and healthy.  What’s a girl to do.

What we’ve been doing is watching a ton of movies, and we got hooked on this PBS series called Doc Martin.  My parents recommended it, and we are hooked.   And of course we’ve been drinking lots of water, eating lots and lots of soup (most of it home-made too!), getting plenty of rest, and just taking care of one another.

Travel Man is scheduled out of the country next week, I’m only slightly worried because he got the cold thingy first and is a few days ahead of the rest of us, and finally feeling pretty good.  I know he’ll be fine, he just has to remember to drink lots of water.

Let me know how the cold factor is fairing in your neck of the woods.  Is your family flying through winter unscathed by the cold and flu?  Or is your house a cold battle zone?  I’m off to get some kleenex, the soft variety of course.   Hope you all have a great weekend.

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