Friday, October 27, 2006

Getting it together

I haven't been posting lately. I'm going to be full of myself and presume that you are wondering why. I've been busy working to prepare for the upcoming flurry of activity in my life. For years, since I took a study course at UT-Austin, I have used an Uncalendar to keep myself on track. I admit that I've fallen off the wagon on occasion during jobs that don't merit planning like pizza delivery, retail, or working in a cannery. Now that I've got something looming that will require a great deal of attention, I've been working on getting everything together. I like Uncalendar because of the way it's laid out and because it's undated. My wife is also a big fan of the system since I introduced her to it.

In addition to the Uncalendar, I've been working with Llamagraphics's program, LifeBalance. I've used the software in the past and thought I'd give it another go. Apparently, I was using it wrong. It's not a system like Microsoft Outlook. It's more along the lines of a Stephen Covey system. I find that it meshes very well with my Uncalendar. LifeBalance helps you figure out what your priorities are and Uncalendar lets you write them down and get them done.

It really isn't a deadline-driven system. It's more of a get-your-shit-together plan. A good example of what I mean is the recent movie by Nicholas Cage, The Weatherman. Here is a successful weatherman whose life is falling apart. He can't seem to get his personal life in order, yet manages to land a cushy job with a national network. The poor guy had no clue what he needed to do to make things better. I think that many people do the same thing. We focus on just one thing and let the other things go to hell. This often results in strained relationships and other problems. What I'm doing is setting the groundwork to help me deal with being away from the RGV and my family. I'd rather be a broke-ass Mexican than a divorced-ass Mexican.

There are some breaks that have come through for us. T-Mobile has put in the My Faves option in their rate plans. This allows subscribers unlimited calling to 5 people on any network. This is similar to AllTel's Friends Circle. This will be handy for reducing our communication charges.

Another thing that we figured out is that we can grant guardianship of our children to my mom and my wife's mom so that they can attend different schools within our district. Our daughter started the school season with one grandma because she came back to the RGV from Wisconsin before we did. It's a better school in the district, so she's better off finishing the school year. The boy, on the other hand, will be starting Pre-K after his stint in Head Start. The problem is that with my wife and me working, we cannot be there for his half-day, morning or afternoon, schedule. Grandma, however, can deal with both contingencies. By doing this, we eliminate the need for a two-parent system whilst I'm away in Austin. Furthermore, it's cost-effective and we can rely on the caretakers.

We have the inklings of a budget in place with guesstimates. Until I am commuting to Austin weekly and shelling out money for food and lodging, we won't know actual figures. Still, we don't want to be caught off-guard. We're even looking at changing electric providers. Money problems are the usual cause of marital strife. We'd rather have the stife without the money problems (that's a joke).

So, that's what I've been doing since the barbecue on Sunday. Some plans are being put into action. Other plans are pending cashflow from my first paycheck on December 1st. I feel comfortable with the systems in place now. We have a couple more months to fine-tune things.

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