Another Saturday Night...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

So, the good news is that none of the people that were going to view the room today actually showed up. I wasn't sure if any of them were going to show up, since NONE of them answered my e-mails and text messages. Yikes. Where are these people's sense of niceness?!

Looks like the new people will be able to move in on Tuesday, which means that starting Wednesday I am free to go out and do fun things again! Yay!

Tomorrow the new folk are comming over to sign the lease agreement and such, after they leave I'm going to head to the mall and pick up some of the things we need, such as loo paper, light bulbs and dishwasher tabs. Fuuun stuff.

Some thoughts for 2009...

I would say that these are resolutions of some kind, but there more just thoughts...

As I was standing on Lambeth Bridge waiting for the fireworks to begin on New Years, I was trying to distract my mind from the cold wind comming off the Thames, and so I got to thinking about my new years resolutions and what I wanted to get out of 2009.

I came to the decision that I worried too much about bills here. When my last roommates buggered off without finding their replacements - enevitably sticking us with the burden (both for finding their replacements and paying their rent if it took us too long), and without paying their portion of the bills (a whopping £180 bill, mind you), it seriously stressed me out. I was feeling a level of anxiety that I hadn't felt since I moved here and was looking for a place to stay. Fortunately I was working long hours at the job, and as such could distract myself during the day, but everytime I came back home I would be filled with this stomach-twisting anxiety about what lied ahead. On several occasions I ended up tears just walking home, other times I spent the evening locked in my room, crying and being miserable. I've never experienced so much anxiety in my life.

It came and went (hormones, maybe?), but one evening I was chatting with my flatmate, A, and he was expressing a lot of the same concerns... At one point I stopped him and said "You know, if during these 2 years the only bad thing that happens to me is that I have to foot an extra £50 now and again to cover roommates bills, I'm okay with that - there's so many things that could happen that would be so much worse". And you know, it's true. I don't know where that comment came from that night, but it's true. I live in a clean, safe house. My flatmates are nice guys who are responsibile. My landlady is lovely and really cares about us. I'm in freaking LONDON and can afford to be here.

So, as one of my resolutions, I have decided to stop worrying about bills and money so much. That doesn't mean that I'm tossing my newly-made budget out the window, it just means that I'm not going to get my panties in a twist if my budget doesn't work out, or I need to spend some money to cover a bill once in a while. The point of these two years is to have fun and explore the world, not worry about bills. I can do that back home, thank-you-very-much.

As a little piggyback thought on this resolution, I have decided to write down several things that I am thankful for at the end of every night. I got a free little blue journal with the purchase of a magazine in December, and starting last night I have written down at least 3 things I was thankful for that day. They could be silly or serious, but they have to be true. I hope that by focusing on the positives rather than the negatives I can pull myself out of my mini-January funk.

I'm also looking forward to getting out more. Since we started looking for tennants, I have pretty much been sitting here at my desk waiting for e-mails and phone calls. It's alright, but it's not great. I went from working 5-7 days a week to working none and not even leaving the house, except to take the garbage out. It doesn't help that the weather is generally miserable outside. However, I've determined that I'm in a much better place when I can get outside for a while, even just to walk around. Starting Sunday, I will get myself outside to take at least a 30 minute walk, no matter what the weather is. It's a bit silly to stay inside 24 hours a day, especially when we get so little sunlight right now.

Well... there's some thoughts for you. I hope you are sucessful in your New Year's Resolutions. Cheers!

(Good lord I've been blogging a lot recently!)


So, I called/e-mailed and cancelled on everyone who was going to come view the place today. The only catch is - none of them replied! So I have no idea if they received my e-mails/txt messages. Doi! So.... I still may have some people show up today, unaware that the room is taken. Hmmmm. We'll see.

I have tweaked and re-done a budget for 2009. I put it on a new excel spreadsheet to give myself a boost - I get a strange sense of accomplishment when I make a spreadsheet.

You already know the numbers, but here's a visual in case you wanted it:

As you can see, I haven't been paid yet this month (monday!), and other than that, I've got just under £8,000 left. Again, I'm still waiting on a couple paycheques, so that number might get pushed towards £9,000, but we'll see. I think for this month I can definitely stay under my tighter budget of £700 - the month is practically gone already and I don't think I'll get out much until next week (I want to be here to help the new people sign things and get settled), and by then, I've only got a week and a half left in the month. But alas...

Next month it might be harder since I am going to Leiden (just outside of Amsterdam) to visit some friends for a couple weeks. Getting there is going to cost me about £53 via bus or £103 via air - so that would eat up my fun monday and/or transportation money. When I get there we won't be doing too much that costs money - more wandering and photo-ing and such.

I enjoy my little calculation that tells me how many months I have left should I stick to my budget, before I would have to work again. I am going to see my old-work peeps on Friday and we'll see what they have in store for the year. They would like to keep me on for, like, 1 day a week, which doesn't really work with my working Visa. So chances are I'll leave for the spring, then come back and see if they are hiring mid-summer or not.

This little month-left calculation doesn't, of course, take into consideration that I have budgeted myself roughly £1,500 a month for May and July. I have family visiting in May, and friends commig in July who both want me to travel with them, so I will need extra money for that. Not sure if I'll need the full £1,500 I have budgeted, but I'd rather be safe.

If I do use up all the money as planned, I can make it to September without requiring money. So if I can find full-time work over August, I should be one month ahead of where I need to be to pay rent and such. I'm not counting any refunds I'll get from my Canadian taxes or my UK taxes, that'll just be extra.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaanyways, that's enough babbling. I'd better go shower in case these people magically show up anyways. Siiigh.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Well, good news! A couple has decided to take the room... the bad news... I don't know what to do with the people who have made appointments to view the room tomorrow. I don't know whether I should cancel on all of them, saying that we've found someone else... or let them view the place, just so we have a backup in case these people fall through. It seems mean to string the people along.... but I hate rejecting people, too.

What do you think??????


Thursday, January 8, 2009

I'm not very pleased that someone who said that they would be here at 3 p.m. has yet to show up. It's 4:07 p.m. and not a phone call, email, nothing. It's not very responsible of her.

I still, in theory, have another couple showing up around 5 p.m. After that it's taco-for-dinner-time! And pyjama time, too. Gosh.

One down...

One viewing down....

He was a lovely French guy and he seems really nice and organized. He said that he will give me an answer by the end of the week. If he wants to take it, I wouldn't mind having him live here.

I still have one more viewing this evening and one on Saturday, so we'll see.

Waiting waiting waiting...

Well, yesterday, I ended up giving in and trekked all the way to my local mall and bought about £30 worth of groceries at Iceland, Waitrose and Sainsbury's - this should last me a couple of weeks at least.

I'm killing time this morning before I am showing our spare room to a prospective tennant. I'm glad that there is a lot of interest in the room, but I don't really like doing viewings. I just don't particularly enjoy mindless chatter and entertaining people in my house. I think it's just the anxiety of meeting strangers. Siiiigh.

I'm hoping that by Sunday I'll have met enough interessted people that I can make an educated decision and we can get the ball rolling to have them move in.

I'm planning to visit my friends in The Netherlands for the first week of February - by then everything will be (hopefully) sorted and it will be a stress-free vacation.

On the work front, I went out bowling with everyone Tuesday night and had a great time. I really miss working with them. They asked if I wanted to stay on here and there for January, which I agreed to do. Starting February, they will terminate my contract for at least the month and when March arrives I will meet with them and we will go from there. Either way, I never imagined that I would like all these people so much.

That's all for now, folks. Wish me luck on these viewings!

What to do?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Today is my day to stay home and vigorously clean the flat in preparation of having several people view our spare room over the next 4 days or so. I am very pleased that we've had a good reception to the ad (I was worried that no one would answer), I would rather stay in bed all day and watch QI (my new favorite show with Stephen Fry).

Either way, I will clean.... later.

At the same time, I have very little food left in the house. If you look in my usually-stuffed pantry shelft, you will find now cereal, carrots, gravy bits, a can of sweet & sour sauce, and a some jaffa cakes. In my fridge I have shredded cheddar cheese, ranch dressing, and some sliced ham.

Mmmmm... what to do. I will no doubtedly have to do some grocery shopping later, but the choice becomes whether I cart my bum all the way to Sainsbury's and stock up for the next two weeks, or if I just wander down to my local grocery store and buy a couple things for the next day or so. Hmmmmmmm. We'll see how ambitious I am later.

For now, I guess lunch will be jaffa cakes, carrots and ham. Yum.

Facts and Figures

Monday, January 5, 2009

Well, I've got good and bad news. The good news is that I have a plan for the rest of... well.... my year. The bad news is that December was rough. I didn't keep track of anything that I bought, and I bought more than I should've. I don't think that I spent more than £1,000 or £1,100ish, but I really have no idea. However, I worked lots during December, so I did manage to earn a fair amount of money.

However, I did go through all of bank balances and totalled up all the money I have. It is as follows:

Cash on hand: £292.16
TD Account: £953.56
ING Direct: £3,453.49
Barclay's: £3,324.88

Grand Total: £8,024.09

I am still waiting on at least one paycheque from work, so I have slightly more money than above, but I'm not 'counting' on it for my budget.

So I have a new budget. Here's the breakdown:

Rent: £415
Bills: £60
Food: £95
Fun: £80
Transportation: £50

Total: £700

It's quite a limited budget I know, but this is just for January, February and March. I'm going to focus on being creative with the things I want to do here in London. I know that the family visits in April, May and June will cost me money, so I have budgeted £1,500 for April and June to cover for any additional expenses while the family visits.

If I can stick to this budget then I will be able to make it to September without needing extra work. I will most likely start looking for work again in July, but I like to have a couple months of wiggle room.

It was very sad to leave my current job. I was only a Christmas temp, and as such, my contract expired on January 3rd. I'm going to miss them all so much, and I really, REALLY enjoyed the job - more than I thought I would. The good news is, they liked me just as much as I liked them, and are going to keep me 'on the books' so that they will call me if someone takes a vacation or something. I like the idea.

Anyways, enough babbling. I'm working hard on eating myself out of pantry before I buy more groceries. Take it easy, folks.

Happy New Years Everyone!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I started a post a couple days ago, mostly dicussing my lack of posting and some thoughts about the new year, but got stuck halfway in and gave it up. Despite having a great desire to blog daily, I seem to lack the skill to do so. I won't appologize, even though I do feel bad, because I'd like to try to cut down on the guilt in my life.

Before I get onto the financial matters, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and a Happy New Years! This was my first New Years and Christmas both outside of Canada and away from my family. Fortunately I had some of my closest friends visiting and keeping me company over the festive season, and thus wasn't completely alone.

Christmas here in London felt odd. There was no -20C temperatures to avoid, no snow/ice on the ground, and little gift-buying. I cooked my own turkey with stuffing, potatos and gravy (and it was surprisingly good!), wrapped my own presents, and watched very few festive movies. I lacked the general merriment that my house radiates over the season, where my mother bakes constant cookies and listens to christmas music as the dog hops around the oven, watching the turkey cook. It was very low key. It was lovely, though. Just different.

New Years here in London was chaotic. We decided to head into central London to watch the fireworks. Yes, I know what you're thinking - most Londoners told it to me too - I'm crazy. But, I'm only here for two New Years Eve's, and I figured that I had to do this at least once. We got down to Lambeth Bridge about 10:50 p.m., and wiggled into a good spot to watch the fireworks. By the time midnight fell upon us, we had gotten ourselves to some good positions. We 'oooed' and 'ahhhed' for the 15 minute duration of the fireworks then spent the next 3 hours trying to get home to Southfields Tube Station. As far as people have told me that is standard, but when I read in the papers that 700,000 people had come out to watch the fireworks, it was still pretty amazing.

Told you it was a pretty impressive view.

All in all, it was a good festive period. I ended up catching a pretty nasy cold, which made working as much as I did rough. I am still riding the tail ends of it, so I'm not 100% better, but working on it. I enjoyed having my friends here with me, it was nice to chat with people that you have a history with, rather than my flatmates, where I have to explain a lot of things. Splitting cooking and grocery bills was cheaper(ish), too.

Other than that, I'm still working on my new figures for the rest of this year. When everything is calculated I will post again. Hope you all had lovely holidays!