Graduated Learning: Life after College

I got my degree, I got a job…now what?

This snow makes me want to move! February 25, 2015

Filed under: Personal Finance — Stephanie @ 10:18 pm
Tags: ,

I can’t believe we’re finally in a week where no major snow storms are predicted for our area.  You’d think after growing up in Buffalo, and then living in Boston for most of my adult life, I’d be used to all this snow.  NOPE.

I know I should count my blessings.  There are many people living in Boston who have been hit much harder by these storms.  Our public transit system is still not back to normal and may not be for days or weeks!

But it does get me thinking about wanting to move.

I actually don’t mean moving to Florida or California or Hawaii.  I just mean moving to our own house.

I love our current apartment.  The landlords are great, with adorable kids, and they’ve been really accommodating during this storm.  During the first Blizzard (Juno) they even helped me dig out my car, then moved my car into their driveway (where they’ve been letting us keep one of our cars overnight since the snow emergency went in place February 2nd) and that day they even invited me up for some tasty soup and a movie!  They’re good people.

And I love our location:  close enough to public transit and good restaurants but also pretty close to the highway so we can hop on the highway easily for our daily commutes or a trip up to Vermont.

But one of the issues that has made me a little bit crazy is the winter parking situation.  I’ve been dreaming of a place with a garage.  And even with a driveway, as long as we got a snowblower.  I know this makes me sound spoiled, but one of the things that makes me stress out beyond having to shovel out my car after a storm is worrying about if there will still be a spot available when I come back from work or the grocery store or visiting a friend.  There’s plenty of argument around whether or not space savers should be used (and in many cities, they’re technically illegal).  With a parking ban which was in effect for 3 weeks (which means we couldn’t actually park on the street in front of our house, or on the odd side of the side streets), there’s mathematically not enough space for every car that needs to park.  So any time I left, I worried I’ll come back and have nowhere to park my car.

Phew.  See, it’s this tiny issue that makes me go from calm and collected to raving mad.  Again, I realize how lucky I am otherwise (at least I have a car that I need to park!), but it just stresses me out!

So.  I’d love to buy a house somewhere, in part, so I can have a garage.  It’s not the only reason, of course.  After we got married, we’ve been thinking more about those “next steps” (having kids, buying a house, etc. etc.)  So, we’ve started scanning Zillow for potential houses.  Of course, within this search is trying to figure out WHERE to move to.  Like I said, we like our current location for convenience to all sorts of things.  But buying a house much closer to work (~20 miles from our current location) would be convenient, especially if we’re thinking ahead to kids (preschool, school, etc.).  But moving away from our current area means moving away from most of our friends, including quite a few who are car-less.  I have faith they’d manage the public transit or Zipcar option, but I worry we’d see a lot less of them.  Then again, they say when you have kids, you don’t see much of friends anyway, so maybe that’s where we’re headed?

Beyond location, my husband and I have to start thinking about what we want in a house.  We know we want a back yard (and of course, that coveted garage!) but how many rooms?  What style?  A move-in-ready house or one that requires lots of work and upgrades?

I think our next steps, if we decide we want to start seriously considering buying a house, is to get pre-approved for a mortgage.  We’ve both been saving up money for ages for a down payment, so hopefully we’ll have enough to buy something when we do start looking!

How has the winter storm impacted you?

p.s. special thanks to Anne and Alison for their tweets that got me started on this blog post!

 

And the Snow Kept On Falling February 13, 2013

Filed under: Boston,Food — Stephanie @ 10:59 pm
Tags: , ,

That’s the repeated line from a favorite book from when I was little:  “The Snow Kept On Falling“.  Growing up in Buffalo, NY, we got quite used to all the lake effect snow that would pile up every winter…and long into spring.

So, I should be used to snow by now, right?

I got ready Thursday night the way I knew I should.  I fueled up my car.  Then I headed to the grocery store for some last minute groceries. We already had bread and milk, so I only needed to pick up eggs to fulfill the French Toast Alert that people go crazy for leading up to a big storm.  It was a good thing we already had bread.  The shelves at my local grocery store were pretty picked over!

Bread shelves the night before Winter Storm Nemo

I also picked up plenty of fruits and veggies so that we could stay healthy during the storm!

Friday morning, I woke up to NO SNOW.  Was this weather forecast a joke?  I knew it was coming, but it felt a little weird to have preemptively planned to stay home.  See, most days, I have no choice but to go to work.  I work in a lab, and it’s not possible to work from home.  But our boss said it was fine to work from home due to the storm, and I just happened to have some reports to work on and some online training to take, so I was able to put in my time without having to brave the storm.

Not too long into the day, it became obvious that staying home was the right choice.  By the time the driving ban kicked in at 4pm, the roads near my house had plenty of snow.

And as they said in the book:  “The snow kept on falling…”

We kept busy the rest of the weekend watching some more movies.  I caught the Die Hard 2 (to follow on from the first one last week) as well as Short Circuit (NO DISASSEMBLE!)  I had always meant to see Short Circuit, because a coworker at one of my internships used to quote it to me (mostly because the female lead’s name is Stephanie and the robot in the movie keeps saying her name).

We played some video games, and a few rounds of Dominion (what can we say, we’re nerds).

Saturday morning I also went out to shovel some of the front walk (to get in a little exercise) and get a measurement of the snowfall.  The snow hadn’t stopped falling yet, but I wanted to get an idea.  As of Saturday morning, we had at least 22″ of snow:

Snow in Medford during Nemo

I baked some double-chocolate cookies.  I had to figure out what recipe to make using those so very precious eggs I bought.  I ended up using the old reliable Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe, but with one minor alteration.  I replaced 1/4 cup of flour with 1/4 cup of cocoa powder.  For a little extra chocolate kick.  I think they tasted good.  Especially warm out of the oven.  Or reheated for a few seconds in the microwave.  Mmm melty chocolate goodness.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

By Saturday afternoon, the snow had stopped, and most of the neighborhood was out shoveling their driveways and sidewalks.

Sunday morning, I woke to find out Mass at the church I usually go to had been cancelled.  Between that and the announcement from the Boston Archdiocese saying that we don’t have to go to church due to the storm, I guess I should have stayed home.  But some other friends who I usually go to church with invited me to meet up with them at a church less than 2 miles away.  So I figured:  why not walk there?  No need to dig out my car or try to park near the church.  And a walk would be good for my lazy bones.

Well, easier said than done.  It turns out not everyone had gotten around to shoveling the sidewalks in front of their house (even though it’s the law!)  And some people HAD shoveled their sidewalk, but they lived on the corner and so there was no way to get out except to either climb over the snow bank or double back and walk into the street.  So I got in quite a workout trying to navigate the sidewalks and streets of Medford while trying to avoid stepping in puddles or getting splashed by cars (since the snow had started to melt.).

The last bit of snow-related drama for the day was when my boyfriend and I went out to dig our cars out.  We had to dig through 3+ feet of snow just to get from the plowed area of the street to the cars themselves.  Then dig a foot or more of snow off the car.  I am so incredibly thankful to my boyfriend for doing the majority of the shoveling that night to get my car out of the snow piles.

Well, how did you fare during the Blizzard of 2013?  Were you prepared?  Did you find yourself Minding Nemo? How did you prevent yourself from going stir crazy?  Or getting cabin fever?

 

Broken phones and mail-in rebates January 14, 2008

This morning I woke up to see the snow coming down pretty hard. So I went to my phone to see if maybe my supervisor had called to say work was canceled. No such luck. However, a piece of my phone hinge came off…and then the top disconnected from the bottom. So, on the day of a big snow storm, I’m without a phone.

After work, I went to the AT&T store (I’m on a family plan with my parents and sister). Luckily, I was “up for” an upgrade, so I wouldn’t have to pay for any extra plans or anything. I was going to get the free phone (free phone after mail in rebate), but the guy at the counter said I could get the “extras” for only $20 more after mail in rebate. That’s a carrying case (which I don’t really need), a memory card (I don’t use data on my phone) and a Bluetooth wireless headseat. I don’t have a car, so I don’t really have a need for Bluetooth. But what did I do? Go for the extras. I know I’m not supposed to, but I think I figured that if this is the phone I’m using for the next 2 years, maybe I will have a car, and so it would be nice to have a Bluetooth earpiece. I also figured that if I want to do any multitasking (for example cooking or cleaning around the house), it would be great to have both hands free and not have to cradle the phone to my ear with my shoulder. I think I decided that $20 isn’t that much money overall, and buying any of the pieces later would have cost me more.

Sad excuse, I know. I kept telling the guy that he’s trying to trick me. I know that you’re supposed to up-sell products with assorted add-ons. My congratulations to him for getting me to buy it.

Oh, and yes, I’m on a family plan still. I don’t actually pay for my cell phone service because of the plan setup. The deal was that I don’t pay my portion of the bill, but I have to pay for travel between Boston and home. I suppose that this is probably the more expensive option for me, but I think it’s fine right now.

I am only a little bit worried that the rebates that I’ve got to mail in are actually going to work. I figure I’ll make some photocopies of everything before I send it in. I’ll post when/if I get the rebates.