It's About Me, Praises, The Husband

CAM Consulting/KLM Bookkeeping

So a month ago, I told you about Carl’s job search. At that time, he had turned down a full-time position with SMG and was going to begin working with them as an independent contractor. After doing so, the Finance Director kept after Carl about working with them full-time and Carl kept saying “then come up with more money.” Well, last week, SMG came up with more money! This morning, he begins his permanent, full-time position with them as Accounting Manager. We do lose our NFL retiree medical insurance but SMG actually has even better insurance. So now Carl just has to work with them for 9 years until he reaches 65 :). In case you were wondering, it seems like doors were closing with the other position that he was interested in which was another factor in him accepting this job. Congratulations Carl on your new position!

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Occasionally, when I am having a slow week of work, I will look at ads on Craigslist for a one-day a week bookkeeper to add a regular client to my repertoire. I have found two new clients in the past that way (one who was one full day once a week – although it is now down to every other week usually – and one who is one full day once a month). I recently responded to one of those ads and after talking with the owner of a bookkeeping company last week, I have accepted a part-time position with her firm. It will actually be 15-20 hours a week or more! But the pay was too good to pass up and she is my spirit twin…we are both bookkeepers, we are close in age, she has three kids, she was born and raised in Arizona and loves Tucson, she is a professional organizer, etc, etc. Plus, most of the work will still be done from my home, with only the occasional necessity to go to a client’s office. I am going to do that in addition to keeping the 10 clients that I work with on my own, so I’ll be approaching full-time work some/most weeks. So yay for me (I think)!

Side note: When I was discussing the potential new client with my husband, unsure of if I wanted to take on that much more work, he said “what do I have to give you for you to take it? A new used car?” I immediately jumped on the offer (seeing as I’m driving a 16 year old Lexus). So I’m documenting it here. After working for 4-6 months, my husband has promised to replace my vehicle. There’s no going back now, Carl! These are my witnesses.

 

 

Education, Praises, The Kids, Traveling

Kelly’s Graduation Celebration

Since Carl was busy all day Saturday and Sunday, we planned Kelly’s Graduation Celebration for Friday.

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Since it turned out that the Airbnb that we rented for the grandparents was adorable, with a beautiful backyard, we decided to hold the party there. It had a cool spiral staircase in the backyard that was a lovely place for some photos of the graduate.

We spent the afternoon talking, laughing, eating and playing games in the backyard.

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We ordered Chipotle catering for dinner, just like we did for Anthony’s graduation.

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Kelly’s best friend, Jill, came by to visit after work.

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It was a great day celebrating Kelly!

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We are grateful that Sue and Karl drove all the way from Memphis for the celebration.

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We are equally grateful that my mom and niece, Bryanna drove from Chicago.

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Congratulations Kelly!! We are all so proud. Your clinic and clients are going to be blessed to have you as their therapist.

Side Story: Carl spent all day Saturday and Sunday videotaping dance recitals as the videographer for KC Video Productions. This is our 15th year taping for this particular dance studio, our biggest client. In a terrible coincidence, this is the first time in 15 years that all three of the dance studios that we were currently working with (one also in Minnesota for 12 years and one in FL for the past 3 years), all had their recitals on the same weekend! So we were only able to work with the one studio this year. Hopefully the other two studios will have us back again next year but chances are they will just continue on with whoever they worked with this year, unless they were really bad….so here’s hoping that our replacements were lousy!! Ha!

Education, Praises, The Kids, Traveling

Kelly’s Master’s Graduation

Kelly has completed her Master’s degree coursework and year-long internship and just as soon as she finishes her thesis (which she says in going to happen in the next few weeks, hopefully), she will officially receive her Master’s Degree in Counseling and Psychological Services.

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Her company is apparently trusting that she finishes soon!

Kelly decided that it wasn’t important to her to “walk” in the formal graduation ceremony (and we all were very happy to hear that, as anyone that has sat through a college graduation ceremony can relate to) but did not want to miss out on a celebration of her achievement.

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Since Carl was flying to MSP already for our yearly dance recital videotaping job, we coordinated with the grandparents to meet up in Minneapolis at that time to celebrate Kelly. Carl and I stayed with Kelly and Avram and I found the grandparents and my niece, Bryanna, an Airbnb just a few blocks from Kelly.

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Carl and I were able to visit Kelly at her place of employment last Friday. She gave us a tour of the facility, including her very own office. I love that the company even gave her $200 to decorate her office.

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After Avram completes his school year, they are going to celebrate her achievement with an amazing one-month trip to South Africa to visit many AuPair friends that Kelly has met over the years that have returned to their homes in South Africa. It’s going to be an amazing trip and we can’t wait to hear all about it.

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One of the group therapy rooms with posters showing the skills that Kelly teaches to her clients.

Congratulations Kelly! Your clients are lucky to have you and too bad we didn’t have enough time for your to work out all of your father’s issues.

Praises, The Husband

CAM Consulting

During his last month with the Jacksonville Jaguars, a coworker referred him to an Accounting Manager job with SMG, the organization that manages the stadium where the Jaguars play, as well as many other venues in the Jacksonville area. SMG is actually a nationwide company that manages venues in most major cities. Their Jacksonville office is at Veteran’s Arena, just down the block from the Jaguar Stadium.

After three interviews with SMG, he was offered the position last week. However, Carl did not feel that the salary was commensurate with his experience so he turned it down.

Plus there are two extenuating circumstances…

  1. Due to an NFL regulation, since Carl worked for the NFL for over 15 years and is currently over 55 years of age, we are eligible for the NFL “early retiree” health insurance plan. What that means is that we can continue to have health insurance at the current rate offered to employees until Carl is eligible for Medicare at 65 as long as he does not become a full-time employee with another company. Our current rate is $260/month for our family (it will go down after Zack ages out of our plan at 26 years)! That’s a hard rate to beat and we hate to give it up. Because if Carl takes a full-time job with another corporation and decides to only work 5-6 more years, we would then have to get private insurance to cover us until Medicare kicked in, which is typically over a thousand dollars a month. We’d really like to find a way to keep our NFL plan until Medicare!
  2. Carl has a lead on an independent contractor position for a job that he is very interested in and thinks he would like very much. However, it will most likely be at least a month before they are ready to start talking specifics and Carl knows more about that job.

And then earlier this week, SMG contacted Carl to see if he would like to work for them as an independent contractor for a few months on a project they have. It was a perfect solution! So Carl is now working full-time for SMG for a few months, which will buy him some time to figure out what he wants to do after that….he’s hoping that he will have more information on that other job or SMG may continue to utilize his services on other projects as well. In any case, we get to continue with our NFL health insurance for now, Carl is working full-time and he has more time to figure out what’s next.

We love the way God answered our prayers and provided for our family in just the way that we needed. God is so good!

 

 

Praises, The Kids

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!

No, not Carl…at least not yet! The search is still early though and positive things are happening. Carl has already gone on one interview, met with a headhunter and consulted with several other people with job leads. We are sure that something good is going to come.

It’s all the kids that have new jobs!

Zack: After more than a year at the lumber yard, Zack is beginning an electrician apprenticeship with our friend from church, Russ (Russ is Carl’s diving buddy). Zack will be working alongside several electricians and learning the business and working on getting certified. It’s a long process that is expected to take several years at least, at minimum wage, but we are pleased with the positive direction that this career path can take Zack. Yay, Zack!

Anthony: Anthony accepted a 20-hour a week position as a Program Supervisor for Child & Family Service of O’ahu. According to the job description…

The Program Supervisor is responsible for managing the daily operations of the programs. Plans, organizes, coordinates, monitors, and evaluates the delivery of services and contracts assigned. Provides supervision to staff and assists in public relations.

Anthony will be in charge of anywhere from 3-12 program workers. Wow! 

Although this is only a 20-hour position (due to funding issues), there is tremendous potential for growth and other positions that Anthony will be able to move into with more experience. The pay is good and he will receive health insurance benefits. Since he and Kameko live with grandma Jane and don’t have mortgage/rent to pay, this position is doable. Plus it leaves them time to help care for grandma and get her to her appointments and do other things necessary for her care. Yay, Anthony!

Kelly: Kelly accepted a full-time position as a mental health therapist with Mental Health Systems in Minnesota, the clinic that she is interning with, beginning in May when her internship is complete. She will continue facilitating adolescent and adult DBT groups  (DBT is a specific therapy program utilized at her clinic) and providing individual psychotherapy. She will be making a good salary and receiving full benefits, including health insurance and 401k. The clinic will provide free supervision for the 4,000 required hours needed to become fully licensed in the state of MN (a big plus because some new therapists have to pay for supervision).  Kelly also plans on continuing her work as AuPair coordinator because she really enjoys it. Yay, Kelly!

We are so proud of each of the kids and how hard they have worked to get where they are. It is so exciting to see them being rewarded for their efforts. Good job, kiddos! We love you and are proud of you!

We are excited to see what God is going to bring Carl next!

Praises, Traveling

Sea Island Resort

You may remember a few years ago when Carl and I were blessed with a weekend getaway at the beautiful Sea Island Resort in Georgia, courtesy of the Jaguars. Before they gave him his notice, the Jaguars again offered us a weekend at this amazing resort so we of course took them up on it. Last time I stated that it was definitely the most expensive hotel that I have ever stayed in. And the one-room suite that we were gifted with this weekend was definitely the most expensive room I’ve ever stayed in, going for $899 per night.

I was really bad at taking photos this trip but I borrowed this from last time and marked our room that we were given this time. Our bedroom windows are to the left of the arrow tip and our balcony is to the right of the arrow tip.

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This was the view walking into our suite. It even had a powder room (not shown) to the right when you walked into the hallway.

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This was the living room.

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This was the bedroom.

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And this was the master bathroom and the deep soaker tub that I enjoyed each evening.

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This is the view from our balcony.

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Just like last time, they turned down the bed each night and gave chocolates and water bottles on the nightstand. They provided robes and slippers for use during the stay. Everyone called you by your name with a warm smile.

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We spent the weekend walking around St. Simons and nearby Brunswick, walking on the beach, and mostly just relaxing by the pool and reading. It was heavenly!

We are grateful for these blessings from the Lord and will miss the fun perks like this from the Jaguar organization. We are glad we got one last getaway while we could! Thanks Jaguars.

 

Praises, Traveling

Go Oahu Cards

If you are ever traveling to Oahu, I highly recommend purchasing a Go Oahu Card. It’s an even better deal at Costco with four days for the price of three listed on the website. With the Go Oahu card, you can attend one premium attraction and as many regular attractions as you can schedule during 4-days over a 2-week period (they do not have to be 4 consecutive days). Many of us purchased our cards during a $10 off sale so we paid $189 for a 4-day card. For the $189, we were able to do the following activities while in Oahu:

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Regular:

  • All of Oahu in One Day Bus Tour $98 value: Carl and I did this on our first full day in Oahu and it was a great introduction to the island with a fantastic tour bus driver, “Cousin Dorothy.” She explained all sorts of facts and history of the island and stopped at many scenic places throughout the day, including the Dole Plantation.

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We enjoyed the tour and although it was about 8-1/2 hours on a bus, she made frequent stops to allow us to get off at various sites for anywhere from 10 minutes to 45 minutes for lunch.

So for Carl and I, we participated in $450 worth of activities for $189 (for each of us)…a total savings of $522!! Wow!

Many of these are activities that we wouldn’t have done if we were paying full price but since they were included, we figured why not. The key to getting the most value from your card is to plan ahead and make reservations in advance. It was definitely a deal and I’m glad that we bought these for our group. I’ll tell you about more of these activities over the next few days.

They also offer Go City Cards for other locations so if you are traveling to one of the places listed below, you might want to check it out!

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