Thursday, January 23, 2014

$500 in application fees

School
So I've calculated that by the end of this application process we will have spent over $500 in application fees for 5 schools. Luckily, my job will reimburse me or I would definitely be a lot more judicious about the applications, possibly to the detriment of Z because you kind of have to apply high and low to find a school.

Choice A is a great school that is close to home and I didn't think we had a chance at it. I received an email calling us in for an assessment. Word is they will take 2/3 of the children who make it through the assessment. I'll give anything Z wants that morning to ensure she is her normal lovely self. You want a pony? puppy? to eat nothing but chocolate for the next week? Done! It is a well established school with nice facilities, large outdoor play areas and activities. It's also embassy sponsored, which means it's immune to the random last minute rulings that the government can make about school holidays, class sizes and admissions.

Choice B is a new school with a good reputation that's close to my job. I'm literally driving right past it at the time I would need to drop her off. It doesn't have any outdoor play space and there has been one horror review thrown in for all of the good ones.

For both of the above mentioned schools I would possibly keep Z there for the foreseeable future. They could be long term choices.

Choice C, D and E would be stop gaps and I wouldn't even send her to E after visiting. She's already been accepted. Choices C and D are far away from home and my job and getting her there would be a challenge. I'm thinking I'll just strike them off and maybe save a bit of money. My fear is that she doesn't get into A or B and can't continue in nursery under the new laws and I'm stuck trying to homeschool a pre-schooler while working full time while she's stuck at home all day. Not an ideal situation, the saga continues...

Work
Continues to be an exploration of what I can get done in an office where everyone else is going things I am not trained to do. I can't pitch in, which kind of sucks when I'm heading out the door and people have deadlines looming and know they will be staying late. I'm just hoping no one starts to hate me because of that. Perhaps I'll start bringing more baked goods! But I do think the fact the most people would prefer to eat nails over standing up in front of people and talking to them, so perhaps that gets of off the hook a bit. On a nice note, I was told by my boss that the COO said good things about me and I was making a good impression. Score!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Tax Time

I finally opened the tax form that the student loan provider made available. 5 digits of student loan interest paid...vomit! It really made it real that this is what was just paid in interest in 2013! At least I won't see a bill that high ever again. That was paying off all the interest that accrued during law school, which is horrifying. It should only be 4 digits this year and decrease until the eventual pay off in 2016. We're also trying to get our financial house in order with a college savings account for Z and Boo, bye bye $1000/mo. I keep telling Liam maybe we should just aim to partially pay for college or push them toward computer science or another sector where a degree isn't as vital. We will see.

I also almost totally screwed up my 2013/2014 taxes by realizing 9 days too late about my old 403(b) to Roth IRA roll over, but it looks like it will all be fine after all. Yay, international tax exemption and PWC doing all the dirty work or I would have no idea what was going on.

There are a lot of grant proposal opportunities that have been coming up around town. They are pretty much for anything you want from publishing to 3D printing to medicine. I don't know if I can think of anything that I would put forward right now, but it's good to know these options are out there. I would like to do research on a topic that interest me, get some funding and publish something. My position is really one that I could parlay it into anything I set decided I wanted to pursue. It could become more tech oriented, legally oriented, business and accounting, database and information systems, etc. I just can't even think of someone that is doing something I would want to do to approach them about how to do it, if that makes any sense. I'll be hitting a milestone birthday in a couple of years and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up! 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Rejection Game Begins

Z was just rejected from her first school, so that's 1 down 3 to go. I'm a little pissed at how personally I'm taking it. It also came about 4 days after our application, so that's weird. I'm hoping it's a mistake, but it might not be. I'm freaking out a little bit about how this time is going to play out. We have an interview/assessment at one school at the end of the month, but it's so far away from home and work that it would mean hours in the car everyday with Z for me or Melody with a driver and I'm not happy with that.

In other news our new year is filled with a lot of classes for Z: swimming, ballet, gymnastics and soccer and swimming for Boo. I've also realized how much of a teacher's pet Z was and I'm thinking it is hereditary. She always wants to sit next to the teacher, be the leader and ensure that the teacher has seen what she's doing. I'm not sure how much I need to break her of this, but I'm thinking it will be after interviews/assessments. She has no problems going up to the teachers and saying her name and holding their hands and just generally being adorable, at least from a parent's perspective. I'm not sure how great it is from a teacher's perspective. It works well in small classes like ballet where there are only 5 other kids, 4 of whom participate. There Z is the only one beaming and ready and doing everything teacher says. It's harder in gymnastics where there are about 12 kids and she's one of the younger ones and can't really do everything and gets frustrated while trying. We will see which activities she likes best and then pare down from there.