Dispatches from the Year of the Oxygen Mask: January

I talked about my 2019 hopes/goals in a previous post.

Except for that one slip-up I noted early on, I have done a good job of noticing my spending and of not spending money on anything except food and mental health.  I should have said “(and mental health)” in my original post but I forgot to spell it out.  Of course I’m not going to *not* pay my therapist or psychiatrist.

So now I’m getting new meds (again).  I have been on almost every kind!  This one’s new.  I’m looking forward to finding out what fun side effects it will have!  (Narrator:  She was not looking forward to it.)  Currently I am in a 3-way fight with the insurance company and the pharmacy (and the shrink) to try and authorize the drug so that they’ll pay for it so that the pharmacy will fill it.  I cannot project-manage this situation and my job at the same time, so I’m sucking at both.  #SinglePayerNow

My lovely MIL continues to have Teh Sad.  She too has a therapist and medication, and she also has various bereavement groups.  Have I mentioned that my dad and all 4 of his kids are on psychiatric meds of various sorts?  (Some of us off-and-on.)  We’re doing better, though!  My family is looking forward to positive changes this year.

I almost went through all of January without spending money to fill my car’s gas tank.  I didn’t quite make it, but it was pretty close.  I think that’s pretty good!

Also, I spent like 85 minutes on the phone with TIAA-CREF yesterday and the upshot is that I need my husband to sign some forms in front of a notary.  Because my previous job set up their retirement accounts in a dumb way that means my spouse has first claim on what I do with my money, somehow.  So in order to move the money into an account that he doesn’t have to approve every transaction on, he has to sign some forms saying it’s ok for me to close my accounts with my money in them.  You can possibly imagine my reaction upon learning this on the phone: “That is some bullshit.  Get rid of that!”

I never thought the uni where I had my crappy tenured job would be good for much, but their retirement accounts are actually set up way better, so I’m consolidating everything I can into that one.  Like we effin’ have time to go to a notary during business hours, goddamn.

As a reminder, in February, I will go on Patreon and sign up to support at least 2 creators whose work I appreciate.

What giveth and/or taketh away your oxygen recently, Grumpeteers?

Wednesday we’ll talk about #2’s February challenge!

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26 Responses to “Dispatches from the Year of the Oxygen Mask: January”

  1. Piesharriet Says:

    Just so you know, banks usually have a notary available for things like this. Depending on opening hours, you could go on Saturday if you can’t make it during the week.

    • FF Says:

      I would check first that the bank has a notary–my branch doesn’t have one all the time, but another local one does. Also, a lot of workplaces have someone who is a notary on staff. You might try asking around at your workplace.

    • Leah Says:

      My workplace has several notaries, nicely. I’ve debated going and getting certified as a notary. Seems useful.

  2. Leah Says:

    I love the money management principle of “pay yourself first.” When my paycheck hits my bank account, I squirrel some into savings immediately (and automagically, for that matter). It literally just occurred to me this morning after reading this post that this maxim would be well applied to self care. I often shove self-care to the wayside because I just don’t have time. But then there never ends up being time.

    I’m going to try treating this like I treat money (to the best of my ability with two small children) and see if that goes a bit better. After all, we only have time for what we make time for, right?

  3. rose Says:

    WOW! Fascinating about the spousal approval issue. Made me stop and remember how dependent women used to be when men were the sole wage earners and how progressive that policy may have been at one time. Having said that it will turn out that the policy is relatively new… Oh well.
    Best wishes on the pharmacy side of things and again, how different options continue to become. HOPE this time side effects are minor and not significant.
    Call your bank or local UPS/FedEx mailbox place and see if either will let you make a convenient appointment for the notary function.
    THANK YOU for posting and wishing all a wonderful New Year starting tomorrow … Year of the Pig/Hog.

  4. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Good morning, I have food poisoning. Come *on*, 2019.

  5. bethh Says:

    Is your university retirement account a 403b? I used to work for a library and had a 403b; when I called to roll it into an IRA they let me know that a 403b is not subject to the 59 1/2 withdrawal age limit. I decided to leave that account alone, and it will fund the first stages of early retirement if I clock out before 59 1/2.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Do you mean 457? 403(b) are usually subject to the 59.5 no penalty withdrawal age limit and the 70.5 required withdrawals. (This is #2 here.) 457 aren’t.

      • bethh Says:

        hmmmm yes I think I do mean a 457. Sorry, I did a quick google and got the wrong account type – whatever I have is the type that I could pull from without penalty at any time. It’s currently got enough in it to support perhaps 2 years of living expenses, so by 8-10 years from now could be pretty awesome.

  6. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    Confirmed – my B&M bank is Chase and they’ll notarize things for you free, you just have to set up an appointment. Of course if you have tiny branches like we do, then unfortunately sometimes you still have to go in on weekends but it’s worth looking into to see if they have a workable option for you.

    Hm, the child’s mood swings are taking away my oxygen lately and I’m wondering if I need to adjust the circumstances or my attitude to dealing with them. It does feel like it keeps getting harder which tracks with what parents of older kids say. Also struggling with work and trying to get that ship righted.

    But good stuff – we successfully did TWO social things in January. I think we might aim to try to do one social thing each month?

  7. chacha1 Says:

    f**k the patriarchy.
    my oxygen mask continues to be writing. I literally spent the entire weekend writing. I did not go get groceries, I did not fuel up the car for this week’s commuting, I did not even do laundry, which means I’ll have to do it tomorrow morning while I’m doing my yoga. I did not change out of my freakin’ pajamas all weekend people. I did go out to refill the bird feeders, because it was raining like someone ordered Noah’s Ark, but aside from that let’s just say there was significant remediation to be done this morning in order to get me out the door for work.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I’ve so been there. I like doing laundry and being in my pajamas, but that’s the only thing. I hate groceries although I like to eat (when I’m not sick). Hang in there! Yay for writing!

  8. Debbie M Says:

    I also am pretty horrified that it’s even possible (in modern America) to set up retirement accounts so that your spouse has first claim on what you do with your money. And I sure know you didn’t pick that on purpose, so not only is it possible, it was some kind of default. I’m tired of finding out things I hate about my country (also just learned: a) people are killing bees on purpose, as if they don’t know that half our food requires bees and they are already dying and once a bee has stung you that bee dies thus giving you instant automatic revenge, b) Facebook ads showed up for someone on a thing they had only communicated about aloud, in person).

  9. First Gen American Says:

    Every time I see Patreon I think of Patron the tequila. As in…I need to drink more tequila.

    I need to continue with making more nourishing meals but right now. I am sick so hard to be motivated. The goodness of the food is there. The portion control is still not.

    There is a notary at my town hall and they didn’t even charge melast time. Also at work our secretaries used to be notaries so maybe someone at work has the thing? Maybe a legal admin?

    I have been trying to spend some of each day on a non-work task that helps or simplifies my life, like getting an odd annoying chore done that’s been nagging me or walks or organizing. Over Xmas break I filed a zillion business cards and house receipts. It took days but made me feel more in control.

    When my life feels a little out of control, I also get super cheap (because spending is in my control).

  10. Cloud Says:

    I think the spouse needing to sign off on retirement account changes is something that is supposed to protect stay-at-home spouses. But I’ve never come across one that draconian!

    I have no wisdom about mental health. Usually when I’m feeling overwhelmed it is because I’ve overwhelmed myself by saying yes to too many things. My kanban board helps me reign that in. Once I get in that state, though, the only thing that helps is writing a list and just ruthlessly forcing myself to do the things on it.

  11. jjiraffe Says:

    I, too, had to deal with that TIAFF Cref issue—my husband needed to sign forms in front of a notary. He was dumbfounded when I explained the situation. Total garbage rule.

    Wishing you all the best with the new meds.

    • Contingent Cassandra Says:

      I wonder what happens if you don’t *have* a spouse? I don’t, and I do have a TIAA Cref account, and I can’t think how they’d know either way. Maybe because the person is listed as a backup beneficiary? If so, would I have to get a signature from my brother, or even my father (now late father, but I may have had him listed somewhere)?

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Some of my TIAA accounts *don’t* have this problem, which is why I’m keeping them. It depends not on TIAA, but on how the employer chose to set up the account.

  12. SB Says:

    The last time we needed a notary, we used a guy who came to my house. It was expensive, but we were actually able to get the job done. We found him by google-ing “mobile notary near me” or some such. Good luck!

  13. Kellen Says:

    I’ve seen people look for Notary’s in their neighborhood on Nextdoor, so if one of your neighbors is one, they can maybe do it after dinner / on the weekend. Everyone at UPS stores is a notary, and some of those are open Saturday. Last time I did it there it cost $4.

  14. Which box is the oxygen mask in? | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] What have I done lately?  Well, I haven’t done the money stuff that I talked about in this post, because… MOVING!  […]


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