Not quite literally, but today, I got to hang out with a bunch of dogs from the little Italian greyhound, the rottweiler, the boxer, the bloodhound all the way to the big (think 155lbs!!) Saint Bernard. They were ridiculously cute and I was as happy as a lark today at the lab. It was a bit of a juggle today because I had to take a trip to the Human Resources department and get signed up for a retirement plan. It turned out that contrary to what I had been told by a previous HR representative, I am eligible for the optional retirement plan versus having to stick with the teachers’ retirement plan. I was over the moon because this means I won’t lose my institution’s match of ~ 8% in the event that I don’t stay with them for at least 10 years which is the time it takes to get “vested” with the Teachers’ Retirement plan. I’m currently keeping all my eggs with Fidelity (my Roth and 401(a) plan). I also plan on rolling over my previous funds that are currently with TRS. I’m excited and nervous at the same time. I know I’ll be fine i.e. it’ll take some time, but I will become somewhat comfortable with learning about funds and how to make investments. I signed up for one of the Fidelity Freedom Funds for now and the rate of return didn’t look too promising so I’m pretty positive that I’ll be diversifying once I get some more information.
Some might call it a “Dirty Job” :), but those who know me understand that I find it fascinating. I see the potential to learn and I’m just raring to go. One thing that I might have underestimated about this job is the amount of physical activity it requires. I’m almost constantly walking back and forth. In fact, I ferried a (I swear) 150 lb goat to my lab today! I was not so much as transporting the goat carcass as I was being carried by it. lol. That animal weighed a lot more than I did. Nevertheless, I’m just feeling the love from all angles. Call it the honeymoon period, but everyone has volunteered to come on down and help. I’m the only one in the actual lab. building so it does kinda get lonely and spooky because the ceiling makes all sorts of weird noises. I don’t scare easy though. 😀 Today, I got to strip the flesh off an animal (hint: the most loved of the marine mammals). It was long dead, cut up and boiled down. This is the one of the necessary steps to creating the skeletons you see on display in labs, museums, etc. Hopefully, I’ll have a hand in piecing the skeleton together. The next step is to de-grease the animal by soaking the bones in soapy water for 2 – 3 months. The bones then get bleached and painstakingly pieced together! I look forward to the process. It’s very intense, but I’m preparing myself for it mentally. I’m already getting familiar with the handbook on the dog’s anatomy. 🙂
Classes will begin soon and so will the madness. I’ve got to be ready. My departmental manager returns tomorrow and I’m ecstatic. There were certain things that were not handled as promptly as they would have been had she been here. I shall make a beeline for her office ASAP and get my issues sorted out (hopefully). Speaking of issues, apparently, because I experienced a relatively short period of un-employment at my (former) now-employer, my name was still on file with the health insurance folk so I don’t need to do any more sign-ups regarding that. However, I will not be able to get myself off the “defined benefits” retirement plan because I’m technically not a “new employee” because I had less than 2 weeks between my old job and the new job. *shakes head* No fair!! I was so excited and looking forward to managing stocks and funds, and what not. lol. Who knows? At the very least, by their same logic, I am fully expecting that their 9% match for the time I spent in the old job will be there. I will have to call them tomorrow to verify this. It will only be fair and if it is not, I may have to exercise whatever persuasive powers I have or root around in the rule books to find a way to leave this “defined contribution” plan because I’m really not happy about their 10-years-before-you-are-vested rule.
Which leads me to the topic of finances, my favorite whipping boy. 🙂 So, this month, despite nearly turning out to be a bad month as I got laid off from my first job, turned out to be really good for our finances because I got over 2 weeks of annual leave pay which covered the period from when I was actually laid off to when I got my new job. Essentially, I didn’t lose any pay despite losing a job. I didn’t do anything stupid with the extra money. Actually, let me amend that. 🙂 I did invest in some summer dresses, jeans and shoes which turned out to be roughly under $80 total. I have invested in some applications for my Palm Treo i.e. the King James’ Version on the bible (PocketLight KJV) for my smart phone and a Mobile Coach for tracking exercise, food, etc. I also send some large snowflakes to our emergency fund and our credit card. I totally anticipate clearing out the credit card before the year ends and reaching our emergency fund account goal. I have also taken the step (finally) of creating my Roth IRA account at one of the big 3 (Fidelity, Vanguard and T Rowe Price). I will have to commit to sending $200 to this Roth each month in order to escape the high amount needed to open a Roth IRA ($2,500). I’ve got to run. Have a great week, all!