GI Jane Finances

August 27, 2008

Money Pit Part II

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 11:33 am

Email from the new realtor who visited my house two weeks ago (he sent pictures on everything listed):

It was nice to visit with you on the phone. I stopped by your property and had several concerns. I am attaching several pictures so you can see for yourself the condition.

  The following is a condition report on XXXX Road,

 1. Weeds growing in the front yard and does not appear to be well maintained.

2. Bushes need to be trimmed.

3. Dead animal decaying at the front sidewalk.

4. Trash surrounding the front entrance.

5. Many cob webs surround the front door appearing as if no one has entered the house in a month or more.

6. Carpet and walls seem to be in good condition except one kitchen wall needs to be repainted.

7. Cob webs in several areas of the cathedral ceiling

8. Small crack between the ceiling and wall in the upper area of the cathedral.

9.General cleaning of fans, cold air returns, toilets, vacuuming etc.

10. A couple of nail pops need to be fixed.

11. Roof leak appears to be above the kitchen area in several areas.

 My recommendation at this point is to get it on the market ASAP. I have also attached all of the documents which will need your signature or initials. Are you able to email them back or if you need to fax?

Are you aware that the unit next door just sold this year for $146,000? I know this is disappointing and I’m not sure how long your unit has been vacant, but I believe it must be in your best interest to sell quickly, therefore; let’s price it at $148,900 and move it quick. Also, let me know which items I can help with completed from the above list. The roof lead is the most important (#11), then the curb appeal (#1, 2, 3, 4, 5), and then general cleaning (#7, 9).

 I look forward working with you and know I can get this sold for you. 

 Here is the response I sent to my realtor, whose contract expired on 31 July:







August 26, 2008

Money Pit Part I

Filed under: Financial distractions, Fits and starts — Tags: — gijanefinances @ 7:13 am

Part I:

Background: Since I live overseas, I trusted that my realtor would handle selling my home in this slow market.  Last June-Oct, I tried to sell it, but couldn’t.  I fired that realtor and rented it out through a different realty company.  So, from Oct 07 to May 08, it was rented.  Technically, the house was listed from April-July 31.

In the first week of August, I had been in contact with the realtor about the house.  She assured me they had open houses, but no bites.  The feedback has been that people had their own preferences and it is not because something was wrong with the house.  I then received a letter from another realtor saying that my house listing is expired, and he will be able to get it sold.  I was floored because the realtor told me the day before that it had a showing.  After talking to the realtor who sent me the letter, he decided to check out the house and send me pictures on the condition.  Part II will be what he found. 

In the meantime, here’s what my horoscope said:

Astrologyzone: (Capricorn)  On the following eclipse, August 16, which will be a full moon lunar eclipse, a salary or a personal possession (or group of personal possessions) will become your focus. If you have been negotiating a salary package for a new job, you would likely see the final answer now. If you have put in a claim to an insurance company for money you feel is due you, that final answer from the insurance company would also likely show up now, within days of August 16.

 Near August 16, your financial picture may not be clear because Neptune will be obscuring certain facts. If you need to sell certain expensive goods or services (or a house), the old slogan, “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch” seems very appropriate here. Do background checks, ask questions, and hold your breath until the deal is done. Facts seem sketchy or fuzzy. If you are suing someone, the facts being presented during the court discovery phase may not be accurate. On a very mundane level, check your credit card and bank statements, for you may find an error.

There is something else happening in the heavens this month, and it could have a bearing on your finances. This will be a very hard aspect operating in the first two weeks, so think of it as a cautionary blinking light.

Mars will oppose Uranus on August 6, which is a powerful meeting of two forces that creates very volatile and unpredictable results. The problem with this aspect is that it has a wide period of influence. You will need to keep watch for possible unexpected problems involving money throughout the first half of August, starting August 1 until August 16.

This aspect tends to strike quickly and without warning – you won’t see any gradual or subtle clues. In fact, you would probably see nothing and then suddenly be faced with an urgent situation (in this case, financial) that needs correction instantly. Or, you may be faced with a person who is confrontational and difficult, who won’t give you your due, even despite a previous agreement promising to do so.

Since I have found that Mars opposed to Uranus can strike within a ten-day period, you will have to hold your breath to see if any unexpected financial news comes up anytime until August 16 (even though this aspect strikes August 6). The good news is Mars will look for hidden problems or weak situations, and if it finds none, then you won’t hear any untoward news. If Mars does, you will either fix things quickly or get this person out of your life, and in either case, you will be left in stronger shape.

August 24, 2008

How to win enemies

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 10:02 pm

I found this post from Diary of the Mad Pigeon. 

*BTW, BZ means below the zone (people who got picked up for promotion early).

Got this in my email today.  Not entirely sure if this is true, but I edited out some of the replies from different personnel that indicated this is, indeed, legit.  But enough about me…

Subject: E-mail (UNCLASSIFIED)

Subject: Not the smartest email in the world Here is a perfect example of what not to do.  This CPT wrote every BZ CPT:

Subject: BZ to MAJ – CPTs Bonus (MILPER 07-237)

Good morning, fellow BZers~

After discussing this MILPER message with my mentors and other BZers, I have decided that we should all do something about it.  I hope you don’t mind that I emailed you and took a few moments out of your day.

I don’t know about each of you, but this bonus really makes me angry.  We are being punished financially by the Army for being better than our peers.  We won’t pin until sometime next year; probably May-July and our peers will get $25-35,000 and get pinned in October.  I don’t know about you, but 4 months of MAJs pay isn’t equal to a $25,000 bonus in my eyes.

If the bonus was for YG 2000-2004, I wouldn’t even worry about it.  But we are YG99 and our peers, the ones that haven’t worked as hard as us, are getting rewarded.

So, why am I emailing you and bitching? Well, my mentors all agree that we are getting screwed. And, they all think that we should all first contact our IG, then, write to our Congressmen.  My COL thinks that might make an impact.  It may not change anything, but it is worth a try.

The 82nd Division IG has already contacted the HRC IG and they told him it is all about the money. There is a shocker! They said there are already a bunch of IG complaints about the message, so let’s beat them up more. Just so you know, there are 177 of us on the list. If all 177 of us took the money, they would pay out close to $5 million.> That’s about 3 new Humvees, 2 new tanks OR ½ an aircraft. I think we are worth it.

Again, if this means nothing to you and you just think I am whining, hit delete and go on with your day. But, if you are pissed like me and want to do something about it, let me know.

Have a great day and congratulations on your promotable status!!



Cassandra J. Summers
Assistant Professor of Military Science/BN S3 Campbell University ROTC

—————————————————————————-THE RESPONSE FROM LTC XXXX

Nick –

Let me open by saying I heartily dislike CPT (P) Summers.

First, because she has “CPT(P)” in her signature block.

Second, because she’s preaching about how unfair life is while soaking in her own light at an ROTC position at Campbell University.  I spent my entire time as a Captain in MTOE assignments … in Korea, 10th Mountain (twice), and Fort Polk (TDA … but 11 rotations per year … in “nowhere Louisiana”).  Captain time in ROTC at Campbell University? Yeah … she has a whole lot to complain about.

And third, because of this line (among the many): “we are being punished … for being better than our peers”. “Better”? Near as I can tell, you have the no Respect, no Loyalty, no sense of Duty, no Honor, and no sense of Selfless Service … if that is “better than your peers”, then I truly fear for your Year Group.

Here are my thoughts.


To the authors –

For a bunch of BZ’ers, your math and strategic thinking skills are sub-standard. And you have a real Values crisis. Let me provide some mentoring.

These two email strings validate some of the most terrible things that have been said about BZ Officers over my twenty+ years … that BZ Officers have a false sense of entitlement, that BZ Officers are arrogant, and that BZ Officers are elitist (in the Paris Hilton sense of the word).

BZ Officers absolutely deserved to be selected BZ.  However, for every Officer who was selected BZ, there are three other Officers who were equally deserving … Officers with the exact same level of performance, and the exact same level of potential.  Any BZ Officer who doesn’t know that in his or her heart doesn’t deserve to be BZ.  The differences between you and that Officer to your left who wasn’t selected is art and serendipity … you worked for Ernest Hemingway,  while the Officer to your right worked for a Senior Rater who couldn’t write very well; your former Brigade Commander sat on the Board; the Board was looking for a particular skill set, and HRC assigned you to that position two years ago; the Officer to your left had a personality conflict with his Rater in 2005.  Did any of you complain about the inherent unfairness of that process after you were selected BZ?  No?  I didn’t think so.
Y’all would’ve had my absolute respect if en masse you had written to the “Army Times” about how you felt the BZ-selection process was unfair to the Officer to your left … but you didn’t do that.  Instead, you want to write to the “Army Times” and your Congressman about the unfairness of the CSRB process.   You’ve earned my disdain.  And so have the “mentors” who are encouraging this Pity Party.

Here is your Retention Bonus. Historically, BZ Officers have significantly out-performed their peers in terms of selection to senior commands, and the ranks of Colonel and General Officer.  I don’t have the exact numbers, but these figures are in the ball-park: although BZ rates run about 5%, fully 40% of all Battalion Commanders were BZ to MAJ or LTC; and the number of Officers BZ to MAJ or LTC who are NOT selected for Battalion Command is extremely low, probably less than 10%. With the advent of masked O3-and- below OER’s and universal CGSOC (CGSOC was a huge discriminator to BN CMD … In my YG, only 1 of 23 Signal Officers selected for BN CMD was non-resident), I think those percentages will be even higher.  Your CSRB bonus is Battalion Command. And why is that important?  Well, since these emails seem solely focused on money (and not Army Values), I’ll reply in terms of $$$ (as much as that disgusts me).  Last year, every single Former Signal Battalion Commander (FSBC) in the zone was selected for O6. Every one. Only one non-FSBC’s was selected, and he was a former Centrally Selected Division G6. Do you know how much more money a COL makes than a LTC? Do you know how much money a retired O6 makes compared to a retired O5?  Do you how much money that adds up to over the course of a thirty or fourty year retirement? A hell of alot more than $25K.

In 2006, Vernon Wells received a signing bonus of $25.5 million from the Toronto Blue Jays. In January 2007, Bob Nardelli abruptly resigned as chairman and chief executive of Home Depot after only six years at the helm … the Atlanta-based company said Nardelli would receive a severance package worth roughly $210 million.  Here’s a thought, write to the “Army Times” about that.

Number of Signal General Officers on Active Duty who were not  Battalion Commanders… Zero (0).

Number of Signal General Officers on Active Duty who were never selected BZ … Zero (0).

Your CSRB is an EXPONENTIALLY better chance than your peers to lead and mold the Army of 2015 and beyond. Apparently, you think that opportunity is worth less than a check for $25K in 2007. Or, you think that the promotion board simply recognized your glowing superiority.  You should be absolutely ashamed of this conversation … except shame would require Values that I don’t think you possess.

One of the biggest challenges for a BZ Officer is that they start to believe their own press, and pretty soon, we have Terrell Owens in Battalion Command. The vast majority of General Officers are deeply, deeply humbled by their position … they fully recognize how many truly outstanding, equally deserving Officers were simply not selected to be General Officers.  You’ve been in the Army less than 10 years, and you’ve already lost all sense of humility.  Woe to the Army of 2015.

“Well, my mentors all agree that we are getting screwed”. Go ask MAJ Ed Murphy about how he got screwed. Oh, that’s right, you can’t …because he’s dead … he was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan. Go ask his widow about how MAJ Murphy got screwed.  Y’all can compare notes.

“I think we are worth it.” I think you are worth exactly thirty pieces of silver.


I’m back…

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 12:06 pm
Cool runnings

Cool runnings

Well, after a hiatus and the need to regroup, I moved to a new home here at wordpress.  I decided that the feed problems and hacking forced the inevitable.  Maybe now I can get some traffic.  I am also loving the cool new widgets and template available on wordpress.

I am also basking from the recent summer track and field games.  Notably, as a first generation American from Jamaican roots, Usain Bolt has made me want to be at the 2012 Olympic games.  The Jamaican population is massive in England–so it will be a sojourn made by many to witness more incredible feats from the Jamaican team.

More to follow, still tweaking the site.

It is nice to be back.

GI Jane

August 4, 2008

There you have it…

Filed under: Tomfoolery — gijanefinances @ 9:41 pm

Admin note: Well, I have been hacked! Someone stole my template and ruined the look of the blog. I have been mulling over moving to WordPress due to having problems registering this site on various feeds.

I have decided to hold back paying off my student loans and focus on building the emergency fund. If I find a buyer, I would have to cough up about $10K in realtor fees and taxes. Did I say I cannot wait until this house is sold? My realtor’s daughter is getting married on 16 Aug, so nothing is really happening until that is over. I do need until about Oct to build up the reserves. I almost paid it off until I posted the question on MSN’s your money message board. The consensus was to not take out a loan for the $10K and stop paying on the SL. It was not a prudent move, rather an emotional one to pay of my SL.

Anywho, will keep you upadted once I figure out what to do with this blog.

GI Jane

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