A Puppy Named Ruger

Our family plan has always included getting a dog, specifically male German Sheppard that we would name Ruger. We agreed we wouldn’t get a dog until we were living in our own house. We moved in with my in-laws the summer of 2019 thinking our house would be done early 2020 and we could get a puppy. We researched breeders and found a very good reputable one nearby. She throughly vetted her dogs and does genetic testing and brings in other bloodlines for breeding. We were really happy with everything we read about her dogs. We knew we’d get a puppy from her some day.

Winter came before we could get the shell up for the house and then covid happened so building our house was delayed from our original plans. It seemed we wouldn’t be done until the end of 2020 maybe beginning of 2021. I was a little crushed because I’ve been depressed and wanted the companion of a dog again.

Also at the beginning of 2020, my father in law had some health issues. We were sitting with him and a picture of a recent litter popped up on Facebook so Oliver and I were talking about it. My father in law then told us “go ahead and get the damned dog”. In the most loving way of course.

This shocked us both. Part of the agreement with Oliver’s parents is we wouldn’t get a dog because they didn’t want another dog in their house after Oliver’s previous dog passed away a few years ago. We carefully talked it out to make sure both his parents were okay with us getting a dog and that we would take full responsibility for it.

Couple days later we filled out the application and put a deposit down on a puppy. We officially picked out Ruger in February 2020!

I took a couple days off of work to get him adjusted to living with us and start his training. There were ups and downs and it took a few weeks before he started sleeping through the night and stopped having accidents in the house.

I quickly learned that what is discussed isn’t always what is followed. I am a bit more strict when it comes to my dogs because I like well behaved pups.

His kennel training was going great but then Oliver had a few days off because of covid and didn’t follow all the kennel training. He kept him out of his kennel more during the day which Ruger quickly got used to. Then my in-laws started leaving him out of the kennel during the day and then started giving him table scraps. Ruger then started begging and barking more.

I’ve worked to get him to beg less but it doesn’t help with my in-laws still giving him treats and scraps every other time he barks. It’s a work in progress and training a dog will always be in progress but it will be easier when the house is done. Although, I know my in-laws will miss him being around during the day. Good thing we are next door and they can visit him or he can visit them to get treats!

Ruger is less than a week away from being 1 year old. His birthday is on December 5th. It’s hard to believe we’ve had him for only 8 months. He has taught us a lot and has also been a bit of a pain in the ass but completely worth it. I love him to pieces even though he doesn’t like to cuddle.

I can’t wait to see the dog he will grow up to be these next few years.

Calculating Life,

Jessica O

2020: Whirl wind of a year

It’s been yet another year since posting. No major updates since my last post… well except for a pandemic!

Honestly, I’ve been very fortunate. My husband and I are considered essential employees but not front line workers. However people need access to their money (me) and construction and infrastructure didn’t stop (husband). It was still stressful trying to adapt to how things have changed so quickly but as long as a person is open to change, adapting is always possible.

I say that like I fully adapted and accepted everything that’s changed but I’ll assure you I really haven’t. I’ve struggled mentally and emotionally with all the changes and information that’s been thrown at everyone. Some things seem uncertain and scary. Other times I’ve seen how hideous and mean people can be but on the flip side I’ve also seen how generous and caring others can be. Especially during hard times, everyone needs to have a little compassion for others.

The downside to being an essential employee is schedules changed, work didn’t stop for us, and it actually delayed us building and working on our house. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very glad and thankful to have a job as many others lost theirs. However currently my husband and I only have 1 day off together (instead of 2 to 3) and because of covid rules we have to be careful and cautious for who helps us work on the house. We are pretty much doing it all ourselves except for some amazing friends who are able to help when they can but it’s going painfully slow. It’s taking a bigger toll on us to try and build our house this year than we anticipated last year when we started this journey.

I’m still grateful for every step of the way but I’m ready for us to be moving into our house instead of staring at a partially built house from across the canyon.

Besides the house being slow, my in-laws have had a few health issues pop up this last year which has been difficult for me but especially for my husband. We have a lot on our plates but we are working on taking small bite sized pieces to make our plates smaller. We just have to remember to keep taking bites no matter how small and we will make all of our dreams come true.

Even though it’s been a rough year and all I want to do is be depressed and not focus on money management or anything important, I’m not giving up on any of my dreams including becoming debt free sooner than later. The biggest hope to me lately has just been focusing on building our house which also means watching funds so we can build our house without going into more debt than we want to.

Until next time! Take care of yourself.

Calculating Life,

Jessica O

I’m still kicking

3 years!! I’m a time traveler! It’s been 3 years since I’ve posted anything. I’m sure people have abandoned this blog or completely forgot about it because nothing new has been posted. I’ve been reevaluating my goals and priorities and even though I haven’t posted anything in 3 years, I decided to dive back in and continue sharing my journey calculating my life.

Since it’s been 3 years; to try and update on everything will take forever so please enjoy this bulleted summary.

  • After my previous post, I got engaged to Oliver and started planning right away.
  • We got married a year later on October 14th, 2017. We just celebrated our 2 year anniversary.
  • The wedding was.. interesting with family drama (hopefully a future blog post).
  • I also gained 2 wonderful nephews and 1 incredible niece. Oldest is a boy Bro. Middle is a boy Little G. Youngest is the girl Little O.
  • 6 months later we honeymooned in Italy and Greece! It was amazing and we really want to go back. I’ll tell more about it soon.
  • During the summer of 2018 K and Little B moved to Nevada. It’s hard having them so far away but they are doing really well there.
  • The rest of 2018 was kind of uneventful (at least nothing major that I can currently think of occurred).
  • Oliver’s Grandpa passed away in February of 2019.
  • Oliver and I and our buddy Artic Fox took a trip to Amsterdam on March. It was a blast and I’ll also like to go back to the Netherlands and tour more of the countryside.
  • Beginning of June my dear friend Karl passed away unexpectedly. I miss him terribly.
  • Later in June, Oliver and I moved into his parents house because we bought 9 acres from them and we are currently working on building our house! (Next post will be about our frustrations with starting this adventire).
  • In July I was promoted to Electronic Banking Supervisor at the bank which has been a good step in my career.
  • In September I started Crossfit with acouple friends.
  • At the end of September our dear old family friend Chuck passed away. He lived a full life but it was still too soon for him to go as well.

It’s now October 2019 with November fast approaching. It’s been a whirlwind of a year so far with highs and lows but that’s part of life. I’m greatful that I get to spend this chapter with Oliver who has been a great support to me. I look forward to what the future brings.

Thanks for reading! See you soon.

Calculating Life,

Jessica O

The end is nigh

I’m still really bad at blogging regularly. Maybe part of it is because I’m not forcing myself to invest a lot of time into it but also right now blogging isn’t a priority for me. I want to post something every day or every other day but I either don’t know what to write or I forget to actually write it. 

I kind of just want to say goodbye to this blog. But I’ll hold out hope a little longer.

Today’s snippet is a sketch I finally finished after a couple months of not working on it. It’s a handrail design for a friend.

I’ll end up redrawing this probably 4 more times or so to get it how I want it and to make it look nicer but this is just my first quick sketch of this design.

Calculating Life,

Jessica G

Pheasant Hunting

I’ve really done it this time. I haven’t blogged in 2 months! I’m hoping now that I have a new phone I might be able to do snippets better and post more than once a month. Quite a few things have happened but I don’t want to gum up with post with it so I’ll try to post more about the last couple months later.

Any who, last weekend I went hunting for the second time with my boyfriend Oliver. We went last year and I had a blast. Sadly last year I couldn’t find the bird I shot down. Everyone thought that it probably hit the ground running and hid in the thick brush because all three dogs couldn’t find it. This last weekend I did better! Not much but some. I shot down a bird and Gage fetched it and brought it right to me! Gage is Oliver’s brother’s dog.

It was the one and only pheasant I got last weekend but hopefully we can go again this year. Oliver’s cousin cooked up the pheasant we got on Saturday and it was so tasty fried with a crumb breading. To top it all off, Saturday I wanted 6.2 miles and then Sunday I walked 3.4 miles on uneven ground, through thickets brush, and tall weeds. This year I remembered to stretch so I wasn’t as sore but still a little tender even today, two days later! I definitely need to keep working out regularly and get stronger.

Still Calculating Life,

Jessica G

Financial Planning

I know this can be a scary and daunting subject but it’s something I think everyone needs to look at and keep in mind on a week to week or at least month to month basis. The reason I’m writing this post now is because I finally got the nerve up to really ask Oliver if we could sit down and create a financial plan. I was really scared to bring it up but when I did and he didn’t react negatively except he knew it wouldn’t be pretty, I felt better about it. It’s been bothering me that we haven’t had a financial plan for the last 8 months we’ve been living together because I’ve always had a financial plan of some kind or another. Especially since we are talking about getting married and getting a house, I want to make sure we can afford it all but we won’t be able to unless we pay some stuff off.

The first thing we did was write down all of our debts with the name, the total amount, the interest rate, and the monthly payment. Initially we left out our base expenses i.e. rent, electric bill, cell phones, insurance. The stuff you can’t pay off and be completely done with. But I will talk about these items a little later.

Between the 2 of us we have 12 total debts we want to eventually pay off. Some of them we want to have paid off in a year, others not for another 6+ years. After listing all of our debts, I plugged them into a Crush Debt Spreadsheet that helps calculate payments and payoff times. I had to add a few more lines to accommodate all 12 debts as well as copy and paste a couple boxes. After we initially entered all our debts with interest rates, we then went through and figured out how we wanted to pay stuff off. There are 2 main ways to paying off debt. The snowball method: Paying off the smallest bill then using that money to pay off the next smallest bill and then using the money from the last 2 bills to pay off the next smallest bill and so fourth until you pay off all your bills. This is a good method to quickly see some small bills disappear and then watch larger bills disappear rather quickly. The avalanche method: Pay more money to bills with the higher interest rate until paid off then use that money to pay off the next higher interest rate bill and so fourth. Similar to the snowball but you go by interest rate. This method you’ll see pretty much a good chuck of your bills disappear at once but it can feel like it takes longer even though it really doesn’t. Both methods are great and it just depends on what kinda of debt you have and what goals you want to achieve. I personally like the snowball method because I get great satisfaction by completely paying off a debt.

Once we had all our debts entered into the spreadsheet and what method we wanted to use, we then prioritized our debts with a 1 – 12 (1 being the debt we want paid off first). Then we went through to see how much extra we could allocate towards that bill. We don’t want to sacrifice our lifestyle so it just means we have to watch how we are spending our extra money for our lifestyle and slightly alter it if needed. We calculated our base living which is how much we have to pay a month for each bill at a bare minimum including our debt. On a sheet of paper I wrote out each of our monthly bills for living along with our monthly payments on everything. I typically don’t like paying the bare minimum payment on any debt but if it helps pay off a couple bills quicker then I will for a couple months. After I calculated how much we have to pay at a bare minimum, I then figured out how much money we bring home each month and then used the remaining to create a budget. We still have money to put to savings and money to play with but I found we have a couple extra hundred dollars that we can put towards a bill. That just so happens to allow us to get one loan paid off by next month and then by snowballing that, we can pay off a second loan by October, and then by continuing to snowball and watch our pennies we can pay off a 3rd loan by November or December. Then unfortunately we start getting into the larger debts so we decided to take the highest interest debt to payoff after the first 3 debts. That one will take us almost a year to pay off but by the end of next year that means we will have paid off about $20,000 of debt in 1 year and 3.5 months! I think that’s pretty amazing when you look at it like that. It gives you a bigger perspective and a great goal to achieve.

I know not everyone has the same situation as me but it’s good to feel like you have a handle on your finances. I’ve struggled for years just barely trying to make the minimum payments on some debts but when you get to a place where you can lay it out, it still depressed the fuck out of you, but at the end you have a plan and a goal and it makes you feel slightly better about it because it’s all in front of you and you can control it. If you decide one month that you want to take a trip or something else comes up and you had to put your extra money somewhere else, all you have to do is adjust the dates in the spreadsheet and calculate your new goal which won’t be far from your previous one.

Finances can also be hard because they aren’t always taught properly in schools but there are a lot of blogs and articles that help guide you through financial debt which is how I got to where I am and how I found the spreadsheet which I modified. Best of luck to you! Let me know if you have any questions.

Calculating Life,
Jessica G

Designing and Old Dominion Concert

Three piece moose

Three Piece Moose Design

USA Map Design

USA Flag Map (2 pieces)







Playing with the new computer has certainly been fun. I’ve mostly been using it for designing for Dakota Rustic Creations (DRC). I’m now helping manage the FaceBook page (I need to get better at posting more for it!) and I’ve been learning how to help in the shop on some projects since we now have 8 orders to fill!

Besides working our butts off, my boyfriend Oliver and I went to an Old Dominion concert while they were here last Thursday. I’ve been looking forward to seeing them since I found out they were coming here. Their album doesn’t have a song I don’t like. I stood up and danced and sang along to pretty much every song they played. It was awesome because Oliver even danced with me to half of them! He isn’t a big dancer but every now and then we tear it up. Sadly my phone sucks at taking pictures and the best ones are on his so I don’t have a photo to show you but here is one of their songs. The best thing is that they sound just like their album and even better in person!


Our next concert is Three Doors Down next month, then in September we are going to Tim Hawkins (comedian), then in November we are going to see Hairball again, and then in December we are going to Home Free for the second time this year. It’s been a year full of concerts and mostly fun with a few dips. I can’t wait to tell you more about some of the projects we are working on at DRC. We are hoping to finish up about 4 more by the end of this week and get started on a couple other fire pits!

Calculating Life,
Jessica G

Money, What Money?

I hate spending money. If it’s for food or gas or coffee I don’t mind spending a little bit but anything more than $100 just freaks me out. The most expensive thing I own is my car which is completely paid for and it’s only $3,000. I don’t like to have extra bills that are unnecessary. I would rather go garage sale shopping or thrift store shopping to save a few bucks.

My main reason is because I’ve never had money to spend. Most of the time, we were just hoping we could cover bills for the month let alone anything else.  Over the last year, even though I had to start paying my student loans back, I’ve been financially better. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not rolling in the dough but I’m not too worried if I don’t get as much my next paycheck. I still technically live paycheck to paycheck but it’s not a scary, I need my paycheck now and it still won’t be enough.

That being said, I don’t ever buy myself anything. I always try to patch my jeans several times before buying a new pair. I only buy myself something if I actually need it. Since last December I’ve been saving money and not using it for anything in case of emergency and I finally have enough saved up for about 3 months of expenses. That slightly changed last night.

Since I graduated school and had to give back my laptop, I’ve wanted my own laptop which I’ve never had. However, the one I’ve been really wanting since last year is the Microsoft Surface Book which is about $1,500. After talking to Oliver and K, I finally bought it last night. They both told me to do it but I was really hesitate of spending that much money on one thing especially one that I don’t really need. They both encouraged me to do something for myself. K pointed out that it would only take about half of my savings, which if I wanted to, I could replenish in a couple months if I cut out a few things, and that I’ve never gotten anything for myself, plus it’s my dream laptop. Oliver stated it’s my money, I can do whatever I want with it, and that we don’t need to worry about having extra savings because we are doing pretty well right now. I told him I could use it instead to pay off other bills or for a beach vacation and he told me not to worry about that because we can save up the money for that.

After searching about 10 different sights, Microsoft actually had the laptop for the cheapest price and I also got the 2 year accidental damage insurance just in case. I was pacing around the apartment and kept going back and forth and I would look at it then walk away and sit on the couch, then go back and look at it. Finally after about 2 hours or so, I put in my card information and bought it! Then even after I bought it, I freaked out that I spent too much money but I know it will be okay to buy myself this one thing I’ve wanted for over a year.

Calculating Life,
Jessica G

Relationship Paranoia

I have a fear that one day Oliver will wake up and just stop loving me. It’s not a completely bat shit crazy fear because it’s happened to me before. The paranoia of thinking he will change his mind usually gets pretty bad when something disrupts our ‘daily’ relationship, especially when I do something stupid.

Last Friday night we went out to our favorite watering hole and ate dinner and had a couple drinks. We ended up drinking a lot more than planned. I was completely trashed and when I get that trashed I get really friendly and talkative to everyone. There were about 7 other people in the bar that I don’t know but I just started talking to and started ignoring Oliver.  I was also becoming more demanding and a bit of an ass towards him. It wasn’t my intention and I didn’t realize what I was doing at the time.

We took a taxi home and then I proceeded to get sick which thankfully Oliver got me a pan in time to puke in because I could barely roll off the bed let alone get to the bathroom. While puking I also told him to “fuck off” which made him mad so left the room and that’s when I realized my mistake. I don’t remember exactly why I told him to “fuck off” but I know I should’ve never said that. When I realized what I did, I started telling him I’m sorry. When he came back in, I was still on the floor with my head in the pan. He helped me up into the bed even though I wanted to remain on the floor.

The next morning I didn’t remember everything that happened right away and I still felt pretty sick. Thankfully Oliver brought to my attention of how much of an ass I was. He was really nice about it but he said it bothered him and I quickly started apologizing and trying to figure out why I acted that way towards him. He pointed out that I was picking on him but it seemed like when he started picking on me (in the same manner), that I didn’t like it which is a double standard and I hate that I couldn’t take what I was dishing out. He also mentioned that he knew that I didn’t realize what I was doing at the time. I tried apologizing for that saying I should’ve known better but he also pointed out how could I if no one said anything to me at the time. I still apologized for everything and thanked him for understanding and helping me.

After all that, my paranoia kicked in. I knew I messed up and I’m really good at being really hard on myself. After thinking about it most of the day Saturday and Sunday, I finally had enough courage to bring it up to Oliver. We decided to go for a drive and look at houses, mostly ones we know we can’t afford and that aren’t for sale but just to look and dream and talk. We started heading towards his parents and I finally asked, “Have you ever had the thought that you don’t want to marry me?”. His head turned so fast, and he gave me this crazy look. I thought he was going to drive into the ditch the way he jerked. But that look was all I needed. He said no and asked where in the hell that came from. I told him that I’m just being paranoid because of how much of an idiot I was Friday. He told me I wasn’t an idiot and it’s okay. He still loves me and wants to be with me.

Calculating Life,
Jessica G

P.S. After he read my journal, he wanted to read more because he really like reading about him and us and mostly our ‘sexcapades’ but since I don’t write in detail about all that stuff here, I may have to start writing in my journal again about some things and everything else here.

New Step

My boyfriend, Oliver, read one of my older journals tonight. We’ve talked about pretty much everything in it because it was written right around the time we met but it’s very personal and makes me vulnerable to have him read it because it contains all my personal thoughts and feelings. I like it but it scares me because last time I let someone read my journal they hurt me severely.

Since my last post a lot had happened including spending 4 days with Oliver in Kansas for the Kicker Country Stampede which was hot but a blast. I’ll try to write more tomorrow and let you know how it goes when he finishes reading my journal. He also knows about my blog and will more than likely start reading that after he finishes the journal he is working on.

Have you ever let anyone so close to you read something so personal? If so, how did it go?

Calculating Life,
Jessica G