We spent October in Big Pine, California, a small town (around 2,000 people) near the Eastern Sierras. We chose it for its proximity to various fall color locations and Yosemite, where we camped for a few nights near the end of the month. It has been a long time since we visited Yosemite and it was great to go back. Kara took a watercolor class for two days while Stephen was up getting sunrise shots. On the second to last day, it rained quite a bit in Yosemite Valley. This turned out to be a major issue because our 3-4 hour drive back to Big Pine turned into an eight hour drive since Tioga and Sonora Passes were closed due to snow. It made for a very long day.
We also made a visit to Manzanar, the internment camp where the U.S. government held people of Japanese descent during World War II. Even though it was depressing, we love that they are now restoring and rebuilding parts of the camp to turn it into an educational opportunity.
At the end of October, Kara noticed something strange in her Stanford retirement account – a $385 matching contribution from Stanford, made in June. As a temp, she’s no longer eligible for matching contributions, so the deposit was a puzzle. It was the only contribution so far this year. After a few phone calls, we found out that it was not a mistake as we suspected. Apparently, it was a matching contribution from last year that never made it into her account for some reason. While investigating the issue, Kara noticed that the Fidelity website showed an option to contribute money to her retirement account through a tax-deferred annuity (this is Stanford’s non-matching retirement program). She didn’t think she was able to contribute to it anymore as a temp, but another call to Stanford revealed that indeed she can. She quickly updated her contribution to 100% of her pay for the rest of the year. We wish we had discovered this sooner.
On Halloween, we drove to Joshua Tree and camped overnight before heading on to San Diego. We are staying in an AirBNB apartment near balboa park while we look for a long term lease.
We were back to a much more modest income for October, especially since we were camping for part of the month. As long as they continue to give Kara work, she’ll probably keep doing it. She loves being able to work whatever hours she chooses and where she chooses! It doesn’t hurt that she really likes the people she works with. She is enjoying it far more than she expected.
Kara’s Stanford income $ 2,500 ($2,076 net after taxes)
Stanford matching contribution $385
We spent quite a bit on gas in October because we drove back from Toronto to California, then drove quite a bit around Mono and Inyo Counties and to Yosemite and back.