You can't imagine how much it made me smile to write that title again. I made a monthly deposit of $500 as well as a deposit of $34.50 from ones and rolled coin out of the coin jar.
And I'll get to make another one in a couple of days when the interest hits.
$25,943.37 Beginning Balance
$26,477.87 New Balance
You can't imagine how much it made me smile to write that title again. I made a monthly deposit of $500 as well as a deposit of $34.50 from ones and rolled coin out of the coin jar.
Alright, so after all is said and sifted, I am left with a grand total of $25,943.37 in savings. I have made the decision for it all to be the Emergency Fund and to have an empty Down Payment Fund for now. DH being unemployed set us back about 3 years, I think. There is no way we can think about moving at the moment, so I'm taking that fund off the table until I get the EF where I want it to be.
So where do I want it to be? By the end of this year I want it to be at $30,000. I'm not stopping there, either. Based on our expenses while DH was unemployed, we needed $6000 a month to survive. $1337 of that was for our monthly medical insurance premium, and about $650 was for medical out of pocket a month. So $2000 for medical each month and $4000 to pay bills and live on.
So we never figured he'd be unemployed more than 6 months and that wiped out our $20,000 Emergency Fund in 4 months. It would have been gone faster if we hadn't had a month without insurance. So my ultimate goal will be to have $72,000 in the EF, a full year of expenses. I know that will take a while to get to, and that's okay.
My incremental goals will be:
I figured that way divides it up into living expenses for a month. To hit $30,000 by the end of 2017 I need to deposit $500 a month for 8 months. I can do that. I will probably scrape up more here and there as well. I'd like it to be $1000, but I need to start paying Mom back on the loan, something that will take 3 years to pay off if we can swing $1000 a month. I still want it gone more than anything else.
Of course I will also set mini-goals for the EF. Every $1000 is what I used to do, so probably what I will do again. It will feel good to start making progress again each month instead of hemmorhaging money for 3/4 of a year.
I have switched my meal planning from Monday through Sunday, to Wednesday through Tuesday. That's because the sale adds come out on Tuesday and go active on Wednesday, so if I'm going to buy anything I can then incorporate it into my meal planning right from the start.
I was lucky this week that I not only found a lamb roast heavily marked down, but a non-GMO, free range, antibiotic free, not injected with anything to enhance it turkey for $25. It is 13 pounds, so that was less than $2 a pound. Usually this type of turkey sells for around $68. That is a savings of 64% of the original price. Plus they had a really good sale on organic bell peppers.
So all of those things heavily influenced my meal plan and were incorporated into it. We'll be using the other flank steak we got on markdown a couple weeks ago this week as well with the bell peppers.
Baked Root Vegetables
Steamed broccoli leftovers
Beef Carnitas (onions, peppers, tortillas)
Leftover Turkey Casserole
Leftover Green Beans
Turkey Noodle Soup
The doctor did call and tell me that my ESR and CRP tests were both positive for massive inflammation, with a high sedimentation rate in the ESR, which is indicative of an autoimmune disease. The rate should be between 0 and 20. Mine is 45. My ANA is negative, which means I don't have lupus, thank goodness. That's the one that was positive on my daughter. My CRP is 29.2. Normal range is 0 to 7.9. My CMPA is normal. My thyroid is normal (it always is).
She thinks it is most likely to be rheumatoid arthritis, which is different in many ways from regular old osteoarthritis. Based on my symptoms that is the direction I was most heavily leaning myself. It definitely explains why sometimes I'm fine and sometimes I'm not. So now I need to make an appointment with the rheumatologist for me.
If it is not one thing it's another. Hopefully they can do something there to at least improve my quality of life. I know there is no cure.
Oh, and I am most definitely not allergic to peppers or tomatoes. She tested for that, too. It is good to know without a doubt. I am still wearing gloves when I cut them up.
Yesterday I got hit by the spring cleaning bug. My son and I reorganized 4 out of 5 of our cupboards and it is so much better now. We took everything out and wiped down all the shelves and then moved some things around. It is much easier to get to all of the storage containers now, not to mention the cups. We have one more upper cupboard to organize and four lower ones. One of the bottom ones was reorganized about two months ago, so it was fine.
I also redid the washcloth drawer and cleaned out the junk drawer so it can hold hand towels now. We got the kitchen floor cleaned off. I had some boxes of things that needed to be dealt with that were at one end of the kitchen and so I dealt with them and then there were some empty boxes that needed to be broken down and taken outside and a couple bags of canned goods that had never been put away. That got taken care of, too. The floor get well swept, but it still needs to be mopped. Hopefully I will have enough energy for that in couple of days.
I cleared a lot of stuff off of the long counter and put it away. Most of it does not need to be out all the time as it doesn't get used that often. So now all that is on that counter is the Kitchen-Aid, the crockpot, the Keurig, a box of storage lids and my rabbit medical kit. That last thing could find another home, but not until I get an additional bookcase in my room.
I did a lot of little things, like combining 3 partial bags of panko into one container, two partial bags of brown sugar into the canister, combining two containers of salt together, that sort of thing. I found the package of bucatini that went missing 3 months ago in a place I'm pretty sure my husband had to have put it, so now I can make pasta carbonara if the ducks ever start laying eggs again.
I reorganized the spices and the teas and the jams, the storage bags, crockpot bags, and oven bags, the freezer tins for cook ahead meals, and the numerous boxes of Clif bars, granola bars, fruit walked into a bar bars, etc., that everyone but me eats.
After I do the remaining cupboards, that just leaves me with about four boxes currently stored under the kitchen table to go through, my bedroom closet to finish, and the stack of boxes next to my armoire to go through. There is also a small section of the laundry room left, and a couple boxes in the hallway but once that is done, then the house should well and truly be tidy and organized. Except the kids' rooms which are slightly chaotic, but way better than they used to be.
I would like to get it all done before DH gets home, but that will depend on my energy levels. I got my test results back from the doctor and I definitely have something. But that is a post for tomorrow.
I think I might actually be starting on the upswing now with this head cold. I woke up feeling less tired than when I went to bed, it took less time to clear the gunk out of my nose and throat because there was less of it, and I had just enough energy to get a load of dishes and a load of laundry going. Of course, then I had to sit down because I am still a bit light-headed. I'll pace myself today, but if I can manage to get one more load of laundry and one more load of dishes done after this, I should be caught up. Unless I decide to change the sheets, but I may wait and do that tomorrow. Baby steps.
I watched the first season of Back in Time for Dinner. It was really interesting how food, its availability, its method of preservation and production and preparation all impacted family life and especially the lives of women.
I would have been quite frustrated during rationing and I know my family would have felt hungry with such small amounts of meat. We would have had to grow a lot of potatoes in our garden to make up for the lack. Potatoes will fill you when meat is scarce. The lack of fat would have been difficult, too. As farmers we would have been better off than most, but still...if we had to live under their exact conditions, than potatoes it would be.
I came away from the series with a greater appreciation of the abundance of fresh food we have today and the ease with which we can prepare it. It made me grateful I live now, with refrigeration and microwaves and freezers and dehydrators.
I see there are a couple more seasons available, so since I still have to rest a lot while I finish getting over this cold, I will probably tuck into those. I am getting a lot of granny squares crocheted for my bedspread so at least I don't feel completely unproductive.
I do have to go out and buy eggs at some point today. The birds are molting so I'm not getting any duck eggs at all. Or else they are hiding them again. I'm too sick to brave Costco on a Saturday. They have the cheapest organic eggs. I'm not even sure I want to brave Safeway on a Saturday, but I'll have to since Haggens is way too expensive for eggs. Plus I like the doughnuts at Haggens and they are hard for me to resist when I am sick and I am doing so well with the diet it is not worth putting them in my path. Maybe I can sit in the parking lot and just send my son in with a $20. That might be the easiest solution all around.
I was able to get myself down to the feed mill and back, but I can tell you that I was really glad that I wasn't doing it a couple days ago when this cold first hit. I had a bit more energy today, but still have had to take really long rest breaks.
I started making dinner at two. It was a stir-fry and I knew in order to get everything prepped I'd have to take it in stages with breaks in between. It wasn't too bad doing it like that and by the time 5:30 rolled around I had rested enough to do the actual cooking. It was good to have a whole meal that was healthy tonight instead of adding a salad to pizza or pasta.
DH figured out how to deposit his first paycheck over the internet. Since we don't have smartphones we've never been able to do the take a photo to deposit a check thing, but now our credit union has an app that allows a tablet to use it so he was able to deposit it that way. It won't show up until Tuesday, but that is better than waiting for it to show up in the mail.
His per diem will be on it as well as his training pay, but not his airfare reimbursement, so we will still have some money coming for that. It will be so nice not to have money being lost from savings anymore. These first couple months will still be tight because of medical, but once the new insurance kicks in July 1, I feel like we will be on the home stretch. I am not sure if we will be able to save any money until then, but at least we shouldn't have to take any more out.
DH seems to be enjoying his new job and liking the people he is working with, though there is a lot to straighten out to get things running smoothly. People seem to be real happy to have him there, which is always a good thing.
Today was finally a no spend day, by dint of the fact that I didn't go anywhere or do anything. I spent the majority of the day resting. This head cold has really knocked me for a loop. I did manage to make lunch and dinner and do the evening rabbit check with my son. I also put one load of laundry that I washed last night into the dryer, where it remains. Considering how I am feeling, I call that a victory.
Tomorrow afternoon DD has a follow-up with the allergist, so that will be $50. And DH has to call in a feed order for turkey food for us to pick up on Friday, which will likely be around $100. Now that the mill has moved counties I have to buy in larger amounts so we are not making the trip all the time. It was a lot more convenient when it was just a couple miles from my house. I just hope I have the energy to drive down there Friday. I guess I'll have to. If I wait until Monday, the turkeys will be completely out of food.
I also have to pick up some black oil sunflower seeds for the rabbits as we are almost out. They get a tbsp of that each daily. It makes their coats glossy. It takes a long time to get through a bag, but we are almost there.
Speaking of the rabbits, the premature kit had his eyes open tonight, so now they all have their eyes open. He is also catching up in size to the smallest of the rest of the litter. They are moving into the too stinking cute stage now. Between two weeks and five weeks is when they are the most adorable.
The kids had to clean Gina's nose out tonight. I would have gone out if they had needed me, but fortunately they did not. Gina was so grateful. She'd managed to get mud lodged in her nostrils and was only breathing through her mouth. If you've never seen a turkey panting before, it is quite a sight. At first she was less than thrilled about being restrained, but once she realized what they were doing, she went completely limp and let them do it. She did her happy whistling trill afterwards.
George wasn't happy, but they'd had the foresight to lock him in the pen before they went after Gina. The last thing anyone needed was a protective tom going nuts on them. He's usually a mild-mannered fellow, but not if he perceives there is a threat to his mate.
I am well ahead of target for reading 50 books for the year. I am currently reading the latest Icicle Falls novel. My hold finally came in at the library. Of course once you go pick up one, that same night you get a notification that there are 4 more waiting for you that were not ready when you were actually there. Oh, well, free books are worth the trip and it is not that far.
I am probably going to earn around $500 to $600 this year through youtube and adsense which is considered self-employment. If I put all of that money into an IRA will I still have to pay any taxes? I am still trying to figure out how the whole self-employment thing works.
Today I managed to drive DD to the doctor for the follow up on her eyes. That was a $50 co-pay. Then we went to the pharmacy to get the prescriptions I was too wiped out to pick up yesterday, and also got some psuedophedrine and a nasal rinse kit, so spent $31.91 there.
Then we stopped by the store and DD ran in and got some Breathe Easy and some Throat Coat tea from Traditional Medicinals, so that was $14.97.
I went to bed after we got back home, then got up briefly to tell DS where to dump the soil in the garden and then back to bed for a couple more hours, got up, cut up the rabbits we butchered last week and got them in the freezer, went back to bed again until night time, then went out with DS to take care of the rabbits, though I wasn't much more use than to do a belly check on the kits to make sure they were being fed (they were). And now I can't sleep. It's not like I slept during the day, either, just rested.
Dinner was TV dinners. I haven't done that in a very long time. Oh, well, a Fit Kitchen is still better than fast food or pizza delivery.
Last night I started getting a scratchy throat and this morning I woke up with a full-fledged cold. Sometimes I think spring and summer colds are worse than winter ones, because in the winter all you want to do is hole up and rest and in the spring and summer you want to be out there doing things.
I went to the doctor this morning, so $30 co-pay. I really liked the new doctor. I was her first patient on her first day. She really listened to me. She decided to order blood work and they'll be testing for rheumatoid arthritis, nightshade allergies, thyroid, and a regular blood workup that checks cholesterol and all that. Maybe some other stuff. They drew five vials. I have a follow up with my own doctor on the 4th.
I was a little light-headed afterwards, but I don't know if that is from the head cold or the blood draw. I ate and laid down for 3 hours. I'm not sure if napped or not. If I did it was a surface sleep. I hope I sleep better tonight because I still feel exhausted.
Bonfire's litter is doing really well. Her four bio-kits all have their eyes open, and her foster kit is catching up in size, but may not open its eyes for another week, if I adjust its age for being premature. It could be 4 day to 7 days from now due to that. It's a lovely litter and the broken red is just gorgeous.
We need to replace 12 cages. That will be quite an expense, but I've put it off long enough and it needs to be done. I will probably replace 3 at a time, just so I don't have the cartons taking up a bunch of room while we build them out. It'll go slower with just me and DS putting them together, but I don't want to wait until DH gets back to get started. Hopefully, by the time the cages arrive I will be over my cold and able to put them together.
Tomorrow is a doctor's appointment for my daughter and I will have to pick up some prescriptions that I was too tired to pick up tonight. So more medical expenses. Yippee.
Good health and wellness forever eludes us. It's not so much to ask for is it? I'm tired of being tired and I'm sick of being sick. I am blessed in many aspects of my life. I sure wish this was one of them.
I spent about 2 hours in the garden today and I will probably be paying for it for the next two days. I got all the strawberry plants that I had dug up and separated while DH was still home transplanted back into the garden. What had been in one 8 x 2 foot bed is now in three 8 x 2 foot beds and I have two 18 count flats worth of strawberry crowns still in 4 inch pots. I will probably sell them. The stores sell them for $1.50 a pot now so I can probably easily get 50 cents a plant.
After that I got about half of my copra keeping onions in. I need my son to add a bag of soil to the one end of the garden bed because it is much lower than the other before I plant the rest. I planted some blue lobelia, a blue harmony anemone, a purple and white cinnararia, and a blue and white cinnararia. I pulled some weeds, though there weren't very many in the raised beds, just a few.
I have some celery, curly-leafed parsley, and flat leafed parsley that I need to plant still, but I ran out of steam. I am really glad that dinner is in the crockpot. I made rack of lamb. All I did was cover it heavily with herbs de provence. I've made it several times before and it is always so falling off the bone tender and wonderful. I don't usually splurge for lamb, especially rack of lamb, but it was worth it for today. Sides are strawberries, broccoli, and baked sweet potatoes.
I am thinking of going...well, not exactly kosher, but eliminating all of the meats that were considered unclean in Leviticus. Which means bottom feeder fish, shellfish, and pork will be eliminated from my diet. Not sure about rabbit. Hare is excluded, but rabbit is a different species and not specifically mentioned. I think it probably is, though. We've been selling most of our rabbit anyway.
To be honest, sometimes having the rabbits really gets to me, like when we lose litters. Or during butchering time. Sometimes I think it would be nice to narrow down the numbers, keep a few for pets, a few for sales, and not have so much. But they pay for themselves and the family really enjoys the meat. So do I, but I do want to try this kinda kosher thing and see if it makes any difference to my health. I'd still make it for the others.
I can get on very well with the right kind of fish, chicken, turkey, lamb, beef, duck, goose, quail, etc. I eat mostly chicken and turkey anyway. I'd miss lobster, crab, and shrimp, but I don't eat much of that anyway because of the expense.
I see the doctor tomorrow morning. She's new in the practice. I am hoping she is not a ditz like one of the other female doctors and one of the other male doctors. I wanted to see my own doctor, but the receptionist thought I should get in for pain meds on Monday and we could figure out everything else from there. My doctor didn't have an opening this week, as usual. Who knows? If I like this woman, I may switch to her. I have no attachment to my own doctor. I'm lucky if I see him once a year and have no loyalty to him at all, though I like him.
I think I'll go to bed early tonight. I wish this exhaustion would stop. Two hours of fairly slow, but steady working, should not wipe me out this way.
I have never understood why it is that when you sign up with direct deposit with a new job, the first paycheck doesn't get direct deposited. In this day and age especially of quick electronic transactions, it doesn't make sense to me. Back in the day when this sort of thing was new instead of commonplace and they were still working kinks out it was a bit more understandable, but it should not be an issue anymore.
So while DH will get his first paycheck next week, it will be a paper check he will have to mail home. I was expecting that, though, and did not have any plans budget wise until the following week when he will get the second paycheck direct deposited.
It's going to be very weird going back to an income based budget. It has been 9 months living off of savings, the Christmas bonus, and the income tax return. I'm sure I will get back into the groove and be used to it again in no time, but it'll take some adjusting.
Except for automatic payments from the bank account I have been running everything through the credit card and then taking a chunk out of savings at the start of each month and paying it off. Watching the balance on the card made me more careful while savings was dwindling. I hope I maintain some of that carefulness as we go back to the previous method of doing things.
I have a feeling I'm going to want to spend freely when income starts rolling in again, and that is not something I want to have happen. We can't afford to do that if we want to get our goals accomplished, especially a 12 month Emergency Fund.
I'm not sure how fast that will happen, but it was certainly proven to us that $20,000 is not enough for a family of four when there is a prolonged job loss and you have to pay for your own insurance. My ultimate goal there is $72,000. That would give us $6000 per month to live on and pay for insurance. It took 10 years to get it to $20K the first time. I need it to get there sooner than that. It is just going to be hard figuring out how.
In other news, I missed my blogoversary. It was April 9th, 11 years and over 77.6 million hits ago that I started this blog. Seems like forever and just yesterday all at the same time.
So my foot is doing a lot better after the needle incident. Boy howdy was it difficult to walk the first 24 hours. I felt it quite a bit yesterday, but today when I stood up I didn't feel it when I walked. I can still feel it if I press on it with my finger, but I don't need to do that. It looks good. We couldn't really flush the wound, but we did smear antibiotic ointment on either end and I see no signs of infection.
Yesterday was a long day for me. I had to go to Walgreens and pick up a prescription for my daughter, $5. Fortunately they have a drive-thru so I didn't have to get out of the car for that. Then we went to Lowe's which is right next door and picked up some bags of garden soil, 2 major power strips with surge protectors and large separations between some of the plug-ins so when you have the giant plugs that will normally cover two plug-ins or the weirdly shaped ones that go sideways like a phone charger cord that will do the same thing, that is not something that will be an issue unless you have more than 3 of those. It also has usb ports in them. I spent $110.66 there. The two power strips were $52 of that amount.
After that I went to Rite-Aid to buy a padded envelope and then to the UPS store to mail DH his computer cord that he left at home. That cost $77 to do 2-day air to Alaska. He needs his computer usable ASAP though, so not much choice there. I'm going to be double checking his stuff next time. I don't want to pay that again.
Then we went to Trader Joe's and spent $82.28 on groceries. After that I picked up my daughter (my son ran all the errands with me to make sure I didn't fall down) and took her to the lab for another blood draw while my son walked home from the lab because he wanted to go for a walk. It took us 40 minutes at the lab. This time it was 6 vials of blood for 29 tests, as opposed to the 8 vials of blood last time.
By the end of all that I was wiped out. All of my joints were aching,my leg muscles were very tight, and I felt like I'd been put through the wringer. I think I've got something auto-immune. Either rheumatoid arthritis or MS like Dad had. But we are too busy getting my daughter diagnosed to deal with my stuff right now. After she is sorted I'll deal with me.
I was too tired to cook dinner so we grabbed fast food which was another $30.47. I felt bad about it, but I woke up with so much brain fog I did not think ahead and make it a crock pot day. I had no resistance by then.
Today will be better. I've got the fixings for loaded baked potato soup and the potatoes are already chopped up, so aside from cooking the bacon and assembling the soup, there is not that much to do.
We do have one errand to run today, but it is somewhere that has ride on carts so that should make it easier on me. I've also got my ankle braces and knee brace on this time. That should help, too.
I think I mentioned in a previous entry that the 401K with this new job is amazing compared to what DH had previously, which was no matching at the last company and 50% up to 2% at the one before that. Company B provides 100% matching of the first 3% and 50% matching of the second 3%. So if we can contribute 6% we can get all of the matching they do. If we can contribute 7% it will substantially lower our taxes.
Unfortunately if we want to rebuild our Emergency Fund, pay back Mom, and save for the farm down payment, we cannot contribute that much money. We can swing 3%, though, and if DH gets raises in the future our goal will be to get that to 7% as soon as we can, even if we have to do it 1% at a time.
I had thought it had said that it would be 6 months before employer matching would start, but I reread it all today when I was actually more than half awake and I can't find that anywhere.
It's run through Fidelity. While I have heard the name before, I have no clue if they are a decent financial company or not. I'd prefer Vanguard, which we've had in the past, and has always struck me as the best. Charles Schwab was okay and who we had with Company A, but I still wasn't as happy with them as Vanguard. It's not like we get a choice in the matter, though. Does anyone know about Fidelity?
Meanwhile I am working on making up the new budget. DH ran all the numbers for me so we know what we will be getting as take home pay both before and after they start taking out medical and with 3% coming out for the 401K. Actually he ran them so I knew what it would be at 1% through 10%.
After the Emergency Fund is restored than maybe we can up the 401K as well. We are so far behind with retirement savings. Plus in the next 2 years I have to save some more in the College Fund for DS to go to the technical college for the 2 year welding program. He will be working to save for it as well soon enough.
And DH wants to start on his BS. He'll only be able to do one class at a time so we can cash flow it, but that is okay. Each class is accelerated and takes 7 weeks if I remember correctly. It may take a while, but we have a little over 4 years before Company B's contract is up with parent company. Hopefully he can get it done in that amount of time.
Okay, so the medical plan is pretty good. They had 3 plans to choose from and we got the one that has the lowest deductible and covers the most. It will be $300 a month for our portion for the whole family. The deductible is $500 per person with a $1500 max per family. Generic prescriptions are $20 each. It is a PPO, but their coverage of non-PPO is decent. We don't have a list of doctors yet, but it is Blue Cross/Blue Shield so it is probably virtually everyone in town.
Dental insurance is $18 a month for the family. It covers cleanings and x-rays at 100%. It covers fillings and crowns at a decent percentage, too.
Vision is $50 a month for the whole family and allows for one pair of lenses and frames every 12 months. That is $600 for the year, but all four of us wear glasses and by the time we walk out of the glasses shop we've dropped about $1200. Exams are covered at 100%.
So our total out of pocket for insurance will be $368 a month taken out pre-tax. That is a far cry from the $1337 a month in after tax dollars we are paying now. We won't qualify for an HSA because of the low deductible. I do not believe they have a FSA available.
If we had gone with the $5000 deductible plan it would have been $100 a month for the family and the $15,000 deductible plan would have been free, but covers nothing until you hit that. We could have had an HSA with those plans and the parent company gives you $1000 to start it with each year. Doing the numbers though, with our prescription costs and number of doctor visits a year, our best choice was the $300 plan and honestly, I did not think there were companies out there that had insurance like this anymore.
The new insurance won't go into effect for 60 days, so we will have to pay for the more expensive Regence for May and June. After that, though, it will feel like life got a whole lot easier again.
I dropped DH off at the airport tonight and things will return to some semblance of our old normal now. It is going to be really weird to have him gone for so long after having him home for nearly nine months. He will be gone more than 3 weeks this time, because he starts training this week. Not that he needs it. He could teach the training, but each new company requires it. Last time he did the training he basically told the trainer what was what, because the trainer didn't know anything really and wanted to know the types of things he needed to know. Hopefully it is not quite like that again this time.
DH's first real paycheck will be on the 28th, but he will get something for training on the 21st. He won't get hazard pay for the training, he'll get 70% of harzard pay plus a per diem for food and the hotel. I believe DH said the per diem was $189 per day, but it might have been $169. His hotel that he's staying at is $77 and then he will have taxi fare and food costs. He will likely come in under that so there might be extra unless they are the type of company that will reimburse you up to that amount, instead of that full amount. Some only give you what you actually have receipts for. Also he will get reimbursed for his first ticket up there so that will be nice.
Company B waited so long to get back to him on what training days he needed to be there for that the only tickets left were first class. The difference between the coach tickets and first class was only $112 so DH figured he could pay the difference if necessary. I say if they couldn't bother to return his messages, they deserve to have to pay first class prices. They will also pay the change fee since his original ticket that he bought to go up on Thursday, the day he was first told, had to be changed.
His ticket went from $250 bought a few weeks in advance to $650. So if the Company B had been on the ball they could have saved themselves a lot of money. Oh, well. I really hope they are more on the ball about other things, though it doesn't sound much like it.
Oh, well, the 401K is a dream and so is the medical insurance. I will do different posts on those.
I've been pretty quiet the last several days as we have been doing everything that needed to be done that I need to have DH do. We bought duck feed, rabbit feed, and oats. The mill we get our oats and turkey feed from moved to the next county instead of ours. It used to be in my city. But at least it is at the near end of the next county and it is also on the way to the mill that does the rabbit feed. And there is a feed store in between the two that sells the organic duck feed we use.
We butchered and we mucked out the rabbit shed. We moved the chickens into the big coop as it was getting too hard to use the smaller one since 2 chickens won't get off the roost (one is injured and the other is old) and it is too small a coop to get inside. The big one you can walk inside.
We had 3 litters of kits born and lost 2. It was bad. We lost a total of 14 kits and one mother who we pulled 9 premature kits from that were a couple days short of term. 2 days is a lot in a 31 day pregnancy. I do not want to go through that again any time soon. There are five healthy kits now, though one is a couple days premature he is eating and his fur is coming in. He has become pretty vigorous, but he shakes a little so I don't know if he'll be normal or not.
We took stuff to storage, went through boxes and cleaned the house except for the kitchen and hallway. We donated more clothes. We got manure spread in garden beds and compost put on top. I did some planting. We got a lot accomplished but blogging wasn't one of those things.
Then tonight I stepped on a needle. It went in sideways somehow into the ball of my foot. It was a two inch needle and only 1/2 inch was sticking out. It hurts a lot. It was worse pulling it out than it was stepping on it. My son cleaned up the blood off the carpet and my daughter doctored the wound then washed the blood out of my sock and then out of her sock since she's stepped in one of the blood spots. It all came out.
It hurts to walk on it, but I can avoid that spot if I don't put any weight on the half of the ball that got pierced. I was going to start going to the pool again tomorrow morning, but I don't think I can do water Zumba on this. Maybe Monday.
I hope everyone else had a less busy week than I did.
March interest income is $22.52. It's been really hard to watch that number fall each month. In another couple of months it should start rising again, though. With us having to pay our own medical until DH qualifies through the new job, we won't be able to contribute much to savings for a while and might even have to pull a bit, but then once he qualifies, we should have a small chunk to start savings going again.
I had a chance to look through the benefits package for DH's new job that finally arrived yesterday. The 401K is going to be pretty darn good. He won't qualify for it until he's been with them for 6 months. When he does, they match the first 3% you contribute 100% and the second 3% you contribute at 50%.
So we will contribute the 3% for sure, but if there is any way we can contribute 6%, I want to. Although I'd prefer 7%, because that is when it'll make our taxes a wash. I think we might be able to do it, since we are used to living on so much less now, but we will also have the expenses of air line tickets plus paying our own medical for a while longer.
I'm not sure how much longer because of how they determine when you qualify for it in the paperwork is for normal 5 day a week 9 to 5 workers, not for slope workers. Maybe it'll just be if you put in 120 hours a month. Although that might be a problem on a 3 weeks on and 3 weeks off schedule since his work weeks are 84 hours, but if he only works 9 days in a month because of how it falls, that's only 108 hours the one month, while the other month could be 252 hours. The average of the two months would work out, but each month would not.
So DH will have to ask on that. It could be 60 days from when he starts, but it could also be 60 days plus the rest of the month he's currently in, since he is starting mid-month. So while he might qualify mid-June, it won't start until July, so that is us paying May and all of June, most likely. Once DH finds out, I'll do a post on the medical benefits, which are so good, quite frankly, they will make up for a lot of the past 10 years of nonsense we've dealt with.
Fried Chicken-Baked Potatoes-Green Beans-Apples
BBQ Pork Chops-Fried Potatoes-Cole Slaw-Canned Pears
Homemade Pizza with pepperoni, ham, peppers, and onions-Cole slaw-Pineapple
Baked Potato Soup-Salad-Pineapple
Spaghetti with Meatballs-Salad-Oranges
I've been spending a lot of time organizing today. I got all the medical receipts and statements with payment info on them entered into the January, February, and March budget spreadsheets, and then recorded all of the other expenses for the past three months. I usually do it as I go along, but I've been kind of lazy about it and allowed it all to pile up. After that, I got them all filed. Then I shredded anything I didn't need to keep.
It took a couple of hours, but at least I am caught up on current paperwork. I do have some stuff from last year I need to sort and file and then hopefully tomorrow I can start making a dent in one of the older boxes of paperwork. I think I still have three left to go through.
At least none of that has to be entered into the computer, it just needs to be sorted on whether it is a keep or a not keep, then sorted by year, then filed. I know there will be quite a bit that is just shredded as well. One of these days I will run out and be able to stay on top of things better. Each time I purge I get closer to that goal.
I have to get through the boxes before we can bring one of the bookcases in to the bedroom, since they are piled in the corner the bookcase will go into. I used to be such a packrat, but it feels really good to let go of all this stuff.
Once what is in the house is finished and in order, than we can start tackling the big storage unit. Whether we donate or get ready for a garage sale, I don't care. We need to get it down to one unit so we can lower our expenses. And if we can get it down to a smaller unit as well, that will drop the price significantly. We have lived without all of that stuff for so long now, I can't think that much of it is needed.
The books, the photos, of course, I want, but there is so much else that is in there. Excess kitchen stuff, though I do want my pasta maker and Tupperware and knives and the fancy silverware. There is a lot, though, that I know we just packed up to get it out of the house when we put it up for sale. I know there are tons of kids toys that they really cared about when we moved, but could care less about now at 17 and 20. I am sure there are all kinds of clothes, too, and children's bedding for toddler beds and cribs.
I think I'm just done with "stuff" in a way I never was before. It was hard to let go at one point, but it is so not needed or missed. Even some of the books could probably go.
I think it is infectious because my daughter and my husband seem to be going through a similar decluttering phase. My son doesn't have a ton of stuff in his room anymore, so he doesn't need to be hit by the bug. My daughter definitely did. She got 3 bags of old clothes out of her room.
There were a few shirts and sweatshirts my son took, since they were from my daughter's boy clothes phase. There were a couple of items that were mine and had been missing a while. And then a few other items that were too small for her, but that I can wear. I still have to try on two of the summer dresses to see if they fit, but if they do I will be happy because the sundresses I bought last summer are kind of baggy now.
I am losing weight well again now, so if I can wear a couple of these things and not have to buy new for a while until I lose more, that is helpful. DD is losing weight, but it is a bigger struggle for her and goes much slower. Maybe if she gets on the medication for whatever autoimmune disease it turns out she has, she will then have the energy to exercise and it won't be so painful on her joints when she does. It drops off her when she exercises daily.
Well, I guess I better get back to work now.
I had an appointment with the sleep doctor this morning so that was a $50 co-pay. He says I'm doing well enough now that he doesn't have to see me again for a year. It's the Dreamwear Sleep Apnea Mask. It has made a world of difference since I am a side sleeper. It doesn't leak like most of the other masks I've used, either. I am now able to get about 6 hours of sleep before I wake up instead of 4. Also, I can usually get back to sleep for a couple more hours. But on the days I can't, I am now running on a much better amount of sleep than I was before.
While I was at the sleep doctor, I made an appointment with the weight loss doctor. I haven't seen her since November when I fell. I am about out of the prescription weight loss medicine and have no more refills, so I didn't have much choice if I want to stay on them, which I do, because I still have a long way to go.
My daughter got her blood test results emailed to her yesterday and while we don't go back to the doctor until Tuesday for official reading of the results, from what we were able to figure out based on the internet, she does seem to have an autoimmune issue. Her levels of inflammation are off the charts and those two particular tests point in the direction of lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
Afterwards we went to the no spray garden place and picked up some plant starts. I spent about $55 on starts and then an additional $17 on a quart of honey. Most of my stuff will be planted from seeds, but I wanted to get a jump start on some of the cold season plants. I am going to do more succession planting this year, where instead of planting 18 broccoli plants at once, I'll plant 6, then two weeks later plant 6 more, and then continue that, so that I won't have a ton ripening all at once. It's easier to deal with it whether we are eating it fresh or blanching and freezing it for future use when there aren't mass quantities.
I'll do that with a lot of vegetables, kohlrabi, lettuce, carrots, beets, turnips. I am not giving cauliflower any space in my garden this year. It takes up so much room for a vegetable I don't even like that much. And I have a hard time growing it. Every other brassica grows like a dream in the same conditions, but cauliflower hates me. I'm also not growing cabbage, I don't think, because of the space it takes up. Organic cabbage is plentiful and cheap at the grocery store.
We are repairing the garden beds this afternoon and then I can get some things planted. I have to have the netting ready to go. I've already had a problem with the squirrels trying to dig up my onion sets, so that one is covered. They don't even like onions so it was super annoying to go out there and find them sitting on the surface because the squirrels didn't like it.
We have not received the benefits package yet that Company B was supposed to send to DH. Hopefully it will show up today or tomorrow. Usually it only takes 3 days from Anchorage to here. I am anxious to go over it and see what there is. Not super anxious, but I do want to be able to plan. I am such a planner and it helps to have actual numbers to work with.
His drug, alcohol, and fitness test was on Tuesday so the results of that should be back to us soon. I have no doubt he passed with flying colors as he doesn't drink or do drugs or smoke. He was able to do all the things asked of him in the fitness test as well. It's just more waiting, which I still dislike, but I am getting used to.
I think we will go down to the farm tomorrow. I am down to one jar of canned beef and one jar of canned hamburger and would like to buy more meat to can, because having it on hand on the shelf is such a time saver for me. So that will be an outlay of about $300.
I am also keeping an eye out for organic chicken breasts to go on sale or be in the markdown bins as I am down to 8 pints of canned chicken. I still have plenty of canned salmon and canned rabbit, though. Ideally, I'd like to have at least 8 more pints of chicken on the shelves.
I'm also going to make an order for 6 #10 cans of freeze dried onion dices. Those are making a huge difference for me and should last until my onions are ready in the garden in the summer. It's quite a discount if I order 6 instead of getting them one at a time as I need them.
Well, I better wrap this ramble up. It's time to go fix the garden beds.
My daughter had another appointment with the eye doctor ($50 co-pay) and she is doing somewhat better. The official diagnosis is uveitis and it was caused by some sort of microbe. It had improved with treatment and she was allowed to stop using the dilation drops and just use the ones that killed the microbes. She has to treat both eyes now, though, but only 4 times a day instead of every 2 hours.
He sent us to the lab after the appointment and they took forever. I've never seen this lab be so slow, especially when we walked into an empty waiting room. Eventually they got their act together, though, and she had 8 vials of blood drawn. He is looking for autoimmune diseases. She already has the one that is called granuloma annulare that we are aware of, onset with her last dose of the HPV vaccine.
He is worried most about lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, because her symptoms since receiving the HPV vaccine match up pretty closely with both, worsening with each dose given. The more I research that vaccine and all of the side effects, the worse I feel. I know hindsight is 20/20, but I still should have trusted my gut.
I let her make her own decision on that one as I felt she was old enough, but I wish now I had not, because I was leaning away from it, as it had not been around long enough and was rushed through approval. The reproductive system failures and the autoimmune diseases linked to it are piling up. All of the bleeding issues, everything seems to tie back to it.
Turns out that vaccine only protects against 13 strains of HPV and there are well over 100. So it isn't even particularly effective. Nor does it seem to be particularly effective in preventing the cervical cancer from happening that it was touted to do.
I don't generally subscribe to conspiracy theories, but the one that says this is about population control is starting to sound scarily realistic. The number of young women ending up with premature ovarian death and excessive menstrual bleeding after this vaccine is piling up. Well, if you kill the ovaries there will be no babies. You have bleeding that lasts ten or twelve weeks that is so heavy you soak a pad an hour with debilitating cramps, become severely anemic, and cannot live your life, you will be happy to go on the drugs that will stop it and incidentally prevent pregnancy. There is case after case after case of this if you dig deep enough.
Yet the government and the drug companies continue to insist this particular vaccine is safe and effective. It causes convulsions in many girls when given which sometimes leads to paralysis. How is that even allowed? I am furious about this. It never should have made it through the FDA to begin with. It's all about profits for drug companies. If it weren't, we would be allowed to sue vaccine makers in this country when they damage our kids, instead of them being legally protected from litigation by the government.
I am not an anti-vaxxer by a long shot. There is such a huge benefit in so many vaccines. But in my opinion this one is worse than what it is supposed to protect against. This one is a crime against women and girls and endangers the future of the human race. And now they are pushing it on boys, too. My son wants kids some day. He will never take that vaccine. Hopefully his future wife will have been saved from its ravages as well.
I've been thinking about Buendia's post the other day about how she meal plans at lunch as well. I've often wondered why I don't plan lunch. I know why I don't plan breakfast. I am too tired when I get up to stick to anything complicated. I tend to rotate between bacon and egg or two sausages and cucumbers. I don't eat typical breakfast foods in the morning like pancakes, waffles, French toast, biscuits, muffins, cereal, or that sort of thing. If I did, a meal plan might make sense. Also, everyone gets up at a different time, so there is no cohesive breakfast time.
Lunches are harder to plan for some reason. There are usually leftovers, but I don't know what and how much there will be. It's fend for yourself and while there are generally always sandwich fixings, I only eat high carbs at dinner time. DH tends to eat the leftovers and the kids tend to eat sandwiches. I will usually have chicken that is either leftover from a whole roasted chicken, or a bunch of legs that I cooked up for my lunches. I eat either salad or cucumbers with it, low-carb veggies of some sort. So with everyone having something different, it makes it hard to plan there.
Dinner is much easier since we are all eating the same thing at the same time. When I plan that out I plan a protein, a starch, a lower carb veggie, and a fruit. It serves me well to have this template as I can then just plug in what each item will be, and it keeps the higher carb foods contained in one meal, which works best for my blood sugar and my attention span throughout the day.
Why do you meal plan they way you do?
Last week was bad. We barely stuck to the meal plan at all and got takeout a couple of times. Cheap takeout, but takeout nonetheless. I was feeling cruddy, very lethargic, and generally not myself for some reason. I was starting to suspect the onset of depression, though it has been years since my last episode. But I woke up feeling better yesterday. Still very tired though.
I designed my meal plan this week to be more attainable if I don't get my energy back with a lot of crock pot cooking, microwaving, or easy assembly cooking. I don't know if I mentioned it, but I've started using freeze dried and dehydrated foods from Thrive Life. It helps me immensely to have prechopped onions and peppers that I just have to rehydrate for a few minutes before using. I will dehydrate my own this year, but this is nice to have in the meanwhile and saves me so much work at dinnertime.
Apricot Honey Pork Ribs (crockpot)
Fried (canned) potatoes with (freeze dried) onions and peppers
Broccoli (frozen, micro-steamed)
Rabbit Enchiladas (canned rabbit meat, frozen Enchilada sauce, precooked tortillas, preshredded cheese)
Rice (rice cooker, no babysitting) with Enchilada Sauce
Salad (preshredded) with fixings (prechopped)
Beef Stew (crock pot) with home canned beef, home canned carrots, and home canned potatoes
Rabbit Stir-fry with frozen, precut vegetables
Fried Rice (freezer)
Chicken tortellini (store bought) with home canned pasta sauce
Homemade pizza (frozen crust) with precut vegetables and meat
Cole slaw (preshredded cabbage)
Beef Pot Roast (crock pot)
Mashed Potatoes (instant, microwaved)
Home Canned Green Beans (microwave)
I think, barring any further unforeseen circumstances, that we are going to come out of this whole ordeal with $30,000 left in the bank. I've been going back and forth on whether or not I want to still consider that the down payment fund or just make that be the Emergency Fund and start the down payment fund over from scratch.
That might be a little disheartening. I know we won't be doing anything whether the money is called one thing or the other, until both funds are to goal, but I just don't know.
I could split the difference with $15K into each or $10K into one and $20K into the other. I know it is all semantics. I just hate having to start completely over with both.
I guess I am being silly. I need to do whatever will screw with my brain the least. I just need to figure out what that is.
Something is wrong with my daughter's eyes to the point that she started losing vision in the lower half of one of them today. Called her regular eye doctor who, is only an optometrist and he said take her to the regular doctor, so we did, just managing to get the last appointment of the day.
The doctor their said he could tell something was wrong with it, but it wasn't anything he had ever seen before and that she needed to go see an opthamologist and managed to get her a late night appointment with one (he came back after dinner to see her).
The diagnoses is one of two things. Either a virus that sprang from nowhere or a virus that is caused by an auto-immune disease. So she'll be going back next week during regular office hours and having blood work done to test for auto-immune diseases. The hope is it is just a virus. If it is, you treat it, it goes away. If it is a virus caused by an auto-immune disease it will go away with treatment but will reoccur.
Auto-immune diseases most likely to cause this are rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. I've long suspected she had an auto-immune disease, but I figured it would be MS like Dad or fibromyalgia. I hope it isn't any of the above, though.
This could get expensive. Our insurance doesn't cover labs until you've met the deductible. Although she might be getting close on hers. Her prescriptions were $210.
In other news, I paid the 6 month premium on the car insurance of $436.01 today and a medical bill for my daughter of $130. Plus a regular co-pay of $30 and a specialists co-pay of $50. The car insurance was down about $50 from last time. Our car is over five years old now, so I think that may be why.
DH got his schedule for his drug test for work so that's moving along as expected. I really want to see the benefits packet. I do hope it comes on Monday as it is supposed to.
We spent some time putting the cabinet together. We still have to add two more shelves, the top, the back, and the earthquake guards and then it will be done. It shouldn't take more than an hour. Hopefully DH will get around to fixing the two garden bed corners that are coming apart as well.
Company B came through. DH has a job. He starts April 14th. He'll be making more than he was when he was laid off from Company A, but not as much as he was before Company A's 9% pay cut. They said they'd mail out a benefits package and it should be here on Monday, so we will know how much medical costs through them and whether or not there is 401K matching and how long it is before he can contribute.
He'll be working 3 weeks on/3 weeks off, which is not the most favorable of schedules, the 2 and 2 is much easier on the family and is easier to budget, but a job is a job and we can't afford to be picky right now. The way I did the budget in the past on a 3 and 3 is that I'd take 2 weeks, which was for one month and the third week I'd put in savings until the next month's budget. Each month's budget only dealt with two paychecks, whether it was a month that had 2, 3, or 1 paycheck.
That's another thing I'll need to find out, whether the pay is weekly, every two weeks, or once a month. The norm up there has always been weekly, but who knows with this company?
DH ran the numbers for me so I could figure out the new budget. At least what the numbers will be before they start taking out health insurance and retirement. I should be able to start rebuilding the Emergency Fund, though not at the speed I'd like. My goal for it is going to be $30,000, because $20,000 was not enough. If it wasn't for the Farm Down Payment Fund, we'd be living on credit right now. So $30,000 with perhaps $60,000 as a longer term goal.
$60K would cover a year's expenses with health insurance for the four of us. Although I'm hoping that if there is a next time, my kids will be on their own and it would only be the two of us, which would be much cheaper to cover. Or at least working jobs where they can pay for their own health insurance.
My earnings from youtube and AdSense and Pinecone will go into the EF. And if I do publish my novel (which is coming along) after I finish it, any earnings from that will go to rebuild the EF as well, I think, though I would like to start an IRA for myself also. Plus the old coin jar and $1 bills trick, which always serves me well.
Once the Emergency Fund is rebuilt, we can start adding to the Farm Down Payment Fund again, although somewhere along the line, I'd like to purchase half a beef.
We have learned to live on so much less, but with income again we'll be paying my mother $1000 a month again for 3 years and that's a big chunk. Maybe buying a farm is a pipe dream. Maybe it'll be something I have to give up. Or scale down. I know we can be pretty self-sufficient on two acres, but I have always wanted five with at least two acres in trees so we'd have our own renewable wood supply and not be dependent on propane.
I don't know. We'll have to see. The important thing is that DH has a job and we can at last get things turned around and going in the right direction again. Thank you all for your prayers. They have meant the world to me.
I am starting to see a major dent in the deep freezer. There is still plenty of rabbit and hamburger, but the pork from our pork share is down to ribs. I think there is one package of beef steaks. There isn't much chicken, but there is some. There are still plenty of frozen berries from last summer, mostly blueberries, and plenty of frozen plums.
I am also seeing a big dent in our home canned items, though we still have quite a bit left. I am not sure we will quite make it all the way to full on garden production, but I think we will be getting lettuce, broccoli, and kale (we already have some kale) before we run out of green beans. I should be able to plant broccoli any day now according to the planting chart, but I haven't seen it out for sale yet.
Anyway, here is the meal plan for this week, based largely around what we already have on hand.
Pasta Romana with Garlic Parsley Sauce
Garlic Butter Chicken
Apricot Pork Ribs
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Rabbit Stew (potatoes, carrots)
Homemade pizza with onions, bell peppers, ham, sausage, and pepperoni
Toasted Cheese Sandwiches on Homemade French Bread
Southern Fried Rabbit
22 days ago on the 18th, DH and I got married in a little church that is no longer there, because they sold it, became a mega warehouse church, and completely changed into something they were not before. But I digress.
The plan for our anniversary was to go see Beauty and the Beast. It was our movie when it came out in the 90's when we were engaged and going to college. He was working at the movie theater and he had several free passes a month. Sometimes it was the only time we got to spend together, since I went to class in the mornings, then worked Noon to 8 in the restaurant.
After I got off work I'd drive to the theater and hang out with him in the projection room and we watched Beauty and the Beast many times. So we were going to see the movie, but I woke up with those extreme muscle cramps you get in your calf muscles and I figured sitting still for 2 hours without being able to stretch them would be a nightmare. And DH was tired anyway. We may go for today or we may wait for the following weekend.
So instead we celebrated by building me a new corner desk out of pallet wood and presswood cubes that I have had since I was a kid. We had to sand them down to get all the scribble marks and stickers that my kids put on them over the years off. We did not paint it as it is too cold yet to be painting outside, but we will eventually paint the whole thing white.
Here's the set up:
It's on the short side of the L. It holds my cooking magazines that I sill need to transcribe recipes out of and some homeschool consumable activity books. Then my box of tools that others are not allowed to use because they never bring them back. Then my sewing box.
The next cube holds all the OTC cold and allergy medicines for me and the kids. Then a shelf of the granny squares I've completed so far. Finally the last shelf holds our firesafe lockbox. We don't actually lock it though because the idea behind it is that it is just there for if there is a fire. I can get all the documents again, but it would be very time-consuming. Then up on top I've got my basked full of tape, sticky notes, and staples, emergency goat milk replacer, and the coin jar.
This is the long area of the L where I will do my computer work and writing I won't have much else on this section. Maybe an inbox. I will put up a painting on the wall overhead, though.
This is the set up at the other end of the long part of the desk.
The area beneath the long side at the far end of the desk is set up for homeschool paperwork, tests, and quizzes.
The area beneath the short side holds my yarn for crochet and loom knitting and the file boxes that contain our medical information for the past five years that we need to retain for tax purposes.
All in all I'm very pleased.
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