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Archive for March, 2007

Plans for Today

March 31st, 2007 at 07:37 pm

We're loading up the car for a trip to storage today. Most of the stuff we will be taking in this trip is stuff that has been stored in my closet pretty much since we moved in. It will be nice to have the space in there for other things. I've got 4 cubicles that can go there and organize stuff that is just floating around, mostly. Like my yarns and other knitting supplies, sewing basket, photo albums and cooking and garden magazines I don't want to recycle.

After that we are swinging by FIL's house and picking up his truck and we will load that up as much as we can and take it in.

We ended up with a 10X15 foot storage unit, that is also 15 feet high. We ended up with the bigger one because we wanted to be able to go through stuff there, instead of here at home. When we go through stuff at home it just seems to make the house a huge mess. Obviously I will be weeding out paper junk beforehand, but we will be putting the table up in there as a work surface so that we can figure out what we will keep and what we will try to sell on e-bay, and what might work for garage sales.

We also decided to move the majority of our bookcases and books in there. We should be able to fill the entire back wall with that. We will leave a space along the front of the bookcases and the other storage containers, and then leave a path down the middle of the unit so we can walk back and retrieve any book we might need later on, which is another reason for the larger unit.

It has been so long since I've had an organized house. The kitchen is about the only thing that stays organized and that's because it has a gazillion cupboards.

So how does this relate to finances? Well, when stuff is misplaced and I can't find it, I'll often go and buy a new widget. If I was organized I'd be able to find my existing widget. This happens far too often and I am tired of wasting money on widgets.

We've rented for six months. This summer we are hoping to build a new storage shed in our yard and then we won't need to rent one after that. But I think in the meanwhile it is worth the money for us to get the junk and excess stuff out of here. Not to mention it will make me a lot happier and not so overwhelmed with the whole "Where do I start?" in the house.

Payday

March 31st, 2007 at 07:36 am

Bills paid so far today:

$400.00 MC credit card
$400.00 House mortgage
$ 93.00 Power bill
$ 72.00 Cell phone
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$965.00 total

I still have to round up some other bills and deduct the upcoming auto payments for Life Insurance and the security system.

Not really much to talk of today. The doctor did start me on thyroid medication, so we'll see how that goes for the next six weeks. Well, I hope. I'm tired of being exhausted so much of the time. That was $21.99 for the new prescription.

Odds and Ends

March 30th, 2007 at 02:16 am

In addition to the $13 in rolled coin and $10 survey check that I deposited yesterday, I also had $25 in ones. So that was a total of $48 to the vacation fund. The new total in the vacation fund is $134.47.

Today was the day of the weekly auto deposit to savings of $10. I also had an additional $30 to add, so that is $40 that is being sent off to ING for the EF. That brings the new total in that account to $578.95.

We rented a storage unit this week and have started moving stuff into it, not much yet as its just whatever fits in the trunk on a day we are going there anyway. I think we may get a U-haul for one serious trip, though. But first we will try to borrow FIL's truck.

I had my carnial sacral therapy this morning and it went well. I am starting to see a bit more improvement.

DH came home yesterday so I drove to the airport to get him and we filled the car up with gas @ $2.95 a gallon. Ick.

Rose went to a birthday party last night and while we were out in that area we drove around looking at the houses there. They were gorgeous. This one for sale had a magnificent view of Mt. Baker and it was for sale so we grabbed the flyer. It was really an amazing house, 3000 square feet, tons of windows, custom built log cabin house with dark green trim, 3 bd, 2 ba, lots or room, granite countertops in the kitchen, huge decks, a loft, tile floor in the kitchen, hardwood floors in the other rooms on an acre of wooded land, jetted bath tubs and an outdoor hot tub. The roof was aluminum though and I don't like that. I like shingles. But it was still lovely.

The cost, though? Woo Hoo. $950,000! Holy guacamole. But I think for what it was that was a fair price, just not for us. I don't think I'd ever be willing to spend that much money on a house.

What am I Doing?

March 28th, 2007 at 06:21 am

I just went online and ordered 3 books from amazon. This is stupid. I know I'm reacting to the news of having to have another operation by spending more money on books. I suppose it could be worse, I could be reacting to the news by having a mega food binge, something I try not to ever do as a recovered bulimic (of 11.5 years).

After buying the 8 books yesterday I really should not have done this, or at least recognized what was going on. I've read three of them since I bought them yesterday. All hugely good books. The Wave, which I talked about yesterday was incredibly gripping after awhile, a real page turner. Then I read and finished The Girl Who Owned A City by O.T. Nelson, really, really good and I'll give it to my daughter to read since the main main character is 10 years old and a girl. I picked it up for Rose because it looked good but had to read it first, also because it looked good.

But the breaker was a book called A Crack in the Line by Michael Lawrence (I think, it might have been Matthew) which I could not put down at all. I even took it with me to T-ball practice and read it when my son wasn't up at bat. If you like parallel worlds in sci-fi and enjoy reading young adult fiction (which I happen to still love at the ripe old age of 37, mostly because it rarely has swearing in it but also because its often better than the adult stuff and it is also what I write), then it is definitely a book to check out.

And it is the first in a trilogy (Withern Rises) so guess what I went and bought on Amazon? Yes, books 2 and 3 and got side-tracked and bought another unrelated book. So easy to do. I wasn't sure if the 3rd book was out yet, but it was released a week ago, lucky me, so I went for the hardback on that as the paperback was not out yet.

I think I've got this spending reaction nipped in the bud now and hope not to have to report tomorrow that I did something like this again. I have to say I did hold back and not get the two Billie Piper books I wanted, but it wasn't easy.

More Doctor Stuff

March 27th, 2007 at 11:56 pm

Sigh. Well, I had my little outpatient procedure today and darn it all but I am going to have to have another surgery. I am so not a happy camper. I guess I can count myself as fortunate it will be a minimally invasive operation instead of the gut you like a fish kind the docs seem so prone to want to do with me. But still no sign of tumors of any kind, so I rejoice in that fact. It will be done inhouse in the office which has two surgery rooms, I will be knocked out, but it won't cost as much as going to hospital or the surgery center. So again, I will count myself as fortunate

It'll knock me down for about a week, but he said after 24 hours I can resume light duties or whatever. I assume that means dishes and laundry but I will do my best to make sure that is all out of the way ahead of time. And I may be unfrugal and just spring for microwave save paper plates and bowls, some plasticware and a bunch of napkins or paper towels to get through the week with. Maybe make up some dinners ahead of time for the freezer, or really be unfrugal and just stock up on Marie Calendar TV dinners.

I'm waiting to see what dates are available. If I can get it done on the 13th or 15th, I'll do it before I go to Disneyland so I'll have 2 full weeks to recover. If not, than I will wait until I come back and do it second week of May.

I will try hard to keep a positive spin on this, but I so hate having surgery. And I'm a bit annoyed at my body for being so useless at times. But it could be so much worse, it really could, has been in the past, this is just a minor repair jobby.

I guess DH's promotion and accompanying raise will have gone into effect just in time to pay for this when we are billed. Another thing I can feel fortunate about. Never having to put a surgery on a credit card again. That is something I wouldn't have been able to say a year ago. But I can say it now.

Vacation Fund

March 27th, 2007 at 11:45 pm

I rolled up my change jar today so that I can deposit it tomorrow when I go to the CU. I have:

$10.00 in quarters
$ 2.00 in nickles
$ .50 in pennies
$ .50 50 cent piece
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$13.00 rolled coin
$10.00 from NFO that I still haven't deposited
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$23.00 total to the vacation fund

Doctors and Shopping

March 26th, 2007 at 09:52 pm

Okay, so $15 co-pay for the doctor and my blood pressure is down to 114/80, so he decided to reduce my dosage from 40 MG to 20 MG, but make it one with a diuretic because I still seem to be swelling up way too much. And he gave me six weeks worth of samples. And a flu shot. My doctor gives flu shots in the spring and then again in the fall. He says they only really last 6 months without the booster. And he gives them in 2 doses, so I will get the booster dose in 2 weeks when I go back for the blood pressure check. He is good about combining appointments so that I don't have to make a seperate visit for every little thing.

He also sent me to the vampires, I mean the phlebotomist, for a blood draw to see if my throid might be underachieving. We do the test every couple of years because every single female in my family has an underactive thyroid. I have always been borderline normal. So that was another $15 co-pay.

I couldn't find any tops I liked or the CD I wanted so I decided to go to the bookstore. Like I'd find tops or CDs there, right? $61.82 later I decided I really should stay out of bookstores. I forget after about six months go by. But I'll have plenty of reading material to read on the plane for my trip. And at least I paid for them in cash.

So one of the new books I started reading today. I'm already 9 chapters in. Which isn't as much as it seems because the chapters are short and I'm only on page 49. So far so good, but a little weird. "It's called The Wave by Walter Mosley and I found it in the sci-fi section but it seems more like a supernatural fantasy to me. Maybe it was mishelved, or maybe because it didn't have a unicorn, a dragon or a vampire on the cover they assumed it was sci-fi.

Tomorrow I go in for another kidney test. I hope this will be the end of it. My kidneys haven't bothered me at all in two weeks, so I think it was just a long-term infection or I'd still be in pain. But everyone just wants to be sure. At least there are no tumors this time, so big yay in that department.

My goal for the month of April and these last few days of March is to get myself completely healthy for my vacation. I've done Disney sick and no thanks on that score. It ruins half the fun. So, I have to make sure I take my vitamins, do my one hour on the treadmill every other day and try to drag my sorry self back in to Curves. I always feel better when I exercise but its the starting it up again that is so hard to do. It also means not staying up past midnight writing, which is pretty hard sometimes when I get in the groove.

Today is a gorgeous sunny day. The creeks flooded 2 days ago after the deluge and there is still standing water everywhere. The main creeks is five feet across and normally it is down at least a foot from the bridge that goes over it. Now it is running with maybe an inch or two between the top of the water and the bottom of the bridge. And on either side of the creek there is water for a good 50 yards. I have never seen the creek flood this badly before, usually its maybe 20 feet on either side.

There is one house a mile down the road that has its driveway underwater and huge ponds on either side. Now the front part of their property tends to fill up but again, I have never seen it this bad. There were geese in it! Not just ducks. Really weird to see.

As far as I know, the river did not flood this time. Of course it may have further down up by Ferndale or Lynden when all the branches and tributaries have joined up on the last leg out to the bay. I know they were on flood watch. But I didn't see anything about it in the paper, so it may have just been the huge amount of runoff from the foothills as the snow melted and the rain hit hard.

I guess that about covers it for today. Or at least for this afternoon.

Money Out Today

March 26th, 2007 at 04:20 pm

I am going to the doctor this morning for a blood pressure check, so that will $15 out for a co-pay. He may or may not change my medication and if he does, he may or may not give me samples to try it first. If not, that will be a prescription co-pay.

I am also going to buy a couple of shirts today if I can find some that I like, so I can retire some old ones that have seen much better days. And one CD that I have been saving up for with the recyling money. I think that will be about $30 dollars between the shirts and the CD.

I hope to make it over to the storage place to rent a unit but that may not happen until Wednesday when DH is home.

And I need to buy gas but that's on the pre-paid Costco cash card that I loaded, so no money out there.

I also need to pay the medical mortgage, the phone bill, and the water delivery bill. So that'll be about $1100.

I was thinking about dropping the water delivery again but we had a test result come through on the tap water reservoir Saturday with e.coli again, so nope. I'd rather pay out for it than risk our health.

I Hate Taxes!

March 25th, 2007 at 01:46 am

Well, obviously. Everyone else does, too, I'm sure. DH found out why they took so much out of his bonus check this year. Apparently our wonderful IRS branch of our government has a new tax law in effect. (If you didn't recognize it, that last sentence was dripping with sarcasm). Bonuses are now considered income and are taxed at the higher 25% rate as well.

But you know what really sucks? Reimbursements are taxable this year. Reimbursements? How the heck can they consider the company giving you your own money back as taxable income!?! And at the higher 25% also. I mean come on. This one is utterly ridiculous!

I know we will get it back with a few thousand dollars with the next refund. But they already take way more out than they should. As I've moaned about many times before, we can't do anything about it. Because he works 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off, he only gets paychecks for 2 weeks out of every four, but they have to tax his checks as if he were making the same amount all four weeks (which would like double our income and put us in a way higher tax bracket). Our lovely IRS does not allow exceptions to this rule. And that extra $3600 each year would have come in handy during the year. That's $300 a month more we would net if we could have it through the year.

I really wish something could be done. We already take the maximum of allowable exemptions, just to get as much as we can. DH plagues HR each new tax year to see if it has changed, but nope. Of course it is in the government's best interests to not change the laws, they get a whopping (to me) $3600 a year from us that they get to earn interest on.

Anyway, just a rant. I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

More on "The Job"

March 24th, 2007 at 06:38 pm

DH has been told that his contract for the new job will be given to him to sign on April 10th and that the job will start on April 17th. I still don't know if I'll believe it until his signature is on the dotted line. Seems to me like so much could happen in the next 17 days.

I am trying to keep an upbeat and positive attitude about all this but I do not want to be disappointed. I guess I'm trying to keep a lid on my expectations, even as the light at the end of the tunnel gets ever brighter. I want to be happy and excited, but its more like I'm just starting to bubble over a bit. Holding everything in check until it is 100% in place.

I want this so badly because it means finally crawling out of this debt hole dug by so many medical bills. I want to be free of that burden and this is a means to accelerate that. Just the thought that in a few years time we will be out of debt instead of in years and years, makes me want to believe in the company. But I don't. Not yet.

Plans for Today

March 23rd, 2007 at 05:02 pm

Today is payday so I will be heading to town to do the banking, paying some bills and the medical mortgage, trying to get the doctor on the phone to call me in a different blood pressure medication and something for this nasty sinus infection that won't die.

And I will be dragging Rose around with me, unless I can get ahold of my mother and she can go be sick at her house. She did go to school yesterday since she was feeling better but then last night she spiked a fever again.

The last empty lot in our neighborhood is being de-treed this morning. It's a double lot, too. So we got to watch trees crashing down. I met the lady who is going to be putting a house on the lot when I was waiting with Tobias for the school bus to come. She seems nice. No young kids, just a daughter who is 16.

They put the JVA up at DH's work yesterday. They have to keep it open until April 4 even though they supposedly are planning on promoting DH into this position. Just another hoop to jump through and I still don't trust his company. We shall see. I really hope it all works out because this will be a huge income leap for us.

I have to make an appointment today for an oil change on the Blazer and I think the accelerator is wonky, too. Sometimes the little thingy next to the speedometer gets stuck up on 4, which it shouldn't be getting to to begin with. Usually it revs up to 3 if I'm going up to 55 than drops back down to 2 or between 1 and 2. And the sound it makes is different than normal. And you have to punch it to go in reverse. Still not going to fix the AC or the 4 wheel drive though. Finishing the 4 wheel drive fix is another $200 and they can't guarantee that it will indeed fix it.

We so need to replace that vehicle. At least the car is in good shape, other than I need to get it in for an oil change as well.

DH will be home on Wednesday so I can get everything sorted for late next week. I hope.

I'm in the Money

March 22nd, 2007 at 11:50 pm

Today I received:

$10.00 check from NFO MySurvey
$ 5.00 paypal deposit from PineCone
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$15.00 total to vacation fund

I also received notification from half.com that I will be getting $5.76 some time in the near future for the book I sold. The postage to mail it was $2.55 and they already took out the commission, so the net profit from that will be $3.21.

Can I just say I love PineCone. I took my first survey with them yesterday and the money for it was in my paypal account today. I don't know how prompt they are about sending out checks, but they are fast with the paypal option. So I transferred that to my vacation savings account.

I am still waiting on, but don't expect to actually see:

$ 9.00 from ReadRevenue
5.00 from Green-Cash
5.00 from DaysLook
5.00 from TinklyCash
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$24.00 total owed from PTR's

Survey Day

March 22nd, 2007 at 03:51 am

Today was the day of the survey apparently. I completed surveys from Lightspeed, NDR, GlobalTest Market, Zoomerang, and my very first PineCone survey.

Zoomerang seems to be going very well. I have not reached a point level with them yet to cash out for anything, but it was one of the sites recommended in a book I read months ago, I think it was called The Mom's Guide to Making Money on the Internet, or something like that. Anyway, when I do my first cash out with them I'll blog on it.

Not much else going on, really. I'm watching season 3 of Red Dwarf and working my way through my MyPoints backlog (still). Tomorrow I have cranial sacral therapy, and I'm sending Rose back to school. Her fever broke and her strep test was negative and she's well enough to whine about being bored. If you're well enough to whine, you're well enough to go to school in my book. She won't be able to sing in the concert tomorrow. She hasn't gotten her voice back enough. I think half her probelm is pollen. I know its mine.

Oh, $15 co-pay for doctor's visit today.

T-Ball

March 21st, 2007 at 06:19 am

Well, today was Tobais' first day of T-ball practice and he did pretty good. I'm not sure the coach knows what he is doing, he's never coached before, but he seems to have a good raport with the kids, which is really the most important thing.

T had a good time and his little friend from down the road is on his team so he's happy about that. Of course, that means he has a bit of a penchant for goofing off. I think he's going to be the class clown type.

Spent a little money today at the convenience store, got some soup and some diet lemon/lime soda for Rose. I think she may have strep throat. Its got that smell to it, so I think we'll be going to the doctor tomorrow, which will be a $15 co-pay. She's had a fever for two days and can barely talk. She's going to miss her singing concert this week, which is too bad as we were both really looking forward to it.

I've been getting a ton of writing done. I've hit my goal for the year of 365 pages so I've stopped counting pages. It really helped me to get in the habit of writing daily. Now if I skip a day it seems wrong.

DH emailed me today and they're putting up the JVA at work this week for the new position. Which means they've got funding, so it should just be a matter of waiting a little bit longer now. I hope so. I've spent the last six months doing nothing but waiting or so it seems. I'm so tired of that.

Vacation Ramblings

March 20th, 2007 at 03:43 am

I'm not really in a blogging frame of mind. I absolutely cannot think of anything remotely interesting to say. It's just been that kind of day.

I've got everything in place for my trip at end of April start of May as far as plane tickets (free, with miles), hotels are booked (all but one day half price with roommate), Blue Bayou reservations are made, and the registration check is waiting to be mailed off tomorrow. So all I have to do now is buy a park hopper pass and I'm set until its time to pack.

I think I will probably buy it online and have it mailed here or else buy it online but pick it up there. I need to see if there is enough time for it to be mailed here.

I am getting really excited. I haven't seen my friend S in 3 years and I am really looking forward to us getting together. As well as meeting up with a few other ladies later on at the convention that I haven't see in quite some time either. But S and I are going to be the only ones going to Disney beforehand.

I hope the weather is nice when we go. I can't say much good about the weather as the last few times I've been in Anaheim it rained for most of it. If I'd wanted a rainy vacation I would have stayed in the PNW, you know? Hopefully end of April is close enough to Cali's dry season.

Oh, look, I guess I came up with something to write about after all.

Baseball or Not Baseball

March 18th, 2007 at 05:22 am

I made sure before I signed my daughter up for softball for the spring that they would be practicing at her school, which is a mile from our house. Well, now they are saying we have to drive all the way to another school for practice as there were only 5 kids from Rose's school in her age bracket that signed up.

It's 30 miles to the other school from our house and its a long and winding road so it takes about an hour to drive there. With two practices a week that's 120 miles on the road for 2 round trips and 4 hours driving time. I don't want to do that and don't want to pay for the gas to do that.

I had a long talk with Rose and as I see it there are only two options, either she doesn't play or we see if her school has a 4th grade team. Because she does not turn 11 until August we had the option of placing her on the 5th and 6th grade team or the 3rd and 4th grade team. Well, of course she wanted to be with her classmates not her agemates. I don't even know if there is one, and I am trying to track down who I would even ask.

But...neither one of wants to put up with that much time in the car. And on top of that, Tobias is playing t-ball at their school on the same nights that she would be practicing at the other school, at the same time. No chance of running back and forth, no way to do it. DH isn't home enough and my mother has to deal with dad, who is having cataract surgery on Monday. She can't leave him to help me and nor should she. Dad has to be her first priority.

I feel bad for Rose. I know how badly she wanted to play. And Tobias really didn't care about t-ball, he wanted to play soccer. The only reason I didn't sign him up for soccer is because Rose wanted to play softball. Now I wish I'd just signed them both up for soccer, but its too late for that. I think. Maybe I should check. It might be possible as Tobias' team is always little, to get him on. And Rose might be able to get on a team as spring soccer is always less crowded than fall soccer.

I don't know that I could get the money back from baseball. Well, maybe for Rose but I doubt it for T. But I'll have to see.

Don't Tick Off A Blogger!

March 17th, 2007 at 04:04 am

The kidlets have happily convinced Grandma to have an overnight so I am completely free to do what I want tonight. Which means dishes and laundry then at least one episode of 24 and some writing.

I took a $1 survey today and am slowly getting caught up on my backlog of MyPoints.

I paid $1065.95 on one of the credit cards today. Drove to the little branch in the border town 10 miles from my house so I could get them in today. The new road is open now, so crossing back towards the highway is much easier now and takes about 15 minutes less time, going round the closer end of the foothill instead of the farther one. I could have paid them online but I had to stop by the post office there anyway and the BoA website is slow as dirt.

I filled up with gas after dropping the kids off with Mom, since I was in town. I wasn't happy with the price. $2.69 a gallon at the cheap station. I didn't want to go all the way to Costco today so I just went to the Arco. I won't make that mistake again.

I got really irritated at the cashier, who also happens to be the owner or one of the owners. I paid with a $50 bill, you have to pay ahead there, and when I came back in to get my change, he told me I didn't have any. It had only come to $36.95.

This is not the first time he has done this, it has happened a couple of times over the last year and it is always the same man. Last time he said he was trying to be "funny" or at least that was his excuse. It isn't always easy to tell, with his accent. But his accent always gets much thicker when he tries to pull this. I've heard him speaking perfectly good English with a much lighter Indian accent.

I think he was trying to rip me off. I just told him "What are you talking about? I can't understand you. I need change on pump 8." And just repeated myself until he gave me my change, the right amount, too. Don't tell me I don't have change and then give me the correct amount and expect me to think you don't know better. I will no longer be buying my gas there. I wonder how many folks have taken him seriously?

I am tempted to report it but don't have a clue as to who to report it to. The only reason I even went there was I had forgotten he had done this before until he was doing it. What is with people? As if the gas industry isn't trying to rip us off enough as it is, the owners are trying to get in on it now? Not with my money.

I don't usually do this because I like to be a bit more vague over where I live. I am going to this time, since it is not in the city I live in, just the one I was born in. This was the ARCO AM/PM on the corner of Bakerview/Airport Way and Bennet Drive in Bellingham, WA 98225.

It does not pay to make a blogger mad!

Sites I Frequent

March 16th, 2007 at 07:54 am

Well, this is kind of anti-climactic after my 100,000 hits post, which by the way put me over 1000 comments, two biggies in one day.

Anywho, I finally figured out how to work the sites I frequent portion of my settings (never looked under links before), so I have put down some of the sites I visit a lot. Only some of them are to do with personal finance. A couple of them are quite old-fashioned, but if you can get past sentences like, "Suppose your husband can only give you $30 for the grocery budget this week...", they can be quite informative and entertaining.

My favorite in that vein is the Home Economics Archive Research and Traditions, or HEARTH, that operates out of the Cornell Library. It has a lot of really good information from out of print home economics books between the mid 19th century to the mid 20th century. And a lot of is very helpful to frugal men and women today, again if you can get past the less than liberated women ideas. Worth it though.

Menus4Moms is like that, too but had good ideas for scrimping on the grocery budget but still eating pretty well.

I also threw in some legitimate survey panels that I have actually received payment from and did not ever have to pay them anything at all. And my two favorite authors and a couple of my personal fun/fan things to make it look like I am more well-rounded than I am.

100,000 Hits

March 15th, 2007 at 09:58 pm

Well, its been a little less than a year since I started this blog and today my blog's odometer rolled over to the big 100K. That's amazing to me. I know my readership has gone steadily up each month, sometimes each week. I know this because I am addicted to checking my stats pretty much on a daily basis. How lame is that? Is that better or worse than googling your blog name? 'Cause I've been guilty of that, too, LOL. Though that I've only done 3 or 4 times. That's getting to be more and more as well.

It's a weird feeling, knowing people are reading your thoughts, even when you are the one putting them out there. When I started out I didn't think anyone would be reading. I didn't have a clue about what happens when a blog takes off. Or pretty much what a blog really was, just a vague idea of it being an online journal. I certainly didn't read blogs before then. Now I can't imagine not reading blogs because I have learned so much about so many things, the majority of which are finance related, that have really helped me to get my act together. It's been a heck of a ride.

There are days that I think are so boring that what I wrote can't be remotely interesting and I'll end up with a ton of comments. Or days that an incredible amount of interesting stuff was written about and then no comments. If I hadn't been addicted to reading my stats I'd never know that people are actually reading it. Having those stats have kept me going when I was discouraged and thinking no one was paying attention. People are.

I like that. Anyway, thanks to my readers, you got me to 100,000 hits and that is pretty cool for this little ol' stay at home mom in the boondocks of WA state. Having something to say is pretty common. Having people to listen? Priceless.

Savings Update

March 15th, 2007 at 04:48 pm

The money from DH's auction showed up in our CU account today. It was also the day of the weekly auto deposit of $10 to savings. I sent both off to ING this morning. It is nice to have savings back up over $500 again.

$181.42 auction money
$ 10.00 auto deposit
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$191.42 total deposit
$347.53 previous ING balance
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$538.95 New ING balance

Made My First Sale on Half.com

March 15th, 2007 at 03:16 am

I made my first sale on half.com today. I'm not sure what the profit will be when all is said and sifted, and apparently they only pay out twice a month, so it'll be a bit before I know. But there will be one.

The Wonders of Technology

March 15th, 2007 at 12:49 am

And today is one of those boring days.

I did not do much today in the vein of saving money. I did take photographs of the three brand name spring sweaters I am going to put on e-bay and will try to download the camera tonight. I am not very good at that as I have only done it once and DH had to hold my hand through it.

I am totally backwards about technology sometimes. Although I have always been able to intuitively figure out any VCR or microwave (or word processing program) I've crossed paths with, the more advanced stuff waylays me. Once I get it I'm good. It's just a question of getting it.

I mean, how hard is it to take the little thingy out of the camera compartment and stick it in the dealy on the printer and let it sort itself out between the CPU and monitor? Doesn't seem like it should be such a challenge. Most of it is automatic. But then again, it took me two years to remember how to look at my photos on the camera without asking DH how do I do it. Sometimes it really is a case of PEBKAC.

And we won't even talk about locking and unlocking my cell phone keyboard so it can be on without accidentally dialing somewhere exotic like Mozambique or Zimbabwe or South Central Los Angeles.

I will muddle through, I always do, I just wish the learning curve wasn't so high. Then I just have to go into DH's e-bay account and figure out how to post what I want to post, which should fall under the intuitive grasping of knowledge (software) instead of the "darn technology and all its advances that are supposed to make life easier if you have at least the retention of a kitchen sponge," (or hardware).

I am so right-brained, left-brained stuff is just a challenge. So if I learn left-brained stuff in a creative right-brained way, I ought to get it eventually. Right?

Bits and Pieces

March 14th, 2007 at 04:07 am

I missed a couple of days of blogging but I have a good excuse, honest! In the past 3 days I have driven my husband to the airport, had my son turn seven and celebrate at two sets of grandparents' houses, took cupcakes to school, and a family only (the four of us) birthday dinner out at Billy McHale's restaurant.

I don't have any idea if Billy's is a chain or not. I know of two in Washington state. It is a wonderfully charming place. Full of old things, old signs, weird things, very retro. Like on one wall it has a sign for Glass Bottom Boat rides, an antique telephone, a two-handled lumberjack saw, and gas pump from the 1940's, an advertisement for canned meat, 10 cents a can, old neon gas station signs (of the eat here and get gas variety). It's just very unique and has a certain ambiance you can't get anywhere else. It sounds like it could be tacky, but its not.

Our table had a red light over it (there's a different colored bulb at each table, five or six different colors). But the piece de resistance is an elevated train that you can have Happy Birthday or Anniversary written on cardboard along with the person's name(s) and attatched to the flatbed cars and then it runs around the restaurant. Tobias was in heaven! He's beyond train happy. Plus he got a free dessert and the staff sang to him.

And if that wasn't enough to keep me busy, I went on a writing jag. I wrote 72 pages in three nights. I had insomnia on one of them and I got in that mode where the story starts writing itself. A lot of it, most of it actually is for the second book, not the first one, but I've got a lot of stuff thought out now and can go back to the first one. I am very happy with myself right now.

DH and I also went and tried out laptops. Well, I tried them out and he watched me. I typed on every single one they had on display at Best Buy. It was weird how different keyboards can feel when you are typing 70 words per minute. I settled on the one I liked the best, which turned out to be a $649 Toshiba, not top of the line, but Toshiba's a work horse. And the keyboard felt right to me. So I wrote down all the information and I'm going to save my plasma money for a new laptop when I get back from vacation.

The Toshiba laptop I have now is still functional but it is old. Its a Tecra 8000. It is very heavy, and I got it off e-bay for $150, but then had to spend another $150 because it didn't have a legitimate copy of Windows on it. It had been part of a network, so network software had been used. Not something that was revealed by the seller. But anyway, I've had it almost a year and its okay, but I don't like the size of the keys, they are a little small for my fingers, so cause some stumbling around. I also don't like the placement of the shift key next to the delete key, cause guess which one I hit too often?

I really like the layout of the other keyboard, the keys are a bit bigger and there is no awkwardness at all. DH is all for it. And he'll take over the one I'm using now, because his is really old, running Windows 95. Mine is Windows XP but only cause we upgraded it when we bought the legitimate software. So it isn't as ancient, but...the battery holds no charge and you can't get replacement ones and I would take my computer everywhere to write if I had a functional battery.

Half a dozen places around here offer free wireless access, and we're in the boonies.

Anywho, we made a decision about renting a storage facility for at least six months. We have way too much stuff in the house to ever get it organized so we are going to rent a 10X10 unit and use it to sort in and store until we know what we are getting rid of and what we are keeping. I am so sick of an overstuffed house, I want it to be clean and organized, which is hard when you are tripping over toys all the time. Left over from the affluenza days.

My niece gave me some clothes for Rose to try. She has to upgrade now that she is a teacher so a lot of stuff gets handed down. Rose is allergic to wool and in this bag were 3 wool sweaters that are part cashmere or part angora, one is Gap and the other two are Ralph Lauren. She said she didn't care what I did with them if they didn't fit Rose, so I am going to put them on e-bay. They are lighterweight sweaters, more spring sweaters than a winter ones and are in very good condition. There are also some pants that are cut too low for Rose and some jeans that I may put on e-bay as well.

I think that about covers what I have been doing. Oh, and in my spare(?) time, I am reading Command Decision by Elizabeth Moon (latest in Vatta's War series, excellent military sci-fi) and watching season 5 of 24.

Auction Ended

March 11th, 2007 at 11:53 am

DH's auction ended with a bid of $180.38! That's about $20 or $25 higher than last time. I think we will definitely be using Saturday evenings as an ending time for auctions in the future.

Not bad for something free to us. The money is already in paypal. It will go into savings. I'm not sure if it will be for EF or Schooling, but it can sit in ING until I figure it out.

Auction Update

March 11th, 2007 at 01:33 am

DH's auction for 2 first class Alaska Airlines upgrades has 2 hours and 18 minutes left. It is up to $154.25 and has 20 watchers. I am hoping for a last minute bidding war. If not, this is pretty close to the amount the last ones went for.

We did make some changes this time. We made the auction for more days than just a week. We made it end on a Saturday when more people are home to be watching it, and we have it ending in the evening at a time that would be after people should be done eating dinner but before they've gone to bed at night.

Those were some tips we had picked up from DH's alternate's husband, who also e-bays. It allows for a bit more exposure.

Life Does the Unexpected

March 10th, 2007 at 11:14 pm

DH got a call from his alternate this morning. She's the one who works his job on his two weeks off. She just got a job offer with another company up there. Same position, wage range starts $12 an hour higher than what DH is making now, and ends $15 more per hour than what DH is making now.

Well, his company told them that the only way to increase their wage range was to find out what other companies were paying for the same position. And the only way to do that was to apply to other companies and get salary ranges. I guess they can't gripe about it when an employee finds out they are being massively underpaid and decides to go with the company that pays better.

There is no way his company can match that. At best they might, if they tried real hard, allow the range to go up another $9 an hour. But I don't think they would.

Anyway, she's taking the job and leaving. So now what? That's all I keep thinking. Does DH get stuck there because they don't have an alternate for him and there's no one at all to do his job when he is promoted? I don't trust the company not to pull a fast one. I just don't. Not one little bit.

DH says if they do that, and don't promote him in May like they promised, he's out of there. He'll be able to hire on with one of the other companies at or above (most likely above) what he is making now. Because they need people and will be hiring through the end of summer.

DH is perfectly willing to train someone to do the current job. He's trained every one of his alternates (at no additional pay, I might add), so that's no big deal. He can walk anyone through it while he's doing the new job, too. But I don't know. I just have no faith in his company right now.

They have been good to us for years but this last one, not so much. It's a struggle because DH really, really, really likes his job, likes his company, likes the people he works with and that all is worth a lot. But being taken advantage of, not high on my list of good qualities for a job to have. Or his.

Meanwhile, he may end up working extra weeks, which will mean more pay but way less time at home. The last time he lost an alternate he was doing 3 weeks on and 1 week off for 8 months. Not easy on the kids at all. I'm used to it but they never do get used to it.

I just really, really hope that his company doesn't pull the rug out from under us. They promise so much. I am so not fond of their backpedalling when it happens. It frustrates me no end. One could go crazy thinking about this, but I'm no Scarlett, I can't think about it tomorrow because I'm thinking about it now. Argh! One could go mad thinking in circles like this. Hopefully sending it off into cyberspace like this will give me peace of mind. For a while anyway.

Bits and Pieces

March 10th, 2007 at 04:53 am

I had my appointment with the specialist today and had an ultrasound done. He decided to sign me up for another test, so I will go back on March 27 for some kind of scope thingy. It is out-patient and doesn't require drugs. $15 co-pay for that.

Spent $10 to buy a small pizza and a soda from Round Table. I ordered it in the parking lot of the doctor's office, swung by the credit union, and it was ready by the time I got there. It cost $10.23 but for some reason the employee gave me $10.25 back from my twenty dollar bill. I didn't notice this until I got back home and looked at the receipt. I do remember him taking some coins out of the take a penny, leave a penny container. Maybe he didn't want to give me all the ones that $9.77 in change would give me?

Oh, well, so not only did I save 23 cents, I earned 25 cents on top of that. I did call them up and they said not to worry about it. I wasn't worried, but I remember what it was like to have a till off when I was a college student so, I guess that is why I called.

I ate the pizza on the way back home and arrived at the school in time for Tobias' parent/teacher conference. Did that, then went to Rose's. I'm glad that's over for another while.

Now I feel all stone in the stomach though, from eating white flour and drinking white sugar. Bad choice, I know but I haven't had good pizza in so long and I had to grab something or I'd be really hungry as I couldn't eat before the ultrasound. I should have got tacos, at least they are marginally healthy, especially if you get them in the whole wheat tortilla like at Taco Time.

DH finished the pizza off when we got home from conferences. I had eggs and no-sugar bacon and a kohlrabi for dinner. The kids had leftovers of theirs.

I haven't been doing a running log of my novel writing since DH came home. Mostly its because I have less time to myself to write when he's home. But I'm up to page 72 in the story and have 105 pages of other stuff to work in and around the main plot line. And some of it is for the second book, not this one anyhow. But it is coming along.

I got accepted at PineCone and am now just waiting for the surveys to start coming in.

I cashed out at NFO MySurvey today after doing a 200 point survey that put me over the limit, so will have $10 coming in the next 3 to 5 weeks. And still have 150 points in my account. Only 850 more to go to cash out again, LOL.

Still no news from ReadRevenue, TinklyCash or Dayslook on payments.

DH is taking the kids to his mother's house tomorrow. I am not going. I love his parents but they have a cat that is all over the furniture, which is bad enough, because I clog up and have a hard time breathing, but if they run the air cleaner and I sit next to it, I do okay. But his sister will also be there with her kids and their dog, and I'm more allergic to dogs than I am to cats. Badly allergic. And the in-laws let that animal run around inside the house.

Which I would never allow myself, I get irritated with people that think it is okay just to bring the dog in because it is their dog and they don't ask permission, they just do it. (Worse at the grocery store when someone brings in a puppy in a purse which is illegal in a grocery store! Service dogs are of course not the issue at all, they go where they need to.) Which is what SIL did the first time and now they can't say no because they already did it. And I'm "Hello, its your house, of course you can say no to your spoiled youngest child." Sigh.

This is, by the way, the pedigree puppy that was bought when SIL and BIL had had their phone turned off, their gas turned off, their cable turned off, their mortgage behind, their car payments behind, and were about to have their electricity shut off and to lose their cell serivce if they didn't come up with a $400 payment. And they can't declare bankruptcy as its only been five years or so since they did that last time. So, I'm also not fond of the dog for that reason, but really it is secondary to my need to breathe.

Plus MIL's cat is scared to death of the dog. I don't want to come across as an animal hater, because I'm not. I love cats, but I just can't have them around much. Not terribly fond of dogs but don't hate them if they are properly mannered and on a leash. I have real issues with ones that are allowed to run around free all day as we have a county leash law as well as it being in our CC&R's for our housing development. A couple of the roamers have attacked children. So, in that respect I am anti-dog. Well, maybe more anti-bad-dog-owner, as dogs, like children, only do what they are allowed to do or have been taught.

So anyway, being in that house tomorrow would mean I would probably end up having to use my inhaler and it wouldn't be enough and I'd end up visiting the ER. So not how I want to spend my Saturday. Instead, I will stay home and do some writing and get caught up on laundry with my lovely new dryer.

I guess if MIL wants me to come to their house she's going to have to make a choice between standing up to her daughter about the dog, or me. And I'm okay if its the dog, I'm perfectly content to have a phone call once a week with her that lasts an hour.

Turned into a bit of a rant there, sorry.

25 Days Later

March 10th, 2007 at 01:08 am

Our tax return showed up in our bank account today. This is the fastest we've ever gotten it. Just 3.5 weeks.

I haven't done anything with it yet, but the plan is:

$2000.00 to a credit card
$1000.00 to Vacation fund (but will send to ING until needed)
$ 458.13 to education fund (but will send to ING until needed)

Might as well earn some good interest on those last two things. I am setting up a spreadsheet to keep track of what's in the ING account so nothing ends up in the wrong place.

Trip Musings

March 9th, 2007 at 04:17 am

I am quite posty today, I know. This makes five, I think. Possibly six. But anyway...

I wish I could do more right now than just add $10 a week to savings. And I know I will again after my trip.

It feels weird to be taking money for just myself right now, but this trip is about learning more information about my disease and being with others who have to live with it as well and listening to lectures and speakers and blah, diddy, blah, blah, blah.

Plus, there's a side trip to Disneyland, but that's just gravy. I don't have to pay for my plane ticket, that's just miles cashed in (DH is a frequent flyer due to work) and since it is first class there will be a meal both directions (and they are good up in first class, not bad like in coach), so two less to buy total.

And DH gave me his guest pass for the Boardroom, which is a private waiting lounge at SeaTac and I can eat a meal in there as well, they usually have soup, veggies, cheese, other finger foods, fruit and beverages all for free.

I'm having a roommate to split hotel costs. I'm doing it as frugally as I know how (even the side trip I am splitting costs with a close friend who also has this disease). And we used Mouseplanet to look up all the restaurants in the park and their menus and prices so we could plan all of our meals and which ones we might split the cost of there as well. I also got information on surrounding restaurants and their menus and prices. Isn't the internet grand?

DH says I don't have to justify it, but I'm not trying to justify it to him, I'm trying to justify it to me. Why is it so hard for us as women to spend money on ourselves on something just for us? Especially when it is mostly health related? And one could also argue that going to Disneyland is good for mental health also. Okay, see? Justification again.

Here I am, almost having died a few years ago, having to turn my life completely upside down, having to deal with other health issues that I need to learn more about to stay healthy and I feel bad because I'm going to take a bit of time to have some fun in there, too. Okay, when I put it like that, I don't feel bad about it anymore. But I will still be glad when I can contribute the change jar and the surveys back into savings again. Building savings makes me happy.

Lost and Found

March 9th, 2007 at 04:05 am

DH lost his cell phone today. He dropped it in the parking lot at Lowe's when he was buying a new dryer vent flap to replace the one that melted when the old dryer was not shutting off and ran all night one time.

Fortunately someone found it and turned it into Lowe's. They started calling the names in it and got ahold of DH's mom, who then called my mom, who lives 6 blocks from Lowe's and she went and fetched it. So all's well that ends well and thank goodness for good Samaritans. See, this is what happens when you find a wallet with $500 cash in it at WalMart and call the very relieved person on the driver's license in it. Karma comes back around to you, or your guardian angel is watching your back, or you're just plain lucky. I like to think of it as all three.


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