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Archive for April, 2007

Disneyland Here I Come

April 29th, 2007 at 08:56 am

I'm off on my vacation in a few short hours. I'll be off the blog treadmill for the week, I think, but will be back on Sunday Next. Hope you all have a great week out in PF blogland.

So Much Done Today

April 28th, 2007 at 04:04 am

Today was kind of crazy, but it was the last banking day before my trip. I leave Sunday. So today I paid:

$335.29 Property Tax half year
$910.37 Medical Mortgage
$400.00 House Mortgage
$100.52 Citi Master Card
$400.00 BOA Master Card

And I got $1000 in traveler's checks and $70 in cash. I will be taking along a roll of quarters and a roll of pennies from my change jar. My cheapy souveniers are those flattened pennies you get with a design etched onto them. They have quite a few scattered about Disneyland and I try to get different ones each time I go. I have quite the collection.

I am going to try to keep my expenses down to $1400. I am allowing $330 to go on credit card but that will be paid off once the bill comes in. There are some places that will not take traveler's checks even though they are supposed to. I don't know why but they don't. Fortunately the park does and the hotels do. I am hoping not to use the CC at all. With splitting so many costs with my friend it is possible to achieve this. Probable is another story.

I also got out $100 for DH to use the week I am gone. He shouldn't need to use it all but I'm not counting on there being any when I get back. It should cover the two fast food meals a week for t-ball nights, adding money to their lunch accounts and replacement of milk, bread, eggs, etc. if needed. I tried to shop ahead so they won't have to buy much of anything.

Then we got our wifi network system and DH is going to try to get that installed and up and running tomorrow. Lots of money out but all of it planned and saved for so I don't feel bad about it. Maybe a little.

DH's check was supposed to have his raise on it but guess what? It was on the paper statement but not on the electronic deposit. What the H E DOUBLE HOCKEYSTICKS good does that do us, I ask you? Anyway, the extra will be added to next week's paycheck, which means a smaller tax bite out of it since next week's is the two day check. I am so over this company. REALLY BIG SIGH.

So that's me today. I'll try to do one more blog tomorrow before I pack. We'll see. If not, I'll blog you when I get back.

Spendy Day

April 26th, 2007 at 12:49 am

Today started off with a visit to the physical therapist, so that was $50 right out of the gate. After that I picked up DH from the airport and then we went to get gas at $3.10 a gallon. The other stations are at $3.25. We filled it up but we used the Costco cash card so I'm not sure how much it was off of that. Probably $45 as its an 18 gallon tank and only had 1.5 gallons in it at fill-up time.

Then we went to LensCrafters to pick up my year supply of contact lenses and to have both my regular glasses and my prescription sunglasses adjusted. No money out there as I'd already paid for the contacts.

After that we went to WalMart and bought more Rubbermaid tubs for moving stuff to storage and also items I'll need for my trip. I got a small First Aid Kit, bottle of Rolaids, nasal spray, sunblock, and vitamin C. I tried on swimsuits but none of them provided enough support on top, or enough material for that matter. When did one piece bathing suits get so low cut? If I wanted a flimsy bikini top I wouldn't be looking at a one piece to begin with. Sigh.

Then we went to Arby's for lunch. Just too much money out today, but I guess all of it but Arby's was necessary spending.

I wanted to take the car to the car wash but it is still closed. I am hoping it will reopen soon. My punch card is full and they owe me a free wash and wax and I'm getting annoyed waiting. I hope they aren't broken down. I know there are other carwashes in town but I've got a free one coming and I want it by golly!

Cars and Reasonability Part 2 + Babbling

April 25th, 2007 at 04:17 am

DH and I talked on the phone over an hour last night about cars. He thinks we should just start saving $400 a month in the bank until the Crown Vic goes belly up and then go looking with a sizeable downpayment. Reasonable. Better than a giganto loan. Rational decision, I think. Sigh. Okay, then.

Meanwhile, we need to get the two free and clear vehicles we own up to snuff. The Crown Vic needs a major at home detailing session and to find out why the darn engine light keeps coming on five minutes after starting the car. And the Blazer, well, the air conditioning doesn't work, the 4 wheel drive is a $200 repair short of working and something is wrong with the accelerator.

Come to think of it, the Chevy is probably closer to belly up than the Ford. But I don't want to own an SUV ever again, I don't think. Maybe one of those hybrid ones some day in the very distant future when cars run on water or something.

Anyway, DH is being far more reasonable than I am about buying a new car, I think I may be reacting too much from the I wanna factor of my brain. Even though I know I don't want the long loan, so he makes sense. So we will do that, save and save and hope that it works out the way we want by the time we need to buy a new vehicle.

So that means of the $800 net raise per four week pay cycle, $400 goes to car savings, $100 goes to EF, $200 goes to debt repayment and the remaining $100 will go to upgrading our internet connection and possibly getting satellite TV. The kids are begging for it. I'm on the fence, but more on the no side. DH isn't sure he wants to go back to our old TV lifestyle at all. We do want to wifi our computers, though, so that will be a one-time cost of $200. We will see.

And of course, if necessary, the amount in car savings can be treated as a secondary EF, but only for a really bad emergency situation.

My new laptop battery came today and I am now portable again. Love it. And my new flash drive, specifically compatible with my old Toshiba Tecra 8000, came along with it. I am a happy camper. I feel like this computer can go a few more years now without being so darn tempted by the pretty new Toshibas out there. My little workhorse is doing just fine, even if it is a bit slow. Once we have an upgraded internet and a household network, speed will pick way up, anyhow.

I don't think I will upgrade to Vista. I'm doing just fine with the old XP upgrade. I'm just glad I could get a compatible battery for a computer this old.

Reasonability and Cars and Wanting What I Want

April 24th, 2007 at 03:22 am

I've been looking at cars again. I've been looking at what we can afford and also what I'd prefer to do. I'd prefer to get a nice used car for $9000 and a 3 year loan. Even if we can now afford a $23,000 very slightly used car (7K miles, 2006) with a 5 year loan. I am very reluctant to lock myself down into a 5 year car loan.

In the past we had a 5 year loan that we paid off in 3 years, and a 3 year loan that we paid off in 2 years. But this would be a five year loan that we took the entire five years to pay down.

I have been going back and forth over this possible obligation. The thing is that we keep our cars. The Crown Vic is a '92 and still running strong 15 years later. Though we bought it in '97, still we've had it for ten years. I know that if we get the more expensive car that we will keep it at least ten years, possibly much longer.

The $23,000 car has all of the features we want and leather seats. Cloth seats are no good with children and their messes, just too hard to clean. It has the room for my 6 foot 3 inch tall husband to be comfortable and still gets 28 miles to the gallon on highway driving, which is where we do 80% of our driving. The two models they have (which are identical except one is plum and one is aubergenie, one is 8000K miles instead of 7000, both darky reddy purplish, but not girly) and one has tan seats and one has beige seats.

The $9000 car is two sizes smaller, gets 34 mpg highway, has gray cloth seats and is "please officer, pull me over and give me a speeding ticket" red. It is a 2004 with 36K miles. It is plenty roomy enough for me even with being smaller and I would do the most driving in it. It is nice enough. It would do just fine. It might be a bit uncomfortable for DH, but he'd make do. But I don't really want it. I want the other one.

Am I being unreasonable not wanting to take on a $23,000 loan that lasts five years if I intend to keep what is virtually a new car 10 to 15 years? Will I be a grump about driving a perfectly serviceable car with a much smaller loan?

Last time we bought a car, the Blazer, I gave in to what DH wanted and I have regretted it pretty much since. It is not what either of us intended to buy, it was not what we researched and planned for. It was pretty. It was an impulsive veering off course of what we had previously decided on. It is hard to manuever and tense to drive. But he wanted it and it was an excellent price so I said okay.

I want what I want this time. Not something I am going to regret. But will I regret the five year loan? Circular logic only makes me dizzy!

Questions? Comments? Answers? Anyone?

Back In It and Vacation Budgeting

April 24th, 2007 at 03:11 am

Today was my first no spend day in forever, it seems. I've found myself relaxing far too much lately now that the money noose is no longer closed tightly around our necks. In fact, its more of a lasso than a noose now and the cowboy's aim is off a bit, too.

So I've decided I really need to get back in it and stop letting money piddle away left and right. I am also making up a budget for my vacation. I already know what hotel fees and taxes are going to be and I'm hoping to figure out how much money for food I will need. My souvinier budget is pretty strict, I get one lapel pin and one t-shirt or sweatshirt. I will be buying a gift for my parents-in-law there for their 40th, glass blown wine glasses with their names and wedding date etched on.

My friend and I are planning out our restaurants in advance, we have menus and pricing as well, so it shouldn't be too difficult. We also may split some meals, too. At some places portions are just huge and can easily be halved, even if you have to pay a $1.00 extra plate fee charge.

I have to go and buy a swimsuit tomorrow. My old one is so worn out that I think I might be committing a crime if I were to wear it in public. Now that our development's pool is repaired and back in operation I'd be needing one anyway, so this purchase is not simply for the trip. I found out they offer free water aerobics on W and F to homeowners here, so after I get back and have my operation and my recovery time, I will start doing that, I think.

I am going to try very hard to not waste money just because we have it. We still have debt. A lot of debt.

Better Breakfasts

April 23rd, 2007 at 03:22 am

I've been eating so much bad food lately, most of it not of my own cooking. I have to say I have really gotten lazy this month and also have gained about 5 pounds. This is really, really bad. Not only healthwise, but medically and financially.

I have to be very, very careful with what I eat to keep my symptoms in check and I haven't been. My biggest excuse is lack of time. The thing that sends me off the most is skipping breakfast, but I don't like taking time to make breakfast in the morning after having made it for the kids. It's not like I can just eat the standard and not to mention carboriffic fare of toastor cereal or waffles either.

Anyway, today I decided to make up some breakfast TV dinners for the freezer. I now have 2 weeks worth of breakfasts in there. I have:

6 servings of omlettes (turkey ham, scallion, bell pepper, x-tra sharp cheddar, tomato)
6 servings egg scrambles with homemade sausage which will be accompanied by fresh cucumber slices
2 egg scrambles with sugar-free bacon and daikon home fries

This also accomplished using up some stuff that would have gone off in another couple of days.

If I make it to the store on Tuesday they should have some ground lamb marked down and I will make up some lamb de provence with lavander patties (just one pound ground lamb with 2 tbsp herbes de provence with lavander seasoning) and some ground pork for making more homemade sausage. I also would like to make up some salmon patties (egg, parmesan, garlic, salmon) to freeze for lunches. I can make the salmon patties whether I make it to the store. I've got some canned salmon that is getting close to the use by date. May make some tuna patties, also.

Dinners tend to be much easier for me to cook without planning ahead or even with planning ahead. I'm hoping starting my day with a good brekkie and not ignoring my health and dietary requirements will make this urge to eat out and eat junky go away.

I feel so boring!

April 21st, 2007 at 05:26 am

Today was just an average day and it almost seems silly to blog about it. Maybe I'm going through a faze? I dunno.

Anyway, I went to the massage therapist today as my hip went all wonky earlier this week. It helped a lot. That was $50.

Went to Costco and spent $126.00, though $100 of that went onto the cash card to be used as gas. Gas is up to $3.05 at Costco and well over $3.25 at most other stations. Again we are the highest gas in the state of Washington. Sucks to be us if we want to drive right now. Otherwise I just bought kosher beef hotdogs and chicken pot pies. Oh, and I picked up the new Hillary Duff CD/DVD Dignity for Rose but that was with her allowance, so it doesn't count into my spending.

I set aside $60 to go into the vacation fund but did not have the time to deposit it today.

My parkhopper ticket for Disneyland arrived today. Hard to believe that in 9 more days I will be hitting that park with a very good friend that I have not seen since 2003 and without the kids! Oh, we will take them in another year or two, I suppose, but the little one is still too afraid of many carnival rides and I don't want to waste a trip not being able to go on things because of that.

Then after that is the conference for my illness, so all told I will be away from home for 8 days. DH will be on his own with the kids, scary. Well, not really, he's a good hands on dad, but he might find it scary. At least they will be in school on five of those days.

I haven't decided yet on whether I will take my computer with me or not. Doubt I'd blog much anyway, I'll be exhausted from all the walking around and having fun.

I'm working on a trip budget and am going to do my best to stay within it or even under it. Still a work in progress, though.

Bad Week for Blogging

April 19th, 2007 at 11:32 pm

This has been a rough week for getting on the computer and blogging. Rose is badly sick again for one. I thought it was pneumonia for awhile because of the depth of her coughing and the fact that she was getting dizzy.

But when I took her to the doctor her lungs and bronchials are clear. She has a severe sinus infection though and a chest cold. Lovely. $15 co-pay. So we got two prescriptions, generic zithromax and flonase. $20 total co-pay. I'm not sending her back to school until Monday.

Tobias had his first t-ball game and goodness its going to be boring. Two games a week that last far too long. We're definitely going back to soccer next year. This is too tedious and unenjoyable to watch and T says he was bored during the game. It was also very cold there. It isn't right on the river, the river is across the road and down in the gulley, but its close enough that it makes it quite cold. So blankets are going along for tonight's game. Rose will be staying home. I don't want her out in the cold. The neighbor girl will keep tabs on her.

I also spent $20.00 this week to fund T's hot lunch account.

I ordered my parkhopper for Disneyland which should arrive on the 25th. $189. I think that covers what has been spent this week, then.

And I've managed to write 9 pages this week. Not great but something.

Savings Update

April 19th, 2007 at 11:21 pm

Today was the day of the auto deposit of $10.00 to savings. I sent it off to ING this afternoon and that brings the amount in the EF to $610.51.

I peaked at the interest for the month so far while I was there and it was $1.26. I like it.

Just an Ordinary Day--That's Irony

April 16th, 2007 at 06:38 am

Sorry, nothing financial today. Too distracted. A lot of things happened today. Well, two things happened today. The first was my parent-in-laws 40th Anniversary party, which was quite lovely and went very well. Fast forward.

The second was about the little girl who had the ectopic pregnancy. Actually, it was the boyfriend who came to talk to me, because her parents wouldn't let him see her anymore. Said she trusted me so he was going to try to, too. He wasn't upset, he was terrified. I don't think I've ever seen someone look so frightened in my life.

I knew there had to be more going on just from what he wasn't saying and the way he wasn't saying it, but I finally got it out of him, because he wanted to tell someone. He didn't get her pregnant. He agreed to say he did to try to protect her. She was raped by a seventeen year old cousin who was living in her home and threatened her if she told the truth. He was only her "boyfriend" to hang out with her to keep the other guy from getting around her as much as possible, but the only thing he ever did was hold her hand to pass himself off as a boyfriend.

He did not know what to do, but he was scared to leave her alone. He was scared to talk to his own parents because of all the lies the two of them told in all of this and because he was afraid the cousin would hurt the girl again. Everyone thought he was the villian of this piece. Can you imagine a fifteen year old boy taking all this on himself? I don't even have the words.

Well, I had words, just not on that. Talked to both sets of the parents, talked to the girl, and talked to the cops when her parents called them, which I would have done if they hadn't. Cousin admitted everything, thank goodness, and is out of the home and in juvenile detention tonight.

And the "boyfriend," the only one she trusted, is allowed back around the girl, as long as he isn't a real "boyfriend." And her parents? I told them they better start talking to their daughter because she was too scared to come to them when she needed them most. It's a different age. We have to make sure our children come to us when they are in trouble and the only way to do that is to communicate all the time. Every day.

I am so proud of that boy, trying to protect her. Even if he was misguided, his heart was in the right place.

Groceries and Household Shopping

April 14th, 2007 at 10:27 pm

Well, I'm off to do my monthly Costco run. Not that much that I need there today, fluorescent light bulbs, sirloin patties for making hamburgers, and chicken pot pies because I've been promising the kids. Some lettuce, some fruit, and maybe some seafood if it looks good toay. I also need to put money on the gas card, so I probably will hit over $100 there. But definitely not for food.

I'll also make a brief run to Haggen to see if they have any kohlrabi in. I think it might be between seasons.

I'd like to make a stop at Lowe's to see what kind of veggie starts they have, maybe WalMart for the same reason. Depends on how crazy I want to make myself today. If Haggen has enough of what I want in their garden shop, then I might not bother with the other two places.

I'll try not to go hog wild and I won't be eating out today.

I wrote three more pages today. Really didn't want to stop but this is the last day I have to go shopping without the kids.

The End of Writer's Block

April 14th, 2007 at 08:21 am

I've just been typing for the last hour and looked at the clock and realized, oops its after 1:00 a.m. So I'm taking a break from typing to do more...typing. Yeah, go figure.

But I busted through my writer's block tonight and have gone from page 97 to page 113. I was having a problem for about 2 weeks now. One of the characters was being difficult and didn't like the way she was being written.

I finally figured out that she was right and how to fix what was bugging us both, and 16 pages later I am rolling. Yes, I know, but you try living in my head with all these other characters and maybe you'll talk a little crazy, too. Ah, the life of a writer. I love it when the book starts writing itself.

Maybe I will finally get this book finished, and then published, and then...well, there's the next one half way done, too, just waiting. And its not nearly as difficult as the other one. I've always known where it was going.

And now, well, I probably ought to get some sleep, unless I can figure out a way to sleep and write at the same time. Nope, didn't think so.

There is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch

April 13th, 2007 at 10:12 pm

And I got one today. Just don't ask me what I was doing ordering bad for me food after eating bad for me food yesterday. Tomorrow I will eat healthy food again. And for dinner tonight, too.

Anywho, I ordered takeout from Little Ceasar's from the one down the side pass off the mountain. It's a fifteen minute drive and it normally takes them 10 to 15 minutes to do an order.

When I got there there was no sign of it. It was in the computer, the girl at the counter remembered taking the order, but apparently the printer didn't print it because it was out of paper and so it never got made. So I figured oh, well its not that big a wait and I was prepared to just sit there while they made it and I was very polite about it, these things happen, and I didn't have a couple hungry kids with me, so no big deal.

But...they offered it to me for free because they'd messed up. Which I thought was very nice customer service. And a few minutes later I had my wings and crazy bread and was on my way.

Savings Update

April 13th, 2007 at 07:53 pm

Yesterday was the auto doposit of $10 to savings. Since ING was down for maintenance when I tried to transfer it from my CU yesterday I had to wait and transfer it today. That brings my new total to $600.51. Only $399.49 to reach my next goal.

While there I peaked at how much interest has been earned so far this month. 83 cents.

Spent Real Money Today

April 13th, 2007 at 05:12 am

About 3 a.m. last night the sky split open and we got walloped with one heck of a thunder lightning rain storm. Guess I was right about the source of the migraine. Fortunately it did not last long and I was able to get back to sleep. This morning I just needed a butal to function instead of Imetrix. I had a lot to do today so I'm glad its down to a quiet roar in my head.

First thing was to take the kids into my mother's house. She is keeping them for the rest of spring break. I pick them back up on Sunday just in time to take them to the open house for MIL and FIL's 40th wedding anniversary.

After dumping them off I went for my cranial sacral therapy and that made a big difference in the reduction of pain in my head, also. Then I had made an appointment a few days ago to get my hair cut, so I went to Regis for that. I only go twice a year to get my hair cut so I figure I don't mind shelling out a bit more when I go. Most of the time I cut my own bangs and not worry about it, but twice a year it needs an overhaul.

It was about 18 inches long and getting heavy, and I am so tired of blowing it out straight, which I have to do when its all one length, so I had layers put in to take off the weight and took about an inch off the ends and got my bangs back above my eyebrows. With all the weight off my hair does what it always does and went bouncy and curly.

Anyway, it was $38 and I left a $5 tip. I was very pleased with the cut and will go back to this girl again. Just not for another six months.

I had lunch at the mall while I was there, not good for me food at all, which was probably stupid considering I'm just getting over a migraine, but I did. $3.02 for a small strawberry Julius, $2.75 for a prezel with mustard, and $1.09 for a double cheese from Mickey D's.

After that I went down to Lane Bryant. I don't normally shop there but they were having a sale on unmentionables, and since I needed new unmentionables, I decided to see what they had. They had a very large selection of the appropriate size of unmentionables in an attractive array of colors. Each unmentionable normally costs $28 but the sale was buy one at regular price, get the second one at $9.99. Which is a very good price considering the product is of very high quality. So I got four, and I had a coupon for $15 off any purchase of $15 or more. So ended up paying $65 for $122 worth of unmentionables (that is including tax on both amounts).

Then I bought two pairs of running shoes. They were on sale 2 for $89.99 (which is pricey) and I have such a difficult time finding a shoe that fits my foot right, let alone running shoes, so I got two, one white pair and one black pair of the exact same shoes, and one will go in my closet until the other wears out. I also bought 2 pairs of the reinforced heel and ball off foot socks for running/walking for my trip to Disney for $10. The socks help not to get blisters, and the properly fitted well supported running shoe should help as well. I'll be using my white pair on the treadmill to get them broken in. It's only 17 days until I go so I do need to get them broken in. Shouldn't be a problem. Anyway with tax it all added up to $112. But I shan't need to make anymore purchases like that for a good bit.

Went to the chiropractor, put $10 in the gas tank, then came home, took a nap, shook off the majority of the headache hangover and spent the next 3 hours answering the phone before I decided to just let the machine get it. That's of course when people stopped calling.

My mood is much improved today, so it was definitely migraine related. It is good to be back to my happy self with a cheerful outlook on life.

Migraine

April 12th, 2007 at 03:18 am

I almost never get migraines anymore but I've definitely got the onset of one. I haven't eaten any triggers, which makes me think its pressure changes. When the barometric pressure rises or drops dramatically and at a very fast clip, its been known to trigger one. I really ought to get a barometer. But I can tell my hunch is correct. I went outside and felt the air and smelled the air and I know there is a storm coming on that will hit tonight or early tomorrow. That air just feels too heavy.

I took my medication and I'm going to bed early tonight. I am in a very foul mood. I woke up fine but about five it went downhill and that is when I felt the pressure changes. Nasty mood out of nowhere is usually another sign of a migraine coming on.

Okay, I'm off to go curl up in a small, dark, soundles cave and hope things shift by morning.

Survey Money

April 12th, 2007 at 03:11 am

I did another survey at Your2Cents yesterday and sent for the $5 check, so that should show up in 3 weeks time. They say 3 to 5 weeks but it has never taken more than 3.

Everything Must Come to Dust

April 11th, 2007 at 04:01 am

See? Sometimes there is a reason I don't trust what people tell me. Especially the second time. Fool me once, shame on you, try to fool me twice and you're not going to be able to do it, because I'm not going to trust a word you have to say ever again. I go with my gut because it's never been wrong. Good thing I did that this time and didn't get my hopes up, because I was right. I didn't crash down because of it.

I will be fine tomorrow. I will be my old self. I will face the world with cheerfulness and remember that I am blessed with so much in my life. But today, I get the poison out of my system and I rant.

Oh, wait a minute. You're coming in on the middle of the conversation. Am I in the mood to share today? Let's see, there's sarcasm, annoyance, irritation and just a hint of bitterness thrown in. Something for everyone. Ah, well, enter at your own risk.

Let's just say the promotion DH was promised, the one with the contract that was to be signed today, went up in smoke. Oh, he would have gotten it if the company (A) his company (B) subcontracts to hadn't changed their mind at the very last minute and pulled funding for the job that was supposed to start this week. They said. His immediate boss and the immediate boss's boss are both pretty p.o.'d at company A. They said. So the job no longer exists. They said. They're going to try again to get it funded in another couple of months. They said. They still want him in that positon. They said. He can still "help out" in that position as needed at his new regular rate. He obviously keeps his current job and hope that they can find a new alternate. He can still train a new alternate if they find one (again) at his new regular rate. Joy. DH really doesn't seem to mind.

Meanwhile, the bosses are both so scared DH is going to walk that they managed to get him a raise. You know, the one they wouldn't give at the beginning of the year because no one was getting them, despite the fact that he had been promised it the year before? The one that should have brought him up to $3 an hour below the industry starting range for a comparable position at any other company up there for the position he's been in for 12 years. (It hasn't always been below standard, just the last couple of years). After all, his most recent alternate just walked for that very same reason and into a job that pays industry standard.

Well, I shouldn't be so irritated about this because the net on this raise will be $800 a month. We will still be able to buy a new to us car. We will still be able to put $100 a month in the EF and add an extra $200 to paying off debt. And that is great. It is wonderful. I am very happy about that. I don't want to sound the least bit ungrateful about that because it really does help us out. And DH loves his job and he loves the people he works with even if he is undervalued compared to industry standards, and they know it. Working with people you like and enjoying what you do is incredibly important to DH.

But...

With the promotion it would have been a raise (net) of $2000 a month. Yes, $2000. Net. A month. $500 a month to the EF, $400 a month for a car payment. $1100 a month extra to debt repayment. Dust in the wind.

Maybe more than a hint of bitter.

One Year Here

April 10th, 2007 at 03:58 am

Today is my blogoversary. I had written this wonderful wildly witty entry and it disappeared into the ether, and I don't have the energy, the memory, or the desire to recreate it, but you all would have been very entertained and it would have offered you a life changing moment. No, not a life changing moment in your life, just one in mine.

Which is what this year has been like for me, one life changing moment after the other. Some were so little I barely noticed them until they built upon each other and suddenly I had some really big things going on in my life. The biggest one of all? Living within our means. Where did that come from? How did we do that? Where did this amazing thing come from? It would have been a thrill ride to read about it. But oops, its gone. So...that was our big life changing moment. Hope you were along to see it as it happened and if not, go back and see how it did. I think there's a time machine around here somewhere...

I guess I'll just write about my day today instead. I went to the doctor, my blood pressure is happy on the cut from 40mg to 20mg on my meds for the last two weeks, so I get to continue on that for a while and come back in July for another check. One more step in my plan to get off it for good.

I also got my flu shot booster and don't need to worry about that again until October. Thyroid meds are doing a good job so I'll stay on that as well.

Other things done today, a trip to storage, a visit to the chiropractor, and driving DH to the airport. Then a wedding shower. It went okay. I had very mixed feelings about going to it. I'm happy for the people getting married, they are both great people.

But the husband is, or rather was, the spouse of a very close friend who died way too young and way too unexpectedly and it feels wrong to think of him as married (or about to be) to another woman. My friend's twin daughters were there and they are very happy and get along well with what will be their new siblings. I was very happy for everyone, but looking at the girls was eerie. They look so much like my friend did as a girl. Still, the two merging families are all so overjoyed. It has been good on both sides for everyone.

I think mostly it just has made me miss my friend. I will visit her grave tomorrow and then I think I will be okay about everything. She was the kind of person who would want everyone to be happy after she was gone and going there and reminding myself of that will help me to stop being a silly goose about it.

Anyway, that was my day.

Missing Pages and Blog Maintenance

April 8th, 2007 at 10:55 pm

I wish the first 11 days of my blog hadn't gone missing for the last several months. I think they are well and truly lost. I don't think I can make a bigger pest of myself about it, I've inquired three or four times, but nothing has ever come of it. So I must consider them gone, absorbed into the void of cyberspace as if they were an email sent from Yahoo.

This is kind of a bummer for me, as April 9th is coming tomorrow and I had wanted to go back to my first entry and see how far I'd come in the past year. Disappointing, but I'll get over it, I know.

I think I finally have my blog colors the way I want them. I had to play around for about an hour until I settled on what I like. Well, what I really liked was a combination of really bright blues and really bright pinky purple, but put them together and they were really quite garish, so no. I toned it down a good bit and I think its a nice combination now and shouldn't make anyone want to put their eyes out on seeing it. I mean, anymore than one normally does on reading my entries.

What I am really doing here is procrastinating and taking a bit of a break from the house. But it keeps calling me, literally as the buzzer on the dryer has gone off three times now. So back to it, I suppose.

Chasing Away Packrat-itis

April 8th, 2007 at 08:57 pm

We have spent the weekend (yet again) organizing in the house. I cannot believe how much we have hauled out of here. I've filled 2.5 large kitchen garbage bags full of boy's clothes from size 2T to size 4/5 and am offering that up on freecycle. I've filled another same size bag with my daughter's outgrown clothes (sent one off with grandpa last week) for her older, shorter cousin, and managed to fill half another one with little girl toddler clothes. My daughter is 10.5, I thought the girly toddler clothes were long since gone.

I've also got several fancy recital costumes from her dance days and 5 or 6 really pretty leotards in the age 3 to 7 sizes, that I think I will put up on e-bay. I will probably wait until August when people are gearing up for dance classes that start in the fall.

We filled the recycle bin with newspaper and could probably do it again. Usually we burn newspaper, but I've rolled as many paper logs as will fit in the firewood box and folded as many sheets into kindling as will fit in the kindling box.

We've gone through all the old magazines, too. I've filled two crates with old magazines. Out went Reader's Digests, Woman's Day, Family Circle, any gardening magazine that wasn't Fine Gardening, and a lot of the cooking magazines. I kept Fine Cooking and tore out recipes from the other mags that I will input into my cooking database.

I'm still wading through laundry, but instead of it being up to my knees its down at a much more manageable ankle depth. I'm only half kidding. But I am folding and putting away, or hanging up, or putting into give away bags, stuff as each load comes out of the dryer.

Dishes are one load from being caught up. My daughter, who isn't supposed to eat in her room, had at least a load's worth of dishes under her bed. Fortunately it was nothing that was growing any strange creatures in them. Mostly glasses and bowls.

I still have a pile of documents to shred that will probably fill a paper grocery bag if I pack it tight. We also filled a paper grocery bag of regular paper for recycle, mostly envelopes of the stuff we have to shred still.

I never realized how much junk there is in this house. It doesn't look like its as bad as I've described, but a lot of stuff was shoved in closets. We've done spring cleaning before, but never this deeply or thoroughly. The house is still a bit chaotic but that improves with each box we move to storage.

I need to put up a set of Encyclopedias on freecycle, too. My sister managed to bamboozle my husband into taking her old set when they moved. I had already told her twice that we didn't want them, but J being who she is, can be quite determined to get her way. She didn't want to move them or pay for them to be in her storage space. DH brought them home not knowing I had told her no twice. Since we already had two sets of encyclopedias, he shouldn't have even thought we needed any.

Admittedly one set is used to hold up a shelf in T's room and only one set is available to look stuff up in, unless someone wants to balance the shelf while something gets looked up, but its not like that is hard. Anyway, the third set has been sitting around taking up valuable book shelf space, so out it is going to go.

It still seems like there is a world of stuff to do in this house, but I am seeing improvement now instead of total chaos. You know how it always seems you have to make a bigger mess than you started with to clean? Well, we seem to be past that stage now.

All right, I guess that is enough work avoidance. The laundry is calling my name, and then the shredder.

Cheese Sauce

April 6th, 2007 at 02:06 am

NewlyFrugal asked for my cheese sauce recipe so I'll post it here. Not the most frugal of recipes but good for getting rid of cheese and sour cream, and using on veggies that have seen better days.

1 pound extra sharp cheddar cheese
8 ounces sour cream (I use Daisy as it has no fillers)
1 jumbo egg
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dry mustard

Shred cheese and melt in the top of a double boiler with 3 inches water in bottom of double boiler (you can just use a metal or glass bowl resting above but not touching 3 inches of water in a sauce pan). Water should be boiling.

When cheese is melty add sour cream and stir in until completely absorbed. Stir up an egg and pour in slowly as you stir mixture. Continue to stir for a couple of minutes while egg is absorbed (also helps to cook the egg so it is not a salmonella danger). Add in mustard and paprika, stir until no longer visible. Pour over veggies or use as a dip. This can be warmed up later but its best to do it on a double boiler again as the microwave makes it change texture a bit. Still tastes good though.

I have actually booted my paprika and mustard up to 1 tbsp each, but I'd start with less the first time.

I don't like sour cream but I like this recipe.



Medical and Miscellaneous Spending

April 6th, 2007 at 01:49 am

Went to the chiropractor this morning, paid $175 for the family monthly unlimited plan this time. I managed to tweak out my hip again, big time.

I also had cranial sacral therapy, which helped some with the hip as well.

We filled up the car at Costco, $39 and something. It's up to $2.959 per gallon, everywhere else is at least $3.05 and most are higher. I have $16 and some odd change left on the cash card there.

DH and I went out to lunch at Hungry Bear. We spent $36, including tip. We ate at two and I doubt I will eat another meal today, it was very filling. The food is always good there, the best of the best of diner food.

So quite a bit of money out the door today.

Vacations Fund Update

April 6th, 2007 at 01:43 am

Today in the mail I received two checks, one a $6 survey check from Your2Cents and the other a refund from the orthodontist of $246.80. It is all going into the vacation fund.

$134.47 beginning balance
246.89 orthodontist refund
+ 6.00 survey money
--------
$387.27 Ending balance for vacation fund

Savings Update

April 6th, 2007 at 01:38 am

Today was the auto deposit of $10.00 to savings. I sent that off to ING bringing the total in the EF up to $590.51. I also peeked at the interest accumulated but not credited to the account so far this month: 27 cents! Yes, I am that happy over something so silly. 27 cents for just not touching my money for five days. Some day it will be on the other side of the decimal point in five days time and then I'll really be silly happy.

Dryer Workout and Pantry/Freezer Meal

April 5th, 2007 at 05:17 am

I certainly gave our new dryer a run for its money today. I think I did six loads but it might have been seven. I even got everything folded up or put away, or had the kids put away their stuff. Rose's room is now clean and its going to stay that way.

I hope my power bill doesn't take a ginormous leap this month. At least the dryer is more energy efficient than the last one.

Dinner tonight was from the freezer/pantry. I am gradually getting my stockpile whittled down. A lot of the frozen stuff is at that 3 month stage where it won't be very appealing in a few more days. So two very thick chuck steaks that I cooked like roasts in the oven, some pan-fried potatoes sprinkled with herbs, salt and pepper, that had probably seen better days but weren't squidgy yet, some frozen broccoli with paprika/mustard cheese sauce and some bananas that needed to be eaten today or made into banana bread tomorrow. But everything tasted fab. You would not know it was clean out the freezer/pantry day.

I am getting better and better at managing my food usage for my family. I hope to get down to less than 10% of wasted food. I'd say I'm running about 20% right now.

House Mortgage Update

April 4th, 2007 at 11:15 pm

I paid my mortgage on the house earlier this week and it posted today. I am officially into year six of a fifteen year mortgage. I have paid 60.75 months worth so far.

My new mortgage total is $34,532.67. 1.5 more payments worth and I will be below $34,000! Exciting. For me anyway.

This is My Rant

April 4th, 2007 at 09:11 pm

A girl at my daughter's school is pregnant. This is a K-6. This girl is only 12 years old, 1.5 years older than Rose. She was pulled out of the sex education courses offered by the school because her parents were offended by it. That is their right, of course, but she didn't know anything because her parents told her nothing and now she's pregnant.

For pete's sake, mothers and fathers talk to your kids about sex before junior high! Swallow your embarrassment and do it. Start at 8 or 9 gradually increasing the information as they mature, but get it done and do it by age 10. These kids need to know!

Let them know the true facts of life before it is too late: STD's, HIV, AIDS, pregnancy, emotional trauma of sex too young in a non-committed relationship, preferably in marriage but at the very least a long-term committed relationship, birth control, barrier protection, and the only fool-proof method of abstinance. Give them the facts people or your lives may take a change you were never expecting. Just like this little girl's did.

Odds and Ends

April 4th, 2007 at 03:20 am

Today was one of those days where you have a million things to accomplish and are lucky if you even accomplish one. I guess I count myself fortunate that I actually accomplished three things. Even if one of those things was simply emptying the dishwasher. Hey, it was on the list.

We also mostly finished up in Rose's room and took a bunch more stuff to storage as FIL was kind enough to bring his truck out and run DH in with the load. I've been buried in laundry from Rose's room. I don't even know what was dirty and what was clean and never put away. But she knows if I find one thing on the floor its confiscated. She has a her own laundry hamper and a closet she can easily hang things up in, plus a dresser with easy slide drawers. NO excuses whatsoever. If its on the floor it is gone!

I think its going to take me a couple of days to get caught up on laundry, sort out what is too small and needs to be handed down to her older cousin, who she is a head taller than, and what needs to be put away properly. Sigh. I swear I had just done this six months ago and it was nowhere near as bad. How one kid could be so messy is beyond me. I did take away her guitar for a month because I found it out of its case and on the floor.

I don't get where the messy gene is coming from. Even Tobias keeps his room neat most of the time and he's only seven. I think she has a packrat tendancy, maybe got that from MIL and FIL. I dunno.

Aside from that I did manage to get 2 book pages written today and will work on it some more tonight and 3 the day before. I also read book 2 of the Withern Rise trilogy, "Small Eternities" by Michael Lawrence and started the 3rd one, "The Underwood See." I liked the first book and so far the third book more than the second, the second was more of a bridge piece. Necessary, but the less exciting part of the story. Very interested to see how it will turn out.

Didn't really do anything in the financial arena other than balance the checkbook and it actually balanced, always a good. Okay, I guess I did get more than three things accomplished today. But the list still doesn't seem any shorter.

Spent some time online going over stuff with my friend I will be meeting in California at month's end. We are plotting our vacation to waste the least amount of time possible.

I guess that's about it, then.


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