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Archive for May, 2007

This Week

May 31st, 2007 at 05:04 pm

So, I was supposed to have a dentist's appointment on Tuesday but they cancelled it. Only they didn't call to cancel it until after I'd already left for town. Ten dollars down the drain in gas. Never let them give you an appointment following a major spring holiday or long weekend. Apparently there are a lot of idiots out there who lose teeth on long weekends and must come in for emergency repairs. I wasn't happy but I made the best of it and did some grocery shopping since I was in town and without DH and the kids who tend to make the spending go up.

When I got home the cable people had finished and gone and we now have cable internet, TV again, and a digital phone with free long distance, all for the cost of the internet and digital phone. I like cable internet. I'm going to come down firmly on the side of saying that. 56K is becoming a fading memory.

Of course, I wasted a ton of time on Tuesday afternoon and evening and yesterday, finding places online to watch the first seven episodes plus the Christmas special of series 3 of Doctor Who, which doesn't start airing in America until July and hasn't even finished airing in the UK yet. That was fun. Also found the first episode of Torchwood, which is definitely not for children! Even if it is a Doctor Who spin-off. I am impatiently waiting for the next episode of DW to go up as it aired last week. My little obsession.

But hey, I wasn't out spending money. Anywho, today was my rescheduled dentist appointment was today. My jaw still aches. Top eight words I do not want to hear from my dentist. Go on now, take a guess. Okay, I'll tell you. "I think we can do this without anesthetic." Oh, really? Do I get an opinion on that?

Turns out I didn't need it, though so that is less money out. I had ground down the area around a couple of fillings and they had to build it up and sand and resurface and fix a small chip. But still, not words I ever like to hear. I don't like going to the dentist, it always makes me quite tense. And my jaw just aches from being open for two hours. But it could be worse. It could always be worse.

After the dentist I stopped at WalMart to get engine oil and some more Rubbermaid bins to put more stuff in to take to storage so spent about $40.

Tomorrow will be a spend day as well. We are getting the oil changed in the Crown Vic and then I will be seeing the P.T. for my shoulder, which got wrenched. Old injuries reasserting themselves. I dislike when that happens. But its not horrible and Ibuprofen cuts it down to bearable levels.

It has been wicked hot here this week. To make up for it, they claim it will rain all next week. I'm not against that at this point. But I'm not sure I believe it, either. I'd like some days were it just sits at 70 with a light breeze so I can get the yard and garden back in order. Here's hoping.

I sent the $10 weekly deposit off to ING today, making the amount in there a whopping $72.58. Well, slow and steady.

All right, I better go and fold the mountain of clean laundry I've been ignoring since coming home.

Money In

May 29th, 2007 at 01:46 pm

I received payment in my paypal account today of $5 for a Pinecone survey I did on Friday night. I transferred it to my CU and when it shows up I will send it to ING to the emergency fund, where all survey checks go until it is up to at least $500. Then I will figure out what to do with survey checks from there.

Very Interesting Article

May 28th, 2007 at 10:30 pm

I read a very good article this week entitled "When Banks Turn Evil." I thought I'd pass it along. It is quite enlightening.

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Banking/BetterBanking/WhenBanksTurnEvil.aspx

Curious to hear what others think on this one.

Found Money

May 28th, 2007 at 05:40 pm

So far while I have been organizing and cleaning today I have found $1.40 in change. I added it to the change jar.

Cleaning, Sorting, Trashing, Storing--Part 2

May 28th, 2007 at 03:41 pm

Boy, its been a long morning and early afternoon. We are getting much more brutal on what we are willing to trash at this point. I really had no idea we had so much stuff in boxes that absolutely has no reason to exist in our house. Old statements from beyond seven years ago, old check carbons, newspapers, magazines that will never be read again.

If it isn't Discover, Fine Gardening, Fine Cooking or Writer's Digest, it is out the door. I am even thinking about ditching the gardening one. And I ought to just write down or type up the recipes from the cooking one and ditch those, too. Except they also have cooking technique information that is quite useful so maybe not.

I don't think I ever really realized just how big the closets are in this house. They are enormous. And rapidly being depleted. I am running across doubles and triples of things that were bought because the first one got misplaced. That is the ultimate in wasteful spending. I cringe at it now. Before it was just a fact of life.

The thing that keeps going through my head is that in a year when we have built the new cedar shed and bring all the stuff back from storage that we have been putting in there now, will we go through this again? I mean the whole why did we save this, why didn't we get rid of this thing last time. I hope not. But maybe we will. Maybe it takes time of being away from you stuff to just realize how worthless it is and how you don't need it for anything. Something to think on.

Hiding Out

May 27th, 2007 at 11:03 pm

I'm hiding out from DH at the moment, so yet another entry from me today. I think this makes four. Anywho, we've gotten through a lot of junk, totally cleaned out the closet in DH's "room" which is more of a catch all place for his junk. It's technically the spare room/library, but it is not really used for that.

Found a bunch of old magazines and papers that could be recycled and a bunch of papers that need to go through the shredder first. They are old work related papers from DH's job, so I don't have to do it for a change, yay! I also found the Tightwad Gazette II, which has been missing since we moved here almost 9 years ago. Would not have thought I would find it in that closet.

I am really exhausted. I hope I can get him to call it a night. I just want to go to bed and sleep until noon tomorrow. Cause I just have to start all over again tomorrow, so no point getting up early. I do not know how you can fit so much stuff into one 1800 square foot house. I really want to get the carpets washed tomorrow but I'm not sure it is going to happen.

The only nice thing I have to say right now is that the house is starting to feel much more spacious as we weed junk out. How did we ever spend so much money on stuff we don't use and certainly don't need? I almost shudder when I think about it. No, I do shudder when I think about it. I am glad that lifestyle is so far behind us now. And neither of us want to ever go back to it.

I Almost Got Bit by Affluenza

May 27th, 2007 at 08:56 pm

I actually tried to talk DH into getting a flat panel HDTV today. I don't know what got into me. But they had a 27 inch one on sale today and tomorrow for $399, no rebates necessary, just flat priced. And I wanted it! DH talked me down. Sigh. Why did he go and have to get responsible all of a sudden, pout, pout.

That's okay, we don't need it and its not in the budget and we are planning it for Christmas as our present anyway. Patience, patience. Follow the plan.

Hearty Beef Soup

May 27th, 2007 at 03:21 pm

So, I'm taking a dust break. I sneezed my head off and needed to get away from the cleaning for a bit. Or at least that is my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.

Anyway, since its a cool rainy day, I've got a pot of soup going in the crockpot and it smells and tastes marvelous, so I thought I'd pass it along.

1 pound ground beef, crumbled
2 yellow onions, chopped
1 4 ounce can mild green chiles
2 heaping tbsp minced garlic
1 16 ounce can tomato sauce
1 16 ounce can stewed tomatoes
1 tbsp seasalt, ground
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 cans of water


Dump everything into the crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours. You can add beans if you want to. This is mild, not really a chili.

Okay, back to the grindstone.


Cleaning, Sorting, Trashing and Storing

May 27th, 2007 at 01:33 pm

Jiminy, yesterday was a busy day. We are spending the holiday weekend (no school on Friday so a four day one for us) doing intensive spring cleaning. We got so much done. All of my recycle bins are full of paper, plus two paper bags full of shredded documents. Of course, recycling doesn't come for 10 days and we very well may have more to add to it by then.

We're being brutal in what we get rid of and what we are keeping. Sometimes I think its not brutal enough but there will be a chance for that again in future.

We borrowed DH's dad's truck yesterday in exchange for putting 3 gallons of gas in it and we got to leave the kidlets with his mom all day, so we got alot more done than we otherwise might have. We took a full truckload to storage. The house is beginning to notice the impact of less stuff.

You know how sometimes when you really get into it, it seems like you totally have to trash the house while you're cleaning and sorting to get to anything and while you're doing it it looks worse than when you started, even though you know in your head you've accomplished something? Well, we're past that stage now and into the it looks so much better stage.

The cable people are coming on Tuesday and I actually think the house is going to be presentable by then. It is going to be really odd to have cable again and it is going to be really wonderful to have cable internet for the first time ever. We've been tootling along with a 56K modem since we first went online.

We are getting the bundle package for one year, so it will be $100 for tv, internet, and phone service. Currently we are paying $62 a month for two phone lines and internet service, so this will be adding $38 to the total. We will only have one phone line but long-distance in the U.S. will be free, so I won't have to buy the calling cards from Costco anymore to talk to DH when he's in Alaska. Since we are downgrading to trac phones on our cells next month, the difference there will more than cover it.

We still won't watch much in the way of TV though. We have gotten out of the habit and I like that. But we did want Sci-fi channel back and we will be getting BBC America and the one children's network that we want, as well as History channel and Discovery channel and that's pretty much what our TV watching will be confined to.

We are also insituting limits on the kids on how much they can watch daily (like 30 minutes on week days) and all homework and chores have to be done first. There will be no mindless watching. It'll be turned on only for programs, not to "see if something" is on to keep us company. It may be a challenge to see if this will last but DH and I are both pretty determined. As for me, I will probably only have the TV on Fridays and Saturdays. And that's the way I like it.

Okay, enough ingnoring of the cleaning, sorting, trashing and storing. Back to it.

Top Ten Reasons I Love My Credit Union

May 25th, 2007 at 11:02 pm

I've been really hesitant to jump into the blog contest fray because so far I haven't felt I had anything to say, but I finally feel I have a subject I can post about: My credit union.

So here are my top ten reasons that I love my credit union.

1. They were one of the first to move into internet banking, albeit you had to dial in their special phone number, which eventually you no longer needed once internet use became common and you could access it from any connection. Long before most banks knew what the internet was, my CU took its first brave steps forward. I was lucky to get in on the beta testing seventeen years ago and have happily watched them make excellent user friendly improvements to the system ever since. They make it easy to do business with them. Before that they had touch tone banking (and still do) even when I was a kid.

2. They are convenient to use. They have branches located all over the county, including in the backwater areas.

3. They have ATM's all over the county and they are all no fee ATM's. No fee to members and no fee to non-members. Never have and say they never will. This includes the ATM they have located in the local hospital. This step alone endears them to me, when other banks would pile on extra fees when you might not be able to leave the hospital during critical life moments.

4. They offer excellent mortgage rates and excellent mortgages with no pre-payment fees. In fact, their mortgage coupons have slots for additional principal payments and have done long before other banks and CU's started jumping on that band wagon. My mortgage with them is at 5.5%, fixed, 15 years and I cannot be happier.

5. The friendliest tellers in the universe and they don't charge for using them. I know most of the tellers by name. They know me by name before I give them my account information. The drive-thru teller recognizes me by my car even when I'm not at the window booth, and will greet me with a cheery hello by name before getting my info. She also knows without asking that I always prefer my cash in $20's. She also always puts in stickers for the kids without my asking and whether they are with me or not.

6. Free bill-pay. 'Nuff said.

7. Free debt counseling. And what they call pre-debt counseling, which amounts to learning what you are getting into before you take out your first credit card(theirs at a fixed 12%), car loan (theirs at 5.9 to 7.9%), or mortgage (theirs at 5.5 to 6.9%).

8. The highest paying savings account rates of any CU in town. Not saying much there, but its something. Best CD rates of any CU and all but one of the banks in town.

9. Community education involvement. They are in charge of numerous grant and scholarship programs for the three county colleges and one university in the county and are very good about getting out into the highschools and making sure the kids know about their programs.

10. They are inclusive. They welcome anyone who lives, works or worships in the county to be a member. And they truly welcome them, not just say they do. They also have inclusive hiring practices.

So as you can see, I have many, many reasons to love my credit union and I can assure you that I do.

Savings Update

May 24th, 2007 at 01:23 pm

I sent the weekly $10 off to ING today, bringing the total in that account to a whopping $62.58. Slow as molasses, but that's in keeping with our decision to focus on debt reduction. Right now the $10 a week is more to keep in the savings habit. I would still like to send $100 a month, but I just am torn because that $100 a month would do more good on a 7.9% credit card than it would earn in a 4 point whatever interst rate ING is offering. And I know Mom will loan us up to $500 interest free in an emergency, but I still don't like seeing that account below $500. It has been nice to be able to use it and rebuild it these last couple of times. I'm sure I'll get over it, though. Having the debt gone is just more important to me, and to DH.

Money Out

May 24th, 2007 at 01:02 pm

I forgot to post yesterday that we spent $55 on Chinese food. Part of that was two gallons of egg flower soup, for the two of us who cannot keep much down but soup. We like the egg flower soup because it is high in protein without being chewy soup, and also because this restaurant uses no MSG. Most store bought soups use MSG and we are allergic, it causes extreme stomach problems and when you are already having extreme stomach problems from a virus, MSG is not your friend. Not that MSG is ever your friend.

There was also other food bought so there will be leftovers for a couple of days. So DH doesn't have to cook much. I decided not to cook until this virus is gone as I am afraid I will pass it on to DH if I do. It's highly contagious. Tobias had it first.

I also wrote a $30 check to fund Tobias' hot lunch account at school yesterday. This should be the last one of the school year.

This morning DH took Tobias to the chiropractor before school and bought him a McDonald's breakfast. I'm not sure how much was spent but I gave him a $10 so it was under that. The rest of us went after picking DH up from the airport while T was in school. Since he had a t-ball game last night and has another one tonight, going in right after school didn't work and he hadn't been in since before my surgery.

We have the kids seen regularly as both DH and myself have mild forms of scoliosis. Mine has been corrected by chiropractic treatments. DH's is a little worse and his family has the the tendancy to go towards the hunchback osteoporosis hump. His grandmother had it horribly and his mother is starting. DH seems to have corrected against it since he's been seen for years, but we won't know until he's older. He has a high calcium intake as well, so the doc thinks he may not have this problem.

Tomorrow I go the surgeon for my follow-up appointment. I am not sure if that will be a co-pay or not, since surgery appointments are different from diagnostic appointments. It may be part of the surgery package. If it is not it will be a $15 co-pay. I will also be paying a $107 bill there, my share of the diagnostic appointments after insurance. I have not been billed for surgery yet. Tomorrow is payday as well, so there will be other bills and the mortgage stuff paid then, too. Lot of money going out tomorrow.

They Can't Save Money on an Income of $250,000 a Year

May 23rd, 2007 at 11:46 pm

I read this article today:

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/SavingandDebt/Advice/RichDontSaveEither.aspx

and I have to say I really did not have a lot of sympathy. Even less than when I read the one about the family living on $150,000 a year and having such a hard time of it.

What is the world coming to when people can't save money on a $250,000 a year salary? Just what are they spending their money on? McMansions?

I guess I just don't get it. To me a house is a house, whether you're living in an RV park, a manufactured home, a log cabin, a garden shed, or a stick-built house. As long as it is structurally safe and is well-kept, one place is as good as the other. Maybe paying for a better neighborhood, I can see, but a home shouldn't break you. It should just be the place you hang your hat and sleep at night.

Fancy cars? Again, its transportation, it should just get you from point A to point B. As long as it is well-maintained and of a size to fit the needs of your family there is no reason for a Mercedes or even a Lexus or Lincoln Town Car if it means you can't afford your bills or to put a little something into savings.

Private schools? Even private schools don't need to break the bank. The Waldorf one here is less than $4000 a year, so it doesn't have to be some $50,000 a year perparatory academy.

I don't know. I don't know what they could be spending so much of their income on that they can't afford their bills and to save money. Even considering a hefty tax bite, I just don't get it.

Maybe they just never learn delayed gratification. I can't fathom it.

Yuck

May 23rd, 2007 at 12:16 am

Okay, I think I am just going to stop eating until this thing passes. At the rate I'm going there isn't much point to putting food in my stomach because it won't stay there. Yuck. It's not even that I'm hungry, I just get the "think I should eat" thing going on because its that time of day. But maybe I'll just ignore it until this goes away. On the bright side, I've lost a pound today.

I hate wasting food anyway. Wasting food is wasting money. Barfing isn't frugal! Plus, I think I've gone through 1/4 of a bottle of Rolaids. That's kinda pricey.

I Caught the Bug

May 22nd, 2007 at 01:25 pm

I spent $6.46 to buy more electrolyte solution and a gallon of milk. Still feeling a little disconnected. Rose did decide to share her virus. Unfortunately or maybe fortunately considering what she's been going through, mine is at the throwing up end of things. I hate not keeping my food down. Right now I'm sipping on organic chicken boullion. After what happened to breakfast this morning, this seems like my best option for lunch.

Well, I have to say being sick like this definitely reconnects me to my life. Ugh.

Inside the Bubble

May 22nd, 2007 at 01:14 am

Did you ever have one of those days where you're walking around kind of outside of yourself? Like you are observing your life from a distance and though you are aware of it, you're just not really there in the moment. Today was like that, definitely a little left of center. I suppose I'm still reacting to that car accident behind the house. Maybe its a protective thing, so I don't really have to think about what I saw. Which is fine until night time when there is nothing left to distract me and it is all I can focus on.

DH flies home Wednesday and that will help so much. He is my rock. I think I've been left with this overwhelming sense of helplessness. To not be able to help someone that way, I don't even think I've come to terms with that. I just keep pushing it out of my mind, like stuffing things into the closet that you don't want to deal with until much later, if ever.

It is hard for me to focus on the financial right now. I had food delivered today, $70 worth of frozen cod and salmon from a frozen food wholesaler. It should last a good while. And I spent $2 on 64 ounces of an electrolyte solution for Rose. She's got a nasty stomach/intestinal virus and was getting pretty dehydrated. This is the same one Tobias had about 2 weeks ago. At least all the symptoms are the same. Let's just hope the sweethearts have not passed it along to me. That's the last thing I want to deal with right now.

I miss my sense of optimism. It got hit with a sharp knock this weekend and doesn't seem to want to come visiting.

Had a bit of a creepy morning when my old neighbor who had been evicted from his home two months ago came by. I figured he must have worked stuff out with his landlord. He wanted to use my phone and I was not about to let him into my home. Both of the cordless phones were charging and no way was I letting him in to use the corded phone. That guy just creeps me out. Then he wanted to borrow gas and I said I didn't have any. Like I would loan him anything ever again. He still owes me $11.55 from over a year ago.

Today after school I got a knock on the door. It was the Sherrif's department asking me if I'd seen my neighbor today. Apparently he didn't work stuff out with his landlord and was not supposed to be back on the property next door. He asked me some questions. I didn't know much, like I said the guy gives me the creeps so I try to avoid him like the plague. They had 3 police cars and 3 officers there for a half an hour. I don't know if the neighbor ever came home though or not.

You'd think having this stuff going on would have actually engaged me in my life today but it didn't really. I was still outside myself. I'm getting to know most of the sherrif's department this year. That's got to come in handy at some point.

I hope I can shake all this off soon and get back my positive happy outlook. I miss it, but at the moment I don't quite know where I put it. Somewhere outside the bubble.

Maybe tomorrow will be a nice normal day. I'm tired of the drama. I'd like to be bored instead, thank you.

Kind of Out of It

May 20th, 2007 at 10:38 pm

I've been kind of a space cadet the last little while. Watching someone die can do that to you.

I broke my laptop screen the night of the car accident. Cracked it so only 1/3 of the screen is normal and the other part is all swirly. DH is going to see about finding another old Tecra screen online with a non-functioning hard-drive, to cannibalize. When he gets home he can hook it up to the PC monitor and we can grab all the stuff off of it that I should have been backing up but wasn't because I misplaced my flash drive. Sigh. Then DH will take it over as his computer.

I finally got a new laptop on Saturday. I'd been waiting and waiting and waiting for a really good sale. Well, they had one last week, and I had the money set aside for it, so breaking the screen was the impetus for me to decide that I just wasn't going to get a better deal than $449 for a Toshiba. Now, a Compaq, I could have gotten for around $419 but it just looked so flimsy in comparison. Of course, there was tax and I have to send for the $150 rebate, so out of pocket was more, but I had out of pocket set aside as I said, so all is well.

The rebate will pay for the $150 software Office 2007 that they are no longer putting on new computers except a 30 day free trial. It's a bit of a pain in the butt actually, more bells and whistles in Word than I care to deal with, but got it figured out after about ten minutes. I have to have Word for my books. Works doesn't come close to cutting it.

I am going to spend some time in the tutorial I think, seeing if I can reset the defaults. There was a way on Word 2000, so I am sure it exists.

I'm learning my way around Vista as well. So far, don't care for the new mail program all that much. It works, and the autojunk feature is nice, but I miss Outlook. Oh, well, this too shall pass.

I'm going to have to uninstall McAfee. I hate it already. I don't want to install Norton, I don't think. It used to slow down everything so darn much on the old laptop. Of course, it was a two hamster drive (Rafaela and Eduardo), with Norton making it act like a one hamster drive. This new computer seems to have at least ten hamsters powering it, so maybe I could get by on five. Anybody have any ideas on a really good anti-virus program that is not boggy and isn't terribly expensive? Though I'll settle for not boggy.

Not really much else going on here. Tobias was out playing all day with friends and Rose had an upset stomach so we vegged on the couch all afternoon and evening watching Dr. Who. She still hasn't seen all of series 2, so we got through a fair bit more of that. They are supposed to start showing series 3 in July so I did want her to get through it but she won't watch it by herself, and as it was, was clutching my hand through a lot of it. She loves it though. Same as I did with the original stuff when I was a kid. Only this is better in so many ways.

Anyway, today was a no spend day. Tomorrow probably won't be.

Speed Traps and B.A.'s Article

May 18th, 2007 at 10:50 pm

I left a second comment (#57!) over on Broken Arrow's blog, the entry about Common Myths. I wanted to say a lot more but I didn't want to deal with the responses I might get from the non-SA people that wandered over here from some other websites, since they seemed to be profanity laden and cop-hating. To an extent I guess I have been heretofore sheltered from. This is not PF related at all, just kind of emotional, because, well, its been an emotional night. Thank heavens my mother took the kids away for the weekend before this happened.

Anywho, I wanted to talk some more about speed traps. So here it is.

One more thing on speed traps. We have one on the highway just behind our house. It's right as you come out of a nasty S-curve, sometimes at one end, sometimes at the other. Speed limit is 30 for it, dropping from 55.

We who live here all know it is there, just as we who live here also know that there are five different crosses and memorials set up on either side of the road along that curve. You might even see them if you take the curve at the lawful speed.

I have seen two cars wrapped around the power pole there with one being a death. I personally have called the ambulance for one of the deaths and 2 of the non-deaths, as the sound effects at such accidents are overwhelmingly loud and I know without looking what has happened. I get on the phone and walk out behind the fence and there is another hunk of twisted metal that was once a vehicle. All I have to say for location is the S-curve on --- Road Highway, they know it without a house number or a city name.

That curve has taken out ten cars and 3 power poles in the last five years. Not one car was going the speed limit or anywhere near it. Sometimes a speed trap is just a speed trap. Sometimes it is because you're driving through a death trap.

So yeah, speed if you want to, but after watching them wash the blood off the pavement for an hour more than once, after holding more than one bloody hand or applying pressure to another bleeding head, please don't make it me that you're tail-gating when I follow the law. And don't get mad at the police when they pull you over in that spot. It being a speed trap may just have saved your life.

And oh, by the way, there was an accident tonight. That was the death I got to call in. Guess there will be another memorial up soon. I wonder what color they'll paint the cross? Maybe if they paint it blood red people will slow down and see it.

Payday

May 18th, 2007 at 09:10 pm

Well, today was payday and a lot of money went out today, but bills must be paid and life rolls on.

$1300.00 to Bank of America CC (they own my life)
$ 42.00 to 3 month newspaper subscription
$ 42.01 to phone bill
$ 64.54 to cell phone bill
$ 233.40 to Costco
$ 63.27 WalMart
$ 17.46 Haggen
---------
$1762.78 Total spent

$100 of the Costco money went on the cash card to use for buying gas so that is not really as horrible as it seems. I stocked up a lot of canned goods I am low on and cheeses, part of which I froze.

WalMart was relatively healthy snack foods for the kids, medicine, a reinforced set of garden gloves that will allow me to pull out the trailing sticker plant that is invading my yard from the neighbor's house (their motto: yard, what yard?) a small handheld ratchet pruner and the bigger one you need for pruning limbs on trees and one music CD I had planned for.

I usually get one music CD a month, if I get more in a month its because I lose my discipline and impulse buy more. I did that two months ago, so I am trying to keep a leash on it, even though there are two more CD's I want to get. They'll just have to wait their turns. Music has a relatively important place in my life, having learned to play violin, viola, flute, and piano in my lifetime and having sung in Concert Choir in high school. Music is just that important to me.

Another payday gone and another paycheck spent. Next week is mortgage and more CC payments. Lovely. Ah, well, life goes on.

Savings Update

May 18th, 2007 at 08:54 pm

I sent $10 off to ING today to add to the EF. It's now at a whopping $52.58. We decided to use the $600 to pay on a credit card, instead of putting it back into the EF. I'm just so tired of the debt. Every payment I make comes just one step closer to bringing down the evil empire.

And if push comes to shove the CC can act as an emergency fund. Though my mother said anything up to $500 she could lend us if it was a minor emergency, with no interest so that is why I feel better about putting that $600 against debt.

I will still continue to send the $10 a week to the EF and any survey money will go there, too.

It Didn't Fill it Up

May 17th, 2007 at 09:20 pm

I just about wanted to cry today when I realized that the $50 worth of gasoline I put into my car today only gave me 13.873 gallons of gas. There has never been a time in my life that a fifty dollar bill would not fill up my 18 gallon gas tank. And I'd usually get back at least $5 in change this last year. Until now.

I don't drink fancy (or any) coffee, at $3 to $7 a cup, so I guess I still get to complain about the price of gas. $3.59 per gallon. This has to stop. It is wreaking havoc on the budget. I have no idea at all how the minimum wagers are surviving right now. I hope they all live close to their jobs, because I don't think they could afford to drive to them anymore.

I absolutely hate doing this, but I have decided to double my gas budget. That means it will be $200 for each four week period. And with $50 not even filling the tank, that means I have 13 gallons to work with. Thank the good Lord that last week is the last of t-ball. That takes a gallon round trip to drive to each time.

If this keeps up, if it gets worse, I think it'll mean no soccer in the fall. Rose can still play basketball because it is only one mile from the house and we can ride our bikes in good weather even. But I don't see how we can just blithely drive 12 to 15 miles one way to 3 or 4 practices a week if both kids play and 25 miles on game days. It's just too much.

I had thought about letting them go back to the dance studio next year instead of sports and if I could get them in afterschool classes on the same day, I could combine it with a weekly trip to the chiropractor. One trip a week is still manageable for extra-curricular activities. But not much more.

Maybe I'm being a pessimist. Maybe gas prices will go back down. Hey! It wasn't that funny...Stop laughing at me.

It Had to Happen Sometime

May 16th, 2007 at 07:06 pm

I think we may have gotten ourselves adopted by a cat. I don't particularly want a cat. I've been cat-free since the summer of 1996 when Honi died. Never got another one because first I wasn't ready, and second I'm allergic, and then now Tobias is allergic as well. If I ever got another cat it would be an outdoor cat, period. But I don't want a cat.

I don't want the responsibility, I don't want to be tied down and not be able to vacation when I want. I don't want the vet bills. I don't want the fear of living near a major highway that sees dead animals squashed across it on a daily basis. I don't want to pay for pet food and I don't want to deal with massive pet food recalls for commercial food that has killed or sickened so many pets. I don't want the emotional attachment of a pet. I don't want a cat.

So this cat shows up today and he has an injury on his left foreleg. He's not limping that I can see, but he's definitely been in a fight and the leg is missing some fur. He was quite friendly so I have hopes that he belongs to someone. Only...no collar and he's not fully grown. He's maybe 8 or 9 months old. Well, he jumped right up into my lap on the porch swing and settled down like we were old friends. He's a tiny bit skittish. I've told the kids to move slow and he seems to like them as well. But sweet-tempered or not, I don't want a cat.

The kids wanted to feed him and his ribs did seem awfully prominent, so I fished out an old can of tuna that I don't like the brand of, its too dry for me. The cat wolfed it down like he hadn't seen food for a long time. I put out a bowl of water, too which he drank all of, so I refilled it. At least he had a good meal. I don't like to think of him starving, even if I don't want him to stay.

I think he is a stray or he was dumped. He's not been fixed and he should have been by this size if he had a responsible owner. I have fed strays from time to time and they have always moved along, so hopefully this sweet guy will do the same. He is a lovely ginger tabby cat with a white chest, neck and under the chin. His coat looks healthy mostly but he has dandruff and probably needs some good brushing. He is very well behaved. The kids are calling him Tiger. I don't want a cat.

If he stays, he will have a better name than Tiger. He will have something stronger and bold, something that befits his personality. I almost want him to stay. Oh, this is not fair. I so don't want a cat!

Oops, I forgot

May 15th, 2007 at 04:55 pm

I forgot to add in to one the last posts how much I spent at the convenience store today. It was $4.15. I haven't been that good at keeping track of the little things this month.

It's 84 Degrees at 4:40 p.m.

May 15th, 2007 at 04:50 pm

This is ridiculous. Hello, PNW? Hello, Mountains? Hello, rain? Where'd you go. What the heck is with the heat all of a sudden?

I watered my veggie starts extra well today. I don't want them dying from lack of moisture. That would defeat the purpose of growing veggies to save money at the grocery store.

I was able to do a little weeding when the sun passed behind the big cedar tree and the area went into shade. I'll do a little more in about an hour when it sinks enough to be behind the fir and pine copse. I am taking it very slow and easy. I don't want to overdo it.

Oops, I just remembered I need to go hang up a load of towels on the clothesline. I have to take advantage of this while it lasts for something.

My Day So Far

May 15th, 2007 at 01:34 pm

My kids woke up without wanting to kill each other so I am hoping the behavioral idiocy between them is over and they are back to their sweet-natured selves.

I drove down to the convenience store because I wanted Pepsi and chocolate. Now there is a very good reason why I didn't buy those items at the grocery store yesterday, but I determined that the craving wasn't going to go away after 18 hours, so I went.

So I went in and bought them and came back out to the car only to find my ignition key was not on the keyring. I obviously had it to drive down to the store so I triple-checked the ring. It has a lot of keys on it but not the one I needed to start the car.

I went back into the store and followed the long circuitous route I took to get my items. Pepsi being at one end of the store and chocolate directly opposite at the other end of the store. Nothing bright and shiny on the floor. I checked the check out counter. Nothing. I asked all the employees if anyone had turned it in. Nope.

Went back outside and looked on the ground between my car and the doorway. Nope. Well, maybe it came off when I flung my purse into the car. My keys have a hook on them that I hook to my purse when I don't have pockets. So I ended up cleaning out the entire passenger side of the car, paper by paper, empty water bottle by excess junk mail. Not in there either. Big sigh.

Finally the two cars that had been parked next to me to the left pulled away. It was in the second furthest parking space right up against the little concrete barrier. Thank goodness.

I discarded the defective ring and put the ignition key and te trunk key on a stronger ring.

I was really quite frustrated. Today it is 81 degrees outside. I would have had to walk the mile home to get the other set of car keys and then the mile back. Now normally that wouldn't be all that horrible, except I had on flip-flops and oh, yeah, I had surgery on Friday!

I started off with a "why are you doing this to me" prayer, which I caught myself in and quickly sent off a "please help me find it" prayer instead. Change of attitude leads to gratitude. Oh, sorry that's one of my Mommyisms. But still.

This and That

May 14th, 2007 at 09:11 pm

I had to sit through another t-ball game tonight. We are so doing soccer next year. The entire team had a very bad case of being little boys. Chelsea was absent, so I can say that. I didn't think they were ever going to settle down and pay attention to the game, and I was right, they didn't. Oh, well, just three more to go and then the season is over.

I went to the grocery store and spent $40 on food. Well, mostly on food. I bought a five ounce tin of Hungarian paprika for $7.79. That's technically a spice. And then the $3.99 for the infotainment magazine wasn't technically food, either. But the rest of it was.

I am going to go to Costco tomorrow if I feel well enough to do it. I am out of some staples. Well, not staples in the traditional sense, because its ravioli, chili, and kosher beef hot dogs, but those are things that are eaten all the time here, so I call them staples. I want to get strawberries and maybe some other fruit if it looks good. And I need to fill up the gas tank. I may just wait until Friday, though. We'll see.

My kids are still fighting over stupid stuff and I am ready to send them to boarding school. No, not really. I don't think. They are normally such good kids. In fact, the school librarian was just talking about them the other day and said they were two of the nicest kids she's ever met and she thinks they are just wonderful. I wonder what she would think if she could see the little hellions right now? Though maybe they are so good with her because she controls the books.

Home Again

May 13th, 2007 at 08:37 pm

I am back home again after spending the weekend recovering from my surgery at my mother's house. I swear the minute we walked back in the door of my house my kids started fighting and haven't stopped since. So I made them go to bed early because I don't have the energy to deal with them when they are being monsters and I warned them a dozen times, so they asked for it.

Today was a no spend day. I am glad to be home and sleeping in my own bed again. I am so grateful for school tomorrow. I'll have the day to rest anyway.

Free Stuff

May 12th, 2007 at 08:20 pm

My mother over bought on her veggie starts so I now have the kohlrabi starts I was looking all over the place for last week. It looks to be about ten or twelve, so that's a good row and I will start seeds next to them when I plant them this coming week. Love it when stuff is free.

She also took my kids garage-sailing (yes, like the sailboat, that is what we call it) and Tobias ended up with a Razor scooter, brand name Razor, one of the really fancy ones for $5. This is the kind that was $100 when they first came out. But that was grandma's gift to him, so free, no out of pocket expense to me.

I've already had to institute a helmet and elbow pad rule for it. You only have to look at his elbow's to see why. I had gotten away with never buying scooters as I don't think they are particularly safe for little kids. But T is at an age now where he can handle it. He loves it, and now he can ride with the twins if they go on theirs.

He also learned to ride his bike with no training wheels last week, so he is leaving the ranks of the avid pedestrian behind. That has always had a helmet rule.

Anyway, that's my free stuff for today. It's been awhile since I have gotten any free stuff as I haven't been signing up for freebies for awhile. I should really get back to that again.

Feeling Better and No Spend Day

May 12th, 2007 at 03:01 pm

I think I got twelve hours of sleep from when I went to bed last night until I got up today. Of course, I had to get up twice during the night to take medication, but went right back to sleep. My body must have really needed it.

I think I may go sit out on Mom's front porch/deck for awhile and watch the flowers. It's windy so they dance a bit when it is. Nice and relaxing. It is a warm wind, which is nice.

She needs to put her porch swing up on the deck, that would make it even better, she just never got around to it last fall when the new deck was put in. Maybe when DH comes home again he can help her do it with my nephew-in-law.

Today is definitely a no spend day. Nowhere to go, nothing to buy.

Surgery Went Well & Gardening Update

May 11th, 2007 at 05:38 pm

My surgery this morning went really well. I'm not in any pain and its been six hours since I took pain meds, so yay! I like this minimally invasive stuff soooooo much better than the "gut you like a fish and then staplegun you shut" type of surgery.

I can't drive until tomorrow but I should be able to resume most normal activities by Sunday, like cooking, dishes, laundry, and even pulling weeds if I get motivated. But only easy to pull weeds. Anything tougher than a dandelion can stay in, like burdock root. No lawn mowing or weed whacking though. Which is why I got that done the last three days. I should be able to do those by next weekend, though.

I did get my red cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli planted in the brassica bed (which I rotate each year) and my French Crisp leaf lettuce planted in a ten gallon tub yesterday afternoon. I still have peas, kohlrabi, summer squash and green beans to plant. I need to find some cucumber starts and some well grown tomato plants. Though I don't know why I bother with tomatoes...they are cheap here and don't like mountain growing seasons.

My asparagus is showing, the most advanced is about 4 inches above the surface so should be ready to cut by Monday or Tuesday. My cherry bushes have bloomed, my strawberries are just starting to flower and I've got a bunch of new raspberry canes coming up where I transplanted them to last year. Also, I have a bunch in the original position that I think I will try to move to the better location. If they do, its no big deal as the other ones are thriving and will take over the new area soon enough.

Today is a spend day. I had to get a broad spectrum antibiotic, $10, that should have been called in last night with the pain pills but wasn't. Last night's med was also $10, plus I had to renew my potassium prescription at $10, too. Glad it wasn't $40 like my BP med earlier this week!

Oh, the doc was able to do the surgery with a sedative and local anesthetic instead of putting me under general anesthetic. I was still asleep. I don't like not being under local if I'm awake, but thankfully I was out cold. That will be much cheaper, not only in the cost of the drug but in the cost of the time the anesthesiologist had to sit with me. Not as long in the recovery area either as I woke up much faster.

That about wraps it up for me for today.


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