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Archive for April, 2011

Packing and Other House Stuff

April 30th, 2011 at 11:25 pm

DH and I went out to the house today and finished cleaning out the laundry room and the one kitchen cupboard that hadn't been packed up. We did a load of big dishes that will get packed tomorrow when we go back and then just under the sink in the two bathrooms and everything will be packed. We will have FIL's truck tomorrow and should be able to get the house completely empty and everything but the piano taken to storage. We will move the piano first thing at the end of May. I don't know if the dump is open tomorrow or not, it being Sunday, but if it is we will do a dump run as well. If not we can keep the truck and do it Monday morning.

This will set us up to start ripping out the carpeting the next time DH comes home. Once the carpet is ripped out and disposed of we will paint the walls of the rooms that need to be painted, which is three of the bedrooms, one of the bathrooms, one wall in the laundry room and the playroom and living room. After that we can start putting in new flooring (linoleum in the bathrooms and wooden flooring in the other rooms), put in two new toilets and one new sink, and by then it should be warm enough outside to paint the two sides of the house that need it and the porch.

I think we are going to have to hire a landscaper to do the yardwork, though. I can't get down on my knees anymore since the surgery and DH has never been one for yardwork beyond mowing the lawn and weed eating the ditch.

I know the roof has gotten mossy so that will have to be taken care of. The carport roof needs to be taken down because it is collapsing in the middle (it was built out of wood and not to code by the people who owned the house before us) and the shed needs new shingles because the repair we did left it with part black and part brown shingles. The shed needs to be painted as well.

There's a lot to do but hopefully we will be finished by the end of July and can get it on the market by August. That would be nice. If not, oh, well. It's not like the mortgage payments are breaking the bank at under $400 a month.

We found $2.25 in coins in the laundry room, including a 50 cent piece and a Sacajawea dollar. Most of them had to be cleaned with Comet just to get the gunge off them. They went into the coin jar with the eventual destination the emergency fund.

Property Tax is Paid

April 30th, 2011 at 03:39 pm

I paid the half year property tax on our old house yesterday. I forgot to do it before the courthouse closed at 4:30. Seriously, why are they not open until 5:00? And why do I forget that all the time? Anyway, I ended up paying it online, which made it cost an extra $12. I guess that's what I get for waiting until the last minute...again.

Oh, well. Such is life when you take a couple days off from being organized. Getting myself back there again, pronto.

DH and I are going out to the house for a few hours tonight to see if we can't get the last of it packed up. Then maybe tomorrow we can borrow FIL's truck and take a load to storage and maybe do a dump run, also. There is definitely enough to do a dump run. Which reminds me, I need to cancel the garbage service for the house on Monday. All the stuff we have left is too big to fill up the can with and will have to go to the dump, so no point in paying their monthly service charge when we are no longer needing to put anything out.

Neighbor asked if we were going to keep our generator. I think we are just going to let him have it. We paid $500 for it, but it's ten years old and he keeps an eye on the place for us, chases off the kids who sometimes like to congregate in the yards of empty houses, and makes sure the windows aren't broken. We don't need one for town and the type we would need if we did would have a different tail on it anyway. So no big deal to let him have it, especially for all the stuff he's done.

He also asked if he could have our compost. Not the bins, just what's in them and I've agreed to that. I was just going to dump it into the existing flower beds but I wasn't looking forward to the backbreaking work of shoveling compost, so he'll come and take it and we won't have to worry about it spreading it. One less thing on our to do list.

One of Those Days

April 29th, 2011 at 12:55 am

Today has been one of those days where I just feel like I've been behind on everything. Hence the staying up until one a.m. to get it all done. I am going back to the dentist tomorrow, they are going to do more cleaning, but I don't think any more dental work unless it's to fix the tooth that has been hurting since they filled it last week. It's a dull pain, but I don't think it should still be there. I hope it doesn't cost extra because it's their fault it didn't get done right the first time.

I'm planning out my shopping for next week. It's going to have an inordinate amount of expensive ice cream, dye free jello, dye free fruit bars (that are also free of apple or grape juices) and TJ's pudding on it, since my little allergy boy is getting his tonsils yanked. I bought a big bag of potatoes for mashed potatoes and we have eggs to scramble. I figure that'll make up the majority of his diet for the first few days and then we'll move on to soup. I've got a turkey carcass that needs boiling down soon and then I can freeze the broth for making soup next week.

Mom went and bought some more chicks, say they are under the heat lamp in the rarely used bathroom's bathtub. Good thing there are four bathrooms in this house. They are cute little things, but not quite as cute as last time when they were only a day old. Not quite as cuddly at four days old and with some of their feathers showing already.

I don't know what they are, but they aren't the same as the red one and the black and white one that are grown. The chicks are yellow (3 of them) and light brown with a black stripe down the center (the other three). They don't mind being handled either, but then the chickens never did. It was the ducks that were against it and we won't be getting more ducks.

I just really hope the chicks and the older chickens will get along when they are introduced. That won't be for at least several weeks though. I'll try to get a pic to post as they really are very adorable.

Property Tax, Tonsilectomy Scheduled, and Lunch Out

April 27th, 2011 at 10:18 am

I transferred the money out of ING for property tax this morning and sent it to my local credit union. It's due on Friday, which is the day it will arrive in my account. I still think it's ridiculous that money transfers take that long when it's you doing it, but when it's them taking the money out for payments and stuff it's so much faster. I want that three days' worth of interest, as miniscule as it is. Anyway way, that's $518.17 for half the year.

The ENT scheduling nurse called this morning and we scheduled DS's tonsilectomy for May 6 at ten with a check in time of nine. I was surprised they had an opening so soon. It's right in the middle of the yearly testing (that used to be the WASL but is some new test now that has an abbreviation that sounds like a sneeze). So he'll miss some of that, but he's only grade 5 so I don't particularly care too much. I'd rather he miss testing than miss real school lessons, you know? He'll be out of school most of the next week, maybe all week if the recovery is slow enough.

DH and I are going out to lunch today for Mexican food. DD doesn't care much for it, it upsets her stomach, and DS's throat is still too sore for spicy, so we're going without them. We will probably spend about $20.

Even More Medical

April 26th, 2011 at 05:32 pm

We took DS to the ENT today and he definitely will be getting his tonsils taken out. Today's appointment (once it's gone through the insurance) will cost us $150 since it was a new patient visit (we're still working on our deductible). So far we've accrued over $1000 on our deductible this year (but only been billed about half of that so far). It has been an expensive few months! And will only get more so with his surgery and then mine. We've got about $1300 more to go on the deductible.

I have to pick up my super expensive prescription today which is (I think) $150 also. Hopefully after my surgery I won't have to stay on it. Next week I'll have to pay for my high blood pressure medicine. Which is also expensive. I will be glad when we hit that deductible and they start paying for prescriptions.

Next month I am going to have to take money out of our debt repayment for medical. I've been waffling on it, but decided I'll hold back $1000, and maybe an additional $500 that would have gone to rebuilding the EF. It will set us back a month, but we should still have the final credit card paid off at the end of the year, just December instead of November.

I think I will be able to send for my $250 cash back check from one of our credit cards next month. That will go to the EF.

Happy Easter

April 24th, 2011 at 02:49 pm

Not much to blog about yesterday so I didn't. First day I missed in a long time. DH went out to the house with his dad to work on the shower stall. He ended up having to come back into town for parts and then go back out again, so he used 4 gallons of gas instead of 2. That'll throw things off a little bit. Glad we aren't making a trip to Seattle this month after all.

DD went to a birthday party. I gave her a twenty so she could buy a present and the change she brought back was $3.25, all in quarters, so it went into the change jar.

The people that fixed the plumbing on Friday came back to take away the broken up blacktop from the part of the driveway they dug up to get to the pipes. The backhoe is still here and will likely remain here until Monday.

My mother decided not to repave that part of the driveway and brought some good dirt/compost in and is going to plant potatoes there. The sewer and gas pipes are eight feet down so the plants shouldn't interfere with them like the honeysuckle roots did. 3 feet of pipe was just jamemed with honeysuckle roots almost in a solid mass.

I'm not crazy about the idea of her planting veggies there because the part of the ground where the overflow pipe comes out spewed sewer water for three days. That can't be healthy. Hopefully she'll just avoid that area, since they actually dug up thirty feet and there is plenty of ground that didn't get contaminated.

As for today my daughter is making the entire dinner. I said I didn't want to do anything, didn't want to be involved in making an elaborate meal and was happy with spaghetti, but she wanted to do something so I told her to go ahead.

We had a turkey at Christmas that we didn't use. We had ended up celebrating Thanksgiving a couple weeks late since DH was in Alaska on the actual holiday, and so nobody was in the mood for making another turkey so soon. So it sat in the freezer since Christmas, but it looked good when we thawed it out this week. So basically we are having Christmas dinner for Easter. She gets to turn it in as a missed lab in her home ec class, too.

I didn't see a price on the turkey so I can't really do a breakdown, but I'm sure it was close to $30 since it was a free range organic bird. Only a 12 pounder, though. And we'll be eating off it all week so that definitely brings the price down on everything.

Payday and the Evil that is Racoons

April 22nd, 2011 at 08:25 pm

DH put his airline ticket on the wrong credit card. I went to go pay off the interest that always comes through after you pay off a credit card, which was $40 and some change and noticed he'd put it on the paid off Master Card instead of the air miles reward VISA. The two cards look very similar, both black, both from BoA.

It's an easy mistake to make. *sighs* But now it's got $355 on it, so I can't pay it off again until May 13th. Frown It's not the end of the world, I was just looking forward to seeing it zero out again, and at least it means that the VISA is still under $20,000 which it wouldn't have been if he'd put it on the air miles card. He's going to take it out of his wallet and stop carrying it altogether.

I made a payment of $1000 on the interest free medical debt loan I owe my mother, which brings our balance to $89,000, with seven years and six months and 89 payments to go, $21,000 paid off so far.

This was the little payday, it only has two days wages on it, so the rest of the money, plus what I've put aside, is going to stretch over the next two weeks of no paychecks.

I didn't take any cash out of the bank as I still have $52 in my wallet. I think I can get by on that for the next week.

A racoon got into Mom's chicken coop last night as she forgot to do the locks. Racoons are very capable of opening simple doors and it did. It killed 4 chickens. What really gets me is that it only ate one of them. It killed the other three just for sport, I think. Racoons are just such nasty creatures. So we are down to zero ducks and two chickens.

I kind of wish she'd give the chickens to this lady she knows on a farm. I think it's just too much work for her and that's why she's gotten so lazy about things. But her laziness has lost her one duck three days ago and now four more chickens. She started with 10 chickens and 4 ducks. Only one animal death was not due to her being careless about something. I'd rather see the chickens go than have to listen to that inhumane screaming in the middle of the night as a racoon kills a chicken. It's one of the most awful sounds in the world.

Appointment Scheduled

April 22nd, 2011 at 02:34 pm

After calling up the specialist yesterday to complain about it being over 2 months with them sitting on their hands I finally got a call this morning from Virginia Mason. The problem? The local specialist never gave the people at VM my phone number so they had no way to contact me. For over 2 months. You can bet I will not be dealing with these local people again. But I did get an appointment set up, not with the original doctor that was recommended but one of her partners who does the same type of surgery over scar tissue. I chose to do this so that I could get in in May. Otherwise I wouldn't have been able to get in until the fall. After waiting two months already, I just did not want to wait that much longer.

DH will be home at the time of my appointment so I won't have to worry about driving in Seattle traffic. The VM people gave me the names of two hotels they are affiliated with but we will have to check out prices and see if they are cheaper or more expensive than a regular hotel. At least progress has been made.

Dentist, New Glasses, and Calling Doctors' Offices

April 21st, 2011 at 05:02 pm

It's going to cost my mom $4000 to get the plumbing fixed. And they are going to have to dig up part of the driveway to do it. She planted hyacinth vines about five years ago and the roots are growing through the pipes. This is why you never plant exuberant, fast growing vines anywhere near a foundation or where there are water/sewer or gas pipes. At our old house the hyacinth and clematis are well away from anything like that. And when we do get a new house we will definitely locate all our pipes before we plant anything.

Speaking of houses...that one we really like about six blocks from here that has way, way overpriced itself has dropped in price again, down to $400,000. It is still way overpriced for everything (neighborhood, value of home, amount of remodel, amount of purchase price a year ago), but if it keeps falling like this and no one buys, maybe by next year it'll be down around the $300,000 mark (which is probably still too high, but is much more reasonable and affordable), we'd actually consider giving it a go. Of course we still have to sell our old house first. Who knows? Right now it's just a pipe dream anyway.

I went to the dentist today at 11. It is almost 5 and my mouth still hasn't thawed out from the novacaine completely. Half my lower lip looks like someone gave me a fat lip and it's darker than the rest of my lips. I have to go back in on the 29th. And maybe again in another week. Yeah, word to the wise, don't go three years between cleanings. Even if you don't have dental find a way to pay up front and at least get your cleanings done.

My glasses came in at Lenscrafters. They are going to take a bit to get used to since they are progressive lenses. I can read a lot more clearly now, even teeny tiny print. Figuring out how far away from the computer screen I need to be is the difficult part. I haven't tried driving yet. I want to wait a few days until I get used to the trifocal aspect of things. My clip on sunglass lenses fit just fine on these frames so I won't have to buy new ones, which is nice. But these frames are pretty similar to the old ones so I sort of thought they would.

I made an appointment to get my son in to see an ENT about getting his tonsils removed. I had to wait on hold for fifteen minutes. I listened to their darn stupid speel all the way around six times. I wish they'd just play music instead because I really don't care about plastic surgery or laser hair removal or acne treatments or anything the other partners in their thing do. I just wanted to make an appointment. Frown *sighs*

I called back my specialist yet again (going on 2 months and one week now) about the Virginia Mason thing and this time they said they had faxed them a couple weeks ago and all they got back was "Recieved." Umm...yes, and...? What does that mean? I mean, seriously, Miss Receptionist, could you be any less helpful? So she said she'd fax them again and call me tomorrow. (I won't hold my breath). I mean, give me the name of the stupid specialist at Virginia Mason and I will call myself and schedule an appointment. (Oh, no, they don't do it that way.)

I'm about to start all over. I'd have to go to Mt. Vernon to do it since this practice is the only urology office in my county. I am just so frustrated with them. Why is this so darn difficult for everyone to just do their jobs?

Okay, okay, I'll calm down now.

Picked up four more hams at the grocery store today. We spend $21.64 for 16.8 pounds of meat. I am making one tonight in the crockpot.

Great Ham Sale So Stocking Up

April 20th, 2011 at 07:29 pm

Okay, this is a second entry mostly just because I don't want to talk about food and plumbing in the same post. Major ick factor.

Anyway, DH and I went to the store today and bought five picnic hams at $1.29 per pound. We spent $41.89 for 32 and a half pounds of meat. They are all the perfect size for the crockpot. We will go back tomorrow and get more. We cleaned out the ones that were the appropriate size, but there were plenty of medium and larger sized cuts left. They probably won't go on sale again until Thanksgiving time, so I am doing a major stock up. Ideally I'd like to have about 20 hams in the freezer.

I'm borrowing $100 from the laptop fund to purchase more hams and will replace it out of next month's grocery budget. It is just too good a deal to pass up, but I don't want to totally wipe out the food budget for the next 3 weeks.

DS is starting to feel better. His tonsils are still swollen, but they are going down finally. He probably still won't go to school tomorrow, but will likely go on Friday. The long strep test came back negative, too. So we don't have to worry about that anymore, except paying the lab bill when it comes.

Breakfast and lunch today was eating up a bunch of leftovers, though we did drink milk at breakfast so $2.

Dinner:

Chicken ($5.21)
Corn (.89)
Purple cabbage (.69)
Milk ($2)

Total: $8.79

Total for day $10.79



Plumbing Disaster

April 20th, 2011 at 07:16 pm

The plumbing in my mother's house decided to blow up last night. And Mom being Mom (i.e. cheapest woman on the planet at the moment) didn't want to pay for it to be fixed. It would be one thing if the money wasn't there, but the money is there and I'm sorry, but seriously, we need to be able to flush the toilet (and use the dishwasher and wash clothes), so yeah, things do need to drain out through the pipes. We did eventually convince her to get someone out.

Turns out the problem is between the house and the road. So someone else (i.e. someone cheaper) is coming out tomorrow to locate exactly where and then dig and fix (hopefully.)

At least DH, DD, DS and I can go to the health club to shower. And I have lots of paper plates, cups, bowls, and plasticware. And we can go wash clothes at DH's parents' house if it comes down to it. So we are putting as little impact on the pipes as possible.

Homemade Fish and Chips Recipe

April 19th, 2011 at 06:46 pm

So we just had the most delicious fish and chips for dinner tonight. I'm not sure it's the most economical of recipes, depending on how expensive the fish is that you buy, but in comparison to store bought or restaurant bought it is quite a savings. I made enough to feed five people for $10 so not too shabby.

The fish counter had Dover Sole on sale for $3.99 a pound today. Up until a month ago I had never had that before, but what with the price of cod and snapper rivaling the cost of salmon lately I was looking at it more seriously. Then Mom bought a piece and we all tried it and it was great. So I decided to try my fish and chips recipe with it and it was so good, I think it was better than with Cod.

Cook time may vary depending on how hot your oil is.

One pound of dover sole (or cod, snapper, haddock, or pollock)
2 cups flour
2 to 3 eggs
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 TBSP water
1 TBSP corn starch
1 TSP salt
1/4 TSP pepper
Canola oil for frying

Cut sole into 8 to 10 pieces
Mix flour, corn starch and salt and pepper in one bowl. Mix 2 eggs and water (you may need the third egg depending on egg size of eggs) in another bowl. In third bowl put panko bread crumbs. Dip fish in flour mixture, then egg mixture. Allow egg to drip off so it doesn't get gummy. Dip in panko.

Fry in hot oil (350 degrees or so) for 2 to 4 minutes, until breading is crispy and fish is cooked through.

Chips:

Peel two pounds of potatoes and cut into wedges (the size of steak fries). Fry in hot oil (350 degrees) for 4 to 6 minutes. Test for doneness. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.

Little Bit of a Personal Responsibility Rant

April 19th, 2011 at 05:40 pm

I don't know. Sometimes I have a hard time dealing with people who aren't willing to take responsibiliy for their own actions. As someone who accrued a lot of debt (most of it for medical, but some of it not), I know and my husband knows, that we are responsible for paying off that debt because we incurred it. Yes, I may hate the evil credit card companies, but I don't blame them for the fact that we chose to use them. I don't blame them for the fact that we are in debt. I don't blame them for our decisions. We made them. We live with them. It is not their fault we are in the debt we are in. It is clearly ours.

I guess what is getting to me is that there was a post in the forums today. Someone wrote in about how they had been late paying their credit card a few times and eventually their credit card got closed by their credit union. Because of this their credit union "messed up" their credit. This really irked me. Umm...no, their failure to pay their credit card on time more than once messed up their credit. It doesn't matter if they were never more than 30 days late on a payment (justification), late is late is late. Why is any of this the credit union's fault? It's not. They did it all on their own. Take some responsibility. Own your choices. Don't blame your situation on others.

End Rant.

Seattle Trip Cancelled

April 19th, 2011 at 11:33 am

We cancelled the trip we were planning to take to Seattle this coming weekend to spend the day at the Science Center. I know DH is disappointed, but with DS's tonsils as big as hockey pucks, he is just not going to be well enough to go. The Star Wars exhibit will be gone before we have the chance to go again, and not gonna lie, I'm glad of it. Wading through the Harry Potter exhibit was really tough last time. It was overcrowded, hot, and smelly. And we had to pay extra for it. So I wasn't looking forward to a repeat performance with Star Wars, even if I am walking now and don't need a wheel chair again.

It was a lot of expense that we just don't really have the money for at the moment. I had to squeeze hard to pay off the Master Card, what with both income taxes and property taxes being paid off this month, so it was just a bad month for it. Throwing a long day trip on top of that would have been expensive. $45 for the tank of gas for a round trip, $12 for tickets into the exhibit (we have free membership to the center but special exhibits are extra). At least two restaurant meals for a family of four, so $60 or so. We packed our lunch last time we went, but no one wanted to eat it. We were all so tired and a cold lunch on a frigid day just didn't pan out, so I won't fool myself on saying we could pack a lunch. But anyway, it's saving over $100 that we didn't need to spend to not go.

I had to cancel my physical therapy yesterday to take DS to the doctor. We are waiting on the 3 day strep test results to come back. The instant one was negative, but sometimes it takes a few days and the doctor didn't like the way his throat looked. Anyway, I saved $90 by not going. Of course, we will have to pay the pediatrician in full instead, but that bill won't come until next month when things are way less tight. At least this should be the last super tight month we have.

Medical, it's Always Medical These Days

April 18th, 2011 at 03:25 pm

I finally received a bill from the specialist that I saw on February 15. I don't think I've ever dealt with such a slow to bill doctor's office before. It's $148. It would have been $168, but at that time we were on the medical that had a $20 co-pay. Anyway, the $148 will all go to the deductible. I am debating whether or not to pay it now or wait until the end of the month. It doesn't have a due date on it.

I am still not getting the information I need from them regarding Virginia Mason and the referral which is more than ticking me off a little. I will call again tomorrow. I should not have to call them once a week. This runaround is terrible. I am tempted to withhold payment until they've done what they were supposed to do. I mean that is supposedly part of what I'll be paying for, right?

I am tempted to go see a new specialist from scratch and start over. It might well be worth it, especially if this one doesn't see a need for me to go all the way to Seattle for a surgery. Of course that would mean a new patient fee all over again (that's why the other bill is so high).

DS is sick right now. His tonsils are swollen up and bright red and covered with pus, so majorly infected. Plus there is blood when he coughs up phlegm (which might be from a broken blood vessel from blowing his nose too hard). We are taking him in to see the on call doc in a little bit. I've got to get going on finding an ENT because they want to take his tonsils out and I think it's time to schedule a surgery.

My allergies are driving me crazy, but at least I am over my cold.

Spent $30 on ice cream and egg flower soup for DS. It hurts him to eat anything else right now.



Rebuilding the EF and More Medical

April 17th, 2011 at 02:22 pm

DH cleaned out his wallet and I cleaned out my purse and we came up with $2.35 in change which I put into the coin jar. I've got enough money in the laptop fund now to pay off the laptop (even though I'm making monthly payments of $100 instead of paying it off, since it is a no interest/18 month loan), so I am going to switch the coin jar savings so that it goes to the EF. Since the EF needs some serious rebuilding after taxes ate it up I think that's the best thing to do.

DS is not feeling well. He woke up with his throat on fire and all congested and then he threw up. Poor child. I figured he'd get sick after the class trip. It was pretty cold where they went and I doubt he kept his hat and gloves and scarf on despite being in the mountains and in the snow. Because he says his tonsils are hurting I will take him to the doctor tomorrow. I cancelled my physical therapy appointment.

DH has a dentist appointment tomorrow so hopefully it won't be at the same time since they are on opposite sides of town. DH could walk to his if he had to, it's only a mile and a half. Or ride his bike. Doctor is seven miles away, though and with DS sick and it being so cold out still, we definitely need the car.

We've been pretty fortunate with DS not getting sick much this cold season. He's had two colds as opposed to the almost constant cold and flu that his sister and I have had. It takes a lot to stop this kiddo and right now he's curled up in bed, so that tells me he truly is miserable.

Back from the Mall

April 16th, 2011 at 04:11 pm

Oh, I really don't like going there. It's always so hot inside the building. But DD needed her hair cut. She got about five inches off and a fun, cute, easy to manage style. It just touches the nape of her neck now. So that came to $30 with the tip.

After I had my eye appointment at Lenscrafters and oh, boy has my perscription changed. Not only has my distance vision gotten worse, but my near vision has gotten bad enough that I had to get bifocals. Progressive ones so no line, but man it was so nice to at least temporarily be able to see clearly through the machine.

Unfortunately they had to order the right type of lenses so it could be up to ten days before I get them and they can't even order them until Monday morning. The insurance covered $200 of the lenses and frames, but we still had to cover $247 ourselves. That is how bad my eyes are that I can't use normal lenses anymore. We put it on our Lenscrafters account, which is three months to pay off with no interest. I will, however, pay it off next month when the bill comes.

DD still needs to get an eye exam and new glasses. I will put that in the budget for May as well. She's only got one thing wrong with her eyes, thank goodness.

We ate lunch at the food court. DH and I split a fish and chips from Ivar's that came with a clam chowder and soda. DH had the clam chowder and soda. I got a water bottle and had one piece of fish and half the fries. It cost $12. The kids split a meatball marinara footlong sandwich from Subway, a bag of chips and each got a rootbeer for $8. So $20 for lunch out.

Dinner tonight is homemade tacos. Yummy. DH and I are sitting down tonight and doing a full week's worth of meal planning.

Now for the Rest of the Bills

April 15th, 2011 at 06:11 pm

So here's the money out for this payday:

$1,102.89 BoA Master Card pay off
---800.00 BoA VISA
---250.00 Emergency Fund
----44.92 Phone for old house
----65.55 Internet
---144.00 Water/Sewer for old house (2 months)
----42.78 Garbage old house
---100.00 Propane holding tank
---100.00 Property Tax holding tank
----17.00 HoA Dues holding tank
---250.00 Medical holding tank
----69.97 Medical payment
----32.34 Lenscrafters
---100.00 Computer
----------------
$3119.45

We sent the taxes off today with the check for $5,506.03. I added $250 to the emergency fund.

$277.36 old EF Balance
+250.00 added
---------
$527.36 new EF Balance

I've got $120 cash for the week and $291 in the checkbook.

I have $475.72 in the holding tank now for future bills.

The amount of credit card debt left on the BoA VISA is $19,566.94. DH still has to buy his next plane ticket so that will bounce it back up above $20,000, but starting next month it gets $3000 a month so we'll start making serious progress paying it down once that starts.

Tomorrow I have an eye appointment and will get new glasses. That will be covered by insurance. DD is getting a haircut which will come out of my $120 cash.

So far our budget has been working perfectly. Here's hoping it continues.

BoA Master Card #2 is Paid Off!!!!!

April 15th, 2011 at 01:01 pm

Woohoo, yeah, baby! Say good-bye to debt #3. Watch that snowball tumble down the mountain side! Hee.

This leaves us with just the BoA VISA (and as soon as I make that payment later today) it'll leave us with just under $20,000 in credit card debt.

Take that Evil Empire! You are losing your grip on us for good.

I'll do a payday update later on. I just couldn't wait to share this news.

Snow

April 14th, 2011 at 01:14 pm

I cannot believe it, but I guess all that white stuff on the ground is proof. It snowed overnight last night. It was 60 degrees and gorgeous yesterday. What happened to spring? Ah, well, maybe it'll kill off some of these buds that are spreading their pollen around and causing my allergies to act up. I don't think we've ever had snow in April here before in my lifetime. Usually the middle of March is the absolute latest.

The money for taxes that I transferred from ING showed up in my CU account so I'll fill out the check and we will mail that off tonight.

Tomorrow is payday and we will be able to pay off another credit card. I am excited about that.

Not really a lot going on otherwise. I'll have to buy some medicine tonight. $3.13 for one prescription and $10 for an over the counter decongestant.

DH is home. So far no spending frenzy temptations. He did spend $17 at the airport to get a neck pillow for the airplane. His old one started losing all it's polystyrene beads so he tossed it. And he rented a digi player on the plane (which I told him he could do if he wanted to) for $6.

It feels really strange to have DS gone on his class trip. The house is so quiet. It's kind of nice to have the break, to be honest, even though I miss him. He's a high energy child and I am a low energy parent. He'll be back Friday afternoon.

I think that about covers everything.

Death and Taxes...

April 12th, 2011 at 03:23 pm

...or why does paying a large amount of taxes feel like death? It felt awful to do it, but it had to be done. I transferred the tax money from the ING account to my local CU so that we can send in our tax bill on Friday. I am grateful we had the money to do it, but I hate how low the emergency fund is now.

This is the first year we have ever had to pay extra taxes and it does not feel good. Even though we knew it was coming because of the contract buyout, I still don't like it. Still, at least we are prepared and that's more than half the battle. And on the bright side this shouldn't happen again. It was a unique circumstance.

And when May comes I will be able to put a decent amount back in the EF and get it out of the triple digits and back into the quadruple digits. It'll be a few insecure weeks until we do. Especially since we pay property tax on the 30th and that means another reduction in cash on hand.

I keep forgetting to post my meal planning, but I am doing it. Here is today's:

Breakfast:
Pancakes (.50)
Homemade syrup (.05)
Eggs (free from chickens)
Milk ($1.50)

Total $2.05

Lunch:
--2 kids
deli meat sandwiches ($2)
orange (.50)
apple (.40)
plain potato chips (.50)
water

--Me
TV dinner ($2)

Total $5.40

Dinner:
Turkey legs ($6.43)
Baked sweet potatoes (.69)
Broccoli/Cauliflower (1.29)
Milk ($1.50)

Total: $9.91

Total for day: $17.36

There will be leftover turkey and veggies for future meals.

DH comes home tomorrow so food expenses will go up for the next 3 weeks.

Lenscrafters Tried to Pull a Fast One

April 11th, 2011 at 09:30 pm

I forgot to put this in my other post, but less than a month ago we bought glasses for my son at Lenscrafters. Today at school the lenses popped out. We took them in to have them fixed and the girl there tried saying they couldn't fix them. She said that wherever we had got them at they hadn't done something right and there was no way to fix them.

When I told her we had gotten them there less than a month ago and that we had bought the antibreakage package as well, she suddenly changed her tune and could fix them. Needless to say I wasn't very happy with her original lie.

We'll see if the repair holds. If not I am not above throwing a fit. Those glasses and frames cost $200. I don't care if insurance covered most of it. Glasses that expensive should not fall apart that quickly and if they did something wrong then someone in their glasses making department needs lessons on how to do it right. And their front counter people need lessons on telling the truth.

Change is Coming

April 11th, 2011 at 09:16 pm

My daughter's blood test results came back today and she doesn't have diabetes...yet. Her fasting insulin levels were far higher than they like to see though, she's definitely pre-diabetic and insulin resistant. We meet with a nutritionist/dietician on May 3. I think in a lot of ways this is a good thing. I've been trying to keep the sweets out of the house for a long time, but my husband is of the mindset that there should always be dessert every single day and so of course the kids have picked up on that. Whereas I think once a week or on special occasions is fine.

Now that DD is in serious jeopardy I'll be able to force the issue. I don't buy sweets often, but my mother does so they are always in the house. It's an uphill battle. Plus a box of cookies is like $4 or $5. Just ridiculous to the budget.

I think I will go to the library tomorrow or the next day and get some books out on diabetes or prediabetes and read up on it some before the meeting. I think it's going to be more an issue of adjusting portions and limiting carbohydrates to the healthier veggies, grains and fruits. We barely ever eat processed foods so it won't change too much there. Probably will have to cut back on some of the cheaper veggies like potatoes, though. I'm sure glad gardening season is coming up.

Mommy!Fail

April 10th, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Major falling down on the job here, as I forgot to go shopping for deli meat for sandwiches for the kids' school lunches. DS will just take a peanut butter and honey sandwich, some fruit and some chips. DD doesn't really care for peanut butter (unless she happens to be in the mood) and doesn't like tuna fish or egg salad (yet likes deviled eggs) which would be easy and what I had on hand so I gave her $5 to get lunch at school tomorrow. We ate any leftover that would have worked for lunches this weekend.

I can't believe I forgot to do that. I was just so out of it today. I'll do it tomorrow after I pick up DD from high school and well before DS gets out of school.

I found 62 cents so that went into the coin jar. I told myself when we moved here that all coins would go into that jar and not be left in piles about the house. Well, I've been pretty good about keeping to that rule, but DH just still tends to empty his pockets wherever he is at the time, so when I was over by the closet hanging up clothes today I noticed the little pile of money on the cabinet outside the closet door. So in it went.

I just noticed that this was my 1000nth post. Guess that's another milestone for this blog.

Inexpensive Tex Mex Chicken and Rice Recipe

April 10th, 2011 at 06:27 pm

This is probably the laziest recipe ever, but it's pretty cheap, especially if you have coupons for salsa. Good for leftover chicken and leftover rice.

4 cups cooked rice (I use brown, but white is fine)
2 16 ounce jars bottled salsa (I use an all natural one)
2 cups leftover shredded chicken

Mix together, heat and serve. The nice thing about this is that you can vary the heat of it by choosing mild, medium, or hot salsa. In a pinch this can be made with just one jar of salsa and add some tomato sauce if it's not moist enough.

Blogoversary

April 9th, 2011 at 01:38 pm

On April 9, 2006 I started this blog. It's hard to believe it's been five years (even if I took one year off from blogging there in the middle). In that time we have paid off a lot of debt, most of it incurred from having really bad medical insurance and multiple surgeries. We started at around $200,000 and had medical expenses somewhere in the middle that added to that total as well as bought a new car (at one point we were as high as $250,000).

We have paid off a lot in the last five years, but honestly the real progress has been made this year since January by paying off the $38,323.87 from the BoA Gold Star Loan and $8000 of credit card debt (paid off one card and most of a second card).

What we are left with now is:

$90,000.00 owed to Mom for medical debt
$21,224.97 mortgage
$15,839.43 car loan
$21,044.92 total credit card debt
------------
148,109.32 total debt owed

But of the unsecured debt owed it is $111,224.97. Hopefully we will be able to sell the house within the year and then that debt will be gone and we'll have a substantial down payment for our next house. The credit card debt will be gone by the end of the year and then the car debt should be gone by April of 2012. It feels good to know that in a year we will be free of everything but what we owe to my mom.

Mom doesn't want more paid back then $1000 a month because she is using it to live on and likes having a steady income. But if she dies before it is paid off then the debt is forgiven and is not owed to the estate. Which will be nice not to worry about, but I'd rather have her around for the next seven and a half years it'll take to pay her back.

BoA Master Card #2 Almost Gone

April 8th, 2011 at 05:17 pm

Today is payday and I made a payment of $2500 to the BoA Master Card. That leaves me with $887.89 to pay off next week and then that puppy is done. (Well, there will probably be an interest fee that comes in as soon as it is paid off but I'll pay that right away, too). I need to move the two autopays off that card and on to another one so there is absolutely nothing left on it. It comes to $133.43 each month (so that is why the numbers are a bit off down below).

Big Grin I am so excited because that will leave us with only one credit card left with a balance on it. Evil Empire, your hold on me and mine is getting looser and looser!

So anyway, money out today:

$2500.00 BoA MC
--300.00 to Mom for utilities
---39.37 for security system at old house
--100.00 to the Emergency Fund
--141.96 to Verizon
---84.62 major toiletries stock up
--100.00 Cash
---55.00 Entertainment
------------
$3320.95

I have $286 left in the checkbook and will probably spend about $50 of that on food this week, but the rest will go into next week's bills.

I had $40 leftover from last week's cash so I put that in the laptop fund. I had $1.17 in coins that I put into the coin jar.

I added $100 to the emergency fund. Taxes have been removed from my calculations now so that brings the new EF total to $377.36. It feels weird to be starting almost all the way over again with the EF. In May I'll be able to make a much larger contribution.

New credit card debt totals:

$20,157.03 BoA VISA
+---887.89 BoA MC
-----------
$21,044.92 Total owed to the Evil Empire

$22.947.81 Previous credit card balance owed
-21,044.93 Amount Left on credit cards
------------
$--1903.01 Amount of change on balance

Medical and Meal Planning

April 7th, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Just received a bill in the mail from my son's eye doctor visit. Insurance covered the visit and the frames and lenses, but it did not cover the 1 year anti-breakage insurance, so that will be $32.54. He's eleven and tends to be careless. The anti-breakage insurance will more than pay for itself.

I need to make eye appointments for my daughter and myself as we both need new glasses badly. Neither of us need the anti-breakage insurance because we are very careful with our glasses. DH on the other hand always gets it because he does stupid things like sit on his glasses (or step on them).

Took my daughter in for her fasting blood draw this morning. They are testing her for diabetes and for a malfunctioning thyroid. Made an appointment with a dietician for May 3. We will be talking to her whether or not DD is diabetic or not. She is insulin resistant so changing her diet is a necessity either way.

I still need to set up a therapist appointment for my son. I still haven't heard from my own specialist about going to Virginia Mason. Sometimes I feel like everything is converging on me all at once and I just wish it was easier to sort things out. I tell my husband all the time that what I need is a wife. *laughs* Or a personal assistant.

Payday is tomorrow. It will be nice to make some progress on paying down debt.

No money spent today.

Meal planning for today:

Breakfast:
Fruit smoothies ($2)

Lunch:
Leftover spaghetti (free)
Leftover chili (free)
Milk ($1.50)

Dinner:
Leftover pot roast (free)
Leftover broccoli (free)
Leftover cauliflower (free)
Baked sweet potatoes ($1)
Milk ($1.50)

Total for day: $6

Too Much Rain This Week

April 6th, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Not much to report today. I spent $2 to rent two movies out of one of those vending machine boxes in the grocery store that rent movies. Tron Legacy and Skyline. Watched the first one with the kids and will watch the second one on my own (not sure that it won't have too much violence or swearing for them to see it).

We went to the health club and swam today. The pool was very crowded, surprisingly. A lot of really little kids, but it did thin out enough by 4:30 for me to get fifteen laps in. DS swam alongside me and managed to do thirteen laps. He's a good little swimmer.

I also spent $15 on paper plates, bowls, plasticware and plastic cups. The basement flooded and the hot water tank for the end of the house with the dishwasher in it had the pilot light put out by the water. Until it goes down it can't be relit. It'll probably take a couple days to pump it all out, and since I am not wanting to wash dishes by hand in my end of the house I decided to waste the $15.

So all in all, $17 spent today, none of it what I would call necessary spending, but it will make my life easier.

Found More Coins and Menu Planning (Today and Tomorrow)

April 5th, 2011 at 09:06 pm

I was cleaning out my dresser tonight as I have two drawers in it that I've been using as a temporary filing cabinet until I got around to actually filing or shredding some papers and when I got to the bottom of one, I found a stash of loose change. It was mostly pennies, but it amounted to $1.82 so I tossed that in the coin jar (after rolling up 2 rolls of pennies). I had totally forgot it was there, but once I saw it I had a perfect memory of scraping a bunch of change into a drawer before we moved here from the old house, so it's just been sitting in there since January of 2010.

Since DS wants to go to "his" CU tomorrow to deposit his allowance (he's saving up for a Nintendo 3DS), I figured I may as well make a deposit myself into the laptop fund since it's in the same CU. With the two rolls of pennies, a 50 cent piece, and all the ones I have in the coin jar, it will come to $12.50.

Not too bad. Sometimes I feel a little silly for making such little deposits, but then I remind myself that little deposits add up and if I end up paying for my laptop with pennies and ones than so be it. I've been managing to scrape up about $100 a month doing this, rebating, and adding what is leftover in my purse each week. At least it will be paid for with no interest due.

Here is today's menu planning which I tried to post last night, but the internet ate it:

Breakfast:
pancakes (.50)
eggs (free from chickens)
homemade brown sugar syrup (.20)
Milk (1.50)
Total $2.20

Lunch:
Leftover spaghetti (free)
Fruit smoothies ($2)
Total $2

Dinner:
Homemade pizza
--dough (.50)
--leftover homemade spaghetti sauce
--pepperoni ($2)
--Canadian bacon ($2)
--mozarella cheese ($2)
Milk (1.50)
Total $8

Total for day: $12.20

Tomorrow

Breakfast:
Blueberry muffins (.50)
Bacon ($2)
Milk ($1.50)
Total $4

Lunch:
Leftover pizza (free)
oranges ($1.50)
Total $1.50

Dinner:
Beef pot roast ($9.89)
Broccoli ($1)
Cauliflower ($1)
Can of corn ($1)
Milk ($1.50)
Total $14.39

Total for day: $19.89

There will be leftover pot roast and possibly leftover broccoli and cauliflower as well for another meal, so even though Wednesday's food is higher in price it will reduce the price of one of Thursday's meals.


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