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Archive for June, 2016

Interview-Ish

June 30th, 2016 at 11:07 pm

DH had a sort of interview with company #2. It sounded like things there are on shaky ground yet, like there might be some major growing pains about to happen like they did with company #1 several years ago when he started with them. These were preliminary interviews, more like feeling things out, not final interviews.

They did talk a little about benefits, but not too much on specifics. It's a high deductible medical plan. The 401K is decent with a 100% match on the first 3% and a 50% match on the second 3%, so if you put in 6% in a year, you'd get a 4.5% total match on that. It didn't sound like wages were discussed at all. Any job offers (for anyone) won't be forthcoming for several weeks.

It's not the best news, but it is better than no news, I guess. I still hope that DH will get an interview for the job next county over when they start the process mid to late July. That is the better job by far in every category. An interview and then gets hired. That's the holy grail right now.

At the moment, I don't even know if he has work after this hitch. I don't think his company knows either. Stressful. I miss not living in a state of peace.

Unexpected Purchase

June 27th, 2016 at 09:46 pm

We had an unexpected purchase today. We spent $99 plus tax of $8.61 on a new weed trimmer. The old one "let the smoke out" as my husband likes to say. Which means the engine burned up. I have been wanting the one with the rechargeable battery because dealing with the one with the extension cord is a pain in the butt and gas ones are too heavy for me to operate.

I took the money out of the reimbursement check FIL gave us this weekend. Since we had already paid off the credit card from when DH had used it to cover stuff for FIL in Seattle a couple of months ago when there was a screw up with his short-term disability checks, that money was not yet earmarked for anything.

I haven't funded the Appliance/Household Fund in a while. It is probably something that should be done again once we are sure of the job situation. Usually I have anywhere between $250 and $1000 in there depending on what I think we might be needing next (a microwave or blender versus a refrigerator, lawn mower, or couch).

It hasn't been a priority. But it should be on the agenda, since when we do move, we will likely need to buy a washer and dryer. Most houses don't come with them anymore, unless you are buying brand new houses with an appliance package.

Right now, as long as we continue to have an income, I really just want to focus on the down payment fund and the moving fund, though. I don't want to take away from those. But I might put a small amount in. Maybe a couple hundred, just so we don't get caught with our pants down.

Farm Down Payment Fund Update and Preparations

June 24th, 2016 at 08:17 pm

$44,000.00 Starting Balance
+__,500.00 Deposit Addded
----------------
$44,500.00 New Balance

I wasn't sure I was going to be able to add anything to this fund this month, but I was able to squeak out $500.00 as we spent most of the overtime money putting ourselves into a position to survive the next several months without having to purchase much and get ahead on some things.

We stocked up on staples like flour, sugar, brown sugar, oil, spices, toilet paper, soap (body, dish, laundry), shampoo, rice, reusable canning lids, pickling salt, freezer bags (so we can freeze garden veggies that don't can well), peanut butter, tuna fish, condiments, facial tissue, and OTC medications.

It'll be a close next two weeks, but not tight. All payments have gone out or been scheduled and nothing else is due until after next payday on the 8th. The garden is in full swing now with both fruits and vegetables, so I really should not need to set foot in a store for anything but dairy and vitamins.

I have PT today and next Friday, but the money is put aside for that, too. So really, it all should be good. I am hoping on the 8th to purchase a 30 pound box of ground beef from the farm. That is the only thing we are low on in the freezer. If not we will just have to make due with ground rabbit and ground pork, which actually make some pretty tasty burgers, tacos, meat loaves, and meatballs. They just don't provide much iron.

We also stocked up on animal feed so we will have that on hand for a good long while.

Moving Fund Update

June 23rd, 2016 at 04:45 am

$172.99 Beginning Balance
+_58.50 Deposit Added
----------------
$231.49 New Balance

This is mostly farm income, but also includes the coin jar money.

A Work Update for DH's Job and Prospects

June 21st, 2016 at 10:05 pm

DH went down for an interview with the job placement company this morning and it seems like it went really well. I hope he gets to work through them because they offer incredible benefits. It has a 401K that matches up to 4% (we have no matching at all with current job). It has medical insurance that is $25 a week per family, not per individual, and a $1000 deductible, again per family, not per individual. And honestly if it was per individual, it'd still be better than anything I've seen in decades.

It looks promising and they are sending his resume to a few places that are seeking his skill set. I really hope that the one next county over will work out, even if they aren't hiring until sometime in July. There's another one that will be hiring in September that sounds good, too, and a couple other places as well.

We still don't know anything about company 2, either, who is taking over the contract at the end of this month from DH's company 1. It is sounding like DH will have a job through August with company 1 at least if he doesn't find a better one sooner. If he can stay steadily employed until getting hired elsewhere that would be so good, especially if that elsewhere is the job in the next county over.

I am afraid to be hopeful. My attitude is kind of "Don't show me pretty things I can't have," right now, but I am trying to remain positive. Because those pretty things (the insurance, the 401K) are things I really, really, really do want to have. Not to mention feeling like the future is secure again.

Continued prayers, good vibes, and crossed fingers would be appreciated.

Trying not to Stress

June 18th, 2016 at 06:49 am

I am trying really hard not to be stressed out, but it isn't really working. I am grinding my teeth so hard while I am sleeping that I am starting to wear a spot down on my mouth guard and the right side of my jaw hurts really bad from it.

I've also noticed my anxiety is going up. I'm doing things I usually only do during a high state of stress, like picking at my cuticles until they bleed or my OCD stuff getting a little out of control, where instead of having to do things twice it is more like doing it six or eight times (never an odd number, because my OCD is linked to doing things in pairs). So far it is mostly confined to checking my alarm clock or that all the doors are locked or windows are shut over and over, but I can feel it starting to shift into other things. Not good.

So far I am not stress eating at all. I think the phentermine is really helping with that. And I am losing weight, so the stress is not affecting that. I was sick for about five days (stomach bug, fever, dizziness), so I haven't been to the pool in over a week. I am mostly better, but still dizzy and dizzy and water don't mix. The exercise usually helps keep the OCD down (although I do have to swim an even number of laps on swimming days). I hope to get to the pool this weekend, though.

I did walk the mall today. My foot was regretting it afterwards, but not my knee or hip, which is progress. I did one lap of the mall, which is only 1/4 mile, but that's a lot further than usual. The only other time I usually walk that much is in doing a lap of Costco and that's a lot slower than this was. I have been walking a bit. Usually only one to two blocks, but I am trying to build up that strength in my knee again. Some days are good, some are bad, but I haven't needed the cane in about a month. The bad leg is why I do so much in the pool instead, but I miss walking.

The garden is producing really well. Right now I am getting broccoli, scallions, lettuce, kale, sorrel, herbs, and the snap peas are just starting. I've gotten 10 so far, but tomorrow or the next day there should be a lot more, maybe even enough to blanch and freeze. We still have some strawberries and I am now getting raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. Not enough to freeze yet, but enough for daily fresh eating. I've got a new batch of radishes at the two week mark and I want to get some more kohlrabi in the ground. My garlic is just about ready to pull.

I am trying not to spend things, but DH left his phone in Alaska, and since he is job hunting he can't be without a phone and it needs to be the number on his resumes, so he ended up getting a new phone. I mean, his old phone is five or six years old, so it's not like he wasn't due one, but I didn't want to sign a new contract in case he is out of work for a while and we need to drop down to one phone. He did get a dumb phone, not a smart phone, so it wasn't too expensive, but it was still $130 we wouldn't have needed to spend if he'd not left it behind.

I am trying not to be frustrated with him, but the time before that he left his driver's license and credit card at work, so he had to get a new license, because he was having to drive his parents to Seattle and back for follow up cancer stuff. It wasn't a case where he could just not drive for the ten days he was home. Fortunately he has a passport, so he could fly home. But it's just carelessness leading to having to spend money and it drives me crazy.

Also he keeps wanting to make all these little purchases like things are normal. I mean, I know he gets it, he's the one who will be out of a job soon, but at the same time he isn't changing his habits and he's being forgetful to the detriment of our budget. These things add up and suddenly there is $300 to $400 worth of stuff the last two months that shouldn't have needed to be gotten. I am really having to fight with myself to not make retaliation purchases, because that way lies madness and credit card debt. But I want to, and I haven't wanted to in a long, long time, so I hate that it is coming up.

I really hope he gets a job offer soon. This stuff is making me far too anxious.

Slight Change in Holding Pattern but Still Hovering

June 17th, 2016 at 05:54 am

So it has finally been announced that company 2 has gotten the contract at Big Company and they were signing the paperwork today. Company 2 is the one that supposedly said they would hire DH, and used his name for his position in their bid paperwork. So I guess this is a smidgeon of progress. No offer yet for DH, but that could be weeks away.

A more optimistic me would find this promising, but I am not a more optimistic me. I am a completely and totally cynical me. As in I'll believe it when I see it, but not before.

I'd still rather he work one county over, but at this point, any job is better than no job. I am dreading having to pay for COBRA. It is going to be so freaking expensive. Dreading having to meet a yearly deductible all over again if he does get a new job and new insurance, too. However COBRA and living expenses will wipe out our EF in 4 to 5 months, so new job and new insurance and new deductible is the better option. But ugh.

Trust, But Verify

June 15th, 2016 at 06:06 am

My chiropractor tried to say our monthly plan was due today. We pay in advance for the month. He's usually pretty on the ball with things, but I was absolutely sure he was wrong this time. I checked my spreadsheet and it said I'd just paid on the 23rd of May. I double checked when the check had cleared, which was the 24th of May. Then I found the receipt, which was still in my purse, that also said 23rd of May.

So shown the receipt he decided he must have written it down wrong on my chart. He did take 10 days off in early May or the May payment would have been due on the 14th. I think he just didn't change it then and it carried over with the wrong date on it. We don't pay for the time he isn't there it gets adjusted.

I am glad that I didn't just take it on faith, but double checked everything, or we would have been shorted several treatments. This is why it is so important to record dates of payment, check numbers, and amounts. It's sometimes the only way to verify who is right and who is wrong. Plus keeping receipts of all medical payments (which I need for the HSA, anyway).

I trust him enough to think he wasn't trying to pull a fast one and it was simply a recording error, but I am still glad I keep such thorough records.

Mom Loan Update with Lots of Thinky Thoughts

June 13th, 2016 at 10:30 pm

So it's been a while since I updated how much money is owed on the 0% interest loan from my mother, what I call our medical mortgage since it originally involved her putting a mortgage on her house so we could pay the medical bills from my 6 surgeries in 5 years way back when. (She paid that off long ago when she had money and before the rest of her money got eaten up with Dad's care before he died, though, so there is no mortgage on the house). I still call it that though.

After the payment on Friday the total is down to $35,000 owed. We have paid down $85,000 and we offered to pay it all off when we sold our house, but she didn't want that, she wanted the monthly income, and she wanted us to save for our down payment, so that's what we are doing. So we now have 2 years and 11 months to go at our current rate of repayment. If all goes well, April 2019 will be the final payment. This is our very last debt owed. We've been out of consumer debt for over a year now, but I still want to get this one done as I hate owing it.

Our goal is to continue to make our $1000 a month payments to her even if DH doesn't get a job right away. With $63,000 some odd dollars in savings between the Emergency Fund and the Farm Down Payment Fund (and I will add to it as long as we can), we feel like we can do this at least for a while.

If he doesn't get a job within four months of his final day, whenever that will be (could be July, could be the end of September, who knows? They certainly don't.), then we will obviously have to revisit that. I would like to continue to try to pay her at least $500 a month for a while after that. I don't know how long we will have to stretch out our savings for, though, if we have to live on it. I think we could go a year to two years, possibly.

I think my mother has become dependent on that money and it does worry me a little. I think she has always thought she would die before it was paid back. Well, she's coming up on 77 and still going strong so I don't think she will. She doesn't have savings, IRAs, or a 401K anymore (that went to Dad's care); she just has social security. That will be her only source of income after the loan is paid off.

Her expenses are low, but as soon as we move she will have to go back to paying the electric, water/sewer, gas, and garbage bills, all things we have assumed paying while living here. The only household bills she's been paying out of her own funds since we moved here have been the landline (which we don't use), her satellite TV (which we don't use), and her internet (we have our own with a different company that is not slow, hers is bundled with her phone and TV service).

I think she thinks everything will miraculously drop down to 1/5 the amount it has been once we move. I think it will go down some, but not as much as she is thinking it will. Water/sewer is a flat rate, so that won't change. She might need to put out only one garbage can a month instead of two, so that could drop, but she might put out 2 anyway because the smell build up might be too bad if she doesn't.

She will still be heating a big old seven bedroom/4 bathroom/3 living room/1.5 kitchen house, whether we are here or not, though without our two freezers (one big, one small) and two fridges, it will drop. She might close off rooms to heat less, but she doesn't seem inclined in that direction. She will still have to pay the same amount in property tax, car insurance (she has two vehicles), home owner's insurance, etc.

If she continues wasteful habits like leaving both of her TVs on all the time whether she is home or not (and they are the type that burn a lot of electricity), still using mostly incandescent light bulbs, washing dishes when the dishwasher is only half full, leaving the stove fan on long after the oven is off, etc., I don't think it is going to be quite as dramatic as she thinks. It certainly won't halve, let alone drop by 4/5ths.

Gas will go down as it will be one person doing laundry and not five and it is a gas dryer and gas hot water tank for our end of the house. Showers will be less, but we take a lot of them at the gym. I wash in cold water except underwear and bedding, she washes all in hot. So yes, it will go down, but not as much as she thinks. Dishwasher use will go down.

Of course she owns the house in full so that is worth probably $400,000 based on comparable neighborhood sales. Maybe $350,000 because of basement flooding issues if she has to sell as is. So if she sells and gets a much smaller place then she would have plenty to live on. But it she doesn't, things will be pretty tight. She doesn't seem to ever want to sell.

I'm not really sure how she'll get by once the loan is paid. I mean, we'll make sure she does one way or another if she tells us, but she is so stubborn she might not tell us. I doubt Social Butterfly will help at all. Former Ice Queen (I need to come up with a new nickname for that sister) would probably help with anything she can that isn't financial, but she doesn't make a lot and has already said she's not moving in with Mom if it comes to that.

If DH's job situation shakes out right, if we can buy a place with enough acreage, if we can convince Mom to sell and move and set up a little new manufactured home (new ones are super nice these days and very energy efficient) or a little stick-built cottage on our land, that would be the best option. I don't want to live in a house with her again, because she is so critical and just...THERE all the time. Having her close but with her own home would be the ideal way of dealing with things.

I guess it is easier to worry about things like that than worry about whether or not DH is going to be able to find a new job before the old one runs out. Not that it will stop me from worrying about that, either.

A Job Update of Sorts

June 11th, 2016 at 07:19 pm

We are not all that much better off than we were when I last wrote on DH's impending lay off on the 2nd. But he did have several people from his company and from big parent company go to the higher ups (on their own) and tell them they'd made the wrong decision on who to lay off.

So now they've reversed the decision, but it doesn't mean much. DH's company has announced that they did not get the contract. Their contract ends at the end of the month. Then they have so many days to finish up and hand over things to whomever did get the contract. So that means DH will go back at the end of the month and get at least another two weeks wages, which will cover medical for July, too, so we at least won't have to do a COBRA for July.

After that there may or may not be more wrap-up work. They have 90 days, but whether or not there is 90 days of work is anybody's guess.

It has still not been announced whether or not company 2 got the contract. With a short list of 2 and company 1 being told they do not have it, it should be a given, but nothing is official. Until it is official, DH can't be offered a position there, though he supposedly has one as they used his name in the bid for that position.

He will be having a meeting with the placement company when he gets home and I think he said he's been submitted for the next county over job, but they won't be ramping up to hire for another month or so. That would be the ideal job, though, and he'd be back home working a normal day job.

He's sent his resume in to a job in North Dakota as well. Not my first choice and it would be 4 weeks on, 2 weeks off.

Right now I am continuing to budget as usual. I am funding my funds with the idea that any and all money saved will be used to live on if it comes to that. But if it doesn't come to that then they'll have continued to grow.

I have been getting my ducks in a row and stocking up on staples like flour, sugar, rice, toilet paper, and cleaning products. Most other things I have a good supply of for a while. I still have a lot of home canned food from last year and the garden is in full swing right now, with the veggies of course, but the raspberries, blackberries, and even the blueberries are starting to ripen, while the strawberries are at full bore. The freezer's are full of meat and if it comes down to it, I shouldn't have to buy any food for 3 or 4 months.

I have lots of beef fat and pork fat to render into tallow and lard, so I will have cooking oil from that if I run out of my stockpile of olive oil and sunflower oil. Plus, I always filter and save my bacon grease, too, as it is the best thing to cook rabbit meat in.

I know we will be okay for some time no matter what the outcome, but I am still struggling with the uncertainty of not knowing what comes next. It is hard to not have things nailed down.

Please continue to pray that my husband will find a new, good job. Thanks for all the support. I really appreciate it.

Moving Fund Update

June 11th, 2016 at 06:54 pm

$137.99 Starting Balance
+_35.00 Coin Jar and Egg Money
--------------
$172.99 New Balance

Well, the Worst Has Happened--Prayer Needed

June 2nd, 2016 at 07:25 pm

DH called last night to say he's been laid off at the end of this hitch. So he's got a little less than two weeks and he's out of a job. Even if his company ends up getting the contract, they've decided to combine too many positions and DH's is being combined with another one that is up a couple of levels that he doesn't have that particular experience for.

There is still no news on who won that contract. If the other company does, he supposedly has a job, but I'm starting to wonder if that contract will ever be awarded. Since big company has been dragging its feet for so long now, it makes me wonder if they aren't changing their minds altogether and shutting that project down and don't want to announce it yet.

With gas prices on the upswing though, that doesn't seem as likely. I mean we're back to an average of around $2.60 a gallon around here. Still, it is kind of what I feel in the back of my mind.

DH has a couple of job leads and he's applying for his TWIC card, which a lot of people who work for refineries must have, so it'll be in place as soon as possible. The one job lead that I really, really hope for is a two year contract at a refinery one county over.

This husband and wife team that he used to work with at two previous companies, the wife works for the company who fills jobs for this and other similar companies and she is passing on his resume for this position. It would have way better insurance (only $100 per person, so $400 a month instead of $900) and actually a higher pay rate and we'd only have the cost of commuting a round trip of 60 miles instead of having to pay for air fare and an overnight in a hotel.

But first he'd have to get an interview, then interview, then he'd have to get the job, and right now all it is is passing along a resume with a super strong recommendation from the woman sending it along, who is the one responsible for putting forth candidates. And it might not even start right away so it could be a couple months out even if he did get it. It is near where we were looking at some farms. It would be perfect, but
I refuse to get my hopes up.

So I need you to pray for us if you do so. While we have enough money to live on for quite some time between the Emergency Fund and the Farm Down Payment Fund, having to do that would set all of our financial goals back a long time, plus having to pay COBRA for our medical will make it go a lot faster.

DH will apply for unemployment the day he gets home. It won't be much, nowhere near what he actually makes, but he's certainly paid enough into it for the last 30 years, so we will take what they have to give us. Anything that will stretch the money in savings is good. I am just so very grateful that we are not in debt. All of the work that we did paying it off was worth it for feeling like we'll survive for a while now.

Weight Loss Doctor's Appointment and Exercise

June 1st, 2016 at 11:25 pm

I went to the bariatric doctor yesterday and she's starting me off on Phentermine as an appetite suppressant during the day. I go back in a week and then she will likely put me on Topamax to control night time food binges. Hopefully this will get me past my stuck point and help control some of the issues. The Phetermine is not that expensive. Don't know what the cost of the Topamax will be.

This is a twelve week program and I will meet with the doctor several times and a counselor as well at least 3 times.

Even though my food goes up and down, my exercise is being consistent with the 3 to 4 days a week at water Zumba or water aerobics, plus swimming laps. Today was a good exercise day. I did the one hour water Zumba class and then sat in the hot tub for 10 minutes and then swam laps for 40 minutes. I did 22 laps in that time. I also walked 5 additional laps, 2 forward, 2 backward, and 1 sideways. Then I did stretching.

It felt good. Normally I don't do laps on Zumba days, but the pool was empty by the time I got out of the hot tub and I love it when the pool is empty. And now that I'm exercising more consistently and have built my stamina up, it's not quite the issue to work out for two hours at a time that it was the first week.

I have to weigh in today for my dietbet. I am at goal for this month and have been since the end of the third month. It just hasn't really moved since and this is the end of month 5 and I still have so much weight to lose that stalling out for 2 months is bad. Stalling out leads to night time binges for me, unfortunately.

I know a lot of it is stress from not knowing what is going on with DH's job. He's got work through the end of June and then we just don't know because the contract has STILL not been awarded. Financial insecurity leads to stress eating. I can cope during the day, but it is the nights I can't seem to deal with. Ugh. But the meds should help.

May Entry for Down Payment Fund

June 1st, 2016 at 11:08 pm

$42500.00 Beginning Balance
+_1500.00 Amount Added
--------------
$44000.00 New Balance

Moving Fund Update

June 1st, 2016 at 11:06 pm

$99.15 Starting Balance
+38.84 Interest from C1-360
---------
$137.99 New Balance