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Archive for July, 2016

Loan from Mom

July 28th, 2016 at 08:57 pm

Now that the our very last debt, the 0% interest loan from my mother to pay off medical debt is getting down to a reasonable level that I don't have as big an issue seeing anymore, I'm going to start doing a countdown.

$35,000.00 Starting Balance
+_1,000.00 July Payment
---------------------
$34,000.00 Remaining Debt Owed

We will keep up with the $1000 payments for as long as we can after the layoffs. We should be able to live for a year on our savings and still make payments to Mom, though she may insist we drop them to $500 a month, but I really hope DH finds a new job before that. I really want to stay on track though and be done with it. It's the worst debt to have, to family.

Farm Down Payment Fund Update

July 28th, 2016 at 08:51 pm

$44,500.00 Starting Balance
+__,500.00 Amount Added
---------------
$45,000.00 New Balance

Tired and Grumpy

July 23rd, 2016 at 01:03 am

I am very out of sorts right now. I haven't been sleeping well. Most nights this last week I've gotten about 4 to 5 hours and it is really spilling over into my attitude. I walk around all day like I'm in a fog and I'm snappish and cynical and I keep repeating myself or forgetting things. I know sleep deprivation is bad, but I don't think I've ever gone so long without some decent night's sleep. I can see how I am, but it's a bit like I'm outside myself, too. I keep telling everyone I'm sorry preemptively.

Otherwise things are going well. My weight is going down again, though how, with such bad sleep, I do not know. Water Zumba continues to be so much fun. I finally dragged my daughter there Wednesday and she loved it. My husband already comes when he is home.

I think part of my problem is that my neck and my legs are so tight right now it affects how I sleep and how I walk and the woman who usually works on me when it gets like that has been cancelling appointments on me left and right, but waiting until the last minute to do it and then I can't get in to see anyone else. Like today, I had a 2:00 appointment and she cancelled at noon. She's really good, but she's turned into a real flake, and I think I'm going to have to start seeing someone else because this has become a habit and it is wrecking my body.

On the bright side the garden is producing like gangbusters. My dehydrator is going daily now as I dry my culinary herbs, medicinal herbs, and herbal teas for the next year. Plus I've also got bundles of herbs hanging on the walls to dry as well. I have bought very little produce this summer. This week for example I bought celery and nectarines because I am not growing them, but no other produce. Well, I am growing celery, but it is on year 2 which is to collect seed and it is in the flowering stage so not edible.

My peppers are starting to produce now. I am getting zucchini or crookneck squash daily and cucumbers daily. I haven't bought lettuce since April. I made a huge batch of coleslaw today from my purple cabbage and some carrot thinnings. I'm picking berries almost daily, usually blueberries, but sometimes strawberries and raspberries. I've harvested 6 gallons of blueberries in the past two weeks.

I've got 9 packages of snow peas in the freezer and I might plant another sowing of them in August. I haven't decided yet. My tomatoes finally have little green tomatoes on them. The onions are getting big. I've planted a third sowing of kohlrabi and a 2nd sowing of broccoli, a 2nd sowing of lettuce and more radishes.

On the livestock front, the turkeys are doing well. Gina's feathers are almost grown completely back in after the hawk attack in February although she still hasn't started laying eggs again. Her limp has been gone for about 6 weeks now.

All of the ducks are doing pretty well, although there is one that keeps laying her egg either without a shell so it just comes out contained in the membrane or with a very thin, easy to break shell. I don't know why. Duck egg shells are usually hard to break, you really have to whack them normally. She has the same access to oyster shell as the other ducks. It's the blue Swedish duck and I don't know how old she is since she was given to me by someone who had lost most of her flock to predators. It might just be her age.

Two of the really old chickens have died in the last month, one silver-laced wing wyandotte and one auracauna. I was sad to see them go as they were real sweethearts, but they were no longer laying so were basically freeloaders, too. That only leaves one auracauna, one black australorp, and one white leghorn from the old guard and they will probably all die of old age in the next year. Of those 3 the black australorp still lays once a week and the leghorn lays 2 to 3 times a week. We will still have the 3 barnevelders, the 3 younger leghorns, and the 7 even younger red stars after that. The barnies are mine. All the rest of the chickens are my mom's.

The rabbits are doing well. The ones that had mites are finally mite free after getting the injected form of Ivomec. I will never use the paste or the pour on again. Direct under the skin injection into the scruff is the way to go. It works, the don't fuss, and it ends it quickly. They get 3 shots, each 10 days apart and that's the end of it.

I had to learn how to draw a shot into the syringe, how to tap out air bubbles, and shoot out a little medicine to be sure. Not a difficult thing, actually, at all. Neither is giving the injection. It is a good skill to know.

We are using a Simply Lemonade container for our sharps (used capped syringes) as it is extra thick plastic. Once we're done with the course of medication I'll have to find out where to take it for disposal as you can't put it in the trash. Possibly the hospital has a medical waste depository.

Still no new news on DH's job front or job search. I am trying not to think about it as in my sleep deprived state I will just go into anxiety mode and no one needs that.

Sighs

July 20th, 2016 at 07:16 am

Well, DH will have 2 full weeks of work when he goes back. At first they were only offering one, but they extended it to 2 and then extended to his alternate an additional 2. And may get more work piece-mealed out to them in the coming months, all because company 2 (the bid winner) still has its head so far up its backside that it is very possible their new contract with Big Company is going to fall completely apart or take much longer to get off the ground than it should.

They are supposed to be completely transitioned over from company 1 to company 2 in 32 days. They have hired 2 people so far. And can't get the guy they want for being in charge of the project because he knows what a headache it is going to be and wants to be paid for all the excess problems he's going to have to deal with because of poor planning up to now. It's above and beyond so he wants his pay to reflect that.

They don't, so he said no. And apparently now they don't know what to do. I doubt anyone is going to want to take that on without commensurate pay. Not when they can go to ND and virtually name their pay rate.

No news on the one county over job. No news on the this county job. No news on any job, except that company 1 (DH's current) will keep picking up the slack and be given work until company 2 finally figures things out and you know, actually hires people. I kind of hope DH hears about the next county over job before that and we can just get on with things.

At least we don't have to worry about August's insurance. We'll have it. Maybe another month too. At the rate things are going, he may have projects with company 1 through the year if company 2 does not get moving.

As long as the paycheck keeps coming in, I can deal with the stress. I just don't like it.

Job Update

July 9th, 2016 at 10:22 pm

Okay, so here's where things stand now. DH is coming home on Thursday and he has been asked to come back for one more week for sure and that might actually stretch into two more weeks, but nobody knows. At least it means our insurance is paid for August, so no COBRA. Nobody officially knows anything, but then the contract with company #1 is officially taken over by company #2.

Company #2 is not going to hire anyone before the middle of this month which is the day after DH comes home this time. So he may or may not hear anything from them while he is home. Best case scenario here is he gets a job offer from them while he is home and starts working for them in August and insurance starts in September and no COBRA.

Medium case scenario is he gets it when he goes back up on the 26th, he starts work in September and we have one month of COBRA to pay. Worst case scenario is he doesn't get hired by company #2 at all and COBRA wipes us out (it's $2500 a month). Which would be odd since they used his name in their bid paperwork, but stranger things have happened.

I do hope he hears from the refinery job one county over for an interview when he comes home. They are supposed to be interviewing the second half of July. He will call the job placement guy when he gets home and see if there is any news on that front or on any fronts as well. This is still the job we would all prefer.

It would be good if he can get in for an interview while he is home. I'd hate for him to miss out because he's back up in Alaska. I don't know if he can do a Skype interview from his current job. They are pretty good about stuff like that right now since they have to lay off everyone, but...

I read a big article yesterday about how oilfield jobs are booming and how they desperately need skilled oilfield workers right now and how they are going to have to pay a premium for them since so many people left the industry when there was a down turn for more stable jobs so supply will be low. And I am like...they are still laying people off and this was after a 9 to 15 percent paycut across his oilfield in April. Where is this magic high wage, high demand hiring happening? Because all the people who are out of work or about to be certainly are not seeing it.

All I can say is if DH does get a new job, he's starting the next step in his education immediately, even if we have to postpone house buying a little longer. One more degree will make us that much more secure in the future and being able to do it online means he can do it anywhere we end up. I mean he has all the commensurate experience that the next degree would give him, but some people still want that additional piece of paper even if it means no real experience to back it and then they wonder why those people never last.

Anyway, trying to stay positive. I think we will have to investigate some other insurances and see if there is one we can buy that would be cheaper than $2500 a month for a COBRA for the four of us. Ideally something as cheap as possible that would cover a disaster and we just pay out of pocket because of a high deductible would be better than $2500 a month. We might payout $1000 to $1500 a month max that way, which would make the money stretch a lot further.

DH has made enough money in a half a year we would not qualify for any insurance subsidies, so whatever we get, we'd have to get on our own.

I just really, really hope he gets something fast and all of this is moot and we don't have to deal with it at all.

Weight Loss Update

July 9th, 2016 at 09:50 pm

So after dinking around for the past 3 weeks I've lost a little over 2 pounds in the last 3 days. I guess that means the stall is over. I don't feel comfortable with it enough yet to do another dietbet, but I am feeling positive that it will continue.

I am looking foward to getting back to Water Zumba on Monday. Last Monday the gym was closed for the holiday and then Tuesday night I made the mistake of drinking cow's milk, because I was out of goat's milk and woke up with all of the symptoms that causes, but one. Coated white tongue, sore throat, full on phlegm, stuffy nose, headache, joint aches, inflammation and retained water. The only thing I didn't get, and probably because I only had one glass and not several glasses in a row, was a breakout of cystic acne. So I didn't go to class on Wednesday either.

Actually after being fully off cow's milk for a couple of month's it didn't even taste as good as I remembered. Which is sad, because I loved it, even if I hate what it does to me. I've had to cut out cow's milk, yogurt, well, anything from a cow that isn't a hard cheese, mozzarella, or butter. Anything else triggers the symptoms. Limiting dairy has helped with weight loss, though.

As much as possible I try to find goat or sheep cheeses instead, but have never been able to find a goat's milk mozzarella. It is possible to make it, according to the lady who teaches cheese making classes at the co-op, they just don't make it readily available for sale. When we get our milking goats one day, I will totally be making that, cheddar, gouda, and fresh chevre. I'm going to have a cheese cave, which is not as elaborate as it sounds. Assuming life eventually goes to plan, but that's another post entirely.

Went to Whole Foods for the First Time

July 9th, 2016 at 09:11 pm

We had a Whole Foods store open in our town this summer. Overall, I have to say I wasn't terribly impressed with much, more of a so-so experience. We went there to get a protein powder for DD recommended by the weight loss doctor that doesn't have whey (since DD is allergic to milk) and doesn't have almond meal (since DD is allergic to almonds {but not other nuts, weird}) and doesn't have gluten (issues if she has too much of it, but not an allergy per se).

It also couldn't have any artificial sweeteners in it, because she gets hives and headaches and tunnel vision and stomach cramps and also went to the hospital once because she had trouble breathing after ingesting aspartame. We found a couple of different ones to try and they had small packets you could buy before you invested in the gallon size container.

The cheese selection was good. I actually found some sheep's cheese and more than one variety. Found several types of goat cheese, too, and 2 year old cheddar, extra sharp. And 2 year old goat's gouda not smoked. I hate it when they smoke gouda. I got a couple of cheeses I had never heard of to try, since they had small slivers of them that weren't too expensive. If I like them I will write down their names and get bigger wedges when I go back.

And they did have a great selection of rices, lentils, and beans, both organic and non for reasonable prices. In fact they have a red and white lima bean with Christmas in the title, where I might just get some and plant them next year (since all dried beans will grow if they are whole and not split). Why grow ordinary green limas when you can grow prettier ones? Since limas and Anasazi are the only types of beans I'll eat, I'm happy to see that had both.

Their organic meat and fish prices were more expensive than Trader Joe's, the Food Co-op, Fred Meyer, Safeway, or Haggen, except with chicken, which was comparable. What they did have, which the other stores do not, was no sugar bacon in pork, turkey, and buffalo. Actually they had a lot of cuts of buffalo. Most times when I see it elsewhere it is just ground buffalo, not steaks or roasts.

They did have a larger variety of seafood though than at other stores, some fish I have never even seen around here in a store before outside of direct off the boats down at the docks.

I spent $105, but it was mostly on cheese that should last a month, chicken thighs (we are out of our home grown and butchered chicken except for stir-fry meat, wings, backs, and necks), and the protein powder, plus a shaker drink container to mix it all up in. But a lot of cheeses.

With being on a higher protein/fat lower carb diet where they expect several meals and snacks a day, cheese and some cucumber slices fits the bill for me for those snacks. It's a little over the $100 a week I am trying to cut back to, but since I'm cutting back from around $200 a week, I think I did okay. Won't be going in this store often.

And speaking of the diet, the scale is moving again, after 3 weeks of dinking around. Not enough yet for me to feel comfortable starting another dietbet, though.

I Won my Six Month Transformer Dietbet

July 5th, 2016 at 09:02 pm

I knew a couple of days ago that I'd won, but didn't get payment verification until yesterday. My buy in was $125 (normally $150 if you pay $25 month to month, but $125 if you paid up front). My payout was $249.20. So I am 80 cents short of having doubled my money. That sure beats six months in a savings account at .75%. Or the stock market. Or anything else, really.

I think I am going to take a break for a while from doing dietbets, though. I have come to a stand still the past couple of weeks and there is no point shooting myself in the foot by starting a new one until I get the weight loss really moving again.

I have been losing inches, just not pounds. I'm probably building muscle and losing fat based on the exercising, but the scale doesn't care about that and neither does dietbet. My clothes are getting loser and I look better, so I will just soldier on and eventually the scale will move again, too.

Thinking about Phones--Need Help

July 4th, 2016 at 08:05 pm

I am in the preliminary stages of thinking about getting a new phone, contingent of course, on DH getting a new job. My phone is on its last legs and really old. As in, it was one of the first dumb phones to have a pull out keyboard old.

I've replaced the battery twice and the charger 3 times, but I can't do that anymore as they've stopped making them and the last time I simply just bought a copy of my phone off e-bay with a destroyed screen just for the working battery and charger. Even that doesn't seem to be an option now.

If I do get one, I'll be going through Ting and I am thinking about the phones around the 4 level or the cheaper end of the 5 level, as in Samsung Galaxy 4, LG G4, Apple iPhone 4 or possibly 5, or Nexus 5. But I don't know anything about these phones other than I've heard good things about the Samsung Galaxy 4 (but not 5).

I have never used a smart phone and I don't really use tablets either, which I understand are similar in some ways, so I'm going to need something user friendly and easy. I haven't used anything Apple based other than an ipod touch and that thing irritates me, because it is not as intuitive as it likes to pretend to be. I like devices that are simple and easy.

I'm at the collecting information stage, I guess. What can you all tell me about the phones I've listed above? Pros and cons and ease of use. Thanks.

Got Hit Up for Money

July 4th, 2016 at 11:08 am

I got hit up for money from my nephew today. It took me a lot not to blow a gasket, because I know he doesn't know anything about what is going on right now with DH getting laid off, so I had to take a few deep breaths and responded with a terse message that DH was out of work at month's end. It's just that it's not the first time. This is a yearly thing and it's usually in the Christmas newsletter, but this was more direct. Right now is just bad timing.

He's in ministry, but he's not a pastor or minister or missionary, and it's a pledge situation for ongoing support, but it's not really the type I feel like supporting even at the best of times. It's working with college athletes and ministering through sports and I don't support athletics in schools in general. I think it takes away from the purpose of school which is to educate and also funnels money away from education. Not to mention how strongly active rape culture is in athletics.

If I were to give to faith based charities, it would be to the homeless kids shelter or the homeless women's shelter, both issues I have supported at times in the past.

He wanted to work in a faith based situation, he wanted to work in sports, and he chose a job that is not self-supporting. I'm sorry he can't support his wife and 3 kids, but I can't support them either.

C1-360 Interest to Moving Fund

July 2nd, 2016 at 07:13 pm

$231.49 Starting Balance
+_38.33 Interest Added
-------------
$269.82 New Balance