DH got a letter from the IRS today saying that someone had used his social security number to gain employment. They don't give out any specific information because apparently their system doesn't keep track of who used it, just that it was used somewhere that didn't jibe with their information on him, i.e. someone from a different state while he's earning in this one. They really ought to track that better.
This is not the first time this has happened. It happened back before we were married in the early 90's. When DH lost his job due to injury and had to file unemployment it was something that popped up on his list of jobs. It got taken off at that time. It was someone working a job in surprise, surprise, California who was an illegal immigrant. It's probably the same situation this time. Irritating.
So I've taken care of my side of things, setting a fraud alert on my accounts and pulling all three of my credit reports and going over them, since all my stuff is linked to his. My stuff is all correct. I don't think this is related to the fraudulent credit card use last month, but we just don't know. DH still has a fraud alert from then, but he needs to check his SSA account and pull his credit reports as well. All of it can be done easily online, thank goodness.
I cancelled our AMEX cards today. I had been planning on it anyway, but this letter spurred me on to get it done. They did not want to let me leave, but were very polite. I just kept saying no that I wanted to cancel and that I didn't want any other perks or cards. Honestly, after the supreme court ruling on what they can do with their business practices, I don't think I could ever use them again anyway.
I know we still have to cancel the Master Card. Baby steps. It is hard letting go of our credit. I know that it is the direction we really want to go in, but I didn't think it would be this hard to give up the ones we don't even use. It is psychological. It did feel good cutting up the AMEX cards, though. DH is the primary card holder on the MC so he will have to take care of that one himself.
Then the question will be do we want to do the Costco Citi card or the Alaskan Air Visa. Since we are only spending cash at stores now, we don't really need the Costco card. But I do want to get my cash rewards from it. And it doesn't look like DH will be going back to work in Alaska again (things look promising at work), so keeping the BoA is probably not necessary, except it is our oldest card and we will be wanting some credit history at least until we buy a new house and something for the auto pays to be on at places that don't accept debit or electronic checking. Plus for hotels and car rentals on future vacations. I know what Dave Ramsey says, but I'm not sure I want to make my life that difficult. They would be rare exceptions for credit card use and actual payment would be with the debit card, just using the credit card to hold things.
I am looking into Identity Theft insurance. We can get the whole family insured for $145 a year. This problem can get much worse and they will deal with it if it does. I know my daughter's info was breached because her high school sold all the information from the kids without permission to a company and then that company was breached, so it would be good to do all of us. I wish we didn't live in a world where this stuff happens, but we do.
Viewing the 'Off on a Tangent' Category
DH got a letter from the IRS today saying that someone had used his social security number to gain employment. They don't give out any specific information because apparently their system doesn't keep track of who used it, just that it was used somewhere that didn't jibe with their information on him, i.e. someone from a different state while he's earning in this one. They really ought to track that better.
MIL gave us $5000 yesterday. I have a lot of mixed feelings about what to do with this money. The strongest emotion says to stick this right into the Emergency Fund. That would bring it to nearly two months of expenses. It has been very hard having it down so low. And we still don't know what the future holds job wise. His job with this company keeps getting extensions, but we are living 3 months at a time, it seems.
Another part of me feels like we should throw it at debt, we are supposed to be throwing everything there, but DH and I both feel weird about taking money from his mother to throw at the loan to my mother. Yet at the same time, we both want that debt gone. It has been hanging over us too long and prevents us from saving for our future. I also don't know how my mother would feel about taking that money if she found out where it came from, which I have no intention of telling her, but she's nosy and has a way of finding stuff out. We are not telling the kids about this money. So if we do decide to pay it to her we might stretch it out over a few months so it doesn't come in a big lump.
Another thing we could do is open a Roth IRA. Probably a spousal IRA since I have nothing saved for retirement at all and I'd feel better if some was in my name, too. If we were out of debt, that is likely what we would do with the majority of the money she is giving us, open a Roth for both of us. But we aren't. I know once we are out of debt we can really contribute, so it comes back to that. It always comes back to paying off the loan.
There are a few things we could really use the money for, like I need new glasses, and we need new rabbit cages, and DH would like a new laptop or at least to have the money available to get one when his laptop gives up the ghost, which it has been threatening to do for the last year or so. It would also be nice to get DS into a driver's class so he can actually learn how to drive. DH hasn't had the time to teach him and my brain hasn't been in the right place to do it, either.
But I know we can get by with the old cages and that we have started a fund for the laptop. We need to find the time to teach DS to drive even if DH has to do it on the weekends. The glasses I can probably afford to buy outright in another month out of our medical fund, but my eyes are really, really bugging me and my prescription has changed a lot so the temptation there is strong.
So maybe we put $4000 into the EF and I get my glasses, and the rest of that $1000 we put into the laptop fund. Then when we know for sure what the situation is long term with DH's job, maybe we can take the remainder to throw at debt.
I do know that MIL plans to give us another $7000 this year. She's given us $6000 so far. I am not sure when that will happen, though. At that point we will have to figure out what to do with that money all over again.
Maybe with the momentum we make on debt in these next several weeks with all the overtime, it'll hyper focus us on getting the loan gone, or maybe it'll make it easier to keep it in the Emergency Fund.
I really don't know how people manage to stay gazelle intense on debt payoff if they are worried about future employment. We've got to figure it out though, if we ever want to be done with this and save up for a house and contribute to retirement. Right now buying a house again seems so far out of reach.
I'm not sure what we are going to do. I think for now just let it sit in savings until we are more sure of what we should do and have had a chance to discuss it more.
What would you do, not knowing if you had a job past the end of August, but things seemed somewhat promising? Wait until September? That probably makes the most sense.
I don't usually buy books, but I made a book purchase on Saturday. Yes, my library does have this book, but I was 13th on the waiting list. High demand books mean that people can only keep them out 2 weeks instead of 3, but that was still looking at a possibility of 26 weeks before I could read it, assuming people turned it in on time. Most people don't.
So I handed over my cash, $27.51, to the young man at B&N, who tried to sell me a membership card, but no. I don't buy books often enough to earn back and then benefit from the savings. What book did I buy, you may be asking by now? Well, I finally gave in and decided to read Dave Ramsey. I bought The Total Money Makeover.
I have been avoiding Dave Ramsey for the last 12 years, to be honest. Yes, I did do a debt snowball, but I didn't know about it from reading him. I just figured doing it like that would make me feel like I was making progress faster. Yes, I did build and keep a $1000 emergency fund before doing it, but that was on advice from people here, not based on his method. Although it probably was, since a lot of you have read him. But I wasn't going to.
It wasn't that I thought he was bad or anything. I just didn't want to give up my paid off credit cards. Well, I did give up some of them, but we still have 5. We pay them off in full each month. But...oh, and here's the big but, I've been feeling for a while that we weren't using them responsibly enough, because they are just too easy to use.
But my chiropractor's office plays Dave Ramsey and I kept hearing him on my visits. And then he came up in my suggested videos on youtube. God has been putting things in my path right now that I have been struggling to deal with. Dave is just the last in a line.
First I was struggling with tithing while still in debt to my mother and my internet preacher answered a question on tithing. Then I was concerned that I lacked motivation, but in getting the spending back under control and in doing my five times a week Bible study. Then I was struggling with forgiveness for DH's sister and nieces over the stuff they pulled at Thanksgiving.
Forgiveness was in the next lesson and in such a way that it heals the person who forgives, not the one who holds on to the anger. Doesn't mean I'm willing to have holidays with them, but I might be able to at least see them now. So I asked for help about the budget and in walks Dave Ramsey, so to speak.
So I just finished reading the book last night. It took me 3 days. And I figured out how come I felt that way about credit cards. It's because we just buy what we need with no thought to it. And because I know we will pay it off each month in full, I haven't really been sticking to a budget when it comes to groceries and household expenses or clothing or eating out.
And with these bad habits getting out of hand, things felt tight every month and I didn't feel like I could possibly make payments on the loan to Mom, the only debt we have left. So I sat down and made up a better budget and if we actually stick to it, then yes, I can start paying Mom at least $500 a month.
DH's mother just gave us $1000. We had thought to put it in the Emergency Fund, but I think instead, we will use it to get current. The next two paydays will pay off what we have left on the credit cards before they are due and then we will go down to simply charging the auto pays, which total $407.50. It might be a little lower, but I am allowing $50 for Ting. We don't always go that high, some months we are lower, but we have never been above it, so that is what I put in the budget. But we won't use the credit card for anything else. Nothing but the auto pays. And we will use paypal from our bank account for online purchases, but not until we've had a moratorium on online purchases for six months or so.
I have also budgeted $1000 for groceries/household. I do think I can keep it lower than that, but I haven't been. Since I track my spending, more or less, I know I haven't. We are switching to cash for that. I will start with putting $250 in the groceries envelope. I figure $200 for groceries and $50 for household. Maybe I should break it down into two envelopes, except I usually buy household stuff when I go grocery shopping. We'll see. I know I need to get toilet paper, deodorant, and quart size Ziplocs, which will take up a good share of that $50.
I have transferred all the auto pays to one card, and as soon as the last little bit on the AMEX is paid off, I am going to cut it up and cancel it. I was just using it for Netflix and Hulu. I am also going to cancel my Best Buy card and no longer do any 18 or 12 month same as cash deals. I paid off the last one with part of our tax return. Instead I will be saving up money in a computer fund, though that won't start for a while.
I am not sure I am ready to cut the cord completely with credit cards, but I can't see having more than 3. One is the miles card, which DH will need if he starts working in Alaska again and has to fly all the time. He usually got 2 free flights a year, sometimes 3, so it definitely was worth it. Then there is the one my daughter is a signer on. Then there is the Costco Citi card, but I am not sure if that is going to be worth keeping yet. Without charging all of our groceries and gas, the amount of cash back will dramatically drop, and that was the only reason I got it in the first place.
My head knows that the best thing for us to do is to get rid of all but one card, but I am scared to do it. Mostly because the EF is not where I want it to be. I know you aren't supposed to use credit cards as a back up EF, but you know what 2016 and 2017 were like for us. If we had run out of money at least we would have had those cards to fall back on, which of course, is exactly that attitude I'm not supposed to have.
I knew Dave would let me have it over these ideas and I wasn't wrong. It sure has shown me what I need to work on and try to not rely so much on my security gland ruling what I do.
So next, I go back to an envelope, pay with cash system, except for those auto pays. I am looking into whether or not there are ways to pay them without paying by card. I think you can pay both Netflix and Hulu through paypal, but I'm not 100% sure. I think we can put storage on direct withdrawal, but I don't know about Ting. I haven't been able to find anything about Ting. But one of the reasons I really like doing auto pays on the credit card is so that I only have one due date to worry about, not an additional five. Right now I only have two to worry about and they come out on the same day.
So I will fund this coming payday's grocery/household envelope with $250.00 from the gift money, so all the money in the paycheck can go for the tithe and the Citi card.
I have already handed DH an envelope marked vending for the vending machines at work with $7 in ones that I had in my purse. He is to get $25 a month to use in the vending machines at work (he's been charging them). This gives him a little over $1 a day and the charge is 85 cents, so anything left at the end he can spend or set aside and save it for something he wants. Or he can save it all and quit using the vending machine altogether.
I will also have my own $25 envelope for something I want to do. I have no idea what I want to do with it, but sometimes just saving makes me happy.
I really would like to be able to squeeze out more than $500 a month to pay Mom. It might be $100, it might be $25, who knows? But whatever I can throw at it. She won't like getting weird amounts, but I don't care. It is not up to her how much I pay back at a time. It is up to DH and me.
As soon as we know what is going on in June with the job, I can decide what to do with the Emergency Fund. If I want to bump it down to $1000 and pay Mom with the rest or if we need to keep it there in case of possible job loss. It is scary to keep it at just $1000, but Dave says it keeps you more driven to pay off the debt so you can build the EF up to 3 to 6 months of expenses.
I get it. I get everything Dave says. I think I'm in the stage where I am not yet drinking the Kool-Aid, but I have read the ingredients and directions on the package and started preparing the beverage. He has his baby steps and I have mine. I do want to get there. And I want to get there fast, so time to put our heads down and start pushing that stone uphill.
Did you know that garlic can actually give you such severe burns that you can lose sensation in that part of the skin and that it can blister and leave you permanently scarred? I found that out today the hard way. I was chopping up garlic, one of those huge pre-peeled bags from Costco and I was about halfway through when my skin started to burn. I had about ten left to do on that batch so I powered through. What I should have done was get up immediately and wash my hands with dish soap (the grease cutting kind).
Anyway, I did that when I finished and then looked up ways to take away the garlic sting. I kept coming across ways to take away pepper sting, but this was different. By the time I found something, I had my hand wrapped in a cold wash cloth and sitting on an ice pack.
So from the home remedies, the first thing I chose was aloe, which helped some, but not enough. Then I used vitamin E oil, which also helped some, but not enough. So then I covered my fingers in honey and stuck them in a glove, and let the three things work their magic together. The honey soothed it the most.
Several hours later, they still hurt, they are red and I am missing part of my finger prints, have a scar on one finger and a possible bubble blister on another. I am typing one-handed in case you were wondering. I may have permanent damage. This is a form of chemical burn, the chemical being one in garlic. I never knew this could happen.
The next time I do garlic for dehydrating it is going in the food processor or I am wearing gloves. This was worse than the time I roasted hot peppers and then touched my eyes, twice, within an hour. Anyway, I thought I'd pass it along. If you are going to be cutting up garlic for a long period of time, protect your hands. It's very painful and hot, but with all the things I used today it is down to a dull throb now.
I just hope tomorrow I will be able to zip up my own coat again. Today it was too painful. Judging from how much it has healed since the treatment, I think I will do another one in the morning. Probably just the raw honey this time, though. I think that is what actually did the trick.
You know, I like making my own garlic powder a lot, because you can't beat it for flavor and freshness, but it's going to be a long time before I make another batch myself. I think in future I will just get the big jar from Costco.
I'm having a hard time figuring out whether I am having bad side effects from the methotrexate or I've just caught some stomach bug. I really wish these things were easier to discern. In case it is the drug, I talked with the doctor's MA and she has altered my dosage and has me taking 5 mg of vitamin B-9 instead of 1 now. I don't know if it was a coincidence or not, but I didn't throw up today, so...either the uptick in B-9 is controlling the nausea or the possible illness has run its course.
I take my second dose tomorrow, so I guess if my symptoms get bad again within 24 hours, then the medicine is probably suspect. I started feeling yucky the morning after taking the drug for the first time.
DH screwed up his Ting phone, so now all he can do is message me via google hangouts when he is in a place that has an internet signal. It looks like we won't be able to talk on the phone at all while he's gone. He can't get the signal to change it back until he goes south. What a pain. If he'd left it with GSM instead of changing it to CDMA he'd have something. What a hassle. Still our bill this month is only $37, so once it is all sorted out things should be fine.
If I can figure out how to turn the microphone on on google hangouts then we can video chat. The problem with him not having his own phone for a couple weeks is that if anyone tries to respond to a resume he's submitted, he won't get the message, because when he switched between the two it deactivated his voice mail. So frustrating when he needs to find new work to realize there is a possibility he won't get the calls now.
My mother is driving me crazy. She has a 5000 square foot house and my family of four is relegated to 1000 square feet and she seems to resent every inch of it that we take up these days. I so wish we could get out of here. This wasn't supposed to be a permanent situation. She isn't happy unless she is complaining and she is complaining constantly. If it's not about us, it is about politics.
The problem for her is going to be when we do move. She isn't going to be able to afford her bills, because we pay everything right now and that will not continue when we do leave. She doesn't get it. We pay the electric, the gas, the water/sewer, and the garbage. I don't think she realizes just how hard that will be on her fixed income. She owns the house and it is worth $500K, maybe more, especially in this neighborhood, but that is not accessible money.
I think she's also mad at me because I said I would not take care of her by myself again if she has another replacement surgery (either knee, hip, or shoulder) during the first two weeks. That she would have to go into a nursing home during the first two weeks of recovery because I can't handle going through it again and I won't. It wrecked my back, it wrecked my health, and it wrecked my knees. I went into a flare that was super painful for me and everything was so swollen it hurt just to be alive. Not to mention that she was really mean during that time because she resented having to be taken care of. I absolutely will not put myself through it again. And Medicare will pay for it so she won't be out any money.
I think she thinks if she goes to a nursing home she won't be coming back home again, which is utter nonsense. I would not do that until she is at the point where it is necessary, and that certainly is not now. If she had stayed in the hospital the 3 days she was allowed to it would have been a lot better for me. But the doctor told her she could go home after 24 hours if she wanted to. Well, of course, she wanted to, but it was bad having her home before I was prepared to have her home.
I will have a word with her doctor the next go around, that is for sure. I supposed I could force the issue since I have her medical power of attorney, if it comes down to that, but I'd rather she just come to her senses of her own accord.
If we didn't live here, she'd have to make other arrangements because it is not like my sisters will step up. She doesn't seem to believe in my auto immune disease or that with rheumatoid arthritis it is extremely painful to do the things I had to do to take care of her. Or that only getting 4 hours of sleep a night was something I could function on for 3 weeks. So no, not doing it again. I value my sanity too much.
I am a safe driver. I have a 29 year record of driving with no accidents. I always use my signal when turning or when changing lanes. I don't run red lights. I don't block intersections. I don't drive like an idiot. I am starting to think I am the only one.
I have been encountering an extraordinary number of unsafe drivers lately and it is really wearing me down avoiding these close calls. Just within the last three days, I had an oncoming car make a left hand turn from the right hand turn lane when I had a green light and if they had been in the actual left hand turn lane would have had a must yield on green sign they ignored.
At the same intersection I had someone in the oncoming left hand turn lane suddenly speed out in front of me while I was making a right hand turn on my green light. They came all the way across two lanes of traffic to the lane I was turning into. It is illegal to turn into that lane directly from their lane. But it was the fact that she didn't yield and almost hit me when I had already started my turn that makes me so annoyed.
This light has protected green arrows before it turns solid green, so it is not like they won't get a turn to go. They just don't want to have to wait through the light if they miss their arrow. I think it is time to remove the left turn yield on green signs and make it illegal for them to do so at that intersection. It already is for the cross street because there used to be so many accidents there. There are less now, but there are still a lot.
The people turning from that side also have a tendency to block the intersection so that people can't go straight during the green light. It's illegal to make a left hand turn if you can't clear the intersection. So many people need to go back to remedial driving school. If they put a police car there a couple of times a week, the police department would no longer need to keep trying to get money for a new jail. They'd have it made in tickets in less than six months.
I usually avoid this by taking another route, but that road is completely shut down right now, due to construction that has been going on for months to repair a bridge and stabilize the alternate road. Which is also causing back ups on the main road because more people are forced to use it.
The other intersection is nearer my house where people coming from the hospital think it is okay to get into the left hand turn lane and cross the intersection from it to go directly into the next block's left hand turn lane, even though at that end it is a left hand turn lane for the oncoming direction.
Unfortunately, this means they are preventing people from getting into the opposite left hand turn lane to turn onto my street. And even if you signal that you are trying to get into that lane they just keep coming across the intersection or honk at you when you attempt to get into that lane. Sometimes they even block the intersection from the left hand turn lane.
I can't tell you how many times I've nearly been hit by these illegal moves and I am super conscious and careful at all times that this will happen at this intersection. Park a cop there for a while and ticket like crazy and they will have no money worries for a long time.
When I can avoid that intersection, I do, but when the hour around when the school lets out is in play, looping around and coming from the other direction is even worse. You've got a bunch of illegally parked cars on both sides of the street, parked smack up against stop signs making it impossible to see cars coming from either direction until you are halfway into the road, and of course loose children running around not being monitored by their parents.
All this to say that my safe driver's refund check was deposited. 18 bucks plus change does not seem like much compared to what I deal with to be a safe driver. But it is better than nothing.
Today was supposed to be clear, but it still isn't. You can at least see the foothills now, though. It is supposed to rain on Sunday and I really hope it does. It is hard to not be able to go outside much if I want to breathe well. It's too hot to leave the windows closed with it being in the 80's and no A/C.
Today was my daughter's 21st birthday. How did that happen? When did I get old enough to have a twenty-one-year-old child? We went to Outback for dinner. I had lobster and everyone else had steak. It was pretty good, but I can make a better steak at home, which is why I got lobster. Or maybe it is just the difference between grass fed beef(what I have) and corn fed beef.
I did have a couple bites of the steak, because my daughter couldn't quite finish hers, but that only confirmed my call to get the lobster. It was an expensive night, but it's the only time in a year we've gone out to something like this. Tomorrow it'll be back to home-cooking.
Tomorrow MIL and FIL and DH meet with the doctor about FIL going down to the UW hospital and whether or not he is strong enough. They've already said he'd have to do a medical transport if he goes, that he is not strong enough to go in a regular car, not even our van which is very comfortable. They still don't know what is wrong with him, but I have a feeling it is the cancer working on a systemic level. Continued prayers for him would be appreciated.
We are rehoming our tom turkey George. He hasn't been the same since Gina died, and he will be going to a nice lady with 2 Royal Palm hens. I hate to see him go, but my mother has been getting aggressive with him again and of course he reacts to that. Honestly, I'm afraid she's going to hurt him.
She's been acting kind of crazy this week freaking out on everyone for very minor things. I wish we could move. I am so done right now. After everything I did taking care of her, for her to turn on us is just demoralizing. I am never mean to her, not even when her vindictive streak comes out. I am patient and seldom react because I know that's what she wants.
Half the time I feel like I'm the parent and she's an adolescent going through puberty. She sure acts like a 7nth grade girl in full on brat mode. She can never admit when she's wrong. Ever. She doesn't apologize except to say things like I'm sorry you feel that way and even that hardly ever happens. I'm ready to move across the country at this point just to have everything fall on my sisters since that is the only way they will ever do anything.
I want to go somewhere and scream at the sky, but I'm not entirely convinced it is still there. Man, that's really getting to me. I need to see some blue before I go off the deep end myself.
It's been 12 days since I've been able to see the sky. The smoke haze from B.C. is so bad it is like a ceiling of dirty white overhead. Not like when it is overcast, then you can still see clouds in various shades of grey and white. This is like a lid has been shut over us. Washington state has the worst air quality in the nation right now. Unfortunately, I am having to use my inhaler. It is messing with my lungs.
You take it for granted, seeing the sky. Not seeing it for so long is making it seem claustrophobic, like we are closed in. I can feel it at the back of my neck, making me want to raise my shoulders up and inward against it. I know it is psychological, but the longer it continues, the worse it seems. It makes me feel like I'm in some kind of sci-fi movie where the sky disappears.
The sun and moon through it have been amazing, though. Just brilliant shades of orange shining through to let us know that even if the sky is gone, space is still up there somewhere.
There's not much been going on. I finished up the kidney infection medication and spent a lot of time in bed sleeping during that time. We didn't go out to eat at all for three weeks, but we did get something this weekend and we will go out on the tenth for my daughter's 21st birthday. Then back to not eating out for a good while.
We are up to our ears in gold rush zucchini and patty pan squash. The green zucchini is not doing as well. I lost a lot of them to blossom end rot, so now I am pulling the blossoms off them once they have got to finger size and that seems to be helping. I have green tomatoes now so maybe in a couple more weeks I'll have some red ones.
We lost 2 chickens this week. Henrietta was our oldest chicken. She was six. And then one of the leghorns died as well, but they don't live as long since they are production birds. She was 3. So now we are down to 9 chickens, 6 ducks, and one turkey. We aren't replacing anyone. We thought we might have to get a new turkey hen after Gina died, but George seems to be doing okay now. He's a little sad at bedtime when he's alone, but during the day he seems fine and hangs out with the 3 Barnevelder hens he was raised with.
I didn't do a payday report this week, but all of the money went to pay the AMEX bill in full. That takes care of the last of the medical expenses from the two ER visits and the emergency eye surgery. We still had to pull $3500 out of the Emergency Fund, but at least we didn't have to pay interest on anything.
Maybe in September we can pull ahead again. At least for a little while. Who knows with the job situation still being up in the air like it is.
I am so irritated with photobucket right now. It got super greedy and decided to break the internet. Well, the graphics part of the internet, anyway. What they used to do for free they are now charging $399 a year for. So now there are broken graphics links left and right and there is no way to fix them without paying the ransom.
They did this without sending out notifications or warnings, other than, apparently, a tiny paragraph at the end of blog post. Seriously, this is the stuff where you send out announcements ahead of time.
I understand them wanting to make more money, but if you don't store a million pictures on there and only have a few hundred that you've third party posted in various places, you should at least get a small amount of them for free or for a nominal yearly fee like $30. You can get more storage for $10 bucks a month, but you can't get third party hosting unless you pay the huge amount.
So now I have to go across numerous platforms and find all the broken links and figure out how to fix them. Livejournal is going to be a nightmare. Dreamwidth should be easy enough. Others will be complicated and I may not be able to replace the images with a different host as they don't have on domain hosting. There are quite a few I did on this blog that will have to be fixed. Now that photo uploads work here that's fine, but it is going to be tedious to look through 11 years of posts to find the ones I added photos to before they fixed it here. Fortunately my farm blog has on domain hosting for photos, so I won't have to touch that.
I am frustrated, but I am going to go through it all page by page and fix it. I am not giving in to what feels like extortion. I mean, $400, come on! From a previously free ad supported service, with no inexpensive option for the little people, and you only paid if you bought photos or wanted huge chunks of storage before and sat through their ads. I even clicked on a few ads from time to time, because I know that supports them.
I kind of hope people abandon them in droves after this. As soon as I finish getting all of my photos downloaded from their domain I will be out of there. No more purchasing photos from there, nothing. When companies forget about who keeps them in business, it riles me up. Something is going to spring up in it's place. Maybe not free, but far less money than $400 a year.
Now I just have to remember how to edit headers on LJ and DW. It was hard enough the first time. I hate working in html. I'll have to do a refresher course. And learn how to use to on domain hosting there, because I never did get the hang of it before.
I can get behind wanting to increase a company's profits, but I can't get behind exorbitant greed like this. /rant
I really don't like it when companies do stupid things, especially ones that normally have a good reputation of producing quality products. I don't like spending my money only to get a nasty surprise.
Campbell's has ruined its Chicken and Stars soup. Gone are the little pasta stars that go down without chewing, perfect for the sore throats it has soothed for generations. In their place are those loathsome large pastas like they have in their cartoon character soups. Like the Spaghettio pastas. The ones my kids wouldn't touch when they were little despite the fact they were shaped like Dora and I choked down so they wouldn't go to waste.
The are very chewy, don't go down easy with a sore throat at all, in fact they hurt, and they don't taste good. Not only do they not taste good, they have changed the broth, too. Instead of being golden, it is orange.
Now I understand that they took out a bunch of the chemicals they used to have in their soup to make it better for us, but the soup never had food coloring in it to make it yellow. So removing the nasties from it should not have turned chicken soup orange or even have changed the flavor as much as it has. There are also globs of a darker orange consistency on top, though they did stir in once cooked.
Now the reason they have given for the change of the pasta is that there were complaints of the stars clumping, a non-problem if I ever heard one. I have been eating this soup since I was two and preparing it myself since I was nine. In all of those years, not once was there an issue of the stars clumping. And you know what stops pasta from clumping? Stirring. It's not rocket science.
Campbell's claims this is the reason though. I think not. I am sure there are more complaints about the change, and will be even more as more people realize what happened the next time they get sick and reach for the old favorite and get something gross, than there ever were for clumping pasta.
I think Campbell's has pulled a New Coke and hopefully it will go the way of the New Coke debacle if enough consumers protest. Oh, and here's the kicker. The normal stars are still available in their soup on the go with no plans to change it. Gee, don't those stars clump, too?
Soup on the Go is $2.79 a container. Because it is not condensed it works out to half the amount you would have with a condensed soup. The condensed Chicken and Stars soup runs at $1.79 a can, which is outrageous enough for 10.5 ounces of soup (product shrinkage again, too), considering most of their other soups are $1.29 a can. I'm not going to pay a whole dollar more for half the amount of soup. Until they change back, they have lost me as a customer. If they don't change back, then I'm done. 43 years of being a loyal customer means nothing to them, so no more of my hard earned dollars are going their way.
1. My husband and I have been married for 21 years, but have been together (next week) for 26 years. We should have met long before we did. We were often in the same places at the same time (same berry field working as youngsters, junior achievement one door down from each other, Sunday School (big group of teens in a huge church that met altogether and was then separated by class and we were one grade apart), numerous things like that. We kept being put in each others' paths, but did not meet until we both worked at the same restaurant chain and he transferred to my store.
2. I never discuss politics, religion, or major issues on my Facebook page because people are crazy with their opinions and I'd like to keep my friends and family. Except for prayer requests when stuff gets really bad. Only exception.
3. I have 2 children, a girl and a boy, but we originally planned to have 4. Life didn't work out that way and by the time my youngest was 3, it was definitely for the best.
4. We started raising our own fruit, vegetables, and meat animals due to my son's massive allergies to food additives, preservatives, colorings, and artificial sweeteners. It changed our lives.
5. We are a one car (van) family and that van is paid for.
6. I am a massive Doctor Who Fan. To the point where I wrote fanfiction for several years. I am also a huge Labyrinth fan even 30 years later, but I did not get involved in the fandom, other than the time suck that is watching fanvids on youtube.
7. I love to read, but for many years I barely did. This year I have really gotten back into it again. I have probably read more in the last 6 months than I did in the last 6 years. My favorite things to read are epic military fiction with a strong female captain (think Kylara Vatta or Heris Serrano or Esmay Suiza) or flat out romance novels.
8. I dislike historical dramas on TV, but love historical fiction. I don't get it either.
9. On rare occasions I have had violently accurate intuition. For example the time I'd been driving behind a hay truck on the freeway and felt a sudden need to get out of the lane. I moved over and one of the cords securing the load snapped and hay bales fell off the truck into the space I would have been in. Or the time when DH and I were dating and were (ahem) parked and I was overwhelmed by the irrational urge to leave right then and DH listened to me and we got out of there. I found out the next morning that someone was murdered 10 minutes later who had been walking to her car parked in the same area. Within a few feet of where we'd been parked. Or a time when I chose to take a different route than my usual one because I got a weird feeling of dread as I approached one intersection and would have been involved in a multi-car pile-up where several people were badly hurt and 2 people died if I'd gone the usual way. I'd say about once every 5 or 6 years something like this happens. It scares the crap out of me every time. But I always listen to that feeling.
10. I love to cook, but I hate to clean up the kitchen. I have created dozens of my own recipes in the last 25 years.
11. I hate it when people say "It's only" in reference to money. It's only 3 cents or it's only a dollar or it's only 5 bucks. And then complain how they have no money and they can't save anything. It's just as important to mind the pennies as it is to mind the $100's.
12. I love bubblegum pop music. I love almost all forms of music, but bubblegum pop is always fun and floaty and puts me in a good mood.
13. Instruments I have learned to play over the years with various degrees of success: violin, viola, mandolin, piano, organ, flute, harpsichord, and a few chords on the guitar (my hands are small, so guitar is hard for me). I want to learn the banjo. A lot.
14. I wrote my first novel in the 3rd grade. I love writing. Even more than reading. I am always working on something.
15. I desperately want to be good at drawing. I am mediocre. I can paint, though, in both acrylics and watercolors.
16. I have taught myself to loom knit, but not to needle knit. I want to learn both it and crocheting, but my brain and my hands don't want to communicate properly when it comes down to it. I have the dexterity due to playing instruments, but there is a serious disconnect when I try to knit on needles. Crocheting is not any better. I also want to learn to machine sew more than hems.
17. I love farming. I didn't think I would take to it anywhere as much as I did. Both the animals and the extensive gardening have added so much to my life.
18. My mother drives me crazy, but she is the best person I know. Aside from my husband, she is my best friend. She is the person who taught me to always keep going no matter what life throws at you.
19. My short-term memory has not recovered fully since my concussion when I broke my nose last year. I have to leave post it notes everywhere so I don't forget things I should remember. It is getting better, but it still is disconcerting, considering once upon a time I had an eidetic memory. I've had 3 concussions in my life. This one has been the hardest to bounce back from.
20. People always think I am a much more serious person than I actually am. My humor tends to be dry and sarcastic or punny and fast wit, but I don't generally let it out until I know people pretty well. Until then I am pretty reserved and quiet. Once I am comfortable, though, it all comes out.
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.
I've plotted out the money for the rest of this month and it does look like I will be able to put $1500 into the EF from the overtime work, assuming nothing changes. That won't be tomorrow's payday, but the next. A large chunk of tomorrow's payday will go towards paying the credit card. I had to put an unexpected doctor's bill on there so it is higher than usual. A portion of next week's pay will finish paying it off for the month.
I got a second unexpected doctor's bill for my toe surgery. I know the deductible was met, so I'm not sure why it was so high. I mean, it wasn't more complicated than getting a cavity filled. I was out of there within the hour. But my portion is still $355? Maybe the insurance denied part of it or something. I'll investigate a little further. They are supposed to pay 90% after the deductible has been met. I don't think the overall total was anywhere near $3500. He's supposed to be in network. I don't know.
I am tired of medical bills. I've shelled out $2000 just this month and that is without any physical therapy, since my PT has influenza and I have not seen her this month at all. It should get better from here, though, since nothing else big should be coming in for a while. DD did see the doctor at the start of the month, but just for a regular visit so our portion should be quite low.
Although DS is getting a cavity filled next week that won't be charged until some time in May.
I don't know how people with low incomes and high deductibles do it. We struggle to get the medical bills paid and we have a good income. Without the overtime work, though, we'd be having a tough time this month. Without the OT we'd be saving nothing and might even have had to make a choice to dip into the Emergency Fund or carry a balance this month on the credit card. How are people who have no EF and no room on their credit card going to make it in the same circumstance. Oh, wait, I know this one. Not go to the doctor at all.
$41,000.00 Starting Balance
+__,500.00 Deposit Added
$41,500.00 New Balance
It was a little discouraging to only put $500 into savings this month for the down payment. We've been putting away $1500 most months this year, but we had a lot of medical bills with DS's surgery come through and all the medical stuff with DD. At least we have met the deductible now, so that'll ease up. Unfortunately there was a lot of stuff that was being processed all at once so some of it we got billed for anyway because it was all "in process." So we will get checks back from the doctors who end up getting paid by us and by the insurance.
Also, we won't be able to save $1500 each month going forward, either, because of the pay cut DH was forced to take. I really don't like the way the new budget looks. We will have to be very strict if we want to save $1000 per month. I am going to try to cook more from the pantry and freezers. We will have greens soon in the garden so that will help.
I think we are going to be stuck here through 2017 now. We just won't be able to save enough by the end of this year like I'd planned on before the pay cut. I know this is a lot of whining, I am just feeling frustrated and anxious. We still don't know if the company got the new contract, which means individual contracts are still up in the air. We should know soon, but even if they do get it, it does not mean the employees will get their old wages back.
Some days I really think about just moving to rural Idaho or Montana where the cost of living is so much cheaper. But I love where we live and I don't know if I would love Idaho or Montana the same way. They are both beautiful states, but they aren't home and that is a hard thing sometimes to get over.
I think I will settle down some after the contract news. Well, if it's good. If it's bad I'll freak out for a while. I hate uncertainty. It is the worst thing for me.
$16,322.85 Starting Balance
+__,221.67 Deposit Added
$16,544.52 New Balance
I have passed the half-way point on my second mini-goal of 2016, which is to get the EF from $16K to $17K. $455.48 to go. I was hoping to have met that by the end of April, but with DH's paycut going into effect at the end of the month, I'm not sure I will. It might be the end of May.
One of the things I am debating is whether or not I should keep saving for the down payment or if I should just start shoveling everything into the Emergency Fund and if the contract is won at the end of June, then just transferring the money to the Down Payment Fund then.
It all goes into the same bank account. I know it is just a question of where to put it on the spread sheet, but I have told myself I will not touch the money in the DPF until we are ready to buy a house, unless it comes down to needing it to live on. I guess it is a mental thing.
Well, and then there is the mental thing of only touching the EF if there is an Emergency and not really even wanting to do it then. So if all goes well I still may have a psychological problem transferring the money to the DPF from the EF. I don't even know what that is. Maybe a little of my OCD coming through?
Maybe I need to set up a short term holding tank, from which I can easily move stuff later. I shouldn't have to play these kinds of mind games with myself to funnel money to the proper location. Anyone else go through these things or am I just sort of on my own there? I know it is rooted in the financial insecurity we had in the past, but I really thought I would have gotten over it by now having been out of consumer debt for almost a year.
I am really, really unimpressed with the new Dr. Scholl's socks that I bought. I bought two 3-packs at $14 each and each pair I have worn has been down my heel and halfway down my foot in the amount of time it takes to walk from the house to the car. They simply will not stay up.
It ticks me off. I expected the Dr. Scholl's name to live up to its reputation. After all, they make excellent shoes and inserts. But apparently they haven't a clue how to make good socks. Unfortunately you can't tell until you actually wear them. There doesn't seem to be enough elastic in the cuff.
It isn't just them either. The last set I got from Reebok and the last sets I got from Hanes and Fruit of the Loom like to slip down, too. I never used to have this problem. Are they just making crappy socks these days no matter the brand name?
I really don't like throwing money away like that. The only socks I haven't had major problems with this year or last are the big fuzzy slipper socks from Costco, but they are hard to get into a shoe. This is why I'm trying to learn to knit socks properly.
Anyone know if Kmart's Joe Boxer brand of socks stays up where it belongs? Or of any decent brand that does? I don't mind paying a little more if they actually work. They just can't be wool as I'm allergic.
It is a weird feeling to have paid almost all of the bills for the month of August out of the July 31st paycheck. I only have 2 payments left to make, one mid-month that is reoccurring and then the monthly payoff of DH's travel credit card towards the end of the month. I will also be putting an additional $225 in the JMF, but that's not a bill, that's savings.
I seem not to blog too much when things are going smoothly and this is the sort of thing that feels very smooth indeed. Saving up for things does not seem to have the same urgency that paying stuff off has. We are not striving to pay off a mortgage anymore. We are not striving to pay off huge amounts of credit card or medical debt. We are not striving to pay off a car loan. It's almost a bit of a let down feeling.
Maybe it is because we spent so much of the last 15 years paying down debt. Maybe it is feeling like there is a lack of focus since the consumer debt is gone. I mean, I don't want it back, at all. But it was almost like there was always an over-riding uber purpose to our financial life. This is totally a first world problem, I know.
I know that when I don't blog, there is much more of a tendency to fritter money away. I'm not sure quite where that balance is yet. I wish I could get more excited about savings. It just seems like it is going to take a long time to get where we are going and most of what we save is now so automatic. I pay savings like I pay any other bill.
Maybe it is because there are no big ups and downs anymore. I mean, I do stress when unexpected stuff comes up, but we are able to handle it now, and without touching the Emergency Fund.
Am I even making sense? Has anyone else gone through this sort of loose ends thing after they've paid off their consumer debt? Maybe it is just me. Maybe I am so wired now to pay off debt, I really just don't know what to do now. On paper I feel like we are doing all the right things, but in my head, it still feels like we should be working against something massive, something with urgency. I have to wonder if I will ever get used to not having that anymore.
I should just count my blessings. The last two weeks have shown me that life can change at the drop of a hat and at least we don't have out of state hospital costs and funeral costs to be paying.
We will be having some medical expenses coming up, though, that I will have to work through, 2 more pairs of glasses, in-grown toenail surgery, some dental work, all for the kids. All of that will probably be about $1000 out of pocket. We've maxed our HSA for the year already. But we won't have spent enough to do more than take the standard deduction. Honestly, I think we ought to be able to deduct as much medical as we pay out, but I very much doubt that will ever happen. Oh, well. At least at this point in time, we can afford it.
I tried to use my checking account to pay for an order on Amazon because I didn't want to use a credit card. I've done this before with no problems and there is plenty of money in the account. But they won't accept it. I wonder if it is some kind of fraud protection since it is Christmas time? I don't know, because there was no information as to why.
So I ended up using the card and will just send that amount to AMEX, but I don't like having to take that extra step, when I should have been done with it in one step. I am starting to think that these companies are going to force us to use credit cards no matter what.
Has anyone else noticed that the majority of the articles being posted on the home page are not about finances at all anymore? And that a huge majority of them are just downright...vapid? There used to be some really good articles, stuff that you could actually learn from about saving money or investing or using what you have, etc. I mean, one of the articles is about how sexist the new Barbie book is. Yes, it is, and that's important, but what does it have to do with personal finance?
Or the article about the new word of the year added to the Oxford Dictionary. I don't know. What is being put up is getting ridiculous. Content for content's sake is...well, almost as bad as rolling ads that chase you around the page. I expect better.
Well, I know for sure that I am going to be able to squeeze $500 out of this coming Friday's paycheck to go towards the five weeks when DH won't be working. I might be able to squeeze as much as $750 out, but I'm not sure. Prescriptions are due to be renewed Friday, and I don't remember how much that is going to be now that DD is on the new meds.
We are still waiting to hear if he got the okay to work a few extra days before the shut down. They were supposed to tell him within 2 days of his getting home and he still hasn't heard anything. This employer is so unorganized. He's calling them today to see what is going on.
So far they have not sent out the grocery store gift card that they usually send out before Thanksgiving. On a normal year it would be here by now, but since this is not a normal year, it wouldn't surprise me if they don't send them out at all. I am not counting on it coming. In fact, it would shock me if they send them out with the way they've been behaving towards their employees this year.
I am very glad we have our turkeys taken care of for Thanksgiving and Christmas. And that we have lots of food in the freezer and on the shelves. We will get through this. It'll be hard, and we may have to touch the Emergency Fund, but we will manage. I just wish we didn't have to.
I won't have to contribute to the Property Tax Fund during the month of December since I already put an extra payment in in October for December. Same with the Dues Fund. I have $500 in the Propane Fund plus a $50 credit with the company so I won't have to put $100 into the dues fund next time. We just turned the propane on this week at the old house and it has a full tank. We won't be driving much for half of December as there is no school so gas costs will be lower.
Next year I will try to plan a little better. We've just never had this many weeks to cover before. But I will start saving $200 a month towards next year's shut down in January and put aside one of the two extra paychecks DH gets during the year that doesn't go towards the regular budget. It'll be tight, especially if medical goes up AGAIN and I see no reason it won't, but we'll deal. We have to. It's not like there are a lot of other choices right now.
I think I am finally starting to come out of the flu. I have not been this tired in a long, long time. Now the kids are down with it and both stayed home from school today. Fortunately all they want to do is sleep, so I can still rest.
Last night DH went back to Alaska, so I don't have him to fall back on. And of course last night was a major wind storm that managed to rip one panel of roofing off the turkey coop and leave one panel dangling down the front of it. The piece of roofing that he jury rigged to keep the rain from going in the duck coop window was also ripped off.
I can fix the duck coop, but I don't know what I am going to do about the turkey coop as that requires going up on a ladder and I can't climb ladders with my knee. Maybe I can throw a tarp over that half of it. The turkeys will just have to stay on one side of the coop, I guess.
DH wanted to loan his sister money and I had to say no, because we don't have it. I mean, we physically have it, but it has to pay for all the expenses of December when he is off work for 5 weeks with no pay. And if we loan money to her, we won't be able to meet our own expenses. December is only a month away and there is no way she'd be paying us back on time.
I feel bad for SIL. She was in a car accident that was not her fault and has been off work for a month. She will eventually get a settlement, but it certainly won't be in time to pay us back for December bills. We have helped her where we could, but we just can't do it this time. I can't put my own family and finances in jeopardy for her.
I don't think DH gets how tight things are. I think he thinks that things are as good as they were 4 years ago. But he's bringing home $1000 less each month than he was even two years ago due to higher taxes and bigger medical deductions. I have told him and told him, but it doesn't seem to sink in. The fact that he even asked me shows that. And I end up feeling like the bad guy in this.
But I know if it comes down to it, SIL and niece can move in with MIL and FIL. Or she can get money from her boyfriend. Or from her rich uncle. She's been holding onto a house she can't afford since her divorce several years ago.
I'm very frustrated. I don't like being made to feel guilty. It makes me resentful. Her situation is not my fault. I plan hard to take care of emergencies and times of no income and she doesn't and never has. And I feel like I'm being penalized for it, just because I said no. But I have every right to say no. I know DH doesn't mean to make me feel this way, but that doesn't stop me from feeling it. He just wants to help his sister. I do, too, but not at the expense of our own family. /rant
I found out last night that instead of having to take 4 weeks of unpaid time off in December, DH is going to have to take 5 weeks of unpaid time off going into the new year. I'm pretty sure we won't be able to handle this without dipping into the Emergency Fund.
DH is going to try to get a little overtime, but they have not really been forthcoming with it this year, so we certainly can't rely on that.
We have plenty of vegetables and fruits canned and meat frozen, so we could get by without having to buy too much in the way of groceries in December. Mostly just things like milk and lettuce and oranges. Between our five laying ducks and our four laying hens we have plenty of eggs.
I am a little concerned about Christmas, though. We don't buy for many people anymore, but I still need to come up with about $500 for it.
I hate not being prepared for things, but when they jacked up the portion of medical insurance we have to pay this year the paychecks really took a hit. It wouldn't have been so bad with a lower deductible, but $5000 out of pocket is a lot on top of that. We've got 3 people on medications that are quite expensive so we'll be slapped with that again when January hits, since the don't cover prescriptions until the deductible is hit.
With the end of those tax breaks a couple years back, DH is effectively bringing home about $1200 less every month than he was when he first started working for this company. And they decided they wouldn't be giving raises out this year after all. It frustrates me. Especially since we can't rely on the Christmas bonus to make up the shortfall of no pay for five weeks. We used to be able to save for this, but this year has just been one thing after another.
We have decided to start DH on his bachelors degree. Since there isn't really any place he can go right now to get a higher income, this is the most sensible move. We'll have to pay $100 to have his transcripts reviewed from his A.S. in Electrical Engineering, and then the first class he will take will cost $800. We may dip into the Emergency Fund for that, too. I know it's not a true emergency, but it'll get us to the tax refund time and then we can pay for the schooling out of that and some how or another start setting some money aside as well. How? I don't know yet. It's something we will have to figure out.
I've been able to get out and do some serious work in the gardens this week. I've got a lot of food coming in, though never in the huge quantities I had expected for some of it.
The hay bale garden has been far more successful than the straw bale garden. It has had far less weeds and the growth has been phenomenal in comparison. So next year I think I will skip planting in straw bales at all and just go with the hay bales, if I do this again.
So far I've yielded $357.25 of organic produce over the price of my start up costs for the gardens. Next year if I start things from seeds instead of buying organic transplants, start up costs will be lower. Since I got started late though, I did the transplants to catch up some time.
If all goes well with the house sale and if we find a small farm and if we can actually buy it before next spring, I will be building raised beds out of rabbit bedding and rabbit manure, which can be used right away, and setting up compost piles for the bird waste and bedding, since it needs to compost for at least six months before using. We will use wire and t-posts instead of wood to keep things loosely in place and will build it up at least 3 feet tall. With the amount of bedding we could compost in place that will be by far a better method. Then we will have deep mulch as it breaks down to between 1/2 and 1/3 of its original size. It'll still be a foot off the ground so I can pull up a chair to do my gardening.
I'm not going to rush buying a farm, though. We may need longer than that even if the house sale does go through. I want to make sure I find the right place and that we have a big enough down payment that we are not struggling at all with making a mortgage payment again.
I am picky about what I want. It has to have a well for water. It needs to have either a creek or a pond on the property, but not too close to the house in case of flooding. It needs to have either a good barn or several outbuildings, preferably one with power and water, but at the very least power. It needs a house that is one level only, preferably with handicapped accessibility, and at least 1600 square feet with a minimum of 3 bedrooms, though I'd prefer 4, and 2 bathrooms.
The kitchen needs to be of a decent size for canning and processing meat. It needs adequate pantry storage. It needs a garage and no basement as most basements around here have flooding issues. It needs a wood stove and a propane or gas stove. It needs garden space, fruit trees and nut trees, and at least 2 acres of pasture and 2 acres of wooded land. Fencing around the pastures is a must. It needs a good site for a green house for aquaponics and growing dwarf citrus trees, and a good site for solar panels and possibly a wind turbine. Wants, but not must haves are a willow tree and a flowering cherry tree or two.
We will probably buy 5 acres, though if we can save up enough, I'd prefer 10. We don't ever intend to move again after buying our farm so I want it to be right or at least easily able to be made right, like planting my own fruit trees and nut trees, willow tree, and flowering cherry trees.
I am trying to keep a positive attitude right now, but I do feel like I am being overwhelmed somewhat. With them taking so much more out of DH's paycheck for medical now, I kind of feel like we are back to living paycheck to paycheck. I know we aren't really, but the only things I feel like I am able to plan ahead for anymore are property taxes, upcoming propane costs, and dues. Besides those and the EF, I haven't been able to fund any of my funds.
I like having an Appliance Fund, a Christmas Fund, a Computer Fund, and such that I send money to each month. Now I can't do that. And I can't do a college fund, either. My daughter has decided she is going to work for 2 years after high school and save everything for college. At this point, we can't contribute. I'm not even sure college is right for her anyway. She's not really cut out for it.
Every year for the past 3, things seem to have gotten tighter and tighter, despite paying more and more things off. Taxes went up and took $500 of take home pay away from us, just as we paid off the credit cards. When we paid off the mortgage this year, it finally felt like we were going to have breathing room, but we don't. The increased medical, the increased plane fare, and the increased storage fees basically replaced the mortgage.
I know this won't last forever. We have less than 3 years left on the van loan. It's gotten down enough that we are only paying about $70 in interest each month and the majority of the payment is going to principal. I love our van and I still think it was a good decision to buy it, but I don't think we will ever buy a new vehicle again. And we'll not finance one again, either.
We have 4 years and 9 months left on what we owe to Mom. That's the big thing. If we didn't have to pay that $1000 each month things would not be tight. Or they'd be tight by choice because we'd be saving part of it and funneling the rest to retirement.
If our house sells it will make some differences. We won't have to be paying electricity, phone, water/sewer, security, HoA dues, property tax, and house insurance. We can save that money until we are ready to buy a house. Which at this rate won't be until we pay off the van.
DH hasn't gotten a raise in over 3 years. Which, no one has, but this year is a new contract and they are supposed to be doing raises. The new contract was signed a while back. The new medical is being deducted, but so far no one has received raises and it has been months. I am starting to think the company is going back on its word. Each year, with more money being taken out or going to taxes or going to increased plane fare, it is like taking a pay cut.
I know we have enough. DH's income is excellent. We are in a lot better shape than so many people. But I want to get ahead, not just tread water. It feels like we sacrifice and sacrifice to pay off all this stupid medical debt and our house and still have nothing to show for it. Which is stupid, because we do. We've taken trips and we've got decent things. We have a paid for home. But it still doesn't feel like it. I just want to be free of it all. Free of all debt. Every single scrap of it. And with enough money in the bank that I don't ever have to worry about it again. I don't know. Maybe that's a fantasy. But it's how I feel.
Well, thanks for listening now. I feel better getting it all out and I think I can stop feeling sorry for myself for a while now.
...was all the fees. With one kid starting as a freshman and one kid going back to complete her senior year I get to pay twice the fees. So far it is going to cost $80 for two ASB cards and $100 for two year books. If we wait until second semester to buy the year books it will be $130.
But starting off with $180 before even buying school supplies and clothes annoys me greatly. Maybe I will just do the ASB cards to start and see if I can postpone the yearbooks until next month.
I won't be doing school photos. Too expensive, no choices, and if they turn out bad there's no recourse unless the kid had his eyes shut. I'd rather take them to the mall were you get several choices to choose from if I want photos like that.
Not looking forward to packing sandwiches again or having to pay for deli meat. Still, in my physical condition, I just cannot homeschool this year, so it is what it is. /vent
So I purchased something that came to $20.07. I handed the cashier $21. Her cash register computer was going slow and not giving her the change total to give me back. She stood there and stared at the machine for 75 seconds (I timed it once I realized what was going on) waiting for it to tell her what the change was supposed to be.
The whole time I was biting my tongue, because I knew what my change would be the moment she gave me the amount, thinking how hard is it to calculate that $1 minus 7 cents is 93 cents? It is basic. You can do it on your fingers even, counting backwards from 100. She didn't even try. I know I could have spoken up with the amount, but I seriously wanted to see how long it was going to take before she even tried or the total came up. And she might have insisted that she had to wait for the computer anyway to be sure.
She was at least 16 years old and spent the entire time apologizing for the slow computer. This stuff is covered in 2nd grade math. I think they would have had to close the store if their computers went down. I guess they don't make people take math tests to be cashiers anymore.
I think people are so used to customers handing over plastic, they don't even know what to do anymore with paper. And they are getting so dependent on machines to do their thinking for them, they are not sure what to do when the machine conks out. I found the whole thing amusing, and a little sad, but probably because I wasn't in a hurry to get out of there.
We went to the dreaded Wal-Mart yesterday to find a shockingly empty parking lot (only half full) and a badly understaffed and understocked store. There were no greeters and no shopping carts inside the store. I haven't been in there for over a year. I'd never seen it like that. We went to try to find some sweat pants for the kids. Of course all they had was swim suits, shorts, and tank tops. Wal-Mart used to carry sweats year round.
I did pick up some cheap plastic pots so I can repot my spider plant, poinsettia, lemon thyme and rosemary. I also got some glass plates to put under each pot to catch drips and dirt. I couldn't get potting soil though as the garden center was closed and locked. They didn't have anyone to staff it.
I bought some black towels for the rabbitry, new underwear, a Ball canning book, a new set of canning stuff (tongs, funnel, magnet, bubbler) and some totes for storage.
I'm afraid I snapped at a girl scout on the way out who had asked me on the way in to buy cookies, but I swear they are like little raptors pushing cookies in your face. I hate girl scout cookie season. Most of them are aggressive and rude. I was very tempted to tell her if she could pronounce all the ingredients on the box I might make a donation, but I sure as heck would not buy the box of poison she was peddling. I held my tongue and just gave a very sharp no after my earlier polite one.
I hate that they are allowed to camp out at store entrances. Drives me crazy. It's going to be like that all month everywhere I go. Even if you don't make eye-contact or are clearly making as wide a loop around them as possible and still get in the door, they come after you and get in your way. The adult supervising them just lets them do whatever they want. No manners are taught at all when it comes to selling. It's just all about pushing the sale and being in your face.
We never would have been allowed to behave like that when I was a girl scout.
$1000.00 to Mom
__144.00 Water/sewer Old House (2 months)
__600.00 Mortgage Old House
__100.00 Property Tax Fund
__100.00 Emergency Fund
___19.00 Dues Fund (HoA Old House)
___90.00 Physical Therapy
+_100.00 Cash for Week
$2153.00 Total Money Out
I've also got to pay the kids' allowances for the last two weeks and buy groceries. I don't need to get that much. Milk, potatoes, lettuce, kale, chard, parsley, salmon, cod or snapper depending on what is in, deli meat, turnips, maybe a winter squash, and cabbage. I think I want some pears, too, but it will depend on how they look. I still have some apples and oranges, a couple of bananas, and a very unusual for me out of season imported watermelon, so not doing bad on the fruit front.
I need to pick up some black oil sunflower seeds for sprouting with the barley fodder, for the rabbits and some new chew blocks to hang from their chew toys. I am glad they are refillable. I also need to pick up some locking hardware for the 2 outdoor rabbit hutches that never had it put on and two feed cups. I have plenty of extra water bottles. We will be using the outdoor hutches when we bring the new rabbits home. They will be in quarantine for 4 weeks before I put them in with the other rabbits to make sure they have no illnesses.
I am going to risk breeding Piper with the red buck after he settles in simply because I don't want to wait a month. I want our first batch of spring bunnies by the end of March/beginning of April. I will breed them outside in one of the rabbit tractors (movable pens) to minimize exposure.
Piper is our best doe so she'll be the odd one out. The others I will pair up so I am having two does having litters at the same time. When Kalia is old enough to breed she will be paired with Piper. Then when the two red doe kits grow up I will pair one with Piper and one with Kalia, because end game is to have two unrelated litters growing out at the same time so if someone wants breeding stock that is not related I will always have that option for selling.
Okay, that kind of went off on a tangent.
So I've got an appointment set up for Wednesday with the principal, guidance counselor, and the horrible teacher. That woman is a piece of work, I tell you. She knew she was supposed to have the work for DD to get today. My daughter waited before school until one minute before the bell rang and the teacher was not in her classroom. She had to run to not be late to her first class.
Then after school, no sign of the teacher. She waited 15 minutes. The classroom was open and the lights on, just no teacher. I think she did it on purpose. And I think she'll try to play it like DD didn't show up for it. I am beyond livid. B***h is going down. Sorry for the language, I seldom get worked up enough to think it, let alone sort of type it out.
Oh, well, nothing to be done now. I have a weekend that does not need to be taken up with anger and resentment.
I got 10 quarts of rabbit meat canned today and plan to make soup and soup stock for canning tomorrow with all the ribcage pieces. Hoping to get at least 10 quarts of that canned as well. I also want to do 25 pounds of organic potatoes and the store has wild caught fresh Keta salmon on sale for $2.49 a pound so want to get about 3 of those to can. I also want to do a batch of pickles.
I picked up some pears at $1 a pound. I am not probably going to can pears this year, but I did want to enjoy them while they are in season and less expensive. Maybe after I get everything done this weekend I will have a different opinion on canning some. We'll see. I am definitely planting pear trees when we move. Then we can at least be assured of good organic pears eventually.
I've gotten my files from the big box store. Now I just need to update them and I can do a payday report for last week. I'm behind, but nothing is urgent at the moment. If the computer was going to go belly up, now was a good time of the pay cycle to do it.
...should never be allowed anywhere near children.
What do you do about a teacher that refuses to give your kid the work they missed while they were absent with a legitimate and excused illness?
First day my daughter was back at school after missing a week and she asked for the assignments the teacher's response was, "I don't have them."
The second day she was back she asked for the assignments the teacher said, "Get the from someone else," even though they had all been turned in so there was no one else to get them from.
The third day she was back she asked again for the assignment packet that according to the teacher's own syllabus says she will provide. Again the teacher would not provide the assignment packet, saying get it tomorrow. She did not have it the next day, either.
DD let it go a week as she was tired of dealing with it. Well, now the teacher has handed back the packets so the class can do additional work off the packet and she still won't give one to my daughter, even though she gave them to a couple of other kids who were also out with this bug.
She is also saying in class that anxiety orders do not exist and they are just an excuse for kids to get out of work they don't want to do, like standing in front of the class and giving a presentation. My daughter's doctor has diagnosed her with social anxiety that often will induce asthma. Daughter had to leave the class for an attack and the teacher talked about her behind her back while she was out according to the other students. Daughter still does her oral presentations and does not try to get out of them.
Another student overheard this teacher gossiping about my daughter with another teacher and it got back to my daughter.
I really don't want to get into another stink with the school district after all we went through with the middle school principal and my son, but this woman is unresponsive and not doing her job. She resents the fact that my daughter has been absent so much, even though the absences have all be excused.
If she is unresponsive to my messages again I guess I have to take the next step and contact the principal. I know this is a different principal, but my experience with the other donkey has colored all of my thoughts when it comes to administration.
My daughter has never complained about a teacher at her high school before, ever, except to say one couldn't control the class. She has nothing but negative words about this woman. She's had her for other classes over the years and says she is just getting progressively worse. I've heard my daughter's friends talking about her as well, saying that she doesn't listen and punishes kids passively aggressively for being absent when they get back and ridicules them in class when they are gone and to other teachers.
I am very frustrated. I don't understand how someone who behaves like that is allowed to keep her job. I know she's been reported by other students and parents on numerous occasions. My niece, who is a substitute teacher, says she hears complaints about this woman every time she teaches at my daughter's school. I wish they would kick out bad teachers. They just shouldn't be allowed near kids.
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