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Payday Reports for 7/21 and 7/28

July 29th, 2017 at 06:27 am

$2500.00 Citi (7/21)
__250.00 BCC
_3200.00 Citi (7/28)
__102.13 Life Insurance (DH and Me)
__801.46 Various Medical Bills
___90.00 Next Tuesday's Physical Therapy
--------------
$6943.13

So of the $5700 that went to Citi, $5000 of that was medical bills that I kicked down the road from my daughter's ER visit and my ER visit for the torn retina and the accompanying emergency laser eye surgery. I still have about $1200 to pay on Citi before the due date on the 3rd so that will come out of the EF and I'll pay it on the 1st when the money arrives in my account.

The rest of the Citi charges were groceries for the month. I still have an additional $3500 of medical bills that I put on the AMEX card that is due on the 14th, so I'll pay that off with the paycheck on the 4th. There will be just enough in the half paycheck on the 11th to pay for DH's travel expenses and the remainder of the August bills and then he won't get paid again until the next paycheck which won't be until September 1st.

Barring any more medical bills, and I honestly can't do that when things are still trickling in, we should be able to start paying back the EF. Not that that will last long if DH gets laid off again in October. His boss's boss is trying to find a place for him elsewhere in the company because they don't want to lose him now that he's worked for them. Wish they'd had that attitude last August, instead of putting us through 9 months of destroying every financial hope and dream we ever had of staying ahead, in loving partnership with the (Un)Affordable Care Act, of course. But whatever. I'm not bitter, she lied.

I Swear I am the World's Biggest Klutz

July 17th, 2017 at 05:09 am

I managed to bang my head really hard yesterday, by dropping the shampoo in the shower, picking it up, and hitting the top of my head against the shelf the shampoo sits on. It's not a very big shelf, even. My daughter says I have a quail egg, not a goose egg. My head doesn't even hurt, but my neck and shoulders do from being compressed real hard when I banged my head. I have no concussion symptoms, either, thank goodness. Hopefully the chiropractor can fix my neck tomorrow.

Then just for funsies I got a massive charley horse in my calf this morning as I was doing my wake up stretch. One of those ones that is so bad it makes you cry and then feels like a massive bruise for the rest of the day. I'm like, what the heck, body? It lasted about 10 minutes, but felt like a lifetime. I take potassium and magnesium supplements so I don't get them, but every once in a while I get a zinger. I may have to add some calcium supplementation in, too.

I did work in the garden a lot yesterday and then in the rabbit shed today. I will be glad when the day comes that we can replace some of the cages, because it is really hard to get some of the dropping trays out of the older style cage. I just don't know when that is going to be, or if it is.

DH's work uncertainty is still uncertain. They are back to talking about only having work until October, not December after all. But they are trying to get something okay'd, which would be to keep on a skeleton crew and for DH to move up a level. There would be no raise with the promotion if it were to happen. Which honestly doesn't really concern me, because he'd be getting a year of experience in that position which would make it easier for him to get a different job later.

And yeah, while a raise would be great, really great actually, the income he gets now is sufficient to pay everything and put some money aside, at least once the medical bills from the previous insurance's deductible are fully paid off. And the great insurance through the end of 2018 is worth it, too.

So, yeah, the uncertainty is either a job ending or a promotion. I know which one I am hoping for. Prayers again would be helpful.

I've managed to go an entire week without getting take out. I haven't really stuck to my meal plan at all, though. Just winging it most of the week. And wanting to get take out. It's not like it is even that good. I just have been so tired, but I've made simpler things than I'd planned to compensate. Or making things in simpler ways, like making carnitas in the crock pot so I don't have to babysit them.

I'm going to make a big batch of Mexican rice in the rice cooker tomorrow. I'm on a Mexican food kick right now and am planning on fajitas and enchiladas and possibly tacos later this week. I'll be using some of the freeze-dried foods in preparing them as I won't have to chop anything that way. It makes it go so much faster.

Well, I guess I've rambled enough for one night.

Odds and Ends

June 7th, 2017 at 06:37 am

Mom's shoulder surgery went well. They kept pushing it back so I didn't hear anything until 4:30, but the doctor said it went beautifully. I was able to pop up and see her at 8:30. We didn't get to visit much since the nurse was in there with her until 8:50 and then visiting hours ended at 9. She said I didn't need to come today, but she seemed glad to see me.

Her doctor asked if she is being forgetful lately, because he was worried about it being a side-effect of the surgery or the pain medicine, but I told him she is getting forgetful about some things. It's not bad yet, just kind of irritating, but not so much that she needs help for it. Just aging. Though I do keep a watch on her about it.

I told the nurse I thought she should stay in the hospital for another day based on how she was last time. Medicaid and Bridge will pay for it so she might as well stay another day with people who can care for her full time, unlike me, who has a full day tomorrow. I based my schedule on what I was told, which was 2 days. And since I'm the only one who will be caring for her, since my siblings don't do that sort of thing, I'd like them to stick to the original plan.

DS is applying for his first job tomorrow. He got the application today and took the food handler's permit test and got that. It is a weird feeling. I really didn't want him to work this summer as he still has school work to catch up on, but he has promised he will continue with it through the summer and if he doesn't I'll make him quit.

He's applying at McDonalds. They are hiring and they've got the college tuition help so he could build that up if he works there. It was something I found so helpful when I was working there and going to college. It wasn't a ton, but it paid for my books. I hope he doesn't have any trouble getting hired there. He's never had a job before outside the farm. He can ride his bike or walk there (35 minute walk, 10 minute bike ride) unless it is raining, then I'd take him.

He wants to buy an iPhone, which I said okay on, but after he has the money for that, he has to put half of every paycheck into savings for college and open an IRA and put in $50 a week and contribute at least $10 a month to charity, either the local mission or the teenage runaway mission Covenant House.

If he does okay with his school work during the summer, than I may let him work part time during the school year. I just can't let his studies suffer. He's already 1/2 a year behind due to all the stuff leading up to and recovering from his sinus surgery. I want to keep him on track. His grades are good, he's just missed time.

So many things are changing right now and it is hard for me to deal with it all. I don't like change. I like steady, dependable, reliable routine. But I know he has to grow up, so I try not to be too crazy about it.

I am still worried about the job situation, but what else is new? Either it works out or it doesn't. Hopefully it does. Oh, and they ended up deciding to let him stay through Thursday of the third week since it was a screw up on their part. His boss will be retiring soon, too, so that should be helpful. It would still be nice, though, if he could get that other job.

The rabbit kits are growing up so well. The one eight week old broken red is a female. I was hoping for a male, but I'm keeping her. She has perfect markings and coloration. I do need a boy, though. There are two broken reds in Ella's 3.5 week old litter. One has good coloration, the other has good markings. I just don't know though. I'll need to wait and see how their coloring changes as they get bigger. If it isn't right, we can try again.

There is a gorgeous solid black 3.5 week old as well, that looks like he will stay that color. He is even darker than Ella. If he is a boy, I would be very tempted to keep him, but we really don't have the room right now.

The garden is doing really well. I have more lettuce than I know what to do with, but other things are coming along. I got my first kohlrabi and there are teeny tiny peas on the snow pea plants. Maybe in a week they will be ready. I saw some color on one of the strawberries yesterday so hopefully they will all be ripening up soon. If I can keep the squirrels off them we will have a bumper crop.


Made it to the Pool and Started a New Dietbet

May 30th, 2017 at 03:14 am

In an effort to start exercising again, we made it to the pool today. It was during open swim and while there was a free lap lane, I didn't swim laps. What I did was grab a pool noodle, stick it under my arms, and then do the bicycling legs while floating thing for 20 minutes. Then I pretty much just floated for a while. Gravity is not my friend right now, so anything that helps me defy it is wonderful.

I figured I should take it easy in the beginning as I don't want to hurt myself when I am just getting started. I have no stamina right now. A lot of times working in the garden I end up huffing and puffing. I am just so out of shape. It's a good thing I took it easy, too, because my legs felt like jelly when I got out.

I sat in the hot tub for about 15 minutes and then took a nice long shower, since no one else was in the locker room. I am almost out of my swim shampoo and conditioner. It takes the chlorine out of my hair so I will need to buy some more soon if I keep this up.

I picked up the new pool schedule for the summer and there is only one water Zumba class a week. I am not ready to go to that or water aerobics, though. Not until my feet and ankles are doing better. Hopefully I'll get some kind of medication from the rheumatologist and it will help with all the swelling and tightness that reoccurs.

I also signed up for two dietbets, one a six month transformer and one a month long kickstarter. I finally feel motivated enough to get this weight loss thing moving again. I didn't have to put any money out since I still have a bunch in my account. The kickstarter starts on June 1st and the transformer starts tomorrow.

My son is wanting to eat more healthy and so we will be supporting each other. I am probably going to make my daughter get on the band wagon as well. I hope DH does, too. He's gained back a lot of weight and it is messing with his back. I'm going to stop buying the junk food for the most part. If it isn't in the house no one can eat it in front of me and tempt me.

I'm sure my weight is contributing to my ankle pain and that it isn't all arthritis. It's just so bad and I can't do this to myself anymore. So for now I am motivated and hopefully I can stay motivated.

I am getting my positive attitude back. I think my brain is either adjusting to the spot in my vision or the Occu Power is actually helping to diminish it. Either way it is less irritating than it was even a couple days ago.

I am trying to keep that attitude going, but DH's work is really testing my frustration levels. They waited until the last minute to decide whether he was going to be coming up on Mondays or Thursdays, and finally told him the day he left as he was heading out to catch a plane that it was Thursdays.

Today he gets a call from his boss's boss wondering where he is, because his boss, who said he would take care of putting all the paperwork together, didn't. His boss is the same guy who months ago, conveniently "lost" all three copies of the resume DH gave him and claimed he never received one from him even though DH personally handed him copies of it twice. It feels an awful lot like sabotage part 2.

So while it is now all worked out and in the future he will be starting on Mondays, he has lost 3 days of work out of this coming hitch. That is a big chunk of money that we were depending on.

I won't be able to put anything in the EF and I'm not sure where else I will be able to make cuts. I may actually have to pull from the EF to cover this. I was hoping to buy some new rabbit cages and replace my daughter's bed and put some money aside in case I have to pay for the full amount of the laser eye surgery. Maybe I can get by with buying almost no food in the next six weeks. It'll mean eating a lot of greens from the garden, which we have, and eating from our freezer and canning pantry. Maybe I'll do a challenge.

DH has not heard from the other company who said they'd let him know by the 14th. He will follow up with them tomorrow. I told him he needs to continue job hunting. I just don't trust these guys and all their last minute stuff. The fact that quite a few of them seem to have permanent cases of cranial rectal inversion doesn't help either.

But think positive. I can do that. I need to do that.

Things Just Got Interesting

May 3rd, 2017 at 01:59 am

DH interviewed for a different job this week with what I will call company C. It would be switching back to his old company where he worked for almost 15 years. It would also be switching parent companies to what I will call parent company B. It would be in maintaining existing infrastructure and not dependent on creating new infrastructure, so it would be remarkably more stable. And it would be a 5 plus 2 plus 2 contract which is basically a nine year contract for company C with parent company B.

The guy was very positive with him, telling him how highly recommended he was by a lot of people. They have to hold the interview process open for a couple weeks, so he won't know anything for a while yet. I would certainly feel more secure if he went to work for them. DH did not apply for this job. They called him out of the blue.

With things being less stable between company B and parent company A then DH was led to believe, I would feel a lot better if he got this other job, even if the current one likely has better benefits. I'll take job security over slightly better benefits any day. Plus, company B told him to go for it if offered, because they are not sure if they are going to get their problems straightened out enough for parent company A to give them the work they could have with the contract, but aren't getting because of the screw-ups.

So hopefully DH will get this other job. I'm going to be praying pretty hard about it.

Managing

April 22nd, 2017 at 04:48 am

I was able to get myself down to the feed mill and back, but I can tell you that I was really glad that I wasn't doing it a couple days ago when this cold first hit. I had a bit more energy today, but still have had to take really long rest breaks.

I started making dinner at two. It was a stir-fry and I knew in order to get everything prepped I'd have to take it in stages with breaks in between. It wasn't too bad doing it like that and by the time 5:30 rolled around I had rested enough to do the actual cooking. It was good to have a whole meal that was healthy tonight instead of adding a salad to pizza or pasta.

DH figured out how to deposit his first paycheck over the internet. Since we don't have smartphones we've never been able to do the take a photo to deposit a check thing, but now our credit union has an app that allows a tablet to use it so he was able to deposit it that way. It won't show up until Tuesday, but that is better than waiting for it to show up in the mail.

His per diem will be on it as well as his training pay, but not his airfare reimbursement, so we will still have some money coming for that. It will be so nice not to have money being lost from savings anymore. These first couple months will still be tight because of medical, but once the new insurance kicks in July 1, I feel like we will be on the home stretch. I am not sure if we will be able to save any money until then, but at least we shouldn't have to take any more out.

DH seems to be enjoying his new job and liking the people he is working with, though there is a lot to straighten out to get things running smoothly. People seem to be real happy to have him there, which is always a good thing.

I Don't Get It

April 16th, 2017 at 05:16 am

I have never understood why it is that when you sign up with direct deposit with a new job, the first paycheck doesn't get direct deposited. In this day and age especially of quick electronic transactions, it doesn't make sense to me. Back in the day when this sort of thing was new instead of commonplace and they were still working kinks out it was a bit more understandable, but it should not be an issue anymore.

So while DH will get his first paycheck next week, it will be a paper check he will have to mail home. I was expecting that, though, and did not have any plans budget wise until the following week when he will get the second paycheck direct deposited.

It's going to be very weird going back to an income based budget. It has been 9 months living off of savings, the Christmas bonus, and the income tax return. I'm sure I will get back into the groove and be used to it again in no time, but it'll take some adjusting.

Except for automatic payments from the bank account I have been running everything through the credit card and then taking a chunk out of savings at the start of each month and paying it off. Watching the balance on the card made me more careful while savings was dwindling. I hope I maintain some of that carefulness as we go back to the previous method of doing things.

I have a feeling I'm going to want to spend freely when income starts rolling in again, and that is not something I want to have happen. We can't afford to do that if we want to get our goals accomplished, especially a 12 month Emergency Fund.

I'm not sure how fast that will happen, but it was certainly proven to us that $20,000 is not enough for a family of four when there is a prolonged job loss and you have to pay for your own insurance. My ultimate goal there is $72,000. That would give us $6000 per month to live on and pay for insurance. It took 10 years to get it to $20K the first time. I need it to get there sooner than that. It is just going to be hard figuring out how.

In other news, I missed my blogoversary. It was April 9th, 11 years and over 77.6 million hits ago that I started this blog. Seems like forever and just yesterday all at the same time.

DH is Off 4/11/2017

April 12th, 2017 at 07:26 am

I dropped DH off at the airport tonight and things will return to some semblance of our old normal now. It is going to be really weird to have him gone for so long after having him home for nearly nine months. He will be gone more than 3 weeks this time, because he starts training this week. Not that he needs it. He could teach the training, but each new company requires it. Last time he did the training he basically told the trainer what was what, because the trainer didn't know anything really and wanted to know the types of things he needed to know. Hopefully it is not quite like that again this time.

DH's first real paycheck will be on the 28th, but he will get something for training on the 21st. He won't get hazard pay for the training, he'll get 70% of harzard pay plus a per diem for food and the hotel. I believe DH said the per diem was $189 per day, but it might have been $169. His hotel that he's staying at is $77 and then he will have taxi fare and food costs. He will likely come in under that so there might be extra unless they are the type of company that will reimburse you up to that amount, instead of that full amount. Some only give you what you actually have receipts for. Also he will get reimbursed for his first ticket up there so that will be nice.

Company B waited so long to get back to him on what training days he needed to be there for that the only tickets left were first class. The difference between the coach tickets and first class was only $112 so DH figured he could pay the difference if necessary. I say if they couldn't bother to return his messages, they deserve to have to pay first class prices. They will also pay the change fee since his original ticket that he bought to go up on Thursday, the day he was first told, had to be changed.

His ticket went from $250 bought a few weeks in advance to $650. So if the Company B had been on the ball they could have saved themselves a lot of money. Oh, well. I really hope they are more on the ball about other things, though it doesn't sound much like it.

Oh, well, the 401K is a dream and so is the medical insurance. I will do different posts on those.

I've been pretty quiet the last several days as we have been doing everything that needed to be done that I need to have DH do. We bought duck feed, rabbit feed, and oats. The mill we get our oats and turkey feed from moved to the next county instead of ours. It used to be in my city. But at least it is at the near end of the next county and it is also on the way to the mill that does the rabbit feed. And there is a feed store in between the two that sells the organic duck feed we use.

We butchered and we mucked out the rabbit shed. We moved the chickens into the big coop as it was getting too hard to use the smaller one since 2 chickens won't get off the roost (one is injured and the other is old) and it is too small a coop to get inside. The big one you can walk inside.

We had 3 litters of kits born and lost 2. It was bad. We lost a total of 14 kits and one mother who we pulled 9 premature kits from that were a couple days short of term. 2 days is a lot in a 31 day pregnancy. I do not want to go through that again any time soon. There are five healthy kits now, though one is a couple days premature he is eating and his fur is coming in. He has become pretty vigorous, but he shakes a little so I don't know if he'll be normal or not.

We took stuff to storage, went through boxes and cleaned the house except for the kitchen and hallway. We donated more clothes. We got manure spread in garden beds and compost put on top. I did some planting. We got a lot accomplished but blogging wasn't one of those things.

Then tonight I stepped on a needle. It went in sideways somehow into the ball of my foot. It was a two inch needle and only 1/2 inch was sticking out. It hurts a lot. It was worse pulling it out than it was stepping on it. My son cleaned up the blood off the carpet and my daughter doctored the wound then washed the blood out of my sock and then out of her sock since she's stepped in one of the blood spots. It all came out.

It hurts to walk on it, but I can avoid that spot if I don't put any weight on the half of the ball that got pierced. I was going to start going to the pool again tomorrow morning, but I don't think I can do water Zumba on this. Maybe Monday.

I hope everyone else had a less busy week than I did.

New Job--401K Info and a Little on Medical

April 5th, 2017 at 04:00 pm

I had a chance to look through the benefits package for DH's new job that finally arrived yesterday. The 401K is going to be pretty darn good. He won't qualify for it until he's been with them for 6 months. When he does, they match the first 3% you contribute 100% and the second 3% you contribute at 50%.

So we will contribute the 3% for sure, but if there is any way we can contribute 6%, I want to. Although I'd prefer 7%, because that is when it'll make our taxes a wash. I think we might be able to do it, since we are used to living on so much less now, but we will also have the expenses of air line tickets plus paying our own medical for a while longer.

I'm not sure how much longer because of how they determine when you qualify for it in the paperwork is for normal 5 day a week 9 to 5 workers, not for slope workers. Maybe it'll just be if you put in 120 hours a month. Although that might be a problem on a 3 weeks on and 3 weeks off schedule since his work weeks are 84 hours, but if he only works 9 days in a month because of how it falls, that's only 108 hours the one month, while the other month could be 252 hours. The average of the two months would work out, but each month would not.

So DH will have to ask on that. It could be 60 days from when he starts, but it could also be 60 days plus the rest of the month he's currently in, since he is starting mid-month. So while he might qualify mid-June, it won't start until July, so that is us paying May and all of June, most likely. Once DH finds out, I'll do a post on the medical benefits, which are so good, quite frankly, they will make up for a lot of the past 10 years of nonsense we've dealt with.

A Light at the End of the Tunnel and It's Not a Train

March 22nd, 2017 at 08:10 am

Company B came through. DH has a job. He starts April 14th. He'll be making more than he was when he was laid off from Company A, but not as much as he was before Company A's 9% pay cut. They said they'd mail out a benefits package and it should be here on Monday, so we will know how much medical costs through them and whether or not there is 401K matching and how long it is before he can contribute.

He'll be working 3 weeks on/3 weeks off, which is not the most favorable of schedules, the 2 and 2 is much easier on the family and is easier to budget, but a job is a job and we can't afford to be picky right now. The way I did the budget in the past on a 3 and 3 is that I'd take 2 weeks, which was for one month and the third week I'd put in savings until the next month's budget. Each month's budget only dealt with two paychecks, whether it was a month that had 2, 3, or 1 paycheck.

That's another thing I'll need to find out, whether the pay is weekly, every two weeks, or once a month. The norm up there has always been weekly, but who knows with this company?

DH ran the numbers for me so I could figure out the new budget. At least what the numbers will be before they start taking out health insurance and retirement. I should be able to start rebuilding the Emergency Fund, though not at the speed I'd like. My goal for it is going to be $30,000, because $20,000 was not enough. If it wasn't for the Farm Down Payment Fund, we'd be living on credit right now. So $30,000 with perhaps $60,000 as a longer term goal.

$60K would cover a year's expenses with health insurance for the four of us. Although I'm hoping that if there is a next time, my kids will be on their own and it would only be the two of us, which would be much cheaper to cover. Or at least working jobs where they can pay for their own health insurance.

My earnings from youtube and AdSense and Pinecone will go into the EF. And if I do publish my novel (which is coming along) after I finish it, any earnings from that will go to rebuild the EF as well, I think, though I would like to start an IRA for myself also. Plus the old coin jar and $1 bills trick, which always serves me well.

Once the Emergency Fund is rebuilt, we can start adding to the Farm Down Payment Fund again, although somewhere along the line, I'd like to purchase half a beef.

We have learned to live on so much less, but with income again we'll be paying my mother $1000 a month again for 3 years and that's a big chunk. Maybe buying a farm is a pipe dream. Maybe it'll be something I have to give up. Or scale down. I know we can be pretty self-sufficient on two acres, but I have always wanted five with at least two acres in trees so we'd have our own renewable wood supply and not be dependent on propane.

I don't know. We'll have to see. The important thing is that DH has a job and we can at last get things turned around and going in the right direction again. Thank you all for your prayers. They have meant the world to me.

Frustrated

March 16th, 2017 at 06:56 am

Google AdSense is frustrating the crap out of me right now. Every time I think I've dotted every i and crossed every t so that I will actually get my payment from them, turns out there is yet one more box to check hidden somewhere in the remotest recesses of their website. While creating ad blocks is easy, everything else is soooooooo user unfriendly. They are straight-forward about nothing, important info is hidden, and I have to watch numerous videos to try to figure everything out.

And are those videos on the AdSense page? Oh, no, nothing so easy as that. They are on youtube and they are done by other users that have figured stuff out. Of course you have to make sure the video is from not too far in the past because they change stuff all the time. Ugh.

Youtube itself is a little easier to figure out, but not by much. They don't hide the info, but it is not particularly easy to interpret. I am trying not to bang my head against the wall, but it would feel better than dealing with all this rigamarole.

We haven't heard anything further from Company B. They only called on Saturday. They said they'd call back in a couple days. I am assuming business days. It is possible the guy meant a few days when he said a couple of days. I wish people would be more precise with their speech. A couple is two. Which means all day Monday, all day Tuesday, they should have called today.

I have very little faith that this isn't some cosmic joke they are playing just to screw DH over again, but I am particularly pessimistic at the moment. He probably meant a few. I am rational enough to realize that.

It would be nice to be able to buy a plane ticket if necessary before the prices go way up for last minute purchases. But no one operates on my time table or my budget, so whatever.

We lost Leo on the night of the 13th. He died of old age. He was the last of the original rabbits we brought home. We bred him with Ella on the 6th so maybe there will be one last litter from him. His kits always had the sweetest personalities. This puts us down to 2 bucks, our New Zealand white Starbuck and our broken black New Zealand Zander. Starbuck is three and Zander will be one April 9th. I am hoping either Zander's breeding with Ruby or with Bonfire will produce a NZ broken red buck. We won't know until around the end of the first week of April.

This week has been a little topsy turvy. I have gotten stuff done, though. We built an open cabinet and are working on sanding more wood for the second canning cabinet. We got a bunch of boxes taken to storage. I dehydrated more garlic. I cleaned up the garden a bit. The kitchen needs a major spring cleaning, we need to butcher, and I need to transplant and divide my aloe plants.

Today was a no spend day. At least there is that.

Always Posting After Midnight

March 14th, 2017 at 08:04 am

It seems like I always end up posting after midnight. So when I say today, I mean the previous date to this entry, but it's still part of my today even though it is technically the next day.

DH got his last unemployment check on the 9th. My Pinecone check came in the mail. It was $12. Our safe driver's refund check came as well. It was $22.74. I had $26 in rolled coins as well, so I deposited it all into savings at CU #2. I am not sending it to C1-360 just yet. It may or may not be the start of refilling the Emergency Fund.

I don't want to jinx things, but yes, we might have a reason that we can start rebuilding the Emergency Fund. Waiting for offer paperwork to be signed off on before DH receives it. But it is with Company B (you remember Company B, don't you?) so I won't believe it until I see it. If it all works out, he could be back on the slope by the 22nd. Please pray for us like you never have before that this thing actually goes through.

If it does, then I will officially start the Emergency Fund over and will add my Youtube/Google Ad Sense paycheck if it ever comes as well. Hopefully there will be no screw ups this month, because it seems they only issue payments once a month. I think payment is supposed to happen on the 15th. I guess I'll find out in 36 hours or so when I wake up on the 15th.

Learning New Skills

March 9th, 2017 at 05:46 am



As I mentioned on the 19th, I have been learning to crochet. I have made some serious progress and I am very pleased with the results so far. I think I'm going to make a king size blanket out of the above pattern. DH is going to do the math to figure out how many squares I will need to make one.

Eventually I would like to learn how to spin. I think I would need to work with alpaca fiber, though I might try wool. A spinning friend of mine said that often times people who think they are allergic to wool are actually allergic to the residue left on wool by the chemical process used to strip off the lanolin.

So when I do get around to learning to spin (and you can build a spinning wheel out of pvc pipe and an old bike wheel and a few other things for cheap). It's also quite easy to make a drop spindle out of two old CDs, a dowel, a cup hook and a rubber grommet. So getting started wouldn't be too expensive, though I would have to get carders. An acquaintance of mine has a sheep's dairy and has tons of fleeces he's trying to get rid of right now. But I'm not sure I am ready to pick up this new skill just yet.

DH and I are building another cabinet. Not a canning one, but one that can hold the dehydrator, the Aerogarden, the printer, the food processor, the crockpot, the blender, and the waffle maker in a tall column. This one won't have a back to it, which it doesn't need.

DH and I are also going to make a corner desk for my room. I have been wanting one for ages, but they are too expensive. So we will build one out of pallet wood and some plywood cubicles I already have. The cubicles will be in place of the legs of the desk. I have three so we can do one on each corner. Then we can build shelving onto the corner section of it as well. I will finally have a place to sit and write. Right now I do it on a TV tray sitting on the edge of the bed.

I am learning so much about carpentry. It's really neat. We always feel like we are accomplishing so much when we build something new.

The next thing on my agenda, I think, is to learn to sew. I can do hems and buttons, but that is it. I want to learn how to read patterns and make clothing. Nothing fancy at this point, but I'd like to design some tops that actually fit my body right. I'd also like to make some halter style tops I can wear in the summer, but that don't have a bare mid-drift. I don't care if my back shows, but I really don't want my stomach out. Most halter tops are designed for girls who have not got much on top, not women who do. I just need DH to find my sewing machine in storage, so that may take a long while.

DD had her appointment at the ENT. That was a $50 co-pay since they are specialists. He put her on prednisone and an antibiotic and then in 3 weeks we go back and he'll do a scan of her sinuses and see where things are. He said the lower part of her septum looks straight and chances are pretty high she'll end up going to an allergist/immunologist, but he want to rule out polyps or deeper inside the septum that he can't see from just looking up her nose.

Nothing on the job front. We still have $35,000 in savings and are currently living on the tax return. DH is going to try to find some freelance work. He didn't pursue it before, but with no one hiring him, it may be the way we have to go.

It's Discouraging, but I am Trying to Keep My Chin Up

March 4th, 2017 at 06:28 pm

Well, DH didn't get the job, though they strongly encouraged him to apply for anything that comes up in the future. It's positive, in that they clearly liked him, but it is very discouraging over all.

It has been six months. We get one more unemployment check and then he's maxed out his benefits. The longest DH has ever been unemployed in his life since he was 15 years old was six weeks.

He's worked really hard at finding a job. He's learned an entire new software program to update his skills. Now I am starting to think we might have to look at him getting his Bachelor's Degree now. School is just so expensive.

The oil jobs don't seem to be recovering as quickly as everyone claimed they would. We really wanted to wait until he was working before he started taking a class towards his degree. There is another option of taking this big test that basically gives him a degree based on his experience and hours worked if he can pass it and document his time spent in the field. I think he is going to pursue that first.

I worked on my novel some more last night. Insomnia does have one benefit if I'm not too tired to write. Hopefully I'll be awake enough to work on it some more today. I may need caffeine, though, to get me through the day.

I sent for my Pinecone check. I earned $12 in February from them. So between the rabbit sale and this I earned $37 this month. And one $5 Amazon gift card from Swagbucks. And I earned my google/youtube money, but they still haven't sent it. That would be January's earnings that were supposed to be paid in February, but because my bank account wasn't verified in time it didn't come.

Or at least that is what I am assuming. Normally they only issue payments once a month, but I figured they'd issue it once the account was verified. It was only 3 days after the regular payment date. So if I don't get January and February's earnings when the day comes in March, I guess I have to follow up some more. It would be nice to actually get that money, although it is not enough to make too much of a difference, it could pay for a few weeks of groceries.

DH Thinks Things Went Well

February 25th, 2017 at 07:30 pm

DH's job interview went really well. It was a four person interview so it turns out going down was a much better decision than doing a phone interview. They sent him 3 follow up questions by email when he got home and would like them answered by Tuesday. DH is going to work on them this weekend and so he can have them waiting for them on Monday to show promptness and meeting a deadline early.

Turns out that the job would not be located where they are, but will be moving about a series of temporary offices as each section of the work is completed. He would probably only have to go to the main office once a month for a meeting.

They are hiring for 4 different jobs, same position, and it sounds like one of them is perfect for DH's experience, though he could do all of them. They said he would hear back from them either way in a week and a half to two weeks.

They were very happy that DH was able to come in immediately for an interview, too. He applied on Monday, they called him on Thursday, and he interviewed Friday. DH feels the interview went very well for the most part, though his mind blanked right at the very beginning. Fortunately he was able to get through it and things went smoothly after that.

This would be a very good company for him to work for. Everything I have ever heard about how they are as employers is good. They have great benefits and a stock purchase option that is not available to the general public, but is to employees. I have wanted to buy stock in this company for two decades. Once you have it you can DRIP it even if you are no longer employed so can't buy more. But this company would be an excellent one to stay with.

They haven't mentioned salary, but won't unless he gets hired. But we know the typical salary for the position and it would be enough to live on and allow us to start paying my mother again. And build our Emergency Fund back up again, and start saving our money towards a down payment again, and DH could start taking one class at a time online for his Bachelor's Degree.

I would really appreciated prayers these next two weeks for DH to get this job. It would be so perfect now that we know the details. I know I will be praying hard.

DH Has a Job Interview

February 24th, 2017 at 07:55 am

DH has a job interview tomorrow in Kent, which is in between Seattle and Tacoma. That is a long way to go. I guess they offered him an in person interview or a phone interview, but he felt it was better to do one in person. He didn't check with me first, though, so I had to rearrange my appointment for tomorrow, but thankfully I could.

Normally he could take his dad's truck if there is a conflict, but he wanted the GPS in the van. I don't blame him. It gets us to unfamiliar places easily and it also tells us where there is heavy traffic, accidents, or standstills coming up.

While I can drive the truck, I have a really hard time getting into it. I have to use a step stool to get in, because his dad has the tires jacked up so high and the grab bar is located in the wrong place for pulling yourself up. There is no running board. And that's on the passenger side. On the driver's side, the steering wheel does not lift up high enough, so I have to twist in a way that generally tweaks my back and leads to muscle spasms for days. It's fine if I am sitting there driving, though I prefer a higher set steering wheel, but it is hard to get in under. If it was lower, I could just step in instead of climbing in and having to twist. *sighs*

So he'll be back at least two hours before my appointment so that should build in plenty of time for traffic jams. Heaven forbid there are protests on the interstate, because it is Seattle and it is Friday and that's what they do there. A lot. They've started charging people though, so it is starting to taper off.

I'm not terribly keen on Kent, though. Housing is in the $600K range and there is pretty much nothing available. Everything listed is under contract. It would be a bear of a daily commute from here. I don't see how we could afford to live there. I don't think he'd get paid enough. I'd rather move to Arkansas than to the Seattle area.

I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.


A Few Quick Errands

February 23rd, 2017 at 04:49 am

Today we spent most of the day working on the new canning shelves that we are building, but in the late afternoon we did run to Costco for eggs (we are not getting enough from our birds and organic eggs are cheapest there) and picked up a few things for my mother. We stopped by Winco to pick up a case of the soup my daughter likes and to get Mom Kraft Singles because they were out at Costco. They were also out of salt and pepper grinders at Costco or I'd have picked those up since we are low on both. We spent $12 at Winco.

After Winco we ran to Dollartree to get 2 cases of the soup my son likes and spent $24 there. It is just a couple buildings away from Winco. It'd be a lot easier if both kids liked the same type of soup. I am not sure how much we spent at Costco as the receipt appears to have gone on walkabout, but it wasn't much.

We have to do some more work on the shelves tonight. I have done so much sanding in the last few days that I feel like I'm developing serious upper arm muscles. Thankfully it is an electric sander and I don't have to do it all by hand.

My physical therapist cancelled today's session as she is sick again. She has tentatively rescheduled me for Friday, but I'm not holding my breath. I need to be finding a new one soon anyway as she will be moving in October when her lease is up. Which is a bummer, but I'm sure I'll find someone else. We are close friends though after all these years, so we have determined we will write letters the old-fashioned way to each other when she goes. I don't need to go as much as I used to, fortunately.

Not much else to go on. DH did apply for a job where they've looked at his resume a couple of times. The people who are recruiting for that tell you how many times your resume has been viewed by each job you apply for. Hopefully an interview will come out of it.

I got a bit more writing done on my novel yesterday. It's coming along. Actually, I'm working on two, but this is on the classic romance novel, not the epic fantasy one. I'd like to finish this one in a couple of months and self-publish on Amazon. I just need to stick to the writing schedule I've set. Then hopefully we'll have one more income stream.

Taxes Done, Unemployment, Cutting Back, and Helicopter Antics

February 6th, 2017 at 05:22 am

DH did our taxes today and we will be getting back $9043.02. Most of this is due to medical expenses. This will be a welcome boon to our bank account and should cover about 2 months of living expenses. DH only gets unemployment until the middle of March and then it ends. I never imagined he'd be unemployed this long.

The interview he had earlier did not pan out. He was too over-qualified and it was an entry level position. He said he would work it no matter what it was, but that's not what they wanted. It is frustrating.

He put in for some upcoming stuff at Hanford, so maybe something there will pan out. At this point I don't care where we have to move, though I'm not thrilled about some of the possibilities.

It feels like everything is grinding so slowly. I just want to get back to some kind of normal life where we don't have this hanging over us anymore.

After today's transfer we are down to just over $35,000 in savings. Today's transfer will pay for all of February's expenses with a little left over towards March. I try to make only one transfer a month.

I am going to try to belt-tighten some more, but it is getting hard to find places to do so. I don't want to cut out all fresh fruits and vegetables for canned, but I may have to until it is warm enough to grow lettuce and spinach. I'm making bread and rolls now and that is helping a bit. We were spending a lot on that. I always forget how expensive it is in comparison to making it and with the Kitchen-Aid it is not hard at all to make it.

Oh, my goodness that freaking helicopter just flew too close to the house. I don't think that was the Med-Evac as it is still flying around and didn't land. Med-Evac is supposed to fly above a certain height and is supposed to circle around and come in over the freeway, not the neighborhoods. This was so low it shook the house, the windows were rattling, things fell on the floor. I wonder if there is a man-hunt going on? Excuse me while I go double check that the doors are locked.

Oh, it's back... Dang, that helicopter barely cleared the neighbor's ham operator antenna. It's not Medi-Evac, no cross on it. I can't tell if it is a police chopper or a news media one. If it is news media I am going to be peeved. I can't see any markings, but they are shining a spotlight. Man, I hope I don't lose any rabbits. I've had low-flying helicopters freak them out enough that one broke her back and died. I can hear the tom turkey freaking out. *sighs*

So anyway, I'm just not sure what other cuts to make right now. I hate to take away the kids' allowances as they work really hard with the animals. They both know it might be coming, though.

Well, maybe I am just going to have to try to cut the food budget even further. I can manage with only oranges for fresh fruit. We can give up the more expensive spinach and eat more cabbage. I wish healthy food wasn't so expensive. At least I don't have to worry about buying meat, though.

I might have to cut back on my physical therapy, but it is being so effective right now, I would hate to do that. Might finally give up the DVD's on Netflix. I hate to, it's our only entertainment, but if we do, we do. That's the way the ball bounces.

Job Front

January 28th, 2017 at 12:18 am

DH has a job interview scheduled for Monday. It's a phone interview. He submitted his resume on Monday and heard from them yesterday, so that's got to be a little promising right? Considering how many resumes he's submitted in the past several months and how slow to never companies are to respond, having someone jump on it that quickly inspires some hope. I guess I'm cautiously optimistic.

It's not an oil based job, but its all stuff he has the experience to do and their benefits package is phenomenal. He never heard more from the hiring company about the refinery HR he was meeting with. I don't really know if that means anything. That hiring company guy seems a little scattered and certainly isn't prompt about getting back to DH ever. Which makes me wary, despite them having a good reputation.

If he gets hired on with this company it might mean moving closer to Seattle or it could mean moving out of state or to Eastern WA. I don't know. I am certainly not stuck on living here forever, but I certainly don't want to live in Seattle with the frequent protests snarling what is already nasty traffic.

Well, I suppose I'm putting the cart before the horse. This is just a phone interview. He has to do well there to even get an in person interview. Though he does tend to interview well. Here's hoping. He'll run out of benefits pretty soon.

Does anyone know if President Trump has rescinded the part of Obamacare that requires you to purchase health insurance yet? I know part of it has been, but I've lost track of all of it. I don't know if that part will be taken out, but if it is, we are cancelling our insurance immediately. Our savings will last a lot longer without it and our medical out of pocket will be 1/3 or less of what it is now.

End of Week Catch-Up

January 23rd, 2017 at 02:42 am

I haven't posted in a couple of days as stuff has been somewhat busy here. I made a huge batch of Rabbit Stir-Fried Rice for the freezer. I usually make this once a week with whatever leftover meat I have. Right now I'm working with just an electric skillet and the microwave for the most part as I don't have access to the oven/stove top every day. So it's a stir-fry, but only sort of, since I'm not using a wok and I vary the temperature a lot.

I ended up with 5 bags for the freezer and a bowlful for my son. If we have rice as a side, quart baggy is good for the whole family. But generally my son eats the whole bag for lunch along with more eggs. It's cheap and it fills him up without him having to eat a bunch of bread, so I'm happy to do it. And it is way cheaper than buying the bags of chicken fried rice from Trader Joe's.

If any of you want to see how I make it, there's a vid on my youtube channel you are welcome to watch, but fair warning it is 22 minutes long. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObXQM1fufEk I also have one for making garlic powder https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukXxytlFld8 and the one for making onion powder as well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yyd_bLDBaaA&t=24s I know a couple of you had expressed some interest in those.

I'm dehyrdating lots of garlic and ginger, but these ones I'll keep in pieces and vacuum seal. Then later on when I run out of powder I can grind them then. It will make them taste much fresher than making it all into powder now.

I determined the sexes of Ella's kits, 3 girls and 3 boys. One of the girls that is a broken black looks very promising in both spots and coloration, so I may keep her and breed her back to Zander. We'll see. Persephone's litter is doing well. They are adorable.

I have been trying to figure out what I am going to plant in the garden this year. I listed it all out earlier in the month, but now I'm trying to get down to the knitty gritty and figure out how much room I have versus my desires and expectations. I always have to scale down as I just don't have the space to grow all of what I need. I have to inventory my current seeds as well.

I reorganized the canning shelves so now all of the fruit is together, all of the meats are together, and more of the vegetables are together. We still have a lot of home canned food, not near as many gaps as I was expecting considering how heavily we have drawn from them. I am down to two shelves plus two jars of green beans, though. So that's definitely going to have to be a big grow this year. I was planning on doing some, but I know now that I'll need to triple what I had planned on growing.

My kids have learned how to make rice balls and are big batching them for the freezer. They are learning to make their own "convenience" foods since we are buying less and less. I am trying to get down to not buying any convenience foods at all, but I've been taking it gradually. Next up is pizza snacks, which should be very easy. I might make a big batch of pizza calzones as well. My son especially likes it when we have those on hand. Making a double or triple batch is not really that much more work when the Kitchen-Aid does all the dough kneading.

We have continued to go through boxes and weed out a lot of stuff. In another month I may have a usable living area again. I am tired of the mess and having to work around everything all the time. With having to do so much from scratch I could really use the extra space for big batch assembly line stuff. That's our biggest area where we can save money, so it's important for me to be able to do it easily. If it's hard I won't want to and it'll be hard to get help as well.

There has been some more job interest poking up, but nothing concrete yet. Hopefully we'll hear more soon. Continued prayers would be appreciated.

Cross Your Fingers and Say Some Prayers

January 14th, 2017 at 08:20 am

It looks like the companies are getting ready to hire finally. DH heard from the company that does the hiring for them today that they are meeting with them later next week and DH's resume packet will be one being put forward.

I know he would still have to go through the interview process with the actual company and then get the job, but this is the first hopeful snippet we've heard in months. Short of a government coup things should start gearing up all over.

So please cross your fingers for us and keep us in your prayers. It has been a long haul and I really don't want to go through it any more. We've used our Emergency Fund and we're into our down payment fund now. It's depressing.

We'd still have some of our EF left if we didn't have to pay medical insurance premiums. I hope they take that mandatory insurance thing out when they fix the mess that is the Unaffordable Care Act. We'd be spending $500 a month on healthcare out of pocket. Not $1400 a month with little benefit until we hit the $6000 deductible.

I don't get how this is not bankrupting the people who don't qualify for subsidies and don't have medical insurance through their jobs. Maybe it is. I doubt it would be headline news in the propaganda machines that account for newspapers or news programs these days.

I seriously need to find my positive attitude. It was around here somewhere... We are fed, we are clothed, we are sheltered. So far the cancer isn't killing FIL. I might think my mother is going crazy, but she really isn't. My marriage is strong. We have no debt. I still have internet. The animals are all healthy. I have a good relationship with the sister I never thought I'd have a good relationship with. And I have a library card which gives me access to as many free books as I can read. There are good things in life despite the bad ones.

Christmas Bonus, Ankle Update, Stress, Health, Rabbit Kit Photos

December 21st, 2016 at 10:14 am

So DH received a Christmas Bonus in the mail from his former employer. We knew we were going to get something because they sent us some paperwork back around Thanksgiving, but I figured it was going to be some token amount or a percentage based on how many months out of the year he'd worked for them (75%). But it was actually $200 more than last year's bonus. Maybe the additional was due to him staying until the bitter end.

Anyway, the amount was $3900.91. So no unemployment this week, but this is way better than that and it means the unemployment will last longer. I am hoping that this bonus will get us through January.

There are starting to be a few more oil jobs being posted. He's put in for two slope listings, but we don't expect to hear anything until after the holidays at this point. Slope usually goes to skeleton crew at this time of year. We expect that oil jobs will pick up now that the electoral college has officially declared Trump president. But we don't expect hiring or interviews to begin until January. No one does stuff over the holidays.

DH did have an in-person interview with the aeronautics company that he did two phone interviews with previously. They are just at the start of the live interview process (he was one of the first, if not the first in person interview they were doing) and they wouldn't hire until the end of January if they hire. It's not a permanent job anyway. It's one that would be series of small contracts as work was available. Not ideal, but better than nothing and the experience in that field would widen his knowledge base.

In two more days, it'll have been 4 months and I am getting antsy. The stress is hard. Seeing savings being depleted is hard. It's a nagging worry that's always in the back of my mind except when it's in the front of my mind. I live with this constant rock in my stomach. I think I might be getting an ulcer from the stress, because I've been eating Tums like they are candy and this with eliminating peppers from my diet.

My ankles finally feel like they are heeling, though. I know I mentioned the bad fall I took and the major sprain of the one ankle, but I don't think I mentioned that I lost my balance and rolled the other ankle about 10 days later and sprained it, too. It had minor swelling and minor pain, and was just enough to make it difficult for me to stand for more than a minute at a time. I still have swelling in the first ankle 5 weeks after the injury, but the pain is mostly just if I press the area where the ligaments were stretched too far or if I do too much standing.

I did get in to see the ENT a week ago and he put me back on steroids and gave me 2 Z-packs and sent a letter to my doctor to be placed in my file about how to treat this condition. He also told me he had sent them one back in March. The on-call doctor had claimed there was no record of this type of treatment. I did find out later that it was in there. Anyway, the ENT is sending a copy of the new letter to me so I can have one, so if they conveniently can't find it in the future I can pull it out of my purse and go, "It looks just like this."

The ENT was really annoyed with my doctor's office. He said I should not be having to go through this crap for 8 weeks before getting the right treatment, when he'd told them before and I told them what it needed to be. I will be looking for a new doctor after the holidays. I want to see a holistic type doctor instead. I'm so tired of doctors who look at me but don't see me. I miss my old doctor so much. Why did he have to get old, retire, and die? I mean, he was only 83. They don't make doctors like him anymore.

But I did get the medicine and it is helping now that it's the right dosage and the meds are being taken together.

We had a litter born on the 18th. There are five healthy kits, 3 broken blacks and 2 that are either solid blacks or steels. I'm leaning toward steels.



The older litter is 5 weeks now. They are doing well. It looks like I have two broken blues, one broken black, one broken steel, a lightly broken fawn, and a steel (black with white hairs mixed in) there. Colors don't fully set until they are older though, so that's just a best estimate for the time being.



Life going on on the farm makes me happy. I am waiting for 3 more does to give birth. They are a day overdue. If the two whites don't have kits this time, I think I will have to declare Jasper a dud. I will give him one more try, but this will make 3 breedings with nothing from him. Zander on the other hand is doing his job, as you can tell from all the broken and colored kits being born.

Unemployment and Emergency Fund Usage to Date

December 4th, 2016 at 04:18 am

DH has been unemployed for 15 weeks. So far I have withdrawn $14,000 from our Emergency Fund to live on. Of that $3597 has gone to pay for insurance premiums, $2970 went to pay for out of pocket medical costs the month we had no insurance, and the stuff insurance does not cover, $1100 went to cover 2 eye exams and 2 pairs of glasses, and $560 went to pay for dental. So $8227 of the $14,000 withdrawn so far has been for medical related expenses.

Of the remaining $5773, $1325 has gone to pay for utilities. $681 has gone to pay for storage. $292.92 has gone to pay for life insurance, $327 for our family gym membership, $91.23 for Netflix, $26.07 for hulu, $350.70 for our cell phones (4 phone basic plan), $242.46 for internet, $200 on feed and bedding for the turkeys, ducks, and chickens (the rabbits are self-supporting), $100 on toiletries, and the rest on groceries, which is about $700 a month or $2100.

Medical costs will remain high. There is no way around that, but we certainly won't have to worry about glasses again for a year or more and dental will be spaced out so we don't get a big hit all at once and will just be cleanings for the four of us.

So there is $6000 left in the Emergency Fund and then I'll have to start dipping into the $45,000 down payment fund. DH has had two phone interviews with one company (not an oil company) and is scheduled for an in person interview with them on the 14th. If he gets it, it won't pay very well, we'll still have to use savings, but it will help until he can get back on elsewhere. And it will be very valuable experience in the aeronautics industry.

The oil companies seem to be holding off on hiring until after the Electoral College confirms Trump as president. One or two have said they are waiting until after the swearing in ceremony, just to be sure. I don't think at this point the election results will be overturned, but the industry is very jumpy still. Hopefully they will be hiring by the time unemployment runs out. Unemployment has all gone to medical, not that it is very much to begin with.

We're getting by. It's hard to see our savings dwindle, but this is precisely what I worked so hard to save this money for. On the bright side it appears as if DH is going to get some sort of company bonus for the portion of the year he did work since they sent him the paperwork asking if he wanted to deposit it to the 401K or just be sent it as a check. No idea how much it will be. It's been running around $3800 for the last several years. With only 8 months instead of 12 months qualifying, it'll probably be 75% of that. Or less.

Whatever week we receive it, we won't get unemployment for that week as it will count as income, obviously. So that will stretch the unemployment out another week. If he does get 75% of the usual, that'll be $2850 which will stretch out our Emergency Fund a little while longer. Then we'll have our tax refund in the February since we always file immediately. We might be able to stretch through February without touching the down payment fund if the timing is right and DH doesn't get hired before then. One can hope.

I've Got the Blahs

October 27th, 2016 at 09:38 pm

I'm having a major case of the blahs. I really don't have much of a desire to blog right now. It's not that I'm letting things go by the wayside. It's just that without an income coming in, I have no goals other than to just get through this until DH finds a job. And with that being unlikely until after the election life is in limbo.

If Trump is elected, there will be more oil exploration and more projects going forward and more oil jobs. If Clinton is elected their won't be, because they won't be approved, unless Congress stays overwhelmingly Republican. It's a fact of the oil business. Republicans favor it. Democrats don't. Isn't that a fun place to be politically? Especially now when I'm losing faith in Johnson and I still don't want to vote for either of the other two. Ugh.

There will still be new projects here, though. So there will still be new jobs in my state, but with fewer openings so more competition for DH. And it is doubtful there will be any new jobs up there where the pay is usually better. We did find out for sure what happened there with Company B.

Company B didn't actually want to hire anyone from Company A at all even though parent company was very strongly saying you need to hire these specific people so things will run smoothly and the transition will work right. We want these people here. So basically anyone that was strongly recommended conveniently had their resumes "lost" on purpose.

DH's former co-workers who did manage to get hired say it is absolute hell up there. A lot of the people who were originally hired from Company A have been let go because they are being blamed for all the problems Company B is having, instead of Company B's complete willingness to be total donkey bottom fedoras and follow what has worked for the last 20 years because their way worked that one time with the small job so it ought to work on this much more massive scale. It doesn't.

I hope it was worth taking the lowest bid from a company that is not delivering and is acting like a snotty college kid in their first real job who thinks they know better than senior management because they did a class project their senior year and got an A on it, but were only hired because their daddy is CEO and can't actually be fired because of an ironclad contract, but is wreaking absolute havoc meanwhile.

In hindsight, I'm glad DH dodged that bullet. As for life being in limbo, I'm not really railing against it like I was before. I'm kind of numb to it. I'm not firing on all 8 cylinders. It's the onset of SADS. I'm using my happy light and I've upped my vitamin D intake. My diet is on track. But I haven't been able to exercise since I hurt my back and that is something that really makes a difference. And I haven't been able to spend time outdoors because of the foulness of the weather and being outside usually helps, too.

I'm sure resignation to wait things out also is contributing somewhat to a less than optimistic attitude, but I won't put pressure on DH. He is working hard on trying to find a new job and puts in hours every day on his job search between running his dad to chemotherapy here and to the follow up appointments and blood draws and the big cancer center in Seattle for other things and doing all the driving for his parents to do their errands since his mom doesn't drive anymore and his dad is so tired out by it.

Hopefully it will shake off with the higher dose of vitamin D starts taking effect.

Finally Unemployment Arrived and a Job Hunt Update

September 21st, 2016 at 04:48 pm

DH finally got paid by unemployment, he's been unemployed for a month now. They pay 2 weeks worth at a time, so he got $788, or $394 a week. 4 weeks of this should cover our monthly insurance premium with enough left over to cover our prescriptions. That will make our Emergency Fund stretch a lot further. I do wish he was getting WA state unemployment instead of AK state unemployment as that is $600 something a month. Oh, well, this still helps so much.

So far for September I have used $3000 from our Emergency Fund, bringing it down to $17,000. I will end up using at least another $1400 this month. Right around $520 will go to pay for our 6 month car insurance premium due on the 28th (though we are looking at other insurance, we are not really seeing much savings). $90 will go to physical therapy. $392.12 will go for the autopays that come due the first week of October. $400 goes to Mom to pay the utilities for October. And the rest will be for groceries. So maybe some of that will count towards October money, but it still has to be in the account by the end of September.

DH submitted his resume to the local refinery owned by the English on Friday and got an email yesterday saying it has been reviewed and passed on to the next stage of consideration. They are going to be hiring in the next 3 to 4 months for numerous jobs DH will qualify for. Hopefully he will get something there. It would be even better than a job in the next county over.

We have not heard anything from the mollusk refinery in the next county that will presumably be hiring in the next 3 months yet, other than that they will be using the placement company DH is signed up wtih, but there aren't any official rumblings so that's to be expected.

DH still has not heard back from the school he signed up with to pursue his BS in Electrical Engineering, though the money has been charged to the card. How long does it take to review transcripts anyway? It shouldn't take a month. I'll need to prod him to follow up with them again.

Not much is going on here otherwise. Some canning of tomatoes and some freezing of peppers. We lost Firefly, but she was getting old. One of the chickens is recovering from an injury. One of the other chickens swatted her off the roost and she fell 4 feet onto her wing and leg. She couldn't walk for a couple of days, but is standing now. We have her in a cage so the others won't pick on her. Chickens can be really mean to their wounded. We keep her in the garage at night, but leave her outside where the other chickens can socialize with her during the day. If they forget about her, reintroduction later will be brutal, so they need to see each other every day.

That's about it, I guess.

Insurance Decision, Job Hunt

August 27th, 2016 at 05:54 am

Well, we have decided what we are going to do about insurance. We are going to buy the Regence gold plan through Costco that starts October 1st. We are going to pay out of pocket anything for September and not do the COBRA, because it will be far cheaper.

We, however, can do the COBRA retroactively for September if something happens, like a major hospitalization, so a big emergency medical issue is covered. We have up to 60 days to do a retroactive COBRA.

Also we won't get fined by the government for missing a month of insurance. Apparently you get 3 months between losing your insurance and getting a new one before you'll get fined. I hate that part of the ACA. It's punitive and stupid and a money grab. Insurance should be available to anyone who needs it, but not enforced with what amounts to an unconstitutional tax. *sighs*

I added up everything we will be doing in September and it is far, far cheaper to do it this way. It is also a lot easier. We can sign up for our plan and just send them the paperwork when we finally get it. That is a big weight off our shoulders.

It's still pretty pricey, at $1543 for 4 people, but that beats the $2230.17 by a lot. And it's such better insurance $2000 family deductible. $8 generic prescriptions. $20 co-pay for doctors. Better dental. Better vision. I know we probably will be paying out of pocket for a while, but our money will still go a lot further this way.

DH's unemployment will just cover that and hopefully he will find a new job before the 6.5 months of unemployment runs out. I just wish he could get WA state unemployment and not be stuck with Alaska unemployment. WA state is almost double Alaska.

He's got a couple more leads and someone asked him to send his resume for a specific job so hopefully that leads somewhere. It would be a very good long-term job, contracted directly to parent company, not these sub contractors that come and go. So cross your fingers, and say prayers if you do that for us please.

Meanwhile DH has completed his entry essay for the BS, which I corrected about 5 times, but it was very good by the end. He's sent for his transcripts to be sent there, so the ball is rolling on that.

I am trying not to let things overwhelm me. It is easier with DH home. He has a calming influence on me.

We got DH's last paycheck today. Once this is gone we will have to start dipping into the Emergency Fund. I will try to make it last as long as possible.

There was Fire Under all that Smoke

August 22nd, 2016 at 10:15 pm

I was right to be suspicious about something not adding up about DH not getting hired by company b, when parent company was so strongly recommending they hire him. Someone at company b sat on his resume. Claimed he never received it, although DH put it directly in his hands, and followed up with him numerous times over the past several months, until the guy suddenly went silent 3 weeks ago.

Also another employee with parent company put it directly in his hands as well and has come forward to say so. The first guy also claimed DH was never even at the first interview, when he was the second person interviewed and where there were multiple other people to verify he was there, not to mention 2 other people doing the interviews with this guy.

It looks like he made sure the resume was not there for the actual hiring process, so that the other guy would be hired, despite parent company's wishes that DH be in that position. It is being investigated by parent company and probably company b, too. DH has digital evidence and whatnot to back up his side of things. There's always a paper trail. I guess people don't realize just how easy it is to get caught in a lie these days.

Which is all well and good, but right now DH still doesn't have a job or a job offer. We do not know whether the guy who got the job colluded or just the first guy, but I suspect both, based on past behavior of the guy who was hired. They are friends.

I am shocked and yet at the same time I'm not. I knew something wasn't right. I just knew it. And now I am extremely frustrated that something like this would happen to someone like DH who is so kind, hard-working, and well-liked up there. He has a sterling reputation. It's just wrong.

Man, people can be such jerks. If you can't get the job fair and square, why not stack the deck and cheat and who cares who it hurts? How do people like that sleep at night? My only consolation is that if it is proven, he will probably be canned so hard that he'll never work up there again.

DH is pursing ND at this point and a few other things. Hopefully something will come up soon. He's home now and will go down and apply for unemployment tomorrow.

COBRA and BS (College)

August 18th, 2016 at 02:13 am

I really wanted to title it COBRA BS, but no. I found out how much the COBRA is going to cost us. It's not as high as the $2500 we originally thought, but it is still $2230.17 a month. We're going to have to see if we can't find something cheaper.

All we really need is catostrophic coverage. It is cheaper to pay out of pocket for all our medical stuff than to pay that kind of money for insurance. We'd go without if I wasn't afraid something big might happen. Or that the government would steal our tax refund as punishment.

DH will start investigating when he gets home on Monday. Right after he goes down to apply for unemployment. There's got to be something else that isn't going to drain our resources like that. Unemployment won't even come close to covering the cost of that. Considering how much he has paid into Unemployment over the years, he really ought to be getting more than he will be, but that's not how it really works.

Mom said we can completely suspend our loan payments to her until DH finds a new job. So that will help. It's not something I like at all, but we've got to make our savings last as long as possible. Unless company b comes in with a last minute offer, we are operating on the idea of Sunday being DH's last day of work.

We are also looking at DH starting his BS in Electrical Engineering. There are times when 20 years of experience, a strong recommendation from parent company, and two AS's still don't count as much as a BS in the hiring process. Of course ultimately, BS with only a few years of experience washes out and then DH gets hired, because book learning is never the same as real life on the job experience, but some HR people only want what looks good on paper (book learning) and always have to learn the hard way. Especially with this one guy who keeps getting hired over DH over the years and yet in the end DH is the one who ends up with the job when this guy can't handle it.

With college we'd go through our savings even faster, but in the long run it will help us so much for him to have that that I think we have to do it. If he does full time it would be $10,800 a year. We are looking at half time, though, as hopefully he'll be working at something, so $5,400. He'd do it completely online. We think all or most of his credits should transfer and he'll be able to just start at 3rd year, but he'll have to have a transcript review done, which of course costs money, too.

I won't take out loans. I'm not going down that road. Both kids have said they would get jobs to contribute. Can you believe that? I don't want it to come to that, though. Especially with my daughter, who is fragile in both health and mental health and has her next year of college paid for.

I have been trying to think of things I can do, though it is hard with my disabilities. I can't work a job where I'd be on my feet all day like when I was a cook without severe pain and with me being out of the workforce for 20 years, I'm not sure any of my bookkeeping or office skills would be current. My jobs were summer farm work, babysitting, Visiting Nurse chore worker, cook, tutor (but in outdated things like Word Perfect and DOS and Peachtree and Ten-Key calculator and old Data Entry systems), and receptionist/bookkeeper. Most of that I can't do anymore because of my physical limitations. I am broken and obsolete.

So hopefully DH finds something. Something in the $5000 a month take home range with semi-decent medical insurance so we can keep paying Mom and I can keep up with the out of pocket physical therapy that keeps me walking and gardening and taking care of our mini-farm. We can survive on less, but without the PT life would be miserable for me. And without being able to pay Mom back, it wouldn't be roses, either.

If he can find that until he can find something better, we will be just fine. I keep hoping for a last minute miracle, but I really do not think we are going to get one.

I am So Tired of This

August 5th, 2016 at 12:47 am

DH's alternate quit. He got tired of waiting for company b to do anything and got a job elsewhere. DH's company asked DH to stay over and finish out the time his alternate would have worked so DH will get one to two weeks extra, but then it's done. Assuming they don't get any bids for piecemeal stuff accepted.

We can get September's insurance paid for in August though. I'm still not sure if that is that work will pay for it or that it is simply pre-tax dollars going for the first COBRA payment. It would be really nice if it is the first thing, but even the second thing would be very helpful.

I seems to me like company b doesn't want to pay competitive wages or the hazard part of the pay. I think that if you don't want to pay hazard pay then you shouldn't be bidding on jobs that take place in hazardous environments. They are having trouble staffing up.

But the part I don't get is that DH has heard nothing from them at all, which is really weird considering they used his name in their bid paperwork. He hasn't been approached with an offer. Even a lower wage job while he continues to look that has health insurance is better than nothing and we can cut all savings for a down payment if we have to to get by on a reduced budget. With his resume and references and 20 years experience there and 10 of it in that precise job with two different companies and a good relationship with parent company it just makes no sense. No one has been tapped for the position at all.

There was an issue earlier on when someone high up in DH's company, company a, had told company b they weren't allowed to hire anyone from company a until they'd been officially laid off, but parent company told company b that was not true and company a got yelled at for pulling it. But I still think there is something going on with that, company a using leverage against company b to hold onto its employees until the bitter end regardless of what is best for the employees. Either that or someone just doesn't like DH, but considering how ridiculously likable he is and his spotless reputation, that seems far less likely to me.

It all just makes me want to tear my hair out. Nothing seems to be going on with the company next county over. They were supposed to start the hiring process mid-July, but they haven't. No news on that front.

DH is going to try to pursue ND at this point. That would be hard because he'd have to work 4 weeks on and 2 weeks off, but at this point it would be a job that pays well. Or a job that meets our expenses without us going into debt and pays for insurance.

I hate being in this limbo. I hate it. I know it could be worse, but the stress of the last 7 months has just been building and building. I just want to be able to let it go and to feel secure in my life again.

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.


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