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Archive for May, 2007

This Week

May 31st, 2007 at 05:04 pm

So, I was supposed to have a dentist's appointment on Tuesday but they cancelled it. Only they didn't call to cancel it until after I'd already left for town. Ten dollars down the drain in gas. Never let them give you an appointment following a major spring holiday or long weekend. Apparently there are a lot of idiots out there who lose teeth on long weekends and must come in for emergency repairs. I wasn't happy but I made the best of it and did some grocery shopping since I was in town and without DH and the kids who tend to make the spending go up.

When I got home the cable people had finished and gone and we now have cable internet, TV again, and a digital phone with free long distance, all for the cost of the internet and digital phone. I like cable internet. I'm going to come down firmly on the side of saying that. 56K is becoming a fading memory.

Of course, I wasted a ton of time on Tuesday afternoon and evening and yesterday, finding places online to watch the first seven episodes plus the Christmas special of series 3 of Doctor Who, which doesn't start airing in America until July and hasn't even finished airing in the UK yet. That was fun. Also found the first episode of Torchwood, which is definitely not for children! Even if it is a Doctor Who spin-off. I am impatiently waiting for the next episode of DW to go up as it aired last week. My little obsession.

But hey, I wasn't out spending money. Anywho, today was my rescheduled dentist appointment was today. My jaw still aches. Top eight words I do not want to hear from my dentist. Go on now, take a guess. Okay, I'll tell you. "I think we can do this without anesthetic." Oh, really? Do I get an opinion on that?

Turns out I didn't need it, though so that is less money out. I had ground down the area around a couple of fillings and they had to build it up and sand and resurface and fix a small chip. But still, not words I ever like to hear. I don't like going to the dentist, it always makes me quite tense. And my jaw just aches from being open for two hours. But it could be worse. It could always be worse.

After the dentist I stopped at WalMart to get engine oil and some more Rubbermaid bins to put more stuff in to take to storage so spent about $40.

Tomorrow will be a spend day as well. We are getting the oil changed in the Crown Vic and then I will be seeing the P.T. for my shoulder, which got wrenched. Old injuries reasserting themselves. I dislike when that happens. But its not horrible and Ibuprofen cuts it down to bearable levels.

It has been wicked hot here this week. To make up for it, they claim it will rain all next week. I'm not against that at this point. But I'm not sure I believe it, either. I'd like some days were it just sits at 70 with a light breeze so I can get the yard and garden back in order. Here's hoping.

I sent the $10 weekly deposit off to ING today, making the amount in there a whopping $72.58. Well, slow and steady.

All right, I better go and fold the mountain of clean laundry I've been ignoring since coming home.

Money In

May 29th, 2007 at 01:46 pm

I received payment in my paypal account today of $5 for a Pinecone survey I did on Friday night. I transferred it to my CU and when it shows up I will send it to ING to the emergency fund, where all survey checks go until it is up to at least $500. Then I will figure out what to do with survey checks from there.

Very Interesting Article

May 28th, 2007 at 10:30 pm

I read a very good article this week entitled "When Banks Turn Evil." I thought I'd pass it along. It is quite enlightening.

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Banking/BetterBanking/WhenBanksTurnEvil.aspx

Curious to hear what others think on this one.

Found Money

May 28th, 2007 at 05:40 pm

So far while I have been organizing and cleaning today I have found $1.40 in change. I added it to the change jar.

Cleaning, Sorting, Trashing, Storing--Part 2

May 28th, 2007 at 03:41 pm

Boy, its been a long morning and early afternoon. We are getting much more brutal on what we are willing to trash at this point. I really had no idea we had so much stuff in boxes that absolutely has no reason to exist in our house. Old statements from beyond seven years ago, old check carbons, newspapers, magazines that will never be read again.

If it isn't Discover, Fine Gardening, Fine Cooking or Writer's Digest, it is out the door. I am even thinking about ditching the gardening one. And I ought to just write down or type up the recipes from the cooking one and ditch those, too. Except they also have cooking technique information that is quite useful so maybe not.

I don't think I ever really realized just how big the closets are in this house. They are enormous. And rapidly being depleted. I am running across doubles and triples of things that were bought because the first one got misplaced. That is the ultimate in wasteful spending. I cringe at it now. Before it was just a fact of life.

The thing that keeps going through my head is that in a year when we have built the new cedar shed and bring all the stuff back from storage that we have been putting in there now, will we go through this again? I mean the whole why did we save this, why didn't we get rid of this thing last time. I hope not. But maybe we will. Maybe it takes time of being away from you stuff to just realize how worthless it is and how you don't need it for anything. Something to think on.

Hiding Out

May 27th, 2007 at 11:03 pm

I'm hiding out from DH at the moment, so yet another entry from me today. I think this makes four. Anywho, we've gotten through a lot of junk, totally cleaned out the closet in DH's "room" which is more of a catch all place for his junk. It's technically the spare room/library, but it is not really used for that.

Found a bunch of old magazines and papers that could be recycled and a bunch of papers that need to go through the shredder first. They are old work related papers from DH's job, so I don't have to do it for a change, yay! I also found the Tightwad Gazette II, which has been missing since we moved here almost 9 years ago. Would not have thought I would find it in that closet.

I am really exhausted. I hope I can get him to call it a night. I just want to go to bed and sleep until noon tomorrow. Cause I just have to start all over again tomorrow, so no point getting up early. I do not know how you can fit so much stuff into one 1800 square foot house. I really want to get the carpets washed tomorrow but I'm not sure it is going to happen.

The only nice thing I have to say right now is that the house is starting to feel much more spacious as we weed junk out. How did we ever spend so much money on stuff we don't use and certainly don't need? I almost shudder when I think about it. No, I do shudder when I think about it. I am glad that lifestyle is so far behind us now. And neither of us want to ever go back to it.

I Almost Got Bit by Affluenza

May 27th, 2007 at 08:56 pm

I actually tried to talk DH into getting a flat panel HDTV today. I don't know what got into me. But they had a 27 inch one on sale today and tomorrow for $399, no rebates necessary, just flat priced. And I wanted it! DH talked me down. Sigh. Why did he go and have to get responsible all of a sudden, pout, pout.

That's okay, we don't need it and its not in the budget and we are planning it for Christmas as our present anyway. Patience, patience. Follow the plan.

Hearty Beef Soup

May 27th, 2007 at 03:21 pm

So, I'm taking a dust break. I sneezed my head off and needed to get away from the cleaning for a bit. Or at least that is my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.

Anyway, since its a cool rainy day, I've got a pot of soup going in the crockpot and it smells and tastes marvelous, so I thought I'd pass it along.

1 pound ground beef, crumbled
2 yellow onions, chopped
1 4 ounce can mild green chiles
2 heaping tbsp minced garlic
1 16 ounce can tomato sauce
1 16 ounce can stewed tomatoes
1 tbsp seasalt, ground
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 cans of water


Dump everything into the crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours. You can add beans if you want to. This is mild, not really a chili.

Okay, back to the grindstone.


Cleaning, Sorting, Trashing and Storing

May 27th, 2007 at 01:33 pm

Jiminy, yesterday was a busy day. We are spending the holiday weekend (no school on Friday so a four day one for us) doing intensive spring cleaning. We got so much done. All of my recycle bins are full of paper, plus two paper bags full of shredded documents. Of course, recycling doesn't come for 10 days and we very well may have more to add to it by then.

We're being brutal in what we get rid of and what we are keeping. Sometimes I think its not brutal enough but there will be a chance for that again in future.

We borrowed DH's dad's truck yesterday in exchange for putting 3 gallons of gas in it and we got to leave the kidlets with his mom all day, so we got alot more done than we otherwise might have. We took a full truckload to storage. The house is beginning to notice the impact of less stuff.

You know how sometimes when you really get into it, it seems like you totally have to trash the house while you're cleaning and sorting to get to anything and while you're doing it it looks worse than when you started, even though you know in your head you've accomplished something? Well, we're past that stage now and into the it looks so much better stage.

The cable people are coming on Tuesday and I actually think the house is going to be presentable by then. It is going to be really odd to have cable again and it is going to be really wonderful to have cable internet for the first time ever. We've been tootling along with a 56K modem since we first went online.

We are getting the bundle package for one year, so it will be $100 for tv, internet, and phone service. Currently we are paying $62 a month for two phone lines and internet service, so this will be adding $38 to the total. We will only have one phone line but long-distance in the U.S. will be free, so I won't have to buy the calling cards from Costco anymore to talk to DH when he's in Alaska. Since we are downgrading to trac phones on our cells next month, the difference there will more than cover it.

We still won't watch much in the way of TV though. We have gotten out of the habit and I like that. But we did want Sci-fi channel back and we will be getting BBC America and the one children's network that we want, as well as History channel and Discovery channel and that's pretty much what our TV watching will be confined to.

We are also insituting limits on the kids on how much they can watch daily (like 30 minutes on week days) and all homework and chores have to be done first. There will be no mindless watching. It'll be turned on only for programs, not to "see if something" is on to keep us company. It may be a challenge to see if this will last but DH and I are both pretty determined. As for me, I will probably only have the TV on Fridays and Saturdays. And that's the way I like it.

Okay, enough ingnoring of the cleaning, sorting, trashing and storing. Back to it.

Top Ten Reasons I Love My Credit Union

May 25th, 2007 at 11:02 pm

I've been really hesitant to jump into the blog contest fray because so far I haven't felt I had anything to say, but I finally feel I have a subject I can post about: My credit union.

So here are my top ten reasons that I love my credit union.

1. They were one of the first to move into internet banking, albeit you had to dial in their special phone number, which eventually you no longer needed once internet use became common and you could access it from any connection. Long before most banks knew what the internet was, my CU took its first brave steps forward. I was lucky to get in on the beta testing seventeen years ago and have happily watched them make excellent user friendly improvements to the system ever since. They make it easy to do business with them. Before that they had touch tone banking (and still do) even when I was a kid.

2. They are convenient to use. They have branches located all over the county, including in the backwater areas.

3. They have ATM's all over the county and they are all no fee ATM's. No fee to members and no fee to non-members. Never have and say they never will. This includes the ATM they have located in the local hospital. This step alone endears them to me, when other banks would pile on extra fees when you might not be able to leave the hospital during critical life moments.

4. They offer excellent mortgage rates and excellent mortgages with no pre-payment fees. In fact, their mortgage coupons have slots for additional principal payments and have done long before other banks and CU's started jumping on that band wagon. My mortgage with them is at 5.5%, fixed, 15 years and I cannot be happier.

5. The friendliest tellers in the universe and they don't charge for using them. I know most of the tellers by name. They know me by name before I give them my account information. The drive-thru teller recognizes me by my car even when I'm not at the window booth, and will greet me with a cheery hello by name before getting my info. She also knows without asking that I always prefer my cash in $20's. She also always puts in stickers for the kids without my asking and whether they are with me or not.

6. Free bill-pay. 'Nuff said.

7. Free debt counseling. And what they call pre-debt counseling, which amounts to learning what you are getting into before you take out your first credit card(theirs at a fixed 12%), car loan (theirs at 5.9 to 7.9%), or mortgage (theirs at 5.5 to 6.9%).

8. The highest paying savings account rates of any CU in town. Not saying much there, but its something. Best CD rates of any CU and all but one of the banks in town.

9. Community education involvement. They are in charge of numerous grant and scholarship programs for the three county colleges and one university in the county and are very good about getting out into the highschools and making sure the kids know about their programs.

10. They are inclusive. They welcome anyone who lives, works or worships in the county to be a member. And they truly welcome them, not just say they do. They also have inclusive hiring practices.

So as you can see, I have many, many reasons to love my credit union and I can assure you that I do.

Savings Update

May 24th, 2007 at 01:23 pm

I sent the weekly $10 off to ING today, bringing the total in that account to a whopping $62.58. Slow as molasses, but that's in keeping with our decision to focus on debt reduction. Right now the $10 a week is more to keep in the savings habit. I would still like to send $100 a month, but I just am torn because that $100 a month would do more good on a 7.9% credit card than it would earn in a 4 point whatever interst rate ING is offering. And I know Mom will loan us up to $500 interest free in an emergency, but I still don't like seeing that account below $500. It has been nice to be able to use it and rebuild it these last couple of times. I'm sure I'll get over it, though. Having the debt gone is just more important to me, and to DH.

Money Out

May 24th, 2007 at 01:02 pm

I forgot to post yesterday that we spent $55 on Chinese food. Part of that was two gallons of egg flower soup, for the two of us who cannot keep much down but soup. We like the egg flower soup because it is high in protein without being chewy soup, and also because this restaurant uses no MSG. Most store bought soups use MSG and we are allergic, it causes extreme stomach problems and when you are already having extreme stomach problems from a virus, MSG is not your friend. Not that MSG is ever your friend.

There was also other food bought so there will be leftovers for a couple of days. So DH doesn't have to cook much. I decided not to cook until this virus is gone as I am afraid I will pass it on to DH if I do. It's highly contagious. Tobias had it first.

I also wrote a $30 check to fund Tobias' hot lunch account at school yesterday. This should be the last one of the school year.

This morning DH took Tobias to the chiropractor before school and bought him a McDonald's breakfast. I'm not sure how much was spent but I gave him a $10 so it was under that. The rest of us went after picking DH up from the airport while T was in school. Since he had a t-ball game last night and has another one tonight, going in right after school didn't work and he hadn't been in since before my surgery.

We have the kids seen regularly as both DH and myself have mild forms of scoliosis. Mine has been corrected by chiropractic treatments. DH's is a little worse and his family has the the tendancy to go towards the hunchback osteoporosis hump. His grandmother had it horribly and his mother is starting. DH seems to have corrected against it since he's been seen for years, but we won't know until he's older. He has a high calcium intake as well, so the doc thinks he may not have this problem.

Tomorrow I go the surgeon for my follow-up appointment. I am not sure if that will be a co-pay or not, since surgery appointments are different from diagnostic appointments. It may be part of the surgery package. If it is not it will be a $15 co-pay. I will also be paying a $107 bill there, my share of the diagnostic appointments after insurance. I have not been billed for surgery yet. Tomorrow is payday as well, so there will be other bills and the mo