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Archive for March, 2011

Bad Customer Service

March 31st, 2011 at 04:01 pm

Just had a really bad encounter with a cashier at Kmart. She was a real snot and refused to take my $3 off catalina coupon. Her computer wouldn't take it and I know there is a way to override it but she wouldn't do it. It hadn't expired, I had qualifying purchases, and it came from that very Kmart. She was acting like I was the one with the problem because it was "only" $3.

She didn't get her supervisor for me because customer service was backed up. It took me 25 minutes to get through her line with only one person in front of me. I had too many people in line behind me to get out and switch lanes, was sort of trapped there because of how their aisles are. In the amount of time she served one person the only other line that they had just opened up served seven people. She was super slow and just didn't seem to care how long it took her to do stuff. It took us less time to shop than to check out and that was with my daughter trying on 3 different bathing suits.

I just filled out the survey at [url]www.kmartfeedback.com[/url] and left contact info so maybe I'll hear something from them, but I won't hold my breath. Oh, and she was really super snotty when 2 more catalina coupons printed out and she handed them to me. And I'm thinking, "Great, two more coupons I won't be able to use." I am thinking about calling the store manager as well and complaining or maybe writing a letter. I just don't like being treated like this.

Oh, and this woman was older than me, I reckon around 45 to 50, so she certainly should have known better than to be so rude. I've actually never had a young person treat me badly at Kmart. They all seem to care about their jobs. It felt like this woman felt she was too good for her job, like she was just putting in her time. That should never be so obvious to a customer.

End rant.

Finally! A Few Finallys Actually

March 31st, 2011 at 01:57 pm

I finally got correspondence from the courthouse today. 4 days before the date of service. Not the greatest way to operate, county of mine. My jury duty has been deferred to 11/28. The heart of cold and flu season. Ah, well. Hopefully by then everything will be resolved with the surgery and if I push vitamins and get plenty of sleep next November I'll actually be well and in the right place in my healing to do it this time. At least DS will be in middle school then and DD can walk over there after the high school lets out and walk him home (or hop on the city bus) if DH is in Alaska then or Mom can't pick them up.

My flu is finally going away. I woke up today feeling about 80% decent. Still a ton of congestion and drainage, but no brain fog at all, no joint or muscle aches, no chills, no headache. Still have a fever of 99.5 and still pretty tired (but more of a general tired than the I need to sleep for a week and that still might not be enough tired), but feeling much more capable of actually living my life.

I went to the dentist today, another finally. I haven't been since 2008. Which was incredibly stupid but it was impossible almost when I was still homeschooling and living in the county to go. I should have at least got in there in September when the kids started school. Better late than never I suppose. Unfortunately I have 2 cavities. I haven't had a cavity in about 15 years. Darn it.

Anyway, they are going to do some major cleaning and fill the cavities in three weeks, both while under ansethetic because a couple of teeth in the back have some serious issues. Nothing that can't be fixed, but it will be painful without anesthetic so the dentist figured he could kill two birds with one stone. I really like him. This is my first time with him though DH and the kids have been going to him and his wife for a couple of years now.

They gave me an estimate of my portion of the dental bill for when I have that done. It'll be just shy of $367. Well. I'm definitely going to have to hold back some of the money I was planning to send to Master Card after all. So be it. At least I will have the money to pay it and not have to charge it. Or maybe part of the VISA payment. Yeah, actually, that's a better idea. DH only made minimal charges on the VISA this month. If I pay what he charged plus the interest, plus $100 extra to principle, I should have about $500 (out of the normal $1000 paymetn) I can spend on medical/dental instead.

Why didn't I think of that before? Then I can go ahead and pay off the Master Card in April just like I planned. Then things should really ease up. We'll have debt left only on the VISA.

I'm making spaghetti tonight with my special homemade sauce. Mom's providing hamburger, though probably just the kids and her will eat that. I tend to get pretty filled up on my spaghetti sauce and noodles without protein. I generally don't like to eat such a carb heavy meal without protein to balance it, but I had a very protein heavy brunch today and I'm not sure I could face a hunk of meat tonight to be honest.

I'll try to get back to meal planning for real this weekend. Since I'm squeezing an extra $100 out of the grocery budget to set aside for medical, I really need to be on the ball with it this month.

I went over to the CU that has the kids' accounts today and deposited $5 in each of their accounts. My daughter's account was in danger of becoming dormant and being closed and sent to the state so I needed to put something in it to make it active. I put an equal amount in my son's account to be fair. He's the saver of the two kids so his account was still active. He's saving up for the new Nintendo 3DS. All of his allowance and most of his recycling money.

That's also where the laptop fund is so I added the shampoo rebate check and the propane rebate check to that account. I also got it set up again so I can do it online. That way when it comes time to make a payment on the laptop I can just go online and transfer the money from savings to checking.

I finally found where DH put the packaging for the Brita stuff and got the two UPC codes so I can send in that $10 rebate tomorrow. That will eventually go to the laptop fund, too.

Payday tomorrow. I need to finish setting up this month's budget spreadsheet. It'll be nice to actually start paying on some stuff again after this two week pause. Geesh, I never thought I'd be excited to pay bills, but this is a big month for us.

Money in the Mail

March 30th, 2011 at 04:03 pm

I received a check today from our propane company for $10.53. It's a farmer's co-op so every year we get a little bit back for being members. It's never very much, but I always figure every little bit counts. So that will go into the laptop fund.

I've been fiddling with the budget while setting up the spreadsheet for April. I think I can manage to set aside an extra $300 for medical expenses without dipping into how much I want to send to debt repayment. It would mean no money added to the EF this month, but I'd rather have it around for the incoming medical bills.

I have a dentist appointment tomorrow. I'm afraid it's going to hurt. I bit my tongue really hard on Monday and I figured it would be healed by now, but it still hurts. But I don't want to reschedule again. I already did when I had the flu for several weeks. Since most of my symptoms are gone now (just have the congestion and tiredness), I'd really like to just get it over with.

I still have not received a release from the courthouse for jury duty or a statement saying I have to report in despite the doctor's note excusing me. I'm really starting to get annoyed. Monday is not that far away. They really are not on the ball at all about this. Since I have to be notified "in writing" for it to be official they need to get moving. I will call them tomorrow if there is nothing in the mail.

I also still have not been called back by the doctor about being referred to Virginia Mason. Not like I can make an appointment until after I know what's going on with jury duty, but the lack of professionalism is really starting to grate on me. How hard is it to return a phone call and do your job?

Big Medical Debt and Wills

March 29th, 2011 at 08:13 am

On my way back in from dropping off my daughter at high school this morning, Mom stopped me to tell me she was redoing her will. She's needed to do this for a while. Ever since she drained the IRA and put Dad in the nursing home. She still wants me to be executor (which, ugh, but I agreed to it, with my older sister as back up if I can't).

Anyway, she said that if she dies before I am done paying back the money I owe her for the medical debt, that the debt is free and clear. Before it was expected that I would either continue making payments to my sisters for their part of the inheritence (which I don't think could be legally enforced as I never signed anything, but I still would have done it) or give up my third of the house. But since I've been here taking care of her since the fall she's decided to just make the loan void on her death.

Quite frankly I don't think she'll be dead before we finish paying her off. She's in pretty good health. But it's nice to know that if she were to go unexpectedly, that that financial burden would be lifted.

Now DH and I just need to get around to making our own will. We've been putting it off for too many years. Even if we just do one of those form letter ones and take it down to the CU to have it notarized, that's better than what we have now, which is pretty much nothing.

Wavering

March 28th, 2011 at 03:52 pm

So I've been thinking. My plan for April was to pay off the second Master Card, but now I'm starting to get concerned about the medical bills I know are coming soon. I haven't gotten any yet, but with a $1250 deductible per person and several visits to the doctor this month and last, I'm afraid what's going to happen is that I'll pay off the MC and then all the doctor's bills will come in. They will likely come in the first week of April, after being processed on the 31st. I am wondering if I shouldn't hold some money back that I had planned to send to debt repayment.

Maybe I'm just being a little paranoid. My budget calls for me to set aside $500 each month for medical expenses which will probably be enough. I just want to get ahead on saving for the medical expenses since I know that I'll have to pay a good chunk of the upcoming surgery and if all of April's money goes to regular doctor's visits and prescriptions, there won't be anything to save for the future. On the other hand, none of the doctor's charge interest until you are 90 days past due. So I could use my $500 to pay as much as possible and then wait until May to pay off the rest.

Also the pediatrician wants DS to have his tonsils taken out because they are so big they are blocking a significant portion of his throat even when he's well and she is afraid it is causing sleep apnea. He doesn't get very restful sleep so this is possible. Not to mention that the school counselor wants him to have a few sessions of therapy with a psychologist before starting middle school next year, to give him coping methods for his OCD and help him to learn some of the social cues he's missing.

Pediatrician also wants us to meet with a dietician for DD who is borderline diabetic and might actually be, but we won't do the bloodwork until Saturday to find out. Even if she's not diabetic she will benefit from a lower carb diet. Seems like it is just one expense after the other.

But despite all that I still have this whiney little voice inside me saying, "But I want to pay off the Master Card and be done with it." It is also stomping its foot. I don't know, maybe I can squeeze some other money out of the budget. MC isn't due until 4/17 so it's possible.

I found a package of ham in the freezer last night so I did not have to drive across town to get the special deli meat for lunches. I ended up not making the pizza yesterday, but am making it tonight instead. We'll have leftovers for a couple of days from it.

I am feeling a little better today. I'm still very much congested but the brain fog is definitely lifting. I feel much more a part of the human race. I really hope that means the last of this flu is on the way out. I think it is the worst one I have ever had.

Just a Few Bits and Pieces

March 27th, 2011 at 09:51 pm

Another no spend day with nothing much going on, besides laundry. Lots and lots of laundry. I still have half a tank of gas to get through until Friday. Should make that no problem. DD is well enough now I won't need to be taking medicine down to her on her lunch hour, which is a good thing as I have physical therapy tomorrow. That'll be $90 out. I think starting in April I will be dropping my sessions down to one hour a week instead of one and a half hours, which will bring the cost down to $60. Now that I can walk up and down stairs properly again, I think I will be okay with that. The PT thinks I shoud be fine with that, but wants at least that each week.

I'm still waiting to hear back from the jury duty place. The doctor has excused me, but until I get official notice I still may have to report. They are really cutting it close. The date of service is April 4-15. I really don't like waiting on pins and needles like this. I also don't like it because that first week is spring break so the kids will be home. DD is old enough to babysit her brother, but I really don't want her to have to.

On top of my ongoing medical condition and my knee issues (completely stopping PT for two weeks is not a good idea), I still have the flu. Hopefully it would be gone by then, but who really knows? At least I woke up feeling a bit better today than I have been. Still awfully congested but I can feel that slight bit of improvement.

I also have to pay out $125 for this...thing my son's school is doing. The fifth graders are going to this three day mountain camp deal. I'm not very happy about it, because I don't know what the food situation will be. I've called three times and my husband has called once and they never return our messages. With DS's allergies, who knows what might happen. If the stupid chef would call me back I could have some idea of what to go on and maybe I could send his own bread and his own cereal at the very least. The milk is what I am most concerned about. They put additives into all milk that isn't whole to help suspend the vitamin D supplement they stick in there and he's allergic to that.

I will try calling again tomorrow. And I will call the doctor's office again. They still have not gotten back to me on the Virginia Mason referral. It's ridiculous. It's been six weeks since my appointment. How they stay in business like this I will never know. Maybe I need to go see a different doctor here and get a second opinion. I'm tired of the runaround.

Rebates and Other Stuff

March 26th, 2011 at 11:54 pm

I received the Renpure Organics Shampoo rebate in the mail today. It was a postcard that is also a check. It's been a long time since I've done a rebate and I've never had one like that before, but it makes sense for them to be cutting back on envelopes and stuff. Anyway it was for $6.99. That will go into the laptop fund.

I actually forgot to send for the Brita rebate. It's good until December though. I have the two receipts but I'm not sure what my husband did with the packaging and I need the UPC codes. He said he didn't throw them away, that he put them someplace "safe." So I'll have to look all over for them, but hopefully I can still find them. I know we would have bought the stuff anyway, but $10 is $10.

My mom took DS today so that DD and I could both sleep in. It was lovely to not wake up at 7 a.m. although I feel a touch guilty for sleeping in until noon! Obviously my body needed it. This flu is hanging on forever which makes it hard to be on Mommy duty. And they had a good day. They took care of the chickens and the duck and went for a walk and went to the library and the grocery store and he read to her and then she read to him. They both really enjoyed themselves.

I went to the grocery store tonight and bought some vegetables. They were a little pricey, unfortunately. I can see the cost of gas creeping into the produce prices. Lettuce which is generally $1.29 is $1.79 and iceberg was $2 a head. Even cabbage which was generally around .39 a pound was .79 a pound. I will be glad when we can start the garden in another 20 days or so and then we should be able to start cutting lettuce leaves about four weeks after that.

Anyway, I bought radishes, broccoli, celery, cabbage, carrots, strawberries (a splurge, but they were a gorgeous deep red and smelled really good), a red bell pepper, cauliflower, and milk. I still have plenty of onions, oranges, apples, lemons, and potatoes. I'm trying to up the veggie content of our meals a bit more.

I think I should be good until payday now, except I need to buy some deli meat for school lunch sandwiches, which means a trip across town to get the no additive or preservative stuff. I'm not sure I'm up for it. It's one thing to drive the six blocks to the nearby store or the twelve blocks to the high school, but it's another thing entirely to drive on the freeway or to go through the busy heart of downtown when my head is so foggy. Maybe Mom can drive me. Or maybe the kids will have to put up with PB&J and PB&H sandwiches until the brain fog clears out.

Or maybe I can make pizza tomorrow and they can take the leftovers in their lunch. That might be a better option. I'm pretty sure I've got Canadian bacon in the freezer, so that, ground beef, chicken sausage, onions, a little of the bell pepper on my part, maybe some shredded up bacon and some canned, diced tomatoes and mozza cheese will make a great pizza. Yeah, I'll do that for lunch. And Mom has invited us to a pot roast dinner so I won't have to cook for that at all.

I cleaned out my purse and put $2.22 into the coin jar.

Impulse Buy

March 25th, 2011 at 01:42 pm

I gave in to an impulse buy today when I went to the grocery store for milk and popcorn. I bought a big, prepared sandwich for $5.99. As impulse buys go it's not too bad. The sandwich is a huge panini, made on foccacia bread with roast beef, lettuce, tomato, and red onions. It is four servings for me, so that breaks down to about $1.50 per meal. Not as inexpensive as a cheapy double cheeseburger, but healthier and more filling.

The last couple of days I haven't been eating except for dinner, because I haven't wanted to make the effort to cook three times a day. The kids have been eating cereal for breakfast or those no gluten boxed waffles, and taking sandwiches for lunch. I figured having the sandwich would at least give me some nutrition without any effort on my part.

Eating is somewhat of a chore. It just takes so much work when I'm this exhausted. I know healing takes nutrition, but all I've been wanting to do is go back to bed and nap while the kids are at school, so I've been gulping a glass of milk and doing just that.

The kids have been wanting to snack lately so I bought a two pound bag of popcorn kernels for 99 cents. It should last quite some time. We have an air popper and the kids don't like it with much butter put on, just a touch and some salt, really, so it's a pretty cheap snack.

No other financial stuff going on right now. I still have $190 until next payday and half a tank of gas.

Another No Spend Day

March 24th, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Today felt really long. Probably because we spent 1.5 hours at the doctor's office. DD had her physical today and even though she was still sick on the tail end of the flu they wanted me to bring her in anyway, because at this point if we wait for her to be well it's going to be 2015 or something. Since it was a physical there was no co-pay. I think we'll end up paying for part of the vaccines though eventually. She had three, meningitis, varicella, and the one to help prevent cervical cancer.

She also had an x-ray taken of her sinuses so that will be an eventual expense, too. They are finally clear of infection so even though she's still being attacked by the killer snot monster from outer space, it's definitely all viral and no bacteria.

Silly (the duck) is still missing. Neighbor said he saw an eagle circling yesterday when he had his dogs out in his yard. There is a nest by the lake behind the hospital (one block away) so we're thinking that's more likely than the racoons, since the racoons always leave a big mess, but an eagle can just swoop down and carry it away. Tiny (the remaining duck) keeps looking around for Silly. He definitely knows Silly is gone. DS seems to be taking it a lot better than the last two times. Maybe he's getting jaded, I don't know.

I again resisted the urge to get takeaway. We had chicken for dinner again with leftover green beans and leftover potatoes. DD was a little, "Chicken again?" whiney, but she certainly ate enough of it that I don't really think she minded all that much. DS could eat chicken every night of the week without making a fuss.

I am glad tomorrow is Friday. Only one more day of getting up early and then I get two days to sleep in. I hate that DD's high school starts so early in the morning. Haven't they read the studies that say teenagers function best later in the day? *sighs*