Home > Archive: March, 2011

Archive for March, 2011

Bad Customer Service

March 31st, 2011 at 11:01 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

Text is and Link is 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 08:57 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 11:03 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 03:13 pm

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.


March 28th, 2011 at 10:52 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 28th, 2011 at 04:51 am

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 27th, 2011 at 06:54 am

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 08:42 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 25th, 2011 at 05:02 am

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*

Missing Duck

March 24th, 2011 at 12:19 am

One of the ducks has gone missing. He was there this morning, but there's no sign of him now. There's also no sign of an animal attack of any sort, no remains like we've found in the past. One of the neighbors reported seeing a racoon so it's possible that's what happened. Hopefully he's just out wandering the neighborhood and will show up again soon. If not, well, that leaves us with one duck and seven chickens. And I suppose if we had to lose an animal it's better to lose a boy duck than a laying hen. I feel sorry for the last duck though. He's going to be lonely.

Today was a no spend day though I was still sorely tempted to get a pizza. What's up with me wanting to buy pizza when I am sick? I made one for dinner instead because even though I didn't want to put in the effort I figured that at least it would kill the desire to buy one. It's in the oven right now.

There's not much going on financially. I've no money coming in and no bills due until the first of April and those are on autopay, so I guess it's mostly the same old same old treading water and trying to get through until then without spending an exorbitant amount on groceries or anything else. I've got one fill up budgeted for gas between now and then and still have over half a tank so I may not even need it. I've got $200 to get through the next 8 days and I can't see spending more than $30 on groceries between now and then. Everything is just more or less set on autopilot.

Today is a slight improvement in how I am feeling. I got seven hours of sleep last night and then a 2.5 hour nap while the kids were in school. My brain fog is lessening. Still have dry mouth, slight cough, lots of drainage, low level headache, and fever. Everything exhausts me. I unloaded the dishwasher today and refilled it and then I had to go and lay down because I was short of breath. I hope that goes away soon as I want to get back to my old self again.

Today was gorgeous, though it started out at 32 degrees with frozen over car windows, it ended up in the low 60's. The sort of day where you want to go out for a walk and look at all the beautiful blooming trees and shrubs, but just making it to the end of the driveway is a chore. I really want my strength back. Will this flu ever leave?

Still Sick but Slightly Better

March 22nd, 2011 at 08:42 pm

I think the very worst part of the flu is over. My throat isn't sore anymore and I'm not coughing very much. Joint aches are gone. But there is still so much drainage going on, I still have the headache, and I'm completely exhausted. And for some reason my mouth is very dry and has a weird aftertaste at the back of my throat.

I'm not sleeping very well, despite being so tired. And despite having several hours to nap today I don't think I got more than 10 minutes at a stretch. Last night I only slept about 1.5 hours at a stretch, despite having taken a prescription sleeping pill that usually leaves me dead to the world. Not good as I need real sleep to kick this thing to the curb.

DD went back to school today though she was not happy about it. But if she doesn't want to lose her semester she has to be there. I think it sucks that the school is all, "Don't come to school if you are sick," but then if you keep your kid home for too long they are all, "If you don't come to school you're going to lose your semester." I mean, the flu can last for a long time and it's super contagious the first week or so. But apparently they'd rather have an epidemic than let you keep your kids home long enough to be truly well. Stupid double standard. Days like this I miss homeschooling.

I took her medicine to her on her lunch break. I really don't like the school's policy on medication. They can't take a simple cold pill or Tylenol on their own. You either have to come down and give it to your child or you have to have a note from the doctor to give to the nurse so that they can give the kid medicine. For OTC meds. I feel bad for the girls on their periods who can't take a painkiller without it being a production. It was never like that when I was in school.

I have to go to the store today and pick up some of the special rice bars my son eats. They also have chicken on sale so I am going to get some of that. I am craving chicken and pizza and I know that pizza is too expensive at this end of the pay cycle unless I make it myself and I don't want to put out the effort of making one from scratch. So chicken it is. I also need to pick up some more Sudafed and jump through all the accompanying hoops that go with that. I'll probably spend about $30 altogether.

That House and Taxes

March 22nd, 2011 at 01:49 am

Well, DH picked up a flyer from that house that we've been eyeing up and it still looks very nice. It went into a lot more detail than most flyers. He was going to go by himself to the open house but they had just closed it when he got there so he just got the flyer. And apparently the house across the street and one house down is going to be put on the market in another week and it is also a good option, plus has a garage and is not on a corner so lower taxes, but still...we are not ready.

I do not think house number one is going to sell, though. Anyone with half a mind for research could find out that it was sold in April of last year for $178,000. They flipped it, which is obvious from all the changes that were made, but they were asking $479,000 for it when they first put it back on the market in August. Where it has sat doing nothing. They finally reduced the price to $419,000 a few months ago, but still nothing.

I doubt very much that they made $241,000 worth of changes. Maybe they made $50,000. And in a neighborhood where the median house sells for $150,000 to $200,000 and has a garage (which this one does not), they aren't going to get that price. I think it will just sit and sit and sit because of the greediness of the asking price. Which is okay with me. If it is still for sale in a year we might consider making an offer. But nowhere near that asking price.

My mother's house is six blocks away in a slightly more upscale and desireable area with much larger lots and her house is probably 1500 square feet larger, plus has a garage and is only valued at around $350,000 so they are definitely grasping. They are probably not local owners who thought they could make a fast buck, but not in this economy. I can be patient. Have to be anyway.

DH finished our taxes today. I will not mail them in until the 14th of April so that the money can collect what little interest there is as long as possible. We owe $5506.03. It is the first year we have ever owed money. That is because of the lump sum contract buyout of the company that laid him off. We paid quite a bit in taxes at that time but we knew there might be more coming so we set aside $6000. That money has been doubling as our emergency fund and will be all but decimated. The rest of the money will go to pay property taxes April 30th and then we'll start rebuilding the EF. Well, I'll start rebuilding it sooner than that, but it won't be super fast because of our high amount of debt repayment.

Edited to add: I noticed that several of my comments made on different threads in the forums are missing today. There's still a few there, but almost everything I've posted this month is gone. Weird. I wonder what is up with that?

Mostly Random Stuff

March 20th, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Not much going on here. I was hoping DH and I could go out tonight to celebrate our anniversary but I still don't feel well enough so I guess maybe next month we'll go. I don't know. Probably by then I won't really care about celebrating. It's not like we do so normally anyway.

The house that we really like had an open house today and DH wanted to go, but I didn't see the point in it. We can't buy right now anyway. I don't mind looking at model homes, but going to a house someone is actually trying to sell right now when you have no intention of buying just doesn't feel right to me. Besides, if I'm not well enough to sit up in a restaurant for an hour and a half, I'm certainly not well enough to walk around a house or climb stairs. I get too dizzy. This flu can be gone anytime now, please.

I have to remember to transfer money from the holding tank portion of savings to checking, as the car payment comes out on autopay tomorrow. Plus a bit for groceries, too for this coming week.

DH has taken over the cooking right now. Not sure what I'll do when he leaves on Monday night. DD is almost well so maybe she can take over the cooking for the rest of the week and then hopefully I will be on my feet again.

DH actually made up his own meal plan for today last night with a few grunts of acknowledgment from me.

French toast with powdered sugar ($1)
Milk ($2)

Total $3

One package of Trader Joe's hotdogs ($3.99)
Homemade buns (.50)
Oranges ($2)
Chili ($2)

Total $8.49

Leftover chicken (free)
Leftover pot roast (free)
Leftover mashed potatoes and gravy (free)
Leftover broccoli (free)
Milk ($2)

Total $2

Total for day $13.49

New Glasses for DS

March 19th, 2011 at 09:41 pm

I had to go to the grocery store because grocery shopping and DH by himself do not mix well, especially if a checkbook is involved. He comes home with too much junk, only half of what I asked for, and has used up the entire month's grocery budget in one trip. So no. However I am now as weak as the proverbial newborn kitten, just from walking around the store. We disinfected the grocery cart handle after we were done. I didn't want to infect anyone with this flu. I don't think I am going to move from this bed again until Monday, except to go to the bathroom. DH can bring me food. I am so dizzy it's ridiculous.

DS had his physical on Thursday and his eyes were 20/50 and 20/100. That's a drastic change from two and a half years ago when they said he barely needed them. He's going to have to wear glasses all the time now. So we made an appointment which was for today. DH took DS to his eye appointment on his own. They had to pick out new frames so he kept texting me with pictures of T wearing glasses until I approved of one. Our vision insurance covered everything but the one year warranty against breakage, which cost $32. DS is hard on things so I'd rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

I have to make an appointment for me soon. I haven't gotten new glasses in three years and I know my prescription has changed. I can feel it as eyestrain. I will probably keep my current frames as I like them a lot. I just have to get over the flu first.

Wedding Anniversary and Insurance

March 18th, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Sixteen years ago today DH and I got married. Wow, that seems like a long time. We've been together over 20 years, half my life. It's been a good marriage and I consider myself very fortunate to have found such a good partner in this world. We've had to cancel our plans due to my having the flu though. We were going to go out to a nice steakhouse for dinner. DH is almost never in the same state as me for our anniversary, so having the chance to actually go out on this date was really nice. Oh, well, I guess it wasn't meant to be this year. It saves us around $60 to just stay in though.

We got a refund check from Allstate today. If you go so long without accidents they refund you part of your payment for that six month period. So we got back $26.41. We've been with them for two years now and we've gotten a check each renewal period. Also they have a deductible reduction for each year you don't get into an accident. So our original $500 deductible has now dropped to $300 with no increase in how much we pay for insurance.

In fact it's gone down about $9 a month. (Because we have it automatically taken out of our checking each month we don't have to pay a monthly fee for installments, otherwise we'd pay it in a chunk every six months). I have to say that getting money back and them lowering our deductible are very nice perks for safe drivers like myself and DH.

DH got gas last night for $38.71. The tank was running on fumes, I think. Costco price was $3.51 per gallon.

With the doctor's permission, I decided to try splitting my 10mg pills in half (the ones that cost $125 for 30 with the coupon) and see if I did okay on 5mg, but it's a noticable difference in symptoms after two days so I won't be able to save that way after all. I guess we just have to absorb the costs.

It probably means cutting my physical therapy sessions down to an hour a week instead of an hour and a half to have that extra money. I am starting to walk normally now so maybe it's time anyway. I'd rather do that than take it away from debt repayment. We are so close to paying off the second Master Card I can taste it.

Vehicle Tax and Property Tax

March 17th, 2011 at 09:42 pm

DH went down to the courthouse to pay the car license tabs today. I had written the check out on the 15th, but got too sick to run my own errands. Fortunately I was not too sick to notice that they had very sneakily put on a state parks "donation" that you had to opt out of not to pay. I saved myself five dollars on it. I wonder how many people never pay any attention to that, just look at the total line and end up "donating" when they never had any intention of doing so?

Don't get me wrong, I think supporting the parks is a good thing, but I want to do it on my own terms. Like when we go use one there is always a donation box and I'll likely slip a five in there then. But don't try to sneak it past me. Charity should not be something you are tricked into. Bad state of Washington. Bad.

Anyway, the damage was $75.75 instead of $80.75. We have vanity plates which is why it is so high. And yeah, I know I could get rid of them and only be paying around $35 a year, but we get a lot of enjoyment out of it and we've had fans of our favorite fandom (which the plate is related to) come up to us all over the place and start talking to us about Doctor Who. It's always fun to meet other Whovians. Yes, nerdy fangirl here, I freely admit it.

While he was there he also picked up a print out on our property tax form. We forgot to change our address with that part of the courthouse. I kind of assumed that since we'd changed the one for licensing and for voting that it was all one system and it would get changed over, but it didn't. Anyway, we never got the statement from them (and it didn't get forwarded from the old place) and since it is due on April 30th I wanted to have the amount on hand.

It only went up about $20 for the year. Total is $1,036.24. The amount due April 30th is $518.17. I've got $400 set aside so far so just need to come up with $118.07. I have a line for it in the budget already though, since I knew it would be around $500. So that is $100 a month. I'll just have to come up with the extra $18.07.

I'm running a fever today of 101. All I want to do still is sleep, but I had a very restless night. Just coughing a lot. I want this flu to be over. I hear it's a long and lingering one, though. I cancelled my dentist appointment and rescheduled it for two weeks from now. Well, actually DH did it since I have lost my voice. I am really glad we have unlimited texting. It is coming in handy right now.

DH took DS in for his physical before school today. There has been quite a change in his vision on one eye so he needs to go get new glasses. At least our vision insurance is better than our medical. It has no deductible, pays for the entire office visit and up to $200 on the glasses. I need to go in and get new glasses, too, but not until I am well.

DH is going to have to go pick up that expensive prescription today. Even with the $25 off coupon it will still be $125. Ouch.

The Flu

March 17th, 2011 at 12:40 am

My daughter has been diagnosed with an actual case of influenza. Since I have all of her symptoms, only to a lesser degree (I can still semi-function), I suspect I have it, too. I got that stupid flu shot in October for H1N1 and I honestly feel like I've been nothing but sick since I got it. Now I get the flu, too? I don't think it was worth the co-pay. I've never had such a sick fall/winter season before.

What I really hate is how hard it is to be frugal when I am sick. I have to fight really hard not to order takeaway. I no longer have the urge to swing by McDonald's as I have lost my taste for it altogether (never thought that would happen, but I would just about do anything for egg flower soup that I didn't have to make myself.

What I did do was have DH pick up a rotisserie chicken for $7.99 and I will give him the directions on how to make chicken noodle soup out of the carcass when we are done with it. Unless I can convince him to do egg drop soup (which he finds too complicated). He also got 6 bottles of Gatorade for DD as they were on 2/$1 limit of 6. I hate the stuff and prefer straight up water, but she likes it and we're supposed to push fluids hard. And then $7 for two 1/2 gallons of ice cream. That's about all DD wants to eat. My throat is getting to that point.

I will have to reschedule my dentist appointment again. Even though they wear masks and gloves, this flu is highly contagious.

I just found out that on this new insurance they don't pay anything on prescriptions until you have met the deductible. That sucks. Why did they have to change their insurance? The one we had when DH hired on in October was good. This new one bites. I think I may need to start looking into private insurance after my surgery. One that covers prescriptions. I can handle a high dedcutible but I am on too many medications to not have them covered for several months of the year. I just have no clue where to even start.

Dump Run and House Stuff

March 16th, 2011 at 03:36 am

I am so tired right now. I haven't been sleeping well and I've been doing a lot more physically than normal so everything aches. Mineral Ice is my friend. Today and yesterday DH and I spent working out at the house. We did a dump run today. It was nice to finally get rid of the big pile of stuff that's been sitting in the middle of the backyard under a tarp. It cost us $20.63 to dispose of things, including 2 old microwaves. We put 3.5 gallons of gas in FIL's truck, since we borrowed it and that's how much we used.

I didn't feel like cooking dinner and neither did DH, but we didn't want to spend the money on takeaway, so we got a lasanga at the grocery store (I wanted rotisserie chicken because it was cheaper and better for us but they were out at 6 p.m.) and also bought milk, bread, soup, and (quite unnecessarily) a bag of Bugles. Everything tastes off to me so I wanted something strongly flavored. Normally I don't give in to tha sort of thing, but this time I did. My resistance goes down when I don't feel well. Spent $37.11.

My daughter has the flu (the real flu) and I think I may be catching it. Working outside in rainy weather for two days probably didn't help. I just want to sleep for a week. We won't go out tomorrow because of DS's science fair. We are planning on Thursday, but not if I get any worse. DH might go out by himself.

Last Bills from this Paycheck

March 15th, 2011 at 07:48 am

I picked up 8 temporary checks from the Credit Union today so I could write out the rest of my bills. They were:

Garbage for this house--$50.65
HSBC/Best Buy for laptop (took out of laptop fund)--$100.00
Comcast Phone for old house--$44.92 (complaining did me some good!)
Comcast internet for this house--$65.55
AAA Yearly Renewl Fee--$121
Car Tabs--$75.77

I also had physical therapy today so $90 for that. I was able to walk down the stairs today one foot per stair instead of two feet per stair. I'm starting to see some actual progress on my knee.

Then the car payment is due on the 19th which is a Saturday, so that won't come out until the 21st. I've the money set aside for that and will transfer it on Friday the 18th.

I found $1 in change on the floor of the old house while we were cleaning today so that went into the coin jar. Tomorrow we are going to go do some more work out at the house and make a dump run so we will be borrowing FIL's truck which means putting at least 3 gallons of gas in when we are done. So that'll be $10.40 or so.

Wednesday we might go out again, but will have to be back before six at night for DS's science fair. I hope it's one of those things where only a brief appearance is needed. I'm still feeling under the weather and DD is quite ill. If I can pop my head in and oo and aw over things and then leave DH to hang around and do the parental thing, that would be nice.

We have to go to the court house in the morning to pay for car tabs and find out why we haven't been mailed our propterty tax bill yet, since it's due April 30 and they usually send them out in February. They might still have the wrong address. I need to see about getting my temporary disabled parking permit. Should only need it for six months if all goes well surgically.

I need to fill out my juror's questionaire and then enclose the doctor's note with it excusing me and mail that in.

We might go out on Thursday as well. I have to do a lot of sitting down and supervising DH, but I do what I can. And it keeps him company. We won't go out on Friday because that is our 16th wedding anniversary and we're going to a nice steakhouse for dinner. We had talked about a movie but it's really hard on my bad knee to be straight down on the groung like that. It needs to be elevated after about an hour to an hour and half and most movies today are far longer than that. So maybe we'll just watch a DVD together when we get home.

I have a feeling it's going to be long week.

Pizza Dough Recipe

March 15th, 2011 at 02:51 am

Momcents also wanted my pizza dough recipe so here it is.

1 TBSP active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
1 TBSP oil (I use a basil infused olive oil)
1 TSP salt
2 and 3/4 cups flour

I make this in my bread machine on the dough cycle, but it can also be made in a stand mixer with a dough hook or if you are particularly so inclined, by hand. If by hand knead for five minutes. Let rise for at least one hour (1 1/2 is recommended but my dough cycle is only an hour and I'm impatient).

This makes one 16 inch pizza or two 12 inch pizzas or 4 calzones.

Press dough out on pizza pan (one of those round ones with the little holes works better than a plain pizza pan, but use what you've got).

On the 16 inch pizza I use half a can of tomato sauce and sprinkle on Italian seasoning (or if I don't have it, basil, oregano, thyme and marjoram. Or if I have leftover homemade spaghetti sauce I'll use that. I use a pound of shredded mozzarella (but you could use less, we just like extra cheese) and then top with whatever toppings I have on hand, usually ground beef, sausage, turkey ham, bacon, proscuitto, salami or pepperoni and onions and peppers.

Bake in a 425 degree oven for 25 minutes. I have a gas oven so electric might vary on the timing. You'd have to check it until you know for sure how long it takes in your oven.

My Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe

March 14th, 2011 at 06:26 pm

Momcents asked for my taco seasoning recipe. I make a lot of my own seasonings because so many of the packets have fillers and things from making them stick together, not to mention sugar. I like a pure mix of herbs and spices. It just tastes better and I don't have to worry about allergens. I tend to keep a lot of spices on hand, which makes it really easy to throw these things together.

1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablepsoon dehydrated onion flakes (or 1 tsp onion powder)
3 cloves fresh garlic, crushed (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

If you use fresh garlic and onion flakes those get stirred into the hamburger while you cook it. If you use the powders instead just mix all the seasonings together and add to the hamburger with a 1/4 cup of water and cook the water down until it is gone. You can change the heat by either reducing or increasing the red pepper flakes.

Laptop Fund and Tomorrow's Meal Planning

March 14th, 2011 at 05:30 am

Well, I just went through my wallet and DH's to retrieve one dollar bills like I do at least once a week and I found $4 between us. I also emptied both of spare change and had $1.72 for the coin jar. It looked like I had enough quarters for a roll and I did, and I thought I'd count pennies as well and had exactly 50, so that's another $10.50, so altogether I have $14.50 to add to the laptop fund. Doesn't make up for the $50 I had to take out for DH's carelessness, but it's a start.

Tomorrow's meal planning:

Pancakes with real maple syrup ($2)
Eggs (free, from chickens)
Milk ($2)

Total: $4

PB and H sandwich (.50)
orange (.50)
rice cereal bar (.50)

2 adults, plus DD (too sick to go to school)
Chicken noodle soup ($1.39)
Chili (.79)
Grilled cheese sandwiches with ham ($3)
1 can pineapple ($1)
yogurt ($2)

Total: $9.68

--lettuce (.50)
--cheese ($2)
--hamburger ($1.73)
--taco shells ($1.39)
--homemade seasoning (.50)
Milk ($2)

Total: $8.12

Total for day: $21.80

DS's Birthday Today

March 14th, 2011 at 03:41 am

Eleven years ago today I gave birth to a bouncing baby boy. Today he's still bouncing, though it tends to be off the walls, off the ceiling, off the bed. My husband managed to lose one of his presents last night. He only bought it on Friday, it shouldn't be that hard to remember what he did with it. Wouldn't have been that big of a deal if we had gotten more than two things. It was a used video game that DS wanted desperately, so it was one of those tiny ones for the Nintendo DSI.

So DH made an unexpected trip down to Burlington to a Game Stop there and picked up another one. The first one cost $22. The second one cost $43. Both were used. Needless to say I am slightly annoyed with DH. I took the money out of my laptop fund, because we'd already used up all the birthday money I'd budgeted. Then DH decided it was okay to use the leftover money from the $50 I gave him to buy modeling glue! So I didn't end up with any of the money back.

DS and my mother made cupcakes tonight to take to class tomorrow. A lovely homemade chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting made from cocoa. I was jealous, but we'd already had homemade yellow cake with homemade white frosting for his birthday. Anyway the ingredients for the cupcakes were $2.

Tomorrow is going to be a difficult day to get things down to the school. 28 cupcakes and a science fair project. Oh, well, we'll manage.

Good News

March 13th, 2011 at 09:00 pm

My friend Katie in Japan reported in to the US Consulate who called her sister. She's safe! She's been in a shelter and was finally able to get word out. I am so incredibly grateful for her safety.

Worked Out at the House

March 13th, 2011 at 05:37 am

First, my friend is still missing in Japan. There has been no news, but communications are seriously damaged in her area, so I hold out hope. I have to. I don't want to think about what it means to not.

DH and I went out to the house today and we cleaned out the top floor of the shed and half of the bottom floor. We ended up filling up the garbage can. Rats got in at some point, probably back when DH was always forgetting to shut the door and lock it up after putting the lawn mower away when we still lived there. He had a box of MRE's leftover from his Civil Air Patrol days that he had stored in there. I did not know he had stored food in there or I wouldn't have let him do it.

Anyway, they got in and they chewed through those suckers. If you've ever seen a MRE you know that their packaging is pretty darn heavy duty so it took a lot of effort on the rats' part. Fortunately they were not on the top floor at all. It would have been very hard for them to get up there.

We took a load to storage and I still think everything is going to fit. We've got about two loads of stuff left to pack up and take there. And DH needs to do a dump run very soon. We also need to find out if there is a recycling fee on old microwaves, because we have a couple broken ones. Hmm...I wonder if I could donate them to the technical college? They have an appliance repair class.

We ran out of checks yesterday. I had ordered some but they haven't arrived yet. On Monday I will go to the CU and get some free temporary checks. They will give me 8 and they print all the information on them so they are just like regular checks. Then I can send out the rest of the bills. Thankfully nothing is due before the 22nd so plenty of time to get them sent.

Everyone ate leftovers today for all meals so I'm not doing a meal plan for today. Basically it was leftovers and $4 worth of milk.

Tomorrow's meal plan was picked by my son who will be turning 11:

Pancakes with jelly ($1)
Eggs (free, from chickens)
Bacon ($2)
Milk ($2)

Total: $5

Leftover pizza (free)
Leftover spaghetti (free)
yogurt ($2)
bananas (.50)

Total: $2.50

Beef Pot Roast ($5.89)
Mashed potatoes with gravy (.25)
Green Beans ($1)
Homemade birthday cake ($1)
Milk ($2)

Total: $10.14

Total for day: $17.64 My mother will be eating dinner with us, so dinner will feed five instead of four.

No News Yet and BoA Payment Made

March 12th, 2011 at 02:16 am

It's hard for me to focus on finances right now. All updates from my friend's family have her still listed as missing. I did find her facebook page (didn't think she had one), but no news yet and google's people finder has her listed as missing. But I do know that I can't allow myself to slip up on finances even though there is a giant knot in my stomach.

So...turns out that new prescription isn't covered by my insurance. They didn't deny it, they just don't cover it. Weird. But it's very expensive. $150 for 30 pills. I do have a $25 off coupon, but still. Ouch. And I can sign up to receive more coupons from the company, but still that only brings it down to $125. I am hoping I won't have to be on it very long and can stop taking it after the surgery and also that I can get samples of it from my regular physician since it is so pricey. The pharmacy doesn't even have it. They will have to order it. I'm glad I have samples.

The payment I made to BoA VISA posted this morning and it's back under $20,000 at $19,687.44. So there was a bit of progress made there. I made a payment of $1300 to the BoA Master Card today which will bring it down quite a bit. $84.23 went to interest so subtracting that out should bring the balance to $3260.27.

$24,238.69 previous BoA credit card balances
-22,947.81 new BoA credit card balances
$1290.88 went to Bringing Down the Evil Empire

From now on there will be a lot more progress made each month, though. I thought I would have to wait until May to pay off the MC but I'll be able to get it paid off in April, so only one more month. Yay! Then the whole amount can go to the VISA from May on. That means I should have it paid off in November and not December like I thought. Although I don't know what the surgery is going to cost, but it's probably at least the amount of one VISA payment. So maybe I should stick with December.

I still need to do the rest of the bills for this paycheck, and will probably get that done tomorrow.

Money spent on prescriptions today was $60.25. We got a XL pizza from Round Table for $27.11. DH picked up DS's big b'day present for $65.43. I think that's it.

Worried and Medical Stuff

March 11th, 2011 at 05:06 pm

I am worried about my friend Katie in Japan. She's been teaching English there for the last couple of years and she was just getting ready to come home this month. I haven't heard from her since before the last tsunami and earthquake. She was fine after the first earthquake, but no one has heard from her since the second and it was really close to where her apartment is. I really hope she is okay.

I did finally hear from the doctor's office at 4:55 yesterday. I got an excuse to get jury duty deferred until after surgery which I have to go pick up today. They called in the prescription. Now I just have to wait on the Virginia Mason stuff, which will supposedly be taken care of on Monday.

Made an appointment for my daughter at the doctor's office. Pediatrics was full up even though we called right at 8, so she'll be seeing a physician's assistant. We think she has strep throat and an ear infection. I swear this kid has been sick since October. She's so miserable. And I just got on antibiotics for the sinus thing again two days ago and I woke up with a miserable sore throat. I so do not want strep throat. I can feel one of my ears starting to ache just a little.

I'll be picking up three prescriptions of my own today for my lovely medical cocktail and then if they give something for DD those, as well. I'm not sure how much that is going to cost, but one of them is pretty pricey so I doubt I'll walk away for much under $60. Plus the $20 co-pay for DD at the doctor's office.

I've got to sit down and figure out today's paycheck and get everything going where it needs to go so I can do the BoA Master Card payment. And we need to get gas. Costco is on the way back from the doctor's offices so we can just stop and do that then. That'll probably be around $38.

Grocery, Medical, BoA VISA Payment, Meal Planning

March 11th, 2011 at 12:38 am

Have you ever walked into the store for one thing and then walked out again with everything but that thing? *sighs* I did that today. Okay, I had planned on picking up other things, but the main idea was to get the heartburn medicine which was on sale and I had a good coupon for. DH will pick it up later when he goes out to gas up the car. One of the side effects of my current medical cocktail is heartburn and I'm out of them.

I am slightly annoyed that the Jiffy mixes (the only boxed mix besides Krusteaz that doesn't have allergens in it so it's safe for my son) are no longer all .79. I've finally wiped out my stash this morning so I went to pick up two blueberry muffin and two cornbread mixes. Blueberry muffin mix is now 99 cents a box. On the bright side Cornbread mix has dropped to .59. Technically it's a wash. I paid the same amount overall for four boxes of mix that I used to, but it still rankled a little bit. It is probably the cost of blueberries. I live in blueberry country and last season was erratic to say the least.

I went and parked myself at the doctor's office today. Since they don't feel like returning my phone calls, I decided to go be difficult in person since I was out of medication and they did not call in my prescription on Monday like they were supposed to. Being out was not fun. My body immediately reverted to how it was before I started the med. Anyway, they gave me two weeks worth of samples and supposedly are calling it in. There still has been no word on an appointment with the specialist at Virginia Mason. I don't even think they've called them.

They were supposed to have put that in motion when I had my appointment on the 15th of February and he decided I needed to see a surgeon who specialized in operating on scar tissue at previous surgical sites. I really think that 23 days is well and truly enough time for them to get their act together and do what they are supposed to so I can move on with my life, please, 'kay, thanks. I hate being in limbo.

I also made sure they were going to ask the doctor about a deferral on my jury duty. With what is going on with me I'm simply not going to be capable of serving. I need this surgery first and to heal or it will simply be unbearable. The official resummons came in the mail yesterday and I am running out of time. April 4th will be here before I know it. If I have to go sit in their office every day until I hear from them I will.

I had to cancel my dentist appointment this morning because my symptoms were so bad without the one med. I've rescheduled for next Thursday. I am glad they were able to get me in so soon. At my old dentist if you had to cancel it could be months before you got back in.

I went ahead and paid $1500 on the BoA VISA today. We were going by the bank anyway. Even though we will have to go back tomorrow to pay the Master Card with the extra money from payday and I could have just waited, I figured if we did it today it might actually post by tomorrow and I'd get to see that balance go back down below $20,000. It is a psychological thing. Fortunately the bank is by the high school so it is not out of the way to go there. I will have to wait until Monday though for the MC to post. *pouts* Don't know why they can't do same day posting when you do it in the morning. They used to.

Okay, I feel like I am doing a disproportinate amount of whining today so I will stop now.

Meal planning for today was:

Cornbread Muffins (79)
Eggs (free from chickens)
Milk ($2)

Total: $2.79

2 kids--
PB and H sandwich (.50)
Turkey ham and roast beef sandwich ($1)
plain potato chips (.50)
banana (.20)
orange (.50)

2 adults--
leftover spaghetti (free)
yogurt ($2)
orange (.50)
apple (.30)

Total: $5.50

Salmon (free, from Mom)
fried potatoes (.25)
broccoli/cauliflower leftovers (free)
Milk ($2)
Biscuits (.50)

Total: $2.75

Total for day: $11.04 Woo hoo!

BoA Owns My Soul (I'm just Leasing it Back for 12% a Month)

March 9th, 2011 at 11:38 pm

Well, DH's travel expenses for the month have posted to the BoA VISA and it's not as bad as I thought. I thought it was closer to $1500, but it was $1291.67, a difference of $208.33. Interest is $189.93. Which comes to $1481.60. I've set aside $1500 thinking I'd have to come up with a few hundred more just to stand still this payment, but I don't. And it'll even have $19.40 going to the principle. Yay. That means for sure all extra money this paycheck can go to BoA Master Card.

As much as I don't like standing still on this card, if it means paying off the Master Card in a couple more months, I can do it. Then I can slam the VISA with all the Master Card money. And I have to look on the bright side. At least we CAN stand still on the VISA. It would be much worse if that total were to actually rise overall each month. I just need to hang in there until June and then we can slam that VISA so hard it won't know what hit it.

SA Ate My Last Entry

March 9th, 2011 at 07:12 am

At least I'm pretty sure it was Saving Advice that ate it and not the internets in general. It was a long and detailed post, too, and I do not have the energy to redo it. So, the highlights:

1. Got a ten dollar rebate on some Brita stuff I'll be sending in.

2. Can get a $2 off coupon if I sign up at Brita for filter refills.

3. Got a $3 catalina coupon for health and beauty products at Kmart today when I bought a swimsuit ($20 cheaper than the one I was going to order online).

4. Found a $2 coupon for Afrin nasal spray in a box when I was doing the recycling.

5. Dinner was delicious, but there were no leftover meatballs to make meatball sandwiches tomorrow.

6. I did my meal planning for tomorrow but do not want to retype it right now. It came to $14.65 for the day. I know because I didn't close the computer's calculator yet. I will enter it tomorrow.

7. I made more dough for making bread tomorrow. DH has been snacking on it and the peanut butter without telling me so I can adjust the food calculations. *sigh*

8. Got a gallon of milk for 99 cents today because it had a sell by date of tomorrow. Got my son's special milk for $5.29 a gallon (2 of them) which is usually $5.99. Has a sell by date of 3/23 so it will be good for a while.

9. Spent $14.92 for two prescriptions.

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