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Archive for May, 2011

EF Back Over $1000

May 30th, 2011 at 04:42 pm

I added $200 to my Emergency Fund today, bringing the new total to $1042.27. $827.36 is at ING and $214.91 is at local CU#2. I will be adding my coin jar savings tomorrow at CU#2 since I didn't make it over there before we went to Seattle. I've figured out the budget through June 24th and balanced the checkbook. I have $500 in savings for medical bills as they come in. I will be able to set aside $1000 next payday for that as well. I sent $500 to AMEX today and set aside $100 for property tax and $17 for dues.

Since I've budgeted very carefully we won't have to skip a car payment in June unless the medical bills are just ridiculous. We are still two months ahead and I'd like to save those two chances for a time when I might need them more.

My mother has said we can suspend all further payments to her until all of our medical bills are paid (originally she just said two months) since there will be one more surgery than was expected, so long as we keep doing the $300 worth of utilities and pay the garbage. That will help a whole lot. I wish all these surgeries could have waited until 2012 when our last credit card would be paid off. I'm still trying to be optimistic that we'll get it paid off this year.

The kids want to take a road trip instead of going to camp this year. That will save us quite a bit of money. Three days driving around the Olympic Rain Forest and touring the capitol (overnighting with family) and then we'll end up in Seattle at the Inn at Virginia Mason the night before my surgery, stay there for two days and then come home. I have to overnight in the hospital one night so after I come safely out of surgery they will go and do some stuff in the city center, since I'll just be asleep anyway.

Mom will drive me down for my follow up three weeks later since DH will be back in Alaska then. I won't be allowed to drive myself yet and anyway, Seattle traffic scares the heck out of me. While I am at VM Mom will visit my dad in his nursing home in Issaquah. I'm not sure whether we'll take the kids or not.

I'm hoping MIL will take them overnight which she almost never does. I can count on one hand how many times they've stayed overnight there and they are 14 and 11, so it probably won't happen. SIL would likely do it, but she has to work. They are old enough to stay by themselves during the day, just not at night. If they have to come, they have to come, but Mom will keep them with her. It'll all work out one way or another.

Gas Went...Down?

May 30th, 2011 at 12:39 pm

So I noticed when I was at Costco yesterday that gas prices had dropped significantly to $3.69 per gallon. On our trip to Seattle and back I noticed quite a bit in the $3.74 to $3.79 range. Our previous fill up had been $4.09 a gallon. Everything I am reading keeps having gas prices going up, up, up, but what I am seeing is that they are going back down, even on a holiday weekend. I am curious as to whether this is a local thing or if the rest of you have noticed a downward trend in your area the last week or so?

Back from Virginia Mason

May 28th, 2011 at 02:07 pm

I can't tell you guys what a good experience this was for me, despite the excrucitaing amount of pain the tests caused. I have never had such good doctors, nurses, and technicians before in my life, and I've seen a lot of medical people. The two doctors, nurse, medical assistant, and x-ray tech that were on my team were all so awesome. The one nurse kept me as distracted as she possibly could (she was so funny) and the one doctor held my hand through the worst of the pain, though I thought it might have been better if it wasn't the surgeon's hand that I was squishing the heck out of.

They definitely found the problem, but NO TUMORS! Still, this whole thing is going to be complicated. It will require 2 surgeries, several weeks apart, since I will have to be totally healed from the first one. And the doctor said the first surgery may or may not improve symptoms. It might even make things worse until they can do the second surgery which will make things better. While I didn't like hearing that, I appreciated his honesty.

Funny thing, I saw this specialist because it would have been September before I could even get into the female doctor (his partner) that the specialist here in town recommended. Well, this doctor will be having her assist on the surgeries, which means I'll be getting the doctor that was originally recommended without having to wait to have seen her. Interesting how life works out sometimes. Plus, did I mention how awesome the male doctor is?

I really liked the hotel we stayed at, The Inn at Virginia Mason. You never even have to go outside to get to the hospital. They are built on this massive hill and there's an elevator that goes from the first floor of the hotel down into the hospital and then you walk a long corridor to get to another elevator that takes you to whatever floor of the hospital you need to be. Which was great, because I never woud have been able to walk up and down that steep hill with my knee.

The hotel was very nice. It was old-fashioned, the closet doors had glass ball door knobs! It was very clean, and our room was a bit minimalist decor wise and amenities wise(had no hair dryer or iron/ironing board), though it had a tv with over 20 channels (we never turned it on) and free WiFi. The beds were comfortable and the bathroom was so big you could have fit another bed in there and still had room to move around. If there's one thing I hate at a hotel, it's a postage stamp sized bathroom. The room itself was quite spacious, too. Couch was kind of hard.

They had a fabulous and reasonably priced restuarant that had the best French Dip sandwich made from sliced prime rib. DH and I split one and it's accompanying stuff. It was quite filling. We had brought our own gallon of milk in a cooler with us from home so we saved a lot on drinks while there. Also instead of getting room service, DH just called it in and then went down to pick it up, saving the surcharge.

On our way down there we stopped at the Alderwood Mall for an hour to avoid the worst of Seattle area rush hour and I found a purse with a long shoulder strap that allows it to go across the body and rest comfortably at the hip. We found it at Macy's. I was so thrilled. It was a little pricy, $78 marked down to $58, but after looking through Nordstrom's ($398 for the only purse I liked there and it was only made from vinyl!), I was happy to find one I liked. The strap is fastened on securely through buckles, it's roomy enough for a paper back, it has all the compartments I like, and it is the most gorgeous shade of blue ever. Plus it's leather. And it was $11 cheaper than the one I found online (not including shipping). The purse department at this Macy's, I swear, was as big as the entire Macy's store in my town.

We spent $350 of our medical travel budget on the hotel, food, and gas. The purse money came out of my clothing replacement fund. I have $50 left so that is going into the EF on Tuesday.

Leaving Soon for Virginia Mason

May 26th, 2011 at 07:52 am

We'll head down to Seattle in a couple of hours, sometime after my dental appointment. They are going to fill the last two cavities. Anyway, my appointment at Virginia Mason is tomorrow morning at 9:30 so those of you who pray, if you'd pray that all goes well, that nothing too terribly bad is found, and better still that they can surgically fix me. Also, that I don't have an allergic reaction to the contrast dye, because that always makes stuff extra fun.

Probably going to spend about $400 between today and tomorrow. I am taking $500 just in case. I wish we could afford a rental car on top of this. The trip would go better in a vehicle I can stretch my bad leg out in. Way less cramping.

The doctor said to bring over a temporary handicapped parking permit form and he would fill it out for me and we can hit the courthouse on the way out of town. Since my knee and my quad are acting up something fierce right now that will be very helpful.

Savings and Medical, What Else is New?

May 25th, 2011 at 05:00 pm

I added $4.96 to the coin jar today and that gave me enough quarters to roll them up. I've got $41.50 ready to deposit into the safety net portion of the EF so will go over to CU#2 tomorrow after the dentist but before we leave for Seattle to deposit that. That will bring my EF total to $887.86.

I am getting a little nervous about Seattle. Meeting a new doctor for the first time unsettles me. I hope he has a good bedside manner. If not, he's got a marvelous Italian name with big, rolling vowels that I can amuse myself with saying in my head to keep my nerves down. It's the sort of name you can't help but say in an Italian accent, too. Well, I'll try to help it if I have to say it out loud, but if the doctor is anything like his name, fun and interesting, then I will be happy. Yes, I am that geeky.

DH and I are comtemplating going to the Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum while we there. Really it depends on how my knee reacts to the previous day's car ride. If the muscles sieze up then walking around a museum won't be much of an option. So hopefully it will be okay, especially after elevating it all night.

I need to go and check whether or not our hotel has free WiFi or a pool. Forgot to look into that when we made the reservation. The pool would help me work the kinks out, especially of my leg. Now I'm almost wishing we got the room with the jetted tub. Oh, well. Maybe they have a hot tub.

Random Stuff

May 24th, 2011 at 05:54 pm

I paid my dental bill today when I took DS in for his cleaning, $345. I also took DD in to get second cervical cancer vaccine, which was no cost, at least up front. DD has a dentist appointment tomorrow and I have one Thursday morning to have two cavities filled before DH and I head down to Seattle for our overnight before my appointment at Virginia Mason. I will probably have to take hydrocodone for a couple of days again. Oh, joy.

DH comes home tomorrow and I will be so glad to see him. I am so stressed out right now. I'm not sure why because everything is running like clockwork, but it may just be it's been a super long three weeks with him gone this time around.

I added $5.71 to the coin jar today. I just need three more quarters and then I can roll them and then I will make a deposit into the local safety net portion of the EF fund.

I spent a little money at the grocery store getting some milk and a rottisserie chicken. DS has a concert at 6:30 and has to be there at 6:10 and his dental appointment lasted until almost five so I didn't really have time to make anything, since I didn't exactly plan ahead. Which I should have done, but oh, well, I will stretch that chicken to within an inch of it's life, and it will become enchiladas and quesadillas and soup.

A Case of the Between Payday Blahs

May 23rd, 2011 at 09:27 pm

Another day without much happening. Sometimes I get so bored between paydays. It's like I get a little lift on Friday when I can watch my debt go down, down, down, but then there's nothing intresting with money the rest of the week. And then when Friday comes again, I get excited, because that's one more nail in the coffin of the Evil Empire. If it's like this now, I wonder what it's going to be like when we pay off this last credit card? Of course there will still be the car to finish paying off, and then totally building the EF and short term savings as well.

It's hard for me to keep my enthusiasm high. It's like we created this budget and we're just sticking to it, and everything is planned and set and...I don't know. I don't like being so indifferent between paydays. I suppose it's natural as we've settled into a pattern, but I kind of miss that excitement I started this year with.

I spent $1.95 today so I have $3.05 to add to the coin jar.

A No Spend Weekend

May 23rd, 2011 at 09:42 am

It was a pretty boring weekend, actually as we stayed in. About the most adventurous thing I did was watch a rather mediocre new episode of Doctor Who with the kids.

This morning I picked up a gallon of milk and then had $2.06 to put into the coin jar.

I have physical therapy at noon today so that will be $90 out.

I transferred $1000 to savings for upcoming medical stuff. I have $600 or so left in checking and $55 left in cash for the week. $345 of that will go to pay the dental bill.

We made reservations for our overnight at The Inn at Virginia Mason next Thursday night and refrained from getting the room with the jetted tub that would have cost over $50 more.

I need to call the doctor's office and see if I can reschedule DD's follow up vaccine for another day this week. It was scheduled at the same time as her dentist appointment and I didn't realize it until Friday when I got reminder calls for both. It may just be easier to reschedule her dentist appointment, though.

Payday

May 20th, 2011 at 08:34 pm

I haven't done much with finances today, to be honest. I did pay on the Bank of America VISA, $2000.

$20,844.54 original balance
-$2,000.00 amount paid
------------
$18,844.54 new balance

I got $100 out for cash. I will do the rest of the bills tomorrow. I got a dental bill in the mail today of $345. And that's only for what I've had done so far, not what I have yet to do, which will cost about the same amount, I think. Seems like it never ends.

Not a Spammy Purse Post

May 19th, 2011 at 06:51 pm

So I'm looking for a new purse. The shoulder strap on my current one is about to give and it's not one of those ones with the fasteners on the end, so you could substitute a strap off an old one, it's the sort with the strap sown straight into the bag. Which I really hate, but at the time it was the only long strapped purse I could find locally.

Today I've been perusing the web looking for a properly strapped bag, one that has a shoulder strap and attaches with buckles or fasteners instead of being sewn directly into the leather, and is big enough for all my stuff without being so big it looks like a diaper bag or something. I will never give my business to those two purse companies that keep spamming here, but I did find two other brands, one I'd heard of before and one I hadn't. Fossil I'd heard of but the only bags I like of theirs tend to be around $128. The other bag I like is from a company called Tyler Rodan and it's $69.

I don't mind spending the money if it's going to last. At my current rate I am going through a ten dollar purse every 3 months or so. If it's a good company that makes solid purses then it's worth it. I used to have one brand that was a little pricey but would last five years but then it stopped making bags with shoulder straps.

I guess what I am wondering is whether or not anyone has used either of these brands of purses and if they have had a good experience with it or a negative one?