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Archive for August, 2011

Well, it was Pricey

August 30th, 2011 at 07:29 pm

But the day was perfect. We ended up getting done early at the nutritionist's office so DH and I were able to drop DD off at her friend's house (DS was with grandma already) and make it to the theater for the 2:15 showing of Fright Night instead of the later 5:20 showing. So we got matinee prices, but since it was in 3-D we had to pay for the glasses rental so not much savings there. Tickets were $11.75 each so $23.50. Then DH and I ran over to the driver's licensing place for him to renew his license, which is $25 now (ouch) but is also now five years instead of four.

Then we went out to dinner at the pricey steak house. We did some things we rarely do, like ordering drinks and appetizers. We each had a non-alcoholic strawberry daiquiri and I got barbecue wings and he got teriyaki wings. He got goulash and I got salad with bleu cheese dressing, which the meals came with along with Texas Toast. He had a 10 ounce medium New York steak, loaded baked potato, and green beans and I had a 6 ounce filet mignon, rare, Bavarian potatoes, and green beans. No dessert as we were full.

We brought home half each of our appetizers (so will have those for lunch tomorrow). I brought home a third of my filet, some potatoes and the Texas toast. My son ate the filet and the toast and my daughter put in a claim for the potatoes if there were any left before we even went.

Dinner came to $79.80 and we left a tip of $15.20 based on the pretax amount of $73). Our waiter was excellent and he even remembered us from when we used to go more often last year.

So all told $143.50 was spent today. It'll be a long time before we splurge like that again, but it was worth it this once as a combo celebration of DH's birthday and our 21 years being together anniversary that he'll miss next month.

I thought the movie was really good for that sort of movie. The acting was top notch, the story was intriguing enough, and we had the theater to ourselves. It was nice not to have people talking around us or have to smell the stink of movie popcorn (I find it smells sickly after all these years not eating it). We had great seats with no seats in front of us so we could stretch out our legs. My back is doing better, too, and it didn't lock up so that was nice.

Okay, now I'm off to balance the checkbook.

Oh, oops, I forgot, DD had to pick up her schedule from school this morning. We paid $35 for an ASB card and $40 for a yearbook (it is $60 if you wait until spring), so that was an additional $75 out for spending.

Splurge Night

August 30th, 2011 at 12:12 pm

It's DH's birthday today (42) and he and I are going to a movie. The two things don't really have anything to do with each other. The movie is more a date that we have pretty much been postponing for the last year. We haven't been to a movie in the theaters in...I'm not sure when. When was Order of the Phoenix in theaters?

I know it's a big expense, but it's rare one of my favorite British actors (David Tennant) is in something besides TV, and since I generally like vampire movies (as long as they don't sparkle or mope) we're giving Fright Night a try. I also like the girl in it, Imogene Poots and I've heard all kinds of good about the teenage male lead and then of course Colin Farrell is a great actor so even if the plot bites (ha ha, sorry), I figure the acting will still be spectacular.

There are a lot of movies I actually want to see right now. The Help. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Franco has come miles and miles since Freaks and Geeks hasn't he?) But this is probably the only one we will see. I want to see it this week because I'm afraid it'll be out of theaters if we wait until the weekend. Stuff does not stay long around here if it isn't a franchise like Harry Potter.

We may or may not go out to dinner. It depends on time. We're going to the 5:20 showing. I'm not sure if that is matinee price or not. It used to be shows up until 6:00, but I don't know anymore. So we'd get out by 7:20 or so, and that is probably when we'd have to pick up DD from her friend's house. DS is staying with my mom.

There's this steak house I really want to go to but it doesn't open until 4:00 and that really messes up movie times if we go early. Maybe we can do it another day. It's been about a year since we've gone there.

DD has an appointment with the nutritionist at 1:00 and we are going to hit a sports store while we are over there on that side of town for DS. He has outgrown the young boy sizes but is too short still for the young men sizes so we are hoping to get him some sweats and swishies that will do. Anything we've found with actual number sizes are about a foot too long.

We are seriously thinking of taking him to the Mens Warehouse and getting him measured and having some trousers tailored to fit him if this doesn't work. It would be a little expensive but he'd at least have a couple nice pairs of pants. I don't know what clothing companies are thinking here. My daughter went through the exact same thing in the switch from girls to juniors and it was an annoying couple of years where she ended up wearing a lot of boys clothes. DS doesn't have the option to shop in a different department like she did.

Another Library Post

August 29th, 2011 at 03:21 pm

I read an article today about how the Seattle libraries have closed for the whole week so they can save $650,000 and stay within their budget for 2011. Of course no one is getting paid this week, so it's an unplanned pay cut for all the library workers. I guess it's better than some other options, like permanently closing branches, but it still makes me shake my head. Seattle is such a bookish town that I'd think the libraries would have full support of the city, but maybe that's just foolish thinking in this economic era.

Two of the books I had on hold came in on Saturday but they didn't call me to let me know until 15 minutes before closing time so I had to wait until today as our libraries are closed on Sundays. DH picked them up for me while I was at an appointment ($60 out for physical therapy). Anyway, I finally have in my hot little hands The Help (big print edition FTW!) and The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing. I'm still waiting on the last Rizzoli and Isles book, but should be pretty close to the top of the hold list as I was in 7nth place the last time I checked.

It'll be a bit before I get to them though as I am in the middle of two other books, one for pleasure and one for learning stuff about investing.

Nice Houses and Shopping Rant

August 28th, 2011 at 04:42 pm

We looked at some very nice houses today, some near the lake (one to two blocks away) that were surprisingly within our price range, some quite near the middle of it, when I expected them to be at the higher end. We had planned to look at six houses today and we did, but only four of them were houses we had planned on looking at and two we went to just because we saw the open house signs. They were all in the same middle school district but some were in the wrong high school district or right on the borderline where the houses across the street were one school and the ones on the other side were another. Most of them were really close to where one of DD's friends lives.

Two of the ones we had planned to go to were locked up tight with no sign of a realtor. We double checked the website when we got back to make sure we didn't get the dates or times wrong, but we didn't. Guess the realtors just flaked. We are definitely getting good ideas of what we want and what we don't want in a home.

We went to JC Penney to try to find trousers for DS and a sweatshirt for DD. I was shocked at how awful the clothes were. A lot of really ugly colors and roughly sewn stitching and one of the saleswomen was really rude to me. I was standing next to a display, with my cane, while my daughter was trying on a sweatshirt and she comes up to me and goes, "Can you move?" in this really snotty voice. No please. No nice tone. So I hobbled out of the way and then she put one shirt on the shelf. It wasn't even the part of the display I was standing in front of. Then she huffed at me and walked off. This woman was in her 60's and should have been far more polite.

Now I'm back home thawing out chicken to make a birthday dinner for my mother. She is 72 today. I have an icepack on my back and it's feeling better already. I am definitely dreading anymore back to school shopping. I think we may have to try Kmart, but at least it has a ride on cart there. I think Target does, too, but their parking lot was so jammed when we drove by today I'm not sure I want to go there. There's Kohls, too, but I've never taken my son shopping there. Macy's might be an option, too, but I'll go with the less expensive Kmart first.

We also need to go the sports store and get specific school colored gym clothes for DS. That annoys me greatly. The high school doesn't make your gym clothes be school colors (though it is far easier to find red and white than it is to find the middle school's dark green. At least he can also do white shirts and gray or black shorts). He has plenty of red or blue shorts that would do without having to buy new.

I think I need a new category for House hunting.

More Back To School Shopping

August 28th, 2011 at 11:47 am

So yesterday the kids and I went to Walmart. Got annoyed right off the bat because there were two Canadian cars parked in handicapped slots with no permits either on their license plates or hanging from their mirrors or on their front dashes. One of them beat me out to the last spot, admitted they didn't have a permit and refused to move.

The store was in complete chaos. Someone at corporate decided that back to school shopping time was a great time to remodel the store. It was an awful experience. They had moved the shoe department. They had moved the sign that said shoes. Had they moved them to the same place? No, they did not. It was like going on a scavenger hunt. I did find some Dr. Scholl's shoes but they didn't fit right. Some were too tight and the others were too large and slipped when I walked. They were all the same size. Go figure.

Then we went hunting for health and beauty which turned out to be in the toy department so DD could get her hair bleach. After that we decided to get the heck out because it was turning into one of the worst shopping experiences ever. We decided we aren't going back there to shop until after Christmas. They said it would be done by November but that's the last time of year I'd want to be shopping there. Other than now, I mean.

After that mess, we went to Sears and were able to park appropriately. My back and leg were already hurting but I made it through. We found three t-shirts and one sweatshirt for DS. None of the jeans or trousers fit right. He's right between boys and older boys sizes so it's hard enough just figuring out where he should be. We spent $42.53 there.

I was wiped out after that and in a lot of pain so we came home. We will try Penney's later today for them and a couple more t-shirts and another sweatshirt. DD needs at least one new sweatshirt, too. First we are going to look at some houses. A really nice one went on the market yesterday. It's near the lake, 2500 some square feet and priced at $269,000. It's also in the school districts we want. There are a few others in the area having open houses, too, so we will look at a few. We found six in our price range. Again, not that we are at all ready to buy yet, but we are getting a good look at what is out there.

Money Housekeeping

August 27th, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Yesterday was payday. This is the small check and it can vary anywhere from $1000 to $1300 give or take a couple dollars and depending on when medical gets taken out. There was no medical taken out of this one so it came in at $1322.42. I sent $586.82 off to the credit card, but $500 of that was left from last week and I just never got around to sending it because we were so busy and I'd already made one payment so it wasn't due or anything.

We still have to do some back to school clothes shopping today before I determine what happens to the rest of this check. Probably some will go to medical and some will go to credit card and I'll save out $200 for groceries. DH has to take DD out to a movie and out to dinner as part of her birthday present (since he wasn't here on her birthday and she wants father daughter alone time), so I'm not sure how much that will be. Less than $100, more than $50 probably.

And I desperately want to go on a date alone with my husband at some point before he goes back. There is a movie I want to see (and I never go to the theater) and a steakhouse I want to go to. DH and I are coming up on our 21st anniversary of being together (half our lives) next month but he won't be home for it so I want to celebrate now.

We didn't get to last year on the big 20th at all. Mainly because my mother was busy with getting my father put into the nursing home and my in-laws were meeting my SIL's boyfriend's parents for the first time (2 weeks later SIL and boyfriend broke up because he was getting too serious. Yeah, that was an important meeting, if you didn't want to get serious why'd you do the whole parents meeting parents thing?). This year instead of an overnight somewhere without the kids we're just trying for a night out, but who knows if it will happen. DD is old enough to babysit DS, but she gets tired of him a lot these days.

I overestimated on a few categories in my holding tank so had some extra money there. I swept that into the emergency fund. It was $47.09.

$2000.96 Beginning EF
+__47.09 Amount Added
--------------------
$2048.05 Ending EF

I had to loan DH $5 out of the coin jar so that will have to be paid back. We forgot to get money out on Friday for the dump runs we needed to do today (DH and Mom are out at the house working) so we scrabbled together all the cash in the house and that $5 was part of it. I'll make sure to replace it on Monday.

Back to School Clothes Shopping

August 26th, 2011 at 05:46 pm

We drove down to Marysville today so we could go to Fashion Bug. It's the closest one to where we live. My daughter was in heaven. She hasn't been in a Fashion Bug since she was little (the one we had went out of business years ago. Anyway they were having a 40% off sale and if you applied for their card you could get an additional 15% off. I usually don't open a card just for the discount, but because the nearest store is an hour away I decided this once I would do it and then just throw the card in the dresser when it comes.

My daughter ended up with three really nice blouses (she had plenty of t-shirts and long-sleeved shirts and jeans, but nothing at all that was dressy) and a leopard print skirt. One of the blouses can be worn in 3 different ways and has a detachable camisole. She also got a black and silver necklace that had four chains and a cross, a silver chain link belt with large round decorations and two bracelets (one black, and one black and silver and she is paying me back for one of the bracelets). We ended up getting $92.36 off and so paid $104.36. Sales tax is why the total is a little skewed even though it was 65% off.

Then we went to Payless Shoe Source and got DS two pairs of tennis shoes, one for gym class that will stay in his locker at school and has non-marking soles and the other for every day use. They had buy one get one for half off and so it cost a total of $43.42. DD got a pair of silver flats and a pair of high top tennis shoes (no PE this hear for her). Hers came to $52.65.

We filled up the gas tank at the Burlington Costco because it is cheaper than the one in town. We spent $53.80 on that at $3.599 per gallon and getting 14.948 gallons. It was at a quarter tank when we got there.

We bought McDonalds on the way out of town so spent $16.25 there. We stopped at the Haggen in Burlington to use the bathroom and I noticed they had Pepsi Throwback there (the store here is out) so bought two half cases for $12.96 (really need to try to wean myself off it again).

So quite a spendy day. Tomorrow we will go to WalMart. I need new shoes and haven't found anything I like yet. They carry Dr. Scholl's which are comfortable. I still need to take DS clothes shopping. He's outgrown all of his pants and most of his shirts. We may head to Sears or Penney's for him. WalMart is usually too picked over at this time of year and his size is always the one they are out of. DD needs a couple undergarments, too. I also told her we'd get hair bleach because she is tired of the green and wants to go back to being a blonde.

After clothes are taken care of then I need to go through the lists of back to school supplies they need, check what is already on the school shelf here and decide what else they need, then will go buy it.

Oh, one of the blouses we got for DD is coppery orange and has a cowl neck. She is one of the few people blessed with the skin tone to wear orange. Anyway, I had the perfect necklace for her to wear with it from my college days, with copper and silver beads. It's not a choker but it's a short one and it works perfectly together with the blouse's neckline. She was jumping up and down. She loves accessories but usually buys ones she can wear with a lot of stuff. This is pretty specific to one outfit so she wouldn't have gotten it herself, but since I had it she's happy to wear it. Recycling, it's not just for soda cans anymore. *laughs*

It was a good day all and all, but I was happy to get home to my ice pack.

We Opened an HSA

August 25th, 2011 at 06:52 pm

And that's an hour of our lives we'll never get back. My gosh, the rules are stupid for an HSA account. Since the insurance is through DH, even though it is a family plan, only DH can withdraw funds for it. Only his name can be on the account. No spouse or co-signer can be on it. I can, however, deposit funds and be a beneficiary. Gee, IRS, do you not think a spouse might need access to this account?

And since the account can be accessed online and transfers can be made online, and they don't know who is in front of the computer screen, I can technically still access the account and be the one who moves the money around with DH's account number and password. Can you say giant loophole?

We set up an HSA savings account only since if we had done an HSA checking account or debit card, only DH would have been able to use it. Since he is in Alaska 3 weeks out of 6 it would be very inconvenient to have to wait to pay medical bills until he was home.

So we transferred the money I had saved to pay Virginia Mason into the HSA savings account and then we will transfer it back to our personal checking account so that I can still be the one to write out the bills. We just have to keep a carbon copy of each check and keep a copy of each medical bill that is paid. I will set up a folder to keep these in.

The lady setting up the account said that we could also do it retroactively on medical bills we have already paid this year, but that we would have to consult our tax adviser to learn how, because she only knew we could, not how. Umm...we don't have a tax adviser. We've never itemized because it has never been worth more than the standard deduction and it's a waste of money to have a tax adviser do your taxes in that case. So I guess that's going to be a lot of boring reading to figure it out on the IRS website.

I have all of the medical bills, or at least the portion we keep from this year, and I think I have all of the check carbons, too, so it'll just mean transferring some money back and forth and figuring out how to do the rest of it. I really wish we'd gotten around to doing this in March instead of waiting until now. Ah, procrastination.

Sale Pending

August 24th, 2011 at 06:52 pm

Well, we drove by the almost perfect house today on the way home from the chiropractor and it had a sale pending sign added to the for sale sign. It made me sad, a little, but in a lot of ways it was a relief because it removes the temptation of moving up our timetable that I think my DH was falling prey to. After viewing the main floor master bedroom, I knew it would be pretty much impossible to set up our furniture in there, and so the dream house turned out not to quite be what I wanted. Oh, I could have easily made do with it, but it wasn't in the cards and we are not ready no matter how much DH wants to be.

We drove by several houses yesterday that are for sale and quite nice from the outside and we have virtually toured online so I am not really worried about us finding a house when the time comes. But that time is not now. I am curious, though, how much the almost perfect house sold for. I hope they didn't get their ridiculous asking price. I hope the buyers lowballed them and got a good deal, because I would hate to see that house raise the taxes for the rest of that neighborhood.

We have been thinking that if we do end up with a two story house, we definitely want to get a chair lift installed on the stairs. They cost about $1500 and make the house somewhat ADA compliant. That way we would not have to rule out two story houses, though I still would prefer one story. Of course my taste for Craftsmen homes is totally at odds with my practical need for a rambler or ranch style home. Any house we get will have to have one shower/bath redone to be ADA compliant and also possibly have hand rails put in longer hallways. Maybe even a ramp to the porch as I'm not sure my disability will ever improve.

I really wish we could build from scratch, but land prices are astronomical and I don't see that as a practical solution. But it would be nice to be able to put in all the handicapped stuff right from the get go.