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Archive for December, 2011

Grandparents' House and Our Old House

December 31st, 2011 at 02:18 pm

An offer was put in on DH's grandparents' house pending inspection. The inspection has been finished and they are now at the talking stages. The house is free and clear. We had thought maybe they'd have to pay the government back some money from when the grandparents were in the nursing home, but I guess between rental from the house and social security, it covered their nursing home bill as they went.

Anyway, the will stipulates that each of the grandchildren will get 5% of the estate. The house is the only thing left of the estate so if it does sell, DH will be looking at about $7000 to $8000 in inheritance. So will his sister, which will help her immeasurably right now.

It's been a long time since they died, but the house has only been on the market since October. There is a second offer on the table if the first one falls through. I like those odds. The house is move-in ready so closing would be as long or as short as the new owners want. A fast closing would be great, but I'm certainly not going to count any chickens before they hatch.

I'm not sure what we'd spend it on. I guess it depends on how much is left on the credit card after we pay the bonus money and the tax return money to it. I would like to put in new carpets and doors out at the house and do a little touch up painting so we can get the dang thing on the market finally.

I still haven't heard whether or not the HOA was dissolved or not. I've been setting the money aside each month for dues. Normally half year dues are due at the end of January. I haven't gotten any bill yet and it usually comes around Christmas time. We'll have to ask the neighbors next time we go out. It's not much, $100 every six months, but if we don't have to pay it, it can go elsewhere.

On Tuesday we are going to run $2500 through the HSA account and then we will pay $5000 to BoA VISA. It will be nice to see that number drop so substantially. I'll also be making a mortgage payment, paying the AMEX, the electric for the old house, and the tae kwon do payment. I've got a couple smaller medical bills to pay as well. I need to balance the checkbook first though and see exactly where we stand right now.

Still in Pain

December 29th, 2011 at 09:55 pm

First the financial stuff. I added $2.33 to the coin jar today. I paid the water/sewer bill for the old house ($144 for two months, set fee, really wish they'd go on metered) and the propane bill for the old house ($116.25). We finally turned the furnace on about a month ago out there. It is on 55 to keep the pipes from freezing.

I paid $90 for a deep tissue massage today and the monthly family chiropractic plan of $215. It wasn't due until January 3, but he is raising it $10 as of the first, so if we paid early we could get one more month in at the old amount. I'm not upset at him raising it. It's been $215 for the last five years.

I think there is going to be quite a bit of medical expense next month. Fortunately I have the full amount of the deductible ($2500) saved up already. I wasn't wanting to spend it that soon, of course, but I have it set aside, and that is what matters. It won't break us and it won't wipe out our emergency fund.

I am still having a lot of pain right now, hence my quietness the last few days on here. There has been some improvement. The low back isn't as bad and the right side has let up, but the left hip is killing me, along with the piriformis in particular, the psoas muscle, the IT band, the quads, the hamstring and the calf muscles. I am learning far more about the anatomy of the hip and thigh than I ever really wanted to know.

Of course the knee is it's usual self but the rest is actually far, far worse right now. The physical therapist thinks we just went too far too fast and that the hip issues may have been causing all of my knee problems for the last year. I am torn between wanting it to "just" be muscle strain or something serious that can be fixed with more than time and rest.

I will be seeing a PA at my orthopedic doctor's office on January 4th to rule out anything more than muscle problems in the hip. Not my own doctor, or even my doctor's PA, which annoys me, but I would have had to wait until January 30th to see mine, even with such severe pain. My opinion on that is pretty...colorful.

Fortunately my general practitioner will prescribe the needed medications. He knows how much I hate narcotics and will avoid them until I absolutely can't. I've done pretty well with ibuprofen and ice during the day, but unfortunately I need the stronger stuff at night or I won't sleep (fortunately only the 375/5 mg, not the 750/7.5 mg which leaves me looped out of my head), and an 800 mg muscle relaxant. Either way, I'm not driving anywhere.

I'd really like this to be over now. I am so tired of being in pain. I miss my active lifestyle.

/whine

Coin Jar/Emergency Fund Update

December 26th, 2011 at 09:18 pm

I haven't actually spent any money since Friday to have any change to put in the coin jar since I've been pretty much flat on my back in bed or on a recliner until today, but DH has so I raided his wallet (with permission, of course!) and took all his ones and all but two quarters of his change (for parking meters). I ended up with $11.18 to put in the coin jar.

I also transferred $100 to the emergency fund at ING, bringing it to $2863.08 and the total EF to $3571.61, so I have hit my end of the year/December goal of getting the EF to $3500. Yay. Next short term goal is to hit $4000.

I've already earned $4.50 in interest this month according to ING's daily running thingy, so I'm pretty sure I'll get at least five bucks to add to the EF from that by the end of the month.

Some people make fun of nickeling and diming your way to savings, but it certainly works for me.

Christmas Went Well

December 25th, 2011 at 01:34 pm

First off a Merry Christmas to all my celebrating SA friends and a lovely 25th of December to the rest of you.

I think we had the best Christmas ever with the in-laws this year. We went there yesterday and it was just so wonderful. It was the first Christmas without yelling. Usually SIL and ex-BIL or ex-BIL and eldest neice or SIL and eldest neice would get into and pretty much ruin the day for everyone else. SIL's boyfriend is a very nice man. I hope they make it work.

This is our fourth Christmas post ex-BIL and the first Christmas the SIL and neice did not have a big blow up. There were a couple of potential blow outs that could have happened, but either my daughter or I recognized the signs and acted accordingly.

Youngest neice was teasing eldest neice about being held back a year and not being as smart as her and I jumped in and put a stop to that. The year before eldest neice was held back was the toughest of her life with the divorce and being severely bullied at school. Youngest neice hadn't known about the bullying (she was too young then) and it made an abrupt about face in her behavior. Other than that everyone was happy. It was so nice.

Christmas at home has been nice, too. And the list of loot makes me quite happy, too, because no money was wasted this year on things people had no use for or didn't want.

I personally walked away with a new crockpot to replace the one that cooks everything on high regardless of the low setting, an LED candle, a music CD I wanted, an Alaskan Ulu knife (should make chopping onions so much easier) and a Belgian waffle maker. Then in my non-practical presents (that I still wanted) I got series six of the new Doctor Who and two collectible action figures (yes, I'm a nerd). I got Amy Pond and the Eleventh Doctor in his cowboy hat. They still haven't made a Rory doll, but if they ever do, I want one.

The kids were all happy with what they got, though a couple things haven't arrived in the mail yet. DH was happy to, though again, he is waiting on one thing that had to be special ordered. But we are all so happy that there was no fighting this year, we could have received no gifts and it wouldn't have mattered. It was just a good family time. And that's the best present of all.

Last Minute Perfect Gift and Oh, My Aching Back

December 23rd, 2011 at 09:09 pm

Well, we came up with the perfect gift for DH's eldest neice who is impossible to shop for (at least in the amount we are willing to spend on her). It's not one she asked for, but it's something she is dying for. And it's in our price range. Right now, neither of her parents can afford the extra cost for her to take her driving test and then pay for her license if she passes. So I made up a little card saying that we would pay for her first driving test and her license.

I put first in there just in case she doesn't pass the first time, though that's more to tease her than anything else, because by all accounts she is a cautious, careful driver. I talked to her parents first, to make sure it was only money and not them not wanting her to take it yet and using money as an excuse (though I thought that unlikely). She is already on their car insurances so it isn't an issue of that, either. So DH will go with SIL and neice to the DMV the day of the test and pay for it. We won't give the money directly.

Younger neice was easier to shop for (a couple of DVD's and a CD she wanted). We settled on a Target gift card for SIL. She wanted shoes for work and a new top and pants for work. She also needs things like shampoo, toothpaste and general toiletries. Things food stamps don't pay for. So we put on enough for the clothes and the other and anything left over she might use either on food or some other thing she needs or even just wants.

SIL is doing much better. She sounds like she's back to normal over the phone and she was out Christmas shopping today with FIL so she must be worlds better. Hard to believe she was just in the hospital.

I am not doing quite so good. Today during physical therapy my legs just collapsed on me. I was in the pool and it was only 3 feet deep, so not too bad a deal. I've got severe pain in my low back and both hips and then it radiates down the quads and the IT bands on the sides of the thighs (knees are fine, surprisgingly). I got them back under me again and managed to get out of the pool. PT got a walker and I used it to go and change which was horrifically painful.

PT decided to call the session quits and did an ultrasound treatment and then some soft tissue massage and then put a ginormous ice pack on me for ten minutes. I had to use one of the hospital walkers to get out to the car. I am really, really hoping it is just a pinched nerve and nothing horrible like a slipped or ruptured disk.

I made it into the house okay between DH and my cane (though it was pretty excruciating) and put ice on again and didn't move until 3 hours later. We managed to get me to the chiropractor and I had an adjustment (hurt like blazes) and it was really out, but after an hour the pain eased up a little, from like a ten to an eight. My regular doctor called in a muscle relaxant for me and I took that with my hydrocodone. That is helping a little, but not so much as one would think it should. I'm down to about a seven on the pain scale.

I put a call into the specialist who prescribed the physical therapy for my knee, whose nurse was supposed to call me back. I called at one and it is now nine, so I'm thinking I won't hear anything until Monday. *grumble grumble* Physical therapist said to either lay flat or all the way back in a recliner for the next two days. Oh, this will be a fun holiday. I was going to make my Christmas lasagna tonight, but that ain't happening. Oh, well. In-laws will have turkey.

Fortunately the front seat in the van reclines almost fully. DD will have to sit in the third row, but oh, well. At least we can transport me in less discomfort than upright. And then I will go straight to one of the in-laws' recliners. I am taking my icebag with me. It'll be kind of nice to be waited on hand and foot instead of in the kitchen all afternoon, but I would trade it for mobility and no pain any day.

Oh, well. I will still try to have the best time I can. And if I don't get on again between now and Christmas, Merry Christmas to those who celebrate and happy celebratory season to those who don't.

Emergency Fund Update and Musings

December 22nd, 2011 at 01:47 pm

I took the money from the coin jar and deposited it into the safety net portion of the EF that is kept at a local CU. It was $35.50.

$3426.11 Total Emergency Fund
+__35.50 Deposit to SN
--------------------
$3461.61 Total EF

The safety net is now at $708.53. I will stop building it at $1000, so I still need to come up with $291.47 to get that where I want it to be, but this is an open ended goal and I am happy with the slow build up using coin jar money or the occasional rebate check.

Really, I just want enough in the safety net to be able to survive a few days at a hotel if the house burned down or a tree fell on it, or something. Or if I had all four tires slashed or something. After a few days any transfer from the main account would arrive, so $1000 feels like a good number to have locally.

I need to still come up with $38.39 to meet my December/end of the year goal of getting the EF to $3500. I still have $67.35 in my unallocated funds portion of the Holding Tank so I may use that if I need to.

A Stressful Couple of Days

December 22nd, 2011 at 01:13 pm

After not sleeping for 48 hours I got about 9 hours of sleep. I still feel quite tired, but much more alert than yesterday. DH's sister was allowed to go home, even though she looked like death warmed over. I haven't seen that kind of pain on her face before, and I was there when she was in heavy, unproductive labor with her first child, so that is saying something.

According to all the tests her heart is healthy and she didn't have a heart attack. And they don't know what she did have. It was possible there was a blood clot and they just couldn't find it. A lot of other things are possible, too. I really am kind of annoyed at the hospital for sending her home without finding what caused enough pain for them to give her four doses of morphine in 18 hours time.

I had physical therapy in the pool yesterday morning. It seems to be improving my knee, but it is killing my low back and left hip. I've been alternating heat and cold on it, but the muscles will not relax. I think I'm going to call the doctor when he gets back from his lunch break and ask him about a muscle relaxant, because this hurts far more than I want to cope with and the hydrocodone makes me sick to my stomach and it's not a medicine I want to take very often, especially when it was prescribed for my knee pain, not my new sudden back pain, which started with the first pool therapy session and has not stopped.

DH finally got home late yesterday morning and then we spent a fair amount of time at the hospital to see his sister. After that we did some banking. The bonus check had fingerprint security requested so it didn't get deposited until yesterday after all. But they said there was no hold on it, as they've been taking that company's direct deposits for a year with no worries.

I am tempted to send $5000 to ING to sit in that account for the twenty days earning interest before transferring it back to pay on the debt it is earmarked for, since that bill doesn't come due until the 21st of January.

Prayers, Again

December 21st, 2011 at 09:30 am

It's like a roller coaster around here. Up and down, good news, bad news. I could really use a level playing field right about now. I never really believed that old saw about bad things happening in threes, but this is the third time this has happened to someone in the family in two years.

My sister-in-law was admitted to the hospital last night. Mother-in-law called at ten last night. So far today they've run three MRIs, an EKG, and something else...CaT scan, maybe. I don't know for sure. They might be looking for blood clots. I got it second hand from DH who talked to his mother right before he called me. They gave her nitroglycerine.

I feel so bad for SIL's kids. Their father is the one who had two heart attacks last month. Now their mother goes in to the hospital for chest pains? Everyone was hoping it was just an anxiety attack, but underneath it, we all know that FIL had a myocardial infarction just two years ago (which burst, fortunately, while he was in surgery or he'd be dead) and heart problems can be genetic. So we are all pretty freaked out. But what are the odds? FIL, Ex-BIL, and now SIL? I know they say bad things happen in threes, but seriously?

I do not know how SIL is going to afford all this. She has no insurance. She barely makes above minimum wage and of course has no sick pay. She's already not getting child support this month and last because ex-BIL can't return to work until January. We've been helping where we can, but we can't give her that much money. A couple spare hundred dollars helps with groceries and elecric bills, not major tests in a hospital. She may lose her house (which is a subsidized mortgage and in-laws were already helping pay the mortgage) and have to move in with her parents.

DH is going down to the insurance office when he gets home and taking out both short-term and long-term disability insurance. I've had it with all this business. Life insurance is not enough anymore for me to feel secure. Not with those genetics. I'm hedging our bets right now. And darn it, but he is going on a diet and starting an exercise program whether he wants to or not. He's already got high BP. I am not going to lose him to a heart attack.

Also, DH's plane from Seattle to home has been cancelled, because the weather here is bad. *looks out window* No, it's not. Something about a low cloud ceiling and the plane from Hawaii circling the runway and not being able to land, so the plane from Seattle isn't even going to take off and try. It's mildly overcast. Come on, planes, this is why you have technology. So you can land even when you can't see the runway. Urgh. They are offering them ground transportation, which means, traffic permitting, he should arrive here right around the time I am starting physical therapy. I guess he can sit at the airport for an extra hour. They have wifi, so he'll be fine, so long as his sister doesn't up and die while he's sitting there.

Bonus Check Just Arrived!

December 20th, 2011 at 01:37 pm

Okay, so the bonus check came and though it's not as high as rumored (which was 10% of yearly income), it's still pretty high at 5% of yearly income.

Before taxes the bonus was $7203. After taxes it was $5297.81. And we should get most of what was taxed back with our federal tax return since DH has already hit the cap on income tax withholding for the year in early November.

Our tax return is going to be huge between this and our medical stuff. And all of that will go to debt repayment, just like almost all of this.

DH gets home tomorrow, but I will deposit the check without his signature. They will let me do that if I don't try to withdraw money right away. I'm sure the CU will want to hold it for a few days anyway to make sure it clears, so the sooner it's in, the sooner it clears. Also, I don't like keeping anything of value at home as it is always at risk for a break in.

Figuring Things Out

December 20th, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Okay, so, as I've mentioned before I've been saving for this patch where DH will be off work for 4 weeks. So far I have saved $4,483. After running the numbers and setting up the January budget, It looks like we might be able to get by almost completely on the next two paychecks for the majority of the bills between now and the first January paycheck which will be on the 26th. We need a total of $5,200 to meet bills, plus the amount of debt repayment needed.

The next two paychecks should provide between $4800 and $5,100 depending on what they take out for medical. And I know that first January paycheck will have the full medical deduction taken out of it, so need to plan accordingly for that throwing things off.

So my plan for the $4,483 tentatively is to use $2500 for the HSA, which is the amount of our deductible. That will leave us with $1983. If all goes well, during those four weeks and nothing unexpected crops up, I will then put $1000 of the remainder into the Emergency Fund and then when I am sure of where things shake out, I'll add whatever is left to debt repayment. We've had to skimp a bit on debt repayment while saving up the $4,483 so I'd like some of it to go back towards it.