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Archive for November, 2012

Easy Come, Easy Go

November 30th, 2012 at 09:45 pm

I find that the closer I am to being out of credit card debt, the easier it is to pay the bills. It feels less and less like money slipping through my fingers and more and more like seeing the summit of the mountain and knowing it's not much further and just a little push will get me there.

I got to contribute $100 to the Emergency Fund this time, something I haven't done in a while. I also deposited the coin jar money to the EF as well, so that was an additional $97.05. The EF now sits at $1205.41. It is good to see it going up again.

I funded my funds, bringing the totals to $85 in the HoA Dues Fund, $200 in the Property Tax Fund, $400 in the Propane Fund, $400 in the Vacation Fund, $400 in the Mac Book Fund, and $200 in the Christmas Fund.

Expenditures for this paycheck were:

$1000.00 AMEX
__100.00 Chase VISA
__300.00 To Mom for her utilities
__100.00 EF
___21.98 Electricity for the Old House
___50.00 to the Holding Tank for garbage (not due 'til Feb)
__39.53 DH Life Insurance
__32.70 My Life Insurance
__59.89 Car Insurance
__45.63 Old House Insurance
__41.16 ADT Security for theOld House
_153.00 Storage
_100.00 Vacation Fund
__17.00 Dues Fund
_100.00 Property Tax Fund
_500.00 Mortgageon Old House ($376.14 plus extra to principal)
_100.00 Propane Fund
_100.00 Mac Book Fund
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$2860.88

I also spent $56.20 to fill up the van. It was 3.39 per gallon. It's a little cheaper at Costco, but I really didn't want to go over there today and as long as it is no more than a 20 cent per gallon difference, I'd actually use more gas going over there and then waiting in the interminably long lines.

And I spent $230.41 on groceries. I stocked up on some things that my cupboards were bare on, mostly canned goods. I also restocked the flour stash and bought some oranges and milk. I am definitely starting to see the higher prices now. Even though I didn't buy any meat since we get it at the farm now, I still wanted to see what the current store prices are, and Holy Toledo are they high. I mean some of them are higher than their grass-fed, organic counterparts. I may need to up the grocery budget once we finish eating the inventory in the freezer. I'm trying to hang on to $600 a month, but half of that is spent at the farm.

I paid out DD's allowance for two weeks, $30. DS does not get an allowance until 12/14 as his was advanced to him so he could buy something on a really good sale. I also took out $200 in cash.

I bought DD a new MP3 player. She was willing to settle for the 4GB one, so it was $40. I used part of the $200 in cash for that. Since it was half what I was expecting it to be, I told her I'd just pay for it if she'd do some extra chores for her grandmother. So she's going to clean all of the bathrooms, mop the kitchen floor, vacuum, and clean out Mom's fridge. She's also going to do all of the laundry this weekend.

DD is going to stay after school one day next week to teach her English teacher how to knit using a loom. They're going to knit some hats for some charity and they need to make 26 between now and the 18th. Knitting goes much faster on a loom. I didn't get the details on what charity, but I think it was local. I find it kind of hilarious that my sixteen-year-old daughter is teaching a sixty-something-year-old woman to knit. It's like, shouldn't that be the other way around?

Speaking of knitting, I really need to get going and finish making DS's scarf so I can start on DD's. It's hard to work on his because he is with me so much since we homeschool him. I am trying to keep it a surprise. His sister has made him a hat in the same yarn.

I almost wiped out a pair of elderly jaywalkers tonight. I guess teenagers are not the only ones to dress all in black and take crazy chances walking after dark. If it hadn't been for the man's white hair and the woman's white shoe souls, I'd not have seen them in time to stop. And they were only 20 feet away from the well illuminated stoplight with it's cross walks.

14 days and counting until the bonus checks will be put in the mail...

Payday Tomorrow

November 29th, 2012 at 08:02 pm

Tomorrow is payday and I have $52.85 in cash left from last payday so that went into the coin jar. I will make a deposit into the emergency fund tomorrow. I'm not sure of all that is in there, but I'm thinking it's around $80. I ended up with $250 leftover in the checking account so that will get sent to AMEX along with the regular payment.

I am anxious for December to start. It's going to be a good money month for us, even without the Christmas bonus. It'll be a huge jump in our forward progress. You know that song from the Lion King that goes, "Oh, I just can't wait to be king?" Well, I've got that running through my head only it's going,

"Oh, I just can't wait to be free!
No one saying pay this.
No one saying pay that.
No more paying interest.
No more crazy bank debt.
My money's gonna work for me.
Oh, I just can't wait to be free!"

LOL, I can't help but be excited. It's been such a long, long, long road. This medical debt has been a weight so heavy on our shoulders for so long. Longer than I've been blogging actually. About nine years now, I think. Let's see, the first operation was in...the summer of 2003, so yeah, 9.5 years.

And I mean, we still will, of course, have the mortgage (which will be under $15,000 after tomorrow's payment) and the note on the mini-van, so yes, there actually is still interest being paid, but it's so much lower than the credit card debt. And it's secured debt which seems so much better than unsecured debt.

I'm not sure which way I am leaning after the credit card debt is gone. Part of me really wants to get the house paid off and own it in full. But since it'll be on the market sometime between now and summer, and hopefully it will sell, I don't know if it's really that worthwhile to pay it off. It probably makes more sense to work on paying down the car loan. I don't know. I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

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We received a new tax assessment from the treasury. They've revalued the house at a lower amount, which means property taxes will go down, but also may effect how much we can get for the house when we sell.

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Today was one of those days where I was pretty sure that homeschooling was going to be the death of me. You know, it goes like a breeze when DS is feeling good, but when he's not he turns into a whine machine. Plus he's starting to get that tone in his voice, the one of an annoyed teenager. 12 and a half was about when that started happening with my daughter so I've been expecting it, but I am also trying to nip it in the bud.

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I have to get gas tomorrow. I was so hoping I'd make it to payday without filling up again and I did. The van claims I can drive 22 more miles before it is out of gas, but there is usually still a half a tank left at 0. Not that I am going to run it that low.

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I gave in and got takeaway today. Pineapple chicken, teryaki beef, noodles, rice, Mongolian beef and beef and broccoli. It was unplanned and probably not worth it. It was stress buying pure and simple. After dealing with the whine machine all day I just didn't want to cook and didn't have the energy to fight with myself over it. It was really good and it takes care of lunches tomorrow. $45.60 was the damage.

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I am on day...5, I think of being caffeine free. Hopefully I'll be able to stay off it this time. I am still really tired, but I think it's getting better. As for the health issues, the flu or whatever is going away. I am still a bit stuffy and still have a fever, but there was no dizziness today. And all of the other symptoms are gone, so crossing my luck that I'll hopefully finish this off without catching a new cold. I really would like to stay well for a while.

Medical Stuff

November 29th, 2012 at 04:05 pm

I went to physical therapy today, so that's $90 out. I also renewed a prescription, so that's $40. I didn't actually need to renew the prescription, it's only an occasional medicine, but if I renewed it today I could then renew it again at the end of December. Since January starts the medical deductible over again, I figured I wanted to get some on hand for later when it was $40. Without the deductible it's $119. Two months worth should do me for all of next year.

There's another drug I want to do that with before my doctor retires at the end of the year, but it doesn't have any refills left so I will have to call the doctor and have him refill it. It is $160 when the deductible has not been met, but $40 when it has. It is one for muscle spasms and tremors. I do have a full bottle of them, but I'd like another on hand.

Right now the tremors seem to be under control and I haven't used the medicine since July, but with our big Disney trip coming up in March I want to make sure I have it, because with all the walking we will be doing I will have muscle spasms and tremors. I'd like to be prepared for that. Even if I rent a scooter while at the park there is still the walking from the hotel, etc. I am hoping to get by with not renting a scooter though. I will take my cane so I have it if I need it. I just hope I don't need it. It's been months since I've needed it.

I have got to remember to call PeaceHealth and see about finding a new doctor before I get seriously sick again. I've got the names from Aetna that are preferred providers, but I have to see who is accepting new patients. I want a female doctor this time. At my age, I feel a little uncomfortable to be dealing with male doctors who are so young I'm getting a Doogie Houser vibe off them.

The doctor I had for my knee surgery was young, male, and very disrespectful, and the one guy I saw who referred me to Virginia Mason for the other surgery had an office staff that was so incompetent it made me cringe, so it's kind of made me not want to deal with young male doctors at all. I suppose it is biased thinking, but so what? I get to choose who I am comfortable taking off my clothes in front of, and it's not going to be some rude, wet-behind-the-ears type.

I do need to get established with someone soon though, so I can continue with my maintenance medications. I also should ask my current doctor if I can have my medical file. I'd like to have it for a lot of reasons and if he's retiring there is no point in him keeping it. I just really wish he weren't retiring. But he's 81 so I can't begrudge it. Well, I can, but I won't. It's just hard going from someone you have trusted for literally your entire life, who helped bring you into the world, to a stranger. Not fond of change, me. But I'm going to have to get over it.

New Day, Different Rant

November 28th, 2012 at 06:56 pm

I'm going to put on my serious hat and talk about an advertisement that I watched today that made me feel like something is really wrong with our priorities today in this country. Now I don't watch a lot of television programming because I don't have cable service by choice, but I do pick up a couple of shows on the internet and of course those do have commercials, usually the same ones repeated ad nauseum. (Ha, that's a pun!)

The one I saw today I only needed to see one time for it to make a distinct impression on me, one that I think will probably stay with me for the rest of my life. Of course, that's exactly what the goal of commercials are, to stay with you, to make you want to buy things. But in this case that impression was extremely negative. I mean, negative on a level that was almost visceral.

The commercial was for the Dodge Big Finish Event. The words that made me go from general eye-rolling at buying a car for Christmas being over the top in the first place, to complete disdain were: "Let's see the neighbors compete with that."

I repeat: "Let's see the neighbors compete with that."

We are in the worst, yet still unacknowledged, depression this country has seen in my generation's lifetime. People are worried about having enough money to put food on the table and scraping together what they can to buy meager Christmas presents. People are worried about keeping their jobs. People are worried about what to do now that their homes have been destroyed in a storm so violent some people are still without power because the infrastructure was completely destroyed.

And Dodge has the audacity to want people to buy a new car for Christmas. Not, perhaps, because you need one. Not because your current one was flooded out and you need to replace it. But because if you buy one of their cars, you'll somehow be better than your neighbors. You'll keep ahead of the Joneses. Maybe someone forgot to send Dodge the memo that the Jonses are on unemployment and so are the Smiths.

Christmas is about the Christ child being born into humble circumstances. It is, even for non-believers, a time of generating peace on Earth and good will towards your neighbors. It's about giving a hand to those in need. It is for showing brotherly love not unbrotherly hubris. It is not about one-upmanship. It is not about trying to make yourself better than others because of your purchases. It is not about worshipping at the altar of rampant consumerism. At least it shouldn't be.

I'm sorry, Dodge, but not only did you miss the boat on this one, you're not even in the right ocean.

Insert Clever Title Here

November 27th, 2012 at 08:11 pm

I really don't like these shorter days. Getting up in the dark to take DD to school is not my favorite thing to do. Some kids have to walk to school in the dark and of course being the sensible and responsible teenagers that they are wear all dark colors and cross in the middle of the street. Ditto riding their bikes without head or tail lights. Or helmets.

I can't decide whether it's a death wish or the invincible gene. Either way, I don't want to end up with splattered teenager all over my car. It's dirty enough as it is. (Sorry, morbid humor. I'm just kidding in case anyone took that seriously). I get so tense because I am always afraid a kid is going to dart out in front of me. It's happened enough times as it is.

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DS is still in a lot of pain. I went to the store today to get more medical tape, neosporin and some epsom salts for him to soak his feet in. Then after the soak we have to pour a bit of hydrogen peroxide on his toes, then dry them, then put neosporin on the wounds, then put guaze around them and tape it in place. The one toe looks better than it did yesterday. The swelling has gone down. The other looks worse. Anyway, I spent $12.43 on the medical supplies.

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It seems like my cushion is being wittled away. Instead of an extra $400 to send to the credit card, I'll have closer to $300. Oh, well. Life goes in it's own direction, which is not necessarily the direction you want it to go in.

I'm just trying to hold out and not order a pizza. I think I am going to bump up pizza night to tomorrow. Homemade of course. I need to get past the desire to order one takeout. Mine always taste better.

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We got the invite to DH's Christmas Party for work in the mail. December 14th. Not that we can go even, it's in Anchorage, but that means the bonus checks will be given out to those who go and mailed out to those who don't. Which means we should have it in about 3 weeks time. I so hope it is the rumored amount, which is twice what last year's was. I know I can do a lot with it either way, but to be able to pay it all off at once...well, I can't help anticipating it.

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I am on my third day of no caffeine. I was throwing my diet out the window and up to about four cans a day of Pepsi Throwback. It was bad for me and it was getting to be an expensive habit. So here's hoping I can keep it out of the house. I am really tired, but I know that will pass in another couple of days. Already my stomach is feeling better and my heartburn is gone. I don't know what gets into me. I try to keep our food pretty natural and ethical and then I just kind of throw it out the window on one item. Human nature, I guess. Pepsi Throwback is actually in the 100 mile food shed, there's a bottling factory one county over, but that is not a good excuse!

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DD's MP3 player broke and she about had a nervous breakdown. She's somewhat OCD (not as bad as DS) and listening to her music about a half an hour before bedtime is part of her calming routine. I helped her figure out one of the free internet radio things that you can put in one artist and then it plays other artists in that vein. She was a little worried about it running all night and I told her it was fine as long as it wasn't loud enough to disturb the rest of us.

I also told her we could buy a new one on Friday, that I'd advance her the allowance to do so. She's had her current one for several years and taken very good care of it, but it just won't turn on. Fortunately, she had all her music backed up on her computer, so the loss isn't total.

It's been such a long day. I'm glad that it's over. I'm looking forward to payday on Friday. I want to see that debt total go down. One more nail in the coffin of the Evil Empire.

Coin Jar and GC Updates

November 26th, 2012 at 10:23 pm

I recieved my $5 gift card to Amazon from Swagbucks and just racked up enough points to order another one. Right now my account sits at $50 worth of GC's. Searching went well today with a 100 point search. I thought it would take me a couple more days at least, but nope.

I also deposited $3.09 to the coin jar. I need to make it over to the EF CU to deposit that money. I just don't seem to have as much free time to do it these days.

Finally! In Which I Ramble A Lot

November 26th, 2012 at 07:18 pm

We finally got a hard frost last night. And I do mean a hard one. When I went out at 7 to take DD to school there was thick ice on the windows. Fortunately,I had some spray on de-icer. I started the car heating and defrosting while I sprayed it on. Unfortunately, there was a layer of ice on the inside of the windshield and you can't spray de-icer on the inside because of the fumes. I had to scrape it. It wasn't nearly as thick on the inside.

I checked all the windows to make sure nothing had been partially down overnight to cause it to freeze inside, everything was up. Then after I scraped it we had to sit for a while with the defroster going to get rid of the humidity that was making it fog up. The car probably ran for 20 minutes before the windows were safe to see out of. Fortunately, DD's school doesn't start until 7:45, she just likes to get there early. She was still fifteen minutes early.

I was really surprised because we've had such mild weather this fall, I was expecting it to continue. The broccoli looked like it was a goner this morning, but the leaves all thawed out just fine by mid-day and were looking as healthy and beautiful as ever.

I had to take DS to the foot doctor today. He had gotten inflamed ingrown toenails on both of his big toes. It runs in the family. Of course he did this early in the holiday weekend so he's been miserable pretty much since Thursday. The doc drained them and packed them with cotton and prescribed an anti-biotic.

We'll go back on Monday next to see if they need surgical correction after the swelling has gone down. It's a very minor surgery, he just cuts away a bit of the tissue and any torn part of the nailbed. They use a local anesthetic, lidocaine. DS had a lot of relief just by having the side of the nailbed packed with cotton. It will probably have to be corrected though if he is anything like me or his father. Bad toenails or not, DS has the nicest looking feet. He could totally be a foot model or something.

Anyway, so we paid out $4.76 for his antibiotic and I renewed my BP med while we were there for $40.00. And since that store happened to have some Haagan Das vanilla ice cream I got that too, for $6.49. A little more than I like to pay for it, but at least I found it. Considering I wanted to just tool on down the road a bit to Arby's and buy dinner instead of coming home and making stir-fry, that's not too bad. Arby's would have added about $35. And my cooking was better anyway.

I think the heater is going to have to stay on 70 tonight. I can feel the chill through the house despite having on slipper socks, a sweater, and an afgahn over my lap. I've pulled out the extra blankets for everyone, but we may still be sleeping in sweats tonight.

All of the birds were out today, even Silver (the shyest and most timid) and Lady (the duck). They've decided to be free range apparently. But they stayed in the yard and still put themselves into the coop a half hour before dark. Lady was less than pleased that her little pond was frozen over and she let the whole world know. Not that she's super loud or anything, it was just a constant murmur of complaint.

Fort Knox remains empty. It's just as well. It's warmer in the chicken coop with all 13 birds sharing body heat. We have to be a little more aware of the waterers now, making sure they aren't frozen. They will be eating a lot more feed now to keep up their body temps and be able to lay eggs. We got 7 today. There were five delivered to the box on the back porch. Both leghorns are laying in there now. Because why use a perfectly good set of nesting boxes when you have access to the world's best cardboard box?