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Archive for February, 2023
February 27th, 2023 at 10:27 am
I am just so sick of it all. Everything. Just every darn thing. One after another after another. Murphy can just be drawn and quartered and whipped and boiled and hung from the neck until dead and take his stupid law with him to the grave. We cannot catch a break. Every time it looks like we will, like we are getting ahead, like we will have a little extra money to start saving for some big goals and a real family vacation, we get slammed by something else and we were already slammed really hard this year with the black mold. Fighting to keep our heads above water just seems so useless.
If I have to go back into debt over having to buy a new furnace because this company will not do their job properly after five or six service calls so far this winter, I swear I will go catatonic. And now they don't want to honor their contract. Nowhere in the contract does it limit visits per year or per contract. Lifetime free service waranty my a--.
Appliance Antics and Household Purchases
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February 21st, 2023 at 09:08 am
The last of the black mold has been removed from the attic and the area was all treated, so I just need to transfer $782 from the emergency fund to pay the credit card and that part of the black mold disaster is over and we can decide whether or not it is worth it to submit a claim to the insurance or not. The new policy starts April 1st and the rates went up $200, so it will not cost $1000 a year instead of $800. The year before that they were $600. Way to go Washington state insurance commissioner, looking out for the people, as always.
There has never been a claim submitted on this homeowner's insurance in all the decades my mom has had it, but we just know they will jack the premiums to kingdom come if we put in a claim. So we need to figure out if it will be worth it. So far, the costs have been close to $6000, but the insurance may not pay the $850 for the dumpster rental, so maybe $4550.
Then there will be the cost of replacing the bathroom that was torn out and they will pay the minimum they can get away with, so it will probably be the cheapest sink, cabinet, shower/tub, walls, paint, flooring, toilet, light fixture, door, water resistant drywall, etc. on the market they will reimburse, not what we will actually spend on it. We can't actually put a shower/tub combo in, because the house was built around the original one and you can't fit one through the doorway, even with the door and frame off.
So we will have to do a tile shower that runs the area the old combo was in, because the way the space is set up, you can't put in a corner shower and get into it without blocking the toilet the one way or climbing over the toilet to get into the shower the other way. It is a small bathroom. And if we put it in straight, we'd have to build a wall, making the shower area two narrow for a fiberglass one and also being right up against the toilet, which violates building codes. A tile shower will be better in keeping mold at bay anyway. I don't know if they will pay for any tile, and definitely they won't pay for the price of the tile we want, but anything towards it would be good.
Then they will want to know why we can't use the old toilet and the old sink. Which we could use the old sink, but the cabinet that held it was infected with mold, so we'd have to get a custom made cabinet which would cost more than a new sink and regular cabinet. And the toilet needed to be replaced, so we might be out on that one. But they had to cut up the shower/tub to get it out.
I'd say if they will pay $8,000 or so then it is worth it for the claim, but otherwise, probably not. There is $1000 deductible, so we are out that regardless. I am hoping to cash flow some of this. I don't want to run the emergency fund into the ground. I'd be happy to get the bathroom finished enough to have the the flooring, sink, and toilet in, and the walls painted, and then we can use it while we wait on the shower until we have the money to start working on that.
This was really not the way I wanted to start out the new year. It's not all bad, though. My son had his sinus surgery and it went way better than the doctor expected. The doctor had thought that at the most he would have a 40% tops improvement in his breathing, but he wouldn't know until he got in there.
Well, when he got in there, though, there was a lot more cartilege to work with than he thought and he was able to repair the collapse with that and barely had to use any artifical cartilege at all. They didn't even have to pack it. The doctor is confident that he should see somewhere from 90 to 100% improvement.
Tomorrow will be one week out and even though his nose is still swollen, he is breathing so much better. He can take the tape off tomorrow. We won't know if it has changed the shape of his nose or not until all the swelling goes down, but the doctor seemed to think it would just make him symmetrical again. We go back in another 3 weeks for a follow up, and since it will be his birthday we will stop at the Red Lobster on the way home for his birthday dinner. It'll be the first time I've set foot in a restuarant in...well, I can't even remember when. I need to remember to put that in the next budget.
Medical Issues and Spending,
When Life Happens,
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February 9th, 2023 at 08:47 am
So the grocery ads are an abysmal flop this week. I mean there is a possibility that there is a good sale on Ribeye steaks at Freddy's this week, as it is 50% off, but they don't tell you off of what price. I hate it when stores do that. They just want you to go there and find out. Especially when there is no other reason to go there. It is on DH's way home from work, so he will stop in and check for me tomorrow. If it is a good price we will buy a value pack, because we do a like a good steak once 3 to 4 weeks, but I'm not willing to jump through hoops to get them. If they are what I consider a decent price then I will give him some grocery money and he can pick them up on Friday.
So, with the bad ads in mind, I went back and looked through the fridge and the backup fridge and realized I don't need as much as I thought I did. I just need some green onions, lettuce, tomatoes, fresh cilantro and parsley, 5 or 6 carrots, and 2 turnips. Maybe some zucchini or yellow squash if they look good and aren't dinky and fresh green beans if they look good, frozen if they don't. I still have plenty, and I mean plenty, of onions, garlic, and potatoes that I grew myself, as well as cucumbers, radishes, a giant parsnip, a puple cabbage, 3 carrots, a bunch of celery, a jalapeño, a fennel bulb, and 9 bell peppers (6 for stuffing, 2 for fajitas, 1 for pizza).
As for fruit, we have 9 lemons, but I plan on making lemonade with 8 of them, 1 lime, 6 pears, but 1 is questionable, 2 avocados, and 2 Pink Lady apples. I plan to buy some sweet apples since those are tart for making curries, and a case of oranges since these will probably be the last oranges of the season before they start being not very good again. Maybe some bananas or possibly something else if anything has a good price and depending on where it is from.
For staples, I need yellow cornmeal and unbleached pure cane sugar. For seasonings I need sweet paprika, smoked paprika, and Hungarian paprika. I'll only get one this week. Spices have skyrocketed. Maybe I'll just get the sweet. I'll probably have to order the Hungarian anyway, but I am on an Amazon freeze this month. I also need a big container of Italian seasoning. I need a big container of fine grain pink Himalayan sea salt, but that will probably have to be ordered, too, and it can wait until next month as I just filled the large shaker up with the last of my old container.
We are good on cheeses and yogurt and peanut butter. Well, I might need an 8 oz brick of extra sharp cheddar. I forgot to check for that.
I have a vague idea of what I'll be planning for suppers this week, but I'll sit down and flesh it out tomorrow morning. It's late and I need to get to bed.
Real time: 12:45 a.m. PDT Real Date: 2/9/2023
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February 7th, 2023 at 11:00 pm
Have you ever had one of those mornings where even making toast seems like too much work? I swear if I don't start getting more than 4 to 6 hours of sleep a night, I'm going to go to become a Mombie zombie. But life went on and toast was avoided and eggs were made and cucumbers sliced and life was brought back into this tired lady's veins.
The grocery ads came out today and I will sit down with them and see what meals I can plan around them. I don't need to buy meat unless they have some tremendous sale or the have steelhead trout at a reasonable price because we love that. Mostly, I just want to see what fresh produce is on sale and if there are any sauces that might trigger some dinner ideas. I am so bored of the usual meals. I want something more exotic and flavorful without being so spicy that my daughter can't eat it.
I can't exactly make February a no eating out challenge since my son has his surgery in Seattle and then has a follow up appointment a week later, but that will just be DS and DH. DS can't eat before surgery and will probably only want a milkshake afterward, if he doesn't sleep the whole way home from the after effects of anesthesia. My husband will need lunch and maybe dinner on that day. On the follow up day they can eat before they go, but they will need at least one meal on the trip. I know they can pack food, but it is a hassle they would prefer to avoid and we don't currently have a cooler. But it won't be out of our pocket, because MIL pays for all travel expenses related to medical visits to Seattle for us. She even pays for the hotel if we have to stay down there, so that takes a big burden from us since we have to go down there so often for our daughter.
Every other day of February I want to do no eating out. We have to tighten our belts if we are going to get that bathroom rebuilt the way we want it to be, which also means no more willy-nilly Amazon purchases. They all have to be perfectly planned and budgeted for. Speaking of Amazon purchases, my new set of pans came and I love them. We seasoned them and they are working so nicely. The instructions were garbage, so we followed the advice of someone in the reviews and it worked a treat. I am so glad I returned the other pan and bought these. They weren't expensive, but I think I will be very happy with them. So far I have only cooked veggies and eggs in them. I'll get back to you after I have made meat in them.
Anyway, time to go look at the ads and then make up a meal plan. Remember when I used to do those? I knew my motivation was around here somewhere.
Medical Issues and Spending
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February 7th, 2023 at 10:12 am
It's been a long several days, but we got to come back to our house on Saturday and it was so nice sleeping in our own beds again. Next time we will definitely spring for the nicer hotel with hopefully better beds, but we did not know how long we were going to have to stay away for and there isn't really any family we can stay for that is set up for more than one person and still be near DH's work, and of course the kids had doctor appointments. Thankfully, it was not too many days.
I was just grateful the city was able to put us in touch with someone so quickly. One day it was just some weird orange mildew on the ceiling and the next week there were black splotches creeping down the walls. We had to have the floors and walls completely gutted. We had been planning on replacing the toilet anyway and the shower/tub combo had to come out because we had to see if there was mold behind it. The sink, cupboard the held the sink, and the cabinet the held the mirror all had to come off, because the wood was probably infected with mold spores. We will also have to be replacing the door and frame and all the trim.
Fortunately the floor tested negative for mold spores. The floor was a little squishy around where the toilet had been from the leak we were going to replace the cracked toilet for (we had caulked it), so we will have to replace about 1 foot of floor, but so much better than it could have been. All of the studs in the walls are free of mold. They put the stuff that is supposed to keep mold from growing on it onto it. Mold remediation alone is $1500 and tear out was on top of that. We had to go half and half with Mom on it and our share is $1925, but some of that was dumpster rental, which I think was $850, but we have it for the month, so we can finish filling it up and there are a lot of things around here that can go.
Anyway, the costs are a big Ouch. That'll be quite a hit to our emergency fund, but I don't know what bigger emergency there is than getting black mold out of the house. Bad news is there is still more, but it is up in the crawl space. It is closed off from the rest of the house and it is where the roof leak was that my mom refused to believe was a roof leak for two weeks and blamed on my son's showers being too long just causing the vent to drip water, at least until the storm that caused a five gallon bucket to half fill with water in six hours. So that has quietly been growing for a couple years
That will have to get fixed next. The guy said it wasn't too bad, but since it had to be a separate job, it would be at least another $1500, plus taxes, but it can be completely taken care of by mold remediation, nothing will have to come out. It's just a flat fee of $1500 per job. Sucks, but it's not a DIY thing and we did do a quick shop around and most places were higher and the city did not recommend those and honestly, neither did a lot of the congregator websites. Most reviews and the city said the others did shoddy work and these people guarantee their work for 10 years barring further roof leaks. So for us, that will be $750 more.
It's rough when we were just starting to put money back into the Emergency Fund, but we have to do what we have to do. I am not going to use my spending money that I have been saving for a year and last year's and this year's birthday money and my Christmas present money on this. Everyone else got to spend theirs through the whole year and I have given up my stuff for other people too many times when I am saving for a goal and I am not going to give it up for this. So I am making other plans to try to cash flow some of this without taking too much from the EF. I can stop contributing to it, but I want to not pull too much. So for Feburary I will at least have that $500.
I have already made plans to purchase a beef in July so I am locked into that, so I can't change that. I have to keep putting money away for that. He is charging the same amount per pound this year as last. He put away plenty of his own hay last year so he did not have to buy any feed, so his prices have remained stable. Kill fee, cut and wrap have gone up, but I know how by how much, so I can budget that and it allows me to figure out where else in the budget I can pull from. This is from things that are primarily wants that we were finally going to get to this year.
In March I was going to save $650 towards a propane grill and put $500 for the Emergency Fund. That $1150 will go towards the bathroom. April is a three paycheck month. The plan there was $500 to go to the Emergency Fund and $2000 to go for the first family vacation since 2013 (I think). What's one more year on the vacation? *sighs* So that's $2500 more for the bathroom. So far we are $3650. In May the plan was to spend $850 on outdoor summer furniture and $500 to the Emergency Fund or $1350. Now our total is $5000. In June I would have put $500 towards the family vacation, $500 towards the Emergency Fund, and $638 towards a Snowblower. That brings us to $6638.
I think we can manage on that, but I know these things always run high. If worst comes to worst, we will get the walls and ceiling built and mudded and paid for. That will keep the house solid again. DH can do the light switch and the light and we can take off the door and frame. Then the people who screwed up the paint last time and caused part of the problem with the orange mildew and doing mold remediation incorrectly (or possibly not at all as the new people said they saw no evidence of it being done) will be coming back to repaint it for free, which will seal the room. We can pick out a light fixture and be done with that.
Our next priority will be to get the plumbing, floor tiling, toilet, sink, shower pan, and shower floor tiling done. I'm not quite sure in what order that has to go with the floor tiling and the toilet and sink plumbing, but I know the shower pan has to be installed by a plumber. We have the tile picked out for the shower walls and the tile picked out for the bathroom floor and shower floor which match and I have picked out the sink vessel I want and am narrowing down the faucet. A vessel sits on top of a cabinet instead of down inside it like a traditional sink.
DH is going to build the cabinet for the vessel to sit on, so we can have something solid instead of the easily breakable cardboard and not really wood stuff they make these things out of today. And it will have a sturdy roll out step stool in the bottom, because my son and husband use that bathroom the most and would like a taller sink to wash up in. They have some beautiful non-wood-colored stains these days if I can't find a natural wood finish I like. One of the bathrooms and the main kitchen have solid wood pine cabinets with a pine varnish already, but I'm not sure if that is the look I am going for. I don't want to do white, but I need something that will go really well with the blues and greens of the sink.
It's going to take a lot of time, but as long as we get it to where we can use the toilet and the sink, the rest can take time. There are still three other bathrooms in this house.
Appliance Antics and Household Purchases,
When Life Happens,
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