Home > Archive: October, 2023

Archive for October, 2023

Pipe Dream We Probably Can't Afford

October 20th, 2023 at 10:22 pm

I am thinking about saving up to buy land.  I mean, once the EF is saved up for. So in the future.  It's kind of a dream.  Not necessarily land to live on.  But maybe some land in the county with one cleared acre, where we can put in a cistern and a greenhouse with guttering that harvests water through a series of filters and into the cistern.  Then we can grow a big garden and always have the water to water it without tapping into city water.  Getting a permit for a well is very hard right now, and expensive, but there are no permits needed for a cistern or gathing rain water. I'd also like to build a roof over it, with guttering to collect more water and make one end an RV shed.  If the cistern is out of sight, it is out of mind for any drone flyovers, just in case there are any bad actors out there.

I'd like one of those giant greenhouses that look like hoop houses, maybe even two.  We could grow so much more food there. and it would be protected from the elements and extend the growing season.  We could put up shade cloth easily when it got too hot and run fans and in the fall we could keep it warmer by battening down all the windows and moving to just planting down the center.  There are also even propane heaters if we wanted to try to grow into the cold part of the winter, but I doubt we would do that, since the roads are pretty impassable in the area I'm thinking for at least one month of the year.  But growing 9 to 10 months of the year would be great.  And we could put gutters on that for rain water catchement as well.

And I'd like to have a big pond and looping creek waterfall, with both a pump built and a solar fountain.  The pond we could stock with trout and have an automatic feeder.  And it would have the natural bog section for filtering out all the fish poop, that you don't go into, and we'd add water flowers as well as flowers and plants along the banks and rocks.  Not quite a tropical paradise since we arent in the tropics, but there are some amazing grasses and other style plants that grow here that look very tropical and they even overwinter.  And then there are some tubers like caladium and elephant ear hostas that you have to dig up and overwinter inside, but they are so worth the effort.  Lilies you can leave right in the ground and there are some that look very exotic.

Eventually we'd put in a septic tank when we could afford to so we could have a hookup for a small shed with a toilet and sink in it, maybe even a shower if we went swimming in the pond.  We would use solar to heat the water.  Meanwhile, we'd build an outhouse in the woods and keep a bucket of lime and some hay or straw to throw down the hole for proper composting.  And it is not hard to set up a solar shower/washing station to wash your hands with.

And the very first thing we would do when we got that land, before we did anything else would be to plant fruit trees, fruit bushes, and their pollinators.  Fruit trees take the longest to produce food.  5 to 6 years to produce fruit, so you have to get them in the ground the minute you move somewhere.  And I'll want a couple of Willow trees if there is a body of water to sustain them and I will want flowering pink cherry trees and flowering dogwoods planted along the driveway into the property so that when they are big enough they will form an arch over the driveway.

And maybe one day build a fully accessible house to my exact specifications, big enough to fit a wheelchair.

Will this ever happen, I don't know.  Land is getting more and more expensive, which is why I'd like to buy some here sooner, rather than later.  Otherwise, I'd have to move away from the coast to get a really good deal and I love living here even if the politics are not something I agree with.  I can't move to a place that there is not proper access to a high level medical facility or a really good ER in a regular hospital.  If I don't have both of those I risk my daughter's life and probably mine, too.  The cheapest places to live don't tend to have Viginia Mason, Swedish, John Hopkins, and the like.

So maybe this will always just remain a pipe dream.  Like so many of my dreams that came screeching to a halt the day my daughter slipped on those rocks and fractured her skull and changed her and our lives forever.  But maybe we will find the right place already built.  Because fixing up this place once we fully own it outright is not something I really want to do.  I really just want to start over with a house that isn't over a century old with a basement that doesn't flood in bad rainstorms, because I can't climb down the stairs to turn on the pump anymore.  And I'd like a house with modern wiring that is up to code.  I just want that option.

Net Worth Update

October 20th, 2023 at 09:03 pm

I know I made at least one report between the side bar and now, but I can't remember what it was, can't find it in the blog post, and forgot to update, so I will make sure I update it this time.  I am going off of the side bar for this, though.

Our 401K now sits at $110,046.18.

Our IRA has been all over the place, but currently rests at $12,409.31

Our total retirement now sits at $122.455.39 up $9111.88 from the sidebar total of $113,343.51.  Excluding company stock of course, which is added into the total net worth.

I also went through the savings accounts.  I know I am lazy about recording interes these days.  I know I save $70 each month for garbage, but the amount paid is $67.28, so I just leave the extra in savings, and I know I oversaved on the car insurance I just paid, because it was lower.  So I swept that all into the Emergency Fund and it is now at $10,572.11 up from $10,441.01, a difference of $131.10.

This increases net worth by $9,242.98 from $207,517.35 to $216760.33.  And the house was just assessed by the city auditor as being worth a bit over $800,000.  That will automatically make us millionaires when my mother dies.  But I'd rather have my mom than the house.  Next year the valuation of the van will go down, but we should again get more company stock then the decrease in value should be.  It is still valuable to us due to the low mileage.

So over all we are moving ahead.  Not as fast as I wish we were, because our IRA keeps tanking, but we are getting there.  The 401K isn't doing all that great either.  It just looks like it is because DH has been working so much overtime since April that his contributions and the company match going in have made it really grow.  But not much else has happened.  Sure we've bought stock, but whether or not they've done anything is hard to tell, becaue it sure seems like the amount we put in and work has put in, is the amount we have.  I know one day it'll start making a profit again, but very unlikely for the next 15 to 18 months.  Hopefully, not longer.  It depends on how bad the recession gets, although I would argue it is a depression and not a recession, looking around at many of the people here.  They just keep redefining the words, so as not to look bad for the history books.

As Oliver Anthony would say, "And they think you don't know, but I know that you do."

And as Forrest Gump would say, "And that's all I got to say about that." 

Payday Report for 10/15/2023

October 18th, 2023 at 12:25 am

Friday was payday and I am slow to get this up, but I really do want to get back into the habit of this, but I certainly am not fast off the mark in posting it.  At least I record it fairly quickly into my spread sheet.  DH worked a lot of overtime on this paycheck as well.  $1734.03 was overtime.  I think this will be the last one with OT on it, or if there is any on the next one it will only be a couple of hours.  I will miss the bigger checks, but it sure was nice to see DH walking in the door at six last night and that would have been five if he hadn't gone to the pharmacy first.

So here is how the budget shook down this pay period:

$539.82 Tithe

_500.00 Utlilities

_500.00 Grocery Envelope

_500.00 Medical Fund

__75.00 Household Envelope

_500.00 Bathroom Fund

_167.00 Car Insurance Fund

__70.00 Garbage Envelope

__50.00 DH Spending Money

__50.00 My Spending Money

__60.00 DS Allowance to Grandma 2 phone loan

__30.00 DD Stipend

_100.00 Our last contribution towards DS's Phone

_200.00 Christmas Envelope

2056.43 Citi


5398.25 Total Money Out 

The bathroom fund is now up to $6100.  I am hoping to hit $10,000 by the end of the year, and so far we are on track to do that as long as we can keep our spending down on the Citi card.  If all goes to plan, I should have $855 to put into it next week.

Christmas is now fully funded at $900.  It was $1300, but DH and I put our portions into the Snowblower Fund so we can get it before Christmas in case it snows before Christmas.  We are also getting our Christmas money from his mother early so we can add it in, too, if she will agree to it.  Otherwise we will get one that takes smaller paths at a time and requires more walking.  It's just harder on DH.  His leg still isn't fully healed.

The medical fund is starting to build, but DH still needs new glasses and DD still needs new lenses and they both need exams, so that will probably wipe out more than $500 of any progress made, but after that we should be able to make progress.  I would like to get $3000 saved in the medical account by the end of the year, but it is looking like it will be closer to $2000.  But we will still have the FSA debit card we can use next year of $3000 if DH doesn't flub it again this year.  I am staying on him about it.  The enrollment period is coming soon and he is not going to miss it this year.

Since DD's surgery is the first week of January, I want to make sure we have the pretax money on the card for 2023.  It makes life so much easier when there is an expensive thing right at the beginning of the year.  And then we want to have more money in the medical fund for things that are beyond that.

Hopefully DH's mother will be giving us money at the end of the year or close to the beginning like she has the last few years.  I would rest easier with another $2000 in the medical fund and another $2000 or more in the bathroom fund.  I am just estimating $10K for that.  It could be more and I don't want to use what little money I have in the Emergency Fund.  I can, but I'd prefer that $10K plus stays put, even if I know that as soon as the bathroom is taken care of we can start slamming that emergency fund hard.  It's just, what if something happens in between?  So, yeah.  Don't want to do that.

We are done contributing the amount we said we would contribute towards DS's phone which was $500, the same amount we contributed towards DD's phone.  If they wanted anything fancier than those more basic phones, than they were going to have to pay for them themselves.  DD used birthday money and saved up allowances to pay the difference.  DS convinced his grandmother 2 (DH's mother) to loan him the money to buy the phone instead of saving up for it.  I did not want that to happen.  He was supposed to save up for it before getting it, but then the battery on his phone stopped charging and he had to use it plugged in all the time, so he cajoled his dad into it when we didn't even have the promised $500 saved on our part, giving us a debt to his mother, too.  I was pretty peeved.

So he has been on a repayment plan.  Every single allowance he has received has to go towards that loan.  He doesn't get to have any fun with money until it is paid off.  His birthday isn't until March, so he doesn't have to use his birthday money, it will be paid off in January.  I won't force him to use his Christmas money, but if he wants to, he can.  I have made the exception that if he wants to use one allowance to buy his sister a Christmas gift he can, because he was upset about that.  Once he has finished saving up all the money, he then gets to present it all to his grandmother.  Then I hope he will have learned his lesson about loans, because he really has hated the whole process.  And this has been without interest.  I think I will sit him down at the end and give him the amortization table on a loan at the going interest rate and tell him how much extra he would have paid if he had gotten a loan through the bank to pay for a nearly $1400 Apple smart phone.  Open his eyes all the way.

Leftover Grocery Money Goes Where?

October 14th, 2023 at 10:37 am

I had quite a bit of money left in my grocery envelope and since today is the day I refill it, I took out what was in there and redistributed it amongst all my other envelopes.  These are all for non-essentials or slow-burner essentials.  As in, fishing expenses is not a heavily essential envelope right now, but will be in the spring, since it is something we use to feed the family with.  It doesn't get a line item on the budget, but bits and bobs can go in there until I have enough to pay for licenses and gas costs and some fresh water gear hopefully from Good Will.  Here is what I added to and the new balance in each envelope.

$12.00 Van Paint Job and Body Work $70.00

$8.00 Fishing Expenses $8.00

$10.00 Summer Things $10.00

$100.00 Bed Frame/Mattress $625.00

$5.00 Hawaii Trip $75.00

$30.00 Electric Vehicle $100.00

$10.00 Beach Vacation $10.00

$100.00 Phone $400.00


$28.00 Household $29 (Gets more when I go to the credit union) 

Normally, I wouldn't add any extra to the household envelope since I replenish it every payday, but we need to buy a couple cases of toilet paper, a case of tissues, and cases of both gallon size freezer bags, which would not quite be enough for the $75 I normally put in I don't think.  As it is I might have to hold off on whichever size baggies we have the most of.  Inflation is a bear.

After we are done saving up for the bathroom repair, I will be more serious about a couple of these funds.  I have $100 more to put in the phone fund, which comes out of the paycheck today, so that will be done and that is the end for my portion of DS's phone.  He's paying for the rest.  Now I can start saving for my own either phone or computer.  Whichever dies first.  I want better ones this time around so hopefully they will last a while.  But mostly I will slam the emergency fund, bed frame/mattress envelope, and the beach vacation.  We want to rent a house on the shore or on a lake for a week next year.  May not happen, but it is the goal.  Unless the bathroom ends up costing way more than we figured.

Grocery Shopping Tracker

October 6th, 2023 at 02:20 am

I made it to Fred Meyer and they ended up having some sales that were not on their advertising so I got more than I had planned on.  I also took advantage of being there to get some other things that came out of the household and the clothing envelopes.  But this is for groceries and I spent $92.48 on that.  This is what I got:

1 Mega Boxes Cheerios

1 quart of McClures Garlic Dill Pickles

4 quarts of low sodium Miracle Whip

1 Simply Orange orange juice

1 Naked Bread honey wheat

1 Naked Bread potato

1 bulb of garlic

6 organic roma tomatoes

2 pounds of orangic carrots

2 Sugar Bee apples

2 Sweet Tango apples

2 organic English cucumbers

1 lime

1 bag of peeled pistachios

1 jalapeño

2 acorn squash

1 kombocha squash

2 pounds red grapes

  I still plan to make it over to Winco to look for the cheap spaghetti, some cheese, and the Ambrosia apples.  Might be a few other things, too.  I need to check my pantry.  I buy my bulk items there and I know we are getting low on oatmeal and jasmine rice and I need onion powder.

What's Left in the Fridge, Trying to Figure Out Meal Planning Before Shopping

October 5th, 2023 at 09:26 pm

The busy week of medical appointment ridiculousnous is almost over.  One more appointment in 2 hours and then nothing more until the 11th.  At least nothing more for me.  DH can toddle himself off to his physical alone.

So I just took an inventory of what is left in my refrigerator and it is looking pretty good on not having too much food waste.  We had no leftovers to toss out since last payday.  It wasn't perfect.  I did have to throw out some old apples from who knows when, because I don't remember buying them, that I must have missed the first time I went through the fruit drawer, thinking they were good, a lime that had turned brown, and I found a soupy cucumber, but that was in a drawer my son went through the first time, too, so I think it just got missed.  So those got tossed out.

Here's what I do have left for produce in the fridge: 1 large parsnip, 1 large turnip, 2 medium carrots, half a bunch of celery, 2 bunches of green onions, 1 bunch of red radishes, 8 little plums off our tree, some of our peppers, a thumb of fresh ginger, 1 Pink Lady apple, 2 Jazz apples, 1 Cosmic Crisp apple, half a bag of cuties orangies, 1 pineapple, 1 head of romaine, 1 Caesar salad kit, a Napa cabbage, and a red cabbage.  Outside of the fridge I have bananas, about 10 pounds of potatoes, 3 sweet potatoes, 3 sweet onions, and 4 yellow onions.

The celery, green onions, carrots have seen better days.  I need to take the greens off the radishes or they will be soupy and I hate digging radishes out of soupy greens.  I should have done them when I bought them and stored the separately so I could put the greens on the salad fixings.  Now they are past that point.  Oh, well.  I still have nasturtium flowers and can get that same peppery taste from them.

So far, I think I will be making stew to use up the carrots, celery, parsnip, turnip, and add some potatoes, and sweet potatoes, to fill it out.  I'll probably to it with chicken, since I think beef tastes funny with parsnips.  That'll use up everything that is on the edge except the green onions.  So for that I'll make loaded baked potato soup, since I have plenty of potatoes.  There are a bunch of little ones that are too small to peel for canning, so we will be using those ones, quartered, in the stew and then I have some medium sized ones for the soup, because we like them peeled for that.

I will need to buy some more carrots for sure, sour cream, and whole milk for the soup.  I have bacon from our pasture raised hog in the freezer.  So that will take care of two dinners and use up a lot.  I will cut up the romaine, and use that up with the salad kit for greens.  There is enough dressing to dress that much lettuce in the salad kit.

The pineapple needs to be cut up and eaten up.  The other fruit can hang out longer, but not it.  I do hope to finally make it out to the orchard this weekend and hope they still have my favorite apple in their storage shed.  It's 3 weeks past when they were picking, so there is a good chance they do.

I should shred up half the purple cabbage and I can make coleslaw with it as well as use it as salad fixings.  As for the Napa cabbage, I think I'll make some cabbage rolls, but not the traditional kind.  I like to make them with dumpling filling and steam them in a bamboo steamer, then lightly fry them in a pan until lightly brown and crispy.  I don't like the ones covered in tomato sauce.  It's more work, but a better end result.  Also, it is much lower in carbs than dumplings.

That gives me Friday, Saturday, and Sunday's meals and finishes out the week for me.  Tonight we are having fresh pasta.  We are having leftovers tonight.  I have 2 large servings of fresh bucatini pasta to make up with half a jar of alfredo sauce and an almost full jar of marinara sauce, so that works out.  We have lots of meatballs, so 1 of us will have a meatball sandwich.  Actually, I might just have the meatballs with green beans and make up some fried potatoes.  That sounds better to me.  I don't have to worry about DH until Friday.

Alright, this gives me a starting place to figure out my list.  I am out of a few things that are on sale this week like DH's Miracle Whip and Multi-grain Cheerios, plus spaghetti.  Although, I am almost at the point of getting the attachment for my KitchenAid and making my own spaghetti it is getting so expensive.  The only one that ever seems to go on sale is Barilla and I don't like the taste of Barilla.

American Beauty used to be the cheap one and I like it.  I am going to have to go to Winco this week to find it.  Hopefully, they will finally have the turkey chorizo, too.  I might even go to Walmart.  I hate going to Walmart.  It's not a super Walmart so it only has some grocery items, but it does have a lot of dried goods.  I do need Puffs multi-packs tissues soon, plus I'm getting low on the low sodium sausage links, so I can grab one of their Great Value packs and see if we like it.  I'm not that picky about pasta, I just don't like the taste of Barilla.  Every other brand I've tried I've been fine with.

But Winco should have cheap pasta and it usually beats everyone else on almost everything else.  Just not beef.  I can walk out of there with prices half what they are elsewhere for produce.  And it is the only place I can ever find Ambrosia apples, a blink and you'll miss them variety of apple.

Well, I can make up my list this evening and DS and I can go shopping tomorrow, other getting Miracle Whip, Cheerios, and socks at Fred Meyer, since it is over by his psychiatrist's office.

Getting Things Done--Medical, Pharmaceutical, Visual, Future Medical

October 3rd, 2023 at 05:58 am

I must say, I am enjoying the heck out of my new Halloween themed blog design and avatar.  I know we can't do a ton of customizing, but I felt like getting into the holiday spirit a little bit this year.  Not enough to decorate the house or anything, never a good idea when you won't be there for trick or treaters, but enough to do this.

Anyway, today I had my wellness visit so that is now out of the way.  I have to go get my blood work done tomorrow along with the blood work done for the Prediabetes/Diabetes and Cardiology Weight Loss Center.  I was waiting to do them together in case anything overlapped.  I only have the one good vein to draw blood from and I didn't want it blown out with the first draw and then not being able to get any a week or two later.  Any duplicate tests will be ignored and the results of all will be sent to both doctors as well as to the nutritionist/dietician I started working with.  So that's been ordered now and I can go tomorrow morning.

After that I went to the pharmacy to pick up the medicine I've been waiting on, but something went wrong because the dosage is only half of what I have been taking.  I didn't notice until I went home and the doctor's office is closed.  I won't call the pharmacy tonight, because they have the pharmacist on Monday nights that I can't understand over the phone.  I can understand the East Indian pharmacist and the Jamaican pharmacy tech, but they aren't on and the Chinese pharmacist is too hard on the phone.  I can get him in person, but I don't want to go out in the rain again.

When the pharmacy was done I went over the eyeglasses place and unfortunately they had discontinued carrying the brand of eyeglasses I wanted.  I had picked out the exact frames and color (purple) I wanted when my son ordered his in July, so all I would have to do is go in and get what I wanted and not have to spend a bunch of time looking for frames.  They didn't even have any in the store still.

Fortunately, the store was dead and the young woman who was looking after me was training another woman who was looking after me, so they had me sit down, got my price range and color choices and ran around the store pulling all the glasses and then brought me a big pile.  It was nice that I didn't have to hurt my back trying to find them.  I was able to eliminate half of them right off the bat just because they strayed into too dark a green, more like a forest instead of jewel tone.  And anything too solid.  I like a sort of see-through frame if it is one color.  If it is tortoise shell then it can be solid, though I still like the see through tortoise shell best.  I got it narrowed down to purple, turquoise, and teal as the primary colors.

Then I got it narrowed down to two with the tortoise shell patterning.  I fell in love with them both and it was really hard to decide.  It really came down to the fit and if they could get them a little wider on the part of my head that goes out the most.  And they could with both of them, so then I had to make a choice.  It came down to purple and orange tortoise shell kind of see through frame and sort of turquoise/teal with a darker blue tortoise shell frame.  I have more clothes that match the latter and I liked them just a teeny bit more when the choice had to be made.  They were $40 more at $218.  The ones I originally wanted were only $118.  The orange and purple were $188.  Now you know I really wanted the blue ones if I was willing to shell out $40 more for them.  But glasses are my one accessory/necessity that I wear every single day.  I won't pay over $250 though. 

I do reserve the right to save up more money and get the other ones in sunglasses, though.  I don't need all the bells and whistles in sunglasses that I need in regular ones.  But not until my husband gets new glasses and my daughter gets new lenses.  Maybe I'll look and see if Zenni has something like the orange and purple ones for sunglasses and see how much it would cost.  I do have a nasty prescription, the most exspensive one in the family.  My portion for my glasses was $400.00.  Sadly, there were no more summer sales.  I probably should have waited until Thanksgiving, but my eyes were killing me and my appointment was on Friday.  Oh, well, I guess I make up for having the worst eyes in the family by having the best teeth in the family.

As for the ongoing stuff with my daughter, she meets with the pulmonary doctor tomorrow which starts her on the road to seeing if something is going on with her lungs or possibly her heart.  Hopefully, it is just severe asthma and nothing that will interfere with her life-changing surgery in January.  We will be staying down at Virginia Mason for several days.  She has to be in the hospital for 2 to 3.  It is supposed to be done laproscopically, but things can turn on a dime, and you never know when they will have to gut you like a fish.

Both of us have to go get blood draws tomorrow.  I have two doctors who want a bunch of things and I didn't want to go separately, because it takes my one good arm vein about a month to recover after a blood draw because they always blow the vein on the way out, if they don't manage it on the way in and treat me like a pin cushion and move on to my hands and give me a bruise the size of a silver dollar if they do the right one or the back of my hand if they choose the left one.  Although, if the good vampire is working that never happens.  And this way their won't be duplicate tests made.

I need to remember to call the rheumatologist tomorrow and reschedule the appointment I had to cancel back in August.  This should be the best time since I am on antibiotics, and then will be well for a while afterwards before I come down with the next thing.

I have a telemed therapy appointment on Wednesday which I really need, because my brain is telling me it wants to go off my bipolar meds.  Which is a big no, thank you.  Watched that movie play out in my aunt's life over and over again and do not want to repeat it in mine.  And then I have a telemed on Thursday with the nutritionist/dietician and my son has an in person with the psychiatrist for his meds, and on Friday I, so far, have an empty space on the calendar, which is to be celebrated.  Keeping my life straight can sometimes be ridiculous.