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COBRA and BS (College)

August 17th, 2016 at 07:13 pm

I really wanted to title it COBRA BS, but no. I found out how much the COBRA is going to cost us. It's not as high as the $2500 we originally thought, but it is still $2230.17 a month. We're going to have to see if we can't find something cheaper.

All we really need is catostrophic coverage. It is cheaper to pay out of pocket for all our medical stuff than to pay that kind of money for insurance. We'd go without if I wasn't afraid something big might happen. Or that the government would steal our tax refund as punishment.

DH will start investigating when he gets home on Monday. Right after he goes down to apply for unemployment. There's got to be something else that isn't going to drain our resources like that. Unemployment won't even come close to covering the cost of that. Considering how much he has paid into Unemployment over the years, he really ought to be getting more than he will be, but that's not how it really works.

Mom said we can completely suspend our loan payments to her until DH finds a new job. So that will help. It's not something I like at all, but we've got to make our savings last as long as possible. Unless company b comes in with a last minute offer, we are operating on the idea of Sunday being DH's last day of work.

We are also looking at DH starting his BS in Electrical Engineering. There are times when 20 years of experience, a strong recommendation from parent company, and two AS's still don't count as much as a BS in the hiring process. Of course ultimately, BS with only a few years of experience washes out and then DH gets hired, because book learning is never the same as real life on the job experience, but some HR people only want what looks good on paper (book learning) and always have to learn the hard way. Especially with this one guy who keeps getting hired over DH over the years and yet in the end DH is the one who ends up with the job when this guy can't handle it.

With college we'd go through our savings even faster, but in the long run it will help us so much for him to have that that I think we have to do it. If he does full time it would be $10,800 a year. We are looking at half time, though, as hopefully he'll be working at something, so $5,400. He'd do it completely online. We think all or most of his credits should transfer and he'll be able to just start at 3rd year, but he'll have to have a transcript review done, which of course costs money, too.

I won't take out loans. I'm not going down that road. Both kids have said they would get jobs to contribute. Can you believe that? I don't want it to come to that, though. Especially with my daughter, who is fragile in both health and mental health and has her next year of college paid for.

I have been trying to think of things I can do, though it is hard with my disabilities. I can't work a job where I'd be on my feet all day like when I was a cook without severe pain and with me being out of the workforce for 20 years, I'm not sure any of my bookkeeping or office skills would be current. My jobs were summer farm work, babysitting, Visiting Nurse chore worker, cook, tutor (but in outdated things like Word Perfect and DOS and Peachtree and Ten-Key calculator and old Data Entry systems), and receptionist/bookkeeper. Most of that I can't do anymore because of my physical limitations. I am broken and obsolete.

So hopefully DH finds something. Something in the $5000 a month take home range with semi-decent medical insurance so we can keep paying Mom and I can keep up with the out of pocket physical therapy that keeps me walking and gardening and taking care of our mini-farm. We can survive on less, but without the PT life would be miserable for me. And without being able to pay Mom back, it wouldn't be roses, either.

If he can find that until he can find something better, we will be just fine. I keep hoping for a last minute miracle, but I really do not think we are going to get one.

Not Much Going on and a Military Question

May 26th, 2016 at 11:05 pm

It's been a slow couple of days. I went to Water Zumba on Wednesday, took today off from exercise, and will go to water aerobics tomorrow. I really wish they had the Zumba three times per week.

The Integrated Chemistry and Physics curriculum seems to be going well so far. The other stuff hasn't arrived yet. I think we will be able to finish off the Money Management course in 12 days if the online program doesn't malfunction again.

I haven't been spending the last few days. Tomorrow is payday so there will be a few bills paid and a trip to the grocery store. I also have physical therapy tomorrow so there will be money spent for that.

I know there are a couple of military families on here and I have a question. If the spouse in the military dies and the family is living in base housing, how long would the family have before they had to vacate the house?

I'm a Great Aunt Again for the Fifth Time and Other Stuff

May 20th, 2016 at 11:25 pm

My niece, the one who is only a year older than my daughter, gave birth to a baby girl last night and named her Braelynn Alice. I like the combination of a very modern name with an old-fashioned name. I did much the same with my daughter's name. She was 8 lbs 5 oz and 20.5 inches long. I've been to see her twice and got to hold her today. She has masses of black hair and I think her eyes are brown. Baby eye color often changes, though.

I can't even imagine having a baby at 20 years old. I know women used to do it all the time, but I felt so young when I was 20, not at all ready to be as grown up as having a child makes you need to be. But I think she will be a fantastic mother. She has such a nurturing instinct and she has always loved babies (which I did not).

I didn't go to the pool for 2 days as I really overdid it and then I gave myself a massive bruise on one shoulder. I got back there today. I have decided not to do anymore back to back classes. One a day, every other day until I can build up my muscles, then I can consider going more days a week. But I don't think I will try back to back classes again any time soon.

DH got a confirmation on the overtime so that will be nice. I had to order new curriculum for my son. The program he's been using, which is online, is down all the time or glitches, and earlier this week, it erased all of the progress he has made in his English class. It's just gone. And half of the history lessons he's done vanished, too. He's going to finish his money management class and then I'm pulling the plug on that curriculum. If I'm paying $100 a month, I expect it to work all the time.

His first new books arrived yesterday. It is an integrated chemistry and applied physics course and is two full credits. The local high school would consider this two year's worth of science as they give .5 credit per semester. He is really excited about it and is already working on it. I think it is set up very well. And it's all offline, so no website to go down.

I also ordered Washington state history, World history, and Algebra 1 from Hooked on Schoolhouse, which is an interactive CD-ROM based program. DS has been struggling with Geometry, so we are going to go back and do Algebra 1 again first. He missed a lot of school when he took Algebra as a Freshman and he had a bad teacher who couldn't keep the class under control, which made it hard for him to focus. He's good at math when he has the foundation in place, so we are going back to make that foundation stronger.

I got Hooked on Schoolhouse French, too. Again, all interactive CD-ROM stuff with worksheets to print out.

I also ordered a 6th grade spelling book because his spelling is really bad, so we're going back to drill. They don't seem to make high school spelling books, so I figure we'll do 6th, 7nth, and 8th and that will give him plenty of practice.

I got him a tenth grade Vocabulary and a 9th grade writing. His essay writing is not very good and he needs practice in the fundamentals. He will do a tenth grade literature course at the same time, skipping the stuff he already did in the online English course that vanished on him, which was mostly Shakespeare and poetry.

He should be able to test through some of the World History fast since he's taken a semester's worth of it and start about halfway through. The WA state one is not very long, so he'll zip through that.

Once he gets through all of that, we'll get 11th grade curriculum, mostly from the same place we got the science curriculum. Except for French which will stay with Hooked on Schoolhouse.

I spent about $600 on curriculum, but it'll average out over the next several months, instead of paying $100 a month. It'll be paid for with some of the overtime money.

Odds and Ends

May 10th, 2016 at 06:05 pm

I sent for a $15 check from Pinecone. I have not been doing swagbucks in a while and I don't do it consistently anymore. I should get back to it, I could use the gift cards, but most of the time when I think about it, it's more of an "eh," sort of thought. I used to have it running in the back ground a lot, but that was before they stopped letting you disable the sound for the whole session and you had to disable it on each video instead. That's more of annoyance than I wanted to deal with. I haven't done it in a few months so maybe that's changed, but I really can't be bothered at the moment.

My son will be doing his standardized testing on the 19th, but he has to do a practice test on the 12th (only a half hour). And it really irritates me that everything is on East coast time, so there are no afternoon sessions on the West Coast. DS is not a morning person.

And he will have to do the testing on my laptop because it is the only one that can handle their system requirements for the testing browser, which means I won't have access to my computer for several hours on the 19th. Grr. I am also irritated that there is no time built into the testing schedule for lunch. They get two fifteen minute breaks in 6 hours of testing. I guess the bright side of doing the testing at home is that he can have food right there with him.

I can use my old laptop, but it is so slow, and I can't do video editing on it since the software on it doesn't play well with the forced Windows 10 upgrade.

I guess I can spend the day writing. I should anyway, but I hate having to use the old laptop as the replacement cord doesn't fit snugly and falls out, and the battery in it is so bad it only holds a 30 minute charge. Maybe I'll duct tape it for the day.

We have two rabbits due to kindle. One was due two days ago and the other was due yesterday. The one that was due yesterday is pulling fur, but otherwise no kits yet.

The garden is roaring along. I have harvested chives, oregano, kale, chard, pak choi, sorrel, and 3 types of lettuces already. I saw a head the size of a softball on one of the Romaescu broccoli's yesterday so maybe by next week we'll be eating that, too. I can already tell it is going to be a ridiculously good garden year.

Almost everything is planted. I have to wait a bit longer for putting cantaloupe in the ground. I've also got a couple of sweet potatoes in jars of water that I'll be putting out in large containers just to see if they will do anything. They both have lots of leaves on them and one has lots of roots, the other only has 2 roots. This isn't sweet potato country, but since this summer is shaping up to be like last summer I thought I'd give it a whirl. If nothing else it has a pretty flower.

We still don't know anything about DH's job or the contract. I'm starting to wonder if they'll make the announcement before the old contract runs out in June. We're already 1/3 of the way through May so it is starting to seem more and more likely that those are the intentions. Frustration, they name is Lucky Robin.

The stress is getting to me. I am stress eating and I did a little stress spending, too. Although that's not so bad. I bought $120 worth of new clothes, but only paid $40 for it, since I had that many points in my rewards program. I needed new tops as all of my old ones were too big and another summer nightgown as most of my summer nightgowns show a little too much on top and with a sixteen year old boy in the house I was having to wear a t-shirt over them which defeats the purpose of a lightweight nightgown.

I also bought two sun dresses, one for me and one for my daughter. I am really happy with all of the tops, too, because they are my colors. So many times in the past I have been forced to buy pastel things if I wanted clothes that fit, but this year they have some strong teals and turquoises going on as well as magenta and deep purple. All that's missing is jewel tones.

I'm going to weed out the tops that are way too big now. Even my favorite ones. I've already done it with my jeans and sweats. Fortunately my other dresses can just be belted in more so they'll last at least another summer.

Not much else going on. I've got a lovely herbed chicken roasting with potatoes and a relatively open evening to binge watch Girl Meets World on Netflix. Which is so good, if you ever loved Cory and Topanga and Boy Meets World, once you get past the first cheesy episode.

Stuff and Other Stuff

November 10th, 2015 at 10:43 pm

As exhausted as I am, and as sick as I still am, I am doing better on the antibiotics. Better enough to have cooked for the past 7 days. A week without takeout feels like a major milestone at this point. Now granted, some of the meals were pretty simple, just heating up food I'd previously frozen, like lasagna, or homemade TV dinners, but even so, no money wasted on takeout.

I have so much to do still, though. I need to clean up the garden beds I haven't gotten to yet. I've got rabbits due to kindle this coming weekend, but I've prepared their nesting boxes and given them to them, so now it's just a wait for it thing. I need to get their trays changed though. I did half of them on Sunday and need to get the other half done tomorrow. DS doesn't have school so we should be able to do it pretty quickly.

I finally made it through 3 hampers of laundry today, 4 loads of which were towels, and 2 loads of which were clothes. I think we have too many towels, but I guess it was good when I was too sick to do the laundry. I have one load of clothes and sheets left to do for me and then there is another hamper full of DH's stuff, but he won't be home until the 18th, so that can slide if needed.

I will have to drag myself to the store tomorrow as we are out of milk and I have a small list of other things to pick up. Then I have to pick up a prescription. I haven't gone out since Friday, so it'll be nice to get out of the house. Cabin fever, I think. I may go to water aerobics if I can drag myself out of bed in the morning. No school so I don't have to. Haven't done water aerobics since Tuesday of last week. I miss it, but it's hard when you have brain fog from an illness to move in the mornings.

We may be pulling DS from school and homeschooling again. I've found a good program that is heavily video based which he needs. He still hasn't recovered all of what he lost with the concussion several years ago, so lots of reading is just hard on him. But this combines words on the screen being read aloud and he just does so much better that way. He learns very well from hearing or hands on work and he can still memorize easily, but his reading is so slow. It's been over 3 years so I'm not sure he'll ever get that back.

He's just been so sick this school year he has missed more days than he's gone. By a lot. School is making him sick with all its sick kids and germs and then he comes home and gets me and his sister sick and I think for all our sakes it may be the right thing to do. He also complains that his math teacher can't keep control of the class so it is hard for him to concentrate. Math is usually his best subject and he enjoys it, but he just can't focus.

We'll make the decision one way or the other by the end of the week. The program is $100 a month, but I think that is worth it for our health and his ability to go at his own pace. I know he'll race through some things and go slow on others, but he'll be allowed to, unlike in public school. He'll also be able to take AP classes if he wants to, which are only offered before school currently at his high school.

Once he turns 16 in March he can join me and his sister at water aerobics, too, so he can get his PE credits that way. Or do the home school PE program at the gym. There is one.

It's a lot to take on homeschooling again, but I think this program will be far less hands on for me than the one we did before. I'll likely only have to baby-sit him through English. And we'll get a transcript from it so if he ends up going back his senior year to get a diploma things will transfer. Although I think he might be able to get a diploma through this program, too. I don't remember for sure as I have looked at a lot of curricula this week.

It would be nice not to have to be a slave to the school schedule anymore. Better all around for all of us.

Expenses, School Concert, Work News, and T-Day

November 26th, 2014 at 07:00 pm

Yesterday I spent $166.22 to buy my son dress shoes and socks for his concert. I was very irritated that the teacher was insisting on dress shoes when I think that black tennis shoes would have been perfectly fine and definitely indistinguishable from the audience. But not having the proper attire counts against their grades. Ugh.

Unfortunately when your kid has a size 15 foot, you pretty much have to take what they have and you have to go somewhere expensive to even find a shoe size over 13. We went to a men's suit store. It was either that or Red Wings, which is more expensive. They are nice shoes and hopefully he can wear them for a while before outgrowing them. He is only 14 and since his father has a size 16 foot I can't be sure his feet won't still grow. I am sure when he does outgrow them they will be nice enough to recoop the cost a bit on e-bay, since he will only wear them to concerts.

I was also irritated that she required dark socks as well. All of my son's socks are white. The shoe and sock requirement did not come out until Monday. At the beginning of the school year all that it said was required was black pants and a dress shirt for boys and a skirt and blouse or a dress for girls. They have choir robes they wear over that anyway, so not sure why the shirt even matters, but whatever. We had plenty of time for and bought in early October.

If I had known about the shoes we could have bought online and saved some money, but there wasn't time. It was just really irritating to have an unexpected expense. Fortunately my daughter has both black flats and black boots so her footwear was covered.

The concert was okay, but it was very disorganized. The auditorium is too small for the sound system, or else the guy on the sound board just thinks that louder is better. The choirs were very good, except the poor girl who choked during her solo, as were the orchestras.

The jazz band was flat on one song and another song was the worst arrangement of Eleanor Rigby I have ever heard. Their 2nd song was really good, though, and the saxophone and trombone solos were wonderful. The percussion band was so overwhelmed by the loudness of the drums you couldn't hear the xylophones or the triangle at all. The drums seriously did not need a microphone. And the band instructor didn't know how to speak into a microphone, but had plenty to say. I've nicknamed him Mr. Mumbles.

Man, I'm grumpy. I'm still not over my illness. I think being out last night disrupted my routine and screwed with my circadian rhythm because I kept waking up all night last night. Which does not help anything ever.

I sold 2 dozen duck eggs today and so put $10 into the feed money jar. I've also given away 5 dozen eggs this week. 2 to my physical therapist, 2 to the chiropractor and one to my in-laws. Now I am down to just 18 duck eggs and 3.5 dozen chicken eggs. We will be making a couple pound cakes so that will use up a lot.

I found out from DH that he is going to be called back in early, on December 31st. So we have gone from 5 weeks with no pay to just 22 days with no pay. Way, way better, we won't have to touch the Emergency Fund at all, and I don't think we will need to touch the Christmas bonus either to cover the time off. That takes so much pressure off me right now. And it means I will definitely hit my $10K by the end of the year in the EF! We also don't have to be quite so tight with Christmas, thank goodness.

Tomorrow should be a much better day than today. A nice low-key Thanksgiving with the organic turkey we raised and butchered ourselves, potatoes we raised ourselves, green beans we raised ourselves, and homemade stuffing from homemade bread and homemade pie. It's a very self-sufficient meal and that feels really neat.

December Planning

October 10th, 2014 at 07:45 am

I found out last night that instead of having to take 4 weeks of unpaid time off in December, DH is going to have to take 5 weeks of unpaid time off going into the new year. I'm pretty sure we won't be able to handle this without dipping into the Emergency Fund.

DH is going to try to get a little overtime, but they have not really been forthcoming with it this year, so we certainly can't rely on that.

We have plenty of vegetables and fruits canned and meat frozen, so we could get by without having to buy too much in the way of groceries in December. Mostly just things like milk and lettuce and oranges. Between our five laying ducks and our four laying hens we have plenty of eggs.

I am a little concerned about Christmas, though. We don't buy for many people anymore, but I still need to come up with about $500 for it.

I hate not being prepared for things, but when they jacked up the portion of medical insurance we have to pay this year the paychecks really took a hit. It wouldn't have been so bad with a lower deductible, but $5000 out of pocket is a lot on top of that. We've got 3 people on medications that are quite expensive so we'll be slapped with that again when January hits, since the don't cover prescriptions until the deductible is hit.

With the end of those tax breaks a couple years back, DH is effectively bringing home about $1200 less every month than he was when he first started working for this company. And they decided they wouldn't be giving raises out this year after all. It frustrates me. Especially since we can't rely on the Christmas bonus to make up the shortfall of no pay for five weeks. We used to be able to save for this, but this year has just been one thing after another.

We have decided to start DH on his bachelors degree. Since there isn't really any place he can go right now to get a higher income, this is the most sensible move. We'll have to pay $100 to have his transcripts reviewed from his A.S. in Electrical Engineering, and then the first class he will take will cost $800. We may dip into the Emergency Fund for that, too. I know it's not a true emergency, but it'll get us to the tax refund time and then we can pay for the schooling out of that and some how or another start setting some money aside as well. How? I don't know yet. It's something we will have to figure out.