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Money Money Money (and Medical)

March 13th, 2021 at 01:46 am

Our income tax refund of $809 was deposited into our account on Wednesday and I just checked and our stimulus payment is pending for next Wednesday.  We got the full amount for us and our dependents of $5600.  That's $6409 to work with.  This is what I am planning.

$641.00 10% donation to the local Christian Homeless Shelter

1350.00 Handicapped Ramp Fund

1000.00 Vacation Fund

_500.00 Meat Fund

_500.00 Miscellaneous Fun

2000.00 Emergency Fund


$5991.00 Total

That will leave us with $418.00.  I am not sure DH will get all of his hours in this week.  They are having a cyber security issue that isn't allowing anyone to work online.  He is doing what he can and saving it to his hard drive, but there is a lot of sending around of drawings for checks that can't happen if you can't send them around or can't even send them in to the office to be printed out because of this.  So I will be holding on to that money in case the paycheck is short.

This will finish off the Handicapped Ramp Fund so we will be able to order one for the front door.  Our share is $1750.  This one is twice as much as almost triple the amount of the back door because it will go down the frong of the house from the steps, then there will be a platform for a turnaround and it will go all the way back the length of the first ramp to the ground and end in front of the steps.  It's a lot of money, but these ramps don't have to be maintained like wood ramps do.  It mostly just needs to be swept periodically and pressure washed a couple times a year since it is aluminum.  Wooden ones will rot out on the pilings after five to ten years, so those would have to be replaced frequently) and would require staining or repainting every few years.

It will nice to have a good bump in the Emergency Fund and to pay for a little vacation for DH and me to get away to the cottage by the sea we've gone to twice now.  He will be taking several days off in April.  Part of them will be spent getting the garden up and going and then we will go away for a few days.

MIL is talking about taking us on a family vacation by the water as well.  It probably wouldn't be until September or October, after the summer is done, but still nice enough out to cook on the BBQ and walk on the beach.  And soak in the outdoor hot tub.

DD wants a web cam.  She is the only one who doesn't have one, so we are going to pick her up a cheap one.  She starts online therapy next week, so this way she can do it in her own room instead of mine and with my laptop.  Her brother was just diagnosed with ADHD and we think she has it, too.  But it is a process.  First counseling, then a psychologist, and then the psychiatrist who can prescribe meds.

I also think I might have it.  Girls and women present differently than boys and men do, but as I was filling out all the forms during DS's drug trial I felt like I had a lot of the same issues.  Each week we had to fill out a sheet based on symptoms during a four week trial of adderall.  Except it was a blind study so two weeks were placebo, one week was 5 mg and one week was 10 mg.  He had to fill out his own forms based on his opinion and I had to do one based on mine.  Every time I filled it out, I was thinking I really have a lot of this stuff, too.  I always thought it was the fibro fog and the last brain injury, but now I have to wonder.

So once we DD gets through all this, I am going to talk to my doctor about it.  I've been thinking I might be needing anti-depressants again for a while.  I haven't needed them for about 15 years and never needed them for more than a year at time, but I kind of feel maybe I do.  Or maybe it is just fibro.  But I'd like to see about it, you know?  Because it is not normal to want to stay in bed and sleep all the time, even with fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.





I Needed That!

May 26th, 2020 at 12:34 am

What a nice little vacation DH and I had. It was wonderful to get away from the kids and to get away from my mom and have no cares in the world for a few days. The sea air was fantastic, 2 out of 3 sunsets were gorgeous and 1 was spectacular. I loved just being able to sit on the deck and stare out at the sea while DH cooked on the BBQ. DH made all of the meals, so I didn't even have to do that much. I really felt relaxed and unwound for the first time since mid-September.

It was also great to sit in the hot tub and just watch the ducks and seagulls and the dog that went for a swim every afternoon at the same time. I love seeing the tide go in and out as well and seeing all the shells left behind on the beach. Sometimes, if you are lucky, you can see the seals, too.

It was good to have some alone time and DH and I had a serious talk about weight loss needing to happen and that I wasn't buying anymore junk food, I wanted it out of the house. He has agreed and is doing well since we got back. As am I. It is nice to have the whole family on board for a change. It was always so hard on me when I tried by myself. DS has been doing great since the start of the year. He lost 30 pounds. DD has lost some, too, but that is more due to the liver tumor and not wanting to eat much.

Speaking of the liver tumor, it has grown from 2.7 cm in October to 4.1 cm. We are waiting to hear back from the hepatology doctor about what steps to take next. I think she has to have some kind of nuclear medicine test, at least that was what the hospital recommended after her recent CT scan.

We've been working hard in the garden since we got back, but today is a day off because we worked for 7 hours straight yesterday and are sunburned and sore. We got a lot done, though. There is still so much to do, though. But I am good with a day off for everyone. It also rained all morning and early afternoon so not too much could be done, anyway.

I have pictures I would like to share, but am having trouble getting it to work.

So Much Garden Work this Week and Getting Ready to Go

May 18th, 2020 at 11:26 pm

It's been a tiring last several days but we got the ground garden weeded, rototilled, put up the bean supports, formed it into trench rows, and planted four rows of green beans and a block of corn that was 8 across down the length of the ground garden. I got my zucchini planted, my bee balm and larkspur transplanted, four of my six tomato plants in garbage bins, the remaining two potted up into 2 gallon pots, my ten pepper plants planted, and my pickling cucumbers in.

We also put down a thick layer of new hay for mulch, wet it down and trampled it, all around the beans and corn. It was first cutting hay and there are no grass seeds in it, so we shouldn't have to struggle with that.

I've shown DS exactly how to water, some plants don't like water on their leaves like tomatoes and peppers so need to be done at the base, some seeds like carrots have to be misted, some it doesn't matter on, so he has the list and knows exactly what to do while we are gone.

I can't wait to be at the seaside. I need this so much. Looking forward to sitting in the hot tub tonight and watching the sun sink into the bay. I don't know if we will swim in the water or not as the shore is very rocky and I don't want to tear up my feet. There is a dock but it is not a very stable one, it is on floats and anchors so it is hard to walk on, let alone jump into the water or get out of it, especially with no ladder. You can see exactly how it is made when the tide is out. I wish it was on pilings, but oh well.

I just wanted to check in before I went. I've been so quiet, but only because I was working so hard in the garden. My nephew has our number as do the kids, so if there is an emergency with my mother or my daughter while we are gone he will call. I am sure DS would call, too, but if he has to stay with Mom or DD, then nephew might be the one to call.

I need to go pack and figure out what food we are taking, besides the rib-eye steaks for the BBQ. Those are coming for sure, maybe some pork ribs as well.

Life is Getting Complicated

March 12th, 2020 at 05:04 am

Well, today the hospital, which is part of the network of all of our specialty doctors, sent out warning emails and so did our primary doctor's network. They are working to identify those who may have been exposed to the woman at the hospital who has Covid-19. No saying yet if my daughter and husband were, but they were there during that time period. They were in the ER and I don't know if this woman was, but I'm not sure where else she would be unless she came in via a different area or was already in the hospital.

There are so many different areas of our ER department. Illness goes one way, stitches and broken bodies go another way, psychotics and drug reactions go another. Illness is subdivided so they aren't putting people who are vomiting near people who have respiratory symptoms, that sort of thing.

King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties are all on soft quarantine and gatherings of 250 people or more have been banned for the state. King County bought a hotel as a recovery center for those who don't need to be in the hospital anymore but can't go into general population. The city it was in threw a NIMBY fit, but was overruled by a judge. And likely would have been overruled by the governor or the President if not. Small people in power don't seem to get that they will not have the authority they once did in a state of emergency. They haven't called out the national guard yet, but if soft quarantines go hard, that is very likely the next step. Other sites are being readied as well.

We still only have one confirmed case as of today in my county, but that is how it starts and I have no illusions that we won't. We are a county with an international, if small, airport. We are a county with a sea port and an oil refinery that ships everywhere. We are a county on the border of Canada. It is coming.

Universities here are switching to online only classes. Many public schools are being shut down for two weeks, some for six. Other schools are shutting down all after school activities. They are starting a vaccine study in Seattle. Our county is not closing schools, although the native school is shutting down for a day to sanitize the school. The reason the school district is giving is it would be an undue burden on parents who would have to find alternative care. They may change their tune in a week or two, though.

I'm not sure about our vacation next week. We won't be leaving the cottage and will be cooking all our meals so as to limit exposure. We may just buy some trip insurance, it's only $45, but DH sent an email to the lady who owns the place we will be staying to see what happens with a refund if full quarantine occurs. Still waiting to hear back.

We might just be able to bump the dates a month or two or something. I am sure movement between counties will be shut down if we get hard quarantines. I don't want to get stuck in the wrong county and not able to get home if stuff gets weird. But if this is all overblown, I'd still like to go. Only I'm not sure that is smart.

Life is getting complicated.

Slowly Getting Better, Some Budget, Some Medical, Some Planning, Some Rambling

January 7th, 2020 at 09:56 am

I am still exhausted, but DS and I had enough stamina to get dishes done today. We got 4 loads done. Everyone was sick for the past week, even DH, though no one as bad as me. I took it in fits and starts, though. It is the first productive thing I have done, besides make dinner, in a while. Tomorrow I will try to tackle laundry. There are at least 3 loads of towels to fold (DH did manage that much) and I need to put away the pile of clean clothes on my bed. I am done with the prednisone but I never got the energy rush of the previous times. That's a bummer because I have been only getting a few hours of sleep due to it. It would have been better to be productive, but Oh well. I just have 4 days left on the antibiotics. I hope that kicks it.

DD has been off wheat for 6 days now and continues to improve. DS's acne is clearing up. Neither one is having stomach issues at all and DD has not felt the constant nausea she's had for the past couple years, either. Can it really be so simple that this was what made her digest so slowly and painfully and bloat to a rock hard stomach? She doesn't have celiac at all, they tested for it, but obviously she does have an issue with wheat, otherwise stopping it would not have been so positive for her. If this is all it takes to stay out of the ER and stop spending so much of our medical budget on it, that's a miracle in itself.

Speaking of medical, it's weird to start having to spend for it again. We maxed out in July, I think it was, and everything had been free since. I know a few months of DD's physical therapy, which she starts on Wednesday will eat up a large portion of the deductible. Our HSA card is not working as they said it would. They said we could start using it on January 1st, up to the full amount of the yearly draw, but when DH tried to use it for 2 prescriptions, less than $25 total, but it didn't go through. He's going to try to get that sorted out tomorrow. We may just end up submitting everything each month, which will be a pain, but whatever.

Once I see what the exact new amount is of the Friday's paycheck on Thursday (things will change a bit due to the HSA withdrawals), I can complete my 2020 budget template and my January budget. They are pretty much the same, I will just be adjusting a bit. I think it is around $113, but it will also affect that amount of tax taken out, so I've got it roughly, just not perfectly. I prepared that part before Christmas, I think.

Tomorrow I will catch up the Medical Fund savings account by entering it all into the spreadsheet. I've let is slide, just making sure there was a hefty balance on the things we did buy, mostly OTC meds. Nowhere near the balance of nearly $2000 (haven't transferred the other $2000 in there, still in the online account), but now I have to reconcile the account. Which is fine.

DH and I really need to get on the ball to figure out our 25th Wedding Anniversary getaway. I was too tired to look at places, but it's mid-March, so maybe tomorrow. He has done some preliminary looking. All I really know is I want to be near a view of the water.

I also want DH to take me out to dinner for my 50th birthday mid-February. It will be a week after my mother's shoulder surgery so the kids will stay home to take care of her. I want a good ribeye or prime rib, a sweet potato, and either mixed veggies or their salad. Not their broccoli, they don't cook it long enough, and no bread. I don't want to have to cook myself so we will just go to Outback one county over.

I need to try to get myself to the library tomorrow. I haven't had a book since before Christmas, not that I could focus for long, but it has still been driving me crazy. I was so out of focus, I could not even concentrate on a movie plot. Watched a lot of mindless stuff, like Say Yes to the Dress, I Didn't Know I was Pregnant, and Paternity Court on Youtube. Yesterday, I was finally able to switch to documentaries and a movie (action adventure, so straight-forward plot).

Money from MIL and Christmas Bonus

December 19th, 2019 at 08:45 am

MIL gave us a check for $6000 and the Christmas bonus was deposited for $911.26. The bonus was $1300 before taxes. I really wish they did not tax bonuses at 25%. I mean, maybe if your bonus is in the 5 digits, or even mid to high 4 digits, but when it isn't even the amount of a paycheck? The government is irritating at times. I know we'll get a better tax refund due to them taking so much, but I'd really rather have it now and not when we get that back. I complain about this every year.

So plans for the money are to have DH get his crown, around $1000, and my chipped tooth repaired, around $300. Then we'll put $2000 into the Medical Fund. It is at a little over $1800 so this will give us enough money to cover the deductible and the out of pocket max between this and the FSA. We'll put $2000 into the Emergency Fund, save some of the money for our romantic getaway in March for our 25th wedding anniversary, and order a few things I have been putting off.

Then since we won't have to be paying anything into the Medical Fund for next year after this coming payday, we will take the money that we were paying into that to pay on debt. DH and I have an agreement that we won't use money from his mom to pay the debt to my mom. That's not what it is for and it is not why she gave it to us. She wants us to use it for medical, for vacation, and to beef our EF back up.

I'm not sure where we are going yet for our trip, maybe the same place as in September, but it won't be far from home. I think we will just buy some really good food to take with us and a good skillet (can't trust what is in the rentals to not be warped). I am thinking some ribeye steaks, some crab or shrimp or lobster, potatoes, and good vegetables for dinners, bacon, toast, and eggs for breakfasts, and sandwich fixings or burgers for lunches. We both like my cooking better than restaurants and DH helps with the chopping and peeling for dinner and makes breakfast so it doesn't all fall on me.

I am very relieved to get this money, though. It takes a lot of the stress for next year away in one fell swoop.

Retirement has popped up a lot over the last couple of days, but after the vote last night, I am waiting to see what the stock market does when I get up in the morning before I update it. I just hope it doesn't put us back under $25K, though it was almost to $26K today before the vote.

Vacation was Fantastic

October 2nd, 2019 at 02:16 am

Well, mostly fantastic. The place was beautiful and the evenings were so quiet and peaceful and restful. Unfortunately there was no sleeping in as the neighbors started mowing their lawn at 9:15. Who mows their lawn at 9:15 on a Wednesday morning? Then the other neighbors started doing construction with a bulldozer around noon, but that ended at 5:30. We left the cottage to pick up dinner at 4:00 though so we missed at least an hour of it.

We spent a couple hours on the deck when we got there Tuesday afternoon. They had this lovely little seating area with a couch and two chairs with pillows around a coffee-sized picnic table that was under a covered area. The tide was in so you couldn't see the beach at all until around 1/2 an hour before dusk and then there were a couple of feet of it. But the water looked amazing.

After dinner (which was Subway, but there were limited options) on the deck we sat in the hot tub and watched the sun go down over the sea. It was one of the most relaxing things I've done in a long while.

We didn't do much on Wednesday, but we managed to get all six episodes of Good Omens watched Tuesday night and on Wednesday. But it wasn't a vacation to do much anyway, just one to refresh with. We had brought food for breakfasts and the tide was out in the morning. The beach went out quite a ways at that point.

We went and grabbed a pizza at a place called Figaro's, which wasn't anything to write home about, was a decent middle of the road pizza. They had a great salad, though. You could get up to four toppings on your salad, anything you could put on a pizza so I chose bacon, cheese, green peppers, and red onions and the greens were mixed so a lot of variety in flavor. It took me two days to eat it.

Oh, for the other meal I made T-bones. They were so big we didn't have anything else with them. After dinner we went out and sat in the hot tub again, watched the sun go most of the way down, got dressed and then sat on the deck and watched it go the rest of the way down and then watched the lights across the inlet twinkle and the clouds reflected on the water. After it was too cold to stay outside we went inside and I taught DH how to play Parcheesi.

The cottage was tiny, it had one bedroom, one bath, a kitchen, and a living room. The living room had a pull out bed. It also had a sectional couch, an ottoman, and a table, so you can imagine how little room there was. DH and I were almost tripping over each other and they say it can sleep 6 with the sectional. I don't know how you'd breathe with that many people in the house. If they were all little kids maybe and you spent all your time outside.

It was well-decorated with some old-fashioned paintings and knickknacks, but there were too many of them. Too much surface space was taken up with stuff and since it was, there was nowhere to move the stuff on the bedside tables. One table was completely taken up with a big CD player and lamp and the other had a clock and lamp with barely enough room for my C-pap machine. DH had to put some of the stuff on the floor to use his machine. It didn't really need two bedside lamps or any really, since you could reach the light switch from the bed.

I did have to unplug the Glade plug-in as soon as I figured out what was making the smell. I had thought it was cleaner at first, but when it didn't dissipate I went on the hunt. She left us flowers and cinnamon rolls on the kitchen counter.

The last morning we walked on the beach, but I kind of regretted that due to the amount of mud that left on my shoes. Thick black mud and the deep squelching kind. I still haven't gotten it all off yet and I've cleaned them twice. We saw a lot of shells washed up and even a couple dead crabs. There weren't a lot of birds, just one or two most of the time. We did see the fish leaping to eat bugs at dusk, which was cool.

The most important thing was that it relieved so much stress, it was relaxing, and my mind set improved dramatically. We are talking about going back for a couple of days in March for our 25th Wedding Anniversary.

But I am nitpicking, because the overall experience was just what I wanted. I don't think a whole week there would be a good idea for one or two nights it was great.

On the way home we stopped at Red Lobster and got the Ultimate Feast. I ate the shrimp and lobster and brought the crab home for dinner. I also had baked potato soup for my side because they make a fantastic one. I was disappointed in the broccoli, because they seasoned it with red pepper and it was too much. We had a $6 toll for the Tacoma Narrows bridge on the way home, but not on the way there.

All in all, we spent under $500 for the entire vacation. There was a $150 damage deposit but that was refunded the day after we got home. I was very pleased with the whole experience. I will try to insert a few photos.

Taxes, Work, Goals, and Dreams

February 19th, 2019 at 12:05 am

DH got the taxes done and submitted and we will be getting back a little over $1300. I don't know the exact amount since Dh did the final bit. We did do deductions because it meant a slightly higher return, but this will probably be the last year we have such major medical expenses as to put us high enough to do that with the new taxing structure. If DH gets the raise to stay here, we will be upping our 401K percentage to 7% so that our higher tax bracket will not mess things up for next year. I don't want to end up paying ever. I'd rather just a small refund.

I do have my total out of pocket medical expenses for last year and it is $28,248.75. I believe that is more than in 2017. If things go the way they are looking our medical spending should be greatly reduced this year. Our charitable giving (tithing) was only $5800, but we didn't start doing that until about mid-year, when DH got hired on permanently instead of through the temp company.

So DH's work is just waiting on a signature or two to get him that raise if they want to keep him here. If they do get it, it will be a raise in net income of $15,700 a year. It is not as much as up there is offering, but after air fare and having to pay Cobra for two months, the difference would only be $3000 to $4000, because a lot more would be lost to taxes from being in a higher tax bracket. That is an awfully big change in our lives for only $3 to $4K. Without the raise it is worth it. With it? Not so much. The second year it would be $6K extra because it would be without the Cobra.

Current job has better insurance and better 401K matching, which makes the trade off for up there less appealing. I am hoping they come through for him. They need to do it soon though as DH would need to make the decision and let them know up there if he's not coming so they can get someone else in place.

Current job implied they are planning to move him up into a better position when someone retires in December, also. So...there is potential for advancement, which there never was up there. And with that movement would come another raise, it is assumed, since there would be more responsibilities and a change in title.

With the raise it would take us 13 months to pay off the loan and we could still get our gym membership back. Then it would take us 8 months after that to get our 3 months expenses emergency fund. After that I want to take a small break and go on a vacation with my husband, no kids. We would take one month's worth of what we would have been putting into the EF and go on a short cruise, 3 to 4 days, booking last minute for a deal. We can plan our time for when work is at a lull. We don't care to where as long as it is on the west coast out of Seattle. We likely won't even leave the ship. It has been 8 years since we have been on a vacation and we've never been on a cruise.

Then we would start saving towards the 6 months emergency fund and a down payment on a house at the same time, with an uptick in our 401K percentage.

But until there is signed paperwork in his hands, there is no decision to be made and all of the above is simple dreaming. Except the taxes part.

I Want a Vacation

August 16th, 2018 at 10:27 pm

I figured it out earlier this week and it has been 8 years since we have taken a vacation. The last few years would have been impossible with debt and the farm animals, but now all we have are the rabbits, so the possibility exists that DH and I could sneak away for a few days at some point while DS takes care of the rabbits. I just want to go check into some air-conditioned hotel with an indoor swimming pool and get out of the heat and the horrific air quality from all the fires.

But I really can't justify it at the moment, because of debt. I am really hoping this will be paid off by next summer and then maybe we can go. Also, with DD's health still being so poor, I'd be afraid to leave her. It's just been so exhausting dealing with it and never getting the chance to recharge.

I don't know, maybe DH and I can just do a day trip with a picnic lunch. We could drive up to Birch Bay and go swimming. I just want one day with no responsibilities and no kids. But with the air being so bad, spending a day outside probably isn't the best option anyway. My asthma is already being aggravated.

How do you refresh and relax when you can't get away? I can't really afford a massage or a day spa or anything like that right now. Maybe a movie, but there's nothing worth paying that kind of money for right now. *sighs*

Well, back to canning. I'm doing my first tomatoes today. No vacations for me.