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.
Viewing the 'Vacation Planning' Category
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 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.
$500.00 Property Tax Fund
__38.00 HoA Dues Fund
_300.00 Vacation Fund
_300.00 Appliance Fund (New Fund, not counting freezer)
2267.00 January 2015 Money Fund
1130.00 College Fund
_300.00 Aquaponics Fund
__72.00 Water/Sewer Holding Fund
_100.00 Laptop Holding Fund
_300.00 Christmas Fund
4007.00 Total in Temporary Funds
_100.00 Emergency Fund
__19.00 HoA Dues Fund
__72.00 Water/Sewer Holding Tank
_225.00 Monthly Chiropractic Plan
_100.00 Property Tax Fund
_113.22 Propane Fund
_100.00 Laptop Holding Tank
_100.00 College Fund
_100.00 Vacation Fund
_100.00 Christmas Fund
_100.00 Appliance Fund
_100.00 Moving Fund
_100.00 Aquaponics Fund
_100.00 January Money Fund
__45.30 Life Insurance DH
__41.88 Life Insurance Me
__69.89 Car Insurance
__47.17 House Insurance
__41.16 Security System (Old House)
$2356.89 Total Money Out
I will be having a car payment coming out of this paycheck, but it isn't due until the 19th so the money is being set aside. I will list it when I pay it.
$1030.00 College Fund
___19.00 Dues Fund
__300.00 Propane Fund
__200.00 Vacation Fund
__200.00 Appliance Fund
__167.00 January 2015 Money Fund
__600.00 Moving Fund
__200.00 Aquaponics Fund
+_200.00 Christmas Fund
$3316.00 Total Funds Money
So DH and I drove down to the Willamette Valley on Friday as part of an early anniversary getaway and to pick up our new purebred pedigreed breeding stock of New Zealand Red rabbits. We drove back on Saturday. It was nice to get away, the weather was beautiful on Friday, but we hit a snowstorm on the last leg of the trek home on Saturday. We had a great time, though, and even though he won't be home for our actual anniversary (our 19th) on the 18th, we still feel like we got to celebrate. We had a nice steak dinner out.
Meet our new buck Wildfire:
And our new does Sienna and Cinnabun:
They are very sweet, gentle-tempered rabbits. No biters or scratchers in this lot.
Costs for the trip (I'm rounding):
$90.00 for the rabbits
$80.00 for the hotel fee
$82.00 for 2 tanks of gas
150.00 for six meals out
402.00 total spent this weekend
DH and I made an agreement when we did this last big Disney trip and paid for his sister and nieces to go, that we wouldn't take another big vacation until 2018 when both kids will have graduated from high school and we are free to go, just the two of us. The plan for 2018 is to go to Hawaii. Meanwhile, we work on all of our other goals.
Well, DH has a friend from work who lives in Hawaii who has invited us to come in May. He has a house on the beach and says all we'd need to bring was about $1000 for incidentals and he would take care of everything else. Wow, nice friend. And we'd be able to fly there free with DH's miles.
But I still can't see doing it right now. We'd have to leave the kids with my mother, who isn't in the best of health right now and we've got all the rabbits and chickens to take care of. Not to mention that May is the time here to start gardening in earnest. Plus DS is being homeschooled.
Yes, it is a tremendous opportunity, but it doesn't fit into any of our plans. DH kind of figured as much, but he still couldn't resist telling me about it. It was nice to dream of getting away for a minute or two, but I've got bigger dreams right now and that is what I want to be focused on, with no more distractions.
Hawaii can wait. It isn't going anywhere. And maybe his friend will still be there then.