Layout:
Home > Category: Work

Viewing the 'Work' Category

New Net Pay and Retirement Update

August 23rd, 2022 at 06:22 am

Friday's paycheck was the first one with the new raise on it and the net pay is now $3584.10, give or take a couple dollars here or there.  That was always the case with his old rate.  So that is a difference of $567.73 per paycheck or $1135.46 in a 4 week pay cycle.  And that comes to $14,760.98 a year in net pay.  That's a lot to work with.

So I am debating what to do.  I have some things I have to take care of, like $1000 of work on the van, which I only have $604 saved for, and replacing the console in the truck with one that has satellite GPS and MP3 player compatibility.  I have to buy DD a recliner chair to deal with her back issues and it has to be one she can get out of.

We need to replace the shower/tub with a walk in shower and part of the floor in one of the bathrooms, but I might be able to push that off for another year.  We've sealed the crack in the tub, so it shouldn't get any worse, at least.  And most importantly, I have to get the emergency fund back where it was.  We also need to pay for an appointment with an elder law lawyer for my mother to get her will updated.  She can't afford it and it needs to be done.  Being as we will be inheriting the house, I want to make sure all the t's are cross and all the i's are dotted.  I'd prefer to do legal zoom, that's what we did for DH's parents, but my Mom is weird about the internet sometimes.

But when all that is done, I'd like to bump our retirement up to whatever it takes to max out our 401K.  Right now, where we are at, we will be contributing $23,642.12 this year.  The max for over 50 is $27,000, so we will be $3357.88 shy of that this year.  We are at 16% currently.  For a full year at the current rate of pay at 16%, it would be $25,245.22 or $1754.78 short of the max, if the max is the same next year.  That is, of course, assuming there is no overtime.  Overtime could push it closer since contributions are based on a percentage.

We will definitely be over the regular amount of $20,500, which we've never hit before, but I'd like to be at the higher max next year.  We need to be.  I'm 52, and DH will be 53 at month's end.  We need to get moving.  We are just so far beind in life because of all that medical debt we paid off over 20 years.  Ideally, we would also be able to do a spousal Roth IRA for me and possibly a Roth IRA for DH as well.  He has a traditional one, but I'd like to have Roths. Just not at Fidelity.  They just don't recover from plunges and don't offer better plans at the amount of money he has in there.  We need to get the ball rolling on getting that transferred elsewhere.

After Friday's contribution ($970.97 from us, $181.51 company match) of $1152.48, our 401K and IRA now sit at $79,444.45, which is a change of $1324.51, so $172.03 of growth since last payday.  It's not much, but at least it is going in the right direction and not eating the whole deposit like it has for most of the year.  So that's a positive.

I don't know, I'm just trying not to wait for the other shoe to drop.  Things are going too well.

 

This and That

August 2nd, 2022 at 07:15 pm

DH's raise went into effect August 1st, which means the paycheck on August 19th will be the first one with the higher rate.  I was kind of hoping it would be the one this Friday, but didn't really think it would.  Now I just have to wait and see how much net we will get so I can update my budget template and then work up budgets for the rest of the year.  They will be subject to change, but just having a basic one built helps me plan.

Today the weather has cooled off substantially so I am canning chuck roast.  After I get off the computer I will have 14 jars going in to the big canner.  Then later today I will go to Fred Meyer and get 10 more chuck roasts and get them cut up tonight so I can do it again tomorrow.  I have to take advantage of the $3.99/lb sale.  They don't have a limit so if I get them prepared tonight and can them tomorrow, I can then go and get another round.  Then I will have 42 jars on the shelf and I'll wait until the next meat sale and do it again.  I want to have 102 jars of roast beef on the shelf.

I am hoping a decent sale comes up on chicken thighs.  I can skin and debone myself, and then can it up.  I only want 52 jars of chicken on the shelf.  And then I need to think about canning up some of the ground beef we have left from our steer.  There is a ton of it still and we need to make room for our hog, because the butcher said it will be a few weeks, but I don't really know what a few means.  I am only getting half a hog, since it took so long and they got really big, so now a half is like a whole if I'd gotten it two and a half months ago.  It cost $753.  I will still have to pay the cut and wrap fee, which is $0.75 per pound, I think.  It might be per package of meat.  Well, they'll tell me when they are done, but I have budgeted about $300 for it.  It might be more, but I can pull from savings.

Once I see how much space I have left in the freezer, I can decide what I want to do about beef, since we are pretty much down to hamburger and a few roasts, ribs, and soup bones.  No steaks are left.  I may get a half if there is room, or just stock up on a lot of chicken and buy some steaks and roasts as we need them.  They just won't be grass fed, probably.  Plus, DH's friend's boat is fixed, so they will be fishing soon for salmon.  There is some seafood we need to start eating up so there will be room for that, too.

Not much going on in the financial aspect at the moment.  Not until payday anyway.  Still waiting on the appeal for DD on the insurance front, but preparing for having her to go on COBRA, getting all the paperwork to be submitted and it go smoothly into that as soon as possible.  Then we will schedule her MRI of her liver.  It is just a follow up from the surgery where they removed the tumor.  They want to make sure it isn't growing again and that her liver has regenerated.  She's been having some pain in that region again off and on, so hopefully it hasn't started to come back.  I would appreciate prayers for that.

My husband, kids, and I all filled out our ballets last night for the primary.  We went over the voter's book with them over the last week and we all agreed on who we wanted to vote for.  DH is dropping them off at the courthouse drop box after work today.  I hope it makes a difference and other people in the state are as fed up as we are, even Seattle.  King County likes to screw over everyone else and they usually have the population to do it, but a lot of people fled Seattle over the past three years due to rioting, so we might have a chance to get some sensible people in this year.  As sensible as a politician can manage, anyway.

 

Pop Some Cyber Champagne with Me!

July 22nd, 2022 at 05:35 am

DH had his performance review today and life suddenly got a whole lot easier.  His boss, his boss's boss, and the company president were all there for the review.  The company freaking president.  It was a massively glowing review.  DH probably could have been seen from space, it was so glowing.

Now, previously his boss had told him to expect something that would make him fall on the floor if he got what was put in for.  My response to that when DH told me was that the only thing that would make me fall on the floor would be going up to $150K, but I'd be happy with anything to help with the massive inflation.

Well, my dears, they didn't even hesitate to sign off on what was requested. Let's just say that we have both collapsed in a heap.  DH got a $22,624 a year raise.  That is 17.8%.  So is that $150K salary?  No, but that's quibbling.  It's $149,816 a year.  So close enough in my mind!  Plus he works several weeks of 10 to 20 hours of overtime a year, so it'll probably be closer to $160K when all is said and done.

DH said the amount of his raise was the amount of his salary the very first year he started at an engineering company fresh out of technical college, about six months before we got married.  I remember living on that and deciding to have a baby.  We lived on love, faith, and hope.  Well, we aren't living on hope anymore.  We're back to being on dry land, no more treading water and no more sinking.

DH is now where he was while working in Alaska in 2015 before the lay off that wiped out our savings and put us years behind where we could have been if all had gone well.  Only now he's not on hazard pay, he's home, the benefits are better, he's pretty much guaranteed a job for the rest of his working life assuming the company stays solid, and we don't have to pay for airfare to get to Alaska or a mortgage or a car payment or any debt at all.  And when we do inherit the house from my mother, we will be able to pay the property taxes.  It's like a massive weight has been taken off my shoulders.  I praise God for this so much.  DH has worked so hard for this company, they've noticed, and it has paid off in spades.

But the biggest, most important thing in this is that if the appeal to keep our daughter on DH's medical due to disability doesn't work, we can afford to pay for her insurance without wiping out our entire emergency fund and still have money leftover.  And that feels like the weight of the world has been lifted off of all of our shoulders.

And now I can rebuild the Emergency Fund.  I had to take out $7000 for repairing a rotten bathroom floor and fixing a plumbing leak.  We will probably have to completely rip out the bathroom/shower and put in a new one, too.  But at least we didn't drain the fund.  There is still $13,285.51 in it.  We will get it back up again.

Then maybe we can save up so DS can go to school and become an electrician or engineer like he is interested in.  We haven't been able to afford it since this is such a high cost of living area.  Now maybe we can.  Technical college is not as expensive as other colleges and ours offers a bachelor's degree in engineering at a third of the cost as our university does.

And after that, I want to get a solar system for the house.  That has always seemed like a pipedream, but who knows now?  If we can replace at least half of our energy costs for the year, that would be great.  Maybe we can get one by 2030.  I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, but yeah.  Maybe.

Anyway, I am raising a glass of cyber champagne high.  Cheers!

 

We'll See

July 10th, 2022 at 03:26 am

DH's boss has put in for a sizeable raise for DH.  I know he just got one in December, but his responsibilities have increased by a large margin...a margin that was not required for his job or the last raise.  The last raise was completely swallowed up by inflation.  I had to double, and then raise by another $50, our gas budget.  Electricity, gas, water/sewer, and even garbage have all gone up.

He said that if the raise goes through, DH will probably fall down on the floor.  About the only thing that would make me fall down on the floor would be $150K.  But anything more would be fine, especially if it will cover DD's COBRA (still waiting on the appeal, but who knows?) while we try to get her on disablility or find a cheaper insurance that will still cover her medications.  And maybe let us bump up our retirement contributions.  At least we will be able to claim a significant amount of medical this year and that was before paying for COBRA, which starts in August.

Right now we are at 16% and I would like to be at 20%, maybe even 25% one day.  Even if I can only go up to 17% or 18%, that will help.  I haven't looked at retirement since the freefall started.  I really don't want to, either.  I am hoping in November we will see a sea change and all these people willing to throw our money away on other countries and not take care of us here so we can recover in our own economy and infrastructure, get voted out.  I'll certainly vote against Patty Murray.  She stopped being the Mom in Tennis Shoes she originally campaigned as when I was young and is now just another rich career politician who has strayed so far from what she used to be, I just want her gone.  And I like her opponent.  But I digress.

I've been able to stay within my food budget only because I don't have to buy much in the way of meat, mostly just chicken and the occasional pork.  DH caught the limit on spot prawns and was given more by some of the others again.  They tried to catch Pacific sand dabs, which are in the flounder family, while they were out there but only caught little ones that they threw back.  There is not much meat on the little ones.  Still both prawning trips have been more than enough to cover the gas to go out.  These ones are super expensive to buy.  So we'll get a few meals out of those.  I am really looking forward to crabbing and salmon seasons and we may try to catch some river trout, too, since there are some fishing areas in our local parks.

So mostly I am buying produce right now and it'll be a while yet on when I can replace much of those types of groceries.  Right now I am getting scallions and the first peas are ready to be picked today.  I've got some herbs to harvest from and I am still picking strawberries.  The raspberries are starting to turn color.  So I am able to supplement a little.  Plus I'm pulling the elephant garlic today, now that I've had 7 days in a row with no rain or watering.  That helps them dry out some before being pulled and put on a ventilated drying rack for about 2 weeks and then I can cut off the greens and trim the roots and they can go into a box for dry storage in my coldest cabinet that seldom gets opened.  I think the Music garlic is ready, too, but I'll have to dig down and check.

Once all the garlic is out I can plant carrots, radishes, and 90 day parsnips.  Those are all great things to plant after garlic or onions.  The onions are starting to swell, but they have several weeks to go.  Maybe in another 2 weeks I can ring them and then their growth will take off significantly.  And I'll be able to use the sprinkler and just handwater once this garlic is out.  

I've got baby zucchinis starting and saw my first tomato (small and green) yesterday.  My cucumbers are still really small plants.    My lettuce has bolted and my spinach, too.  My herbs are big enough that I can start to harvest them.  But that's still not a lot of fruit or veggies.  We finally got the green beans planted, but they haven't come up yet.  I will be getting the sweet potatoes in today.  We'll have to do a peusdo greenhouse when the weather starts cooling off in the fall, since it took so long for DH to get the grow bags filled for me.  They are up on pallets to keep them off the ground for when the ground starts getting cold.

I am considering dumping the hog lady since she keeps having her butcher dates pushed back and I haven't heard from her in some time, and going with another beef.  Almost all that is left is hamburger.  Any new hamburger I get I can put through the grinder on a fine grind, mix with some ground chicken, some tallow, and with herbs and spices, run it all through again, and make sausage with it.  I can make mild Italian and I can make breakfast sausage.  And if I ask for the navel cut with the new steer, then I can make beef bacon as well, unless they will make the bacon and the sausage for me at the butchers.  They might not if the equipment for that is dedicated to hogs only, but it doesn't hurt to ask.  It might be, to keep kosher.  I know they will do kosher or halal when asked.

I need to do a stock up on herbs and spices at Costco this weekend, particulary salt, pepper, granulated garlic, paprika, and chili powder.  I also want to get more tomato sauce, some PH water, some TP, Ziplocs, some oil for the fryer, some olive oil, rice, stir-fry veggies, and some golden kiwis.  Maybe one or two more items, but I'll have to check.

I don't need to buy anymore fruit this week, as I still have strawberries to pick, a watermelon, 2/3 of a melon that was not labelled in the store, but tastes like a cross between cantaloupe and honeydew with a yellow rind, 2 small pineapples, some grapes, 3 nectarines, 1 peach, and 4 kiwis.  I might get Rainer cherries, though.  They are my favorite now and only have a short season.  But we don't really need it.  As for produce, we have two zucchini, 1 English cucumber, a head of lettuce, 1 green cabbage, 2 Napa cabbages (for cabbage rolls), 1/4 of a huge bag of frozen stir-fry veggies, 2 packs of frozen broccoli, carrots, potatoes, radishes, 4 yellow onions, 1 red onion, and a head of garlic.  Also, home canned green beans, canned corn, and a can of water chestnuts.   I think we should be fine, so I'll take the opportunity to stock up on some long-term food storage and longer-lasting pantry items, while saving enough money for week two of this grocery budget.

I had raised the grocery budget to $500, but I have popped it back down to $400 every payday, due to the increase in gas prices.  It had to come from somewhere, so I am economizing more and sticking more firmly to meal planning and eliminating take out to more than once a payday and one of those meals MIL pays for.  We have all but eliminated prepared foods and are cooking mostly from scratch, now that I am feeling better.  It took a lot for me to recover from that last fall.  My scab has almost completely fallen off and now I just have to work on keeping the scar tissue from pulling the skin tight, but using cream on it 3 times a day.  I still have some pain from the fall, but I'm down to just using Ibuprofen at bedtime, so it is obviously better.

It was hard to keep a good attitude through the healing process, because it has set me back, but I can still feel the higher dose of the stuff used to control my hypomania and death spirals (as I like to call them, not really death, just dark dives into misery) is doing it's job to keep me on a more even keel.  I still don't have a formal diagnosis other than hypomania and depression.  No one's come out and said bipolar, though.  Which is okay, because let's face it, I don't want to go on lithium.  I will likely be going up another 50 mg on my current drug the next time I see the doctor.  I feel it is the final step, because my outlook on life has improved tremendously over all.

I'm need to call in to physical therapy this week and get myself rescheduled.  I think I will need a new assessment, though, because my range of motion and the flexibility I was getting has now become less and so is the amount of time I can stand or walk with an assistance device and definitely without one and the pain is pretty bad unless I sit rather quickly.  I had been cane free for 8 weeks before this accident.  It's so frustrating, but I will put my head down, muddle through, and get stronger again.  I did it once, I can do it again.  I'll call the doctor, though.  I never got an x-ray of my lower back after I fell and I want to make sure I haven't done further damage, before I do.  I was so concerned with the pain my arm when I went to the hospital, I was completely unaware of other pain.  It wasn't until the next morning that I felt it and kept hoping it would get all the way better on it's own, but maybe it can't.  So we'll see.  We'll see about a lot of things.

This and That

January 11th, 2022 at 02:03 am

I've been trying to get my brain together enough to do a goals post for 2022, but right now I am just really scattered.  DH flew off to California yesterday for work.  He'll be back on Saturday night.  His flight went well and he called me when he arrived and then again when he got to the hotel.  He has to go to a different area of California in February for a week, too.  I really hate that.  I know he used to be gone all the time for work only a few short years ago, but I am no longer used to that.

I had a therapy session today and it went well.  I'm still not sure if the anti-depressants are working or not, but the therapy is helping.  I'm starting to understand where some of my stuff comes from and how it affects me when dealing with other people in the present who do something similar to people in the past.  I really dislike doing therapy over the computer, though.  In person visits are much better where I don't have to worry about anyone possibly hearing what I am saying.

One of the tasks on my list is to find out where DH stored the car window washing fluid and then look up in the manual where the tank is for that.  I am pretty sure I know where it is, but I think I've only filled it once since we bought the car in 2011.  I'm not even sure I know where the hood release is, though I imagine it is down by the gas tank cover release button.

Tomorrow I need to pick up milk, but I think I have enough empty milk bottles to return that it'll cover the milk and get some change back.  I have four milk bottles and each has a $2 deposit.  I am so glad there is a local dairy that has glass containers for their milk and cream and half and half.  It sells through the one line of stores or you can go out there to buy it on certain days of the week, but I tend to go to the store because that is a 5 minute drive max and the other is 20 minutes there and 20 minutes back.

We need to take the Christmas lights down.  While we aren't the only people on the block with them up still, I feel like their time has come.  Friday and Saturday are supposed to be dry.  It's supposed to rain pretty hard on Tues, Wed, and Thurs, but there might be breaks in the weather like today when there wasn't supposed to be one.  We were doing other things, though.  We will get the Christmas tree taken down in the meanwhile.  I'll start on it tonight after dinner.

I need to fold a basket of towels, too.  My shoulder and upper arm are doing better than they were and so the folding motion is much more tolerable to do.  DH got a lot of the knots out before he left.  I don't want to get far behind again.  Right now there is just one clean basket of laundry and very little dirty laundry and I'd like to keep up with it now that I can.

I also need to do some spot cleaning.  Because of my back I have a hard time doing everything at once, but I find if I pick a spot and do five minutes, it gets there bit by bit.  My spot cleaning for today is the bathroom counter and sink.  A full wipe down of the dust and hair (my hair is almost down to my hips now and gets everywhere) then cleaning, rinsing, then drying off.  I might have to do it in two sessions a couple of hours apart, do the counter first and then do the sink second.  At least DH did the mirror last week so that still looks good.

We are going to take the glass shower door off our bathtub and replace it with a rod and shower curtain.  The glass door is just a collecting space for gunk, especially the runners.  With the shower curtain we can just toss it in the washer when it needs it.  And it will make it a lot easier to clean the bathtub.  With the doors gone I can just sit on the rim of the tub and reach a lot easier with a long handled brush.  It has been the hardest thing for me to clean because of that darn door.

We'll have to fill in some holes where it was screwed into the tub, but we plan to eventually tear out this tub and build a tiled bench to sit on and then make a tile walk-in shower with a six inch lip to keep the water from running onto the floor.  We would probably keep the shower surround and just build the tiles up to it.  Maybe one day we could finish it, but I am thinking of what we can afford to do now.  It will be much easier for DD and for me, with our disabilities, to get in there.  It already has one handicapped rail, but it isn't in the best location for the bench, so if we do end up doing the whole thing one day we can put it in a better location.

My spot clean for tomorrow is to break down a bunch of cardboard boxes and to fold up a bunch of paper grocery bags for recycling and put away the canned goods that are still in some of those paper bags.  DS will help with that one.  I need him to rejigger our canned food rack.  One of them was set for an unusual size can that we not longer get, and then one was tiny for those little spiced ham cans, but I can no longer get the brand I like since Covid, so we don't really need that row at all.  I think if we rejigger it we can have one regular sized row for soup.  I have a bag of soups needing a home.

Well, I'm off to make dinner.  We are having beef stew tonight from home canned beef, home grown and canned potatoes, and home canned carrots.  I've been putting it off.

I wonder if they've fixed the time stamps yet?

True date:  1/10/22

True time:  6:01 p.m.

 

 

Too Much Snow

December 28th, 2021 at 04:23 am

We've been snowed in since early Christmas morning, but today they finally plowed our road, so I will be able to get out tomorrow to take DS to the doctor and go to the store.  I need to buy some stuff for the pantry challenge, mostly fresh produce, but milk, yogurt and sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips, cabbage, apples, and oranges, which will all last a month.  I will have to buy some dairy and fresh greens during the challenge, but I hope to keep it to that.

I am assuming, of course, that DS's doctor is able to get in.  Then the next day I have an eye exam that I had to wait month's for, so hopefully the eye doc will make it in as well.  Other parts of the county are still unplowed, so if they live outside of town or up on the hills, it may be a problem.  I need the exam yearly to make sure my retinas aren't turning yellow due to the drug I am on for fibromyalgia.  As well as an eye exam for glasses/possibly contacts if my perscription hasn't changed too much.  Insurance will only pay for lenses or contacts, not both.  I will go with glasses if too much has changed.  I'd just like to have contacts for the days I go out and have to wear my mask for a long time.  Glasses fog up no matter how carefully you put your mask on.

My family and I have made a pledge that we are going to try to all eat better in the coming year.  Of course we all hope for weight loss, so there will be a lot more vegetables and a lot less sugar and if we have sugar it will be honey in homemade items, not storebought.  I used to do this so much and would really like to get back to it.  In fact, I need to make a batch of bread tomorrow as we are down to two slices, which DH will have for his breakfast.  I'll have to go to the recipe category on my blog to find my bread recipe as it has been so long since I made any.  I know it is techincally not January, but I'd like to get in the habit now.

I don't remember if I mentioned it, but after two years being gluten free my daughter healed her gut and is allowed to eat wheat again, which makes my life so much easier.  We will still use gluten free pasta, but she is actually able to eat regular bread now, thank goodness.  We just can't overload her system with it by her eating it every day.  I make an awesome gluten free pizza crust, so we may stick with that, but the great thing is that if I run out of gelatine, I could just make a regular one.

Not really much else going on.  I did a little spending and bought two gallons of unscented hand soap and some OTC meds off Amazon that haven't been in the stores for a while.  That is the household envelope and the medical fund respectively, for the money.  Altogether it was $103.49.

Tonight I plan to work on setting up the January budget.  I still don't know when the raise will show up as it wasn't on the last paycheck.  DH might have some overtime, this week which will show up on the paycheck on the 7nth if it does, so I still won't know proper amounts, although we can probably figure it out from the pay stub.

DH has to go to California for a week for work.  It sucks.  I thought his travel days were over.  I hope that we are able to make it.  It is hard for him to go when my daughter and I are both at somewhat disabled.  All I can hope for is that I don't have a flare up of either of my autoimmune diseases and that my son will not have a manic episode while DH is gone.  It is pretty well controlled now with meds, but he still spirals once in a while.

I'm going to miss him so much.  When he was going back and forth to Alaska for years and years, it was all we knew, but now that he has been here for the last few years, I don't have the hardened attitude anymore.  But at least we have video calling now.  At least I will get to see his face while he is away.  I hope I am feeling better by then.  I wish this anti-depressant would start working already.

New Freezer Purchase, Christmas Bonus, Physical Therapy, and Mental Illness

December 19th, 2021 at 07:44 am

We purchased our new freezer today.  We decided on a 21.3 cubic foot capacity GE upright freezer.  I really didn't want to deal with Frigidaire again anytime soon and maybe for the rest of my life.  That was a nightmare experience we don't want to go through again.  I was just relieved that after a five month song and dance we finally got out money back from their lemon of a freezer.

We decided to get a five year parts and labor service contract.  If something goes wrong, they will deal with everything.  We won't have to spend hours and hours on the phone trying to find the right people to fix things.  They simply will.  I will never, ever by an appliance from a big box store again.  Customer service is important and worth the slightly higher price.

Anyway, the total cost of the freezer was $1392.52.  $112.63 of that was sales tax, yeesh.  And the service contract was $179.95 of it.  The freezer itself was $1049.  We only got back just under $900, so I took the rest out of our hog fund and we will just have to  build it back up again, or maybe buy half a hog to start instead of a whole one.

It won't come until sometime in February.  It could have been June, so not so bad.  Hopefully our freezer karma will improve and everything will go according to plan this time around.

DH found out what his bonus will be.  It's $1000, minus bonus taxes, so maybe $600 is what we will end up with and .75% of his eligible hours worked this year will be added to the 401k.  Eligible hours do not include paid vacation days or paid sick leave hours.  It should be aroudn $750 to $850, which is around what we put in every two weeks ourselves, so that will be nice.  The bonus check should arrive in the mail any day now.

DH also found out that they will be raising the matching to 3% next year.  It has been 2% this year.  I'm not sure if we'll ever get back to the pre-Covid 5%, but the fact that the company is doing a lot better this year than last year is a good thing and that 1% more will make a difference.  That and DH's raise, whenever that kicks in.  I am hoping on the next paycheck, but DH didn't think to ask that because he was just so blown away by the amount.

I had a good physical therapy session this week.  I was able to do every excercise he asked of me, a far cry from the week before when everything was hurting.  Everything still hurts, but at a much lower level, and I'm functional.

I also had an okay therapy session.  I kept talking around what I wanted to talk about, which I stated at the beginning of the session, but then kept avoiding it.  And then I'd catch myself avoiding and try to steer myself back, but...it was rough.  I've come to recognize that I have some PTSD from my abusive childhood, so facing some of the stuff that happened to me then is harder than I realized it would be.  Especially since I can't really let my anger out at the people who deserve it.  Hard to do that with a dead person and a person with early stage dementia.  But I need to stop using food to deal with it all.  Easier said then done.  It's been my coping mechanism for most of my life.

I wish the anti-depressant would hurry up and kick in.  I'm tired of feeling this way.  Mental illness is a B.  I could really use a bout of mania right about now.  Or even just a general feeling of okayness.  That'd be great, too.  I know I'm on the path to wellness, but it is taking too long.  I just want to be there already.  I just want to be me again.

Raise!

December 9th, 2021 at 10:51 pm

DH was finally told what his raise was going to be.  He's getting a 9% raise!  Combined with the 2% across the board cost of living raise they did in July when they did performance reviews, that means in 2021 he will be making 11% more than we started 2020 out with.  Which is great after no raises for 3 years.  DH says this puts him at $127,000 salary, although he is hourly so it can be over that with overtime.  I believe he started this year at $114,400, so that's a big difference.

I'm not sure when it goes into effect.  I am assuming on the first paycheck earned in January, but it might be sooner.  It would be awesome if it was on tomorrow's paycheck, but no counting chickens before they hatch.

My base estimate is that we will have about $533 more net in the paycheck every 4 weeks and $808 gross.  That's assuming taking out 1/3 for taxes and however it will effect the 15% taken out for retirement.  It's a broad estimate.  I won't know anything until I see actual numbers.

I feel like this is finally going to give us some room to breathe.  We can get the Emergency Fund fully funded to six months expenses next year and fix some things around the house and seal the sun roof on the van that leaks into the seatbelt well.  And then start saving up some serious money.

I've just felt like for so long we haven't been able to actually save for anything.  I know a large portion of that is that we are slamming 15% into retirement and that technically is a form of savings, but it is a non-accessible form until retirement.  And that's a choice we made, but it feels the same as it did when we were paying off debt.  Tight and like we barely had our heads above water.

I don't know.  Part of me thinks we should make sure we max out our retirement with this, but I just feel like if we go completely that route, I will buckle under it.  The relief I am feeling at the news is so strong, like we can go on without burden, is more important than buckling it down so tightly again.

What I can't do is let the money fritter away through our fingers.  So I will plan and plan and plan some more.  And adjust accordingly.

 

What a Busy Week

December 5th, 2021 at 01:07 am

There were appointments every day this week and man was it exhausting.  I had two physical therapy sessions, one regular therapy session, one doctor's appointment for me, and one doctor's appointment for DD, who has bronchitis and a negative Covid test.  I've been put on prednisone for 10 days to try to help with some of the inflammation I've been having due to the rheumatoid arthritis acting up so much in this cold weather swing, so I am feeling semi-decent, even if I do look like a puffer fish.

Last night DH and I to Costco and did a big shop.  I used the ride on cart and we filled that basket, plus the basket of another shopping cart.  I haven't been to Costco in months.  We spent all but $50 of the grocery budget in one go, but I have lots of fruits and vegetables, some carne asada and two types of raviolis.  And 4 cases of PH water, which was nearly $50 of the cost. 

And 2 cases of Charmin.  It's the first time they've had Charmin in a couple of months according the cashier.  They had a limit of 5, though we only got 2.  We might go back for more later.  I like to keep 5 cases in the house during cold and flu season and we were down to one.  Charmin is the only TP we can use that doesn't have some harsh agent in it that causes a rash.  Well, that and MD but we can't find that anywhere for the last few years.  They might not make it anymore.

I was really excited to find some uncured paleo bacon (no sugar) and some uncured paleo Candian bacon.  And also a turkey and a roast beef deli meat pack with no sugar.  I am going to restart my diet on Monday.  I am not doing paleo, I just like to keep my high carb intake down to one meal a day, no more than 60 grams, and the other meals to be no sugar with lots of low carb vegetables.  I got a couple of salad kits, a Ceasar (won't eat the dressing or croutons, but others will) and a chopped Meditarrean salad mix that had a lot of crunchy veggies in it like cabbage, broccoli slaw, carrots, and non-romaine lettuce.  So I will mix those together.  I love salad and I make a simple dressing that has very low carbs, but tastes good.  I also stocked up a little on Kerrygold butter both salted and unsalted.

After that we headed out to storage with the truck to start bringing in our outdoor Christmas decorations.  The elk takes up almost the whole bed of the truck, but we were able to put the flat large ornament under it and tuck some other small things around it.  We had the bottled water back there, so there wasn't a ton of extra room.  Tonight we will be going back out to bring in the lamp post, the icicle lights, all the the other things like the star, the angel, the Cardnial, the Santa face, and the candy canes.  Plus the extension cords.

After we got home with the elk and put the groceries away and rested, we headed out to Lowe's.  We picked up a large room space heater for us and another one for Mom.  It has made a tremendous difference and I am no longer worried about the pipes freezing.  We heard from the furnace people and it might actually be two more weeks.

We picked up some more lights while there and got a new standee yard decoration.  This was a bear dressed in a band uniform sitting on a drum, so we call him a little drummer bear.  I try to buy one standee a year.  And we bought new lights for the bushes, because the solar ones just did not work well last winter.  Too much bad weather and too little sunshine.  We forgot to buy clips for the gutters though so we will go get those tonight when we go back out to storage.  Then hopefully tomorrow we can get the decorations up.  It's supposed to snow on Monday, so I'd like that done first.

At some point this weekend I'd like to go look for a freezer, too, now that the money has been refunded to us.  So thankfully that whole freezer saga is done.  Only took them 5 months.  If we can at least get one ordered that would be nice.

Oh, and we bought an electric blanket for DH since his quit working.  It should be here from Amazon on the 6th.

It has been spendy, but everything was either budgeted for or was saved up for, so it's all good.

I hope DH gets a decent Christmas bonus this year.  It would be cool if we could dump some more money into the EF.  They generally give a cash bonus and a 401K bonus.  Or you can choose to have the cash bonus go into your 401K, too, in which case the government doesn't get their greedy little paws on a huge chunk of the bonus (bonuses are taxed higher).  Last year the take home bonus was around $500, I think, but the year before it was $1500.  They supposedly did a lot better this year than last, so I am hopeful.

They are supposed to give out raises at the end of the year, too.  Not everyone is getting one, but it was strongly implied at DH's performance review that he would be.  I don't think any raise could keep up with runaway inflation right now, but anything would help.  It's not like DH doesn't have a good income, but when you put 15% into retirement and tithe 10%, that only leaves you with 75% to live on and that does make it tight sometimes.  It is like how we were living when we were paying down debt for the most part.

I guess that is the trade off, though.  Sacrifice now, so we don't have to sacrifice when we are in retirement.  I guess it just feels super tight because we had to set aside most of the money MIL gave us for medical expenses instead of just being able to use it.  But DS needs braces and DH needs a crown and I need a new mouth guard because mine is starting to crack.  Mine will only cost $400 though.  The crown will be $1500 and the braces I don't know yet, but I've got $6000 set aside for that.  I hope it won't cost that much, but that is what we paid for DD, although her teeth were way worse.

We need to get DS separated from the grocer's union so he can go get a restaurant job.  Did  you know that if you take a non-union job after joining that union that they can sue you?  That sucks.  He does not want to go back to work at a grocery store.  All the fast food places are hiring and they are non-union.  The McDonalds nearby is over $15.69 an hour for regular shifts and $16.69 for overnight shifts.  He was making $17.79 at the grocery store, so that's not too big a cut.  Plus he won't have to go outside much.  He had to get the carts at the grocery store and was always getting soaked, even with the rain jacket.

If he can get a job there it would be ideal.  Either that or the DQ that is a block away from the McD's.  He needs to start earning money so that he can get a car and then start saving up for school to become an electrician.  But first he has to get his GED.  Now that he is properly medicated for ADHD and BiPolar, he's got a chance of focusing long enough to do that.  Although I think McD's also has a program for getting your high school diplomma so he might be able to do that, too.  I'd prefer that to the GED, but at this point I just want him to finish.

And it's Only Thursday

October 29th, 2021 at 07:51 am

We met with a nutritionist today.  It was an hour long appointment and I was aching by the end of it, but I feel we have a good handle on things moving forward.  DH and I both accompanied DD to the appointment.  Hopefully with the things we will be adding to her diet, DD will have a chance to start absorbing nutrients again.  We are adding digestive enzymes, probiotics, collagen powder from mixed soucres (i.e. chicken, fish, beef, and 2 other things I can't remember), Hibiscus tea, bone broth (we do this, but not every day, so she needs to have it every day), and a different form of vitamin b complex  with enzymes and to raise her fish oil level to around 2000.

Since she can't digest greens or most vegetables grown above the ground right now, she recommended pureeing root vegetables and adding a scoop of the collagen.  So I make a medly of roasted root veggies anyway with potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, and turnips, that will be easy enough to do in bulk.  She can also digest pureed pumpkin.  I bought 4 sugar pie pumpkins last week, so will get around to making those up this weekend and freezing in portion sizes.

She's to stick to chicken, fish, shellfish, and turkey and if she is having a less painful day, she can have ground beef, but no more than once a week.  She should eat plain yogurt which she can sweeten at home with honey and pureed berries (the only fruit she can eat without getting sick) once a day.

We'll proceed like that for a month and see how that goes and then maybe we can try reintroducing above the ground veggies, but not greens, in a pureed form.  Green beans did sometimes digest, but we are to quit those for now.

It's a lot to digest, no pun intended.

We had a meeting with the gastro doc at 7:20 a.m., not just the NP, yesterday.  He gave her something called bile salts, so hopefully that will help with all the bile leaking into her stomach since she doesn't have a gall bladder.  We'll see.

I'm pretty wiped out as I am whenver I go somewhere for any length of time and haven't slept too well that last two days.  Having to be up early for appointments is hard as it takes my body a long time to I towarm up and not be stiff from the RA, and losing sleep makes it worse.

Nephew is officially moved out and is living with my eldest sister.  We'll see if she doesn't have buyer's remorse.  If this doesn't work out, he's getting dropped back on the door step of his own parents.  They can deal with him.

My son's breathing problems have continued to worsen and having to wear the mask all the time at work was making it worse and they wouldn't let him carry his inhalers on him, so he's no longer working there.  He's got a test scheduled for his lungs at the end of next month and then depending on what turns up on that he may need an EKG.  There is some worry that he might have got that heart thing that some young men get from Covid from when he had it in March of 2020.  Sometimes medicine moves so slowly.

He's bummed to not have money coming in, but I told him once this was straightened out, he could get another job if he wants to.  He doesn't need to work, he saved over $2000, and all his living expenses are met by us so it doesn't concern me.  As long as masks are a thing, though, I'm not sure getting a job is wise if it hurts his breathing.

I did get my Youtube money this week, so will add that in to the budget tomorrow.  It's a 3 payday month so it'll be a bigger paycheck as well.

LAL, I haven't had a chance to pull together recipes yet, but I did see your comment on the last post and will do it eventually when I have a few more spoons (see Spoon Theory).

Good News for DS and Murphy Visits the New Freezer (but the Beef is Safe)

July 29th, 2021 at 06:16 am

I can't believe it has been nine days since I blogged.  I did fiddle around last night and revamp my blog's appearance.  I like to freshen it up every year or two, so I changed the color scheme and the avatar.  Well, the avatar is basically the same, I just updated the background, clothes, and hair.  I tried to keep the hot pink to a minimum on the blog layout, because I know that can be very hard on the eyes for some people, but I like it as an accent, along with the black for the sidebar headings.  That's why the blog title is in white.  It attacked my eyes when I tried it out in hot pink.  I think the electric blue goes very well with just that hint of the hot pink, though.  I changed my avatar to reflect how I look now, which I generally do after a haircut, though this was not that.  I still haven't gotten one of those.  No, I just have my hair tied back all the time now because it is nearly to my waist, so the photo reflects a long pony-tail.

I'm still spending way to much right now and I have lots of excuses for it, but won't bore you with most of it.  I am still saving heavily to the medical fund, just not the EF.  I did have to buy my son some plain black shoes and some dark blue jeans for the uniform at his new job.  They provide the shirts and aprons.  Yes, my son has been hired for his first job!  He has orientation on Friday.  The position is full-time  I've told him he is on his own for buying clothes from now on.  I am not making him pay me back for this, but I am making him pay me back for the bento boxes and insulated lunch bag for packing his dinner to work out of his first full paycheck.  He will also pay $100 a month towards the utilities since he is pretty much personally responsible for the high water bill, and he will contribute $50 a month towards food along with his 10% employee discount.

He's going to be working at the grocery store six blocks from our house which means he can walk to work, weather permitting, and then we'll drop off a vehicle for him in the parking lot or pick him up depending on how late he'll be.  He's supposed to be working the 4 p.m. to midnight shift, but you know how that sort of thing goes.  He'll be a courtesy clerk which is a fancy name for bagger and cart fetcher/cart sanitizer, and other sanitizing through out the store.  I'm sure there will be other things he does during the slow times.  As far as I know he won't be restocking for now.  He wanted to be a cashier, it was what he interviewed for, but they hired some people with more experience.  Still, he can work his way into it once he has proven himself to be a good employee.

It's union, which is good in some ways and bad in others.  The job security is good.  You can't opt out of the dues and not be in the union which is bad.  The union doesn't have a 401K, it has a pension, which is nice.  But you have to work there seven years to get it, whereas with a 401k you always have access to what you put in yourself and whatever has vested so far from employer match.  I'm not sure how pensions work, if they are strictly company provided or you pay into them.  If you pay into them, it would suck, because this is not a forever job for him.

He'll be opening a Roth IRA with his first full paycheck and will be contributing 15% of his income.  He will be tithing 10%.  We will have to determine what the pecentages are on the $150 he'll pay to us each month for his expenses.  I think he said he wanted to save 40% for the car, maybe more, and then have the rest for his spending.  He'd like $100 out of each paycheck.  Of course we won't know what he'll even be making after taxes and benefits, so numbers may have to be adjusted accordingly, just not tithe and IRA contributions.  Then we can set up a spreadsheet for his budget or get him on the Every Dollar app from Dave Ramsey.  Personally, I prefer a spreadsheet, though.

15% to the IRA is non-negotiable while he lives at home.  He needs to get into the habit of it from day one.  We all see the position my mother was left in when they made her spend down Dad's IRA and 401k for nursing home care to $100,000.  And we see what happens when there is enough money to take care of the left behind spouse and help your kids and grandkids as is the case with DH's mother.  I want my son to have so much money in his 401k by the time he retires that he never has to worry about losing all his money to that if either he or his future wife end up in the same position.

I want there to be enough to have end of life care and still have so much money left over he doesn't know what to do with it all, besides charitable giving and world travel (if that is ever allowed again) and taking care of his sister if she lives that long (doubtful as her life expectancy might make her go before I do with all her disesases).  And that any possible kids he might have can get an education outside the public school system and be able to put their own kids through a college that has hopefully corrected back to the center from the divisive and often communistic brainwashing that has taken over in many universities today.  It all starts with 15% every paycheck and no debt.

I am thinking out of the $150 he gives me each month to put aside $100 a month to go towards his car, but use the $50 towards the utilities.  I'm not sure yet, since we are paying his portion of our car insurance still.  I planned on doing that, though, until he gets his own car.  He's also considering moving to his own Ting plan, so he can get unlimited data on his phone.  I won't let him do it on ours.  Since he won't be getting an allowance anymore (but will still be paid for jobs DH and I loathe, like washing and detailing the van), but still expected to do his portion of jobs as part of his continuing to be mostly supported by us, that money will be mostly freed up i the budget now, too.

His plan is that he's saving up and emergency fund first, then for a car second, and then for school.  He's decided he wants to become an electrician.  It's a two year course so it'll take some time to save up.  He won't get an expensive car, just maybe something in the 5K range.  I'm hoping we'll be able to help him a little, but the cost of the orthodontia work I'm saving up for makes it kind of prohibitive.  We won't be able to help him with school.  My focus has to be on retirement as we are so far behind and I don't want to ever end up in the position my Mom is in or the one my eldest sister is in.

But it does have medical which he doesn't need yet, really as he is only 21 and can stay on our insurance for five more years (you can't opt out).  But it does include dental and vision.  I am hoping the dental includes orthodontia as most plans that have it cover half the cost.  He'll get a big paperwork packet with all the info when he goes to orientation.  Not sure what other benefits there are.  Maybe life insurance or something.

The other thing I don't like is how they schedule.  It is based on senority so basically the people who have been there longest get to pick their shifts first and the person hired last picks last.  It's not done on any fair basis based on availability and a scheduler who makes sure everyone has to work some good and some bad.  It is cherry-picked.  That's why I said that while he was hired for 4 p.m. to midnight, he might not actually get those hours.  Although the lady who interviewed him said that most people don't want those hours, but he does because it fits with his sleep schedule and still gives him the opportunity to go to the chiropractor and schedule doctor's appointments.

It's hard to believe it took until 21 for him to get a job.  He tried before Covid, but first he was under 18 and no one was hiring teenagers here, it was employer's pick, and the picked over 18 every time.  They said as much.  All the kids complained they couldn't get jobs.  Then after 18 unemployment was so incredibly low that no one was hiring so no interviews were even offered.  Then Covid hit and I didn't want him out in the workforce, we didn't know what was going on yet, and he has asthma so wearing a mask for 8 hours a day was not doable.

Now that he doesn't have to wear a mask here (fully vaxed), he got hired the first place he applied.  Employers are desperate because people can still make more on unemployment in most states due to those extended benefits being at $15 an hour.  Most of these entry level jobs can't match that or they'd have to skyrocket their prices to raise wages to entice people, which always triggers inflation.  The benefits are supposed to end soon, though and then people will have to start working again.  I really hope they don't reinstate masks now, like some places are talking about.  I'm not sure he could manage the job if it keeps interfering with his breathing.  Maybe I could get him one of those helmeted electric respirators, although they probably wouldn't let him wear that!  And they cost $1000.  He'd have to pay that back, for sure.

I'm having a little bit of a "my baby is leaving the nest," going on.  He's not planning on leaving any time soon, but this is his first step towards really being an adult.  Other than working on the farm when we had animals, he hasn't had to be consistent about anything.  Not even school, since we homeschooled.  It's weird thinking about having a first job be your entry to adulthood.  My first paid job, I was little.  I only earned $35 that summer.  It was before they changed the labor laws, so I could work in the strawberries and the blueberries as a wee one with my mother (she was a teacher so worked the farms in the summer) and sisters.  There was no greater satisfaction than buying that powder blue Snoopy watch with my own hard earned money.  I had worked 4 jobs by the time I got my first job as and adult at 18.

Times change, I guess.  If you didn't know anyone, you couldn't help get your minor kid a job.  If they don't hire, they can't get themselves a job.  I bet a lot of kids will be able to work, though, with all the hiring going on now.  The faces are getting younger and younger behind the cash register everywhere we go and it's not because I'm getting older.  It's because they are sixteen.  And not just because it is summer.

I also don't like that most places don't take applications in person.  Everything is online now.  The experience of handing an application personally to a manager is just gone.  No first impression to leave with the manager, nothing that might help you get past the pre-interview barrier.  It's a lot easier to ignore online applications than in person ones.  Without that face to face there is no chance to get an edge by presenting yoursef as a neat, well-groomed, nicely dressed individual, or as a go-getter.  Not at all like back in the day.  The internet makes things faceless and impersonal.

As for me, I have been very busy writing.  I set my goal for last week at 6500 words and I did 564, 1663, 1174, 0, 0, 1442, and 2094 which totalled out to be 6937 words.  The two zero days were the really bad days of a five day stomach virus that kept me in bed those two days.  My goal for this week is 7000 words.  I know I almost met that last week, but I told myself I would go with 7000, than 7500, than 8000, etc. on up to 10,000 words a week.  I don't want to overly pressure myself on it.  If it is just 500 more words a week than the previous goal, it is attainable in my head.  Now if I really fly by it one week I may adjust accordingly, but I don't want to push too hard.  The goal here it to write every day or almost every day and I'm doing that, so it's all good.

I don't feel good about my payday report this last payday, so I'm not making it.  Like I said I spent way, way too much this month and while we paid off the card during the billing period, so no interest, we will still have a lot that carries over into next month from this make for the stuff charged after we close.  I really need to just put a halt to the spending on it.

I will be raising our grocery budget to $900 a month from $800 to feed four adults.  Inflation is getting to be too much to maintain at the lower level and DS will be taking his dinners to work so really need to buy things that can be eaten cold, like deli meat, which is much more expensive.  The costs of fruits and vegetables, in season, has doubled and tripled on some items.  I'm glad we don't need to buy beef anymore.  But chicken and pork have gone up a lot, too.  I'm not finding .99/lb chicken anymore, the sale price is now $1.99/lb.  Same on pork shoulder.  Bacon is a little scary.  It'll drop back down once we get some pork and chicken in the freezer.

Oh, and here's the kicker.  Our new Frigidaire freezer that we bought in December?  It sounds like an airplane taking off at times and the alarm keeps going off that it is losing temp.  All the food was about 1/4 thawed except in the very back, so we had to distribute that food through the other freezers.

I unplugged it after it tried to go down the runway at 5:30 in the morning.  We were trying to keep broth frozen in it to see if it would thaw or not, but with that kind of noise on the other side of the wall from the head of my bed, nope, nope, nope.  DH is supposed to call and wait on hold with Frigidaire most of the day tomorrow (I'm assuming) while he works, as it is still under warranty.  He can prop it up on speaker phone.  It's no way near a year old.  I will be out tomorrow with doctor's appointments, and grocery shopping, so I can't do it.

I don't know what the heck is wrong with the motor, but I have a theory.  I don't think the door was hung right, because we've had the little light blinking a lot when it should have been solid green and the alarm would go off every few days despite no one opening the freezer during that time.  There is a magnet that is supposed to line up with the bottom of the freezer, but it doesn't quite.  And there was always frost on the bottom basket.  I think the door was put on wrong which is keeping the seal from being quite right.  I think the motor probably had to work too hard to constantly be freezing and having no rest cycles because it was always trying to get it to stay  at temp.

I am hoping they will just replace the motor and fix the door at this point, or just replace the freezer.  I think it is a lemon.  If it wasn't when we bought it, it is now.  If we can't get it working right, or get a new one in time, I will have to cancel my hog order.  I did give her a heads up the day the melt down started to happen.  She said to just keep her informed when we know something.  It'll be a bummer if we have to cancel.  She says that if no one buys them like I am, they just go to auction, so she'll not be out too much from it.

I know we haven't had the freezer long, but I was already relying on it heavily.  Thank goodness we have the large chest and mini-chest and fridge freezers.  Without them it would have been awful because we had just bought the side of beef.  And I don't know if  freezers of this size are back in the stores yet.  Or any freezers.  And they cost around $1000.  Maybe more now due to inflation.  But honestly, I should not have to pay for a new one anyway.

Oh, well, I'll do what I always do.  Put my head down and cope with it.  There, a long entry to make up for not posting for 9 days.

Bits and Pieces

June 24th, 2021 at 06:39 pm

So DH totally screwed up in telling me how much an hour his raise was.  It wasn't $11 an hour, it was $1.10 an hour.  Way to move the decimal point.  And no, he didn't give it to me in print, he literally told me $11 an hour.  So basically none of the stuff I thought was going to happen with retirement or savings is going to happen.  It's a bummer.  Hopefully he will also get a merit raise.  $1.10 an hour doesn't even keep up with how bad the cost of living has gone up in the last two years.  Better than nothing, though.

I did notice that if we could save just $66 more a payday into retirement we would max out, though.  I just don't think I can swing it, not with the forced long-term care insurance starting.  Maybe after we max out our Emergency Fund that can be something we work toward.

Our steer has gone to butcher.  It has a hanging weight of 665 pounds.  I have sent the check off to the farmer for the remainder, $1892.20.  With the deposit, that means the beef cost me $2292.20.  There is still the cut and wrap fee of .78/lb.  Well, they say .78/lb, but it tends to be more like .78 per package and a lot of packages have more than a pound of meat in them.  So while I do have $600 I left in the beef fund to cover it, it'll be $521.04 max and I don't think it will come to that.

Above that amount I had $254 left in the beef fund that I went ahead and moved to the hog fund.  That brings the total in the hog fund to $647.  As soon as I pay the cut and wrap fee at pick up, I will move whatever is left over to the hog fund, which will be at least $78.96, making that amount be at least $725.96 and probably a little more.  My goal is $1000, so I will be just shy of 3/4 of my goal.

We continue to eat down the chest freezer and move things into the house freezer as things from there are used up to make room for the steer.  It is coming along nicely.  He said I should be hearing from the processing facility sometime in the next 11 days for my cut orders.  I  want as much chuck roast as possible, but not so much the other types of roasts except pot roast.  I want all the round ground, we don't like them as roasts or steaks.  I want all the sirloin tip roasts cut into steaks.  And I want my steaks 3/4 inch thick not 1 inch thick.  I can genearally get two extra steaks out of it per type that way.

I want all the soup bones, the fat for making my own tallow, and the liver, heart, kidneys, and tongue.  We've never tried the tongue or kidneys before, so that'll be interesting.  Organ meats are quite healthy for you.  I'm a little squeamish about the tongue, but it is supposed to be quite good.  I guess we will find out. 

The special standing walker we ordered for DD arrived yesterday and it is really going to be a game changer for her.  And it has a seat she can actually sit down on.  Standard walkers are pretty painful for people with her conditions.  It folds up easily enough that she can do it herself, at last for the time being.  That was $248, but money well spent.

I can make do with the walker we inherited from FIL after he died for quite a while yet.  I only use it on severely bad days where I have to go out of the house.  Most days I am fine with my cane or if I am doing really well, without it.  But as things continue to worsen, I would definitely like to get one like that as it is easier on the L-4 and L-5 area of my back.  It takes up a lot less space when folded, too.

My referral for a neurosurgery consult finally went through so calling them is on my to do list for the day.  Along with finally getting the drip line put in the raised bed with the tomatoes in it added and the last set of hoops and deer netting up.  There is a lot outside that needs to be done and I am finally starting to feel like I can do some of it again.

I think I'm finally getting my sleeping straightened out.  I've been falling asleep between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. instead of 3 or 4 a.m. and I've been waking up in the morning instead of the afternoon, so hopefully this will last.  I like actually having a whole day of sunlight in which to live my life.

If I am feeling particularly ambitious I might try to plant some seeds in the garden.  I'd really like to have some kohlrabi this year.

 

Good News

June 18th, 2021 at 02:53 am

I have to say I have needed some good news with one thing after another for the last two years.  DH's work is giving a 2% raise across the board.  It goes into effect starting next week, so it won't be on the next paycheck, but the one after that.  And they are starting reviews for merit raises on top of that in July.  DH's isn't scheduled for his until the end of July, but it means there is a chance of an additional raise, too.  Since he never got one when he got promoted because Covid happened and they cut back on a lot of things, I am hoping we will see that now.  Either way, the 2% raise is $11 an hour more, so nothing to sneeze at and I am very grateful for it.  It's been 3 years without a raise.

One of the verses I look to a lot is Jeremiah 29:11:  "For I know the plans I have for you.  Plans to give you hope, and a future."  I have it posted at eye level on the wall by my computer.  I have kept that in the forefront of my mind as much as possible during the last year and a half, constantly reminding myself that there is a future with hope in it, even when I felt hopeless at times with all the medical issues and expense they brought.

I was starting to feel it worse when I found out that the state of Washington is going to force long-term care insurance on anyone who is working and they were going to enforce it by taking it out of paychecks.  There was a one time chance to opt out if you could prove you had other long-term care insurance.  DH opted out and we are getting some in place.  While it would be more convenient to do it through the state, they only offer $36,000 lifetime coverage and for every $100 they pay you have to pay $100 if you use the insurance.  And there is no provision to guarantee they won't raise how much they are taking out whenever they feel like it.  And also you have to pay more in based on your income so you are subsidizing other people.

We are getting one that is $50,000 lifetime coverage and a slightly cheaper premium and we have control over it and can shop around if it goes up, unlike with the government.  DH and I had been talking about getting long-term care for a while anyway, I just don't like being forced to.  It's another monthly bill coming in of $48.71.  I was able to pick the date it comes out of the checking account, though.  And with the raise I won't have to cut back in another category.  And I really ought to get some long-term care insurance for myself, but I can't get it through the same place as him as that is only offered to their employees, not spouses.

So if we both get the insurance that'll be around $100 in a new bill.  Allowing for them taking out 15% for the 401k pre-tax, about a third of what is left to payroll taxes, and taking 10% off for tithe, we should end up with an additional $400 a payday unaccounted for, give or take.  That's just a guestimate, of course, and I won't know for sure until we get the first paycheck without any overtime on it.  That'll make it a lot easier to save for both medical expenses and the Emergency Fund.  Assuming nothing else in our lives goes blooey.

If he gets an additional 1% merit raise, that would give us $1000 to save to medical and EF each month and that would be great.  Merit raises are generally higher than 1%, usually 2 to 5%, but I'm not being greedy.  I do wish, though, that they'd go back to contributing 5% to the 401K and not just the 2.5%.  I'd rather have that than a merit raise, to be honest.  The 2% of the regular raise is enough to help us out and ease the pressure tremendously.

On the bright side, just with the first 2% raise we are going to hit the $19,500 401k max for the year right at the first payday of December, assuming no more overtime at all this year, which is unlikely.  That is a huge milestone I didn't think we'd make this year.  Technically since he is over 50, we could put $26,000 into his 401k as a catch up amount, but I don't think we will have an additonal $6500 lying around to do it with and if we did, we'd more likely open a spousal IRA for me.

It is nice to have a little more hope for the future again, though part of me is still holding my breath waiting for Murphy to whack us again.  Does that ever go away?

Oh, and I got my second Moderna Covid vax on Sunday.  It took me until today to feel like a human being again.  Hence the big post.

Change of Plans

January 10th, 2021 at 02:38 am

What is that old expression about making plans and then God laughing at them?  Well, my plans for 2021 just got thrown for a loop.  Not completely, and it is something we can cash flow through March for, but it means only putting $195 a month into the Emergency Fund.  For the first time ever we will be owing taxes.

It isn't an exact amount just yet, and won't be until DH gets his W-2, but with the numbers we do have, he estimated we will need to pay $2304 in taxes.  It might vary.  That means saving $768 a month for the next three months.  The only place to take that money from was what we planned to put into the Emergency Fund.

If I want to hit our goal of six month's expenses by the end of the year, that means I will need to save $1018.55 a month from April through December.  What I had budgeted for was $950 a month before all this.  So that is a shortfall of $68.55 a month or $616.95 total.  We might be able to make up for that on 3 paycheck months where medical would not be taken out so the checks are bigger.  There is one in April and one in October this year.  I would know how much it would be by April to know if it was enough in October to make up that difference.  If not, I'll just have to find the money somewhere.

I'm not sure what our tax situation will be for 2021.  We will be almost maxing out our 401K which one would think would lower our taxes by quite a lot.  We only did 5% in 2020 and are doing 15% this year, which is $17,160.  The max is $17,500 for 2021, although since we are over 50 we could do the catch up rate of $19,500.  But we're not, at least not this year.  Once we have our six month's expenses saved, the plan for 2022 is to max out to the catch up rate if we can.

I don't know if they will eliminate that tax cut Trump put in or not, but if they do that will affect everything, too, so until we see what they will do in Congress, it is kind of tilting at windmills to even try to think about taxes for 2021.  Of course, that drives my planner's mind crazy.  I am going forward assuming it will be eliminated, though.

I guess if we do have to pay taxes in 2021, we will probably be fine just doing what we are doing this time, altering the budget to cashflow the taxes.

You know what?  I am so grateful we have no debt.  So, so grateful.  This would have made me so upset a year ago, but now we can just absorb it.  Yes, it makes me annoyed, I don't like change, but not "Oh, my gosh, what are we going to do?" freaked out.  I knew exactly what we could do and how to manage it without even blinking.  That peace of mind, after so many years under the burden of debt, is priceless.

I don't know if I mentioned here about my little grand niece, but she was in the ICU at Children's for a couple of days, then one day out of the ICU and today she got to go home, but she's still not great, just not life-threatening anymore.  There is something wrong with her blood sugar, like she's not absorbing enough sugar or something and it just got so bad because she stopped drinking for a day and got dehydrated.  They had genetic testing done, but won't get that back for a week or so.  Meanwhile they gave my nephew and his wife some sugar paste that absorbs directly into her gums if she won't drink enough juice to keep it up.  They haven't mentioned diabetes at all, so I don't think that is the issue.  Hopefully they will get it figured out soon.

Stimulus is Pending, Retirement is at 15%

January 3rd, 2021 at 12:11 am

I checked my bank account this morning and to what should my wondering eyes appear, but a pending stimulus payment. DH and I got $1200 together.  I'm a little disappointed that they couldn't get their act together and do the $2000, but free money is free money.  That will go into the EF, minus the tithe, and that will put us at a little over three month's expenses.  I plan to continue to save for six month's expenses, which will take to the end of the year or thereabouts.  Eventually I'd like six month's income and not just six month's expenses, but once expenses are met, I'll probably cut the contribution in half so we can save for other things, but still push forward.

We also made sure our retirement account was set to15% for 2021.  DH had done it once but it didn't take.  So we did it again and this time got to an end screen he didn't get to the first time.  I will make sure I check it again before payroll hits.

I did the numbers and between what we will contribute and what work will contribute (2.5%) it'll be a little over $20K this year.  And that doesn't include company stock.  If DH works until 72 and we get the same average rate of return as has been going for the last 20 years with the funds we are in, we should have 5.5 million.  If we max out it'll be a little higher.  If he can only work until 65, we still max out a little over 2 million.  That's assuming no raises that will allow us to max out our 401K.  Gives me hope that our disabled daughter will be well taken care of and that there will be an inheritance for my son, too.

And that's only if we don't put anything into the IRA.  If we can contriubte to it this year that would be amazing, even if it is only a little bit.  But I think if possible we would max out the 401K first, which would be an additional $2000 to what we are putting in.  That might be a big enough stretch on its own.

DH's work is considering doing something where if you work overtime, instead of getting paid overtime, the hours worked can bank for extra paid vacation time or can bank for a quarterly payout, or do half vacation time/half quarterly payout.  Since the project he is working on does not authorize overtime, this would be a way to actually work it, but get a different way of paying out.  Normally it is only offered to salaried employees, not hourly, but he is doing the work of a salaried employee.  I think they are putting it to a vote when everyone comes back from the holidays.

I am all for it.  I'd like extra paid vacation and an extra payout, so we would do 50/50 for the first quarter and see what that looks like.  And of course extra hours worked already means extra sick leave banked, since it is based on that at his work.  While straight OT is better than anything, that just won't be an option this year.  I guess we just have to wait and see how things play out.

 

A Bit of Good News

December 10th, 2020 at 10:59 pm

I do have a bit of good news in all the upheaval of 2020.  There will be a Christmas contribution to the 401K and a small bonus at DH's work.  And I do mean small in comparison to past years.  $500 after taxes is nothing to sneeze at and will go directly to the Emergency Fund.  Unless DH works overtime between now and the end of the year the 401K contribution will be $813.17 because it is based on a percentage of hours worked during the year.

Starting next year they are going to start matching 401K contributions again, but not at 5%.  At 2.5%.  It's a lot better than the 0% they had to do for the last half of 2020.

I saw the doctor yesterday so I could get migraine medication and pain medication and do a blood pressure check.  I got the flu shot for the first time in a couple of decades.  I had a gut level intuition that this was going to be a bad flu year and they had the right strains this time.  I don't know where that came from, but I have always found that I should follow that voice when it happens.  I'll probably feel cruddy the next couple of weeks because of it, I always do, but that's the choice I made.

We also talked about my hip and low back pain and how it radiates he is suspecting a bulging disc, so once I am done with this entry I am going to go get an x-ray taken and see if there is anything obvious.  I might have to do physical therapy again.  I don't see how that will help as I am still doing all the exercises from last time.  And 45 minute sessions to an hour with a mask on when I have asthma is going to be torture even if I use my inhaler first.  I'll probably have to do albuterol treatments afterwards.

Then after I've put in my PT time for the insurance company I can get an MRI on my low back and hip area.  It's a lot of hoops for this type of MRI.  I hope they find something they can fix when all is said and done.

Retirement Update and Thoughts

November 8th, 2020 at 01:22 am

Our retirement has gone up  from $36,810.93 on 10/10/20 to $37,826.36, a difference of $1012.43.  Only $440 of that was contributions, so we've made a profit of $572.43 in 4 weeks, during one of the most unsettled periods of our nation's history.  I wish his work was contributing the to the 401K.  I hate that they had to quit in July due to Covid in order to stay afloat.  We would be further ahead.  I will be glad when this awful year is over and I hope and pray with all I am that next year will be better and the promised vaccine will be successful and actually here.

Once I know how next year is going to play out in the paycheck department, I can decide whether or not to increase our contributions.  Our portion of medical will be going up around $250 a month pre-tax.  I don't know what that will shake out to until we get our first full January paycheck.  The plan was to bump it up to 7% in January and then if that seemed doable, work our way up to 10% by adding 1% at a time and seeing how that shakes out.  Of course, if the tax cuts are revoked, then that will be moot as well, because we will lose another $250 a paycheck due to that.

If things get better next year at DH's work, and I'm not sure they will with Biden's vendetta against the oil industry, but if they do and DH gets the raise that should have gone with his promotion and we get their contributions back, we should be able to handle 10% no problem.  But if ifs and buts were candy and nuts, this would not be a worry.  At least they have the biodiseal conversion contract at one of the oil refineries.

I know we have to step up our game somehow or other with retirement.  It helps that mom has told us we are going to inherit the $650,000 house since we are the only ones who have helped her all these years (as long as we give my sisters $100,000 each that we can pay them interest free over time for their smaller portions of the inheritance), we will never have to worry about a place to live.

Although we would probably eventually sell this place and move away from the city, possibly the state, we would easily be able to buy a house outright with the profits elsewhere.  We are looking at Montana because DH's work has a branch there that he works with now, and they have asked in the past about moving there.  We just can't currently afford it.  I would like to retire in a lower cost of living area that is less politically rabid to one side.  Somewhere a little more centrist to slightly conservative, so more pro gun, has better water rights, and is anti-big gov.  Montana is my favorite other state that I have ever visited and even though the winters are colder, the summers are amazing.

All this limbo makes me feel crazy.

Stimulus Allocation and Goals and DH's Job

April 16th, 2020 at 04:16 am

I moved our stimulus payment to the Emergency Fund and also one of the accounts finally posted interest so I am adding that as well.

$4405.64 Balance Forward
+2400.65 Amount Added
---------------
$6806.29 New Balance

I am now over the one month of income mark in the EF by $257.05. To reach my mid-term goal of two month's income, I need to save an additional $6292.19. My short term goal is $7500 and I have to save $693.71 to reach that. The next short term goal will be $10K.

Of course, those are all goals, which we can only maintain if DH continues to work. So far he seems pretty safe, but that doesn't mean it will remain so. We are saving as much as we can starting with Friday's paycheck. If DH ends up getting furloughed at some point his employer will continue to pay their portion of medical for two months. But he is pretty vital to keep the company going, so as long as the company doesn't fail I think we will be okay. It really depends on how long this quarantine business lasts.

DH only had to work one week at 32 hours. They are allowing 40 hours this week. So this paycheck will have the hit on it, but that is okay. I've planned for that loss of income.

Snowy and Cold and a General Mishmash

January 17th, 2020 at 04:11 am

It has been snowing for the past 4 days and it has been bitter cold. Today is a little warmer, but we got down to 17 degrees F, which is darn cold for here. We've had the furnace at 75 just to feel like it is 68 at the far end of the house from the furnace. We are all wearing layers inside. I have on a long-sleeved shirt with a short sleeved shirt on over it and then a long sweater over that, heavy sweats and heavy socks. I just think about how much it would be if we hadn't had the insulation replaced under our part of the house last month. I wish we'd put plastic on the windows when I wanted to, but it got put off.

The gas bill will be high this month. Electric will be a little higher, too, because we are using the space heater in the rabbit shed to keep the water bottles from freezing. And I know my mom has been using her space heater, too. And we did have Christmas lights on for 3 weeks.

DH has been able to get out and go to work. We had about 8 to 10 inches of snow and they haven't done a great job about plowing the roads. But he is used to driving in the snow due to all the years of working in Alaska. DH has been authorized to do 10 hours of overtime a week for next week and the week after that. He could have some this week, but he has a cold and isn't sure he is up for it. He's barely managing to get in his 8 hours a day at the moment. Hopefully next week he will be better and he can take full advantage of it.

The extra money would come in handy because I would like to get an electric grain mill and the one I am looking at costs $263 if I want the attachment for small grains like millet, and I do. It's a big upfront investment, but it is a whole lot cheaper to buy rice and grind it into flour than to continue to buy rice flour at high prices. Even with a bulk source it still isn't anywhere as cheap as just buying the different rices to make sweet rice flour, white rice flour, and brown rice flour, so it will eventually pay for itself. Pretty quickly, too, within the year. And as far as I can tell millet only comes in grain form, not flour form so if I want millet flour I have to grind it myself. Sorghum flour I will still have to buy in bulk unless I can find a source of the grain itself, but I can deal with that.

Also both the husband the son need new belts and the son needs new farm boots. There should be some overtime money after that to throw at the mom loan or at the EF. I haven't decided quite yet. Of course, I won't count on it until he's worked it, but tentatively that's the plan.

On my weight loss goal I have lost 5.4 pounds since starting to eat right again. Today is day 4. I am tracking my calories and food with my fitbit. I am doing about 20 minutes of exercise a day. I will be working up to 30. I lost all of my stamina when I was in bed for 3 weeks and have been working at getting it back for the last week. They are careful exercises from my physical therapy time, ones that work with my rheumatoid arthritis and not against it.

DH said the IRA went over $10K today, so that was a nice milestone that happened. I have been anxiously awaiting that moment so I am glad it finally got here.

I've been kind of lazy about planning my meals out this week. Mostly I've just been taking meat out of the freezer to thaw in the fridge and then deciding what I am going to cook based on what has thawed out and then figuring out what is going to go with it. I usually like to plan better than that, but I'm still not up to snuff after being so sick for so long. I guess whatever gets homemade food on the table instead of takeout works, right?

Tonight I made meatloaf for dinner and roasted potatoes, bell peppers, and onions, with a bag of steamed broccoli on the side. It was my first time using gluten free bread crumbs. I didn't notice any difference in flavor at all, so that is nice. It didn't quite hold together as well as usual, but that might be down to the fact I only used 3 eggs instead of 4 and had an extra pound of meat in the mix, so I probably should have actually used five eggs for a five pound meatloaf (leftovers for lunches). Everything tasted great, though, even if it was a little messy to eat.

Well, I think that about wraps it up for today. If you all could pray for me that I start sleeping better, I'd appreciate it. Too many restless nights are running me down.

NaNo Progress (Not Finance Related)

November 4th, 2019 at 11:34 pm

So I started the month at 44,270 words on my novel. The goal this month is to write 50,000 words and hopefully finish or come close to finishing this book. I got off to a slow start but am picking up speed. I did do some plotting and figuring out that I needed to insert a scene to make something make more sense and add a few sentences here and there for an additional character who hadn't been in an early scene. So that took a lot of skimming around the first day and I wrote it the second. The second day was a bad rheumatoid day, but after that I am doing mostly fine.

Word counts so far:
11/1 = 0
11/2 = 266
11/3 = 2037
11/4 = 1624

I am behind schedule by 2745 words, but I think I will be able to catch up, maybe even tonight, but definitely between now and the 7nth, while staying on track daily. I did a one hour writing sprint today already, I think I probably have another one in me. If so I will update the list.

Total word count so far is 3923 and I need to be at 6668. I can catch up now that I am in the flow again, although I will probably have to ice my hands tonight.

Sore Today and Working on My Novel Again for NaNoWriMo

October 27th, 2019 at 01:20 am

Yesterday and today were rough days physically. I had my last physical therapy session yesterday and they really put me through the ringer. They had me fill out a form at the end which was the same form and I filled out in the beginning and then compared them and the changes have been dramatic.

Things I didn't even realize had changed, like being able to pick up a grocery bag from the floor instead of having to have it put on the counter for me or standing at the sink for fifteen minutes, that kind of thing. A lot of other things have gotten easier, too. My core strength, my leg strength, my range of motion. I am walking further distances unaided. Not to say that I don't use my cane at all, I do on a particularly bad day, but for the majority of the time, I haven't had to in weeks.

I'm pretty sore today, but I also took my shot yesterday which tends to exhaust me, so I just stayed in bed for most of the day and spent some time writing.

I have set a goal to try to finish the first draft of my novel in November. I've never done NaNoWriMo before because for the last several Novembers things went to heck in a handbasket. This is the first time I don't think it is going to. I don't know if I will do it officially or unofficially. I mean, there is all the stuff with my daughter's liver, but the appointments for that will be limited and then if we have to stay a few days after surgery that is a ton of writing time for me that will be pretty much uninterrupted. But mostly I am just back in the mood to work on it again.

I am halfway through seventeen chapters and 44,270 words in and I am aiming for 100,000 to 115,000, so under halfway. The goal in NaNo is 50,000 in 30 days or 1666.67 words per day. I tend to write 4000 to 5000 every other day when I am motivated. I usually need a day off in between due to my hands not being able to handle that kind of typing daily. Maybe I won't finish, but I will get a lot closer to the end and if I finish in December I will be happy.

Then I will edit the second half (the first half has been edited a lot already) and then set it aside for a few months before reading through it again, editing again, and then have a couple of beta readers go over it before figuring out the next step. I don't know if I will try the traditional publishing route or just get an editor to go through it and help me improve it and then self-publish. I am investigating both ways.

Then there is the issue of I think what I have written might really be the second book in a trilogy and not the first, so I might have to figure out if that is true or not and write the first one before deciding on publishing.

I also have to decide if this is a YA novel or not. I don't want it to be, but many of the characters are under 18. More of the characters are adults and have as big of a role as the children, though, but it does revolve around the teens and kids and their power as they grow up. But in the sequel most of them will be adults. Ah, it's a boggle. I'll just have to finish it first, and go from there.

It's Official

February 28th, 2019 at 04:39 am

I should have posted this the other day, but I have been dragging and the extent of my online activity has been on the level of watching videos of a cat singing the Game of Thrones theme song on youtube or the like. Yeah, that's where my intellectual capacity has been at. So not a lot of brain power going on.

Anyway, the raise for DH is official and all of the paperwork has now been signed. It won't be on the next paycheck, but will be on the last one of March. He's officially told the other place he won't be working for them.

On the bad side, the alternator is going out in the truck so we are going to have to get that fixed to the tune of around $600. I have $250 in the car maintenance fund. They had said it was going at the oil change DH had last week and today when DH pulled in the driveway it was really straining. Hopefully we can get it to the dealership without having to call a tow truck.

They made it sound like it would probably last six months, but we don't think so after today. It also needs the air filter, the cabin filter, the spark plugs, and the brake fluid replaced and we have decided to do all of that. So we will dip into the EF for this for the rest of the money. I had been planning to use the tax refund when it came, but I don't think it will be here in time now. But we will reimburse the EF when the tax refund comes. Sadly, it will probably use up the entire tax refund. But at least we will break even.

I will start saving $100 a month instead of $50 a month to the car maintenance fund for the next two months, just to build that back up again. Or maybe keep it at that level. The truck is a 2007 and there may be some other issues coming up. A belt or a fuel pump or something, though as of now those things are fine according to the mechanic.

I worry less about the van. It is a 2011 and we haven't hit 45,000 miles on it yet, but it will be needing an oil change shortly and I would like to eventually get the dent pulled out that DH put in it a couple years ago.