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Archive for December, 2007

Stand Up and Be Counted.....

December 31st, 2007 at 08:48 pm

Earlier in the year, we were picked as a Nielsen family for a week, then the government in its infinite wisdom picked us for a census thingy. They sent us a pamphlet during the middle of the holiday/birthday/graduation extravaganza and wanted us to fill out some information on our household. Oh, good grief, we didn't even have time to slap a stamp on a single Christmas card! But after a postcard with dire warnings that it is illegal not to fill it out and a second set of papers arriving just in case we misplaced the first ones, we decided we'd better take care of it. We looked it over carefully to see if the stuff was even legitimate. No giving out info for us if we can help it. Then, Hubby sat down to fill out a sheaf of papers on his medical history for his upcoming doc appointment and then filled out this bunch of questions. We were stumped on a couple. What do you answer if they ask your ethnic origin? We are basically mutts. I put down the major one or two that I knew, but Hubby had to just guess. Then, there was the question if our fire/flood insurance was paid for with our mortgage payment. Well.....yes, fire....no, flood and wind. So what do you put. Both? And what on earth does that have to do with anything, anyway? I'm sure there were reasons for them. Especially since the government is where the flood comes from anyway. And the state is where the wind stuff comes from. So, I guess there is a need to know. A couple even made us chuckle. I would just like to know who thought that sending this in the middle of a holiday season would get our attention. Sheesh, I'm still trying to catch up on filing our bills and shredding our regular junk....

Strange Groceries.....

December 29th, 2007 at 11:43 pm

Hubby got a $50 gift card from New Company for a grocery chain in this area. We could have used it for holiday groceries, but we had a plan. We drove to a bigger city nearby that had one of their stores, but it is a megastore. With all kinds of departments including books, music, videos, some housewares, and about ten meat departments. We studied it when it opened and found that some groceries were cheaper, but others weren't. That was the last time we went there. However, Hubby wanted to buy some new music to listen to in his truck since he rarely listens to radio. So, we took the card and went off to the megastore to redeem it in the music department. They have a really well laid out department with the latest and then some. Hubby has a hard time spending money on himself, and this gift card was the best way to get him to spend some. He spent it just about dead-on. And he was a happy camper. Thanks New Company!

I Really REALLY Mean It This Time....

December 28th, 2007 at 09:28 pm

My goal last year was to find a budget that worked for us and stick with it. And to learn to save money for emergencies and those pesky things like tires. Debt reduction was a half-hearted effort last year. We've almost paid off the big car loan, and we've not charged much. Except that we do put DD's tuition on the cards, and I don't have an effective system set up for tuition payments yet. So, we've gone round and round with the same numbers as the final tally. Bummer.

This year is definitely the one in which we're going to concentrate on debt. We've made up our minds, which is half the battle. Now, to a plan of action. I have a couple of ideas to start with that ties into the budget. And I have a couple of charts set up. One has the debt sorted by balance. The other by interest rates. We will have a couple of issues like the tuition and Hubby's probable surgery. But, we just have to stick with our resolve. We've given ourselves a timetable of two years. Seeing the results so many here have been having this year, we are inspired. Now, we just need to roll up our sleeves, apply the elbow grease, firm our convictions, and plow into it. I'll be excited to have totals coming ANYWHERE near what some of blogs have been posting. Great job, guys and gals! Perhaps we'll join the land of the free or nearly free by this time next year....

Did You See That?

December 27th, 2007 at 06:18 pm

In the interest of not heating the oven up more often, I asked for and received a new toaster from DD and Boyfriend a year ago. I have not had the best relationship with toasters. My requirements were that it toast all kinds of things and that, hopefully, it would do it without being persnickity about the settings. I didn't want to throw out perfectly good bread anymore because of burnt stuff. I like things very toasted, but not dead. And, I hoped that I would get one that would actually pop up where I could reach the item and not have to turn the toaster upside down to get it out. I have had to get into the habit of using the toaster, so it has resided a bunch of the time in the cabinet under the stovetop. I decided in the interest of saving money, to bring it out onto the counter and actually use it. Then, something happened that I've only seen in movies. I was toasting only one piece this time and it was a smaller sized piece toward the end of the loaf. And, wow, the toaster popped up and flung the piece clear out of the toaster and across the counter. I wasn't as smooth as the movies and didn't catch it. This is too cool. I am going to watch and see if this ever happens again and practice on my movie moves....

Yep, That Was Me....

December 26th, 2007 at 08:24 pm

playing video games. On Christmas. DS and DIL and DGD wanted to visit with us on Christmas Day. However, they had to travel from DIL's relatives. So, we suggested that we come to their home and wait for them. We borrowed DD's little house (in the same town) because she was visiting a friend who just had a baby a couple of days before and settled in on Christmas Eve. We brought all our gifts to each other, turned on DD's Christmas tree and ate goodies we brought with us. Then, Hubby suggested playing a game that he'd played with DD before. Now, I am terrible at video games. I never got out of the dungeon in the original Mario Brothers. I couldn't keep on the road in Mario Kart. And I got walloped every time in Dr. Mario. That was the limit to my game experience.

This game looked kinda fun. It was one of those Star Wars ones. Where you have to work together. We called DD to find out how to turn their system on with the remotes they had (this didn't bode well) and how to not die every time we tried to play. So, off we went into adventureland. I actually had a blast. I accidently shot my Hubby so many times, he would whack my character upside the head. We laughed liked crazy. And now I can see how addicting it is. We played for a couple of hours on Christmas Eve. And after eating breakfast and unwrapping presents, we found out that DS and family were going to be a couple of hours later coming in. So, we played some more. I was beginning to figure it out. I was having fun. And I actually moved up a couple of levels.

We put everything back in its place. Washed the dishes. Took out our trash. Visited with DS and family and returned home. All in all, it was an unusual Christmas, but I loved it....

A Pain the the Neck.....

December 24th, 2007 at 01:24 am

is what my Hubby is experiencing. The MRI turned up not so great news. Looks like a disc has burst. We'll be going to the Big City soon to see a neurologist and get a plan of action. Meanwhile, we've been trying to just let things go while we spend the time enjoying the holidays.

We had to go to the mall today. Hubby broke his belt and needed a new one to hold up the ole jeans. So, off we went into the crowds. It wasn't too bad. Lots of people and music and stuff. We didn't stay too long, but it was nice soaking up the holiday atmosphere. But, coming home, eating chili and goodies, and watching football by the Christmas tree was better. This is a strange thing having the holidays to ourselves. Although, we will be seeing the kids again really soon. But, we've enjoyed having the time to ourselves...just like when we were first married...a very long time ago. Except that our tree is much bigger. That tree was about a foot and a half tall...all we could afford. I think it was the top off another tree. In any case, it fit into our Toyota's trunk.

I've spent some time on the phone recently with brother's wife. We've known each other forever. We really enjoyed catching up with each other. I need to call her more often. I really do like unlimited long distance. Some months I probably get gyped with the cost, but during times like these, I get my money's worth and then some. I need to start taking advantage of it. It helps my parents, though. They have to pay for their minute usage, and if I call them back, they can save that money. Then we can chat all we want.

I don't know what I was thinking in the grocery store. I spent a ton even though Hubby and I had already planned to only bake and cook a small amount this year. Old habits, I guess. I need to look up recipes for muffins and things. We've got a lot of baking supplies now.

I got a free poinsettia from a coworker of Hubby's. She won it, but has a toddler. So, she donated it to our house. Awesome. Haven't had one in years. I love free stuff. Especially pretty free stuff.

Hope all are having an awesome holiday! Take time to hug one another....


Sing With Me.....

December 18th, 2007 at 11:47 pm

I now understand why I am going crazy. To the tune of Twelve Days of Christmas...

In the Holiday Season, my true love gave to me...

Five wonderful birthdays!
Four out of town trips
Three holidays
Two anniversaries (One a 50th)
And a Masters College Graduation!

I found out what had happened to me. I was told it was a hypomanic episode. I went about 36 hours with only an hour and a half sleep. Normally, no sleep would have made me a zombie. But, I was tugging things around in the attic and going through stuff and dragging out decorations and all kinds of stuff. I was also alternating between sorta normal and really angry and irritable. The professionals want me to take another med to keep me from extremes. But the stuff scared me. It has a life threatening side effect. I talked more at length with someone today that gave me more info and I am going to try a miniscule amount in January.

A big thank you to Miclason and Lux for your kind thoughts. I really appreciated it. And to those who sent good thoughts my way. I am doing fine now, much more aware though! Still stuff to learn....

DD's schedule got changed and I spent a few days with her before she left on her trip. It was a wonderful mom/daughter time. I love those....


Hubby is going to have an MRI tomorrow. Something is wrong with his neck. He got rear ended on the freeway several years ago. I'm wondering if there was an injury there combined with getting older. Things wear out. I am hoping for the best and no surgery involved.

I can't believe I've got to get out and do a tad more shopping. One gift was left out of a shipment, but it will eventually arrive. But another is being given by someone else and I have to rethink this one. Should be nuts out there about now. I mailed a box today to a family and their back-ordered gift arrived thirty minutes after I got home. This will be funny one day....

I hope everyone is well. I've got to sit down and read the entries and catch up!

I love the days leading up to Christmas Day. They just seem magical....

Whine.....

December 9th, 2007 at 05:31 pm

I am missing it. I have been trying to figure out how to get to see my DD before she leaves for the holidays to visit relatives. We always do a bit of shopping or wrapping together. She called excited, but exhausted about some shopping she'd done and was excited that I was going to see her today and we'd do some holiday things and have DIL's birthday a little early. And I had one of those times where something happens and I am awake 24 hours without being able to sleep. I took my meds and even a bit more after hours had gone by. Nothing happening. Everything was done in readiness to go so that wasn't on my mind. In fact, I was all set. Went to bed. Everything normal. Then, poof. I can't really go in this condition, because eventually I'll feel the effects of everything and get nauseated and sleepy and dizzy. Not much fun to be around. So I might as well stay home. And I'm missing the party. I am so bummed this happened again. It has happened a couple of times before in the last year and I guess I need to address it. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow for my medication monitoring so I'm going to ask him if he has a clue if this is a medication issue. If not, I don't know what else to do. I got up and read and relaxed and everything I could think of. When Hubby left for the visit, I finally got to sleep for about an hour or so. Now, I am wide awake again. I am so very frustrated because this was pretty much it for seeing DD before the holidays. I am trying not to be nasty to the relatives that sent her a plane ticket.....

A Prisoner.....

December 7th, 2007 at 06:51 pm

in his own truck. That's what Hubby was when he called me from the doctor's office. His key had died. And the truck alarm system is really, really sensitive. I drove over with the extra key. I didn't realize that he was inside the truck when he called because he is such a master of understatement. Just...bring me a key, please. Mine is dead. I arrived to find him sitting inside and very still. Even bumping the steering wheel with his knee caused his alarm to go off. He was probably driving the office crazy. I knew what he meant. Even a thunderstorm can't sneak past us without setting the alarm off a dozen times. We sit in the living room with a key in our hand to turn it off or just eventually unlock the truck. But since the neighbor's car got stolen outside our window by pushing it into the street, I know no one can do that to the truck. We had been having problems off and on with DS's car and the alarm, so I got in the habit of carrying the spare key with me. Hubby will no longer laugh at that. He pantomined the unlocking/locking/unlocking whatever sequence so I could go through the routine and open the truck door to let him out. Needless to say, getting a new key thingy is first on the list for today. DS's keys cost a pretty penny so I am assuming we will hit the auto fund for the truck key. So very glad we have one now....

AWOL......

December 6th, 2007 at 09:19 pm

I haven't updated in a month! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday! We celebrated with the kids early, so we had several days to just chill at home and stay out of the nasty weather. Now, it's Christmas shopping time. I honestly need to try to do this earlier next year.

I've been trying to stick to the new budget. Seems to be going okay. I can't wait to finish off the auto loan. Also, if DS gets the job he's interviewing for today, he might be in the position to be given his car outright because they will be able to afford the insurance. We'll have to see because he'll have his student loan repayments start in a couple of months. They will also be paying more for daycare, so we'll just have to wait to let them have time to adjust their budget. They've been paying on their insurance, but I had them stop when their daycare kicked in and DS lost one of his jobs for the season. This one will be a steady position.

Our budget is divided into three sections. The first is housing, auto payments and utilities. Most things are about the same every month, so I have them as sort of fixed items. I try to have a few dollars left over each month, and I have been applying those to my mortgage.

The second section is food, entertainment, gas, etc. Things that fluctuate. I don't know why I included our medicines in it, but I will probably move a couple of things around. I try to save what I can in each category and that money goes into the challenge. I also put our credit card payments in this category for some reason. Probably because I don't consider them a necessary expense. The sooner they are gone, the better! I am going to apply the auto loan money to them as soon as possible.

The third section is savings. Things like auto repairs, eye and dental funds, and so forth. I put those numbers on a separate sheet with a breakdown of how much is accumulated over the months. I also finally realized I needed to move those monies into a separate account until needed. So far, so good. I have used the auto fund a couple of times for tires and such. I also have all the insurances in there. We have so many kinds of insurance. Property, flood, wind, life, auto, etc. I created separate funds to keep track of it all.

I like this layout better than the old one. I have each section adding itself up and subtracting from the section budget total. That way, I don't have to keep getting out the calculator to see what is left. According to Hubby, Math is our friend. Hubby can do all kinds of calculations in his head. I need buttons.

No matter how hard I try, I never totally stick to the Christmas budget. I think I am already over. Sticking to it is something that I'm going to shoot for next year....