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Archive for February, 2008

Hopping To It....

February 28th, 2008 at 10:51 am

The other day, I made the Froggie give up his change and counted and rolled it while watching TV. It came to $49.50 plus a few seed coins that went back into Froggie. I put the money into the bank, rounded it up to $50 and sent it to the targeted credit card. I've been using cash much more and not keeping the change in my purse, so I hope that Froggie will fill up faster. Adding to it is the change we find on our walks. The doc in the Big City has mandated that Hubby still walk at least 40 minutes a day. So, we still go in the evening to walk and collect change. Our biggest haul in one day was $1.18 in coins. The weekends are the biggies. Up until Hubby got his neck brace off, we didn't go as much on the weekend because so many people were there. I tried to watch out for him, but it made him nervous not to be able to see people coming up on his blind sides. His hearing got pretty acute, and sometimes he could hear them before I even noticed them. But, the weekend crowds were confusion. Now, we can go on weekends and our haul is a lot more. The parking lot has been a big haul, too. I guess people don't like to stop and bend down amongst the cars. We don't have a problem with it. The coins are fed into Froggie when we get home. He may not be getting fatter, but he sure is getting heavier! I made the mistake of telling the kids about our game. They think we're nuts. I think that in partnership with Froggie, we might just get out of debt a tad sooner. I've been watching LuxLiving and her change adventures. Every little bit helps.....

The Damn It Fund....

February 27th, 2008 at 01:17 pm

We very rarely use bad language in our household. But, a recent event has caused me to resurrect a name that, surprisingly, my saintly mother gave to a fund. Last Wednesday, the doc in the Big City gave Hubby the go ahead to return to restricted duty at work. We were elated that things were healing. We left with all the paperwork that we would need to give to New Company, and I drove out of Big City in a big rainstorm and lots of traffic. Breathing a sigh of relief in many ways, including that we wouldn't have to stay on 60% pay! The very next morning, dear DD called very upset. She'd dinged a car in a parking lot. Poor thing. She's been really watching her finances. We decided to pay for it out of pocket. No need after our large deductible to put it on her driving record. And, we'd be paying the extra on her premiums, too. So, she took care of all the work that it took to get the final settlement amounts and his signed stuff and everything so I could send a check. So far, so good. Now, I just had to figure out from where to draw the funds. Hubby had just said to put a smidge of a seed in my long neglected laptop fund so we could evacuate from hurricanes much easier. But, there wasn't anything in there to use for the ding. I had drawn from the house repair fund to pay for Hubby's medical bills. I had planned to put the small tax refund and the whateverthatis that is coming toward repairing that fund. So, where to get it? Then, I remembered Mom's fund. The Damn It Fund. For those things that just cause you to say.....phooey, rats, darn it, etc. So, I sat down today and, on paper, separated my long-term emergency fund. I recreated a small portion of it into the Damn It Fund. I was going to use my Challenge Money to pay on debt, but I will divvy it up to include refunding the Damn It Fund. Just for those times in life that you need it. We were blessed. DD wasn't hurt. No one was in the car she dinged and so no one got hurt. The car she was driving wasn't damaged. And, so far, the young man has been helpful to finish it all up. We had much more problems when DS got hit in a parking lot from his dinger person. So, all in all, we're doing fine. Without the last year on Saving Advice, I wouldn't have had the funds in the first place. Once again, I am grateful to the good folks here....

Finally.....

February 18th, 2008 at 07:51 pm

we had one of those elusive things...a No Spend Day. We've had plenty of Low Spend Days, but I haven't really focused on a true no spend day. I'm going to put this down and track if I can get others and, hopefully, this will become a normal thing in our household. We actually came out ahead because we found seven cents on our walk today. It was deposited into Froggie. Tomorrow, I have to pay some bills and the next day contains some planned spending. Hopefully, we'll be able to accomplish another one of these Days again soon.

This is the week of the month that we try to eat out of the fridge, freezer, and pantry and not spend on groceries. I might have to get a box of cereal for Hubby since he's been home eating breakfasts for the last three weeks. I bought up some since they were on sale, but I didn't buy a big enough supply for No Grocery Week. I've thought about seeing if there is anything I can make muffins out of that he would like. He doesn't like too many different things for breakfast. Oh, well, this is just the second time. We'll get better at it....

Ack! We've Been Shot At Again....

February 16th, 2008 at 02:54 pm

this time with paint balls. I kept hearing something thwacking outside, but I couldn't place the sound. Hubby and I thought it sounded like a staple gun or something. Then, I took the doggies outside and was standing by the older neighbor's short wire fence when I heard a thwack behind me. I turned and looked at her house and it was yellow and orange polka-dotted! There were at least a dozen bright dots over the back of the house nearest me. I turned and looked into the yard behind her and saw a couple of little kiddoes heading back into their house. Carrying paint guns. Aha! That's the noise I heard all morning. They got tired of target practice in their own yard and tried out the range of their guns on the neighbor. I called her and had to explain just what paint guns were and what was going on. I wanted to help her remove the paint in case it stained her siding. We are going to paint our house soon, so it wouldn't be too bad on our old paint. I didn't happen to see any on our house, but I did find a paint ball outside my back door. I must be just out of range or the wind got it. At any rate, she must have called the backyard guy because the little rascals came and tried to wipe it off. Not the best job in the world. I was surprised that an adult didn't accompany them to make sure it was all gone. Well, at least they know it is wrong to shoot things other than their targets. I could have been hit while I was outside. I do know that my nephews played, but they use goggles and protective gear. I was just walking the dog. Yikes. Between the pellet guns, the paint guns, the sling shots, the ax tossing, and other sorts of activity, the backyard is getting scary. Time to call the fence guy. We need to use the money and get a BIG fence....

Excuse Me, But Can I Have That Penny....

February 14th, 2008 at 11:24 am

Hubby has to go for walks a couple of times a day as part of his healing process. So, I teasingly "take him for a walk" at least twice a day. With the weather and all, we've been going to the local mall which is mostly quiet during the week. During these walks, we started a sort of game. Hubby can't look side to side or down right at his feet. He can look forward and down ahead of us. I am trying to watch for people darting out of stores or coming up on the sides where he can't see them. And, I am trying not to look in store windows, so I am often looking down ahead of us. We find coins. That's the game. Of course, it isn't easy with not that many people during the day, but we often find a penny or two. Sometimes, a dime or a quarter. One day, we found a foreign coin. Not sure yet how much it is worth. Sometimes, the coins are in a crowd. We had to leave behind three pennies one day because of that. Yesterday, we saw a penny under a bench where a young man was sitting and eating. I left it alone because I was afraid he'd call security on "that looney woman crawling under my bench." But, he'd left by the final round of the walk and the penny was still there. On the way out, Hubby found a dime. We feed the froggie bank with the coins at the end of the day. I wish we'd kept track like LuxLiving and had a total at the end of the three weeks or so....

Temptation.....

February 9th, 2008 at 10:00 am

Hubby is required to walk a couple of times a day as part of his recovery from surgery. The only exercises he is allowed until the brace comes off is stationary bicycling and walking. We don't have a bike and the treadmill seemed a bit daunting. If he walks at his normal speed, he might be at risk of tripping on the treadmill. He can't look down. At first, he was told not to go to the mall or something, but now he is steadier on his feet and the mall nearest us is often pretty empty. I have to go with him to drive him there and also to watch for people rushing out of stores into him or around a corner. His peripheral vision is not so hot right now. So, off we go at least twice a day to walk laps around the mall. It is quiet and flat surfaced and climate controlled. The only problem is that I get bored a bit. Then, I start noticing things in the windows. Then, my brain kicks in that little button that says....hmmmm, shopping.....

I've been trying to curb the urge. Each time I see something, I try to recall something I already have. Recalling money doesn't always help because I know there are monies in some categories of the budget. But, I try to remind myself that I am going to be living on a lesser percentage of salary and every dime counts. The first day, I was hungry when we went, and I bought a pretzel. So, now, I make sure I've eaten or carry a snack with me. The next time, I bought something for the house. We've been looking for this for awhile. But, I have turned down the idea of replacing something else for the time being. Even though I pass it every day...twice a day. Yesterday, we stopped on the way out and bought some kitty food, but that was it. I forced myself to bypass all other things. This is hard. The best way to keep me from spending is just to not go there. But, I am using this as a desensitizing thing. I am confronting the shopping urge head on. I am forced to walk past these stores at least twice a day for several laps at a time. I keep saying to myself...I know I can, I know I can....

Hubby's Girlfriend Club.....

February 8th, 2008 at 10:22 am

This started a very long time ago. A number of young men went to work for the chemical/refinery plants in this area. Fresh out of school, many co-op students, they got together for lunches to hash out how to deal with management and how to solve problems and just have fun. They got married, had kids, moved up in their jobs--some in management themselves--and moved on to other plants and some to other cities. They stayed in contact as much as possible. When their kids all got to teens, it was harder to see each other outside of work--like the softball league or basketball league or even nickel poker nights. Then, as work became more demanding and scattered among a number of sold and resold plants, they didn't get to eat lunch much either. Over the years, women had became involved with the group. Which I was glad to see happening. It meant that the plants were hiring more women! After all was said and done, the lunch group dwindled to three...Hubby and two women. One was a young engineer moving up into management that benefitted some from Hubby's knowledge and long trials and errors. The other was a close friend of the first and the wife of Hubby's boss at the time. I knew about the lunches and nicknamed the three of them...the Girlfriends. This went on for a long while. I realized how funny it must have looked, especially when DD saw them the first time at a place she was eating. She came home shocked and upset. I had to reassure her that I knew these women and what was going on. It still took some getting used to on her part. She forbade me to call them the Girlfriends in her presence. Now, she eats out with them when we run into them at lunchtime. Two years ago, they both were pregnant with their first children at the same time. Hubby got me tickled with the stories of lunches with two women with the topic mostly pregnancy. He's been through it with me, so he was just fine.

Fast forward to today. Hubby's boss moved with Girlfriend V. to Big City, but they keep in contact by email and sometimes phone calls. We were in big trouble when we didn't let her know about Hubby's condition, and we got a call and I explained it all to her. Girlfriend K.'s plant was sold and eventually Hubby left Old Company and went to work for the same company as Girlfriend K. They are now working for the same plant again. They take over each other's jobs when one is out, so Hubby just finished working her job while she was on vacation, and she is now working his job while he's out on medical leave. She's a bright cookie, and I appreciate it that Hubby can relax and know things are taken care of between her and the rest of his crew. We met with Girlfriend V. in Big City when we went for the first doctor appointment and bought her lunch. She regaled us with hilarious stories about surviving two year old twins. We met with Girlfriend K. the day we left for surgery. She had returned from vacation to find her house burglarized, and we bought her lunch and made sure she was doing okay. Hubby gave me three names of people to call after the surgery (outside of family). One was his boss, the other two was the Girlfriends. I made sure to update them all.

We met with Girlfriend K. yesterday for lunch so Hubby could see how things were going and so we could update her on how he is doing. She can update the rest of the crew for us. She bought our lunch. We received a HUGE basket of cookies, candies, and other goodies that I am sure was instigated by Girlfriend K. even if it was sent by someone else. We need to get some thank you cards and maybe even a gift for Girlfriend K. I have been eating with them and enjoying the fun. They are a funny bunch of people. I used to go eat lunch with Hubby once a week, but it peetered out when the kids were teenagers. Now that he has a Girlfriend Club, I might just want to join them at least once a week. We have a budget for lunches out with the Girlfriends. They tend to alternate paying, but I have an amount to cover at least a month's worth. When I suggested that I might join them once a week or so, Hubby thought it would be fun for us both. I have been initiated into the Girlfriend Club....

Paperwork Limbo.....

February 7th, 2008 at 12:39 pm

We're having trouble getting the complete package of paperwork from the doc in the Big City so that Hubby can start working from home next week. We've been working on this for a week. Without it, he goes to 60 percent pay next week. I've been working on ways to cut out things so that we can live on almost half our income. Of course, I won't be putting the almost 10 percent in savings this month. And there are several places where we can cut monies out. All our entertainment budget can be cut. We don't use much of our clothing allowance most months. The whole thing can be saved. And this month, I've saved almost a quarter of our food budget, so we can do that again. No gas, except for trip to Big City to see the doc in a couple of weeks. Hopefully, by that time we can take the papers with us and get his John Hancock right away. I don't want to worry DD, so I won't tell her and I'll keep her monies for school up to date. And pay the bills. If I hadn't been using everyone's advice from the blogs, I would be in a world of hurt. I panicked for a few hours. Then, I sat down and made a plan. Next, I'll make some menus. And turn off all the lights.....

Cat Condo.....

February 6th, 2008 at 09:45 am

When Hubby had surgery, we boarded the dogs once again at the vet's new place. They love it there. I knew they were happy campers. But, the kitty had never been boarded, and I was a bit worried about her since it was going to be for a good while. I ended up having to take her on a weekend and felt bad because she had to reside in a totally new place without people. The only people she would see until the week started were those who came to feed and care for them. Poor Kitty. We decided to rent a Cat Condo at the vet's for her so she could at least spend the following week watching what was going on. The lobby at the vet's has a huge floor to ceiling window beside the desk area. Often, there are three or more people working there, sometimes with little doggies playing around their feet. The condos are three story units that face the lobby area through this window. Each one has a sleeping area, an eating area, and a litter box area. The kitties can climb between the three levels of their own personal condo. I was afraid the price would be a problem, but I felt that she would enjoy the long stay better than in a cage alone. I found out that the condos were only about a dollar more per day than the other accommodations. So, kitty had a good stay and warmed up to the office gals and other personnel quite nicely. She stayed in cat luxury just the same as we did after the surgery. Puuuuuurrrrfect!

Mail Call......

February 4th, 2008 at 11:30 am

Our local mail service has basically been pretty awesome. A couple of times, substitute carriers got the street mixed up, and we all went around redistributing the mail. I appreciate the fact that stuff I mail gets to where I need it to go for very little cost. I couldn't drive it there for that price. But, recently, we've hit a snag. A couple of weeks ago, I tried to hold the mail. Once or twice, I've used the online service, but the mail came one of the days I designated, so I went physically this time to fill out a little card. I went on a Thursday to stop the mail from Friday through Monday. We left on Friday morning and returned on Sunday. There was mail in the mailbox. Monday was Martin Luther King Day so no mail. Tuesday, I was preparing to go restart the mail when the mail arrived at the house. Hmmmmm. Not supposed to be coming without my authorization. I figured that it hadn't stopped at all, so I just stayed home. Wednesday and Thursday there was no mail delivered. I got suspicious because I was supposed to get something on those days. I went down and sure enough, NOW the mail was stopped. Oh well, a fluke. But, I needed to stop the mail for Hubby's surgery the next week. So, I got the same guy I had used before and filled out another card, giving an earlier starting date than I needed so that I could see if it stopped this time. He highlighted it in pink and wrote initials and everything. It worked. The mail stopped. After we returned home, I went on the last day to restart it and pick up the accummulated mail. I got home and nearly met the mail person delivering some mail to my house. Now, that mail shouldn't have been on the truck. It should have still been at the post office. Drat. Didn't totally work. I am frustrated because of all the identity thefts and the papers I got in the mail were important ones. I really didn't want them to arrive while I was gone. I am not sure what to do about this. I am going to mail a box in the next day or so to my Dad. The post office still does a great job of getting my boxes there in one piece. So, I'll continue to use the mail. I'm just frustrated because this isn't a very big place, and I should be able to get this service. I miss my regular mail guy. Wonder where he went.....

We're Baaaacccckkk!

February 2nd, 2008 at 09:13 am

Hubby's surgery went really well. We went to the Big City on Monday and stayed overnight in a fancy hotel near the hospital. Most of the people there were connected in some way to a medical issue so the place was really quiet. And we needed a real comfy place to reside. Hubby's surgery was Tuesday before dawn. We got good news that things went well, then waited for his long recovery time period and to the hospital room for one night. His parents had flown in so that his dad was able to stay with him overnight. Which I thought was much better for the gentleman sharing his room. I got a good night's rest and then we brought Hubby to the hotel to stay for two more nights so we could make sure everything was okay before we transported him two hours to home. Never knew there were so many potholes on the way home until we drove him through them or around as many as we could.

We've paid the estimated hospital portion. The medicines were generic so that only made us pay 10 dollar co-pays. The hotel had a humongous breakfast every morning. We had brought some food supplies, and Hubby's parents bought several dinners for us. We had to buy some extra pillows to support his neck and head, but we'll use those at home, too. The biggest other expenses will be the hotel and the boarding of the pets. Between those two things, we've got to pay about 1000 dollars. Gas wasn't too bad since we used the smaller rental the parents had so that we could get into and out of the small parking spaces. We had driven Hubby's truck since he can get into and out of it easier. So only half a tank of gas for us. We did have to buy some supplies for bandaging to supplement the hospital stuff. And, we broke down the night before the surgery and shopped at a HUGE used bookstore and picked up something just in case he was down and out a little more. We will also have the bills from the docs and stuff.

Hubby is walking around and getting the hang of wearing the collar around his neck. If the paperwork shows up early next week, he probably will be working from home and then I can drive him in whenever he feels he is steady enough and has the energy.

Boomeyers, I totally forgot to let you know when it was. Thanks for offering your thoughts and prayers. After about five hours of surgery, we called the kids, but I totally forgot to call my own mother! I think my mind has been sorta fritzing lately! The recovery time was a couple more hours, then I fed him dinner, and we settled him in. We were pretty wiped out but really happy. Right before bed, Dad-in-law called me to tell me he was already walking laps around the corridors. He was determined to get out! I suspect it will all catch up to him after the weekend and beloved DD goes back to school. She is keeping him company for a couple of days now. Those two are real buddies.

I'm going to get my financial file for the surgery caught up and see the totals. The bills for the MRIs and other stuff are coming in. It will take a bit to see the total outcome. We are going to use the house money for it. We'll take stock after that and see where we are. Before this last year or so on this site, we probably wouldn't have had the money in hand. To say I'm grateful would be an understatement.....