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Picture Perfect.....

May 21st, 2008 at 12:22 pm

DD went to her medical team for her increasing migraines and stiff neck muscles. They've been trying to get these under control. Now, they decided to send her for a CAT scan. Pictures of her brain. She called me after the scan and told me the cost which included her deductible. I was proud of her for being brave enough to tackle this stuff on her own. After I hung up, I went through the "worries" that I get but try to keep from the kids. I'll have a little of them until the report from the scan. Then, I realized that I needed to revamp our Funds Budget to include all those deductibles. I had enough for one person's deductible a year, but we've gone through two people already and probably will add a third when I catch up on mammograms and such. So, I put the whole shebang in there. Deductibles for everybody. That is an amount we KNOW we will have to pay. And an amount that we can plan for.

The air conditioning guy came for the Spring checkup and pronounced the unit still chugging along. He learned a trick on our unit that he now checks on everybody's. Ours gave him a tough time for awhile. He told me that the equipment fazes out in 2010 and I will need a new unit before then or I'll have to replace the evaporator coil in the attic also. BIG bucks there. So, he told me approximate cost of a unit outside so I can save up for one in the next year. Made myself a major note to check on this. He's never pushed anything on me, but kept my stuff going and going, so I trust his words. Especially since he told me not to try to get a bigger unit unless my coil or ducts could take it. I'll remember that if I get a different set of people for a sales team. That info was very helpful. I had thought I needed a bigger one since the people who had the house before us added an addition but didn't upgrade the system. It gets hot in here, and the unit can't keep up. I have to monitor it so that it won't destroy itself trying to cool off something it can't cool when it is a thousand degrees heat index outside. I am going to try to implement something really soon for this. Glad he gave me a heads up. I often find out the hard way.

Been rather quiet around here with the dogs penned in the laundry room. A crew has been concreting just about the whole yard next door, and I didn't want constant barking. Neighbor lady on the left has Parkinson's and the additional parking spaces and sidewalks and patios will really help her out. I am jealous. They found an awesome crew who has done three homes in our vicinity. I got a card, but the cost is too prohibiting for us right now. But, our driveway really needs to be redone. The way they are doing it will last and last and last. I am impressed. Something else to put on the Wish List for the house...sheesh.....

Going Down?....Not Just In The Movies

May 18th, 2008 at 05:49 pm

Hubby and I had an experience that you think will never happen to you. One of my big fears. We were leaving the doc in the Big City and were getting on the elevator on the second floor going down. The door did this funky open--close--open thing, and like goofballs, we got on the elevator when it opened again. And we got stuck in the elevator. With the door closed. Going nowhere. I couldn't believe it. We stood there for a bit, and when nothing happened, we rang the little bell. Not knowing if anyone heard it. No one answered us from the outside. So, we waited awhile longer and did it again. And wondered if we should use our cells and call the doc's office. Or what do we do? Fortunately, it wasn't moving. I would have been really freaking out if we were going up and down without stopping. And the elevator is kinda big because the surgery and hospital floors are in the same building. So, the elevator has to accommodate beds. But, there we were. Stuck in an elevator. And not knowing what was going on. Rang the bell a third time because no one ever responded. Finally, a tool was heard, and a guy pried open the doors and let us out. He was working on the elevator on the next floor. I don't know if it got away from him or he was working on the control buttons up there or what. All I know is that I don't want to do that again. After all that, Hubby said that we were only trapped maybe ten or fifteen minutes. Boy, it sure seemed like a lifetime. That alone made it kinda funny. Someone else in the building told us that they had been stuck in another hospital with 27 or so floors going up and down. THAT would have scared me silly. As it is, I feel pretty silly getting so upset over ten minutes in an elevator. At least I can now laugh at this....

The Eyes Have It.......

May 17th, 2008 at 02:06 pm

I can't believe that I haven't been on the blogs for so long. I haven't even read anything lately. Had a few medical positives and misadventures. A couple of weeks ago, I mistakenly put contact cleaner in my eyes instead of my eye drops. No, the bottles are totally different, but the same size and in the same spot. That smarts. Big time. I ended up in the emergency room (was a Sunday) so they could completely flush the remaining crud out of my eyes. I think they said something like chemical burn. Next day, I went in the pouring rain to the eye doc/surgeon guy who is really awesome and he pronounced me fine. I used the opportunity to upgrade my glasses (since I obviously need them for stupid times like these). I had enough in my eye fund to buy them, but I am still awaiting the emergency room fees. Ouch again.

At the end of that week, Hubby went to the doc in the Big City and was pronounced free from restrictions. Now, he can drive and mow and all that fun stuff. He just has to be careful lifting much and things like that. They are going to continue to monitor him every six months which relieves my mind on the future. During this doc visit, we met up with DD and went to a major league baseball game for Hubby's part of the Father's Day/Mother's Day weekend jaunt. I haven't been to a major league game since I was oh...about twelve. Of course, this was the only game they lost in about seven or so in a row. Oh well, the whole experience was pretty neat. At least, the other team did so much that we had plenty to watch. DD gave us gift baskets she'd made and then announced that DD, DD's BF, and Hubby had gone together and ordered me a laptop. I think my brain fritzed when I heard that. I have received it, but I need to get those kids to put all the rest of the programs that I need on it, including the security software. They have some fancy stuff they get from college. I will be getting that done in a week or so. So, for now, I don't connect up to anything, and I'm just playing around learning it. First time I haven't had the last hand-me-down. This is going to be SO FUN. DS and DIL sent me an Edible Arrangement for Mother's Day which is composed of fruit that looks like flowers and bushes. Included some chocolate covered strawberries. Yummy present! And SO cool looking.

After DD left to return to her town to meet up with BF to go camping with his parents, he called and asked our permission to ask her to marry him. We had to sit on the information for several days and it about killed us. He's a great kid that we all wanted to contrive to introduce to DD. Awesome that it took so well!

DD was also tested and found to be ADD. So, the docs and stuff wanted to see if I was too. It sure would explain stuff. So, off to my med team to find out. And I am. Piggybacks onto bipolar. So, I've been trying new meds for the last couple of days. So far, so good. Among us all, we've been to all kinds of docs. So glad most of it has been for good stuff.

I learned several things from the eye episode:

1. Keep eye wash around. Tap water HURTS. I didn't know eye wash existed. It is in the hurricane supplies now.
2. I like the new hospital. They were really fast. Nice to know in an emergency.
3. I love my insurance.
4. Keep my bottles in separate places.
5. The doc's office told me to take the antibiotics I got from the hospital that I didn't need after all and keep them for awhile for a future mishap. I think I must have a "K" for Klutz stamped on my forehead....

Lovebugs....

April 23rd, 2008 at 03:14 pm

While I was growing up, a wonderful fixture of evening was fireflies or as in the South--lightning bugs. Moving further south to the more tropical zones, I missed the little bugs. Then, we encountered a new little evening bug. The Lovebug. Harmless little creatures "floating" in the air joined at the hip (so to speak) in pairs. Then, I found out the hazards. Don't talk too much outside because you can breathe in or swallow bugs. And, the little buggers take the paint off your car. It is especially bad if you drive for some reason out in the countryside. Your car gets plastered by hundred of bugs, and if you don't wash them off timely, they will remove the paint. I didn't know if it was an old wives' tale because Hubby kept the cars washed. I found that it was true when I had to stash my car inside the garage during Hurricane Rita evacuation without washing off the cloud of bugs I'd been through. Several weeks later, I returned and washed off the car and the paint came off the front with the bugs.

I mowed the grass last night toward the evening hours to catch the coolness and because we finally figured out what was wrong with the lawnmower. I was mowing through the grass with the little critters floating around me about knee high at that time of day. They look so peaceful floating along. (Although they are really flapping their little wings like crazy.) We like to tease that the female is the one dragging the males along. The female is having to do most of the work it seems. At least, I've been told the big ones are female. With Hubby still not being able to wash vehicles for awhile because of surgery, I know that, economically, twice a year in spring and fall, I need to make sure that I keep all little buggies off the car. Or anything else. Or I'll eventually have to repaint the thing....

Rolling In The Dough....

April 19th, 2008 at 07:50 am

I've had a craving for pizza for a month or so. With a coupon, Hubby and I can get a pizza fairly cheap and eat on it for three days or so. But, I had a couple of veggies hanging around to use up and a bread machine....

I surprised myself. I made pizza dough. Used on sale veggies, sauce and cheese. Dusted off the ole pizza stone--literally. I was trying to remember WHY I even had one. I think the kids used to bake frozen mini pizzas on it or something. I screwed up the timer and almost burnt it, but saved it and the end effect was pretty yummy. It smelled so good cooking that we had a hard time waiting on it to cool down enough to eat.

We probably don't save that much over the way we usually eat pizza. But, this one was WAY less greasy. More veggies on it. Probably healthier. At any rate, it wasn't as hard to do as I thought it would be to make. And, we love pizza. We could add Pizza Night to our Fridays or something. This could be the start of something yummy....

Monday Again....?

April 15th, 2008 at 12:40 pm

Today is Tuesday, but to me it is Monday. I've been confused all day. Hubby wasn't feeling well yesterday and worked from home, so with his normal alternate Friday off, we had a four-day weekend. So, today is Monday...sort of.

Also, I totally forgot today was April 15. I'm so glad it has been mentioned because I was headed to the post office to mail a couple of packages. Forget it. Our little post office has about ten parking spaces and usually a line. Today, it will be a zoo.

We did much better on our budget and challenge this month. If you don't count the Easter/birthday celebration trip. I included it in the Other Holiday/Birthday funds, but those funds have been decimated and need to be revived a bit. Actually, the Birthday Fund is limping along, but the Other Holiday Fund is so far gone that it needs a transfusion.

We've gotten refunds from the oral surgeon for most of the amount of DD's wisdom tooth surgery. I get to put the Dental Fund back on its feet. The dental insurance for the surgery was so much better than regular tooth stuff. Go figure...but I'm not complaining...I'm tickled!

I haven't made much headway on that credit card, have I? Focus, Jan, focus....

He LIKES It...

April 14th, 2008 at 02:41 pm

Remember Mikey and the Life commercial? I've been playing with several varieties of bread in the bread machine. I've never really liked the taste of store bread and don't eat it very much. So, at least a half of a loaf of bread at a time went to waste unless I froze it for something else. I really do like homemade bread, though, but the trick was to see if Hubby would eat it. He doesn't like trying too many new things, and his likes and dislikes are pretty much set in stone. His likes are limited. In the last few years, we've all gotten him to try some new things, and he's found out that he likes more than he thought. So, I've been encouraging him to try the homemade bread, mostly by not buying any other. He's kinda stuck. He's actually admitting to liking the bread...as long as it doesn't have apples or raisins. I love both, so I am making some plainer varieties, too. I held my breath after I finally switched to a more whole wheat variety for him. He LIKED it! He's eaten almost the whole loaf. And no complaining. I am shocked. I am now redoing a whole section of cabinets to hold the flours and such for making the bread in the machine. I don't think I'll be looking back. Now, if I could only get him to like peas....

Every Little Bit....

April 9th, 2008 at 09:41 am

helps the bottom line! I got a weird medical bill in the bunch for Hubby's surgery. Three x-rays that were billed to us, but no insurance payments. Instead, it said something about maxed benefits. I checked it out online with the insurance site and couldn't find this bill anywhere. I looked at the other bill from this place and nothing on it resembled these charges. I called the insurance company to see if they could find it. The bill wasn't really huge--150.00 dollars--but that is a chunk of a credit card payment that I could make. The insurance people were really cool. I told them all the particulars including the codes on there. They said I didn't have any maxed benefits on x-rays so it didn't make sense to them either. They called the company, then told me that it was a bill already on their list at another amount and the company has left off some codes so the whole thing will go back through the system. I just might have saved us over 100 dollars. Right now, trying to pay off debt with costs rising, that 100 or so dollars looks really good. I'm glad the folks here and on the forums have talked about questioning things we don't understand. I am trying to become more aware of everything.

We are trying to combat the higher cost of food by eating less. We've been stretching our meals. They aren't fancy, but they fill us up. Hopefully, it will also translate into losing that 10 pounds apiece that we need to lose. I'm trying to do this and eat healthy food at the same time. I about fell over when eggs reached 2.00 here. We feel like we were back in college and had to really limit the amount of groceries bought in a week. At least we have experience in this. Who knew that being broke when newly married would come in handy one day.

I would really like to try my hand at raising some kind of vegetable. I used to help my Dad in the gardens all the time. But, this is a different kind of soil and climate. And, he has a green thumb and I don't. I think I will try one kind at a time so I don't break the bank killing so many plants. Something that will grow in spite of me.....

Seeing the Light.....

April 7th, 2008 at 11:34 am

I leave most lights off during the day since we have large windows. And, this time of year, it is quite bright out there in this part of the world. I never wore sunglasses until I moved here. Now, I can't leave the house without them. So, I do most things without any lights on. Hubby is the opposite. I can come in during the weekend and find him asleep on the couch with all the lights on. Of course, he often gets up around 5 or 6 am, and I guess he might need the lights then. And, then he falls asleep without realizing that he's burning electricity. And, it gets hot in there with them on.

We have a bathroom in the middle of the house that has no windows. But, the bathroom at the back has one with blinds. I've turned the blinds downward so that a little of the light comes in, and that way, I don't have to turn on lights. I didn't realize something until last week...you don't need the lights to take a shower in there either. Well, duh.... The only time I really need to turn them on is makeup time. Changing these habits is not that bad...if you just realize what the habit is....

Hubby finally caught me emptying my bucket of water onto the porch plants this weekend. So, I explained my plan of using the water from the shower warmup to avoid wasting it and saving some money. As expected, the look was priceless. I also explained that I don't have to get the hose out, and I don't have to work so hard with the little watering can. I can use this water every day on plants and such and no waste. He'll get used to the idea. But, I do think he thinks it is one of my weirder saving ones. He's probably not going to do this one himself, but he's not going to rain on my parade....

RIP.....

April 2nd, 2008 at 01:47 pm

My 27 year old dryer just died. No warning whatsoever. Just a large bang, and it was gone. Probably a belt or something. I think I'll just replace it since it is so very old. And inefficient, I'm sure. I've got some money I can use. The problem is the ability to get it done. Hubby can't help me get one into the house right now, so I will have to have one delivered. That way they can remove the old one, too. But, until I can get that done, I am without a dryer. And, boy, do we need it for the sheets and work clothes that I need to dry. Otherwise, I'll be ironing till the cows come home. Right now, I have socks laying everywhere. I'm going to get a drying rack tonight. I usually hang my stuff to dry anyway, but the dogs' bedding and our king-sized bedding will be a pain. Oh well, it's not that I didn't expect it sometime. Just wish it had waited until the summer. I sure hope this has a silver lining.....

The Low Down.....

March 29th, 2008 at 05:46 pm

Today was almost a no spend day. I blew it when I suggested we get a treat at the bakery across the street from our walk. Hubby has used this weekend to crash, and his neck has been hurting. I thought we needed to get out of the house for a short while, but the walk around the same area sometimes makes me feel a little like a hamster on a wheel. I had this intense craving for a sweet treat, and the atmosphere at the bakery is conducive to chilling and talking. So, I decided that we should count LOW spend days. Any day that we spend less than 20 dollars. And, count LOW LOW spend days. Any day that we spend less than 10 dollars. Today was a 4 dollar day.

I finished up mowing the yard and mulching and collecting the leaves. Our front trees drop their leaves in the spring. When I first moved here, I had a hard time with washing the pollen off my car and raking the leaves in the same season. Weird.

I think that tomorrow I'll get Hubby out of the house by getting him to grill some steaks. Steaks will bite into the budget a bit; but the weather is so nice, and Hubby could use the change of scenery. And, we could admire the yardwork....

Eggscellent.....

March 24th, 2008 at 01:31 pm

We had a great Easter weekend. Hope you all had a great one, too! We spent a bit of money, but got a lot of mileage out of it. We got in a birthday, an Easter dinner with DD's boyfriend's family, DS in a jazz performance, visit to the Grandbaby, dinner out with everyone, luncheon with the BF and crew....wow. All in all, I think we spent at least $500. We had to stay in a hotel, but I get a manager's rate there. They've been doing that for me since I stayed there so frequently when DS was an undergrad. And, we had to board the dogs. We had a birthday dinner we paid for and a portion of the big dinner out. But, the BF family paid for all the food they cooked for us. They also bought DD an Easter outfit to wear to the church service where DS and BF were playing music. They are really nice people, and we also got to finally meet Granny. Hubby has today off and we're vegetating.

I did have to return to the post office and talk to them about the hold mail situation again. We had the mail held, but it didn't work again. And, I had a package they delivered sitting on my doorstep the whole time. This is getting really frustrating. The postmaster is supposed to call me about it. I did get some more information though. Seems the automated mail (junk letters, I suppose) often get delivered anyway since they are handed out (to subs?) without sorting it really. Or something to that effect. Explains why sometimes I have some in the box and at the post office at the same time. This time, they just delivered it all. I am going to try to get all that junk mail stopped. They did say that it would be helpful to leave the hold mail card for my carrier to pick up himself. I sometimes wonder if it is not the regular guy that is doing this because we all agree he is pretty great. I wasn't sure which of my neighbors would be home to ask them to get my mail. I really would like to be able to have the service work. I called the number that is online and the lady was really helpful about it. But, she accidently hung up on me transferring me to someone else. So, I just went on down to see if any mail was actually at the post office to retrieve. Nope. Oh well, try, try again....

Hubby and I are determined to get back on budget. I had a concern that the spending the last three months would trigger a spree that I wouldn't realize at first. Hubby doesn't have that problem. But, I've done a lot better getting back on budget after all is done. I don't know what I could have saved and how much less debt we would have had if I'd just had a detailed spending plan all along.....

Okay, This is Not Good.....

March 19th, 2008 at 01:36 pm

that they opened a branch of my favorite bakery the next highway over. I even thought about applying there when they were advertising for workers. I thought I would end up spending all my money there so it wouldn't work out. Not to mention gaining a ton of weight just being in the same room as the goodies. And the sandwiches are really good, too. Today, I was getting gas a block down the street, and I didn't/couldn't resist dropping in. Wow, I love that place. I ended up buying very little, but I saw things that I thought about on the way home. If I had stayed longer, I would have been in trouble. And, it is just around the corner. With the other stores 20 to 30 minutes away, I was okay. Now...this is not good....

Got an email from my bank (supposedly) telling me that due to excessive wrong logins, I needed to click on this link and reset my password. Instead, I logged onto the site directly and my account is not locked, nor had there been any alerts posted. I called the bank and got an abuse web address to which they wanted me to forward my email. They will investigate and shut down the site. They said they would NEVER have a link to click on in an email. The email people also picked the wrong time to send it to me. I have been out of town and not logged in for awhile. But, I can see where it might catch people who log on every day to check out their account. Good grief.

On the plus side, DD called and her follow up appointment with the oral surgeon had good news. Healing up great. And no more migraines since. Wish we had gotten her wisdom teeth xrayed when I originally thought about it. I'm such a proscrastinator. Would have saved some money with the headache meds and the doc visits. Not to mention the pain she's dealt with. Sheesh.

Another proscratination is the tax forms that have been sitting and waiting since February. I just need to copy them and mail everything off. You'd think that I would buckle down and do this. Especially since we're not paying anything. This will be the first time I've tried direct depositing a refund.

I've made friends with the bread machine that my SIL gave me years ago. I really like the bread much better than the store kind. But, once again, it tastes so good that I eat too much of it. I see a theme here.....



Whew......

March 18th, 2008 at 01:22 pm

Got back a couple of days ago from helping DD through oral surgery to remove a couple of pesky wisdom teeth that just might be the cause of the awful pain in her jaw and some of her migraines. We can only hope. At least it got rid of the things. One of them was pushing into her other teeth, so it was a good time to do it. Kinda ruined part of her spring break. We got to laughing...two years ago on spring break she got a nasty case of food poisoning at Disney World. Last year, she got a nasty sunburn (next time listen to mommy) learning to snow ski. This year, wisdom teeth. Oh well, at least she got to visit the Mouse, see snow, and get rid of headaches. There are good sides and bad sides to her spring breaks.

My bank account has been clobbered. I need to take stock. But, today, I am cleaning up stuff and awaiting the termite guy. I have rescheduled the inspection a couple of times now. Just hope he gets here before the nasty weather. Otherwise, he's on his own....

So far, my plan is this...I am using the house repair fund for Hubby's surgery bills. Then, I'll put the IRS refund and stimulus thingy in there and hopefully have enough to start back on the repair work. I used my challenge money and my savings for the first month of the year to pay for DD's booboo on the guy's truck. I'm using the dental fund and this last month's challenge money for her teeth and assorted expenses for traveling and keeping her in pudding and ice cream. I'm not netting anything so far this year, but I hope I'm holding steady. I need to reassess after I recover from forgetting one of my meds last night. I need a vacation.....

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.....

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.....

Now, which body part are you operating on?

January 21st, 2008 at 12:52 pm

We went to the Big City to check in with the hospital where Hubby will be having his operation. We were floored when the anesthesiologist we were meeting with was trying to confirm what surgery he was having. He told us a completely different surgery. Same body part, different procedure entirely. We just kept saying, No, we aren't....So, he thought maybe the procedure hadn't been updated in the computers. He checked with the office staff of the doctor. Nope, they had the same surgery on file as he did. Now, we're really confused. Fortunately, we had gotten in early so that the nurse from the doc's office was still in. They leave early on Fridays. So, she came down and explained the procedure that the doc had changed it to. The question we had was if it was going to solve Hubby's problem because that was the reason this procedure had been rejected the first time. The only thing we can think of is that the better MRI we had done there showed something different than the doc had expected. The crazy thing is that no one had told US that the procedure was totally different. It will be a much better surgery for Hubby to endure and recover from. We've got a call into the doc today, and he's supposed to call after he gets out of surgery today. We need to find out what is truly going on. Our doc here says he is awesome, so we are comfortable that he knows what he is doing. We just need to confirm things before we agree to do this. All in all, it is going to be much easier and hopefully solve the problems. And will be much cheaper and Hubby will most likely be able to return to work much earlier. This guy's success rate is really, really good and they really care about their patients. We've been impressed with just about all of it. Except we kinda need to know just what Hubby is going to have done. It will all be explained in the long run. But, it was a shocker at the moment.....

The Bucket Brigade.....

January 17th, 2008 at 11:55 am

I read in the past year about people in more parched areas collecting rainfall and others collecting water inside. We have a sorta box-shaped house--longer one way than the other. Of course, the hot water heater is on one end and the master bath on the other. Water pipes run through the attic, and since we haven't gotten all the old insulation out and new put in yet, the water is COLD this time of year. I grew up on spring water so I should be used to it. But, over the years, I've enjoyed it hotter and hotter. I watched the water run one day while I was waiting for hot water to show up and realized that I was wasting a ton of water each week. So, I found a clean bucket and started collecting the cold water. Then, I had to figure out what to do with it every day. One day, I watered the outside porch plants that don't get rain. Then, I figured I could use it to fill the dogs' water dispenser. Then, I watered the inside plants. Today, I have another thing of water. I think I will put it into the washer this afternoon with a load of cold wash that I need to do. I'm finding out that I have to come up with ideas to use up this water. Wow, how much have I used over the years letting it run just for one shower? Multiply that by all of us for years and, whoa...that's a lot of water. I haven't told Hubby what I'm doing yet. I wanted to see what I found out. He's probably really wondering what the bucket in the shower is for. I'll have to have some facts ready or he's liable to up my medicine this time.....

Roadkill Week.....

January 15th, 2008 at 09:55 am

We have tried a new strategy in the menu/grocery department. We have gotten the grocery bill down and holding steady. The next thing was to figure out how to manage what we have bought and stashed. Enter new idea. We designated the third week of each month as eat out of the freezer/pantry/fridge week. And no cheating by buying up a lot of stuff the week before. The idea is to use our heads and be creative with what we have left from the other weeks. When I proposed it to Hubby and outlined the first week's menus, he thought it was a good idea. And true to form, he caught me off guard with a funny. He said it was a good idea--Roadkill week! I had to laugh. The menus are going to be much better than that. But, this way it sounds much more fun....

Fishy.....

January 12th, 2008 at 03:16 pm

Hubby hates seafood. Even the smell. So, we don't go to a seafood restaurant with him. I try to have a good one on hand for when the relatives comes because they all like to try the seafood. Especially since we live near the coast. Since Hurricane Rita, there have been changes in the seafood restaurant selections. Some places have closed. One burned after the storm. There are a couple of Cajun style seafood places nearby, but I'm not too big on Cajun seasoning, although it is pretty terrific in fried turkeys. And I can eat a toned-down version in ettoufee, etc. But not really on my fish. There is a place we pass by every time we go visit the kids. It's not too far from where we live. I checked online to see if they offered something Hubby could eat. Hubby wanted me to practice driving the truck, since I'll be driving him home from the Big City after surgery. The truck is so much easier for him to get in and out of when he's all banged up. So, off we went to eat fishy stuff.

Not bad. I liked the selection of things you could order and the fact that you can order them something other than fried. I've run into that problem at other places around here. In addition, I substituted grilled veggies for the potato. Most of the time that means a couple of vegetables barely cooked. This time there was a big variety of vegetables grilled and filling half the plate. I pigged out on those. The place was in a little town and the patrons knew everyone there. They went all around the restaurant greeting neighbors and chatting. It was quite the atmosphere. I think that I can bring the folks here for a good meal. Not sure that Hubby will ever go again. But, at least he gave it a try. Did I mention he hates seafood.....

Quandry......

January 11th, 2008 at 12:57 pm

I have a bit of a question mark in my head today. I received two checks that I need to deposit. One is an expense check from Hubby's work and the other is a reimbursement check from DIL. I have one more coming from my mother. But, I hate to hold on to DIL's check too long, because it messes up their checkbook with it still in there. Their finances are pretty tight, and they don't like to have outstanding stuff. So, I need to deposit these two. I am stuck at what to do with them. The expense check is for more than the gasoline we put in Hubby's truck for those trips for work. They go by mileage. So, I don't need the whole amount for gasoline. I keep thinking I should put them on an extra credit card payment, but I have an exciting thing happening. I am almost through paying for the big auto loan. The next payment will be taken out this weekend and then we'll owe less than two payments. I was thinking of paying it off, even though the interest rate on it is miniscule compared to other things we have. But, the thought of paying something off is just too exciting. I am so very tempted to put this money on that loan. Between this deposit and the payment, we can cut a fair chunk out of the remainder. Then, I can see about paying the last of it off. What to do....what to do......

Third Time's the ......

January 9th, 2008 at 11:32 am

We finally caught up with DD this weekend and had our third Christmas. It was a fun time of relaxing and catching up. Hubby and I got back Sunday evening. And I've still got to go pick up our mail. Actually, it has been sorta fun not getting any mail--most of which I have to shred anyway. Got to get on those do not mail lists.

We called and finally got all our ducks in a row. Hubby has to have major surgery, and we needed to get all his tests and stuff all planned out. And to get all his down time planned out. I think his parents are coming so that will help with extra hands. I think we'll have to use a big chunk of our house repair fund to pay for the medical costs. We had saved his bonus for the house repairs, now we'll need it for Hubby repairs.

DD's tuition is due again. It costs about 1000 more each semester than DS's because of all the building the college has been doing. I hope she is there long enough to benefit from all the buildings we are helping to pay for! But she seems to be settling into this college thing. And that's good. And worth it.

I finally finished repainting the hallway. And I've got samples for the living room. But, I think I might start on Hubby's office next. Then, I can close the door on the fumes while he recovers. And it will keep me busy so I don't do him in. He suggested that he might change his will so that if he doesn't survive his time at home--I get nothing. I think he knows he will be going stir crazy, and I might be tempted to cash in his life insurance....

Seriously, we have to get some legal papers fixed up. I never thought of a medical power of attorney. And our outdated will only names DS and "other children" which makes DD feel kinda funny. And they don't need a guardian anymore. We've gotten assigned a new lawyer through New Company's new program with local attorneys. We just might need to do that since our last lawyer was arrested for trading legal services to prostitutes for sexual favors. Can we pick them or what....


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