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Archive for July, 2008

Kamikaze Kitty Strikes Again.....

July 31st, 2008 at 09:03 am

The Kitty no longer attacks my arm while I'm on the computer or holding a cup of something. She's got a new game. She laid low for a long time, and then started attacking the bed while I'm making it up. She lands right in the middle of the bed. Poised for attack. I wonder if that is a comment on my bed making skills. But, she's caught me offguard a couple of times lately and made me jump. I can just imagine her cracking up.

I may be jumping the gun here, but I'm going to post a gain of 700 dollars on my challenge total. I know that, technically, the month isn't over. We switched to a regular monthly cycle here since I'm paying things as they come in. That way, we don't have things that migrate from one month to the other just because they are at the end of the month. Almost all of the challenge money went to additional debt payment. Last month was such a mess budgetwise with so much going on that I didn't even try to see what the final results were. I could go back and try to finish reconstructing it all, but most of it is still packed for evacuation. I think I'll just forget it and move on.

I knocked the lever on the bottom of my office chair on a box while packing files and dropped myself rather suddenly. Recently, the Kitty has been rubbing her head a lot against that lever. She sort of rocks the chair, but I can't help but wonder what she is really up to......

One Tiny Step.....

July 28th, 2008 at 09:29 am

I paid off a store credit card this weekend, so I have another card to close. Also, I have set a goal on the sidebar to put an extra 500 dollars a month towards repayment of debt. This month, we were able to meet that goal. I guess not going to visit the kids had a silver lining. The gas and food monies contributed to that goal. Another goal I had was to get the card we are targeting below 2000. I have been reading of others setting goals and decided to give it a try. I need to set some for August. Wow, this year is moving on.

Why do I get the dirty jobs? The kitty finally quit throwing up. We got rid of her food thinking something went bad in it. And, she quit throwing up. That was a relief. I thought another trip to the vet was coming. Then, Older Dog threw up one night. Got rid of a box of treats that might have been the culprit. We went back to our old treats and no more problems. Guess who spent their time cleaning it all up? Hubby did pass me the towels.

It was a short weekend as Hubby had to work on Saturday when the plant had a malfunction of sorts. I spent the time repainting the inside doorbell box that had never been painted. Don't know why I put off these little projects forever. Hubby did have time to help solidify our paint choices for the rest of the inside of the house. The outside will hopefully get painted this fall. I'm sure our neighbors will throw a party when we get it done.

I've got a bunch of birthday stuff to mail off to various family members. I need to just sit down and get it done. I usually try to get things like that sent ahead of time, but most of the recipients were on vacation recently. I didn't want their gifts to be sitting on their doorsteps until they got back. But, now, the putting it off syndrome has kicked in. I need to work on at least one today.

Eating out is getting ridiculous. We were running a couple of errands yesterday, and I got hungry before we were finished. I usually bring a high protein bar in my purse and have a water with me. I thought we'd just sit down and have a small sandwich or something and chill for a bit. Two little sandwiches and a drink came to 10 dollars. Way too much. Won't be suggesting that again. I'd rather have put that on the debt and eaten peanut butter......

Oh Goodie!.....

July 22nd, 2008 at 09:01 am

They just sent me an email that the big library that has the book sale I go to in the spring is having another sale this fall. I'm in a dilemna. First, I only budget for the spring one. Second, I really need to continue culling out books. The good thing is that I like to browse and find hardbacks for Dad. They are only a dollar, and since his diagnosis with macular degeneration, I've tried to find inexpensive hardbacks to send to him for reading. He really loves to read. And, the hardbacks are easier because of the larger pages and print. I know I probably won't be able to resist going. At least the first day. I'll use anything for an excuse to buy books, won't I?

Trying to get all the bills in a pay as they come in situation means that I'm paying some of them twice this month. It will make a mess of my budget sheet, but it will all work out by next month.

The medical stuff continues. DD is going to the dentist today for a mouthguard. If this works, then the medical issues should slow down some. The only other thing that we have to adjust to then would be the extra doc visits we both have to make for the ADD meds. And, I have to travel to the next town to get my prescription from the receptionist once a month. Seems that they can only write it for a month at a time. Unless, I go to three month mail order, but the insurance says it will only send one month at a time and you have to order each month. But this saves you one co-pay every three months. Since this med is not generic, then that would save almost 150 a year plus gasoline. However, I am a bit concerned about medicine being in transit and us being on the road out of town for a hurricane and gone for three weeks again. It would be a mess. I think I'll wait til our season subsides a little around October. Try for the three months through the end of the year. Meanwhile, I still have to go every three months now instead of every six months to see the doc. Additional co-pays. It is worth it. And, I'll just have to make a day of it when I go. Take some books to the used bookstore or something.

I'm back to buying groceries again since I've almost cleared out everything from the freezer. I found some ground turkey in there that I'm going to make into something today. But, I think our grocery budget will be going up a bit. We've been cutting down on portions, too. I need to lose ten pounds, and Hubby needs to lost twenty. It is so frustrating that he loses weight so easily. Sigh.

I've pulled the credit card files that I am targeting back out of the evacuation box. I'm not going to let myself off the hook. I need to keep on working on them.
If nothing else, getting rid of all the debt should make my box a whole lot lighter. Not to mention my stress load....

I Was Waiting For This.....

July 20th, 2008 at 01:20 pm

For someone in the weather information community to say "Hello, Dolly." Sure enough, one of them couldn't resist and has already written it about the new storm. We're still in watch mode, but I think we'll be okay for this one. We might get some needed rain here as it spreads out this week. We didn't even mow this weekend because our yard is getting quite crispy.

Hubby is going slightly stir crazy. Most of the preparations didn't involve him too much except to help make decisions and move things for me if needed. He did make a run to the store and then helped with the other errands. He had already taken care of getting gas and putting air in the spare tires. But, today, he's going nuts.

He asked me if he could move the desktop computer off my desk to his office desk. I had wanted to do this for about a month now, but hesitated to add anything to his desk. He is so neat. Hardly anything is on his desk. I didn't want to put anything there. He asked to move it in there so he could use it for games and such. His work laptop is for just that. He always has to wait until I'm not working on anything at my desk. I practically threw it at him. I was so very glad to get rid of the stuff on top, the thingy under the desk, and all those darn cords! We did invest in a smaller monitor a little while ago, and that helped. But, the rest of the computer is almost a decade old. And rather big. DS upgraded it a bunch when he had it, so it was still fairly usable. It just took up so much room. I spent a while happily untangling cords and getting them to him to hook everything back up. I think cords are like hangers. They seems to multiply and grow longer and more tangled the longer you have them. I'm now inspired to clear off the rest of the junk on my desk and make it easier to use. There has been a couple of silver linings to this preparation mode we've been in. Decluttering pens and pencils may not make a big dent, but decluttering is decluttering.

I think I will start on a home project this next week. I need to prime and paint the wainscotting in the kitchen/dining area. This will also make me finish decluttering the stuff I've gotten out to go through. And, I happen to have a gift card from the home improvement store to get the paint. I wanted to work on some decluttering in the attic this week, but it is so very hot. I might bring things down one at a time and in the evening hours. This decluttering is getting addicting....


July 19th, 2008 at 06:55 pm

We didn't get to go to DS's to help the gang move them this weekend. We were getting the final things ready in case the developing situation in the Carribean turned out to be the next hurricane. The predictions have sent it all over the Texas coast. And, it is fairly early for us, so not everything had been ready. We finished cleaning the stuff we'd been working on out of the garage so we can put vehicles in it. We finished banking, getting gas, and the final supplies. We'd been doing bills and supplies all along, so not much was needed to be done there. We finished repacking the files. We didn't get the medical stuff done yet, but that was because our prescriptions were a couple of days from being able to be refilled. We worked on getting together what we would take with us. Haven't put as much away yet, waiting to see if we would have to leave.

We did miss getting the see the DGBaby. It's been six weeks, and she is doing so many new things. We wanted to see the new place and the baby and the kids (for the last time in one city) but this weekend turned out to be a completely different creature than planned.

I don't regret taking the time to get this stuff done. If we ended up in the crosshairs again, we wouldn't be scrambling early next week to do it and get out if needed. We didn't have to spend a ton at once for supplies so that was good. Spreading it out in the budget has really helped.

But, I had taken the dogs to be boarded before I found out that we wouldn't be going. I called today to see if they had taken out the stitches in Older Dog, but they had waited for the doc to get back on Monday when I was originally supposed to pick her up. So, we decided to leave them there for the weekend. It was only an additional 30 dollars since we wouldn't have to pay for an office visit this way. And, Hubby wanted a time of quiet after the rush of getting things finished. I did, however, forget something that cost us bigger bucks. I had reserved a hotel room near DS and family's new home. The gang moving them would have more room to crash if we sort of spread out. I waited til the afternoon to cancel it, but then my mom unexpectedly called from her trip to Alaska, and then I got distracted again with something else. I thought of it again four hours after the deadline. So, I have a charge on my credit card for a room we won't be using. Rats. I hate when that happens! To top it off, I had found a voucher that would have given us the room for free. Double rats.

Funny thing is, if the kids or someone else had done something like this, I would have said not to worry, these things happen. Why do I beat myself up for this stuff? I guess this one hurts because I had retotalled my debt and had gotten a look at the mess I still have. Oh well, I make a little progress here or there in living. I learned another lesson. But, sometimes, this two steps forward and one step back approach is extremely frustrating and slow....

Little Snowflakes.....

July 17th, 2008 at 08:52 am

Yesterday, DD deposited a refund check from her MRI/Cat scans, and today it's cleared. I transferred out our money to our account and left her bill money intact. Now, to apply it to some credit cards. She put the payments on her credit card, so logically, I should use it for her card. But, I have others with bigger interest rates. So, I went to figure out what to do next.

I've been snowflaking along this month. I finally set up a revised chart showing what we owe and to whom and the interest rates. Daunting to say the least. I also set up a chart to log my snowflaking and see if I can excelerate the process a little. I thought if I could see the progress, I might make more of an effort. I've paid almost an additional 400 dollars this month toward things. I hope to increase that and get things really rolling. A true snowball.

One of my problems is that we are heading deep into hurricane season. Do I go ahead and pay things off, or do I keep the money for a possible hit and displacement from another storm. We've gotten two recently--2005 and 2007. We feel we've bought most of our supplies, but we have to replenish things as we go along because some things get used like toilet paper. We try to stay ahead so that we won't be buying a lot of things at once. But, you also have the repairs and expenses after one of those things clobbers you. So, I am going around in circles with the decision. I would rather have less on our shoulders, but would like to retain a bit for the next couple of months until our part of the season is over around sometime in October. And, this looks like to be a busy season. I hate this indecision.

So, I suppose I will snowflake for awhile longer. Keep chipping away at things. Keep to the budget if I can and when the season is over, hit the cards really hard with what I have. The problem with that is that last year we used the money for medical purposes. But, at least we had it. I am so tired of having the debts. I am fed up with dealing with it.

I have also set up a chart of money needed for an emergency fund. Short term, six months, and a year. That will keep in focus my savings goals. I included stuff like cable and cell phones for now. And, the credit card bills. My emergency fund needs will change when we pay off those darn cards.

I included good loans like the mortgage. I am also snowflaking a bit on that. I put an additional small amount on the principal every month. I know I should be applying that to the cards, but it is so satisfying watching the mortgage go down a little. We've shaved at least five years off. We're trying to get our mortgage paid off before we reach retirement age.

Sigh. I've tried to work with this for three years. I've gotten used to a budget. Used to saving some. Used to watching what I am doing. The credit cards remain the last stronghold. And, they are going to be history. Just rather slowly....

The Klutz Factor Again....

July 14th, 2008 at 11:19 am

I tripped and fell down on the hard floor of the hallway. Fortunately, I didn't break anything. I had some aches and pains in my wrists, hips, and shoulders all weekend, but I am getting much better. Makes me see how the older folks get really worried about falling. I am getting there, too. Funny thing was where the aches ended up. I fell on my hands and knees. The pain ended up in my joints.

Got fed up with the random decluttering I was doing this weekend. When I get mad at my slowness, I end up going nuts at something. So, I targeted a pile of empty boxes in the garage. You know the kind, the small ones that you save for putting gifts in. Every couple of years, I seem to accumulate a bunch of those. I held my breath and tossed as many as I could manage in a short while into Hubby's trash bin. Then, I walked away so that I wouldn't retrieve any of them. The final step was to tell Hubby. He promptly ran out and demolished them into pieces and into the big trash bin. Mission accomplished. I let my breath out again. It is a hard thing for an Accumulator to let go of things that "might" be needed. Of course, I'll probably need a box in the next month, but who cares. I like the empty spot. And, the feeling that I got a little something done.

We also decluttered three sets of sheets that we don't have beds for anymore. I bought an additional spare set for the one bed we do have and tossed the odd ones into the giveaway box. They finished off the box, and Hubby took it away. I set up another box in the corner of the garage to fill this week. Amazing what you can find.

I also decluttered boxes for things the kids have given me. I won't be storing them in the boxes in the future. If I did decide to do that, I wouldn't necessarily find the boxes anyway. A little bubble wrap or something will do.

Decluttering the old, heavy weedeater to DD's fiance. Will be decluttering the living room tv as it went kaput this weekend. Funny, we found that the remotes for all the tvs work for every tv. They are all the same brand. I was turning on the little one we brought in to see if it was the tv or the cable line. And, I turned on the little one and turned off the old one at the same time. Found out that the bigger tv picture was just shot. We'll be decluttering it on large trash day when the big stuff hits the curb. Someone will pick it up before the trash guys get here though. We've recycled a lot of old small appliances that way. People with a lot more talent at fixing things than us cruise the neighborhoods on the proper weeks and pick up a lot of old stuff like this. I love it. More power to them.

We went to the salad place we enjoy and bought the kid's meals again. Two salad bars and two pizzas. Dinner for last night and tonight for 2 dollars a plate. Nice.....

Hide And Go Seek....

July 11th, 2008 at 11:04 am

This is the first time I've ever written a check to a doctor I have never seen. I finally got a bill for the emergency room doc for when I was a klutz and put the wrong thing in my eyes. I was taken care of by two other people plus two others who did the insurance/billing stuff. But, I never saw the doc. Not even for a second. Not even a "Hello, I'm the doc." I was taken care of quite well. The doc probably looked over and signed off on everything. He might even have been working on a more serious case. If that's the case, I sure don't mind. But, I found it interesting that he charged me over 250 dollars, and I don't even know if he exists. Of course, the insurance took care of most of it. I'm grateful for that and the care. Just sort of weird.

After a couple of frustratingly sluggish days, I am back to decluttering. It kicked back in last night. I'm trying to fill a big box in the garage every two weeks....

Crossing the Street.....

July 9th, 2008 at 01:07 pm

I have instituted something that seems to be working well. So far. I try to pay things as they come in. I have a budget for the month, so it doesn't matter if I pay it now or later in the month. The only thing is to have the money to do so. Today, I was out getting a haircut and stopped by a bank to deposit something. I was right next to the post office and stopped in to check the PO Box. We got this after some mail shenanigans in the neighborhood. It was driven home a week or so ago when I was leaving for a doctor's appointment. Two of my neighbors were in the yard watching a scene a couple of houses down. There were cars blocking the mail truck and the sub mail guy was in the back of a car, and people were going through the truck and the mailbag. One neighbor had just mailed her bills with him. I had to leave so I never found out if he was arrested or there was a threat or what. Although I love my regular guy, I had gotten into the habit of taking my bills and stuff to the post office and checking the box. Today, I got the water bill. Since I was across the street from the city buildings, I just went over and paid it. Done. No bills are in the house right now. This feels weird.

I found the card I wanted to close and logged onto the website to see just what is what. Like what is the interest on this one since I have never used it. It was one of those where they discontinued a card and sent you a whole new thing. I saw that the other one that I had closed was still open. I had a letter in my files that said they closed it, so I called and checked it out. They apologized and are in the process of closing it now. I asked about the interest rate and about fell out of my chair at 20%. NO THANK YOU. As soon as the cycle ends and things are done with the other account, I'm writing to close this one. That's ridiculous. I would have closed it then, but their whole drop the ball thing had me want to do one thing at a time.

I am getting where I like to look online and see where the balances of the debts are at any given time. Sort of, in your face and pay attention instead of once a month glancing at it kind of thing. I'm snowflaking along....

Rocks In My Head.....

July 7th, 2008 at 08:41 am

Or rather in a bag in a box in the garage. I had decluttering withdrawals this weekend. DD came home in between summer sessions to surprise Hubby for the fourth. I knew about it for a week or so. Hubby is worried because I'm getting WAY too good at keeping this stuff from him. So, we hung around. Grilled some food. Met up with her possible wedding coordinator friend who was weirdly coincidentally in town also to visit family and friends for a day. Met a couple of her other friends who also came for a visit and DD's godchild. Such a cutie! Went to see Wall-E. I only visit the movie theater itself about once every six months, but I really wanted to see this one. As DD put it, it isn't weird after about 17 or 18 to go to a movie with your parents. She left after movie and a dinner. DS and family went to visit DIL's family this year. That's cool because we'll be helping them move in a few weeks, and things will be busy then!

I was trying to get over my decluttering need while DD was on the road and I was by the phone. Love cells. I can pocket it and out to the garage I can go. I was rummaging through a box in the garage that looked like stuff from a rehearsal dinner "picnic" party that we had for DS a few years ago. I found a couple of cool colorful ice bucket thingys that would make a fun outside planter. And, a bag of rocks. Decorative rocks. Lots of rocks. They were just in a plastic bag that had started to tear and rocks went everywhere when I gingerly picked it up. I scooped up all the rocks, put them in one plastic container, and hefted it. Wow, a load of rocks. Not sure what you can do with them since I am not a decorating genius. I have a fountain thingy that uses rocks. But, I have WAY more rocks than someone needs. I'll ask DD. She'll come up with something. If not, they go out with the rest of the stuff not used.

I decluttered my purse of coins. I also raided the Frog and have almost 20 dollars to deposit. I'll apply that to a credit card with that bank. We no longer walk all the time, but we still find coins. I found a dime yesterday. I guess we find about 50 cents a month. Not bad for just looking at the ground. I have visions of walking into a lightpost or a signpost though.

I'm decluttering another store credit card as soon as I can find it. I have been digging through files, and I know I put it somewhere I could find it to get rid of it.....

And It Keeps On Going.....

July 4th, 2008 at 08:13 am

The visits to the vet for Older Dog continue. We went back for post-op, and she is still not well. So, more meds and another checkup and tests next week. This is getting pretty expensive. I'm glad that she is doing better overall, though. And, she is being really patient with all the tests and medications. Hopefully, this will be the last for her. And for my bank account.

Hubby got his expense check for a couple of trips to Big City for work. The gas mileage was a little more than the cost of gas, so I was going to put the rest on the credit bills. But, it went to the vet instead. Oh well, at least we had the extra.

Decluttering is ongoing, too. I've started getting into things that take a little thought about what to do with it. Things that are more sentimental. I've even had dreams about this stuff. So, I guess my mental processes are trying to resolve this. But, I think in the long run, I'd rather get rid of stuff than hold on to things I won't remember I have or find for another ten years or so. But, the process is much slower. Obsessive people have a harder time with the letting go process, I guess.

I've set up a couple of debts to start decluttering. I'm forcing myself to narrow down and FOCUS. The new meds really help on that. I went to the doc about them this week, and he asked if I wished I'd had the new med a long time ago. Yes, it would have made life a lot more pleasant for all, I suppose. But, I've learned something from all of you here. Look ahead and move forward. So, I will not let the past nor the past financial mistakes cloud the present. I've got a lot to be thankful for. Someday, I might be able to look back on this stuff and laugh?