Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Mom Plan

I have a plan in place for when I visit my mom next week. Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions. While she is not in anyway unable to take care of herself, right now, I just want to have my ducks in a row and be able to help her when she has a problem, without having to ask her a bunch of questions (because I don't know her details), which gets her more stressed out and then she can't seem to remember what's what.

At this point and time I would like to mainly accomplish two things:

1) be able to remote into her computer and help figure out what is wrong with it when she thinks she has a problem with it or can't figure out  how to do something she wants to do. It's basically impossible to help her over the phone, when she doesn't understand the computer (I still can't even get her to know the difference between the computer unit itself and the modem box), the programs or the internet to be able to convey to me what she is looking at. It's not like the IT guys who service my work system. They can get on the phone with us remotely and step us through what to do. You cannot do that with her.

2) know who her service providers are, so that I know who/what and can better help direct her to a resolution. If she's not sure who she pays her internet or phone too and gets all flustered and has to dig out her bills, then she is just getting frustrated and that makes it harder for me to get good responses out of her. And after I hung up with her the other day I realized it would do no good for her to see if her  neighbors phone is working, if they use Quest, while she has Comcast.

I think I won't have too much trouble bringing up my mom's expenses to her. I'm just going to bring a notebook. Tell her I know we have already taken care of, covered some things, but I want to be sure I have all the info in case something happened to her and I'm not having to scramble trying to figure it out.

1) Sluggy brought up an excellent point: Permission to talk to doctors. That is a must be done and we'll have to find out how to go about it. She could have a stroke or heart attack and I'll need to be able to talk to them about it all. Contact her current doctor(s) and fill out something? Not sure how that works if she ended up in the hospital and dealing with different doctors, who would have nothing on file like that.

2). I know I am on her investment and checking accounts, and she does most of it online, so I want to have her log in and passwords, too, so I have easy access, if the need arose.

3). For her monthly and semi-regular bills. I'll get her to go through them with me and make a list in my notebook.  That way, if something happens, I know what/who needs to be paid and when. She won't have a problem with that and I'm sure she will think that is a good idea. I think she pays most of her bills by still writing checks.

4) house key. I'm pretty sure I gave her house key back when I moved and she gave it to her neighbor. I think I still need a key. If something happens to her I don't want to be trying to track her neighbor down to get the key.

Also, the thing that has ALWAYS driven me batty is her log in and passwords! Little slips of paper in her desk drawer and half you don't know what is what or they aren't correct anyway. She's worried that if someone breaks in and she had them all written down in one spot.... I don't know how many times I have told her to throw away one of the slips. She doesn't even know what it's for anymore, supposedly for her wi-fi, but probably her old provider. Every time, it's still in her little stack of paper slips. I'm going to write them all down in my notebook, so I at least might have most of them.

So, I'll be finding out who for sure her phone/internet and tv are paid to. Her auto insurance, health insurance, garbage, sewer/water, electricity and natural gas. What credit cards she has/uses. I know she uses ADT security services, so has a bill for that. I will write down her code to turn off her alarm system, so if I needed to get in, I'm not setting off the alarm. I'll see where she keeps her extra set of car keys, just in case for whatever reason I can't locate hers. Find out where she keeps her mailbox key. As far as I know, she has no debts. House and car are paid for. She should just have monthly expenses.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Mom stuff

First, because it's been on my mind for over a week and her blog isn't up anymore.........Cindi - I hope your Florida home is ok (it's in Naples, if I recall right). I'm sure you are on your rv travels, but am hoping all is well with your winter home!

Then my cell phone rings yesterday afternoon and it's my mom. She says she's at Best Buy with her computer because she turned it on and her screen had changed.  omg! so I'm like what do you mean it changed? So she handed me off to the Best Buy guy...... He says, so here's what I figured out, so she apparently hasn't updated Firefox for quite awhile, so it auto updated for her, so of course looks different now (it really looks that different? Plus I had it set up to open to her AOL homepage to check her email). He said he got all her bookmarks there and showed her how to find them. So that cost her $80........but she said can pay $200 (today's $80 included) for a whole year of service, so I told her since she's already having to  pay $80, she might as well just pay the extra $120. OMG! I just laughed and told the guy it's not going to do much good to explain and show it all to her, she won't remember, but I'll be there next week and will help remind her how to use it and look it over. Thankfully she can afford that, no problem, but still! $80 because Firefox looked different (and she didn't even know what it was to tell me that looked different). I just made it sound like the extra $120 for the years service would probably be a good thing for her to have, so at least she didn't have to stress out over whether she should do that or not.

I think I'm going to figure out how to do a remote access from my computer to her computer. If it's something we can do easily, then maybe when she has these issues I can figure out what she's even talking about. She has no words for any of the programs, etc. It's always just "my screen looks different". 

Then she calls me again last night. Her landline phone won't work. Well, most likely she unplugged her phone when unplugging the computer. It took me a half hour for her to figure out who she even has her phone service through (there are only 2 choices) and we still didn't figure out what is wrong. i asked her a couple of times "who do you pay your bill to?"  I asked her a couple of times "where is your phone cord plugged into?" She had no clue. I'm  like "did you unplug it when you unplugged your computer? is it plugged in to somewhere right now?". I figured it it was Comcast her phone line probably plugs into her modem. If it's Quest she probably plugs into the wall. was pretty hopeless. I told her to go over to her neighbors and ask if their phone was working. If not, then there's probably a neighborhood outage. If it is, then she's somehow turned her comcast modem off or something and she'll have to find someone to help her that can look at it. Plus, she ended up leaving her computer at Best Buy and can't pick it up until next Monday. What in the world did you need to leave it there for a week for? The guy told me he figured out your problem? Well, I don't know why, she says. Finally she said she remembered it was because since she paid the $200 yearly service that includes a check of her whole computer and she could pick it up Friday, but she's busy and can't pick it up until next Monday. ok, that makes sense. AND, once she gets it back home she will have no clue how to hook it back up, anyway.  

So, while I'm there looks like I'm going to have to do some looking into her bills and make sure she knows who/what she's paying for, as well as make sure she's not paying for stuff she doesn't need/use. I know she used to have Quest for her phone and internet but I thought I remembered she switched to Comcast a couple years ago. When we were trying to figure out who her phone was with, finally I said "do you pay Quest anything each month?" (I know she pays Comcast, at least for her cable tv service) "Well, no, not that I know of anymore." 

This is sad that at age 76 she is having so much trouble with these basic things now. She's extremely scatterbrained, but I have a feeling that is due to the depression meds she has been on for quite a few years now. That's when that issue started. But her memory is getting a lot worse for remembering words to use. She's always stopping mid sentence and forgetting what word she wants to use. Her dad had Alzheimer's (started when he was about 78 or so, and he died a couple years later). I will have to keep an eye on her cognitive skills for sure. She already knows when she has to, she wants to move to an assisted living place, so at least I won't have to fight her on that (I hope). Especially since she has quite a bit of money.......she needs to be able to manage that, for sure. I'm going to have to tactfully ask to maybe take a look at her bank and credit card statement to make sure she's not paying for things she doesn't realize, especially with all the scams out there.

I have to laugh (to myself) every year when she says she wants to try do her own taxes (online, no less!) when she doesn't even know who she's paying for her services at home, anymore. She was always the one who handled all the bills for her and my dad, so it's not  like she suddenly had to figure this all out after he died. It's just she's now getting old and having a hard time with it all, apparently. 

Any suggestions on how best to talk with her about her bills, I'm all ears. I know she'll say "oh, I'm fine taking care of them".  The bulk of her money is with an investment type company, so that should be safe. Her social security and an annual draw go into her checking and she pays everything out of that. As far as I know she just has one credit card, she uses once in awhile (but pays it off each month).

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

On to Tuesday

Well, I made it through Monday. DD wasn't working so she was texting me off and on throughout the day. She and BF and his parents had taken a quick (and long) trip over the weekend to attend a relative of BF's 65th wedding anniversary and they got home last night, after having been in the car since 4:30am. She will be dragging at work today.

I went to the post office yesterday afternoon. I needed stamps and to drop off the form for keeping the PO Box. The lady that works the counter is always really nice and she said does it feel like you have lived here a year already?! No, it does not!

DH is starting to stain the boot bench today. We most likely do not have enough stain left. I wanted him to use the same color stain as he did the sofa table in, not the stain he did the blanket ladder in. The blanket ladder we bought Walnut and two cans of it. He used most of one can (made a ladder for me and one for DH). The Red Oak stain we bought later and only bought one can. He kept trying to convince me that since the Walnut can was almost gone, he used that on the sofa table. Finally, I reminded him we had bought two cans of walnut and which was which. (not to mention you can tell just by looking at the two pieces which color is which LOL). I don't know if the small hardware store or the lumber store here in town carries Minwax brand stain.  Most likely I will be going to find out soon!

Renter neighbor is for sure moving his GF in.....what a scumbag he is! At least let your wife get all her stuff out first. Shaking my head........

Want to hear another reason these wildfires are a big money grab? DH's friend has a friend who "rented" his utility vehicle (a side by side) to the Forest $250 a day! He made $10,000 of renting it and told friend "I hope the fires keep burning" Seriously?! That is what is wrong with this whole thing and why the fires were let get out of control. M.O.N.E.Y. (tax payer money). ok, off my soapbox and back to work.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Monday blahs

I was not ready for it to be Monday today. Oh well, it's here whether I'm ready or not!  I spent most of yesterday helping DH with the boot bench. He was screwing the pieces together. I was helping hold pieces and hand him tools, glue, etc. It's together. Now he just needs to stain it.  It's a MONSTER! Big and heavy.  If we had built it for this laundry room we'd have flipped the seating part to the other side, but it's not so we didn't :). So, for now, when he sits, the coat rack above will be behind him.

DH just put our portable a/c unit away (he saved the box it came in). I think we are done with high temps now. Having that out of our small living room is nicer, too. We had an old small bookcase in the laundry room, with our shoes on it, that had been in the kids playroom when they were little. It was painted blue and red trim. Now I have to find somewhere for it! If I decide to keep it, I'll have to paint it for sure. I asked DD if she wanted it, but she doesn't. I suppose it could go in my office in the new house. I just really don't have room for it anywhere here in this house. I might check with our neighbor who works at the grade school. Maybe one of the teachers could use it for a bookcase in one of their classrooms for books or supplies.

Still quiet next door the past 2 days (guy's days off). He left at 10am yesterday and didn't get home until 9pm and today he left around noon, so will most likely be gone until tonight. I like it!

We're getting a good rain today. We haven't had to water the lawn in the past week, which will cut down on our water bill now. We haven't had to use the a/c, which will cut down on our electricity bill....until it gets too cold and we have to start turning on the heat. Then I'll have the huge bills again. Ugh.

Well, I need to finish my lunch break and go to the post office and drop off a form (apparently once a year they verify that you are still eligible for the free PO Box), buy some stamps and get a few things at the grocery store.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Being a couch potato

Yesterday was very nice. Sunny and temps in the 60's. Perfect for DH to be outside with his saw cutting and measuring boards for his boot bench. He really didn't need my help, though before he cut he did ask for my opinion on some of the boards edges (live edge wood) and what to use as what piece to show off the live edge and knots. The whole rest of the day he spent measuring, cutting and did the sanding of each piece. It's a little bit bigger than your standard boot bench.

I spent most of the day binge watching a reality show! LOL. I don't watch those kind of shows too often, but started watching Chrisley Knows Best, just to see what it was about. Ok, gotta admit I found it pretty funny and I especially like how strict he is with his kids. Get in a car accident (and lie about it) - no car for 6 months. Sneak your phone on the boat ride - phone gets thrown in the lake. (though I'm sure he just had to pay for the new one haha!). The daughter going on her first date was exactly how my dh (and her brother) was.....though our dd did get to go by herself on the date with the boy. LOL. I'm sure most of it is scripted, but still made me laugh. The grandma is cute.

Dinner was the leftover fried chicken (and I still have a piece left to have for lunch today), after DH finally got done and put all his tools and stuff away at 6pm

Around 5pm I noticed a pick up drive by with a big ladder in back. Then a minute later I glanced out the front window again and noticed DH talking to someone. It was the developer of this subdivision. He was in town visiting his parents and decided to drive by. I think he was mostly interested in seeing if the renters place got cleaned up. So we told him about it all (he'd been out of the country most of the summer). He did say that when he talked to the landlord before he went on his trip (this would have been beginning of July) she said they were on a month to month lease (that is not what the renters told the cops in June, they said they had 6 months left). DH asked him if he knew what they rented the place for and he did. $750 a month! No wonder they haven't wanted to move. Developer said that the rent she is getting is less than her payment on the house. She could easily be getting $900-$1000 for that house (and thereby probably get a better class of renter). To rent a 3 bedroom house in the city would cost them $1500.  Developer said he still wanted to pursue getting an HOA started and we agreed. We also discussed/wondered why his lots were not selling, when there is such a housing shortage in this town. He can't figure it out either. The small town west of us has some new (spec) home building going on, as well as the smaller town to the east of us. There are very few homes for sale and most of the ones that are for sale right in town are very old, run down and small. There are also some nice lots  across the street from the end of our street on each side of a newer nice 4 plex. Those are always rented out, no problem. Someone recently moved out of one of the units and practically the next day another couple was moving in. Renters GF has only been here that one partial night, so she hasn't moved in......yet.

DH is sleeping in this morning. I'm sure he is worn out and hurting from what he did yesterday. He doesn't know how to take a break or stop and do more later. So, he'll pay for it the next few days. But, I imagine at some point, once he gets going today, he'll go back out in the garage and start screwing the boards together and keep working on it.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Saturday morning activites

Yesterday was my every other week "half Friday" work day. I had a prescription to pick up at Target for DH, so we made a shopping trip into the city. We had stocked up pretty good 2 weeks ago, at least as far as soda, water, laundry soap goes. This trip I mostly bought dinner stuff, bread and fruit. We also got their 8 piece fried chicken and that was our dinner on the way home (it smelled too good to wait until we got home. LOL) and will be our dinner tonight, too. I spent $150 and that should get me through most of the next 2 weeks, I hope.

On the drive in I remembered that grocery store savings app I had signed up for, so I logged in to see what was offered. Found a few things on my list and saved an additional $1.70 I wouldn't have, if I hadn't added them. We also had to stop at Harbor Freight for a couple of things and I got a 20% off one item coupon code on my phone, as well as I had printed out a coupon for a free item, before we left home. The 20% saved $3.40 and the free item DH choose was a 18" magnetic tool holder. I also had a $5 Target gift card that I used towards the prescription purchase.  We made a stop first at Lowe's, looking to see if they had any aborvitae/thuja trees left in stock. Out of all that we planted along our fence line about 5 died and/or aren't looking too good. We decided to just get 4 to replace, instead of 5. One dead tree was at the end of the line of trees and we'll just skip replacing one there. Saving us $8.

We also stopped at an electrical supply place. DH wanted some info on meter boxes, as he wants to install ours in one of the concrete piers he makes for the gate. He needed to find out what the measurements would be of it. The two people helping him didn't seem to know a whole lot (though the lady was much more knowledgeable than the guy) and we ended up standing at their counter for at least an hour. I can't stand in one place that long. My hips start hurting.

This morning he replaced two of the 4 trees. Two don't look too bad and might make it, so we'll just hold on to the two in the pots. If the trees make it, then we can just use these two extra at our new house at some point.

I cleaned and vacuumed this morning. No more burning smell in the vacuum, so that is good. I also made sure to pull off all the fur and hair wrapped around the roller brush when I was done. Guess I'll have to start doing that every time. Last week DH gave the long haired dog a good brushing, which helps keep the fur down inside a lot, and I gave him another good brushing outside this morning.

With the much cooler weather, DH finally decided it was a good time to get started on the boot bench he wants to make. He's busy measuring and cutting outside now. It will certainly keep him busy all weekend. Yay! It will be made out of the same wood that he made my sofa table out of.

Plus, we are enjoying the peacefulness outside this morning, without two little kids standing at the fence asking "what are you doing?" every two minutes. haha. We enjoy kids and talking to them, but these two little ones had no boundaries whatsoever and if they were busy bothering us, then the parents were happy because that meant they didn't have to pay attention to them and all their questions. It's a good time to get outside and for DH to get his sawhorses, saw and tools out and get this project done while he can....before either the wife comes back with the kids or the girlfriend and her two kids move in.....GF was there last night, so that's probably the next thing that will take place. Oh yay.  I'm not one much for "new age" stuff.....but honest to God, when the wife left it's like all this negative energy in the air around us left with her. She must have had a bad aura, eh?

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Swagbucks merry go-round and Amazon Payments frustration

Swagbucks owes me $28 and I'm getting no where with them. It's been since August 30th since I signed up for the promotion and it's still not resolved. They emailed back over a week before last that they needed the copy of my confirmation from GameFly in a jpg form, so I did. Then I've sent 3 more emails since they asking for a status update. Finally, this morning I entered a whole new "ticket" explaining my problem again and that I have already sent them the required documentation. They emailed back they needed a copy of the order confirmation in jpg format. So, I've sent it again. I'm checked to see if they have a phone # to call and discuss, but apparently that is non-existent and the # they do have doesn't get you to anyone.

Amazon Payments is still unresolved and this has been almost a month now. I called a week ago and was told it was being transferred to the correct department and I would hear in 24-48 hours. After 48 hours I replied to the email I received after hanging up with the customer service rep, asking for a status update. Nothing.  So, I've put in another "ticket", just like with Swagbucks explaining I've been trying to resolve this for 4 weeks now.

I'm still getting this message when I log into M-Turk

When I log into Amazon Payments I get this message:
it's been like over 3 weeks with this message now.

The other day when I logged into my Amazon account (for buying stuff) and clicked on Payment Options, I do not recall seeing this:
Maybe the Amazon Payments Balance was there all along, but I don't remember seeing it. and if it is something I can use to pay, then why isn't my account approved?

I've also emailed M-Turks "help" to ask if they have any info or way to resolve.

The customer service all around is crappy. Has anyone else ever had an issue with Swagbucks and got it resolved? They seem to just keep you hanging and ask for the same info you've already given them.