Sunday, July 5, 2015

Great shoe deal

DH and his "special" feet need new tennis shoes again. The expensive-ish ones I ordered him, not really that long ago, were good for awhile but seem to have worn out already. He's decided to go back to the regular old New Balance kind he's been wearing for years. I stopped at a nearby store today, that usually carries them, but none in stock. 

I did some online price comparisons and ended up getting these $70 shoes for $28.43 including tax and free shipping. Wooo!  I decided to order them from where they were on sale for $60 and I had a 15% off coupon code to use. I am a member of the "shop your way rewards" program, so I logged into that. Imagine my surprise to find 25,000 "Surprise Points" available to take $25 off of this order! Hello! Yes Please! I was now under the $59 free shipping, but rewards program members get free shipping on all orders.  On top of that I will earn 6% back in Swagbucks, 1% from using my rewards debit card and another 26 cents towards my Sears shop your way rewards balance.

I love when a good deal gets even better than you thought it would!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Flowers and plants pictures

                                      Just for Janelle - who needs a bit of gardening inspiration :)

 Front arbor with purple and now white clematis growing and blooming. Love the new white blooms - they are so big! The wind chime is really cute, but it's so heavy that it takes a lot of wind to make it chime.

                          One of the whiskey barrels when flowers were first planted in May
One of the whiskey barrel planters today. I don't know why I bother putting the marigolds in the middle - you can't even see them now
Front of house.  Red rose bush blooming in center. Off in the distance you can see the island, out in   the driveway, we put in last summer

                                     Wishing well DH built me, now filled with petunias

A fuchsia bush - very easy care. Blooms all summer. I don't even water this one. In Fall just cut it down to the ground and it grows back every year. There is also some white morning glory growing throughout the bush. How it got there I have no idea. We replanted this bush from my grandparents yard years ago and it must have come with the roots, LOL
                            Front window flower boxes - petunia and trailing lobelia
Back french doors. You can kind of see my new wind chimes in the foreground (I can hear them right now!) I'm now kind of wishing I could have gotten bigger pots  for each side of the door. Maybe next year and I can use these somewhere else.

In the "park" in the backyard.  My old falling apart bench I tried to make into a planter. Partial success. It hasn't gotten very "full", probably because it's in the shade most of the time. I will probably try something different next summer.

The front section of the "park" Once we cleared out all the brush, we found these fallen trees, so left them there and let a few of the natural ferns keep growing. My new sundial birdbath sitting inside the other birdbath. The birds have never used this blue bird bath (I read they do not like ceramic shiny glaze) so I sat the antique store find birdbath inside it. I'm still looking for some kind of pedestal base for it, but haven't been out much to search.

Fire pit area, with bird (and mostly squirrel) feeding and watering behind. There are also a couple of other bird feeders that aren't visible in this picture.  The cedar 2-seater I got at a yard sale for $10 bucks.

The key word in all this - water, water, water - everyday! :-)

Hot weather and memory issues

Summers are cool and mild around here. Not in the 80's and 90's day after day...after day. And there is no end in sight for the long term forecast. I just want one day of rain and 70 degrees - LOL.  I think the hardest part of it all for me is I do not feel like cooking dinner when it's 93 degrees outside, which makes it hard to figure out what to eat when it's like this every day. Ugh.

I'm starting to see some memory problem signs in my mom (74 years old) that are getting a bit worrisome. For the past year or so she has had a problem forgetting a word/name for something during a conversation. She's talking away about something and then suddenly can't think of the word she wants to use. Now it's starting to happen more frequently and sometimes more than once in a conversation. The other day when DD took her to her doctor appointment, DD drove over to her house and then they were taking my mom's car. A Prius. A car she has had for about 6 years now. DD was going to drive (having never driven it) and since it's keyless, it doesn't start like a normal car. There is a process of several steps before you can drive away. My mom could not remember how to start her car! This is a car she gets into and drives every single day! Finally DD says to her - what do you do when you get in your car? Grandma says "I'm trying to think" DD was like "don't think - just do whatever you always do to start your car". Finally, they got it going.  It also worries me that DD had to even take her in the first place, as like I said, she's always going here and there by herself, every day. Her dad died of Alzheimer's and while I don't know if there is any heredity involved with the disease, I guess I need to keep an eye on if she seems to be getting worse. The problem is it's all so gradual, even if it is just normal old age memory loss. Plus, since she got a boyfriend several years ago, I don't see her near as much as I used to, as she spends all weekends (and several weekdays, quite often) at his place. Since I'm not around her as much in person, I only have phone conversations and emails to judge how she is doing. 

My Friday's off work/3 day weekends start tomorrow (though tomorrow is a paid holiday). I'm really looking forward to the shorter work week and longer weekends for the next couple of months. But who the heck wants to paint rooms when it's so hot? Hmmphh!

In other exciting news my white clematis planted at the front arbor has started to bloom! Now I have purple and white flowers and it's looking so great. A few of the sweet pea seeds I planted on the back arbor have grown quite a bit and a couple are starting to weave through the bottom of the lattice. But sadly, most of the plants/leaves are getting eaten by bugs or something. While the flowers (if I ever get any) are my favorite, they have been a disappointment for me. Slow growing and slow to bloom, I do not see that the sides of the arbor will be filled with vines and flowers for the summer. I think that I will probably end up planting clematis at that arbor, too. They seem hardier and grow really fast. They are already all the way up both sides of my front arbor.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Mid week life

Today's agenda (after working from home all day) includes a trip to the motor vehicle licensing office. We are going to transfer the title of DD's car to her name.  She got it when she was 15 and of course at that time, we weren't allowed to title it in her name. Now that she's over 18, it's time to let her be the official owner.  Then a stop at Target to pick up a prescription and a loaf of bread. At 90 degrees outside again today, cooking dinner is not on my list of priorities, so I plan to just make club sandwiches and have some watermelon with it.

More good news on the work front. We had a record sales month for June, along with surpassing our sales goal for mid year. While Friday is our paid holiday, the bosses have generously said we are closing up office at noon tomorrow for the long holiday. Which means I get another day to work remotely from home, since driving in for a few hours is not worth it.

No luck on finding the folder with our home equity loan paperwork. I've looked through all the file cabinets (though I'm pretty sure it was a legal sized folder, so wouldn't be in any of those cabinets). No luck in any of the boxes of paperwork I have either. Frustrating! I really don't know where else to look. I can literally picture myself putting that envelope inside that folder of our original loan docs. There must be a box of papers somewhere that I am missing. I think there might be a couple of boxes out in the garage or shed. I'll have to see if I can even get to those (unlikely). I think at this point I am just going to call the bank back and have them tell me exactly what they show are the repayment terms on this loan. Either way it's all getting paid back - maybe just sooner than I had anticipated.

A yard maintenance company finally showed up at the foreclosed vacant house yesterday and at least got the 2 feet of weeds mowed down. Still nothing on getting the garage side door boarded up. Seriously, it would take someone a half hour.  I have a feeling I know why the bank may be just letting it sit (it's been 2 years now). For probably at least 10 years or more it has been rumored that the county has future plans to punch this street the house sits on (the street only goes to this house and the cross street in front of it) all the way through to the next cross street. I've seen it shown in county planning (like a 10 year plan). I think we've heard this is a tentative plan for as long as we've lived here (25 years). Will it ever happen? who knows, but could be why the bank is just willing to sit on it and wait and see.

DH was outside doing the yard maintenance of spraying for ants. Resident meth-head son was walking by and nodded at DH and then stopped and held out his hand and apologized for the times he he has wigged out on DH. DH got a little scuttlebutt out of him.....apparently his dad (this is the awful renter/drug dealing/drug using family) really wants to move. This neighborhood has gone to shit...(well NO SHIT!  It was a perfectly good neighborhood until you guys moved in 2 years ago!) and they need to get away from it because now his younger brother is involved with it too (we already figured that one out). They kicked the mom out again (so that is good). So, I guess there is a teeny tiny glimmer of hope that maybe they will move out..........but I'm not holding my breath.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The cost of being disorganized

My old ways of dis(non)-organization has come back to annoy me.

I get a call today from the bank that holds our Home Equity Loan. Supposedly I got some information in the mail recently (I did not) letting me know my interest only payment period was up in August and my loan would then convert to the repayment of principal and interest.

Well, this was totally news to me! We took this HELOC out in Jan of 2008. At that time it was a loan that was 5 years interest only and then 5 more years of principal and interest payments. At that time we had no idea DH would get sick and not be able to continue working, nor did we know the economy was about to basically collapse. It was a loan that we had planned using income from his business to repay. In 2010, as we were in the midst of filing for bankruptcy, that bank was bought out by another bank. The month before we were actually filing the bankruptcy papers, I get a letter from this new bank, offering me new terms on our HELOC. From what I recall (and have always had in my mind the past 5 years now) was that the new terms being offered were same interest rate, 10 years (from that date forward) of interest only payments and after that it would convert to a 20 year regular loan with principal and interest payments. I took the deal, signed and sent in the paperwork. DH was no longer working at the extra time to pay off this loan was much needed.

So, that is the loan schedule I have had in my mind the past 5 years now. Imagine my surprise to get this call. I brought up the fact that I had basically refinanced this loan 5 years ago - what about that? She was clueless and kept saying, well that is what we offer now, if you want to try and refinance. What? I told her I would have to dig up my paperwork copies I signed 5 years ago and re-read it all, because 10 years is distinctly what I remember.

And there's the rub.......I was always SOOO unorganized. Papers just in big piles. Nothing filed. I thought I had filed this (it was really only a few pieces of paper) with our bankruptcy papers, but it's not there.  I still have some "piles" of papers - that when I finally got somewhat more organized I just put into some boxes - to be dealt with at a later date (which has never come). Now I really want to find that paperwork from 5 years ago!

This bank has been pretty messed up the past several months. They bought out another local bank and then converted to a whole new computer system. First they sent out past due letters in error. The company I do my side job for also uses this bank and it's been kind of messed up there too. I couldn't print out bank statements online anymore. I inquired and was told the company owner would have to call and give them permission to allow me to have access.  I am a signer on the company account! You'd think I'd have access to statements, not to mention I have had for almost 6 years previous! Then owner calls and I still have no access and he had to call a second time. He wasn't too thrilled with the bank by then.

And just as I was writing that out I had a flashback of me putting that paperwork in the folder with our original loan documents! Ok! I really think that is where it's at.  Now, I just have to figure out which box that paperwork is in. LOL  I can picture it in my mind though - it's a big folder with the bank logo on it - legal size, so it didn't fit in our filing cabinets. It's in one of the boxes of paperwork. I am really dying to figure this out and see whether I am right or the bank is right.  Moral of the story? Be organized to begin with.

Savings and life insurance

Payday today. I feel so rich, haha. With the bonus, regular pay and my side job pay, in addition to what was already in my checking and savings. But, I just paid bills - so not quite so "rich" anymore....

My monthly deposits into my Capital One Savings accounts is easy and going well. I now have $400 in my savings for taxes from my side job, $60 in my savings for our annual water bill, and $90 in my long term pet's care savings. Next month I will be starting another one for my annual life insurance policy payment.  I've also managed to pay down $416 towards my (huge) home equity loan by adding a little extra to the interest only payment each month. I just add my $25 internet reimbursement from work, whatever I earn on my debit card cash back and whatever I come in under budget in gas and groceries.

Yep - I finally got the final paperwork to sign for the life insurance policy on myself. I feel like I got such a grown up task done. I got the paperwork packet in the mail on Saturday. I was kind of scared to open it as my last "quote" had gone up to $48/mo and it was still to change - depending on the results of my medical exam.  The final policy price ended up even lower than I think I was originally quoted! $330 a year. I was so happy and also so proud of myself for finally getting this done. Now I will put away $27 a month to savings to cover the premium next year this time.  Next up is some kind of will - most likely I'll be going with Sluggy's recommendation of a revocable living trust.

DD is taking my mom to a doctor's appointment for a CT scan (or something like that). I don't know what is wrong with her and hopefully this will give her an answer. She keeps saying that when she sits down her stomach and chest area feels tight. Apparently it only happens when she sits. She was supposed to have the test last week, but she had to reschedule it because it was first thing in the morning and she wasn't feeling well. So she made the appointment today for an early afternoon time. Now she called DD and asked her to take her, because she doesn't feel well. I really think she is just stressing herself out over it. She feels well enough to go back and forth to her boyfriends a couple times a week, go to church, the casino, etc.  Honestly, my guess is that her problem is really that she just needs to lose quite a bit of weight. She is very small framed and 5'4" and I think all the weight is making her very uncomfortable (getting near the 200 pound range). If the scan doesn't find anything, then I don't know what the next step is to figuring out her problem.

The wind chimes I put outside our French doors (and near where my desk is on the inside wall) sound so pretty! They just have a beautiful sound and DH loves them too. The sound is still kind of a nice surprise when the wind catches it.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Bring on the (short) week

Saturday was really such a quiet day. DH spent all of it in bed (when he wasn't in the bathroom!) and since really there was nothing I could do for him I just pretty much had the day to myself. With it being so hot out I had all the blinds shut to try to keep as cool inside as possible. I pretty much sat and watched Game of Thrones most of the day.  I missed out knowing there was a free HBO weekend with our cable service last weekend, so I decided to download the free month trial of HBO Now to my ipad mini, so I could watch Season 5. I finished yesterday (poor Jon Snow!) and now will have to find something else to try watching, while I still have almost a month to enjoy it. I won't be spending $15 a month to keep the subscription. If I really wanted HBO, I think I could add it to my cable for $10 a month.

DD went and did the grocery shopping for me that morning, since I felt one of us should be at home in case DH needed anything. Then she was off with her boyfriend the rest of the weekend. I knew they were having a busy day/night Saturday and wouldn't be getting back to his house until around 2 am......and then they had planned to do a 25 mile bike ride Sunday morning. I was a bit worried about her. Just getting over the flu, then a late night, not much sleep and an early morning bike run and it's like 90 degrees out. Apparently they did sleep in and got a later start, but I was still worried about her as she has never rode a bike 25 miles. They had already signed up and paid for the bike run, so they wanted to do it. But she just texted me that they decided to only do the 12 mile ride and were done and alive:)

The heat wave/drought we are having is sure hard on all my flowers. But, my lilac bushes appear to be loving it
 It sure has grown in the 2 years since I planted it! Here is a picture from before:

Oh, I miss the green grass! I am having to water everything in the morning and evening now. I put my phone in my pocket so see how much I walk around the property during all the watering and tending - three quarters of a mile!

DD and I got out of the house last evening. We went over to Kohl's for some shopping. I had coupons for $15 off $30 purchase, plus earn $10 Kohl's cash if spend $50 (after coupons).  For $67 I got a blouse, a knit top, a t-shirt and a white tank top. After the $15 in coupons it was just over $50, so I also got $10 Kohl's cash for a future purchase.  I told DD I would treat her (from my bonus) to whatever she wanted for around the same amount of money. She got a cute maxi skirt, 2 bras, and some drinking glasses for her apartment next Fall. She thought she was over $65 (before coupons) but prices are always marked wrong on the displays (at least at our Kohl's) so one of the items was $5 less than she thought it would be, so she didn't qualify for the $10 Kohl's cash. I told her to go back in the next day or so and buy something else for $6 or so and take both receipts to customer service, so she could get the $10 - at least I read somewhere that you could do that, as long as it was still in the promotional period.

Then we stopped at Ross, as I was hoping to find jeans. Their selection ladies sized jeans was pathetic. Like 2 pair of size 8. There wasn't anything in junior sizes that I liked or wanted. Then we decided to go get some pie about 5 miles down the road and stop at the other Ross store on our way back. I had better luck there. Found a really soft pair of Calvin Klein jeans for $25. They are so comfortable. DD saw a really cute hamper she liked and it was only $12.99, so I bought that for her too. She bought the pie :)

My boss offered me to work from home today, but I declined! I was so cooped up most of the weekend that I am ready to get out of the house. Besides, I'm listening to a really good audio book and want to get back it it - haha! I'm listening to Inferno by Dan Brown. I have always enjoyed those Robert Langdon stories and movies and I guess this one will be a movie next year.

Enjoy the day!