Wednesday, August 27, 2014

(Un)comfortably Numb

I was back at the dentist this morning to do the deep cleaning on my left side and to have the permanent crown set on my bottom right tooth. Another 2 hours of sitting in a dentist chair. Ugh! But, it's all done and I don't have to go back for 3 months -where they will evaluate and see how often I need cleaning, due to the gum issues.

The numbness is wearing off and I can feel the aching. About time for some more ibuprofen, thankfully. Hopefully, come January when my dental benefits reset, I'll be able to address what I really wanted to address with my teeth this year - getting the front tooth and the one next to it fixed and back to a normal tooth color. I hit this front tooth when I was like 7 years old. Never had any problems, but when I got in my early 30's the tooth started darkening a bit. I had a veneer put on it, which they told me would only last like 10 years. And now the tooth next to it is darkening too. Guess I need root canals on both and then crowns. One of these days I'll get my good smile back! I hate pictures the last few years because of the 2 teeth that show up darker.  I had really hoped we'd get bonus's at work this year, so I could pay for it easily with that, but doesn't look like that's going to happen this year. I'm already out of pocket a lot for the root canal in February, and now the deep cleaning and crown. Sigh.....

Looking forward to the 3 days off work (well, 3 1/2 days, my company closes at noon on Friday) this weekend. No special plans, just looking forward to a long weekend. Then I'm taking off a week off the third week of September - to spend with DD before she goes off to college and the last day to finish helping her move in.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Done and Done!

Late Sunday morning DH decided we'd get the arbors stained/sealed. I hadn't realized he was going to help me with this project. I figured it would just be me and DD working at it. But, he did the spraying and I went over it with a 2nd coat and touch ups with a brush. The sprayer was so-so. It was a cheap one (figured we could just throw out when done, if necessary) and I think the issues with it was more user error than anything, because by the second arbor he did much better with it.

It was still an all day project that was quite a bit of work! I'm glad he was able to spray the majority of it all. DD got home from work after he had sprayed the second (larger) arbor, so then she helped me put a second coat on it.

Happy to be done and I think they look beautiful!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Saturday shopping

It was a shopping kind of morning. I took off by myself (gotta get used to that!) and first stopped at Rite Aid. I just wanted to see what they had on clearance for garden stuff. Didn't see anything I really wanted, but they also had all their "Fall" decor stuff 50% off.  I've never had any Fall decor before, so I bought this cute kitchen rug for $6.50

Then I saw these pretty colored kitchen towels.  $2.50 for all 3! and they aren't super thin and cheap, either.

Next stop was to Michael's to return the little frames I bought last weekend.  They just weren't quite what I wanted once I got them home and put my tiny little 2.5" x 3.5" watercolor prints of hummingbirds in them. They really needed matting around to make them look a little bigger.  So, I got these instead

I didn't really want black frames and I still might end up spray painting them a different color, but all in all I think they turned out really cute for the bathroom wall.

Then I went to Lowe's to pick up some indoor/outdoor carpet for our little front step at the front door. I have to re-carpet it every few years or so as it gets worn out. Now that our house is tan/browns I wanted brown carpet.  Do you think I can find any? Still looking......

Remember me talking about the John Deere lawn tractor that we have had borrowed from a friend the past 7 years? And last Fall he started finally getting his place ready to put a lawn in. So, we ended up buying a different used one....and friends lawn tractor has been sitting in our garage ever since. Friend's lawn in now in, but he decided he wants to sell the tractor and just get a nice push mower. Well, DH is a good seller of stuff (other's peoples, LOL). Several years ago we borrowed this same friends little old camper trailer for a weekend. He always used it for hunting. When we got it home I cleaned it all up and friend decided he wanted to sell it. DH sold it for him and got him $500 more than friend was going to ask if he had tried to sell it himself! DH listed the lawn tractor on Craigslist this week for $1400. It's about ready to pull out of our driveway, Sold, as I type.  DH said friend only paid $1200 for it 10 years ago LOL.  Friend will be very happy and we'll finally have a nice chunk of space back in our overcrowded (but very organized) shop.

DH has put a hold on staining the arbors. Pooh! But I'm sure it will get done in the next 2-3 weeks. Did I ever post a pic of our second arbor he built?  I don't see that I did.  Here is the other arbor at our front walkway

A good Saturday, so far :-)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday: Good and Otherwise

I have taught DD well :-)  She has even surpassed me in finding a good deals on textbooks. While wonderful Grandma is paying her tuition, DD will be paying for her own books. She got her list of textbooks and with all these "bundling" of textbooks, online access codes, work book,etc, it makes it hard to find this exact ISBN for sale anywhere but the expensive bookstore. But she persisted and at least found one of the bundled books online used. Bookstore wanted $130........she snagged it up for $13!  Four more weeks until she leaves for college life.

I just love her roommate and her mom! We had so much fun with them when they came for the weekend last April, then DD went and spent 4 days with them a few weeks ago and had a wonderful time. When they fly in for move-in day, roommate's mom has a hotel for a couple of nights. I was going to get a hotel for one night (after move-in, because I'll probably be too tired to want to spend 2 hours driving home after getting up early, driving up there 2 hours, going through  hours of move-in, etc) and roommate's mom offered to share her room with me that night.  Very sweet of her.

I am planning to try out my new sprayer and stain the arbors this weekend. I had already purchased the stain and sprayer a couple of weeks ago and then it rained for a couple of days and then it go too hot to want to be standing outside for hours. This weekend should be cooler and no rain in sight for at least a week.

Over the past year or two we have been dealing with steadily declining water pressure. It's been getting so bad that it's hit or miss whether we have an adequate pressure to even take a decent shower or use our dishwasher and washing machine. Forget about try to take a nice bath - by the time the tub can get filled up the water in it is luke warm because it took so long. The other morning, our neighbor who leaves for work at 6am, was trying to take a shower at 5:30 am and there wasn't even enough pressure to make a spray in his shower head.  That finally was the last straw for this very patient man. So, both of us called and complained to our exasperating 82 year old water well owner. We talked to her about this last summer.......where she tried to blame no rain for low water pressure...then she finally called her well repair company who told her at minimum she needed to replace the pump. It's reached the end of it's useful life and is also the reason her electric bills to run the pump  have tripled the past couple of years. She told me she needed a few months to come up with the money. So I called her again last December to find out when and was told she needed 6 more months to come up with the money. Called her this week, now another 9 months gone by, and "ohh....I just don't have the money. You'll have to just put up with it for another 6 months". Well, I'm done dealing with her. We at least need adequate water pressure to live a normal life. I reported her to the county yesterday, so we'll see what happens. Our good neighbor has offered twice now to take over the well from her, he will get it all repaired and maintained, manage the community well finances like it should be. But, no she thinks the well is worth $20,000 to sell.  Well, it's falling apart and most of it's components have reached or are reaching the end of their useful life (well has been in about 35 years now). According to the well company it would take about $30,000 to bring it all up to date and current code.

This is how stupid this well owner is:  she thought that the monthly electricity bill she gets from the power company, to run the electric well pump, was reporting GALLONS of usage each month on the bills! She says to me - "well my electric bill has tripled, so people must be using a lot more water than before. Back in 2013 it says 623 gallons, and now it says almost 1800 gallons".  I'm like "are you looking at your electricity bills? That is not GALLONS of water being used! That is the wattage of electricity being used to run the pump"  OMG she is such an idiot. There isn't even a meter on the well that would tell her how many gallons are being pumped. I told her that once she replaces the pump, that it working overtime because it is dying, her electric bills will go back down to normal and she'll start recouping some of that excess money she's spending every month.  Well, that and if she actually collected water fees from all 9 users, rather than just 3 of us, she would have reserves built up in order to pay for the repairs and maintenance. But that concept has always just eluded her.  Hopefully the county will take some action in some way.

I had this whole paragraph written how all my internet and vpn issses were resolved, but so far this morning I have been booted off vpn every few minutes, so that is still an issue. But, at least all our home issues are fixed - printer works and we can access the security camera system now. For now, IT guy has given me a temporary "work around" way to remote into my work desktop.  It will get resolved soon, I'm sure.

I am ready for this afternoon, be done working for the day and get on with the weekend!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Partial success

Well, I have achieved partial success in getting the new Comcast modem/router installed. My IT guy said to do it and he'll figure out the VPN issue. So, I opened the box to see all the parts, modem, cords, etc.  Then I looked at my current set up and everything that is plugged into my current modem and router. Geesh!  plug in for the wireless printer, plug in for the phone, plug in for the cable, plug in for the security system and plug in that was apparently from when DS hardwired DH's desktop direct to the router, instead of being wi-fi (why I have no idea).

I took pics of how and what was plugged in before I unplugged it all (just in case I had to go back to using the old set up).  Then I took a look at the back of the new modem/router to see where everything should plug in. I disconnected from the old, plugged into the new and all the lights came on :-).  Then I figured out how to find the new network and get logged into that so I could then get online with Comcast to activate the new modem/router. That took about 15 minutes and success. TV, phone and internet worked.  Of course VPN into work did not. Got all our other devices working - laptops, ipad minis and phones.

Got on the phone with our awesomesauce IT guy. He had a new VPN program to try and within minutes it was working! Happy Day. 

Printer and access into our security camera system still is not working. IT guy wasn't sure why it wasn't detecting my wireless printer and he needed to get to another project, so I told him I'd have DS remote in to my computer and see if he could figure it and our camera system out............still waiting to hear back from DS, so that's been the only frustrating part of this whole thing. Hopefully he can get back to me soon and figure this out easily.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Savings all over the place

I seem to have been finding savings here and there through different avenues. This month I started keeping track of how much I have saved with these various methods. So far it's added up to $106.05!

Here's the details:
Walmart Savings Catcher (2 receipts so far)   $14.32
Discounted Giftcards  $45.09
1% cashback earned from July purchases on PayPal debit card     $20.61
Coupons used   $16.03
$10 reward from Plink   $10.00 (forgot I even had this account! it's a slow earner for me, so I cashed it in for a $10 Walmart e-giftcard)

Plus I have earned points in Swagbucks (768) and MyPoints (115), but I have not cashed them in. I will most likely wait until it's closer to Christmas gift shopping time and build up as much as I can. I haven't cashed in the Walmart Savings either. I'll let that build up too, for Christmas gifts.

All of these savings avenues have been really easy to incorporate into my daily/weekly life.  I log into on Friday mornings and purchase my Walmart (and any other shopping I know I might be doing in the coming week, which so far has been lots of Home Depot) discounted gift cards. I love this company because the giftcards are printable e-cards that I don't have to wait for in the mail. My 3 stores I typically buy discounted cards for are Walmart (3.5%), Home Depot (usually around 11%) and Petco (20%).  I'm sure I will buy even more during Christmas shopping season. I get my coupons together that go with my weekly grocery shopping list. I go grocery shopping either Friday afternoon or Saturday morning.  Get home and enter my receipt # in Walmart Savings Catcher (take a whole 30 seconds or so).

The 1% cashback from my PayPal debit card is pretty automatic. I just use it and pay whatever bills I can with it and it automatically gets credited to my account. I have been getting back $20-$25 per month.

I spend about 15 minutes a day earning Swagbucks. For whatever reason I seem to qualify for surveys quite often. I try to pick the ones that are less than 15 minutes. On weekend mornings, when I know I'll have more time, I'll try for the longer/higher paying surveys. Even if I don't quailify, you can earn up to 5 swagbucks a day just for trying each survey.

MyPoints I just log into my yahoo email that I have set up for that and open the emails that have offers and earn the 5pts for each email. Occasionally, if I buy something online I will go through MyPoints and earn extra points. Takes just a couple of minutes per day.

I'm sure there are lots of other ways to earn points. I would love to hear ways you have found to add to your savings!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


A couple of weeks ago I'm on the phone with Comcast customer service because our internet wasn't working. The tech guy says "you have an old outdated modem, you should get a new one.  Do you have a separate router?"  I say yes I do. He says there is now an all-in-one modem available that is both a router and modem. Just stop by a Comcast store and trade your old one in.

Luckily I happened to mention this to our IT guy at work and he said no, don't get it. A couple of other work at home employees have already tried it and it won't work with VPN. He tried and tried and it just won't work.  Well, glad I mentioned it and saved me the headache of it not working, returning it, etc.

But, I also took the tech guy to mean that the all-in-one was an option, I could still get an upgraded modem only if I wanted.  So, today at lunch I head on over to the new Comcast store nearby. Wait in line about 10 minutes and explain what I want and what I DON'T want (an all-in-one modem).  The guy goes to the back and comes back and says their delivery guy is in back right then unloading all the equipment. Could I come back in 20-30 minutes and they'll have it ready? So, DD and I run over to Target and the post office and then back to Comcast. Wait in line again and end up with a different guy. I explain again what I want and DON'T want. He goes into the back and comes back with 2 is the all-in-one. NO, I can't use that one, and the other is just like the one I have. NO, why would I want the same one I already have that is outdated? So, then he tells me they aren't getting more in until tomorrow, but that isn't a guarantee I'd get one, if I come back, and so I needed to just call Comcast and order one. We walk out shaking our heads.

Gee - thanks for the hour of my time wasted!  Thankfully, I had not gone through the trouble to unhook our old modem. I wanted to make sure I'd get a new one before I did that.

I call Comcast when I get back home. The original tech guy (or someone) must have flagged my account because the first thing the recording says is "We see you are eligible for an upgraded modem. Press 1 for assistance".  So, I do....and of course get someone in India. I explain again what I want and DON'T want. He says "ok, I have it ordered and it will be shipped to you in a few days. Just ship back the old one". I say I want to clarify that this NOT the all in one modem? "Um...yes it is".  AGAIN, I can't use that one, it won't work with my employer's VPN.  Is there a modem upgrade available that is JUST a modem ONLY?

Finally, he says yes, and changed the order.  I said is it the same modem I already have or an upgrade? He says it's an upgrade. We'll see........I'm not holding my breath!!