Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Mid week this and that

So, over the weekend we decided to watch that movie I got (free through Verizon rewards) on Vudu. If you recall an earlier post I was pleased that I figured out how to add Vudu onto my Firestick earlier last week. Well, it wouldn't play! Apparently it's in "hdx" format and Firestick doesn't support that, it will only play SD format. So, that was a disappointment. Neither of us want to sit at a computer or tablet and watch it.

Then, while dinner was cooking in the oven last night, I had another idea. Our blu-ray/dvd player has wi-fi and while I haven't used it in quite awhile (since we got the Firestick a few years ago) I thought it had Vudu as one of the apps. Maybe, just maybe, it would play on that? I hooked it back up. It's not plugged in because our tv only has two USB slots - one has the Firestick in it and one for satellite box. I only plug it in if we want to watch a dvd. It took a few tries, for some reason, to get the internet to work, but once it connected there was Vudu as an option. I logged into my Vudu account, clicked play on the movie and YAY!! I honestly did not expect it to work. That blu-ray player is pretty old. It worked. We were able to watch "Only The Brave" last night. A really good movie, but very sad, of course.

Tomorrow night is a book club meeting. From the emails, it appears only about 4 or 5 are going. I think I'll be skipping this one. We had a foot or more of snow over the weekend and the meeting is at a house about 16 miles from me, in an area that usually gets more snow then we do. Plus I'd be driving home in the dark on snowy roads and almost zero temps, which I don't want to do. I would be ok with driving if it was during the day. I didn't really enjoy or even finish the book anyway. It was a long book and I had to return the e-book to library before I could finish it and still haven't gotten to borrow it again, and I already saw the tv version of it.

I do not have to work this Friday. The office is closed, due to the move and no server access will be available until Monday morning, so I won't even be able to log in remotely and work. We are going to use the day to go visit the cabinet lady again. We made some changes to the layout of our kitchen. The plan originally had two islands. A center one with stove top and an outer island with sink and outside barstool seating. We decided to just go with one island. That should make the flow of working in the kitchen much better and save some money, too. We will probably also go into the city and get another flooring quote with the place our builder recommended would probably be cheaper. If time allows, we'd also like to go visit another granite place.

DH is kind of in a crabby mood this morning. I've got too much work to do (year end/tax stuff for both jobs) to be bothered with that today! Oh well.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The ideal work culture

I finally got through the work questionnaire yesterday. Ugh. Each question, requiring 4-16 sentences was worse than the prior question LOL.  I ended up googling "work culture" to try and get an idea of what exactly that means. Are they talking about pay and benefits, or the "fuzzy warm feelings" from a good environment? It's kind of both. Most of the articles I could find used some of the giants in excellent work culture as an example, working for Google. The perks seem to be an important part of work culture, as well as attitudes towards things like work life balance, family leave, etc.

Hmm...well, I think overall we have a darn good work culture. I guess the only thing I think that could make it where I'd want to get up two hours early and can't wait to get to work would be regular little perks. Even better if they were geared more personally towards the individual.  That could be why a few weeks ago an email went out to all employees asking us to answer the list given of our personal favorite things.

I sent my boss an email back that the link I was finally given worked to do the final questionnaire and I would get it finished. I told her I had mentioned to my DD I was working on this and trying to figure out answers and cut and pasted my DD's reply to me:

Your work culture is like the coolest environment ever so what the heck are people complaining about. Half days too short? Jeans too comfy?!

My boss replied back: 

LOL…. I really needed that.     Thank you so much 😊    XOXO  to  you both!

From the couple of sneak peaks I've gotten of our new's going to be awesome. Very hip with a Pottery Barn feel, I think. Lot's of wood. That's where a lot of the furniture was purchased. I can't wait to see it. Sounds like lots of new technology to use, too. I'm still waiting for my new office chair, LOL. I'm sure it will get sent to me sometime soon, as they obviously have the furniture by this weekend.

When the office culture is already a great one, I'm not really sure what could improve it, other than even more perks. Back in 2007-2009 our bonus program was 20% of our salary and paid out monthly, if we hit our sales goal each month (which we always did). I would like to see that brought back. Right now we are at 10% and it's paid out twice a year.  Making sure we make those sales goals is really more important to me than little perks at the office, in all honesty. But, if the management wants to keep improving, there's certainly nothing wrong with that.

I think they are just experiencing some growing pains related to adding more employees in the past couple of years, along with a bit of turnover (not much at all). Our departments are so intertwined in accomplishing our tasks, that I think they are having some issues all being on the same page.

Monday, February 19, 2018

How would you answer?

My company is doing a "culture" re-evaluation type of thing. We've been required to answer several questionnaires. The first two being multiple choice type.  This last one is a bit more difficult, in that it wants questions answered in sentences/paragraph style. Here's the first question and I'm already stumped!
If you could describe a culture where everyone involved felt so excited, energized, and passionate about coming to work and doing their jobs that they woke up two hours early every morning and could hardly wait to get to work, what would that look like to you?

My DD and I had a humorous message exchange about it.

DD: Breakfast made and ready at desk. Personal puppy to play with all day. Ability to then leave 2 hrs earlier. Lol

ME:  HAHAHA! that's exactly what I was thinking......and Starbucks LOL

DD:  Everyone stays silent for the first 4 hours. No one is allowed to answer the phones. Personal back massager. And little chocolates on the keyboard.

ME:  a chauffeur to the office

Kidding aside, how does one even realistically answer this and sound serious? I don't even know what to say.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The insurance adjuster

DH was finally given the correct phone number for FIL's insurance adjuster. The last digit of the phone number was wrong. DH left the correct guy a message this time and he called back shortly after. DH basically told him he's trying to help out his elderly father and just make sure we have the numbers right, as the numbers FIL apparently gave SIL aren't matching what FIL told DH.  Well, then adjuster gives even different numbers! But, it was to the good about $100.

They are giving him $2519 for the car, including tax and prorated license. Less their $500 deductible and they will get a check for $2019. He also said he was able to use 20 comps to come up with the amount and that they felt it was adequate based on the condition of the car (not taking in the damage part) - including smoked in and cigarette burns in seat.  DH told him he agreed that it seemed a fair amount and didn't push him to get more.  He then called his dad and gave him the amount and told him he thought he should take it and not buy the car back for $170.

They will send SIL an email with a FedEx overnight label so FIL can mail in his title and he should have his check in 3-4 days. DH called to tell FIL all this and that he should accept this, as their rental car was only covered for 5 days and the insurance wants to close this, as they are paying daily storage fees to the tow company. FIL said he wasn't sure where their title was, but he'd start looking. DH then talked to SIL and told her and that she might have to help dad look for the title. I'm glad we are not like that with our important documents. We have a small safe box that all our titles, birth certificates and social security cards are kept in. And now that box is kept inside our big gun safe.  DH did talk to FIL again last evening and he said he found the title.

SIL seems bound and determined that they should get the $2800 car that is just down the road from her, rather than the much nicer $4100 car that is about 20 miles away. FIL had told DH is budget was $4500. The nicer car has less miles and is a station wagon type of Taurus, which seems to us would be much easier for him to get MIL's wheel chair in and out of, rather than lifting out of a deep trunk. When I commented this in a message to SIL she said - either way, he has to get it out of the back.  Ok, whatever.  I really don't care what they get to replace it.  I had just come across this car and it looked like a really good car for it's age. My DD even called on it for them and it's still for sale.

I'm just tired of giving them all suggestions to help make their lives a bit easier (even on SIL) and they have an excuse on why they can't. The other day FIL commented to DH that he has to to pick up prescriptions like a couple times a week! Plus he can't leave MIL alone, so has to get her ready and in the car, etc, just to go get prescriptions at least a couple times a week. That alone wears him out. I suggested why don't they do mail order prescriptions through their insurance? SIL said they have too much mail theft in their neighborhood. At first I thought oh,ok. Then the more I thought about it....they are in a locked box, they are home every day. He can walk out and get the mail soon after the mailman delivers. Just don't leave your mail out there! We also suggested they work with their pharmacist and doctor(s) to at least try to get as many of the prescriptions on the same pick up day as possible, cutting down so many trips.

There are ways to make life just gotta be willing to do them!

Friday, February 16, 2018

In-law frustration

Payday was yesterday. I now have a little over $5000 in savings, but it won't get to stay there too long. Just waiting on weather to get working on the rockery wall again.

DH's dad called last night, about his car accident and insurance. Of course it's totaled. It's a 2002 Taurus with 150,000 miles on it and old and worn. Estimate to fix $4500. Way more than it's even worth. FIL had just put new tires on it.  Insurance wants to give him $2400 for it, less his $500 deductible, so leaving him with $1900. Or he can buy it back for like $150. He was confused on how that worked. We weren't sure either, as (knock on wood!) we've never totaled a car. As near as we could figure he could buy it back for the $150 and end up with $1750. 

He was considering buying it back because it has new tires on it and he could get something for those.....DH said well, it now only has 3 new tires (because one was damaged) and you'd be lucky to get half what you paid selling them, plus you'd have tow fees, hassle trying to sell, etc. I think he talked FIL out of doing this. He's 80 years old. He wouln't even know how to place an ad, let alone deal with the riffraff that would come to their house to buy the tires.

He wanted to know if DH would call his insurance adjuster and see if he could get more for it, because DH's sis said call and see. DH hates doing that kind of stuff. He is not a bargainer or wheeler dealer. It literally makes him sick to his stomach. And like he told his sister. Sure, maybe he'll get an extra couple hundred, but then someone like their asshole brother (who is a CEO of a company, is used to dealing with this kind of stuff, but never bothers to call their parents) will come back and say "that's all you got for it?". I'm the same way about that kind of stuff. I said I'd rather just give them the $200 we could talk the insurance guy into, out of our pocket then try to deal with it.

The $2400 offered by insurance for the car seems very reasonable. Cars of that year, condition, miles (150,000) aren't even going for that on Craigslist, for the most part. Unless it's at a dealer and totally cleaned up and less miles. Kelly Blue Book puts their car at $1700 max. So, he's supposed to try to get more, but FIL doesn't even know how much he wants to get out of it.

DH agreed to call - at least to make certain of the numbers, because what his dad gave him isn't jiving with what his dad gave SIL. He gets the adjuster's name (a male), ph# and claim # from his dad and calls. Gets some woman's voicemail, which he didn't think was right. Left her a message. She calls back and says no, it's not her, sorry. Geez! Just frustrate DH some more, why don't you! So, now his dad and sis are trying to find a good ph#. I don't know how you get a call from an adjuster on not have the correct ph#.

He asked his dad what he wants to spend to replace the car. He said $4500. I found a great similar car, 2 years newer, with only 84,000 miles, new tires, brakes, etc, selling from a private party in a nice neighborhood, near their area, for $4100. Don't even know if it's available still, but it's been on Craigslist for 3 days. I guess SIL's hubby is going to call on it around noon. SIL keeps talking about a 2004 same kind of car in their town for $2800. Ok, whatever. We don't really care. Buy what he wants to buy.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

It's the little things

I'm not super "techy", but I was proud of myself to figure out something last night.  When I bought DH a couple of movies from Walmart online (for Christmas) I also received digital copies that could be watched on Vudu. You can sign into Vudu using your Walmart log in. Recently Verizon started this new rewards program. My first reward I chose a $5 Starbucks gift card.  The latest reward I choose a free movie and it is accessible via Vudu.  I choose the movie "Only the Brave". It looks like a good movie and DH will probably really like it, as the hotshot fire fighters interest him (we have local ones here where we live and our  neighbor's son across the street is one of them). But, I want us to be able to watch it on our tv, not have to sit at a computer to watch it.

I have an Amazon Firestick, which is how I access  Amazon Prime video and Netflix. Vudu is not an app that is available on this. I googled Vudu and Firestick and found a video on how to add this app to your Firestick. DH was busy watching some videos on You Tube he's become addicted to (a couple building a house by themselves) so I figured this was a good time for me to tie up the tv and see if I could figure out how to do this.  It took me a few tries, rewinding the video on my ipad a few times,  then going back to the comments and figuring out I needed to change another setting, that wasn't noted in the video. But, finally I got it on my Firestick apps! It looks like this streaming service also has some free movies available to watch.

Have you seen the commercials for DirectTV that you no longer need a satellite dish to use their service? I was actually wondering that same thing awhile back? with all the internet streaming capabilities now, why is satellite tv service even really necessary anymore. Couldn't they just supply their program plans through the internet? We have Dish and wonder how soon they will be following DirectTV.

My paystub for tomorrow payday was available to view. I was interested because this is the first pay that includes the lower tax rate. It looks like I'll be getting about an extra $100 a month total, which is nice. (plus the raise I just got). Unlike some politicians, I don't consider this $100 a month "crumbs" at all. It's very welcome in this family.

The guy that lives down the road and has the portable saw mill thingy stopped by yesterday. He is the nicest guy. I just love him. He's retired, but you wouldn't know it. He's busy all the time doing this and that. In the winters he works for the state snowplowing the freeway in our county. In the summers he drives a bus for a tourist thing. Or he'll drive the school bus to sports events. He does his lumber stuff too. Anyway  he said he went out to our property to measure and get an idea for DH  how much lumber would be from the trees. Sometime soon he's going to get it sawed up for us. DH had a good idea last night - it would be so cool to use this wood to build our staircase......but just not sure if we can or not. He's researched if the wood has to be totally dried (which would take a year or two) or not. Some say it does, some say it doesn't. But if we can, that's what we'll do.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Updates on this and that

Things are slowly progressing with the construction loan. I received preliminary loan disclosure paperwork from the lender I had to sign and will mail back today.  Just got a call from the appraiser that he is coming out some time Thursday afternoon. DH had hoped to get going on the rockery again this week, but weather nixed that. It's now well below freezing and ground too frozen to dig up now. We went from a week of 50 degrees to 8 degrees. LOL.

DH's sis called last night. Their dad got in a car accident yesterday. His second one in like less than 2 months. They are ok, but the car had to be towed. The first accident was when he was backing out of SIL's driveway and hit a car parked in the street. This accident had something to do with a left turn lane and the sun in his eyes. Glad they are ok. He will be 80 this year. While he still seems to be very sharp mentally, he's obviously starting to have a hard time driving. It doesn't help that they live in a very congested traffic area. SIL said his pride is more hurt than anything.

DD said her BF got a nice raise and a $6600 annual bonus. Very nice for them. She's still waiting on her annual review and see what her raise might be this year.  She did just message me that her boss told her he was working on getting her bumped up to a "buyer 2" position and pay. Told her bear with him, he's working on it and she deserves it. So, lots of good news coming from those two :)

I practically read a whole book last night. Started it after dinner and read a little while longer after I went to bed. I'm reading the Rose Harbor series by Debbie Macomber. They are such easy reads and enjoyable. I'll have to find something new to read tonight, once I finish this one, after dinner. I'm  not sure if there is another one in this series or not.