Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Planning the steps

I don't quite think the news that I will be able to keep my wonderful job, when we move, has sunk in. It's almost like I'm scared to get too excited.  Probably because, for us, something always goes wrong, when we try to plan our life. For the most part, It has NEVER gone right and to actually think it could is just more than I can even imagine right now. So, I'm just trying to take it one step at a time. An annual salary (that's with bonus and my side job) of almost $100k will do quite nicely in a lower cost of living area. Plus, by then we won't have the expenses of supporting DD any more.

Basically, we (and I mean DH, because he is very good at researching and looking at all the details I miss) are looking at all properties that have what we are looking for and in our price range. So far, they all seem to be in the higher end of our range, which means we probably aren't quite there yet, in terms of how much we can get out of this place (plus savings), for the down payment and moving expenses. We'll spend the next few months working around this place and then have the realtor come back out for an update on our value. Market has been starting to get hot again (like last Spring) in this area, and according to her it usually lasts until summer. One of our friends just sold their place in 2-3 weeks, the others just sold theirs last week in 2 days. I'm thinking when we do list, we might as well start out a bit high - that way we will know (if we have to come down in price in 30 days) we didn't leave any (much needed) money on the table. When our friends place sold in 2 days, it makes you wonder if they could have asked more for it.

As soon as I know how much my raise is, I'm going to see what we can get pre-approved for on a mortgage. At a minimum, I know we can qualify for an FHA loan. I would just rather not - as I don't want to pay the PMI insurance, which is apparently required even if you put 20% down.  If nothing else, we can start out with that type of loan and refi down the road, when our credit gets better and the BK (2010) is completely off. My boss (who does a lot of real estate rental investing) has a good broker to recommend to me, so I will go with that reference.

Then, when we find something that we like - we will see if they will take a contingency offer, and if so, put our place up for sale. On the benefit side to us, the market in the areas we are looking at are not quite as good for quick sales as is going on here, so we have a better chance of someone willing to accept a contingent offer.

DH has a good friend over in the area we want to move. He has a big (and so far fairly empty) shop (on 15 acres) and sounds like he is willing to let DH store a couple of big things over there, until we can get moved. He has a partial old semi-truck (wants to restore *someday), that he'd like to haul over there, and get off our property, so it looks more appealing to potential buyers than a cab of a truck covered in a blue tarp (in the corner of our property). He also wants to then make a second trip there with an old car we have stored in our garage (along with a few boxes of stuff). This will make the inside of our shop/garage less crowded, etc. At least gas prices are so low right now, that it won't be a big expense for DH to make a trip or two - and a quick trip away from here would probably do him wonders.

I won't have any expense for gas to get to work in our future situation. That will save about $100 a month. I looked up round trip flights from there to here. If planned out a couple months in advance - it's only $168! I told DD (and mom) that with that price I can for sure fly over for visits every 2-3 months. I told DD she'll get sick of seeing me, LOL. Or at that cheap, we can alternate and I can fly her to see us for little visits a few times a year, when she has time.

Monday, February 8, 2016

I took the plunge

I decided to bite the bullet and talk to my boss about moving and possibly keeping my job and working remote. I was pretty darn nervous inside and stressed about it all weekend.  I figured I might as well get it done and over with, so I know one way or another. It was either going to be a yes or a no. I said that DH (and DD) and I have come to the conclusion we no choice but to sell our place to get away from the 3 years of drug dealing hell (she is all aware of it), that isn't going to go away. I said we have decided that if and when we can sell our house, we plan to move out of state. Mostly for DH's health and our peace of mind. We want to live somewhere peaceful and way less populated. She got a sad face and said "no, I don't want to lose you" and then I said "I don't want to lose this great job, either, and if there is any possibility of working out something out where I can work remotely, I would love that". She sighed with relief and said "we'll make it work" WHEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and then she said, "oh and you are getting a raise. I wanted to get it put in before I go on vacation next week, even though I haven't had time to do your formal review yet.. I can't remember exactly how much it was, but I'll get it".

What a complete relief, to put it mildly.  Now we are open to much more area to move to, since we won't have to be within a decent commute distance, if I would have had to find a new job.

So, we'll keep working on our little fix ups to get this place ready to sell and hope the market keeps going up. Some friends of our just put their house up for sale last week (they live about 70 miles away, but still in this large metropolitan area) and it sold in 2 days. 

Life is heading in the right direction now, it seems.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Weekend relaxing

Yesterday was a fairly lazy day. My dang heel hurting didn't make for much ambition to get a lot done and this morning it is not feeling any better.  Friday evening I had started watching a movie (Tomorrowland with George Clooney), but only watched about a half hour of it, before it was time for bed. I knew I could watch it On Demand, so I decided to go to bed and watch it another time. Late Saturday morning, after I had gotten out of the shower and then cleaned the kitchen I heard DH watching a movie. Turns out it was the same movie, but he had already watched most of it, so I didn't want to start watching again 3/4 of the way in to it.  Later that afternoon, while he was busy doing something I watched it, LOL. And a short nap after that.

that's really about all I did, other than pay some bills and chat with DD on the computer in the morning. Dinner was sloppy joes, so I could use up some of the hamburger buns from the week before. For lunch I used up some of the soft tortillas and made an "italian quesadilla".

Found out last night via email that the sergeant, who has basically been in charge of our neighborhood drug problem, is being transferred to another unit for a year. The great deputy we have had has also been transferred out. So, we've been passed on to a new sergeant and deputy. Most likely to just start all over with getting anything done and trying to form a relationship. We've already had contact by the deputy replacing the other one and he is very on the ball and willing to communicate with us. Hopefully the new sergeant will be too. I really didn't care for the other sergeant anyway. He had a very condescending manner to him and most of the time made us feel like we were bothering him.

I gave my old kitty's front nails a trim last night. He seems to be catching his nails easily on things lately. Probably because he doesn't spend much time outdoors anymore, to naturally keep his nails trimmed. We have always had to trim one nail on a regular basis. He has extra toes and actually has a nail that grows in between his toes and if not trimmed it grows and starts to curve into his pad. So, while I was doing that nail I trimmed the rest down a bit. He was quite cooperative, for a cat ;)

Keeping my fingers crossed, but so far DH's computer seems to be running ok. Friday evening he finally listened to me and put the security camera's on the old computer (still sitting at his desk) and to one of his monitors. Around the same time, I had called Comcast because the new set top box that says it got activated successfully, when I did it online earlier that afternoon, was still only getting channels 1-29. So I called up Comcast after dinner and customer service guy said it never got activated, so he did it from his end and all worked. DH swears that whatever he did is when his computer started acting normally while he's online. Not sure what a tv box would have to do with our internet service, but what do I know?  Friday afternoon I had emailed the IT lady, who does the IT for my side job, that I'd like her to remote in and clean his computer and see if she can figure out the problem. She called me back late yesterday, but I told her for now it seems to be working well, so let's hold off. She said it could be possible if that old set top box had a short it was interfering with the wifi signal. (plus that box was right next to our modem/router).  Anyhow, all is calm for now, at least.

Not sure what I am doing today, other than I plan to make a couple loaves of banana bread and get the house vacuumed.

Last summer I bought some clematis plants for my front arbor. They grew beautifully, but I keep walking by the now ugly vines and wondering if I was supposed to trim/prune them down? Eek! So, I just sent an email to the guy I bought them from. He has a little plant nursery business out of his front yard and I always buy plants from him. I'm sure he will email me back and give me the scoop!

My dd posted a picture of her and her BF on Facebook from a fancy date they went on last night. All's I can see is the top of a cute red sleeveless dress. She looks so beautiful! Her huge blue eyes and such a smile. I am glad she is so happy in life.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

New coffee

I have a Keurig that was given to me as a gift several years ago. After realizing how expensive k-cups are I bought an adapter and started using my own ground coffee. I have pretty much always bought a certain brand - the kind that comes in the little 12 oz bag. But while shopping last week and needing some more coffee, I decided that it would probably be cheaper to buy a big can of coffee. The name brands (Folgers, Maxwell House) were somewhat cheaper, but the Walmart Great Value brand was a lot cheaper. Less than half the price per oz. then what I have been buying.  I am no big coffee connoisseur. I drink one cup in the morning. This morning I tried my new cup of coffee. It does taste different, of course, but it's still coffee and tastes fine. That big can will last me quite awhile.

I also picked up a very generic roll of paper towels to try. I'm not a heavy paper towel user - mostly I just use them to line the bird cage. I had been trying Bounty Basics at about .99 a roll, but this plain generic roll (it doesn't even have Walmart's generic logo in it) was .50 and I can't tell the difference.

Our car tabs are due on my car and DD's. Her's needs an emission test this year, but her college apartment address doesn't require emissions and since she won't be moving back here after graduation, I told her I'd mail her the renewal and she could go change her address up there. I'm still paying it this one last year. But, while I was online this morning renewing my tabs I saw an option to change your address, so I did that for her address (luckily we put the car in her name last year) and then it took off the emissions requirement and let me renew it for her online. That saves her a trip to licensing office. Last time I have to pay that $56!

I went to the nearby Comcast service store yesterday. Our tv that DH uses in the family room has been having problems with shows stuttering or freezing. We have a tiny little set top box for it that we've had for years. I thought maybe it is going bad. The customer service guy said, yep that's most likely it and not our tv. Then I asked him why we can only get some of the channels we subscribe to on that tv and not all of them. Apparently the little box we have had all these years is their "$3 a month box" and only gets channels 1-100. Who knew?! So, I upgraded to the bigger box that gets all our channels. It cost $7 more a month, but should make dh happy that if he wants to watch something on a channel higher than 100 (which is very often) he can stay put and not have to go watch it in the living room.  At least I got one issue resolved (I hope - we'll see if the shows stop stuttering and freezing up).

Something is wrong with my right heel. I got up yesterday and as soon as I put my foot down it started hurting. Same problem today. I know the dog stepped on it the other night. Not even sure what night it was. I just remember being woke up as a 90lb lab stepped on my foot to jump off the bed. Most likely that is what is causing it. It really doesn't feel any better today.  I did have some plantar fasciitis a year or so ago, but that was in my arch of same foot. I did some stretching exercises for awhile and it went away. It could also be related to that, too, I suppose. Always somethin'!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Some good news came my way

I opened some mail today from the bank that holds our home equity loan. You may recall me mentioning last September that the 5 years of no interest payments were up and now the terms were that the new monthly payment is 1.5% of the outstanding balance. So, my payment went up from $400 a month to almost $900. That's ok though because all that extra is going towards principal. Each month my principal balance goes down about $500 and each month that 1.5% monthly payment drops a bit, too.

The interest rate is 7.85% (I know OUCH!). The letter that came in the mail today said effective 1/31 the interest rate on this loan is dropping to 4%!!!!!!!!!

That is almost half. I was in my car when I opened the letter. I was dancing in my seat!

It won't make my monthly payment go down a whole bunch, BUT instead of now almost $400 a month interest it will be around $200 and that extra will also go towards principal. WOOO!! I plugged the new interest rate in my amortization schedule spreadsheet and in less than 5 years I will save over $8000 in interest.  Of course that's if we actually stayed here that long, which isn't very likely, but still super news for me each month until then.

Computer issues still

It's been a crappy couple of days. DH is just beyond trying to get through to on trying to explain to and fix his computer problems. I spoke with two IT people. My guy at work and the lady who does the computer stuff (has her own IT business) for my side job company. Both are pretty sure it has nothing at all to do with our internet service, as I have no problems with my computer.

My IT guy suggested it could be that DH has two programs open and running all the time for our camera security systems (we have one 8 camera system for the house and one for the shop). He said it's probably bogging down his computer and when he tries to do a bunch of other stuff it's slowing it down. He said he had to put his home camera system on it's own computer, so it didn't slow down the computer it was on, that he was trying to also use for other stuff. Makes sense.

But, of course I can't get anything at all through to DH. The minute I open my mouth to try and tell him what both IT people told me, he just starts freaking out that it's Comcast and our internet. When I try to say I don't have any issues on my computer he says I'm not on it all day. For some reason I cannot get through to him that I AM on the internet all day, when I am working. My work connection is using the internet and when I am working all day, I am doing the same as him -  using the internet constantly.

It would pretty much be a piece of cake to just put the camera programs on his old computer and put a  monitor on it. A pretty easy thing to try and see if it helps the problem.

I was going to have someone come here, so they could see our set up, be on his computer on our internet (instead of just taking him computer somewhere to have it looked at) - see first hand what is going on. Nope, he doesn't want some stranger coming to his house. OMG!  There is nothing more I can do then. I'm not getting yet another modem from Comcast. it's working fine. Our download speed is 60mbps and upload is 6 mpbs. On my computer I have several websites open, I am logged into VPN/remote to two other systems and everything works fine.

There is absolutely no way to even talk to him about this. He seems to know it all, which is what is so funny - he knows absolutely nothing about how computers and internet work. I know very little, but at least know enough that I should seek experts opinions and try their suggestions.  One of the guys he has gotten friends with over in the other neighborhood, is a computer geek guy too. I suggested he ask him. We could pay him to look at it and I'm sure he could come up with suggestions on resolving the problems. Nope, doesn't want to do that either.  For whatever reason he just has it in his head that it's our internet and nothing else is going to be the right answer.  I'm so tired of dealing with him. He just drains my energy to nothing. Glad it's my half work day. I can get out of here this afternoon and get the grocery shopping done and take a small break from him.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Gettin' over the hump

This week seems to be going very slow for some reason, which is strange because I am very busy with both jobs. This morning I finished all the year end accounting work for my side job and got the file uploaded to the CPA. I had planned to have it all done by the end of last week, but I completely lost 4 days of work time when I could not access the order system program. Anyway, it was a big relief to be able to upload that file and be done with that part.

With my new Capital One credit card I get free credit score tracking, which updated today. I was happy to see it went from 700 to 705.

I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet and pay for an anti-virus program for DH's computer. It's a brand new computer (just a several months old now) and he's still always having problems (just like his old computer). I tried to explain to him that it's most likely from all the internet surfing he does, especially this one message board/forum type website (it's huge, with thousands of posts per day) and even showed him some articles and such I found on the internet saying that this site causes malware, etc. He stayed off it for awhile (no, it's not porn LOL. It's just where thousands of gearheads/racers post their opinions etc) and didn't have much problems, but he's been back on lately and of course his computer is slow, etc again. He always blames any computer problem on our internet provider (Comcast), but while he's sitting there with his computer all slow, I'm sitting here on my computer with several windows open, logged in remotely to work, etc and not an issue at all. So, obviously it's not the internet connection.  I did some research with pc mag's top recommendations. Sound like the top two recommended are Bitdefender and Kapersky.  I know I have one or two free type anti-virus programs on his computer. Guess I'll have to remove all those and just try one. Wish I knew more about computer stuff!  Or maybe I just need to hire someone to come in and go over his computer and explain it all to him, what is causing it. A computer tech could tell him the exact thing I am saying and then it would be correct. That is probably what I should do. (and then I can sit there and say "I told you so").

I finally stopped on my way home from work yesterday and ran my car through the car wash! It was so dirty, but yesterday was sunny and so is today, so I get 2 days of clean car :). I am a bit claustrophobic. All the other times I have used the car wash this past year (always hand washed before) DD was the one driving and we sat and talked and laughed our way through it. This was the first time by myself and I did feel a tiny bit panicky. I only feel that way if I am in a position where I feel trapped in. I am fine in elevators. I could walk into a closet right now and be fine. The first time I ever went into a tanning bed I about had a panic attack, but once I convinced myself I could easily get out, I was fine (and then used to nap during my tans, LOL). The MRI I had to have after my car accident was the worst feeling. I used to panic in the dentist office too (hence why I didn't go for years) when they'd lay me back to start working on me, I'd feel trapped. The mind is a strange thing, sometimes!

I seem to be where the pets want to be today. I have one dog asleep on one side of my chair and the other dog asleep on the other side. The cat is on the bed snoring.

What the heck is good to watch on tv these days? Right now there is really only 3 shows I'm watching. Madam Secretary, Downton Abbey and Big Bang Theory (and half the time it seems that isn't on or it's a repeat). I'm not watching American Idol anymore. Watched it for years and last year was so bad, I only watched the first half of the season. I haven't even bothered with this final season. Last night I watched on demand last Sunday's episodes of Madam Secretary and Downton Abbey. The rest of the week I feel like there is nothing to watch.

I'm currently taking my acid reflux medication every other day now. My doctor had been kind of vague (and only gave me 2 months prescription). It's working great for me, so I emailed her and asked if I'm supposed to continue with it on a daily basis now or what. She suggested trying every other day and if still good, then take as needed. I just started the every other day, so not sure yet. I have to go back in a few weeks for a cholesterol check and see if the Simvastatin is working.

Went to pick up DH's Crestor - that went up $30 a month, apparently due to his new insurance I changed to. Great - I saved $5 a month of premiums and now have $30 a month more in higher medication costs. I CANNOT wait until this goes generic sometime later this year! I had to pay $202 for this prescription.