Monday, November 23, 2015

A little hiccup to my day

This is going to seem like such a nice short week. I was emailing my boss about payroll this morning (before I head into the office) and she said I only needed to come in the office one day this week, so today or tomorrow is fine. Yay! I told her I'll come in tomorrow, since I had signed up to bring something for the office potluck. 

Speaking of payroll. I am a bit miffed. We use an outside company to process our payroll. I just have to log in and enter in the hours for our hourly folks and also enter in any holiday and PTO time. I have to transmit 5 business days before paydate. I emailed the woman, who processes it on their end, last week to clarify that it would need to be transmitted on Monday (instead of Tuesday) because of the Thanksgiving holiday...or maybe even Friday?, if they get both days off too....she emailed back that it was Monday. So....yesterday (as in SUNDAY) she emails my boss (instead of me), who pretty much has nothing to do with our payroll, since it's my job and I'm 100% capable of doing it correctly, asking her how payroll was coming along, like we are late in getting it to her.  Good grief. If she wanted it on Friday, or by 8am Monday, then she should have just let me know when I emailed her last week trying to clarify exactly when she needed it by. Luckily, I happened to check my work email yesterday (as in SUNDAY) and saw it, so was able to allocate my time to get started on it at 6:30am this morning, rather than waiting until later in the morning, which was my original plan. Otherwise I would have totally been scrambling. I really didn't appreciate her making it seem to my boss like I wasn't doing my job timely. I transmitted it before 8am this morning along with an email to the woman, politely apologizing for being late, but per our email conversation last week, I had been under the impression it wasn't due until Monday (our usual cut off time is noon).

Ok, I'm done being pissy now and ready to have a good day :)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Chilly chores

It's been a few days since I wrote anything. Nothing going on - just normal busy-ness. It's been chilly here. This morning it's 27 degrees and I don't think it got over 40 yesterday. Friday, while working from home, I took a lunch break to run to the post office and then decided to swing into the Goodwill store down the street and look around for some more glassware we can make into candles. I found two of these cute little "mugs" for .29 each

Then I roamed through the books. This store put their books in alphabetical order (for the most part) by author, so that made it easy to look. Their hardback prices are $4 each, but the sign said if you buy 5 you get 20% off, so that makes 1 book free. I found 5 in the Sue Grafton "alphabet series". She is up to X so far and I now have 7 of the books.

Yesterday was a busy day of chores. I went grocery shopping. When I got home DH was busy cleaning out the water filters we have for the house and garage/shop. I put the groceries away, made room for the turkey, and then vacuumed the house. Just as I got done DH asked if I could help him, while he cleaned all the gutters out. I just stood there and moved the ladder to the next spot every time he got down. All that getting up and down really wears him out, so having to pick up the ladder each time saved him a little energy. It's a lightweight aluminum ladder and wasn't really heavy, but after moving it at least 30 times (we had to do the shed, the garage and the house) my lower back is feeling it today. The gutters were full of leaves and needles. At least those chores are done and the gutters should be good for the rest of the season.

Before dinner I made some chocolate chip cookies. They always sound and look better in my head then they actually turn out......they always end up flat and not very soft. The dough tasted better, LOL.

Not sure what I am doing today. Just relaxing I suppose. I only have to work Mon and Tues and then I have the rest of the week off.   DD will be home Tuesday night.  Her BF got a new job within his company that he starts next month, so he will be moving about 70 miles north. Actually his job is 70 miles north, but I think he plans to live even farther north of there, where housing is a little cheaper. Until he finds a place he will be staying with DD at her apartment. It will be an hours drive from her place to his new job, vs a 2-3 hour commute (each way) from here. He's also going to be making about $25k more a year! So happy and excited for him.

While grocery shopping at Target yesterday I scored another $15 in Target gift cards.  $10 for spending $50 on food and $5 for buying 2 bags of cat food. I did the $10/$50 deal last Sunday too, when it first started. I had a deal, with coupons, all worked out where my total came to just over $50, then I had coupons on most of the times, plus cartwheel coupons and the coupon for the $10 gift card for spending $50. When I tried to hand the snotty cashier my $10/$50 coupon she told me that will only work after manufacturer coupons, so if my total, after all my coupons comes to less than $50, I won't get the $10 gift card. I politely said no, that's now how it works and she kept on and I said well just ring it all up and try the coupon anyway. So she first applies my misc coupons and of course it then was under $50. I told her to try the $10 gift card coupon, because it should work and she proceeded to get all snippy and say that each store gets to set their own coupon policies (NO, they don't! maybe as far as the # of coupons used, but a Target store coupon works the same way at all stores) and of course as she's scanning it it pops up to give me a $10 gift card. So, ya - I got $50 worth of food for like $18. Even then she was still mad that it worked! DD just said "my mom's been doing this coupon thing awhile". LOL. Fortunately most all of their cashiers are super nice and it's only once in awhile I get a bad one.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Cashing in

We survived the storm relatively well. Didn't lose power and not too many branches in the yard to clean up. Mostly just a ton of leaves! EVERYWHERE! LOL.  DH had a big job with the leaf blower today, but thankfully it wasn't raining anymore and even a bit sunny out.

I'm cashing in my rewards for cash and gift cards for Christmas shopping. This is what I have as of right now to put towards gift purchases - $132:
$10 Target giftcard
$25 Walmart gift card
$80 Walmart Savings Catcher gift card
$5 Amazon gift card
$12 just deposited to my PayPal account from Ibotta
There is also another $10 mail in rebate that should be here before Christmas and I will earn another $10 Target gift card with their current coupon out of spend $50 on food and get a $10 gift card, bringing my total up to $152.  I also just got a $5 Starbucks gift card that I loaded to my account and can enjoy a coffee or two while I am out shopping.

I really slacked this past year in trying to earn reward points. Mostly I got tired of doing surveys and needed a break. I only earned a total of $30 this past year from Swagbucks. I didn't really do MyPoints at all. The most I earned was from the Walmart Savings Catcher program, which doesn't require any effort other than shopping there and scanning the receipt code. I actually earned about $170 from Walmart savings catcher this year, but I had cashed in $90 at the beginning of summer to buy a stone garden bench and some yard supplies.

I will definitely be working on doing Swagbucks more, as that one seems to be the one I can easily earn the most points with and I should easily be able to earn $10-$15 a month with not a lot of effort.

I also earned $305 this past year using my PayPal 1% cash back rewards card,but that just goes into my bank account every month and I don't save it for anything particular.

Christmas will be pretty low key this year. Just DH, DD, her BF, my mom and my uncle to buy for, really.  DD leaves for Ireland Christmas evening and will be gone 9 or 10 days.

Mostly we just want to save as much as we can going forward toward our dream move. This is the view we are currently putting on our fav list :)  on top of a hill above a little town of 2000 people

Zillow is sure fun to look at and see all the different homes for sale and all the pictures.

P.S. If anyone is interested in trying out Swagbucks - you can click on my referral link to the right

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Glad I am inside today

Wowza - are we ever having a big wind/rain storm! I keep expecting the power to get knocked out. We are prepared. Phones (and ipad) are charged up. Bathtub is filled with water (because we also lose our water when our power goes out). Candles are ready. I elected to work from home today, so I could avoid a 2-3 hour drive home in the worst of it. I started work at 6:30 this morning, so I could get as much of the work day done before it hit early this afternoon. Lights just flickered. It's coming soon. If I end up losing my vpn connection (while I still have power) it's going to be because they lost power at the office.

I'm working on one more baby step to make my job even more automated/remote.....and it was my boss's suggestion to check into accepting credit card payments for our invoices. We are starting to do more invoicing and being asked by companies if we take credit cards or bank transfers and we have never been set up for that. Mostly because we didn't want to pay the 3% fee when we really haven't done much invoicing. But, Quickbooks offers it at 2.85% fee and when I send an invoice to a customer via email it will give them an option to click on a secure link and pay online. They wouldn't even have to call me up and give me their credit card info over the phone. I hope she agrees to it! For those customers that elect to pay that way will mean less actual checks coming in the mail that would have to be deposited (which I would not be able to do working 100% remotely and someone at the office would have to do).

Other than buying the turkey and rolls, I am pretty much prepared for Thanksgiving dinner. I'm going to try cooking my turkey in a turkey bag this year. Has anyone else tried using that before?

DD will be home again for next week starting Tuesday evening. She could come home Monday evening (because she has no classes Tues) but she is waiting until Tuesday afternoon so she can give BF's sister a ride home, too, after her classes are done Tuesday.  She got signed up for her winter quarter classes. Just classes again on Monday's and Wednesday's but this time it's 3 classes from 10am to 4pm (instead of 8am to 6pm this quarter) and one class online.  Then she just has spring quarter and she will graduate in June!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Adding stuff I love to my life

I've been enjoying having DD home since last Monday night. Her BF even had to work both days this weekend, so I got to see her more than I expected to :)  Yesterday morning we just went out for a bit of shopping and to put gas in my car for the week ahead.  I had received a $5 off anything Kohl's coupon as well as 30% off coupon, so wanted to find something close to $5. Not exactly easy to do and make it be something I need or want. But I ended up getting this cute rooster napkin holder. I'm having this chicken obsession lately, LOL, so of course I keep seeing things with chickens and roosters on them.

It was regularly $20 on sale for $12. With my $5 off and then 30% off it came to like $5 out of pocket. I had made a napkin holder at this pottery painting place with DD last spring, in red color, but it's really short and the napkins fall over, so it hasn't been something I ended up liking much. DD had picked out a cute scarf that she could also apply my 30% off coupon to. As we were wondering around the bath and bed area, just looking, she spotted a little card laying down on a shelf of clearance stuff and picked it up. It was a "Kohl's merchandise card" and on the back was written in sharpie $4.80 and the pin hadn't been scratched off. Figured we might as well try using it and it worked and she got her scarf for practically nothing!

Then we went over to a large Goodwill store. We would like to try our hand at the candle making when she is home on winter break. We got a few small fancy glassware type things that were .69 each to use as the candle holders. Though I'll have to be on the lookout for more, as I'm sure we'd like to make more than 4 total.

In my dreaming of having a new house - or even finally getting one of the kids bedrooms converted to an office for me I realized how much I would love to have a library type office or at least a bookcase filled with my favorite books. I love to read, but have never been one to buy books. I just never had the money, nor have I had much space for a bookcase. In looking over things I have pinned on Pinterest "for my home" the past couple of years, there are quite a few of home library's or reading areas. I searched through all the books at Goodwill and found several in author's/series I love. I only bought 2, as they were still $4 each, but it's a start and something I can add to here and there.

I do have a couple of books from these series already, that I had received as gifts. It's been so long since I even looked at the price of a hardback book - $27?! Wow. I think it will also be fun to look for books every now and then, kind of like a treasure hunt.  Someday I'll have enough to fill a bookcase or two and have something like this :)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Batten down the hatches and other stuff

Ahhh. A nice half work day Friday. DD and I were going to go grocery shopping around noon, but then DH wanted to use my car to go over to his friends shop and pay him for all the welding work he did on his trailer. DD had been saying she was (while I was still working) I said feel free to clean house......then a little friendly back and forth ensued.....something to the effect that she's a grown up now, it's not her responsibility....I said ok, then pay me $300 a month. To which she replied "why?! I don't even live here anymore" To which I replied - then you can start paying your own health and auto insurance and I can stop giving you the $100 a month for living expenses that I give you......and you can pay me back the $80 I just spent for your doctors copay and medicine from the other day......I think she got the point!

So, I sent her to do the weekly grocery shopping by herself, while I cleaned house and worked off the little bit of "p.o.'d" energy I still had from that little conversation!

I got a bit snippy with the sheriff sergeant in one of my neighborhood update emails a couple of days ago. We get absolutely no feedback from them, ever. The only time we get feedback is because we finally get riled up enough and make them contact us. For almost 2 years EVERY single time we called dispatch to report this crap we got told we needed to report it to the narcotics dept. I reported lic plate numbers, descriptions of cars, names etc almost daily (at a minimum weekly) for over a year and a half. NO feedback EVER. Now we are finally being told that this isn't even considered a narcotics issue. A house (or two) selling meth and heroin almost non-stop 24 hours a day is too low level for them.  In the email I suggested that maybe they need to start having dispatch give different instructions to people then. I'm sure there are other people, in our same situation, that are just wasting their time, too, trying to report drug activity in their neighborhood, because that's what they are being instructed to do.

I also suggested that maybe the sheriff's department needs to update their web page for the online reporting "drug tip line". We were told 2 years ago (and continue to be told) that "meth lab houses" no longer are a problem in this county. They don't make meth anymore. It's too cheap from Mexico now, let alone heroin (also from Mexico) is now the drug of choice. Their website is still so outdated with information about how meth labs are a problem and if you suspect any drug activity to report it to this online system. What a joke. As we can attest to for almost 2 years - they just ignore it. I also said it sure would have been nice if, after seeing my daily reports for weeks or  even months, someone could have at least called or emailed me back to say this really isn't a narcotics department problem to deal with!

I also told him we expect to have some updates now and then, to know this is still being worked on.

The other neighborhood folks are fit to be tied right now. Last night one of the wives (a young woman with 3 little kids) was coming home, around 9:30pm. It's a gravel road, so you have to drive fairly slow. Someone came out in front of her car and made her stop and was shining a flash light at her. She immediately called 911. I'm not sure of every detail but cops came and were searching for him but didn't find him. First thing this morning they see this guy coming out of the drug house (well, of course that's where he was). They called 911 again and a deputy came out and did absolutely nothing to this guy. Told the neighborhood folks that there was no crime committed and if they keep calling them out they are just going to stop coming. OH BOY! Wrong thing to tell them after all they have been going through (exactly like us). Apparently the new "procedure" is now to for them to say "what's the crime?"  DH just heard the same exact thing from a dispatcher the other day when he called in a suspicious person wandering around at 2 am.  "What's the crime being committed? Call us back when there is a crime" and actually hung up on DH!  This county is a complete joke.

It's a stormy wet windy weekend ahead. We are just going to hunker down and hope our roof hangs on! My big wind chimes at my back french doors has not stopped making music in the last 24 hours. I'm really not looking forward to having to pick up tree branches and limbs from all over our back property again.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

It's Thursday

I really do have the best boss anyone could ask for. I had yesterday off and today was one of my "office days". Of course I get an email this morning telling me to work from home if I want. Well, the only thing I really needed to be in the office to do was print out some sales people expense and mileage reimbursement checks (like 20 checks), have her sign, and then put the checks in their inbox. Not a lot of time involved, but still I didn't want her having to do it. So, I told her I had to come in for the checks and she said just stay home, she will print the checks and take care of it. Plus the 2 1/2 hours I'm not sitting in my car today gives me some much needed extra time to do some work on my side job.

Pretty much I am down to being in the office only 2 days a week, for a total of 11 hours a week. The rest of the 40 hours I do from home. I am taking her up every time she offers me to work from home because when the time comes that we can sell our home and move, it gives me even more "proof" that we could make being remote 100% work. At least that is what I am telling myself, LOL.

We are about 1 week away from meeting our annual sales goal, so the 2nd half of the semi-annual bonus payout is guaranteed. I think we will see those checks around mid December, probably at our company holiday lunch/meeting. That bonus is going to savings, towards our "new home downpayment" goal.

Yesterday was a nice day off with DD. We had breakfast in the morning with my mom and then we did some shopping. She found some black boots at Kohl's she liked. I had a $10 off $25 coupon, plus another 15% off that, so the boots only came to $42. We stopped at Best Buy so I could pick up a new monitor cable. I have no idea what is wrong with DH's monitor. He uses dual monitor's. Every so often his right monitor will just go black and not work. Reboot the (new) computer and then it's fine for another week or so. I switched his monitor with one of mine, to see if it would happen again (to me this time) and it happened to him again, using my monitor. So, now we are trying a new cable. If that's not it, I have no idea what could be causing one monitor to go black (even though the power light for it is still on).  Then we stopped at Michael's. I wanted to see if they had any fake pointsettia's I could use to put outside in my hanging baskets, but everything is silk and I'm afraid they'll just get ruined in the rain. I can't find anything plastic. Well, I found some on amazon for like $30, so that's not going to happen. I'll have to figure out some other cheap way to get some Christmas decorations in them. Maybe I can just spray the silk ones with a clear sealant?

At Kohl's DD found the boots, so I paid for those. She also had the $10 off $25 coupon, plus a $5 birthday reward coupon and 15% off. She picked up a crockpot and a shirt for like $10 total. I had baked her a triple chocolate (from a box) birthday cake and frosted it when we got home. Added some fancy Wilton sprinkles and it looked great. (Tasted great too!) Her BF took her out to dinner and gave her a really nice winter jacket and some flowers. A week or so ago this really cute sweater for like $10 popped up on my feed and it looked just like something she would like so I copied it to her and of course she liked it, so I ordered it and told her it would be one of her birthday presents. I didn't realize it was shipping from China, so maybe she'll get it for Christmas. LOL. I also gave her a teapot and a candle.

Well, better get all the work I need to do today done. Tomorrow is only a half day for me. Love those days! I can go get my weekly grocery shopping done at noon and have the rest of the weekend to just relax.