Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Surprise......

Guess what?! I'm going to be a grandma. No, not DD......she has a brain in her head....no, it's the DS...you know the one who can't even support himself? So, his 33 year old girlfriend, of 2 or 3 months, he lives with, is pregnant (she already has one no father in the picture 9 year old kid). Ya, great. A grandchild we'll never get to see or know.  Just peachy news, eh? I guess about all's we can do is pray for that innocent baby, who will be born to a cigarette smoking and pot smoking momma (and dad). Sad.

Our renter neighbor found a "work around" solution to his landlord telling him he can't park his junk at the house or on the vacant lot next door, owned by the developer guy. Friday night they were mowing the neighbor lady's yard who lives behind us in the alley...now we know "why". He's apparently told her he'd mow her foot tall lawn in exchange for being able to park his trailer and junk truck on her property! LOL. He even got to use her water (apparently she's on a well system) and pressure wash it on her lawn! What a deal he's got going. haha.

Nice weather in 80's past few days. I added a few plants. I finally got some herbs for my two vintage tea tins to put in the kitchen window ledge. I think I should get one more tin.  I also found this cute succulent bowl at Lowes, while we were there picking up some screws and more grass seed. The empty picnic table needed something on it. Hopefully I don't kill the plants!


Parsley and peppermint. The peppermint smells good, too.

I have a department at work annoying the heck out of me. What should be basic, repetitive type requests for PO's and invoices have constantly become a series of emails I have to send because they don't supply me with the info I need or are only giving me partial info.  One girl is new, so she gets a complete pass, but the other has been there for years and knows the drill.  Don't send me a customer PO to order some parts for and not give me the ship to address. Just dumb. Or she'll give me the name of the company it ships to.......um..ok...they have 3 branches, which one? Not to mention it's not my job to have to look up the address, it's hers! I just politely email back "can you give me the ship to address, please". I got one request today to invoice a customer for some service work. But the customer PO doesn't match what's in our system for the service dollar amount. So, I have to email back to clarify which amount I'm supposed to invoice. C'mon ladies....this is basic stuff. Then we recently started regularly ordering this one part from this one vendor. That's all we order from them. One at a flippin time. At first it was me ordering from them to direct ship to our customers (and then I bill our customers for it). Then the dept started pulling the part out of our (very limited) stock to fill the order and telling me to re-order for our stock.... one at a time......I'm like this is completely ridiculous and such an inefficient way to do this. If we are going to start stocking the part to fill the orders, then order a whole bunch at one time and place one big re-order when you are getting low. Not orders for quantity one from them, 3x a day!. I was just about to say something about it to my boss when she called me Monday morning apparently having the exact same thought as me. This is ridiculous. She got together with the ladies in this department and got them on a new plan to order these more efficiently. It's much easier for me to place one order a month, pay one invoice a month, rather than 20 separate orders a month and 20 separate vendor invoices to post and pay.  It will obviously save them a ton of time, too, not having to send me an email 3x a day to place orders.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Grumpy

I'm sick and tired of family right now, so not in the best of moods. Plus, now I'm trying to get caught up on my side job. Finally got fully up and running again Friday afternoon.......it took them 3 weeks to figure this out! Did I mention they ("they" is the new IT company my side job company hired could not find the Quickbooks program or company file. So, the IT guy installed the most recent version and since they apparently couldn't find the working file (the one that saves the new data to, each time you use QB) we had to go off of an old backup I did back in February, when I had to send the CPA a file for year end.  The only time I ever do a backup file is when I need to send one to the CPA. They were supposed to be backing this all up on their server nightSo now I have to re-enter/re-create everything since February.  I'm not a happy camper about that either.

Just crawling back in bed for the day sounds like a good plan. Wish I could!






Sunday, May 21, 2017

The flower photo :)

Look! I got a "the photo" of the flowers I sent my mom. LOL.

Very pretty! (they were FTD, and I will definitely use them again). She got the flowers on a Friday and the buds weren't open yet, then she was gone from Saturday until like Monday or Tuesday, so this photo was taken on Tuesday. DD got "messenger" installed on her ipad. I told her to try the password with the first letter capitalized, and that worked. DD showed her how to send a message and I sent one back so she could see what a notification looked like. DD later said to me that she's pretty sure Grandma really didn't get it. It's like she wants to learn, but when you start to show her the steps, she's just like not truly paying attention and doesn't want to take the time. She also showed her how/where to make a post on Facebook (which I don't think she's ever done - other than one time by accident. She said happy birthday to someone but posted it on her own wall.  BUT, I did see that last evening she actually made a comment on a post my step sister made thanking everyone for birthday wishes. Progress!





Saturday, May 20, 2017

Friday evening sofa time

I got to spend the evening to myself last night, a nice rare treat. DH took his buddy and his son to watch some dirt track races that were about 3 hours drive each way (yikes). Sounds like they had fun and DH got home at like 2am.

I plopped my butt on the couch and started binge watching Bosch on Amazon, again. I had only got through the first 2 episodes the last time I had time to watch. I think I still have one or two more to go now. For dinner I heated myself up some frozen egg rolls and made some rice in my rice cooker. I couldn't remember the water to rice ratio, so I googled it and both examples I glanced at said 1 to 1. Apparently that's not right for my cooker because the rice wasn't quite done enough. I think now I remember it was maybe 1.3 to 1 or something like that. I guess next time I'll google my actual brand of rice maker.

I talked with DD a bit on the phone, too. I use her Amazon prime account sometimes and couldn't get into it yesterday, as it wanted me to enter a code that was emailed. She got the code and called to tell me. We also discussed her helping Grandma (who's going to visit her today) with her ipad and how to send/post a photo. I'm like seriously - show her how to make a post on Facebook and write it down for her. LOL.  We both agreed that DD wasn't even going to explain to her how DD will have to enter her home wi-fi password, while Grandma is there, to use internet with it. I said just add your password and get it going - if you try to explain "wi-fi" to her she will not understand. When her BF moved she couldn't use her ipad to access her email and Facebook at his new place. I tried so hard to explain that he has different internet service and she has to enter his password in the "wi-fi" section of her ipad. Pretty sure she never did get it set up. She thinks it's her email password or something. I told her that she pays Century Link for her internet service, right? Yes, she gets that. Ok, well, they gave you a password to access that internet service, so only you can use it, not your neighbors, too. "Oh, well I have no idea what that password is or where I would have saved it." When you go to someone else's house they have different internet service/password that you have to enter in order to use your ipad. So, we are going to try the written down instructions and see if that can help her. We also both agreed that we will keep agreeing with her that she really does not need a smart phone for anything..........or she'll end up with a phone she can't figure out how to use.

I think DH and I might go into the city on Sunday. He needs some new saw blades and screws and the feed store has our dog food on sale, so it would be a good time to get 2-3 more bags. I think we have one left. I think he'll probably be too tired to go today, after all that driving yesterday and the lateness in getting to bed. He's still asleep now.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Bird watching

with putting the bird feeders and bird water-er (is that a word?) out in our backyard we are seeing lots of variety of birds. I like to know what they are (except for the damn crows, I already know what they are!) but it's kind of hard to figure out.

One is a small-ish black bird with a bright red stripe on it's wings. So I googled that description and what do you know - the bird is called a "red-winged blackbird" (how original!). The google page also showed pictures of the female "red-winged blackbird", which looks absolutely nothing like the male bird. It's brown in color, but describes a bunch of other birds I've seen just like them.  There's another bird I've seen a few times that is a pretty blue. I have no idea what that is (not a bluejay, like we used to see at our old house).

This picture doesn't show the red in the wing, looks more yellow (there is a little yellow, too). But I'm pretty sure the other birds must be the females. I also listened to the distinctive sound they make online and definitely it's them.

The hummingbird feeder attached to my office window is a busy place and I'm seeing what looks like about 4 different kinds of hummers. From my googling it looks like I'm getting Calliope, Roufus, Anna, and maybe Broad-tailed. They are so fast, and they seem to change color as they move, so it's been a bit harder for me to learn to identify what they are.

At my old house I loved listening to the mourning dove up in a tree nearby. They sound like a owl. DH swears he's hearing them here, but while it does sound like an owl hooting (during the day) it doesn't sound like the mourning dove call. But, we have seen some birds at our bird feeder that look just like them, so maybe they just sound a bit different here? The call is "ahoooo....hooo-hooo-hooo" and these birds just do "hooo-hooo-hooo"  Funny, DH's neighbor buddy said the other day that he's up really early and keeps hearing what sounds like an owl hooting in the morning and said he's never ever heard them before. DH told him what we think they are and that I must have brought them with me, LOL.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Please pay for the stuff I want

My new Pet Peeve. Seems everyone's new thing is to set up a GoFundMe account so they can get what they want, without having to pay for it themselves.  There's even been a few recently among people I know.  DD's boyfriend's sister. She wanted to go study abroad for a semester. Had zero money, so she set up a gofundme to get everyone else to pay for it. After she only received about $100 in donations, she gave up.

Now it's my niece trying to fund her life choices, so she can go get her master's degree in another state. Umm...no, I'm not giving you money for that! Maybe take out a student loan, so you cover your tuition and living expenses. Or here's an even better idea - go get a JOB and WORK for a few years, live with your parents, and save the money yourself, so you can go do it, if you don't want student loans.

Seriously, I do not get this attitude of entitlement. Why is it everyone else's responsibility to pay for your life choices?

It's my DD's pet peeve too, so we just had quite the snarky text messages back and forth about it. At one point I mentioned the above about getting a JOB and WORKing and she texted back "whoa whoa whoa. You CANNOT use the J and W word with people anymore!"  LOL.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Just a simple photo.........

earlier chat with mom a few days ago:
Mom: I wish I could take a picture of the flowers and send it to you.
Flip phone - no pics or texting, which she wouldn't know how to use, even if she did have it.
 
Last night (it was a 45 minute conversation):
Mom: hey - can I take a picture with my ipad mini and send it to you? The flowers have opened up so pretty.
me: oh, ya, that's a good idea!
Mom: ok, I click on camera? 
it's showing me in the screen
Me: click on the little camera up in the right top corner to change the camera view
mom: oh, ok, got it. Do I just push the red button to take the picture?
me: no, red means you are taking a video, the button should be white
mom: my button is red
me: do you see where it says video, photo, square?
mom: no there is nothing like that on my screen
me: (looking at my own ipad mini) it should be right below the button to take the picture
mom: no, I don't see anything like that. Just a little camera up in the corner
me: ya, that's the camera you just tapped to change the view so the camera wasn't looking at you
me: hmmm...ok, well I guess your button is red so tap it to take picture
mom: ok, I think it took, now what?
me: now open photos.(which of course I had to explain how to do)
mom: ok I see it
me: do you have Facebook messenger?
mom: do I have what?
me: ok, open Facebook
mom: oh ya, there's this thing about I have messages but I don't know how to read them..
me: ok, tap on that then
mom: messenger has moved do you want to install?
me: yes
mom: it says "get"
me: Yep, tap on that to install it
then a whole long conversation about why it's not installing.
mom: do I tap on info?
me: no GET, then install. Ok, lets try this. do you send emails from your ipad?
mom: well,  you know I'm not sure if I ever have
me: ok, open your email compose an email and type in my email address. ok do you see a paperclip thing?
mom: no, just a plus sign
me: ok, well you need a paperclip because that's how you attach the photo in the email
ok, let's try messenger again
this time install works, but of course pops up she needs to enter her apple id password
which of course she does not know.
mom: it might be on one of my slips of paper........
me: that's why I try to use the same password for everything
mom: oh, well maybe I used xxxx9999 (not her real password LOL)
me: try that
mom: no, it's invalid
me: it might need a capital X, my apple password starts with an uppercase
mom: oh ok, let me try that. Does the arrow in black with the line mean it's caps?
me: well that means your caps lock is on, all the letters will type cap, just  tap it once to make it solid black with no line under it and type the X
mom: well, I can't get it to work. is the arrow solid?
me: when the arrow is not filled in it's lower case - your keyboard shows lower case letters. When you tap it once to make it black it's upper case, your keyboard changes to uppercase. When you tap it twice it locks the keyboard in uppercase.
mom: well, I can't get it to work
me: ok, let's just have you make a post on your facebook and I can see it that way. open facebook again
mom: well, it's on something weird, I don't know what all this is. Settings something.
me: tap on newsfeed. near the top, above everyone's posts, do you see "what's on your mind" next to your photo? (Every single time I have tried to help  her with Facebook over the phone, I swear I cannot figure out what she is looking at - nothing she relays to me is anything like I see on Facebook)
mom: no, don't see that. I see my friend liked something about a bear with bees
me: ok, right above that it doesn't say "what's on your mind"?.
mom: no it says share photo and check in
me: tap on share photo (whatever that is!)
whatever that was it's not working either
me: ok, try tapping on your name/photo in upper right to go to your wall. do you see "what's on your mind" now?
mom: no, but I see photo
me: ok tap on that
mom: do you want to allow access to your photos?
me: yes, allow
mom: oh, I want to allow? 
me: yes, you do
mom: now it's in settings something about enable photos
OOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!
somehow she gets to her photos.
mom: ok, I see my flower picture but it's moving
me: that's because you took a video, not a photo, when you see your photo is there an arrow in the middle of it?
mom: yes there is
me: that means you took a video
so back to camera we go to try to take a photo
back and forth again about how she should see "modes" time lapse, video, photo, square. Now, for some reason, she can see the mode options and FINALLY gets it to take a photo
back to Facebook, where she gets same message of allowing photos and she still apparently has absolutely no way to actually make a post on her facebook page
finally she said she would just take it to my DD on Saturday, when she goes to see her new house


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

It's only Tuesday

DH and the neighbor guy across the street have become buddies. He invited DH to go out with him yesterday for a drive up on the logging roads (and bear hunting, if he happened to see anything). DH doesn't hunt, but said for sure he'd love to ride along. This guy has lived here all his life, so he knows all of these roads and even what's off on these even smaller "roads" (more like trails). Lots of old mining camps, ghost towns. Even a few small lakes. At one point they even hiked about a half mile back into an area, where there was an old mine. They were gone about 3 or 4 hours and DH had a great time. No bears were harmed LOL

This guy works out of state, 2 weeks gone, 2 weeks home, so he's about to leave again. His wife works here in town with the school. Of course, small town people gossip quite a bit, so while at dinner with them Friday we did get even more scoop on our crappy renter neighbors, as far as from her perspective of seeing the boy at school and the parents. Now that mom is working a different job and leaving really early, the oldest daughter they moved in a couple of weeks ago appears to be in charge of taking the boy to school.....one day last week neighbor gets a call at the school office, from the daughter and said she sounded half asleep...."Umm....I just dropped K off at school but no one was outside?......" Well, that's because school started 40 minutes ago...."umm....well there was no one outside to meet him?". YES, that's because school started 40 minutes ago!. Good grief. Maybe if the dad wasn't waking up the whole street at midnight with all his noise, his kids could get some sleep and wake up in time for school. I think she was late getting him to school again yesterday, too. Ridiculous.

The guy that owns the vacant lots in our subdivision stopped by again yesterday morning. Guess he was still in town. He said he went and talked to some city people. I forget who all he rattled off, but someone about city ordinances (noise, parking, etc) and also county land planner. He said no one wants to help, at least unless we have lots of documentation of what has been going on, so he just wanted to reiterate that we should be keep a log of any problems and any attempts to resolve, etc. First step is he's going to have his attorney write up a letter to send the the home owner and see where that takes us. He's a very serious guy. I'm guessing he's in his 60's. He just retired. His parents still live here in town, but he lives a couple hours away.

DH went for another drive, by himself, last evening. It was like 8pm and I didn't feel like going anywhere. He wanted to see if there were any elk in that spot we tried to find them Saturday evening. He pretty much hit the jackpot. Huge herd of elk, lots of deer, too.  They were all in these big pasture areas.

Yesterday was a partial success in fixing my work computer issues. My boss called up the bill pay service and added me as a co-subscriber. I then called back to tech support. Whatever was in the missing email I was supposed to get was how I activated the account. She walked me through it and it's working now. Bills got paid! I'm just a bit confused though, on the "accounting" of it. The payments come out of our checking GL account, but she had me set up a new GL account for the bill pay...so the payments/online checks record under that account, leaving a negative balance on my GL for that account because that isn't the account where we record our money.....hmmm...I ended up linking the "bill pay" account to our checking account in the GL and that basically worked to record the payments out of our checking money. But still looks strange on the chart of accounts. I might have to call back and see if there is a way to just have it recording directly to our checking GL account on the books.

I'm not quite there getting full access for my side job. I at least can finally remote into a desktop they set up for me now. It appears to be the same desktop screen I used before, my saved files were there.....but Quickbooks is totally missing! The guy thought he had it on there, but I said nope. That's just a backup file I had saved last, to send to our CPA. It's not the program, itself. How they cannot find that, I have no idea! But, it's still not resolved. I cannot believe I am on my 3rd week with this problem. I'm really behind now :(

Monday, May 15, 2017

Weekend activities

It was a busy weekend, but still relaxing at the same time. I worked half a day on Friday, but was still hanging around with my phone on me and checking my emails because the IT guy at my side job was still working on getting me hooked up. Still not quite there - at least I now can remote into a desktop....but they haven't figured out where the accounting program is located....(I'm shaking my head LOL)

So, I didn't get my vacuuming done because I was afraid he'd call again and I'd miss it. Then we went out to dinner with our neighbors who live across from us. Very fun and good food. Lots of easy conversation. After dinner they drove us around the area we were at a bit.

Saturday morning I headed out first thing to the city to get all my annual flowers. I went to Lowe's and was getting plants but pretty disappointed in their quality, so I probably only got about half what I needed and then went over to Home Depot, where they had much more and much better quality. I knew the Lowes flowers would be fine once I got them planted and picked off the dead blooms, but it just wasn't filling me with "joy" to pick out pretty flowers when they looked so crappy!  I also got 2 metal trellis's and some clematis, as well as 2 big bags of potting soil. We planted those on the end of our shop out back, next to where we put the picnic table. Might pretty up the metal shop just a bit, haha.

I also stopped at Target to get my prescription and a few dog treats, toilet paper, etc.  Then I went to the grocery store next door and did some grocery shopping, mostly for meats, pop and water.  I forgot my bags for the frozen/cold foods, so I had to pick up a couple more. Oh  well. I had a loaded car heading home around noon.

When I pulled in DH was out on the porch waiting for me, so we could start planting flowers. A couple/few hours later we were done. I was short a few flowers (it's always an estimate, plus this is a whole new planting space for me). The little grocery store in town has a tent with some flowers and veggie plants so I ran over there and picked up a few more petunias, trailing lobelia, and a geranium to finish the last 2 pots.

After dinner on Saturday (I was pooped so we just had soup and sandwiches) we decided to take a drive to see if we could see any of the elk that usually hang out in this field about 8 miles from us. Didn't see any elk, but ended up driving up into the hills and saw some deer. Kept driving up and up about 5 miles (again those dang narrow winding logging roads!) until we got to this view

A nice way to end the day, that's for sure.

Sunday we were expecting some friends to stop by on their way home to the other side of the state, but weren't for sure what time. I got the house cleaned in the morning. Talked to DD on the phone and then friends called and said they'd be here about 2pm or so. We also had the guy that owns the vacant lots in our little subdivision stopping by at 3pm to discuss the renter neighbor issue. He was in town visiting his parents. So, since we were double booked, DH talked to the guy in our dining room, while I visited with the friend in our living room. The guy was here about a half our or so and after he left we took our friends out to dinner and then they headed home, with about a 5 1/2 hour drive ahead of them.

DH kind of got the "back story" as to why this guy hadn't really tried to team up with our previous house owners in taking care of this renter issue - because for them it wasn't just only all the junk vehicles and parts, it was also constant noise late at night (pretty much the only time the renter is home) with grinders running at 2am, etc. Apparently when this guy did up this development he kinda got in a "partnership" with the guy that had our house, who was a home builder. He built the house next door and they sold it to this lady. Then he built this house. He had a loan for the construction and owed this developer for the lot. He then filed bankruptcy and never sold the house, ended up living in it these past 8 years. So, this developer never got his money until this house got sold to us, as he had a lien on it for what was owed to him for the property. So, he wasn't real inclined to help these folks out any, after all that they went through and he never got his money for almost 10 years.

He's now ready to take this on, it seems. He wants to try and get these properties sold and a junky house probably isn't helping him any. He noticed the renter guy had parked one of his trailers on his lot....but also noticed the renter moved the property stake over, so that it looked like he wasn't parked on this guys property! I would have moved it back if I was him, LOL.  He also took some pictures as he was driving away.

After we got back home from dinner we relaxed and watched the movie Sully with Tom Hanks. All in all a good weekend.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Weekend plans

I can't seem to get things to work right with my job this week. I was trying to pay bills online (still using the old bank online billpay method) and I get a few bills entered and then suddenly get an error message from the bank. "try again later". Tried to pay bills 3 times and finally gave up. Thank God it's my half day Friday and this week's almost over! Hopefully I'll have better luck with everything next week, eh?



My afternoon plans consist of vacuuming and whatever else housework I feel like getting done. We are going out to dinner with our neighbors across the street and we are looking forward to that. DH might go bear hunting with him next Monday. That should be an experience for DH, haha! he's not a hunter, but he'll just go along for the ride and company.

I'm going to head into the city first thing tomorrow morning to get some grocery stocking stock up done, pick up a prescription, and get all my annual flowers for planting in pots. I'm sure that will take me all morning, for sure. I'll probably spent Mother's Day planting it all :)

Sunday it sounds like we will have some friends visiting. DH has a friend he grew up with, who now lives on the other side of the state. He called the other morning to see if we will be home on Sunday - they will be passing through on their way back home from a trip, and wanted to stop in and see us. DH and friend are the same - talk talk talk when they get together or on the phone. His wife and I will probably hardly get a word in edgewise LOL. I've only met her once before (new-ish wife) but she seemed kind of like me, a bit on the shy/quiet side. 

Weather doesn't sound too good this weekend and hopefully I can be outside to get my flowers planted.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Crummy work day

I had a phone chat with my boss after I emailed her to ask for details on the company meeting that was held last week. She called me up to give me the scoop. Pretty much what I figured it was about.

Anyhow - good news on the bonus program. They decided to tweak it a bit and do just as I had hoped - base it on the fact that even though gross sales are not at goal, the actual income to the company is on target. If we meet that by end of June we will get 5% of the 15% paid out at that time. If by the end of the year we have met both, we will get the additional 10% paid, or if it's just meeting the income goal, it will be another 5%.  Like I said, they are fair and generous guys, so this doesn't surprise me. Hopefully we can meet this revised goal!

Other than that work has been very frustrating today. I still cannot access my side job remotely. So ridiculous. This morning their IT guy emailed me a "temporary" fix, but I can't get that to work either, so now he's supposed to call me this afternoon....how much ya wanna bet he doesn't call?

Ok, so while I was working on something this IT guy suddenly remotes into my computer! He had me download something yesterday so he could remote in. I assumed once he disconnected we were disconnected unless I gave him permission again - apparently not. After he was done I looked at my emails and see right before he remoted into my computer he sent an email telling me he was ready to remote in and forgot my ph#....So, in the middle of the night him (or someone from his company) could just log into my computer any old time they want to? Um...ya. NO!  I don't even know what this program is (nothing I've ever used when someone is remoting into my computer) called Autotask Endpoint Manager (AEM). I right clicked on it and there is a setting called "privacy mode" that I now have enabled. I googled the program and the privacy mode setting and from what it says if he wants to access my computer again from now on he'd have to request my permission. I hope so. This has me a tad freaked out.

I sent him an email with my ph#, if he needs to call and he emailed back that the temporary fix they had come up with for me to log in isn't going to work, so they are going to have to figure something else out. How hard is it to set up remote access, for goodness sake?!! I've been doing it no problems for 7 years and suddenly it doesn't work anymore? I emailed the guy at my side job office, who sorta takes care of the computer system to let him know what has been going on and that I'm now almost 2 weeks without being able to do any work for them. Hopefully he'll get on this IT company's tail to get this fixed.

Then while I was on the phone with my boss I revisited the online bill pay that I wanted to sign up for, that I had tried just before she went on vacation a few weeks ago, but it needed owner info that I didn't have. I had her on the phone while I enrolled for it online and she was able to answer the security questions. A message then popped up that said I had successfully enrolled and would be receiving an email. (I had used my email address for this very reason). I never got an email and it wasn't in my spam or quarantined mail. I tried to go ahead and log in with the user id and 8 digit pin I had to chose during enrollment and no luck. Finally I called the support number.....

Transferred 4 times. The 4th time was to tech support and the call disconnected during transfer so I had to call again. Finally get someone in tech support. She asks me the same questions to verify who I am/our company, bank account used to set up, etc. (I had already given this 3 other times). Then she tells me "oh, I can't talk to you - I have to talk to the person who's name was used for the enrollment" OMG. I said well she's an owner of the company and doesn't really use Quickbooks so she's not going to be able to figure out what I need answered for using your Bill Pay system! So, now my boss has to call in (and answer all the same questions I've answered 4 times now) and tell them to add me as a "co-subscriber" and then I can call back and talk to them. Good grief.

Not a very good work day!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Still working on the nuisance

of course still dealing with the neighbor's, which we don't expect to take care of overnight, but are at least making some progress (or maybe it's more like two steps forward, one step back). It was basically to be expected, that his attitude and actions would increase once the house owner told him to get rid of all the junk. Each night the past few nights he's taking it a bit farther. Saturday night was a pressure washer running for about a half hour after 9pm. Sunday night was the "backyard party" going on until 10:30pm and the lady across the alley flashing her porch light off and on at them. Monday night he was working on his race truck thing in his garage (with garage doors open). About 11pm all of a sudden he starts the thing up (first time we've heard it). Super loud, open headers, no mufflers. Woke me right up. (we are what, like 30 feet apart from each other?) DH was still up. He ran it about 30 seconds and shut it down. DH went out the door on our porch and yelled "hey! c'mon man, it's 11pm". He started it right back up for a bit, shut it down and DH went out again and yelled over " really, that's enough". He never did come outside his garage but started it up a few more times. It would be annoying enough to have to listen to it if he did that during the daytime but at 11pm? and he has little ones sleeping in his house attached to his garage...

All told he started it up like 4 or 5 times between 11pm and 11:30pm. It's hard to explain in writing how loud it was. It's not like he was just starting up a regular vehicle and revving it up. If you've ever been to car races, you know how loud they are - especially when they don't have any exhaust/muffler system on them.It's like rattle the pictures on the walls loud.

So, DH called the sheriff's office to put in a noise complaint. Told them it's not an emergency by any means, but apparently something we're going to have to have to address, as we have discovered the previous owners did too (many times apparently), and we are not going to put up with that going on all the time. A nice young deputy stopped by yesterday. He actually lives just across the street from the corner of our street, so he's familiar with it and also said he's familiar with some of the history of problems with the previous owner of our house. DH said well....then it appears they are the constant in this equation, aren't they? if they bothered the previous owners that bad and now have started doing it to us. DH told him we've been patient with all the problems with this guy for 7 months, but at some point we have to have the covenants followed (most likely a civil matter) and not live next door to a loud nuisance (law matter). He said he would talk to him soon, as he noticed the guy is usually getting home from work about same time he is later in the evening. He said he will also be checking into codes and such to see what they can do if he doesn't comply. He said there might be some city ordinances he can use. DH also told him what the guy said a couple of weeks ago about "knowing how to make people's lives miserable". Deputy said well, I kind of take that as a threat. I said, well at a minimum it was definitely a warning from him that if we start making complaints about him he knows how to make our life miserable. The deputy also said that they may be able to also do something to enforce the covenants and he would check into that avenue more.

He was a sweet nice guy, has a wife and two little ones (I've seen her taking walks with them) and said he had considered buying this house when it was for sale......but....the dispatcher kinda warned him away....because of the neighbor! I told him our situation with buying it, but we plan to build in a year or two. He asked if we were going to sell or rent and I said probably sell because you never know what kind of renter.... I said I had told my husband why couldn't one of you nice young deputy families that live down across the corner have been the ones that lived in this house next door! He said he'd love to rent our place, if we decided to rent and would take excellent care of it (providing the neighbor isn't there anymore LOL). He said they plan to rent here a few more years, but have decided they want to buy a place outside of town when the time comes.

The neighbor across from us, who we are getting to be friends with (and going out to dinner with on Friday) stopped by in front of our house yesterday morning as he was going somewhere (dh was out with dogs) and they chatted some more about this neighbor. He said feel free to pass along to the homeowner when you talk to her that my wife and I are tired of their crap too.

DH got to talk to the homeowner on the phone for a few minutes yesterday morning, but she was at work and got a call coming in and had to tell DH she'll call him back that afternoon (she did not). She said she wants them out of there, but she's now worried they will trash her house. DH did tell her that currently there are 4 adults and 4 children living at the house and the night before another adult stayed the night. She was like "OMG, where do they all fit in there?!"  DH did end up asking her if she covered their water bill or they did....he said I really don't mean to pry, but if you cover it, then I wanted to warn you to expect a huge bill....they have literally been running two sprinklers probably 12 hours a day for 4 days straight. We watered our newly seeded lawn and new plants really good one day before the last meter reading (then luckily we got several days of rain) and our bill was $10 higher than normal, just from that extra one day of watering for about an hour. They are probably running a $40 a day water bill up! We don't get it at all. It's not like the established lawn that they have would even need watering right now. It's not hot out and there's been enough rain off and on. So strange. The only thing we can come up with is they think they are annoying us by the sound of the sprinklers and some of the water coming into our yard? They said the previous owner would get mad if their sprinkler watered her property, so maybe they think it will annoy us? Bring it on....less water I have to pay for LOL! Thanks for watering the little trees I just planted along the fence, haha. Just one of the things that make you wonder....that and how does someone work a full time job all day, then go to another job after work for another 4 hours, come home (a 45 minute drive each way) and stay up in his garage until like 1:30am and then leave for work at 6am the next morning....how do you even stay awake doing that day after day, 5 days a week?  (mega amounts of coffee? drugs?)

Early yesterday evening the deputy called. Said he actually called neighbor on his cell phone (small town, easy to obtain, LOL) and talked to him. Said he admitted to running the engine that late. Deputy said he told him he can't be doing that and that they also cannot be parking IN the street anymore. They need to be in their driveway or on the shoulder (they parked in the street because they had their big driveway and shoulder all filled up). He said he also warned him that if the nuisances continue, they will charge him.

Neighbor got home last night at 10pm, left at 6am - barely heard a sound over there and as they had yet again parked a vehicle in the street, it got moved to shoulder.

DH tried to trim our black dogs bushy tail to get some knots out and made it look worse, so when he went to do an errand in town yesterday he stopped at the cute little dog groomer place we noticed and dropped him off there. For $10 whole bucks she spiffied him up nice! She said he's the best behaved flat coated retriever she's ever been around. I guess they aren't usually well behaved? DH also bought a brush she had for sale that works on his type of coat and gave her a $5 tip :)  While pooch was getting trimmed he went over to the county building to talk to the county planner about our property. He had some questions about where the short plat shows the drain field should go (which doesn't really work for us) and had heard this guy is a bit hard to deal with...unless you kinda kiss his butt...so that's what DH did LOL DH said they got along fine and the guy was very cooperative and had no problem with where DH said we wanted to put the house and the drain field.

DH still keeps in regular touch with our old "good neighbor". He sent DH a text last night. The water stopped working again last night. The well owner couldn't get a hold of slumlandlord, who usually "fixes" it for her, so she called good neighbor. He went down to the well house/shed (which sits on the corner of her drug house son's property - the one that deals all the drugs out the bedroom window) and said the blackberry bushes were so grown up around the little building he couldn't even get the door open and said obviously no one has even been in this well house since she had the pump replaced a couple years ago. He finally gets the door open and OMG! all the insulation that is in the walls and ceiling was all just hanging there and rotting out. He sent DH a picture. I said oh man, she should so be reported to the county! WE ARE SO GLAD WE DO NOT HAVE TO DEAL WITH THAT OR HER EVER AGAIN! I can just hear her now....ohhh..I don't know what to do...I don't have any money for it.....I'm still paying off the credit card charges on the pump 2 years ago.....

Other than that all is fine. I put a hummingbird feeder that sticks to a window on my office window and got to sit and drink my coffee watching a hummingbird this morning. DH had his breakfast out on the porch, as it was a nice sunny morning. The high school kids were outside in the area across from one side of our house, where there is a big lawn area and a town "frisbee golf" area and they were all playing that for gym class, it appeared. Kinda fun to watch, too. Small town life.




Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The disappearing bonus

Last week there was a company meeting. My boss said it wasn't necessary to make the trip over to attend. Not a major meeting or anything and she'd fill me in on it, afterwards. But, shortly after the meeting ended, she sent me an email that she was leaving the office for the rest of the day and would fill me in the next day. I'm still waiting LOL

I'm sure it was mostly about the fact that we are opening another satellite office for some of the employees and also, that for the first time in just about ever, our sales are not meeting the goal set for the year. WTH?!! Of course, this affects our bonus, which is based on meeting the sales goal at mid year and at the end of the year. While 90% of our income is commissions, a % based on sales, the bonus program isn't based on our commissions $ received, but rather our gross sales $.

The past couple of years, while the push is, of course, to reach our sales goals, it's also been emphasized that we could definitely be doing better on the commission % we actually earn on those sales (after all - that is the actual income to the company). They've pushed to increase our % by a couple of points. Every point is about an extra million dollars in commission to our company for a year - all "easy" money. It doesn't cost us extra manpower or time to price our projects a bit higher when we can. Anyhow, while we've always met out sales goals and earned our bonus, the commission % earned has stayed the same the past several years.

Now this year, our sales are not where they should be (even less than this time last year) BUT, our commission % has increased over 2%. That is wonderful. That means our bottom line net income will be over 2 million dollars more than last year, based on the same sales total.  So, while our sales are not where they should be at this point, our total commission dollars are more than where they normally are, now that we are getting more out of those sales.  BUT, our bonus isn't based on that.  So, kinda stinks that overall - the employees/sales force are making the company the same amount of money as before, we would not get our bonus this mid year.  The extra crappy part is that for this year our bonus's went up from 10% of our salary to 15%....and now for some reason we aren't meeting our goal. Poop!

One of the owner's sent out an email a week or so ago, telling us not to stress out too much over the drop in sales. The company is still very strong financially and at the end of the day, it's is after all just a job selling stuff. It was a nice email, but I'm sure everyone would rather the sales be up and getting a nice bonus next month!

Why sales are down, I really have no idea. We are 20% below are sales goal YTD so far, and 14% below our sales total at this time last year. Ouch! It does make one wonder about the correlation of increasing our % earned on those sales. Did it end up taking more time away from making other sales? Or did it cause us to lose sales because we were too high priced and the customers went with another manufacturer to buy some of their products? Because everything I am hearing about the area we service is that construction is on the increase, so by association our sales should be increasing, not decreasing. I thought business's were feeling optimistic about the economy and investing more. We have had a bit of turnover in our sales force, but nothing more than usual in a given year. Though I found it odd that the person that got the very highest % of raise (15%), out of everyone, a couple of months has decided to leave the company.

Personally, it will be another hit to my budget, especially since I also did not receive a salary increase this year. It wouldn't have been so bad to not get the bonus, if I had received the 4-9% increase that just about every single other employee got. Or vice versa - it wouldn't be too bad not to get a raise, since they increased the bonus program by 5% (and we've never had a problem getting our bonus before). While I do not budget the bonus in my monthly budget, it of course has ALWAYS been a nice boost to income to get it twice a year, these past years. I am hoping some adjustment will be made to take into account that we are actually earning more money, even though our sales are down. The owners are very fair and generous, so I have a feeling it will all work out in the end.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Not ready for Monday yet

Where did the weekend go? Too fast. Not that we really did a bunch, but before I knew it Monday is here. I kicked off work about a half hour early on Friday so we could go to the city and pick up my new glasses. The style is quite different than I've ever had before, so it's taking me a bit to get used to them, but I think I am starting to like them.

After that we went over to Home Depot and DH got the lawn mower he wants. I don't really think it was going to be on sale anywhere (apparently the sales are in Fall for that kind of stuff?) and only a couple of places around here sell it. Anyhow, we bought that (a Honda self propelled mower) and a few more plants for the yard and then went over to the farm/feed store and picked up 3 decorative wagon wheels I have been wanting to put out in front of the front porch. Pretty much my Mother's Day present, I guess. I love them!

Saturday we ended up re-staining the porch railings there. We had some stain to use up, but wish DH would have went and bought new stain that was lighter. We ended up using the Walnut stain we had left and it's pretty dark, but still looks better than it did. We'll live with it. (picture is before stain)

After shopping was done on Friday (it was about 6pm by then) we got a quick drive through dinner and then on our way out of town stopped at a little dirt track to watch some racing. It was fun (though completely forgot about bringing our seat cushions with us) and DH's friend and his daughter decided to come watch too. They seemed to enjoy it. It was over by 10pm and we were home about 40 minutes later.

Friday afternoon I had been outside for a break, throwing the ball to our dog across the street in the field. The guy who lives straight across from us on the other side of the field was back from working out of state and was working in his garage, so then his dog is usually out with him. She saw me (well, she saw the ball LOL) and came running over so I played fetch with her and our fetching dog (the other dog will not play, he just wanders around). She is 11 years old and poor thing sounds like she's going to have a heart attack she's breathing so hard, but she won't give up playing. I didn't want to tire her out so started to walk her across the field to take her back and neighbor met me halfway and got her.  Then yesterday afternoon DH was in the field on the side of our house and she was out at her garage again and came running over to play again. LOL. I went outside too. Then we walked her back home and talked with the guy and his wife for probably like an hour. He was trying to fix his snow mobile and couldn't figure something out and then DH figured it out, so he was really happy. We are going to go out to dinner with them on Friday evening, so that will be fun and be able to get to know them more. They are same age as us. They cannot stand our renter neighbors either and wish they'd just move away.

Neighbor hasn't cleaned up anymore since last Thursday night. Still one junk vehicle and car parts in the driveway. He brought more car parts in yesterday, dumped in front of his garage. He moved his two trailers to the other side of his house, but the big one is parked on developers property. (I doubt he got permission). Saturday and Sunday he had the big trailer parked in back, kind of partway in teh alley and partway on his back lawn. I'm sure the old lady was fit to be tied about that, since she seems to think the alley is her property. And true to his word, he knows how to make people's lives miserable. Has really ratcheted up the noise level, usually starting about 8:45pm the last couple of nights. Last night it was until after 10pm, they were out back. DH happened to look out our back sliding door about then as it was especially noisy and noticed the old lady across the alley (she's closer to their house than ours) flashing her back porch light off and on. Most likely trying to tell them to shut up.  Think she'll call her son on them? LOL


DH has been in one of his "funks" the past week. He rarely stops complaining about anything and I am so tired of listening to him. But it will pass and I just nod and agree with him, half listening. I've learned it does no good to try and convince him otherwise - that just makes him madder and harder to break the cycle. He'll get over it soon and my ears won't have to bleed for awhile.

The hummingbirds have arrived so that is making me happy. Our back yard area has become quite the wild life area, birds, hummingbirds, bunnies. One of our dogs will just sit at the back sliding doors and watch and watch. Keeps him entertained. One night we saw a big deer in the field next to our house.




Friday, May 5, 2017

Alright Alright Alright

The house owner came through! We had a feeling she had talked to them (DH talked to her Tuesday  morning) as all week they had stopped parking in the street. Since the guy doesn't get home until like 10pm every night we figured if they were going to clean up it wasn't going to happen until this weekend. But, he got home about 8:30 last night. Obviously, none too happy as he's driving fast and screeches his truck and trailer around the corner and comes to a screeching halt in front of our houses. His wife had hooked her SUV up to one of their smaller trailers and moved it over to the side of the house. He pulled in with his big car trailer and loaded up one of the junk/non running trucks in his driveway and hauled it away. Then he came back with with no car trailer and loaded some stuff in the back of his pick up and left again. (when DH had talked to the home owner she said when she told them to get it cleaned up last summer/fall he had told her he had a friend on the other side of town he could take it all to....just didn't tell her he brought it all back after we bought our house).

It looks SO much better already this morning! They also had this rusted, dirty, crappy looking, what I think was one of those big BBQ's that sit on a little trailer just sitting on the side of the street - it was actually sitting on the vacant lot on their side, not even on their property. That appears to be gone or moved too.  Just having them not park a car or two out in the street 24/7 is a big improvement on it's own.

I'm very glad we persisted and pursued following the covenants with the owner of the house. Sure, the renter guy won't be too happy, but that's not our problem. There was absolutely no reason he should have been allowed to have what amounted to a wrecking yard - small town or no small town. DH is going to give the home owner a call soon and thank her for taking steps to get this cleaned up. I'd say it's about 85-90% cleaned up now, so that is very nice indeed.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Flowers it is

Just spent $50 for 2 flower bouquet's to be delivered. One to my mom and one to MIL. I think that is a pretty good deal and along with that I get free shipping and fees on any flower orders for the next year.

FTD (which had the best reviews online for the flowers looking like the photos and being quality) had an initial coupon code for $10 off any order. I didn't go real fancy with the bouquets. They are flowers after all and they die in a week - LOL. They were having a special half price on a spring type bouquet for $19.99 (I didn't do the upgrades offered).

All well and good on the price of it, but shipping for each order would have been more than the price of the bouquet! about $22 each. Um....that seems a bit ridiculous, even with the $10 off the whole order, it would have cost me about $75 total. I noticed they were offering a "Gold Membership" for a one time fee of $19.99 that would give you free shipping/delivery fees on all orders for the next year. Well, shoot, I might as well do that. It will pay for one shipping and make the other one free - even if I didn't place another order in the next year, my total on this order would be $50, after applying the $10 off code.

I've set myself a calendar reminder to order next years birthday/Mother's Day before the year is up and take advantage of it, before I cancel the subscription and not get charged for another year.

Muddling through the week

Since I totally buggered getting my mom a giftcard to mail with her birthday card, I told her I'll combine with Mother's Day (which we do quite often anyway). I'm just going to send her a bouquet of flowers, as well as have one sent to my MIL for Mother's Day.  I hate ordering flowers online - you never know if they will look good and I'm sure they don't look like the pictures! HA.  I might end up sending her something from Harry & Davids. I know she likes that and I know their stuff is good. Or maybe I'll just get a giftcard this next week (I should have to go to the city sometime in the next week for my new glasses) and mail with a Mother's Day card. Might be a cheaper alternative than flowers.

Beautiful sunny day today - getting up to 81 degrees. Wooo! We started seeing a few new blades of grass yesterday. Today should really help it along. I'm going to hate to see my water bill, but it's gotta get taken care of.

I'm still not able to log in remotely with my side job and I'm a tad annoyed now. Their IT company just keeps telling me "tomorrow". I'm on my 3rd email to them. Finally this morning I asked for an update on when I can expect to get this resolved as I have work to tend to. They keep saying they have a firewall they have to get installed first before they can get me set back up. They've been saying that since Monday and each day it's the same story. I kept telling them to call me anytime during the work day, but this time I said let's set up an appointment time for them to call. My luck I'd be on another call or in the bathroom or something and miss their call. This way I know for sure when to be available.

When DH was having that long conversation with the neighbors a couple of weeks ago (when their kid dented my car and their solution was I should park in the garage) the guy said "ya, I know how to get along with people if I want, but I also know how to make people's lives miserable (chuckle, chuckle). He was referring to the old owners, but DH also took it as he'll have no problem trying to make ours miserable too. Anyhow, not sure if his landlord has contacted them yet or not, but kind of getting that impression. They aren't parking in the street overnight anymore. He usually gets home from work sometime between 9:30pm and 10:30pm. He has this diesel pickup with no mufflers. So it's a loud one. He backs in his driveway and starts revving the engine a couple of times. Whatever LOL. He usually leaves about 6:10am. Most times he warms his truck up about 5-10 minutes. It's loud, often times wakes us up, but no biggie - the guy has to get to work. Yesterday morning he let it sit there running for 30 minutes. This morning it started up at 5:30 and he left at 6:20. 50 minutes. He knows when he parks backed in it's much louder than if he pulls in nose first, as then his exhaust is right next to the front of his house and our bedroom on that side. What a douche....doesn't even realize who he really is ultimately just making mad is his landlord. LOL. I didn't realize when DH was talking to her that she told him she wants to get them out of there completely, not just clean it up. DH had said to her that our goal isn't to get them to leave - just to clean up all the crap and we'll be happy. Apparently the young lady with the 2 little ones that moved in this week is his oldest daughter. (he has 6 kids total).

DH got the picnic table and another bench we have stained yesterday. Now he wants to just find someone to give the picnic table to LOL. I said well, then why bother taking all that time to stain it?! Silly. With the much warmed up weather now, I think I'm probably safe to plant flowers in all my pots and hanging baskets. I noticed the little grocery/hardware store in town has a big tent out put out front that they will be having some flowers and plants available to purchase soon.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Mid week rambling

It's supposed to warm up to almost 70 degrees today. Currently this morning it's only 41, so far. We have a ways to go to get there. Tomorrow's forecast is 81! That should get that grass seed sprouted - at least we are sure hoping.  The previous owners left a picnic table on the back patio. She also left some stain that she had intended to stain it with, but never got around to it. I just helped DH move it out to a sunny spot so it can dry out a bit (just damp from overnight moisture) and am sure I just whacked my back out.  Hopefully by this afternoon it will be dry enough to stain. I think we are going to end up taking it out to the property, though. The little back patio area isn't much bigger than the picnic table. We can set it near the river bank and take a lunch out there once in a while and watch the river.......though I have no idea how it will be it loaded on the trailer, as it's just way too heavy for me to help. I guess he's going to have to wait until his friend is over visiting sometime.

We really like our neighbor who lives across from us, on the other side of the vacant lots. He's home for 2 weeks and gone for 2 weeks, as he works out of state. Seems with the lack of jobs in this area, that is a common thing we hear on how people make a decent living around here (or they are retired). The lady who has the title company in town said her husband works out of state for like several months at a time and only gets to come home several times a year. They have kids too, which wouldn't make for very good family life, that's for sure. Anyhow, he's a nice friendly guy and when he's home he's just out doing stuff around his yard, etc during the day (his wife works in town here) and every so often he and DH chat. I think he gets home today and DH is anxious to tell him we "might" have good news as far as our neighbor having to clean up his junk. This guy has said he hates that they park in the street, as they go down our street to get to their house (his garage in in the back of his property) and it pisses him off that he has to drive on the other side of the street to go around them. The guy that owns these vacant lots emailed last night that he is still going to check with his attorney on what will be the next step, if the house owner doesn't follow through on her promise. He also said he'll probably be in town in a couple of weeks and would like to meet us.

Dinner meals this week have been (besides Spaghettio's last Sunday LOL) meatloaf Monday night and pizza last night. I can't find my pizza sauce (Classico) in town grocery so I ordered 3 jars from Walmart and my order got delivered yesterday. Tonight will be chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes, which as become a favorite of ours. Easy and very cheap meat. Tomorrow is just a hamburger helper casserole and Friday will be some leftover taco soup I had frozen in the freezer. I need to get the next 7 or so meals planned out and see if I have enough to get through another week, without shopping. I think I might. I also have a lasagne casserole frozen in the freezer, from when I froze half of it last time I made it. I also froze half of a loaf of garlic french bread. I'm getting better about doing that.

I'm reading a good book I came across called eleanor & park.  Easy read story about teenage love among a boy and girl who seem an unlikely pair. I started it after work yesterday and almost finished it already.

We haven't been eating out much at the town restaurant. Maybe once a month now or less. We've taken to stopping in at Wendy's for a burger when we are in the city and that is our "eat out" 2-3 times a month now and only costs about $12, so half the cost of eating at the restaurant.

I'm still waiting for a call from my side job IT company to get me back online with them remotely. They keep pushing me out, but now say they will be calling me today.

Yesterday was my mom's birthday (and also the anniversary of my dad passing 8 years ago). I chatted with her in the morning for a while. DD tried to call her when she got off work but no answer and texted me if I knew where Grandma was. Nope, sounded like she was staying home. She tried again later and got her. Mom was like "ya, I missed your call and saw you called. I was going to try to call you back, but the last digit of your phone number was missing". We have no idea how she did that with her flip phone, LOL, but that's how it goes with her ;)

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Covenants issue update

We were finally able to get a phone number for the lady that owns the house next door.  I know DH has been stressing over all this. He had a nice talk with her this morning and now he feels much better (me too!). Finding her number was a job! The two numbers we found were disconnected. I kept trying google searches and found where she possibly worked, but did not really want to call her at work. We knew her mom lives here in town and worked for one of the town services companies. DH didn't really want to call her to ask for her number, but we finally had no other option, as we just could not find a number. Called up here in town where her mom works (she would have been the one to answer the phone) and was told she just retired and the guy gave DH her home number. She was very nice to him and they actually had quite a long conversation about it. She says all that stuff the renters have on the property has got to go. DH asked for her daughter's number or to please pass on our number for her to call us. She gladly gave us her numbers (both cell and work). She also said she drives by our street on her way to visit her father in the nursing home and just doesn't bother to look down the street at the house anymore, because it was bothering her to look at it's condition. Apparently the renters were telling her (and others) that the new people next door were like them (into racing) and they had a lot in common with us. The mom said her thought was "you mean they like "junk" too?" DH laughed and said NO, we do not have anything in common with them. Yes, we do have some racing stuff, but it is all inside our shop and would NEVER be stored out, being an eyesore to neighbors. We do have a small flatbed car trailer in back, parked up next to our shop, where is should be. We only have one vehicle we park in the driveway and apparently, according to the renters, if we don't want their  kids to damage it anymore, we should park it in our garage. She was like OMG.

Once DH gets to talking (and he feels comfortable) he can talk and talk, so I jumped in the shower. When I got out he was then talking to her daughter, the house owner. It all went well. She was very receptive and nice and said she has told them before they need to get all that stuff off the property. DH also told her that when he looked at the house, none of that junk was there and when we moved in a month later it was there and more just keeps being added. He told her what the renter said about moving the stuff out, for our previous owner, so we wouldn't see it when we looked at the house. She was like "oh.....that's not right". So apparently, she wasn't aware that happened. She lives 2 hours away, so isn't seeing it on a regular basis. (and most likely, if no one's complaining, then might as well not deal with it). She said she will definitely get this taken care of. She had hoped to have her mom live in the house, but mom doesn't want that, so it's been renters. She then said she should probably just sell the house, since her mom doesn't want it. She also said to DH that she would not want to live next door to that, either. DH said, well, that's good to hear and if you can look at it from that perspective, then this should be a pretty easy fix.

Hopefully we aren't just getting our hopes up for nothing, but at least we first tried talking to the home owner. Oh - and the wife/renter must have found a job and they apparently moved in some girl, with a baby and a toddler, to also live with them, last night! Good grief. She showed up (parked in the street, of course) and proceeded to unpack her SUV, bags, boxes, playpen, vacuum cleaner, the works. I'm assuming she's probably now the live in babysitter. So 4 adults and 4 kids now living in that small house. DH didn't mention anything to the house owner about that. Just stuck to the covenants/junk vehicles and parts issue. Though her parking overnight on the street isn't allowed. Right now with just 2 of the 8 houses here on this street it's not a huge deal, you can drive on the other side of the street to get around the car (now cars) they have parked there, but can you imagine if the other houses were in and everyone did that? There would literally be no way to drive down this street. Hence, the covenant rule.

We'll just have to wait and see what happens. The house owner was even nice to say that when she confronted them about removing all the excess stuff she was just going to tell them she was in town visiting her mom and drove by the house, rather than telling them we complained. If nothing gets done we at least tried to talk to her first and then will go the route of getting an attorney and we also have the developer, who said he is going to work on the issue too and seemed more than willing to involve his attorney, if he has too.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Monday this and that

Yesterday was such a gray drizzly rain day. I never did get any energy at all and took two naps! The rest of the day I just read. I didn't even make a normal dinner. We just had some spaghettio's and ham sandwiches. While we were out on our little drive on Saturday my check engine light came on. DH used his code reader on it, but still not really sure what caused it. It's off now. Maybe we just hit a bump or something. We'll be keeping an eye on it. Just hit over 100,000 miles on it. Hope to keep it at least a couple more years.

As I'm typing this my cursor is not showing up. A bit annoying as I keep loosing my place, if I pause or backspace to fix spelling. Ok, now it's back, LOL.  I'm waiting for someone from the IT company for my side job to give me a call.  I went to log in remotely on Friday and it wouldn't work. Waited an hour or so and tried again and no luck. I emailed their office manager, who said some settings or something got changed, so they are supposed to call me today to get me working again.

Today is blue sky and sunny and the weather is supposed to get to 80 degrees on Thursday! We really haven't turned our heat on much the past month. DH wants the propane left to last until the summer rates kick in. We haven't really been too cold - we just keep dressing in our winter sweatshirts and sweaters and have been comfortable. That will also make our electricity bill go way down, as our furnace blower runs on electricity. Last month our electricity bill went down to $264 and it had been $400 the winter months before. I'm hoping it's below $200 this next bill. Especially because our water bill will be higher, due to having to water the newly planted grass seed.

I forgot to mention I had book club last week. My property neighbor picked me up to ride there with her, so that was really nice and gives us a chance to chat and get to know each other more. A huge turnout this time. 13 ladies. So lots of new faces and names to remember and meet. I was a bit overwhelmed, since I didn't know most of them and the few I do "know" I don't really know very well at all. It's not really a comfortable feeling for me as I'm not an extrovert, but I survived. The house of the host was very strangely laid out. It's a 1/2 million dollar house (I know this because it's for sale) on the river, but such a weird layout. They've been trying to sell awhile and have lowered the price. I'm sure the floor plan is not inviting many buyers. Even my neighbor commented to me on it as we were leaving.

We are still trying to find a phone number for the lady who owns the house next door. The number we found (and another number) both come up disconnected. The property developer had emailed last week that he couldn't find her number in his records (he had supposedly talked to her last August) and was going out of town for a week and would look again when he got back. I emailed him this morning that the number we tried was no good and he replied back he will keep looking for it. Otherwise, I guess we'll have to go the letter from an attorney route, right off.  Meanwhile DH was standing out in our driveway early yesterday evening, just to let the dogs out for a pee (he thought they weren't outside and we can't let our dogs on our seeded lawn just yet, so have to take them to the vacant lot on the other side of us) and here comes the 3 year old running over to say hi - all the while scraping her hand/fingers along the side of my car.......um...what part of keep your kids OUT of our driveway do they not get? apparently the mom was on their little front porch area that's kind of recessed so DH didn't see them when he decided to go out.  There is no way in the world we could even think about pulling DH's nice (like people take care of a classic type car nice) pick up out of the garage, if they are anywhere near around.

I didn't get time to finish this post when I started this morning. It's late afternoon and no call from the IT folks. Frustrating!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Work and fun

Yesterday was a good day. Got lots done and also had some fun time. First thing I went into the little town grocery store and got the grocery shopping done. On my way back home I decided to try out the little coffee stand on the edge of town, near the truck stop. I was out of creamer and didn't have my coffee when I got up. It wasn't too bad, but $4 for small white mocha won't be in my regular splurges too often. Friday, after my eye exam we picked up some more shrubs to finish up the landscaping project. We wanted some interspersed in the rock garden (I like it much better now), some out in front of our porch and I also wanted two boxwoods in pots on each side, in front of our garage. Mission accomplished.


While we were outside planting we heard this very loud boom and then another smaller boom. DH figured it must have been a semi truck accident on the freeway nearby. Even a couple hours later we noticed vehicles going pretty slow in the spot we can see through to the freeway. We decided to take a walk with the dogs over to where we could see and sure enough there were towing truck stuff and a truck off the freeway. We were kind of making a loop on our walk back to our house and passed an elderly lady sweeping the parking lot of a business. We said hello and stopped to talk to her. Her hubby came out of the building a minute later. He's 83, she's 76 and they clean up the building on nights and weekends. Lots of energy this little old couple has and you can tell they like to keep busy. They were super sweet and we had a nice 15 minute or so conversation with them before we went around the corner and back to our house.

Then we decided to drive out to our property. DH took a detour along the way. He remembered a "creek road" (there are tons of them in these mountains) he had gone up to look at a firewood cutting job when he was like 14 years old. He found it easily enough and we kept on the dirt road. It was maintained for awhile, then not. But we kept going and then we were climbing up and up on a narrow winding road. Basically a logging road. We didn't go all the way up, but got to this spot at about 4000ft level and enjoyed the view


                                                        Can't complain, that's for sure.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Look at those teeny tiny words

I had an eye exam yesterday at a Costco optometrist. Super nice doctor, I really liked him. Definitely needed a new glasses prescription. Middle and far distance much sharper and reading will be so much better. He flipped the lenses to what my current prescription is and then back over to what my new one will be. I could read teeny tiny print, clear as a bell. LOL.

Picking out new glasses was not very fun. DH wouldn't help give any input and I could really barely see a thing between my almost blind vision without glasses on and having my eyes dilated. While they were dilating I went out and tried on glasses. Thought I found some I liked, but when I went back to order them after my exam was finished the lady talked me out of them. Said they were much wider than my current glasses and I wouldn't end up liking them. I've always had full rimmed glasses and these were just the top. She also commented that I should be aware they will look thicker without the rim (I have a pretty thick lens on right eye). I had sat down and she brought over some other lenses to try. I hadnt' really seen any full rimmed frames similar to what I have, but I didn't realize there was another display of frames in a front counter down low. She brought over a couple of full framed glasses but they were like blue or black and didn't look good. Anyhow, I was feeling kind of rushed (just because DH was there and waiting) and also feeling totally out of sorts because I couldn't really see and the lights were bright, etc. I have a feeling I'm not going to end up liking these glasses much. I guess we'll know in a week. Afterwards DH said he liked that very first pair the best too (the one's she talked me out of). GrRR!

Exam and glasses (progressive lenses) came to $305, but I will get reimbursed $150 from vision insurance. Not the best vision insurance, but better than nothing, I guess.

So, then I had those ridiculous "sun glasses" on inside my glasses to go outside. We still had shopping to do to get some more shrubs and stop and get a prescription. I don't know how, but I completely forgot my clip on sunglasses are in the glove box. That's where they always are! I felt like half my brain was missing yesterday. Out of sorts for some reason. Then I forgot to pick up my mom a gift card for her birthday, while I was getting the prescription. Oh well, Mother's Day just around the corner, I'll double up :)


Thursday, April 27, 2017

The retirement projection exercise

Most of the time, in the back of my mind, is worry that we got such a late start on retirement savings (aged 41) and we won't have near enough. Then about every year or two I actually do a projection of where my 401k should be by the time I retire, as well as get online and see what our estimated social security will be.  Then I kind of breathe easier. It's not really that bad.

I plan (ya ya - I know how plans go) to retire somewhere between 67 and 70. I'm healthy, don't feel my age, I should be able to work until I'm 70. I've always pretty much figured I'm going to have to work that long since we started so late saving.

Monday I did a little spreadsheet for yearly contributions and estimated earnings. They say over time the stock market has averaged 7% a year. I also have my 401k in an aggressive portfolio, since I still have quite a few years to ride it out (about 17 years). I put in my current starting balance, added my yearly contributions, my employer matching and my employer profit sharing contribution. I just left it the same every year and didn't even increase it (though it will most likely increase). I was a bit more conservative on the earnings and put in 6% per year.

By age 70 I would have about $400,000. While at first that sure doesn't seem like enough..who could live another 20 or more years or so on that? But, I'm going to assume social security or some form of it will still be there. I really don't think the voters and politicians in this country are going to cheat us out of putting into it for over 50 years and never get anything out of it. So, I'm going to assume I'm going to get what they are telling me I'll get when I retire. At age 67 I would get $28,000 a year. My DH will be eligible for his or 1/2 of mine, which ever is larger, so 1/2 of mine. Bringing our annual income up another $14,000 to $42,000 a year. Each year, waiting past age 67 to collect adds 8% to the amount. By waiting until age 70 to collect our social security benefits our annual benefit total would be $52,000 a year.

Assuming a (recommended) 4% draw from my retirement funds per year, I just put the first year at a flat $16,000 draw in my spreadsheet along with a much lower earnings estimate at 2.5%.  That would give us $68,000 a year total to live on. I increased the draw 2% per year for inflation needs. With the principal balance (while declining) earning a rate of return every year, by age 95 (Gosh, I hope I don't have to live that long LOL) I would still have about $50,000 left. Money that can go towards living in assisted or a nursing home, which I'm sure we'll end up in before we'd reach 95 years of age. Plus by that time we'll have a paid for house we can sell and that money can be used, as well, for our remaining years, if we have to live in assisted living or nursing home. If that runs out then, I guess it's medicaid, like my grandma had to use after her money ran out (she lived to 95).

I really don't think we'd need to draw down 4% a year if we are making $52k a year in social security.  Changing it to 3% gives us $64,000 a year to live on and assuming the same other variables (2.5% earnings and 2% draw increase each year) - we then still have over $200,000 left by age 95.

At some point, I'll also have some amount of inheritance from my mom. She's very frugal and her annual draw is usually less than her annual earnings on her principal. (plus she gets social security), so she's not even touched her principal yet (at age 76).  I don't anticipate it being until past when I actually retire, but then of course I'll still most likely have another 20 years or so to live. My mom isn't likely to run out of money, that's for sure and even if it ended up only being $50,000-$100,000 she had left, that's still something to add to our retirement money. Plus that's not even counting her house she owns.

So, I don't think we are going to end up poor and destitute. Obviously we will have to manage our money closely and wisely. As long as our house and cars are paid for I do not see any reason whatsoever we could not live on $58k a year - or less! My mom lives very comfortably on $50k a year. We don't plan on living some extravagant lifestyle in retirement, that's for sure. In another year or two I'll start panicking again and have to do this exercise all over again.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Covenants

While, after 4 months or more of looking at it, our neighbor had finally taken away that old junk truck sitting up on a trailer out in front, within days he brought in another one, but this one he parked in his driveway (along with the other non drive-able truck he has parked there) and had mentioned to DH that he was bringing another one "temporarily" to get the parts off of it. Well, we all know what "temporary" can mean..... He ended up not even coming home this past weekend (and had taken his trailer with him when he left) but came back Monday night with just the trailer. He did park that out front, but at least it's low to the ground and we can look out our front window and see the view we are supposed to see. He picked up the rear ends and just moved them over to the other side of his front yard, LOL.

The wife apparently has not gotten her old job back and is now home every day. She's been putting their dog outside in their back yard tied up about once a day. All winter they kept him inside (a blue heeler dog). When he is tied up outside he will literally bark non-stop until they bring him back in. At first she was leaving him out there about 15-20 minutes. Then an hour. She put him out there yesterday at 4pm and he literally barked until 8pm, when she brought him back in. How does a person just think that is ok? I know it happens all the time, but how can you sit in your own house and listen to your own dog bark for 4 hours straight? 1. It would drive me nuts. 2. I would feel terrible that I was annoying someone else. I feel so bad for the dog. Anyone who knows about dogs knows those cattle dogs are super high energy, as well as smart, and they need to be exercised daily and have their brains kept busy.

Last night DH got a hold of the guy that still owns these vacant lots in this little "sub division". He still has 6 lots for sale and these first two houses were built 8 years ago, so he's been trying to sell a long time. Our previous owners had mentioned he wasn't happy with the condition of the renters place either, as he feels it might be hurting his ability to sell the lots. He lives a couple hours a way, so he's not seeing the condition on a regular basis. DH assumed he was also the one that wrote up the covenants for these properties and wanted to clarify the "we can't even wash our cars here" comment the renters made. We read that particular covenant as you cannot wash or repair your vehicle in the street, but you certainly can in your own driveway.

So, the guy (seems like a nice older retired gentleman) said no, it's just the street you aren't supposed to wash vehicles on. They didn't want people washing off a muddy work truck or something in the street or on the shoulder area. Makes perfect sense.

Of course, DH brought up the fact that the renter is breaking several other covenants that we aren't very happy with, especially as it is hurting our property value/investment and DH was wondering if this guy had ever spoken to the renter's property owner and how receptive she might be to us complaining to her. He said he has talked to her before and she "seemed" receptive and he actually had talked to her about it last August and she told him she planned to move them out and put her mom in the house. Obviously that never happened. More than likely it was just something to say to delay being complained at again for awhile.

Then the guy said that as the developer of this subdivision and since the lots have not all sold he would still be considered responsible for making sure the covenants are followed. He said he'll talk to his attorney today about it today. DH told him that we are also more than willing to join in, either through his attorney or our own attorney, to also be part of the complaint. He thought that was a very good idea to have her receive notification that two property owners are not happy with the covenants being violated. He said he'll see what his attorney says on what is best way to handle this. At the end of the conversation he said he also might just give the woman a call (she also lives a couple hours away) first and see where he gets with her. I would imagine he'd try that route first, so that it might save him some legal fees.

So, I think we'll probably get some resolution at some point. He wants to protect his investment too, as well as get these lots sold at some point. Our good friends who live about a half hour from us, the wife works at a law office in the city and they handle property matters, so if need be we will use someone in her office. I wouldn't think it would cost more than a few hundred dollars to have a letter written to the lady that owns the house.

Honestly, if it weren't for the renters and all their junk vehicles and parts (and now their dog) we would probably seriously consider staying right here and not building our house. It's a quiet area at the end of town. We love this little house.  But, after spending all those years at our old house, living next door to a junkyard and crappy neighbors we are not willing to go through that again.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Oh Good Grief!

So over the weekend while we were working on beautifying our little yard, DH had about a wheelbarrow full of dirt and rocks from digging out some of the holes. Most of the dirt he used elsewhere, but this stuff had too many rocks. He didn't want to dump in it a pile on top of our nice newly graveled area around the shop because it would be too hard to shovel back up, so he put it in 2 small piles right up next to our big shop doors, that sit right on the edge of the alley. I'm talking like 2 small piles - about 2 feet wide and maybe out from the shop doors about a foot. It would be easier to shovel up from the hard dirt/grass ground right there, than on our graveled area. And of course we didn't want to dump in on our just seeded lawn area.

He plans to use a little of it to fill in a low spot and the rest will probably just get spread out right in front of the shop doors, as it's kind of a low spot there and driving something into the shop you kind of have the concrete floor up a bit higher. Anyhow - regardless, it's like a wheelbarrow amount of dirt in 2 small piles.

As he was putting it there, he said "watch - old bitty neighbor lady is going to be calling her son or someone from the city or county is going to show up asking about it". Sure enough later Sunday afternoon he shows up for about 15-20 minutes. Then this morning we are sitting in our office at our computers and see a "city" truck pull in the alley, pull up behind our shop for just a few seconds and then back out down the alley and head back towards town. DH is FUMING right now.

I had told him on Sunday, when he made the comment that he's probably right and just say "hey, I'm in the middle of a landscape project right now. It's not blocking the alley in anyway and it will be moved when I have time (and the muscle energy back) to get it moved later this week. OMG! You should have seen the alley and the area around and in front of the shop when we moved in! The previous owner had crap laying all over AND in the alley (that he kindly left for us to clean up) not to mention all the pick up loads of crap on the other side of the alley - from neighbor lady!

But the city has no problem with our junky neighbor with his junk vehicles and auto parts laying on the shoulder area of the street in front of his house - clearly city property! No problem with them tying their dog up outside and he just barks and barks, non stop.

What the hell is wrong with these people? You have someone move into your economically dying city/county, who want to live quietly, make their place look nice, mind their own business, AND more importantly SPEND their money in your city/county and have to treat people like this? I'm sure as slow as these people all seem to work, it'll be 2 weeks before we get a letter or something about it, which of course, by then DH will have it picked up anyway. We've been trying to laugh it off every time DH goes outside and does something in the back yard (not even going in the alley) and she has to have her son come drive down the alley, but this is pretty much past our tolerance level for stupidity.

Did I mention NO one uses this alley? Of the 3 houses on the alley, we are the only lot which actually would have a need to use it (because of the shop) and we don't even use it, other than rarely. I'm sure our previous owner used it on a regular basis. It appeared he parked his pickup in back here. One time there was someone from the electric company in the alley working up on the pole.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Let the week begin

I finished a book I was reading on my library app last Wednesday evening. Then realized I had no more books downloaded to read! Everything in my "hold" list wasn't available yet. I was next in line for a couple of books, but since the lending period is up to 3 weeks, it could be anywhere from a day to 3 weeks wait.  I didn't feel like going through available books and seeing if anything caught my eye, so I just decided to wait it out. Which was not fun. There's not much on tv and I was getting bored!  Finally, last night I decided to find something to download and just as I did it, 3 of my books on hold became available, of course. One of the books I already ready about a month ago, but it is for my book club and it is the book we are discussing this Thursday, so I wanted to have it available to refer to and read the discussion questions. I went ahead and started reading the book I downloaded in my attempt to find something to read and it's pretty good. I guess it's been made into a movie - one of those YA dystopia society books, similar to Hunger Games, called The Maze Runner.

We finished planting all the little trees yesterday. We got 1/3 of them planted on Saturday afternoon before we ran out of time and energy. The ground here is a lot easier to dig in compared to our old house. Not very rocky at all, so that was easier on DH.

That's the alley in back, as well as the grouchy old neighbor lady. By the time those trees grow tall enough to block her either we'll be gone........or she will LOL.
This is the other side of our yard - just a vacant lot next door on that side.

I did get to relax a little bit (before I went outside to help DH put the trees in the holes he dug) and started watching the new Season of Bosch on Amazon Prime. One of my favorite shows and that will give me something to watch for 8 1/2 more episodes, when I am bored and looking for something on tv :)

DH is taking a look at our hot water heater today. It's nearing the end of it's life - was put in when the house was built and even though it's a 50 gallon heater (more than we had at our old house) we don't seem to have as much hot water as we did at our other house. He read you should flush your tank once a year. Did you know that? We didn't and have never done that as maintenance. So he did that. Don't think that is the problem - it all came out clear, no sediment causing any problem. Now he's trying to test the heating elements. He's you-tubing how to do it. He has a meter thingy but honestly, every time I've ever seen him use it on something, he has no idea how it works. LOL. Also, some videos he watched said if the tank is "gurgling" it's probably not the elements and it's just time for a new hot water heater. We have assumed we need a new one and that is the plan to go buy this weekend, after I get paid, but DH decided he'd at least see what he could do on his own to test/fix and maybe save us some bucks, if he can. Otherwise, we'll go get a new one (about $350-400). Get the benefit of more hot water and a good selling point that the house has a fairly new water heater when we go to sell.

Birds are enjoying our bird feeders. We sometimes see bunnies out in the yards and neighboring properties. One is just huge! As big as a big cat. We have yet to see any squirrels around here, but I did see a chipmunk in our back yard this morning.

I just realized yesterday afternoon I didn't make a meal plan for this week's dinners. I ended up making tuna casserole. I had bought some ingredients to try a salmon quiche but after planting trees, plus still being really sore from the yard work Saturday, I was too tired to try something new. I'll try it one night this week. Seems like a fairly easy recipe.