Thursday, October 19, 2017

Guessing the future

Things are looking promising for being able to make some money when we sell this house we bought to live in until we build. DH was just the other day doing his own "analysis" on what he thinks we can ask for it and was guessing at least $200,000. We paid $161,000 for it. We didn't put very much down on it, as we wanted to be able to purchase our land free and clear, but in the next 10-12 months (by the time a house would be done and we'd sell) we'll owe about $152,000 on it. I was kind of skeptical of his number, but told him I'd trust him because he was right about what we could get for our old house.

Then today I received a letter in the mail from our realtor guy. He wanted to let us know that he had moved to another real estate company, as a managing broker, and had done an analysis on our home. At this time we are in the $205,000 range (and values seem to be on the increase around here, so another 6 months to a year might be even a little better). He said with our upgrades and landscaping we should be able to be very competitive at that price, with other homes similar in the area that have sold for that price.

Woohoo!! If we can get $200,000, that will give us $38,000 (after realtor fees) to put towards our new house. With the paid for land and work we have done/will do on it out of pocket, we should have approximately 30% down on our construction loan.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A new purse

I am not really a purse gal. I have and use one, but one and only one. I use whatever purse I have until it wears out and then I'll buy a new one. I've been getting to the point where I need a new one, as mine is losing it's shape. But, I really do not enjoy purse shopping, so I've still been using it. Well, this morning I got an email from the lady I work for at my side job (her hubby owns the business and she works there and is my main point of contact) that she has a nice leather purse she bought on a trip to Argentina, but now that she's had it home, in the big city, she doesn't feel it fits her suburbia style. She thought it needs a home in a more rural/horse country area, LOL, so thought of me. She texted me a picture of it and said she'll send it to me, if I like it. It looks very nice and something I would like. It's kind of hard to tell how big it is, more of a satchel style (which I have never had) but hey - it's nice and free and I'm sure I'll use it. It's probably not something I would ever purchase for myself - mainly because I'm sure it was expensive and I don't think I have ever spent more than $35 for a purse. I don't need to have 10 $300 purses in my closet. LOL. It was very nice of her to think of me and offer it.

But, using this new purse I will need to get a wallet now! The past few purses I have had have the wallet built in. Those are kind of harder to find, but I've just kept buying them as I like not having to dig into a purse for a wallet. I can put a wallet on my Christmas wish list :)  This new purse also looks like the kind that you just dump everything into it. Which I probably won't like much for keys. My current purse has an outside pocket that I put the keys in and it's easy to find and even DH knows where to find the car keys easily.

What kind of purse gal are you? I know I'm probably not the norm when it comes to women and purses!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Dragging along

I was so tired yesterday. Ugh! I feel like I've been gradually zapping my energy bank since about last week and it's definitely caught up with me. On my day off last Friday I had to get up an hour and 15 minutes early then I normally do, because we had to drive an hour into the city for my dr. appt. first thing that morning. Add in a bit of crappy sleep that night because of dh's snoring. I was able to take a nap Friday afternoon, so I should have been good then. But each night DH has been snoring bad, for some reason, which is cutting down on my good sleep. Then Sunday night I stayed up almost an hour past my normal bedtime and then was awake (and then up) an hour earlier than my normal wake time because of our overnight house guest. By 3 pm yesterday (with still an hour and a half to work) I was about to fall asleep.

Making dinner was the last thing I felt like doing. Thankfully on the menu plan for last night was just heating up some BBQ spare ribs for 45 minutes. That didn't take a lot of work.  I tried to take a nap while it was cooking but DH kept talking.

I didn't do much M-Turk work at all Friday thru Sunday. About $1 worth is all. I was able to earn $5.45 today. When afternoon rolls around, I can't seem to get accepted to hits, that supposedly I'm qualified for. So far, I have earned about $52 total. I did a transfer to my bank account when I got to $33 and I think it hit my bank account the next day, maybe two days at most, so that was quick.

I'm just sitting in wait to see what DH's health insurance premiums will be for 2018. It's all such a huge mess. I had read that the insurer he is using had only requested a 4% increase (compared to the other two in this state wanting like 15-20% or more), but now that the subsidies have been stopped they have (with 2 weeks before open enrollment) been granted a change to increase their rates more than they had originally been approved to. I'm sure it will be another big hit to my budget. The really crappy part of all this is we still have to buy the same insurance plans and no choices. This is a small populated state and only 3 (and it sounds like this insurer he is with might not make it) to choose from there is no competition and all the rates are so high.  I wish we could at least have a larger market of insurers to choose from. If people want this gov't ran healthcare system, then we should be able to choose from any insurance companies in the whole country.

Plus, we just found out our property taxes here in this county are going way up, due to a school bond passing. It's apparently a progressive type of tax rate, so the more your home/property is worth the more you will be taxed. Once our house is built it will cost us about an extra $500 a year in property taxes, compared to what it would have been if it hadn't passed. For the next 20 years.

Our county is also facing issues with our sheriff's dept. It's a small department of like 7 sheriff's (sheriff, under-sheriff, sgt and 4 deputies). Two deputies have just quit (one took a job in neighboring county for better pay) and a third told DH on Sunday he's out the door as soon as he finds another job. Their pay is pathetic. The county council is a joke. Now because of the two that have quit the other two are basically on call 24 hrs a day, but the county doesn't want to pay them overtime....(they are union). Well, until they hire replacements, they have those two salaries not going out that can be used for the overtime! The one deputy DH talked to (he lives at the end of our street, across the street from corner) said he has a big crack in his windshield but they won't repair it....he said how am I supposed to give someone a ticket for a broken windshield when mine is broken? The vehicle he drives has like 175,000 miles on it.

I don't have all the answers to all these problems, that's for sure. I just know I'm really tired of paying these ridiculous health insurance premiums for really crappy insurance.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Weekend update

I took Friday off work. It was my half work day Friday and I had a dr. appointment in the morning.  I chose a doctor office in the city to try, rather than the one here in the small town. It's a women's and family health center. All women providers, apparently. I really liked it there. It was a nice office, very friendly staff and I didn't have to wait at all. I got my two prescriptions filled and scheduled my annual exam for next spring. It also worked out that it was time to pick up DH's cholesterol prescription, so now all of our prescriptions are on the same pick up schedule. Much easier. But, my doctor wrote my prescriptions for 90 days, with 1 refill, so enough to last me until I got back for my annual. When I got home with the prescriptions I noticed they were 30 day and only say 1 refill. So, I'm going to have to call the pharmacy and make sure it's 6 months worth of refills in some form or fashion.

Then we went and got our grocery shopping taken care of. I think I did pretty good for a two week shopping trip. Only spent $153 there, and then when we were at Target we spent $62 on laundry stuff, batteries, windshield wiper fluid, box of cereal and some Halloween candy. The cereal at the grocery store was $2.49 for a small box. I said lets wait and get it at Target. It was $2.77 for the big box.

Saturday I used up a couple of over ripe bananas and made a loaf of banana bread. We just kind of relaxed in the house all day. Watched a movie around noon. Washed the bedding on the guest bed to get that room ready for our friend staying Sunday. Then we watched a movie on Amazon Prime. Took a break midway through and I made dinner (chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes) and then finished the movie. Early that evening we took a walk, which was nice.

Sunday was a nice sunny day. DH did some outside house maintenance, while I vacuumed and dusted, washed my laundry. While DH watched a bit of the Nascar race I fell asleep on the couch. Our friend arrived around 4pm. I made spaghetti for dinner and we all went to bed around 10pm, as he was getting up by 6am to get going. He and his wife have a plan to move to Tennessee in 2 years  (for same reasons we wanted out of where we used to live). She is also hoping to keep her good job and work remotely. 

Even though it was a 3 day weekend for me, it sure didn't really feel like one. I have a feeling this is going to feel like a long week, for some reason.

Friday, October 13, 2017

PTO, a house guest, hurt feelings

I was looking at my paystub. I have 205 hours of PTO accrued. I need to take some vacation! That is 5 weeks of time. Now, since this also would include taking any sick time off, I like to leave a couple of weeks on the books just for that. But still........3 weeks. This is after I just used 4 1/2 days of it. LOL. Since we rarely take vacations, I usually just  use it for staycation time. I usually always take off two weeks between Christmas and New Years, but with our generous holiday time off given, I only have to use a week of my time. Plus I earn almost 2 days per month. I'm out earning my taking. HA!
I seem to prefer taking a day or two here and there, but that sure doesn't use it up very fast, if I'm only doing that every few months.  Plus, any time I do take off, for the most part no one does my work.

We may have a house guest on Sunday. One of DH's friends from our old neighborhood is driving through (going all the way to Tennessee) and will probably stop at our house and spend the night. He'll have driven about 7-8 hours by then, so he said he'll be ready to stop for the day. I think I'll just make spaghetti for dinner that night. I think he is just traveling by himself.  He and his wife are the guardians for his 6 year old niece, so I'm assuming his wife is staying home with her. So, far, not counting our daughter, we have had two other over night visitors since we moved here. I have to say, that in the 28 years we lived at our old house we had like two! Seriously! I'm very glad I have a nice guestbedroom here, with a nice comfy queen sized bed for guests.

DH sent our builder another email on Sunday evening. Taking my advice and asking him to commit to a day/time to meet at our property as soon as possible. He replied back on Tuesday evening and said next week should work and he'll call much for getting him to commit to a date. I'm pretty sure if he blows us off this time, we'll be looking for a new builder.

DH got his feelings hurt the other night by his good friend that lives in the area. He's made a couple of comments since we moved here about DH not working (he knows why). Stuff like "you should get a job" or "well, ya you get to do such and such because you don't have to work".  Or, "my company is looking for someone, you should come work there" DH again, says to him, I can't go drive a cement mixer truck for 8-10 hours a day with my muscle condition. He can't even get medically approved for a CDL anymore. DH loves Facebook and loves to have fun and make funny posts. This guys wife is kind of like my DH - she loves to joke and tease on FB and they tease each other about the weather, mostly. DH loves snow, she loves hot weather. So, knowing that snow was supposed to happen overnight (yes! we got like an inch of snow when I woke up yesterday morning!) he made a cute/funny post on Facebook about the snow. He figured out how to make and "event" of Snow Watch and tagged our friend's wife in it, as the co-host. She replied with a funny gif type thing of "I hate you". A couple others liked the post and a couple others commented. Then friend comes in and says "you need a job, you have too much time on your hands". Like DH says to me, he already feels bad/depressed enough that he can't work, he doesn't need to be reminded of it and doesn't need someone else, who isn't living in his body, telling him he needs to go get a job. DH just kind of made a joke to his comment that "oh, it's a full time job trying to annoy your wife LOL".  I was texting my DD about what he commented and was going to make a comment "well, when you find us a medical miracle, he'll be happy to go back to work", but DH just deleted the whole post?event. I doubt friend (or wife) probably even knew he did that.  And like my DD texted to me, "it's not like you guys financially need dad to work. you are doing fine on your income".  I said to her "no kidding, I make more than both of them combined". People!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Budget adjusting

One part of budgeting I have never been very good at is quarterly or annual expenses. I can pay them when they come up, but I'm always kicking myself for not saving for them, so that my budget doesn't take such a hit in that pay period it's due.

I've been jotting down the expenses as I think of them. I think I have most, if not all, of them listed now:

Life Insurance: $330
Car tabs: $160
Property taxes on land: $900
Propane: $300
Amazon Prime (share w/DD) $54
Annual website hosting (this is for a website DH manages/updates for a non-profit club, we have always paid the hosting fee, while he's the one doing the website): $143

I need to be putting aside at least $157 a month for these!  DD just messaged me last night. The annual Amazon payment comes out of her checking...well she opened a new checking at a credit union and isn't really using the old one, other than she had about $55 in it. The Amazon charge went through last night and overdrew her. She (and I) forgot all about it. She's not a student anymore, so now paying the full prime rate. I told her since I also use it to order stuff off and on, I will still pay for half of it. That checking is still linked to mine, so I transferred my share $54 and brought her back to  having $5 in her account. She must have had overdraft protection (if she deposited within 24 hours) as she thankfully wasn't charged for the overdraft.

I'm sure there is something I have forgotten to include, but at least now I can be starting to put money aside for these each month.

I made myself a doctor appoint for this Friday morning. I have a half work day, so I'm just going to use a half day of vacation and take the whole day off. I need to get my prescriptions for my heart and cholesterol medication filled. I decided to try a doctors office in the city....where no one knows me. LOL. I'm not quite used to this small town, everyone knows everything stuff. Plus, once we get moved to our property, the city will only be about a 35 min drive. I'm going to a "women's health clinic". Sounds like a good mix of female providers, even a naturopath. I also see from their website that you can do a virtual visit (once established) for minor problems.

And I just got an email this morning from my health insurance company where they are offering "Doctor On Demand" Virtual visits. It looks like my co-pay for a visit like that would be $10. Plus, by signing up and registering they will give me $5 off my first appointment and are also supposed to send me a $5 Starbucks e-giftcard. Don't know that I will need to use the service, but at least I have that option now, if I come down with something like a rash or a sore throat, etc. Sounds like it would be a convenient way to go, since we live rural.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

M-Turk observations

Now that I was finally able to start working M-Turk and am about a week in to it, I thought I'd share my thoughts and experience. So far, I have earned $30 with another $6.75 pending. I am pretty easily making my $5 per day goal, with approximately an hour total worth of time each day.

Currently, (based on a blog recommendation I read) I just do a search of "survey", put in a minimum of .50 and click on HIT's I am qualified for. I have also changed my search criteria to "newest first". That seems to work the best for me. I will usually do a survey first thing in the morning and then do several more during my lunch break.

I still have a bunch to learn on how it all works and will have to figure out how I can get "more qualified" to do other hits. I also read that just getting your volume of completed hits increased helps you get more qualified for other hits. I have done 59 so far, since I started. 

About my only frustration is that I have to reenter my search criteria each time. When I complete a hit it takes me back to the main search screen and I have to re-enter my criteria after completing each hit. That takes extra time. I also wish it would keep hits you've already completed from re-appearing.

Overall, I am very happy that it is pretty easy to make my daily goal of $5. I also like that you do not have to enter a bunch of answers and then be told you don't qualify - as always happens with Swagbucks surveys (such a waste of time).

If you are doing M-Turk, I'd love to hear your tips and tricks!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Succulent care

Earlier in the summer I bought this bowl of succulents at a garden center.

It sat out on our picnic table all summer and appears to have loved the 100 degree days. I've never had succulents before and now I don't know how I'm supposed to care for this with the coming cold. I'm assuming it would not do well being outside for much longer (it's starting to freeze at night now), so I brought it inside. Does anyone know how I'm supposed to care for this year round?

Monday, October 9, 2017

Fresh Air

Yesterday, it had stopped raining, so we decided to lace up our hiking boots and get outside and take a hike on a trail that starts on the edge of town and goes up one of the mountain hills and over looks the town. We had discovered it back in July, but it was too hot to hike and then it stayed too hot and the air was too smokey from the fire. We had not hiked since near end of June, when our daughter visited. Needless to say, we felt it!

It was a 1.25 miles hike, up about 600 feet in elevation, made for very nice views along the way up of the whole town. The trail (unlike any other's we've been on) had rest stops every so often with a bench and a marker with some town history. We had packed a little lunch, planning to eat it at the top, but there was no bench to sit on there, LOL. I'm like "we get all the way up to the top and they don't put a bench here?" So, we went back down to the next one and sat and ate our lunch. My legs are still killing me today, especially my hips.

We got a bit bored and stir crazy on Saturday and ended up going out to eat dinner at the nicer restaurant in the next town over. It was our 3rd time there and both previous times we had the beer battered fish and chips.  DH ordered the same, but I decided to try something else on their menu and got the salmon. It was so delicious. Melt in your mouth. DH kept trying to steal bites of it. Hands off! This restaurant is more expensive than the one here in town, but the food is a lot better and they give you a small loaf of french bread and butter before the meal :) It still always kind of surprises me that people come in to sit down to eat and know other people sitting at other tables. LOL. That rarely  happens in a large metropolitan area.

I received an email this morning from our property neighbor - inviting us over for coffee some weekend in the near future. She's also inviting the new owners, who recently just purchased Lot 7 in our little subdivision. That's a great idea, so we can get to know them, too. I'll need to think of something to bring for the little coffee brunch. Last time I took banana bread, but need some ideas on something different. I can't remember what all we ate last time, but I do remember she had a fruit tray. One of the other couples she invited brought a dessert she made.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

What's that smell?

DH went outside with the dogs last evening, probably 7pm or so. Standing in front our our house, waiting for the pups to do their business, he said it completely reeked of pot outside........well, we only have one close enough neighbor (right next door) and he said the window on side of their house was open. Renter guy wasn't home yet, but his GF was. Ugh. So gross.

We received an email from the guy that owns the vacant lots on our street (the developer of this street). He said when he was here he had noticed we had a nice new fence and wanted to know who we used (if we didn't do it ourselves) as he needs to do a fence at another property here in town. I emailed him back with the fence guy's (not local, I don't think there is a fence company here local) name and phone number. It felt good to be able to recommend the fence guy. He did a great job and he and his son were so nice. I remember when they were done that second day, we were heading to dinner at the restaurant in town and invited them to come with us, our treat. We will be using him again when we fence our new house. It was just a nice meal and nice company and we didn't feel strange sitting there and talking with people we didn't know.

Dealing with people/companies around here is so different than where we used to live. People take the time to chat with you and no one ever seems rushed. It's a nice change and you feel more like you get to know the people. Even our UPS/FedEX/Water meter guy/garbage man, etc will all take time to stop at talk a few minutes. When DH met with the power company guy Thursday, he was out at the property talking with him at least an hour. Everything is so much more laid back here. DH called the guy that has the rock quarry to let him know our well being dug got bumped up almost 3 months, so we had to pay for that now and will have to push the rock wall job out a couple of months. The guys response? "oh good, when I saw your text asking me to call you, I thought you were going to say you were ready now..and well, hunting season is about to start" LOL. Like one of DH friends said, when he was chatting with him on the phone, over here quality of life is just as, if not more, important as making money.

Last Thursday night was finally another bookclub meeting. We haven't had one since like May, as each month they kept getting cancelled. But, I had to miss this one, since I was visiting DD and Mom. This meeting was just to brainstorm ideas about getting the bookclub going in a positive direction again, as it had really petered out. I'm sorry I missed it. The next meeting is at the end of this month. I've recently read the book, so I am good to go. It will also be held at my property neighbors house and we also have another new member, who just moved to the area recently. Yay, I won't be the "new gal" anymore. Haha! They also decided no meetings for Nov and Dec, since it will be Thanksgiving and Christmas during our meeting time.

We have the weekend upon us, but no plans and I know DH will be bored. It's rainy. I can't think of anything to do to keep him busy. Hopefully, he'll come up with something. I do have housecleaning to take care of, but that never takes too long.

Friday, October 6, 2017

This that and the other

Tuesday was our one year anniversary since moving out of and away from our hell hole old neighborhood. What a great year, for the most part, it has been. Aside from our crappy renter neighbor, we love everything else about this place/town/county/state.

Now that we've completed a full year, I was happy to look back and think of the things we have to look forward to again in the coming year. The huge annual flea market in the next town over, the car show in June, the fair and rodeo (I loved the rodeo) here in town in August. The drives and hikes we took in Spring and early Summer. Oh and don't forget the snow and cold weather! LOL

DH accidentally came across interesting news article that was in his Facebook feed last night. The man that our son was working for/living at/associating with for about a year and a half (this was starting 3 years ago) has been arrested for embezzling a bunch of money. Not surprising at all and nice to see Karma at work, eh? He's potentially looking at up to 20 years in jail. The lady who was actually the bookkeeper for the company they embezzled from already plead guilty and said this guy was the mastermind behind the scheme and she was writing checks to him that he was cashing and depositing to his account and apparently sharing with her. He plead not guilty and is going to trial at some point. When our son first got involved with this smarmy guy he was warned by someone who knew of him to stay away from him, that he was shady. This guy was absolutely not a good influence on our son, obviously, and I'm sure had a lot to do with where he has gone with his life (drugs, lying, etc). But, ultimately our son is a grown man and his life decisions are all on him.  Just good to see that lowlife will hopefully get what's coming to him. (but from what I've seen of the justice system, it also won't surprise me if he gets off scott free, either).

 DH met out at our property yesterday with a guy from the power co-op company. He gave him some good ideas/options for installing power. We need 400 amp power at the main box because half is going to the house and half to the shop. I think he's got a good idea how he wants to do it now, without needing to put (i.e. hide) the box by building it in the gate pier. Cost will be a couple hundred dollars more, but overall work will be less involved and the piers can go back to his original 2ft width size.

He took the dogs with him to the property. I don't know what it is about there, but they just go nuts, especially the older dog who is usually pretty calm (i.e. lazy). They ran and ran, barked, just zoomed everywhere the whole time he was there. The younger dog rarely barks and as DH was pulling into the road our property is on, he did his rare "I'm excited" bark. He has two barks. One is his really scary sounding watch dog bark (which he got lots of use at our old neighborhood with all the druggies around) and his excited "arf" bark which is only when he's super excited, like when DD comes to visit, LOL. We don't even get the bark when we come home after leaving for a few hours.

I really needed a few items I did not buy when we went grocery shopping, because I know they are cheaper at Walmart then the grocery chain store we shopped at. I don't know what the heck is up with their online prices but wow. I'm really having to watch and be careful and not just  hit "re-order". Here's an example of one of the prices yesterday!

Really?!! This one is obviously ridiculous, but there are some others that aren't quite as noticeable but still like 50-100% higher than normal. Other items are priced as they always have been (ie low). I hope they fix whatever is causing this issue soon. I really liked being able to order online at reasonable prices.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The visit with the office and DD

The trip up to my office was terrible traffic just getting out of the town my mom and in-laws live in. 22 minutes to go the first 4 miles! Then when I got on the freeway it was pouring down rain most of the way. I finally got up to the office (20 minutes after I had planned to). Parked in the lot next our building and immediately noticed that, a year ago, when there used to be one or two rv's (homeless people) parked along the fence parking across the street, there were now 4, nose to tail. Permanent residents for all intents and purposes. Good grief!

It was lunch time when I arrived, plus for half the office it was their half Friday off. It was so quiet in there. But that was good - it gave me and my boss a nice uninterrupted time to just sit and chat for like almost 2 hours (didn't feel like 2 hours). I did get to say hi (and hugs) to a few people and meet a few of the new faces. All is going good and she said everything is working great on her end with my remote working. She has been very busy and now they are getting ready to move into the new office at the beginning of next year. Lots of TI (tenant improvement) work that needs to be completed to the new space before they can move it.

I had kind of planned on only maybe being there an hour (thinking I didn't want to keep her from her work too long) but it was 2:40 by the time I left to head up to DD's house. Ugh. Friday afternoon rush hour to drive through two major cities to get the 45 miles to her house. I figured it was going to take me 2-3 hours. But it "only" took me an hour and 35 minutes and thankfully the rain had stopped. I got there about 4:15 and we had the whole evening just to relax and visit. Her BF went and picked up Costco pizza so that was good. Their new little puppy is a cutie and so tiny. Only 3 pounds. Saturday DD and I went and did some shopping at stores like Target and Lowes. (she needed some baby gates to block off their puppy from going into the living room, where it's carpeted and seems to be his favorite pee spot). Stopped and got coffee's. Then we went to her town's older downtown area, which is just small shops now and we went through all the antique and gift shops for a couple of hours. That was very fun. She was looking for a little stand to put out on her front porch to put a plant on. Found a cute metal one for $12. She also found a wine rack at a thrift store. I found what DH and I have been looking for - an old hand water pump.

Eventually to be used as a garden/yard display. We then stopped back at Lowe's because her BF texted he needed more woodchips for his smoker bbq. She found a trailing outdoor plant to go on her new plant stand for half off at $3.50.  We had a late lunch/early dinner of salmon and brats, compliments of her BF's cooking. We just spend the afternoon and evening watching some shows on Netflix and visiting. I was heading home Sunday morning. A short visit, but it was nice to see her. She is supposed to be coming for Christmas, so only about 2 1/2 months more until we see each other again.

Sunday morning I headed out about 8:30am for my 6 hours and 45 minute drive home (plus I lost an hour) and got home about 4:15. I was pretty pooped by then. Thankfully DH said lets go get dinner at the restaurant, where we both had breakfast for dinner. I had Monday off work, too, knowing I'd be pretty tired from the trip. We went to the city, to stop at the well drilling company and pay our bill and talk to the guy about well pumps and what he would recommend. Then we went to the feed store and stocked up on 3 bags of dog food and then to the grocery store. Back home about 1:30 in the afternoon where I took a much needed nap.

I'm such a homebody and would rather just stay home, but I'm glad I went for the trip. Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

September extra money update and helping mom again

Just before I left on my trip I finally got approved through Amazon M-Turk and Amazon Payments (that took a month to resolve) and then Monday I finally got credited my 2500 ($25) Swagbucks points! That one made me really happy, too, and I'm glad I persisted in emailing a half a dozen times or more about it.

I've taken to tracking some stats and dollars earned each month now. Here's September totals:

Credit score: increased one point to 732
401k - increased $1622 for Sept
Google adsense: $19.58
Swagbucks: $43.07 (I'm including the $25 I just got credited)
Debit card cash back: 15.09 (not sure why this was so low, it's always been at least $20)

Next month I hope to also add some M-Turk income. I only did it a little one day before I left and earned .80. Now I'll have to dig in and see if I can earn a little bit each month from it. I didn't earn as much as I could from Swagbucks as I hardly did anything with it last week, so it was really only for 3 weeks.

I started to do my weekly Walmart online order for things I regularly order when I get low on them. When I log in it shows a screen of items that I have ordered before. I have been ordering online for almost a year now and all the prices have been same as in-store. First thing I wanted to add was several boxes of Crystal Light on the Go tea packets. They are 10 packets to a box and usually about $2.50. The price this morning was showing as $5.08 per box! WTH?!! Then I looked at the prices of some of the other items I buy all the time. Usually a box of Carnation instant breakfast is $4.84 and is now $7.08. A can of  Del Monte green beans was now $2.08 instead of $.98. Almost all the items are higher priced. Whoa! I'm not even going to order at those ridiculous prices! Double the price on some items. I'll try Amazon or Target. I'll check back on prices in a week or two, but if that's what they are charging, then they just lost my business.

I got a call from my mom last night. She couldn't get into her bank or investment company online. (sigh....) so I said lets see if this TeamViewer will work. It took me a couple of minutes to get her to understand I was saying to close Firefox and get back to her desktop where the icon was. But, she got it open, gave me the numbers and I was able to get into her computer. Big relief! SOOOO much easier to just get it figured out by doing it myself. She was entering the new password we had set up wrong. The first letter was a capital letter and she was entering lower case. I was able to quickly do password resets and reminded her they both required a capital letter so she had to do the first letter only (just as I had written it down) as a capital letter. There is probably no way I would have been able to talk her through doing what I did over the phone, so TeamViewer was a big win for me!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Home Sweet Home - the Mom part

I'm back from my trip and happy to be back in my own bed :) I got to my mom's early enough in the day (1pm-ish) to miss the afternoon rush traffic. I went to my mom's the first couple of days. We just visited all afternoon and went out and had some dinner (fish and chips). Thursday morning we dropped my car off at the tire store and left it there. We then went to Starbucks and sat inside and had coffee and shared a lemon loaf. Then we went to Home Depot, just for something to do. I just wanted to look around at all their stuff for homes - lighting, flooring, etc. Picked up a few samples. The tire store gave me a $100 credit on for my old tires, so better than nothing. The new tires are 70k mile tires and will hopefully last us better than 25k miles.

When we got back to her house we worked on me getting all her info. That was a bit of a chore, just because she's kind of forgetful about what's what and it was too many questions for her to deal with at one time. But first we had to work on her computer that she got back from Best Buy. She had figured out how to plug it back in, but her favorite's toolbar was missing. I got that back showing, but for some reason her log in and passwords for her bank, investment company and health insurance were gone. (email and Facebook were ok). She had no idea what the log ins and passwords were and of course her 20 slips of paper in her desk were of absolutely no help. So, we started with her bank to do the "forgot user name and password". It wanted her account # and social security #.  I know she was putting her acct# in right (I even typed it once) but we could not get in. Finally I said are you sure you are putting in the correct ss#? Then she got confused a bit and wasn't sure. I said, well, lets look at your tax return and get it off of there. Sure enough she was off a number in the first 3 numbers. She had to pick a new password (which of course I wrote down!).

Then we moved on to her investment bank log in. They did not have it where you could forget both. If you forgot your user name you need to know your password and vice versa. There was a number on the log in screen to call and I told her to call that # and tell them she forgot both. No, she calls the actual office of her investment guy. Usually his assistant lady will answer but some other lady answered and of course she told my mom to call the # I gave her.

The we decided take a lunch break, which helped. Then it was time to call the investment bank help#...what does she do? she calls her direct office again! This time though, her guy's assistant answered and she was able to help her by emailing her a temporary password and telling her what her user name is. The health insurance was like the bank and we were able to do a reset.  I think if we hadn't had to deal with all that, the getting the rest of the info probably wouldn't have seemed so hard. Most of her bills she has set up to come out of her checking automatically, which is good, but also takes it out of her mind on what's what, since she's not writing out checks each month to them. Her only real confusion was with her garbage bill (billed every 2 months). She knew right off who the company was, but as she was pulling out some bills from her file cabinet she pulled out this kind of half sheet of paper that looked like a receipt with the name of the nearby landfill. She started to tell me it was for her yard waste bin. I know the yard waste bin is part of garbage company service. I said well, this looks like receipt from the dump - did you take some stuff to the dump at some time? oh yes, I guess I did. Not sure why she felt the need to save that, but then she remembered the yard waste can is billed on her garbage bill.

I had started writing down on a piece of paper her user names and passwords for the 3 companies. She doesn't know her email or Facebook passwords, so we're just going to have to hope they stay saved in her computer or we'll have to do a reset on them at some other time. We then addressed all those little slips of paper with supposed user names and passwords. There was  not one single slip that she even knew what it was for, because in trying to make sure no one else would know (ie burglar) she didn't write down what they were for. Plus half the slips either had only the user name or only the password, or two or three different things written down. They were all worthless and she did finally realiz she should just throw them away (but I can just see her digging them out after I left, haha!). I told her if she is so worried about this piece of paper I gave her with the 3 user names/passwords being found/stolen then put it in her locked safe box, where at least she can get to it if she needs to. The one and only slip of paper that actually knew what the user name and password was for was when Comcast set up her internet and a Comcast email that also gets her into her account online. She didn't even know she has it, doesn't use it for her email and doesn't need to get online to see her account (it's an auto pay) so I didn't even bother putting that down on her list. BUT, I did write it down on mine.....and when I was reviewing her bill to make sure she wasn't paying for services she didn't need/use I see she has Starz as part of her package. I know she didn't quite get what I was asking, but I still have Xfinity streaming saved on my ipad (from when I had Comcast tv) and logged in with her account info and now I get to watch Outlander!! I'm excited :)

I also added Team Viewer to her computer and we will have to test that out, now that I am home, and see if I can get it to work. That will probably save me lots of headaches in the future, if it does.

So, I have 3 pages of notes on all her info. I didn't realize/remember when she re-did her will a couple of years ago she also did up a document to give me power of attorney. She has a rolling file cabinet next to her desk that locks the top part and inside the top part is a small safe box that locks. Good thing she told me where the keys are hidden. I probably would never have found it. She also showed me where she has some other stuff hidden. Who would have known the breathe right strips box in her medicine cabinet doesn't have breathe right strips in it ! No, it has several $100 dollar bills and 3 rings. I also wrote down her medicines (which probably explains the "scatterbraindness" I have noticed that past 10 years or so.

I also now have a set of house keys and the code to her alarm system. I think I should be good to handle all her stuff, should anything happen to her. Overall I think she is doing good. She is still reading and doing her crossword puzzles and taking care of her house. I think if she gets frazzled about something is when the forgetfulness is worse. Thankfully, for the most part her life is very easy (especially since she's financially well off) and routine. She talks to her BF on the phone at 8pm each night that they aren't together and the two nights I was there I noticed she did kind of repeat herself to him the same story she told him (about my tires for my car) the night before, but that seems to be pretty common in older age for a lot of folks.

She has an old antique set of "berry dishes" that she has been going to give me for the past year and I was able to take those home with me. I also got her antique iron. That little thing weighs a ton!

I left her house Friday morning about 10am, filled up with gas, went to the bank and then stopped at my in-laws for a very quick visit before I drove up to visit my work office and my boss. The rest of my trip in the next post :)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A short goodbye

I'm leaving for my little trip tomorrow morning, so I probably won't post until I get back. I don't like trying to type on my ipad mini.

We finally got the bill for our water well drilling. I had hoped/estimated/budgeted based on their quote that it would be about $5900. Including a cap for the well, the total came to $5730, so $170 less than my budget amount. They charged us $1 per foot less than what DH had thought he was told on the phone. DH had said he wanted to go into the city and pay the bill in person so he could talk to the owner guy about what kind of pump we'll need, etc. I told him I'm taking next Monday off (be home Sunday afternoon) so we could go do it then, as I'll want to go stock up on groceries in the city, anyway.

Well, as usual all that went in one ear and out the other. He tells me to mail the payment on my way out of town in the morning. I said I thought you wanted to go in and pay in person? Well, ya, but it's due on 10/2 (per invoice) and we can't get there by then. I'm like Monday is the I'm going in anyway to shop. "Oh, you have Monday off?" (OMG) So he called up to let the guy know we'll drop off payment on Monday and talk to him about pumps. He was then told if he wants to pay in cash, they'll take 5% off the bill. Ok, sure...that will save us another $286! That plus the $170 probably will pay for a good chunk of the new tires I'm putting on my car on Thursday. Did I mention my less than 2 year old set of tires have lasted 25,000 miles and the wear bars are showing? We always regularly rotate to make last as long as possible. My first (original) set I got 80,000 miles on them and probably could have gotten a bit more, but we wanted new tires before that winter started. When DH called up the tire place (where we used to live and he had done business with his company for years) the guy said they should have lasted 60,000 miles.  Hopefully I'll be able to get some sort of credit for them towards the new set.

I can't wait to see my DD and mom...and boss :)  

One issue resolved

This Amazon Payments issue just boggles my mind. I still can't get "verified". Somehow I noticed last week that the part where I could add my banking info wasn't grayed out anymore. So, I input my banking info (thinking maybe I was finally getting somewhere) and then that had to be verified. Two choices: I could enter my bank log in and password or upload a statement. I tried entering my bank log in and password. Three times and it kept saying "error" or something to that effect. I know I was entering it correctly. So then I saved my most recent bank statement as a pdf and uploaded that. It said it may take up to two business days to verify. It's been a week........

This morning I deleted my bank account info and then added it back. I was again given the option of verifying it using my bank log and and password, and worked. But according to Amazon Payments my "identity" is still not verified, whatever that means. I was just about to give up on it all and forget it, when I signed back into M-Turk and now I cannot see that message saying waiting on Amazon Payments to verify and then I logged back into Amazon Payments and the waiting to verify message is gone! I think it's FINALLY fixed. Of course, now I'll be out of town for 5 days and no time to give it a try, LOL.

Now, I need to email Swagbucks for the 10th time about my missing 2800 ($28.00) points. They could at least reply back one way or the other. That is what is making me maddest about it all, at this point. If they aren't going to honor it, then just tell me to take a hike.

Monday, September 25, 2017

My quiet Sunday afternoon consisted of watching a bit of tv, reading a book, taking the dogs outside for some exercise and talking to the neighbors across the street while doing that - and playing with their dog, who is very persistent with her ball LOL. Then their little tiny dog took off across the field, across the street and went into my yard. She's a little firecracker. Our big dogs are scared of her, LOL.

I'm glad I don't watch football to begin with.....or I wouldn't be anymore. Bunch of overpaid jerks. How much do you want to bet it won't be much longer and our national anthem won't even be played anymore, because it's so offensive and racist?

Our real estate agent texted me about 2pm. We had asked him around the beginning of August if he would stop by some time and take a few outside pics of our house, while the grass is green and flowers are in bloom. Not being sure exactly when we will have to list for sale, it might still be too early next spring for any flowers, etc. Can't really get flowers planted until late May and then it still takes several weeks for them to fill out and look nice. At the time he said he would be back out our way, for the house he was selling down the street, at the end of August. Well, he sold house and when he came out a couple weeks ago he apparently didn't have time to swing by our place for a few pics. Then he wanted to stop by Friday on his way out of state for the weekend. Then he texted Friday he got a late start, plus it was raining, so we said we'd try for Sunday afternoon on his way home. (by about this time I was about ready to say never mind - all my flowers are on their last legs anyway.

Anyhow he texted he was about 3 hours out and would stop by. I said ok, but I probably won't be home, as I had to go pick up DH and then we were having dinner at friends. I ended up leaving about 4:40 and about 20 minutes later realtor texted me "your yard looks so good!!!!". So that made me feel good - and DH, too, when I showed him the text. Hopefully he got a couple decent pics and if he can use them when we list, great.

I got to our friends place about 5:15. His wife and daughter had gone into the city to do some shopping and were bringing pizza back around 6pm. The guys were just about done making the dog house. Boy, his kids are LAZY! The boy (8th grade) couldn't even help them and then when friend told him to help by sweeping up (nails, screws,  wood and metal pieces, etc) he barely could do that. Swept most of it, left it in a pile and dropped the broom next to it and went back in the house. Then we and friend took their two dogs and walked down to the river from their property. A nice little walk about 10 minutes or so. The dogs swam and chased a stick in the river for a bit and then we walked back to their house, just in time for pizza was ready.

DD was sad to leave her puppy to go to work this morning. She doesn't live close enough to have time to drive home during lunch. Once he's a little older she plans to put him in doggy daycare for a couple days a week. She said he is doing great in his crate at night, he didn't even pee during the night Saturday night.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sunday this and that

One of the things I've tried to do since moving here is put a little away each month in my Capital One savings account for travel expenses, to travel to visit DD and my mom. We used up what I had saved when we drove back there last March.  For this trip I just had $100 saved back up, but that will cover my gas there and back.  I transferred the money back to my checking and it should be in there Monday or Tuesday, in time for me to leave on Wednesday. We also just filled up my tank the other day and haven't really gone anywhere, so I should only have to top my tank off with a few gallons before I hit the road.  I'm anticipating one more trip back in December, but that will be for work, so company will pay to fly me over. (and I can visit family at the same time).

My company has a bunch of 3 ring binders they have been trying to donate/get rid of for a long time and can't find anywhere to take them. I had a thought that maybe the school here in town could use them, so I asked my neighbor across the street and she said definitely could use some, so I will pick up a box of them next week to bring back with me.

I just talked to my mom. I wanted to see if she got her landline phone figured out. She ended up calling Comcast to come out and as I figured she had just unplugged it or something LOL. 

I've had the afternoon to myself, which is always a nice break. DH's friend came over this morning and picked up some metal siding and trim pieces we had. The previous owner of the house had left in in the shop (leftover from when he built it, I guess) and friend said he could use it to build a dog shelter/run. DH ended up riding back to his house with him to help him construct the dog house thing and I'll go pick him up and we'll have dinner at friends. Works great for me!

My DD finally found a puppy to adopt. Adorable! She's been trying for various dogs for the past month or so and no luck. The shelters all preach adopt, don't shop, but they just about make it impossible to adopt. She found this Australian shepherd puppy (one of several in the litter) on Craigslist. They had to drive a couple of hours to get him, but she's very happy now. We had a wonderful Aussie dog while the kids were growing up.

Then she texted me this morning that someone tried to break into her BF's pickup during the night. There wasn't anything inside to take and no much damage - just a scuff on the paint on the door, but he's pretty upset. Then she texted me back "well, I guess we have to move now LOL". I said there is NO where in the metro area they live to get away from that! It's just an every day occurrence there now for people. I don't know how many home security videos I see shared of Facebook of camera's catching thieves on people's property. Doesn't seem to be doing much to deter them, either. I told her the only way they could get away from that is to move here. She said if it wasn't for her BF's really good job, she would be pushing for it!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Boot bench love

The mudroom (monster) boot bench is done.

One more project done. I still want a bookcase made, but it won't be out of this kind of wood. We have used that wood up. I have a feeling that won't get made until after we get the house built. He just really doesn't have enough room to make stuff here and then he gets a bit frustrated, trying to work in a very small space he can barely turn around in.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Wanting to pay a bill and the waiting game

It's been over two weeks since we had our water well dug, but haven't received the bill. In usual DH fashion he expected to be handed a bill that day and he's been stressing about it since about day 3 LOL. I'm like they don't do things fast around here. Their billing person probably bills out once a month or something. Finally on Wednesday I said why don't you just call and ask about it, so he did. It was the owner who answered the phone (not the guy who actually drilled it) and he said yep, his bookkeeper probably hadn't done it yet and she was out sick today. But, he thanked DH for calling to ask about it. We should have it soon.

He's getting frustrated with our builder. He's been asking him to come out to our property (it would be about a hour and 15 min for the guy from his home), so DH can show it to him and also DH has several questions he needs answered that would help him decide now on a few of the things DH can/wants to do himself now. He emailed him early last Spring. Said he'd like him to come out some time when he has a chance, no rush.  Then it was June and he emailed again, that is was no rush, a reply "ok, I'll give you a call soon". At one point (I think this was after we had the site work done) DH emailed him that we did that and plan to start building next Spring and hoped he was still interested and would be available. He said he was looking forward to building our home and said he bought a camper trailer and wanted to stay in in during the week, while doing our build (rather than driving home over an hour each way), if that would be ok with us. Then DH emailed him at the end of August, again mentioning he'd like him to come out and he said they were a bit busy because their area had to evacuate from the fires, but he should be free in a week or so. Then no call or email.

I said to DH last week you need to just call or email and say you really have some decisions you have to make and need his input - can we set up a date and time to meet at my property? DH said "well, I've tried that". I didn't say it, but this is what I thought: No, you haven't done that. You've been your nice wishy washy way you deal with people and that's why he keeps pushing you off and not committing.  Call him up and ask for a specific date and time to meet! Instead he complains about it and says if the builder doesn't get out here soon, he's going to start looking for someone else. (which of course he'll have the same problem with). Sure, we could start looking for someone else, but we are most familiar with this guy and his quality of work. Our friends used him and had no major issues and their house is beautiful. NO BODY does anything around here fast. That's just the way it is. Stop saying "when you have time" to the guy and get him to commit to a date/time to meet up.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Mom Plan

I have a plan in place for when I visit my mom next week. Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions. While she is not in anyway unable to take care of herself, right now, I just want to have my ducks in a row and be able to help her when she has a problem, without having to ask her a bunch of questions (because I don't know her details), which gets her more stressed out and then she can't seem to remember what's what.

At this point and time I would like to mainly accomplish two things:

1) be able to remote into her computer and help figure out what is wrong with it when she thinks she has a problem with it or can't figure out  how to do something she wants to do. It's basically impossible to help her over the phone, when she doesn't understand the computer (I still can't even get her to know the difference between the computer unit itself and the modem box), the programs or the internet to be able to convey to me what she is looking at. It's not like the IT guys who service my work system. They can get on the phone with us remotely and step us through what to do. You cannot do that with her.

2) know who her service providers are, so that I know who/what and can better help direct her to a resolution. If she's not sure who she pays her internet or phone too and gets all flustered and has to dig out her bills, then she is just getting frustrated and that makes it harder for me to get good responses out of her. And after I hung up with her the other day I realized it would do no good for her to see if her  neighbors phone is working, if they use Quest, while she has Comcast.

I think I won't have too much trouble bringing up my mom's expenses to her. I'm just going to bring a notebook. Tell her I know we have already taken care of, covered some things, but I want to be sure I have all the info in case something happened to her and I'm not having to scramble trying to figure it out.

1) Sluggy brought up an excellent point: Permission to talk to doctors. That is a must be done and we'll have to find out how to go about it. She could have a stroke or heart attack and I'll need to be able to talk to them about it all. Contact her current doctor(s) and fill out something? Not sure how that works if she ended up in the hospital and dealing with different doctors, who would have nothing on file like that.

2). I know I am on her investment and checking accounts, and she does most of it online, so I want to have her log in and passwords, too, so I have easy access, if the need arose.

3). For her monthly and semi-regular bills. I'll get her to go through them with me and make a list in my notebook.  That way, if something happens, I know what/who needs to be paid and when. She won't have a problem with that and I'm sure she will think that is a good idea. I think she pays most of her bills by still writing checks.

4) house key. I'm pretty sure I gave her house key back when I moved and she gave it to her neighbor. I think I still need a key. If something happens to her I don't want to be trying to track her neighbor down to get the key.

Also, the thing that has ALWAYS driven me batty is her log in and passwords! Little slips of paper in her desk drawer and half you don't know what is what or they aren't correct anyway. She's worried that if someone breaks in and she had them all written down in one spot.... I don't know how many times I have told her to throw away one of the slips. She doesn't even know what it's for anymore, supposedly for her wi-fi, but probably her old provider. Every time, it's still in her little stack of paper slips. I'm going to write them all down in my notebook, so I at least might have most of them.

So, I'll be finding out who for sure her phone/internet and tv are paid to. Her auto insurance, health insurance, garbage, sewer/water, electricity and natural gas. What credit cards she has/uses. I know she uses ADT security services, so has a bill for that. I will write down her code to turn off her alarm system, so if I needed to get in, I'm not setting off the alarm. I'll see where she keeps her extra set of car keys, just in case for whatever reason I can't locate hers. Find out where she keeps her mailbox key. As far as I know, she has no debts. House and car are paid for. She should just have monthly expenses.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Mom stuff

First, because it's been on my mind for over a week and her blog isn't up anymore.........Cindi - I hope your Florida home is ok (it's in Naples, if I recall right). I'm sure you are on your rv travels, but am hoping all is well with your winter home!

Then my cell phone rings yesterday afternoon and it's my mom. She says she's at Best Buy with her computer because she turned it on and her screen had changed.  omg! so I'm like what do you mean it changed? So she handed me off to the Best Buy guy...... He says, so here's what I figured out, so she apparently hasn't updated Firefox for quite awhile, so it auto updated for her, so of course looks different now (it really looks that different? Plus I had it set up to open to her AOL homepage to check her email). He said he got all her bookmarks there and showed her how to find them. So that cost her $80........but she said can pay $200 (today's $80 included) for a whole year of service, so I told her since she's already having to  pay $80, she might as well just pay the extra $120. OMG! I just laughed and told the guy it's not going to do much good to explain and show it all to her, she won't remember, but I'll be there next week and will help remind her how to use it and look it over. Thankfully she can afford that, no problem, but still! $80 because Firefox looked different (and she didn't even know what it was to tell me that looked different). I just made it sound like the extra $120 for the years service would probably be a good thing for her to have, so at least she didn't have to stress out over whether she should do that or not.

I think I'm going to figure out how to do a remote access from my computer to her computer. If it's something we can do easily, then maybe when she has these issues I can figure out what she's even talking about. She has no words for any of the programs, etc. It's always just "my screen looks different". 

Then she calls me again last night. Her landline phone won't work. Well, most likely she unplugged her phone when unplugging the computer. It took me a half hour for her to figure out who she even has her phone service through (there are only 2 choices) and we still didn't figure out what is wrong. i asked her a couple of times "who do you pay your bill to?"  I asked her a couple of times "where is your phone cord plugged into?" She had no clue. I'm  like "did you unplug it when you unplugged your computer? is it plugged in to somewhere right now?". I figured it it was Comcast her phone line probably plugs into her modem. If it's Quest she probably plugs into the wall. was pretty hopeless. I told her to go over to her neighbors and ask if their phone was working. If not, then there's probably a neighborhood outage. If it is, then she's somehow turned her comcast modem off or something and she'll have to find someone to help her that can look at it. Plus, she ended up leaving her computer at Best Buy and can't pick it up until next Monday. What in the world did you need to leave it there for a week for? The guy told me he figured out your problem? Well, I don't know why, she says. Finally she said she remembered it was because since she paid the $200 yearly service that includes a check of her whole computer and she could pick it up Friday, but she's busy and can't pick it up until next Monday. ok, that makes sense. AND, once she gets it back home she will have no clue how to hook it back up, anyway.  

So, while I'm there looks like I'm going to have to do some looking into her bills and make sure she knows who/what she's paying for, as well as make sure she's not paying for stuff she doesn't need/use. I know she used to have Quest for her phone and internet but I thought I remembered she switched to Comcast a couple years ago. When we were trying to figure out who her phone was with, finally I said "do you pay Quest anything each month?" (I know she pays Comcast, at least for her cable tv service) "Well, no, not that I know of anymore." 

This is sad that at age 76 she is having so much trouble with these basic things now. She's extremely scatterbrained, but I have a feeling that is due to the depression meds she has been on for quite a few years now. That's when that issue started. But her memory is getting a lot worse for remembering words to use. She's always stopping mid sentence and forgetting what word she wants to use. Her dad had Alzheimer's (started when he was about 78 or so, and he died a couple years later). I will have to keep an eye on her cognitive skills for sure. She already knows when she has to, she wants to move to an assisted living place, so at least I won't have to fight her on that (I hope). Especially since she has quite a bit of money.......she needs to be able to manage that, for sure. I'm going to have to tactfully ask to maybe take a look at her bank and credit card statement to make sure she's not paying for things she doesn't realize, especially with all the scams out there.

I have to laugh (to myself) every year when she says she wants to try do her own taxes (online, no less!) when she doesn't even know who she's paying for her services at home, anymore. She was always the one who handled all the bills for her and my dad, so it's not  like she suddenly had to figure this all out after he died. It's just she's now getting old and having a hard time with it all, apparently. 

Any suggestions on how best to talk with her about her bills, I'm all ears. I know she'll say "oh, I'm fine taking care of them".  The bulk of her money is with an investment type company, so that should be safe. Her social security and an annual draw go into her checking and she pays everything out of that. As far as I know she just has one credit card, she uses once in awhile (but pays it off each month).

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

On to Tuesday

Well, I made it through Monday. DD wasn't working so she was texting me off and on throughout the day. She and BF and his parents had taken a quick (and long) trip over the weekend to attend a relative of BF's 65th wedding anniversary and they got home last night, after having been in the car since 4:30am. She will be dragging at work today.

I went to the post office yesterday afternoon. I needed stamps and to drop off the form for keeping the PO Box. The lady that works the counter is always really nice and she said does it feel like you have lived here a year already?! No, it does not!

DH is starting to stain the boot bench today. We most likely do not have enough stain left. I wanted him to use the same color stain as he did the sofa table in, not the stain he did the blanket ladder in. The blanket ladder we bought Walnut and two cans of it. He used most of one can (made a ladder for me and one for DH). The Red Oak stain we bought later and only bought one can. He kept trying to convince me that since the Walnut can was almost gone, he used that on the sofa table. Finally, I reminded him we had bought two cans of walnut and which was which. (not to mention you can tell just by looking at the two pieces which color is which LOL). I don't know if the small hardware store or the lumber store here in town carries Minwax brand stain.  Most likely I will be going to find out soon!

Renter neighbor is for sure moving his GF in.....what a scumbag he is! At least let your wife get all her stuff out first. Shaking my head........

Want to hear another reason these wildfires are a big money grab? DH's friend has a friend who "rented" his utility vehicle (a side by side) to the Forest $250 a day! He made $10,000 of renting it and told friend "I hope the fires keep burning" Seriously?! That is what is wrong with this whole thing and why the fires were let get out of control. M.O.N.E.Y. (tax payer money). ok, off my soapbox and back to work.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Monday blahs

I was not ready for it to be Monday today. Oh well, it's here whether I'm ready or not!  I spent most of yesterday helping DH with the boot bench. He was screwing the pieces together. I was helping hold pieces and hand him tools, glue, etc. It's together. Now he just needs to stain it.  It's a MONSTER! Big and heavy.  If we had built it for this laundry room we'd have flipped the seating part to the other side, but it's not so we didn't :). So, for now, when he sits, the coat rack above will be behind him.

DH just put our portable a/c unit away (he saved the box it came in). I think we are done with high temps now. Having that out of our small living room is nicer, too. We had an old small bookcase in the laundry room, with our shoes on it, that had been in the kids playroom when they were little. It was painted blue and red trim. Now I have to find somewhere for it! If I decide to keep it, I'll have to paint it for sure. I asked DD if she wanted it, but she doesn't. I suppose it could go in my office in the new house. I just really don't have room for it anywhere here in this house. I might check with our neighbor who works at the grade school. Maybe one of the teachers could use it for a bookcase in one of their classrooms for books or supplies.

Still quiet next door the past 2 days (guy's days off). He left at 10am yesterday and didn't get home until 9pm and today he left around noon, so will most likely be gone until tonight. I like it!

We're getting a good rain today. We haven't had to water the lawn in the past week, which will cut down on our water bill now. We haven't had to use the a/c, which will cut down on our electricity bill....until it gets too cold and we have to start turning on the heat. Then I'll have the huge bills again. Ugh.

Well, I need to finish my lunch break and go to the post office and drop off a form (apparently once a year they verify that you are still eligible for the free PO Box), buy some stamps and get a few things at the grocery store.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Being a couch potato

Yesterday was very nice. Sunny and temps in the 60's. Perfect for DH to be outside with his saw cutting and measuring boards for his boot bench. He really didn't need my help, though before he cut he did ask for my opinion on some of the boards edges (live edge wood) and what to use as what piece to show off the live edge and knots. The whole rest of the day he spent measuring, cutting and did the sanding of each piece. It's a little bit bigger than your standard boot bench.

I spent most of the day binge watching a reality show! LOL. I don't watch those kind of shows too often, but started watching Chrisley Knows Best, just to see what it was about. Ok, gotta admit I found it pretty funny and I especially like how strict he is with his kids. Get in a car accident (and lie about it) - no car for 6 months. Sneak your phone on the boat ride - phone gets thrown in the lake. (though I'm sure he just had to pay for the new one haha!). The daughter going on her first date was exactly how my dh (and her brother) was.....though our dd did get to go by herself on the date with the boy. LOL. I'm sure most of it is scripted, but still made me laugh. The grandma is cute.

Dinner was the leftover fried chicken (and I still have a piece left to have for lunch today), after DH finally got done and put all his tools and stuff away at 6pm

Around 5pm I noticed a pick up drive by with a big ladder in back. Then a minute later I glanced out the front window again and noticed DH talking to someone. It was the developer of this subdivision. He was in town visiting his parents and decided to drive by. I think he was mostly interested in seeing if the renters place got cleaned up. So we told him about it all (he'd been out of the country most of the summer). He did say that when he talked to the landlord before he went on his trip (this would have been beginning of July) she said they were on a month to month lease (that is not what the renters told the cops in June, they said they had 6 months left). DH asked him if he knew what they rented the place for and he did. $750 a month! No wonder they haven't wanted to move. Developer said that the rent she is getting is less than her payment on the house. She could easily be getting $900-$1000 for that house (and thereby probably get a better class of renter). To rent a 3 bedroom house in the city would cost them $1500.  Developer said he still wanted to pursue getting an HOA started and we agreed. We also discussed/wondered why his lots were not selling, when there is such a housing shortage in this town. He can't figure it out either. The small town west of us has some new (spec) home building going on, as well as the smaller town to the east of us. There are very few homes for sale and most of the ones that are for sale right in town are very old, run down and small. There are also some nice lots  across the street from the end of our street on each side of a newer nice 4 plex. Those are always rented out, no problem. Someone recently moved out of one of the units and practically the next day another couple was moving in. Renters GF has only been here that one partial night, so she hasn't moved in......yet.

DH is sleeping in this morning. I'm sure he is worn out and hurting from what he did yesterday. He doesn't know how to take a break or stop and do more later. So, he'll pay for it the next few days. But, I imagine at some point, once he gets going today, he'll go back out in the garage and start screwing the boards together and keep working on it.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Saturday morning activites

Yesterday was my every other week "half Friday" work day. I had a prescription to pick up at Target for DH, so we made a shopping trip into the city. We had stocked up pretty good 2 weeks ago, at least as far as soda, water, laundry soap goes. This trip I mostly bought dinner stuff, bread and fruit. We also got their 8 piece fried chicken and that was our dinner on the way home (it smelled too good to wait until we got home. LOL) and will be our dinner tonight, too. I spent $150 and that should get me through most of the next 2 weeks, I hope.

On the drive in I remembered that grocery store savings app I had signed up for, so I logged in to see what was offered. Found a few things on my list and saved an additional $1.70 I wouldn't have, if I hadn't added them. We also had to stop at Harbor Freight for a couple of things and I got a 20% off one item coupon code on my phone, as well as I had printed out a coupon for a free item, before we left home. The 20% saved $3.40 and the free item DH choose was a 18" magnetic tool holder. I also had a $5 Target gift card that I used towards the prescription purchase.  We made a stop first at Lowe's, looking to see if they had any aborvitae/thuja trees left in stock. Out of all that we planted along our fence line about 5 died and/or aren't looking too good. We decided to just get 4 to replace, instead of 5. One dead tree was at the end of the line of trees and we'll just skip replacing one there. Saving us $8.

We also stopped at an electrical supply place. DH wanted some info on meter boxes, as he wants to install ours in one of the concrete piers he makes for the gate. He needed to find out what the measurements would be of it. The two people helping him didn't seem to know a whole lot (though the lady was much more knowledgeable than the guy) and we ended up standing at their counter for at least an hour. I can't stand in one place that long. My hips start hurting.

This morning he replaced two of the 4 trees. Two don't look too bad and might make it, so we'll just hold on to the two in the pots. If the trees make it, then we can just use these two extra at our new house at some point.

I cleaned and vacuumed this morning. No more burning smell in the vacuum, so that is good. I also made sure to pull off all the fur and hair wrapped around the roller brush when I was done. Guess I'll have to start doing that every time. Last week DH gave the long haired dog a good brushing, which helps keep the fur down inside a lot, and I gave him another good brushing outside this morning.

With the much cooler weather, DH finally decided it was a good time to get started on the boot bench he wants to make. He's busy measuring and cutting outside now. It will certainly keep him busy all weekend. Yay! It will be made out of the same wood that he made my sofa table out of.

Plus, we are enjoying the peacefulness outside this morning, without two little kids standing at the fence asking "what are you doing?" every two minutes. haha. We enjoy kids and talking to them, but these two little ones had no boundaries whatsoever and if they were busy bothering us, then the parents were happy because that meant they didn't have to pay attention to them and all their questions. It's a good time to get outside and for DH to get his sawhorses, saw and tools out and get this project done while he can....before either the wife comes back with the kids or the girlfriend and her two kids move in.....GF was there last night, so that's probably the next thing that will take place. Oh yay.  I'm not one much for "new age" stuff.....but honest to God, when the wife left it's like all this negative energy in the air around us left with her. She must have had a bad aura, eh?

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Swagbucks merry go-round and Amazon Payments frustration

Swagbucks owes me $28 and I'm getting no where with them. It's been since August 30th since I signed up for the promotion and it's still not resolved. They emailed back over a week before last that they needed the copy of my confirmation from GameFly in a jpg form, so I did. Then I've sent 3 more emails since they asking for a status update. Finally, this morning I entered a whole new "ticket" explaining my problem again and that I have already sent them the required documentation. They emailed back they needed a copy of the order confirmation in jpg format. So, I've sent it again. I'm checked to see if they have a phone # to call and discuss, but apparently that is non-existent and the # they do have doesn't get you to anyone.

Amazon Payments is still unresolved and this has been almost a month now. I called a week ago and was told it was being transferred to the correct department and I would hear in 24-48 hours. After 48 hours I replied to the email I received after hanging up with the customer service rep, asking for a status update. Nothing.  So, I've put in another "ticket", just like with Swagbucks explaining I've been trying to resolve this for 4 weeks now.

I'm still getting this message when I log into M-Turk

When I log into Amazon Payments I get this message:
it's been like over 3 weeks with this message now.

The other day when I logged into my Amazon account (for buying stuff) and clicked on Payment Options, I do not recall seeing this:
Maybe the Amazon Payments Balance was there all along, but I don't remember seeing it. and if it is something I can use to pay, then why isn't my account approved?

I've also emailed M-Turks "help" to ask if they have any info or way to resolve.

The customer service all around is crappy. Has anyone else ever had an issue with Swagbucks and got it resolved? They seem to just keep you hanging and ask for the same info you've already given them.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

It's official

Well, one half (or maybe it's 2/3) of our renter neighbor problem has moved out! Our good neighbor across the field, works at the elementary school. She stopped at our house on her way back home from work yesterday. "Want the news?" DH was like "well, looks like she moved out". Yep!

Apparently, after she and her sister packed up what they could (including the dog), she went over to the school and un-enrolled the boy. Of course friend asked her lots of questions (since she is her neighbor, too). She and the kids are moving to the city and will be living at her sister's place and boy will be transferred to a school there. She asked about her DH still renting the house and she said she didn't know what he's doing. They are now on a month to month lease and this month's rent was paid. She said she called the landlady and told her to take her name off the lease.  Friend asked what about all his stuff over at so and so's old place (the shop where he took all his auto stuff a few weeks ago). Apparently a friend of his, who is a truck driver just bought the place and is only there a few days a month, so is renting out the shop to him. The friend said something (I can't remember how she said she worded it) to her about his girlfriend.....wife was surprised and said "oh, you know about that?" and friend said "honey...every one knows about it". She hasn't been working since school started because they don't have child care. Not sure if she still has a job to go back to now or not. At the school they do a "backpack meals" to help out some of the low income kids, so friend said she gave her a backpack of food to take with her.

So, we are for sure not out of the woods yet with this guy. For all we know he'll now move in his GF and her two little kids. But, my guess is, since he's only at the house a handful of hours a day, that he won't stay. I can't see him wanting to spend the rent on it when he's only there a few hours a night. He was already spending what time he wasn't at his job over at the shop where all the stuff he cares most about is. Hopefully, now that he's single he'll just move in with that guy where the shop is. I do not think,  though, that the junk or the noise will be returning. I think landlady was sufficiently worried enough that she was going to get sued by the developer over it, which is why it all got cleaned up and shut down.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


A little while ago a woman in a pickup showed up to neighbors place. She unloaded a bunch of flat boxes.....renter lady's back of her car appeared to be loaded with stuff/bedding......they loaded a love seat and other misc boxes into the back of the truck.....loaded up the 3 year old in the back seat of the truck (5 year old is at school) and loaded up her car with boxes......put the rest of the flat boxes (a lot of them) inside the garage......and left with their loads.

We're trying not to get too excited......but it really does appear they are moving out! A kind of strange thing happened Sunday afternoon. Guy was gone (not sure if wife was home as she's been parking inside their empty garage now). We hardly ever get traffic on our street, other then us, our neighbors and the people across the field from us. DH and I were outside cleaning out the vacuum and a car turned onto our street and then stopped on the other side of the street (which would be oncoming traffic, if there ever was any LOL) and just sat out in front of the neighbors house for like a minute or two, then left.  We were like, that was kinda strange...maybe the owner is going to try to sell it or rent  it out to someone else. Looked like an older couple.

DH is on his way out to our property in a little he'll be driving by where we know they took all their shop/auto stuff and he'll be able to see if that's where she went with her house stuff.....

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Blue skies

The wind kicked in Saturday afternoon and cleared out all (or most) of the smoke in the air. So much nicer. We can see the sky again. Starting tomorrow will be a big change in the weather temps. Down from 89 today to 56 for the high on Friday! Looking forward to that. Maybe even rain on Thursday and Friday.

Sunday we ended up spending like two hours taking apart my 6 month old Dyson vacuum trying to figure out why it was smelling (like hair burning) when using it. I had cleaned all the long black dog hair from the roller brush. We ended up having to take the whole cleaning head unit apart. The roller brush on this unit is in 2 pieces and there was hair wrapped around where the brush attaches to the part that spins it. On one side it had burned into the plastic! We thought we were going to have to re-order that part, but DH cleaned it really good and so far it works good again. Not sure how long that part will last, as it was damaged a bit, but for now it will be ok.  Then we ended up using the air compressor and blowing out all the dust from the whole machine.  Dang dog with super long fur!

DH's friend from TX showed up about 11am yesterday. He couldn't stay the night, but we got to visit with him until about 7pm and then he got back on the road towards his final destination. I ended up taking the rest of the day off. We went out to lunch at the restaurant here in town, then drove him out to our property to show him and drove around the area a little bit. Got back home around 4pm. Then I made some chicken/rice/veggie casserole for dinner and he had dinner with us. He was heading back "home" for the first time in 2 years since he and wife moved to TX.  He said he'd rather just stay in Texas, but he needed to go help his brother out.

I had emailed my boss like a week ago, asking for a few days off at the end of September. I'm going to drive over and visit mom and DD, and if my boss was going to be in the office that Friday afternoon, I wanted to stop in and see her.  She never answered my email (she's been so busy lately), so I sent her a reminder about it this morning. She was like "certainly, it will be great to see you" and then another email "should I be worried about anything?". I said "OH NO! I just want to see you and say HI! I didn't want to come over and not stop in the office". 

I'm still getting nowhere with Swagbucks for the $28.00 they owe me and nowhere with Amazon getting set up with Amazon Payments, so that I can do the M-Turk work. So frustrating. My DD signed up for the M-Turk, got approved, then did her part for Amazon Payments and got approved right away.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Where there's fire there's smoke

Have I mentioned how tired I am of watery eyes, scratchy throats and headaches? Good lord, pretty much the whole state is on fire and the smoke in the air is getting old.  Our air particulate count on Monday was almost 400. Been in the 200's the rest of the week. We try not to go outside, but geez. The dogs can't even really get any exercise outside, as it's not good for them to run and breathe it all in.

I could do pages of a post on the politics of these fires. It infuriates me. They are not fighting fires to put them out. Nope. They are "fire managers". Why? Well, first off there is no forest management anymore, thanks to all the environmentalists who don't want one single tree cut down. If one single tree is in the works to get cut down they throw out a lawsuit so fast. These counties in this state can't afford the legal fees.

So, the forests are completely overgrown. So much undergrowth. So much fuel for the fires. Over a million acres has burned in this state, alone. We can't even see the sun anymore, literally. It's hidden every day by haze of smoke.

And instead of putting out these fires with the available resources? No, no....they'd rather make sure everyone is getting a cut of the MILLIONS of dollars and just "manage" the fires. Not to worry that people have had to evacuate their homes and try to evacuate their livestock. Had their crops burned up. Just the fire near our town, alone, is up to over 25,000 acres and cost of well over 20 million dollars. That's just ONE of the fires in this state....there are almost 50 of them.

So now we'll all get to look at charred forests for the next umpteen years. Wonder how many wild animals have been killed this summer? I'm all for the environment and the animals. But there has to be a balance. If the forests are managed properly there won't be these huge, out of control fires. If the forests are managed properly there will be jobs for the people that live around here - long term sustainable jobs..not a 3 month job of putting your life in danger fighting a fire (2 firefighters have been lost so far this year).

At one point there were almost 600 people working on just the fire in our area (most from out of state). That's almost as much as the population of this whole town. There were 6 or 7 helicopters...that honestly sat at the county airport for most of the time. Most of these millions of dollars being spent are going out of state, to out of state people and companies.

From our Senator Steve Daines:
“Too many forest management projects have been held up in frivolous litigation at the expense of the people of Montana,” Daines said. “We need litigation relief. We need to reform the process that our land managers go through to get these projects done.”
“I can speak on behalf of all of Montana we are tired of being told that others know better than we do while we watch our forests burn every summer, our mills close, our neighbors lose jobs, our counties lay off road crews because we don’t have the funds anymore to support basic infrastructure, and our communities suffer from the lack of management of our federal lands,” Daines added.- Senator Steve Daines.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Friday: food and other stuff

Trying to make all the food we bought on our city shopping trip last Saturday night last for at least a couple weeks of meals before I have to restock for dinner stuff.

Here's what we've had so far:
Sunday - Steak and green beans
Monday - BBQ spare ribs and corn on cob
Tuesday -  Bertolli chicken marsala w/potatoes
Wednesday - Hamburger Helper, corn, applesauce

Thursday - Nachos

Coming up:
I have no idea! Ugh! I get so tired of meal planning. Usually I just jot down a bunch dinner meals and then assign them a day of the week. Ok, let's see what I can come up with with what I have

Taco Soup (leftovers in freezer from recent meal) DH noticed this in the freezer and asked for it again already. Yay!
Something with chicken breasts - usually I do a rice/chicken type casserole
Bertolli chicken marsala (DH's fav so he doesn't mind having each week)
Tuna casserole
Chicken sandwich ring using crescent rolls
and Lasagna. I got my moms old recipe and bought all the ingredients. Just haven't felt like making it yet.

It sounds like we'll have a house guest for at least one night around the 14th. If so, we'll probably just take him out to dinner to the restaurant here in town. Other than having Wendy's fast food last weekend ($12) we haven't spent any money eating out in a few weeks. Our dinner out with neighbors last Friday night was paid for by them (we paid the first dinner out and I think they paid as a thank you to DH for helping him work on his little pickup for a couple of afternoons, putting new clutch in).

We ended up under budget on the water well by about $200. We budgeted $6000, since of course they never know for sure how far down they'll need to dig, but we had a good estimate by the well guy and also knowing how far down our neighbors well is.  That pretty much drains our savings, as we weren't expecting to have the well guy out until like November! Oh well, it's done and we had the money. The next thing we are saving up for is the rock for the retaining wall DH wants to put in. We got a great quote from the local guy - now we just need to save up for it, but we should at least be able to have them deliver the first half of it in another month/6 weeks and that would keep DH plenty busy until we could save up for the other half.

Aside from the fact that now we know exactly where our well is, DH keeps messing with the site plans, over and over. Moving the house and shop 10 feet, 15 feet. But then that would mean this or that or the other. I finally told him it makes absolutely no difference to me. It all looks in general in the same area of our property. It really doesn't matter to me LOL. He kept drawing and re-drawing it all out and finally I'm like why don't you just make cut outs of the house and shop and them move them around on your land layout page? rather than draw it out 10 times to move it around a few feet. DUH!

Then he keeps stressing out over wanting to make sure our neighbors who already have a house next door aren't upset that our house or shop is facing this direction or that! WHO freaking cares? I'm sure they certainly didn't plan out the layout of their house worrying about future neighbors (I know they didn'tP. It's our land and our house. We can put in wherever we want to. If they didn't want to look at a shop or the back of a garage I guess they should have bought out this whole 15 acre subdivision, right?! We'll have enough to stress over vs worrying about other people and their personal tastes! Bottom line is it will be a very nice house and fit in with the intention of this subdivision for a quality home. Not to mention you know DH and how he likes to landscape. It will be amazing.