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.

Sigh..............it 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 Service.......at $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

Maybe?!!!

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 while.......so 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)
Steak
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.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

H2O

We have a water well dug now - with water! Yay! At about 120 feet water (albeit dirty water) started coming out the pipe. The well guy then likes to dig another 40ft just to make sure. He then lets it run for a couple hours. Nice water at 45gpm.  The very best part is it will be our very own water well. No sharing with anybody. No having to call up an 80 year old lady and push her to fix the well so we can have water. The next best part is we paid cash for it! That (and the site work we had done) should increase the value of our land and less money we have to borrow for our construction loan.

Speaking of building a house....people sure have strange reactions to it (and so opinionated!). The most surprising is from DH's friend, who had their house built (we are using same builder) a couple of years ago. Every comment from him is about money and how much it costs. DH will ask him questions about different components of the house and what material they used, etc, and it's always the same "well, that's going to cost a lot".  DH is like.....um...well, ya, a house does need windows. LOL. The stuff costs what it costs! It's not like we are building a totally upgraded millions dollars home. It's all been cost estimated by the builder (though we are going to have to have him update it, since we didn't build last year or this year, obviously). DH texted him a pictures of the well being dug yesterday and he texted back "oh, there goes a bunch of money" or something like that. Well, ya, we used the same well drilling company you did! LOL.  It's not like we can drill it ourselves. Or he'll comment on how much extra (it's really not that much) things will cost to have delivered out here. And then DH reminds him, but we also do not have ANY building permit fees here in this county...friends county permits cost him $15,000 to build, so it all evens out in the end (probably less for us when all is said and done, even with the extra delivery fees)

and speaking of this friend - DH was hanging out with him a couple weekends ago - he was lamenting how were they going to be able to afford their auto insurance that was now $450 a month to add a car and their 16 year old daughter onto it. OMG! That seems like an outrageous amount to me. I wonder what it was before she got added? None of their cars are new. The guy's truck and the car the DD is driving they have had quite awhile. The wife just bought a new car, but it was used. How is it $450 a month?  Even when we had a teenage boy on ours it wasn't over $250 a month for all 3 of us. No wonder he's stressing. I guess if it cost that much, I'd have to tell my DD that she has to get a part time job after school/weekends to help pay for it.  Their combined income is about the same as what I gross a year. I don't know how they do it, other than friend told DH his wife has lots of credit card debt. They have a house payment, 2 car payments, a camper trailer payment, they take a couple of vacations a year, are always going out and doing stuff every weekend, son is into all sports, so that adds up....and $450 a month for auto insurance... Eek, it stresses me out just thinking about it. I do know they are in the process of selling off a few acres of their land, which I think they plan to use to pay down some of their debts. We had thought about buying it and building there, but in the end just decided it was too close to be friends and neighbors LOL and we didn't want the train literally running through our back yard.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Extra earnings update

I tried really hard this past month to earn a little extra money through some online methods. My best month so far, for a total of $89.72.

Swagbucks: I earned $44.04, which is the most I have ever earned through them for one month. I would/should have earned another $18 for another offer I signed up for, but I didn't get credit for. I have been emailing and sent them copies that I signed up and paid for the service, but a resolution is still pending. I'm not real happy with that one! I spent $10 to sign up for the offer and was supposed to get $28 back in points.

PayPal Debit card cash back: I earned $18.51. Not as much as I used to earn each month before we moved here. I can't pay all my bills online with my debit card (some are only set up for bank EFT - they are still about 10 years behind here LOL) and for some stupid reason the Walmart here will not take this debit (mastercard) card. I can order online with Walmart using it, no problem, but not in store. Not in the other grocery store I frequent or Walgreens here, either, but I can go next door to Home Depot or Lowes and use it no problem. I never once had an issue using this card in our old state at any store. PayPal nor Walmart can explain why it denies my card in store. So, I lose out on earning by paying for my monthly groceries with it. Bummer.

Google Adsense: $25

I also signed up for Survey Junkie and earned $2.17, but I haven't tried to do that since I signed up. I kept getting denied for all the surveys the first couple of days, so didn't get too excited about that one.

I am STILL trying to get approved by Amazon Payments so that I can try out the M-Turk for earning. It's been like weeks now. I got approved by M-Turk. The next step was to set up an Amazon Payments account and verify my email. That got verified and then the next step was to verify my identity, which was supposed to take 24-48 hours. It's been weeks now and my email to check on the status was replied back to last week with a "we'll get back to you in 24-48 hours" and now that's been another week. I don't get it. I have an Amazon account. I have an Amazon Store credit card. How hard can it be to verify me to receive payments?

My credit score went up 1 point to 731.

My 401k balance went up from $67,950 to $69,202. I started the beginning of this year at $54,595.

I have $5,000 saved up for the water well drilling cost and $940 saved up for my misc things (taxes on my self employment income, travel, etc). Not all of that was saved up in one month - it's just what my total is up to now.

Let's hope September is an even better month for extra income!

My daughter texted me yesterday saying she wanted to find a way to earn a little extra each month...maybe surveys or something she could to in the evenings? So I messaged her back about Swagbucks and to also check into M-Turk. She's pretty sure she already has an Amazon Payments account (how does she get one and not me? LOL) for when she sold a few textbooks online a couple years ago. She also has a PayPal account and I suggested getting the cash back debit card and putting everything she can on that to earn a little extra each month. She wants to save for getting a dog and the related expenses each month.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Local real estate market

Our realtor (he's from the city) listed a house for sale here in our little town a couple of months ago. It's just down the road from us about half mile on the main street through town. First off, there is one realtor here in town and it appears just about every body uses them. We actually met the realtor who works for them on our first trip over here. We saw a house for sale (our realtor wasn't available on that short notice) and since it was her listing, she showed it to us. We weren't too impressed with her and we've seen their ads and such. Not very professional, etc. The locals all seem to use them, the "out of towners" who live in the area don't. LOL. 

The house our realtor listed actually sold Spring of last year, just as we started looking. Our realtor said the people that bought it (from out of town) are getting divorced and were selling it already. It was kind of a cute little house, but it had kind of turned into a dump since they bought it. Well, he sold it already for $163,500. He emailed me this morning about it and said "so we should be able to get a bit more out of your place ;)".  We are hoping we can actually make a little money off this place, especially the upgrades we did with the fencing and insulating the shop. Real estate is a lot slower out here, than in the city, but the market and housing values in the city are going up quite a bit, which will have somewhat of an affect out here. It's still within somewhat of a commute distance (45 minutes) and if people can't afford the homes in the city they move outwards. I saw a nice little new construction house for sale ad. A little bit bigger house, on same size lot, but no extra shop like we have: $440,000 in the city! Crazy.  There are some new small homes being built in a little subdivision about halfway between here and the city. They are asking over $200k for those. If we could make a little on this that would be awesome to go towards our new house down payment. We'll have our paid for land as the down, but anything we can add to it would be even better.  The also good news is it didn't take long for that house to sell. There are some homes around here that take a year or two years to sell! We shouldn't have that problem. The house we are in sold in a couple of months (first buyers lost financing) and then we came along the next month.

I had emailed him about a month ago to ask him if next time he was out this way (since he had the listing) he wanted to stop by and take some outside photos now of our house...because next Spring it won't be all flowers bloomed and green grass (probably will still be snow on the ground). He didn't get time last week, when he ran out to pick up his sign and lock box, but said he's coming through this way on the 20th, so will do it then.

We're keeping our fingers crossed it will all work out for us.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Evening shopping trip

Our after dinner grocery shopping trip went well. We headed to the city at 4pm and stopped at Wendy's first for our dinner (yay, I didn't have to cook again) and then just ate it in the Target parking lot. Target was a bit busy, lines at the checkout, as we walked in. We spent maybe a half hour there, at most, getting stocked up on toilet paper, paper towels, soda (because it was 4/$12), etc. When we got up to the checkout lines there were no lines at all. Then we drove over to the next shopping center to the grocery store, which wasn't very busy either. We each had a cart and got ourselves all stocked up for (hopefully) a few weeks. Again, zero lines at the checkout, which was great. I hate standing in line. I'm sure if we had gone and done our shopping at Walmart it would have been pretty busy there.  We got back home about 7:30.  It's so much easier having DH help with the loading into and out of the car, but he has trouble getting his muscles going in the morning (which I've always found is the best time to shop with very low crowds) so this worked out better. I think just about every time he ended up deciding he'd go shopping with me we ended up doing it in the middle of the day on a weekend or a Friday afternoon. Too many people.

I always feel like I totally bought the store out and spent a bunch of money, that I shouldn't have to shop for a month, but then in 10 days I'll be at the store spending another $100 :(. I guess I should realize that what I spent yesterday ($330) is really my two week budget amount, so even though it really feels like we totally stock up, we really aren't much. A few things I won't have to buy for a month or two: toilet paper, soda, water, dishwasher tabs, tissues, paper towels, coffee, but the rest will get mostly eaten in the next couple of weeks.  I did get a $5 Target gift card back and signed up for the grocery store app and saved $4.25 there, plus I used $2 in paper coupons. They had cases of water for $2.22, which is a great price.

I did forget to put cheese slices on my list, darn it. That will mean another trip to the store here in town later this week, as DH likes cheese on his lunch sandwiches. By then I'll need more bananas anyway, for his smoothies. I had also hoped Target would have the fish oil for dogs, as that has seemed to work well for black dog's itchies, but they did not, so I'll just order from online again.

I'm glad tomorrow is a day off. I'll get some housework done again. We have a houseguest coming in about 10 days, for I think just one night. DH's best buddy from Texas. Wish he could stay longer, but it will be great to see him, even for a short visit.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Last night we went out to dinner with our neighbors across the street. Had an enjoyable evening with some good food. They have lived in this town their whole lives so pretty much know everybody and the wife works at the elementary school, so pretty much knows what's going on with most stuff. LOL. She was saying that when she got pregnant with her son 30 years ago she went to the doctor office in town for the test and left the office to go home(like a 5 minute drive) and wait for her husband to get home from work so she could tell him.....she walks in the door and her phone is ringing and it's her mother in law saying "so I hear I'm going to be a Grandma?" LOL.

We were kind of curious why little boy next door wasn't going to school all week, when school started, but she told us Kindergarten doesn't start until next Monday. She's like "we don't want all those little boogers there the first week" haha. They've been wondering what the heck our next door neighbors are doing too...one day it will seem like they are moving out and the next not.

Got outside this morning and watered all my flowers before it got 96 degrees. Oh and 99 tomorrow. Oh Joy! DH went and filled his pickup up with diesel. Just likes to be prepared with a full tank. You never know. Chatted with the neighbor (who we went out to dinner with last night). They are watching their daughter's dog and all the dogs decided to meet in the field between us for a meet and greet.

We've decided to give "going to the city to do our grocery supplies stock up trip" in the evening a try. It's Saturday, it will be after dinner. I don't think most people grocery shop then. We'll head in about dinner time, swing in Wendy's for a couple of burgers and then to Target and then the grocery store next door. DH is taking a nap right now and then we'll take off.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Friday soap opera cliff hanger!

In true soap opera Friday leave you hanging fashion:

Of course we have been very curious to know where renter neighbor took all his garage stuff (as well as all the junk outside his garage). We figured it must be somewhere in the area (vs. somewhere in the city, an hour away) due to sometimes he was back fairly quickly, not enough time to drive all the way to city, unload, and drive all the way back here.

DH went out to our property this morning to meet up with the site work guy. He needed to pull back the bank running along our driveway a couple of feet. When we had run out there last weekend to do some measuring DH commented on this little turn off road about a mile from our property. It goes across (actually under) the freeway and on the other side is a little neighborhood of maybe like 30 homes or so. It's about the only area we haven't driven around to look at.

So, as DH is coming back from the property this morning he decided to take the turn off and go take a look at that neighborhood. It's kind of a dumpy area, for the most part. As he's driving along he sees renter neighbors 2 trailers parked at one of the places! Aha! now we know where he moved it all to. LOL. Now the mystery plot thickens.  Are they moving there? It's an older house with a big detached garage and a really big shop (like 4 bays) and his stuff is parked in front of the shop. No other cars around and it almost looks like no one lives there.  DH got the address and we tried to look up on it what we could find.

It was listed for sale last May. Shows it went unlisted on 8/22 and our state property search website shows it apparently recorded a sale just last week, but doesn't show them as the new owners. Will they be renting it? might they be moving? or might he just be using/renting the shop? I guess only time will tell. From what they told the sergeant that one night in June, they still had 6 months left on their lease. Regardless, it's apparent that's where all his shop/race stuff is staying and that's where he'll be spending all his time, so that is good.  DH should have been a detective - he's always good at finding out stuff.