Tuesday, January 15, 2019

We have walls

The drywall crew finished up yesterday. It sure changes the inside when you can see walls and not be looking through studs to other rooms.  First two pics are of entry way. The small room to the left is a den (for DH).  Where that ladder is (and a bit to the left) will be our open wood staircase going upstairs. They don't want to build it until all the messy tape and texture/painting is done. That area above entry way is a sitting area that overlooks the great room.

Below is the dining room on left and kitchen on right.........full of hvac stuff

Messy bedroom!
Now we are waiting on the tape and texture guy. He was supposed to come while the drywallers were here and get started on what they were done with. Now he's saying maybe the end of this week. He was one that stalled our shop completion by a month! We're not going to be too happy if he does that again.

And one last picture - fireplace in great room

We just have to keep telling ourselves it's eventually all going to get done.......

Monday, January 14, 2019

Weekend update

As with most of our weekends, it was pretty uneventful. We've been sleeping in longer on weekends, which has been kind of nice. I think we got used to it during the days off I had between Christmas and New Years.

Friday afternoon we went into the city. We needed some things from Lowe's, so it was a spendy trip. Since we were there and it had been 2 weeks since our last grocery shopping trip, we got that taken care of too.  The last trip, 13 days prior, was enough of a stock up to almost last 3 weeks, but we still needed to replace some food, mainly because there is only so much that will fit into the little fridge/freezer.  We didn't have much room left in the car, so we just got the basics and spent $120, rather than the $250+ we usually stock up on. I'm hoping we have enough again, to last another two weeks, or at least until the 21st - when I have the day off work and might make a trip into the city again.

Saturday afternoon a friend passing through on his way to Illinois, stopped by. He's a great guy with a big heart, but dang he is loud LOL. It was good to see him, though. He keeps saying he's moving to this area in a few years.  We'll see. While he was here and we were showing him the house in progress, a new local friend stopped by. He was on his way into the city to pick up some family at the airport and stopped to say hi. He is the guy that had installed our gutters on the shop last summer, and most recently, a week or so ago, on the house. He is such a sweet guy. He was so excited and happy to be on his way to the airport to pick up his brother and sister in-law, that he says he has not seen in 20 years. I think he just stopped by because he was busting to tell someone, haha. He lives in town and is a single guy. He told DH last summer he would teach him to fly fish.

After friend from out of town left to resume his trip, he literally called DH 10 times that afternoon and evening! DH was like OMG! what does he want now (after about the 4th call)?! LOL. Directions on best way to go, where should he spend the night, etc. I think he was just bored driving, though he did have a companion with him for the trip, so who knows.

Over the past several days I got a couple more books read. The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus. It was an ok book. I thought maybe the ending was going to be kind of cheesy and predictable. While it was predictable, it managed it with some grace, I felt. Has anyone seen the movie? worth watching?

The other book I read was Past Tense by Lee Child. I love the Jack Reacher series, so I was excited to have this one become available to borrow, already. While the two Jack Reacher movies are ok, on their own, Tom Cruise is NOT Jack Reacher in any way, shape or form, LOL. When I used to commute to work, I always enjoyed listening to the Reacher books on audio. The guy reading the books has a good, gruff Jack Reacher style voice.  That's the only thing I miss about my commuting time, being able to listen to audio books. I've tried listening to them at home and I just can't do it. I get too distracted with other things/thoughts...or I fall asleep listening.

DH continues to call his dad, daily, though his dad did call him on Saturday. He's doing ok. Friday evening he actually went out to dinner with SIL (who he is living with now) and said this was the first time in 3 months he was able to get his boots on, due to his swelled ankles.  He was able to talk to DH a little longer the past few times, too. Not out of breath so quickly.  We haven't heard any more from SIL on selling the house. I did send her the name of the real estate agent we used to sell our home there, but didn't get any reply back on if she contacted her or not. I'm guessing she and FIL are just taking a breather from it all, since MIL's death. I'm sure they could both use some down time and with him living with her, it's not a big rush to get the money out of the house.

I am leaning more and more toward not getting set back up with Dish satellite when we get into the house. I'm at least going to give what streaming we have available a try, before we hook satellite back up. Even Direct tv now has a streaming service for a low monthly fee, that doesn't require the need for a satellite dish hooked up. Our main streaming service we are currently getting the most use out of is YouTubeTv (on DD/DF's account), but I think in order to be able to watch that on our actual tv (and not computer or ipad) we will need a different streaming device than the Firestick I have. From what I have read, the Firestick doesn't have the YouTubeTv app available. I think I'll have to get something like Google Chromecast or Roku. Plus, the Firestick I have is like first generation, probably time to upgrade anyway.

Friday, January 11, 2019

A couple of friends

Two issues with friends going on right now:

I've mentioned a couple of times since summer, about a dear friend who is going through very rough time, after finding our her hubby of 30+ years was cheating on her. Oh my! I still feel so badly for her, but I am running out of advice or encouraging words for her. He has completely gone off the deep end. Since July-ish, when this came about, he has left his GF (24 years his junior and with 3 young kids with 3 different dads) and gone back to friend FOUR times! Friend is mostly still in the "but I love him and want to work this out with him" mode.....but she's slowly changing her tune about him, which is good, but she's still hanging on. She has at least seen a counselor a few times, which turns out he told her the exact same stuff I tried to advise her. MAKE HIM CHOOSE! (but, he might not chose me!). He knows he can just keep ping ponging back and forth every time it's not working out with GF, so why should he choose? And each time he leaves the GF (usually he'll go stay at his elderly mom's place) she makes up some story to get him back...she's pregnant (twice now), she got beat up by someone, or she's sick.

I'm really starting (and so is friend) to think he is on some kind of drugs. His personality has changed so much and he bounces back and forth between being sweet to my friend and being downright mean. So, now that she thinks he might be taking some kind of drugs, she's back to "but if he's sick....he needs me". Ahhhhhh.

He has pretty much let his business of 30 years fail. Who does that?! Like I said to her, people get divorced every single day. They still run their businesses or go work their job every day. Again, another clue it's drugs.  Her DH keeps telling her he wants a divorce, but he won't go file for one. Her counselor convinced her in early December to go file the divorce paperwork herself.  She's went to an attorney and filled it out, but hasn't filed yet....because she didn't want to do it during Christmas (and for a few days mid-December, he left GF and wanted to work it out again, but that only always lasts a week).

I'm starting to feel like a terrible friend when I get a Facebook message from her now, because I know it's just more of the same and I just don't know what to say anymore. But, I just keep trying to be there as much as I can and empathize with her, know matter which way she is leaning on any given day. And if I haven't heard from her in awhile, I try to message every so often and ask how's it's going.

DH's good buddy (of over 20 years) who lives in our area - He's been AWOL in the friendship status for months now, ever since we started our build. DH has tried to contact him a few times. He sent DH this kind of long rambling message the other day, so DH called him to talk. One of the things in his message was that he had lent DH his older suv for DH to use to take a car trailer back to a friend in another state (2 years ago) and "not many friends would do that for a friend".  hmm....I thought we repaid the favor by buying him a brand new set of 4 tires for it, as soon as DH returned.....not to mention we surprised him with a heater unit for his garage, so he could have a heated garage....I guess DH should have been more specific on finding out what friend wanted in return for borrowing his vehicle. I guess we should have expected something in return several years ago when he flew over to where we lived (this was several years before we moved here) to visit his family for a week and we gave him one of our cars to use all week...and certainly didn't expect anything in return.

During the phone call he also made a comment to DH "well, that big house of yours could get pretty lonely with no friends". OMG. Pretty much I told DH his buddy can go back to his drinking alcohol every night life, for all I care. We're managing just fine.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Entertainment and frugalness

I"m sure most people would think we live very boring lives, LOL. Yep, pretty much we do, but that's how we like it. We consider our home and yard (and now river view!) our main entertainment.

There's a lot of things, that most everyone else we know, seems to do, that we do not. But, I'd say most people's probably biggest entertainment expense would be vacations. We do not (rarely) take vacations. I know people (thanks to Facebook) who seem to be on a vacation every few months. I can probably count on one hand the vacations we've had over the years. We've taken a trip to Arizona, some racing trips across the country (that I don't really count as vacations), and a trip to Florida/Disneyworld. The kids and I got a trip to Disneyland with mom and DD and I took a trip to Hawaii with mom. That's about it.  We don't really enjoy traveling that much. It's too exhausting for me, really, especially with DH, as he's the type that can't seem make a decision when he's in an unfamiliar place. When we took our family trip to Florida, I basically pre-planned it down to the hour, so that DH would not get stressed trying to make decisions. I remember him saying afterward that he really liked how I had planned it all out for us. But, on the flip side, that was not really super relaxing for me, LOL. Anyhow, we just aren't vacation people.

We do go out to eat on occasion. Nothing regular, it's usually spur of the moment or a get together with friends. My only problem with going out with friends is that DH always feels like we have to pick up the bill, for some reason. Thankfully we only do that a few times per year, haha.

Our entertainment is at home in the form of watching tv, internet surfing and reading (for me). While we have been living in the shop, we haven't had our satellite tv service (Dish). I've missed it more than DH, but we are able to watch some streaming stuff on our computers and ipad. I'm considering just trying that method once we get in the house and not re-starting Dish service. We have an Amazon Firestick for our tv, so can stream, but my only issue with it is it's not easy for DH to use. He can't just turn on the Dish remote and click to his channel. All the steps it takes to get to a show would constantly be him saying "can you get this show on for me?", which is pretty much what he does now, when trying to watch something on the computer. It's mostly annoying when I've already gone to sleep and he wakes me up to figure out how to navigate to a show! Currently, I share an Amazon prime account with DD, so we have access to Amazon Prime video. Sometimes I have Netflix (when I get a giftcard) and we also have access to DD's YouTube tv account (so far the best of the streaming services, for live tv). I also have access to my mom's Xfinity account, but as far as I can figure out, can only watch it on my ipad, with the app, not on our tv and it's pretty limited what is available to watch. I just use it to watch Outlander. I think once we get into the house I will try to teach DH how to access what he likes to watch on Youtube tv and see how it goes, before getting Dish back. But, if I do get Dish back, I'm going to go with one of their smaller plans. Or if he figures out how to do YouTube tv I might get our own subscription at $40/mo. The one with DD only allows her to use up to 3 devices, so with them, us and whoever else they are sharing it with (probably his parents) I don't want to be using it a bunch and block them out because we're all trying to use it, since it's her account.

Reading: I do not purchase books. For as much as I read, it would be so costly! I borrow e-books from the library and read on my ipad mini. I do sometimes get books as gifts, which I love. Also, with the new home I want a small "library" area, so I do want to start getting books! But, I surely don't want to be forking out a bunch of money. I want to get copies of the books I have loved reading, the most. I will definitely be searching for used copies and asking for books as gifts. When I was in bookclub there was a group email where one of the ladies told about an online used book site, where the books were super cheap, but now I can't remember the site. I'm going to have to go back through my old emails and find it. Before we moved (2 years ago) I knew I'd be wanting to start building a library and I bought some books at Goodwill. They were several from the "alphabet series" by Sue Grafton and a few of the "Scarpetta" series by Patricia Cornwell that I had found for $4 each in hardback.

Movies: we don't go to theaters. Too expensive and the extra loudness bother's DH. We do have quite a few dvd's, though. For many years they were always one of my stocking stuffer gifts (I think this year was the first I didn't buy any) but that is the only time I actually buy movies. Usually I'll buy DH a couple for his stocking, some classic movie he likes (like American Graffiti or Bad News Bears). We just watch whatever is free to stream, for the most part. Once in a blue moon we would rent one from Dish. We plan to make our bonus room above the garage a movie watching room. Even though it will usually be just the two of us, we plan to have Saturday night movie nights. We are also going to watch for a used pool table on craigslist. Looks like you can pick them up pretty cheap used. I also have a nice dart board I received as a work promo gift. We also plan to have a table (will just use our old dining table, after DH builds me my farmhouse dining table) for games and puzzles - we will definitely enjoy doing some puzzles.

For outside entertainment - well, we have so many areas we can visit with a drive up a forest/logging road and end up at a beautiful view or a small lake, or a ghost town, etc. Just the price of some gas. Not to mention we will surely be enjoying our patio and river view during the summers! And when we decide to go out and explore, we always pack a lunch, so we aren't tempted to stop in town (or a nearby town) and eat out.

Overall, we are just homebodies. I have one friend, I went to high school with, who is married to a retired rich guy. She is literally somewhere - either on vacation or out to dinner or a party, almost every single day! I can't even imagine it. I know so many people who sure don't seem to like to stay home very much. I'm sure that gets expensive, and if you aren't at home you are usually eating out somewhere, even if it's fast food and that adds up.

Our friends we used to to live across the street from (and went to dinner with recently and went to their house Christmas day evening) invited us to go on their Hawaii trip next month with them. They go every year or two. We would probably have a bunch of fun with them, but this isn't our year to do something like that - either time wise or financial wise. But, I think we might do that with them one of these years!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Family roots

I think it was about 3 years ago when I joined ancestry.com and did some ancestry research for a few months. It was fun and I really enjoyed it, but once I got the general info I was after, I didn't see continuing to spend that much a month in the budget, at the time. I remember asking DH if he wanted me to look up his family and he said no "it's creepy". Then a couple years ago, he was visiting a friend and his wife for several days and she was doing ancestry research and asked him if he wanted to to look his up. Again, nope, "it's creepy".  I'm like what is creepy about it?!  Apparently, he thinks we are all related to one another, LOL.

Now, with his dad going downhill, he's suddenly interested. His sis had forwarded him pics, some pretty old, where his dad grew up on a farm. Then he remembered his sis had given him a big binder several years ago, that some distant cousin put together all about his dad's mother's side of the family. Boy, that lady put in a lot of work!

So, from that DH had his grandfather's full name (he died when FIL was a young boy in a farming accident) and did some research online. DH came across an interesting article from some county history archives. We knew they were from Germany, but not when. DH's great grandfather came over from Germany, apparently by himself when he was only 16 or 17. We also didn't know that during WWII, the family dropped the second "n" on the last name - as a way of dissociating from Hitler/Nazi-ism.

Now, DH is totally interested, LOL. One of these days, once we are settled in our house, I'll have to sign back up for ancestry.com and do some more research for him, or let him work on it. I'm sure he'd probably totally enjoy it.

For something to watch now and then, I will watch "Who Do You Think You Are", which I always find interesting. Wouldn't it be great though, if us regular folk could just say "oh, I need to go to Germany to find out more" and hop on a plane, LOL.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Health and Beauty and frugalness

Once again, we fall into the low maintenance category. We are now in mid-50's. Who really cares a whole bunch anymore?!  LOL.

DH has lost a good bit of his hair on top. Ok, he's lost all his hair on top! About once a month I get the Wahl clippers out and pretty much shave his head to just a bit of stubble. I bought these clippers probably at least 8 years ago. Best investment ever.  Much better than $15 a month at Great Clips. (especially when he had more hair, haha)

He really doesn't have much of a beauty regimen, being a guy. He shaves about every other day or so. I would have to say the cost of razor blade refills are one of my biggest pet peeves. He uses a Gillette Mach3 razor, but dang, those blades are expensive. I had him try some generic one's one time, that were supposed to be comparable. He hated them. He just uses drug store shaving cream. He does go through toilet paper like it's going out of style, LOL.

For myself, I use drug store make up and beauty stuff. I have, on occasion, tried the expensive department store stuff. I honestly could not tell the difference, so when the stuff ran out, I just went back to my economical brands. I wear some basic make up. Foundation, concealer, a little eyeliner, some eyebrow pencil and mascara. Some days I don't even bother putting on make up anymore. DH and I share shampoo, currently. He's a brand loyal type of guy, so he's always liked to use "Infusium 23". I recently ran out of mine (Tresamme, or whatever I found a good deal on) so in order to conserve space in our small shop shower, I'm just using his stuff. Again, I cannot tell the difference. I haven't had to buy "feminine" products in 9 months now - woo!

I do not have, nor ever have, gotten manicures and fake nails. I used to paint my nails myself quite often, as my nails are usually long enough that they look good. I haven't bothered painting them anymore for a few years now. DD's future MIL just had her go with her for manicures a week or so ago. DD's first time. She didn't get fake nails, but whatever type of polish they used on her nails, she cannot get it off! She said it started to chip within a week. The other day she tried to remove it, so it didn't look all chippy and she can't get it off. She ended up using some of her own polish to cover over, just so she still looked good while at work. She said she will never go get that done again, LOL.

The biggy is I let my hair go natural gray several years ago. Granted, when I did dye it, I did it myself (or had my mom do it in the earlier years), so that was way cheaper than a salon, but I got tired of having to dye it every month. And it would look good for a week or two and always seemed to fade out quickly. Plus, my natural gray is kind of a white and I gets lots of compliments on how pretty it is. Since we moved 2 years ago, other than one time, I've also been cutting it myself. I bought a $10 pair of super sharp hair scissors on Amazon and found some YouTube videos on how to trim your own hair. Pretty easy. I wear it shoulder length, so it's an quick two minute job to trim it.

We both use lotion and I just buy a big bottle of Walmart Equate brand of skin lotion. Lasts us a long time and is cheap.

We use generic advil and tylenol. DH does occasionally takes Claritan, but I found a cheap source on Amazon, where the name brand is half what Target or Walmart want for it and still cheaper than their generic brand, so I buy a bottle of that every so often.

DH likes to use handkerchiefs to blow his nose (which he does a lot) so we save some on tissues, though I prefer to use tissues and like to have a box next to my bed and on my desk. I go through quite a bit, but I can't stand using handkerchiefs.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Clothes and frugalness

DH and I are pretty darn low maintenance when it comes to clothes. Mostly we dress for comfort, not style. I was trying to remember what I have bought for us this past year. Not too much. Most of what I bought last year was for him, I think I replaced some basics - socks and an extra pair of long underwear. I probably bought him a couple pair of jeans. I also bought him a pair of slip on shoes. Croc's brand through Amazon, but I had a $15 credit, so they were only $16. He goes through his tennis shoes pretty fast and he likes a certain brand/style (New Balance). I bought him a new pair, months ago, so he could rotate out his worst pair, and I had forgotten he didn't use them right away and he packed them up when we moved here, 4 months ago. He asked the other day, didn't you buy me some new shoes before we moved, but I thought he had already started wearing them. He didn't think so, and found them in one of the boxes. Yay! He should be good on tennis shoes for most of this year, then. I also bought him about 6 t-shirts on Amazon, but he hasn't used them yet. He decided to wear out as much as possible the t-shirts he's wearing during this construction and then when it's all done he'll turn them into rags and start wearing all his new ones. Between the tennis shoes and shirts still to be worn, I don't think he's going to need much bought this year.

He's also lost so much weight that his jeans are hanging on him. He's on his last belt notch. But, since he likes to save things, he still has several pairs of his old Levi's from when he was smaller (like 10 years ago LOL) and once he can unpack them from a box, I have a feeling those will fit now again, haha! He's down like 40 pounds, from 230 last spring, to now 190.

For me, I recall buying a sweater at Costco ($8) and another sweater at Target that was half off at $12. I think I bought a couple of t-shirts, also. Last January I got a few clothing items, but they were actually Christmas gifts from DH (he gave me a note for a shopping trip to Kohl's), so I'm not counting them as part of clothing money spent. On that trip I bought a new pair of tennis shoes, which are now my "good pair". They are still in great shape. I mostly wear my "old pair", which are getting pretty bad. But, with all the dirt and dust around me on a daily basis, there's no point in me wearing my good tennis shoes. I'll just keep wearing these as long as I can. Most of the time it's one of the dogs stepping on my foot with one of their big dirty paws! I should probably give throwing them in the washing machine a try, I guess.

Neither of us cares about high priced, fancy brand name clothing much. That's not to say we don't have any, but in a few useful pieces, that we get good wear out of and they last years and years. DH has 2 Carhartt jackets (one really old one and a nicer newer one dd got him as a gift a couple years ago) and coveralls. I also bought him a pair of "Romeo" slip on shoes as a Christmas gift a couple of years ago., but those aren't really too expensive, in my opinion. He also has some snow boots that were very expensive years ago. I'm talking probably 15 years ago. I can't remember the brand, but they have lasted him forever. I have a couple of North Face jackets. One DD bought me as a gift, but she bought it second hand.  The other I bought at a North Face store, but it was like half off or something. I remember even the cashier muttering "I wonder if this is marked wrong". LOL. And again, this is my main go to winter wear jacket and it's lasted me years, too. I also have a nicer lighter weight jacket that is good for spring and fall and rainy days.

Other than that we wear pretty inexpensive stuff. Mostly jeans and t-shirts for both us us. For years (since I first met him) DH wore Levi's 501 jeans. They used to be pretty reasonably priced, and I'd stock him up a couple pairs each year, when they'd go on sale for like $17.99. But gradually the price on them seemed to just keep going up and up, until they were like $40-$45 a pair. Several years ago he decided to try some Wrangler's jeans. He likes them fine and they are about $15 at Target or Walmart. Now I can get him 3 pairs for the price of one pair of Levi's. I just did a price check and now they seem to be priced $50-$60.  I usually have to buy him a couple pairs of jeans per year.

For me, jeans last quite a while.  I usually try to get them at Ross or Walmart. I have a couple of Walmart pairs I got for $10 some previous years Black Friday sales (but they didn't have any this past year). I try not to spend more than $20 for a pair of jeans. Socks - I get white and black "peds" ankle socks. Pretty cheap. I buy Froot of the Loom women's underwear in a pack. They are like $1 a pair, but they last 2-3 years. This year, so far, I did just buy another pair of long underwear. From Target online and they were $9.50.

If we have to go somewhere where we want to look a little nicer, DH has some khaki pants and several nicer shirts (again bought years ago). I have a bunch of dressy tops and sweaters (from when I worked in the office), and we both have some dressier shoes. We usually use our dressier clothes infrequently and they last years before we have to replace them.

Clothing is not really something I actually budget for, since we spend so little each year. Half the time it's part of our gift giving to each other. While I understand "you get what you pay for", I'd rather spend a bit more on quality coats and shoes, than jeans, t-shirts, socks and underwear. While DH wears his clothes out faster, because he's doing work around the home/property, I am not hard on clothes at all....other than tennis shoes. As soon as I get a new pair, they get dirty!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Home maintenance and frugalness

Another area we try to be as frugal as possible with is home maintenance. We try to do whatever we can ourselves. Oftentimes that means googling a video on how to do something!  We've fixed our washer and dryer that way, among other things.

We weren't always on top of home and yard maintenance. While the kids were growing up, we were both working, and involved with kids activities, we were terrible at it. And we ended up paying for it eventually. But, at least by the time we got smart and started taking care of things, the kids were grown and gone and my budget could handle it then. By the time we decided to sell our home of 27 years and move, we had fixed it up both inside and out.

When we moved and bought the little house in town, we spent about $12,000 to improve it. We insulated the shop, added a man door and electricity and a heating unit. We had the existing chain link fence fixed and added fencing around the whole lot, not just front yard. We added some additional lawn and basically completely landscaped. We had the garage attached to the house tape and textured, added a heating unit, and overhead shelving. In the laundry room we added cabinets. We actually sold the house for $60,000 more than we paid for it, 2 years earlier. While some of that was due to market, I highly doubt a 37% increase was solely due to market. I know part of it was the improvements we did.

DH mows our lawn himself. I mention this because I know people who hire it to be done, when they are perfectly capable of doing it. We also do our own weeding and spraying for weeds and pests. We also try to landscape with as much low maintenance as possible. It helps that DH really enjoys sitting on a lawn tractor and mowing. It's relaxing to him.

Just trying to keep our home as clean as possible, in general, makes for less wear and tear. I mean, if you never wipe down your cabinets, then eventually it's pretty hard to get years of grime cleaned off of them.

Small home repairs, DH always tries to do himself. Replacing toilet valves, leaky faucets, stuff like that. As I mentioned above, we've fixed our washer and dryer a few times. Figured out what is wrong (google) and ordered the parts online and replaced them. In fact, our dryer is making a squeaking noise again, sounds like a bearing going out, so DH will probably try to fix again, rather than going out and buying a new one.

We regularly replace our furnace filters. Apparently the filter that will be in our hew house furnace is supposed to be replaced once a year and it's pretty pricey, but the hvac guy said it can be bought from Amazon a bit cheaper. The wall heater type units we have in the shop have permanent ones that you just pull out and clean off and put back in, so that's no extra money for filters.

I have a dyson vacuum that you just empty out the bin, but we still use our old vacuum quite a bit and it has bags. I can't even find the size in stores anymore and have been ordering them online via Amazon for several years. It's not cheap - like $6 for 3 bags (Bissell). BUT, I just went to order some more and finally, someone is selling generic bags in this size! I got a dozen for $10.

I think preventative maintenance saves money in the long run. I think maintaining your home by keeping it clean also helps keep it's value. Case in point, the in-laws poorly cared for home.  Besides it needing a huge thorough cleaning, the flooring, walls and cabinets are not new or clean. They've lived there over 30 years, with nothing replaced. The furnace hasn't been maintained (and isn't even working, according to SIL, they use their fireplace insert to heat). The list goes on. This has greatly affected the amount this home is worth compared to a similar home in their neighborhood, that is kept up. FIL has lost a lot of money in the form of his home value, because of this.

Thankfully DH has never taken after his parents, when it comes to caring for his possessions. I'm guessing that since he grew up in basically a pig-sty, is why he hates anything dirty or not kept nice. (well that and he really is a bit OCD). I grew up in a very tidy home and my grandparents home was the same. Though I must admit, for most of my life I was not near as tidy as my mom and grandma! as a kid I always had a messy room. Once my kids were grown I found it much easier to change my ways and now I really can't stand things out of place or cluttered looking.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Cars and frugalness

While the house continues to get built I thought I might start making posts about things we do to try to be as frugal with the money we have, as possible. After all, that's really how we are affording this house! The insulators left yesterday and now their big trailer is out of the way in the front to take a picture. Inside just looks like a bunch of insulation, LOL

One very main way we are frugal with our money is our vehicles. We currently have 3 cars/trucks. One is our very first brand new car, bought in 1986. We put over 200,000 miles on it. Our son drove it in high school. DH just has sentimental attachments to "stuff" (so not frugal!) but honestly, the car is probably worth about $500 (it does run) and DH just keeps it.

DH has a pickup that we bought new in 1998 (1999 model). It only has 54,000 miles on it, because it is his "baby". It's in pristine condition. It does get used if it has to (to haul something) but otherwise gets driven very little. I have the minimum insurance on it, since it literally gets driven a few times a year. He was posting on this message board he frequents (for gear head type guys) and several have told him he could probably get $50,000-$60,000 for his truck - because of the condition it is in and because it is before "all the emissions stuff" they don't like.

Our main car "my car". Though now that I don't have to drive to work anymore, DH does most of the driving of it. We bought it used in 2011, but it was a 2011 model. DH found it on Craigslist. Turns out a guy bought it from an auction, fixed it and sold it. It had 4800 miles on it when we bought it, still smelled brand new and the plastic was still on the floor mats. It came back with a clean carfax, though later, in googling the vin# I discovered it's history (so not sure how the carfax was clean). It had been owned by a car rental company and had gotten in an accident. It appears the front bumper/valance was pulled off. Pretty minor, really. Someone probably ran up over a parking curb and pulled it off backing up. And apparently the car rental company had to total it. The guy we bought it from put a new front valance on it and it's been a perfect car for 8 years now! (knock on wood). We paid half what it would have cost brand new, so we've always felt like we got a great deal on this car. We are hoping it's going to last us a few more years. We just had some repairs done to the front end (new tie rods) and since we now do not put very many miles on it anymore, we are going to keep driving it as long as we can.

We take care of routine maintenance. DH is very thorough about this. Oil and filter changes, tires rotated, etc. We also keep our vehicles very clean inside and out. We have found keeping them clean (and smoke free) has really helped in resale value when we do sell a vehicle.

I honestly don't know how much this has and does save us over the years. Obviously, we don't have any car payments. The low miles we now put on mean less wear and tear and less often to replace tires. The ages of the two vehicles insured means lower premiums. I show the last time we filled up my car with gas was on Dec 20th and we still have over a half of a tank left. DH pulled his pickup out of the shop the other day to move his car trailers and realized he's put 10 miles on his car since we moved here....that was his last trip from town to here, LOL. Sometimes I think I should just cancel the insurance on it, since it just sits in the garage/shop 99% of the time, but the few times he does take it out on the road, I worry something might happen.


I'm still continuing to read like a mad woman. There's not much else to do in the evenings and weekends. A couple of books I recently enjoyed, I thought I'd share:

I read a book by Matt Haig called "How to Stop Time". It was pretty good, so I decided to see what else he's written. Over the past weekend my library books on reserve popped out another one as now available for borrowing. It's called The Humans. I really liked this one. It starts out funny, the middle is intriguing and the end is inspirational.  All told from the viewpoint of an extra terrestrial alien, LOL. I read part of the ending twice, just because it was so good. And usually I return the e-books as soon as I'm done (so the next person waiting doesn't have to wait any longer), but it's still sitting in my "bookshelf". I haven't returned it yet, becauese I think I might go through the list of "advice to humans" once again. It was great advice we can all do well to think about once in awhile.

Another book I read during my Christmas break was Every Note Played by Lisa Genova. About a man with ALS.

I did do a bit of binge watching New Years Eve and day.  I discovered there was free HBO weekend on the cable service my mom uses, that I can log into. So, I got to get caught up on season 7 of Game of Thrones. I'm always way behind on that show, but that's ok. Eventually I get to see it.

and now that I have Netflix again (Christmas gift card) I can now watch season 10 of Heartland.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

a little good news

On a little bit of good news, I did already find out my annual salary increase for 2019. It is $1650 per year. Basically, a $1500 a year salary increase, and with our 10% of salary bonus program, that's another $150 on top of that. Not huge, but honestly, I was not expecting more than $2000 a year, at the very most, so I'm not disappointed. Anything extra is helpful. That will probably be about an extra $100 per month, after taxes. And at least I know right off bat, first of the year, what my salary will be for 2019. No waiting and wondering until February or later, what it might be.

Our gutters guy showed up yesterday to start to install the gutters on the house. I think that is about the only bid that came in under what our contractor said it should cost! Figures it was a guy we found ourselves to do the work. He's from our small town.

We're seeing lots of deer and elk tracks on our property, in the snow. They are apparently still using the game trail that diagonals down the bank to the river. We need a game camera so we can watch them! oh well, maybe one of these days, when we aren't bleeding money on a house build.

My banker lady for the construction loan returned my call this morning, from yesterday. I had called because I wanted her advice. She said we should definitely at least file the claim - we have the insurance and it's supposed to cover something like this. She said it may end up that insurance company goes after contractor or his insurance, but let them figure it out. She also said we should probably consult an attorney, if insurance denies it. So, now I have a call back into the agent. She also said she was going to call our contractor about it, but she didn't really say what her intention was with the call. I told her, my intention of telling her about the issue isn't to throw our contractor under the bus (we still have to get along with him), we just have anyone and everyone in the business, from the subs, (most of whom are also general contractors or have been), the mold company and our insurance agent, telling us this is the contractor's or his insurance's responsibility and we don't know what to do. We don't have $23,000+ to fix it. I then got a hold of our agent, again, and told him to start the claim.

Well, then contractor called DH all up in a tizzy. Mad that he got a call from her, blah blah. They argued back and for awhile, then he calmed down (as he always seems to do). Contractor says he can and will fix it so that it is gone and would pass code inspection. DH said that is really all we have ever been asking - but when he left it with those young guys unsuccessful job of cleaning it up, we felt like it wasn't going to get resolved by him. He said let's make an insurance claim on our policy the last resort. So, now I need to put the claim on hold. Oh what a mess, but maybe that's what the contractor needed - a kick in the butt by the bank to take responsibility to fix it. We'll see. Right now we've got the big commercial dehumidifier going, the drywall just got delivered and will be started putting up next week. Contractor said after the drywall is up, is when he can then put heat into the house and get the floor joists and sheeting dried out.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Insurance update

I have not received very good answers today. The insurance agent said he talked to the insurance company's underwriter and yes, we do have $15,000 in fungus coverage, BUT, if they send an adjusterr out who determines that it was caused by builder neglect in keeping the crawlspace adequately ventilated during construction, they will deny the claim. Well, that is exactly why there is mold there, so it's more than likely going to get denied. Not to mention, if by chance we did get it approved, he also said then our insurance rates for homeowner's insurance are going to increase at least 20% going forward.

We do not know what to do. DH did end up having a long phone conversation with the builder about it. He explained what he means by "first we need to get it dried out down there". He does not mean the air/ground - he means the actual wood (floor joists and sheeting) itself and there is lots of moisture in all that wood. That has to get all dried in order for the mold to stop growing. Ok, that does make sense. But, as Dh told him, the small dehumidifier he put down there last week was only getting out about 1/2 a gallon of water a day. The insulation company owner said it is way too small. He was generous enough to bring his very big commercial dehumidifier with him today and set it up down there. He said it should draw out 5 to 10 gallons of water per day. He said he has this machine, for just that purpose, because when he builds houses he has to keep it all dry, so it doesn't develop a mold problem!

Then it appears our contractor will again have it all cleaned down there to remove the mold. We'll see, I guess. But, DH told him this all needs to be addressed now, not keep getting ignored day after day. At least the builder was very calm and not his usual defensive mode, where nothing is his fault. He seems to feel that once the wood is dried out (ie get the moisture out of there and heat it up) then he can get the rest of the mold removed.

I have a call into our banker lady, just to make sure she is aware of what is all going on and see what the bank thinks about it.  Like my boss said, the bank should want to do something to facilitate it getting fixed, they have a vested interest in this property. Maybe she has some input for us, but I'm not holding my breath.

No answers yet

My first call this morning was to our insurance agent that we have our "course of construction" insurance policy with. He wasn't sure, but didn't think this is something the insurance policy for construction would cover. But he will verify with the insurance company the policy is through. It's been almost 3 hours and still no answer. Of course, he said it should be the contractors responsibility. So far, there has yet to be anyone (except the contractor) who doesn't say he should be the one who has to pay for it (or his insurance). Both of our subcontractors, who are doing the insulation and hvac, and who apparently both are also/or have been general contractors, say this is most definitely the contractors responsibility. The insulation guy said most contractors would have fixed the problem as soon as it started, before the homeowner even knew there was a problem. The mold remediation guy said the same thing. He also said this work they do are almost always done through insurance, in his experience. Like DH told him, knowing that and getting our contractor to cooperate, fix it properly, and pay for it is another thing.

I'm not sure why it's taking the agent so long to find out whether or not it's covered. In the meantime, I pulled what documents I have on the policy. I don't have a lot, but there is a line that says "Limited Fungus coverage" of $15,000. I don't know what fungus would be, other than mold? There is also a line that is "Pollutant clean up and removal" $25,000. Wonder if mold would fall under that? I guess I'll have to wait to hear back from the agent. I'll give him another couple hours and then going to call back and push him some more to get me a definitive answer.

In the meantime, the remediation company's estimate email came. $23,500...............excuse me while I go throw up.....again.