Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Tuesday that feels like Monday

When I first woke up this morning, I thought it was Monday. I've been sleeping so hard in the mornings lately, when I should be waking up. Except, of course on the weekends. I wake right up and no sleeping in, LOL.

Yesterday dh got the sprinkler system blown out to shut it off for winter. He also replaced the furnace filters and flushed the tankless water heaters (that he didn't do over the weekend). So, he was busy most of the day. Since dh has an air compressor, he can blow out the sprinkler system himself and that saves having to pay to have that done every fall (like our neighbors do). Dh was worn out by afternoon, though.

Yesterday another car came into our street and sat in front of DAN's lots for about 5 minutes and left. Kind of odd. Last week, it was reported that a neighborhood near us, had some theft of some rather large pieces of (expensive) machinery. The properties are kind of spread out and where this theft took place, no houses have view of it, but it is on a corner where people drive by all the time to get to their homes. But anyway, whoever did it, obviously scoped the area out to see what they could steal and when and so that is one of the reasons dh has always paid close attention to unknown vehicles pulling into our street, for no apparent reason.

Yesterday my mom's investment guy called to tell me that one of her CD's matured. Due to her financial needs and to leave some money that is just in cash and quickly available, he put half into a new 1 year CD (at 5.5%) and left the other half in cash. She has another CD that matures in December and then we will also leave those funds in cash and that will be enough for her withdrawal she needs to cover her expenses for next year. I then asked "hey, maybe I wrote the date down wrong, but I thought you were supposed to call last Thursday at 11am to do the quarterly update?" He looks at his calendar (their office manager set up the appointment) and says well, I see a blank spot on my calendar last week for that time, so something went wrong in getting your appt in there! So, he is calling me today, in about an hour. I also needed to do one more smaller transfer of funds to her checking account for the balance of this year and he took care of that for me right then, so I didn't have to call the office manager back to do it (I was waiting until this CD matured, to do the transfer). I'm also expecting to have a large tax refund for her when I file her 2023 taxes. That will be able to go straight into her checking account and be a cushion to use, if needed, rather than tapping into her investments again, for next year. Everything I read on it, says memory care costs are all medically tax deductible, since she needs it for daily living activities. I would think $8000 a month in medical expenses should reduce her federal and state taxes quite a bit! Her investment company withholds taxes (15% fed and 7% state) when she takes withdrawals, so she should get most of that back. 

DD's birthday is next month (28 yrs old), I need to figure out now what to get her. 

Monday, October 2, 2023

Passports and Scotland

I don't have a passport. I double checked and do not need a passport for the cruise, but, it is recommended to have one for an emergency. If by chance, on the one day we are in port in Victoria, BC and we had an emergency where I didn't make it back to the ship and needed to get back into the US via another method, I would definitely need a passport. I'm like, we'll be in Victoria part of one day, what's the odds? I was still trying to decide.

Then I got an email yesterday reminding me I had an appointment at the courthouse in town on Tuesday, morning, to renew my drivers license. I confirmed the appointment. Then I remembered the reason for the appointment (and why I didn't just renew my drivers license online) was to get the REALID license. It's been so long since I made the appointment, I had totally forgotten about it until the reminder yesterday.

This morning I got to thinking - if I decide to get a passport, then I have no need for the cost and time to get the realid license. I asked dh what he thought and he said to just get a passport and that takes care of everything I may possibly need - all my bases are covered with that. So, I just went online with my state and renewed my regular driver's license (for 12 years!) and then went back online to the appointment portal and canceled my appointment for tomorrow. Now, I just need to get the passport taken care of. To renew his passport dh will also need to submit new photos, so next time we are in the city we'll stop in Walgreens and get that taken care of for both of us and get started on the process to apply for mine and renew dh's.

Today dd went to Huntly, Scotland, where my paternal grandfather was born. So cool. There is the Huntly Castle ruins, built in the 12th century, which they toured. One of the photos had the sign out front with some of the history. The clan, who were the Earl's of the castle until like 1850, were named Gordon. My great grandfather's middle name was Gordon and his mother's maiden last name and her parents are Gordon, so I have many x great grandparents going back with that last name. So, I joked with dd, maybe we are related to these Gordon's of the castle :)

Sunday, October 1, 2023

A home maintenance weekend

DH got all the yard weed and bug stuff down yesterday. While he did that I used my steam mop on the shower floor. I really like it for cleaning that. We have a flat pebble like shower floor and it cleans it up nice and with the hot steam I feel like it's all been sanitized. I also steam mopped the kitchen. I'm not liking this mop as much on the laminate. It kind of leaves dried water streaks. It seems I will never find a laminate mop solution/system I like. I also did a little vacuuming.

I texted with my friend a bit about our cruise. She wanted to know if I'm interested in adding the VIP pass and I think that would be a good/smart thing to do. It has some nice perks - most of which involve less waiting in lines, which is hard for dh to stand for long periods. We would get priority embarkation and debarkation, an exclusive welcome lunch (rather than the first buffet lunch) and also dedicated seats for shows we want to see and fast lane for onboard activities. And an internet package. We are also trying to decide on which shore excursions to do. I said let's skip the Victoria BC tours, we've been there a couple of times in the past and I'm sure we can find something to do on our own there. This morning I was able to figure out how to sign in and set up and account and link our reservation and now I can see all the same options friend is looking at. 

Online I see there is also an offer for a Royal Caribbean Visa card, to earn $250 onboard credit to use (after charging $1000 to it). I think I will sign up for that. $250 is a good bonus to earn to put towards our extra costs. Plus, if I just use it as much as possible for my charges over the next 11 months, I can earn more points for onboard credit.

My uncle called and is doing fine. He just had some light symptoms with his Covid. He wants to try Ancestry.com and wanted some info. I told him I think he'd really enjoy it and it's a fun hobby and fun to find the hints and see all the info about people. 

DD and SIL are now in Inverness and this morning they all did a charity 5k run (dd is not a runner haha, but her friend is). From the pics it looks like they all really enjoyed it. They are in Scotland until next Friday and then come home.

I'm waiting for dh to get up this morning, so I can make some blueberry muffins for breakfast. It's not supposed to rain today, but is still overcast and cloudy and only to be 55 degrees for the high. Usually on 1st of October dh flushes out our 2 tankless water heaters with vinegar, so he plans to do that today. Thankfully when we built our house the plumber told dh how to do it to save from having them do it and the high charge.

My assistant is not one of the one people being laid off. It's all full time people, where the company is trying to reduce costs of salaries and benefits. Assistant is now only working 12 hours a week and as long as he's doing ok with that, he's still got a job. His 12 hours a week (and no benefits) and low (compared to every one else) hourly rate wouldn't save the company much overall. It's helping me get caught up and I'd rather not have to train someone new until I really get caught up. The couple of weeks I was sick put me back behind some, so I'm working that back up.

Saturday, September 30, 2023

September done

Yesterday I went ahead and accepted the change in valuation on our house with the assessor's office and closed out the appeal and will not pursue it further with the county appeal board. Still not happy that they didn't lower the land value any, but of course the fact that none of our neighbors appealed the same land value increase of 113%, doesn't help my case any. I did tell him well, considering the two that have homes, that are way undervalued compared to ours, it's not surprising they don't want to rock the boat by appealing. Anyway, it's done now and none of you ever have to hear about it in a future post again....well, at least for another 2 years, until the next assessment comes out 😜. I'm not making any promises. Never say never.

Nothing new to report except I think I should give DAN a new name: I'm changing it to "He who must not be named"....I'm scared to say DAN now, LOL. Maybe instead of DAN, I should have called him Voldemort. Oh, one more thought: and how's this for one of the last explanations I got on our neighborhood lots valuations. Lot 6 (also 2 acres) sold for $100k in Sept 2020. DAN paid $156k each for lot 5 and 6 a year later. The assessor said the reason they feel that lot 6 sold for less is because it has to share a well with lot 5...ok...so if their lot isn't as valuable - why are they being assessed at the same value as all us other lots? That's not fair to them. It's all just a stupid, unfair tax and valuation system and I really think they just pull 90% of their answers out of their ass. 

The assessor did say that how they lowered our house value was they threw out the 3 comps in the other counties, 200 miles away, and just used the 2 comps in our county. Ya, no kidding. 

I cannot for the life of me figure out why I have so much trouble commenting on other "Blogger" blogs! I'm signed in to Blogger. I can click on Linda's blog and comment as me almost every time. I click on T'Pol or Treaders blogs and then it says I'm not signed in. I sign in and it takes me back to my dashboard page. I try to go back to their blog and I'm not signed in again. Every so often, after 3 or 4 tries, it finally signs me in, but usually I end up giving up before then. It's frustrating. I want to comment and not anonymously. Then I just tried to add a comment to T'Pol as anonymous and it said "an error occurred". Geez, I can't even leave a comment that way. So, just know I was trying to comment that I'm glad you had a good time on your trip!

My boss called at the end of the day yesterday. She wanted to let me know they have decided to do some layoff's that will happen on Monday. Five people are getting laid off. Not good news. My friend who visited us last year just found out her (very large) company is going to be laying off like 2000 people (they operate in more than one state) and she still has no idea if she might be one of them. She works remotely. This is starting to remind me of 2008. Are you hearing of layoffs?

Friday, September 29, 2023

Yes, please take my $500!

Dh and I are going to go on a vacation. A real vacation! I may have mentioned last May, when our Texas friends were here, we discussed going on an Alaska Cruise together in 2024. Yesterday R texted me that she found a good deal on a 7 day cruise - are we still interested? I said YES! She called a little later with the details. Next September (which is when I wanted to go, too). We will have a room with an ocean view and balcony. She's excited, I'm excited, her dh, M, is excited (he's been on a couple cruises so he enjoys them) and dh will have fun, LOL. I didn't even ask him, I just went downstairs and said R found a good deal on a cruise to Alaska and we're booking it and going next Sept. He's like...oh...ok! haha.

The best part so far was she did all the work to decide which cruise and found the deal! That was awesome, because I would have spent hours and hours and more hours trying to look and decide. She was like "here's the plan" and I was like "perfect!" LOL. The sale was ending yesterday so when she called they put a 24 hour hold on the reservations and I had to put down a $500 deposit within 24 hours. Done. The balance won't have to be paid until next July, I guess. It's going to be so fun.

DH and I have never gone on many vacations. Firstly, because we never had the money and secondly, because we're content to be homebodies. And thirdly, he's really not the best vacationer - he worries too much about every little thing. Going with our friends (who have already been on an Alaskan Cruise about 5 years ago) will be a good way to vacation for him - he can just go along with what they plan and and they already know the ropes and he will be much more relaxed than inside his brain thinking he has to make all these decisions, LOL. 

R&M have been on a couple of cruises with another couple they are friends with, but R said the wife only wants to spend the whole cruise sitting at the pool in a lounge chair reading a book. All day. She doesn't even want to get off the ship at ports. I said, no - that's boring. I want to do ALL the stuff! Which made R happy. We will all have a good time together.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Breaking the blogging "rules"

As I get ready to make a new post, I have to chuckle, as I hypothetically (and tongue in cheek) wonder what are the rules for blogging? I must have missed the blogger training rules years ago ;)   What exactly am I allowed or supposed to talk about? Am I allowed to complain about anything or maybe it's just that it's ok to complain once and only once and never to mention it again? Is there a list of what topics are ok to include in my blog posts? Who decides? Is there some secret blogger society I don't know about that is in charge? Do they meet and discuss blogs and decide "everyone" is sick of hearing about something someone posts? LOL.

Is it my responsibility to only have content that a particular person, or group of people, like and want to read about? It is my responsibility to provide them with their entertainment and what they want to read about and make sure they aren't annoyed? I never thought it was. I mean, it's not like these people who read are paying me to read something they want. I never considered that someone who is not paying for my house, my bills, my property taxes, my life, would think they have a say in how I feel about it or how much I decide to write about it on my blog.

For me, my blog has always kind of just been a daily diary. That a few people actually end up reading it (and still read it!), and the other wonderful bloggers I've gotten to know over the years is just a bonus. I enjoy when there are comments and replying back and try to reply to everyone's comments. It was never and still isn't my intention to have some blog that my goal is to appeal to everyone and get lots of followers. I just write about whatever is going through my head that day or going on with my surroundings. Good, bad, boring, otherwise. To me most of it seems pretty mundane and not too interesting. No more or less interesting than the other blogs I read. I don't too often skip blogging days, because years ago I found if I did that, it ended up skipping a few more and it's just easier for me to try to stay in a daily routine, even though some days not a whole heck of a lot is going on.

Someone commented yesterday they've been waiting to see if I ever realize how obsessed I am with DAN. I replied yes. I am the one writing about him/the situation and I know when and what I say, haha. The thing is....I just. don't. care! and come to find out Mr and Mrs Neighbor are just as "obsessed" as we are with what he doing/plans to do. I have lots of faults that I am fully aware of! I didn't realize I needed to state the obvious.

For some reason both dh and I have cut way down on online purchases. We still order the regular supplies and stuff we need to use and take care of our place, but that's been about all that we've been ordering for months now. I can't even blame it on having Covid and being too sick to order stuff (though that was a "benefit" of Covid, I guess, LOL), as we've been not ordering for months now. I'll get online with Amazon to look at my order history or dh will ask "are you expecting UPS today?" and I look (because sometimes I can't remember if I ordered something) and see that I haven't even ordered anything from Amazon in like a month! Our UPS guy used to come here a few times a week. DH knows him well, LOL. Now we hardly ever see him. He did finally deliver some cat food and cat litter yesterday that I ordered. DH chatted with him awhile, they had lots to catch up on, haha. 

I think we must both kind of be to the point we now have most of our little wants out of the way. Other than some bigger ticket items (for the bonus room, to be finished some day) I think I pretty much have what I need for the house now. It's pretty much fully decorated now (I'm slow, only took me 4 years, LOL). The only thing I find myself telling myself "NO!" is more Christmas decor....but so far so good - other than the $5 I spent on some with Temu. It's nice that both of us have cut down, finally.

I did have to place an order for dh for lawn tractor and lawn mower maintenance kits today. When he is done with every season he cleans them up, changes the oil and spark plugs, etc. It's that time of year again. DH wasn't too happy that it costs $140 for the kits (for both) but that's the cheapest he could find them. Mr Neighbor just takes his into the lawn tractor service place. I'm glad dh knows how to do that stuff himself. It does save money. Last month Mr asked dh what he uses for the lawn fertilizer, where to get it and how often. They've always paid TruGreen or some company, but their lawn hasn't looked as good this year and he wants to try it himself. Dh even recommended the best type of lawn spreader to get. I'm sure this will save them quite a bit, which I'm sure is helpful now that Mrs. is retired. 

DD and SIL are very much enjoying their trip. The first 5 days, in London, they walked 50 miles in 5 days, just seeing as much as they could. Now they are spending a few days on the Isle of Skye and it looks very peaceful and beautiful. Then I think the next stop is Inverness. They have a rental car for Scotland. One of the days next week they plan to go see the town of Huntly, which is where my paternal grandfather was from (and all the generations before him). His father emigrated in early 1900's to Montana and his wife and 4 year old son (my grandpa) came over a few years later.  They flew up to Scotland on Tuesday afternoon and spent the first night in Edinburgh before going to the Isle of Skye yesterday. SIL said when he was checking them out of the hotel the desk guy asked him his name, so he said it. SIL's first name is Mexican and his last name is Irish, LOL. I guess the Scottish desk clerk got a big kick out of his name and said that is a great name! and kept repeating it. LOL. DH and I were trying to imagine how his name sounds in a Scottish accent, haha.

After lunch today I have a quarterly update phone call meeting with mom's investment guy. The stock market sure has looked crummy the past couple of weeks. I read because the fed said they are going to raise the interest rate again. 

It's been pretty rainy here this week. It's kind of a refreshing change, especially the cooled down temps. I like in the morning how the fog hangs around the tops of the mountains all around us. DH will be able to finish emptying out and throwing away some of the flower pots we aren't keeping. The garbage can was too full to get all of them taken care of, but it will be empty today. Some of the annuals, that are getting the rain are still hanging on, but the ones that are hanging under the front patio or in front of the garage and shop (between the doors) are under the overhang died. When we got Covid - I gave up worrying about getting those watered. It was Sept and I just didn't care that week I was so sick with it.

I'm trying to decide when I should go visit my mom again. Now there are 7 covid cases (still not in the memory care part yet, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time). The main part of the place is huge, I'm sure there are probably 200 or more apartments, so 7 isn't a large percentage of everyone that lives there. I haven't taken another test (I took at like 10 or 11 days and was still positive) but of course will take another test before I would visit. But, just thinking for now to stay away for a bit longer. She's doing fine and I'm talking to her nearly every day and she's very content and doing well. Plus, her place is very good about keeping in contact if anything is wrong.

Well, it's almost 8am and time to log in to work for the day.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023


I have to admit, reading Sluggy's comment on my post yesterday was like a punch in the gut. My first quick thought was she hacked?! I have read her blog for years and I assume(d) she mine. We don't comment regularly on each other's blogs, but on occasion we do and she (and I) has always been kind.  I know over the years I have supported her on her blog at least a couple of times from trolls. One time years ago, when I first started to try ancestry research, we emailed a little bit and I was appreciative of her knowledge and help with learning it she gave me.

Monday evening I watched the TED Talk about pain management she posted. I wanted to comment (from my experience with my dh), but I was on my ipad downstairs, so I decided to wait until I was up at my desk and keyboard yesterday morning. I clicked on her blog and was surprised to see it was closed and only open to invited readers. I went on to write my daily post and then do my work.

I saw her comment later in the afternoon. I decided to not react then. I then saw her 2 comments on Kim's blog.  I decided to sleep on it and see how I felt this morning. Usually time and thinking can lessen the sting of something, right? Unfortunately, it didn't seem to help much. Though, to EVERYONE who commented after her: THANK YOU. Your kind words and support mean the world to me and I appreciate all of them.

DAN will likely be our neighbor for many years. We are a very small neighborhood of 7 lots. If we had just minded our own business, DAN would have built his 10,000 sf metal warehouse monstrosity next door and operated a business, and tried to add in a new access road.  So, no, I'm not going to mind my own business as to what he is doing. We all paid good money for our properties and homes we had built and we all deserve to make sure they are protected (via the covenants) from someone like him.

As for my mom - well, (and sorry to offend anyone, I really don't often cuss) you can just fuck right off. I can't change the fact that my mom has Alzheimer's/dementia. All I can do is make sure she is well cared for, comfortable and happy and that I take care of her financial assets so that she will continue to be cared for in this manner as long as she lives with this horrible disease. She is my priority and has been for the past 4 years now. Like most people, I can worry about and take care of more than one thing at a time. Been doing it my whole life. I'm pretty good at it, actually.

Sluggy, I sincerely hope you get the relief from the pain you are experiencing. As for your contempt of what I write in my blog, my simple answer is just to not read it anymore. Easy, done. Then you won't have to be a hypocrite by telling me to mind my own business, while you are telling me what to do with my life.