Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday out of the way

I got an email today from the new health insurance company I put in the application for. The application for DH and kids has been approved and will go into effect May 1st. Woo! I was hoping it would get processed for May and not have to wait until June. I submitted the application online about 2 weeks ago, but the information said it could take up to 30 days. Now I will have an extra $232 a month! Great - just in time to help pay for my new tooth - haha!  $271 monthly premiums is much better than $503 per month.

I tried something new for dinner tonight. Kind of a layered dip/nacho's type dish. Everyone liked it and it was very filling, which was good, since I didn't know what to have with it, so I didn't have anything else. Dessert was strawberry shortcake.

I made some brownie points with one of the company owner's today. My boss was at my desk talking to me and he walked out of his office and asked her if she had any idea of who could stop by an engineer's office about 25 miles south of our office and pick something up for him. Just as she was looking at me (knowing I could do it) I was saying "oh, I can do it - I practically drive right by there on my way home". Then a few minutes later he said he also needed a sample dropped of there so we loaded that in my car and I took care of the pick-up/drop-off on my way home. Really, the whole thing probably took me 10 minutes out of my way home and saved him a trip down there this afternoon - which in traffic there and back probably would have taken him and hour and a half.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday update

I'm sorry to see the weekend is almost over. It was a nice weekend, overall. It didn't start out the greatest on Saturday. DS had left Friday night to go see his girlfriend "for a bit" says, he. But then he texted that he was staying over at her place. Ok, no prob. Then he texted he'd be home in the "morning" to get to work on the latest yard project. He showed up at almost noon....half the day gone and me and DH none too happy, since we were waiting on him to help go to Home Depot to get the landscaping blocks. He did the same thing a few days ago, too...said he'd be home in the morning and showed up at 2pm. Since he's not working (now looking again, that's he's back home), still living at home for free, and will be 22 this, I think he can spend his days working around the home - not sleeping in with his girlfriend.

But after that discussion was over the rest of the weekend went well. The restaurant DD works at is opening a new restaurant in a town about 30 miles away. Employees were invited to bring family or friends for a free meal, so the staff can test everything out and get some practice before the official opening. Free breakfast food for dinner? Heck ya! She and I, and one of her friends from tennis took the drive up late yesterday afternoon. We had to do it pretty early because we had to be back at her highschool to watch a show by 7pm.  Dinner was most excellent. The menu was a bit limited from their full menu, for this occasion, but still good things to choose from. I had a pepperjack and sausage omelet. OMG! Their omelets take up almost the whole plate - 6 eggs! Plus hasbrowns and fresh squeezed OJ. I could only eat half of it (as did DD with her omelet) so we had the leftovers boxed up to take home with us and headed back to our town so we could watch the show at the highschool. We didn't get home until after 9pm. DH took one look at my leftover omelet and hasbrowns and said "bring it on", so I heated it up and he ate it all.  DS finished hers up for lunch when she got home from work today.

DH and DS worked a good 6 hours today putting in the block wall in our back yard where we tore out the old railroad tie wall last summer. Looks nice, but we'll need 2 more pallets to finish it off. We've decided to save some money and instead of putting in a patio where our old deck was, we are just going to plant grass up to our back patio doors, with some small step area.

Tonight's dinner was homemade pizza and salad and settling in to just relax the rest of the evening. I have an episode or two of Vikings to catch up on :-)

Friday, April 26, 2013

It's just not a good week

Have you ever had one of those dreams where your teeth are falling out? That was my reality yesterday! I bit into something (a Teddy Graham, no less) and one of my upper molars broke right in half. What a freaky feeling.  I was surprised I wasn't having any pain - just half a tooth gone when I felt it with my tongue.  The dentist got me right in yesterday afternoon. He was hoping there would be enough tooth left where he could just do a crown.  Well, of course not (we're talking ME here, I never have that kind of luck)....I will need a root canal first. So, at yesterdays visit he removed the rest of the filling that was on the partial tooth left and then built the tooth back up temporarily, until the rest of the procedures can be done.

Have I mentioned I HATE going to the dentist?! Cleanings are fine but the rest give me panic attacks. I had a root canal almost 20 years ago and it was an awful experience (panic-wise), so it's safe to say I am not looking forward to my next visit. I did do well with yesterdays almost hour and a half visit and managed to stay pretty calm, so that's a good sign, I guess.  I'm just going to have to put my big girl panties on next Friday and get through it.

They were trying to give me an estimate on what my insurance covers and what my share will be. They gave me an 80% estimate, along with my $50 deductible for yesterday's work, so I had to write them a check for $93.79.  For the root canal and crown (2 separate appointments) they estimated 50%, so my share will be $878. In looking at the information I have access to regarding my coverage I think they have estimated wrong.  For yesterday's visit the evaluation and x-ray portion will be covered at 100%. The buildup of the tooth will be 80%, so I'm guessing my share will really be around $80.20 and the overage I paid can go towards the upcoming charges. Also, my plan shows that while a crown is covered at 50%, like they estimated, a root canal is covered at 80%, so overall my share of the root canal/crown should only be around $625.00.  Guess we'll see when it all goes through. For extensive work, like I am having they offer to split the bill up in 3 payments, so that will be very helpful and do-able for me, financially.

On another note - my grandma got to go back home to the adult care home she stays at. They will have a physical therapist come in 3 times a week to work with her. The doctor felt she would respond best to the PT, if she was back in the home and caretaker she was familiar with (my mom was considering moving her to a rehab/nursing home) so that's what we did. The last couple of days she was in the hospital she got what is called "hospital dementia". It really freaked my mom out the first evening. She was basically hallucinating and not making any sense. The nurse did explain it some, so that helped. The 2nd evening she was telling us people were in and out of her room all the night before and that is was "gangs". She was just adamant (and pissed!) that she was going home right then. She didn't even remember she had fallen and when we tried to explain the doctor would look at her again the next day and decide she was like "well, he's certainly not going to know anything!". From what I read this is a common, but temporary condition, so she should return back to normal once she gets back in her familiar surroundings.  Guess that tough little cookie is going to make it to her 95th birthday in a few weeks!

I'm going back into my hole for awhile and pout about having to have a root canal..........

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Still back and forth

My grandma is not doing too well. Yesterday wasn't too bad and we thought she was getting better, but by evening she got totally confused. Didn't know where she was and wasn't making sense at all. My mom and I got down there this morning and she hadn't eaten any of her breakfast, though physical therapy had got her to sit in the chair for awhile. But, then after that all she wanted to do was sleep. When the doctor came in (a new one on shift for the next few days) he wants to keep her at least a couple more days to see if they can get her back to her "baseline" of sitting up for long periods, feeding herself and walking a little. If she can do that then he recommends she return to the adult care home has been in and have PT come in there to work with her several times a week. He feels it best that she go back to someplace familiar to her and that she would respond to PT better if she is in her familiar surroundings. While I was there and the dr. was talking to her, you can tell she is still somewhat confused. She does know she is in the hospital (last night she didn't) but all she kept saying was she was going home and not staying. She wanted to know how long it takes to drive her back home.

I can tell my mom is stressing out quite a bit. She's kind of hyper anyway, but gets worse when she's stressed. It's helping when I am there and she is talking to the nurses or doctor. I have to get her to actually stop talking and listen to them! She rattles on using my grandma's caregivers name or the name of the person she's been working with on the medicaid issue and they have no idea who she is talking about, so I break in and say "her caregiver" etc. When we went down to lunch I told her she just needs to use words like "caregiver" or "medicaid person", instead of using first names. She's also always butting in when they are trying to talk (and assess) to my grandma so at one point I distracted her so they could do their job! Another time a nurse type manager came in to ask questions about what type of care facility she has been and give some resources if we wanted her in a skilled nursing facility, etc. My mom just starts rattling on like that lady would already know the background and I finally butted in and slowed her down a bit so the nurse could get the info she actually needed.

I am happy my dinner menu planning kept us from stopping and getting fast food the 2 evenings we were on our way back home during dinner time. It was tempting to stop, especially as I was tired, but for a change DH wanted to eat at home instead of fast food.  Saturday night we had planned on homemade pizza and since that doesn't really take long to make we came home and made that for dinner. Sunday I didn't go back down to the hospital until after dinner.  Yesterday was a tennis match for DD and then the guys needed to leave by 6pm to go do something and we didn't get home until 5, but my meal (chicken sandwich ring using crescent rolls) was pretty quick to make so we had enough time.

Plus, I'm saving about $20 on gas this week (though I'll end up spending it going to the hospital twice  day!). I went into work yesterday and my boss told me to just work from home the rest of the week. The owners and quite a few of the other staff members are out of town all week at a convention so it's pretty quiet at the office and no reason I can't just do what I do from home. I'm just using my built up vacation time to take off when I need to go to the hospital, so no worries there.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Hospital visits

I've spent the past 2 days going back and forth between home and the hospital. My grandma took a fall early yesterday morning. She lives in a home (that is in the process of getting licensed, so her caregiver can have more than one person to care for) where a lady takes care of her. My mom has been concerned lately that my grandma should not be getting herself out of bed in the middle of the night to use the little "commode" that is kept in her room for night time use. My grandma keeps insisting (well, of course she would!) she's ok to use it - she doesn't want to use depends at night and she doesn't want to wake her caregiver up every night. My mom has suggested a couple of times to both my grandma and her caregiver to not use this anymore as she is afraid she will fall and hurt herself.  And so she did.  She apparently hit her face on her walker and got a few cuts.

I'm a little frustrated with her caregiver. I would think that anytime someone, who will be 95 years old in 3 weeks, falls she should be checked out by a doctor! She put some ointment on her cuts, put her back to bed and called my mom first thing in the morning to tell her about the fall, but that she seemed ok and was eating breakfast good. By early afternoon she was not doing well at all and my mom took her to ER. Her face had bruised more by then and looked terrible and she was basically not alert or coherent at all by then. They did a catscan and blood work and while waiting for all that (a couple of hours, of course) they had her neck in a brace. She barely woke up the whole first 2 hours I was there and when she did she was pretty out of it and just wasn't comfortable at all. Finally the doc came back in and said her catscan was ok and took the neck brace off. As soon as that came of she was so much more comfortable and perked up quite a bit, so we all breathed a little easier. But, that whole time she had been coughing and lots of mucous in her throat. They decided to do a chest x-ray and that showed the start of pneumonia and the blood work showed her heart enzymes were a little elevated (which could be just from her age, the nurse told me) so they decided to admit her for at least a day or two to keep an eye on her and see what is going on.

Today, not much change at all, really, and they decided to do an x-ray of her stomach area just as I was leaving.  She is more alert than she was the first few hours at ER, so that is good.  She is such a tough little bird!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Enjoying the day

I took yesterday off as a vacation day since it was DS's first full day back at home. Once he slept in and got a bit adjusted from the time change and jet lag of a 20 hour flight we had a nice afternoon and evening yesterday. He puts his dirty dishes in the sink or dishwasher now. I turned on the dishwasher last evening as there was no room for the dinner dishes mess.  I got up this morning to the dishwasher emptied and the dirty dishes cleaned up! I think an imposter came home in his place :-)

I got up this morning to have my usual work from home Friday to get an email from my boss to also take today off - no charge to my vacation time and enjoy a long weekend! How nice is that?! DS was already awake and we sat in his room for over an hour having a nice long talk. While he's excited to be home he's also feeling the pressure of "what do I do with my life now" decisions.  It was nice to have some one on one time with just him and me.  But, he's off to visit a friend and then spend the rest of the day with his girlfriend, so I'm just fiddling around the house, waiting for DD to get home from school.

I have a few overripe bananas so I'm going to make some banana bread. It's more bananas than I need and I just discovered you can freeze mashed bananas! I totally did not know this! I don't know how many ripe bananas I've thrown out over the years because I didn't get time to make banana bread with them!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Finding my inner "plumber goddess"

I am proud to say a little tiny plumber goddess resides in me. Who knew? I actually fixed a toilet problem all by myself!  Saturday night I went flush the toilet in the kids/guest bathroom and it wouldn't flush. A little searching on my part and I discovered that the "flapper" had worn out. The rubber part that connected the ball part that plugs the hole to the part that attaches to the tube thingy had just plain wore out and broke apart. It was too late to go to the store that night, but I hopped to it Sunday morning and went and got a new flapper.

But then I couldn't figure out how to get the old one detached from the little arms on the sides of the tube thingy. I didn't want to force it and break something, plus it was kind of dark in there (part of the bathroom counter goes across the top of the toilet blocking off some of the light) to see how it comes off.  The new one I bought had openings cut in the sides of the soft rubber to just slip over those little arms, but the old one that was on there had a harder rubber and wouldn't just slip off. I was afraid I'd break the little arms off, so decided to wait until DH got up for his assistance.  Well, I hit a big old brick wall with that idea. DH, being the pouty, petulant, man-child he is, decided since I wouldn't let him buy a $1000 wood chipper, that he's going to retaliate and not help with the repair.

So, I headed back into the bathroom and looked some more and figured out the flapper just snaps off the arms - there were openings underneath the flapper I couldn't see. Then I slipped the new one one and got the chain all adjusted and hooked on and tried to go.......the flapper would not stay open to allow for the flush. So, I googled the problem and it sounded like the chain, so I adjusted it a bit more but still no luck.  I left the project for awhile to stew about it.  Then Sunday night I googled some more and found an answer that might be my problem! The flapper I bought was a "universal" type - meaning it had 2 ways to attach to the tube thingy. Either the rubber ring slips on over it or the sides attach to the arms - BUT, not both. I had hooked it up using both and the rubber ring was getting in the way of the side attachments. So, I took it back off - cut off the ring part and put it back on.  It worked! I was doing a little happy dance at the toilet :-)

At the same time we discovered this we also noticed that the hot water knob in the tub/shower was dripping water. According to DD it had being doing this a few weeks, but she had not mentioned it. Of course DH's response was "call a plumber". So, today I have a handyman type of guy my mom has used at her place coming over to see if he can fix it.  Apparently he's very reasonably priced - only charges like $20 an hour and can fix most problems, so I am keeping my fingers crossed. If he can it will be nice to have someone like him to call for problems we can't (or DH won't) fix. Last time I needed a plumber (years ago) to fix a leaking drain in our shower, I called a plumbing company out of the phone book. They charged me $600 to fix it!

He's on his way!!

My son is finally on his way home to us! He has been away for over 4 months and will be home later tonight. I CANNOT wait to see him! I have so missed his smile and his laugh and his easy going manner. I am making cupcakes today (he does not like cake, but will eat cupcakes - go figure) and bought some frosting to squeeze on top of the regular frosting so I can write WELCOME HOME - a letter for each cupcake :-)

I'm taking tomorrow as a vacation day just so we can all hang out together. He gets in late so I'm sure he'll be sleeping in just to catch up on the long flight and time change adjustment, but it will be great just knowing he's under my roof again and in his bed.  It will be a nice homecoming, that's for sure.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I'm a member now

I finally got a Costco membership. I was going to take a commenter's suggestion about just getting a household card on my mom's membership, but after reading the fine print it does say that proof of living there would be asked for. Then, last week as we were walking past the membership desk on our way out I heard the employee say to a lady - "we'll need to verify she lives with you for a household card". So, that nixed that idea.

I ordered my membership via a MyPoints offer. I got 550 MyPoints and also a coupon booklet came with the membership certificate. Free case of Kirkland water, free 48 pack of Kirkland AA batteries and a free Rotisserie chicken! Plus some other $ off coupons that I may use a few of.  Of course this certificate came in the mail the day AFTER I had to go to Costco to pick up DH's med's! But while we had been there waiting for his medication we walked around again to kill time and saw 2 things we knew we'd be buying. The guys use the blue shop paper towels and they had a 10 pack for $12.00. Usually I can get them for $2 each so that was a great deal. DD saw a box of 16 cans of tennis balls for $30.

Not knowing if these items are offered regularly (I doubt it with the tennis balls) we went back Sunday afternoon to get these and our free items. It wasn't as crowded as I figured it would be and I did notice gas is quite a bit cheaper there, so I can start using that too to save.  I'll just be going once a month when I pick up DH's meds, and have a small list of things I see I can get cheaper.  Too bad they don't carry our dog food brand.

I'm not really tempted by too much there - the large sizes/quantities don't always appeal to me as I don't have a lot of room to store it, so I think I'll be pretty safe to not overspend there.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Less is more

I have been thinking about changing the health insurance I currently have DH and the kids on. The monthly premium is up to $503 per month and really, we don't get a whole lot for that $6,000 a year expense. Last year was one of our costliest years in healthcare expenses. The plan they are on was costing $422 a month last year. It has a $3500 deductible per person. Even with all of DH's doctors visits and tests last year we still did not quite make it to his deductible. The plan does cover 6 office visits per year with a 20% coinsurance, without having to meet the deductible. We used all of those for DH (and then some) but used up none of those visits for the kids. Preventative care is now covered by all plans - as per the new healthcare laws. This plan also no longer covers any prescription medicines (the reason I chose this plan in the first place, as it covered generics at $15 copay, but that was dropped last summer).

I realized that if I had chosen a higher deductible plan last year, I would have saved money each month in premiums that could have gone toward the deductible and co-insurance paid out during the year. Since we still didn't go over our $3500 deductible it wouldn't have mattered if the deductible was $3500 or $10,000. Our expenses were the same, but at least I would have saved on monthly premiums if I had chosen a higher deductible plan.

I want online this morning with our current insurance provider to see what their monthly premiums are for higher deductible plans.  The cheapest plan is basically a catastrophic plan with a $10,000 deductible at $337/mo, saving me $166/mo or almost $2000 a year.  Then I looked at another insurance company (who we had prior to this current plan) and they also offered a $10,000 deductible plan, but, it includes 2 office visits per year without applying the deductible and it is only $271 a month. This will save me $232/mo, or almost $2800 per year.  We can pay alot of office visits (if need be) for that amount. I completed the online application and am hoping it will be able to take effect May 1st.

I can take some of this monthly savings and start an EF fund for medical to set aside money in case we ever have something catastrophic where we need to pay that $10,000 deductible. In the meantime, I'll have some extra money freed up for regular savings and those unexpected expenses that come up each month.

Who knows what the plans will change to or be offered next year, after Obamacare kicks in, but at least for now I won't be feeling like I'm paying out $503 a month for not a lot. DH has leveled off health-wise for now and isn't needing all those doctor visits anymore and the kids maybe go once a year, if that. Other than well child visits DD has needed to go to a doctor twice in her life! (Knock on wood!) Once when she was little and I don't even remember - sore throat, I think and once when she got some gasoline splashed in her eye. DS has been a few more times in his life (he had lots of ear infecions as a baby/toddler), mostly for summer hayfever and once when he was in a racing accident, but we have separate racers insurance (and so does the race track) for that so it wasn't on our health insurance.

I also made a couple of changes to our auto insurance this morning, but it didn't change my premiums any, overall. I increased the comprehensive deductible(in reading closer, that is just for things like theft and vandalism) in the 2 vehicles that aren't driven very much and not worth as much. I added roadside assistance to my car and increased DD's comprehensive deductible to $2500 but added glass repair/replacement. My policy renews next month and before the above changes I just got notified it went down $10 a month - better than going up!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Hair care savings

This week we stocked up a bit on some shampoo and conditioner for DD. She likes to use John Frieda and Rite Aid had a buy one get one 50% off sale, plus if you bought 2 you got a $3 UP reward.  Of course I had coupons too! I stacked a $5 off 3 Rite Aid Store coupon with (4) $2 off 1 manufacturer coupons.  Two shampoos and two conditioners came to $20.96 less $13 in coupons came to $7.96 and I got back $6 UP Rewards to use on next purchase.  But, for some reason (and I didn't notice this until after I was home looking at the receipt) the cashier rang one of the $2 coupons through an extra time - plus she put 2 of the coupons back in my bag. I have no idea why!  So, I paid $5.96 total and got $6 in UP Rewards - pretty much free shampoo and conditioner.

Tomorrow is a sale on Pantene, which I like, so I will be stocking up on 5 shampoos and conditioners. They are $3 each and if you spend $15 you get a $5 UP Reward back. I have (2) $3 off 2 coupons and one $2 off 1 coupon.  $15 less $8 in coupons less $5 UP Rewards = $2 for 5 products, .40 cents each.  I will use my $6 UP Reward from above and my out of pocket will be $1 on this transaction. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Is 50 really the new 40?

Ok, this getting old thing is really for the birds! Last month I dealt with the acid reflux problem (which thankfully hasn't returned....yet). Now this past week my feet have started hurting. What the heck? I've never had feet problems. The instep bottom of my right foot started tingling a bit when I'd step on it and over the course of a few days got worse and turned into pain. I googled it and self diagnosed myself (ya, cuz that's always a smart thing to do!) with plantar fasciitis. Foot pain right where I have it that goes away after you keep walking on it. Yep, that's exactly what it is doing.  WHY??  Common causes are high heels........well, I'm here to tell you I haven't had on a pair of heels in probably almost 18 years and even then they were low heels, usually not more than 2 1/2 inches. Another cause apparently is age. Oh yay - guess I fall into that category. I also have new tennis shoes that I got a couple of months ago and thought maybe those are causing it, so I've stopped wearing them this week to see if it helps, but no change so far.  I also notice that when I am sleeping (I sleep on my side with my knees pulled up) I cross one foot over the other foot - right over the instep and usually on my right foot.  I'm noticing pain during the night when I do this, so I have been trying not to, but that's kind of hard to tell my sleeping brain. Now the left foot is getting a bit sore  I really don't want to have to go to the doctor (and it doesn't sound like there's alot that can be done for it) but will give it a week or so more and see. I also don't want to be in pain everyday either.  My mom has had feet problems for years, but she has a totally different type of foot than me (she got her dad's weird feet) and her arches fell, so she has to wear orthodics in her shoes.

On the other hand, maybe the foot issue is related to the weight I've gained? While it's not a huge weight gain, it might be considered that for my small frame. I'm 5'4" and from my teens until I was 42 I weighed 105 pounds and I'm very small boned. (You'd not believe my ring size, haha). In 2007 I was involved in a car accident which messed up my neck and back and reduced my activity level to just getting myself to work each day for over a year. At that time my weight went up to 115 and then just stayed there, until this past year - when old age metabolism must be kicking in, where now it's up to 123. a 17% increase in weight might just be telling my feet - hey! Drop a few pounds!

Oh, and it's getting harder to read it's time for new glasses for me.  But even with vision insurance that I have through work, it's still going to cost me at least $300 to get new glasses with progressive lenses...and you know I'm not going to that "cheaper" place we just took DH too..... Just not in the budget the next couple of months, so I'll push it off a little longer and just move the stuff I am reading a little farther out.At least with my Nook reader I can make the font bigger :-) 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Back to landscaping

Last Fall we purchased 75 little thuja trees via Amazon.  Tiny little guys about 10 inches at most and in 2-inch pots. We planted them along the front of our property and down the whole side of our property that adjoins the junkyard neighbor. Eventually, (we're talking years, here) they will grow up and out into a privacy screen at least 6 feet tall.  While I knew they'd get a bit brownish over the winter (we already have several of these trees around our house - at the corners and on each side of the front entrance and back entrances, that have been there for 20 years now) these tiny little guys turned really brown over the winter and we feared they didn't make it.  75 trees wasted! We kept our fingers crossed and checked on them all the time. Now that the weather has warmed up considerably and we've had some nice sunny days the trees have come back to life! Lots of green on them now and they are even starting to grow just a bit. Whew!

DH wanted some type of stakes to put next to each of them and string them up to the stake to keep them growing upright, at least to start, while they are so puny and tiny. Everything I could find to purchase from garden centers or online was so pricey! Then the other day I was walking down the baking supplies aisle at the grocery store and the wooden kabob sticks caught my eye. They were about a foot long, came in a pack of 100 and was less than $3! DH used one for each tree and they worked perfect! I love when I can find a cheaper alternative.

Now, I am trying to find some low growing ground cover for the area along the fence on the other side of our property (good neighbor). It's a strip about 80 feet long by 3 feet wide. We tried to plant some clover seeds last Fall, but as I feared, it was probably not the right time. The clover never did grow. Now DH wants some type of low growing ground cover shrubbery. I don't want to do ivy - it would take 2-3 years to fill in.  I had decided on a juniper called blue rug juniper and thought, based on Lowe's webiste, that they carry it for $5 for a 2.5 qt size. I'd need 14 plants  - but apparently not at our local store. So, now I either have to try to see if any of the other garden centers in the area carry it or find something new to plant there. I don't have a lot of money to spend on this project either. I wanted to keep it under $100, but I also want something that is fast growing but stays low to the ground. There is a small mom and pop type garden store just down the road from our house. We have purchased a few trees there over the years but they are pretty pricey. I think I'll stop in there and see what they have and what they suggest to plant. If I can get this done for under a $100 with them, that would be great.......

Later in the day: I went to the little nursery near our house and talked to the owner about the juniper and asked if he had any better suggestions for the ground cover. He said my choice was a perfect one, they grow fast and practically no maintenance and he had just ordered a few of them with his order, but not that many, so he would add to his order and they will be in next week. They are pricier than Lowe's plants (but Lowe's didn't carry that kind, so it's kind of a moot point) at $8 each, but I'll still come in pretty close to my $100 budget so I told him to order them for me. Plus I shopped local, which is always a good thing and I like that he was so much more knowledgeable than the big box stores garden people. Heck, the lady at Lowe's today had ZERO clue what I even was looking for and said the "expert" wouldn't be in until the afternoon.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Oh dear.....

Every once in awhile I wear a foam ear plug in one of my ears while sleeping - to help drown out DH's snoring. They aren't very comfortable to me and I only can wear in one ear and not the ear on the side I am laying on.  Then usually some time during the night or before I get up I take it out and set it on my nightstand next to my alarm clock.  They always seem disappear! At first I thought it fell down on the side or behind my night stand.  I finally figured out what must be happening to dog has been eating them!!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Home maintenance

Taking care of a home is expensive! I went to Home Depot today and spent over $100.  $20 of it was for some organizing things DH wanted for the garage, but the rest was home and lawn maintenance items. More moss killer for the lawn, blackberry bush and vine killer and a gallon of simple green.  Sometime soon I'm sure I'll have to buy a bag or two of dandelion/weed and feed for the lawn.

One of the things on our "to-do" list of fixing up the home is 2 solar lamps on posts out on each side of the driveway near the road.  The cheapest I have found is around $100 each. I was kind of thinking about combining it as a gift from me and the kids (have them chip in with the cost) for DH's birthday and Father's Day combined since they are about a week apart.   Today I was looking online at Home Depot and noticed you can buy just the solar lamps that go on top of a post, pretty cheap - they have one on sale for $5. It's 4 inch square base and fits on a same size fence post.  That would probably be alot cheaper (even though DH wanted all black post and lights). Then DH had an idea of just buying some black pvc pipe and putting a lamp on top. That would probably be even cheaper and it would still be black, though then we'd need a lamp with a circular base, but I'm sure they make those too.  From a distance no one is going to know if it's aluminum/metal or plastic. Good idea!

Today I cleaned house - love my new vacuum! I especially like how I can just grab the hand hose when needed and clean with it and not have to stop, turn it off and plug in the hose, like I had to do with my old one. The bag on this new vacuum is about half the size and I'd say that's the only negative thing so far about this new vacuum. It picks up all the dog hair great.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Recent good deals

DD and I got some good savings while out shopping last evening. She has been looking at new tennis shoes - ones to actually wear while playing tennis as her current ones have a year of play on them now and were starting to wear quite a bit on the bottom. She had found some online she liked that were like $60 and I thought she had ordered them, but apparently changed her mind. We had looked at Kohl's the other day, but she didn't see anything she really liked. We just haven't had time yet to get to Big 5 or Sports Authority.  We want something fairly quality (so not Payless or Walmart) so we have been expecting to pay a minimum of $40.  The other day I got an email from a nearby store I have a rewards card with (that I have never gotten ANYTHING from in way of rewards in all the years I've had it!) that gave a 50% off any shoes coupon.  This store usually has a pretty good selection of athletic shoes (it's where I found my my recent pair of tennis shoes) so we stopped in last night and she found a shoe she liked that was on sale for $35. When we got to checkout the nice lady added another 15% off coupon on top of the 50% off coupon! Whoo hoo! Great deal on the shoes.

My sweet mom stopped by the other day to drop me off her coupon inserts and also gave me a $30 Kohl's cash coupon. She had bought two new rings (one of her birthstone to replace the one stolen when her house got burlarized) so spent a nice bit and got the Kohl's cash.  I've put on about 8 pounds the past few months (it sucks getting old!) and really only have one pair of jeans (size 6) that fit comfortably now, my other jeans are size 4 and it's apparently just time to say goodbye to that size, unfortunately. I found a pair of Lee jeans for $32, and I had a 20% off so I wasn't out of pocket any money and now I have another pair of dark jeans to wear to work.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Crabby TGIF

Boy, I am crabby this morning! First it was DH snoring keeping me awake. After the 3rd time I told him to roll over onto his side I finally gave up and went to sleep into DS's empty room. But from there I really got to hear the neighbors dog barking and barking and barking.  Apparently it had already been going on for hours, according to DD, who's bedroom is also on that end of the house. What the hell is wrong with people?!! If we can hear it plain as day 2 acres away - what does it sound like at their house?

And now our dog#2 has been driving me nuts all morning. He thinks I should just be constant treat machine to try and keep him quiet and busy. I gave him a treat in his kong ball a couple of times this morning as I try to complete some work at my desk but when I stopped he started in the whining or he starts trying to "play" with dog#1, which consists of biting at his heels and anywhere else he feels like. I finally put the gate up and told dog#1 to go back to bed.

And then add in an anal boss of my boss who is nitpicking over .44 cents! A tenant in our building shorted his $8000 and some odd dollars and cents rent payment by .44 cents a year ago. Seriously, just live with it! But, no I had to make a journal entry for .44 cents to adjust for it. Our financials are already closed and tax return done for last year, so really I shouldn't have been making any entries into last years books, but .44 isn't going to affect anything, so I just did it to make bossman happy.

Not to mention, as soon as DH wakes up I get to spend the day listeneng to him complain about every little thing in his life. Honestly, I am so glad he goes to bed late late and sleeps in late - give me a few hours of  not having to listen to him complain about the same things every single day. The weather is definitely affecting his moods. We had some nice days the past couple of weeks and he was starting to get outside and do things during the day, which had a noticeable improvement on his mood. Now we are back to crummy weather the past couple of days and I can tell. Twelve more days until DS is home and he can help keep DH busy with stuff!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Goodbye Walmart

I returned to Walmart Vision to talk to the doctor about getting a refund on the eye exam DH had there, since I had to pay for a second exam and it was a different Rx than he gave.....and DH could see perfect out of his new glasses.  The Walmart doctor told me the prescriptions were very similar and wouldn't have made enough difference (gee - you don't think you'd notice the difference if you got a stronger than you need prescription??) but that it was probably a difference in the quality of lenses compared to his new glasses.  I told him that he and his staff did nothing to try and resolve the problem with the glasses purchased. If they felt the prescription was right and it was the lenses causing the problem then they should have addressed that issue and not kept telling DH "he was looking through the glasses wrong and that he needed to spend several months getting used to them". As a result of their crappy service I had to go spend more money on a second eye exam.  So, I got up and walked out.

Over the past 10 years I have shopped at Walmart I have most likely spent a minimum of $8000 per year - just on weekly grocery shopping, not to mention all the other bigger/one time type of purchases...eye exams and glasses and contacts for DS and I, gifts, lawn care products, etc - oh and prescriptions too! I guess other grocery stores and Target get my business now. While I completely realize my annual spending at Walmart isn't even a blip on their radar of profit, at least I'll feel better knowing their crappy service won't be getting much of my hard-earned money anymore. I'm sure there will be times I will run in there for a forgotten item or something we ran out of, as it is the closest grocery store to me, but $600 a year spent there is a lot less than $8000 + a year.