Sunday, June 30, 2013

Preparing for the end

The dying experience is really a fascinating process, if you really sit down and take a close look at it. My mom was given a pamphlet awhile back. It's basically a little handbook that explains the process the body and mind go through as an elderly person approaches the end of their life. It appears my 95 year old grandmother is starting this process. Just this week she has taken a decline. She is not in any pain (thank goodness!), nor with a specific illness, but the signs of approaching death are starting to appear. Lots of sleeping, loss of appetite, change in body temperature from cold to hot and back, loss of the little energy she had to sit up and walk a bit. All this is explained in this little pamphlet, explaining that their body, mind and soul energy is changing from a physical one to a spiritual one.

I got a chance to stop in and see her yesterday. My mom was there and grandma had just woken up from a nap. She was just lying there in her bed, looking so small and frail, but once she saw me she had the biggest smile on her face. She never said anything to us, she just looked and smiled at me the whole time until about 10 minutes later she was back to sleep for another nap.

I think she's ready to go. She's mentioned that often enough, the past couple of years, even. It's amazing how a person can keep holding on to life. Who knows, she keeps surprising us. Next week she might just be back to her old self! It could also be that she's waiting to see my uncle before she leaves this life. Mom and I talked about that and felt he should come for a visit (he's about a 3 hr drive away) - maybe that's just what she's waiting for. We were all with my dad during his last days, except for my oldest step brother who lived 3000 miles away at the time. When he finally got to the house one evening after flying in, my dad passed away 3 hours later. I'm sure he was just waiting for his last child to know he was there before he left us.

Grandma's ready, I know. I just pray it's a peaceful in her sleep passing, like my grandpa had 15 years ago. I'm sure she's so ready to see him again!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Start your engines......

Things can change fast in the racing world. You can go from sitting around wondering when you'll get a chance to race again and then all of a sudden you have to scramble to get your stuff together and go race. DS has been making plans to go race up in Canada in a few weeks, for a guy who lives up there. Well, he called this morning and wants him up there this weekend! Many phone calls and tweaks to the plan later - DS is busy putting his engine back in his car and loading his race car and related gear into his trailer and will be heading out for a 15 hour drive tomorrow. Apparently he's going to be a temporary Canadian for the next month or two, staying up there and getting some races in - with his own race car and racing the car of the guy he will be staying with, depending which type of racing is going on each weekend. He's also been told they'll put him to work with miscellaneous stuff, including website work, and pay him $500 a week. Hmm....this sounds strangely like what was supposed to happen when he went to Australia, only the engine kept breaking down and it kept raining every time it was race day...and for some reason the work never materialized much.....At least he's got his own equipment this time - a car and engine meticulously taken care of and it's summer, lets hope it stays dry up there. So far, the 10 day forecast shows hot and dry!

The guy is paying his all expenses to get up there, to race and to stay up there. Can't beat that deal. I added Roadside Assistance to our car insurance for the vehicle he is taking and I called and luckily it does cover Canada too, so that was a relief. And at least while he is staying up there he will have his own vehicle to drive if he wants to go somewhere. If he can get up there by Sunday morning, he will get in 2 days of practice, as the guy has actually rented the track out for Sunday and Monday. Very nice!

I am hoping the rest of us can get up there at the end of July to watch him race a couple of times. The trip will have double duty - I'll FINALLY get to see my half-sister I have not seen in 30 years and reconnected with a couple of years ago. She lives about an hours drive from where DS will be, so it should all work out to get a good visit in with her and her girls. I'm so excited.'s racing and things change just like that!

Friday update

My paycheck and bonus deposited into my account this morning. That sure feels nice to see that big balance. (though nothing was done about my email regarding the 25% tax rate, so that's what got taken out of everyone's bonus)/ Once DH gets his mitts into spending it, I'm sure it won't last long, but at least it will most likely get spent on home improvements, so I'm okay with that. I know we need some topsoil delivered to plant some more grass where our big deck used to be, a couple of new garden hoses (good one's aren't cheap, I'm finding!), a few more flowers and potting soil to fill up one of the whiskey barrel planters purchased a couple of weeks ago. DH put a strawberry plant in one of them, but the other needs something in it. I might at least get a quote on getting some sod to put down - the idea of an instant lawn sure is appealing! When we were first married we rented a place and the landlord had sod laid in the backyard. I came home from work to an instant backyard,

We haven't discussed what to do with the bonus money. Some will go into savings, but I'd kind of like to get the kitchen floor done with the same wood laminate we used in DD's room last fall. We have some left that could go towards what we need for the kitchen. I'm hoping he hops on board with that plan! It would be so nice to have a decent looking kitchen floor, finally. DD's bedroom cost about $500, so I'm guessing kitchen is roughly same size. We have some boards left, plus the transition pieces in the doorway/room transition areas. We had to buy them in like 6ft sections so there is still plenty of that left to use.

My side job is still up in the air. I guess the whole deal with the ex-owner is going to get messy and involve a lawsuit, so my boss talked with the 2 remaining owners about my side job for ex-owner and the other business and they felt it probably best for me if I didn't get stuck in the middle of any of this and she said they would make up any income lost to me by not having the side job. I sure can't ask for a better place to work and as I walked out of her office it dawned on me I'll get to make the same money, but 3-4 hours less work a month! I can deal with that! Then this morning I finally got an email from ex-owner that he still wants me to do the bookkeeping for the other I forwarded that to my boss so that I can get a final answer on what to do! I told her I was completely fine with whatever she and the company owners want me to do.

DS has heard no job news for over a week - again - even though he was last told they were working again on getting him a position within the company. He has been applying for everything he can find in the vicinity related to IT work. I can't believe that he hasn't at least got one phone interview out of any of the jobs he's applied for! Last year at this time, when he was applying, he was at least getting some phone interviews and in person interviews. Tells me the job market still sucks or apparently is even worse. He's not even getting to race this summer because he doesn't have any money. It's turning into kind of a crappy summer for him.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Water woes...again

We are having water well problems again and back to dealing with the well owner who should win an Oscar for "playing dumb". Us and one neighbor are the only ones that complain when there is a problem...why? because we are the only ones paying her regularly for our water service! So, then she acts like there is nothing wrong with the well, we must have a problem with the pipes on our property. DH just can't handle dealing with her anymore (I barely can) so the other guy who pays his water bill has been stepping in to talk to her and get her to respond. Today was the first time my daughter has ever talked to her and she called me and work and was like "OMG! You guys weren't kidding when you said she tries to act dumb and like she doesn't know what is going on"

The past few weeks our pressure has been low off and on (indicating a pump issue) and our filters on the house are clogging weekly. DH even put small filters on a couple of our outdoor faucets because trying to water the lawn is clogging the sprinklers up within hours of use. Running a sprinkler for an hour, moving it around the yard, results in the small filter being full of "stuff".  The well owner is at least finally using a real well repair company, rather than the guy who does it as a side job and can only look at it on nights and weekends, and she did finally up the water to $20 a month in January (us and the other neighbor paid her for a full year in advance) but out of 9 on the well, she's still only getting paid by 3 users. So, of course, she still has no money for repairs.

She had the repair company call me last week to ask some questions and they asked for a sample of the stuff that is clogging our filters up so fast. The kids took the stuff down to the well house today while the repair guy was there. They wanted to see it so they could determine if its "well scale" (basically the insides of the well getting old and flaking away) or sediment being pulled into the pump. It's well scale. The well owner was there while the kids were giving the repairman the sample. He said flat out that she has a problem with the well and pump. Then she started in on her "I don't have any money for it, not all the well users pay me, etc. and that she doesn't make any money running the well". The repair guy looked at her in amazement and said you aren't supposed to make money! She actually asked if we would be ok with just having all the sediment in our drinking water, since she doesn't have the money to fix it!

Then she tried to tell him it was only us with the problem so the kids came back and told DH. He went and got a 5 gallon bucket and went over to each of the 3 other neighbors on our row of lots. We are lot#2. Lots 1 and 3 had same crap in the bucket as the sample we gave. Lot 4 (lot farthest from the well) water was DISGUSTING! Green/brown algae type water! DH put each sample in a clean water bottle. I'll probably take them down to the well owner tomorrow to show her, but I think I'll give that helpful guy at the county health department, I talked to last year, a call again.  She has got to do something to properly manage the well so that she has funds in reserve for repairs. Repairs are a fact that must be addressed. $240 a year from 3 users is not going to cover it.

I was reading the few documents I could find online related to running "Class B" water systems and one document goes over very clearly well assets (meaning the pump, well tank, etc) need to be maintained and expected that they will wear out and that enough money needs to be brought in to have a maintenance reserve. I am not paying her extra for this big repair when there are hundreds, actually it's thousands of dollars she has not collected from the other users over the years.

At least the pump hasn't died completely and we still have water. I guess they are scheduled to come back on the 16th to complete the repairs, though I'm not sure exactly what is being done. Since the well repair company called me directly to get the sample I will probably give them call, just to find out exactly what they are saying is the problem, so I'm getting the info from them and not the well owner.  Most likely she is just doing the minimal needed. The repair guy told my kids that the well is SO NOT up to code and he can't believe the county is ignoring it. He told them it would probably cost $30,000 to bring that well up to standards! Not that I want that kind of cost and problems brought on the well owner, and I'm not going to tell the county guy that this is what the repairman said, but it really is her own fault for not managing the well properly - ever - and we have lived here 23 years.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Yes, No, Maybe

One of my side jobs is up in the air as to whether I will get to keep doing it or not. Fortunately it's the one that's only about $100 - $120 a month. My other side job is about $750 a month and it would REALLY hurt to lose that job!  With the one owner getting forced out, but still the main person for the company/side job I do, I still have not heard if he wants me to continue to do the bookkeeping. As of today he is getting the accounting file on a disk, so that he can have it on his personal computer. That basically leaves me not being able to pay any bills or record any transactions, deposits, etc on my copy of the accounting file, because the 2 files can no longer be linked on the same server. But, no one can tell me what I'm supposed to do from here forward.

I'd just like to email him and ask him! Does he want me to continue to do the bookkeeping, and if so we'll have to figure out a way for me to access the accounting program that is now on his computer. If not, then I can mail him all the bills due, checks I just got that need to be deposited and the blank checks and deposit slips. I just talked to my boss and she is going to find out more on what our company lawyer says about me having contact with this ex-owner, at this point. I told her I am fine with however they want it handled. If my company doesn't want me to be involved with the side job anymore, that is ok with me.  Like my boss said, I'm sure things will all settle down after he calms down, but it's apparently going to get uglier before that happens. She doesn't want me feeling uncomfortable and put in the middle of it, so I'm sure something will be decided one way or the other soon.

Normally, I would pay bills that are due tomorrow and also pay myself for the hours I worked in June and now I can't do that. Good thing I'm not dependent on that $100. I'll get paid it eventually, but at least not getting it won't put me in a bind, as it might have in the past and at least starting Sept my house payment goes down $30 a month, which will help if I'm not getting the extra $100 side income anymore.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A fun Saturday

DH finally got out of the house yesterday. He and DS spent the day/evening at some races and I finally got a couple of hours to myself before DD got home from work. It almost didn't happen. I went to wake DH up so he could get ready to go with DS and he said he didn't feel good, so wasn't going to go. I said "you always feel bad when you first wake up, but once you get up and moving a bit you feel better", but he said no and went back to sleep. About 45 minutes later he got up and a half hour after that  he was feeling lots better so they finally left! Sounds like they had a good time and that always helps his mental state to get out of this house and do something. He had originally wanted to go to all 3 nights of the racing (and he and DS stay in a hotel) and that would have ended up costing a good $400 for hotel, food and tickets to the races. I just agreed with him last week on it, because I knew he'd change his mind umpteen times about going and most likely not go. The first night was a rainout, so that took care of that. Then the second night changed his mind and said he wasn't going, but DS went anyway by himself and had fun, so that got DH wanting to go again for the last night. So, it all ended up costing me "only" $100.  I'll take that to get him out of the house for a change!

I honestly didn't do much! I watered my flowers and then went to a nearby store and got some new tennis shoes for DH to try out and $40 out of the cash machine. DD and I had talked about going down to the town's street fair going on this weekend and since I usually run out of energy by afternoon, I took a short nap and then she got home from work early (they were probably slow because people were either at the annual street fair or just out enjoying the sunny day) and we decided to go. We've never been to it before. The weather was great and we found some parking a few blocks away. We live in a suburb town of a big city/metropolitan area, about 35 miles outside of it. It's kind of a cute town, but we live even outside of that about 7 miles and with all the commercial growth and mall out where we live there really isn't much need to go downtown. When that growth happened years ago the downtown kind of died for awhile, but now it's mostly cute little antique shops, deli's and coffee shops and such, and a couple of nice parks.

Usually there is a Saturday Farmer's market going on in the park with lots of fruits and veggies, flowers and craft vendors. I thought most of these things would be included in the street fair booths, but no, not really at all, so was kind of disappointed. They are in the park next to the streets that the street fair was going on. Maybe they had all been there, in their normal spots but were gone when we got there because they usually close up and leave at 2pm. But you'd think with all those people there they would have stayed open to take advantage of all the sales. Most of the booths were more commercial type stuff and companies, not local artists and crafts people. We did stand in line for some scones with jam - and then took them to a shady spot under a tree in the park and enjoyed. We went into a couple of the antique shops and looked around, which was fun. The bad part was I have been getting headaches at the base of my skull most days lately, so I just didn't feel that great. I was hoping my trip to the chiropractor last week would help, but apparently not. On our way home we decided to stop in a fresh produce market that we always drive by but have never stopped at. They had lots of plants, flowers, fresh produce (and samples! the pineapple was yummy and DD tried a cherry for the first time), wine and cheeses and local honey and stuff. All kind of pricey - definitely a place for the yuppies to shop at. We bought some raspberries and some fudge ($8 bucks for about a 3 inch square!) and got back home around 4:30. We were both kind of tired from all the walking (me just cuz I'm out of shape and DD cuz she had already been on her feet for 4 hours at work) so we plopped on the couch and watched some TV. We had talked about going out to eat dinner somewhere but neither of us was super hungry, so I make some scrambled eggs with diced ham and cheddar cheese and then we watched a free movie on Demand - The Odd Life of Timothy Green - it was kind of a cute movie and passed the time and then we just watched some home shows - Love it or List It and another show about a company that stages homes for sale.

I went to bed about 10pm and was sleeping nice and soundly until the dogs went nuts at 2:30am because the guys were home. Apparently young pup thought they were intruders and displayed he has quite the mean bark! That's a good thing, but scared me out of a sound sleep. Today is rainy, so guess we won't be spending any time outside today. I'm on my second load of laundry, as almost everything I own is dirty and nothing to wear.  I think it will just be a house cleaning day, since I didn't do anything but dust yesterday. I do still need to get over to one of the garden centers for some Round up and more flowers to put in one of the half whiskey barrel planters we bought last weekend with DH's birthday gift card. I think I'll wait until DD gets home from work to go with me. It's no fun going by myself!

Friday, June 21, 2013

An early start to the weekend

I'm already noticing small changes this week at work, with the departure of one of the company owners. Including a small policy change, just a more upbeat attitude overall (though we have a great staff who has always had great attitudes) and a more relaxed - less frustrated senior management and same with the 2 remaining owners.

Since we met our mid year sales goals already and are having a great month this month in regards to sales $ - the office is closing at 1pm today as a treat to start the weekend early. Not that this has never happened before, but it just feels like it's building on the positive changes that will likely come as a result of this ownership change. So, now I can get my errands done this afternoon and not have to do them this weekend!

I also sent my boss an email with info in regards to how we are taxed on bonus pay. We have a company that does our payroll for us and they have always insisted that bonus pay is taxed at a flat 25% rate, plus social security and medicare of course, which means anytime we get a bonus 1/3 of it is taken out for taxes. I don't know whether these are new IRS rules, or what, but I found online with IRS that there are 2 options for taxing bonus pay and one is basically just at whatever your normal tax rate would be for the pay period for that level of income with the bonus. In my case it would make a difference of $260 more money in my pocket! Granted, I always end up getting it back when I file my tax return, as I am not in the 25% tax bracket, but I'd much rather have that money now then 9 months from now. It will be interesting to see what the payroll company comes back with and if it gets changed.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Still on the merry-go-round

or is it the roller coaster?  DS got a call this morning from the recruiter lady that BIG computer company uses. During his last interview, which was with a different division within the company, a guy from the recruiting office, who works with recruiter lady, had also been at the interview. DS said after the interview was over he walked him out, as he was heading to his car too. DS said they stood in the parking lot and talked for like an additional 15 minutes.

Well, either recruiter lady told recruiter guy what was going on or the dept manager. who DS phoned yesterday after he got the call that there was no job going to be offered, got ahold of the recruiting department and things are rolling again.  Recruiter guy had apparently been very impressed with DS and said he has calls back into both managers that interviewed DS to work on getting him an entry level job, as he feels DS would be a good fit and worthy employee for them to have.

So, back to fingers and toes being crossed that something finally comes of this job interview ride.

Oh, and I got some more good news today. An email from my mortgage company that an escrow review had recently been done. I have a check for $160.53 coming and starting Sept. 1st my mortgage payment is going down $31.11 a month! 

Good luck/bad news

DS follows the local drag strip on twitter and Sunday they announced a Father's Day contest to submit a photo of yourself and your dad and they would pick a winner that night. He won! Two 3-day passes to the big national drag race event later this summer - a $320 prize value :-)  It was a good picture GF had snapped last summer of DS and DH sharing a laugh together at the race track where DS races. He was so excited and the tickets already came in the mail today.  DH loves drag racing (DS thinks it's kind of boring, compared to the circle track racing he does, so not even sure why he follows them on twitter - LOL) and should be a fun time for them. I doubt DH will be able to have the energy to go all three days, but at least he and DS can maybe go the last day of the finals and DS can take sis and/or his girlfriend the other 2 days. 

On the bad news side - he got a call back (finally!) from the recruiter lady from BIG computer company. They have decided to hire someone with more experience....of course. BUT, none of this is jiving with what the 2 big management guys he knows has told him this past week! One had emailed with DH on a totally unrelated topic, but the job came up and he told DH "don't worry - we'll get him a job" and then DS got an email Tuesday from the other manager who told him "you are still in the pipeline for a job - it's just a slow process". So, DS was still happy that he thought he was eventually going to get a job and then the lady calls yesterday and tells him no. He called the manager he knows right after he got off the phone with her and he seemed to not know this happened.....(who knows) because it's managers under him who made the hiring decision.

The recruiter did act like she felt DS was place-able and was going to send his resume to a couple of other companies she head-hunts for so maybe something will come from that. In the meantime I STRESSED to DS that he needs to be looking and applying for every job he can find to apply for! It was quite a let-down for us all to hear this, to say the least. It's like DS is never going to move on into the phase of his life he should be in now......a FULL time career type job!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Save a tree....or 75!

Last fall we planted 75 little thuja trees (see post and picture here) along our property line to eventually form a privacy screen to block out ugly junkyard neighbor. The plants went kind of dormant (as expected) during the winter but when spring came they came back to life and have really been growing. They've about doubled or more in size. That is until last week. Suddenly, about 4 of them just pretty much upped and died! DH did some research on what might be the problem. I thought maybe over-watering (he does that) but thought that would be a slower death rather than just in a few days going from nice and green to brown. He thought it was spider mites.

The kids took one of the plants to a garden/nursery that was recommended to help figure out the problem and it turns out it's a problem with the roots because we used potting soil to put in the holes when we planted them. Apparently that is not good for evergreens! Now that they are trying to grow grow grow the potting soil holds too much water and the roots ball up and turn black and kills the tree.

So yesterday DH and the kids (gosh I'm glad I was at work - haha!) literally had to dig up 75 trees and replant them! They had to use just "regular" old dirt and also bought several items recommended by the garden expert - $117 later! Ouch. But, I guess it's worth it to try and save all those trees.  There was some kind of liquid and powder to mix together (that from the looks of it will be enough to last our lifetime!) to dip the roots in before replanting.  Then there was some kind of fertilizer to spread around the trees (but not touch the trunks) after replanting. So, we are all keeping our fingers crossed that we fixed the problem in time and the trees will now be able to grow healthily.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A shake up

I had my first dentist appointment yesterday to put the crown on my tooth (yes - I am still working on this same tooth!). It was at 9am and late Friday afternoon I got notice that I needed to be at the office by 11:30 am Monday for an all company meeting. I figured even if my appt went and  hour and a half I'd be there in time, no problem. Well, my appointment was 2 hours long! I called my boss as I was leaving the dentist office, as even in mid day light traffic it's still a 45 minute drive. She said no problem - they were probably starting the meeting a little late anyway.

I get there at 11:45 and it's already started and as I'm walking in the meeting room to find a seat someone is asking something very strange about one of of the 3 owners and I'm thinking to myself "what the hell are they talking about?". Then one of the owner's replies, that they all just wish him well in whatever he decides to do.  So, I sit there through the rest of the meeting wondering what I missed! As soon as it was over my boss and I went into her office and she told me the big news. One of the company owner's has essentially been given the boot by the other 2 and will no longer be with the company. Quite the surprise! I'm sure there will be long legal wrangling as the buyout of his portion happens, but all in all I'm really not too upset about it. While he was a very nice guy, he was just very hard to work with and since he was the owner who had the job of dealing with the financial end of the business, my boss and I dealt with him the most compared with the other 2 owners. Let's just say there isn't a calm bone in his body, so it was always kind of exhausting working with him.

The other news is that our profit sharing of 3.4% of salary is being funded again this year and we have already met our mid year sales goals, so 5% of our annual salary will be in the form of a bonus on the next paycheck! Wooo!  $3300 - thank you very much! (too bad a 1/3 of it is withheld for taxes).

A little news on DS's job hopes with the big company. Not sure if I mentioned last week that during an unrelated to the job email DH had with the GM of the division he said "don't worry - we'll get him a job" and yesterday DS got an email from the department manager saying "he's in the pipeline for a job - it's just a slow process".  So, guess we just have to have more patience that this will all work out, eventually!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Still tracking the food/supplies expense category

The past few weeks I have been writing down every food receipt total in my notebook. This has been very helpful in knowing during the week how close I am getting towards my $250 budget (remember this includes household supplies, personal care and pet supplies). Since tracking for 3 weeks I came under budget about $50 the first 2 weeks and then went about $15 over last week. This week I am already at $306! Over budget!

But, writing this down I now see a bit better where/how I end up being over budget by the end of the month.  This weekend was time to get pet food for both the dogs and the cat. Just that alone came to 86.65 (plus the ridiculous almost 10% sales tax). That is more a once a month expense and I need to budget for it better in my planning. I did end up with 2 bags of cat food, so we are stocked up a bit on that, at least. But, I added some tablets to give the dogs so that (hopefully) their peeing on the lawn doesn't turn the lawn yellow. If it works, it appears we will have a $15 a month increase in their expenses unless/until I can find a cheaper alternative.

On a side ramble.....with our lawn all nice and green now we want to keep it that way and with 2 big dogs and lots of lawn, it's been hard to try and train them to go way out to the edge of the property to pee.  So, we are trying this route, with the tablets/wafers to give them. I purchased some Scott's lawn product yesterday to repair all the spots we do have. DD and I dug up the dead grass on all the stops and sprinkled the reseeding product and hopefully that will be the last of yellow spots on our lawn!

I'm also stocked up on 2 months worth of Miralax, so I won't have that expense and cat food to purchase next month. When we had my mom's garage sale the lady that cares for my grandma brought things to sell too. She had about 5 unopened bottles of Miralax super cheap, but they were about 6 months past the expiration date. They were probably just fine to use, but I was too scared to try them :(

All in all though - with all my purchases this weekend I saved $44.83 using coupons and gift cards and the 5% target discounts, not to mention the sale prices compared to regular prices I saved on. Since I now know I am over budget for the week, I can be especially careful the rest of the week, not to just spend, if it's not really necessary.

But, I do have one unexpected expense this week, not food related. I totally forgot that this week is DS's girlfriends birthday! Usually she's around to remind us, LOL, but she's been staying at her apartment by college all week because she got a full time summer job, so we've only been seeing her on weekends. I have no idea what to get her, so DD and I will either go shopping later today or tomorrow evening. She's easy to buy for - she loves everything, but that makes it almost harder. Might be time to make a trip to Bath and Bodyworks :-)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Another good Target deal

I found another good deal (courtesy of while I was at Target today, made even better by an extra .75 off Target coupon I had received in a little Target coupon book.

I bought 2 Colgate Total toothpastes and one Colgate mouthwash for $2.99 ea. Buy 2 get one free. My store allows a coupon on an item made free by a sale, so it turned out even better for me.

3 @ $2.99 = $8.97
-2.99 (free item)
-2.00 off 2 Total toothpaste
-1.00 off mouthwash
-1.00 off 2 Target Colgate coupon
-.75 Target Colgate coupon
= $1.23 for all 3 items!

Target deals

A couple of weeks ago I purchased something at Target (I can't remember what it was now) that gave me a $5 Target gift card. It is so tempting to turn around and just use it for a treat at the Starbucks inside the store - especially when DD is with me! But, I tucked it in my purse to keep towards reducing a future needed purchase.

I made a shopping trip there yesterday and was able to roll the gift card into a purchase that gave me another $5 gift card. Kitty eats Purina One cat food and Target has a deal of buy 2 7lb bags and get a $5 Target gift card.  I also had a Target coupon for $5 off 2 Purina items.

2 @ 11.99 ea - $23.98
-$5/2 coupon
-$5 gift card
= $13.98
and received another $5 gift card

I had intended to also purchase a bottle of the Miralax DH needs, but saw that they were also offering a buy 2 get a $5 gift card on this too. I had only brought my coupons for one bottle, so decided I will wait and go back today with coupons for both and also pay towards the total using the $5 card I got yesterday

2 @ 16.99 each (30 day supply, sale price)
- (2) $3 mfg coupons
-(2) $2 Target coupons (love stacking coupons!)
-$5 gift card
= $18.98 for 2
and receive another $5 gift card.

Gotta keep trying to roll that gift card!

Friday, June 14, 2013


DD made a comment to me last night that kind of opened the gates for us to talk about DH and his issues - especially with anger. I have always tried to never say anything bad about their dad to the kids, especially when I am at my whits end with how he acts. But, as he was on one of his temper tantrums last night we all just sort of gave up with him. He ended up out in the shop with DS, later, which is what gave DD and I time in the house alone to talk. She said she was never marrying a guy who yelled, especially at his kids. I said good, I hope you don't! I also said she she and DS will both be able to be out on their own soon and won't have to deal with it anymore and she said there are times she counts the days until she goes to college and she doesn't know how I stay with him. That is the first time the topic has ever come up between us. I told her it is not easy at all, and that in fact, just before she was to start kindergarten I was going to divorce him, but that after meeting with an attorney I was told that DH would get primary custody because he was the one who was at home with the kids (this was when he first got sick and didn't work for 2-3 years, but still had his business, which didn't make any income) and I was the one working. I had just returned to work, with a low paying job and there was no way I could have afforded to live on my own and pay him and child support. I ended up just sucking it up and moving back in. As the years have gone by (over 10 yrs now) he has gotten quite a bit better the past 5-6 years or so. As his health got worse, I'm sure he somewhat realized treating the person who he is 100% relying on to support him, probably isn't the smartest idea. But, gradually over the past couple of years his anger and shitty treatment has moved on towards DS. But, like I tell the kids - they will be able to move out and start their own lives soon and can get away from it. I'm stuck for better or worse, sickness and health and unfortunately stuck with the worse, because of the sickness. I can't exactly leave a guy who has no means to support himself.  People like DH do not see that they have a problem. He was literally so hysterically screaming (and ya, I'm sure that is good for his health!) that when I got out of my car home from work yesterday afternoon, I first thought there was some woman inside our house screaming! 

When he tried to talk about it this morning and I told him this cannot be good for his health, his reaction was it's all our fault. If we'd just do things "right" he wouldn't have to get mad. I said the only one who is responsible for how you react to stuff is you. His response? He doesn't believe that at all. So, then I tried a different tactic - I said do you really think yelling and screaming and telling the people who love you that they are worthless, stupid, etc is going to resolve it? His response? If we didn't do stuff wrong he wouldn't have to act like that and according to him us doing stuff "wrong" is the same as disrespecting him as his name calling is to us.  So, really there is no way to try and have a logical thought process discussion with him and honestly, I gave up trying to do that years ago - the only reason I was trying this morning was for the kids sake. But, they are both old enough now, that they realize it too and for the most part they don't even care anymore either. They just let him rant and rave and shut themselves off to taking it personal, as I did years ago. (it's amazing that these 2 kids turned out as happy and easy going as they have -thank god they take after my personality and not their dad's) And yes, we know he needs counseling, etc. He tried that 12 years ago when I left him and of course it was the counselor who was all wrong about everything. So, I'm not really posting this to look for advice on what to do with him - just letting off a little steam, I guess. Letting you know how my end of week is going. I know it's not going to change, I just needed "someone" to vent it to :-)

Which leads me to a post I had started writing yesterday morning - before the big meltdown yesterday afternoon.

You know those people, when asked if they have any regrets or if would they change anything in their lives, if they could, and they say “oh no, no regrets or I wouldn’t change a thing”?  Maybe those aren’t real people – maybe I’ve just seen this happen in movies or read it in books and think this is how real people are. I honestly can’t remember.  I just know I’ve heard it numerous times. Is that really reality for most people? Because there are sure a lot of things I would change if I could go back and do it all again, with regrets and all.  And there are things I would go back and change that most people (including myself) probably wouldn’t publicly admit they want to go back and change, for fear of hurting someone’s feelings or coming across sounding like a total ass.

But yet, deep down there are things I if I could go back in time and change I would. But, you say, that might mean you wouldn’t have the children you have?!  This is true – changing one thing would/could mean changing everything.  But, who’s to say I would be any happier – or any less happier?

Since getting on Facebook a few years ago (I was kind of late to the game) I have been reluctant to seek out old friends from childhood and high school (especially high school). I’m not 100% sure why that is. I have a hunch it’s a combination of things. I’m kind of a quiet, loner type, not a social butterfly, so I felt no real desire to reestablish communications with them after 25 years, though I was of course curious about how their lives turned out. Human nature, I guess.  But for the close high school friends I had had….I gave up trying to stay in touch with them about 5 years after high school. I was always the one (and only one) trying to keep in touch and one day I just quit, with all of them. And not a one of them tried to contact me. We didn’t live in the same city anymore (though still within very reasonable driving distances), everyone was moving on with their lives, ok, got it. But apparently they (before I got on Facebook) had been trying to find me on there.

But, gradually I have reestablished contact with 3 of my good friends from high school. Two of them sought me out and one of them I sought out after the others sought me out.  I’ve also sought out a few grade school friends.  But we moved a lot when I was in grade school, so it’s understandable that I wouldn’t have kept in touch with them over the years (though one we have known each other since kindergarten and have always at least sent a Christmas card, she lives far away in another state now).

In learning about their lives I find myself feeling jealous and wishing my life had turned out like theirs seem to have, at least on the surface.  Mostly jealous of the fact that they all live in very nice houses, go on vacations, etc.  While I’m still stuck in the piece of crap manufactured home that we moved into 24 years ago – a house worth 1/3 to ½ of their homes values. And it’s not looking likely that I’ll be improving this situation any time soon, if ever.  They are all married to men with white collar occupations (though one is divorced for many years now from a blue collar guy and now with a white collar guy) and all but two of them do not have college degrees. They have clerical of medical assistant type jobs. Obviously their husbands are the bread winners and have good jobs. Some have kids, some don’t, though I realize those that don’t have a big advantage over those of us that do, in potentially having a lot more money! Kids are darn expensive.

If I could go back and make one change in my life, I would have married a white collar guy with a steady occupation.  Not to say all blue collar guys or jobs are bad. There are many that are high paying and guys that work for the same company/union for years and have very steady, nice incomes.  But my DH hopped from job to job the first several years we were married and then got the brilliant idea he should be self employed, which at the time seemed an ok idea – since he couldn’t seem to get along with any employer for very long. I honestly don’t even begrudge that he got sick and can’t work.  But, if that had happened to a white collar guy, he would have been able to get disability pay for the rest of his life and we’d at least have a bit of a supplementary income, rather than me having to be the sole income for the family.

I married way too young, and was just way too impatient to get my adult life started and I did not think very far into the future, at all.  Well, in some respects I did – I knew I wanted to get my Bachelor’s degree, even though I got married after 2 years of college and I knew I didn’t want to have kids right away. I did do those 2 things as planned, for the most part (though it took me extra years to get my Bachelor’s due to financial hardships we faced – medical and from DH’s job hopping). I was able to look down the road and see I needed/wanted that, but I just didn’t look at how being married to someone with no education was going to seriously affect how my life would turn out.  I guess I figured DH would be like his dad – work for a company for years, be in the union, and have that decent pay and get a pension when he retired. I didn’t have a problem with that, but DH just couldn’t do it.

So, maybe it’s just that if I could go back and make a change, I just wouldn’t marry DH? No, I don’t think that is it. Regardless of the fact that there were years that DH treated me like total dirt and I really should have divorced him, a white collar guy could act the same way (and I'm sure there are those that do), so that is not really the issue. I just really would not marry a blue collar guy for purely financial reasons/stability, knowing what I know now. I made my bed, so to speak, by making the choice I did so many years ago, and I live with it the best I can.  But, boy there are times I just want to delete Facebook and just go back to my secluded little life where I don’t know any better……….

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Patience is a virtue, right?

I'd like to think of myself as a pretty patient person. Really I am!  But geez - this job process DS has been going through...(how long has been now? I've totally lost track) is ridiculous. Last week he finally emailed the department manager and asked him if he had any info on if there is still a plan for getting DS a job there in that division (or any division for that matter) and told him he had lastly interviewed for a different position in a different division of the company. The manager (this is one of the guys he knows from personal life) emailed back and said he'd check into it - kind of acted like he didn't realize that DS had been moved onto a different area.  But, DS hasn't heard anything back from him.

Then over the weekend DH happened to email the other guy they know (who is the head of the whole division) about something totally unrelated and when he emailed back he happened to ask about DS and if he was racing this year or did he sell it all? DH replied that no, he has a complete set up to race, just doesn't have any money and doesn't want to do it until he either gets some sponsorship for it or a job, so he can pay for it. DH mentioned in the email that he knew DS had been interviewing with his company, but it had been a slow process so far.  This guy emailed back "don't worry - we'll get him a job. Sorry it's such a lengthy process".

So, I guess I'm still holding out some hope that this will happen eventually, but really .....not much. Those kind of "good luck" things never seem to come our way.

In the meantime, there are times I REALLY do not like being privy to all the company financial data. Like, for a majority of the worker bees it has been a year and a half since their last raise (and 2 years before that) and for the other few of us, it has now been a year. With nothing being mentioned again about "annual" reviews, it's appearing that most are going to have to go at least 2 years before another salary increase. But, in the last 10 months the owners have given themselves each $50k bonus.....
4 times in the past 10 months! The company has been doing very well and very flush with cash.....but apparently the worker bees aren't worthy of a cost of living increase - even something minimal. Boo!

I'm not feeling very patient about life right now, can you tell?!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Back to the vet

Young pup was sick again yesterday. We noticed later in the morning one of the dogs had thrown up out on the lawn, but we weren’t sure which one and both seemed to be acting like they felt fine.  Then when dinner time came along, I gave young pup about half his normal food (I had a hunch it would be him, based on that he was just sick a few weeks ago and he is the one who will try and eat whatever he can find outside). We went outside and he had some serious diarrhea – just mainly liquid. We just sat in lawn chairs outside and stayed outside with him. You could tell he didn’t have much energy and then about an hour later he threw up the dinner he ate. Oh great – back to the vets and I can’t do another $500 bill!

Last time he was sick he threw up like every hour or so during the night, so DH (who always stays up until 2 or 3am anyway), kept an eye on him and then fixed up the gate to kind of block him in by the front door (where there is no carpet), right next to the couch and DH slept on the couch to listen for him, if he got sick. He was ok all night and then about 6:15 am when DH came to bed (and I was about to get up) I felt a cold wet nose excitedly giving me kisses (no, it wasn’t DH! LOL), so I was very happy to see he seemed to be feeling better.  He wanted food! So, I gave him about a 1/3 of what he normally gets and then we went outside where he grabbed his tennis ball, chased a bird and just full of energy. Then he had a bit more diarrhea, but not as bad as last night.  I grabbed a sample, figuring it would be helpful for the vet to have, in case the worms are back.  He was busy and energetic as ever this morning as I worked and got ready to leave for the office. I gave him a bit more of his food after about an hour and he seemed all better.  I called the vet to make an appointment and they just suggested (as they seem to do) to just drop him off for the day, they’ll keep an eye on him and get to him when they can. Since he was feeling so much better, I didn’t just want to leave him there all day, so I pressed her if I could just have a set appointment time instead. She didn’t have anything until 4:15 this afternoon, and I said based on how he’s doing this morning that would be fine. I just wanted him looked at again to be sure and to have his stool tested.

The vet checked him out and said all is fine. Whew! Her guess was he ate some grass clippings? Yep, most likely that is what he did and that had been DH's initial guess, too. Good thing we just blocked off the back of the property where we dump all the grass clippings, so now the dogs can't get to it. Since I have the puppy wellness plan I pay for every month - the visit and the fecal testing were free, so no money had to be spent this time. Thank goodness!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Saturday rambles

Well, I ended up making $55 with my yard sale stuff and DD made $58. We are happy! Not sure how much my mom made, but quite a bit, I'm sure. She always does well. I don't know where she had all that stuff in her small, not a thing out of place, home!

Then we went to the little plant sale where a local guy has a little nursery he operates out of his home, that I found online at Craigslist. What a great selection and nice plants he has. He has nice laminated big pictures of each type clipped to each group of plants with info about it, so it was easy to see what the plant will look like full grown. We bought 3 plants. Two of them, I don't even remember what they are now - flowering shrub types and one strawberry plant, just for fun. 3 1-gallon plants for $15! Can't beat that. I will definitely be using this guy from now on whenever I want perennials to plant in the yard.  Wish I had known about him the past few weeks, when I have spent $40 on 3 plants....all ones he had for sale at $5 each.

I helped DH out in the very back of our property today. We took down the black poultry fencing he had up in the front yard - to keep the dogs off of the area, to kind of re-seed some spots that had gotten ruined because that's where the dogs walk out the front door to pee.  We staked it up across the very back of our property. It will work not to make sure the dogs don't head on down the embankment and off our property in the back. We can't afford more chain link fencing and this works  and from the distance of the house it almost looks like black chain link. The dogs don't go back that far too often, but once in awhile we have to remind them to not go past that area.

Then me and one of the dogs (the lazy one!) took a nap for about an hour or so while DH and the other dog mowed the lawn. DD came home from work - all excited that she got to be a server for about an hour, as a trial to see how she did. She had no idea they wanted her to do that, but one of the servers couldn't come in today and the person covering for her couldn't stay the whole shift so they had DD take over. She got to serve 4 tables and made $25 in tips! She thought it was great and was nervous a bit, but all in all enjoyed it. Usually they don't have servers under the age of 18 (she's still 17) but she is a hard worker and they see that.  Maybe she'll get to cover again when someone is off, once in awhile.

I got the mail today and in it was a bill from my regular dentist for $107.21. WHAT?! I had already paid them $93.76 from that visit when I left the office. I got online with my dental insurance and looked at the EOB. Well, they had paid part of the claim, but on the part for the "core buildup" of the temporary tooth, the insurance denied it and coded it that they wanted  a narrative/images before they will determine benefits. Well, then give it to them - don't just bill me for the balance!! So, I printed a copy of my EOB with that info circled and the part of the bill they are trying to say I still owe and am going to fax it to their office on Monday morning. I wonder how many people would just assume that their insurance processed it all and that they still owe it and pay it?

I still don't feel that well, but at least I'm not sick enough that it's stopped me from doing stuff today. It's too nice out to have to stay in bed or lay on the couch.

Having a 3 day weekend :-)

I took the day off work yesterday to go help my mom with her garage sale. DD and I took quite a few things of our own to sell and as yesterday ended I had sold $29 and DD $48 (she always sells more than me!). It's going on again today and I had every intention of going over to help again this morning, but a night of upset stomach and very little sleep has me staying home, at least for now. We had Chinese take out (DH's birthday dinner) last night and not sure if it didn't agree with me or what, but I did not have a good night and my stomach still feels wrong. I haven't eating anything yet today, so now of course I have a headache on top of that.

It was a community garage sale, so about 15-20 homes in her gated community took part. I was happy to sell a very old leather jacket. I put $12 on it and it was snatched up by a lady who bought tons of stuff from us! She was having so much fun and we enjoyed talking with her. The men who want to bargain a .50 item down to .25 crack me up - and there were several of them! Made me just want to say "geez - just take the thing for free!". But I just smiled and took their quarter.  It was nice having a day to visit with my mom and just hang out.  Hopefully I will feel like going over there later, when DD gets home from work and we can help with the end of the day stuff. I'm sure DD will want to pick up her money- haha!

Plus, the fun lady we were chatting with mentioned she had found a place on craiglist that sold plants and perennials really cheap and she wasn't going to garden centers anymore to pay their prices. I did a search online and found a place right near my mom's advertising tons of perennials for $5 each. Looks like a small nursery out of their home and just a mile or so down the road from my mom's place, so I am going to stop in there this afternoon when we got over to her house. We still want a few plants and I can get 3 for the price of one at Lowe's or the other local garden centers. I'm so excited to go check it out - not sure if it was the same place this lady had found, but it's close and great prices and looks like a great selection of many varieties.  Guess, I'll use my garage sale money to buy some plants. Hopefully, Mom will sale some more of our stuff today :-)

Well, I guess I'd better try and get something down my stomach - I'm starting to feel lightheaded and hopefully the toast I'll try won't upset my stomach more.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Getting a grip on grocery spending

It still amazes me that most month's we are over $1000 in the food category. Now, this does include more than just food (cuz I'm too darn lazy to spend time trying to split up the categories of a receipt that has items from all sorts of categories). It includes pet food/supplies, household/cleaning supplies, and personal care items, and fast food/take out.

I do the bulk of the grocery shopping once a week - or at least that is always my goal, but I usually end up back at the stores at least a couple of more times during the week. So, for now, I'm trying to just keep the monthly spending at no more than $1000 and I'm writing down what I spend daily, in a notebook. So, $1000 a month works out to about $250 a week in the budget, most months (sometimes there are those months with 5 Fridays, my usual grocery shopping day, in them.). When I go do my main day of grocery shopping I usually end up spending around $150, sometimes a little less. The problem is I really do try to make a complete list of everything I think I'll need for the week - so why do I end up at the store so many more times?! ARGH!!

If I try to overestimate what we need/will eat I end up with excess and have to throw out (strawberries are a good example), but if I buy just the minimal amount I run out. I bought a 3lb container of strawberries, thinking this would be plenty for the week and they were gone as of Monday night. I bought the same amount of bottled water (DH won't drink our well water because he doesn't trust that the well owner does the "required" annual testing - since it's basically on the honor system in this county) as I usually do, but am almost out already. A warm week and lots of outside work is probably the reason he drank so much more.

This is where I am at so far in spending on food for this week (starting last Friday):

Main grocery shopping trip:  $110.86 (this is pretty low for me!)
Take out                                      15.09
Small grocery trip                       19.50
Take out                                       14.59 (I got DH and DS McD's the night DD and I went to eat        where she works)
Dinner out with DD                    12.19 ($8.19 meal -we had a free meal that we split, just had drinks and a side of hashbrown, plus $4 tip)
Dairy Queen                                9.59 (because I was out of strawberries and DH wanted a dessert snack last night)

Total so far out of the $250 budget - $181.82.  I do my main grocery shopping trip and come out of the store thinking 'woo hoo - I only spent $110 and I think I got everything I'll need for the week!'
I'll need to stop at the store today to pick up water, soda, strawberries and a loaf of bread, adding approximately another $16 to the total. If I can stay out of the store tomorrow, I will still have $53 leftover from my $250 budget. Not bad, considering I have apparently been spending more than that each week, but it frustrates me to make a list of everything I think we need and spend $110 and then find myself back at the store spending more money because we are out of things. I am hoping this exercise of writing all the expenses down will help me to plan my grocery list even better, so I am not making all these extra trips. I plan out meals, etc, but just either don't plan quantities right on misc things or just plain forget to add something to the list.

That extra $53 this week, that I didn't spend out of the $250 budget, is going toward my total failure at estimating DH's driver's license renewal! Due to him having a construction company for 20+ years, he's always had a CDL endorsement on his license. Even though he can't drive anymore, he is not willing to let that expire off his license. There is always hope in the back of his mind that the doctors will figure out something to help him and he could one day go back to work. That, plus that fact that our state now makes it damn tough to get a CDL without spending LOTS of money. Used to be you could just learn to drive from someone who had a truck (for free) and go take the test. Now you have to go to an approved driving school that costs min of $3000 before you can take the test. DH really wants DS to get his CDL (even race car drivers have need of it if they are pulling a race hauler) but we can't afford the $3000! Anyhow, I had budgeted $50 for DH to renew his license, totally forgetting that the CDL endorsement would cost more - his total driver's license renewal was $145!.

Monday, June 3, 2013

He did it again!

DH ate leftovers again! Saturday night I made the pizza we all LOVE and there were 2 pieces leftover. Last night's dinner was spaghetti, which DH will eat if has to, but he really doesn't like it much at all. Before dinner DD and I were at the store picking up a few things and we tried to call him to see if he wanted us to swing thru Burger King and pick him up dinner. He was outside and didn't hear the phone, so we just decided he could eat spaghetti :-)

I told him there was still a couple slices of pizza left if he wanted that with some french bread instead of the spaghetti. So that's what he did! Granted, I still had to make spaghetti, but at least the leftover pizza got eaten up and I didn't spend $7 on take out for him. A little progress in the food waste reduction mission :-)

That didn't leave me with the lunch of leftover pizza I was planning on taking with me to work today, but it did leave me with enough leftover spaghetti for 2 days of lunches, so that works too.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Another productive day

At it again today. We had some blocks leftover so DH decided to tear out the little wood porch/landing at the back door that needed to be redone anyway and put in some steps using the blocks.  I like it!

Now, I think I need a new door mat -ha ha!

While they were outside doing that I kept busy in the house. Vacuumed and dusted. Made a pan of brownies and one of those jello no-bake cheesecakes. I've been craving cheesecake and while I know it will not compare to REAL cheesecake, it will do enough to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Dinner tonight will be spaghetti and french bread. DH really doesn't like spaghetti much but the other 3 of us love it and need it once in awhile! If he just doesn't want it, one of the kids can go get him McD's or something. We haven't had spaghetti for months and months.

Yesterday I picked up 2 lilac bushes. I had a 25% off coupon so they were only $11 each. I have been wanting one of these for so long! I can't wait for them to get big and hopefully next spring have beautiful smelling flowers on them. I wonder how fast these plants grow.

And for the not so fun part of the weekend - I have been dealing with ants - AGAIN! Every time they come spray each month, a day or two after here come the ants. I am SO sick of it and so tired of spending $44 a month and still have ants coming into my house. I so want to try a different company, but at this point they all want their initial $200 to come out to do the evaluation/first treatment and I really don't want to have to fork out $200 so I can get started with a different pest control company. So, I'm just going to keep calling the one who is doing it now for them to come back - again. For my $44 a month they have to come as much as needed, for any type of pest we may find we are dealing wtih. Maybe they'll get tired of coming back all the time and try to come up with a different plan of attack for our ant situation. Last month when we had them come back we made the guy get under the house and spray the crawl area. Most of the time they seem to come in either of the kids bedrooms and/or the bathroom between them.  But, this time it has been in the kitchen on the counter around the sink. UGH! I have literally been spending all weekend, since late Friday afternoon, wiping up ants to get rid of them. The pest control "experts" have always told us not to use store ant spray as they will just take this back to their nests and that sends out a huge warning to the ants to start separating into more colonies to try and save themselves and then they hatch even more ants.

Saturday, June 1, 2013


We have been busy the past 2 days! The block wall in the back yard is finished and only took about half a day yesterday and that included going to Home Depot twice to load them up in the back of our old SUV

DD and I went flower shopping after dinner last night and I spent this morning planting. I'm so happy to have my window boxes painted and back up this year.


And the whiskey barrels

Can't wait until they are all in full bloom!  I didn't even realize one of the dogs was in the picture when I took it. I think we are going to buy a couple more barrels for some other areas of the yard and at each end of the block wall we are going to plant a lilac bush, so I as soon as DD gets home from work we are off to the garden center.  The local hardware store has a coupon for 25% off all perennials.  My budget for the flowers was $75, but so far I have only spent $42 The lady at the store was in such a hurry to check me through (she even had someone helping her with all my little packs of flowers), that after I looked at my receipt (to make she she didn't over charge me) I realized she didn't charge me for like 4 of the flower packs! She was being kind of rude (hey, not my fault they didn't have someone at the register in the garden dept) so I didn't bother to go tell her I owed her another $10 or so......oh well.

At the store last night I really liked this pretty blue ceramic bird bath.....(DH loves anything blue) that I'm thinking of going back and getting that for his birthday/Father's day gift. I think it was on sale for $49. I had already picked him up a hat, but I think I'll see if DS wants to give him that (he had already tried to look for one to give him a few weeks ago, just because he knew DH wanted one). There's a old bird bath mixed in with the first picture of the barrel, but the actual bath part got broken several years ago when the kids accidently hit it with a basketball. Now it just looks like a cute squirrel on top of a the base of a tree looking down at nothing instead of looking into the bath!

Ok, I shouldn't have sat down to write all my energy is draining and there is still LOTs of day left.