Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve

I got a couple of errands ran this morning. I ended up with 2 toasters for Christmas. My uncle mailed me his receipt and I returned that one to Walmart. I haven't decided what to get myself with the cash yet ($25 plus tax), but I'm leaning toward a new pair of jeans (I need more in my new size) and will probably check Ross again to see if they have any more of the brand I really like (Jones New York). I also had to return some computer hardware that I had purchased almost 3 months ago online from Walmart. DS thought we would need it to extend our internet range out to the garage for the security camera's, but they ended up hard wiring an ethernet cable out to the garage and we don't need the repeater/router. I looked at their return policy online and it said computer hardware needed to be returned within 15 days (I bought it mid-October and it just sat at my desk here for 2 months until DS got home to help install). But, I figured it was worth a shot - if they told me it was too late, then I was just going to take it back another day without the receipt and say it was a Christmas gift and I didn't have a receipt and they'd just give me the money on a gift card. But, I worried for nothing. The girl didn't even question how long ago I purchased it, so now I have $109 back in my checking - woo!

I also got good news yesterday of another bonus.  $500 from my part time side job! I got online yesterday morning to check my work emails and the owner's wife (she works there too) had sent me an email titled "OH NO" and I thought - oh great, something is wrong that we need to fix. But it was an email of her saying she was talking to her hubby and mentioned she had sent me a Christmas card (a personal one from their family, not business) and he said "oh no, I usually give her a Christmas bonus and I forgot" and to tell me to add $500 to my next invoice to them, for a bonus. Nice! Last year I got $300 and I think last year was the first year he did that for me, so I wasn't sure if he'd remember or not. I'm definitely not telling DH about this one and it's going straight into savings, which will bring me up to $2046. Another woo! And that's not counting the $1200 I still have (that DH knows about) left from my other work bonus.

We are all enjoying our new blu-ray player and Netflix. We're hooked on Sons of Anarchy, but DH is way ahead of me now on watching episodes because he watches for hours after I go to bed. I'm only on the beginning of season 3 and he's probably well into season 4 after last night. I guess the next good series to watch is Breaking Bad, from what I'm told. I'm sure DH will like that too and gives him something to do when he can't sleep, plus all the movies to choose from.

DS flies out this evening back to his home away from home. Sad to see him go, but all in all it was a nice visit. He still hasn't received his work visa yet, but we are hoping it's getting close to being finalized now. We will take him to the airport this evening and then come home and most likely just watch tv for the evening. I doubt I'll make it up to midnight to ring in the New Year. DD has to work early in the morning, so she'll probably be in bed by 10 or so, too. Hope everyone has a safe and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

DIY pays

I just found us some savings of $42 a month. We have a pest control company come monthly to spray around our house for kitchen/sugar ants at a cost of $43.67 every month. This morning I was looking at the bill to pay it and was looking at the detail, which shows which pesticide they use, even the EPA# associated with it and how much they use and at what % strength.  I googled the pesticide and found we can buy it ourselves online. The exact same stuff and mixed with water at the same ratio they are using the quart size would give us 32 monthly applications for $37.....TOTAL! That's almost 3 years of ant spray for less than I have been paying monthly now, for at least a couple of years.

DH has the same kind of sprayer type bottles they use to spray around the perimeter of our house (we used one when we sprayed for spider mites on our trees). So, I'm hiring DH to be our ant sprayer! We can save over $500 per year doing it ourselves.  This is one bill I have been wishing there was a way to gt rid of (and still keep the ants away) and I'm thrilled that I decided to do a little online search and found a way.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Post Christmas days

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! We had a nice, quiet, pretty relaxing holiday. I was pretty busy up through Monday, getting the last minute food and stocking stuffers, but by Tuesday all was calm again. It was just the 4 of us Christmas Eve. We watched a movie in the afternoon, then had a delicious dinner of King crab legs. I had been planning to just make us a pizza, but when DD and I were picking up the Christmas ham I noticed the crab legs were on sale and decided that would be a great meal for us, instead. Then we opened our gifts after dinner. Growing up my family always opened our gifts Christmas Eve (and so did DH's) but when our kids were little we did change to Christmas morning for quite a few years. After they got older we ended up shifting back to opening them Christmas Eve and then we do our stockings on Christmas morning. I've always liked it better that way.......speads out the gift giving and opening fun over 2 days :-)

I got WAY too much stuff! Nothing extravagant, but lots of things. PJ's, slippers, a sweater and 2 tops, some gold and diamond hoop earrings, new 4-slice toaster, coffee, chocolates (everyone went a little overboard on the chocolates this year), Starbucks gift cards, calendars, candles...We take turns opening gifts and I ended up having like 5 more to open at the end. I make DH a list of ideas of what I want and he ends up getting me all of it, LOL. Plus, DD got me quite a few things, including a cute Etsy made rice pack to heat up and put on my neck - it feels great and the heat lasts a long time.

We gave DH a new smart phone (and cheaper plan). He doesn't really use a phone much and I've been paying $43 a month for basically nothing with a dumb phone. With DS home, I finally was able to get him the new phone and plan changed. I wanted DS to handle the switching of the phone number and showing DH how to use it. The one he's on is $32 a month (with tax) and I'm using the savings to pay for the Netflix subscription that will cost $8/mo.  He/we really do need at least one smart phone between us, so that he can get email camera security notifications if we are all gone from the house. If the cameras sense a motion they will snap a picture and email it to us and we can know within a minute or two if someone was breaking into our house or garage,  plus have a picture of them.

Christmas Day my mom and uncle came over and we had a nice ham dinner. I've never "made" ham before. It's not DH's favorite, but I was tired of turkey, since we had it twice on Thanksgiving weekend. I bought an expensive ham from the grocery store meat department. It was $32 for a 4 pound boneless spiral ham, but they had a $5 off coupon. I just had to heat it up and it was really nice that it was already pre-sliced. Made the dinner pretty easy, but it was really good. My mom is feeling somewhat better, but did end up canceling the pre-Christmas party she was to host with my step-siblings and cousin. Funny....DD and DS were at her house a couple of days before Christmas helping her with something and she make the comment "I was so happy when your Mom offered to have Christmas dinner at your house this year...I didn't even hesitate to say yes".  DD said her mouth just dropped....that wasn't the reaction we got when I asked her to come over to our house for Christmas Day, LOL.

DH and DS have spent a couple of days getting the rest of the security camera's (we hadn't done the garage yet) installed and we tried a wireless connection for the system's dvr out in the garage, but even with a booster/repeater out there the signal wasn't consistent enough. I ended up getting a really long ethernet cable and they ran that from under the house and through some underground piping that was already there, out to the garage. It's all working good now, though DH is pretty exhausted - it was quite a job, even with DS's help.  Even our good neighbor installed a couple of wireless cameras at his place. He bought the same brand as ours and DS figured out how to link his cameras to our monitoring system and now DH can see his camera's too. Neighbor is very happy because he is going on a long vacation for most of the month of January and now feels better that his place will be watched too.

I am so enjoying my time off work and still get all next week off. I don't really get to sleep in - the dogs are my 7:30 am alarm, but the relaxing days have been so nice. We gave DH a blu-ray player for Christmas and have been watching a lot of movies. Last night we watched "The Kings Speech" and enjoyed that movie. I didn't realize Netflix streaming doesn't have new releases, so I was kind of bummed about that, but we'll definitely watch it a lot and get our monies worth. Plus DD will be able to watch Netflix movies and tv shows on her laptop when she goes to college.

We are going to enjoy DS for 5 more days and just hang out at home. DH will end up spending as much of my bonus as possible....at the beginning of December DS had asked if we could buy him some snow tires for $400 and I told DH that we could - as soon as I got my bonus from work. Then DS decided not to get the snow tires and when I got my bonus I didn't say anymore to DH about it...but then a few days ago he asked how I was able to afford getting him the home defense shot gun he bought, spend $100 for us all to go shooting again last week, xmas gifts, etc.  So, I reminded him that I had gotten the bonus and then he wanted to know how much.......so now of course his head is spinning with spending it.......he's into guns now, so he wants a hand gun now...and then of course he needs a gun safe....BIG SIGH..........

Friday, December 20, 2013

Still getting ready for it all

I'm still trying to get ready for Christmas. Seems like my son got home and I totally got de-railed! And I've been trying to get everything I need to get done for work, since I have the next 2 weeks off.  I think I remembered to do and pay everything that needs to get done before my return on Jan 6th.  This evening is our company party and family gets to come with, so that should be fun for us all...and good food and a live band.

My mom is not feeling too well.  I think a combination of the root canal from hell she's been going through (worse than mine!) and the medication change. She called last night and said she was thinking of canceling our family Christmas party that is on Sunday at her house. She just hasn't felt well all week and when I talked to her last night I said I'm no one will have a problem if she wants to wait until Saturday to see how she is doing and cancel then, if she has to. I was going to give her a call early this afternoon and see how she was feeling today and also let her know that everyone would understand if she wants to cancel. She doesn't need to stress herself out about it.  Then she called me a little while ago and said she decided to cancel and I told her that I was just going to call and tell her that too. This is an annual get together we have with my step siblings, cousin, and their families. I feel bad for mom - not the time of year you want to feel bad and be messing with medications and such.  Hopefully we can give her a nice relaxing Christmas day/dinner with just us and my uncle.

Good to have the boy home and the time is going by too fast, already. He must be growing up - he even remembered that I had told him about my company party to go to and he packed some dress clothes :-)  Good job!  Had to go buy DH a new pair of khaki's....the couple pair he has are years and years old and way too tight. I put on my black dress pants I bought a few years ago and haven't worn for probably a year or more and they are snug too, but still fit.

My boss gave me a couple of nice gift cards for Christmas. One to Red Robin and one to a movie theater. DD is already making plans to go eat and go to a movie, LOL.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mom and Christmas

Well, I think I now have an idea of what might be going on with my mom and my surprise at her strange reaction to my Christmas Day invite.  She has been on some sort of anti-depressant or anti-anxiety med for a good 10 years now. She went on it when she was feeling overwhelmed trying to take care of both my disabled dad and elderly grandma full time and her doctor put her on a medication. I'm not really sure which medication...she gets flustered with words all the time or forgets what word she wants to use and flits around her conversations from one thing to the next that I honestly don't know for sure. She had mentioned Paxil once years ago, so that might have been it. Usually she just refers to it as her "anti-anxiety medication".

I know this medication has had alot of side effects for her over the years. She put on a LOT of weight. She was always about 140 pounds or so and now she is quite heavy. She has always been pretty small her whole life, so I'm sure it's from the medication (and I think her doctor told her before it probably was). She also has been very scatterbrained these past 10 years and trying to have a conversation with her for very long is hard. She's always been a chatterbox, but the past years she jumps from topic to topic and it's hard to keep up or she doesn't finish the topic before she's jumping to the next and my head is spinning. She's always forgetting a word she wants to use. Another side effect over the last few years is she gets very overheated and starts sweating alot if she does any sort of activity - like cleaning house or mowing her small yard.  She's just been putting up with it, but she finally asked her doctor about it and of course he said it's most likely from the medication and that she should really try to go off of it anyway, as it wasn't meant for her to take long term.

I guess she went off it recently, but felt she was feeling over emotional about everything and decided she'd rather put up with the hot flashes than be emotional. Now he has her trying a different medication the past couple of weeks, but she said she felt it's not doing anything, so now he has her trying a higher dosage. So, I guess we'll see.  I had kind of tried to ask her if she felt she still needed it (when she was complaining about her weight and sweating), as now she hasn't had to deal with the stresses she had before.  But, it kind of sounds like she feels she needs something or she feels too emotional over things.   She did loose about 7 pounds already, when she went off it it, but will probably gain it back if she has to go back on it or stay on something else. Hopefully the doctor will find a good medication that works for her and maybe less of the side effects she has had.

Monday, December 16, 2013

I did it!

DS got home last night and I managed to keep it a secret for almost the past month! Whew - so glad that is over. It all went perfect. He had a friend drop him off (down the street a bit, so she didn't have to come down our driveway). DD and I were sitting in the living room and DH was back in the family room at his desk. He rang the doorbell and then opened the door right away. DD was in shock for a second and then said "oh my god" and flew into his arms. She was bawling and hugging him and then she pulled back to look and make sure it was really him and started crying and hugging him some more. By that time DH came around the corner to see what the commotion was and was very surprised. Lot's of happiness at our little home last night :)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Ok, that was weird...

My mom called and we were chatting and she mentioned my uncle is only coming for Christmas Day (he lives about a 2 1/2 hour drive away) and that she was planning on making a ham and then I said "I was going to ask you which day Uncle was coming....would you guys like to come to my house this year instead? And she goes "oh......big long pause....I guess we could.....another big long pause....if you want to go to the trouble of making dinner...."(then I said it would be no big deal to make a ham, as that's what I was thinking of having, too) and then she says "well, I just thought you'd be busy with work before and after" and I said no, I have 2 weeks off. (I always take off between Christmas and New Years).

So, I guess I am having her and my uncle over on Christmas! I was just so surprised she was so hesitant about it. I figured she'd love to not cook a big dinner as she just had to cook Thanksgiving (and kind of botched some of it - her age is starting to catch up with her, I think)....The only reason I haven't had them over in the past few years was because of my Grandma. I just knew it was easier on her being at my mom's. Usually my mom kept her for a few days and she was more comfortable there in her own recliner than having to get her in the car and then try to be comfortable at my house, with dogs, etc. Now that she's passed and not with us this year, I thought it would be no big deal for my mom and uncle to come over to our place and figured she'd jump at the idea.  Seems to me it would be easier for 2 of them to come to my house then the 4 of us to have to go somewhere. Guess I was wrong!

Friday, December 13, 2013


DS called and said he checked his work visa status online and it has now changed (from in process, I believe) to "open" and is also showing "no additional documents required". SO - he thinks it's getting close to finally being approved! He was very excited and his hoping it finalizes in the next couple of weeks (while he is home) and then he can go back and start his new job after the first of the year. We are all praying for this, that is for sure.

He is super excited to be coming home in 2 days and having it be a surprise. A friend is picking him up from the airport, so that means I don't have to come up with an excuse to be gone on a Sunday evening for 2 hours. It will be so good to see him. It's been 3 1/2 months since we saw him last.

I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch, but hopefully by April I will be able to put back a little breathing room in my monthly budget. I think he has to wait 90 day for his benefits to kick in. At that point I can drop him from the health insurance, which will save $200 a month. As soon as he starts his job I can have him start paying me for the insurance on the vehicle he has, which is about $50 a month.  That $250 a month exiting the monthly budget will make the extra that health insurance will cost (over what I'm paying now) *only* a $150 hit to the budget. Much better.

While he is home I told him he has to help me get DH a new phone and plan. I think I'm going to switch him to the $32 (with tax) per month plan with T-Mobile, like DD is on.  Unlimited web and text and 100 minutes per month talk. That will save $11 a month over what I am paying now - for a dumb phone plan, very limited talk and message and no internet. We need a phone that has internet so we can leave the house, turn on our camera system and would get a notification if one of the cameras sensed motion. It would snap a pic and email it to us and we could check it.....and then hopefully see "oh it's just one of the cats!"

I've got to try and whittle away at this $400 a month cut in disposable income. $400 a month for NOTHING! The new insurance is not going to save us a dime in out of pocket costs, that's for sure and is giving us nothing in added benefits - unless I can meet the huge deductible first.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Health insurance mess averted

I've decided I'm not participating in this health insurance exchange nightmare. I'm just going to purchase the plan outside of the exchange that our current insurance company is offering. I gave the exchange a shot....but it's so F'd up...I'm staying away from it to save my sanity.

Here's what I've been through and didn't even sign up for a plan! The website was down 4 days last week, though over the weekend I was able to get online while it was up for a short time to review the plans offered again and really dig into the details of the plans. I realized I had not been actually "adding" DH's doctor, so I was thinking since his name showed up, he was on the plans, but what I actually had to do was click on him, then he'd be added and would show on each plan if he was participating. Turns out he was not participating on any of the plans I had chosen. Then I needed a plan that covers DS being out of the state or out of the county. The plans that covered that didn't cover DH's doctor or vice versa. Wonderful.

So, I emailed a friend of a friend who is a "navigator" for this mess and she told me I could pick different plans for DH and the kids, no problem. I had not actually registered for an account yet, but when she told me that I thought, ok, I'm good to go now to sign them all up. Finally yesterday the website was up and running and I sign up for an account. Get to the page to choose plans and it only lets me put them all on one plan! Plus, now the plan I wanted to put DH on was showing his doctor was not participating.ARGHH! Then it tells me that because DD is under 19 I also have to choose a dental plan for her - another $32 a month (if I want a plan w/our dentist) added, that I wasn't expecting. BUT, I already have dental insurance for her (and DS). Why am I forced to take their lesser plan? I saw no way to opt out of it with proof of other coverage. So, now my cost is up to $665 a month, but I can drop the kids from dental insurance (DS will just have to without until his new job insurance kicks in) and save $50 a month, so I'm down to $615 a month out of pocket. But I made a mess of the account trying to delete DH and thinking I'd put him on the non-exchange plan, instead. I called the plan directly that had over the weekend said DH's doctor was on, but now wasn't. She said he was on all their 3 plan levels being offered and not sure why the state exchange was showing him as not.

I emailed the navigator lady back to see if I could set up a time to talk with her and just have her get them all set up for me. She wants me to drive 30 miles to where she is (no thanks), but she also mentioned that the non-exchange plan I'm being offered by our current insurance company would also include dental for DD in the cost. I didn't realize that! I went back online and saw where pediatric dental is included in the $671 a month quoted for the 3 of them. So, back out the $50 a month I'm currently paying for dental and that brings my total montly cost down to $621......just a few dollars more than the exchange plan. I'm just putting them on that plan. They are already set up to automatically switch to that plan (unless I notify them to cancel), I'll only have to deal with one insurance company and NOT HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE EXCHANGE MESS!.  From what I am reading actually signing up for a plan (which I didn't get that far) is still being frought with error messages and peoples accounts are being debited now for their premiums, when they set up to come out later this month, so peoples bank accounts are being overdrawn, because they weren't expecting the withdrawals until after their next paycheck. People are enrolled, but it's all still being processed by the insurance companies, so while the exchange is saying they are covered, they really aren't set up yet.  Or they are being told a price when they sign up and then get a letter saying a  mistake was made, and this is what they are really going to pay.

I'm glad to cross this headache off my to-do list! Now I can focus on Christmas, shopping and DS being home in 4 days!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Another quick weekend

Weekends go by way too fast. But I also just realized I only have to work 9 more days this month and then I don't go back until January 6th! I am so looking forward to that time off, especially since DS will be home for most of it. The surprise visit home is still a surprise and only one more week to keep it.

DD and I got up early yesterday and were out of the house by 8:20 am. It's so cold here - in the teens during the night and 20's during the day. Looks like we have a couple more days of it and then we will be back in the 30's and 40's. I'm just glad I'm not in Montana or somewhere where it's 30 below right now. No Thank You.

We went and had breakfast first and she didn't want to go where she works this time, so we went to the little diner at the small airfield. It's always good, but something must not have agreed with me because an hour later, into our Christmas shopping, I got a bad stomach ache and had to find some restroom facilities....I felt better after that, but it was still a bit "off" the rest of the day. We got some gifts for DH and DS. We did pretty well at Kohl's again. I had a $15 Kohl's cash to use and DD had a $5 Kohl's rewards to use, plus I had a 20% off coupon...and they were giving out $10 in Kohl's cash again for $50 spent. She got her brother 3 shirts and her dad a new leather wallet. After coupons and discounts she was just under $50, so she found a pair of panties on clearance for a couple of dollars. I got DS some socks and underwear (not something I usually buy as a Christmas gift - but, hey, he asked for them!). Dang socks and underwear are expensive. I also was just a bit under $50, so got another pair of clearance panties for DD. I also want to get him a pair of jeans, but his size is so hard to find. We found a pair that was a tan color, that DD really thought he might like, but we weren't sure, so she texted him a pic and asked! He said yes. I decided to go back on Tuesday and use my $10 towards them. They are Levi's brand, so a bit pricey. When we got home I was checking my emails (my email address for coupons, online shopping etc). I guess I hadn't checked it in a few days and found a $10 Kohl's reward! Now I have $20 in Kohl's cash towards the jeans. Nice.

Then we went to Target, mostly to just do some regular shopping, but we got the dogs some new collars for their stockings. I found a belt (I had none that fit me!), so now I can wear the new jeans I got online that are a little loose in the waist. We shopped some deals to get some $5 Target gift cards and I ended up with 3 of them (and had one from last week that I used towards my total yesterday). When we went grocery shopping during my lunch break on Friday I stopped and got our mail on the way and there was some nice coupons from the grocery store we were headed to. $10 off $50 - 2 coupons, one for this week and one for next. That was a nice surprise to get those good coupons.

The vet bill ended up being a little more than the $200 I budgeted. Turns out the pup has/ or had fleas, apparently and he's allergic to them. That's probably what was causing the yelping out - the bites hurt. She didn't actually find any fleas on him, but "flea dirt". He got his annual vaccinations needed, a pill to pretty much instantly get rid of the fleas and an injection to help with the itching. He has hardly scratched since. Then she told me the flea treatment I had bought a couple of months ago to try was NOT good - stay away from it and use either Frontline or Advantage. My bill with the vet was $168. We went to Petsmart after and got 2 months dosage for both dogs and that added another $62 to my total. But, pup is much better now and I haven't even had to give him the benadryl I had been giving him every morning.

Today we are off to do a little more shopping. Still some things I need at Walmart (that are just way cheaper then the grocery store) and we want to go check out this little bird feed store. Might find something DH would like for our yard and maybe a little gift for my mom's boyfriend. He really enjoys the birds in his yard. Plus in the mail was a coupon for 20% off a regular priced item and a free sample bag of bird seed. I also want to go to Joann's to see if they have more of the garland I had bought. Two strings were just not quite enough for the area I did up high above the shelf. I have a 20% off any total purchase, including sale price. Usually the only Joann's coupons I ever find are off one regularly priced item.

I still can't get on my state's healthcare exchange website. Down for maintenance every time I try to log on. What a joke. They sure do a lot of "scheduled maintenance"....during the day. You'd think they could do "scheduled maintenance" during the middle of the night.  That's how we do it where I work...just sayin...

Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday - feeling rich

Yesterday was our company employee meeting and our bonus checks were handed out. Mine was $3630 gross, $2445 net after the high tax rate taken out. Hopefully I'll be able to get some of that back on my tax return, since I'm not at a 25% tax rate. For now it's going straight into my savings account. I did tell DH that I was getting a bonus, but never said how much or when exactly....that way it can sit there as long as possible :) I did think I was going to use about $400 of it to transfer to DS so he could get some snow tires for the truck (probably a necessity in the Great White North) but now he says he changed his mind. He does have a loaner car, an older Mazda he is using, so that should get him where he needs to go, especially as he's not working yet.

I also took advantage of Capital One's offer for a $75 bonus for opening a savings and a $125 bonus for opening a checking (and using their debit card 5 times). So, in about 50 days or so I will be $200 richer. It's really nice to be able to have the extra money to be able to put $500 in a savings I can't touch for a month or so. DD opened the savings too, and will get the $75 bonus. They didn't approve her for the checking account. Even though she obviously has a checking account to transfer the money from, she apparently doesn't have the credit history yet. Last month we tried applying for a Kohl's and Target store cards for her, but she wasn't approved, so guess she's just going to have to wait awhile and try again.

I'm taking young pup into the vet today. He needs some annual vaccinations and I need them to figure out his itching problem and his occasional yelping in pain problem. I'm budgeting a couple hundred for this, since he has issues to deal with. I was able to route some other earmarked money towards this vet visit. DH still drinks that "diet shake" mix almost every day for lunch, so I'm still spending $55 a month for that. Well, my  mom had tried it - went on it then off then back on then off (she was driving me nuts because I was the one who had to keep going online and changing it for her). She called the other day and said she had a full unopened bag to see if we wanted. We were just due in a couple of days to have another bag shipped so I quickly got online and suspended it for a month. Then I realized that over time we probably have and extra half a bag more ourselves (as there are occasional days DH doesn't drink it), so I went back online and changed my new monthly ship date for 2 weeks even later. Now, I don't have to pay it again until January, and it will start coming out of my mid-month paycheck, instead of my first of month paycheck.

ok.........off to try to sign up for Obamacare......again.........

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Too much to do

It's that month out of the year where my brain starts to overload from all the extra things to do and remember. I don't usually need to make "to-do" lists but I did yesterday! Last night, just as I was about to go to bed, I suddenly remembered I was supposed to be emailed $15 in Kohl's cash from my Black Friday online purchase. I went through my emails and sure enough I had moved it to trash, along with the other tons of store ads emails I get every day in my "coupon/online shopping" email address.  Good thing I remembered - it's only good through next Monday.

I had also added on my to-do list to check today with the Crestor manufacturer patient assistance program on DH's medication. We had to re-apply for assistance and though I did it over 3 weeks before his prescription was to run out, I hadn't heard anything yet and he only has a week of pills left. I was happy to stop and get my mail when I got home yesterday and find the bottle of pills had been delivered.

I got signed up for the flexible spending account yesterday, a few days before the deadline, so that is now taken care of.  I also just took care of making a vet appointment for our younger dog. I decided to no longer stick with the Banfield wellness plan and to also start taking pup to the local vet we take our older dog to. He's due for some annual vaccines and I need to have a couple of other issues checked out. He's still itching a lot and the past week he has been intermittently, every couple of days, (usually in the evening) whimpering or yelping out in pain if he as to get up from laying down or gets up on the couch. But next morning, he's fine and raring to go. I have an appointment for him on Friday afternoon.

So, the only thing (right now) left on  my to-do list is get signed up for new health insurance. Ya'll know how excited about that I've been..........

I also had to make myself a list of "rewards" I am waiting on, to make sure I get them all (and hopefully before Christmas). I just got my $10 Walmart gift card from Energizer battery purchase in the mail yesterday (will be used for stocking stuffers). All my Swagbucks gift cards have come through and have been loaded to Amazon and Starbucks. I also remembered I have a Plink account that I had forgotten about. Well, sure enough - I had enough for a $10 Amazon gift card!  I'm currently waiting on a $25 Kohl's gift card (a gift for DD) and a few mail in rebates that total about $10. I haven't decided what to use the Kohl's $15 on - probably socks and underwear DS needs or a sweater for DD.

Ok.....off to see if I can figure out which health insurance plan to pick and hope I can get signed up.......

Update - 2 mintues later: My states healthcare exchange is down......imagine that! Freakin' Obamacare...insert Sluggy's repeated bad words from her rant yesterday on Windows8!!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Last day of the long weekend

We had a very nice Thanksgiving dinner at my mom's house. Her boyfriend came, along with his daughter and her husband. They were nice and easy to talk to, along with my funny uncle and his even funnier friend he brought along, we all had a good time.  Friday I made a turkey dinner, mostly so we would be able to have leftovers for turkey sandwiches all week.

While the turkey was cooking, I got out the Christmas decorations and got about half of it up before DD got home from work. Since she was the first host to start at 6am, she got off first and was home by noon....which gave us just enough time to get over to Kohl's and use the $10 coupon I had that was good until 1pm. She used it on 2 picture frames she got for her dad for Christmas. After $10 coupon and another 15% off, she only had to pay $2, as the frames were already 60% off. We had to stand in this ridiculously long line that ran to almost the back of the store, but it moved along fairly quickly and half hour later we were out of there. She felt it was worth the 1/2 hour wait to only pay $2 for 2 gifts.  Then we went over to Target to see if they had any of the Bissell Little Green cleaners for $50. Of course they didn't, but the store was not busy at all, no lines by then.

We went back home and finished up the inside decorations (except the tree). She had to work again yesterday morning and we went and got the grocery shopping done after she got home. I didn't really need much, since I had kind of doubled up on shopping last week, to spend $150 and get the free turkey. I only spent $60 on food, plus $22 on dog food and also purchased 2 poinsettia's for $5 each. They look really nice sitting on the floor on each side of the black piano and piano bench, along with all the other decorations on top of the piano. I inherited this piano and while none of us play, I just love the look of it and it's small size
This is my new addition to decorating the house for Christmas. I haven't added much in a very long time and wanted to do something with this ledge. All year I have greenery and knickknacks on it and have never changed it for Christmas. I bought these items pretty cheap at Ross and today will add some garland I got at JoAnn's to cover up the stenciled area. It's not the greatest picture due to the angle but I like how the decorations turned out
Last night at 5:30 DH went outside for a few minutes and realized it was pretty warm out and decided to get the lights put up outside, so DD and I helped....yes, in the dark!....but with the flood lights on the outside of the garage it wasn't too bad. We got it all done in an hour and a half. We had the garage door opened and the garage stereo tuned to Christmas music and the dogs played outside while we put them up. It was really nice........except for the renter neighbors burning their garbage...again. Our other neighbor between us and them noticed last week they were burning garbage at night and he said if he caught them doing it again he was calling the fire dept. We got outside last night to start our lights and could see the fire going. It then got put right out (probably because they realized we were outside and could see it) where we could see it....they obviously moved it back into their property because the whole time we were outside we could smell the toxic nasty smell of the burning garbage. They do not have weekly garbage service and when I was going to work last week I noticed about 10 bags of garbage piled on a little car trailer they have (ya, cuz that doesn't attract rats and racoons, etc)

So, after having to have our noses and throats irritated from the smell while we were having our nice lighting evening, I went in and called the fire dept. They came right out and were down there awhile and then stopped and talked to DH, who was fiddling with some lights along our fence. They told DH that the guy lied and said he didn't have any fire going at all. They told him they could see where he had ashes, so then he lied and said he was just burning cardboard. The firemen told him they could still smell it and it was garbage being burned. They couldn't fine him because they didn't catch the fire going, but consider this a warning and even if he was "just" burning cardboard, no fires are allowed right now due to air quality. The firemen advised us to call the health dept...they'd deal with the garbage piling up, which then should take care of the burning issue. They said the county has just hired 10 more people to deal with this issue of burning garbage, so that is good.  Plus, then junyard/slumlord property owner had to go down to the renters place and deal with it - haha!

Today we are putting the tree up and doing a little shopping - just weekly stuff we need at Target, along with some good coupon deals that start today. I am still managing to keep it a secret that DS is coming home in 2 weeks, but it hasn't been easy - believe me! Especially after we went shopping the other afternoon for a couple of hours and when we got home DH said he had been wishing we were going to the airport to pick up DS!...soon...soon..:-)