Sunday, June 29, 2014

Accessorizing on the cheap

With the "new" bathroom comes the "need" for new accessories.....something I really didn't think to budget for!  So, that means spending a little extra time finding low priced items.  I wanted a new pump hand soap dispenser, drinking cup, toothbrush holder, waste basket and toilet bowl brush. I found a waste basket for $5 last weekend at Ross.  This morning I went to Walmart - the next cheapest place.  I found a fairly plush rug for $17. I would have spent more on this item - when it comes to a bath rug under my toes, the plusher the better. This one is ok....mostly it met the criteria for being a dark chocolate brown color. I also bought 2 soft hand towels for $3.88 each.  I still need another small bath mat to go in front of our shower door.  I'm thinking a bamboo type, just for the change in textures from the plush carpet rug. That's about $15 at Walmart, but looks like I have to order it. I might check around some others stores first.

I looked at Walmart's liquid hand soap dispensers and matching cup -$12 for the soap dispenser and $8 for the cup. Honestly, I was not paying $8 for a cup, just because it matched.  Our next stop was Ross. They had the EXACT same hand soap pump and cup!  $5 and $3 each.  Sold! 

Now I needed to look for 2 pictures. A larger sized one to hang on the wall above our garden tub and a medium sized one to hang over the toilet. I was thinking floral's, but just wanted to look at everything and see what caught my eye. of bathrooms to put in a bathroom don't catch my eye, LOL.  The last one we looked at, hiding behind another picture, I liked.  Pretty floral and a few small birds, including a hummingbird.  $13 bucks. Sold!

I'm going to do some looking around at Goodwill's and thrift stores for the larger picture over the tub.  Hopefully I can find something I like and very cheap.

I thought I would need a new hamper, as our blue hamper just doesn't match at all with the new colors, but haven't found one yet.  I mentioned it to DH (our blue bathroom hamper is in our bedroom, next to our other hamper, at the moment) and he said, No! I like the open space.  So, I guess I will put the bedroom hamper (I'm the only one that uses that one) inside my walk in closet and leave the blue hamper in our bedroom, for now.  Hamper's aren't cheap, especially since I was going to be pretty picky with what I wanted, so probably saved $50 there.

With the updates, it makes some of the old hardware look really out of place - like the gold colored drawer and cabinet door pulls. Ugh.  I found some brushed nickel ones at Home Depot for $3 each. I'll need 16 of them, but I think it will really pull it all together to match the faucets and door frame of the shower door.  I also need to get something in similar finish for a towel rack and toilet paper holder.  We were at Home Depot yesterday and I totally forgot to look at them to see what they had.

There is still some finish work to be done....base boards, paint touch ups, etc, plus my final accessories, so I'm going to wait and put up some pictures when it's really complete, which should be week after next. We are going to have him come back and also do a mini-remodel of our guest/DD's bathroom, and he will finish up the rest on the master bath at that time. We are going to tile the small counter top, put in new sink and faucet, use up the flooring that is left over and have him paint the walls. He said about $400 in labor and the materials will cost me about $275.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Remodel still under way

For some reason I cannot reply to comments on my blog. Plus I notice that the link to my dashboard isn't in the upper right hand corner when I am on my blog page, anymore. Not sure what is going on, but I have tried to reply to a new commenter twice on one of my previous posts about the PayPal account, so sorry Barb! I have tried to reply and thank you for your tip.

The bathroom is a lot closer to being done! I really really like it......but hey - just about anything is better than what it was :P.  The main thing left to do is paint the ceiling and walls and attach the plumbing on the sink on my side. Not sure why that one wouldn't work. He had me run to the hardware store to get 4 (2 each sink) "reducers" so that the 3/8" plumbing coming out of the new faucets would attach to our 1/2" plumbing coming out of the floor.....2 of the reducers worked on one sink and not the other? I'm still confused, but should be an easy fix.  Just another trip to the hardware store for "male to male" reducers.  Is anyone else like me and when guys start saying "male" and "female" ends of hoses and fittings and stuff, I still never know which is which?  He also needs to do a couple of other things - put on the base board, after he paints, and there are 2 little short walls with tops (about waist high) that come out perpendicular to where our shower is on one side and out toilet is on the other. The tops had the same counter top material and it either needs to get tiled or in our initial meeting, he mentioned wood. They are just small 8" x 5" flat surfaces on top of the short walls. Either way is fine with me, but I think he might have forgotten about them. Lastly, there is an access panel under our garden tub and that whole facing is carpeted. He is trying to locate the right size in a hatch type door.

Trying to decide if I should just pay him to do our other small guest bathroom....It definitely needs a new sink, really bad. But for probably $650 total supplies and labor he could redo a mini remodel on that bathroom too. Tile the small counter top and do a little back splash.  There is just enough flooring left over, so that is a bonus. And then just prep and paint the walls. The toilet and shower/tub are fine and in good shape. 

I'll post before and after pictures, but I want to wait until the painting is done, which will be later this afternoon.  DH loves the new toilet - typical guy as that is his main concern over the whole remodel, LOL. The seat is more elongated and sits a bit higher than our old toilet. And the cool feature of push buttons to flush :)  I's a guy thing......

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Not a whole lot to report from the past week.  We have realized we would not do well being a one bathroom family! The remodel guy and his sidekick came last Friday to get the 2-3 day (per his estimate) job started. I had told him the weekend before that I had to order the flooring and it wouldn't be here until mid this week. His reply was he'd get everything done and then come back to finish up the floor last.  Well, he worked all day last Friday - took out toilet, tore out the carpeting and vinyl floor, replaced the subfloor under the toilet, removed the old shower door, prepped the walls for painting and put the tile and backsplash on the counter tops. Then they left and said he'd be back today, when the flooring came in. So......all in all, it's a typical remodel where a 2 day job is going to take 2 weeks - haha!  It would have been nice if he would have at least installed the new shower door so we could have used our own shower instead of trying to share a teeny bathroom with DD all week.

But, I really like the tiled counter top! What a change. At least I got to walk into my bathroom every so often the past week and enjoy looking at it.  They are here right now, so it will be interesting to see if they really get it all done today.  I'm just happy he actually showed up today - I was for sure he'd call last night and be putting me off some more. Hopefully by the end of today I'll be able to post some before and after photos.

As far as budget - as long as it doesn't take him more than the 2 1/2 days (I went with the middle estimate, as I don't think it will take 2 more full days - all the prep work is done - just needs to install everything and paint now) we should be pretty close to my $2500 budget.  Total cost will end up being $2671.22.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What a sweetie my girl is

This afternoon DD and I were over at our bank, finally getting together with the investment adviser so she could figure out what mutual fund type thing to allocate her Roth IRA to. Loved the young guy who was the adviser!  He explained things great to her and slipped in a lot of other credit cards are bad (but he did say they are kind of necessary evil to build credit) and don't be paying off a dinner you went out to months her young age, when she is out of college, don't go buy a brand new car - buy a used one!  I said "I Like you!".  He was suitably impressed with her graduation accomplishments and the amount of money she has managed to save in less than 2 years of working.

As we were leaving the shopping center parking lot a young man was standing on the side of the road going outside the shopping area with a sign and a sweet looking black lab mix dog. I didn't read all his sign..something about trying to feed a family of 5.  DD said "oh, look at the dog and the guy looks nice, like he really does need it".  She grabbed $10 out of her wallet and I rolled down the window and gave it to him. He was so thankful and as he went to stand back in his spot with his dog he was wiping tears from his eyes.  I hope that little bit was able to help him in some way.  DD has a kind heart.

Good pet food deal

Target has a good coupon out right now for pet food and treats. $10 off $40. It apparently covers all food, treats (except rawhide) and litter. I got $42 worth of dog food and treats and paid $29.45 after a $1 off coupon on the treats, $10 off $40 and then 5% off the balance for using my Target red debit card. That's almost a 30% savings!  You can either find the coupon in their weekly ad or text PETS to 827438. has some great deals worked out with coupons:

Just pitch a tent any old place

While the high level of drug activity has decreased considerably on our street, we are still dealing with it a bit.  Pretty much since the renter kicked his meth addicted wife out a couple of months ago it has been very very quiet!  Her meth son came back for a couple weeks and it got busy again, but as soon as he left, it went back to quiet. She has apparently moved in with some other drug addict hours away, so good for all of us.  The drug activity in and out on the street of the house behind us continues, but we're just trying to ignore it as much as possible and just have a bit of peace in our lives.  If months and months of reporting it every single day didn't work, not sure what else we can do. Though when one of the drug dealers, that live there, girlfriend starts her yelling and screaming her head off outside for an hour or more at a time, we usually call and report that. When you can hear it inside your house that is almost an acre away, it is loud!

The house around the corner from us (it sits on the corner of the private road that comes into our neighborhood) that has been vacant for almost a year now (miss those good people!) is becoming a problem.  According to county records it has not been taken over by the bank yet. It is getting trashed of course. About a month ago someone dumped a trailer, loaded 8 feet high with garbage, on the property, between the house and the road. It sat there like that for a couple weeks and then some other scum apparently decided he could use the trailer, dumped all the garbage off and stole the (probably already stolen) trailer!

Then this morning as DH and I were leaving the neighborhood to go to his doctor appointment we see, at the corner of the street, across from this house, someone has a tent set up! Right on the side of the road! Garbage laying around it. We've been seeing lots of garbage at the corner lately, but were just floored to see someone had actually had set up a tent. Our private road into our neighborhood makes a 90 degree bend to the right.  The vacant house sits on the inside of that corner. On the other sides are 2 housing developments that fence up the the corner of the road. The first part of our "private" road, before you make the bend, is actually county road property and then as soon as you turn it becomes private roads.  DH called the police while we drove past and when we got back an hour later the tent was still there (so much for quick police response), so we stopped and honked and out pops a head of some guy. DH tells him he's on private property and needs to leave and that he will call the police and the guy says "don't, I'll be out in 10 minutes". DH calls as soon as we get home and reports it again.  Almost an hour later who do we see walking down our street - going to our druggie neighbors at the end of our street? This tent guy, of course! This is just beyond ridiculous.

I also made a report to our county "responds" online reporting, where you can report illegal dumping violations.  So I reported the vacant house with all the garbage being dumped and strewn around the property as well as the garbage being left on corner in the street next to this house. The county has always been pretty good about responding to garbage complaints (they took care of those same renter neighbors who were piling up bags and bags of garbage on their property when they first moved in), so hopefully now that they will be made aware of it, something will be done.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I want simple back

My money/expense "tracking" ie balancing my "checkbook"  I do (pretty much daily) is giving me a headache! What's changed? DH has been selling stuff on Ebay......and it all flows through PayPal......well, so does just about everything I pay for using my Paypal debit card. My typical morning routine is to log into Paypal and verify the charges that have gone through with my debit card.  Then I log into my bank account and just check to make sure nothing looks suspicious there - pretty much all I see is all the paypal charges that have completed and transferred to my checking account. Easy Peasy.

But now when I log in there is money coming in from the sales, money going out for the shipping, all co-mingled with my daily use of my debit card. And when there is money in paypal from the auctions, my debit card purchases will just go against any money in paypal rather than coming out of my checking account. Which is making my checking account look like I have more money than I do.  And none of this ebay money is ours anyway. It's DH selling some more of the stuff from his deceased best friend and the money goes to his wife. And guess who has to keep track of it all? Me, of course. I finally just made a spreadsheet where I can download the sold items descriptions, then I make columns for the shippping fees, paypal fees and ebay fees. I don't like it all mixed up and mingled together. It's time consuming to figure out all the fees, too. So far though, DH has made our friend $800 for stuff that is just sitting out in her shop. (too bad DH has barely made a dent in all the stuff! He's going to be working on this project for years - in fact he's already been at it for 3 years. His friend was pretty much a hoarder of car parts)

Now I see he has like over 40 auctions going on right now. Ugh. Plus, I'm the one (or DD) who ends up having to take all these packages to the post office to be dropped off. At least he prepays/labels the shipping at home, so I just have to drop off at the post office desk and not stand in line.  Oh well, at least it's giving him something to keep busy with and not too strenuous.

Monday, June 16, 2014


Our computer are sick, sick, sick. First DH's desktop and laptop started getting sick. At the same time I was loading antivirus software to try, my computer started doing the same thing. Nothing is working at all.  I already had Avast on my computer and then tried Malwarebytes.  Tried AVG and Malwarebytes on DH's computers. Nothing is working.

My work IT guy had me try another program - which I thought worked. My computer was good all afternoon and then started doing it again. My IT son had some free time, so he face timed with me and tried some things. So far so good, but I'm not holding my breath.  GRRRR!! I'm not having a very good day.


I've been running around like a crazy woman this weekend - deciding on bathroom materials, colors, etc. Getting everything bought and picked up. Rushed around early this morning getting everything out of the bathroom.....only to get a call at 9am that the guy isn't coming today. His back hurts. I even had today off work so I could do the store trip to get whatever supplies he needed and the wood for the subfloor replacement. GRRRR.....I was so excited to get this all started today.

Here's a sneak peek of the colors of tile for the counter top, floor and paint I picked out. Not sure how good it shows up in a picture.

What a disappointing start to the day.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


The graduation ceremonies are all complete.  Friday was DD's community college graduation ceremony where she received her Associate's Degree. I think there were about 700 graduating - it was about 2 1/2 hours. At least this one was indoors at a small stadium, but it was a long deal. We had to get there at 2:30. Stand around for almost an hour. I had to stand in a super slow long line just to get inside to sit down. We didn't get out of there until 6pm and then it took a half hour just to get out of the parking lot and another half hour drive home.

Saturday morning was her high school graduation - at 9am, but I'm glad it was early (the other high schools in the district all go on same day but at different times).  This one was outdoors and luckily it didn't rain, but it was very windy and cold at 58 degrees. I had my new dress on but had to wear a winter wool coat! I think close to 500 graduated.  There sure are some rude families out there. Everyone was asked to keep their cheering to a minimum between names, so that the next child's name could be heard and there were a few who thought they were better than everyone else and deserved to cheer longer and a few names were drowned out.  (what is wrong with people?!). And the group behind us included 2 teenagers who sat and talked the whole time, which was making it hard for me to hear the speeches. DH finally said something to him when the kid rolled up his program and was trying to make bull horn sounds through it, right in my ear.

It was really neat to see DD get to stand up 3 different times for recognitions. One for getting her AA degree - which there were only a handful of students that accomplished that, one time for high honors and one for a pathway honor.  Very proud of my little girl!

That ceremony took 2 hours and we were back home by 11:30 and back into jeans so I could make another trip out to Home Depot to finalize what bathroom materials I was going to get.  Then back into the dress later, so the 3 of us could go out to a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant. $178 (including tip) worth of fancy food. Now I know why we don't do that too often. But it was very good food. The crab and artichoke dip appetizer was so good. I had Copper River Salmon, DH had prime rib and salmon and DD had a pasta dish and some clam chowder soup. It was a really nice dinner and we passed on dessert (so full!) but our waitress brought out a creme brulee for us to share to congratulate DD on her graduation. Somehow she and I managed to eat it all ;)

Friday, June 13, 2014


Well, next week most of my savings will get wiped out. But it's for a good reason - a bathroom remodel! Woo!  We don't have enough money to remodel everything, but will be getting quite a bit done and I'm sure it will look very different. The floor and toilet MUST be replaced, but our guy also took a look under the house and said good news - it's not rotted anything but the sub floor underneath the vinyl flooring. Whew.

So, for our $2000-$2500 range we are getting new flooring (floating vinyl that looks like tile), a new toilet, new shower stall door, new sinks and faucets and he is also re doing our counter top with tile. He will also re-finish our mfg home walls (that weird stuff that looks like wallpaper) so that we can paint and it will look more like tape and textured walls. I'm really excited about that part - I am so sick of staring at that pattern for the last 25 years! Seriously!

The brother in law of a friend is doing it for us and can start on Monday (granted I can get all the materials this weekend). He said it will be about a 2-3 day job (he has a helper) so hopefully by this time next week I'll have a "new" master bathroom.  I'll be sure to take before and after photos.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Must be rough........

I'm chuckling over an email exchange I just had with my boss.  It was time to cut an expense check to one of the company owners for his auto allowance (several months worth) and some miscellaneous expenses he had...but I also needed to deduct for a bunch of personal charges he put on the company credit card (that he owed the company back for)...totaling about $3500 (charged over a 3 month period). I had to not deduct the whole $3500, instead just deduct $2000, from this auto allowance check because he would get in trouble with his wife...

Now...I could see that situation arising with say, one of our sales people, who make considerably less, but this guy makes over $600,000 A YEAR.  Is $1500 (which really worked out to about $500 per month over the 3 months of charges) really going to make that much difference to their finances? LOL.  He makes in one month what I make in almost a year. It will take me over 8 years to make what he makes in one year.  If I was making $600,000 a year, I'm pretty sure my spouse wouldn't even notice $1500. Haha.  Guess it's all relative and not to mention, almost impossible for me to even fathom making and having that kind of money :-)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Another completed project

Our little driveway island project is finally complete. The last few missing blocks added, last plant planted and I added a few solar lights to shine on the tree. It will be interesting to see tonight if they actually shine much light or not. There is a guy nearby us who sells these plants for $5 each and I just love going to his place and picking a few out each time I go. I went yesterday and got 2 azaleas to put next to the back of the house to fill in some empty spots on each side of the block patio/steps and a Day Lily I planted in this island.


I'd really love to put in a little pond with a fountain somewhere, but since the fountains need to be plugged in, I'm not sure how to go about doing that. A few other projects still on the books. The brother in law of a friend is coming over Thursday afternoon to take a look at repair/remodeling our falling apart master bath and give us an estimate. One way or another, at least the floor and toilet has to be replaced at a minimum.  DH still needs to build me the arbor he promised me last summer......(just go buy one for goodness sake!) and right now he and the kids are trying to finish up our little back patio area off of our french doors.  Last summer we tore out the old large rotting deck and planted grass and added some landscaping.  Other than those few things, we should be just about done with projects around here.  Then what do we do?!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Dress up

DD's graduations are next week. I decided I should have a dress for this. Usually the rare occasions I have anymore to dress up, I just put on my black slacks and a dressy blouse, but felt this deserves actually wearing a dress. I cannot tell you the last time I even wore a dress, let alone purchased one! I'd say the last time I remember wearing a dress was to a dinner we took DH's employees and spouses to - which was probably when my son was very little and it was a dress I had "leftover" from my working days, when business suits and dresses were the norm (thank god that is over!)

I had $10 in Kohl's cash from using the gift card DD had given me for Mother's Day and in the mail a 30% off coupon had just arrived (if I put it on my Kohl's charge card). Dresses always look kind of ugly to me hanging on the hangers, but I grabbed about 6 dresses and headed to the dressing room. DD acting as my advisor. The first couple I put on were pretty and got put in the maybe stack. Then I put on a dress that had actually looked cute hanging on the hanger....a Jennifer Lopez dress, kind of snug and looked to be a couple inches above the knees. Oh boy! It was sooo tight I could barely get it on and it barely covered my butt. DD and I were laughing so hard. She was like "NO!" and I was saying "oh, this is the one!"

Then the next dress was the one. Cute, just above the knees, sleeveless, black and gray pattern, v-neck with a cinched waist. But, being sleeveless and DD's high school graduation outside and at 9am, it's not going to be warm out, so I looked around and found a little black sweater type shrug. I'll look through my shoes and sandals and see if there is something worthy of wearing. If not, we'll be shoe shopping too.


Best of all, both would have totaled $92 regular priced and with sale, my Kohl's cash and 30% off the total was $31!  Maybe I'll even get to wear it more than just for her graduations and to take her out to dinner.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Answered prayers

Our son called home yesterday afternoon. DH said he was never so happy to hear "Hi Dad" in his life. (DS had been using his first name and not Dad in the last communications we had with him over 2 months ago). They talked for over 2 hours and DS is finally ready to get this worked out and start the healing. He also is heading home for a visit. He ended up leaving there late last night and should be here later this afternoon.  I am so glad. I think some face to face time, after all this, is much needed, rather than just phone calls back and forth.  I don't know what made him change his mind all of a sudden, but I have been praying for this day for months now. It feels like such a huge weight has lifted off of my shoulders.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Am I proud?

On my last post several commenters said how I should be proud of my daughter. I am so proud of her! We have always been very proud of both our children and have never neglected to tell them so.  Which brings me to my question, because now, according to my son (he's getting this from the people he thinks are his new life/family) you are not supposed to tell someone you are proud of them. That is taking away their ownership of their accomplishment.  You are supposed to tell them "You should be proud of yourself". Huh? Am I missing something here?

For me, my daughter hit the nail on the head: she said I don't need/want you to tell me how I should feel, I want to know how YOU feel.

Sunday, June 1, 2014


The other morning, while I was at work I got this email from my daughter. After I read it I sat there, at my work desk, with tears falling down my face.  Guess it's a good thing I have walls on 3 sides of me........ I just have to share this:

At 7:00am, the guy that runs the church next door to us came in with 5 other people, a little older than I am. The guy comes in all the time and chats with everyone and is super nice. He told me that my smile lit up the place and that I was such an excellent waiter. He also said that I must have come from a good family and have amazing parents because I was nice, prompt, courteous, etc.
after they ate, I went over to ask if I could get anything else for them. He said no, but that he wanted to do something for me. He asked if there was anything in my life that was troubling me that him and his group could pray for. He said I bet you are thinking of one thing right now, and he asked what it was. So I gave a quick statement about my brother and he asked if he could pray for me, and I said yes. So he said a prayer in front of me with his group.
I thanked him and told him how much I appreciated that. He then asked me how much I wanted him to tip me, haha. I said the prayer was more than anything I could ask for.
He sat with his group for 20 more minutes or so, then they all got up and left.

$40 tip. Probably the greatest day I've ever had serving, and the tip means far less than the thoughtfulness they gave me this morning