Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Busy bees

We've been busy the past couple of days.  Monday I went to the place nearby that sells just about every replacement part you could need for a manuf/mobile home. We have used this place a lot over the years. I got a new door for the closet (and hardware to hang it and door knob) and the quarter round trim for inside the door casing. That door needed it all around and a couple others needed replacing.  $110.  Then I picked up the paint and supplies to paint DS's bedroom. $50.  I taped it off and filled on on the holes.

Yesterday morning I got started painting. Ugh. Not my favorite job, but considering it was just me, I got it done in 4 hours. I thought I was going to have to paint the ceiling too. We had a water spot where we had a leak 2-3 years ago. But, since I picked out "antique white" paint, I tried covering it up first, without painting the whole ceiling and it looks fine. Can't even tell. I was so relieved not to have to paint the ceiling. Just doing the walls totally did my back in. But the roller extension I bought for when we did our living room recently, was so much easier than just the roller. DD did all the rolling for the living room, so I hadn't tried it out yet. I am still so sore today. I will probably use the extra gallon for the dining room....when I get in the mood to paint, again.

But, it looks so much better! A nice creamy white and looks fresh and clean. We put the oak desk back in (haven't decided whether to repaint or stain an darker color....a project for another time), one of our oak filing cabinets, the bed and night stand. The big dresser we put in DD's room, since it's pretty empty. This room look so much better and now I finally have my own office room. Even a window I can look out :)

That pooch is just ready to nap on that bed!

Then DH dismantled the cubicle desk station in the corner of the family room. That was a job! It wore him out and those pieces are so dang heavy. But, again, the room looks so much better. I sent DD a couple of pics and she was like "OMG! That looks so good!". It's not even close to how I want it in that corner of the family room, but it's so much better. Bookcase needs repainting and get rid of that small desk. DH is hard to part with stuff, so it all has to be gradual. I'd love to put a chair and ottoman where that desk is for a nice reading spot.

Now I am trying to get all the stuff from that cubicle desk into my new office. That old cubicle held a lot of stuff. I had two upper cabinets, plus a side drawer for files and such. This other desk only had one drawer for pens and such. But there are shelves underneath each section (it's L shaped) where I can put some boxes of files I took out of the upper cabinets of the old desk.  Currently the bed is still covered with half of my crap!

I've got a pile of stuff started to be dropped off at Goodwill too.

Oh, and the house we loved - sold in like 4 days. LOL.  Of course it did.

I'm kind of bummed I didn't get a Christmas/year end bonus from my side job this year. Most years he's forgotten until the last minute, but I've always gotten one....dang :/ It would have paid for my new tires.

Monday, December 28, 2015


During my Christmas/New Year's vacation a year ago I started cleaning out DS's bedroom (so I could make it into my office). I didn't get very far last year. Only managed to get everything in boxes, which DH moved out to the garage. The room and desktop got filled up with all the extra trophies (of DS's) that were out in our family room. It was just a cluttered mess still and putting all his belongings in boxes was so depressing I just basically shut the door and gave up finishing the project.

DH had some energy yesterday and wanted to accomplish something. We know there are things we will have to do to spruce up the house, mainly just staging/decluttering type stuff. He suggested we start with that bedroom. There was nothing in the closet except a small-ish book case, so we took that out and filled the closet with as many of the trophies as we could (anywhere from 2-6 ft tall). DD's bedroom is fairly well empty (since she moved most of it to her apartment) so we had half her closet available to hide the rest. We took everything out of the room (except bed frame) and today I will get started on repainting the room. Today I just plan to tape it off and fill all the bazillion holes, go buy some paint and supplies and paint it tomorrow.

There was a decent oak desk in there, so once painted, we'll move that back in and I will set up my office in there.  We will dismantle the actual cubicle style desk I have set up (for a few years now) in one corner of our large family room. Getting rid of that will help make the family room look much better. DH may end up moving his large cherrywood desk pieces to make the room look less over crowded. With all the looking at homes online, he has learned how much staging makes a difference in how someone likes a home. Our modem is in this corner of the family room, so I plan to repaint the small bookshelf (it was painted blue and red years ago, for DS's toddler bedroom) and put it in this corner. Maybe pick up a chair and make this corner look like a comfy reading nook corner.

We also need to put a door on our master bedroom closet. It broke years ago and DH just never replaced it. I am going to pick that up today, along with some quarter round trim that needs to be replaced there and some other interior doorways.

I was going to have Goodwill come and pick up the bed, dresser and nightstand but DH couldn't do that yet. He says "what if DS comes home and needs somewhere to sleep?" So, we agreed to keep it until we move. Besides, it's the cat's favorite daytime sleeping spot and he's freaking out right this minute that his bed isn't available!

Sunday, December 27, 2015


I'm ready to have a really lazy Sunday. I might not even get out of my pj's! I spent yesterday morning running around shopping.  Tractor Supply had the dog food back in stock (whew!) so I was happy about that. Then I did my grocery shopping at a couple of stores. I got most of it at Target. One day last week they had Target gift cards for 10% off, so I bought a $100 giftcard for $90 and used that yesterday for my groceries.

I took a nice long nap yesterday afternoon. I really was sleeping hard - must've needed it.  After dinner we watched a movie called "Whiplash". It was an ok movie. Something to pass the time. I started reading the book (a Janet Evanovich book) DH got me for Christmas.

We have found a home we REALLY like and at a price that is at the low end of our budget. 2.5 acres. A home built in 1979, but has been recently completely remodeled inside. It's only 1528 sq ft, but laid out really nice, plus it has an awesome screened in sun porch (which I don't think is included in the total sq ft) that I love. I did the math and at this price we potentially (if we could get what the realtor told us for our place) have enough equity to move NOW! I can't begin to tell you how appealing that is.

But, due to the distance from the major city I would need to work in, if I can't keep my current job and work remote, this place would only work for us if I can keep my current job. It would be at least an hour commute each way and that is too much to do 5x a week.

If anyone has any suggestions on how best to approach my boss with this request that I work remotely 100%, I would love to hear them. I currently work remotely almost 75% now, but I'm only 40 miles from the home would be 500 miles from the office! LOL.  I plan to talk to her about it in the next 3-4 weeks or so.  I really have no idea if she (and owners) will go for it. I know she loves me. I know I have been there over 10 years and I have their trust. I know she will freak out at the thought of having to replace me. So, I have those things going for me. She is also 100% aware of what we have been going through the past 2 1/2 years with our drug neighborhood and also that DH's health doesn't need any of this stress.

We have some friends (our age) who are basically doing the same thing. They are moving out of state, except they are much better off financially (she is a vp for company and this couple's main source of income) so were able to buy their new house without selling their old house first. BUT, they thought they had it all planned out. She has worked for her company for over 30 years. She makes a BUTTload of money. She was going to work remote and fly back to the office like once a month for a couple of days. Now it's all changed - her company is trying to boot her out of her job. She's a wiley, shrewd person, so she got a lawyer and a doctor to put her on temporary medical leave due to her high blood see where this is going, right?'s just not something I could ever do and sleep at night. But they are going to end up in their dream home and she probably won't have to work to boot!

Here are a few pics of the house I just love
                                                                      Entry foyer

                                                                      LOVE THIS!

                        And the view (actually mountains like this on both sides of valley)

We are at least getting closer to being able to make our dream come true.  Hopefully sometime by the end of 2016 this will happen for us. The asking price of this property is $269,000. At 20% down we'd need $54,000. We are also estimating $5,000 moving costs. The realtor we contacted a couple of months ago said $250,000 for our place (and zillow has gone up a couple thousand since then). Right now, that would give us $60,000 in equity plus currently I have approx. $3000 in savings, so we even have some breathing room at this price.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas to all. I am kind of glad it's almost over. I just didn't really get into it 100% this year. We still have to go to my moms for some dinner and gift exchange and then DD and her BF leave for their trip to Ireland.

We made another batch of sugar cookies - with butter and fresh powdered sugar and they turned out fine. Tuesday I got new tires put on my car. Almost 81,000 miles off that first set of tires. Pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. DH said if it was summer he would have let me go probably another 10,000 miles on them, but with the wet roads we have in winter, we put them on now. $635 out of savings - ouch - but I do feel safer driving around now.

I made a turkey dinner yesterday and we had that early afternoon. Then we were all so tired we all took a nap, even DD fell asleep in the recliner. Around 7pm we opened our gifts. It was a leaner gift giving year this year. Mostly just practical gifts and since DD wanted money for her trip, that was her main gift and then just a couple of small gifts to open - a selfie stick, like she wanted, and a crockpot cook book. I got 2 nice sweaters, a calendar (with awesome painted roosters! love it), a book, a gift card to Kohl's and some interior wipes for my car.  DD also gave me the sweetest card with the nicest note written inside. I got DH a sweatshirt, a new pair of khaki pants, a hat and for fun an electronic weather station. It's wireless and even tells the wind outside. I think he liked it.  DD got him a nice pair of binoculars and a shirt.

No one is up yet this morning and I got the stockings stuffed. Hard to stuff the dogs stockings with them sniffing the whole time! DD's is mostly just candy, some make up (scored free at RiteAid months ago), a flash drive and scratch off lottery tickets. DH is M&M's, some work gloves and a do-rag (he likes to wear under his hat in summer), a calendar of wolves, and lottery tickets.

Usually I leave all my decorations up until New Years Day, but I think I'll probably take down this weekend. It's all just making me miss my son.

Tomorrow I HAVE to find some dog food! I went to the feed store I always buy it at (and they always have a whole pallet of it) and they were out. I have enough to get them through tomorrow morning and that is it. The lady said they would be getting more in Christmas Eve (but I didn't want to drive over there yesterday) so they better have some tomorrow. The dog food manufacturer's website shows stores in the area (mostly feed type stores) that supposedly carry it, but when I called around Wednesday 2 were out of business, another stopped carrying pet food and another never answered their phone, so most likely out of business too.  I really don't want to have to get a substitute food.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Cookie fail

It was cookie making day yesterday afternoon/evening and making dinner in between that. We didn't clean up much and this morning my kitchen looked like an elf threw up in it! Now it's mostly back to normal, but today is round 2. I was planning on only making one more kind of cookie (what we have always called Mexican Wedding Cake Cookies) but I think I am going to have to make another batch of sugar cookies! Why you ask? Did DH eat them all already? Nope. They turned out awful!

This sugar cookie recipe has been passed down from grandma to mom to me. They are always sugary goodness. The past several years, when I make them, they seem to flatten out and lose their cookie cutter shape, but they still taste amazing. I've also been using real butter for past several years (once I could afford the "splurge"). So, I thought maybe this year I would try margarine instead. I'm sure that at some point over the last 20-30 years I have used margarine in these cookies. I'm sure when I was a kid my mom probably used margarine (we were pretty poor for awhile there).

These cookies don't even taste like they have any sugar in them. They look perfectly shaped and puffed up some, but they taste bleh, blah, ugh. Could margarine instead of butter have caused this? OR.....could it be because I let DD make up the soon as I told her to make the dough I had a flash of thought that I should not have done this. She is notorious for messing up recipes, usually using the wrong amount of some ingredient.  Did she mess up this time? She looked back over the recipe card and swears she put all the ingredients in (but did she put the right amounts in?).

So, I have these beautiful looking cookies that taste terrible.  I think I will be making another batch....still with margarine...just to see. Then I'll know.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 20, 2015


Our suspicions regarding our son, over the past 2 years, have been confirmed. Drug use is involved - and not just marijuana (as we knew that was involved). It was something that just about everyone we know said must be the reason. And it sure makes most of the puzzle pieces fall together.

One simply does not have a big personality change, almost overnight, "just because". One does not sell off half of our stuff he had with him and all of his own stuff, for pennies. One does not get into debt from zero debt to at least $30,000 debt in less than 2 years, for no reason. One does not push his family and literally every single other person from his "old" life out of his life, for no reason.

Back at the end of October, when we were trying to get a message to him (through just about any source we could think of) about the website account, DH had Facebook messaged a girl who had commented on his Facebook profile picture. She just a few days ago, saw the message sitting in her "other" inbox folder and replied. She apparently dated DS for awhile, but broke up with him last August or September. DH pressed her for information on his well being. Finally, she said he is into taking "pills" and had a terrible anger problem, where she said he would get angry over nothing at all. When pressed as to what kind of pills - she said all she knew about was Adderall and Valium. She said the last time she spoke with him, in September, he expressed concern to her that he was going to mess up his life being on these pills.

This is devastating, heartbreaking news to us, but at the same time finally gives us an answer as to what has been going on the past 2 years. Last week we found out he has a huge bill with Verizon (almost $4k) that they are trying to collect and also a woman who gave him $5,000 to build her company website and he didn't finish it, is looking for him to sue him. Add to what he owes us and his Grandma (and who knows who else), and we're looking at least $30k.

He went to Canada (for what was supposed to be about 7 weeks) and it seemed as if almost over night his personality changed. He broke up with his girlfriend of 4 years (everyone had assumed they would get married). That was the first sign. Then all the rest of the past 2 years. Every girlfriend he has had since has been so opposite his long time GF.  All unmarried (with one or two little ones) - basically all just white trash (and that's putting it mildly). To hear this most recent ex-girlfriend say he has a terrible anger problem is like she is talking about some other person. This kid has always had THE most even temperament ever (he takes after me). Never got too excited about anything and never got mad. I remember asking him, one time, after he and GF had been together like 3 years, Have you guys even ever had a fight/argument? And he says no....what would we have to fight about?. That's just the way he was - always.

This is all on him. It was his choice to do drugs, in the first place. He was certainly old enough (22 at the time this all started, now 24) to know better (ie not some teenager who can't make a responsible choice for themselves) and more than smart enough to not take this direction in his life. He was certainly more than smart enough to get a good IT job (or any job) and make a decent life for himself, even if it needed to be away from us.

In trying to fit all the puzzle together our guess is this couple he was staying with in Canada got him started. The wife for sure smoked pot all the time (bragged about it on Facebook and when his long time girlfriend had gone to visit him in Canada, just before the breakup, she told us this lady was a big pot smoker) and it appears she was also on various prescription medications for an accident she had been in. DH also remembers a facebook chat with the guy, where he mentioned that DS is just too mellow and needs to "amp it up" when he is out on the race track. DH remembers saying that's just how he is - he gets really focused and he's not an overly excitable type of person. My guess is they talked him into getting a little "energy" during a race. "Oh, hey just take one of these pills - they are no big deal, it's just a prescription type of pill" and then when the night was over, let's smoke a bowl so you can relax now.

When he had been up there about 5 months I had flown him home for Christmas for a 10 day stay. He was moody and rude. DD recalls going shopping with him and he was on the phone with his ex-GF (the one he had for 4 years) wanting to meet up with her for lunch or something and she wasn't interested (can you blame her?) and DD said he just flipped out on her on the phone. Yelling and screaming, calling her names. This from the kid who never even fought with her before?!

After that it was all downhill and the next month was when he pretty much just destroyed our family as we knew it.

I woke up yesterday morning with the thought that, you know, I do not have anything to feel guilty about. I do not have to look back at say "oh, I should have paid more attention to him" "I shouldn't have focused on my career", "I should have stayed home more, instead of leaving with sitters and doing our own thing". Nope. We LIVED for our kids. We didn't smoke, drink, party, etc. Everything we did was for and with them - even after he was 18 and an adult. I was a stay at home mom for 6 years of their growing up and when I went back to work it was close to home (5 min commute) and just a job, not a "career".  I never missed a school event, etc. We did not leave them with sitters so we could go out and play or party with friends. He got ongoing love, attention and support. In fact, we pretty much devoted our whole life to him and his racing.

We are still trying to find a way to contact him/find him. None of these "friends" seems to know (more likely just won't tell) where exactly he is. If you look at their Facebook pages, they are all young people who are just on a track to nowhere. No jobs, no skills and their life revolves around getting high. They think they are these badass thugs. I know there is nothing we can do for him, not until he himself wants help. Forcing someone to go into rehab never works and with the hell we have been through with being surrounded by drug dealers and users the past 2 1/2 years, the last thing we are going to do is now bring it inside our home. We just want him to be healthy and happy and let him know we love and care for him and will do what we can to help him. We are not naive enough to think the drug use won't escalate to heroin or meth, if it hasn't already. That is almost always the next step for drug users. My biggest fear is that eventually the contact we finally get about him will be someone calling us to come and get his body. It is all very sad and all of it so very unnecessary.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Taking care of it ourself

HA! One annoying problem taken care of yesterday. The renters at the end of our street have one of their friends with a pick up truck "run" or "mule" the drugs for them. In and out, in and out. He's been a problem for over a year. Last year DH even drove over to the alternative high school to see if his truck was parked there and it was. Then summer we didn't see him around. Then he was back a bit and then when renters son went into rehab for 2 months he didn't come around. He's been back now that renters son is back and this week he has been on full speed. Wednesday he was in and out of our private little road no less than 15 times. Around midnight DH could see him parked on the street around the corner, obviously waiting for his next job.

He calls the sheriff and miracle of miracles (that's twice this week) three cop cars show up in like 10 minutes and talked to him for awhile. We found out later that since they couldn't visually see any drugs or anything suspicious they didn't have probable cause to search him (gee...don't you think the fact that he doesn't live in our neighborhood, drives around it literally all day/night to the known drug houses isn't probable cause/suspicious?) Anyhow, after that he left the neighborhood and didn't show back up - until yesterday afternoon where he decided to be tough guy (cuz they all know DH is the one calling the sheriff) and do a burn out in front of our place. DH calls the sheriff again. They say they will be out as soon as they can. We've known this kids name for quite awhile now and also were told (by slumlandlord) that is mom owns 'such and such' business in town". So, she was pretty easy to find, so DH looks up the number and calls her. She knows all about what is going on. She has been trying to keep her son away from renter's kid since they met at the alternative high school. We know renters son went to rehab for stealing a car.....turns out it was her other's son's car he stole, as well as her credit cards! Her son went to rehab and got straight for awhile (so that's why he was gone for a few months) but she thinks he might be using again. DH said, well I don't know about using but he's hanging out with users and he's definitely running drugs for them. She said oh I know - they are using my truck to transport drugs. She was about in tears (and DH wasn't mean or nasty to her). She said the truck is hers and dh said why don't you report it as stolen to the sheriff? she said she tried but they won't go get it. She said she got into a fight with him Saturday morning and hasn't seen him since. DH told her he is here right now, call the sheriff and she was like "I don't want him to go to jail, blah blah". DH said, I understand that but I'm sick and tired of him being MY problem. The sheriff are going to be coming out, so either you come and get your truck back or he's going to deal with the sheriff again. A little bit later she sent her other son and one of his friends. The drove slow down our street and parked in good neighbors driveway (kind of hidden from the renter's house/culdesac) and snuck up to look around the end of his fence. They obviously had a spare set of keys and one of them jumped in the truck and took off. DH said he waved and gave them a thumbs up as they left.

At least we'll have some peace and quiet for a little while......until his enabling mom caves to his crying and whining that he will be good and gives him back the truck. He's 18 now, so if he gets caught it's no more juvie time. He's just a rich punk kid, who these lowlife neighbors use because he has a vehicle and money from his mom. His Facebook profile is of him and his girlfriend flipping the camera off. The posts are all drug related. Some picture/meme of smoking pot. Most of the rest are about getting high. He might have to live at the renters now, but at least he'll have to be on foot. haha.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Just the usual

Not much happening around here. Just busy this week getting work stuff done, so I don't have to worry about anything during my 2 weeks off. Year end payroll, state business tax filed, etc.

DH went to another county council meeting yesterday. Thankfully I didn't have to go with him. He's been downtown to that place enough the past several months that he now feels comfortable enough to handle it on his own. Plus, I knew this was going to be a really long meeting and I had no desire to sit there for 3 hours. It started at 3pm and I think it went like 3 1/2 hours. It's televised live on a cable channel, so I got to watch most of it. There sure are alot of idiots out there in the world, including a couple of the council members.

So while DH is in the middle of this meeting (to remind them we are STILL dealing with this CRAP), I'm sitting in our living room with the dogs, watching on tv, we hear this loud bang noise. The dogs immediately start barking and going to the window. I'm trying to look outside to see what's going on and hear a whole bunch of yelling and then see on person outside the street in front of our house. There is a whole bunch of loud yelling going on. I grab the cordless phone and call 911 and start walking out the front (I was just planning on staying on our porch but I needed to hear and see better what was going on) and I hear our good neighbor out in front of his house saying loudly "another great night in the hood", so I walked over to the fence between us, while I'm giving the 911 operator as much info as I can. It all lasted 2-3 minutes and then was over. I was amazed that the police actually showed up in about 25 minutes. That is a record for them (average is 2-3 hours, if at all). They pulled into the culdesac, got out and talked for about 1 minute to someone outside the house and left.

Later I figured out how to replay our security camera video to see if I can see all what went on. A car pulls down our street and slams on it's brakes right in front of good neighbors driveway. Someone quickly gets out the drivers side back door and slams the door (must be the noise we heard) and starts walking back out out street. Another gets out the other side but then gets back in and the car pulls forward into the culdesac. Then all the yelling must have been happening and the guy who was walking out of our street is seen walking back in. He gets to the front of our gate and takes off at a dead run toward one of the guys standing in the culdesac, who starts to run away. More yelling. By this time I (and good neighbor) were outside and just hearing a bunch of "F-you's" "Get the F-out of hear". Good neighbor said one of them also said "you brought it on yourself". Then the guy starts walking out of our street again. When he gets out of sight you hear him let out this big scream. These people are all total lowlife SCUM.

In the meantime, one of the liberal council members (after the meeting) is just telling DH to "just put up some signs- that will make them all go away...... ". DH told her we were naive and tried that 2 1/2 years ago, when this first all started, and they just ripped them down and threw them in our yard.  So then she says "oh...well just keep trying". PUKE! Watching her at the council meetings makes me about as sick as watching Hillary on tv. One of the other very liberal council members has had 2 DUI's and apparently should have had a 3rd but the cops let him go because of "who he is". Honestly, I'm to the point I don't even know why we are trying to get help from these people.

Friday, December 11, 2015

I'm running out of days (and patience)

I just can't seem to get into Christmas shopping this year. I don't know why. Usually I have a list made up of what I want to buy for each person, even a list for stocking stuffer gifts for DD and DH. This year I got nothin. I have picked up a couple of gifts for my mom of the usual that I get her, but then I also get her something else, which changes every year and I have no idea what to get her. I have got DD a couple stocking stuffers and one thing I ordered from Amazon. I have got DH one stocking stuffer. I have no idea what to get him - at all. Usually I am full of ideas. I need to snap out of this bah humbug, but I don't think it's gonna happen this year.

We have discovered that the sheriff has put up surveillance cameras in our neighborhood. One is at the corner of our street and the other is on the corner at the drug house behind us. Little boxes, placed up real high, with a window in them. No other power poles around have these. Apparently they have been there probably at least a month. If so, then they have certainly got more than enough on video of all the traffic to the drug house behind us - especially the last 2 Sundays, where it's been non-stop, 2-3 at a time. The renters at the end of our street have really reduced the traffic, but not really. They just have people accessing their house from the road behind us. It should also be evident to them that the slumlandord next to us is involved - or at least his drug addict son is. He is back and forth between his dad's place and the drug house all day long and cars and those on foot are starting to go to both places, now. A phone conversation DH had last week with slumlandlord, where DH mentioned to him that his son goes in and out of that drug house like he owns the place and slumlandlord says "ya, he thinks he's going to hit a big score selling drugs" WTH!!! DH says - well then kick him out!

What I don't understand from the time the sheriff busted the house behind us a year ago (which ended up pretty much a fail) is why they don't hit it when it's really busy there. That's when there is obviously a lot of drugs in the house and obviously when they could make a lot of arrests. There is only one way (unless you are on foot) in and out of the neighborhood. Come in fast - block off the exits and have some cops stopping anyone trying to leave. 99.9% of them will be druggies. Last year they hit them very early morning, like 5:30am, when that is their most slowest time. Seems logical to hit them when busiest, but what do I know, right?  According the the damn prosecutor we just need to take our problem to civil court. Yes, because buying and selling meth and heroin is a civil matter. Unbelievable.

Well, starting my afternoon off work 1/2 day Friday.  Got errands to run for some things needed for some minor  home repairs.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

401k, raises, expenses, etc.

My 401k balance has been very disappointing this year.

 I had hoped to be at a total of $50,000 by the end of this year, but it's sitting at under $45,000. This time last year I was at $39,000, so the increase is only a result of my and my employer's contributions. That is disappointing. We will get our matching and profit sharing for this year (mine will be about $4000), but that doesn't usually get deposited until June-ish of the next year. My boss made a comment to me the other day that the company owners were discussing the idea of putting even more into our 401k accounts in the form of profit sharing (free money!) but she didn't think it was a good idea. WTH! She said she felt like if everyone were just "given" their retirement savings, they wouldn't save on their own. Hmpf...I kind of tried to use the example that people used to have employer funded retirement plans (ie Pensions) and that was a good thing :). I wish they'd just put our bonus program back to 20%! That's what it used to be before the economy crash. Since it got re-implemented last year it's been at 10% (much appreciated) but I sure do miss that extra 10%.

About 7 more months and DD will be graduated and taking over her own expenses in full. It will save me car and health insurance, as well as the $100 a month college living expenses I give her.  Not to mention other misc expenses that come up throughout the year, but aren't a regular monthly payment, along with, when she is here living, she uses up food, electricity, etc. She will be moving in with her boyfriend upon graduating. If for some reason that relationship goes south (which I highly doubt) she will most likely have a job and get her own little apartment. If she chooses to live with us, she'll still have to take over her own expenses, as well as pay some rent. Either way, we'll be done supporting her.

It's getting close to annual reviews at work. Seems like just yesterday I was complaining about my really crappy raise I got. I am hoping for a better one this year, that's for sure. After my $1000 raise, I got a copy of the annual budget (done up in Nov) and it showed I was supposed to get $2000. I didn't question my boss about it. It was what it was, for whatever reason. If I get only get that again, this year - and everyone else gets those 6-10% (or more!) raises again, I will probably ask what is up. I don't expect huge raises, but I certainly think 3% is reasonable.  Last year I got a little over 1%. Yesterday I printed out for my boss all the "total compensation" reports that everyone gets at their annual review. It shows total compensation, including bonus, benefits, etc, so I know reviews are coming in the month or so. I have braced myself for another disappointment, though.  We had another stellar sales year (already past our annual goal before year end) so it's not like the company is struggling at all. I did keep a little word document this year, where I wrote down some of my accomplishments throughout the year. That is one of the things we have to list 3 in our "self reviews" and most of the time I totally forget all the little accomplishments, so at least now I have something to work with when I sit down to fill it out. Later yesterday afternoon I got a peek at the 2016 budget - it is showing me with a $2000 increase, again. We'll see, I guess. I at least hope I get that, this time.

The only credit cards I have been able to get approved for since the bankruptcy (now 5 years past) has been store cards. I'd like to get my credit score up over 700. When I tried to refinance our mortgage last month I was given a copy of it and it was 685, per the banks report. I decided to apply for a secure card with Capital One. I had to make a $49 deposit to have on hold and got a credit card for $200 limit. Not much, but gotta start somewhere with it. It will report to the credit bureau's and eventually help. I already have savings account(s) through Capital One and this new card linked right up to my online account. I was also pleasantly surprised to find out it comes with free credit score tracking. Now I can really know (even though CreditKarma and CreditSesame are pretty close) exactly what it is. It is showing 703, so that made me feel better. When the time comes to apply for a mortgage for a new home, the higher the credit score the better we'll do.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Have Mercy!

It it wrong that I sent my 20 year old daughter a picture of a guy's naked butt?!!!

It was just too nice not to share :)

(warning! if you are offended by eye candy do not click on link)

Have a great day!!

PS - DD liked it, by the way ;)

A testimonial

While I attempt to fix my cholesterol and acid reflux health issues, I am happy to report I have fixed my carpal tunnel wrist pain issue! All with this little "toy"

It's called a gyro ball and my chiropractor recommended it. For years I have have off and on wrist/hand pain. If I have to use the mouse or typing a lot, it flares up. I then usually put on a wrist support glove and that usually worked. Only several months ago it stopped helping and my wrist/hand was hurting all the time. I was sleeping with the wrist support on, to try and get some relief.

So, I ordered this little $10 thing. Totally skeptical, of course. It took me over a week just to figure out how to get it to work! I almost gave up. It's a bit tricky to get the hang of pulling the string just right, so the ball inside will start spinning, but once I figured it out, it was a piece of cake. I then used it once or twice a day for a few minutes. Over a 2 week period (might have even been less time) my wrist started feeling better and better and I have not even used this now in a couple of months and realized my wrist pain has pretty much disappeared! Even during the times, for my job, when I have to do a lot of mouse/keyboard work. I usually have a few days a month where I have to do a bunch of data entry into the computer and always had to put my wrist support on. I haven't even had to wear it the past couple of months.

So, if you are having any kind of carpal tunnel problems, I highly recommend this weird little thing!

Monday, December 7, 2015

The good, the bad and the ugly

DH and I had our doctors appointments Friday afternoon. He had to see a new doc, because his retired last summer. Bummer, because DH really liked him, and that's a tall order to get DH to the doctor. This has always been a great doctors office for very little waiting time. We have never waited much longer than 5 minutes to get called back to the room and then after the nurse does their in-take info, the doctor is usually not more than 5 minutes after that. That's how it was with my doctor on Friday......DH spent almost an hour waiting on his new doctor to come into the room. Not good for a guy with not much patience and then this new doc (a very young guy) wants to change up what appears to be working for DH. DH has been managing his cholesterol at right around 200 with a half dose of Crestor. Since statins can cause muscle problems (and Simvastatin did, when tried) his old doctor put him in a low dose of Crestor. Now new doc wants to double it to 10mg/day to try and bring down even below 200. Let's hope there are no extra side effects. I was just happy that his cholesterol was still down at 200. A few years ago, when he was first checked it was 294.

Me, not so much good news. My cholesterol is up to 264. My bad cholesterol is bad, my good cholesterol is bad and my triglycerides are bad. Obviously the red yeast rice natural thing I have been taking for a few years is not working anymore. So, now I am trying Simvastatin. At least it doesn't cost $172, like dh's cholesterol med does. It's like $20 and with my insurance I pay $15. We also discussed my acid reflux problem I have been having the past couple of months. I have to burp (or feel like it) most all the time. I tried Zantac, which didn't help and then was finishing up a 2 week try of Prilosec, which helped a little, but not much. Doctor has prescribed Protonix to try for a couple of weeks. If that doesn't help I have to have an upper GI :/

I'm also considering finding a new doctor for myself. Actually, who I have been seeing for about the past 6 years is an ARNP, not an MD.  I have gone in every year for my annual checkup. I have been on atenolol for like 15 years, prescribed to me by my previous doctor (of many years) for "Supraventricular Tachycardia" - ie. my heart would start racing for no reason. The medicine has worked and I really have no problems, as long as I take it. Of course I gave her all that history (and my chart sent to her when I started seeing her) on my very fist visit. She renews the prescription for me every year at my annual check up. So, at my visit the other day, as she is telling me about high cholesterol dangers, she comments "and well, you are on a beta blocker, so you must also have hypertension". I said no....I'm on the beta blocker because of the tachycardia". Honestly, as long as I have been seeing her, I felt that is something she should have known. She should know why she is treating me with a beta blocker! The reason I stopped seeing my other doctor was because the office (of several docs) was SO slow - always. It was usually an hour wait out in the waiting room and close to that in the exam room. Plus it was a dumpy old place. I really like this doctors office (DH goes there too). They have a very nice facility are quick and other than DH's visit, we have never had any waiting time. I think I might switch to an MD there. The office is just 2 miles from our house, so very convenient. Maybe there are other doc offices in this large medical complex, I'll have to check.
This getting old stuff is for the birds. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Do you think you really know someone?

A friend of ours passed on a link to a news article he came across. The article itself was a couple of months old and about a sting operation done in our area to catch child sex exploitation. Nine men were arrested. At the very end of the article was a list of the men arrested. The very last name was someone we know/knew very well. I just sat there and said "wow".  About a month or so ago we had heard this man died. Then we found out it was suicide. Today we now know why.

Unbelievable. Knowing what we know now, there is really still no hindsight now to say "oh, ya - he was kind of odd" or anything like that. We met him and his family about 15 years ago and were friends for about 5 years. Distance and just general life events had us moving in different directions after that and the friendship dissolved around 2005. But to hear this news was quite a shock.

It just makes me realize even more that we truly never know someone. There were no signs of this absolutely deviant behavior from this man. He was a successful businessman, a family man, etc. I even had to think back - did we ever leave our kids alone with this man?! We didn't - our interactions were all in group/family settings, but I shudder to think of the children's lives who have been affected by this man. I highly doubt that was his first time - he just (thankfully) got caught that last time. It sickens me.

When my kids were growing up it was always in the back of my mind to never leave them alone with anyone - even if I thought I knew them very well. Maybe that's why we never had babysitters, never went out and left our kids to be watched by someone, except on very rare occasions and then it was with one of our parents.

I remember years ago when DH and I were first married, we spent time with a group of mostly couples, dinners/parties, etc. At one party at the home of a couple there was this guy. I think we had met him maybe once before .He gave me the creeps all night. He kept staring at me. I don't think we saw him again after that at any get together's. Some time later there was an arrest made of a man who had been attacking and raping women near our towns hospital. It was him. That one definitely didn't surprise me. My hackles went up the first time I met that guy.

It seems the older I get the less trust I have in my fellow humans - even relatives. We've had our relatives (dh's family) turn on us and literally try to ruin our lives financially (and of course that affected us emotionally, as well). Since DH's best friend died 4 years ago, I am leery of making new friends or getting too close to anyone. I just do not trust people anymore. Sad.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

A little victory

DH and 3 guys from the other neighborhood went to the hearing this morning. Long story short - judge denied bail reduction! It appears that their showing up is what made the judge deny it. The prosecutor asked the judge for one of the neighbors to be able to speak against the bail being lowered and the defense attorney threw a fit and said "are these people VICTIMS?". The judge granted her that, but promptly then said "bail reduction denied". I guess Mr. Lowlife and his dad were mighty surprised because they and their attorney assumed it was a done deal when they walked in there. HA!
The judge did allow the prosecutor to read this guys very lengthy criminal record, including 4 Failure to Appears. Afterwards she told DH and the other guys that he will mostly be going to prison for at least a year. He now has a jury trial scheduled for first of the year, but most likely will plea out soon.

All my never ending issues

oh my goodness. This deal with that groups website DS hosts is never ending! Thankfully, way back when all this was set up (he was still in high school and lived at home) my email was also one of the contact emails, so I am getting notifications at least.  This time it was an email from GoDaddy - who has the domain name of one of DS's domains. Why this domain is through a different company, I have no recollection. If I remember correctly, way back when, we ended up buying 2 domain names (to keep his name/website if he ever became famous racer LOL). Both link to his website so you can type in either variation and it gets your there. Well, one of them is was due by Nov 26 (with a 2 week grace period).  But I didn't think it would affect the other 2 domains (his racing domain and that of the group he hosts) if this one wasn't renewed. Apparently I was wrong because I get an email this morning that it expired and may affect any websites associated with it, blah blah. Tried to get on his and the group's website and they were down again. GAHHH!

Oh good grief. So, I called up the GoDaddy phone number in my email, hoping and praying I would easily be able to just pay over the phone - because, just like with the hosting company, I don't have his log in info, etc. The recording asked for me to speak the web name and then asked for a pin#. I just guessed (based on what I thought DS used to use) and apparently that was right! Whew! Then a live person answered, took my credit card # and I paid for 5 years of domain registration. And it was on sale. So all good. I checked a few minutes later and websites running again.  I don't know what more can come up with all this now.  I think that should be it - at least for the next few years. And at least I was able to take care of it before there was an $80 late fee! Every time I think I am done with this issue, something else related to it pops up.

Back to the neighborhoods drug issue:  Today is a hearing for the one of the drug dealers in the nearby neighborhood. His lawyer requested a hearing to reduce bail. So, then Lowlife can afford to get out and go steal some more cars and sell some more drugs, right?! (this is like his 5th time being charged with car theft and drugs, so why isn't he in prison and not the county jail?) So, DH and 3 guys from the other neighborhood are currently sitting in the courtroom this morning waiting for his hearing. Not sure if any of them will get to speak in front of the judge during the hearing, but apparently the prosecutor (will she be there this time?) requested they come. It will be interesting to see what happens, but I can assure you that if they had not gone, bail would have been reduced most certainly.  I think our councilman (or at least his assistant) also plans to be there.

I woke up in the middle of the night with a terrible stomach ache and wasn't sure if I was going to throw up or what. I was like this seriously better not be the flu because I am getting the flu shot tomorrow afternoon! Luckily it only lasted about an hour and I was able to go back to bed/sleep and feel pretty much ok this morning. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Look! only one poke in my arm!

I have a doctor appointment on Friday to get my annual refill of my heart medication and also check my cholesterol. I went in this morning, first thing, to have my blood drawn, after fasting 12 hours. I have always had a terrible time getting blood drawn. I remember even posting about it last year when I went in for my annual checkup.......and Rebekah, a reader (I went back and looked up who told me this), commented that I needed to drink water to keep hydrated and that would help with the blood draw. So....I have remembered that little tip all these months and when I got up this morning I started drinking a bunch of water before I went to the docs office. I just had the best/easiest blood draw I've ever had in my life! So, Rebekah - if you are still reading - THANKS for the tip!  Why can't those blood technicians tell a person that's all they need to do? Could've saved me years of getting poked everywhere (and even having to have blood drawn out of my hand).

For whatever reason our younger black dog has decided to start sleeping with us at night. He has always preferred to sleep out in the living room, either in front of the front door or on the couch. The only thing that has changed in our room is I put on my Christmas duvet cover.  Nothing like rolling over in the middle of the night and finding a big black bushy bushy tail in your face. Yellow lab wasn't too happy about sharing his bed with his brother and he actually left and slept on the couch. LOL.

Here's another example of the ineptitude of the law officials in our county. There is a female drug dealer/user that lives with her boyfriend (in a camper trailer at his dad's property) over in the other nearby neighborhood that is having the same problems as us. She is one of their main problems/dealers. She frequents the main drug house behind us, as well, especially since her BF has been in jail (probably getting out tomorrow). She now hangs out with our neighbor slumlandlords drug addicted son. She got busted a couple of months ago for drugs and is on probation or bail or something, conditions of which include staying away from known drug houses. When DH (and some from the other neighborhood) had a meeting with one of the prosecutors several weeks ago this woman was brought up and DH showed the prosecutor pics and video of this woman at the house behind us, buying drugs at the window. Prosecutor said that's all she needed to go to the judge and have her probation rescinded and throw her back in jail. The guys from the other neighborhood wanted her arrested right away. Prosecutor said, no, just wait. She has a court date on Dec 1st and I'll do it then. So guess what happens yesterday? She shows up for her court date and gets her case delayed (again) until next April - why? because the prosecutor didn't even bother to show up for the hearing! Two hours later she is at the drug house behind us with another guy. They go into the house for awhile, come back out with a big gym bag and head on over back to the other neighborhood, where she lives/deals. Once again, the folks over in the other neighborhood are fit to be tied. When one of the guys from that neighborhood contacted the prosecutor yesterday afternoon to find out what in the hell happened, she said she forgot about the hearing. Then proceeded to tell the guy that she has done a lot for him and she freaking kidding me?!! No one has been arrested, no one is in jail......a hundred drug deals go on per day - and that's just at the one house behind us. Absolutely nothing has been done to help any of us.

So, that's my week so far. And I still have a headache (which I knew I would) from not being able to eat breakfast until after 8:30 this morning.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Tuesday this and that

Well, I did indeed scratch the cornea of my eye. Eye doctor said it was healing and no infection, so I just need to use drops for a while. It's still a bit irritated this morning, but not as bad as yesterday or Sunday.  Guess I'll be going to work with no mascara on today - eek! My guess is I probably scratched it with a wash cloth while taking my mascara off, so I'd better avoid rubbing of the eye for a few more days and go mascara free.

About 2 1/2 more weeks of work and then I have 2 weeks off. I am ready and especially like that with all our paid holiday time (3 days at Christmas and 1 1/2 days at New Years) I only have to use 5 1/2 days of my PTO.  On the 18th we close early and have our year end meeting (and bonus checks given out) and then there is a holiday party the rest of the afternoon.

I finally got a 6ft long charging cord for my ipad mini and iphone. So much nicer than the short cord that comes with it. I got it on Amazon for like $7 (deal of the day) and don't know why I waited this long. I use my ipad mini so much, especially sitting on the couch in the evenings and when my battery is low it's almost impossible to use it if it's plugged in with the short cord. I signed up for the Amazon Prime free trial. I did that a couple of years ago (and then cancelled) so assumed I wasn't eligible for that trial again, but it was offered so I took advantage of it. Now, I don't have to use DD's student prime if I want free 2 day shipping and if it's a gift for her, she won't see what it is now. I just have to remember to cancel it in 30 days. I ordered a box of "goodies" that came yesterday. 3 boxes of my vacuum cleaner bag refills, the iphone charger cord, 2 thumb drives (stocking stuffer for DH) and a little strand of battery operated xmas lights. I was to put some ornaments and lights inside my glass cake plate :)

Well, off to put some more eye drops in and then off to work. Have a good day!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Monday off to a rocky start

I think I must have scratched my eye. It's actually been bothering me (now that I think about it) for at least a week, but before it was just off and on irritation. Now it's been bothering me for 2 straight days. I spent yesterday putting drops in my eye, resting my eye (taking naps!) and no make up on and it feels just as bad this morning. I was able to get an appointment for later this afternoon to have it checked out.

DD helped me put up the Christmas decorations and the tree over the weekend. DH isn't going to put up outside lights this year. He just doesn't really have the energy right now and who's it going to look good for? all the druggies going in and out?

We continue to look forward to the day we can sell. If I can't stay with my current employer and work remotely, at least the job market in the area we want to move has started to at least show me some jobs in my field. When I first started looking (just to get a feel for how many job openings there are) I was finding nothing at all. It's had me worried. This morning I did a search and if I were looking right now, there would be several jobs I would apply for, so I'm breathing a little easier that when/if the time comes, I will be able to find a job.

DH continues to look at homes online and get a feel for what we like (and don't like), what the price ranges are, etc. Fortunately we both like the same things, so that part is making it easy. To get something decent we are going to have to spend at least $300k. $350k seems to be our sweet spot and puts us in quite a few homes/land we like (and much better quality then the $300k range). Of course the $400k ones are really nice, and several we have found would qualify as our dream home, but that is just a bit more than I think we can do. We could probably do it if I got to keep my current job, but we'd need more down payment - i.e. take us longer before we could sell this place. Also, some of the homes we like have been on the market quite a very long time (some almost a year), so it's possible that some of the ones we like that have just now gone on the market could still be available (and even less priced) in 5-6 months.

In our calculating how much proceeds we'd need to get out of our home in order to have a down payment on a new place, we included paying my mom off the loan we have with her (we borrowed to get all our fencing put in). I currently pay her $300 a month. She has offered several times to just forget about it - in her mind it will all come out even when I inherit her estate anyway. But that's not how I work - so I keep paying her and she keeps putting it in her savings (so I'll end up with it some day anyway LOL). But, if we don't pay her off with some of our proceeds (and continue to just make payments to her) we could almost be in a position to sell right now! Definitely, by spring. I think we've decided our sanity/quality of life (at this point) is more important than paying my mom off in full right now. We spent our nice Thanksgiving dinner with our dining room curtains closed so we didn't have to watch the cars lined up 4 deep at any given time down at the drug house behind us. Nice, huh? We are now into our 3rd year of all this crap.

And who knows how long it will take to sell our house! Could be a very long time, given the junkyard we live next door to and the general condition of the neigborhood. At a minimum/best case scenario, even if we sold quickly, the whole thing would probably be a 2 month process to list/sell/close - and every month that goes by gives us another $1050 in equity/proceeds. The Realtor we contacted 2 months ago said that for our area, early spring is usually the best time to list. She said last spring houses were selling in days, sometimes even hours and often times bidding wars. Which I know - because DD's BF tried to buy a condo last spring and it ended up selling for higher than it was listed for because of several offers.

By end of May, I estimate between proceeds and savings we'll have $75k. That would give us $70k for a 20% down payment on a $350k house and $5k for moving expenses. If I have to find a job in new area, I at least have the option to keep my job here (and stay at my moms) and work until I find something acceptable. DH and the dogs can go live in the new house by themselves until I can come. I'd just use up my (4 weeks) vacation time (that I found out we don't get paid for if employment is terminated - we used to but now that it got changed to "PTO" they don't accrue it and pay out anymore) to make long trips for interviews and time at the new home. That way we won't be out any income and I can be a bit choosy about finding a good job. But I am SO hoping I can keep my job and work remote. I don't want to approach  my boss with this until around end of January, at the earliest, so for now I just have to wonder and hope.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Good Turkey

Cooking the turkey in the "turkey bag" was a success (for the most part). It shortened the cooking time by probably close to an hour. The turkey was a perfect golden brown (and I didn't have to mess with trying to keep foil over the bird so it wouldn't get too brown. I HATE that part). There was a ton of juice (I have never managed to get enough juice at all for gravy). The veggies I put in the bottom of the bag, under the turkey, turned out delicious in all the juice. The turkey was juicy and just fell off the bones. It made the carving so easy.  The only thing it didn't really do was keep the roasting pan clean. LOL. By the time I cut open the bag, all the juices went into the bottom of the pan anyway. But it wasn't quite as bad to clean up. I will definitely be cooking my turkeys this method from now on.

I also put my stuffing in the crockpot and let it warm while the turkey was cooking. Much easier than storing it in the fridge and then re-heating it while the turkey was cooling down.

DH, of course, decided to invite our good neighbor. He happily accepted my same day invite, so we had us, DD, her BF and good neighbor. DD's apple pie was really good, too.

Now it will be a week of turkey sandwiches - yum!

I doubt I will do much shopping today - either in store or online.  Honestly, the bombarding of all the deals/sales/etc - online and in emails, is overwhelming me this year.

This morning I am sitting on hold trying to reach Amazon because I cannot access my new Amazon store card online anymore. I've only had the account 2-3 months and used it twice, but I couldn't remember if I had used it recently (not that I remembered) and wanted to make sure I didn't have a balance owing, but I can't log in anymore. Can't even get my login id sent to me. So I just got off the phone with a cs rep and he had to send me a code to give back to him so he could unlock my account (for whatever reason it got locked in the first place) and now I can rest easy knowing I do indeed have a zero balance :)  I probably should charge a little something on it - that was the whole point of getting it, so I can try to help my credit score a bit.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! It will be a low key relaxing day here, but still complete with Turkey and all the fixin's.  Just us 3 and possibly DD's BF....I guess his family goes to a movie on Thanksgiving and in their usual style of no schedule, LOL, he doesn't know what time they are going, so not sure if he will be here by then or not. We eat kind of late, at 3pm, so he'll probably make it.

I'm trying cooking my turkey inside a turkey bag this year, with some carrots and potatoes on the bottom of the bag. We'll see how it turns out - I'm just most excited not to have to clean the dang roasting pan!

DD made 2 apple pies yesterday. One for us and one for her BF's family. They smelled yummy after getting out of the oven. She wanted to go all "Pintest-y" and put little cut out leaves around the edges of the pies, so 4 stores later we finally found a leaf cookie cutter.

I had yesterday off and it was just a busy day of shopping and getting the house cleaned up. We started out going through Starbucks drive through (with a gift card I had) and then took my dirty car through the car wash. It's supposed to be cold and sunny (ie no rain) for about a week, so figured it was a good time to get the grime off my car and I can enjoy a clean white car before the rains get it all dirty again. Then we stopped at Costco to pick up a bunch of apples for the pies. Of course we couldn't walk out of there without 2 other things we hadn't planned on. First an adorable calendar with chickens and DD bought it - an early xmas present for me....and then we saw the cutest set of owl coffee mugs. She already has one in the set (from some other store) but the whole set was so cute (and only $15), so I got her that and I took the mug she already has and one other one. She kept the other 4 on the set.

Then we stopped at Bed Bath and Beyond, Michaels and Joann's trying to find the leaf cookie cutter and finally found a tiny one in a set at Joann's. They weren't as big as she wanted, but by then we knew that was all we were going to find, unless we ordered online and didn't have time to wait for that to happen. After that was a stop at Walmart to get the last of the groceries needed for turkey dinner, along with some laundry detergent that we were out of.

Got home, started a load of laundry, I vacuumed while DD cleaned her bathroom and dusted the house. Then I helped her make the pies. Canned apple pie filling would have been easier. LOL.

No Black Friday shopping planned. Those ridiculous crowds have never been on my list of fun things to do. I really haven't even figured out what I am getting for gifts yet, anyway. Mostly I will be givng DD cash, for her Ireland trip, so not many presents to buy.  I might go out for a quick trip late tomorrow morning to a local store (a mile from my house) that always has all their socks half price on Black Friday. Both DH and I are in need of some new socks, and stock up for the next year. Isn't that exciting?! LOL

Monday, November 23, 2015

A little hiccup to my day

This is going to seem like such a nice short week. I was emailing my boss about payroll this morning (before I head into the office) and she said I only needed to come in the office one day this week, so today or tomorrow is fine. Yay! I told her I'll come in tomorrow, since I had signed up to bring something for the office potluck. 

Speaking of payroll. I am a bit miffed. We use an outside company to process our payroll. I just have to log in and enter in the hours for our hourly folks and also enter in any holiday and PTO time. I have to transmit 5 business days before paydate. I emailed the woman, who processes it on their end, last week to clarify that it would need to be transmitted on Monday (instead of Tuesday) because of the Thanksgiving holiday...or maybe even Friday?, if they get both days off too....she emailed back that it was Monday. So....yesterday (as in SUNDAY) she emails my boss (instead of me), who pretty much has nothing to do with our payroll, since it's my job and I'm 100% capable of doing it correctly, asking her how payroll was coming along, like we are late in getting it to her.  Good grief. If she wanted it on Friday, or by 8am Monday, then she should have just let me know when I emailed her last week trying to clarify exactly when she needed it by. Luckily, I happened to check my work email yesterday (as in SUNDAY) and saw it, so was able to allocate my time to get started on it at 6:30am this morning, rather than waiting until later in the morning, which was my original plan. Otherwise I would have totally been scrambling. I really didn't appreciate her making it seem to my boss like I wasn't doing my job timely. I transmitted it before 8am this morning along with an email to the woman, politely apologizing for being late, but per our email conversation last week, I had been under the impression it wasn't due until Monday (our usual cut off time is noon).

Ok, I'm done being pissy now and ready to have a good day :)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Chilly chores

It's been a few days since I wrote anything. Nothing going on - just normal busy-ness. It's been chilly here. This morning it's 27 degrees and I don't think it got over 40 yesterday. Friday, while working from home, I took a lunch break to run to the post office and then decided to swing into the Goodwill store down the street and look around for some more glassware we can make into candles. I found two of these cute little "mugs" for .29 each

Then I roamed through the books. This store put their books in alphabetical order (for the most part) by author, so that made it easy to look. Their hardback prices are $4 each, but the sign said if you buy 5 you get 20% off, so that makes 1 book free. I found 5 in the Sue Grafton "alphabet series". She is up to X so far and I now have 7 of the books.

Yesterday was a busy day of chores. I went grocery shopping. When I got home DH was busy cleaning out the water filters we have for the house and garage/shop. I put the groceries away, made room for the turkey, and then vacuumed the house. Just as I got done DH asked if I could help him, while he cleaned all the gutters out. I just stood there and moved the ladder to the next spot every time he got down. All that getting up and down really wears him out, so having to pick up the ladder each time saved him a little energy. It's a lightweight aluminum ladder and wasn't really heavy, but after moving it at least 30 times (we had to do the shed, the garage and the house) my lower back is feeling it today. The gutters were full of leaves and needles. At least those chores are done and the gutters should be good for the rest of the season.

Before dinner I made some chocolate chip cookies. They always sound and look better in my head then they actually turn out......they always end up flat and not very soft. The dough tasted better, LOL.

Not sure what I am doing today. Just relaxing I suppose. I only have to work Mon and Tues and then I have the rest of the week off.   DD will be home Tuesday night.  Her BF got a new job within his company that he starts next month, so he will be moving about 70 miles north. Actually his job is 70 miles north, but I think he plans to live even farther north of there, where housing is a little cheaper. Until he finds a place he will be staying with DD at her apartment. It will be an hours drive from her place to his new job, vs a 2-3 hour commute (each way) from here. He's also going to be making about $25k more a year! So happy and excited for him.

While grocery shopping at Target yesterday I scored another $15 in Target gift cards.  $10 for spending $50 on food and $5 for buying 2 bags of cat food. I did the $10/$50 deal last Sunday too, when it first started. I had a deal, with coupons, all worked out where my total came to just over $50, then I had coupons on most of the times, plus cartwheel coupons and the coupon for the $10 gift card for spending $50. When I tried to hand the snotty cashier my $10/$50 coupon she told me that will only work after manufacturer coupons, so if my total, after all my coupons comes to less than $50, I won't get the $10 gift card. I politely said no, that's now how it works and she kept on and I said well just ring it all up and try the coupon anyway. So she first applies my misc coupons and of course it then was under $50. I told her to try the $10 gift card coupon, because it should work and she proceeded to get all snippy and say that each store gets to set their own coupon policies (NO, they don't! maybe as far as the # of coupons used, but a Target store coupon works the same way at all stores) and of course as she's scanning it it pops up to give me a $10 gift card. So, ya - I got $50 worth of food for like $18. Even then she was still mad that it worked! DD just said "my mom's been doing this coupon thing awhile". LOL. Fortunately most all of their cashiers are super nice and it's only once in awhile I get a bad one.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Cashing in

We survived the storm relatively well. Didn't lose power and not too many branches in the yard to clean up. Mostly just a ton of leaves! EVERYWHERE! LOL.  DH had a big job with the leaf blower today, but thankfully it wasn't raining anymore and even a bit sunny out.

I'm cashing in my rewards for cash and gift cards for Christmas shopping. This is what I have as of right now to put towards gift purchases - $132:
$10 Target giftcard
$25 Walmart gift card
$80 Walmart Savings Catcher gift card
$5 Amazon gift card
$12 just deposited to my PayPal account from Ibotta
There is also another $10 mail in rebate that should be here before Christmas and I will earn another $10 Target gift card with their current coupon out of spend $50 on food and get a $10 gift card, bringing my total up to $152.  I also just got a $5 Starbucks gift card that I loaded to my account and can enjoy a coffee or two while I am out shopping.

I really slacked this past year in trying to earn reward points. Mostly I got tired of doing surveys and needed a break. I only earned a total of $30 this past year from Swagbucks. I didn't really do MyPoints at all. The most I earned was from the Walmart Savings Catcher program, which doesn't require any effort other than shopping there and scanning the receipt code. I actually earned about $170 from Walmart savings catcher this year, but I had cashed in $90 at the beginning of summer to buy a stone garden bench and some yard supplies.

I will definitely be working on doing Swagbucks more, as that one seems to be the one I can easily earn the most points with and I should easily be able to earn $10-$15 a month with not a lot of effort.

I also earned $305 this past year using my PayPal 1% cash back rewards card,but that just goes into my bank account every month and I don't save it for anything particular.

Christmas will be pretty low key this year. Just DH, DD, her BF, my mom and my uncle to buy for, really.  DD leaves for Ireland Christmas evening and will be gone 9 or 10 days.

Mostly we just want to save as much as we can going forward toward our dream move. This is the view we are currently putting on our fav list :)  on top of a hill above a little town of 2000 people

Zillow is sure fun to look at and see all the different homes for sale and all the pictures.

P.S. If anyone is interested in trying out Swagbucks - you can click on my referral link to the right

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Glad I am inside today

Wowza - are we ever having a big wind/rain storm! I keep expecting the power to get knocked out. We are prepared. Phones (and ipad) are charged up. Bathtub is filled with water (because we also lose our water when our power goes out). Candles are ready. I elected to work from home today, so I could avoid a 2-3 hour drive home in the worst of it. I started work at 6:30 this morning, so I could get as much of the work day done before it hit early this afternoon. Lights just flickered. It's coming soon. If I end up losing my vpn connection (while I still have power) it's going to be because they lost power at the office.

I'm working on one more baby step to make my job even more automated/remote.....and it was my boss's suggestion to check into accepting credit card payments for our invoices. We are starting to do more invoicing and being asked by companies if we take credit cards or bank transfers and we have never been set up for that. Mostly because we didn't want to pay the 3% fee when we really haven't done much invoicing. But, Quickbooks offers it at 2.85% fee and when I send an invoice to a customer via email it will give them an option to click on a secure link and pay online. They wouldn't even have to call me up and give me their credit card info over the phone. I hope she agrees to it! For those customers that elect to pay that way will mean less actual checks coming in the mail that would have to be deposited (which I would not be able to do working 100% remotely and someone at the office would have to do).

Other than buying the turkey and rolls, I am pretty much prepared for Thanksgiving dinner. I'm going to try cooking my turkey in a turkey bag this year. Has anyone else tried using that before?

DD will be home again for next week starting Tuesday evening. She could come home Monday evening (because she has no classes Tues) but she is waiting until Tuesday afternoon so she can give BF's sister a ride home, too, after her classes are done Tuesday.  She got signed up for her winter quarter classes. Just classes again on Monday's and Wednesday's but this time it's 3 classes from 10am to 4pm (instead of 8am to 6pm this quarter) and one class online.  Then she just has spring quarter and she will graduate in June!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Adding stuff I love to my life

I've been enjoying having DD home since last Monday night. Her BF even had to work both days this weekend, so I got to see her more than I expected to :)  Yesterday morning we just went out for a bit of shopping and to put gas in my car for the week ahead.  I had received a $5 off anything Kohl's coupon as well as 30% off coupon, so wanted to find something close to $5. Not exactly easy to do and make it be something I need or want. But I ended up getting this cute rooster napkin holder. I'm having this chicken obsession lately, LOL, so of course I keep seeing things with chickens and roosters on them.

It was regularly $20 on sale for $12. With my $5 off and then 30% off it came to like $5 out of pocket. I had made a napkin holder at this pottery painting place with DD last spring, in red color, but it's really short and the napkins fall over, so it hasn't been something I ended up liking much. DD had picked out a cute scarf that she could also apply my 30% off coupon to. As we were wondering around the bath and bed area, just looking, she spotted a little card laying down on a shelf of clearance stuff and picked it up. It was a "Kohl's merchandise card" and on the back was written in sharpie $4.80 and the pin hadn't been scratched off. Figured we might as well try using it and it worked and she got her scarf for practically nothing!

Then we went over to a large Goodwill store. We would like to try our hand at the candle making when she is home on winter break. We got a few small fancy glassware type things that were .69 each to use as the candle holders. Though I'll have to be on the lookout for more, as I'm sure we'd like to make more than 4 total.

In my dreaming of having a new house - or even finally getting one of the kids bedrooms converted to an office for me I realized how much I would love to have a library type office or at least a bookcase filled with my favorite books. I love to read, but have never been one to buy books. I just never had the money, nor have I had much space for a bookcase. In looking over things I have pinned on Pinterest "for my home" the past couple of years, there are quite a few of home library's or reading areas. I searched through all the books at Goodwill and found several in author's/series I love. I only bought 2, as they were still $4 each, but it's a start and something I can add to here and there.

I do have a couple of books from these series already, that I had received as gifts. It's been so long since I even looked at the price of a hardback book - $27?! Wow. I think it will also be fun to look for books every now and then, kind of like a treasure hunt.  Someday I'll have enough to fill a bookcase or two and have something like this :)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Batten down the hatches and other stuff

Ahhh. A nice half work day Friday. DD and I were going to go grocery shopping around noon, but then DH wanted to use my car to go over to his friends shop and pay him for all the welding work he did on his trailer. DD had been saying she was (while I was still working) I said feel free to clean house......then a little friendly back and forth ensued.....something to the effect that she's a grown up now, it's not her responsibility....I said ok, then pay me $300 a month. To which she replied "why?! I don't even live here anymore" To which I replied - then you can start paying your own health and auto insurance and I can stop giving you the $100 a month for living expenses that I give you......and you can pay me back the $80 I just spent for your doctors copay and medicine from the other day......I think she got the point!

So, I sent her to do the weekly grocery shopping by herself, while I cleaned house and worked off the little bit of "p.o.'d" energy I still had from that little conversation!

I got a bit snippy with the sheriff sergeant in one of my neighborhood update emails a couple of days ago. We get absolutely no feedback from them, ever. The only time we get feedback is because we finally get riled up enough and make them contact us. For almost 2 years EVERY single time we called dispatch to report this crap we got told we needed to report it to the narcotics dept. I reported lic plate numbers, descriptions of cars, names etc almost daily (at a minimum weekly) for over a year and a half. NO feedback EVER. Now we are finally being told that this isn't even considered a narcotics issue. A house (or two) selling meth and heroin almost non-stop 24 hours a day is too low level for them.  In the email I suggested that maybe they need to start having dispatch give different instructions to people then. I'm sure there are other people, in our same situation, that are just wasting their time, too, trying to report drug activity in their neighborhood, because that's what they are being instructed to do.

I also suggested that maybe the sheriff's department needs to update their web page for the online reporting "drug tip line". We were told 2 years ago (and continue to be told) that "meth lab houses" no longer are a problem in this county. They don't make meth anymore. It's too cheap from Mexico now, let alone heroin (also from Mexico) is now the drug of choice. Their website is still so outdated with information about how meth labs are a problem and if you suspect any drug activity to report it to this online system. What a joke. As we can attest to for almost 2 years - they just ignore it. I also said it sure would have been nice if, after seeing my daily reports for weeks or  even months, someone could have at least called or emailed me back to say this really isn't a narcotics department problem to deal with!

I also told him we expect to have some updates now and then, to know this is still being worked on.

The other neighborhood folks are fit to be tied right now. Last night one of the wives (a young woman with 3 little kids) was coming home, around 9:30pm. It's a gravel road, so you have to drive fairly slow. Someone came out in front of her car and made her stop and was shining a flash light at her. She immediately called 911. I'm not sure of every detail but cops came and were searching for him but didn't find him. First thing this morning they see this guy coming out of the drug house (well, of course that's where he was). They called 911 again and a deputy came out and did absolutely nothing to this guy. Told the neighborhood folks that there was no crime committed and if they keep calling them out they are just going to stop coming. OH BOY! Wrong thing to tell them after all they have been going through (exactly like us). Apparently the new "procedure" is now to for them to say "what's the crime?"  DH just heard the same exact thing from a dispatcher the other day when he called in a suspicious person wandering around at 2 am.  "What's the crime being committed? Call us back when there is a crime" and actually hung up on DH!  This county is a complete joke.

It's a stormy wet windy weekend ahead. We are just going to hunker down and hope our roof hangs on! My big wind chimes at my back french doors has not stopped making music in the last 24 hours. I'm really not looking forward to having to pick up tree branches and limbs from all over our back property again.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

It's Thursday

I really do have the best boss anyone could ask for. I had yesterday off and today was one of my "office days". Of course I get an email this morning telling me to work from home if I want. Well, the only thing I really needed to be in the office to do was print out some sales people expense and mileage reimbursement checks (like 20 checks), have her sign, and then put the checks in their inbox. Not a lot of time involved, but still I didn't want her having to do it. So, I told her I had to come in for the checks and she said just stay home, she will print the checks and take care of it. Plus the 2 1/2 hours I'm not sitting in my car today gives me some much needed extra time to do some work on my side job.

Pretty much I am down to being in the office only 2 days a week, for a total of 11 hours a week. The rest of the 40 hours I do from home. I am taking her up every time she offers me to work from home because when the time comes that we can sell our home and move, it gives me even more "proof" that we could make being remote 100% work. At least that is what I am telling myself, LOL.

We are about 1 week away from meeting our annual sales goal, so the 2nd half of the semi-annual bonus payout is guaranteed. I think we will see those checks around mid December, probably at our company holiday lunch/meeting. That bonus is going to savings, towards our "new home downpayment" goal.

Yesterday was a nice day off with DD. We had breakfast in the morning with my mom and then we did some shopping. She found some black boots at Kohl's she liked. I had a $10 off $25 coupon, plus another 15% off that, so the boots only came to $42. We stopped at Best Buy so I could pick up a new monitor cable. I have no idea what is wrong with DH's monitor. He uses dual monitor's. Every so often his right monitor will just go black and not work. Reboot the (new) computer and then it's fine for another week or so. I switched his monitor with one of mine, to see if it would happen again (to me this time) and it happened to him again, using my monitor. So, now we are trying a new cable. If that's not it, I have no idea what could be causing one monitor to go black (even though the power light for it is still on).  Then we stopped at Michael's. I wanted to see if they had any fake pointsettia's I could use to put outside in my hanging baskets, but everything is silk and I'm afraid they'll just get ruined in the rain. I can't find anything plastic. Well, I found some on amazon for like $30, so that's not going to happen. I'll have to figure out some other cheap way to get some Christmas decorations in them. Maybe I can just spray the silk ones with a clear sealant?

At Kohl's DD found the boots, so I paid for those. She also had the $10 off $25 coupon, plus a $5 birthday reward coupon and 15% off. She picked up a crockpot and a shirt for like $10 total. I had baked her a triple chocolate (from a box) birthday cake and frosted it when we got home. Added some fancy Wilton sprinkles and it looked great. (Tasted great too!) Her BF took her out to dinner and gave her a really nice winter jacket and some flowers. A week or so ago this really cute sweater for like $10 popped up on my feed and it looked just like something she would like so I copied it to her and of course she liked it, so I ordered it and told her it would be one of her birthday presents. I didn't realize it was shipping from China, so maybe she'll get it for Christmas. LOL. I also gave her a teapot and a candle.

Well, better get all the work I need to do today done. Tomorrow is only a half day for me. Love those days! I can go get my weekly grocery shopping done at noon and have the rest of the weekend to just relax.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Ready for the week

I learned how to make candles! It was such a fun day. My friend is this outgoing bubbly personality that you just can't help but be happy around. And she is so crafty! There was supposed to be 8 of us, but only 4 of us showed up, but I think that was the perfect amount. I made 6 soy candles in 3 different scents. We mixed scents together (as some of the scents she didn't have enough to make a whole batch of 6 candles). I made Amaretto/Vanilla, Tropical/Coconut, and a Gingerbread/Vanilla. I haven't even tried lighting one yet and my house smells good :)  DD would enjoy this craft. We will have to give it a try.

Friend lives right downtown in the city. She and her DH are empty nesters now and decided to give city living a try. It's a beautiful 2 bedroom condo in an old building with a great view. I actually had no problem finding it and there was plenty of parking out on the street, so that was nice. I felt all fancy having to ring her apartment number and announce myself at the intercom, LOL.  With just the 4 of us and her, it was nice and easy to chat with each other. She had a friend there who is a lot like her and does amazing decorating and re-does furniture. I have seen some of her pictures and between her and my friend, I have serious decorating envy!

This will be a short work week for me. I have a day off mid week and then Friday is my half day. DD will be home later tonight for the rest of the week, which will be nice. Again, I probably won't see her much, but a little is better than nothin' :)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Lazy weekend

Yesterday was pretty much a completely lazy day. I got out of the house at 9:30am to go to Walmart and grocery shop. I found a couple of gifts for DD's birthday. A teapot and a candle. I have already ordered her a cute sweatshirt that is on it's way. She also wanted some black boots at Target, but they are out in store and online. I think I will just take her shopping on her birthday and she can pick out a different pair somewhere else. I texted her to ask what kind of cake she wanted so I could pick up cake mix. Chocolate, of course.

I came home, put away groceries and cleaned the kitchen, made the bed and plopped myself on the couch where I spent most of the day. Watched a "guy" movie on tv with DH and then he decided to go visit one of his new friends over in the other drug neighborhood. He really likes both of these guys he's been getting to know, but especially the older guy. I think he said he was 68, but you wouldn't know it. He and his wife are really nice and easy to talk to. The other guy is a bit younger than us. He's like DH, doesn't work either and I'm not sure what his story is. His wife (like me) has a good job and they seem to do the same thing we do. So, DH spent a good hour and a half or more over chatting with them at the older friends house. A bit after he left I laid down to take a nap but about 20 minutes into it the phone rang. It was the younger guy from the neighborhood and I laughed and said DH is over at H's next door to you. "oh, I'll go over there then. LOL" So then I knew DH would be at least another hour. haha.

So, I started watching a Hallmark Christmas movie, until DH came home at the end of it. It's good for him to get out of the house, like he has been doing more and especially good to find some new friends. He said to me "I really like H.....but whenever I get a good friend I don't get to keep them long enough..."  Sad, but true. Every single one of his good friends has passed away at a young age. One, who he met in his 20's was like a father/mentor to him. Died while he was in his late 40's of a brain tumor. He had another friend (though not as close to) died of a brain tumor. Then a very good friend was killed in an accident. And 4 years ago his very best friend died of cancer.

Through dinner and the rest of the evening DH watched another guy movie while I half watched and  finished a book and started a new one.

Today, I get a bit of a "girl's day out". An old friend I have known for about 25 years, who is very crafty, is hosting a candle making class in her home. Candle making, girl chat and snacks. I'm sure I will enjoy it.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

In color

I got a new all-in-one color printer. It's been a really long time since I've had a color printer. My printer I have is a black ink laser jet from work and for the most part that is all we need. Occasionally we want to print something in color, but we just wait until I can go into the office and print it on one of those printers.  We still had an old all-in-one printer, and the only reason I kept it is because the scanner part still worked and we do scan things quite often. I'll bet it's 15 years old LOL.

Well, DH needed to print out some pictures we took of the drug needles and druggy campsite because he wasted visual stuff to show the prosecutor of what we are dealing with on a regular basis. Only I didn't go into work on Thursday and the meeting was that night. So, I decided to go buy a new one. They are so dang cheap now. I got one at Target on sale for $60 that was regularly $100, plus I saved 5% using my RedCard.

I got an Epson WorkForce WF-2630. It was easy to set up in minutes and linked right away to my wireless network. I was able to download the printer app to my phone and just printed the pictures right from my phone. How cool is that!  I haven't tried using the scanner or copier yet, but I'm sure those functions will get lots of use. The color ink cartridges are separate cartridges for each color, so might be cheaper with only having to replace what color actually runs out. I still have my black inkjet printer set as my default printer as 99% of what I need to print doesn't need color. I'm sure the darn ink cartridges will cost more to replace than the cost of the printer.

Plus this one is smaller than my old all-in-one, so it's not taking up so much space in the corner of my desk behind my dual monitors. Does anyone else use dual monitors? I love it. I don't use it much for personal stuff, but for work it is a necessity. Once I got used to it I was like how did I do it with one monitor before?! Some of our folks at work have 3 and 4 monitors now.

While at Target I also went to customer service to see about getting back $5 for a cartwheel coupon I didn't know about last Saturday when I purchased a little hooded zip-up sweatshirt for myself. It was $20 and I've been looking for something plain color, lightweight and cheap and haven't really had any luck finding anything in my $15-$20 price range. There were 2 ladies working the customer service desk and I got the young lady who was still learning how to do stuff. She was really sweet and she asked the other lady (after trying to get her attention like 4 times) how to adjust for a missed cartwheel coupon. She told her how to do it and the girl wasn't seeing that option on her screen, so she kept trying to ask the other lady, who then said "oh it's too old". I'm like I just bought it Saturday and the cartwheel coupon is still active for 2 more days. Finally the other lady got done with her customer and looked at my receipt and on whatever they were seeing on their screen and she told me "this transaction is to old". So I said "well, then can I just return this sweatshirt for credit and then buy it again and use the cartwheel coupon?" Oh, sure you can.......sigh........So, I got refunded my original purchase. She then rang up the sweatshirt as a new purchase. Well, guess what?! It's on sale this week for $13.98! Plus the 25% off cartwheel coupon. I ended up getting this sweatshirt for $10.90 with sales tax. The girl was really sweet and I thanked her for her time and went on my merry way.

Then today I just had to deal with why the heck was my Comcast bill another $50 more per month (after it just went up $35 a month)?! I looked at the billing detail. OMG! So a few weeks ago, when we were having problem with our home phone (for like 2 weeks). They tried to do a remote "fix" and that didn't help so I had to call and complain again and they had to send a tech out. He came (I was at work) and told DH that the issue wasn't any problem with our (new 2 month old) modem or our wiring, but most likely an issue in our neighborhood that they haven't figured out yet. But, for whatever reason he decides to replace our 2 month old modem.......and charges me $50 to set it up! I called and complained and they removed the charge. Geez! They are the one's with the problem and are going to charge me to install a new modem I didn't even apparently need? The service guy could have at least said to DH "I'm putting in a new modem, if you want me to set it up for you it will be an extra $50". Then DH would have called me and I would have said no. As it is all's he did was plug it in, get on DH's computer and assign it a network name and password. I still had to connect everything else that we have wireless when I got home.  I'm glad for the good customer service though and he didn't hesitate to credit me for it.

DD will be home on Monday night for the rest of next week. Yay! Since Wed is a holiday and no classes and she only has classes on Mon and Wed, she will get to come home Monday evening and spend all week. (plus it's her birthday next week).