Thursday, April 30, 2015

Closing in on the week's end

Funny how knowing DD is now less stressed is putting relief on me. I didn't realize her over-achieving path was stressing me out a little too! LOL.  I encourage and support anything with her, but I'm glad she has decided on a more realistic path for her education and level of learning. Her classes will still be hard, but achievable. I asked her what her boyfriend thought of her changes and he thought it was a good plan too, but told her she's throwing a wrench in his future plans.......he wants to buy a house (for them) by the time she graduates and now he's got about 6 months (maybe a year) less time to do that, haha.  He really is a sweetie and so responsible and such a planner for his future (and, obviously her's too).  They've only been together a little about 5 months, but I really see this as a long term relationship and in talking with her last weekend I see that they are definitely headed in that direction. They are so similar and have such similar goals in life. They adore each other and are just so grown up about everything in their lives.

She also got her two roommates for next year to go view the 3 bedroom apartment in the complex they looked at and they both really liked it. Hopefully they will get in there in the Fall.  She is also looking into taking 2 online classes through the University during the summer, and then she would be able to graduate next Spring and not have to go the extra quarter in Fall of 2016 and try to figure out housing for one quarter. Since she doesn't now need to do the full time summer internship, she could do the 2 classes and do a part time internship or job. She's still trying to figure it all out.

I went to my chiropractic appointment yesterday and they are having a drawing to win 2 mountain bikes. If you leave a review on google and yelp you get entries into the drawing, so I did both after I got back from my appointment. I have been going to him 8 years now. The chance to enter ends this week and so far it doesn't look like too many have entered based on the number of recent reviews left on both. 19 on google and 13 on yelp. I'd say my odds of winning are pretty good (but I never win anything, so there's that - haha!) If I won them I'd just give them to DD and her boyfriend if they'd want them. He's really into biking (like he rides 20 miles sometimes!), but I'm not to sure about mountain biking. If not, I could always sell them, I guess. DH can't use it and I wouldn't go bike riding by myself.

I am working from home again today. My gas expenses for this budget period will be really low. I have a full tank still and will only use a little over half a tank next week. I won't have to fill up again until Saturday May 9th and that shouldn't be more than $30 and will get me through to the next payday. I budgeted $80 and will be able to apply the extra $50 towards my extra home equity loan payment next month.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Weekend spending and other stuff

While visiting DD over the weekend I spent the following (not counting the hotel room):

Lunch: $9 (we split a sandwich, since we had bagels a couple hours earlier)
Movie: $5 (DD had gift card to use up. This was what was out of pocket after tickets and a soda and raisinettes to share
Dinner $45 (including tax and tip)
Coffee: $9
Car Wash: $10
Ibuprofen from Walgreens: $4 (my back started hurting a bit Sunday morning and I hadn't brought any with me :/)
Pottery Painting fun: $50

Total $132. But - because I have been keeping track of my grocery/misc and gas spending in a spreadsheet I knew that I still had $134 left in my grocery/misc budget! I had already done all my shopping for the week and no more was going out before I get paid again on the 15th. Woo! Nice to spend that and not have to have it come out of my savings.

I've been coming under budget in gas, but with the fill up to drive to see her I was going to go over my gas budget because I was going to have to fill up this morning before going to work. But, I got an email from my boss yesterday morning that I could work from home if I wanted. There will be virtually no parking spaces available at the office, due to an event being held for customers. Since I didn't get the dog to get his nails trimmed last Friday, I took a lunch break and ran him over to get it done. He's such a neurotic dog. Whines and cries all the way there (a whole 2 mile drive). It's quite pathetic. Then he is a perfect gentleman while they grind away and on the way home he's happy and smiling and not a peep out of him. I decided to fill up with gas (I don't like having an empty tank if an emergency came up and we needed to use the car right away) and I had a .10 cents gas rewards to use, so I ended up over on my gas budget this budget period.

In another "money issue". I have been getting collection notices in the mail addressed to DS. He apparently stopped using his bank account here, but overdrew it, and owes the bank about $30. They probably can't get a hold of him via phone because he got a new #. Our family friend is also getting notices for a different account (same bank) that he opened to try and establish a business here in the States, so he could earn money doing web design when he was in Canada. He used friends address at the time because he wasn't communicating with us. We have no address for him and now no phone # for him, so I just sent him an email yesterday morning alerting him to the notices we are getting and asked him what he'd like me to do with them. No reply as of yet. I'm sure he'll just ignore it, like everything else.

DD dropped the chemistry class.  Too late to get a full refund (figured that) but she at least got a 50% refund on the class. One of the classes in the new degree program is an internship for credit. Much less hours required to fulfill  (800 hours total needed with the other program and no credit), so if she can find an internship this summer she can earn 4 or 5 credits over the summer and that kind of makes up for the lost credits of the class she just dropped (and not extend her time to graduate), so she'll still finish this year with the same # of credits under her belt. Then she went online and changed majors. Just as easy as that! I think she is really relieved now.Like I told her - with a minor instead of a major, she'll probably end up with same type of job when she graduates, anyway.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

College struggles

I mentioned last month that DD really struggled with her Physics class last quarter (she has to re-take it Fall quarter) and now this quarter is struggling with Chemistry. She just had a big test yesterday and knows she did terrible. She had a chemistry class at the community college (also needed as part of her high school requirements) but it didn't transfer. She got an A- in that class and thought that would help her do well in this class. She is beyond frustrated. She studied all week (as well as for her other classes), through Friday night. Took Saturday off to spend with me, and then started back up again at 2pm Sunday, after I left. She also has to take some engineering classes and is not confident she will be able to do well in those, either. She does fine in the accounting, math and business classes.

For this major she has picked she has to have these classes and has to have a 3.0 GPA to even stay in the program! As it is from this last quarter she is not going to make it unless she gets an A in this Chemistry class.  She did some looking into other degree's last night and found that she could switch to an Operations Management degree with a minor in what she is majoring in now and not have to take any science or engineering classes. 2 of the classes required for both degrees she is taking right now and she's only have to take a few extra business classes to get a minor in this degree and they count toward both degrees.  Plus, she would be able to finish in 4 more quarters, 3 quarters if she wanted to take 4 classes per quarter, but I told her that is too much.

She is feeling a bit down, like she is failing and giving up. But, I told her she needs to study/work in what interests her and something she does well in. If she is constantly struggling and feeling like a failure she is not getting any satisfaction out of it. A person should be satisfied in the work (or schooling) they are doing. That's what college is for - to try different classes and see what you are good at/what you like to do. I wasted my whole first year of college because I totally changed my major.

This morning she will go talk to her advisor - about dropping this chemistry class and changing her major to Op Mgmt and a minor in the other degree. These are the types of classes she does well in and the type of work she wants to do. Science and Engineering are not in her "wheelhouse" apparently.

If she has to go an extra quarter past next year to finish we will have to figure out housing for that one quarter. Next year she is renting an off campus apartment with 2 other girls but that is just for that school year. I told her if worse comes to worse she will just have to be in a dorm again for that last quarter, maybe she'll get lucky and be able to get a private room. If not she can tough it out for 11 weeks.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Weekend update

I had such a great weekend with DD. Too short of time, but we got all out of it what we could.  It's a little over a 2 hour drive, so I arrived at her dorm just before 10:30. The place on campus she wanted to get coffee and bagels didn't open until 11 (probably because college kids sleep in on weekends!) so we went and loaded a couple of bags of her things back in my car that she wants left at home. Stuff she doesn't use and less to bring home in 7 weeks. Then we walked over to the bagel/coffee shop, which is inside the library and waited a few minutes for them to open up.

After that we got back in my car and drove the few minutes to nearby area of "old town" that is full of cute stores and restaurants. Did a bunch of window shopping and then had lunch at a sandwich shop and a little more walking through some stores. Then we headed up the road a mile or so to go look at the apartment complex she is hoping to get in next Fall. She had found out last week that a 3 bedroom unit was vacated and will be available for viewing next week and wanted to stop in and make that appointment and just show me the complex. The lady offered to let us view the unit being cleaned so we got to see inside, which was really nice. There is a bus stop outside the complex and a bus to campus comes by every 15 minutes (bus pass is included in tuition) so DD will use that and not pay for a campus parking pass next year.

Then we stopped at REI as DD wanted a new jacket to replace The North Face jacket she lost (or someone took it) last Fall. Her boyfriend sold her old laptop for $100 so she used that money to buy the jacket. By then it was time to check into our hotel. It was a much nicer place than the place I stayed at the last couple of times. Our room had a king size bed with a nice duvet, soft towels and a whirlpool jetted big tub. We chilled a bit and then decided to go to a movie before dinner and have a later dinner.

We saw Age of Adeline. It was a really good movie and we both really enjoyed it. Then we drove to the waterfront and had dinner at a restaurant. The food was good but the atmosphere was really noisy. I think I would have preferred something a little more relaxed. It was supposed to rain all weekend but all day had been nice and sunny! After dinner we took a long walk along the waterfront and watched the sunset. Back at the hotel we each took our turn taking a nice whirlpool bath. I want a tub like that!

The hotel was nice and quiet and I actually got a decent nights sleep. There was some noise from the hall and doors shutting, people talking, but nothing until about 8am. All night was very quiet - complete opposite of the other place I stayed. The hotel had a good breakfast spread. Omelets, waffles, etc and we filled ourselves up. Nothing much opened until 11am, so we went and got mocha's from a coffee stand and then stopped at Pier One Imports just to look around.  Then we saw a touchless car wash and DD mentioned she wanted to try using that with her car and I said we have a new one near home but I've never used a car wash and was too nervous to try it by myself. So we turned around and decided to give it a try - so we'd both know how it worked. It was hilarious and we laughed and giggled trying to figure out what we were supposed to be doing. But I ended up with a clean car for $10. Then we went back to the "Old Town" area where the day prior we had been inside a cute shop where you could pain pottery and had decided to come back Sunday and do that. Very fun and relaxing! She painted a vase and I painted a napkin holder. She gets to pick them up at the end of this week. Her's will probably look fabulous and mine will probably look like a 5 year old painted it - haha!

I still had a bit of time to kill before I wanted to head home, so we went and took another long walk on the waterfront. It was the perfect mother-daughter weekend. I wish I would have taken pictures. Traffic was good going home (unusual) and I got home by 4pm and some time to relax before Monday arrived.

Friday, April 24, 2015

A very TGIF

I am so glad it's Friday. It feels like it's been a long long week.  I only have to work until 2pm today, as our office is closing early for a first quarter celebration. I'm working from home so I am not attending. It goes until 4pm and at that time of day, on a Friday, I wouldn't even get home until 6pm. I still have to get dinner, get grocery shopping done, etc, since I will be gone this weekend.

I'm leaving around 8am tomorrow morning for the 2 hour drive to see DD. I can't wait to see her. She has the whole weekend planned for us.  And other than a nice dinner (and the hotel room already paid for) it shouldn't cost me too much money. First on her list (yes, she makes actual to-do lists! LOL) is coffee and bagels (paid with her "dining dollars" used on campus), then some (window) shopping in the quaint old part of town with cute stores, then lunch back on campus, again with her dining dollars (she has lots to use up). We are also going to see the movie Age of Adeline.  She has a movie gift card to use so that will be free entertainment, too.

As soon as 2pm hits, I am off to get the weeks grocery shopping done. Then I'm taking one of the dogs in for a nail trim (the other dog has never needed one - he is so darn active and runs so much that he just naturally keeps them trimmed) and then at least try to get the house vacuumed, since I won't be able to do it this weekend.

I sent my mom the long email yesterday morning. She must be at her boyfriends house (she stays there as much as she is at her house) so probably hasn't seen it yet.  It hit me yesterday as I was driving home from work: she sees DS as a total victim in all this.  But in reality, it all only came about because DH and I put our foot down with all the stupid ass decisions he had been making and said get our property back to the U.S! Now! We were done being stupid with our money, our assets, and our potential liability (he had our vehicle and our insurance didn't cover him actually living in Canada) if he were to injure or kill someone in a car accident.

So, because we put our foot down and he refused to come back and get all our stuff back here, we got mad. Yes, indeed we did. And yes indeed, you don't want to push DH past his reasonableness or you ain't gonna like what you hear. So, DH became the scapegoat in all this of why DS didn't have to come back and why he didn't have to have a relationship with his family anymore. Plain and simple. So, I guess we should have just kept our mouths shut, let him do whatever he wanted and let ourselves be set up for potential liabilities we could never ever recover from...then none of this would have happened and we'd still be this happy, close family. Bite me.

Well, I'm going to put that all out of my mind for a couple of days and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Moms and daughters

In the midst of replying to comments from my last post and drafting a very long email to my mom (she can't seem to listen and remember, but maybe in writing she can read and re-read to get the message I keep trying to convey), I got this message from my daughter:

As a daughter, I couldn't imagine feeling like your mom doesn't listen to you, doesn't support your side, doesn't try to help in a messed up situation. When I am confused and angry and upset you are the first person I go to, I look to your guidance knowing that you'll not just take my side because you're my mom, but you'll give me the best advice whether I am right or wrong on how to move forward. Forever thankful for my relationship with you and that it will never change. I hope you know how much I look up to you and value our relationship. Just wanted you to know how much I love you and I can't wait to see you this weekend

Boy, did I ever need to hear something like that today! I hope I never ever let her down, like mine has let me down this past year.

Family crap

I will be spending the weekend with DD. While we plan to enjoy ourselves every minute we will also be having a conversation on what to do about funding her college for the next 2 years.

My parents (dad is deceased) set aside money to pay for her college. I think she has done splendid keeping the costs down as much as possible. She did her first 2 years while in high school at the local community college. We only had to pay a small quarterly fee and books for that 2 years of higher education. Then she picked a state university instead of a private university, probably cutting the cost by 1/2 of a private school. She also received a $2000 scholarship towards this first year. She is paying for her own books (though I give her $100 a month for whatever she wants to use it for). She did up the cost though, when she picked a major that requires an extra year to complete.

The tough decision she has to make is whether she wants to continue to let Grandma pay for it. This is because this past year our relationship with my mom has been somewhat strained. Strained on our side more so than my mom's. We are keeping the peace because....well, she's my mom, she's dd's grandma, she's 74, and the elephant in the room....she's paying for DD's college.  DD's not sure if she is feeling really comfortable accepting that much money when she feels so upset that her grandma is not giving us any emotional support over this and is, in fact, putting all the blame on her dad.

My mom would rather just pretend nothing is wrong and everyone is happy happy happy. But what is wrong is that our son has, yet again in the past 15 months, pushed me, his dad and his sister out of his life completely (this latest time was actually last Thanksgiving - the last time we have heard from him). And my mom sees no problem with it. She continues to support his decisions (and very most likely continues to support him with money). She has no problem with the choices he is making for his life and no problem that he wants nothing to do with us. Of course, he hasn't pushed her out of his life - she is his money supply!

She wants to ignore the fact that we are hurting tremendously over this. Her solution to my hurt, anger and sadness over the situation? I should just go on anti-depressants! Why? so I can act like she does? (she is on them for years - they make her scatterbrained and she gained 50 pounds on a petite 5'4" frame). So I can just flow along not really feeling anything? I think I have a right to feel how I am feeling! I should be hurt, sad and angry over this. She just wants to ignore any issue we have with the way our son is behaving and treating us. According to her he is totally justified because he has a tough dad.

We sat (just DD and I - DH is much too angry that she is not trying to see our cries for help to try and repair our relationship with our son) in her living room on Christmas day. She was in kitchen checking on dinner and got a call on her cell phone. It was my son calling to wish her a merry Christmas. He would know full well that we would be there, as we always are. Her house is small, we could hear the whole side of her conversation...oh so happy, blah blah you want to talk to your mom and sister? No?, ok! happy happy happy, while DD and I literally sat there almost coming to tears. Then she comes back and sits down all just happy as can be. Honestly, if my uncle hadn't been there I would have just got up and went home, I was that mad and hurt. She was/is oblivious to it. If it had been me I'd have went and taken the call back in my bedroom with the door closed and then came out and said I'm sorry, he didn't want to speak with you, I know you must be feeling bad, instead of acting like she just got the best Christmas present ever.

DH has a childhood friend that now happens to live in this same town DS is living in (he's been there like 20 years now). He called yesterday to give us some information on DS.  I just found out that DS and his new girlfriend were in our town (he currently lives 1000 miles from us) a couple of weekends ago and that he went and saw my mom. She has not uttered a word of his visit to us. Not one word to at least let us know he is ok. She might hear from him regularly and know he is ok. I only get to know he's ok when some mutual friend happens to let us know, usually months in between. I have tried to inform her of his actions and lifestyle and that he has not been associating with very good people. Friend also informed us that DS is no longer working/living with this less than desirable "business man" - DS apparently finally figured out what we and our friend (since he lives in this town and knows of this guy and his bad reputation) had been trying to warn him about the past 7 months. Nothing good was going to come of this association and apparently it didn't.

DS has lived in this new town for 7 months now. Still no steady job. This is a town of about 100,000 people. Friend said jobs are aplenty there and the unemployment rate is this area is at 2%. His exact words to me were, "if someone doesn't have a job in this town, it's because they don't want one". He even offered DS a full time, with benefits, steady entry level job and DS didn't take it.

So, back to Grandma and school for DD. I told DD about the secret visit to Grandma. She wast just as mad as me about it. Just as mad that Grandma is doing nothing to encourage DS to grow up and keeps blaming my DH for all of it. DD commented that she is seriously considering not taking anymore money from Grandma to pay for her college. I said that is totally up to her and her decision. DH and I would never tell her she shouldn't but that I also understand why she is feeling that way. I'm not so sure I'd want to take it either.

DD and I will have to discuss this and the ramifications of it all. Obviously I wouldn't be able to help her out very much. She has 2 more years. She has about $9,000 in savings and she should earn some this summer from her internship. She would have to take student loans and she could get a part time job during the school year.  Also, graduating at 21 and getting a good paying job/career she could stand to live at home a couple of years and get those loans paid off before moving out on her own. It's do-able of course, but again, this totally have to be DD's decision and I will help her any way I can, even if it's just only to listen.

I stopped by my mom's on my way home from work yesterday. I said "so, I heard DS was in town a week or two ago"....deer in the headlight look..."was there any reason this needed to be kept a secret from us?" Her answer was she didn't know if I wanted to know anything about him! Flabbergasted I said he is the one cutting us out of his life - we are not the ones that keep cutting him out of our life! I said maybe telling me hey, I saw or talked to him and he's doing ok would help ease my worrying a little better than telling me I need to go on anti depressants!

I was a bit hard on her yesterday, but frankly I am sick and tired of this all being dh's fault. "Well, he's a grown man and can do what he wants". Yes, he can, but he is not a grown up nor a man. He is 23 years old and has spent the last 2 1/2 years without a steady job (just odd jobs paying cash/under the table here and there), moving from place to place to stay with whoever will give him a place to sleep and feed him and once they are tired of it, he's on to the next one who will. And he has such a sweet and friendly personality that someone always will. When he was in Australia for 4 months he ended up staying with someone else the 2nd half of the visit because the first had their limit after he wanted to extend his stay. Then in his 14 months in Canada he lived 3 different places. Then he moved back to the States and stayed with this guy who was trying to "help" him get settled (again with odd jobs and nothing steady enough to support himself in any way) and now he's on to a new girlfriend (another one with kids) who will give him a roof and feed him. A couple of his odd jobs are dangerous (roofing and car repos), paid under the table, so no L&I or no  health insurance if he were to get injured. He smokes pot, hangs out with other losers who have no jobs. Six months from now he'll be living with some other friend or girl. He agreed 6 months ago to repay us for the car we let him keep. I said I don't care if it's $50 or $100 a month. We have not seen one dime. He's always about to get "this steady full time job" but for some reason it never happens. I get collection notices from his bank here, he overdrew, closed the account and didn't pay them the NSF fees. Another close family friend, who tried to help him out last year by letting him use his address as his new mailing address because he had to set up a business and business bank account in our state in order to be able to do freelance web design work in Canada - is now getting mail constantly - Urgent, notifications that he didn't file his state business taxes, more NSF collection letters on that bank account. And friend has no way to forward these because DS changed his phone # and won't give anyone an address.

She is such a terrible listener and I'm so tired of trying to tell her what is going on and then her acting like she didn't know about any of this. I can flat guarantee you his disassociating himself from us is because he's been lying about stuff for 2 years now and knows if he keeps in contact with us he will eventually get caught in these lies he's told or we'll find out some the stupid things he has done. We've caught a few of the lies, which of course has most likely led to being told more lies, to get out of being caught in the first ones. But he blames it on his dad yells at him (ya, I yelled at him too to get his ass out of bed at noon every day) and grandma goes right along with it, all the while making us feel like we are the problem/cause of all this.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Vacuum advice?

Do any readers have a bagless vacuum and how do you like it compared to using bag type vacuums?

My vacuum is ok, better than anything I've had in the past, but the bags are expensive (and kind of small so fill up fast) and I can't find them in stores, so I always have to order online.  I am currently spending at least $55 a year on bags. I've had this vacuum about 2 years now and I'm sure it's declining in efficiency. (I have never had good luck with vacuums). When this one goes kaput I am thinking of bagless, but just not sure.

Opinions? especially from those that have used both.  Thanks!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Flower Power

I got my weekly grocery shopping done Friday afternoon so that I could spend Saturday morning shopping for flowers. The weather is beautiful this weekend - sunny and 70, and I was hoping the garden center near my house finally had all their 6 packs of annuals in.

First I stopped at Walmart, because while there to get my groceries on Friday, I took a walk through the garden center to see what they had for flowers. No 6-packs, BUT they did have some stone garden benches like I have been wanting. For $60!! I priced them elsewhere at $200-300  and gave up on the idea to have a stone garden bench as the replacement bench out in our fire pit. I wasn't paying that much. But $60?! I had to touch it to make sure it was really concrete/stone and not resin.  I had over $90 in Walmart Savings Catcher $ and decided to cash in to use on the bench. I also bought some potting soil and Miracle Grow plant food and a couple of plants on clearance - the total came to almost exactly what my gift certificate amount was.

Then I headed over to the garden center of another store and they had all their flowers in now. It was still pretty early in the morning, so hardly anyone was there shopping yet (my kind of shopping). I loaded up my cart!
If I had to shop alone, without my sweet buddy DD, then at least I was surrounded by all this beauty. I also needed peat moss, which I could not find, nor did I have room for anyway on my cart, so upon checkout I asked if they had some and found out it was out farther in the center in these huge "blocks". I paid for one and after I got all my flowers loaded I drove over to their pick up area and a nice guy loaded it in the car for me.

DH helped me unload everything and then he got to work setting the stone bench so it was level. I love it!
I put all the flowers in the whiskey barrel planters and the window boxes. Also put some out in my new wishing well DH made me, as well as an old wheelbarrow we use as a planter. I also filled up the new coco-lined baskets I bought for the arbors and DH got those hung.

Last weekend, while shopping with DD I picked up this cute bicycle planter and I got some flower pots added to that

After all that we headed down in back underneath the huge fir trees and spread the peat moss and then spread all the creeping thyme seeds around. I am not holding my breath that these will grow, but for $7 it was worth a shot. I think DH spread the peat moss too thick and I wasn't getting anywhere trying to tell him I thought it needed to be spread thin and kind of mixed in with the existing dirt. If they don't grow I will just have to buy the individual plants at $3 each, but it was worth a try to avoid doing that.

This guy was ready for a nap by then, and so was I, so he and I headed into the house for a late afternoon snooze (and my back needed a rest by then, too)

I bought too many petunias, so I think I'm going to go to Ross today and see what they have left in their garden pots (since I want cheap) and hopefully find a couple of matching pots I can put out on either side of the back french doors. We do also need to buy another perennial plant to replace one that died out in our driveway island.

Other than DH complaining about everything under the sun (the usual) I had a wonderful day and it makes my heart happy to have flowers and color around. I enjoy my morning time in the summers watering everything.  I find it relaxing.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A girl's weekend

DD wants me to come and spend the weekend with her sometime soon, so we checked our calendars and ended up with next weekend.  You'd think just booking a motel room for one night would be a piece of cake. Not for me. I have to over think every little detail to death!

First off I decided to splurge and get a really nice room. The two times I have been up there I stayed at the Days Inn....and I'm not staying there again. I only stayed there the 2nd time because the room was free (shared with her roomie's mom). It was such a noisy place with walls/floors/ceilings paper thin.  I need a good nights sleep or I'll be tired and crabby and no fun to do stuff with on Sunday.  But the 2 of the 3 super nice hotels are booked that night and it's $259 a night for the other fancy place (about same for the other booked hotels).  Then DD says at that price it better come with a free breakfast. Haha. It doesn't.  Figured we'd just eat at cheaper places and go with the good hotel.......or we could go with a less expensive mid-range hotel and use the extra money for a nice dinner somewhere. Decisions decisions. I can never make anything easy.  I guess if money were no object we'd have it all...good hotel and good food. LOL.

Then I decided to look at mid-range priced hotels. I found 3 that seemed decent. But then I have to look at everything about them, reviews and all. There was another 1/2 hour. I was about to book one and realized the $169 price was not cancel-able.  What if one of us gets sick or I can't go for some reason? The rate to be able to cancel was $199. At that amount might as well go with the 4-star hotel.  I ended up picking a different hotel that was $139 and free cancel policy.  I got a King deluxe room with a whirlpool tub. Saturday evening I can take a long bath while DD texts with her boyfriend. Free breakfast too :)

I logged into my Expedia account to see what their rate was (same) but they had an offer of downloading their new app and getting a $25 off coupon code on your hotel booking. So, I got the room for $114 plus tax. Whoop Whoop! Now we can go to a really nice dinner out, if we feel like it, with the extra saved over a $259 room.  Plus DD has lots of "dining" dollars to use on campus.  We can get Starbucks, bagels, and lunch for nothing out of pocket for me.

She's got lots of cute shops she's found that she wants to show me, as well as a drive by of the apartment complex she wants to live in next year. Should be a fun weekend and will be nice to get a little break from DH home :)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday decisions

DD had a good day yesterday. She and one of her roommate-to-be's went and looked at a couple of apartments. They hated the first one but loved the second one and have decided that's the one they are going to try to get into for next Fall. They do 9 month leases and will just have to wait until summer to see what is available and get a deposit down if they can get in there for September.

Then while she was messaging me about that her aunt forwarded her an email from her company's Procurement Manager that she is very interested in setting up an internship position for DD. So, yay for Auntie for following up and helping DD! DD sent this manager her resume and an email, so let's keep fingers crossed it all works out.

My packet of Creeping Thyme seeds I ordered came in the mail yesterday. I will probably have no luck getting them to grow, but isn't the packet adorable?!
I just got a call regarding my term life insurance application.  Well, of course, now the premium is more than double what was quoted to me online. Apparently due to my prescription of Atenolol for occasional hearth arrhythmia. I could go down to a lower face value or a shorter term. A 10 year term would be $34 a month, while keeping it at the original amount and term would be $61 a month, more than double what I was quoted online.  They also compared it to their other companies and this was still the lowest price company to go with.

I hate making these kinds of decisions! I think I will go with the 10 year instead of 15 year. That would put it covered through my age 61 and if something happened to me DH would have this money and then be able to start drawing social security the following year. Or do I just suck it up and pay $61 a month so that it is covered 5 more years. Ugh.

Thursday, April 16, 2015


DD is required to do two internships during her 3 years of coursework. Due to the amount of hours required in total, these will most likely have to be done over the next two summers. She has been applying to everything she can, but has had no luck so far. In fact, only one has even bothered to reply to her application, but stating the position already got filled.  Or a lot of the positions are so far away that she would be commuting 3-4 hours a day!

Yesterday I emailed my old boss. I've known him for almost 30 years now. We worked together as staff accountants for many years and while he was on the fast track to management, I was just on the fast track to mommy-hood and just trying to have a basic career in accounting. He ended up being one of the owners at the company I  now work at (that is how I got the job) but left the company about a year after I started there. We keep in touch and he now works for a consulting firm. A lightbulb went off in my head and I decided to email him as I am sure he has tons of contacts in the business's in our area.  He replied right back and sure enough he does. He's even involved with an organization that is specifically for the manufacturing industry. He will be forwarding her resume on to see what he can find for her. Perfect! If he can't help find her something, I don't know who could.

Hopefully between him and her aunt she can find something for this summer to fulfill her degree requirement.  I know this whole process is stressing her out and taking away from her study time with all the searching she has to keep doing to try to find companies she can approach for internships, since she's having no luck with the one's that are actually posting internship openings.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Life insurance

I finally got off my butt and am getting some life insurance on myself for DH's protection if something happens to me. We had a policy on him for about 15 years (when he was working) but once our roles reversed I never took one out on myself. Add in that until the past few years we were terribly broke and went through bankruptcy and I didn't even have the extra money each  month to pay for a term life insurance policy.

I do have $70,000 through my job, so that is at least something. I am getting a $250,000 policy. Not enough, most likely, but he'll either be able to live on that or pay off the house and live on what's left. I would also think at that point, with no income, he would then at least qualify for SSI. Then down that road, that we keep getting closer and closer to, he'll have social security (from me) and my 401k. The quote I just got online was about $25/mo - unless they decide I don't qualify as very healthy and it's a higher rate, which for some reason I am just expecting to happen.

I got the quote through Dave  Ramsey's website. I used to listen to his podcasts quite often and Zander was the company he endorses. It was quick and easy to go online and get some quotes and the company I picked was Genworth - which is the same company the owner's of the company I work for have their life insurance policies through, so I feel comfortable that I am going with a quality company.

I guess I will be getting a call sometime soon for a nurse to come out to my house and do a quick 15 minute exam and then my application will be submitted. I remember going through this same process years ago when we got DH's life insurance - though his ended up costing more because his cholesterol was high. My last annual exam was November and my cholesterol was down at 200, so hopefully it's staying down there now. I just take an herbal supplement (Red Yeast Rice) that was recommended by my doctor and it seems to have done the job. The only other medication I am on is Atenolol, for an occasional heart arrhythmia I've had just about forever.

I've been going to get this taken care of for like that last year or more! I just kept putting it off and brushing it under the rug saying to myself "I'll do it next month". I'm such a terrible procrastinator. Next thing we need to take care of is wills......maybe I can just find something basic that I can do online and cheaply for us. It's not like we really have much of anything to make it a complicated will. Anyone else done a will online?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

It's a boring post

I'm working from home today. Had to switch with tomorrow because I have a 2 hour training meeting to attend at the office tomorrow. Not much going on so far this week.  I had a quiet evening of just knitting (I'm almost done with my blanket) and watching tv.  Dinner was from Arby's. It was a long  crappy 90 minute commute home from work in the rain and I just didn't feel like also having to spend a half hour or more making dinner.

The vines of the clematis I planted under the front arbor are already starting to wind their way through the  bottom of the lattice. So cool!. I haven't checked out back to see if the sweet pea flower seeds planted at the back arbor are sprouting. It's been about 10 days, but supposed to take a couple of weeks to sprout. If I don't have any luck growing those, I will probably just go buy some more clematis to plant there, too.

DD and I had a text message chat last night about how life can get cut short in an instant. A co-worker lost a close relative of a young age to a massive heart attack and another family here locally lost their lives in a tragic accident. Makes one realize how important it is to appreciate life and don't waste it.

DD has had lots of "grown up" responsibilities lately and has/is doing well with them and making smart decisions. Though she messages me every so often that she doesn't like having to be a grown up ;)  I told her there really is nothing much fun about it. LOL. She is stressing out over finding an apartment for next Fall and a summer internship for this summer (required for her degree). She has applied to everything she has seen posted, though some of them would be over an hour drive each way - probably more like 90 minutes each way. She has only heard back from one, and he said sorry the position was filled. Then in a coincidence, she signed up for the "mentor" program and got assigned to this same guy! Hopefully, that will help her find an internship, too. I'm sure he has lots of contacts. She emailed my step sister, who is a big wig at a big company and she replied back that she will check into an internship position for her, so keeping fingers crossed that a "connection" will finally pay off.

I'm just feeling very blah today, like I just want to crawl back in bed and sleep all day and I don't usually feel like that. Maybe a shower would help - haha!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Back to Monday

It was an ok weekend. DD got home Friday night. She spent all day Saturday with her boyfriend so I only got to see her a little bit in the morning and she got back after I went to bed. I got the grocery shopping done in the morning. I didn't need to fill up with gas, since I had nearly a full tank left from only driving to the office one day last week. I was in search of maple bars, though! Walmart is always out of them by the time I am there Saturday morning (9:30) and so I tried the next store down the street (where I usually get gas) and they were out too. I passed another store on my way home, so pulled in there and found a case loaded with donuts :)  DH likes the maple bars and I like just about everything else's our weekly treat and since I didn't get any last week, so I was determined to find some dang maple bars in this town :)

Then I got the dusting and vacuuming done. It was a rainy, cold day so I just stayed inside and worked some more on my knitting. So far so good and no mistakes. It was free HBO and Showtime on our cable this weekend so I watched some movies the rest of the afternoon/evening.

Yesterday DD and I hung out for awhile. The weather was better, but still cold and we spent most of it outside in garden centers.  The stores still do not have in their big shipments of packs/flats of annuals yet, but I still managed to spend $166! But first we stopped and got some coffee. The first garden center I got some Wave Petunias. I have seen these for years in the stores, but have always gotten the "regular" petunias. I looked them up online, before heading out to shop, wondering what makes them so special and more expensive. Apparently they grow huge and one plant can spread out several feet. I decided these would work great in the 4 hanging baskets I want to make for the arbors and should only need a couple plants per each basket, if they get that big. I also bought some other stuff I can't remember the name of to fill in the baskets.  Then DD and I saw these cutest metal wire bicycle planters in two sizes. I liked the smaller one better and it was $40. I hemmed and hawed over it and then the sweet lady that works there said they were on sale 25% off, so I decided to get it. She also had a good idea that it would be really cute during Christmas time with xmas flowers/decorations, so I said she sold me on it!

Then we headed to another store's garden center to look at some perennial plants on sale.  We found what I was looking for, along with a sweet cat, who had apparently decided the garden center is his home away from home and was loving all the attention.  Once someone would leave, he'd just move on to the next person. I bought two fairly good sized "Pieris" plants in 2 gallon pots.

Next stop was the restaurant across the street for some pie! We hadn't stopped and had pie together in quite awhile. Yum.

The last stop was the to the guy who sells plants out of his front yard for very low prices. I just love this guy/place. I found exactly what I was looking for in clematis plants for the front arbor. I bought 4 - 2 that have purple flower and 2 with white. They should mix and mingle as they grow.

Then it was home to a crabby DH, who threw a temper tantrum because I didn't buy the type of perennial shrub he had wanted me to buy. Never mind that I showed him the store ad earlier in the week with this plant as the one I was thinking of getting. So, I calmly said "well, I can just return them to the store then and get the other kind (a small hedge type evergreen shrub that grows super slow and will never get more than a couple feet high/wide). But he keeps digging the whole, bitching at me the whole time. Then asks me where I want to plant the second bush and I say I don't know - you were the one who said you wanted two shrubs for back in this area. He complains some more about how he never gets what he wants and his life sucks and I snapped and said "well, then stop digging the hole and I'll take it back!" Then he's mad that I had the gall to get mad back at him! Obviously he was going to be mad no matter what and just wanted an excuse to feel sorry for himself and blame me. I just walked back into the house and started making banana bread. When he was done and came back in I had to listen to him yell about it some more that he wanted some kind of plant that stays green all year, not the stupid "flower" plants I keep buying and that will just be a "sticks" in the winter. Plus he wanted something to grow and block some of the view of the drug neighbors behind us.

I didn't even bother saying anything more to him. The shrubs I bought are evergreen (they just get some small flowers on them in later winter/early spring and will grow several feet wide by 5-6 feet tall.......compared to the 2'x2' shrub he wanted! Not to mention these plants are gorgeous with about 4 different colors going on.  Here is a picture of one full grown and they stay green year round and do not lose their leaves.

Like DD said to me - A year from now he'll be saying how much he likes these shrubs and when I remind him what a fit he threw about them, he'll say they were his idea!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Budgets, yard, and vacations

Does anyone else do this? Sit and stare at your if you keep looking at it often and long enough more money will magically appear on it?!  Hmphff! It hasn't worked yet.

I finally get a month where we didn't spend it on our house or yard or guns or dental work, or anything and the extra is just going to replace the $1070 check I have to write to the IRS next week out of my savings. 

I'm really trying to keep track of what I spend on weekly groceries and gas. Whatever I can come under budget is getting added to the extra put on the home equity loan payment. So far, I am at least putting the $25 a month I get reimbursed from work for my internet and whatever I earn on the 1% cash back on my debit card (usually around $30) to add to it. Since I only had to drive to work one day this week I basically have a full tank for next week and won't need to fill up on Saturday. That should leave me with $38 extra out of this pay period to also add to it. My auto insurance went down a whole $4 a month, so I guess I can add that too :)

Next month will be costly for the yard. It will be time to get the Casoron to spread over all the gravel area and we need two 50 lb. bags to cover the area (twice a year!) and the cheapest I can find is a place online that we have ordered from the last 2 years. They ship out really fast and have the cheapest shipping (for 100 lbs) but it still will cost about $370 for 2 bags.  I have also started a spreadsheet where I am keeping track of everything we spend this year on our yard, especially wanting to keep track what we are spending a year on weed control for this acre. Then I want to check and see what it would cost to have a lawn maintenance company come in and do it. It will probably cost more, but I'd like to know for sure. So far, this year, I have spent $100 on weed and feed and insecticide for the lawn. Then it will be the $375 (twice this year) for the Casoron plus weed and feed again in the Fall, not to mention I always end up buying a couple of gallons of Round up and blackberry killer each summer. I know we spend at least $1000 a year to treat our lawn and keep weeds out of our gravel area. I have no idea what it would cost to have someone come and spray this for us on a regular/seasonal basis.

We also have plans for 2 other yard projects this year. DH wants to add more landscaping blocks to a couple of areas (about 4 pallets needed for about $650 total) and also put in a small pond. Our good neighbor wants some blocks too, so I am hoping we can go in on an order together, as they will deliver if you order more than 5 pallets. The pond liners appear to run about $150 for the size we want and it will all be done ourselves so shouldn't be much other cost, unless we end up buying any stones or flat rockery to go around it versus using big rocks we already have here and there in the back of our property. The extra I have each month from my income will covers these expenses.

The mid year bonus (where I will get $2560 after taxes) is pretty much a given at this point, with our sales almost doubled from last year. By mid or end of June I should have this extra money. I'm really thinking of using it for a vacation for us later this summer. We have been married 30 years and have really only taken 2 vacations. Once to Arizona to see my parents when the kids were little and one to Florida/Disneyworld back in 2007. That's it.  We really need a break from this place and with DD home all summer working she can hold the fort down and take care of the animals (and her boyfriend can stay with her, which would make us feel safer leaving her here alone).  Seems like most people take a couple vacations a year and we take a couple our whole married life? Maybe time for a little adjustment in that area.  We took trips when the kids were little to go to racing events, but they were not vacations - they were hard work!

I haven't mentioned it yet to DH.  I'm thinking either we take a road trip to the midwest, visit friends there and he can take in some dirt track racing he has been wanting to see for years and years. Or...maybe take an Alaskan Cruise. I have priced them and we could afford a very nice week long trip and a cruise would be ideal for his limited mobility, not to mention we both have always wanted to see Alaska. Something to ponder.....though I'm sure he'll pick the road trip, LOL.  We'll see...I'm still thinking on it. I find it hard to splurge on ourselves and others do it without a second thought. I think we certainly deserved to treat ourselves to something nice this year - it was our 30th wedding anniversary a couple months ago.

I also don't know what my 10 year work anniversary "gift" will be. It might very well be a vacation, but I won't know until September. In past years all the employees who reached their 10 year anniversary were given a paid 7 day trip to Hawaii (staying in the owner's rental condo), but that owner is no longer with the company and while I think one of the other company owner's is still a part owner of this condo, I highly doubt he wants to deal with using it any longer for this type of thing. It has always been used to give some of our customers trips, too, but not in the past 2 years now, since former owner was booted out of the company. No employee has had a 10 year anniversary since he left. I am the first, so who knows what they will do now.

When I had my annual review lunch with my boss I mentioned that this was my 10 year anniversary year. Her comment was that one of the owners was trying to figure out what to do for the big anniversaries (10, 15, etc) and mentioned something about a company he used to work for giving rings with a diamond for each 5 years...not really something I would enjoy. I don't really wear rings and with a size 3 ring finger it's pretty much impossible for me to find a ring in my size anyway.  I'd rather just have a nice gift card or something, I guess. The last few anniversaries that have come up were 15 years and they got an extra week vacation going forward. But, boy all these years I was so looking forward to that Hawaii vacation!

Thursday, April 9, 2015


We are (probably) one of the few oddballs that actually still have a land line home phone. I am seriously about to rip it out of the wall.......and bang DH over the head with it!

95% of the time it rings it is some sort of telemarketer - either a robo-call or a live person. We have caller ID - so know, most all the time, that the call is spam to begin with.  The only people who call here are my mom and a couple of DH's friends, off and on. Maybe a doctors office to remind about an appointment.

DH HAS to answer these telemarketing calls......or rather, when I am home I HAVE to answer them. WHY?!! Well, according to him, if you don't answer it they will keep trying and trying every 5 minutes. I have not noticed that at all and in fact, everything I have read or seen on tv news reports about annoying telemarketing calls, not answering is better. If they don't get a pick up, they eventually take you off the list.

There really is no reason for this to be such a big issue! We just had 3 different calls in a few hour period here (while I'm working from home, so I have to get up each time and go into the kitchen to answer) and DH blows a gasket that it's the phone company's fault. We have an unlisted number.  Put us on the do not call list.  Blah blah blah. I am so sick of having this conversation.

We have been on the national do not call list since the beginning of time. Still doesn't stop all the calls. Just a fact of life.  Doesn't matter if we have an unlisted number - these companies use computer generated lists of telephone numbers and use computers to dial and see if they get a hit. Being on the do not call list doesn't stop them, an unlisted number won't either.

It's such an easily fixed problem! Good Grief!

1) Just don't answer it
2) Turn the ringers off and then you don't even know they are calling. - REAL callers can either start calling our cell #'s or leave a message (I get an email that we have a voicemail), so I know right away from my phone notifications.

We tried method #2 last week after he threw a fit about me not answering it and just letting it go to voicemail (which they don't leave, of course). That only lasted a few hours because he then put in a call for the police sergeant to call him back and he didn't want to miss his call - so we had to turn the ringers back on. Just start giving your cell# as the call back #. How hard is that?

I'm just going to fix the problem by ripping it out of the wall and breaking it over DH's head...and then I'll throw the cordless phones in the garbage! Seriously, working from home shouldn't have to be more stressful and annoying that actually being at the office! I'm not so sure saving $8 in gas by working from home is worth it. My sanity should be worth $8, don't you think? I think instead of categorizing it as gas expense in my budget I should categorize it as "health and well being" haha! An hour there and and hour or so back...plug in an audio book and it's kind of a nice break.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Staying home

I've decided to skip attending the old friends wedding coming up on Saturday. Honestly, I've seen her once in the last 25 years and I know DH could care less about going.  It's a 45 minute drive each way and DD will also be home this weekend. While at the store today to pick up mayonnaise (that I forgot when doing my weekly grocery shopping) I bought a nice card and a $50 gift card to Lowes that I will mail to them. Less than some would send, I guess, but we don't have a lot of money (yes, due to our own stupid mistakes and DH's health situation) so hopefully they will enjoy the gift card and have a long happy marriage.  I am doing my best to have the money for this gift come out of my grocery budget. I should be close. I still have to grocery shop on Saturday and have $158 left in my $400 budget (bi-monthly). My groceries have been running in the $130 range each week, plus a couple of take out dinners. I should be right at about budget, including the gift, so at least it won't have to come out of my "extra" money:  i.e. that which get used for unexpected expenses, or if I'm lucky, to savings.

Me, I'm just getting to be a hermit, I think! I just want peace and quiet and very few people around me lately. A factor of getting old? the stress of living in this drug infested neighborhood, rather than the peaceful quiet dead-end street on acreages its supposed to be?  I just want to stay home, watch tv, take naps, knit, play with my dogs, water the flowers, and look at stuff on my computer or ipad mini.

DH and I are actually doing well being empty-nesters. Even though DD is a gem, DH is actually much more relaxed when she isn't home. I was worried that it would be awful with just me and him by ourselves, but it's been surprisingly ok. The only bad is our neighbor situation (which is stressing him out to no end). I think once DD was out of the house a stress just left him. He doesn't have to feel so "responsible" and like every decision he has to make he has to think of the kids first and do for them first (which we have always done).  We never bought fun things for ourselves or took vacations for ourselves, etc. It's still hard to think of and do stuff for ourselves! We just never did it. It was always about the kids first, no matter what.  She comes home for a visit and it's like he's back in "I gotta be a dad" mode. I can see him literally physically relax when she goes back to school.

We like it just us two. I remember when DS lived here and his girlfriend was here......all the time....for almost 4 years. I remember how relaxing it felt just to have the house ourselves again after he left and they broke up. Now DD's (very nice) boyfriend is here on occasion, when she is home, and it's that same feeling. Like I just can't relax in my own home. Is it just me or do other's experience that feeling? I know some people like having lots of others around. I like my house to myself, I guess.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Getting through the week

I think this week is going to go by fast.  The company owners are out of town this week and my boss generously offered that I could work from home as much as I want this week. Unfortunately, I couldn't yesterday, as I reminded her we had a webinar meeting to do and I needed to be at my work computer with our IT guy, so I had to go in.  I'm working from home today and hopefully can on Thursday too. What I come in under budget in gas this pay period can go as extra towards the home equity loan.

My evenings are being spent watching Season 4 of Game of Thrones. It's on free with our cable this week, so now I can get that season watched and not wait months for the dvds from the library.  I have finished watching all the episodes of Justified, so this was good timing.

While watching tv I'm trying to knit my blanket - for like the 4th time! I don't know what is wrong and why I can't get this one done. It's the same pattern as the one I made DD. It's not that hard!

We tried to have a nice relaxing Sunday with our turkey dinner, but it was just not to be. The drug dealers on our street all left early morning and were gone all day it it looked like we might get a nice quiet day, but the drug dealers behind us were busier than ever, with lots of commotion going on. Yelling at one guy to leave. A couple hours later an apparent overdose of one of their scums, with an ambulance helping someone laying on the ground out in front of their house. Then after dinner witnessed a guy punch a girl right in the face standing on their back porch. That call to 911 got 3 sheriff cars out here!.....only problem is, for whatever idiotic reason, they all came to our street and sat there trying to figure out what was going on...we didn't see them because we were watching out the back. Then they all left in a hurry and didn't even go to the house! DH called dispatch back to make sure he gave the right street address and they said yes, they dispatched to the street behind us. Un-be-lieve-able!  Then when I went to bed we could hear loud talking and yelling. So loud that DH heard it on the other end of the house and he had the tv on. DH got the cops out again and these 2 told him that lately, when they've been running license plates, they are coming up as stolen cars. He's had 4 in last couple of weeks. We live in the freaking ghetto! Except we are out in a nice suburb, or so we thought.

Also found out yesterday that meth addict mom is back living at the dealers on our street, after almost a year absence. Just wonderful. Now the place will be crawling with even more cockroaches and maggots than before.  DH was outside yesterday mowing, etc and 2 church ladies were going door to door (are they nuts?!). They went down to drug dealers first. On their way back past our house DH told them to be careful in this neighborhood, lots of drugs, etc. They said "we just talked to your neighbor Shannon...she was really nice". And DH was like "Shannon? The meth addict is back there?". You should have seen their faces. Yesterday the boys were outside trying to put up keep out/no trespassing signs at the entrance to the cul-de-sac......most likely an attempt to stop all the cops that keep coming down our road and then, of course, turning around in the culdesac (right in front of their house) to leave. Our good neighbor happened to just get home about that time and this time he finally took care of an issue. Went out there and told them they can't do that - the culdesac is part of all of our road easement for this road and the turn around is required and it's not our fault their property owner put their house right on the edge of the culdesac. Also, technically half of the first part of the culdesac is on good neighbors property, which he has to keep reminding them.  So, they put their signs right in front of their house. I told him he should have asked them if they were doing it to stop the 700 people a month going to their house!

Rainy rain rain today, but sunny and in the 60's tomorrow and Thursday.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Weekend odds and ends

Friday was a half day for work (and I worked from home, so no commute!) and I did not have to go in for jury duty! Double YAY! The jury duty is for every Friday this month but I have to call into the recorded line on Thursdays to listen to the recording and see if I have to go in on Friday. I finally got around to calling around noon Thursday and the recording said no jury trials are scheduled for this Friday OR the next, so I am off the hook for at least the first 2 Fridays :)

So, I got a jump start on Saturdays chores. I got the weekly grocery shopping done. Dumb idea. I thought that a noon on a Friday Walmart might not be too busy, but it was packed. Guess schools are out and no one else was working either. Dinner was easy - 2 steaks and baked potatoes. I like dinners that can be made in 15 minutes!

I've gotten used to DD being gone and doing things and errands on my own, but I still need to get myself out of the mindset that, when she will be home, she will hang out and do stuff with me! Bah! Now that she has a boyfriend, when she is home, it's most all spent with him and I keep trying to make plans for her and I to go do something (like have her go flower/garden shopping with me next Saturday) and I need to just stop doing that - I am on my own now, LOL.

And my half sister seems to have gotten very distant the past few months, so that adds to my "alone-ness" feeling of late. We used to email a couple of times a week - for the past few years - and now it's maybe once a month I hear from her. Never having a sister (or brother) all my life it was great to connect with her a few years ago and develop a close friendship (we live 1000 miles apart/she in Canada) but I guess that is past too. I miss it.

I picked up a small turkey when I was grocery shopping (it was too much money for it, but we'll get a couple of dinners out of it and lots of sandwiches) and I am making that today for dinner. Except I forgot gravy and I can't make gravy to save my life, so I'm going to have to go back to the store today.

I went to Home Depot yesterday morning. Got there about 9:30 and it was packed with people already too. I hate crowds. They were advertising 6 packs of annual flowers 5 for $10, but all's they had in were pansies. I picked up 4 packs to plant around the base of the tree in front yard, but other than that I tend to go toward petunias, lobelia and marigolds. They had some of those but only in the single little pots and for the amount I need it would be way to expensive. So, it was kind of a bust to get home and have nothing really to plant.  DH surprised me though and had all the weeds pulled from around the tree, so that was really nice. I also picked up some wire baskets with the coco liners in them to hang on the arbors. Now I just need the flowers! The lady at the store said in 2 more weeks.

Then I stopped at Ross to look at their wind chimes again. I picked a cute one that is like an old lock and keys hanging from it. DH liked it. I also picked up a little lantern with a fake candle in it to put out on the whiskey barrel planter made into a table in our fire pit area. Both were only $8.

So, DH had the wheelbarrow out for me and had weeded around the tree and I got home with not much to to. We got the flowers planted and a few leftover to put in a small pot at our front door. He hung the windchime and put the screws in the arbors to get ready for the hanging baskets.  Then I planted the sweet pea flower seeds out at the back arbor. I hope they grow! I have never planted seeds before. I think I might have gotten them too deep though :/

Dinner was another easy fix - spaghetti and french bread.  And I'll have leftovers to take to work for lunch Monday and Tuesday.  Today I really need to get the vacuuming done.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Helping out

DD bought herself a (supposedly) good Sony 2-in-1 touchscreen laptop about a year ago. It's been nothing but problems. The screen freezes and other issues. She has had it back in to the store at least a couple of times. Then it would work for awhile and a month or two later back at problems. It sat unused all the month of Christmas break and when she got back to school it worked fine - until this week.

She messaged me around dinner time last night that it was not working again and all her chemistry homework this quarter is done online. She was thinking about dipping into her savings account and just buying (another) new one. Right as she was typing that I was typing out that I would buy her a new one - but it would just have to be a basic, no frills, laptop (ie in my budget) that works good (like the Toshiba we have for DH for last 8 years). Then she replied "OMG! Really?!  Can I add some of my own money to it?"  I said if you want to, sure.  I told her I was willing to put $300 towards it for her.

Within 15 minutes she was at Best Buy (the perks of living in a small town where it only takes 5 minutes to get anywhere) and sought the advice of the salesperson, this time, on a dependable laptop in her price range. She ended up buying a Lenovo (one of her suitemates has a Lenovo all school year with no problems) for $450. It is also a 2-in-1 touchscreen, so hopefully it will work better than her first one.  I think many of our salespeople's laptops at work are Lenovo's.

I was glad to finally be in a position where I can help her out like that. She was very appreciative and I know having a reliable laptop is a must in college. Some of her tests are even done on the computer and she'd rather not have to always be going to the computer lab. I know she is trying to use as little of her savings as possible while going to school and not working. She finally got smart for this quarter and realized she needs to be using all her meal plan and not spending money every week at the grocery store to put food in her dorm. She wasn't eating in the dining hall much, but now she is for breakfast and dinners. Her meal plan also has "dining dollars" which she can use at various places on campus - Starbucks, Subway, etc. The dollars roll forward to the next quarter and she has a lot of dollars left from the first 2 quarters. I asked her if there was some kind of small campus type of store where she could use those dollars, to buy milk, juice, snacks, etc that she keeps buying at the grocery store and there is, so she is going to start using up her dining dollars to purchase from there instead of using her own savings money.

I give her $100 a month, but that was supposed to mainly be for money for activities. She does some, but if not, she puts it towards her phone bill or gas for her car. She has to do an internship this summer and they are all paying jobs, averaging about $2500 a month so she should be able to save $5000-$7000 this long as she doesn't end up with a ghastly commute and have to spend it all on gas to get to the internship.

She spoke with her adviser yesterday about her terrible physics grade. She has to retake the class and get at least a B+ and at least an A- this quarter in Chemistry, to get her GPA where it needs to be for her degree program. Eek. She will have to take the Physics again next Fall quarter, but she is going to check and see if it's something she can take this summer at our local community college instead and transfer the credits to her school. She already took a Chem class while she was at the community college (but for some reason it wouldn't transfer) and she got an A- or B+ so hopefully this will basically be just a refresher for her and she'll be able to get that A out of it she needs.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

An update

Back last August I made this post:

I am just sure there is someone out there wondering how these cheap panties are holding up after 8 months have gone by now! (LOL). Well, honestly, they are all in basically the same condition as the first time I washed and wore them. None of them are falling apart at all.  They are on track to last just as long, probably longer,  as my average pair of $8 panties would 80 CENTS each!!  I am going to count this purchase a big success in the "let's be frugal and cheap out" category.

That's it. That's all I got today :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April has arrived

April is here! This is the month I get to try planting the sweet pea flower seeds I bought for the back arbor. Saturday is looking the best day so far, but still not that great at only about 57 degrees. I want to put clematis on the front arbor, but I think those are actual plants I have to buy, not seeds. As soon as my local guy, who sells plants from his front yard at great prices, opens up for the season I will go see what he has. He's always my first choice for perennials because most everything he has is only $5 for a plant in a gallon container. My second place I try to visit and buy from is a nursery just down the road from us. I think he's been in business longer than we have lived here (25 years) and housing developments have gone up all around him, but he's still there. He's kind of pricey but when I need knowledge to go along with my purchase I choose him over the home improvement stores garden centers. We have bought several large trees from him and the ground cover we put out by our fence.  I want to also plant some creeping thyme back under one of the big trees in the back yard and will probably end up getting that from him - unless my $5 guy has some!

My new "teeth" are still MIA. LOL. I was supposed to have my dental appointment today to get my permanent veneers put on (rescheduled from two weeks ago) but got another call on my way home from work yesterday that they still have not shown up.  Dentist office lady is getting a bit frustrated, so instead of making yet another appointment that she has to cancel on me, she is going to get ahold of the place that they have make the veneers and find out what is taking so long. I think it's been 5 weeks now. I'm fine. The temporaries look great and so much better than before.

Friday our office is closing at noon......Friday is also my first day of jury duty. Watch my luck - I'll get half a day off work and end up having to spend it all at the courthouse. I have to call the recorded line sometime tomorrow to find out if I have to go in, apparently. Maybe they shouldn't hold court on Good Friday ;)

DD told me last night she will be coming home for the weekend after this weekend. I asked why so soon (not that I'm complaining!) and she said she doesn't have much to do on most weekends other than study and her roomie is still being an immature brat, so she'd just rather be home and hang out. She doesn't have her first class on Mondays until noon this quarter, so she can also spend Sunday night home and head back up on Monday morning. She got back up to school Monday night (after spring break week) around 10:20 (roomie had just gotten back just before her). DD said "hi!- how was your break? I'll be back in a few minutes, I have more bags to get out of my car. " DD said she got back and roomie had all the lights off in their room and was laying in her bed watching Netflix! And then says to DD..."oh I guess you can turn the light back on if you need to".  I told DD just to call her out on her crappy attitude.  I did that once years ago (in my mid 20's) with a rude bitchy co-worker and suddenly she got all flustered and didn't know what to say. She was fairly nice after that. haha.  I told DD she only has to put up with her 11 more weeks and then be done with her and dorm life.