Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The cost of being disorganized

My old ways of dis(non)-organization has come back to annoy me.

I get a call today from the bank that holds our Home Equity Loan. Supposedly I got some information in the mail recently (I did not) letting me know my interest only payment period was up in August and my loan would then convert to the repayment of principal and interest.

Well, this was totally news to me! We took this HELOC out in Jan of 2008. At that time it was a loan that was 5 years interest only and then 5 more years of principal and interest payments. At that time we had no idea DH would get sick and not be able to continue working, nor did we know the economy was about to basically collapse. It was a loan that we had planned using income from his business to repay. In 2010, as we were in the midst of filing for bankruptcy, that bank was bought out by another bank. The month before we were actually filing the bankruptcy papers, I get a letter from this new bank, offering me new terms on our HELOC. From what I recall (and have always had in my mind the past 5 years now) was that the new terms being offered were same interest rate, 10 years (from that date forward) of interest only payments and after that it would convert to a 20 year regular loan with principal and interest payments. I took the deal, signed and sent in the paperwork. DH was no longer working at the extra time to pay off this loan was much needed.

So, that is the loan schedule I have had in my mind the past 5 years now. Imagine my surprise to get this call. I brought up the fact that I had basically refinanced this loan 5 years ago - what about that? She was clueless and kept saying, well that is what we offer now, if you want to try and refinance. What? I told her I would have to dig up my paperwork copies I signed 5 years ago and re-read it all, because 10 years is distinctly what I remember.

And there's the rub.......I was always SOOO unorganized. Papers just in big piles. Nothing filed. I thought I had filed this (it was really only a few pieces of paper) with our bankruptcy papers, but it's not there.  I still have some "piles" of papers - that when I finally got somewhat more organized I just put into some boxes - to be dealt with at a later date (which has never come). Now I really want to find that paperwork from 5 years ago!

This bank has been pretty messed up the past several months. They bought out another local bank and then converted to a whole new computer system. First they sent out past due letters in error. The company I do my side job for also uses this bank and it's been kind of messed up there too. I couldn't print out bank statements online anymore. I inquired and was told the company owner would have to call and give them permission to allow me to have access.  I am a signer on the company account! You'd think I'd have access to statements, not to mention I have had for almost 6 years previous! Then owner calls and I still have no access and he had to call a second time. He wasn't too thrilled with the bank by then.

And just as I was writing that out I had a flashback of me putting that paperwork in the folder with our original loan documents! Ok! I really think that is where it's at.  Now, I just have to figure out which box that paperwork is in. LOL  I can picture it in my mind though - it's a big folder with the bank logo on it - legal size, so it didn't fit in our filing cabinets. It's in one of the boxes of paperwork. I am really dying to figure this out and see whether I am right or the bank is right.  Moral of the story? Be organized to begin with.

Savings and life insurance

Payday today. I feel so rich, haha. With the bonus, regular pay and my side job pay, in addition to what was already in my checking and savings. But, I just paid bills - so not quite so "rich" anymore....

My monthly deposits into my Capital One Savings accounts is easy and going well. I now have $400 in my savings for taxes from my side job, $60 in my savings for our annual water bill, and $90 in my long term pet's care savings. Next month I will be starting another one for my annual life insurance policy payment.  I've also managed to pay down $416 towards my (huge) home equity loan by adding a little extra to the interest only payment each month. I just add my $25 internet reimbursement from work, whatever I earn on my debit card cash back and whatever I come in under budget in gas and groceries.

Yep - I finally got the final paperwork to sign for the life insurance policy on myself. I feel like I got such a grown up task done. I got the paperwork packet in the mail on Saturday. I was kind of scared to open it as my last "quote" had gone up to $48/mo and it was still to change - depending on the results of my medical exam.  The final policy price ended up even lower than I think I was originally quoted! $330 a year. I was so happy and also so proud of myself for finally getting this done. Now I will put away $27 a month to savings to cover the premium next year this time.  Next up is some kind of will - most likely I'll be going with Sluggy's recommendation of a revocable living trust.

DD is taking my mom to a doctor's appointment for a CT scan (or something like that). I don't know what is wrong with her and hopefully this will give her an answer. She keeps saying that when she sits down her stomach and chest area feels tight. Apparently it only happens when she sits. She was supposed to have the test last week, but she had to reschedule it because it was first thing in the morning and she wasn't feeling well. So she made the appointment today for an early afternoon time. Now she called DD and asked her to take her, because she doesn't feel well. I really think she is just stressing herself out over it. She feels well enough to go back and forth to her boyfriends a couple times a week, go to church, the casino, etc.  Honestly, my guess is that her problem is really that she just needs to lose quite a bit of weight. She is very small framed and 5'4" and I think all the weight is making her very uncomfortable (getting near the 200 pound range). If the scan doesn't find anything, then I don't know what the next step is to figuring out her problem.

The wind chimes I put outside our French doors (and near where my desk is on the inside wall) sound so pretty! They just have a beautiful sound and DH loves them too. The sound is still kind of a nice surprise when the wind catches it.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Bring on the (short) week

Saturday was really such a quiet day. DH spent all of it in bed (when he wasn't in the bathroom!) and since really there was nothing I could do for him I just pretty much had the day to myself. With it being so hot out I had all the blinds shut to try to keep as cool inside as possible. I pretty much sat and watched Game of Thrones most of the day.  I missed out knowing there was a free HBO weekend with our cable service last weekend, so I decided to download the free month trial of HBO Now to my ipad mini, so I could watch Season 5. I finished yesterday (poor Jon Snow!) and now will have to find something else to try watching, while I still have almost a month to enjoy it. I won't be spending $15 a month to keep the subscription. If I really wanted HBO, I think I could add it to my cable for $10 a month.

DD went and did the grocery shopping for me that morning, since I felt one of us should be at home in case DH needed anything. Then she was off with her boyfriend the rest of the weekend. I knew they were having a busy day/night Saturday and wouldn't be getting back to his house until around 2 am......and then they had planned to do a 25 mile bike ride Sunday morning. I was a bit worried about her. Just getting over the flu, then a late night, not much sleep and an early morning bike run and it's like 90 degrees out. Apparently they did sleep in and got a later start, but I was still worried about her as she has never rode a bike 25 miles. They had already signed up and paid for the bike run, so they wanted to do it. But she just texted me that they decided to only do the 12 mile ride and were done and alive:)

The heat wave/drought we are having is sure hard on all my flowers. But, my lilac bushes appear to be loving it
 It sure has grown in the 2 years since I planted it! Here is a picture from before:

Oh, I miss the green grass! I am having to water everything in the morning and evening now. I put my phone in my pocket so see how much I walk around the property during all the watering and tending - three quarters of a mile!

DD and I got out of the house last evening. We went over to Kohl's for some shopping. I had coupons for $15 off $30 purchase, plus earn $10 Kohl's cash if spend $50 (after coupons).  For $67 I got a blouse, a knit top, a t-shirt and a white tank top. After the $15 in coupons it was just over $50, so I also got $10 Kohl's cash for a future purchase.  I told DD I would treat her (from my bonus) to whatever she wanted for around the same amount of money. She got a cute maxi skirt, 2 bras, and some drinking glasses for her apartment next Fall. She thought she was over $65 (before coupons) but prices are always marked wrong on the displays (at least at our Kohl's) so one of the items was $5 less than she thought it would be, so she didn't qualify for the $10 Kohl's cash. I told her to go back in the next day or so and buy something else for $6 or so and take both receipts to customer service, so she could get the $10 - at least I read somewhere that you could do that, as long as it was still in the promotional period.

Then we stopped at Ross, as I was hoping to find jeans. Their selection ladies sized jeans was pathetic. Like 2 pair of size 8. There wasn't anything in junior sizes that I liked or wanted. Then we decided to go get some pie about 5 miles down the road and stop at the other Ross store on our way back. I had better luck there. Found a really soft pair of Calvin Klein jeans for $25. They are so comfortable. DD saw a really cute hamper she liked and it was only $12.99, so I bought that for her too. She bought the pie :)

My boss offered me to work from home today, but I declined! I was so cooped up most of the weekend that I am ready to get out of the house. Besides, I'm listening to a really good audio book and want to get back it it - haha! I'm listening to Inferno by Dan Brown. I have always enjoyed those Robert Langdon stories and movies and I guess this one will be a movie next year.

Enjoy the day!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

I was ready for the weekend

Just when I thought we were in the clear of DH getting this nasty flu, he has come down with it during the middle of last night. Being sick like that really affects him and he will most likely be down for the count for several days. I remember when my dad (who had MS) would get a cold or flu, it would really wipe him out.  It doesn't help that the temperature outside is in the 90's. I am so thankful we put in those 2 window a/c units. It really has helped keep the house at a tolerable level. I'm also very glad I am over it, while he is going through it. My fear was he would get it same time as me (exposed to DD same as me) and we'd be sick at the same time.  I guess my flu shot last Fall didn't carry over to whatever this flu bug was.

I had to go into the office yesterday and am glad it was just basically a day of meetings where I didn't have to do much. The first meeting was a communications workshop for 2 hours. Easy and relatively informative and entertaining. I am considered an "amiable/analytical" communicator. No surprise there. My boss was mostly amiable - no surprise there to anyone. The funny part was when the presenter was describing an analytical type - she was using her father as an example - who would plan every little detail of a family vacation down to the smallest detail. She was describing me to a T. LOL. I'm like ok - I'm analytical.

The second was a company meeting to go over our 2nd quarter, hand out bonus checks (yay!) and give us another great perk. Basically we are getting 1 extra day of paid time off per month. 12 days a year!  On a rotating basis (to make sure the office is covered), every other week, get a half day off and work from home that first half of the day, to ease the crappy commute most folks have. It will be on a 3 month trial basis and if it is working for the departments/company it will become a permanent thing. Pretty cool and everyone is pretty excited. It won't affect my commute, since I work from home most of the time anyway, but for those who are in the office 5 days a week, 9 hours a day, it will be great.

DD and I were going to go to an indoor vintage flea market today, but that is out now that I need to hang around home to take care of DH. Guess I'll just get stuff done in the house. It will be too hot out to stay outside much. I do need to go grocery shopping and will get to that next.

Earlier in the week DH and I talked about taking a week or so vacation - just a drive, see some scenery, visit some friends, but in the end he decided he'd rather use the money to get some things fixed/done on his old 1999 pick up (that is still almost like new). We added the running board steps already. He needs some maintenance work done and wants to get the inside of his toolbox sprayed with liner.

I need a few things in the way of clothing. I could really use another pair of jeans, now that I seem to be firmly ensconced in size 8. I only have 2 pair of size 8's and am always uncomfortable when I try and wear the 6's, when the 8's are in the wash. I also need a few new t-shirts just for everyday at home wear. I bought a couple at Kohl's a few months ago but they are too thin and stretchy. I also need a couple of tops for work. Two of the ones I wear on a regular basis are wearing out and looking shabby. One even has a tiny hole in it. I will try Ross first.

Wish me luck for the weekend of being a nurse........

Friday, June 26, 2015

We interupt this regularly scheduled blog....

for a rip roaring case of the stomach flu! UGH! DD got it Monday and I got it 36 hours later. Finally feeling better today, but have to get into the office for 2 meetings going on today. Back to normal soon, I hope.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Just do your job!

One of the issues in our neighborhood, just around the corner from our house, is the vacant/foreclosed house that has been sitting empty for 2 years now. It is trashed inside (according to the police deputies.) The house has an attached garage and there is a side door to get into the garage/house (as well as normal garage doors).  The main front door and a couple of windows have been boarded up.  The side garage door is the access point all the tweekers and squatters use to get into the house. It is found open at least weekly. According to the deputies the inside is full of needles, garbage and human feces. Disgusting.

A few times I have called the police (non emergency line) to report the house has been broken into again and also, since the police patrol our area so often, they watch to see if the door it open and will close it up. I have reported this to the county in January and again in April. It has always made me nervous that there are quite a few kids that have to walk past this house early mornings and afternoons on their way to the bus stop at the end of the main private road into our neighborhood.

I was driving past one day last week and of course the door was open again. The door just needs boarding up. How hard is that?! This time I snapped a picture of the door open and included it in my online complaint/report to the county. The next morning I got a call from a county person, who says the file is still open (from my last complaint in April or so) and someone was working on it in another department and gave me her number, so I could inquire as to the status of the open case.

Wow - was that lady ever a B.I.T.C.H! Seriously, I am like the sweetest person on the phone to people. I told her I got her number from the other county department and was calling to inquire on an open case. She said she has contacted the property management company for the house last April, but hasn't gotten a resolve and the case is still open. So, I just said "ok, well the house is still getting broken into weekly, so I wanted to let you know." Then she starts to tell me there is a sign on the house somewhere with info as who the property management company is and contact info.....I stop her and say I am not getting out of my car and going near that house. It is used by druggies and homeless people on a regular basis. I do not feel safe. Then she start to give me the name and phone number of the contact person at the property management company. I stop her again and ask "well, is that MY job to contact them about this?" She curtly replies "I'll do it, then".

Why the heck would I call them? It's the county's responsibility to get this taken care of and make the property management company/bank that owns this house take care of it. Not to mention they also now stopped taking care of the landscaping. They did have someone regularly mowing it (it's an acre property) and now it's 2 feet high of weeds (which is also another no-no). She really ticked me off with her attitude.  Her department is code enforcement - that's her whole job!

On a semi-related issue - my property taxes went up almost $400 this year, as they upped the value of our home quite a bit. My mortgage is going up $61 a month. Ouch! I'm really tempted to fight this large increase in our property value. With the direct neighbor who's acre and 1/4 is literally filled every piece of junk imaginable and this abandoned disgusting house and it's use, I really do not think my house value has gone up - if anything it should be less. We would really have trouble selling our place for any decent amount of money with the neighbor we have.

Saturday, June 20, 2015


DD went on a camping trip with her BF this weekend, so it's just me and DH.  It will be a quiet weekend, but warm and sunny. Mid to high 70's. I am thankful we have our 2 window air conditioners. They keep the house just right and don't add too much to our electricity bill.

I'm totally bombing at trying to grocery shop for 2 weeks at once and just fill in with a trip the other week for fresh items and other misc things I might have forgot. Well, I forgot a lot. My list for this trip is almost as long as last week. I'll give it another month of trying.  This might not have been the best time to start trying this shopping method, with DD home for the summer. I'm not estimating very well how much she eats, etc.

I got my hair cut yesterday. Quite a bit cut off, actually. It was getting really long, so I had her chop off about 3 inches and now I basically have a long bob, since she didn't really layer the rest too much. I am liking it. My hair is kind of wavy, so with this length I can just leave it natural, tuck it behind my ears and good to go, if I don't want to dry and use the curling or flat iron. I can't just let it go natural waves when it gets long. It looks all stringy. I'm lazy most days, so this is easier to style this way.

Tonight's dinner will be home made pizza. We haven't had that in about a month or so and since it only takes 15 minutes to bake, I won't need the oven on too long. Tomorrow will be hamburgers on the BBQ. I totally burned them last week! I don't know why. The only thing I can think of is that I bought ground beef that is higher in fat (for more flavor) and the extra fat dripping created more flames and burned them. Usually my problem is I don't cook them long enough. I am still a crappy BBQ'er.

I had one more "task" to get Dh's new computer set up like his old one. UGH. I totally did not know I even needed to figure this out. He maintains a website for a club we used to belong to. He really has zero idea how it all works, other than DS set it all up on his computer and he knows just enough to get into it and make changes on the website. It's all done via ftp......which I have ZERO knowledge of. Somehow I lucked out figuring out how to copy the ftp folder to his external drive and then adding it to his new computer desktop. It worked. BIG HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF!! If it hadn't worked I have no idea how I would have figured it out.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Saved about a hundred bucks

DH needed Word and Excel on his new 'puter. Crap. We previously had Office 2010 (something DS installed from what, I don't know). I didn't want to spend $100 or so to buy a new program. I found a download for like $70 (but didn't know if it was from a reputable site or not). Then I remembered I had bought DD a 4 year student subscription to Microsoft Office 365...maybe it could be used on more than one computer? Yep, it can! She wasn't being very helpful in trying to figure this out for me.  First she complained she couldn't remember her log in and password. Then once she got signed in, it showed she had already used her 2 installations allowed and says "I can't add another one". I said "right there, in the middle of your screen, it says "Deactivate an installation"!!  Geez! (her first install was on her old laptop she doesn't have anymore). Two minutes later she had it installed on her dad's computer. How hard was that? and I saved a bunch of money on something that he rarely needs, but when he needs it he needs it and it's a program he's familiar with and know how to use (which is saying a lot, LOL)

Speaking of money, I just saw the list of mid-year bonus's to be paid out. We will get our bonus checks at the end of next week. Wooo! $3800 - with, of course, LOTS of taxes taken out. I will net $2560. If sales keep going this same way for the rest of the year I will see another check the same amount in December. I'm still wondering what my 10 year anniversary "gift" will be, come September.

Since we aren't earmarking it for a vacation, I guess some of it will be used for some various things. There is a toolbox from Costco that DH would really like. I will spend some on re-decorating the extra bedroom into an office. I will try to use what we have, as much as possible, but I might end up buying a futon to replace the twin sized captains bed. Whatever desk option I decide on will pretty much be a DIY piece, so it won't cost much. There is a big L-shaped oak desk in there now. It was a hand-me down years ago from my parents. I have never really liked it and if I decide to use it, I will probably paint or stain it. My preferred desk is just a long flat desktop with file cabinets on each end. IKEA sells just desktops really cheap, or DH mentioned we have a couple of 6ft nice folding tables out in storage in the garage. I could use one of those. Stick some file cabinets underneath on each end. Cover the top with some fabric or something and then a piece of plexiglass on top. The 3rd option is there is a piece to DH's "executive" desk set that is basically exactly what I need. He just has it behind his desk, up against the wall with a bunch of stuff stored on top of it (and not much in the 2 file cabinets on each end). I could steal that desk piece and put the long dresser that is in the bedroom in it's place. He will still have the top to put stuff on and all the drawers to use.  I haven't brought that idea up to him yet.

If I keep the twin captain's bed, then I will need a new cover and lots of pillows to make it look more like a sofa. I'd much rather just give the bed away and get a futon, so that we will also have a full sized bed available. It would have come in handy when my half-sister visited and I could have given them that option instead of a hotel.

Between my one debit card being hacked and my bank sending out a new debit card (for my checking account) because they added some security feature, I have had to go change everything that I have set up to pay using either of these 2 cards. And then, when I get my new rewards debit card, I will have to go back and change them all again.  It will be a week to 10 days before my new replacement card arrives, but at least I still have my regular debit card to use. I just won't be earning any rewards cash back during that time.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

See what I meant? (or learning our security camera system)

Getting our camera security system program installed on DH's new computer learned me some new skills on how to navigate my way around the program. I even learned how to replay video and capture a photo of it! It's kind of a neat system, once you can figure it out.

Here is last Saturday afternoon....when the quad riding had moved to the front of the neighbors house and quieted down for about 15 minutes. Our system doesn't produce the highest resolution photos (and this was snapped from a video replay) but here you see looking out from our front door (our garage/shop is off to the right). Pay particular attention to the upper left of the screen - over the fence out front...... the air is all clear and calm.

Here is what it looked like 5 minutes later, when the quad started riding in the back of their property again. You can't even see their climbing toy or their house and outbuildings anymore.

That is basically the amount of dirt they were blowing for almost 6  straight hours! (not to mention the noise) Luckily it was blowing just a bit away from us, but after the 3rd time the wind shifted and blew it into our open garage, I had had enough and I left a voice mail with the neighbors, very nicely asking if they could please water down the area a bit, so we all weren't getting dusted out. I really don't think that was out of line, given the amount of dirt they were flinging into neighbors! (the poor lady who lives to the right of their property!) Or maybe I am just a cranky old lady, who should just stay in her house and mind her own business, LOL.

I can't think of a good title.....

The week was just plugging along and hit a snag yesterday. I was doing my (pretty much) daily online check at my bank account and my PayPal account where I have a debit card that I use for just about everything. There is a pending charge on it for Jos A Banks for $25.  %*$&$ was my reaction. Fraud again. I didn't buy anything there and it certainly isn't DH's dress style.  I can't dispute it until it becomes "completed" status. I was hoping to log in this morning and see it in that status so I could get the dispute started and get this taken care of.  Over the past couple of years I have now had fraud twice on this card and once on my regular checking account debit card.  The part that is making me nervous is that I can't dispute it until it comes out of "pending" status, but the disclaimer in PayPal always says that this pending charge may not be the final amount that goes through. Hopefully tomorrow I can get this taken care of.

It is so dry here this year. DH keeps watering and our lawn is still almost all brown. Not a normal June around here. DH talked to a friend last night who knows a good deal about lawns and he said it's basically August around here. He has a much smaller yard and said he is watering twice a day and can't keep it green, so we are just going to give up on it this summer. With the size of our lawn DH would be spending 4 hours a day trying to water and move sprinklers around.  Plus with the drought we are basically experiencing we don't want to put a strain like that on our well. (see - we are conscientious neighbors! LOL) We'll just have to keep the trees, plants and flowers watered.

My Fridays off work basically start on July 3. That is a paid holiday for the company and then I'll use up some of my vacation days for the rest of the Fridays for July and August. It will be nice to have 3 day weekends and hopefully get a few projects done. Mostly painting rooms inside the house. DD wants to repaint her bedroom also. So that makes 3 rooms to repaint. Not my favorite thing to do, but needs to be done.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Stock up sale

I've never had this much toilel paper at once in my whole life! LOL. And these are 30 roll (double roll) packs. I don't even know where I am going to put them. A few months ago we went through a trying out different brands of toilet paper phase. DH is so sensitive to everything -smells and touch. He decided he didn't like the toilet paper we had used for years anymore. So, every time we needed TP I tried a different brand. This is the one I liked best and he had no complaints, so that's what I've been buying.

Target has a good deal this week. The 30 packs are $16.29 ea. In the newspaper inserts there are $1.50 off one 24 pack or larger coupons. I had 2 of those coupons. Plus there is a Target store coupon for $1.50 off 2. On top of that - buy 2 packs and get a $10 Target gift card. I figured this was a deal worth stocking up on. Now I just gotta figure out a place to store them. Going to have to get a bit creative, I guess.

On a different topic - I guess I am going to get a Costco membership again.. There is a toolbox they sell that DH has been wanting. He found it online, but it was $99 shipping (ouch!) and it said some stores may carry in stock. DD and I stopped in Costco yesterday morning. God, that place just makes my anxiety level go up! I think they had only been open about 40 minutes and the whole parking lot was absolutely packed. They did have several of the tool boxes in stock, though. I'm not buying it yet. Just wanted to see if they carry it, first. DD decided she could use the Costco while at college, so I guess I will renew and get her a card too.  I'm also probably going to need to get an eye exam/new glasses within the next year and would definitely want to get my glasses there again, anyway.

Saturday, June 13, 2015


This should have been a really nice sunny, peaceful Saturday hanging around outside and working in our garage with the garage doors open.  The whole drug dealing family pulled out this morning and I thought "nice! We'll have a bit of peace and quiet for awhile - no tweakers up and down our little street". Then the neighbors directly in front of us (the one's who ignore it all by putting up a 7 foot fence and pretend nothing is going on around them) decided to let their grandkids drive a quad around their backyard. We have been listening to this loud quad run around their back yard (they have about 1 1/2 acres) for 5 hours straight. I don't know what their backyard looks like (because of the tall fence) but it must be a whole bunch of dirt because the quad has been kicking up a HUGE dust storm. Luckily it's been blowing a bit aways from our direction or our garage would have been filled with dirt dust! The quad riding was only about 75 feet away from our garage doors. A few times the wind did shift and we got a bit of it. By that time I had had enough.

I downloaded a decibel meter app to my phone and went out and stood in the middle of our driveway. 80-90 dB....for 5 straight hours! I went in and tried to call the neighbor, but got her voicemail, so I kindly asked if we could ask a favor of them....could they please spray some water down in the area they are running the quad so it will cut down on the constant dust storm?

WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE??!!  I have so had it with the human race. I guess I'm just getting cranky in my old age.  I am seriously ready to just move to a remote location with no neighbors in sight or sound of me.

UPDATE: I go back outside after I type this and DH says they must have gotten your phone message. They've been riding out at the front of their house now. No sooner does he say that and here comes the quad back to the backyard again and kicks up this huge dirt storm - which blows right into our open garage! DH went over to the fence and stood on one of the bottom stringer boards and was tall enough to see over the fence and yelled at them to knock it off! Spray some water down, we are tired of all the dirt! Freaking people. I am so sick of people. Period.

Saturday at home

It's nice to have a Saturday morning where I don't have to get ready and go out grocery shopping. DD and I did the deed yesterday afternoon. We were going to run to the hardware store this morning, for a few things DH needs, but his new running board steps for his pick up were delivered this morning. So now he has DD helping him with installing those. It's going to be a total "over-do" day for him.

I spent the sunny morning out watering all the flowers and plants. I love the early mornings out in the sun. All the birds chirping and our neighbors chicken's clucking. DH installed some filters on our outdoor faucets, so as not to plug up the soaker hoses and sprinklers with the crap that comes through with our water. It was kind of any ugly eye-sore with the big filter and all the hoses attached, so he built a nice box to go around it and we painted it to match the shed with our leftover house paint. I think it turned out really nice. He used leftover scrap wood for the frame, but we were out of the siding board, so I had to pick one of those up at the hardware store. I like how they will cut wood for you and we had them cut it in half, which made it much easier for us to get home.

My clematis on the front arbor is blooming! So pretty. I wasn't expecting any blooms this year and am really excited to see that it is already blooming.

There's also one planted that will produce white flowers, but that one hasn't bloomed yet. It's going to look gorgeous someday when it's just full of blooms.

Friday, June 12, 2015

I'm tired and glad it's Friday

It's been frustrating (and exhausting) few days. DH's old computer still keeps having issues and in doing some diagnostics I realized he has no memory left, which is probably why it's running so slow. That old computer just can't keep up with running 2 home security camera systems on it, as well as being used regularly by him all day for other stuff. Wednesday afternoon I went and bought him a new desktop tower. I figured it might be better to do it now, while I still have access to how his old computer is all set up (done by DS), rather than a hard drive crash or something where I couldn't get to any of it.

While an IT person could have had this all set up in a matter of hours, it's has taken me days to figure out how to get all the programs to work right, mainly the security camera system(s). I know DS set it all up and had to do some "work arounds" to get both systems to work on one computer .I think I finally have it all working now. It does work faster and has twice as much memory (as the old one) and tons of hard drive space. Unfortunately, it also came with Windows 8, so that's a new learning curve for DH (and by association, me). I also still need to possibly purchase Windows Office - unless I can figure out a way to get it off his old computer. I think DS added to the old computer via a download, no discs are around anywhere.

DH and change don't mix whatsoever. Enough said. 

Add in all the traffic on our little street Wed and Thurs nights - and I got very little sleep Thursday night. The drug sellers that live in the house on our road and the druggies buying were walking (and some cars, who leave their headlights off) back and forth literally every few minutes. And they weren't being quiet about it at all. Talking loud, making lots of noises. About 11pm Thurs night Dh needed to go outside (as well as the dogs needed their nightly pee break) and turn the soaker hoses off, but every time he opened the door or looked out the window, someone was walking by and of course the dogs would start barking if they saw them. Finally at 11:30, after they just walked by again, he thought he was safe to go outside for a few minutes. Just as he was turning the water off out by our garage (nearest the road) here comes one of the dealers (and another person) back down the street. Dh says to them "can you please quiet it down for the night? it's after 11pm and my wife has to get up and work in the morning". He got an "f...you, etc' from the dealer/addict who lives in the house. Then in his usual fashion he starts freaking out and tries to charge towards dh, but of course there is a 4 foot chain link fence separating them. This is like the 4th time this kid has done this to DH. He's about a 100 pound meth addict, so dh isn't too worried if he ever actually got to him (dh is 6'1" and over 200 pounds).  Dh got on his phone right then and reported it. The cops were called out for the second night in a row. The night before DH had a long conversation with one deputy who said they have discovered there is also a theft "ring" going on by the youngest of the house (we suspected this) so they are also working on that. The deputies the second night said they just had some good news that morning that the county jail is adding like 14 officers and opening up a whole floor that is unused, so they feel they will be better able to start actually making arrests, rather then having to know there is no point to an arrest, unless it's really bad, because the jail won't keep them. (what a joke!)

Things have quieted down since last night - the computer seems to be running how dh needs it to, the weather has cooled down a whole bunch, and only 20 or so in and out last night compared to 80 -ha!
Looking forward to the weekend. I've got my 2 week grocery shopping to attempt again and in search of a pedestal base for my new birdbath.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A nice day off

I had a very nice day off yesterday. DD and I got to her college town about 9:30 in the morning (after almost a 3 hour drive). Stopped for some coffee (used my Starbucks gift card) and the guy gave us a free pastry because they had accidentally heated an extra one up and needed to get rid of it. Then we went to the bookstore on campus. DD wanted to see if she could sell some of her books back. She was pleasantly surprised to get $113 out of them. Her final was at 10:30 so she headed off to take that and I headed back to my car to head down to the park for a walk.

I had a leisurely relaxing walk in perfect weather. I ended up walking about 3 miles. I was still waiting for DD to text me she was done with her test (and the park was starting to get crowded) and I drove over to a nearby drugstore to pick up a couple of things I forgot to get while grocery shopping last weekend. When I got back to my car at noon, DD texted me she was all finished and just had to meet up with a girl she was selling one of her textbooks to. She got another $40 for that one.

I picked her up and we headed about an hour back toward the direction of home and stopped in a cute little town who's downtown area was just antique shops and restaurants. We had lunch outside at a cute bakery cafe. It wasn't the best lunch we've had. I didn't realize the sandwich would be toasted and I prefer my bread nice and soft. Then we walked around all the shops. We both realized that we prefer the shops that are kind of set up for home decor style, rather than the actual antique shops that are just filled to the brim with antiques.  I did find this weathered sundial birdbath

I didn't take the picture at a very good angle, but it's a boy fishing.  I still need to find something to use as a base for it. The shop had it setting on this little stone base that was only about 6 inches tall (sold separately) and was too low for me, so I'll be in search of something to set this on that is at least knee high!

It took us 2 hours to get home in afternoon traffic (and that was using the carpool lane - ugh!) and we stopped near home and picked up DH some Arby's for dinner (I had a 2/$5 coupon). I was super tired last night and ended up walking about 4.5 miles for the day. Need more days like that one :)

Monday, June 8, 2015

What's a vacation?

A few weeks ago I posted about my idea to use my mid year bonus (paid at end of June) on some kind of vacation for DH and I this year.  My thoughts were some trip we could drive to (dh likes to drive) or an Alaskan cruise. My other idea (which doesn't use any money, but uses up some of my oodles of PTO hours) was to take off Friday's this summer. My boss ok'd that idea and it has been really appealing to me.  I haven't brought either idea up to DH the past couple of weeks, because he has been so moody and crabby, but today (now in a better mood) he mentioned "we should go on a trip somewhere". I told him I get my mid year bonus in a few weeks and thought we should take a vacation. He asked what my ideas were so I threw out a few suggestions. As I totally called it (when DD and I were talking about it the other day), he had a reason to turn down every suggestion.

My first was a drive to sight see Yellowstone National Park. His reason for saying no: too many people there. My next suggestion was a drive to mid-west to take in some of the dirt track racing he loves. This was the idea that seemed to appeal to him the most (I figured it would) but even that he had reasons not to. He doesn't want to be traveling and always wake up feeling sick (like he does every day at home) and not feel like going and doing stuff.  My third suggestion was the cruise, which he said would be fun, but then you get to ports and have to go do stuff and he didn't want to do that. Good grief! Flying is out - I HATE flying with him. He is too stressed and can't just go with the flow.

So, I just dropped it and didn't try to persuade him any further. He's the type that needs to think on things for awhile. He'll complain that he never gets to go on a vacation, but now that he can he probably won't take one, but at least he can't use it on me to complain to me any longer!

Taking Friday's off for July and August just keeps sounding better and better to me. 3 day weekends!

Meanwhile, tomorrow is my one day mini vacation. I am so excited for it. Once I drop DD off at college for her test (which could take up to 2 hours) I am heading to the water! A nice walk, lots of sun, just sit and relax until she calls to tell me to pick her up. Then we will drive back towards home and stop halfway to do some antique store shopping and have lunch. The weather will be mid 80's. It all just sounds like a perfect day to me.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

She's home!

DD finished her group presentation late yesterday morning for her management class, finished getting the last few things loaded in her car and got all checked out of her dorm room and headed on home for the summer. She is so excited to be home and I am so excited to have her home. Her rude/moody roommate got back from class when DD was leaving but she gave her a hug and said goodbye. DD said as she was walking out the door roomie said "don't worry about cleaning. I can do it all". DD said I already vacuumed and wiped down my whole side of the room, so you shouldn't have to do anything but your side...."

She does have one last final on Tuesday morning, but she has some pre-scheduled plans at home this weekend, so she decided to just fully check out yesterday.  She will just drive back up to school on Tuesday morning (2 1/2 hr drive), take the test, and come back home. I decided to take the day off work and drive up with her.  That way she can take advantage of the carpool lane and hopefully shorten the drives a bit and we've got a fun afternoon planned. I will drop her off at school to take her test and take the 5 minute drive down to the waterfront and go take a nice walk along the boardwalk (it's supposed to be 80 degrees on Tuesday) and enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery while she is busy taking her test. It makes me feel relaxed just thinking about it!

When she's done with her final I'll go pick her up and we'll head back towards home. But first we are going to stop about mid-way and have lunch in this small town that has a huge amount of antique stores and spend the afternoon browsing through all the stores. My boss told me about this place and I've been wanting to go ever since. We have a small town near us that has a Main Street filled with some cute antique shops and my boss said this other place is like that place on steroids! DD was all in for my plan for the day and I can't wait.

Blogger is driving me nuts.  The only way I can reply to comments (or comment on other Blogger blogs) is through my ipad mini. Not the quickest way to type.

I did good this week following my meal plan. I only changed up Wednesday and traded it with a different meal for next week. I have a pretty small grocery list of some fresh things and a few other things I didn't plan for very well in my 2-week shopping trip last week.

DD kept busy yesterday mowing the lawn and using the hedge trimmer on a few shrubs. He spent the evening moving the sprinkler around.  Today he's keeping busy with installing 2 water filtration systems on our outdoor faucets. We always have so much "crap" in our water that it clogs up the sprinklers and soaker hoses so he bought some filters off of Ebay and at lunch today I ran to the hardware store to get him some fittings and adapters for the project. Pricey little things! Geez! Like $80 for 8 (bronze) fittings and 2 hose manifolds. I love our local hardware store, though. They have the most knowledgeable and helpful guys that work in the plumbing and hardware sections. Always so friendly, too.  It might cost a bit more there compared to the big box stores, but their customer service is not even comparable.

Friday, June 5, 2015

I'm odd

My company is starting to put us all though some "team building" training. Apparently there are starting to be some issues between a couple of managers and of course that then trickles down to issues between those in their departments.

So, yesterday we all had to get together and do a "fun" exercise. We got into groups of 6 or so and had 15 minutes to find some commonalities we all shared. Prizes for the most in number and for the most unique. So, we sat in a room and threw out suggestions to each other. Some typical things like - do we all like football, etc. I failed the group on a number of ideas (though there were times when I was in the "norm" and one other person wasn't). I was the only one who doesn't drink and doesn't have a tattoo. We did come up with about 20 things we all had in common. We had lots of laughs, but the one that I found most disturbing to me was when someone threw out "does everyone smoke pot?" I was the only one who does not. These are all 30/40 year olds (I was oldest in the group at 51) and one of them was a department manager.  I would have thought maybe half would, half wouldn't?  Two of them have children. One was 48, so almost my age (but married, no kids). One is a lesbian (married), one single/divorced guy, so quite the mix of folks in our group

Then I said "wait - what was the original question? (because everyone had been talking at same time). Was it have you EVER or do you now?  No, it was do you now smoke it.  5 out of 6 do. Yikes.  I guess I am just really out of touch with what most of the population is doing in their free time. I found it kind of sad, really. Even if I had wanted to smoke it all these years, pot, along with alcohol, has never been in my budget! We never had the money for that kind of "entertainment", let alone any desire for it.

I work with an amazing group of people. Everyone works hard and knows their stuff. It just kind of shed a different light on my reality, LOL. I guess I'm just an odd-ball.

Blogger issues

Well, for some reason, since last night, I can no longer reply to comments.  It shows I am logged into my google/blogger account, but when I try to reply to comments within a post, it will not show me logged into my google account. I had hoped I'd log in this morning and whatever the glitch is would be gone. I'm tired of trying to figure out problems!  But on another note, I can finally see who follows my blog again. Win some -  lose some, eh?

So, to reply to Janelle and Jennifer from yesterday's post:

Janelle - I use an "add-on" to Firefox called PriceBlink. Whenever I am looking at something to buy it usually pops up a header at the top of my screen showing cheaper prices and links. It has saved me some bucks!

Jennifer - there are cheaper types of running boards, but these one are more expensive, I guess, because they are polished stainless steel and because they are wheel to wheel length. DH has same polished stuff as rail caps and a really nice tool box, so he wanted to stay with the same look.

An anti-virus program I have on my computer did an update yesterday, so that is probably why I can't make comments - probably blocked it or something. GAH!!!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The big gift

Once in awhile (like every 5-10 years) we splurge on a big gift.  This year DD and I decided to splurge on DH for a big combined birthday and Father's Day gift, since both fall in June. He has a 1999 pick up truck, bought new in mid 1998.  For years now he has wanted some running board type steps for it. I decided it's finally time he had some (and it would really make life easier getting in and out of that thing as it is a bit raised up and I am not getting any younger and neither is he).

We had no idea what exactly he wanted or even how much they cost. I'm thinking maybe $500 at the most? So, I tell him the other day that that is what DD and I want to give to him as a present, but he'll have to order or go purchase, since we have no clue. Last night he went online to search out the kind he wanted and says "ohh....how much were you thinking of spending" and I said well, I was hoping in the $500 range. They were about $700 plus $150 shipping! Yikes. Then he searched some more and found them on ebay for $719, including shipping. Well, that's better.....(I said wincing). I told him to send me the link so I could order it.

But, my handy dandy "Price Blink" add-on popped up and said I could find it for $667 with free shipping through another store.  Ok, this is getting better. I clicked on that link, had DH verify that it was still exactly the same parts he wanted and then I did a search for an online coupon code for this store. Came up with several coupon codes - 15%, 10%, 8% off.  I tried the first 2 and they wouldn't work, stating that brand wasn't eligible. I almost gave up but tried the 8% one and it worked. Take another $53.36 off! Free shipping and no sales tax (which I would have had to pay on ebay). Final price was $613 - much closer to my $500 range. I could live with that and DH is good on the splurge gift for another 5 years or so.  I'm not sure how much DD plans to chip in, not too much, but it will help.  And since we are spending a lot less this year on landscaping and no remodel projects, the disposable income is there for this gift.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

My bed is calling me

I made a big splurge yesterday - on shampoo and conditioner! I usually just use Pantene - bought on sale and with coupons, of course. Very cheap, a few times over the years even free. I'm getting low on both shampoo and conditioner and while I was at Target yesterday picking up a prescription I decided to try some new product and see if there is really any difference. $12 and $17 ea! (I don't remember which cost what). $30 - Eek! I have NEVER in my life spent more than a few dollars on shampoo and conditioner. Ever. I just wanted to try it for once. So, I bought some Nexxus. It does smell good :)  The conditioner seemed a lot thicker. The jury is still out as I'm still sitting here with wet hair. I try not to blow dry if I don't have to. While I was in line to pay I remembered I had a $5 Target gift card and also a coupon for an additional 5% off, so I did end up paying around $22.

And today I don't have to blow dry because my nice boss offered me to work from home today. I offered yesterday to work on a project that I know she hasn't had time for and she was very appreciative and seemed relieved to have me take it over. I will spend the day putting together and typing up some procedures and "how-to" explanations for our new expense tracking system for our sales people. Something different to do and I'm looking forward to it. The trick will be to be as concise as possible but still get all the info out there and there is a lot of info to supply. I'm glad I have an iphone now - I can download the app to my phone and now see what our sales people will see and become more familiar with the aspect they will use the most. Well, I assumed I could download the app, but, for some reason my phone will not let me download any apps this morning! I keep trying and nothing. What the heck?!

DH's computer was really having problems last night. Just keeps getting slower and slower. It was like he was on dial up trying to access web pages. I figured he might have a virus (again) and ran 3 different programs, but nothing worked. I tried a few other things (an IT person I am not). This computer is hardwired into our modem. I tested the speed. 60 mbps. Holy cow! that is 3x faster than the rest of us get with wireless. His web surfing should just zip along. Then, of course, he threw a tantrum, and after already working on it for over an hour I lost my temper with him. He has zero clue about what to even try to fix it, so it's ridiculous that he even tries to act like he has an idea, let alone get mad at me. Then I decided to set Firefox back to default settings and that seemed to do the trick, at least for now. It's an old computer and gets a lot of use on it, so it might just be time to replace it. I got on it again this morning and all seems to be working normally, until DH sat down and it's starting to slow down again.

I think I just need to go back to bed today.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Plants and more plants

It was a pretty good weekend. I attempted my 2 week grocery shopping. HA! As soon as I was loading up my car with my groceries I knew I didn't buy 2 weeks of water and soda. I wouldn't have had room in my cart anyway for all that, so I guess that will have to be part of my trip for the fresh stuff - and everything else I forgot :P

I spent $175, which includes $14 at KFC....that was not my plan. I had planned to get fried chicken at the store deli, but I walked right on by it and forgot! So while the checker was ringing up all my items (I had a lot) I ran over to the deli to grab some fried chicken and they didn't have any left/made right then. I was really craving fried chicken, it was already dinner time, so I just stopped at KFC. I guess we'll see next weekend, how much more stuff I'll need for week 2. I did stick to my menu so far, though I didn't try the chicken on the bbq. I just put them in the freezer for another time to try.

Saturday morning I knew we both needed something to do. DH had mentioned before he would like a few plants to fill in our area behind the fire pit. Plus, all the ground cover seeds we tried to plant weeks ago never grew, so we still needed something for ground cover under the big trees. I went over to the guy that sells plants out of his driveway/front yard. I got all this (19 plants) for $123.

3 rhododendrons, a pieris, a fetterbush, 14 St. John's Wort, and that little silver/green bush is called a blue ice bog rosemary. All this probably would have cost close to double at a regular store garden center. The blue ice bog rosemary went out in our driveway island, to replace a plant from last year that didn't make it.

Hopefully this St. John's Wort will spread out and fill in nicely under this tree. It will end stay green all year and have yellow flowers all summer/Fall

Not the best picture but 3 rhody's planted in the "park" area. One will have yellow flowers, one pink and one red. Should be very pretty next spring.

Planting all those gave us something to do for a few hours on Saturday. Kept DH busy and when he's busy, he's happier.  Unfortunately, then we didn't have much to do on Sunday (he had already mowed on Friday) so it was a pretty lazy day, plus his muscles were worn out from all the work on Saturday, so it had to be a rest day anyway.  I'm just having trouble getting him to start projects on his own, so he stays busy. Usually he's good about finding stuff to do to keep busy.  Last year he had a list of projects written down.  This summer, not much at all.

I need to get over to Home Depot and just order the pallets of landscaping blocks he wants. That will keep him busy and then we can do the little pond he wants to put in. They will deliver the pallets of blocks, if we order 5, I think.  Our good neighbor wants some too, but when I talked to him about it a few weeks ago he said he wasn't ready yet, as he already spent a bunch of money on stuff for his shop. I'll ask him again, before I order, just in case he's changed his mind. That way he can get them delivered with ours and not have to pay delivery (because he doesn't need 5 pallets)

Well, off to work. DD will be home on Friday for the rest of the summer. I am really excited about that, but I know the summer will go by so fast. It's raining the next few days and I'm kind of glad. Mother nature can water all this and my flowers and give me a break. Plus the lawn is really needing the water. Usually we don't have to water until July, but it's dry already.