Monday, August 31, 2015

$5 monthly savings

If you have Verizon cell phone service you might want to check your plan and see if it's now offered a bit cheaper. I recently read something where they were doing away with the 2 year contract plans/discounted phones and that monthly bills should be cheaper, on average about $10 a month, I think it said. I logged into our account last night and saw that the same 3GB plan we are on is now $45 a month instead of $50 a month....but you have to change your plan by choosing this option. Apparently Verizon just won't automatically change your monthly billing to the cheaper plan.  So, hey - $5 bucks is $5 bucks.

DH is trying to save my flowering plum tree in the front yard. He hooked some straps around the trunk and to the truck and pulled it back up straight and will try to anchor it down with some stakes. Hopefully, it will be ok!

This afternoon is our meeting with the council and sheriff. DH got an email late last night from our councilman's assistant asking if he got an invite to this meeting from the sheriff.....umm.nooo. The only info we had on it, was the email from her about it a couple of weeks ago.  Apparently, the sheriff's office was supposed to be the one scheduling this meeting. How convenient of him to leave us out - haha!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Simple Sunday

It was an eventful day around here yesterday - mostly in the fact that we had a huge windstorm. Crazy weather. I'm surprised we still have a roof on. Our whole property was covered in branches, big and small. We lost power for a little while. I think we might have lost my favorite tree out in my front yard :/  It's quite bent off to one side now and pulled out of the ground just a bit.

Late afternoon, after the winds stopped DH and I headed outside to clean up. We put the smaller stuff in the wheel barrow (a couple of loads) and dumped in our yard waste bins. The big branches we put in our little pull along trailer that came with our lawn tractor. Then when we got done with part of the backyard DH went "duh!" just pick up the big branches and he swept up all the small stuff with the sweeper attached to the lawn mower. That probably saved us an hour of back bending work! The little trailer was piled as tall as me with big branches and DH ran it all through the chipper. In between it would rain. We were soaked and sore. My back is killing me this morning.

In a more "positive" event - one of the drug dealing neighbors behind us got arrested last night! Woo! He has apparently pretty much had a court ordered no contact order for several years now - to not be at his parents house, which none of them abide by, obviously. Nor has the sheriff bothered to do anything about, even thought they know he is always there. The only time he gets charged with it is when he gets arrested for something else  Apparently the recent pressure from our councilman to get this neighborhood cleaned up had some effect. So, now this family has their 2 oldest (of 3) in jail, though I'm sure the younger one will continue with the drug dealing from the house.The deputy that DH has the most contact with told him a couple of days ago he was working on arresting him and was going to try again last night. He's now in jail with a $75,000 bail (he's been charged with this several times). Betcha he'll be right out in the next couple of days. Our councilman is totally disgusted with the judges in our county, now that his eyes have been opened to what goes on with charges being dropped all the time on the repeat offenders. He's now getting our state representatives involved.

I've been working on couponing a bit more lately. Yesterday we went to RiteAid and picked up free disposable razors, free chapstick and DD got 4 Great Lash mascaras for .74 each. I had $3 in plenti points to pay towards. I was $10 out of pocket, but then earned $11 in Plenti points.

Today, I'm going to get caught up on my laundry. ooh fun!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Misery loves company

We spent about 3 hours over at the guys house, who is basically in a similar neighborhood of homes on acreage, about a mile from us. He is luckier in that he has several neighbors who are willing to be involved to get rid of this, where we are alone in our endeavors. No one over there owns several lots or are related (as in our situation). They live on a long gravel road, where all the 5 acre lots/homes face the road. We have a long (first half paved/other half dirt) road, but most of the homes are on little private roads that shoot off to the side.

There were 4 other neighbors at this pow-wow. Lots of nice folks, just like us. Same story - cars, walkers and those on bicycles all day and night. They have more woods and this appears to be where a lot of these low-lifes live/hide. The homeowners actually walk through the woods (armed with guns) and flush them out all the time. It's all the same people in both neighborhoods for the most part. DH has pictures from our camera's on his phone, descriptions of cars, etc. They all match.  Yep, yep - seen that guy lots of times, etc. They even have the mulatto nut job who walks around with a meat cleaver over there, too. Turns out their resident drug dealer (who was in jail for less than 20 hours this week) and his girlfriend were the two who last spring tried to come over the fence one afternoon into our backyard.

They all despise the dispatchers as much as we do! Every single one of them had a gun on their hip. One of the guys, who lives at the beginning of their private road and has a security system and cameras also has a camera that reads license plates. DH would love one of those! haha.

From what we are hearing and from watching the last county meeting (where this other guy went and spoke too) they will be adding a special task force for this problem. DH and I go to the meeting on Monday with the council members and the head sheriff, where I plan to ask what their time frame for resolving this will be. The next time a deputy suggests we move from our home of 26 years, I'm going to ask him where in this county people are required to follow the law. Is there such a place?

I took my computer into work yesterday and wonderful IT guy fixed it right up. Apparently trying to do driver updates via remotely wasn't working. Seems to be working fine now. I didn't have to restart my computer this morning. He's also ordering me more memory, which will be good. It was funny when he sent out a company wide email asking where the electric computer duster was......eek - my computer was that dusty inside, LOL.

We finally get some rain (and cool weather)- for apparently the next 5 days. I am so happy. This drought weather has been awful. Our beautiful lawn just looks like dirt!


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Same old stuff

DH did his little interview with the county tv show yesterday. DD ended up going with him instead of me, so I didn't get to see it. She said he did great. Everyone there taping it said he did great. DD got to sit in the control room, which she thought was pretty cool. It was only about a 10 minute segment where they asked DH a few questions and asked our councilman a few. I'm not sure when I will get to see it. They tape it, edit it, and at some point it airs.

One of the regular visitors to our drug houses - and he is the son of the drug house of the guy in the next neighborhood over (who is having same issue we are - with mostly the same people) was arrested Tuesday night for possession of a stolen car, possession of car theft tools and possession of drugs. He has been arrested numerous times, he has been through rehab at least twice. Yesterday he got released - no chargesfiled pending investigation! This is what we deal with for every arrest our deputies put their lives on the line for. I called our councilman last night to let him know. He said he is going to go talk to the prosecutor and find out what is going on. It's a joke. Our councilman said it reminds him of a cartoon he saved years ago.......a police car with a policeman putting a criminal in one door and a judge on the other side of the car pulling him out.

Tonight we are going to go over to the guys house in the next neighborhood over. He went and spoke at the council meeting last week and I watched it online. He seems a lot like my hubby - fed up and willing to put some effort into getting this cleaned up. Our councilman is working with him too. Fortunately for him, he only has one neighbor who is the problem and his other few neighbors aren't related to this guy (like our situation) so he has a bit of help in fighting this, where we are on our own.  The housing development that is being built next to us (it is basically in between us and this other guy) finally had to hire a security company because of the nightly thefts and apparently that has helped. This other guy said he and his neighbors are also paying for off duty deputies to come and watch their street. Very expensive and it kind of pisses me off that they have to do that - that is what our taxpayer money is going for - for our sheriff to protect us from criminals. I think they are wasting their money, really. These druggies and criminals know nothing is going to happen to them and if they do get arrested charges will be dropped and nothing happens to them anyway.

I have been having computer problems with my monitors since Tuesday. I worked from home and decided to ask our IT about why my computer seems to go into sleep mode during the night and won't come back on in the morning. He remoted into my computer and did some windows updates and all of a sudden I had one monitor working and the one that was had huge fonts. Then he spent the afternoon trying to fix that. Then he spent part of yesterday morning trying to fix it. Something to do with my video driver but all the updates he tried failed. So, I have to unplug and haul my computer into the office this morning, where I'm sure he'll fix it up.  I am so used to two monitors now. Trying to work with one monitor yesterday was like trying to work with one hand tied behind my back!

I charged my cell phone right before bed last night. It was at 100% and I unplugged the charger. Woke up to a completely dead phone! What the heck?! Always something.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The paint job

Here are a couple of pics (for NDChic!) of the living room. Previously the wall were white (well, an "antique white" - but still very white) and I tried to show the ceiling so you can see the difference in color.

 We are pet friendly - a blanket on the couch cushions for doggie laying :)
My carpal tunnel has been giving me real grief the past week or so. I even had the chiropractor work on it last week at my appointment. He recommended something called a "gyro ball", so I ordered one from Amazon for $10 to give it a try. It should be here any day.  While painting my wrist was killing me! I almost dropped the brush a couple of times. I have a glove wrist support I wear when I have to use the mouse a lot or type a lot. It usually works great, but not so much this past week or so.

Last evening we used my free on demand movie rental code and watched Interstellar. We all really like it. Some of it kind of boggles the mind. I especially liked the explanation of what a worm hole is. DD was teasing her boyfriend, because she really likes Matthew McConaughey.......but not as much as Matt Damon, she told him. Well, we didn't know Matt Damon was in this movie too, so when they were in a scene together she was like "oh my god! it's both of them at once" LOL.  DH loves Jessica Chastain (from Zero Dark Thirty) so he was enjoying it too. It's definitely a movie I'd watch again.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Weekend catch up

I had a busy Friday and Saturday. I thought DH was going to be out of the house all day Saturday, so I decided that would be a good time to get the living room painted. I had finally decided on a color and was ready to get it done. Went and got the paint and supplies on Friday. I bought really good brushes and roller brushes and also an extension for the roller, because we have a vaulted ceiling. Then Friday afternoon I got everything taped off and ready to go.  DD had borrowed a couple of nice heavy painting tarps from her boyfriend. Friday night DH found out his friend was cancelling on him. Dang! DD and I were trying to avoid his constant hovering and "you're doing it wrong" (even though he's never painted a room in his life).  Oh well - I was committed to getting this done Saturday.

We got started about 9am Saturday morning. DH helped pull out the tv stand and small upright (super heavy) piano away from the walls. The 2 big tarps borrowed worked great to lay on the floor along the walls. I started on all the "cutting in" (I think that is what it is called) along the ceiling and wherever the roller brush couldn't go. DD started on the walls with the roller. She really liked the extension and it worked great. Definitely worth the $10 it cost.Thankfully DH went outside and kept himself busy and out of our hair.

4 hours later we were done and I really really like the color. It's what I would call a medium taupe (walls were previously white) and really makes the room feel warmer. I took a before and after picture, but it's doesn't really show the color very well. I also wanted some new curtains. The one's previously there (for over 15 years! eek!) were just some DIY job. I had bought some fabric and draped it across the top of windows and down sides in a puddle. I don't need curtains that can be shut all the way across the 3 windows (I have wood blinds) but just something that will hang down each side. We found some super cheap at Ross for $15. Two panels with the big grommet rings on top. They are a darker taupe color and will look nice with my dark brown wood blinds.Their curtain rods ('cus I was totally replacing the old ugly gold rod that came with the house!) were about half the price as I saw at Walmart, but I forgot to measure what length I needed, so I will have to go back and buy that later.

Since we re-did our bathroom a year ago I have been looking for something to put on the wall above my towel bar. It is the largest wall in the bathroom and has just looked so bare with nothing on it and pictures on all the other walls. I wanted something that hung horizontally and just really haven't come across anything I really liked.....or if I did it was too much money. Last weekend we were at Kohl's so I could buy something with my $10 Kohl's cash, before it expired. We were scanning the pictures/home decor aisle and I spotted this really cute canvas picture. Flipped it over to see the price and it was regularly $40 on clearance for $8! I snagged it up and it rang up for $6. DH got it hung up for me yesterday and I love it.

Yesterday was mostly just a day of rest. I made blueberry muffins for breakfast. Right after breakfast DH turned into a major crab, so it wasn't really a very relaxing day. DD and I had planned to go look for curtains for a little bit, but he wanted her help with some stuff and then when she tried to help he didn't want it, so we ran over to Walmart and Kohl's. She made us dinner (the yummy homemade mac and cheese recipe) and was going to have her boyfriend come over and watch a movie, but with her dad being such a grump, she decided to go over to her bf's house after dinner (I don't blame her).

Oh and guess what she and her bf are going to do?! They are taking a trip to Ireland at the end of December.That has been her dream place to go for years now. She is beyond excited. They will be there 7 days (plus the 2 days traveling there and back). I think they found a pretty good package deal for around $2800 staying at what looks like a really nice hotel in Dublin. Lucky girl - I'm jealous!! Bf has been having to work tons of overtime at his job and while he hasn't been very happy about it, I think now knowing that is paying for their trip, makes it more worthwhile to him.

So, while I was on zillow, looking at the info and link to the foreclosed house around the corner, I had my usual annoyance in looking at our home info and wondering why it has always said our square footage is 1616 sq ft. It is 1680. I noticed you could make an account and log in and edit info, so I did it. I corrected the square footage, took off the detail that said we had a deck (we removed it a few years ago) and added that we had fenced property and lawn. When I was done and submitted it our property value went up $9,000! Between what it's been going up lately and that, we now actually have $20k of equity back into our home (according to zillow) finally. Plus, comparable homes in the area that have sold, I noticed, actually sold higher than zillow had valued them - by $15k-20k.  That is also encouraging news. Maybe by next summer we can look into selling and having enough equity to move out of this neighborhood. If home values continue to rise, along with the $12k in principal we will pay down this next year, we should be in a much better position by then.

Well, it's back to work for the week. This coming Friday is the last of my Friday's off. Boy, that went fast!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

It's about time

Guess what?! After 2 years that foreclosed vacant house around the corner from us has finally been put up for sale. It's about damn time.  Though I'm not holding my breath that it will get bought by someone decent. No, most likely it will be bought, fixed up, and rented to some awful, annoying people. Or....our slumlandlord neighbor will get his hooks into it. When he and DH had their long talk 2-3 weeks ago he mentioned he love to get it, put $20k into it (ha! good luck) and rent it out. OMG. Please no. That house will need a lot more than $20k to fix up, I'd imagine.

So, I found it online. I'm not quite sure I understand how the listing for it works. It's listed at $275,000! WHAT?! They cannot be serious. I think they are as high as those who've been using the house to shoot up the past 2 years. But, then the website says "minimum offer" is $182,000. It appears they are taking bids, so maybe it's like an auction type of thing.  I just have to pray pray pray that it is way more than our neighbor is willing/able to spend to buy it.  At least if he doesn't get it, we will have a chance someone decent will buy it.

It will be very interesting to see what it ends up selling for, and I'm sure the maggots who visit our neighborhood will see the for sale sign as an invitation to break in and vandalize it some more in the meantime. 

My mistake

I knew it was a mistake. As soon as it came out of my mouth and then as I was sending the email. I told my 74 year old mom that I could send her a link in an email to watch the video of us speaking at the county council meeting.

Oh my lord! This is our conversation last night when she called me:

Mom: I got your email but I can't figure out how to watch it. I'm on my ipad (mini).
Me: ok, hold on (getting my ipad mini so I could walk her through the steps)
Mom: well, I can see people, but I can't hear anything.
Me: you have to turn your volume up
Mom: how do I do that? I didn't know there was sound on this.
Me: there are buttons on the side of your ipad
Mom: there are?! I never noticed. What do I do?
Mom: which one?
Me: the top button sets the volume up, the bottom one brings it down

Me: you have to tap on the bottom of the video to bring up the bar that lets you fast forward (as we don't get to speak until almost 3 hours into the meeting)
Mom: what?
Me: you have to tap on the bottom of the video to bring up the bar that lets you fast forward
Mom: well, I'm not sure it's working. I'm touching on the thing but I don't see it.
Me: it would probably be easier to just watch it on your desktop computer
Mom: oh, ok, let me try that
Mom: what's https showing up on the top of my computer? Is that why my printer won't scan anymore?
Me: I don't think so, just open the link I sent you. What do you see?
Mom: it's all black.
Me: do you see an arrow/triangle in the middle? you click on that to start the video
Mom: no it's just black.
Me: try putting your cursor in the middle of the black area and see if the arrow shows up
Me: try refreshing your screen
Mom: what?
Me: ok, just close out that screen and click on the link in your email again
Mom: it's just a black box
Me: have you ever watched a video on your computer (that she has had for years) before?
Mom: well, probably not
Me: ok you probably don't have a video player loaded. Go back to your ipad
Mom: ok, I got it back on. What do I do?
Me: you have to tap on the bottom of the video so you can see the bar and slide it over
Mom: what do I slide?
Me: tap on the little circle and slide it over
Mom: oh, I don't know. It's not working. I'll just have to keep working at it.
Me: ok - talk to you later

Text to DD: your grandma is never allowed to get an iphone.
DD: No. Never. Ever.

I think I have a concussion from banging my  head on my desk

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

DH and I have now been asked to come to a meeting in a couple of weeks. This will be with all the council members (there are 7) and the head county sheriff. I'd have to say, at this point, something will get done about this, don't you think? I have a feeling all the video DH put on the thumb drive and gave our councilman must have got some views by the council and they then requested this meeting.
The drug dealing neighbors are back from their weekend off, so it's back to "normal" yesterday.

I think I mentioned the neighbors in front of us now have a rooster. The first couple of weeks it's been funny listen to him cock-a-doodle-doo. He starts out good but ends kind of funny. Now the last few days he sounds terrible. He sounds like he's got a hang over and smoked too many cigarettes! DD said oh my gosh - that rooster lost his doodle!

I'm still working on cutting out/down the sugar in my diet. It seems  hardest on the weekends, for some reason. Except for an occasional loss of will power, I do not eat sugary snacks or drinks anymore. That would be the main source of all the sugar I was consuming. I eat a lot more fruit now. I'm getting there (it's been a  month now) but honestly, no real changes in how I feel. I think I will buckle down and really go off all of it (what I still eat of processed foods that have it) and see if it helps my energy or not. If not, then I think I might give up (and see what my doctor says at my annual checkup in October). Heck - my grandma lived to 95 and she ate lots of sugar :)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A quiet day

I finally was able to log into blogger via FireFox and make replies to my own blog! For one day! I was trying to print some coupon or other and it popped up that I needed to accept cookies. I did some checking and my setting was to "Never". I changed it to always and printed the coupon and then while reading comments on my blog I saw I could now comment again. I've been having to sign in to Blogger via IE to make any comments on everyone else's blogs or reply to my own. WHAT A PAIN!
So then today it was back to where it doesn't work again. I looked at my FF settings and cookies was set back to Never. do I save this setting?

It's been a quiet weekend - here inside our little acre and at our drug dealing neighbors. DH has spent the day fiddling with the lighting on his "new" trailer. I go outside and check on him every so often, but for the most part it's been pure quiet here in the house. So nice. I chatted online with a friend in another state for awhile and gave her tips on couponing.

It appears the drug dealing kids haven't been home for a few days, which probably explains why no traffic. About this time last year they went and spent a week with their grandma or something like that, so that's probably what is going on. (though of course we are hoping they are gone for good - wouldn't that be the best?!). Our councilman stopped by again Friday afternoon and picked up the thumb drive DH made with a bunch of the video of what we live with on our little street on a daily basis. He had been driving down behind us and asked DH who's the tan pick up at the other drug dealer's house (behind us) and DH said oh, that's their oldest son. He's got a warrant out for his arrest from Failure to Appear for his sentencing (for numerous counts of theft, an assault, and drug paraphernalia from last February). Was it a coincidence that he got arrested Friday night and is back in jail?!

Also, Thursday morning the sheriff apparently made a bust/arrests on another drug house (about 5 miles from us) that councilman has been working on. Let's hope we are next on the list of busts!

Dinners this weekend have been fairly easy. Friday night was a Bertolli frozen Chicken Marsala and Potatoes meal you heat up in the skillet. This is DH's new favorite. I was happy to see Target has a special on these this week: buy 3 get one free, as well as I was able to print out 4 $1.50 off each coupons and that will make for a great deal on them.  Last night was home made pizza. I used to make it like once a week, but now it's been more like once a month and the pizza sauce doesn't keep that long. I finally got smart and froze the rest. Plus, I have some pizza leftover for work lunches. Tonight DD and her boyfriend are here, so I just made easy tacos. Taco's aren't my favorite, but they are easy to make when there is more than just me and DH for dinner.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Poop Fix

My pet peeve this past year has been our new toilet we had installed in our master bathroom when we remodeled last summer. When it flushes the water doesn't "swish" around the whole bowl, it just comes out the front of the bowl and down the drain. Ummm....without getting graphic, lets just say this does not clean the toilet after DH has used it (several times a day). I have to clean this toilet constantly. I HATE it.

A couple of weeks ago I was watching this you-tube video (I think I clicked to from Pinterest) about cleaning a toilet in like 2 minutes or something. Anyway, she first used a spray bottle with just some dish soap and water in it to spray all over the outside of the toilet and wipe down the outside with paper towels. I went and bought a small spray bottle and gave it a try about a week ago. I usually use clorox wipes to wipe the outside, but some of the dust, etc would now stick to the wet surface. The paper towels work great to get it all off and dry. So, as I was spraying I also sprayed inside the toilet bowl just for the heck of it, then I squirted the toilet bowl cleaner around.  Cleaned the bowl and was satisfied.

This whole past week the toilet bowl has been clean, not a mark on it. I thought "is DH cleaning the toilet after each use now?" THAT, I was having a hard time believing.  I had kind of forgotten about spraying the inside with that dishsoap/water solution. Yesterday we were in the bathroom and I said "what's up with the toilet? it's so clean all the time now" and DH says didn't you spray it with something? Oh ya! WOW! I didn't spray it, thinking it would keep it clean all week, but apparently that's what happened. Woohooo!  DH is kicking himself for not just saying "oh ya, I've been cleaning it out" LOL.

Who knew a little dish soap and water would be such an amazing trick!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

More speaking

Apparently DH did so well in his "testimony" (that's what they called it at the council meeting) that he has now been invited to a tv show that the county has on cable. The host would like DH and our councilman to come on, for about a 10 minute segment, and talk about it. I'm sure DH will do it, even though he is a bit nervous. It's not for a couple of weeks.

DH got a whole bunch of his saved video's from our camera system onto a thumb drive. It shows all the activity on our street this past year. Our councilman requested Ted send him some videos and then one of the other councilmen from the meeting also asked to see some. We even got a new one to add yesterday. In broad daylight a guy (with a backpack on, of course) comes running out of the wooded area of the lady's property in front of us. He is carrying a bicycle tire/wheel. He comes flying out of the woods and stops in the middle of our street (right in front of our house) and is looking up and down the street. Then he takes off running down the street.  It looks like the same guy that has been walking around the past week, talking to himself and carrying a meat cleaver! DH calls the non-emergency dispatcher - who is rude and unhelpful (big surprise) and just says "well, call back if there is an update". So DH walks to the back of our property and sure enough the guy is at the drug house behind us (at the walk up window) and DH calls dispatch back. She is annoyed and you could tell didn't want to be bothered with it. A deputy never did come out.  This is what we deal with.  Like DH told the's going to take one of us or our neighbors getting hurt or killed...or one of the deputies getting hurt or killed...before something gets done about it.

We got to watch the video of the meeting last night. I know DH did really well, but I felt like I was shaking like a leaf and shaky voice, but in watching it back, I did ok! LOL. Our councilman called DH at least 2 times yesterday and was out in our neighborhood driving around again. If these renters on our street would just move away to some other place, we would have peace and quiet on our little dead end street again. I am hoping the pressure from the county (not sure how soon that will happen) to clean up all his properties will put pressure on the landlord to make them move out, because honestly, I don't have much hope with our law enforcement and judicial system.

Did I tell you about one of the "regulars" who visits both drug houses? He has a record of burglary, mail theft, etc. Was just arrested a month ago on burglary 2. Last Thursday was arrested for Burglary 1 (meaning he had a weapon). It got dropped to misdemeanor trespassing and then Monday the charge was dropped altogether....and he's right back in our neighborhood. WTH?!! Are the deputies that inept that they don't know what charges to file when they make an arrest? I highly doubt it. No wonder they don't want to even bother arresting someone.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Our afternoon

What a long afternoon yesterday! BUT, I think it was worth it. When our commissioner was telling us about their weekly meetings, he said usually there is 15-30 minutes of business on the agenda and then it's opened up for citizen open comments. Then we get a call from his assistant who says there is a bunch of stuff on their agenda for this meeting, so show up an hour later. Well, of course DH has to be an hour early for everything, so we were pretty much there at the original time we were supposed to be there.

Sit and listen to their agenda items and all those speaking about them........for 3 hours! Luckily it was all kind of interesting, as it had to do with the area of the county we live in, regarding commercial land use. Lots of people taking their 3 minutes to give their opinions. One of the speakers was a real estate guy......he was our original landlord when we first got married over 30 years ago!

So, finally it was "citizen" time. Our commissioner had told DH to try and go last. So, a few other citizens take their turn (and these were all the same people who had already spoken earlier...guess they just wanted to go on some more about it). When people speak there is a light on the podium alerting you to your 3 minutes almost up and then a bell chimes to let you know your time is up. That happened several times throughout the afternoon. DH's speech was over 6 minutes. There was no way to convey 2 years of hell in 3 minutes! So, we had planned for me to finish reading his speech (for my 3 minutes) if he got cut off.

While watching the few citizens get up and speak during the open time, I was watching the 7 council members. By then, of course they had been sitting there for hours and I'm sure were as tired as everyone else. Half of them weren't even listening to these people (though to be fair to the council members these people weren't bringing up anything new - they just wanted to talk some more about what had already been decided and voted on already that afternoon). I thought "great - they are going to pay half attention to what DH is saying".

DH starts his speech and every single one of them was focused on him and listening very intently. As we see his 3 minute light start to flash, but then no "bell"....they turned it off and let him keep speaking the whole time! I could see the concern, amazement, etc at our situation, in their faces. When he was done someone in the spectator section said "you guys need help" and another said "well done". He went to sit back down and several of the council members had more questions, so he had to go back up for another minute or two. Then one of them asked if they could make a copy of his speech, so he gave it to one of the assistants. Then DH and our councilman's assistant told me to go talk.........WAIT! I didn't write up anything to say! I was only going to talk if DH got cut off at 3 minutes. So, I just went up there and winged it for a minute, said thank you, and went and sat back down. Then one of them had questions, so I had to go back up. He wanted to know if any of the sheriff's had ever asked to see our video's from our security camera system. I said no, we've offered several times, though. He said he'd like to see some of them and he might take us up on DH's offer to come spend an evening at our home and see for yourself.

I think it went well. Several of them then talked and gave their opinions, though until I get a chance to watch the taping of it, I really don't remember all what they said, but they said they need to work on this, most definitely. I guess the head sheriff (who our councilman doesn't like) would have been watching (it's broadcast live) and our councilman was sure he wasn't going to be very happy and he'd be hearing from him.

DD and her boyfriend got to watch it live on a cable channel we have. They said we did great :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

It's getting interesting

Well, yesterday morning turned out quite interesting! Our "on a mission" councilman called and was down around the corner, at the vacant/foreclosed house. Wanted us to come over. He wanted to look around the place (since it's broken into and used quite often by the druggies) and still get a feel for how our neighborhood is lined out, etc. This vacant place (over an acre of land) has a little area where they (druggies) have made a little campfire. There are piles of garbage in sacks under trees. Saw a lighter.  Commissioner was parked next to the road (there is only one way back into our neighborhood and same way back out). He also had some nice color printouts maps of all the properties back on our private roads (one main private road comes in with offshoots on each side with 3-4 places, 1-5 acres on each side. We are the first offshoot). While standing there next to the road, of course druggies in and out. In cars...on bikes. Commissioner was using his phone to snap pics of the cars and their license plates. There was a big white Dodge pickup pulling in. DH at first thought it was the white Dodge that we suspect is the one that brings the drugs into the 2 houses. Comm. snaps a pic and the guy stops and gets out of his truck all mad and yelling. "why did you take my picture? who are you" He was kinda irate. DH realizes it's a different white Dodge (the other one is a short bed). Then our commissioner said "there's a lot of drug activity here" and the guy says "No kidding! It's out of control" and goes off on a rant about the drug house behind us (he didn't know about the one on our street). I said "well, then you need to call the sheriff" and he said "I call CONSTANTLY".  His story matched our story exactly! He can't get the dispatchers to dispatch. The SIU/narcotics ignore his calls. The sheriff's do nothing. He said he leaves for work really early (like 4:30am) and there will literally be 7 cars lined up on the road waiting their turn to get up to the drug dealers window! He traded business cards with the commissioner and is going to try and come to the meeting tomorrow, too.

Then another person comes around the corner, leaving the neighborhood and she stops and asks if the house is finally getting sold (I guess because we are both parked there and the recent activity of it getting fixed up a bit) and the commissioner tells her no, we are just working on the neighborhood drug problem and her eyes get big and she says "OH THANK GOD!!". She lives across on the other side of the street from the drug house behind us (and again, she did not know about the drug house back at the end of our street). I asked her if she ever call and reports. "ALL THE TIME" and she also said that at times she sees cars like 7 deep waiting to get into the drug house.  I know DH tried to go over and talk to her and her husband one time, when he was going around to other neighbors, but they didn't answer their door (even though cars parked outside). She seemed really nice and the other guy was quite the little firecracker.  Our commissioner also said he is going to have our State representative for our area come and view all this and get him involved.

It felt REALLY good to finally not feel like we are the only ones reporting this and trying to fix the problem. The dispatchers and deputies always make us feel like we are the only ones reporting it. The guy we talked to said he calls in an average of 5 times a week.  DH has a nice speech written up for the meeting this afternoon. I CANNOT wait for the shoe to drop on these maggots in both drug houses (and the slumlord who rents to the ones on our street).

Monday, August 10, 2015

Weekend review and week ahead

The 3 day weekend is over. I have 3 more Fridays off and I think it will be hard to go back to full work weeks, but at least every other Friday will only be a half day.  Friday DD and I went to a casino with my mom. Played slot machines and had lunch. I lost $20.......DD won $100! She was a happy camper :)

We got home around 2pm and I still actually had some energy left (thanks to cutting way down on the sugar, is my guess), so then I went and got the weekly grocery shopping done. I had to go to pick up DH's Crestor prescription at Target. The price went up $ paying $162 wasn't enough.....I decided to try and see if I could get most of my grocery list at Target, instead of Walmart. Their prices are pretty much similar to Walmart - with the addition of saving 5% with my Red Card. If I'm spending $7000 a year on groceries, personal care, cleaning, pets, etc, why not save an extra 5%?

My Target does have a pretty good sized grocery section, with comparable prices with Walmart on most of the things they do carry. I could get quite a bit of my weekly grocery list there. I can get milk, eggs and all other dairy there. They carry the bread products we eat, soda and chips (of course), condiments and baking supplies. Their meat and produce is limited, but there is some there.

Even if I can only get 3/4 of what I spend annually, at Target, that is a $262 a year savings. Plus several times a year I earn an extra 5% off coupon for getting our prescriptions there. Applying 4 of those a year to a weekly shopping trip would boost my annual savings up to about $285 year - not to mention the cashiers at Target are so much friendlier, and you rarely see all the strange people (some really give me the creeps!) at Target.

Target also offers much more in the way of sales and coupons then Walmart does. There are Target store coupons that can be stacked with manufacturer coupons. There is also Target Cartwheel offers that give an addition % off, on top of coupons. I compared my list to the Cartwheel offers and matched quite a few things, including socks and a couple of polo shirts for DH. All in all I saved an additional $11+ with the Cartwheel offers. I was able to get most of my list, but I decided to get the soda at Walmart, because I knew they will price match (using the Savings Catcher app) at $3 for a 12 pack and also Walmart's bottled water is cheaper.  I will just have to watch Target's sales more closely and stock up.

Saturday morning I made a quick run to Walmart for a small list of things and I was out of there quickly. Yesterday DD and I went to RiteAid, where I used a buy one get one free coupon for deodorant, along with earning 200 Plenti points. I paid with my 350 Plenti points earned from previous purchase and only had to pay .65 cents for tax. Then we walked next door to the Goodwill and found a soccer ball for our playful dog for $2. He had pretty much demolished his old ball and there was no sense in paying full price for a ball, when he just ends up popping it and tearing it up.

Coming up for the week? Well, tomorrow afternoon the county councilman would like DH to speak (he gets 3 minutes) at their council meeting about our neighborhood drug problem. I'm glad he's got the opportunity, but I hate the thought of having to drive downtown in the afternoon. It's seriously one of my least favorite things to do.  The councilman said he is going to propose a $100,000 to the sheriff's budget so they can do a "sting operation". We have tried to get our good neighbor to also come to the meeting, but of course he's has excuses. I've about had it with him. He just wants DH to do all the work in fixing this problem.

DH had another talk with our neighbor who rents to these druggies. He says that the oldest one isn't supposed to be there anymore (DH assured him that he is there) and that the younger son is supposed to be leaving to live somewhere else on the 23rd. I guess we'll see if that happens and see if it makes any difference in what goes on. The cops were in probably at least 3 times last week, so much more presence then the past couple of months. But you know what? It makes absolutely no difference to these people! As soon as the cops leave, they just start right back up. It's unbelievable.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Mail surprises

Today's mail had 3 surprises and one of them was really nice. The company I do my side job for, who just celebrated their 6 year anniversary as a company, gave all their employees $200 Visa gift cards and sent me one too! Woohooo!! That is awesome and so unexpected. One of the other envelopes looked like junk mail (which I don't even usually open) but it said "Thank you" on it, so I opened it. It was a code for a free movie rental from our cable company.  It's good through the end of the year, so I will have to find a good movie to watch. The third thing was $5.04 rewards rebate from a local grocery store. You accumulate points and once per quarter they send out the rebate and a bunch of coupons. I don't shop there much, but I think this was probably from all the flowers and garden potting soil and stuff I bought in May.

Free hairspray

I picked up another good deal at Target. I was getting low on hair spray (and I'm not picky on what I use) so this deal came at the perfect time.  L'Oreal Advanced hair styling products. They are priced at $3.99. There is a $2 off Target store coupon, a $2 off manufacturer coupon from inserts, as well as a Target Cartwheel coupon for an additional % off (which I forgot to use, but it was free anyway with the 2 coupons). FREE! I don't use a lot of hairspray, so this will last me quite awhile.

With the onset of my home equity loan payment doubling soon, I really need to get back to working the store deals. I haven't shopped at Rite Aid or Walgreens in ages. They kept changing their rewards programs and I got tired of trying to figure them out (and it seemed I was always getting my deals messed up) and it seemed there were less and less good deals to be had. I do like Target (and faithfully follow because they have Target coupons, which can be stacked with manuf. coupons, as well as the Target Cartwheel % off coupons (which I have a hard time remembering to get my phone out and use!). They also regularly have deals where they offer $5 Target gift cards for multiple purchases and every so often offer coupons like $10 off $50 food purchase.

I've got a list of several things to try and buy the next few days at Rite Aid. Hopefully making a couple of stops there and thereby rolling the first points I earn to pay for the second purchase (and earn more points. I will really be trying to channel Ms. Sluggy while I am there!  I also have one deal I want to stop at Walgreens for. Some Suave shampoo and conditioners for .32 ea when purchase 3. Forget that $20 bottle of Nexxus shampoo and condition I treated myself to awhile back! I see absolutely no difference in that than the cheap Pantene I was using and I have used Suave before and works just fine too.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

It's Show (and Tell) Time

Around 1am this morning DH called the sheriff and reported the car that goes in and out all the time (pretty sure it's someone they use as a "runner" to take the drugs - they meet up to do the deal at the shopping center parking lot nearby and return 10 minutes later, repeat repeat repeat all day) because, as usual, it was driving in and out with no headlights on. Not sure why they have the cars do this during the middle of the night, other than I guess they think it makes them invisible.

No arguments from the dispatch about sending someone. Within 10 minutes a sheriff showed up and was parked in the cul-de-sac in front of their house. Not sure what was going on, but our guess is there was some running to hide out of the back of their property, as the dogs that are on the properties behind us were barking like mad. Within 10 minutes 2 more cop cars showed up and then a 4th one! They stayed about another 10 minutes. The first one left and turned to go back farther down our neighborhood. The other 3 drove real slow while an unknown female walked out. As soon as they turned out and left the neighborhood she walked right back in.

Not sure what that was all about and nothing major appeared to have gone down. My guess is it was the sheriff putting on a show to let these drug maggots know they are being watched. Other than one regular car this morning, that always comes for a minute to get his drugs once or twice a day, it has been dead quiet. The blue car (that we called in on last night) never did leave after that (which is very unusual) and finally just drove out of here like a bat out of hell late this morning.

In money news, I really screwed up my budget! Back in June, when my debit card got hacked and I got a new one, I had to update all my online accounts that I do bill pay with. I have DH and DD's health insurance set up on auto-pay and I went in and updated with the new debit card #. I know I did this because I had made a list of all the accounts I needed to update with the new # and checked them off (insurance, cell phones, Netflix, etc).  The monthly payment comes out around the 3rd or 4th of the month and I didn't notice that the July 1st payment never was charged! I was pretty flush with money in my checking, because of the recent bonus, so I guess I didn't catch that I still had almost $500 more in my checking than I should have had.

Today I'm looking at my checking and this time I do notice that it hasn't come out for August. I log in to the insurance company website and see that my account is set up for auto-pay and with the new #. What the heck?! Then I notice the balance due is double, which is how I then figured out July's payment never got made. DAMN! I have no idea why the auto-pay didn't work. I had to pull some out of my savings to cover part of the extra $500 going out I wasn't expecting. Kicking myself for not noticing that last month. Well, back on track this month. At least the extra I have to start paying on my home equity loan doesn't start until the end of September payment. I thought it would be the payment due Aug 31st, so that kind of evens it all out in the end.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

I'm not betting

While driving to work this morning someone from the sheriff SIU (narcotics) unit finally returned my call from last week. Super nice lady. She had been out sick and just got back today. She was floored to hear about how much traffic we have on our little private road. Her words: "No one should have to live with that". She took down a bunch of details from me so she can write a report and give it to her boss, a Sergeant, and said we will get working on this. 

I'm not much of a betting person, but we appear to now have the possibility we might hit the trifecta! Drugs gone, junkyard properties cleaned up, and the vacant/foreclosed house around the corner possibly finally being sold! Then DH popped one of my balloons when he said that during that 2 hour conversation he had with junkyard/slumlord neighbor a couple of weeks ago, he mentioned he'd love to buy that foreclosed house around the corner for a rental........OMFG!! (yes, that was a swear word!).  That is all we need. Let's just hope he's too busy (and broke) in the near future with cleaning up the 3 properties he currently has, along with a drug bust, to buy that house. He will lose the rent his old guys that live on his property pay him, he would end up losing the rent from the drug dealers if and when they finally get busted.   He, himself, will have to live someplace, because there is nothing on his main property that can be lived in (once he gets cited by the county).  It's all going to be very interesting to see how it all shakes out.

He's on a mission

Our councilman called again yesterday afternoon. He as apparently made us his mission! He pretty much told DH *%$# is about to hit the fan.  Landlord property owner is going to get hit with numerous property code violations:  the single wide trailer (falling apart, windows broken and someone does actually live in the back end of it) will be condemned. He can't have himself and the others (our guess is 3 others, based on the cars that park there) living in the shop. It was never permitted for that and there is no septic system approved for that (the septic is some mickey mouse deal he rigged up with a hose into his regular septic system). Years ago another neighbor on the other side of him (she has long since moved away) reported him to the county when he built the shop and moved in. He just lied and said no one was living there, like he always does.There are containers on at least 2 of his properties, which apparently are not legal to have (not sure why that is, other than maybe because they are an eyesore).

While all this is good, unless the sheriff is going to step up their game big time, I don't see how any of the above will stop the drug dealing. If the single wide is condemned, most likely it doesn't have to be tore down, it just means the guy that has lived in it the past 15 years won't be living in it. It's still going to sit there. Without taking my own picture, here is one I grabbed off of google earth

A close up would of course show the condition of the trailer better, but in the back windows are broken, there is no skirting and it's all filthy dirty. The roof is terrible. At the current time there are even more junk vehichles/trailers out front and all the grasses in between are 2 feet high. On the back side is another old piece of crap camper trailer (that someone used to live in) and a couple of big piles of lumber or something covered in plastic and tarps (our barn kitties use it to hide under!).

Here is a view of his whole property. The tall trees in the mid lower area block the view off all the junk he has sitting in the middle of the property, but you can see a few pieces. More junk cars and trailers. I'm sure all that stuff will be part of the property code violations too.
on the other side of that big tree to the right of the shop is more stuff. That big container parked in front of the shop is now at the far end and an rv, with people living in it the past 2 months, is now parked in front of the shop. I think there is another camper trailer down there too.

Isn't it all just lovely? I can deal with his ugly property - what I can't deal with is 873 times of drug addict traffic past my house each month, to his renters, at all times of the day and middle of the night. But, maybe we'll get lucky - the drug dealing will get busted AND he'll have to clean up his properties! A girl can dream, right?

Monday, August 3, 2015

Councilman follow up

Ya'll are probably as sick of hearing about my neighbors as I am of living next to them. But, there finally seems to be a tiny ray of hope for us. I'm about to get my hopes up. Our councilman called again this morning. Wanted to see how the weekend went and had more questions for DH. DH told him there were 2 patrols through over the weekend and that helped a little bit. Councilman still feels the sheriff department is not doing their job. He did speak with someone from the sheriff and they told him they are watching the renters now. He also said he can't believe the condition of the 3 properties that our neighbor owns (as well as a few other neighbors in the area.) The properties of slumlord are full of overgrown grassy weeds 3 to 4 feet tall. The one guy that lives in back room of the original single wide trailer (that slumlord and his family originally lived in when we first moved here), on slumlords main property, can barely even get to the steps to his door, with all the overgrown weeds, LOL. Councilman says he doesn't have to have lawn or landscaping, but he also isn't allowed to have weeds growing all over like that. He's still going to work on getting code violations with that, the containers, and the un-permitted rv's that people live in.
He also said he is going on a ride-along with a deputy soon. Councilman's words to DH: we are going to fix this problem and we are going to fix it BIG!  Let's hope so and let's hope it's SOON! and maybe if slumlord starts seeing patrol cars around all the time it will give him even more incentive to get those renters to move out (like he said he is trying to do).

In other neighborhood news....when DD and I were pulling out Friday there was a work truck at the vacant/foreclosed house around the corner. Someone was up on the roof fixing where there has been a blue tarp covering about 1/3 of the roof for about the past year. Hmm...why would the bank bother fixing that to just let the house sit and rot? Then at lunchtime today we went to the store and there was a big truck with the whole back end filled, basically with garbage. Looked like a lot of boards, etc. The big door to the garage was open and it appeared they were in there cleaning out the house. Could it be that the bank is FINALLY going to get this house on the market?! I can't even imagine being in that house to clean up! Deputies that have been inside say it is filled with garbage, needles and even human feces. Can I hope and pray that it's finally going to be sold and someone living it? will it be too much to hope and pray it's not turned into a rental house and whoever lives in it are good decent people? It was such a nice rambler with a nice yard at one time. The first family that owned it for years and years were very nice and so were the last family that lived there.

A new wake up alarm

We have someone new in the neighborhood........a Rooster! The people in front of us, who have chickens, apparently now have a rooster, too. He's not too annoying, but I have a feeling roosters are not legal to have in this residential area. I can hear him when I wake up in the morning (and off and on during the day) but it doesn't wake any of us up. It's like he's still learning to cock-a-doodle-doo. LOL.

My boss extended her 3 day weekend another day and sent me a message to work from home today, if I want. Since I apparently did something to my back over the weekend and am still not comfortable, working from home sounds good today. I think the back mess up was from sitting on the bleacher seats at the horse races for several hours Friday night. We started out in these nice cushioned seats on track level, but people kept standing in front of us between races and we couldn't see the board or the horses being walked by, so we got up and moved out to the flat bleacher seats. I woke up Saturday hurting and just can't seem to shake it. I might have to make a trip to the chiropractor this week instead of my appointment next week.

I'd say our neighbor must have guessed the people walking around our property a couple of different times last Thursday were county folk. Saturday he loaded up his huge 1 ton pick up -it's huge - has a big flat bed and wood sides (they used to have a firewood business) with all the garbage from the renters place(s). It was literally stuffed and above the cab of the truck! I'll bet it's been a year or more since we last saw him fill up and go to the dump. How disgusting! That's his typical M.O. - tries to get cleaned up when he thinks the county might be investigating his properties.

And the neighbor on the property that is directly behind us and good neighbor? She just had a whole bunch of dog kennals brought in and set up. She's always had one big dog, who must live outside and barks loud, but only when someone is going back and forth to the last lot (also owned by slumlord neighbor) on that road. Now, there is at least one more dog there, with a super loud bark which also seems to echo now, because of the kennel, I assume. Our good neighbor - who's house sits at the back of his property (our sits toward the front) - he can really hear it and he's none too happy. He and DH were discussing it...DH telling him, ya - that's a loud dog and you know what good neighbor said?!!!!  "well, when you call it in........." DH was like "NOoooo! - I am not handling this issue. This one is your job to call in. I've been the only one reporting and dealing with the drug dealers for 2 years now and I'm not taking on dogs, too".  Besides, we are far enough away that it's not annoying us like it is our good neighbor. We keep our windows closed, he has his open for air. He will need to finally step up to the plate, if he doesn't like it.

The sheriff came through on patrol a couple of times this weekend. Friday night they came down our street and went down in front of renters and shined the spotlight around for a minute (just letting them know they are around). We had dead quiet peace for about the next 24 hours. Saturday night the deputies came down the main road that feeds into our neighborhood, shining spotlights on landlords place and the drug dealers behind us. Drug traffic was still heavy all day yesterday, though. Still no return call from the message I left with the narcotics SUI department. (what a surprise...). Lets just hope the county councilman keeps up with trying to resolve this and it doesn't end up put on the back burner because something else came along to take away his focus on our issue.

DD's boyfriend is starting the day shift with his job today. He's been really unhappy at his job the past month or so. Honestly, he's driving everyone crazy with all his complaining about it. Just about everyone is telling him to suck it up. He makes good money (for not having a degree), has great benefits, etc. I think his parents finally told him to either figure out a way to deal with it and stop complaining or move on and find a new job. Hopefully being on the day shift with a new boss and co-workers will fix the problem, though a lot of his problem is he does not want to work any overtime, which of course the boss(es) don't like. Day shift has o/t required on weekends sometimes, too. His parents (and us) just keep telling him to take advantage of the overtime! He is young and able and it's great money. Do it for awhile - that's what gets you noticed for other jobs that come up where he can start working his way up to even higher pay. 

I think it will be easier on DD with him having normal hours now. She has never been one to stay up late and with him getting off work at 11:30pm, she's always up late to text him, etc and of course on weekends he wants to be out late because he's used to not going to bed until 2am. Now she'll get to have a normal schedule too, which I'm glad of, especially when she starts back up at at school and she has an 8am class start time.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

My Target deals

I picked up a few good deals at Target today.  DD is taking the Swiffer sweeper we have for her new apartment, so I wanted to pick another one up....except I didn't think about it until we were at the store and could have brought a $1.50 off coupon with me. Oh well.  They had it on clearance for $6.98.  They also had refill packs on sale for 9.99 ea (28 count), buy 2 get a $5 Target gift card and I also had 2 $1 off coupons. Now we each have a large refill pack that will last quite awhile.

Two 30 count Quilted Northern toilet paper at $15.99 ea. I had 2 $2 off coupons! Plus a cartwheel extra 5% off. Buy 2 and get a $5 Target gift card. Always need toilet paper and was just about out from the last time I did this deal.

Gillette razor refills (DH was out) and $16.49 for a 5 count (razors are such a rip off!), plus I had a $3 off coupon. Buy razor refills and a razor, get a $5 Target gift card, so I bought myself a Venus razor on sale for $7.99, also with a $3 coupon.

Total cost - after my 5% red card discount - $66.32 AND I got $15 in Target gift cards.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Revisiting an old memory

DD and I had a fun evening at the horse races last night. She has never been before and it's something we've been wanting to do since last summer. It was still 95 degrees when we got there at 6:30 but thankfully the sun was behind the grandstands and we were at least in shade.

I have so many fun memories of going to the horse races with my family (and especially my dad) growing up. We lived near the track and it was a favorite thing of my dad to go do. Kids always get in free and I can remember all of us going, even my grandparents. I can remember several Mother's Day spent there. I'd give my mom or dad my $2 to bet for me, after picking out a horse. My dad taught me now to read the race program (he would buy the big program that looked like a newspaper) and how to read the race history of each horse. Back in the day, I can remember him on occasion getting home from work early on a weekday afternoon and we'd head over to the track (a 10 minute drive) and spend the afternoon, just him and me. One of my favorite last memories, before he passed, was he and I going to the race track while I was visiting them in Arizona one winter.

DD loved it. We didn't bet much. Usually just the minimum $2 bet along with a $1 bet on the exacta, which DD won one race - a whole $8.10 :-).  We took some sandwiches, crackers and drinks in a little cooler. I was going to park in general admission but it seriously was a VERY long walk, so I said forget that - we're paying the $7 for close parking! I wasn't walking that far in 95 degrees and then out that far at 10pm at night. $7 each to get in. DD came out ahead $3.70 and I lost $16. Can't beat that for an evening of fun.