Monday, November 30, 2015

Monday off to a rocky start

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 27, 2015

Good Turkey

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 23, 2015

A little hiccup to my day

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

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

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

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Chilly chores

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Cashing in

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Glad I am inside today

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Adding stuff I love to my life

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 13, 2015

Batten down the hatches and other stuff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 12, 2015

It's Thursday

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 9, 2015

Ready for the week

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

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

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

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Lazy weekend

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 7, 2015

In color

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 6, 2015

Need camping stuff?

This has felt like a long exhausting week. Wednesday was just another day to deal with living in drug-ville. The tarp that has been set up at the very back of our property under a big cedar tree (mostly on the drug dealing house's property and a little bit on our side of  our property) overnight turned into a full blown tent/campsite. Around noon DH was in the back and noticed it and at the same time 2 guys came out of the tent. There was garbage everywhere around, now on our property. DH called the sheriff non-emergency dispatch, got transferred to 911.

The very back of our property slopes down a hill about 30 feet and then flat again on the bottom and then turns into drug dealers property and road. DH was standing up on the top edge of our property looking down at all this. He starts yelling at the one guy left to get this shit cleaned up and off our property. He was totally wasted and just kinda stood there in a daze. "'s not my garbage, but ok" and he picked up a few things in a small grocery sack and took it over near the drug house. I went down there and started taking a bunch of pictures of it all. It was incredible. Tent, sleeping bags, milk jugs, just general garbage.

As I was snapping pics over this 10 minute period it was one car after the other pulling in and going up to the window. A new car would pull in before the one before it had time to leave. I took pictures of that.  They finally knew it and shut the window down. A guy pulled in and no one would answer the window and then he went and knocked on the back door.  DH yells over "hey they are closed for business right now!"  All the while we stood down there waiting for the sheriff to show up.......and waited and waited. They finally showed up 4 hours later. By then DH had cleaned it up. He did not want to wait until dark, knowing there'd be needles down there. When our good neighbor got home from work about 3:30 DH had him come over to be there with him while went down to the bottom of the hill and cleaned it up. INCREDIBLE! Needles everywhere, 3 bikes, 3 lawn chairs. They even had put in carpet under their tent! Tampons....what do guys need with tampons? well, apparently they use them to filter the heroin.

DH filled 2 55 gallon garbage bags full. He tossed all the bikes (2 of them were partial bikes) and chairs onto our property and put them in our wheelbarrow. He, of course had really heavy work gloves on and did put in the garbage sack the needles that had tips on them, but there are still needles there. Sometimes our one active dog runs down there chasing a bunny or squirrel.

While good neighbor and I stood there keeping an eye on DH, again it was one car (or walkers) after another pulling up to the window. One guy gets out of his pick up and we notice he had started a little fire on the ground next to his truck. We could see it on underneath his truck on the other side where he was standing. What the heck?! then we see him take a small gas can and pour some more on it. Then he puts it out and puts the can back in the bed of his truck Neighbor figured he was trying to test to make sure it was gas. Most likely he had stolen it and was making sure it was really gas? Who knows.

After the sergeant and a deputy finally arrived, DH gets told they wished he had left it all there so maybe they could make an arrest for trespassing or whatever. DH just laughed and said maybe you could of 3 1/2 hours ago! they are gone now. Sgt. asked DH what he was going to do with the bikes and chairs (the rest was in the garbage sack in our can) and DH said I guess either take to the dump or cut it up and put in my cans. Sgt didn't want him to have it on our property - worried they'd try to come on our property to get it back, so he actually had DH help him take it down to the corner and leave it! Most of it was gone by the next morning.

DH and some from the other neighborhood met over at the precinct with one of the county prosecutor's last night. Same old crap of excuses. But she said she really wants the people in the drug house behind us really bad, because they have already been busted twice now. They are building up "points" on their record, blah blah. She also wants the parents at this house now.  I'm not holding my breath one bit. Talk is cheap and that's all anyone from the county does.  Supposedly someone from the county health department is going to take care of getting the rest of the needles cleaned up.

Thursday, November 5, 2015


OMG! The stars lined up right this morning. My boss sent me an email that I was welcome to work from home today, so of course I take her up on it.  Awhile later the phone rings. I see on caller ID it's an 800 number, so know it's going to be "spam". I answer and was just going to hang right back up like I usually do, but for some reason I let the recording start talking.

"This is Host Gator. The websites you have are currently suspended and will be permanently terminated in 48 hours unless the account is paid. Press 1 to pay". So, I eagerly press 1 and seconds later get disconnected. WAHHHHHH! Then I got the number off caller ID and called it back and the guy who answered said the credit card# on file is no longer active, would I like to pay? OH YES - would I?!!  I gave him my debit card # and got this paid. 15 minutes later the website was up and running again. This account was set up years ago and apparently DS used our home ph# for the account info. Thank goodness. Thank goodness I was home to answer the phone and decided to listen to the recording.

He gave me the 2 email address they have on file for this account. The primary email address I am familiar with but don't think my son has used in a very long time. The other I didn't recognize, so I am hoping that is a current email for him and sent him an email to it. I asked the customer service guy if there was any way my email address could be put on the account so that I get the notifications regarding payments due and he said he would add it and would email me info on how to log into the portal and change it to be the primary email address for the account. He did, but unfortunately I still can't change it because I don't know DS's log in password and I don't know his email log in (of course) in order to retrieve the password reset email.

I have emailed the customer service guy back, explaining my situation, asking if there is anyway to change it to my email address. If not, will the credit card# I  gave at least go on file as the new card and automatically be charged when there is billing due. That would at least help.

I AM SO DARNED RELIEVED! DH and I have been stressing over this so badly the past week. If I can now get my email changed as the primary, then I can completely get this out of DS's unworthy hand. After that there would really be nothing we ever have to try and contact him about again. We have "written off" what he owes us, so no contact need (or has been tried) about that issue.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Trying to find the bright spot in life today

Though I'm down in the dumps about DS and the problems he continues to cause, I am at least happy that it's sunny today and my house is (for the most part) neat and tidy. Just look at this clean kitchen and dining room! LOL

DH is off today with his friend, finding some more scrap metal that he needs to finish welding on his trailer.  He was so sad and defeated when he left this morning. It just broke my heart. The people we have been able to talk to, who know how to get ahold of DS, act like they can't. I don't know why I am so surprised at this. There's a reason he hangs out with these type of people. It's because they aren't responsible and don't have any integrity. He hangs out with them because they don't expect that out of him, themselves, or anyone else.

DD's BF is a bit bummed this morning. He and his family put in a ton of effort to help elect someone for a local town council position and he didn't win. But, at least our town's school district funding bill passed, finally after like 15 years of no new funding. The schools are so overcrowded, it's ridiculous. I was happy to see that our district county councilman's awesome assistant got voted in for the position she ran for.

Our councilman called DH yesterday to ask him to be on a local conservative talk radio show with him about our drug problem. This would be pretty far reaching. It's a talk radio show out of our major metropolitan city with lots of listeners and covers about half the state. The funny part is I often listen to conservative talk radio in my car on way to and from work. But I haven't really in months. I've been listening to audio books instead, but yesterday morning, on my way to the office I turned on the radio and was actually listening to this talk show. As I'm listening to it DH texts me that he's been asked to talk on the same show. What are the odds? I think it's a sign. LOL.

Tomorrow night we and the other neighborhood folks have a meeting with one of the county prosecutors. That should be interesting, but I'm sure will just be listening to one excuse after the other, like we have with the sheriff. We all beyond ticked off that all these people keep re-offending over and over and charges keep getting reduced, if not dropped and when they do get actually charged with something their time served is days or weeks and they are right back here buying dope and causing trouble. Or they get assigned "drug court" which is a total joke. I watched an interesting segment on 60 minutes from last Sunday about "Heroin in the Heartland". It didn't surprise me in the least. It is the story of what is happening everywhere. I did finally learn what a "hit" of it typically costs these addicts.  $10. Which is why they are all using this drug now because it's cheaper than buying an $80 oxy pill.

We had our first frosty morning of the season this morning. Chilly!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Crappy days

What a stressful 4 days or so it has been. All for something that could be fixed in a matter of minutes. My computer smart son has a website for someone else under his hosting account (that he had set up for his own website years ago). Several years ago he set up this groups website and domain registration under his account. Well guess who apparently hasn't paid his annual hosting bill? The website (along with my son's own website) is down and of course no one has anyway to access the account and pay it and get it up and running again.

The only contact info we currently have for son is his email address he has always used. Last February the site went down and so I emailed him and within an hour he emailed back that it was fixed (I now know it was because Feb is when that websites domain fee is due). So, this time I figured I'd email him, he'd get the email and address the issue. No response.

We have absolutely no way to get a hold of him. He put his Facebook page back on a few months ago, (even though he has us blocked) but apparently took it down again right before this happened. We have no current phone number for him. I have done google searches, hoping his name or phone number might pop up somewhere. I tried LinkedIn. I got online with the web hosting company to see if there was any way I could pay the bill. They won't do anything since I don't have the log in info. I sent DS another email telling him to just give me the log in info and I'll take care of paying it.

We were able to get the phone number of the guy he was living with/working odd jobs for when he first started living there. He hasn't seen him in months. Doesn't have a phone number for him anymore. I know his two sons are friends with my son and asked if he would check with them to get the message to DS. "oh ya, I can try. I don't think my sons see him much - they've got their own things they are doing". He said last he heard he was living in a nearby (to him) town with a girl.   Well, most likely one of his sons certainly has his phone number or knows how to get a hold of him. I tried sending facebook messages to these 2 sons and another, asking them to get DS a message but since we are not friends on FB, my messages just go into that "other" inbox, which anybody rarely sees or gets notified there is a message.

Then a guy who is friends with my DH on Facebook said he is facebook friends with one of this guys sons, so he sent this kid a message and the kid then sent my DH a friend request, so DH accepted and chatted with him a bit and kid gave us his own Ph#. So I called this kid and explained that we needed to get ahold of DS right away. This group really needs their website up and running. He said he hadn't seen him in about a month and doesn't have his phone number anymore because he (the kid I was talking to) just got a new phone and lost his contacts (of course). He said he'd get back to me. I waited 24 hours and no call back so called him again. He said ya, I tried to send him a FB message but I couldn't find him on FB. I said yes, that's because he took his page down again. Then he said he was heading over to a friends soon that he knows has DS's number and would get it from him. Of course no call back. He also then said that he knew DS was back in their town working a "tech job" for the past few months.

How fricken hard would it have been for him to hang up from me, text that friend and say "hey, I need XX's phone number". He could have taken care of it in 1 minute.  That's because all the people my son associates with are freaking low life scum. That's why.

Yesterday  morning I called the hosting company because I read on their billing page that payment could also be made with check or money order. I asked them to please just give me the amount that is owed on the account and I will overnight a check. Nope. they won't give me any info.

DH called several computer repair type companies in that city (a typical job ds would have) to see if they had him working there. No luck. Then he called the sheriff over there. Said we have not seen or heard from our son in a year. He's never been the type to be in trouble, but we are worried about him. They said since he's an adult they can only go try and do a "welfare check" at the 2 addresses they have for him (why does the police have his addresses? I'm hoping it's just from maybe his driver's license in that state? but he's only been there a year and he's so  lazy I doubt he'd even change is license, unless his was expired). Less than an hour later the sheriff called DH back and said that both males at the addresses said they have not seen DS in a long time. Of course. It was nice of them to check and call back.

DS messaged with a guy who son was friends with in Australia. DH had stayed with him when he went 3 years ago. He said, ya he got a message from DS about a month ago. He wanted to know if he and a couple of his friends came down to Australia could they stay with him? This guy (smartly) told DS that I never hear from you anymore and now you want me to give you free room and board?

We are out of ideas on how to find him. I know damn well this kid or one of his many friends knows how to get ahold of DS. They are all worthless, just as my DS has become.

This is all so stupid an irresponsible. If he doesn't have the money, or the desire to continue hosting this, then all he had to do - at a minimum - was contact the guy, who is the club president, and let him know, so arrangements could be made to keep the website running. Now the club has lost it's website and it's quite an extensive one. It's updated regularly and also contains a lot of the clubs history. All's he would have to do it just email me the log in info and I could have it paid in minutes. I don't even know now, if he uses that email address anymore, so maybe he isn't seeing my emails, but I'm sure those "friends" by now have let him know we are trying to contact him.

It's all so disheartening on so many levels.