Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Financial stuff

Some good news, some not as good news. The good news is I logged into my mortgage account online today and the delinquent property taxes have been paid! Maybe my call yesterday gave someone the nudge they needed to get this taken care of. However it came about, I am relieved it is fixed.

The not as good news is I started my tax return online. New territory for me with living in a state that has income tax and how does it work that we only lived here the last 3 months of the year? As I assumed it is a partial year percentage applied to my total adjusted gross income. And DD was a dependent half the year and half not, not yet sure how that works out. I wasn't going to claim her this year, but it appears in order to claim her college tuition on my tax return (for the education credit) I have to list her as a dependent. A tax accountant I am not!

I hate doing those online tax returns where it tallies what you owe (I never get a refund anymore) up in the corner. It's always such a huge amount in the beginning (before deductions factored in) that it freaks me out and causes stress and I just want to stop and work on it another day. At one point, between federal and state I owed over $10,000! I knew it wasn't right, but still made me hyperventilate! Once I was done with my "rough draft" I was down to $1041 for Federal and $945 for State. Not terrible, but I had really hoped my Federal would be lower, as I increased my withholding last year to help cover it. Plus, our payroll company never got me set up in October to start having state income tax withheld, so nothing was set aside for that at all (I knew this and just decided to fix it this January, so now I have plenty going there and should come out about even with State for 2017). I'll probably get this all a little bit lower. I haven't entered everything. I know somewhere I have a "tax folder" where I saved all my donation receipts to Goodwill and Salvation Army. The state tax return seems almost harder to figure out than Federal, but maybe that's just because I'm not familiar with it.

The other not as good news yet, is I still haven't had my review for work to see if/what salary increase I might be getting. Last year it was done by mid February and was on my end of February paycheck. Would be nice to get an extra hundred or two a month. I went through our payroll and see about 1/2 have gotten their increases so far. The raise percentages range for the "regular folk" from 4% to 8.3% (so far), with the majority being in the 6% range. Though management got 38% raises last Fall! and the owners gave themselves almost 30% raises! I'm not sure why the past couple of years I have been the only one to be under even the minimum range of what everyone else got. Two years ago I got a measly 1.3% and last year was at 2.6%. Prior to that I always got nice raises in the 4-5% range. I really have no idea how they decide on how much for everyone. You'd think they'd kind of just decide on a percentage range, mainly so they can stick in their salaries budget for the year. I'm just budgeting/anticipating a 2.5% raise for me. If I get more than that, then I will be pleasantly surprised.

I always kind of chuckle to myself when my boss occasionally makes a comment that she will have to work until she's 80 to afford to retire, to which I of course agree that I will be for sure! She makes over $200k a year plus her husband has a decent job.  Pretty sure she could retire right now if she wanted to LOL.

"What do you do?"

Since we are new to the area and meeting new people, the common question is "what do you do for work?". "I'm an accountant".

But what made me decide to become a boring "bean counter"? I took an accounting class in high school.  I did well, it came easy to me. But, at the same time I also took an interior design class as an elective and loved it. College was something I was most likely going to do, but no real plans. I didn't want the 4 year, live away from home experience. The local community college had a 2 year interior design program, so that's what I decided to do. Along with those classes, I had to take most of the core college classes too. I enjoyed the interior design, but never really got totally into it. I have a feeling if the internet had been around then I probably would have. I just couldn't see what kind of real job I was going to end up with the degree, other than maybe working at a furniture store or something. I couldn't see myself having my own business. By then I knew I wanted/needed a 4 year degree in order to really earn any kind of decent money and the closest 4 year degree in Interior Design was 250 miles away. It also seemed so subjective on what was good design and what wasn't. Somewhere into my second year I realized I was better suited to things that were more black and white, where there's a definite right or wrong answer - like accounting.

So, I switched gears and got an AA degree in Business/Accounting so that I could transfer to a 4 year university. It took me an extra year at the community college, but that was cheaper than switching gears while at a 4 year university.

I don't regret it one bit. I can interior design for myself and only have to please myself :)

Monday, February 27, 2017

Just fix it!

I'm still trying to resolve getting my property taxes that were due last November paid out of escrow by my mortgage company. The original person I talked with had said to give them 10 days. Well, it's been almost 2 weeks and every time I log into my account, it has not been paid. So, I had to call again this morning. The lady looked it up and does show a "case" pending. They have contacted their "3rd party" (whatever that means, she said Corelogic) about it and apparently are trying to resolve who should pay the penalties and interest. I told her that if it doesn't get paid by the 10th of March, then there is going to be additional penalties and interest. So frustrating. I'm sure I'll have to call additional times to make sure this gets resolved. I made myself call first thing this morning - get it out of the way and not have to think about it all day.

Yesterday was pretty much a lazy day. DH watched Nascrash, while I read my book club book. I think there was like 4 hours of pre-race stuff on, that was longer than the race.  The book is getting better as it goes along. I'm probably 3/4 of the way through it, so should have it done in the next couple of days.  Neither of us were really hungry for dinner, so we ended up having cereal. Then we watched a movie. John Wick. Eh.

I called my mom just after dinner. I was going to call Saturday, then Sunday morning.....but well, you know how that goes....

I never watch the Oscars, but sounds like they were interesting, LOL.

Our neighbors had a very flat tire on one of their vehicles yesterday. The wife drove to work (literally one block away) with it like that, apparently.

Our neighbors across the street (there's a vacant block between us) are going to Hawaii this week. Wife is tired of the snow :) They picked a good week, because it's supposed to snow some all week.

I'm not really ready for this week for some reason. I think I need to take 2-3 days of my vacation time soon. I have 183 hours available right now.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The road less traveled

Literally. Yesterday we took a drive just to get out of the house and see some surrounding area. This road ran up a canyon, along a pretty little flowing creek (there are lots of those around here and I'm slowly learning the names)

We kept following this snow covered road. In the beginning was a house here and there, explaining why this would be plowed, but as we got farther along and not a house in sight we were surprised it was plowed. Why?

After about 5 or 6 miles (which takes awhile when you have to drive like 20 mph) we found the reason why. What appeared to be a big house or some kind of business (logging?) with pick ups parked everywhere. Snowmobilers! Even though the road kept going on, that is where the plowing stopped, so we turned around and drove back home to have some lunch.  Along the way was a National Park campground that we decided to come back in the summer and have a picnic (probably during the week when it will be less crowded with summer people).

This morning it is prettily snowing and looks like we are in for a little snow the next several days. Of course just when all the streets became clear and dry, finally.  

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Trees and clubs

My new Christmas tree arrived. Of course I made DH set it up for me - to see what it looks like, how it goes together, and make sure the lights work. I love it! Super easy to assemble. Took us like 5 minutes. It's in 3 sections. Just add each section, pull down the branches (I didn't take the time to spread them all out, since we were putting it back in the box right away). Plug in each section to the section below and plug in socket. Voila'. Instant Christmas tree.

I'm excited because my previous tree? Every. Single. Branch. had to be inserted (color coded) into the pole. It was a pain in the butt, for sure and took just as long to take apart. I'm looking forward to next Christmas 😀😀😀

I attended my first book club meeting. Very fun! There were 7 of us total. I, of course, can't remember everyone's name. I was good the first couple of people and then all of a sudden I was introduced to like 3 at one time and forget it. I got added to their email list, so I am hoping to piece some names together that way! Apparently they haven't met since last October. Nov and Dec was holidays during the week they meet each month, and January was just too much snow. They ended up  not discussing their January book (that I didn't read) because they all said they hated it LOL.

We spent the first 45 minutes or so just hanging out in host's (my property neighbor) kitchen, chatting and getting food ready. A potluck style meal was then done at the dining table (good thing she has a big one!). There were a couple of salads, some yummy soup, a meat and cheese tray and a couple of desserts. A bottle of wine and some various non-alcoholic beverages. I think only a couple of the ladies drank wine. We ate our meal and they chatted about various things and I answered questions about myself off and on. Then after eating we discussed the book we all read. (they used the book club questions at end of the book). Then they discussed the books they have on their list to read and picked March and April's books. All in all it was a 3 hour deal! Next month the woman that is in charge of leading the discussion (she seems to be the organizer of the club) will host it. I'd love to host some time, but my house is pretty small if a big group decided to show up (they said usually anywhere from 3-12 show up). I could comfortably handle 6 or 7 in my tiny abode - and we'd have to eat off plates sitting in the living room, as my dining table really only seats 4, 6 at the max (and that is crowding it a bit).

Thankfully, the next 2 books to read were available an e-books though the library, so I do not have to purchase them. It appeared those that were there read via various sources. Looks like a couple had purchased books, a couple had library books and a couple had e-books/e-readers. At least now I'll for sure always have something to read.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Phone introvert

I'm such a phone introvert that I find it strange when someone actually calls me when they could have just emailed me! Now that my office phone forwarding is working I'm getting calls again, and more than usual, for some reason it seems. Like today my cell rang. I didn't recognize the number right off, other than it's from the city where my office is located, so I figured it was a work related call. But when I answer some old sounding guy says "hi- this is your uncle bob". I'm like "oh, I'm sorry you have the wrong #" and then in his regular voice he laughs and says "no I don't". Ok...who is this then? It was one of our vendors. He just had a quick and easy question on an order I sent him. He has my email - why not just email me the question? I guess some people like to actually talk to others and some don't. When I worked from home the 2-3 days a week before I didn't have my phone forwarded, so 1/2 to 2/3 of my calls went to voicemail and you know what? If I had the person's email, I'd just email them back, LOL. I have a co-worker that likes to call me to tell me things, too. Out of 50 co-workers she's the only one that does that. Even my boss rarely calls me, but we do try to make a point of actually talking every couple of weeks - even though we email each other a dozen times a day.

The first half hour of my morning I deliberately put my work phone set to "go to voicemail". I do not want to talk to ANYONE that early and when my brain is just getting warmed up.

My DD and I hardly ever actually talk on the phone - but we text or Facebook message throughout the day, every day. I wish my mom could text. She used to email me once a week or so, but she doesn't do that anymore. She calls now. DH talks to his dad once a week on the phone, but he likes to talk on the phone. I had to call our property neighbor up to find out if the book club meeting was still on and what time...I put it off for 3 days! How weird is that?! I kept thinking to myself - wish I had her email LOL.

More often than not, if my cell phone rings on "my time" (ie not work) I won't answer it -even though I obviously know who is calling. Most of the time, even if I'm not really doing anything, the thought that goes through my mind is "oh...I don't feel like talking to someone right now".

I hate the sound of a phone ringing, buzzing, chiming, whatever. Most of the time I have my phone ring turned off, so at the maximum I'm just getting the little buzz. I rarely remember to turn the ringer on, so if my phone is in my purse and I'm shopping or whatever, I don't even hear it. If our landline rings I usually wait and let DH answer it, since it's rarely for me. But then there are times when I pick up and answer, it's one of his friends, and I end up talking to them for quite awhile, chatting away just like I'm an extrovert or something. Once I get going on it, I'm fine. It's the answering or first making the call that holds me up.

Apparently, I'm not the only one with this "issue" as I found in this article.

Thank goodness for texting and emailing - in the olden days I'd hardly ever communicate with anyone LOL 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Tax help

As I expected, I guess I'll be doing my mom's taxes again this year. After the past several years of pulling my hair out trying to do her easy tax return, because I'd try to do them on her computer and because the last 2 years she thought she was learning how to do it. #1 her internet was slow as molasses #2 she was not learning because she didn't remember a lick of it the next year #3 she barely knows how to use a computer anyway.  She's seemed convinced since I moved that she would be able to do her taxes online herself this year. So, I have just been saying ok, but if you need help with it let me know.

Got a call from her last night - wondering if I could do her taxes. LOL. She just has several documents I need (social security and a couple of retirement account statements). I know she has a printer/scanner. Did she want to scan her docs and email to me? Well, she doesn't know if her printer/copier scans and attach in email (forget it). So, I said hey, how about this. You know how to make copies on it right? (yes!). Make copies and mail them to me. Then she mentioned she's a bit nervous that it's going through the mail with her ss# on it (I didn't mention they came into the mail to her that way!LOL), so I suggested she just use a black marker and black out her ss on the docs before mails to me. Ok, I think we are good to go. I'll have them in a few days. It will take me probably a whole half hour (maybe an hour at most) to file it online and so much easier than 10 phone calls from her saying "how to I answer this and go to the next page?" LOL  Easy for me to take care of and less stressing about it for her. All good!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

HOT Amazon discount code and other Wednesday happenings

Today Amazon is having a discount coupon code! First time I have ever heard of one being offered. In honor of their #1 Corporate Ranking in a Harris Poll, for today only, they are offering $8.62 off a $50 order with code BIGTHANKS.  Certain conditions apply.  Guess I'll get an order in for some of the regular stuff I order through them and take advantage of the savings.

Tomorrow evening is my first ladies book club meeting. 6pm. Potluck, bring whatever you feel like. Hmm...I think for this first time I'll just bring some dessert. I have a brownie mix or might (this evening) make some peanut butter cookies. I'm sure this first meeting will end up being a bunch of questions about me, LOL. who I am and what the heck I am doing here in this little town HA! I will have to pay close attention to names, if here are very many there. I hear a name when introduced and instantly forget it, so I have to really make sure I pay attention when meeting new people. Thankfully it has warmed up here quite a bit and the roads are good now, as I have to drive about 10 miles outside of town on a windy 2 lane road. I could jump on the freeway and take the next exit, but then I have to go across this really old narrow bridge, LOL.

Over the weekend DH made the blanket ladders for DD and myself. Exactly what I was looking for. He enjoyed (for the most part, he got a little crabby because his OCD personality won't let him take his time and spread it out over more than one day) making them and is pretty proud of himself :) He even rounded the corners on the top and angled the cut on the bottom.

Still letting it dry completely before bringing back in house and adding blankets. I need one more throw blanket, so I will probably look at Ross or Walmart next time I'm in the city.

This morning I finished my last bank statement reconciliation for work - this one went like a piece of cake, so the morning is off to a good start. I am hoping my boss approves my suggestion to change from our banking online bill pay to using our accounting software's online bill pay. It will cost about $50 a month but would save me 2-3 hours a month, which more than makes up for the $50 and that time can be spent on more cost productive income generating projects. It as a suggestion I made in my self review I submitted and still waiting to hear back on my annual review. I'm sure she'll ok it.

DH got busy this morning re-watching a movie (that he's already watched a dozen times the past couple of years), so he'll be nice and quiet for the next couple of hours :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A big UGH!

I spent the day reconciling bank statements for work. Our bank statements have become much more cumbersome with online bill paying versus the old way of printing out a bunch of checks each week. I always seem to be off some weird amount lately, that is always my fault - transposing a # or something. Now I have a bad headache - good thing the day is done now.

Then I got an email from owner's wife (she works at office too) at my side job - they are getting audited - AGAIN! $F%$##. We just went through that 3 years ago. Came through fine, no issues, but figured they'd now be good not to be audited again for awhile, at least.  GRRR! It is such a pain in the ass. I guess I'll be earning a little extra this year dealing with that, as it will take more time than what I normally do for them. Knock on wood, but for my full time job we were audited once, before I started working there and nothing since. Ok, she just sent me a copy of the audit letter - it's not the IRS, it's for their state department of revenue, so that's not quite as bad, I guess. Thankfully they have a CPA that will deal with most of it.

My SIL mailed me a birthday card last month. It got returned to her with a yellow sticker saying "attempted not known". She had the address all correct. It's just a PO Box - how hard is that to put in the right box #?  So, she mailed it again on 2/8. Just got it today! Good lord - did it travel around the country first? Her daughter mailed me a "save the date" card for her wedding last Monday and I got it it 2 days later.  So strange.

DH wants "nacho's" for dinner, so I'm going to attempt to make some. Wish me luck! I'm just kind of throwing some stuff together to make them.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Christmas again?

Oooh Ooooh! I'm so excited! For the past couple of years I have been wanting a new pre-lit artificial Christmas tree. But, the one's that look really nice are also really expensive and of course when I'm looking at them it's Christmas season and they cost $250 on up. So, it never happens. My current tree that I have had several years is a white fake tree. (prior fake green tree was a hand me down from my mom that finally wore out) I picked it up at Walmart after Christmas on clearance. It was a $100 tree for $9 bucks. Figured what the heck! for 9 bucks, even if I only used it a couple of years, hey, I got to have a different tree for a while. Well, I've kept using it for several more years, but it's starting to show it's age, not to mention I'm really tired of a white tree by now.

Back it up a few hours and I was texting with DD to ask her what blender she uses to make smoothies. Because both blenders I have (then I remembered I gave her my newer blender before we moved) just plain suck. One is just ancient (a wedding gift, but it actually works better than the new one). The other was one I bought a couple years ago was an inexpensive one and it blends terrible. If you try to make a smoothie it gets stuck. But again, I don't want to spend $200 for a blender. I was then googling and watching a video of the Magic Bullet. Hmm....seems like a handy little gadget and was on sale at Kohl's for $20. Plus I had a 30% off coupon. These things sell for $60 everywhere else it seemed. Even with having to pay shipping (since my Kohl's order wasn't over $75) it was still $20 and a good deal. If it didn't work that great, at least I didn't spend a lot of money, but it looked like it has a lot of different uses, so I decided to try it.

For some reason I then clicked on the "clearance" tab on Kohl's. Two of the first items were pre-lit artificial Christmas trees. REALLY on sale! The first one was 9 feet (too tall) but the next one was 7 ft, pre-lit LED lights, regularly priced at $400. The sale price???  $80!! Take off my 30% and you have a very nice Christmas tree for only $56. OMG! I bought it too. I added a filler item for a few more dollars to make the $75 free shipping (the blender was going to cost $9 to ship) threshold and my order is in! Jingle those bells!

Sunday stuff

I used $180 of the unexpected money to purchase some drapes and blinds. The guest bedroom blinds broke (they are just cheap vinyl white ones). The office room has same vinyl ones and they really should have had a brace in the middle. They sag on top and I'm sure if we pull these up and down they will break too eventually. Plus the office room has a weird sized (54"w x 21 1/2" H) horizontal window up high on one side with no window treatment. I'd love to just leave it as no treatment, but the afternoon sun totally blinds my computer screen and I can't see to work.

I ordered some cream colored drapes from Walmart with a bronze rod. For the big office window I bought the same Bali wood blinds that are in the rest of the house. For the up high horizontal windows I ordered a cellular shade in a tan-ish color. I was going to order the same wood blinds, but the cellular shade was cheaper and I thought it might look nice to have the different type/texture/color, instead of two dark wood blinds in one small office/bedroom. The blinds were 20% off at Home Depot.com and sounds like a few weeks before they will arrive.

Since my back was still bothering me yesterday (it's getting a little better each day) and I didn't vacuum, I spent the time cleaning up my messy desk. I don't know why I can have a totally clean, uncluttered house, but my desk is always a mess. I try to have as minimal papers come across it as possible (I do electronic billing, etc) but there is still always lots of papers. I'm a "piler" I know what's in my piles. I had a big pile of new house/old house papers, receipts, etc. Our new house came with a binder that the inspection was in and I've been using the binder to put everything in related to the house. The sale of old house came with a paper folder, so all that's there (like the receipt I just got with the insurance refund check). Plus a bunch of other misc papers piled on them. Threw a bunch out and put the binders in a drawer. I moved my cute wicker vertical file (found at Goodwill prior to move) over onto my desk (it was up on a dresser in the room). Let's see how long I can keep all the papers off that part of the desk!

As I finished reading the book club book (All The Light We Cannot See) one of my e-books on reserve with my (old) library became available. It's "Killing the Rising Sun". Interesting that they are both about WWII and kind of a weird shift to go from a fiction book set during the war to a non-fiction historical book on the war.  Basically, what I get out of them is that men in general are a pretty brutal bunch. I get war and what is necessary, but not the torture, rape, etc of innocent people. I also didn't realize how many millions died in WWII around the world. 3% off the worlds population.  You always hear about the 6-7 million Jews killed, but 24 million Russians died. Just unbelievable.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Saturday morning

My lower back has been in pain the past 3 days and I have no idea what I did. I got up Thursday morning and sat down at my desk to pain. It's a little better today, but very annoying. For the past few weeks I have been doing a few stretching exercises each morning. Just a bit, every easy, very slow. Touch my toes (which is really just touch my shins), stretch my legs a bit, etc. I tried to stretch a little this morning and could only reach down just past my knees! Well, at least it's better today, rather than worse.

I finished the book for the book club last night. I'll give property neighbor a call in the next few days and confirm she is still hosting next Thursday and for what time to be there. I'll have to figure out some treat to bring.

I used to always purchase DH some lottery tickets, but have not since we moved here. Well, the other day he wanted a ticket for the PowerBall so we ran over to the little store at the gas station. I mentioned to the (very nice) guy that I wanted to buy for drawings in advance. He said he didn't think there was any way to do that - "you just have to come back tomorrow and buy another ticket for the next drawing LOL". I showed him the little box to check on the side of the ticket to do consecutive drawings, got my ticket and now don't have to go back for a few weeks, haha!

I turned in my self review to my boss a month ago. Still anxiously awaiting a review and hopefully a raise. Haven't heard when this might be. We'll just have to do a phone call about it. Usually I kind of have an idea of what it will be because I see the budget spreadsheet she does up for the year. I'm ready to input that now in our accounting software and asked her for it, but she's so behind she's not done with it yet. Oh well. I'm guessing it will be minimal like the past couple of years. We aren't off to a very good start these first 6 weeks of the year sales wise either. Hopefully it picks up quickly - we are supposed to get an extra 5% bonus this year.

DH and I went into the city yesterday afternoon to get some stuff at Lowes. Some lumber for making my blanket ladder I want (and he's going to make one for DD, too). We also picked up a bunch of stuff for DD's new house - garage storage type stuff. DH wanted to get them for her. I think we spent about $200 on her, but hey - we are finally in a position to do that, so it feels nice. She will be surprised. We will be going over to visit soon, just not for sure when yet. Kinda of waiting on better weather since we have to drive over 3 mountain passes to get there.

Then we stopped at the grocery store. I had a decent list but we still had enough stuff like soda and water. Mostly I wanted to stock up on some meats, get milk, bread, some snacks and a few other items. We ended up just basically stocking up on everything again (we went 2 weeks ago), so now we are really stocked up. And of course now I am over my monthly budget for groceries. That better mean that next paycheck's grocery spending better be very small! I thought we were going to have to get gas (it's been a month) but DH said he had 5 gallons in a gas can in the shop that he dumped in the car, so we are good for a little while longer. I might make it this whole month of Feb without spending any money on gas.

This weekend should keep him busy working on the blanket ladders. Yay! something for him to do. Once he's done I get to do the sanding and staining part, something new to me to learn. DH got me an electric sander for xmas, so I'll finally get to try it out! Normally I vacuum today, but I think I'm going to have to hold off until my back feels better :/

I ended up sleeping on the guest bed last night. He woke me up when he came to bed (like 1am) and then 3 minutes later he's snoring and I can't get back to sleep. Plus then the dog had to move out of his spot and went down at my feet and with my back bothering me I needed to stretch out my leg and it wasn't happening. Of course anytime I go sleep somewhere else the dog immediately gets up and follows me to wherever I am so he can sleep with me. Ten minutes later I had the other dog laying next to me, LOL. Well, at least they were both on the other side so I could stretch as needed and it was nice and quiet. Hopefully DH slept better too, with me not nudging him all night to stop snoring.

He broke the blinds on the guest bedroom window, so I was up with the sun - which fortunately around here is almost 7:30 am. I need some curtains or blinds. Totally forgot to stop and look for some yesterday. By the time we got done at Lowe's and then groceries we were both tired and I didn't think about stopping to look for some.  I wanted to pick some drapes out in person, but maybe I will just order some online and hope for the best.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Friday Fun Facts about ME!

Just for fun, here are some random oddball things about me:

my hair is mostly white - inherited trait from my grandfather (thanks grandpa!). My cousins all have same thing! We all started going white in our 20's, though the males seemed to go white faster than us girls.

I have a half sister (but no other brother's or sisters) - my biological father remarried after my parents divorced. She is 2 1/2 years younger than me. We met a couple of times as children. Then did not reconnect again until several years ago - it was a bit of a search, but I finally tracked her down through Facebook, with not a lot of info to go on (I didn't know her married name). Turns out she had been looking for me, too!.

I didn't get my college (B.A) degree until I was 27 years old.

I love watching Super Hero/comic book movies

My favorite tv show is The Big Bang Theory (I like geek)

My favorite dessert is cheesecake

I hate ice skating

I never drank (or even tried) coffee until I was in my 40's.

I was married at age 20

I had my first child at age 27

I have fallen off a horse (bareback riding)

I have bottle fed a baby calf - not as easy as your would think, especially when they are as big as a small pony....and once the bottle is empty they want more and chase you back to the house, LOL.

Don't read this one if you are squeamish!! I have watched a still born, breach calf have to be cut out of momma cow. . Momma cow did survive though.  They didn't cut the momma, they inserted a sharp wire tool inside her and sawed off one of the legs that were trying to come out first and then the rest of the calf was able to be pulled out.  Pretty gross! (and at age 11 I decided I did not want to be a vet any longer LOL).  Ok, I warned you!

I had my belly button pierced (but no longer have a ring in it)

I hate talking on the phone

I hate cooked spinach. The smell literally makes me throw up......ask my first grade teacher. She didn't believe me when I told her the kid's hot lunch next to me was making me sick.

I don't like most fruits. They taste good, but I can't handle the textures of most of them, especially berries. I like them in juice and smoothies though.

I don't like vegetables either - they just taste bad. LOL.  My step dad hated them too - he used to joke to my mom "they give you cancer". I make myself eat some. Mostly potatoes and corn and I force down a few green beans every so often. I can do salads too.

My ring size on my wedding ring finger is 2 1/2. Yes, you read that right. I have very tiny skinny fingers (small bones all around).

My high school boyfriend married my high school best friend - over 30 years later :)

What are some oddball facts about you? :)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Bad food

We did end up going out to dinner on Valentine's Day. Not really because it was V-Day, just because I didn't feel like cooking. We only have the one place in town to eat out at and we have been going less and less often. The food just doesn't seem very good anymore. Not sure if it's just us or they've changed cooks or something. Dinner was not very good at all. We went ahead and ordered their Valentine's Day special - dinner for 2 - steak and prawns, salad or soup, beverage and a dessert to share. The steak was ok. The prawns coating was kind of soggy. I took cheesecake to go and had it later, that was pretty good. Their breakfasts (served all day) are good, so we will stick to going to breakfast or having breakfast for dinner if we eat there.

Kind of a bummer we won't get going out once a week like we were, now I just have to come up with more ideas for dinners at home.  DH has been more helpful in adding in ideas though, and since he's been grocery shopping with me he's been picking out things to try. Last night I didn't know what to make, as nothing I had planned or the option (ie defrosted) to make even sounded good. He said nothing really sounded good to him either. I mentioned the big can of spaghettio's he got on our last shopping trip was still up in the cupboard so we just had that with sandwiches. Nice and easy.

I made some home made vanilla ice cream last weekend with my Kitchenaid attachment. The best ice cream! DH never tried it before, but finally he did and his response? "This is way better than store bought ice cream". Of course. haha. I only made half a recipe because I figured he wouldn't even try it (again) so now we are almost out of ice cream already!

We lost NBC on our Dish satellite for a few weeks while they ironed out a contract. I wasn't done catching up on This is Us! But then found I could watch it online at nbc.com. But, now NBC is back with Dish, so that is good. I like to watch the Voice and that is starting up again soon.

Tomorrow is my half work day Friday. Woo! and then the weekend already. This week has zipped by so far.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A late notice

Good grief - I received a letter from our county treasurer's office yesterday that our property taxes that were due 11/30/16 are delinquent. Just a typed out letter stating this, with the amount, penalty and interest and a "taxpayer" number. No reference to which property it is, or if it's both. It was after dinner when we picked up our mail, and evening by the time I opened this last night. WTH?! I owe almost $1100. How is that possible, when I was under the impression all the property taxes got paid, even the ones coming due in November (it was October when we closed on the properties)? My first thought is it has to be related to our land, because we own that free and clear and will be billed and be paying the taxes directly, ourselves. But the amount seemed way too high, especially if it was only for 1/2 a year. From the very vague letter, I had no idea even what tax period this is for.

I dug out our paperwork on the land. Can't be that, because the taxes on that are about $860 for a year and according to my paperwork we are paid up on that for a whole year. Nothing due until November of 2017 (and now I remember the escrow lady telling us that). But, my taxes on the house are supposed to be taken care of through the mortgage company.

So, I tossed and turned on it all night. Got up this morning and looked at my paperwork on the house. At closing almost $1100 was included in what we paid for property taxes due. I logged into my mortgage account online and looked at the escrow balance. It was over $2000 now. I looked at the transaction history and in October it shows a deposit of almost $1100 (and then my monthly payments so far), but no money getting paid out for the taxes. Good grief!

While still online I see a "chat with a representative" so I did that and explained what I think is going on. She said she will report it to their tax department and asked me to email a copy of the delinquency letter I received. I ran it through my scanner and got that emailed off right quick. I'm just glad it's not having to come out of my pocket. I didn't want my savings I'm getting built up to have to take a hit like that!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Starting Monday off annoyed

It's Monday and I'm feeling a tad annoyed today. Just people not doing their job right (or not at all). We have an employee who gets reimbursed his expenses and also auto allowance. Auto allowance to the tune of $500 per month. But, in order to get paid that allowance he has to supply us with mileage reports for each month. How hard is that?! You track your business mileage on work days and turn in the report at the end of the month. He is currently 8 months behind! Who in the world ignores getting paid $500 a month for 8 months?!! It's not like he makes a huge salary and that $500 is no big deal. I just do not get it. He's married and if I were his wife I'd be screaming bloody murder at him, LOL. My boss finally told him last week he either gets his reports in by today or he's not getting paid. We are getting ready to close out 2016 books.

Add to that people just getting me partial info, so that I have to keep emailing back for more and a customer who has been supplied copies of his invoice from last October who is just now playing dumb and acting like he hasn't received any copies and also doesn't know what the service was for (even though his job# he supplied is on the invoice). Whatever - just pay the damn invoice. OMG. He just emailed again, asking where the invoice was mailed to. It was mailed to the address on the invoice. In addition to mailing the hard copy, an email copy also was (supposed) emailed to him at the time it was generated, by the person in our company who requested I generate the invoice (that still hasn't been verified yet). He wants 50 explanations of why he supposedly hasn't seen this invoice until now. I don't know. But now you've seen it, you owe it, pay it. Plus, it has his job# on it - meaning (at least that's how we do our accounting) that he should have this job still open in his system as not paid yet. Meaning you put the job in your system, because you wanted to track the cost of it and therefore expected to be billed for it. We are not going to write off a $4600 invoice just because you say you didn't get a copy. Also, this is a construction related industry - it's very common to not get paid for several months, so we don't usually start working on following up on past due invoices until they are 90 days out. I sent our employee an email in January (my first follow up on this invoice), when I was doing customer statements that she needed to send an email reminder to her contact that his invoice was still owing. My guess is she did not do it and he got the copy I mailed this month.

Anyhow, it's all in a days work. Just hate having the week start out on an annoying note!

Payday is Wednesday and we have not spent much extra all this last pay check. I will have $860 left to direct to savings, so I am pleased with that. The last time we filled up with gas was a month ago and we still have a half a tank left. We haven't been going much anywhere in this weather. And if we do go somewhere it's usually just the mile into town to get the mail and groceries a couple times a week. I'm sure we'll start using more gas when spring comes and warms up.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Break time this and that

My remote connection to work just got disconnected. I can't even log into my webmail, so everything must be down there at the office. So, I'll use my extra time to blog!

I just checked my credit score - got a nice increase of 13 points to 727. My 401k has a nice rate of return of 3.61% year to date so far. My employer matching and profit sharing for 2016 will get added soon. Now if we could just get Obamacare adjusted a bit to something more reasonable, I'll be really happy.

Free 2-day shipping just does not apply in this neck of the woods. Walmart has a new 2-day shipping with $35 purchase option. I gave that a try. As soon as I got my shipping address entered the shipping options change to free 8-day shipping (same thing with Amazon). The Amazon one makes me mad because I am paying for Amazon Prime and don't get the benefit of what I am paying for. If I wasn't sharing the account with DD, I'd just cancel it. I did just get my Walmart order and it did come a couple days earlier than expected. It was about 5-6 day shipping. I was able to stock up on some dry good groceries at the same price I pay in-store so that was handy. I'll probably use it again. Thankful for tracking on orders, so I can see when stuff arrives at the post office. They split this order into 2 shipments and one got there Tuesday and one yesterday, so I knew to just wait until both had arrived and make one trip to the post office.

I did a Swagbucks search today and got 100 swagbucks! I've never gotten one like that before and I've been using it for years. Guess what I searched? One Family One Income! LOL.

Whenever I log into Blogger I get a message on my main page saying I now qualify for AdSense and could possibly make up to $17.41 a month. Does anyone use this on their blog? Is it worth it? I really don't know anything about it.

Ok, remote issue fixed - back to work!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Cash back

I used to use Walmart Savings Catcher every shopping trip. Since moving I haven't used it at all, quite almost forgot about it really. I still do a big shopping trip there about once a month, so why I am not using it, I have no idea! We went on Sunday and spent $270 to stock up. I submitted my receipt and just got notified that I got $10.21 back. Not bad! Gotta start remembering to submit my receipts, for sure.

I used to also submit all my receipts to Receipt Hog and earn points (slowly) that I could cash in for gift cards. I haven't done that since moving either.  Time to up my savings game, for sure.

I'm also still earning a few dollars from Swagbucks, but nothing major. I tried to get the video's running on my ipad with the apps, but didn't really have any luck getting it to work. Just froze up my screen, so I didn't bother trying to figure it out. I just try to use it for searches and log in through there when I'm making online purchases, if available. I cashed in $25 a few weeks ago and almost have built up $10 again. I just don't have the patience anymore to do their surveys. I rarely get chosen anyway.

I also use my PayPal debit card for just about every purchase I can, even bills so that I can earn 1% cash back. I was getting back about $25 a month, but now I'm getting back about $18-20....because for some ANNOYING reason this debit card will not work at the Walmart here! I cannot figure out why but every time I try to use it I get declined....but I can use it for an online Walmart order.  Makes me so mad, because I spend a lot at Walmart for groceries and such each month and would like to earn the 1%.

What are some of your favorite ways to earn some extra gift cards or cash?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Decorating and making stuff

I'm still decorating here and there (it will probably always be ongoing!), mostly with an eye towards things that will go in my new house. I want a rustic feel to things, for the most part. I'm not a lacy, frilly girl. I also don't want to be spending a fortune. Sure, there are things I see online (Pinterest, of course) that I just love, but the cost is just too much. I just can't spend $150 for a picture or something.

But, I did find something cute, which I just love, and found some on ebay.

I've always loved tea, since I was a little girl at my grandparents, who always drank tea. I love these vintage tins and the idea of re purposing them. I found two on Ebay that I purchased yesterday for $10 ea, plus the seller combined shipping and only charged me the shipping cost for one. I purchased a purple one and a tan one. I'd like to get one more different color, preferably blue. The blue one's seem to be twice the cost, so I'm in no big hurry. I'll keep watching. I'd like to put the 3 of them in my kitchen window ledge. Cute, colorful and purposeful with some herbs planted in them.

DH has "plans" (meaning he says he's going to! LOL)  to make me some of the things I want, which will make the costs very minimal. He's going to make me a wood blanket ladder.  I showed him this neat idea for dog food storage, which we have been struggling with the space for it vs. looking nice. He's going to look at it closer one of these days and see if it's something he thinks he can make. It will probably be a little more plain, but I'm sure he could come up with something that's much cheaper than this is for $300!

He also wants a boot storage bench for the laundry room, so I found him a couple of ideas. This should be pretty easy for him to make. He wants something to store his boots and shoes and that he can sit on while he's putting them on.

On top of those projects, he needs to put some framing around our bathroom mirrors and also wants to make an arbor for this yard. I sure do miss my arbors and big wishing well he made me! Once spring come's he'll be busy! He kind of needs the outside space to work in, as there is not really any construction room in either the garage or shop, since it's all filled to the gills with all his stuff. He needs to be able to put his sawhorses up upside and do his cutting and sawing there.

I think he'll have enough to keep very busy. I just wish I could get him started on it all now!

Another space issue I'm dealing with is not much cupboard room for breads and chips/snacks. In my old house I had this big cupboard space that was tall and wide. I put a shelf inside, put all my bread stuff on the bottom and all our chips and stuff on the top shelf.  I'm eyeing some good old fashioned breadbox's (I do have lots of counter space). The one's I like seem pretty pricey - $100 on up. I did find one on Etsy (looks nicely handmade) that I like for $59. The Etsy seller has some other larger style of this but with wire in front instead of the punched bread tin. I messaged the seller to ask if one could be made this size with the wire instead. I'm keeping it in mind as I keep looking

There are so many different styles available but I don't like the rolltop ones or metal ones. Plus many of them look to hold only one loaf of bread. I think this one would go cute with my current (and future) kitchen. A cute farmhouse look. I'm trying to keep my purchases to $30 or under, so still holding off on this. My DD gave me a $50 visa gift card for my birthday. Maybe I'll use it towards this. I'm just not finding anything else I like at a decent price.

I think I'm going to make some candles again. DD took my candle making supplies that I had bought after learning how from a friend and she's been making and selling quite a few candles.  I need a craft to do and this was fun and easy, so I think I'll have to order another kit from Amazon, so I can do it again.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Window treatments

Most of the windows in our house have Bali dark wood blinds, which I like ok. The 2 extra bedrooms (one is guest bedroom, one is my office)  have some white inexpensive vinyl blinds hanging. Again, ok, but DH accidentally broke the one in the spare bedroom yesterday. He was trying to pull the blinds all the way up. The windows in both rooms are kind of wide and really the blinds should have been installed with a brace in the middle (the one in my office is even kind of sagging in the middle up on the top railing).

Going to have to at a minimum get new window treatment for that window, but should probably replace the office window while I'm at it. I think I want to do curtains in the guest bedroom, but that almost seems too much of a decision, HA! there are SO  many to choose from. And then do I want one's that are just the length of the window or do I want to put some in that go all the way down to the floor.  I'm looking online, but it's really hard to know if I really like it, when I can't see it in person. Plus, I don't want to put anything too expensive there, as it's not something I can take with me to the new house.

Plus, in my office is a second window that is up high. There is no window treatment on it, which I like, because I have decorative stuff up on the ledge. But, when the sun is out by afternoon I can't see my computer screen. Right now I just put up a pillow case using some push pins to hold it on the top of the window frame. Problem is I like my "stuff" on the window ledge and that won't work with blinds. I'm going to have to either do some curtains or maybe a shade that can hang and pull down on the outside window casing, rather than fit inside, I guess.

Decisions, decisions! I should just make it easy and just order the same blinds that are already on all the other windows.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Not Superbowling it

No Superbowl watching here today. Like DH says, he could care less about an overpriced event for overpaid athletes where the half time show is some entertainer he could care less about spouting her intolerant views. Ha!

Besides, sounds like we (and I mostly mean DH) will be shoveling snow all day. We are supposed to get dumped on like a foot and a half. Yikes. We'll find a movie to watch, I'll make some banana bread and watch it snow. I'll continue to read some more of my book for the upcoming book club later this month.

We were invited to a friends Superbowl party, but he knew we'd decline, LOL. Plus, trying to drive the half hour to their house in this weather probably isn't the smartest idea.

DD went to see my mom yesterday. Grandma had told her she was giving her a small china hutch (and all the Precious Moments in it!) to her. She also gave DD her sewing machine. DD was happy and I'm sure the hutch will look nice in her new house. Sounds like DD's been the one doing all the curtain hanging, shelf hanging, etc, rather than her BF. Her dad taught her well :) She also got another tattoo yesterday - an owl abive her ankle. My grandma collected owls and DD loved her great grandma, who passed a few years ago, so every time we seem something with an owl we think of her. Her other tattoo is a small one up on the back of her shoulder. It says Family with a heart and heart beat symbol all combined.

Well, huh. All the weather reports for our area we were getting last night was a ton of snow but I just looked at the weather app on my phone and all's it shows is rain all day. Guess we'll see. When I let the dog out first thing it was still dark so I couldn't see anything, but it sounded like rain. Not sure how when the thermometer shows 30 degrees.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Counting the months

Now that we are into 2017, this is the year that our bankruptcy is supposed to go off our credit report, or at least past the 7 year mark that all the lenders wanted us to be for a construction loan. I have read that BK can stay on your credit report for 10 years, but 7 years is apparently what all the lenders were using, when I tried last year. The end of August will be 7 years since we filed. First of December, when it got discharged. The beginning of 2018 we should be able to get the construction loan process started, since that takes a couple of months and hopefully ready to start building Spring of 2018. It will be here before we know it!

We plan do do as much site prep work as we can this summer, out of our own pocket, which will help lower the mortgage loan we will need. DH's friend (who works construction) has offered to help with it. They can borrow/rent some equipment and get our driveway cut in, as well as the site for house and shop. We can get the well dug and possibly also the septic system put in. We can pay our friend for his help, but it will still save over paying the builder and his subs to do it.

However all those lenders were reading our credit report (from trying last year) they all seemed to read it as we foreclosed on our home and we needed to be 7 years past before they could approve a loan. One month of this year already down!

Since we already have the house plans drawn up and the builder quote, at least that is all done. The builder, will of course, have to update his pricing by then, but that shouldn't take him too long compared to starting with him from scratch.  He had also mentioned that the more I could price shop for our homes interior things, they more we'd be helping him out and the more we could save. I'll have plenty of free time to do that. I'm sure one of the biggest cost items to really shop around for is the kitchen cabinets. Those can be so pricey. Our friends spent $20,000 on theirs and I think that is a bit overboard. Hopefully I can shop around for quotes and get that a lot lower, for sure.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

I'm ready for Friday already

My working remote has only really had one glitch so far.  Calls will not forward from my work office phone to my cell phone. It appears to work fine for others that work remote and our sales people, who almost all have their calls forwarding to their cell phones. I have had our IT company work on it 3 times so far. They "fix" it and it lasts a day or two (or until I get another call, which can sometimes be several days in between) and then it doesn't work again. I am getting so frustrated and tired of dealing with it, only to have it not work the next call.  So, now I am on my 4th "ticket" on this issue. On the caller end it goes into my work voicemail. On my end my cell phone rings, but the call isn't there when I try to answer it.  GRRR! I am beyond frustrated with it.

Other than that, working remote is going great! I've had to remember there is an hour time difference, but thankfully shortly before I moved my company changed their business hours to an hour earlier, so that helps that I can be done at a reasonably early hour my time. I haven't had any internet issues (KNOCK ON WOOD!!), which has kind of surprised me. This is DSL (but still slow) internet through the phone company. Basically the only choice here, but apparently there is a small company recently started up here in town that is offering wireless internet and they advertise faster speeds than phone company. Yes, one of their plans is faster (up to 15mbps...oooh! LOL) but it's quite a bit more expensive (and all internet is around here is way more expensive than in the big city (where you get like 50mbps), so not worth it to me to try at this time.The speed I have seems to be working good enough (a little slow at times, but nothing too annoying) and certainly not worth a extra $50 per month.  When we build our house we will be able to also have this same phone company DSL, so should be fine. I also get reimbursed $30 a month from work towards internet. The internet we have is working fine for my work, our personal internet usage and streams Netflix fine.

We aren't football fans so won't be watching the Superbowl. DH said that is probably a good time to go into the city and get some shopping done. Most people will probably be at home watching, rather than out shopping. LOL. So, that's our plan, pending road conditions (more snow expected).

We are liking our new Dish Hopper receiver already. DH is enjoying the pause live tv and rewinding live tv feature. We totally forgot to watch a show last night that we started watching a few weeks ago, and now we will be able to watch it On Demand, rather than missing the episode. I'm still learning how it all works and how to use the remote and all the buttons to access the features. Worth the extra $15 to me.

One of our new acquaintances (a relative of DH's friend that we already knew before we moved here) is a pilot and has a hangar/small plane stored at the little airstrip down the road a few miles. He flew yesterday and posted a video of his landing. It was so neat to watch. All the mountains and snow and you could see the river flowing along next to the freeway. Just amazing views. I'm so blessed to live in the middle of that!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Gift cards

I'm sitting here with an envelope full of various gift cards! $317.55 in gift cards! I have Visa/MC type and Target gift cards. One of my gift cards is a MC with $21.54 left on it. Kinda hard to use, unless you use it in store and tell them first apply this $21.54 to my total owing and then use another card or cash to pay balance. No way to use it online (that I know of) unless I'm buying something that exact amount or less.

I decided to use that little card to just go ahead and buy the book I am reading for the neighbor's book club, so I can read it in ebook format. It was $13.99 everywhere. I have the Nook app (because I only use my ipad mini now) on my ipad, so that I still have all those books downloaded to my Nook available that I had either purchased or downloaded for free. I used the gift card to buy it and now I still have $7.55 left on that card. Now, I can read at a better font size and get into this book :)

I haven't exactly decided what I'm going to use all the cards for. I think I might just buy a new vacuum (like a Dyson) at Target and apply them all towards that. We just haven't been into the city to shop for awhile, so haven't bothered to think about it much.