Thursday, March 30, 2017

The blues

I'm feeling quite blue today. Some of you who have read for a long time may recall me writing about my son and our estrangement. We have not seen or talked to him in 2 1/2 years now. I don't even bother to blog about it anymore. It's what life dealt us and we live with it as best we can. The bits and pieces of info we get, every so often, tell a story of drugs, no job (or short lived jobs of a few weeks here and there), living with whoever will give him a couch/bed to sleep on- someone new every 2-3 months (if that long).

And yet again, someone close to us and we love has chosen not to tell us they had contact with him. I really don't get it. It's not like we actually do anything with the info - other than maybe sleep a little easier that night knowing he's still alive.  Of course there isn't a day that goes by that he doesn't cross our minds. I say a prayer for him when I go to bed at night.  What is so hard/wrong with saying "hey, just wanted you to know I heard from him". It's not like we then ask for his phone number or anything.

This time especially hurts, considering it's my DD who has heard from him and didn't tell us. You'd think when you haven't heard from your brother in over 2 years, you'd tell your parents, who you know wonder and worry about him. I'm just at a loss to understand any of this.

On the good side, I guess, is now we at least know he is doing ok. He's been at the same job for 6 months and it appears he got rid of the eyebrow piercing (seen in one of his facebook photos). He's apparently now living with another girl/woman (another one with a kid) - but we all know what that is about - that's one of the ways he finds his places to sleep for a few months (there have been many of these relationships).

I'm tired of people keeping us in the dark. Apparently we're just supposed to forget we ever had a son we gave birth to and raised.

What's on my bookshelf this week

The library app I use for downloading e-books calls my downloaded books my "bookshelf". At any given time I usually have 2-3 books on my bookshelf. One I am currently reading and two waiting to be read. They can be borrowed for up to 21 days and since I can usually finish most books in a few days to a week (sometimes two days, if it's a shorter book) I like to have another one waiting. Plus, most times I have to wait for it to be available and then download when it does.

The book I am currently reading is called The Orenda.  I am loving this book so far. I'm only about 1/3 of the way into it, but find it a hauntingly, beautiful story.  It's set in what will become Canada in the early 17th century. Told from the perspective of the 3 main characters, an Indian warrior, an Indian girl (from a different tribe) and a Jesuit priest.

Waiting on my bookshelf is Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. I haven't read very many classics and it may become one of my book club reads, so will give it a try.

The rest of the books I want to read are still on my "on hold" list and haven't become available yet to add to my bookshelf. I have quite a few reserved. That way, usually something becomes available often and I'm never without something to read. You just never know how long a wait it will be. And it's a hobby that I can spend hours a week on, for free.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

No cooking tonight

I got lucky again, and DH is out of the house all day today! What are the odds that would happen two times in the last 5 days? :)

His wealthy friend called him yesterday. He bought some expensive muscle car a couple of months ago. Only it's in another state! He's been waiting for the weather to get better to go and get it. He called DH to see if he was busy and would he want to drive over there with him so he can get his new car and DH can drive back the truck they drove over in. It's going to be a long day for him. A 7+ hour drive each way and they left at 5am.

So, I'm also a bit sleepy today. The alarm went off at 4:10. I did get up and make DH and egg muffin sandwich to take with him and then went back to bed. I didn't fall asleep right away and then when I did wake up it was a half hour later than I normally get up. 

DH said they should be back around 8pm (now it's sounds like 9pm), so he would just have me pick him up when they get back to friends place. It's only about 20 minutes away, but will be dark by then and they live on this long dirt road and then once you turn onto their ranch there are like 3 different driveways (there are 3 houses on the property) that you can't really tell which house they go to. I'm sure I'll end up taking the wrong one! Hopefully it will still be a little light out and I can see a bit.  I think I'm going to look at their place on google maps again, just to make sure I'm taking the right dirt road, in the first place. Regardless, it's not like you can get the 3 houses mixed up once you get to them - 2 are "regular" little houses, the one they live in is a HUUUGEE log home. Kinda hard to miss, haha. Their garage is bigger than our whole house, including our garage. LOL  It's for sale, if anyone has 4.75 million laying around ;)

It's so quiet here today.  The dogs are being sleepy heads and have been napping most of the day. I think I'm most happy about not having to make dinner. I'm getting burned out on having less choices than we used to have and while I know I can change that by finding new recipes to try, I haven't yet made the effort. We did find a good one skillet frozen Bertolli meal that we really liked, but they don't carry it here at the town grocery store, so I can't get anymore until we next trip to the city. I'll have to be sure to buy several to have on hand. It's definitely something we'd eat once a week (a chicken marsala and potatoes dish). I think we might also give our little grocery store's deli counter a try. They have fried chicken and such. For tonight, I think I'll just make myself some french toast and a slice of ham. I have some delicious black forest ham left from when I made the pasta salad for book club. I've been heating up slices for lunch this week. I'm sorry, I just cannot eat anymore pasta salad! It makes a huge bowl of it and dh won't eat it.

The health insurance question

It doesn't appear Obamacare is going to be fixed any time soon, if at all.  When the GOP has a majority house, senate and the white house and they can't even agree with each other, we aren't getting anywhere with anything. I don't know why that surprises me.

$6132 a year for insurance (for one) with a $5550 deductible is outrageous. DH and I are seriously considering dropping it, paying the fine (it would be about $2000) and putting the rest in our own bank account. I heard a statistic the other day that 12 million people aren't buying insurance and are opting to pay the fine instead. I don't blame them. In fact, I know a couple of them and they aren't young folks, either.

Another thing I kept hearing on the tv the last couple of weeks is  "people are just opting to not have insurance and just use the ER, where they then won't have to pay for their medical"......WHAT?! I don't think so.  If I take my DH to the ER, and he doesn't have medical insurance, you can damn well bet they are going to send me a bill AND expect me to pay it! Where the heck is this "news" coming from? I've heard it numerous times, even from the president's press secretary.

The fact that we would owe medical bills is the only thing that has kept me paying this exorbitant rate for extremely crappy insurance (lowest priced Bronze Plan available).  All's he's getting out of it is catastrophic insurance. Honestly, if it goes up again for next year (and of course it will) we probably will just not have health insurance anymore for him. If I was paying $511 a month for decent insurance with a low deductible, I'd be ok with it, but it's not even close to that, not to mention prescription coverage stinks too. Plus, with the Bronze plan, it only covers 60%. We're still going to have to cough up 40%, on top the the deductible - so if something major happens, we're going to owe a ton of money it really doesn't make much difference in the grand scheme of things whether we have insurance or not, it seems. If we have it and have a big emergency or illness, we're going to owe way more than we can afford (apparently even a broken ankle can cost up to $117,000) - if we don't have insurance and have a big emergency or illness we're still going to have way more than we can afford.

We'll just start taking that monthly premium and putting it in a savings account for medical bills. If something major happens - well then the provider will get what we've saved up, along with a $500 a month payment until it's paid off, I guess. So, 10 million people who couldn't afford health insurance now have it (for free, or cheap) and 12 million now don't have it, because they can't afford it now. Ridiculous. I'll have to do more research, but I read that if you have insurance for at least 9 months out of the year, you don't have to pay the penalty. We should know by late October/early November what the 2018 rates will be. We could cancel it then, if we decide and possibly at least not have to pay the penalty for 2017. Maybe by 2018 something new will be in place.

As I was writing this blog out, I read a post that Cindi over at ThriftyatSixty recently made about the cost of healthcare. As always, she has a great perspective on things.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Auto parts and trees

Sunday we drove over to the auto parts store here in town. Yes, we do actually have one in this little town. No, it's not open on Sunday. LOL.  We didn't really have anything else to do, so we decided to drive into the city and go to Lowe's. DH wanted some plastic edging stuff to go around the house, between the lawn and dirt area around the house. Make it look neater and then we'll put some plants and shrubs around in the dirt area.  He also bought a covered garden hose reel and a post hole digger tool. He will use that to hopefully make it a bit easier to dig holes for all the shrubs and thuja trees we plan to plant.

DH's friend knows of a wholesale nursery place about a half hour or so north of us. So, in the next weekend or two we are all going to go up and get some trees. Friend wants a bunch of trees for his place (he's still working on the landscaping) and we want a bunch of those thuja trees to add to our landscaping and add some privacy. We're going to finally use our little pull along dump trailer that DH traded for when he got rid of the big moving trailer. But first, dump trailer has a tire that keeps losing air, so when DH and friend were out exploring last Saturday they dropped it off at a tire place to get fixed and friend picked it up for DH yesterday after work. And it needed a new battery (that operates the dump part). When we traded for it the guy said it needed a battery and gave DH $200 in cash as part of the trade. That's what DH was expecting a battery to cost, too, so was pleasantly surprised yesterday, when we ran over to the auto parts store, that the battery was only $110, plus he bought a plastic box it sits in for $15. Hopefully we'll get to the nursery in the next weekend or two.

The weather this week is very cloudy and rainy. All the snow is gone and the grasses are starting to turn from winter brown to green. Temps in the low 50's during the day and just above freezing at night. Kinda gloomy here this week. We noticed a street sweeper (very old machine!) out yesterday. The streets are at least starting to look a little cleaner, rather than full of gravel from the sanding during the winter.

I was clearing out pictures on my ipad the other day and came across a bunch of pictures of all the flowers in full bloom at my old house. So pretty. I'm ready for some color around here! Still way to early though :(

Monday, March 27, 2017

Marriage and Money

DH spent the day with his friend on Saturday. He said they really didn't discuss friends problem(s) with the wife and kids not helping with the house and yard.......until the end of the day when they stopped somewhere to get some dinner. Then DH kind of got the even bigger picture. Not good. Sounds like friend is leaning towards a divorce, which is sad. I know there's two sides to every story, but I can sure kind of see his point as to why even be married.

Money, of course, is always a problem for most. What is the best way for a married couple to handle their money? For us, it has always been "jointly". We have one bank account. Our paychecks always went into the same account and bills were paid (by me, because that's just my accountant nature). There's never been a your money and my money. (other then a couple of bonus checks I received that I didn't tell DH about because I didn't want him to just blow and I put in savings. I didn't spend it on me).

Friend has been married 20 years now. In their relationship her money is her money. Though he knows how much she makes (quite a bit more than him) he never sees her paycheck or her money. He doesn't even have access to her checking account. Now, this might be a good thing if he were a spender, but  he is not, he's a saver and she's apparently the spender.  Again, this might work for some married people, but get this.....his bank account is joint with her! I don't get it. Her money is her money, but his money is her money too. How does that work? Obviously, it's not or it wouldn't be an issue for him.

He never knows what she has for credit cards. When they applied for the loan to build their house, he found out she had $20k in credit card debt he didn't know about, so because of that debt to income ratio hit, they had to wait 6 months for her to get it paid down to qualify. She has a car payment. He drives an old truck because that's all he can afford. He pays the majority of the house payment (she give him some towards it) and pays some other household bills. She pays a couple bills, her car payment and some of the food, kids clothes and stuff.

I could get handling money this way if both people make a LOT of money and have a LOT of money. But between the two of them, they make about what I make a year. Nothing extraordinary.

I guess I just don't get the being married and keeping money separate and splitting up bills. Especially when one makes more than the other - doing it that way would make the one who makes/has less always feel like they were broke. Let alone, there isn't much discussion on what purchases they make, because they don't do it as a couple.

Add in that kids are allowed to be mouthy and disrespectful to him and no wonder he doesn't want to be there anymore. Wife allows this disrespect and when he gets upset about it they all act like he's the one with the problem.  He does the grocery shopping and usually makes dinner. DH told him that he really didn't know what to tell him. He said if my wife had a husband who does all that you do, she'd be in heaven. If I had a wife like yours I'd probably be divorced. He did tell friend he needs to back up the OCD a knotch (this coming from someone is same way LOL) - that the carpet doesn't need to be vacuumed EVERY day just because he likes to see the line marks from the vacuum! But, on the flip side - yes they all need to pick up the damn dog poop that is everywhere: lawn, driveway, sidewalks, even inside garage!

I'm sure they will work it out and are just going through a rough patch, like we all do at times. I just found their money situation to be very strange, especially when they've been married for 20 years and have two kids. It might be a perfectly good way to do it, for some, but obviously it's not working for them, because friend is feeling resentful about it.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A good Saturday

Thursday night was my second book club meeting. Very fun. There were 6 of us again, all the same, except one didn't show up and a different one did. She was also very nice. Another beautiful home (though not near as big as our property neighbors house) on the river. Our property neighbor picked up myself and another in town and we rode together, which was nice because I'm not sure I could have found that house without some difficulty!

The ladies names are starting to sink in now and I was able to better figure out who they are/what they do type of thing. I already knew my neighbor works at the bank. One works at the high school, one is a retired nurse. The others are retired, I think.

None of us cared for this book. One of the ladies didn't even finish it. But, the discussion questions were pretty good, so at least we had good discussions about the topics of the book. Sisters and family relationships, etc. Again, we all brought something to the potluck. Pizza, chili, macaroni salad (mine), green salad, deviled eggs and cider.

I've already finished the April book. It was a quick read and I liked the book and one other lady already finished it and said she really liked it. Plus, I now know the books for the next few months. Two I have on reserve with the library for an e-book and I'm sure they'll become available by the time I need them read. If not, the book for July (a non-fiction history book) is available for download for $2.99, so I think I can manage that :)  Since it's non-fiction DH might be interested in reading it, too.

I'm also now on the book club email and one of the members just emailed a couple of book suggestions based on things we discussed last night. One was reading a "classic" and also a suggestion to read another non-fiction book. Another, who hasn't been to the meetings, emailed that she's been missing because her mom passed away and she's been taking care of that. She mentioned they are having a garage sale for her mom's house next weekend. It's just down the road from where we live, so I might go take a look around.

Upcoming book for April (that I finished a few weeks ago) is called Wonder, about a boy born with a disfigured face, told from his 10 year old perspective. A good book and I loved his sense of humor about life.

DH is out of the house today! His friend (the one who's can't get his family to help) and him are going "exploring". Since DH grew up in this area and spent a lot of time in all the forests (cutting firewood for their family business) they've been wanting to just drive around and hang out.

I stayed home and cleaned house. Stripped my bedding off and washed. My mattress cover pretty much disintegrated in the washing (or dryer). It's almost like the elastic part around the edges just melted. It is kind of old, but never had it do that before from washing. Time for a new one :/

I was inspired by Debt Girl to do a little video tape tour of my house. But now I have to figure out how to upload it. LOL. I tried to send it to myself via messenger, but says it's too big of file.  So, since I'm not that tech savvy, it might just end up getting canned. No body's missing much LOL.

House is clean, laundry is done. I think I'm going to have some lunch and just relax and enjoy the peace and quiet :)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Other people's problems

DH has a good friend who lives about a half hour away. They met years ago when they both worked for the same company and friend then moved to this area to settle, marry, have a family. He and his wife built a very nice house a little over 2 years ago. They have a nice big shop and it's all very nicely landscaped. All work that friend did himself. He's a hard worker and likes things to look nice.

He complains a lot to DH - his wife and 2 teenage kids are no help at all. Both he and his wife work full time. The kids are very able bodied teenagers (boy and girl) but they have never been required to do any chores. They have a dog about 2 or 3 years old. He's pretty well mannered and not a problem (other than of course he poops). They also have a 9 month old or so puppy who is a complete terror. The kids and wife just had to have him, but of course they do nothing to help train and take care of him. They now have 2 dogs pooping in the yard and no one wants to scoop poop. They didn't worry about it when it snowed and now of course see their nice yard is covered (they have a huge yard front and back) in poop everywhere. Friend will just end up cleaning it all up himself, rather than keep fighting with wife and kids over getting some help.  One time friend got home from work and told the girl to go pick up the poop in the dog kennel. She didn't do it and her reply was "no, you just asked if I would do didn't say I had to". And wife backs up the daughter about it. If they are home the kids just play video games and watch tv.

DH tries to "suggest" solutions. Have the kids take turns every day scooping up poop. It's about a 10 minute job. That's what our kids did! It was one of their jobs, as well as DD emptied the dishwasher and DS took out the garbage.

Friend also likes a clean house inside, which isn't happening whatsoever. They have this beautiful custom home and no one wants to pick up after themselves, so friend is crabby and grumpy and the wife and kids complain that he's angry and in a bad mood, so they make him take an antidepressant. I'm not sure he's the one with the problem!

Again, DH tries to suggest "what is so bad about having the kids help out and have some regular chores?" Friend makes excuses for the kids and wife isn't on board, so of course there is your problem right there. They have school and the boy has sports (always) so they shouldn't have to "work" too. I don't get it. No matter what, our kids had to help when told/asked. If there was a one time yard project or clean up, they were expected to help, in addition to their regular chores. And we were busy with kids activities too.

I will say it is much easier to keep up a clean house when you don't have kids around! It's made a world of difference in how I am able to keep up now. But, the friends still have a few years before that happens. Their girl is 16 and sounds like she can't wait to "be gone" at 18 but the boy is only 13. I have to laugh at someone like their daughter, who thinks she'll have life easier when she's on her own. LOL.Who then does she think is going to do all the stuff her dad does? (Plus he's the one who usually cooks their dinners)

They are always out and about going to sports, camping summer weekends, bbq's, etc. which makes it pretty hard to do housework or keep up with yard maintenance when you are never home. I think friend (and wife) wanted this nice home and yard, but really had no idea what it takes to keep it up, so now they are having strife and unhappiness.  You can't have it all. If you want a nice house (and can't afford to hire someone else to take care of it) then you'll have to give up some other activities. That's just the way it is.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Just this and that

With having Monday off, this week has gone by quickly. DH got a hold of the company he ordered the trailer tarp and parts from. I guess one of the poles was not broken, as he first thought. They are sending him the correct tarp and another part he needs that goes with that tarp. He asked how they wanted him to send back the wrong tarp and they said just keep it.  So, I suggested selling it on Ebay! of course that will not happen. It'll get hoarded with all the other stuff he never uses....sigh....

The weather was dry (though overcast) and in the low 50's yesterday so DH went out and did some yard work. There is a "dirt area" a couple of feet wide all along the back of the house, but it was up against the siding of the house in one area and too low in another so he shoveled into a wheel barrow and moved it and raked it. We'll probably put some shrubs in. Of course now he's totally sore and tired and will have to take a couple of days to rest.

I haven't been able to get him going on my building projects yet. He did go talk to a guy down the road who has some lumber laying out (covered sorta) that he apparently sells, but it's kinda wet and DH decided it wouldn't be good for what he is building. He really needs a table for his saw in order to make all these upcoming projects easier and I don't think he's figured out which one he wants yet.

For the past week or so he's taken up reading, which he has never/rarely done. Non-fiction and history type books. He's on his second book now, a historical account of a local guy from our area back in the late 1800's. A friend of DH's now owns the ranch that this "mountain man" settled, so he was interested in reading the book. 

I love that he is reading (not sure how long that will last) but of course he wants to buy the books. Even though I'm always reading something, I rarely buy books. It would just be too expensive. When we were at DD's this past weekend he picked up my ipad mini (which I use for social media and reading borrowed from the library e-books) and saw how big the Facebook posts and pictures were to read and look at compared to him always using his tiny iphone. DD has decided to get him an ipad mini for combo birthday/Father's Day gift. I'm hoping that way I can download for him books he might want to read, rather than purchasing them. I don't mind buying some books, but usually it's after I've read it and know it's something I just loved and would like to have. I do want to start up a library of sorts when we have our new house (and bookcases!) but plan to try to find used copies of the books I want, for the most part. At least now I can add a book or two as a Christmas gift idea for him. The funny part is he has to turn the tv down when he's reading, yet all these years I've had to read with him having the tv on. LOL. At least he's taking a break from watching the political news all day.

Tonight is book club and I read the book a few weeks ago and haven't even really looked at the questions. Guess that is what I will be doing for a lunch break today.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A good book and disaster prep

I just finished a good book that sure brought on the "what if's" thought process. It's a young adult book, which I didn't realize until I started it, but I've read lots of them that I've enjoyed and liked this one too. This book is called "Life as We Knew It" by Susan Beth Pfeffer. Written in diary style by a 16 year old girl and life on earth suddenly changes by a huge meteor crashing into the moon and sending it off kilter and closer to earth - thereby changing the tides, weather, etc. Suddenly they had to be prepared, very prepared.

So, in general, it really gets one to thinking, how prepared are we if something were to happen where we didn't have electricity, food at the stores, water even?

In the book the mother had enough forethought to get as much money as she could out of the cash machine, filled up with gas and had her 3 kids go to the grocery store with her to get all they could (as was everyone else) as soon as it happened (this was before the weather catastrophes hit), plus she already had a fairly well stocked pantry.

Are we prepared and for how long? I know we bought some emergency food (and some long lasting candles) a couple years ago. Honestly, now I can't even remember how many days it was supposed to last us. It's in a bin in the garage. I think it was like a 30 day supply. So for a short term emergency it would be fine, but not for months and months. What would we do for heat if there was no electricity? We have propane heat, but it needs electricity to actually run the furnace. We have city water (will have well water when we build our house) - would that still be coming through? We don't have a wood stove (the characters in the book did). We do have a generator, but that would only last as long as gas was available (in the book, what gas was available early on went up to $12 a gallon or more and could only buy 3 gallons limit at a time)

I know DH and I have discussed prepping to some degree, but that was back when we bought the emergency food and with moving being our focus the past year we haven't really thought about it any more. Our old "good neighbor" was quite the prepper. He will be very prepared, that's for sure and honestly, living there we kinda knew if a disaster hit for long term, we'd have him - cuz he's like family and he's got enough for us too.

So, if something happened right now -what do we have? Let's see... The 30 day (I think) emergency food stuff. Probably enough food in the house for maybe a few weeks, but not much fresh stuff, like milk, eggs and bread. Gas in our vehicles and I know DH keeps a 5 gallon can full, but I don't think he has more. Dog food for about 3 1/2 months (that's good). Enough toilet paper and detergent for a couple of months.

As I was reading the book, one of the thoughts I had was "why don't they make some bread?" Apparently they didn't think to buy yeast in their big shopping trip, but later found some the mom didn't remember buying earlier, so they did have some bread for awhile.

So, just off the top of my head, here are a few things I know we should buy/stock up on that I either don't have at all or have very little of:

Yeast and flour
powdered milk
more canned goods
a good first aid kit
a lantern or two

How about you? how prepared are you if stores were closed or out of food long term?

It is a book series and I just started the second book last night, just to see how it's all turning out for them.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tuesday that feels like Monday

It was nice having yesterday off work. I think I needed another day LOL. Plus, I slept on my shoulder wrong or something and have a little pinched nerve going on up in my left shoulder. Blah!

We didn't do a whole lot yesterday. It's DH's laundry day, so he worked on that. I cleaned the bathrooms, then we drove out to our property to look around and let the dogs run around. DH has been wondering if a low area near the road along our property (it has a drainage thing) would be filled with water from the snow melt, but it was all dry.

Got back and read a book awhile and then got sleepy, so I took a nap on the couch. I think I was catching up from the busy weekend. Then I tried out my new vacuum (woohoo!) and made dinner.

I got a text from the neighbor lady at our property that she is planning to go to book club on Thursday and did I want her to pick me up and ride with her. It's being held at another's house in the next town over, so I'm glad she offered, since I would probably get lost.  Can't believe it's been a month already. I still need to figure out what I'm taking, but I think I'll try a pasta salad. I'll need to get to the store today or early tomorrow, then, and get ingredients.  And find a recipe!

I have been putting money aside the past few months into a "travel" savings sub account in my Capital One savings. I got that transferred over to my checking to cover our little trip (that's what it was for!). Now, back to adding to it again! My next trip over should be July for a mid year company  meeting, but I'm sure my boss will cover my plane ticket again. DD and her BF are coming over for 4 days in June.

Our silly older dog hasn't wanted to eat since we got back home. Usually it would be the other way around. He wouldn't have wanted to eat at DD's house, but he had no problem there. Get home and he doesn't want to eat. He ate part of it Sunday evening. Took a few bites yesterday morning. Finally ate his dinner last night, after I threw a few green beans in there. Is ignoring it this morning. He's a little bit of a worry wart, so he's probably just trying to decompress from the trip.

DH had ordered a tarp for his little dump trailer. Apparently the company had two different kinds. He decided to spend the extra $70 and get the better one. It arrived yesterday. It was the cheaper one he didn't want, plus it's broken! Bummer. He wasn't very happy and then he just tried to call them this morning to straighten it out and has to leave a voicemail. Now he's leaving an email for them.

Monday, March 20, 2017

I'm sold!

Tried out my new Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal + Allergy today. OMG! I love it. First I vacuumed my living room with my old vacuum. I know it picks up stuff because obviously the bag gets full (but I can vacuum the house twice before it's full and have to change the bag). Then I used my new Dyson.

This is from my living room after already vacuuming it with my old vacuum! Yikes. I did the rest of the house. Had to empty it several times, but it's easy to do. And second best of all is that it is sooo much easier to push/pull then my old vacuum. With my bad back, when I was done vacuuming the house my back always hurt and I'd have to rest it a good half hour or so to get the pain to stop. My back doesn't hurt one bit right now. I am really, really happy with this purchase.

The weekend trip

Our weekend trip to see DD was very nice. I had to work a half day Friday and we didn't want to get over there before they got off work anyway, so we left here about 12:30 in the afternoon. It took about 7 hours and with the time difference it was 6:30 when we got there. Seven hours in a packed up car and two big dogs!

We had a bunch of stuff to take to them! First off we didn't see each other Christmas and one of the presents for her BF was big, so instead of mailing it all we said we'll bring them over sometime after Christmas. But, this was a real winter (first in like 20 years here) with lots of snow, so we didn't get to to until this past weekend. Exactly a year ago last year we were coming over here to look for a place to live - there was no snow and the passes had very little snow up in the mountains.

So, we had lots of Christmas presents, lots of housewarming type gifts and the blanket ladder DH made for her. They loved all the gifts and the first thing she said when she saw the ladder was "Dad you could sell these things".

I downloaded a couple of audio books from the library for the drives. Great way to make the drive go faster and got some great history lessons. We listened to Killing Lincoln on the way over (had to finish the last bit on the way back) and loved that one. So much details and I learned a lot. When we finished that we started Killing Jesus. We probably still have half of that one to finish. Might just end up reading it, since I find it hard to listen to audio books unless I'm in a car.

We slept in one of their spare bedrooms where she had her old queen bed from her apartment. There is a big difference between sleeping in a queen vs. king - that's for sure! Plus our one dog always likes to sleep on the bed with us, no matter where we are. Not the most comfortable mattress, but I've had worse at motels. We all took our time getting going Saturday morning and I totally forgot that DD doesn't have any washcloths! She doesn't use them. She uses a makeup remover towelette and a loofah thingy for soap. Ack! I always use a washcloth to wash my face. So after my shower Saturday morning I said we are going over to Target and I'm buying  you a few washcloths, LOL. BF, and much to our surprise DH, said they would go too. She has a Tractor Supply down the road too, so we would pick up a couple bags of our dog food (since our last trip to get dog food only yielded one bag).

Target was a hoot. DH decided we needed a cart (for washcloths?!) and by the time we were done we had a cart full of stuff for both of us. Pretty much anything DD or I said we liked he'd throw in the basket LOL. She got a new blanket to put on her blanket ladder. He bought a small picture for himself and a big bag of M&M's, a cute outdoor chair pillow, a rug for our bathroom and a rug for DD's back sliding door area. Also a curly type hose for watering flowers for me.  When we were going to check out DH said since we live out of state with no sales tax ask them if you can show your driver's license to get tax exempt. So, I did and sure enough she just had to scan the back of my drivers license and we saved almost $20. Plus I still had Target gift cards that covered some of the total.

Then we went to Tractor Supply. They had baby chicks too (and baby ducks!) So cute. DD and I loved looking at them while the guys wandered around. We got our 2 bags of dog food and then were looking at the cute home decor and furniture and DD saw these adorable bar stools (DH had just said to her the night before she needs to get some bar stools for her counter between kitchen and family room). They kind of looked rustic and had a whiskey barrel feel. So, we bought them for her. $70 for a set of two - can't beat that price for bar stools. The ones we looked at Target were $90 each.

Then we went and had lunch at a very cute burger place. An old gas station made into a restaurant. Lots of neat car and gas station decor. Good burgers and fries too.  Got back to their place and put together the bar stools and watched a movie, had dinner and just relaxed and watched some tv and chatted the rest of the evening.

Saturday morning DH had called up a good friend, who has a mechanics shop just a few miles from DD. Did he have time to put brakes on our car? He said he could do it Sunday morning, no problem. So we dropped it off Sunday morning, took a drive to see where DD and her BF work, then were back at their place visiting. We had decided if he got the car done early enough we'd head back home yesterday. If not we'd just stay another night. All of us drive down to where we used to live and have dinner with DH's parents and sister and drive home Monday. (my mom was at her bf's and 2-3 hours drive away, so didn't go see her this trip). I think we both really wanted to get heading home Sunday, LOL.

By about 11am friend called and he was already done with the car. It only needed front brakes and only cost $130. We visited with him a bit. He's supposed to be coming over our way for a visit next month to look at some property, so we told him to come and stay at our place. We decided to head home early that afternoon and got home a little after 8pm last night. Home sweet home! Even though I love my DD to death, I wanted to be here, so this must be where we are meant to be :)  Oh.....and my comfortable bed!

Friday, March 17, 2017

See ya soon!

Going to be off for a few days. Taking a weekend trip to visit daughter :)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Work headache and a half

I'm about to pull my hair out with our "new" payroll company.  The company we have used for like 20 years got bought out by some big company. Their accounting procedures are lacking and so much extra work for me. What the heck are we paying them for? Crap, the amount of time I'm spending trying to reconcile and record their numbers in our accounting system, I could have just done payroll myself.

Oh, and remember that bonus they messed up on at the end of last year? Where they ran a bonus payment from my side job through my full time company? Email after email to get them to reverse it (they finally did). Then instead of crediting my side job company the funds back, they sent the credit memo to my full time company and said we needed to reimburse my side job. So, I did. Then I waited until our next payroll and checked to see if they gave us the credit/refund (because I just had a strange feeling it was going to get "lost" again). I could not see it. I reconciled our payroll numbers to make sure it wasn't "hidden" as a credit in there that I just wasn't seeing but couldn't come up with it. I have been emailing and emailing about it. Finally yesterday, they emailed back that, oh! Well, they have a credit memo issued, but no, they never did actually refund us the money! WTH?!

Then we have an employee who had taken out an advance last June, so has been having the money withheld from his paychecks to pay it back. A common occurrence. There's always someone who's paying back an advance. It gets withheld from their paycheck and then the payroll company credits us this amount back on our payroll invoice (because it's really our money). Well, out of the last 7 months (we pay twice a month) there's like 8 payrolls where they never credited us back. They withheld it from his pay, but didn't give it back to us. I've been trying to get them to resolve this one for over a month now, since I discovered it. I still don't think they've paid us back and still waiting for them to resolve that one.

Then they messed up our PTO totals, which my boss handled getting them to fix that one.

And starting the first of this year they are handling our 401k, medical insurance and FSA differently. Which is fine, but they just report me the numbers in one lump and I have to spend time weeding through all their reports to breakdown the actual numbers, so that they get reported correctly in the correct expense account in our accounting system. Again, what are we paying them for?

Basically, trying to figure out all these numbers and reconcile them is all I have been doing for the past 2 days now. Ridiculous.

What else is messed up that we don't even know about? People are getting paid correctly (or we'd be hearing from them) but I really have no idea if what they are charging us for everything else (taxes, benefits, etc) is correct. My boss and I are really starting to doubt their accounting and it appears I'm going to have to end up doing a full audit of our payroll on them to make sure it's being done right. UGH. I really don't have time for that.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

That is odd

Strange. I logged in my bank and PayPal (debit card) accounts this morning because it's pay day (and because I check my balances every morning to make sure there isn't some fraud charge). The past several days my Walmart order for the vacuum has been showing as pending on my PayPal account. Since it shipped yesterday I figured it would be showing up today as Completed (and then be transferring over to my regular checking it's linked to). But it's disappeared! Not even pending. That is so strange. I've never seen a transaction do that before. I'm sure it will show back up eventually. The vacuum is now supposed to show up Friday instead of Thursday (didn't I predict that?! LOL).

We've been trying to teach our old dog a "new trick". We basically have a rock garden in the back. There's a little concrete patio out the sliding doors, a little grass to the left and right and in front of that is a "rock garden" with big rocks. Past that is just plain gravel driveway type area in front of the shop. Well, for some reason he has decided that walking out in those big rocks (I have no idea why he likes this) is where he likes to do his business. DH goes outside everyday and scoops poop and it's just about impossible to scoop off of these rocks and he's getting mad. So instead of just complaining about it (like he does) I (as always) had to come up with the solution.

I pretty much know which trip outside is a poop trip (shortly after breakfast and dinner) so I just went outside with him. When he started to step into the rocks I told him no, leave it. I figured if he's smart enough that he was trained not to come into the kitchen, he can be trained not to go out in those rocks. Next couple of trips he went on the grass (or on the flat gravel area). A couple of times I watched out the office window and if he started to step onto the rocks I tapped the window and told him no and he walked away and did his business elsewhere. It's only been a few days, but I know he'll have it figured out pretty soon that the area is off limits.

I don't know why it is so hard for DH to just work on a solution! Same thing I had to do over the winter with our other active dog who loves to play fetch with a tennis ball. We have one of those chuck-it's and that is how he gets his daily exercise. Well, of course all the balls got lost in the snow and DH was getting so mad at the dog! Grousing and complaining. So, I ordered a red Kong frisbee for him. He loves it (thought not as much as tennis balls) and problem solved.  Our friends nearby has a tennis ball loving dog (he's almost the exact copy of our dog) and they decided to get the frisbee  and it worked well for their dog in the snow, too.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Almost mid week and almost payday

I logged into my Walmart account online again this morning and my vacuum is now showing as shipped! Woohoo! Says it will be here Thursday, but I doubt it. I don't think a Fed Ex delivery has been here by the date it says yet, but at least it's on it way and I should be able to use it this weekend on my next vacuuming. Plus when I checked my pending Swagbucks I am earning 5% back on it, instead of the 3% I thought I was going to get.

The weather is a-changing. Most of the snow is all gone, except where it got shoveled into piles. That is slowly melting and getting rained on. Getting in the 50's during the day. We had snow since right after Thanksgiving until just a few days ago and then it's almost gone just as fast as it came. DH is pouting haha. He loves the snow. We're starting to find all the lost tennis balls in the fields next to us.

Next Thursday is my next book club meeting. I thought she had said it's the last Thursday of each month (it was last month) but from the email I see it's next Thursday. The only part I don't like is having to think of something to bring to eat! I took dessert last time, so really don't want to take that again.

DH hasn't been feeling too well lately. Lots of pain and lots of fatigue. I know part of it is if he doesn't have something to do then he sits or sleeps too much and that makes his muscles stiffen up. But on the other hand, if he's too active he's in more pain. Kind of a no win, but doing a little bit each day seems to be the best. It's 2pm and he finally got himself outside, doing a little yard clean up.

Well, another payday (tomorrow actually) come and gone and no annual review still. This is the latest into the year it's ever gone. Kinda starting to think it's not going to happen this year. Oh well. I'm not sure the point of doing the self review if nothing was going to come of it.  I had made a suggestion in it, that I'd kind of like to get feedback on. I'll give it another month and at least bring that up. Even though it would cost about $50 a month to use the service, it would be a timesaver worth more than that. I know she is swamped and hasn't even been able to get me the 2017 budget report yet. I'll just keep plugging away and getting my stuff done :)

Monday, March 13, 2017

Other people's crap

I think Daylight Saving time is dumb, but thankfully I didn't feel like I lost an hour sleep. We had no schedule to keep on Sunday, so I just left my clocks the same, slept until my normal time and then got up and changed the clocks.

While sitting at my computer, drinking my coffee, I decided to get my mom's taxes done. It literally took me less than 15 minutes! She just has her social security, her annual draw from retirement account and some interest to report. It was sooo much easier just doing it at my own computer, rather than sitting at her's trying to do it.

The weather got into the low 50's so we went outside and did some clean up. Let me just say it's bad enough to have to clean up your own crap, but really ticks me off to have to clean up what someone else left behind. The previous owner (he was a contractor) left behind a huge pile of forms and scrap wood. When we first moved in DH piled it up neatly at the end of the shop and the guy was supposed to come and haul it off. Of course he never did. So we loaded it into our small dump trailer. Those forms are heavy and some were too long, so DH had to saw parts of them. We filled up the whole trailer. But now that little area is cleaned up, at least.

We got this little dump trailer in a trade a few months ago. DH was trying to sell that 53' semi trailer we bought to move over here and this guy offered this in trade. DH thought this will come in handy for hauling material to the property when we start our site work. He'll be able to haul stuff himself, rather than paying someone else. Then we can sell it when done. But since we really do not have the room to store it (It's taking up a big part of our little back yard and we already have a small car trailer in back, next to our shop) DH is going to take it over to his friends place, who has 14 acres, and leave it there and let this friend use it whenever he needs to. A win for both of us. Friend said to bring the wood over to his place and we can burn it there, rather than paying to take to dump.

After dinner of steak and mashed potatoes, we watched a good movie on HBO: The Dallas Buyers Club. Boy, Matthew McConaughey sure lost weight for that movie. We liked the movie and I can see why he and Jared Leto won Oscars.

I've been reading up a storm lately. Already finished the March and April books for the book club. Now I'm reading a book I got for DH to read. A non-fiction book about the enhanced interrogation used on the Al Qaeda terrorists captured after 9/11, written by one of the interrogators. Very interesting read.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Saturday errands

Yesterday we went to the city to pick up one of my prescriptions, dog food, and stock up on groceries. The dog food I buy is at Tractor Supply, only they didn't show any in stock when I checked online. This store is like another 15 minutes past where we grocery shop, so didn't want to make the trip there if they didn't have any. I called to double check and they had one bag left in back, so she held it for me. Wish they would have had a couple of bags. When we got there, in the middle of the store were all the baby chicks for sale! Oh my! so cute! DH had wanted to look and some garden hoses there and a hose reel, but decided not to get what they had.

We ended up going to Walmart to shop/stock up. Mistake. It was already noon and of course so crowded. I really wasn't thinking about what time of day it was or I would have just gone to a regular (less crowded) grocery store. To be fair, I did give DH the option of which store LOL. I usually do my shopping before 10am, so it's never very crowded. It's hard to get DH feeling ready to get his muscles all going that early, so we didn't even leave the house until 10:30. We got through it. He had a cart (for the heavy items) and I had a cart. We filled up both, but should be well stocked for the next month.

We stopped in Target and got my prescription, then stopped at Wendy's to grab some lunch (I was starving by then).  This Wendy's has the BEST fast food burgers I have ever tasted. The buns are amazingly fresh. I have eaten A LOT of fast food over the years. McD's, Wendy's, etc and have never had a burger taste this good. We now stop there whenever we go into the city to shop.

We were too tired by then to go to Home Depot or Lowe's, so we just headed home and got all the stuff unloaded and put away.

The snow is melting and we are starting to see our yard again. We did some measuring around as DH wants to put some edging in between the lawn and the dirt areas, where plants/shrubs should be, but previous owners never put any in. There is literally one shrub on this property, under back kitchen window. We will probably be spending about $500 this spring to get some landscaping/plants put in around here. I think it would definitely help for resale (not to mention give DH lots to do this spring and summer)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Always check

A couple of weeks ago I ordered a couple of magazine subscriptions. I follow a couple of coupon deal sites and it showed up there. Some popular magazines on sale and the two I wanted were only $5 each for a year. Now I'm on the email list for this magazine subscription company and last night I get an email that this weekend there are magazines up to 90% off! So, I take a peek and see one I'd like to try that I think both DH and I would enjoy: Family Handyman. It's on sale for $7.99 for the year. I decide to google "Family Handyman subscription" - just to see if it's cheaper somewhere else. Yes, it was only $7.......AT THE SAME WEBSITE!.  So, in one ad they had it for $7.99 and in another spot on their website it was only $7. Needless to say I bought it for $7.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Walmart and the vacuum! (GRRRRR!!)

I've been jumping through hoops yesterday, and now today, trying to purchase a vacuum. Ridiculous. I finally made my decision on what/where to buy and it's like insane trying to buy it.

Ok, so I have 3 Visa gift cards,  $30, $50 and $150 cards. I can't use those to pay online, since the balance of the order is higher than the value of the card(s). I will have to purchase 3 Walmart gift cards, then use those (you can use up to 4 with an online transaction per their website) to pay for my order (and then my debit card for the remaining balance). Ok, so I first bought a $30 Walmart e-gift card. The order confirmation says I will be emailed the gift card number within 4 hours (but usually within minutes). 4 1/2 hours later I got the email. In the meantime I decided to buy the $50 gift card next. I accidentally put in the wrong month of the expiration date, so of course it declined. Fixed it and re-placed order. I got a confirmation and then immediately after that got an email saying they (Walmart) had canceled the order. I tried again and same thing. Then I got online with the Visa gift card issuer and verified the $50 balance. You apparently didn't need to register the card, but you could add in a zip code that might be required for some transactions. Maybe that is the problem. I entered my zip code and it said invalid zip code! OMG.

So, I called up the card issuer and listened to recordings and one option was to add zip code, so I tried entering it that way and it added my zip code. Tried my order (yet again) with Walmart and it canceled it. I then called the giftcard issuer to ask them. He told me they are approving the transaction on their end, but for some reason Walmart keeps canceling it on their end.

I search how to contact Walmart customer service and get on an online chat with someone. They tell me it was canceled because it didn't pass all their security protections. She put in a ticket about it and said to try the transaction again in 30 minutes and it should go through. So, I wait 45 minutes, try again and it gets canceled again. I get online with another chat rep who looks it up and tells me the exact same thing. I said I was already told that, already tried that, so now what? Well, try again in 3 hours then. OMG.

So, I try to purchase a Walmart gift card with the $150 Visa gift card. There isn't a $150 value available, so I had to buy a $100 and a $50 card. That went through no problem (and I got the code email in like 10 minutes).

Finally, after the 3 hour wait I tried to buy the first $50 card again and it worked. Ok, finally. I then added all my gift card codes to my Walmart account. Decided to wait to order this morning. I had 5 gift cards linked to my account. 4 from my Visa gift card purchases and one from Savings Catcher. I had read online you could only use 4 per online transaction, so I'll just not use the $17 one at this time.

I remembered to log in via Swagbucks, so I'd get my points there, I order the vacuum and start the payment process. One gift card at a time, except it let me put in all 5 gift cards as payment. Cool. Then it says the balance remaining and I choose my debit card, that is already linked to my Walmart account and check out. I get an order confirmation.  THREE hours later I just got an email saying "We're sorry, but your order has been canceled". OMG. I am so sick of this.

I got back online to chat (I'm pretty sure they are in India) and get the same exact answer I got two times yesterday. My order didn't pass their security protections, they've put in a ticket, try again in 30 minutes. Good grief! Do they want the damn orders or not?!

So, I guess I'll wait a few hours, instead of 30 minutes and try yet again. This time he did give me a phone # I can call and place the order that way. If I can't get the online order to go through, I guess I will have to do that, but then lose out on my Swagbucks.

This should not have to be this difficult to place an order!

Friday finally

The new vacuum is ordered and I am done with the whole annoying decision/research process (my own doing LOL). Thank you for all your input. I went ahead and ordered a Dyson. I don't think it really matters what brand I would have gotten. I'm sure there are good things and bad things about every vacuum. Every vacuum I've ever owned pretty much mostly has bad annoying things about them. I ordered through Walmart online, so at least if I absolutely hate it I can return it to the store in person, if I choose.  I had to convert my Visa gift cards to Walmart gift cards, which turned out to be a hassle for one card (not sure why, but it finally worked after talking with customer service twice).

So, I saved $230 with gift cards, I had over $17 in Walmart Savings catcher gift card, earned about $16 in Swagbucks and almost $3 in cash back with my debit card. Plus, I still have $80 in Target gift cards. I will just use those on "regular" purchases, so that will be like saving another $80.

This has felt like a very long week. Glad Friday has arrived and a couple days break from work will soon be here. Not sure what we are doing this weekend. Nothing planned, though I do need to get into the city and pick up my cholesterol prescription. Road conditions should be fine now. It pretty much snowed all week, but kept melting off each day and now it's rain. Then we can stock up on groceries and supplies while we are there. We also just opened our last of the 3 bags of dog food we stocked up on last time, so need to get that either bought at the one store (Tractor Supply) in the city that carries it or ordered online soon (since last time it took almost a month to get here).

I'm hoping with a trip to the city DH will want to get the lumber to start on my next project!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Spring clean decision

Since we moved into our new house we've been wanting a new vacuum. I know I have blogged about vacuum's a couple of times and looked back (did you know blogger has a handy little search field up in upper left corner?) and sure enough, back in March 2013 is when I bought my current Bissell vacuum. It still works, though I am quite tired of buying bags for it! At about $6 for a 3 pack (and I can only find them online now) it's costing me over $50 a year in bags, so, so far I've spent more in bags than on the vacuum. Dumb. I hate trying to figure out which vacuum to buy.

I have several Target gift cards and several Visa gift cards I've been holding on to. $310 total. I looked online at Target. I want a Dyson and one good for pet hair.  They have two models. One is on sale for $399 (reg. $499) and the other is not on sale and it's $599. I'm trying to figure out what actually is the difference between them. One is the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal and the other is the Dyson Big Ball Animal.  I can't really figure out what the difference is.

Plus, I see the $599 model cheaper elsewhere, like $440 on Amazon or $479 at Walmart and Home Depot and their websites say this model is a "closeout" - so what's the new model taking it's place then?

My Target cards only total $80, so I'm not totally tied to buying one from there (I can always use that $80 on other stuff I regularly buy at Target), unless I get the model on sale, which seems to be lowest price I could find on that model.

Then there's the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal + Allergy model......and that's another $100....UGH! I hate this process of deciding. And then once I decide I have to research it to death to make sure I'm getting the best price.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The someday wedding

Not too long ago my daughter brought up weddings. We had been talking about her cousin's upcoming wedding this summer. DD said some words that are music to my ears LOL.

"I don't want a big fussy wedding. It ends up becoming all about the other people, the guests, the perfect flowers, etc. Just months of stress. I just want something very small with just family there to witness our vows, go on a great honeymoon and come back and have a small party/reception at some local rented hall, with family and close friends to celebrate our marriage".

Yahoooo!! Of course, she may change her mind down the road (she's not even engaged yet, haha) but I doubt it. When she makes up her mind about something that's pretty much it. Plus, she is not the type that likes to be in the spotlight or put on a big show, which a wedding seems to be to her. I said I'd rather give her money we could have put towards a big wedding, so they can go on a fantastic honeymoon that they would probably enjoy much more than a day of wedding festivities that are stressful and the day ends up being a big blur in your memory (at least it did for me).

I also said we should have our house built by then, and wouldn't a small outdoor ceremony at the edge of the property overlooking the river be pretty. She liked that idea, too. Or maybe they'll just go to a justice of the peace and take care of it that way. Her BF's parents are kind of overbearing about things, so I'm sure a small intimate ceremony would keep them from trying to take over planning a big wedding (ie, it becoming about them and what they want). I told her if I had it all to do over again, I would not have done the big wedding. I would have done something much smaller and much more personalized to us.

We, of course, will go along with whatever she decides, but I'm liking her plans so far :)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The auction continued

Once we won our auction bid then we looked at each other and said "oh geez! how are we going to get this home tonight?!"

I went and paid for it while DH was asking a guy if it would be possible to come and pick this up the next day (which he said we could, that's what they had to do last year with an item). Then DH called another friend who doesn't live too far away to see if he could run over with his pickup but he was out of town at a sports event with his kids. Then the guy who invited us said he had come in his pickup, so he would haul it and run it over to us Sunday morning. Ok whew! problem solved, for the most part. Except it was supposed to be raining really hard heading in the direction we were all headed. We covered it with the cardboard it got delivered in and luckily it didn't rain.

What is it you ask?!!

Scroll down to see!



Scrolling :)

Keep Scrolling...

One more time

Almost there

A handmade log bed! Queen sized with adorable black bears carved into it. Now, I know this certainly isn't everyone's taste in furniture, but for a guest bedroom, I love it. Our house will be a rustic timber frame style house, so will fit with it. And after all we live in bear and log home country. All's I could think was that someday we will probably have a grandchild and how cool will it be to come over to stay in grandma and grandpa's big bear bed? :)

We are just storing it, for now, as we don't currently have an extra bedroom to put this in. But, once we build our house we'll have 2 guest bedrooms and I'll have a separate office room, so won't need to use one of the bedrooms as an office. I had honestly never thought about buying a log bed before (it's made by a local guy) but funny thing is a little while ago when I was scrolling through Pinterest I pinned this bedding set as something I would love to have in one of my guest bedrooms in my new house

So, I'm kind of thinking it was meant to be 😁

Monday, March 6, 2017

Dinner and an auction

Saturday evening we attended a banquet with friends. I guess it was for a wildlife foundation for hunters? Basically management of the species so that they flourish and there is enough for the hunters to hunt, is what I gathered. DH doesn't hunt, so not really a huge interest for us, though we do love the wildlife.

Anyhow, it was great company, great food and a great time. The friend and his wife (these are the millionaire folks) buy a table at this banquet every year.  The other guests at the table were 2 nice young couples that work for this guy. Super nice young people. So down to earth.  It was all jeans and cowboy boots (I found mine in a box the day before LOL). Very casual. There was a ton of stuff they were auctioning raffling and auctioning off (silent auction and live auction). We bought lots of raffle tickets (mostly giving away rifles) but didn't get lucky. We bid on a few silent auction items, but ended up getting out bid. We looked through all the live auction items. Didn't see anything we really had to have other than one item we really liked a lot. But of all the items, we figured we'd get outbid anyway - usually items at these types of "for a good cause" auctions tend to go higher priced than I'm willing to spend. In fact, we have been to many of these types of auctions over the years, but never could even bid on anything as we were always broke and we were barely able to afford the tickets to the banquet and a few raffle tickets!

DH spent his cash in his wallet on the raffle tickets - figured if we went out to a nice dinner, we'd spend that  much anyway and's for a good cause....

Dinner was buffet (it was held at a hotel banquet room). Very good prime rib, chicken and other side dishes. There were probably 400 or more people there and the lines moved very fast. We found out the hotel has a restaurant, so we might go back and eat there sometime.

The live auction started after dinner. Our friend bid on (and won) quite a few things. One of the other guys at our table bid on a guitar he really wanted and he won. (the other couple had won a couple silent auction items, but weren't bidding on any live items). The item we really liked was the second from last item. When we looked at it, DH said how much does something like this cost? I said probably about $1500. He looked up on his phone and said yep, you are right. Ya....not in our budget right now. We have it in savings, but not really wanting to spend that much right now.

It seemed every other item was going for it's value (though not sure of value on some items) or more. People were bidding $450 for a 1 in 6 chance to win a rifle valued at like $1500! DH really liked a handmade American flag coffee table. I liked it, but we already have a coffee table and it would have to be something in a certain decor (like I could see it in our bonus room when we build or something like that). It went for like $500.

They had a real auctioneer, which I love listening too. They are so cool. I couldn't keep up with who's bidding and how he keeps up! He did have a few "runners" or whatever they are called. When items came up that our friend bid on I could at least follow along better. Sometimes he just blinked at the auctioneer (we were up front) to bid!

Then the item we really liked came up. DH looked at me and I said "nah, it'll go to high". The bids started and got up to $625 and stalled. DH and I looked at each other and I said "that is worth $700 to me". DH raised his card and we were in at $650. Then someone bid $675 so DH did $700. SOLD for $700!

You can find out what we won in the next post :)

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Special order

A couple of weeks ago I ordered blinds for my office windows. This was my first time ever special ordering blinds! It was a bit scary. Did I get the size correct? Will I like the color?

There are two windows in my office room. The horizontal window up higher didn't have any window treatment on it. On sunny days the afternoon sun would come in and I couldn't see my computer screen while trying to work (I ended up putting a king sized pillow case over part of it!). The other window had some white vinyl blinds (same as in the guest bedroom). The rest of the house has nice Bali wood blinds. I decided to get the same wood blinds for the main window, but decided to try something different for the horizontal window. I'm so glad I did! I got some cellular shades in a lighter brown and just love how they look there! I'm really liking the combination of the two different textures, as well as the color/shade difference.

Unfortunately, since our house is so tiny, DH's computer has to share my office. He really needs a real desk, but is going to make do with this while we are here. It came with the house (as well as the L-shaped desk I am using) and works well enough, but he does need a new chair. Me too! Mine has really wore out in the past couple of months. The seat looks terrible.

The blinds were pretty reasonably priced, I guess, for being special order. I ordered through Home Depot online and they were 20% off. The wood blinds ended up being $96 and the shade was $62.

Our guest bedroom also has a new window treatment too. (because DH broke the white vinyl blinds). I decided on just putting up some floor length cream colored drapes. Purchased the drapes and curtain rod online at Walmart. I was a bit nervous because I wasn't able to see the actual color and texture of the drapes, but am happy with them. The drapes and rod cost about $30 total. I cannot for the life of me get a good picture of that room! It keeps turning out dark, so you'll just have to use your imagination :)

Friday, March 3, 2017

Decorating dilemnas

Awhile back I bought this wall clock for our living room wall over our antique mini piano.  I love it, but wish I had gotten one bigger. There just seems to be a bit too much space around it and I have been trying to decide what, if anything, to do there.

It doesn't look quite as bad in person as it seems to in a photo, but I just think I need to hang something on each side of the clock. Also, I can't remember now why we didn't center the piano, because I didn't have that chair there until recently. Hmm...I know I had a reason, but can't remember now. Maybe I did have a chair there (I also have an antique rocking chair) at first and then moved both into the living room seating area.

Anyhow, I've been thinking maybe something like this a-la Magnolia Market/Joanna Gaines style

something to take up a little of the wall space on each side, but not too overwhelming.

But, that piano there also has a piano bench full of old sheet music. I inherited that piano (I don't play) and the sheet music is from like the 1930's. Tons of it. I've often thought of framing a couple of pages of music and putting on each side. I'm kind of leaning towards doing that now, but that just created another dilemna - what kind of frames?

Should I do rustic type barnwood frames - to go along with the rustic theme I have going? Or should I do like black frames with the sheet music framed in a couple of matted colors, like a cream and also another black? Kind of go with the black and white (well the pages are yellowed now) of the pages and the black and white of the piano and keyboard,

My other wall space I'm trying to decide what to do with is in our master bedroom. It's a fairly small room. Our king sized sleigh bed barely fits. We were able to fit it, both nightstands and a small dresser in the room, as well as my cedar chest at the end of the bed. Thankfully the walk in closet is huge (but wish they would have made the bedroom bigger and it smaller) and we were able to put the big dresser that goes with our bedroom set inside the walk in closet.

But this big huge empty space is driving me nuts

The other side has a window and a large picture on it. I'm thinking this wall needs something wide and horizontal, maybe several pictures across? but I'm used to hanging stuff where there is some piece of furniture below it to sort of anchor the art. Just sorta hanging there with nothing below it seems weird to me. I don't like walls where people put up a whole bunch of pictures to fill up the big space - too busy for me.

I really like this windmill wall art, but again, would it look strange just hanging on the wall with no furniture piece below it?

At this point I'm kind of leaning towards something like this on the large blank wall and those little metal planters on the wall above each night stand.

But then last night I saw this on Pinterest and really like it alot

but with less books and a few photos. But, then I either have to actually find an old ladder or have DH make me one.....and neither of those will probably happen real soon.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Pssst...SHUT UP already!

Do you ever just get really sick of someone? DH and I are active on Facebook. We like to use it for fun stuff and pictures. One of our friends connected back with us a few months ago, right before we moved. I think he must live on Facebook. We cannot make a post or a comment without him commenting - more than once! Every. Single. Post. he has to make comments and if one of our other friends comments (who he doesn't know) then he has to comment on their comment! He's very political and posts all day long, so most of the time I just have him "unfollowed". Luckily I don't mind his political views, but he posts so often, that I get tired of trying to scroll through all his posts to read my friends posts that I actually want to see.

DH has a friend, who he jokes back and forth with a lot, so they post on each other's walls with jokes and smart alec comments to each other. Every time this other friend posts on DH's wall, this guy has to make a comment on it - and he's not even friends with the person who posted on DH's wall.

It's gotten beyond annoying and like DH says - it's making Facebook not as fun. I told DH there is a way to make a post and restrict someone on your friends list from seeing it, but still remain friends. I just made a post and added him as a restricted friend, so he won't see it. Maybe we can have one post where it's "Mark" free. LOL.  DH might have to start using that once every few posts, just to get a break from him. Don't want to hurt his feelings. He's a nice guy, but geez - take a break once in awhile!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The next project(s)

DH has been given (asked for) the next building project I would like. Oh boy! this one I'm super excited about. I have been wanting a sofa table. I've looked at quite a few online. They are $300-$500 (or more, of course) dollars, so needless to say, I haven't purchased anything.

I saw this one on Etsy via Pinterest
They want $550 for it. I showed it to DH. Could you possibly make me something like this? I don't have plans for this one (like I did the blanket ladder, which he didn't really use anyway) but maybe you can figure it out from the pictures (there's also one at another angle)? He says he can. So, he's in his "planning" stage. Which means he's thinking about it, what boards and sizes to use, drawing it out on paper, etc. We have lots of leftover walnut stain from the blanket ladders and that is the color I want it to be.

I'm thinking this wouldn't cost more than $75 to make, maybe a little more. WAY better than $550 (plus shipping). I know it won't look exactly like this, but that's ok. It'll be similar and that's the style I'm looking for. He's already said he wants to router a bit around the table top edge.

I'm hoping this happens sooner, rather than later. He needs a trip to the lumber store, which means a trip to the city.  Not sure when he's going to feel like doing that. We are going to the city Saturday afternoon/evening, for a dinner with friends, but won't be able to stop at lumber store, so it would have to be a separate trip.

He also has something he wants to make that's his idea. A shoe/boot bench for the laundry room. Something similar to this

Last night he was saying he's anxious to get started on these (it will keep him busy!). I mentioned that I still want a bookcase for the one empty wall in our living room/hallway area. He's decided to make that too. I showed him the one I planned to buy (at some point soon) and I think it's pretty basic and he said he could do something similar like this too
 I would be in heaven if he can make something like this and I don't have to pay full price for one! The store in the city I found this at (online) doesn't list a price, but I did a search online at other stores and it's around $300.