Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The month in review

Here's the numbers for October:

Credit score - up 5 points to 737. Almost to that "magic" 740 number, that supposedly helps get better financing and rates. I'm hoping I am at this by the first of the year, when I apply for a construction loan.

401k - up $1096. Another good month

Google adsense - $12.89. Not as much as previous months, but whatever. It's free money :)

Swagbucks - $8.75. Down quite a bit from recent months, but I kind of gave up trying to do survey's once I started doing M-Turk. It's just not worth the time involved to get through a survey and then be declined. M-Turks easily makes up for this going down. The next couple of months should show an increase due to online Christmas shopping.

M-Turks: $101.54.  This was a full month and my first month. Not the $5 per day I goal toward, but still very happy. Hopefully I'll do better next month.

Other good news: property tax bill came and our property went down almost $300 from last year. The taxes for our house are about the same. I won $4 and $10 in Powerball LOL. I wouldn't buy tickets at all, but DH is one of those people who really thinks he has a snowball's chance in hell of winning and just about throws a fit if I don't buy them.

My annual social security report was available online and went up about $700 a year.

I got a dividend check in the mail today for $1.32. woooo! LOL. Somehow I ended up with 4 shares of stock from a large company I worked for before DD was born. If I could figure out how to sell these measly 4 shares, I would. They are worth about $55 each.

Trick or treaters - zero, so far. Last year we only got our little neighbor kids and since they don't live there anymore, I'm thinking we won't get any others. We're too far out on the edge of town.

Time to go eat a piece of candy.............

Monday, October 30, 2017

A memory reminder

I received a call from my mom today. She couldn't remember what date I had come to visit her last month (was it on the 20th or 27th?) The reason she was asking is because she was reviewing her phone bill and there was a charge on there for a service technician visit on the 23rd and she had no idea what it was for and wondered if I remembered anything about what it might have been for, when I was there. I reminded her that she said she had to call the phone company and have someone come out, because when she unhooked her computer that week before to take to Best Buy, her landline phone stopped working. A guy came out and plugged her back in. She had completely forgotten about that. I even had to remind her that she took her computer into Best Buy to have it fixed. At least when I reminded her she did then recall it, rather than not remembering it at all (well, she said she did anyway). And I guess it's good that she's still looking over her bills to verify charges.  I'm really glad I went over everything I did with her, when I was there.  DD is going to visit her next weekend, so that will be good.

Interesting that the book just read and discussed at bookclub was about someone with Alzheimer's (though early onset). Mom is about the same age (76) that her father started showing symptoms (around 77-78). Let's hope it's not going to be that. He had it for 2-3 years, gradually getting worse, until one night (just before his 81st birthday) he died peacefully in his sleep. At the end, I think he still somewhat knew who my grandma was (he was still living at home) but usually thought I was my mom. At the time my mom was wintering in Arizona and when she got home that spring we had plans to put in in a care home, as it was just getting too much for my grandma to handle. But, that February he passed away, before mom could get home. At the book club several of them compared the book to another book they had all read some time ago about an early onset Alzhiemer's patient, called Still Alice.  So, I just read that one over the weekend. A much better book than the other one. Such an awful disease.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

An outdoor day

Saturday we took advantage of the nice sunny day and went to our property so DH could do some more measuring and pound some stakes in for building corners, etc. It was kind of a long process and we were there over 4 hours. Plus, he used his surveying tool (I can't remember what those are called) to check the grade. He was pleased, as apparently the guy who did the site work was spot on and did that just eyeballing while he worked.  The neighbors dogs were doing their usual barking up a storm, of course. Gosh, that gets really old. It didn't appear that they were home. Finally after about a half hour the dogs (3 of them, usually there are 4) settled down a bit and were only barking off and on.

Then neighbor wife came outside, she said she had been in the shower and then got out and heard the dogs barking up a storm. We chatted with her a bit then her hubby got home from hunting and we chatted with him a few minutes, but they had to get ready to leave again. Finally, after they left the dogs completely settled down for the rest of the afternoon and it was quite pleasant out there. It honestly has not been very pleasant to go out there and every time we do, we have to listen to dogs barking the whole time. But, lately it does seem to be getting better, where they finally shut up. LOL.
Our dogs just ran and played and wore themselves out.

When we got there it was only about 40 degrees out, but did warm up to almost 60 by later afternoon. We had dressed warm, though, with some long underwear under our jeans. We had taken a lunch with us, too. I also walked down to lot 6 and picked up some pine cones to send to DD. That lot has bigger ones than ours does and she wanted some for her candle selling display she is doing at a holiday bazaar in a couple of weeks.

It was good I went and helped DH with this. Helped save his legs from at least half of the walking to measuring, string lines, etc. While it would have been really nice to have the afternoon to myself at home, it was good to be outside all afternoon and get the fresh air and exercise.  Once we got home about 4:30 we were both pretty tired and making dinner was the last thing I felt like doing, so we drove the mile back into town and had dinner at the restaurant. I had breakfast for dinner and DH had french dip sandwich.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Books and Friday

Last night was book club. Yesterday afternoon I made my 4 cheese and bacon mac and cheese to take. My kitchen was a disaster, but I didn't have time to unload my dishwasher and then get all the dirty dishes inside it before I left. Then I didn't get home until 9pm and didn't feel like cleaning, so it sat a mess all  night. It's clean now! The meeting was held at my property neighbors place and I offered a ride from town to anyone in our email group. One lady did take me up on it. She just had cataract surgery on one eye a week ago and wasn't so sure about driving home at night, so she was glad for the ride. It was also a nice drive to spend a little time talking and getting to know each other better.

This was the first meeting (even though I missed last month and we didn't have any all summer) that I felt more like I fit in and knew people better. There were 10 there last night and I've got all the names down. There was also a new lady who seemed nice, too. Everyone thought the book (All the Things We Keep) was just an ok book. Nothing great, a bit contrived in the plot. All the food was delicious and we have the perfect variety for dinner foods. Some chicken breasts, mac & cheese, salad, stuffed mushrooms, veggie tray, homemade sourdough rolls.

I have made a total of $88 through M-Turk so far and was able to transfer $50 today. I made $10 yesterday, which I'm glad of, as I haven't had any time to do any today. It's my half work day Friday and then we are heading into the city soon to do our 2 week shopping. And over $7 from yesterday and a few $ from previous days still need to credit to my account.

DH was talking to his buddy again recently. Poor guy. I really feel bad for his marriage situation. I think I mentioned before how they totally split up their bills and have separate accounts (yet she has access to his checking but he does not to hers!). Well, property taxes in his area went up significantly and with his escrow adjusting to catch up on the shortfall from last year and going forward, his house payment went up $200 a month. He pays the house payment and told her he can't afford that much (he makes less than her) and she doesn't want to use any of her money towards their house payment! I really do not get their deal at all.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Getting chilly around here

The weather this week is sunny and cripsy cool Autumn temps. Though it does get up to 60ish by later afternoon (for like an hour LOL), it takes all day to get there. I decided to make my 4 cheese and bacon mac and cheese to take to the book club on Thursday. Seems fitting Fall comfort food. Though it was a bit pricey to have to buy the ingredients at the small town grocery store. The cheeses are expensive.

DH spent at least an hour standing outside in our front yard talking the the water meter guy. I think he wears different hats for the town (as reading water meters can't be a full time job all month). I saw him the other day fixing a pot hole.  I think he mentioned he does some of the snow plowing and sanding, too, in the winter. He's usually a good source to learn what's going on with the town. Then across the street neighbor got home from hunting, so now he's over there visiting with him. Keeping him out of my hair for a couple of hours!

I got my weekly call in to my mom. She seems good, though she said she woke up with a stomach ache this morning and had to cancel her eye dr appt. Said she feels fine now. Seems like she's had that happen a couple of times before. I should mention to her that maybe she should make her appts in early afternoon. She is also getting her house keys copies made this week and will be giving a set to DD when she comes to visit her next weekend. That will be good that she has a set too. She has two different keys to access her place (one to get into her attached garage and then one into house) and ms. moneybags found a coupon to get one key made/get one free :)  I definitely know where I inherited my frugal gene from.

We've been trying not to turn our heat on much yet. We've turned it on in the evening a few times, for a little bit. I turn my heated blanket on about a half hour before bed and keep warm that way. Mostly we sweater and sweatshirt up and are comfortable all day. I'm sure we won't be able to do this much longer. Next week some of the days aren't getting out of the 30's, according to the forecast. So, I'm thankful for this week's warmer temps.

While I was out and about I also stopped at the courthouse down the block from the post office and renewed my auto tabs in person. Saved a $1 fee (and a stamp) from mailing it in and even more of a fee for doing it online. I also decided to opt out of the state parks fee of $6. Of course there was no line. I think I was literally in there 2 minutes LOL. I was good and instead of getting in my car and driving the block down to the post office, I walked. Got a little exercise and some good fresh air. It still wasn't even 40 degrees out yet, LOL.

We ordered some casoron weed killer for the yard the other day and it's supposed to be here today, which will give DH something to do. I wasn't very happy that it went up in price quite a bit, but what ya gonna do. It's the time of year it needs to get put down.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

it's a boring post

There is just not a lot going on in my world at the time being! It's hunting season, so DH's neighbor buddy across the street is gone hunting all day, every day, so DH isn't getting to chat with him off and on like he normally does when he is home for 2 weeks. Well, unless he shoots one soon, haha, then he'll be around.

Around 2pm yesterday I realized I didn't even plan what to have for dinner or take anything out of the freezer! oops. As I was walking to the kitchen to figure out something, I mentioned my lack of planning to DH and he said he'll just have a sandwich and chips when dinner rolls around. Works for me! We also have some hot dogs and buns left over from chili dogs the other day, so I just had a hot dog.

I figured out the book that I downloaded from library (and already read) has two more in the series, so I was able to get the second book and now have something to read this week. We are having a bookclub meeting on Thursday night. This will be our last for the year, since it's Thanksgiving and Christmas during the next two meeting times. I read the book several months ago and now almost don't remember it.

My new purse arrived. Very nice, but it will take some getting used to for the style, once I find a wallet to use. I looked the brand up online - most of the purses are in the $300 range. It will certainly be the nicest purse I will ever own! Friend said she hated the thought of taking it to Goodwill, so she was glad I took it.

Late last week renter neighbors scummy older daughter with the two kids showed back up. Oh joy. Hadn't seen her since she moved out last May. We were pretty nervous she was moving back in again. She had quite a bit of stuff in her car she unloaded. She also helped his GF (who is her same age, early 20's) unload the little car trailer that has been sitting in the driveway for a month We had hoped maybe it wasn't getting unloaded all these weeks because they were going to be moving when his lease is up (supposedly next month) but guess not. Who knows why GF been there a month now and never unloaded it. This afternoon it appears daughter isn't staying, so keeping our fingers crossed on that, at least. As she's loading up her car with her stuff her older kid is standing there next to his grandpa's trailer and pounding on it with a rock......

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Weekend wrap up

It's been a pretty uneventful couple of days around here. The week ended and we were very disappointed to not hear from our builder, as he said he would get a hold of DH this week about meeting to discuss our property and questions DH has. Very disappointed.

DH's dad had some surgery on Friday. I always forget what the surgery is called. This time it's on his other leg and supposed to help with his heart/circulation, I think. This time went much better than the first (though I guess he did have to have a blood transfusion during surgery) and he was able to go home yesterday (last time he had complications and had to stay several more days). DH talked to him last night and he seemed to be doing quite well. DH's sister asked if we would chip in for a new recliner for them for Christmas, as the handle on the old one they have is broke. She'd like to get them one that has the motor to help rise the seat to get out of. I think that sounds great. I'm sure our share (split 3 ways) will be more than I planned to spend, but my online earnings can help go toward the extra.

Yesterday we finally touched up the holes around the windows in my office room. There were holes in the window trim from the previous blinds I took down. There were also holes in the wall above the window, where they must have had a different window treatment at one time. Plus some holes in the smaller window wall. There was also some touch up needed in the laundry room wall above the washer and dryer and fill/touch up some holes in the bathrooms where we had moved the mirrors up to install some shelves below the mirrors. DH also painted the front board of our wood step outside the back sliding door.

I got caught up watching Outlander and watched a few episodes of This is Us on my ipad.

We decided to treat ourselves and go out to dinner last night at our new favorite place in the next town over (30 miles LOL). I had the grilled salmon again. The drive was so pretty with all the Fall colors. I never order a beverage and we got smart from the last time. My meal comes with salad bar, DH's doesn't but he always orders one. We didn't realize when I ordered the salmon last time it came with salad bar, so this time he didn't order it and he ate the salad with my meal. Saved a few bucks!

It was pouring rain when we got up this morning. I made some blueberry muffins for breakfast and we've just been taking it easy today. I gave DH a hair cut and now the sun is out a bit. I downloaded a book to read (from library) but after getting started on it I realize I've already read it before. All the other books I tried to download/borrow are on a wait list, so now I again have nothing to read. I'll have to go back online and see what I can find.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Guessing the future

Things are looking promising for being able to make some money when we sell this house we bought to live in until we build. DH was just the other day doing his own "analysis" on what he thinks we can ask for it and was guessing at least $200,000. We paid $161,000 for it. We didn't put very much down on it, as we wanted to be able to purchase our land free and clear, but in the next 10-12 months (by the time a house would be done and we'd sell) we'll owe about $152,000 on it. I was kind of skeptical of his number, but told him I'd trust him because he was right about what we could get for our old house.

Then today I received a letter in the mail from our realtor guy. He wanted to let us know that he had moved to another real estate company, as a managing broker, and had done an analysis on our home. At this time we are in the $205,000 range (and values seem to be on the increase around here, so another 6 months to a year might be even a little better). He said with our upgrades and landscaping we should be able to be very competitive at that price, with other homes similar in the area that have sold for that price.

Woohoo!! If we can get $200,000, that will give us $38,000 (after realtor fees) to put towards our new house. With the paid for land and work we have done/will do on it out of pocket, we should have approximately 30% down on our construction loan.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A new purse

I am not really a purse gal. I have and use one, but one and only one. I use whatever purse I have until it wears out and then I'll buy a new one. I've been getting to the point where I need a new one, as mine is losing it's shape. But, I really do not enjoy purse shopping, so I've still been using it. Well, this morning I got an email from the lady I work for at my side job (her hubby owns the business and she works there and is my main point of contact) that she has a nice leather purse she bought on a trip to Argentina, but now that she's had it home, in the big city, she doesn't feel it fits her suburbia style. She thought it needs a home in a more rural/horse country area, LOL, so thought of me. She texted me a picture of it and said she'll send it to me, if I like it. It looks very nice and something I would like. It's kind of hard to tell how big it is, more of a satchel style (which I have never had) but hey - it's nice and free and I'm sure I'll use it. It's probably not something I would ever purchase for myself - mainly because I'm sure it was expensive and I don't think I have ever spent more than $35 for a purse. I don't need to have 10 $300 purses in my closet. LOL. It was very nice of her to think of me and offer it.

But, using this new purse I will need to get a wallet now! The past few purses I have had have the wallet built in. Those are kind of harder to find, but I've just kept buying them as I like not having to dig into a purse for a wallet. I can put a wallet on my Christmas wish list :)  This new purse also looks like the kind that you just dump everything into it. Which I probably won't like much for keys. My current purse has an outside pocket that I put the keys in and it's easy to find and even DH knows where to find the car keys easily.

What kind of purse gal are you? I know I'm probably not the norm when it comes to women and purses!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Dragging along

I was so tired yesterday. Ugh! I feel like I've been gradually zapping my energy bank since about last week and it's definitely caught up with me. On my day off last Friday I had to get up an hour and 15 minutes early then I normally do, because we had to drive an hour into the city for my dr. appt. first thing that morning. Add in a bit of crappy sleep that night because of dh's snoring. I was able to take a nap Friday afternoon, so I should have been good then. But each night DH has been snoring bad, for some reason, which is cutting down on my good sleep. Then Sunday night I stayed up almost an hour past my normal bedtime and then was awake (and then up) an hour earlier than my normal wake time because of our overnight house guest. By 3 pm yesterday (with still an hour and a half to work) I was about to fall asleep.

Making dinner was the last thing I felt like doing. Thankfully on the menu plan for last night was just heating up some BBQ spare ribs for 45 minutes. That didn't take a lot of work.  I tried to take a nap while it was cooking but DH kept talking.

I didn't do much M-Turk work at all Friday thru Sunday. About $1 worth is all. I was able to earn $5.45 today. When afternoon rolls around, I can't seem to get accepted to hits, that supposedly I'm qualified for. So far, I have earned about $52 total. I did a transfer to my bank account when I got to $33 and I think it hit my bank account the next day, maybe two days at most, so that was quick.

I'm just sitting in wait to see what DH's health insurance premiums will be for 2018. It's all such a huge mess. I had read that the insurer he is using had only requested a 4% increase (compared to the other two in this state wanting like 15-20% or more), but now that the subsidies have been stopped they have (with 2 weeks before open enrollment) been granted a change to increase their rates more than they had originally been approved to. I'm sure it will be another big hit to my budget. The really crappy part of all this is we still have to buy the same insurance plans and no choices. This is a small populated state and only 3 (and it sounds like this insurer he is with might not make it) to choose from there is no competition and all the rates are so high.  I wish we could at least have a larger market of insurers to choose from. If people want this gov't ran healthcare system, then we should be able to choose from any insurance companies in the whole country.

Plus, we just found out our property taxes here in this county are going way up, due to a school bond passing. It's apparently a progressive type of tax rate, so the more your home/property is worth the more you will be taxed. Once our house is built it will cost us about an extra $500 a year in property taxes, compared to what it would have been if it hadn't passed. For the next 20 years.

Our county is also facing issues with our sheriff's dept. It's a small department of like 7 sheriff's (sheriff, under-sheriff, sgt and 4 deputies). Two deputies have just quit (one took a job in neighboring county for better pay) and a third told DH on Sunday he's out the door as soon as he finds another job. Their pay is pathetic. The county council is a joke. Now because of the two that have quit the other two are basically on call 24 hrs a day, but the county doesn't want to pay them overtime....(they are union). Well, until they hire replacements, they have those two salaries not going out that can be used for the overtime! The one deputy DH talked to (he lives at the end of our street, across the street from corner) said he has a big crack in his windshield but they won't repair it....he said how am I supposed to give someone a ticket for a broken windshield when mine is broken? The vehicle he drives has like 175,000 miles on it.

I don't have all the answers to all these problems, that's for sure. I just know I'm really tired of paying these ridiculous health insurance premiums for really crappy insurance.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Weekend update

I took Friday off work. It was my half work day Friday and I had a dr. appointment in the morning.  I chose a doctor office in the city to try, rather than the one here in the small town. It's a women's and family health center. All women providers, apparently. I really liked it there. It was a nice office, very friendly staff and I didn't have to wait at all. I got my two prescriptions filled and scheduled my annual exam for next spring. It also worked out that it was time to pick up DH's cholesterol prescription, so now all of our prescriptions are on the same pick up schedule. Much easier. But, my doctor wrote my prescriptions for 90 days, with 1 refill, so enough to last me until I got back for my annual. When I got home with the prescriptions I noticed they were 30 day and only say 1 refill. So, I'm going to have to call the pharmacy and make sure it's 6 months worth of refills in some form or fashion.

Then we went and got our grocery shopping taken care of. I think I did pretty good for a two week shopping trip. Only spent $153 there, and then when we were at Target we spent $62 on laundry stuff, batteries, windshield wiper fluid, box of cereal and some Halloween candy. The cereal at the grocery store was $2.49 for a small box. I said lets wait and get it at Target. It was $2.77 for the big box.

Saturday I used up a couple of over ripe bananas and made a loaf of banana bread. We just kind of relaxed in the house all day. Watched a movie around noon. Washed the bedding on the guest bed to get that room ready for our friend staying Sunday. Then we watched a movie on Amazon Prime. Took a break midway through and I made dinner (chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes) and then finished the movie. Early that evening we took a walk, which was nice.

Sunday was a nice sunny day. DH did some outside house maintenance, while I vacuumed and dusted, washed my laundry. While DH watched a bit of the Nascar race I fell asleep on the couch. Our friend arrived around 4pm. I made spaghetti for dinner and we all went to bed around 10pm, as he was getting up by 6am to get going. He and his wife have a plan to move to Tennessee in 2 years  (for same reasons we wanted out of where we used to live). She is also hoping to keep her good job and work remotely. 

Even though it was a 3 day weekend for me, it sure didn't really feel like one. I have a feeling this is going to feel like a long week, for some reason.

Friday, October 13, 2017

PTO, a house guest, hurt feelings

I was looking at my paystub. I have 205 hours of PTO accrued. I need to take some vacation! That is 5 weeks of time. Now, since this also would include taking any sick time off, I like to leave a couple of weeks on the books just for that. But still........3 weeks. This is after I just used 4 1/2 days of it. LOL. Since we rarely take vacations, I usually just  use it for staycation time. I usually always take off two weeks between Christmas and New Years, but with our generous holiday time off given, I only have to use a week of my time. Plus I earn almost 2 days per month. I'm out earning my taking. HA!
I seem to prefer taking a day or two here and there, but that sure doesn't use it up very fast, if I'm only doing that every few months.  Plus, any time I do take off, for the most part no one does my work.

We may have a house guest on Sunday. One of DH's friends from our old neighborhood is driving through (going all the way to Tennessee) and will probably stop at our house and spend the night. He'll have driven about 7-8 hours by then, so he said he'll be ready to stop for the day. I think I'll just make spaghetti for dinner that night. I think he is just traveling by himself.  He and his wife are the guardians for his 6 year old niece, so I'm assuming his wife is staying home with her. So, far, not counting our daughter, we have had two other over night visitors since we moved here. I have to say, that in the 28 years we lived at our old house we had like two! Seriously! I'm very glad I have a nice guestbedroom here, with a nice comfy queen sized bed for guests.

DH sent our builder another email on Sunday evening. Taking my advice and asking him to commit to a day/time to meet at our property as soon as possible. He replied back on Tuesday evening and said next week should work and he'll call DH.......hmmm.....so much for getting him to commit to a date. I'm pretty sure if he blows us off this time, we'll be looking for a new builder.

DH got his feelings hurt the other night by his good friend that lives in the area. He's made a couple of comments since we moved here about DH not working (he knows why). Stuff like "you should get a job" or "well, ya you get to do such and such because you don't have to work".  Or, "my company is looking for someone, you should come work there" DH again, says to him, I can't go drive a cement mixer truck for 8-10 hours a day with my muscle condition. He can't even get medically approved for a CDL anymore. DH loves Facebook and loves to have fun and make funny posts. This guys wife is kind of like my DH - she loves to joke and tease on FB and they tease each other about the weather, mostly. DH loves snow, she loves hot weather. So, knowing that snow was supposed to happen overnight (yes! we got like an inch of snow when I woke up yesterday morning!) he made a cute/funny post on Facebook about the snow. He figured out how to make and "event" of Snow Watch and tagged our friend's wife in it, as the co-host. She replied with a funny gif type thing of "I hate you". A couple others liked the post and a couple others commented. Then friend comes in and says "you need a job, you have too much time on your hands". Like DH says to me, he already feels bad/depressed enough that he can't work, he doesn't need to be reminded of it and doesn't need someone else, who isn't living in his body, telling him he needs to go get a job. DH just kind of made a joke to his comment that "oh, it's a full time job trying to annoy your wife LOL".  I was texting my DD about what he commented and was going to make a comment "well, when you find us a medical miracle, he'll be happy to go back to work", but DH just deleted the whole post?event. I doubt friend (or wife) probably even knew he did that.  And like my DD texted to me, "it's not like you guys financially need dad to work. you are doing fine on your income".  I said to her "no kidding, I make more than both of them combined". People!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Budget adjusting

One part of budgeting I have never been very good at is quarterly or annual expenses. I can pay them when they come up, but I'm always kicking myself for not saving for them, so that my budget doesn't take such a hit in that pay period it's due.

I've been jotting down the expenses as I think of them. I think I have most, if not all, of them listed now:

Life Insurance: $330
Car tabs: $160
Property taxes on land: $900
Propane: $300
Amazon Prime (share w/DD) $54
Annual website hosting (this is for a website DH manages/updates for a non-profit club, we have always paid the hosting fee, while he's the one doing the website): $143

I need to be putting aside at least $157 a month for these!  DD just messaged me last night. The annual Amazon payment comes out of her checking...well she opened a new checking at a credit union and isn't really using the old one, other than she had about $55 in it. The Amazon charge went through last night and overdrew her. She (and I) forgot all about it. She's not a student anymore, so now paying the full prime rate. I told her since I also use it to order stuff off and on, I will still pay for half of it. That checking is still linked to mine, so I transferred my share $54 and brought her back to  having $5 in her account. She must have had overdraft protection (if she deposited within 24 hours) as she thankfully wasn't charged for the overdraft.

I'm sure there is something I have forgotten to include, but at least now I can be starting to put money aside for these each month.

I made myself a doctor appoint for this Friday morning. I have a half work day, so I'm just going to use a half day of vacation and take the whole day off. I need to get my prescriptions for my heart and cholesterol medication filled. I decided to try a doctors office in the city....where no one knows me. LOL. I'm not quite used to this small town, everyone knows everything stuff. Plus, once we get moved to our property, the city will only be about a 35 min drive. I'm going to a "women's health clinic". Sounds like a good mix of female providers, even a naturopath. I also see from their website that you can do a virtual visit (once established) for minor problems.

And I just got an email this morning from my health insurance company where they are offering "Doctor On Demand" Virtual visits. It looks like my co-pay for a visit like that would be $10. Plus, by signing up and registering they will give me $5 off my first appointment and are also supposed to send me a $5 Starbucks e-giftcard. Don't know that I will need to use the service, but at least I have that option now, if I come down with something like a rash or a sore throat, etc. Sounds like it would be a convenient way to go, since we live rural.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

M-Turk observations

Now that I was finally able to start working M-Turk and am about a week in to it, I thought I'd share my thoughts and experience. So far, I have earned $30 with another $6.75 pending. I am pretty easily making my $5 per day goal, with approximately an hour total worth of time each day.

Currently, (based on a blog recommendation I read) I just do a search of "survey", put in a minimum of .50 and click on HIT's I am qualified for. I have also changed my search criteria to "newest first". That seems to work the best for me. I will usually do a survey first thing in the morning and then do several more during my lunch break.

I still have a bunch to learn on how it all works and will have to figure out how I can get "more qualified" to do other hits. I also read that just getting your volume of completed hits increased helps you get more qualified for other hits. I have done 59 so far, since I started. 

About my only frustration is that I have to reenter my search criteria each time. When I complete a hit it takes me back to the main search screen and I have to re-enter my criteria after completing each hit. That takes extra time. I also wish it would keep hits you've already completed from re-appearing.

Overall, I am very happy that it is pretty easy to make my daily goal of $5. I also like that you do not have to enter a bunch of answers and then be told you don't qualify - as always happens with Swagbucks surveys (such a waste of time).

If you are doing M-Turk, I'd love to hear your tips and tricks!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Succulent care

Earlier in the summer I bought this bowl of succulents at a garden center.

It sat out on our picnic table all summer and appears to have loved the 100 degree days. I've never had succulents before and now I don't know how I'm supposed to care for this with the coming cold. I'm assuming it would not do well being outside for much longer (it's starting to freeze at night now), so I brought it inside. Does anyone know how I'm supposed to care for this year round?

Monday, October 9, 2017

Fresh Air

Yesterday, it had stopped raining, so we decided to lace up our hiking boots and get outside and take a hike on a trail that starts on the edge of town and goes up one of the mountain hills and over looks the town. We had discovered it back in July, but it was too hot to hike and then it stayed too hot and the air was too smokey from the fire. We had not hiked since near end of June, when our daughter visited. Needless to say, we felt it!

It was a 1.25 miles hike, up about 600 feet in elevation, made for very nice views along the way up of the whole town. The trail (unlike any other's we've been on) had rest stops every so often with a bench and a marker with some town history. We had packed a little lunch, planning to eat it at the top, but there was no bench to sit on there, LOL. I'm like "we get all the way up to the top and they don't put a bench here?" So, we went back down to the next one and sat and ate our lunch. My legs are still killing me today, especially my hips.

We got a bit bored and stir crazy on Saturday and ended up going out to eat dinner at the nicer restaurant in the next town over. It was our 3rd time there and both previous times we had the beer battered fish and chips.  DH ordered the same, but I decided to try something else on their menu and got the salmon. It was so delicious. Melt in your mouth. DH kept trying to steal bites of it. Hands off! This restaurant is more expensive than the one here in town, but the food is a lot better and they give you a small loaf of french bread and butter before the meal :) It still always kind of surprises me that people come in to sit down to eat and know other people sitting at other tables. LOL. That rarely  happens in a large metropolitan area.

I received an email this morning from our property neighbor - inviting us over for coffee some weekend in the near future. She's also inviting the new owners, who recently just purchased Lot 7 in our little subdivision. That's a great idea, so we can get to know them, too. I'll need to think of something to bring for the little coffee brunch. Last time I took banana bread, but need some ideas on something different. I can't remember what all we ate last time, but I do remember she had a fruit tray. One of the other couples she invited brought a dessert she made.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

What's that smell?

DH went outside with the dogs last evening, probably 7pm or so. Standing in front our our house, waiting for the pups to do their business, he said it completely reeked of pot outside........well, we only have one close enough neighbor (right next door) and he said the window on side of their house was open. Renter guy wasn't home yet, but his GF was. Ugh. So gross.

We received an email from the guy that owns the vacant lots on our street (the developer of this street). He said when he was here he had noticed we had a nice new fence and wanted to know who we used (if we didn't do it ourselves) as he needs to do a fence at another property here in town. I emailed him back with the fence guy's (not local, I don't think there is a fence company here local) name and phone number. It felt good to be able to recommend the fence guy. He did a great job and he and his son were so nice. I remember when they were done that second day, we were heading to dinner at the restaurant in town and invited them to come with us, our treat. We will be using him again when we fence our new house. It was just a nice meal and nice company and we didn't feel strange sitting there and talking with people we didn't know.

Dealing with people/companies around here is so different than where we used to live. People take the time to chat with you and no one ever seems rushed. It's a nice change and you feel more like you get to know the people. Even our UPS/FedEX/Water meter guy/garbage man, etc will all take time to stop at talk a few minutes. When DH met with the power company guy Thursday, he was out at the property talking with him at least an hour. Everything is so much more laid back here. DH called the guy that has the rock quarry to let him know our well being dug got bumped up almost 3 months, so we had to pay for that now and will have to push the rock wall job out a couple of months. The guys response? "oh good, when I saw your text asking me to call you, I thought you were going to say you were ready now..and well, hunting season is about to start" LOL. Like one of DH friends said, when he was chatting with him on the phone, over here quality of life is just as, if not more, important as making money.

Last Thursday night was finally another bookclub meeting. We haven't had one since like May, as each month they kept getting cancelled. But, I had to miss this one, since I was visiting DD and Mom. This meeting was just to brainstorm ideas about getting the bookclub going in a positive direction again, as it had really petered out. I'm sorry I missed it. The next meeting is at the end of this month. I've recently read the book, so I am good to go. It will also be held at my property neighbors house and we also have another new member, who just moved to the area recently. Yay, I won't be the "new gal" anymore. Haha! They also decided no meetings for Nov and Dec, since it will be Thanksgiving and Christmas during our meeting time.

We have the weekend upon us, but no plans and I know DH will be bored. It's rainy. I can't think of anything to do to keep him busy. Hopefully, he'll come up with something. I do have housecleaning to take care of, but that never takes too long.

Friday, October 6, 2017

This that and the other

Tuesday was our one year anniversary since moving out of and away from our hell hole old neighborhood. What a great year, for the most part, it has been. Aside from our crappy renter neighbor, we love everything else about this place/town/county/state.

Now that we've completed a full year, I was happy to look back and think of the things we have to look forward to again in the coming year. The huge annual flea market in the next town over, the car show in June, the fair and rodeo (I loved the rodeo) here in town in August. The drives and hikes we took in Spring and early Summer. Oh and don't forget the snow and cold weather! LOL

DH accidentally came across interesting news article that was in his Facebook feed last night. The man that our son was working for/living at/associating with for about a year and a half (this was starting 3 years ago) has been arrested for embezzling a bunch of money. Not surprising at all and nice to see Karma at work, eh? He's potentially looking at up to 20 years in jail. The lady who was actually the bookkeeper for the company they embezzled from already plead guilty and said this guy was the mastermind behind the scheme and she was writing checks to him that he was cashing and depositing to his account and apparently sharing with her. He plead not guilty and is going to trial at some point. When our son first got involved with this smarmy guy he was warned by someone who knew of him to stay away from him, that he was shady. This guy was absolutely not a good influence on our son, obviously, and I'm sure had a lot to do with where he has gone with his life (drugs, lying, etc). But, ultimately our son is a grown man and his life decisions are all on him.  Just good to see that lowlife will hopefully get what's coming to him. (but from what I've seen of the justice system, it also won't surprise me if he gets off scott free, either).

 DH met out at our property yesterday with a guy from the power co-op company. He gave him some good ideas/options for installing power. We need 400 amp power at the main box because half is going to the house and half to the shop. I think he's got a good idea how he wants to do it now, without needing to put (i.e. hide) the box by building it in the gate pier. Cost will be a couple hundred dollars more, but overall work will be less involved and the piers can go back to his original 2ft width size.

He took the dogs with him to the property. I don't know what it is about there, but they just go nuts, especially the older dog who is usually pretty calm (i.e. lazy). They ran and ran, barked, just zoomed everywhere the whole time he was there. The younger dog rarely barks and as DH was pulling into the road our property is on, he did his rare "I'm excited" bark. He has two barks. One is his really scary sounding watch dog bark (which he got lots of use at our old neighborhood with all the druggies around) and his excited "arf" bark which is only when he's super excited, like when DD comes to visit, LOL. We don't even get the bark when we come home after leaving for a few hours.

I really needed a few items I did not buy when we went grocery shopping, because I know they are cheaper at Walmart then the grocery chain store we shopped at. I don't know what the heck is up with their online prices but wow. I'm really having to watch and be careful and not just  hit "re-order". Here's an example of one of the prices yesterday!

Really?!! This one is obviously ridiculous, but there are some others that aren't quite as noticeable but still like 50-100% higher than normal. Other items are priced as they always have been (ie low). I hope they fix whatever is causing this issue soon. I really liked being able to order online at reasonable prices.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The visit with the office and DD

The trip up to my office was terrible traffic just getting out of the town my mom and in-laws live in. 22 minutes to go the first 4 miles! Then when I got on the freeway it was pouring down rain most of the way. I finally got up to the office (20 minutes after I had planned to). Parked in the lot next our building and immediately noticed that, a year ago, when there used to be one or two rv's (homeless people) parked along the fence parking across the street, there were now 4, nose to tail. Permanent residents for all intents and purposes. Good grief!

It was lunch time when I arrived, plus for half the office it was their half Friday off. It was so quiet in there. But that was good - it gave me and my boss a nice uninterrupted time to just sit and chat for like almost 2 hours (didn't feel like 2 hours). I did get to say hi (and hugs) to a few people and meet a few of the new faces. All is going good and she said everything is working great on her end with my remote working. She has been very busy and now they are getting ready to move into the new office at the beginning of next year. Lots of TI (tenant improvement) work that needs to be completed to the new space before they can move it.

I had kind of planned on only maybe being there an hour (thinking I didn't want to keep her from her work too long) but it was 2:40 by the time I left to head up to DD's house. Ugh. Friday afternoon rush hour to drive through two major cities to get the 45 miles to her house. I figured it was going to take me 2-3 hours. But it "only" took me an hour and 35 minutes and thankfully the rain had stopped. I got there about 4:15 and we had the whole evening just to relax and visit. Her BF went and picked up Costco pizza so that was good. Their new little puppy is a cutie and so tiny. Only 3 pounds. Saturday DD and I went and did some shopping at stores like Target and Lowes. (she needed some baby gates to block off their puppy from going into the living room, where it's carpeted and seems to be his favorite pee spot). Stopped and got coffee's. Then we went to her town's older downtown area, which is just small shops now and we went through all the antique and gift shops for a couple of hours. That was very fun. She was looking for a little stand to put out on her front porch to put a plant on. Found a cute metal one for $12. She also found a wine rack at a thrift store. I found what DH and I have been looking for - an old hand water pump.

Eventually to be used as a garden/yard display. We then stopped back at Lowe's because her BF texted he needed more woodchips for his smoker bbq. She found a trailing outdoor plant to go on her new plant stand for half off at $3.50.  We had a late lunch/early dinner of salmon and brats, compliments of her BF's cooking. We just spend the afternoon and evening watching some shows on Netflix and visiting. I was heading home Sunday morning. A short visit, but it was nice to see her. She is supposed to be coming for Christmas, so only about 2 1/2 months more until we see each other again.

Sunday morning I headed out about 8:30am for my 6 hours and 45 minute drive home (plus I lost an hour) and got home about 4:15. I was pretty pooped by then. Thankfully DH said lets go get dinner at the restaurant, where we both had breakfast for dinner. I had Monday off work, too, knowing I'd be pretty tired from the trip. We went to the city, to stop at the well drilling company and pay our bill and talk to the guy about well pumps and what he would recommend. Then we went to the feed store and stocked up on 3 bags of dog food and then to the grocery store. Back home about 1:30 in the afternoon where I took a much needed nap.

I'm such a homebody and would rather just stay home, but I'm glad I went for the trip. Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

September extra money update and helping mom again

Just before I left on my trip I finally got approved through Amazon M-Turk and Amazon Payments (that took a month to resolve) and then Monday I finally got credited my 2500 ($25) Swagbucks points! That one made me really happy, too, and I'm glad I persisted in emailing a half a dozen times or more about it.

I've taken to tracking some stats and dollars earned each month now. Here's September totals:

Credit score: increased one point to 732
401k - increased $1622 for Sept
Google adsense: $19.58
Swagbucks: $43.07 (I'm including the $25 I just got credited)
Debit card cash back: 15.09 (not sure why this was so low, it's always been at least $20)

Next month I hope to also add some M-Turk income. I only did it a little one day before I left and earned .80. Now I'll have to dig in and see if I can earn a little bit each month from it. I didn't earn as much as I could from Swagbucks as I hardly did anything with it last week, so it was really only for 3 weeks.

I started to do my weekly Walmart online order for things I regularly order when I get low on them. When I log in it shows a screen of items that I have ordered before. I have been ordering online for almost a year now and all the prices have been same as in-store. First thing I wanted to add was several boxes of Crystal Light on the Go tea packets. They are 10 packets to a box and usually about $2.50. The price this morning was showing as $5.08 per box! WTH?!! Then I looked at the prices of some of the other items I buy all the time. Usually a box of Carnation instant breakfast is $4.84 and is now $7.08. A can of  Del Monte green beans was now $2.08 instead of $.98. Almost all the items are higher priced. Whoa! I'm not even going to order at those ridiculous prices! Double the price on some items. I'll try Amazon or Target. I'll check back on prices in a week or two, but if that's what they are charging, then they just lost my business.

I got a call from my mom last night. She couldn't get into her bank or investment company online. (sigh....) so I said lets see if this TeamViewer will work. It took me a couple of minutes to get her to understand I was saying to close Firefox and get back to her desktop where the icon was. But, she got it open, gave me the numbers and I was able to get into her computer. Big relief! SOOOO much easier to just get it figured out by doing it myself. She was entering the new password we had set up wrong. The first letter was a capital letter and she was entering lower case. I was able to quickly do password resets and reminded her they both required a capital letter so she had to do the first letter only (just as I had written it down) as a capital letter. There is probably no way I would have been able to talk her through doing what I did over the phone, so TeamViewer was a big win for me!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Home Sweet Home - the Mom part

I'm back from my trip and happy to be back in my own bed :) I got to my mom's early enough in the day (1pm-ish) to miss the afternoon rush traffic. I went to my mom's the first couple of days. We just visited all afternoon and went out and had some dinner (fish and chips). Thursday morning we dropped my car off at the tire store and left it there. We then went to Starbucks and sat inside and had coffee and shared a lemon loaf. Then we went to Home Depot, just for something to do. I just wanted to look around at all their stuff for homes - lighting, flooring, etc. Picked up a few samples. The tire store gave me a $100 credit on for my old tires, so better than nothing. The new tires are 70k mile tires and will hopefully last us better than 25k miles.

When we got back to her house we worked on me getting all her info. That was a bit of a chore, just because she's kind of forgetful about what's what and it was too many questions for her to deal with at one time. But first we had to work on her computer that she got back from Best Buy. She had figured out how to plug it back in, but her favorite's toolbar was missing. I got that back showing, but for some reason her log in and passwords for her bank, investment company and health insurance were gone. (email and Facebook were ok). She had no idea what the log ins and passwords were and of course her 20 slips of paper in her desk were of absolutely no help. So, we started with her bank to do the "forgot user name and password". It wanted her account # and social security #.  I know she was putting her acct# in right (I even typed it once) but we could not get in. Finally I said are you sure you are putting in the correct ss#? Then she got confused a bit and wasn't sure. I said, well, lets look at your tax return and get it off of there. Sure enough she was off a number in the first 3 numbers. She had to pick a new password (which of course I wrote down!).

Then we moved on to her investment bank log in. They did not have it where you could forget both. If you forgot your user name you need to know your password and vice versa. There was a number on the log in screen to call and I told her to call that # and tell them she forgot both. No, she calls the actual office of her investment guy. Usually his assistant lady will answer but some other lady answered and of course she told my mom to call the # I gave her.

The we decided take a lunch break, which helped. Then it was time to call the investment bank help#...what does she do? she calls her direct office again! This time though, her guy's assistant answered and she was able to help her by emailing her a temporary password and telling her what her user name is. The health insurance was like the bank and we were able to do a reset.  I think if we hadn't had to deal with all that, the getting the rest of the info probably wouldn't have seemed so hard. Most of her bills she has set up to come out of her checking automatically, which is good, but also takes it out of her mind on what's what, since she's not writing out checks each month to them. Her only real confusion was with her garbage bill (billed every 2 months). She knew right off who the company was, but as she was pulling out some bills from her file cabinet she pulled out this kind of half sheet of paper that looked like a receipt with the name of the nearby landfill. She started to tell me it was for her yard waste bin. I know the yard waste bin is part of garbage company service. I said well, this looks like receipt from the dump - did you take some stuff to the dump at some time? oh yes, I guess I did. Not sure why she felt the need to save that, but then she remembered the yard waste can is billed on her garbage bill.

I had started writing down on a piece of paper her user names and passwords for the 3 companies. She doesn't know her email or Facebook passwords, so we're just going to have to hope they stay saved in her computer or we'll have to do a reset on them at some other time. We then addressed all those little slips of paper with supposed user names and passwords. There was  not one single slip that she even knew what it was for, because in trying to make sure no one else would know (ie burglar) she didn't write down what they were for. Plus half the slips either had only the user name or only the password, or two or three different things written down. They were all worthless and she did finally realiz she should just throw them away (but I can just see her digging them out after I left, haha!). I told her if she is so worried about this piece of paper I gave her with the 3 user names/passwords being found/stolen then put it in her locked safe box, where at least she can get to it if she needs to. The one and only slip of paper that actually knew what the user name and password was for was when Comcast set up her internet and a Comcast email that also gets her into her account online. She didn't even know she has it, doesn't use it for her email and doesn't need to get online to see her account (it's an auto pay) so I didn't even bother putting that down on her list. BUT, I did write it down on mine.....and when I was reviewing her bill to make sure she wasn't paying for services she didn't need/use I see she has Starz as part of her package. I know she didn't quite get what I was asking, but I still have Xfinity streaming saved on my ipad (from when I had Comcast tv) and logged in with her account info and now I get to watch Outlander!! I'm excited :)

I also added Team Viewer to her computer and we will have to test that out, now that I am home, and see if I can get it to work. That will probably save me lots of headaches in the future, if it does.

So, I have 3 pages of notes on all her info. I didn't realize/remember when she re-did her will a couple of years ago she also did up a document to give me power of attorney. She has a rolling file cabinet next to her desk that locks the top part and inside the top part is a small safe box that locks. Good thing she told me where the keys are hidden. I probably would never have found it. She also showed me where she has some other stuff hidden. Who would have known the breathe right strips box in her medicine cabinet doesn't have breathe right strips in it ! No, it has several $100 dollar bills and 3 rings. I also wrote down her medicines (which probably explains the "scatterbraindness" I have noticed that past 10 years or so.

I also now have a set of house keys and the code to her alarm system. I think I should be good to handle all her stuff, should anything happen to her. Overall I think she is doing good. She is still reading and doing her crossword puzzles and taking care of her house. I think if she gets frazzled about something is when the forgetfulness is worse. Thankfully, for the most part her life is very easy (especially since she's financially well off) and routine. She talks to her BF on the phone at 8pm each night that they aren't together and the two nights I was there I noticed she did kind of repeat herself to him the same story she told him (about my tires for my car) the night before, but that seems to be pretty common in older age for a lot of folks.

She has an old antique set of "berry dishes" that she has been going to give me for the past year and I was able to take those home with me. I also got her antique iron. That little thing weighs a ton!

I left her house Friday morning about 10am, filled up with gas, went to the bank and then stopped at my in-laws for a very quick visit before I drove up to visit my work office and my boss. The rest of my trip in the next post :)