Friday, March 30, 2018

more stones?

Today is my half work day Friday (every other Friday) and payday. Starting out good! LOL

DH just got a call from his millionaire friend. They have sold their millions of dollars ranch with AMAZING huge (think of those kind you would see in a magazine or Pinterest dreams) log home (10,000 sf home). Anyway, they are clearing their stuff off the property and he called to tell DH he has 4 pallets of stone leftover, that they had used on their fireplaces, that we are welcome to have, if we want to use it in our house. He said it's "river rock", so it might not be what we are looking for. When I think of river rock I think of rounded style rocks and we are going for the "rubble" squared off look. I can't remember what their fireplace looked like (I was just in awe over the whole house haha) but we are going to run out to his place this afternoon at take a look. I hope it's something we like - FREE would be great.   Keep your fingers crossed.

DH used his drone quite a bit this week out at the property. A couple of other guys were there (the guy that actually owns the backhoe and another guy - mostly I think there just being nosy, haha) and they were like "oh, I gotta get one of those!". One of the videos our equipment operator guy tried to "snap" at the drone with the bucket. It's cute. Reminds me of a dinosaur, haha.

Gave DH his hair cut this morning. Since I just posted about that is one of the ways we save money, it reminded me, while I was buzzing the hair off his head, hey, I'm saving money.

MIL is doing somewhat better, but is still in the hospital. She was breathing on her own, but still not quite back to normal enough to release her, I guess. At least the breathing tube is out. And honestly, having her there is easier on FIL because once she gets home and is going to need even more care than she has, he's going to get worn out quick. At some point they are going to have to realize they need assisted living.

The rockery is done. The ground has dried up a lot and now DH is just waiting for the builder to get out there, stake out the foundation, so the excavating company guy can get started. This same guy just did the foundation dig out for the people building down on lot 7.

We had some great visitors last night after dinner!
There were actually 7 of them. They started out in the back yard across our alley and made their way out front of our house. We must have watched them for a 1/2 an hour. So cool.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

How we're frugal

It's been awhile since I blogged about ways we try to be frugal and save money. We don't have a very extravagant lifestyle, that's for sure. Our new house will be our most extravagant thing just about ever for us and the only way we are affording it is because we are willing to be frugal about so many other aspects of our life.

Clothing: we wear simple clothes. Mostly jeans and t-shirts, though of course we do have some dress up clothes, when needed (which is pretty rare these days). DH used to wear Levi's all the time. But the price got up to $35-$40 per pair. He tried Wrangler's jeans (Walmart or Target) for about $18 and likes them fine. Jackets last us a long time.  I wear jeans, tops and t-shirts for the most part. I'm about 50/50 for nicer tops vs. t-shirts. In winter I layer up w/long sleeved t-shirts and sweaters. We don't have a monthly clothing budget, since we don't buy clothes that often. My last pair of jeans were from Walmart online, $10 black Friday deal. I wish I would have gotten 2! My jeans last me several years, so I only tend to buy one or two pair a year. I did just have to order DH some underwear. He only likes a particular kind (of course!) that are JCPenney brand. I was able to find a $10 off $25 coupon, which covered shipping of $8.95.

Haircuts: I cut DH's hair with some Wahl haircutting clippers. He likes it shaved almost to bald (well, that and he's now bald on top anyway LOL) and I do it about once a month. Me, I've been trimming my hair myself now, with some nice sharp hair cutting scissors for $10. It's gotten all one length now, which I'm not really liking, so I'll probably go into somewhere like Great Clips sometime soon and get some layers cut into it for about $15. Then I'll be good for at least another 6 months or so. I stopped coloring it a couple of years ago, even though it was only about $6-7 to buy the color to do myself, I just got tired of always having to do it.  I was at our town hardware store this morning picking up something and the older gentleman who works there asked me where I got my beautiful white hair from. LOL. I said it was courtesy of my grandfather :)

Grocery shopping: We shop Walmart, Target and a regular grocery store. We stock up on sales. I make almost all our meals at home. We eat out about 3 times a month - either a stop at fast food in the city or a visit (once a month at most) to a local restaurant. Mostly we try to save money by just eating at home and not eating out very much. I used to know a family of 3 that basically ate out every meal of the day (any surprise they were like 300+ pounds each?) and spent $3000 a month eating out. Just blew my mind.

Vehicles: DH's truck is a 1999.  My car is a 2011. We don't have car payments. We do our own oil changes and also things like air filters, fluids, etc.  DH is good about keeping tires rotated. Also, since our vehicles are older, we do not carry full coverage. Just the minimums, for the most part.

Travel - nope, just don't do it. LOL. It's pretty rare for us to travel on a vacation. We are both homebodies and would rather just stay home or explore around where we live then deal with airports, long car rides and hotel rooms.

Home maintenance and yard work: we try to do everything ourselves that we can, even what repairs we can do. Sometimes we've had to google how to do repairs (like to washer and dryer) but we've figured them out and saved money.

Prescriptions: I switched to using my insurance's mail order. Aside from the obvious savings in time by not having to make a trip to the city to pick up (not always convenient) I am saving about $6 a month vs. in store pharmacy pricing and I get a 90 day supply. So much more convenient.

Cell phones: while we do have iphones, mine is over 3 years old (5s). I'll keep using it until it dies on me (knock on wood, and I'm still hoping my boss will throw one of the old 6s company iphones she has laying around, my way). We are also on the lowest data use plan they offer. Since we are usually at home (using our own wi-fi) or many of the places we visit have free wi-fi, we hardly even use the 3 gb of data that we pay for. Plus we get to carry over like an extra gig a month, so always have 4 gb to use. I wish there was a smaller Verizon plan! But, I stick with Verizon because it works great for us, here in the boonies.

Hobbies: mine is reading. That is free since I don't buy books. I borrow e-books from the library and download to my ipad mini. DH isn't quite sure yet what his hobbies are, LOL. Some stuff he's liked in the past cost too much money. I have a feeling when he gets his nice big shop he will start doing some woodworking projects. That will cost some for the tools that he doesn't already have. Mostly he just likes to sit on the computer and surf and watch tv. I'm going to try my hand at a few chickens and a chicken coop. We'll see how that goes!

Buy used! When we want/need something we look on Craigslist and often times we can find it used and save some big bucks vs. buying new. Everything we buy new online, I always do a search to see where I can find it the cheapest and look for coupon codes.

Basically, while we like to stay home, we also like having a nice house and a nice yard, so that is where our money and energy is focused. Surrounding ourselves in an aesthetically pleasing environment feels as good as a spending money on a vacation, to us.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

MIL health crisis and construction progress

My MIL is in the hospital.  They think while she was eating lunch yesterday she started choking (this is an ongoing issue) and then her oxygen level went down and her blood pressure went up. The medics intubated (is that the right word?) her on the way to the Emergency room. They kept her overnight on pain and anxiety meds (still intubated) and she was doing ok, but as she became more awake she got more anxious and everything is still not good. They did a breathing test this morning, which she failed, so they can't take out the breathing tube yet. Plus she's running a bit of a fever. Now they are trying to let the drug they were giving her wear off and try a different one and then see how she's doing and do another breathing test. I guess they won't remove the breathing tube until she passes the test. I'm sure this is all wearing my FIL out, for sure.

Not much we can do. It's basically all to be expected with her age (85) and serious health problems (partial lung removed, COPD, etc). DO  NOT SMOKE!!  That's all I have to say about that.

It looks like DH might have underestimated the rockery retaining wall. Looks to be another day of work needed to complete. Ugh. Since we are paying this part out of pocket, he's just going to have to have them stop for awhile, unless they want to wait 30 days to get paid, which the guy might be totally fine with. When we had our construction business 30-60 (even 90 on some jobs) was totally normal pay schedule.

Here's the latest picture, DH took this morning with his drone. As I replied to Lucy's comment she wanted to see more's all just rocks and more rocks, so far LOL
They need to finish there to the left of that top section below the backhoe. That area between sections (about middle of stairs) is a flat area where we will plant shrubs and plants. 

This is a separate little wall to the left of the big retaining will be just below where we build a little shed for lawn tractor and chicken coop. That will be sitting where the backhoe is. They actually ended up getting farther along today than DH thought, so that is good. I call this the "chicken wall" LOL

DH took his drone with him last Sunday when he went to his friend house. He got some nice video and pics of their property (14 acres) and house and shop. Just not sure how to send them the video...might have to put it on a thumb drive. All the videos are too large to send in a message, text or email. They have to be uploaded to YouTube to view and friend doesn't want it put on YouTube.

I realized about an hour ago I didn't really plan for what's for dinner tonight. A quick look in the fridge (nothing there or thawed) and then a look in the freezer. Decided to have the Stouffer's frozen lasagna that's in there. That'll do, I guess. Will probably even be enough leftover for my lunch tomorrow.

DD and her job

My DD got her annual review at work today. Such a strange company. They are part of a large corporation with HQ back east. Just as last year, she gets her review, but now has to wait months to see what type of raise (if any) she will be getting. Just really dumb. Apparently the manager has to send the review to corporate office and they decided salary. Ok, fine, but why not just do all that first and then do the employee review when you can then say "you exceed our expectations (that's what they told her today) and here is your new salary". So, she got this great review with a promise (that's been months already) that they are still trying to get her bumped up to a Buyer 2 position. How the hell long does it take to decide? She's been there almost 2 years now. I told her even if she takes a different job that pays about the same it will probably be at least a better place to work - morale, atmosphere, and benefits wise. and probably better chance to move forward in salary.

If an employer said to me ok here's your review and now you'll wait until July or August to see what we decide to give you as a raise, I'd probably be looking for a new job for sure. I don't like feeling like I'm getting jacked around, which is sure how it seems they treat their employees. She said one of her co-workers finally told the boss the other day he wants a raise and a timeline for it.

Last week they decided to stop the 4/10's one week a month "perk" they just started offering this year....then at the end of the week decided to keep it. Worked out for DD, as she had been planning to have Monday off this week and then work 4/10's. Otherwise she was going to have to use her vacation time to take Monday off.

They hired a new Buyer 2....and guess who got to train her?! DD....still a buyer 1.....

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Just getting through a Tuesday

I was so happy when I started work yesterday morning to find out IT had already fixed my accounting software crash. I had most of Friday's work/emails to catch up on and didn't want to spend an hour being tied up with IT while they fixed it. I had a couple of bigger things I for sure needed to get done yesterday. State B&O tax filing for the month was due. I also needed to get my boss updated year end (yes, we are still trying to close year end 2017) financial reports. Then I kind of realized that no one apparently notified all the manufacturers we rep of our new address.  So, I started finding email contacts for them all and emailing a notification of our new mailing address. I'm up to the "L"s so far.  One guy emailed me back that he wanted to see pics of the new office, so as I was finding a few pics on our shared computer drive to send him I came across a pic that the office even has a pool table! They just thought of everything for the employees, it seems.

Our rockery should be finished up today or maybe by mid day tomorrow. Then we need to get the builder out to stake out for the foundation and then see when the excavator guy can start. I'm sure he can start any time, but mostly depends on how soft and wet the ground still is.

I made some good old Kraft mac and cheese for lunch yesterday and having the leftovers for lunch today. Warm in the tummy :)

I'm not sure why (am I stupid?) but I went Sunday and Monday morning without my morning (and only) cup of coffee for the day. Both days I was literally feeling like I was ready to fall asleep by 10:30/11am. I had my coffee this morning and it's noon and I'm still going strong.

Time for a lunch break from work and see if I can do up a few HITS on M-Turk                

Monday, March 26, 2018

A "me day"

DH did not rest up yesterday, but I ended up with a "me" day, so I guess it all worked out. After he got up yesterday, he decided to call his friend and see if he would take him around to see some concrete driveway and patios.  Friend pours concrete for a living, so knew where to take DH to show him different examples of colored and stamped concrete. DH didn't get home until like after 6pm, so it was a nice "me day" for me.  I did some house cleaning, read a book, took a short nap, read and watched tv.

The company I work for continues to bless their employees. The newest "perk" is on Fridays they are going to test out "take your dog to work". Half the office is not in (they work from home) every Friday, so it's a quieter office on Fridays. I'm sure everyone (especially my boss) will love this.

We woke up to 2 inches of snow this morning. Geez! It's melted now by afternoon, but we sure don't need more wet on the construction site. Oh well. They were still able to work on the rockery today, so that is at least good. DH only went out there for a quick visit this morning and then he just went out to see how the progress was today. Looks like they are doing good, from the photo's he sent me.

We still follow some of the goings on where we used to live. So far the county has had 13 homicides since Jan 1st. That is 3 more than all last year combined. Several of the shootings were people killing family members, one was a deputy who was shot (because a drug house was being robbed by other druggies). I think 3 were vehicular homicide.   It's really all just a sad testament to the downhill decline of society, that's for sure. Mostly all drug and/or mental health involved.  The scary part? almost all of this is happening right in about a few mile radius of where my mom lives.

The other day we went somewhere and when we got back DH said "oops, I forgot to lock the door!" I just said "oh well". There really are no worries around here. Our neighbors across the street leave their house all the time for awhile and just leave their garage door wide open. Snow mobiles are just parked outside 24/7. No big deal. It's still hard to get used to.  People pull up to the post office and go inside to get their mail and leave their cars running.

Is it Friday yet?

Sunday, March 25, 2018

A pretty good day

There was no work going on at our property yesterday, but we went out there so I could see the progress on the back wall and DH had some new measurements to take. We listened to two of the 4 dogs barking non-stop for the 45 minutes we were there. Between that stressing us out (hard to remember measurement numbers and hold a conversation when that's in your ear over and over) and DH stressing over how long it's going to take the ground to dry up so we can dig, we left with DH in a crabby mood.

It was lunch time, so we decided to drive over to the little burger drive thru in the next town and get lunch. Pulled over in the little park behind the burger place and ate and then drove the back way home, staying off the freeway. The dogs feet were pretty muddy from the property (we have a blanket in the back of the car they lay on), so we stopped at the boat launch and let them get their feet washed off in the river. That was much easier than trying to clean them at home, haha!

The drive home helped calm dh down. The weather and mud is what it is. Can't change it. It will all get built eventually.

A couple hours later I remembered I had bought those tickets to the high school "dinner and a play". We decided to go. I don't think either of us really wanted to (unsocial homebodies that we are), but we knew it would probably end up being something we enjoyed and we really did enjoy it. Cute, funny little play they (all 9 of them in the drama club) did. Dinner was by a new local cafe and not too bad. We only live about 3 blocks from the high school, so we just walked there and back.

DH has been having really bad muscle cramps the past couple of days. Too much activity. He really shouldn't have helped neighbor across the street like he did earlier last week, and then all our own stuff he did at the property. Hopefully he will take today to rest up, since they are back at the rockery tomorrow. We've talked about going to the home and garden show today, but I'm going to try to just tell him he needs to stay home and rest, if he wants to go.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Friday happenings

I had a doctor appointment at 11:15 today, so I only worked until 10 am and then took the rest of the day off. About a half hour before I was due to stop working this morning my accounting software crashed yet again! This is like the 3rd time in the last month or so. I have to put in a ticket with our IT people and with only a half hour left to work I knew that wasn't going to get fixed today. So, that's what I'll get to spend Monday morning dealing with. UGH.

I got to my appointment right on time and called back to the room right away. The nurse (I don't think she was the one I had when I went there before) was so nice. I had to get a tetanus booster shot. Then I have to go back sometime soon and get bloodwork (after fasting) and a mammogram. I knew I would, but I did not want to make such an early morning appointment when it's still below freezing early in the morning and I didn't want to drive 60 miles if the roads might be icy. I'll go get it done soon. The mornings are getting warmer all the time. I just need to get the bloodwork done as soon as they open at 8am, so then I can eat something. I get lightheaded easy, if I don't eat in the morning. They also have an office where I can go get both of those done, as a walk-in, and it's a little closer than their office, so I will just go there.  I also had her send my prescriptions to my insurance's mail order. I can get 90 day supply delivered to me. This will make life a bit easier. We keep having to plan our trips to the city around needing my prescriptions picked up. Now we won't have to do that and can be a bit more flexible on when we go. I also need to lose a few pounds! Yikes! I didn't like to see that scale reading. My scale at home needs a battery or something. I tried to get on it a few weeks ago but it has an error message. I was like "well, my pants seem to still fit, so I must be about same weight". Hmmm..I don't think I am.

After that was over, I stopped at Walmart and picked up a few steaks for dinners (it's so much cheaper there than the grocery store) as well as a few other items we didn't get last Tuesday. Next stop was thru the car wash (DH's request that I do). It needed it, for sure. Then I stopped at an hair cut walk in place, wanting my hair layered a bit. The wait was 40-45 minutes, so I opted out. Dang! I really wanted it cut, too. An older gentleman was just about to come in as I was walking back out, so I held the door for him. He said something and I said, well it's a 40 minute wait, so I decided to skip it. He thought for a second with the door open and said "screw it - my wife will be mad at me, but that's too long to wait" LOL. He reminded me of my grandpa :)

DH has been out at the property again all day. Today has been going more frustrating. LOTS of mud and it's quite a bit more time consuming for them trying to get the rockery down in back done. There isn't a lot of room and the machine has to be on top of the ledge setting the rocks down and the guy can't really see where they need to be placed. It's getting there, just taking longer than DH thought it would.

Weird - my iphone just updated. I can't remember the last time I got a system update notification. My phone is an old 5s, so I thought I was not able to get the updates anymore. I still can't get them for my old ipad mini anymore.

Book club meeting was fun last night. Eight of us showed up and most of us liked the book pretty well, so we had lots of discussion about it and ended up staying until 9pm. One of the ladies that is fairly new, just lives a few houses down from where we met last night. She offered to host it next month.

Well, it's almost 5:30. I would think DH should be home soon. He probably got my clean car all dirty!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

We broke ground!

We officially broke ground yesterday! I wasn't expecting that yet, but they needed the dirt from the excavating to put down below to build the retaining wall. They had the machine there to do it, so the guy got started on it.  I think this will actually be a bit of a money savings. See, this guy doing the rockery machine operating wasn't the one who we got the quote from to excavate. But, since this machine he got can do it, and he needed the dirt, he got the foundation roughed in for the house. This will mean a lot less work when the excavating guy comes in to excavate for the shop. He'll just have to do a little "finish" work on the house excavating. This guy who is doing the rockery is a lot cheaper then the excavating guy.  Here is a picture DH took with his drone

We also go to rent that roller much cheaper from another guy than the excavating guy quoted us, so we also are saving some money there.  The guy who is making our fence post skeletons called yesterday and had them done.....and for $500, rather than the $650 he quoted DH. He said it didn't take him as long as he thought to make, so labor was cheaper.

Things were moving along so well yesterday, the operator guy decided to start work on the stone steps down to the back yard from the patio. Next thing you know he was done with it and we don't need to have any more flat rocks delivered to make it. Look!

The operator guy is getting a later start this morning, as he had to go to a follow up dr. appt first. But, it sounds like they will be starting on the back rockery wall that will be on each side of these steps. That I can't wait to see. Once it's all in and landscaped I think it's going to look amazing. I'm in love with it already.

Tonight is a book club meeting. I'm meeting one of the ladies in town to carpool, though not sure who is actually driving. It's at one of the ladies home in the next town. I'm just going to make some brownies to take. I just don't have time today to make a dish and sounds like those are already covered already, anyway.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Yesterday - the picture edition

Well, the construction loan paperwork has been signed. I am still a bit amazed how easy their paperwork process was. I've never had a loan that easy to process. We met the banker lady at a branch in the city, got all signed, and then we had another guy open up a new checking account for us. While it's not 100% convenient to bank in the city - at least we now have a bank in the same state! LOL. I need to get online with them this morning and get my online banking set up. I'm going to wait until I get the debit card in the mail before I have my paycheck direct deposited there. I need to be able to have access to the money as soon as I deposit it.

After we left the bank we went to Staples to pick up a few office supplies. I'm like oh hey, while I'm here, lets get me an new office chair (that I am being reimbursed for). So I sat in every chair like Goldilocks. I finally decided on this one. It's really comfortable, especially for back support.

And looks so much better than my old chair
Then we went next door to the grocery store. We had forgotten to bring our cooler and cold bags when we left the house. Shoot! We bought two more cold bags and got what we could, though skipped most of the frozen stuff and milk. I have to go back to the city on Friday, for a doctor appointment, so I will get the rest of it then.

We got back home and put away the groceries and then headed back out to the property to see how the guy was coming along with the rockery. He was able to hire a helper guy, since DH couldn't be there yesterday. Every time we drive down the main street through town DH comments on this old Ford pickup some guy has parked on the side of the street, that DH just loves. Well, turns out it was that helper guy's truck. So, DH told him if he ever decides to sell it, let him know. LOL. Really nice guy, very friendly and chatty. Sure saved DH some sore muscles having him do the work. Worth the $15 an hour.

The guys were working away and also were able to get one of our huge brush piles burned down all day. This month and next month we don't need a burn permit. While they were working DH and I walked around the brush pile and picked up branches and sticks to throw onto it. Cleaned up the area quite a bit. But OH MY BACK! too much bending over.
It's really hard to get good pictures of the rockery, since there is no depth to the pictures. He was able to get all around the curve of the driveway added.
Look at that muddy mess. That's from the snow melting the past few days. It looks like it will probably be a couple of weeks before excavating for foundations can start.  I think today's plan is they had a roller delivered yesterday afternoon and are going to get the area where our back patio will be all rolled and compacted.

On the drive to the city I heard a radio advertisement for a home and garden show in the city this weekend. I said we should go to that. It's free admission with a canned food donation. That will be 3 trips to the city in one week. Eek. We'll see if we feel like going to it when the weekend gets here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

PMI Insurance notice

I'm posting this in case anyone else might not have caught this little tax deduction change affecting 2017. PMI Mortgage insurance. It's deductible for 2017.  Apparently the last time it was deductible on your itemized deductions was in 2015.  If you pay PMI insurance you should have or will be getting a revised Form 1098.  I received an email notification last week that I had a new tax document from my lender. I just assumed it was just another copy of the 1098 they already sent me. I didn't even go look at it.

Over the weekend I had an article come across my ipad news feed about the PMI insurance deduction change and that folks should be getting new 1098 forms sent to them. This affects me (first time ever) because I do have PMI insurance I am paying on this house loan. We didn't put down very much as a down payment, because we wanted to use all the cash for buying the land free and clear.

I haven't completed my tax return yet, as I know I owe money due to my self employment income portion. I'm glad I didn't have it done, otherwise I would have had to re-do it/amend it in order to take advantage of this new deduction.  So, if you pay PMI and itemize your deductions, be sure to use this deduction.

Monday, March 19, 2018

It's Monday!!

DH is back over across the street helping neighbor out again today. I get to work in peace and quiet LOL. DH had told him yesterday he really needs another load of rock for the base, so that got delivered this morning.

The equipment operator guy called last night to let DH know the backhoe (or whatever it is they are using) will be dropped off at our property today and he hopes to get started again on the rockery tomorrow. Yay! That back rockery has to get done before excavating foundations can start. I guess the guy's surgery is today and it's dental, so he thinks he'll be fine tomorrow, but if not he'll wait until Wednesday. I'm really excited to see this back rockery get done as it will also have some stone steps going down to the lower level. When our friend was out on Saturday and saw the rockery we have done so far, in person, he said the pictures DH has sent him don't do it justice.

Our property neighbor emailed me yesterday. While we were out there Saturday for while (with our friend) and I guess she was worried we'd notice her clothesline and get worried! I didn't even notice it (too far away). She said their dryer broke down, LOL. It was just temporary. Then she wanted to know if DH had one of the fence post "rammers" they could borrow. Yes, he has one of those (I think he just about has one of everything) and of course they can borrow it.  They are going to be planting a grove of walnut trees on the lot next to them (they purchased the lot last year). During the fires last summer that got so close, DH let them use his fancy sprinkler system to keep things watered. She also said in the email they want to set one of those up for themselves this summer, so she wanted to know where we got the 4 way connector. We had bought it at a local hardware store where we used to live, but I sent her an amazon link to the same thing.

We are going to take our picnic table out to the property to leave there. When we get ready to show our house, having it gone will help make our tiny little back yard not look so crowded. The previous owners had left it here, but we'll have lots of room to use it at our new house. We'll probably set it in our very back yard area, that is along the river bank edge. It weighs a ton, so while DH's friend was here on Saturday he had him help him lift it onto the back of our flatbed car trailer. Whew. Glad I didn't have to try to help with that one.

Tomorrow is our day to sign closing documents on the construction loan for the shop. I'm still waiting for a call or email for last minute can't go this smooth.  Our appointment is at the bank at 11am. Once we are done with that we're going to do our monthly grocery shopping. Good thing, because I am just about out of everything to make dinners.

The company DD works for (a large national company) is just messed up. They constantly take away "benefits". This year they started offering people, if they want, to work 4-10's one week a month. DD decided to do it, so a few weeks ago she had her 4-10 work week. Then next week she has Monday off and was to work 4-10's. They have plans for the weekend and Monday (FSIL aunt and uncle coming to visit and stay with them). Today they just canceled the 4-10 work weeks, so now if she still wants Monday off, she has to use her vacation time. Plus they just dumped a bunch more work on everyone, because another person in her dept. quit. She's seriously so done with this company. It's been like 2 months since her boss told her he was trying to get her bumped up a position. I wish she could find something new.  She was like "they don't even have decent coffee to drink". LOL. I hated to tell her that in our brand new office my company put in a "coffee bar". Fancy coffee drinks whenever you want one (of course you have to make it yourself, but still very nice)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Just relaxing

All our nice spring weather is gone this morning, LOL. It was snowing this morning. We've got a couple inches so far. Poor DH. He gets so impatient once he's ready to start something.  At least he's found something to keep busy with today.  Our neighbor across the street is getting ready to build a metal pole building shop. He's having someone build it for him, but he's getting the ground ready for a concrete pad. Apparently he doesn't have much knowledge on the best way to go about this. DH was over there earlier today, while neighbor was with his FIL. He had put some gravel down earlier last week, but it basically just sunk down into the topsoil.  His FIL kept saying he was doing it right. No need to go to all the trouble to do it right (basically. LOL) DH was just keeping his mouth shut.  Finally neighbor asked DH what he thought he should do, so DH told him if it were him, he'd get that topsoil out of there first, get it all level and then he can put down the rock base. He also told him he really should have it rolled in to compact. If he doesn't, it will all still look great at first, but after a few years or less, his concrete slab will probably start to crack. DH came back home and a bit later neighbor called to ask him another question. DH went back over there for awhile and then came back home and got his surveying machine to take over there, saying neighbor is admitting he doesn't really have a clue how to do this. LOL. DH will get him all advised on how to go about it.

I've just been relaxing.  Talked to my mom on the phone a bit. Watched a bit of tv and doing some reading. It's a nice relaxing Sunday. Most of the snow has already melted, which is good. It was pretty wet snow.  I feel a nap coming on.

It will be kind of a short work week coming up. I'm taking most of Tuesday off to go sign our loan papers and then taking most of Friday off for a doctor appointment for my annual physical.

Hope you are all enjoying a nice Sunday!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Saturday morning projects

Our friend is here helping DH cut up the rebar into all the lengths he needs. First we met up with him at the restaurant in town for some breakfast. It was 9am and usually fairly busy on weekend mornings, but there were only a couple of cars in the lot. Well, turns out their ATM payment machine was down, so they were having to tell people as they came in they could only take cash or local check. I think most people don't have cash on them nowadays. We actually haven't eaten there in quite awhile. When we first moved here we'd go about once a week.

When I was at the town grocery store yesterday afternoon, their ATM payment machine went down too! I was stuck there for like 15 minutes or more. She rang up my groceries, I inserted my chip card, got approved and then ok to remove card. Right after I did that her screen froze. She couldn't complete the sale and print receipt. They kept trying to reboot the machine and then reboot the register itself. We were commenting on  how strange it was that I got the remove card notice and then the cashier girl said "hey, do you have online banking? (as I had my phone out texting DH who was waiting in the car wondering what was taking me so long), check and see if the charge went through your bank. If it did, then you can go, we just can't give you a receipt. I logged in and it did, so I got out of there, finally.

Friend didn't get the bring the type of saw he wanted, so it will only cut the rebar. They won't be able to run out to the property and use it to cut off the excess well casing. The little bender tool DH's dad was sending (supposedly via 2 day priority mail) hasn't shown up yet, so I guess no bending will happen either today.

At the restaurant we ran into the guy (again LOL) who will be cutting up the trees into lumber. I swear that guy is everywhere in town. DH told him as soon as he can move the trees over to the side of the road, he's free to come out and get it done.

While they are out in back cutting up the rebar, I took another stab at cleaning that carpet stain again. You'd think at some point the dirty water being sucked back up into the machine would start getting cleaner/lighter. Not much.  Grrr.. Carpet is gross. I'm glad the majority of our new house will be hard flooring.

I finished that book "The Handmaid's Tale" last night. It was plain awful. LOL. Some pages I kinda skimmed over, it was so boring. It's like it didn't even really have an ending. I'm really not sure how this book was good enough to read, let alone have a tv series made out of it. I guess I just really have different tastes than others. Now I can get back to finishing one of my funner reads.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Waiting to start the work

There was no back to work on the rockery wall yesterday, as hoped. The machinery the guy is using is still at a shop being repaired (they thought it would be ready by now) and though most of the snow has melted, it's just too wet and muddy now. Sigh....Some rain Wednesday didn't help matters.  DH is still working on getting all the parts for his gate piers. He'll need a bunch of rebar, too. He found out the other day our local lumber store does carry it in like 20 ft lengths. He needs it cut up in various sized pieces for his project. The store has a cutter he can use to do it himself, if he wants. He also needs some of it bended. Then he was talking to his friend on the phone last night, who is going to help him with it on Saturday. He said the company he works for has a cutter for metal he can borrow and bring with him, so that will be great. Then DH's dad called and said he has a "bending tool" that you bolt to something and he will ship it to DH. DH will go buy all the rebar today and friend will come with the cutting tool tomorrow and they will get it all cut and bended. We also need our well casing cut down (it's sticking up like 6 feet from the ground) and so DH is going to use that to cut that down, rather than paying our builder or the well guy to do it (when the well guy comes back to put in the pump system inside the well casing). At least he'll have something to do on Saturday to keep busy.  He's pretty bummed they couldn't start on the rockery this week. Now, next week is out of the question, too, as the equipment operator guy has to go in for some minor surgery, but needs several days to rest from it.

DH just got back from the lumber store to buy the rebar. He had thought it would come to like $250, but it was only $142. Yay!  He usually UNDER estimates what stuff will cost, so this direction is really good.

It appears our property neighbors are realizing how much their dogs bark. DH had stopped at the property yesterday to check on snowmelt again and I think guy was home. Last night I had sent them an email just to let them know to expect machinery and excavating getting started in the next week or two. He replied back that is great news.....just wish our dogs wouldn't bark so much, thanks for putting up with their rudeness!  Hopefully they will all just settle down once we are there on a daily basis and it becomes more normal for them. At least they seem aware of the problem and hopefully if it doesn't clear itself up, they will do something to help the situation. They don't strike me as the type that would ignore it, but I've learned people do all kinds of things that they don't care how it affects others.

I'm about a 1/3 of the way or more into reading the next book club book "The Handmaids Tale". It is as boring as the tv series. A very monotonous read. But, I'll get through it. Supposedly in order for a book to be suggested one of the members has to have read it already, so someone must have liked it LOL.

Thursday, March 15, 2018


I've been about 30/70 with liking the books to read for book club. Especially the past few books. I have not really enjoyed the books much.  The one for this month, I read quite a few months ago, and did like that one ok (Tell the Wolves I'm Home).  But the one for next month, I gave up on. It's called the Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. I tried to start it before Christmas and didn't get very far at all. Then I started it again this past month. Another book about slavery in the South. Nothing much different than other books I have read on the subject. Then suddenly the underground railroad was being portrayed as an actual underground railroad. I was like what the heck? I lost interest after that. I guess I felt that the book could have stood on it's own, delving into the personality of the main character, rather than adding that fake stuff into it.

We plan the books several months in advance, so as soon as I know, I put them on reserve as an e-book to borrow from the library. I'm glad I haven't paid money to buy these books! Sometimes I have to wait quite a while, so it's good that I can know pretty far in advance. I've been waiting forever for "The Handmaids Tale" (coming up for discussion in a few months) and it's finally my turn to borrow it. I don't even know if I will like it. I tried to watch the tv series and pretty much hated it. I hope the book is better. Have any of you read it?

I think, in general, I like books I can just read and not sit and analyze. While I enjoy the meetings and talking about the books, I'm finding that the books for discussion aren't that great LOL. I guess I just don't have that sophisticated of taste in books, haha. I enjoy a wide variety of genres and I especially enjoy series books.  I've recently read a series by Debbie Macomber. I've been reading a couple different series books by David Baldacci. I'm still waiting in line for the last book in Stephen King's Dark Tower series.  I'm always waiting for the latest book to be written from my two favorite series that I have been reading for YEARS:  Sue Grafton Alphabet series (first published in 1982) and Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta series (first published in 1990).

I'll continue with the book club, if nothing else for the social interaction aspect. There have been times when we pretty much all showed up disliking the book we were to discuss. But, I think trying to read through and then be motivated to meet to discuss books that aren't so good is probably one of the reasons so many meetings have ended up getting cancelled.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Spending money to save money

DH had to spend $100 on 6 pieces of lumber. No wonder building a home costs and arm and a leg! He needed boards to make forms for the gate piers. He also went and talked to the guy who will be making/welding the 4 gate posts. At first he told DH it would cost $450 (mostly material costs, I guess) and then he called DH and said he underestimated the cost of the metal, it will be $650. Ok,.. it's still about a $200 savings over what he was going to buy online from a gate supplier.  Gotta save where we can. I could only imagine what having someone else make the gate pier forms would cost, so at least it's just materials and his own labor involved. And (I think) once the concrete is poured into the forms he can re-use the scrap lumber for something or other at some point.  At least this little project is giving him something to do on this nice sunny day.

Notice the tennis ball laying there in front. Silly dog kept trying to get him to play fetch.
It sounds like DH and the equipment operator guy will be starting work on the rockery wall again on Thursday. He's also asked our neighbor across the street's son (early 20's) if he'd like to make some extra money by helping with the labor on the rockery, so I think he will be helping, which will really help DH out, so he doesn't have to work  his muscles so hard. This kid is a hard worker and has muscles - he's a forest firefighter in summers.

My side job "boss" finally got back to me on my offer to do a little extra work for them. The one main thing I had offered to do, they are going to do internally with a different way. She didn't offer to throw anything else my way, so I guess that's a no. Darn. That would have been an easy couple hundred dollars a month to make.

I have not been doing M-Turk at all. I want to do it. I need to do it. I just can't get into the groove of it the past month or so. Getting my raise and the extra money in paycheck (total net of about $375/mo) from the tax cut took some of the pressure off of needing more money, which probably is why I haven't been too excited about spending 10 or 15 minutes to make 50 cents. But it does add up. I need to start taking a lunch break again and doing what I can with it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Lenders, banks, and gates

Aside from the appraisal taking so darn long to get done, the actual dealing with this lender has been really easy. Every other time I (or someone I know) has had to deal with a mortgage loan, it's endless requests for documents.... and documents for the documents. I have not had that at all. I sent them what they requested in the beginning, and that has been it. I keep waiting for it to still happen. Another more recent bank statement needed.... An explanation for this or that....what's this deposit or this payment on your bank statement... Of course, I still have 8 days until closing, so it's possible they will still be doing that.  I'm sure the day before they will start bombarding me with more documents the underwriter's suddenly need.

Over the past year my credit score has steadily been going up about a point a month or so. At the time I put in my loan application it was 743. Literally within days of them running the credit check on me it dropped to 735. I thought that credit inquiries for big loans, like mortgages was not supposed to lower your credit score? Hmph. It has now (in 2 months since I applied) gone back up to 741, so I guess no harm. I just wanted to keep it over 740, LOL.

It sounds like the builder wants to come out this week or next to stake out for the foundations. Hopefully he'll stick to what he is saying and not delay.  DH called the excavating guy to let him know we'll be able to start after the 20th. He's ready to get started, he says. He's also going to be doing the excavating for the couple that bought lot #7. They are just waiting on better weather, as we are now too.

Today DH is figuring out some gate posts. I thought he had figured it all out/priced it all out over the winter, but here he is, freaking out about it and how much the gate companies want for the stuff. He needs like 4 posts and just those parts are like over $200 each online. He decided to give the guy a call who lives down the road about a mile (our next nearest neighbor haha) from where we will build our house. We met him once before and he has a machine shop business. DH called him up to ask him if he could weld/make the posts. He said yep, if you have some drawings for me on what you need, no problem. DH does, so he is taking them out to him this morning. I'm sure it will be much cheaper this way.

When we were at the property on Saturday he was trying to figure out where to move the downed trees, to get them out of the way (until the guy can come saw them up) of the excavating. I suggested out in front of our property, on the other side of the road. There is a big strip of land between our road and the main road, that is also our property. Why not just have them moved out there, parallel with the road? Then they are completely out of your way. He agreed that would be the best plan and make it easier for the saw guy to get to them when he does it. When the equipment operator guy brings out the machine to finish the rockery, he can drag the trees over there.

Two or 3 months ago DH bought some ammunition online that had a $60 rebate. That check came yesterday. I had forgotten all about it. I can't get it to scan to deposit to mobile banking. We've already decided that when we are at the bank next week, signing our construction loan papers, we are going to open up a checking account there. I need a "local" bank. While there isn't a branch here in our tiny town, at least it's in the city and not over 400 miles away, LOL.  I don't want to use one of the two banks in our town anyway. Too much gossipy people, plus our property neighbor is a teller at one of the banks.  She doesn't need to know how much money we have.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Easing into Monday

One of the questions our lender asked me a few weeks ago was if we had any flood plain paperwork for our land. She wanted something showing elevations. No, sorry we were never given anything like that. I explained we are high bank property, like at least 100 ft above the river. She said don't worry about it, the insurance company will figure it out (I guess to determine if we need flood insurance). I did some research online, just out of curiosity to see if I could find what "zone" we are in. I couldn't figure it out.  When the appraiser was out, DH mentioned about lender asking for this info. He looked down at the river and said "if it floods up here we are ALL screwed" LOL. Very true. Anyway, in looking over his appraisal report I see we are recorded as in flood zone X. Meaning no worries, no flood insurance needed.

DH got his scrap boards cut up yesterday in the nice warm sun. He cut some 2x4's and such into smaller "strips" that he will use to put between all the lumber we will cut out of the trees on our property. That way they are spaced out some from each other, and help dry faster.

I was reading an article from the big newspaper in the city about housing prices there. They just keep going up. They are blaming it on people like me. LOL. People who don't rely on "local" income. They are people moving to the area that are either retired, have passive income, or telecommute. They are driving the housing prices up and there just isn't the supply and the new building isn't keeping up with it yet. But then in another sentence they say less than 10% of the homebuyers are these types of people. There was one statistic that said in all of 2017 there were only 9 single family homes for sale that were priced under $200,000 (which is more in line with the wages around here), but 5,000 looking to buy in 2017.

That has to help us, for our house value, even out here, 55 miles away. It's a 45 minute commute to the city from here (because the freeway speed limit is 80, LOL). Some people do it. And the more people can't find, nor afford, the prices in the city, they will make their way out here. The  house in town our realtor sold last summer was to a commuter to the city. They could get our house for in the low $200k range. Hopefully it means our house will sell fast. Plus our realtor is from the city - most of his customers are in the city. He'll know how to market us out here. The realtor we have here in town is terrible. No wonder all their stuff stays on the market for ever. You should see the photos they take for the listing. They look like a 10 year old took them. Plus, our house will be spotless and look almost staged, which always helps. We always look online at houses for sale in the area. I'm always amazed at the condition people will leave their house in while trying to sell.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Sunday funday

I think Linda at Practical Parsimony hit the nail on the head in regards to my big mystery carpet stain. It was obviously still down into the padding (a lot) and when I started using my new Dyson is when I really started noticing the stain. I was like what the heck? I'm vacuuming and it looks worse?! Well, whatever the stain was, still in the padding, was apparently getting sucked up into the carpet by my good vacuum.

My use of my little green machine yesterday did help, but I realized I did not put enough solution in the water. Plus, it said it might take repeated cleanings. Today I did it again, with the right amount of solution. And I really really spent a lot of time sucking up the water/solution up from the carpet. The water sucked up was still gross, but at least it wasn't black, like yesterday. I think I'm going to keep on doing it, until it sucks up somewhat clear water. I'll give it another go next weekend. Hopefully it will at least get light, like when we first moved in. The carpet is variegated browns, so it does cover stains pretty well.

After DH got back from the rock quarry yesterday, we decided to go out to the property and take a look at snow melt, as it's really warmed up this past week. We could now drive into where our driveway starts. Still snow on the ground, but it's going away and DH thinks the ground can be dug up now. The neighbor dogs weren't too bad, for a change. They all came out their doggy door, as soon as we pulled in, barking up a storm. But after about 5 minutes or so they all settled down and for the most part were just relaxing in their dog pen/run watching us. That was much better.

We took naps when we got home. Then we decided to go out to dinner. We had celebrating to do! (we don't drink though LOL). DD's engagement and the green light to build our dream house. We had a nice dinner and on the drive back  home got to see about 100 head of elk just grazing in a field alongside the freeway.

Today we've just been playing it by ear. DH got out his table saw on the picnic bench and is cutting up some boards for one of his upcoming projects. It's pretty warm out - a sweatshirt will do, which is a nice change. I was getting low on some groceries, so I ran over to the store here in town. Again they were out of bread we like. I didn't really need a loaf, but I was going to pick one up to freeze, if they had it.

A couple of high school boys knocked on our door yesterday. They were with the high school drama club and selling ticket to "dinner and a play" for $15 ea. I'm not for certain we will go, but they were so sweet, I couldn't say no. If nothing else, it supports their club. It does sound like fun though and I'll have to talk DH into going.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Cleaning up

DH got a call this morning from the equipment operator guy (he also snow plows logging roads as one of his various jobs). He wanted to go plow out the road to the rock quarry, so the dump truck guy can get back there next week to get us the few more loads of rock we will need. The snow is melting a lot around here. Other than where it's been plowed into piles, it's all melted here in town. We can see our lawn again. DH got ready (and dressed warm, it's still only 29 degrees out this morning) and went to meet him out there. While he's doing that DH is going to see if he can find any flat type rocks that would be good to make steps with. At the back rock retaining wall he wants to add some natural stone steps down to our lower back yard, so is hoping to find enough big flat type rocks.

I'm home getting some laundry done - washing sheets and blankets. Enjoying the quiet me time, while I can. I messaged with DD a bit first thing this morning. She's still on cloud 9, of course. Today they are doing homeowner stuff - pressure washing their driveway and going to pick up some applewood for their smoker. Found a good deal on Craigslist. They will get a whole little trailer load, for cheap, rather than buying the $15 small bags at Lowes.

I'm going to work on this big area of carpet stain in the area between our living room and dining room. I noticed a big stain (but light in color) when we moved in, but it's just gradually gotten way worse. I have no idea why. I used some carpet cleaner spray on it last summer and it helped for a bit and then got worse again. It's nothing our dogs are doing, plus it was there prior to us moving in. I have one of those Bissell Little Green machines. I bought it several years ago, thinking I was going to use it all the time. I've used it once! (thankfully it was a BlackFriday 1/2 price deal, so I didn't pay full price for it). I've pulled it out of the closet and going to give it a go on the big stained area. Of course I couldn't find the instruction manual for it, but I was able to find it on google. I've given it a go at it. Hard to tell so far if it helped, since the area is still wet. I might have to do it a couple of times.  The cleaning solution bottle that came with it is 8 oz. The instructions say to use 2 ounces/2 capfuls. Well, I don't think a capful is one ounce! I should have used a quarter of the bottle the first time and then another quarter this time. There's still more than half the bottle left, for sure. (and I put 3 capfuls in this time).

I just cleaned out the tank on the machine that sucks the water and cleaning solution back up. It was almost black! so obviously there is some dark whatever in that stain. Ewww. I'm going to let it dry a bit and then work on it some more with some new hot water and more solution. 

This is the area, after cleaning and still wet. But really, that's about what it's been looking like before I did it! Let's hope once it dries it looks better.
I just know when we moved in it wasn't that noticeable. You could see the stained area a little, but not like it is now. The previous owners must have really cleaned it before they moved. I'm just not sure why it keeps getting worse. It's a mystery! If anyone has any tips on how to get rid of these stains, I'm all ears! I want this gone! There is one small spot in our living room that I know is caused by one of our dogs. He always takes his kong there to get the treat out and slobbers and drools. I also cleaned that spot, so I'm anxious to see if that is better.

Friday, March 9, 2018

The wait is over

Alrighty! The appraisal is now in. It is a bit under for what we have into the land cost and improvements (by about $8,000) but close enough to work with. We really wanted to be able to include the costs of excavating and foundation for the house in this "part 1" of the building loan. Getting all the excavating and foundations done at the same time will save time and money, rather than having to get contractors "way out here" two different times. Thankfully, this appraisal gives us enough to do that

Our closing is set for the 20th. Now that we know we are actually going to build (!) we can get working on a couple of projects that we are paying for our self and need to get done before excavating starts. 1) get the downed trees cut up and out of the way. We have been keeping in contact with the guy who has the portable saw mill. He's just been waiting for it to warm up and snow to melt. Should be able to get to that very soon now. 2) Finish the rock retaining wall that will be below the back patio of the house. We already have most of the rock to do this, but will be getting a few more loads brought in. The equipment operator guy has been keeping in regular touch with DH, so they can start on this as soon as weather permits. He called yesterday and thinks they will be able to start next week. I think they are estimating it to take about 2-3 days of work to set the rocks. Not a huge job, but has to be done before excavating the house foundation.

DD has said they are looking at a wedding date of sometime mid year 2019. Oh Thank God! I told DH and he said the exact same thing. Whew. That time frame I can deal with. She also said at this time they are leaning toward a very small private ceremony with family and a few closest friends, a reception for all their family and friends, and spend more on their honeymoon, than a big fancy wedding. That definitely seems her style.

I finally feel like we now know what is going on with our life. This "we're going to build a house" has felt like we've been talking about it for 2 years trying to make it work. Now we're going to be busy Hopefully it goes as smooth as it all can. Let the fun begin. Eeeek!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Udpates and waits

Well, the proposal was a success! (of course LOL). She video called us right after and was very happy, teary and surprised. Happy times :)  BF (now Fiance...what are the initials for that?) sister goes to school in the area he proposed, so she was there to take pics. I've seen one so far. It's adorable.

I got a call from the lender yesterday that the appraiser told them he'd have it to them by this morning. This morning I get an email that it will be by the end of today now. Apparently he is having trouble finding comps for sale. Well no kidding! There is nothing comparable. If there was, we'd have bought it, rather than going through all this. This is not a very populated state and then try to narrow it down to the county/region? Acreage, on the river/view, with covenants, paved road to property (rare around here), with a nice house w/a few upgrades and a fully finished, inside and out, heated shop? Like I said, if we could find that for sale, we'd have bought it in a heartbeat. She seems to "think" this is a good sign that he's still working on it.....she thinks that might mean he's really working to come up with the number we need. I'm not even holding my breath we'll hear by end of day.

This afternoon lender emailed me: in anticipation of receiving the appraisal today I'd like to schedule your closing for 3/20. Well, at least she is optimistic - I'm still not.

Had a phone chat with my boss today. Just before that I was on a call for quite a few minutes, using the phone app, for work phone was getting totally hot.  Same thing when my boss called (through phone app). I googled the issue and it's most likely the app, but not sure if it's the app because my phone is so old. She is going to check and see if anyone else is having the issue (though most probably use a Bluetooth earbud, so aren't holding onto their phone, like I am). She also said she has a few old/extra iphone 6's, so she is going to see how to go about getting me one of  those or sending one to me, so I can transfer my phone to it, under my plan.

Found out our niece is expecting her first baby in the Fall. She hasn't told anyone yet, but very immediate family, but DH's mom has some dementia, so she spilled the beans to DH. She also said she was having twins, a boy and a girl, so we were thinking she might just be making it all up. LOL. Niece was just waiting to tell everyone after her 3 months is up. She is not having twins, that she knows of, haha!

Hopefully I'll have news one way or the other by the end of today. I'm so ready to get out of limbo mode.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Happy Day

Today is the big day.  DD's boyfriend is going to propose to her! It sounds like, after they get off work, he will be taking her up to the the town they lived in, where she went to college, when they first started dating. We're very excited for her.  DH can barely stand waiting LOL.

That is about all I know for today. Still waiting to hear back from the message I left the bank lady, yesterday afternoon.  Hopefully it will be good news, to go along with the other great happenings of today.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Still holding our breath

This waiting on the appraisal is getting super annoying. The lending (not builder) has been a fairly easy loan process, until this. Basically, we are at the mercy of the appraiser and, of course, what he decides....and when he gets around to deciding it. He had already mentioned to DH that day he was out at our property that "it's going to be really hard to find comps". Well, duh. First off, it's new construction. Second off, there are hardly any homes in the area, let alone nice ones, let alone river view property. I feel like the more days (now weeks) that go by, we're just going to get told "sorry, it doesn't appraise for what you need it to" (ie. what it costs to build).  Obiously we need it to appraise at what we paid for the land and well, as well as for what it costs to build. It is what it is! It cost what it cost. Geez. But, I just feel like it's going to be bad news.  And then what?!  If we wanted to go buy a nice house, with a big shop, on 2 acres on the river we'd have to pay that or probably even more!

I just did a zillow search (not a lot for sale in this area). A nice log house, on the river, 4 acres (so more land), a 2 car garage, no big shop (just a small shed) for $800k! Our land and cost to build our house are no where near that. But, then there's another really nice house on the river for sale. 1 acre, but has big shop. I've actually been inside this house, for a book club meeting. They've been trying to sell for 2 years. Started out at $650,000. Now are down to $500,000. I'm not sure why it's been hard to sell. It is a bit quirky shaped rooms and weird floor plan inside.

We were told on Jan 29 that we were 6 weeks out from having funds available to get started. At the end of this week will be 6 weeks. Now, even if we do get the appraisal in all good, at some point, we still have to wait another two weeks before funds are available.  Between our builder taking an extra month to get us nailed down building costs breakdown, and now the appraiser taking (so far) an extra two weeks, I can say I am annoyed.

I just need to tell myself not to worry. Our friends didn't have any problems getting their land and construction costs to appraise at what they needed. In fact, according to our builder he typically does "two sets" of building cost estimates. One (higher) for the bank and one (for the homeowner) at what it really costs. I was like huh?! The builder mentioned that a couple of different times and after the second time, I had him explain to me what the heck he was talking about. Apparently, (if I am understanding this), the appraisers go with the construction cost bid #'s, AND a lot of people need "equity" in their land/home as their down payment, or for part of it. So, they need the land and home to appraise at a higher amount, and then when the actual construction costs come in lower, they now have equity to use as down payment. We were at the max limit we could borrow with what his actual constructions costs ended up being. If he gave the bank a higher number, then we'd need a higher loan amount (at least to start with, according to what the bank would think) to qualify for. I told him we don't need/want to ask the bank for a higher loan amount, nor do we need more equity to have for a down payment. We own our land free and clear and it's enough for the down payment needed. Honestly, I still can't wrap my head around it, but apparently that's what he did for our friends house he built, too. I guess my point, in all this explanation, is that if he typically gives higher building cost numbers for his projects and gets appraisals approved, then I would think our "actual" lower cost numbers, shouldn't be even less of an issue.  But what do I know.........

In the meantime DH is having meltdowns over the waiting/late appraisal. When someone gives a date, he expects that's the date. So when the bank says appraisals take 3 weeks, but 4 weeks for where you are at, and then 2 weeks to set up funds/loan, you are looking at funds available in 6 weeks. Monday of last week was 4 weeks since appraisal ordered. So I email her last Tuesday and she says the appraisal is due Monday (next Monday? as in 5 weeks now?) but they are running late in your area. I will let you know when we receive it. So Monday, yesterday came and went. Today is almost over. So, time for DH to have another meltdown. So, I call and leave her a message asking for status, again.

Plus, when DH has a meltdown he just can't have one about the issue at hand. No, it has to be about every.thing.ever. Right before all this today, he took a drive out to the property, to see how much snow is still left (as we get a little bit more snow there than here in town). I think I've mentioned before how our neighbors out there have 4 big BARKING dogs. They have a doggie door, so the dogs can go in and out all day while their owners are at work. If we are there, on our property, they will literally bark non-stop (inside their fenced in run area). I don't think the owners even realize this barking is going on when they aren't home. We have been there several times on a weekend and they know it happens then, and if they are home they will get the dogs to stop or back in the house. Not sure what we are going to do about the problem if we are living there full time and every time we want to step outside their dogs freak out and won't stop barking. It's fine for a dog to bark some, to say hello, but this is getting old. After you've been out there for 10-15 minutes the incessant barking (2-3 of them will bark) starts to fray your nerves.  Obviously we will end up having to say something to them, if we end up living out there. I certainly would not let my dogs do that.  DH thinks he might just start making his weekly "check on things" trip out there on Fridays. The guy doesn't work on Fridays, so he'll start to get a good idea of what his dogs are doing every time we/dh is out there on our property. Maybe they will realize they need to do something about it, rather than us  having to say something about it.......ya....who am I kidding? LOL. We'll end up having to say something about it. Pretty much they will probably have to start keeping their dogs inside while they are at work, rather than just letting them go in and out whenever they want. That has worked fine for them, the past 8 years, because they have no neighbors they are bothering with the barking. Both of them work right here in town. Either or both of them could easily make a trip home at lunch to let them out.  She doesn't start work until 9am and she's off at 4pm. He works 4/10's. But again, both are about a 10-15 minute drive from work to home.

Taxes resolved, waiting, side dishes

A few phone calls back and forth and I now have my mom's tax return question figured out. She's always had a 1099-DIV form to report in the past several years. She couldn't find one in the paperwork for 2017. She ended up calling her broker and he explained there isn't one for 2017, as one of the accounts she had, that had dividends, got closed.  In between the phone calls I decided I could probably just log into her investment account online and pull all her tax forms from there.....of course the log in and password info I wrote down to have on hand, when I last visited her, didn't work! I give up. LOL. Anyhow, the tax return her neighbor friend did for her is correct, so we do not have to file an amended return. Yay.

Over 5 weeks now waiting for an appraisal. A bit ridiculous, don't you think? And our luck he'll decide it doesn't appraise for what we paid for the land and the construction costs. You just wait and see. So then what? we just wasted $1000 on an appraisal for nothing? If it can't appraise enough, then we can't get the loan........I just wish we'd get an answer. I'm tired of sitting here wondering.  Feels like our life has been completely on hold for weeks now.  Supposedly it was due to the bank yesterday, but banker lady said "but they are running later out in your area". Gee, 5 weeks isn't late enough as it is?

I know I've mentioned more than once that I really do not like to cook. Trying to think of what to make for dinner every night......and then actually having to make it?! Ugh! It does help if I plan the meals ahead of time, or at least pick out a weeks worth of meals to make, even if I don't make them on the original night planned. We typically have a main dish of meat or a casserole. Side dishes are a vegetable and then a "sweet" side dish. The veggies I rotate between green beans, corn, and potatoes. The sweet side dish I alternate between applesauce (unsweetened) and jello. Depending on what exactly we are having, sometimes rolls are added. A few meals kind of stand on their own with no sides. Pizza, or for example last night DH just wanted a taco salad. Sometimes we have breakfast for dinner.

I'd like to have another sweet alternative or two to the applesauce and jello, but I don't know what. Sometimes we have rice, but not very often. Occasionally watermelon.  Anyone have any other ideas for something a bit sweet, like applesauce or jello? It can't be something I actually have to spend a bunch of time making. I don't even like having to make the main dish! LOL.

Also, has anyone ever frozen Pillsbury dough, like for crescent rolls? We like those, but 8 is just to much for the two of us and I waste half of it. Sometimes I buy the tiny can that has 4 in it, but they don't sell that size here in town, so most often I have to buy the 8 count.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Cabinets, friends, bread and taxes

It was a nice relaxing weekend. We never did see our friend, who passed through. On his way into the city he didn't have enough time to stop for a visit, and we were getting ready to leave for our appointment with the cabinet lady, anyway. We told her our changes, mainly taking out the center island and she will get us new quote and 3-D drawing in a week or so. Should save us some money.

Then we drove into the city to Harbor Freight and bought a bunch of tools DH will need for putting in the water lines and stuff at the property. He had gone through their little mailer catalog and actually clipped coupons! But he forgot to clip the 20% off one item coupon, so I cut that one out. Like I told him, if he buys something that's $40 dollars, it's an $8 savings - that pays for our gas for the trip to the city. The most expensive item he bought was $30, but still saved $6, plus his other coupon savings. That's all we did in the city. Stopped at Wendy's for an early dinner and headed home.

DH called his friend around 5pm to see where he was/what he was doing and he was already headed back home and past our town. That's a long drive to do in one day! Like 15-16 hours total.

Saturday morning we talked about finding something to go do. Checked the roads again up to the waterfall place, but still no good. By the time DH got off the couch and in the shower it was 1pm! We just stayed home.  Sunday we did at least get out of the house. I needed some milk and bread at the little store (which they were totally out of breads. GRR!). We drove down to a boat launch to let the dogs run around and let DH play with his drone some more. It was a bit breezy and kept getting worse. He decided to bring it down and right after he got it landed the wind kicked up crazy and it started snowing sideways. We got to the car just in time,  haha.

My mom mailed me her tax forms so I could re-do her taxes. I'm basically just entering in all the info, as if I were doing her actual return (that's already been submitted) so I can see what the difference is, from what her neighbor did. I always do it one day, set it aside and come back the next day and double check my work. Well, I was comparing to her last year return I did and noticed the dividends I added for this years return (that's what she thought her neighbor missed putting on her return) say 2016 on the paperwork! Omg. I don't know how she got that mixed in with her 2017 forms her investment company sent her. So, now I'm waiting until it's a bit later this morning, so she's up and about, to call her and figure this out. I supposed it's possible she didn't even have a 1099-DIV for 2017 from her investment company. If that is the case, then her tax return is correct. If it's not, then I need the form from 2017. LOL. I'm sure she'll be totally confused when I try to explain to her. If it's too much confusion, I'm just going to tell her not to worry about it. She has 3 years to file an amended return, and I can look through her paperwork next time I am over there, probably within next few months.

She told me the reason she had this gal do her taxes, was she thought she could sit there and watch her and maybe do them herself next year.  This is the exact same thing she said to me each year that I was living near her and did her taxes. No, she's not going to do it. She barely even knows how to use the computer and get on the internet! C'mon lady! You are almost 80 years old - you don't need to do your own tax return anymore (nor should you!) LOL

Friday, March 2, 2018

The things we do (or don't do) for friends

So, this friend we might see today/this weekend. Ahhh....sometimes you just gotta say no. We've known him quite a few years. A single guy, never married, mid/ate 40's. He and DH probably keep in touch once a month or so. Ever have a friend who is like opposite your personality? That's this guy, LOL. He's very loud and outgoing. We're not. But, the friendship works.

He's a self employed auto mechanic.. Last year he was working on a friends car, that he needed to keep overnight, so was giving friend a lift home. When they got there, he got out, too, so he could visit with the guys wife a few minutes, as she was coming out her front door, along with her dog. As he got out of his car their dog attacked him, biting his hand up. Quite a lot of nerve damage. It's his dominant hand too. It's been hard for him to do his mechanic work. Supposedly he's supposed to be getting some huge insurance settlement in the near future. He's all but shut down is auto repair shop.

Before that happened though, he had told DH of his plan to buy property near us that he can eventually move to, when he retires. He wants like 100+ acres, up in the mountains, live off the grid. Basically he'd be a hermit, for the most part. I think that is still his plan, though it might be happening earlier, if/when he gets his settlement money.

A couple months ago he went to Florida and bought a damaged pick up truck. A tree fell on top of the back half of the crew cab, from the hurricane. It was like almost a brand new truck. He brought it home, put on a new cab, repainted it and basically now has a brand new truck for way less than an $80,000 pick up costs. Only thing the state he lives in won't let him title/license it. I don't get all the details on it (something to do with it being salvage vehicle), but for whatever reason, he can't get that done there.

BUT, he apparently could get it titled/licensed in our state. But in some convoluted fashion he'd need to also have a driver's license to license it here. I don't know, it was getting all confusing as he kept calling DH to try to figure out a way to do this. First he wanted to use our address to get his driver's license. Well, in this state you have to get the license in the county you live in. DH told him, there's no way that would fly under the radar here. There are 800 people in our town. Everybody knows everything. It would be totally obvious this is a scam. It's not like going to a license place over where we used to live, where even one of the many licensing offices processes hundreds of licenses a day. Then he wanted to know if he could sell us this truck, we title/register it and then sell it back to him.  Sorry, no can do! We have a good excuse. We're in the middle of our construction/mortgage loan - we can't be buying/selling anything major.

I guess he has another friend that live in this state, in another county, and he's going to do it for him. So, he's on his way over tomorrow morning to do the first step. Get a driver's license. Whatever. Just glad we are not part of any of it. If he has time to stop by and say hello, great. Haha!

In some ways he reminds me of my uncle. Always having these "plans" to do this and that, that never happen. I learned years ago to let my uncle's "plans" go in one ear and out the other. For the past year this friend has been saying almost every time DH talks to him "I'm coming over next month to look at property"....still waiting. LOL.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Thursday this and that

We're still waiting on the appraiser. It was 4 weeks on Monday, since it was ordered. Two weeks yesterday, since the appraiser was out to our property. We'll just sit here and twiddle our thumbs waiting on $1000 for an appraisal, but sit and wait for it. They use the excuse that they take longer because of where we live. Ok... but he's had the info he needed for two weeks now. At that point, what difference does it make how close to the city we are? I would imagine most appraisals take about the same amount of time to put together, once you have the facts.

I spent the work day going through our work vendor list - contacting via email those I could about our new mailing/billing address. Of all the vendors we have online accounts'd think those would be the easy ones to log in and update our billing address. Nope. Not a one of them has that option!

A few services we've had for a long time at our old office are getting canceled and I've taken care of a couple of those today. Water cooler delivery, on hold "muzak", soda delivery, cleaning service. I think for a couple of those services we are using new companies in the area of the new office.

I had a funny text exchange with my neighbor friend across the street. DH had looked out the window around lunch time and noticed she had come home and a truck was parked there too. Then DH starts laughing and says "it's for satellite service! haha!"  When we were over there for dinner awhile back she had said she wished they had satellite tv, but J is too cheap to get it.  DH says text D and tell her I'm texting J she's getting satellite installed while he's away working. D texted back tell on her all he wants. LOL. Then she called him "Gladys". We got a really good laugh at that one. Those of you my age and older probably get the reference.

Well, this is strange. I'm signed up for that USPS mail delivery notification emails. It shows scans of mail and packages coming your way. This mornings email is a scan of an envelope I sent to my side job, being returned as undeliverable "not known/return to sender". What the heck?!! That is their address, has been for 8 years. It is totally legible, as I use a preprinted address label, so it's not like they couldn't read my writing or something. I mail several envelopes a month to them. Plus, it's a check for one of their employees expense reimbursements, so I'm sure she's been waiting on it. Good grief.

We might be seeing a friend from out of state, tomorrow or this weekend. I'm not really sure what the plan is. He's coming thru our area around noon (heading to the city), taking care of some business in the city that afternoon. Tomorrow is my half day of work and we have plans to go visit the cabinet lady, but it might snow, so if it does we aren't going. If we are home I guess friend will stop by. Otherwise we'll probably have to see him on his way back, which I have no idea when that is. Knowing this guy, it will probably be that evening, LOL.