Saturday, October 31, 2020

Saturday what not

It was a busy morning. I was up at my normal time (I have dogs, LOL). Had a little time before I had to leave at 9:15 to clean the kitchen, make the bed, etc. And one of the neighbors dogs started in with the barking non stop about 7:30 this morning. So, of course dh couldn't sleep in. I don't even know why they have dogs. They aren't even home on the weekends to spend time with them. I ended up emailing neighbor to let them know it's been a bad week of barking, for some reason.

I picked my mom up around 10am. My first stop was going to be Lowes to pick up 2 things I ordered yesterday online, but I realized I hadn't received the email that the order was ready to pick up. Usually they send that within a couple hours and here it was the next day. So, I had to go inside. Turns out they were out of one item, and behind on calling to let me know it was out and did I still want the other item. Yes, please.

Then we went to a grocery store. My mom had a small list, which included grapes, so Target was out, haha. I wanted to get a few things I forgot on my list and dh had texted to get even more water and his mountain dew than usual. He's worried the country may go crazy after the election next Tuesday. I was also waiting for Walmart's email letting me know what they were out of with my order (always something) so I could get it while at this store. It was already 11am (my pick up time) and no email yet. Then I got one saying sorry, they are running late and still working on my order. So, we went ahead and paid for our stuff and took it out to my car. Then I got the notification of the 3 things they were out of, so I ran back in the store real quick while my mom waited in the car.

Waited a few minutes at Walmart and then they got my order brought out and loaded up. I got my mom back to her place about 11:45, just in time for lunch at noon. It's her day to eat in dining room. If she gets to eat in dining room it's noon. If they bring the meal to her room, it's usually not until 12:30.  Since I had groceries (some cold and frozen, in my cooler and insulated bags) I didn't want to take time to go get lunch at fast food. Besides we'd just have to eat in the car and I didn't really feel like that either. I could be home by 12:30ish, so I just headed home.

I received my new property tax statement in the mail. It looks like my mortgage payment will need to go up about $100/mo to cover it. I need to do some checking on if I am getting a good deal on my homeowners insurance. Seems kind of high at almost $2800 a year! I had just gone with a company we used for construction insurance and then didn't shop around for regular homeowners. That's now on my to do list, though my policy renewed last August. I guess if I decided to change mid year, they'd just have to reimburse the prorated amount and it would apply as a credit to my escrow. I'm not really sure how that works, but at a minimum I will shop around by next August to see if I can find a cheaper policy to start when this one ends. I need to dig out the paperwork so I can see exactly what I have in coverage so I am comparing apples to apples.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Happy Friday

I received a strange voicemail yesterday afternoon. The call was from an area code from original home area code, which my phone # still is same number I've had for years, so I figured it was spam and didn't answer it. The voicemail was from some realtor saying he was leaving this message for the lady that bought our house. He had some buyers looking for property in the area and were interested in her place if she was interested in selling it. Weird, let alone how he got my phone number for her? It's been 4 years since we sold that place. I don't know if I should call the guy back and tell him he's got the wrong # or just ignore it, haha. I guess if he tries calling again I will.

TGIF. and it's payday, too. This is always a good payday because I also get paid from my side job (once a month). 

I'm planning a trip into the city tomorrow morning to pick up groceries and a small order at Lowes of a few things dh needs. I need to finalize my grocery order and figure out what time I want to pick it up. My mom has flopped back and forth if she wants me to pick her up or not. First she will say sure, then she will say "oh, I really don't need anything", LOL. I will probably check with her on my way in the morning and see if she at least just wants to ride in the car with me while I make my 2 stops and then I can drop her back off. 

Well, looks like the earliest I can pickup a grocery order tomorrow is 11am, so guess that's when it is LOL. I did just talk to my mom again this morning and sounds like she does want to go for the ride with me to the stores to pick up stuff (not go in). Though she will probably need a few things so we probably will at least go into Target or Walgreens. She had called me fairly early this morning (never a good sign) and said she wasn't feeling very well. Her chest felt tight. She hasn't had that happen for months now, which is good. She does occasionally have heartburn/acid reflux (takes med for it) so I had a feeling it was probably that. I asked if she had taken her temperature and she hadn't though of doing that. I figured that would be a good sign one way or the other. She took it and called me back and it was normal, which I figured would also make her not worry as much. I called her back about an hour later and she was better. She ate breakfast and was just taking it easy.

The county I live in (for now at least) has zero Covid cases. All recovered and none had to require hospitalization, which is so good to hear. Masks were mandatory (per state order) if more than 4 cases in a county. It will be interesting to see now if people go back to not wearing masks in the stores in town, or keep wearing them.

The wind has kicked up and I can hear my beautiful Corinthian Bells wind chimes playing their beautiful music. It is so relaxing to listen to. Sometimes I will wake up in the middle of the night and hear them. 

Apparently I've been sitting too long this morning - my butt hurts! Time for lunch




Thursday, October 29, 2020

The complaint issue

Another day of a dog barking non-stop yesterday. The neighbor Mrs. must have taken two of the dogs with her to vet appts. while she works, (she will drop them off before work and pick up after) as there is only one dog there all by herself and she was not one bit happy about the situation. It sure gets old. 

And while I'm complaining, I'm tired of getting purchase order requests at work and they don't give me the ship to address. Sure, I'd love to enter this PO for you....but I'm not a mind reader nor going to assume you need it shipped to the office (especially when hardly anyone is there still), LOL. It's part of the basic info needed. Part#, price, quantity and ship to address. Pretty simple.

OK, I'm done complaining! I'm adding some black 8x10 frames to my Walmart pick up order. I have a bunch of ink and pencil sketches my biological dad did years ago (dated early 70's). All of ranch life and scenery (my grandparents had a cattle ranch in eastern MT). I'm going to pick out 3 or 4 of them (out of about 30) and put them in my master bathroom. I haven't put anything on the walls in there yet and I think the western theme of the sketches will go great with the decor (wood look tile).  Here is one I think I will use

They are all drawn on 9x12 paper, but many have crinkled edges, even a coffee stain or two, haha, and some of the pages have 3 hole punch on one side, so I'm just going to trim down a bit to fit 8x10. Most are not drawn all the way out to the edge of the paper, so they will fit 8x10. DD said she would like to have one of them, too, so I will frame one for her and send. I already scanned most all of them and sent copies to my half sister (same dad).

Well, sort of a complaint, but not....the new chicken waterer is leaking a bit out of the bottom :(  Just a slow drip. I had a feeling this would happen with they way dh had to take it apart. Maybe he can figure out a way to reseal it better. 

I'm not really liking my new pretty notebook much. It's pretty, but hard to use. The outside that folds over doesn't stay down flat when you are trying to write in it, so it's a bit annoying. At least it wasn't expensive. If nothing else it looks pretty sitting on my desk, LOL. At least I now have all my logins and passwords copied over to it and mostly now in alphabetical order, making them a bit easier to look up when necessary.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Getting back to Fall weather

Had a few of laughs/eye rolls over some Facebook comments yesterday. Two were on posts made by DD while they were visiting here. She had shared pics of the snow here and their dogs playing in the snow. Her first post said "some Fall's fall leaves, some fall snow 😄". Her Dh's aunt in CA comments "I don't see any of the leaves you are talking about, I only see fir trees, but pretty though".  ok....Then on another picture of her corgi with the snow as tall as he is, the aunt says "hope you are keeping him warm. Maybe get him a snow suit or snow shoes?" OMG, LOL. I so wanted to comment just about everyone here in MT has dogs and no snow suits or snow shoes needed, they all are fine, LOL. (of course I didn't). Like Dh said - her dogs were the first ones to the door and didn't want to come back in when we'd take them outside. DD just replied that she thinks he was running around playing in it too much to get cold. Our neighbors dogs have the doggy door so could stay inside as much as they want. They still spend most of their time outside, even in the snow and cold.

Then my side job boss shared a picture of their prop tax bill with a part circled and says ya, guess who's paying for the destruction and chaos in Portland? One of her friends (also from CA) says what is your property value? I want to see if CA or OR prop taxes are higher. Friend just replied, CA is higher for sure. Then friend says "well, your tax due is 4x more than mine". Well, duh.....of course friend isn't going to say on Facebook how much her property is worth - geez! I'm sure this is the tax statement for the office building they bought, their home is in a different county. Obviously it would be much higher value than most homes, even in CA, and obviously she isn't going to share that. Yet her friend kept pushing it and posted a copy of her own tax assessment in CA where her home is valued at $285k. Well duh.......obviously my friends property must be valued at way more than that to owe $13k in property taxes, LOL and most people aren't going to share that kind of personal info on Facebook.

My new sheets got washed and on the bed yesterday. They are definitely much thicker, heavier weight. Old style cotton sheets. Hopefully the last king sized set I have to buy for a long time. The only thing I really liked about my old sheets is they had a tag on the edge that said "side" LOL. It's hard to figure out on a king sized fitted sheet, when the difference between side and top/bottom is only 4 inches.

DH just nickels and dimes me to death. Every time I turn around he needs something. A couple of picture frames, more screws, filters for this or that...I'm going to put in a little bit in  my budget for "dh stuff", so at least I have some of it budgeted for.

He said he has a couple of Christmas gift ideas for me he will need to order online. But, he knows, of course, I'll see the charge amount and who it's to. I said how about I get him a Visa gift card for whatever total he needs and then he can make the purchases charged to that and then I won't see it. That's the only thing I can think of to do.

Warming up to 50 today and that should melt the snow some more. Most of it on the trees melted yesterday, but it is still on the ground and roofs. I'm glad though. I need to go to the city and stock up on groceries on Saturday. I can't remember if I said I did get 2 plastic bins with handles to help organize my freezer better. They are a huge help. I put meats in one and bags of frozen food (veggies, etc) in another, I also took a soft sided reusable grocery bag with handles and put breads in it. I'm getting more stocked up with freezer stuff, gradually. We had decided not to buy any meat from the local meat cutting place. It's a few miles down the road from us, so we drive by it all the time. The only one in the area and does do good business. But, we just can't. The place looks like a dump. The outside is not cared for one little bit. I mean c'mon, at least throw some gravel down in your parking area and actually make a parking area. DH and I both said if the owner can't even take care to make the outside look at least a little bit presentable what does the inside look like, where meat is cut and wrapped? Ugh. So, I'll just keep stocking up from the grocery store. That meat probably comes from someplace that looks just like it, but at least I don't have to actually see it for my own eyes, LOL.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Hen Happenings

OMG. DH is just too much sometimes, LOL. So, the infrared heater and heated chicken waterer arrived yesterday. He installed the heater (it's like a small flat panel that goes on the wall) pretty easily. But, the stupid chicken waterer literally has like a 15 inch electric cord! Stupidest thing ever. I suppose if our outlet was down at a level like in a house that would be great, but it's up beneath the light switch. DH didn't think it was good to put the outlet down low, where they could possibly peck at it and get shocked! I read some more questions/reviews and several said they just use an extension cord. I guess dh wasn't too excited about using an extension cord outside (even though it's in the coop, covered), so he says let me look at it, I might be able to put a new cord on it....

2 hours later it's "fixed". For some reason he had to take the bottom apart, ,so he could see where the cord went inside. It had screws, but part of it was glue sealed on. Finally he gets it apart. I thought for sure he's going to end up breaking this plastic and great I'm out $50. He gets it apart. Then proceeds to cut off most of the cord - 3 or so inches away from where the cord comes out the base. I didn't ask, but why didn't he just do that in the first place rather than taking the base apart?? He also apparently pulled up the part that was glued down to the inside of the base where it was all connected to. Then he says do you have a glue gun? um...I used to, haven't used it in 20 years, let me go see if I still even have it. Found it in my "craft" drawer but the little bag of glue sticks is empty. Why would I leave an empty bag in there? let alone I doubt I ever used that many on anything, LOL. They must have fallen out. Finally I find a lone glue stick in the drawer. I'm thinking to myself: why can't he just be like a normal person and just use an extension cord?! The little old glue gun worked great to reseal that part to the base. Finally he got the base cover put back on, but it probably needed to be sealed again where he broke the seal apart. He ended up sealing it with some caulk. Then it took another half hour to get the wiring from where he cut the cord hooked up to the longer piece of electric cord. Finally it was all done. He put some water in to make sure it didn't leak and plugged it in. It wasn't leaking. Then I read the instructions and it said it would only come on and heat when it was below 34 degrees, so it needed to be outside to see if it was working or not. We just put it out in the coop (it's like 6:30 by then, we hadn't even had dinner) to see.

It was 23 degrees outside. The little heater didn't seem to be heating the coop roost area much, so we put it in the higher setting. When we checked on the water to see if it was staying unfroze, dh used his temperature gun to see the temp inside the coop. The heater panel was 130ish (that's what it's supposed to be per the instructions) but pointing the heat gun to the wall inside roosting area was still only like 23 degrees. Well, lets leave it on all night and see if it gets heated back up in there.

This morning when I got up I went out to check. It's still 23 degrees out. The water is still unfrozen (yay!). I pointed the heat gun at the wall inside the roosting area and it was now 38. Not too warm, which is good, I think, but above freezing now, at least.

DH was also busy engineering, in his head, a new watering system, LOL. There is a water pump just outside at the corner of the coop. He's got a splitter thing on it, so he can hook up like 2-3 different hoses, so he wants to use a short hose that goes directly into the top of the waterer (which of course he'll have to drill a hole into the plastic, LOL) and install the hose and to fill up (from the top, rather than the bottom), I just have to open the pump handle and fill it up. No taking apart the waterer to fill up, then turn it over and carry back into the coop. The good thing, though, about this new waterer, is it is much bigger than the other one I had. It's 3 gallons, so 3 gallons (that doesn't freeze) will last the girls quite awhile before I have to fill it up again, even if it's the normal way.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Cold weather and vacuums

Brrr. Still very cold at 3 degrees when I got up. Had to thaw out the frozen chicken waterer again. The heated waterer I ordered last week should be here today (just in time that I don't need it now, for awhile, after today, haha). It's supposed to get up to 37 today and then warmer and warmer. ok by me, LOL. I will need to get a bunch of groceries by next weekend, so that is good the weather will be warm.

Just trying to get caught up this morning with 2 days of work emails. Not too bad, but one more day off would have been nice ;). But, I have a state business tax return to get filed by today and then tomorrow is payroll processing day, so I really didn't want to jump into the week starting with doing payroll.

Our neighbors down at the end of the street (young couple) are trying to get their shop and garage built, but same old story. Delays and delays. The guy is so frustrated and said he is so sick of contractors. DH told him we FINALLY had our last one here, last Friday, to replace one of the garage door panels. DH forgot this guy is a cousin to our builder, haha! The guy says "I didn't know he could build a house this nice"....DH said he was being very nice and diplomatic about the builder (still not remembering he was his cousin) and then partway into the conversation dh remembered. DH did say "well, to be honest he didn't really build it. He was only here like 3 times during the whole build (like 15 months). His son and crew framed it and we ended up getting quite a few of the subs ourselves.". DH got the vibe he really didn't care much for his cousin, the builder and apparently does not like his wife, LOL. We never met her.

My new sheets are supposed to get here today. Actually they were supposed to come Saturday but got delayed by FedEx. My Amazon subscribe and save items (mostly dog stuff) was supposed to come last Friday and got delayed until today, too. The doggies didn't get their brushing chew this morning as I am out. I hope the sheets come early enough today for me to have time to wash and dry and get them on the bed before bedtime tonight.

I delayed this post until after lunch to see if my eating scrambled eggs again helps with the afternoon sleepiness. I didn't try it over the weekend, since we had company and then yesterday I didn't care because I knew I was taking a nap anyway, LOL. It's 2:15 and I'd say still success. I don't feel like I'm going to fall asleep at my desk.

I unplugged my printer last week, when DH was cleaning the windows, so he could get to the window without the printer on the desk. Now it won't work. What the heck. I haven't used it since then. Either that caused it or our power went out shortly the other night, but it's never caused my printer to not work before. Says it's offline.Ok, well that was easy. I had it plug in the wrong spot in the back :/

Anyone use a good vacuum for LONG pet hair? I need something that doesn't wrap around the brush. I have this expensive Dyson that is supposed to be great for animal hair. Yes, it's great for picking up/suction/cleaning, but it is NOT great for all the fur (and my long hair) wrapping around the brush. I literally have to stop after each room and cut away the hair. Yet, it still manages to suck into the brush motor/housing and after a few uses gets all stuck in there and hot and actually burns the plastic. This is a stupid brush system in this model. It is 2 brushes and the 2 roller/brushes meet partway with the motor/housing in between them, so the fur and hair just sucks in on both sides. DH is sick and tired of having to take it apart constantly to get the fur/hair out of it and I am sick and tired of having to stop after each room and cut off the fur/hair wrapped around it.

I have read some reviews of these newer vacuums that are supposed to be "tangle free". The reviews seem mixed. My dogs fur is like 4 inches (or longer in some areas) long. I need to figure out something that works better. I also literally try to pick up as much of the fur as possible before I vacuum. I will rub my tennis shoes over the carpet and pick up a bunch (even though you can't see it) and still gets clogged in the vaccum. (it's my hair too, I think I shed just as bad as he does, LOL).  I'm thinking at a minimum, a vacuum that just has a full brush straight across. Even with having to cut out the fur/hair constantly, it's better than one like I have where is gets into the parts and has to be completely taken apart.

While it would otherwise be an awesome vacuum, just not for what I am dealing with. That section that splits the 2 brushes houses the brush motor and the fur/hair sucks inside there and gets so hot it melts the plastic, insdie and also will smell like burned hair when I am vacuuming. I had bought a whole replacement head, not too long after I bought the vacuum (2017) because while I was cutting out the hair off the brush all the time, I didn't realize it was sucking inside there. Dh took it apart and saw what it was doing. I got the extra one, but after time now (a few years) it's about done for. I really do not want to spend $130 for a whole new brush head part.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Back to normal

It was a really nice long weekend with DD and her DH. We totally got dumped on with snow on Friday and Friday night. 13 inches! I think they were a bit freaked out about having to drive home today (Sunday) but we told them with the snow stopping Saturday morning by Sunday the roads should be good and mostly dry and they are (well, one lane is). They just left about 10:30 and once they get the first 50 miles or so (where it snowed) they will be past all of it. It was -3 this morning and only up to 12 right now. But starting tomorrow up to 36 and the rest of the week back up to 50's, which I am glad of. While it's absolutely beautiful here right now, I'm not quite ready for all snow all the time, yet.

DD and I finally got that 1000 piece puzzle done yesterday. She agreed it was a hard one. They got here at 7pm Thursday, so they made good time getting over here at exactly 7 hours. So, we had the whole evening to visit. We weren't able to go see my mom, since they aren't allowing visitors and with a foot of snow on the way Friday afternoon, we didn't want to get caught in it driving back home. She had a good chat with her on the phone on Friday.

SIL brought his little smoker and smoked some salmon, which was delicious with crackers and cream cheese, which we snacked on Friday afternoon. Then he made a good meatloaf in his smoker that we had for dinner. DD made a good broccoli salad. I also made a cake, to celebrate her birthday a couple weeks early. And gave her a couple of presents to open.

Friday night we just watched a couple of movies on Amazon prime. DH was out plowing and shoveling most of that time, LOL. Last night we watched another movie after dinner, a Prime Original I think - Peanut Butter Falcon. Very cute movie, we all enjoyed it.

The only hard part of the weekend was their 2 dogs, haha. 4 dogs in the house is a bit chaotic and of course theirs were in new territory, so harder for them to relax. One of their dogs they got when he was already 5 and he apparently has some past trauma. It's like he has PTSD. He'll be fine but if any dog approaches him (sometimes even their other dog) he will bare his teeth and growl. He sounds like the Tasmanian Devil cartoon! He's not aggressive, just scared, so he sounds mean. And of course both dogs had to bark at any little sound they weren't familiar with. I know it was bothering DD, more than it was bothering us. My 2 dogs have more than enough dog fur for me, and 4 dogs is crazy. I feel like all's I did was pick up clumps of dog fur all weekend.

Last night I made my 4 cheese and bacon mac and cheese for dinner, which was good. Everyone had seconds and cake for dessert, later on.

I always have to laugh at how much stuff they always bring and it's everywhere LOL. I couldn't keep up with dishes and running the dishwasher. I'd fill it up, turn it on, and before it was done I'd have another sink full of dishes. I think I now know why I could never keep a clean house when I had kids at home, haha. I felt like my house was a mess, but after they loaded up all their stuff, it was pretty much back to normal. I was cleaning dishes at the sink before anyone got up this morning and looking along our bar (3 section) counter top. Each section had their stuff, LOL. One had snacks. One had dd's wallet, sunglasses and keys and 2 water bottles. Another section had SIL's wallet and keys. 

I wish the weather would have been "normal" so we could have gone to see my mom, or got out to do something, but it was still nice and super relaxing. I did send her home with 2 dozen eggs, which she was happy to get.

All quiet now. I think both of and the dogs are ready for a nap!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Starting the long weekend

DH is making his way through the pallets of storage bins (these things, in case anyone is wondering, haha)

One had some bedding in it and he brought it in. Now I remember it was stuff needing to go to Goodwill, but we didn't have time before we moved. I decided to ask my friend in town if she knows anyone that can use some twin bedding stuff. She works at the grade school and helps a lot of the families who are low income with a food pantry and such she has going on at school. I told her there is an alternative down comforter, a blanket, 2 duvet covers and 2 mattress covers. She said yes, she does! A couple just had their grandkids move in and they need some things. Perfect. I will go drop them off to her later today. DH also found 2 twin foam mattress toppers and she will take those, too.

I just got my messy desk all cleaned up. A stack of papers gone through (and most thrown away). As much as I try to go paperless, there still sure is a lot of papers. Desk is all nice and neat now, though. Looks like it's going to be a fairly sunny day. Cold though. It's only going to be 37 today.

Still on my list to do - clean chicken coop. Dust, vacuum, wrap birthday gifts, and go into town. Oh and dh wants his hair cut, too. I cleaned my kitchen and bathrooms yesterday and cleaned all up after I made dh's breakfast and my coffee this morning. I didn't finish the puzzle. The kids will have to help me, LOL.




Wednesday, October 21, 2020

I'm awake this afternoon

I have been having terrible afternoon sleepiness while trying to work the past month or two. I'm not a very good lunch eater. I usually just snack on something. Though sometimes I have a sandwich or soup (and still sleepy) Today I had 2 scrambled eggs. It's almost 3pm and no sleepiness today. I'll have to try that again and see if it helps.

DH was busy and tired by the end of yesterday. He cleaned all the bottom level windows on the house and shop, even each little window on the garage and shop roll up doors. He does have one of those window washing brushes and a squeegee, but like he says, he can't do it like the pros, haha. Maybe if he did it everyday, as a job, he'd get good at it, I suppose.

UPS is dropping something off today, so hopefully we can catch him so I can give him the old Firestick I need to ship back to Amazon. Usually we hear him pulling in - or I should say the dogs do. The neighbor dogs bark first because from their house they can see him pulling into our street (so we usually know someone is coming, haha) and then our dogs bark when they hear/see him pull in our driveway. It just has to be sent back by 11/3 (as they already gave me credit on my purchase of the new one) and worse comes to worse I can run into town and drop it off with the shipping counter at the grocery store. 

I made myself a to-do list for tomorrow - what all I need to get done before dd arrives. By the looks of the list I'll be busy all day! LOL. I did clean the toilet in the upstairs bathroom, today. The rest of the bathroom is clean and tidy. The room they will sleep in is ready, just needs vacuumed. Son in law is going to cook for us one of the nights, so that will be nice!

Today is just getting away from me. It's almost time to quit work and I still don't know what I'm making for dinner. Ugh. I didn't take anything out of the freezer and I can't think of anything to make that doesn't need thawed out. Soup doesn't sound good. I guess I'll defrost a couple of steaks and make some rice and a veggie.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Tuesday good and bad

Yesterday was a day of kudos and thanks to myself and my boss. Our IRS audit is finally over and the final figure was very minimal. The company owners are thrilled and several emails thanking my boss and I for doing such a good job and a nice thank you message from my boss, directly to me about it. She took on most of the worry and stress, but we got through it. In part because I keep all emails and was able to go back to 2017 and 2018 and prove we had resolved our vendor 1099 issues. 

DH cleaned out the gutters from tree needles yesterday. He tried a new way - he used his shop vac, haha. It has a really long hose and he was able to stand on the ladder with the hose and suck most of them up. He was also able to reach more with the hose, so he didn't need to get down and move the ladder as often. Plus, he then didn't have to clean it all up off the ground around. He says today he is going to work on cleaning the windows outside. It's not supposed to rain today, which should help. 

There was a bird down on the back patio this morning chirping repeatedly like he's upset. I could hear him and looked out the window and see him wandering around down there. He's like "hey!! where's the birdbath??!". Sorry guy, we had to put it away for the winter. 

A friend of mine (since jr. high school) on Facebook felt the backlash of being a conservative yesterday. She doesn't usually post anything political, though I do on occasion see her comment on conservative pages (probably because we follow the same ones). She shared a video from years ago. Nothing you can argue about over it. Nothing even really very political, as far as opinions go. A few friends commented to the effect, yes times have changed. But a few others were rude. One saying she can't believe friend would support Trump, especially in her line of work So, now we have to be Democrat to work in a certain field? Friend asked if she is not allowed to have her own opinions now?  She also stood up for herself in a second reply, with complete respect. A few others, including myself also stood up for her. My reply was that the video she shared had nothing to do with Covid or Trump, whatsoever. It was to show how times have changed. It's a sad day when  friends feels the right to judge and insinuate you have a bad character, just because you believe in conservative values and policies.

Has anyone made their own vanilla extract before? My bottles of vodka and vanilla beans are still in the works. When I read online how to do it, I read several blogs or articles on it. Several said just to use cheap vodka, it didn't need to be expensive stuff. Well, a friend of mine who is crafty, just shared a pic on Facebook of when she made some a couple years ago and she was going to make some again, but she learned after the first time to use good vodka. I'm standing there in the kitchen looking at my cute bottles and thinking oh this not going to turn out good now? 😟 I will be bummed if this doesn't turn out well, since I wanted to use these as neighbor/friend Christmas gifts.

Two more sleeps and my dd will be here!

Monday, October 19, 2020


Yesterday continued our rain fest.  It was past time to get the dead annual flowers out of the pots and the pots stored away for the winter. With freezing temps on the way later in the week, it had to get done.  DH brought down the hanging baskets for me. We put all the pots in our little John Deere trailer, that pulls behind our lawn tractor.

My mom called about 3 times yesterday. It seems often Sundays are her day she tries to figure everything out, LOL.  She is so confused about having 2 bank accounts right now, as well as throw in that her credit card was hacked again last week and another new one is on the way, doesn't help one bit. She got her new bank debit card a couple weeks ago. We already talked about it. I know her new credit card is on it's way. She says yesterday I got this new Visa card, and I thought she meant it was her new cc had already come. So, I was confusing her more and then realized she was talking about her Visa debit card.....

I keep having to explain to her we have to keep the BofA accounts open until December, because Social Security takes over 2 months to change the banking info (good grief!) so we have to leave it open until it starts depositing to her new checking. Then I mentioned her new checks and she didn't think she got them. I said oh, I know you did, you said they came in a flat like folder, not a box....oh, right. There they are, sitting on top of her printer. I said a new "check register" should have come with the checks, so she can start keeping track of the transactions, but she says there is not one. I'll have to see if I have an extra one and mail it to her.

Then she called confused about why she has a medicare card and a Blue Cross card. What does she have for insurance? I said Blue Cross. She was apparently going to throw away her Medicare card. I said no, you need to keep that, too. She couldn't understand why. I said well, it's hard to explain but you are on Medicare, but they make you choose an insurance company that processes and pays your claims. I had to use that Medicare card info to enroll her with the new insurance company. Then she says well if I go to the doctor, which card do I give them. I said usually they just want the Blue Cross card. The she says well, I haven't had to go to the doctor in a long time.......ok....she's been like 5 times since she moved here and we did that virtual visit check up like 6 weeks ago.

Then she called while I was making dinner, so she said I could call her back. I knew when I called her back she would either have forgotten she even called or what she called about. I don't think she really knew, but she went to her desk and saw her voting ballot, so maybe that was why she called. I tried to help her over the phone......yikes, LOL. My guess is her ballot will end up being invalid when they receive it. I had to tell her a couple of times it has to be done in pen, not pencil. I also reminded her it needs to go in the secrecy envelope first and then the mailing envelope and the back of that needs to be signed and dated. 

We also decided to fortify the fencing around the maple trees! With the fencing only about 5 ft, our luck the deer would just reach over and grab leaves if they could reach far enough. We had leftover chicken coop material, so dh wanted to attach it to make the fencing higher around the tree. Only it wasn't enough to do both trees. He then decided he'd have to cut the fencing lengthwise. He had a wire snipping tool but it was taking FOREVER. I said, can't you use your new nifty saw you bought? oh ya! He went and got that and it was cut in like 30 seconds. We wrapped each piece around the top of the existing fencing we put up the day before and secured with many zip ties. It's over 6ft tall now, so pretty sure no deer can get to them.

We have my old vacuum DH uses in the shop to vacuum the rugs and mats he has, as well as the rugs (leftover pieces from our house carpeting) he has in the garage at the inside of doors. It won't pick up anything anymore. We took it apart and it was clogged with stuff.  We cleaned it all out really well and it works good now. It does need a new filter thing and need to order more vacuum bags. They get harder and harder to find as this vacuum is old and not made anymore. The filter I had to find on ebay. 

We are still waiting on that replacement panel to be installed on one of our garage doors. It was supposed to be done when the guy came and put up the shed door a couple weeks ago. Then it was supposed to be done last week, but no call. I emailed the guy on Friday and now he says he'll be out this Friday to install it. It's been like 3 months since we ordered it!

Neighbor brought over some "trick or treat" cookies she made yesterday. I'm not sure what kind they are, but very soft - molasses, I think. Yummy. Even dh liked them. But, if I would have made them he wouldn't have even tried them because he would say he doesn't like that kind.

Happy Monday :)

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Maple trees

We got the 2 Autumn Blaze maple trees planted, in the rain. I'm really happy with what I ordered online. They came quickly and were packaged really well. They look nice and healthy. Advertised as 5-6 ft, they are both a good 6ft (after planting), if not a bit taller (dh is 6').

Some day they are supposed to look like this! In our lifetime? haha.

Supposedly they will grow 3-5 ft a year. Nothing ever seems to grow as fast as they say.  I'm glad I thought ahead to buy some bags of potting soil, as we did use 2 of them. DH had both our fire pits going. He had a pile of brush and a whole lot of scrap wood to burn up and with the drizzly weather it was a good time. At least it didn't feel cold while we were outside, so that helped.

He had also burned some old papers from one of his bins and then I was able to add a small bankers box of old papers (from my side job, haha) to the fire. One less box in my office now. Years ago, before I had 2 monitors I always printed out the papers I had to work off of (reconciling commission payments) but after I started using 2 monitors I now just keep the report on once screen and do my work on the other. I hardly print out anything anymore, thank goodness.

DH used some of the leftover fencing wire and put up around the trees, to see if we can keep the deer from them until they can grow taller. Not pretty, but gotta do it. When the rain stops (doesn't sound like this week either), I'll spray some deer repellent around them. I had gone back in the house, but when I saw him starting that I went out to help as I figured it would be easier trying to handle the roll of wire, etc, and it did help quite a bit having 2 of us. Plus, I was able to pull the wire back for him while he pounded the posts in the ground. Our neighbor came out on her back deck and asked why we were out in the rain, LOL. I said well, it's not stopping, so here we are, haha.

Our backyard is down a fairly steep slope. After going up and down that numerous time yesterday, my hips hurt. I'm surprised it wasn't harder on my knees. They are still a bit achy today, but thankfully I really don't need to do much today.

I did get a short nap in later in the afternoon and finished a book. I remembered I had several free books I've downloaded from Amazon First Reads and had started one of them awhile back. They are ok books, nothing great, but at least something to read while I'm waiting on books I've reserved through the library. Then one of my library books became available, last evening, so I started that one. "A Gentleman in Moscow". I haven't gotten very far, but seems like it will be good. It was on the bestsellers list at one point.

I'm still working on that dang puzzle. Found another 10 pieces or so, while I ate my sandwich. I'm trying to get it done before's taking up half my dining table and I'll need it for eating when DD and her dh come. 

It's supposed to snow today, but so far it's still rain. Some friends in another part of the state got some snow yesterday.

I'm looking forward to a short work week, since I'm taking Thursday and Friday off.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Rain rain go away

It is pouring rain, again. Supposed to stay like this all weekend. Not a good time for planting the 2 maple trees that are delivering today. Ugh. I guess I'll still be wiping 8 wet/muddy paws for awhile. They are good though. They know to sit in front of me, while I take the dog drying towel and say "feet" and they hand me a paw. Then the next one. Then I say "back feet" and they stand up and let me clean the back paws.

DH has put up a bunch more pictures in the shop. And a few various signs. One he came across is a metal sign that says "mancave" He hates that term, LOL. He doesn't even know who gave him the sign. I said it wasn't me and I would usually remember if someone else gave it to him. He thought maybe dd, but she said no. I said just throw it out. Since he can't get rid of anything I see he put it over the door to the shop bathroom, LOL. Kinda fitting, haha. I got the firestick hooked up to his tv, so he has live tv out there now, which I'm sure helps, while he's out there fiddling around.

My car registration tabs, expiring at the end of this month arrived in the mail, so that is on the plate now. I paid for them online Thursday and they were in my mailbox the next day. Pretty fast service from our town office at the courthouse. My car insurance renewed for a new term the other day, so that new insurance card is in the glovebox. All good to go.

I had a hard time waking up this morning. I think because dh woke me up at like 12:30 last night, because he someone messed up his Facebook login. It was a blank white screen and wouldn't reload. He has Facebook accounts for our dogs he sometimes switches over to and somehow it didn't work. He tried to google the issue and was told to clear the cache and cookies. So, we did that and I made sure the box "saved logins/passwords" was not checked. That fixed the issue, but his saved logins for the dogs accounts was gone and he had only written down one of them for the email and password he used to set it up. I have no idea what he used and he did it years ago.

I took the scissors to my hair again and worked on putting more layers into it. I think it helped. I had done ok with some layers at the front of my face, but the back had none and looked dumb, haha.  I could use a bit more in the back, but didn't want to cut too much until I get comfortable with snipping away. 

Fed Ex just delivered our 2 trees, bright and early for them, but I think Saturday usually is earlier than weekdays. 

DH also might have someone buying one of the old race car frames. We'll see. Aside from the extra money, the main thing is it would free up more shop space for DH. The guy could change his mind or find something else, so I'm not holding my breath, but keeping fingers crossed.

Time to get in the shower....or maybe I should wait until after we plant the 2 trees, I'm sure I'll be soaked and wet. I think I'll wait.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Finally Friday

Well, as I'm waiting for the email back from the general mgr of where my mom lives, at the end of my work day I get another email (from the person that sends out the announcements) that the county health department has issued an order that all senior care places have no visitors, starting today. Well, I guess that answers that now! GRRR. I still would like to know how to open that pdf document, though, LOL.

Mom seems fine. She's actually the one who told me no visitors now and at first I was like, is she confused? After we hung up I then checked my emails as sure enough there was the email that had come while I was busy making dinner. They are, though, still allowing activities (in small groups still) for the residents, so at least she is still getting to do her exercise class and Bingo.  

This week did seem to zip by. I'm still working on that darn 1000 pc puzzle. It's so hard! At the rate I only find a handful of pieces a day.........

The Firestick I ordered for DH's shop tv already arrived, so I need to get that hooked up.

DD's dh is always so conscientious about having his truck ready for a long trip. If it needs tires, he puts on tires. He always makes sure it's safe and ready. DD said yesterday afternoon/evening she helped him put all new brakes on their truck. It's good that he can do that work himself and dd's good help (she had all those years helping with the race cars)- she knows her tools, LOL. I used to kind of know them. I recall one time we were in Kansas for a national race event. Since we were so far from home, I was dh's little pit crew, haha. I was standing next to our pit cart during a race, when son's car had some issues and had to come in during a yellow. DH yells over to me I need the 3/16 socket! I hurriedly grabbed it and handed it to him, from all the tools. An older guy sitting in the stands behind me says "a lady that knows her tools, that's awesome" LOL.

I bit the bullet and ordered those expensive sheets and pillow cases yesterday. I went to make my bed and realized there is another new tear in the fitted sheet. I had hoped that sewing the one tear would get these sheets by for awhile longer, but it's time for a new set. The new tear was up near my pillow and I'm guessing my ring did it. This diamond ring (not wedding ring) snags things easily. I'm always snagging sweaters and long sleeved clothes if I cross my arms. I did find a 20% off coupon code, before checking out, so at least I saved $38 on them and I did order the pieces separately, instead of a king sized set, so that I could get standard sized pillow cases. Now, I'm anxious to get them.

Both of the gifts I ordered dh for her birthday arrived yesterday, too. I need to dig in my Christmas closet, where I have wrapping paper and bags and see if/what have for birthdays. I may need to order some, or get creative with what I do have.

I finished the new Longmire book by Craig Johnson (in like 2 days) so now I need to find something new to read for the weekend. I don't have anything downloaded and not much in my waiting to borrow queue, either. 

In all dh's unpacking of bins in his shop recently, he found a bin of his old desk "stuff". Included was his old laptop in a case with the battery. He plugged it in and started charging it up. He clicked on firefox but couldn't access any websites, like Facebook. I said the version of Firefox is probably so old. I took the laptop up to my office to fiddle with it. The clock on the laptop said it was August 2007. Was that really the last time he used it? haha.  I suppose that is possible. I honestly don't remember when he stopped using it, but could be. I updated to a current Firefox version, changed the date and time and charged it up. This morning he says the date is back to 2007. I'm sure the thing is just way too old now. I googled the issue and sounds like something to do with a "flat motherboard battery". Probably not something he is going to be able to use out in the shop. If he wants to access websites, he'll just have to use his phone (or he does have an ipad mini he rarely uses) like he has been for years.

So, after almost 9 months we appear to be finally done with our IRS audit at work. Good grief. Covid kind of slowed things down. Then they tried to ding us $63,000 for some 1099's we supposedly should have filed, but our CPA worked on that (that's what we pay him, for after all). After all that we ended up owing like $1100, so I think once my boss signs off on that and we pay the bill it is finally over. I know she has lost sleep over it these past months. It was good news to get this final update from our CPA on a Friday (though my boss is off today, so she might not see it for a bit)

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Free stuff

It's payday. I always like to get everything paid and checked off my budget, haha. Now that all the big payments to contractors (ie fence, etc) are done, I'm gradually having more money left over now, so that is a good thing. Still doing some smaller expenses, (like 2 maple trees for $230) but winding down on those, too.

I'm 99% sure we won't be getting any bonus's this year, which is a huge bummer. Though, the owners and 3 managers just got their yearly bonus's...........I guess their bonus isn't tied to company sales performance, LOL. 

I created the 2 shipping labels for the 2 big boxes dh wants to ship to DS. Luckily they still had a promo code so I got 30% off what I was expecting to pay/budgeted for, so a $50 savings. 

I got a free turkey today! My friend in town, who gets the free food to distribute every so often, texted that she would have free frozen turkeys to give away between 10am and noon, so I made sure to get there earlier rather than later. There were a few cars in the bus loading zone when I pulled up, so I got out and there was my friend handing out all the stuff she had, LOL. Besides turkeys she had some frozen 1# ground beef rolls, so I took 3 of those. And my neighbor was there at the same time, haha. He was dropping stuff off at the school, so friend was telling him, take a turkey! He was happy, too. As we are leaving he says "see ya at home!" LOL. I also dropped off our ballots at the courthouse. Then I stopped at the grocery store - in need of bananas and tartar sauce. The grocery store is right across the street from the courthouse so I just left my car at the courthouse and walked to the grocery store. I had bought some frozen fish fillets, but forgot I don't have any tartar sauce to go with. Then I stopped at the lumber store to see if they had any bags of potting soil left. We have a couple of maple trees coming to plant and are out of potting soil. Thankfully they still had quite a few bags out front of the store.

I did get an email update from my mom's senior living place that the person (my mom thought it was a kitchen employee) tested for Covid was negative so they are back to "normal". It takes a week for results? The email said if any questions email the General Manager, who was cc'd. Hmm...that is not the same name as the person I knew to be the general manager. I wonder if they have a new one, now. Before the gen. mgr was this guy and his wife was the asst. gen mgr. Her mom is a resident and the mgr and his wife actually live not too far from me. I wanted to verify if my dd and her dh are ok to visit mom in her apartment, since they are from out of state. I know when I go visit, every time I have to check in via an app and one of the questions is if you have been out of state in past 14 days. I emailed the gen. mgr to ask and she sent me a pdf of the policy - which I cannot figure out how to open! It says it's a "Onedrive for business file" and when I try to open it it takes me to a Microsoft screen to log in. I tried both my outlook emails (each from work). It says my email is not on the directory for her apartment company. Then I tried to register my email that she used to reply to my email, but that didn't work either. Good grief. Just a simple question I need answered. I emailed her back that I'm sorry, I have tried everything I could think of to open her document, but no luck. It's probably something stupidly easy, but why not just a pdf that opens right up, like every other one, LOL.

I'm reading the newest Walt Longmire book out. Those are always an enjoyable read. I miss the tv show.

Feels like a productive day. Bills paid, turkey picked up, ballots dropped off, mail dropped off, quick store run. Back to work now.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

And again....

DH went to flush the tankless water heaters with vinegar Monday and realized the one in the house has a small leak. Apparently the way it is set up, is that if it leaks it just goes down into the crawl space, so not over the closet floor. Anyhow, he said the brass fitting must have a hairline crack and wanted me to run into town to see if I could get a replacement one. First he tried to call the propane guy (who installs these things) but he didn't answer. So, I went to the propane place first, but the gal in there said she would be of no help because she just started 3 weeks ago and the head guy (who dh called) was out on calls. I said, ya, my dh tried to call him first, but he didn't answer. She said let me take a picture of it and I'll ask him. I thought she was going to text it to him, but no, she just wrote out a phone memo note, for when he got back in the office and then he could look at her phone picture, I guess.

So, I tried the hardware store and lumber store, but no luck, of course. Then I decided to go back into the propane place (all this is within a block of each other, LOL) and see if she could try calling the guy again, so he could at least say if he had the fitting or if not, then I'd know I needed to drive all the way into the city to get one. When I went back in, one of the propane delivery guys was there, but he wasn't much more help either. He tried to call the guy but no answer, but he said he had just talked to him a little bit ago and he was on his way back to the office, if I could wait a bit. A few minutes later he showed up and looked at my fitting. Went in back and brought out a new one. Apparently he had the whole piece that the fitting goes on, it is going back to the mfg as it has a different bad part on it, but the fitting I needed from it was good, so he just pulled it off that, LOL. All fixed now.

I'm not really liking this new blogger format for comments. Used to be, for the spam comments, I could check the box next to each one and then click on spam once and get rid of them all at one shot. Now it appears I have to do each one individually. Ugh.

DH has an old 32inch tv out in the shop. I hooked my old Firestick up to it, but this Firestick will not find the YouTubeTV app, so he can't watch live tv on it. I've been waiting for Amazon Prime Day, to see if it goes on sale, so I can get him one. They have the newer 4k Firestick, regularly $50 for $29.99. I was hoping they'd have the next cheaper model on sale, but they don't. I'll probably put this newest one on the house tv and give him the firestick from that tv (which isn't very old, I bought it because the first one I bought in 2015 was so slow). In checking out, I saw a "trade-in" option. It even knew I had bought 2 firesticks previously and I checked the oldest one. It gave me $11.21 credit towards the new one, if I mail it in by 11/3 and will email a shipping label. Plus, I remembered I have a $3 Amazon gift card from Verizon up rewards. All applied and the $50 Firestick cost under $15. 

Yesterday we had a quarterly conference call with mom's investment guy. His assistant had called me a week or so ago to set it up. I have a feeling last time he talked to her he realized she's probably not remembering much about it all, so she asked if I wanted to be in on it. Seems like a really nice guy and he started taking care of my parents investments about 30 years ago! She is still hovering at a total value of just under $1 million. I want to see it over a million just to take a screen shot, haha. Basically, he just kind of gave an overview of how he thinks the market is doing. Then talked about how her portfolio has been doing. Last year was great at 21% increase and this year has been better than he expected, at 12.29%, so still in double digits for her, while the S&P is up 9% this year.  He wants to sell a couple of stocks she owns. I didn't catch the purchase price of the first one, but the 2nd one, Intel, he said they bought at $9600 and now it's worth $37,000. So, he's going to sell those two stocks and put the money in her cash reserves. Overall he thinks, for the short term, it's best to reduce her investments in stocks by 5%, bringing her down to 44% of her money in stocks. He said she has quite a bit just in cash, but that gives him money to buy stocks cheap during the down times. Sounds like a good conservative plan.

And while I'm on that call my phone is getting texts. I hang up and it's Bank of America and her credit card has yet again got a fraud charge on it. I give up! As soon as we can close the BofA checking (I have to wait until SS transfers her deposit) I'm just closing the credit card, too. We'll just use her debit card with her new checking and see how that goes. 

My friend in town, who sometimes gets food to distribute, texted me last night that Thursday morning she will have frozen turkeys to give away. I was planning on going into town tomorrow or Friday anyway, to drop off our ballots at the courthouse, so I will stop and get a free turkey :).  Usually her free stuff goes pretty fast so I'd better get there when she starts at 10am, LOL.

DH has been a crab lately. I think it's because he's been out in his shop, still trying to figure out what to do with all his "stuff". I'm sure it's overwhelming, much of it brings back so many memories of our son, and I think he gets frustrated with himself that he can't get rid of anything. But, he has been hanging pictures and emptying those bins, so it's progress, even though small. He's always trying to get my opinion on where should he hang this picture of that picture. I swear to God, no matter what I say he will have a reason it can't go there. Honestly I could care less where he hangs any of them! If you have wall space you are designating for pictures, then just start putting them up! If it's wall space that's for future cabinets or whatever, then don't. 

It's been drizzling rain all week. I'm tired of wiping 8 wet/muddy paws off all day.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

An interesting read

My side job is based in Portland. I had asked my boss/friend how close their new office (they aren't in it yet) is to downtown and all the rioting/destruction. She said not right in downtown. I said well, eventually they will run out of downtown buildings to vandalize and start moving beyond. Well, she just sent me a picture of their building spray painted all over. Then she pretty much just said what I said in my previous blog - she doesn't know why they did this at their age!

I'm reading an interesting book about food and the brain called Genius Foods. I'm only about halfway through it, but have learned a lot, so far. Some of it is a bit on the scientific side, but the author does try to explain in layman's terms and analogies as best as possible. Here's the "funny" I've learned: I have seen T'Pol mention cooking and EVOO in her blog posts and I had no idea what EVOO was....oh! Extra Virgin Olive Oil, LOL! Ya learn something new every day!

There was a few pages I read last night talking about "anticholinergic" drugs and how they work. They work by blocking the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. The cholinergic system engages in many activities in the body, but is mostly thought of for its role in REM sleep, learning, and memory. Three of the drugs on this list my mom now takes (or did take for quite awhile) and two are considered "strong" anticholinergic drugs. Diphenhramine (benadryl, ie the Advil and Tyenol PM she was taking regularly), Paroxetine (she currently takes and has been on for years) and Alprazolam. She doesn't take Alprazolam any more (and it is considered low on the scale). Research has found that people who used these drugs were more likely to have developed dementia than those who didn't use them. Taking an anticholinergic for the equivalent of 3 years or more was associated with a 54 percent higher dementia risk than taking the same dose for 3 months or less.(from Genius Foods, by Max Lugavere). Yikes! I can only imagine what taking 3 of them would do to the brain.

Like my dd said, that paroxetine's purpose is to change something in your brain (so she's happy all the time), it seems obvious that long term use would have negative effects. I know she tried to go off of it several years ago and was all messed up, so she went back on it. Then, finally, about a year and a half ago, after mom's bf got her into her doctor to review her meds) he did cut the dose down in half (well, he didn't change her prescription, just told her to cut the pills in half) so she has been on 10mg for the last year and a half. She honestly doesn't even know why she takes it anymore. She doesn't know what it is for and often times will say she thought it was for excessive sweating. (pretty sure that med also caused her excessive sweating and weight gain, too)

We briefly discussed the paroxetine with her doctor when I had her in for her first appointment in June. I mostly got the impression that the dr. felt if she needed it, there were now newer drugs that worked better, but nothing was discussed that it could lead to cognitive/memory problems. I'm tempted to email the dr. to ask her opinion. If discontinuing use could maybe at least stop the progression of memory problems, it would be worth it. Or maybe the damage is done. I really can't find any info on that. I do know I am very glad I figured out to get her off the Advil PM (Dr. very much agreed with that, too), at least. (I also am hoping my boss looked into it more, as she said she takes Advil PM regularly).

The author started researching diet and the brain, when his mother developed dementia in her late 50's. As, I said, I'm only halfway through reading, but basically our modern diets are atrocious and obviously causing a whole lot of physical and brain problems for us.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Sunday times

I wasn't able to visit my mom yesterday, since they are still allowing no visitors. Yet, they haven't confirmed if the covid case is positive or not yet, but I'm assuming by now, it must have been positive if they are still quarantined. You'd think they could email an update and I did ask that my cell phone be put on for the text updates.

But, I still needed groceries. It was kind of a nice "me" trip that took about 3 hours total. I left a little after 9am. Got to the feed store at 9:45 to pick up my order of poultry bedding. I'm going to go back to using the pine shavings vs. the chopped straw. Even though the pine is more expensive I found it easier to clean and seemed to help keep odor down a bit.

Then I went to Ross to look around. I wanted to see if I could find a mirror for a guest bedroom and a fake plant. I scored on both! I had been looking at mirrors online and they are all so expensive. Like $80. I got this perfect sized one for $13. The plant was $9

I looked around for anything else that caught my eye. I was hoping maybe they'd have more Christmas stuff in. Not that I'm wishing/ready for Christmas, but I so rarely get the time to go in there and browse that it would have been nice to find a couple of things I am looking for. A tree skirt and tree topper, for my new tree.

Then I went to Target. I needed a few things there and I knew that Walmart would be out of stock on at least something from my order, that I would need to also buy and wanted to know before I pick up the order, so I can get it while I'm at Target. I got my things and kept checking my email for the update. I didn't want to leave Target until I knew what else I needed! So, I wandered around, looked at some t-shirts. Their selection sucks and they never have Medium (or Large) in stock. Everything is always small or XL. Finally at 10:50 I got the notification my order was ready and they only were out of 2 things. Liquid hand soap refill and some travel size WetOnes (we keep in the car). Target had both, so I grabbed those and checked out.

I was substituted 2 items for larger items. A huge can of coffee and bigger jar of mayo. Works for me. I didn't even know they made coffee cans that big, LOL.

I got over to Walmart at 11:10 and had to wait about 10 minutes and was out of there by 11:30. I stopped to get gas and headed home. DH texted me on the way that our neighbor had brought over the iris bulbs she had mentioned awhile back she was going to thin out and give us some. DH has been wanting some, LOL. But, by the time we got it all unloaded and groceries put away, it was raining the rest of the day, so we haven't planted them yet. Today is looking like a better weather day, so we'll get them planted. He calls them "those "whippy" plants" because of the tall spikey green leaves, LOL.

I had ordered two plastic bins with a handle to use in my freezer to see if that helps keep things a bit more organized. I had read this in some article or blog. They arrived yesterday, but I haven't put them in the freezer yet. Another project to do today. They were shipped dumb. Each in a separate big box. Why not just stack one inside the other and put in one box and save on shipping costs. They could have charged me the same shipping charge, yet saved their business half. The bins were only $9 each and one website wanted $20 to ship two of them, so I will never pay that much to ship something, especially when what I am buying doesn't even cost that much LOL. Another website had $10 shipping.

DH spent most of the rainy afternoon still unpacking some bins of "memorabilia". He didn't realize he still had another pallet way in the corner and the 4 bins left there all have more trophies and plaques. He unpacked more pictures. UGH. too much of it all. He's got a bigger shop and it seems like he has less room for all this stuff. In our old house (the one we lived 27 years) his garage was stuffed and one big wall was filled with pictures (as well as some other areas). I think here he is realizing how cluttered all that up will make his shop look. I suggested getting some wooden crate type bins and just putting most of the pictures in them. He (or if he wanted to show them to someone) could "flip" through the crates to look at them.

DD's birthday is coming up next month and I want to give her her gifts while she is here, so I don't have to mail, but she doesn't have her usual list of gift ideas, LOL. I texted her dh and asked if she has a turkey roasting pan and she does not. She also is getting low on the Nespresso coffee pods, so those 2 items are what I'm going to get ordered now, so they can be here before they come. I also picked up a confetti cake mix and frosting to make her a birthday cake.

Well, time to get the day going. I'm going to "make" some cinnamon rolls and it's time to get my chickies their morning bread treat. Have an enjoyable Sunday.

Friday, October 9, 2020

TGIF as always

The other day I was texting with a friend (who is also my side job boss). A comment she made, made me think and remember I have had this thought before. We were actually texting about business. Lots of new changes/additions for them, business and financial wise, so even more for her to keep track of. She is in her early 60's, yet they seem to want to take on more. Her comment was while she doesn't have to worry about making rent or where her next meal is going to come from, she now has other stresses and worries in keeping up with this money stuff. She used to be able to garden and have a simpler life. Now her free time is spent keeping up with making money. She said now she hopes she doesn't have a heart attack or stroke because she is always stressed out now. 11 years ago, when her husband took on this business, I don't think she worked. Then she started working for the business part time and then eventually full time.

That is something I always have realized I didn't want in my life. During our younger years DH would say he wants to be rich and I say it's exhausting for those people to have to keep up with being rich! The more things they do to try to make money and keep it coming in, the more and more they have to do. I've seen it with our company owners and a few friends. Eventually, the act of keeping it all up and keeping that money coming in takes over. I don't have (and never have had) the energy for that and I know it. I'm content with getting by, so that I can enjoy my free time to do things I enjoy and have some down time in my days.

The email letter from my mom's senior living apartment asked for either a phone number or text to keep the residents (and family updated). I just emailed the lady and told her my mom's cell# doesn't do texting, but they can use my # and I'll make sure to update her. That way I know exactly what is going on too, rather than trying to rely on my mom's memory to tell me. 

I'm going to go see her tomorrow and pick up groceries at Walmart when I am done. Well, hopefully I will see her. I haven't heard anything that the employee tested positive yet, but I would think they would know by tomorrow. The letter to residents and family went out on Wednesday and I wouldn't think it would take more than a few days to get results? Last time they didn't follow up with an email to family that it was negative. I had talked to my mom one day and she said they were back to doing activities and dining. I'm guessing no news might be good news, then.

and it's supposed to be pouring rain tomorrow, while all week it's been really nice and in the 70's. I swear every time I need to drive to the city it's a rainy day. Maybe I'll miss it - it's not supposed to start until about noon and I should be heading home around then.

DD got voted employee of the month! Her boss told her it's like a $700 bonus on her next check. Nice!

I'm putting in some vacation days requests. Oct 22 and 23rd. DD is coming later in the day on the 22nd, but that will give me the day to clean house, take a nap, and then feel like staying up later to visit after they arrive. Then I'm putting in day before Thanksgiving, so we can go get my mom to bring her here for the weekend, or at least for a couple days. Then I usually take off between Christmas and New Years, but I'm waiting to hear back from my boss exactly what days we get off. Usually they give us 3 days at Christmas, but it's not on our company calendar. I'm guessing it's going to be 23, 24th and 25th, and if so I don't need to put in for the 23rd.

Well, I guess I'm not visiting mom tomorrow, unless she just wants to come down and see me outside/in my car. The email letter that went out to residents and family on Wed said they were waiting on the results of a text, if it comes back positive then they were putting the "quarantine/no visiting" in place. I called to find out if they know yet, and they do not, but she said they are not allowing visitors, to be on the safe side. I'm like well, ok, but that's now how your letter explained it! It said "should the test come back positive, we will put the following measures in place effective immediately".  So, I changed my grocery pick up time to an hour earlier, since I won't be spending any time at mom's.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Planning ahead and a payoff done

DH and I decided we are going to be a bit pro active and also replace the battery in our car, in the next couple of weeks. My car is over 10 years old and we've never had to replace it. I don't need to be 50 miles away, visiting my mom or shopping and have the car not start. As with most batteries, it is about $100, LOL. I read that in cooler, northern climates batteries typically last 5 years, so........

DH boxed up 2 more huge boxes to send to DS. One he said was his weight bench set. I'm not sure what's in the other one, but each will cost about $80 to ship ground, but hopefully I can use another promo code like I did last time. One box is 30# and the other is 43#, but they are probably considered oversized boxes in dimensions, too. I think that is the last of his stuff to get rid of.

Then he opened one of the bins that have all the pictures he used to have on his garage walls. The first picture on top was of his (deceased) best friend. He found a few more of him, so he put all those together on one of his bathroom walls. Gosh, I miss him. It's been 9 years since he passed away from cancer. He and DH could talk on the phone for a couple hours every night and never run out of anything to talk about.

In addition to the $27 a month reduction in my budget I also just paid off a deferred interest charge, from when DH had to have his broken tooth repaired and I put it on my Care Credit card. I had been paying $100 a month toward it and now that is done and no interest incurred. Feels good to be done with that one. It just came at a bad time, when we had just finished our house, yet still had so many things we needed to buy/pay for (landscaping, etc). Finally feeling like we are just about "caught up". All the major projects are done and that bill paid off.

I'm not planning on going into the city to visit mom and pick up groceries until Saturday morning, but we are almost out of milk, so I should run into town today. I was going to do it during a lunch break (in an hour or so) but I'm having a hard time getting myself motivated to do it, LOL.

Well dang, my mom's place is testing another employee for Covid, so until results are known, they are eating all meals in their apartments and all activities cancelled. Last time, whoever it was, was negative. Hopefully this time is too, or DD probably won't get to see/visit with her in 2 weeks. I may not get to see her Saturday. When I called her yesterday morning she says "I have news" and told me about it. Then she told me (again) that her new checks arrived. We chatted a few minutes about other stuff and then she says "I have news" and proceeded to tell me about the Covid testing and her checks again. Then she called me later in the afternoon and told me the same thing. Usually, I will say something like "oh ya, you did tell me that" but yesterday I just acted like it was the first time she told me these things, each time. Then she doesn't get frustrated when she hears she already told me. But, sometimes it's hard because she will say "did I tell you...." and it's just natural to reply "oh, yes, you did tell me".

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Something to look forward to

Thankfully, it was just the batteries in dh's truck that went bad. It has been 10 years. Mostly the truck just sits, too. And thankfully, the parts store in town had two of the batteries in stock. He took the fuse for the rear window defogger and put it in the power steering slot and was able to drive ok to the parts store. After he got back and the new batteries hooked up it started right up. And they had the fuse for my car power steering. Dh said it was trying to jump start his big pick up with my puny car that caused the fuse to blow. Thankfully he knows that kind of stuff. I would have never known it was just a fuse that operates that. He also bought a air filter to replace that while he as at it. All good to go now and knock on wood - hopefully no more problems with either vehicle for awhile, at least.

I ordered a few more fabric samples for the loveseat I'd like to get. I think I am going to go with the lightest, off white color. All the others blend in too close with my light carpet. But, it will probably still be a couple more months before I spend the money for it. I just spent $330 for batteries and stuff.

At first DD said she was just coming alone in a couple weeks to visit for a few days, but now her dh decided to come too. Not to be mean and selfish, but I was kind of excited that it was just going to be her, by herself. I was kind of looking forward to just having her to myself for a few days. Either way, it will be great to see them. I need to find out if they can visit my mom at her place. I'm not sure what their rules are for out of state. I know every time I go I have to check in via an app and one of the questions is have you been out of state in the last 14 days. If we can't visit with her at her apartment, I'll just have to either have her come out and we go to lunch or dinner somewhere or pick her up and just have her spend Sat night here and take her home Sunday after they go home. I'm not going to bring my mom here for the whole weekend. I just want us to be able to focus on dd/dh for at least a majority of their visit here, since we only get to see them a few times a year.

I purchased this journal from Amazon for $12.99. It's so pretty and when I saw it I was like I need that! But, I don't journal, LOL. But, then I decided I will use it for my budget I write out each paycheck. I have been using a steno notebook for years and years. The first couple of pages of my steno notebook have all my user id's and passwords. Those pages have needed to be redone for quite some time, but my notebook still has pages left for budgeting, so I haven't wanted to start a new one. This new journal has removable/refillable pages, so it will be easy to refill, or update my login/password pages with new or replacement pages. I can't wait for it to arrive. I figure it's a pretty cheap thing to make life a little prettier, LOL. And I think I'll like the refillable pages.


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Save some, spend some

My auto insurance renews this month. I paid the 6 months in full, savings $36, vs making monthly payments. Plus my Paypal credit card is offering 5% cash back for purchases made with the card between yesterday and the 8th, giving me an extra $19 back. When we were going through our house build and I was having so many expenses out of pocket (or waiting to get reimbursed) I had gone back to paying the premiums monthly, in trying to manage cash flow during that time. The renewal 6 months ago (it's auto renewed and I'm on auto payment) I missed getting it paid in full that first renewal month, so I just kept with the monthly payments, but I remembered this time. Between the $36 and $19 saved, that's equivalent to about $9 a month savings. The health insurance plan I chose for DH last month is $8 a month cheaper and my auto insurance also decreased $5 a month, on top of my prepayment savings. In December is the last of my 24 payments on my cell phone. It's only $5 a month, but add all that up and it's $27 a month savings in my budget. I tried to pay off the cell phone balance in full, but it's a weird deal. It was $15 a month, then they show a $10 a month credit promo (net charge $5/mo) but if I tried to pay it off early I owed $15 x how many monthly left, I'd lose the $10 a month promo credit, so I haven't paid it off. It's no interest, so I'm not out anything, other than it bugs me, haha. Hopefully the phone will last me another couple of years. Next time I need it replaced I'm going to ask my boss as she has mentioned before we have some older model iphones, when our sales people upgrade.

I've never really understood the "why" of Twitter for the average person. I mean I guess I understand it for news, politics, business's, etc, so they can keep people up to date with the latest news and publicity, but for everyone else? Just seems very stupid and narcissistic. I mean WHO CARE's that everyone in the world can know you had an oatmeal cookie for breakfast?! Or why have both Facebook and Twitter...and Instagram. Why not just pick one and use it? Maybe I'm just too old to get it.....(except that the person tweeting about their oatmeal cookie for breakfast is a year older than me, haha).

Last Friday, late afternoon, dd's dog somehow ripped one of his toenails completely out. I guess it was really bloody and like dd says, she's not a good nurse or vet (she gets that from me! ha!). She called their vet and they wouldn't get him in! She called some others and no one would take him. The only vet that said they would take him was some emergency place about 40 minute drive and told them it would be a 5 hour wait. They went over to Petsmart to try to get some bandage supplies themselves. By then it's been almost an hour since this happened and it won't stop bleeding. DD is a wreck. Somehow she ended up talking to her barista friend, who dd didn't realize also works part time at a local vet (one that dd had called), so she called her vet and explained and they said oh, sorry, they misunderstood what type of appt. dd, they take him there and a couple people are waiting outside (because the place is doing social distancing so, they will come out and get the pet, I guess.) but they have no pets with them, so dd assumed they were just waiting to pick up their pet. They come right out to take dd's dog and one of the people makes some comment about cutting in line. DD or her dh say something like "well, this is an emergency, it won't stop bleeding". The bitchy lady says "well, I don't see any blood". By then dd (who is usually extremely sweet and polite to everyone) turns to face her and says "my husband and I are both covered in blood!" Her dh wasn't so nice. I guess he told the lady to just shut the hell up. LOL. DD texted me that people have really just lost their hearts.

Well, dh should have just stayed in the house today! He decided to wash his pickup. It starts right up, as always. He pulls it around to the end of the shop to wash and even lets it run awhile and then shuts it off to finish washing. Goes to start it up and it won't start. We tried jump staring it from my car with jumper cables but nope. He's sure it's the batteries (it has 2) as this is what happened 10 years ago while we were on a trip and we had to have them replaced. Luckily the parts store in town has the 2 batteries. He goes to back up my car so he can pull out of driveway and the power steering goes out in my car! I guess it's just a fuse, but still! When he said the power steering went out I'm thinking it's some major type of repair, so I'm very relieved it's just a fuse.

Monday, October 5, 2020


I continued with the relaxing weekend on Sunday, though a few calls from my mom, who was trying to balance her checkbook, made it a little harder. Especially as I was just going to take a nap. haha! She only has a handful of transactions a month to record and somehow now it is always wrong. I never did find why it was off a month or two ago by $5 or so. About a month ago she was at the end of her register book, so I found a new one with her checks and I'm pretty sure the balance I brought forward to it was correct, but after about 10 transactions she's somehow off about $126 now. She must just have a math error, as she doesn't have a calculator and she just does the math by hand/head. She just doesn't have the capacity to really deal with it now,  yet she wants to and of course thinks she should be able to, as this was always something she was very good at. Funny she keeps mentioning how she worked at a bank years ago for awhile, so she was good at balancing. She probably did work at a bank for a short period before I was born, but it was never something I recall her mentioning much all these years, but now she does.

I finally told her I'll have to take a look at her register, as I can't figure it out over the phone, when the only side I can see is her online register. She is having a bad time having to write out a check more than once because she doesn't write it correctly, but then gets her check #'s messed up as to what she is recording. She's been good so far about remembering to pay her rent on the 1st (without reminder from me!) yet this month she forgot. We had talked about it on the 30th, because I wanted her to know she could still use her old checks from BofA, as she hadn't recieved her new account checks yet and we left enough in there to cover the rent. Usually it clears her account on the 2nd, and when I didn't see it clear on Friday I asked her. She couldn't remember if she did or not. I knew the last check she was supposed to have written was 9876 when we wrote it to her new bank, so the next check in her checkbook should have been and was 9877, so I knew she didn't pay rent. She said she would write it right then and take downstairs.....

Not sure what happened, but Saturday she was confused and had a check 9877 written to her apartment, but still loose in her checkbook. She said she thought she had taken a check down there. I then was able to determine 9878 was also missing and we figured out she must have written it out again on 9878 and that is the check she took downstairs. I told her to shred that one she had. Then she calls yesterday and of course, as she now does every time, she doesn't enter the password right and locks us out of the account and I have to reset it. She said when she went down to eat they gave her a check back, saying she had already paid them. Now I'm confused! The only thing I can think is when we hung up on Saturday she didn't shred the check. Forgot what we talked about and took that check downstairs.

On top of all that confusion she's not balancing to what the bank is showing her balance. She's not remembering to write down things like her social security deposit (I'm always reminding her when I am visiting her), nor does she remember that her cc payment comes out auto each month and also that her checking earns a few cents of interest each month she needs to write down. Like I said, it's really all just about 6 transactions a month or so she needs to do, but obviously can't do very well anymore.

And then, after I gave her another new password I had to reset, I try to log in this morning and she's locked it out again. You should see my piece of paper with all her logins and passwords on it...there are half a dozen scratched out for her bank 😧 It's hard to just say I'm taking it all over, as she's still mentally there enough that she thinks she knows how to do it now and she does understand "how" to do it, she just can't remember what transactions need to get recorded. Do you think going forward with her new bank it would be better if I just gave her a paper statement each month? I might try that, rather than the online way, as she just keeps messing up the logins and passwords.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Saturday happenings

It was a nice relaxing Saturday. The weather was perfect, in the mid 70's (though it is pretty chilly first thing in the mornings). DH spent most of the day setting up the new pressure regulator for his air compressor, so he could blow out the sprinkler lines and then once he got that installed he did blow them out, which took awhile, because we have 11 or 12 zones.

I decided to make some chocolate chip cookie bars. I had not made these in eons. More I remember my mom making them often. The recipe said to use a 15x10 jelly roll pan, but I don't have one of those. For some reason I always remember my mom using just a square 8x8 glass dish, but that seemed small, so I used a bigger glass dish. The "cookie" still seems pretty thick, than I remember, but tastes good, so that's all that matters, right? Of course dh said he prefers the cookies.

While dh was outside Mrs Neighbor brought over to share some very delicious treat she made. I'm not sure what it's called but a lemon loaf with fresh blueberries. It's so good! I'm having a slice for breakfast with my coffee this morning. Originally I was planning to make some cinnamon rolls (pilsbury from a can) for breakfast this morning, but since we have, this I decided not to.

We are on hold for building the next loft/shelves for dh's long back shop wall. The lumber prices are just too insane now. They've almost doubled. We'll wait.

I saw a new bird at the bird bath I hadn't seen before, so I looked it up in my handy dandy new bird guide book. Turns out it's a Mountain Chickadee. It's even smaller than the regulars (Red Crossbill) at the bird bath.

DH took his nightly look at the sky on Friday evening and Mars was plainly visible just above the moon and even red color to the naked eye. Though the picture he took didn't show the red, it certainly shows Mars plainly visible.

Ever since we've had our new washing machine (a little over a year) the tray you pull out to pour in the liquid detergent has always been strange. The "flap" part wiggles and sometimes is up and sometimes down. It also leaves a bunch of water in the tray when done washing. Then I remembered DD has the same exact same washer, so I got her on video chat and showed her what ours does and does hers do that? No, her "flap" is solid in there, doesn't move up or down. Well, we figured out, after pulling the whole piece out, that the flap part had come loose from the base tray, where it snaps on. It's been like this since day one. It's still not super solid, like DD's is, but much better and after I washed a load yesterday there was really no water left in the tray. We must just have a defective "flap" LOL.

I continue to work on my 1000 piece puzzle. It's a hard one! I pretty much am only finding a few pieces a day, haha. Part of the problem is our dining room table light isn't very bright. It's really not enough light to see all the pieces well. Eventually, once the bonus room is done, that will be where puzzles can be done.

I think dd is planning a visit in a few weeks. She said she will work a half day on a Thursday (which is 10am for her, LOL) and then drive over and stay until Sunday. I offered to fly her over, if she'd rather, but honestly, by the time she'd have to have her dh drive her to the airport (like an hour and a half in traffic), get there early enough to check in and wait a bit, then the 1 1/2 hr flight and the 35 minutes drive back to our place, she'd almost be here anyway by driving herself.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Do's and don'ts

DH and I were chatting the other day about how people like to "judge" or "wonder" or whatever. Seems like a lot of it's been going on lately. Like how do we afford this house? We've heard comments "what? did you win the lottery?" "or "I'm not rich like you", or like the day dh was outside at the end of the driveway, dirty as heck while shoveling wheel barrows of rock all day. The garbage truck guy (a new guy) pulls up and gets out and has a "tag" and says to dh "we are changing our route time from afternoon to morning, could you give this to the owners?" Dh was like "ok" LOL. Then the guy says you just work here right? and dh says...ya...sure....ROFLOL. I guess dh doesn't look the part the guy expects, haha.

First off, they don't have any idea how much money I make a year. Second, (and third, and fourth...) they don't look at what we don't spend money on. And lastly, we do have a mortgage payment and it's large, but we don't have all the other payments a lot of people typically, boats, camper, credit cards. I'll bet if you add up what other people have in extra payments they are spending just as much between their mortgage/rent, other payments, as we are spending on our one payment. Our friends (who have a teenager in high school and a 19 yr old living at home) have 3 car payments. They have a camper trailer payment. They have lots of credit card payments. And they have a nice house (and payment), yet look at us like we are nuts. The two of them both work and from what guy has said in the past they combined make about what I make a year. I so badly want to say ya, but if you add up all your payments I'll bet you are spending the same if not more a month then we are on our house! Plus he drinks a lot and she drinks some. I'll bet their liquor expense itself is a couple hundred a month.

We don't have a car or rv toy payment. DH's truck is a 1999 (he's had since new) and my car is a 2011. My car was purchased slightly used with 4500 miles on it (it still had the plastic on the floor and smelled new)and we got it for half the price as new.

We don't smoke or drink - that can really add up, especially if you like to drink at restaurants or bars. A pack a day habit, at an average cost of a pack, costs someone about $200 a month. Imagine if it was both husband and wife. I really don't know what a couple who drinks most weekends will spend for booze a week. Wine can be pricey, too.

We rarely take a vacation. Our last vacation was in 2007 (or maybe it was 2008) to Disneyworld.  Besides, our new home is like being at a vacation spot year round :) (our friends mentioned above take one big vacation to Mexico or Hawaii every year)

I work from home, so I don't have commute costs.

We (as much as possible) do all our own home and car maintenance. Our neighbors hire a lot of it out and I'm sure that adds up. Like yesterday they had some guys there aerating their lawn. They hire to have it fertilized and weed control several times a year. Soon they will be having the guy come to blow out the sprinkler system before it freezes. This is all stuff dh does himself.

We don't go out all the time for dinners and entertainment. A handful of dinners out during the year is about it.

We cut our own hair. For his hair (what is left of it, haha) I have a some Wahl haircut clippers. My hair is about shoulder length, so easy to just trim myself (thanks to a youtube video how to)

We don't wear expensive designer clothes and we buy only when needing replaced. 

I'm "low maintenance". I wear minimal makeup, jewelry, don't get my nails done.

We have inexpensive interests to keep us busy. We both like being on our computers/internet, we watch some tv and movies (though don't pay for expensive cable/satellite), I read ebooks downloaded free from the library.

We buy older cell phone models and our plan is the minimum data plan. I have a 6s and his is a 7. Since we are home 95% of the time, we can use our home wi-fi for data, so a 3gb data plan is more than enough for us. It's $77 a month (with taxes added on). There might be cheaper plans with other cell phone companies, but here in our rural spot Verizon beats the others hands down for service reception and it's always been very reliable anywhere we go. 

Our internet service is through our phone company. Not super speedy by any means, but they do offer 3 different speeds. Rather than just assume I need to pay for the highest speed they offer I tried the lower speed and have no issues with it at all. I save $20-$50 a month compared to their 2 higher speed/priced plans.

I'm not too snooty to shop at Walmart. It's just cheaper for food/supplies than a regular grocery store, unless you want to have to constantly pay attention to what is on sale and when at the regular grocery stores. Not living close to the city it's just too hard for me to try to work around all the sales and shop at more than one store.

For everything thing else I shop online for bargains and always look for a coupon code before checking out. 

We put in a heat pump heating and a/c system. We have 3 "zones": downstairs, upstairs and the bonus room. We keep the bonus room minimal heat or a/c but the rest we keep comfortable. A/C all summer for this whole big house and my electric bill is barely over $100 a month. Winters are higher of course, but still cheaper than what I was spending a month for our small house in town, a 1/3 of the size. Our cost for the system should pay for itself in about 7 years.

There are lots of small things we do to save money, but you get the gist. I guess what dh was most feeling was don't judge a book by it's cover :) And what works for one couple/family might not work for another. We all make our choices that best fit us.