Updates on life in general:
* Nana might be discharged tomorrow. She is doing much better and is sounding like her old self again. I am sure she will be ready to sleep in her own bed tomorrow night!
* The hub is feelin better and went back to work tonight. (yay)
* Knock on wood, I have not had any symptoms of catching whatever Nana and hub had. (double yay)
* DIL's blood test came back with an affirmative on the pregnancy...#6 is due January 4th. (triple yay)
* DD3 received all the instructions for surgery today and is starting on her vitamin regimine to be in tip top shape when the big day arrives...
* Have decided not to worry about vacation. It is what it is...and unless they close the borders, I am going..that is until I decide otherwise...lol...in other words, positively optimistic about the doubtful unknown...
* New budget is going GREAT. Since the tax bill earlier this month, I have rebuilt our vacation fund to 100%, our Christmas Club to 100% and the emergency fund to 50%. Emergency fund will be back to 100% tomorrow afternoon. Now I just have to come up with $5k for the surgery.
* Its almost Friday. The weekend is hours away...and I plan to get some serious RnR in on this one!
WHEW. Life is good.
Archive for April, 2009
Updates on life in general:
Could it get any better than this?
WHO raised the bar to Level 5 today, which means we are that much closer to sayin buh-bye to vacation. So, I kick into high gear checking out our options and realize that we do not get any $$ back on the villa once we are within 60 days of arrival...um, we are within 30 now...
So, I pull out that travel insurance that I bought thinking this is plan b...wrong! Plan b is completely excluded in the event of CDC declaring a pandemic.
We do not know how this is going to play out yet...clearly, we have nothing to lose now by waiting out the next couple of weeks, but its not looking good.
I worked a long one today...7:15am - 7:45pm and had a working lunch...I didnt even make it by the hospital to visit my mom...
Nana is doing better today though...it is amazing how good, strong, IV antibiotics can kick pneumonia...nana should be out of the hospital by this weekend.
So...cruddy vacation news, in the midst of a long day, entwined with Nana feeling much better...
And THEN the icing on the cake....
Im gonna have another grandbaby in January!!! #6 will be born to DS and DIL. Such sweet news on such a crazy up and down day...but all in all, it doesnt get much better than this now does it????
Between last night and noon today Nana went downhill. She called me at work and was having trouble breathing and having chest pains...I left work and rushed home, got her to ER and she had pneumonia. She is admitted and resting tonight and getting IV antibiotics to hopefully get back on track quickly.
I sent an email inquiring about our options with the villa..some of my travelers want to cancel...I dont, so I am still holding out for a turn in public opinion and advisories...I am keeping my fingers crossed and appreciate all the good wishes from all of you. I dont want to be foolish, but I also dont want to knee-jerk.
I spent $5.47 on McDonalds today since I had to hit the road and get Nana to the ER...but didnt spend anything else..
And now, its time to unwind.
This CNN excerpt says it all:
In light of the swine flu, the U.S. State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plan to issue a warning against any non-essential travel to Mexico....
I am 3 1/2 weeks away from a trip we've been planning for for over a year... First there was drug wars, then, swine flu and today an earthquake??? I feel really bad for the people living in the midst...and am getting the feeling the trip is slowly slipping out of reach.
My eternal optimism is refusing to pull the plug just yet, although some of my co-travelers are ready to...
I want to wait one more week before making a final decision. But there are nine of us, not just me so I will go with the team on this...we will see how the next few days go.
On the other hand, my heart breaks for the families who have and are losing loved ones to this newly born epidemic...it is hard to feel sorry for myself when others are suffering much bigger losses. Perspective, Ray.
Today was a no-spender. My mom is sick, so it was also a short day for me because she was unable to drive and so I took her to dialysis and brought her home after and I just took a sick day. (Technically I did not have to since I am exempt and worked four hours, but I will feel better charging my sick time.) The hub is very sick as well and he will probably be calling in sick tomorrow...luckily I haven't caught what everyone around me (work, home, kids, grandkis, etc.) has had...
I have enjoyed a quiet afternoon...it was cold enough to start a fire...the house was 58 when I got home this afternoon...now it is up to a toasty 64. So I have enjoyed one of the last fires for the year, stayed on top of the swine flu news, and just enjoyed my (guilt free)free time.
Our vacation to Mexico is under a month away and I have to say, the headlines lately are waning my enthusiasm. So far, Puerto Vallarta sounds fairly isolated from all this crud...but it is very concerning. Needless to say, we are keeping a close watch as this possible epidemic/pandemic develops. Who knew when we planned this trip last year (and my first 'big' trip ever) that we would have to worry about drugs/violence and deadly viruses...gads.
My GS (5) spent the night last night and as always, we had a great time. This morning we are watching cartoons while gramma wakes up with some coffee. The hub is sick, so he is sleeping in.
A short time ago I bought some Classico pasta sauce on sale with a coupon and we used it last night...it was REALLY GOOD. What a nice surprise. I love it when you get a good deal and enjoy it too.
Yesterday was housework and laundry...today will be grocery shopping and some decluttering and general 'get ready to go back to work' stuff....But right now, its coffee time.
A short time ago, I posted about DD3 needing surgery which is considered "cosmetic" by our insurance company and therefore, not covered. The estimate for the surgery $8700
Today, we got a second opinion. This second doctor recommended the same surgery that the first did. I explained to him that he was the second opinion and that the first had learned that this surgery would not be covered so I would need to pay cash. Bless this man's heart, he reduced his fee drastically and is only going to charge us $5600. That is a $3100 savings over the first estimate. When his scheduler talked with us, she was blown away by the price and explained that this was much less than the normal charge. DD3's surgery is now scheduled for June 17th. She is so excited. Her defect has meant wearing a prosthesis for the last 5 years...and she has never worn 'normal' things because of it...for the first time in her life, she will go shopping like other teens this summer!!!
Then, when I got home there was a new credit card in my mail box with a $9k limit. Unfortunately, I just paid unexpected taxes for $3000 and so we do not have a savings to fall back on for the surgery. But what are the chances of finding something like this in the mailbox on the day we learn of the surgery??
I also can borrow against my 401k @ 4.25% for the surgery...so I have a couple of choices on how to pay. I just have to decide which is the best option.
I wish I could pay cash for it...but we just paid the taxes...and the savings have been depleted. But the surgery is going to happen NO MATTER WHAT WE HAVE TO DO so that DD3 can finally feel 'normal'. (There is simply no price tag on that!!)
My vacation is ONE MONTH from today!! I am getting very excited!!!
Blessing abound...what a great day!!!
After my depressing adventure with the IRS yesterday, I was reluctant to get out of bed this morning...but up and off I went.
Work was very productive. After a second glance at my finances, I felt a little better that we still had $$ in savings and werent completely wiped out...and then, I received all the perspective I needed. One of my coworkers came in to say goodbye...she is flying to Florida tomorrow for her dads funeral and is devasatated...because she is a single mom, she wont be staying...the funeral is Saturday and she will fly back home on Sunday.
I got home to a gorgeous boquet of flowers from my mom. I am so grateful to still have her in my life.....
Ok, woe is me... NOT.
No, these are not tears of joy....Now for my disclaimer...this entry is a complete pity party, kick myself in the butt and growl at the unfairness of tax day kind of post... read at your own risk.
I way misjudged our taxes this year. Seems the income we earned, combined with a wd I took from the 401k to help the kids business at the first of the year put us into a higher tax bracket and VIOLA...just like that, my Christmas Club, my vacation savings, and my Freedom account were all depleted (wiped out) to pay my taxes...I guess the $8k I already paid wasnt enough...so I had to pay over $3k more today.
Never had a tax day quite like this one...hope to never have one like it again.
Now, to figure out how to rebuild those accounts before we need them...first on the list is the Freedom account, followed CLOSELY by my vacation fund. Of course, somewhere in all this I was also trying to come up with $8700 for a surgery my daughter needs but which is not going to be covered by insurance. ugh, this could get really depressing really fast if I dont just focus on the fix rather than the problem....
Why is it we seem to always take one step forward and two back...I have been so flippin careful and was feeling so good about our progress. poop.
no, make that double poop.
end of pity party.
The travel agent emailed today and THANKFULLY got our flight changed back to route through LAX (sorry basselle....)So, I am back on track for vacation. I tanned again today for 7 minutes...THEN, walked out of the salon and into a SNOWSTORM...huh? Only in Oregon. And have a repeat appointment again for tomorrow. Cant really tell yet, but hopefully it is helping.
I returned the last of my overdue library books today...and paid my $9.20 in fees. (ugh) Then I stopped by the college and picked up my final paper from last semesters class. (A+...and the teacher wrote some great, encouraging comments!!)
After work, I stopped at Kohls and used my $20 Kohl's cash. I got a big floppy hat for Puerto Vallarta half off for $12, some black slack socks for work, 60% off, a WONDRFUL candle 50% off, and a gorgeous faux diamond ring 50% off. Why the ring? Well, it looks very real and I will wear it to PV instead of my real and very sentimental jewelry...just in case anything happens. The faux ring? $6.49. No biggy if it is lost or stolen, but it looks real to me. My rings are all very special- one was a gift from my parents when I was 16, another was my dads pinky ring, and the third is a ring that my dad gave to my mom 30 years ago...and then, after my brother died, they put a diamond that he had in the center and gave it to me. If I lost ANY of the three, I would be forever sad. So, they will stay home in the safe deposit box.
My biggest surprise today was a phone call from my DIL apologizing that they had taken so long to talk to me about a repayment plan for the money I loaned them. I wracked my brain and could not recall a loan...and then it hit me...I loaned them almost $1300 to catch up their house payment while we were on our holiday vacation...and I had completely forgot! wow. I told her to come up with a plan that fit their budget and thanked her for being so honest and reminding me. wow.
I got home tonight and DD3 had rented 'Marley and Me'...we are watching it now and it is so funny. I bred Labs for years...and know quite well how much 'puppy' labs have in them, especially when they don't get attention.
Did I mention that DD3 got the movie...and she is watching it with me?? That, in itself, is best of all.
UPDATE...ok, Marley and Me, not a comedy through and through...but such a touching film. RIP Gracie.
40 days to vacation...so we are starting a master list with everyones travel, etc...and I decided to get my flight number by looking up the date/time of my flight...only to find that there is no matching flight number/date/time..WTF???
After checking in with the travel agent, I found that not only did our travel times change, but the airline also changed our flight plan...so instead of a layover in LA where I was planning to hop off the flight and spend a week with my friend and do disney for my birthday, the layover is in SEATTLE?????
I let the travel agent know this is not going to work, so she is doing what she can to get us on the flight that stops in LA. I am soo glad we are double checking everything now.
Living in Oregon, sun is still several weeks away...so I decided to buy a tanning package today to get a small advantage over burning while on vacation. so, 200 minutes for $50. We will see how it goes. I am worried about my Oregon skin FRYING on vacation. Hopefully, this temp fix will help. I tanned for 6 minutes today...and have a second appt tomorrow on my lunch hour. It is relaxing...although vision of skin cancer danced in my head the whole time I was in 'the machine'...and talk about clausterphoic...gads. But the machine has fans and a stereo...so at least I will bake in semi-comfort. Tomorrow, I will stay in 7-8 minutes.
Thats all the excitement here...
Happy Easter everyone!
We went to brunch at DD1s and enjoyed a wonderful meal and watched the kids hunt for eggs...my little 18 month old granddaughter found the same few eggs over and over...she was too cute.
I got my moms place cleaned up and brought her car home....so everything is ready for her. FOund the puter stuff that I needed...which led to a funny story. We were digging through stuff to find it...I have one of those rooms that would compete with any home on the show "clean house" any day of the week. We call it the 'scary room'. Everything that doesnt have a home ends up in there...and after 14 years in this house, it is deep and scary. As I was going through boxes I found some good, unused goodies...one is a nice Partylight diffuser room fragrance...the other is a gift pack full of bath salts, candles, etc. The hub thought regifting sounded good...but I have decided to use them both as a freebie treat. I guess I need to dig through that room to see what other forgotten treasures I can find!
I am doing nanas laundry then will do my own for work this week. I got all of my budget spreadsheets formatted and color coordinated- which will greatly help with budgeting. (I love Excel!)Tonight I will get the medical bills paid..
All in all, a great, relaxing, productive day.
I need to leave for work at 6:15am tomorrow...so, I need to head to bed by 9pm. I was going to color my hair, but I think it will have to wait until tomorrow. I still need to make next weeks oatmeal, eat dinner and clean the kitchen and I still have at least 3 more loads of laundry between Nanas and mine.
Well, the hub just pulled the steaks off the grill...so I am off to my next to-do..
I took advantage of a day off with no one needing me to take care of anything for them--and headed off to shop for some vacation clothes. I went to Kohls and they were having quite the sale!
I bought 3 new tops, some capri's a pair of walking sandals, and Easter gifts for three of my grandbabies. Cost before sale $220. Cost after sale...$141. But then I broke down and agreed to open a charge account to save an additional %...which ended up being $20%...so I saved almost $30 more dollars... AND because I spent just over $100 after the discounts, they gave me $20 in Kohls cash that I can use this next week!!! Plus, and additional 15% on any day I want. Holy smokes. I was tickled with the results...and have checked several things off my to buy list for vacation.
I spent some time working on our budget yesterday and tweaked some things around so that we will make small changes to save more money. It looks very clean and tidy on paper...now to make it work!!
Todays to do list:
Brunch and Egg hunt at DD1's
Clean nana's house this afternoon- she comes home tomorrow.
Go to town and bring nana's car home.
Pay medical bills with the pre-paid medical card
Get my personal stuff off the work puter since it goes into the cirulation pool this week.
Get clothes ready for this next week.
Much do do, time to get busy!!
Today was payday for both the hub and I. This was a fun payday for several reasons. I made an extra $75 for not using any sick time and for that volunteer job I did with DD3 a couple of weekend ago. The hub made an extra $45 for ot. AND this is the month that those skipped bills dont have to be paid. SO, I paid the deficient balance on DD3s totaled car off...which was almost $700. I paid an extra $300 on the unsecured debt. I had promised DS that I would pay $300 towards DILs dental hygene school, so I paid that...
The rest went into savings. Part went to the PV vacation fund- the rest to savings. It felt good to sock away some savings like that!
I got the bill for my car insurance today. $320...BUT if I pay now, it is only $291...because I have a Freedom Account, that money is tucked away and ready to send. So, I will send the $291 and enjoy knowing I save $29 by planning ahead!
OH! I also got $10 today for my two year anniversary of being back at my job...TWO YEARS TODAY!...and my 401k balance, as I reported last week, is over $20k.
And now, I am enjoying a peaceful evening home alone!!
Life is good.
I am very pleased with the 1st quarter results from helping the kids with their budget.
SIL's credit score jumped 60 points, DD1s- just under 30. They have incurred ZERO new debt, have paid off three collections and with their taxes, will pay me backin full and still have $2500 to work with.
Best of all, they have learned new habits and have not felt deprived. They are entering their busy season for their side businesses- DJing and Photography...and so they will have ample extra income to get them even farther ahead over the next several months.
What was entirely BLEAK in January, is now looking extremely successful for them. In january, they were close to having utilities shut off and next eviction...and now they are caught up and ready to start saving for a home.
In other good news, DD3's whole persona has changed the last couple of weeks. She is spending time with us and talking...and the anger seems to be gone. We are still far from perfect, but this is much better than it was!
We dont have plans for Easter..rather, we are having a birthday party for GS and nana (who are both in California until next week) on the 18th and will do a big easter egg hunt and family get-together then. Easter will be something low key with the hub, DD3 and me. Which will work nicely.
Looking forward to the weekend...and feeling mighty blessed.
My credit union offered a tax-time skip a payment. Kindof like at Christmas, just in April. I took advantage of it so that I could apply the extra to unsecured debt over the secured debt.
I thought this was a great idea...especially considering the state of everyones finances right now.
I have 45 days to go until vacation!! This is a trip I planned about a year ago...so it is so exciting that it is getting so close. Because we planned this so far in advance I have saved all the spending money that we will need and I have saved allowance to pay for some new clothes to wear.
I mentioned in my blog last night that we had enough left overs for lunch today...well it even extended to dinner tonight...so, dinner, lunch and dinner for two for under $5!!! (yay) If I keep this up we'll be rich!!!
Disneysteve...my grandson (5) is at Disneyland today; it is also my 30 year old son-in-laws first visitp; my mom (72) also tagged along!!!!...and I hear they are having a BLAST. BA, this is something you NEED TO DO with your kids...I spoke to my family earlier and they are having so much fun......GO..you wont regret it!!!!!
It has been almost 80 today, such a gorgeous spring day!! So I stopped by the car wash on the way home and gave my car its first bath since winter started. (It NEEDED it). $6. Filled up the tank $36.
That was the only spending today.
This past weekend we bought a bottle of habanero bbq sauce from that lil bbq joint we ate at. So this morning I put a pork roast in the crock pot and when I got home, shredded the pork and had the best bbq pork sandwich Ive ever had! Yum. We have PLENTY of left overs for lunch tomorrow, so dinner and lunch will cost under $5 for two of us.
The dishwasher is running, kitchen is clean and I am ready to relax by 8pm. I am sure enjoying these early days.
And tomorrow, I have a clean car with a full tank of gas...
I checked the balance in my 401k today and was very pleased to see that the balance is now $20,250....YEEHAW. April is the end of my second year being back to work...so for two years savings, I feel GREAT about this milestone (especially considering the state of the economy this past year)!! Next year, I hope that amount grows to $33,000....stay tuned.
We are home. What a great weekend. We stopped by Walmart on the way home and picked up the few things for the week ahead and now the hub is at baseball practice and I am home alone getting things put away and laundry done. When the hub gets home we plan on taking a 3 mile walk and then making bbq teriaki chicken, rice and zucchini..YUM.
I am going to make up a big batch of oatmeal for this weeks breakfast and plan to pack a sandwich and fruit for lunch each day. With PV only 7 weeks away, I want to work to feel my best when we go!!
I got some GREAT news from DD1 today. A couple of months ago I loaned them $2k to get their finances back on track and have since been helping them budget. This weekend they learned that they are getting enough back on taxes to pay me in full and still have $2500 to balance their budget!! (YAY)
However, DD3 is needing to have surgery that we recently learned will cost $8700...and unfortunately, insurance doesnt cover the surgery she needs. I am baffled how insurance companies can deem something 'cosmetic' when it is a deformity that will cause lifelong problems (emotional and physical) if not fixed. But we will go forward with the surgery, so any extra money will be going towards savings for that purpose. I plan to schedule it for her this summer...so between now and then, our goal is to save as much as we can towards that expense.
Well, time to change the laundry and finish the to do list!
Since we brought all the food this weekend, our friends treated us to lunch today and it was FABULOUS! We ate at a little hole-in-the-wall bbq joint...but the owner has created award winning bbq sauce and he has the bbq technique nailed...boy oh boy was it good.
We went to an outlet mall nearby, but I didnt find anything that we needed. I wanted one of those cast iron grill thingys where you can 'bbq' on your stove top...but decided I really didnt NEED it...and so we spent a whopping ZERO today.
Sat in the hot tub for a little while and now we are just hanging out and relaxing...fire, wine and friendship.
I wish we were staying a few more days, but alas, this is a mini-vaca. It has been a very nice get away, but its time to head home.
and then, just 7 weeks to Puerta Vallarta!!!
Our friends arrived shortly after 3pm. We relaxed a bit and then grilled the london broil, red potatoes and made some salad. Feasted..and it was delish....and cost about $12 for the four of us... then we went for a nice brisk walk and hopped in the hot tub. ahhh...Talk about relaxing. Now we are sipping wine and relaxing in front of the fireplace/tube.
In the morning, we have coffee and creamer, followed by bagel sandwiches (eggs, sausage, cheese on a toasted bagel (about $6 for four of us) then we will go to town and hit the outlet mall...and for dinner I brought chicken, sides and salad...dinner for under $10. Best of all, we are all relaxing and enjoying friendship....Should be a great day!!!
sigh...makes working our hineys off worth it when we can get away and have some downtime. I love vacation time!
The hub and I got up and had some coffee and decided to splurge and go out to breakfast. We went to a cafe that came well recommended about 20 miles from here. We walked in and it was PACKED...always a good sign. Well, it didnt disappoint. I tried something new...a dish called potato warsaw...it had potatoes, sauerkraut, polish sausage, scrambled eggs, cheese, green onion and sour creme. It was alittle on the spendy side at $11.95, but very tasty. The hub had chicken fried steak and eggs. He said his was good. It was fun to go try something new.
Now we are just waiting on friends to arrive...they are about an hour away still.
IT was snowing when we got up and the ground was covered, but it has now all melted and its sunny out. However, the weather reports are saying more snow is on the way.
I spent a good deal of time reading the Dollar Stretcher website this morning...and I recently ordered the book All Your Worth used from Amazon and it came this week...so I will start reading that too. Hopefully, I can glean some good info from it.
Its been a great relaxing day so far! Yeah for get-aways!
It took a cocktail of drugs, but the migrain has let up tonight. After no luck with the vicodin alone, I took a vicodin AND an exedrine migraine at about 2 this afternoon and then when we arrived here, I took a nap...woke up without the headache...but the pressure points are still very painful, so I know the headache is still just masked..but heck, I will take that over that excruciating pain, anyday.
We are here. It snowed most of the afternoon and evening...we hopped in the hot tub and enjoyed the hot water and jets while getting snowed on. then, we splurged and had pizza delivered. Because we live out in the country, pizza delivery is never an option at home. So having it tonight was a real treat...dinner delivered to our front door!! it was yummy, $21 total (including a tip) and we have left overs for tomorrow too.
Out friends are coming up tomorrow afternoon, so tonight, the hub and I are enjoying having the house to ourselves. We really got a good deal. 3 nights in a two bedroom home with the jaccuzzi plus the cleaning fee was $421. When you split that cost, it is less than a hotel and you have kitchen, washer/dryer, several tvs, lots of board games, a hot tub....it really makes a sweet deal for a long weekend get away.
We brought steaks and chicken (both I got on sale and froze a few weeks ago) for the next couple of nights, so the rest of our meals will be cooked here at the house and fairly cheap.
Boy, does it feel GREAT to get away for a few days. and I am so glad that blasted migraine let up. Now, to just have a relaxing time....ahhhhhh...sigh.
A full day of pain. Joy o joy. But I pushed through and got as much done at work as possible before leaving for a 4 day weekend. We worked through lunch in a meeting...so I arranged to have sandwiches brought in for everyone. Unfortunately, my assistant forgot to get a receipt..so I charged everyone a flat $5 and ended up paying over $9 myself (and I had the smallest sandwich). sigh. This on the heels of picking up $10 in bagels, banana's and coffee creamer for everyone to snack on during the first meeting of the day.
So, $19 spent when I am trying to stick to a budget. You know my head hurts when I complain about such frivulous stuff.
On the way home, I stopped and bought groceries for this weekend. We stay in a house, so we take all our own food to keep expenses down. I am sure I will chuckle when we get there and I realize all the things my aching head forgot to pick up. gads.
So, I am on my third vicodin today...and right now my head is blissfully numb. I am hoping once I fall asleep, things will relax enough to allow the pain to go away for good and I can enjoy a pain-free long weekend.
In other news, all of the kids finances are getting squared away...and so all four have been paying us back...which is helping our savings account A LOT. I have felt rather poor for quite a while, then I look at all the loans weve dolled out and it really adds up. Thankfully, the kids are all committed to paying it back.
I am taking my laptop with this weekend, so I will be reading blogs and staying up on mine....expecially while the hub catches up on some of those (yawn) testosterone shows he enjoys. I hear we can expect some snow while we are there...nothing quite like snow falling on you in a hot tub.