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Happy Valentines Day!

February 14th, 2014 at 10:06 am

Happy Valentines Day!

I am on vacation today and Monday is a holiday, so a nice 4 day weekend ahead. This is the hubs last weekend home for a month, so it will be nice to be off. We are going to a LeAnn Rimes concert tonight. The hub is the fan, this is his Valentines gift from me.

This is my last vacation time for a while. Work is so busy I really cant afford anymore time away for a while.

Speaking of work, I am all moved into my new workspace. It is so different working in a cubicle instead of an office. I can hear everything everyone says and vis-versa. Our team will be in this space for the next year or so, so plenty of time to get used to it.

I am so excited about the progress we are making on paying off the last CC debt. If all goes as planned we will have it paid off in about two months!!

Financially, my focus right now is doing my due diligence on things like insurance and cell phone bills to determine if we can shave anything off those expenses and paying off the debt. Otherwise, things are all budgeted and fairly predictable each month. In a couple of months it will get more fun because 'extra' income will go towards savings! Cant wait!

Money Vultures....aka heirs

January 27th, 2014 at 04:59 pm

I paid $3874 towards the last CC today, leaving a balance of $20126. I am so excited to have that puppy PAID IN FULL. But we are still many paydays away from that goal.

My son is visiting and getting some repairs done at the country house. He and his family rented that house a few years ago and when they left, they left some things in dis-repair. He is here to fix them, which I really, really appreciate.

My ex's mother (grandmother to my 3 older kids) is very sick. She recently had surgery and the doctor slipped during the cauterization and burned a couple of deep holes internally. She is 81 and it's not looking look good for her. It is sad to see how quickly the family vultures started circling both her and her bank accounts. She has always been a VERY frugal woman and I am sure has amassed a sizeable nest egg. Unfortunately, her son (my ex) and her brother are both trying to gain control of her finances- neither with her best intentions in mind. It breaks my heart to see her being hurt by those who supposedly 'love' her, focusing on her money instead of her health and wellbeing. I know this is all too common when it comes to money and heirs. I hope all works out for her. My kids are planning to go visit their gramma once things settle down a little. It sounds like its a pretty hostile situation right now. Frown

2014 is off to a good start!

January 8th, 2014 at 09:34 pm

2014 is off to a great start!

We received the log-in info for the hubs new 401k and the contributions have started! Right now, he is contributing 5% and his employer is matching the 5% (the max match). Whatever we save in this account will augment his pension nicely when he retires.

The hub headed back to Alaska today. We got quite a bit done before he left- primarily moving furniture so that we could deep clean the little house. It is incredible how quickly animal hair accumulates, so I really appreciated the help getting it all cleaned up. We also spent time planning projects here on the country property.

DD1 and her hub have decided they would like to try to buy the city house. They have lived in it the past 8.5 months and have decided it is a good place to raise their kids. The question is, will they be able to buy it. They are looking into their options, and I will wait to see what they come up with.

I learned today that I am getting a $2 an hour raise! This is an annual increase..which amounts to about $350 month or just a little over $4000 this year! I plan to increase my 401k to 10% to absorb it. (One step closer to retirement!!) I made that change to my scheduled contributions tonight!

So all in all, I am pleased so far with the first week of the new year and am hopeful for a wonderful year ahead!

Final post for 2013

December 31st, 2013 at 08:15 pm

Im so ready to dust my hands of 2013 and get on with the new year!

2013 was a year of financial success, in that I was promoted at work, we paid off massive debt and boosted retirement savings.

But emotionally, it was a train wreck kindof year. A painful test of the marriage - ugh, and our loss of little Z (foster child who was placed with bio-gma after 2.5 years with DD2).

I moved out of my city home and into a 390 sq ft country home- (and am now on month #8!) Small space living has its benefits, but country living on a well has proven to be more stressful than I imagined, especially this past month with the frozen pipes. I am still undecided if I will continue here after the year is up or not.

Ready to put the year behind me, and focus on the excitement of, with the exception of the houses and 5th wheel, being completely debt free. Smile And REALLY heading towards retirement goals.

Personally, I have set goals to misplace 5 lbs per month- somewhere other than my waist and hips Smile and to carve out time one weekend a month for me.

Well, here's to a Happy New Year to all!

Our 2013 numbers

December 28th, 2013 at 10:49 pm

The hub is home from Alaska. Yesterday, the poor guy slept almost all afternoon, evening and night. He has been working crazy long hours- then got stuck in Seattle on the way home because of fog, and ended up sleeping in the airport. Needless to say, by the time he got home he was exhausted.

Unfortunately, this morning he was heading outside and slipped on the top step off the porch and landed on his back against one of the steps. OUCH. He took a muscle relaxer and pain pill..and has been out most of the day again today.

Since I've had quite a bit of free time, I decided to crunch numbers to see how we did this past year.

We started 2013 with a staggering $63,226 of debt ( not including the houses). We ended the year with $24,000- which means we paid off $39,226 or 62%. WOW. We anticipate paying the remaining $24,000 by May.

My retirement fund has done well this past year. At the beginning of the year the value- $71,519 and it has grown to $112,886- a $41367 increase!

The value of our homes has increased a combined $32,600. We owe appx $410k on the two homes, their value is appx $445k. A nice increase from where we bottomed out the past couple years (we were seriously in the red for a while). At least we are back in the black on paper on these homes.

I feel like we are finally making strides towards paying everything off and eventually retiring. That is, if I can keep the hub on his feet. Smile

Im looking forward to setting our goals for 2014. I expect a fairly nice annual pay increase in February- which will be split between increasing the mortgage payments and the 401k contributions.

Paid off my car today!

November 16th, 2013 at 08:08 pm

As planned, I paid my car off today! I am excited that our repayment goals are on track!

This leaves the house payments, the trailer payment and two credit cards. One CC is zero interest. The other, is from my job and we earn 1% cash back plus a 10% rebate at the end of the year. Regardless, the latter will be the next to be paid off, which will happen by April.

The car that I paid off today is a 2005 Kia Amanti that we bought used in 2007. It has 80k miles on it. I hope to have many years left on it. We will continue to pay 'payments' into savings to either pay for repairs, or pay for a new car someday.

A potential blessing for Z

November 2nd, 2013 at 07:56 pm

DD2 got a call out of the blue yesterday from Zs bio dad and paternal grandmother. (Dad and his family have not been in the picture since Z was taken into the foster system almost 2.5 years ago) It sounds like dad took steps over 6 months ago to get himself cleaned up and was ready to see Z. The family was together for great-grandmas birthday and wanted to see Z. Turned out, dad has been clean for 6 months, has a job, a home, and really wants a chance with (custody of) Z- they asked if they could see him today and DD2 got permission and met them. And what makes me smile, is that dad/family are local. Z would be nearby. COuld this be our answer to prayer? I am not sure. But Zs transition to his maternal grandmother has stalled so many times, for so many reasons, maybe there is a bigger plan for him. After the visit today, dad is going to make the phone calls on Monday to see what he can do. We aren't getting our hopes too high, but this could be a potential game changer for Zs destiny.

This past week was very busy, but here are the highlights:

I received my 3rd quarter eval and it was very positive. I have grown into the new title and am on track to get a very good end of year eval/raise. (5-5.5% raise!) Big Grin

I learned my office will be moving (our department is moving) to an older building that the job owns. It will most likely be for a year, while a new addition is built on the current location. But it is going to be a change. My current office has beautiful furniture and a big window/view...my new workspace (maybe office?) will have no windows and the furniture will most likely be old pieced-together items from storage. Its all good. I am of a mindset that I can work anywhere, so long as I have a desk and a computer. (Kinda like moving from my big house to this little house...its not what you look at that matters, its what you see.)

The really interesting thing about the new work location is that it is literally 5 minutes from my house in town. Hmmm...

We are about 3 weeks away from paying off my car!! This is one of our BHAG action steps! (BHAG= Big Hairy A## Goal, which is to retire by 60)

We will be down to a zero interest CC, which must be paid off in April, and our final CC, which will be paid off by April-May. After that, we have our 5th wheel and the house to payoff. 5th wheel will be paid off 1st qtr 2015. House, by BHAG time.

Tonight my sweet little 4 yo granddaughter is sleeping over. She is such a gorgeous little girl. Blonde hair down to her behind and great big blue eyes. And very sweet. We are having fun. She is also Z's 'big sister" She was 1 1/2 when Z moved in with them.

Tomorrow I plan to take little miss home and then have some free time in the afternoon/evening. One week until vacation!!

Day 1 - Christmas Countdown

October 27th, 2013 at 10:04 am

I received a post on Facebook this morning that today is the kickoff for Christmas Countdown. This is a six week plan that helps you get ready for Christmas. Where did this year go? My goodness. Anyway, I do find that organizing ahead of time helps me avoid last minute craziness for the holiday.

I don't have anything on the agenda today outside of football....housework, laundry and making soup in the slow cooker. All the latter are chores that will help keep me on track for the work week ahead. It is a beautiful sunny day, so I should be able to hang all of the laundry outside. (yay!) I splurged on some wonderful smelling fabric softener just for line dry days. I cant wait to see how the sheets turn out!!

The hubs employer was sold recently. (this is the third time since he has worked for them) The good news is that his new 401k has a 5% match! He faxed off the paperwork this morning to enroll and get started. We will start with 5% and up the amount as we pay things off. My 401k has an 8% match, which I have always taken advantage of.

The value on our homes continues to rise. I sure hope this trend holds until we sell the city house next summer. I would love to show a profit for that purchase. By then, we should be debt free except for the country house. Our plan then is to maximize 401k savings and focus on paying off the country house. All part of our BHAG goal of me retiring by 60 and the hub cutting back at 55. (He is 7 years younger than me)

Time to start the laundry and get the soup going. I hope everyone has a fabulous day!

Working at the condo!

September 17th, 2013 at 05:45 pm

I am back at the condo working this afternoon.

This morning I went to one of our locations and conducted training and took care of a few things. Now I am taking a quick lunch before diving into work. It is so relaxing to work away from the phone and normal interruptions- especially with this gorgeous ocean view.

Happy me.

I could easily retire somewhere on the coast with an ocean view. I never get tired of hearing the waves crash, or gazing out at the water, the waves, the sunsets- and I love the smell of ocean air. I grew up in Southern Cali not too far from the beach. I spent all my free time on the beaches.

But I digress from all things financial.

We don't have any extra expense type trips planned until our family trip in November- so for the next couple of months all extra money will be applied towards debt. The new 5th wheel took a chunk out of our debt repayment plan- but we will still have all debt paid off (except the houses and the 5th wheel) by the end of the first quarter 2014.

I am pleased with the growth in my 401k and the value of the homes. The value of both homes is rising nicely. Our plan right now is to put the city house on the market late Spring. The value has increased so that we are back in the black and stand to make a nice profit. But until we sell it, that is just a guesstimate. One of the wise things I did when I bought the house was to purchase within a very desirable school district and within walking distance of the high school (even though my kids were already out of school).

Hopefully, life will cooperate.

For today- I will enjoy the view and the fabulous afternoon breeze.


Reality on a spreadsheet- time to reset

September 2nd, 2013 at 04:25 pm

I am feeling a little better today. I have been taking OTC meds for allergies and am actually asthma free today! That doesn't happen often- so I am going to stick with the allergy meds and see if it continues to help.

Last night, I decided to put all of our discretionary spending for the last two months on a spreadsheet. WOW.

The categories were food, eating out, gas and miscellaneous spending. If I was scoring us on each category we would get a B, F, B and D in those categories for how close we stuck to the budget. But I showed it to the hub, who actually is not too interested in how the finances are budgeted and I think he got it.

So, I am not sure what method we will use to keep us better on track, but the goal is to come in much closer to the budget in the future.

I know some of the spending was for the new trailer and stocking it. I know I was less focused on staying on track because of everything that was going on with the relationship issues. Its just time to hit the reset button and start again.

DD3 has another friend who needs a place to live, so we are going to carpet the third bedroom in the big house and she and her 2yo daughter are going to rent it. This will bring the rental income to $725mo for that house. It is still well under the payment of $1300 mo, but it is $725 more than we were getting and as part of the deal, the girls will feed and care for the hubs two outside dogs and pet sit for my dog and cat when we go on vacations or when I need to work away from home. The hubs wood business is on this property, as well as the little house we are living in, so it still makes sense to keep it.

We will be out of town this week with my job, then, next Sunday, the hub flies back to Alaska for the rest of the month. I am going to challenge myself to see how frugally I can live while he is gone. The 13-15th I am going to Portland with my girls, but aside from that, I should be able to keep expenses down to a minimum. Hmmm...I see a personal challenge headed my way. Big Grin

Today was the day!

July 24th, 2013 at 08:08 pm


As promised, have a seat and enjoy a slice of cake and some champagne! My 401k hit my first milestone today! Woot!

It took 6 years to get here...hopefully the next milestone will arrive a little quicker!

The hub heads back to Alaska tomorrow. I feel like we made progress on working through the issues.

Waiting for the next milestone!

July 16th, 2013 at 08:01 pm

I feel like I am watching a pot, waiting for it to boil. My 401k has beenthisclose for a few months hovering just under 100K. Today, $98500. CMON!!!

I want to celebrate the benchmark already! When it happens we will celebrate with cyber cake and champagne!

But alas...I am waiting...waiting...eagerly waiting.

My new title and raise have taken effect...or is it affect...I never know.

Anyways, its official and I am so proud to have achieved a position I never thought Id achieve. I am now a VP. Smile

We removed the old carpet from the country house and oh my goodness, the odor went with the carpet. THANK GOODNESS. With each small change I am more optimistic about the house.

R has been home for a week. We have had some really tough conversations...REALLY TOUGH. For now, we will work on making it work.

The goal of being debt free except for the mortgage is on track for the end of the year. If nothing else, this year has been a successful one for debt repayment.

Once debt is paid..the goal will become retirement saving and house payoff.

All else is good.

Strawberry Pie tonight!

June 3rd, 2013 at 05:18 pm

Pull up a chair and have a slice of birthday pie with me...I am 52 years old today!

DD3 landed on the Slope this afternoon for her summer job. She is such a great daughter- she had one of her friends deliver a fresh strawberry pie out here today. HOW SWEET! My mom used to make sure I had one every year on my birthday..and since she has been gone, DD3 makes sure to get mom one. Smile (Even when she is thousands of miles away in Alaska!!) I am so blessed!

I am wrapping up a busy four day weekend. The hub and I spent most of it working on the big house and squeezing in some RnR.

Yesterday I decided to really deep clean the bathroom in the big house. There is just something yucky about scrubbing (someone else's) grime that has been accumulating for probably a year. Uh, beyond YUCK actually. But, I used several pairs of gloves and LOTS of those mechanic-strength blue paper towels. It took almost two hours, but when I was done the bathroom was completely disinfected and it sparkled. Today I stopped by the dollar store and bought a new shower curtain liner. We will need to move electrical switches and outlets and hang a new mirror, but otherwise, now that it is cleaned, I dont think we need to redo anything major. I had budgeted $3000 for the bathroom, but I think it will end up costing under $500 for electrical and drywall repairs and new mirrors.

Let me take a step back and talk a little about the home repair budget. When we first decided to move back to the country, I made a list of all the things I thought I needed. The budget was a minimum of $40,000 but could have easily gone way above that amount.

Thankfully, the semi-frugal part of my brain (and my desire to retire eventually) has kicked into gear and I have re-examined wants vs needs vs goals.

Because the one of the load bearing walls in the living room is not sealed well, and therefore neither weather or pest resistent- plus the brick work on the fireplace (same wall) is crumbling...AND the wood stove is too small for the house and doesnt heat properly, repairing this wall is a NEED. The estimated cost for this wall, plus new brick work and a new wood stove =$12,000-15,000. This is our first and main priority.

New kitchen cupboards would be really nice...but they are not a need, they are a want. As are updated appliances. However, the budget jury is still out on whether or not this will make the budget cut.

New flooring is a need, since what is currently in the house has been damaged by pets...and given the state of that bathroom, for my peace of mind, new flooring is a must for me.

New paint falls into the need category, in my opinion. Patch jobs, half painted walls, kids allowed to use markers, have all factored into this. I will probably hire my sons mother in law (who owns a painting company) to do the painting. having someone else paint, is a want. I could paint on my own, but the house will need to be painted in July or August. The heat and the fumes dont sound AT ALL fun to an asthmatic-menopausal gramma. Big Grin

Laundry was all washed and line dried. I have missed my clothesline. I love the smell of line dried sheets!

We went to lunch today with SIL who just started six months of chemo. He has been through round one and has lost some weight. It was good to visit with him. He has such an amazing outlook.

The hub is going to bbq some steaks and corn on the cob tonight- which will be followed up by the pie!

And tomorrow, its back to work.

Tri-tip for dinner tonight

June 1st, 2013 at 10:19 pm

The hub was up early this morning to work on a log truck for a friend. The friend will bring the hub a truck load of logs as payment, which we will cut and process for firewood this winter for the country house, and to sell. The hub has regular customers each year of about 15-20 cords.

The hubs nephew moved about 70% of his stuff out today. We will start working on cleaning the house out tomorrow. The carpet in the two small bedrooms does not appear to be too bad. I may try a good cleaning on those to see if they are salvagable. One of the rooms will become the grandkids play/sleepover room.

The other bedroom will be a craft room for me.

This afternoon we needed to run to town. A couple of weeks ago, I had bought a tri-tip dinner from a door-to-door sale for our local high school cheerleaders. $25 for a bbqd tri tip, salad, bread and cookies What a deal! Today, we picked it up and then stopped by the city house to pick up our broom and kitchen trash can- two things we forgot to grab. DD1 is working diligently to get unpacked and settled, but they have a ways to go.

On our way back out to the little house, we stopped and bought some agave nector for my tea, wet dog food, coffee creamers and milk.

Our grandson asked to come and stay the night. He is NINE already. So he came over this afternoon and played hard. He is sound asleep.

The hub is really enjoying the TV- I am in the bedroom with no tv and enjoying the peace and quiet.

Busy, spendy day!

May 31st, 2013 at 09:46 pm

Today was a vacation day.

The hub made an appointment (and paid!) for a side by side massage for us! What a treat! A foot soak and neck wrap, followed by an hour of stop-it-some-more massage, followed by a sauna and shower..uh, yessss!

Then, I had to get my driver's license renewed ($40). The DMV always takes so long- but an hour and a half later, we were done with that chore. While we were there, we got the paperwork ($4)to dispose of an old vehicle that no longer runs- I cant find the title, so this is the alternate option. The hub will be selling it for scrap.

Then, we went to lunch and enjoyed a lunch of mexican food.

Today was also payday for both the hub and I. Because it was the third payday this month, my paycheck had a little over $100 extra because the extra deductions dont come out when there are three paydays in a month. That extra was easily gobbled up when we went to Costco this afternoon and bought a memory foam topper for our bed. We are sleeping on a smaller bed, that is not the quality of our king sized bed, so we are hoping this topper will help. We also got a tri-tip, dog food, and some food for the week and supplies. We spent $270. (OUCH) When does this simple living plan start equating to spending LESS? Honestly, I think we are done getting everything we needed for the little house, with the exception of fixing the AC.

Tonight the hub is working on his friends log truck up near the hubs wood yard- it is so nice to be out here and not in town. While they are working, I have been reading one of the books I checked out from the library. "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed. It is interesting. I can relate with the author, who lost her mother and then struggled with dealing with her grief. I am enjoying the read...and having the TV off while the hub is occupied outside. Big Grin

Tomorrow should be a stay at home, no spend day, which I am really looking forward to.

Settling in

May 30th, 2013 at 12:50 pm

The hub and I are finally all moved in to the little house. Although, we still have some work to do since our perceptions of what would fit in 390 sq ft vs the reality means we need to continue to downsize before everything that will stay, fits.

Our first (real, moved-in) night, Sunday, we had my sons two little ones (5 and 3) with us, as well as DD3, our lab and my very jumpy-from-the-move cat. Having one queen bed and two recliners made for a night of little sleep-(except for the two kiddos and the dog who conked out and slept just fine)

I did learn that a king sized top sheet, adjusted correctly in the new bedroom, about 3 ft over the bed, will reach all four walls and, when secured, comes out looking like a giant tent when laying in the bed. The grandkids loved it.

On Monday, the hub bbq'd and we invited his nephew over. The nephew has been living in the big house, but is moving out this weekend. After he moves, the next phase of this master plan begins. We plan to rip out carpets and most of the flooring, remodel a wall and fireplace, repaint the entire inside and out, and lay new flooring. If there is money left in the budget, there are other repairs on the wish list, but for now, that is our scaled down plan.

Before the hub leaves for Alaska, I am going to learn how to mow, weed eat, and take care of things on my own so that I am self sufficient while he is gone. It has been comforting knowing his nephew was nearby if something came up. After he moves, and the hub leaves, my nearest support is 30 minutes away. Guess its time to get reaquainted with all the neighbors..

Yesterday, the internet and TV were hooked up. The hub definately missed watching his programs. Me, I missed the quiet last night. And the internet is intermittent at best as they hooked it in the big house, which is about 200 ft from the little house so the signal isnt real strong. But, it is something.

My cat has settled down and is actually enjoying being a country bumpkin. He has already caught his first mouse and is doing a good job of claiming his outdoor play space and hunting territory among the three dogs. He plays hard and sleeps well. As it should be.

I am enjoying the book on CD that I checked out from the library. It is a murder mystery and makes the drive to and from work fly by.

I am taking tomorrow and Monday off. After all the moving, kiddos, work, etc. I am really ready to enjoy the peace and quiet for a few days.

Checking in

May 28th, 2013 at 08:55 pm

We are all moved in to the little house. All 390 sq ft. We don't have Internet until tomorrow so I'm writing this on my phone. This is a journey I want to blog about but will wait for a more convenient way to do so!

Being back in the country is wonderful. It is so peaceful. I'm also enjoying being unplugged. I checked out some books from the lib and actually have time to read. I also checked out a book on CDs and its making the 25 min drive go by faster.

Hope to blog more tomorrow night!

Last night in the City House tonight

May 22nd, 2013 at 04:38 pm

My son's kiddos are in town for a few days. I am going to have them sleepover tonight. Which means I will be staying in the city house tonight.

Several reasons..the first is that the heat is not working at the little house. When I got up this morning it was 52 degrees inside. That is too cold for my California grandbabies who arent acclimated to that. I also have to be at work early in the morning, so DD3 will be at the city house with us to take over when I leave. And finally, it is going to rain- which means the kids would be cooped up in a tiny place- with not many toys..SO, for all of the above, tonight we will be back at the big house.

I talked with a contractor today about the repairs on the big house, and he is going to meet the hub and I there on Saturday. Hopefully he can let us know if our plans meet or collide with our budget. I have adjusted my expectations on the big house repairs. There are a few things that HAVE to be done. There are lots of things I would LIKE to have done. I just have to remember the difference and balance Needs/Wants and retirement goals.

First nights in the little house

May 21st, 2013 at 05:45 pm

I spent my first night in the little house last night. Within 30 minutes of getting there, I logged my first kill- a big black hairy spider that was hiding under something. THank goodness he didnt run and hide. Then, at bedtime, I saw a smaller one dangling on a web in the bedroom. He met his demise as well.

Nites in country: 1
Logged Kills: 2

The little house came together SO cute. I am tempted to live there when the hub is in Alaska. Easier to clean..and much less expensive to heat and cool. I also felt very safe- not sure if I can say the same in the big house...Its big and old and settles a lot at night. I am a chicken. We shall see- I have months before that is even an option.

In any case, I plan to spray for spiders.

I dont have satellite or internet out there. I would like to get internet, the hub really wants TV- right now it is kinda like an unplugged retreat, so I will hold off on both until the hub gets here this weekend and make appts for both next week.

Not having internet makes it hard to stay up on a blog. I had to stop by the city house tonight to toss a load of laundry in the dryer so I am using the few minutes here to post a quick update.

I bought an electric skillet ($20) and rice maker ($13)for the little house yesterday. The stove works on propane and I havent got that set up yet, so I am improvising with electric appiances until I do.

Last night just after I got home from work, the house was 79 degrees- I cant wait until the air is fixed...but tonight, it is only 52 outside, so I am sure the house will be COLD tonight. I brought my tiny little space heater from my office at work home to at least heat the bathroom in the morning.

I was enjoying the view last night from my patio and just across the street, I see four deer - hanging out enjoying some grass. Those are the things I love about being out in the country. The drive is going to take getting used to. Its about 30 minutes each way. But along the way I pass over a river, through pear orchards, farms with cows, horses, goats, etc and finally get out to where the country house is.

Living in the small house so far is wonderful. I am enjoying being unplugged from TV, computers, etc.

The hub gets home in two nights.


GS(4) with the broken arm is doing good. Having a cast is now a novelty for him and he loves the special attention. The adults are all finally slowing down on having flashbacks of the event.

SIL starts 6 months of chemo tomorrow. He is outwardly brave, but inwardly scared. I pray he beats this!

The situation with Z has had no change.

Life is good. Time to unplug for the night!

Gs (4) broke his arm today

May 18th, 2013 at 09:46 pm

Today was the start of all the moving. Unfortunately, it got cut short when my 4 year old grandson took a tumble and broke both bones in his arm. Ive never seen a limb with a break like this, and hope to never see it again. My poor little gs- in his four year old mind, thought his hand died, because it wasnt moving anymore as they were rushing him to the hospital- after 7 hours in ER, his arm was set and is now in a temporary cast and he is on his way to being ok. His fingers move just fine, so he is less traumatized tonight. Most importantly, he is out of pain.

Before the accident, we moved the fridge, couch and bed into the little house, which is all the big stuff. Now I can move in officially and pack everything else. If tomorrow goes as planned, I will start staying out there tomorrow or Monday night.

What a stressful day. Thank goodness our little guy is better tonight.

Little house AC, still dont know how much it will cost

May 15th, 2013 at 08:13 pm

The bid on the AC on the small house came back much higher than I guessed. I thought $200-ish, the bid, $3000...however, there was a miscommunication on what was needed. We dont need a new AC unit installed- we just need the current unit to be serviced and the duct work reattached. Not sure how that big of a communication gap occurred, but hopefully we will get it straightened out tomorrow. If not, the hub said he will deal with it when he gets home.

I stopped by the small house tonight and vacuumed the carpets and cleaned the linoleum floors. The house is now ready for the carpet cleaning.

I thought I would share some pics.

Here is the city house that I am moving out of:

Here is the little house that I am moving in to:

Here is a veiw of the living room looking in from the front porch. I love all the windows.

This view is looking at the kitchen/dining area. I was standing in the living room- down that small hallway is a small bathroom, and at the back of the house, the bedroom.

Here is the bedroom- the drawers need the drawer sliding hardware replaced, which my SIL is going to do for me.

And here is a view of the country house from the little house:

The rustic little house is a club house the hub made for our oldest grandson years ago...If you look closely, you can see little birdhouses along the wire fence up on the poles..My dad set those up - they loved watching the birds nesting in them.

One of the last things I will do to the country house is have it repainted a color that will blend more with the country. I always wanted a blue house, which I obviously got...but I am ready to change the color to something more subtle.

Long, wonderful day

May 14th, 2013 at 05:30 pm

Today was a long, 10 hour work day. But the trainings went great and I came home to this view, so I am not about to complain!

In addition, I had a wonderful (free to me) lunch with a co-worker. We ate at a lovely little place, ocean view- the food was awesome, AND we shared a lavender creme brulee for desert! (How YUMMY does that sound? it was amazing!)

One more day of training this week and I am done with the bulk of it- I will just have to come back for a make-up training day for those who missed it...and then I get to start training our other 200 staff members back at home.

On Monday, my team will increase by one employee. This will help SO MUCH with the workload. I have needed this help since December, and have juggled for months. It is so nice to know relief is just 3 work days away. If all goes as planned, we will get one more employee in July. However, this employee will come with a full plate of responsibilities, when we rearrange the reporting structure- but the transition on Monday is primarily much needed help for my position. (yay!!) Now when I am out of the office, like last week and this week, there will be someone in the office to take care of things in my absence- this person will also permanently take some of the things Ive been taking care of. Her help will allow me to focus on the strategic things Im responsible for, which will be SO nice to finally get time to do.

The AC repair guy looked at the little house today and said he can do the work. He is going to call me tomorrow with a price. I have no idea what to expect, but anticipate $200-ish? We will see how well I estimate the unknown tomorrow. Big Grin

This is my last 5 day work week for a while. Starting next week, I will work 3-4 days a week for the next 4 weeks- which will be very helpful with the upcoming move.

Tonight, I plan to enjoy my last night here. I have another LONG day tomorrow- 3 trainings, followed by a 2 1/2 hour drive home. But right now, a glass of wine and an amazing view is all I plan to think about. Ciao!

Back at the Coast, enjoying the free stay and view!

May 13th, 2013 at 06:34 pm

I am back over on the coast tonight and will be conducting training the next two days. It is absolutely gorgeous over here.

My job pays for meals while we are on trips, but I am a cheap date this trip. I opted to just stop by the store and pick up a couple of grilled chicken breasts from the deli, some veggies and a small cheese, which will be dinner tonight and tomorrow night. I also picked up bagels, cream cheese and oj for 8 staff in the morning. Total bill was $25.

Today I scheduled the AC service and duct-work repair for the small place. Holy cow. I had no idea NO ONE does this kind of work. I started with the bigger shops, who sent me to the smaller shops, who sent me to this guy....Anyway. He sounded nice and said he may or may not be able to help me depending on how the AC unit was installed. I will know after he takes a look tomorrow. I hope it is the kind he fixes, otherwise a big monkey wrench just got thrown into the plan. And hopefully, he wont charge an exorbitant amount..but at this point, Im kinda at his mercy.

A friends husband owns a carpet cleaning business and he is going to clean the carpets on Friday. Once all this is done and the SIL helps with a few handyman type repairs on Sat am, the little house will be move in ready.

I put the word out that I needed moving boxes and a co-worker offered me theirs- they just moved. NICE. I have PLENTY of boxes now.

So far, the moving expenses have been fairly small. We have spent about $600 on the little place for plumbing and repairs. We have spent about $500 for equipment to clear the property of old shrubs, blackberry bushes, etc...and for dump hauls.

The big expenses will come when the nephew moves out of the big house and we start working there. I have been browsing lots of websites for ideas. Since the house is 50 years old it needs not only repair work, but a few renovations. I am compiling all the ideas so that the hub and I can determine what will make the final cut...then, see budget-wise what makes the final-final cut.

Happy Mother's Day friends!

May 12th, 2013 at 09:30 am

Z spent the night last night, so I woke up to his sweet smile this morning. Such an amazing way to start the day.

Happy Mother's day to all the mom's here. I hope your day is filled with sunshine and love!!

I have massaged the budget over and over to come up with the money for the household repairs on the big house so that I dont have to tap into my 401k. I have had to cut WAY back on debt and savings repayments, but between now and the end of the year, I am able to come up with $40k. That includes about $9k of an interest free loan that need to be repaid by next May.

I have a long list of repairs that need to be done, and we will have to make the $40k budget work. We need to replace a load bearing wall, remodel the kitchen and an upstairs bath, replace all flooring and paint inside and out.

My DIL's monther owns a painting business, and her SO does flooring installation for a living- so I will be contracting with them for those projects.

The hub will do all the demo work...

And I think I have found someone who does the remodel work.

I just need someone for that load bearing wall. Right now, it consists of floor to almost ceiling windows on half the wall and a very old, crumbling brick fireplace on the other. Here is a picture of what I would like the end result to look like:

Lots to do..now that I have a number, I just need to put the puzzle pieces together to make it work. I anticipate the kitchen being the most expensive- lots of homework to do!

High Tea for Mother's Day

May 11th, 2013 at 09:01 pm

Today was a busy one.

This morning I worked out at the little place washing cupboards and walls. I found evidence that mice had been there..so I cleaned and disinfected everything. All signs of critters are gone- so I can keep an eye on it to see if there is new activity. All part of country living, but I intend to make it REALLY difficult and uninviting for critters to want to share space with me.

I need to schedule someone to come this week to service the air conditioning unit and to reconnect a few of the ducts. Unfortunately, park models arent always built to last. The drawers in the bedroom were installed very poorly and they will also need to be repaired. However, this fix should be inexpensive and pretty easy.

Next weekend I will shampoo carpets and start moving in. I am actually getting excited to move into the little place and try simple, minimal living for a while.

Today my daughters and I went to High Tea for Mother's Day at my friends tea shop. It was fabulous and we had such a nice time. Here is our food, right after it was delivered to our table:

It was as yummy as it looks and was followed by a wonderful dessert and all the tea we desired!

Tomorrow we are having a taco bar dinner for Mother's Day here at the city house. My last big family gathering before moving back to the country.

A couple of updates:

On SIL- He is healing from surgery, but learned he will need a port and will be on chemo for six months. The type of cancer he had has a 30% chance of recurrence. His attitude is amazing and he is determine to fight and win this battle. Every day I am more proud of the young man that he is.

On Z - Bio mom has broken ties with her mom and is now living in a home that has previously been found unfit for Z. So, the permanency process is back to square one. Bio mom will need to be monitored in this new home and a home study will need to be conducted to determine if it is now acceptable. This process take 2-3 months. Z is now almost 2 1/2, has been with DD2 for 2 years and has not seen Bio mom in almost 18 months. No other family members have followed through with phone visitations in over 4 months.

Plumbing is DONE.

May 4th, 2013 at 09:22 pm

I spent today working out at the little place that I will be moving into and getting all of the plumbing work done on both the little and big houses on the country property. The little place, a park model RV is cleaning up cute as a button. It will be so cozy at just under 400 sq ft. I intend to keep it purposefully minimal there.

The plumbing repairs took all day. About 9 hours with two people working pretty much straight through. The repairs included putting in new piping for the sink, dishwasher and washing machine in the big house, PLUS repairing the toilet and hooking up a sink in the downstairs 1/2 bath. AND at the small house, repairing all the pipes that cracked because the house did not get winterized, (note to self- NEVER let this happen again) adding a shut off valve up at the small house so we dont have to run a half an acre away to turn it off when there is a problem, replacing the heating element in the hot water heater and cleaning out lines that have become narrow with mineral buildup (theres a name for it, but it eludes my tired brain tonight)

I feel I got a great deal for all of this - $500. Money well spent to know that there is new plumbing, hooked up and declogged and working at both places- since I will be there alone 50% of the time, at least, knowing things will work is huge for me.

Check mark.

My feet hurt, Im a little sunburned, and Im tired, but things are coming along.

Tomorrow, I am taking a mid day break to FINALLY get my hair cut- its been a year, it needs it...and I am going to have it colored while I am there. Im tired of my unintended gray highlights and my hair is desperately dry..I am afraid to get around open flames. So it is time.

Tomorrow afternoon, I am taking the kids uncle (my exes brother- ditched the ex, but stayed in touch with J all these years)..to dinner. He was the plumbers helper today and refuses to take anything for helping. He is retired and enjoys helping- and wrote out a to-do list of things to help with while I am at the coast for work this next week. I really, really appreciate his help- he is a retired contractor/plumber and knows his stuff.

It was fun spending the day back out at the property. There was a great breeze this afternoon and the dogs (our 3, J's, and the nephews- all labs) had a blast playing all day.

I had to run to the (little) store out there a couple of times for misc hardware- they are celebrating 30 years of being in business and had a picture up of the little original 'corner market' building..which was there when we first bought the country house about 18 years ago. They have really expanded over the years - for a small independent, local store, the prices are fair. They have even added a small mexican food diner, a real estate office and added on a hardware and farming supply section.

It is starting to feel like home again out there. Although there are months of work left to do on the big house. One bite at a time.

Life is good!

The hub got a raise!

May 2nd, 2013 at 10:34 pm

The hub found out when he got back to work today that he got a $2 an hour raise! Thats over $200 per week for him!! Nice!

That will help SO much with all the repairs we have to pay for on the country house!

I love unexpected surprises!


May 2nd, 2013 at 01:51 pm

The hub made it back safely to Alaska last night. He will be gone for 3 weeks. Since he was home the past two, there is no paycheck for his job this week. I get paid though. My pay is salary, so no OT surprises tomorrow.

I have created a few lists to help with the upcoming changes at home.
Must Haves
Wanna Haves

The Must Have list includes:

Repairing the living room wall
*New flooring throughout
unclog kitch/laundry room plumbing
*remodel upstairs bath
*repair downstairs bath
*replace broken window
*replace missing screens (argh!)
*paint entire inside
paint or reside external walls
*replace wood stove
*replace stairway bannister

* due to renter and dog's distruction and son's 'repair' jobs...

Wanna Haves:

Remodel kitchen
enlarge tiny master into master suite

It all depends on costs...which I am sure are going to eat up our budget very quickly.

My brother in law (from my ex) reminded me that he is a retired plumber with all tools and offered to take a stab at the plumbing issues. (yay)

I have found three contractors that specialize in remodeling- and will be getting bids in June.

The good news is that once this is done, we can put either or both homes on the market if we want, which is peace of mind for long term goals. I just need a good budget and the fortitude to stick with it.

The moving meeting

April 30th, 2013 at 10:17 pm

The hub and I met with DD1 and her hub tonight to work out details for the moves. It will take planning and juggling, but I think we have a good plan. We will be moved out of the city house by Jun 3. The kids will start paying rent on the city house on Jul 1, which gives them a month break to pay transfers and deposits on utilities.

The kids are relieved to have a nice home to move into. There is much to do, but I DO feel it is a good decision. I just hope our fix it budget is sufficient to get everything done.

The hub leaves tomorrow, back to Alaska. I will have lots to stay busy with the next 3 weeks while he is gone.

The extra income will help pay the expenses of fixing up the country house and paying down debt. We are taking a huge step towards our bhag of being debt free except for mortgage, and retiring plans!

Dead battery and yes, its back to the country for me!

April 29th, 2013 at 08:51 pm

The battery on my car went kaput today. The hub is charging it tonight to see if that works. If not, he will replace it before he heads back to Alaska on Wednesday.

The wheels are in motion to move back to the country. DD1 and her hub are excited to move here, the hubs nephew actually already had a place lined up so this works perfectly for him and I have a few weeks to get my moms little place ready to move into.

Then, we will gut the country house and fix the MUST FIX items and decide what wish list items will make the cut.

Between now and ALL of that...I have to pack and figure out where all this stuff will go for the next few months.

Let the fun begin!

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