Home > Archive: February, 2013

Archive for February, 2013

Gramma's heart is heavy tonight. :(

March 1st, 2013 at 05:16 am

My middle grandaughter, age 5, was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis when she was 2. She has had three treatments that have all thankfully resulted in periods of remission. She has to be checked every 6 months.

Yesterday was her appointment, and the JA is back and has spread. This time in a spot right behind her Achilles tendon that will require weekly shots by mom or dad, indefinately, to keep her joint from fusing. She will also have to have her eyes checked every 3 months because this form of JA is also the form that affects eyesight. Frown She told me on the phone last night that she never wants to go to the doctor again, EVER. Bless her heart.

I wish Gramma could grant that wish. But this is one gramma can't fix. I can just ache for her and give encouragement that it will be okay.

Thankfully, I get to see her on our way down south tomorrow. Cant wait to give her a hug.

Are we there yet?

February 27th, 2013 at 09:49 pm

Are vacations worth it? I mean, all the work you do before you go to make sure things are covered while you are gone...followed by all the work waiting when you get back. Seriously, I know we will have a good time, but the before and after make me wonder if its all worth it. Two more days...I can do this.

Three full days of walking and standing at Disney had me nervous. My tennis shoes were a present from a friend, I wasnt there when she bought them and didnt try them on and they are not the most comfy fitting shoes.

So, yesterday I stopped by a local store that carries well made (ie expensive..) shoes. I told the guy there that I am a gramma about to spend three days at DL with two grandkids, and I needed to know my feet would survive. He had me try on a couple of options, and then put THE sandals on my feet that were IT. OMG- most comfortable pair of shoes ever. I have never spent $130 for a full years worth of shoes, perhaps even two...let alone on a single pair. But, I did yesterday. They are sooo comfy, that I do not have buyers remorse. The older I get, the more the comfort of my shoes matters. (I sound like my gramma...)

Other than the shoes, I have had a no spend week. All meals out of the dwindling cupboard and fridge. Tonight I am going to dinner with friends.

Not much else on the financial front to add. Tomorrow the hubs pay will show, and I can update some numbers then.

Well, crud!

February 25th, 2013 at 11:57 pm

Careful planning and I still managed to goof up. I brought my lunch today...all the makings for a roast beef sandwich...cept I forgot the bread. Today is a 9 hour work day, so not a good day to forgo lunch.

Then, out of the blue, I received a message from a co-worker that she had brought something for me to try today. She is Filipino, and boy can she cook! Every once in a while she will bring a little something for me to try...and today was awesome timing. It was a recipe she created- like an enchilada only not with tortillas, but with..well, egg roll wraps? filled with spicy ground pork, bell pepper, onion and potato..Whatever it was, it was super yummy...and free...and much appreciated-

but it was also breakfast AND lunch because I ...also failed to bring the oatmeal. Must be Monday.

I am on hour 9 of my workday, because I didnt take a lunch hour...and I am planning to work another hour. So, my 15 minute mental break is reading some blogs and writing this post. Big Grin

I have to stop by the store on my way home to pick up a prescription...I have a prepaid medi the stop shouldnt interfere with another no spend day...but then again, I will be at the store and...

I guess time will tell.

Ok, back to work for me.

Exciting week ahead!

February 24th, 2013 at 04:42 pm

The week ahead is an exciting one.

The hub gets home at midnight on Thursday. Smile. However, I leave the next morning for the Cali/Disney trip for 7 days. The hub DOES NOT want to go with us and is looking forward to having some time to himself. Sleep is first on his agenda.

As mentioned above, Friday DD2 and I leave with her kiddos to go to Disneyland. I will also get to spend 3 nights with my BFF, who lives down there while DD2 takes the kids to go she her grandmother.

I am on vacation for a week...we will get home on the following Thursday night...and then I reserved the work condo for the hub and I for Friday and Sat night, which is free to us!


Today I am going to put in a few hours for work, then I will work 9 hour days Mon-Thur and take Friday as a comp day so we can get on the road a little sooner than planned.

For the long drive, we will take drinks and snacks in a cooler. I plan to freeze some water bottles to keep things cold and then provide drinking water when they melt. DD2 and I have been stocking up on Disney themed treats, stickers, activity books, etc to make gift bags for the kids to enjoy on the drive.

DD1 has a dual DVD player for the car that we are going to borrow and perhaps even some movies the kids could enjoy.

I bought some potting soil yesterday to start my rosemary and basil plants- the two herbs I buy fresh regularly. I thought growing my own would be a little less expensive and much more convenient. I have been harvesting my own green onions in a glass of water on the window sill for about a month, and that is working GREAT!

My food plan for the week:
Oatmeal for breakfast
some sort of chicken for dinner..its defrosting, not sure what I will make yet
leftovers for lunch or pb&j

I am going to dinner on Wednesday with friends.

No big money news this weekend. I did double check the cc#2, which is now showing PIF. Big Grin It is nice to pay, but feels awesome once it shows on the account balance.

The hub has been working some very long days- so Friday's paycheck should be much higher than budgeted.

Today will be busy packing, working, shopping for the things we need for the trip, getting ready for the week ahead and getting the house uber clean for the hubs home alone time.

Lots to do, better get busy!

Buh-bye cc#2 (and good-riddance!)

February 22nd, 2013 at 08:34 pm

Today was payday for the hub and I. I decided to move money from ING.... *ugh* I mean Capital One, to go ahead and payoff CC#2 today. I will transfer that money back to Capital One on the 8th and save whatever interest would have accumulated on the debt. I updated the sidebar. Total debt payoff in Feb is an all time one-month record for us... $11,264!!

I am eager to see what all of this does to our credit scores!

Now, on to cc#3!

The investment counselor gave me a to-do list before our meeting. I need to get the hubs most recent pension projection, our social security statements, current 401k information and investment options, and an idea of what our tax advisor suggests for Roth vs Traditional as far as tax bracket calcs.

The hub will be going to see our accountant while he is home to get our taxes done. Last year, we received a good sized refund- I anticipate that being the case again- potentially even more, since the hub was in Alaska more than half time and may not have to pay Oregon taxes??? Not sure, but I am eager to find out. I didnt calculate a refund into the debt payments, so whatever we get will go towards cc#3.

Tonight is my date night with my oldest GS (8). He is my carnivore who will want steak for today will not be a no-spender.

A week from today we leave for our Cali/Disney trip. So much to do between now and then!!!

401k...time to make some changes

February 22nd, 2013 at 02:33 am

One of my (long?) term BHAG actually... is to retire at 60, if not sooner.

I currently contribute 8% to my 401k, which is the max that my job matches. (I love that they contribute this much, so nice!) I plan to raise my contribution amount once debt is paid off...In the meantime, I am embarrassed to admit that I set my investment options up years ago and have never changed them. This is primarily because I dont understand them. However, our job allows each employee a few hours a year to talk to an investment counselor for this very purpose. I have just never taken advantage of it.

So today, I emailed my investment profile to the counselor and set up an appointment for next month to get a solid plan in place. He briefly looked over my current investments and let me know that they need updating... since they currently conflict with each other. At least he didnt laugh. Smile

He asked a few questions and pointed out that with the hubs pension (he is fully vested from the union job he left to go to the slope), what I currently have invested plus an additional 8 years of 15-20 years left for the hub to work and invest (the hub is 7 years younger than me), we are in a good position to meet our goals. (yay!)

So, debts are being paid and I am getting the financial house in order to achieve the retirement goal. 8 years feels like a long time, but I know it will go quicker than I expect...and I very much want to be prepared.

Feels good to face the financial details head on and learn that it very well could work as planned. Smile

BHAG = Big hairy a$$ goal...Big Grin

The ironing board arrived! Yippee!...I need a life.

February 21st, 2013 at 03:37 am

Today was a no spend day. Actually, the last several days have been no spenders with the exception of Monday when I ordered the ironing board, which arrived this afternoon! How bad is it that you get excited about an ironging board--but I have gone without one for so long that it feels like a real treat to have one again.

I spent my lunch hour today working on our budget for the rest of the year. Because I am salary, my paychecks are the same every other week.

I budget the lowest amount that the hub has brought home each week to calculate his pay. The tough part is making sure I add the correct number of paychecks for the month, because he works 4/2 in the winter and 3/3 the rest of the year...which means every month is different.

I keep our budget on an excel spreadsheet with a different tab for each montn. Until today, I had projected through August, but now I have it through the end of the year. It is reassuring to see the budget for the whole year and to know the ebbs and flows for those months depending on how many weeks he actually gets a paycheck.

As I was working through it, I realized that I messed up in March and we will actually get a week of pay I hadnt budgeted for. That one week will pay for 3 of his airline tickets. Those tickets would have slowed down repayment of CC#3, but now that money will go there instead.

I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow, but dinner tomorrow night will have to be creative. Perhaps a PB&J sandwich...but I bet I can stretch out at least one more no spend day..or two. Hmm...

CC#2 is in the cross hair! Once you focus, goals become reality!

February 20th, 2013 at 12:40 am

I was playing with the budget today and realized that if all goes as planned, I will send the final payment for CC#2 on March 28th. (I am paying $500 this week and will have the final $2300 by end of March)

That means that in two months, we have paid just shy of $10,000 in debt off. WOW. We have primarily accomplished this with bonus money and over time- so this pace of repayment won't be sustainable all year, but boy, this is a jump start in the right direction.

The payments from those three debts equals $470 per month, which will snowball into the CC#3 starting in April. By the end of the year on that trajectory, CC#3 will be down to about $2500. Factoring similar overtime and bonus money next year, we could potentially pay it all off sometime next year- which is my stretch goal. (yay!)

Since yesterday was a Holiday, this is a four day work week. I may work either Sat or Sun this weekend so that I can take next Friday (1st) off to leave for our California trip. DD2 got it off, and an extra day to travel that far with the two grandkids sounds like a great idea! I have four big report-type projects due right after I get back, so I am in high gear this week and next to get them done before I leave. Working on a weekend would mean less interruptions and better focus- and I dont really have any plans this weekend.

I used this past long weekend productively. I cooked oatmeal and chicken for most of the weeks meals. Today will be another no spender. Preparation sure helps stay on a food budget. I also cleaned house and caught back up at home- since I am leaving the day after the hub gets home, I want to leave the house nice and tidy so that he can fully enjoy his home alone time.

Guess its time to double check the a to-do list to make sure I get it all done...

Day after flowers = savings!

February 17th, 2013 at 03:10 am

This is post #1200. WOW.

I actually wrote a nice long post this morning, but forgot to copy before submitting and was gone.

Yesterday afternoon I got to work from home. I needed to be here when UPS delivered our Disney package containing the tickets, etc. I left the office at lunch time and stopped by the store on the way home to pick up some groceries. While I was there, I noticed that they had cut flowers discounted (since it was the day after V-Day). Big Grin I picked up two bundles of tulips at 1/2 off.. one pink and one white. I just love this combo. Even though they are a 'day old' they were perfectly fine and look beautiful. The photo above is not mine, but resembled my the color of my tulips perfectly!)

I don't buy cut flowers often..maybe twice a year. Since the hub wasnt here for V-day, I decided to treat myself.

DD3, who is working in Alaska, has a friend here that is a single mom- which means she is a young, single mom..just 21. Her son's first birthday was today. She and DD3 have been friends since they were 12, so she is like family- although this is one of the kids friends that Im not too close to. DD2, Z and I went to the party.

First, I was surprised by how much she spent on this party. She lives on next to nothing..and barely makes ends meet...often not having food at the end of the month. She used at least $175 on this party..she told us that the location, a kids activity center, cost $130 for a birthday room for an hour and the children attendees have free entry to the facility for the day. (the money came from her tax refund)..She bought trays of meat/cheese, veggies and dips, cupcakes, etc...aside from her mom and grandma, ONE other girlfriend showed up. Z and the birthday boy were the only kids there. I felt so bad for her. SHe was very disappointed...and must have regretted spending so lavishly.

I have DD1s kiddos over tonight. Her and SIL are having a date night. My gs has been asleep for an hour or so, and my gd is watching Hotel Transylvania and snacking on girl scout cookies (that SHE sold me Smile )....expensive little cookies too.

Update on Z

There are a couple of important court dates coming this month. The first is for his mother. They are adding more charges- and she may be going back to jail.

The other is the first permanency hearing. This could go two ways- 1- they could extend moms time to rehab 3 more months..and 2- they could start permanency placement proceedings, which will kick his file to a committee to determine where he will live permanently. If 2 happens, it is highly likely, now that Z is past age 2, that he will stay with DD2 and she will get to eventually adopt. But there are no guarantees.

My wish is that no matter what happens Z has a chance to grow up in a loving, nurturing environment. He is such a sweet little boy.

A full month ahead on debt repayment!

February 14th, 2013 at 10:37 pm

The hub has been working a lot of OT lately. His paycheck tomorrow, is the biggest since he started working at this job almost 18 months ago..$959 more than budgeted. This will go to CC#2 and put us a FULL MONTH ahead on our debt repayment plan! I scheduled a payment for tomorrow for $1000.

Lunch ended up being free today. A team met at lunch time and there were leftover subway sandwiches up for grabs, so I took one and ate at my desk and read.

Tonight is my 'date' with the hubs aunt. It should be a fun night.

Tomorrow is Friday, but I dont have a date with a grandchild..instead, I am keeping DD1's two kiddos Saturday night so mom and dad can go out. This is a three day weekend, which I am looking forward to. I have some housework and laundry to catch up on since I was gone last weekend.

Happy Valentine's Day!

February 14th, 2013 at 02:56 pm

Good Morning Friends!

I wish each of you a wonderful Valentine's Day today!

The hub and DD3 in Alaska

February 14th, 2013 at 04:32 am

Today was an exciting day for DD3. The ice road between the camp she has been at...and the camp her dad is at...was finished late last night. So this morning after she got off, she and a co-worker were able to drive over to see her dad. This is the longest she has ever been away from us and they were both pretty happy to see each other. I have to settle for a picture of them sharing the moment on the slope...

Here they are:

I miss them both and it brought tears to my eyes to see them looking so happy. This is truly a shared experience that they will both look back on and enjoy. DD3 is having such a good time working up there...and the hub LOVES it. So this pic did my heart good.

There is a little mexican restaurant near my job that I like to go to when I want to get away at lunch. They recently changed owners and I have been wondering how it would change. Today I went and got to find out. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the taco salad I usually get was still on the menu and a few dollars cheaper!! It was only $5.25 (used to be $8.95) was a little smaller, which is perfect as the more expensive salad was too much for lunch. The quality was just as good. I usually just have water, so this is a very reasonable lunch..and the service was amazingly friendly. Nice surprise!!

After I got home, I got another surprise...I wasnt very hungry, so I wasnt sure what to do for dinner...and then the doorbell rang...DD2 had picked up the kids AND pizza and popped in!! Fun!

All in all, a great day. I truly am very, very blessed.