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July 23rd, 2013 at 04:48 am


slow growth is still growth. Big Grin

Maybe tomorrow will be the day.

DD3 sent me the happiest picture today. She is in Alaska on a mini vacation and they went fishing. Here she is with her catch:

The smile says it all!

Happy 4th!

July 5th, 2013 at 12:19 am

Happy 4Th everyone!

DD3 arrived home from Alaska yesterday. She went from 38 degrees there, to 100+ here. Needless to say, she was not thrilled with the heat. Thankfully, today it only got to about 90. The little house has actually stayed cool today.

There wasn't much food in the house, so this morning we went out to breakfast. She wanted crepes and biscuits and gravy..I wanted biscuits and gravy and ham. So we ordered a crepe/ham meal and biscuits and gravy on the side- which was much less expensive than two meals and got us both what we wanted! We both just had water to drink. Meal and tip $14

Then, I stopped by DD1s with all my empty water jugs and filled them up. Since the time I saw a frog hanging out on the inside of the holding tank, I don't trust the well water for consumption, so this is my solution- which doesn't cost DD1 a noticeable difference and provides me free water that I trust.

DD3 and a friend of hers want to move into the big house for a couple of months. There are two bedrooms that would work. The bathroom is ready and the kitchen, while old, works. So, they are going to move into the house and pay the electricity bill (which includes the little house) as their rent. It also will give me company out here, and the girls will take care of the dogs. The amount they will pay is way less expensive than rent anywhere- so it is a win win for everyone for now. Especially since the home remodel is on permanent hold.

DD3 and I stopped by the store and bought some groceries- mainly fresh fruits and veggies. I finally remembered to use my reusable bags. $48 for some ribs, milk, bread, cheese veggies, and fruits. The store had my fav bbq sauce on sale for .99 per bottle, so I bought 3! Our pantry and fridge are stocked for the weekend!

Strawberry Pie tonight!

June 4th, 2013 at 12:18 am

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.

OT..I froze in front of the group...every trainers nightmare came true...

May 8th, 2013 at 04:27 am

You know that dream..or that fear.. speaking in front of a group and totally freezing up, forgetting where you are at what is next and NOT finding your footing until its obvious to everyone? Yeah, that happened today and it really was as bad as I imagined it would be.

I conducted three trainings, the first went fine..but the second just got off wrong - I couldnt remember what was next, had trouble explaining my points, and about mid way through I drew a very blank screen for a brain. After a very pregnant pause, plus at least another minute or two..(people in the room actually saying, its ok, that has happened to me....)the person who is here with me jumped in and redirected the discussion- which gave me time to regroup my thoughts and finish 'ok'. The third training was much better.

I am not sure if it was lack of preparation on my part, just major stage fright, or old age setting in- but it is something I hope doesnt happen again. I typically shake stuff off- but this one was impactful on the day... bleh.

I have one more training tomorrow morning, and then I am done for this week. I sat down tonight a reworked my training notes and materials so that hopefully that doesnt happen again.

On a happier note...very nice actually, DD3 found out was rehired on the slope for summer work. She is dancing on the moon with happiness tonight. I am so proud of her. This will give her more experience and it shows they were happy with her work over the winter!! Im a truly proud mama.

Not one of the best days today..but life is good.

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.

Date night and green onions

February 2nd, 2013 at 04:32 am

Tonight is date night with my 4 year old grandson. He got to pick dinner...we had McDonalds. I took him to one with a big play place and he seemed to have a great time. I would have preferred something else for dinner, but it was his choice.

We came home and watched a movie together, now he is playing and using up the last of his energy before bedtime.

A couple of nights ago the hub bbqd tri tip and we had baked potatoes. I love green onions on baked potatoes, but when I pulled them out of the fridge, they were pretty I decided to forego the onlions. But I put them in a glass of water..and tonight, they are all perked back up. I trimmed the ends and have a nice healthy supply to use this weekend. I plan to just keep them growing this way. I dont use much, so I should be able to grow enough for me easily..all I need is water, a glass and a little sun from the window. The cost is right..and I will always have onions when I need them! At appx .75 a bundle, its not huge, but it is an easy way to save a little.

DD3 got paid today and I am tickled to say she has now paid us back in full...and has a real live savings account!! Go DD3!

So glad the weekend is here! I am looking forward to slowing my pace down for a couple of days and catching back up at home. Tonight, enjoying my is blessed!

Vacation...sort of...Hub home, not yet....

January 18th, 2013 at 02:43 am

Today I was not as successful at getting my workload completed for vacation. There were simply too many roadblocks. So, while I am officially on vacation, I will be toting my laptop from work and working off and on to keep some important balls rolling this next week. It is simply unavoidable. But, that comes along with being exempt.

The hub is enroute tonight, but I am not sure if the heavy freezing fog we are experiencing will allow his plane to land or not. (Update...his flight is cancelled. He wont be home until tomorrow...poor guy.) He will arrive in Seattle in a couple of hours, and then we will find out if the connecting flight is happening. If it doesnt, the poor guy will sleep in the airport on one of those comfy (not) benches. He has been working 20 hour days and so I know he is exhausted already.

DD3 received her first full week paycheck. Her bring home, for one week = $1717. She was ecstatic. She will have all debt (she just owes $ to the hub and me and a small student loan) and have a nice big savings account to come home to.

Since she is paying us back, and we arent supporting her, my debt repayment will accelerate nicely. In all, she started out owing us just over $5k, but she will be under $3k tomorrow after only two weeks.

So happy to be on vacation..even though I have to work some, it is nice to know I can just do it on my time. So looking forward to our trip to the vacation home next week!!

Great eval and raise!!

January 17th, 2013 at 02:20 am

This has been a good week.

I received my eval on Monday, and it went way better than I expected!! Not that I thought it would be bad, it is just the first time Ive been evaluated by this boss. My raise is 5.75% which is really good! However, the scale raised and even with this increase, I am lower on the scale than where I was before the increase. hmmm. So, I asked for that to be corrected. I am on the list that will be re-evaluated after evaluations are all done and the budget is finished. My argument has been acknowledged as valid and so it is very likely that the additional increase will happen.

Tomorrow is my last work day before vacation. I have been going full throttle since December with the changes we have had at work, and so I am ready for a break...however, my calendar that first week I go back is already booked solid. There isnt an end in sight for a I plan to unwind as much as possible the next week and a half.

I mentioned that I bought new clothes and a new pair of shoes last weekend. My oh my...those new shoes are WAY comfy and were a good investment. Smile My feet feel soo much better at night now. And the new clothes have put a bounce in my step. It has been great having a few new things to wear.

Z turned two this week. He is getting so big. Still no new word on what his future holds, but for now, he is safe, happy and loved.

The hub is supposed to come home tomorrow. But as Lucky Robin described in her blog today, there are extreme conditions on the Slope and it is questionable if he will actually get out and all the way home or not tomorrow. We dont leave for our get away until Tuesday morning, so we have a little wiggle room for travel delays.

DD3 is doing wonderful at her job up north. She is learning so much and aside from all the snow and extreme weather this week, she has really enjoyed being up there.

Monday and Tuesday were no spend days, I stuck to the food plan and ate leftovers. Today I went to lunch and had grilled salmon and rice pilaf ($15). It was so tasty and it was soooo nice and relaxing to get away from the desk for an hour.

Tomorrow will be super busy getting everything ready for being gone next week..but knowing when I leave work tomorrow night I have the next 10 days off will make it worthwhile. Big Grin really good. I am so blessed.

Payday allocations

January 12th, 2013 at 12:41 am

Today was payday for both the hubby and me. My paycheck include the 10% rebate that employees get on interest paid and earned on accounts for the year...and also had the higher social security taxes taken out. My net was still higher by $110. The hubs paycheck was a little over $700 more than budgeted. This week I paid the utility bills, deposited for the birthday account for the year, paid $1000 to debt, paid off the small cc that the hub uses for airline and hotel expenses and deposited the monthly vacation and christmas amounts. Checkmark.

DD3 also received her first paycheck- $678, and that was for four days. She is seasonal and will work about 5 months. She is paying us back for expenses for getting the job and because I paid off her truck so that she could register it in her name before she for a while, $500 from each paycheck will come to mom. He future paychecks should be much higher, and so even after the $500 ding, she should come home to a nice savings account.

As one of my 2013 goals, I am having one grandchild spend the night on Fridays. Tonight is my oldest grandsons turn- he is 8. This means, I will need to pick up steak on the way home..he is a true carnivore who loves his meat and potatoes.- Well, mostly just the meat. Smile We will play Jenga, watch a movie with some popcorn and he will want to play something on the ipad. Should be a fun night.

Tomorrow my SIL is making homemade tamales and we are watching the Packers/49ers game. Im a Packer fan, everyone else that will be there is a 49ers fan. Should be fun.

Work from home day..

January 7th, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Bleh. Sometime between yesterday, when I said I felt much better and this morning, when I woke up...the cold returned with a vengeance. Luckily, I am able to work from home once in a while. I could have went to work...but the reason I got sick in the first place was because someone else decided to go to work when they were sick. I have been working since 7am in my comfy clothes, have gotten so much done, and havent contaminated anyone. In spite of feeling mighty crummy, its been a productive workday.

Unfortunately, I am supposed to cook for the teen shelter tonight and drop it off tomorrow. Not a good idea really. So, I will most likely have pizza delivered to them. I hate doing that- but otherwise, I run the risk of making someone else sick. It will cost more than Id planned, but I really dont have the energy to make food for 15 tonight.

One of the things I did for work today was my self-evaluation. I really dont like doing self evals...but at least its done. We will see if it matches up with my bosses review of me. I will know next Monday. Either way, my raise should be significant this year. I asked to have my salary adjusted to mid-point of the scale- and have been told that will most likely happen. That is about a 7-8% increase before the scale adjustment is made for the year. Considering we just made all of our goals and assumed several locations, and my department is about to grow by 2-3 people, mid-point should adjust higher too. I am eager to find out- I will be raising my 401k to absorb most, if not all, of the raise- which is exciting!!

DD3 was transferred to the remote location today. (Alaksa) there may not be cell reception and I may not hear from her for a while. I sure miss her.

Since I am homebound today, it will be a no-spender. However, tomorrow and pizza/salad for 15 will be a fairly big spend for the week. At least I have a plan B for the kids.

End of year bonuses and rebates-

December 21st, 2012 at 03:16 am

Today was Santa day at work. I am so blessed to have a job I enjoy that is so generous with us. I received a $50 gift card- to a store that I chose that carries just about everything from groceries, to household, to clothes and toys. Then, I received $350 in a cash bonus. I wasnt sure if we would receive the bonus this year, so it was a very pleasant surprise.

In a few weeks I will also receive a 1% rebate on all interest earned or paid on my personal accounts, plus I have earned almost $200 in cash from the 1% visa rebate. THEN, we have achieved all of our goals this year, so I am eligible for a 5-6% bonus on my salary. Big Grin With the exception of the gift card, I will put all of this into a savings account and let it ride.

If the weather and road conditions cooperate, DS and his family will be here tomorrow night. However, the passes have been hazardous most of the day today, and tonight promises freezing weather. I called DS today and made him promise that he would stay somewhere safe for the night if the conditions were bad. I would much rather have them safe than here if its a choice.

Been checking out sites and prices for the cruise next summer. With so many options, it will take some study to make sure I book this correctly. I do know that we want a balcony...beyond that, not so sure.

I am off tomorrow..need to grocery shop and pick up a birthday present for GS who turns 3 tomorrow and has a birthday party on Saturday...

Then, just putz around the house getting ready for family!!

Life is good!

DD3s Alaska preparations

November 6th, 2012 at 02:07 am

Dd3 got her call from Alaska and will be heading up at the end of November or first week of December. So the hub and her went shopping today to get her some cold weather gear. Boots, $129 but they will keep her feet warm up to -140. At least I know her tootsies will stay warm. They still have to get insulated outerwear. Dd3 is keeping a tab of the expenses so that she can repay us and also claim them on taxes. This is such a big adventure for a 20 year old. She is so excited. They told her she would work until next MAY.

Last night was pizza with the was $100 for 10 of us and there were leftovers - which DD1 and DD3 very willingly took. We had a great time.

Tonight the hub made tacos using the left over tri-tip. They were really good! I will be taking tri-tip to work for lunch tomorrow too.

Only three more days until we leave for the 5 day trip. The weather is calling for lots of snow there...just as a late fall mountain getaway should! I am so excited!!