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Archive for November, 2005

Clean house, mowed lawn

December 1st, 2005 at 07:02 am

Here it is almost December (or I guess we've rolled on into December now) and my lawn needed cut again. I realized dh wasn't going to do it, so I took a guy up on his offer. My spanish sucks. I have got to learn spanish. But he did the whole lawn and weedeated and all for $30. Pretty high, but much less than what I've been quoted. And now we won't have to mow again until we move out. Yay!

All the laundry is done. All the dishes are done. The house sparkles. Fresh tablecloth on the table. Pretty candle as a centerpiece. All ready for FIL to come.

We're trying to think of fun, frugal things to do with FIL. We'll definitely go over into Mexico. I know he doesn't like border towns that much, he much prefers the Yucatan penisula, but he'll deal in order to get the foods he likes. We found a taco dealer in Mexico who is devine. Yummy tacos and cheap.

He's staying for a week. I'm not sure we can fill a week, especially since both of us have to work. But we'll muddle through and I'll report back on frugal things we found to do, along with a cost.

Got interrupted earlier

November 30th, 2005 at 04:15 am

Sheesh, DH wants me to clean just because his dad is coming Thursday (the house isn't dirty, or that messy, just needs picked up).

I have a decision to make about our new house. The owner called to find out if we wanted the gas dryer. Now I'm wondering if there's even an electrical outlet for a dryer. She didn't say how much she wanted for it. I know using the principles of physics that gas is the most efficient in terms of general energy use. But, I don't how this particular dryer compares to my dryer, which is newish and energy star.

I'd like to get back into hanging my clothes. Since we'll own the house, I can put up a clothes line if I feel like it. I can go home after work, start a load of laundry, walk over the to the school to pick up the kids, let them play in the park for a while and then get home just in time to hang the clothes on the clothesline. Sounds really lovely, huh?

But, what about those times when life is too much to hang the clothes? And dh's work uniforms? I'm not about to iron those things and neither is he. Right now, I put them in the dryer for about 5 minutes (I have a front loader, so they come out of the washer pretty dry) then go get them and hang them on hangers in the doorway. So for the uniforms, it really isn't much energy use. And it will be next school year before they start at that school.

So it's something I have to think about.

Gave away $5 today

November 30th, 2005 at 02:58 am

Or the equivalent of $5. My bosses sponsored a boys and girls club event and got free tickets to a meal (value $5). So we each got one ticket. I started thinking about it and realized I didn't want to pay $15 for the rest of my family to go and didn't want to go without them, so I gave my ticket to my receptionist. So now she can go with her mom and little girl (her little girl is too little to need a ticket). I'm glad I thought of it because otherwise, it would have just been wasted, now she'll get a good meal.

Today was the first time I wore one of my new skirts (free from a coworker). I didn't have anything that really matched, but surprisingly, a twin set which didn't match at all, coordinated really well. It was long, which was nice since today was cold for here (50s).

So, one coworker did something nice for me and I paid it forward by doing something nice for another coworker. And the best part of it is that neither of us had to go out of our way to do it.

Last of the Leftovers

November 29th, 2005 at 01:07 am

So, we had duck for thanksgiving - I don't like turkey, it's dry.

Tonight we had pasta with onions, garlic, and cubed duck (and a little bit of olive oil).

Now the carcass is in the pot with water, garlic powder and onion powder. I'll let it cook until the water is golden yellow then let it cool. Tomorrow I'll add celery, sliced onions, sliced garlic cloves, carrots and kale. DH will add pasta to his, but I prefer mine more like a broth with chunks.

Duck isn't cheap, but when you get 3 full meals and several snacks out of it, it isn't bad at all. Plus, I've been wanting soup (and it only got into the 70s today, cold weather for us). And this soup will be more than one meal - I'll be freezing portions of it to eat later. Yummy!

Family Fun Day

November 28th, 2005 at 03:32 am

I love the area where we live. It's subtropical so the temps are still in the 80s (we've had a couple of days of 50-60 temps which feel soooo cold). This makes family fun day so easy to do and do frugally.

Today we decided we hadn't been to the beach in a month. This is semi-frugal, all it takes is the gas to get there. Texas passed a law that all of its beaches belong to the state, so there are no fees to access most of the beach (at one end is the state park which requires an entrance fee and at the other end is the car access beach which has a fee of $2). Our gas prices have dropped like a stone and they're now $1.80/gallon - so the gas is about $4.

It was windy. Winnnn-ddddyyy. As in "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day" windy. The sand from the beach felt like a thousand stinging ants. Like we were being sandblasted. DS1 didn't like it. Because it was windy the water was cool. Not terribly cold, but cool. The 2 boys played in it and I pretended to body surf some - the bad thing is I can ride the wave farther that way than on the boogie board. DH was too cold (this is the man who wants to move to Colorado) to really play in the water. We walked about a half mile up the beach against the wind and then back and then decided the sand was killing us.

So, because we'd driven 50 minutes to get there and had only been at the beach about 45 minutes, we decided we needed to spend some more time there, so we went for the nature walk and watched the birds and fish and looked for an alligator.

Then, because it is a tradition - we stopped for an all you can eat fried fish dinner. This is the part that isn't frugal. $23.50 later, we're full of fish and heading home. I love their fried fish. It is sooo worth it and we're actually below budget on the eating out situation this month (I question that though, so I'll be combing the credit card statements carefully).

So, a semi-frugal family fun day. Plus, I've now had one of my fish meals for the week.

I have to say, before I moved here I hated seafish, it always tasted so "funky". But now that we've moved here, the fish is sooo fresh it tastes wonderful. I still miss the catfish I grew up with, but this works (and less chance of mercury contamination too).

I have a key to my new house!!!!

November 27th, 2005 at 06:16 am

I don't get to move in for almost 2 weeks, but I have a key.

The closing costs ended up being about $1,000 less than we expected (I'm still not sure why, I've gone over all the figures and can't figure out where the extra money must have been (of course, DH has all the original paperwork somewhere, so I don't have that).

I'm so happy, we have a house and we still have money left in the bank.

AND, the best part? Our payment is about $15 less per month than our current rent. And the house is soooo much nicer. The payment includes taxes and insurance (I can't believe they make you pay extra for a non-escrow account). We don't have renter's insurance now (just couldn't justify the expense when everything we own is either irreplaceable - like dh's grandmother's dining set - or wouldn't be covered, or was pretty cheap anyway). House insurance is an interesting scam. Because they determined it would take $140k to rebuild our house (hmmm, it cost just about 60% of that, but whatever) they MUST insure our contents at $80k. We so do not have $80k of belongings. Even if we replaced everything new, it wouldn't come close to $80k.

But, I have a house, I have a house, I have a house. A great house. It has saltillo tile through most of the house, one bedroom has vinyl tile (which will be replaced once we save up the money) and the kitchen and bathrooms have ceramic tile. I expect we'll eventually replace those with saltillo as well - saltillo is extremely thick and the transition between the two is bothersome.

The master bath is peachy-pink. The tile, the toilet, the sink and the tub. I think we can live with it for a while, but we'll replace the toilet and the sink first. Then we'll replace the tile on the walls. The tub will just stay, we'll put a shower curtain there and it won't really show.

The other bathroom was green. The tub is still green, but everything else has been replaced and is soooo pretty.

The kitchen needs work. The cabinets are white with funky yellow doors. We'll start with just painting them and eventually redo them.

I think I've got DH to agree to stay here for a while. I love it here. It's warm and we're close to the beach and we both have good jobs. Plus, the moving and changing jobs is so stressful he isn't looking forward to it. He says the guy doing his job in San Antonio is set to retire in about 5-10 years, so he'll try to get that job then.

I fully plan to pay extra on our principle. I figure this first year, I'll just pay what we've been paying - or maybe round it up to the nearest 100. I need to get my spreadsheet set up so I can tell how much I need to pay to really accelerate our loan.

Yay!!! I have a house!!!


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