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Archive for March, 2006

Frugal crafting

March 10th, 2006 at 09:26 pm

I had to have my light at work worked on. It flat wasn't working.

I came in today and found my trash can full of electrical wire. I ignored it at first, but then I was throwing some stuff away and noticed it was pretty copper wire under the plastic coating. So I snagged it. It's a lot. I just stripped a section and OMS it is pretty. And it bends perfectly.

I was planning on buying so copper wire and now I don't have to! Yay!


Birthday party

March 10th, 2006 at 08:28 pm

Birthday party for the kids tonight. It was fun. We walked out with a couple of little toys - no candy! and a free meal for all of us. Plus the boys got to play lots of games and I got to visit with other moms.

Can't beat that.

We dove into our gift box and pulled out the perfect gift for this little boy. I really appreciate that I have a husband who likes to shop (even when I complain about the fact that he can't go anywhere without spending money) and finds these great deals. It was a gift that probably looks like it cost $20-40 and probably cost about $10.

Money tension at work

March 10th, 2006 at 12:03 pm

So today we ordered McDonalds. It started with one woman saying she would pay for McGriddles (which I don't like), so I pulled out the only money I had - a $5 - and asked them to get me a hashbrown.

Well, it was a short day for me today. So by the time they got back with the breakfast it was almost time for me to leave. I asked about my change and was told "we're working on it". I asked about it again and was told "oh, someone else is doing that". Then I *HAD* to go so I figured out who had the change and handed her a note to just put my change in my drawer. She gave me a nasty look and said "I have no idea what you mean."

Okay, look, I'm not paying $5 for a McDonald's hashbrown.

I picked up the kids and remembered something I hadn't gotten to, so we went back to the office to take care of that fax. While there, I tried to tell the woman what I meant and she didn't believe me. "You did what? I don't have time for this, if you want your money, here just take this $5."

So, now I'm made to look like a cheapskate just because I wanted my change. I know the office politics and I know they are now there talking about how cheap I am.

It's time to do some baking and take something in.

Peeling paint

March 9th, 2006 at 09:43 pm

Well, not peeling exactly, just not holding onto the wall so if something touches it or scrapes it, it pulls off.

We just moved in. We painted in December. We didn't buy the cheapest paint.

I'm so frustrated. My walls look several years old and I've been exceptionally careful.

I guess I need to take photos of the spots, grab my receipts and go back to home depot and find out what remedies I have.

We spent way too much on paint to be having to touch it up less than 4 months later.

Short day tomorrow

March 9th, 2006 at 09:35 pm

My kids get out of school at 10:30 tomorrow. I hate short days.

DH is going to be nice and take the kids to school so I can go into work early, since I'll have to leave at 10:15.

I'm going to make a copy of some notes, email a few sample wills to myself and then come home and try to knock out the wills I have. I think I have 6 wills that need to be done, and a few of them are from 2-3 weeks ago. It's just been so crazy at work.

Next week is spring break and my kids are going to go to grandma's house. So, I'll up my hours to full time (I really have to talk to them about doing comp time) and I just hope that will be enough to get me on top of everything.

My inbox truly overflows. I did go through it today and pulled out some things that are fairly simple - things that will take 5-10 minutes tops and made a quick note on them. I hope our office helper can pick up some of them and run with it.

But so much of my time today was spent organizing files for two contested probate hearings tomorrow. And then we had a client come in for a power of attorney and my boss wanted me to do it today.

THEN, (it just piles up) I got a note that there needs to be nothing on my floor when I leave tomorrow because the carpet is going to be cleaned at the same time one of the other workers brought a box over and said "hey, I think this is some stuff you can use, it's the forms files from your predecessor". I agree, it's good stuff, but without floor space, where am I supposed to put it? And, can't you see I'm pulling my hair out trying to get stuff done? Can't it wait until next week? Apparently not. I grabbed a sharpie, labeled it and then took it to the file room. I told the file lady that I'd get it next week but I needed it stored for now.

Ideally, I'd like for all those forms to be scanned and logged and be available to everyone.

Legal Documents

March 9th, 2006 at 07:43 pm

So, I'm transferring my domain registration. This is not a secret.

I got the email from the registrar with their agreement. I went to print it out and my DH acted like I was too anal for words. Rolling his eyes, etc.

But really, who doesn't read a contract? And if you don't, how do you know what kinds of charges you will face later?

This man drives me nuts. I'm trying to set up an amortization schedule for his car and I can't get it to work out. I don't have the interest rate but I have 4 months of statements. So, I've been looking at those and trying to figure the interest rate from them and it isn't working. So, he brings in his book and says "well, the last payment in July 2008." "Yes, dear, I know that was the scheduled maturity date, but we paid extra" "well, just work back, it doesn't matter".

It doesn't matter? They could be charging him tons more interest than in his agreement and it doesn't matter?!!?? Seriously, how can he be so cavalier about it? Especially since what they are doing makes absolutely no sense at all.

"Well they charge what they charge and it isn't like there is anything we can do about it." There is lots we can do about it. If they are breaking the contract, I can file a lawsuit. I can sue for damages, etc. We have legal remedies. We aren't helpless here.


Shopping AGAIN

March 8th, 2006 at 09:22 pm

Okay, so he did okay. We needed fire ant bait (organic) because just getting the mail is turning into an obstacle course. So he bought that. We also needed toothpaste, I'm one step away from getting the pliers (which is fine for me, but the kids can't really handle it).

Then, because our first aid kit seems to have disappeared, he bought band aids. If we find the first aid kit, fine, bandaids seem to last forever (I know for a fact I have bandaids that are almost 12 years old and still stick).

And then he bought sunflower seeds. We have a lot of birds. Part of me thinks this is wonderful, but part of me thinks "I already can't sleep at night because they are sooo loud". I'll enjoy the seed though, it's soo much fun watching birds at a feeder, and maybe this will help keep our lizards safe.

He spent a little less than $30 today, so it wasn't that bad. But I'm seeing our spending get awfully high already and we're only a week into the month.

So far, the grocery and "other" category total $225 for the month. OUCH! AND that doesn't include the $300 or so for dh's new tires.

This too shall pass, this too shall pass.

Eeeekkkk!!! A snake!

March 8th, 2006 at 07:08 pm

I got up last night for no real reason and found a snake in my house.

Now, it wasn't a big snake. Really, it was smaller than a lot of earthworms. At first glance it might have been a worm but it moved like a snake (that S slide). I finally managed to catch it with a piece of paper and a tupperware container.

At that point I KNEW it wasn't a worm. I could see eyes. Worms don't have eyes.

So, yeah, that messed with my sleep. I'm in bed thinking "that was a baby, I wonder if mama is nearby".

The man must be kept out of the stores

March 7th, 2006 at 07:01 pm

My dh. God love him. He means well. But he just can't help himself.

We discuss our goals. How if we work to pay off debt, we can have all the cc debt paid by summer. How the best way to do that is to not buy things that we don't absolutely have to have right now.

So he went to Sam's today. Not because we really needed anything, but because he was in the town with one. He asked "do we need anything?" "I can't think of anything".

So he spends $100. He bought a trash can. Now we haven't had a kitchen trash can, well, ever. And it was something we wanted, but not something we HAD to have right now.

I had some frivolous spending as well. 65 cents on a soda. Mine doesn't seem so bad. (Yeah, I was going to give up soda for lent, but I'm not Catholic so it just didn't "take" for me).

Update on my website

March 6th, 2006 at 10:21 pm

Siteturn insists they've updated my information and removed the lock. Whois doesn't show the update (which they said was done on Friday), but I'll give it until tomorrow.

Now, I need to get serious about planning my writing. I know I want more of a nature journal with the information about temps, etc than a standard blog.

I need to figure out how to load blog software on my site and then customize it for what I want. So, I'm going to have to learn webdesign. Fun.

Anyone have any good book recommendations for website design? I know it will be good to learn this, it's an important skill to have and it will allow me to use the websites we own (we have 2 others) more efficiently. DH's idea was for me to take a class, but this is the kind of thing that I have to learn as it is relevant, not something I learn in the abstract and then try to apply later. I know my brain, and technology just doesn't "stick" unless I'm doing it.


March 6th, 2006 at 07:41 pm

DH had to get new tires for his car. This is the first set he's bought, so it's not like they weren't due. But $300 for 4 tires, ouch!

I started thinking about my car. It's 8 years old now and probably not much longer for this world. So, it is time to start thinking about it's replacement. We are still paying on DH's car, so it's not like we can just absorb another car payment.

Now, IF my car lasts another 2 years until his car is paid off, no big deal. BUT ...

So, I started thinking. With the kids going to a new school next year (5-6 blocks away), we won't need 2 cars. I can get to work (1.75 miles away) on a scooter and save on gas. I don't have to drive on busy roads to get to work (there is one crossing over 2 busy roads - weird interchange) but it has lights, so it isn't a big deal.

It isn't worth it to go buy it now, but it will be worth considering if my car conks out before dh's car is paid off. We still have his truck if I need the car for some reason (he could drive his truck and I could take the car). Of course, it's even older than my car and probably just as much on its last legs as my car. In a pinch, he could drive the scooter to work, but he pretty much has to drive on major highways.

Playdate for the kids!!

March 5th, 2006 at 06:46 pm

My neighbor's grandkids are visiting for spring break, so my kids had a playdate over there this evening. She fed them popsicles and those kool-aid jammer thingies. So much sugar.

So, then they wanted to go to the park. It's only about 4 blocks away, so we walked with the boys and one of her grandkids. Let them run off the sugar.

I played some with the kids, swinging and helping them with the monkey bars. So, I got a little more exercise.

Plus, when we go to the park, I do some "volunteer work" and pull the bermudagrass out of the wood chips. I figure they'll come along and spray it, rather than pull it, so I'm saving them money and helping to save the environment.

I'm exhausted

March 5th, 2006 at 02:31 pm

It's a beautiful day today - high 80s - so we decided to do some gardening work.

I started with pulling out the mother in law's tongue which fills the front beds. A little would be fine, but this just looks ugly and tacky. I didn't get it all out, I filled the huge barrel and then dh wanted to move on.

Next, we planted one of my valentine's roses. I pushed some sprouting garlic around the edges (companion planting) and it was time to move on.

We brought cannas with us from Oklahoma. They've been in buckets of soil for a year now. So, we dumped them out, dug for tubers with eyes and planted them. We managed to plant 3 buckets (3 more to go).

Then, dh decided to tackle the palm screen we have on one side of our carport. It interferes with our ability to enjoy our pretty backyard and it's sooo overgrown that there is a ton of trash caught in it.

At that point, we realized our garden waste pile was about as big as the garbage men would be willing to pick up, so we stopped.

We didn't complete a single project (there are still 3 roses to plant), but we did enough to make a noticeable difference for each project. Some of the projects will need to wait until we get some more garden space (the rest of the cannas and the roses) and the other 2 will need to wait until they pick up the garden waste.

BUT - we didn't drive anywhere!

Nice little surprise

March 4th, 2006 at 08:38 pm

So, we've paid our major bills this month, we still have about $500 to come out, but we have $2900 left in the bank. I'll get paid one more time.

So, it looks like we'll definitely meet my goal of sending $750 to credit cards this month.

I think I'll have him schedule $500 to come out monday. Every bit will help. And with cc's with a balance, the sooner you pay, the less interest there will be.

No gas day

March 4th, 2006 at 08:26 pm

First one for the month.

We walked a total of 3.25 miles (give or take) to market days. While there, we spend $1.00 on cookies for the kids, $3 on sausages for the kids and $3.75 on tropical fruits.

We also spoke to the coordinator of the farmers' market and she wants me to be on the committee. I think I'll probably do it. I love farmers' markets and I do have some experience.

We'll have to be creative with this market. Most of the farmers here sell to wholesalers and are under contract. So we'll have to concentrate on the smaller, backyard gardeners. This will probably take scheduling classes and coordinating with the master gardeners and extension.

I got just a tad bit of sun today - LOL. I'm so fair, I wore a hat, so my face is fine, but I didn't think about my shoulders and neck. We left the house before ten and were back by noon, so sun wasn't something we really thought about. Thank goodness, uber-fair DS2 (so fair his skin sometimes looks translucent) didn't seem to get the same amount of sun, he had longer sleeves and a hat as well.

I spent a little time looking around at prices and things for sale. My thought is that it's flea market prices and people want a real deal, not a nice artisan piece. I don't know if the market could ever have that feel. I think if I want to sell jewelry, I'll have to combine it with produce or something and just be happy when I sell a single piece.

Fun sighting today

March 3rd, 2006 at 09:40 pm

(not my picture, I got it from http://songstar.org/birds001.html

This is a red-crowned parrot. I saw 4-5 today. They are so fun. REALLY loud. They attract your attention with their noise and then it's fun to watch their antics.

Yesterday, I was sitting in the conference room facing the glass block window (they're slightly mirrored on the outside) and saw one of these make its way up the window:

(pic from http://myfwc.com/recreation/lake_wales_ridge/wildlife_viewing.asp)

Remember I said the blocks are slightly mirrored? Yeah, he thought his reflection was another anole, so he kept puffing out his neck membrane. They bob their head while they do that. Distracting to say the least.

Pretty good day

March 3rd, 2006 at 08:45 pm

I wrapped up 2 major projects and a minor project today and yesterday. I have 2 more coming for hearing on Thursday. I think we're mostly ready, they aren't really big hearings, mostly just a status type thing.

Then I came home, took out the composting and grabbed the reel mower and mowed the lawn. I feel so virtuous.

Unfortunately, I found 3 fire ant hills. Loverly. The only good thing about fire ants is that they don't tend to crawl up your pants, they sit and bite and bite and bite. The bites then sting and sting and sting, long after you've gotten rid of the ant.

Last time I got bit, I found that the liquid bandage stuff helps stop the stinging. I didn't get bit this time.

Update on Goals

March 2nd, 2006 at 10:28 pm

DH and I discussed them and he's fine with them, with the exception of the no-drive days. He pointed out that we probably can't meet that goal since we will be driving on 2 weekends and he has to drive to work.

So, I'm lowering my goal to at least one no gas day/week. Of course, today he used none of his own gas, so we had a semi-no gas day (he had offsite meetings and so was allowed to bring his work car home last night and keep it here tonight).


March 2nd, 2006 at 10:26 pm

My registry information is still not updated for my website. A friend of mine has offered me the use of her site for now.

But, I need to know what my legal remedies are here. I paid for the domain name. I own it. I should control who is my registrar. It should be my choice to change.

I can get my boss to sign a letter if I write it, I'm sure. As I see it, this is a form of theft, no? My ability to use a resource of mine has been severely limited to the point where I cannot derive any benefit from it.


March 2nd, 2006 at 10:16 pm

My kids made new friends in the neighborhood. So far so good. They went to visit today and found the kitten. They told the kid that the kitten was theirs! Oh geez.

So we had to have a discussion about not being able to keep a kitten right now and if it had another home it needed to stay there.

DS1 is not speaking to any of us. Instead, he records little messages and send his little brother in with them. The messages say "I hate you", etc.

And it makes no sense. He says "I think we should sell him so he'll have a good home". Okay, so why didn't you leave him where he was? "I want to sell him". No one wants to buy a stray cat. There are too many for free.

March Goals

March 1st, 2006 at 10:11 pm

1) 5 no gas days.

2) No eating out other than traveling for spring break.

3) Get the clothesline up.

4) Spend $750 less than we bring in so I can send it to cc

The "unusual" expenses I see for this month are:

1) inspection for my car (actually due last month)

2) Travel for spring break (DH and I will meet the grands in Austin to transfer kids - his parents at the beginning and my parents at the end)

3) Trike-a-thon fundraiser for school. I hope to be able to work up the nerve to approach my bosses to be a sponsor so we can meet our fundraising obligation. We are supposed to raise $250/family/year. The fundraiser in the fall was untenable for us, it was selling pizza and cookies, which isn't something we use (I think they taste like crap) and since they have to be kept refrigerated, not something we can sell to family, so this is our last chance, otherwise we have to shell the money over ourselves.

4) Mothering magazine renewal.

5) transfer registrar on website.

My guess is that all of these together should come out to less than $500. That means my goal of $750 should be fairly easy to meet.

It's Lent

March 1st, 2006 at 10:03 pm

I'm not catholic. I'm christian, but I don't specify beyond that (well, sometimes I will claim either UCC or Quaker), so I don't really observe lent.

However, it became a discussion at work today. We have 3 women who are practicing Catholic, 3 who were raised catholic but are no longer, and 3 who either aren't saying or have never been Catholic (I fall in this group).

The 3 catholics are, of course, giving something up for lent. The 2 who were raised catholic are considering it and 1 who isn't saying is considering it.

I hadn't really thought much about it. I am amused (so puerile) by all the fast food places and their "Lenten Combo specials" so that had caught my eye, but I hadn't really considered giving up anything for Lent.

Now I am. Not really for Lent, necessarily since my religious beliefs don't require that, but just because there will be lots of support and it seems like a good idea.

So, my thought are to give up soda (I only have it once/week now, so that shouldn't be too hard) and work on controlling my frustration at my kids. I'd also like to say no more big ticket purchases, but I know dh won't go for that.

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