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Tax Time

April 11th, 2006 at 10:39 pm

Am I the only one who does taxes at more than one place?

I did 2 free online programs. It always amazes me how I can enter the same information and come up with 2 different numbers. Not largely different, but different none-the-less.

Trike-a-thon, or Who Thought it Would Be a Good Idea for an Early Morning Event

April 8th, 2006 at 04:44 pm

on a Saturday???

This morning was trike-a-thon at 9am in the park that is a ways away.

So, the alarm goes off at 7:30. We get up, eat b'fast and send the kids to get dressed. I get dressed, dh goes out to wrestle with the bike rack and the bikes.

Of course, the tires need air. Then, we couldn't find the helmets (we did find them). Then - oh wait, sunscreen! We need sunscreen, where is that? Oh wow, it's cold! It's only 68, where's the heat? It was still hot last night at 3:00 when I woke up sweating. Great, I don't have any biking pants, I guess I'll just freeze in shorts.

They planned a community breakfast afterward. We were asked to bring 5-8 cold drinks. We forgot to put them in the fridge last night, so dh stuck them in the freezer.

It turned out to be a decent event, but I'm tired. I was trying to keep up with 2 extremely fast kids. I thought they needed an adult with them, they didn't think so.

Free soda

April 7th, 2006 at 09:12 pm

One of our clients brought in 4 packs of soda. It was a gift to the ladies who had helped him. They never took it home and it's been three days.

So today, I again got the shakes (our 10:30 clients came at 10:00 and I didn't get a snack until 11:30, I can't go that long without eating). I tried eating some sunflower seeds and chocolate chips, but it just wasn't helping.

One of my coworkers saw my hands shake and asked if it was a no caffiene thing or a sugar thing. I said probably sugar. The soda was hers and she said "that's there for everyone, go get one".

Clearly, I need to take some more food to work. My snacks work fine IF I can eat at 10:00, but if it gets pushed back too far, I can't get things in balance.

I have been tested for diabetes 3x (2x while pg and once before) and test as being fine, so I don't think it's diabetes, I think it's just a tiny stomach combined with a decent metabolism and so I blow through my food too fast.

I came home and snarfed some turkey and an eggroll. Then I had a glass of milk and some candy. Then, dh came home and I took a nap. Now, I feel great. Wide awake, but great!

My boss finally admitted they needed to hire another person. We've all been under stress to turn stuff out. I have a will that's been on my desk for a month. There's just more stuff than we can do in the time we have and stuff isn't getting done. AND they just took on a HUGE new client. So yeah, we need at least one more person. I think they should also look into figuring out a way to get me set up to work from home since I'm usually up at least an hour or two after everyone has gone to bed. If I had access to the stuff from work, I could easily get some stuff done and get closer to being caught up.

Low Energy Day

April 6th, 2006 at 07:38 pm

Which sucks for work. I've got sooo much on my plate right now and I was so tired I actually had the shakes. I fought off going to the vending machine, though, so I'm proud of myself.

I ended up falling asleep on the couch. Good thing my kids are old enough to follow the rules of "STAY IN THE HOUSE" and "DON'T OPEN THE DOOR". DH woke me up when he got home and sent me to bed.

I did wake up in time for a pick-up meal and then I went out and mowed 1/2 the front yard. DH mowed the other half. Now we just need to work on the backyard. Unfortunately, we have johnsongrass back there and the reel mower won't cut it.

Theatrical Marketing

March 29th, 2006 at 07:02 pm

I mentioned the cool displays at Whole Foods in an entry a week or so ago.

I now have a pic to show:

That's the fish section. Doesn't that look cool? It was even better in person. It really looked like they were jumping out of a stream.

Oh No!!!

March 22nd, 2006 at 07:01 pm

DH just told me there's a Sam's near where we will go on vacation. This can't be too bad, right? We'll be flying so it's not like they can buy out the store, right?

I guess it's worth going to check out Sam's in another country, but eeek! I hope their pizza is the same, things will be so different for the kids that going to their favorite store and it not have the same food will be too much.

Real Estate Tip

March 17th, 2006 at 07:29 pm

It's not your house until the deed is recorded. I don't care what kind of agreement you think you have, it isn't your house.

So, don't go fixing up the house - even if you have the keys and they were sent to you.

Especially if you don't even have a contract.

I STP this actually happened. One of our clients is getting appointed executor of an estate. A local flew up (our client is out of state) and made an offer on the residence. Neither of them tell the same story, but what it comes down to is that there was never a contract and no money exchanged hands.

The local got keys somewhere (that isn't clear) and has actually gone into the house and done work. He says over $3500 worth of work.

Our client tells us it looks awful. Half-assed, cheap materials, etc. So he's thinking he's going to have to spend money to undo all this guy did.

Oye. So anyway - it isn't your house until the deed is recorded.

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).


February 26th, 2006 at 09:13 pm

I think I might have gotten rid of the kitten.

When we started walking to the restaurant tonight, it followed us. This was unacceptable, we were going to be walking on a very busy street, it would get hit.

So, I made it follow me home, put food in a box, put the kitten in the box and then closed it (just closed the flaps, not secured it). It was gone when we got home and hasn't been back since.

I put more food out for it, so we'll see. Maybe it has found a new home to hang out at.

Poor kitty, I hope I didn't traumatize it too much. I just didn't know what else to do. I couldn't put it in the house with my kitty and locking it up somewhere else seemed to be inviting poop and pee everywhere. But it would have been killed if it followed us.

Lazy Saturday

February 4th, 2006 at 06:23 pm

My family is back. Poor guys are still sick. DH had to take them to the doctor in Tulsa. Thank goodness we have BC/BS and had an in network doctor there. It was $50 in copay for each, then $26 for the meds for them. Poor guys. We've been really lucky though, this is only their 3-4 sick visit to the doctor in their lives.

DH's dad gave him $100 to help pay for the gas to get to the funeral. It doesn't pay for all the gas, but it was unexpected and helpful.

The family is still recovering from the death. I think we're the least touched by it. DH's grandmother wasn't that nice to us, we were never more than acquaintances to her (this goes back to the way she treated FIL, dh was just a byproduct of that). We've been asked if we would like anything of hers (and in the same breath told not to expect anything).

I don't know, I think I might feel a little hypocritical taking anything from them. But, I guess it would be nice for my boys to have something of hers. They weren't old enough to realize that she shunned them in favor of the other great grandkids (that and we limited their contact to a certain extent).

Sad News

January 29th, 2006 at 05:58 pm

We got the word that dh's grandmother died last night. This is his first grandparent to die. She's been in bad health for 2 years or so, so it isn't unexpected, but ...

He needs to go back to Oklahoma for the funeral. He's decided to drive, flying would cost $500 and we just can't swing that right now (not after having spent the money on the tickets for vacation). He's going to take the kids with him. I'm staying home, I can't get off work.

One kid is still sick, but we expect him to be better by tomorrow afternoon. They'll leave Tuesday morning.

So much for not eating out in January. But I'd say this doesn't count.

Low energy day

January 11th, 2006 at 09:31 pm

I got nothing accomplished today. Well that's not entirely true, I did get our cable bill paid and set up to draft automatically and I changed my address with my credit card.

But, I've got clothes in the washer that have been there forever, so now I need to rewash them (soured - it's hot here). I'm just hoping that it will be warmer tomorrow morning because I can't for the life of me find any of DS1's pants or my slacks and this morning it was COLD (44F).

I've been keeping track of the money I bring in at work (for the firm). Does anyone have an idea what percentage of my income I should be bringing in? Like if I make $2k/month should I bring in $6k, $10k, more, less, some number in between? I want to have an idea if I'm profitable for them and to what extent so when I've been there a year I can successfully negotiate for a raise.

Speaking of work, my boss will be gone tomorrow mid morning and won't come back until Monday. I'm looking forward to actually getting some work done without him coming to me every few minutes to ask if I've remembered to do x, y or z (things that need to be done, but aren't as pressing as other things) and to tell me to repriortize everything.


January 9th, 2006 at 07:14 pm

DH didn't change the address with his work to get his check to our new address. And, with one thing and another, I didn't get the forward order in early enough for the move, so we've not gotten any forwarded mail. Which includes his check. We've been lucky, none of the bills have been due yet, we got some xmas money and I have a paycheck, but we were getting a little worried - if that were lost, we would be fine, but things would be a little bit harder than they needed to be.

But, it came today.

I'm so glad 1) we no longer live paycheck to paycheck and 2) it finally came!

We immediately walked to the bank to put it in the account and get the address changed there. All the way, the kids whined about being tired, etc. But when we walked back, we walked back a different way and came back by the park. Guess who had plenty of energy to run and play tag, etc? You guessed it. I had enough energy to get on the swing for about 5 minutes and then my hands started hurting.

DH found wood blinds at linens 'n things for $15. Ones just like we wanted. Unfortunately, they only had enough to cover one window, not the 2 we have. He went ahead and bought what they had in the hopes that we can eventually find ones that match. I've got emails out to family members asking them to check their local stores (what family lives near a store). We'll see.

No car day

January 7th, 2006 at 10:35 pm

Well, we didn't run any errands, but we did walk to the furthest park. And it was so not worth it. I mean the walk was worth it, but the park was lame. Only one swing and a play area for litle kids. We walked around some more and found 3 more swings, 1 by itself and then we found 2 together.

We walked back a different way to figure out what is within walking distance. In addition to the grocery and KMart, we have sonic, pizza hut and a gas station.

We think we're going to try the library tomorrow. I'm not sure how that will work, we don't have locks for the bike, so we'll have to walk. Carrying 10 books. 2 miles. Each way. With 2 kids. That might be a bit of fun.

Thanks for the suggestion for the diet, but I'm doing south beach which doesn't allow fruit during the first phase. All the veggies I want, but no fruit. Unfortunately, I don't like most veggies so I'm forcing myself during this first phase. I remember last time we did this (2.25 years ago) after the first phase, apples were so sweet they actually made me sick to my stomach. Milk chocolate was gross, but semi-sweet chocolate was still the food of the gods.


January 6th, 2006 at 09:43 pm

Okay, so not really. It did get down into the 40s this morning/last night, but by afternoon it was up to 70s.

Tomorrow we plan a no car day. We want to bike to the library (assuming DH did buy the cable locks and I don't see that on the receipts, so I'm betting he didn't). If we don't do that, we will bike to the nature park and ride the trails. Maybe even walk to the city park which is a little over a mile away.

We'll also need to do some grocery shopping, so we'll walk up to the store. I'd like a whole no car weekend, but we'll see how that goes.

I've stuck to my diet for 5 days now. I'm jonesing for some sugar and chocolate in a major way. But the idea is to try to break my body of its dependency on those chemicals. It's sooo hard. I don't do artificial sweeteners, so I've had nothing sweet, at all. Today they had cookies and candy for three kings' day, and they were right there where I had to walk past them. I didn't get a whole lot of work accomplished today because I was spending so much effort resisting.


December 11th, 2005 at 09:13 pm

I always forget how hard it is to paint.

We started with the kitchen. Since we couldn't live with yellow cabinets (I think I could have lived with yellow, just not this particular yellow), we had to change colors. We have these accent tiles in the counter, so they limited our choices somewhat. Green it was. The green wasn't my first choice, but it's nice enough. I'll need to paint the doors and drawer facing tomorrow and then do some touch up and it's done.

We also let the boys pick out the color for their room. Stupid home depot and their disney display. They had to have a disney color. Of course, it was only about $3 more for the gallon, but still. They chose "Buzz Blaster Blue". It's a slightly darker color blue than I would have liked, but, they love it, so ...

Every time we move we buy painting supplies. We have a painting toolkit put together so carefully, but we can never find it when we're in the process of moving. So we always have to buy new rollers, etc. We can usually find the smaller tool box, so we do at least have a few things, an edger, etc. but not the bigger things - the trays, the rollers, etc. I suspect that our roller and tray got thrown away, my dad painted the kitchen of the last house right before it went on the market and he hates to clean out the equipment, he reasons it's so cheap, you might as well buy new each time.

So, we spent $108 at home depot today. 3 gallons of paint, painting supplies and a pry bar to pull out the nails. Since I'm not feeling 100% we stopped and had breakfast buffet first. $17! Wow! Who knew a buffet could cost so much? I think next time I'll order off the menu. I barely ate 3 teeny pancakes, half a biscuit and a few potatoes pieces.

The house is coming together nicely. Tomorrow I'll pick up the kids, come home get us all a snack, change to painting clothes and go back to work on the kitchen and the kids' room. I need to discuss with DH what he wants to do - bring us supper or have us come home to have supper with him.

Frugal air filter

December 10th, 2005 at 08:22 pm

I've mentioned several times that we needed to buy an air filter for our new house to filter out the cat allergens.

DH bought a box fan ($10) and an A/C filter ($3) and then bungee'd them together. So for $13, we have an air filter which we can use later in the year as a regular fan. I noticed it was already working fairly well, the filter was beginning to collect the dust.

I managed to wash the window sills and get all the black cat oils off of them. Then I took the blades off one of the ceiling fans and really scrubbed them down. My mom told me that trick and I have to agree, it's the best way to get them really clean.

DH (still sick) took the cabinet doors off and sanded the cabinet frames. They're painted, but the chipped and the color isn't that great. I prefer wood cabinets, but I'll live with these until we have the money saved to redo the whole kitchen. We're going to paint them green, which sort of matches the tiles.

I made the kids dust and scrub. Of course, they could just play if they'd stay out of my way. I only gave them tasks when they were silly enough to come bug me.

It's interesting. That house is larger and has all tile floors and it's been empty for several days. But it stays warmer than this house. No heater over there, but I'd guess it's a good 5 degrees warmer than this house which has had a heater running.

It's supposed to warm up again on Tuesday. I guess we'll figure out if it gets too hot then.


December 9th, 2005 at 09:00 pm

I went to check on our new house and do some work on it. I went out on to the carport and realized I smelled gas. Okay, it's been cold here, so people are turning on their gas heaters, right? I go back inside and there is no smell in there, so no biggie, right?

I needed some hot water and couldn't get it to work, so I go check the water heater, which is in a storage room off the carport. I opened the door and the gas smell was strong. First I thought the pilot had gone out and so I left the door open to air out (the room is vented, so it wasn't as bad as it could have been).

I didn't think much of it, my mom and dad's water heater pilot goes out all the time and there's a gas smell then. Then I looked in again and realized something was missing. My gas dryer. The one I just paid $75 for. Sigh.

So, I look around and realize the thieves just cut the gas line. They did attempt to turn the gas off, but the people who installed it installed the gas line with a water line cutoff valve. So, while it would have cut off water, it couldn't completely cut off the gas. So we've had a gas leak, probably since Tuesday night. Good thing that room is vented.

I called the police, who were nice but realistic. I know I won't get it back, but we need the police report and the police presence to make sure if it is a neighborhood thief we are prepared to take action. The police promised to step up patrols in our neighborhood.

Then I called a plumber. 5:00 on a Friday. Amazingly enough I found one, he came right out, fixed it right up, lit the pilot on the water heater and only charged $48. Wow!

So, there's almost $125 I won't get back.

I am going to talk to the inspector though. He should have noticed the cutoff valves were wrong, we could have had an explosion. I'm also going to talk to him about not noticing that that room didn't lock. If we had known the lock was broken, we could have been prepared to replace the lock, or at least put on a padlock and hasp. Those are things I expect him to notice and report, especially considering the things he did notice.


December 8th, 2005 at 08:51 pm

Well to add to the whole house thing, now DH has flu and I'm not feeling the best. And it's cold here. Earlier this week it was 90s and now it's 35 and not supposed to warm up for days.

This is DH's first sick day since he started a year ago, so he's good. I plan to get as much done as possible tomorrow at work so if I need to, I can go home sick.

The one good thing about dh being sick is that he makes the bed nice and toasty warm. We got home, got the boys settled watching tv in our room, crawled into bed and promptly fell asleep, I had just meant to read, but it was the first time I'd been warm all day. The boys got up at some point and made corndogs for themselves and came back to watch tv. I woke up just in time to get them ready for bed. Well, at least they made themselves supper (I did make the younger boy some eggs, the older boy had a peanut butter sandwich).

We decided to turn the heat on. We wouldn't ordinarily have done it but with dh fighting off flu and who knows what the kids and I are exposed to, we decided a house in the low 60s might be a bit too cool for such a sudden drop.

Lazy Day

December 7th, 2005 at 09:43 pm

We started the day with plans to go clean our new house. But then I got home and realized it was the first day we didn't have a visitor in a week. It was our first day in a week to just hang out and be lazy as a family. So we took advantage of it. Tomorrow we'll go clean. DH spent $32 on cleaning items for the house.

Tomorrow is supposed to be cold for here. In the 30s and 40s. We fought the AC all week this week. It was set at 84 and it kept trying to come on. And now, less than 2 days later, it's going to be in the 30s. Oh yeah, we'll freeze tomorrow. I made sure I could find coats for the kids and I. DH is on his own.

And we plan to go clean that house. Ohhh boy. I have one pair of sweats and one sweat shirt. We don't really want to turn on the heat until we've gotten a chance to have the ducts cleaned (did I mention that they previous owners had 6 cats?). I think I'll talk DH into taking our space heater over there. I've already talked to him about buying an air filter to work on cleaning the dander from the air. When I take down those drapes the fur and dander are going to fill the air. I've been thinking I should go over there with the boys in the afternoon and do that before DH goes over there (he's allergic to cats).

The verdict is in

December 6th, 2005 at 08:14 pm

We still like the house. The old owners are out and we can start cleaning tomorrow and then get ready to paint.

The tree in the backyard is a grapefruit. I think it might even be a Rio Red. Yummy! My favorite kind of grapefruit. And it is covered in them. We'll have enough that we won't have to buy any more grapefruits this season.

Tonight was FIL's last day here, so we took him out to eat. The food was okay, not great, and the service sucked. I swear everytime we go there we are not going back. This time I think I may be able to get DH to agree with me (he wanted to go there).

Then we took FIL over to show him our new house. We got there right before they pulled out. I did decide to buy the gas dryer, that way we don't have to pay an electrician to come run an electrical line right away. We paid for the dryer and then walked around with them and made sure they got everything. Found one item they forgot and gave it to them. She left the drapes, including the ones she'd said she was going to take. She had 6 cats, so every single drape will have to be cleaned, and we may still end up needing to donate them.

Running Tally of Costs of Buying a House

December 5th, 2005 at 08:24 pm

1 Earnest money - $850

2 Closing costs - $6,029.08

3 Water hookup - $30.00

4 Electric hookup - $27.00

5 Gas hookup - $15

Grand total - $6,951.08

Not included - any moving fees (don't have them yet), deposits on utilities ($100), cable connection (dh will have to have his cable).

I won't include the utility deposits because we will eventually get them back.

Almost $7,000 and we aren't even in the house yet. I still need to call her to tell her we will buy the dryer. That way we don't have to pay an electrician to come out and wire the laundry for an electric dryer right away. We'll have to have a plumber out for the copper pipes into the water heater soon (I'd prefer to go ahead and do a tankless while we're at it, but I'll to see what I can get DH to agree to).

Then, we'll have to paint at least one room. We'll need rugs (this is all tile, remember) and dh has fallen in love with these bamboo rugs he found online.

So by the time we're in? $8,000 - that's 10 months of rent. Which, you know, doesn't sound all that bad, 10 months of rent versus a home I can do what I want to and build equity in? Works for me.

Commercial Rant

December 4th, 2005 at 09:41 pm

I'm watching TV.

I just heard an advertisement "do you want to make some extra money?" "Do you want to do something different with your evenings?" "Do you want to have fun and make new friends?"

Sounds like a great job, right?

It's an ad for a bingo parlor. They start with making extra money. Very, very, very few people end up making extra money at bingo. Most people are happy when they break even. Bingo parlors are just like casinos, they make money on every transaction. If they sell 50 cards, the pot will generally be less than $45. That's on average. Bingo parlors have expenses they have to meet - payroll, rent, supplies, etc. They will make up some of that in concessions and marker sales, but not enough.

If you enjoy gambling (and I'll admit, I find roulette fun) then it's an entertainment expense, which varies. When I play roulette (which has been over 10 years ago) I decide on my limit - usually $10. I play until that $10 is gone or for 3 hours, if after 3 hours, I'm up or have money left, good for me. But the next day, I stay with that $10, not more because I won the night before. It's entertainment money. I also take them up on any freebies they want to offer me - free drinks? Great, bring me a dr pepper (I'll drink every 3rd offered drink).

Now, do some people win at gambling? Of course. But most will end up losing all that they win.

Family Funday

December 4th, 2005 at 09:27 pm

Today we went to the beach. It was a little cool, but we hunted for shells and the kids played in the surf. I found some cool shells.

The plan for the shells is to make jewelry out of them when DH's family comes for christmas. There'll be 2 teenage girls, my 2 boys, my MIL, stepFIL, DH's aunt, uncle and grandparents. Most of the shells have a hole at the top that is perfect for stringing cord through. We'll hunt more while they're here too because I don't have quite enough for some good necklaces.

The day started at noon. We picked up FIL and my boys at the hotel (he had them spend the night with him, giving us a rare night alone). Then we drove to the beach. On the way we pointed out local landmarks and stopped at our favorite seafood place. The place where we can get all you can eat fish for $7. FIL paid (I predict our eating out budget will be lower this month). It was a nice meal. We ate on the deck and watched the pelicans and seagulls.

Then we went to the beach. We walked awhile, talked and visited. The boys made sand sculptures (we don't have buckets for sandcastles).

Then on the way home, I fell asleep with the youngest boy. DH stopped at some local fruit stands looking for avocados, but they were all sold out. He finally bought some grapefruit and meyer lemons. He makes lemonade out of the meyer lemons. I've been told it's a very subtle flavor, but dh never makes lemonades strong enough for me, so I haven't tried it.

We came home, watched some tv, DS1 and I built with legos again. I'm thinking it was past time for the legos. I'll have to keep an eye out for sales on legos. We ate leftovers for supper, leftover pizza and leftover enchiladas (FIL and I had pizza, dh and DS2 had enchiladas, ds1 had bean burritos).

It was such a relaxed, yet fun day. I need to find out what DH spent on the citrus, but that's the only money we spent today (FIL wouldn't even let us pick up the tip).


Clean house, mowed lawn

November 30th, 2005 at 11:02 pm

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 29th, 2005 at 08:15 pm

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 29th, 2005 at 06:58 pm

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 28th, 2005 at 05:07 pm

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 27th, 2005 at 07:32 pm

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 26th, 2005 at 10:16 pm

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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