Home > Archive: December, 2005

Archive for December, 2005


December 12th, 2005 at 05:13 am

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 11th, 2005 at 04:22 am

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 10th, 2005 at 05:00 am

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 9th, 2005 at 04:51 am

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 8th, 2005 at 05:43 am

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 7th, 2005 at 04:14 am

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 6th, 2005 at 04:24 am

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 5th, 2005 at 05:41 am

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 5th, 2005 at 05:27 am

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).


Frugal family fun

December 4th, 2005 at 07:20 am

So FIL got here Thursday.

Thursday evening we went to eat at one of our favorite restaurants and used a certificate. We went during happy hour so the men could have a $1.00 margarita (and it was huge!). FIL paid, so I'm not sure how much it was, but the certificate covered $25 of it, so I'm sure it wasn't that bad.

Last night we went to a seafood restaurant that has a great special. Then, for entertainment, we went to the christmas parade. It had 100 floats. There were tons of people. I had no idea there were that many people in the whole area. I mean, in my hometown, you marched in the parade and then went to stand on the sidewalk to watch the people who watched you (okay it wasn't that bad, but close). Here, which is considered a small town for Texas, people were lined up 10 deep down the parade route. It was warm, I felt sorry for the guys dressed up as teddy bears, I've been in one of those costumes and it was hot in the 35F temp, I can't imagine what it was like at 70-80F.

Today, the guys all got up early drove to the "big city" for barbacoa. They had planned to go to the zoo, but the kids didn't want to go, but instead wanted to go to the park near the zoo. It is a cool park, I will say that. I stayed home and got some much needed rest.

When they came home, DS1 and I went to a bday party at the bowling alley. It's so hard to get used to "manana" here. We showed up 5 minutes late and were the first there. The dad was freaking out (which is strange, he's from here, he should be used to it), I reminded him about manana and told him by 1:30 they'd all be there, and lo and behold, I was right - by 1:30 the joint was hopping. I pulled a gift from the gift stash, which needs some serious refilling. I have lots of stuff for little girls, nothing for little boys. I used the last gift today and it was a huge gift. I had no wrapping paper for it, so I split 2 paper bags and used those. DS managed to beg a dollar from me for the games while we were waiting for everyone to get there.

After the party, we had pizza at home. DH bought 2 pizzas from Sam's. They were good. Then we watched christmas shows on tv and played with legos (FIL bought us 3 tubs of 1,000 piece legos). I helped them sort by color and then DS1 built some animals. He had me work with him on the more complicated animals, but mainly I just walked him through figuring out which piece to use. This is the first time we've had the small legos, so this is a new experience for us.

Tomorrow we plan to go to the beach. We'll have all you can eat seafood there after we've played in the surf for a while and worked up our appetites. I'm not sure what FIL will do for a bathing suit. It was so cold at home, he forgot to grab shorts or a swimsuit. Silly guy.

He'll be here until Wednesday. The old owners of our house are supposed to be moving out then. We hope to be able to show FIL the house before he has to leave.

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.

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