<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Archive: March, 2006
 

Archive for March, 2006

Terri Schaivo

March 31st, 2006 at 06:27 pm

One year ago today, Terri Schaivo died.

One year ago Tuesday, I started working at my job. We still have clients tell us "I don't want to be like that" and we do a lot of Directives to Physicians.

This is such a simple document. And it doesn't have to be "right to die" as some call it. This document is about spelling out your wishes and it can be written however you like.

If you don't want to do the document - then at least have the conversation with your family. Make sure they are fully aware of your wishes. I've always known what my mom would like. My mom would like for assisted suicide to be available, she's even asked me to promise to allow her to drown herself in the tub if she gets like my grandma. When I was 12, I watched my mom and dad have to make the decision to allow my brother's body to die (he had no brain stem function).

My mom and dad are fully aware and supportive of my decision not to be kept alive through artificial means unless there is a very good chance (realistically) that I will recover. So is my husband.

I know it's a hard conversation to have, but you have to do it. Even if your decision is to be kept alive as long as possible, you have to tell your family.

You have to spend money to make money?

March 30th, 2006 at 09:02 pm

Is this true?



I know our $20 challenge is about making money without spending much, but can we do it without spending anything? With using only what we have already?

This is where I'm getting hung up.
DH loves to teach. His working on weekends has been giving talks. They're part of his job, so he can't get paid for them, but it's something he likes and is good at. He wants to be an adjunct professor, but can't without a grad degree. This sucks.

I'm thinking that right now the only thing I could do that wouldn't require spending money is growing produce. And even then, I'd have to pay market fees to sell at the farmers' market (but I'm going to volunteer for their committee, so I'll see if I can get space for free or discounted).

DH also wants me to develop a market gardening talk. The only way our farmers' market is going to take off is to get small, "backyard", gardeners. The large scale operations are locked into contracts with wholesalers. And truthfully, the average backyard garden can produce enough produce to allow you to have a small retail stand. If we could get enough growers, and get them to branch out from tomatoes and peppers and go for diversity, we could have a great market. But people need to be taught.

Did I mention I suck at public speaking? That the thought of even calling in to a radio show leaves me in tears and shaking? Yeah.

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.

Home Haircut Day

March 29th, 2006 at 06:59 pm

My boys were looking really ragged, so it was time to cut their hair.


We have really gotten our money's worth out of our clippers and scissors. Right now, we pretty much just use the clippers with a length guide and then trim the edges with scissors. I've actually practiced cutting with scissors, but the boys were too full of energy for that today.

Free plant(s)

March 28th, 2006 at 09:38 pm

DH worked again on Sunday. He came home with 2 gorgeous cut orchid stems. One pink, one white. They are marvelous.

Then, he went back out and came in with a beautiful blue and white pot planted with a pothos. This poor plant seriously needs to be planted in a bigger pot OR I'm thinking of dividing it and making 2 (or more) plants out of it. I have the gorgeous pot it's in and another gorgeous large square pot that I've been dying to plant since I got it (1.5 years ago).



(pic from http://www.plantmann.com/pages/pdeviliv.html)

Pothos is supposed to be extremely good at filtering impurities from the air. And it grows quickly.

The only issue will be keeping my cat from digging in it. The best tip for that is barrier methods. Plastic plates or aluminum foil work very well. They aren't the most attractive, but it does keep the cat from using it as a cat box.

Combining Sales and Coupons (or how I got paid a penny to take something from th

March 28th, 2006 at 09:28 pm

Seriously. I was in our local grocery. They had these cooking sauces that DH has been wanting to try. They're made fresh and packaged, but not to store long term. So there were several packages reduced for quick sale. They were reduced to $0.99. Next to them was a pad of in-store coupons for $1.00 off.

I was fully prepared for them to tell me I couldn't use the coupon for the reduced price item. And that was fine, I would have understood. But they just ran it through.

So, free cooking sauce (which DH LOVES) and an extra penny.

Of course, this means we are about $50 over our grocery budget for the month. Which means we spent $2.82 per day for each member of the family. That doesn't include eating out, though. I need to add a couple of dinners out, but that adds another $80 for the month.

DH had to work today

March 25th, 2006 at 05:17 pm

and he'll have to work tomorrow.

It's part of his job and he's salaried, so there's no extra pay for this.

BUT, he brought home tshirts for us, caps for the kids and 7 coupons for free blizzards (small) from dairy queen. I think we may have to use some next week. There's one that can be on our way home (I just have to take a different route).

The tshirts have a nice design, but they put it on the back. I HATE that. If there's a pretty design, I want to be able to see it and see people's reactions to it. If it's on my back, I can't see either.

No interest checking account?

March 25th, 2006 at 01:51 pm

My checking account is no fee, but also no interest.

In the beginning, I was more concerned with bouncing checks than I was with not earning interest, so all the money went into the checking account and stayed there.

After a year, I'm not fairly comfortable with the ease of transferring money from savings to checking online. I've not encountered any real problems (I have found, though, that they do maintenance at midnight which is my normal banking hour).

So, my new goal is to keep as much in savings as possible and only move it to checking when I know money will be coming out. Now, since several of my bills are automatic withdrawal, I make sure to keep a minimum of $400 in there and bump it up to $600-700 when I know to expect a withdrawal.

I know interest rates are low and this won't make much difference, but I'm messing with it anyway, why not make some money off of it, right?

Attorney Fees

March 24th, 2006 at 07:26 pm

What are you paying for when you go to an attorney? His work or his knowledge.

We had a client come in today for advice on how to get her late husband's name off the deed of their house. It's been too long to probate (in TX you have to probate within 4 years of death) and there wasn't really an estate anyway.

The KNOWLEDGE my boss has is extensive. He's the smartest attorney I've ever worked with.

So, he knows exactly what she needs. She needs a document called an Affidavit of Heirship. He sends me in to get the information for the document while he takes care of an emergency client (I swear, we don't do criminal law, what is up with the clients with their "emergencies"?).

I take the information, go back to my desk, and 20 minutes later, it's done. I let my boss read it through, then sit on it for a couple of hours. I called her back and told her it was ready to pick up.

For that? We get $250. I'd say it took at total of 50 minutes (including the conference with her).

And the sad thing? If she had gone to another attorney she would have been charged at least $500.

So what are our clients paying for?

Gossip Day at work

March 23rd, 2006 at 09:08 pm

One of our workers has been out sick, she was back today, so she and I walked to the soda machine to have a gab session (it's down the block). $0.65 frivolous spending.

At my office, the ladies are supposed to take a turn during the week manning the phones and taking payments during lunch. At no time am I supposed to be alone in the building (safety issue).

Yesterday it was the sick co-workers day. Now if anyone else is gone a day and didn't make arrangements, she's always the one to stay. So, you'd think one of the other ladies would say "Oh, she's out sick, I'm sure she didn't think to ask someone to stay" or that they'd at least notice that everyone was leaving. Yeah right, that'd require them to be less than selfish.

So, they all went to lunch. Not a big deal, there were 2 other people in the office with me (we have 2 other attorneys who rent space and they have staff) plus one of our staff attorneys was still there (the boss's wife). So the attorney looked around and didn't see anyone. She wanted to go to lunch. She asked me if anyone else was there and I named the two people, so she went to lunch. Well, those 2 people were just late taking lunch, they left.

In all, I was probably only alone in the office 15 minutes and I don't feel particularly unsafe there, but it was frustrating. I'm really far behind and if no one is there, I'm constantly interrupted to answer the phone and take payments. I don't mind doing either thing and I often do them during lunch because I know it's hard for one person to do it all.

So, I unloaded on my sick coworker. She was LIVID. I have a feeling she went to the boss to let him know. I won't do it because there are enough hard feelings towards me. Besides, I suspect the wife probably told him. He was a little out of sorts today.

Frugal Family Fun night

March 22nd, 2006 at 09:28 pm



Tonight it was Jenga. This is really fun with 5 and 7 year old boys. They're actually pretty good. We got up to 28 "stories", which I think it pretty good with 2 high energy kids.

DS1 and I also practiced a couple of yoga asanas. I practice until I can do a harder balance pose and then challenge him to try. He doesn't know they're yoga asanas, for him it's just a challenging move.

**********************
supporting site: http://www.studentloansolutions.com

Still 1.5 weeks in the month?

March 22nd, 2006 at 09:16 pm

DH went to the grocery store today for turkey and milk. He hasn't given me the receipt, which means he probably bought more than that, so I'm sure we're over our grocery budget.

I know the gas is over the budget. 2 10-12 hour round trips will do that. We were under last month, though, so I hope it will balance out.

We got our AmEx card. It came with an offer for a free balance transfer with a lower rate than our low rate (I don't remember the rate right now). We have to pay it off in 6 months (which is the plan). It will save us about $40 in interest. The best thing it will do is give us a goal and keep us on track.

On one of my boards we started a new thread - 100 ways to save $1. I figured out how much it costs to run my dryer (given our high cost of electricity) and realized each load is almost $1. OUCH! That means we REALLY have to get that clothesline up. We've never had to do one from scratch, though, so I know that's what's holding dh up. Our posthole diggers broke - so I'll have to figure out someone we can borrow them from. Maybe the people across the alley who took our dryer and our wheelbarrow would have a set?

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.

Working from home

March 21st, 2006 at 08:19 pm

I'm doing something I swore I'd never do.

I'm bringing home work. I've had a lot of work this month. It's reflected in my billings, but that doesn't give me an excuse to slide.

I've had to go back to work with the kids twice this month and 3 times I've brought work from home.

I hate this. But, I'm on the computer at home anyway. It isn't that much more effort. But it's still a pain.

In many ways I wonder if I'm setting myself up to need to do it more often. If I accomplish more, will they give me more? Right now I'm working with the assumption that this is just an extremely busy time and it will get better. But, I will reevaluate that assumption as time goes on.

The one good thing about working at home? I can actually start something and finish it without interruptions. I feel like I'm constantly running at work but having to switch gears in a millisecond so that our clients don't feel the pressure.

Lawn mowing today

March 21st, 2006 at 05:59 pm

I have this mower:



I had it when we had the half acre lot and I have to say, this smaller lot? Much better. Also, this grass? (buffalo grass) Is soooo much better than bermudagrass.

It didn't take long. The biggest problem is that our ash tree is shedding little branches (DON'T TOP YOUR TREES, they'll shed branches constantly) and those little sticks get caught between the cutting edge and the blade. ARGGHH!!!

The cool thing about a reel mower? You can mow the lawn without picking up your water houses. If it doesn't get between the blade and cutting edge, it won't get cut. Of course, that's a bad thing too - if the weeds get too tall, the mower will push them over and they won't get into the cutting space.

I played the wimp. "I'm too tired to go to the grocery store, isn't there something we can eat here?" Don't tell DH, but I'm not really that tired. We did have stuff to eat, the only issue is DS2's lunch tomorrow, we're out of turkey, but he can take peanut butter.

A little help from my friends

March 20th, 2006 at 09:09 pm

Yesterday I noticed that my ash tree has webworms.



(image from http://www.realgreenlawns.com/austin_tx_texas/webwormsx.htm)

Today I noticed there were wasps hovering around the web. Being the curious person I am, I decided to go check out what they were doing.

It appeared they were looking for a way into the webs. So, I grabbed a stick and poked at the web a little.

It didn't take long. In minutes, there was a wasp crawling in the hole I had made. Boy those caterpillars were scrambling to fix their web.

That wasp walked around trying to grab caterpillars. They were dropping to the ground (where they will most likely die or be eaten by birds) and finally it grabbed one. It quickly stung the caterpillar 3-4 times (it was really fast, it looked like a muscle spasm) then bit it a few times and rolled it up. Then it grabbed it and flew off with it.

YAY!! In a few minutes, that wasp killed several webworms (which aren't that harmful in reality, just extremely unsightly) and I suspect it will be back. I'm pretty sure it was taking the caterpillar back to stuff in its nest to feed its developing larvae.

THIS is why I don't kill wasps. Wasps are predators of harmful insects. I do watch to be sure they aren't building nests in areas where we will disturb them. But if they're building a nest in a far corner of my eave - why mess with it?

Less than helpful was my neighbor's boyfriend. He decided my 3 inch grass needed to be weedeated and cut down my vine. The vine that dh and I had been carefully weeding around (it really was obvious). His excuse "I didn't know when you were going to cut the grass". It was 3 inches high. It was just now time to even consider cutting it. It's our yard! Stay off. Oh and his other excuse "I didn't see it". Yeah, I spoke with the previous owner and she told me you did the same thing last year. So, you just hate vines, right? You can't keep yourself off of other people's property? What?

I'd better not catch him spraying anything on my yard. We are organic and plan to stay that way.