Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Tuesday this and that

Well, I did indeed scratch the cornea of my eye. Eye doctor said it was healing and no infection, so I just need to use drops for a while. It's still a bit irritated this morning, but not as bad as yesterday or Sunday.  Guess I'll be going to work with no mascara on today - eek! My guess is I probably scratched it with a wash cloth while taking my mascara off, so I'd better avoid rubbing of the eye for a few more days and go mascara free.

About 2 1/2 more weeks of work and then I have 2 weeks off. I am ready and especially like that with all our paid holiday time (3 days at Christmas and 1 1/2 days at New Years) I only have to use 5 1/2 days of my PTO.  On the 18th we close early and have our year end meeting (and bonus checks given out) and then there is a holiday party the rest of the afternoon.

I finally got a 6ft long charging cord for my ipad mini and iphone. So much nicer than the short cord that comes with it. I got it on Amazon for like $7 (deal of the day) and don't know why I waited this long. I use my ipad mini so much, especially sitting on the couch in the evenings and when my battery is low it's almost impossible to use it if it's plugged in with the short cord. I signed up for the Amazon Prime free trial. I did that a couple of years ago (and then cancelled) so assumed I wasn't eligible for that trial again, but it was offered so I took advantage of it. Now, I don't have to use DD's student prime if I want free 2 day shipping and if it's a gift for her, she won't see what it is now. I just have to remember to cancel it in 30 days. I ordered a box of "goodies" that came yesterday. 3 boxes of my vacuum cleaner bag refills, the iphone charger cord, 2 thumb drives (stocking stuffer for DH) and a little strand of battery operated xmas lights. I was to put some ornaments and lights inside my glass cake plate :)

Well, off to put some more eye drops in and then off to work. Have a good day!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Monday off to a rocky start

I think I must have scratched my eye. It's actually been bothering me (now that I think about it) for at least a week, but before it was just off and on irritation. Now it's been bothering me for 2 straight days. I spent yesterday putting drops in my eye, resting my eye (taking naps!) and no make up on and it feels just as bad this morning. I was able to get an appointment for later this afternoon to have it checked out.

DD helped me put up the Christmas decorations and the tree over the weekend. DH isn't going to put up outside lights this year. He just doesn't really have the energy right now and who's it going to look good for? all the druggies going in and out?

We continue to look forward to the day we can sell. If I can't stay with my current employer and work remotely, at least the job market in the area we want to move has started to at least show me some jobs in my field. When I first started looking (just to get a feel for how many job openings there are) I was finding nothing at all. It's had me worried. This morning I did a search and if I were looking right now, there would be several jobs I would apply for, so I'm breathing a little easier that when/if the time comes, I will be able to find a job.

DH continues to look at homes online and get a feel for what we like (and don't like), what the price ranges are, etc. Fortunately we both like the same things, so that part is making it easy. To get something decent we are going to have to spend at least $300k. $350k seems to be our sweet spot and puts us in quite a few homes/land we like (and much better quality then the $300k range). Of course the $400k ones are really nice, and several we have found would qualify as our dream home, but that is just a bit more than I think we can do. We could probably do it if I got to keep my current job, but we'd need more down payment - i.e. take us longer before we could sell this place. Also, some of the homes we like have been on the market quite a very long time (some almost a year), so it's possible that some of the ones we like that have just now gone on the market could still be available (and even less priced) in 5-6 months.

In our calculating how much proceeds we'd need to get out of our home in order to have a down payment on a new place, we included paying my mom off the loan we have with her (we borrowed to get all our fencing put in). I currently pay her $300 a month. She has offered several times to just forget about it - in her mind it will all come out even when I inherit her estate anyway. But that's not how I work - so I keep paying her and she keeps putting it in her savings (so I'll end up with it some day anyway LOL). But, if we don't pay her off with some of our proceeds (and continue to just make payments to her) we could almost be in a position to sell right now! Definitely, by spring. I think we've decided our sanity/quality of life (at this point) is more important than paying my mom off in full right now. We spent our nice Thanksgiving dinner with our dining room curtains closed so we didn't have to watch the cars lined up 4 deep at any given time down at the drug house behind us. Nice, huh? We are now into our 3rd year of all this crap.

And who knows how long it will take to sell our house! Could be a very long time, given the junkyard we live next door to and the general condition of the neigborhood. At a minimum/best case scenario, even if we sold quickly, the whole thing would probably be a 2 month process to list/sell/close - and every month that goes by gives us another $1050 in equity/proceeds. The Realtor we contacted 2 months ago said that for our area, early spring is usually the best time to list. She said last spring houses were selling in days, sometimes even hours and often times bidding wars. Which I know - because DD's BF tried to buy a condo last spring and it ended up selling for higher than it was listed for because of several offers.

By end of May, I estimate between proceeds and savings we'll have $75k. That would give us $70k for a 20% down payment on a $350k house and $5k for moving expenses. If I have to find a job in new area, I at least have the option to keep my job here (and stay at my moms) and work until I find something acceptable. DH and the dogs can go live in the new house by themselves until I can come. I'd just use up my (4 weeks) vacation time (that I found out we don't get paid for if employment is terminated - we used to but now that it got changed to "PTO" they don't accrue it and pay out anymore) to make long trips for interviews and time at the new home. That way we won't be out any income and I can be a bit choosy about finding a good job. But I am SO hoping I can keep my job and work remote. I don't want to approach  my boss with this until around end of January, at the earliest, so for now I just have to wonder and hope.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Good Turkey

Cooking the turkey in the "turkey bag" was a success (for the most part). It shortened the cooking time by probably close to an hour. The turkey was a perfect golden brown (and I didn't have to mess with trying to keep foil over the bird so it wouldn't get too brown. I HATE that part). There was a ton of juice (I have never managed to get enough juice at all for gravy). The veggies I put in the bottom of the bag, under the turkey, turned out delicious in all the juice. The turkey was juicy and just fell off the bones. It made the carving so easy.  The only thing it didn't really do was keep the roasting pan clean. LOL. By the time I cut open the bag, all the juices went into the bottom of the pan anyway. But it wasn't quite as bad to clean up. I will definitely be cooking my turkeys this method from now on.

I also put my stuffing in the crockpot and let it warm while the turkey was cooking. Much easier than storing it in the fridge and then re-heating it while the turkey was cooling down.

DH, of course, decided to invite our good neighbor. He happily accepted my same day invite, so we had us, DD, her BF and good neighbor. DD's apple pie was really good, too.

Now it will be a week of turkey sandwiches - yum!

I doubt I will do much shopping today - either in store or online.  Honestly, the bombarding of all the deals/sales/etc - online and in emails, is overwhelming me this year.

This morning I am sitting on hold trying to reach Amazon because I cannot access my new Amazon store card online anymore. I've only had the account 2-3 months and used it twice, but I couldn't remember if I had used it recently (not that I remembered) and wanted to make sure I didn't have a balance owing, but I can't log in anymore. Can't even get my login id sent to me. So I just got off the phone with a cs rep and he had to send me a code to give back to him so he could unlock my account (for whatever reason it got locked in the first place) and now I can rest easy knowing I do indeed have a zero balance :)  I probably should charge a little something on it - that was the whole point of getting it, so I can try to help my credit score a bit.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! It will be a low key relaxing day here, but still complete with Turkey and all the fixin's.  Just us 3 and possibly DD's BF....I guess his family goes to a movie on Thanksgiving and in their usual style of no schedule, LOL, he doesn't know what time they are going, so not sure if he will be here by then or not. We eat kind of late, at 3pm, so he'll probably make it.

I'm trying cooking my turkey inside a turkey bag this year, with some carrots and potatoes on the bottom of the bag. We'll see how it turns out - I'm just most excited not to have to clean the dang roasting pan!

DD made 2 apple pies yesterday. One for us and one for her BF's family. They smelled yummy after getting out of the oven. She wanted to go all "Pintest-y" and put little cut out leaves around the edges of the pies, so 4 stores later we finally found a leaf cookie cutter.

I had yesterday off and it was just a busy day of shopping and getting the house cleaned up. We started out going through Starbucks drive through (with a gift card I had) and then took my dirty car through the car wash. It's supposed to be cold and sunny (ie no rain) for about a week, so figured it was a good time to get the grime off my car and I can enjoy a clean white car before the rains get it all dirty again. Then we stopped at Costco to pick up a bunch of apples for the pies. Of course we couldn't walk out of there without 2 other things we hadn't planned on. First an adorable calendar with chickens and roosters......so DD bought it - an early xmas present for me....and then we saw the cutest set of owl coffee mugs. She already has one in the set (from some other store) but the whole set was so cute (and only $15), so I got her that and I took the mug she already has and one other one. She kept the other 4 on the set.

Then we stopped at Bed Bath and Beyond, Michaels and Joann's trying to find the leaf cookie cutter and finally found a tiny one in a set at Joann's. They weren't as big as she wanted, but by then we knew that was all we were going to find, unless we ordered online and didn't have time to wait for that to happen. After that was a stop at Walmart to get the last of the groceries needed for turkey dinner, along with some laundry detergent that we were out of.

Got home, started a load of laundry, I vacuumed while DD cleaned her bathroom and dusted the house. Then I helped her make the pies. Canned apple pie filling would have been easier. LOL.

No Black Friday shopping planned. Those ridiculous crowds have never been on my list of fun things to do. I really haven't even figured out what I am getting for gifts yet, anyway. Mostly I will be givng DD cash, for her Ireland trip, so not many presents to buy.  I might go out for a quick trip late tomorrow morning to a local store (a mile from my house) that always has all their socks half price on Black Friday. Both DH and I are in need of some new socks, and stock up for the next year. Isn't that exciting?! LOL

Monday, November 23, 2015

A little hiccup to my day

This is going to seem like such a nice short week. I was emailing my boss about payroll this morning (before I head into the office) and she said I only needed to come in the office one day this week, so today or tomorrow is fine. Yay! I told her I'll come in tomorrow, since I had signed up to bring something for the office potluck. 

Speaking of payroll. I am a bit miffed. We use an outside company to process our payroll. I just have to log in and enter in the hours for our hourly folks and also enter in any holiday and PTO time. I have to transmit 5 business days before paydate. I emailed the woman, who processes it on their end, last week to clarify that it would need to be transmitted on Monday (instead of Tuesday) because of the Thanksgiving holiday...or maybe even Friday?, if they get both days off too....she emailed back that it was Monday. So....yesterday (as in SUNDAY) she emails my boss (instead of me), who pretty much has nothing to do with our payroll, since it's my job and I'm 100% capable of doing it correctly, asking her how payroll was coming along, like we are late in getting it to her.  Good grief. If she wanted it on Friday, or by 8am Monday, then she should have just let me know when I emailed her last week trying to clarify exactly when she needed it by. Luckily, I happened to check my work email yesterday (as in SUNDAY) and saw it, so was able to allocate my time to get started on it at 6:30am this morning, rather than waiting until later in the morning, which was my original plan. Otherwise I would have totally been scrambling. I really didn't appreciate her making it seem to my boss like I wasn't doing my job timely. I transmitted it before 8am this morning along with an email to the woman, politely apologizing for being late, but per our email conversation last week, I had been under the impression it wasn't due until Monday (our usual cut off time is noon).

Ok, I'm done being pissy now and ready to have a good day :)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Chilly chores

It's been a few days since I wrote anything. Nothing going on - just normal busy-ness. It's been chilly here. This morning it's 27 degrees and I don't think it got over 40 yesterday. Friday, while working from home, I took a lunch break to run to the post office and then decided to swing into the Goodwill store down the street and look around for some more glassware we can make into candles. I found two of these cute little "mugs" for .29 each

Then I roamed through the books. This store put their books in alphabetical order (for the most part) by author, so that made it easy to look. Their hardback prices are $4 each, but the sign said if you buy 5 you get 20% off, so that makes 1 book free. I found 5 in the Sue Grafton "alphabet series". She is up to X so far and I now have 7 of the books.

Yesterday was a busy day of chores. I went grocery shopping. When I got home DH was busy cleaning out the water filters we have for the house and garage/shop. I put the groceries away, made room for the turkey, and then vacuumed the house. Just as I got done DH asked if I could help him, while he cleaned all the gutters out. I just stood there and moved the ladder to the next spot every time he got down. All that getting up and down really wears him out, so having to pick up the ladder each time saved him a little energy. It's a lightweight aluminum ladder and wasn't really heavy, but after moving it at least 30 times (we had to do the shed, the garage and the house) my lower back is feeling it today. The gutters were full of leaves and needles. At least those chores are done and the gutters should be good for the rest of the season.

Before dinner I made some chocolate chip cookies. They always sound and look better in my head then they actually turn out......they always end up flat and not very soft. The dough tasted better, LOL.

Not sure what I am doing today. Just relaxing I suppose. I only have to work Mon and Tues and then I have the rest of the week off.   DD will be home Tuesday night.  Her BF got a new job within his company that he starts next month, so he will be moving about 70 miles north. Actually his job is 70 miles north, but I think he plans to live even farther north of there, where housing is a little cheaper. Until he finds a place he will be staying with DD at her apartment. It will be an hours drive from her place to his new job, vs a 2-3 hour commute (each way) from here. He's also going to be making about $25k more a year! So happy and excited for him.

While grocery shopping at Target yesterday I scored another $15 in Target gift cards.  $10 for spending $50 on food and $5 for buying 2 bags of cat food. I did the $10/$50 deal last Sunday too, when it first started. I had a deal, with coupons, all worked out where my total came to just over $50, then I had coupons on most of the times, plus cartwheel coupons and the coupon for the $10 gift card for spending $50. When I tried to hand the snotty cashier my $10/$50 coupon she told me that will only work after manufacturer coupons, so if my total, after all my coupons comes to less than $50, I won't get the $10 gift card. I politely said no, that's now how it works and she kept on and I said well just ring it all up and try the coupon anyway. So she first applies my misc coupons and of course it then was under $50. I told her to try the $10 gift card coupon, because it should work and she proceeded to get all snippy and say that each store gets to set their own coupon policies (NO, they don't! maybe as far as the # of coupons used, but a Target store coupon works the same way at all stores) and of course as she's scanning it it pops up to give me a $10 gift card. So, ya - I got $50 worth of food for like $18. Even then she was still mad that it worked! DD just said "my mom's been doing this coupon thing awhile". LOL. Fortunately most all of their cashiers are super nice and it's only once in awhile I get a bad one.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Cashing in

We survived the storm relatively well. Didn't lose power and not too many branches in the yard to clean up. Mostly just a ton of leaves! EVERYWHERE! LOL.  DH had a big job with the leaf blower today, but thankfully it wasn't raining anymore and even a bit sunny out.

I'm cashing in my rewards for cash and gift cards for Christmas shopping. This is what I have as of right now to put towards gift purchases - $132:
$10 Target giftcard
$25 Walmart gift card
$80 Walmart Savings Catcher gift card
$5 Amazon gift card
$12 just deposited to my PayPal account from Ibotta
There is also another $10 mail in rebate that should be here before Christmas and I will earn another $10 Target gift card with their current coupon out of spend $50 on food and get a $10 gift card, bringing my total up to $152.  I also just got a $5 Starbucks gift card that I loaded to my account and can enjoy a coffee or two while I am out shopping.

I really slacked this past year in trying to earn reward points. Mostly I got tired of doing surveys and needed a break. I only earned a total of $30 this past year from Swagbucks. I didn't really do MyPoints at all. The most I earned was from the Walmart Savings Catcher program, which doesn't require any effort other than shopping there and scanning the receipt code. I actually earned about $170 from Walmart savings catcher this year, but I had cashed in $90 at the beginning of summer to buy a stone garden bench and some yard supplies.

I will definitely be working on doing Swagbucks more, as that one seems to be the one I can easily earn the most points with and I should easily be able to earn $10-$15 a month with not a lot of effort.

I also earned $305 this past year using my PayPal 1% cash back rewards card,but that just goes into my bank account every month and I don't save it for anything particular.

Christmas will be pretty low key this year. Just DH, DD, her BF, my mom and my uncle to buy for, really.  DD leaves for Ireland Christmas evening and will be gone 9 or 10 days.

Mostly we just want to save as much as we can going forward toward our dream move. This is the view we are currently putting on our fav list :)  on top of a hill above a little town of 2000 people

Zillow is sure fun to look at and see all the different homes for sale and all the pictures.

P.S. If anyone is interested in trying out Swagbucks - you can click on my referral link to the right