Saturday, April 18, 2015

A girl's weekend

DD wants me to come and spend the weekend with her sometime soon, so we checked our calendars and ended up with next weekend.  You'd think just booking a motel room for one night would be a piece of cake. Not for me. I have to over think every little detail to death!

First off I decided to splurge and get a really nice room. The two times I have been up there I stayed at the Days Inn....and I'm not staying there again. I only stayed there the 2nd time because the room was free (shared with her roomie's mom). It was such a noisy place with walls/floors/ceilings paper thin.  I need a good nights sleep or I'll be tired and crabby and no fun to do stuff with on Sunday.  But the 2 of the 3 super nice hotels are booked that night and it's $259 a night for the other fancy place (about same for the other booked hotels).  Then DD says at that price it better come with a free breakfast. Haha. It doesn't.  Figured we'd just eat at cheaper places and go with the good hotel.......or we could go with a less expensive mid-range hotel and use the extra money for a nice dinner somewhere. Decisions decisions. I can never make anything easy.  I guess if money were no object we'd have it all...good hotel and good food. LOL.

Then I decided to look at mid-range priced hotels. I found 3 that seemed decent. But then I have to look at everything about them, reviews and all. There was another 1/2 hour. I was about to book one and realized the $169 price was not cancel-able.  What if one of us gets sick or I can't go for some reason? The rate to be able to cancel was $199. At that amount might as well go with the 4-star hotel.  I ended up picking a different hotel that was $139 and free cancel policy.  I got a King deluxe room with a whirlpool tub. Saturday evening I can take a long bath while DD texts with her boyfriend. Free breakfast too :)

I logged into my Expedia account to see what their rate was (same) but they had an offer of downloading their new app and getting a $25 off coupon code on your hotel booking. So, I got the room for $114 plus tax. Whoop Whoop! Now we can go to a really nice dinner out, if we feel like it, with the extra saved over a $259 room.  Plus DD has lots of "dining" dollars to use on campus.  We can get Starbucks, bagels, and lunch for nothing out of pocket for me.

She's got lots of cute shops she's found that she wants to show me, as well as a drive by of the apartment complex she wants to live in next year. Should be a fun weekend and will be nice to get a little break from DH home :)


Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday decisions

DD had a good day yesterday. She and one of her roommate-to-be's went and looked at a couple of apartments. They hated the first one but loved the second one and have decided that's the one they are going to try to get into for next Fall. They do 9 month leases and will just have to wait until summer to see what is available and get a deposit down if they can get in there for September.

Then while she was messaging me about that her aunt forwarded her an email from her company's Procurement Manager that she is very interested in setting up an internship position for DD. So, yay for Auntie for following up and helping DD! DD sent this manager her resume and an email, so let's keep fingers crossed it all works out.

My packet of Creeping Thyme seeds I ordered came in the mail yesterday. I will probably have no luck getting them to grow, but isn't the packet adorable?!
I just got a call regarding my term life insurance application.  Well, of course, now the premium is more than double what was quoted to me online. Apparently due to my prescription of Atenolol for occasional hearth arrhythmia. I could go down to a lower face value or a shorter term. A 10 year term would be $34 a month, while keeping it at the original amount and term would be $61 a month, more than double what I was quoted online.  They also compared it to their other companies and this was still the lowest price company to go with.

I hate making these kinds of decisions! I think I will go with the 10 year instead of 15 year. That would put it covered through my age 61 and if something happened to me DH would have this money and then be able to start drawing social security the following year. Or do I just suck it up and pay $61 a month so that it is covered 5 more years. Ugh.





Thursday, April 16, 2015

Networking

DD is required to do two internships during her 3 years of coursework. Due to the amount of hours required in total, these will most likely have to be done over the next two summers. She has been applying to everything she can, but has had no luck so far. In fact, only one has even bothered to reply to her application, but stating the position already got filled.  Or a lot of the positions are so far away that she would be commuting 3-4 hours a day!

Yesterday I emailed my old boss. I've known him for almost 30 years now. We worked together as staff accountants for many years and while he was on the fast track to management, I was just on the fast track to mommy-hood and just trying to have a basic career in accounting. He ended up being one of the owners at the company I  now work at (that is how I got the job) but left the company about a year after I started there. We keep in touch and he now works for a consulting firm. A lightbulb went off in my head and I decided to email him as I am sure he has tons of contacts in the business's in our area.  He replied right back and sure enough he does. He's even involved with an organization that is specifically for the manufacturing industry. He will be forwarding her resume on to see what he can find for her. Perfect! If he can't help find her something, I don't know who could.

Hopefully between him and her aunt she can find something for this summer to fulfill her degree requirement.  I know this whole process is stressing her out and taking away from her study time with all the searching she has to keep doing to try to find companies she can approach for internships, since she's having no luck with the one's that are actually posting internship openings.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Life insurance

I finally got off my butt and am getting some life insurance on myself for DH's protection if something happens to me. We had a policy on him for about 15 years (when he was working) but once our roles reversed I never took one out on myself. Add in that until the past few years we were terribly broke and went through bankruptcy and I didn't even have the extra money each  month to pay for a term life insurance policy.

I do have $70,000 through my job, so that is at least something. I am getting a $250,000 policy. Not enough, most likely, but he'll either be able to live on that or pay off the house and live on what's left. I would also think at that point, with no income, he would then at least qualify for SSI. Then down that road, that we keep getting closer and closer to, he'll have social security (from me) and my 401k. The quote I just got online was about $25/mo - unless they decide I don't qualify as very healthy and it's a higher rate, which for some reason I am just expecting to happen.

I got the quote through Dave  Ramsey's website. I used to listen to his podcasts quite often and Zander was the company he endorses. It was quick and easy to go online and get some quotes and the company I picked was Genworth - which is the same company the owner's of the company I work for have their life insurance policies through, so I feel comfortable that I am going with a quality company.

I guess I will be getting a call sometime soon for a nurse to come out to my house and do a quick 15 minute exam and then my application will be submitted. I remember going through this same process years ago when we got DH's life insurance - though his ended up costing more because his cholesterol was high. My last annual exam was November and my cholesterol was down at 200, so hopefully it's staying down there now. I just take an herbal supplement (Red Yeast Rice) that was recommended by my doctor and it seems to have done the job. The only other medication I am on is Atenolol, for an occasional heart arrhythmia I've had just about forever.

I've been going to get this taken care of for like that last year or more! I just kept putting it off and brushing it under the rug saying to myself "I'll do it next month". I'm such a terrible procrastinator. Next thing we need to take care of is wills......maybe I can just find something basic that I can do online and cheaply for us. It's not like we really have much of anything to make it a complicated will. Anyone else done a will online?




Tuesday, April 14, 2015

It's a boring post

I'm working from home today. Had to switch with tomorrow because I have a 2 hour training meeting to attend at the office tomorrow. Not much going on so far this week.  I had a quiet evening of just knitting (I'm almost done with my blanket) and watching tv.  Dinner was from Arby's. It was a long  crappy 90 minute commute home from work in the rain and I just didn't feel like also having to spend a half hour or more making dinner.

The vines of the clematis I planted under the front arbor are already starting to wind their way through the  bottom of the lattice. So cool!. I haven't checked out back to see if the sweet pea flower seeds planted at the back arbor are sprouting. It's been about 10 days, but supposed to take a couple of weeks to sprout. If I don't have any luck growing those, I will probably just go buy some more clematis to plant there, too.

DD and I had a text message chat last night about how life can get cut short in an instant. A co-worker lost a close relative of a young age to a massive heart attack and another family here locally lost their lives in a tragic accident. Makes one realize how important it is to appreciate life and don't waste it.

DD has had lots of "grown up" responsibilities lately and has/is doing well with them and making smart decisions. Though she messages me every so often that she doesn't like having to be a grown up ;)  I told her there really is nothing much fun about it. LOL. She is stressing out over finding an apartment for next Fall and a summer internship for this summer (required for her degree). She has applied to everything she has seen posted, though some of them would be over an hour drive each way - probably more like 90 minutes each way. She has only heard back from one, and he said sorry the position was filled. Then in a coincidence, she signed up for the "mentor" program and got assigned to this same guy! Hopefully, that will help her find an internship, too. I'm sure he has lots of contacts. She emailed my step sister, who is a big wig at a big company and she replied back that she will check into an internship position for her, so keeping fingers crossed that a "connection" will finally pay off.

I'm just feeling very blah today, like I just want to crawl back in bed and sleep all day and I don't usually feel like that. Maybe a shower would help - haha!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Back to Monday

It was an ok weekend. DD got home Friday night. She spent all day Saturday with her boyfriend so I only got to see her a little bit in the morning and she got back after I went to bed. I got the grocery shopping done in the morning. I didn't need to fill up with gas, since I had nearly a full tank left from only driving to the office one day last week. I was in search of maple bars, though! Walmart is always out of them by the time I am there Saturday morning (9:30) and so I tried the next store down the street (where I usually get gas) and they were out too. I passed another store on my way home, so pulled in there and found a case loaded with donuts :)  DH likes the maple bars and I like just about everything else but...it's our weekly treat and since I didn't get any last week, so I was determined to find some dang maple bars in this town :)

Then I got the dusting and vacuuming done. It was a rainy, cold day so I just stayed inside and worked some more on my knitting. So far so good and no mistakes. It was free HBO and Showtime on our cable this weekend so I watched some movies the rest of the afternoon/evening.

Yesterday DD and I hung out for awhile. The weather was better, but still cold and we spent most of it outside in garden centers.  The stores still do not have in their big shipments of packs/flats of annuals yet, but I still managed to spend $166! But first we stopped and got some coffee. The first garden center I got some Wave Petunias. I have seen these for years in the stores, but have always gotten the "regular" petunias. I looked them up online, before heading out to shop, wondering what makes them so special and more expensive. Apparently they grow huge and one plant can spread out several feet. I decided these would work great in the 4 hanging baskets I want to make for the arbors and should only need a couple plants per each basket, if they get that big. I also bought some other stuff I can't remember the name of to fill in the baskets.  Then DD and I saw these cutest metal wire bicycle planters in two sizes. I liked the smaller one better and it was $40. I hemmed and hawed over it and then the sweet lady that works there said they were on sale 25% off, so I decided to get it. She also had a good idea that it would be really cute during Christmas time with xmas flowers/decorations, so I said she sold me on it!

Then we headed to another store's garden center to look at some perennial plants on sale.  We found what I was looking for, along with a sweet cat, who had apparently decided the garden center is his home away from home and was loving all the attention.  Once someone would leave, he'd just move on to the next person. I bought two fairly good sized "Pieris" plants in 2 gallon pots.

Next stop was the restaurant across the street for some pie! We hadn't stopped and had pie together in quite awhile. Yum.

The last stop was the to the guy who sells plants out of his front yard for very low prices. I just love this guy/place. I found exactly what I was looking for in clematis plants for the front arbor. I bought 4 - 2 that have purple flower and 2 with white. They should mix and mingle as they grow.

Then it was home to a crabby DH, who threw a temper tantrum because I didn't buy the type of perennial shrub he had wanted me to buy. Never mind that I showed him the store ad earlier in the week with this plant as the one I was thinking of getting. So, I calmly said "well, I can just return them to the store then and get the other kind (a small hedge type evergreen shrub that grows super slow and will never get more than a couple feet high/wide). But he keeps digging the whole, bitching at me the whole time. Then asks me where I want to plant the second bush and I say I don't know - you were the one who said you wanted two shrubs for back in this area. He complains some more about how he never gets what he wants and his life sucks and I snapped and said "well, then stop digging the hole and I'll take it back!" Then he's mad that I had the gall to get mad back at him! Obviously he was going to be mad no matter what and just wanted an excuse to feel sorry for himself and blame me. I just walked back into the house and started making banana bread. When he was done and came back in I had to listen to him yell about it some more that he wanted some kind of plant that stays green all year, not the stupid "flower" plants I keep buying and that will just be a "sticks" in the winter. Plus he wanted something to grow and block some of the view of the drug neighbors behind us.

I didn't even bother saying anything more to him. The shrubs I bought are evergreen (they just get some small flowers on them in later winter/early spring and will grow several feet wide by 5-6 feet tall.......compared to the 2'x2' shrub he wanted! Not to mention these plants are gorgeous with about 4 different colors going on.  Here is a picture of one full grown and they stay green year round and do not lose their leaves.

Like DD said to me - A year from now he'll be saying how much he likes these shrubs and when I remind him what a fit he threw about them, he'll say they were his idea!



Friday, April 10, 2015

Budgets, yard, and vacations

Does anyone else do this? Sit and stare at your budget.....like if you keep looking at it often and long enough more money will magically appear on it?!  Hmphff! It hasn't worked yet.

I finally get a month where we didn't spend it on our house or yard or guns or dental work, or anything and the extra is just going to replace the $1070 check I have to write to the IRS next week out of my savings. 

I'm really trying to keep track of what I spend on weekly groceries and gas. Whatever I can come under budget is getting added to the extra put on the home equity loan payment. So far, I am at least putting the $25 a month I get reimbursed from work for my internet and whatever I earn on the 1% cash back on my debit card (usually around $30) to add to it. Since I only had to drive to work one day this week I basically have a full tank for next week and won't need to fill up on Saturday. That should leave me with $38 extra out of this pay period to also add to it. My auto insurance went down a whole $4 a month, so I guess I can add that too :)

Next month will be costly for the yard. It will be time to get the Casoron to spread over all the gravel area and we need two 50 lb. bags to cover the area (twice a year!) and the cheapest I can find is a place online that we have ordered from the last 2 years. They ship out really fast and have the cheapest shipping (for 100 lbs) but it still will cost about $370 for 2 bags.  I have also started a spreadsheet where I am keeping track of everything we spend this year on our yard, especially wanting to keep track what we are spending a year on weed control for this acre. Then I want to check and see what it would cost to have a lawn maintenance company come in and do it. It will probably cost more, but I'd like to know for sure. So far, this year, I have spent $100 on weed and feed and insecticide for the lawn. Then it will be the $375 (twice this year) for the Casoron plus weed and feed again in the Fall, not to mention I always end up buying a couple of gallons of Round up and blackberry killer each summer. I know we spend at least $1000 a year to treat our lawn and keep weeds out of our gravel area. I have no idea what it would cost to have someone come and spray this for us on a regular/seasonal basis.

We also have plans for 2 other yard projects this year. DH wants to add more landscaping blocks to a couple of areas (about 4 pallets needed for about $650 total) and also put in a small pond. Our good neighbor wants some blocks too, so I am hoping we can go in on an order together, as they will deliver if you order more than 5 pallets. The pond liners appear to run about $150 for the size we want and it will all be done ourselves so shouldn't be much other cost, unless we end up buying any stones or flat rockery to go around it versus using big rocks we already have here and there in the back of our property. The extra I have each month from my income will covers these expenses.

The mid year bonus (where I will get $2560 after taxes) is pretty much a given at this point, with our sales almost doubled from last year. By mid or end of June I should have this extra money. I'm really thinking of using it for a vacation for us later this summer. We have been married 30 years and have really only taken 2 vacations. Once to Arizona to see my parents when the kids were little and one to Florida/Disneyworld back in 2007. That's it.  We really need a break from this place and with DD home all summer working she can hold the fort down and take care of the animals (and her boyfriend can stay with her, which would make us feel safer leaving her here alone).  Seems like most people take a couple vacations a year and we take a couple our whole married life? Maybe time for a little adjustment in that area.  We took trips when the kids were little to go to racing events, but they were not vacations - they were hard work!

I haven't mentioned it yet to DH.  I'm thinking either we take a road trip to the midwest, visit friends there and he can take in some dirt track racing he has been wanting to see for years and years. Or...maybe take an Alaskan Cruise. I have priced them and we could afford a very nice week long trip and a cruise would be ideal for his limited mobility, not to mention we both have always wanted to see Alaska. Something to ponder.....though I'm sure he'll pick the road trip, LOL.  We'll see...I'm still thinking on it. I find it hard to splurge on ourselves and others do it without a second thought. I think we certainly deserved to treat ourselves to something nice this year - it was our 30th wedding anniversary a couple months ago.

I also don't know what my 10 year work anniversary "gift" will be. It might very well be a vacation, but I won't know until September. In past years all the employees who reached their 10 year anniversary were given a paid 7 day trip to Hawaii (staying in the owner's rental condo), but that owner is no longer with the company and while I think one of the other company owner's is still a part owner of this condo, I highly doubt he wants to deal with using it any longer for this type of thing. It has always been used to give some of our customers trips, too, but not in the past 2 years now, since former owner was booted out of the company. No employee has had a 10 year anniversary since he left. I am the first, so who knows what they will do now.

When I had my annual review lunch with my boss I mentioned that this was my 10 year anniversary year. Her comment was that one of the owners was trying to figure out what to do for the big anniversaries (10, 15, etc) and mentioned something about a company he used to work for giving rings with a diamond for each 5 years...not really something I would enjoy. I don't really wear rings and with a size 3 ring finger it's pretty much impossible for me to find a ring in my size anyway.  I'd rather just have a nice gift card or something, I guess. The last few anniversaries that have come up were 15 years and they got an extra week vacation going forward. But, boy all these years I was so looking forward to that Hawaii vacation!