Monday, April 14, 2014

False alarm

Yesterday morning I had just gotten out of the shower (trying out the new shower head I had just put on! It was nice!) and I hear DH yelling at me that the phone was ringing (he was still in bed) and I grab it and it's someone from my mom's security system company notifying me her garage alarm had gone off and they couldn't reach her.  I assumed she was at her boyfriend's for the weekend, as she is almost every weekend. I tried to call her cell and house just to see and no answer So, DH and I quick put on some clothes and run over to her house to check on it. We pull up and her car is out of the garage and parked on the street and her golf cart is parked on the side of her driveway. Everything else looked ok. Hmm.  What the heck? In my rush and also my thought that she wasn't home, I didn't bring her house key with me. I didn't want to set her alarm off again, if we opened her door as I didn't know how to turn it off.  I tried calling a couple more times and of course she never answers her cell phone (drives me nuts) and we started getting worried - what if she was in the house and something had happened to her? So, we drove back to our house, got her key and drove back to her house......pull up and find her boyfriends pick up backed up into her garage.  They had been at the hardware store and just got back as they had been doing some work inside her garage!  Geez! Give me a heart attack why don't ya!  She knew she had set off her alarm on the back door to her garage, but apparently didn't think it necessary to call her alarm company to tell them the error. Just glad all was ok and she felt really dumb. DH is like "Just start answering your phone!"

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The $75 dimmer switch

Several years back we put a dimmer switch on our dining room light. Lately, when trying to slide it to turn on or off it's flickering and shorting out.  So, I went and bought a new dimmer switch at Home Depot. Same brand - just a bit different in that it has an on/off switch and a slider.  $23 bucks.  DH installs it. Starts to shove all the wiring back inside the box to put the cover back on and I say, why don't you see if it works first?. oh yeah, good idea.  So, I go flip the breaker back on and and POP! The brand new dimmer switch blows out!

So, DH is trying to figure out what happened (he really knows nothing about electricity, mind you). Says he vaguely remembers having problems with the first dimmer switch installed 7 years ago or so. But, he must not have as it didn't blow out and it worked.  He figures he must have had some wires touching or something. So, back to Home Depot I go to buy another dimmer switch....another $23 bucks.  He installs it and POP! There goes that dimmer switch. I suggested DH call our good neighbor, because he does seem to know a bit about electrical stuff (his job is installing traffic signals) and DH of course doesn't want to do that.  That's not manly.

Finally I just said I'm going to go buy the normal on/off rocker switch like was originally in there and like is on all our other light switches....and I'm going to go buy it at the mobile home parts place out at the end of the highway. While there I can also finally get the kitchen sink strainers I've been needing forever (nothing in mfg'd home is standard and these are off sized - 3" ones that no stores carry). $5 bucks for the light switch and $4 each for the strainer baskets. On the way home DH calls says he called good neighbor, he came over and showed him what he did wrong. Apparently DH was treating the wiring hook up like a plug in socket and not a switch. Doh!  So, if I want to spend another $23 and stop and get another dimmer switch he knows how to install it now. So, detour to Home Depot again and spend another $23.

Third times a charm and now we have a $75 dimmer switch for our dining room light.  Like I told DH - just look at it as a $50 education in electrical knowledge.  Geez!  Oh, and the kitchen sink baskets?  The guy gave me 2 different sizes, so now I have to go back to exchange. I had even questioned him that they looked kind of bigger than 3" (I had apparently picked up the bigger one to look at it) and he was being a butthead about the whole thing and I set it down and picked up the other one (the right one) and then thought to myself, "oh, ok it's right". 

Next up on the home projects list is a new screen/storm door.  Might go buy that today. We'll see how DH is feeling. It's a sunny warm day and he might feel like working on something. Our old screen door lost it's ability to close slowly and not slam and if I have to hear that screen door slam one more time I'm going to go insane. I don't know why DH can't just pull it shut without slamming it. DD and I manage to close it nice and quietly every single time....

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Getting Saturday started

With her final quarter school schedule (one online class) DD was able to switch back to working weekday mornings and now has weekends free again. Her best friend has been working at the same place the last few months and it has worked out perfect that she now needed weekend shifts due to her school schedule, so they swapped. She always like to go shopping with me, even grocery shopping (weird girl!) so later this morning we will be off to grocery shop and pick up a few miscellaneous items at Walmart. Almost out of the tiny Keurig coffee filters I use (I have the adapter to use my own coffee grounds) and parakeet seed.

Another thing we have been trying to find time for is to go over to our bank and check into DD opening an IRA with some of her savings.  Good girl! I showed her the calculations that if she put $2000 a year into some mutual funds, starting at age 18, and did it for 10 years and just left the money there until she retired she'd have a good solid chunk of money! I can't remember if she planned to do $1000 or $2000, but I think it is $2000. She did spend a couple thousand (of her $7,000 saved) to fix her car and buy the laptop, but she will be working all summer and it sounds like she will be moved up to a server position soon, so she can really sock away the money from the extra tips until she goes off to school at the end of September.  Our bank is open on Saturdays, so I think we'll include that stop this morning.  Hopefully I can get keep her on this saving track she is on and she won't need to be put in positions to make the stupid money decisions I made over the years.

While at the hotel last weekend be both loved the shower and shower head. I bought one and installed it yesterday on her shower. I'm going to take a shower in her bathroom and see how it works and then probably put one in our masterbath shower. We've always just had those very cheap basic shower heads. Well, off to try it out!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Another week gone by

It's been a busy week.  A special one time project at work keeping me busy and my boss had to take some time off to go care for her aging parents.  Add in the extreme stress the 3 of us are feeling over my son and his choices and it's been another crappy week.

DD and I did get away for the weekend to visit her university. There was an all day "preview" for incoming Fall students and her out of state roomie and her mom flew in, so they got to meet and we all hit it off greatly. We enjoyed the weekend, as much as we could with the cloud that's been hanging over our heads of late. It was nice to have the money to do the weekend like we wanted to and not worry about it (though I wish we could have afforded a better hotel).  Honestly, neither of us really wanted to come home......

I took Monday off work just to sleep in and rest up. It was a ton of walking on Saturday, add in 2 nights of bad hotel sleep, and then a half a day of sightseeing on Sunday and I was exhausted.

The weather has been nice this week so DD got her 2 rained out tennis matches from before Spring Break made up this week. So far she has played 2 doubles matches and 2 singles matches, so coach is at least trying to let her play some singles. She has won all her matches so far! The singles were so fun to watch. Very close, but she stayed focused and pulled the wins out of them. One she won in a tie-breaker that she was down 1-5. There was no way I thought she'd win that! First to 7 points in the tie-breaker wins. They have to win by 2 points and she won the tie-breaker 8-6.

The neighborhood drug situation remains at a constant. We did have about a week and a half of very quiet (at least directly on our road) and it was so nice. But then renter's son moved back in and just took the place of meth-mom and all her activity.  Last night was apparently an arrest or two outside the drug house behind us. 3 cop cars, lots of lights and from what DH could gather on the scanner at least one person went to jail. This is the driver of the very loud import type car that goes back and forth from drug house behind us all day/night. He must run their drugs out to buyers. It's not a daily thing, but he has his busy times and it was very satisfying to know they finally got him. DH says the deputies usually report on the scanner that the vehicle is being towed off to impound after they make an arrest, but on this one the deputy actually reported he was following the tow truck en route back to the precinct, so we are taking it as they wanted to search it more thoroughly. There is also another car that frequents the house on our street quite often and it has always had a headlight out (how do they not get pulled over?!). I finally got the license plate# off of it and reported it as part of this drug problem, so maybe they will be on the lookout and get that one pulled over soon.

On my previous post a couple people asked what we plan to do. At this point we are just sticking it out and DH is doing his best to fight it (gives him something to do, right? ha). We are still probably about $40k underwater (due to taking out a HELOC in 2007, when DH was still working). The property values have really not come back at all, at least in our neck of the woods. Certainly not the 5% or so a year the news keeps reporting it is.  At this point our only option would be to just walk away from our mortgage and we aren't willing to do that - yet.  Plus, renters typically have a history of moving on and not staying at places too long, so we are hoping that is the case soon. One can dream, right?

I am just so tired and run down feeling.  At this point it's all I can do just to get myself to work each day and get the things done that must be done. Extra's I'm just too tired and exhausted to worry about. When I am stressed I just want to sleep - when DH is stressed he just wants to be vocal about it - all day long. So, we don't quite jive in how we are handling this. DD is just trying to focus on school and tennis, she doesn't say much about it.

I am hoping I am on target about a hunch I have about work......I think we might be getting an additional bonus based on last year sales. We got 10% of our salaries in bonus last year (1/2 paid out in June and December) but I'm having a hunch we might be getting an additional 10%! Being the accountant I see things the rest of the employees don't see, and a couple of weeks ago, when we were still trying to close up our books for 2013, she had me make a journal entry in 2013 to "accrue 10% bonus". Plus there was another bonus entry - but the owners and managers got paid that last what else can the other money set aside be for? Plus the dollar amount matches approximately the total bonus's paid out to us last year. And, we were all notified of a company lunch meeting coming up in a couple of weeks......if I am right that they are surprising us with this (and my boss will do her best to keep me in the dark - she'd do that payroll herself) it means I would be getting a bonus of about $7300! Boy, do I hope I am right on the money about this.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hanging in there

It's been a pretty crappy last couple of weeks. We are still having major problems with DS, mostly directed at DH, but of course still affects the whole family. It kind of feels like we have been cast aside. I have been trying to email with him the past week to get to some sort of resolve, but I'm not holding out a lot of hope. It's been exhausting and I am beyond sad about it all. All total this has been going on almost 2 months and I'm feeling the effects of the stress.....poor sleep, poor appetite, weight loss, and hard to concentrate (especially at work), not to mention dealing with the ups and downs of how DH is feeling over it all.

He did share with me some news that did make me very happy. It sounds very much like he will be going back to Australia, possibly for 2 years. He didn't get me much details, other than to say he had a job lined up (and I guess work visa's are easier to obtain there than Canada) and a 2 year plan to race for a race team there. I really think Australia is where he belongs and had actually hoped he would have went back there this past fall, but the plans he was trying to make at the time fell through. Where he is now isn't exactly a place anyone I know would actually choose to make a life there (sorry Canada! offense....there are similar places in the US, too). Let's see.....where he is now is 8 months of  sub zero winter, a few good weather months to do some very low level racing (basically "hobby" racing) compared to sunny Australia, where they race 8 months out of the year and at a higher level in the sport. He didn't say when all this is supposed to actually happen, but my guess is early Fall.

Our drug infested neighborhood is still being worked on by the narcotics cops. DH went a bit nuts week before last and actually stapled signs on a utility pole between us and our good neighbor! Stop the meth! Stop the herion! Call xxx-xxxx (sherrif's non emergency #). Well, within a few days the vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle traffic on our little road died down big time and then the renter was walking by with his son about 10 days ago and we were outside. He stopped at our fence (and we thanked him for leaving our mis delivered mail) and he said he kicked out his wife. For the next week our street was silent! Though I think the son is still involved in it.  They have apparently just shifted the traffic to the road behind us and are accessing the property that way, according to our good neighbor, who's property borders the rental property. Then renter (truck driver) apparently went out of town a few days this week (got back last night) and the traffic started to pick up again, but the cops have been around and seem to be working on it all, especially the drug house behind us.  I'm sure renter's wife will be back at some point and it will all start up again, but the quiet week sure was nice and a much needed break from all the stress.

Monday is payday and in the past whenever we got paid on a Monday the direct deposit would show up in my bank account on Saturday. Not there this morning! Boo! I wonder why it's changed. I had planned to get online, get bills paid and be done with that this morning, but now I will have to wait until Monday,

My mom gave me a scare last week. She had been dealing with bronchitis and called me one morning to say she just didn't feel well at all and called 911 and they were on their way. By the time I got over to her house (takes me about 15 minutes) they had come and gone and said her lungs sounded fine and by then she felt better. I did make her make a doctor appointment and took her in later that afternoon. I think she just woke up, felt a bit woozy, etc and panicked. I tried to let her know that she could always call me to take her to ER or urgent care if she didn't feel she could drive herself to her doctors office (as long as it wasn't life and death situation, of course).  She seems fine now and back to normal.  Guess that's a little preview of things to come as she starts getting up there in age.

I think DD and I are going to join the Y.  It's a bit more per month than I had hoped ($84 for the both of us) but if I go 12 times per month (eek!) I would get a $20 reimbursement from my health insurance company. Plus, when DD goes to college at the end of September I can stop paying for her monthly dues. I really need to get in shape and take care of myself and try to get some energy.  My mom said my uncle (who is like 69 or 70) decided to get in shape and joined a gym, lost a good amount of weight and is feeling great. I guess he changed doctors, went in for physical and the doctor asked when was the last time he exercised and my funny uncle said "oh....since like 1959". He's not overweight, maybe had 20-25 pounds or so extra and just out of shape. I'm proud of him to take care of himself like that! 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mis-delivered mail and good news

So, our mail that was delivered on Saturday got put in someone else's mailbox......guess who? Yep, the drug dealing renters. Guess they have somewhat of a conscious and did put our mail in a plastic bag and hung it on our gate on Sunday.  Thank goodness they did, because rather than the several pieces of junk mail we usually get daily there were 2 very important items that were in that mail. One being the title to the car I transferred to DS and the other being a letter from the University DD will be attending that she will be getting a $2,000 scholarship. We were very excited to get that news!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

From the old days

I was putting some things away in DD's bedroom and was reminiscing of how I had re-decorated her room when she moved from the crib to a big bed.  It was so cute. Kind of a "country cute" style. The bed had a puffy patchwork quilt in pastel colors, her walls were a pale yellow. As she grew older she changed it to her own style...or I should say "styles" as she grew up. We're probably on our 4th coat of paint over the years.

But, she has left a few remnants that for some reason she won't get rid of:

This is the coat/hanger shelf I bought unfinished and white washed.  The bears were newborn gifts I had received when she was born. A lifelong friend of my mom made the smaller bear. I made the wooden bear in one of my craft phases.

The shelf and the picture still remain, as well as the dolls and little "country" knicknacks.  She's added a few of her own little things over the years, but I find it sweet that a little part of her room is still from toddlerhood.