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A ho hum Sunday.

October 12th, 2008 at 04:27 pm

Not much financial going on.

It's the first real cold and dreary weekend of fall here. I finally relented and turned the heat back on. Also, I had to get some laundry done this weekend so I ended up using the dryer for the first time since last May.

I did sell a couple CDs on eBay so I'm adding $6.23 to the challenge. My new total is $12,899.45.

Otherwise a very quiet weekend here...

Letting go of a dream

October 8th, 2008 at 05:09 pm

I've decided to definitely NOT buy a Vespa next spring as planned. With private school looming in the not-too-distant future and the economy tanking, I can think of other ways to spend the few thousand dollars that the Vespa would cost.

That decision coupled with the very likely closing of my daughter's current school and our need to relocate her and ourselves has me feeling down in the dumps. Plus, there's the whole economy mess, my debt and the general disarray of the world.

Yeah, I'm really in a great mood today...

On another note, I made $33.33 selling more junk on eBay. See the new Challenge total over there on the left if you're interested.

Real estate "window shopping"

October 5th, 2008 at 06:35 pm

We spent the weekend "window shopping" for a new house. We don't necessarily want or need a new house, but as part of the eventual move of my daughter to a private school we will most likely be relocating as well.

Right now, all the schools we're considering are not in this city because this city simply is lacking when it comes to providing educational opportunities for non-traditional learners.

The schools that do cater to non-traditional learners are all in the city where my husband works; so assuming The Midge goes to one of those schools, we will eventually move in order to save commuting costs for both my husband and myself (aka The Midge's personal chauffer...)

Ideally, we'd like to either downsize our mortgage or simply do an even swap. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this is very doable. I was afraid all the houses in the other city would be way over our price range. But we did find a few that could work.

Of course, we will be giving up a lot of space, but I'm actually OK with that. I don't particularly like having a huge yard and house, and the thought of unloading at least half my belongings is oddly cathartic.

For now, my husband and I have decided to just keep visiting schools and occasionally checking the MLS so we can keep an eye on home prices. Then, by February we'll hopefully know where The Midge will be going next year and we can move forward with the house hunting.

On another note, I'm adding $29.26 to the challenge, so my new total is $12,859.89.

Of today's addition, I'm putting $6.76 toward the Vespa fund, so the new total there is $292.51.

Rethinking the Vespa

October 3rd, 2008 at 11:11 am

Yes, I'm having doubts about buying the Vespa next spring. Not because I don't want it anymore, but because I'm thinking that money will be better spent elsewhere.

We are thinking of speeding up my daughter's move to private school because the combination of her learning differences and the public school situation here is not getting any better.

Also, even if we don't move her to private school next year, I'm thinking I would like to either pay cash for our next car or make a very large down payment.

For now, though, I'm just going to keep saving away for the Vespa helmet and rearview mirrors....

On that note, I'm adding $90.96 to the challenge. Of that, $7.38 is going toward the Vespa fund. Here are the new totals:

Challenge: $12,830.63
Vespa: $285.75

Persistence pays off

October 1st, 2008 at 07:17 pm

Today I went to United's website to purchase a ticket home for the adult stepson. The ticket was a gift for my husband, who is graduating with yet another degree in December and who asked that we fly the adult stepson home for the graduation ceremony/party.

I was able to find an airfare for $279, and I wanted to apply a $100 travel voucher toward the cost of the ticket and then pay for the rest of the ticket out of pocket.

I got to the screen where you pay when I realized there was nowhere to enter a voucher number, so I called United's customer service number and was told I would have to call the reservation line to book the flight if I was using a paper voucher (which I was).

Before I go any further, let me explain how I got the paper voucher. Last October while The Midge was traveling back from California with my sister, United decided at the last minute to cancel their flight because it was way undersold. Instead, they stuck them on a later flight. However, they didn't cancel the flight until The Midge had arrived at the airport. Then they made her sit at the airport for 10 hours and she didn't make it home until 11 p.m. -- not good for a 7 year old who had to be up the next day to go to school.

My sister threw a fit, which caused an earthquake in southern California. The skies opened up and the gods bestowed on my daughter a $100 travel voucher for the "inconvenience." A travel voucher that was fully transferable.

So back to today ...

I call the reservation line and I'm told I will be charged an extra $25 if I have a real live agent book the flight, so I go through United's automated phone system instead. Everything's going along swimmingly up until the point where I have to pay for the ticket -- and, again, no way to enter a voucher number... .

At this point, I repeat a dozen times "Agent please!" and I'm eventually connected to a real live human, to whom I explain that I'm trying to buy a ticket with a voucher so my adult stepson can come home. (Home as in he lives in one state and I live in another state where home is... .)

I'm then told that in order to get the quoted fare I will need to go to the nearest airport within 24 hours with the voucher and The Midge and the adult stepson -- who lives in ANOTHER STATE!!!!

HELLO!!!!! KIND OF HARD TO GET US ALL TOGETHER AT THE SAME AIRPORT WITHIN 24 HOURS UNLESS SOMEONE'S GOING TO BESTOW A FREE TICKET OR TWO HERE!!!!

After I explain all this to the agent on the phone again, she puts me on hold to "check with her supervisor" (also known as checking with her brain).

A while later, she comes back and says I can have the adult stepson fax or e-mail a copy of his government-issued identification to me and then I can mail it along with the voucher -- and a copy of a government-issued ID for The Midge -- to some address in Michigan within 24 hours.

"Uh, what if The Midge's government-issued ID is sitting in a safety deposit box that I can't access until tomorrow at the earliest," I ask, totally forgetting that her passport is actually sitting downstairs in my husband's office.

"If we don't have a copy of both government-issued IDs and the original voucher postmarked within 24 hours, we won't honor the voucher," I'm told.

"So, explain this to me: we got this voucher because of your lousy service, but we can't use it because of your lousy service," I ask.

"Yes, sorry," is the response from the United agent, readily admitting that her employer provides lousy service.

In the end, I did end up buying the ticket with the voucher, government-issued ID for both "children," and cold-hard cash -- but only after spending an hour dealing with United and promising them my left arm, all future earnings and any future grandchildren the above-mentioned children may spawn. ...

----------

Oh, and as long as I'm here, I'm adding $37.50 to the Challenge from a small job I did for a client of the booming business. That brings my new total to $12,731.67.

Tootles...

Quick check in

September 25th, 2008 at 05:11 pm

Shipped more eBay stuff, so I'm adding $19.66 to the Challenge and Vespa funds. The new totals there are:

Challenge: $12,694.17

Vespa: $278.37

My daughter got a coupon for free ice cream at Baskin Robbins for her birthday and we also got a 2 for 1 coupon there in the paper last week, so we're going out for ice cream tonight after eating the chicken dinner I made in the Crock Pot. (Chicken that's been in my freezer forever, but good chicken nonetheless....)

Saved money on lunch but now I'm paying for it...

September 24th, 2008 at 11:40 am

I made the mistake of opening an email that I got from Rubios this morning. Ever since then, I've been cravings a fish taco.

Although I have plenty of money left in my personal expense account for the month, I didn't want to waste gas by driving all the way to Rubios.

However, the craving kept gnawing at me, so I knew I had to do something quick to get over it.

My solution was to eat leftover mac and cheese from last night. As a result I now have massive heartburn.

Not a good thing... .

I might need to drive to the store for some Rolaids if I can't find some here soon.

A tempting offer, but I'm not falling for it....

September 23rd, 2008 at 12:08 pm

Today is a fund-raiser night at a local restaurant to benefit my daughter's school. I don't particularly care for the food there -- plus I already planned to cook tonight -- so I've decided the school will get over our NOT being there.

This morning I had to go to the doctor for a biopsy thing I have to get done twice year. The doctor was "concerned" that he didn't get a good enough sample and suggested I might need to come back in two months for another biopsy. I happened to be in excrutiating pain at the moment that he said this and suggested he might want to refund my $30 copay if he didn't do his job "right." He didn't think it was that funny... .

After the not-so-fun doctor visit, I stopped off at the post office to ship off a jacket that I sold on eBay, so I'm adding $9.54 to the challenge and to the Vespa fund. My new totals are:

Challenge: $12,674.51

Vespa: $258.71

Pine Cone Check and other odds and ends

September 19th, 2008 at 07:18 pm

I got a $3 check from PineCone, so I'm putting that toward the challenge. My new total is $12,664.97.

It was a spendy day today since I got gas for my car, haircuts for both myself and The Midge (plus some hair products), and we met up with my husband for dinner.

Tomorrow is The Midge's birthday party. I'm already feeling like I've been run over and trampled by a bunch of rabid kids jacked up on sugar, so no telling what tomorrow will bring....

Challenge money and ChaCha

September 18th, 2008 at 04:51 pm

Got another check for the booming business. After I put some of the $1,140 aside for taxes, I have $855 to put toward the challenge, so my new total is $12,661.97.

I applied to be a ChaCha guide a couple weeks ago and was accepted, but haven't activated my account because I've been so busy.

I'm hosting 8 little girls for a party this weekend since it's The Midge's birthday, so I doubt I'll have time to do it until next week but I definitely want to get started on it so I can start putting more toward the Challenge -- specifically the Vespa fund.

Today's addition is actually going toward my vacation fund. I've got a Thanksgiving trip coming up that I'm paying cash for and I'm also planning to pay cash for another trip in May so I want to jump start that fund as well.

I have a few more auctions up at eBay, but nothing terribly exciting. With any luck, next week I'll get more stuff posted there as well.

And, to update you all on my husband's sleep apnea, he wore the CPAP machine for the first time last night and I have to say it was a wonderful thing not to have him snoring all night long....

Thank goodness for good health insurance

September 17th, 2008 at 07:47 pm

My otherwise fit and healthy husband, recently found out that he has severe sleep apnea, which causes him to stop breathing for brief periods of time throughout the night (in his case 42 times per hour) -- plus snore so loud that the neighbors across the street can hear him.

Today, we met with a respiratory therapist to fit him for a CPAP machine. There was another patient who also was meeting with the therapist at the same time.

The first thing the therapist did was go over the cost of the machine. She informed my husband and I that our insurance would cover 100 percent of the cost for any equipment. Then she explained to the other woman that her insurance only covered 70 percent of the cost. The basic CPAP machine costs $1,000, plus the hose and mask and filters and all this other stuff has to be replaced at a minimum every 6 months. There's also an optional humidifier that you can add onto the machine, and there are certain medications they recommend if you're prone to sinus problems in our extra dry climate. All of this adds up to a lot of extra medical expense each month.

So as the therapist went over all this, I could just see the other woman's face begin to melt into that horrified look that one gets when they realize their insurance sucks.

The clincher was when the therapist explained to the woman that she would have to leave a $200 deposit today. We, on the other hand, were free to go on our merry way.

I felt really bad for the lady. This is a machine that could ultimately save -- or, at the very least -- prolong her life.

I'm assuming she paid her deposit because I later saw her in the parking lot carrying the machine and a bag of supplies that went with it.

As we were leaving, I was thinking how glad I was we do indeed have good insurance, because otherwise the only thing keeping my husband from stopping breathing 42 times an hour tonight was my elbow into his ribs everytime he woke me up with his snoring....

In exchange for my sanity...

September 12th, 2008 at 03:36 pm

... I got free jeans, a sweater, lunch and a turkey today.

Yes, that's right, free jeans from Nordstroms, a really, really nice sweater, a so-so lunch and a huge honkin' turkey.

How did this happen, you ask?

Well, my mother who is quite possibly the craziest most difficult human being on Earth (but I still love her dearly), wanted me to go shopping with her for a birthday gift for The Midge because she didn't know what to get her.

She showed up at my house with the sweater and the Butterball. She originally bought the sweater for herself but then decided she didn't like it and rather than take it back decided to pass it to me (and then my sister if it doesn't fit me).

As for the turkey, it's been in the freezer since the Nixon administration -- along with about 8 other turkeys -- and she needed to make room for an Obama administration turkey. Thus, the free turkey now defrosting in my fridge....

So after the turkey/sweater exchange (for which I am eternally grateful because one can never have too dry or old a turkey...), we then went off to the mall. Not being a mall-type person (or even a shopper for that matter), this was going to be a painful trip no matter what, but then my mom had to go and crank up the crazy/difficult mode a notch.

I won't go into the all the crazy/difficult details because to re-create them would be too painful, but suffice it to say that at one point I was seen huddled in the children's department of a major department store begging for someone to put me out of my misery.

After that little meltdown on my part, my mother decided we should eat and ordered me to call my sister to join us. I dutifully complied and got hysterical laughter from my sister when I told her and then nothing but dial tone. (Thanks a bunch, C.)

So off I go to lunch with my mom, which I figured would be safe until she broke my arm when I reached for my wallet to pay.

She then ditched me in Nordstrom so I decided to try on some jeans that were on sale (a planned purchase). After I bought the jeans, I went back to find her and when she saw that I had bought something for myself, she threatened to break my other arm for not letting her buy it (even though it isn't my birthday) -- and then she wrestled $40 into my pocket and said it was time for her to go terrorize my sister for not joining us for lunch.

I'm now home nursing my arm and my sanity and wondering how long it's going to take that turkey to defrost....

Mo' money

September 10th, 2008 at 12:57 pm

Got more eBay stuff shipped off today, so I'm adding $17.93 to the Challenge and Vespa funds. The new totals are:

Challenge: $11,806.97

Vespa: $249.17

I need to get more stuff posted on eBay, but don't know if I'll get around to it this week.

Also on my to-do list this week is to get my flex pay stuff submitted, so I get reimbursed for the glasses and contacts. My plan is to drag my husband out with me Friday to pick new glasses, then submit the flex pay stuff over the weekend.


I splurged and ate Taco Bell for lunch today since I was out and about running errands. I've been really good about eating lunch at home every day (yummy, homemade leftovers from the night before). But because I didn't cook last night, I decided one lunch out was more than reasonable -- especially since I hadn't spent any of my personal expense account money this week.

I am jacked up on too much Pepsi now, though, and I'm having a hard time focusing on my work for the booming business so next time I might rethink the "run for the border."