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A ho hum Sunday.

October 12th, 2008 at 11:27 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...

Real estate "window shopping"

October 6th, 2008 at 01:35 am

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.

Thank goodness for good health insurance

September 18th, 2008 at 02:47 am

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....

Follow up on the falling TV and more stuff

September 8th, 2008 at 04:18 pm

I know you are all dying to know what happened to my new DVD player after the 5-ton TV fell on it.

Well, I'm happy to report that it works just fine, and you can't even notice the dent and broken plastic.

On to other riveting news, I forgot to have Gil the Grocer deliver butter yesterday (guess who wasn't too awake when she placed her grocery order...), so today despite the rain I climbed on my bike and rode over to the nearest store. I also told The Midge, who is recovering from the crud, that we are skipping karate tonight. All this was not done to better my health or The Midge's health, but simply to avoid driving today.

Not much else going on financially. The booming business has me chained to my desk; so as much as I feel like shopping for some fall clothes, it's not going to happen today.

Falling TVs and other highlights of my weekend

September 7th, 2008 at 09:17 pm

As I've mentioned before, we do not have cable. Instead we borrow DVDs from the library and have an obnoxious set of rabbit ears on our bedroom TV so we can kind of tune in to local channels if we get desperate.

The big TV is in the basement family room, which we rarely use so all it's hooked up to is a DVD player. When it's too icy to run outside, I will go downstairs to run on the treadmill and put a movie in the DVD player so I don't go stark raving mad from boredom.

However, a few months ago, the bedroom DVD player died so I moved the basement DVD player upstairs so I could occupy The Midge with a movie every now and then.

I just got around to buying a new DVD player for the basement last week and my husband graciously was hooking up the DVD player for me this afternoon when the TV fell on the new DVD player -- and sort of on him, but not enough to hurt him.

After we righted the TV (which, by the way, weighs more than the two of us can easily lift...), we discovered the plastic around the DVD drawer was broken and the DVD player itself was slightly dented. However, the power still comes on and the drawer still opens, so hopefully the DVD player itself is still useable. (It's still questionable because my husband is still downstairs working on it. Did I mention that I'm the one with the technical skills in the household?)

If it doesn't work, another DVD player purchase is definitely in my future before the snow hits....

On to other matters, today is going to be a no-drive day. But no such luck with the no-spend day since I did have my groceries delivered this morning. Plus, I rode my bike to the grocery store to get some veggies for a last-minute dish I added to the menu, so more money spent there.

Then I got home and realized I forgot potatoes. After running 4 miles and then biking another 3, my legs were rubber so I was ready to give up on the last-minute dish until I happened to be talking to my neighbor, who said she was going to the grocery store. I asked if she wouldn't mind picking up some potatoes for me, which she was more than happy to do. (I love my neighbors....)

Back to my husband, he bought all our plants for the landscaping project he started last week. $300 later, the corner that usually resembles a weed-laden crack house finally looks decent.

We still have to rip out a dead evergreen by our front door (hate evergreen and/or pine anything). Then we're going to lay a bunch of mulch down and let everything settle over the winter (including our spending plan) before extending our front patio a bit next spring.

Challenge money and barium swallows...

September 3rd, 2008 at 07:52 pm

Finally shipped off this week's eBay stuff and I ended up making a mere $10.74, which I'm putting toward the challenge so my new total is $11,780.16.

Of that, I'm only putting $1.52 toward the Vespa Fund because I used the rest on stuff for The Midget's birthday party, which is coming up in a few weeks, so I now have $304.35.

After a no drive/no spend day yesterday, today has been a whole lot o' driving and spending.

First thing this morning, I had to drive downtown to get an x-ray of my esophagus taken. Let's just say that a barium swallow to start the day is NOT FUN!

After that trip to hell and back -- plus a whole lot of water to wash away the barium taste -- I took my car in to the tire place, where I was informed I needed two new tires to the tune of $200.

I also need to order The Midget's new karate uniform today and the infamous Beauty (of Beauty and Beast fame) is off at the groomer's, so that will set me back at least $36 as well (plus Beauty and her boyfriend, the Beast, need their special bank-breaking dog food so I'll be buying that while I'm at the vet/groomer's as well....)

A whole lot of nothin'

September 2nd, 2008 at 04:07 pm

For the most part, this weekend was spent puttering around the house.

I managed to get caught up on all my coupon filing. I had coupons from June that I needed to get clipped and put away, so everytime I sat down this weekend I grabbed a handful and went to town. I finally finished with that project around 9 last night.

Yesterday I also had four eBay auctions close and made some money. I still need to ship stuff off tomorrow -- my errand day -- so I haven't figured out how much I'll be adding to the challenge yet.

Today I'm anticipating a no spend/no drive day. Speaking of which, I ended up with 6 no-spend days in August and 4 no-drive days. Not bad, but I could definitely do better.

Over the weekend, I also made The Midge try on a closet full of fall clothes that were leftover from last year. Despite having tons that she outgrew, she still has a whole wardrobe -- or two -- that fit her. (Of course, her birthday is coming up so we're anticipating even more clothes from her crazy aunt and grandma....)

Today I'm trying to get a bunch of the clothes that didn't fit posted on eBay. I'll have to post a link once I get that done.

What is that smell?

August 25th, 2008 at 09:37 pm

Someone in my neighborhood spent this morning either painting or staining something. Because I'm overly sensitive to smells, I've been struggling all day not to close the windows and turn on the AC.

However, my sensitivities finally won out and I have since sealed up the house and cranked the AC.


On to other financial-related matters, I posted four pairs of my daughter's jeans on eBay today. They are in perfect condition (just too short for her) and three of the pair came from Gymboree (don't worry I didn't buy them for her). I'm hoping I get some bids on them after my good profits last week with eBay.

I have to take the sprouting Midget to karate later so I'll be driving. While she's learning how to kick butt, I'm walking two doors down to the natural food store to pick up some odds and ends that weren't available with my regular grocery delivery.

Since my husband is working late tonight, we may give in to that Chinese food craving I had last week now that there's money in the spending plan -- or we may just come home and eat Ramen noodles, which is about all I feel like cooking now that the stench of paint/wood stain has soured my mood....

More for the Challenge and why I wish I had stayed home....

August 24th, 2008 at 12:47 am

Shipped off some eBay stuff and made a $5.04 profit so my Challenge fund is now up to $11,410.03 and my Vespa fund is $302.83.

There's a big convention coming to town next week and one of the "events" is this thing called the "American Presidential Experience." I humored my husband and let him drag me there today. I should have stayed home and continued nursing myself back to health....

Not only am I now feeling worse (thanks BA), but we also spent $40 to get into the thing, which was worth more like $4.

I did manage to stay home yesterday and not spend money so I logged another no-spend/no-drive day. The Chinese food craving has passed, so I think I'm safe for now....

Someone, please talk me off the ledge....

August 22nd, 2008 at 05:18 pm

I'm home alone today working (as usual) with no real plans to spend money or go anywhere, but in the back of my mind I'm thinking "Hmmmmm... Chinese food sounds good."

I'm trying to justify it by telling myself:

1. I've not been feeling well (thanks to the virus BA sent me)and Chinese would make me feel better.

2. It's the end of a long week that saw The Midge head off to 2nd grade and she loves Chinese food so it would be a nice treat for her.

3. The Midge is having hot dogs for lunch at school and our dinner plans tonight called for grilled burgers and dogs, so this way she'd get to eat something different for dinner -- plus something healthier.

On the other hand, the rational, smart, thrifty side of me is saying I should stay home, grill the burgers and tofu instead of hot dogs, and thus have a no-spend/no-drive day.

Someone STOP THE MADNESS please....

Challenge addition, and other odds and ends

August 5th, 2008 at 06:43 pm

I sold a pair of my daughter's shoes on eBay. After shipping and PayPal fees, I made $9.78 to put toward the challenge and the scooter fund. So:

Challenge Total: $11,070.88

Vespa Fund: $21.73


My dog came home from the vet today. She's incredibly perky considering she had major surgery yesterday. The vet showed me the stones they took out of her and it's amazing she didn't have symptoms earlier. All the stones combined were the size of my fist, which is the exact size of her little bladder.

She'll be on antibiotics for the next 2 weeks and is now on a special doggie diet, but otherwise seems just fine.

I transferred the money to cover the surgery this morning. It was money well spent as far as I'm concerned.


I'm still waiting for the gym manager to call me back to discuss why they haven't been debiting my checking account for my monthly membership fees. I called him again today and he was in, but his computer wasn't on to access my records so he was going to call me right back. That was three hours ago....

You would think that if someone is willingly calling you to give you money, then you'd call them back as soon as possible.

I'm think I'm about done with "doing the right thing" here.


I am now taking my daughter out to the garage to paint 18 birdhouses that we got for $20 from Oriental Trading Company. My plan is to let the little Picasso go at it using some old paint and brushes I have from various past projects. Then she's going to give each of her uncles and aunts a birdhouse for Christmas.

Dog update and no-spend day

August 4th, 2008 at 09:42 pm

The dog came through surgery just fine. Her bladder was almost completely full of stones, so the vet said he thinks we'll "be seeing a totally different dog soon." Since the only sign of illness was her incessant need to pee before, I'm hoping the big change will mean my carpet won't be stained anymore....

Because she'll be spending the night in the hospital, I haven't actually paid for the surgery yet and ended up with a no-spend day today. Kind of a nice little treat considering tomorrow I'll be shelling out $1,400 to the vet.

Free lunch in exchange for dinner and a dog sitter

August 3rd, 2008 at 07:21 pm

My mom met my sister and brother-in-law here this morning. They're going gambling for the day and then we're all meeting up later for my mom's birthday dinner at a local restaurant.

Aside from bringing Spud, her Shi Tzu over so I could watch it (and give it a bath since it managed to fall in the mud in the mess that is my garden...), my mom also brought over rice/fish cakes for lunch.


Tomorrow morning Beauty, the Bichon (still not her real name) is going to the vet for her surgery. She'll spend one night in the hospital and come home on a special diet so hopefully she won't develop any more stones in the future.

My husband was completely against getting Beauty at first. He didn't want another dog since we already had one, but now she is "his" dog.

I thought he'd not be happy about using the furniture fund for the surgery since we were saving to buy a new mattress at his request. Instead, he's fawning all over Beauty and keeps saying we should do whatever it takes to make her "all better."

Oh, and the gym guy did leave a message yesterday telling me to call him back to discuss why they haven't been charging me for membership, so I guess the free ride will be over soon....