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Archive for December, 2005

Last shopping, relatives, job offers, God/church musings

December 31st, 2005 at 05:05 pm

Dad and I dropped off my Aunt Ni and Grandma at their hotel by the airport on Thursday night, so they could catch their plane back to CA on Friday morning (via shuttle.) Before leaving, my Aunt Ni gave me two $10 Foley Gift cards. There isn't a Foley's in CA, so she wouldn't have been able to use them. Both cards expired on January 1, so they had to be used quickly, or the value lost. She was very excited to hear what kind of deals I got with them, leaving me little choice but to actually use them. Smile

So, yesterday (Friday) Dad and I carpooled to Fort Worth (the closest Foley's.) We stopped first at a place to get his electric shaver fixed. Then at a place to replace his shaver's battery. Then we went to Sam's club - presumably *just* for water - of course ended up with a bunch more things, but still got out of there for under $50. Finally, we made it to Foley's. First, I thought I would see if I could get a replacement chain for a necklace (the chain had broken three times and been repaired twice) but there was only one sales lady presiding over three counter sections, so after waiting 10 minutes, we moved on. I thought I might get 3 or 4 pairs of new undies, so we started looking for the lingere section. My dad, gotta love him, notices this lady pulling some kind of low level cart and walks up to her and booms "Say! Do you work here?!!" She looks slightly frightened, but doesn't run away. Then he booms again, "We're looking for the ladies lingere department!" She tells us it's upstairs. NOW, you'll need to picture this - in close proximity to where all this is taking place, are two *very* cute guys, along with a handful of other ladies. I had to just keep reminding myself that there was very little chance of my ever seeing any of those people again. Sometimes I really wish he didn't have to make a production everywhere he goes.
Anyway, back to my story. We head on up stairs. I get distracted by the pots and pans section. He decides to go use the restroom. While he's gone I ask a cashier if the two cards can be used towards one purchase - she thankfully says that they can! (You see, I was having visions in my head of dad making yet another scene complaining about how unhelpful it was to have to make two separate purchases -- or actually going through with his idea of making said two separate purchases, returning them for store credit, then buying something else!!) I found a number of items which I was interested in, but nothing that really grabbed me. So, when he came back from the restroom, I decided to go ahead and head towards the ladies undies section.
On the way there, we happened to be near the bath section. It dawned on me that just the other day, I had been thinking about how nice it would be to have a towel that completely, and totally surrounded my whole large body. So, we started looking at the towels. The largest ones I could find were the 32 by 50 ones, which weren't quite long enough. So, I asked one of the cashiers. She pointed us to some towels we hadn't seen yet - which fit the bill just perfectly. One towel was $16 -- the other towel was $39.95. I was going to go for the first towel, but dad had come up the cash register just as the lady told me the price (because of course the price weren't easily visible) and tells me to go ahead and take the $40 towel, that he'll make up the difference. I hadn't even had a chance to test out the $16 towel, so I didn't know how much difference there really was between them. But, I knew he was getting hungry (read: tired of shopping and crabby) and if he was willing to pay the extra $20, then I guess I'd just let him! So, I now have a $40 Lennox brand towel - it's HUGE Smile, it's SOOO soft. It also gave me a good story to tell my Aunt Ni. I would have never even considered a towel that expensive if it hadn't been for the $20 in gift cards I had -- shoot, I wouldn't even have been out shopping AGAIN if my Aunt hadn't given me those cards.

I am SO tired of shopping after this past week! It felt like that was all we did the whole entire week! My brand of shopping is normally Walmart, Goodwill, and maybe JC Penny's. My Aunt's brand of shopping is Dillards, Nordtstorm's and Foley's. I might go shopping (for clothes) once or twice every couple of months, sometimes longer. She was extremely happy to shop for 4 - 6 hours four days in a row! I will say though, that I made out like a bandit this week. Smile Between her and my grandma, they bought me One Professional quality suit, one pair dress pants, two Professional quality tops, a sleeveless vest (professional quality), a professional style jacket, a pair of sweatpants and a matching top, plus an artificial plant arrangement (that my cat can't chew up.). All in all, they probably spent close to $350 on me. I desperately needed some professional level clothing that fit, and wasn't sure how I was going to come up with any. So I very much appreciate all that they did. It just felt really funny having them buy all those clothes for me - a 30 year old adult - especially when I didn't get them anything (because I couldn't afford anything that they would actually like - Ni didn't even flinch at clothing with $60 price tags - even bought a sweater set for over $200 without breaking a sweat!)

Anyway, even though I didn't exactly spend this past week the way *I* would have enjoyed spending it, I am in the end glad that they came - and that they are now gone. Smile

Job offers - I called the employment agency to check and see if anything had come up. There were two possibilities, both of them with banks. One was a 40 hr/$9/hr job requiring nearly perfect credit (not for me unfortunately) -- the second one was a 30 hr/$10/hr job with no credit requirement - unfortunately though, it would have required me to work past sunset on Fridays, so I couldn't take that either.

In case you're wondering. I am a Seventh-day Adventist - one of our core beliefs is the Sabbath - starting Friday sunset and ending Saturday sunset. Although I have not gone to church more than 10 times in the past year, and haven't really kept the Sabbath in that same time period, my last hold out I guess you could say, is not working during Sabbath hours. I feel a lot of bitterness towards the leadership in my church - mainly for how they have treated my parents - both long time church workers (former workers actually). I also feel very disillusioned by how so many people have abandoned my dad, even though what he did was very very stupid. Church is supposed to be a place for sinners. God doesn't rank sins from least to greatest - sin is sin is sin(except of course for the unpardonable sin -but that's not really a visible/public sin!!) !! Also by all these people abandoning my dad, they have in essence also abandoned my whole family.

This whole thing with the church is one of the things that makes my looking for someone to share my life with that much harder. I need to figure out if I'm going to stay a Seventh-day Adventist or not. If I am, then I need to look for a fellow SDA man. Of course, my bitterness and disillusionment and lack of church attendance in the past year, will probably make it difficult to say the least. My other option would be to find someone from another faith. But the problem with that is that I have looked at other churches/faiths and I just haven't found any that I feel I could embrace as my own. I've really tried looking at the Sabbath/Sunday issue and just haven't found any arguments for Sunday that are convincing enough for me to change - and believe me, I tried!

Sorry guys for this long winded diatribe. Everything that's happened the past couple years just seems to reach out and kick me once in awhile.

I was supposed to be going to a New Year's Eve party tonight. But the person who invited me (who is the sister of my exbf Todd's exwife) sent an evite. As of yesterday, only 5 people had said they were coming (besides her own family). One of them was Todd's exwife (and their two girls). If I had met his exwife before, I might feel differently. If there was going to be a crowd of 20 or more people to blend in with, I might feel differently. But, with the party mainly consisting of her family members - I do not feel comfortable at all going. So, tonight I'm going to watch movies, and when the ball drops at midnight I'm going to open my bottle of Sparkling Cider that I picked up at Walmart yesterday, and toast the New Year. Just me and my cat.

Spending Log this whole past week:
Walmart: $12 - junkfood, sparkling cider, etc
Gas: $9 ($2.06/ga -- filled up just before it went up in price)
Weight Watchers online: $65 (3 month subscription - wanted to put it on this years budget, otherwise would have waited till Sunday.) I've lost weight on the points plan before, so am going to get back on plan with my exercise and start on my eating habits as well.

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,
Laura

Animal lovers ?? Makes me MAD!

December 30th, 2005 at 02:58 am

Ok, maybe I'm being judmental, maybe I just don't know the why's or therefore's of it, but I do know that I just don't understand! What do I not understand? I don't understand how people can get a cute as can be new puppy or kitten for Christmas, and then LEAVE IT OUTSIDE!!!

When I got home tonight from another day of shopping with Grandma and Aunt Ni, I found the cutest little kitten and puppy (maybe a schnauser?) out on the grass in front of the parking lot for the duplexes. As I was walking to my car, the puppy ran up to me and started sniffing at my feet and jumping up at me, just begging for attention. I of course bent down and gave him some attention, then headed to my duplex. The puppy followed me and almost went inside! It just about broke my heart to have to push him outside. Frown

Then about an hour later while I was in my living room watching TV, I hear this awful whining. I open the door, and see the little puppy sitting outside the backdoor of a neighbor's duplex (with a light in the window) whining his little heart out. It took everything in me to not go over there and pick the poor little guy up.

Why oh why would a family get a little puppy - which I *think* is a two or three month old minature schnauser! - just to leave it outside???? Mini dogs are NOT made to be OUTSIDE dogs!!!! Of course, in my thinking, very few dogs (if ANY) are made to be left outside 100% of the time.

How is the family going to bond with the puppy if it's left outside alot, or even most of the time? A guy I dated had a dog given to him by his ex-MIL (before she was his ex-MIL) and he kept her outside ALL the time. He told me that she was pretty much uncontrollable and didn't have much of a relationship with him or his girls - that they would a lot of times forget that she was outside, other than to feed and water her!!! What kind of an existance is that for a dog???

Someday when I own a home of my own, I am going to have a dog, maybe two. It or they will be inside dogs!! I strongly feel that an animal that you purchase or adopt or however it comes into your life, is a part of your family. Would you leave a family member outside for LONG periods of time without paying attention to them other than food and water? I hardly think so!!

Now, I'm sure there are people who love and take care of their pets extremely well, even though they may keep them as outside animals. They make a point of playing with and spending time with their animals. I also realize that there is a big difference between inside/outside animals in the city/subburbs and country/barn cats - though I STILL would have a hard time letting my cat be an outside cat in the country - I feel there's as many dangers in the country as in the city - but that's just me.

I hope I haven't offended anyone, but this is just my personal opinon, and I felt compelled to share it tonight because of the horrible, heart breaking whining (that I'm STILL) hearing of the lonely little puppy. Frown Frown

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,
Laura

Oh yeah - this is my 200th post. Smile

Allergies -- Health Insurance

December 29th, 2005 at 01:42 am

Ugh! For the last week or so I've been fighting what I thought was a miserable cold. But the last couple days I've been taking an over the coutner decongestant, and have realized that my cold is mainly made up of my allergies!! When I had insurance, I took Clarinex, but now the only over the counter stuff is Claritin, and that doesn't work as well, and it is EXPENSIVE.

I also really need to go to the doctor to get my TSH level checked (thyroid) because I think mine has really gotten out of whack since the last time it was checked. Unfortunately, my prescription for synthroid ran out in June (same month as my health insurance). Synthroid itself isn't terribly expensive through drugstore.com, but the doctor visit + the necessary bloodwork could run close to 3 or 400 dollars quite easily.

Where do people go to get bloodwork done that don't have health insurance? I keep telling myself to wait till I get a job, then hopefully I'll have insurance of some type again, but who knows how long that will be. I sure can't afford health insurance on my own - the last few months I've made just enough to cover the monthly bills minus the rent. Come March when I have to pay rent again, I really hope I have a full-time job paying at least $600 more than what I've been able to find so far - even then, that wouldn't even begin to cover health insurance.

My only real regret about leaving teaching is letting go of the health insurance. I had such an awesome, awesome plan. Frown

Keeping It Frugal in Texas, .... A aaaa ChOO!

Laura

After Christmas Sales and Tivo

December 27th, 2005 at 05:12 pm

I spent Christmas Eve/Day with my mom. It was very nice and relaxing. We had our Christmas dinner (cottage cheese roast, baked potatoes, stuffing, green cabbage) then exchanged gifts. It was kind of strange only having one gift for each other - WAY different from previous Christmas's, but it was good. We watched "Hitch" and "The Locket." Both very feel good, weepy movies. Smile

Sunday night I picked up my Grandma and Aunt from the airport, then took them to their hotel. Then Monday dad, me, grandma and aunt ni all went shopping. It was a long day. Shopping with two people who have money to actually buy things they want isn't all that much fun - especially when they can go for hours and hours. I really can't complain too much though, becuase they ended up buying me a couple of really nice professional pieces (which I sorely needed.) I could never have afforded 4 pieces of clothing for ~$200, but those 4 items will definitely be helpful once I find a full-time job where I need to dress up more.

My wireless adapter finally arrived! I picked it up this morning from the Post Office (it came Saturday, but I guess I didn't hear them knock - no doorbell.) So, I've now got my Tivo all set up!!! Unfortunately my gift subscription code is STILL not valid, so I can't use the online functions yet. After about an hour of being on hold and talking to two different customer service reps, I was told that they extended my temporary service till Jan 2 while they research what the problem is with my gift code. I hope they get it figured out quickly, becuase I would much more prefer to schedule my recordings from my computer than to have to do all that scrolling! But still, I'm just SO happy to finally have gotten through the Guided Setup!!!
I've already set up a couple Season Passes (Grace Under Fire, Sex and the City) but have to wait for more info to be downloaded to set up more of them (only have till the 29th so far.)

We're going to go into Dallas today and do more shopping. Probably hit the Dillard's outlets, and then maybe eat at the Rainforest Cafe - an awesome place - if you're ever in Grapevine, TX you can't miss it!

Oh! I got my Aunt all set up on mypoints.com last night. She buys alot of stuff from overstock.com and a couple other places you can earn points from with mypoints.com. Who knows if she'll actually remember to go through them when shopping, but if she does, she'll have no trouble earning lots of points for rewards. She likes to shop.

Well, I better get going. Almost time for us to leave for another day of shopping. Boy oh boy do I ever hope I get called for a temp job tomorrow! Not that I don't enjoy being with my grandma and aunt, just that there's only so much shopping that I can stand!

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,
Laura

Last Day

December 22nd, 2005 at 04:02 am

Well, today was my last day as the Supervisor for the Surveyor's. It felt really strange to be cleaning out the office I've spent so much time in the past few months. The surveyor who did the last weekday came in around 1 pm - so I was able to make the weekdays at 100% yay! Linda (the main person I've been working with) gave me a going away gift - a beautiful bead necklace. I don't really know very much about jewlery because in the church I was raised in, jewlery wasn't the norm - and very rarely even the exception. Smile I'm sure there's a better name for it than "bead necklace" but I have no idea what it would be. The gift really surprised me, because I don't think I had ever worn a necklace to work (I own one, but it never really even crosses my mind to wear it. After working for 8 years in church school - wearing jewlery to work ceases to even be a thought that flits through your mind, let alone evolves into reality.) Still, it was really a sweet and thoughtful gift.

I had asked dad to make a couple loaves of bread for me to give to Linda and Dedee, but last night he was so exhausted that I decided it was better not to ask him. Then I go there this morning and they have a gift for me!! Dad said he'd be willing to drop two loaves by tomorrow on his way back from a meeting near there. So, at least they'll know I was thinking of them - I hope they are there tomorrow.

I filled up at Walmart tonight. I really don't like how crowded the parking lot is right now. It makes it pretty difficult to make it into the gas station and back out. But I guess the 3 cent discount is worth it.

I got this email talking about this program that you can do where you type ads for various companies and they pay you. The website claims you can make $300 - $1000 a week doing this. You have to buy into it at $100, then I guess you apply at the various companies, and they start sending you ad copy to type. I'm curious about this whole thing - I don't have $100 to waste - but .... if it really truly could produce some extra income, I could sure use it. Anyone ever hear of anything like this? I have the feeling I'm wasting my time and energy even thinking about it - but I'm not totally sure. Any ideas of questions I should ask (they have an email address for questions.)?

Kitty kat is sleeping on my lap - so my keyboard is sitting way up high on my more than ample stomach. Interesting (read awkward) way to type - but he's worth it. Smile

Spending Today:
$20.25 -- gas at Walmart $2.03/gallon w/discount

Watched Pretty Woman tonight on TNT. I know the story premise isn't all that good (Julia as a prostitute) but still . . that is one of my favorite movies. I don't know how many times I've seen it. Smile Julia Roberts + Richard Gere in just about any movie = Major Chemistry -- IMHO. Smile

Okay, hanging it up for the night. Gotta get back to "Mary, Mary" especially since I didn't have time to read today at work - actually kept myself busy the whole time doing *real* work - shockers! Smile

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,
Laura

One Day to go

December 21st, 2005 at 02:56 am

Didn't really do much at all today at work, other than surf the internet and email the time report. The surveyor who was going to do the last weekday assignment yesterday hadn't left his stuff in the office. After a few phone calls found out he hadn't done it. Arranged for him to pick up a Palm and a battery and get it done TODAY, since doing it tomorrow would not have worked. Tomorrow I'm going to get the office space all cleaned up and store all the batteries and the Palms, clear the temp folders and caches on the computer Smile, and generally batten down the hatches until whomever finishes the project in January comes to take over.

When I stopped at the library today to pick up my "Mary Mary" book (quite good so far) I stopped at the first place I always go in the library - the new release shelf. Guess what I found??? A new Scott Turio book!!!!! Woo Hoo!!! Two legal thrillers in one night - unfortunately both of them are 7-day checkouts, so I have to have them turned back in by next Tuesday - which really shouldn't be a problem. Smile

I checked my checking account today and found out that all the transfers, etc resulting from the TIVO escapades on Saturday have evened out. Now all I have to wait for is my package from the Ebay seller.

Dad was very tired and cold tonight. He and Charles had been working outside in the rain all afternoon cutting up tree stumps and hauling them somewhere. We had broccoli soup and leftover biscuits (from supper last night) for supper.

Oh, almost forgot. Dad was complaining this morning about how cold I'm keeping the house. I'm sitting at the breakfast table in shorts and bare feet and am perfectly comfortable. I like to keep the thermostat at 60 - but even when it's 35 or 40 outside, inside it still reads right around 64 - 67. He'd like it more like at 68 - 70. As we were discussing it, he made the comment "When you have kids I'm going to insist on you keeping them warm." Um, hello! Would that be your business??? NO!! Someday if I ever have the good fortune of having some little ones of my own, I'm going to make sure they are comfortable and safe. Does that neccessarily mean that I'm going to have the thermostat at 70 in the winter? Nope, not neccessarialy - unless I have a well to do husband! Smile Smile He just doesn't like to wear layers inside. How hard is it to wear a sweatshirt with a shirt under it? To put on two pairs of socks? To put a blanket over your legs when your'e sitting still?

I made a decision tonight. Come February, when this lease is up, no matter what the situation is with my dad, I'm going to move to a place that is most convenient for ME without taking him into consideration. He'll still be welcome to eat his meals here, etc, but it just might mean a little extra driving time for him. If I'm truly going to get my life back on track, it's going to mean me making some selfish choices - choices that are in the best interest for me.

I talked to my mom tonight. She visited one of her internet people this past weekend. What a jerk!!! About 8 years ago my mom had her stomach stapled and lost over 100 lbs - which left a lot of saggy skin. Well, this guy apparantally did a peeking Tom type thing and observed her changing for a party they were going to. He then had the gall to tell her that her baggy skin disgusted him - and the fact that she had at one time weighed alot disgusted him!!!!!!!! I'll say it again - WHAT A JERK!!

No spending today.

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,
Laura

Only two days left

December 20th, 2005 at 02:42 am

Only two days left of being a Supervisor. I've really enjoyed it, for the most part. I've had the opportunity to meet some really neat people, and I have some non-teaching/non-classroom experience to put down on my resume.

I'm not quite sure what they're going to do to finish the Saturdays. There are 11 assignments left, and only 6 possible surveyors who would be reliable. Well, it's not my problem anymore.

I talked to Jan today about possible full-time employment. She was encouraging - said that both she and Lynn have been looking for something for me. That they have really appreciated my hard work and that I've kept them sane with this whole project. But that not many companies hire the week before Christmas. So . . . it may be a few weeks or more. Hopefully they can find me enough one or two day jobs so I won't have to dip into savings too much come February (my December money pays for my January bills.)

Dad and I went to Kroger's tonight. He paid ~$17.xx for ~ $45.xx worth of groceries. We bought spaghetti sauce, macaroni, cereal, milk, OJ, green cabbage, croissants in a can, etc.

I spent a couple hours today working on a blog on bloggerspot.com . It's called "Keeping It Frugal". Smile How creative, I know. Wink I am still trying to figure out how to get a list of links listed on the side like other blogs. I also know I need to not be quite so long winded, or else nobody will be too interested in reading my blog. Smile If anyone would like to check it out its
www.keepingitfrugal.blogspot.com Smile

Ok, I think I'll go ahead and sign off right now. I want to keep reading Dr Phill's "Love Smart" book. It's actually a pretty easy read.

OH MY!! I totally forgot! I got a call from the library today. Jame's Patterson's "Mary Mary" is mine for the borrowing! I was number 7 on the wait list - but tomorrow I will have it in my hot little hands. Smile Smile Smile I just love legal thrillers - Scott Turrio, John Grisham, the other Patterson fella, etc. However, I don't really care for Ann Rule who writes more real life crime drama (ie - she knew Ted Bundy in real life - wrote a book about him.)

Spending Log: Nada, Zilch, Zip, Nothing Smile

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,
Laura

Sunday

December 19th, 2005 at 01:36 am

Did an 8 hour bus ride today. I'd forgotten just how LONG 8 hours is on a bus. At least it gave me a chance to finish "Deception Point" by Dan Brown. I think I almost like it better than Angels and Demons.

After my ride I went into the office. Saw that Wesley's three friends didn't show up. Also saw that two surveyor's never picked up their assignment, and a third surveyor didn't figure out how to use the new battery, so didn't finsh her assigment (again - pick up the phone!!!) So, including the surveyor who's car stalled on her yesterday, that is 6 1/2 assignments that did not get done this weekend, and *maybe* 5 that did get done. Well, at lease *I* know that the Sunday assignment was completed - since I did it myself!!!

On the way home I stopped at Albertson's. They were having the triple coupon sale. Unfortunately I only had the coupons I had recently ordered from taylortowncoupons.com with me. They were completely wiped out of the Kraft Super mac and cheese - and the GG boxed veggies were $2.19 a box, so even with a a $.60/3 cpn tripled to $1.80/3 it would have only made them ~$1.60 each, which isn't much of a savings. I did pick up an Amy's Brown Rice and Veggie - it was on sale for $2.95 (pretty good price - runs from $3.89 - $4.29) and a couple other things. I was really wishing I had my other coupons with me though, because I saw a number of pretty good deals.

Well I am exhausted. I think I'm going to do some trash pickup around the house, read a little, then head on off to bed. Tomorrow I will be talking to Lynn or Jan about long-term job possibilities. I really hope they do have something in mind for me like they've been hinting at.

Spending Log:
Albertsons: $7.21

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,
Laura

Crazy Day!

December 18th, 2005 at 03:41 am

Day starts off with a surveyor calling me at 6:40 a.m.!!!! and telling me that her car had stalled out on her and she had missed her bus. THEN I just get back into bed and I get a call from another surveyor telling me that the RC program on her Palm was gone. (This was the surveyor who let her Palm die last week, losing all her info!) I had distinctly told her to get her Palm on a charger ASAP *AND* to check it Wednesday morning to make sure the RC program was still on it, so I could do somthing about it easily. Of course, she doesn't check it till this morning I guess. So I walk her through all the numerous things to do over the phone - with a clause that she forgets everything I just told her! Arghh!!

The majority of my day was spent working on Tivo. Either trying one of the FOUR different wireless adapters I purchased and returned today, or researching for other adapters that might work, or researching where I could buy one of the blasted adapters that actually work! Also spent about four hours total on hold with TIVO sales and TIVO customer service regarding my Gift Subscription. Turns out that they have sent so many of those out recently (with Christmas) that they have gotten behind on validating codes. HUH???

I ended up buying a Netgear WG111 adapter from Ebay for $34.95 (including shipping). Then I found a paypal code on fatwallet.com which took off $2.50 (10%). Hopefully it will be here by Thursday at the latest, AND hopefully it will work!!!

I hate to say it, but so far I have NOT been too impressed with TIVO. The machine itself will be awesome, but all this hassle to get it working in the first place (not to mention the extra $100 + to get it set up!) almost makes me wish I had never expressed a desire for one. Almost. Smile

I have a 7 am bus ride in the morning that I have to leave by no later than 6am for, so I probably ought to head off and try to get some sleep.

Spending Log:
Staples: 4 different adapters varying from $45 - $69 -- all returned and refunded
Ebay: $34.95 -- Wirelss adapter that SHOULD work - includes shipping
Taco Bell: $2.91 -- they got my order right this time!!! (of course I double and triple checked like a maniac) Smile

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,
Laura

The cost of a birthday present

December 17th, 2005 at 05:33 am

Well I spent the majority of today researching how to set up my new Tivo without the benefit of a landline. I spent several hours searching the internet for information (as well as checking out kashi's bf's instructions). In the afternoon, dad and I went to Staples and asked the sales rep in the computer area if he knew much about Tivo - he said he didn't, but that so and so did. He went and got so and so. I told s&s what I was needing, and also showed him my list of what I thought I needed to get from my research. He was fairly knowledgable, although not so much about setting up Tivo withou a landline, but tried to be very helpful. He found both the usb adapter and the router I wanted but hadn't seen when I was looking on my own. After checking out of Staples with the $30 usb adapter and the $50 wireless router
along with the $9 coaxial splitter, we headed over to Walmart. AT Walmart I purchased an extra coaxial cable.

Total spent was ~$110 - but there is a $15 rebate on the wireless router.

When we got home we started working on getting everything put together. First of course I had to install the wireless router (which my dad was really excited about because he now can use his laptop on the net at my house). Then some experimentation with how to install the usb adapter. I ended up plugging it into my comptuer in order to install the drivers, then plugging it into the back of my Tivo. Next, after a phone call to Ryan, we figured out that the TV had to be on "Aux" in order to get the Tivo display.

THEN, I went to the website to activate my account and gift subscription. Unfortunately, my gift code did not seem to want to work after numerous tries by both me, and eventually by the customer service agent I managed to get ahold of. He told me to call the sales line and they could give me a new gift code. So I did. 25 minutes later someone finally picks up. I explain my situation to him. He tells me that HE can't do anything about it, but I would need to talk to customer service about it. But, customer service was EXTREMELY busy - so he took my name and number and said they'd call me either tonight or in the morning. Haven't heard from them yet, so I'm still in limbo not knowing whether or not this is going to work!

Luckily most of my purchases today were covered by the birthday money my grandma sent me. Smile

Something else I did today was to work on my day off! Wesley, the person coming from the survey company, called me this morning and told me that he had left his access card and badge in a bag at home because he had changed bags. He was at the airport within half an hour of taking off so couldn't go home to get it. So, over the next couple hours a whole slew of phone calls took place. It all ended in that Linda (the lady I sort of report to at the bus garage) let dispatch know that Wesley would be calling tomorrow morning and would need to be let in - and I think she's leaving him an extra access card too. I hope it all works out as planned, but I'm not going to stress over it if it doesn't.

I had something really cool happen this evening. First of all I got a phone call from one of my best friends, Tammy. Smile While I was on the phone with her I heard a knocking that sounded like it was *maybe* my door. I decided to go investigate, even though I couldn't think of anyone who would be stopping by. It was my neighbor's! They had a tin of Christmas cookies for my dad and I! Smile I thought that was so sweet. Smile I'll have to have dad make up another one of his bread machine loafs, and maybe I'll make them a tin of banana bread. Smile

Okay, well its getting on the late side here so I probably should go check for some sheep to count. Smile

Keeping it Frugal in Texas,
Laura

PS - My second Ing invite got used today! Woo Hoo!!

A Good Day :)

December 16th, 2005 at 04:34 am

I had a very relaxing morning - sleeping in, reading, computer time. Smile

I decided not to do a movie because there wasn't anything I wanted to see badly enough to spend the $5 on. I had decided to head on up towards Fort Worth around 3:30, but stop in Burleson and do some browsing in the stores. But then my mom called me and asked me if I would stop by her friends office (wife of a dentist) to pick up something for her at 5pm. I told her I had been planning on leaving much earlier than that - finally, 4 pm was agreed to. On the way up there I missed the Burleson exit, so just went ahead to the restruant, and arrived about 40 minutes early.

While I was waiting, I got a call from my grandma. I thanked her for the birthday card and the gift inside Smile then she proceded to slip up and tell me what was inside the box the UPS delivered the other day. Smile Smile When my dad arrived we both went inside and got a table. It was getting close to the time mom was supposed to be there so we called her. She had gotten lost, and then stuck in traffic. We went ahead and ordered our food (and her food). She arrived as I was taking my last bite of my entree (stuffed mushrooms - listed as an appetizer - mmmmm mmmm!) Shortly after, came the humoungus piece of chocolate cake with a birthday candle, and of course the happy birthday operatic singing waiter. Smile Smile

THEN I got to open the box!! It is a TIVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not only a TIVO - but also a ONE-YEAR gift subscription for the monthly service!!!!! It wasn't just from my brother - my grandma, my dads sister and brother, Ryan, mom and dad all went in together for it -- it also is a combo Birthday/Christmas gift. Smile Smile Smile Smile The coolest, most awesomest thing about it though was the fact that it was my brother who came up with the idea, and then presented it to all the other people and got them excited about it. I've said it before, but I'll say it again - I've got the BEST brother!!! (I got to talk to Ryan for about 20 minutes tonight. Smile )

My parents also got me 10lb and 15lb dumbbells. And my mom gave me a Dr Phill book about Love and Relationships (can't remember its title right now.)

Dad had to leave for a committment, but mom and I stayed and talked for another hour and a half or more. Big surprise (NOT Rolleyes ) she's got a guy in Oklahoma offering to get her a job and a place to live. I really don't know how she does it.

Oh, I did do some work related things today. Wesley, the guy from the survey company who came to help out last weekend, is coming again this weekend with a couple friends. So we shot a few emails back and forth to set the details in place. I also had to call Linda at the Bus Garage to get day passes for the friends - I hadn't even thought about them needing that yesterday when I was there. I also got a call from the employment agency asking if I'd be available next Friday to work -- of course, I said YES!!! So that will help my January budget out a bit. Smile

Spending Log:
Gas station: $2.38 (2 sodas)
Walmart Gas: $19.68 ($2.04/ga) UGH!! 10 cents more than what I paid two fill ups ago!
Walmart: Chocolate $4.93

In the morning I'm going to work on setting up my Tivo!!! Wahoo!!!

Keeping It Frugal in Texas, (the 30 year old) Smile

Laura

Free Cookies :) And a case of you just have to laugh

December 15th, 2005 at 05:03 am

Today at the office the head honcho of the department where I do my supervising from, brought in a huge plate of holiday delecatables. A bunch of different kinds of cookies - snickerdoodles, lemon tarts, the cookies with a Kiss, another kind of chocolate cookie, and a number of other things. One of the sweet treats was particularily interesting and creative. It was made out of Bugles and vanalia frosting drizzled over to make individual clumps! I'd never seen anything quite like it, but believe me, it was VERY good. Smile

You just have to laugh. Yesterday I was still waiting for one surveyor to come in and bring his material to download. Well, this morning when I walked into the office I found his bag with all his materials sitting on top of my desk -including his access badge. On top of his bag was a note. It essentially said that he hadn't been able to remember how to find the program on his Palm, so he wrote all the information down on paper. Now, if I hadn't given him a piece of paper with my PHONE NUMBER on it, or told him to CALL me anytime if he had ANY questions - that could ALMOST be understandable. Of course, finding the program was a simple matter of scrolling down from the main page! So, anyway, that just made yet another assignment to add to the que of assignments to be completed in January. Rolleyes

Tonight while dad and I were cleaning up from supper (we had our free Mac and Cheese) someone knocked on my door. Lo and behold it was the UPS woman! Apparantally she recognized my name on the package from my brother and realized that it had the wrong address. Wow! What customer service! The box itself is kind of heavy to be a Pilates mat - I can hardly wait till tomorrow when I can find out what;s in it!!! Smile Smile

I started reading Dan Brown's "Deception Point." So far, I am really enjoying it. I really like the thick books better than thin books. Smile

In the mail today I got my snail mail confirmation from Emigrant Direct, then went online and confirmed my account. I also sent Jeffery two of my Ing referrals (about 6 pm) and by 10 pm tonight I had an email telling me that I had already gotten my first bonus!!!! I should probably transfer it over to my ED account, and I might just do that on Friday. After hearing about all the problems people were having getting their ED account setup, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy and relatively quickly it all happened. Now I've got to make a decision - should I keep my Long Term Savings in ING at 3.75%, or transfer it to ED at 4%? With the bonus, my LTS is at about $45 (yeah, paltry, but that was the first account I hit for living expenses, then I hit my Contingency Fund.) I'm just not sure if percentage wise it would make that much of a difference.

Well, I didn't get called in for a job tomorrow. So, I'm considering taking in a matine in Burleson, which is near Fort Worth where I'm meeting my parents for supper. Maybe get a haircut (last haircut was when Scott helped me move out of my Dallas apartment last May.) Or, maybe I'll just relax the day away, watch "Polar Express" brought to me by Netflix, and then mosey on over to Macaroni Grill in time to meet my parents. Hmm... one way would be no spending .. the other way would be around $20 or so, but how many times in life do you celebrate going from one decade to another? Smile Probably the deciding factor will be if there is any movie at that theatre that I want to see badly enough to fork up $5 for a matine ticket. Smile

Today was a no spending day. I came very very close this morning to buying something from a gas station. It's almost habitual with me, if I go inside a gas station to use their bathroom, I feel almost obligated to buy *something*. But today I fought my temptation and won. Smile I was glad I held out too, when I found out about the cookies in the office -- I mangaed to limit myself to only four treats. Smile

30 minutes left in the 20's!!!

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,
Laura

It's Official

December 14th, 2005 at 03:14 am

Well the decision was officially made today. The project I have been supervising since mid-October is going to be extended till January 14. Of course, this coming Saturday will be the last Saturday of 2005, then the remaining assignments will be done on January 14.

The two surveyor's who got jobs with Fed Ex came in today to drop off their bags. I genuinely like both of them, but I wish they would have showed even a *little* remorse for so badly dropping the ball. Between them, they could have completed 8 more Saturday assignments - which would have made us finished on the 10th. Oh well. Hope they don't play the same game with Fed Ex - won't keep their jobs very long if they do.

I'm a little worried about the weather this weekend. The forecast is calling for rain and/or snow. I'm really hoing it'll wait till at least Sunday night so all our assignments can get done.

Today I asked Jan if she could see if there were *any* temp jobs available on Th or Fr - even if they only pay $8/hr, I'd take it - esp. on Thursday. If I could get a temp job on Thursday, then using 1/4 tank of gas to go out to eat for my birthday would serve a dual purpose.

My brother Ryan called my dad tonight. Apparantally he had gotten my new address from my mom - she had told him my street number was 709!!!! I'm not sure where she got that number from. So my brother and my dad started trying to figure out how to get the package he's sending me to the right place. I think he got me a Pilate's mat - dad was kind of hinting at that. Smile

I started reading "Digital Fortress" by Dan Brown last night, then finished it this evening. It was really good. Just as spellbinding as "Angels and Demons" but in a different way. My dad didn't like it as much as "Angels" he said that he thought it was too disjointed. I told him that if he didn't like that style, then he for sure wouldn't like the book "Holes" by Louis Sachar (one of my all time favorite books - read it to my 5th graders the first year it came out - it's a FANTASTIC story - the movie follows the book very closely too.)

I was very tempted to stop and get junkfood tonight on the way home. I resisted. So, no spending for me today.

I did do my weight training today. I decided to replace the tricep extend exercise with the French Dumbbell Press. I like that better - although I had to reduce the weight slightly to be able to do it properly. I also did 20 minutes on my Gazelle.

Keeping It Frugal in Texas, (with my Monkey on my lap snoring away) Smile

Laura

26 hours left as a 20 something - I'm almost old! Smile Smile Just kidding. Smile

Didn't Happen :(

December 13th, 2005 at 02:29 am

Let me sum up work today. Two of my surveyor's got jobs with Fed Ex sometime last week (must have been on Friday, since I talked to them on THURSDAY) and so did not do their Saturday assignments (thanks for the heads up - real professional.) A third surveyor had yet ANOTHER "family emergency" which made him for the *4th* weekend in a row NOT do his Saturday assignment. THEN a fourth surveyor didn't take her Mega Battery, but took her older one - the one that's given us so many problems. So her Palm ended up dying on her - losing the program and all the data she had collected that day.

We did not have room for *anything* like this. We don't have enough equipment to hire enough surveyors to finish all the assignments next week. So, it looks like despite all the effort we've put into finishing by the 17th, we're STILL going to have to come back in January. It makes me so mad I could just SPIT! Oh yeah, the first three surveyors - the ones who have done NOTHING for FOUR weeks - they were told they were no longer needed. Should've done that last week, then maybe we wouldn't be so hard up now.

It really makes me wonder if people understand what it means when they take a job - or how to use some very simple tools, such as the TELEPHONE to keep their employer's updated. I would SO love it if any of those first three surveyor's asked to use me as a reference!!!! For two of them I could say that I really enjoyed working with them, although towards the end of the project when we were getting to major crunch time, neither one of them were able to help us finish the project because of various reasons. The third surveyor - don't know that I could even honestly say I enjoyed working with him - he would always keep me waiting - like today, he was supposed to come drop his stuff off. At 3:45 he told Jan he was on his way over. I called Jan at 4:15 to see if she'd heard from him. He told her he was just a few minutes away. At 4:30 I called Jan to let her know I was leaving for the day and had not seen or heard from him.

I just don't get it, don't get it at all.

Dad and I went to Kroger's tonight. Bought some of the things I had coupons for, plus Milk and bananas. Dad paid $4.97 for ~$10 worth of items.

Dad got a bit miffed with me. I asked him if I was supposed to meet him and mom on Thursday at the Macaroni Grill (they're taking me out for my birthday.) He was like, yeah, since we'll both be in Fort Worth. I told him that no, actually *I* wouldn't be. He goes "Since when have you not been working on Thursdays?" I *wanted* to say -- I TOLD you that my schedule changed THREE WEEKS AGO!!! But of course I didn't say that - that would be calling for outright war. So instead I calmly told him that a couple weeks ago my schedule had been changed to just Monday to Wednesday - although last week I worked on Thursday instead of Wednesday. He *still* got miffed at me and was all "So what! You want to cancel out on the whole thing, or go somewhere else?" I told him no that I didn't want to do that, I was just wondering about what the plans were. ARGHHHH!!!!!!! How much longer???????????????

No spending for me today. But a huge headache.

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,
Laura

A short one - sort of :)

December 12th, 2005 at 04:14 am

What I did today:
1. Read the book "Forgiven" - second book in the Firstborn series by Karen Kingsbury. Am anticpating seriousl withdrawals -- the third book doesn't come out till Summer 2006!!!

2. Did laundry (just the colors.)

3. Bought a double newspaper and cut out the necessary coupons.

4. Stopped at Taco Bell. UGHH!! How hard is it to understand when someone orders a 7 - layer burrito with NO guacomole and NO tomatoes????? Unfortunately, I didn't realize this till I got home and sat down to eat nearly 30 minutes later. It's not like this is the first time I've ever ordered that SAME exact thing from that EXACT Taco Bell!!! UGHH!!

5. Watched Survivor - the whole three hours of it (finale shows + reunion.) Yay!!! Danni!!!!!!

6. Paid for my coupons that I had ordered.

7. Loafed on the computer.

That about sums it up. Smile

Spending Log:
Coupons: $2.87 -- taylortowncoupons.com
Dbl Newspaper: $1.99 -- walmart
Lupper - Taco Bell - $3.79

One thing I didn't do today was exercise. I was going to do it during Survivor, but then I had to end up fixing something to replace the 7-layer burrito, and it just got to close to bedtime to get my heartrate up. I know, I know - excuses.

Hopefully the fact that no one called me this weekend (other than the one person just double checking what to do) is a good sign. I hope with all my heart that tomorrow that ALL 13 surveyors who had assignments completed their assignments with NO problems! THAT would make me SO happy!!!

Okay, signing off.

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,
Laura

Woo Hoo!

December 10th, 2005 at 11:55 pm

I just looked at my grocerygame list for tomorrow and saw that there are 4 items that will be FREE after coupon - AND they were the only things I wanted off the list - AND all the coupons for them are in this Sunday's paper!! One of the items is something that I definitely would not normally buy because it's overpriced. I went to taylortowncoupons.com and ordered 20 more coupons for that one particular item (which will make each item actually $.10 because the clipping cost is $.10). I won't say what variety it is - but I will say that Dad and I will be eating our Mac and Cheese. Smile Hee!

Been a quiet day. I only got one phone call from one of my new surveyors. She was just wanting to double check on what she was supposed to do. So ... no phone calls *HOPEFULLY* means NO PROBLEMS!!!

No spending today. (Well, the coupon order - but I haven't actually paid for them yet.)

No exercise either. Will have to do my 4th workout tomorrow, do or die!

Am now going to go watch Miss Congeniality 2 (from Netflix) and finish reading my "Fame" book. Hope ya'll had a good Saturday!

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,
Laura

Seeing Light at the end of the tunnel :)

December 10th, 2005 at 02:32 am

Today all three people who I was to train, actually showed up!! I got all three of them trained. I also got Candice's palm pilot back, and found out it had died, so any data she may have collected was lost - so that answered that question. What I'll do with her three weekdays is give two of them to two surveyor's on Monday, and take the third one for myself (an extra 6 hours sure won't hurt my pocketbook!).

After training the 3 new people today and giving them their assignments, I recounted how many I have left for next week. There are only 8 left! So, as long as there are no mishaps this weekend, and EVERYONE does their assignment - we will have EVERYTHING finished on Dec 17!! Yahoo!!

When I got home tonight, Dad was watching the classic Seinfield episode where they are in a parking garage and can't find their car. I used to be so into comedies - Seinfield, Frasier, Friends, Home Improvement etc. But now most of what I watch are the hour long dramas/reality shows - Lost, Everwood, Survivor, CSI, etc. I wonder why that is? Is it because I'm getting older? Or is it that most of the half-hour comedies nowadays just don't interest me enough to spend time watching them? I like Scrubs and George Lopez and Reba - but I can count on one hand the number of episodes of all three of those that I've actually watched in the past couple of seasons. Strange isn't?

I started reading the book I picked up from the library yesterday - "Fame" by Karen Kingsbury. It's a new series that is a continuation of the "Redemption" series. I haven't finished the "Redemption" series (waiting for the last book) so some of the info in this first book is kind of spoilerish - but I think I'll still enjoy reading it when it comes into the library.

Well, I'll need to update my YNAB, since I spent some money today, and I picked up my paycheck for last week. I am just so thankful that I had a healthy savings account and was able to pay the 6 months rent upfront here. Because if I was trying to actually pay rent + other bills on what I'm making --- well, let's just say that that would be impossible. I have two more months before I have to be making enough to pay the rent + bills --- sure hope I have a good paying, full time job by then!

Spending log:
Walmart:
Gas: $20.99 -- $1.99/gal --- Only got 310 miles out of this last tank, almsot 50 less than normal. Guess it was the cold.
Food Items: $4.97

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,
Laura

Brrr...rr..rr. It's Cold Out!

December 9th, 2005 at 03:42 am

Today was a *cold* day - at least for this part of Texas. Smile I think it actually got down to around 12 degrees. My car windows were *completely* covered with a thick layer of ice. My dad was very generous, and went out and started my car and started scraping at the windows while I finished getting ready. By the time I got outside my windsheild was uncovered enough where I could see out of it, the passenger front window had a medium sized circle I could sort of see out of. the rear window had a good sized line to see out of -- but the rear passenger side window was COMPLETELY blocked with ice. w
Well, I started out on my journey. The first 15 miles of my drive is on a state road with a bunch of driveways in various places. During the 15 miles I stopped twice to try and break some more ice off that rear window. I got on the freeway and went a little while - luckily there wasn't much traffic - but then I got off the freeway and finally managed to break the ice off the rear window so I could see to change lanes. 20 miles or so later, as I was pulling off on my exit and got a phone call from my dad. While I was talking to him I started to SLIDE across the ice. Again, luckily, there were no cars around me. I managed to get myself stopped, but boy howdy was my heart going a million miles a minute!

Of the three surveyors who I was supposed to train today, only one actually showed up - and he was the one who could only do an assignment next Saturday. ARGGHHH!!! Then we went to the wrong bus stop to get on our bus - but eventually we made it on a bus, so he got his training in. I talked to Marcelo and suggested that we see if the two people who were supposed to come today could come tomorrow (they had good reasons.) He okayed that, and then also got someone from their company to come down this weekend and do an assignment. So, maybe, just maybe, we will be able to finish on time.
On the way home I got a call from the person coming tomorrow, and we agreed to meet tomorrow at 1. Then I got a call from Jan (emloyment agency) telling me that they finally had Candice's Palm Pilot, etc!! So, hopefully when I download it tomorrow, it will have 3 weekday assignments and one Saturday assignment on it - THAT would take so much pressure off!

I got off this morning without any water, so I ended up buying a water bottle from the vending machine - then broke down and bought a bag of skittles as well, so not a non-spending day. Frown

Water: $.85
Skittles: $.65

Keeping It Frugal in Texas (and trying to keep it warm as well!)

Laura

And all it needed was a new thermostat :)

December 8th, 2005 at 02:06 am

Today I didn't go into work since I'll be training the 3 new surveyors tomorrow - have to keep my hours to about 20 hours. I didn't mind really, because it was really rainy and icy and cold out.

Last night I knew it was supposed to go below freezing, so I decided that I would turn my heat on so none of my pipes would burst. I put it on 50 degrees and then put it on auto -- nothing happened. So, I put it into the "On" position. Still, nothing. I switched it over to the a/c, and the machines roared into action, though no air. Finally I just decided to have all my faucets drip all night - not sure which is more money - dripping faucets, or using the heat.

So this morning after dad and I had eaten breakfast with Charles (a family friend) my dad took a look at the furnace. It's electrical, so he didn't have any idea what to do. So I called my apartment manager and told him that my heat was not working. He told me he'd send someone over to check it out. An hour later noone had come, so I called again to find out when the person would be coming and was told they were on their way. About twenty minutes later the guy came. He checked things out and then said that he thought it might just need a new thermostat. Dad also told him about my back door needing weatherstripping (something I'd called the office about at least 5 times!) By the time he left he had relplaced my old thermostat (with the unreadable Heat/Cool functions) with a digital thermostat, had the heat working, and had weather stripped my back door. I thought that was pretty good for about an hour's work. Smile

I stopped by the library this afternoon and picked up two more Dan Brown books, plus a couple of other ones. I also put my name on a waiting list for James Patterson's "Mary, Mary" as well as the last book in the Karen Kingsbury series "Redemtpion."

I had a bit of fun today getting out my ol' ice scraper again. The ice this morning wasn't too bad, but this afternoon it sure took a bit of time and arm power to get it off. I'd love some suggestions from folks out there who deal with iced over windsheilds on a normal basis - also, what to do if your door lock is iced over. We're supposed to still have freezing temps in the morning.

My brother called my dad tonight. Dad took the phone into the office and shut the door trying to be all private. But the thing is, I think he's getting hard of hearing or something, because when he talks on the phone, he always talks so LOUD - I could hear him pretty easily through the wall even with the tv on. I really tried to not listen, especially once I figured out that they were making some plans involving me and my birthday. *I hope that maybe this means that Ryan will be coming here to visit for a few days!** THAT would be an AWESOME birthday present. Smile

Growing up, he and I had a lot of sibling rivalry. But when I went away to college and he started high-school, our relationship changed for the better, and since then we've become very close friends. There's nothing that can make my day more complete and happy than getting a phone call from my brother. I do call him, but he's *very* hard to reach.

Well, no spending today. I'm now going to go back to my book by Gilbert Morris, "The Charade" about a man who was extremely obese and how he felt about himself, then made a computer program, got rich, got kicked in the gut by two people he trusted -- and now is on a revenge path - but will somehow be put off it before the end of the book by God. The first part of the book really got to me because I was relating so much to so much of what he was saying/feeling about his weight/how people looked at him/how he hated miorrs, etc.

Didn't exercise today - overslept, then my dad was around the place ALL DAY - so didn't even get much internet time - but I did finish Angels and Demons (SO GOOD!)

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,
Laura

The Passing of an Online Acquaintance :(

December 7th, 2005 at 02:41 am

I had quite a shock this morning when I logged into my delphi forum page, and then clicked onto Reality Bites (a site about television.) The first thread that popped up was entitled "Donations for Lolly." I was wondering why they were taking donations for Lolly, this particular forums hostess. As I looked further, I was even more shocked to find out that she (Lolly) had *died* Saturday night from an asthma attack at the age of 34! !!

I'm mainly a lurker (don't post much) at most of the forums I go to, but she (Lolly) was one of the people whom I had had some interaction with, and I always looked forward to reading her takes on various tv shows. The whole forum is just shell shocked right now.

What really got to me the most though is that one of my best friends is 31 years old, and has had terrible problems with asthma her whole life. About four years ago she was hospitalized with pneumonia/asthma for nearly two weeks and came very close to dying. Since having her son two years ago, her health has greatly improved, and she is now expecting a little girl in March. It's just so scary to me to have it really hit home that people *really* *do* *die* from asthma.

Something else that really caught me off gaurd today. I got an email from Eric, a guy I had initially met through one of the christian dating sites, and we became good email friends. The last note I'd gotten from him was shortly after Halloween. He basicaly was forwarding the weather warning (freeze warning). Well, on the list of the Carbon Copy, was a very familiar name - Heather R. Heather was an associate pastor with my dad a little over 6 years ago. She and I became fairly good friends, had fun together, etc, but lost touch when she went away to seminary. So anyway, I wrote him back a short note, and asked him how he knew Heather. He replied that Heather was the girl he'd mentioned to me awhile back - and that she is his girlfriend!!! I'll have to fill you in on part of what really surprised me - Eric is *just* 5'10 standing tall. Heather is at least 6'1, maybe 6'2 standing relaxed. The other part that got me was that it was just another indication of just how small the Adventist world is.

Dad and I went to Kroger's tonight because I wanted to stock up on cat litter and cat food (on sale + had coupons). He threw one of his royal conniptions at the cashier because she didn't heed his call fast enough about not wanting coinage back, but wanting to get rid of his own coinage. He was upset with me too, because I guess he caught me rolling my eyes at him. Ooops.

Then we went to the Chinese resturant where they have the most scrumptious Egg Foo Young. He was already in a foul mood, and then while we were standing at the ordering place, he was taking his sweet time figuring out what we were getting -- the cashier/order taker took her attention off of him for one minute to let a lady behind us know that her food would be ready in five minutes. I agree, it probably wasn't the *best* customer treatment, but he totally went off and took it as a complete affront to him - total rudeness. It's evenings like this that almost make me think maybe being single isn't such a bad life outcome after all. There are ways of dealing with things like this constructively, and then there are ways of blowing things out of proportion and making a spectacle of yourself. I prefer to deal constructively.

We hired three new surveyor's today. I will be training them on Thursday. I am crossing my fingers that between the new surveyor's and the MEga batteries being mailed, that we will be at 100% completion on Dec 17.

Well, I started reading this book called "Angel's and Demon's" by Dan Brown. It's a work of fiction talking about the Catholic Church, the Illuminati, and anti-matter. It's pretty good so far.

It's supposed to snow or sleet tomorrow. I hope it does snow - I'll go out and make snow angels. Smile I know this is probably not a healthy thing to admidt, but on my iwon.com homepage I have a weather icon for my town ... and also for Lincoln, NE. They are having temps of around 3 degrees and lower. I wonder how Scott is faring in all that.

Dad picked up the tab for everything at Kroger's tonight, even though I had planned on paying for the cat stuff.
So he bought $42.xx worth of groceries, and paid $19.XX after store coupons and other coupons.

I got my latest water bill today. It went down another $6 -- down from ~$59 to ~ $53. I sure wish I knew what was making it go down, cuz then I'd keep on doing it, but more fanatically. Smile

No spending on my part today.
Did 15 minutes on my Gazelle, and 25 minutes of weight lifting.

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,
Laura

Where's the Work Ethic anymore???

December 6th, 2005 at 02:35 am

Ooohhh!!! I had a FRUSTRATING day at work today!!! First of all, I find out that three of my surveyors had trouble on their Saturday assignments. So that meant three assignments with trips needing to be redone - I was able to attach two of them to other assignments, so that wasn't so bad. Then, by the end of the day I still had FIVE surveyors who had not checked in. So I started calling them. I was able to get ahold of three of them. I found out that two of them (the two who had gone to New Orleans last week) had not gotten back till Friday, and that when they got back they were sick as dogs - so of course they didn't do their assignments! Then the third one supoosedly had a family emergency and so he didn't do his Saturday assignment. Then of course there is the fourth surveyor (Candice) who'd had emergency surgery about a month ago, but who won't return any of our phone calls - and so today Lynn at the employment agency left her a message letting her know that if she didn't call or come into the office to download her assignments by 4pm that she would be considered to have not fulfilled her job committments and not be paid for any assignments she actually had done. Guess what?? She didn't call or come in!!!

So what this basically means is this. Today I had 16 assignments left to hand out. With the three redo's, that gave me 19, but I was able to attatch two of them, which left me with 17. Then I assigned 6 which left me with 10. Then I found out about the three undone assignments, which put me at 13. Then, add Candice's assignment, and that gives you 14. Without Candice I have 10 surveyor's right now. I have two surveyors without an assignment - that would leave me with 12 assignments for Dec 17. Do you see the problem??? We really were supposed to be finished on Dec 10 (this coming Saturday.) A few weeks ago I had it planned out perfectly, with even a little wiggle room for redo trips. What I didn't imagine in my wildest dreams was that more than one of my surveyors would just plain NOT do their assignments!

When I was picking up my check this afternoon I was telling Lynn about how frustrated this made me, and how it just boggles my mind that people could treat their job like this. She told me that I'm feeling the frustrations they feel everyday. I told her that what frustrates me the most about it was that I was really looking forward to being finished with the limited hours and be able to have a chance for a full 40-hour work week. She basically told me I could count on one as soon as this job is finished. Smile

I guess I was just raised differently. When you say that you're going to do something, you get the job done, and you do it to the best of your ability. If something comes up that is unavoidable - you use the new fangled invention called the TELEPHONE so people who are counting on you know what's going on and don't have to make guesses or get worried. Maybe it's because I've always worked with professional level people that makes it hard for me to accept this kind of work ethic. I hate to say this, but of my 10 remaining surveyor's, the ones who've NEVER let me down are the ones with college degrees. Maybe that has something to do with it. Maybe not. All I know is that it is SO frustrating!!!

Ok, stepping off my soapbox. I sure hope I'm not coming off sounding holier than thou or anything. I sure have my vices and not so good points. Just when it comes to how I'm going to pay my bills, that's not one of them.

No spending today.

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,
Laura

Pennies on the ground :)

December 5th, 2005 at 03:57 am

Today was yet another nice relaxing day. Smile

Early this afternoon I went to Walmart to pick up a double newspaper and fill up with gas. Then I stopped by Big Lots to see if I could find what I needed for a couple Jar Gifts. I didn't find anything for the Jar Gifts, but I did pick up two more things for my Manicure/Pedicure Home Spa kit.

I was very hungry and really craving Taco Bell. So I stopped by TB and went through the drive through. As the lady was handing me my change, some of it dropped on the ground. It was "only" two pennies - most people would've just drove on and not worried about it. But nope, not me. Smile I unbuckled my seat belt, unlocked my door, and opened my door. Luckily they both were within easy reaching distance. I got a bit of a strange look from the lady, but I didn't mind - I wasn't about to lose one penny of my money - especially when spendng it on fast food!

This evening while watching tv I did my manicure and pedicure. It was a fairly relaxing thing to do while watching shows that you didn't have to pay much attention to in order to follow. Although I was really wishing for a second person to do my right hand and foot - I'm right handed, so doing cuticles/cutting the nails, is somewhat difficult with my left hand. I think I now have just about everything I can think of that comes in handy for a Home Spa kit. Those foot massagers/circulating water things - I've had two of them before, and neither one of them worked very well. Just a plain old dishpan filled with warm soapy water works just as well.

Ok. Spending Log today.
Walmart: $4.31 - newspaper + junkfood
$19.25 -- gas - $1.94/gallon
Big Lots: $3.37 -- manicure stuff + coke
Taco Bell $2.67 -- lupper (lunch/supper)

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,
Laura

Phone Calls :)

December 4th, 2005 at 01:02 am

A lazy day. Finished reading the 4th book in the Redemption series by Karen Kingsbury. I really hope the library has the last book of the series - it really is a powerful series.

Got a call from my brother this afternoon!!! We only talked for a few minutes because he was on a break from his "Forum" class (something similar to Pathways.) He was telling me that his girlfriend might be promoted from a resturant manager up to a General Manager - all before she turns 25. She's an awesome person, and that would just be so great for her. Ryan, my brother, also told me that he had been promoted to a server at his resturant (they work at different resturants.) That really is quite an honor - it's a 5 star resturant and there isn't much turnover in the server's department - he's worked there now for I think 4 1/2 years, starting as a busboy. This resturant has many famous, celebrity customers. I sure wouldn't want to eat there though - a "cheap" meal for two might be a mininum of $500. Although I've gotta say, last year when I was out in CA visiting him for Christmas - the chocolate delicacy he brought me from the pastry chef at the resturant -- mmmmmm .... heaven!

No spending today - didn't even leave the house.

I also got a call from TXU asking me why I had left and I guess trying to figure out what it would take to get me back. I kept telling them that I'd be unlikely to come back - that I'm giving Ignite at least a six-month shot. They upped the ante to a $500 credit on my electricity bill spread out over the next 12 months - that, well now, THAT was tempting - but I didnt' take them up on it. I haven't received my first bill yet from Ignite, so I'm really hoping that this was worth it. My hopefully last bill from TXU was $4 more than last month, having used ~200 kb LESS than the month before.

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,
Laura

80% off - How sweet it is. :)

December 3rd, 2005 at 03:51 am

Today I slept in very late - well, didn't really sleep, just lounged in bed. My kitty was so sweet and funny. After I got up to feed him and he ate, he jumped back up on the bed and meowed at me. So, I lifted up my arm (which was under the covers) and he went under it, underneath the covers. Then he popped his head out on top of my arm, and had a good little nap under the covers. Smile

Dad and I went to Albertson's to pick up a couple good deals I'd seen from their advertisements. We were getting ready to checkout when he asked me if I'd ever been in their 80% discount store area. I hadn't. So we both went over there to have a look. There was a lot of things in there that were understandably hard to sell, but some of the things were quite surprising. We picked up some shoelaces (to make a cat toy), a bag of sour gummy bears, a nail buffer, a tube of chapstick, sugar-free syrup (for mom), several boxes of jello pudding (chocolate mint), a box of beligian waffle mix, a couple of hair clips, a bottle of spice (don't remember what kind right now), plus other stuff -- all for $7.32!!! We were about to leave when I noticed that they had the kitty litter trap - I'd seen it advertised online for ~$30 and thought it looked neat, but wasn't about to spend $30+shipping. I took it up to the counter for a price check - it was $39.95+tax -- but after the 80%, it was only $8.62!! I decided to go ahead and get it. Hopefully this will help stop the complaints from my dad about the bathroom stinking because of Monkey's litterbox. Smile

I got my latest copy of TV Guide. I think it was here last May that I signed up for the offer of a free one-year subscription. It sure isn't a magazine I'd pay for, but I do really enjoy getting it. Smile A week from Sunday looks like it will be a night meant for multiple VCR's - Survivor Season Finale + reunion show 7 - 10 p.m. -- Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 7 - 9 p.m. -- and Crossing Jordan 9 - 10 p.m. I've never understood why they put Survivor's (and Big Brother's) finales on a different night than the normal show - though if they kept it on Thurday, then that would mess with CSI, Everwood and ER, so that wouldn't really be much better. Ok /tvaholic. Smile

Spending:
Albertsons: $8.62 -- Kitty Litter Trap
Post Office: $2.39 -- shipping an Ebay item LONG overdue

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,
Laura

First of December

December 2nd, 2005 at 04:43 am

Wowsie! We are already in December! Only 30 days left in 2005. Time goes by so much faster the older I get. Sometimes I wonder if things will ever really change, or if time will just keep speeding past me and it'll be 2036 and I'll be 60 years old wondering where the time went and just what did I do with it.

Well, anyway. Basicaly today I did laundry. My second load of wash were the colored clothes, but I guess I tried to fit too many clothes into the load because there was still a lot of soap scum left on them. So, I ended up seperating the load and doing two more loads. So, in my effort to save money and time, I ended up wasting money and time. Though I did get my two jackets washed that had been needing to be washed for a long time because of it (to make the 2nd load fuller.)

I used Jeffery's link today to sign up for Emmigrant Direct. I'll probably put the $10 bonus in there whenever that comes around. I think its pretty cool that Jeffery and Nate are doing that for us (though it's making them a little money too, but it's all good.) Smile

I made pasta w/spaghetti sauce tonight for supper. There were enough leftovers for three lunches for me for next week.
I figured out that the portion we ate tonight for supper cost about $2.00 - there were enough for 5 servings, so about $.40 a serving. I thought that was a pretty good price for a meal. Smile

I was telling Dad that I had figured out what I would do for Grandma and Aunt Ni's Christmas presents - I'm going to make Grandma a Gift Jar of Sugar-Free Cherry Tea (she likes tea) and I'm going to make Aunt Ni a Gift Jar of Powdered Milk Bath (with added fragrances.) I think he didn't think that either of those ideas were that great. He said that we needed to get them something nice (read $$). I told him that I didn't think it was the $$ that counted, but the thought that counted. He didn't respond - probably becuase he didn't want to argue about it. All I know is that if it wasn't for them coming here, I wouldn't be doing *anything* for them other than an e-card. It's going to cost me more money for electricity, food, water, etc to have them here. Right now I am living by the string of my teeth, not knowing how much I'll have to live on from month to month. Spending money on Christmas gifts for two people who have everything they could want materially just doesn't make sense. Giving them something that can be used, that doesn't take up much room, and shows that I put some thought and time into it, makes a lot more sense.

Monkey is being so sweet. Instead of sitting on the desk in front of my monitor, he's sitting on the armchair beside me while I'm typing. Of course this makes me have to have my arm in an uncomfortable position while I'm typing, but I don't mind. Smile

Well, I didn't get called in for an assignment tomorrow. Frown So, I guess I can just consider this a long weekend. Hopefully next week won't be a long weekend.

Spent some time working on my 'you need a budget" budget. Had a couple questions about it and emailed Jesse - had an answer back in about an hour. Great customer service. Smile The more I'm using it, the more I am really liking it - the program itself, as well as the budget concept of using November's pay in December. For example, I have paid all of my December bills that I have control of the timing and have the bill for - yesterday, and I haven't received a paycheck yet for December. When I do, that money will not be used till January (or at least not until I have January bills.) This is especially useful for me right now since I have no idea how much I will make each month.

Well guys, I've had a number of short (er) entries. Guess I was due for a longerish one. Smile

No spending today (didn't go anywhere, didn't buy anything online)

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,
Laura