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Archive for May, 2008

California Here I Come!

May 23rd, 2008 at 04:13 am

Woo Hoo! I am all packed and ready to go. Smile

All I need to do now is go to work in the morning and somehow make it till 1:30 when I leave to go to the airport. Big Grin

Can you tell I'm a bit excited? Smile

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The lady who rides with me to work in the mornings gave me $20 today -- for me to go out to eat with or pay for a day's use of the fitness center at the hotel. Wasn't that sweet of her?

I stopped by the gym today to drop off "Rainman" and "Good Will Hunting". A few weeks ago my PT Eric and I were chatting and during the course of the conversation he mentioned he hadn't seen either of those. I felt strongly that situation needed to be rectified. Big Grin

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Guess what management was giving out today?!

FREE tickets to a local baseball team. These aren't just any tickets. These are Executive Level tickets - you get front row seating + FREE food in the Executive lounge. Hot dogs, burgers, nacho's w/cheese, ice cream, cookies . . .

The tickets also include parking passes.

There were about 10 different dates with 4 tickets/4 parking passes available.

I asked for two tickets for the July 5 game -- My dad's birthday!! Plus, because the game is so close to the 4th, they're going to have a fireworks show!

What a great way to treat my dad for his birthday -- and NO out of pocket expense for me (other than gas to get there.)

It will help make up for what I'm doing for him for Father's Day -- we're going to see the new Indiana Jones movie. Smile Mmmm mmm Harrison Ford.

Sunday Musings

May 18th, 2008 at 09:47 pm

Phone Musings:
I checked my latest phone bill yesterday. I saw that I had again been charged the $25 price for my DSL.

Last month I had called to find out why it had gone up ($5). They'd told me a notice had gone out that all the levels would be going up. So I had asked what I could do to bring the price down - was there any kind of contract, etc? Nope. So then they let me know that I *could* go down one level to the very basic DSL and save $5. Told them to go ahead and do that!

So yesterday I called them again to find out why I was still being charged the higher price. I was told that I had made the change two days after the end of the previous billing cycle, but I'd get a credit in my next cycle. I again asked if there was anyway for me to get a better deal - and was again told no.

So, I asked how much would it be to go to dry loop DSL (no landline). I was told it would be the same price - $20/mo -- but that I would lose my $5/mo discount for having the landline bundled with DSL.

I decided to go ahead with the dry loop DSL. With landline DSL I pay $20/mo + $6/mo measured landline + ~$15/mo taxes and fees for landline service. So, I figure that I'll save ~$21 - $5 discount = $16/mo by going to dry loop.

I am going to have to either get my Linkysys wireless router working again, or buy a new router/modem combo so I can continue to get updates for my Tivo. All I need for my Linkysys I think is the installation CD (don't know where it is) and to make sure I have all the necessary cables to connect to my modem.

I think I'll ask my stepdad if he knows how to set up the wireless router and encrypt it so all my neighbors can't use it. Smile Also, need to make sure I can let my Tivo connect to it.

The dryloop won't start till the 26th, so if it takes a few weeks for me to get it figured out, it won't kill me - since there aren't any must see shows to record in June. Smile

Food Musings:
I think I am going to have to go to a cash basis only for food. I continually am spending way too much money on food/groceries - buying things I really shouldn't be buying in the first place.

I'm not going to start this this month, due to my upcoming trip. But for June I believe what I'm going to start doing is do my beginning of the month shopping stock up (generally $40 - 50) trip via credit card. Then I'll take out $60 cash for the remainder of the month. My credit card will be left at home, along with my debit cards - unless I know I'll be needing it to fill up with gas or some other planned expenditure.

I will lose out on the points I could earn on my credit card for those purchases - but it would only be 60 points per month lost. Much better to lose those 60 points per month, and then have the possibility of having the unwisely spent grocery money to be sent to savings and not the hips!

Reading musing:
I've always enjoyed James Patterson's books. Until recently though, I hadn't realized just how many books he had written - and how many of them I haven't read. Smile I am planning on rectifying that glaring mistake as quickly as my library card allows me to. Smile

Two books of his I read recently - which I couldn't put down - "Seventh Heaven" and "Beach Road."

I also have found that the books that have the "Red Dress" emblem on them are quite enjoyable, light, fluffy reading. But I'd found them more by trial and error at the library. This weekend however I googled that term, and found a website listing all the authors of those types of books. Again, my library card is getting a workout. Smile

Vacation/Work musings:
Only 4 1/2 workdays till I get on the plane and head off to sunny San Francisco. I really hope I have more energy by then than I do right now.

There has been quite a lull as far as things for me to do at work this past week. Which has been good in a way, seeing as though I'm still not feeling great. But I do hope things pick up a bit this coming week. I hate feeling like there really isn't much reason for me to be there - doesn't make for a very good feeling of job security.

I was quite annoyed to find out that the hotel I'll be staying at *charges* $15/day for the use of their fitness facilities. It didn't say whether the pool was included in that or not. They also charge $15 to have a small fridge in the room. Ugh! Guess I'll be sticking with lots of walking for my exercise while in SF.

Other musings:
I really need to do a trash run, and run the dishwasher. It is so easy to let some things just kind of slide when its just you.

I was talking with a friend of mine who is going through a divorce. She and her soon to be ex-husband have the arrangement of having their two boys (5 and 11) one week on, one week off. The dad mainly is able to do his work out of his house. The mom works away 8-5 plus an hour commute each way. The boys are both going to be in some kind of summer camp for 5 different weeks. This leaves her with 4 weeks to find care for them.

She has three options: 1) An activity loaded daycare type place $190x2 per week; 2) A run of the mill day care place $110x2 per week; or 3) Her soon to be ex has offered to watch them during the day.

When *I* look at the options, I personally would go for #3! But she doesn't want to go for option #3 because ... "It's not fair! It's my week to have the boys and he'll get to see them all day! I'll only get to see them for a few hours between getting off work and putting them to bed."

I SO badly wanted to point out that no matter which option she went with, she STILL would only be seeing them for a few hours a day! But, I think she already realized the fallacy of her complaint - but isn't willing to give in. So, she's talking about putting the 5 yo in the day camp, and letting the 11 yo be home alone.

Not having kids of my own, I am keeping my mouth clamped shut.

Car Alarm! Arghh!!!

May 17th, 2008 at 06:23 am

So I get off work today at 3. Made a couple stops, then got home around 5. I'm still not feeling very good, so decided to take a nap. About 6 p.m. the car alarm from he** began to go off.

It is now 1:11 a.m. and the car alarm is STILL going off and on, off and on.

About 12:15 out of desperation I called the police. They sent someone - I saw the pv parked by the offending car. I'm not sure exactly what they did, if anything. Because that (*&(*&(&^(*^%%&^%* car alarm is STILL going off!

So much for trying to get some extra rest.

My definition of he** - a single car alarm going off and on in a continuous loop with no end in sight.

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What good are car alarms anyway??? No one pays any attention to them other than to roll their eyes and then ignore them. Any thief worth their salt knows how to get in and out of a car without worrying about an alarm. Aren't they a drain on your car's battery - making it's life shorter?

So, what say you . . .

Do you have a car alarm?

Do you think they are worth it?

Have you ever been driven to the point of wanting to take an ax to the stinking car with the alarm that won't stop going off?! (Ok, ok. No ax is available to me - so don't worry that I went off the deep end.)

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1:21 a.m. The alarm hasn't sounded in almost 7 minutes. Dare I hope that my nightmare is over?

Update: 1:50 a.m. It seems safe to say now that the car alarm nightmare has finished for tonight. I am now going to try and get some rest.

Will this ever go away?!

May 15th, 2008 at 02:43 am

I have 9 days till my trip. My cough is NOT getting better - even with the so-called miracle shot the doctor gave me on Monday.

In fact, I felt worse today than probably I have in the past three weeks.

I have to wonder if it's that the antibiotics aren't working (although I'm not hearing the rattle when I breathe) or is it just that after a day and a half's dose of it, enough is built up to make you feel a whole lot worse before you feel better?!

I left work early today because I felt so crummy. I probably wasn't really safe to drive - but somehow managed to get home.

Arghh!! I HATE being sick! It is costing me so much - both in real money and in opportunity cost.

Mother's Day & the Doctor

May 13th, 2008 at 02:28 am

This weekend I went to my mom and stepdad's. Saturday night I made quinoa for supper - neither one of them had ever had it before. My mom liked it plain, my stepdad experimented with numerous concoctions -- including melted chocolate and raisins. (He and I both share a love of chocolate.)

While I was working through my laundry, we played Uno. We played a total of 9 hands, and in the end, all of us had won 3 hands. Smile At that point we agreed it was a good stopping point. Smile

The plan was for me to make breakfast on Sunday as my Mom's day gift. I was going to make aebleskivers. (pancake balls). I had brought everything I needed (or I thought I had!) While in the middle of emtpying the dryer, I realized that I had forgotten one very important item -- the aebleskiver pan!! ARghh!

So my mom ended up putting soybeans on to soak so we could make soybean/oatmeal waffles instead. Big Grin

I gave her a raincheck on the abelskiver's.

She was just happy that I spent the night with them.
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I've been on the fence for the past week deciding if I should go back to the doctor or not with regards to my congestion/cough. I really didn't want to go and be told I just needed to give it more time - and then be out the copay.

This morning all waffling was set aside when I woke up and heard the lovely rattle in my chest. NOT.

I was able to get an appointment with my regular doctor's co-worker and was diagnoised with bronchitis. So then received the "miracle shot" and a prescripton for $35 antibiotics, along with a different kind of allergy medicine, and something for my cough.

Only 11 days till I get on that plane to San Francisco! I HAVE TO BE WELL!!!

19 days to San Francisco!

May 4th, 2008 at 07:17 pm

My brother called me yesterday afternoon to finalize what my plans are for my week-long vacation. It had been talked about that maybe I'd use my grandma's station wagon - but as we discussed that idea, we realized that it would mean driving two hours to get to where the car is, then driving another six+ hours to get to where she lives, then before I'm ready to leave, I'd have to drive it back to where it belongs. That's a whole lot of driving - a whole lot of gas - and a whole lot of chances for me to get lost or have something happen to the car.

So . . we came up with a better plan.

I'll get into San Francisco on Friday night (May 23rd). I'll stay at the hotel through Monday morning. (Free tickets to San Francisco and back, plus 3 nights free hotel stay due to a trip my dad won.)

Then, on Monday, my brother and perhaps my sister in law (if she can get off work) will take the ferry over to San Fran and we'll spend the day there doing sights. (One place in particular - Ghiradelli's Chocolate store for a Hot Chocolate!) Then we'll take the ferry back to their car, and I'll spend the night at their house. (Get to meet their furbaby's and play their Wii!)

Then, on Tuesday my brother will drive me over to San Jose where my Aunt lives. I'll spend the night there.

Then on Wednesday I'll fly from San Jose to the Ontario airport where I'll catch a shuttle to my Grandma's house in Loma Linda. On Friday, I'll catch a shuttle to the airport, and fly from Ontario to the Oakland airport.

My brother will pick me up at the Oakland airport, and I'll again spend the night with them. Then Saturday afternoon he'll take me back to the San Francisco airport and I'll catch my plane back home.

Whew!

I've budgeted $400 for my trip. So far, between the two extra flights + 2 shuttle trips, I've already spent $207. But -- I was able to book my flights through mypoints.com which netted me 2 points per dollar + of course I used my rewards card, so that is an extra point per dollar.

My dad was supposed to go on this trip, but it is looking like he won't be able to go. So, he is going to take me to the airport on Friday, and probably pick me up again on the next Saturday. If that doesn't work out, then I found a shuttle that will pick me up from work, and take me home for $64 roundtrip. (Cheaper than parking at the airport for 8 days + gas.)

So at any rate - I'm going to have Saturday (24th) and Sunday (25th) in San Francisco all by myself. I'm hoping the hotel will have a nice fitness center and pool, but that won't take all my time. Smile

Any ideas of things I can do that won't cost much? (I'm not sure what hotel I'll be staying at yet - should know by the end of this week - I hope.) Also - any ideas on how I can keep my food costs down? What grocery stores would be easy to get to via bus or streetcar, etc?

April Roundup

May 3rd, 2008 at 06:52 pm

All I can say is UGH! I HAVE to reign in my grocery spending!



Rent: Self Exp.

Renter's Insurance: Sinking Account

Charity: Pledged amount

Groceries: I have done extremely poorly this month with not giving into cravings, etc. Giving into my cravings + not exercising due to having an upper respriatory infection most of this month equaled 5 lbs weight gain. NOT GOOD!

Eating Out: This includes a trip I took with my best friend and her daughter - she paid for the entrance fees, so I treated us to drinks. Also included is a meal I took my dad out for to thank him for his time and effort on getting my car fixed (from when I backed into a pipe sticking out the front of a truck.) Also, I went out to IHOP on my own just for a treat.

Doctor: This is two copays -- first one was diagnoised with an ear infection and sinus infection - second one was dxd with upper resp. infection. Fun.

Prescriptions/OTC: Reg meds + antibiotics/antihistimines etc.

Misc: IRS, Library Fines, and printer ink.

Toiletries: I may end up taking back two of the items in this category because the third item is something that can replace them permenantly. Smile If you know what a keeper is, then you'll figure out what I'm talking about. Smile

Fitness: Remainder of Personal Training fee, registration fees for two 5k races (one of which was supposed to be today, but due to sickness, am not doing).

Entertainment: Treated my dad to a $1 movie (Fool's Gold - good movie). Bought a book. Smile

Car Insurance: Six-month premium

Gas: This was a lot more than usual - due to my dad and I trading vehicles while he took my car to Wayne's to get the rear bumper part fixed - he filled up my car once (I'd given him my credit card) and then I filled up his vehicle. Plus I'd already had to fill my car a 3rd time this month BEFORE we'd traded vehicles. UGH!

Car Repairs/etc: While dad had my car, he took it in for an oil change.

Tolls: Ugh.

Cable: Would really like to get rid of this - just have to decide if I'm willing to let go of my Tivo as well.

Phone/Internet: After a bunch of deductions due to spam text messages plus the phone ordeal with my ds neighbors.

Extra Income:

Carpool: Even though most of one week she didn't ride with me - due to both of us being sick, she still paid me like normal.

Giftcards: I cashed in some of my mypoints for a $50 CVS giftcard (it was cheaper than a Walgreens giftcard) so will be able to get 3 months worth of my meds for FREE (still have the $30 gift card from transferring prescriptions). Smile

Other Income: I did a babysitting job, plus I got a $5 bill in the mail as an incentive to complete an extra survey.

Interest Income: My HSBC interest was down this month - due to the reduced rate and the daily balance being lower. But I moved most of my funds in ING to a savings account, then just transfered it as needed to checking. So, I earned a good bit more interest there.

MAY:

This coming month I had to adjust my budget alot due to overspending in a lot of categories in April. However, I'm still sending a good amount to long term savings, and have a good amount to spend on my vacation.

My vacation is starting to look like it is going to cost me a pretty penny - even though the airfare is free and I have 3 nights in a hotel free + probably free accomondations the remainder of the time. I have the possibility of using my grandma's extra car to get around - but that means a lot of gas money. I also am having to figure out how I'm going to get to the airport, and then back -- both here at home and when I'm out in CA.

I guess this is why I only do this once in a great while!