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Archive for April, 2014

Housing and other somewhat related questions

April 26th, 2014 at 07:48 pm

So as I'm getting closer and closer to my move to NE, I have been looking harder at housing. I'll be staying with NE until I find a place of my own, and I'm assuming that means that I'll need to find a job and probably have at least one paycheck before I'll be considered.

I let go of a lot of my furniture, etc. before starting grad school 5 years ago, and will be letting go of more furniture/stuff prior to moving. So that means I could go with something really small easily.

I haven't paid rent for 3 years and I haven't paid utilities (other than Internet) for 8? years. I'm planning on asking my principal and the mobile home park manager to write some kind of letter of reference/explanation for the 3 years of no rent, and then ask the woman I stayed with for 4 months and my mom who I rented a room from for 9 or so months to also write letters of reference.

As for the utilities ... I'm guessing that I'm going to have to pay security deposits since it has been so long since I've had a utility account. Anyone know if a near 800 credit score would allay that possibility??

In looking on Craigslist for the town I'm moving to, I found some places for $330 - 360 that are around 4 - 500 sqft. I asked NE about the addresses/location of these places, and he let me know that they are not in very safe/decent areas.

So I checked out the various apartment rental sites, and the cheapest place I could find (that allows pets) has a 1 bedroom for $430 and includes high-speed Internet (as well as water/garbage.) I'm guessing that electric/gas will add $100/month. So, I'm looking at $530/month for housing. (A 2 bedroom goes for $450/month at the same place. NE thinks it's silly to do the 1 bedroom when it's only a difference of $20. Maybe I could do the 2 bedroom and get a roommate?? If I had a roommate, then I'd probably have to have cable, right?)

The place I'm looking at is across the street from NEs apartment complex - he says he doesn't have a problem with me being so close by. Smile That would mean I'd be within biking distance of a great park for walking/biking.

I have thought about trying to see if I could just rent a room in someones home (then get rid of a lot more of my stuff too ... ) but Kari (my cat) complicates that idea a lot. Plus I'm not sure it'd be that much less expensive.

One thing I'm going to really really really miss about my place here is having a washer/dryer/laundry room.

$530 would be about 38% of my current take home. So if the job I eventually find pays the same or less, AND doesn't have health insurance ... That'd be a huge bite.

Then there's the question of how long to take a lease for. I was figuring a year ... but NE and I were talking the other night and he was asking me about what I'd been finding. Then he mentioned that he thinks the management company for the complexes in his neighborhood offer 6 month leases.... I've made it clear that I'm not interested in living together without being married. I'm guessing a 6 month lease might be more expensive than a 1 year lease?

What do you all think? Risk living in a sketchy area (according to NE druggies hang out in this area, lots of car break ins, etc.) for $300-$350/month. Or rent a place in the complex across the street from NE -- 1 bedroom for $420/mo --- or a 2 bedroom for $450/mo ... then maybe have a roommate (add basic cable) and charge $250/month?

I know I still have time to figure this all out, but it's going through my head now, so thought I'd ask and see what ya'll think. Smile

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Other question. I'm not a math person, so am wondering if those of you who are can help me out with this.

I have a cc that pays me 5% cash back on gas/gas station spending.

I have another cc that pays 2% cash back on gas/gas station spending -- but if you have your rewards deposited into a checking/savings account at a particular bank, they give you a bonus 10% (I'm guessing on the total rewards earned that month or perhaps on the amount being transferred?)

Am I right in thinking that the second cc is the better cash back deal for gas?

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It snowed here today! It's been so nice the past week, and then it got super windy today (the dust was so bad in big G it made visibility really bad.) Then the wind quieted and I thought it had started to rain ... but looked out the window and saw it had snowed!! We sure need the moisture.

Ouch :(

April 25th, 2014 at 04:52 pm

For the past two weeks my back has been giving me more and more problems. I'm constantly sitting in my office chair now with a heating pad behind me. I have to move it around too, in order to hit all the spots. At work it's been affecting me too - like yesterday when I was supposed to jump as part of a song with my 4 year olds, I did one jump and that was it - no way was I going to attempt a second jump. On Wednesday I was driving to the PO after work and turned slightly, and yelped in pain. Today I was thinking about trying to go for a walk - beautiful day - but my back was hurting off and on just walking across campus. Frown

If my back keeps this up, then I am going to have to hire some people to load my truck and unload it. Which stinks. (The pain is right in the middle/side, and some in the tailbone too - wonder if some of it is coming back from when I landed hard on my tailbone a 4? years ago - remember on the stairs at my mom's ex husbands house?)

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The other thing is my tooth. About two weeks ago or so I either lost a filling or chipped it. It's getting to be more of a nuisance. Sometimes I forget about the hole, and chomp down on something on that side, and it goes straight up into that hole. I may not be able to wait til June to get this taken care of.

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4 weeks left of school now, and boy am I ready for it to be over. I really think that whatever job I get next it will be an office job. I'm just so tired of dealing with kids with attitude problems. Even making twice what I make here just would not be worth it.

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I got a survey from a bank I have a checking account with - only reason I got the checking account in the first place was because my dad had one there, and it was easier for him to transfer money to me that way (long story.) I kept it after he died mainly because I didn't feel like going through the hassle of closing it, and there were no fees. Recently I opened a cash rewards cc with this bank (not naming bank on purpose.) This cash rewards cc made it make sense to continue keeping the account open.

So the survey gave me a heads up that my type of checking account may be going away, and the only way I could keep it free would be direct deposit or a minimum balance. So I guess that means that I will have to go through the hassle of closing this account anyway. I have DD through the end of June (at ING) but after that, I have no idea what my pay situation will be. As for the minimum balance? No way am I going to keep more than $100 in an account that doesn't pay interest!!

Ugh and double ugh!

Feeling Sad

April 21st, 2014 at 03:41 pm

I found out today that the father of two of my students - 2002/2003 and 2003/2004 died on Friday. This man is partly responsible for my decision to leave teaching. I held a lot of hard feelings towards him for a long time - had put in a lot of time, effort and heart in working with his two children, and was not repaid kindly. It was only after going through a program called Pathways that I was able to let go of my hard feelings. I remember vividly the day in church I was sitting with my best friend T and her family, and this man and his family sat a few rows in front of us. T leaned over to make sure I was okay, and after checking myself, realized that I was just fine.

About two years later I'd arrived late for church one day and was waiting in the foyer to go in. This man approached me and apologized for his actions and behavior. I am so glad now that I was able to tell him that all had been forgiven.

His two children will be heading to college or to their last year of high-school this coming school year. My heart breaks for them losing their dad so young.

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I also am feeling sad because of a story that was shared by a friend of mine on FB today. She's not a friend in the traditional sense where we spent a lot of time together and knew each other well, but I did know her in real life when we both lived in Minnesota. Her mom was the local elementary school's teacher/principal.

She shared a story today of how in 2009 she'd moved to NY to be near a boyfriend, and the relationship hadn't lasted long. She stayed on, and a year or so later met someone else. This someone else turned out to be mentally and physically abusive. It was less than a year ago that she finally managed to leave the situation with only the clothes on her back and her wallet. She's now $20k in debt and trying to pick up the pieces.

It just goes to show that you never know what is going on in someone's life.

Only One of My Fave Guys in the World :)

April 19th, 2014 at 07:31 pm

So I figured out that Real World is on Hulu+ and I knew that one of my fave guys in the world was on a recent episode. I tortured myself sitting through two episodes of ... well, I tortured myself .. until, finally, there he was! Big Grin

This was before he moved to San Jose for a new job (and to be with his gf.) If you haven't guessed yet, the guy is my brother! Big Grin



A few of you have met him, so you can just imagine his charisma in welcoming the RW cast. Smile

Updates

April 19th, 2014 at 12:17 pm

It's been a little bit since I last posted. Five weeks left of the school year, and 5 1/2 weeks til moving day!

NE was here visiting a week ago during Spring Break. One of the days we visited Bluewater Lake and Canyon de Shelly (de shay.) We got ourselves royally lost within in Bluewater Lake park - lots of dirt roads that all looked alike. What took us five minutes to go from the gate to the lake, took us nearly 40 minutes to find the gate again! While there though we found a flock of 16 Pelicans. At one point they flew up out of the water and preceded to entertain us for at least 15 minutes flying different formations. So cool!

We only took in the South Rim at Canyon de Shelly - but that by itself took a good two hours, and was well worth it. NE was really tired out by the last lookover stop, so I did that one by myself ... and ended up getting royally lost on the way back to the car. Heading out to the overlook took me maybe 5 minutes, but heading back took me over 25 minutes. I was SO thankful to see NE and the car!!

Here's some photos NE and I took (NE is a lizard hunter - hunts them for photos only.)



This is the lizard NE caught - I think he said it was a side winder??



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I cashed out again on GymPact last week - $10 - and was paid within a day. It seems as though they've got their act together again. I'll be able to cash out again by Tuesday or Wednesday of this coming week.

On Thursday I got another book review assignment - which I turned in Friday afternoon, and already received a $25 payment. Smile

I made the $500 spending requirement for the BofA Cash Card, and have reserved my rental truck/car dolly with the Cap One Quicksilver card - which also easily meets the $500 spending requirement. So within the next month or two, I'll be receiving $200 in cash awards from those two cards. I'll probably cancel the Quicksilver card because between my Pen Fed card (gas 5%), BofA card (2% groceries +10% bonus when direct deposit cash awards into BofA account) and my Swagbucks card (1.5 % on everything) - the Quicksilver would be superfluous. I also really need to cancel my Discover and Amazon cards. I need to keep my Chase one though, as it is my oldest. Can you say - FT you have too many credit cards for one person!!

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Yesterday I had Good Friday off, so I decided to get my title transfer taken care of. Yikes. I got to the MVD (DMV) around 12:30 p.m. and was finally called around 3:37 p.m. While I was waiting I did two things - read the book for my book review and talked with a Native American woman who had been waiting longer than I had to do the same thing! I had unfortunately let my registration lapse (it expired in December ... ooops) so I had to pay a fine for that to renew it, plus the cost of the title transfer -- so a total of $78. I put it on my BofA card, which finished up the $500 spending.

So now my car is totally in my name, and is totally legal to be on the road. Smile

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I've sold a few more items on eBay, although that's kind of been slow going the last few weeks.

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I have Monday off as well, so plan to make Sunday and Monday packing and decluttering days. I am getting down to the wire!!

On Monday I also want to check with the PO about getting a PO box in NE - see if it's possible to do without being there in person. That way I can have my mail forwarded there starting the week I move.

Last Friday I had either a filling fall out, or a tooth chip - not sure which. I have insurance coverage through the end of June, so will probably wait to do anything about it til I'm in NE. It's a nuisance, but not painful.

Speaking of insurance, I need to look into how I can get onto Obamacare. I'm assuming that I'd qualify for the "life change" qualification to apply/start outside of the initial signup process. (going from having insurance w/job to not having insurance)

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I finished season 3 of Dowton Abbey yesterday. OMW!! I am SO tempted to pay for season 4 to find out what happens next. Poor Mary. Frown I have another show my aunt recommended to me though - Mr. Selfridge. The first season is on Amazon Prime, so I'll watch that before I decide whether or not to give in to temptation. Smile

I am now into my second month Netflix'less. I am more than getting by with Amazon Prime and my "free" Hulu Plus subscription (free through Bing rewards! -- in fact, right now they are running a promotion where you can get a free month of Hulu for only 300 points!!! I've already cashed in on one, and will be cashing in for another one probably Monday.)

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Not much else I can think of right now.

Finished decluttering the Office

April 7th, 2014 at 08:19 pm

I'll have to post before and after pics later, but today after 2 1/2 hours of shredding documents, plus another 1 1/2 of cleaning and organizing, the office was pretty much as clean and organized as it will get. Smile Now, let's see how long I can keep it like that. Smile

I also cleaned the rest of my place. Only thing left to do is wash the sheets/pillowcases, and I'll be ready for NE's arrival in the morning. Smile

In between all this cleaning and organizing, I discovered a new show ...well, new to me. Big Grin I'd been told about it before, but had not seen an episode yet. Last night I saw the first episode - I was looking for something about an hour long, and Amazon Prime had .... Downton Abbey - fit the bill perfectly.

I am totally hooked!! I watched 4 more episodes today.

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I got my 3 eBay packages mailed out today. I also got a call from a staffing agency in NE who told me to give them a call once I'm actually there and available for an interview. So, that's promising. Smile

I didn't make the Round 5 of the 6 month diet bet, so I was given my winnings from the one round I did manage to win -- $18.02. The money is already in my PayPal.

So far, I am really enjoying my spring break (and in a not too long, it'll be even better Big Grin )

Decluttering and Snowflakes

April 6th, 2014 at 06:03 pm

I started on my office today - probably the worst room in my house because I spend the most time in here. I took some before photos, but will save those until I've got some good after photos to share. Smile I spent about 3 1/2 hours going through papers, drawers, bookshelves, etc.

As a result of my decluttering so far today, I have a huge pile of papers to shred, two full trashcans, a large box of items to donate, two Pinecone checks ($3) found and deposited, five educational books and a digital thermometer listed on eBay. There's still a lot more to do, but I do feel as though I made some good progress.

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Snowflakes - Two Pinecone checks - $6 ; 3 items on eBay sold ($4.99, $7.00 and $7.99) which I'll mail out on Monday ; two $5 AGCs from Swagbucks posted.

Oh - on Friday I sold another $7.99 item on eBay and mailed it out that afternoon. I'm down to my last two of that particular item and am really tempted to order 5 or 6 more ... but I really need to not be adding to what I have in my house right now.

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I found out a little bit more about the job I seem to have been hired on for - it's up to 25 hours a week. So, I'm thinking that perhaps I'll try to find some tutoring students in the afternoons 3 or 4 days a week, and do whatever I need to in the mornings. Then on Fridays I can do garage sales or book sales (looking for items to resell on eBay.)

I did find a full time job I also applied for - virtual assistant for a dog care company. M - F 8 hrs/day 14/hr. They wanted you to send them a letter introducing yourself and telling a funny animal story.

So, I told them the story of how one weekend I came home from college to find that my family had adopted a 1 year old Chocolate Lab, and named him Brutus. Barely 24 hours after meeting him, I found myself alone in the house with him. The doorbell rang, and when I answered it, Brutus ran out the door. I had no shoes on, but my only thought was that my brother would never forgive me if something happened to that dog! So, off I ran after him. 45 minutes of chasing him around the gated community and outside of it (where I even had two strangers give me a bit of a ride ...) we were back inside near our house. I felt completely defeated, so sat on a curb and put my head in my hands. Next thing I know, my hands are being licked by Brutus. Smile One of my top two favorite dogs ever.

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Can I say how happy I am to be on Spring Break right now? Smile

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Almost forgot! I came across a smartphone app called Field Agent where you assign yourself different jobs and get paid for it. (for example, take a picture of an item in a store to show how it's displayed) There aren't many opportunities in my neck of the woods right now, but in CA or some other more populated areas, I bet you'd get tons!

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Also, Friday night I spent at least 30 minutes doing a Live Chat with a Walgreen's representative because my fitbit steps weren't posting points (Balance Rewards.) She fixed that for me, and merged an old account with the current one. I'm close to the 20k point mark! When I get to 40k, I can redeem it for $50 in savings.

Quick Update - GymPact+1

April 2nd, 2014 at 06:40 pm

I just wanted to give a quick update on my problems with getting paid from GymPact this month. I received an email from their CS (Jen) telling me that their records showed a payment sent on March 5. I was sorely tempted to throw my phone across the room .... Instead, I wrote back and said that I was pretty sure that I had cashed out on the 12th, and that was the missing payment. Then I checked my blog here and saw that indeed, I had cashed out on the 12th! I added a link to my blog post to the email.

Less than an hour later I not only had payment for the most recent cashout, but also for the March 12 cashout! Thanks Jen!!

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I heard back from the job I applied for on flex jobs last week (I think?) a few days ago asking me to fill out a form. I had some problems filling out the form in FF, so finally had to use IE to complete it. Yesterday I got an email telling me that I'd be getting another email within the next week with instructions on where to login, and what my tasks will be. So ... it looks like I've got at least one job. Smile Not sure exactly what I'll be doing, or how it pays, but it's something!!

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Two days til Spring Break!!!!!! Big Grin

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I cashed out for 4 $5 AGCs from Swagbucks yesterday and today. A couple weeks ago I cashed out for a $25 Paypal ... I don't have enough SBs for my 5th AGC yet .. but will tomorrow. I decided to cash out for 500 SBs from Bing, even though it won't help me with my daily goal, it also won't hurt it (i.e. raise it) - and I can cash out for Paypal cash once I have my 5 $5 AGCs each month.

Got my Title! Woo Hoo!

April 1st, 2014 at 06:03 pm

I sent in my final payment of $423 on March 25 for my car loan. I wasn't sure if there'd be any interest charges from the date of my last statement to when they received my check, so I was waiting anxiously for my next statement.

Today, instead of a statement, I received a congratulations/thank you letter and ... my title! Woo hoo!!! It sounds as though I have to take it to the DMV to get it ratified or something - so will probably do that Monday or Friday next week (Spring Break, yeah baby!)

(*In November, 2012 I bought a 2010 Toyota Yaris for about $11k. I paid up front $6k of it, and financed $5k at 1.9% My base payment was $156/mo for 36 month. Obviously I didn't stick with the base payment. Big Grin )

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GymPact (nka Pact) is really annoying me. I sent another note to Customer Service stating that I was still waiting for my payment for my cashout from over 3 weeks ago. Today I got a reply stating that their records indicate that I cashed out last week, and that it could take up to 7 business days. Ooof! I replied back that I am waiting for TWO payments - one from last week, and one from 3 weeks ago. I didn't write in about the one from last week since it hadn't been 7 business days yet (close, but not quite.)

I'm going to be really sad if this keeps up, because then I'm probably going to delete/cancel this app. It's been a great source of extra money for over a year now for me, and all for doing what I would do anyway for the most part.

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As far as my bad day yesterday, so far no response from either boys parents. So maybe nothing will come of it and I can breathe a sigh of relief. Their teacher also told me that today the two boys were playing and laughing with each other like nothing had happened.

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The computers at work are going to drive me bonkers. In the lab we are down to 7 or 8 barely functioning computers (out of 23.) We have 30 *brand new* computers sitting in boxes in the lab ... They were going to be set up over Spring Break, but I was told recently that has been postponed to summer. Great. Maybe I should just stop having the kids do anything on the computers at all .. less than 4 weeks of classes left anyway (I stop classes 2 weeks before the end of the year.)

Prime example. Only one computer has a microphone connection that works. I've used it several times to record students doing a narration. Of course you can't save anything to this computer. So my 3rd graders were going to work on a fotobabble project (check out fotobabble, cool site!) In order to do this, I had to save their photo (endangered animal) to their folder, then upload it to the fotobabble site and save it. Then go to the microphone computer and have them record their research paragraph.

Would be a pain, but would work right? Yeah ... if the record button on the fotobabble site would work correctly on the recording computer!!! It worked great on the computer I used to upload the photo - but of course no sound was recorded. I threw my hands up and told the kids just to do dance mat typing (another great site!