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Archive for July, 2017

Fence update, Math ?, etc

July 29th, 2017 at 07:50 pm

So without a word to us, the person started working on the landscaping part of the fence project on Monday. We think he's dragging it out as long as possible before needing fence supplies ... for whatever reason. At least its started!

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I'm trying to figure out what to save for property taxes. This year we paid $2212 for an evaluation of $114k. Next year our evaluation will be $140k (what we paid for the house.)

I'm guessing that'll be about $3k. The first half will be due May 1, and the second half due August 1.

I at first just made the goal to have $3k by July, but I've been thinking that that might be more than I need to save each month or perhaps less.

I need $1500 by April, and then another $1500 by July. What is the best way to do this? For whatever reason, I just can't get my brain to figure this out.

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I paid the cremation costs on the new AARP Chase card - so should get $200 cash back on the next statement.

Snowflakes for July:
Bing - $5
Dietbet - $288
Earnably - $15
Earnhoney - $10
PACT - $11.29
Perk - $25
Pinecone - $12
Swagbucks - $125
Youlotto - 5.07

1/2 of these will go towards our spending money and 1/2 will go into the general budget.

I overspent on groceries this month ... a lot. I had tried to keep it to $200, but right now we are at $314. Most of the spending was in an effort to have lots of choices stocked for DH to help him on the eating healthy challenge. Which he didn't even make past day 1 .. Sigh.

I'm budgeting $300 for this month to be more realistic, but am hoping to keep it lower.

Our August budget is going to be tight. DH missed 4 days of work - unpaid. But September should be pretty flush - I have 6 - 8 hours of overtime in August, plus a 3 paycheck month.

However, it's looking like DH will be having shoulder surgery - with a possible 2 - 6 weeks off work. Gulp. Unpaid. So I'll be squirrelling the extras from August into an off work category. Hopefully DH can do some eBay sales during that time so it won't be totally without income. I'll also hold off on sending money to our ROTH's in September in case we need it.

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DH is turning 51 on Thursday! We may be going to eat at a place about an hour from here to celebrate.

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We'll be able to file the small estate affidavit on Friday for SIL. So we can pay ourselves back for the cremation and DH can contact the railroad. If there is money coming from there, then we'll deal with the medical bills. If not, then the medical places just will have to eat the costs.

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I'm still going strong on my new way of eating. I haven't had chocolate or processed foods or other junk foods in over 5 weeks!

The weight loss is going slowly, but it is progressing downward. The last time I weighed this much was around 2005! Another 20lbs and I'll be where I was in 2004 when I first met DH.

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We had some torrential rain here this last week. I saw someone get stuck in the water driving home from work. When I got home I asked DH if he'd checked the basement for water. A few minutes later he calls me and tells me that not only is there water - but standing water!!

He goes outside to check the gutter pipes while I start vacuuming the water. He found out that the end of one of the pipes was clogged with mud and acorns. He tried to clear it and then realized the clog was near the roof ...

So ... I got up on the roof ... DH handed me a branch from our yard that was curved (after I'd tried with another stick) and I got it unclogged! Then came the petrifying part - getting off the roof!

We're going to have someone replace that pipe with something bigger so it doesn't clog so easily.

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I bought a Shark vacuum a few weeks ago - the kind you can take part of it off and use as a dustbuster. I absolutely LOVE it! It's easy to clean and it does the job! I paid $79 for it after using a $50 Walmart card - it was a refurbished deal.

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I stayed home two days this week to try to catch up on housework and projects. Sunday I did a lot of cooking and some cleaning. Monday I did a lot of phone calls and computer work. Tuesday
I went through my closet and found a large bags worth of giveaways and reorganized everything else. I also got most of my artwork hung.

I wanted to hang my mirrors but I was too afraid to use the stickies - though they're made to hang 16lbs. The mirrors are at least 30lbs each.

We have plaster walls so I'm just not sure how to hang something so heavy.

Dietbet, Memorial, the Fence!

July 22nd, 2017 at 03:24 am

So, starting off with the best ...

I lost a total of 32 lbs since January 17 and won
$288! A profit of $173 ($115 starting bet.)

Better yet though, I feel as though I have made real changes to my eating habits.

One prime example - every other time I had finished a weigh in (and won) I had given myself permission to go "off Plan" for a day ... or two or three... This time though, I have just kept on trucking. Eating the same way I have since I made the decision to go fully Whole Foods Plant Based no refined sugars, limited salt/oil.

Yesterday at work someone had brought in several boxes of doughnuts. Some of which used to be favorites of mine. Thursday I was able to look at them, remember how good they tasted, but realize I didn't really want them.

Today there still were some left, and I had to go by them a zillion times ... it got harder, but I told myself I could have a "milkshake" when I got home. Smile (dates, almond milk, a handful of walnuts, peanut butter, cocoa powder) Yum!

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In the so so category ...

The memorial for SIl was on Saturday afternoon. There wasn't a huge turnout. Most people seemed to be either neighbors or friends of her son. It was kind of sad really. DH was both relieved and disappointed at the turnout (he wasn't looking forward to being focused on by a bunch of people.)

We took care of SIL's ashes last night, and then stopped by DH's stepdad's house. Oooh boy. When he goes, we're going to have a lot of fun with his place. Not. He has barely a walkway through his house. It's not filled with trash, but with STUFF. Loads and loads of framed pictures lining the walls (not hung, but leaning against the wall.) 50++ dressed mannequins, a room full of Barbie dolls in boxes and other dolls. And so much more. He's 86 and definitely not in good health.

DH's sister had gone over to his place every Sunday and "shared a beer" with him, up til a month or so before she got really sick. DH won't "share a beer" with him, and if he goes over there once a month that would be amazing. (No love lost for stepdad - Hitler is one of his heroes. As is Sarah Palin and Trump. Ugh. He was a real turd to DH growing up.)

DH would really rather have nothing to do with him, but I think his good side will win out over his enmity towards the guy. He's all alone now ( a bed he made for himself, as DH says)

It's just really sad.

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Now for the stuff that makes my blood boil.

DH knows this guy through work who has done projects for the pizza restaurant owner many times over the years. He also does fences.

So .. DH talked to him about doing our fence.

After many delays, he finally comes over and gives us an estimate.

A few weeks later (after DH texted him several times) he called DH to say - I was waiting to hear if you wanted to go ahead or not.

So, DH writes out a check to him for the cost of the materials = $2254 and I tape it to the back door. The check is cashed by the end of the day.

I call the utility line to have them come out and mark the property. The materials were supposed to be delivered by the end of the week.

Crickets.

Crickets.

Crickets.

Crickets.

DH texts him to find out what's going on.

Crickets.

Crickets.

DH texts him again. "Oh! I texted you a week and a half ago blah blah blah. My guys will be there on Thursday."

I call the utility number to have the lines refreshed.

Crickets.

Crickets.

Crickets.

DH texts him.

Crickets.

DH leaves him a voicemail.

Crickets.

DH calls again and leaves a voicemail.
"Oh, I'm so sorry. My grandfather died and I've been dealing with that the last month. I just got back into town, and should be able to start Friday morning."

This was Wednesday. He was seen at the pizza restaurant Saturday morning.

DH leaves him a voicemail telling him that if there is not some movement on this project by Monday, we are going to ask for our money back.

Crickets.

I'm not looking forward to going to small claims court.

Update on SIL situation, groceries/health challenge/$$

July 8th, 2017 at 03:43 am

I contacted a lawyer through the EAP program at work on Wednesday afternoon. I finally heard back from him this afternoon.

We had about a 12 minute phone conversation. He basically said that we don't need to contact/notify estranged husband. That he is not eligible for any money from SIL's estate. Also, that we should not do anything else as far as notifying, etc. until we are able to file a small estate affidavit 30 days after death.

Once that is filed, then we can do whatever is needed to be done (and pay ourselves back for cremation costs.)

I told this to DH, and he is now wanting to place an obituary. So we'll be working on that this weekend.

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So I got DH to watch "What the Health" this past week with me. Then on Thursday he got a call from his nephew (41 yo) saying that he'd been to the heart specialist and was told that he'd had a heart attack at some point recently.

DH has agreed to do a 21 day health challenge. He's going to try to eat basically a vegan diet. He will also give up his Mtn Dew for those 21 days (but drink juice or sweet tea instead ... at least no chemical junk.)

After watching SIL die, I also decided to take it up a notch. It's now been almost two weeks since I've had any form of dairy or processed/refined sugar. I'm also limiting oil/salt (although I never have really used either that much.)

I told DH that if at the end of the 21 days he doesn't feel a remarkable difference, that I would not ever ask him to change his diet again. (I do however reserve the right to ask our dinners together be healthy.)

I'm not going to try to get him to avoid salt/oil because I think he'd totally rebel on the whole idea. But 21 days of lots of fruits and veggies and beans and leafy greens ... even with eating oil/salt/sugar ... a huge improvement has to be made!

The challenge won't start til a week from Sunday so we have time to figure out what is workable for him.

I bought the ingredients for Fire Engine 2 Rescue Sweet Potato Lasagna and a "meat"loaf recipe too. Plus lots of fruits and veggies and nuts.

I also bought a cast iron griddle from Aldi.

I spent a lot of money ... $44 at Walmart and ~$40 at Aldi. Also $42 at Petco. An expensive couple of hours.

(I used my $25 gift card at Walmart)
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Speaking of expensive ...

My stock went from 379 to 308 in the past week. I had thought I set stop loss orders at 350 and 325 for a huge chunk. Apparently I didn't do it right.

I ended up selling 80% of my holdings for 317 Thursday morning. Ugh.

Once the funds settle I plan on putting them into index funds. Nice and stable growth. (All but $5k of stock were in IRA's)

SIL Passed - Legal Connundrum

July 3rd, 2017 at 09:56 pm

SIL passed this morning around 4:30 a.m.

We had spent most of Sunday at her home ... she was ready to go. Her body was pretty much shutting down when we left.

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Today we have been making phone calls and figuring out the next steps.

As we were at her long time partners home discussing the memorial service, we found out that she had never finalized her divorce from her second husband.

This husband is incarcerated in the state pen for murder - for life.

This throws a big monkey wrench into everything and none of us are sure how to proceed. (Definitely not the way one person suggested - just not notifying the incarcerated husband!)

Of course this happens on a holiday weekend so we can't talk to anyone.

She didn't leave a will, so my DH was taking on the executor details himself (with my help) but now that we know she is still legally married. ... We just don't know what to do.

Is her son still legally able to consent to her being cremated? Will the money in her account, plus her delayed disability money from the railroad go automatically to the incarcerated husband? Would we be in trouble if we used some of it to pay for the cremation and memorial expenses?

UGH!!

DH is pretty upset right now. His sister knew the end was coming for at least the past year. She had time to get all of this figured out. To make her wishes known. But instead she hid how serious it was from everyone except her partner.

DH's Sister Update; June Snowflakes, etc

July 1st, 2017 at 03:56 pm

DH's sister is rapidly deteriorating. The nurse has said that the end may come by the end of this coming week, if not sooner.

We had a family meeting with the social worker on Friday afternoon, and were able to get her to sign the Power of Attorney form so DH can do stuff with her financials and health decisions. The hospital really dropped the ball on this big time. A week ago she was MUCH more lucid and would have had an easier time doing all the needed paperwork. At this point, we're glad just to get the POA.

Although she doesn't have a will, from what I have been able to find out, she qualifies as a "small estate." So, there probably won't be too much red tape as in probate stuff. Kind of like with my dad.

DH took a day off work last week and is planning on taking another one off this week to help with stress relief and get stuff done that he doesn't have the energy too with spending two afternoons over at his sister's...

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We had our July budget meeting Thursday night with the new budget setup. I think it will be much simpler to do.

We are having a ton of issues getting DHs Vanguard account setup. So very frustrating.

I got an offer from my Barclay's card - spend $750/month for 3 months and get $50. I thought about it, but then realized that it probably isn't worth the hassle. $100 might be, but not $50.

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June Snowflakes:

Swagbucks - $25 Walmart; $25 Paypal; $25 PP; $25 PP

Pact - $10

Earnhoney - $5; $5, $5

Earnably - $10; $5

Yoolotto - $6.75; $5.67

MyPoints - $25 PP

FetchRewards - $10 in Walmart gift cards

Inbox Dollars - $40.42

Bing - $5 AGC

Total: $232.84

CC Cash back:

Citi Double Cash - $162 (several months worth)
AE Blue - $25

*I found out some sad news. PACT is shutting down the second week of July. I've been using it for nearly 5 years. The silver lining I guess is that my phone won't be filled with food pictures anymore. Smile