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Archive for December, 2005

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

December 31st, 2005 at 09:05 am

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 29th, 2005 at 06:58 pm

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 28th, 2005 at 05:42 pm

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 09:12 am

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 21st, 2005 at 08:02 pm

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 20th, 2005 at 06:56 pm

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 19th, 2005 at 06:42 pm

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 18th, 2005 at 05:36 pm

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 17th, 2005 at 07:41 pm

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