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Archive for October, 2015

Work Ugh.

October 31st, 2015 at 01:01 am

I really don't get some of the regulations surrounding government employees.

One of them is about gifts.

Thursday a customer brought in a bouquet of flowers for one of the drivers to show his appreciation.

After letting my boss know what I was doing, I took them down to dispatch.

Grumpy old man dispatcher was on duty. He wrinkled his nose and said, "We don't do flowers down here!" Umm ... yes you do. I've brought flowers down before for other people. :roll eyes:

My boss tells me to give them to the bus driver supervisor. BDS is in with Big Boss.

Big Boss says, "Oh, we can't accept flowers from a customer." I barely control my mouth and ask how flowers are different from the cookies we got at Christmas (a HUGE platter of cookies.)

Cookies were consumable, but flowers aren't.

Um ... okay.

I'm told to either throw them away or find a vase to put them in and display them in the main office. My boss found a vase and I filled it with water.

I'm wondering exactly how I'm going to explain this to the person who brought the flowers. Ugh.

Cue Friday.

My afternoon break is at 3:00 p.m.

I get a phone call at 2:51 p.m. from fast talking lady. At 2:53 p.m. Customer who tried climbing the stairs on his backside when the elevator was broken last year rolls up to the window.

I tell fast talking lady that I need to put her on hold. She very grumpily says ok.

Customer takes several minutes to complete transaction. (I'm having to help him a lot.)

2:57 I get back to fast talking lady. She snottily tells me that this better be fast because she's going through her Tracphone minutes.

2:58 New customer (never seen before) comes to the window. I mute the phone for a second and tell him to ring the buzzer because I'm going on break shortly.

New customer says, "What, you're too lazy to take a few minutes to help me before going on break?"

I'm utterly flabbergasted and have lots of responses in my head. None of which I verbalize.

2:59 I finish with fast talking lady. I go to the window to help rude customer and see several people behind him. I ask him to ring the buzzer again.

3:01 I'm almost finished with his transaction when person covering my break comes out.

3:15 I'm still fuming.

3:16 I get call from "Hello, friend!" lady who always puts a smile on my face no matter what kind of a day. I actually tell her this today (she asks me how my day is - usually just say good or fine - today I said 'better now that you've called - you put a smile on my face) She was really surprised - thought she was a pest. Smile

3:18 Still very annoyed by rude customer, but feeling somewhat less upset.

How is the above financial in nature? It's called MOTIVATION for SAVING for RETIREMENT!

Dentist Visit. Looking into the Future .. , A funny

October 28th, 2015 at 02:01 am

At my dentist visit today I did end up having a filling done. It was going to cost $84 after insurance. Zoinks!

I handed over my FSA card thinking there was maybe $5 or $6 left on it at most. Nope! There was over $50 left! Yay!

So since I was in a celebratory mood ... (ya ya sure ... I was using any excuse) I headed to Target and got my fave Amy meal x 3. Plus a few other things.

Spent about $24.

BUT .. today I saw my last October paycheck. Which is the second one going to November.

After entering it in, and filling in the numbers in my various categories ... and knowing that I'll be getting reimbursed for the plane tickets to CA for Thanksgiving ... and knowing that December should also be a 3 paycheck month ...

I came to the following conclusion --

I will be able to meet my $10k in my EF goal by the end of this year!

This goal originally was $12k, but I realized that I wasn't funding some categories properly (i.e. car tags, etc.) and so reduced it to $10k. With some of the larger medical expenses I had this year, I wasn't sure I'd even make that one.

But it (knocks on wood) looks like I just might!

Then in January I can start aggressively saving towards the house downpayment! YES!

I have decided (once again ...) that I am going cold turkey on purchasing soda or any junky food for November and December. (Not saying I won't EAT any junk food - just I won't purchase it myself.)

I've let myself get way too lax with the junk, and I'm hoping by putting forth this moratorium, I will both save money (since many trips to the store are merely disguised trips for junk ...) and help me get back to LOSING weight. Maybe help with my lack of energy too.

Okay, so now for the funny ...

Our bus system has a number of routes which are interconnected. This means that when Bus A is South of O street it is for example #46, but when it is North of O Street, it is #45. A rider could get on Bus A when it is the #46 and ride it from the North to the South and get off of it as the #45.

So ... today I get this call from a woman who was at first and O St. She wanted to know when the #45 bus would be coming by.

After checking to make sure if she was wanting to go downtown or outbound, I told her that the #46 bus would be going by her in about ten minutes.

(The #46 bus goes out from our transfer center west along O St from 11th to 1st, and then the numbers start going back up (Nw 1st, Sw 1st) When it gets to NW 48th and O it heads North. This happens from 6:10 a.m. to 6:10 p.m. Monday thru Friday.)

She then started arguing with me that the #45 bus came by first and O in the morning, but not the #46 bus.

As she was hanging up I heard her say to someone nearby ... "The lady doesn't know her buses very well." LOL

Almost forgot!

I filled out a comment card at the restaurant the other night. Today I got an email letting me know that I'd won a $15 gift certificate!

I wonder how long that will be good for ... cuz' I'm guessing it'll be a long time before I'll be getting back that way. Smile

Roadtrip, Scholarship App, etc

October 27th, 2015 at 01:30 am

NE calls me up pretty early on Sunday. (earlier than I'd planned on for our roadtrip) He tells me that his laptop has fallen apart on him. The one he bought used maybe 3 months ago? Maybe less?

He wanted to go to Office Max to check out their Chromebooks. I was elated he finally was going to actually buy something NEW. When his last laptop broke I casually mentioned to him that if he added up how much he's spent on used laptops just in the two years we've been back together, he could have bought a pretty nice brand new one!

Office Depot didn't have a great selection, so he's borrowing my iPad and ordering something online. Good thing I hadn't actually gotten around to *selling* my iPad yet.

Our roadtrip to Norfolk, NE went pretty well. It was a LONG drive though. I drove there, and he drove back (I'm terrible with night driving.)

My GPS cut off before we got to the restaurant, and so we ended up driving past our turn off. Then once we got it going again, there wasn't great signage ... and then when we pulled up ... there was only ONE car in the parking lot!

We were worried that they were closed.

Thankfully, they were open. Big Grin The food was REALLY good. I had a veggie burger that was their own creation - so yummy! NE had chicken fried steak - which he said was "the best I've ever had" which coming from him is HIGH praise.

When we were done eating I asked about the jukebox. Frown No jukebox anymore (old pictures I guess.) But they did have an upstairs lounge area with airplane memorabilia. There was a mural of a famous actor in an airplane film (older film) with this look on his face like he smelled something really bad. So ... since we were in the room all by ourselves ... and NE is a guy who loves breaking wind ....

It was just too perfect. We got several tame selfies of us in front of the pilot mural, and then a couple other ones where NE pretended like he was giving the pilot something to smell. Smile

Maybe I'm 12 years old too ... it was really funny. (I pity anyone who went up there up to ten minutes after we vacated though ....)

So ... in other news ... someone posted a link on FB today about a new app which links students to scholarships which fit them. There's SO many scholarships that just don't get claimed because people don't know how to find them, or think they won't qualify or whatever.

My philosophy is, you won't know if you qualify unless you go for it. I got several scholarships in grad school that I wasn't sure if I really qualified for or not. Every $50 and $100 helps!

Here's a link to the story about the app:

My dentist appointment is tomorrow afternoon. It will be nice to get out of work early. Smile I'm going to have to talk myself out of going to Target which is really nearby and has the Amy's meal I *really* *really* *really* like (Chinese Noodles & veggies in Peanut? sauce) I SO don't have ANY grocery money left for October. No spending money either ...

Got to bed pretty late last night - due to the roadtrip, etc. So my goal tonight is to be in bed no later than 10 p.m.

It seems like the season has started where I need to check my windshield by 7:25 a.m. to see if I need to start the car or not. The windows were a bit frosted over this morning - not enough to require scraping, but did need wiping.

Got me to thinking again about the remote starter ... NE and I were actually talking about that last night. As much as I'd DEARLY Love to have it ... I'd rather have the money for the house downpayment fund ... where maybe we'll have a GASP garage! Then I won't need a remote starter anyway. Big Grin (Wishful thinking, as the house in our price range generally don't have garages ...)

Remembered the actor's name (mural on wall) Jim Belushi! My brother told me it's from the movie Blue's Brother's. (My boss is the one who told me the name of Belushi - but I couldn't remember it til shortly ago.)

Updated YNAB, Planned Outing on Sunday

October 24th, 2015 at 03:09 am

I have been neglecting YNAB lately, and so tonight I bit the bullet and spent the necessary time to get it up to date.

Overall, it's not looking too bad. My available to balance is in the red due to waiting on the check from Swagbucks for the double payment refund. I also have spent more in groceries than I wanted to, but still WAY less than half of last months spend fest.

I also updated my investment balances... Over the last 3 months I've lost nearly 28k. Mostly due to the electric car stock. Of course, the loss is all on paper right now - it would only be real if I were to be foolish enough to sell. (and even then it wouldn't *really* be a loss, considering the cost basis of most of the stock is around $25 - 30...)

I'm hoping to hold out until the 1st for any more grocery shopping. Other than budgeted spending (i.e. bills) I don't see anything I'll need to spend on for the rest of the month.

One exception to the above ... NE and I are going to be making a road trip on Sunday to a place about 2 hours from here. We'll be going to a really neat restaurant/museum/place with a working jukebox. He only knows we're going to be going to a restaurant ~2 hours away. Smile

I still have pretty much a full tank of gas, so all it will really cost is whatever food we get. There isn't much on the menu for me other than sweet potato fries .. Smile

I closed out my Nationwide checking as of today (after double checking I won't get dinged the $200 bonus.)

Yesterday (or maybe Wednesday??) I cashed out SBs for a $25 Paypal. I got a 200SB swagup.

I don't think I'll be getting too much in Swagbucks in November with being gone most of a week. But it'll be worth it. Smile

My FF browser is being a real pain. I can't watch any kind of videos on youtube or FB anymore without it freezing completely. I've done some of the tricks which worked before, but they haven't helped. So if I want to watch a youtube type video, I have to do it in a different browser.

I've started seriously looking at new computers ... I have around $150 in Amazon credit right now (after having bought some freezable food containers for lunches/frozen fruit) I think I paid around $400 for my current computer in 2011. (Used Swagbucks credit and graduation gift money mostly for it back then.) I hope I can keep the computer limping along for awhile longer.

I'm curious / excited about the new YNAB version that is in beta right now. A totally web based version. I need to probably start putting money away in a category for that ... Smile Someone posted a link to the user manual for the beta version on FB today ... some neat new features it sounds like. Big Grin

**Note - If you already have YNAB 3 or 4 etc. you can keep using them for as long as you want, even after the web version comes out. If you just recently purchased 4 (like CCF and someone else I can't think of right now) Jesse most likely will make a VERY sweet deal to upgrade if so desired.

Lane Bryant, Geico, etc

October 22nd, 2015 at 01:14 am

After work today I stopped by a local Lane Bryant store to pick up my order. Upon walking in, I saw signs advertising "up to 80% off" ... and so I started looking. I ended up trying on 5 different items - two of which I liked well enough to check the prices. Yeah .. no. Neither of them were liked well enough to pay the asking price (neither of which were actually on sale, even though I pulled them from a sale rack ...)

I've had good luck in the past shopping a LB sale, but not today. I did try on one of my new bras before leaving to make sure it fit well. Smile

On FB I belong to a MMM group. Someone started a thread a few days ago asking about car insurance. I mentioned I'd been with Geico for 12++ years, and even with shopping around every so often, hadn't found anything cheaper for me.

So ... someone mentioned that they too have Geico. BUT they mentioned something I'd had NO IDEA about. If you own a share of Berkshire Hathaway stock (BRK.b) you can get a 8% discount on your Geico insurance.

All you need is ONE share (currently at about $134.) I pay about $218 every 6 months, so it would net me a $22 or so discount - so would take about 3 years to equal the share price. But maybe the share will go up in value?? I'm debating on whether I want to do this or not .. but wanted to share for others who might have higher car insurance than I do.

I redeemed $10 from Pact today.

Update - I just got off the phone with Geico. I've actually had the policy for 16 years. Smile My rates are as low as they can go - the only available discount would be if I were to get renter's insurance. Or ... if I were to add a second vehicle/get married.

Oh well, it was worth a shot. Big Grin

Retirement! Redemptions! Lane Bryant!

October 20th, 2015 at 11:49 pm

I checked yesterday with our HR person about whether my union had any other retirement plans available other than the one the city contributes to for us. He told me he'd send me info.

I got the info today! There are three different companies offering 457 plans. Contributions are pre-tax, and count towards the tax savers credit (although I *think* my 401(b)contributions do that too ...)

So ... I decided to open a 457 with Ameritas (had the best options = lots of Vanguard Index funds) and put in there the amount that I'm currently putting in my ROTH right now. Of course, since this is pre-tax, it won't actually be the full amount.

So, I'm going to take the "leftover" amount plus a bit more, and continue to add $50/month to my ROTH. That way I'm still adding $600/year to an account I can access penalty free if an absolute emergency occurred before I'm 55 and retired ... but in effect increasing the total amount being saved towards retirement with very little effect on my actual net income. Then when I get my next raise in February, I can add a little to the 457 contribution amount very easily.

Overall, I think it adds maybe 1% to my retirement savings amount - 17% employer/employee match; ~10% to 457, ~.75% to ROTH. I have it set to start in November since my October ROTH contribution has already been set to go.

I love how it says "contribution limits per years are $18k" Hah, hah, ha ...... I'd be rolling in it if I made enough to contribute $18k a year .... Shoot, I'd be retiring in 5 or 6 years instead of 15 or 16 if I made that kind of money ...

I was wishing I hadn't checked my electric car stock today. Ouch. My net worth dropped by ... oh .. $5k or so thanks to stupid Consumer Reports.

Anyways ... I redeemed for a $5 Walmart card from Bounts today - got it in my email oh about 30 seconds later. Smile

Between the Bounts cards and Savings Catcher I have a little over $15 to spend at Walmart. I'm probably going to save them up til I have more like around $50 or so. Or enough for a manicure and pedicure. Smile Nice way to treat myself for doing lots of walking.

Got an email today telling me my Lane Bryant order is at the store! I'll probably go pick it up tomorrow after work. (I was walking home today, so once I got home, just wanted to cool off - not go drive to the store ...)

I found my lanyard with my library card and ID badge! You'll never guess where it was ... if it were a snake it would've bit me. Right under my keyboard on my desk. :roll eyes:

I joined a rewards program for the local Internet company. You can redeem points for cash or gift cards or money off your bill. Works for me. Whatever I can do to get that horrendous bill down a bit is good.

Snowflakes, Gym Membership, Credit Score

October 20th, 2015 at 01:12 am

Today I received a couple snowflakes -

$50 PayPal from Swagbucks
$25 AGC from PerkTV
$5 AGC from Bing

I'm seriously considering dropping my gym membership. I don't know how much it'd cost me to break my contract, but I'm just not using it. And I really don't see myself using it ... the traffic to get there is just miserable.

There is another gym where I wouldn't have to deal with such miserable traffic - no contracts. I drove there today after work in 7 minutes flat, even with kind of guessing how to get there. (I didn't go in because I was in the wrong lane to get into it ...)

I need to find out how much both the new place would cost and how much it will take to get out of my old place.

NE and I were talking a bit more about houses last night. There really aren't too many in the price range I could qualify for by myself. I told him that if he really wants something in a higher price range, then the only way we'd be able to do it is by combining our income qualifications. Which means he really needs to work on his credit score.

He told me that he'd paid all his bills on time since the last time we'd started talking more seriously about this.

I was saying something about maybe looking into getting a small installment loan of some type to help build the score as well - he was wondering if the medical bill might not qualify as that. Hmm... He'd been thinking of paying it off in one lump sum once he gets his inheritance money, but maybe it'd be better to stretch it a bit longer.

It seems a bit of a catch 22 though ... the medical debt would count as debt (obviously) but could also be a way of showing on-time monthly installment payments. By the time we'd be doing the house looking, my one installment payment loan (car) would be nearly 2 years old, so wouldn't count too much I think.

There was this one house on FB yesterday that was just *perfect* Walk-out basement (so he could come home from work and go through the basement without waking me up at 3 or 4 a.m.) finished basement area, two bedrooms upstairs (my space!) and a finished attic space - 1 1/2 bathrooms. And a 2 car garage, porch, and good sized yard with mature trees.

Only problem was it was listed at $123k. I really need to stop looking at the home listings on FB ... at least for another 6 months or so. Smile

When I was getting ready to walk to the library today I realized I'd misplaced my library card/work badge! Thankfully the library took my driver's license to check out the book that was on hold (Homebuying for Dummies) ... but I still need to find the card/id..

Only three places I usually keep it - my car console, my purse, or in the bag I take to the library to carry books. Hopefully it'll turn up soon.

It looks like my 401(b) is FINALLY migrating to Vanguard. I got an email notice today that they'd gotten a check - but it hasn't shown up in my accounts yet. It'll be so nice to have that all finished for once and all.

Speaking of retirement accounts ... I emailed the city's person who deals with that stuff to ask about whether people in my particular union have any other retirement savings options other than the one the city contributes to. He said there are two other options which he'll send me info on.

He also told me that I could contribute more than 7% (9% match) BUT it would not be pre-tax and it wouldn't be through payroll deduction (and no extra match). Hmm ... kind of takes away the desire to do it when it isn't pre-tax. (Not that I'm anywhere near being able to do that yet anyway ... need to get my ROTH to compacity first before thinking about upping other contributions.)

I'm curious to see what the other options are. The lady I met at my MMM meetup said she contributed $20 a pay period to a 457? and got a 100% match (up to $20.) She works for the city too, just in a different union.

The S Word

October 17th, 2015 at 02:09 am

This afternoon as a colleague was heading out the door ... she let slip the S word. No .. not a four letter word. A five letter word. Strep.

As soon as she said it, my radar pinged wildly.

I am someone who catches strep almost at the mere mention of the word.

I have been feeling more and more run down this week - which I thought was due to maybe overdoing it with the walking.

I really, really, really hope I do not have strep. In any case, I plan on taking it very easy this weekend. Which is kind of disappointing because there is a free concert at my church tomorrow night I wanted to go to, plus I've missed 3 weeks now of walking with the church group on Sabbath afternoon.


I redeemed 5k Swagbucks for a $50 PayPal card on the 14th - mistakenly thinking that was the day the swagups went into play. (They don' til the 19th.) I have about 1700 towards the next one, so hopefully will be able to make use of the swagups I earned (I think I earned 200.)

I also redeemed Bounts points for a $5 Walmart gift card which I have already received (ecard.)

I am considering making an extra trip out to CA in December. No, I can't really afford it without missing my savings goals for the year, but ... family is more important than savings goals sometimes. I'm going to call my aunt tonight and see what she thinks.

NE told me he's surprised I'm even thinking of going because his family experience is such that his sister didn't do more than call him when he was in the hospital for shoulder surgery in March (she lives in the same town, but we were in a town an hour away.) But he also said he'd fully support me if I decided to go.

My boss has also told me that she'd make it work if I needed to take a few days off to do this.

Pricing tickets, it looks like somewhere around $375, plus I'll probably have to do a hotel room ... in San Francisco....

If my dad were alive, I know he wouldn't let money keep him away from his kids who needed support.

I just don't know ... Part of my hesitation is that nothing is in stone yet. So dates could change.

All I can say about all this is ... I hate alcohol.

Quick!! Lane Bryant bra sale!!

October 15th, 2015 at 10:58 pm

If you wear Lane Bryant bras, this is THE BEST sale I've ever seen!

They are doing $10 off each bra. If you sort the selections from low to high, it's possible to get a bra for $5.

Use this code for an additional 20% off: DEAL20LB

If you purchase $75 worth, use this code for $25 off - OCTGIFTLB

If you have a store near you, choose pick up at store for free shipping.

I just bought 4 for $32!!! (A purchase I'd been putting off til December when they have their buy 1 get 1 50% off sale.)

MMM Meetup! 14k steps today!

October 15th, 2015 at 01:04 am

I participate haphazardly on the Mr Money Mustache forums and a few weeks ago there was a thread on there asking if anyone in this city wanted to get together for a meetup. I said I would like to. Smile

Tonight was the first meetup! Including myself, there were three people. Someone who works for the city, and someone who works for the college CCF's daughter goes to!

We chatted and got to know each other for a little over an hour. (We met at a beautiful park near the zoo.)

We talked about maybe making this a regular thing. That'd be great I think. Smile

They both were a lot younger than me, so I am a little envious that they've gotten started on the good path so much earlier than I did. Not really though ... Smile without the path I took, I'd be a different person today. We all have to take our own.

I ended up walking to work today - barely. If I'd left any later I would have had to drive. Just as I was getting breakfast, I got a text from my boss telling me to wear jeans today - we were going to clean the schedule room!

I was glad to hear that because the last time I was down there, it was a mess! (I had told her that.) It made it a royal pain to get what I needed.

So today we spent nearly two hours cleaning, discarding and reorganizing the schedule room. It was so DUSTY and full of spider webs, etc. But now it looks marvelous! We jokingly bet each other how long it would take for it to get back to the way it was ...

So with the walking to work and back, the cleaning out of the schedule room, and then the meetup tonight ... I got in 14k steps! I can't remember where I was at yesterday, but I think I just surpassed 50k steps for this week. Big Grin

Here's hoping this will mean a really good nights sleep tonight. Only got in maybe 4 1/2 hours last night.

Free lunch! Card declined! Over 40k steps!

October 13th, 2015 at 11:51 pm

Today we had an employee appreciation meal + safety meeting (blood borne pathogens .. such a good topic to pair with eating ...) I don't know where they got the food from, but they had a veggie wrap just for me. Smile There was one more veggie meal left over too - that they kept out for me. Smile So, I have food for two more lunches (the wrap was pretty good, and good sized.)

I've put my quinoa/sweet potato lunches in the freezer for next week. Smile

So I just did not feel like going to the gym today, especially since my plan was just to walk on the track to get more steps in. Instead, I decided to walk to the library. I didn't have anything to return, nor did I have anything to pick up ... but I went anyway.

Got in over 7k steps (4k on the walk + work) so am now at over 40k steps for the challenge. Smile

I'm planning on walking to work tomorrow - today was a major headache. The major road I turn on to get to my building was blocked off. I was already arriving with no time to spare ... the detour took at least another six minutes. THEN finding a parking space! One whole side of the street was blocked off for parking!!!

The only good thing was that my boss arrived at the same time ... I've never been that late to work before (nearly 14 minutes!)

So I'll be walking to work probably the rest of this week to avoid that mess.

On my way back from the library I stopped at Walgreen's because I really wanted some chocolate and soda. I'd brought my Swagbucks card with me.

I went up to the counter to pay for my stuff ... and it was not authorized! Say what?!! I tried again. Same thing. The cashier tried, but it required being read (chip card.) So ... I left.

When I got home I called the bank to find out what was going on. This is the same card which I'd overpaid and am waiting for a refund check.

Apparently the issue is with Walgreen's - they are updating their machines and there have been a lot of declined cards today.

I guess it was for the best, since I don't want the chocolate and soda badly enough to go back to the store! Money saved. Calories saved. Guess I should say ... thanks new chip technology.

Almost forgot - something pretty sad.

A woman who is a major contributor to our church and is part of my Sabbath School group was in a majorly bad car accident with her two granddaughters this weekend. She and one of the granddaughters are in ICU, the other one is just in the hospital. She was t-boned.

So .... I've been asked to lead the class discussion every other first Sabbath until she can be back with us. Hopefully this won't be more than once. I said yes with great trepidation. I just don't do adults well. Kids I can handle - adults ... I just don't do well with (leading discussion / talking in front of.)

15k Steps

October 13th, 2015 at 02:16 am

So yesterday after going to the grocery store, I decided to go to the park and do some walking. This partly was because I wanted to rack up some steps for the challenge (50k steps by Friday) and partly because I just wanted to get out into the fresh air.

About this time I got an email from Bounts telling me that they'd reduced the time between GPS tracked activities from two hours to one hour.

This got my wheels turning. Smile

So, in total I spent two hours at the park.

I did a GPS tracked walk for 20 minutes at 2.5 mph+ and then set my timer for 62 minutes and ... kept walking. It was pretty hot yesterday - in the low 90s! I was really feeling it by 40 minutes in to the 62 minutes. But I kept going. Finally it was time for the second 20 minute GPS tracked walk. I ended up walking around my car in circles (in the shade) for the last 3 minutes or so ...

But between walking to the grocery store, the walk in the park, plus a little bit more walking in the evening with NE (IHOP, Dollar Tree) I got in over 15k steps!

I also made lunches for the week - quinoa w/mushrooms/onions/tofu and 3 baked sweet potatoes which I divided up into 4 meals. (tomorrow we are supposed to have a free employee appreciation meal ... we'll see if I can eat any of it or not...)

Today I managed to get in another 10k steps = nearly 6k of them at work. I went down to dispatch twice for lost and found items (people were leaving so many wallets on the university buses today - it was ridiculous!) I also walked on the treadmill during my 15 minute afternoon break. Plus going up and down the stairs multiple times more than necessary to refill the brochures in the lobby. Smile

So ... I'm at 33k steps out of 50k. I think I'm going to make it. Big Grin

After work today I called Empower Retirement to find out why my 403b STILL hasn't been transferred to Vanguard. The person who I talked to told me that they had received notification of my termination date, but there was a 45 day hold. He saw the ridiculousness of this statement as he said it ... given that said termination date was on June 30, 2005!

So ... that should be set in motion (finally!) tomorrow.

I also called my Swagbucks card provider and after a bit of back and forth, they are sending me a check for the overpaid amount. (I had my paid in full amount taken once from ING and once from the CU account.) 7 - 10 days from now .... the check should arrive.

I also called the bank that had my Mypoints card - which I haven't used in 15 months ... mainly because the SBs card is a better deal, but also it doesn't have the option of automatic payments. I'd gotten a letter saying they were going to close it if I didn't make a charge. Well, I couldn't find the card (probably shredded it) so I called to claim it as lost and have a new one sent. In our discussion though, I realized that the deadline was the 14th to make the charge ... so I said go ahead and close it.

This will probably have a negative effect on my credit score since I think this is one of my older cards. But by the time I'm ready to do house hunting for real, it'll be right back up there I'm sure. Smile

(Anyway, an article I was reading today said something about how if you're score is above 740, you really don't need to care too much about what the number is. Because it doesn't really matter at that point other than being a number.)

I got my Pinecone credit today so I was able to cash out = $15.00.


October 11th, 2015 at 01:57 am

I got an okay night's sleep on Friday night, but ended up getting up and going an hour or so before my alarm because .. well, I was awake.

Then I went to Sabbath School and church. After I got home and ate lunch I goofed around on the net for a bit, but was really sleepy. So I laid down to take a 30 minute nap. Even set my timer on my phone. I wanted to make sure to get up in time to get ready to go walking with my church group.

We usually do around 4.5 miles or so. Lots of steps!

Next thing I knew it was 5:05 p.m. Oops. I was over an hour late.

So instead I decided to walk to the library to return a couple things and pick up some holds. Got 2.5 miles in, and got my steps for the day to a bit over 8k. So have 42,000 steps to go by Friday .... I WILL do it!


Talked to my grandma and to my mom this afternoon. Also texted with my brother a little bit. Grandma's pretty excited about me coming out for Thanksgiving (although hopefully she won't be looking for a plane coming from Colorado where she thinks I live. Big Grin She's 94, so I humor her.)

My brother is going through some really tough life lessons right now. Our choices do have consequences. I hope that the consequences are as light as possible, because I think just what is going on right now has been a good wake up call for him. Some of the choices he'd been making was making me wonder if I was going to get a phone call with about the worst possible news ever. A phone call I hope to never get.

NE and I are going to the Sprint store tomorrow to see if him getting a WiFi card thing would be a good idea. He has been using my old Android phone as a hotspot with Ting, but used over 12 GBs of data .... He had the same Internet service that I do, but the modem(s) / Internet stopped working and multiple service calls didn't get anywhere with the stupid company. So ... he's trying the alternatives.

After that we're going to eat at IHOP. It's my treat this month (so also my choice of place to eat. Big Grin)

I think the Sprint store we're going to is near the mall with the photo booth - if so, I'm going to get him to get in there with me. Smile

My last order of clothes from Schoola came today. I absolutely ADORE two of the items. The third one unfortunately doesn't fit. So that'll be going in the goodwill bag.

So overall of the 6 items I bought from there, 4 of the 6 turned out to be WONDERFUL. And I paid a total of $11.26 for the 6 items shipped. A fifth shirt I really like, but unfortunately its design emphasizes my tummy too much.

I'd planned on watching a couple of my DVDs tonight, but I don't know if I will really do that or not. There's two that NE watched and told me were really good (he borrowed the DVDs from me which I had borrowed from the library ... weeks and weeks ago.) The Ultimate Gift and Rudderless. I've already renewed these several times... I just don't watch movies or even videos on the Internet that much anymore.

Oh, I also want to share this youtube video:

It is a style of music I usually won't touch with a ten foot pole - rap music. But for some reason I decided to give it a chance and listen to it today (while doing my Bing searches) and ... it is simply beautiful. When I See You Again by Wiz Khalifa. If you haven't heard it yet, give it a chance - I think you'll like it.

Bounts Challenges! Happy for Friday!

October 10th, 2015 at 12:14 am

I've been using the website/app Bounts for a little over a month now I think. I'm really liking it. I did upgrade to a paid plan because I thought I could check in to my local gym here ... but so far, that's a no go. Anyway, I've earned nearly 1000 points so far. Just need 300 more for a $10 Walmart gift card.

A couple weeks ago they had a challenge where you had to do 5 activities in one week for a bonus 50 points. Got it. Smile

Starting tomorrow there's a challenge to do 50k steps by Friday for a bonus 50. Will do it!!

You also get 10 bonus points for working out on Saturdays, and 5 bonus points for sharing your workout status on Facebook. (Note - you can set it to post only to yourself. That's what I do for most of the apps that ask to post on FB for me ..)

If you're interested in trying bounts out, and would like to give me some referral points Big Grin My referral code is: laura1828 The website is If you are UK based, you'll have a much wider selection of giftcards and points opportunities.

I finally got another Pinecone survey today, so will be able to cash in for $15 by Monday probably.

I'm kind of wondering if I should have cashed out some of my stock when I was considering it earlier ... lost about $30/stock since I first considered cashing in for a house ... Oh well, I have faith it'll go back up. Eventually. Smile

I had some woman from Madison call today asking about our shuttle service to the big game tomorrow. She spent most of the call letting me know how arse-backwards our transit system is here. How nice. :roll eyes: As if I don't get enough of that from city residents.

I had someone else call and complain because the bus was ten+ minutes late at a major transfer point. After finding out that it was coming off another route which ran late, I told that to the woman. She then starts moaning and groaning about how she was late for an appointment, and so and so was late for tutoring, and on and on. Seriously - do you really thing I can do anything about that?! Do you really think the bus is running late on purpose? Just to make your life miserable?

SO glad the week is over.


Stepping on slight soap box ...

NE and I were talking about what Ben Carson said about what he would do if he was in a similar situation as the Oregon state students. He agreed with me that if he were in a similar situation, that he'd hope that he would find the courage to rush the gunperson. I KNOW that if I was in that situation as a teacher, I would do whatever it took ... but when it's not my students lives on the line .. I would hope that I would choose to go down fighting.

We also talked about the backlash Carson got from this statement. I think that it was kind of an unfair question for him in the first place - making him put himself in those students shoes. I also think that he wasn't saying that he thought he was better than those who didn't fight, but that he thought he would do it differently.

NE and I agreed that the mentality of lay back and take it, or negotiate, negotiate, negotiate, here in the US especially may be coming to an end as these horrible events keep piling up. Soon maybe there'll be more incidences like on the Paris train where people choose to fight.

Let me make myself clear - I am NOT blaming the victims at all. I'm just saying that I think it is the generally taught/accepted mentality of people in the US - to NOT fight. Running and hiding are good first options, but by the time you are trapped in a room with a man ordering people to stand up and state their religion ... the time to fight has come. We just have to change our mindset to do it for real.

Tripping off soap box ...

Oh where is my Hairbrush ... (bus chronicles, etc.)

October 7th, 2015 at 03:23 am

So where I work I often get calls from people about items they've left on the bus. Lots of times it's wallets, id's, phones, lunch boxes, bikes, computers ... the list goes on. Many times I have been able to reunite people with their lost item.

Sometimes the person coming to pick up their lost item is extra enthusiastic. Sometimes even overemotional ... going as far as telling me "I love you!"

I get a kick out of these types of people.

Today though I had one which I think may be the funniest one so far. (I shared the above info to show that I find humor/pleasure from people of ALL walks of life and their reactions to being reunited with their item.)

About 9 a.m. I get a call from a man who is in an absolute panic about an item he left on the bus that morning - one he'd gotten off of around 6:40. What was that item? A hairbrush.

I dutifully called down to dispatch and told him what I was looking for. I could just hear dispatch rolling his eyes. Smile Dispatch couldn't raise that particular driver right then.

So thence commenced five calls from this man in the space of about less than 2 hours. Until he finally got the news he was waiting for - his brush was found and in the driver's possession!

Near the third or fourth call, I got the song "Where is my Hairbrush" from Silly Songs with Larry Boy stuck in my head(Veggetales - if you don't know what I'm talking about - look it up. Seriously cute and funny stuff. Kids songs, yes. But funny!)

I was SORELY tempted to ask the man if he was familiar with Veggietales or Larry Boy. Somehow I refrained. Smile

Around 4 p.m. the man came to the office to retrieve his hairbrush. It was a metal? hairbrush good for kinky hair I think.

As soon as I gave it to him, he immediately removed a bandana from his head - telling me that he'd kept it on all day because he didn't have his hairbrush to smooth his hair out.

Then he preceded to groom himself, almost like he was in ecastcy (sp?), there at the window.

I sat there watching him with a big smile on my face, and trying to contain my giggles. I wasn't laughing at him really (and I really hope he didn't think I was ...) but more laughing at the pure joy he was getting from a hairbrush and the bizzareness of having someone brushing their hair at my window...

Oh where is my hairbrush? Oh where.... is my hairbrush? Oh where, oh where, oh whaaarrreeee!!!! is my HAIRBRUSH?!

I got a call right after work today letting me know that a 5:00 appointment at my dentist's office had opened up. So I made my way through traffic and managed to get there by 5:01. (26 minute of traffic torture ...) I had my teeth cleaned and x-rays done. It looks as though I may have a new cavity. Darn it!

I'll have to back in a couple weeks for an eval and possibly a filling. Frown I really need to do better about flossing.

So ... my dentist's office isn't too terribly far from the Super Target where they have a large variety of Amy's meals. I *know* I said I wasn't going to spend any more this week. Frown But I did spend more. And of course I didn't stop with just a couple of Amy's meals.

Part of the problem was that I was pretty hungry by the time I was done at the dentist. I'd forgotten my lunch box at work, so had only had a plain cheese sandwich and a twix bar. (so healthy, I know ...)

I would say that next time I just won't bring any payment methods with me, but I can't do that since I'll need something to pay the dentist with for the cavity if the cost exceeds my leftover FSA amount. Maybe just bring my checkbook. Hmmm... that might work.

I got my flu shot today. I also wore one of my new to me tops from Schoola. Although I LOVE the top, I'm not sure it is a keeper or not. The nurse giving me the shot asked me if I was pregnant. Nope, just fat, I told her. She was kind of embarrassed, but I understood she had to be doubly sure since if I was, I'd have to have permission from my doctor to get the shot. But ... that made me realize it wasn't my imagination that the design of the top might over enhance my stomach a bit..... It's too bad, because I really do like the top.

Maybe I'll take a picture of me in it, and see what you all think.

Bought Airline Tickets for Thanksgiving! Panic ...

October 5th, 2015 at 11:49 pm

This past weekend I had a chance to talk to my Aunt and confirm my dates and her dates. She has offered to pay for my tickets. At first I told her I appreciated it, but she really didn't need to do it. She insisted she really wanted to. So ...

I'd checked ticket prices a few months ago, and for leaving on Monday morning and returning on Saturday or Sunday it was around $450. Apparently all the cheap return flights on Saturday and Sunday are gone. Returning either of those days added $400!! to the ticket price.

Returning on Friday though kept it to $460. So .. I'll be returning on Friday. Keep me away from the Black Friday sales. Smile (Not that I do them anyway ...)

I'm looking forward to seeing my grandma and aunt again - it'll have been nearly two years since my last visit there. Grandma is 94, so who knows how many more times I'll get to see her. (Just as feisty as ever though!)

Today at work our accountant passed around a document that made me feel pretty panicked. It was a spreadsheet delineating the costs of having bus passes.

IOW it showed how much money / time would be freed up if we stopped doing passes and just did free rides. Relied totally on Federal funds I guess.

40-50% of my job is bus pass related.

So you can guess where my head was going with that. Frown

My boss told me not to get too worried, that they are always coming up with ideas/plans that never get off the ground.

Still though ... All the more reason to have a beefy Emergency Fund!

If it were to come to that, they'd first have to try to place me in a similar positon/pay grade. Failing any openings (for people with less senority than me) there is some kind of severance package.


Stopped at Walgreen's today .... $13.xx later (meds, treats)

I'm now topped out at my $20/week spending. So no more money spent this week (other than bills, or stuff like the airplane ticket.)

I got my Schoola clothes! They all are in beautiful shape, and I LOVE two of them and like the third. I have $30 to spend today there ($15 + the code for 50% off - good through today.) I am going to see what I can find! Smile

I also got the letter for Kari's license renewal - $21. Will pay it today.

Oh, another PANIC today ...

I have my credit cards set up on auto pay so I don't have to think about it.

Usually that is no issue.

However, with the new 2.5% checking account having the majority of my money ...

I paid my Swagbucks card in full on Thursday from my new checking account - thinking that would cancel out the auto payment for today from ING/Cap one.

I was wrong. Frown

So this morning I applied for and was gifted a $1000 overdraft on my account. (Instantly!) Why did I need this? Because my rent check will be coming out from that account in the next day or two!

I've already set up a transfer from new account to old account to cover whatever isn't covered. So hopefully if I go into overdraft it won't be for more than a day or two.

Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!

(I also contacted my CC to ask them for my money back!)

I Cut My Hair!

October 4th, 2015 at 08:05 pm

I bought the scissors to do this with sometime back in August I think, but for whatever reason kept hesitating.

Today though I decided, gosh darn it! I was going to do it!

I tried to take pictures of each of the steps, but it was kind of hard to make sure the angle was the same each time. But I think you still can get a pretty good idea.

I cut some off, and then checked the length, but it didn't seem like it had made any noticeable difference. So, I cut some more off. Smile

I still have quite a bit of length left, but don't plan on cutting any more any time soon.

Haircuts around here are between $20 - 25 for my length of hair. The scissors cost about $14 if I remember correctly. So they have already paid for themselves. Smile

If you click on the link to see my album, make sure to scroll down to the first one and click on the first picture. I have subtitles on all of them, and it's easier to see. (I was having trouble remembering how to do a shared public album on icloud, hence the two sets of identical pictures!)

This was actually kind of fun. Big Grin

I did do some grocery shopping today. Spent $13.xx for onions, sweet potatoes, Greek yogurt, bananas, apples, bagels and a treat. I shouldn't need to buy any more groceries until next week.

I got in the mail the renewal for Kari's tags - $21 - so I'll pay that tomorrow probably. (Due the 31st)

Accomplished Something

October 4th, 2015 at 04:13 am

Most of today was trying to catch up on sleep, then surfed the net for a bit, and general laziness.

I did see I had some items at the library which had to be picked up today, so I stopped by the library. On my way home I dropped off my rent check.

When I got home I guess I had a second wind or something, because I did an inventory of my pantry, my freezer, my fridge, and the cupboard above my sink!

Then I mapped out a meal plan for the whole month of October, along with listing the items I'd need to buy each week.

I also checked all my grocery apps to see what had rebates right now, and included the ones I would actually use in my meal planning/shopping.

Even after making all the food for my meal plan for the month, I'll still have a fairly good food stock.

I'm hoping that this is going to help me keep my food spending to a minimum this month.

I did include one meal out with NE (my turn this month) and one meal that we'll make together at my place.

Generally ...
M - F - Breakfast - Fruit smoothie, 1/2 English muffin w/ peanut butter

Lunch - Sandwich of some sort / veggies / apple

Dinner - varies

---- spaghetti w/spinach, Morningstar crumbles
----- spaghetti squash w/crumbles (if still good)
---- Cottage Cheese loaf , veggies
---- Corn pudding, veggies
---- Sweet potato w/ baked beans or greek yogurt
---- Quiona w/veggies and tofu
---- Couscous w/ veggies and crumbles
----- Fried "rice" quinoa w/veggies/tofu
---- leftovers
---- last Friday night --- Amy's frozen meal

Snacks (Weekday) - fruit, snack bar

Weekends - Sundays -
-----------Brunch: Greek Yogurt/banana pancakes, egg
-----------Dinner: One of the dinners or eating out, making pizza with NE

Saturdays - Breakfast - Bagel w/cream cheese, egg, banana
----------- Lunch - leftovers
------------Dinner - cereal, egg
------------Dessert - ICE CREAM!

CU update, etc.

October 3rd, 2015 at 12:32 am

On Wednesday I mentioned that my CU paying 2.5% interest only credited me with $.44.

I sent them an email trying to understand why I didn't get the 2.5%. I thought I had more than qualified.

Yesterday afternoon I got an email from them telling me why I hadn't qualified. The reason they gave was that I only had 11 transactions instead of 12.

That did not make sense to me, so I called them on my break. I found out that customer service had credited me with the 2.5% as a courtesy. And the reason my 12th transaction didn't count was because it hadn't completed before the 30th.

Needless to say, I will be much more careful about making sure I have my 12 transaction in well before the 31st this month!

I've had a rough few days at work this week. All of us have really. As I was leaving today I asked two of the people I work with if they'd felt like it had been an extra long week too, and they agreed it had been.

4 hours or less sleep 2 nights in a row also sure hasn't helped.

So .. I stopped at BK for dinner tonight. $6.89. Definitely not part of my meal plan, but works within my $20/week spending budget. (Groceries on Monday - $12.xx, and then BK today.)

I am really hoping to get caught up on sleep this weekend.

How September Went

October 1st, 2015 at 10:55 am

Sigh. Like I've mentioned before, September was SPENDY. I did manage to not spend anything except one grocery visit of $12 in the last 10 days of September. So yeah, all this spending happened in the first 21 days.

I logged in to the CU account this morning - the one I am supposed to be getting 2.5% interest ... $.44. Jaw drops. I KNOW I met the requirements. A message has been sent to customer service.

The main budget busters this month were groceries and vacation related categories. The whole mess with the apartment also sure didn't help. I had to take money from the slush fund to cover the hotel costs and other vacation expenses, so I WAM from any category that I could, including sadly, the EF. Frown

It would have been far worse though without some of the extra income that came in this month.

Next month WILL be better.

So without further ado, here is the not so pretty picture:

Tithe - 10%
Charitable - $60
Rent - $430
Gym - 41.73
Groceries - $345.19
Internet - $82.61
Gas - $21.68
Electricity - 52.21
Fuel - $23.49
Medical - 105.46
Kari - $104.20
Health - $15.71
Clothing - 73.65
Electronics - $10
Household Goods - 219.15 (cleaning, supplies)
Vacation - 420.96
Treats - $43.77
Restaraunts - 123.13
Misc. 4.35 (library late fee)
ROTH - normal contribution

Savings Categories:
EF - $0
Slush - -$153.56

Extra Income:
$10 Bing AGC
$100 AGC YouGov surveys
$75 PP Swagbucks
$200 - Bank bonus
$10 - Pact
$27.61 - Ibotta
$200 - Reimbursement from Mom