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Cruise Update

June 9th, 2018 at 09:00 pm

So on Monday I get a text from my brother telling me that he's met someone who is "it" and he wants to bring her on the cruise with us in Sept.

I tell him that while I would love to meet his new girl, I felt that adding her to our cruise would change the whole tenor of it. (IOW - he'd be totally into her and we'd get very little time just us.)

He then tells me mom suggested it.
Ugh.

Tuesday I stayed home from work sick. Had a long conversation with my brother. Found out he'd been dating this girl for less than a month, but feels SURE she is the real deal.

She's 28, a French citizen, and possibly Catholic. (The only reason this last bit matters is that the faith my brother and I were raised in is quite different than Catholicism. Plus he'd probably have to have his first marriage annulled.) Her family owns some wine vineyards in France I think.


He's traveling to London in a few weeks to meet her family at her brother's graduation from Oxford. Then she's going to be getting some 90 day Visa to be in the States, while working on securing a job so she can stay.


The cruise falls within the first month of this 90 days.


So … I spent another 40 minutes on the phone with Expedia finding out how / if we could make these changes.


I didn't have her full name or birthdate, so it mostly was a waste of time.


Then my mom called, and that was another hour+ on the phone.



My brother got her info to me on Thursday morning. My boss kindly let me take an extended morning break (after I gave her a brief rundown)


An hour on the phone with the CS rep yielded the following -


Because we were going from triple occupancy to double occupancy, my mom and I's room costs $240 extra.


My brother and J's cabin will be an extra $700 above what he'd already paid.


Plus of course transportation costs are going to go up.


Oh yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm going to lose my Swagbucks on this deal now.


I was just barely figuring out how to cover all the expenses in time - so now to have to add an extra $120 to it …. UGH! Especially since if she actually does come (a lot can happen in 3 months …), then I'll have very little time with just my brother. Which was sort of the purpose of the whole trip!


So … I'm scrambling to see if I can find any new bank bonuses. I think I'm probably done with CC bonuses for at least a year. I'd thought about selling my iPad, but I've started using it a good bit again lately.


I could have just said NO, but then there'd be a good possibility that he'd decide to just not come.

Updates

April 29th, 2018 at 10:27 am

*We haven't been reimbursed for the water heater yet ... I'm going to wait til Tuesday, then contact them if it still hasn't come. Grrr...

*Tuesday was our two year anniversary. We did a mini-road trip on Wednesday.

While on our mini-trip we stopped at two fish stores. DH saw some corals he was very interested in, and I saw a Clown Trigger fish which I think I might like to get after the cruise (when I have spending money again ...)

We ate at a Mexican restaurant in Glenwood, Iowa which we'd been to before and really liked. The food was very good again, but our server left a lot to be desired.

Still, it was a nice way to mark 2 years.

*I got my $200 checking bonus from one of the Christian credit unions.

*I also got my $100 bonus from My Money Bank

*I see my $150 bonus pending on my US Bank card, but it's been pending for several weeks ...

*I cashed out for $25 Paypal from Earnhoney and Swagbucks, as well as $25 AGC from Perk

*We way overspent on groceries this month .. mostly due to my reverting back to some bad eating habits. I'm really trying to reign those in again. Both for $$ reasons and for health.

*I'm halfway through a Runbet and a Stepbet. I also am participating in a Spryfit bet that will end at the same time. About $120 tied up between the three.

* I need to get my passport sorted soon. Only 4 months to go!

*I have been tracking flight prices with Google Flights, so far the cheapest flight has been $216. But that doesn't include baggage. I'll probably pull the trigger in the next week or two.

*I have completed 3 weeks of physical therapy for my shoulder now. I don't think there's been much improvement yet. They tell me it can take 4 - 6 weeks ... then if still not good, do an MRI. Ugh.

*I slogged through Lost in Space and also Let it Go on Netflix. LiS has little bad language and no sexy scenes. LiG is the complete opposite ... is about the realities of motherhood.



Waffle Iron Help?, etc

April 13th, 2018 at 07:55 pm

I was so excited last week when I was able to order the Dash mini waffle iron (with my Perk Amazon card.) Then I got it and put a sweet potato puree mixture in it - trying something I'd seen somewhere.

Royal mess.

I have managed to get most of it off, but there still is a decent amount left.

I can't remove the plates or run them under water. I used a damp paper towel, a damp dish towel, a pair of silicone mini-tongs .... all helped, but not enough.

Any ideas? I really want to use this thing!

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I had my 3rd PT appointment on Thursday. The PT assistant told me she thinks it is my upper trap, not my rotator cuff, due to the pain radiating throughout my arm AND the huge knot in my trap area.

So she's concentrating on working out the knot ... as am I.

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My arm was really throbbing Wed pm, and I REALLY did not feel like going out for a run. Did it anyway, and my arm actually felt better? PT said I probably relaxed the right muscles while running.

I did my 3rd run today. Good thing since winter seems to be coming back for a visit the next two days. Yuck.

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DH and I had a good discussion last night, although it was almost totally derailed before even getting started with me getting ticked at him when he snapped at me. Schwan's guy came at just the right time to give me a few minutes to cool down (got him to take me off his route list)

DH will be going to see his stepdad on Sunday evening(something he is NOT looking forward to) so I pretty much have the weekend to myself.

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I am hoping I met the final requirement for a $200 checking bonus in time. Yesterday I was double checking what was needed for each bonus, and realized I hadn't set up estatements. Oops. Have them set up now.

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I finished a Jan Karon book (Father Tim) "Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good" and started another one "Come Rain or Come Shine." It had been awhile since I'd read the series, so I'm not totally sure where I'd left off at.

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My eating isn't going well to put it mildly. Sugar sugar sugar ...junk. At least breakfast and lunch are still healthy ....

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On Monday I'm going to a customer service training thing. I'm just happy for a day out of the office - paid. Smile

Hopefully all the SBs coupon prints will credit on Monday so I won't have to fiddle too much to reach the daily goal. Smile

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Still loving my standing desk. Smile Getting lots of questions about it too.

This and That

March 18th, 2018 at 11:18 am

3 weeks of six complete on my Stepbet. It definitely is getting me moving more ... like yesterdat afte church I only had 1400 steps but needed 9400 (for a stretch day.) If it weren't for the stepbet, I *might* have gotten in a 30 minute walk and called it a day. But instead I did a 90 minute walk, plus some shopping. So ended the day with over 12k steps.

I looked into the Runbet (new app) but the current game expects a min pace of 15 min/mile 5x in a week. Yeah ... I do good to do a 17 min/mile if I'm trying to do a walk/jog ...

--
On 3rd week of Drop it challenge. That's going pretty well. The scale is continuing to move in the proper direction. Smile

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It looks like we are going to have to up our gas budget. Currently it's at $300/month. The last two months I had to WAM from groceries because we were over budget. As of last night there is $90 left with at least 5 more fill ups for DH and possibly one for me.

I think it is a combination of DH driving the CRV almost exclusively (much easier on his knees/shoulders) and the higher gas prices.

One of the fill ups will be fairly cheap though - I transferred a prescription to HyVee and got a coupon for $2.05/gallon. I just have to make sure DH uses my Perks card to get the discount.

The next refill (prescription) I'll get a $25 gift card, and the 3rd one I get a $50 meat pkg (for DH).

A bit of a hassle, but worth it for the freebies.

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I ordered 3 pairs of shoes from JC Penny's via SBs. A total of $106. I may have to send one pair back though - I had triple checked that all were wide width, but the order email I got shows the sneakers as a medium!

I'm not sure how that happened, but I'll try them on just in case.

(I ordered dress shoes for work, sneakers and sandals.)

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I got my extra paycheck on Thursday. My tax changes and 457 contribution changes both were in effect already. So it made the check a bit over $100 more than normal! Of course health/dental and vision weren't deducted - so that won't be normal.

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I cashed out $30 from my Citi card. There's nearly $40 on my Chase card I can cash out, but I'm going to wait til the next statement ends so I can cash out the max. (April only pays 5% on categories I don't use, or get higher payout elsewhere.)

I got a new Discover card (they changed my previous one to the It) - for April they only have groceries at 5% - so my AmEx card at 6% is better. So that card will continue to not be used at least for the next quarter.

I'm about 1/2 way to the $500 spend on the US Bank card. It's taking a bit of time to get my utilities all switched over to it.

I cashed out $25 from Earnhoney, and am close to another $25 SB cash out too.

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I signed up for CBS All Access 7 day trial. 150 SBs deal. I wanted to like it, I really did. But for $5.99/mo it has extremely limited selection and a horrible navigation/UI. I did find the show Limitless with all episodes - so binged on those this past week.

I canceled it last night after watching the last episode. If they'd had full episodes of Person of Interest, or the last two seasons of CSI then I might have kept it for another month or two. But seriously limited selection of full episodes.

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Update on my standing desk - still loving it! I use it in the standing position about 60% of the day most days. I have an anti-fatigue mat and monitor risers.

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I have a doctor's apt this Tuesday for my shoulder. The past two weeks or so I have been having some strange pains from my left shoulder/bicep. I'm not really sure what caused it. I've been putting off going to the doctor because I kept hoping it'd go away. But it hasn't.

I'm guessing I'm going to have to do physical therapy for it.

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I had a dentist checkup this last week. Previously I'd been told that I needed to up my dental hygiene routine. So I picked up a water pik and an electric toothbrush. Apparently what I've been doing worked! I was told I had good improvements and to keep it up.

My visit didn't cost me anything because I had a credit from a previous visit where I was overcharged.

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At church this quarter the Sabbath School lessons are on stewardship. This week focused on debt. The person leading our class seemed to kind of assume we all were in debt ... He said something about - think about how good it will feel when you're not in debt - how much good you can do ...

Well ... I didn't feel comfortable piping up that other than the mortgage and less than $3k is student loans, I already know what that feels like!

Yes, it IS a good feeling ... but just because you don't have debt hanging over your head, that doesn't mean that you then have tons of money to do whatever you want to. No ... you then have all the things you know are coming up that you need to set money aside for - short term, mid-term and long term. It never feels as though it's enough ..

Then DH and I got into a discussion again about why it's necessary to have money sitting in our account for things like our medical deductible. I told him it's so if something happens where we need to use our whole deductible, then we can pay the bill in one lump sum and save 10% or more. It gives us options. He was like - why can't we just make payments and use that money elsewhere?

I'm not sure if he was pulling my chain or not (he likes to do that) but UGH!



Still Chugging Along

March 9th, 2018 at 07:33 pm

I've been doing the Drop It challenge for a bit over a week now. So far, so good. I've actually been eating a salad everyday for lunch! (Unheard of! Esp with grape tomatoes ...)

I haven't found it too difficult yet. And it appears to be working - have lost about two lbs. 5lbs to go to get back to my Jan 1 weight. Sigh.

Today was day 5 of my Stepbet. I just need one more active day for this week.

I have decided to do barre videos at home instead of messing with going to a class. At least for now.

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AMEX sent me an upgrade offer to the card that pays 6% back on groceries. Annual fee waived the first year and $150 bonus when you spend $3k in the first 3 months.

Sweet. My property taxes will take care of $1400 of it, then there's a chewy.com (cat food) offer spend $75 get $25 back, plus use it for groceries ... no problem.

I'll just have to set a reminder to downgrade in eleven months.

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I opened two more accounts.

One with the MoneyBank - make 3 $200+ ACH deposits and get a $100 bonus.

The second with another Christian based credit union (which does include Catholics unlike the other one) for a 12 month 4% CD for $4000.

I haven't closed Northpointe yet because I'm waiting for my dd to get switched.

I was talking to DH about it and he of course was like, "Why don't you give me the money - I'll make a lot more than 4 %." Oh yeah ... like the 2.6% you barely eked out after 6 weeks (stock he bought and sold) Rolling my eyes.

So back when we figured out how to squeeze $1k/month for our ROTH's from our budget. one of the things we did was to say that we were not going to budget any spending money. Spending money would come from non-main job hours/activities. (Swagbucks, etc for me)

After a few months I saw that DH wasn't getting any spending money and was worried that he'd get frustrated and want to stop the ROTH funding. So ... I said -why don't you keep anything you make over $120 on Friday and Saturdays? (cash) He'd been fairly consistently bringing $10 - 20 over that on those nights.

Then ... he had nights where he was bringing in $50 - 80 above that! There were also a few Fridays where he came in significantly under $120. Or weeknights where he was bringing in less than usual.

It was making our budget very squeaky.

I kept waiting for him to say something like - I shouldn't be taking all of this extra on weeks my other nights are low. Let me even it out.

Didn't happen.

So at our last budget meeting I brought it up. He wasn't too happy, but wasn't surprised either. Mostly he was annoyed because I was tinkering with our budget plan again. (Which I think is funny because there's been at least two times where the major changes came as a result of something he wanted ...)

So we agreed to a base amount he would contribute to the family budget. Over that, he gets to keep it. This will help keep the budget more even.

But ... the other night he tells me that he's now more motivated to work harder at work because he knows it means more money for him. I asked him why didn't it motivate you to contribute to the family budget? He said ... The family budget has plenty of money. This is MY money.

Anyone see something off here? Or is it just me?
I really wish I'd never brought the idea up in the first place.

*Note - I'm not posting this to be negative towards DH. I honestly just am wondering if my thoughts on this are off base or not. Maybe it's a case of where we both are still struggling with the his/hers/ours thing. We both were so old getting married .. both pretty set in our $ ways ...

Tempting ...

February 28th, 2018 at 05:07 pm

So today I went to the health fair put on by a combo of the city/county people. There were a few new booths that weren't there last year.

One was a booth where you could get your blood typed. I did that because I had no idea what mine was.

I'm O+! That means not many could donate their blood to me, but mine could go to anyone! This makes me feel almost obligated to donate.

Another table was a fitness center in downtown. They offer barre classes.

I've been wanting to try barre for a long time. The only place I knew of that offered it was in the far South of town.

It's $15 for one class, but you can get class passes to reduce the cost - i.e. $425 for 50 classes.

They offer them at 5:15. So I'd have plenty of time to make it there from work.

I so want to do this.

But I'm spending so much on the cruise ... I have enough for the cruise, but need to save for the flight and tips. And general spending money.

Even if I sold everything salable (i.e. fluff worth something) I might get $100 at most.

I really want to do this class. Maybe I could just do the one ... I may not even like it (doubt it)

I need to set aside money for replacing my phone and my computer too ... even though neither will be for a number of years.

I need to replace my shoes - both work dress shoes, sandals and sneakers.

Too many places for money to go and not enough coming in!

I really need to figure some way of bringing in more spending money other than Swagbucks/koinme/perk/earnhoney/inbox dollars/bank interest/cc rewards.

Maybe I could try selling my plasma ... the last time I tried, I chickened out. I don't like needles much.

Paycheck Stub $ Changes

February 27th, 2018 at 04:57 pm

Today I was able to see my paycheck for Thursday - my raise is reflected on it! It looks like about $50/paycheck (*26) Not too shabby.

That plus the extra $10 from the tax cut thing ...

So first thing I did was change my withholding on my W-4 from 1 to 2. I figure it to be safe enough since we got back over $800 this year.

Then I changed my 457 contribution up $50.

The net result will still be a little extra in the paycheck, and an extra $1300 in my 457. Smile

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I'm about halfway finished with book 9! Back on track.

I'm mostly finished with setting up my bujo for March. I left out a few things which I ended up not using, and added a few things.

One thing I added is a 31 day drop it challenge. Basically going extra strict with my eating / exercise - hoping it will jumpstart the weight loss again. I'm up about 8 lbs from January ... Frown