OMG! It's 5:16AM here, and you will not believe why I am up (well, maybe you would). I have tonight off, so I am lying in bed, trying to sleep, and the dog is downstairs pacing back and forth thru the house. I thought she had to go out, although she usually whines just to get her point across. So, being the nice person that I am, and not wanting to mop up a puddle, I got up and let her out the door. It's raining here, so I wasn't surprised when she was back pretty quick, until I opened the door.... SKUNK! She had gotten it good! (0r BAD, definitely BAD!) Now what do I do? It's 3AM! So, I shut her in the back entry, which she DID NOY like (whining and yipping), and hit the computer, thank God for Google. And thanks for the shure-fire formula that I found on at least 6 different sites, that only used stuff most of us have in the cupboard! Peroxide, baking soda and dish soap! Then there was a variety of other after-products, I went with antiseptic mouthwash, which luckily I had just bought a big, new bottle of. And thank you to DD#1, who just moved out, but left three big bottles of anti-stinky dog stuff, because she doesn't have the dog anymore! So we doped, and soaked, and sudsed, and rinsed, and repeated a couple of those, and rinsed with the mouthwash, not minty fresh, she'll just have to suffer, and rinsed, and toweled, and so far, so good! Now, I just have to freshen up the back entry, which has about 20 coats hanging there, of course. Also luckily, new bottle of Febreeze in the cupboard! So, now I am boiling some vinegar in the kitchen, maybe we will just smell like a pickle factory, instead of a skunky pickle factory. All this, and I haven't even had a cup of coffee yet! And I don't even drink coffee, thats how bad it is!
Archive for October, 2009
Wow, I often get ideas for this blog from other blogs that I peruse daily, and this one was a humdinger! How frugal is it acceptable to be when having guests? This one made me think, because we just had a housefull of people over the weekend. The inspiration blog dealt specifically with serving leftovers to the company, good or bad? I have to say I think it could be both. We have leftovers on a regular basis, both as heat-ups and reincarnated in something new. Would I feel bad about serving them to my guests? Ehhhhh.... We have 2 kinds of guests, the family/friends who are around all the time, and eat my leftovers as much as we do, and the invited over, lets plan something special folks. Although, now as I think about it, we don't have "fancy" people here, and probably don't know any. Is there anyone I know that I wouldn't serve a letover to, not really that I can think of, but I would certainly tell them. Would I feel slighted if we ate at a friends house and they served leftovers? No, I but I might ask for the recipe. But I also think that in planning a get-together, the meal is half the fun! Trying a new recipe! What a great bargain I got on this! Remember last time, the really bad dessert, well this is what I did different this time! (true story, but for another time)
All of which describe my house! We are hosting a brunch after church on Sunday, in honor of my Grandbabys baptism! I am perfectly happy that my DD#1 asked me to host, we are kind of centrally located for the folks who would be likely to come. However.....it made me take a good look around the house, and OH BOY. I always comment that I do Fall cleaning as opposed to Spring cleaning, I have been out in the yard all Summer, not cleaning house. So this was a big wake up call, get things straightened up! So far today, I have opened three cans of paint, and if I have enough time, I might get to four. A little touch up here, a little spackle there...... And I have to figure out what to do about the cieling fan/light in the bathroom. I took part of it down a couple of weeks ago, because we had wasps coming out of it. Well, I think we got rid of the wasps, but just in case, I was trying to figure out a way to keep them from coming thru again, You get the idea. I have already warned DD#2 and #3 that they will be home on Saturday for an extra good, dust/sweep/mop/vac session, lots of groans, but too bad! There isn't time to do something with my sewing room (downstairs bedroom) so we will just close the door, and ignore the whole thing. I just washed the curtains from the living room, if I have time to do the dining room and kitchen good, but they look OK if I don't. Oh, and the wallpaper seams in the dining room peeled a little in the humidity this Summer. I need a wife! Someone to do all of the regular stuff, while I tackle the never ending honey-do list. Well, the dryer is calling, TTFN.
Remember those old 60's mags True Confessions, where readers would write in about things that they would never tell the neighbors? Well, I have skimmed thru several blogs lately where intelligent advisors have told people NOT to go thru a credit counseling service, they are not a good bargain. We dealt with a credit counseling service for several years, and they SAVED MY LIFE. Our youngest child spent almost 6 months in the hospital after she was born, and we were almost $100,000 in debt. We actually ended up at the credit counselors thru the hospital mediation service. There was NO WAY that we could make even the most minimum payment on a bill that large, so we went to mediation with the hospital. The final deal that we ended up with was that we would meet with the credit counseling service, they would set up a budget with us, and recommend to the mediator how much we could reasonably afford to pay. The bonus was that they also took charge of all of our other bills at the time, and that helped hugely by stopping any shutoffs or penalties for the first years that I had to stay home with an ill child. We stayed with them for 14 years, but after the first 2 or 3, I took back paying most things, all of our utilities, and the credit counseling service dealt with the hospital and the one credit card we had. I could have handled the credit card, but as long as they did it, the interest rate stayed at 0%. The fee was based on your income, for a long time it was $25 month, then the last few years it was $50 monthly, but I am sure that we saved that many times over. Our income flucuated monthly because of the work that my Hubby was doing, they renegotiated every month if necessary, and I didn't have to do a thing. I never felt that the payments we made were unreasonable. We actually ended up paying less than 1/4 of the total balance, and in the end the hospital was sold to another corporation, and forgave a lot of old outstanding debts,"as a service to the community" Any action that they took that would have showed on our credit report (they closed the cc acct)was done right at first, so by the time the 7 years were up, our credit report was clean and shiny, and those payments just showed up as billing payed on time. So, I can tell you from firsthand knowledge that I would recommend a reputable credit counseling service to anyone, THEY WORK.
This entry can safely be subtitled - Mother Knows Best. My DD#1 bought a pool 2 Summers ago. It was middle of the Summer time, and the pool was on clearance in the bigbox store. The style that has the inflatable ring at the top, and you just fill it up. I had refused to have a big pool for years when my kids were small, too much work! And money, and time. I knew who would end up out in the yard every day skimming, testing, clorinating, cover on, cover off, etc. But she was 23, and definately old enough for the fussing, so..... Any way, the pool had been up for this past Summer, its third, until about mid July, and it sprang a leak around one of the fittings for the pump. She epoxied and fixed, and finally got it going, and we got a BIG wind storm, and it ended up empty, lying flat in the yard. Its been there ever since. This was about the time that she bought a house and moved, and I didn't fuss too much, I thought this way they could move it to the new place, it was already drained. Well, last week she discovered that someone who shall remain nameless (one of her sisters?) nicked the pool with the lawnmower. Now the pool is essentially junk, and who is the only person worried about getting it off my lawn? Me of course! DD#1 doesn't want it anymore, so I put it on the local Freecycle. Surprise, surprise, no one wants a pool with a hole in it! I even offered the ladder and pump with the proviso that you had to take the pool also, but no bites. So, I called her today, and told her that she must come and take this thing out of my yard. Its HEAVY, it will probably take three of us to roll it up, and tie it into a bundle, I know because I tried. Then she and SIL can do whatever they want to with it. I did end up doing my share of the testing and skimming, but I have to admit, it was very nice to go out in the evenings, and float around watching the stars come out. Will I get one for us? No, most likely not, it was a lot of work! (time, money, yada, yada) Told ya so!
This post is financial only in the sense that sometimes being frugal is learning to be happy with what you have, and it was so cute I couldn't resist. Today is Sweetest Day and DD#3, who is 17, is, of course, expecting some well thought out, sweet little gift from boyfriend. He didn't forget, but his sense of a cute little something for the sweetheart obviously differs from hers. He brought her a ....Venus Flytrap. For the horiculturally challenged, this is a small, carnivorous plant that eats insects, certainly the hearts delight of any 18 year old boy, but the girls? not so much. She rolled her eyes, and did try to be politely thankfull, but this was obviously going nowhere fast. So I smiled behind my hand (more or less) and told her very excitedly that my sis had one when we were growing up (very true) and it was cool to catch flies and watch it catch and digest them. Then boyfriend chimes in with how great that would be, and is looking around for flies. (I wasn't sure if I should be flattered that he thought flies would be in my dining room) Any way, she put on the good face, and they wandered outside to find a fly or two, and hubby and I went out to supper(or so I thought, but that's another story) We came home about 90 minutes later, boyfriend was getting ready to leave, and they are standing , looking at the flytrap, and I asked, did you find any flies, but they couldn't catch any. So I told them that we used to feed my sisters a tiny bit of raw hamburg, when insects weren't around, and boyfriend says, no, the label says no meat. So I asked what are you supposed to do then, and DD#3 replies it doesn't matter her, sister gave it a piece of SUMMER SAUSAGE! Cooked meat with a load of spices and smoked!? The poor little thing will either have a plant heart attack, or ask for cheese next week. Anybody seen The Little Shop of Horrors?
Remember the old chestnut " horses sweat, men perspire, ladies glow" Well I'm here to tell you, me and the horse, we both sweat! I didn't realize how much until I tried a deodorent without the anti-perspirent. I got a sample from one of my survey companies of a new scent of some brand of deodorent (they don't tell you which one, plain white label). I am supposed to use it for two weeks, and then answer some questions, SOP. By the second day, I was not liking that sticky feeling in the pits, yuck! By the end of the first week, I had wet patches under the arms of my uniforms by the end of a shift, good thing it's night and nobodys looking! I tried putting a little body powder under there, too little and its still sticky, enough to kill the stickiness, and I'm wearing cake batter. I know that the aluminum that they put in anti-perspirent isn't supposed to be good for you, but i'm going to have to invest in some dress shields otherwise. Maybe I'm just a sweater (someone who sweats a lot, not the furry thing)and I never realized it. Although I do get that little trickle down the center of my back when I'm working hard, or in the sun, who doesn't? Someone is going to have to do a lot of convincing before I'm giving up my Degree, or my scrubs may go on strike.
I read an article in The Mother Earth News (I think), several years ago about small town living in New England. The gist of it was that folks in that small town all wore several "hats" job wise, in an effort to make a living. I don't remember the specifics but the author delivered newspapers, fixed chainsaws and something else, in addition to his regular job, to make end meet, so he could stay in this lovely rural town. I was reminded of this when I was clicking thru some financial blogs, and noticed that many of them advocate taking on a part time job to pay off debt. I know that Dave Ramsey is big on this. I can comment on this first hand, I once had 4 (count'em 4) part time jobs simultaneously, for about 2 years. I kept hoping that one of them would turn into a full time job, I would have liked any of them, but no luck. I finally thought that I was meeting myself coming and going, and my blood pressure was killing me, and dropped 2 of them. This was a good solution for the short term, but it gets to be very exausting! And, to be truthful, they all were only minimum wage jobs, so even if one of them had been full time, I likely would have been looking for something else anyway. I do still dabble with one, I have a small home based business, I do sewing and alterations. I would love to do this full time, and have several times over the years, but it's just not steady enough income in this area. I like to know that we can pay the bills every week, not just the week when everybody needs a zipper in their jacket. Maybe I should learn to fix chainsaws?
Stop me if you've heard this one before... I did write about this, or maybe It's just that I told so many people. I was just reading about a gal who turned the house over to the bank, rather than wait for a foreclosure. The economy here in Michigan is in the toilet (excuse the language), with lots of foreclosed houses, houses for sale, empty houses, etc. In fact, a plumbing and heating guy we know put on a whole crew that does nothing but rehab forclosed homes that were abandoned, for the banks and realty companies. If you leave a house in the North country here with no heat, the pipes burst, ruins the fixtures, and sometimes the whole heating system, depending on what you have. Anyway, I digress (a lot). The story that came to mind was, my DD#2 had a girlfriend whose Mother passed away. Mom and her boyfriend had been living in a house that Mom owned, well, she and the bank owned. Anyway after she was gone, the children came and took the things that they wanted out of the house, told the boyfriend that he could do whatever he wanted with the rest, and left it. They didn't try to sell, find a renter, or anything,(I do not understand that), just left it for the bank to take back. Well, the boyfriend stayed on, said he wasn't going anywhere until the sheriff came and booted him out (do they actually do that?). He ended up staying 2 1/2 years! The foreclosure notice came out in the paper, the mortgage was owned by a bank in CA by that time. They tried to sell the property on the courthouse steps, no sale. If it was ever listed for sale, it wasn't with any of the local realty companies. So he just stayed there, paid the utilities, which were still in her name (that's a whole other story), and claimed that no one had ever contacted him, or come by the property as far as he knew. They would easily have known that someone was living there, the lawn was mowed, there was a dog in the yard, etc. etc. Finally, he just moved, got a job that was further away and moved to be closer to work. I am still astonished every time I think about it. I wonder if the bank ever knew what condition the house was in, apparently they didn't care. So anyway, when a girlfriend of mine lost their house, she was all in a tizzy wondering where they would go, and I told her not to worry so much, it might take years! They did move because she wanted to be settled before school started this Fall, she has 5 kids in school, and they didn't want to end up switching schools in the middle of the year. I wonder if the house is still empty, maybe one of the neighbors needed a place???
I used to be a rabid couponer. I carried my little file of coupons, clipped to the calculator like a warrior looking to defeat the enemy. The enemy being my grocery bill, I guess. But I kind of got away from that, for a lot of reasons. I still use some coupons, maybe 5 or 6 on average, in a weeks shopping. But things have changed. My Mother and I get 3 Sunday papers between us, and swap the coupon flyers, then I take them to work for the girls there. But there are some weeks that I only clip one or two coupons. It seems like all of the coupons are for things that I just don't buy! So, just for fun, I did a little informal inventory of what exactly was in those 3 circulars this last weekend. Almost 1/3 of the coupons were "personal care items" shampoo, body wash, lotion, razors, shave creme(gel/mousse)and hair color (lots of hair color!) etc. I hardly ever clip those, because they are all for the more expensive brands, and I don't buy them anyway. Even with the coupon, the bargain/store brand tends to be cheaper. Remember, I'm shopping the dollar stores here in rural America, I'm about 20 miles from the nearest big box, or drug chain. Next came what I call household stuff,about 1/4 of the total, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap, floor cleaner, furniture polish, and smelly stuff (or anti-smell stuff)! Good grief, we must be the smelliest nation on the planet! Scented oils, scented candles, air freshner, carpet freshner, pet freshner, furniture , shoes, etc. etc. All that anti-smell stuff was more than 1/2 of the household category. I clipped exactly 2, Tide laundry soap, and Ajax dish liquid. What a waste of a tree. The rest was food. Lots of lunchmeat, boxed dinners, seafood (must be fishing season somewhere), try something new, (everything is new!), but I have noticed that lots of those coupons require you to buy 2 or 3 products to get the discount, especially cold cereal. They have been doing that for a while. I don't have room in my cupboard for 3 or 4 boxes more! Besides, I buy most of my cold cereal at the dollar store, and mostly their store brand. I must say that I am deeply in awe of those shoppers who combine the coupons with sale items (you know, you see them on TV) and come out of the store with $232 worth of stuff, and they only paid $63.42! To me, thats like knowing how to beat the stock market, we all know it can be done, but it's just so darn much work you won't catch me doing it!
So was that Shakespeare or Hollywood? Well, either way I'd be OK as long as the horse only cost $1. That's how much I have left in my wallet until Friday. Actually, it hasn't worked out badly, so far. Every time someone wants money, or me to buy something, I have the pat reply, "sorry, I only have a buck left until payday". I don't have to argue, rationalize, or ignore, the one buck stops the conversation cold! I may just try this again, not the spending all the money thing, but the leaving only $1 in my wallet. Sometimes you just fall into the best stuff, whoda thunk?
Remember the old Ma and Pa Kettle movies? I used to love watching them on a Saturday afternoon. Somedays, I am Ma Kettle. Total chaos every day, but somehow it works out in the end. At least, I hope so. Canned salsa yesterday, pickled beets today, and did a mountain of dishes. One thing about cooking from scratch, it's cheaper, good for you, and makes a pile of dishes every Day! This is night 4 of 7 in a row, and going OK, quiet nights so far. I's supposed to rain tomorrow later, and be cold and windy, so I am going to try to pick the winter squash in the garden when I get home in the morning. That is the last thing out there. Gotta Go, can't be late for work.