I was just reading a blog about the pros and cons of giving your child an allowance, and this brought back memories. I remember a great debate when I was about grade school age between the kids on the school bus. Who got an allowance, who didn't, what chores you had to do, some kids got paid for good grades on their report card, etc. I did get an allowance, 5 cents a week, when I was in elementary school. Then I think it went to 25 cents in middle school, but by the time I was in high school, I was babysitting every weekend, and had more spending money than my Mother. I did give my kids an allowance. I knew they needed to learn how to manage money, and they couldn't do that if they never had any. It was not tied to chores, or good grades, or anything else. Oh yes, they all had chores to do, "we all work because we all live here together" was my motto. And I don't think that witholding the allowance because they didn't do their chores ever happened either, they ALWAYS did their chores. That sounds very whip and chair, but it wasn't really. With four kids, nobody wanted to get stuck with whatever the slacker didn't do, after a certain point, they kind of policed themselves. When they got to be 11-12 they did jobs around the neighborhood and got paid, so they made their own spending money. When they got into high school, and got a "real" job, the allowance stopped. I did tender a loan occasionally for a major expense, but they always paid me back. Although DD#2 is allergic to the word budget, and I sit down with her every few months to help her figure out why she's broke (again). Some people are just like that. Anyway, I was just thinking that my kids got about $10 a week by the time they were in high school, and I need an allowance like that! Fun money is one of the things that the experts tell you to build into your budget, so you don't get too bored, and sink the whole thing. However, they didn't tell me which bill to stop paying, so I could spend money on something fun! Maybe I need to re-read that section, I think something was lost in the translation. Wouldn't be the first time.
I have been mulling over this topic for a while, I just wasn't sure where I wanted to go with it. I think that we all know that debt and finances have a big impact on our families and family life. We all do as much as we can to help everyone, ourselves included, cope with the results. This is about my friend "Mary". Mary and her husband both come from solidly middle class backgrounds, both intelligent people, but things haven't gone so well for them. Mary and her family of 7 have moved 6 times in the last 15 years. That seems like a lot to me, but I have lived in the same house for most of my life. Mary's oldest child, Son#1 has not responded well to all of these moves. 5 different schools (same one twice) was just not something that he was prepared to deal with. He's very smart, kind of a nerdy kid, quiet, doesn't make friends easily, and he's just given up. He's tired of new schools, new teachers, trying to make friends, and as soon as he's finally comfortable, on they go. Mary feels terrible, this is all her fault! Why can't they have a normal life? Etc. etc. Mary and her husband have actually made some very good choices with their finances, but they bring new meaning to the old phrase about "if it weren't for bad luck, they'd have no luck at all". Bad Luck Murphy seems to have moved in with them. They lived in a home supplied by the farmer that Hubby worked for, until it burnt to the ground, luckily they were on vacation. They lived in a rental that nearly gassed them to death with carbon monoxide. They lived in a house owned by a relative, until the relative passed away and the house had to be sold. They lived in a rental on the edge of town, the city changed the zoning to commercial, and they couldn't renew the lease. They finally qualified for a low income home loan, and their lender went belly up in the big banking crisis, and they got foreclosed on! Now they are in a big, old home out in the boonies, she bought a used car to get to work, and her employer closed up shop. I think that you can be as financially savvy as Ben Bernanke, as frugal as Mary Hunt, and still get stomped on year after year. They are considering letting Son#1 go live with his Grandparents for the 2 years he has left in school, but Mary is very family oriented, and she's just heartbroken. It makes me think of disenfranchised kids trying to get out of the ghetto! It's so bad, you almost have to laugh, luckily they still laugh about it. What else can you do?
My washer finally died. It's been a lingering death the last few months, but I kept hoping it would make it through until Spring. Nope. So, I shopped some washers and dryers today. I am definitely getting a dryer also. The dryer has been the problem child of the pair for years. This pair is about 6 years old. The appliance store clerk gasped when I told her it was only 6 years old, Its not the age, its the mileage! I do 5 or 6 loads of laundry, 5 or 6 days a week. That pair has given its all. So anyway, they had a pair exactly like the ones I have, for just about the same price I paid 6 years ago? Funny! $799 one year warranty, delivered, installed, haul away the old ones. Then for $999 they had a pair with a ten year warranty, 3 years on parts and labor, also delivered etc. Whats the big difference for $200? I called my appliance guy to get his take, he hasn't called me back yet. The washer died in mid cycle last night, lots of loud grinding, a few bangs, and a really hot smell. Dead as a doornail. I unplugged it. Then I somewhat reluctantly made my way down to the basement, washed off the old wringer washer, and finished the laundry. I have Grannys old wringer washer, and it works fine. I am still drying towels, but other than that, I can wait a few days to decide what to do about a new pair. Thank you Lord for the emergency fund!
I was just clicking thru some blogs, and came across one referencing good advice from Grandpa, about life and love, etc. It made me think about my two Grandmas. They had both lived thru the depression, but from the way they talked, you might not have known it was the same one! Gramdma was an only child, her father worked for the railroad, a pretty nice job in the early part of the century. She married the boy next door who also worked for the railroad, and they lived a very comfortable life. The depression was a big slap in the face for them. Father and husband both lost their jobs, both families sold/lost their homes and they ended up moving onto a farm in the country, together. The togetherness wasn't a problem, but my Grandma had never been poor, always lived in a small city, and was used to a certain life style. Her memories were of everyone being very unhappy about the circumstances, although she did used to talk about the fun, home things that they did. She learned to can, and grow a garden, enjoying farm life very much, and they did get by. Grandpa worked again as soon as jobs became available, although he never went back to the railroad. They certainly lived a much simpler life after that, and stayed on the farm until they both passed away. My Grandpa was very bitter about the whole thing, he had a considerable amount of money in the stock market, and lost it all. He was very grouchy when my Mom was growing up, and didn't have much nice to say about anything, it was all "the governments fault" whatever it was. My other Granny was born in the US to immigrant parents, the oldest of 11 children. This country was so much better than what they had left, it was like a holiday! They lived in the South when she was growing up, and all of the kids worked out as soon as they could, and some of the jobs they had! Her Father worked in the coal mines, and they moved a lot, she eventually married an engineer for the mining company. They were still living in the coal camps when the depression hit, Grandpa had grown up on a farm, so they came "up north" and bought a farm. Granny really loved farm life. She always said that it didn't matter if you had a lot of money, the farm would give you everything you need. Food to eat, fuel for the stove, and the means to get whatever else you needed. Granny was the big type A in that relationship, Grandpa kind of floated quietly in the background, doing his thing, but I know that he really loved living on the farm too. Granny talked about work. Her pride and avocation was being a hard worker. She gardened and canned and worked out in the fields when necessary, and talked about how proud she was when she would wash the mens' white T-shirts and they would be out on the clothesline, all bright white and spotless, in a row. She mended things until there was more mend than garment. But they had fun too, taking the carload of kids to the lake on a Wednesday night, the beaches were all free then. So both my Grandmas came from very different places, and the advice they considered important to pass along? Well, surprisingly similar. Always expect to work hard. SAVE YOUR MONEY! Family is important, we all need each other. Don't expect to receive every time you give. Some things you do just because it's the right thing, and don't toot your own horn about it. (the last two are kind of the same) Good advice culled from 80+ years of living (each) who could ask for anything more!
Just a quickie. Hubby got a registered letter from his company today, telling him that he has now paid into the pension plan long enough for me to qualify for a surviving spouse benefit, and if we want it, to submit the paperwork. "So" he says to me, "do you think you want it?" "Oh yeah" says I, "wait until I tell the kids that I get to move in with one of them, because you wouldn't fill out some paperwork!" End of discussion. P.S. The completed paperwork went to work with him tonight to drop in the shift bosses' mailbox! HehHehHeh.
I wrote the check this morning for our property taxes, and then dropped off the paperwork for our income taxes at the bookkeepers office. We live in a small town, all of the tax people are local, no H&R Block for 50 miles. I also had brunch in town with my three best girlfriends, and we talked taxes. Everyone hates them, (taxes), tries to figure out ways, legal and maybe not quite so legal, to avoid or reduce them, but nobody has a better idea! Everybody wants a great community and services, but couldn't they be a little less expensive? The largest portion of my property tax bill is the millage for the Intermediate School District. Thats the county tech center, and the county handicapper school. Both very necessary! Next came the actual county operating money, which the county board is always trying to stretch 7 ways to Sunday. It never goes far enough, especially in Michigan, where the governor is changing the budget every week with her socks! Then the local school district with operating millage, and a special millage for technology and building upgrades, I think we are in year three of five with that one. The township operational money next, although most of that goes to run the township cemetery, and volunteer fire dept. And close behind, the local library (4 townships support this one) and the County nursing home. Now we could all agree that we wouldn't want to cut any of those things, but you would just think that some think tank somewhere might be able to figure out a better way to do it? Somehow? Maybe? I would be willing to listen to some smart suggestions to solve any or all of the above. But the really smart people probably know better than to get involved, look what happens to them in Washington!
A comment on another point of view. I go to church with a woman who works at a state run job search office here in Michigan. As most of you know, Michigans economy is seriously in the toilet, although when compared to California???? I don't feel so bad. Anyway, this agency is responsible for job search and retraining for every person collecting unemployment or social service assistance in Michigan. The only problem is, they're out of money. The state budget is so far in the red, they don't make enough red ink for it anymore. Anyway, this persons opinion was that welfare should be eliminated and then that money used to get everyone a job. Lovely. What job? There have been several versions of this before, a limit to how much time you could collect welfare benefits, and then the state would make you take a job, like it or not. I have to say that I agreed with this, to a certain extent. I know a couple of people who lived "on the dole" for their whole lives, because they were lazy and didn't want to work. So, this was the agency that helped you find the job, or paid for training so you could get a job. But they don't have any money. And where are they going to find jobs to compell these welfare or unemployment people to take? People who are actively looking for jobs can't find one. And what about the worker whose unemployment had run out, and then they end up on the welfare role? What else can they do? I just thought that her comments weren't very realistic. But... on the other side of that coin, I work in the healthcare field. One of the jobs that many of those recipients were trained for was Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA's) Now I read all of the time that health care jobs are the place to go, the population is aging, there are lots of openings etc. All true to some extent. My company has hired and fired at least a dozen people in the last year who were sent to CNA class by the state, and were terrible at the job. Some would tell you outright this was not what they wanted to do, but they had no choice, train or lose all of their benefits. Some might have thought they would like it, but just weren't suited after they got there. And then the usual workplace foolishness, coming in late, 47 "emergency" calls every shift, always complaining about the shift/work/boss/boyfriend/coworker, calling in too late to find a replacement, just not showing up. Those people really did not want that job, but they can't quit (lose benefits) they have to wait and get fired. What a mess! Do I have a better idea? No, not at the moment, but let me think about it! (just kidding)
I was just reminded of this by looking in my kitchen cupboard. The item that caught my eye - a 10# bag of rice. Remember last year, when there was going to be a shortge of rice in the world, and stores would only sell each customer so much?? Well my SIL went out and bought everyone a 10# bag of rice, to put away for those "lean times". She meant very well, I know, but that's enough rice for us for maybe a decade? We don't eat that much rice anymore. So, that belongs in the lose a few side. I thought about just donating it, but darn it, its nice to look at it in the cupboard, and know that we COULD eat for quite a while if we had to. On the win a few side, I didn't do any shopping last week, well with one exception, I needed TP. There are many things that I can substitute for or do with out, but that is Not one of them. I think that this will be a no shop week again. It will give me a chance to be a little creative with the menu for a change. It seems like I always end up cooking the same couple of dozen meals over and over! And I collect cookbooks! Its just easier to make the tried and true, I know exactly what I need, how much time it will take, that everyone likes it. I know, just lazy, I need to be more adventureous. Lastly, one that could go either way, win or lose. I am sitting here looking at a neatly boxed up punch bowl and cups, sitting in the corner of the room. I have wanted a punch bowl off and on for years, but never would have spent the money to buy one, and one day DD#2 came home with a freebie from some friends garage sale. I loved it, we used it once, and it has been sitting in the corner ever since, now I remember why I never bought one. Well, at least it didn't cost me anythting, and I could lend it out if someone asked me. Maybe we will need it for that upcoming wedding! There, now I feel better. TTFN
The last seven days have been wild/busy. But not in a bad way. I got several mending jobs in and out, work has been crazy, several new residents at the assisted living, that need a lot of assisting, and talk, talk, talk about wedding plans. They have almost 18 months until the big event, I think that they need to nail down the basics, and relax (and save some money) for a while. This is a no grocery week. There is so much stuff in the chest freezer that I can hardly close it. So, I didn't even open the sale ads this weekend, I don't care how great the price is, we need to empty out the pantry a little. That's a very nice feeling, knowing that I don't have to shop, and we'll have plenty to eat. I do have to refill a couple of prescriptions tho, it's not all good news. The electric bill was about $50 higher this past time. I'm sure its from the cold weather, the furnace ran a lot, and I have a couple of heat lamp bulbs going in the barn to keep the water from freezing. Not much you can do about that. The water heater bill was down though. Our residential electric and water heater are metered separately, and thats handy sometimes. There used to be a radio controlled box on the water heater, so the utility company could shut it down in peak usage times, I'm not sure if they have taken it off, but I haven't seen a shutdown in over ten years, maybe they just don't do that anymore. And, I think that you used to to a cheaper rate too. But the separate meter has come in handy a couple of times, when something was wrong with the water heater, and the first thing that we noticed was the bill being way up or down. I have been doing well paying off the Dr. bill, the check every week is whittling it down, now I just have to get some stamps, so I can mail them. (that WOULD help) I finally have all the furniture put back from the Christmas re-arangement. I really need a new slipcover for the sofa. Everytime I mumble this to myself in front of Hubby, he starts in on how we REALLY need a new sofa, not the slipcover! (rolling my eyes) That would sure be nice, but we can't afford a sofa right now, and he never sits on it anyway, he has his recliner chair, thats the only place he EVER sits in the living room. I made the cover for the sofa anyway, from a couple of twin size bedspreads, so I don't know what difference it makes to him. Actually, I could probably put a different cover on the sofa, and unless it was PINK, he would'nt notice for a month! (ok, enough ranting) Well, it's a dark foggy morning here, I think I'm going to take a nap, I do work tonight. TTFN
This will be a little financial if you read between the lines. My DD#3 came home the other day, and told me that she signed up for a NEW history class next term. It's the history of the 1900's, focusing mostly on events after WWII. About time! I love my American History maybe more than the next guy, but memorizing the dates and generals of the Revolutionary War, while important, isn't very relevant to todays ecomnomic problems. My kids have looked at me like an alien for years, when I would mention the energy crisis in the early 70's. And the terrible economy in the early 80's. It's like anything that happened after WWII doesn't exist! The big events of the last century have had a direct impact on where we are right now, politically, economically etc. I'm waiting to see what kind of topics are going to come into the class, I usually end up helping to study for tests. OBTW, cute study story. DD#3 had a test in Social Studies a few weeks ago (they don't call it that anymore, but when I had it, it was social studies) anyway, she had facts on flash cards to memeorize, and I kept trying to give her little clues to help her. Well one of the cards was "what was the major contribution of the Tang dynasty?" The answer was gunpowder, so I told her to think Tang - bang (you know, shooting a gun) She hates it when I do that, she says it's confusing. But later on, she told me that when she saw that question, she knew right away Tang - bang! Then she had to tell the teacher about that afterwards, that she hates it when I study with her, I always add too much information. She said the teacher just laughed at her. Hah! Anyway, I'm looking forward to her learning more about what directly led us (America) to the pickle that we are in right now. Maybe I won't be an alien anymore.
I got a new pocket calendar today, so the first thing I do is go thru and put little $ on all the paydays. I don't know why, I just like looking at them. Then I mark birthdays, anniversarys, most holidays are already on there, family reunion weekend, graduation, until I could'nt think of any others. Its so nice looking at the fresh, new pages, a whole year full of possibilities. I have a meeting at work this afternoon, I hate it when they cut into my sleep time, then theres no way to make it up. I'll make my Dr. bill and workwear payment while I'm on the computer. Still waiting on the car, no major damage, (thank you Lord)water pump needs replacing, and they found several other little "while you're at it" things to do. So I am driving the extra, extra truck, whose box is full of garbage bags from when DS cleaned his basement a couple of weeks ago. He left the bags in there overnight, and they FROZE DOWN. So, I went thru the bank drive thru this AM with 6 bags of trash in the back. At least they weren't busted open (heavy sigh) just when I think things can't get any lower......
What to do, what to do. I was getting the Christmas boxes out today, time for the tree to come down, and I have a lot of "don't know what to do with its" There is a lot of stuff stored in my closet that I was given as keepsakes, or told someone that I would take as a keepsake, and I need to make some decisions. Case in point: I have a wrapper (robe) and slippers made by my great-grandmother, when she was elderly, in case she had to go to the hospital. Its brand new, she died quietly in her bed at home. My mother kept it for years in her cedar chest, and when she was cleaning it out one time, she was going to throw it away, and I said, no, i'll take it. A keepsake, right? I just thought it was sad to throw it away, but now, what do I do with it? These things just stick to my fingers. No one else in the family is ever going to want it. It has no real value other than it's old fabric. But it still makes me sad to think of just tossing it in the trash. And thats just the tip of the iceberg. I also have a set of World Book Encyclopedias from the 1940's that my Grandmother bought when her children started country school, they are in immaculate condition! She gave them to me 25+ years ago, to get them off her bookshelves, they have been carefully wrapped in brown paper, in the bottom of my closet ever since. I have surfed thru ebay a few times, thinking that I might sell them, but they have no real value, it would cost more to ship them than I would ever get for a price. How do you decide what to do with those kinds of things?
Well, I'm pretty sure I know what to do with the bonus check from work, my car died on the way home this morning (heavy sigh). It is super cold here right now, and it overheated for some reason, and I blew a heater hose, not necessarily in that order. So Hubby had to come and pick me up, luckily he didn't work last night. And DS was going to pick up the car, but he says it's too low slung for our equipment trailer, so we had to call a wrecker. And wait for an hour for the wrecker to get there. So now the car sits in the shop, at the farm, until it warms up and thaws out enough to get checked out. I just hope I didn't crack the block, I don't think my bonus will cover an engine replacement. I am very lucky to have four mechanics in the family, but auto repairs are b**** expensive even so. Oh well, got my fingers crossed, breakfast and bed for me, I still have to work tonight.
I always have a few "resolutions" in the back of my mind, but I know that it helps to write them down, so here goes:
1. Pay off medical bills.
2. Pay off workwear credit account.
3. Increase amount going to savings every week.
4. Get serious about Hubbys 401K.
5. Open Roth IRA.
6. Need two vehicles in GOOD working order.
7. Plan major home improvement projects.
8. Get back to church regularly.
9. Do some "couples" stuff.
10. Try not to be so nervous about finances.
Hey, if the news services can do it, why shoudn't I? Overall, its been a better year than I expected at times.. Started out with extra medical bills from Hubby's foot surgery, and news that we had a Grandbaby on the way! Got the medical bills paid off just in time to find out that he was going to need sholder surgery, and would be off for at least three months (turned into six months). Grandbaby arrived, new parents bought a house, worked a lot of overtime, but NEVER had to dip into emergency fund! (I can't believe it!) 401K rebounded decently. Got all fired up and paid off the long suffering dentist bill, and am now attacking the family doctor bill with pitchforks and machetes (isn't that what the natives do in the movies?) I did wonder a few times, but it turned out that 2009 wasn't so bad in the end.
I have a daughter who is just starting to plan a wedding for June of'11. I have been trying to (gently) get them to pick a date, so we can shop for a reception hall. I imagine that June dates fill up fast. So, I have been doing a little calling around this week, OMG! There are four places in a reasonble driving distance, and the prices are pretty similar (expected that) they average around $1000, not including the food! Then probably another $2000 for the catering, DJ, decorations, etc. Not to mention the dresses, flowers, rings. I think that we need to have a talk about what they expect their wedding to look like. Now they have not asked for a single thing, or help, but I was planning on offering to help out, at least. The grooms Father passed away in the Summer, and I don't think his Mother is in a position to put out much financially, so I am very curious to see what they have in mind. I was laying awake earlier, my mind just whirling with possibilites. My daughter will yell at me, but I can't help it, I'm a planner. I like to put it all down on paper, neatly in black and white, it helps me feel more in control. There is nothing more to do for now, but wait to see what happens. I'm not good at waiting (already guessed that didn't ya).
Sleep? Yeah, I remember sleep, I just don't know when I got any lately. Three Christmas parties, three days in a row, and I worked every night in between. Am I a sucker for punishment, or what? I love Christmas, it was a big fuzzy blur this year. I was just thinking that nobody in our immediate family has had any kind of flu yet this winter, lucky us! I never did get a flu shot H1N1 or regular, haven't ever had one. No that's not correct, I had a swine flu shot back in the 70's, when the first big outbreak was. I never knew anyone who got it then either. Any way, happily, it had been very quiet at work, many of the residents were gone with their families for the holidays. So, I could at least sit down for some of the shift. I don't have any trouble staying awake when I'm really tired, I'm always kind of reminding myself, get up, walk around, do something else. It's when I don't really feel tired that it sneaks up on me, I catch my head nodding, my book slips out of my hands, and whoa, on my feet, find something to do! The bane of night shift workers everywhere. I can always go down to the other end of the building to visit with the med workers, at least they keep each other company thru the night, I am by myself on my two wings. And I know that they don't mind, but sometimes I think that I might be in their way, oh well, who knows. Anyway, as soon as Hubby gets out the door tonight, I am sipping down a couple of Tylenol PM and hitting the hay. I haven't been to a single after Christmas sale, I'm too tired to shop, so maybe it's not all bad!
I haven't done this in a while.....I am supposed to be hemming a dress, but here I am, playing on the computer.....I am surprised by the number of postings about upcoming tax season, my brain is barely getting around the upcoming holidays.....my hubby wants to give the kids their cash in $1's, fifty each (sigh, eye roll) only if HE intends to go to the bank.....we finally put up the Christmas tree today, I had really wanted a real one, but no time to go cut one, so we (frugally) used the artificial one that someone gave us a few years ago..... DD#3 did the decorating, her theme this year, snowmen and snowflakes, cute, we've never done a theme before.....BTW DD#3 asked to borrow a few dollars for the movies last night, she has a job??? well she spent too much on Christmas, and is broke until her payday, so that led me to my "pay attention to your budget" talk, which she sniped thru, and finally I asked her if this was MY money she was borrowing, it came with the talk!! (heavy sigh).....DD#2 has also been home most of the weekend, she must be short of funds also, she hardly ever stays home on the weekends.....I noticed yesterday that one of the basement windows was cracked, and a piece is ready to pop out, they are old windows in an old house ,and not easy to get in and out, I think that I'm just going to cover the whole thing with a piece of plywood until Spring, that should get us thru.....Wow, three bank robberies in a forty mile area in the last week, I'm surprised, or maybe not, times are tough everywhere.....snow in the forecast for the next 2 days, maybe we'll have a white Christmas after all.... I guess that I have frittered away enough time, better get something constructive done. TTFN
Just a little early morning whining, hopefully just a little. I had to write a check for school lunch money this AM. Now, I realize that this is a normal everything thing, why the fuss? Well, the fuss is because I didn't expect to write that check this week. Two years ago, our school district passed a millage to pay for building and technology upgrades, one of which was a computer/telephone system that could launch the shuttle into space. You get computer generated calls, texts and emails about every tiny detail of school life. Absences, late starts, school delays and closings, cancelled practices, school board meetings, every athletic and scholastic event you could think of, low grades, missed assignments, and....lunch account balances! In fact, they made a big stink last year by refusing to serve lunch to some ELEMENTARY students who didn't have enough money in the account to cover their lunch that day. (not one of the superintendents finer moments!) So, you are supposed to get a notification when there is less that $15 dollars in the account, and every day after that, until you put more money in. So, DD#3 says this morning, don't forget to write a check for lunch money, and I say, well I didn't get a call yet, how much money is left in the account. About a dollar. WHAT? No call, No email, no text! I wrote the check, and then called the school! Well, says the lunch lady, sometimes the system misses a student here and there. Did we(the taxpayers) not spend like way too much for this phone thing, and it doesn't always work? Wouldn't it be nice if things and people would just do the things that they are supposed to, when they're supposed to, and I wouldn't have to worry about it anymore! I could cross off my list, all of the things that are supposed to be someone/something elses problem, no double checking, no return reciept, no fuss no muss! It's like a giant info-mercial, you know it sounds too good to be true, but you order anyway, just to prove yourself wrong, and whammo, the mole has whacked you again! AHHHH....I feel better now.
Is worth two in the bush! No birds today, but CASH in hand! Our bonus at work finally came thru! There has been big speculation at work about whether we would get a holiday bonus this year. This is only the second holiday season that I have worked there, and last year there was a big controversy about the bonuses. Apparently, there has been a bonus given every year since the home opened, based on a combination of seniority and hours worked during the year. I got about $100 last year, and was completely thrilled, I had only been working about 11 weeks. This year, the boss announced at the October staff meeting that everything was on track for the bonus this year, no problem. Well, you know that just about the time you figure that there is no problem, there is one! Then the rumor went around that the head corporation isn't making any money, and there would be NO bonus this year. The next week it was supposed to be , so many dollars for every shift you worked for part timers, and some amount of cents for every hour for full timers, very confusing. Well,, when I went into work last night, there was my check, for about $400!!! Still much grumbling, some of the old timers had been getting 2 or 3 times that much, but I am HAPPY!HAPPY! My first thought was more Christmas shopping, but Hubby and I have it planned out pretty well, so I think that I'm just going to sit and think on it a while. I am very tempted to pay on the Dr. bill, but I have the payments all planned out, and it's going fine so far. I'm just going to let it sit quietly for a while, you never know, something unexpected might come up. HA, who am I kidding, something is always unexpectedly mowing down my checkbook. At least this time, I have a little insurance. We do have an emergency fund, but it has to get pretty bad for me to take money out of there, it takes forever to replace it sometimes. So Mums the Word now!
My Grandpa used to say that. I don't know if it's a line from a song or poem, or something he made up, but its kinda cute. Been gone for a while, computer was on the fritz. We had our Thankgiving meal on the Sunday after, it was a great time with all who came. I finally talked myself out of making enough food for the 6th fleet. We usually have enough leftovers that I'm begging people to take some home, and than it occured to me that I was wasting a lot of my money. That sounds kind of cheap, but we all bring dishes to pass, why should I presume that we will run out? We still had enough that we were dividing it up for everyone to take home something, and that was fine. I ended up spending a lot less than usual, hooray! Hubby and I went to a food bank Saturday morning. He started volunteering there when he was off work after his surgery, and it was nice, we had a chance to talk while we were doing our thing. We decided to give the kids a small gift for Christmas, and then some cash. Thay all buy each other a small something, so there will still be things under the tree. I used to encourage them to make each others gift when they were younger, but they are all working, and don't have as much time now. I hope that they get back to the homemade stuff later on. It was so much fun, they found the most interesting things to make for gifts. One of my favorites over the years was a deck of decorated cards. My son got this for Christmas when he was in high school, maybe ten years ago now? Anyway, his sisters all got together with a new deck of cards ,and a package of sharpie markers, and they embellished the cards! It was crazy! Some of the face cards had little bubbles above their heads, where they were making comments. The other suites turned into dancing bugs, or martini glasses, or anything that they could think of. He used to have some of his buddies over for cards, and they spent so much time looking at the cards, they couldn't concentrate on the game! It was wild! That's the kind of Christmas memories that I want them to have, cute, simple things that they did for each other, and still laugh about now. All you can do is try, and teach them to knit! They all can, even my son.
Big, big, big news! The dentist bill is a paid in full! That was one fat, furry mole, and he is roadkill! I have been nibbling away at that bill for more than 2 years, I am thrilled to be done with it! (hear the dancing and singing in the background?) Every time we hit a glitch in the budget, that was the one that got skipped, because they were just SO DARNED NICE about it. Too nice, they should have complained once or twice, and gotten paid a lot sooner. Now, on to the family Dr.'s bill! (don't ask) And, even better news, Hubby is finally back to work!!! He got his first full paycheck this week! Huge sigh of relief. Just as heating season is starting. So, things are looking up for the moment.
Or - The Great Race, Freecycling. I couldn't decide which title I liked better. I like to use our local freecycle to get rid of things I don't want/need anymore. But this has reached a new high, or low, for me anyway. About a year ago, there was a flurry of posts complaining about "takers" selling items thay were getting off the freecycyle. On ebay, in garage sales, whatever. Surprise, surprise. But not the principle behind freecycling, of course. Then, in the Spring, the new big controversy was takers who apparently sit on their computer all day long, to be the first to reply to every offer. The advice was to wait for a day or two, go thru all of the replies, and choose who you want to respond to. OK, just not real speedy, which is sometimes desired. Now I have discovered a new glitch, the takers want instructions! A short time ago, I offered some old jeans for sewing or crafting. I didn't get many replies, but the next day I started down the list. The first asker didn't want to drive this far, no problem. The next one emails me back, and says (I swear)..."what should I do with them?" I thought that I must have misread, and got DD#3 in to look, just to be sure. I DON'T KNOW! If you didn't have anything in mind, why did you ask for them? Now I have to include an instruction sheet with every item? I emailed the moderator of the site, and this was her take, paraphrased. For some people, the freecycle is like a giant game show! Be the first to ask for every item, and you are the winner! Doesn't matter if it's something you want or not. I can see a whole new reality show coming, Freecycle Hoarders. People whose houses are filled with stuff they got off the freecycle, and don't know what to do with! "But it was such a good bargain!" I didn't reply, I hit the big "D" (delete). It just goes to prove, that some old chestnuts translate well into the electronic age. "There's a sucker born every minute!" I don't know if it was me or them?!
As a kind of follow-up to the theft blog, I just read an article on the 10 most shoplifted items in 2009. Their list included electronics, high end clothes, baby formula(?),shaving razor refills, makeup, and some others. I worked in retail for a few years, in a dollar/dime store, and our top 2 (way above anything else) were home pregnancy tests and candy! The candy I always presumed were kids, we would find empty candy wrappers stuffed in corners all over the store. And the candy aisle was directly in front of the checkout! But the home pregnancy tests, I hope weren't kids. We would stock 5 each of three different kinds (15) and at the end of weeks totals, maybe 6 had been paid for, and they were ALL GONE! So we finally put them behind the counter, and I don't think that we sold 3 a week. Maybe people were too embarassed to ask for them? On the other hand, condoms were already behind the counter, and we had plenty of people ask for THEM. Another big target was haircolor! This was a little different. They would take out the contents, or part of the contents, and leave the empty box, neatly reclosed, on the shelf. We finally started sealing the ends of the boxes with clear packing tape before we put them on the shelf. This did slow it down quite a bit, but it still happened. First aid supplies was another, open a box of band-aids and take out some, but not all. How many people count the band-aids in the box before they buy them? I guess if you are determined enough, you can figure out a way to steal most anything (sadly). If only they used their power for good instead of evil!
A topic that I haven't seen addressed much, how about financial strain due to theft. I am speaking from firsthand experience, unfortunately. My DD#3's musical instrument was stolen at school. Now, you might think, no problem, it happened at the school, they must have to relpace the instrument (french horn, hideously expensive), OH NO NO NO. We had to make a police report, and our homeowners insurance is expected to cover it. Minus the $500 deductable! Standard financial advice has been to raise your deductable, it will lower your rates. And it did, but that means you have to pony up the 5 big ones! I was NOT HAPPY with the attitude at the school. It was in a locked band room, and the school was closed for three days last week because of flu. How did someone get into the room, and walk out with the pretty large case, and no one noticed? Well, they are "looking into it". Anyway, now I am going to have to figure out how to shuffle money around to get the darn thing replaced! Luckily, the insurance adjustor didn't give me 2 seconds of trouble about replacement value, she said depreciation on musical instruments is very little, and it's only 2 years old. So we should be able to get the exact same instrument. But now what? Is she going to have to bring it home every night because the band room is not secure? And what would they DO with a french horn? I can just imagine a van in the alley... Psst, lady, you wanna buy a nice french horn?
I have been studiously avoiding thinking about that "Holiday" coming up, but since most of my blogreads today mentioned it, I guess it's time to get my head out of the sand. Haven't got a single present bought, don't know what most anyone is going to get, just give me an F, and I'll get over it. I am NOT ready for Christmas, not ready to think about it, not ready for lists, cards, prep work, nothing. I know this sounds strange, but I really enjoy the Christmas season, I'm just not ready this year! I'm still trying to process the end of Summer, I have no idea where Fall went, (oh yeah, this is it) could'nt believe that Halloween has come and gone. I want a do-over! Flag on the play, stop the presses! I remember when I was younger, my Mother told me one time that the older you get, the faster time goes. Well, she was right! She didn't tell me though, that it would go so fast that I would routinely miss large chunks of it! Like I've been sucked into a black hole for days at a time. But, Christmas will come, whether I like it or not, better get used to it. I just want to wait until after Thanksgiving!
Let me say first that I am NOT recommending any of these, only reporting what I've heard! I just saw an article on 12 surprising things that you can do with Vicks Vapo-Rub. Well, I wasn't surprised by most of them, but there were a couple of new ones. It was the comments that got me! For years my MIL told all of us that her Mother used to make them swallow a ball of Vicks when they had a sore throat, I was quietly sceptical. But, oh no, someone else in the comments had a Granny that did the same thing! I am amazed, and nauseated. I don't know how they kept it down. Just the thought of it..... you get the idea. It got me thinking about some of the other "home remedies" that have come down thru the family. We never had Tums in the house when I was a kid, and it wasn't THAT long ago. If you had a stomach ache/upset stomach, you could drink baking soda and water (tastes terrible), or make a tea with some caraway seeds and hot water. (also tastes terrible) I don't remember that either worked very well. Especially avoid the soda if your problem is alcohol, my MIL also had a very funny story about her Hubby coming home, under the weather, shall we say, and the two did NOT mix well. He always broke in at this point to say that she was trying to kill him, or it felt like it anyway. WE did use a lot of Vicks, but only on chests and throats, Hubby says that his Mom rubbed it under their noses, and that it would take your skin off after a while. Maybe it used to be stronger. FIL told of the Army soaking your feet in kerosene to kill athletes foot, and "bugs" on any part of the body , kerosene also. Wow, and they smoked a lot?!?! Mint leaves could cure a headache, you wet your forehead and stuck them to it, fresh or dried were OK. (this never worked for my Mother) We did always have aspirin in the house, and cough syrup. Hubby remembers the whiskey and honey cough remedy, I don't know if you quit coughing, or were just so fuzzy that you didn't care anymore. I remember putting table salt on cuts and scrapes, stung like the devil, but I don't ever remember one getting infected. And lots of cold water on burns, but nothing else, you just put up with it until it healed, but I also don't remember having many burns. My inlaws were big tonic and salve people, they were older, hubby was at the end of a bunch of kids. My Mother took you to the Dr. (mostly because her parents never took her) but ours was an old osteopath, and more often than not you got directions for aspirin and vitamins, minerals, soaks, etc. I remember breathing treatments before nebulizers, a bowl of hot water with ?? steeping, and a towel over your head. And this was in the late 50's and 60's! We were still quite rural then. I do remember my SIL telling of getting head lice in country school, and the remedy that came from the drugstore reeked so badly that you ended up cutting the hair, nobody could stand it. Well, her grandmother wouldn't let them do it, SIL had long, beautiful black ringlets, so she rubbed vaseline all over the scalp, and wrapped a towel over it all, and you kept it on for 2 days. Then after 7 days, you did it again, and 7 days again. It supposidly did work, smothered them I guess, but imagine trying to wash vaseline out of your hair! It was a remedy from the "old country" and you used goose grease, who has goose grease here! Wouldn't you smell like a rancid pate?
The villian in every cartoon said that at the end of the episode. And me , just today. I was looking forward to getting the dentist bill paid off this week, finally! But, DD#2 needed some cash to fill a prescription. What can you do. You pony up the cash, of course. I was really, REALLY hoping to be done with this bill! I have a dental appt. next week, some day he's going to start repossesing my teeth. The dentist himself never says anything, but I always get the "little talk" from the receptionist, when can you make a payment? the interest is adding up....etc. etc. They have been very fair, I know they have. It just happens that every time I get close to the big -0- balance, somebody needs something thats not covered. I have been paying on this for more than a year, (uh oh), maybe more like two years, come to think about it. What do you do when your debt snowball is still rolling ahead of you, instead of melting? You make a cup of cocoa, tomorrow is another day!
Spent the day doing something fun (for Me) cooking and freezing squash.. We have had a run of unexpectedly nice weather, and the box of winter squash that I packed so carefully on the porch is still good! I love squash! Hubby was hoping for a pie (just like pumpkin), but I was too busy/lazy to roll a crust, so he'll have to wait for next time. Oh, and I baked 10# of red potatoes too. We got a 50# bag 2 weeks ago, and I need to get them used up. I think that I'll save some out for frying, and cube the rest, and freeze them. I whittled another item off my to-do list last night, finally got a clothesline put up in the sewing room. Now I don't have hangers on every door drip drying. The list is getting smaller! TTFN
I was talking with one of my Best GF's last night, we've been buds since we were 10, she deserves a capital letter. The conversation came to reality shows. I don't have any that I follow faithfully, but I've managed to catch an episode or two of most of them. I find them very comforting. Strange choice of words? Not really. When my life feels bad, the house is a mess, the kids are teenage monsters, I'm thinking seriously about trading in the Hubby, just an episode or two of these train wrecks on TV, and I feel much better! No matter how bad my house looks, there are some out there whooeee... Kids are sassy and snotty, well we haven't had to call the nanny yet, and as for trading the Hubby, good grief, mostly they go from bad to worse, much worse! I can only say that I hope those people are just camping it up for TV, I'd really hate to think that they act like that in real life! And I can't watch the court TV shows anymore, mostly I just want to slap some of them silly, Oh, I forgot, they're already silly, and stupid! And willing to let the rest of America see them on TV being idiots! I want some better reality! No Bridezillas (I'm sure Webster didn't come up with that one) NO goofy islands, (lack of funds is the least of your worries) no dating rock stars, (wardrobe budget is obviously tiny) no has been/wanna bees daily grinds (don't even get me started) No wonder our lives are so terrible, look at the examples we think we're aspiring to! Even a nice, relaxing soap opera sounds good! Of course, I haven't watched one in years, the summer Marlena was possesed by the demon was the end for me. I think that I just want too much, I have plenty of reality in everyday life, I don't really want it on TV too. Where's the escapism in that?
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