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.
Archive for November, 2009
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?
Sometimes trying to be frugal is confusing, or maybe it's just me,(being confused), read on and you tell me.
My Hubby loves the Farmers Almanac! When to plant, where to fish, it's kind of like the local entertainment guide for rural folk. I picked it up tonight, because I was going to be sitting for just a moment, and I hate idle hands. Anyway, inside the cover, on the title page is all of the usual info, and a lovely woodcut style print of sheep and...raccoons? I wasn't aware that coons (as we call them) had become a farm commodity! See what happens when you don't keep up with the local news? I am in the know on fish farming, and we do have several more exotic farms in my homestate, (elk, buffalo, deer), but somehow I missed the scoop on coon farming? Most farmers I know have dealt with their share of coons, mostly trying to get them to vacate the barn, and quit sponging a free meal. (boy can a coon make a huge mess in the feed room!) What frugal endeavor could a coon be involved in? Could they be trained to do something? although they are mostly nocturnal. (night shift workers?) They are good climbers. (linemen, tree trimmers?) Security? They can be sassy! (try chasing one out of the cat food dish!) I didn't read far enough to get the whole story, If I find out something interesting, I will let you all know. Although, I think that Daniel Boone did have some success in this field............ Coonskin cap anyone?
I may have mentioned that I do sewing and alterations as a little home business. It was a big home business at one time, I did complete wedding parties, but it was usually an "also". I did it along with working other jobs, sometimes a couple of them. Well, business has been pretty great lately. People are fixing things, rather than replacing them. Good for me, and good for their pocketbooks, I'm sure. I am sometimes puzzled tho, every once in a while, I end up with an item that no one ever picks up. A few times, the owner has passed away before they got back to me, or the phone number they gave me was changed, or they just ignore my messages for, forever. I'm never sure how aggressive I should get about trying to find people to return items to. Sometimes, I see them other places, and slip it into the conversation, some of them I had never heard of before, they got my number from a friend, I have actually left items on the doorstep, and figured if I got paid it would be a bonus. Most times I do get paid, and only once in 20+ years has anyone ever given me a bad check. I was just thinking about this today, when DD#2 brought home a pair of jeans from her friends brother, that needs a zipper. The brother was going to throw them away, and what do you know, DD#2 has been paying more attention than I thought. "OH NO," she says "my Mom can fix them!" I had to laugh at that, she has complained long and loudly, in the past, about my thrifty habits. She called it cheap, I called it thrifty. So, if the item has been around here for more than 2 years, of if I can't even recall who gave it to me, it will eventually find it's way to the thrift store. So far, I haven't ever had anyone call about something that I re-donated (is that a word?)
Hubby was channel surfing this AM, and came across that perenniel favorite "YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN", just in time for me to hear Madeline Kahn warbeling her "I'm So Tired" song, as the "teutonic titwillow". I can't remember her characters name, but I remember the cheesey moniker! So, I'm writing this in the spirit of: sometimes being frugal, and working hard to get out, or stay out, of debt is exausting and life-changing. In fact, I'm going to amend that and say that ALL of the time it's exuasting and life changing. At least it is for me! I have an opportunity to go shopping for the day with a good friend, next week, it's been our big "get-together" for the past few years, and I'm not even sure that I want to go. A nap sounds so much more appealing right now, that's just SAD! Then I got to thinking about all of the other things that I used to do, ladies activities at church, school things for the band, sports teams that my kids were on, 4-H, community projects, and I only still do a couple, and not very faithfully, anymore. I am just so tired, that nothing sounds like fun! I am lucky to be pretty healthy, and I don't feel "sick", I would just like to try life on more than 6 hours of sleep a night, or day in my case. For about 6 months, or maybe forever. A fact that doesn't always come up in the frugal-saving money sites is that being frugal is a lot of work! It takes time, and effort! I am always willing, but man, I could use a few more hours in each day! (and if anyone out there figures out how to get them, I will be your first customer!) I always laugh when some new "need" comes along, I tell them that I will schedule that in my "spare 5 minutes a day" Some days are just that bad! I think that I actually had more time with 4 kids at home, I could just delegate! And I did! It was a fact that my kids did not come to me and complain they were "bored", if you were bored, you got a job to do. Now 2 are gone, and the other 2 have a long day already, with school/work/sports, well some combo of that between them. They do their own laundry, and clean their rooms, but other than that, they aren't here enough to clean a bathroom, or do dishes, or mow lawn, not on a regular basis anyway. (But I digress, I do that a lot.) Anyway, the point was that being too tired to have any fun is the pits, I'll have to try to do something about that. Maybe I'll think about it, you know, in that 5 spare minutes a day! And don't ask why I'm on the computer at 2:14AM on my night off, you don't want to know!