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Archive for August, 2006

Can I call this a blessing?

August 31st, 2006 at 07:39 am

I just found out my mom and dad in law may not get here until Saturday instead of tomorrow. I love them and I'm looking forward to their visit, but last night I got WAY sidetracked with housecleaning and organizing and didn't know how I was going to have everything done before they got here. Now it looks like I have a reprieve. I only got about 5 hours sleep after being on the phone with a cell phone company's customer service to iron out issues they created on my parents account. I used to work for the company, so I felt the burden to straighten it out. But I wwas dealing with it from 7PM last night until after 1Am when my call dropped (go figure) and when I tried to call back, I couldn't get through.

I got it all ironed out this morning, but that was 7+ hours I wasn't planning on spending doing that. And I had to sit still and take notes istead of scrubbing and organizing and doing laundry b/c A) you must take notes when dealing with customer service, and B) if I move around too much my call drops.

So, we'll have a shorter visit with the mom and dad in law, and that's a shame. But I can go take a quick nap and actually be able to rest a little witout worrying that they could show up early. Ernesto isn't going to let that happen!

And, to be fair, we could really use Ernesto's rain here -- it's been a drought like summer!

PS-- when I wake up I'm gonna Fly like the Flylady's never seen before! WooHoo!

Fighting mad!

August 30th, 2006 at 10:10 am

Okay, I'm going to rant, so if you don't wanna hear that kind of thing, just move on to my Inspiration report.

In July, DH and I stayed at a hotel in Stamford, CT on our way to NH (we stayed free due to accumulated points for business trips). We mistaskenly left the battery charger for our digi cam there. When we realized it, we called, but no one except the head of housekeeping can get into Lost and Found. The day we called was Friday, July 21. Head of Housekeeping (HoH) was out, but they would have her call us before she left for the day. No call.

So, Saturday we called, but HoH is off on weekends. We were told they would have her call us on Monday. No call. I called on Tuesday and was told that she had stepped out, but to call back in 20 minutes. I called 20 minutes later, and magically, she was gone for the day! I was SO frustrated!!! So I spoke with a manager who apologized and said my calls had not been logged properly. Well, I don't care if they are logged properly or not, I just want to find out if my charger is there (by the way, this is a NICe chain -- one of the Hilton brands). She promised to check with the HoH in the AM and she herself would call me the next morning. Of course, she didn't call until 4pm,but at least she called.

She said they didn't have the charger. Not their fault, but I was irritated that it took so many calls for me to find this out, especially when I had to keep calling back instead of them calling me. So she put me on with the general manager. I told him what happened, and he was apologetic. He then offered to REPLACE the charger, jsut because I'd had such a frustrating time with communications. So he told me to email him with the make/model #. (I did not expect this at all as it is not their fault -- maybe DH and I left it elsewhere, or maybe housekeeping didn't see it and the next guest thought it was their lucky day, who knows-- but since he OFFERED, and since I had had such trouble getting the answer... sure, I'll let him replace it).

I looked it up at Radio Shack's website and forwarded the link to him ($31.49 value). He emailed me and said he was having it shipped and included the traking # --Wow, I thought!

Humph. When the package arrived and when I opened it, guess what I found?!? My ORIGINAL charger! So it WAS there! Amazing!!! BUT, it no longer works. Now, I'm jsut wondering if it was maybe tampered with because I'd caused so many problems-- I don't know for sure, but, who knows. Anyway, I call the manager, just to let him know I received it and of course I mentioned that I was surprised it was the original and not a new one like I was expecting (since ours wasn't there). And I mentioned that it no longer worked. I didn't request anything, but he told me that if I replaced it and sent him a copy of the receipt, he would reimburse me. (Again, I did not expect him to offer this, but he did, so OKAY, I will take him up on it, especially since I've had so much trouble, yada, yada, yada).

Okay. So I go and buy a new one and send a copy of the receipt to the GM. I emailed him a week later to confirm that he had received it. No reply. I called to see if he had received the receipt OR the email and he had gotten both. He was going to send me a check or gift card. I emailed him as soon as we got off the phone ( like written documentation) and requested it be a refund since I have already bought the charger from radio shack and don't have any other purchases I need from there. No reply. I wait a week and email him again -- basically reminding him that the reason I was contacting him is because he OFFERED to replace it/reimburse it because of a lack of communications where his staff did not get back in touch with me in a timely manner! I also included that once I receive the reimbursement, he won't have to hear from me again, except to acknowledge receipt of the check for his records. NOTHING.

So I call today, and of course, he is at a GM meeting out of town and won't be back until next week. The lady in charge goes on about how the charfer doesn't work isn't their fault -- True, I say, but that's no longer the point. The GM OFFERED to first, REPLACE it since it WASN"T THERE, and then when it didn't work, he was going to REIMBURSE me! So, the latest is that she is going to email him or call him at his conference (she won't give me his district managers name -- not to worry, I can find it) and she will get back to me today. We'll see!

UGH! I hate being lied to. And I feel like that's all I've gotten from this hotel! It's less about the $$, and more about the fact that the whole reason I was getting anything is because they couldn't be bothered to call me back. SHEESH!

Okay, breating in, breathing out. In...Out. Venting is done. Veins popping out of my neck are retracting. Steam coming from ears has successfully de-wrinkled nearby curtains, and fangs and claws have retreated.

Some show, huh?

Flex Spending account...

August 29th, 2006 at 06:56 pm

So, I have just filled out all the forms to get reimbursement for my and DH's over the counter meds and chiropractic adjustments. I hate paperwork - yuck! yuck! yuck!

And I just know they're going to pull something with the Chiropractic. If we went to the chiro. and filed through our employer based insurance, every visit would have been $50 each and re-scans would have been another $50 each. Instead I signed us up for the PCD payment schedule, which is basically a plan that reduces the cost per member. If DH and I get adjusted on the same day then mine costs $35 and his is only 1/2 or $17.50. And rescans are 1/2 price at $25 each.

So I have letters of medical necessity from the doctor and all the receipts and itemized lists of services received. I just hope they don't give me crap about it not being through our "real" insurance. But the total of $987.50 through the reduced payment plan would have equated to $2300 if I'd gone through work's plan. That's a savings of $1312.50 right there that can be used to reimburse all the crazy dental work going on in our mouths.

I just don't want to have to fight with them... I hope I don't have to. Augh -- I hate even thinking about it. Sheesh!

OTC meds added up to $179.34 so far for the year. Mostly sudafed and allergy meds -- oh, and a little cold medicine early in the year. And we're going to run out of FSA money before the year is up. We thought $4000 would be plenty, but this new dentist is great -- very proactive, but it also means a lot of work is getting done and since we maybe moving and we really trust this dentist and like his office, we're biting the bullet (don't let HIM know-- I'm now even supposed to bite into Apples anymore! Wink ). Oh well...

I can hear her now...

August 28th, 2006 at 09:27 am

The one who once revelled in eating the first ripe berry from the branch and having it explode with all its succulent flavor is scratching her way out -- she's rekindling the romance within me, and I am so thankful she is not lost. I can't wait to really get to know her again. I'm sure she's changed and matured a bit, but I hope not too much. I hope not too much.

We are all Connected

August 28th, 2006 at 09:26 am

Beautifully connected. I admit, I'm on a high -- not a hyper type high, but a peaceful high. I have just come from a one hour massage. I had received a check for my birthday from my mother and father in law, and I chose to spend it on a 1 hr massage (for which, of course, I had a 25% off birthday coupon).

What a good decision. After my post last night, I really slept well. And this morning, I awoke feeling refreshed and excited about the decisions I have made to make a better life for myself.

My masseuse, Janine, was amazing. I could feel the compassion and strength infusing me. I tuned into that compassion and peace and I soaked it all up. I think I spent half the hour just praying; thanking God for never deserting me, and unburdening myself of guilt for being so distant. And the connections I was feeling through Janine's hands and arms and upon myself -- it just made me so very aware of how connected we all are. You and I and all of us, and how those connections influence our decisions, our attitudes, our thoughts, and our actions.

I watched the movie Pay it Forward last week and it feels like an echo of that, what I'm feeling now: connections...connnections...connections

Your posts on my blog influence the way I feel, and react, and respond. Your posts on the threads have helped me save money, and time, and have inspired me to be more attentive to financial matters, and emotional matters; personal and family matters. You make me grateful for all I have, and hopeful for what I will have. Not the material goods, but the peace, and the security, and the knowledge that I can influence other lives.

I feel calm and resolute. I feel joyful in a quiet, whispered way. And I feel grateful. I feel grateful.

Where is the One I used to be?

August 27th, 2006 at 08:33 pm

I get so frustrated sometimes. You know? I've gotten over the part where I beat myself up over wasted money, but now I'm really frustrated by all the TIME that I've wasted. Time wasted watching TV. Time wasted procrastinating. Time wasted doing heaven knows what.

And they aren't things I particularly even care to do, I think it's just habit and of course, it's often easier to do.

Things I wish I spent more time on. Writing. I used to have a knack for words. Poetry spilled out of me. Letters to friends and loved ones were missives ... now... well, I feel like I'm likely boring anyone who bothers. Heck, I'm boring myself most of the time. Forgive me for still writing -- but practice and habit -- maybe it'll bring me back to where my words mean something once again.

I used to feel so inspired! Now, mostly I just feel tired. I'm tired of picking up the same messes DH leaves behind. I'm tired of getting caught up in peoples petty annoyances. I'm tired of feeling bored with my life, and I have GOOD life! I'm just not doing enough with it right now, and that's a shame. I am not working right now, and I know that's part of my little blueness, but it's also a grand opportunity. To write! To draw! To paint! To create! to learn a new skill. To put a puzzle together and frame it, to write letters, real letters to loved ones.

AUGH! Why can't I just DO IT! Am I SO undisciplined that I can't schedule myself an 8 hour day of living!?

This really, really bothers me, but I'm afraid that every time I say I'm going to do better about it, the redundancies and mundane tasks of life interrupt and then I just fall back onto the sofa and watch that darned Erica Kane on All My Children, or I end up on the computer spending an hour or more filling out freebie forms.

Somehow, I have to do better by myself. I deserve it. Freebies are fun and All My Children is mindless, but they don't REALLY matter in the end if my mind is dulled and the art has died within me. I just have to wake her up again. The one inside who once whispered to me in my dreams. The one who was inspired and FELT so much more. The one who wept and laughed and smiled and hugged and loved--daily! The one who read and wrote and played! I want to meet her again within myself, to draw her out. I deserve it! My husband deserves it! And frankly, she's a lot more fun to be around!

And I know that I just have to do it and not let this hope die as I dream tonight. I have to clean the house tomorrow, but she has to be a part of it. She has to be invited, and she just has to show up for me. I have to know that "she" hasn't abandoned me the way I abandoned her.

Heaven help me, I need her.

Making progress

August 27th, 2006 at 10:06 am

Okay, just checking in. I've definitely spent too much time today on the boards already, BUT I did finish 2 units in my current class.

Academic goal: Finish course by Christmas.
On track. I have 3 more units to go and I'm done with this class and then only have 5 classes left to complete the program.

Employment: NA until after the move

Financial: Have 16K in car fund by Christmas.
Will add to car fund on Friday 8/1

House: Have home ready to show by Nov. 1st.
Having houseguests next weekend. May not get to this until after they leave.

Faith: Go to church at least 3x per month, read Bible daily.
Not yet. Slept in today and didn't get to church.

Exercise: Go to gym daily.
Again, not yet. DH is in town and we've been working on house projects

Art: Write or paint at least 2x per week.
Nope. And probably not until after all this family comes in town

Read: 1 non financial book per month.
Okay, I'm doing this one. Still enjoying David Copperfield. It's one of the books that I've had for years and never read. Trying to get through those and library books anbd not buy new ones.

DH just got home from the woodshop. Gotta go fix him lunch. Smile

Time to put the Goals in writing

August 24th, 2006 at 08:32 am

I think I have avoided doing this just because of the great number of unknowns in my life right now, but really, the future is always unknown, so I shouldn't let that stop me.

Academic goal: I am so doggone frustrated by my online project management certificate course (this will be another thread sometime, I'm sure), but I am determined to finish it. So, the deadline for finishing the remaining classes will be... Christmas. This will be tough, especially as I don't know how many units are in my remaining classes (and doggone professor won't get back to me about it!!!). But I THINK we'll still be on the East coast then, and I'd love to have it done my the time we move.

Employment goal: SO, if I complete the coure before we move, then the next goal is to get employed by DH's company within 1 month of our move. That gives me time to get the house settled, learn my way around a bit and get through the interview process and paperwork.

Financial goal. We have recently completed our $10,000 ER fund, so next is getting the car fund in place. We currently have $2800 in it, so I will se ta goal, based on our past 2 month history of saving, and say that we will have $16,000 in the car fund by....Christmas! WooHoo! I really think it's do-able!

Household goal: Have the house ready to show by November 1. This means I have to really budget my schooltime and house projects to get all the little things done (repainting the stairwells, minor landscaping, de-cluttering, staging, major nitty gritty cleaning, etc). This takes into account a couple small trips I have to make and time spent helping set up DH's apartment). Definitely do-able!

Faith goal: Start reading the Bible again -daily- and go to church at least 3xmonth. We are tithing, but not really active other than sending the $$. Need to do better.

Physical goal: Get in kick a** shape while DH is working out of town. And use their shower to conserve our hot water (LOL). I'm in pretty good shape right now, but could work on muscle tone. And it'll keep me from putting the weight back on which is so much better for my back pain issues.

Art goal: Write (creative writing) or paint at least 2x week. These are passions I have let slide among the busy-ness of life. I deserve to have these passions and I need to exercise them if I want them to be there in the future.

Reading goal: Read one non-financial book per month. Right now it's Dicken's David Copperfield. Literature is important to me, it deserves its place in my life. (And sometimes, I finish a book in just 2 days, so this one is not all that time intensive.

I think that's enough. It sounds, in fact, like a busy few months ahead. I'm excited about it, though. WooHoo!!!

Microwave and toaster for $4.20

August 22nd, 2006 at 04:07 pm

Dh will need a microwave and toaster for his apt next month. Today I was at Goodwill dropping off some things and I went in to see if they had electronics like I'm looking for. They did! There were several microwaves to choose from and the one I got is big and old, but clean and works great. DH will only need it for a few months until we both move out to Colorado, so it doesn't have to last forever and it was marked $3. The toaster looks like it was used maybe 2x -- super clean, and works fine. It was marked $2. When I got to the register I found out that Tuesdays are sale days for electronics 20% off. So it was just $4 + tax! WooHoo.

I also got myself a nice pair of jeans. I am in between sizes right now and as I was helping DH pack the car the other night i kept having to tug my jeans up! LOL -- tried a belt, but these low-rise things it just doesn't help. So I got a pair at Goodwill for $4. They are an expensive brand I would normally never buy if I were buying new, and these I know have been washed so shrinkage shouldn't be a problem! What a score!

Thank heavesn for good insurance

August 21st, 2006 at 02:57 pm

My friend has good insurance and they are really doing a good job by her. She was so distraught this morning, I was really worried. But she changed insurance a few years ago after she couldn't get her agent to call her back. She went with Travelers this time and she said they have been really quick, thoughtful, courteous, and altogether wonderful! You know, the way they should be, considering how much it costs! Smile

So anyway, I am feeling much better about this -- it's hard when you are so far away, it just seems like there is so little you can do.

Still, I say, hug your loved ones! It's good, cheap therapy! Smile

My friend's car just got totalled

August 21st, 2006 at 09:24 am

She called me this morning and told me she'd just been in an accident. Fortunately she's okay (although I hazard to guess she'll be sore from it). We'd just been talking last night about how she loves her car (It's a good, reliable, 2000 Ford something or other). She went ahead and had a CD player and roof racks installed on it b/c she figured she would keep it until it died. The CD was just installed YESTERDAY! And now the car is totalled.

A lady ran a redlight and my friend hit her in teh passenger side door. The lady had her teenage son with her and he is being checked for broken/cracked ribs, but other than that, everyone is okay. Strangely enough, no airbags in either car deployed.

My friend is devastated. She's worried she's not going to get enough for her car to get a decent replacement without financing again. And hers was paid off of course. This just stinks!

I send flowers -- I wish I were closer, but it's a long way from Maryland to Minnesota and I'm not sure MY car would make it. Ugh! I know she has good insurance, but what a bummer! I'm just so thankful she's okay -- she is the best friend I have in the world aside from my hubby and my mom!

Hug your friends, folks! Tell people how much you love them! And forgive as many people as you can. Oh, and if you live near St. Paul MN and have a spare car, I know someone who could use it!


August 20th, 2006 at 03:10 pm

Anyone want to tell me what I'm supposed to do about categories? And why?

Right now I'm going to sort photos to get them into albums. I'm about 5 years behind on this and wanna do it before we get packed up and move again!


August 20th, 2006 at 10:20 am

Just sliced off a piece of the banana chocolate chip nut bread -- and I don't want to brag, but it is SO yummy! And it wasn't hard to make at all! Why do I hate cooking so much? It's really not so bad!

To go, or stay...

August 20th, 2006 at 08:28 am

Encouragement can go a long way, I've learned. So I thank you all. I mean, I am new to this whole Blog thing, but I didn't expect encouragement for it from you guys. Thank you!

Today I'm feeling a bit torn. DH is working Monday - Wednesday out of town and then starting next week he'll be working out of town full-time until they decide to transfer us to Colorado (we're in Maryland right now). His new-for-now office is only a couple hours from here if traffic is light and I am considering going with him. I went a couple of weeks ago to look for apartments for him while he was at the office; he'll move into his new place on Sept. 16th.

Financially, all of this is fine. The company pays a set amount per day for lodging, a set amount for food, and reimburses his gas at about 44c/mile. So we'll actually be able to sock away more savings once he's in the apartment. And we knew that the quality of life for both of us if he commuted every day would be, well, yuck; to say the least. We chose a nice, clean, apartment community -- no frills, but near a lot of the necessities. We looked a some apartments where other temp. assignment folks are staying and they are NICE! But considering he is only going to be taking "leftover" furniture, the WoW factor from the outside woudn't have lasted long anyway.

We have decided that he will take a lot of the furniture and boxes and things that we don't want in the house we own when we go to put it on the market. It'll make staging the house easier and we won't have to pay for a storage unit.

But, I digress. I've been feeling a little punky the past couple weeks while he's been away. And having trouble sleeping. Weekends haven't been much better as he has to work on completing a building project while he still has access to the woodshop on post. I'm unable to help him there, and it would cost $8 for me to go be in the way.

But if I go with him this week, I'll pretty much be stuck at the hotel (presumably getting schoolwork done...) or I'll end up driving around the town and risking shopping at stores I want to check out to see what they are.

I used to travel for my job, and one of the reasons I left it was because DH and I wanted to be able to spend more time together -- also the extensive driving I had to do was really wearing on my back. And I know DH's assignment is only temporary (should be moving out to CO sometime between November and March, we are told), but in the meantime, I sure do miss him. Just don't knkow if would add extra pressure for him to try to rush back to the hotel instead of staying late to work,; or what if one of his new colleagues asks him to join them for dinner, it'd be a good way for him to meet folks and make friends, but if I'm there....

Probably won't go, just hate seeing him leave... and I think it is the anxiety about future weeks and less about this one since this is just a 3 day week-- can I blame it on hormones? Yes. I think that's it. Hormones. LOL

And, we're off!

August 19th, 2006 at 02:39 pm

Okay, so here I am creating my first "Blog!" How strange that this is how things are done these days. But, like most things, accountability keeps you on track.

I am 33 years old and have been married for 3 1/2 years to a wonderful man. We moved last year from the city we'd both grown up in and where we both have family. This big change, while difficult (mom and I especially are very close), was probably a great thing for us as it changed just about every aspect of our lives. We have grown even closer and rely on each other for so much. And boy are we good together.

Recently, DH purchased a book, Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. He bought it for a family member that we have concerns for about his financial abilities. But DH didn't want to offend, so he read the book and highlighted stuff and made notes in the margin so that when it was passed on, it wouldn't be so apparent that it was purchased specifially for this person.

LOL! As DH read it, he found a lot of good ideas. So he had me read it. I thought, Geez, honey, we're doing well financially! We pay off our credit card every month, we have never been late on a payment, we have 2 paid for cars. We're doing fine! (And I had been in DEBT previously, so I knew what that was like). But, because he asked me to, I read the book.

Well, DH though he could cherry pick ideas, but once I read it, I knew we had to follow it to the letter. And DH got on board completely.

And now I've found this site. It's fantastic. My one and only concern is that I may end up spending too much time here when I should be working on my online courses, or cleaning house, or putting photos into albums, etc. So if you've read all this, perhaps you can help get me on a "time" budget that will keep me straight too!

Right now I am going to try to leave this wonderful site and read at least one chapter for my class! In the meantime, have a great one!