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Finally an Estimate

November 7th, 2016 at 06:26 am

We finally got a revised estimate back from the contractor after he accidentally gave us an estimate for double the square footage before.

We were expecting the number to drop by at least 30-40%... Well it only went down like $10k. What the heck?

For example, concrete for the 940sf was like $13k and his new number for the 470sf was $11.5k. Gr. It is half the materials and labor. I realize some costs aren't going to go down, but I feel it should be less than that.

Anyway we had gotten another bid from a different contractor who we really liked as well, and were having trouble deciding who to go with. So now it made the decision easy.

They are going to start siding and windows in the next two months. Then we will have until spring to decide if we are really ready to take the big leap and get the addition.

Mortgage is down to $46,179.70

Our LOC expires in a couple days. I stopped into the bank 2 weeks ago to get renewal papers which they said they would mail to us. Well no papers. So now I am going to have to stop in again and bug them. I hate it when people don't follow through with what they say. The story of my life.

My paycheck has apparently got lost in the mail. It was mailed 2 weeks ago and still hasn't arrived. So they are going to have to resend. Arg.

Sponsoring an Immigrant

November 6th, 2016 at 01:10 pm

So I'm in a sticky situation and I need advice.

My best friend married a foreigner, and they can't settle anywhere. He can't work here, she can't work there. They are constantly kicked out of each others countries and keep having a move every few months. She is having a baby, so this isn't a good life style.

They are trying to apply for her husband's green card so he can go to work and school in America and they can settle down. But by US law they need a financial sponsor.

Basically the sponsor agrees that if they can't pay their bills, etc, you take full responsibly for them. You would also be required to pay back any government services they get such as food stamps, medicaid, etc.

While I love my friend she is one of the most irresponsible people I have ever met. I do NOT want to be legally bound to her financial situation. She is at her wits end because literally no one in her family makes the income requirements, or they have been in trouble in the past for tax fraud. So she is reaching out to friends.

She is what I would call a gypsy and has never worked or lived any where more than 4 months. All her friends are the same, and as such none of them have made real wages, or they don't pay taxes.

So that leaves me. The boring person who stayed home and works. I barely make enough to meet the income requirements. When she asked me I agreed to sign for her because I thought I was just vouching that her husband is a good person, and not a bum. But my husband made me back out when we found out about all the financial legalities as well.

Has anyone ever done this? Is it a serious manner, that I am right to not want to do? I don't ever want to ruin my credit, or owe the government for something they do or didn't pay. But if it's mostly just a good faith voucher, I would be fine with that...

I just don't know much about it.


Medical & USPS

November 2nd, 2016 at 08:04 am

I still owe $750 on the credit card for my medical bills. Not due for another 5 weeks, and I should have checks in the mail coming any time that will cover it! I'll be so glad to have that out of my hair!!

I am so angry at the USPS. They LOST my package containing all my goat lab samples. I had insurance and tracking, and it's just gone. They can't find it. They are saying that priority mail isn't guaranteed so they won't even refund shipping.

They may pay for the cost of the syringes and vials that were in the package if I can come up with a receipt to prove cost. But that does nothing to make up for the 5 hours it took 5 people to catch and draw that many samples.

They have been nothing but rude and snotty to me, And basically said that since the box contains "biohazard" material that from now on when they see us shipping something similar they are purposely going to put it in the slow mail so my package doesn't accidentally contaminate the other mail. The slow mail takes a week, and the samples can only stand being in transport for a couple days. Ugh. I've been shipping these for years and never had a problem with 1 or 2 day mail. I've even double checked with the lab and they said that shipping in the 2 day mail is allowed, and that the post office workers are just being jerks. (I've had problems with this particular post master with other things in the past, and I think she just hates me.)

So now when I ship again I'm going to have to drive to a different post office, so my package isn't automatically marked for slow travel. Seriously I've been shipping these boxes at least once a year for 8 years, and never once has "biohazard" been mentioned, nor has my package taken longer than 2 days to get to the lab. I just shipped a box last month for pete's sake! They have known what was in the boxes the entire time.

Anyway I'm fuming. Mostly over the time lost with having to redo everything again, and the post office's lack of caring or apology at all. They are just like "oops, too bad." How can they just lose a package, and do nothing?

A Sad Week

November 1st, 2016 at 08:22 am

I don't want to go into too many details for privacy's sake. But a very close friend of ours was involved in an accident and indirectly caused the death of one of his co-workers. Our entire community is very shaken up. My mother was also involved and the only witness and although both her and my friend are unharmed they are both pretty upset and traumatized. My friend is feeling a lot of guilt even though it wasn't really his fault. I would appreciate any prayers or good thoughts for him.

It's going to be a hard road of recovery for him. We are doing everything we can, and have been inviting him to our house daily to hang out so he isn't alone while he is temporarily on leave from work. I pray that this doesn't affect his career choice that he loves and has worked so hard for.

I am so thankful that neither my mother or my friend was hurt. It could have been a lot worse than it was. A man lost his life by avoiding hurting them, and he has been honored as a hero. Hold your loved ones close, life is short.

Home Addition Update

October 24th, 2016 at 06:06 am

We got all the goat's drawn for testing yesterday, now just have to pack and ship. I'm glad that job is over and done with. I'm trying to sell a goat to try and help pay for the cost. Which is around $400.

At a recommendation I called another construction company. They came out and looked the very next day, and then gave me an estimate the following day. I was shocked. I am so used to getting the run around for months and never hearing anything back. So now we are just deciding if we are really ready to do this. Our mortgage/taxes/insurance will go up about $300 a month. Whew. Which is still within most people's mortgages, but we've been used to paying such a small amount it's going to be hard to stomach. So we need to revisit our budget, and think hard about it.

If we are okay, then the bank needs to come out and give our house an appraisal, and after that clears we will be able to get started on building. I am so excited and also nervous. I hope we are not making a huge mistake. We will be more than doubling our home debt. Which sounds scary.

Medical Bill

October 11th, 2016 at 08:11 am

I went and put my medical bill on my credit card yesterday. I had to argue a bit because the lady that had previously offered me 10% off if I paid in full within 30 days wasn't there. The new person said it was only if I had paid that first day. Then she only wanted to give me 10% off what I paid yesterday, instead of off the entire bill. Arg.

Anyway I held strong, and did end up getting the $186 off I was promised. So in the last month I've paid from $1,860 to $1,000. Not bad. I have until Dec. 6th to finish the rest, which is when the credit card will be due.

My animal fund is quickly dwindling from the purchase of winter hay. I'll need to come up with $450 for goat testing within the next 2 weeks, ugh. But I'm expecting to have around 20 kids between December and March. I'm also raising my prices again by $50, so I'm hoping for a nice profit this year. Definitely hope to put more of a buffer in the animal fund so wintertime isn't such a burden.

Late Payment

October 8th, 2016 at 08:13 am

Oh my goodness I made a mistake. My mortgage is due on the 10th, and I meant to pay it last night but forgot. When I logged in this morning to pay it, it said my payment was past due... Then I realized Monday is a holiday so my payment won't post until the 11th now. ARG!

I called the bank right away, and they said I was fine. My bank has a 10 day grace period, thank goodness. But I feel so dumb. I'm going to have to be more careful with Holidays in the future. I don't usually wait this close until the payment, but it's just the way paychecks fell. Yikes!

Mortgage is down to $46,355.72

Relaxing Weekend & Taxes

October 6th, 2016 at 06:53 am

My husband is going camping this weekend with some friends and I'll have the whole house to myself. I'm kind of excited to be able to lay around, clean, catch up on some chores, etc.

I'm sending $500 for estimated taxes today. I am so lost when it comes to being self employed and paying taxes. But since I have my part time job, I think I'm actually withholding as much or more than I did last year. And I believe if you pay at least 90% of your previous years taxes that you don't have to pay estimated taxes? So actually I don't think I need to send any in, but I'd rather be on the safe side. After this year I'll have a better idea about how much I will owe in the future. For now I've been putting back 25% of all my freelance money. I'll hang onto it until tax time and I know if I owe more or not. Would be lovely to get to keep all that though. Wink

My bank account changed their online portal, and I haven't figured it all out yet. When I tried to submit an extra payment to the LOC I accidentally sent it to the mortgage. Arg. Oh well. It's not worth calling and getting it corrected, it's still paying down debt. Just not the one I was hoping for.

Car Done & Remodeling Questions

September 30th, 2016 at 06:51 am

I had written up a long post days ago and it got deleted and I didn't feel like retyping it all again, so here is the short version.

Car maintenance is done. $552 later. Ouch. Thankfully I have $375 put back for this, and I should have the rest when I get paid on Tuesday. So I'm glad it's over and taken care of.

HVAC guy came out to discuss plans for the addition. After some thought he is urging us to purchase a NEW upflow furnace that we can place in the basement rather than move our new downflow furnace to the addition and have to put it in the master closet. What a bummer to have to replace a furnace that is less than a year old. We knew this was going to cause problems when we bought it but we didn't have another choice at the time. Thankfully he has agreed to buy it back (not at full price) or we can try to sell the old "new" one ourselves. We might loose a thousand or two but we will save in labor costs and also gain more square footage in the addition. So I think it's worth it. He is going to run the numbers and see what the price difference is and then we will decide. Honestly the furnace saved us $1,500 in propane bills last year. So it has already paid for half of it's self. lol.

We are having a hard time deciding what we should prioritize with the addition. I REALLY want to replace all the siding. It's going to look funny to only have one side of the house redone and half of the front, and I worry about leaks where the old and new meet. But to redo all of it is going to be nearly $12,000 more. Which we do not have. Might have to think about this some more, and see if there is something we can cut instead. Might be worth it to wait on finishing the interior, to get all of the exterior done. Thoughts?

FINALLY an Estimate... Sort of...

September 23rd, 2016 at 08:36 am

So the nice contractor got back with me, with an estimate! Big Grin

It's way over our budget. Frown But then I noticed a number that looked weird and I asked about it, and he realized he had accidentally figured the numbers on a 28' x 30' addition rather than the planned 14' x 30'!

So now I have numbers, but they aren't the right ones... lol. But at least this gives us a starting place. Poor guy, I feel really bad that he has to re-figure everything. The total is not going to drop in half because some costs won't change, but I am hoping the estimate will go down by at least 1/3.

But for now, I will share what numbers he gave me. Keep in mind this is for double the size we are actually wanting.

Concrete - $13,600
Excavation - $900
Framing - $13,879
Roofing - $2,874
Electric - $3,256
Lights/Fans - $600
Plumbing - $2,972
Shower - $4,768
Tub - $1,000
Faucets - $600
Vanity - $450
Insulation - $1,222
Sheetrock - $3424
Taping & Painting - $4,650
Doors & Trim - $2,188
Flooring - $4,800
Closet Shelving - $350
Addition Siding - $6,275
Existing House Siding - $11,528
Stairwell Drywall - $1,250
Repair Sill Plate - $500
New Flat Roofing - $2,010
Waterline- $350

Total $83, 446

This is not counting windows or HVAC which I am guessing to be around $10,000 but I haven't gotten recent estimates yet.

$93,500 ish

This includes doing some other projects on the house such as reroofing our flat roof, running a new water line to the barn, residing the entire house, replacing all the windows, new duct work for entire house, drywalling stairwell, etc.

Obviously we can't afford that, but if we can get it down by 1/3, and not do the siding we are getting pretty close to our target range of $40k-$45k. We can whittle down by doing some of the work ourselves such as the painting, electric, trim, etc and choosing cheaper finishes. (He aimed high)

We are getting excited that this may actually be a reality!

My List

September 20th, 2016 at 11:23 am

Okay, I'm late but here is my list anyway.

1. I'm younger than 25.
2. I've been married for 4 years next month, started dating nearly 9 years ago.
3. My husband is the only person I dated and vice versa. Regardless of common stereotypes we have a very happy marriage, and do everything together. (Honestly in 9 years we have rarely/if ever fought about anything, and never raised voices.)
4. I have had 5 heart surgeries and 2 lung surgeries.
5. I have a pacemaker.
6. I have a rare lung disease called Plastic Bronchitis, which has a nearly 50% mortality rate.
7. I'm a web designer.
8. I love animals a LOT.
9. I always ask for power tools for holidays.
10. I love to build things.
11. I play a lot of video games.
12. I have a ridiculous attachment to my pets.
13. I really don't have any close friends.
14. I never clean my car.
15. I'm the world's cheapest traveler.
16. I don't own any makeup or jewelry except my wedding ring.
17. I don't really like kids.
18. I'm a worrier and a busybee.
19. I've never got anything but A's throughout school including college.
20. I was homeschooled 6th - 12th grade.

Here are some very random facts for you. Big Grin

Sick Again

September 20th, 2016 at 07:22 am

Well I have pneumonia yet again. I was gradually declining for a past month or so. But then it just dropped, I felt so sick for several days including during sister in laws shower. Ugh. But thankfully I can read the signs and started on antibiotics as soon as I felt it turning for the worse. It's always a struggle to take antibiotics. I'm getting resistant to them, so I really try to not take them if I can. But when I'm running a high fever, very weak, and have severe chest pain it's not safe it go without anymore. Thankfully my doctor is a family friend who I can talk to, and she can call in medicine for me on the weekends if she thinks it's important.

Slowly starting to feel better. So glad I didn't have to go to the hospital again.

Hoping to set up the appointment for my car next week. Want to get it done.

I seen everyone's list. How fun! I think it's too late for mine though. But I enjoyed reading everyone else's. Smile

Back to the Bottom

September 13th, 2016 at 07:59 am

Well I got the washer all paid off, and 6 months worth of car insurance. All caught up! Whew.

And then I went to the hospital to inquire about the bill I received 9 months after my hospital visit. They told me there was some mixups with the insurance company that just now got ironed out so that is why the bill was so late. Yes I do owe it, and no I do not quality for a bill reduction or assistance. Frown

Sooo now I have a $1,860 debt. Hiss. They only do payment plans up to 6 months, so that is $300 a month. I went ahead and put $300 on my credit card for the first payment.

BUT, if I pay the bill in full within 30 days they will take off 10%. So if I can scrounge up $1,374 this month that will save me $186. Hmm.

I will probably just put back as much cash as I can, then before the 30 days is up I will charge it all to my credit card. Then I will have until the statement balance is due to pay. No way I will be able to come up with the full amount, so I will just take from our savings and pay it off, and then I'll have to spend the next several months paying myself back. I hate that. That is all money that could be paying off the LOC instead. Oh well. I wouldn't have went if it wasn't life or death, and you can't put a price on that.

Also, I've got an estimate for changing the timing belt on my car. $514. Ouch. That also needs done this month. It's going to be a super tight budget for a while.

I've requested to go home early today from my office job. I worked a very hard and long week, and I have so much work with my design job to catch up on it's unreal.

Productive Weekend

September 6th, 2016 at 07:53 am

The second guy came out to look at the house. He was very rude! He talked down to me because I was a woman, and only wanted to speak/listen to husband. He also set up an appointment which husband and I asked off work for, and then he didn't show up. When he finally called me back 1.5 hours later he said he had stopped by earlier in the day and we weren't home. Uh yeah. Because we work, and we had set a specific time when he was coming. He ended up coming out after some huffing and puffing, and then every thing we told him we would like done he whined about. He is a contractor, isn't he supposed to do the work we want, and then we pay him? It was very odd. I doubt we will ever hear from him again. At least I hope not. No way would I let him work on my house. Oh well. We really liked the other guy and can't wait to hear his estimate.

We did end up buying a washer. The heavy duty, basic Whirlpool model. It had 4.5 star reviews out of close to 7,000 so it seems like a good choice. We specifically looked for one with knobs rather than buttons. So far I am REALLY happy with it. It cleans so much better, wastes less water, and no stinky smell. Only had to come up with $200 after my bonus, so it seems like a steal. Especially if we can sell our old one in the yard sale this weekend. .

I bought the last of the boards for our downstairs window trim. We cut, sanded, painted, and installed the kitchen window last night. It was a lot of work, but it looks great and every project I do I wonder why it took me years to do it. Only have the bathroom window left and we will be done with windows!

Bathroom has a LOT of projects left. Patch the drywall, re-paint, fix the broken vent, re-caulk tub, paint door and install hardware, and trim window and door.

We cleaned for hours upstairs. We threw away at least a dozen black trash bags worth of stuff! It feels great. Everything we kept was put in tubs and stacked. One room left upstairs to clean.

Everything we get done it one step closer to a finished house.

A Much Better Week

August 24th, 2016 at 10:49 am

Work is busy and I'm tired but so far this week is going much better!

We FINALLY have a construction company coming out to give us an estimate about the addition. We are so excited. Wish we luck that it stays within our budget!

Now that the goat craziness is over I can focus more on continuing home projects, and hopefully relax and spend more time with family and friends.

I sent a test in for the sick goat and am awaiting results. Fingers crossed that it is nothing serious or I will be devastated. Vet was optimistic, but don't want to count on anything until the test comes back clean. May not have results until next Friday unfortunately.

The Long Weekend

August 23rd, 2016 at 11:22 am

Whew! What a whirlwind weekend.

Thursday - Goats to the vet for health check
Friday - Work a half day then drive all evening to goat show
Saturday & Sunday - At goat show, arrived home after 11.30pm on Sunday
Monday - Drive goat I borrowed 9 hours back home
Tuesday - Wake up and take different goat to the vet

Now I'm back at work, and I'm tired. Have a ton of work from both jobs to do. We did very well at the show.

While I was gone our plumbing backed up, but husband managed to take it all apart and get it going again. Thank goodness.

He also took apart the washer, and worked on his car. And both are working again, for now. What good news!

We will still probably keep saving and purchase a washer or stove soon. Just because I know they are going to go out sooner rather than later. But at least we don't have to rush quite as much. I'll be keeping my eye on the Labor Day sale ads and see if we can get a bargain.

Good Surprise

August 17th, 2016 at 06:44 am

In a turn of events yesterday, when I opened the mail I received a $200 random bonus from my boss. Smile

So now we have $200 to put towards a new washer. Things always have a way of working out.

Here Comes the Boom

August 16th, 2016 at 07:38 am

So after the shocking hospital bill yesterday. (Which I think is actually more of receipt and we don't actually owe, thank goodness) Not 100% sure yet.

The washer broke, dead, gone.

The stove has been dying for several months now, but I think it's finally about to the end. I had to wiggle and beat it for several minutes to turn on the oven yesterday. (Stove still works.)

Husband and I had been "arguing" over which to purchase first. A new stove or a new washer. He wanted a new washer because this one had been staining clothes and ruining them. I would have to run it several times to get something clean, and there was always a smell even after cleaning it several times. Well it looks like it is decided for us.

In addition, husband's power steering in his 21 year old vehicle has gone out while driving 3 times in the last two days. Super scary and unsafe. Frown I think it is really time to call it quits and get a new jeep.

So that means we are looking for a new car, a new washer, and a new stove. (I'm hoping I can go without an oven for a bit to delay that purchase.)

Also my timing belt is due to be changed in the next 2,000 miles on my car. Which will be over $500. Yikes!

Really. Yesterday I finally get caught up for the first time in months, and all this happens in one day. It's almost funny... But not quite.

This is on top of my very favorite pet being really sick. So I am stressed and worried to the max. I'm trying to keep calm, but I'm not good at it. I didn't get more than an hour or two of sleep last night.

Ugh. I know it will be okay though. We can cash flow a washer, and will take out a temporary loan for a car. Thankfully we are not living check to check. So while this is an inconvenience, it's not the end of the world.

Not Much to Report

August 12th, 2016 at 11:55 am

Thanks guys for all the encouragement about my burnout!

I just never seem to find time to be able to do the things I want to do or need to do, like clean the house and spend time with my animals. Working gets overwhelming and I feel like I will never be able to get caught up on everything else.

Financial things have been at a stand still. :/ No progress in a month. But it's okay because we didn't lose progress either. Just had to cash flow a lot of expenses like the last of the vet bills, the vacation, another bridal dress, etc. I know it happens. We've got that all weeded through now, so I'm hoping that means we can start moving forward on the big goals.

I'm still torn between if I should finish the Roth first or if I should pay down the LOC. I may just do a little of both. I had planned on doing the Roth first just to make sure it is finished by tax season since we get the savers credit. But that LOC is really starting to bug me and I want it gone.

Burnout Blues

August 3rd, 2016 at 06:12 am

Still feeling the burnout blues. The more I think about how it will be years before I am able to work less the more depressing it gets. :/

Husband is having a hard time at his job too. In the past week or so nearly everyone he is friends with quit for various reasons. He's suddenly lonely and also feeling like it's a dead end job. It pays pretty good, but it's not fulfilling work. Jobs are so limited where we live though, he can't seem to find anything he is interested in. He says he wants his job to make a difference, or help people.

I know everyone gets tired of working occasionally, but It's hard right now. Especially since it is hitting both of us at the same time. Ugh.

Mortgage payment hit, bringing the total down to $46,593.39.

That seems like a huge amount that will never be paid and I'll be a slave to the work force forever.

How do you guys get through burnout?

So Tired

July 29th, 2016 at 11:19 am

This week has been a whirlwind. My office boss came back from a two week vacation, so had a huge list of stuff to be done.

My web design boss has a TON of work for me right now as well, all on a short time frame.

Besides double my workload, it's also VBS week at church. Which both husband and I volunteered for. So we have literately been going there 15 minutes after we get off work, and not getting home until 9pm every day this week. Tonight is the last night, thank goodness. We've had about 24 kids in our class, and they are wild.

I've had terrible sinus pressure and headaches for the past several weeks. Well it's finally came to a peak, and now I'm sniffling, sneezing, and sick. Hopefully that means it will clear up soon though.

Tomorrow we have tickets to a play for my birthday, which is Monday. Our house is a disaster, so we'll be spending the rest of the day cleaning, and I'll be catching up on work over my birthday weekend.

I am worn out. I just want a nap. Feeling so behind on work, chores, animals, everything.

Friends and Finances

July 26th, 2016 at 08:41 am

I have a more personal question. Is there any good way to discuss/teach finances with a friend?

My husband's best friend is bad with money. His family is bad with money. He was never taught, and I worry he is going to struggle his entire life.

In the past we talked a little about money with him. His credit was bad because of him putting his name on a phone bill with a friend when he was about 16 and his friend stopped paying. Doh. We talked to him about credit cards, and helped him open his first one so he could have some "good credit" history. Telling him how interest works and how he should only use it for regular bills and pay it in full each month. Things seemed to be going well.

To sum things up as best as I can. He makes about $30,000 a year, and also goes to school full time. He purchased a $12,000 car a little more than a year ago. 1st mistake. In order to save money he moved back in with his parents. That was a major mistake. His parents are super bad with money, can't hold down real jobs, etc. He has online classes and they couldn't pay their bills, so he has to keep paying their electric and internet bills to do his school. Shortly after him moving in with them, they somehow convinced him to let them put close to $5,000 on his credit card. :O With the promise they would pay it back.

He purchased a new laptop last year, financed. Now he just purchased a desktop. He also financed his school. This parents of course could not pay the credit cards, and he couldn’t make the huge payments, so he just took out a personal loan of $8,000 to condense everything. He is $20,000 in debt with not much to show for it. :/

Even scarier is that he recently talked about buying a house. He went to the bank and they approved him for $150,000!!! He literately almost bought a house for that much. (His parents encouraging him of course.) When we asked him about it he couldn’t even tell us the term or the interest rate. Thankfully he changed his mind last minute.

I’m seriously scared for his well being. It’s going to take him years to dig himself out of this debt. He can’t say no to anyone, and I bet his parents are going to continue to have him pay their bills and tack on more debt. He has no idea that this is bad debt, doesn’t understand interest, etc. He just follows whatever the banks and his parents tell him. He is already struggling paying his bills, and I don’t see how he will ever be able to move out of his parents house, get married, etc.

Husband and I joke that we need to sit down with a powerpoint and teach him finances. But seriously. How can we help him? I try to stay out of people's business, but he’s a good guy, and honestly just doesn’t know.

Back from Vacation with Numbers

July 21st, 2016 at 06:56 am

We are back from our trip to the south east coast! We had a good time, and got to see lots of new things. Seriously I don't know how we fit in so much on our trips, but we are pros at making the most out of the time we have.

We left on Saturday and stayed with family that was about halfway that night. Sunday we stopped to drop off goats, and then made it to our destination. The lovely family we stayed with made us some classic seafood boil which you eat with your hands, and then we packed up and headed to the beach for the sunset.

Monday we got an early start, before Charleston was "open" and got to see all the outdoor sights like the battery and waterfront park, we also walked a bit through historic downtown but it was nearly 110 degrees, so we didn't spend as much time as I had hoped for. We caught the first boat tour out to Fort Sumter, and learned some history. Then we went to a breakout game which is super fun. They lock you in a room and you have to find clues and keys to help you escape in under an hour. It was kind of weird because we were with 6 other strangers, but I would definitely do it again. It would be a real blast with friends. We drove across the amazing Ravenel bridge and ate lunch at a resort restaurant overlooking the U.S. Yorktown aircraft carrier. Afterwards we headed back to downtown and stopped at the historic city market. I splurged and bought $50 worth of pralines and goodies for myself and our two families which watched our animals while we were away. They make the most delicious pralines you'll ever buy there. (I don't even usually like pralines!) We got a Christmas ornament which is a tradition for our trips, and they were discounted if you buy 3 so we also got one for each of our mothers. That is the only souvenirs we purchased.

Then we headed back to our hosts and they ordered fried seafood to go (the best ever) I had it last time I was there and it was a special request. Then we headed out to a private ritzy island, where some friends of their owned a house and called in a pass for us. They had a guard house and everything, all gated, very expensive. I think some celebrities live there. So we spent another sunset eating seafood on the beach. Some dolphins swam very close to us while we were swimming.

Tuesday we left for Savannah and had planned on spending the day there. But once we got there and ate lunch we decided it was very crowded, and pretty much the same as Charleston only smaller roads and more people walking. So we went ahead to the park at which I had reserved a camping spot for previously. It was only early afternoon when we got there, and still blistering hot so on a whim we decided to keep driving rather than sit around in the heat. I lost out on the $34 I had paid for camping, but I think it was worth it. Wanting to see new places we took the long way home through Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas. Atlanta was a nightmare, and right in rush hour it started pouring rain. Their roads were horrible, with lots of standing water and hydroplaning. I was so terrified I was on the verge of tears. Worst driving I've ever been in. Thankfully my husband is a very cautious and good driver. And did his best to keep me calm.

We drove another 6 hours to a very secluded park in Alabama. We got there after dark, and we had to put up the tent and light a fire for dinner. The park ranger was very nice, and was surprised we had found them. It was such a secluded park that I couldn't even find a review, picture, or phone number online. Just an address, and the entrance road was very very long. Husband and I were joking that this is how a scary movie starts.

Yesterday we finally made it home. All told we spent:

$173.09 on gas
$122.03 on eating out and groceries
$70.62 on candy and gifts
$89.40 on the boat tour and breakout game
$53 on camping

For a total of $508.14! I had originally budgeted $500 before one of my transports dropped out, and I lost $75 last minute. So if you count that money we were only $8 short. Pretty good considering the extra camping costs, and expensive candy.

I would highly recommend Charleston. The people there are so friendly, and it is one of the most beautiful cities in the US.

Phone Bill and More

July 12th, 2016 at 07:37 am

Still doing the cash flow juggle.

Thankfully at this moment I only owe $200 on the credit cards. I was hoping to be at $0 before the trip, but it's not going to happen. Not due until September anyway so it doesn't really matter. Still have to pay for the cat spay on Thursday. That will be around $100. We kept my husband's favorite kitten and found a good home for the others. So we are now a 4 cat household. Up from our original 2, but down from our recent 6.

I did add a new expense. I had to purchase a new phone. :/ Mine has been deteriorating for months. First it started randomly shutting off, then it started dropping calls, maps stopped, and then it would take 12 hours to send a text message. It was extremely frustrating, and I knew the end was coming.

We made the decision to go ahead and purchase a new one before the trip since we were traveling across country, and the phone is our sole source of GPS. We didn't want to get lost when my phone died on us. Or not be able to call for help if something happens. My phone even shut off twice when they were trying to switch me to the new phone, so it really was getting to be unusable.

I have to pay full retail price with my phone company. So it was quite expensive, I am appalled and embarrassed at the price, especially since in the past you would get a new free phone every 2 years. Now the monthly bill is cheaper, but you are responsible for the phone purchase. It cost almost as much as my husband's laptop.

Oh well. I sprung for the good one. The price difference wasn't much different for it or a cheapo one, and I figured I might as well get what I want since I do use my phone constantly. I take really good care of them, and they last a long time, so over multiple years it doesn't seem like as much.

They want you to just make payments every month (0% interest), but I went ahead and put down a $200 payment because I'd rather pay up front and avoid monthly bills. The lady said no one EVER does that. Weird. I couldn't pay for the entire amount because of being squeezed from the trip. But I plan on saving up and paying it off in the next couple months. In the mean time I have to pay $20 a month on it. Which is fine since my bill actually just dropped $15 a month or two ago. So really only an additional $5 out of the budget. Not a big deal in the scheme of life, and it certainly is an upgrade. Honestly I am just thrilled that I can send texts again!

My birthday is coming up, and I am super excited this year. I FINALLY convinced my husband and family to buy me practical things I actually need/want rather than junk that is "more fun." I am getting a new bed and sheets. Just what I want! I also wanted a vacuum, but the price went up. So I have been promised it for Christmas. haha. Not many women can honestly say they want a new vacuum and bed frame for holidays! I am not materialist at all, and I prefer usable things that will improve my quality of life. A comfortable bed, and a way to suck up cat hair sounds pretty good to me.

Getting Antsy

June 28th, 2016 at 01:05 pm

I still haven't been able to find a single construction company to come out and give us even as estimate. Frown

Which is quite depressing... Really I should keep trying and keep calling, but I'm nearly burn out about the entire situation. Part of me feels like it's time to take a step back and just wait another year.

My car has been having problems again. Also it's time to replace the timing belt as normal maintenance which I was quoted around $800 last year when I inquired.

Husband's car is very old, and it's only a matter of time before it's unfix-able. Both of us are feeling car strained. The conversation of purchasing nused cars and forgoing the remodel for now, has come up several times. It's a very real possibility that both our cars could break down at the same time, and we would be left scrambling for something. We'd like to avoid that and take our time finding a good deal, and selling ours while they still have any value.

Or we could just take a year off from big expenses, pay off the LOC, save, and purchase some smaller quality of life things like some new appliances or a couch. We are squeaking by on 20+ year old appliances, which are quickly deteriorating. For example my stove's screen is going out and I have to beat on it to see the oven temperature, set the timer, etc.

I'm worried if we decide to purchase a car then our stove or washing machine will go out, or if we get the remodel then our car(s) will break down. Ugh. I keep going back and forth, and second guessing myself. How do you ever decide what to focus on?

Messy Life

June 10th, 2016 at 12:08 pm

Busy, busy, busy, around here. We got the roof shingled, and the ridge cap on. All that is left is the headwall flashing, and some roofing caulk in a few places.

Going to fill up the trailer for the dump this weekend, and continue organizing the upstairs. I'm thinking one trip isn't going to be enough... Also have to clean out the goat house and barn again.

It's nice to see some big noticeable projects get done on the house.

Web design is in full steam ahead mode. Which is great, but also exhausting. Really slacking on stuff at home like washing dishes and laundry. lol.

Life is a crazy mess, but good.

Roof Progress & Animal Rant

June 8th, 2016 at 07:21 am

Worked on the roof yesterday, got the old shingles off, and the ice shield and tar paper put down. . This evening we are shingling. We ran into a problem though. We couldn't get the very old rusty, holey, metal flashing off. Any ideas? It's really nailed into the walls (under the siding), not the roof like it's supposed to be. And we can't seem to get it off without taking off the siding. Which is old aluminum, and won't come off without completely ruining it. Frown

If we can't get it off we are probably going to just have to cut it with tin snips as close to the house as possible and try to slide the new flashing up under it. Will that cause problems in the future? When we eventually get the remodel the siding will be replaced and we can removed the old flashing, but in the mean time I don't want to have the entire bottom row of siding ripped out and missing.

I got a $5 an hour raise with the web design job! That will certainly help goals get completed, and two more goat kids are getting picked up next week.

Husband is getting really attached to the kittens and is already pleading to keep ALL of them. Embarrassment Oh my goodness we don't need 6 cats. Ugh. We'll have to wait and see what happens. It's going to be hard letting the little boogers go, I knew it would be. Which is why I didn't want kittens in the first place. If we can find them good homes it won't be so bad. But I care too much to just let them go to anyone. I can't understand people who trade and constantly sell/buy pets. I get way too emotionally invested, and once an animal comes here it most likely will never leave. With the exception of the goat kids. Which is hard enough, and I carefully screen all buyers and keep in contact.

All animals deserve love and respect. If I go in the goat pen I literately get mobbed by over a dozen adult goats trying to climb in my lap and fighting for my attention and two hands. My husband was laughing so hard at me yesterday because I sat down and all these 100+ pound animals were clamoring, rubbing, licking, nibbling, and pushing for hugs and kisses, nearly squishing me in the process. They are very intelligent and each have their own quirks, habits, and personalities. I've spent so much time with them that I can recognize their different voices from the house. Yet to most people they are just livestock.

Feeling fustrated and... jealous

June 7th, 2016 at 06:49 am

I am so frustrated. We have been wanting to a do home addition for 4 years now. We kept putting it off until we were in a better financial spot, and decided this would be the year. At the beginning of the year I started calling around to contractors and construction companies trying to find someone to do it.

I was only able to get one company to come out and do an inspection for an estimate. Which was okay, they were my favorite anyway. Well they have put me off for months and I had to keep checking back. Yesterday I called again and they said they were too busy and were no longer interested. Frown

Well that stinks. We had hoped to do it this summer, and now I wasted all this time waiting on them. I wish they hadn't led me on.

So I started calling more companies again. I called sixteen... SIXTEEN companies yesterday. No one was interested. No one wants to do home addition, only new construction, or everyone is too busy. :/

I even called the local hardware stores to ask for names and numbers. Then one of my friends messaged me that that they are getting a remodel done, and gave me their person's number. That was nice of them, but it made me feel jealous.

To back track, I've talked about her before, this friend was always low income and we got along great because we were both frugal and did cheap fun activities. Then in the past year she met and married her husband. Who is very wealthy. My frugal friend quickly turned completely opposite. She's living in a very nice house, driving new cars, etc. She is super sweet, but has been extremely busy and hasn't had much to do with me since she met this guy. I've invited her her to do things with me several times and she always turns me down or will say yes and then back out at the last minute. I know it's not intentional, but I just don't feel like I'm good enough anymore.

Add on that my other best friend moved away, and I am feeling rather lonely. I have no one that I can call up and go to the movies or out to lunch with. All of my friends have finished college and moved away, and are being successful in their new jobs. I'm the only one still driving an old car, and living in a half finished house. Sometimes it's hard not to feel jealous.

Anyway, she told me they are getting a 1,200 sq foot addition, with a 3 car garage. They already have a 4 car garage, and a big 4 bedroom house. It's just the two of them.

We've been waiting, planning, and looking forward to this small addition for years. And it's just disheartening that they are getting one 3 times bigger than ours, and have already started on it. I can't even get a builder to call me back. Ugh.

I'll try recalling a few people who didn't answer. But it's not looking promising that a remodel will happen this year.

The Long Weekend

May 31st, 2016 at 10:03 am

We tried to push ourselves to be productive this weekend and overall we were. I got the goat house and barn cleaned out, and sold a kid. We cleaned the house, mowed the grass, tidied outside, and even started cleaning out the boxes of junk that have been upstairs since we got married... Nearly 4 years ago.

Right now all three upstairs bedrooms are full of boxes of our old kid stuff, gifts/junk people gave us when we got married, random items we have no idea how they got there, and lots of building supplies, drywall, boards, etc.

Everything needs gone through, sorted, trashed, and organized. So it's a very large job.

It was kind of fun going through our old childhood things and sharing memories with each other. We moved everything into rubbermaid tubs to prevent future damage from the sun, mice, water, etc. We threw away two large trash bags worth of stuff, and only got about half way through one room. (The worst room)

Smidge the runt kitten is doing a lot better. I started using the sponge like several of you suggested, and it worked great! Thanks! After a couple days he stopped accepting the goat milk I was giving him, and seems to be eating well from mama now.

Lots of Vet Bills

May 24th, 2016 at 06:40 am

We are really fighting with the runt kitten to get it to survive. It seems... dumb. It wants to eat, but it can't seem to latch on correctly. It sucks in the wrong spot, or keeps letting go. It also won't latch onto a bottle. So I've been syringe feeding it. It is skin and bones, poor thing. It seems to be a little perkier today, so hoping it will eventually become strong enough to eat on it's own or take a bottle. My husband has named it Smidge.

Last night he nonchalantly said, "It is sure going to be sad to give away Smidge..." I said "NO, don't even think about it!" "Aww. But when you bottle feed you get attached to it."

Sigh. We do not need ANOTHER cat. 3 is enough. I told him if he wants to keep it then we have to find a home for Scrump. Which he doesn't want to do either. And I thought I was the animal enabler. lol.

My favorite goat had a bad hoof problem. I treated it for weeks as per vet instructions, but it wasn't healing properly, so I finally insisted and took her to the vet yesterday. They did minor surgery on it, and she already seems to be feeling better. Thank goodness. I was expecting to spend a couple hundred dollars, but was shocked when the bill was only $50. And that included a full bottle of antibiotic, and a jar of medicine which I can use later. Well worth it!

Got an appointment for the other dog to get her shots on Thursday, just in time to still get the discount. Then hopefully I will be done with vet bills for a while! At least until I have to take Scrump in and get her fixed. Ugh.

Another goat will be going home this weekend. Rather than put the money in the animal fund, I will probably use it to cover some of the vet costs from the past month. That is what the animal fund is for anyway. I still have 6 more kids left to be paid for and picked up, which will more than finish out the animal fund.

These animals are killing me this month. But I have been pretty fortunate really, not had many vet bills at all in several years besides the heart worm treatment, and regular vaccinations. Which is amazing considering I have over 30 pets.

I joke that my spending budget is 90% animals, and 10% junk food... That's probably pretty accurate. lol.

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