a mortgage payoff.
Just made 35% mortgage paid milestone after nearly 17 years in the house. Admittedly this is my second refinance of the house. Equity is at 78%.
Still dithering about a phone. I like to make use case scenarios, cost-balancing what-if scenarios, and have a list of what technologies and standards will meet our needs. DH likes to feel the phones while I get talked over in a phone store pumping out loud dance music, and springing on me in the store his input which I attempted four times to solicit at home in a quieter environment. This is why I don't have an updated phone.
When I use a search engine for "best phone for me" I get outdated contract plan provider ratings, and listings five years out of date for phones.
It's Cyber Monday and I want a phone. I'm grandfathered into a $25/month plan but I can't even use the phone for Web browsing anymore because the firmware won't do Transport Layer Security/Secure Socket Layer handshakes.
Why are we not with Ting? We don't know enough about technologies and service to determine if Ting will offer Canada service with the device we bring to it.
a mortgage payoff.
This morning I gave thought to our Christmas budget. The main person in my life is a Sagittarian, so I estimate $120 for his birthday. I won't share how I did it, but I managed to get about $160 worth of his Amazon wishlist items for $0. Thinking $650 for a cards-inclusive birthday & Christmas. My beau's birthday is one day earlier than US Thanksgiving, so my Can-Am kid is working on him to consider spending birthday time up north.
I plan to get a Bitcoin wallet, and buy one bitcoin. Several sites use PayPal for payment processing and PayPal doesn't accept our cards even when we use guest accounts, because our credit cards share the same numbers. It doesn't make sense to me that joint credit card holders should be punished if their credit scores are good and their accounts are in good standing. Bitcoin will allow pseudonymity and lower processing fees.
I live in a sucky school district. My kid's school budget has been slashed to nothing, as the school's administration exhausted its cash to retain one full-time staff person. The school lost 2.4 FTE funding after a teachers' strike. As of this writing six teachers have DonorsChoose.org projects. I'd like to see them all funded: I don't have enough cash to fund them all. I've promoted the URL a few places, including the school PTSA newsletter. However the school PTSA has its own Donation Drive, which I've given roughly half of my car accident money to. I don't know how to go about spreading the word beyond how I have already.
It seems I don't know a lot of things. But I have been learning some Python. And I did learn of a rare gene mutation (if you're of North European ethnicity, it's not that rare, maybe 1 in 20 have it, but if you're not white, you're extremely unlikely to have it, although I read an African-American's claim she has it) that I suspect my mom had and passed down to us. It'd explain my brother's death and my preeclampsia. I'm blood-clot free, I think, but my cat insisting I sit down 10 hours a day so he can rest somewhere warm will be the death of me. I'm no use to him dead though. Not even as a food source.
$5389.00 gone, but then, so are close to 24 months of payments and over $200 interest payments. I don't feel ecstatic, I don't feel anything, even though it was my decision. I got tired of the insulting "pay less per month on your car loan" (by extending the term and paying a higher APR) offers from lenders a credit bureau sold my spouse's info to.
I'm looking forward to affording cash payments for things like: a new mattress, new phone, yard cleanup. Looking forward to automating regular investments. I'll be giddy when the title is returned to us, weeks from now.
Language Arts I suspect is actually a Computer Tech course.
I secretly think that when teachers are keen on technology in the classroom, they count on families to supply their students with iPads, Chromebooks or tablets, even the families on free or reduced lunch assistance.
Although we are tech happy (four laptops, one Nook) and somewhat savvy, we are frugal. No "cell phones for everyone with apps galore." We are also privacy-minded. Or at least I am. We don't have Facebook accounts. So my kid had to create four accounts (Yahoo, Google, BlueStacks, Instagram) and download an Android emulator for his Language Arts class. He has no tablet, so we had to download an Android emulator so he could install a Google app, but for that he needed a Google account, and I don't want school stuff tied to his personal account,. No privacy with Windows 10, so we keep Windows 7. Naturally he and I ensured he used a pseudonym.
There was a Syllabus Quiz posted in Schoology.com on Sunday September 13 at 7:10 am but it expired at midnight, thirteen hours ago.
Our teachers are on strike, you see. They're locked out of their staff accounts, says the French teacher, but the Language Arts content was uploaded September 13, yesterday. And I'm the only parent subbed to my kid's teachers' blogs, and he's the only account subbed to the Instagram account created for his Language Arts class.
He (we) had better receive course credit for our efforts. He needs 40 books to read this year, five of them poetry. He's started with a Doc Savage pulp novel.
The teachers are striking (and in some cases, unusually fetching har har).
Seriously, I am stumbling into "home schooling" which is little more than:
[*] lurking on teachers' websites, mostly from other school districts, and grabbing links to curriculum topics and exercises in PDF or .ODT or .DOCX form to copy onto the kid's USB drive;
[*] hounding him to read his calculator's manual and play with the features so he's comfortable when the school year starts for real;
[*] speaking to him in French, hoping it'll evolve into conversing with him;
[*] having him journal about and use ADHD coping strategies;
[*] getting books from the library relevant to curriculum topics;
[*] torrenting etextbooks;
[*] acquainting him with the power of apps like RedNotebook; cloud storage like OneDrive and GoogleDrive; mindmapping applications;
[*] screaming at him to get off the freaking game and YouTube websites and have one tab open to Khan Academy.
Today I'll buy him some workbooks and assemble some mechanical pencils so he can start Algebra, and borrow US History books from the library. We have James W. Loewen's Lies My Teacher Told Me (given to me by my m-i-l, a US teacher) of which the striking history teachers approve. It's more managing and babysitting. Pulling lesson plans every two hours out of my scatterbrain is nothing like teaching so I don't feel like I am scab labour. If anything I'm doing the teachers a big favour by reducing their workload (my kid has an Individual Education Plan and is on the "special" side, neurologically. He's developmentally lopsided at what seems to be a 60 degree angle: college-level reading and vocabulary and performance in oral examination, grade 3 sentence writing and information retention). I feel my contribution'll mean more to his teachers than Starbucks and Top Pot doughnuts contributions.
We, not the royal, martyred, sarcastic we but the family plural we, are cleaning. That is magic in itself. I couldn't find the $300 cheque made out to me until I opened a book called _Smart but Scattered_ and there it was, wedged between pages. You rest a spell and let that irony seep in. You see, when there's $300 to be found, I find also motivation to pick up every white piece of paper and determine if I need it or if it can go elsewhere. I also found $33 credit slip to one of my fave used bookstores. In a search for the cheque (I offered a "dessert place of your choice reward" to the finder) the spouse found instead a softcover overdue library book the tot could not bother to remove from an open sack a whole thirty inches away from his internet-obsessed carcass' six-hour parking spot for... twenty-five days. "No, I'm not an addict! Durrrrr. Oooh new gaming video on YouTube. "
We have already splurged on a Rug Doctor rental to clean a rug. A futon cover is in the wash, as we'd like to sell the futon and the coffee table and make a new, minimized household for ourselves.
I chose the old school fill in with pencil home account ledger instead of Mint.com, YNAB, GnuCash or KMyMoney. It won't keep track of my stocks and funds, but do I want to look at that stuff right now? My psyche is fragile.
I am down to below 152 lbs, just a little over 1.5 kg away from my goal weight.
Astounding pronouncements that may just CRUMBLE YOUR HEADSPACE
1. I try, really, not to judge Americans by their early-season presidential candidate nominees, out of kindness and to secure my mental health while I am south of the 49th parallel. It helps that none so far this election season comes from the one state I've lived in. However, I have no problem with Americans who judge Canadians by our political parties. The very fact some would know what our parties are and who leads them would now garner huge respect from me, as well as, yes, crumble my headspace. Judging us by our nation's political party leaders would be a mistake, as 98% of us don't have any say in who they are, and they don't stump province to province to make xenophobic, inflammatory comments to attract attention when they run for party leadership. Other than drinking, handshaking, applause and deals, I don't know what happens at Canadian Political Party Leadership Conventions.
2. In less than a week, despite the stock market correction and the drop in metal prices, the three criteria I delineated this spring for paying off my auto loan will be met, which means I could have no auto loan payment in October.
Cash.Balance - $5000 > Heloc.Balance + Car.Balance + $10000;
Car.Balance < 2 x CD.Balance;
Money Market Account > 2 x Car.Balance
Reasonable considering I had no hospitalization nor prescribed painkillers. Driver-at-fault's insurance adjuster pleasant and very fair: massages will probably be covered once doctor backdates prescription; damages ended up being more than what claims estimator surveyed but they're paid; rental car coverage initially denied by computer, but ultimately allowed as I returned the car in original condition at the time and date my own car had completed collision repairs (extended beyond original estimate date); doctor's visits deemed reasonable: physical and post-treatment assessment of injuries based on severity of vehicle impacts.
Over $2500 of inconvenience, pain and annoyance I'm not on the hook for! Only the bottle of acetaminophen and bus fare to doctor's office and tips for the masseuse. Which is, in my view, fair. The $300 settlement covers more than those petty charges.
I am on my ketogenic diet again, with the cheat of a chocolate chip cookie once a week. I am down to 155 pounds. A belt I bought in a fit of optimism a few years ago I can actually cinch three notches, and I know this because I've had to use the belt to keep my size 12 pants from sliding down to my hips. My circumference around the hips is now less than a metre. I'm excited by this because it seems to be the only medium-term goal I've succeeded at in six years. However, I get so few "yays", probably because I post my victories on a forum where women have lost a phenomenal (I mean one extra adult-woman) amount of weight, or because I post on another forum where women just aren't as adventuresome or carbohydrate-sensitive as I am. I'd like to lose 4-7 more lbs, mostly about the waist. Exercise would help but I am not cleared for exercise because...
...I am still getting massage treatment for my back and it still hurts sometimes. Paid for by the driver's insurance. My car's restored from the collision and it looks beautiful. We missed it; our rental car was not kind to my back and we lost touch with the "put the key in the ignition", "put the key into the lock" machinations of making the car go.
Cluster flies swarms popped up last week: yecch. Seems the men went on a swat rampage but we still have some. The important thing is there aren't enough to make our rooms terrible at night. They must have been dormant in our house for so many of them to show up at once. We have strips to catch the downstairs ones, as our windows are painted shut.
Back to school shopping has begun. Our little boy is taking Algebra which meant acquiring a TI-84+ graphing calculator. Until yesterday Office Depot had a sale, but even with that sale we'd have spent $50 beyond the price my spouse agreed upon for a private seller TI-84+, with cord and manual.
Won $40 Amazon.ca (yes, .ca) gift certificate. Worth about $30 US. Probably half of that would get eaten up by delivery, but better than nothing.
I am now putting extra payments to the car. I may swallow my pride and have some credit card debt for awhile, if it means getting rid of the $282.21 monthly payment. I'd still pay less in interest because the balance will be smaller and it'd be for a shorter term.
I have a new laptop, dual boot. I can either use WINE and have YNAB on Windows or I can use KMyMoney on the Linux Mint desktop or I can use pen and paper for accounts. I haven't been budgeting for the past two months.
It is hot in BC. My friends are dealing with health issues. Everyone hates the government, but they hated the federal government since always, what's different here is the premier's obsession is Liquid Nitrogen Gas. I don't have my annual twinge-moan of "why don't I live here?" but have instead "I'm so happy I live where I do." I can't vote in either country, but boy is it fun to point to Donald Trump as Someone Else's Problem. People ask me if I've heard about Donald Sutherland's letter to the Globe and Mail. They gripe about the exchange rate.
My greatest friends right now: the US and Canadian border officers. I shuttle back and forth over the 49th parallel with the minor, and they're very casual about asking our relationship. I came back from an afternoon in Lynden, a pioneer town populated by Dutch heritage people, and very sweet people: someone apologized to us for stopping in the crosswalk as we walked (!). We were never in any danger, she was going far below the speed limit.
I'm not in town for the Greenwood Gumshoe, and I last up to three hours now before my auto accident injury complains to me, and I have garden watering duties in BC in the evening, so I am not helping baselle to another great year of winning prizes. Disappointed, because when we're all healthy and painfree, it's fun to walk around with the question sheet solving puzzles and interacting with the other gumshoers. If she wants to ask my spouse for help, he'll help.
I am off my ketogenic diet, but still am trying for low-carb and high-fat. I fit in my bathing suit with no unsightly bulges!
I have a new laptop: 477 GB for $240 US. So that's one savings goal accomplished. My sweetie already installed a network connection to our local wifi, bless him.
I am a week away from departing for the homeland. This week I eat down the stores and learn how to responsibly dispose of the food, detritus and distractions that are not good for us. I was going to plan an exercise regimen but maybe burning the calories as a human whirlwind may be more constructive. With the weight loss my hormones are rebalanced: an estrogen dominance thickened my waist, an estrogen deficiency brings the return of hot flashes. The release of body heat, perspiration, hormones and ketones was a heady scent-stew that sent my cat racing into our bedroom, right for ME, to check up on me. Cats are insanely gifted at smelling things.
I have learned that my returned right to vote has been overturned by a province's Court of Appeals -- not the province I most recently lived in, but the nation's capital happens to be in that province.
Also learned that I need more information and to share more information with my optometrist. We are stymied by insurance's irrational and unexplained restriction on quantities for renewal. My plan B, with doctor's blessing, was to head for a Canadian pharmacy, but the optometrist wrote out quantities for over 90 days, which Canadian pharmacies will not fill, and furthermore I require a Canadian physician's approval for filling the prescription. My field of vision and intraocular pressure remain stable: I won't qualify for a seeing-eye dog anytime soon.
The circumference and weight loss is still working, even though I remain wary of its drawbacks. Down to 40 inches, or 101.6 cm in the hips, and 32.5 inches or 82.5 centimetres in the waist. Not low enough to buy new clothes. The family is not touching much of the refrigerated leftover starches I made for them. We have learned so much about metabolism of carbohydrates, gluconeogenesis, insulin resistance, glycine, trace minerals, benefits of bone broth, intermittent fasting. One man improved his glaucoma with a ketogenic diet but his personal experience and three paragraphs of Adelle Davis' _Let's Get Well_ are not a sufficient base of evidence for me. The man suggests he may have had undiagnosed diabetes, the symptoms of which reversed with metabolic adaptation. Adelle Davis suggested supplementation with wheat germ, fortified milk, lecithin, and B vitamins. Milk gives me stomach cramps though.
The interesting thing is until I went on this low-carbohydrate diet I was going through butter at the rate of a pound a week. Butter is fat, and is important for keeping a high ratio of fat to carbohydrates. But because I'm not using it on pasta, potatoes or bread, and instead for eggs and vegetables and with olive oil for sauteing animal protein, I seem to have a lot more of it. The vegetables I eat now: cauliflower, asparagus, tomatoes, celery, leafy greens don't use so much butter, except for green beans.
Debt-wise, some karma monkey is chucking wrenches into my works to pay off the car loan: buying new tires for the bike, bimonthly utilities, semiannual vehicle insurance, a new computer to take up north. The good news is if we switch to T-Mobile, we can use our phone on Canada networks. Right now I lose $1.25 in minutes cash per month on Canada's 911 service fees. And the Canadian dollar is dropping. I'll still be buying dairy on my way to the border though.
I'd been paying so much attention to macros and summer reading I haven't been inputting my numbers.
I've lost a few inches on a low carb, high fat diet, and I didn't even exercise. I was scared at first to check my weight, because the sizes I wear are those reported by those who report a weight I was at just before I gave birth, and the sizes I want to wear are reported by people my height who are around fifteen lbs or seven kilograms or just over a stone less than that. My gut is still bigger than I want it to be though. I'm thinking maybe I should exercise to cut it.
I just learned this week about ketogenic diets, just joined reddit this week and am learning lots.
The healthfulness of the diet I initially found questionable, especially after my messy, scary blood clinic episode. I have since added potassium chloride to my dining table, and put a few shakes of it into my drinking water, and supplement with magnesium. I do miss my toilet-bowl wonders, those daily affirmations I have a healthy colon, though. The body's grabbing its glucose from fat stores and not from ingested carbs, so I let less out than a government or St. Louis Cardinals online database.
I am having more coconut oil, a little more these days. Working up to five tablespoons a day.
For the vegans and high-fat diet fans, a recipe for cold brew coffee with vanilla coconut milk. Low-sugar people, well, maybe do without or reduce the coconut sugar.
It is summer: I feel I must change the landscape of my lawn to get the house ready for sale next year, but I have so little cash and am such a newbie I'm paralyzed by lack of ideas, knowledge and resources.
I may need some help/push in the right direction for where to begin.
A plus: the house now has greater than $300K equity.
The boy received his McDonalds stock funds. I wish the Direct Purchase Plan stocks we have performed better. Slow and steady may win the race but they have to rely on momentum zippers stalling or reversing.
I received a cheque for the sum of $230.10, for an overpayment made over four years ago at a medical office. Collect receivables immediately, treat accounts payable at leisure.
It's a windfall that opens a dozen possibilities for spending. I could get a phone and switch to Ting service, I could make a tiny payment on debts, buy some summer tops, get a protective case for the Raspberry Pi, buy a good Father's Day present, enroll my child in some athletics program, donate to the open-source development communities who provide software, pay for motorcycle maintenance... maybe not all of those options, but prioritizing is hard.
I understand now I don't have a clear idea how many carbohydrates the body needs per day. I'm going to aim for 40 - 60 grams a day, perhaps more if the majority of them come from vegetables. I'm not convinced one country's "food guide" or "food pyramid" is the best source of that information. I am also skeptical that 0g carbohydrate diets are sustainable; after all, 0g protein and 0g fat diets aren't realistic, why should 0g carbohydrate diets be? I'm just thrilled I can get through a week without sugar cravings or salt cravings. Although I did cheat on two days: plowed through a Chex Mix bag one day, and had a fudge brownie with ice cream on the other day. I want to thank Frito-Lay for reducing the sizes and raising the prices of their bags so I seek out snacks with some protein to go with the fats and carbs, like nuts and seeds.
I prepared mostly vegetables last night, some piselli e prosciutto, some Tomato and Red Pepper stew... if the leeks are still fresh I'll prepare them Provencal style.
At one supermarket, I won't say what chain or what location, I seem to get free food without asking. I don't consider it stealing: stealing is when you're in the aisles and you take merchandise with no plan to present it for purchase at checkout, you exit the supermarket with goods unpaid. That to me is stealing. Even popping grapes at produce is stealing, in my book. When you present all the merchandise on the conveyor belt, with your bags and coupons you signal to the checkout counter staff your intent to purchase. Anyway, I ended up with free halibut (!!) one time and yesterday free organic chicken breasts, both items I put on the belt with merchandise I was charged for. I believe that if one's going to get free food always get the good stuff, none of this spray cheese or Dinty Moore stew business. I believe what happens is that the checkout "override" for original price (I'm no spender, I wait for the halibut and chicken to be marked down half-price before it goes in my basket!) doesn't go through, the food package sports a "freeze or use by" today's date sticker, and the counter person either doesn't scan it at all, or says "whatever, there's a line forming and we can't sell it tomorrow, enjoy your free food." This happens only at one location though, not the one closest to me.
I made the difficult decision to stop blood donations. In March I had a vasovagal response of vomit and lightheadedness, on Wednesday I had an epic "Elvis moment" response: passing out on the throne, coming to on the floor (okay so Elvis didn't revive in August 1977), skidmarks on clothes and floor and my lunch and dinner exiting the entry way on my Marimekko top. I had to wear a Tyvek blue shirt, and be wheeled out in a chair to the donation area, with my puked-on Marimekko shirt in a plastic bag. I felt like such the rock star (Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix...). If I knew how to prevent that, I would continue with the blood donations but let's consider: I made the appointment on Monday morning when a blood bank volunteer telephoned me; I said to her I did NOT want to throw up again; she said I should be well hydrated and start drinking a lot of fluids immediately; I consumed 80g of protein and 84 fl. oz of water Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Wednesday I made my own electrolyte drink of lemon, honey, water, baking soda and sea salt, and sucked down 24 oz of that prior to blood donation. My vitals were a little high but lowered within three minutes at first check at the blood clinic. A nurse called me the next day to see how I was, and to try to identify what could have caused this severe vasovagal response. She wasn't the investigative sort, which is a pity, I'd have trusted someone with medical training to advise me on preventing this. She said it was unusual for someone who's given 3 gallons cumulatively to suddenly develop this reaction. If the only advice I get from the blood bank crew is the advice I already followed, it's obviously not going to help me.
So many people in this country eat tons of carbs, sugars and starches: why don't more of them give blood? They probably wouldn't be passed out with their pants down in the bathroom.
I did eat some sugary bakery treats yesterday after Wednesday's debacle. I wanted some evidence that life is still living, and a chocolate eclair and strawberry danish were pretty convincing...
My husband tossed my handmade soap away because the plastic container was warped. :-(
It wasn't in the bedroom, it was in the bathroom, obscured by a bathmat. This morning DS, compelled by his stomach bug, raced to the toilet to let it all out from intake and output chutes, and brushed against something small and plastic on the floor.
So that's $300 saved. Phew!
However, I did spend $120 at the vet clinic, getting my cat's inflamed eye investigated. It's not FeLV, FIV, chlamydia, uveitis or conjunctivitis, it's allergies, blessedly the best possible diagnosis.
I learned today that listening to Sly and the Family Stone Greatest Hits in the morning is a good way to sock it to the blues and lethargy, at least temporarily. I do not listen to enough rousing, energetic funk, and that's something I need more of for batteries recharging.
It seems there were forums and perhaps blog problems too today, but I've no excuse for the past five days, especially when I blogged within that time period. I'm going to pretend we all were celebrating my blog anniversary too much and we blacked out, some of us waking up with spouses or bed-partners we didn't have or even know the night before. Did the database move for you too?
Dropped another inch from the waist, and one inch from the hip. I thought I'd fit into a size 12 black floral wrap dress I bought last week, and like the flowers in early June, I was busting out all over. My suspicions were confirmed when my spouse was ogling me. I: "Okay, I'm exposed too much, I'm changing clothes." He: "Noooo you don't have to do that..."
My new exercise plan, 10 minutes of exercise for every time I read or hear from the internet of someone doing something stupid. Like, a TSA agent saying "ma'am I have to confiscate this tube of toothpaste with three squeezes left in the tube because the container says 6 ounces. Those three squeezes can harm good American citizens flying the friendly skies. Those three squeezes can bring down the World Trade Center's Twin Towers." It always gladdens my heart when I find an American who considers this as asinine as I do. Maybe my blog post will motivate you to spend ten minutes doing something else.
I am eating more vegetables now though, feel lighter when I sit down and get up. Abdominal area is still thick. Legs and arms look good. I'm eating more of everything, but particularly vegetables in warm weather.
I missed the period key when making an online "micropayment" toward the Home Equity Line of Credit this morning. Instead of 4.32 I paid $432.00, or close to six months' principal automated payments.
I had a chance to cancel, but I didn't see the amount clearly (no glasses, little caffeine).
The benefits are that my HELOC is five months closer to being paid off; I have less interest and more principal to pay next billing; my equity, mortgage paid, and principal paid numbers are up. Instead of having an "Oregon zip code" balance outstanding on my house, I have a "Honolulu zip code" balance outstanding.
The HELOC interest rate and term are higher than my car loan's rate and term as well, so I've saved myself some interest, maybe $140.04, or seven months' interest on the car loan. I don't mind so much the automatic $100 withdrawal requirement imposed by my credit union. I know someone who, seven years after borrowing on her HELOC funded by a major bank, is still paying interest and no principal.
Spent far too much money on food and dining out this month, overspent on most categories. I think the food splurges are because I'm so satiated by the protein shakes I don't think much about what the other two will eat. Or I don't plan the menus and we buy ingredients at the last minute. Or I don't get receipts from someone who takes money out of the ATM and I just assume he's bought lunch for himself with the money while at work. The only categories I haven't overspent are auto, animals, clothing.
The groceries overspending is understandable: I splurged for a 28 lb. "meat package" at a butcher shop, used a coupon, and saved 22%. I won't need animal protein until school lets out.
I made some Homemade Foaming Soap just now, with lemon oil and vegetable glycerin.
Of interest only to snafu: I just learned my constitutional right to vote has been returned to me. I'm going to fill out the forms, get my ballot I hope in time for the election, and then exercise my subsequent right to complain if the results are not to my liking. Also, when canvassers in front of supermarkets ask me if I'm registered to vote I can say "yes!"
of probably no interest: I started reading (and watching) Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, and I think it'd have been funnier if the war England was fighting in the book was the one in the New World. Strange's magic could be confounded by Ojibway or Oneida shamanism, Mr Norrell could grapple with the dilemma of restoring magic to respectability in England by helping the war effort, or saving the Library of Congress from burning by the British soldiers in 1814. I love Eddie Marsan in the BBC miniseries: he gives Norrell some emotional depth and expressions of pride & pain. In my head I imagined some cranky Ned Sparks intellectual.
The clarinet was found in our house. I took it in for repair to pads and replacement of cork, costing $86.70. So that's a few hundred saved. The retainer is... I don't know where. It's difficult for me to believe it's outside the house.
I've reduced my waist by an inch. My tops hang better now, no shaming skin bordering the hem and bottoms. The sad things are that my macronutrient intake is not sustainable, and the diet requires a greater outlay of $$ after week 3, but it's good to know that I can reduce my waist. How'd I do it? I upped my caloric intake and consumed more nonhydrogenated saturated fats, introduced digestive enzymes and probiotics, ate eggs daily. I avoid grains, sugar and milk. Sugar is especially bad for me as I wake up in the dark with dry mouth and night terrors. I'm sure I'd have made more progress with exercise.
The dairy I do have are yogurt and butter. It may have merely been water weight or glycogen stores that were flushed away, but hey, one inch went, plus! I have no salt cravings. The disappearance of salt cravings means potato chips with their salt and starch don't tempt me, so only nutritious calories go in. If I need salt I can use potassium iodide or pink Himalayan salt.
Someone (not me) in my family has lost a rented clarinet. He stopped using it because the keys needed repair, he had been told more than a handful of times to bring it home so it can go to the music shop for repair.
He told me it was in the band room, I learned from his band teacher he said it was in his locker. It is in neither place. He opened some unsecured lockers at school, telling me he was using one, he forgot the locker number. It's not in any locker.
I told him five times to soak his retainer in vinegar, as is weekly custom. I see three empty retainer cases in his room but no retainer. Today he jumped out his bedroom window rather than leave for school the normal way, walking out the front door.
I don't hit my child, being the victim of physical violence doesn't help anyone evolve into an emotionally healthy person who knows how to love and trust. I do remind him, but why do I have to remind him all the time? If he does things the first time, the most immediate, intellectually lazy, briefest time, he wouldn't be losing expensive items. That makes sense to me but it doesn't make sense to him. He doesn't explain his thinking. He repeatedly leaves things until I am at an anger peak, which doesn't resolve anything. I don't understand why he doesn't do his homework until he's goaded a fourth time. Where is the adolescent win in this? "I'm setting boundaries by deliberately not doing anything constructive or mandated, without any superior alternative!" That's a win? Not in my book.
I don't understand this behaviour. But it could also be that I am developmentally impaired, because I also don't understand how distracted driving reduces accidents on the road, don't understand how a twelve-second school-dictated recitation of blahblah is critical to achieving academic excellence, how sitting out of an election keeps mealy-mouthed lobbyist-teat-suckers out of office, don't understand the win in speeding up to stoplights that are already red, or speeding past a red light to stop at another one one block ahead, don't understand how texting is more important than the safe operation of a train, don't understand why violent schizophrenics are allowed to own guns in my state so they can kill my friends, relatives, and relatives' friends. I don't understand why criminals get neck tattoos, aren't they clearly identifying marks? When I go on my killing spree you can be sure I'm gonna get my facial birthmark removed. I don't understand why Microsoft would stop its Family Safety Services for Windows 7, which allows administrators of a machine to set time and filtering limits on non-administrator accounts, leaving me no other alternative but to babysit a teen while he uses the computer, or buy some time-limit software. I don't understand why his father doesn't help me with these problems, but rather coaxes our child into gaming on the PC. I don't understand why dumbass overseas "tech support" telephonies with autodialers would repeat-call numbers, surely belonging to mobile phones, even the ancient close-to-useless one I have, keep calling history. What will they say if I ever have a live connection and ask "you called six times but left no message. Why do you think I'd still have a virus on my computer six weeks later? why do you think I have no spyware or malware busters on my PC? Why do you think I run Windows?"
I know I am low on comprehension. Talk to me like I'm five.
So rough when the printer refuses to function on the weekend. Our Canon PIXMA coughed up a B200 error, which I'd seen before and corrected, but when we followed the same correction procedure, shutting off the printer, leaving it unplugged overnight, cleaning the printhead and drying it naturally, we had no joy, and customer support was off for the weekend. We suspect it was a damaged printhead and replacing it would be $100+ with tax and shipping. I'm sure Canon support'd just tell us to return it and get a discount for a new printer. Now that I read Amazon reviews for our dead printer I see that lamenting it is like when I attended a pet grief support for the loss of my 19-year-old cat. "It was 19! Did you think it'd live forever?" Two years is the lifespan of that printer. We did not know.
I found a better method of satisfaction. And no, no baseball bats were used.
I went to Consumer Reports 'Library Subscriber' site, looked at the home printers tested and rated, checked Office Depot website to learn it is having a Small Business sale with lots of printers on sale, and then visited our nearest Office Depot store.
Four of our shortlist models were available for poking, analyzing, price comparing. When we learned we could save an additional $50 for bringing our Pixma in for recycling, we decided saving $150.00 on an Epson WP-4630 retailing offsale for $299.99 was the way to go. But before that it was a tough decision among the Epson, the HP 8620 OfficeJet Pro, an Epson Expression 820, and a Brother MFC-J6720DW (I hope I got that right) Printer ink cartridges cost $101.00 (gaaah!) but they'll last a long while.
The Epson printer came with a CD for installing interface and drivers, but it works for Windows only.
My ginger bug is fizzing and smelling yeasty-sweet! Soon I can begin using it for homemade ginger ale! I wish I'd thought to ask the universe for a kombucha scoby. Maybe next week.
Yesterday DH found our regular visitor black feral cat lying on our deck. It had been hit by a car and hobbled on its three remaining good legs to us. DH announced he'd take the cat to a vet. I announced we weren't going to pay surgery costs for a cat we don't take in at night. I telephoned the city animal control, seven minutes after the close of operating hours, and learned that the emergency vet hospital twelve blocks away from us has a contract with the city. We could take the cat in and not pay for its surgery: a win-win situation. Animal Control telephoned the hospital even to tell it about the incoming cat. So the cat is likely postsurgery, in a cage, doped up, maybe with four legs, perhaps with three. I hope it can be adopted. It's fairly people-friendly, just doesn't like to be picked up.
The feral cat was once a neighbour's kitten. The neighbour leased a house for over a year and did not make any rental payments, so the homeowner (a friend) was facing foreclosure when she returned from India, after tending her ailing mum. They abandoned the kitten when they moved. My neighbours don't waste opportunities to reinforce my notion that people are terrible.
Saw Consumer Reports' flowchart Know When to Buy a New Car. I would change the chart to include a question box "Are annual repair costs twice as much as insurance?"
I liked the Lifehacker reader comment
"A fixed expense -- with a new car with warranty, and a decent down payment will put you almost invariably into a safer, more reliable car."
My repair costs have been negligible. The real cost is the insurance. The car is more than halfway paid for, thanks to a decent down payment. I have a spreadsheet in which the anticipated principal paydowns and ultimate payoff balances vary depending on what our cash reserves look like. My debt philosophy can be summed up in one picture:
Experimenting with a fermenting a ginger bug, hoping to have some fine ginger ale or reasonable facsimile (i.e. "Dark and Stormy") on Mother's Day.
I created a personal NHL Bracket Challenge 2015 Paydown scheme, one dollar per point I have in the bracket challenge. The Western Conference (or Clarence Campbell Conference, as I like to call it) was hard for me, especially as I didn't know one team was content to just skate for a paycheque and getting into Round One was just enough for them to prove they improved with a new coach. The Prince of Wales Conference (or Eastern Conference to you) was much easier to predict. I'm at a lofty 56 points, 76 percentile, because I predicted the Wild to beat the Blues (wish I could beat the Blues, perhaps I should turn Wild), and the Capitals to wipe out the Islanders. Apparently many, many other people thought otherwise.
I finally went on vacation: a four-day jaunt to the West Coast. I am kind of already on the West Coast, but I mean the kind of Coast where you look out into a vast grey sea and understand the next land mass directly west is that needle-looking Russian island just north of the Japanese island Hokkaido. Sure, one can look out directly west from San Diego or Newport Oregon, but Tofino is more west. Reno is west of Los Angeles, even. We hiked through Wild Pacific Trail: perfect for beginning hikers and walkers of all ages, with many magnificent views. Also ate at one of the top ten restaurants in Canada, believe it or not. We saw the Cézanne exhibit in Vancouver as well.
So now I have that to pay for, and can focus on motorcycle maintenance, and a new phone. I'd been eyeing some e-readers, but I'd rather have a new wardrobe. I'm transitioning to those dyed hemp loose clothes the over 40s like to wear, with the colourful complementary scarves. And a proper haircut. Maybe even highlights. Saving for a mattress. Everything about me cries for updating.
We also decluttered a bit! I found on our state Attorney General's website a calendar page of recycling events. On Saturday we released from our house dead electronics and my brother's big box of academia. He won't miss it, and his widow knows better than to ask for a big box of paper written in a foreign language to be shipped across the ocean. However, I would like my mom's recipes back, if she hasn't recycled them. Also recycled are my printer ink cartridges. With some energetic soundtracks and the warmth of Mr. Sun, I could see my way to making my house less of a candidate for "Hoarders."
Just learned of the Reddit content pod "Eat Cheap and Healthy". Wonder what else I've been missing.
Some good news: mortgage is 30% paid. If I didn't refinance the 1999 mortgage at all, I'd be at 30% paid on March 2015. After sixteen years of a 30 year mortgage, I would reach 30% mortgage paid. Insert gulp.
It's already April 1 in Japan, Australia, and everywhere east of Sweden.
Despite putting $200 in stocks this month, I am behind the beginning of March for that category. Overall assets gained $403.18 from beginning of March. Cash assets increased by $1869.79. Debt went down by $1138.07.
Money Market Account up $453.53. I have a hidden cache of reserve funds for mortgage and car payments (monthly), car insurance (semiannual) and motorcycle (annual), so tomorrow, on the West Coast's 1 April, my Money Market Account will look like it's up by $1502.51.
As an aside, I would really like it if agencies and entities, entreating people to enter dates like "02-02-2015", would use a clarifying example such as either "02-24-2015" (obviously mm/dd/yyyy) or "mm/dd/yyyy". "02-02-2015" does not help people like me distinguish between dd/mm/yyyy and mm/dd/yyyy styles of entry.
My Car Loan principal balance, tomorrow, will be less than half of the original loan. It'll be the halfway point of the end of the loan, if I don't pay it all off beforehand, and I do plan to pay it all off beforehand. This $282.21 monthly expense is messing our tight budget over, especially when DH's employer wants him to pay for gas and coffee and lunch. Having him work at home was so much cheaper.
My mortgage interest paid since September 2011 will be half of the total amortized interest over the twelve-year term. The total interest I pay from April 2015 to September 2023 will equal the amount of interest I paid from September 2011 to March 2015. Isn't that crusty?
GnuCash 2.6.6 was released March 30. Minutes after I asked on Twitter how to configure reports for printing, I read documentation on how to configure budget reports for printing. That is how I roll, along with the tumbleweeds.
Oh yes, sending an echo of gratitude to the SA blog commentator who shared the Roast Chicken with Lemon Halves and Rosemary Crammed Under the Skin and Up the Cavity recipe. I prepared it again on Sunday and we love how tender the chicken meat is.
thirteen cents under for Animals.
thirty-three cents under for clothes.
fifty-eight cents under for Hobbies.
eighty-one cents under for Gifts.
$117 under for Entertainment. Attributed to free movie tickets my son either won or earned, YouTube, and heaps of DVD box set library holds coming to us.
$30 under for Supplies.
Money market account finally back above $10000, so we now earn the penultimate weakest interest rate. Progress.
$28 over for dining, which I upped already for the dinner out earlier in the month.
forty-five cents over for phone service.
$15 over for gifts: postage for overseas correspondence and domestic stamps, before learning we still have over a dozen domestic staps.
$163.42 over for auto. Did not budget for license renewal and car tabs renewal, together summing to $191.75 when they took me by surprise.
Mortgage payment processed a few days ahead of schedule. Fine. Good to know I can wait in excess of five weeks, and three pay periods, before paying mortgage for May. That will redirect $1000 to our Islands Getaway.
$279.49 over for interest (mortgage)
$288.11 over for taxes (real estate)
$201.60 invested in stocks that have since depreciated in value.
My budget for April will be different. It won't have $1356.82 going toward real estate tax, mortgage interest, house insurance, and principal payment.
I have eighty dollars remaining in the food budget until March 31. I average $17/day for groceries for three people, and our frozen animal protein takes up most of our freezer space so I anticipate half of the eighty dollars going to dairy, grains and vegetables.
I have paid over thirty dollars in excess principal to reduce monthly interest on our HELOC and car loans.
True confession: I struggle with my budget because my family and I never plan weekly meetings, never chart in the open our budget, and frankly I don't know how to markedly increase cash flow without spending more money or stealing outright (which I will not do, surveillance is everywhere and my conscience, although selective, is cruel and unrelenting) or disposing of household members. Our budget parameters are strict as they are. I don't know where to look online for meaningful savings. I mostly see "deals" for consumer or processed food items I don't buy.
I nearly forgot my password. Eight attempts, then attending to some other tab on my browser I notice the caps lock is on. I toggle caps lock off, type by finger memory on the qwerty keys rather than the number pad keys, and I am in!
The etymology of the word equinox is not related to horses. Discuss.
The meaning of the word discuss is somewhat related to the word discus in that there is tossing around going on. Discuss.
- 10 Smart Ways to Save $ on Clothes http://lifehacker.com/top-10-smart-ways-to-save-money-on-clothes-1692775219 Yes, I was surprised that "buy sweatshop-made clothes with midrange or budget-class department store or chain fashion stores for 16-25 y.o. females tags from a thrift or consignment store" was not one of the smart ways to save money on clothes.
- Negotiate Your Bills with the Silent Treatment http://twocents.lifehacker.com/effectively-negotiate-your-bills-with-the-silent-treatm-1691608228 Has this worked for you? If yes, how?
I received a Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card offer. Does anyone have experience with this card? According to one review on NerdWallet
this doesn't have foreign transaction fees.
I am "racing"/"recording" my debt elsewhere, but in keeping with the suspiciously drab narratives of "auto lending"/"auto insurance"/"email marketing" crap blogs festering here, I present my narrative to go with my numbers, as debt support group was too chaotic/crowded today, and Women in Red Racers updates are succinct.
Tax refund arrived.
I put most of it in the money market account. I can stop crashsaving now and start dividing nonemergency funds into investment (long term), debt repayment, and emergency funds/planned expenditures (medium term). I did take the family out to a sitdown, let them come with the menus, cloth napkins on the table type of meal, and even had a cocktail and dessert, because that is too infrequent. We used a coupon which probably covered one cocktail. $100 went into each of two Direct Purchase Plan stocks, both with Dividend Yields above 3%, General Electric and Procter & Gamble.
Cat vaccinations and utility payments are next. Both of these are less than I budgeted for, but my son's shoes and auto fuel and my breakfast out, today's expenses, are more than what I budgeted for. It's too easy to fritter away the refund. I'd like to get the scooter properly maintained, buy some Canadian dollars and some silver, buy the new phone. I used to be able to use Twitter and Gmail on our phone, now I can't. And yes, the 20th anniversary jaunt to western Vancouver Island is still being funded and planned.
So glad the market is correcting.
Made dumb mistake of issuing trailing stops on Google and Apple. Google went up $40 beyond my trailing stop price after I sold it. I had the stock for three years. Apple I still kept some of. How was I supposed to know where the bottom is? Wonder if this ever happens to professional/institutional investment managers.
Stock prices were buoyant last week. I couldn't see anything worth buying. Then I found my written-down screen and found Google, MasterCard, and Gilead Systems as worthy buys. I bought Google and MasterCard today because:
1. the prices fell;
2. their Standard & Poor "Intelligence Quotients" are 157 and 154, respectively;
3. they are both undervalued according to S&P;
4. they have wide economic moats according to Morningstar;
5. both the Value Line Investment Surveys grades for Earnings Predictability, Price Stability, and Growth Persistence sum to 260 out of a possible 300;
6. low short float ratios.
Waiting to see if Gilead will fall below $101. It has a high float ratio and the greatest growth potential and it is a weaker and more volatile company. I bought in September 2012 and took profits when it dipped below $105 earlier this year. I wanted Monster Beverage and Visa but they were too expensive and of the six companies I tested my screen on, those two were the most richly valued and least rated by Morningstar. Snafu introduced me to insider selling indicators, and I see that Gilead, Apple, and Monster have negative transaction percentages ranging from -23.83% to -38.36%. Google and Mastercard had the smallest percentage of insider selling.
Today is payday. I usually log on three times on payday morning and stare at the balances of my credit card, HELOC, and car loan. I did log on three times this morning, but paid off the credit card (hold the applause, please, I had enough $ before payday to pay it off and I don't carry finance charges on it) and left the HELOC and car loan alone. Anticipating cat vaccination boosters expense and registration expense for my wee one's spring athletics, I need a better system for finances, like putting money to savings first. I stash close to half the salary in the emergency fund for paydays from 16th to first of next month, and (half - $200) from the 2nd to the 14th of the next month. Now that the Money Market Account is over $10,000, I can expect the 0.025% monthly interest instead of 0.00417% monthly interest and put some $ to savings. I don't have much money left over, now that the spouse drives to work and gas prices have gone up eighty cents a gallon since this time last month.
Income tax refund still hasn't come. Refund allocation looking like: $355 for cat vaccinations, $100 for spring athletics, $45 for driver's license renewal, $333 for new phone and SIM card; $600 for 20th anniversary trip (probably the cost of a ferry, fuel, one night's hotel, phone card vouchers and meals), $150 for debt repayment, $150 for savings.
We ate at a drive-in last night. Excellent to see vintage sports cars in neighbouring stalls. We ate out because I was failing at mastering GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program) within a short time frame for a project I badgered my kid about all this past week, offering help, asking for status daily, suggesting starting points like rough drafts, and yeah he and I cram it all in the last few hours. I'm not a happy camper when I'm hungry and failing at resizing images and pasting them into selections on canvases. Proof I am still not ready for work. Working women are always up to the challenge with energy and smiles galore!! "Oh let me support you gladly and competently oh struggling coworker for we are teammates! In for a penny, in for a pound!" He and I need to work on our time management. I was going to have cross-rib roast beef but didn't read until the day of planned prep about salting it 18-24 hours ahead of time. Today though, it's beef day. Even going to start Yorkshire pudding batter as soon as this posts.
This Motley Fool just ain't what it used to be.
Slightly better than having one simple question unanswered is having a question answered incorrectly, because at least that shows people are logging on and looking at the boards. However, when I ask a HOW question I don't expect a WHY answer. If I report a broken link on the Fool site I don't need a link to another site the Fool doesn't own. Plus, after I registered, I had three teaser junk emails: "Here's Your Free Book! - Attached" (no attachment); "Here's Your Free Stock Pick!" (no company listed, no date of the release, they could be sharing something that was all the rage of 2004) and "you nearly entered something good" (clicked by accident a link for premium subscribers) -- no substance, merely clickbait. I read on the boards a tale of a newly registered person, who subscribed to a premium newsletter service of the Motley Fool, who fell for the clickbait and received an outdated stock pick. I suspect the Motley Fool's two-tier service policy is "answer only the questions of people who've paid, on premium boards so freeloaders can't leech information; send registered Fools who have poor reading comprehension to 'pretend' answer questions of people who haven't paid." I don't yet have a friendly way to correct responders so I'm staying mum there.
I think maybe a website more my speed would be Jubak's Picks, with three model portfolios for dividend achievers, momentum investors, and blue chip buy and hold people, and recent, as in 24-48 hours, announcements of buys and sells. But don't follow Jubak on Twitter: four out of for the links of stories I clicked go to dead pages. I mentioned this twice on Twitter, and whoever posts to Jim Jubak's account doesn't read any replies.
I feel like the narrator in the Suicidal Tendencies classic song "Institutionalized" -- "all I wanted was a Pepsi, and SHE WOULDN'T GIVE IT TO ME." All I asked was a question that could have been answered with links to perhaps the Momentum Investing information, or the Day traders' Den board; and another question that should have, if read by the appropriate staff, led to corrective action but so far has not.
Link du Jour: Six Benefits of Dumping a Losing Stock
I dumped a stock two weeks ago - I'd held it for three years. It's risen $30 beyond when I dumped it. Because I suck at seeing the future.
I liked #2 of this article: "Value the Company -- Sell Overvalued Stocks"
Before you dump a stock, check its Price Earnings Ratio (PE Ratio). The PE Ratio will reveal investor confidence in a company's stock and what they are willing to pay relative to the company's actual earnings. To calculate the PE Ratio — divide the company's stock price by its earnings per share. The standard PE Ratio is anywhere from 15-30. Over 30 is an indicator the company might be overvalued. The PE ratio can be found on websites like Morningstar and Marketwatch.
Another way to value a stock is by calculating the company's Cash Flow Ratio. To do this, simply divide the cash flow from operations by its current liabilities. The cash flow should be consistent with that of similar companies. If it's higher, it's probably overvalued. Some say this is a better performance measure. This information usually can also be found on the aforementioned financial websites."
$12.99 interest income, whee.
Car: 8190.86: 3.4% difference
House: 89435.4: 0.84% difference
Heloc: 10226: 0.08034% difference
Spent $55.17 on books, budgeted for $20.
Spent $71.18 on clothes, budgeted for $40.
Spent $145.01 on Miscellaneous, budgeted $76.90
Spent $46.84 on interest, budgeted for $330.61 -- carried over to March.
Spent $158.52 on dining, budgeted for $210.
Spent $51.91 on entertainment, budgeted for $72.
Spent $15.46 on gifts, budgeted for $40.
Spent $484.32 on groceries, budgeted for $650.
Spent $47.95 on Auto (fuel and parking), budgeted $55
Cash growth from February 1: $1000.17
Taxable assets difference from February 1: $665.65
Total over budget: $2.52
March budgeted expenditures: $3623.03
On Sunday, March 1, I drove to the Safeway gas station, where we had two gas rewards, arriving there with a fuel range of 7 miles before the tank would be officially empty. Just so I could be under my fuel budget for February.
I reregistered for the Motley Fool website and...
not much is happening. Some boards for stocks I bought recently have been inactive for over six years. I read some Fool articles today, like "the six stocks we'd hold for ten years" and ran the ticker symbols through some valuation metrics, including insider buying, and I see more red than green for all those metrics on Finviz.com, and no 10+% distance between current price and target price. I posted my question about how high PE stocks should be evaluated in a frothy market and so far I've had as little response as I've had at the SavingAdvice forum.
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