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Archive for March, 2008

Spring Break Week

March 31st, 2008 at 07:32 pm

DD was off last week for spring break (although I still call it Easter Break). It was fairly uneventful. We went to my folks' farm for Easter and saw all the family. Yummy lamb was roasted whole on a spit (folks raise lamb and chickens) and lots and lots and lots of food and desserts! Ate may too much! I am trying to get back on the diet and exercise bandwagon. Poor Sophie the dog could not control herself (she is a dog, after all) and ate ANYTHING she found to smell tasty. even rocks! She had a sensitive tummy and we don't even give her bones (she cannot digest them well and vomits). All the kids were also giving her lamb tidbits, bones, etc. That evening we went to our land a few miles away. We slept in the trailer (or tried). Sophie whimpered every hour to go out (thankfully) - and everything came up or out! I have never seen so many rocks and bone shrapnel come out of an animal. But all is well now - I did not feed her for about a day and she is fine.

I was off on Monday so we did not have to endure the Sunday pm traffic. Home Mon pm and back to work for me. DD hung out with Dad for the week. She actually did some work for upcoming assignments (yay) and sold some of her birds to the local wholesaler (profit of $68). Pretty good for a 9 year old.

Thursday DD called me at work to see if a friend could come over from 1 to 3 pm. Sure -- Dad is there -- by the time I get home the friend will be gone. But I did say DD had to tidy up the house, etc.

Sunday night went to the airport to see off a friend who was going overseas. Regulations have changed -- more time waiting around and can't see them off to the gate.

I was off Friday, and am off today, too (local gov't gives up Caesar Chavez day as a holiday). Got lots of errands done. I will pick up DD at school this pm which is a treat for me. Tomorrow is back to the grind.......

When Life Hands you Lemons, Make Lemonade!

March 16th, 2008 at 11:31 pm

Went to dear FILs home yesterday. DH took care of some things around the house, and I looked at his bills and balanced his checkbook. FIL is in early stages of Alzheimer's (or other dementia) and still lives alone. He is doing OK but I do believe he is declining on the financial front. He can't focus enough to correctly balance his checkbook even with a calculator. He also has a tendency to send money to every written solicitation he gets! I quickly through a lot of junk mail away. He mistakenly paid out what he thought was his medical insurance premium -- but in reality, was a charitable contribution! My SIL had to fight with the insurance company to get him reinstated. The CPA (also a CFP) he has used for the last 12 years is something else! Frown
DH and SIL have stated that she is secretive and refuse to let them see some of FIL forms (FIL is sitting in the chair next to them at the time). I went with FIL to see CPA to bring some paperwork. Seems that she got FIL to sign some papers to obtain permission to deal with brokerage firms, and sell securities. FIL did not understand what he was signing. Once we explained to FIL what he signed, he decided that he did not want CPA do perform those services. So he called her on the phone and relayed that info to her. She said that she would shred those forms. When I went with him to turn in other paperwork, I asked if FIL could have the form back, She started screaming at me and said no! She said that she would shred in front of me if I wished! I said yes -- but I did not get a clear look at the form (she said that it was a letter of instruction). This CPA intimidates my FIL (he is meeker due to the dementia which she has no knowledge of). I tried to look up her name in the Calif. Dept. of COnsumer Affairs for her license status, and apparently she is not listed. Does anyone know if that is mandatory for Calif.? She is a CPA and a CFP (and is listed on CFPs website). I have NEVER seen anyone act this way. FIL's family has not yet gotten any power of attorney for financial matters (I am trying to pursuade them to put paperwork in place now so there is a smooth transition) and FIL seems very mesmerized by this woman!

Anyway -- back to the lemons -- we got lots of lemons from FIL's little tree. DD and I made lemonade and lemon curd. Does anyone know if you can freeze lemon curd? I also plan to make lemon bread (like banana bread) and freeze the rest of the juice in ice cube trays for the future. We also had a nice BBQ lunch of steak, broccoli slaw, salad, baked potato, and garlic bread (made from hamburger buns that were getting a bit stale). Lots of leftovers for lunches for all the next day! Sure beats going out to eat and spending too much $$.

I am an ATM Dinosaur and Other Card Ramblings

March 3rd, 2008 at 06:03 am

I think I am considered a financial freak by some folk - but that is OK because I usually have the last laugh (or dollar). I went to the bank awhile back (Wamu). They have a card swiping machine at each teller. One can swipe their ATM/debit card for an additional form of ID. I explained that I do not have either type of card. Boy, that teller and the others within earshot swiveled their heads around like Linda Blair from The Exorcist (if you are old enough to remember) ! I was asked why not? I stated that I usually use my credit card and pay in full every month. DH and I have our checks direct deposited. For cash purposes, I receive monthly checks from a retirement account (thanks to my XDH) and deposit those funds in person and take cash back at that time. Those tellers looked at me like I was a dinosaur (which I probably am). For vacations, etc. I do take amounts of cash and use my CCs. I have never had a problem.

I was just wondering -- do you use debit cards or ATM cards on a regular basis? What have been the pros and cons? I did have an ATM over 20 years ago but I stopped using it after 1 year because a friend was robbed after using one.