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Archive for January, 2010

Decluttering - One Sock at a Time!

January 27th, 2010 at 05:54 am

Been spending the last couple hours compiling clothing to donate to a local charity. The bags get set out front and they leave a receipt at the mailbox. Sweet! So DD and I have been through the drawers and found many, many socks without their partners - where did they go? Did they go through that secret trap door in the dryer? Did they run away? I just can't believe we have so many! Well, they will turn into rags I guess.

Also donated old glasses and sunglasses at work for another group for the poor. It sure feels much lighter around here Smile

We went to a CHA Craft Show last weekend and DD and I had a great time. I had free tickets and paid $10 for parking. We did many free "make and takes." Making cards, bookmarks, sewing (I was totally inept), totebag painting (bags provided by Michael's - great freebie) and a bracelet (beautiful beads from Tall Mouse). I'll try to include a photo soon. I wish we had gone there when the event opened..... But next year we will definitely go again. We even got a free bag from Michael's. I could go on and on. I did let DD pick out some bead bracelet strands and some ribbons - spend $10 for that. So $20 was not too much damage for the day.

Saturday evening we went to a friend's house to watch the CA lottery show -- she won $30K in November as well as $500 worth of scratchers and it was aired on Saturday. She looked good on TV, too. Even won about $100 from the scratchers! But the show is lame as compared to the "Big Spin" show that used to be on. Less winners and smaller amounts -- I guess CA budget problems also extend to the lottery.

I'll spend the rest of the evening paying bills and working on taxes. Good night!







The Rain is Here!!

January 18th, 2010 at 03:08 am

Yipes -- it is the start of the first storm here in So CA. It started sprinkling about 2 pm and the rain is on and off for now. DH is currently working outdoors and is not a happy camper. Well.....that is what raingear is for! But he gets off at 10 pm and will not get the brunt of it. Tomorrow it like it will rain both day and night. And more for the rest of the week. I hope that those who live in the burn areas do not have damage.

I did go bike riding this morning -- I figured that it was my last chance for outdoor exercise in clear weather. It was sunny with a few clouds at that time. I rode to a local market to pick up a few loss leaders - exercise and no car spending. Picked up some bananas, apples, bread (on clearance), toffee candy (indulgence for DD but I also like them) and a power foods bar. I had a coupon so the power foods bar was free. Plus I got a 5 cent bag credit as well. On my ride, many trash cans in the neighborhood were set out for tomorrow's pickup. I noticed at least 3 printers sitting on top of cans! Frown I am wondering if people were hoping someone would take them. We have e-waste collections at our local schools about every month or so --- that would be a better place for them.

Tomorrow I am off -- Martin Luther King holiday. I plan to go grocery shopping at the local larger supermarket for their loss leaders - pork roasts are on sale at a good price. I am also hoping to hit Kohl's for clearance items with my 30% off coupon.

DH is having "discussions" with FIL's CPA. This lady is a nut job, plain and simple. There has been a problem with her and DH, her and SIL, and also her and me. Last year FIL signed some IRS form regarding giving the CPA some authority over his investments (supposedly to change names for a trust, etc.). He clearly did not know what he was signing. DH had FIL call CPA (he has used her for a long time and considers her almost as a friend -- and judgment is poor due to dementia) to retrieve form because DH is handing those issues. She said fine and I drove FIL to her office for the form. As soon as she saw me, her claws came out and the horns sprouted form both sides of her head. I asked her to give FIL the form (he is the client). She said that no, she would not but indicated that she would shred it. I said that I would like to see her do so, CPA then swiveled her head like Linda Blair! She did shred a form, but I did not get a close look at it. But that was last year, and DH has watched everything and informed all companies regarding this issue. DH called her this month regarding FIL's caregiver and the tax situation. Caregiver indicated that she is an independent contractor and gives info to her tax man. So I told DH to contact CPA regarding issuance of a 1099, etc. CPA assumed her role as Lucifer's wife and indicated that FIL HAD to classify caregiver as an employee because she could not be trusted to follow through with the IRS. That sounds like nonsense to me! Also said that he had to do state and fed withholding. For 2009, caregiver has only worked a few weeks, so FIL is under the reportable limit. I went to the IRS site, and there are conditions to determine if one is an employee or not -- I think she is not. But even if she is, we do not have to withhold taxes (per IRS website). The employee can take the responsibility. CPA kept saying over and over, that she would report FIL to IRS if DH does not go "her way." Wait a minute ------- FIL is her client, not her enemy. DH certainly wants to follow the law, but the most simple way possible. I told DH strongly that if he must use her for 2009 so be it (although crazy), but NOT to use in 2010! And to top it all off, CPA is not listed in our state's consumer affairs database as a CPA! No number is listed on her business card. I told DH last year that I would like to report her to the state for insanity. If CA does not require her to be a licensed CPA, we would find that out. But last year, DH was afraid that of so, any returns that has completed (for years) for FIL would be null and void. This woman treats FIL as her "Child" and talks down to him. She treats his children as an enemy. This is an unacceptable type of "relationship" and DH needs to distance FIL and his financial affairs from CPA. DH does have financial power of attorney although he has not given CPA a copy at this time. I am sorry for venting --- but something smells rotten at her office and it is a rat (two-legged of course)!

Grandpa's Meds

January 11th, 2010 at 05:22 am

Boy --- DH (and I to a lesser degree) are taking care of FIL's financial issues. The new year has started and we are trying to save FIL as much as possible on his prescriptions. Unfortunately, two of his meds are brand name with no current generic available. His other 3 are generic - none of them are the $4 advertised ones. He does get into the Medicare "donut hole" every year stopping about midway. He does not spend enough for catastrophic coverage (which means he is not "sick" enough). I am planning to contact a mail order pharmacy for the 2 meds. Apparently he was on mail order in the past (AARP) and they screwed things up. FIL has dementia and is not much help at this point. I have also seen some Rx cards online (Countryrx I think is one) that are supposed to give a discount. DH is the ones who handles the meds directly. He asked the pharmacy about the discount card but they said that if he used it that it would not be tracked by Medicare. And DH does not want to track anything. I think that if FIL is in Stage 2 paying full cost and has almost no probability of reaching the catastrophic stage that we should try to save him any monies we can.

Am trying to prepare DH for planning with FIL as he continues to decline, and DH is slowly coming out of his denial. FIL has a nice lady that stays with him during the week, and spends the weekend with us. FIL can do his own self-care at this point. The lady cooks, cleans, and reminds him to shower, take meds, etc. The situation is wearing on DH a bit as his siblings do not help out very much. His sister will come and take them grocery shopping but has a major fit if we tell her to take her turn if we have something planned (which is extremely rare). His brother is entirely worthless and may visit FIL for 15 min or so every 2 weeks. Seems to disappear when any responsibility is mentioned. I think all should take turns taking care of FIL on weekends. FIL is not at the point where a facility is warranted; and I guess I do not understand why they do not want to help (or feel an obligation to do so). My parents are both still around and are still able to care for themselves. They live about an hour away. If something happened, I would powwow with my sibs and have an action plan. I personally dislike nursing homes and would try to avoid those for family if at all possible.

On another note, I am debating whether to spend some $$ for a "longevity screening" at my place of employment. They had a free lunch seminar (nice healthy lunch of course) and had their sales pitch. They offer screenings such as carotid; heart; aorta; and abdominal for cancer, etc. One employee came and spoke that the screening had saved his life - he had a bulge in his aorta and went straight from the screening to the emergency room. Had surgery the next day. But is the cost worth it (not covered by insurance)? I don't know. If I had to pick one, it would be the abdominal screening -- I have had a lipoma in the region for years and it has recently gotten larger. Could there be anything else there? Well, I have until next Thursday. I am assuming that they will not be booked up.

Hectic Saturday

January 10th, 2010 at 04:26 am

Whew! I am pooped - but my DD must really be. She went to sleep at 8 pm. She had two soccer games today, plus ice skating as a Girl Scout activity. I also skated, so I hope that I got some exercise. Smile

Lunch was at In n Out Burger between games and spent $4.70 for a hamburger meal between the two of us. Dinner was varied between the family. DD had soup (she put left over rice into the mix - good thinking!); Grandpa had leftover Chinese from the other day; and DH had homemade burritos. I had burrito minus the tortilla. Also made Nestle walnut chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

Tomorrow is DD's homework catchup day. For extra credit, she is doing an essay on "Why My Mom Deserves a Diamond." We'll see if her creative writing skills makes me a winner. Smile I have a hockey game at 12 but otherwise plan to declutter and list items on freecycle. I also need to squeeze in a bike ride for additional exercise.

I am feeling much better -- about 97%. Just a cough or two every so often. No meds during day - only Nyquil at night "just in case." DD says she has a scratchy throat - I hope it does not get worse. I have some vitamin C and other assorted items to try and minimize if possible.

Trying to debate where to purchase Turbo Tax - what is the better deal and where? I see at Office Depot, Staples, and the like they are about 59.99 for Deluxe and you can get other software programs (Quicken, etc.) free after rebate. Target has Turbo Tax for $49.99 until 2/20/10 and the same price at Costco. Costco online is $39.99. I am looking for any possible discounts for Office Depot. I know I just missed the 15% off coupon from Office Max. But I really do not need a new version of Quicken, do I? Or don't I? I have a few weeks to think about it. I usually get taxes going about 2/1/10. I should be faster but I am one of the queens of the kingdom of procrastination. I am hoping to abdicate the throne, but no such luck....

Went Back to Work

January 6th, 2010 at 03:03 am

Decided to try to go to work today. I made it in but opted not to go to a few meetings. I did not want to be hacking on anyone. Turns out quite a few people are out sick and have been with the same thing.
I did lots of paperwork and ducked out about an hour early - don't tell! Smile

Got my last paystub of the year. Looking at both DH and mine, our 2009 income is up by 12.2% as compared to 2008. Largely due to increase in DH's income. He has a job where he can works when he wants (lucky him). Since we have almost no debt, that is what he does. He still loves to spend time at our acreage playing farmer on his tractor (our only debt - but at 0% interest!). He did work a bit more to save a bit more. 2010 is a year we predict that his income will stay about the same. My income will increase about 2% or so due to a raise from last July as well as an excess sick time payout at the higher hourly rate. The only interesting tidbit is that we can "tweak" his income if we wish to be in the income range in order to contribute to Roth IRAs. So in October we discuss what our options are. And of course he is happy not to work! I have no such luck working for a gov't entity unless furloughs materialize (we are exempt so far). We did fully fund our 401k/453b for the year, and my contribution was upped to $22k due to my age. In 2011 I will qualify for the "catch up" provision and will be able to contribute much more (amount was $33k in 2009). I did run a number of calculations on various websites and found that based on our monies to date and planned savings and pensions, we will be in good shape to retire when planned. But.....if we are wiped out there is always a Plan B. DH is dreaming of selling fruit and nuts to farmers markets around the area. I think that is a good idea but have a lack of faith in that happening soon. Why? DH seems to be growing fruit for the squirrels and the gophers and the birds! Smile And they do not pay well! DH says that as the trees get bigger they will leave us some fruit. Plus DH has gotten some trees with various colors - green skinned plums for example. He is hoping that the birds think that they are unripe and are disinterested. We'll see if his experiment works.

He Has Not Left Yet!

January 5th, 2010 at 04:30 am

My nagging cough that is!!!!! DH does not like Mr. NC hogging the bed! So much for "in sickness and in health." Meds do not help that much. I did buy some Nyquil today in hopes of knocking myself out (I mean lulling myself) to sleep tonight because I go back to work tomorrow. I did have my work phone on today in the car and had at least 10 calls -- but I did not answer them nor did I listen to the emails. Tomorrow is another day. Plus, if I feel like "parc" spelled backwards, I will definitely leave early.

DD has been nagging dad lately about another sibling -- nope, not the regular way. I am at the upper echelon (unfortunately) of anything successful due to age and other unknown reasons, and I have had at least 5 miscarriages after 40. We have considered adoption in the past 2 years or so, and attended an orientation. DH got skittish about the whole procedure - he is miffed that we need to go to classes because we already are parents. He is also miffed about possible modifications to the backyard due to our swimming pool -- there is no financial assistance but you can remove everything the day the adoption is final (of course we would have swimming lessons)! I do not blame him for his feelings but that is the way it is. He is also worried that a child (we are considering a child 4-9 not an infant) won't love us the way he/she should (huh) plus concerned about any undisclosed issues. DD really told him that she really wants a sibling no matter what and will even settle for a little brother Smile The county did say we stipulate what issues we are willing to deal with. And of course, any match will be made based on those choices. I do have a 21 year old DS from a prior marriage who lives on his own. He and DH were like two sea lions at mating season - it was not pleasant! And with DS gone since he was 16, DS and DD are not that close - plus there is a 10 year age difference. DS is eager to have a younger sibling with a lesser gap. So, DH gave the go ahead to schedule classes with the county. The classwork and application/inspection process looks like it will take about 6 months. So, hopefully we will move forward. If there is no match, then at least we have tried. I will keep you guys posted on this. If any of you have adopted, I would appreciate any feedback on any potential issues. Or if you have been adopted, was there anything different from being in a biological family situation? Thanks a bunch.










Sick and Tired............

January 3rd, 2010 at 06:15 am

Happy New Year to all!

Yup, my cough has continued to be my companion and keeping me up all night. And I get no benefits from it! Smile DH is well aware of the new companion -- and he also is not getting a good night's sleep and wants this new "friend" to go away. I did go to urgent care today -- and so did everyone else. Got there 5 minutes after it opened and the waiting room was full! Took 2 hours but it least the diagnosis was not horrible. Upper respiratory issue - bot no strep. Got a prescription for controlling cough. Dr. also suggested Mucinex. And drinking lots more water because I am too hydrated. I did fill the Rx and got $30 loaded on my Ralph's card as a reward. Loaded up on cough drops and Mucinex at Target and was able to take a short nap this pm. Still coughing but not as much and my throat is not as sore. I go back to work on Tuesday (I hope).

For New Year's Eve we were on our acreage so DH could play farmer. I was not horribly bad until late that evening. We went to a neighbor's home and had rabbit for dinner. It was pretty good. NA bought the rabbits (live) from a local guy and butchered them himself. His wife, MA, was not so crazy about that part of it. But it was tasty.

I did have some clarity an hour ago when I realized my $10 Kohl's cash expires today!! I also have a $10 off $20 that will bite the dust tomorrow. So I drug myself there (it is about a 2 minutes drive from home). I got 12 pairs of socks and a casual T-shirt for $1.05. Yay! Sick or not, I could not pass that up. I did have cough drops in my mouth and kept any talking to a minimum. Plus I found a penny on the ground while waiting in line.....

Hope that a Happy and financially healthy 2010 is had for all!