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Archive for July, 2013

The fair was last week

July 31st, 2013 at 01:29 pm

We were at our county fair last week. Our girls show animals, and take projects like sewing, entomology and baking.

DD1 was Grand Champion Poultry Showperson. She won both her goat showmanship and her market classes. Her pigs earned 2nd place in her pen class and 3rd in her heavyweight hog class. The dress she sewed was Best of Class, as was her entomology collection. She earned a public speaking trophy.

DD1 was made a 4-H Princess. She was 2nd place in her goat showmanship class and earned a medal for dramatic reading. Other projects included sewing a dress, baking cookies, and insect and wildflower collections. She excelled in pig showmanship.

And, DS1 participated in the fair for the first time by showing a goat and exhibiting a bead necklace.

DD1 sold her hogs for a very good price, and her goat for not such a good price. DD2 chose to not sell her goat at the fair. It is a female, and she will add it to our breeding herd at home.

As a family, we spend quite a bit of money at the fair, in addition to spending some money on baby sitters and day care for the boys. We've been so down and out broke past years, that we've always had to watch money very closely. We didn't go over-board by any means, but let the money flow a little more freely than in the past.

Asset Percentages

July 30th, 2013 at 06:50 pm

I assigned a percentage value for each of the assets listed on our balance sheet. That is - the percentage that each asset represents of the value of our total assets. Not sure why - just to see where everything falls, I guess. Nothing too fancy.

Retirement Fund: 56.7%
House: 34.2%
Pick Up Truck: 4.9%
Van: 1.8%
Household Items: 1.1%
Lawn Mower: 0.8%
Savings Account: 0.4%
Checking Account: 0.1%

These are not net values - that is the value that I used for the house is an estimate of its current market value, and not value minus mortgage.

Yes, our share of the value of the lawn mower is 2X our savings account. We own the lawn mower with my parents.

The value I placed on household items is probably low. I assign a value to recognize that there is a value there, but I've put in no effort to inventory, and come up with a solid number.

It's the end of the month, and I get paid tomorrow. So, our checking balance is low as of this writing.

Clearly most of our net worth is in the house and retirement fund. Retirement fund is 1.6X greater in value than our house. That's probably good. But, again the value on the retirement fund is solid, and value on the house is an estimate, and I probably low-balled it.

DD2's Tooth

July 18th, 2013 at 06:02 pm

This story begins a couple weeks ago when DD2 began complaining about a tooth ache. DD2 is a bit more of a whiner than her older sister is, and it can be difficult for DW and me to discern when the pain is real, and when it is being exaggerated.

The pain persisted, and DW set up an appointment for her with our dentist. That appointment was set up for one week ago.

Last Wednesday, the day before the appointment, I got a call from DW. She was on the road with DD2. The pain was unbearable, and she was hoping I could get an appointment yet that day. I called around, and finally found a dentist who could see her that afternoon.

The dentist claimed that the pain was superficial, and nothing to worry about. Just keep on with the ibuprofen as needed. Not hard to believe, given DD2's history. So, we cancelled the appointment with our regular dentist. Bad move.

The pain persisted and persisted, so we set up another appointment with our regular dentist. That was this last Monday. Turns out that the previous dentist had not set the X-ray low enough to see the entire root and nerve. The tooth is dead, and needs a root canal. (I should add that this tooth had a deep cavity about a year ago). Our regular dentist prefers to not perform root canals on young children, so DD2 was referred to a dentist in a larger town.

Fortunately, the first, and last good turn of luck was realized when the appointment was set up for first thing the next morning. That dentist decided the tooth was too young and immature for a root canal. The dentist also claimed that while he is not typically an advocate of pulling teeth, he saw no alternative. This dentist did prescribe an anti-biotic, which has helped with the swelling and healing. But, this dentist does not pull teeth, that is below his pay grade, and our regular dentist would have to do that.

So, her appointment with the regular dentist was today. Our regular dentist strongly disagrees that the tooth is not a candidate for a root canal. We would, of course, prefer for her to keep the tooth. So, we're going with that. The dentist also did some prep work for the root canal today that has further relieved the swelling.

My insurance covers 1/2 the cost of dental procedures. So, our out-of-pocket for the root canal will be $650.

DW checked our credit reports

July 9th, 2013 at 06:29 pm

Last week I blogged that DW was denied 0% financing on some book purchases, and we ASSUMED it was because our short sale had been reported to the credit bureaus.

DW checked our credit reports. Mine was fine. Hers had a big ding on it, but not related to our short sale.

The credit report showed that an $85 bill from a local hospital had gone into collections. The date was this last March. We've used the hospital a handful of times over the past five years, so it was not out of the question that an unpaid bill had slipped by. The weird thing was that her address was listed in a local town in which we've never lived.

So, DW went to the hospital yesterday to get it all sorted out. She was prepared to pay the $85 if the hospital could show that the bill was ours.

It turns out that the bill was not ours. It was a bill for a hospital stay for our now adopted 4 yo son. He was in the hospital when he was about 1 yo when he was under the "care" of his birth parents. We've taken him to the same hospital, so his old name is now associated with us.

The weird thing is, we've never been contacted by the hospital, or a collection agency about the bill. The hospital stay was more than three years ago, and it simply went to collections under her name this past March.

Long Weekend Happenings

July 8th, 2013 at 12:48 pm

I ran in my first of two planned summer 5K's Saturday. It cost $15 to participate. The group of runners/walkers was much smaller this year than last time I ran this race three years ago. Maybe the heat? Saturday was the warmest day we've had in a while.

I finished with a time of 34:38. Not great for a 5K. I'm hoping to run the August race in less than 30 minutes. But, it was great to get back into a race again. I just settled into a slow and steady pace, and ended up running the whole thing.

My daughter's doe Zoe (female goat) died on Friday. She had the doe for three or four years. It was pregnant with twins, and one of the fetuses died in the uterus, and killed the other one. The uterus became toxic enough to kill Zoe, too. Very sad.

We called a veterinarian out to treat the doe. He gave a shot of penicillin, and a shot to help expel the placenta. The Zoe ended up dying about 30 minutes after he left. DD went out to check on her, and found her dead. The vet visit cost $103.15.

On Sunday, my two nieces and nephew were baptized. They were adopted from foster care by DW's sister and brother-in-law about a year ago. My two girls were baptismal sponsors for two of the kids, and another cousin was a sponsor for the third. DW bought three picture frames on clearance for (I think) $1.75 each. Cheap, anyway. She took a picture of each of the three kids with their sponsors, and printed them off, and gave them as baptismal gifts.

We also stopped by a goat farm to look for a new doe yesterday. No doe will replace Zoe, but it's something we need to do. The place we stopped at had only one breeding age doe that she was willing to sell. It's not a pure bred boer (the breed of goats we raise), so we weren't interested. We've got names and numbers for other breeders, so hopefully we'll find another one. Our hope is to buy a doe that is old enough to get bred this August or Spetember, so she'll give birth in time for goats for next year's fair.

So, it was a good weekend and a bad weekend, but it was spent with family.

What could you learn as a drive-thru bank teller?

July 2nd, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Our bank is undergoing a complete destruction/reconstruction this summer. A temporary trailer/mobile bank has been set up, and only drive-thru service is offered. I've never been one to use the drive-thru, so this is new to me.

So, I was thinking that as a drive-thru teller, you could get a real feel for the correlation between one's bank account and the vehicle one drives.

I'm sure that there are many people on both ends of the extremes - those who have plenty of funds in their bank accounts, and drive very nice cars, and those with very few funds in their accounts and drive very inexpensive cars.

But, I would guess that for many in the middle there is a reverse correlation between their bank account balance and the value of the vehicle they drive.

Just one example of some of the off-the-wall things I think about sometimes.

Our credit score and short sale finally met

July 1st, 2013 at 12:54 pm

They shared a firm handshake, exchanged a fine "How are ya?", and our credit score promptly fell on its back.

It's not as if we weren't expecting it.

DW home schools our girls. The company that she buys curriculum from was offering 0% financing for six months, so we decided to take advantage of the offer. The rejection message stated that our scores were less than 620. So, that means that they fell by a minimum of 85 points.

In October 2010, my score was at 580. I had built it back up to 705 by August 2012. So, we'll keep doing the right things, and hopefully in a couple of years, we'll see daylight again.