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Archive for January, 2014

Our planned trip to Cedar Point

January 31st, 2014 at 05:26 pm

For those of you who may live very far away from Sandusky, OH, and don't know what Cedar Point is - it's a very large, very popular amusement park.

We're planning a trip there this summer. DW, the two DDs, and me. DD2 is now tall enough to go on nearly all the rides. DD1 is super geeked. I've not been there for 25+ years.

It's about a four hour drive from our house. DW has put together a budget, and it looks as if we can do a day for about $325.

We're planning on going June 24 - that's a Tuesday outside of the July peak, and the weekend peak.

I think we'll all have fun. $325 is a lot for one day, but I think it's well worth the cost.

Review of our cleaning service

January 28th, 2014 at 06:13 pm

As you may remember, we hired a cleaning service last summer. I think she started in June or July, so she's been cleaning for a bit more than six months. We pay her $45 per visit, and she typically comes by twice in a month. Her name is Robin.

On the whole, we've been very satisfied with Robin. She is polite, does a good job, and is flexible with us if we need to reschedule. Maybe a little too flexible...

I say that, because I don't think she has very many, if any other home cleaning jobs. She moved to our area a few weeks or just a couple months before we hired her. I'm pretty sure we were her first job. She has picked up daily work at a local restaurant, so she is unavailable from about 9:00 in the morning, until about 11:00. Other than that, if we've needed to reschedule, Robin has had absolutely no problem fitting us in.

That works to our advantage, of course, but I feel for anyone who isn't working to their desired potential. I've told her in the past that she should feel free to use us as a reference, and I haven't gotten any calls.

Of course a great part of having a cleaning service is that it motivates us to pick up the house, do some de-cluttering, and light sweeping prior to her coming over to clean.

One thing I've noticed is that after her first couple of visits, everything (sinks, tub, shower) was *so* much cleaner than before. Now that we're on more of a maintenance schedule, things don't look *that* much cleaner than before she cleaned. Because, they're not, because we're starting at a cleaner level now. So I need to resist the urge to ask - Just what did she do besides mop and vacuum?

There is one very minor issue. One of the reasons we picked Robin over another choice is that she said she'd use her own cleaning supplies, including her Kirby vacuum. Her Kirby broke on her fourth or fifth visit, and she hasn't had the money to fix or replace it, so she uses our vacuum now. Which is fine, especially if we, and the restaurant are her only gigs. Robin does continue to use all of her other supplies.

So, all in all I think it's $90 per month well spent!

I opened a new credit card

January 24th, 2014 at 07:58 pm

I opened a new credit card in November. It's through Amazon.com. I charged DW's birthday gift, and all the Christmas gifts I bought. The total I charged was about $275.

It was a - no interest for six months - deal. My minimum payment is $25. I've paid $50 each of the past two months. My plan is to have it paid in full before the six months is up.

Our girls have a swim meet tomorrow. We'll have to drive a couple hours north to get to it. The roads might be nasty, and it will definitely be cold, so we may have to make a decision in the morning.

A gentleman from my church died yesterday. I didn't know him very well, but he was a retired State Trooper, a big, healthy looking man. I'm not sure how old he was, but he wasn't *that* old. Maybe 60? Why it's hitting me oddly is that he and his wife were in church last Sunday, and he appeared happy and healthy. Apparently he had a known heart issue.

That's it for now. Hope you all have a great weekend!

We're expecting some kids.

January 22nd, 2014 at 04:24 pm

No, not that kind of kid. One of my daughter's goats is due to kid any day now. Her other, younger doe goat also appears to be pregnant, but probably a month away from kidding. This would be her first kidding.

It's been quite an adventure, especially given these very cold temps. We're still inexperienced with delivering goats. We've only had one other successful kidding at our place, and that was in the summertime. We've been watching the older goat since Jan. 1. Fortunately, we had a visit from an experienced goat person this past weekend, and she told us what to look for.

Goats typically birth 1-3 kids, with 2 at one time being the most common. So, between the two goats, we can probably expect 4 kids. If two of them are bucklings (male), then they should be perfect for the fair late next July. Doelings (female) will be added to the breeding herd. If we don't have two bucklings, one of the does will be taken to the fair.

Our girls have spent about $120-$140 for fair goats. So, there is a bit of a savings. But not really, since we're feeding both does and the buck all year. Plus we'll feed the kids after they're weaned as well.

We're really more looking at this as a learning experience for the girls, and the pride associated with raising and showing their own home-grown animals.

Maybe, in the future, when the herd size is big enough, we'll have extra goats to sell to other 4-Hers for them to take to the fair. Then, this may be a break-even affair.



Hello

January 17th, 2014 at 08:29 pm

I was poked to give a signal that I'm still alive and kicking! I assure you that I am.

I've not dropped off a financial cliff, and I've not racked up thousands of dollars of CC debt that I'm too embarrassed to blog about.

Basically, I've been busy. November and December (along with April and May) are my busiest months at work, and that busyness has seemed to leak into January.

In addition to the busyness, I've not been all that motivated to blog here during the spare moments that I do have. And, I think the reason is that I don't have that CC debt wolf breathing down my back anymore. The accountability that I found here when I was digging myself out of that hole was a real motivator. And, I find myself not needing that financial motivation.

There have been some financial doozies the past couple of months.

For starters - DW had a minor accident with the family van. Everybody was very much alright. But, the van is old. It blue books at about 3.5K. There was 4.0K of body damage, along with a punctured oil pan. It was fully insured, and our insurance company totaled it out. So, we bought back the van, and paid for 1.85K of necessary work to get it safe, driveable, and legal. Basically, we came out ahead about $900 after deductible. The van looks fine, but it has a salvage title, and we can't carry collision anymore.

We'll set the $900 aside as part of our down payment when we are ready for a new family van.

That all happened just before Christmas. Another thing happened the night before Christmas. A wheel bearing went out in my pick up. That was a $480 repair. Luckily, we have some family members who allowed us to borrow a couple vehicles for a while. My pickup was fixed about three days later, and we just got the van back yesterday.

We got our first 1099 in the mail yesterday. $13 and I think six cents for interest we earned from the IRS on our adoption credit from last year. I'll make sure we claim that!

We're still waiting for the biggie - the 1099 for the forgiven debt on our short-sale house.

It's been cold, cold, cold here in the upper mid-west. We've been on a budget plan with our heating fuel supplier, and that has helped even out the cash flow paying for heating our house. I also got on a "keep full" program for the first time. Instead of monitoring the level of our heating fuel myself, and calling for a fill-up, we're on a regular route now. We were filled up sometime in the third week of December, and again yesterday. Our fill-up was 98 gallons! About $360 to heat our house this past month. And, that with the additional insulation we had put on our basement walls last fall. And, it doesn't sound as if things are going to get much warmer anytime soon. I sure am glad we're on that budget plan now, but I cringe to think what our monthly payment will be starting next July.

That's enough for now. I'll try to provide updates a little more regularly.

(Do you still have to copy a long post before you publish it? Or has that bug been fixed?)

I see you still have to copy it!