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Archive for September, 2007

First National Bank of Omaha Credit Card

September 28th, 2007 at 08:27 pm

I have a FNBO Credit Card. This was my first card...I have had this card since 1996. I use it periodically, but never keep a balance on it. I also have a Chase Visa that I use every now and then. I recently got an offer for an American Express card with $22,100 limit, 0% interest, 0% balance transfer fee. So, since the FNBO was empty, and the Chase Visa didn't have much (only what I had bought that month) I transferred $2500 from AmEx to FNBO and $2500 to Chase Visa. Once that posted, I requested checks from these two cards. FNBO was no problem, got the check right away. Chase Visa wouldn't refund the full $2500, because I had a balance on there, but did refund me $2400ish, and I replenished that money with some from my spending money, so I had $5000 in my new 6.0% checking account.

That was easy, and I still had $17,200 credit left on the AmEx (after the first $100 payment). This time, I requested $17,100 of that transferred to FNBO. Here, I ran into problems. The money posted 9/14 and I called that day to request a refund. The guy said that they had to wait 5 business days to make sure the check cleared. ? That didn't happen the first time! He said the earliest he could request it was this Tuesday (9/25), but he would take care of it. I checked today, and that still hadn't happened. So, I called customer service. I requested the check, and after 10 minutes on hold, the lady said "accounting is backed up. It will be 8-10 days before it will get through accounting, and then we will mail it." I said, "well, that's terrible customer service. Can you bump me up to the front of the line because I called about this over two weeks ago and the other person I talked to said he would take care of it and he didn't?" She said, "hold please" Another couple of minutes, and she came back to tell me that they are cutting it now and I will receive it in 7-10 days, I assume because of the mail.

So, things I've learned...
- Next time I do one of these, I'll do it the same way, where I request a bit of money first and then a bigger chunk later. That way, if the bigger chunk doesn't get her right away from the intermediate transfer, I'll have the money to pay the first credit card and not have to dip into other money.
- Don't trust the customer service guy to follow up on your problem. I should have called back on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday...until I got what I wanted.
- If their solution isn't acceptable, tell them that, and tell them what you want. Their goal is to keep your money as long as possible, while if you are playing this game, your goal is to get the money as soon as possible. Keep asking them until they agree.
- I think the initial problem came because my credit limit on the FNBO card was $15,000 and I was requesting a check for $17,100. If it had been below the credit limit, I bet I would have gotten the check when I first called two weeks ago.
- This was still worth it, even with the hassle. I'll make about $1000 on the AmEx money sitting in a 6.0% checking account for a year (taking into account the monthly payments of 2% of the balance and getting it completely paid off before the interest hits), so some mouse clicks to initiate the transfer and two phone calls for 20 minutes each to get the check is worth that!

Feeling a bit overwhelmed

September 26th, 2007 at 06:05 am

I thought I was doing pretty well. In June, I was pretty flush with cash.

***warning - long rant***

Then I got engaged and I'm paying for everything having to do with that, except he bought my ring and his parents are paying for the rehearsal dinner, oh and one bridesmaid is paying for all of her dress...I had offered to pay for half of all the dresses. I think that everything I've bought so far has been either on sale or I've found something less expensive than what I originally found, but I've still already spent $1600 on that. I still have a lot to go...big items include my dress, reception hall, DJ, dinner for 200 @ $8 a plate, liquor for the open bar, honeymoon, flower girl dresses, gifts for bridal party, etc.

I also started a new business. My fiance and I started thinking about how we were going to get the farm up and producing more, and we thought the best way for that to happen was for us to take over some of the cows that my dad has been taking care of. My dad currently does all the work with my cows and when we sell calves every spring, he gets 2/3 of the money, I get 1/3. That has worked very well. But now that I am going to have a farmer husband, he might as well be working for us instead of working for another farmer. So, our plan was to take around 20-30 head over this year if we can find the grass.

But, my cows have their calves in February - April. If we move them to a new pasture and mix them with any other cows, we need to get them together early so the different diseases / germs from the different herds and the new pasture will allow the momma cows to get antibodies before the babies are born. Think of a daycare. All those kids around spread germs to one another. But if the momma cow has time to make antibodies, the baby calves will be more protected. (This is one of the reasons why people say to breastfeed. In fact, my older sister had chicken pox when I was nursing, and my mom gave me the antibodies so I didn't ever get them. I had a test when I was thinking about becoming a teacher to make sure that I couldn't get them, and the doctor said I wouldn't ever get them.) That means that we would need to take the cows over in December or January.

Another reason we need to take them over before February is that the hardest part of taking care of the cows is feeding them in the winter and helping them have their calves if they need help. So it wouldn't be fair to my dad for him to feed them and calve them out and then us to take them after that was over. But, the calves we have this Feb - April we won't sell until the next January, so we didn't want to wait until next year to get started.

Oh, and during the winter, the grass doesn't grow (ok, duh on that one) and we'll have to feed them. My dad had bought a used baler that the dealer couldn't ever make work. Dad and the dealer went round and round about that, the dealer saying "I'm going to come take it back if you don't pay on it" and Dad saying "come and take it, it doesn't work anyway". My fiance looked at it, and he thought he knew what was wrong with it, and asked my Dad if he wanted him to look at it. Dad was disgusted with the whole thing and offered to sell it to my fiance if he wanted it. We decided that because my income was so much higher than my fiance's, and we won't get married until January, for tax reasons, it would make sense for me to buy the baler as well as a small tractor and pay my fiance to run it. My fiance got it running perfectly - after a few weeks of broken parts, which cost quite a bit. So, technically, I own a baling business, with a baler and a tractor, and I pay a guy (who happens to be my fiance) to run it. When we bale feed for someone else, we get 1/3 of the bales. So, either we can sell those bales or we can feed our cows with those bales. Either way, it is a good investment, but it is at least a year long investment without any income from it for a year and lots of expenses.

I got a loan for the tractor and baler ($12,500 for both, a little over $5000 every year for three years) but wanted to pay for the operating expenses myself. I didn't want to go into debt to run the business, only to buy the equipment. I've spent about $1400 on it so far, with another couple hundred this week I haven't paid for yet.

I had to knock my emergency fund down from $3000 to $1700 to pay some of that, and right now I have just the money in my wallet to spend until payday on Thursday...my checkbook is "overdrawn" (it won't cost me an overdraft fee, because I have a few hundred dollars as a buffer in there, but not counting the buffer, I'm in the red.) Luckily, all I have to spend on from now till Thursday is food. All the living expense bills are taken care of, in a separate checking account, so as long as I don't lose my job, I won't have to worry about my house payment, truck payment, electricity, utilities, etc.

I'm happy with my decision to start this business. It is working great, we are either going to make a potload of money from selling the bales or have a potload of bales for the cows.

I'm happy with the wedding plans, even though I would appreciate some help from my parents...but I'm almost 30 for heck's sake...I should be on my feet enough to pay for it. Although, they gave my other 3 sisters about $600 each to help with their weddings. I kinda brought this up to my mom the other day, and she looked at me like "you have more money than we do." I just said "I'm still your daughter." She also asked me where her and Dad's names were on the invitations (I just have my fiance's and mine), and I just said "You're not paying for it."

I am trying to pay for a wedding and a new business and live the same way I did before these two things came on the horizon. That can't work. I guess yesterday when I balanced my checkbook and I was in the buffer zone, that was a real wakeup call. I'll just have to hunker down for the next couple of months and not spend so much.

whoever heard of registering for this?

September 20th, 2007 at 02:29 am

My fiance and I went to register last weekend since it rained and he couldn't do the farmer thing on Saturday. First, we went to Dillard's and registered for some china. I really didn't want to do that, but his mom suggested we go there and get some good stuff. I picked out a few and let him make the final decision. We decided to register for 10 of them because I have a HUGE table that I have 10 chairs that will fit around it if all the leaves are in it. We also registered for 10 sets of silverware.

Then, we went to Target. We registered for a bunch of common stuff, you know, towels, shower curtains, bathroom stuff, kitchen stuff, etc... He ran the gun, so I would just point and say "two of these, one of these" and he would do it. We were going up to the front of the store, and went by the snack aisle. Well, we walked a few steps past the chips, he looked at me, and said, "just a second." Down the chip aisle he went and registered for 10 bags of Doritoes and 10 12-packs of Diet Coke! I just had to laugh. I think everyone will see that on our registry and give us that as a gag gift. Oh, and he wants me to go back and register for some peanuts and cashews! We'll have snacks for a year!

Lots o ribbon

September 12th, 2007 at 06:31 am

I had bought what I thought was a lot of ribbon from Hancock Fabrics, dark blue, about 4 5-yard spools. I have since discovered that each 5 yard spool will only tie 15 invitations. So, I had to get more. A lot more.

I looked on ebay, and I just have to say, thank you, Jesus, for the internet. It has saved me untold amounts of money over the past few years. I was able to by 4 100-yard spools for $15.50, including shipping.

That's 400 yards!

Do you know how much that is?

It is almost all the way around a running track. 440 yards ~ 400 meters. If one person started at the starting line and ran around the first curve with the end of the ribbon tied at the start line and the other end in her hand, she would get to the second person in the relay just when the spool ran out.

400 yards = where I would die in the quarter and have no kick left for the last 40 yards.

400 yards = 1/4 of a mile. The length of road I used to run for sprints from our driveway to the black top.

I hate this one. I can hear it coming. "400 yards is the length of 4 football fields." Everyone compares length to football fields, but my school played 8-man football, so the fields were only 80 yards. So, in my case, 400 yards is the length of 5 football fields.

400 yards is a great golf shot, so long as it is in the direction you want the golf ball to go.

Apparently, it is a significant enough span of space to warrant warning of no sidewalk.
http://www.freefoto.com/preview/41-08-93?ffid=41-08-93&k=No+footway+for+400+yards+Road+Sign


400 yards is too far away to shoot a deer, as post #8 eloquently says.
http://www.huntingnet.com/forum/tm.aspx?m=1751058

Possible readings for the wedding

September 12th, 2007 at 05:26 am

I've been thinking about possible readings for our wedding. I DON'T want the standard Corinthians one, what with the clanging gong and love being patient, kind, blah blah blah. Here are some interesting ones that I found...I think I'll ask Fr. David if these are ok. Still need to pick between the two Psalms.
------------------------------------
First Reading
Tobit 8:4-8
When the girl's parents left the bedroom and closed the door behind them, Tobiah arose from bed and said to his wife, "My love, get up. Let us pray and beg our Lord to have mercy on us and to grant us deliverance."
She got up, and they started to pray and beg that deliverance might be theirs. He began with these words: "Blessed are you, O God of our fathers; praised be your name forever and ever. Let the heavens and all your creation praise you forever.
You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve to be his help and support; and from these two the human race descended. You said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone; let us make him a partner like himself.'
Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine not because of lust, but for a noble purpose. Call down your mercy on me and on her, and allow us to live together to a happy old age."
They said together, "Amen, amen."

------------------------------------
Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 63:5-9
I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands, calling on your name.

My soul shall savor the rich banquet of praise, with joyous lips my mouth shall honor you!

When I think of you upon my bed, through the night watches I will recall that you indeed are my help, and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.

My soul clings fast to you; your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 128, 1-4, then Psalm 127 3-5
Happy are all who fear the Lord, who walk in the ways of God.

What your hands provide you will enjoy; you will be happy and prosper.

Like a fruitful vine your wife within your home, like olive plants your children around your table.

Just so will they be blessed who fear the Lord.
------------------------------------
Second Reading
Ephesians 5:21-28
Wives and Husbands. Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
------------------------------------
Gospel Acclamation
1 John 4:7, 11
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another.

------------------------------------
Gospel
Mark 10, 6-9
Jesus said "But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate."

thank you postcards

September 11th, 2007 at 05:25 pm

Got our first engagement gift the other day. Ok, so it was a gag gift from my fiance's aunt that thoroughly embarrassed him (or em-bare-assed him, if you know what I mean Wink). But that got me thinking that I'll need to send out a lot of thank you cards in the next few months.

So, instead of running to walmart to buy their thank you card set, I figured I could make them for cheaper. First of all, postcards just have got to be less expensive than a folded thank you card plus envelope, and second of all, postcards only cost $.26 for a stamp while envelopes cost $.41.

I called my mom to see if postcards were socially acceptable, and she said yes, so long as I write out the actual thank you part on the back. So, I just had to figure out what the postcard should look like.

I made one with the font that I used for the invitations, just simple and plain with "Thank You" on the front.


I also made one with "Thank You" in different languages.


And I also found one online that is a pretty green with a funky looking tree on it...and surprisingly, my fiance, a co-worker and I all liked this one.


I was going to print them all out myself and have Copy Max cut them, but I decided that my printer didn't print that one out good enough, and it costs $1 per page for Copy Max to print them. That is $.20 a piece just for the printing, plus you have to add $6 for the cutting.

So, instead, I uploaded that picture to printsmadeeasy.com and ordered them glossy with nothing on the back (would have added about $10 to the order just to put my return address on them...and I'm moving after the wedding, so my return addres would be wrong and I couldn't use them after that anyway). I got 300 of them for $35.99 + $8.85 for shipping, so $44.84 total or $.15 a piece. I picked the cheapest shipping...I could have spent like $30 to get them here tomorrow, but that isn't necessary...they'll be here by next week and that is soon enough.

blanching and freezing

September 9th, 2007 at 08:15 pm

I'm taking some time to prepare some of my garden goodies for winter...or a few weeks from now if my garden doesn't produce anymore.

I made the spaghetti squash in the microwave, like always. Just split in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds with a fork, put cut side up in a microwave save dish (duh), add water to the bottom for steam. Add some butter and spice (I use a cajun spice on almost everything I cook) and microwave for 12 minutes. When it is done, pull it out and scrape the flesh away from the hard outer skin with a fork. It comes out like spaghetti...hence the name. I'll put it in some ziploc freezer bags in meal sized portions and freeze. Then, when I need to use them, I can just microwave for a few minutes and it is ready to go!

I've never blanched anything before last night, but it turns out it is pretty easy. I read that you are supposed to blanch the zucchini and the summer or crook-neck squash before freezing to stop the enzymes from making the vegetable more and more ripe, even when frozen. I cut the zucchini into slices and then quarters. Boiled the water. I used a saucepan and a steamer thingy so I could keep the pan of water boiling but still get the vegetables out when the were done. I dropped the vegetables into the water, waited 3 minutes, then took them out and put in cold ice water for about 3 minutes...then drained very well before putting in ziploc bags to freeze.

Hope this works. I've read that after freezing, the vegetables can come out a bit squishy, not so crisp, but I always saute them or put them on the grill in aluminum foil, so once they are done cooking they aren't that crisp anyway.

silly love quotes

September 5th, 2007 at 07:08 am

While making the wedding invitations, I have about a 3 inch strip at the bottom of the vellum that I didn't have a plan for. I decided I would print out some sayings (some romantic, some silly, some from favorite songs, our names) on the bottom, cut them apart with some scrapbook scissors for the funky edges, and sprinkle them on the tables at the reception to add some interest. People would have something to look at and discuss if there is ever a waiting time, and it might get people moving from table to table to read them so they would interact more.

I've looked online for "romantic love quotes", "silly love quotes", "wedding quotes" and all I get is either Shakespeare or how crappy marriage is. I don't want too many sappy ones, and I don't want any crappy ones Smile

Here's what I have so far:
"From this day forward
You shall not walk alone.
My heart will be your shelter,
And my arms will be your home"
- Marianne Williamsen

Thank you for sharing our special day.

Mr. & Mrs. (his last name)

(his first name) and (my first name) (his last name)

"At last my love has come along
My lonely days are over
And life is like a song"
- Etta James

"But at the beginning of creation, God made the male and female. For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate." Mark 10:6-9

She thinks my tractor's sexy

A wedding is a Day, a Marriage is a Lifetime

When I saw you I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew.
-William Shakespeare

"Let's hold hands on the porch swing,
Under the moon
While the wind through the willows
Plays us a tune
We can lie on a blanket,
Out back in the yard
And wish for our future
On a faraway star
You'll feel the passion
As time after time
I press your sweet lips to mine
We can dance to the radio,
Right up 'til dawn
'Til you drift off to dream in my arms"
-Travis Tritt
Our First Dance

"All of my life I've been waiting for you
All of my love I've been saving for you
Wild and tender to you I surrender my heart
You touch me and time has no meaning at all
The longer I hold you the deeper I fall
I'll cherish the moment I knew
I'll always love you"
-Blackhawk
Our Second Dance

So, any of you creative types have any other suggestions? I have 63 more invitations to print, so plenty of space for suggestions.