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Archive for February, 2008

Prepping house for sale

February 25th, 2008 at 09:56 pm

I decided that the only way I was going to get this house in shape to sell it was to go room by room. Tackled the kitchen today. LOTS o' LOTS o' LOTS o' dishes to do (yucky. Not my favorite job, so they tend to pile up.) Cleaned everything, new lightbulbs in the burned out sockets, dishes put away, drying racks put away, cleaned the top of the refrigerator, moved the table to look nicer in the space, etc. Got some pictures on my camera so even if a few dishes get stacked up in the next few days, if I get the rest of the house done I can create some fliers. I am going to make some fliers and put them up at work. Maybe I can sell it without the help of a realtor, but I'll only give myself about a month of the fliers before getting one.

DH told me we had another 2 calves today, so we are up to 7. Got the fence up around the pasture/hay meadow yesterday, so the cows are stretching their legs and are glad to be out in the grass. The grass hasn't been used for 3 years, so there is lots of it out there. Better than feeding them every spoonful!

Got news yesterday that the price of mineral is going up. By about 25%! The reason (at least what I was told) is that one part of the mix comes from only one factory in China, and they are being shut down for the Olympics! Who would have thought! The price is going up April 1, so we are going to buy a bunch at the end of March to tide us over.

Also heard from that we are going to have room for 45 cows this year instead of only 35, so we are going to take another 10 of mine from my dad. We are going to pay him for the work he's done, and the feed he's fed, for the past 3 months. That means we have more of our cows than he does now!

One more piece of news is that we heard from the implement dealer, and this month their interest rate on the used swather we are going to buy is 6.25%. They didn't know what it was going to do next month, but we are going to wait. Another option is to go through the FSA office to get a guaranteed loan, with interest rates in the 3-4% range, but I don't know if those loans get turned around quick enough for what we want. We'll be looking at that this weekend.

I went to the Social Security office today to get a new SS card. I waited an hour, finally got called to the window, and took out the copy of the marriage license that the District Court clerk gave me, and the lady said it wasn't valid because the clerk signed the paper with BLACK ink instead of BLUE ink. What a bunch of crappola. I called the District Court and they are going to send me a copy in the mail. I have to send that, plus the paper the SS lady gave me in, and I'll get my new card pretty soon.

Also checked with my bank here in town about getting a signature guarantor stamp on my mutual funds, and there is one in town (not my usual branch). Just have to get my new driver's license then go in, and they will do it for me.

Lots of details to figure out still. Get the house ready to sell, find a new job, change names, start a new farm and be a newlywed. No wonder I am feeling a bit stressed! And I thought that would all go away after the wedding!

Job search

February 21st, 2008 at 08:53 pm

Well, back to doing the farming thing on the weekends and working Monday - Thursday. I'm commuting 2.5 hours on Monday morning, working 10 hour days until Thursday night (staying in the house I need to sell), and then commuting 2.5 hours back home. I'm pretty tired Monday and Tuesday, feel good Wednesday and then tired again Thursday night before I get back home. But I can't quit until I find another similar paying job.

I had an ex-co-worker look over my resume the other day, and she said it had too much clutter and not enough meat. Not enough job skills, not enough specific languages and programs and database skills, etc. I rewrote it on Monster today and sent it back to her to critique again. Before she said she couldn't understand why I hadn't been able to find anything because of my skill set, but after seeing my resume, she said hiring managers don't know much about specific qualifications for IT jobs, so I needed to load up on specific "buzz words" to get noticed. We'll see how that goes.

As for the farm, we had a wheel fall off the pickup the other day! Something to do with the wheel bearing or shaft or something. Luckily we weren't hauling any bales like we had done the day before. Drug it to the shed and used the tractor to feed cows that day. He found another 4 wheel drive pickup, very rough, some kinks to work out, for $1300 and we bought that the other day. Jeez, when will we stop spending so much money?

But we have 4 calves now! They are so cute! Another two were on their way yesterday, but as of this morning, they hadn't been born yet. As soon as it warms up a little we are going to finish the electric fence around some more pasture so they will have more room to stretch their legs, and hopefully the cows will eat enough of the old grass that we can see some tree stumps someone foolishly cut off 4 inches off the ground. We can't hay that because it will break the swather, and the grass is so tall we can't see the stumps to clear them out, and there isn't a good fence around it so we haven't been able to put cows out there. I hope we can get them out there this weekend.

I am doing pretty good at not spending money on frivolous things since the wedding. I used a gift card to get a pair of pants, a nice shirt and a nice jacket for interviews, and only spent an additional $10 at Dillard's for that stuff. I've been eating at home most nights, but if I don't cook something big on Mondays to take to work, I've been ordering a sandwich for lunch. They are good, but expensive. So, gas is a big problem and farm expenses and lunch, but I am not spending a huge amount on anything else.

We paid off all of his credit cards the other day. I used some of the money from the 0% interest card. I know, I said I wasn't going to do that, but we were paying 19% interest on $5000! Even if we can't pay back $5000 when next December comes around, that was smart, because we won't have 19% interest then. He had two other cards he used on the honeymoon, but for only a couple hundred each, so we are not paying any interest on any credit cards now! We also paid off his line of credit ($1200 at 7% interest) and renewed the line of credit in both of our names for 7%. So now, all he owes is for the land (6.75%) and house (5%). Need to pay off the Co-op bill by the end of the month, or we will pay 18% on that. We still have my cows (8%), the tractor and baler (8.5%), my house (6.9%) my student loans (3.13%) and my pickup (3.74%). Hopefully we can sell the house pretty soon. We can refinance the cows and the tractor and baler for 7.25%, and we are going to meet with my banker next week to do that.

I've been taking over a lot of the monthly bills that he has been paying at the house up north (or sometimes not paying). I'm having to put $900 a paycheck into my bill paying checking account, and so long as I don't lose my job, it is figured out for the rest of the year. But, there are two more bills I need to take over for him...his long term disability insurance and his life insurance. He has a whole life insurance policy, and I would like to get rid of that. We are meeting the insurance people this weekend, and I'll make them re-sell it to me. Good luck, I say, cause they're going to need it.

He used to balance his checkbook in his head (? I don't think that is balancing it, do you?) but I have a spreadsheet worked up for him now, so he can look at that anytime he is home, and he is even updating it! Quite a change. We are also going over past week expenses and upcoming expenses on Sunday night before I leave early on Monday so we kind of have a plan for what farm expenses we will have that week. I'm using some of the money we got in cards at the wedding for cash spending money, and it is going pretty far, actually. I found some automatic charge on his account for $19.99 the other day, but we can't tell what it is, he doesn't remember, and I tried to call yesterday to cancel it, but their computers were down (a convenient excuse, huh?). If he didn't do it today, I'll call them on Monday to get that canceled.

We finally got health insurance for him, and dental and vision, and Accidental Death and Dismemberment, and $100,000 life insurance policy on him. I upped my insurance on me to about $540,000, plus the maximum AD&D. With all of those additions, adding him, upping all of my coverage, we didn't even double the premiums from before. As I've said before in a previous blog post, Single People sure get hosed on insurance!!! http://cptacek.savingadvice.com/2007/10/16/single-people-sure-get-hosed-on-insuranc_31214/

back again

February 18th, 2008 at 07:58 pm

Whew, it's been awhile, hasn't it? I guess it has only been about 3 weeks, but what a 3 weeks it has been.

First, the wedding. It was beautiful. It was exactly what I wanted, and I can't think of one thing that I should have done differently. I don't have the pictures back yet, but when I do, I'll post a link to them. I think, all told, I spent about $8500 total, and that is with a full church wedding, 5 attendants each, 3 little people, cake, liquor, and meal for 325 guests and honeymoon for 6 days.

We decorated all day the day before and the hall looked absolutely gorgeous. The balloons and table decorations and cake table all came together perfectly. I can't say how much my family came together for this. 5 sisters, my mom, his mom, a friend of his from high school and me spent about 6 hours putting it together. I WISH I had the pictures back, but that'll have to wait.

The wedding itself was absolutely exactly the way I wanted it. It was a full Catholic mass, but no extra stuff. No Unity Candle, no "flowers to Mary" thing. Just a regular Mass with our vows, blessing and exchange of rings, and the special blessings the priest prays over us. The singer and organist played/sang very well (and made me cry), and the entire congregation joined in singing and in the responses, which is what I wanted. I wanted full participation from the congregation, and they did it. Putting the extra effort into the program was worth it, so they could follow along.

A little humor during the ceremony...the priest forgot to get the holy water to bless the rings with, so my brother, an alter boy, went back to get it for him. He leaned over to us and said "I forgot the holy water. It'll just be a second." The best man replied, "That's ok, I forgot the rings." He had been saying things like that all day AND the day before, so I knew he was joking, but the priest didn't Smile. So the priest kinda freaked out a bit, but DH and I just giggled.

I thought the three young kids were going to have a meltdown immediately before the ceremony started. The two girls were fighting over the flowers, and the ring bearer was sleeping. We had to take the flowers away until they were next in line to go up, had to wake him up and keep him from being grouchy, and then we hooked their arms together, gave them their flowers, and sent them up. They were so cute, and they were very good once they were out in front of everyone. No trouble at all, even though they were all 3 years old. Could have been trouble! The ring bearer fell over for some reason when we were all up at the front, but the best man just picked him up and put him back on his feet, and he was ok.

When I walked out of my little "hiding" room, I first saw my friends from Texas at the back of the pews. They were a little late, and I actually am glad they were, because they were the first people I could see. That made me even happier, that they could be there. Then, I turned the corner and could see my guy at the end of the aisle, and I couldn't get my dad to walk fast enough so I could get up there. We had a kneeler in the middle of the aisle with chairs behind us, so it felt like we were in our own little world...not having to look out at the congregation, like the priest was only talking to us. Everyone said how nice the ceremony was, and I agree.

The reception and dance were really good, too. It went too fast, and I didn't get to spend time with everyone I wanted to, but it was so much fun. Food was awesome, cake was awesome. The Grand March was a lot of fun...there were a lot of my friends that hadn't done that before, but I think they had a good time. We had one dance by ourselves, another dance with the entire wedding party, and then everyone could dance. We stayed until the end, til the lights came up, and then we left for our family and friends to clean up Smile

If I had to do it over again, I would:
- leave more time to get ready and take pictures. I knew we were going to be late, no matter what our intentions were. That is just how my family is. We should have said pictures were 30 minutes earlier than they were, so we could have had more of them.
- pick out the songs the DJ would play. I thought that because she was a professional and supposedly did this kind of thing all the time that she would know what songs would get people out on the dance floor. But she didn't, and played a lot of weird songs. That was a disappointment. AND she didn't play the Flying Dutchman (which I had explicitly told her to), but I didn't remember that until the next week.
- keep a list of everything you buy for decorations, and what you plan on doing with them. I had some things that I forgot what I was going to do with them cause I had bought them 3 months earlier!
- figure out that hooks, eyes and a snap on your halter wedding dress will not hold up your boobs if you don't have a bra on. Especially if you are a double-D like I am. Somehow, get yourself some support. When you try your dress on, dance around, jump around, bend over, hug people, etc. Don't just stand there like a statue with your tummy tucked in, cause that is not what you will be doing for 10 hours that day.

Long story short, I am so glad I put the time in months before hand so I wouldn't freak out the week before the wedding (I left work a little early on Thursday and decorated on Friday. Everything else was done, so I didn't have to take off a lot of time before hand). I kinda impressed myself with how I handled all the arrangements, cause I didn't have much help, as vain as that sounds. I have only heard good comments, and believe me, if something had gone wrong, someone would have told me about it. We are very happy, we were surrounded by our family and friends, we had good food, good wine, good atmosphere, no one got in a fight, and everyone got home safely. Can't ask for more than that, huh?

Next blog...honeymoon.