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Archive for December, 2008

Done Christmas shopping and other stuff

December 23rd, 2008 at 06:19 am

I already posted this over on the "what frugal thing did you do today"...but I want to put it here too.

I used my Health Savings Account up today...$61 worth of tylonol, saline, alka-seltzer, day-quil and ny-quil. Got $4 and $5 register coupons back, so I bought throat losenges with the $4 and kept the $5 coupon for later. $65 of medicine for free, plus $5! (well, I already paid for it out of my paycheck, but if I hadn't used it, I would have lost it)

I used a gift card at Bed Bath & Beyond that we got for our wedding to buy 2 Christmas presents. I got 5 presents there this year, so all 5 were free to me!

I went to Shepler's to get DH's present today. DH, if you read this STOP RIGHT NOW! Others, hightlight the following:

I got him a black felt cowboy hat. He had one before I moved into the house, but once we put all my stuff away, we can't find it now...and truth be told, it was a bit small for him, so I thought it looked kind of funny when he wore it Smile Sssshhhh. Don't tell him that Smile I had to take one of his caps he wears all the time and we measured it with a tape measure and got the size off that. Below, first thing = hat, second thing = hat band.

Strangest thing. When I was picking the gift, I look up and see a teammate of mine from college I haven't seen in 10 years. It was good to see her. Exchanged phone numbers, and we'll be going to lunch after Christmas. That will be cool...don't hardly know anyone here, and don't hang out with anyone, so that will be nice.

She doesn't usually shop at Shepler's (she was there with her mom) and when we checked out, she got a buy one get 50% off coupon. She turned around and handed it to me. So, I got the second thing for half price. I was going to go pick something up that was similar in price to the first thing so the discount would be more, but then I realized I could just get the second thing for less.

There was a lady in front of me that was buying two sets of coveralls and paid full price, but then got the coupon as well, after her purchase. I told her under my breath to return both sets of coveralls at customer service, pick up two more sets on the way through the store, walk up to the front and pay 1/2 price for the second pair. Her eyes got big and said "THANKS". Was that ethical of me? It would save her like $50.

DH still needs to get one present for his brother. I handled his sister-in-law and his mom, and his brother/sister-in-law handled his dad, so he gets to pick one gift. Lots of wrapping to do, and I need to install some software on multiple computers in the next week.

Today was a not-productive day at work. My boss said "someone needs to be here to answer phones and take trouble tickets." That's why I had to work 3 days, 3 days, 2 days the past three weeks instead of 2 4 day weeks and have this week off (which meant I had to drive down here 3 times instead of 2 times). So, that's what I did today. Answered phones (2 calls) and took trouble tickets (2 tickets). Doing exactly what she said to do.

We got 1/2 a beef last week. We paid $583.31 to the farmer and $200 to the butcher and got 641 pounds of beef. Our garage freezer is stuffed, our refrigerator freezer is stuffed, and thank goodness it has been 0 degrees lately, because we even have some of it in a cooler in the garage (no heat in there). And this is hamburger, steaks, ribs, hamburger patties, and it is YUMMY! Oh, it is sooo good. Even the hamburger patties. I mean, how good can hamburger patties be? They are AWESOME, especially when DH grills them.

We had property taxes due today...$1,179 for the first half. Not bad at all, considering. That is for the house and 400 acres of land. I forgot to send them in the mail last week, so DH had to take them in himself today. $1273 for protein tubs for the cows will be paid 12/31 with bill pay, and $1229 will be paid to the coop on 12/31 with a check. Was going to wait until January to pay for the protein tubs, but this way we can write it off this year and we will probably need more, so I didn't want to run up too much of a bill with them.

DH also sent in the milo and soybean ledgers (a signed copy of how much we exactly had in the elevators). Apparently since we bought crop insurance, and since the prices were so high this summer and less than half of that now we will get some of the difference. I don't quite know how that works, though. We'll see what we get. We had to sell about $2000 of soybeans and milo to get us through the end of the month. We have about 350 bushels of soybeans left at the elevator and about 300 left on the truck...the roads are too bad to take in right now, and no one needs the truck, so there it sits.

Oh, I never mentioned that I cut the last of the soybeans this year. He had some swathing he wanted to do because he was afraid I would get stuck (he is doing it this month...that guy we are swathing for is crazy for doing it now, but he wants us to). In fact, HE got stuck! I used to run a combine for Dad for about 6 summers through high school and college, but that was for wheat. I've never cut soybeans before, and I've never run his combine before. But, I did it just fine.

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I'm a bit perturbed today. Maybe confused is a little better term? I don't quite know how this happened. DH got a phone call on Saturday about a pickup a friend of his had. It is a 1997 3/4 ton F-250 4 wheel drive diesel. It is really clean, and gets 20 mph, and was $5600. So, on Sunday, DH said let's just go look at it. We went, and long story short, the line of credit is $5600 heavier. I told him we have to sell 2, maybe 3, maybe 4 (! I KNOW !) of the pickups we now have.

One is a junker that won't drive now and would take about $4000 to fix. We have an offer of $1000 for it for parts, but DH called another friend who has a fix-it shop and he is going to come look at it to see if he will offer more. This is the pickup I bought for Dad to use about 5 years ago when Dad had all of my cows so he can feed with it. It is now completely shot...like I said, at least $4000 to fix. Fixing this one was going to be our option before we found the one above.

One is the pickup we bought last year due to the 4 wheel drive being out on the white pickup. We bought it for $1300 and are hoping to get $1100 from it. The white pickup is up and running now, so it isn't on the chopping block.

One is considered our "fuel wagon". We bought that one for $400 and DH put a bed and a 5th-wheel hitch on it. It needs a clutch now, though.

One is an old 1963 Ford DH wanted to fix up at some point. He doesn't have time, and we took the insurance off it last year because it hasn't made it out of the garage for a year at that point. It hurts DH to let this one go, but I think we need to.

That will leave us with the white 4 wheel drive and this "new" pickup for the farm. Oh, and the one I drive to work. I owe about $4000 on it still, and it will be paid off next October.

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I had $125 left in my gas-and-food-and-Christmas-presents checkbook when I got paid Thursday, so as promised, that, plus $50, went to the credit card. That is the minimum payment for the card, and when I have some left over in two weeks, I'll send that in too. I KNOW I need to pay more than the minimum. Since Christmas presents are done and I'll be home for almost 2 weeks starting tomorrow night (until Jan 5) I should save a lot of money in the next two weeks. Especially since I won't have to buy meat for months.

I need to make some progress on these debts. It seems like all we do is spend money! Granted, most of it is an investment, and either tax deductible or we can depreciate it. But still, money is going out the door faster than I can keep track of it.

Things to look forward to, though...we are selling our calves probably at the beginning of February. We have 42 calves and they are looking to be at least 700-800 pounds. Even at $.75 a pound, that is at least $525 a piece. Last year we sold for $.90 a pound, but I don't think we can get that this year. $525 * 42 = $22,050. We also have about 20 calves with dad. They are a bit smaller, and we only get 1/3 of the price for them (he gets the other 2/3). Let's call that $3000. We'll start calving around then, too, and fattening up the cull cows and sell them at the end of April. My tax refund should be huge, which I know is bad, but we didn't know when we were going to sell the calves (either in December or in 2009) so I didn't know how much of that would we would be taxed on in 2008. We are getting people saying they want us to swath/bale for them next year, and DH has a lot of planting lined up too. We'll see if all that pans out, of course.

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So, we are coming up on our year anniversary at the end of January. That is CRAZY! We have been "trying" to have a baby since we got married. By "trying" I mean, you know, having lots of sex. But we aren't charting or anything. I'm going to start charting in February (i.e., using my basal temperature to determine when I am fertile). I'll also start taking the "crazy pills" again. I.e., Metformin, hopefully to control my PCOS. I tried it for two months last summer and it made me go completely crazy. I think it is because I normally have less estrogen in my body because of the PCOS (or is the less estrogen causing the PCOS? No one knows) so I got PMS like you would not believe. I told myself I was being an emotional idiot, but I couldn't control myself. I literally told myself ...outloud... to stop it, but I couldn't listen to myself. That is something to look forward to, huh? Sister thinks maybe I'm finally feeling some of the effects of estrogen other women have had to deal with since they were 14 and I got my first big dose of it at 30, so I would just have to learn to deal with it. Hopefully I'm not so crazy that DH won't move out...that would kind of defeat the purpose, wouldn't it? Smile

I had a birthday party just for me!

December 21st, 2008 at 07:46 pm

For the first time in my life, I had a birthday party just for me. I didn't have to share it with that Jesus kid. Smile

Ok, that sounds silly. See here for last year's perspective:
http://cptacek.savingadvice.com/2007/12/20/just-me-being-bitter-and-petty_33064/

For the record, I was not on call last week. But something went wrong with our nightly processing last Monday and the guy who was on call called me at 2:30 a.m. and asked me to take a look at it. Well, I didn't know why it broke, but I ran things manually so the reports and things would be right in the morning, and it took until 4:30 a.m. before everything was done. To be fair, this was a very strange problem, so I don't fault him for calling me. In fact, I am GLAD he called me because that means he got the page! (he has been known to keep the pager in his car overnight so if something goes wrong, he doesn't know it) Anyway, I slept in the next morning and called my boss around 10:00 to say I was up working until 4:30 a.m. and was just leaving. She was like "you are coming in, though, right?" and I said, yes. That was strange. She had kind of a different inflection in her voice that I found odd...

Well, I got in and walked straight to this guy's desk and started talking about what had happened the night before...didn't even take my coat off. Talked about what I did to get things running correctly and what I thought was the problem. We talked for about 10 minutes. The lady in the cube next to him kept turning and looking at us, and I thought it was because we were being loud. Well, someone came up behind me and said "Happy Birthday." Huh? I looked around, and right beside me, on the table right beside the guy's chair, was a bunch of food and a cake that said "Happy Birthday (cptacek)". What the heck!?! I was sooo surprised, and the lady who had been turning to look at me laughed and said "I was wondering when you would notice!"

What a day. Lots of people made a point to stop by and say happy birthday. It is silly, I know, for a 30 (almost 31) year old to feel special because people made an effort just for me, but I really felt good. I don't think I'll have "my day" like I talked about in last year's post. We all brought in food the next day for Christmas, so it truly was cptacek's birthday party.

New puppy and other stuff

December 9th, 2008 at 06:23 am

Two weeks ago: I don't like inside animals, I don't like hair all over, and I don't like slobber. Dogs smell. The puppy can't sleep in the house, the puppy can't sit on the seat in the pickup (floorboards or in the back only) and what's the big deal about a dog anyway?

Today: The puppy can eat and sleep in the laundry room, but can't go anywhere else in the house. I still don't like hair all over, I still don't like slobber, but I do wish he would learn to play fetch already, even if I do have to touch up the icky, slobbery, tennis ball. Dogs DO smell. And he is soooo cute. Pickup and sleeping rules still apply. I'm sorry. I just don't like hair all over. Smile

We finally did it. We got a puppy. His name is Bandit. He is about 16 weeks old and is a blue heeler. He is really dark and has two black patches over his eyes. I was going to name him Zorro, but my parents dog is named that, so Bandit was the second choice. We got him from DH's best friends. He is pretty big, already 28 pounds when we got his shots last week. He is quite timid, but the mother and the other puppies in the litter are on their way to being good cow dogs, and that is what we want to train him to do.

We got him last Sunday (over a week ago) and I had to leave for work on Monday morning, so he was with DH all week. I was sure when I got home, he would be running around the whole house and sleeping in my place on the bed, but DH did good...kept him in the laundry room, putting him in the cage we got him at night, and chaining him up outside during the day.

DH took Bandit out with him to feed the calves and cows last week, and the calves scared the bejeezus out of him Smile He rode around in the tractor with DH and when DH was on the 4 wheeler, Bandit was just running around all happy and playful. DH talked about how fun it was all week to have a puppy.

I got home Thursday night and he didn't know me Frown Instant thought: "This is how my kids will be, if we ever finally do get pregnant. I'll be working so far away all week and they won't even know me." Kind of sad.

Well, I took him for a walk on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday, he wouldn't cross a sidewalk or anything concrete, and I had to pick him up to cross one side walk and then kind of drag him other times. Not like I dragged him for multiple feet or anything, but sometimes he would get scared and just lay down. It took us 15 minutes to get out of the yard on Saturday! But, then, he started walking good on the leash. We made it about 2 miles and by the time we were back, he was walking good and releasing to my pressure. Sunday was even better. Started making him stay beside me and not just wander back and forth, in front and back, going in circles around me, and if I kept the leash sorta tight, he stayed right beside me. He is scared of bigger dogs, and we had two dogs come running at us barking and making a big fuss, and he dropped to the ground both times...I yelled at the other dogs and they left, and we just kept on walking. By the end of the day on Sunday, he was following me everywhere, except up some steep steps in a gazebo in the park.

At first, when we let him out to do his business, he would go out without his leash and come right back in again. But by Sunday, he was more comfortable out in the yard, and he wouldn't come back in. We need to teach him to come when we call him...don't quite know how to do that, but I'm sure we'll figure it out.

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Money stuff. We got through the month from hell (10/31 - 12/1) and still have over half of the beans left. Oh my, the price of beans has fallen. This summer, they were more than $14 a bushel, now they are $7 something. We sold some for $8.25 a few weeks ago, and it has dropped that much already. We are feeding the milo to the calves and they are really growing. We should have milo left over to sell when we are done, too. We are going to sell the calves sometime in January.

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At the end of my last pay period, I had $32.09 left in the food/gas checkbook and I said that if I had any money left over after every pay period, it would go to the credit card. Well, this pay period (ending last Thursday) $100 went to help pay towards the month from hell and $194 went to buy 3 long sleeved work shirts for DH, overboots and puppy stuff (a cage - I think this was $70 by itself, leash, food, other startup things). I was $15.57 "in the red" - don't worry, no overdraft because of the buffer I have in there, just hurting my pride. Disappointed about that, but right there was $300 in expenses that usually don't come out of this check book.

Good thing I did pay out of this check book, though. DH had to buy $500 of calf medicine/vaccines and that took our farm account down to like $16 and change on Wednesday. I deposited $1650 as my regular paycheck deposit on Thursday, but that was close! There is no buffer in this account!

We have about $1200 for the coop bill due this month, $1300 for the protein blocks this month, and $945 for taxes this month. I told DH this on Sunday, and he said "I suppose you want me to sell something, then?" Well, unless you put some Miracle Gro on the money tree, we have to do something! I know he doesn't want to sell the beans for this low price, but I don't know what else to do.

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I got slapped down a bit for working from home those two days over Thanksgiving. My immediate supervisor apparently was pissed I went to her boss instead of her. Well, you know why I went to her boss? Because her boss likes to be liked, and doing something like this, even if it is against policy, makes her feel good. I played them, sure. But I didn't know my supervisor would be mad. I thought she would be happy for me. Boy, was I wrong. I was planning on taking my last days of vacation/sick leave the week of Christmas so I wouldn't have to drive down here, but the one idiot guy who doesn't know anything has vacation and all I have is sick leave, so I have to work Monday and Tuesday. I was soooo mad.

Let me back up here. We get the week between Christmas and New Year's off every year. We don't take other holidays like Veteran's Day, Columbus Day, etc and bundle them together so we have a week off at the end of the year. For the past two Christmas breaks in a row, I have had to be on call and work from home to get the financial year end process code written. I had to give away about 16 hours of work each year, plus work on Christmas Eve plus work on New Year's Eve to make sure things were working. This year, one guy switched me so he had Thanksgiving week, the other guy was supposed to have the pager the week of Christmas and I was supposed to have it the week of New Year's. He agreed to that and then, after Thanksgiving, asked "I'm going on vacation to Oklahoma during Christmas, and my mom doesn't have internet. Is that a problem?" Uh, yeah, you idiot. If there is a problem, you can't fix it. So, I have to have it for both weeks. And drive down for two days on the 22nd and the 23rd, which was supposed to be my vacation.

Since I'm not taking those two days, I have 16 hours of sick leave and 4 hours of vacation that I thought I would have to just eat. My supervisor was out today and her boss asked me if I was going to take any vacation with those days I can't use over the 22nd and 23rd, so I said I was going to ask my supervisor if I could take 10 hrs this Thursday and next Thursday. Her boss said I could do that, but I sent an email to my supervisor anyway, just to ask.

So I'm working 3 days this week, 3 days next week and 2 days the week after that. Thank goodness gas is half of what it was this summer...and that I'm salaried.

We were at the bar this weekend, DH talking with friends and me getting my karaoke on Smile and he was talking to our farmer friend about getting a new-to-us 12 row planter. I kind of muttered under my breath "good thing I have a good job" and one of our friends heard me (in fact, the one we got our puppy from, DH's best man). He was like "Really. I mean, why do you even come home? Just stay down there and work overtime and save the gas. Just keep the money coming in." Ha ha. Sometimes it feels like that. To bad I don't get overtime, though!

Saw something on cnn.com today, a woman sold her hair and got like $1200 for it. It looked like she had a LOT of hair, though. I've been growing mine since DH proposed a year and a half ago. I wanted long hair for the wedding, and he likes long hair. I also didn't want to get the "wife cut" you know, the pixie hair cut women get the week after the wedding. So, I thought, I'll just wait a year and then cut it to just above my shoulders (where it was before I started growing it). I've had it trimmed a few times, but other than that, it is all one length, blond and perfectly straight. It is down to the middle of my back...a few inches past where my bra is. It isn't dyed, either. I wonder how much it would be worth. The woman in the picture on cnn.com looks like she had like 2 feet of hair cut off. Mine would be more like 8".

Don't chastise me for not giving it to Locks of Love or something. I read an article somewhere where they throw most of that hair away. Might as well sell it.

Only two more days of work this week. That's cool. I have been eating pb&honey sandwiches for lunch and today I bought a Bertolli shrimp and something pasta dinner that I can cook tomorrow night too, so less than $7 for supper tonight and tomorrow. Had to buy more bread and some chips for lunch, though.

My purse needs new handles. The rest of the purse is great, the handles are falling apart. I got some chain and I'm going to make handles for it. Two chains were $2 a piece and now I just have to get a way to attach them to the purse...I thought about key chain rings, but walmart was out of them. I'll try to find some tomorrow.