Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Never dull

I decided to take advantage of the rainy weather to work on some indoor projects last weekend. Halfway through one, I managed to slip off the stepstool I was using. I landed - hard - and it took a few minutes to catch my breath. When I finally did, I found I couldn't get up. An hour later when I still couldn't bear any weight on my left ankle, DH insisted we go have it checked out. So off to the ER we went. The nurse checking me out wanted to know where the blood was coming from. Blood? Hadn't noticed that. Turns out I had managed to do a little damage to the underside of one of my toes. One look and it was decided stitches were in order. FYI, if there's one place you do NOT want a needle, it is on the bottom of your toe. Ouch!!

Thankfully, the ankle is just sprained. I am hobbling around a bit now and glad it wasn't worse. I pointed out to DH that in my nearly 52 years, this was the very first injury-related visit to a doctor. I guess I was due.

We've already met our deductibles for the year, so I'm not expecting any surprise bills from this visit.

On to the next day ... DS had a friend driving him to an event at school. Somehow, the friend managed to damage the wheelchair lift on the van. Badly. We are still waiting for the repair guy to schedule us and I have no idea how it will take to get it working again. I'm expecting it to be expensive. Meantime, I had to get DS to school the past two days, so I was forced to rent a van. $102 a day. I'm taking it back tomorrow morning because DS will be on Fall Break and can stay home. If the repairs are going to run into next week, I'm going to look into a transportation service to get him to and from campus. The bills from this disaster could be huge. I mean really, really big.

So it's been a frustrating week. And then I see that Kim is about to bust my chops in the debt race, even though I have finally made it into the 70s. You go, Kim!


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

It's a new season

DS1 moved out. He's 24 and has a good job but until now has preferred living here. He's my sweet middle child, always helpful and who always, but always, does things on his own timetable. (He didn't walk until he was 16 months old - I should have known what I was up against then!) Anyway, his high school buddy bought a townhouse and offered him a great deal on rent. A big plus is that he cut his 30-minute commute to work in half. It was time. And even though we still have DS2 here - and his caregivers coming and going - the house feels empty.

On the flip side, my food bill has never been lower!

In other news, I logged on to Verizon today to see what our data usage looked like and if I needed to change our plan. As I navigated the possibilities, I came across their "new" plan and the price difference was stunning. I even picked up the phone and called to make sure I wasn't missing something - like maybe you can only text between 3 and 4 a.m. .... But it's for real. And my phone bill is about to drop - wait for it - SIXTY dollars a month!!! I can hardly believe it.

I've been lax about keeping on top of the financial picture the past month. This was my kick in the pants to get my ducks in the row. I could have changed that phone bill last month if I had been paying attention.

Oh, and we paid $1.79 for gas this weekend! It's the little things that get me excited these days :)


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Seriously? Is it just us?

Warning: This post is nothing but a rant ...

Eight years ago, DH went to have his driver's license renewed and was held hostage at the DMV because there was a warrant out in New York for the arrest of someone with the same name and same birthday. We live in the South, not New York. He spent three hours that day working the phone to get someone in New York to clear his name. He finally did, something was faxed and he was able to get his license.

You know where this is going, right? Fast forward to yesterday. Time to renew the license. He passed the signs test. Passed the vision test. And then "Um, we have a problem." Yep, there's still a warrant out for the arrest of someone with his name and his birthday. This time it couldn't be handled at the local office. After being on hold for nearly two hours with the NY state division of motor vehicles, he got a live person. And was told that in order to clear his name he has to write a letter, gather documentation and send it to a place called "It's Not Me" in New York. Once they read it, a decision will be made in 7 to 10 business days. That means he will be without a valid driver's license for another couple of weeks. Did I mention that he is a package car delivery driver? And that he is paid hourly, meaning he doesn't work, he doesn't get paid?

The real kicker here? The warrant is for a single DWI in March 1985. That's THIRTY years ago.

And that was just Monday.


Monday, August 3, 2015

Still here!

I haven't been around much this summer. Just didn't have a lot to say. Things are plugging along. Still in debt. Still making payments and headway. I updated my numbers this morning. Only shaved off a little over $1,000 in July. Not our best month, for sure. We ate out more than we should and celebrated a couple of birthdays. I also had a stack of medical bills from my unexpected round of biopsies and tests etc. Those really ate into the budget.

But as I sit here looking at the numbers, I'm OK with where we are. Back in 2011, when I started this blog, the two Chase credit cards were at $22,000 and $24,000. Seriously. They kept me up at night. I remember someone from Chase offering to take $15,000 to settle the larger one in full. I actually laughed at her. I mean, if I had $15,000 sitting around, I probably wouldn't be in this predicament. So Chase offered a 5-year fixed repayment plan and we agreed. What choice did we have? We took it and began paying $789 a month just for those two debts. Our mortgage payment is $825, just to put that in perspective. But we scrimped and pinched pennies until they were bleeding. At first, it didn't seem possible, especially on top of all the other payments. The stress wasn't any better because I still didn't know where the money would come from. But as time went on and we made dents in other debts, even paying off a few, it got a little better. Pay raises and some extra work for me helped. And now here we are, having paid off more than $40,000 of those two debts. We will make our last payments in March 2016. That's eight months away. Can. Not. Wait.

Dave Ramsey likes to say it is possible to get out of debt in less than two years. I wish. But I sure will be glad to kiss Chase goodbye!


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

And the bills keep rolling in ...

I knew they were coming, of course. All those visits to doctors I made and tests I had at both offices and hospitals over the past couple months are showing up in the mail. I paid the little ones as they arrived and am trying to work the others into the budget as I can. I'm used to seeing bills for DS, but not for me!

On the good news front, our insurance company has decided that a toilet/shower chair for DS is not a convenience item after all and they have given pre-approval. We will still have to pay 20% of the cost, but that's a whole lot better than 100%.

I've been keeping the house cave-like with drapes drawn to try to keep cooling costs down. Yeah, I'm probably dreaming - we had two weeks of 100+ degrees straight.

So, it's six months till Christmas ... and, yes, I have a corner of my closet with presents in it. Just a few things I've picked up on sale - nothing I went looking for. I am going to try to find a gift or two each month so it doesn't all hit at once - if I come up with some ideas for what to get!

Enough rambling. Hope my American friends had a great Fourth!


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Back with BIG news!

A lot has been going on here, leaving little time for posting. I had a couple of unexpected health scares and have had two biopsies in the past month. One was benign, the second is inconclusive. I have been put on medication and will be checked in three months. All of this has required many visits to specialists, something I'm used to doing with DS, but not for myself. Can't say I've enjoyed it much.

Last week we made the two-day drive to Kansas City for the medical conference for DS. It was a phenomenal week, giving us access to doctors and researchers as well as families who face the same issues we do. DS was part of a panel of young adults who answered questions from parents of younger children. What an inspiring group they were! We visited the Truman library and museum while we were there and DH and DS went to the WWI museum while I was in a meeting. We also managed to try some of that famed Kansas City barbecue - YUM!!

It's back to the real world now. I had a meeting this morning to talk about a new freelancing opportunity. I've slowly been building my workload the past couple of years and I'm happy with the direction it's going. I still keep any income separate from the household budget and I plan to continue with that. It's nice having that cushion that isn't earmarked for anything in particular, but is there if we need - or want - to use it.

But on to the BIG news! I updated my numbers and realized that we have crossed the HALFWAY mark!!!! We now have officially paid off more than we still owe!!! Four years ago, I couldn't even imagine getting to this point. I have to believe that the snowball will just pick up even more speed now. The end just keeps getting closer - yahoo!!!!


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Happily turning down extra money

I've noticed a resurgence in credit card offers in the mailbox lately. We must be doing something right, because the sharks companies apparently are realizing that we are serious about paying down the balances rather than running them up. And I think they are worried (we had to be some of their best customers!!).

Here's the latest:

So, run up that card and we will bless you with a few extra pennies .... 

Yeah, no thanks.


P.S. Hey, Kim, no extra payments added this time ... but soon!