Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Big-time expenses

July has been an expensive month. First, after a 6-month odyssey with DS's portable lift, we gave up. The company didn't know what was wrong and just kept sending parts, none of which fixed the lift and all of which we were expected to pay for since insurance refuses. We finally said enough and sent them back their parts and told them to forget it. I've never much liked that company anyway. But we still had to have a lift to transfer DS so we bit the bullet and bought a ceiling lift. No way was insurance going to touch that, so I wrote a check for $5,200 and tried not to cry while handing it over. The good news is that we LOVE the lift! It is so easy to use and so much safer for DS. We're going to call it a necessary and worthwhile purchase.

Meanwhile, our roof was replaced as a result of a ferocious spring hail storm. It also took out the gutters and exposed some rotting fascia. Our part of the bill came to $2,700. I wrote that check yesterday. I am very thankful that we were able to pay for the lift and the roof in cash, although our savings is now scary low. We are going to have to focus on building it back up quickly.

I am also dreading the coming power bill. It is so hot here that it's hard to breathe outside. The A/C has been in overdrive (I sure am thankful for it!) and I know we're going to be paying for it.

In better news, we found out this weekend that DD is expecting a little girl - it's been 28 years since we've had one of those around here!


Sunday, July 3, 2016

New service takes the bite out of summer

Here in the Deep South, summer is mostly humidity, watermelon and mosquitoes. Lots of mosquitoes. By July, we usually can't even sit on our patio without getting eaten alive.

Last year, I saw a few signs in yards advertising a business claiming to be able to get rid of the little buggars. I laughed. I mean, seriously? How is that possible? Even if you sprayed your yard, what about the neighbors' mosquitoes?

Fast forward to this year and I happened to meet the owner of that company. After chatting for a bit, he offered to spray our yard for free so we could see how well it works. Since I'm all about free, I told him to bring it on.

His crew showed up the next morning with power sprayers and hit all the bushes on the perimeter of the yard as well as around our house itself. Took about 15 minutes. Twenty minutes later and I kid you not, there was not a mosquito on our property. And we didn't see one for the next three weeks, which is the duration of a spraying and the life cycle of a mosquito. I'm told it creates a barrier around our yard that the mosquitoes won't cross.

Whatever it is, we're sold. We signed up for the remainder of the season (until mid-October). It is costing us $249 to have the yard sprayed every three weeks. Next summer, we'll pay for the entire season.

And it's worth every penny.  Plus, we're saving a fortune in calamine lotion!


Monday, June 6, 2016

For once, it paid to eat out

We have a favorite restaurant. It's expensive - of course. So it ends up being the celebration spot. We end up going once or twice a year for special occasions. A couple of years ago, we were seated in the section of a server who was fabulous. Without hesitation, Sam took care of DS - cutting his meat while talking to him like a person and not making him feel uncomfortable. The next time we went, we requested him and our evening was just as great. Now he's our go-to guy, even though we only see him every six months or so.

Last time we were there, Sam was talking to DS and asking about his accessibility at home. DS mentioned the ramp to our front door and that because the wood had warped, it made for a bumpy ride which is uncomfortable for him. Just making conversation.

On Friday, this wonderful man showed up at our door with two other workers and announced that they would be rebuilding the ramp. Apparently, when he's not working at the restaurant, he's doing construction work. They spent the bulk of the day Friday and a good part of Saturday working until the rain started. The ramp is almost finished and looks amazing. I knew that Sam was paying these other two guys to work on the project and I asked how much we owed him. He handed me the receipt for the wood and said I only owed him what the materials cost. The rest was on him. Having priced out ramps before, I know this was a gift of a couple thousand dollars. 

We are so very blessed. I cannot wait until we are out of debt and we can pay it forward.


Sunday, May 29, 2016

A HUGE milestone!

Five years and five months later ... and we have paid off just over $100,000!

That number is an actual reduction in debt - we have actually paid way more in interest along the way. But I'm not going to dwell on that.

I am so proud of us. I truly feel like we are conquering the impossible. Thanks to all of you for continuing to encourage me on this journey.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Excited about a budget-buster!

This was my Mother's Day present from my daughter and son-in-law - our first grandbaby is on the way! This kid is already making waves - he/she is due Dec. 23!


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Good news, not-so-good news

I got good news yesterday - the pathology report from my thyroid surgery was benign. I'm relieved and grateful.

As for the repercussions of the hail storm, both the roofer and the insurance adjuster decided a new roof is in order. They decided on the final price for such is $9,600. Fifteen years ago, we paid $5,200 for a roof. Hard to believe it's gone up that much. The bigger, more unpleasant surprise, is the deductible. We have a $500 deductible on our homeowners - a privilege I can only presume we've been paying extra for all these years. Yeah, it doesn't count for hail and wind. For damage from those two, the deductible is $1,000. "Most people don't know that," the friendly adjuster says. You think? I am glad we decided to beef up our emergency fund and can handle it without a problem.


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Hail no!!

I was sitting on the sofa yesterday, minding my own business while recovering from surgery, listening to the thunder in the distance ... And then the rains came. Sort of like I imagine it rained when Noah was watching from the ark. Within minutes, I heard the hail. By this time, I have the Labrador sitting on my lap scared to death.

In all my 52 years, I have never seen a storm like that. The hail - which measured 3 inches in diameter (I checked) - came down hard for about 15 minutes. The yard was a sea of white. And all I could do was watch as the golf balls bounced off the cars in the driveway and came pinging off the roof.

I can't imagine there is no damage to the roof. It was just too severe of a storm. I have a roofer coming Thursday to check it out. If he finds anything, then it will be on to file a claim with homeowner's insurance. The roof is 15 years old, so I guess it wouldn't be an awful thing to have it replaced. I just hate that we had our first claim six months ago because of water damage in the ceiling and here we might have to make a second claim. Always something.

My surgery went well. I had a total thyroidectomy last Wednesday. It took three hours, which surprised me. This was my very first surgery ever. I learned that anesthesia makes me extremely nauseous. Once that passed, I was OK. Pain was minimal. I've started hormone replacement, but am told it takes several weeks for your body to regulate it properly. Meantime, I am tired. So. Tired. I don't like the feeling and I have way too much to do. Anyway, I see the surgeon on Friday and will get the pathology reports then.

For now, I think I'll take a nap ...