Thursday, October 30, 2014

Freebies and updated numbers

I love Kohl's. In recent weeks, they have sent me three cards in the mail worth $10. Not one of those "spend $50 and get $10 off." No, these are flat out $10. Each time, I've headed over to the store and spent some time searching for something that wouldn't cost me a dime. So far, I've gotten a picture frame and a Superman T-shirt, both of which will be Christmas gifts, and two much-needed hand towels for the bathroom. And I didn't pay a penny out of pocket. That's what I call a deal!

Yes, Kim, I've updated my numbers :) .... and I am inching ever so close to that monumental mark when I will be out of the six figures. You haven't updated yours in awhile. Are you trying to be sneaky???

Sarah

Monday, October 27, 2014

I am so mad

One of DS's night aides is a fine young man who drives 45 minutes to get to our house for a paltry salary. Last night, he texted DS that something had happened and he would be late. This morning, he told me the story.

He has to drive through a very small town to get here. Since June, he has been stopped by the police FIVE times at the same spot. Not once has he been ticketed. Because not once was he doing anything wrong. Last night, he was pulled over along with the speeding car behind him. The officer called for backup and approached our aide's car - with one hand on his unclipped revolver. After some time, an apology was issued and he was sent on his way. There are eight officers in this town. Every one of them is white. This young man is not.

I know racial profiling exists, but to see such an obvious instance of it against someone I care about had me shaking in anger. And our young friend was scared enough this time that he has decided to take a longer, out-of-the-way route from now on. All because someone apparently didn't think he should be out at night. America still has a long way to go.

Sarah

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Kim is calling me names

Yes, Kim is calling me a sneak for updating my totals and not posting. I'm just impressed she went and looked! You see, we are in a race to get out of six figures. I know we are going to make it ... and I know it will be sooner rather than later. Come on, Kim, we have so got this!!!

I haven't posted in awhile. I've been fighting battles to keep services for DS. He turns 21 next month and, apparently, the forces that be think that adults with disabilities need FEWER services than children who have parents to care for them. As of this morning, I appear to be losing the battle. Contrary to everything his new case manager has told us, he is set to have his caregiving hours cut in half tomorrow. I've talked to everyone under the sun and have gotten a different answer every time. Now, after months of paperwork to make the transition, it looks like a fire has been lit to get him processed today. And it leaves us in the dust.

You know, I see parents micro-managing the lives of their kids who are college age and older, and I wonder what the appeal is. I would love to be able to send my child off into the world and let him face it on his own.

Yeah, in my dreams.

Sarah

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The ups and downs of an old van

So, two weeks ago I went to the drive-through at the credit union ... and my window wouldn't roll down. I mean, nothing. Might as well have been a brick wall. I waved to the teller and drove around to park and go inside.

Now, as soon as a window won't roll down, you want to use it. All. The. Time. And the little voice in your head starts telling you to just take it to the dealer and pay whatever they want to get it fixed.

But I haven't had time to pay attention to the voice in my head, but I did find myself pushing the window button a couple of times whenever I was in the van. And, believe it or not, yesterday I pushed that button and the window rolled down!!

I've decided this was a test. Glad I passed.

Sarah

Saturday, August 16, 2014

He paid what????

My father-in-law turned 80 this month. He lives on the other side of the country, but flew here for the occasion. DH and his brother decided to throw him a party - which, of course, means that I was the one throwing the party since all family parties end up being at my house. But that's OK. I gave assignments and it all came together well.

Since the men apparently lack imagination, I came up with the idea of making a poster with a timeline of his life and some fun facts - like what things cost in '34. I bought a cardboard trifold from Target and spent a bit of time printing out things to put on it. It turned out nice and FIL loved it. So much that he wanted to take it to display in his home (trust me when I say it probably fits the decor). I wasn't expecting this, though, and had to quickly scan MY photographs that were on it before letting DH ship it off. 

And that's where the happy story ends. It's the other side of the country and it was a sizable piece of cardboard. But it is cardboard. Wrap it up and send it off. I figured worst case it would cost about $35 and chalked it up to being part of his present. Yeah, so DH comes home and says - without blinking - that he paid $103 to ship a piece of cardboard. One. Hundred. Dollars. I cannot even fathom what was going through his head. I KNOW there were less expensive options.

But I'm sucking it up because it makes FIL happy. Even if I'm not. 

Sarah

Monday, July 28, 2014

And there goes the snowball ...

I'm at home, but my van is not. I got up early this morning to be first in line at the shop for an oil change/tire rotation etc. We also thought it might be leaking coolant so I wanted them to check that out. Of course the radiator needs to be replaced. And some work was needed on the brakes. One of the guys gave me a ride home and I'm waiting for a call that it is ready to pick up.

Total bill is going to come close to $700. Ouch. I have a check coming for a little over that amount for some articles I've written this month, so it looks like it will already be spent before it gets here (using the emergency fund in the meantime). So much for a snowball for American Express.

Oh well. The van is 9.5 years old and still chugging along. And it's still cheaper than a monthly payment!

DS's new glasses cost $350 - his eyes are so bad and his lenses so specialized that I can't use the cheapie places. .... Big expenses this month - I guess I should be happy it's almost over!

Happy Monday everyone,

Sarah

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Paying attention to retirement

When we started this journey, retirement was the last thing on our minds. While we had a 401k, we stopped contributing out of necessity and basically ignored it.

This summer has seen such a boost in our discretionary income that it occurred to me (duh!) that we might need to rethink our lack of action. So I finally went online and really looked at the account. Overall, it's in pretty good shape. Most of the investments we chose (and who knows how we picked those?) are averaging 11% returns in the long-term. One, however, only averages 5% and then there is the stable fund that we allocated too much to. So I spent yesterday doing some shifting of the funds currently there as well as future contributions.

We also decided to start contributing 2% from DH's paycheck. It's not a lot, but it's a start.

I'm so guilty of just putting financial decisions on auto-pilot and not checking up on them once in awhile. I need to be better about that. Next on my list is finding a lawyer who can help us with our will. While we have one in place, it's out of date and we need to make sure we are covering the bases for DS.

It's threatening to reach 100 degrees today. Hope you all are cooler!

Sarah