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 ...


Friday, April 15, 2016

Life goes on

Decided it was past time to check in. Life has been going at full speed and it's all I could do to keep up.

The highlights:

- Medical equipment malfunctions. DS's robotic arm had to be sent to Canada for repairs. Without it, among the many things he cannot do is feed himself. That means coordinating his meals - where he will be and who will help. The lift we use to move him to/from his wheelchair also went to kaput. We are still waiting on the part to arrive. Meantime, I scrounged until I found a loaner lift - which also went kaput last week. Sigh.

- We lost our sweet 14-year-old Bichon pup last month. He made it clear it was time and we respected his wishes. I'm still not used to him begin gone and am always surprised when I open the door and no one is there to greet me. RIP, Sammy.

- Looks like I'm heading for surgery in 2 weeks to have my thyroid removed. I've been treated for a year since a routine physical uncovered multiple nodules and hyperthyroidism. The meds aren't working and will eventually turn toxic, so it's time.

- We've put a semi-pause on the debt repayment to add to the savings. (Meaning we are paying minimums, but nothing extra.) As of now, we have $5,200 in regular savings, $750 in savings for vehicle repairs, and $1,100 in the catchall account to cover small expenses outside of the regular budget. It sure is easier to sleep at night with a cushion.

And that's about all the news there is to tell. Happy Spring, everyone.


Friday, February 26, 2016

Dumb, dumb, dumb

Every once in a while, I take a look back at where we were and how we got there. It's not a pretty picture, but it keeps me motivated to stay the course.

A huge amount of our debt is the result of the insane costs associated with having a child with complicated special needs. Necessary equipment that insurance considers "a luxury" (like a bathroom seat and a wheelchair ramp ...). Doctors, hospitals, therapists, caregivers ... they all cost big bucks and while our insurance is good, there are still co-pays, deductibles and denials.

But I can't blame it all on the medical costs. There was a lot of dumb packaged in there. What was the dumbest, you might ask? Well, I asked myself that very question. And, oh my. ...

We bought a dog. And paid for him with a credit card.

Yes, we charged a dog. I can barely type that without kicking my former self into next year.

Who in their right mind would think that's OK? Oh, yeah. We did. I quit looking at past purchases after that. Because that right there says it all.

Life is so much better now that we pay cash. This year, we've even managed to take care of some much-needed and long-neglected home repairs/maintenance. Always in cash. Maybe there's hope for us after all.

Anyone else want to share stupid purchases so I don't feel all alone in this?


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Decisions, decisions

Our tax refund hit our account, so I paid off Discover before Murphy could get his hands on it. Discover is especially satisfying to be done with because of its 20% interest rate. We debated what to do about that account, but in the end decided to leave it open and the card in the lock box. All of the previously paid off cards were already closed by the time we paid them off so this is the first time we've run into this issue. We decided we're no longer the risk that we were of running up credit unnecessarily. In other words, we've learned our lesson. But we do feel like we should have a card with a credit line available. And, of course, there is the issue of the credit score. We agreed that if we ever charged anything on that card that wasn't an agreed-upon emergency, we'd close it immediately.

This was probably the last huge payment for awhile. Now that we have cleared off a number of accounts, we'd like to beef up our emergency fund and savings. We know we will probably have to replace our HVAC sooner rather than later and we want to be prepared.

It feels strange to actually have enough leeway financially to have decisions to make about what to do with the money. Previously, our minimums ate up the paychecks without a problem. There weren't any choices to be made. Maybe this is just a taste of what it will be like down the road when we don't owe anyone. Oh, what a happy day that will be!


Friday, February 5, 2016

Another one gone ...

Yep, Citibank is history. That was the last of the five cards we had in a Balance Liquidation Program (lowered interest rate and fixed payment for 60 months). And we paid every one of them off early. Pardon me while I pat my own back ...

I'm waiting on a hefty tax refund, thanks to some horrifyingly large medical expenses this year, and have plans to knock out another debt ... but I'm getting ahead of myself.

After so many years of just whittling away penny by penny, it sure is satisfying to see the big picture changing.

And speaking of years ... our daughter and son-in-law have invited us to dinner tomorrow night to celebrate our 30th anniversary. Thirty years. I can't even.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016


I received a check for a freelancing job and it was enough to pay off the last Chase card!! I am so excited to be done with Chase! I'm even more excited to see the debts finally falling off the chart! (See, Kim - I'm not sneaky. Now just keep on keeping up!)

Insert Happy Dance!