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Home From Tahoe; A Second Estimate

November 14th, 2016 at 05:22 pm

I'm home from Tahoe. We had perfect, beautiful weather. Smile And I have 10 new pokemon! I have 122 now; I am really getting there. Not that you care, but now you know. Stick Out Tongue

I have received a second estimate now. It was $9450 for the roof with no insulation, an additional $1300 including insulation. Also, $900 for new rain gutters.

The first estimate was $9500 including insulation; $1000 for new rain gutters.

Since my house was built, there is a new minimum standard for insulation in the attic. If you replace the roof, you must meet the new standard. The second roofer says there is an exception you can meet by choosing a light color shingle. That is why he quotes both with and without insulation.

A friend told me that since I am going from a wood shake roof to an asphalt shingle roof, I can expect my new roof to absorb more heat. In his opinion, it is a mistake to pass on the additional insulation.

So, I guess the first estimate was fair and this is just what it costs. It has been a lot of work getting these two estimates; I wouldn't mind getting a third but that requires getting a third roofer to return my calls.

SB said I should check with Costco. They do offer a lot of home improvement services. But I checked, they do not offer roofing.

I think I am going to hire the first company. The cost will be 10.5k. I will borrow that from my Heloc. Then I will attempt to cash flow the other work I want to have done this summer. Mainly concrete and tree removal, the rest I am fairly certain I can do myself, with a little help from SB. Once that is done and paid for, I can turn my efforts to paying down the Heloc.

Received An Actual Estimate

October 30th, 2016 at 07:48 pm

Yesterday I was blessed with an actual visit from an actual roofer, which ended with him handing me an actual estimate. I don't even know how to act now.

Unfortunately, the estimate is 9.5k, which is quite a bit more than the online estimator tool I used had calcuated. I don't know if it is a fair price or not. For an extra 1k, they will also install all new rain gutters.

I have contacted a third roofing company via e-mail. So we will see if they get back to me or not.

Yesterday while at my mother's, my little mutt Buster Brown chewed through a board in her fence and escaped. We looked for him, then called the police (my mother lives in a small town). The police officer had in fact received a call about my little Buster wandering freely in the neighborhood, had picked him up, and had taken him to the animal shelter. The animal shelter is closed until tomorrow. So Buster has been enjoying a vacation at the animal shelter. The PO assured me he had personally shown Buster into his cage, that he had a cushion to lie on, food, and water. I will have to pay for his board. Yay.

My niece's foster baby is in the hospital. I do not know the details. She has texted me a few times but her focus is not on keeping me informed. I do know he was taken by helicopter to UCSF children's hospital. I know he is receiving the best care possible and hope he will be enjoying good health soon.

HELOC is a Done Deal

October 26th, 2016 at 05:28 pm

I signed the documents for my HELOC from Wells Fargo today. The line is 30k. There were no closing costs. The annual fee is waived since I have a PMA checking account. The interest rate is variable. Currently, it is 6.75%. It can never be higher than 13.75%. There are several ways I can draw funds. The simplest is to log on and transfer from the HELOC to my checking (or savings, or Visa, or IRA I suppose).

The roofing company I contacted on Sept 7th promised to come out the next week to give me an estimate. Never heard from them. I e-mailed again on October 12th to see if they still plan to come out. To date, no response at all to my follow-up e-mail. So I have contacted a different roofing company. A man is supposed to be coming out Saturday to give me an estimate on a new roof and new rain gutters too. I guess if he shows up it will be a productive day.

This past weekend, I spent Saturday with my mom and attended the memorial service for my friend's uncle. Sunday I spent with my niece and her foster baby. We went for pedicures and did some shopping. That baby could not have been any better. I just love holding him and smelling his sweet baby smell.

SB needs to make some decisions regarding his acreage up in the mountains. We have been brainstorming ideas to get some income from the property. This will be good whether he decides to hang onto it or sell. If he does decide to sell, he will need to reinvest into some other commerical property. These aren't my decisions to make, still I am trying to help him make the best decisions possible.


Trying To Smell The Roses More Often

October 20th, 2016 at 07:00 am

Last Saturday, I went to a party thrown by my DFS3G (dear friend since 3rd grade) in honor of her parents' 50 year wedding anniversary, plus her father's 80th birthday. The party was held on their property (country people). They hired a band, had it catered, the whole 9 yards. Friends and family coming from all over were expected.

Just a few hours before guests were to arrive, the brother of my friend's mother, went to the barn to get a bale of hay. He did not return for what seemed like a long time, so friend's father went looking for him. He found him lying in the barn, dead. They assume it was a heart attack, but that is not certain at this point. The birthday/anniversary party turned into a wake of sorts. It was a sad day.

On Sunday, SB and I went to see the movie "The Accountant". I thought it was a very good movie. I haven't enjoyed a movie that much in quite a long time.

On Tuesday evening, SB, J, J's girlfriend A, and I met my niece and her husband for dinner. The restaurant is a favorite of niece's as they offer a buffet on Tuesday evenings with crab and shrimp. This is the couple who are doing foster care and wanting to adopt. They had a 2 month old baby with them they had just "received" on Saturday. (Is that what you call it when you bring home a new foster baby?) He is not eligible for adoption and they know that. He is so precious. I certainly enjoyed holding and smelling him. Smile

After dinner, J and A told SB and I that they plan to get married in about a year. Wow. I had suspected this might be coming. J is still working 2 part-time jobs. A recently resigned her job at Home Depot to have a few weeks off before leaving for boot camp. She has enlisted in the Navy.

Last night SB and I met a girlfriend for dinner and a movie. We saw "Girl on the Train". It was almost as good as the book, which I read last year.

Also last night SB surprised me with concert tickets he bought only yesterday. The concert is tonight in Sacramento. Jimmy Buffett, who I have wanted to see forever.

So I have been busy and spending some money.

Pokemon Go

July 13th, 2016 at 10:45 pm

OK, I want Pokemon Go. There, I said it. I think it sounds super fun. Sort of like the game Zoo on Facebook, only you get a little exercise.

The app is free, but, it won't run on 4.3 or older. My Samsung Galaxy S3 is completely updated and 4.3. Some websites say you CAN get it to 4.4, but it requires rooting. SB says I should get someone I really trust to do that because if I do it wrong, it is buh-bye phone. I am not all that tech savvy.

So, do I really want to spend money on a new phone? No, not especially.

Tonight as I was leaving my part-time job, I walked out onto the sidewalk. A group of 4 young men, early 20s, wearing basketball shorts, t-shirts, and athletic shoes were just walking past. They all 4 had their phones out. I said "Are you playing Pokemon Go?" They reacted. Some smiled, some laughed, and one said "We are supposed to be playing basketball right now. But, this is more fun!" and we all shared a laugh.

MrsM180 is playing it. She showed me her Pokemon. She has given them all clever names and some of them are very cute. She was just the right age to be enthralled with all things Pokemon back in the 90s, so Go is highly nostalgic for her.

What to do, what to do.

Expense-topia is All Paid

June 28th, 2016 at 12:26 pm

Well, I made it through expense-topia! Smile Last month’s big expenses are all paid, as well as my 6 month auto insurance premium. CurveBall has sure taken a beating. I didn’t “save” anything this month, opting instead to withdraw from savings as little as possible. Onward and upward.

It has gotten to be a little stressful to track all of my credit card purchases. With one Visa, I have “authorized user” cards for every member of my household. J will charge his gas, trips to the grocery store, and other small items with permission (such as his recent purchase of two new shirts and a pair of pants). SB will use the card for trips to the grocery store. He is in charge of splitting the grocery bill fairly, which he certainly does, I have no complaints there. Mr and Mrs M180 seldom use the card at all, I just want them to have it in case of an emergency. Any time they do use it, they repay me promptly. And then there are the cards I use, which changes from month to month as I try to maximize rewards. It just gets to be a bit much! So I have decided to experiment with using cash for groceries, gas, and personal spending. I will continue to use rewards cards for utilities, medical co pays, and insurance. Years ago, when my ex-husband and I shared one account, we used cash only for groceries, gas, and personal allowances and it really made things simple. I would like to have a little more simple in my life.

In rewards cards bonus news, I have recently applied and been approved for the new Ally rewards card. The sign-up offer is to spend $500 in 3 months and earn a $100 bonus. All I need to do is use it to pay my electric bill twice, and the reward will be mine.

Life has been so busy of late with extended family in town, a surprise 70th birthday party out of town for my cousin’s husband, and SB and I planning to head to my brother’s house for the July 4th weekend. But it is the best sort of busy. Smile

I am planning to replace my roof, get some cement poured in my yards, and improve my back patio. I tentatively think my roof will cost approximately 5k, the cement 2k, and the patio 1k. I am going to try to cash flow all of this by next summer. While I am working on setting this aside in CurveBall, I will continue to add to E fund with the goal of eventually reaching 15k.

Lack of Quality in Articles Published on Saving Advice

May 18th, 2016 at 10:08 am

I am disgusted about the lack of quality content in the articles being published here on Saving Advice.

Just now I noticed there is a recent article about how to mooch a free meal from others. Mad

The endless articles (and I do use that term quite loosely) about "Is Target open on Belly Button Day?" and "Are banks open on Mother's Day?" were bad enough. But this is a new low.

http://www.savingadvice.com/articles/2016/05/17/1041068_how-...

More Car Woes

May 11th, 2016 at 12:34 pm

The final determination on my car's transmission and clutch problems is that the part in the transmission is NOT covered under Ford's powertrain warranty, and that my clutch does not need to be replaced at this time.

I am really impressed with my mechanic. He stated he did not see why a part in my transmission (the source of the small leak) would not be covered. He faxed my parts list to an employee of a different Ford dealership with whom he has a working relationship to double check what the local dealer told me. It was confirmed; that part is not covered. He also stated that replacing a clutch is not regular maintenance; you replace it when it is going out and not before. He even stated that my money should stay in my savings account until the time comes. What a guy! I think I might have a little crush on him.

Regarding the small leak, he said they would check on it at every oil change and advise me if it gets to the point they recommend replacement.

So what do you think happened next? J came home Sunday evening and announced "I had to get towed here. There's something wrong with my car." Awesome sauce. (That is J's favorite slang).

So Monday morning I had his car towed to my mechanic. It needed a new alternator. Also, he said the tires are in bad shape and should be replaced immediately. (When I discussed with J, it turns out he knew that). So, four new tires. And I learned that J's ignition key had broken into two separate pieces and he had it duct taped together. Yes, that's right, duct tape. I had them replace that too.

So, there went $1,110.50.

J cannot cover this expense. He is still scraping money together for his car insurance due next month. I hope CurveBall gets a chance to breathe before any more demands are made.

The Folks at Progressive are Hilariously Funny

May 6th, 2016 at 11:40 am

Also this week (it really has been a great week) I received my auto insurance renewal bill. My current insurance company, Mercury, wants $1948.76 for J and I for the next 6 months. This is a $200+ increase from last time.

I decided to get a few quotes online. Geico* will write the exact same policy for $1716.06, a savings of $232.70. Sounded good, but I thought I would let Progressive have a shot at my business. Those folks at Progressive are hilarious! They quoted $2576.76. I had a chuckle and then clicked back over to Geico.

*Geico is owned by Berkshire Hathaway and offers an 8% discount to shareholders. You can own just 1 share of Brk.B (currently trading at $144.xx) and qualify. You can qualify with Brk.A too, but I don't have a spare 220k sitting around. However, I learned this particular discount is not available in California.

Car Woes

May 6th, 2016 at 09:42 am

Last Friday afternoon while running errands for work, my nose detected a burning smell coming from under the hood of my car. It was strong (making my eyes water) and chemical. It was the first time I had ever smelled it.

I called SB and had him come give it a look before heading home. He checked all my fluids and did say that the coolant was at the "minimum" mark. He went to buy some and added it before I drove home.

I left the car parked all weekend, and dropped it off with my mechanic first thing Monday morning. He said he believed I was smelling the clutch, and that my transmission has a small leak. He said it should be covered under my powertrain warranty, which is 5 years or 60k miles. My car was bought new more than 4 years ago and has 32k on the odometer.

I called the local Ford dealer and made an appointment for Thursday (yesterday). I had to pay the minimum labor charge ($120) for them to take a look. They determined the problem is my clutch is excessively worn. They recommend replacement of the clutch and shift tower, as well as resurfacing of the flywheel. And none of it is covered under the powertrain warranty. Their estimate for repair is $1375.00.

Did I mention that my car has 32k on the odometer? I feel that this sort of repair should not be needed already. Not a happy camper.

I declined to have the dealer do the work. Instead, I called my mechanic and have an appointment on Monday. He has not given an estimate yet. Even if his estimate is also $1375, I would rather pay him than the dealer. But I am fairly certain he will charge a bit less.

This has been an expensive week. I would like to rewind and try again.

Plumbing Woes

May 4th, 2016 at 12:48 pm

Yesterday evening, just as I was finishing up at a client's and preparing to leave, I began receiving text messages from home. There was water in Mr & MrsM180's bedroom. Smelly water. Upon investigation, it was discovered the hot water heater had sprung a leak. (Their bedroom shares a wall with the garage. The hot water heater is bolted to that wall). It seems a pipe had corroded and failed, leaving a hole in the side of the tank.

Doesn't that sound fun?

Our garage is cram packed with stuff, mostly belonging to SB. MrM180, J, and SB moved boxes out of the garage to clear work space. SB put the boxes in his trailer.

J called his gf's dad (a self-employed plumber), who said he would come this morning at 9:30. I went to work as normal, J handled everything. The plumber came as promised, took a look, and said a new unit was needed. He and J went to a hardware store and J purchased the unit (J is an authorized user on one of my credit accounts). I will send J over tonight with cash to pay for the labor.

J reports that the unit is now installed and we are back in business. I still need to assess the water damage. Not sure yet if anything else will need to be replaced.

Update: the final cost was $850

Look What The Kids Drug In

May 1st, 2016 at 10:40 am

So yesterday J and his girlfriend were with some friends in a park, and they came upon this little guy:





He is a puppy. He has no collar. He is emaciated. His spine, ribs, hind hip, and neck bones all stick out. It's just awful. Not sure if he was homeless and couldn't find enough food or if someone had him and just didn't feed him. They said he was weak and lethargic before they gave him some food.

He appears to be part chocolate lab and part pit bull. He looks as though he could be the love child of our dogs Nala (yellow lab) and Buster (pit bull and terrier mix).

SB and I were at my mother's yesterday afternoon and evening playing cards. By the time I got home, MrsM180 was already smitten, having succumbed to his puppy charms.

He does have a very sweet disposition.

We are still tossing around names. My choice is Gilligan.

Retired Blogs Are Gone

April 25th, 2016 at 10:31 pm

I have been thinking about Georgia Gal lately and wondering how she is doing. I thought I would leave her a little message on her most recent blog post. Since it has been awhile, I expected that I would need to find her in the retired blogs.

Guess what? The retired blogs are gone. Frown

Signed Up With Bill Fixers

April 20th, 2016 at 05:31 pm

I signed up with Bill Fixers today. All I had to do was give them my name, e-mail address, and upload a copy of my internet bill.

They have already responded. They let me know that they "are experiencing a big surge of sign-ups" and assured me they will get to me as soon as possible, but I should please be patient.

I will report how it goes.

I added a page called "Emergency Fund Progress" where I am tracking...my emergency fund progress. So I don't know that I will mention it much, but if you are the nosy type (like yours truly), the details are all there.

GE Capital Bank went and changed their name to Goldman Sachs Bank. (Well, I suppose they merged or were bought or some such, but I didn't feel I could spare much attention over the matter). They are still paying 1.05% on savings, at least for the time being.

SB is gearing up to start a new small business. He intends to offer to paint people's house number on their curb, door to door. He has already been down to the City to get a license and declare his area. (The City will allow only one operator in any given area at any given time. If you want to move on to another area, you must give up the one you have). He has ordered paint and glass beads (very tiny, to be embedded in the paint, which is why it is reflective) which meet the City's specifications. Now he is just waiting for his paperwork to arrive in the mail. So, he will see how that goes.

I am hoping to get my house number painted on my curb at a discount. Stick Out Tongue

Timber

April 3rd, 2016 at 08:09 pm

I have just had a very nice weekend.

On Friday evening, SB met me at my office at 5:30. We walked to a nearby restaurant which is one of our faves. It is very casual and eclectic, and serves gourmet food tapa style so you can try various things. We had bacon wrapped prunes, a salad with fava beans, green beans, roasted carrots, onions, and feta cheese over mixed greens, and halibut in a lemon sauce served over asparagus. Delicious! Afterwards, we walked a few doors down to our local independent movie house to see "I Saw The Light", a biography of Hank Williams. My mother loves Hank Williams, so I was familiar with his music in my very early childhood. It's sad, but quite good.

On Saturday SB and I went to my mother's house. A friend of hers came over, and the 4 of us played cards all afternoon and into the evening.

Today SB and I went up to his timber property. He needed to check on things and he took pictures of some repairs which need to be made. I took some pictures, too.



The timber property has several ponds on it. This one is the largest. The level is low right now because of the drought. This view is right out the back door of one of the simple cabin homes on the property. How horrible to have to walk outside and see this every day. I don't know how some people manage. Stick Out Tongue

This is the next big thing SB has to tackle. There are a lot of decisions to be made regarding this property.

Oh, and as we were driving up there today, SB remarked to me that my friend Emily, whom he works with, is planning a birthday lunch this Tuesday at his office and wants to know if I can make it. I said "Oh, who's birthday is it?" SB just looked at me. Gradually it dawned on me that Tuesday is his birthday! Whoops.

Trouble With Incision

January 22nd, 2016 at 11:07 am

I got my stitches out yesterday morning. A couple of times yesterday evening, I felt a slight pull in the incision area. Last night I went to get a good look in the mirror, and what do you know? My entire incision (about 3.5 inches) was gaping open.

So a trip to the ER, and I learned that it cannot be stitched back together. The risk of infection is higher if they stitch it again than if they leave it alone and let it heal on its own. They dressed and packed the wound.

I went to my surgeon's office this morning. He was in surgery, but his nurse looked at the wound and redressed it. The ER had given me an Rx for an antibiotic. The surgeon's nurse confirmed that is what the surgeon typically prescribes. She gave me some supplies and sent me on my way, promising to call after she speaks with the surgeon.

It isn't too painful, but frankly is very gross. The scar will no longer be the tiny barely-visible line the surgeon promised, but I don't even care. It's just below my left armpit, which is hardly an area receiving a great deal of exposure.

SB drove me last night and again this morning, and the nurse showed him how to press the wound together with steri-strips.

I am at work now and being very conservative with my movements.

My medical expenses this month are high. Two $250 co-pays, $93.08 to the allergy doctor, and two extra prescriptions (the other was for pain pills following surgery). I am definitely over budget on "everything else", but it cannot be helped.

I have $200 in cash in my wallet from SB for rent which I will deposit into savings later today. We have agreed that he will pay me $200 twice per month (he gets paid on the 5th and the 20th) starting with his 1/20 paycheck. So, that is my first bit of progress towards rebuilding savings.

All Is Well :)

January 21st, 2016 at 10:05 am

I saw the surgeon this morning to get my stitches out. The pathology of the removed mass was complete. It was not cancer.

What a great day.

Hmm, Part 1

January 18th, 2016 at 04:34 pm

The balance on my car loan (without accrued interest since 12/20/15) is 9,060.13.

The balance in my savings account is 11,508.82.

A difference of 2,448.69.

Hmm.

Home From Surgery

January 13th, 2016 at 09:07 pm

I had my surgery today. It went well. I am home and resting. I am taking tomorrow off but plan to work Friday.

I am looking forward to sleeping the day away tomorrow.

Finally Funded

January 1st, 2016 at 10:25 am

Proceeds from the house sale hit the estate's account yesterday. Smile I will have my funds in hand very soon.

I had the most wonderful Christmas this year. The resort in Napa was beautiful. We had a lovely 4 days relaxing and enjoying the resort.

For Christmas dinner, my Italian sister-in-law wanted to have stuffed shells with sausages, a tradition in her family. Part of the tradition is that once the shells are cooked and the cheese stuffing is prepared, everyone gathers together and stuffs them. What a fun tradition! And the meal was delicious.

We are leaving the house shortly to deliver a cashier's check to SB's brother in Elk Grove. We will spend the rest of the day at my mom's house, and might take in the new Star Wars movie today.

Have a Happy New Year, Savings Advice peeps. Smile

Dee Oh Enn Eee

December 24th, 2015 at 11:14 am

DONE!!

Whoo-hoo! Eveyone has now signed; it is a done deal.

There is just the little matter of funding and recording, which will happen next week.

Merry Christmas! Smile

Quilts Sewn By My Great-Grandmother

December 22nd, 2015 at 09:02 pm

Today I received a package from my aunt who lives on Vashon Island. She sent me two quilts which my great-grandmother made in the 1950s. The quilts were used by my birth mother, her two sisters and one brother during their childhoods.

She wrote a nice letter providing some family history of this ancestor and the early life of her son, who grew up to be the father of my birth mother and her siblings. She told MrsM180 and I this history when we visited last June, but how awesome to have it written down.



I hope I get better at using my phone for pictures.

Yay For Pictures Being Back; Misc Updates

December 14th, 2015 at 08:33 am

Here is a picture of SnugglyBumps and Kissylips:



Ting update:

A customer service person at Ting e-mailed to say they are willing to replace my phone. She asked for the IMEI number which I have given her. Waiting for further instructions.

I went to my company Christmas dinner party and did receive a nice bonus. I have decided to pay my January mortgage payment in December with part of it. The advantage to me is I will have another $600 of mortgage interest to deduct, saving me $200 in income taxes. Of course next year I will have to do the same or have only 11 months to deduct. Even so, I will take the tax break now.

This year for Christmas, my brother and sister-in-law have rented a 3 bedroom condo at a resort in Napa using their timeshare points. I am heading to Napa on Christmas Eve and will stay until Sunday the 27th. My mother and nephew are going. J will drive himself and stay just two days. MrsM180 and hubby are a maybe. SB is a go.

Yet Another Frustrating Delay

December 5th, 2015 at 11:48 pm

The docs were not drawn yesterday.

Two months ago, the buyers were asked to submit photocopies of some bonds they own. They submitted a list instead. They did not follow directions, so that is on them. However, apparently no one at Chase mortgage (their lender) bothered to review the documentation. Until yesterday. So now the buyers must submit photocopies and the bonds must all be verified.

The extent of the incompetence we have experienced during this transaction is unbelievable.

So now we are told it will be next Friday for docs, at the very earliest.

Still Waiting; Holiday Weekend Summary

December 3rd, 2015 at 10:16 pm

We are still waiting for the house sale to close. The most frustrating part for me is I must wait for information to trickle to me and I don't get to ask direct questions of people who can answer them.

But the latest word today is...BF's realtor spoke with a management level employee at Chase (the buyer's lender) and was assured that the docs will be done tomorrow a.m.

So, we will see.

I had a wonderful holiday weekend. My brother and SIL came down and stayed for 3 days, bringing a 13 year old granddaughter with them. My brother has 4 living children (two more were lost in infancy to SIDS). One of his daughters also came down for 2 days, with her husband, their 6 year old son and 3 year old daughter.

And of course my mother and nephew live nearby, and I have my motley crew. Smile

Over Thursday, Friday, and Saturday we ate turkey, played cards, visited, went for walks, went to the movies, and met a grand-niece and her brand new husband (of two weeks!) for breakfast.

It was just a wonderful time, and even though there are many gaps in our family where loved ones used to be, I really felt very thankful.

I enjoy teasing small children to enjoy their reactions. Smile My little 3 year old grandniece made a remark, and I said "I don't know. I'm just a little girl, like you." She immediately replied "Nuh-uh! You're someone's grandma!" in an accusing tone. So I guess I can't pass for 3 anymore.

SnugglyBumps and KissyLips

November 24th, 2015 at 08:20 am

Those are the names BF and I call each other. Disgustingly cutesy, I know. We adopted them early on and they are somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Somewhat. Stick Out Tongue

In the future, I will refer to him as SB. I always feel silly calling him my "boyfriend". He is 54 and I am 48. We're a bit past adolescence.

Signing Held Up Again

November 24th, 2015 at 06:52 am

The signing on BF's house was held up again. This time it was due to the fact that the buyers had deposited money into their bank account. Yes, you read that right.

To comply with the Patriot Act, the buyers went through a process wherein they documented the source of all funds in the account which will be the source of their down payment. They had already completed this process. When it came time to sign documents, it was discovered that they had deposited more funds after completing the process. Well, that means they had to do it again. They submitted the documents Friday, but it takes time for them to be reviewed.

The wife of the buyer couple in particular was very upset as she had wanted to have Thanksgiving dinner in the house.

Word is that it will close this short week anyway, but I will believe that when I have funds in my hot little hand.

Meanwhile, BF has decided to invest 85k of his proceeds into his contractor's next project. He will earn 7.5% on his principal and if the contractor defaults, he will be able to foreclose on the property. Myself, I would just stuff it all into index funds and calculate when I could retire.

Medical Appointment Frustrations

November 19th, 2015 at 04:20 pm

I've had a very frustrating day today. Frown

I've had a small hard lump just under my left armpit for maybe a year, maybe longer. I had Googled and it looked to me like it was a cyst from either a clogged sweat gland or hair follicle. It did not hurt and was just my normal skin color.

Last summer it changed color to red, started growing and began to hurt. I called my primary doctor in July and described the symptoms, they scheduled me an appointment in August.

When I went to that appointment, I was hoping she would just cut it off for me right then. She said it was too large to do in her office, she was referring me to a surgeon. She thought it was a sweat gland or hair follicle problem.

I had to wait through the referral process, but then a surgeon's office did call and said I had an appointment on October 1st. So, I had to wait some more.

On Sept 30th, the surgeon's office called to say the doctor would be out of the office on the 1st and my appointment had been re-scheduled for Oct 29th. So, I waited until October 29th.

When I finally had my appointment, there was another patient in the waiting room who was very upset. He had shown up for his appointment but was told his appointment had been moved to a different date and time. He claimed no one had told him. My impression at this point was that the office was not well run. I did see the doctor and I really took a liking to him. He was very no-nonsense, professional and personable. He told me frankly that he could not say for certain what my lump is. He said it was too large for an office procedure and I would have to have a same-day procedure in the hospital. Because of my history, he wanted to see the medical records from when I had my breast lump removed and my thyroidectomy.

Well, that has been a circus. I had Kaiser insurance when I had those two surgeries and have Anthem Blue Cross now. The surgeon's office called to say Kaiser told them I had been their patient but there was no record of my ever having surgery at a Kaiser facility (!). So, I was asked to obtain my records myself. The first batch I obtained did not include the information the surgeon wanted. So, I had to request again. My second request was simply ignored, even though it was submitted in an email. A Kaiser medical records employee stated they probably assumed it was a duplicate request, even though I clearly indicated the first set did not include the pathology and "h and p" records which my surgeon specifically requested. But today, after 2 weeks of my requests, I did finally receive the records.

I was delighted. I faxed the records to the surgeon's office and called to let them know they were coming. (Yes, their preferred method to receive the records was via fax).

Well, a little while ago, the office called to say it's great that I finally got them the records, but the doctor will now be mostly off until after the first of the year. He will have two office days in December, and I have been scheduled an appointment for December 15th. But, that's just for another consultation after he reviews my records. Mad

I want this darn thing OFF. It is growing and it hurts, especially if I accidentally bump it.

I called my insurance to see about getting in to another surgeon sooner. They were sympathetic and explained if I could get in someplace else, I could then call my primary doctor for a referral, and that would be just fine. So I have been calling other surgeons. What I have found is there is no short-cut. I can get an appointment in December, and will likely be scheduled for surgery in January. That's what I have now so is no help at all.

In happier news, the buyers of BF's house have their signing appointment at the title company tomorrow. If that goes smoothly, funds should be disbursed Monday. In that case, I will have the credit card charge for those property taxes paid before I do my month end net worth statement. It will be like it never happened, except for the sweet reward points.

Mortgage Lending Nonsense

October 26th, 2015 at 02:45 pm

Just for giggles, I took a moment to read a junk e-mail I received today. What a sales pitch! The title of the e-mail is "How to SKIP a mortgage payment for no cost!" and begins by lamenting that the holidays will soon be upon us, along with all the stress of how to pay for them. Thankfully, these self-titled "longtime mortgage advisers and consumer advocates" have a "strategic option that could PAY FOR YOUR HOLIDAY SEASON - without increasing your credit card debt!"

Isn't that wonderful? Here is their solution, direct cut and paste:

Example:

Current Mortgage:
Two years ago you financed $250,000 at 4.25%
Principal & Interest (PI) = $1230
Taxes & Insurance = $400
Monthly Payment = $1630
Current Escrow Balance ~ $1600
Estimated remaining balance $241,388

You could net approximately $1230 + $1600 = $2830 during the holidays with no closing costs !

Refinance at 4.25% (choose a rate to allow lender to pay all your closing costs)
New Loan is $241,388 plus new escrow account plus one months interest to allow you to skip a month. $241,388 + $1600 (escrows) + $853 (30 days interest) = $243,850 new loan amount

Yeah, I believe I will NOT be taking advantage of their helpful strategy, even though they are "consumer advocates". Rolleyes

Weekly Box of Organic Produce

October 17th, 2015 at 06:56 pm

We decided to join a CSA and get a box of organic fruits and veggies each week.

I was torn between a small very local one and a slightly more expensive larger one. I decided to give the larger one a try first as you do have the ability to customize your box and exclude things you just don't want.

The CSA we are trying is called "Farm Fresh To You".

They will not deliver to my home (no deliveries in the area) but will deliver to my office. My office is close to the freeway, so I assume that is why.

Our first box will be delivered this Wednesday and will contain:

3 Bartlett pears
1 butternut squash
2 Fuji apples
1 lb green beans
1 lettuce (either green or red leaf)
1 bunch Nantes carrots
1 bunch red kale
1 lb. white potatoes

The base price is $26 but this box is $28.19. When you substitute, they charge by the lb. Our box was supposed to contain red radishes and kiwi. We took them out and put in green beans, pears, and potatoes.

This is the smallest box, they also have 3 larger sizes. We will see how we like the service and quality, then decide if we want a bigger box.

The more local CSA is a bit lower priced, but charge a fee if you have your box delivered to your door, which would make it slightly more. Alternatively, you can pick up your box at a drop off point. There is one just a few blocks from my office, so that would be convenient.

With the more local CSA, you choose either a full share of veggies for $22 or a half share for $17. The full share is supposed to feed 4-5 people for a week, the half share 1-3 people for a week. Then they have a fruit box which is $16 for a full share and $8 for a half share. I have a friend who gets a half share veggie box each week and she says the produce is excellent.

We have agreed that we will do our best to not let any of the expensive organic produce to go to waste.


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