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Archive for October, 2005


October 28th, 2005 at 04:26 pm

Well I went to my doctor yesterday because I was feeling really blah. Have been for a few weeks. I had the worst cold and my throat actually still feels yucky. I'm normally so healthy. He said sometimes infections can cause iron deficiency anemia. He also did a few other tests. I've had issues for years with precancerous cells and he told me that it could be possible that I have cervical cancer. WOW. Way to go Doc! Now I've had two really bad scares in the last 4 years where I've had to have a biopsy. He said I'm extremely anemic and had me take a blood test. (EWW I just hate the needle part!). He sent me away with prescriptions for Ferrous Sulphate and Hormones. I've taken 3 iron pills in the last 36 hours and I'm actually starting to feel a little better. I hear now that they have a shot for cervical cancer. I'm going to get one if I can after this.

I think mostly I'm just mad about the whole cancer thing. Having precancerous cells, I know its not as bad as actually having cancer, it is just a pain. I have to go through all these tests. Hormone pills and shots, sonograms, mamograms and biopsies and not to mention the missed work. After my last scare I asked to have a radical hysterectomy and I was refused. I wonder if I can get it now?

Than, to top it all off, my change jar was on the floor of my closet and all of my quarters were missing. So I asked my little girl about it. Apparently she borrowed it from me, because her brother gave her money for something and she lost it. However, she has since found the money and never returned all of my quarters. So she has be fined 2 weeks allowance. She will also have physical punishment, but I haven't thought up one good enough yet. I normally don't put the kids on restriction because I work so much. I could use some suggestions here.

Anyway, I'm pretty tired. I'm glad for the weekend.

Holidays are almost here.

October 25th, 2005 at 05:10 am

This year is going to be really tough. My son was told that he can't wear his jacket that has an iron cross on it to school anymore. They feel it is racial oriented. From what my son says they told him the iron cross was the first Natzi sign (I never knew that!). Today I have to take him to the mall for a new jacket. Every penny is a major owie towards Christmas.

This year we are going to get a live Christmas tree. We always had a fake one before. This way we can plant it in the yard. I hate the thought of killing a tree just to decorate it.

My boss called me in and thanked me for working overtime on my day off...I think I knew where this was going...so I butted in and I told her...that I could work overtime while the kids were in school like my Friday's off. Thats it and only for 6 hours. (One of the other supervisors is going out for surgery and I think she was going to ask me to cover.) I'll work an occassional extra couple of hours but that job is trying to kill me. She'd have me work 12 hour days if she could. I worked 6 days a week, 12 hours per day in January. It is hard on me to work like that but it it harder on the kids. I know they are teenagers; however, I'm the only parent they have and they want me at home when they are home. Believe me, I could use the money. The way I see it the kids only want you around for a while. There will be other overtime days.

Thanksgiving is at my house this year. I'll have to make a list as we have it potluck style. I get to make the turkey.

I love my parents. Saturday we had a birthday party for my DS. My parents walked around the house and critiqued my house cleaning skills and lectured my DD on her inability to clean her room. They got to the kitchen and my mom looked at me and said, "Who cleaned your kitchen?" I said, "The maid." and she said "Barbara, you really can't afford a maid." She is almost 80. My sister chastized me so I had to apologize and say I cleaned the kitchen.

Wish I could employ a maid. I hate mopping, cleaning bathrooms and mirrors. I also loathe cleaning out the refridgerator.

Black Friday is approaching and it looks like the kids will be getting lots of clothes this year. I'll try to get them something on their lists. I'm going to ask for new oven mitts.

bits and bobs from my history

October 23rd, 2005 at 09:47 am

I guess you could say that I've had it pretty tough the the last 12 years or so. I got divorced 6 years ago from a raging maniac. He doesn't have anything to do with his kids.

One of the reasons I moved to this new house was because now my ex husband doesn't know where we live. Not that it matters because he borrowed money from me the beginning of March and moved out of State. No one knows where he is. He hasn't tried to contact anyone since he left.

Then in March, it was the last Monday in March, my house caught fire and me and my daughter lost almost everything. All our clothes were lost. She lost all her furniture. We lost all our Christmas decorations. My youngest son got smoke inhalation and had to be treated. When something like this happens you really take stock in what you have and what is important. I could have lost my whole world.

The house I lived in was a house in progress anyway. As soon as something would be fixed, something else broke. The day I put it up for sale, my stove broke, a piece of wood on one of the cabinets broke and fell off and the shower head broke, flew off and almost knocked me out in the shower. To say I was done with that cursed house may actually be an understatement.

One of the reasons my kids have cell phones was because their dad used to haunt me. I can't begin to tell you how many times he cut my phone wires. He also cut the water line to the house and sawed off all the outside lights. They have the cheapest plan there is. If you are asking if he ever went to jail, well he did - twice. The cell phones actually come in pretty handy. My older son misses his school bus sometimes and he uses the phone to call me. My younger son is pretty active so it is nice being able to get a hold of him no matter where he is. I have a two year contract again with Sprint. Just about everytime it is time to renew, I get a letter from Verizon telling me what they can offer me so I call Sprint and they beat Verizon. It is very cool playing them off on each other.

As you can see the old house held a lot of bad memories for me. I used every penny I got from the old house and put it down on the new house. (Plus I put in $2,000 of my savings for a deposit when I made the offer.) It was almost 20%, so I do have to pay 3 years of PMI.

Anyway, I knew it was going to be tough when I moved. I had every penny worked out because I am very money aware. I even had the increase in my health insurance worked out. I figured they would increase it about $25. I even took into consideration that my daughter would pay her own car payment. (I know this is stupid stupid stupid.) They increased it $100. I'm going to take the kids off my health insurance. The health department charges $45 for a doctor appointment so if they get sick, I'll take them there. If something major happens I'll apply with the state. My co-payment to be on Medi-Caid is about $2,000 per month. They use gross income. My checks are paid biweekly so they use gross (minus any health insurance paid) x 2.167. Then they subtract $90 and than $1100 (for a family of 4). The left over is my share of cost. Household expenses are not taken into consideration, or the fact that I pay more in taxes than most teenagers earn in year. (Which is kind of sad because right now I claim 13.) Plus I have to pay manditory union dues and we have to have ourselves on insurance, so we have to pay that (otherwise I'd take myself off too). I would say I have close to $175 in mandatory deductions taken from each check. Not including the dental and vision care that I'm keeping for the kids and myself.

It is hard, but I guess I was never promised a rose garden.

On the brighter side, I am considering applying for a job that pays up to $11,000 more a year - tops. It would take two years to top out and it is further away from home and I would have to do some traveling. The down side is my kids are still little. I don't like the idea of going to Sacramento and leaving my teenagers home with themselves. I guess it is a catch 22. Maybe I'll apply and leave the choice to the higher power.

I found this saying on a money quote web page. I think it is nice.

"Only after the last tree has been cut down, Only after the last river has been poisoned, Only after the last fish has been caught, Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten."

Anonymous quotes

Coffee addict

October 21st, 2005 at 09:59 pm

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm a coffee addict. I just love coffee. I like it strong, not thick. Ahh.... the aromatic smell. The warmth it brings as I lift the cup up to my mouth, the taste. Yummy. I drink one to two cups per day. This morning I scrounged change so I could stop at starbucks. I'm not the fancy coffee drinker. Nope not me. I like it brewed and white (lots of half and half).

Well this brings me to the coinstar machine. Now instead of losing that 8 cents per dollar you can buy a starbucks card! Someone help me. My day was spent thinking about my change jar. Believe it or not I'm trying to figure out a way that trading in my change for a starbucks card would be cost effective. I actually looked at my old starbucks card and wondered if I could recharge it at the coinstar machine. I think I'm losing my mind. I even avoided Stater Brothers today to avoid looking at the coinstar machine. I have to go tomorrow because it is my son's birthday party. I got to buy cake mix, hamburgers, etc. (I'm thinking about trading in my change). I've been hoarding it for a year. I never really had a plan for the change, but it never occurred to me until today to buy a starbucks card with it.

On the sloppier side: I paid my Sprint bill, it was three months old and they turned off the cells. Now I told them my new address in August on one of the bills. I was just beginning to wonder where the heck the bills have been when BAM (Batman and Robin style Smile they just turned them off (yep teenagers have them I have a prepaid wireless that I adore). So bill was $252. I hope they don't report me to a credit agency for being late. I honestly forgot about it. So much for not borrowing money from my savings this month. That just blew it big time. This month has been sucky. I even have to pay 1.80 because my electric bill was late.

I have not heard from Kaiser yet for my kids. I have decided to take them off my health insurance. It is scarey. If something happens I will apply for medi-cal for them. I just can't afford it anymore. The $100 more a month is something that I can't afford.

I called my daughter and left her a message that said "Make the car payment or bring back the car." At least this way if I have the car, I won't be paying $240 per month for her car insurance. I was stupid stupid stupid to finance this car for her. She called and left a message that she will bring the payment by ASAP when it is convenient for her. My message to her said I want one or the other by 10/31. I'll park the car and try to sell it. I know it will be at a loss, but it is better than paying 4 years for a car that I don't want or need.

People are insane when it comes to getting what they want!

October 20th, 2005 at 07:49 pm

One of the girls at work just bought a new house for $350,000. I thought at first: WOW!. Now I'm hearing the story. The house is brand new because she didn't want someone's garbage. She got $10,000 for buying (pretty good incentive I say) and she used it towards closing costs (excellent move). Now I hear she got an interest only loan (huh?). Apparently she only put the $10,000 towards closing costs (nothing else). She came to talk to me today because her husband goes off work next week and he doesn't start back again until January. In other words, unemployment starts and income stops. She says she has about $10,000 in savings (hmmmm....sounds like a familiar figure). Well anyway, in 5 years she starts paying principal on a loan that will now be for a 25 year term. I didn't do the figures, but I would guess it would be quite a bit of a mortgage. She said her plans are to refinance in 5 years back to a 30 year loan. She hopes her home value will increase enough that she'll be able to do this. (At this point my mind is reeling. I know that that is everyone's hope that their home values will increase substantially - but - HELLO - I lived through the 80's and the recession. Realistically you hope that your home increases, but you pray that it doesn't go down in value and that it maintains value.)

I am horrified. This girl and her husband got a 30 year mortgage that they obviously can't afford because they only would give them an interest only loan. In 5 years they have to refinace in order to make the payment. Well what if the house doesn't increase in value, one of them gets hurt or sick and/or they have money problems. What could happen is they would have to sell their house. Worse case would be they would have to sell it for a loss.

Well I kind of looked into interest only loans. Did you know that interest only loans were very popular before the Great Depression? When the banks began to go belly up, they called in those loans (can't do that now of course), but hundreds of people lost their homes. It took us 40 years to climb out of that big mistake. Now I understand that they are also offering 40 year loans.

I don't know. I guess I have never wanted something so bad that I thought losing everything I had was worth the risk. Do you know what I mean?

You know you are old when......

October 18th, 2005 at 09:12 pm

Today my sixteen year old son and I were on the couch watching old black and white scarey movies when I mentioned that the one wild eyed actor looked just like Manson did after he was arrested. My son looked me right in the eye and said, "Marilyn? I didn't know he was arrested."

I called my older daughter because the 13th has come and passed and she did not pay her car payment. She acted like she was the wounded party. Imagine that! I told her she needs to come and talk to me because her insurance went up too. I am not a happy camper. The deal was if she didn't make the car payments I would take the car. Of course, I won't be able to afford the payments and still eat...

My youngest son asked me the other day if I would help him buy a car and I told him "No". When he asked why, I told him to go and ask his sister why. I'd like to be the wounded party for once.

All the bills are paid for the month. Now I just have to manage the house payment. My goal is not to take any more out of my savings and make the house payment this month.

available cash

$1600 - Money market account
$300 - ING account
$1000 ING CDs
$450- Christmas Club
$100 - Checking
$7000- in deferred compensation through work - Virtually untouchable

$1600 - money market
$350 - ING
$1000 - ING CDs
$81 - Holiday
$350 - ING
$600 - Checking

Next month I have to add to savings desperately for the holidays.

My parents are giving the five kids (me included) their land near Branson Mo. It is about an acre in a mobile home park. The sibs wanted to hold onto it. I talked them into selling it so that we could help the parents with their living expenses. Mom is 81 and Dad is 72. Both of them have/had relatives live well into their 90's. Also, even though dad is a veteran, I talked the sibs into prepaid burial plans. I told them minimum of $1500 per person. I figure, we will have some expenses no matter what. My parents' income is only $1500 per month. I told the kids that if we use the proceeds wisely the parents will be able to live just that little bit better every month. They enjoy doing things for the grandkids and my mom and dad have siblings all over the US. It might be nice if they could go and see them. After all, the way I figure it, they struggled to buy that property and they don't have anything else, they should use the proceeds to live a little.

On 9/17/05, my younger son sliced his hand open with a razor knife. Long story, blade broke, knife slipped, kid ended up in emergency. My copay is $250. I haven't got the bill yet, but I'm worried. I'll need to call them I guess. I used to work at a hospital and I know they take a while to get the bill out, however, I'd still like to set up some payment arrangements.

My youngest daughter goes off track next week and and goes back to school the week after Thanksgiving. I will save approximately $60 while she is off track because she won't get school lunch money. Which is good because I could really use the money for the holidays.

My sons want/need a box spring. Right now they are sleeping on a mattress on the floor. It occurred to me that I could finance it. I need a new box spring and mattress too. Mine were used 5 years ago. I'm just so afraid to finance anything. Especially now that I am hurting for living expenses. Credit just seems so much more worthy when you are hurting for money. Wouldn't you know it I got one of those stupid credit card offers in the mail. Best rate yet too - 14% interest.


October 13th, 2005 at 09:51 pm

Okay you know you are done with a vacation when:

1) Your phone rings and you think it might be your work calling for you when you have 3 teenagers.

2) You have already picked out your clothes for next week.

3) You were hoping that when the mail came so would the worm pills for your cat so you would have something to do.

4) You are looking forward to the next episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".

Well tomorrow will be better. I'll pay my bills and do some laundry.

Oprah today

October 12th, 2005 at 04:05 pm

The episode was titled "Inside the lives of America's Poor".

Well I watched some of it and I was not impressed. They talked to some homeless families and some of the poor in the Apalacian Mountains. I don't think that a true picture of the poor is an interview with a poor person. I don't even think that doing a reality show on living poor for a year could even begin to paint a picture of what it is truly like to be poor. Some one once said to me: "You know you are poor when you go to work and steel toilet paper". And for someone to insinuate that being poor is a side effect of mental illness....OMG....this just makes me sick. I'm sure there are some cases out there, however, I believe since I am one of those working poor that maybe it is because you're poor that there are so people out there who are depressed, divorced, etc. and not the other way around.

Four out of 10 children live below poverty. Or as Oprah said "The entire population of Canada". Well was she trying to shock me? I already knew that. Is it true that only the poor truly see each other? That the poor are invisable to the rich? How can it be that children go to bed hungry every day in the GREATEST COUNTRY OF THE WORLD? At the same time I see workers throw oranges away every day because they are less than perfect. Markets throw outdated food in their trashcans than put fences around them to keep out the people who are homeless and hungry. Why isn't this same food frozen and shipped to people? Is it because there aren't any funds? I doubt it. I believe there are funds. Every day airplanes and trains return 1/2 empty from destinations. I know truckers who have also returned with empty trucks. They don't like to, but I know of it happening. Do I have all the answers? No. I'm sure there is someone being paid a 6 figure salary somewhere who is trying to come up with some.

How about we take one place, a city in Kentucky maybe, and feed them. Enough that they have enough for once. Get these people strong and healthy again. Take the ones who want to work and put them to work fixing their own town? Lets get some plumbing, running water and the kids to school every day. Then we can train the best of the best to go to the next town to help the next set of people. This letting people cope on their own is just a bunch of crap. In the end it is always the most helpless who do suffer the most. It is the children, the disabled, the elderly, the poor and the sick.

I'm ranting I guess. I know Oprah was trying to open the public's eyes to the poor. I just don't see how she is helping them. I think they were just news.

I'm losing it this time for sure.

October 10th, 2005 at 06:16 am

I went to my dad and mom's house yesterday for her anniversary party and it had been moved to next week and no one told me. My family cracks me up. Total waste of gas. About an hour round trip. Oh well. I got to visit for a while and my oldest was over there doing laundry (sometimes it does pay to live away from a big population).

I had the weirdest dream. I dreamed that I was at a man's house and he was cleaning it. He was doing laundry and talking to me. (It was a very little house.) He also had two dishes that he was stacking and they had roses on them. I remember thinking that they must belong to his girlfriend. I was trying to analyse it this morning and I couldn't. At least he wasn't trying to shove me into the washing machine.

I'm off all week this week. Kids go to school. I have to plan the dinner menu and clean the house. I didn't do anything all weekend.

My daughter told me she is going to give me $100 for the car payment. Thank goodness. She gets paid this week. No more draining all my savings!

Saturday I took my kids to buy some clothes. My 12 year old dd didn't have any pants that fit her and my 14 year old ds got a few shirts and a cap. My dd wanted to shop at the Limited Too. When I got in the store and looked at the first price tag, I told her "No Way". We went next door and bought her 3 outfits for half price. The store was called the RAVE. My youngest ds wanted to know when I am going to buy myself some clothes and I told him I hadn't thought about it in a while. I do need some clothes. We had a fire in March at my old house and my dd and I lost almost all of our clothes. The things that I immediately bought from the insurance money just isn't enough to last us. I don't have any winter clothes. Looks like I will need to go to the Salvation Army. My son asked me why I always buy used clothes for myself. I told him that dress clothes are way too expensive to buy them new. I can get the same thing at the Salvaton Army. Some of the stuff I buy still has price tags on it.
Oldest ds didn't want anything. He is over 6 ft tall. His dad was 6 ft. I think he may have actually stopped growing now. So he said all of his stuff is still fine. Bless their hearts. I have good kids.

I took $400 out of my savings for groceries, clothes and allowances/school lunches. Looks like I have a little extra left in the wallet. I'm not going anywhere for a while so under my mattress it goes. $61.00.

My my youngest ds went shopping with me. So I bought a whole lot of nothing for $102. (I thought crap!) It was an eye opener for him. He said "I can't believe it cost so much." I filled up my tank for $38. Paid $3.05 a gallon. I could have got it cheaper where I live, but I wasn't there when I had to fill up. I never go out of my way to buy gas. Its bad enough that I have to make a small detour to buy gas, I'm definately not going to drive 5 or 6 miles for it. I drove 291 miles on 12.5 gallons. I am still getting 23 miles per tank. Not to shabby for my 2003 Saturn Vue. These are all city miles. I am rarely on a highway. I am a firm believer in maintenace. I asked at the Saturn dealer if I should be waiting until 5,000 miles to get my oil changed and the mechanic there said wait until the the maintenance light comes on. He said it is between 7,000 and 10,000 miles. I'm saying "Really?" He said the oil they make now is so good that the car would be fine. I paid cash for this car at 90,000 miles and I have never had a problem with it. I was told that it would probably go to 300,000 miles as long as I changed to oil and had it maintained. I only live 11 miles from work now. It has 106,000 miles on it and I just had its 100,000 mile check up.

Cutting down expenses

October 9th, 2005 at 06:38 am

I have begun ways to cut down my expenses.

When I moved I got a letter from the electric company asking me if I wanted to apply for their low income program. Well I thought "What the heck" I filled out the form and sent it back. I qualify for one of their programs! I save 20% on anything used over 130% of baseline. I always go over. My bill came and I saved $20. Pretty good, huh?

I looked into the other utilities and there aren't any other savings programs.

My health insurance for me and the kids goes up effective 12/1/05 to $750 month (wince, cringe, gag). My employer pays $565. That means that I am will be paying close to $200 per month in insurance just for health. I also have dental which is another $80 and eye insurance which is $16 per month that are not included in the $750. I dont' qualify for state programs because I would have a huge share of cost if I was eligible, but I'm not because I'm over property. I applied for private insurance through Kaiser for my 3 youngest kids. I'm hoping they approve me. This will give me another $200 monthly. I told my oldest daughter (who is at school) that she needs to get her own insurance. She just got a new job that pays $10 an hour and they offer health insurance for $34 per month. I told her to apply for it. What I don't spend of that $565, I get back in my check. To insure one person is $320 per month. So I'll get $230 back and won't have to spend that other $200. I'm thinking about a $400 monthly savings.

I have called and complained about my new cable so many times, that they are giving me 3 more months of their new enrollee plan and Showtime for 13 months free. Apparently I needed a new box. For the life of me, I can't figure out why the other three guys that came out to my house couldn't figure that out.

Someone I work with lives right down the street from me. I asked her if she wanted to car pool. She goes and works out 3 times a week, but she said she could on Thursdays. I'm off this week (vacation) so we decided that she will drive this month. Next month I'll drive. That is a week worth of not driving every other month! That averages out to about $15 monthly. Heck...that is my milk money for the month.

I don't have any landscaping at my new house. My kids want grass. I want to Xeroscape. I live in the desert and I have found two pieces of wild cactus that I'll plant. I planted some bamboo that was on clearance at walmart and I also got a pride of barbados and a giant bird of paradise. The bamboo went next to my fence so my water loving neighbors could water it when they water their lawn, the pride of barbados went under my eaves so the morning condensation falls on it and my bird has an old gallon water bottle buried next to it to water it (or I should say did, it disappeared and I'm looking for another). My water bill is $16 month. My water bill at my old house was $167 easy.

I also planted some hens and chicks on my slope in front. They'll need to be watered until they take, then they'll spread. I just love succulents.

I save cans and my change. I really need to plan on not spending any money in October or November on myself.

Surviving in Southern California

October 9th, 2005 at 06:07 am

I just read that the median income where I live is $71,000 and a single mom with 2 kids needs $63,000. You can't buy a house unless your income is around $84,000. It makes me look pretty good, considering my gross income last year was $45,000, I have 3 kids and this year I just bought a new manufactured home on 2 lots. Granted - I did sell my old house and I put $50,000 down. $45,000 of which went to the principal. $7,000 went into escrow. I still ended up having to pay PMI for 2 years. I owe $245,000 on my home. I do love it, but the mortgage payment is $2,011. Which is kind of a killer because I only bring home $2,700, or if I work overtime $3,000.

Current Savings

$1600 - Money market account
$300 - ING account
$1000 ING CDs
$450- Christmas Club
$100 - Checking
$7000- in deferred compensation through work - Virtually untouchable.

Other items
I have whole life insurance policies for my children and myself. I don't know what the face value is. I think together they may be in the $500 range. I have a $250,000 term policy on myself that is good until I retire.

Current Debts

I owe $10,000 on a car. (daughter's) I have made the last 2 1/2 months payments. She just got a much better job and she WILL be making all the payments and 1/2 of her insurance.

I owe $800 on a small credit card.