Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Downward Slide

It's been a difficult few months, and I really haven't written about it yet. It's been basic drudgery and work around here lately and I have not tracked down wifi to update my blog. Sorry, nothing cool and upbeat to report on.

The water damage to the rv was too severe for us to afford to fix it. We are now trying to sell it so we can finish paying it off.

Our savings is completely wiped out now due to another dilemma...... When Tropical Storm Debbie blew through a few months ago my husband drove to work in very bad conditions. He was one minute late and they fired him.

He has been unemployed for up to two weeks before, but never  three months! It has been difficult. He made the decision to go to a truck driving school because the only jobs we have seen advertised lately are medical and truck driving. He went to a school a few hours away. He was using the car we helped our son purchase in better times. The engine blew on his way home for the weekend. He missed some school because of it and ended up selling it to a junkyard for $300.00. The following week he had to take my car and leave me without transportation.

We've weathered all the setbacks. The bills are paid, the pantry is stocked, and employment is in the near future. These times shall pass eventually. Hope everyone is doing well out there.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Good the Bad and the Wet

Last night was lovely.  Youngest daughter decided she wanted to invite the other grandparents and their daughter for dinner. She cleaned and shopped and cooked. We gathered near the kitchen table laden with a vegetable tray, a cheese tray, a chip and cracker tray and several dips. While we nibbled she slipped salmon, catfish, and cod into the oven. (She wanted to accommodate every ones tastes.) It was very sweet. Dessert was a three layer chocolate and strawberry checkerboard cake decorated with fresh strawberries that she baked that morning. It was fun. We almost never entertain. Work schedules and laziness get in the way. She did a wonderful job, the conversation flowed, and it was just a perfect evening.

We did enjoy our last rv trip. These trips are sort of learning expeditions for us. We still do not know how to work everything. We don't know the proper terminology or the right way to hook things up. The first time we went out we explained to the workers at the park that we had no idea what we were doing. They very kindly helped us hook up everything. We learned that we had too short a water hose to hook up to most rv sites, and we did not have the right end to our sewer hose to set up at a camp properly. We bought the new items we needed so could use the water on this second trip. On the second trip I discovered that our hot water heater does not work.

We have also known from using the rv at home as well as the park that when running the air conditioner on high it flips a circuit both in the rv as well as the house or other energy source. The circuit breaker box also heats up. I don't think it is supposed to do that.

It started raining last night and has continued all day. The sky is grey, there are puddles forming in the back yard, and the dog is refusing to go out in it unless absolutely necessary. My husband brought me to the living room to show me the wet spot all along the front of the couch where she dried herself off after using the restroom very quickly this morning. Clever dog. I normally love grey skies and rain. Especially when the rare moment strikes when I have the house to myself and can listen to the rain fall in peace with no other sounds.

As I said I normally love rain and grey skies. Today I opened the door to the rv, walked the short length from the cab to the bed in the back. I surveyed the drips from the skylight and air conditioner in the front. I saw the light fixture filled with water and dripping. I felt the puddle of water on the rug between the table and the couch and noticed that it trailed back to the front of the bed. I have to admit I dropped my head to the dogs shoulder and cried. We sat on the couch for a few stunned moments before getting buckets to catch the drips and try to save what we could. I only have the basic insurance for the tag. I have just started to rebuild my savings. I used everything to purchase this rv. I have no idea how much this is going to cost. I'm crying again.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Singing Naked in the Church Choir...An Introduction to my Sister

No big news today. We have the RV out for a short weekend getaway at a campground. I'm relaxing in my quiet RV enjoying the silence and taking the chance to write while my husband catches a swim.

We have to take advantage of these weekends when they present themselves because my husband works every weekend and now that I work at a bank I get every weekend off. I work days and he works nights. We communicate through a  notebook chore list on the kitchen table. He managed to get this weekend off because they are playing the cut your hours down to nothing game where he works. For a long time he had 50 hours, when the new owners took over there was no more over time so it dropped to 38 to 40. Then there was a pay cut and now he has 23 hours. It's lucky I found full time employment when I did. Oh well, enough grumbling, something will turn up. Things always fall into place.

I decided to veer off the frugal path and do something completely different today. I'd like to introduce my sister.  I won't give away her age because she is sensitive about that but our ages are so separated that she could have been the mother. ;) She claims she likes to be described as a woman of indeterminate age. My parents raised four children in one state and then moved and accidentally had me. When they describe their childhood it is completely different than the one I had. They had a different environment and lifestyle. It's strange how that turned out.

My sister is definitely a people person. She has a huge bright smile and wherever she goes strangers gather around to hear her stories. She gets invited to all sorts of gatherings, churches, red hat society luncheons, amputee support groups. Several individuals have told her she is inspirational but she doesn't believe so herself.

She has had her share of problems, diabetes, car wreck, amputation, heart bypass surgery... Throughout it all she gathers her mishaps and failings and oddities and shares her stories. She even managed to have a group of friends and family laughing at our nephews funeral. I do not have the same gifts she has.

My sister was very active in her church and she loved singing in the choir. One day she was rehearsing with the choir on a hot and muggy day. It was terribly hot combined with an air conditioner that was on the fritz and my sisters poor health. She kept wiping at the sweat and complaining of feeling faint. Someone in the group suggested that she go to the restroom and remove her clothes and put the full length long sleeved choir robe back on. After wiping at her sweat a few more minutes she decided  to try it.

The church filled and they were half way through with their service when the minister said, "You know what, it's unbearably hot. You guys don't have to keep those heavy robes on. Go ahead and take them off."

Everyone refused and suffered through the rest of the service. You see, the entire choir knew my sister was naked under her robe.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Regal Savings

I've recently reorganized my coupon system. I had tried just keeping the inserts and clipping them as I used them. I stopped when I noticed I wasn't really saving as much as I used to when I used the envelope system. I bought new envelopes, new organizers, and little  tab things so I could mega-organize into even more categories. This saves me time because after I make my shopping list I can grab what I want quickly without wading through too big a stack to get the coupons I need. Now I spend less time and save more.

My first big shopping trip after the reorganization was amazing. I was out of a lot of items around the house and there was a big sale at a local grocery store. I saved an even hundred dollars off the regular price, almost half my bill. Of this total saved, $71.85 was the sale price discount and a whopping $28.15 was my coupon savings. I paid $114.82 for a trunk load of food and household items and had to place some of my order on the backseat of the car when I ran out of room. To top it off this grocery store also has a fuel program and many of the items had extra fuel savings as well so I earned enough points to be able to bring two vehicles to the gas station and fill them up for thirty seven cents. No, not thirty seven cents per gallon, thirty seven cents period! My gas was free I just paid a small amount for tax.

It wasn't enough to earn me a spot on Extreme Couponing, not that I would want to, but the cashier clapped her hands when she saw the savings and the couple behind me in line gave me an appreciative "Wow!" It was a nice change from grumbling and eye rolling. We can thank the economy for that. I'm still Rodney Dangerfield with the younger set though. When I told the kids they just said, "That's great mom."  in a monotone and kept their gaze on the computer or the cell phone. I get no respect. :)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Another Restart

How do I start an update so vast? I suppose I will just have to jump right in feet first.

Downtime has vanished. There is so much to do and seemingly no end in sight to the evil chore list. We've started the sorting and packing up of a lifetime accumulation of junk. We're not hoarders but my husband and I have both decided we don't want to be bound by stuff. It's an ongoing battle. I ruthlessly tackled my book collection first. I packed what I absolutely have to have into the shelves in the RV. The rest is boxed and ready to go. I knew everything else would be a piece of cake after the books. Now the bookshelves are mostly emptied or filled with random junk mail, newspapers, and empty shopping bags. It's a sad looking messy house that I hate to come home to. However, we are in the midst of a transition so I will have to be patient.

Tragedy struck in March. My nephew passed suddenly and unexpectedly at the too young age of forty. I couldn't find the words to express the sorrow felt by the family. He was an outspoken man who always sought fun and joy in his life. His mother lost her son and her best friend at once. He was also a single father to his fifteen year old son. In his passing he repaired a rift with some warring family members. Everyone gathered, dropped their differences, and were sadly reminded that life is indeed too short.

My brother is attempting to recover from back surgery.  My sister just had a short stay in the hospital. Hmm, what other news is there? Is there any good news? Well actually....

I am no longer a part time grocery cashier. I have full time employment at a local bank, which was also conveniently the bank I already used. It's a completely different world. I am enjoying my first ever three day weekend of which my husband will be able to spend one day with me. He needs to find new employment next.

I'll stop here and keep it short so that I come back soon with more. I'll try not to be away for so long but I do try to keep my site upbeat. When I'm feeling far from positive it is so difficult to come up with a post. Too many dark days have passed since long ago in February.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Austerity Measures at Home

I've just read through a long list of blogs I used to enjoy on a regular basis. I really miss the connection of regular blogging and will probably break down and pay for internet quite soon. I don't miss the television at all, or the phone, but the lack of internet is sorely felt. With only one vehicle, it is difficult to find the time when transportation is available to go somewhere else to use the internet. I just have to put up with the inconvenience until I am suitably caught up financially to splurge on connection.

While leaders propose "austerity measures" to pull their countries through the recession, so do we individuals propose our own plans to our families to pull through tough times. Some of us plant fabulous gardens, others coupon, some subsist on lots of bean and rice dishes, and many just go without certain things that others take for granted. Lately it's as if I've gone back in time to when I was even poorer. I once walked everywhere, never had a phone or television, and rented the most horrible of dumps. This wasn't because I was saving up for something or getting out of debt. I didn't know what debt was at the time, I was just incredibly poor. Now however, I have a goal in mind. I have a few more big payments to make on this bill so I can get it down to a more manageable figure before I add more bills to my month. Ten  more payments and the RV will be paid off and I will be debt free once more.

Speaking of the RV, I've spent a few days cleaning it out and dreaming. The more excited I get the more stressed my husband gets. He comes home and I show him a list of things we need to do, and other things we may need to purchase and then he can't sleep that night. I need to tame my enthusiasm so he can take things slower and calmer. If I could find a way to take off tomorrow I would. I guess it's the big change that worries at his subconscious.

Times up, I have to run. Until next time, I'll ask you this: What austerity measures have you proposed to your family to help get through a rough patch, or to survive the recession?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Everything's Coming Up Roses

A long time has passed since I have even been online. This post will be just a brief update to let everyone know that I am in fact still alive, and there is exciting news.

The first bit of exciting news is another grocery company bought the one I work for.  What this means is the location is staying open and everyone keeps their jobs. They were also nice enough to let us know immediately. It happened that morning and that afternoon they let all the workers know what happened. So far it has been a positive experience.

My husband delivered a pizza to a couple that lives a few miles away. He made a comment about their RV, and the man said, "Hey, it's for sale." My husband kept his number and told me about it.

After our debts were paid, our credit card company sent us these checks in the mail. We could use the checks for anything we wanted and it would be interest free for one year. My husband didn't want to do it at first. We were debt free and still had some emergency funds in the bank. Finding out my job was secure set his mind at ease and he signed a check for me. We bought that RV!

The year ahead will be busy. I figured out exactly how much I need to pay each month to have the debt paid off in eleven months. It will not be a problem for us at all. We also have to build our emergency fund back up before we can do any traveling. We also have one more daughter at home who needs time to get back on her feet. It will be a very busy year.

I'm writing this from my eldest daughters home, because she has internet in her new house. She and my son are doing well so far. I may get internet myself, but it will be a while. I have too many chores and financial goals at the moment to allow myself the extra expense or distraction.

For the time being I will be scrubbing my home, getting rid of clutter, and working every extra shift I can so we can get rid of that debt and rebuild our savings. I will return to more regular blogging at a later date, I just don't know when. I have to get comfortably caught up.

I hope everyone is having a fantastic new year!