Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Bean Of The Week

Dr Pig usually takes Bean to school. Everyone who walks in parks in the Luby’s parking lot next to school and then cuts through on this path that floods when it rains.

So, he sends me this email:

“Dinosaurs do not swim.

I was informed of this by the child. I was carrying her across the large puddle coming out of the Luby’s parking lot, and I told her that the puddle was a moat full of Dinosaurs.

She told me I was crazy and that dinosaurs do not swim.

I stand corrected.”

Thursday, December 04, 2008

It's beginning to look alot like...


Every year it starts around Thanksgiving and continues through the end of the year. I'm beginning to hate the holidays with a deep and abiding passion.

Last year, Bean spent Thanksgiving well on her way to a second case of pneumonia which the doctor wanted to "wait and see" about after a week of illness and two visits. We decided to switch to a pediatrician that actually practices medicine rather than practices racking up co-pays.

Then we had to buy a new electrical panel for the house. We'd been having a light flickering and I joking told the electrician, "Well, it's not like it's going to burn the house down." His response? "Well, ma'am, actually it might." He showed me the incredibly shoddy work which made me wonder what the hell the inspection process actually accomplishes because we'd been living with a time bomb for about 9 years.

This year?

At least everyone waited until the day after Thanksgiving to get sick. Dr Pig came down with The Cold of Doom and spent two days in bed doing little but sleeping. Then Bean got it and had to miss school on Monday.

Tuesday, I'm all set for a day of Getting Stuff Done. I go to the store and, when I return, I notice the dog limping on her back leg. Badly limping and in obvious pain.

Bottom line: the dog has torn her ACL. Right now, we are treating it with meds but I see very expensive doggie knee surgery in my future. She's going to be 8 in February, so she's young enough that it's better to go ahead and do it and improve her quality of life and also protect the other knee so hopefully she doesn't mess that up as well. But it's a repetitive stress injury rather than a single, traumatic event. Knowing my luck these last few years, we'll fix the one this year and have to fix the other next year.

Next year, I'm considering going to bed the day before Thanksgiving and not getting out until after New Year's.

Think of the knitting time!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Ten on Tuesday it is:

10 Ways You Can Save Money

1. Make a budget. Be realistic. The best way to do this is save all your receipts and bills for a month. Make that your starting point and then trim from there, rather than picking arbitrary numbers you have no hope of achieving.

2. Balance your checkbook once a week. That way, if you've had unexpected expenses, you are reminded to adjust your spending.

3. Get your furnace/air conditioner checked up twice a year (before the heat goes on and before the AC goes on) - really helps keep everything working well. Change your filters regularly. We change them when the time changes. Easy to remember.

4. Caulk windows, make sure doors seal properly, and add insulation. Insulation isn't cheap, but you'll get the money back in savings on your heating and air conditioning bills remarkably quickly.

5. Plan your week. Again, be realistic. If you regularly buy a week's worth of food and then toss half of it because your plans changed, then adjust your shopping and go twice a week. Sure, you have to make an extra trip, but that's cheaper than tossing food. Really look at what food costs. And how much is convenience food vs going out? If I'm tired, I'll buy that roasted chicken because $6.99 is far cheaper than dining out!!!

6. If you hate leftovers, learn how to cook precise portions.

7. Patronize your local library. My library has an internet catalog so I can sit in the comfort of my own home and request the latest bestsellers. It may take a month or so for me to get them, but books are horribly expensive these days and most of them I don't really want to own.

8. Join the Borders email thing. I forget what they call the program, but it's free and they send out coupons almost every week. Today it's 40% any DVD boxed set. Most of the time the coupons are 20-25% off, but every couple of months they offer 40% off any book in the store or online.

9. Don't buy things because you have a coupon or because it's on sale, unless it's a product you normally buy. Grocery coupons save money, but only if it's on stuff you actually need. Don't get a Sam's or Costco membership if you won't use it. Often, you'll find a bunch of things you would not normally buy and end up spending a bunch of money you wouldn't have normally spent because "it's a good deal".

10. Unsubscribe from store emails unless you regularly shop at that store. Less temptation! Put things is your online shopping cart but don't buy it immediately. Often, that have to have item becomes less attractive a day later.

And a bonus tip:

Put money into savings at the beginning of the month rather than waiting to see "what's left over" at the end. In addition to regular savings, have $25 or $50 automatically go into a savings account and DON"T TOUCH IT. At the end of the year, you'll have enough for a trip!