Friday, September 30, 2011

Never Talk Trash About Old People

This is my new motto.
You may have noticed I haven't been around the last 3 days...since about 5 pm on Tuesday.....right after I posted about how much rude senior citizens tick me off, remember?

Well about an hour later a tremendous thunderstorm came through here.
A nearby lightning strike took out some electronics as well as part of the electical system in our house.

The lightning surge was so strong, even though everything was on a surge protector, it blew the side cover off the router, fried the modem and turned my computer into an inert heavy metal & plastic box that doesn't absolutely nothing.

It also turned some electrical outlets into non-funtioning decorative features on the walls and fried the garage door opener.
For kicks, it also turned on my iron up on the ironing board in my bedroom.....and not in a good sexy way.
We are stil finding weird consequences from this freak occurance as we add to the list of losses for the insurance company.
We also need to have an electrician come in and check the whole house's electrical system out.
Fun, fun.

The end results is I now have a new computer as of today, like it or not.
With the deductible, I'll be OOP for this machine, but everything else that got fried we'll be able to get replaced with insurance $.
My dead computer wasn't even a year old.
But at least they were able pull my important files off the fried machine.

So don't trash talk about old people because those senior citizens have connections and will use them to have Mother Nature bring you down. ;-)


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I'm Back! & I'm on a Roll...a Nice Ranting Roll not Kaiser

Did y'all miss me while I was gone today? 
In a few minutes you will wish I was still

I hit the bread store.....$8.78 and 9 bread type products later.  It was Senior discount day(I forgot!)so I had to run the old people gauntlet.

What has happened to old people?
They use to be docile and sweet.
The ones I ran into(almost literally since they won't move out of the way!)today at the bread outlet were nuts.  One especially cutting in line ahead of me like they are entitled and giving me 'tude in a look that said, "if I had a shiv, I'd cut you just as soon as look at you".  If you wanted to get ahead of me you old bat, you could have asked nicely and I probably would have let you go first even though I was in line 5 MINUTES before you even thought of getting in the check-out line.  I don't care if you only have 3 items(hey! I only had 9!!) and I have alot of other places I need to get to today too.  Then you abandoned your cart in the middle of the aisle when that other cashier opened an aisle and took your 3 loaves, leaving it to gridlock our aisle.  Yes, because you were in such a big hurry to get back out to your Cadillac which had NO handicapped tags and was parked across TWO Handicapped Parking Spaces!
I should have keyed your car when I walked past it going into the store.....

Two more stops and a teen to the Orthodontist later and I finally get to the grocery store.

I hate you Weis Markets!
You decide to remodel the whole. fricking. store.
Nothing is where is use to be and your new discombobulated design makes NO. SENSE.
Products I like to buy are now banished from your shelves.  New(=more expensive)items are replacing them.
And the prices.

Every time I go, I notice prices have risen.....SHARPLY!
Way to Go Weis....using the excuse of a remodel to jack up the prices.
Spending money on the "atmosphere" of the place so you can justify jacking up prices not once, but twice or thrice.
I don't care if it looks like an abandoned warehouse inside, as long as the prices are good.

Yes, prices going up lately in this economy seems to be the refrain of the old song, but jacking them up every trip for the last three trips I've made to your store is INSANE!

I dread going back to the grocery store because I'll see the prices have gone up yet again.
If this keeps up, even with spending on the gas to get there, I may start shopping at the Weis in another town since the prices on the same items are lower.  I've compared them, item for item, and it's true!

And it was Senior Discount day at Weis too.....for the love of David Hasselhoff's Sainted Mother!


And it's almost October, right?
Why in gosh sakes is it so MUGGY???!!!
I came home and sat down and I am drenched in sweat!
And of course, the a/c units are in the garage and the pool is closed for the season since it's almost October and not suppose to be this warm here now!
Oh to be a 70 lb. gymnast and be able to fold myself up into a cube and put myself in the freezer!

And it's too hot to cook.
Seriously, who can cook in this heat/humidity?
I wish my stomach would figure out it's too hot to eat too.......ack!


Can It Be??......More September DeCluttering P*rn!

Oooh Baby!
I am on fire....on fire with decluttering p*rn!!

First off, Hubs contribution to the last trip's clutter was the Get Smart beanie, the Mets truck and the hand massager.....not that anyone tried for the Bonus Points or anything. ;-)

Onward to the third trip, as in "#3",  to Salvation Army for September.....

1 Cat in the Hat facial tissue cover(in the white box)
1 Wilton train cake mold
1 Christmas ornament
3 assorted books
2 Curious George toothbrushes
1 Cabbage Patch Kids playset
1 novelty coffee mug
1 Precious Moment figurine
1 Power Rangers candy mold

1 Gerber baby doll
1 Dilbert day planner/calendar
3 Pokemon pocket monsters
1 vintage cast iron wagon
3 Godzilla stamp sets
1 Polly Pocket pet shop
6 Teenie Beanies
1 Star Wars pin
2 Wilton cookie cutters
1 pair Thomas the Tank Engine shoelaces
1 roll Power Rangers stickers
1 Cat in the Hat watch
1 Walmart watch...yes a Walmart watch, as in a walmart truck goes around the face of this one!
1 package Troll party napkins

2 Avalon Hill strategy games
1 cross stitch pattern book
1 set Chinese iron balls(#2 son's contribution-still shaking my head why he spent good money on this at the amusement park?!)
1 McDonald's glass
3 California Raisin figures
2 Just the Right Shoe figurines

And if you are keeping score at home, that's 38 more items and the 11th load to Salvation Army for 2011.

Now I am off this blasted machine for awhile.
I actually have to leave the house today.
Go me!

What's on your plate for today?


Monday, September 26, 2011

Food Spending Week 2.5-3.5 & Meal Plan

So here is what I planned on serving for dinner last week....

Sunday--Spaghetti and Meatballs
Monday--Chicken Biscuits, Corn
Tuesday--Trout, Fries, Pan Roasted Summer Veggies
Wednesday--Pork Chops w/Apricot Glaze, Potato Salad, Brussel Sprouts
Thursday--Meatloaf, Roasted Potatoes and Carrots
Saturday--Hot Dogs, Leftover Veggies/Potato Salad

And here is what actually happened....

Sunday--Spaghetti and Meatballs, Salad
Monday--Chicken Biscuits, Corn
Tuesday--Trout, Fries, Brussel Sprouts
Thursday--Meatloaf, Potato Salad, leftover Corn
Friday--Chinese take-out, Pizza(sleepover night)
Saturday--Hot Dogs on rolls, leftover side dishes

We got takeout on Friday since there was a surprise Teen Sleepover & I didn't have enough Pork Chops thawed to feed everyone.

Groceries bought last week....
And most of that($25.09)was crap/snacks bought on Friday for the cream, chips, soda and pies.  I never went grocery shopping last week. The only 'real food' I did buy were a container of ricotta cheese, a gallon of milk and a dozen eggs.

This week I want to stock up on some salmon which is on sale.  This hasn't been a good price in ages so I'm spending what I have left in the budget for September on fish for the freezer.  I should have enough for about 5 lbs. worth.

So here is what I am planning on serving this week for meals, working solely on what I have already.

Sunday--Pork Chops, California veg. medley, leftover Potato Salad, Applesauce
Monday--Lasagna(using crumbled leftover meatloaf from last week in the sauce)
Tuesday--Fried Mac & Cheese(using up leftover mac/cheese), Mixed Veggies
Wednesday--Chicken Fried Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Broccoli
Thursday--Beef Pie Casserole w/carrots and green beans
Friday--Chicken Cheese Quesadillas, Green Salad

No take-out this week.  And I know that Tues. meal is lame but it's the only thing I can think of to get them to eat the leftover mac and cheese!lol  I look at this unhealthy choice this way....the Fair they hold this week is canceled this year due to the flooding....and they ate far worse stuff at the Fair so Tues. meal is my homage to fair

I've got most everything to accomplish this meal plan except I will have to buy carrots and salad greens along with our usual milk purchases for the week.
And some fresh fruit as we are all out.

I'm at $215.34 spent for September so far.
I've got $34.66 left in the food budget with 5 days left to go.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Weekend Feelings & Progress

Well my back gave out sometimes between Friday evening and Sunday morning.
This means I didn't get all the potential toy sale boxes gone through in storage before the weekend was over.

I have sorted many of them however.

I also got all the shelving put together and arranged in the garage.

 I have 40 shelves, 1 banquet table with a shelf on top, 1 card table, 1 tea cart, 1 patio table & 2 storage tubs I can use to put items on(fragile/heavy items like ceramic cookie jars, etc. that the shelving can't hold).  If needed I can also put the pool deck storage box in the driveway and display more items on that.

And I got the Advertising Flyer designed and ready to print.

Now I need to dust off and price all the items in the garage and put them out for display since there are so many boxes of items out there now you can't even walk
After I get that all priced and out(the empty boxes go into storage in case I need them to cart what doesn't sell to charity), I'll get back to going through what is left in storage.
I am tired.

And I am emotionally raw too.
It sucks to be me right now, but I know I have to face these feelings so I can get past them.

Going through all these boxes of items and deciding what to do with them has been rough.
I've had to confront some bad memories.......from a time when I wasn't very happy and bought some of this stuff.
I've had to confront things about myself.
Things like...what made me buy all this stuff in the first place.
Things like.....the waste of money.  I made money on this stuff but not being able to sell what is left and hanging onto it has cost money.
Things like....not making decisions for so many years on some of this stuff.  Not being able to let it go!
Things like....throwing good money after bad and not just cutting my losses sometimes.
Things like.....letting some of this stuff take over my life.
Things like.....feeling like a hoarder.  It runs in our family so I have to keep an eye on myself.

Spending so much time with all this crap just makes me depressed. 8-(

But I know I am getting better.
Because if I had tried to sell all this crap last year for as little as I am going to charge, I wouldn't have been able to go through with it!
This tells me that I have loosened my emotional hold on these "things".....or have they loosened their emotional hold on ME?!?!

At any rate, I'm done dealing with this stuff for today and tomorrow I'll continue to make preparations for the sale.

Here's hoping your Weekend brought you some time off or good progress toward a goal!


Friday, September 23, 2011

When You are a Plant, There is a Thing As Too Much Rain!

I can't remember if I shared this photo yet....yes, it's hell getting
Late last month I harvested my banana peppers.  There were a few left on the plants that were still green but I think the rabbits have since stripped the leaves and peppers that are left.

And I had a tremendous bounty of pie pumpkins out in the yard....

Last I counted there were 9 pumpkins.
Then the rains from 2 Hurricanes came through within a week of each other, dumping 16 inches on our yard.
All my ripened pumpkins rotted or fell victim to hungry chipmunks.
Same fate befell many of my tomatoes.

I was able to pick/save enough tomatoes to make one large batch of pasta sauce(besides the few we ate on sandwiches).  There will be no canning of tomatoes this year......

I was able to save one pumpkin....

Well, the chipmunks did nibble on it....

I cut that part off, roasted, pureed and froze the pulp.
The good news with the pumpkins is that there are two still out there that are just ripening now, so not all is lost.  I'll be picking and bringing them inside this weekend.

 And my volunteer Morning Glories survived the rainfall, dried out finally and are still blooming.

We'll be closing up the pool and the gardens this weekend.
Fall is officially here and the changing leaves have already stepped up the rate at which they are a changin'.

Here's hoping you can get outside this weekend and get your hands dirty!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Making Progress on the Toy Sale Prep

Here's an update on everything I've been working on to get ready to hold this Toy Garage Sale next month.

I've been getting boxes of inventory out of storage and going through them.
I sort every item into one of three piles....
1. Still worth selling on eBay-those boxes go into the living room
2. Going directly to Charity-those boxes get photographed and put into Hubs car trunk
3. For the Toy Sale-those boxes get stacked in the garage

I figure I've got about 1/3 of the inventory left in storage to go through.
As I hauled boxes out, I put back and organized other boxes(no-toy stuff)in the storage unit.

Here's a shot of the whole unit from Tuesday afternoon....

Well you can see the foreground of what is left in this shot.

Here is what's in back....
And in the very back....
The stack of boxes on the right in the picture contains empty boxes, extra bubble wrap and the one on the bottom is filled with toilet  All the rest is merchandise.

Here is what I organized.....
This set of tubs/boxes is all the extra toiletries and HBA products I have. There is 1 box left in the garage to take over and add to this stack.

In this picture(the stack with the paper towel rolls and facial tissue and the tubs behind that stack)shows my fabric stash.....well, some of my fabric stash.  I still have tubs of it in the garage to move.  But at least now in storage, all the fabric is in one place.

I got the last 3 shelving units taken out of storage on Tuesday.  After I get them cleaned up I can start arranging all the shelving in the garage for the sale.
Yesterday I began rearranging and emptying some of the shelving already in the garage.
I cleared 3 shelves on this unit.....

And I cleared 1 shelf on this one.....
The shelf below the one I cleared is toys I need to go through to sort, so I consider it half cleared off

Now you are probably wondering WHAT was ON those shelves I cleared, aren't you?
The 1 shelf above I cleared was stockpiled noodles, canned cheese, foil and plastic wrap(the plastic is not mine, it's Hubs!).  All that just got consolidated into the other big shelving unit of stockpile goods.
But the unit I cleared 3 shelves off had held most of my TP stockpile.  So I shifted some and filled up these shelves above and below with TP, since they are too tall or too low for holding the toys that are for sale.......

And the rest of the TP stockpile was moved to here.....

Under the bed in Daughter's ex-bedroom where piles of her crap use to live.  So now my TP stockpile is spread out over 3 locations.....bedroom, garage, storage.  I hate that but it's only temporary until the toy sale is over.  Then I'll move what is in storage into the garage(where the toys sat for the sale) in preparation for getting rid of the storage unit.  It should all fit by then since we'll be using it down some.  Just pray I don't find a sale on TP anytime soon that makes it free with Qs and promotions....then we'll be in trouble!lol

Next up on my plate here.....
1. Getting the last of the shelving into the garage and organized.  I have the boxes of what I am planning on putting into the toy sale stacked out there and there is no room to move around.  The shelves need to go into place and I need to take some tubs of fabric out of there and put into storage, now that there is room in there for them to be stacked neatly. 
2. After organizing shelving for the sale, I can start to put the toys out on the shelves, making room in the garage for more boxes.  Then I can haul more loads of boxes of toys home to sort through.  I hope to finish getting all the boxes of stuff here for sorting(and get them sorted!)by the end of the weekend.  That should keep me on schedule for now.

Wish me luck!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It's All About the Rite-Aid Baby!....A Woot!, The End of an Era and some Ranting

Ok, so that title may be a little misleading.  It IS about Rite-Aid but in a larger sense it's about couponing too in general.
So even if you don't Rite-Aid, it's worth reading....maybe. ;-)

First off, I need to catch up with a Rite-Aid trip I took weeks! ago.
It's a big one......are you ready for it?

1 x Doritos on sale=$2.50

No Coupons were used.

I used $2 in +Up Rewards to pay and put the .50¢ remaining on my free to me Rite-Aid gift card.
I received no new +Ups.

Here is my updated Grand Totals at Rite-Aid for the September SCR Period.....

Number of Transactions.....1
Total Spent....$.50 put on free gift card
Value of Items....$4.29
SCR qualified for...$0.00
Other Rebates earned...$0.00
Gift Cards earned....$0.00
+Up Rewards earned...$0.00
+Up Rewards spent.....$2.00
+Up Rewards left to spend.....$0.00*
And I have $32.65 left on my gift card.**

And now, the monthly totals so far.

Number of Transactions......1
Total Spent....$.50 put on free Gift Cards/Certificates so ZERO OOP

Number of Items purchased.....1
Value of Items purchased....$4.29
SCR qualified for....$0.00
Other Cash....$0.00
Additional Rebates....$0.00
Additional Non-Cash Rewards....$0.00

+UPS Totals for September SCR period
+Up Rewards carryover from 8/26.....$2.00

+Up Rewards spent....$2.00
+Up Rewards earned....$
+Up Rewards left....$0.00  includes ALL +Ups not just ones from this SCR period

*If you remember, I was owed $2 in +Up Rewards from last month.  I opted to return the item instead of fighting to get my rightly deserved +Ups from Corporate.  So instead of having $4 in +Ups, I started September with $2.

**After returning the item in question above, I got a credit toward my gift card balance so that it why it is larger than August's ending balance.

If you haven't noticed yet, I've been taking a Rite-Aid break.
I want to share 2 different thoughts on deal hunting at Rite-Aid with you.

First I want to blow my own horn.

Since I wore myself out physically yesterday at storage I have been doing nerdy sedentary things going over all my spreadsheets and transaction logs for recent years from Rite-Aid.
Because that's what us nerds like to do! 8-)

I found I achieved a major accomplishment with my Rite-Aid shopping.
From September of 2010 through August of 2011, I spent not one cent of my own money at Rite-Aid.
That's one solid year, 12 months, of hauling home bags and bags of goods without forking over ANY CASH.

Sssssshhh....don't tell them.
Between sales, strategic use of coupons, +Up Rewards and free gift cards I was able to supply my family with toiletries, HBA, cleaning supplies and a little bit of food(and non-foods like snacks and candy) for $0.00 spending.

It would have been 3 months longer(from June 2010-August 2011)without spending actual cash, if I had taken a RA gift card on vacation with me in August of 2010 and hadn't paid $8.99 cash for that coffeemaker I bought at a Rite-Aid in New Hampshire.

Here are the numbers.....

From September 2010 through August 2011 at Rite-Aid--
I spent $0.00 cash OOP.
I spent $141.97 in gift cards that cost me $0.00 cash to obtain.
I took home merchandise that retailed for $11,224.28.
I earned gift cards/certificates worth $95 during this time.
I earned cash rebates of $412.12 during this time.
I also sold excess items for $682 cash.
I gave away many items to friends and family, as well as made 3 sizable  food bank donations from the excess items.
I also still have an "ass ton" sized stockpile of drugstore items.

So you could look at this and say that I was paid $1,094.12 in cash(rebates and garage sale profit)to take $11,224.28 worth of merchandise home from the store.
Now if THAT is not an accomplishment, I don't know what is!LOL

You may notice that my free gift card value earned was less than my gift cards used during this 12 months, so how did I not spend any cash on all this?

In 2010, there were MANY SCR deals that gave gift cards instead of cash.  I must have pursued ALL of those deals, since from 7/2010 until 12/2010 I earned $280 in free gift cards.(I earned even more gift cards earlier in 2010 which I am not recounting here.) And that $280 worth doesn't even count the ones I earned from transferring prescriptions to Rite-Aid last year that earned me a $25 gift card for each one.  This explains why all my $141.97 OOP was paid for with gift card that cost me nothing to obtain.
And I still have about $70 left from my gift card stash.

Another thing I noticed was that since Rite-Aid introduced the +Wellness and the +Ups Rewards program early in 2010(Feb. in my area since it was within a test market program), this is the FIRST TIME I have had NO +Up Rewards in 20 contiguous months to spend.  At. All.

My Other Thought--
Now, I love my Rite-Aid stores here and the people who work there.
While my local employees are missing me coming to see them(yes, I am loved!lol),the bean counters in corporate are breathing a sigh of relief that, for now, my plundering and pillaging of Rite-Aid is over.
Now they don't have me to bring down their profit numbers.
Maybe now, my local Rite-Aid stores can show a profit. ;-)
(Did I say NOW enough times for you in the last few sentences?lol)

So I'll look at my Rite-Aid break as my way of helping them stay in business.
Because it everybody shopped there like I did/do, they would be long gone. ;-)

On the down side, the "perfect storm" of conditions that aided me in getting so much for free at Rite-Aid no longer exist.
I benefited from being able to combine SCR deals, free gift card deals, liberal coupon policies, bonus coupons and deals and promotions from the company and some amazing deals that made many items free.  It was all perfectly ethical, legal and in every other way acceptable.  I didn't scam any one or do anything immoral to get what I got. You just had to be motivated and dedicated enough to work all the angles and take advantage of all the opportunities.  It was by no means easy and yes, it took time and energy.

Currently, Rite-Aid offers no prescription transfer incentives, no survey coupon incentives, no $X off $XX coupons, no gift card SCR deals, +Up Rewards and Single Check Rebates that require you to spend too much OOP even after coupons to get them.
Add in that they have restricted their Coupon Policy twice in the last year and that the Manufacturers have clamped down on releasing high value coupons or even any coupons at all for certain products
AND have raised the cost of their products in this economy.

Every opportunity has tightened up so much(if it even still exists!), your results will NOT net you as much free stuff as before.  Not at Rite-Aid or any store that you can name.
That's just the world we currently live in.

Will it change?
You bet!
Retailing is ever could get better or it could get worse, and it will probably do both over the coming years.
Just keep your thumb on the pulse of retailing and be prepared to seize deals and opportunities when you find them.

I, for one, am anxious to see where shopping in 2012 leads us!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

September Food Spending Week 2.5 and Menu Plan

 I love this little Flow Chart from Summer Tomato to help you find REAL FOOD in the grocery store.
Check it out!lol

Speaking of supermarkets, I made 3 trips to the grocery store last week...really 1 trip last week and 2 trips into Week 3 or Week  I can't seem to line up the weeks with the menu plans.  I need to come up with a better system for reporting in.

The local market had some BOGO sales so I stocked up on basic things like onions, potatoes, bread and bagels(as I didn't get over to the Bread Outlet yet).  I bought a number of items for #2 son for snacking including 1/2 off muffins, juice, pizza and chicken strips. Also some Gatorade for band practice, and sweets like ice cream and pie.
I picked up some deals.....a package of trout, a package of hot dog rolls, frozen veggies, as well as a General Mills Promotional Deal when you bought 8 items you received $4 off your total.  For that I bought 4 boxed veggies, 1 sack of flour and 3 rolls of whack biscuits.  Total w/sale prices was $ after $4 and $2 in Qs off=$5.59 for 8 items.
I also used a $10 gift card I won ages ago to pay for a part of this order so my $20.84 total was $10.84 OOP.

My meal plan for last week ended up looking like this....
Monday--Ravioli, Salad
Tuesday--BLT Sandwiches
Wednesday--Mac & Cheese, Cauliflower
Friday--Chinese take out
Saturday--Pecan Crusted Chicken, Cream of Spinach

The only items I needed to buy to accomplish this menu?.....A loaf of bread

So this week, using what I bought last week and what was already in the freezer/pantry, is looking like this.....

Sunday--Spaghetti and Meatballs(fresh sauce from garden and homemade balls for the freezer)
Monday--Chicken Biscuits, Corn(roll of biscuits, frozen chicken patties and corn in freezer)
Tuesday--Trout, Fries, Pan Roasted Summer Veggies(trout and taters I bought, veg. in freezer)
Wednesday--Pork Chops w/Apricot Glaze, Potato Salad, Brussel Sprouts(chops in freezer, taters and sprouts I bought)
Thursday--Meatloaf, Roasted Potatoes and Carrots(beef in freezer, taters I bought)
Saturday--Hot Dogs, Leftover Veggies/Potato Salad(dogs in freezer, rolls I bought)

Left to buy for this menu.....Carrots.
I know it's heavy on potatoes but 2 of us ate a lot of rice last week for snack meals and for lunch, so I'll make #2 son happy and serve fries instead of rice with the trout.

Last week I spent $116.29 at the store on $217.74 worth of items, for a savings rate of 46.60%.
I only used $4 in Qs.  Seriously, I can't find a coupon deal unless I want to buy a bunch of processed stuff lately.

I have spent a total of $181.47 so far for September in 2.5 weeks.  $68.53 left in the food budget with 11 days to go so I am short about $20 at this point in the month.

This week we need some dairy and eggs and I'll pick up what is on special and work it into a menu for next week.
If I find some good deals I won't worry about that $20 overage.

At this point, I'll hold off going to the bread store until next week or October.
I'm debating doing the Campbell's Catalina at Price Chopper(for the Prego sauce) as it will put me over the budget if I do.

What are y'all eating and buying this week?


Monday, September 19, 2011

A 7 Post.....Play Along

I am stealing this Post Idea from Judy over at We May Be Poor, But We Are Happy.  

It's about SEVEN THINGS.....the things we have done in this year to make your lives better, 7 things you still want to do, and 7 goals for next year.
Since I don't have debt any longer, you won't see any pay-offs of loans here.  It's a bit harder to come up with accomplishments for me. ;-)

7 Things We Have Done This Year

1. Paid for College w/cash
2. Put over $22,000 into Savings
3. Kept my Grocery Speding to an average of $207 month
4. Paint Half Bath after 11 years here
5. Donated to Food Bank and Salvation Army
6. Held 2 successful Toiletries Sales
7. Had a Garden

7 Things Still To Do This Year

1. Go through all boxes in storage
2. Sell and/or Donate inventory in boxes
3. Close Pool down/Clean up Yard
4. Sew Stuff
5. Put another $10000 into Savings
6. Clean the Garage-yet again

7 Things To Do in 2012

1. Redo Bathroom
2. Paint Living Room/Dining Room
3. Replace flooring in LR/DR
4. Fix Ceilings
5. Pay cash for more College
6. Go through Fabric Stash
7. De-Clutter

So what are your accomplishments?
And what do you still want to get done this year and in 2012?

Aaaargh.....I'm off to get another load from storage, matey! 



Friday, September 16, 2011

It Done Rained on my Master Plan

Circumstances beyond my control(isn't EVERYTHING pretty much beyond my control?lol)have caused me to change my Decluttering plans.

Here is what I was going to do....
1. Sell Stockpile goods leftover from Garage Sales at the local Flea Market.  Hopefully this would leave me with little extra stock to store away for later.
2.  Go through boxes of  "Stuff to Sell" in storage unit.  Sort into 3 piles--A)eBay worthy, B)Charity Donation worthy, C)Toy Sale worthy.
Many of the things I haven't put on eBay yet in storage are not worth the expense or time involved to sell them there any longer.  Prices are down, shipping costs are up and fees well, I don't even want to THINK about the cost of some of those anymore!!
So I'll be sorting through every single item in every single box.  If it's still worth putting on eBay, I will do that.  If it's not worth selling there, it goes into my Garage Sale Toy stack.  I plan on filling the garage with all this stuff, advertising it and having a big Before Christmas Toy Sale.  Garage Sale prices on new in the package older toys and collectibles.
And after I hold this, there will be many donations to charity with what is left.
3. Hold the Garage Sale Toy Sale.  This will require a massive reorganizing and temporary cleaning out of the garage as soon as possible.  I am shooting for mid October to hold the sale....close enough to Christmas to get people to buy but not so cold that we can't open the garage door and extend the area were we can display items since it is NOT all going to fit inside the garage.
Trust's an ass ton! ;-)
After the Master Plan is implemented, I would be able to fit everything I have in storage into the garage(no, we don't actually keep CARS in our garage....what of it?lol)and stop renting that unit.

Well that WAS the plan.....

Hubs and I were going to do the local Flea Market this Sunday or next at the local drive-inn theater.
We've had a couple of successful outings there in the past 2 years selling my excess Stockpile of Toiletries/Food/Household Goods.
You can read about our 1st trip in Oct. of 2009 HERE and our 2nd trip in May of 2010 HERE.

Then The Great Flood of 2011 happened.
The Drive-In was decimated by the flood so it is closed under further notice.
I can't share photos of the damage so if you'd like to see it, go to their Facebook Page.

I feel badly for their losses and I hope they can rebuild.  It would be a shame to lose them.

So no flea market for me.
Now I have to box up all the leftover toiletry goods and find a place for them in the storage unit temporarily.

The 2nd part of my "Master Plan" has now begun.  I've gone through 30 boxes so far and need to make another trip to storage for more boxes to sort through.  Most of the stuff so far has gone into the Garage Toy Sale pile.  This is my main chore for this weekend.

Next week I start Part 3--Getting the garage cleaned up and rearranged to display all the toys, deciding on what day to hold the Sale and getting the word out to advertise it.

Back to plowing through the stuff.
Wish me luck!

So what's on your weekend agenda?


More September Decluttering P*rn......Ooooh Baby!

For your decluttering viewing pleasure, here's another installment of Salvation Army worthy P*rn.

Most of today's haul is courtesy of #2 son from The Great Dig Out of 2011.  Along with all the trash we pitched, we also salvaged stuff worthy of a Sallie's donation.  A few things are courtesy of Hubs as he spent part of Sunday cleaning off his dresser. (Bonus points if you can spot which items were part of his donation to the effort.)  The rest is from my boxes of merchandise I have begun to go through from storage.

  September Donation #2

15 young adult books
2 Cube World cubes
2 Gamecube Game Books
1 Get Smart beanbag doll
1 hand massager
1 collectible tin box
1 Crayola Xmas ornament
1 quartz hand carved turtle
1 set of Speed Stacking cups
1 pair of safety goggles

1 pair of Designer Sneakers(hardly worn)
1 Power Rangers Lunchbox
1 LL Bean Lunchbox
1 over the door bathroom rack
1 roll of wallpaper border
1 package of stationary

1 GI Joe Footlocker
1 Star Wars Figure Maker toy
1 Sylvester the Cat Pen
3 Star Wars Pez Dispensers
1 Matchbox helicopter
1 Cat in the Hat Watch
1 Pokemon cards Booklet and collection of cards
1 collectible Mets die-cast car
2 Legos Bionicle comic books
1 Star Wars boxes and figures Set

More Decluttering coming soon to a blog near you!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Brain & A Check Go Missing & 4.5 Years Ago Today

2 days ago I got mail from my insurance company.
Inside was a Notice of Cancellation of our homeowner's policy.


After I picked my excessively large butt off the floor I then said....


I am a class act if nothing else.

Seems we are being terminated for lack of payment.
Translation--The insurance company didn't get our check!

So I went to the checkbook register to see if indeed I wrote and recorded a check.
Yes, July 29th.

So I went online to our bank account and saw that the check in question had not been cashed yet.

Now I am thinking that it got lost while in the capable hands of the almost bankrupt US Postal Service.

But just in case that is NOT the answer I began to go through the stacks of paper on my desk.

I have stacks and stacks of paperwork on my desk and on the bookcase next to my desk.
It's about hit Critical Mass Stage and needs to be filed, organized or otherwise pitched.
This MIA check payment was just the impetus I needed to start throwing papers around and muttering under my breath.
Ok, so I mutter under my breath anyway.....

And after 2 hours of thrashing about I did NOT turn up the missing check or envelope or anything!
So I started channeling my dead doggie Mango(which meant I started grumbling and saying "Crap!" in the cute grumpy old doggie voice we imagined he would have had, had he been capable of speech)and I went about putting all those papers back into assorted piles.

About an hour later, #2 son comes home from school and is raiding the kitchen for snacks.
As I am standing next to my desk talking to him, I look at the space between the back of the desk and the wall it sits in front of.  There, laying halfway underneath the desk is an envelope.  I get the yardstick and fish it out from behind the desk.

Do I REALLY have to say what it was??lol
Yes all you Miss Cleo's the envelope with the missing check.
It seems in the chaos, that was my August, the payment never actually got mailed.

This is so unlike me.....yah, that's my story.

So yesterday I bopped up to the agent's office and hand delivered said insurance payment.
All is now right with the universe until the next bookkeeping catastrophe hits.

Which brings me to the second part of this post.
As I was looking at the paperwork I enclosed with insurance payment, I saw that they still have our mortgage company listed as the lien holder on our house.
Hell NO!!
I need to get the release papers out to send to the insurance company so they take the mortgage company off.

You see, 4 years and 6 months ago today, we paid off our mortgage in full.
March 15, 2007.
I will never forget that date.
That is our personal Independence Day.

By paying off our 30 year fixed rate mortgage in 6 years, 6 months & 25 days instead of 30 years, we saved roughly $109,088.00 in interest.

If we had taken 30 years to pay off the mortgage we would have paid out $142,792.39 in interest alone.
We only paid less than 24% of that interest amount by not dragging out the payments the full 30 years.

And yes, the grass IS greener now in the yard & the air IS fresher without a mortgage! ;-)
And yes, it IS easier to squirrel away money into savings....a LOT of money into savings, once you aren't paying a mortgage too.
Money to buy cars with cash.
Money to pay cash for college.
Money to pay cash for most anything if you save up that new found income instead of buying stuff with it.

If being mortgage-free is your dream I hope you get there, and I hope it's soon.
You can do it!  8-)


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I Attempt to Answer a Reader's Question

A reader of mine(I LOVE saying that!lol) named Free!~ asked a question the other day in the comments.
I thought it was a great question and worthy of a blog post.

She is a newish blogger and wondered how to find readers.

So I went over and checked her blog out to see what she was doing already or not.

One thing you need to do is 'enable' the "Follow" feature if you have a Blogger blog.
This lets folks who want to follow you do so with Google Friend Connect and/or put your blog into their Google Reader so they can find your new blog posts in their reader each day and not to go have to search through all the blogs they read.  Personally, I throw every blog I like to read into my "Favorites" on my computer, so I have the URLs bookmarked.

While you don't have to have your "Follow" feature abled, it's nice to see all those icons and your number of followers on your blog's home page. 8-)

So how to gain readers?
*  Well you could do giveaways and/or contests to get readers.  Either find a company to sponsor a prize or if you are independently weather, supply a prize yourself. ;-)
Make people become followers as a way to get an entry to your giveaway.
Make people blog about your contest to get an entry.
Make people post on facebook and/or twitter to get an entry.
Make people have a friend enter your giveaway(and when they say XX friend told them to enter, give both an entry).
Post your Giveaway/Contest on one of the Blogs that sponsor a Giveaway Post(this is a post were you can link to your Giveaway from their blog).  Do a search for Giveaway Memes or Giveaway Blogs.
Do a joint Giveaway with another Blog.  Connect with another blogger(or more than 1 other)to do a joint giveaway.  That way you get to cross advertise your giveaways on that other blogger's site.

*  Find another Blogger who is looking for "Guest Posts".  In your travels reading around the Blogisphere you will come across other bloggers who want other bloggers to write a post for their blog.
Either they want fresh ideas or they will be unable to blog for some time and need new posts to fill in rather than rerunning old material.

* If you have a blog you enjoy and read, write to that blogger and see if you can do a link exchange.  Most bloggers will put you on their Blogroll as a courtesy.  Some not so much but it doesn't hurt to ask.
I personally follow different types of blogs.  I have gotten onto some of their blogrolls, but the ones who limit their blogroll to one type of blogs(personal finance, deals, humor, etc.)often won't exchange links with me since I am all over the places with topics.  If you are strictly say a frugality blog, it's easier to find other strictly frugality blogs to exchange links with.

You've got a nice Blogroll already Free!~ so contact all those blog owners about a link exchange.

*  Some bloggers run "Carnivals".  This is a special post of a collection of blog posts from many different blogs, usually on a certain theme or POV.  You can submit particular posts and they choose which ones they want to include and the resulting Carnival Post will contain Links to all the selected posts.  Carnivals can have many different themes and topics.....frugality, single moms, personal finance, retirement,  homesteading, working moms, Christian moms, etc.

Often times bloggers will reach out and showcase other blogs they find with some "Linky Love" and point their readers in the direction of a new or new-to-them blog.

*  You need to actively get your blog out there.  If you read someone's blog that you enjoy, say something.  The more you comment of other blogs, the more other bloggers will notice you......then they will go check out your blog and if they like what they read, they will stick around and keep reading you.
If you have family and/or friends in 'real life' then tell them about your, unless you are dishing those family and/or friends on your

*  If you are desperate and rich enough, you could also buy ads on popular blogs to advertise yourself.   I haven't gotten to either desperate or rich enough yet!
Or you could write an actual book and advertise your blog on your book tour.  Yah, that's my plan!lolol

It might help if you have a Blogger blog to go into your dashboard, into the Analytics or STATS pages of your blog.  There you can look up how many page views you have, how many readers and how they are getting to your blog....through a search engine or a certain other blog, etc.....and where they live and what type of browser they are using.  This information might be informative in going forward or it could just be fun and a time waster, depending on what you do with it.

So who out there has some other great ideas to help readers find your blog? 
I have some great brilliant readers so let's hear some ideas!

Oh, and it never hurts to butter up your readers and stroke their egos......!

And before I forget, this great question came from Free!~ over at Pay The Bills or Feed The Kids.  Go check her out if you get a chance.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Flood of 2011

What do you get when you put 8 inches of rain from Hurricane Irene with 8 inches of rain from Hurricane Lee?

At least in this area, here is what you get.....

Though we are saely high and dry up on the mountain, the clean up has begun for those not so fortunate in the valley.
Pictures of devastation are still coming in on the local news from areas they are just getting access to since the flood.

Only 2 flood related deaths so far from this Flood but the property damage will far outweigh what the Agnes Flood in 1972 caused.  At least we lost fewer lives if you can see that as a bright spot.

Lee  2011 is the new benchmark for disaster in this region.

Hold your family tighter tonight.  Don't sweat the "stuff".


Of Menu Plans & September Food Spending Week 1

I set right to spending on food in September.

It took me all of 2 days to get to the store and go on a $50.56 spending spree.
I bought 8 pizzas(5 small, 3 big), 2 boxes of frozen fruit bars, a 2 lb. block of cheddar cheese, a box of pancake mix, 2 watermelons, 2 bags of salad, 1 container of sour cream, a package of  sweet Italian sausage patties and a bag of brown sugar.
I coupon & sale prices later and I had a savings rate of 31% over reg. retail.

Then on the 6th, I hit another grocery store and bought....1 roasting chicken, a bag of onion rings, another pizza(what can I say?lol) and 2 bags of Doritos for a grand total of $14.62.
Hubs also picked up a gallon of milk for $3.77.

Grand Total for the 1st week of September food spending is $68.95.
My Food Spending Budget is $250 per month so we are sort of on target for the week.

My menu last week ended up being this....

Sunday--Fish, French Fries, Snap Peas(all from freezer or pantry)
Monday--Chinese (take-out on Entertainment budget)
Tuesday--Meatball Subs, Salad(all but salad from freezer or pantry)
Wednesday--Roast Chicken, Roasted Carrots, Onions, Potatoes, Gravy(carrots, potatoes, onions from pantry)
Thursday--Kielbasa on Rolls, leftover Veggies(all from freezer or pantry)
Friday--Subway sammies (take-out on Entertainment budget)
Saturday--Leftovers or Burritos(all from freezer or pantry)

Miscellaneous--#2 son ate 6 pizzas and 1/2 bag of onion rings.  These are his 'snacking foods'.

As of today, I still have 2 of the 9 pizzas, most of 1 watermelon, most of the cheddar cheese, the sugar, the sour cream, 1/2 of a bag of salad, the sausage patties, the pancake mix, 1/2 bag of onion rings, both bags of Doritos(this is shocking that no one has eaten them yet!lol) and a couple of fruit bars(my vice)from last week's shopping.

So far this week my Meal Plan is this....

Sunday--Tacos(using up ground beef in fridge by adding some ground chicken from freezer and some of the huge block of cheddar)
Monday--Ravioli, Salad(using ravioli in freezer)
Tuesday--BLT Sandwiches(using garden tomatoes, bacon from freezer)
Wednesday--Mac & Cheese, Broccoli and Cauliflower(using some of that huge block of cheddar)
Thursday--Spaghetti and Meatballs(using meatballs in freezer and making fresh pasta sauce from garden tomatoes)

I'll have to dig in the freezer and see what proteins I find and get inspired to use for Fri/Sat.  I don't plan on buying any meats this week unless I find a surprise deal.
I need bread badly as we are fresh out, onions(down to my last one), cauliflower, more milk and Hubs bought more lettuce on Sunday so we've spent on food this week already.

How much did you spend last week and how is your food spending shaping up for this week?


Monday, September 12, 2011

The Great Dig Out of 2011

It's finally done.
And I am wiped out.

I began the process of digging out #2 son's bedroom a week ago.  After slowly making progress during the week, this past weekend we did the "big push" to get it finished.

Yah  see, #2 son took over #1 son's bedroom when #1 went away to college in the fall of 2009.
#2 had the smallest bedroom(being the youngest)so he got the upgrade when #1 left home 2 years ago.

I had told #2 to take all of #1's stuff and put it into #2's old bedroom before moving his stuff in.
And I didn't check that he did before he put his stuff in there.
My first mistake.

Then I didn't inspect his room for 2 years.
That was my second mistake. 

Ok, I'd pop my head in and tell him to clean his room now and then(I have a duty as a mother to tell him that, right?),  but if things were off the floor and stuck under his bed or in his closet, I didn't see them.
I have a laissez-faire attitude when it comes to kids' bedrooms.
As long as their mess doesn't extend out into the hallway and doesn't smell like a sink full of month old food and dirty dishes, it doesn't concern me.
I give the kids some leeway on how they want to live in their bedrooms.
They want to live in a pigsty?  Fine.  Just don't expect me to clean it up.

But I really should have kept a closer eye on #2 son's filth.  He is after all, the kid who had a used ball of masking tape.....

I found this when I attempted to clean his room while he was away at camp 4 years ago.

I spent the week, off and on, going through what I had mucked out of the corner of his bedroom.....

And the bulk of the weekend was spent going through all this.....

The last 2 photos are what was under his bed.  Sorry, but I didn't get a shot of what was crammed into his closet.

I also removed a white shelving unit from the room.  Our family is "horizontal surface challenged".  Any flat surface gets crap piled on it.  #2 son would pile stuff on it until it eventually fell off onto the floor.
Then he would leave that where it fell and pile something new on the shelf, repeating the cycle.
No shelf and he has to deal with the stuff(throw it away or put it away).

And here is what under the bed now looks like....

And here is what we are throwing away.....

This doesn't include the dishes, silverware, glasses and soda cans or the items going to Salvation Army that he has outgrown.
8 Bags and 3 Boxes full of unmitigated another garbage bag full on the front porch.

And hidden among the normal garbage output that a 15 year old boy is capable of I found this.....
52 plastic spoons.
I dumped the bag I had collected them into on the kitchen table and just looked at him with that motherly "WTF is this??!" look on my face.
He didn't even crack a smile and said like it was the most matter of fact thing, "I was bored in the cafeteria at school so I took spoons."
Yes folks, your school tax dollars at work.....buying overpriced plastic spoons so some angst filled teen can squirrel them away like acorns for winter.

It was all I could do not to whack him upside his head.

I am keeping these spoons and making him use each and every one.
And then I'm washing them and making him use them some more until he gets the message.
You can call me Mommy Dearest if you want.
At least I'll have one clean bedroom in the house when they cart me away to Parent Prison.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Have Passed

I had just taken possession of a storage unit down the road from our house on Sept. 10th, 2001.
I was up bright and early(VERY UNLIKE me to be up so early!) the next morning moving my stuff into storage..  It was Sept. 11th.

While I sat going through emails at my computer I had the tv next to me turned on to the CBS Morning Show.  I was half listening to the tv.
I was trying to finish emails so I could get my first load of stuff out to storage by 9 am. 
I was taking a swig of tea as the Morning Show came back from commercial to close out the show at around 8:50.
The camera was trained on the WTC and smoke was billowing out of one of the towers.  Bryant Gumbel was saying that it appeared that a small plane had gone off course and accidentally crashed into the WTC.
The hairs on the back of my neck raised.  Though it looked tiny on my screen because their camera was so far away, no small plane made what I was looking at!
My first thought was to the '93 WTC bombing.  (At our old house we were within the NYC network affiliates coverage area so I saw massive local NYC coverage of that event.  Back in Feb. 1993 I had a newborn baby and a toddler so I was chained to the house with the tv always on.)
I KNEW the plane was big and this was going to be worse than WTC '93(in damage and lives lost) but I had no clue of what was still to come.

As I sat here alone, staring at the CBS camera shot of the towers with Bryant Gumbel blathering on in the background, I saw on live tv the second plane hit.
I remember I sharply sucked air into my lungs and forgot to breath it out.
I sat paralyzed as the seconds ticked by.

Then I remembered to breath again.
And I started saying, "Oh my G*d....Oh my G*d.....Oh my G*d...." softly, over and over again.

I ran to the phone to call Hubs at work.
He already knew what had happened.  There is a large screen tv in the building's lobby and the security guard at the front desk had called upstairs after the the first plane hit was broadcast on tv.
The company had turned on tv sets on each floor and Hubs could see it from his work space.
I told him to come home.
He said he would as soon as he could.

I went back to the den and sat glued to the tv coverage.
As reports came in that a plane was missing and headed for San Francisco I thought of an online friend who lived near there.
Though I've never met her in person or spoken to her other than online, I called her to warn her not to go to work today.
She thought I was daft as it was just after 7 in the morning there and I woke her up.  But she lives near the airport so I was worried.

 I turned my attention back to the tv coverage.  By now they had reporters in the streets around the towers. 

Then the south tower fell. 
The scenes now on the ground were dark and smoky.  Panic stricken people running, paper and ash flying.  There were scads of alarms going off, like a chorus of chirping electronic birds on the audio coming out from my tv.  The news reporters didn't address those sounds but I knew what they were from the coverage of the '93 bombing.
Those were the firefighter signals that they wear on their gear.  It helps locate downed firefighters during a fire.  When you can't see for the smoke and blazes, you can hear that signal.
Tons of signals were going off.
There were no firefighters at that point to locate after the towers fell.
The sound made me sick to my stomach.

A bit later they started talking about other targets after the Pentagon was hit.
I thought about the nuclear reactor nearby.
Then I thought about the elementary school my kids were is between home and that reactor.
I called the school.  The lines were jammed.  I found out later that panicked parents drove to school and were storming the place searching for their kids. 
I figured the kids were safely in the hands of the grownups at the school.

I kept myself from getting hysterical that no one was home yet.  After word came about Flight 93 going down between Pittsburgh and Johnstown I paced the floor and asked G*d to bring my husband and kids home to me.

My youngest was in half day Kindergarten and came home at noon.  The older grades were released and my other 2 were home at 1.
By 1:30 Hubs was home and I could relax a bit.

A call from SIL who's boyfriend lived in Weehawken, NJ confirmed that the BF was ok and hadn't been in Manhattan that day.  He was a freelance writer who often had business in the city.

Days later we got word that a few parents of kids my kids knew at school were missing.  We are an outer bedroom commuter community for the metro NYC area.  Though it's a 3 hour drive each way, people live here and work in the city (or NE NJ).  Some stay in the city during the week and come home on weekends so they can raise their family in a nicer area(with lower crime, lower cost of living, etc.).
We heard that the father of one of my oldest son's classmates in his parochial school(which he had attended the previous year when we lived outside of Port Jervis NY)had perished in the attack.  He was a NYC firefighter who's family lived in Milford, PA and he commuted in for his job.

My BIL lived in West Orange, NJ. There is a park on a cliff there were he said you could watch the smoke rise from Manhattan for days afterwards.

The hardest part for me was how to explain in an age appropriate way what had happened to a 5, 8 and 10 yr old.  2 of them came home very scared because older kids on the bus were saying outlandish lies about what had happened to try to get them upset.
So they were confused and upset once they arrived home.
Having to keep them calm and get things back to normal in their lives helped me to stay in control of myself.

Otherwise, I just remember being sad, very sad.
It was a sad time.
Empathy for all those people who were murdered while just carrying on with their daily lives.
Even more sadness toward the heroes/martyrs....the firefighters, the policemen/women, the passengers on those planes.

A certain amount of remembering and honoring that time/incident is good.  The coming together as a nation was awesome.
But that first year after wards, the media wouldn't let loose of it.  I thought how can people get past this bad thing if they have to hear about it incessantly?
And then every Sept. 11th since(and the weeks before and after)the media gets the "911 bone", drags it out and won't let it go.
Again, to keep flogging people with 911 is not good for anyone.
For those that were personally touched, let them experience their grief privately and no more parading it out in front of the nation.

Though I've been blogging for years now, I've never blogged about "that day" until now.
The 10th anniversary I just did.
And this will be the only time I blog about where I was, what I did and what I experienced personally.

It's time for this country to get past this wallowing in misery phase.
This is not the worst thing that has ever happened in the history of man, nor is it the worst thing that has happened to our country.
It IS the worst tragedy of our generation-dare I say so far?, especially because it involved private citizens and not the military during a time of war.

Previous generations would tell you that Pear Harbor was the worst tragedy of their generation.
And long gone generations would tell you that the Civil War was the worst tragedy of all in the USA.

Let's just hope that it's the last large scale tragedy and that future generation don't have to live through something like this, or worse.

Never forget but keep on truckin'!


Friday, September 9, 2011

Flood Update

First off, we are fine.
Honestly, if the river levels get to this elevation, then half of PA would be
We are on a mountain overlooking the valley where the big city sits.
We get flash flooding here when there is too much rain.
Once the rain travels downhill to the river, then the river overflows.

Wilkes-Barre, the big city, is a mess.
Word here is that the Susquehanna crested within the last hour or so.  It topped 42.6 feet.  This is higher than the flood in 1972 from Hurricane Agnes. 
But there is a levee system this time around although the flood gates only protect to 41 feet.
A system to protect the big city but if you are in low lying outer areas beyond the big city and it's 'burbs you are out of luck.
Places like Shickshinny, Mocanaqua, West Nanticoke, Pittston.

The drive-in where we do the flea market is in Shickshinny.  We had hoped to do the flea market in 2 weeks.  That might not happen now since it is underwater now.
Here is a photo of a grocery store I have a gift certificate to that is nearby the drive-in....

Here is a house down river from the drive-in, in a little town where a childhood friend of my oldest son lives.  This isn't his family's house but the whole town is swamped.  Note the valuables put on the roof for safekeeping....

Here is an aerial shot of the town where Daughter's boyfriend lives....

I called Daughter off at college.  She says BF's family is stuck in their house since they didn't evacuate yesterday as ordered.  The basement is filled and there is a foot of water on the 1st floor.  They have flood insurance thankfully but it's going to be a big long mess to get the house back to habitable.
Daughter said BF told her houses were floating by them down the river.
Another shot of his town....

And at the border between his town and the next....

Here is a shot of a town north of Scranton on the river.

Yesterday a part of I-80 was closed outside of Bloomsburg(it's west of us).  Today I-81 north of Clarks Summit is closed.

The Redner's grocery store I wanted to go to this week is swamped.  The whole shopping plaza is underwater.   The flood gates Redner's and KMart put up were worthless this time.  They just showed a live shot and it's all underwater.  The flood gates  at the Market St. bridge are leaking.  Water is running down Market St. toward the square in the center of Wilkes-Barre, but the pumping stations there can handle this amount of water.

Hubs friend at work can't leave his house.  He's in Tunkhannock and his county is under a state of emergency.  His house is on high ground but his small town is underwater.

Hershey PA is having massive flooding as well.

The sun is finally out here and the river is going down.
The coming days/weeks here are going to uncover quite a mess.

Watch out Mark.....things haven't crested yet down your way!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

I Knew I Should Have Built That Ark!

First we got 8 inches from Irene.
Now Lee has dumped days worth of rain on us.
It has not stopped raining here since Sunday.
The forecast is for at least another 5 days of rain.

5 major rivers in PA are at or near flood stage.
1 of them runs through Wilkes-Barre, which is right down the mountain from us.
They say this 'rain event' will cause historic flooding, not seen here since Hurricane Agnes in 1972.
Incidentally, the first time I ever heard of Wilkes-Barre PA growing up in Virginia Beach, VA was in 1972, when I read the local newspaper about the devastating flood caused by that hurricane.
I find it very strange that I ended up in this area in my adult life.
If you would have asked the younger me if I would be living in northeastern PA as a married mother of 3, I would have laughed and called you nuts. ;-)

This place and who I am now was NOT what I had planned for my life.

Yesterday the school buses here had to reroute.  A local stream and lake was over it's banks and on the highway.  The development next door's entrance road was under 3 feet of water from the creek next to it.
Yes you idiot developers, there was a REASON that area had been a wetlands for eons!  Thanks so much for putting a road there and building all those lovely houses in dangers way.....

The Susquehanna is rising fast and there are 5 more days of rain forecast.

They have already put the flood gates up last night, cutting off travel to the grocery store I was planning to go to tomorrow.

The valley below us will be in deep doo doo soon.  There was a big creek flood back in July in a town next to Wilkes-Barre....

Yesterday the regions amusement park got hit too with flooding like they saw in 2006....

Of course that place gets flooded out every few years.  It also saw flooding in March of 2011.
I am assuming another of the local flooding suspects, The Bloomsburg Fair Grounds will be inundated with water from Fishing Creek if it isn't already. (You know it's gonna, right Judy?lol)
I hope they can get it cleaned up by the last week in September for the Bloomsburg Fair.
Bloom Fair is seriously bigtime around here.  Heck, the local kids get excused from school to go to the fair because half the families who are in power around here have food concessions at the fair.
Yes, another symptom of corruption here in the Capital of KIDS FOR CASH LAND......

If y'all don't hear from me for a few days I am just trying to keep my head above water.....LITERALLY!lol

Sluggy in the land of the wet

Wilkes-Barre has mandated evacuation by 4pm today for all the areas that flooded in 1972 by Agnes.  That's about 70,000 people living in that area.  There is 1 bridge over the river that is still left open and that has been jammed all day with people trying to get to one side of the river or the other.  Many shelters are opened and the Salvation Army store has been turned into a shelter.  

The river here is at 38.5 feet over flood stage.  It is projected to crest at 42 ft. by tomorrow night.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

$32K Savings Challenge for 2011.....AUGUST RESULTS

Ok, here is my Savings Challenge Update post.
Yes, the one where I piss everyone off.
Seems like folks don't want to hear about what I save, besides a few blogging friends who I cherish their cheerleading and constant know who you are! ;-)
This post is NOT about bragging or showing off.

It's about the results of what you can do financially if you tighten your belt, stop buying CRAP and be persistent with keeping track of where every dollar goes(well, most dollars if you have a less than motivated spouse).

On to the August report.....

I have posted my AUGUST End of Month $32K $AVING$ CHALLENGE Totals.
Check out the side bar to your right for the specific numbers.

I have 2 goals each month.....
The 1st is to actually finish each month in the black and not the red.
The 2nd is to hit the targeted savings amount of $2,666.67.

I have to report that we finished up August in the black!
The extra cash amount we ended the month of August with.......$1,779.83.

We had $1749.47 left over from our income after our monthly expenses were deducted.
Add in $28.38 of Rebates applied against the food expenses and $1.98 in Interest on the Checking Account toward the Savings Challenge for a total of $1,779.83

I didn't count my $20 Toluna payout since I am keeping it to spend on myself. ;-)

Our monthly target is an average of $2,666.67 to reach our Year End Goal.
Obviously we didn't meet that target.
But we got a lot closer than I thought we would.
August was a big "money flowing out" month here.

As for the expenses in August....

* We paid the Sewage bill for the year a couple of months ago, so no quarterly payment this month.
* The water bill held steady.
* I just barely went over the food budget.
* We made $335.50 at the Stockpile/Garage Sale.  This money was used for college necessities & gas to take kids to college so I didn't have to dip into the regular income for that.

* The credit card bill was almost $1000....and it didn't include the cost of Daughter's new laptop.
* The semi-annual car insurance bill was due.  We've got 2 teen(next year will be 3 teens)drivers on that. We already pay almost $2500 a year for car insurance so I don't want to think about having another teen driver on our plan.  Oy!
* The electric bill was up $18 from July.
* The WAM & cash withdrawals were MUCH higher than usual.  As usual Hubs won't track his spending and get receipts so I have no clue where some of that money goes....sigh.
* I had to pay $316.47 to a local college for classes Daughter took while in high school last school year.  The program that covers the tuition expense only covered half of the cost so we are on the hook for this much.  I'm not complaining about this as it was a great rate and the credits transferred to her current college so that's a few credits less she has to take at the full rate there for a degree.  As I also just got done paying out over $16,000 in August for oldest 2 kids fall semester tuition, room and board and books, the timing of receiving this bill couldn't have been worse in my mind!  We now have 2 in college so the financial trauma to my constitution is doubled each semester.
While the college charges didn't come out of our monthly income, seeing all that money fly away sure takes my breath away.

The Food Budget costs for August are in another post, which is located HERE.  The actual Food/Toiletries spending in August was almost on budget when rebate checks were applied toward the food bill.  "Missed it by $2.02!" ,  she said in her best Don Adams voice.
But close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. ;-)

What's ahead for September.......
There are the usual suspects: electricity, water, phone, cable, credit card bill, food cash, etc.
We will have more Marching Band associated expenses in September since it is Marching Band Season.
We will have the $2000 school taxes bill to pay.
The credit card will be killer this month.  It's already up to $1600(half of that is for Daughter's computer)and the billing period doesn't close until Friday.  meh.

With 8 months behind us, our Savings total to-date for 2011 is $22,560.85.
We are just over $1,200 ahead of reaching our final goal at this point in the year.  If we end up having a really bad expensive month at some point in the next 4 months, this will help us to overcome it and still finish the year reaching our goal.  It's like a little "get out of jail free" card for our Challenge.  Having that little extra takes some of the pressure off me. ;-)
Plus we are due another extra paycheck in December....sweet!

So we have less than $10K to reach our goal for the year.  That means just under $2500 per month.

So how are your savings growing so far this year?
Do you have an emergency fund of 6-8 months worth of expenses!  You really should, you know.
With the current financial climate in this country, you should try to put away into savings as much as you can each month.
So come along and Challenge Yourself to Save Money each Month Toward a Realistic for YOU Savings Goal!
Not everyone can shoot for $32K, I fully get that!
But everyone can shoot for some number, right!?

Find a money goal that works for you and put that number out there for everyone to see.  It will help keep you accountable to your goal if other eyes are on you.
Ooo, that sounded kind of creepy didn't it? ;-)

So how was your August financially?
Did you spend less than you made?
Did you stay within your budget or not?

Leave a comment and share with us what you did with your money, both the good and not-so good.   Do you have any tricks or tips that help you to end your month before the money runs out?    Let us know!
If you posted your financial progress on your own blog, leave a link in the comments so we can go check you out too!