Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Retirement Meeting

Hubs and I had a big sit-down over all the retirement money stuff in August.
We got all our numbers set down on paper in one place and went over the options.  This took about 3 hours but was well worth the time to get everything gathered and all the information hashed-out.
It was our big reality check moment after so many years of working our plan.

First off the medical insurance stuff--
Once Hubs retires we need to buy our own insurance until Medicare kicks in at 65 years.
Hubs company puts money into a retiree medical savings account each year for him to pay for medical bills once he retires(in lieu of a retiree medical pension plan). This money is in addition to any money the employer and employee contribute to the HSA account each year until he leaves the company, which by then will be another small pot of money to pay these expenses from.

We've figured that the best plan once he leaves his job is the pay for COBRA coverage for the 18 months after his retirement date, then buy a High Deductible Health Plan(HDHP)for the 34 months after COBRA eligibility expires until he reaches Medicare age(plus we'd have to keep paying for the HDHP for another 8 months for me alone until I reach Medicare age too).

When the time comes to pay for the COBRA we'll explore the cost of ACA plans-if this current system is still in place- instead of COBRA and will choose whichever is less money for equal coverage.

Then we both are on Medicare and the fun begins on figuring out which plans beyond Part A & B we need to buy.
Fun. Fun. Fun.

At this point in time, that medical retiree savings account has almost enough to cover premiums for buying coverage until Medicare time fully.
We project it will be just under $7K short for our needs.  That's not a problem for us to cover that bit with personal savings or use whatever is in the HSA to cover this piece of the premiums we will be short.

On to the retirement savings--
We have 2 separate "retirement" accounts.
One is the cash balance account(what replaced the company's pension plan).
The other is our 401K containing what we've socked away over the years from his pay.

There are 3 options on the cash balance account--
1. take it as a lump sum and invest it, drawing down as we need funds to live on and if needed, continue to draw it down once Social Security kicks in.
2. Buy an annuity that's "grandfathered". (A portion of his money is grandfathered, meaning it's earning at a higher rate as it was the cash in his pension account before his company went to a cash balance plan.)
3. Buy an annuity that separates the 2 parts of the cash balance money.

Option 1--
We ran the numbers and if we take out the lump sum we may run out of that money in 18 years unless we invest it in riskier parts of the stock market.

Now if interest rates do head up before we have to decide in 3 years, we could take the lump sum and not need to put it into riskier places and NOT run through it in 18 years.
So depending on what happens in 3 years with the economy option 1 "might" work if market conditions change for the better.

Option 2 & 3--
He works in this field(retirement/insurance)so he gets a special, better rate if he buys an annuity.
Of those 2 options, Hubs wants to take out an annuity with the cash balance monies that doesn't separate the two parts(grandfathered/non-grandfathered).  We ran the numbers between the 2 annuity options and combining the monies version gives us more income.

Since he plans to retire the end of the year in which he turns 60 this annuity has 2 different payout rates--one for the 4 years/3 months before he turns 65 and one which is $755 less per month after he reaches 65 until his death.
That's a yearly drop of $9K a year from what we'd collect for the 4+  years before he turns 65.
I don't quite understand why this is set-up like this.  It could be that the powers that be who concocted this scheme give you more until your Social Security kicks in since that will cover some of your expenses.
But for now Option 2 is the plan for that money.

Now since Hubs is retiring before he plans to collect Social Security at his designated full retirement age of 66 yrs. 10 mos. we'd have to live on this annuity amount alone which isn't our idea of an optimum situation.  It "might" be enough but it might not be and at this point we can't tell which way it would go.

So Hubs wants to drawdown on our 401K funds until we start collecting SS.  The 401K monies after he leaves his job will stay invested in the account they are currently in.  It has a guaranteed rate of return of at least 3.5% per year but we've been seeing 7-8% during this Recession, meaning we could see better returns in the future(or not)but it won't go less than 3.5%.  This money is NOT in the stock market and won't see much if any losses over the years if we keep it where it is invested now.

If we withdraw $30K a year for 7 years we will still have 77% of the balance we started with in that account after 7 years.  Even though we would have taken out almost half of what we had in there, because of the interest it continues to earn it will only deplete the account to the tune of 23% of it's value.

Once Social Security kicks in, the 401K monies stop being tapped and we will live only on the annuity amount and Hubs SS check amount.
This SS and annuity amount will be slightly more than the annuity and savings drawdown amount we lived on for the 2 years preceding that date(but still almost $8K less than the annuity and savings drawdown amount from the first 4 years after he leaves employment).

This all means we'll have about $8-$9K per year more to live on during the first 4+ years after he leaves his job and then a pretty even amount to live on once he hits 65 years old and beyond.

So here is the financial snapshot once Hubs starts collecting SS---
We'll have what is left in the 401K after the drawdown before SS kicks in(over $350K), all this cash savings I've been able to tuck away from our take-home pay since 2009(projected to be about $150K by end of 2015 plus whatever I can add to that in the next 3 years by 2018).
Add that all to the monthly payments we'll be receiving---between the annuity and Hubs SS we'll have over $6K a month "income" and once my pitiful little SS checks start it will be over $7K a month coming in.

I think we can manage to live on $7K a month plus a half a million $ nest egg we can tap.  8-)

Plus we'll have lower living expenses(hopefully)overall and a paid for house in retirement and it's looking mighty fine for us.  8-)

The only bleak part is that if Hubs dies before me.

The annuity goes down by half and his SS payments go away.
If I am not collecting SS when this happens I'll get almost his full SS benefit amount(as a surviving spouse)until I am SS eligible, then my SS payments will drop by half. 

Once I start collecting SS it will be half of what he was collecting in benefits so at that point I'll have almost half of what we had together to live on in my old age.

I doubt if Hubs will go before me since he is by a wide margin the healthier of us two, but if something happens to him I am half screwed as far as the income is concerned. 8-(

Hopefully, if that scenario comes to pass, we will still have a substantial amount in our savings account to supplement my income, but we are also considering continuing a small amount of life insurance on Hubs(if it's not ridiculously expensive by then).

If widowed I could downsize my living situation or get a roommate/housemate to help with living expenses and knowing me, I'd find a way to live cheaper.  8-)

Otherwise my future as a widow will mean living with one of my kids.
I had better be nicer to them, don't you think?  ;-)

Now we just have to figure out WHERE we are going to retire to as we are not staying here.
Once Hubs retires at the end of the year he turns 60, College Boy will be finished with school(in May of that year)so we don't need to be living in PA any longer for either Hubs job or CB's in-state tuition rate, so we will be free to relocate anywhere in the country where we want to live.
That part, the deciding where to live in retirement part, is a lot harder and will take more researching and planning.
And where we land may depend on where our kids are at that time, especially if any of them have kids by then.

This money stuff was easy by comparison....... ;-)

How are your retirement plans going?
Do you have a handle on where you are financially in regard to where you want to be at retirement?
Are you close enough to run the numbers yet on possible scenarios in retirement?


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Monday Grocery Shopping Videos

So I went up to Weis(PMITA)Markets on Monday for my main grocery trip for the week.

I got so much it couldn't all fit on top of the freezer for a photo shot so I did two short-ish films.

First what I went to get(what was on my list) is located HERE.

Then the rest of what I bought is located HERE.

$61.42 spent on $106.64 of retail price goods.
A savings rate over retail of 42% and I used not a single coupon either.
It just goes to show how you can buy meat and get a good deal if you focus on buying on sale and/or clearance foods.

I got enough meat for at least 10 meals for 2.  Not a bad haul with all that meat, right?



Monday, September 28, 2015

This Week on the Dining Table

It's the "The Fun and Eating is Over for Another Year" Edition--

This is my brother holding his now empty pan of ribs.
The family reunion picnic has come and gone for another year.

Onward to the meal planning!
Here's what was planned last week.......
1. Sunday--Beef Stroganoff, Mixed Beans & Carrots(Noodles for Hubs)
2. Monday--Fend for Yourself Night
3. Tuesday--Chicken n' Dumplings w/Carrots
4. Wednesday--Fend for Yourself Night
5. Thursday--Leftovers-Stroganoff, Chicken filling from Tacos, Chicken n' Dumplings
6. Friday--Eating Out
7. Saturday--Eating Out
And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Beef Stroganoff, Mixed Beans & Carrots(Noodles for Hubs)
2. Monday--Fend for Yourself Night-I have a big salad
3. Tuesday--Chicken n' Dumplings w/Carrots
4. Wednesday--Fend for Yourself Night-I had leftover Stroganoff and Veggies
5. Thursday--Subway sandwiches
6. Friday--Asian dining out
7. Saturday--Italian dining out

Not much cooking as we were going away and we tried to eat up all the stuff that would go bad while we were traveling this past weekend.
As for my grocery spending last week......a half gallon of milk, a small trip to Weis for deals and a bag of biscuit flour while in VA at the Food Lion took my weekly grocery spending to $17.21 for a monthly total so far this month of $141.23(plus the .87¢ I've spent at Rite-Aid this month).
I have $207.90 left in the food budget for September, which ends on Wednesday.

Leftovers going into this week....beef stroganoff and chicken and dumplings(I'm having that for breakfast Monday and Tuesday).  I also have half of my Sunday dinner sandwich leftover to have Monday for lunch.
Here is this week's food plan--

1. Sunday--Eating Out while traveling-I had a Roast Beef Panini and Salad
2. Monday--Leftover Beef Stroganoff, Veggie TBD
3. Tuesday--Ribs, Yellow Squash and Onions
4. Wednesday--Smoked Chicken, Smoked Potato Salad, Smoked Apples
5. Thursday--Fish, leftover veggies, cheddar broccoli soup
6. Friday--Leftovers
7. Saturday--Leftovers

What I need to buy for this menu?......ribs, chicken and apples which are on sale and I'll pick up today.  I will be smoking meat(and potatoes)Tuesday we will eat the rest of the week.  A fish dish will break up the smoked meat festival. lolz  I'll make a new smoked apple dessert on Wednesday too so stay tuned for that recipe late in the week.
I'll need to pick up more milk and salad greens(for me for lunches this week).

I have plenty of money left for September to buy meat and then on Thursday we roll over into a new month's worth of food money.

I'll also make the broccoli soup this week.  Later this week it's suppose to stay in the 60's(for highs)so that soup will be welcomed warmth. 8-)

What is getting fixed and served at your house this week?    

Was last week's plan successful, did you go off plan or did you not even plan what was going to be eaten that week?

Any great deals on food at your stores this week? 


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Groceries and Eating-Out, The Balance

Our August Eating Out totaled $123.42.  Most of that was just take-out meals but 1 meal while traveling that technically happened late July but was on the August credit card bill.  I like to stay under $100 per month(unless there is something special going on that month-holiday, vacation, etc.)so this month was a win.

So far for September the Eating Out totals $280.62.  4 meals of that was going out to eat with family or friends, 1 meal was going out after leaving the ER late at night and we hadn't gotten dinner beforehand.  The rest of that was take-out while I was unable to walk and cook.  Totally understandable since Hubs doesn't really cook.  He could make a few things if pushed but his work has been nutso lately and he hasn't been inclined so we bite the bullet and order out.
We still have the family reunion trip coming up and there will be at least 5 meals eaten out during that excursion-lunch on the way, dinner at the motel, dinner the night of and breakfast the morning after(plus the dish I have to make to take to the lunch at the FR).  We'll probably skip lunch on the way home and will eat when we get back here as there will be leftovers sitting in the fridge to use up.
The meals out, if we also need to pay for our eldest son's meals, will run at least $150 total.

The up side of high eating out totals is having spent little on groceries in September as if you aren't cooking you don't use up the groceries you already have, right? lolz

I went to Weis(PMITA)Markets Thursday after my PT appointment as the ad started that day.

Here is a photo of what I bought............

I didn't even browse the clearance meat or produce deals as I wouldn't have time to deal with them before leaving town.
I will go back next week sometime to get two items--pork ribs for $1.97 lb. and whole chickens for .87¢ lb.
Since the weather is still warm I want to smoke some ribs soon.  I might throw in something else too like a hunk of salmon or one of those whole chickens if there is room and we can eat off that too next week.

I did want to get that Must Buy 10 BC/GM foods Deal, Get $5 off Instantly.
The 8 cans of Progresso soups and the 2 bags of Chex Mix were part of that deal.
Soup and Chex Mix were both $1.25 can/bag, so $12.50 total before discount and $7.50 after discount.
Then I had 2 x $1/3 Progresso items IPQs, making my OOP $5.50.
I also have $1.50 electronic Qs in my Saving Star account($1/3 Progresso and .50¢/2 Chex Mix)so after those rebates I'll be out $4 for all 10 items.

I like to have some canned soup on hand for cooking emergencies, "sick person food" and for lunches.  I can also enhance some of these with more veggies/sodium-free stock to make them healthier or use them as a base for a sauce of sorts.
I'm not a big fan of Chex Mix but we can use these as snacks for the road trip or I can pack them off to College Boy.

They also had Jif cornbread mixes for .60¢ each so I stocked up and bought 6.  This item never gets down below .67¢ here anymore(so anything less than that is my buy price).  I remember when they use to run 4/$1. sigh
This mix is a bit sweet for eating(it's a Yankee formulation after all)but sometimes it's just right(like when I make my Beef Pie).

I saw that the large containers of plain Greek Yogurt was finally on sale again and grabbed one.  It would have been nicer if I had a Q for it but I won't complain.  I used this to substitute or cut with sour cream in some recipes, as well as eat it with honey, seeds and nuts some mornings for breakfast.

So I spent $13.09 at Weis, on $32.19 of regular retail price goods, saving 59%.
After my $1.50 rebates the savings rate jumps to 64% for today's shop.
I am up to $139.74(counting the .87¢ I've spent at Rite-Aid too this month)spent of my September grocery budget of $350.  I have $210.26 left for the month.

So if you add in the Eating-Out and the Grocery Monies Spent in August we ended with $593.38 spending for both categories.
At this point for this month, take the $280.62 with the projected $150 yet to spend on Eating-Out and pair it with the Grocery spending of $139.74 and we are at $570.36 for September's outlay.
Basically we are at the same amount of spending for both months.

October will be another high Eating-Out month for us due to more traveling so I am conscience of getting the grocery spending down to balance it all out.  While not on the road I'll try to cook and have us eat at home and stay away from the Take-Out, but also try to spend less on the grocery budget.  We have sufficient stockpiles of groceries here to just eat from the pantry in October except for what is absolutely needed for a particular recipe.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Random Stuff with Photo Porn

Just some stuff that's been happening around here this week or so.

*  I picked the first "real" tomato from the garden on Monday.  "Real" meaning, not miniature sized, not buggy and/or didn't rot immediately after picking.  It had started turning so I beat the deer to the punch and plucked it before they fount it.

*  You will also notice in the photo above I colored my roots on Monday in preparation to going to the Family Reunion.  That's about all the fancying up and prettifying I do for it.  ;-)

*  This month has been crazy expensive with eating out.  Between having company and taking folks out for meals and the take-out food we've been buying while I was unable to stand to cook we've spent $280.62 on eating out/take-out at this point in September. bleh.  But then again I've only spent about $125 on groceries so far this month. lolz

*  This PT is doing nothing for my foot.  What helps is elevating it during the day and putting heat or ice on it and wearing shoes all the time(hate that!).  It feels better with good support.  It's probably something that will heal up on it's own with tender loving care.
Despite the PT I am off the cane now and bicycling shall resume next week, albeit wearing shoes.  rah!

*  I've paid all the bills for the month(besides one crazy ass bill the eye doc sent that makes no sense....their billing system is SO screwed up!)and have closed the books for September(except for any interest that will show up on non-retirement accounts on 1 October).  Even with assorted medical bills and the school taxes being paid in September we'll have a nice hunk of cash leftover to throw into savings.  Next month is the 3rd paycheck month(yeah!)but all the medical co-pay bills for the medical testing and other nonsense that happened in September will be arriving, as the EOBs from the insurance company have already been streaming in. ugh.  Other than that and credit card spending(some vacation charges coming up in October)we have no large bills left this year to pay.....just the usual suspects of utilities, medical drug co-pays, etc.  Of course Christmas is coming in 3 months so there is that too, although we don't go hog wild spending at the Holidays and we certainly don't put anything on credit that can't be paid off in January!

*  I have been doing a fair amount of sewing the past 2 weeks.  Already completed are 4 pairs of pajama pants for various offspring. 

These are projects that have ben languishing in my sewing piles for years now!  They still need elastic in the waist and hemming but I need the bodies here to measure and cut the hems and adjust the amount of elastic for that.  These bits are easily done.

On the top is also a flannel nightgown I made for myself.  It's got 3/4 sleeves even though it's flannel because I just HATE long sleeves! lolz

*  I found my cousin Melanie on F/B yesterday and sent her a friend request.  I've been trying to track down my cousins for 2 years now since I had a phone call from my aunt in late June of 2013.  She wouldn't tell me and never wrote back to me their mailing addresses or phone numbers and of course my girl cousin got married so I couldn't even find her name now! lolz
But due to my mad genealogical detective skillz I found her last name, etc. and 2 of them are on F/B.
We were never close with my only cousins growing up partly because we lived in VA and they lived in MA.  This photo is from one of the only time we visited them up in MA at their house.  I don't even know the year but it's around the mid 1960's.

*  After PT the other day I went to Rite-Aid to get some free/cheap stuff...........

2 Transactions(1 on each card).  The body wash was free after IPQ Qs and In-Ad Qs were stacked.
The Watkins lotion was also free using up a rain check from a Black Friday deal last year(they finally got it back in stock!lol).  The Mentos were $1 for all 4 after earning $1 in Plenti Pts.  The single chocolate candy was because the Qs brought me into the negative at the register so it's a filler item.
Total spent OOP .30¢.
I used $2 in Plenti Pts. on the Mentos transaction, earned $1 back so 1 card has $11 in Pts. the other has $21 in Pts.

*  We finally hauled a load up to Salvation Army on Sunday as well.  Here are a few shots of some of what left the house............

Hubs had a fair number of "guy" things to take since he cleaned out/organized his garage workbench this month.  I had some odds and ends and a small stack of fabric to contribute, as well as clothing from his mom that's been in the garage for years now.

I tell you, it's getting very difficult to find stuff to declutter at this point.  Spending 12 years decluttering your life in conjunction with not buying new crap to take it's place for a large number of years kind of has that affect on your life. lolz
There IS more left to get rid of but not the sheer volume like before.  I am so glad I am not waiting until I kick the bucket and leaving a big mess for my kids to deal with.  8-)

*  We'll be going to the family reunion very soon.  This is the group shot from last year's shindig courtesy of Cousin Gary's daughter(sorry I don't know her name!).  I hope the weather is good again for the upcoming get together.  Then we see my mom's cousin's family from her dad's side for dinner that same evening.  This year my son who lives in Fredericksburg is coming too so that will be nice.

If you are a Baker/Vassar/Foster/Snead/Hamilton/Hudson/Womack/Redmond/Etc. come on down!


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Chicken Taco Filling Recipe

Because Linda requested it, here is the chicken taco filling recipe my Daughter gave me.

Take deboned/skinned chicken(whatever parts you like, I used boneless skinless breasts)and put it into a crockpot/slow cooker. 
Add a can of cream of chicken soup.
Add a small jar of good salsa.
Turn on the crockpot.
Since it's chicken you don't need to cook it very long(3 hours?)to get it to be fall off the bone/able to easily shred.
You can eat on corn or flour tortillas with the "fixings" you prefer.

Now when I prepared this recipe as given to me I noticed 2 things.

1. It was very soupy.  I obviously needed to add way more than 2 chicken breasts to this amount of salsa/soup to have this be the right consistency when done.  Daughter never told me the correct proportion of chicken to liquids was.
 This way would make nice enchilada filling, not so much a taco filling.  If I make it again, I'll cut the amount of soup and salsa in half.

2. It was very bland.  I used a mild salsa so hot sauce was needed when plated to serve.  I figured it would be very bland so I added cumin(lots!)to the crockpot at the beginning of cooking. But other than that I didn't alter the recipe the first try.
We like our taco filling more complex so next time I'll add more things, like extra garlic, onions and chili powder.

This is a good recipe for people who don't neccasarilylike authentic Mexican flavors(kids, old people, people with no taste buds lol), or people who can't cook/aren't good cooks, or have few ingredients to use, or people who are too busy to cook, or people who have salsa and chicken soup to use up.
It has it's place in the world of cooking but it won't be making my rotation unless the stars align just right again unless I want to doctor this recipe up and ramp up the flavors.


Monday, September 21, 2015

This Week on the Dining Table

It's the "Getting a Jump on Winter" Edition--

This flyer arrived in my mailbox before August was over ad for snow blowers!
Really?....In August??

Come January I may regret making fun of this ad. lolz

Onward to the meal planning!
Here's what was planned last week.......

1. Sunday--Kielbasa on Rolls, Collards(leftover)
2. Monday--Chicken Tacos(using a crockpot recipe Daughter gave me)
3. Tuesday--Fish, Squash and Onions
4. Wednesday--Spaghetti(leftover)for Hubs, Broccoli Soup for me
5. Thursday--Beef Pie(depending on how well I feel)
6. Friday--Chili(leftover)for Hubs, Broccoli Soup(leftover)for me
7. Saturday--Leftovers(either Chicken Tacos or Beef Pie)
And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Kielbasa on Rolls, Collards(leftover)
2. Monday--Chicken Tacos(using a crockpot recipe Daughter gave me)
3. Tuesday--Leftover Spaghetti for Hubs, Big Salad w/Feta Cheese for me
4. Wednesday--Steak and Salad
5. Thursday--Beef Pie
6. Friday--Leftover Beef Pie(I also had last of leftover Collards)
7. Saturday--Leftovers(Hubs had chicken tacos, I had a big salad)

I didn't make the soup and the rest of the chili went into the freezer for later.
As for my grocery spending last week......a couple of impromptu trips and then back again to fix cashier mistakes saw us spend $103.86 total.  I have spent $124.02 for the month with 9 days left in the month.
I have $225.98 left in the food budget for September.  I do believe I'll stay under budget for food this month....yay! 8-))
Here is this week's food plan--

1. Sunday--Beef Stroganoff, Mixed Beans & Carrots(Noodles for Hubs)
2. Monday--Fend for Yourself Night
3. Tuesday--Chicken n' Dumplings w/Carrots
4. Wednesday--Fend for Yourself Night
5. Thursday--Leftovers-Stroganoff, Chicken filling from Tacos, Chicken n' Dumplings
6. Friday--Eating Out
7. Saturday--Eating Out

What I need to buy for this menu?......just some milk.  I got the mushrooms and carrots last week and I have everything else to make this menu.
Not that it's much of a menu since there will be lots of eating out and 2 nights hubs won't be home for dinner so I am on my own so not cooking a big meal.
The nights for myself  I'll either make a big salad w/feta cheese in it or eat some leftovers.

I didn't get around to making the broccoli cheddar soup so it will have too wait until next week now because I started thawing a whole chicken for chicken n' dumplings this week.

The weather here has started to cool off finally so I am more than ready to start cooking up soups and stews again...woohoo!
What is getting fixed and served at your house this week?    

Was last week's plan successful, did you go off plan or did you not even plan what was going to be eaten that week?

Any great deals on food at your stores this week? 


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Recent Visitors to Chez Sluggy & I Suck...Again!

September has seen three visitors to Chez Sluggy.

First off, Kim, from Out My Window Blog, and her Hubs, Joel, stopped by for an overnight stay while they were touring the East Coast.
I think they fit me in somewhere in between Colonial Williamsburg and the Liberty Bell in Philly. ;-)

Anyway, they arrived mid afternoon and we sat and talked and talked......

I do believe some of y'all ears must have been burning that day because of our chattering. lolz
Yes, we solved everyone's problems and the world's as well in one afternoon of our think tank least in our heads.  ;-)

With my foot issue I wasn't up to taking them around to sightsee here(not that there is much to look at that is noteworthy anyway)so we just sat and entertained ourselves.  Eventually the party moved to the back deck since the weather was so nice that day.

Then Hubs came home from work and we talked and talked some more.
And soon it was time to go out to dinner at Logan's Roadhouse.
It was a delightful evening full of good eats and good conversation and no one was harmed in the fight for table rolls.  ;-)

After an evening spend in the "Toiletries Room", Kim and Joel supped on a homemade breakfast supplied by moi, and then they were out the door South to Philadelphia for another jam-packed day of touring.

But before they left I made them take a "selfie" with me......

This was Joel's first ever selfie.
Gee, I am honored to be his "first". hehehe

Then they were gone in a flash.  I gave them a jar of my secret special recipe pepper relish(I hope they got it on the plane without any trouble)and Kim brought me this..........

20 lbs. of fudge!
What little I've had was yummy but I do think she bought it for herself but then had remorse about all those calories and the sugar and decided to regift it. lolz
That's ok, it won't go to waste here....unfortunately.  8-P

It was great to finally meet y'all in person!
And I can say for a fact that Kim is a tad over 4 feet tall and a ball of non-stop energy......where does she get it from???  I haven't a clue....unless it's all that fudge. 8-)

Then at the end of that week my Daughter arrived for a week long visit late Sunday night.
My foot was not improving by then so it really cut down on what we got to do together while she was here.

Monday Hubs was off so he and the Daughter took a ride to Nimble Hill Brewery/Winery in Tunkhannock PA for a tasting and they brought home some growlers of goodies.

We had a Labor Day cook-out/eat-in later that afternoon.......

Daughter and the Hubs "cooked" and I just ate for a change.  That was certainly different.

Nothing fancy just burgers, dogs, beans and grilled yellow squash.  Mostly stuff I already had here so no shopping required.

On Tuesday Daughter left to spend a couple of days out in Western PA with her summer camp friends, plus a side trip to Rochester NY to see another of her camp friends.
I think she enjoyed the break and these are people she hasn't seen since moving to Louisiana 2+ years ago.

On Thursday she was back by dinner time and we had some deep conversations into the night.

On Friday, since my foot was still hurting, she carted me to the doctor's appointment.
Afterwards we had lunch at Red Robin(I had a gift card left to use up.)and then she carted me up to the hospital for two more ultrasound tests on my foot.

That evening Hubs took us to Breaker Brewing and they each did a flight of craft beers......

I had a glass of this one......

I don't even remember what it was but it was dark and rich, like I like my men.  ;-)

Then we ordered Panini for dinner.  Mine was turkey breast, smoked gouda and blackberry jalapeno jam.  Daughter got that one too and Hubs got something with an assortment of Italian meats on it.

I must say that the food has improved by leaps and bounds since that first weekend they served food and I got that greasy, oily soggy potato mess that still makes me nauseous to think about it!

A "turtle pose selfie" with the donkey out front and then a proper picture of my drinking companions.

Saturday the activity was the Oktoberfest at Berwick Brewing.
We got there at 1 and the activities didn't start until 3.  Oh well.....they was still craft beer to enjoy, right?, so all was good.

More flights of beer for both Hubs and the Daughter........

The piece of wall behind them had album covers from actual vinyl records covering it.  I think I checked and I have/had owned about 9 of the ones on that wall.

I had my usual brew, Grumpy Bill's Porter. 

Saturday the weather was rainy all day so it pretty much put a kybosh on partying in the Bier Garden outside at Berwick.........

A root beer chaser for my Porter as is usual.

We decided not to eat at Berwick this time so we headed out after a couple hours......

The requisite "family selfie" before leaving.

We headed over to Christo's a Greek Diner for a late lunch as I had a gift certificate to use.  I had a massive Greek Salad, Hubs had the Spanakopita platter and Daughter had the Gyro platter.  Mmmmm!

Afterwards Hubs wanted to go to the K-Mart next door to look for some organizing things for his workbench supplies.  Gotta put all those loose nuts, bolts and screws somewhere, right?

So I hopped on the electric cart thingy and set about leaving a path of destruction behind me in K-Mart.
I don't understand why the store had this electric cart for disabled shoppers yet put displays and bins out in the aisles and made the pathways around shelving so tight that you can't possibly drive this thing without bashing into all their merchandise!

I may have knocked a whole row of underwear off a display, a shelf of plastic containers off an end cap and I may have toppled a display of cases of Pepsi.  It has been reported but I can not confirm nor will I deny the rumours.  lolz

And it didn't help that I had had ONE BEER and the Daughter had to keep telling me how if a cop was here he would have most certainly issued me multiple DUIs due to my reckless electric cart driving.  ;-)

While forging my path of destruction in the K-Mart, I passed the vacuum cleaner section so I decided this was the perfect time/place to buy a new vacuum.

We selected a less than sturdy model(all plastic parts!)and took it to the register to find out it was on sale for the bargain price of $59.99(+ tax).  Not wanting to spend a king's ransom on a new sucky machine I bought that baby home.  It was a Kenmore so how bad could it be?

My new toy, well, once the foot was well enough to let me use it......

The first thing I did was use it on the short-pile throw rug in the upstairs hallway......

My expensive Oreck vacuum was so bad(I had vacuumed this rug not a week early with that Oreck)that this is what the new sucky machine picked up on that little 5x7 rug.......a full container of filth.

Look at all that nastiness!!!
There is probably 3 years of dog hair and dirt/dust in that thing!(And our dogs have been dead for at least a year now. lol)

And the black border around the edge of the rug was BLACK again!  It has been so long since it was clean enough to see, that I had forgotten it wasn't light gray. lolz

The next morning, Sunday, at dark o'thirty Hubs took Daughter back up to the airport for her ride home to Louisiana.

We never did get to the casino(stop crying Sonya Ann!)while Daughter was home.  The casino is only 15 minutes away from my house and has been there for what? 3, 4 years now, and I have yet to step foot inside.
Oh well....maybe next time.

It was good to have the Daughter home for a visit since she left 2+ years ago.  Not so good was writing that check to pay for her plane ticket.  ;-)
She's got lots going on in her life right now and has many decisions to make so I hope our chats help her make the choices that will be the best for her.

It's nice to have a couple of weeks with stuff going on and visits from family and friends.
I treasure those times.

Now it's back to the boring same old, same old here at Chez Sluggy.



Saturday, September 19, 2015

Weis Transaction Disaster UPDATE! + Other $ Stuff

This is an update on the really bad transaction I had at Weis(PMITA)Markets earlier in the week that I talked about in this post HERE.

To recap--I paid $76.09 and got $12.98 back for the 50% off items she didn't ring up correctly but discovered more mistakes after I got home and had to call the CS at the store.

Well I took my receipt and the hunk of riblets the cashier didn't even take the $3 discount sticker off of that package back to the store Friday.

I got back the $9 in meat discounts I should have received on Wednesday.
Then the CS manager gave me a $10 Weis gift card because of the problems I had to endure with this cashier and beyond......

Then I showed on the hunk of riblets how the price had rung up incorrectly($3.07 too much)on the receipt so I also got back the whole $9.15 I was charged for that!  So they basically paid me $3 to take that piece of meat. lolz

So I am down to spending $46.80 on that $100.29 worth of groceries(plus I got a $10 gift card too boot).
Maybe I need to let cashiers make MORE mistakes with my orders......ok, maybe not.  ;-)

I also stopped in Rite-Aid today after my PT appointment(which was a pointless waste of time)as I needed to refill an RX.  While I was there I got this too from the clearance section.........

$10.29 ClearQuil marked down to $2.57.
I had a $2/1 ManuQ from the P&G insert so it cost me .57¢ OOP.

I also earned 100 Plenti Pts($1)for buying this item, making this a .43¢ moneymaker.

Then I dragged my foot home, elevated it and put some ice on it.

This PT stuff is not going to help my foot problem.  They are giving me ankle exercises, which I can do fully without pain of any kind.  It's not the ankle or the muscles, it's the swelling in the body of the foot and putting weight on it that is the problem!  The only thing they did that helped was elevating it and putting heat on it.....gee, I can do that at home and don't have to pay them $100 an hour for it. 8-(

I'll go back 2 times next week but unless they actually address what is wrong with my foot next week, I am done with this.

Earlier last week this arrived in the mail......

My Staples refund for buying 4 reams of paper in August.
This one came fast!  And it's not a prepaid gift card like they said it would be, but a real live check I can cash.....woohoo!

As for how the budget is going for September......we are over halfway through and most all the monies for the month have come in(pay, dividends, rebates)and I have paid all the bills that have come in(still waiting on the electric and long distance bills but I know approximately how much those will be)and we still have money leftover.
It's not as much leftover as I hoped since we paid school taxes this month($2K+ ouch!)but we will stay in the black financially this month.

And even better, October is a 3 paycheck month!! 8-)))

October will be lots of co-pays though due to all this medical testing which has revealed nothing wrong so there is that too. 8-(


Friday, September 18, 2015

What Have I Done!!

It all began innocently enough.

I saw on Facebook that a distant cousin in the lowlands of South Central Virginia had died recently so went to make her a memorial on FAG.  Saw that the person who put the memorial up for her Husband a few years ago entered his death date wrong, so I sent her a message in case she missed that typo and wanted to fix it.

She emails me back that she is no longer an active member of FAG and can't edit the memorial or any of the memorials she maintains.
Thinking it was strange that she didn't email FAG admins. and ask for them to take over the memorials I told her I'd gladly keep-up the maintenance on her memorials if she wanted to transfer them to me.


A few hours later my email program blew up!

Did you know that when someone transfers a memorial to your care you get an email from FAG letting you know?
This person had over 400 memorials in her name.
So if you sent me an email and are waiting for a reply it might take me awhile to wade through my overfilled inbox at the moment. lolz

Oh well, this will be plenty to keep me busy over the Winter when I am trapped indoors by the snow and cold.

I've already found a long lost distant cousin among her hoard of memorials.  She didn't have a last name for poor Mary Alma's memorial. Mary Alma was married twice but not buried with either hubs but I found that she was buried near her brother and his wife and we have given her a proper slew of last names(both married and maiden).  And now her actual place of burial and correct birth date are out there for all her descendants to find.

I look at it this's not a (paid)job, it's an adventure back in history!


Thursday, September 17, 2015

TBT-Throwback Thursday

Let's get into the time machine and go all the way back to Halloween of 1960........

This one was taken after Trick or Treating in the Portlock section of South Norfolk(now Chesapeake), Virginia in that year.

My oldest brother Dennis is dressed as Heckle or Jeckle(you decide), my older brother David is dressed as Donald Duck, but who is that cute as a button bunny with them?

Why it's moi!
At 1 year and 9 months I already have a sweet tooth on this first year I got to go Trick or Treating.

And I am ready to go back out for more candy-the good wants no stinkin' apples. lolz

Amazingly this is the only set of photos I can find with any of us dressed up for Halloween.  I know I had some pretty nifty costumes and went out tnt-ing regularly when I was a kid, as did my brothers, but my mother just never took any photos of us dressed up for Halloween before or after 1960.
What a shame......


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Grocery Store Trip to Weis....WTF?

I went to Weis(PMITA)Markets earlier today.
And all hell broke loose when I encountered the zombie cashier!
Seriously, did this woman have a brain cell or what?

Go check out the video HERE.
Once I get around to getting all the refunds they owe me I'll have a 44.21% savings rate on this particular shopping trip.

I just wish I didn't have to work so hard to get it right.....


Well You Knew This Was Going to Happen

If y'all remember a couple of weeks ago I got some deals at Weis(PMITA)Markets.
Among those deals were pickles and Kool-Aid(among the flavors I got was cherry).

With all those jars of dill pickles sitting around here, it was inevitable that this would happen...............

Remove pickles from jar and retain brine.
Measure out Kool-Aid powder and pour into brine.

Seal lid and shake vigorousl until Kool-Aid dissolves.

Return pickles to jar and seal the lid.
Refrigerate for 4 days at least.  Shake and turn jar every day until pickles take on a red color.

"Grandma, what a nice unnatural red color you have turned!" lol

You have now made KOOLICKLES.
Open jar and eat them.

I made these because my Daughter made a remark about somebody at her work at made and brought these in but they didn't give her any to try.
So I made this batch the morning of the day Kim came to visit so they'd be ready by the time Daughter arrived on Sunday.
And that ungrateful child would NOT put one in her mouth and try them!
After seeing what they turned out to look like I have to say I don't blame her....lolz

But I got brave a couple of days ago and ate one............

Note the intrepid look on my face.....*snort* 

Ok, I wasn't sure about doing this, but I was able to eat one as long as I didn't look at it. ;-)

My verdict-it's definitely an acquired taste.
If you like sweet and briny together you'll enjoy these.
It's sort of like eating a sweet and sour or bread and butter pickle, except for that cherry flavor thang going on with it too.

Maybe use a little less Koolaid/sugar next time except in my case, there won't be a NEXT time here.......

I do think that the McVal Household would enjoy this concoction and she should put it in her next Cheeseburger Pizza.  8-)
I would volunteer to send her my jar of Koolickles if she wants to try it on that recipe!