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Archive for August, 2008

MyPoints, Our Pup, Truck Update

August 23rd, 2008 at 06:08 pm

My Food @ Work: $4.50
Groceries: $7
Gas For My Truck: $15
Gas For BF's Car: $41.33

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Okay, since yesterday's post was so negative (thanks to the IRS & kid backing into me)... I've decided to start with the good points today:

I did some more MyPoints activities (pretty much just clicking on ads and then exiting). I now have a total of 1,180. Once I get to 1,400 I can redeem them for a $10 gift card to either Chili's, Red Lobster, or Barnes & Noble. Or I could keep saving them to get bigger gift cards. But with Christmas looming in the not-so-distant future and our finances in a bind, I think I'll cash in and give someone a $10 gift card for Christmas.

I also picked out the gift card I wanted as a reward for referring BF to my insurance agent. I picked a $10 gift card to Bed, Bath & Beyond, and plan to give it as part of BF's sisters Christmas. Just saved us $10 in Christmas shopping money! Big Grin

I signed up to try and be a ChaCha Guide. My initial registration was approved, so I filled out all the information and took the first three parts of the Guide registration, and passed those. So tonight I read the training materials, watched the videos, and looked at the website. The next step is to answer some simulated questions, which are graded. If I pass that part, I get to be a paid Guide. I've accomplished alot tonight, but I am too sleepy to do the simulated questions right now. Smile

A guy emailed me about the vacuum cleaner I had posted for sale on Craigslist. I emailed him back to let him know that it was still available and the area we lived for pick-up, but haven't heard anything else. Hopefully he wants it!

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And the not-so-happy news: I made a few calls about our incident with the truck. My agent's office had left me a message this morning, and wanted to know if I planned on filing it under the other person's insurance. That freaked me out because I thought I HAD made the claim under the other guy's policy when I called last night. They transferred me to the claims department, and after being on hold for a while, a claim rep told me that they would have to open a new claim # under the other guy's policy, and they would just need to verify his side of the story. I told him it hadn't been disputed at the scene or with the police officer. So, after they check with him, they are supposed to call and let me know about taking my truck to get fixed, and the new claim number for getting a rental car, etc. Fun.

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BF & I are off tomorrow, so I am excited. So far, our plans just include grocery shopping (even though our food budget is SO out of control already). I mostly want to get stuff that will let us avoid spending money on eating out or at work. We need some stuff we can take with us for snacks, as well as some stuff that we can prepare ahead and freeze for nights when we both have to work late and don't feel like cooking much. Any ideas would be appreciated! Smile

Then we want to take the bikes out somewhere. We'll probably just drive the 10 minutes to BF's work and try to find elusive biking/hiking trail we've heard so much about. I think we'll try to pack lunches & water and NOT spend any money while doing that!

I may be able to talk him into going to Starbucks in the morning before grocery shopping... to treat ourselves using my gift card for there. Caramel Machiatto... yum.

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The pup's x-ray appointment is for Thursday next week. I'll have to drop him off at around 8AM, then pick him up in the afternoon sometime. I hope it goes well. :S

We have to fast him the night before, and I'm supposed to call back and ask if he's allowed to have his pain pill the night before.

The day should be interesting for two reasons: First of all, I'll be driving into Baltimore by myself for the first time. I'll also be by myself, with no BF to stop the pup from randomly wanting to climb in the front seat. Second of all, I'll have to take BF's car to take the pup, and he has to work so he'll be driving my truck. It's a manual! He's not so hot on driving the standard transmissions... so we may need to practice a bit tomorrow too. :P

My Poor Truck :(

August 22nd, 2008 at 06:28 pm

Food @ Work (BF & I): $8

My Paycheck: $997.04 (Taxes, 401k, Health Taken Out Already)

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Well, today has been a heck of a day for us. Referring to the title of this post... I got backed into on my way home from work tonight.

I had pulled onto the road that our apartment complex was on (could literally see my apartment building), and I had to stop behind a red car. Apparently the red car was letting a big box truck turn left out of a gas station parking lot. So we waited, as the truck inched out. Then, the driver of the red car seemed to think that the box truck was going to scrape their car while turning, so he threw his car into reverse... and backed into me.

Turns out, the kid was 16, and his mom was in the passenger seat. I looked up the police station's number on my phone and called to report it. While we were waiting, BF and our pup walked down to us (we were that close). It took the cops 30 minutes to get there, and I kept getting paranoid that they were somehow going to try and blame it on me.

Another guy that had witnessed the whole thing came down right after it happened, and told them to move their car forward. I was still in my truck, and when they pulled forward... my truck went with it! They were stuck together!

I was like "Can you stop? I don't think we're supposed to move until the police get here." Geesh.

The cop gets there and as the mom starts to tell him about the truck pulling out of the parking lot, he interrupts her to look at me and say "So you rear-ended them, right?"

Uh, NO. Wouldn't it be smart of a police officer to let the actual parties of the accident say what happened, instead of jumping to a conclusion? I couldn't help but think... if the mom wasn't so honest (or maybe just didn't think about it), she could very easily have said "Yes! That's what happened, we stopped and she rear-ended us!" Then it would've been my word against theirs, when I did nothing wrong at all. I wasn't liking the officer's vibes from that.

Finally, he took all our info and gave each of us copies, then told BF & I that the other driver was obviously at fault, and since we had all the insurance info, to just go ahead and file through our insurance. So, with that, we parted ways... the mom kept thanking us for being so nice about it all.

The damage to my truck that is visible isn't too bad. He did back up pretty fast, so one of the bars underneath my front bumper (for towing/pulling something) had been pushed not only through the front bumper of my truck, but also all the way through their back bumper. When it was all over, I had to hold the brake while they slammed on the gas just to get them unhooked.

I called the insurance place (we both have State Farm) and gave them all our info, as well as what happened and the case # from the police. The claim rep is supposed to call me tomorrow, so I'm waiting until I talk to them and make sure everything is a "go" before I make an appointment for an estimate/repair.

I talked to my old boss (a SF insurance agent) and she told me that if the boy was driving his grandfather's car, then the boy's insurance might not cover it, we'd have to get his grandfather's. She also said to make sure I don't sign anything at the repair shop until they've done the estimate under the bumper, because the frame might be bent or something.

AND... to add confusion, the boy's mom called me earlier. She wants to know if we can settle it outside of the insurance companies, with them just paying for my repairs. She said it was just "inconvenient" to go through the insurance, because it was such a "minor" thing. I wanted to be nice, because I know her son's insurance premiums are going to take a hit after this... but at the same time, I did nothing wrong, and I need my truck to get back and forth to work.

Who knows how much the estimate will be, especially if there is something wrong other than just the outside bumper/bar. And it's much more "inconvenient" for me to have to try and work something trustworthy out with a stranger & repair shop than it would be for me to go through State Farm's claim service.

I'm not trying to be mean, but I'm not going to put myself in a bind. So I pretty much told her that I had already called to report it to my agent, and that I was going to wait until I got a call tomorrow to do anything. I didn't want to make her mad, in case I end up needing to get the kid's grandpa's insurance info... but I wasn't about to tell her I'd settle it outside of the insurance.

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So that is all fun. BF also called about his stimulus check again today (or the lack of it)... and bad news there too. Apparently, when he filed his taxes this year, he forgot to mark an exemption for himself. He pulled out his paperwork and verified that he had in fact left it off, but then he had all the information from his parents to prove that nobody else had claimed him as a dependent, so it was just an error on the computer when filing.

But the IRS guy said it didn't matter, that the only option BF has is to complete a form 1040X, and the correction would take 4-5 months. When BF asked what would happen if he didn't get his stimulus check this year, the guy said he'd have to file for it somehow on his tax return next year. So for now, we're kissing that $600 goodbye. And with a $5,000 surgery coming up, Lord knows we could really have used it.

What I don't get is why BF was mailed a notification letter with the amount he was going to receive. The guy told him they just sent out those generic letters to everyone, that it didn't mean you were eligible. WHY SEND THEM OUT THEN? Geez.

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In an effort to make this post a little less negative, I do have some good things to report:

BF mailed the textbook I sold on Ebay:
$40.96 sales
-$1.49 PayPal Fee
-$8.63 Ebay Fees
-$4.67 Shipping
=$26.17 Profit

Every little bit helps.

Extra Income Challenge!

August 21st, 2008 at 06:35 pm

Groceries: $1

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I did manage to get a little accomplished today, although everything seems to be broken down into steps for some reason.

I called to schedule the pup's x-ray appointment, and talked to an actual surgeon, who said I'd have to call back and speak with his receptionist tomorrow to schedule it, that they were kind of closed. "Kind of" closed at 3pm? Okay. Anyway, the good news is that he knew exactly who we were, so apparently the other surgeon did call to give them a heads up. So tomorrow, I'm calling to speak to the receptionist and hopefully set an appointment for next week.

I also called to close our State Farm savings account today. We have $181.50 in there, and since we need it now for veterinary costs, we've decided to go ahead and close the account. Making deposits/withdrawals wasn't really convenient, and we have our Orange account now. The process was miraculously easy. I called and spoke to a representative, who seemed not only willing but HAPPY to help me close the account, and she even took my BBT checking information to do a direct deposit of our funds. Now instead of waiting for a check, the $181.50 should be in our checking account by Tuesday.

I also did some laundry, dishes, and shampooed the living room today. BF got up early to take the pup out, and he'd already done one load of laundry and vacuumed the living room before I even woke up!

And as for my "additional" income challege:

=Emailed a woman on Craigslist that was seeking occassional childcare.
=Listed an extra vacuum, lot of books, and lot of beauty products on Craigslist.
=Registered as a ChaCha guide. Now I have to read the training material and answer some simulated questions, then hopefully I can become a paid guide.
=Got a survey check in the mail today ($17)!

I have quite a few survey invitations in my inbox, so hopefully I will qualify for some paid versions when I get around to taking them.

For now, I'm off to get some dinner started & finish folding laundry.

Lots Of Money Stuff To Do

August 20th, 2008 at 04:18 pm

Gas Station Iced Coffee: $1.50
Gas For My Truck: $30.01
Food @ My Work: $3
12 Pk Diet Coke: $2.50
Redbox: $1.06

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Tomorrow is my day off... thank the Lord!

I have so much I need to get accomplished before I go back to work on Friday:

=Lots of Cleaning Apartment
=Laundry
=Get Work Stuff Organized
=Mail Ebay Stuff
=Call To Make Arrangements For Pup's X-Rays
=Lunch/Dinner For BF & I
=Meal Plans (Or Just Prepare Work Lunch Stuff)
=Get Organized On What Days We Need Off For Family Visiting
=Mail Bills/Birthday Cards
=Get Target GC For New Baby Cousin & Mail
=Call About Closing SF Savings Account
=Apply For Loan For Pup's Surgery

The list could go on and on with stuff I COULD do, but is not necessarily a priority right now.

No changes in the Ebay items as of yet. Both auctions end in about an hour, though I doubt there will be more bids. I had really hoped that Book #2 would sell, dangit!

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I'm trying to think of some stuff I can do for additional income streams. I have been working on it for a while, but not hardcore. Now that the pup's surgery has been moved up so much, and with Christmas coming, and things we'd like to do (beach, Washington DC) before we move, we can use every little bit extra!

So the game plan is:

=List Old Books on Half.Com Or Amazon
=Join Etsy & Start Selling Craft Items
=Try to Join ChaCha as a Guide
=Do More Surveys
=List Some Stuff On Craigslist
=Be On The Look-Out For Loose Change
=Get More Published on Associated Content
=Make Sure I Get A Full 40 Hours @ Work

To keep myself accountable, I'll try to post my progress with any of these things in my daily post.

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Well, I'm off to get started on something... although the first thing may be spending some quality time with BF. Big Grin We're watching a new release movie (thank you Redbox) since I am off tomorrow, and he doesn't work until the afternoon. Who knows about dinner!

Pup's Surgery In September?!

August 19th, 2008 at 03:44 pm

BF Food @ Work: $1.30

Transfers:
$50 from "Slush" to "Pets" account.
$50 from "Slush" to "Christmas" account.
(Totals will come at month end.)
$50 from BBT Checking to "Pets" account.

Bills:
$113.61 Mailed to Personal Loan
$179.78 Mailed to Car Loan (#33)
$27.40 Paid to Electric Bill
$20 Given to Brother #2's Birthday
$30 Given to Brother #1's Birthday


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Book #1 is up to $32.01 on Ebay. Yes!!!

Now if I could only get a bid on Book #2. I have two watchers still, but nobody has bid yet. Grrr.

I am thinking of putting some books on either Half.Com or Amazon.Com, since I doubt I'll ever read them again, and they don't hold any sentimental value. I know I won't get much for them, but anything would be a plus.

Work was alright today. My boss's boss was there, so that's always a little stressful. We were busy, but not necessarily with customers. I can't wait for Thursday (my day off)!

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Finally got ahold of the pup's surgeon today. He shocked me when he said he'd talked to the head vet surgeon for hip surgery at Ohio State (the premiere research place for the surgery)... and with the new implants they use, they can do them in younger dogs. He suggested that we do our pup's next month!!!

He reassured me that it wouldn't hurt anything to go ahead and do it, and I figure it can only help... as his affected leg is already showing some atrophy from not getting as much use as his others. The sooner we get him fixed up, the sooner those muscles can catch up to the rest.

Plus - I was really stressing out about his surgery being around Christmas. The recovery is pretty intense, and I didn't know how we were going to accomplish giving our pup the care he needs while trying to Christmas shop and travel for the holidays. At least this way, the two month recovery time would be over by the holidays.

So added to my to do list is calling the surgical center and setting up an appointment for a consultation & x-rays in the next two weeks. Assumming he is okayed for surgery and put on the list, we'll have to put down a $500 deposit, and pay the rest after the surgery to the surgical center. While I've got them on the phone, I'm going to see if they offer the veterinary financing plan that will allow us 0% interest. If not, I'll have to go back to the banks and get a personal loan for the amount. I was approved the last time I inquired about it, so I should be okay now.

Even though the expense is coming alot sooner than we expected, if it all works out, it will be nice to have no FUTURE debt to dread. I think we will really feel like we're "over the hump" then, even if it is a long road ahead.

Now I'm just starting to stress about the surgery itself. My poor little guy... we'll have to leave him for two days, and I don't know if they even allow visiting before/after surgery.

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And some pure randomness: my mom called me obsessively at work today, so I thought something might be wrong and answered. She then proceeds to tell me that she just bought us a TomTom. Why? Because I'm "such a wonderful daughter" and she never gets to do anything for me anymore. It is totally out of the blue, but I guess she was trying to think of something to do for us, and remembered all our stories of me getting lost on work trips, and BF misreading directions to hiking trails.

Of course I'm very grateful, and still a bit shocked that she did it... but I also kind of wish I could've waited until Christmas for it (just so that I could've researched which one I really wanted). But I'm sure there's not too much difference in what we'd be using it for, and it was free, so I definitely cannot be anything but appreciative.

It was after I got off the phone with her that I realized how difficult it is for me to show appreciation sometimes. I have no idea why, because I definitely always am appreciative... but I think maybe because I hate for anyone to think I need help or even offer it to me. Sounds weird, I know, but I've always been almost obsessed with self-sufficiency.

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Nothing more to report for now - I may update this post a little later if I end up paying some bills or moving some money around. Smile

Stiffness!

August 18th, 2008 at 06:14 pm

Gas For My Truck: $25.03
Gas Station Slushie: $1.30
Bread, Milk, Etc.: $4.50

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Okay, for those of you that read my post yesterday about our grand adventure biking around Gettysburg Battlefield... I am so sore! I was tired yesterday, but the muscle stiffness set in today. (And the day I had to do alot of lifting and moving around at work, of course!)

It's good to know that my body is aching for a good reason though... I look forward to more exercise. Smile

Not much to report, we've got a lot of "to-do" things, but haven't gotten around to alot. The pup's future surgeon hasn't called me back from the message I left a week and a half ago, so I guess I'll call him again tomorrow. He's one of the best surgeons for that type of surgery, so I hope we haven't made him mad somehow. :S

BF still has to call and track down his stimulus check. They are only open weekdays until 5pm, so it makes it hard for him to get in contact with them. His dad did tell him a story about one of his friends who was missing his stimulus check, and it turns out they had sent it to his old address... and the NEW occupant had cashed it! How is that even possible? Now we're more stressed about it.

Book #1 is up to $28.01 on Ebay, and Book #2 still has two watchers but no bids. I just lowered the "Buy It Now" price, so maybe that will entice more people to bid. I guess I just realized that it's not doing me any good, and the longer I hold on to it, the less I'm going to get anyway.

Well, I'm off to do some laundry for work tomorrow and start dinner for when BF gets home. Fried chicken... yum!

Our Bikes & Battlefield Trip

August 17th, 2008 at 03:36 pm

Breakfast: $8.50
AA Batteries (For Camera): $5
2 Mountain Bikes: $35
Lunch: $17
Beer: $12

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Well, we did manage to get up to Pennsylvania and pick up our mountain bikes today. Since we were going to be close to Gettysburg, we decided to explore some as well.

We're really happy with the bikes. They even inflated the flat tire for us before we got there, and it's held up very well so far.

Once we found our way to the park/battlefield, we parked in the back lot and broke out the bikes for a test ride. BF had to adjust my seat down some (and then back up some, lol)... but they are even the perfect size for us. We kept saying all day that we were amazed we'd gotten such a good deal.

Grabbed a map, then decided to just kind of explore and see what we find. Ended up going the perfect trail, and had alot of the monuments/areas to ourselves for a while. Also got some pretty cool pics:



BF & I are both suckers for anything historical/nostalgic... so we had a blast. The bikes were awesome, absolutely the best way to get around a place like that.

Took alot of pictures, and ended up eating at the museum's restaurant. We knew it would be overpriced, but we wanted to eat somewhere that we could only eat in Gettysburg. It's wasn't too bad - $17 for both of us, and that included drinks.

Then we headed home, and BF wanted to stop and get a case of beer on the way. And now we're home, trying to rest up and prepare for work tomorrow (bleh).

"It's In The Cards."

August 16th, 2008 at 04:41 pm

This is completely un-financial, but I forgot to mention it in my post earlier tonight, and I'm just a tad excited.

I was joking around with BF tonight, he said he wanted to play Playstation, and I said I wanted more days off work together. He said he wanted to go camping, I said I wanted the Harry Potter movie to come out in November. We kept at it, each time getting a little more extreme. I finally smiled and said, "I want to get engaged."

He smiled back and said "It's in the cards."

Of course, I've kind of known it was coming for a while, so I just laughed and said "surreee it's in the cards."

Then he walked over to the counter, opened his wallet, and pulled out a business card from a local diamond store. Yikes! It really is in the cards! Smile