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baby carrots and beets

April 27th, 2009 at 08:23 pm

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $2 cottage cheese

I got home tonight - my mail contained a $1.96 check from Ameriprise, closing my account. All of gramma's trust money is in my accounts. Consolidation at last. One less set of passwords to remember.

The container garden is smartly moving along. I see little baby carrot seedlings in my orange pot. (Purple ones, hopefully not hairy). Yesterday I looked in a different pot that DH planted and I saw baby beet seedlings.

Talked to sister about vacation plans. DH and I (along with Morgan) are planning a road trip to Wisconsin to visit the farmette. June 1 - June 15. Apparently many of the hotel chains along the way are pet friendly. No doubt it will be a busman's holiday - I'm sure that we will be put to work planting a few things in the 7 acres.

even more stimulus

March 7th, 2009 at 06:51 pm

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $2 coffee

Saving log - $40 DRP1 + $100 DRP2
Spending log - $12 brunch + $60 clothes from Ross + $11 ground coffee for work

Got a call from the enrolled agent (2008 tax guy) this afternoon. He asked, and I provided him with my 2007 tax return and paperwork, which also had a different Schedule K-1 on it. He is pretty certain that the 2007 tax guy didn't do it right, that I unfortunately underpaid, and that I should amend the 2007 return, and pay the penalties wherein. 2008 tax guy also suspects that since the 2007 Schedule K-1 came from the sales of real estate, I should have filed non-resident Wisconsin state taxes also.

I told him that to me its all about being able to sleep at night, and that I wasn't willing to wait to get caught (or not get caught). So its even more stimulus. I'm blue, of course, but at least I have the money to pay it.

My concern is for sister, who I am very certain blew off her own Schedule K-1, and no doubt faces a similar issue, perhaps even a worse one, because I at least gave 2007 tax guy the 2007 Schedule K-1. Although I am responsible that the filing is correct, it is a slightly different problem - I didn't blow it off.

When 2008 tax guy gets done calculating, I'll have to ask him to give me some simple explanations of what the Schedule K-1 is, and what happened, and advice on how sister should proceed.

finding stuff

January 6th, 2009 at 10:00 pm

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $10 lunch + $8 groceries

I stopped in my tracks as I walked to the bus. 15 pennies were strewn about. I picked them all up. Actually, there was one Canadian penny, so 14 pennies. Then this evening, someone dropped a mechanical pencil on the sidewalk. Picked that up, too.

Hunting good. OOoogh.

Had lunch with lawyer friend, lawyer friend's partner, and screenwriter friend. Lawyer friend's father died several days before Christmas, so he was very subdued. I was tempted to do for him what he had done for me but it turns out, ironically enough, that his dad died without a will. Or rather, the father revoked his will. Odd to me, I guess. I mean its one thing if you never made one, but to make one, spend the bucks to set it up, then revoke it and spend more bucks, then not make a new one ... well, you're already in for it.

dodged a bullet

October 10th, 2008 at 07:45 pm

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $9 lunch

I opened up my Ameriprise quarterly report this evening. This was the account that grandma's inheritance was put into. In April I moved the money into Vanguard. More precisely, I cleaned out all but $1.96. Hence the quarterly report.

It turns out that the Ameriprise cash sweep account was administered by The Reserve, one of whose funds "broke the buck" by 3 cents in mid-September. (In other words, a 3% loss, unheard of in an MMA). The Ameriprise newsletter says they will be using 33M of their own money (?! - I suspect its OPM) to "mitigate losses".

Well, I'm pretty sure that my 6 cents will be mitigated, but I don't think my sister moved her money anywhere, so I suspect that her mitigation will be less of a no-brainer.

I feel a little like the combat soldier who, when taking off his helmet, finds that little circle of daylight near the top.

In other news, my electric bill is only $47 (for two months). We've used less juice than the August - October before.

KO is now less than $42/share, so I will write a check out for that DRP. Will also be disciplined and add $40 to MMM. $50 already went to IP.

And I'm not kidding when I say that I am freakishly lucky also with ... fortune cookies. Everyone else gets the weird one or the klinker that you need the "in bed" for, not me. Today's fortune: "Prosperity is in your future."


May 2nd, 2008 at 09:40 pm

Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $1.25 coffee + $12 lunch + $15 groceries

We had the third annual late April birthday lunch today, with two other co workers who had birthdays on the 27th, 29th (moi), and the 30th. We keep inviting the co worker that has the 28th birthday, but she always has to run an errand or something. Wink.

The three of us were standing outside the office, debating about where to eat. I said, "okay, I have something that will help us decide," and I pulled out a two for one coupon. "Well that works for us," they said. Temper of the times - no one's embarrassed that they're deciding on a place by a coupon.

Tonight was the last night to use the coupons to celebrate the remodeling of the Safeway. I'm a little sheepish using their card and coupons, because I still think they jack their prices up to make the card a better looking deal. But I used the coupons tactically - only the food I normally buy, only items that can keep well, relatively healthy food, and a real deal versus a fake deal. For instance, I had a coupon for butter - but even with the coupon, the price wasn't good enough. I have enough butter in the freezer to last until November when the butter deals occur.

The other fiscal, non-coupon project that I'm doing is to move the money I inherited from grandma's trust in Ameriprise into my Vanguard account. Today the money showed in Vanguard, but didn't show as having left Ameriprise. Ah, the excitement of double booking. Big Grin

tuesday musings

April 8th, 2008 at 08:19 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $1.19 coffee + $6 lunch (foot long sub for 2 days).

There is one downside to having a day off on Monday: Tuesday becomes Monday. On my Monday, everyone else's Tuesday, I worked through:

1. missing pledges that the fundraising staff assumed were with us. Ha ha, we received them in the mail all right, but we sent them back to the fundraising staff to sort and batch. Where did we find the pledges? - in the fundraiser's safe.

Guys, its a safe, not a wastebasket with a lock! If they make safes with a clear, bulletproof plastic panel...well, they could sure use that.

2. I returned sister's call at work. Turns out that she did her own taxes, and she's wondering why she's not paying nearly as much as I am. Where does the Schedule K-1 fit into it? For me, the Schedule K-1 fit into actual professional help. Big Grin !

Oh yes, sister mentioned that she might have quit her job. She got tired of her $13/hr job, she got yelled at one too many times, she said she had a headache felt sick and was going home. Sister's partner thought that sister should take off six months, work on the farmette, then go back and find another job.

"Well, if you did quit, you did it at the right time," I said. "It will look like it happened because of the recession, and not because of anything you did."

I can relate, I'm actually a bit surprised she lasted this long. I've had similar emotions - a fair amount of cash so quickly has its own pull. You hear all the pettiness at work, you look at your bank account, note the fact that it will last a good ten years even with careless spending, and you think - well, what for?

Dad, mom, grandma and grandpa put up with a lot of what for to build up what they gave to us. Seems like I should put up with just a little more "what for". Smile My bank account still feels like its not completely mine. My own safe is full, locked, and also needs a clear plastic panel.

10 things I learned from probate

February 16th, 2008 at 08:27 pm

I first started my blog to journal my experiences with inheritance and probate (defined here as the process by which the will is discharged) after my dadís death in July 2005. It seems as good a time as any to use this as a nice little summary of the whole shebang and of my blog in general, especially in 2005 and 2006. Enjoy the walk down memory lane!

1. Someone died because of it. Sounds like a smart-ass thing to say, but itís true. Someone who youíd much prefer to be alive has died, youíre grieving, and now you have to make decisions and sort out many relationships that now will never change. Yeah, like that will be easy! Be thankful for thing 3.

2. Have an updated will. Sister found the will in a file cabinet in the attic after a few hours of searching. We were grateful that dad had one. However, it was 40 years old! Sister and I were mentioned at the end, basically saying at the end of a long list: if everyone else dies, they get it. Well everybody else did die because a lot happens in 40 years. We also knew that we didnít do always what dad would have wanted, but for that we needed an updated will. The Ouija board just didnít cut it.

Oh yes, keep the will and other paper assets organized, together, and in a safe place. Sister and I sorted important papers from dreck for a week, sister even longer, and we moved them from a one padlock- secured farmhouse to sisterís house. The lawyer winced a bit when he heard that because you arenít supposed to move anything, but letís face it, all it would have taken is a meth addict with a match so we did what we had to do.

3. It takes a long time. Sister and I finally got through it in June 2007, after one extension, for a total of 23 months or nearly two years. In a sense, we were grateful, both because of thing 1, thing 7, thing 9 and because we had plenty of complicated decisions to make. If you spent your inheritance ahead of time through your credit card, beware.

4. You will say to yourself: WTF? Often. Toothless old guys telling us that dad was sitting on fabulous riches Ė ďthat land is zoned commercialĒ, supposed adults driving farm equipment away for ďsafekeepingĒ, property lines 10 feet from where they were supposed to be, finding grandpaís tax returns from 1970 to his death in 1999, sister having a completely different childhood in the same house than I did, finding out that the estate had insurance for vandalism.

5. The executorís job is that of a switchboard - to collect assets, taxes and debts, then to discharge all in the most efficient way possible. Really donít have any good story about this point. Just that if the executor is a family member and is part of the emotional mix that no good can come of it. It was the one advantage of the 40 year old will Ė all of the family members picked to be executors were unable to do it.

6. Debts first, then assets. One of the first things that the executor did was put in a call for creditors on the estate in the local newspaper. The deadline depends on the state; in ours (Wisconsin) the deceasedís creditors have 90 days to come out of the woodwork. 91 days, tough. Creditors are paid from the estateís assets, whatís left is what you inherit. Your children or your inheritors donít inherit debt, with one exception: co-signers. If you need another reason why co-signing a loan is awful, here it is.

7. Probate might be resolving more than one estate or relationship. We also resolved momís insurance assets, gave items to dadís sisters, found residual savings bonds that grandpa gave to us, paid off Nut (a hired hand of dadís from the 1980s) some back wages that he claimed he had, and I got closer to my sister. Frankly, Iím glad there was only the two of us.

8. Both emotion and analysis have their place. Sister was close to the action, and far more emotional. I was 3000 miles away and had to be dispassionate and analytical. Or was that really the case? When it came to all the assets, I would have sold them to the highest bidder because I attached negative emotions to them, while sister saw the usefulness in picking and choosing the buyer and keeping at least the old homestead. We could keep the homestead, pay for it, and improve it, so why not? In the end, I was glad that her analysis and emotion ruled the day.

9. Stuff is harder to deal with than money. Old farm equipment, furniture, dishes, vinyl records, books, clippings from the newspaper, farm cats, and clothing from the 60s: all went for pennies on the dollar. And while real estate is where the value of the estate was, it was the hardest of all to deal with. Are you sure that you want to collect that much stuff? Who are you storing it for? When you think about it, we are all renters, marking our place on this earth. Enjoy what is yours now and enjoy it completely: you canít take it with you.

10. Itís now your asset. Thatís what I think the whole point of probate is. Because it takes forever, it gives you time to chase away the emotion and the ghosts, and gives you the ability to get comfortable with whatever you are inheriting. At the end, you want it to end.

2008 front of year routine

January 2nd, 2008 at 05:46 pm

Saving log - $30 monthly interest in small accounts
Spending log - $3 bagel, coffee + $14 drugstore + $11 groceries

Stayed at home to greet the plumber. Plumbing got fixed at about 3pm, but I just was not feeling it to go into work for an hour. So I bought some groceries - we had no fresh vegetables in the house, so I picked up the cheap three: carrots, celery, onions.

While I was waiting for the plumber to come, I got a number of financial and gym tasks done: I set up my 2008 Roth ($5K is the maximum this year), I checked out my online Ameriprise account (grandma's trust is in Ameriprise, they've made an account in my name to move it from her to me), transferred $5K into the farmette account, and I put gym routines as little date journals into my PDA. Throughout the year, my trainer wrote out the exercises of the routines that we did on a small pad of paper. This pad of paper is nearly full. When we transfer to a new pad of paper I know the old one will disappear.

Yesterday, sister was online so we did some IMing. She sent the Excel spreadsheet that I made for her in October. I should have remembered to get it while I there, but I didn't so I taught sister how to send attachments.

I suggested she go through her checkbook and bank statements coming from the joint account for the farmette and IM me the transactions so I can update. Turns out we were $350 in the black for 2007 after taxes, electrical upgrade, solar panels, propane, new front door, redoing the milkhouse and foundation. Whew!

But not so whew - at least for sister - is that she hadn't done any of her paperwork to get grandma's trust transferred to her. Still in a serious, serious snit with the cousin, thinking somehow that he's stolen something or is hiding something. Its so bizarre to me why she's stamping her feet. Frankly, she's hurting herself - I've looked at the trust that has been transferred over into my account. Its a little more than what the cousin estimated it would be.

As it is, I now have to at least ask a CPA for advice on my tax situation for 2007. My ship has come in, but my moorage for it is not nearly adequate. Big Grin

a decided lack of entertainment here

December 13th, 2007 at 09:17 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $1.19 coffee

Nearly no spend day because we had our Winter Event - aka the afternoon office holiday party. A lunch in a nice venue in downtown Seattle, with a drawing for prizes, and a couple of speakers. It was all right, but not nearly as entertaining as ones when they had the no host bar. Now there was frugal entertainment! I don't remember the precise year when we stopped having the ability to buy a drink. A guess that's a good sign that I don't have an adult beverage problem. Big Grin

I won 2 tickets to a John Denver (esque) concert at the Seattle Rep that I must use by Dec 24. I put the esque in parantheses for a reason, John Denver's been dead for awhile. Or maybe, just maybe, if I have that adult beverage that could appear to change.

Paycheck tomorrow. $50 goes to another DRP account. The interest that I've been earning on T-bills has been dropping like a rock - over the summer its been 5%, now its about 3%.

I keep getting Ameriprise materials, so I know that an account in my name had been created and bits of grandmas trust is moving into it, but nothing final. They say that trusts resolve more quickly for heirs, but in my experience the probate process was much more absorbing and a bit more transparent. I know that's a bit weird to say, but with all the decisions that sister and I had to make it seemed that probate knit us together a bit more. I'm sure sister would disagree - she had to do most of the heavy lifting. Trusts just seem mysterious. If its that much a done deal, just cut us two checks and be done with it.

IMing for fun and profit

December 8th, 2007 at 05:08 pm

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.19 coffee + $8 lunch

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $13 brunch + $60 groceries

About three weeks ago, sister sent me an IM invite from yahoo.com. It meant that I had to get a yahoo.com email, but free is free, so I got one. I only hope sister doesn't think I will ever use it...I've forgotten my username on it already. Maybe I'll stick my spam offers there or something.

I did set up instant messaging at start up for the faint possibility that sister will be awake at the same time I am. Sister lives 2 hrs ahead of me and has early hours, so possibility was faint.

Yesterday sister was up in the middle of the night and took a chance. We IMed for about 2 hours. Wow, its way cheaper than a phone call and we got caught up. So I learned:

--Sister hasn't sent in her forms yet to the trustee. (I thought I was the slacker)
--Wisconsin got about 8 inches of snow.
--Sister has to figure out who she can get to shovel out the farmette driveway today.
--Both sister and her partner are working hurt. Sister with the knee and partner with the lower back.
--We both got caught short on Thanksgiving and had to buy the 20 lb turkey because that was the smallest available.
--We both handle about 2 or 3 threads at once. Neither one of us wait for question response, question response. We both question question question, response, response, response. I wonder if this is normal for IM? Big Grin

I wonder if she has a blog and doesn't tell me because she said things about me behind my back. I haven't told my sister about this blog. I don't think its a bad, but I figure it would be very inhibitory.

blub blub

December 4th, 2007 at 08:03 pm

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $2.39 coffee, milk + $8 lunch

Saving log - $5 tip box
Spending log - $1.19 coffee + $7.50 lunch

Nope. While I'm in North Seattle, I did not get flooded out. I'm on a ridge, but about 20 blocks from the flood plain near Northgate. Sure has been wet rain, not a mist - a quick jog for a couple of blocks gets your legs soaked.

The rain's made a hash of the work schedule. Temp guy had to take off work to go rescue his stuff from his apartment. Day care places have flooded out, so I've had to be flexible and allow for a child or two. We work in the basement, ordinarily okay except for this fall we've had a lot of leaks - water coming in from leaks between the sidewalk and the curb on 2nd Avenue.

DJ friend is back on the mend, but his finances got wiped out from the week he'd been out. I had been looking for a Christmas gift for him - instead the stars aligned to give him a much better gift. I had been paying my copays to the chiropractor, but during the physical therapy billing phase the copay turned into a credit. My original plan was to ask for a refund of the chiropractor at the end of the year. Instead I asked to put half of my refund into DJ friend's account, good for a month of back popping at the student rate.

Trust administrator is asking for "one more form" for grandma's estate. This time I'm the foot dragger - it looks like the trustees are setting up new accounts in my name. Sigh. Just give me the inheritance in my name.

getting used to crazy nice

November 8th, 2007 at 09:06 pm

Saving log - $5 tip box
Spending log - $1.50 coffee, milk + $10 lunch

Mixed up day at work!
--In the last couple of days, my little deli hasn't gotten its half pints of no fat milk, so the manager has been giving me little covered cups of no fat milk either free or reduced rates.
--Our roof - actually the roof of my office is right below the sidewalk, not below the building - is leaking, so a guy from the City of Seattle has come by to fix the leaks. He complained that since its now dry, he can't find them. Well, duh. Today he was mixing up sealant trying to seal up the concrete over my office.
--Teaching a couple of my staff how to clean spreadsheets. Teaching moment was conflicting with the sealant.
--Chiropractor's staffer came for boxes.

Delivered good news yesterday to DJ friend. He got a small payraise, retroactive from 4 months ago.

I'm been exploring what to do with my grandma's inheritance. One of the local banks is in the process of offering a CD where you can donate interest money to the non-profit where I work, but the bank also will donate 20 basis points in addition. (I knew about this because we have to figure out how to put their proceeds onto our books.) I asked for more info by email, left a phone number. One of the bank's VPs called me back - turns out that I'm the first person who asked about it. (they hadn't made the CD public yet.) We had a great conversation. I could get used to having good conversations with banks.

How I am helpful

November 6th, 2007 at 08:06 pm

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $7 lunch + $7.49 groceries

Emailed the trustee administrator about the niece slip and asked whether I could edit what was written - change niece to granddaughter then initial the change. Received a reply - it would be fine if I did the edit. I did so, then signed where highlighted, and mailed the paperwork off, then emailed the trustee that I had done so. I cc:ed sister on the whole thing so she can do the same.

Lunch was exactly 7$. As I was flumbling through my ones the cashier asked, "How did you know I needed ones?"

I said, "Are you kidding? You're in the lunch rush. All it would take is five people with 20s! You'll always need ones."

DJ friend has been battling with the IRS over Microsoft software given out after useability studies. Are they gratuities, or are they income? And how much would they really be worth - what Mr. Softy says they are worth retail, or what successful resellers are getting on craigslist or ebay? Helped him a bit by making a table of his data and helped with some of the letter. Hope my luck with arguing with the IRS rubs off on him.

The chiropractor is moving his office downtown. "Need boxes?" I asked. His eyes lit up. We'll see him tomorrow at our office. This time of year we have an empty box pile 15 ft high with hundreds of different box types. We'll see if we can get a free adjustment to the supply guy, who would need it about this time.

So being helpful is not a direct way to save money, but being helpful often means you have a larger social network with something to share, which means you have favors to barter and the network of folks to barter with.

high holy day for grocery staples

November 5th, 2007 at 08:15 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $13 chirashi lunch

Saturday was high holy day for the shopping of grocery staples. 49 cent cans of chicken stock, 48 cent canned tomatoes, $1.98/lb butter, $.99/lb frozen peas and frozen green beans, 69 cent cans tuna, 33 cent/lb pasta. If DH had been around, I could have given him a little teaching moment about steel cut oats at .79/lb. All because of Thanksgiving at the end of the month. None of these prices were fantastically rock bottom low, but compared to what they were like a month or two, well, you curse the fact that the dip is not as low as you'd like, or you stock up, figuring that inflation will make things even worse in a few weeks. Now if only the produce would even approach a good value. Nothing much for under a $1/lb except for unbagged carrots, yellow onions, and bananas.

I sent off the email to the trustee administrator for grandmas account. Got word from sister that the trustees really want to close this out by the end of the year. Sister also told me how much we've inherited - it was large enough that she quieted down a bit. She told me that it wasn't about the money - I'm thinking that by her actions that it actually kinda was.

There is a tiny pocket park run by the City of Seattle right in back of our little duplex. The Japanese maple at its focal point starts to put on its show right about now.

Sitting on the bench at the foot of the tree is also another sign of the season...

And no, I never did learn how to identify mushrooms - I love mushrooms, and if I learned to identify them, I'd be tempted to try them. There are old mushroom hunters and there are bold mushroom hunters, but there are no old bold mushroom hunters. Big Grin

trust paperwork

November 3rd, 2007 at 03:44 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $13 brunch w/coffee + $85 groceries

Got the trust "paperwork" from Ameriprise last night. Basically its a transfer document, transferring title from one account to another. I can tell a little bit from where I'd initial:

--Grandma had some of her money in mutual funds and some in brokerage (stocks). That's not a big surprise, even at 96 you can't hold everything in bonds and CDs.
--Cousin signed as the executor.
--I'm listed as "Niece". Interesting slip. I'm not the niece of grandma, current (dead) owner of part 1. In a sense, I am the niece of the executor, kinda.

I don't think I'm going to sign this until the relationship is changed and correctly established. Its not accurate - and all the research it would have taken is a glance at the obituary. Not to mention niece implies a non-direct line, while granddaughter is a direct line. I figure if I sign it, I let the slip go.

Time to call and email. Maybe I'll make it an innocent email, maybe I won't.

smorgasbord of stuff

November 1st, 2007 at 08:37 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $10 lunch + $7 ham

Lost 2 pounds at gym today, getting back to the stage where I was 2 weeks ago. I've substituted apples for a second energy bar to keep myself from sticking my head in the refrigerator in these darkening days.

Heard about the possibility that I can learn French. (MIL in Paris said - the family likes you, it'll be great if you learn French). One of the temp staff taught English in France, and a couple of co workers have a lunch where they speak only French.

Got a compliment on the email that I sent to sister's lawyer from my lawyer friend. The tone was good, and I was complete and told him what sister and I wanted out of the whole thing.

Got over 200$ in interest this month, so far (doesn't include the CDs).

Had a philosophical thought. If Daylight Saving is from April 1 to Nov 4 (7 months) and Standard Time is now from Nov 4 to April 6 (5 months), why is it still called Standard Time? Doesn't Standard Time imply that you are in it longer than Daylight Saving?

In G&d we didn't trust

October 31st, 2007 at 09:30 pm

Saving log - $6 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk (noshed on the other half of the footlong for lunch)

More wheels in motion - two days ago I got a call from the administrator of grandma's trust, as did sister. Sister called back and was told that even being named in the trust she couldn't view it or know who else is named in the trust.

Well, that set her off again. Might just as well toss a red cape in front of a bull. I got a disjointed email and a sentence fragment "would email lawyer." Little did I know that she failed to write the word "you" as in "would you email lawyer".

I emailed back asking "what is your goal in all this?" I told her my goal in this which was "I want to receive what grandma wanted to give to me when she was of sound mind and body."

Sister called me at work today, and agreed with my goal. Then she asked me if I had emailed her lawyer.

I said, "Huh?"
Sister said, "But you would write it so well - it sounds reasonable. Me, I would sound like I'm ranting."

So I got down to writing sister's lawyer, and I'll send a copy to lawyer friend. Basically what it boils down to is that we are a bit suspicious of the cousin who made the trust. We don't know if he has a conflict of interest, when the trust was done, why the secrecy.

We'll be inheritance experts soon. We'll have seen everything.

it begins again

October 29th, 2007 at 07:10 pm

Saving log - $6 tip box
Spending log - $6 lunch (2 day footlong sub)

So it begins again. Tonight I got a call from the cousin's lawyer. In a couple of days, paperwork from grandma's trust will arrive.

I got a letter on Saturday from my bank that I've stashed 2 CDs in. Apparently they hadn't gotten the signed paperwork yet on the second CD. I called today about it, the rep told me that it is possible that it might be part of the backlog. I'll take a look and call you back she said. Thirty minutes later, the rep called back and told me it was there.

got nothing

October 12th, 2007 at 08:11 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $9 lunch

Not much happening here - just waiting for the Monday paycheck. I'll be running on financial fumes - $100 for the weekend. The Duvall friends have got our blueberry bushes. (We decided to get a couple and put them in kind of a secret corner of the back yard.)

Sister's lawyer sent both my sister and I so I asked in an email for a little clarification - did he split the bill in half, or is one just a copy?

Took the bus tunnel for the first time since it opened. Its geometry seems different, but that could be because I hadn't seen it for two years.

Schedule K-1

October 10th, 2007 at 07:55 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk

Ate the other half of the sandwich I bought on Monday. These days a lot of people use the work refrigerator, but no one used the vegetable bin. Ha ha, score for a hiding place!

Last night I got the final piece of mail from the executors - a Schedule K-1. I'll have to look it up in the IRS site to see when and if its used. The letter stated that they filed a copy with the IRS, so we shouldn't. I suspect that it means that they've filed and paid so if I file and pay, I've paid twice.

Tonight I voted proxy as on one of my DRP stocks - M&I - is splitting off one of its subsidiaries into a new company - Metavante. If the split goes through, I get some additional Metavante stock.

Farmette tour pt 2

October 4th, 2007 at 09:14 pm

This is a little tour of the grounds, especially the pieces that now the Wisconsin Dept of Nat Resources (WIDNR) owns. Warning - lots of fields that all kinda look the same. You just can't make that composition interesting.

The zoning situation, in a sign.

This is due east. The clear area is now WIDNR to be restored to wetland. They've sprayed for weeds and have seeded.

This is southeast, taken from the road. The weeds are from the road. The soft gray area in the background is the WIDNR's previous purchase of our eastern neighbor's land 15 years ago. Its a sign of things to come.

From the south, through the weeds. The foreground weeds are all ours, BTW.

The property line between us and WIDNR cuts close to the solar panels. They have a bit of "our" pasture. We are on the left, WIDNR is on the right, and yes, it sure looks greener on that side. Big Grin

Sister in our weeds.

View from the southwest.

On the west edge, we discovered that our property line is about 10 ft farther than our fence line. So we own that 10 ft of grass past the fence. Its what caused that slightly increased acreage that freaked us out at the final step.

A picture of the corporate farm that sister despises. They were kind of interested in the property, but we were less interested in selling to them than to the WIDNR.

Fun shot of one of the barn kittens. He looks so much like my dead Augie that I just about cried.

Farmette tour pt 1 (very long)

October 4th, 2007 at 08:04 pm

I know you are curious, so as threatened, pictures of the farmette. These are shots of the house and barn. Warning - long, long, long, with lots o' pictures.

House - facing west. This is the side facing the barn, which we will see later. The foundation got recently fixed.

House - facing east. This is the side facing the garden and the property now owned by the Wisconsin Dept of Natural Resources. We'll see that later, too. We never ever used that porch.

This is the north side of the barn and the now fixed up milkhouse. The red barn door is now new, and there aren't many diamond windows around on barns these days. The house would be behind you and to your left.

Inside of the old shed on the east side of the barn - all you would do is take a few steps to the left of the previous picture. This old, 20 ft shed contained the old, copper-bottomed still my grandfather (father's side) used to make whiskey during Prohibition.

This is the south side of the barn. The barn is actually in the shape of an upside down U - The milk cows were generally led in the central courtyard before milking and went there during rainstorms. Nowadays, the solar panel stands proud on the left. Its generating power - kind of fun watching the inverter go in reverse, sending power back to the utility.

Close up of the three poles. We installed three poles in case sister and I wanted to install two more solar panels. Under the three poles lay a trenched copper cable which delivers the power to the farmette. In the background, the southwest corner of the house is peaking through the trees.

Close up shot of the back end of the solar panel.

Close up of the courtyard where the cows lay. The flooring - ahem, compost - is like scotch: very well aged.

This is the south west corner of the barn. That little blue-green thingee sticking out is the automatic manure spreader - how cow manure got out of the barn.

Grounds and fields next.

2nd property - finis

October 3rd, 2007 at 08:16 pm

Despite the fact that our second piece of property has to be rezoned entirely into agriculture, the State of Wisconsin mailed us our respective checks. I got a phone call this morning from sister.


So ends, finally, everything from dad's estate. Now we turn to grandma's estate.

Funny, non-financial story about grandma mentioned at the funeral. She had talked to the pastor a couple of weeks ago, mentioning that she had lived too long.

The pastor replied, "it beats the alternative."
Grandma retorted, "I wouldn't know, I haven't tried the alternative yet."

We are talking the funny, witty, sometimes mean side of the family. If you find yourself re-reading this blog and laughing every so often, I attribute that entirely to that side of the family.

grandma died

September 27th, 2007 at 08:04 pm

Saving log - $5
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $9 lunch

Sister called at work late this afternoon. Grandma died last night. She was 96.

I'll be off for a few days, heading back to Wisconsin. The viewing and the wake are on Monday. I'll be visiting sister, she'll be giving me a tour of the farmette. I plan on taking pictures.

See you in a few days.

sister asking for farmette money

September 8th, 2007 at 04:27 pm

Not personally, but again for paying the bills and projects on the farmette. I've transferred $5950, which sounds like a weird number, but it really means that I've transferred a total of 20K to farmette projects. The solar panel, trenching (bury the copper), upgrading the electrical to the house and to the power grid - important especially if the panels provide a surplus of power to sell back to the electric company.

All in six months!

I would prefer to keep it to 20K/year level. I'm feeling stressed and fearful about it because I don't want to feel cheap, but I don't want to feel like the money is going down a rathole. I know all of this is important to keep the place up enough to be worth "buying me out", but I want to see plans, pictures, and experience more about what is going on, and I worry that sister's being taken a bit. Or is she?

oh this has got to be it!

August 23rd, 2007 at 08:00 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $5.35 lunch

Spent $20 at lawyer friend partner's birthday dinner. Had fun, but I did notice out of the 14 people there a couple of people cheaped out a bit. I'm glad that if nothing else, keeping an eye on the money most other times means that I can shrug my shoulders and tsk tsk to myself. Keeping an eye on the my money makes me detail oriented, which means I keep an eye on everyone else's money too.

I collected $46 in the tip box this month. Deposited it yesterday afternoon at the bank.

This afternoon sister called me a couple of times. She got the notarized forms I mailed her, and as she was getting hers notarized by her insurance agent, she noticed a slight discrepancy - 74 acres instead of 73. So did that mean they bought slightly more, or what?

I reminded her that the property line was 8 ft further than the fence post. She called her lawyer who is arranging the sale about it - before she mailed the forms. Turns out that we are still getting the 7 acres (like only 6 acres is not a farmette, hah hah); the 8 ft extra did push it a little over.. The exact acreage was something like 73.7879. They rounded up the acreage in the contract. So sister will deliver the notarized contracts to her lawyer.

This has got to be it??!!!

Apparently even with 4-5 inches of rain, the gang is working - the post that the solar panels are going to sit on has been driven in, and the electricians are working at upgrading. I don't even want to think about it with all that standing water. Oh, and the solar panels are in the sheds.

dime spend day tomorrow

August 20th, 2007 at 09:45 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $20 chiropractor + $7 lunch (2 days) + $4.25 mailing

Hit the chiropractor and teased him about the Packers beating the Seahawks, or rather, what they looked like they Saturday night, the Garfield High junior varsity team. It was in good fun though - there are plenty of Seahawk fans in Wisconsin and Packer fans out here and each group will merrily abandon their team if the other's doing better.

With increasing my savings payments by another 50$ to $100 and with nearly paying off the credit card, I'm a little short of what I normally would be. I bought the footlong sub to eat over a couple of days. That and killing off the Starbucks card tomorrow means I might get away with a dime spend day tomorrow.

What I was real short of today was time - I was racing around all lunch hour getting the notary signatures on the 3 real estate forms I got on Saturday. It was unclear on one of the forms where the notary was supposed to go, so it was go to the bank, go back to call the lawyer in Wisconsin, get the story, go back to the bank and get the notary. Then copying for my files, then a hike to the post office to send the forms 3-day priority and get a tracking number, and finally an email to sister and sister's lawyer to expect the forms.

But soon it will be all over...really.

Tomorrow we vote in a special election.

last of the real estate paperwork (maybe)

August 18th, 2007 at 07:16 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $11 Denny's + $40 groceries + $26 CDs (1 a 2 record set)

The probable pentultimate gasp of paperwork for the 74 acres (second property minus farmette and 7 acres) came today in the mail, along with a few useful letters. It came from sister's lawyer.

In front of a notary, I'm to sign the Construction and Tenants affidavit and the Warranty Deed. Apparently the Transfer Return form is just for my files - sister, since she's readily available, is to sign that one. I get to call the lawyer and confirm.

And then sister and I each pay off the property taxes for 2007, now that dad's estate is no more (out of probate). I'll check with sister to see if we can use the joint checking account to pay it off. After all, its what I envisioned this joint account would be for.

According to the DNR letter, when this batch of paperwork is done, the Wisconsin DNR will get the clear title and cut us a check.

A couple of photos for today. This afternoon, it appears that fall has come a little early to Seattle. We got a spot of rain...

And another fall sign, lots of birds congregating on a wire. I felt a tad like Tippi Hedron as I snapped it. 'IMDB' Tippi Hedron for you young whippersnappers.

money transfer

August 13th, 2007 at 09:19 pm

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $7 lunch + $20 chiropractor

Sister called. She got my $14K money transfer this morning, so it looks like it takes an average of 5 business days. Good to know; good to know that the checks for solar panel installation and the electrical rewiring won't bounce.

The chiropractor told me that he adjusted my first trainer the other day (first trainer brought me to the chiropractor when I had a lot of trouble doing some of the moves). My first trainer is selling cars now an has put on a few pounds. So we've gone full circle - whatever I'm losing he's gaining. Smile

from WA to WI

August 7th, 2007 at 08:54 pm

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $8 lunch + $12 canning supplies

I called sister and sister called me back. She got the $50 deposit yesterday, but she didn't get it on Saturday. It appears to take 3-4 business days to move money from WA to WI.

With the upgrades in the electrical system, digging a trench for the cable to the house (bury the copper deep enough), building and installing the solar panels, the repair of the milkhouse and the foundation, insurance, and a new furnace... right now I sent $14,000 to the WI account. It will take a bit more, so I warned sister to work with the projects she has going now and not go for any more until these are done.

I sent the 14K, but I found that my WA bank would only transfer $9999.99 at a time. I did two transfers. I warned sister that with bigger transfers the bank might be more careful and slow things down. I'll watch from my end.

Talked with the Duvall friends about this upcoming weekend. We'll sleep over there Friday night, plan what we will waterbath can - jam, jelly, pickle, etc, but also check the Duvall farm fair Saturday morning. I don't think we will be canning a lot, but we can do a little practice run. I bought lids, rings, and pectin. I even got a deal on the pectin!

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