Home > Archive: August, 2007

Archive for August, 2007

hot not good

August 30th, 2007 at 03:21 am

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $15 dim sum lunch + $11.04 grocery store.

We had some excitement at work at noon. The Director of IT felt the door of the server room and it was hot.

Hot is not good. The room was 99 degrees.

The servers all had to be taken down and since it was around noon, the first hour of no computer wasn't too bad. I told my co workers that I "give us about a half an hour of no Internet before we resort to savagery and cannibalism." Big Grin

We got back up at around 2:30, but as I left at 5:30 I couldn't save files, so tomorrow might be very interesting.

I work with

August 29th, 2007 at 03:04 am

well, entertaining lunatics...

In case you missed them, the signs said:
Needs Good Home
Take Me. I'm yours.
Cheap & Easy
If I Could Talk

Oh yes, don't be fooled. The only thing more uncomfortable than those chairs would be a board with nails in it.

(And yes that's a vault door in the background. Our building used to be a bank. It cost too much to get rid of it during the remodel, so it remains as an historical artifact.)

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk


August 28th, 2007 at 03:25 am

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $7 lunch (for 2 days)

Its a little tight for the end of this month, with a paycheck at the end of the week, and I'll have a couple of lunch meetings that I have to make and I need to save some money for. Today I did the footlong sub, gnaw on it for 2 days trick. Then, even with the two lunches out I should make the end of the month with about $60 to spare.

I looked at my Capital One credit card bill and I got the late fee charge again. The customer service guy was rude, but he did tell me where to send a written letter to dispute my charge (I double checked on the website - who knows what they teach customer service people nowadays?) and fax number. What is happening is that I've gotten in the habit of paying on the 20th when my bill closes on the 15th. Now my bill closes on the 20th, so when I pay my bill on the 20th, it might get posted to the previous month, making me just under the wire.

I faxed the letter and mailed it. There is no innocence about it - I was mad enough just to be straightforward, clipped, and direct. I gave them six months worth of data, told them why I was mischarged, and told them what I want to happen (shift my bill to close on the 15th). I have to say that I don't hold much hope here - when Cap One's mortgage business went under, it means they will grab money with both hands, customer be damned. Luckily the late fee is the only charge on it. If they aren't reasonable, I cut up the card and hand it to them.

Another MOMA

August 27th, 2007 at 12:53 am

It came to me this afternoon as I was walking to the bus.

Enjoy what you already have.

Very simple - since you already have it, why spend on the new, improved version. We all might not be the "use it up completely" types, but even if folks actually used everything they bought we would not waste and toss out perfectly useful items.

it could be worse

August 27th, 2007 at 12:29 am

We were going to go Saturday to lawyer friend's house on the coast of Washington (Hoquiam, to be exact) to paint and barbeque and get a change of scenery.

Unfortunately, we met up with a traffic jam to Fife, Washington (outside of Tacoma). A rollover accident causing 7 car pileup happened about 30 minutes before, blocking all the lanes. The State Patrol opened up the turnout, and we turned around and went back to Seattle.

On the way, we called lawyer friend, who got the whole story from someone else's call. Paint and barbeque canceled.

It was pretty disappointing, but it could have been worse. We got a late start, so the rollover definitely could have been on us had we gotten 30 minute earlier start.

oh this has got to be it!

August 24th, 2007 at 03:00 am

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.

voting for nutballs

August 22nd, 2007 at 05:50 am

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $.10 coffee

Well, had my dime spending day today. I feel almost as virtuous as I would if it was a no spend day. Made $180 in interest last month.

Voted this morning in a special primary. Normally its in September; this year's several weeks early. I voted an electronic ballot - its very rare that electronic gadgets fail for me, but not for many other people. It won't matter soon because King County is heading toward an all mail-in ballot.

I prepare for voting the night before by looking at the voters guide and writing down how I'm going to vote. It was nice to have a friend running for school board because I usually decide eeny-meeny-miny on those. But despite the planning, there's always one item on the ballot that I didn't decide on. When I pick blind it never fails that I pick the nutball. Too bad; nutballs are easy to spot in the voter's guide. Here are my EZ rules:

1. No more than two fonts in the candidate's statement. Regular and italic or regular and bold. As soon as you start with the regular, bold, italic, ALL CAPS all on a 1/2 page, you really think that way?

2. No underlining passages whole passages and paragraphs. C'mon, it looks kind of stupid when you underline whole chapters in a textbook. If you think all of this is that important than none of it is.

3. Not keeping the use of capital letters to the first word of a sentence and proper nouns. Just because You have a Word you like doesn't mean You can Capitalize It.

4. No third person POV. The main reason baselle didn't vote for Bob Dole ... well, okay other than the fact that baselle normally votes Democratic.

5. A first name that's not obviously made up. This year it was Goodspaceguy Nelson. (actually his entry was pretty funny - "to glorify King County, ask that governments make it easier to make movies here.")

dime spend day tomorrow

August 21st, 2007 at 04:45 am

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.

MOMA - for Boomeyers

August 19th, 2007 at 05:32 am

I'm surprised this one hasn't come up, so I'll do it.

Pay yourself first. Put yourself in as a line item on your budget, and give yourself a raise/ cost of living adjustment (COLA) every so often, especially if you get one from your job.

Remember that if your electric bill or the price of gas goes up a certain percent, you grumble, but you shell it out and manage somehow. And that managing somehow means the end of the month gets thinner and thinner. Paying yourself first when your paycheck is plump means you will do it consistently.

last of the real estate paperwork (maybe)

August 19th, 2007 at 02:16 am

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.

it was good spend, anyway

August 18th, 2007 at 03:30 am

Saving log - $20 tip box
Spending log - $3 cherries + $2.45 groceries

I nearly had my no spend day until about 1:00pm. I had my Starbucks coffee from the gift card ($1.60 left - so Monday it will be coffee for a dime), and the co worker took me to lunch, even paying for the tip. We went to my hideout in the Pike Market (2 doors past the first Starbucks) and managed to trip over only a few tourists celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Also, the place does a strictly cash business - not tourist friendly either - so it was a lot of Seattle regulars chewing away.

I got led away from the no-spend path coming back through the market heading toward 1st Avenue. We had to slalom past rings of tourists camcordering street musicians (noticed few coins and bills in the hats, fyi), veered around lots and lots of looky-loos listening so sincerely and intently to the speaker proclaiming some blather that the Pike Place Market will never die...

Well, it will if you don't buy stuff! Its a market, guys. Markets sell stuff. If they don't sell enough stuff, they go away. I see it right now - not nearly so many produce stands as there were even just five years ago.

So there were a ton of tourists standing there like logs in front of a produce stand. I couldn't stand it anymore. I very publically bought a bag of cherries. Good karma there.

Then an hour later I gave the cherries to my trainer and the gym - because of the picnic yesterday we rescheduled gym for today. Good karma again.

It blew my no-spend day but frankly good karma, leveraged on both ends, doesn't come any cheaper.

1 down, 1 to go

August 17th, 2007 at 02:53 am

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $0

Did it. Got one of my few no-spend days.

Used the Starbucks card to "buy" my 12 oz drip coffee (drank it, no, no I want cream with it tomorrow), and I ate - gorged - at the office picnic. I shouldn't have had that piece of cake with frosting. Tasted great while I was eating it but it really, really got me even an hour afterwards. To think that as a little kid I used to enjoy that much cake preferentially going after the frosting.

DJ friend drove me home, but I could have also taken the bus.

maybe two no spend days in a row

August 16th, 2007 at 04:03 am

Saving log - $2 tip box (have to pick up the pace for this month)
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $9 lunch

Got my first paycheck with the raise - $50 more each paycheck, $100/month. I get paid on the last business day and on the 15th of the month (earlier if the 15th is on the weekend). No three payperiod months for me.

Added $50 to my recurring savings at ING, 50$ to my recurring savings at my brick & mortar bank, and tried out online bill paying for my new credit card (the one I've transferred the trainer and the newspaper charges).

The office picnic is for tomorrow (Thursday) lunch, and the co worker that I worked with for that hour and a half last Friday offered to take me to lunch Friday. I'm going to team it up with buying morning coffee with my Starbucks card and attempt two no-spend days in a row. Cross my fingers that I can do it!

starbucks card

August 15th, 2007 at 03:33 am

Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $10 lunch

Enough was enough. I packed up my half finished library book in my bag to return to the library. I filled out a 3 book list for the adult summer reading program to turn in to the library. For my trouble, I got a $5 starbucks gift card. Lucky that WA state has a law that the card can't expire or fees taken out of it.

Too bad it means that I'll have to drink Starbucks coffee. Big Grin

money transfer

August 14th, 2007 at 04:19 am

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

Get 'r done, the girl version

August 13th, 2007 at 02:54 am

So Duvall friends told me they had no ripe blueberries...

And they swore they had no ripe huckleberries...Cripes, this is the most huckleberries ever I've seen on a bush. I must not get out all that often, I guess.

The Duvall friends were interested in doing pickles and marmalade. Are you crazy! I told them that berry jam is easy with no botulism potential. And the quick pickle steps usually had the "put in salted ice water for hours" step, which means canning the next day. The only problem with the jam is what couple can really go through a quart of jam in a reasonable time and without an insulin shot?

So we picked up some pint jars in addition to the quarts we got from the other friend. They'll use the quarts in the next few weeks. I showed them what you look for when you go through jars. We got one bad cracked one, one with a rough spot on the rim (I use those, but that one gets opened and put in the refrigerator after canning), and one mayo jar. No mayo jars as a canning jar for me.

We picked berries for a couple of hours, doing grizzly bear style picking - stripping the berries, rather than picking each one. For the huckleberries it still meant a lot of stripping for a small volume and it meant a lot of cleaning of leaves, berry stems, bugs, overdone fruit. My advice: use a fair amount of water. Leaves float, and the overripe stuff tends to sink and dissolve. Still it took about an hour to clean and pick.

The first step is to measure, which is a bit of a craft, because if you pack them down, you change the volume. This is 4 cups of blackberries, 7 cups of blueberries, 2 cups of huckleberries.

We made two batches of jam - 6 pints of a blueberry huckleberry lemon combo with added pectin, and 6 pints of a straight cooked-down blackberry blueberry number with sugar. The Duvall friends took lots of notes, but they did fade in and out, something you can't do during canning. Something about hot boiling water and hot boiling sugar that keeps you on task.

Here's the waterbath canner in action, steam surrounding it.

The batches of jam. Blackberry on the left, huckleberry/blueberry on the right.

Turns out that the added pectin number did something strange. It passed my fork test for jam, which means that it would jam up, but it seems jammy at the top and syrupy at the bottom. Tastes fantastic though. The cooked jam number took forever and ever to cook - it never really fully passed the fork test - but it jammed up nicely in the jar. Tastes great, but blackberry is always stronger than blueberry in my book.

tractor fair

August 13th, 2007 at 02:03 am

Spent Friday night and Saturday in Duvall Washington, at the north edge of the county. The Duvall friends invited us to the tractor fair Saturday morning and early afternoon. Not only did it harken back to a more frugal time, it was a blast!

This is an International Harvestor (IH) tractor M - a tractor that my dad had and "Nut" borrowed as a ransom. This one is in far, far better condition.

These weren't just for show - they had to run enough to participate in a parade and some, for a tractor pull. This is one of the oldest tractors restored and running - a 1919 Allis Chalmers.

The 1919 tractor with one of the newest tractors - from 1981.

It wasn't just tractors - any old engine or gas fired appliance that could be restored seemed to appear. This is a gas powered washer. You primed the beast using the pedals at the bottom.

And a more detailed shot of the gas iron. Inside the base of the iron was a pilot light! To a farm wife, the question "did I leave the iron on?" had a whole new dimension.

why does this excite me?

August 11th, 2007 at 01:37 am

And yet it does. I had my day off today, but I did a favor for a coworker, which only took 90 minutes.

After that, it was at the tail end of lunch. I went to my favorite hideout place at the Pike Market. No debit, credit card or check - just cash, so I checked my wallet. Whoops - I needed cash. There was an ATM about 30 ft from the hideout, but was traditionally a US Bank ATM, which if I used would be a $1.75 surcharge. Sigh. But I wanted my meal so I was prepared to pay - grr.

I got there and the ATM had changed to a WaMu. My bank; no fee; yippee! Weird how I care so much about paying or not paying a $1.75. It does mean that I don't have to plan ahead so thoroughly.

Packed up all my canning supplies for the weekend. See ya!

brown and white food fests

August 10th, 2007 at 03:54 am

Saving log - $5 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $25 lunch

We took lawyer friend out on his birthday, so that's why the lunch $ were freakishly high. We went to the all-you-can eat Brazilian restaurant that we took DH's family to last summer. "Meat fest" we called it. It did throw a loop out of my simple strategy for handling all you can eat places:

Avoid the brown and white foods, eat as much as you want of the brightly colored ones.

I got one plate of bright colored stuff - and then it was dark brown beef and white pork all the way.

Tomorrow I'm off, but not quite off. I'll be helping a co worker out of the office for an hour or so. Right now its just waiting, waiting, waiting for what the new paycheck will hold - its the first one with the 4.5% raise.

This weekend DH and I will be sleeping over at our friend's place in Duvall for the tractor fair, market, and all you can eat breakfast. Again, the simple strategy is not going to work. Hash browns, sausage, bacon, pancakes, syrup, eggs ... all brown or white.

We'll go to the fair for a little bit, and then I'll hold class on waterbath canning. The blackberries are not ready, so we'll be making pickles and marmalade. Not in the same jar!

blogging for exactly 2 years....

August 8th, 2007 at 03:57 am

and you're not sick of me yet?

from WA to WI

August 8th, 2007 at 03:54 am

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!

grocery irony

August 7th, 2007 at 03:39 am

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $5.50 lunch + $2.73 grocery

My WA bank completed the test "Bill Pay" transaction to the WI bank, from my end, on Friday. I expect that in the next couple of days that sister will see it from her end as a deposit. I'll call her tomorrow and ask. She'll have to tell me that she's seeing it before I send the rest - I just don't want to send tons of money without a little practice.

Picked up some produce - peaches at $1/lb and bananas at .50/lb. I used the HT cloth grocery bag at Safeway. Safeway deducts .03 if you bring a cloth bag, Greenwood Market deducts .05. Big grocery irony - HT, the kung fu grocery where I got the cloth bag deducts 0! C'mon man - if you are going to promote your cloth bag, make it worth our while!

Took a snap of a dustmop wearing a sweater.

Magnolias in Seattle?

August 6th, 2007 at 04:27 am

Didn't have that much to post about.

It turns out that on Wednesday, August 8, a film crew is going to film along 2nd Ave, where I work, go to the gym, and hit the chiropractor.

They should get a glimpse of blooming magnolias in Seattle. These are on 2nd and Marion...

Mrs. Murphy

August 5th, 2007 at 01:22 am

This is probably a TMI post, a bit on the level of showing a pic of underwear strung in a hotel bathroom...

I'll give those who want to bail out now the ability to do so.


Pardon the coyness here. My subject line refers to Murphy's Law, and that during a certain time of life Mrs. Murphy confronted Murphy's Law every month. Matter of fact, Mrs. Murphy had a corollary: let your 15 yr old daughter use her own money to buy that pair of white pants.

Well, I missed my period this month. When you are 45 there are two big reasons for missing it and so a couple of days ago I picked up a couple of fine Western blot stick tests to do a little self pre-diagnosis.

To keep this financial and to be a little comic about the whole thing, it turns out that the pregnancy stick test costs $8, while the menopause stick test costs $6.50 ($13 for 2). Already with the senior discounts! Big Grin

Nix on the pregnancy; probable yes on the menopause. It would appear that I've gone from pre- to peri-, and while it's useful - now I know why the summer nights seem just a tad warmer to me - its just a little disorienting. An occurrence that I planned for (and yet still surprised me sometimes) and marked time with for over 30 years is slowly going away.

But I'm not going to miss the expense of it - those downtown sundries stores for the girly emergencies are a total ripoff! Now where was that craft page...?

schlepping jars

August 3rd, 2007 at 12:53 am

Saving log - $1 tip box (yesterday)
Spending log - $3.28 coffee, bagel + $28 Walgreens + $2 parking + $5.50 produce stand

Today and tomorrow I have the day off. It was a relaxing day, mostly, but I got a lot of work done.

I drove DH's car today, hitting my errands. Ordinarily, who would mention it? It was the first time I've driven any car in 2 years, so it was fun because the novelty of it was very high.

I picked up 3 dozen canning jars from my friend, who works at the Burke Museum. Apparently he alerted reception, so she knew me right away and led me behind the exhibits to the staff and curator quarters. I love going back behind museums. Its such a secret world full of cabinets, where most of the good intellectual stuff is stored. The back often makes the front exhibitions just that - exhibitions, a facade. Kennewick Man, for instance, is stored in the back of the Burke. (I didn't pay him a visit.) Unfortunately, it was just the jars, say hi and a thank you to the friend, and then off.

It did cost me 2$, though.

Then on the way back I hit a produce stand - .59$ grapefruit, $1.09 peaches, .59$ tomatoes. Who could resist?

Then gym and the only snafu of the day. I forgot gym pants! Here's a milestone - I got into and used my trainer's M/M gym pants. They were a bit big on her and they will be even bigger because I stretched them out a bit. But just the fact that I could actually wear them, well, that's a cause for celebration.