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lucky me

August 12th, 2013 at 10:52 pm

First day of vacation, and lucky me, I was NOT on 2nd Ave downtown on a Seattle bus at or around 8:45am ... which I would have been during my normal work schedule. Neither Seattle bus that the shooter went on was my bus, thankfully.

Unlucky me though - while I had fun the night before at the Duvall friends house watching a new episode of Breaking Bad, then stayed overnight talking about it - I came home to find that V.I. (kitty) pooped on my bed and the sectional. I'm certain it was a statement for leaving her home overnight - both poop placements were definitely where l'il ol' me had resided not 16 hours before.

Turns out that the Duvall friends themselves are lucky, in that they are running (or in this case, not running) a dead disposal. You might remember that my new sink is now too deep for the disposal, so the plumber removed the disposal and I kept it, thinking I could sell it or manufacture good will. Well, I am manufacturing good will by donating my disposal to them.

Nobody had Eydie Gorme in the death bet, but her NYT obit was good reading. Who could have guessed that her high school classmate was Stanley Kubrick? That's as good as Jack Klugman and Charles Bronson sharing a NY cold water flat in the 50s.

chanelling my inner boy

July 31st, 2013 at 04:10 am

Tomorrow is payday, and I am left with $100. Today all I bought was a coffee. I'm in slightly better shape than last month, where I had to withdraw savings to finish.

Today, though, after brought-from-home-lunch I had heard that the tunnel replacing our Viaduct had started. Turns out that it hadn't, but I did swing around during my walk to pay my respects. Couldn't see much of it between the cranes and the ditch and the sheer amount of stuff parked around it.

Hadn't realized that this project would intrigue me so - I guess I'm channeling my inner boy. I was saying (long)

December 13th, 2012 at 08:50 pm

Well, this is the first post in about 5 months. My entry title is a take off on Jack Paar's first words when he came back to his Tonight show after a big long kerfluffle.

Anyway, what happened was not a mere storm to my routine it was a fiscal hurricane (apologies to those still coming back from ss Sandy). It was all self induced. Pull up a chair and let me tell you about it.

First of all, no more DH. Actually, just to be clear, DH was more a DP (partner). We never got married, but we were together for over 20 years. I fudged the legal aspects of the relationship to provide myself a hair more anonymity. And now, it matters little except for the fact that no marriage, no divorce.

I had been dissatisfied in our relationship for some time, but something good usually happened that I could go on for a little longer. Last July though, I just looked around and saw that DH (okay, DP) was not going to change and I was damned, if I continued, that I was going to spend my next 30 years picking up after him. I blew...for me I blew, and then while I snapped back I snapped back into a different place ... a different realization.

We broke up, but we did go to Argentina together. I did give him the option to not go (he took out trip insurance), but told him that we all did want him to come. I can't say what he thought about the whole thing. I know that strangely enough, it took the heat off of me. If he did something cringe worthy, I didn't think of it as a reflection on our relationship because there now wasn't one.

Next day after I snapped, I went to my credit union in search of a home loan. Which, if you look at my net worth, was easy to get. I had 20% and could qualify pretty easy for a 3% 15 yr fixed. Next I thought hard about what I really really wanted. I thought, wouldn't it be nice to have a real yard? Yeah, I suppose, but really yard work only appealed to me once in awhile, while plants in the yard grew relentlessly. And if I waited for Seattle home prices to turn reasonable, well I'd still be spending 30 yrs waiting for that. Plus, if I truly wanted to do yard work for a couple of weeks, I could fly out, spend some time with sister at the farmette, help her with the garden and weeding, and since I co-own the farmette, well, it helps me also.

After a bit of searching, I found probably one of the last sweet condo deals in Seattle, out in Lake City/Cedar Park, out at the northeast edge of Seattle. And yet the bus commute was 20 minutes shorter than what I'm used to (buses here are express, and I'm on the last stop before downtown), and the neighborhood itself sports a +90 walkability score. So I now am a proud condo owner.

With it, well I'm still spending money right and left. However, I'm buying quality and getting exactly what I want. New carpet, but carpet tile instead of wall to wall shag; new paint, but high end paint which means I can get away with 1/2 coats, only buying 1 gallon and taking only 1/2 sessions to paint a room. V.I. (kitty) has moved in with me and seems to have settled in well. Of course that litter genie could have helped much.

I can't rightly say that I'm saving money yet, but I am saving my sanity, resetting my routine, making new friends (I'm now closer to Spondilucks, who invited me to her New Year's party).

More to come, but as it is, while life is different, it is nicer for me than before.

funny this and that

March 24th, 2012 at 04:31 am

Work is easing up a little. My boss, the director of the department, is on leave and the biggest project she had me on was developing the department budget. Got it done today which means I can finally, finally go back to digging myself out of the swamp of work.

I had a number of interesting experiences this week. Wednesday I went to the pre-construction open house to the Northgate light rail station. Our quick way to get home from I5 is going to be used as a staging area. No surprise and sacrifices have to be made. The big controversy is more parking versus a pedestrian bridge coming from the community college. Its building up to be a choice between one or the other - depends on whether you think the cars are coming from the north or to the west.

I left soon after a 70 yr old woman complained that the station will block her view of the Olympics. A quick calculation is telling that by the time the station is built, the view is going to be the least of her concerns. To be fair, this project is not made for her particularly. Its not even made for me, who is pushing 50 next month. 9 years from now I'm thinking of retirement, not commuting after all.

The next wacky thing this week is finding out that Saturday a

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Hollywood production is being filmed nearby AND that Gary Busey is in it. Somebody on our crew has him on their list. Never been able to "throw" the results before!

And today, I took a little stroll near Occidental Park (Pioneer Square) and walked past three news crews. I asked a local about and he told me that the lawyer defending the US serviceman charged with the killings in Afghanistan... well, his office is nearby. So they are waiting.

Good To Go

February 26th, 2012 at 06:17 am

It, um, means something different out here in Seattle. Last Super Bowl Sunday (5th) we went over to the Duvall friends to watch. In late December, the 520 bridge turned into a toll bridge, so getting there we took an alternate route. That night though we thought, eh, screw it, let's play, see what happens and report out.

So we took the toll bridge. The traffic on it was beautiful, FYI. Apparently cameras are set up to take a shot at your license and mail you a bill if you don't have a Good To Go account.

Which is what we got this Friday (24th). Its no biggie - 3.15$, and its good to know that it takes a hair under 3 weeks to get the bill.

We tend to go there few times a year, definitely not enough to get a monthly weekly pass, but I'm looking into starting an account and putting a few bucks in it for the I'm-tired-it's-night option.

another reason for not carrying my credit card

May 26th, 2011 at 04:45 am

So I got a new credit card from Chase - a 1% and 5% cashback one. I only put the credit card in the wallet the day I plan to use it (never carry it just to carry it...too dangerous).

The day I put it in the wallet, I learned about another reason not to carry it; the credit card conflicts with my bus pass card as I tap the bus pass on the reader. The bus pass has a chip and a radio signaler in it so that it can store and compute the fare when you tap the reader to get on and tap it to get off. Apparently the credit card also has reader to store what is being charged and whether I get 1 or 5%.

Easy enough fix - just pull the bus pass card out of the wallet, but an even easier reason to not use it unless necessary.

Light rail near me

May 18th, 2011 at 04:56 am

Some of the very old time readers might remember that I live in the Seattle neighborhood of Greenwood, about 7 miles north of downtown. And a few of the merely old time readers might remember me being excited enough about Seattle light rail to post about it.

Well, plans are afoot to get light rail to north Seattle - yesterday the two gigantic borers near the University of Washington were christened and began digging south, hooking up to the northern most downtown stop. Five years from now light rail should reach to the UW. Great, but still 4 miles south of me.

Tonight I went to an open house for a light rail stop at Northgate, which is about 1.5 miles east of me. The place was packed - a good 150- 200 came. The route and placement of the station has been pretty much decided - tunnel most, popping up some, and an elevated stop next to the Metro transit center. Multiple plans for what the station would look like, and multiple plans for how the buses will interact with the light rail.

Comments from the crowd were mostly good, although it was weird to hear the "how come its not across the street?" versus "its gonna wreck my property values because its so close". Can't win.

For a good twenty blocks the rail line should run in a channel alongside the interstate, so there was a lot of concern about making sure neighborhoods to the west (namely me) could use it. Two road/sidewalk overpasses would be maintained - on 92nd and on 103rd. A couple of comments about community college students not being able to use it. What happened to college students these days? I thought nothing of walking many, many blocks. And this community college campus - like many college campuses - ain't tiny. 12 blocks walking shouldn't be anything.

Matter of fact, the open house was about 8 blocks from the transit center which would be where the light rail line would be. I walked home from the open house. Took me 45 minutes to walk home, no biggie. Ride itself would take about 13 minutes from downtown to the stop.

The real time lag though is that the light rail will come to us in 2020. I'm probably going to be a little less spry by that time.

surprise frugal guy

October 4th, 2010 at 02:38 am

It made me smile when I read

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this in the New York Times this Sunday. Let's just say that the character he plays on Mad Men would be more likely to hitch a ride on Apollo 11 than in a bus.

And I subscribe daily to the New York Times (have been for over 20 years). Pricey, but I read whatever catches my eye and pick something up daily, so its worth it to me. Online news, despite being "free", is just not the same, one tends to read whatever maintains your worldview rather than whatever catches your eye.


June 18th, 2010 at 03:30 am

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $14 produce
Found money - $0.12 (road, self serve car wash)

Saving log - $9 tip box
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $4 groceries
Found money - $0.27 (road, parking meter, Safeway floor)

Saving log - $100 to ING
Spending log - $1.75 coffee + $17 lunch
Found money - $0.27 (bus stop, sidewalk, parking lot, Safeway floor)

We got a better grip of the costs of the beef, we pay on the wet hanging weight (the intermediate step between living creature and finished), and we pay for butchering. Storage - beef must be hung for about 3 weeks at close to freezing to break rigor mortis and for taste - is free, and the rancher will deliver so we won't pay for that either. The current estimate is that a 1/4 (100 pounds) will run us about $850, probably a bit more. My chiropractor is in for half of my quarter, so each of us will be saving our pennies - more than 42,500. Big Grin.

I haven't talked much about found money lately. I even found a penny each of the days that I was out on the beef weekend. Lately the coin hunting has been pretty good. My total, with 29 days to go for the year anniversary, is $47.10: 1,045 pennies, 42 nickels, 169 dimes, 42 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents. I just might make $50 for the year!

We got our ORCA transit cards today - we use them on July 1. So far HR only cares if you give the card to someone else to use when you are at work. They don't care if you use it over the weekend.

Got brave and looked in on my 403B. Hadn't since stocks took that really big jog down a month ago. Its held its own, and I'm still over $110K.

....and catching up, period

June 9th, 2010 at 05:12 am

Its been a week. Apologies! So let's see...

Film. Sister enjoyed my tale of the film and said, "hey, submit it to the Milwaukee Film Fest in the fall". So we did - at least screenwriter friend applied, slipped the DVD in, and I paid the submission fee. $50. We also applied to Chicago, which is happening a couple weeks later. Since the film was made by a student, student fee was also $50. Chicago, though, suggested an additional $2.50 as "protection". I used to live in Chicago; "protection" made me laugh. Oh well, if dead men can vote in Chicago, they probably can make movies too.

Beef. We are going to "visit" the beef that we bought. Since our little consortium put a down payment on a whole cow, we can pick the animal. I plan on pictures, although I'd rather pick the steer that looks like it might be involved in a tractor jacking, if you know what I mean.

Work. Performance evaluations are done! Now its the final push for the end of fiscal year pledges. Instead of a bus pass, we are going to get work Orca cards. A bit more pricey a month, but much more flexible - it will work with 4 different transit systems. And because it does that, the card

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stores when and where it was used. And it because it does that, a co worker asked the basic question of HR - Are you going to monitor our trips? We got a confused answer.

Printer. I have been printing all the Paris photos out on the $20 HP printer I bought at the Greenwood yard sale. I got medium-end (not highest, not lowest) HP paper. Works great! But so far its $15 for 100 sheets, and I ran out of ink - $45 cartridge which should last for 500 pictures. Yikes! I have to console myself by breaking it down.

(15$/100) + (45$/500) = 15 cents for paper + 9 cents for ink. 24 cents per picture. That makes me feel better.

Oh yes, I nearly forgot. I had some good luck finding money over the last week.
$45.93: 1,018 pennies, 41 nickels, 163 dimes, 41 quarters, 2 $1 bills, 1 $5 bill, 1 10 pence coin worth 15 cents.