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Archive for June, 2006

It's Official......I'm retired!

July 1st, 2006 at 12:59 am

Wow, after a long afternoon, my last placement has moved out. His mother was an hour & a half late to pick him up, and naturally that left me seeing sewing customers with my guy here. (not as easy as it may sound)

Finally squeezed all his most important things into her little tiny car and off they drove. What a huge relief.

First thing on the agenda this evening was a shower. After loading that car, it was definately necessary, plus, showering is something I've had to do almost by appointment the last 15 years or so. All of my kids were in line of sight supervision when they were awake, so showering just didn't fit with that plan. It was absolute heaven not to have to fit it in a 30 second time frame~~

Passed along reams of paperwork too, which took a huge work load along with it. I won't miss working with Social Security one bit.

I can't wait to notice all the little things that I get to incorporate back into my life.........lots of things that I probably don't even notice any longer. One thing I can see just from sitting here at my desk, which is truly in what should be a dining room........is I have nothing...I mean nothing sitting around. When all the kids throw things, there really isn't anything here to pick up. A few pieces of furniture, but our house always looks like the people in it have not quite moved in yet. It does make cleaning easy, but it will be nice to bring a few of my things out of hiding and have them around me!!!

Such simple things are going to float my boat. Smile

We Lowered Another Bill

June 30th, 2006 at 10:20 pm

I got the official notice in the mail today.........It says "your account indicates that there has been a change in your energy consumption." Well, I should only hope so! Smile

We've been trying every trick in the book, including all those mentioned on blogs here, and were just waiting for some sort of tangible reward. TA DA. Started at $150 monthly and they have refigured us at $105. monthly, beginning in Aug.

Of course, the next leap would be to get it below $100..... that number has already become the new challenge. What's $5.00 less anyway??

Not the electric bill, but the gas bill should finally be a zero.....as I bit the bullet and figured out how to turn off the pilot light to the fireplace by myself. I have no idea why that was such a hard task, perhaps because it was just very unfamiliar to me? I was more excited than necessary on this little task!! I have no idea how to re light this, so we should be saving money here!

Still working on the cable and the cell phone bills as well as moms phone & long distance service, so there is still more money to be 'found' in the budget here.


June 30th, 2006 at 04:05 pm

I'm down to counting the hours until I can officially declare Retirement! At least from Job #1. I won't be lounging on the beach in Mexico or anything even close, but I won't be caring for special needs kiddos on a full time basis as of 3PM today!!!!

I'm so excited I'm giddy. I have mental lists, written lists, a TO DO list on my Google sidebar here............all things I haven't been able to do with the houseful of kids. And, lucky for me a couple of them MAKE money, so I can do things I love and get paid too!

I think my main focus is going to be walking! I have been so jealous of the other blog entries about walking & exercising! I used to do that on a daily basis too, with the kids. But, the last 4 years, no way. So, tomorrow morning (and maybe even this evening if it's not 80 degrees) I'm heading out for my first solo walk in 4 years!!!

And, this walking addition does relate to money, at least for me. I've grown fat & lazy...........and I've got closets full of clothes that don't fit. I've got a new job that I'm going to need clothes for.... and I'm way too cheap to go buy things. So, I'll re do myself to fit the available clothes, all for no money spent.
(I might need a new pair of walking shoes right off the bat, haven't tried mine on for ages!)

The wardrobe, plus the obvious health benefits (& potential medical savings) make this a very frugal plan for me.

Other items on my list include being able to play the piano again, have people over to the house, attend church, skip a meal if I want, have some flexibility to the days, traveling. As I said........the anticipation is just making me a giddy fool today!

A Look at Special Ed Here

June 30th, 2006 at 04:10 am

I had occasion to drive a long ways (for me at least) today, with my autistic kiddo. During the time, we went past his most recent high school as well as the old school, which he attended for the previous 3 years.

Conversation isn't really conversation with him, but he actually TOLD me something and I had a huge moment of comprehension. (which, considering the traffic both ways, and his constant little self was amazing all by itself)

He started asking me if I liked shopping. I told him I hated shopping. He said "me too". I knew all this, we had done this conversation a thousand times.......but the connection here was the old school. They insisted on taking the special ed kids shopping at least once a week, in addition to going out to eat once a week with a window shopping trip thrown in. (lunch budget was a suggested $15.00 per kiddo)

The new school, which my kiddo absolutely loved, didn't push shopping. In fact, neither of us can remember any shopping trips, or lunch outs this past year.

I think the pieces are fitting together, as to why this guy liked the new school. There were no mandatory mall excursions!!

And, I was perplexed as to how the old school district put so much emphasis on shopping as entertainment and an activity.
What in the world were they teaching these kids? I protested as much as I could during the years I was in that district, we didn't do the $15.00 per person lunches by any means..... This latest kiddo just stayed home on the mall/lunch days as he hated them so badly.

Even tho I don't have a positive impression of this years school & how they ran their program, I now have something I think they were doing right.

The kids got to participate in activities this past year that truly don't have to cost anything (or could be really cheap), like simple woodwork projects, all sorts of arts & crafts activities and cooking all the time!

It was interesting to have this AH HA moment brought to me by the autistic wonder boy..... which proves, he really was my teacher these past 4 years.


On another front here..........the first speaking event went off without a hitch. I love it. The driving and the traffic were the negatives, but getting up in front of people again was great. And, I'm getting paid for it, can't beat that!

And, the other front......The Amazing Blazer is now finished and covered with sequins (hand sewn mind you) and the bill is just waiting for her to come by after she gets off work in 30 min.
Got paid for another alterations job this afternoon, in addition to the dog watching which I was really doing as a favor, but got a nice little payment!
And, there is one more order to be picked up tomorrow afternoon.........still to be started, truth be known. Getting up early to get this out of the way.

I feel like I'm an understudy in the circus, trying to learn how to twirl all those plates on sticks!!!! Going to read some entries here til my customer comes, then head straight for bed!

More Than Busy Today

June 29th, 2006 at 07:17 pm

Since I started my 2 part time jobs before my full time job was over........naturally, there would be some overlap. Well, call today Overlap Thursday!!

I've still got my full time kiddo, (until just before dinner tomorrow, which is a bummer since the state only pays for the day if they sleep here)
Then, tonight is the pick up appointment for the blazer (which isn't decorated with sequins yet) from part time job #1
And, just to top it all off....today is an opportunity to view someone else handling one of the meetings I will be in charge of with Part Time Job #2.

Plus, since I'm heading to the meeting (with the autistic kiddo) and I'll be just a stones throw from the "mommy" to the dog I've been caring for........we're taking the dog with us too.

Dash back home after the meeting, get dinner for the kiddo one last time (already done & in the fridge) and then off to the sewing room for hours of hand sewing sequins on this jacket. I knew I was cutting the timing close when I took this job on, but the money looked too good to pass up. She will pay me tonight, but said already........I'm not supposed to cash the check til after she gets paid on Sat. (Please let me never be in a situation where I need to ask someone to hold my check!!!)

I have learned some things........or remembered some things, not sure which. Too old to know the differenct these days!
I need to remind customers I can't create something wonderful unless they bring me wonderful materials. The things for this job are all from Wal Mart; I had no idea they even sold fabric. Poor quality, the wrong zipper, missing notions, and the wrong type of sequins. Even doing my best is going to look peculiar due to all the corners the customer cut prior to coming to me. Not sure how to explain this to future customers.....mulling possible ideas over in my head.

I need to remind customers to bring all their own supplies & notions......I'm not going to carry all the stuff here, most definately not enough room.

And, I still need to work on the space here at the house. I'm not satisfied with the changing area, nor the mirror situation. Actually, there isn't anything good about the space yet. My sewing room is fine, but I usually don't have people changing in there.........need to do some drastic re arranging of the house to make this work well.

Thinking of Wild Blue Yonder (Fern) today.......as are many of us here. Hoping her surgeon is playing the requested selections during surgery!! Smile
Praying for a successful surgery as well as a restful recovery period!!

Free Gifts

June 28th, 2006 at 02:59 pm

Like many of the rest of you..........the mail delivery has certainly perked up since joining this site. I have made it a point to participate in the free offers everyone so generously shares. At least 2 a day was my beginning deal with myself, then I increased it to a couple a day for my mom too........and now I can skim through the list and do all the offers I would actually use.

I was pleased this week to receive a coffee grinder as a gift from a private roasting company. My mom had just said hers was on it's last legs, and since her birthday is in July..........well....here you go. A gift, with all the trimmings and almost no cost at all. I've been saving a couple of the free coffee samples (have them tossed in the freezer), so I can include beans with the grinder as well as a like new "Mom" coffee mug I had picked up at the thrift store. The gift is now getting very fancy looking. Hmmmm, how about sticking in a couple chocolate samples?? Just the ticket. A basket and some colored celophane, a big bow and I've got something very nice to share.

I actually have more to give as a gift this year without spending.......than I normally would have done WITH spending. Go figure. I have been potting up some of the freecycle plants I had received, in pots I have received and will give those to mom too .... (potting double, as mom has a twin!)

I'm thankful our family has never been one to 'rate' gifts or calculate costs and need to compete through presents. We are more likely to "give points" for creativity and LACK of costs, which makes giving and getting gifts in our family tons of fun.

Consequently, most of us are on the prowl year round for ideas that will be Just Perfect for someone. Keep your eyes open, get those free offers headed your way and you can cut the cost of gift giving to almost nothing. Plus, the WOW factor of your gifts will go way up and you will turn what might be considered an obligation into a fun activity!

Too, Too Hot Here

June 28th, 2006 at 05:09 am

OK, enough with this weather mix up. Obviously, Washington has got someone elses' weather this week, maybe Texas or Arizona? And, all our rain is falling back east. What happened??

I have become quite productive after dark and almost before dawn. Sprinklers on, laundry hung, cooking happening when most people should be sleeping here. But, that is the only way life is going to continue on without a hitch here, as we keep going with this over 80, over 90 degree weather.

And, to top it off, my little sidebar here from Google, that has the weather for our little town listed.............says that today was 100 here. (down to a balmy 86 right now at 10PM) What sort of trial is this??

I was getting very good at all my frugal habits, keeping things done ahead of time, running things, turning things off.....all those little things we have all added to our days work. Then, with our heatwave, I am doing NOTHING during the day here! We're getting out of whack.

At least the heat isn't costing me anything. We don't have A/C, and we have our own well, so we're not charged for our water (extra showers to stay cool, sprinklers for the gardens, etc) it would really make me miffed if this was uncomfortable AND was costing me $$.

Thankfully, our house is staying cool. A pleasant surprise since this is our first summer here. A couple tips I remember from my dad..........he would take the hose to the roof in the evening, to cool the dark roof off before we all went to bed; helped a bit, we could see the thermometer drop. Also, setting the sprinkler outside for a bit, near open windows with the fans in them..........gave a very nice cool sensation inside. Just hearing the water helped too.

I've pulled out a small interior fountain one of the kids made me a few years ago. Filled with water, the sound inside when it is this hot really does sound soothing.
I'm down to using any possible trick here!!

Ready to trade back with whoever has Seattles rain!!! I'm WAY done with the hot weather already!

It's Not "Doing Without"

June 27th, 2006 at 04:47 pm

I've been pondering a few posts & comments over the last month or so and been doing some thinking about Doing Without.

Many seem to think being frugal just means to skip things, cut spending to the bone and not really having a life.

I, on the other hand........think that being frugal and vigilantly watching my spending allows me to have the life I choose; both in the present and in the future.

Spending my money where I get the most bang for my buck is my theory, and this is probably not going to be the same as anyone else........anywhere. I have made decisions in my life early on, to do things that make me happy.......and happy is such a lame word here. Contentment is closer for me.

Making the decisions has become old hat, easy even. I can know in an instant (usually) if something is a need or a want and if something is going to provide me with an increased contentment factor or just be something I need to off load later. Just because I know myself and can do this......doesn't mean I'm ready to drop my 24 hour rule however. I still take at least an overnight to let a purchase or expenditure sit and settle in even if I 'knew' the answer.

The whole process makes my life smoother and truly simple. Saving money means having money and having money means I'm able to direct it where I want. (even tho, lately I've had less than I'm used to)

So, "Doing Without"......I don't think so.

I just don't think of my decisions as to what I'm missing out on, but what I'm gaining. My life, just like I "want" it.

Credit Card Accountability

June 27th, 2006 at 03:04 am

I've been paying on the 2 CC's from the closing the business/icky sister situation now since Jan. and I can see some progress.

I started out with a tad over $10,000 and todays total is $8,472. Just paying the amount due on both, as they are both in zero int. accounts now. (until Mar next year) I don't use either account, so there will be no new charges on them. (grateful I have never been one to charge things if I didn't have the cash)

The 3rd account has been paid off and left open, so I can continue using it for the monthly regular charges and occasional online purchases. It is paid off each month at this point.

Just before there is interest charged on the first 2, I'll pay them off with money from savings and truly call that chapter of my life closed.


June 26th, 2006 at 02:19 am

I just got a call from my autistic kiddo (who is with his bio mom today) and he was beyond communicating with. Mom took the phone & told me the raft they were in (river rafting down the Wenatchee River here in WA state) tipped over, all the people were in the river, everyone was rescued, mom lost her glasses, my kiddo lost his lunch....but they were safe, aide crews on the scene.

I'm glad I didn't schedule this event, it was moms idea.
I'm glad I wasn't along (no matter how good a swimmer you are, in a river situation, I'm not sure it makes a hill of beans of difference)
I'm glad I was here to answer the phone

I know Mom is going to have a hard time getting this kid to go on any sort of trip for years and years now.

I know I won't hear about anything else until Friday of this week when he moves. This episode will be in his continuous loop for a loooong time.

This whole thing makes me think of a piece I saw on TV this AM. About booking all of kids time (especially in the summer). This is the case with this little guy & his mom. I'm the opposite. We just sort of hang out here.......learning stuff from the things we do on a regular basis here.

His weekend started with taking the train from my place to Seattle to meet mom. Then, they went sailing on Puget sound with a handicapped sailing group she thinks my guy needs to be part of. Went out to dinner. Stayed all night at boyfriends place.
Got up at the crack of dawn, drove to Eastern WA & took the river rafting trip.
Tonight they are driving to meet a friend (fortunately this is the #1 person in my kiddos life). Staying in hotel.
Tomorrow, driving back to Western WA, renting moving truck & ocming here to move everything to Seattle.
It exhausts me to type this. I feel so sorry for him. I did get to talk with him and if he didn't sound so pathetic & sick, it would have been cute. I can't imagine how scared he was, he said he hoped he would 'feel better' tomorrow.

I've promised him some down time this week when he comes back on Tuesday. Cartoons, his videos, feet up as he calls relaxing time!

I'm all for some memorable times during the summers......but not quite like this week!! Everyone remember to just let kids BE. Even being bored is a good thing sometimes; it leads to people learning how to independantly entertain themselves...a novel concept these days.

Too Hot for Anything!

June 25th, 2006 at 07:26 pm

For a native Washingtonian, this heatwave we're having in the Pacific NW is just nuts.
My desktop weather thingy from Google, says it is 75 here, but my outdoor thermometer (which is in the shade) says it is 85 already. And, it's just now noon.

I watered the gardens at 6AM and will get them again this evening. Beyond that, I'm laying low, doing as close to nothing as I can. Only one kiddo here today and he's the super easy one. He is wanting to do some "work", but I can't send him outside in this, he would melt. So, cartoons for him and a book for me!

I've got another little bitty income source as of today too. I've been emailing a gentleman about RV parking here now for about a month and today he made it out here to pay his first months rent. What a cutie. He's tailor made for us. A tad on the slow side, or some sort of injury, but he will work out fine here. So, adding another $50.00 a month to the pot............for doing absolutely nothing but sharing space.

No money spent today, will use up leftovers for dinner. Found money hidden from mom when I did her hair yesterday. I'm also dog sitting her best friends little dog...too cute! Makes me almost want another dog. Both dogs are so wrapped up in each other neither of them is eating.

I'm getting glimmers of what life is going to be like next month, without the autistic wonder boy here. Very easy & uncomplicated. I can go places or have people over to the house without fearing a meltdown. Can't wait to start up some of the things I've had to drop since he moved in 4 1/2 years ago.....

Off to brew more iced tea........wishing I had some fresh mint! (one more thing to remember to stick in the garden one of these days!)