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Archive for February, 2009

Too Clean?

February 24th, 2009 at 05:28 am

I gather from hints from my cousin and sister that I am considered "too clean." That is, they think I shower too often and wash clothes too often. There have been some comments about the water bill. Of course, that hits me where it hurts, because I am trying so hard to encourage frugal living among some pretty diehard spendthrifts.

I shower once a day, in the morning, and pretty quickly, too, I might add. I wear one fresh outfit a day and a fresh pair of pajamas each night. I know a lot of people wear the same pair of pajamas more often, but this is what is comfortable to me. Am I weird?

I'm a lot more lax on towels and sheets. I usually don't change sheets any more often than once a week, and sometimes will go closer to two weeks. I use the same towel for a week.

It just seems to be personal cleanliness that is most important to me, and I wouldn't like to change it. Just wondering how others weigh in on this issue?

Eight garage sales, and still standing

February 22nd, 2009 at 07:23 am

My sister and I went to eight garage sales yesterday. Between us we spent about $60. Our haul:

Windowpane wall mirror with shutters
Espresso coffee set for 4, made in Poland
Banana Republic knit top
Full set of Lemony Snicket books
4 old children's schoolbooks
1 old casserole cookbook
Glass swan figurine
1950's-style teabag holder
2 small unfinished frames with blank canvases
Plate stand
4 miniature porcelain "Cornwall cottages"
small basket with apple stencils
rustic white tin church
Coca-Cola crate
3 embroidery hoops
5 new tubes of toothpaste
Curling iron
Lip gloss set from Bloomingdale's
3 books
Aquarium castle and book on aquariums
Santa Claus fireman ornament
Panda music box
Cupcakes and coffeecake from bake sale

I think that's it, or close to it...

What a feel-good day!


More good news!

February 19th, 2009 at 01:20 pm

I can hardly believe this, but a friend of mine was poking around on an unclaimed property site and found insurance policies taken out by my (deceased) parents, with a total value nearing $7,000! I had no idea!

I am now in the process of collecting proofs -- they need death certificates, SSN's, obituaries, and proof of address. This is a little challenging, since I'm in Florida now and my records are in North Carolina, but it's coming together.

I will, of course, divide it with my sister, brother, and my deceased brother's widow, but it still will be a nice little chunk of unexpected change.

In other news, my sister and I went to a garage sale this morning. We spent less than $10 and came home with a wooden salad bowl set, two books, a pair of new shoes, a tin, a platter, and four goblets.

Yesterday we shopped at a couple of Goodwills. We found the prices here quite a bit higher than we are used to. We did, however, manage to find a set of cobalt blue salad plates (12), a miniature chair, a "treasury" of Laura Ingalls books, and a T-shirt -- once again, the whole lot under $10.

Today my cousin gave me a pile of clothes she doesn't want any more. I will take home about 8 tops and 5 pairs of jeans. (Some of them I will sell at a consignment shop.) My sister selected two tops. The rest will go to her cleaning lady, who distributes them among her friends.

My car is going to be really full on the way back!

Coins, watches, jewels, shoes and ????

February 17th, 2009 at 05:29 am

Yesterday my sister and I took an old coin/currency collection to an appraiser/buyer. On the way we stopped at my uncle's house to ask if he wanted us to take his stamp collection. He didn't, but he had a bunch of old watches and jewelry handed down from an uncle of his.

Well. We sold our coins for $42. We sold my uncle's stuff for $671! Boy, was he thrilled! Just giddy, like a kid. He insisted that we take some of the money, so we ended up with the $71 even though we really tried to make him keep it all. We will use the money for buying for the booth. There's going to be a big estate sale this weekend.

My aunt was cleaning her closet and gave me two garbage bags full of shoes. Some pairs have never been worn. I picked out what I could wear and what I thought I could sell at the consignment shop, so I have one bag of shoes. The rest my cousin will give to her cleaning lady.

But I'm saving the best news for last. My son skyped me last night and surprised me with the ultrasound picture of my NEW GRANDCHILD! He/she will be born in late September. I'm so excited! Two grandchildren at Christmas! I think I might start a quilt.

Here I am in Florida

February 15th, 2009 at 08:28 am

I made the trip down for less than $50 in gas. Once I arrived, my refund appeared in my bank account, so I paid $1900 to my credit card debt. I kept out some cash to pay for an oil change, a haircut, one meal out and $20 for garage sales.

I feel much better, but will be better still when I pay it off the cc debt entirely.

My plan tomorrow is to take some old coins and currency to be appraised and perhaps sold. They were handed down to me by my great aunt. I suspect a lot of it is worthless, but we'll see.

With the money I had left from the trip I already bought some stuff at garage sales. A Toby Jug, a whatnot box that looks like two stacked books, a step-basket, a commemorative plate, an ornament, two lamps, and three plate racks. Most will go in the booth. I also helped my sister buy a mesh tent that she will give to her granddaughters. All very good deals -- spent $35 altogether.

The booth is not doing well this month. We checked in before we left for Florida and found we had sold only two bowls for $3 each. There is still a half a month to go before we pay rent again, so I am hoping for the best.

Packing up

February 10th, 2009 at 07:15 am

I'm getting ready for my trip to Florida on Thursday. I have about $100 to make it down there. Once I'm there, my tax refund should be in the bank, so I'll be able to make it back.

After I get my refund, I'll need to get my oil changed, and when I get back I'll have a dentist appointment which will cost $160.

My refund was going to go wholly for my credit card debt, but I can see that isn't going to happen. Right now my goal is not to add to my credit card debt.

The cats are both due for checkups, too.

Last night I dreamt that I was selling paintings in a gallery. I was just swishing paint on canvas and they were selling like hotcakes. Wishful thinking, huh?

A Comedy of Errors

February 5th, 2009 at 06:06 am

So yesterday I wake up to a cold house. I check the thermostat, and, although it is set on 72, the temp is 63.

To me, this means trouble. It means in another hour the temp will be 53, then 43, because something is wrong with the furnace.

I call the company who services us, and they cannot send anyone until about noon.

By that time, the temp has crept up to 67.

The technician checks everything out, and then tells me everything is working fine.

Why is it so cold? I ask.

Oh, well, heat pumps have trouble keeping up in very cold weather.

Who knew? I've never had a heat pump before -- only gas furnaces that efficiently pumped out the heat when it was cold.

I had to pay $98 to learn that.

Then I sat down to do my state taxes. I did the paper version, but the refund was much less than it had showed on TurboTax. (Even though I hadn't done state taxes on TT, there is a little box that shows estimated state refund even while you are doing your federal tax.) That worried me. I went to the NC website, and it directed to me to a free tax service through TurboTax called taxfreedom.com. I logged in, but since I used my ID and password, it flipped right over to the basic service, which charges $25.95. I tried to back out and log in with a new ID and password, but because it couldn't link to my federal info, it calculated a $0 refund. Going backwards!

I went back to the paper, and still couldn't find my error.

Went back to TurboTax and paid the $25.95. I'm getting a $480 refund, and I'm glad to be done with it. But now I'm $124 poorer, with all my goofing up.

Today a new problem: no water in the downstairs bathroom. I assume the pipe is frozen. Right now I am running the hot water in all the other taps, and I have a heater set up next to the pipe in question. So far no luck.

I am beginning to miss the frozen north. At least when it gets cold there, the systems can handle it!

I Made It!

February 2nd, 2009 at 03:01 pm

A whole week without spending or driving.

Today the first of my two pension checks was in the mail, so I bought some gas and groceries, mailed my son's birthday package, and paid the rental for the booth (sales didn't cover the rent this month). Total spending was $78.

The State of Indiana is challenging my tax refund of 2005. For some reason they don't think I made a donation to an Indiana college. I made gifts to the university I worked at through payroll deduction, and I have the documentation. I sent them a copy. I sure hope this doesn't get mucked up, because I did everything right, and I can't afford $104 for nothing!