thanks for making me look at everything that has happened over the year

Well, DH lost his job–eliminated position, got early retirement and a 1 yr contract that begins 1/1/13. It has been stressful, but it just meant that we bumped up the plans we had for 2 yrs down the road. He has started a new business and going to start another.
I have 3 in college…2 transferred from the 2yr to 4 yr college and the other started. All 3 changed jobs for the better.
my youngest is picking up pet/house sitting jobs…she is making great money and is putting alot into savings.
The only debt we have is the house, everything else I made sure was completely paid off in the spring.
for me, I am picking up an “unpaid” babysitting job…no money but all the hugs, wet kisses and scribble drawings I want. this is for a single mom, friend of my kids’ who has no support system–mom died and daddy/stepmom told her not to have it. She’s graduated from high school, has a job w/benefits, trying to take some college courses, so I see this as a win/win…we get baby time and she improves their lives.

I could make a HUGE list of goals not met this year

I’m feeling pretty good about all the progress we have made here on the ranch, and away. After all not only did we pay off those three bills we went on two mini and one large vacation this year—all paid for in cash (well the last one had some business travel expense money in it—but it was cash too). My house looks so much better. The property is cleaning up nicely. The snowball effect of paying off the smallest to the largest bill is working great and we should have more and more bills falling quickly this next year. If all goes according to plan even our house will be totally paid for by the middle-to end of 2014. I’m finally getting my food storage built back up after our 18 month unemployment—we were so glad to have the food storage when that hit! Plus we are already planning another BIG vacation in 2013. IF and I do mean IF we meet certain goals we have set for ourselves.
But I’m not alone in this triumphant Snoopy dance. I bet everyone of you have some big triumph’s for this last year as well. I know some of you have had some major setbacks, but even in your setbacks you have triumphed on some level. So share your triumph’s as the year starts to shut down. Then on a separate post let’s list our goals for next year.

I’m looking back over how far I’ve progressed

toward my Princess Plan goal for the year. The house and property are very far from being decluttered entirely, but they are both looking a lot better. The big push by my two men this last weekend really spruced things up a lot. Gotta love my guys. They say they are going to continue to help me some each weekend beyond what they’ve normally been doing this last year because they realized that they were only helping maintain, not declutter. Both have come to really love the spaces I have decluttered and kept that way, so they’ve decided they want the super clean to creep further into the rest of our lives. That in itself is a major accomplishment!!!
Our decluttering of finances has gone well too, We’ve totally paid off three bills and are working on the fourth. The rest of the bills have dropped considerably in their balance even with just making the minimum monthly payments on them because we’ve refused to add anything to them. It’s been over four years since we’ve charged a single penny and I have to say we feel pretty good about that! There have been times (like when the hot water tank went out and we were unemployed) that it has been a bit tough, but we’ve done it and now we never even think of the possibility of charging anything. It’s such a great feeling to know when we purchase something in cash it truly belongs to us. I cannot sing the praises of the Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover plan enough.
On decluttering emotional vampires from our lives we’ve made a lot of progress there too. At first it was hard to cut family out, after all they are family. But once we decided we could no longer live with the day to day drama of my sil and her constant demand for money life got a lot easier for us. Oh she still interjects herself now and again into our lives, but we both have learned to say “No, you created the problem, you fix it. A failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on our part.” It was a very hard thing for us to do, because her twist was always the money was needed for dmil, who lives with her. Until we did the math and realized dmil had more than a month cash income vs cash outgo of her own to live comfortably now (thanks to our bailing her out for 7 years at our expense) away from sil and sil wouldn’t let her move. The big clue was when sil went on a two week vacation and then came home demanding over $1,000 to keep her utilities on in August 2011 for dmil’s sake. Uhhh, I’m sorry but you don’t go on vacation when you are unemployed and not pay your utilities. Guess what they kept the air conditioning on without us bailing them out. And the bills we would have had to float “for dmil’s sake” got paid in full and on time. Decluttering that constant drama has done wonders not only for our finances but for our emotional tranquility as well.

I just spent a couple of hours in the office

working on the three sets of bookshelves that line part of one wall—told you it was a big room. We have the room down to things dh must decide on and the actual work station layout of the room. We think we have it worked out for three work stations and still have good room flow. We also worked on how to organize the bookshelves we have emptied with the card making supplies where everything will be available for easy access for me.
Of course dh still has to put his vote in on what we discussed and make suggestions. So it could all get re-arranged (on a computer) several times before we actually move a single piece of furniture. Ahh the benefits of having two AutoCad operators in my home. They move a mouse/trackball and a extremely heavy bookcase is moved all over the room until we decide exactly the best layout. We use to do it with a graphed out room floor plan and little pieces of paper cut to scale to represent each item. The computer is so much faster.
Dh spent the evening downstairs waiting on the Fedex delivery that was guaranteed for today that never came—the new monitor for ds’ computer.

So today our load for disposal was a FULLY loaded back seat

in the dually of books going to the used book store. We barely got anything out of them, but they are out of here and that is what counts. We had more recycling and charitable donations to go, but they would have had to have gone in the back of the truck and it was raining. The next run will be electronics either tomorrow or Wednesday.
The room is still far from finished, but we are now clearing off desks and bookshelves. There will definitely be another disposal run in our near future, Best Buy’s electronics recycling center will benefit from this run.
While we were out getting rid of the books today we swung by Lowe’s with the email from the store manager on my seeded seedless grapes. They gave us slightly more than we had paid for the plants originally to compensate for our inconvenience. They did so on a gift card, which will probably become lumber for one of the numerous projects we need to do around here. When we use the money from that gift card I will take a matching amount out of the sinking fund that it would have normally came out of because this is actually “found money” then that money will be put on BOA (our next snowball bill).
Now the reason for this super human push to clear out this storage room. You all know I’m pretty much stopping mystery shopping due to fuel prices and physical stamina, not to mention the time factor. We all three feel that my being home as the new year approaches is far more profitable for us at this point. With groceries escalating in price almost daily we’ve decided I need to work hard on the garden and gathering eggs this year. As well as food preservation and storage. But I need to generate income to feed the gazelle too. So expect a lot of posts about new additions to our business as time goes on. To work on Webfoot Tub Designs I need an uncluttered and organized work space—the office.
I may have also mentioned that ds is working on a graphic novel. It is a dream of his to draw and publish it himself, as well as to be a publisher for some of my writings. This is where some neat Millie Moments come in for the three of us. You also know that except for his “mortgage” aka: Sallie Mae he is debt free. To do the graphic novels and publishing the way he wants he needed a better computer. But every time he’s priced the ones he would need to do his art work on—he’s hand drawing both on paper and on a tablet right now—the prices have blown him away. So he’s been making do. He waited until one tablet went on sale that he thought would at least give him some decent sketching possibilities, but not the full package he needed. It didn’t work out. He told his Dad “Merry Christmas” just before we left on our trip and dh left town with the tablet rather than my 12 year old laptop for his computer connections as we traveled. Ds divided the overtime money he had made in Oct/Nov between extra payments to Sallie Mae and saving for a better tablet. The new one arrived just before we left. It still didn’t have all he needed, but it was a definite step up.

Ds’ laptop, has the double graphics card and drives etc to run for gaming and such—it is roughly 5 years old, but it won’t do what he needs done, neither will the desk top he purchased for a work at home job four years ago. Then he got his Christmas bonus…still not enough money, even with some of the overtime money he still had saved. We are talking a huge desk top unit here.
Then he started doing research, did a lot of studying, got on several forums, watched numerous utube videos and then went to his father and said “Do you think we could Frankenstein what I want at a reasonable price?” Dh use to build computers all the time. Long story short. Part of ds’ bonus went for an extra payment to Sallie Mae and the rest went into computer parts that should start arriving daily. Ds is going into the graphic novels and self publishing business as a sideline. Among the ones he plans on publishing first are some “Buddy the Bathtub Duck” books I’ve got in rough draft form for the Webfoot Tub Design business—Buddy is our logo. Ds will do the art work and the publishing of the books.
The Millie Moments for dh and I. Dh is getting ds’ laptop for when he needs something bigger than a tablet and I’m getting the small desktop to use exclusively for Webfoot Tub Designs for running my equipment there in the office! This will help us all the way around. Prior to this all working out for ds I was going to have to lug my laptop up and down the steep flight of stairs every time I needed to have a computer for the card business—which hopefully will be often. Now I don’t. Ds said “happy birthday Mom” with this gift and I don’t mind it being a used computer at all! It has the graphics cards in it I need for the design work I plan on doing and all the programs and space I will need as well. It is plenty big enough for my needs, just not what he needed.
The company that dh and ds work for will allow telecommuting during bad weather, but only if you have a computer with a certain capacity—dh no longer had one so he was looking at having to drive into work 45 miles if the weather went bad, he does now and so will ds as soon as the new unit is finished, this is a huge blessing because when we do get winter weather here in OK it’s almost impossible for the guys to get off the ranch safely and that peace of mind is HUGE. Ds told his dad “Happy birthday” with that one, even though dh’s birthday isn’t for two months yet. Dh said he was thrilled to get the nice double whatever computer because it would handle everything he needed to work from the safety of home. He too does not mind at all that it is a used older computer.
With all these new (old) computer work stations we decided we needed one location for them all and the office fit the bill. Thus all the massive clean-up. When it is all said and done we will have three work stations in that room. It may require taking the daybed down, but then we’ve not used it in years anyway except to stack stuff on. So that is no loss and I have a safe place to store it until we find we need it in the future.

Then to add to the joy of the weekend, I had FOUR mystery shopping checks come in when I thought I’d already received them all and a pretty decent royalty check as well. Happy New Year BOA this is the year that at least the little one of you dies!

As most of you already know for Christmas the guys gave me the gift

During the 4.5 days they were off for the Christmas holiday they worked hard on the lower level of the house, some in the sunroom and some upstairs as well. They hauled off charitable donations, burned trash, recycled and just cleaned in general. It was so wonderful to have so much help I was reduced to tears of joy at one point. They are always good at helping, but this was way above and beyond the norm.
During the week that has past they have helped maintain that clean and improved on it some what in the lower level. They’ve also been alternating helping me tidy the kitchen I had decluttered alone six months ago each evening. It’s been such a wonderful gift.
But it didn’t stop there. They each took a vacation day for today and are investing another 4.5 days in the upper level of the house, well mainly the office. Now while the rest of the house was livable the office was, well imagine Fibber Magee’s closet. Because that is what it had became the last few years. It, however, was not as bad as it had been because we had worked hard in there a few months back burning barrels and barrels of paperwork. Since then I’d been going up a few times a week and sorting and removing items as I went. But it was still a pretty big mess. It was the holding spot for all those “gonna sell some day items.”
Friday the guys ended up working a little late, then there were the errands they had to do and so very little got done in the office on Friday. Saturday Murphy decided to complicate our lives and burst the water hoses and lines we use to water all the critters with. So while dh stood out in 20 degree weather draining and mending hoses and pipes (rather than go pay $25-$50 a pop for replacements or hundreds getting an emergency plumber out here on a holiday weekend) ds and I started the office. Ds did spell dh periodically so he could thaw out some.
Both men were amazed when I told them my game plan with one statement “It ALL goes”. By all I meant all the items we had “stored” in there to sell that either hadn’t sold or we hadn’t got around to listing. I also wanted all dead or dying electronics gone out of that room. I was a woman on a mission. My mission, get the two businesses and one work station set up in a clean and organized room with no clutter what so ever. It is a very big room. Ds asked me if I was certain that was what I wanted to do when I made the statement. When I said yes he morphed into a super hero called “The Enforcer”.
All weekend he has kept dh and I on the straight and narrow. Any hesitation about getting rid of something is met with a stern reminder from “The Enforcer” as to what our goal is and you had better have an excellent reason for keeping it AND an orderly place to store it or he would take it from you and place it in the appropriate sorting box. No clutter allowed. It’s been the hardest on dh I think. He’s far more sentimental on “things” than either ds or I. We were sorting into boxes and bags for instant removal as we went. Books were going to the local used book store. They wouldl pay less for them than the one in OKC, but ds’ not going to OKC until spring and we want the stuff gone NOW!—we have a really big reason (more on this in a bit). Charitable donations of all the other for sale items, burn/non-burn trash, recycling, and a tiny allotment of keep.
By the end of Saturday we had a completely repaired watering system for the birds (with one nearly frozen husband) and the dually truck loaded with recycling (plastic from the sunroom was hauled off with this load), and charitable donations. Ds sprang for pizza for us for dinner as a job well done. We were far from finished, but we could now walk safely throughout the entire room.
Sunday dh and I were the main workers actually IN the room. While I did more work on the outer edges of the floor dh started sorting out his large office desk from top to bottom. Ds was the mule that hauled all the packed boxes and bags out. Burning bags of trash as we went so there could be no change of heart on certain items. In between loads he helped with the boxing up of stuff.

I have planned out our expected income

and expenses for literally the next 5 years (grinning, only because we should be debt free but for the car by May, and completely debt free by September/Oct, so I did a plan for BS3 etc….including paying cash for a house.)
Our plan is on Excel; we get 2 paychecks a month.
1 is planned for and goes mostly to rent (welcome to California), car gas & groceries for 2 weeks, car insurance & meds & small recurring incidentals. Rarely do I go off plan with this check.
the other is planned for: utilities (gas, electric, water, cell), piano and/or baseball fees, car payment, car gas & groceries for 2 weeks, and debt repayment. This check quite often goes off plan via our debit card(s) which is why I am putting both of them in an inconvenient place after each check starting last Friday.
I never go off plan for say, gas or groceries when I use cash; I will frequently go off plan when I am too lazy to go get cash, swipe my debit card, and then what happens is something doesn’t get paid that check because I overspent at say, the grocery store….and then the next month really sucks because I have robbed peter to pay paul.
Utilities stay pretty constant, except for gas heat in the winter, so they are pretty easy to plan for. Groceries? I just make it work with the money I have, although if I overspend elsewhere, it comes out of grocery money, but we have food storage so it sounds worse than it is. Gas for the car is the only real variable…..when it jumps a dollar a gallon in a week and we need gas, that’s when it becomes a problem.
So I am unclear what you mean by budget? If you have listed all your monthly household expenses, all of your debt/payments, and all of your income…what is left?

Hummm… Its hard to explain but very easy to use.

At its simplest, it is a checkbook register. Give it a starting balance, and then deduct your purchases/expenses and add deposits as they come about. I no longer keep a paper register.
Since you can set up several accounts (probably unlimited), I keep track of my cash spending, several savings accounts, my household account and I do so immediately. When I use my debit card (attached to my household account) for groceries, I deduct the amount right at the cash register. I like the ability to reconcile immediately, I’m horrible with coming home and putting it into quicken, excel or anything else. If I don’t do it right then and there, it won’t get done for me.
I then login to my accounts online, and there is a reconciliation feature within easy money to let me tick off what I have entered when reconciling.
Budgeting – setting up what I’m going to spend before I spend it, can be done within the register, I just don’t do that part.

I used to use a spreadsheet for my budget, but now use Qucken exclusively.

I auto enter all my bills (aprox numbers), my aprox dining, gas, groceries, entertainment, etc. I have Quicken auto enter entries a month out. Including estimated salary. That way I can adjust the “gift budget” right in Quicken. So for example: I have Quicken auto populate the month of January with $25 for gifts. Then my daughter gets invited to a party and we spend $22.51. I just change the “gift” line to the exact amount and bingo I’ve stayed in my budget.
Using cash in this type of budget works really well too. I take out the grocery money in cash. So the line item in Quicken is the same every week. Any extra cash just stays in the grocery envelope. There is no need for adjustments in Quicken. There is just a weekly line item of the cash I take out for groceries. It is autopopulated. It makes it so easy.
I don’t need an app on my phone because I do very little with my debit card. I may use a debit card for gasoline, but I have a set budget (ie. $60/week). I only put in $60 with my debit card. If it is less, then I just adjust the $60 line item in Quicken to reflect the actual amount.

Also, does anyone use mvelopes?

It costs money so I don’t want to pay for it unless I know that it is worth it.
I used to use quicken and it was great. I am very much a numbers person and that is why the excel was taking so long. I really like to track everything when I am tracking. I switched to Mint because it was free, but it is not compatible with everything and hard to track some of the more specific things like a budget.

Anyone have anything that they use to create a budget. That is what I really need to work on this year.

If you are not a numbers person,

then the easier, the better. Try settingyour budget and taking all food, clothing, entertainment, and personal supplies, ie makeup, haircuts, etc out in cash. Put it in envelopes labeled and only buy out of those envelopes.
No need to categorize each individual transaction, because you will hardly use your debit card. One big withdrawal after each paycheck, then divvy the cash up into your envelopes.
No mint or spreadsheet to update more than twice or four times a month.

So, how do you keep track of funds,

especially in reference to the budget. I started attempting to do this last summer and was kind of doing it, but it was very time consuming. When school started this fall, I ran out of time to keep it up.
What I was doing was using Mint to keep a tab on the overall funds and then using an excel spreadsheet for budgeting, but the excel is very time consuming.
I was also using hand written notes to keep track and to put in the excel at a later time, but I cannot seem to get an efficient way to do the budgeting and tracking of the different types of funds and the payoff of debt.

I don’t know if many people know this

but you can order some food staples (red wheat, rice, quick oats, white wheat, white flour, pinto beans) directly from the LDS food storage site. Only sold by the case, (six #10 cans to a case) the average price per case is $30 (some higher, like pinto beans- $40, some lower, like oats $20).

I believe shipping is free, but it’s been awhile since I purchased from this site. You DO NOT have to be LDS to order from this site. Only FedEx will come knocking on your door

I watched a show last night

that figured out how many items they had to sell per day to break even. Maybe you could figure out which produce or eggs makes the most profit and how many items you would have to sell per day.
Then market those items to customers when they come. Place that item prominently in the baskets, top of produce aisles, etc. Also, my cousin sells U-Pick grapes at his farm. He found that certain fruit trees and tomatoes where very profitable so he pulled out some vines and planted trees. He now has a longer selling season because the fruit trees come into season sooner than the grapes and he gets repeat customers coming first for the fruit and then again for grapes and tomatoes.

Well, I have a lot of farm produce to sell this year, to bump up to that level

But now I know what it’s going to take. I found myself thinking this morning that gosh, I wish someone had laid out this math for me when I was a teenager. And again when I was 25. And again when I was 30. And again when I was 35. And again when I was 40. But honestly, I suspect they did and I didn’t want to hear it. In my particular case, it wasn’t until I was 46 that I was ready, willing and able to hear it. Here’s to old dogs learning new tricks. I’m just so disgusted right now I could.. well, never mind. Suffice to say my next task today is figuring out how to sell a LOT more stuff from the farm this year. That’s the only way we’re going to get those payback numbers where I want them. This is one VERY irritated gazelle, looking at how to kill off those cheetahs faster.

Yes and no.

He pays the water and electric, and then 1/3 of the phone and internet, plus buys all his own hba items and detergent and some of the groceries and animal feed—which can all be floated to some extent if necessary. He can’t be floating his Sallie Mae that is due the 15th (and it’s pretty big) though, or his medications, so he’ll have to pay those this pay day. He’s offered the rest of his pay check to help cover this big hit on us until we can get the wrinkles ironed out. Then we’ll have to pay him and our bef back asap, which will now be harder with the ss pay hike. Ds sent an email to the comptroller and asked why we were not given a warning about this because it would be putting a hardship on ALL the employees to pay their bills properly. Her response was “that’s why we decided to go ahead and pay you on the 4the instead of the 7th this month, to ease the difficult transition.” He nearly popped his cork on that one, but has learned to not argue with the powers that be at a job long ago. Uhhhh, payday was previously already scheduled for the 4th. If they’d left it alone there would have been no trouble!
I think what irritates me most about the whole tax thing is all those of us who work and pay taxes will get a cut in pay while Biden and Congress are all getting big pay raises for NOT doing their jobs properly-per a presidential order. But let’s remember the poor and middle class will never be taxed if they make under $250,000 yeah right.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

I watched this last night. I’m in disbelief as David Siegel goes on about his home not having a mortgage, but basically goes on to tell us he borrowed on it because it was a smart business decision. At one point both he and his wife tell the viewers that because of their financial situation the kids have to face the fact that they’ll have to go to college and learn a career to work! Apparently they were telling the children they’d never have to go to college and never have to work. He also mentions he hasn’t saved anything for his children’s college, yet, at the time the documentary started, I believe he was considered to be a billionaire (or at least on paper from what I can gather from the movie).

We rocked along in 2016

We incurred no new debt and continued paying extra on the mortgage each month. I have not checked it the last couple of months but I know the balance is down below $69,000. We have been consistent in paying extra and we are seeing the dividend of the balance coming down. Can’t wait to write that last check!

During 2015 we explored the possibility of opening a 2nd business. One we looked at was through Subway. There is a franchisee in our town looking to sell multiple locations. It was our plan, if we bought, to buy all his locations. The owner was reluctant to share details that are very important … such as letting us look at the books. He promised to show us certain other financials but never did. We went to the regional office about an hour away to get some info from them. Come to find out some of the things he was telling us was not exactly the whole truth. Like why he wanted to sell the multiple businesses over the next 2-3 years. Some of it had to do with the way Subway handles things, not just because he wants to handle it a certain way. Other things set off that “feeling” you hear DR talk about, that red flag, the security gland. So we are not proceeding with that. Plus our economy here in south Louisiana is tanking. It is not a good idea to take on a new business that requires debt.

During the time we were looking at Subway we also looked at a locally owned business, a laundromat. I had used it over the years when our washer was broken. I liked it because it was in a safe, heavily traveled business area. The owner had rejected $300K a few years ago offered by someone else, an unknown (to us) potential buyer. However the business owner has neglected the property and we thought the price had come down. We went in to look at it and the owner’s wife was manning the facility. The property had really gone down due to neglect, even since the last time I was there. It looks very much like they have pulled all the $$ out for personal use and put none of it back into the business. The HVAC needs a LOT of attention. Machines that are broken have not been repaired or replaced. At least 2 times people have driven into the building. Minimal repairs have been done to secure the building. So, as with Subway, this is a no go. Dh says the property would be better off if you bulldoze the building. Dh is not a contractor but is very handy and can do most minor or moderate repairs at home. He knows enough to know when something is over our ability.

I have learned a hard lesson on helping individuals. A young lady came into my life, in financial need. I helped her a little with her knowledge. Then I helped in such a way that she did not know where it was coming from. The $$ was supposed to be used for a very specific purchase. Then I’d hear her talking about how little $$ she had left and didn’t have enough for that purchase. Little did she know that I had supplied her that $$ for that purchase. It was disheartening, discouraging, maddening and I was plain downright angry about it. It got to where the only time she contacted me was when she needed something and it was always by text. She often texted me needing money for “personal items” and use payday loans near her service. I KNOW some of the personal items were cigarettes. Wow! I don’t smoke (and no one in my family) and she wanted ME to buy HER cigarettes! I have distanced myself from her till I can figure out how to proceed. She is in a living arrangement where she and her live in unemployed boyfriend have nothing of nothing. Some people have little of nothing. They have nothing of nothing and he can’t or won’t hold a job. I want to wash my hands of them but before I do I am thinking of sitting her down and explaining why I have distanced myself from them. I want to try to get through to her about not abusing others. I want to help people when appropriate but this is not the time for me to help her.

Due to the economy we are not taking raises on our salary through our business. As I said the economy is taking a big hit here. We are fortunate we have no business debt except a monthly payment to my dad for buying him out when he retired. All our merchandise is owned by the store. If we can’t pay for it we don’t order it. It will probably be a slim year for business in 2017.

Strange you should mention this

This last weekend dh told me the HR person, who is in her late 50’s, asked him how he planned on surviving without a paycheck if he retired.
Dh told her we had our 401K, and our IRA’s plus both our ss and we were debt free, house included.
Since he knew she had the owner’s ear he suggested she suggest to the owner that he share his knowledge of Dave Ramsey with her and the rest of the company so others could get that way too.
She remarked that the owner had actually brought it up a couple of times to her, but that she hadn’t ever “bothered” with it other than to starting a 401K for the first time this year and she is only putting 5% (the amount they match) in. Dh knows she heavily uses credit cards and she knows we do not because of all the business trips he and ds have taken that they wanted, often demanded, that dh or ds use their own credit card. They wouldn’t believe we didn’t have one at all. Not to mention we wouldn’t put expenses on one for the company. Even on this last trip ds was on, after five years of telling them no they still told ds to purchase his meals on a credit card and they would re-imburse him when he got back. He once again told them he had no credit card. Duh!
She said she had no idea that SS supplied so little money until she was talking to a guy that retired last month and he mentioned it. So she checked to see what her monthly payout would be and freaked out!
Do people not open their mail? I get notices a few times a year on the status of my ss.
Dh strongly suggested she at least get the TMMO out of the library, but got the feeling she had no intentions of doing so.

If we decide to make that route

I’ll let you know because we will leave the Tulsa area and go to Davis, OK (sw of okc) We’ll be there about a week, maybe more. Then back to Tulsa area the first week in June (if not sooner) for several appointments. So it’s possible we could meet up. Just gonna roll with the punches.

Your plan sounds perfect to me!

I told dh one time that I’d like to head out with no particular destination in mind. When we would hit an intersection we’d say “left or right” and make a decision. Then just stop wherever the mood strikes us. He was not too keen on it back then. Not sure he would do differently now. It has been 2 years since we took a vaca and I am craving getting out of town for a bit.

Heads up our first “destination” is chosen

Because of various things going on here even after dh retires we won’t hit the road full time until the second week in June most likely. Since by then most of the northern states will be thawing out we are planning to heade north and west. We are going to go up through Kansas, and either slightly east to IA and IL or straight up to the Great Lake states. As we go we will be working our way slowly westward through South Dakota and over. Nothing is set in stone. We may take all summer to make it as far as the west coast before we drop southward for the winter.

It’s just a rough game plan at this time, but at least we’ve decided to drive no more than 8 hours (preferably less) any given day/trip and stay as long as we want in each place. That means we may not hit all the northern or western states in the first summer, but hey we have the rest of our lives to do so.


Once dh retired on Friday the various insurances had to be changed immediately, so that’s what we’ve been doing this morning. Verifying we are covered on Medicare, A and B, supplemental, getting D. Legal insurance (because of THE sil we don’t dare be without it), working with the homeowners insurance on trying to get more money out of them because of the furnace and the upgrading on the roof. Calling the sheet rock/siding people and so forth.
Since Friday dh has been Mr. Honey do. Our garden tractor has set for nearly 9 months because he thought it needed major work because the way it simply stopped moving last July. Since things are greening up we figured we just might need it. So yesterday he bit the bullet and started tearing it down to fix it. The first thing he checked was the drive belt. It was loose, he tightened it and…the guys used it to haul cut firewood out of the woods to the wood stack yesterday afternoon. 9 months and it was just a belt that needed tightened. Cheez.
He’s taken the old tv that needed a convertor box out of the camper and installed a flat screen, tested the batteries on the camper, prepared some meals, walks every day with ds, me, the dogs and the cat (yes we form a parade as we walk). Fixed some minor stuff on the truck and trailer and taken over some of the financial stuff. He is also in the process right now of checking on his VA benefits (Viet Nam) which may change the supplemental insurances a lot. This is all stuff I previously had to handle, now he’s doing it. I think I’m going to like this retirement stuff.

Part of our adjustment to retirement is going back on a fairly strict budget. Since we paid off the house we’ve been buying a lot of stuff. But now we no longer have his free and clear every two week pay check coming in so our income has cut over in half. Luckily we are well trained on budgeting and should be able to handle it fairly well. We are setting up everything to be an automatic draft for what few bills we have to pay, like insurance and then will adjust our travels based on what monies will be available after every thing else is paid.

Because of my bulk buying habits groceries should not be a concern for quite a while. We eat a lot of dried foods normally and that is mainly what I am packing. Lightweight and takes up very little space.
I did buy the page protectors yesterday for the cookbook I am putting together for ds of his favorite meals. He’s an excellent cook but a lot of what he really likes the recipes haven’t been written down, so I’m doing that and putting them in a recycled 3 ring binder with page protectors for him.

That’s about it for now.