Thursday, September 18, 2014

Stormageddon Moves On

That was anti-climatic.  Stormageddon moved on to New Mexico without dropping any more rain here in Tucson.  It should be a nice weekend here.  Too bad I have a cold.  My coworkers refuse to stay home when they are sick so they spread the germs around.  I think I will stay home tomorrow.  Maybe I will get better in one day if I stay in bed.

My foster kitties are getting better and bigger.  I am supposed to keep them until they are 2 pounds.  I haven't weighed them lately but I think it will take another 3 weeks for them to reach that weight.

Momma cat still hides all the time.  I don't know how I will get her adopted.  Cats that aren't outwardly affectionate get on the kill list quite quickly.  Maybe someone needs a barn cat.

I'm wishing I had some cold medicine right now.  Everything in the cabinet is for allergies or sinus headache and they aren't working.  I don't think I'm going to sleep very well tonight.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Where is the Rain?

So far, there has been a lot of warnings and not a lot of actual rain. The people from the Weather Channel who came to report on the big storm must be very disappointed.  It sprinkled off and on all day while the news predicted that the big storm would hit at 2pm, then 5pm, and now maybe it will happen tomorrow.  I'm getting a little skeptical.  My rain buckets were half full and I used it to water the plants because they looked kind of dry.  Some businesses were closed and some sent their employees home early so that they wouldn't get caught in the flooding.  I had to work all day.  Maybe I will wake up tomorrow surrounded by water.  There's still a chance that I can work from home.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Storm Preparations

It looks like Tucson might float away tomorrow.  The weather reports predict 1-12 inches of rain.  12 inches?  We might get 12 inches in a whole year when we aren't in a drought.  I also read predictions for 6-8 inches and 3-5 inches.  Even if we get only 3 inches, that will be a lot for us.  Last week we got almost 2 inches and there were lots of flooded streets and swift water rescues.  One person drown in Tucson and another in Phoenix.

Hopefully, no one will die tomorrow or Thursday when Hurricane Odile hits.  I don't think it is still a hurricane but I don't know what else to call it, Storm Odile?  And hopefully, I won't get stuck at work in the evening.  I'll give the animals extra food just in case.  I am down to only my 3 dogs, a bathroom full of cats, and my 3 quail.  My foster dog went back to the pound and will get adopted tomorrow.

I left the shelter without a new foster because if I am going out of town in the near future, I don't want to have another animal for the pet sitter to watch.  On the other hand, would she even notice one more?

In preparation for the storm, I stopped by the grocery store on the way home.  Did I buy bottled water, batteries, and bread?  Nope.  I bought watermelon, cheese, donuts, root beer (it was on sale) and cookies to share with the people at work tomorrow.  If the power goes out the dogs and I will eat watermelon and donuts.  Heck, if the power doesn't go out we'll eat watermelon and donuts anyway.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mortgage Payment Plan Pause

I've had this sinus headache-earache since Thursday.  The weather keeps changing as each new storm rolls in and out again.  I had a doctor tell me once that sinus headaches aren't affected by weather but experience tells me otherwise.  It was too still too hot to do much outside anyway so I had another relaxing weekend of laundry, pulling weeds, cleaning floors, napping with the dogs, and watching my latest Netflix show, Longmire.  Kinda makes me want to move to Wyoming but I looked up home prices and they are the same as Tucson so I will stay here and avoid the snow.

Tomorrow is Sept. 15th already but I can't think about making an extra payment on my mortgage yet because I am expecting to go to an out of state funeral soon and that will cost around $1,000 for airfare, hotel, rental car, food, and pet sitting.  I am glad that I have the money available when I need it though.  My mortgage payment plan will just get pushed back a month.

In gardening news, my tomatoes haven't been producing because of the heat so I decided to cut them back.  I found 2 green cherry tomatoes under the vines but unfortunately, I cut the vines so I will wait to see if I get more tomatoes when it gets cooler.  The yellow squash gave me 3 female blossoms today, but no male blossoms and blossoms only last one day.  My birdhouse gourds were looking good until I saw some chew marks on the gourds themselves.

Looks like cabbage loopers.  I had no idea anything would actually chew on green gourds.  I picked them off.  I have one new gourd and I should probably put it in an old nylon stocking so that it doesn't get chewed.

My pole beans are as tall as the house with lots of blossoms and no beans but I saw a tiny 1/2 inch bean today so there is hope.  People tell me that winter gardening is easier in Tucson.  I hope they are right because right now I feel like I am just wasting water.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Rare Work From Home Day

Monday morning I woke up and did not want to go to work.  That is pretty normal but, besides the usual reasons for not wanting to go to work, I was trying to figure out how to get one dog and a bunch of cats to a vet appointment at 5pm without having to keep them in my office all day.  I was considering driving home at lunch time and picking them up, that way they would only be at work for 3 hours but its a good thing I didn't try that because it was raining cats and dogs (haha) at lunch time.  Finally, I sent a text to my boss and asked if I could work from home.  I think I have only worked from home 1 1/2 days this year.  He replied "yes" and I was thrilled and then I went back to bed.  Since I didn't have to drive to work I had an extra 30 minutes to sleep in.

After my nap, I tried to log in to the remote desktop on my computer but was blocked because I hadn't done a full computer security scan within the last month.  So, I started that and made breakfast, then checked email, then facebook, then a little Netflix... and finally, the computer scan was complete.  I expected a bunch of urgent work emails but there were only half a dozen.  Maybe next time I work from home I can bring some work home with me so that I have more to do.

I'm really glad that I thought to ask to work from home and that I was able to get my computer connected.  I also had fun watching the backyard fill up with water and running out in the rain to put more plastic storage containers under the eaves to collect rainwater.  I really wish I had my gutters up.  The rain was over by 4pm and I loaded up my truck with cats and one dog and drove across town for their vet appointment.  The kittens got 4 more medicines to help them get better.  Their eyes just refuse to clear up.  These kittens are going to hate me because all I do is torture them with bad tasting medicine and eye and nose drops.

Anyway, I wouldn't be able to work from home everyday because I need to be able to talk to the other people in the office and to look up old paper files and drawings but I am glad that it is an option once in a while.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Call Me Klutz

On Wednesday, after my dentist appointment, I stopped at the grocery store.  While unloading my groceries from the truck I heard a not-so-nice thump.  I looked down and there was my glass jar of alfredo sauce splattered on the driveway.  The glass jar of spaghetti sauce, also in the same bag, was hanging precariously. Who trained these baggers to put 2 glass jars and a can of soup in one flimsy plastic bag?  I guess this is a perfect example of why I should use reusable bags but I always forget to bring them.  I actually bought 7 reusable bags from the library because I saw an idea on the internet where they use them as fabric pots.  I am still planning to try that idea once I buy a plastic swimming pool (the bags go in the swimming pool so that they can be watered all at once).  Maybe I'll do it for my Fall garden if all of the swimming pools haven't disappeared already.  But anyway, that blob of greasy, glass filled alfredo was really difficult to clean up.

Later in the week, I was putting my lunch in to the microwave at work when I hit the edge of the plate on the shelf that is holding up the microwave.  Guess what happened?  The plate went flying, slid down the crack between the counter and the fridge, and shattered on the floor.  Noodles and ceramic shards everywhere.  So much for lunch.

I decided to lay low this weekend.  I have made it in to bed and nothing else was broken.  Hooray.  The spell is broken.  The beadboard wallpaper that I bought arrived on Friday and I cut some pieces and taped them to the wall in the kitchen and to the front of one of the cupboard doors.  I like it.  I think I've finally made a decision for my kitchen decor.  Now I just have to find the right trim.  That's pretty much all I did this weekend besides the usual cleaning, cooking and pulling weeds.  It rained so I pulled a lot of weeds.

  Tomorrow I have to take my foster dog AND my foster cats to the vet.  I can't figure out how to keep cats at work all day long so I am going to go back home at lunch and pick them up.  Yes, it will cost me for gas but I think that is better than setting up a litter box in my office.  The kittens' eyes still are not better and I don't know if I am doing something wrong or the medicine is not working.  I'll find out soon.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Crown Me

I finally got a temporary crown today after my root canal 2 weeks ago.  I don't remember root canals being painful for a whole week after but, wow, I almost regret doing it.  I still have some strange cold sensitivity so it didn't even fix the problem.  I have to wait 3 more weeks until the final crown arrives but at least I can chew normally again.  Now I can eat all those chips and crusty bread that I couldn't chew before.  There goes the diet.

I was only charged $450, assuming I have enough insurance for the year to cover the other half.  my yearly benefits for dental are $1500 or something tiny and unreasonable like that.  When my work switched to a health savings account, I was skeptical but so far it has worked out well.  Work puts in a quarterly amount in my account and I have money deducted every paycheck so I don't even notice the money going over to the HSA.  It sure is nice to have money in that account when I need it.  I can use it for medical, dental, and prescriptions.  I don't know how many times I have panicked a little when I got a bill and then I remember that I have money in the account just for this reason.  So, today, when I got the $450 bill for my crown, I just handed them my HSA credit card.  Finally, one part of this whole ordeal that was relatively painless.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Crazy Cat Lady Starter Kit

I'm female.  I'm single.  I'm in my forties.  I think I have fulfilled the prerequisites for cat collecting.  Last week I decided that it was about time I started making everyone's fear a reality.  I ordered the Crazy Cat Lady 6-pack starter kit.

The kit came complete with a momma cat, five tiny kittens, kitten formula, canned and dry food, baby bottle, cat bed, and kitten medicine.

Ok, ok, so they are just foster cats.  The pound put out a plea to cat rescues and cat fosters because they were overloaded.  Actually, they are always overloaded but I have an extra bathroom and I have been curious how my dogs would react to cats in the bathroom so I decided to give it a try.  The pound gave me a bunch of free cat stuff which was awesome because I don't really have much cat stuff left.  I only had to buy a litter pan and litter.  I still need a scooper because I thought I still had one but it disappeared.  

The dogs are behaving marvelously.  It is going better than I expected.  The cats are very quiet.  You wouldn't even know they were in there unless you looked.  Maybe they will get louder as they get older.  Twice a day  I change their linens, clean the litter box, feed them, and give medicine.  The kittens HATE the medicine.  The pound cannot afford the special tuna or chicken flavored suspension liquid so I have cherry flavored antibiotics and, I must say, giving cherry liquid to tiny kitten is much harder than giving it to puppies.  Those tiny claws are sharp and those kittens keep their jaws clamped shut.  

I will have the cats for approximately 6 weeks when they should be old enough to get fixed and adopted.  Poor momma cat doesn't have much chance to get adopted.  She is not the kind of cat that seeks attention.  Today I saw another plea from the pound for more cat rescues.  Next week there are 40 more cats coming in from a confiscation case.  That is in addition to the normal amount of cats that are dropped off daily.  I don't think the pound will be very excited when I bring my cats back but, for now, I am a temporary cat home only.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

More Goodies for the Bathroom Remodel

Tuesday already.  Hooray!  Only 3 work days left until my 3 day weekend.  I have plenty of projects but before I get to those, just a quick update on my nephew.  I talked with his grandma and she seems confident that both boys will be able to stay with grandpa unless something happens to grandpa's health.  School started today and we will soon see if my nephew is able to keep up with his school work with everything else going on.  His aunt and uncle live 3 miles away and they will continue to help out.  So, I will stay on my mortgage repayment path for the time being and also make cleaning and getting rid of stuff more of a priority just in case I need to change my living arrangements quickly.  The weather is still hot here but October should cool down enough to go out to my property and start the clean up.

Last week, after I found out Home Depot didn't carry them in the store, I decided to order some Smart Tiles for the bathroom.  I got some extra for the kitchen too but I'm not sure if I like them yet.

Sorry, the lighting is very bad.  I think my light fixture has one good bulb left.  I can't wait until I can get that fixture replaces.  It is #1 on my list.

I didn't like the squares but this rectangular one looked ok.  As you can see, I was also trying out laminate flooring as a backsplash idea.  It was too dark for the kitchen.

I picked these blue squares for the bathroom.  I like them but the ugly 70's metal cabinet with yellowing plastic doors is throwing off the whole design.  I am either going to cover it and replace the doors or remove it and put a shelf there instead.  I'll need to add some storage somewhere else.

I also ordered tile paint and sandpaper for refinishing the bottom of the shower.  I tried vinegar and bleach and later, muriatic acid to try and clean the grout but it is pitted and hopeless.  I'm not looking forward to sanding.  Maybe I'll go back to painting the walls again.  I never got very far with that project.  

I'm excited to actually have the tiles.  They look much bigger online.  I'll end up taking some back and ordering more of the ones I like.  Maybe this will be the incentive I need to continue my bathroom remodel.  I can't use the tiles until I finish painting and decide what to to with the cabinet.  If I keep working on it I will get it done.

Monday, August 25, 2014

New Tiny Dog

With everything going on, I think I forgot to introduce my latest temporary roommate.  After I survived my root canal I decided to reward myself by fostering another dog from the pound.  The people at the veterinary clinic said this little one needed 3 weeks at my house to fatten up.  I'm good at that.

I think she is a terrier-chihuahua mix.  Only 2 pounds, 8 ounces.  She is all bones.  She is too little to be in the yard by herself so I have to go out with her and keep a keen eye out for hawks and owls.  She has a limp and I am sure she looks like an injured bunny from an owl's point of view.  I even had a hawk swoop down for a closer look this weekend.

She gets along pretty well with my other dogs.  At first she ran away from me but now she wants to be in my arms all the time which makes the other dogs jealous.  She doesn't get to sleep on the bed either because my 2 guard dogs keep her off.

Someone already wants to adopt her.  I just need to keep her safe and well fed for another 17 days.  I will do my best.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Paralyzed with Indecision

Now that's a frightening title.  It isn't exactly true but it is kind of how I feel at this moment.  I received a very sad email from my nephew's grandmother.  Just to re-cap, I am my nephew's guardian.  He just turned 15 and last year he went to live with his paternal grandparents so that he could go to private school with his brother.  It seemed like a win-win at the time since being a single parent was very difficult for me (I was only a single parent for 6 months).  My nephew would have 2 adults looking after him and lots of family, cousins, aunts, uncles and family friends for support.  Unfortunately, his grandmother has cancer and the doctors only give her a few more weeks on this earth.  She has been the driving force behind this arrangement, cooking, cleaning, getting homework done, keeping the grades up, hosting the family get-togethers, etc....  Now, it is all uncertain again.  

My 2 nephews just can't seem to catch a break.  First, their father died when they were both very young.  Next, their mother died the following year.  Their maternal grandparents adopted them and all was well until grandpa (my dad) developed Alzheimers.  The oldest boy will be 18 years old in 5 months and the younger one has 3 years to go.  I was really hoping that their lives would not be turned upside down again, at least not until they were out of high school.  For now, both boys want to stay with their paternal grandpa.  We will just have to wait and see how it goes.  I told my nephew that he can come back here any time which is why I keep thinking about what I would need to do if he came back.  

First, I would need to change my address back to my property address because it is in a better school district and I need to be near a bus route to get him to school and back.  Then, I would need to decide if I am going to buy a replacement manufactured home, fix up the existing one, or do something else such as: 

I saw a park model home for $20k on a lot near my work.  Those are only 1 bedroom but they are finished inside.  I'm sure heating, A/C, and moving costs are extra.

A 24' x 24' garage with concrete pad costs $16k.  I would have to pay someone to finish it and do some myself.

A 12' x 16' shed costs $6k.  Concrete pad is extra and I would need to finish it.  I could get 2 and we could both have our own cottages.

The lowest priced singlewide manufactured home costs $50k.  This is the usual 2 bedroom model.  This is my least favorite option since depreciation is harsh on manufactured homes.

Additionally, I would need a used car with more seating capacity.  My preference is a Subaru Forester but anything in that style would be fine.  I need to be able to transport my nephew and his friends without stuffing someone in the tiny jump seat in my truck.  High school boys are too big for that.  Plus, we would probably be spending the weekends at my house in order to get it ready to be rented or sold and I need a car that can transport humans and dogs without anyone having to sit on each other.

And the last of the immediate needs would be the snake fence.  A 5' block wall of traditional Tucson yard size (I'm not sure what that is, maybe 20' x 40') cost $6,000.

Now, to pay for all this... I only have $15k available without borrowing from my 401k.  I would have to stop paying extra on my mortgage and switch to my "property improvement plan" which was supposed to come after the mortgage was paid off in 3 years or so.  That would mean $1500 a month for property improvements.  Maybe I should stop paying extra on the mortgage now and put it in savings just in case.  I probably won't though.  I can handle $6K shed + $6K fence + $1,500 in improvements at a moments notice.  Hmm...that just leaves the car problem.  Well, I have some more thinking to do.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Mortgage Update for August 2014

Since I still can't chew on the left side of my mouth, I might as well talk about something that cheers me up like my latest extra mortgage payment.  $1,500 above and beyond the usual monthly payment went to the principle which brings the total down to $53,656.  It's getting close to the 40's!  Only 3 years and 1 month to go and hopefully less than that if I keep paying $1,500 instead of $1,200 extra.  As long as I don't have any major expenses, I can keep it up.

Luckily, I have enough money in my health savings account to pay for my current dental problems.  After speaking with the endodontist, he advised to get the crown done now to protect the tooth with the root canal and wait until January for the apicoectomy (a horrible procedure where they go through the gum and work on the root of the tooth).  The crown cost $886 and the apicoectomy will cost $1,250 and I only get $1,000 covered each year from my dental insurance.  Anyway, whine, whine, my teeth hurt.  Hopefully, this pain will go away by Monday or else something else will be wrong and I'll need some other expensive procedure.  At this point I am thinking that I could have lived with the cold sensitivity and done without this root canal.  Room temperature ice cream isn't really that bad.