Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What a busy, busy season...

Wow, I can hardly believe that tomorrow is the last working day of 2010. Where did this year go? It's been a crazy one for me for sure and I'm happy to see it go. I'm working hard on paying the debt down and putting every extra nickel towards it. I've taken on EVERY single survey opportunity that has come my way and this month alone, I have earned an extra $416.50 by doing this. Now that Christmas is over and the spending has been halted, I think I will really start to see more progress on the debt reduction. I'm looking forward to some down time in January and maybe a little hibernating. :) I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas and is looking forward to a safe and fun new year! Welcome 2011!!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Time to move onward and upward...

The divorce is FINAL!! As of Monday afternoon, I am a free woman. I have paid all of my attorney bills and now have an accurate accounting of where my debt is at. Now it's time to get through Christmas and really buckle down and pay off this mountain of debt. I have a local jeweler trying to sell the center stone diamond from my wedding ring on consignment and he felt very hopeful that he would be able to sell it for me between now and Valentine's day. If he does, that would be fantastic as it would make a great big dent in this debt. I only have about 4 gifts to buy for Christmas still and that should only run me about $100, so that's not too bad. It looks like we'll be getting a bonus at work this year too, so that will also help. I plan on going on a really strict, tight budget after the first of the year and working my fanny off to get this paid off ASAP. I'm working on cutting my bills as much as possible, raising the deductible on my insurance, I've dropped Internet at home and am being conservative with electricity and not watching much TV, I think I will even be able to drop cable all together here soon. I've been reading like a madwoman and haven't missed watching TV at all. I'm making a more concentrated effort to drive less and make more sense in the routes I'm taking, so less backtracking. I'm rarely eating out and am cooking enough so that I always have leftovers for lunch the next day. I'm on a clothes shopping hiatus, I have plenty of clothes anyway and if I really need something, I've been able to find it at the local consignment shops. I've decided that I am not sending out Christmas cards this year, I just can't afford it and I really am not fully in a holly, jolly mood with all that's gone on these past several months. I'll keep you posted on how the debt repayment is going.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Selling my wedding ring...

Well, the divorce is going to be final in 4 days...and since it's Christmas time and then Valentine's day coming up soon after, I thought it might be a good time to look into selling my wedding ring. My mom and I are heading the jewelers tonight with my ring to get an appraisal and to see what they think it's worth if I wanted to sell it. I have gotten a few offers from online places, but the place we are going to tonight is a family owned jeweler that my parents have dealt with for over 30 years and they know our family. I've spoken to the owner on the phone and he's excited to see what I have to bring in this evening. I'll let you all know how it goes. Wish me luck! :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cutting down Christmas expenses...

Over the past several years I've been trying to make the holiday as stress free as possible and more enjoyable. This year I am down to just buying gifts for 5 people and then some stocking stuffers. My family and I have all embraced this new, more carefree approach and really look forward to just spending the time together as a family. My mom, sister in law and I still take one day off from work to do all of our shopping in one trip, it's a sun up to sundown kind of thing, but it's less about shopping now than it is about tradition and spending the time together. My brother and I also have one evening where we go out shopping together and have dinner, he and I have been doing this since we were little kids with our dad, and after dad passed away, we've kept up the tradition. These are the things I look forward to at the holidays. I'm a big baker and make lots of cookies and candies, which I give to all of my friends and family and they all thoroughly enjoy and look forward to them. That gives me great joy to know that they look forward to my homemade treats. I should be able to do all of my shopping, baking, card sending and gift giving for under $250 this year. Yay! That will be great since I'm working really hard to pay back my divorce debt and won't have to get too far off track for the holidays and won't have a debt hangover after New Years because of overspending.

Do you have any holiday traditions that you look forward to that are more about the experience than money? I'd love to hear what they are....

Friday, November 26, 2010

Things are improving...

Well, I've been gone for awhile and things are much better than the last time I posted. The soon to be ex and I attended mediation and we actually came to a resolution for our divorce and will not have to go to trial and the divorce will actually be final on Dec. 6. I can hardly wait! :) It's been quite the fight, but we are in the home stretch now. I have wracked up $10,000+ in legal fees and had to pay him $3,000 as a settlement, but I am going to be free from all of this soon. Basically I ended up buying my freedom, but we're almost there and at least I was able to stop the increasing legal bills even more and it will all be done in less than 2 weeks. Now it's time for me to buckle down and work on getting the debt paid off and building the savings account back up. I need to get back to my frugal ways and will feel much better when this debt is behind me. Thankfully I won't have to buy much in the way of Christmas gifts, it's fairly small in my family, so that will help a lot and I'm good at cutting back and stretching a dollar. I'm optimistic about the future and getting back to a good financial place soon.

I hope everyone had a very happy Thanksgiving and was able to take some time and reflect on what we all have to be thankful for right now. Even with all the nasty divorce stuff going on, I know I have much to be thankful for and many others don't have it as good as I do right now. Wishing you all a blessed holiday season.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Divorce is moving along....slowly...

I finally had the papers served on the soon to be ex on Sept. 3rd, then he filed his response to my petition on Sept. 15th. His response was so completely unreasonable that I have had to hire an attorney. Grrr! For goodness sake, we lived together as a married couple for just under 6 months, and he feels he is entitled to half of my retirement (he has none of his own!), alimony in the amount of $1,000/month, my wedding ring back, medical insurance coverage paid by me until the divorce is final and a cash settlement of $20,000!!!!

In Washington, divorce cases now require you to go through mediation to hopefully save the court's time and money. I've paid my half of the mediation fee, now we are just waiting for the ex to pay his half so that we can get it scheduled. He's refusing to pay his half, so we might be able to get this waived and go straight to trial. It's all so frustrating, this should be a fairly simple and easy divorce, but I guess there really is no such thing. Darn it! So far I have spent $6800 with an attorney and we're no closer to getting signatures on papers than we were on Sept. 15th.

Hopefully soon we will be able to get past all of this and get on with things. I just want to put all of this behind me and move forward.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Finally serving divorce papers....

I filed for divorce about 7 weeks ago and am finally getting around to having the papers served on my soon to be ex. He was out of town for awhile, then I was, then I just got busy with stuff. We've seen each other a little bit, but it's time to move on. He is really negative toward me and is always saying mean, hurtful things about me and my family, then telling me how much he loves me, and that if I were honest with myself I would realize how happy we could be together. I just want this to be over. So today I finally sent the papers to the process server. My soon to be ex said he would sign whatever papers I would put in front of him if I would just give him the ring back. He paid me the $11,000 to pay off the credit card debt for his condo on my credit cards, but I'm still out over $24,000 that was used from my savings to pay the down payment, escrow and closing costs as well as renovations done by a friend of his. I told him I wouldn't give him the ring back unless he paid me the money back that I put in to his condo. He's really coming out ahead in this deal as the ring appraises for $12,100 and I'm out over $24,000. Do you think he's right in expecting the ring back? It's not a family heirloom, we picked it out together at a local jeweler. If it were a family heirloom I would definitely give it back to him as it wouldn't be mine to keep. I'd love to hear your 2 cents, or $12,000 worth of advice... Thanks! :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lots of "no-spend" days so far this month...

Well, here we are at the 17th of the month and so far I have had 11 "no-spend" days this month! Wow! And even had 2 no drive days. Of course I'm sure it helped that I was sick all weekend and didn't go anywhere or do anything. I've been fighting what I thought was just an ordinary cold for almost 2 weeks when I decided I should go to the Dr. Turns out I have a sinus infection and bronchitis! Yikes! Good thing I went in. Well a $30 copay and $45 worth or prescriptions later, I should start to feel much better real soon. On a positive note, I found a $20 bill on my way out of the grocery store, so that was cool! I'm getting ready for a staycation the week of Labor day and trying to think of some fun, inexpensive things to do that week. I'm going to take advantage of the pool at my condo a few days, weather permitting and I have a few books coming in at the library, so I'm hoping it will be a really nice, relaxing week. Hope you are all having a great summer!

"Never try to keep up with the Joneses, drag them down to your level, it's cheaper!"

Monday, August 9, 2010

A challenge for myself...

I'm pretty good at bringing my lunch to work most days, but there are always those days where I just don't feel like packing a lunch, or I, I am challenging myself not to buy my lunch at all from now until the end of the year. I need to get better about doing this ALL the time, so if I challenge myself this way, I bet I can do it. I need to get better about eating something really good at night for dinner that I'll want to eat as leftovers for lunch too. I'm not great about cooking for myself, but this will help me get better. And I really need to learn to shop the grocery ads and buy the loss leaders at all of the stores. I pass by them all twice a day going to and from work, so there's no reason I can't do this. Must get the grocery spending under better control and stop eating out at lunchtime. Anyone care to join me???

Thursday, August 5, 2010

August is off to a good start...

So far I've had 3 no spend days this month and am doing really well controlling my urge to spend. I almost ordered a rice cooker today but caught myself before I hit send on the order. I don't need a rice cooker right now, I can continue cooking my rice on the stove top like I've been doing for quite awhile now, it works just fine. I would really like to find another pot for cooking, I have a 1 quart, 2 quart and 6 quart. I'd really like to find a 4 quart, but do I need it? No. I'd much rather focus on getting this last bit of debt paid off and work on getting my savings back up and add any extra money to the mortgage. Besides, I know my car will need replacing eventually and I'm trying really hard to avoid unnecessary spending so I can build up the savings for replacing the car when I need to. I've decided to cut meat out of my diet for the most part too, this will really help me save money and lower my cholesterol as well. Looking forward to a weekend of little to no spending and very little driving if I can help it. :) Wishing you all a great summer weekend as well...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

August is going to be better than July...

July spending has been so out of control! Ugh! I have no one to blame but myself. I've been WAY too social, going out way too much with friends and family, eating out, shopping, just plain doing stuff. August I am trying to keep much less busy, slowing down and enjoying summer. I still have plans, but not ones that will deplete the pocketbook as much as July has. I have my 20 year high school reunion this weekend and a retirement party to attend. Then starting next week it's quiet for awhile. I am now on a clothes buying spending freeze and have decided that when I do eat out, I am not ordering a beverage, this will help both the wallet and my waistline. I have a couple of books reserved at the library I need to pick up and a swimming pool at my condo just waiting for me to lounge by it. Hope everyone is having a great summer!

Monday, July 12, 2010

I've hit a plateau...

Well, things have been busy since I last posted, but not much really to report. I've been plugging along still trying to pay off the debt and it's getting down there, but it's like those last few pounds when you are dieting, I just can't seem to get the final $2000 paid off. I've filed for divorce and had to pay $280 for that, but it was money well spent. I've been working out a lot and been trying to eat healthier and feeling better for doing so. Work has been crazy busy lately, so I've been exhausted by the time I get home, so sleeping well, which is a nice change of pace. I'm not sure why I can't seem to get this final amount paid off of the card, I'm going to take a good look at the the statement and see where the money is going and I think it's time to put the card away and live on a cash only diet to stop the spending leaks. I really want to have this paid off ASAP and I think having the card in my wallet is making it too easy to just pull it out and spend when I think I want to.

On a positive note, I did receive a $50 payment from Vindale research and a $50 visa gift card from T-Mobile for my new phone. I had to get a new phone and new cell phone plan when the soon to be ex disconnected my phone when I moved out. Thankfully I was able to go on my family plan and it will only cost me about $20 per month for my cell phone. Yay! These 2 items will definitely make it easier to get my budget back in line the way it should be.

I also think I've been way too social lately as far as spending goes. I need to stop the going out and spending so much money, time to tighten up the purse strings again. Ahh, it was fun while it lasted.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Just coasting along...

Not much to report these days. (that's a good thing!) Slowly paying off the debt and getting it under control. The soon to be ex is finally calming down and we are actually discussing things rationally and reasonably. I've been getting out more and meeting up with friends and I started a "hot yoga" class. I got a great deal of 20-90 minute sessions for $20!! Work is getting busier and busier and that's a good thing, I've been given more responsibility and this Friday marks my 9 year anniversary at my job, so hopefully those 2 things will result in a raise of some sort. :) Like I said, not too much to report right now, but that's OK, things are getting a little bit better every day. Now, if we could just get some sunshine on a regular basis, life would be grand!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Credit card debt is going, going, almost gone...

I've been making lots and lots of payments to my credit card, like a mad woman, just about every day I am making some kind of payment. Some days they are big, some days they are small. It's exciting to see the balance down to $2250! I'm hoping in the next 2 months to have it paid off in full. I'm going to be cutting some other spending in order to make it happen, but I can't wait to have it gone. I even been rolling the change in my change jar to get this darn thing paid off! Heehee, every bit helps, right?! Does anyone else ever go on a debt repayment rampage?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Somewhat of an agreement made...

So, I have moved out and am all settled back in my old place and things are getting back to my normal old routine, I'm finding my groove again. Yesterday I received a check from my husband for $11,000 to pay off the condo related debt for his condo on my credit cards. I deposited it yesterday afternoon and to my surprise the bank already showed the funds 100% available. Normally they would hold a portion of it for several days to a week. I happily logged in to my credit cards this morning and paid one off completely and the other more than 75% of the way payed off. Now that's the kind of progress I like to see!! Should only be about 3 more months until I am completely debt free besides my mortgage. Then it will be time to beef up my savings and start putting money away to replace my 10 year old car. Ahhh, progress! :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

All moved and settled in...

I finally was able to retrieve all of my possessions from the condo that my husband and I lived in together and have moved back to my place. It feels really good to be back in my own space and have all my things around me, well except for the couches, he kept those, but I'm going shopping new ones this weekend. The move went fairly smoothly and it was easy to get settled in a place I'd lived before, everything went back in its place. All the pictures are on the walls and I'm settled. I'm still doing my counseling and he is still going as well, we even have a joint session later this week, hmm, maybe my actually moving out has opened his eyes a little? We both have issues to work on, I'm not without fault in the failing of our marriage, but we've got to see if we both want each other enough to try working on those things together. Should be interesting to see how it plays out. If he would first admit a drinking problem, I think we could make great strides in repairing our relationship, unfortunately, as of yet, he isn't admitting anything. I'll keep you posted on how it goes. Have a great day!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Getting divorced is more work than planning a wedding...

This is absolutely ridiculous, but it is a lot more work to get a divorce than it is to get married. My soon to be ex is making my life miserable in the meantime. I finally moved out of the house last Thursday and when I went back on Monday to get the rest of my clothes and personal belongings, he had barricaded the door! I had to call 911 to get assistance in order to get my things. Now he's been in a drunken stupor for several days, he shut off my cell phone and now his mom is here to try to reason with him and to help me get my stuff back. All I really want is my furniture I had before. I'm not asking for much really, a couple of the wedding gifts we received and for him to pay me back some, not all, of the money I put in to the condo for our renovations. He's retaining the condo, so I think he should pay me back for some of the upgrades, or at least pay off the debt that's been incurred throughout that process. Grrrr! Makes me so angry whenever I think about it, so for now, I'm not going to think about it. Just wanted to drop a quick little note on here so y'all didn't think I'd dropped off the face of the planet.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Getting ready to move and selling some stuff...

I am getting ready to move back in to my old condo and I am excited to be going back there. In the meantime, I am working on cleaning up some stuff and selling some stuff I don't need or want. Today I sold my full set of Harry Potter hardcover books on and am pleased that I won't have to move them and I have made a little extra money on something I don't plan on needing or wanting again. The extra money will also help pay some of the debt down that was incurred while my husband and I were renovating our kitchen. I still haven't told my husband that I am moving back to my old place, in fact, I'm waiting until a day or two before I move. This is kind of the chicken way to do this, but it'll make the time easier to get through until it's time to move. I'm not sure how he's going to react, so I'm going to keep quiet until it's time to go. Is that bad? I'm really hoping he has to go out of town this month for work, finally he's back to his job and he should be needing to travel soon, so hopefully that will happen and I can move while he's out of town and it won't be so awkward. I'll be open and honest about telling him I'm leaving, but it would be much easier if he weren't around while I was moving stuff out. I'm also already mentally going through our stuff and figuring out what I will leave and what I will keep, I think I'm being pretty generous about what I'm planning on leaving for him. UGH! This whole thing is going to be so much better when it's behind me. I feel like I am living in limbo and just want to move on to the next phase. Not too much going on, but I thought I would let you all know where things stand. It's going to be better soon, I know it will. :)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Next month I'll be moving back here...

Here are some shots of the condo I own, that I've been renting out since I got married last November. I lived here for 2 1/2 years before getting married and never really did anything to make it "mine." I can't wait to get back in here and really make the place mine and show of my personality. It's almost like I'm starting with a blank canvas as it's all very "vanilla" right now. I'll keep you posted on changes I make as I do them...

From the top we have the bedroom, kitchen and 2 shots of the living room. It's really light and airy and I can't wait to really do it up. It also has a large bathroom and fairly good sized balcony which faces southwest, so it will be great to get out there and read a book when it warms up. Just about counting the days until I move back here! :)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Occassionally things go exactly right...

The other day I had to go to my condo that I am currently renting out and meet a maintenance person. I've been debating when to tell my renter that I wouldn't be able to renew her lease when it's up in December since I will be moving back in. I decided to bite the bullet and left her a letter when I was there on Tuesday. I wanted to give her as much time as possible to find a new place to live and would be happy to amend her lease for early termination if she found something. Turns out, she isn't staying at the condo but only a couple of nights a week and is wanting to move back in with her boyfriend. Yay! She actually wants to be out by the end of May which is great for me, since I am trying to move out of the home I live in with my husband. This opening makes it much easier for me to leave, knowing I have a place to go and since he still refuses to get help for his drinking and such, I am leaving. I've told him that I am leaving if he doesn't quit drinking and so far I don't think he believes me. I just can't do it anymore. Not only is his drinking bad, but he's still on minimum wage from his job and refuses to look for something else, even part time. That coupled with the fact that we have blown through my savings of about $30,000 and racked up almost $13,000 in credit card debt while he's been underemployed and renovating the kitchen, I am done! I just can't take anymore! I'm so looking forward to being back in own condo and answering only to myself and doing what I want, when I want. It'll be nice to have a quiet, uneventful life again. :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The IRS is driving me crazy...

I am waiting for my tax refund in order to move out and proceed with the separation from my husband. We filed our taxes on Feb. 6 and are STILL waiting for our refund. He was a first time home buyer last year, prior to our wedding, so he is eligible for the rebate, which is why I think it's being held up. Originally the IRS website said we'd have our return by 4/13, then it switched to 4/27, now today it says we will have it by 5/25 as long as no errors are found. I've tried and tried to find a number to reach a human, but to no avail. Does anyone know how to get through to a REAL person at the IRS? I so want to get this taken care of so I can move forward. It's driving me crazy feeling like I am in limbo like this. HELP!!! :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Counseling update...

Yesterday we went to our first joint counseling session, pretty sure it will be our last one too. H doesn't think that it's worth it and isn't even trying, he thinks it is a waste of time and money, I guess that gives me some answers. We both have individual appointments scheduled next week, not sure if he'll go to his or not, but I wouldn't miss mine. It's helping me a lot and I guess I should be grateful for that right now. I have the divorce papers all drawn up and am ready to file them, I'm just waiting for the "right" time to make my move. He is suppose to be going to California in a couple of weeks which will give me time to move my stuff out, file the papers and get on with my life. Ha, I make it sound so easy, don't I? It's not, this decision is one I have been grappling with since December and H isn't willing to make any changes so I guess it's time for me to cut my losses and learn to be happy on my own again. I actually am really looking forward to doing it alone again, I was doing quite well and was happy, I know I can get there again.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Marriage update...

I have gone to a few sessions of counseling and today my husband went for his first one. He said it went fairly well and we are going together next Monday. Part of why I am holding off on moving out is that our tax return is due to arrive by the 27th and it's almost $10,000. Is that bad that I want to make sure I get my share of it? I'm interested to go home today and hear what the counselor had to say to him. DH has issues with me being too close to my family and I have issues with his drinking, so this should be interesting. Hmm...I'll keep you posted as to how it goes at home tonight.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A complete soc to the gut....

As many of you know, I was married for the first time at the age of 37 this past November. My husband and I have known each other since we were in middle school and we reconnected on Facebook about a year and a half ago. The entire time we dated, he lived in California and I lived in Washington, but saw one another almost every weekend. Where am I go with this? We are getting a divorce!! He has hidden from me a very serious alcohol problem. His work has been rather slow, so he's been "working" from home and earning minimum wage for quite awhile now and I've been footing the bill for both our current mortgage and what the rent doesn't cover on our rental unit (my former condo). I've been footing the bill for the renovations on our current condo and all the other bills. Imagine my surprise to find that he has been heading to the bars at night while I've been going to bed at a reasonable hour to get up and go to work the next day! We live within walking distance of several bars and he apparently frequents them all....often, as in pretty much every night Sunday-Thursday! He claims he has no problems except me! I've started counseling, but he refuses to go, he thinks he doesn't need it. I've already started separating our money and belongings and I am going this week to file divorce papers. Ugh! This is not how I saw my life working out, but he is refusing to get any help and refuses to acknowledge there is a problem. He told me that if I didn't lightened up let him have his fun, he'd divorce me. Well, I guess I'm going to beat him to the punch. Any advice? Thanks!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Kitchen: before & after...

It dawned on me that I never showed you what the kitchen looked like when we bought the condo, so I thought I would show you the before and (almost) after...


and after...

we've opened up the room a lot by getting rid of the peninsula and adding the island. We took out the existing pantry cabinet and shifted things down, opening up a lot of kitchen space. I'm excited to see the completed kitchen with the pendant lights hanging over the island and the new floor in, but it's already a huge improvement over the too small and dated kitchen that was there before.

Sorry it didn't occur to me to show you the before until now...

More kitchen pictures...

Here are a few more pictures of the kitchen and what it looked like soon after I got home from work. This morning hubby put the knobs on all the cabinets and drawers, can't wait to get home and see them. :)

I'm so excited that I am about to be cooking again, I have been busy perusing all kinds of cookbooks, looking for just the right "first" meal to cook in the new kitchen. More updates to come.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Counter top installation in progress...

My husband is home today and is supervising the counter top installation. He sent me this picture of the progress so far and said that the blue flecks in the granite look great with the wall color. I can't wait to get home and see it for real. But for now, I thought I would share this picture with you. (it's not great since it was taken with his cell phone).

Monday, March 29, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Just earned another $50

this time from Vindale (see link to the right). I tried the Sham wow towels and that is what put me over the edge to earn the $50, then did a review of them. I did not like them at all. I thought they had a weird texture and didn't clean up all that well. I was sincerely disappointed. I thought they were going to be great! Vince, albeit extremely annoying, makes them look like a miracle product. Oh well, live and learn. Ha! If you have to yell that much about how great your product is it's probably not that great! (shrugging my shoulders).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Can you help??? Please!

The elementary school I went to is in desperate need of new playground equipment. Some of the equipment they have has been there since the school opened in 1958!! Earlier today we were in 4th place, but now we've moved up to first, by a small number. If you could I would greatly appreciate it if you wouldn't mind taking a minute to vote for Westgate Elementary. My future kids thank you too! :)

If you missed last night's Evening Edition, Check out Westgate's Story.

Have a great day and thank you!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Out of control...

Wow! I was just looking at my spreadsheet that tracks my survey earnings and so far this year I have earned $709.25!!! Holy cow! That's more than my husband is making every 2 weeks on his reduced salay of minimum wage!!! I have been very diligent about clicking on EVERY opportunity that comes in and trying them out, a lot of them haven't panned out, but at least it was only a 15 second time investment. I also had a really great one thru mysurvey that resulted in a $50 payout, I love those.

We're muddling through our kitchen remodel and have hit more than a few snags, but I think we have most of them ironed out now. We are having our counter tops installed next Tuesday and we found a local place that will install slab granite and do all the prep work for $2347.56!!! (If you are in the Seattle area and looking for granite, check out We are super excited! Then we still have to install the appliances and the flooring to go, but once the appliances are in at least I can cook and bake again! I can't wait to post pictures of it all done! I'll keep you posted!

Have a great day! It's a beautiful one here!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Kitchen updates...

Well, it's been a week or so since I last updated you on the progress in the kitchen. It's been a little slower going than I would have liked, but we are still making progress. We've both been sick and therefore trying to not push it too hard, we decided that it would be better to take care of ourselves rather than push the kitchen and possibly make mistakes. So, without further ado, here's a couple of pictures of the progress...

We still have 2 doors to put on the back of the island, but we came up short by 4 hinges so another trip to Ikea is in our future. We're about ready for counter tops...the problem? We haven't decided what we want or what we can afford at the moment. With DH's salary still drastically cut back and we're not sure when it will go back to his regular pay, we are hesitant to put big money into the counters and floor at the moment. Does anyone have any good ideas for economical solutions for now? We've saved a lot of money so far by doing this work ourselves and it's been pretty fun. I've learned a lot about home renovations and it's been great.

This week is going to be another slow week for getting stuff done, I'll be out on Wednesday and Thursday as I have to have a colonoscopy and upper endoscopy done. No fun! Hoping by the weekend to be back up and running on getting this stuff done.

Make it a great day!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tax return received, partially...

We received our tax refund from the state of California...we have to file that darn thing since DH works in California and lives there part time. That $1,209 was a nice surprise to see in the checking account this morning as we didn't think we would be receiving it for several weeks still. Now if we would just receive the federal refund which has the $8,000 tax credit with it for DH buying our current condo. That would really help us get through this tough time while DH's salary has been slashed back to minimum wage and we are bleeding money with the kitchen remodel. Speaking of...not much has happened since the pictures the other night, we were busy last night and have plans tonight, but hopefully we can get a lot done on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Hope everyone else is getting their tax refunds back soon too and not having to pay. :) It's almost spring, my favorite time of year, I'm hoping it is a beautiful one.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Some kitchen progress....YAY!!!

As promised, here are a couple of pictures of the progress in our kitchen so far. We've run in to a few snags along the way, but we think we have them figured out and are ready to move forward with the rest of the cabinet install. The appliances are there too, just waiting to be installed, so once we get there it shouldn't be long until we have a functioning kitchen again.
The first of the cabinet frames are in place...

And now they have doors on them...

DH is making another trek to Ikea today to exchange some stuff that the designer
mis-ordered, but we're making really good progress now that we have the system all figured out. We should have the rest of the cabinets installed by the end of the week and can start putting stuff away soon! We can't wait to get things organized and put away and stop living in a constant mess. Surprisingly we have really been enjoying installing the cabinets together and are finding that we are working pretty well on this project together. Very little frustration, so that's a good thing. I'll keep you all posted with more pictures as things progress...

Monday, March 1, 2010

The kitchen is painted...

Yes!! Finally we have the kitchen all painted and are getting ready to install the cabinets. We painted this past weekend and are moving the vent for the stove today, then the cabinets will go in over the next week and hopefully, I'll be cooking a meal this coming weekend. I'm not going to go out and buy the groceries quite yet, don't want to jinx it. :) I took pictures of the new color on the walls, but forgot to download them yet, so hopefully I can add the pictures this evening when I get home. It's a nice soft blue color and the rest of the walls in the living/dining room are a soft brown color. The cabinets are a medium brown. I think it's going to look really great when it's all put together.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Are y'all tired of hearing about the kitchen yet???

Because I know I'm tired of writing, thinking and talking about it. Well, we returned the incorrect range to Home Depot and were suppose to get store credit, but the dumb girl working there didn't notice that the purchase was over 5 months old and just put the credit back on our Home Depot credit card...thank you dumb girl!! We picked out colors for the walls and the construction crew finished yesterday, yay! So this weekend we are going to be busy painting the kitchen and next weekend when DH is back in town, we can hang the cabinets and install the appliances. Double yay! We finally found our new Jenn Air internal downdraft, electric range today also at a savings of $800. What should have been a $2400 range we found for $1599. I had e-mailed last week to several places to get price quotes, all were $2400 or higher. Over the weekend we drove all over looking for a refurbished one to no avail. Imagine my surprise when I received an e-mail today from a company right in the next town that had just found a range, last years model, still brand new in box and would sell it for $1599, full warranty attached. The only difference between this years model and last years model is a different handle on the oven door. I had my husband call the store right away and put the deposit on it, they are going to deliver it this Saturday, free delivery! Wow, what a great day this turned out to be. I really think I am seeing a light at the end of the tunnel on this kitchen project and I couldn't be happier about it! Pictures to come on Monday of my new kitchen walls and the pretty paint we picked out. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

update on the kitchen... pictures today, but we are really making great progress. I came home from work yesterday to a thin layer of dust over everything in the condo, but that's because they sanded the first layer of mud and applied the 2nd layer. No work being done today so the mud can dry, but they'll be back tomorrow to sand and texture. Then we get to paint and install our cabinets!! I can hardly wait! It's really starting to come together. Hopefully by the end of next weekend we'll have a fully functioning kitchen. Of course there will still be details to finish up, but we are doing really well and getting there finally. We're still trying to find our replacement stove, but I'm sure we'll find one. We have a couple of leads on refurbished ones which would be a great way to go, if we can find a good one. Those darn Jenn-Air internal downdraft stoves are EXPENSIVE, and since that is basically our only option, we are continuing to shop it and hope to find a new one soon. I'll keep you posted! I'm really hoping that next Monday I can do a post with all my beautiful cabinets in place. :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Progress in the kitchen...

I came home from work yesterday to see that we have started to make some progress. Yay!!! The electrician is coming on Wednesday and hopefully he will be able to quickly finish his work, we're paying him by the hour, so I hope he's quick. :) Here's where we are at so far, we removed an existing pantry to open up the kitchen more and I think it's going to be a really good decision. We've also eliminated the peninsula that seemed to make the kitchen small and tight an will instead be installing an island that will give a more open feel. Just a start, but here's what it looks like so far. I'll try to post pictures every time progress is visible.

I have to tell you all, this is the first time I have added pictures to a blog post, so please bear with me while I learn how to do this. :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Will I ever have a kitchen to cook in??

I'm starting to wonder if there will EVER be a functioning kitchen in our condo!!! The carpenters started their work today, finally, but yesterday we ran into another snag. My DH and step dad were trying to figure out the ventilation fan and the slide in range, turns out that Home Depot sold us two parts that are completely incompatible! And to make it worse, they are giving me a hard time about returning them. We went in to HD and told them what we had removed and needed to replace, a Jenn-Air electric downdraft range, but since we were buying a GE refrigerator and dishwasher, we'd like to be able to stick to the GE brand if at all possible. No problem the 2 old guys working in the appliance section tell us. Boy were they wrong!!! The downdraft ventilation they sold us is only compatible with a cook top, not a range and GE doesn't even make one with that is compatible. The only option with the slide in range is to have a range hood, which will definitely not work for us. HD's customer care department was less than helpful, they said there was nothing they could do to help us and that because it was a special order, no returns and besides that, it had been over 90 days since we purchased. I was very polite on the phone and decided to try a different angle. I called the store we made our purchases at and the specialties department manager was much more helpful. He still can't give me a refund, but has offered to take it back as a return and waive the 15% restocking fee and will give us in store credit. That works for me, as we have a lot of home improvement projects still to do. I knew I had to be willing to bend too since it was almost 5 months since we had made the original purchase, but I didn't think I was being unreasonable since it was their staff that sold us the wrong items. So, now I just need to wait for DH to come back in to town this weekend and we will get this old range returned, get our store credit and set out to find a new Jenn-Air range since they are the only ones that make a built in downdraft. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Stressed to the max...

Sorry to have been MIA for awhile, things have gotten really stressful, and just when we think there's a light at the end of the tunnel, something else happens and darkness again! We ended up getting screwed by the designer and the company that she works for in regards to our kitchen. The initial bid was more than doubled once we got closer to starting to do the work. So, we are now doing a lot of the work ourselves, which is good since it will save us a lot of money and we know that's a good thing, it's just going to take so much longer than we anticipated. BUT, we are doing fine and we will get through this.

Then last week, I went to the dentist for a routine cleaning and to have a tooth checked that had been being watched. Turns out it needed a root canal and rather urgently. So, next day I headed to the endodontist for my root canal which turned in to 2 root canals! Thank God for dental insurance and paid time off!! I'd never had a root canal before so I had no idea what to expect, thankfully this dentist was great and super fast. I didn't even feel the shots! Yay!

Yesterday DH got the word that he is going to be taking a temporary pay cut down to minimum wage until their next project starts. This really stinks since we are in the middle of our kitchen remodel and they didn't let him know until yesterday that this will go in to effect on his paycheck this Friday. They drafted the letter to him on Jan. 23rd, but didn't send it until yesterday!!!! Grrr! So crappy! So, I guess it's time to dip in to the emergency savings and do what we can to cut back wherever possible. Good-bye nice, fancy Valentine's dinner, oh well! We have decided instead to have a nice stay at home day in our jammies and watch movies. I will be working any overtime that I can in the meantime and doing what I can to cut back wherever possible. I've also gotten really serious about my survey opportunities and trying every single one that comes my way. Yesterday I did some that will result in a $21.50 check, which will always help out too. I have even gotten my DH doing surveys now and he loves it. He's having a great time trying out different products and giving his 2 cents.

We had our taxes done over the weekend and thankfully will be getting a very hefty return! Normally I wouldn't think this is a great thing, but the reason we are getting it this year is because DH was a first time home buyer and is getting the $8,000 tax credit. That's also really going to help us stretch through and make it through this belt tightening time period!

It will get better, I know it will, it's just hard to think about it right now. I'm going to keep my chin up and keep plugging along, not much else I can do about it! I hope things are going better for the rest of you out there. This too shall pass...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Met with the designer and other weekend treats...

So, we met with the designer to see what she had come up with for our kitchen and we are thrilled! She came up with some really great options and is going to save us a ton of money over what we had thought it was going to cost. We have all new appliances that we bought in the fall, they are still just sitting in the boxes, with the exception of the refrigerator which we have been using and we are so excited to get started using the dishwasher and range. We picked out quartz counter tops and a tile back splash, now we'll get the estimates on those this coming weekend and then it will be time to place the order and get started on the installation. It looks like we should be able to have everything in the kitchen 100% complete by the end of February. We decided that we are going to have to redo the floor as well since it had a peninsula and will now have an island. We've done all the demo up to this point, so we'll continue and take the floor out too and do the few little electrical moves that we need/want to do before the cabinets go in. We also need to paint before the tile back splash goes in. Ooh, it's getting so exciting. I can't wait to see what it looks like all put back together. And I can't wait to actually cook a real meal in the kitchen, I am so tired of nuked food and eating out.

Speaking of eating out, we had a lovely dinner out with my parents, my brother and his family and my Grandma on Saturday night. A final Christmas gift/get together courtesy of a gift card from other family members who were in town.

And last but not least, we had pretty decent weather all weekend long, not too much rain and we were able get out and about and thoroughly enjoy it. Hope you all did too!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Kitchen remodel is starting to take shape...

We met with a designer today who is helping us figure out our options as to how we can create a new kitchen in our currently gutted space. I am so excited to soon have a kitchen back. We've been without it now since early October and I am really sick of microwaved meals and eating out. I can hardly wait to cook our first meal in the new kitchen and entertain. We'll have preliminary options back this coming weekend and since we have already picked out cabinets that we like, we can get those ordered ASAP. It should only take a couple of weeks for the cabinets to be in and installed since we are going with a local company and most sizes will be standard and something they carry in stock all the time. We're getting so anxious to have the kitchen done and see what it's going to look like all complete. I'll keep you posted on costs once we get our estimates back. Wish us luck!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Great mail day...

I love that the mail is dropped right in to our condo and we don't even have to go outside to get it. Ahhh, the simple pleasures. :) Anyway, I was so excited that there were no bills (that's always a good day!), but there were also 3 survey checks totaling $46 and a wedding gift check for $200!!! Yay! Survey checks are being added to the mortgage payment and the wedding gift is going to the kitchen remodel. Oh what a beautiful day!

Resolution update

So here we are 1 week in to the new year and I thought I would update you as to how I am doing on my resolution to try reducing my consumption of dietCoke. Before the new year started I decided that I wasn't going to completely give it up, but try to reduce it down drastically from my sometimes 6 can a day habit and so far I have met with great success. I have to date had a total of 3 1/2 cans of soda in the 7 days this year. I know I won't have any today as I am at home and I've moved it out of the house down to the garage which I have to go outside to get to. Too much hassle and I'm in my jammies! I'm not going anywhere today, so no soda either. I've also only spent money 1 day this year, last Saturday when I was grocery shopping. Pretty good! I love that I have the same money in my wallet as I did last Saturday. The DH is coming home tomorrow and will be home for the next 10 days, my goal is to try to keep our eating out to a minimum while he's here. He loves to go out to eat and since we don't have a kitchen right now, I know he'll want to eat out. But, I've filled the refrigerator and the shelves with lots to eat that require no prep or only the microwave. Wish me luck! Hoping to continue keeping the spending to a minimum.

How are you doing on your resolutions???

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year!!!

2010! Wow, how did that happen? So, is anyone else doing well on their resolutions? So far I am doing pretty good. I have only had 2 sodas in 3 1/2 days and I've had SO much water! Holy moly! I went grocery shopping on Saturday and it was the first time in I don't know how long that I have done my shopping and not bought any diet Coke! I still have some at home, but I've been doing really well grabbing something else to drink and the real test was when I went out to eat and I just had water. That's really where I think I will start to notice big savings. I can't believe how much restaurants charge for a soda these days. Anyway...I just thought I would check in and let you all know I'm doing pretty well so far. Hope you are all too. Oh, and I have only spent money 1 day so far, not bad!