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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Big 3-0

I'm turning 30 this week. 

Part of me wants to freak out, the other part says what's the big deal? There are a few things I wish I had improved on before rounding up to this new decade, but really I can't complain. I've accomplished a lot more already than most friends my age. While I know I missed out on some "youthful" stuff because I got married young and started a family early, I really don't feel slighted. I am happy to be this far along in my life and that my kids will be grown before I am too old to enjoy some alone time with my husband. 

Here's to a new chapter!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Insurance Waiting Game

Our medical insurance is a health trust through DH's employer. While the insurance itself hasn't changed, we were informed that as of the first of the year we have a new plan administrator. 

E had dental surgery in late January. I took care of all the pre-op paperwork with the old plan administrator at the end of last year, before learning of the changes. Luckily, when I called the new administrator they said they would honor the paperwork as long as it was within the last six months. Fast forward to mid-March and they have only now finally processed the claim from the surgery. It wouldn't be such a big deal except that I had to pay $1,200 up front for the anesthesiologist. 

Now that the claim has been processed, I am only on the hook for about $350 for the anesthesiologist and $575 for the dental work itself. That means the anesthesiologist owes me a refund of $850. According to the explanation of benefits, the check was mailed the 12th. I'm hoping I get the refund soon so that I can use it to pay the dentist the $575.  The $350 should have been $180, but I ended up paying about $170 extra out of pocket to the anesthesiologist because my insurer said the fee was above the usual and customary amount. This kind of pissed me off, but I was really nervous about the surgery and the dentist and anesthesiologist we used really made me feel like my daughter was in good hands. I guess that's worth something. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

We're Back

We got back from Vegas last night. The damage is still rolling in on my credit card, but we took $700 cash and came home with around $150. This pretty much only covered food, souvenirs, and inexpensive entertainment. On the credit card I am expecting $100 for a car rental, another $220 for our hotel, and around $400 for the shows. I thought we were eating pretty reasonably, but I guess when you eat every meal out, it adds up. 

We saw Ray Romano and Le Reve. I really enjoyed both shows. I had wanted to see Cirque du Soleil's "O" but I just couldn't get myself to pay the $180 + taxes per ticket, so we opted for Le Reve instead, which is also a water show. The performers are just incredible! 

We didn't drink or gamble at all. I had wanted to play Bingo (wild and crazy, I know!) but we were too busy. I can't even fathom how much a trip like this costs when you add in booze and slots. All in all, we had a fun time and it was nice to go to a warmer climate for a couple of days, but I missed my girls and it's good to be back!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Wedding and Dinner Bells

My sister-in-law is getting married this summer. We're not close, but she asked if I would be willing to help. The wedding is at a nice venue and is being funded primarily by the groom's parents, who don't want to contribute beyond the financial help. Their contribution was $5,000, which apparently has already been budgeted out and will not leave enough for food. Her plan was to have a potluck. She has apparently been getting flack about this (and other things) from the groom's mother. 

I attended a "planning meeting" where I ended up volunteering to do the reception dinner for 150 guests at my own expense as her wedding gift. DH will help of course, and I will have to recruit a few others who are generous enough to help out, but have no special interest in actually attending the wedding.

I am pretty excited about doing the food, but I am a little worried too, as both of my girls will be in the wedding. O can handle herself, but E is only three and still needs a lot of guidance. I hope I'm not in over my head. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Murphy's At It Again!

My front-loader washing machine was flashing a weird code over the weekend. The machine had been giving me some subtle issues over the past couple of weeks, but nothing that noticeable. I cancelled out the cycle and opened the door this morning at  7 am, only to have a couple gallons of water come flooding out at me. Ack! 

It took me a awhile, but I was finally able to fix it! If you have a front loader and start having drainage issues, open up the lower front panel on the machine and check the drain filter. Mine had a lot of coins and some other random crap in it; also a lot of funk! What completely stopped the drain though was the inability of the little drain pump propellers to turn because one of O's hair bands was wrapped around it. 

My back is sore from all the rolling around on the tile floor, but I'm so glad I didn't have to spend $80 on a repair man. I would've been so mad! 

We leave for our Vegas trip on Friday. It can't come soon enough! 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Car Drama For This Mama

DH has been subtly reminding me that the cars are getting older and he doesn't want us to have to replace them both at the same time. We have been discussing a four wheel drive pickup for him at a price of around $12k max, probably a Chevy 1/2 ton. We have also been researching a Toyota Highlander, possibly a hybrid, for me. We don't want two payments so we need to figure out the order of things.

 For the record, we at present have one two wheel drive older diesel pickup truck with low miles. Its only flaw is DH would like four wheel drive. We also have two older cars, both approaching 200,000 miles, and a motorcycle.

I'd be fine keeping my car for a couple more years, especially until E gets a little further through toddler-doom. On the other hand, the extra passenger seating would be really convenient this summer for some activities we have planned. We test drove a standard Highlander over the weekend, and we liked it better than we thought we would. The GMC Acadia would be my first choice, but with the miles I drive, I need something super reliable, and the Acadia is comparable in age and price, but the reliability is really bad. 

DH was all hyped up about the Chevy... then a salesman told him about an older Dodge that DH likes but is hard to find, and he switched gears. Then, yesterday afternoon, DH apparently decided he was being ridiculous, and that he should just make improvements to our pickup to make it more all-weather friendly, such as snow tires and a steel plate in the back, and we should sell both cars and buy the Highlander for me. I'm trying not to get my hopes up because I know he's all over the place!

If we buy the Highlander, we would be looking for a 2008-2010 in the $18-$23k range. This would be the most expensive vehicle we have ever owned. It's definitely not as sporty as my car, and the cargo space with the third row collapsed isn't much more than what my car has now, but, it would hold an additional 2-3 passengers if needed, and with the hybrid, I'd be getting about the same fuel mileage I am right now. Consumer Reports gives it an excellent rating, so it should last me a long time. 

I really wouldn't want to finance more than $10-$12k so that stretches our time frame out. I have considered talking to my grandma about doing the financing. She has financed us in the past and it has been beneficial for all involved. I feel like approaching a seller with a cash offer would make it easier to purchase a vehicle out of our area, and I also feel it would increase our negotiating power. If we went with a hybrid, it would most-likely come from the west side of the state, as they hug a lot more trees over there. I don't know a whole lot about hybrids, so if you do, you should speak up! I just don't want to make a costly mistake!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Mixed Emotions

I'm feeling like a big loser tonight. Everyone else is slumbering away and I was laying in bed with a gut ache. It might have been the chicken, but I don't think so. 

B moved out tonight. He didn't even tell me he was going or say goodbye. I found out when his dad sent me a lengthy text at 9 pm informing me he was picking him up and moving him back to his place. In the initial 30 seconds after I read it, I felt relief. I responded cordially, saying I loved him but just couldn't afford to carry him any longer, and to let me know if I could assist in any way with the job hunt. 

The last time I'd seen him was Sunday night. We had invited his dad over along with some others to watch the Super Bowl. His dad was such a jerk to him then that I was actually having second thoughts about his needing to move. All kinds of things were running through my head. I had told him that night to come over on Monday and we'd look into some more online job applications. He said, "see you tomorrow." I was home most of the day, but he never came. I haven't seen him since. 

Maybe I'm being ridiculous, but it really bothered me that he didn't say goodbye. He's not all that fond of E, being he's a selfish man-boy and she's a needy toddler. He's always been really fond of O though, ever since she was a baby. I have really gotten a kick out of watching them interact over these last two months. Sometimes they sit in my living room and play Super Mario on the Wii. Sometimes they walk around together outside for hours, looking like they're on some conquest. I guess I just don't know what I'm going to tell her. I'm angry that he didn't feel the need to say goodbye to her. It's one thing to use and discard me, it is another to discard my children. Maybe he just didn't think about it. Maybe he doesn't think about a lot of things. 

I still want the best for him. I so badly want him to become something he can be proud of. I am hurt and disappointed that this wasn't the opportunity that made every thing come together for him. With all that has happened though, and the way that it ended, I feel like we probably made the right call. It's just not enough for me to want it for him. He has to want it for himself.