Funny about Money

Simple Living = Frugality = Peace of Mind: Personal Finance and Stress Control

August 23, 2016
by funny
2 Comments

Rats! More Rain!!

🙂 The irrigation system has been off for three days, lhudly sing huzzah. So much rain has been pouring in there’s been no need to run the water, despite the usual three-digit temps during the daytime. It’s five in the morning now, and yet another freshet is rolling in.

Yesterday so much rain blasted in, it laid down a three-inch lake in the patio…

BackPorch

The trees won’t have to be watered for days! Y’know…that’s a three-foot-deep water control trench where those rocks are…

Backtree

More bills are incoming, though.

I need to get that patio roof repaired. Don’t even know who could do that, since it’s a little exotic: plastic paneling designed to let filtered light in there but keep the rain out. And my son emailed last night to report that he definitely has rats. They’re inside the walls, and Charley has tried to go after a couple of them. He’s wondering if he can train the dog to catch them.

So I suppose I’ll have to pay an exterminator to get rid of those damn things. I hope he can chip in on the cost, because that is NOT how I want to spend next month’s budget.

But where to FIND an exterminator? Angie’s List is now utterly un-credible, so I’m not using that to track guys down. I refuse to click “agree” to their onerous new ToS, so even if I were dumb enough to buy their recommends, I can’t access their site.

Yelp also doesn’t seem very credible to me — I know too many people who put their friends up to posting positive reviews there. So I’m asking the handyman, who doesn’t do much work for me but who seems to be a font of recommendations.

Also asking him about an electrician. My beloved old electrician (“old” is the operative word: he’s even older than me!) seems to have gone out of business. Last time I called his number was out of service. I hope he’s OK, but would be surprised if he is: he’d been losing weight the last time we met, and not in what looked like a good way. What a great guy that one was (and, I hope, still is). I met him when the ex- and I moved into our house in North Central. That was over 30 years ago!

Hard to believe. {sigh}

AND I heard the AC making some strange noises during the night. It’s still on the Goodman warranty, so with any luck most of that cost will be covered. But it’s another unwelcome hassle.

But all hassles are unwelcome, eh? Especially when they cost you out of house & home…

August 21, 2016
by funny
1 Comment

This: THE most beautiful…

This has got to be the single most beautiful vocal/instrumental performance I’ve ever heard.

Oh god. My favorite singer with my favorite classical instrumentalist. Beyond ecstasy.

I wonder if they’ve made a CD? If so, I may buy it just for the privilege of owning a physical artifact of these two together.

August 20, 2016
by funny
0 comments

Watch out for Fake Amazon Email Malware

Our truck-driving friend, Connie the Big-Rig Wrangler, reports that she received an email from Amazon saying some order she’d made had been sent. Since she orders a lot of stuff from Amazon, she thought it was routine and…yes! clicked on the attachment.

Her computer is at Best Buy now, supposedly to be returned in five days or a week or…whenever.

This is a current scam. The email appears blank but contains an attachment, either a zip file or a .docm file. If you open the attachment, the zip file unloads malware into your computer. The .docm file tries to trick you into installing a malicious macro. Some of these install ransomware, and others install malware that can steal data such as bank account and credit card numbers.

Amazon does not send out blank emails.  If you get anything like this, delete it immediately without clicking on any attachments.

August 20, 2016
by funny
20 Comments

Busted, Disgusted, and Can’t Be Trusted…

 So I have $1.33 to live on for the next 11 days.

If I stay on budget, that is. Of course there’s significantly more than that in the checking account.

But…heh… At this rate, there won’t be for long!!

The $217 water bill plus the $250 power bill plus the $293 for the countertop oven did me in. The situation wasn’t helped by the $250 dentist’s bill for what he thinks are “routine” X-rays.

Welp, the weather is cooling down — it’s only 80 degrees at 5:00 this morning. But of course the power bill I have to pay in September will be for August’s electric use, and it’s been hideously hot most of the month. So presumably that will be another $250. It’s rained a couple of times, but the yard watering is done automatically with an irrigation system, so presumably that will be the same. I replaced a leaky faucet timer, but I kind of doubt that will save much.

I may have to move out of the house, if utility bills keep skyrocketing like this. The bastards at the Corporation Commission, most of whom are Republicans in the pockets of Arizona Public Service and Salt River Project, just fold to requests for rate increases, so every year our bills go up and up.  The only way to get rid of the corruption is to get a more educated populace who will vote the rascals out, but in Arizona, home of the low-rent education system, that ain’t gonna happen.

The other option, I suppose, would be simply to let everything in the yard die. That seems kind of counterproductive, because the yard is the main reason I stay here…

Out of curiosity, I decided to keep a running record of the Surprise! costs, those extraordinary jabs that exceed the proposed budget. Since the new budgeting scheme started in July, we only have two months’ worth. But so far it’s an eye-popper:

ExtraCosts Jul-AugUgh! Think of that: almost $900 of unplanned expenses in two months! And in two of the three most expensive months of the year, when utility bills are through the roof. Never fails, does it? So since we started the budget gambit, we’re averaging almost $450/month in unplanned costs…to be precise, it’s $877/2 = $438.50/month

If I wanted to adjust expense categories to account for several hundred dollars of extraordinary expenses in the budget, where would the money come from?

  1. I could cancel my long-term care insurance. That would save $142 a month.
  2. Amazon Prime could go away: $11 a month
  3. Let the homeowner’s insurance drop: about $70 a month, maybe.
  4. Find new homes for the dogs: about $40 or $50 a month in dog food
  5. Drain the pool; about $40 or $50 in electric, plus a small amount in water bills
  6. I’d say “stop shopping at Costco,” but I almost have: I’m $106 under budget, and the budgeted figure halves historic spending there.
  7. Stop getting my teeth cleaned
  8. Kill off all the trees, shrubbery, and vines in the yard.

None of those looks very promising, except for a tiny savings on Amazon Prime. Letting my insurance drop would put me at enormous risk. Every other possibility would deeply damage my already feeble quality of life.

One thing I could do, though, is tell the dentist that I can’t be going in there in the summertime. If the routine dental bill were moved to a winter month, when utility bills are a fraction of what they are now, they wouldn’t bust the budget. Also, I’ve got to remember to tell them not to X-ray my teeth for fishing expeditions. I’ll call the dentist’s office today and change next year’s date to November, when bills are at their lowest. Or maybe February — bills are low then, too.

Thank heaven there’s no inflation, eh? 😉

Spring 2016 flowers 6

Good-bye to Eden?

Doobie cropped

Good-bye, Puppy?

Good-bye, Pool? So long, Duck-Duck?

Good-bye, Pool? So long, Duck-Duck?

Au revoir, Costco?

August 19, 2016
by funny
3 Comments

Never Rains but It Pours…

Lightning_strike_jan_2007😀 Literally! Along about 2:15 this morning, the dogs and I were lifted off the bed by the C-R-A-A-A-A-C-K kerBLAAAAAM of a lightning strike that sounded like it hit right outside the window.

The puppy was totally terrorized. I had to restrain her from leaping off the bed, which is one of those extra-deep things that you practically need a ladder to climb into. Cassie didn’t like it either.

The storm continued to grow, the thunder rolling in, most of the time, about four to six seconds after the flash — suggesting most of the storm was up around North Mountain. But three more blasts were very close, indeed.

Cassie decided dogscretion was the better part of valor and moved from her normal position at the foot of the bed up to the pillows, bringing her dog hair with her. Thank you very much. This was after Ruby concluded that the appropriate response to the commotion was to growl. Extensively. No amount of assuring her that everything was allll riiighhttt persuaded her to quit growling.

Oh well. Eventually the storm blew away and sleep (after a fashion) returned.

Meanwhile, the amount of work that has poured in would, on its own, submerge Louisiana. Yesterday I sent off the last of a 100-page dissertation written in Chinglish, most of which entailed variance analysis. That was a challenge.

But mercifully, it was an interesting challenge. The author’s project actually had some meaning — unlike about 90% of Ph.D. theses and dissertations — and although the standard dissertation format instills a great deal of redundancy, as it developed she’d come up with something that may have some practical use.

Now it’s back to the other project, an amateur novel. Although the content is a great deal more comprehensible, it’s probably harder to edit, because it entails having to…well…what can one say? To tutor the author in the basic skills of writing fiction. And that, my friends, ain’t easy.

A-n-n-d this morning what should come in but an inquiry for an indexing project!

Hallelujah, brothers and sisters. At this rate, The Copyeditor’s Desk will stay afloat long enough to see the New Year. Get out the oars and row!

August 18, 2016
by funny
3 Comments

A Strange Little Miracle…

Have you always suspected, as I have, that work (ach!) is bad for your health? Welp, maybe it’s the other way around. Yesterday a client’s convoluted PhD dissertation seems to have worked a small miracle.

To my annoyance, an appointment scheduled a year ago for a routine check-in with the cardiologist came up right in the middle of a very challenging editorial project, which we’re trying to get done on an extremely tight deadline. Really, I didn’t feel I had time to take off two or three hours to drive to the doctor’s office, sit around, jaw with the guy, and drive home for no very good reason. But neither did I feel like haggling with his staff, whose response (I knew from experience) would be to reschedule me for some equally inconvenient time.

So I took the laptop with the magnum opus with me, hoping to squeeze in at least a little work while sitting around cooling my heels…

I hate doctors’ offices SO much — and especially hate their waiting rooms, where you’re invariably subjected to television yammering on top of the overall suspense and discomfort and worry of a doc’s waiting room — that every time I go to a doctor these days, my blood pressure goes through the roof. To convince this cardiologist that I’m not, after all, at death’s door, I have to keep a running record of my b.p. for about six weeks before showing up in his precincts; that’s been the only thing that proves my issue is “white coat syndrome,” not near-terminal hypertension.

😀

So I’m sitting in the waiting room reading variance analysis in Chinglish and in the background there’s the usual stream of babble about the 82,000 people evicted from their homes by a roaring wildfile that went from 5 acres to 25,000 acres overnight and they didn’t even have time to go home and rescue their pets which are now crispy critters and Donald Trump’s endlessly hideous emanations and car wrecks and child rapes and mother rapes and Syrians and and suicide bombers on and horrifyingly on (why do they think people who are dealing with some personal health crisis want to listen to stürm und drang?)…and, to focus on the copy, I have to really concentrate. Like focus on each. word. one. after. another.

As usual, His Eminence is running late, so I get a lot done — this is very nice. So I finally get in there and the cute young tech takes my blood pressure, and holy sh!t…it’s NORMAL!

I say, “Are you sure?”

He says, “Yeah, it’s right on the mark.”

Mwa ha ha!!!!

So His Eminence has nothing dire to say and no excuse to wave his prescription pad around, and this is very excellent.

Even though he and I agreed, a year ago, that in real life my blood pressure is in the safe range, I always register blood pressure numbers in the “alarming” range while in a doctor’s office. Particularly in the presence of a doctor with some frightening specialty. There’s nothing like an oncologist or a cardiologist to set your heart to going pitty-pat… Hell, even a dermatologist can do that!

On the way out the door, I thought, “That was weird!” Then I realized that I must have been so tightly focused on the golden words that my mind completely shut out the noxious surroundings. Because I wasn’t sitting there dreading having to talk with a doctor and gnashing my teeth at the time wasted and listening to annoying prattle or dire news, the blood pressure was not creeping toward the stratosphere.

Too, too good!

laotse2

Lao-tsu. Osodham & OSHO World Galleria.

Keep on writing, li’l Chinese scholars…