Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cash For Gold- the sequel

Oh my gosh.

So remember here where I was debating going to the cash for gold place?  I divided out the jewelry I had and it fell out as follows:

2 "pink ice" rings from childhood.  One wouldn't even fit on my pinky finger.

1 rope chain
1 box chain
1 super thin "starter" chain (the kind you get when you buy a pendant)
1 lighthouse pendant
1 "pink ice" pendant

That's all I had.  It wasn't very heavy and by far the nicest piece was the rope chain and the lighthouse pendant.  I never cared for lighthouses (or yellow gold).

Anyway, I headed to this "Cash for Gold" place.  I wasn't sure what to expect- something like a pawnshop, I guess.  We pull in to a fairly nice commercial part of town, which was a load off my mind.  I didn't want to end up in the ghetto. 

I walked up and had to press a button to be buzzed in to the shop. Then, Tim & I were kept in this contained little room, while I spoke to a man through a glass window.  It was a little creepy.

I handed over my two small baggies of gold and stood waiting. That's really all I could do.  One of the owners went over each piece, evaluating the gold markings and then dumped it on a scale.  I have to admit I winced a bit to see it being so flippantly handled, but then again I've been neglecting it- some of it for 20 years or so.

He got the numbers from the scale (which I couldn't see) and did a calculation on his calculator, then weighed out the 10k pair of rings.

Grand total offered to me?  $372. 

I had to work to keep my jaw from hitting the floor. I honestly don't believe that much was spent on the jewelry in the first place. Seriously.

So, I took the money and ran lol!  They cut me a check right then.

We are trying to locate the original engagement ring which I mentioned in the earlier post.  I will happily take that back.  This place also purchases coins and other items- I seriously may have to do a housecleaning!

I'm glad I finally decided to take the gold.  I feel a little guilty, but I'll forget about it soon enough.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Where did my monies go?

I'm so glad Christmas is over.  Not just Christmas- the Day After Christmas is over as well.

I am ashamed to admit that during December, I overspent.  I kept finding so many wonderful deals- I bought when I shouldn't have.  For the most part, I bought things we needed. However, we probably didn't need them right then.

It's super easy to do.  The deals are flying fast and furious.  Free shipping, extra % off, price cuts.  Oh, it stresses me out just thinking about it! The couponing sites I frequent can barely keep up during the Christmas season!

The Day After Christmas (dun dun dunnnn) isn't much better.  Stores are desperate to get rid of their Christmas things and mark them down 50% off.  They are also desperate to get the few dollars you still have in your pocket. Everywhere you look is stuff, stuff, Stuff. It's enough to drive you insane.

I ended up buying some gift bags and tissue paper at Walmart yesterday.  I needed those and this is the best time to get them.  By the time items go 75% off, there probably will be nothing left.

However, I also found this...thing.  It preyed on my weakness.  It was... a kitchen gadget. Not just any kitchen gadget, it was a mini "donut" maker. I never knew I needed one until I found it 50% off.

I snatched it up, amazed no one else had seen it. I carried it to a scanner and there I read the news- $7. Oh yes, it would be mine.

I carried it home and a small, sane part of my mind started screaming "Use it as a Christmas Game Gift next year! Don't keep it! You don't need it! Stoooop".

Did I listen? Of course not. I held out until the evening, when I decided "just to look" at what you needed to have on hand to make these donuts. Unfortunately the recipe was simple. Too simple.

"We're making donuts!" I decreed at 9pm.  So we did.  It took forever because you can only make 6 at a time, the batter is VERY thick and each set takes approximately 2 1/2 minutes to cook.

Do they taste like donuts? Not really.  Are they delicious and super fattening anyway? You betcha.

I already have "opened the gift" remorse.  I could have left it alone, but in this time of gluttony (both spending and eating wise) I didn't wanna.  I won't even tell you about the other things I purchased yesterday. Sigh. It's time to get my game face back on. I need to set more goals so I don't get so tempted to piddle my money away on junk!  I think I'm going to attach a goal list to my debit card.  Then when I get ready to buy something, I have to see the goals I've set and think about how much spending this money now because I "want to" will hurt the goals of what I really want.


ETA: We went to Walmart today to grab some groceries.  I found another donut maker.  I snatched it up like the last life preserver on a sinking ship.  At least this one really will go to the gift closet!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Vacation Planning

Well, it's that time of year again. With Christmas over, Tim & I start trying to plan our vacation!

This year is a little unique, in that we won't be attending the National Convention for the rabbits, and the smaller Breed Nationals show is literally 20 minutes away for us.  This means I won't have to take any vacation days for either show.  No hotel fees, gas, food costs- none of it associated with the expensive larger shows, and no $15 an entry show fees!

So.  That means if we want to, we can take a really nice vacation! One with- dare I say it?- airfare.

Vacation planning time always depresses me just a little. It's hard to plan so far in advance.  What if we have a major bill come up? That happened to us last year, which cast a bit of a pall on Disney World.  What if I break a leg? What if, what if, what if.  Remember, I'm an excessive worry wart.

Not to mention, vacations are expensive.  I know they don't have to be, but even driving somewhere semi-locally, like the beach, can run in to some money.  After all, you have the gas expenses, plus food expenses and lord-forbid you want to go out and do things while you are there!  We do our best to offset our costs, which I will talk about in another post, but still, no matter what you do, vacations can drain your bank account.

Still- you're only young enough to really enjoy your vacations once, right?  For instance- I don't think Vegas at 80 would be the same amount of fun as Vegas at 30.

Besides, Tim lets me ruin our vacation days with rabbit shows.  He deserves a super nice one every little bit. I might even let him decide where we go.

Though I retain full veto power, of course.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Prayers and Thoughts Needed

If you could, please keep my friend's son in your prayers and thoughts.  "Squeaker", as she nicknamed him, is only 5 years old, but on Wednesday he faces a brain surgery.

Squeaker was diagnosed with autism this year and was diagnosed with a Chiari malformation (type 1) two years ago. This malformation is what is sending him to surgery just a few days before Christmas.

Tim & I are going to go down to visit our friends as soon as I get off of work on Wednesday.  While I am thrilled to see them again (it's been 5 years- yes, we've never met Squeaker, but I do remember him as a bulge in his Mama's belly) I'd happily never see them again if it meant we wouldn't be headed to a hospital.

So if you get an opportunity today, tomorrow or any day, please think of Squeaker and his family!

ETA:  Squeaker is out of surgery! Things went more quickly than they expected and he's out early.  No incidents, hooray!


Monday, December 19, 2011


 Tim and I are lucky enough that tonight we get to go watch my UNC Tar Heels play basketball!

It's not a very exciting game- we're playing Nicholl's State.  We also don't have the best seats- middle way up the second level, but there is something absolutely electric about being in the "Dean Dome".

It's hard to describe to someone that isn't a sports fan, or to someone who has never been there.   My Alma Mater has fielded some of the greatest athletes of all time- and basketball is no exception.  You may have heard of a little someone called "His Airness"- Mr. Michael Jordan.  I could spend the rest of the post gushing about our top-notch players, but I'll move on.

The Dean Dome is electric.  Nearly 22,000 people can be seated there.  When the Tar Heels play a team like hated rival Duke, you can literally breathe the energy. Your heart pounds, your body tingles, your concentration and focus are solely on the 10 men on the court.  It's a place of tears, joy and the feeling that you can't truly be there- it's hallowed ground for the Carolina faithful.  Around you are people that feel just as strongly as you do. Carolina Basketball is not just a game, it's a way of life.  It's something that if you didn't grow up around here, you can never truly understand.

I was spoiled enough to spend 4 years attending nearly every basketball game there. I've been back twice, to celebrate the Century of Basketball events.  I saw some of the greats take each other on- I got to see players I grew up watching on tv.  It was incredible.   Since I graduated in 2006, I've never been back to see the Tar Heels play a serious game.

Part of the problem is money.  Carolina tickets are expensive and the demand is outrageous. We've even tried to purchase tickets in fan sections of away games- whereas a normal ticket might be $20, when UNC comes to town, the price triples- or more.  These are even for the worst seats in the place!

We lucked out though and were able to snatch up a pair for a low-profile game at a reasonable price.  No doubt the fact it's so close to Christmas helps us out.

So tonight at 7pm, I'll be in the Dean Dome again.  For 2 hours, I'll be home.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Acute Bronchitis

I do so love my propensity for bronchitis.  About 5 years ago I ended up with chronic bronchitis.  Thanks to have no insurance and being very stubborn, it progressed to the point that though I had fought off the virus, my throat continued to spasm, causing me to eventually need an inhaler to help "paralyze" my throat so it could heal.


I was sick a few weeks ago and while I was well on the way to mending, I wasn't quite there when I had the wreck.  Not long after that, the "plague" returned with a vengeance.  I finally headed to a CVS "Minute Clinic" on Thursday, where I was diagnosed with Acute Bronchitis.  They loaded me up with enough medicine to choke a horse and here I am now- still hacking up a lung, but at least able to mostly sleep through the nights!

The thing that sucks the most about bronchitis is once you have it, you seem to be more at risk to get it again.

Hopefully the copious amounts of codeine-cough-syrup, my inhaler and the benzonatate pills help me get it under control sooner, rather than later.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Back to work tomorrow!

I head back to work tomorrow, after having been out three days due to being unable to speak.

I'm a little nervous heading back, because my fill-in tends to want to completely rearrange my desk when I am not there, even if she is only going to be there for a day.  Not...ok.

I suspect I'll be bombarded with questions about the wreck and my illness. That's my least favorite thing to deal with in my life- answering the same questions over and over and over and over and over.  I appreciate the concern, but I'd much rather just not have to talk about anything.  Between explaining to various family members, the insurance (2-3 times) etc, I'm kind of talked out about it.

Oh well, at least this week won't be written off as a total loss and tomorrow is payday!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Quick Update

Just a quick update- I haven't really felt like blogging and since my days have consisted of sitting on the couch being miserable, there hasn't been a lot to talk about.

I lost my voice on Saturday.  It is finally starting to come back today.  I was starting to worry!  I have missed two days of work so far and I suspect I'll miss tomorrow as well- I don't really want to go back too soon and lose it again, but I am eager to start making money again.

Today I did manage to organize the Christmas closet a bit.  I threw a few things away, broke down a couple of boxes and managed to put 3 Christmas cards in the mailbox.  We're woefully behind on cards and I am thinking I won't get them all done.

I checked the mail- 10 letters from lawyers and 1 from a chiropractor.  The joys of public records, huh?  Ambulance Chasers at least keep the Post Office in business, I suppose.

An insurance agent called yesterday.  It wasn't ours, which I didn't realize at first because I was unable to take a phone call due to not being able to talk.  This person talked to Tim and from his answers, I became suspicious and ordered him to stop talking to the person.  He was not at the accident and not authorized to speak on my behalf in this case, especially not to an insurance agent that is not mine.  As you may guess, I'm a little PO'd.

We still haven't learned if the caliber is totaled or not. I am hoping to get some word today, but if not, I may call Geico and find out what's up.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Week of Hell

I sit here not sure where to begin.  I caught some kind of plague Sunday/Monday and I am still trying to fight that off.

Wednesday I busted up my knee pretty badly, which I posted pictures of.

Thursday I was in a car accident.  I don't feel like I can do a lot of talking about that right now, but we will hopefully know Monday if the car is totaled or not.

The one bright spot in this horrific week was yesterday.  Even it came with a price!

We went out with friends to Olive Garden and had such a great time.  Then they came to a Chili cook-off at one of Tim's churches... which I won!

However, today I can't speak.  At all. I can croak out a few words, with much effort, but that's about it.  I think I really overdid it yesterday.  I heard myself getting hoarse last night, but I stopped speaking and it didn't do much to save my voice. 



Thursday, December 8, 2011

Rain of Death

It's been a very rainy few days. I am not a fan of driving in the rain because it seems like people lose any sense they have- driving too fast, driving entirely too slowly on highways- not to mention the flooding roads and hydroplaning dangers.

The most dangerous part yesterday came during a period where I wasn't driving... and it wasn't raining.

I have to bring home mail from work to put in our mailbox because my job is terrified that someone is going to steal their mail.  No joke.  This is not important mail.  I promise.

Anyway, I was headed to the mailbox and as I stepped off our driveway to the area in front of the box, my right foot slid in the mud and pea gravel that someone decided was sufficient to put around a mailbox. I turned that ankle and then lurched forward trying to keep my balance.  It didn't work.

I slammed hard on to the road, my purse, lunchbox, part of the mail and my coat all landing in the mud.  Joy. I skinned up a hand and lost part of a toenail (yes.. it is December and I am still wearing flip flops.  Don't judge me.)

I managed to gather up my items. From there it was a painstakingly slow lurch to the door, where I had to get Tim to let me in.  From there, it was time to access the damage.

I'm not going to say I'm clumsy, but let's just say that I have skinned up my knees more than my fair share.  That's perhaps why I knew instantly my leg was bleeding.

Boy was I right.

Knees are so attractive, even when they aren't covered in blood.
Yup, joy joy, I really tore that sucker up.  Thankfully I was wearing a new pair of jeans.  They spared me most of the trouble.

Slightly cleaned up, slightly less red, still very swollen.  My kneecap is still popping in and out.

So there you have it.  What a joy.  Just when I was getting over the plague Tim shared with me, I turn an ankle and murder a knee.   River can't figure out why I don't want to play and why she can't cuddle right now.

Oh well, the good news is Tim took care of the animals for me yesterday so I didn't have to hop around and try to do it.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cash for Gold?

I'm thinking about selling some gold jewelry.  No, this isn't a "Gift of the Magi" situation where I have to sell precious things to buy Christmas gifts.  I don't even have to sell the jewelry at all.

My thought is:  The price of gold is crazy high right now.  I have several rings from when I was little that I didn't even wear then (only 10k gold, so not worth much). I've got various gold earrings missing mates, etc.  I have a 14k gold rope necklace that I never, ever wear.  It's yellow gold.  I don't do yellow gold and despite knowing this, family members persisted in buying me yellow gold jewelry when I was younger.

Frankly, I much prefer white gold or sterling silver.

We also have my original engagement ring- the one Tim proposed with.  It's bulky and frankly very ugly. That's why it's not the engagement ring I wear.

My point is, all of this is just sitting around, being worthless to me.  I could try to sell it in pieces on craigslist, but that seems like more hassle than it is worth. I think I could take it in to a jewelry store and get a good price on it all.  Then I could use the money on something worthwhile.
Note: I would never send my gold away in one of those envelopes, having no idea how much money I could get for it.  To begin with, once you put it in the mailbox, that gold is irretrievable.  If you don't like what they send you money-wise, to bad, so sad, it's already been melted down and they can't track it anyway.  These are scams.

Sentimentally, I wouldn't mind keeping the gold necklace and charm.  It was a gift, after all.  Then again, I really don't ever wear it.  Eventually it will get lost or stolen.

So really, the most responsible thing seems to be to just let it all roll...right?

Ugh.  Maybe I'll see what Tim thinks.  Of course, I can pretty much tell you what he'll say right now. "It's up to you.  You don't have to sell it, but you can if you want to.  Whatever you think is best."

That can be so unhelpful.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

River's big day

On Black Friday morning we loaded the car up in preparation for heading to the mountains for a Thanksgiving gathering with Tim's family.

River has grown so big that we don't have a kennel we can use for her that will also fit in our car and leave any room, so we decided to use one of the flattened kennels to keep her from crawling in to the front with us and just leave her loose in the back with all of our things.

Sounds like a fool-proof plan, yes?

We got both Dixie and Bear loaded up in to their travel kennels and settled securely in the back of the caliber beside our luggage and their toys.  River was watching with anxious eyes, trying to figure out just what was going on and why she wasn't kenneled.

Tim lays a blanket out in the back for her, then we turn to load up the last few items, when suddenly a golden blur launches itself into the air...and in to the back of the car!

She curled up in front of the other two dogs and hunkered down like she was terrified we were going to kick her out of the car and leave her at the house alone.  Doofus.

We made a pit stop at PetSmart to take advantage of their $8.99 38lb jugs of cat litter (I had a $5 coupon, it made it $3.99!)

It was River's first time ever being in a store and she was not a big fan.  I had to stop dead when she refused to walk through the sliding doors.  A tween boy came up, petted her, then stuck his mouth right at hers so she could give him mouth kisses (totally gross) and after that I was able to coax her inside.   From there, we stopped dead a few times, ran in circles and tried to press up against small children because they were around her size and were comforting, I guess.   I picked up a few toys for their Christmas stocking and the squeakers really helped distract her.  I think she suspected every adult was going to try to beat her, but after the fourth person just had to come pet her, she started to realize that the strangers weren't scary.

We hit the road and stopped again at a PetSmart in Hickory.  I was hoping to catch a friend that worked there so she could see how big River has grown.  Joni was the first person to see the puppy when we got her, but wouldn't you know we had missed her by about 20 minutes?   This trip in to the store went way better, as River had come to expect lovins from people she didn't know.  The heart-attack of the trip came when she bee-lined straight for a huge dog outside (he looked like an Anatolian Shepherd mix- huge) and started licking his mouth and wiggling her tail.  We thought she was going to be scared of the big dog and instead she treats him like her long lost brother!  Thankfully Buckley was a very friendly male who was so nice to a very irritating little puppy.

We made the rest of the trip without incident.  River was beautifully behaved in the car and she actually behaved herself at my in-laws house!  Could it be- could my little wild child finally be growing up?


Monday, December 5, 2011

Back in the Saddle

So, I've been doing a lot of thinking lately.

Years ago- and I do mean years, I started writing a novel.  I was fifteen at the time. My computer crashed and I lost it all.  I started over at sixteen and worked on it as time allowed for two years.  Then my laptop died and I lost it.

I started another novel, since I didn't have the heart to try to rewrite the first two.  I worked on it a while and would hit a block.  School, getting married, work, moving- so many things kept getting in the way.  Then I'd start reading it to try to get the creative flow back and it would dissolve in to frantic edits, rewrites, etc.  Then I'd try to write more, but still be bogged down by something that didn't read perfectly (in my mind).

Tim got the information off of the original laptop for me as a gift one year.  I had my original novel back! Oh but it was awful.  Ok, it wasn't awful.  The story wasn't bad, but it was written when I was so young that the sentence structure was overly simplistic and it was just- well, childish writing.  I also leaned too heavily on what I knew from reading, rather than creating a more unique world.  So the rewrites began.

Then I got frustrated, put both novels aside and haven't touched either in two years.  I think I'm ready to pick them up again and finally get them finished.  My goal is to read the notes I kept around about each story, tweak my outline a bit, then just start reading.  No rewrites.  What is the point of having a beautifully edited story that is only half completed?

So- I'm back in the writing saddle. I'm ready to see where this might take me.

Wish me luck! Promise that if I can get it published, you'll buy a copy. 


Thursday, December 1, 2011

If I had a million dollars (or 30 million or so... you know, whatever)

So, I asked the other day what you'd do if you had $30 Million bucks or so.  After taxes, of course, because this is our fantasy and we don't wanna pay no stinkin' taxes.

Let's say I win it in the lottery.  So there it is- the winning ticket in my hand.  The very first thing I'm gonna do is get a lawyer.  I want papers drawn up preventing my name and information being released as a lottery winner.  Oh yes, I am not going to have people banging at my door asking me to invest in their electric sponge idea.

Then I'm cashing it in for one lump sum (I know I can get more in the long run if I take it in payments, but screw that, I just won millions, I'm taking it lump sum and running with it).   There it is! $30 million dollars.

Money money money money money.

Next, I pay off every scrap of debt I own.  All of it.  Tim's student loans, both cars- bam, done.  It's a drop in the bucket, it barely dents in to my $30M.

Next? I pay off my Dad's house and then buy him another, with lots of land.  He can rent out the other one or burn it to the ground, I don't care.  Then buy him a new truck.  Then a cool million goes in to the bank in his name.  Bam. However, it's with the caveat he does not pay off my brother's stuff.  The brat needs to grow up (yeah I am still bitter.  Even with my millions.)  I'd pay off a hunk of my mom's existing debt, then she's on her own.

Next, I pay off my in-law's house and toss them a cool million as well.  I get along really well with Tim's parents.  I know, it's weird to me too, but I'm lucky.

Now let's see... I still have a good $27 million dollars.  Time to go shopping...

... for a house of course! I pick out a beautiful set of property, I'm thinking 50 acres minimum, then I custom build a home for it.  We're probably looking at a million dollars by the time I'm done.  Most of that will be in land costs, but let's face it- the economy sucks and I'll be paying cash.  I expect a very good deal to be made on the acreage (in fact, I already have it picked out! Buwahaha).

Then let's see.  $100,000 in a fund for my sister-in-law, that she can't touch until she is 30 years old. Buwahahaha, I am evil, but it will give her some valuable real-life experience.

I've also got some friends I'd like to help out- trips, buying a few nice things here and there, helping out with *some* debt- that kind of thing.  However, I would have to say it would be hard to know your true friends if you came in to a lot of money and I definitely wouldn't be accepting applications for new ones! :)

Now that I've walked you through my spending of a good 5 million dollars, I won't bore you with investment strategies, or of the descriptions of the massively wonderful vacations I plan on taking.  Nor will I bore you with barn designs, horses, etc.


Yeah, definitely need to start buying those lottery tickets!