Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Money and Homeschool

Money and homeschool.  It is a misnomer really.  I mean I pay some pretty hefty property taxes that fund our public schools - you know the one, that most people say is free.  Undoubtedly, it is cheap education - definitely less than private school especially if you extrapolate it out over several children.

However, it isn't enough for my crew.  My MAIN reason, one of many, for homeschooling is the lack of substantial education for my kids.  My kids are different from everyone else's, so that is my bag.  Could they get enough of an education?  Sure, they are smart enough that it would be fine.  I wasn't satisfied with fine though.

So, it came up this morning actually, with -D, if I do have a long term illness, do I stop homeschooling.  I mean, I can hardly clean the kitchen and my feet are on fire today, so walking is out.  Yes, I think I can.  They are at the age where they do most of it themselves and I just oversee or I simply read.

Now, the money talk!

I cannot tell you exactly how much I spent last year, because that system is gone.  But I am keeping better track from now on.

Estimates for 2014-2015 Homeschool

Total at-home curriculum: Between $1,200 and $1,800 per year.  This includes all books, workbooks, teachers manuals, on-line subscriptions, etc.

Classes: $3,780 per year.  This is for a one-day a week classes (P.E., art, typing, study skills, etc) and dissection classes at the science museum.  

Field Trips: $500 per year as a high estimate!  Since we belong with a local homeschool group, we get DEEP discounts on field trips, plus they get to spend time with friends.  For example, a special science museum exhibit will cost even science museum members - $25-$35 per person.  With the homeschool group, we get the same exhibit for $5-$6 per person.

Misc: Gas, food, etc.  maybe $100 per year.  We tend to pack a lunch or take a snack when going on field trips, so I try not to spend excess money.

This all adds up to $5,580 to $6,180 per year.

Homeschooling can be quite expensive and I know others can homeschool for MUCH less than I do, but I feel I am providing a rich education for them.  I'll never regret one minute.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Over it

Well, as much as I would like to stay on a soap box, I am just not that negative.  I cannot stay there.

Especially when I have such a wonderful friend who brought me a bunch of flowers to brighten my day.
My messy sewing table with smilable flowers.

I am still very frustrated with doctors in general, but I guess I will have to press myself upon them and make them understand my health is a partnership, not a dictatorship. 

I am thankful my symptoms seem to have leveled off, but that does not mean they are gone, they have just stopped moving on to other joints, though I am not sure if I have too many more to move to!  The doctor is going to get a call tomorrow so I can get some sort of time line for when the blood tests will come in. 

OUR RV HAS SOLD!  That is the recent good news.  It has gone through closing and we are only awaiting the payment.   I hope this week.  The plan for it is to complete replenish the savings borrowing (from paying off that credit card) and purchase a new grill (our old one bit the dust).  The rest will go to Citibank Jen.  That is the card we are focusing on.  We have a tentative pay off plan in December of this year.  We are being very aggressive in paying it off.

I hope everyone else is having a beautiful day!

Monday, August 18, 2014

The High and Mighty Doctor

I have always struggled with finding a good doctor.  There is a fine line between them doing whatever I say and them not listening at all to me, but you would think this would be one a doctor would understand.

Unfortunately, lately it has been the ALMIGHTY DOCTOR.  You know the one - who hardly looks at you, doesn't talk to you, but to a computer screen (or equally, a chart), and gives you all of 1.5 minutes.

When trying to find a general practitioner recently, this are the two types I found - in other words, I am still looking.

Doc 1 - I call for an appointment.  They can "fit" me in that day.  Whatever.  I go.  When I first walked into this office, I began to think something was wrong.  Keep in mind this is a general practitioner.  There were signs on every wall, on every table for Botox injections, HcG weight loss, Viagra and micro-abrasion.

Already, not feeling great about it.  Then, they have me fill out paperwork on a tablet type thing that goes beyond slow, and get frustrated with me when I don't have it done promptly.

OK, in the exam room, there is a large amount of scuffing on the walls and LOTS of storage equipment half falling out of boxes.

Doctor comes in, pulls up my chart on the computer and starts asking questions about my medical history (that I entered into the tablet).  She is overly concerned about my female parts even though I am not there about that.  I mean literally - she spent 90% of the time talking about it.

We finally get to my wrists and she looks at them, turns them over, grabs them (gently) and asks if it hurts.

That was it.  She turned back to the computer and says she is writing me a script for pain meds.  I don't want pain meds because they generally make me sick.  I want a diagnosis.  She gets mad because I won't take and says I must not be in THAT much pain then.

I was done.  She did not listen to me at all other than questions about my female organs.  Done.  I just walked out.

Doc 2 - I call for an appointment when I get home from bad appt. #1, they cannot fit me in for 5 days.  Fine.

I go, office looks worn, but kept up.  Good sign.  They cannot find my appointment.  BUMMER!  I should stay any way, fine.

They put me in a room, but do not take my vitals.  45 minutes later, I ask if they have forgotten me.  The doc comes in, actually looks at me, but without touching me says it is Osteoarthritis and orders a myriad of blood work, and X-ray of my hips.  Umm, I am here about my wrists and ankles.  No matter.  AND she puts me on blood pressure meds without really knowing a history and my reading at 130/90, with a fever, swelling and intense pain.

She was nice though, she did listen to me (though I am not sure much was comprehended).  They ordered an expensive med - Vimovo for me and sent it to my house for only $20.  Our insurance said it was $160.

I take the Vimovo, not the blood pressure meds.  I got the x-ray - unbelievably, it showed nothing and still waiting for blood work.

I plan on finding another doctor.

Doc 3 - I took my kids for their yearly eye exam.  We have been before, so I was not expecting a problem.

Not quite.

I refuse the dilation because both my husband, myself and their pediatrician do not feel it is needed every year.  I also tell her I will bring them in if I feel there is a problem.  She turns to me and says, "I will tell you when they need to be dilated and your pediatrician knows nothing about eyes."  Then laughs like it is a joke.

When my daughter goes in she tells me her eyes are irritated with allergies and she has bumps on her lids and could not believe I did not notice.

My daughter says she does not feel any irritation or itching.  I looked and there is some redness, no bumps and nothing really a few days of neti pot won't take care of.

The doc asked if we were getting glasses there and I said No.  She then said, "I didn't think so."

Again, new eye doc.

From most everyone I talk to, they have the same story.  If this is so widespread, why are doctors like this? 

Soapbox Week - Doctors

I know - you all are going to be sick of it.  I may ruffle feathers, but the pain and irritation with people has me not giving a flying **** what anyone thinks.

This is my plan this week:

Monday - Doctors

Tuesday - Blind Luck

Wednesday - Insurance

Thursday - Laziness

Friday - Hopefully, I will feel better.

I will post a little later today.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Weekend Living - A million dollar dream

I hope retirement is like weekend living.  I love the slowness of it, yet not too slow. 

We woke up, had a cup of coffee, then headed to the quilt shop, where I picked up 1/2 square triangle paper.  Perfect for my next quilt.  Here are the fabrics I am using, it was originally a red and cream, but I decided to go with fabric in my stock and use a mixture of white and cream with various shades of blue - it looks stunning to me and much prettier than the red fabric I was going to use.

After that, we went to the bank and opened that money market account.  It is money that needs to stay liquid, but it gives a better interest rate than the regular savings account.  Every little bit.

Then it was off to Lowe's  where we picked up an air purifier in case my symptoms are chemical related.  I don't think they are, but noone needs to breathe in chemicals all the time and it may help -D's sinus issues.

NOW WE WERE FREE!  All errands done and we decided to spend the day together.  We love looking at RVs, so we went and looked.  No, it is not in the plans anytime soon, but it is something we love to do.

In doing that, we started dreaming about the future.  We drove around a part of the area that we were going to buy at one time, to see how it changes and if we still liked it.  We did, and decided to park under some shade close to a river and had lunch - a salad from home.

It is amazing the possibilities that come up when you get out of debt.  We have never been so close before and we honestly do not what is coming up - there are so many options!

The million dollar dream - Buy 3 rental properties and build on our land.  Buy a Class C RV and travel 6 months of the year.  Sure, it would blow that million in a heartbeat, but it is where we see ourselves.  Where the dreams were when we bought the land.

I want -D to retire sooner rather than later, but unless we start making some serious progress, it won't happen.

Now, we will start thinking about dinner and I will sew a bit, then put my feet up.  Still not doing great, but I am getting by.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Pushing through again...

I am getting a little discouraged at what is happening to me.  Waiting for blood test results is killer and the lack of being able to live life is discouraging.

However, I am still pushing through.  My hands and feet are swelling again - this time making me more stiff and the pain is coming back even though I am on a heavy anti-inflammatory med.  I think having an actual diagnosis - whether good or bad - is so much better.  I have never been one for waiting and have NOT been graced with patience, but I am being tested again and this time it is a doozy.

I am working on my step-mother's quilt.  I decided to start over because the triangles I was cutting are all funkily cut (because cutting is not my strength).  I have enough money to buy the Accuquilt cutter, saved up from my little business, but I am not sure I want to do that.  There are triangle papers that let you sew on the paper, then cut, ensuring a straighter and more consistent cut.

The only reason for the difficult decision - because the Accuquilt is $249.00 plus the die I would need vs. two packs of papers for $6.99 each - is the arthritis.  Long term, if I am to continue quilting, the accuquilt is a must.  However, using all my saved money is not appealing at this point.

I will probably order the papers and call it a day.

I am very tired today, which is surprising me because yesterday I had a good amount of energy.  I really, really, really want to feel well.

Sorry for the pity party.  I am actually getting quite a bit done today.  I have drawn up the quilt on graph paper - tiny 2" triangles on a 44 x 60 quilt.  Whew!

Two loads of laundry done.  Prepared the bank run tomorrow - if you remember, we are opening a money market account. And lastly, I have a chiropractor appointment and X-ray scheduled this afternoon.

That will wipe me out unfortunately.  My nephew was supposed to come over for the night, but honestly, I am so glad he is not.  I am just not up for it today.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

OK, I get this Kohl's thing

As you all know, we are a family of 6 people.  Luckily, only 3 are growing, but 2 others are shrinking ( I am one of them!)

My kids LOVE jeans - I mean they sleep in them.  Which means, they wear out rather quickly, if they do not grow out of them first.

I have seen a few people who do the Kohl's thing - I think it is similar to CVS, except to get the really great deals, you have to have their credit card.  We are thinking about that one still.  We may do it, but I am not sure when or if truly.

Today though, we hit it big!  My oldest needed new jeans and a new pair of dress slacks.  I was armed with $20 Kohl's cash and 2 gift cards totaling $43.

Two pair of black denim jeans and a pair of black dress slacks, we got out of there only spending $13.81.  The jeans were $19.99 each and the slacks were $32.99.

OK, I am excited when I get a pair of jeans for $12, so I am jumping for joy over this!

For our gift cards, we got those from our credit card points - so no out of pocket expenses other than the $13.81.

We may just start doing this like CVS and that clothing budget may actually work!  BTW, we budget $100 a month for clothing and usually have to go over by giving at Christmas or birthday out of those funds.  I think we might even be able to cut back if we buy a little each month to keep the cash going.

On the health front, I am now waiting on blood work to see what is going on.  Yesterday, my joints had electric shock type pain every few seconds throughout my ankles/feet and arms/hands.  Today, my hands are doing ok - a dull, very manageable pain, but my feet are on FIRE!  Literally, I feel like they should be blistering up.  I am still swollen pretty badly, but I hope this is the end of it.  Almost like a virus or something with how quickly it came on.  We will see - waiting is the hardest part.  Just thankful my hands work today.