Thursday, March 23, 2006

Spring Madness Status

I'm suffering a big loss right now because the List of All Lists, of all the things I wanted to accomplish by April 30, has gone missing. I have no idea if someone walked away with it, or if it blew out my car window one day when I was driving with the windows down. (I saw something fly, but I don't know what. And the list is long and therefore kinda heavy!) That I'll have to redo.

But last weekend we did replace the vanity, faucet, and sink in our bathroom. Also, some of the fixtures in the shower. It makes a world of difference, but now it's even more obvious that the medicine cabinet and light fixtures have to be updated.

Here's the before pic:

Here's the after pic:

Costs were as follows:

Kohler faucet: $88
Vanity base: $129.99
Vanity sink: $50

Home Depot, baby, home depot.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Tension with the tension rod

Okay, so I already mentioned that we took down our shower curtain and
replaced it with a nice, new fluffy curtain that hangs on a tension
rod. I may also have mentioned that, for whatever reason, our entire
bathroom (ceiling, check!) is tiled.

The shower curtain is trying to eat me alive. Or, no, the rod is
trying to brain me. Because the walls are all tile, the rod starts
slipping after a few minutes of the shower water running, because
moisture starts to collect on the walls. The curtain fell on me three
times while I was in the shower today (covered in shampoo, no less),
and our kitten got in the tub, too. What a morning.

The morals of this story? 1. Don't put tile where tile doesn't belong.
2. If you own rather than rent, fully utilize your right to screw
whatever you want into the wall. I'm going straight to Target tonight
after work...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

And the bucket...

Is totally empty. We haven't had any spare cash or change to spend, let alone to throw into the "save it and forget it" vessel. Hopefully that will change soon.

Also, we've taken a good chunk ($6500?) of the emergency funds that were with Fidelity and put them in ING so that we can earn some interest. The thing is that Fidelity actually lets you at the money sooner than ING does, so we had to leave some there in case, you know, Spouse has to come bail my ass out of prison or something.

I returned something to Target today, so I should get $90 or so credit on the ol' Amex. Plus the dental reimbursement ($90?), whenever that comes in. Plus some of my slush fund ($150). I am going to throw the wrath of god on this Amex, that is, after we buy some light fixutres for the bathroom. Isn't it always this way? Still waiting for the final word on how much we get back on taxes. Hurrrrryyyyyyyyyy!

And one last thing: anyone know what to buy for a kid who's turning 1?

Upromise, check please

We Spouses have no rugrats, but we were turned on to Upromise a few years ago by people who do. So I signed up under my name, and started collecting, you know, nickel by nickel. Through a few bigger purchases, we now have about $160 in the Upromise account. Great, but also frustrating because it's sitting there, not making any money for us whatever, and can't be transferred to a 529 if there is no benefitting rugrat in question. So...

So I just found out by reading some fine print the other day that you can actually write Upromise and ask them to cut you a check from money that's already in your account. So I did. They say that they only send out checks once a quarter, so maybe I'll get it in just a couple of weeks. But how great would that be to just throw that dough onto the ol' suffering Amex?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

March madness bathroom update

What I haven't mentioned since last weekend and should have by now is
that we managed to check a few boxes off the to-do-in-bathroom list
last weekend. For not a hell of a lot of money, we changed the look of
the room in a noticable way.

**We took down the nasty old shower door that was affixed like you
wouldn't believe to the tub and walls, siliconed like mad, I guess, in
case of natural disaster. I dunno. But what I do know is that getting
those tracks off the shower walls and tub caused 10 or 12 wall tiles
to come off along with it, at which point spouse made me fetch mortar
and trowel from the hardware store, stat. Tiles reaffixed (spouse is a
superstar!), I somehow managed to take a backwards step onto the
notched trowel and, well, blood (and tetanus shot) ensued. Cost of
removal, zero. Mortar, trowel, etc, only about $19. Cost od tetanus
shot: $15. Bandaids: $2.

** We then regrouted most of the tile with nice, no-stain white grout.
Freshened up the look quite a bit. Cost of grout, grout saw, sponge,
etc, about $20.

** New, fancy shower curtain, liner, curtain rod and rings came next.
Cost about $53 total.

I'll post photos when I learn how. This weekend, I'd like to shop for
the vanity (very hard, because it has to be tiny and white---any
ideas?), faucet, new shower hardware (does this need to be installed
by a pro??). Wish us luck!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Some good financial news

It's been a lean couple of weeks, with some unexpected car repairs, a
dental bill I'm waiting to be reimbursed for, and other little things
just draining away our checking. A $65 reimbursement check from my job
was really satisfying, for some reason.

It's when I'm feeling this frustrated, I guess, that finding good
preliminary news about a tax return is even sweeter, you know? Last
year, spouse and I had to pay about $6k for a variety of reasons. Nnow
that we've bought the house, we're getting back, according to our
accountant, about $4,000 from the feds and about $500 from the state.
This figure will probably go up a bit more, as we're not done adding
in a few business deductions.

It's a tremendous feeling. I would have been happy just not having to
pay anything. Spose and I are already scheming what to do with the
cash and I think we've preliminarily decided that about half will go
to pay down the credit cards, and the other half will go toward part
of the down payment we need for a second car. We live way out in some
burbs where 4 wheel drive is necessary. We have one paid-off 2-wheel
drive now. I think originally I was thinking that any found money
would go toward some of the more expensive home updates we need to do,
but the credit card looms. Then I had the thought that maybe we'd keep
the money in ING to gather some interest, and then plop the money on
the card (at 0% til September) when the grqce period ends. But I think
I'd rather have peace of mind and motivation about the balance going

Thursday, March 02, 2006

March (and April) Madness

So I have kind of foisted upon my Spouse the idea that we should spend the next month or so really taking care of some of the house business that we want to fix up. Problem is, we are really short on money right now. Reallllllly short (see Checking Plus game below, but as I said before, it's so not a game!). So I made a very long and detailed list of things we should try to take care of, including

* fixing up the bathroom--new fixtures, vanity, removal of shower door, regrouting, etc
* taking wallpaper down from a bedroom
* outside fixes, including new light fixtures, etc.
* patching (or re-sheetrocking) walls in another bedroom

* But at the same time, another goal is to pay down the credit card another certain amount, and maybe that won't happen if the money is being funneled into a new sink or grout or whatnot.

If I were really ambitious, I'd just post the whole list. But I've got to admit, I'm one of the silly listmakers who includes even the smallest things just for the sake of being able to cross off as many items as possible.

If anyone has advice about taking down shower doors (does taking them down mar up the bathtub surface?) or grout or coming into easy money, I'd be grateful.

Pet food

I don't want this to turn into some Andy Rooney-ish bitch page, but "d'ja ever notice...?" -- ya would, anyway, if you had pets -- that if you try to buy pet food online on certain pet store sites, they charge shipping by the case, right? So this week, I found a coupon code I thought worth its weight in gold (okay, in Science Diet). And it says, "free shipping over $55 purchase! No weight restrictions!" Well, great. I can buy 5 cases of cat food and all will be good. Until of course I go on the site and start loading shit into my cart, and it says "sorry, food or litter is excluded." Um, are there any other real items at a pet store about which we should all be excited that there are no weight restrictions? I mean, what, catnip? Fluffy toys? GFY, Petco.

Oh yeah, it's Petco, by the way.