Thursday, October 12, 2017

DEALING WITH COUNTY BUREAUCRACY

Last Thursday we went to an event to help us with applying for two exemptions of our real estate tax.  Real estate tax here is high - we pay around $8,000 a year for our real estate taxes and we pay rather low real estate taxes.  People easily pay $15,000 to over $20,000 for a subdevelopment house - more of course for fancy houses.  To help “older” people stay in their houses and in recognition that they probably don’t have children in the schools, there are two kinds of exemptions that one can receive if one is over 65, has income below certain levels and the property is one’s primary residence.  Since husband turned 65, we are now entitled to these exemptions.

I should also explain that our real estate taxes has two different components (well actually a lot more than two, but two sets of billing for them).  One type is the “general levy”.  This is billed annually in January and is paid in January and July.  It consists of the county assessments, the township assessments, the fire department assessments, the police department assessments (police is one, the police stations is another...), the garbage district assessments, assessments for water pipes (we also pay for water usage monthly), sewer assessments (pipes ar one, sewage plant is another) and so on.  The other type is the school taxes which also includes the library district assessment and is billed in October (yes, we got the new one today) and is payable in October and April.  (So we pay each tax twice a year, but pay real estate taxes quarterly as they alternate quarters.)   

Being an accountant I downloaded the forms and filled them in.  I am pretty good with forms - and it seems to me that I have helped clients with them in the past.  I have been unable to reach anyone with some questions I had.  I thought that I posted about this, but can not find it - when I call the County Assessors office I get a message that there is no one there to take my call (not that they are busy, there is no one there) and I should call back.  No matter what day of the week or time I called I received this message continually.  After some days of trying there was an additional part to the message - it gave their address and told one that parking is “extremely” limited, which to be honest, is true as it is the County office building - but basically they are saying “No one is here to talk to you by phone and don’t come here either”.  So we went to one of their help sessions for this paperwork.  It was much emptier than a thought and one was able to meet individually with employees about one’s forms. 

Looking over the employees I noticed the attitude of one, compared to the others and knew that I did not want her.  So, of course, we got her.  She looks at our general levy exemption paperwork.   and says to us “Your income on this one item is too high - you are not eligible!”  I point out to her that we have medical expenses which can be subtracted from the income by their rules, which bring us down under the income amount.  “It has to be out of pocket expenses!”  (Each of these comments was said as a challenge.)  Just our medical insurance premiums alone almost bring us down enough - add the prescription costs and I did not even bother get print outs from our doctors.  Understand, canceled checks or other receipts is not proof of the medical expenses, one must get a print out for the year from who the money went to.   “Oh! Okay”.  Now I had filled in the form on their website.  “This is the wrong form!  It is the form from the website!  We don’t use that form!” Huh?  I did not ask her why then the form is on the website and one is told to download it and use it, then again, there is a link to the state to submit income information to it for the other exemption and not only does it not work, when I telephoned the state, I was told that they don’t do that - all income goes to the county - if I complained, who knows how bad this would get.  She then takes the copy of our state tax return I brought with us for the other exemption, which is suppose to require it.  “IT’S HANDWRITTEN!!!! We can’t accept this!”  Huh?  I do our own return.  She then goes to someone else and comes back with our return and a page of information.  I have to contact IRS and get copies of all our 1099, W2, etc forms.  The page has the local number to call to get this.  “You will have to take this home and wait until you get the papers from them and then send it in to us altogether with the correct form!”  Okay. 

Now she goes to other exemption’s paperwork.  In our state we have a general exemption from part of the school taxes if one owns their home and it is their primary residence.  This is called a STAR exemption. (It means school something or other I am sure.)  The money for this one comes from the State, not the County.  Some years it was subtracted from what one pays, other years it has come as a check back to us after we pay the taxes, basically so we “see” that the our “wonderful” state senators and representatives are “giving” us a break on our school taxes.  If one qualifies for same, is over 65 (or one spouse is), has no children in school, and has income under a much higher limit than the first tax has one has their school taxes lowered much more.  I prepared for another set of arguments.  “Why are there three forms?”  I had the County form and the State form, and another form from the State which will automatically renew this exemption.   She throws the State form back at me.  “You don’t need this!”  I tell her the State office told me to fill it in.  “No, it is unneeded!”  She then looks at the form to renew it automatically.  “What this!!!”  She reads it, turns it over, then reads it again.  “Oh you want it to renew automatically?”  Well, hmmm, do I want to go through this every year for both exemptions, or would I rather get it one of them automatically.  I reply, “yes”.  Again, she does not ask for any of the paperwork - birth certificates, deeds, etc,that the paperwork’s instructions said to bring.  She looks it over and stamps the form.  Makes a copy (yes, they had copy machines and every thing - and I had brought a copy and even a stapler, just in case) and stamps the copy and hands it to me.  Hopefully we really did not need the other form.

So we went home.  I called the IRS number.  It actually has a choice to get the printout requested.  I put in my info.  “There is no available information for this person.”  Huh?  I try husband’s info and I am able to pick which one of two printouts I want - his income tax info or adjustments made.  I pick the former figuring that will give us - or at least him - the 1099, etc. copies printed out.  I try again for me - again I am not available.  I then see that there is also a form to request the info.  I go to the IRS website and download the form and fill in a copy for me and one for husband.  On this form I see a choice for the 1099 forms to be sent.  Hmmm, does that mean we are not getting them from the telephone call as that item is listed separately?  I don’t know, but the forms went to IRS the next day.  Hopefully one way or the other we will get the information.

We have until December 31 to fill these papers.  (This is an early date - most places in the state have until next March.)  I am so glad that I did not wait for the last minute.  If the information from IRS arrives in time there are additional sessions around the county until October 19 and we can go in again, if not we will have to either mail it in or husband will drive there and circle while I go in and deal with it. 

This process is so much worse than dealing with IRS or our State about any type of taxes.  Then again, perhaps despite their holding sessions to help people deal with the paperwork, they don’t want people to get the exemptions as, lets face it, it cuts down on the amount of taxes they will collect and they have to come up with the money elsewhere - including maybe raising the taxes.

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK - When dealing with the government one has to have everything they want - even if they won’t want it - plus anything else one can think with.  Even then something will be missing or go wrong.  Never yell at the government employee or things will not come out well for you.  (Sorry if any readers are government employees - but at least I am telling people not to yell at you.)



Thursday, October 5, 2017

STARTING MY THIRD YEAR

Well this is the first post of the third year of my blog.  (Imagine balloons rising, confetti falling, and triumphant music.)  Understand this is probably my 4th or 5th attempt at a blog.  None of the earlier ones had a second post. For a procrastinator, this is pretty good.  Other than the recent post which was scheduled to post and did not (I am sure it was my fault in how I set up the scheduling) and the post that followed it and was posted a day later, I have managed to post them on time - even better for a procrastinator.    I want to thank you all for reading my blog, especially those who follow me.  Knowing you are out there reading the blog helps me keep writing it. (Imagine applause for you.)

So, how has being a blogger been for me?  Well, I appreciate those of you who follow me, but I had expected a larger number of followers.  I am not sure if the low numbers are related to lack of interest in my blog or people not finding my blog.  For my personal happiness, I presume it is the latter.  (Tell your friends - have them tell their friends.)  But I am aware it might be the former.  My original idea of telling how and where I store things (and why) seemed terribly dry to me when I read the early posts back after posting them, so I switched to more of a week by week story of what I did right, what I did wrong, and my attempts to keep everything up to date and taken care of.  It reads better to me and I hope to you.  I am also interested in what YOU think - please feel free to reply to the blog itself as well as any posts - do you wonder how I deal with something or other?   

September is over and with it I hope I will have a chance to breathe. 

I managed to get the needed information to my client from last week.  Her fax has never worked and therefore I faxed the needed form to a friend of hers.  His fax did not work right in accepting faxes.  I tried faxing a number of times - with my husband standing there making noises about how much each attempt was costing us - our home telephone is rarely used for making calls as I have unlimited cell phone minutes, so each call was a “toll call” to NYC, plus the page that was printed each time to tell me the fax did not go through.  Since doing something over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of stupidity, I called the client and told her that I would mail her the form.  Friday she would not be at work as that evening would be a Jewish holiday and she is closed on the weekend.  I telephoned her on Monday and she had received the form and faxed it with needed attachment to the number I had given her - hopefully it was in time for them to process before her monthly fee for minimum use was due to be debited from the account.

I also finished a tax return for another client - it was on extension so it is not late.  That was promptly mailed out.  I do have one client whose return I have not done - she and her husband owe me information from 3 years ago to do their returns and I keep pushing her as she will lose a sizeable refund if she does not file her 2014 return by April 15 of 2018.  (If you have unfiled income tax returns - don’t let that happen to you - if you have not filed a return within 3 years of its due date you will lose any refund due you.  Out to the client 2 weeks before it is due. 

Last Sunday we had a reenctment event.  It was the first time the unit was doing this event - it was at our headquarters, but the building itself was the focus of the event rather than the unit outside with muskets and crafts.  The unit commander could not come after he set it up, so husband, who is assistant commander had to deal with everything - which of course means much work for me.  I woke a half hour before the alarm was set to go off on Sunday morning - with a terribly ill stomach.  Husband started to panic- what would we do? He had to go as he was in charge and he needed me.  I told him that he would go to the event in our car - members get to most events 2 hours before it is to start to have everything set up - and I would come later in our van, unless my stomach did not recover.  He was not happy at driving there alone, being there alone and, more important, me not being well.  I went over where the turns are to get there as he is always asking me when driving there - “Is this where I turn?” at the wrong place.  (“Remember, you will pass the diner your sister goes to on the right, then you turn left at the light after the Stop and Shop supermarket is on the left.  Then you turn left again after the long stretch of nurseries....”)  I managed to get there on time for the actual event.  We had a quiet day (depending on who you ask we had 20-35 visitors from the public over the day) as there was no publicity for the event.  Nice event, good idea, people need to know about it.

I spent yesterday afternoon (Tuesday) getting ready for my embroidery chapter meeting today.  We are starting our projects for the year and I needed to print some things for the projects.  I also packed up some items to donate - 3 dresses, 2 ladies suits, a rain coat, a Christmas Santa bowl (not even sure who gave it to us), some souvenir gifts from a friend’s travels, and 2 spare coin counting tube sets - anything gone out of the house is good.  I also did my “offsite” data backups for today.

Today I had busy day - the meeting, a trip to the bank to exchange my offsite backups, a trip to Goodwill for the donation, check Post Office box, lunch alone...  Then when I came home I went through and finished filling in forms and making copies of papers so we can go tomorrow to a workshop/meeting and make sure our paperwork is done and complete to get a senior discount on our real estate taxes.  For once I am not procrastinating as they are due before January 1 - plenty of time to fix any problems or missing items. And now I am writing my post. 

Not as bad as some weeks in the past month - at least we do not have to wake early day after day and I see an end in sight.  Next week is even a bit looser - dentist tomorrow though.


THOUGHT OF THE WEEK -

If you think that you can not do something which is a large job - then do one small bit of it - a first step, then a bit more.  It will go quicker than if you just sit and think that the job is too big.  I never thought that I would be able to post this regularly for 6 months, let alone 2 years, but a week’s post at a time I have and I plan to keep doing it for at least another year. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

A WEEK SO BAD THAT I AM POSTING A DAY LATE

Well, I just finished posting last week’s post which did not post itself on schedule.  So much for listening to suggestions of prewriting the posts and setting them up to post by themselves.  Even worse, I am day late with this week’s post.  It has been that kind of week - heck, September was an overstuffed month altogether.

Well, I have learned, mostly to eat with my new teeth, after some adjustments from the dentist, - but I now whistle when I say the “s” sound.  I hope that can be fixed also.

Last Saturday I went to the Long Island Fair with a friend my embroidery chapter.  I was so organized - I bought a curtain rod to hang our banner (handmade by some earlier members), I brought handouts with our information, I brought our tiny plastic suitcase with things for exhibitions (including plate stands to put framed needlework pictures on), I brought pieces I have made/started in the past from the chapter, I brought things to work on and I brought lunch for husband (who was joining us) and myself.  I did forget to bring a table cover.  I have never forgotten same before and we have been involved with the Fair for 30 years.  Oh well, we got by without one.  Sunday we mostly had a chance to rest - and then had to run at the end of the day and pick up our entries at the Fair.

Monday we went to the dentist and working on my teeth, the “s” is a little better, but not gone. 

I had planned to go to a client on Tuesday, but she was not available and I had to go on Wednesday, so I tried to get most things done for the week.  This included the newsletter for my embroidery chapter.  It goes out on the last Wednesday of the month.  I wrote it up Tuesday night - with a question out to the chapter president about her column.  I figured that, Wednesday, since I have been getting back a bit earlier from the client than I used to - she has to leave about an hour earlier than she used to, I would be able to easily finish the newsletter and set up our banking for today (Thursday).  Oh boy, was I wrong.  When I got there she had a major problem - which I will not go into, but I was making phone calls for her and trying to figure out how to best resolve the problem for her.  She is in her 70s or 80s, with a very small business and I treat her like I would my mom.  So, I got home just in time to make dinner.  With normal things after dinner (and we eat late) it was almost midnight by the time I went up.

It took until 1 am to finish the newsletter - when I actually had finished it, there were all sorts of double and overlapping lines which were suppose to be single lines and I could not get text to wrap around a photo and finally realized that the photo did not fit any way - which easily resolved the problem.  So the newsletter went out a few hours late - but I am guessing that no one reads it before Thursday morning anyway, so they probably did not notice it went out late.

I also managed to figure out where to get money to pay all of the bills through the end of the month, okay, that is Saturday, all the bills until around the 10th of next month.  I called up one of our credit cards to get the “points” money credited to our account to help with the bills going out around the 10th of next month.  I thought it was for around $20, but anything helps.  I apparently I have not been organized about calling for the credit of these points to the account.  I normally call when the points balance passes $50 - somehow it was over $200, not $20, it pays almost all of that bill - yippee!  That will help with the October bills.

I spent part of the day today on the phone with the client trying to fax something to someone else in the same business space as her, for her - her fax machine never works - to resolve what we were working on yesterday - which has to be resolved by October 5.  The friend’s fax was not working either.  We pay per call on our landline and they are in NYC so the calls for the fax are not cheap (okay, not cheap to me or husband as we grew up in homes and the time when a call to the next county was not done unless there was an emergency) and the multiple attempts to fax were also using paper for the receipt saying it did not go out.  I finally mailed the papers to her and hopefully she will have it on Monday and the matter will be timely resolved.

As a result of all of this craziness, I did not get to the laundry last night. Normally that would not be that bad, but last week I did the laundry a day early due to the holiday and then never did finish putting it away.  So tonight I have to do a lot of laundry as there is an extra 2 days worth - and somehow my two weeks plus of panties is down to one spare pair.  I am also writing this post.  I had planned for “craft night” - when I get a chance to do some embroidery or other craft from 11:20 pm to 2:00 am - to hem the piece I am embroidery as one is suppose to do so but I am lazy (yes, I admit it, I am the laziest person I know, I will carry in multiple packages from the car no matter what they weigh just to avoid a second trip - drives my husband crazy).  The threads are starting to pull out of the edges of the piece, so I need to hem.  That is not to be.  As I started this post husband came down and told me that he sold something on his webpage.  He was told that I had to write this post and then I will be up to do the paperwork for him.  (I am an accountant, I love paperwork.)  So, this post will be brief.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK -

Sooner or later everything important gets done - or it doesn’t.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

MAJOR OOPS - MANAGED TO STAY ON SCHEDULE - AND A TIME TO CONTEMPLATE

I wrote this post for last week on Tuesday night and set it up to post itself on Wednesday night when I would normally post it, as Wednesday night was a major Jewish holiday - as you will see in the post itself.  Sorry.  It is now a week later and I am about to write this week's post a night late.  My apologies.

I was going to call this post “Treading Water” but in light of the continuation of hurricanes I decided that was in bad taste.  I cannot believe that there is another hurricane, Maria, hitting in the Caribbean again.  I hope that anyone you might know there is safe and well and stays so.  I feel so bad for those in that area. 

My thoughts and prayers also go to those in Mexico who have been hit by the earthquake.  Back in 1973 I was in Mexico with a college friend.  We had spent a few days in Mexico City and then took a 2 day tour bus ride down to Acapulco, with a stop in Taxco for the night.  We had two nights in Acapulco (one day).  The first morning there we woke to the telephone ringing.  My friend’s mom was calling from home - “Are you both okay?  Is there a lot of damage there?”  Apparently there had been an earthquake then also in Mexico City - and we did not know about it.  Others on our tour who flew down to Acapulco instead of the taking the bus arrived with stories of the outside wall of the hotel they were in (and we had been in) splitting between the beds in the room they were in!  It was terrifying to have been that close to an earthquake and I feel terribly for those who are there.
                               
I have to say - not as a joke, but a statement of fact - we think we have terrible organizing, decluttering and cleaning to do - but those who are losing their “stuff”, including their homes, possibly their jobs, and worst of all family, friends or even pets, have it much worse.  When my mom’s house was hit by Hurricane Sandy, her basement filled 4 feet with sea water and all in her basement had to be tossed out.  A crew came in and did it for her - it included her washer and dryer and furnace and water heater - in addition to my dad’s tools and our toys and a lot of books that were down there.  Instant forced getting rid of stuff.  5 years later I will still be somewhere at a flea market or such and see something and remember that I had it and it is gone.  Perhaps this can be a incentive to go through what you have and get rid of what is unneeded and less precious to you, so that you have room to safely store that which is precious to you.

The hurricane that was headed here, Jose, is no longer a hurricane and is still south of us, but is to pass to the east of where we live and has been affecting here all day today.  We had rain today on and off - much heavier to the east of us as they are closer to Jose, but not terrible.  Wind has not been bad.  But there is still tonight and Jose is suppose to circle around a bit out in the ocean - which apparently is good as it will keep Maria from hitting us.

We did get to the quilt show last Saturday - barely as we were not sure about the, yes, the weather.  He really is weather phobic.  While it is a quilt show there are many different fiber/textile vendors mixed in as there are no other similar sales venues.  The first booth in the show is a woman with a farm who sells wool yarns, fiber, etc.  We spent some time there on entering as husband does do weaving.  Her wool is lovely, but beyond our budget.  We were at the show for about 4 and a half hours.  I had a small tote bag with me as husband had brought a fabric tool he bought a few years ago which had broken and the vendor is usually at this show and he hoped they could tell him how to fix it.  (“That’s the old model - if you buy a new one we will give it to you for half price.”  Same being about twice what he paid originally - he will try again to fix it himself.)  So it was not obvious that we had bought - nothing as what we bought might have been in the tote bag.  The first vendor stopped us and asked what we had bought - she was shocked to hear “nothing”.  We saw many lovely things.  The shop my husband bought his loom from (we first saw them at this show a few years ago) was there - interesting add ons for his loom.  I got an idea for a Christmas ornament to make and sell - the thread at one booth caught my eye to make it - but they did not have the variegated color as it appeared on their sample and I was not going to spend $10 to get both colors separately.  Lovely quilts were entered in their competition and also were displayed in various exhibitions of quilts.  We had a wonderful day, bought nothing as we have so much of similar stuff at home that cries out to be used, and had a chance to see wonderful quilts (oh, and in one exhibition - clothing, accessories and house items - all handmade by people who had entered them into a competition).  Dinner in the Lancaster are and home. 

Despite the impending possible hurricane, we went this morning to the dentist.  I have new (and more) teeth.  Despite having worn an upper partial for decades, this one is much larger as it replaces more teeth which have “left me”.  I am having trouble adjusting - I keep needing to swallow to avoid gagging.  Oddly I am biting the inside of my mouth with one of my real teeth which is in the same place it has always been.  On the other side of my mouth I have two teeth hitting - but, again, the problem seems to be one of my teeth not the plate.  Next Monday we will start on making a spare - using part of my old one.  He wanted me to have my old one just in case.  I know I will adjust - when I got my first one it took a week before I could talk or eat.  Of course between an upper partial and a repair for him and ditto for me, the budget will not adjust for some time.

We came home and then went to the doctor.  All was well.  He is as nice as his dad was - husband gets upset easily and now feels much better about going to this doctor.  And we had a great health report for all of our various “conditions”.  (And all covered by our medical insurance - his and mine.) 

I am writing this a day early as tomorrow night - Wednesday - when I normally write and post is the start of one of the major Jewish holidays of the year and traditionally one does not and I choose to not do secular things - work or such on these holidays.  I set the holiday apart by watching no television other than religious services.  I pick out a book that is contemplative and read it - in the living room - in my chair - alone - with no other distractions.  Yes, I pray. 

I have our Friday afternoon banking and all the bills due this week ready to go tomorrow before the holiday starts.  I have tomorrow night’s laundry being washed and dried as I write.  So that none of these will need to be done during the holiday.

I use the time to contemplate the year that has passed, what I did that was good, what I did that was not so good and what I can do better in the year to come.
           
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK -

I am not looking to proselytize (Jews do not do so), but a few customs we have for our “New Year”, which is what this holiday is,  are good ideas.  As I said, this is our New Year and we take time to contemplate the year that has passed.  What have you done right?  Done wrong?  What could you do a bit better?  We take the period following this holiday (we have another one next week to end this period) to apologize to those we have injured - whether or not the person accepts our apology - it is as if they had and the weight of slights or wrongs against others are lifted from us - those who follow the religion more as it was originally will go to running water on a certain day and cast their “sins” into the water (with certain prayers).  Apologizing to others, and let negatice thoughts of the past and thoughts of slights against you go - clears one’s mind and lets one focus on what is good and what is to come instead of stewing about the past. Start a new year now cleared of the past and going forward with what you need and want to do. If now then pick any day to do this.  I have pointed out in the past that any day is actually the start of a new year.





Thursday, September 14, 2017

WHY DO ALL THE APPOINTMENTS COME AT THE SAME TIME?

Well, it has been another one of those weeks.  Most of our weeks are fairly devoid of appointments.  Not this week - or next week.  Plus of course the normal things to be done in a week.

This story starts back in June - yes, June.  My husband does not like to know when he is going to the doctor and as a result I make the appointments and then tell him at the last minute.  When he worked outside the house I would contact his secretary and make sure the appointment times were clear and she would make sure he did not have anything to do on those days.  Now it is all up to me.  Back in June I had to make appointments for us to go for bloodwork and then, around a week later, for the doctor.  June was a busy month - as was July, but I found two dates a week apart in July and called the doctor’s office.  I was told that the doctor retired.  Now, the doctor was a man in at least his 80s so it makes sense, but I would think that some sort of notice would be sent to his patients so I was surprised.  His son has been in practice with him and we have seen his son a couple times when our doctor was not available and husband’s mom used him as a doctor, so I did the natural thing - I made appointments for us with the son.  This was the simple part.

While husband is now on Medicare and can see any doctor, I am still on our old ACA medical insurance plan and have a doctor who is in charge of my care and referrals who was our doctor.  So I went online to my medical insurance company to change my doctor from him to his son.  Only apparently the insurance company had been told that he had retired and instead of doing the logical thing of assigning me to the other doctor in his practice - his son - they assigned me to a strange doctor we had never heard of.  I picked his son as my doctor and the insurance company’s software showed that I had done so.  I kept checking for him to show as my doctor - but he did not.  When it was a week before the bloodwork appointment and he still did not show - I called the doctor’s office and canceled the appointments - apologizing like crazy and explaining the problem.  Since husband is always around it is hard to make calls and not have him hear me or ask who I am calling - this had been the easy part.  I now had to call the insurance company and fix the problem - which could result in sitting on hold for who knows how long - not something that can be done while hiding in the bathroom and pretending that I am there for other reasons.  I finally managed to get husband set up with a scarf to weave so that he would not come up to the office (my other choice would be to call sitting in the car in the commercial garage when I went to a client) and called the insurance company and a very nice young lady changed him to my doctor as of May (I presume that is when he retired and the other change made.) I now could call and make new appointments.

But we were going to go away on a trip in August - sometime in August, for some length of time, to somewhere - how the heck can one make an appointment under these circumstances.  I kept hoping the trip would be planned and I would be able to make the appointments, but they were not.  Finally I went to refill a prescription of his and was told - not without an appointment.  I found two days, a week apart in September to make the appointments and figured I had enough of his pills to last through the bloodwork appointment.

Then we found out that our dentist is also retiring and I have been having weekly visits to him since August to get a new upper partial made and fitted - and I am not done and then I plan to have him add to my old one for a spare.

Throw in I have to go to two clients this month - one to pick up information for his tax return (on extension) and the other for the regular monthly visit - including the work I did not do when I did not go in August (an annual thing to skip August as she is away in July and there is not much to do in August as a result). 

We are also involved in our county fair , which serves as same for three counties.  We started about 30 years ago entering items in the crafts, needlework and baking categories, then started demonstrating leatherwork and needlework, and finally we started judging the junior crafts and needlework categories.  So the fair takes up parts of at least 4 days each year - dropping off entries, judging, demonstrating, and then picking up the entries.  In the past we would demonstrate every day of the fair so it took even more time, but now I go on one day with other members of my embroidery chapter and husband either joins us or finds something else to do at the fair. 

There is a quilt show in Pennsylvania this coming weekend.  We would like to go there for a few days - a day at the quilt show and the rest at our normal things there, but we are driving down for the quilt show and then home. 

Our reenactment unit had an event last weekend and a meeting next week.

And there are the 2 major Jewish holidays this month - one is an evening and 2 days and the other is an evening and the following day. 

Somehow everything has managed to fit together like a giant jigsaw puzzle and then - my dentist called and said that the mockup for fit was not in for last Friday and could I come on Tuesday?  I could not as we were going for bloodwork at the same time as I would be going to him - but remember, husband does not know this and does not want to know this.  I told them no and we would go with the Friday appointment I had for this week, even though that would push everything back a week.  Husband heard part of the call and wanted to know what happened - I lied and told him that they wanted us to come Monday - when we were doing the judging. 

Then, the dentist’s office called and actually suggested Monday - and they were open late, so we went to the judging, had lunch and then went to the dentist.  After calling the lab they wanted us to come next Tuesday - I told her we couldn’t and it was all being pushed back another week - husband asked me why not in the dentist’s office and I told him I would explain later - he did not ask again.  By the time we got home I figured out that if we could go to the dentist in the morning, we could make it to the doctor in the afternoon - so another trip to the bathroom phone booth and that was done.

Now, I am sure I have mentioned that we live on a later schedule than normal people.  Due to all this craziness we had to get up three days in a row EARLY, well for us.  We had a reenactment on Sunday, the judging on Monday, and the doctor on Tuesday.  (So husband now knows that we have an appointment next week and that our doctor is retired and I got his prescription renewed.) So nice to get to sleep to our normal time today. 

Tomorrow I am going to the tax client to get his information.  We meet at the library near him and due to my crazy bed bug fear, when I go back to the car I change my clothes (I wear a top with straps under my shirt and shorts under my skirt and replace the clothes over them) - but I think it is suppose to rain.

We will go to the quilt show either on Friday or Saturday or there is slight chance we will to the quilt show Friday and stay overnight.  I have paid all the bills due this week and transferred money for next week’s bills so that same is done with, even though Friday is our normal banking day.

Monday night is the meeting of our reenactment unit - I will prepare my report to be made either Sunday or Monday.  Today while I actually had a bit of free time and was photocopying magazine articles to keep the info and get rid of the magazine, I went through some old records of the unit’s and shredded those past 10 years and boxed the rest to take to the meeting and put in the file there.  Also dumped some magazines that started to the unit some years ago in case anyone wanted them - too late now. 

Oh, and when I planned to be writing this earlier in the evening, husband needed me as he found out that online sales sites has mostly incorrect shipping costs listed and he needed my help to fix them.  So instead of starting this post on Wednesday night just after 11:30 pm, I did not start until 1 am on Thursday. 

Tuesday we have the dentist and the doctor.  Wednesday night starts the holidays.  Next Saturday I/we will be demonstrating at the fair.  The day after, Sunday, is pickup day at the fair. 

I then have 4 days the last week of the month that are open - but there will be more trips to the dentist to fit in.  My mom tonight told me that she needs to go to the doctor and plans to go this month (I told her not next week - the last week of the month is okay and I am not sure they will have an appointment this quickly) so the last week will be as busy - and husband plans to try to, yes go to Pennsylvania for a few days. And that Friday evening and Saturday are the other holiday.

And of course - there is the regular housework and such to be done.  Oh and we do have to go to the eye doctor next month...

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK -

There are times when there is lots of nothing to do.  Then there are times when what needs to be done if overwhelming.  All we can do is what we can and not get sick over what we cannot.

     





Thursday, September 7, 2017

NO TIME TO WRITE TODAY - POOR ORGANIZATION

Again I am sorry to have to start my post with my hope that any of you in the areas hit by Hurricane Harvey are faring well and I must also add my hope that any of you in the path of Hurricane Irma stay safe.

We did have a nice trip the end of last week and returned safely home late Friday night (okay, really 1 am on very early Saturday morning).  Since the trip was rather short - only 2 nights - and we did not go crazy shopping while away (the Walmarts there are so much larger and better than the ones here) we had the RV unpacked by 1:30 am. 

At that point I ran upstairs to my computer.  While away I had received an email from the president of my embroidery chapter that when I emailed out the (new and revised format) newsletter, I had left her message out and there was a large blank area on the front page.  When I read her email I wondered if I only imagined that I had added her message - but then remembered it as a bit long for the space and I had to make the column area longer and also adjust the adjacent column listing our meetings for this year to be a bit longer to match.  I apparently sent out a the copy I printed out to check the newsletter before I received her column to make sure that it and the other 7 attachments I had to send with it went out (to me) without a problem.  Much embarrassed I quickly sent out the correct edition to the members and others who get it.  In my apology I pointed out that either the readers were so polite not to mention the large empty space on the front page to me - or no one bothered to read it! 

I actually managed to catch up to the point that my desk was clear!  Not that there was not other paperwork to deal with - we are trying to get a discount on our general and school real estate taxes that is allowed for those who own their home and are 65 (as husband now is).  There are 4 forms to fill in that I can find, plus we have to give them either our deed, birth certificates and something else - or copies thereof, I cannot tell which from the instructions.  We have until the end of December to file these papers - but I know me, I better get them done now.  I filled in one form today and have already requested a “receipt” for the medical insurance we paid in 2016 (paid bills not sufficient).  I found out that the county holds events to help people with this paperwork and have marked the dates of the most local ones on my calendar (computer and cell phone - entered separately) so we can go to one.  I found I was missing our deed - well, I know it must be somewhere, since it is not with any of the house papers in the files or lock book in the house, it must be in our bank lock box - which of course I went to today to switch those offsite backup drives I have mentioned before.  I guess we will be going back in the next few days again to check for and hopefully find the deed.

I had my embroidery chapter meeting today and we did a good bit of stitching - then the visit to the bank (above), as well as a deposit to our reenactment unit’s bank account (at a different bank), returned soda bottles (for 3 months since I have not been out on my own since the beginning of June) for recycling, and bought something to start making a gift for my husband (I will not say what in case he reads the post). 

I decided to call my mom tonight after dinner - and we do go on - well she does and as you might imagine from my posts, I go on a bit also.  By the time I was off the phone with her it was well past the time we normally finish talking when we do at night and past when I should have started evening chores.  And I had extra chores tonight.

During the past week husband and I bought a frame and framed an embroidery piece I finished and am entering at the county fair.  (Technically it is a tricounty, county fair as it is the official fair for 3 counties.  It is held in the style of a late 19th century fair at the same restoration village I have mentioned before.)   I know where that piece is - the dining room table.  I also am entering the Christmas ornament I made of husband weaving last Christmas and, of course, had not thought of entering it when I packed the Christmas stuff away and I had to find it in the basement.  Luckily the “Box 1 ornaments” (the nicest ones which go on the tree first) was the 3rd box down and I found it quickly.

The same cannot be said for the ornament husband made - a handwoven Christmas tree - and plans to enter.  Last time I saw it, it was hanging from a lamp in the living room, err, “the loom room”.  It is not there.  So I ended up having to pull all of the Christmas boxes out and look in them - it is the sort of thing that would be on the top of a box to protect it.  I did not find it and do not look forward to mentioning this to husband.  I am sure it will be “my fault” that it is missing.  Luckily in the time between I wrote this and posted it - husband came down and he had his ornament safely tucked away.

And I also had to do laundry tonight.  Last week’s laundry was done a night early so there are an extra day’s clothes and I have towels and bed linens from home and the RV.  I was unsure if I should strip the bed or leave it for our final expected trip at the October or clean the sheets and go through the mess of making up the bed again - my decision was made as there were tiny bits of dirt in the bed from it sitting made up - the day after we came home I went in and stripped the bed and took it apart (which has to be done to strip it and also to remake it up).

So, while it probably will not be noticeable to any of you as my posts go out in the middle of the night anyway, this post is going out - more quickly written than normal - about 2 hours late.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK -
                       
Sometimes it takes a bit longer to get to do things than normal - but as long as they get done in the end - that is all that matters.  And talking to one’s mom - mine is 89 - is always more important than getting work done.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

PLANNING A TRIP WHEN ONE DOES NOT WHEN ONE WILL GO OR FOR HOW LONG

First, if any readers are in the area hit by Hurricane Harvey - I am so sorry for you and the others hit by the storm. I live in the area hit by Hurricane Sandy - just out of the heavily damaged areas, but my mom was in the area where she had extensive water damage to our family home - and know how bad that was - and you are in a much worse situation.  I hope that all are safe and well.  It will take a long time, but life more normal will return.

In the old days when we went to hotels when we traveled - like normal people - we would take several short weekend trips during the year to the Lancaster, PA area and a longer vacation during which we went to Washington, DC for a weekend, then Charlottesville, VA, then someplace different each year (although the place might repeat every few years) and then to the various historic areas near Williamsburgh, VA, two days in Lancaster and then home.  It was so much the same that we would take out the prior year’s schedule and change the date - change the few days that varied and book the same hotels.  We had it worked out that we stayed in each area when the hotel price was the cheapest - DC on the weekend, Lancaster midweek, etc. 

Since the bedbugs and the switch to our tiny RV this has changed.  We go away for shorter times, fewer times during the year.  Our trip is also much more weather based - why go to some place outside if it will rain and we will not be able to go.  We have also changed what used to be weekend trips to Lancaster to midweek trips - it is easier to get last minute reservations at campgrounds and we avoid weekend tourists plus on Sundays most activities and restaurants are closed, so when we went there Friday to Monday - one day there was little to do.

So this year we have only traveled for multiple days once - just before July 4th weekend.  The weather has been wrong or something has been happening to cause us not to go away.  We have taken a couple of one day trips as a result of this.  So we were all ready for a nice week to 10 day trip like we used to take (although back then generally 2 and a half weeks). 

We were going back to the Williamsburg, VA area, a place that as lovers of our country’s early history find so many places to go and learn something new each time.  Then the trouble in Charlottesville occurred and we decided that we were uncomfortable traveling down there as we were concerned about similar problems arising there among the American Revolutionary and Civil War battle fields and historic sites. 

So we were looking elsewhere - meaning Pennsylvania - for a longer trip.  Two separate people - in totally unrelated circumstances - told us to go to a textile museum in PA. I took this as a sign that we were intended to go there this summer.  We started planning a 5 day trip which would involve our normal Lancaster places plus this museum and a couple of other places. 

We were to leave this past Monday and stay through Saturday. Then we found out about our dentist retiring and I have to get my new upper dental plate done before he does.  I got a telephone call last Friday that they needed an extra appointment  - Tuesday (yesterday).  So the trip was postponed and shortened to today (Wednesday through Friday).  The museum is out.

Have you ever tried to make arrangements for and around a trip when you don’t know when the trip will be? Oh boy - that takes odd organizing!  

So last Thursday I paid and mailed out last Friday all of the bills due until next Monday and transferred money into our checking account for cash for the trip and if any additional bills popped up.                                             

I normally would email out the monthly newsletter of my embroidery chapter tonight.  I sent it out a day early so I would not have to do it while away - easier to do it from my desktop computer.

I have a check list that I print out each time we go on a trip.  It lists all the things we need to do for the trip by category.  I cross out anything that does not apply to a trip and then cross out each thing as I do it.  Whatever needs to be done at the last minute is circled and also listed on the side of the paper and crossed off when done. 

I normally will do laundry the night of two days before we go on a trip - so the next day (the day before we leave) we can put the clothes and  we need in the RV for the trip.  I also normally pack snacks that we bring and assorted other needed items.  If the bed in the RV is not made up - I make it up.  In this case since we had not been away a full week and the next planned trip had been for maybe 3 days, I left the bed made up and covered it over. 

I was not really able to do any of the normal things to get ready. In the pouring rain yesterday we did fill the water tanks.  If stuck we can fill them at the RV park, but it is easier to fill them at home.  I did the laundry last night - filled the laundry bag we use to bring our clothes to the RV (who needs luggage - laundry bag in, put clothes on hanging shelves in “closet”.  Use laundry bag for dirty laundry and carry it back into the house in same. 

Last night I used a table in the dining room to line up what needed to go out today.  Laundry bag of clothes.  Cloth tote bag with stuff that goes in the “car” part of the RV - spare eyeglasses, coupons etc.  Cloth tote bag with general items to go into the RV - spare paper cups, paper towels, etc.  Two cloth tote bags with food related stuff.  One, which is the only one with a blue handle, had the stuff for the refrigerator.  Soda, juice (in case of a Diabetes low), home bottled water (the water gets rather warm sitting in the tanks on a hot day and such.  The last tote bag had the non-refrigerator snacks. Although, since the fridge bag is the heaviest (by far), I did put the 2 liter bottle of soda in the other food bag.  All of the snacks which are not in the fridge travel in plastic boxes which seal close to prevent animals smelling the food and getting in to visit.  Laptops/tablet were charged overnight and on the kitchen table to go.  Spare shoes were in plastic shopping bags to go out.  EZPass for tolls was put on the windshield. Bag of last minute stuff to Ready to go!

The weather still seemed to be holding as nice, so this morning I called the RV park and was able to get a reservation for 2 nights - tonight and tomorrow night - for the space next to the one we usually get - so now we know about another spot level enough for us to use. 

So we took about 4 trips of stuff out to the RV this morning - I had figured out where to store the various packed bags so that other than the fridge stuff, it did not have to be unpacked until we were in the RV tonight.  I have told husband that we could do this and now we have. 

So we are finally on a short trip again this summer.  So far, so good.


THOUGHT OF THE WEEK -

Being able to plan for something that is fluid takes a bit more work, but it can be done.  If you do something on a regular or semi-regular basis - make up a checklist and keep it in your computer and print it out each time - and use it.  It makes rushing through getting ready so much easier.