Thursday, August 16, 2018

BACK TO HOUSEWORK - PREPARE FOR POSSIBLE TRIP

After 2 weeks husband has decided that the tail end of cold is too much to deal with and I am back to cooking and cleaning on my own as of yesterday.  So tonight I am catching up on 3 weeks of laundry backed up.  I washed the clothing, he put in the dryer and then in the laundry basket.  He then pulled out his clothing and put it away and left mine for me.

 I think the final blow was yesterday was “change the bed linens day”.  Last week we only changed the pillow cases.  Last night I figured I would change the sheets, I would change my pillow cases, he would change his, and I would change the sheets and remake the bed - other than him dealing with his pillowcases.  So yesterday morning, I pulled off my pillowcases, folded the blanket and pulled the top sheet off the bed.  I would normally have pulled off his bottom pillowcase in the morning. I pull the top pillowcase and the bottom sheet off when we are going to bed at night and remake the bed then.  (I used to pull everything off in the morning, but a couple of times he was dizzy and ill during the day and I had to quickly put his side of the bed back, so this is our compromise - he can lie down as the bottom sheet and his top pillowcase are there and then pull the top sheet - lying on the bed - on top of him if he does not feel well. ) So last night I put the last (of 3) set of clean sheets on the bed and put the blanket on.  I went to pull 2 pillowcases for my pillow and he would do his pillowcases afterwards .... but there were only 2 clean pillowcases!  We each took one. 

I went down tonight to start the first load of laundry and did so.  I was also going to run our “Packtite”, a device intended to heat suitcases and their contents when one returns home from a trip so that if one has picked up bed bugs they will be killed by the heat.  We set it up with a laundry basket with holes in it and I heat anything coming into the house we are concerned about.  Normally I run it when it when I do the laundry as it is near the washer and dryer in the basement and the timing for a load of laundry to wash or dry and to check the temperature on the thermometer in the Packtite is about the same. There is a small number of things to heat.  I noticed that the thermometer reading for the Packtite was the same as last time I used it .  (We have an indoor/outdoor reading thermometer and the dohickey for the outside is in the Packtite so I can see the temperature and make sure it is high enough, long enough, but does not go to high.)  No new reading - or a blank reading - for the dohickey means that it needs new batteries.   I walked up 2 flights of stairs to the office to get new batteries and then back down the same 2 flights.  It still did not work.  I texted husband to help me.  (Yes, we are lazy enough to text each other in the house - much better than running up and down the stairs to tell each other something, especially in summer when doors are closed to keep air conditioning in the room and the ac units are running and making noise.)  We spent over half an hour playing with it, but the dohickey still does not work.  My solution?  We have the same setup on a thermometer in the kitchen to read the temperature in the refrigerator, I brought that set up downstairs and took the working main thermometer from the basement and stuck it in the refrigerator and read it by opening the door.  Tomorrow I will switch the setups back - and we will look for a new thermometer for the basement.  (I pause here to run down and switch laundry loads.)

Okay, I am back.  Over last weekend I reset the number of days for my Quickbooks to remind me of memorized transactions (mostly bills to pay, some direct deposits to come in) to cover everything through the end of the month (normally it is set for one week).  I wrote checks for all the bills and calculated how much we needed to transfer from savings (which is a holding account for money for bills) to pay all the bills to the end of the month.  I transferred the money yesterday and today mailed out the bill payments. Well, everything but the cable/Internet bill which will not come until the last minute at the end of the month - and the money for it plus a bit more is now is now in the checking account.  Why did I pay it all at once?  Husband REALLY wants to go on a trip of more than a day or two.  He keeps checking the upcoming weather in the several places we might go and it continues to follow the pattern of a day with no rain - maybe two days if lucky -and then two or three days of pouring rain and thunderstorms.  (Although the weather is not as bad as it is in some parts of the country - I hope none of you are in the areas of the wildfires or the flooding.) When we prepare for a trip we pay any bills that need to be paid while we will be away and need to transfer money for same and then mail the payments.  This way we do not even have to think of the bills until the cable bill at the end of the month.  We can leave with a just a quick stop at the bank for cash for the trip.  One less thing that has to be dealt with.  Actually the only other problem is the newspaper - if we go at the last minute there will be a paper sitting in the delivery tube while we are away - I guess one paper will look like that day’s paper so it is not bad.  Most of our mail goes to our box at the Post Office and we put in a large locking mailbox at the house so that we do not have to stop the mail that does still come to the house.  Clothing can be washed and dried and then packed the night before and just tossed on the RV bed when we go.  Food, etc can be stuck under the RV bed in a holder that is there.  It can all be unpacked when we get where we are going.  So if he finds a place to go we can leave the next day.

He has had another project he has been working on and frustrated with, which affects me.  He has been trying to convince me to stop using this laptop and buy a new one.  I have some problems checking posts on some websites - the laptop runs Windows XP.  We have been looking and have found some laptops at the price we can pay - actually more than we can pay, but we can stretch the amount another $100 or so t buy.  I am still resistant as there are only one or two websites which are affected and I have software I like which may or may not work with Windows 10 and at least one I know will not work with same.  Yes, it can take up to 20 minutes for the laptop to boot and takes awhile for programs to open, but I am used to.  The alternative he comes up with is installing Linux on this computer to use when online.  He has found and set up about 5 versions of same on USB stick drives and DVDs in the past week or so.  The latest version on DVD actually works - but one of the sites I have a problem with only partially opens.  I have not have my laptop at least part of each night as a result as he loads the new try.  (Notice I made sure to write and post on time this week since I was late last week, but some friends on an embroidery site and some friends on a comics site will not hear from me - and I normally am on the comics site on Monday nights.)  I am guessing that I will be giving in and getting the new laptop - but not until after the cutoff for the credit card bill this month, so we won’t have to pay for it until October - the house insurance is in September, plus any travel bills if we go away.

Oh - I did finally vacuum up all the shreds of paper from my big shredding of 2008 last week.
                               
THOUGHT OF THE WEEK -

One may fall behind due to illness or other reasons.  Don’t panic.  One can always catch up. 

Thursday, August 9, 2018

ACHOO!

Achoo!  Last week I was feeling fine.  Then it happened.  You know, you wake up with a scratchy throat and wonder - is it a cold or did I just sleep on my back with my mouth open and annoy my throat.  Then the coughing starts - and you still hope it is a just a scratchy throat from sleeping on your back, but you are pretty sure it is not.  Once the sneezing starts and your nose is clogged...  My husband lives in fear of me having a cold.  He is a bit of a hypochondriac so he won’t let me do anything if I might “spread the germs” to him.  But he doesn’t want to do what he is not letting me do either.  Everything takes longer to do as a result and wastes time. Don’t worry - you can’t catch the cold.

He doesn’t want to cook (although he used to love to cook and is the better cook).  He doesn’t want to do the dishes. but he doesn’t want me to do either as I will get him sick.  The first night he made dinner - ham steak that we shared and a packaged macaroni with mushrooms - add to boiling water and let cook - and canned soup.  I did the dishes afterwards with disposable plastic gloves on.  One night he was on the computer with a client and I asked if I should make dinner or wait for him and he told me he was busy - so I made dinner and he ate it, but not happily.  Then the weekend came and cooking was resolved as we eat out Friday through Sunday nights.  This week he cooked dinner on Monday.  Last night as we were trying to figure out what to have for dinner a rain storm hit.  I mean A RAIN STORM HIT.  He received a warning on his cell phone - I did not, although my, no cell service for over a year as it was not working for Internet or phone service and I had to switch,  Blackberry received a notice.  (I keep it charged for it games and camera.)  We had major lightning and thunder for about 2 hours - remember I have fired a reproduction 18th century cannon - the thunder was like cannon fire.  We lost our electricity - one of husband’s other great fears.  We stood/sat with the front door open watching “the show” .  We live on a main road.  A UPS truck went past to the right, then to the left, then two of them passed our house, then another one and so on.  Assorted emergency vehicles passed the house in both directions with lights flashing - police, ambulances, fire trucks, a couple of electric utility trucks...  Cars kept driving in the mess, some would pull over a few minutes and then go on.  I am a pretty fearless driver (scared husband the few times he had to drive with me as the driver) and I would have pulled over.  Sooo, what will we eat?  I was thinking - we have rolls, peanut butter - crunchy and smooth, jelly - strawberry and Ikea ligonberry, American cheese, mozzarella cheese - no problem.  I suggested this to him.  NO!  We cannot open the fridge or his insulin would go bad.  (Well, technically if it got too warm it would still be good for 42 days, but I was not going to argue.)   Luckily the rain let up around 10:30 pm.  We got in the car and drove to a nearby supermarket and bought more rolls and cold cuts for dinner.  On the corner passed a 7-11 shut down do to lack of electricity, employees seemed to be sitting in cars in the parking lot.  We got home and were getting ready to eat and - the lights came back on.  Apparently we were in the largest outage area so we were put back quickly.  I honestly do not remember a thunderstorm with so much or such loud thunder with rain that heavy for so long.

Tonight we took in Chinese food - simple right?  Not really.  The place we took out from for decades (while I was waiting for the gas company to come and turn on the gas in our first apartment I went and took out from this place for lunch - I did not even have tableware, dishes, glasses, etc in the apartment - I did have a borrowed bridge table and 2 borrowed bridge chairs) has changed.  The original owners ran it for a long time - we knew their children, I remember hearing a car stop short in front of our apartment and the father coming running to the corner because his younger daughter had been riding her bicycle and just missed being hit by the car.  When he died his older daughter would come home from college on weekends to help her mom.  Then the son took over for awhile - even though he really wanted to be fishing - and the place often had fresh fish due to same.  Eventually the place was sold - to the son’s sister in law and her husband.  They were also nice and the food was the same and we kept going there.  Earlier this year we went there and the husband was not there and an older woman (I presume one of their moms) was cooking.  The food was not good.  We tried another place and were not happy with them.  We went back to them figuring maybe it was the change in cook.  But the last time we took out the soup was too salty to eat and all the dishes were wrong.  We don’t know what happened.  This is the place we called on our way back from our 5 hour trip in July, 2017 to get dinner made before they closed - http://wheredidileavethat.blogspot.com/2017/07/treading-water-5-hour-trip-to-nowhere.html So, we never know where to take out from and as a result we don’t.  We receive an assortment of fliers from take out places and I keep them.  One recently caught husband’s eye and he had been planning to try it - so tonight we did.  Very nice people and food.  Three street parking spaces in front of the 4 stores was the only parking.  Then, since I was sick, husband did not hand me the food to hold on the trip home, he put it in a plastic laundry basket we keep in the back in the car, he did not put anything against the bag to hold it.  Yes, the bag went on an angle and was soaked when he took it out of the car.  After dinner we had to wash the vinyl cover I keep in the car, the basket, and back of the car.  We will go back again - and I will hold the bag.


In the middle of all this I had to go to Manhattan to a client for work - I should have gone last month, but she had a cold (could I have caught this cold over the telephone :-) ).  So I went yesterday.  I packed a zip lock bag with sucking candy, lots of tissues, and an old prescription bottle with one dose of the cough medicine I am taking.  In another zip lock bag I had a small bottle I filled with water.  Did I mention the temperature yesterday was over 90 degrees Fahrenheit?  Luckily I did not need any of the items. 

As a result of this normal housework and keeping things in order are only done if absolutely needed.  Instead of changing the bedding, I changed only my pillowcases.  I suggested he change his, but he said it was okay to just leave them until next week.  I had to talk him through changing the hand towels. We were in the downstairs bathroom - “Where are they?” “In the cabinet under the sink  - see those 2 whiteish towels?  Take them and the green dish towel below them.”  (I put out a green dish towel each week in that bathroom to use for quick clean ups of water around the sink - it matches the bathroom.)  Upstairs?  “Which towels?”  “The yellow ones.” (I figured yellow was bright and he would easily see them.) “You mean these yellow ones?”  They are the only yellow ones we have. 

Last week I had washed and dried the clothes the night before I got the cold.  A load of jeans were in the dryer drying overnight.  So we had clothes for the week.  I did not wash the towels or the bed linens.  Good thing I have 2 weeks of towels plus one extra set for up and down.  I was trying to figure out how to mention to him about the laundry when he brought it up.  I put the clothes in to wash.  He will put them in the dryer - with me talking him through it - and then bring them upstairs afterwards.  He brought up last week jeans load when I put in the load to wash.  He says he will fold the laundry.  I normally pull out his shirts as I put the clean, dry laundry in the basket to take upstairs so that they do not need to be ironed, as I put them over the top of the other clothes and if he does that, and sorts mine from his, I can deal with my clothes and he can deal with his or leave them in the basket and pull them out as he needs them. 

Hopefully either this cold will be definitely over with or he will give up by Monday so life can return to normal.

On the other hand, I had some extra time in the office as we came home quicker in the afternoons.  I managed to shred all of my 2008 records - other than few I kept such as the checks written that year for our income taxes - 3 tall kitchen bags plus, worth of shredding.  I then packed my 2017 records into the same box, relabeled it, and put it back in the closet - ah, room to fit papers in file folders again. 

I also had time to transfer my 2017 computer files to my archive file and make 2 DVD copies of the revised archive files.  I still have to change my back up files so that the old files are gone from them, but that will happen as I make backup files.

I went through an assortment of old computer instruction manuals sitting on a shelf in the office - why?  I needed space for 2 magazine holders.  I pulled a number of the manuals - mostly from programs or hardware that I had - and I will put them out over a couple of weeks with the recycling.  I still have a stack for husband to go through - understand this are DOS or pre Windows XP software and hardware that I cannot figure out what or where it is.  The magazine holders fit nicely in the shelf now with room for the manuals for computer things we are actively using.

The office floor is a mess due to my cheapness in not wanting to waste extra garbage bags when doing shredding and pouring from one to another - as well as throwing handfuls of shreds from one bag to another.  I had planned to vacuum up the shreds - but then caught this cold - maybe tomorrow I will get to vacuuming.

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK -
One gets ill.  It happens.  I am glad that it only a cold so all it has been is inconvenient.  In the larger world it is nothing, just an inconvenience. I am happy that is not serious and by next week either I will be better or he will give up trying to do things for me so he does not catch the cold.  (I have never pointed out to him that I touch the light switches and so does he.) 

Try to do as much as one can without overtaxing one’s self - this will vary based on what is wrong with one.

I leave you with a final achoo!  If I rambled too much - will, hey!  I have a cold! :-)
   

Friday, August 3, 2018

BACK TO SCHOOL SUPPLIES - AGAIN

First, my apologies - somehow I forgot last night to write and post to you.  I had finished the yearbook (next year meeting program guide) for my embroidery guild chapter and on Tuesday I had taken it to be printed - yesterday (Wednesday) we picked it up and in the evening when I normally would be writing and posting to you, I stapled, labeled, and stuck stamps on the yearbooks to be mailed out today.  Somehow my mind then wandered off and I never did get back to writing and posting.  So I am doing it today. 

Last year I wrote about back to school supplies - http://wheredidileavethat.blogspot.com/2017/08/this-week-back-to-bit-more-normal.html

Today is more about back to school supplies.  As I wrote last year, even as a child I loved office supplies and back to school was actually fun for me - the promise of a blank notebook, not scribbled on or in was the promise to me of a year that I would stay organized and all assignments would be done ahead of when they were due.  This, of course, was never true for me or I would not be writing this blog.

As I mentioned last year this is the time of year to buy supplies that might be needed as they are discounted.  Do you have pens and pencils in your house that you can find?  If not this is the time to get them - and a box to keep them in.  The same with basics such as scissors and tape.  Good time to find plastic boxes, crates, and file storage boxes.

Growing up I thought everyone went to back to school the Wednesday after Labor Day unless they lived in New York City - since NYC rarely needed a snow day (subways always ran until more recent years when even they had to close sometimes for weather) so the schools in NYC started on the Monday, a week after Labor Day as the did not need to have the 3 snow days the rest of had built into their schedule.  I have in recent years learned that schools around the country start and end on all different schedules.  (Around here schools close at the June.)  Some school districts close for a 2 month vacation -some for a 3 month vacation.  Even around here there is now a movement to start schools earlier - in some districts even before Labor Day (although many districts have union agreements against same).  The local change is the result of adding holy days of additional religions as days off during the year and the need to make up those days in the calendar. 

But right now is the time for school supplies.  I wanted to add this second posting about school supplies as there are some that people (as least old timers such as me) do not think of as back to school items.

Electronics.  Laptops, tablets, and so on.  Stores are running sales now on these for back to school.  I was reminded of this as my husband has for some time (years) been pushing me to replace this laptop - to say it is not new is an understatement, you know those stickers on the laptops that show what version of what is included in it - well, the newest copyright on any of them on this laptop is 2004 - that make it around 14 years old, and yes, it still runs Windows XP.  It was my work laptop when it was new.  I bought a newer work laptop since then and rather than toss this one, it became my kitchen computer - where I go online at night and write and post my blog.  It still works - mostly.  Some websites are too fast for it and therefore run very slowly on the computer.  But for most things it is fine.  Husband has been pushing me to get a new laptop.  My desktop - main - computer is Windows 7 and not all of my software runs on it - it is even harder to get me to get new software.  I tried using his laptop which is Windows 10 and I was not happy with it - and probably even more software will not run.  He has been showing me back to school ads for laptops and pushing “Look what great prices they are.”  I start to think what a great idea - that website that takes sooooo long to open will work quicker, but I know it is hard for me to switch and it will involve screaming and yelling - on both our sides.  (Husband is a dear and puts up with my wanting everything to remain the same and be able to use my old software and goes to great lengths to “make it so” but even he cannot do magic.)  So, it reminded me to mention it to all of you.  Now, don’t run out and buy a new computer just because they are on sale - but if you have been thinking of getting one - it is a good time save a few bucks.

Another school supply that I don’t think of as being one is casual furniture.  Back to school includes going to college and stores that carry casual furniture - small pieces for storage and the like - are having sales and also have a larger choice of them in stock.  Shelving units, small file cabinets, the doored cabinets with shelves in them are readily available now.

Of course clothing including shoes for adults (remember back to college) as well as children, of course, are in stock now. 

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK -

While one should not go out buying items willy nilly and only buy what one actually needs, if one is need of office supplies, clothing, electronics, casual furniture, etc. now is the time to look for bargains. 

Obviously one should not buy stuff just because it is on sale - that just adds to the clutter and having too much stuff, but if items are needed it is always best to buy them during the time they are on sale.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

COMING HOME FROM THE TRIP

Well, we made it through last week’s trip and home again.

While away husband came across something that he has wanted for decades.  It is a small loom that makes tape.  No, not sticky tape, this makes a long thin strip of fabric.  In earlier centuries (before the 20th ) it was used to make fabric tapes for clothing and other purposes.  As an example, in the 18th century ladies’ petticoats (skirts) had a casing or hollow waistband at the top and one of these tape would go through the casing - well actually two of them as the petticoat were not attached front to back at the top/casing.  At the two sides the tapes would be tied together to bring the sides of the petticoats together to the fit of the woman/girl wearing it, tight enough to hold it together and up, but not so tight that one was uncomfortable.  (No, really, this works fine.)  Why were the two sides open?  Well, women had a garment called a pocket or a pair of pockets that were large tearshaped bags with a slit on the side facing away from the body.  Since the sides of the petticoat were open, one could reach through the slits formed by the opening and waist ties and reach into the pocket(s) easily.  Oh, the pockets were sewn to/hanging from - tape and were tied around the waist (under the petticoat). 

The tape loom is around 24 inches tall, 24 inches front to back and around 9 inches across.  Well, at least the one husband found last week is.  In the past the tape looms he has found has been too expensive for us to buy.  He even bought a book on how to make the looms - but decided that he would end up cutting off two many fingers trying to do so.  The one he found last week was made by another craftsperson (always good to support a craftsperson) and was 1/4 of what is usually being charged for them - oh, and since it was a museum shop, we were supporting the museum also.  He was unsure.  I knew we could not let the loom get away from him.  He was about to agree to buy it when the big question hit him.  Remember how small the RV is, he decided it would not fit in the RV (securely to keep it intact).  I had to go out to the RV and measure where I thought I could fit it to make sure - it did fit there.  Then again, I told him that he was buying it, if it had to ride around the rest of the day and the next day until we got home - in my lap! 

How did I fit it?  We have one of those boxes intended to go in a trunk.  It has 2 sections and collapses down for storage.  I keep the box under the bed to make it easy to pull out and store laptop computers and what we call the last minute bag - huh? Well, we prepack the RV, but there are always the items that have to be used the night before we leave or the morning we are leaving, so we have a bag that we put those items in when we travel.  It goes under the bed in this box.  I pulled the box out from under the bed.  I then wrapped the loom in several large laundry bags. (I keep the bedding in them when the beds are not made up - so they are large enough to hold 2 pillows each.)  I laid the loom on its side - the flat side, not the one with the mechanism on it, in the bags, at the back end of the under bed space - one of the flat sides against the back wall of the space.  The space is carpeted so it helps protect whatever is there and keeps it from moving as easily.  I then put 2 tension curtain rods in front of the loom (I stuffed a large plastic bag into an open area where the loom forms an “L” shape and the curtain rods).  Why do I have curtain tension rods?  I use them in front of the box mentioned to help hold it in place under the bed.  I used two of them to keep the loom in place.  I collapsed one side of the box and put the box into place in front of the loom and stood the laptops standing next to the box and then put my last curtain rod in front of the box to keep it and the laptops in place. 

It worked!  Nothing moved out of place (and roads around here are pretty bad and there is much bouncing of the stuff in the RV) and the loom was in perfect condition when we arrived home.  As I mentioned last week - it is amazing what one can fit into the small space that is this RV.  Now, short of it traveling on a bed or in the walking aisle of the RV, this was the only space the right shape to hold the loom and hold it safely. 

When we get home and unpack the RV we have to be organized also.  The first things that are unpacked are the refrigerated items.  I put them into a fabric bag and husband will run back and forth to the house with the items.  When the refrigerator is empty I shut it off and put a folded towel under the freezer compartment.  (There is no separate freezer, just a colder freezer section and if there is any condensation, it will drip in the refrigerator, so the towel will catch any drips.) 

I have to remember what has to go into the house. Normally the next thing to go into the house would be “the last minute bag” with items such as medications and the like packed back into it from the trip, but this last trip the next thing that went into the house was the loom!  It made the trip in perfect condition.  Then onto the last minute bag.

I pack the clean clothes that we did not wear into the second regular laundry bag - we always bring clothes for a day or two longer than we will be away “in case” - case something happens to what one or both of is wearing (such as the time we had to step over a small section of water, but I was too short and stepped down into what looked like a thin layer of water, only to find out that there was a drain system under it that I stepped into up to my knee, barely managing not to get hurt) or something happens and we need to or decide to stay a day longer than we planned.  When we pack we put our clean clothes into 2 laundry bags - one for each us - and then put them into the shelves in the “closet” (a small cabinet) and put one laundry bag (the one the clean clothes go into at the end of the trip) away with the last minute bag, and we use the other laundry bag for - well, our laundry that accumulates during the trip.  When I put for husband to take into the house, I add the towels (hand and dish) that we used - it will get tossed down the stairs to the basement for washing when it goes into the house). 

Little by little it all goes back into the house.  The food that was not in the refrigerator (stored in small locking plastic boxes in the RV “kitchen cabinet” - a shelf with a door on it) is taken into the house in another fabric shopping bag.  The shoes come out of the cubby they are stored in and are put into plastic shopping bags.  The laptops come out from under the bed.  Magazines and such come back into the house.  I then go to the front of the RV and pack eyeglasses and such that were in the front.  I have an manila envelope a little larger than a regular envelope for each of the regular trips we take to accumulate reservations, coupons, etc. for that trip and I take the envelope with me in the map pocket - it has to come back into the house.  Almost forgot - jackets and sweatshirts have to come back into the house. 

The next to last thing I do before I leave inside the RV is I walk around the inside in a circle and touch each area that we put things into and have to take things out of and put back in the house to remind myself and make sure that I remembered to empty each area. The last thing I do is shut off the lights and then the RV battery - and as I do I say out loud to myself - lights are off, battery IS off.  This way I will remember that I shut them off.

We also unload anything we stored in the back of the RV through the back door that we brought or bought - there is a laundry basket there to hold the items. 

Oddly, I was greatly short on time to write this post tonight.  Husband decided to set up his new loom tonight.  “It will only take 5 minutes.” Famous last words.  Two hours later it was set up.  Two hours that I had other plans for.  But that is life and life is more important.

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK -

If you do something over and over again develop a plan to follow to make sure that all of it is done and follow it.  I find that when doing something such as checking the kitchen (in our house) at night, locking the door when I go out, or finishing unloading the RV to say something out loud. 

When I close up the kitchen for the night (we watch TV in same at night - such as right now while I am writing and posting this) I lock the back door.  I then check the back door and say “door locked”.  I then look at the 6 knobs on the stove next to the door and count one to six out loud and say “all off”.  I then look at the electric outlet box next to the stove, check it and say “nothing plugged in”.  (This is the electric outlets which are used for small appliances and we don’t leave them plugged in when they are not being used.) 

When I go out I lock the door.  As I do so I say to myself “door LOCKED” so I remember.

As mentioned I touch each area in the RV and say that it is emptied before leaving it when the trip is over.  I also say out loud that the refrigerator door is open (it is propped open to prevent odors forming) and that the lights are out and then that the battery is turned off.

By saying and doing each of these things it registers on my brain and I do not go running downstairs - or outside to the RV - or back to the door - to check that the chore is done.

I want to offer hopes that anyone living in the areas which are being flooded in the heavy storms are safe and dry.



Saturday, July 21, 2018

THIRD TIME'S A CHARM - I HOPE

This post is 2 days late.  We have been on a short trip.  I wrote the post on Wednesday night the normal time for me to do so.  Wednesday night was also the first night of our trip.  We have been at this campground many times.  For some reason there were Internet problems this trip (and totally unrelated we could not get TV with our antenna either) and while I could do some things, the Internet connection did not like gmail so I was able to check some email - but only one email out on one night, other than that I could not post and this was my second item to post.  (First was to tell my family we were away as I had forgotten to do so.) 

So I could not post the first night - or the second.  Now we are back home and I am hoping that this post goes through on the “lucky” third night of trying -

A quick post this week as we finally made it away for a trip - only 2 nights, not the 5 nights we started with planning - and 2 weeks late, but we are away.

Anyone going on a trip has to plan in advance - Where will we go?  When will we go?  Where will we stay? and  - most importantly - What do we need to bring?

I have a check list in my computer that I print out each time we are going away to make sure we bring everything.  Now, remember we are traveling in an RV so what we need to bring is different than someone going to a hotel.  Remember that this is not a huge RV as you see on TV - next time you see a Chevy van - think of me.   The check list is divided into sections -

What to do ahead of time - check the tires for air, make sure that items we keep in the RV are there and ones that get used up are replenished - soap, disposable dishes and cups, hand soap, dish soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, tissues, paper towels and such.  Are there clean hand and dish towels in the RV?  I generally have to make up the bed - which involves assembling it as I put on the mattress cover, sheets and blankets. If we are away for a very short time - as we are now - I may not strip the bed afterwards and will leave the bed made up. 

Then as we get close to the trip (day or two before) I have other items to do - I do the clothing laundry 2 days before we go away so we have clothes for the trip and clothes for when we get home.  This way I can pack them the day before we go.  Since we are traveling in an RV I use laundry bags to carry the clothes out to same and then store them in the “closet” This is a small cabinet that is called the closet.  It will hold maybe a dozen hangers.  We put in one of those sweater shelves things that hang in a closet and instead of hanging clothes in it, we each get 2 shelves for our clothes - yes, 2 of those tiny shelves for our clothes.  I can fit up to a week’s worth of clothes for each of us shirts, underwear, socks and spare pair of jeans in those tiny sections.  The rare times we go away longer - for 2 weeks - the second week’s clothing will be in a laundry bag in a section under the bed - at the start of the second week I will climb under the bed and get out the laundry bag and put the clothing in the shelves.  As we use the clothes we put the dirty clothes back in a laundry bag - so if we are way for more than a week, the dirty clothes will go back where the clean clothes were.  We do carry more than a set of clothes for each day “just in case”.  We bring extra of everything.  We fit in sweaters and jackets in various places in the RV. Spare shoes go into a cubby over the bed. 

We fill the water tanks which hold 25 gallons of water.

I have a list of food items to bring - we have a “dorm size” fridge in the RV.  The list is inclusive fo what we might want/need to bring - so not all items are brought on every trip.  I bring water in bottles that I have filled and put it in the fridge.  The water in the tanks will get warm (sitting under a “tin can” in plastic tanks) and this way we have cold water to drink.  Food items are put in plastic boxes that “lock” seal closed.  Generally all we are bringing is snacks with us.  On longer trips I may bring canned soup, peanut butter and bread.  So far we have had only one occasion while traveling in which we came close to cooking and eating in the RV - but then the rain storm ended and we were able to go for lunch.

Medications have to come.  I have to bring eyeglasses - several different pairs for each of us.  And of course, electronics.  We each bring laptops with us.  Maybe a camera.  And cell phones and cords for them.  We actually keep duplicate cords in the RV for convenience. 

When items are stored they must be stored in such a way that they will not shift around and make noise or break anything.  Everything has an assigned place so we know where it will be and it will be safe.  We use plastic shopping bags around items to keep them from shifting - and then they are used for garbage or shopping, etc.

What amazes me is that when we were buying this RV we kept wondering how we would get everything we need into it.  I have pulled out items never used when I realize that we will not need them and now have too much empty space that needs to be packed with the bags mentioned to fill the space so things do not shift.  Well, I did keep the small vacuum cleaner, We may not have used it in the 7 years we have had the RV, but I know some day we will really, really need it.

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK -

Think about if you had one room 20 ft by 6 ft to live in and had to fit everything you needed in it.  The bed takes up about 1/3 of the room, but you do have 3 cubbies over the bed. There are people who live in this type of RV full time - think about having to get your possessions to down to a space this small.
       

Thursday, July 12, 2018

PAYING BILLS

Well, the smoke smell finally left the house. 

It occurred to me in looking at last week’s post that it makes no sense to someone reading it that I have to be home to pay a bill.  It was not the writing of the check (yes, I still pay my bills by check) or the need to mail out the bill and payment (yes, I still pay my bills by mail), but the fact that money needed to pay the bill would not be credited to our bank account until today, the 11th.  It would go into our savings account and I had to be here to transfer the money needed to pay the bill into our checking account.  I like to do this so I know that the money is actually in the checking account and did not for some reason go awry.  If something did happen the savings account would be short funds and I would not be able to transfer the money - but at least I would know of the problem and would be able to cover the checks I needed to send out in another way, while I tracked down where the money owed to us was. 

We did drive down to Pennsylvania last Saturday and had a very nice day.  The weather was sunny and warm - but not the hot weather that had been there during last week and there was no rain.  We did lose an hour locally in transit as there was roving road repairs being done - and the GPS did not know that how long the delay was or did not care.

Since we had to stay home to transfer money to pay a bill, I thought I would talk about paying bills today.  I deal with bills for a living, you probably only deal with yours or maybe yours and your business’s bills.  The idea for personal or business bills are basically the same - make sure the amount you were billed is right and pay them - on time.

I admit to probably being older than most of you and grew up with paper bills and paper checks.  Therefore I am more comfortable using them than paying bills online.  It is not that I am new to computers or a “late adaptor”.  I learned to program computers when they were huge mechanical devices.  The one I learned to program, in Fortran II, was the size of a good sized office desk (which were also larger back then than they are now) and there was a second device the same size to compile the program.  Today the compiler is software, not hardware.  Heck, even the keyboard setup to punch the software and/or data into cards was larger than even my desktop computer is today. My problem is that having learned to work with computers so long ago I have learned the concept that no computer is secure (and we did not have the computers connected to the Internet back then).  When I am not using a computer it is turned off and unplugged - the exception being that if a laptop needs charging it may be off and charging. 

So, I am more comfortable paying my bills by check.  I have written abit about this before - http://wheredidileavethat.blogspot.com/2017/04/last-October-10-26-16-i-posted-on.html

We don’t like to be in debt.  We pay our credit card in full every month. 

Well, except one month.  When husband was working full time he would receive any unused sick pay when the new company year started in September.  (They operated on a school year as they were partly a school.)  We would take our vacation in August as I could take time off then and the place he worked would close for 2 weeks in August.  So the unused sick pay was rather convenient to cover the charge card bills from vacation.  One year the sick pay was delayed a month.  Our choice was to take money out of savings and pay the bill in full, or pay part and pay the balance the following month when the money came in.  It was one of those odd periods in which the interest rates on debt and the interest rates on savings were about the same.  We decided to pay half the bill and then pay the other half, plus any new charges in full, the following month and that is what we did.

We have taken out some loans over the decades. We only do so for large items - house, car, RV.  Everyone of them has had every payment made on time - with some of them we have paid them off in less time than originally scheduled by making extra principal payments.  (More on this next week.)

Medical insurance and bills - have also been paid in full, although we have been lucky enough to have our medical insurance covered by his employer while husband was working.  In addition the largest medical bills we had were when husband had cataract surgeries.  We had the sort of insurance that covers more of the bills for “providers” in their plan and less, although still most, of the bills for providers not in their plan.  Our doctor was the latter. We paid our share of about $4000 on the two surgeries in full to the doctor. 

Oh, a thought here - make sure you know what is covered on your medical insurance - if you can use a provider who is covered it will save you money - expenses might not even be covered if your doctor, pharmacy, etc. is not on their list and you will be stuck for the full cost. In addition make sure that you check your bills for accuracy and if there is a question or problem don’t just accept it.  When husband had his first surgery (each eye was done separately) the insurance company rejected the claim.  The doctor’s office assure me that it was not my problem, they would have to “eat” the costs.  I did not let it go.  I telephoned the insurance company and asked what had happened - I had followed all of the rules for an out of the plan doctor, etc.  I was told some stupidity that the claim was not submitted in time.  Turned out that the doctor’s office had a O for a 0 or a 0 for an O and it was rejected.  When it was fixed and they went to resubmit it, they were told that it was too late to do so and there was no record of the original, rejected submission.  I called the insurance company again and started, politely complaining.  Not much was happening.  I told them that my husband decides which policies everyone at work will have (this was true).  I suddenly had a phone call from the insurance company that there had been an error - the surgery had been preapproved (which it had been) and therefore was covered.  (We were extremely popular at the doctor’s office after that.)  So know what has to be done and do it to make sure that your claims are covered - follow up with the doctor’s staff to make sure they do what they need to do and make sure you do what you need to do.  If you need to have a referral, have it - and make a photocopy for yourself in case it “gets lost”. 

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK -

Basically we try to live within our income and waste as little as possible of our money paying interest charges and not paying other fees.  We live comfortably but not over the top.  We don’t eat at expensive restaurants.  We find discounted movie theaters or discounted tickets to same.  We drive Chevys not Cadillacs, BMWs or Mercedes Benz.  (You do know that Chevy and Cadillacs have “twin cars” don’t you - as do Ford and Lincoln.)  We sleep better at night not worrying about huge bills or mounting interest charges. 

Other posts will follow on related financial matters including some of the things we have done to “find” money for bills and for savings.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

NOT IN PENNSYLVANIA

Remember over the past few weeks before I told you that we were going away this week and the work involved in preparing our RV for the trip?  Well, we’re home - not away.  Why?

I printed out my list of what has to be done to set up and pack the RV.  We put the mattresses (actually pieces of the mattresses as each half of the mattress is made up of 3 pieces) in the RV.  I pulled out stuff that was in the RV for the winter that is needed to pack it - food storage boxes, fabric shopping bags to carry stuff out to and back from the RV, and so on.  I also have some stuff to do because it has not been used since last year - such as change the refrigerator baking powder holder (to keep it from smelling - same as a box of same in one’s home fridge - but I get the one that goes on inside the fridge with a suction cup as the box would probably fall over as we traveled around and make a mess).  I checked that we had hand and dish soap and shampoo.    You know -the sort of stuff you have at home and never think about needing on a trip - unless you have an RV. 

Last Thursday we plugged the RV into the house electricity to make sure the batteries were fully charged.  They are old and we should have replaced them, but that has not been in the budget, so we have to make sure they are charged, so that the fridge in it will keep working when the car engine is off when we are parked somewhere.  (It does also recharge while we are driving and while it is plugged in at night in the RV park.) 

On Friday I suggested to husband that I would makeup the bed while the RV was plugged in so I could run the air conditioner as it was soooo hot out - and inside is like being in a car that has not had ac on and even hotter.  He reminded me that it could not be put on if the ac was plugged in at the house as the amperage was not enough, but - he had wanted to turn on the generator and make sure it was working.

So we turned on the generator - horrors, it turned on fine - but the microwave clock did not come on.  You may be thinking - who cares about the microwave clock of all things.  There are two things that will not work in the RV unless it is plugged in at full amperage - the ac and the, yes, the microwave.  If the microwave light was not on - the generator was not transferring electricity to the RV.  We turned the generator off and husband climbed under - again - and found that the fellow who worked on it had turned and left the connection switch off.  We turned on the generator and this time the it was connected and working.  I started making up the bed - a 45 minute minimum process as I have described before and husband walked out to let me work.

He was back shortly.  There was oil coming out of the generator.  Whether something was broken, or the plug was loose, or the fact that too much oil had been put in it - something was wrong.  He ran inside and called the shop that had changed the oil.  Well, 4:30 pm Friday - they would be glad to help on  - Monday morning, when we scheduled to be on our trip.  Husband made the appointment.

I suggested that we could set up the RV except for the last minute things, take the RV to the shop, come home, add the list minute things (or we would have to wake up even earlier to put them in and secure them in place) and go on our trip.  Husband was not happy with this idea, as it is very hard to back the darn thing off our driveway  - I have to stand in traffic and tell him when to back out and he has to do it quickly - and he did not want to do it twice in one day.  I went back in the RV and did a quick set up of the bed as the generator was running and oil was still coming out of it.  I only did the mattress set up, then we stopped the generator - I brought the pillows into the house to deal with them.  It will be a lumpy set up in mattress as I was not able to smooth out the sheets properly - I will deal with it when we travel in it.

The more husband thought about it, the more he did not want to leave after going to the shop again.  But - if we cancel the reservation we have to pay for it any way.  In addition as the weekend went along, the weather became extremely hot and thunderstorms while we would be there.  He panicked even more. 

I decided to suggest that we go one day during the week - whichever day seemed to be the best weather - for us to go to the annual folk festival (crafts) that we want to go to (we can go there and home the same day, we have done so in the past) and try to move the reservations to next week.  He agreed.

As I was about to do so I realized that there was problem with going next week - we had money coming in this week and it had to be transferred to checking to pay our “big” credit card bill which has to be mailed out the 10th.  Darn!!!!! 

I then suggested the week after - which seemed okay all around - we have a reenactment the weekend after it, but would be home Friday night and the reenactment is Sunday. 

So this past Saturday I telephoned the RV park and explained that we had a reservation for Monday and we have had a problem with the RV and it could not be worked on until Monday.  Could we please change the reservation to 2 weeks later - and I was told it was okay - the same space was even available.  Now, I may find that they are not applying our deposit to the changed trip, but if so, well that is how it is.  Hopefully we will get credit for the deposit.

So now we are home for July 4th.  Something which I do not think has happened since we were married - and maybe before.  With nothing to do.  For “excitement” we went to Barnes and Nobles today. 

Earlier in the week I was trying to think how to make today more July 4th ish.  He has hot dogs for dinner around once a week so I moved them to today.  We don’t have an outdoor grill.  I have not been able to eat hot dogs for a few years, so I figured I would make my Thursday night turkey burger in an elongated shape so it would fit in the brat rolls we had in the house and I figured he would use for the hot dogs.  We had some frozen fries I would make for him.  When I went to make dinner I suggested that I use a cast iron pan with a grill that I had not used in awhile to cook my burger and his hot dogs to make them more like being grilled outside. (Normally he has me boil his hot dogs.)   He told me to do one that way to try it. 

I put the grill pan on the stove to heat up.  I started making (canned) soup.  I checked how much fries there were.  Suddenly the kitchen was full of smoke and the smoke detector was going off.  The grill pan - with no food added - was burning whatever was on it and the smoke was heading through the house.  I turned off the burner, opened the back door (next to the stove) and fanned the smoke a bit with the door - this usually will direct smoke out the door if something like this happens.  I turned off the ceiling fan - same.  I turned off the soup.  The alarm kept going off.  I would push the button, it would stop, and then start again.  I am 5'1" and have to stand on my toes on a chair to reach the button.  I stayed up there pushing the button over and over.  In between I would jump off the chair and try putting the ceiling fan on or off.  After 10 minutes of this I texted husband upstairs for help.  Between his hearing not being what it was and the fact that he was in a room on the other side of the house - which is not that far as the house is small, but he had the air conditioner on and the room door closed so he did not hear the alarm going off. 
He came down and took over the spot on the chair, pushing the button over and over.  We could not clear the smoke from the air.  This is one  of the new alarms with a permanent battery, so we could not pull the battery or the alarm would have to be thrown away.  We tried covering it with a shower cap.  (The RV is small and if one cooks in it the smoke alarm goes off and people put a shower cap over it to keep the smoke out of it when cooking - and it works, as cooked in it after a couple of hurricanes when we had no electricity in the house for the electric stove there.)

Finally about 45 minutes later the alarm stopped.  The house still reeked of smoke.  The pan was on the floor in the porch.  Dinner should have been cooked and ready. 

I turned the soup back on.  I boiled his hot dogs.  The fried potatoes had been cooking during all this in the toaster oven.  But what about my dinner?  I was not going to try to cook my burger in any of my pans and add more smoke to the house.  I ended up cooking frozen vegetables for me for dinner - vegan for tonight.  My burger is wrapped in plastic wrap for dinner tomorrow night.  I have the grill pan soaking water to try to clean it.

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK -

No matter what one’s plans are they may go awry.  One just has to be able to think and deal with the problems so that they are in some manner resolved. 

We will go on the trip later than we figured - but this will probably be good as it will not be as crowded then - and husband hates crowds.  Hopefully we will have a day that is nice to go for the one day trip - and as husband scowled over the cost of the tolls - I reminded him that when we go that way the tolls are much, much lower as we are going to a different area  - maybe 1/3 of when we go to where we usually go.

Dinner was late (and we missed the start of the PBS “Capitol Fourth” on TV), but we had dinner and the show was rerun after its showing so we saw the start afterwards. 

None of this is earth shattering  - just an annoyance - and I had two stories about trying to be organized to tell you this week.