Friday, November 12, 2010
I walked myself and the dogs this morning, then hung around until the couch and footstool were delivered. Then the BW was cleaning out the cupboards to make room for all the stuff she bought at Ikea yesterday, and I got roped into climbing a step stool and cleaning the cabinet over the refrigerator and the top of the refrigerator itself. That expanded, and eventually I was cleaning shelves in the garage.
I decided it was time to collect all of the hazardous waste and just drive down to the county disposal site, which is near the incinerator. We took jars of dead batteries, compact florescent light bulbs, a nice cannon camera that was dropped on a concrete floor and never worked right again (I could buy a better new one for less that it would cost to fix it), an old multimeter, etc. Besides a couple of big jars I had a heavy trash bag full of stuff. On the way back the BW decided it would be nice to eat lunch at Bob Evans in memoriam of Frank, my next younger brother. We found a shady spot for the car and left the windows open for the dogs, and had a nice late lunch. She even asked for real maple syrup and got something Ė Frank always brought his own.
Then I spent two hours getting the couch kit out of the box, putting it together, and putting the covers on the frame and all the pillows. One thing about Ikea furniture, any grade school kid can figure out how to put it together. I had moved the love seat and footstool, vacuumed, and rearranged the furniture so there was a big open spot in the living room, so there was plenty of space to work. Since the BW canít lift anything I did the parts that require two people by myself, but she provided emotional support.
Unfortunately, she decided that the kid next door might want the love seat and footstool, so we now have a great big couch sitting in the middle of the living room, and furniture all around it. Iím leaving the new footstool in the box until the old stuff goes away, because itís too crowded already.
Ralphie is fine at the moment Ė Harry was another 14 pound dog that we had for 14 years, and he would get cold in the winter too. We keep the temperature at 68 degrees inside in the winter, and having fur wasnít enough. He liked having a sweater on, and didnít give us any argument when we brought one out, but he was a very mellow dog anyhow. Ralphie hates the sweater, but he comes to me to fix it when he gets cold.
I have seen Chihuahuas shaking they were shivering so hard in Yakima, when the sun was shining and the temperature was about 90. I think they were in the shade where we were watching a fourth of July parade. The problem with little dogs is the surface to volume ratio gets too high, and they donít have enough fur to compensate. (Thatís just my guess.) Our Shepherds were big and had a woolly undercoat that let them survive almost anywhere, but they also shed a few bushels of fur in the spring. One German Shepherd fills a travel trailer too. Harry would disappear, even in our first trailer.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Well, our trip to Ikea took six hours - about 45 minutes over and another 45 back, and four and a half hours shopping. Even though the BW knew exactly what she wanted, a dark blue couch kit, a different cover (a pineapple pattern) was on sale, and it had been the one she wanted originally. There was a lot of looking at cloth couches and considering, then a bunch of looking at leather couches again, both dark and light. Then we considered the white leather couch and chairs that the youngest daughter is still sitting on, 14 years after we sold the house. Then we went back to the two cloth couches, and the white cloth one.
Fortunately, the couch kit has a lot of different covers which you can take off and wash, and if you change your mind about the color you can either spend $150 and buy a different colored cover, or spend $50 and buy a white one. Then you can dye it any color you want if you change your mind.
In the end we bought a dark blue couch cover, and couch kit, a footstool with a removable top kit, and a dark blue cover for it. The cloth is just a little darker than brand new jeans are - the color new denims were back in the 1940's.
We also looked at a lot of pillows, but the BW decided that she likes the ones she has better, bo we didn't get any of them. We did, however, pick up a new wok, wine glasses, napkins, etc. There were enough odd fabrics and household items to fill a cart all the way. We brought everything home in the car except the couch and footstool kits. I think I could have put the footstool kit in the back seat, but it's $89 to deliver anything, so we're getting 156 pounds of stuff in two boxes tomorrow morning. I didn't have time to mess with anything tonight anyhow.
Then, to round out the day, we stopped at the Walmart Superstore in Oldsmar on our way home and picked up some doggie treats, produce, and groceries.
After that I weighed in at the TOPS meeting tonight, just one pound below my top limit. With the Danishes, donuts, and cookies from Coral Oaks, where I taught the driving class, I was worried that I would be above the maximum. The BW complained that she gained four pounds, but I had gained six pounds in the last two days. It's time to get back in the groove again.
Ralpnie was shivering again tonight, so I wrapped him up in a blanket and held him until he was toasty again. I just turned him loose. He comes to see me when he gets too cold. We went to the dog store and bought him a knitted sweater this week, but he still gets squirrely if we put it on him. Maybe he'll get used to it later this winter.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Itís late, and I havenít goofed off much today. Tomorrow the BW wants to go over to Tampa to the IKEA store for a new couch and footstool, and probably something else too. That means we have to get rid of a love seat and footstool that she picked out a few years ago, but she says the Salvation Army will take it for sure. I just remember that I wanted to buy a couch in the first place because there was almost no difference in cost, but she wanted a love seat. Now she wants a footstool with storage in it and she feels bad that Jerzy slept on the love seat several times last year.
I was totally shot yesterday around eight in the evening, but felt better after lying down for a few minutes, and Iím really tired today, but not totally shot. The class is over; I sent in a report and certificates to AARP and a report to my fearless leader, which finished that for another month. I also spent three hours on the Kiwanis, picking up the mail, collecting and depositing money, and writing my own check for a yearís dues, and then depositing it. If I can think of anything to say here Iíll be done for the day, so I think Iím done.
One lady lost enough weight and got back into such good shape that she put on her wedding dress and had her picture taken. Thatís a better reward than weight watchers or anyone else could come up with. I was impressed.
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Third Avenue just changed the log-in procedure, and now they have a support group (a contractor) running things. The person I talked to told me a new, secret requirement for a valid password that is not included in their printed description of the requirements of a password. I logged in twice after I changed my password, and it seems to be OK now.
One of the problems that banks, brokerage firms, and mutual funds have is that they have written disclosures of their rules, and you often find out that the rules they impose on you are different from the rules they wrote (if you assume that they meant what they said in print). I ran into that at Sun Trust Bank this year, where they say they allow six withdrawals a quarter, but fine you if you make more than two in one month. The branch manager told me about a couple of other places where it says six per quarter but they fine on three per month.
The brokerage where our money market was held when we bought the last trailer had a rule that you couldn't write checks on the account if the balance fell below $5,000. It did not say you couldn't bring the balance below $5,000. When I wrote a check that brought the balance to $3500, the dealer called them, and then I called. The woman said they wouldn't allow the balance to be brought below $5,000 with a check, which is a different rule. I shortly moved that money to Vanguard's money market fund, and soon closed the brokerage account.
The unfortunate answer is you don't know what secret rules they have, and I wouldn't have found out today if I didn't ask the woman for the third time, and finally get the secret.
Other than that, the safe driving class went OK, my treadmill showed up today and I put it together and worked up a sweat checking it out, and it's nearly seven and I'm ready for a little supper and really, really tired.
I hope everyone had a good day and better evening. Thanks for the tips.
PS - when I failed to get in, I was told to click on the password help button, but there wasn't any. They're just not set up all that well, but it's only a little money.
Monday, November 08, 2010
I have been doing most of my money management on line for the past couple of years. When we were full-timers, it was a pay phone and mail, then a cell phone and mail. When we first settled in one place it was mail and personal interfaces with the bank, which wasnít very good because Seafirst, where we first opened an account, had been bought by Bank of America, which was bought in turn by Nationís Bank. Nationís kept the Bank America name, but had a different software system which was supposed to be merged within a year. While we were full timing it was OK, because now there were free ATMís all over the country (itís hard to cash a check when youíre two or three thousand miles from ďhomeĒ.
The only trouble with that was that we settled in Florida, Nationís territory, and I was treated like a leper for years, and eventually told that Washington, and parts of Oregon and Idaho would never be converted. When I had really hard time depositing money with a pre-printed deposit slip, I finally cracked, and now we do business with Patriot Bank of Trinity, FL. They have a branch I can walk to easily, and originally paid four per cent interest on deposits up to $50,000 and 1.01 per cent above that. Since the Vanguard MMF was paying 0.05 per cent and E Trade bank was paying 0.1 per cent, it sounded like a good idea. Of course, the rate eventually dropped to 3.01 per cent on the first 50K, and recently 3.01 per cent on the first $25K, with 1.01 per cent above that. I still canít beat that anywhere else, with full insurance.
I also got in the habit of checking on our IRAís and mutual funds on line and getting all of our tax documents on line. Recently I wanted to branch out and liked Third Avenue Funds because they started offering individual investor accounts, so I opened an account there. It went OK for a while, but suddenly I could not log on to my account, even though I had both the user ID and password correct. I called them, and eventually managed to reset the password to the same value it had been before and log on. The next time I tried to log on, I was locked out again. And tonight again. This is starting to worry me a little because I elected ďE-DeliveryĒ and I like to have access to all of the documents I need for the IRS, and I like even more to feel that my money is still there and (relatively) safe. I think my error was to expand from the single fund I had in one of my IRAís and do business with a business who expects investors to buy in chunks of $50K or so. They donít expect you to look at things very often, I guess. Or else they donít have very good software.
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