28th December 2010

Thank you

The whirl of holidays and birthdays are complete, the only thing left to do is catch up on the blog and clean up the messes. Thanks to friends and relatives, this was a wonderful holiday season for us. I was so distressed going into it with no money, but people came through for us in a big way, and my kids are happily playing with their new toys.

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18th December 2010


We got our Christmas Wish! *cue the Hallelujah Chorus* Zach is among the employed again. He starts Monday. WOOHOO! :ldance:

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19th November 2008

Our immune systems are not happy

Everybody in the family seemed to get worse over the weekend, and by Monday, Zach was in the doctor’s office because he was actually getting dizzy. They didn’t have any more appointments available on Monday, so the kids and I went on Tuesday (today). Both of the kids have double ear infections, and both of the grown-ups have a sinus infection. Yeah us. We have had mild colds for weeks and weeks now, waxing and waning, but never getting totally better. Now we have antibiotics, so maybe we can finally nail this thing. Obviously, our bodies weren’t getting it taken care of without help, but I HATE taking antibiotics.

I know it doesn’t really matter, in comparision to getting everybody healthy, but dang, the hit to the pocket book with four copays, four Rx’s, and some over the counter expectorant & pain meds, besides the Metformin, Allergy meds (for me and the kids) and other various medical stuff, it just sucking away the paycheck. We have a well stocked pantry, and still have enough to get some basics, but it will be a real squeeze to get everybody fed reasonably healthy until payday. This is so frustrating. We aren’t dirt poor any more, but we are still always broke. We are behind on therapy bills again too. ugh.

Before we knew we were all going to be sick, we had to go get a new video card for my dinosaur of a computer because the old one fried. It wasn’t much, but now I am wishing we could have held out another week. Of course, it is a lot cheaper to be married to somebody who can weasle the last breath out of a computer in the long run.

Well, that was depressing, let’s end on a happy note. Pictures!

I have no idea how Zora managed to do this without Zane throwing a huge fit, but I have a feeling if he would have known what she was doing, it wouldn’t have happened.

On Friday, Zach and I went out on a date. For the first time EVER, Zora let me braid her hair as we waited for “Opa” (try as we might, we can not get her to call my Mom “Oma”. Instead, both she and dad are both “Opa”, and she refers to them as “the two Opas”.) She wanted the bows and butterfly hair clip added so she could be “toot” (cute) lol

That was the date that signalled “something is wrong” for us. We went to see “Quantum of Solace” and ended up having to leave because the movie was making us dizzy and motion sick. We felt old. lol. We have replacement tickets though, so we will try again when we are feeling better.

One last happy thought. Today when I was helping Zora buckle her shows, I asked “Are you my princess?” She said “No! I Zora!”. cute kid.

posted in Autistic Life, Health, Money, The 2 Opas (J's Parents), The Kids | 3 Comments

15th October 2008

And, the results are in…

Neither of the kids need new coats this year. WooHoo! Zane still has the mittens and hat I knit him, and Zora will probably actually fit into her mittens that match her coat this year. I might knit a hat for Zora, but she does have a hood, so it isn’t pressing.

We will need new boots for each. I can’t find Zane’s old boots, and even if I could, I know we were broke broke broke when she was his age, so they probably were really cheap and likely not in good shape anyway.

We got Zora a pair of shoes last week from Target, so that she has something with closed toes, and she is wearing an 8.5 already. I am holding off on buying her much right now because she is eating anything not nailed down, cranky, and starting to get just a bit of a pudge, so I am expecting another growth spurt any day now. I suspect she will grow into 3T a little more solidly, but I want to hang out a bit and see if the prices go down a little more with all of the economy stuff going on.

posted in Autumn, Money, Zane, Zora | 1 Comment

10th October 2008

With all of the talk of “tightening our belts”, I thought I would share some links.

We’ve been poor for a long time, so all the tips floating around on how to cut the budget have me amused, to say the least. (because we don’t have most of the luxuries they advise cutting anyway). However, I do have a pretty good list of links to help you discover your inner cheapness frugalness.

For a lot of cheap recipes and other advice, the Hillbilly Housewife is one of the best links out there.

Another good article from Zen Habits. I actually browse this blog every so often because it just has some neat ideas.

And, no frugal list would be complete with a link to Tightwad Gazette. You could buy the books, but that would sort of miss the point, wouldn’t it. (if you are one of those organized people that actually are able to remember to return the books on time and not incur embarrassing fines, they usually have the books at the library too)

posted in Money | 2 Comments

29th May 2008

Car, Insurance, Travel

Good News!
For the first few weeks of his new job, Zach will have use of the company car.  That way we have time to get together some money for a second car for the family.  He has a small amount of retirement money that he will be able to access from the state job (they take money out of your check whether you want to or not for retirement, and since it is tied to the stock market, we are losing money every month at this point anyway, and it isn’t a large sum to begin with).  Now that his last day has passed, we can either roll it into an IRA or take the money out.  Considering we could replenish the amount in just a few months, and we need a car now, we are going to get a used car with it.  (we get cars that are too old to get bank loans for).

The insurance drama
They changed the policy of how insurance is done at the school, so we won’t have insurance for the next two months.  That really stinks.  As it turns out, however, it wouldn’t matter for the therapies because our last therapy with the OT bounced because they only cover 30 sessions a year in combined ST and OT.  So, it wouldn’t have been covered anyway.  That means we can’t afford OT over the summer until the new insurance kicks in in August.  If we have anything catastrophic happen in those 60 days, we can pay $2000 to Cobra and it will backdate to cover it.  It is expensive, but at least it is something.  It does mean I will have to cancel some dr. appointments for the summer, but I can reschedule them for fall when the new insurance kicks in.

I have a call in to the private place he gets ST to see if they will still cover us with financial aid or not.  I also signed him up for a social skills camp taking place there for a week this summer, so that hangs in the balance too.  The other place doesn’t take insurance, so it doesn’t affect there.  (we are on financial aid there too)

eta:  I talked to the insurance person at the private ST, and she thinks that we are fine…loss of insurance shouldn’t affect the financial aid contract.  She did tell me to call the HR person at his new job and make sure we are still in the window for pre-existing condition covereage.  We probably are, but if we aren’t, we will need to dig up the money to pay Cobra so there isn’t too long of a window.   Between Zane and me, not covering pre-existing would be a serious, serious problem.  I haven’t had any symptoms of Endo in a long, long time, but it is still pre-existing and might affect my ability to get a hysterectomy without a lot of hoops.  (when I am done having kids, the sucker is coming out…I pay a heavy and painful price to maintain fertility, and if I was sure we were done, it would already be gone)

Prospective international travelers
We have to get passports (at least Zach does) because his company wants to send him to Germany this summer sometime.  Hopefully after Aug. 1st so we don’t have to travel without insurance.  Hopefully a little later too so that we can afford for me, and possibly Zane, to go with him.  There is no way I am traveling with a two year old that will get nothing out of the trip but make everything ten times more difficult.  If there is nobody to watch her, I would rather stay home than travel with her, even though it would be disappointing.

Plus, she isn’t vaxed yet, and I am not speeding up vaxes for that.  We might get a tetanus this summer, but we want to wait until 3 and the blood-brain barrier is closed before getting the majority of the vaxes.  (it closes sometime during this year).  Zach and I will probably need boosters, but we think Zane has everything he would need to travel, unless they require the Chicken Pox one.  I will have to double check, but I think that since we got the MMR very late (he was almost 5) we don’t need any more of those.  I also hope it is later in the summer because it will give him (and me) time to learn some German before we go.  We are thinking of getting Rosetta Stone, but the prices are eye popping.  Less than classes, but still expensive.


posted in Autistic Life, Money, OT/Sensory, ST, Stress, The Kids, Travel | 6 Comments

1st May 2008

Job Search, Food Snob

Zach and Employment

In the past, when we called the temp agencies, we usually had to wait a week to call them back, and then maybe a week later they might call us to see if a particular job matched up.  Yesterday afternoon at 2:30ish Zach called one of the temp places he has worked with before and left a message, called up another one, left a message, and got in touch with of a third one.  By the time he got off the phone with the third one, he had emails from the first two, hadn’t even answered them, and he got a call back.  And then another one.  He ended up spending an hour talking to people and emailing things to people and had to wait to go out (he was planning on running to the store with Zora right after leaving messages) because it was almost time to go to Zane’s speech therapy.  That was a surprise. 

The two more solid leads sound like there is a job in Hutch, but the pay isn’t spectacular, although my folks would be beyond thrilled if we moved back there, so there is that benefit.  (it is about an hour from here, so we could commute for a bit, but gas prices might make that a little dicey if the pay isn’t enough).  There is another solid lead for a job downtown that sounds really promising.  A good company, pretty good pay (not jaw dropping, but better than teaching), and it sounds like it would be a good match.   (who would have guessed that C++, of all of his vast computer skills, would be the one that might get him a job)  The sadly ironic part is that one of the things they would really like, that Zach doesn’t have, is the ability to speak German.  German, of all things.  lol.  I am the only person in my family that doesn’t speak German, and I grew up in a community where the only language class available was German (no Spanish or anything else).  I think I took Home-Ec, a totally useless waste of time for me (my skills were so much higher than what they taught it was beyond laughable), instead of German and I have been kicking myself for years.  So, if we get that job, it will be motivation to finally learn German beyond food and hymns.  lol.

Late last night Zach took some benchmark tests in C and C++ and got the results back today.  He did very well.  He is very proficent in C++, and considered a “Master” in C.  He did better than 93% of the people that have ever taken the test and is considered to be somebody who can mentor others in C language.  Not a surprise, but it feels good.  The company downtown was quite pleased with the results and is fast tracking the application (according to the temp person), so it is looking hopeful.

So, even though the job we really want isn’t calling back, I am SO relieved to finally hear something back that sounds good.   Neither of us want to move.  We are rooted here and don’t want to go away from my folks because they are such good grandparents to our kids (and it is really nice to have family around…I would really miss that).  The only job that would be worth moving for is the federal one, but if we can find a place here that fulfills our needs, then even that wouldn’t be as attractive.


Me, in which I realize I am a food snob

In the last few weeks, the budget has gotten so tight we are having to go back to shopping at Aldi’s and only shopping sales for meat.  I hate having to go back to that.  It is petty, but when I was going to the store, it really made me feel good to be able to buy what I was hungry for when I wanted it.  It made me feel more normal, like we weren’t so dang poor any more.  Well, even though I wasn’t going out and just being crazy about it, it was still killing our budget, especially when gas prices went up so much.  So, I realized that I have to reign it back in and go back to my old skill set.  I didn’t realize how important it had become to me to have the freedom to eat whatever fresh veggies, ect, appealed to me.  I never wanted to step foot in Aldis again because it represents a time in my life when food was scarce and I lived in fear of not having enough (because sometimes there wasn’t enough). 

However, we did it.  As depressing as it is, it is really nice to be able to do it smoothly.  Being able to cook at a really frugal level is a skill that I guess I haven’t lost.  The nice thing is that we aren’t having to have meal after meal of beans and rice or white noodles or ramen noodles with no meat, not because we are vegetarian, but because we can’t afford it.  This time, I am able to get some meat, just maybe not exactly what (or as much) I want, but it I am still able to make really good meals because I know how to cook from absolute scratch.  (pretty much anything in a box or can is out for us anyway because I am allergic to onions).  We cut out almost all of the snack foods, except a few select things for the kids (some cereal and pretzels) and it looks like I was able to stretch the budget enough that I only spent $100 in the last two weeks to feed my family, including at least one meal with meat every day, and I still have a few leftovers in the fridge for when the next paycheck starts tomorrow.  I am proud of myself for sucking it up and pulling myself out of the shallow little pity party I was having for myself.  It was stupid.  Just because we have to be on a tight budget doesn’t mean we will suddenly have nothing.  I know that is silly, but I felt like if we started living like that again, we would shoot back into being super poor again becuase it brought up so many old feelings.  Not reasonable, but once I realized what was getting in the way, I was able to work through it and our lives are better for it. 


posted in Food, Money, Shopping | 8 Comments

18th April 2008

Blah, and more Blah

Still feeling a bit on the yucky side, so everything seemed harder than it had to be today.   Last night a cough kicked in and destroyed my night’s sleep.   I drug myself through Zane’s ST, then his Reading Explorers, then tried to take a nap (coughing still, so it wasn’t really successful), dragged myself to his ST for the evening, then came back home to a girl child who still hadn’t taken a nap and was acting like it.  I finally got into the shower this evening at 9, and while standing there I realized I was missing the Autism Parent’s meetup group and just about started crying.  Then, I put Zora to bed, fell asleep next to her for about an hour in an awkward position, only to wake up and have my shoulder and back throbbing.  As I was getting some ibuprofin for my shoulder/back, Zach informs me that we aren’t going to be moving out to the west coast because the place he was interviewing didn’t feel like they could “find the right fit” for him.  Now, I didn’t really want to move out to the west coast, but I did really want the job because he would have loved it.  So, there are mixed feelings about that.  I am just starting to get a little stressed out “what happens after May”.  *sigh*

posted in Autistic Life, Health, Me, Money, ST, The Kids | 2 Comments

16th April 2008

Hard Drive busted and other things

I am feeling slightly better today, so it might have just been allergies.  I hope it is just allergies because the last thing we need right now is for Zach to get sick.

The hard drive on Zach’s computer bit the dust.  This is a very bad thing since his lesson plans were on that computer.  However, the good news is that we had to get a laptop earlier this semester for him to do his thesis, so all of his thesis stuff is on the working computer.  Suddenly, getting that laptop seems like the best decision we have made in a while, even though it was something we couldn’t really afford at the time. 

My children will be well exfoliated by the end of the day.  I pulled the top off of the sand and water table today and added just a bit of water to it.  Zora has been in and out all day playing in it, but she keeps getting upset that she has sand on her and comes to me to help her wipe it off.  I get her cleaned off, and three minutes later she is out there again.  Rinse and Repeat…literally.  Zane joins her occasionally, and then I hear yelling as they fight over toys.  ugh. 

Today I found out that the house that burned to the ground in a neighboring town (the family is fine, but the dog didn’t make it out) belonged to an online acquaintance.  They lost everything.  They haven’t had an easy couple of years anyway and I am so sad for them.  It has been weighing on my mind all day.

posted in Computers, Money, The Kids | Comments Off

15th April 2008

Lucky 13

My best friend, followed by mom called today to wish us happy anniversary.  I didn’t even realize it was my anniversary until I was talking to my friend and she mentions “…so he only has 15 days to finish the thesis?”  and I went “yeah…wait a minute…is it the 15th today?”  duh. 

Not feeling particularly celebratory today.  We have $3 in our bank account, I have a sore throat, headache, my chest feels tight, and the beginning of an ear infection.  The ST was sick today, so Zane didn’t have therapy today and I am wondering if I caught whatever she has.  (stuff is going around at all of our therapy providers actually). 

Zach has spent most of the day in front of the computer cussing at the screen and asking me math/computer questions that I certainly hope are rhetorical because I don’t even understand half the words in the sentence.  lol.  He is snuggling and singing with his favorite kids right now, taking a break.  Makes my heart happy to see him with the kids.

So, 13 years ago we got married.  One of the top days of my life.  I made a really good decision that day. 

posted in Anniversary, Autistic Life, Health, Money, ST, Zach & Jennifer | 7 Comments

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