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Home > Archive: January, 2010

Archive for January, 2010

Loving Life.

January 30th, 2010 at 11:20 am

So we won't be starting DW's drug treatment until this summer. The Doctor heading the treatment is rewriting the protocol, and they won't be accepting any new cases for the study until June 1st at the earliest. So I go back to work on Monday for the first time since August 24th. It was a nice break, but I've been ready to go back to work since before Christmas. I get 6 months off this fall too with the transplant and drugs, so anyway...

My Platoon SGT wants me to go talk to re-enlistment this week. Not real high on that idea, but I will anyway. To re-up right now can't give me anything I don't already have. I want to stay at Ft. Leavenworth - so re-enlisting for stabilization or choice of duty station doesn't make sense since I can't be moved without re-enlisting and I don't have to re-enlist until next August. So 1 year stabilization doesn't give me anything extra.

The only incentive to re-enlist now would be a cash bonus. But to do that, I fore go the $2,000 I have coming in May and the other $2,000 I have coming next May. So whatever amount I re-up for, I would have to subtract $4,000 from that to see what "extra" I'm really getting. It will take at least $14,000 to get me to re-up now as opposed to later. I was told that I'll be guaranteed to stay here until the transplant is done and DW can take care of herself again either way, which is about as much as I would get with a 1 year stabilization if I do re-up in August '11. I'd want that in writing though. If I can see a spare $10K then yeah, otherwise, I'll wait until it benefits me the most. I really don't see that much cash being thrown my way, but hey. Everyone can dream.

Going back to work will be a bit different. Both of the guys I've been working with for the past 2 years on a daily basis are leaving in the next couple weeks, and I get two new guys to train. It's not that the new guys don't know their jobs - it's that I'm lower ranking than both of them, but I've been working in the same section for 4 years and they are both new to the section. The guys I was with treated me as an equal because I did as much work as them and pulled my own. I can't expect the same from these new guys right off the bat, but I'm sure it won't take too long. I'm due a promotion from November anyway, but I couldn't get it until I came back to work. So we'll see what happens. I pretty much just don't want to be pushed around at work, which tends to happen with new bosses.

Nothing else really going on. Close on our land purchase in the next few weeks I suppose. Still waiting on DW's W-2's so we can file our taxes. Kind of nervous about filing because I don't know if I lowered our with-holdings too much and we'll owe. California owes me $87, so that can go towards whatever Federal I owe, if any.

Oh - almost forgot. We got $567.44 back on my trip to Minnesota as a reimbursement. Cost was about $240, so we came out way ahead. And we got back around $440 as excess in our escrow account. That all went into savings, which put it back up to where it needed to be. Now whatever extra we get can start going into finishing up our currently half-way finished basement. That's my goal now - to finish the basement before we go to Minnesota for DW's drug treatments for her transplant.

Going to a church dinner/silent auction that's a youth fundraiser tonight with a bunch of friends. Heh - it's amusing to me that it's at a Catholic church - and I've never been to a Catholic church before - and that at the dinner they are selling $1 a bottle beer. It's very ironic to me that a church is selling beer at a youth fundraiser. But anyway, off to work-out. Lost 10 lbs since Wednesday getting back in shape. I had put on about 25lbs since I stopped working, so now I just have another 15 to go. Give it 2 weeks tops. Lots of oatmeal, protein shakes, and cardio.

Travel budget?

January 24th, 2010 at 07:03 am

So the drive home wasn't bad. Dense fog and rain through southern MN and nothing but light rain and a lot of wind in IA. Made it in 6 hours, which is the average.

So I'm trying to figure out how we're going to cover at home expenses and medical travel costs (food, hotels, gas) while we're gone for DW's drug treatment. Right now we have enough in savings to just pull a bit out for a weeks long trip, and then get it reimbursed by my job when I get back. DW's drug treatment is 4 months long. We go to Mayo for 3 weeks, then home a week, and do that 4 times. Plus another month for the transplant and recovery. So we need to be able to cover 3 weeks worth of expenses there at a shot, then get it reimbursed by my job. We would basically be using the same money each time, because it would be reimbursed by the time we went back to Minnesota.

The hotel is $580 for a month, or $225 for a week, so it makes more sense to just get the a hotel room for a month at a time. It has a kitchenette in it - microwave, stove top, and small fridge. So we could reasonably go to the store and get groceries and cook as opposed to getting fat eating out all the time. So I would say our food budget wouldn't change much - maybe be $350 a month instead of $250. Plus gas is about 25 cents a gallon higher there, and we use about 40 miles a day there round trip on the hotel. So that raises our gas budget from $150 a month to about $250 when you figure in the $80 in gas it takes to get there and back. Total monthly costs go up by roughly $780 a month.

We currently pay $150 a month on our maid service - yes I know, it's a lot for something we can do ourselves. You have no idea how much it has improved our marriage to have it, because DW and I would fight all weekend when we did the house cleaning. It's money well spent, IMO. Anyway, we will cancel that for the time we are in Mayo, so for 5 months.

That makes our cost increase go from $780ish to about $530ish. We have that in savings without touching the EF. So would it be a good idea to just pull out $750 from savings and use that, giving us $220 in wiggle room? Then have it reimbursed each month, and keep using it until the transplant is done, at which time it will be reimbursed into the savings account.

The other thing is that my jobs mileage rate is 50 cents a mile. So I get $370 a trip for gas. They don't cover the gas while we're there - they cover the travel mileage to get there and back. So if we spend $250 a month in gas, and get everything else reimbursed, we come out ahead $120 a month. Over the course of 5 months of that, and 5 trips, we come out ahead $600. So really, we could be putting that extra $120 a month back into the savings account each month.

Does this make sense to everybody as far as a financial plan to cover the expenses of the trip? We could do this without changing any of our budget each month - just by taking $750 out of simple savings and having it reimbursed.

The alternative is to get a pay advance, which completely screws up the budget. I get my bonus in May, which is half way through the drug treatment. I just don't want to turn down the pay advance and go off half cocked in doing so. I think I've looked at everything here, but I'm just not certain. We have $2000 in our EF right now and are putting an extra $835 into it each month. We could just stop doing that instead of getting a pay advance if need be.

Am I overlooking anything?

A good week.

January 22nd, 2010 at 02:25 pm

Everything seems to have gone good at Mayo. Trip up was a bit scary, saw 17 vehicles wrecked along the way in Iowa, including an over-turned semi.

All the tests came back fine, nothing to worry about. Get the final vote on Wednesday, and should find out when DW starts her drug treatments then as well.

So now I get to attempt the 6 hour drive back to Kansas City in this eventful weather. Made it up in one piece, should make it back the same. Wish me luck.

Another Day.

January 15th, 2010 at 07:36 am

So a few days ago I made an offer on a small piece of land, nothing much - 7.34 acres. Land around here usually goes for a minimum of $3,000 an acre and this was listed for $13,500. I got it for $12,500 plus closing costs, and the seller pays the survey fees. Comes out to about $13,100 for me. I did finance it over 5 years at 6%. I figure I will pay it off in 12-18 months. Land right down the street from it is listed at $44,500 for 5 acres, same condition. I was thinking of just re-listing it, but have decided to hang onto it as a hedge against inflation. I suspect we will see some hyperinflation over the next ten to fifteen years. Land will always match inflation.

Got quite upset at Tricare. I was told to get medicare Pt. B by our local office, which we did. Now, a case manager from Tricare called us and told me to cancel the medicare Pt. B, because I'll be responsible for the $155 a month premiums. I had done all the work with social security to get Pt. B, only to have to go cancel it. Irritates me.

My life has been fighting insurance agents lately. Not fun, but I guess it's productive.

Kinda disappointing to get paid and then have almost all the money leave the account just as fast as it came in. We started doing an ACH payment to our money market for $835 a month so that the EF actually gets done this year. DW doesn't like it, but she realizes we have to have it done before we adopt. This way, it will be done by the time she's back to work, and we can then save her paychecks to pay for the adoption.

Getting ready to file taxes, as are most of us. Expect in the ball park of $500 back, tops. Probably much less, but we'll wait and see.

Nothing too much else going on. Leave for Minnesota on Wednesday morning, get back late Friday night if everything goes as planned.

Social Security

January 5th, 2010 at 06:14 am

So DW and I are off to the Social Security office when she finishes dialysis. Fun stuff. We're getting her put on Medicare Part B. She supposedly just has to sign one form since she already has Part A and Disability. We shall see.