Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Confessions

Its Friday friends. I know so many of you are stuck under 86 feet of snow. I am so so sorry. I am so sorry that it is going to be in the 70's down here with sunshine for most of the weekend. (Yes, I am a jerk)

Here are my weekly confessions:

1.We had a coworker come to our house to help us do some HVAC work.  My biggest concern was that he would see my bathroom that is littered with books, dirty clothes, and other miscellaneous items. I made P leave work early to rush home to clean the house and pick up all my junk before my coworker came to the house. I am a slob. And I read in the restroom.

2. I have been late to work nearly every single day this week. There is no reason why I should have been running so late, I just was.

3. I picked up dog poo with my hands..again.  We have 2 dogs, and they poo so much. This week, I put on gloves, and walked around the yard and hand picked up all the poo. Then I bathed in hand sanitizer.

4. P sause and I ate a whole cake in 2 days.  This past month, we have had his birthday, my birthday, valentines day, and our anniversary. He made us a cake. We ate the whole cake between Saturday and Sunday. And, he made a double batch of homemade icing. It was so good.

5.I spent a few days talking to our new Roomba. When we first got it, I said, "Hey Roomba come clean in here." The vacuum just happened to come my way. So I thought it responded to voices. Turns out, it does not respond to voice commands. I spent the last few days calling the Roomba like I do my dogs, and it was not responding. After some quick internet research, turns out, it does not commanded by voice.

Fess up friends.

Happy Friday!!! :)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Case for Cash

When you see this sign, what do you think of? I used to think "My happy place," "My favorite store," or according to my husband, "My Mother Ship."

Now, when I see that sign, I wonder if my account information was stolen or if there was an attempted hacking on my bank account which is connected to my debit card in the recent data breech. I think about the time I spent canceling our debit cards, and the waiting to get a new ones. I think about how angry I am that I cannot trust my favorite store with my financial information. 

I think the same thing when each time I drive by these stores. 

Ultimately, the fact that these major stores, with droves of IT professionals and supposedly "secure checkout" were unable to protect the privacy and identity of millions of people around the globe makes me mad, nervous, and angry. We put our trust into the stores and institutions to protect us and our information. Unfortunately, they haven't. I hope that these stores, and others have put more safeguards in place to protect their customers, but I know that no matter how high the gate, someone will be able to find a way around. 

All of these occurrences, just reaffirm our decision to use predominantly cash in our every day purchases. Each month, we use cash for our groceries, dry cleaning, gas, entertainment, home goods, and dog supplies. Increasingly, I have come to realize that my husband and I are a bit "out there" and that financially speaking, we live on the fringes of the American society. 

For me, every time I hear of a data breech, it makes me want to push further and further away from the "normal" way of handling our finances. Yes, carrying around cash can be dangerous, but I think we have seen its no more dangerous than having your entire account wiped out, and your social security number being used to make fraudulent purchases. I would rather lose $500.00 in cash, than lose my identity to some hacker.

When it comes to cash or card, for me, I will chose cash, every time. I cannot eliminate the risk of having my information stolen, that is nearly impossible in the world we live in. But, I can reduce the amount of time my information is thrown out there, and I have to believe that will reduce my exposure to these criminals.

Cash or card, how do you roll?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

We bought a robot

We should probably change our names to the Jetsons now, because as you can see, we purchased a robot.

This is the Roomba 770, and this sucker aint cheap, but we hope the investment will pay off.

This purchase is a bit of a splurge. We have only been talking about getting one for a few weeks, and we did a little research, but still wanted to go to a store and see the size in person, and get a feel for how sturdy this little machine was. We purchased this little jewel from Best Buy on Sunday, and we have 30 days to decide if we want to keep it.

This was purchased for 2 reasons. Reason one--dog hair. One of our dog's shed really badly. (Not to call any dogs out, but its the white one. He sheds so much, it basically looks like its snowing when he shakes.)

The 2nd reason, and most important--allergies. While I am not allergic to the dogs, I am highly allergic to dust, dust mites, and some tree pollens. These past few weeks, I have been miserable. I am congested, watery eyed, and all nasal passages are blocked. Plus, I have developed a concerning cough that comes out at night. The allergist has prescribed me some meds, which are helping a bit. She also suggested I buy specialty pillows, a certain mattress cover, and even said a Roomba may be a good idea for us.

After talking with the sales rep, watching the videos, and using our machine, we really like it. The Roomba is not meant to replace a regular vacuum, it is meant for daily maintenance. Each week, when we do our deep clean, we currently use two vacuums...a back pack vac with a long arm and HEPA filter to get the hardwood floors and under furniture where those dust bunnies hide, and a normal vacuum for all the rugs in the house. So our hope is that our little friend will run during the week.

The set up of the Roomba was really easy. We just charged it, and turned it on. We programmed it to run every morning at 6:00 AM for about 2 hours. We can adjust the run time, where it should go, and the frequency. The filter box that holds dust and debris is a bit small, so we have found that for our size home and circumstance, we have to empty it about once an hour, which takes less than a minute to do.

My review after living with this robot for less that 48 hours---I like it! I hope that it will be effective enough to provide a bit of relief for my allergies.

Anyone have a Roomba? Do you like it? Let me know.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Money Monday: Don't Refinance, Recast your mortgage instead.

A year and a half ago, my husband and I purchased our first home. For us, home ownership has been a dream. We rented for 5 years, and in each place we rented, we constantly dreamed about what we would do with the house or apartment if we owned it. We love working in the yard, doing routine maintenance, and doing projects around the house. For us, our home will never be "finished," it will always be a work in progress. 

One area that in which we are very driven is to pay off our home as quickly as possible.  We talk about what life will look like or be like when we don't have a mortgage payment. For us, that means freedom. It means not being tied down to a job we hate just because we have bills to pay. It means options. It means the ability to give to others in a really big and dramatic way. 

We are always looking for ways to squeeze out a few more dollars from our budget to put towards an extra payment to the mortgage. While we have a 30 year fixed loan, we are hoping to have it paid off in the next 7-10 years.

Fortunately for us, we purchased our home at the bottom of the market, and we were able to get a 4.00% fixed rate. This is a very low rate, and we are happy to have it, but I called a few mortgage companies to get some information about doing a refinance to reduce our interest rate a bit. After talking with several companies, we came to find out that because of our aggressive repayment schedule, the refi would not make sense for us. 

One company, introduced me to the idea of a Mortgage Recast, or re-amortization. First, the homeowner must check with their lender to see if you qualify. Most banks charge a $250.00 fee to recast a mortgage, which, compared to a refi is nothing. 

Next, the homeowner then brings a substantial  amount to the table (basically a 2nd down payment, the average is at least 10% of the remaining balance). Those funds are applied to the unpaid principal, and then, the monthly payment is reduced. The loan term remains the same, but it because you made a large down payment, you will pay less in interest and you will be able to reduce your monthly payment. 

This option is great for homeowners who have a cash reserve and are looking to free up some cash flow in their budget for the future, or for homeowners who don't qualify for a refi, like us. 

While this is not something we have done yet, we have looking into it quite a bit, and we are both intrigued by the idea. First, it would be great to reduce the principal substantially, and second, if we were able to free up some funds currently allocated to our monthly mortgage payment, it would allow us to work towards some other goals we have in mind as well. 

The home we are living in now is not likely going to be our "forever home." But, we know the more we pay off, the less we pay in interest to the bank, and when we sell, we should be able to recoup all those funds. 

Anyone out there ever done a recast? Would love to hear your feedback. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday Confessions

Hi Kittens! Hope you have all had fabulous week.

Here ar emu weekly confessions.

1.I stepped in dog poo--4 weeks ago. I just cleaned off those shoes this week. For the last month, they have been sitting on the porch and I have walked by them every single day for a month.

2. I continue to walk around the house while pretending to be on ice skates.  I don't think I have walked down the hall without it being backwards with my arms out.

3. We watched the entire series of House of Cards, Season 2 last weekend. We basically said time out to life, and did nothing other than watch t.v. all weekend.

All right, fess up friends!

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Vday poem and Friday Confessions, Olympic Style

Happy day of love y'all.

In honor of today's love, here is my favorite poem for you all. I posted this years ago, but its so cute!
I love you more than applesauce,
Than peach and a plum,
Than chocolate hearts,
And cherry tarts,
And berry bubble gum.
I love you more than lemonade,
And seven layer cake,
thank lollipops,
And candy drops,
And thick vanilla shake.
I love you more than marzipan,
than marmalade on toast,
For the love of pies of any size,
but I love you the most.
Jack Prelutsky.

Confession time. With the Olympics going on, I have been, well, not the nicest.

1.Apparently ice dancing is a thing, and they flail their hand about quite a bit. So I have been walking around the house and office flailing about saying "do you think that is worthy of gold?"

2. I have been heated debates about some of the so called "sports." I cannot understand how curling is in the Olympics. It rates right up there with rhythmic gymnastics.

3. I have been watching the Olympics on our iPad during work. So, not a ton of work has been done this week.

4. I have been cheering against other countries.  During ice skating, when its not America, Canada,  England, I am rooting for the athlete on the ice to fall. I spent one 4 minute period chanting fall, fall, fall, fall.

(Looking back, I do feel a bit bad, because these people put in so much time and effort to their event. Over all, I am proud of all of the athletes.)

Fess up friends.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

How I get into Beast Mode

About a month ago, I was at Jamba Juice getting my Saturday morning smoothie after a killer Pure Barre class (one medium Berry Upbeat, holy yum), when the juicer asked if I wanted a wheat grass shot. I declined the "enticing" offer. I paid for my drink, and went merrily on my way. When I got home, I started researching wheat grass, was impressed by what I read, so I decided to pick some up when I went to the store.

Drinking wheat grass is probably the most hard core healthy thing I do. Full disclosure, this stuff is just nasty, and if I think about it too long before I drink it, I can actually make myself gag. Its green, its gritty, and it stinks. Not the most appetizing drink in the world.

Some people make green smoothies, but I have neither the time, nor the desire to clean all the tools it takes to make a smoothie each morning. My cocktail is 1/4 of a cup of juice, 1 scoop wheat grass, then a 1/4 cup of water. Stir it around, then slam it down.

I do like to drink my grass out of a nice glass, just because it makes me feel fancy. After I drink it, I immediately shove a piece of an orange in my mouth to get rid of the taste, which helps immensely.

The best part, P decided to go along with it, and now chugs grass right beside me each morning.

Given that it stinks, tastes like grass that was chewed up and spit out by a cow, has the texture of sand, and is green, why the hell do this to myself?

For the health benefits. Here is what that green "goodness" does.

-Has vitamins A, C, E, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, and Amino Acids
- Increases production of hemoglobin (I don't know what that means, but it sounds important)
-Improves diabetes, prevents tooth decay, improves wound healing, and prevents bacterial infections
-Removes cancer causing agents front he body and removes toxins from the liver and blood
-Reduced blood pressure, improves indigestion, and lowers cholesterol
-Energizes the body and mind
-1 scoop is equivalent to eating 5 servings of veggies
-Aids metabolism and is a good tool for weight control
-Boots the immune system
-And so much more!!!

In the end, I figure that drinking this nasty concoction takes about 10 seconds of my day, but it provides so many health benefits, that to me, its pretty much worth it. After I drink it, I imagine all the greens making their way through my body, doing all sorts of good things for me.

I don't know if it is mental, but the mornings that I drink my grass, I feel more energized, alert, and sunny. I feel healthier and more alert immediately. (What, I said it may be mental).

Yes, I will burp up a bit of it throughout the morning drive to work, and it is quite unpleasant. Yes, I have walked into the office with green bits in my teeth and in the corners of my mouth. Yes, just thinking about the taste and texture right now sends shivers up my spine.

But, in the end, I feel good about what I am doing, and I don't see a down side to it.

Ever tried wheat grass? What did you think? Whats the craziest thing you have done for your health?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday Confessions

Hey Peeps! I have been MIA for a while on the blog--but to my defense, I've just been super lazy.
So I realize laziness is not a valid excuse, but I promise to do better by you.

Lets get our confess on! (Did you see what I did there confess...on --------to almost make the word confession??)
Sorry, its about 4:00 AM and I am a bit delirious right now.

1.I called P and A Hole on his birthday. P sauce and I don't have credit cards, all we have is 1 debit card linked to our checking account, so sometimes, it is a bit hard to surprise each other with a gift. I gave him explicit instructions not to look at our bank account online because I bought him something.  He looked "accidentally" and asked me what I bought at the Home Depot. I got ticked, called him the bad word, and told him he ruined my day, which was actually his day.

2. I have managed to use the word sexting in inappropriate settings. Can everyone just agree with me that the word sexting is hilarious? I just recently learned the word, so I use it all the time. Every time P gets a text, I say "Who's sexting you" and giggle. I may have used the word sexting with my boss.

3. I have a hole in the crotch of my favorite sweat pants, but I have still been wearing them.  So one of the dogs is either super horny or super mad at P and I, because he has been chewing things lately. He has chewed the crotch area out of 2 pair of pants, mine and P's, as well as a t-shirt of P's and some of my underwear. Everything has been thrown out, except for my sweat pants. They are the most comfortable sweats in the world, and I sleep in them, and there is a big big hole in the front of the pants, but that has not stopped me from wearing them. They are just not nearly as warm as they once were.

Happy Friday, and fess up friends!!!!