My new ride, Fraelsi

My new ride, Fraelsi
Fraelsi means Freedom in Farose

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Weather and coming plans

Our weather this winter is colder harder winds than any winter in the past 10 years, this makes my 11th winter in central Illinois.   But my old house has made progress, the utility bills have never gotten over $250 for the coldest month.  I now have at least 600 more feet of living space, that is not finished so I know the attic looses heat, the kitchen windows still need replaced so they loose heat and both front and back doors need work or replaced so I loose heat there.
So, I will not gripe about high utility bills, I make progress every year on the energy gain, and the old house makes a bit of progress.
The federal return has been accepted, I will know by 2/3 when to expect the deposit into my account and the paperwork has been sent off to the surveyor so he can work up costs for me.  I hope to see that property survey done before the end of Feb., and have some funds from the tax return to at least set the corner posts for chain link fencing for most of my place.
And I have started the work on my donation to the UFDC convention this year, it will be a 16" Kish Seasons doll with a wardrobe.  I don't know how many outfits she will end up with but panties, nighty and the first dress are cut out and waiting for me to start the machine work.
Finances are snug again this week but not impossible, I have bills paid that need paid, food for humans, food for the dog and parrots, but not the extra $25 for membership in AQS, which I plan to get back in.  My state taxes still need done and this year it looks like there might be enough refund to buy the scooter a wind screen.  
I hope for some extra money for drywall as I would like to finish the ceiling in the north studio area and both the north and south end walls.  I do have part of the north end wall done but none of the south end wall, and still have both sides of the ceiling slope on the south end to do.
The current sock knitting is a pair for Jake's girlfriend, will soon be doing heels in them, she picked the yarn from my stash, and the stash grew from the vacation days I was able to cash out when I went from hourly management back to production.  I spread that extra money around, a new, large, top quality frying pan, yarns, a bit on debt, a couple pair of new jeans.
Life here looks pretty solid, not perfect, not always easy but it works, I make some progress every month on debt load, some progress on projects, and am content, often happy.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Vacation Time

I managed to get a few things done today, laundry is done and most is put away.  I have suitcases out to pack for my holiday in Paducah and have started to pack.
Jake lent me a needed hand so I could finally get the outlet in the book nook, the outlet and light switch done for the ceiling light in the studio done.  So, the box fan is now moved to the north side of the book nook, the humidifier no longer is using an extension cord and it is so handy to turn that overhead light on with an easy to find switch instead of trying to find the pull cord.
Shadow helped me spread out 2 bags of mulch so that eliminates 1 more mud area, the truck is down to the shop for the oil change.
Federal taxes are done and in the cyber pipeline for the IRS, state taxes are done on paper, I will do them at the free state web site next month, my normal tax filing system.  I am glad to have that done, know what my refund will be and able to plan what I want on that priority list.
And I did some work on doll clothes patterns, worked on a doll dress that needs finished.  I am not content with the pattern yet but will get the snaps on this dress and sort out some fabric to cut another with the pattern changes I want to try out.
Tomorrow after the truck is out of the shop I want to haul some things to the thrift shop, that clears a bit of space and I found Ben's missing clothes.  Packed in the suitcase I had planned to use, he is glad to know where his missing clothes are and I might haul them up to him so I can reclaim my luggage and use it.
I hope to get the rest of my trip planning done, shops ans maps, charge up batteries on things including my camera, look over the road map, pack up the knitting and hand sewing projects, wash dishes and mop the kitchen floor.  Both Larry and I are looking forward to the trip and so far the weather reports look favorable.
And maybe I can get a bit more drywall work done after I get back.  The south wall of my attic retreat is my current area to work on.  It will do a lot for energy savings and I can also get my flat screen on the wall mount, the antique library table down to the living room and storage cube system in under the tv.
Every bit of progress helps, and I like it when I gain both more energy effecient and better storage, more tidy and more comfortable living spaces.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

This year I will work on

Putting my financial house into better order, being more thoughtful about my long term goals and what I need to do financially to reach them.
I have to plan for having to be on disability or retiring much earlier than I hope to, and that means managing my money better than I have been doing lately.
Yes, the old house has made some progress and the debt load has dropped, despite adding a few dolls to my collection and financing the Rebel.  But I need to get tighter about spending, watch how I spend a bit better, keep gaining on the progress I am making.
I now am putting 7% of every paycheck into my 401k, and Cargill puts or should be putting in 3% for me, they will match up to that amount.  So that will build up and be there for later on, much later, I hope.
Any work I do on the house that makes it more energy effecient will pay off in time, from changing some lights to LED from fluorescent, doubt if there are very many incandescent bulbs left in my house to change out but the newest and most energy saving is LED, costly but for places where it takes a ladder for me to change the bulb, they are the first to change out, with the lights that are on the most, that are left on the most next on that list.
Drywall work in the attic area and get started with the bathroom up there, beginning with the ceiling light/exhaust/heat unit I want in there.  I need it in and vented out the south wall of the house before I can close up the south ceiling of my retreat area as I need access to that outer wall from the inside also when I do the hole and put the outside vent stuff in place.
I hope to get the last 2 windows in the house dealt with, the kitchen is the only room
to need windows replaced and it would be great to afford them this summer.
I am managing ok, I just know I can manage better, see the debt load go down a bit faster, make work on the house a bigger priority than it has been all too often.
Fortunately for me, I have no man trying to get his sticky fingers on my funds or derail my goals in life, just my moods and wants to deal with and I can usually make me behave, and when I splurge, I am the one who has to make it balance out.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Cold, snow and No work!

Ok, so that won't be so great if it lasts very long but we had no production at the plant today, this snowstorm and the cold has the pig trucks off the road, too cold to haul pigs to the plant, we don't want them frozen to death or damaged by the cold.
And I am ok with being off work, know I will see overtime on Saturday but am on vacation next week so would like my check to be as large as possible, please. 
I shoveled out here early yesterday and then across the street for Chuck and Alberta, and then again just after noon, wanted to get it done before the temps really dropped and the winds came up. It was 24 when I got up yesterday, 20 when I first shoveled out, 18 when I did it again and -9 when I woke up this morning with 30 mph winds. 
That bike of mine, and the scooter are under their covers and I did remove some of the snow from the patio, need to make sure I can get into the utility area if need be.  But that summer photo here on my blog sure looks good this time of year.  We hit a high of 4 above 0 F today, Woo, a real heat wave.
The magnetic engine heater moved from my truck to Jake's jeep before I started my truck, and I cleared the snow off both this morning.  Son is off to see the girlfriend and took Shadow so it's just me and 3 loud, small parrots.
I am glad I have worked on insulating the foundation, replacing windows, put a lot of insulation in the attic, have gotten part of the drywall work done up there but when it gets this cold and windy, I know where I have a lot of heat loss problems to work on still.
The outer walls are poorly insulated, blown in and work done for prior owners/low income free stuff and a poor quality job done, some spaces not done, you can tell by the plugs outside, some done lower so insulation is probably settled down to 4-6 feet and the ceiling is 9+ feet from the floor. 
In time I will need to strip the old asphalt siding off, install insulation board and then something for siding.  My dream is to have the outside finished with stucco, but that will depend on what I can afford when that time comes.  I know I will do all I can to avoid cheap vinyl siding, don't like how it looks, do not like how it holds up and I want better, I want something that aesthetically suits my eyes and that will last for many years with little or no maintenance work or costs.
Well, I am in the living room corner, on the desk computer and getting chilly so am going to shut this down and move somewhere warmer and more comfortable, need to set my alarm for work tomorrow as I have not yet seen any cancellations for work tomorrow and I do want the paycheck.
Off to find that warm corner, my book, knitting, music and enjoy my home and my really great life.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

2014, getting it started

Shadow and I ended last year early, both the dog and I tucked in our beds before 8:30, and slept soundly until after 5a.m.  Now I have a load of laundry in the dryer, coffee is made, plans to put clean sheets on my bed up in my attic retreat and get the dishes done.
Temps are above 20 here, sky is gray but I don't see much movement in the tree branches or the dead pampas grass, my wind indicaters here.
Am tired and hurt and will give in soon and take something for pain.  But I am not on prescription drugs for pain, so, all things considered, that is a huge plus in my small life.
Jake's socks are close to done, but my hands are not up to much knitting and my job duties at the plant so I sleep in splints, do hand stretches and such and knit very little for now.  It  old be worse and I have hurt worse, my hands have been worse.
Jake went out with friends yesterday and called after 8 last night to check on Shadow and me, we were tucked in our beds, you have fun and stay off the roads.  He will show up some time today but I might be over at Larry's with a movie.
Lots of ads for sales in my email, not much to tempt me but did see a great readers/knitter's bag that I would like to have.  But not enough to buy it right now.  I have vacation plans with Larry in 2 weeks and that means watching the pennies now so I can pay all my bills, still have food and gas money and be able to have play money too.
The trip, motel costs and so forth are my Christmas gift to Larry, a few days winter escape, play tourist down in Paducah KY, see the National Quilt Museum, play tourist a bit, eat out some,  if the weather allows.  The trip moves to April if the weather is not good for a mid-January holiday.
I have a doll wardrobe project  in mind, not the clothing, but the trunk/case to hold the clothes, shoes and doll.  Will have to keyboard and rough sketch what I have in mind and then go shopping for the materials to turn a purchased mini trunk/ suitcase into the dolly box my mind is picturing.
The house is so quiet when I am here with just Shadow and the birds, no tv or radio on yet, no computer games going,