Cards, Cards everywhere!

You know that sinking feeling… that I’m overwhelmed and I just can’t seem to get a break, grab a breather, find a bit of relief?

Yeah, even I get there at times. I know, I am a pretty eager, perky, and enthused individual, but don’t let that coating fool you, even mobile home women get the blues.

Two weeks ago, I was feeling particularly overwhelmed. Just a kick in the gut sort of reaction but yet, I was a little surprised because I only had like 20 farm to do cards and 11 work cards. And most of those were big projects that I wasn’t ready or prepared to get started on. Some required better weather or more funds! (Ain’t that the truth???) So why was I feeling this way? I laid down to do a little reading, flipped on my bed so I could watch out the window at the foot of my bed, back into the courtyard. And then I thought, hmmm… I forgot to add a card about making a more permanent latch for the courtyard gate. And oh, I wanted to move the naked lady lilles that the sheep were eating, into the courtyard. And I wanted to fill up the little garden beds with more compost before spring. And I needed to get that door fixed to the potter’s shed. And I wanted to get a little red bud tree to plant.

In the span of like 3 minutes I had half a dozen cards in my mind JUST FOR THE COURTYARD!!!

Oh no…. I knew what the problem was. I was carrying way way too many to do items in my head!!! I started to think about that and suddenly, I was coming up with work cards and family stuff I needed to do and so on! Oh my gosh… I got right up and went and got a stack of cards and went back to sit up against a few pillows, and slowly walk through the farm and my life and see what I was missing.

Well, apparently, a lot. I ended up with 125 farm cards… and 45 work/personal cards!!! AGH!!! I felt drained, relieved yet staring at the cards almost filled me with more dread and worry… I have over 170 cards of to dos!!! AGH!!!!!!

So I did what any self respecting overwhelmed person did, I took a nap. And I just went through the things in my mind, in that pre-sleep dozing that I thought were pretty important. I mean, setting up some bricks around the little chicken coop for a flower bed was hardly a priority. When I woke, I sorted them into a couple piles… easy and fast do nows…. MUST DO Oh my gosh I nearly forgots…. nice for better weather…. when money allowed… and that really helped. And then, I just got started.

That was two weeks ago. I am happy to report that we have whittled it down some. 105 farm cards. 30 work cards. 35 cards done in 2 weeks. Trying to get 2 or 3 done a day, and at the very least, one a day. (We don’t count daily chores in there, just too many cards to write out and all that.) It’s feeling a little better now, some days are wonderful, other days, well, that over 100 thing kind of bothers me. I know that many many of the farm cards are dependent on nicer weather and funds. And they are more “wish” cards, that are goals we would like to meet but may take most of the summer and that’s fine. And work cards, nearly all my client needs are fulfilled and they are mostly company projects and “wish” cards as well.

We’re just coming out of a very slow period and money has been really tight. It’s getting a little better and we’re whittling away at some of the large bills that seemed to drop into our new year’s laps! Still have taxes coming up… well to fix (real soon) and our gigormous electric bill. (Thank goodness it was ONLY $267 for February. So much nicer than $690….) We apparently really cramped down on space heaters and such. And I know that for March, it will be MUCH better, and getting back down to normal… under $100.

And the website hosting money and lack of storage unit is helping… I can feel relief from that hard debt reducing work. I went yesterday to the phone store to work on that bill and oh my gosh… what a disaster that was. I’ll attempt to relate the adventure here, but it will be much shortened and missing the part where my head was about to explode….

I went in, sat down with a nice lady and began to tell her my story. That I had 4 lines, long story, but really only needed two. And that we hardly used our phones and were on the largest plan, so hopefully, we could limit that. Remove texting, etc. on a line or two. Oh sure, they can sure take a look.

Oh. No, none of your lines are off contract. The soonest are the daughters’ two lines… in September. Hmmm. Not even mine? I haven’t updated my phone in YEARS! Haha… she laughs, yeah, that is one old phone. Laughs again and calls her manager over and he is amazed, wow, that phone is in such good shape for being SOOOO OLD… You know, 4 years old. So I’m puzzled. Why is that line renewed of it’s contract then…. I didn’t renew it, I would have gotten a new phone, right? Or been offered…. Oh yeah, of course… well, gee, someone did. Back in June. June. Hmm…. June… OH MY yeah, someone ripped my account back in June and bought a phone out in California… the fraud department cleared that after my 127 phone calls. haha.. okay 126. She types, she puzzles at her screen… oh… you’re right. Gee. That’s to bad. Good thing you didn’t have to pay for the phone. She smiles. And waits. I’m like… so… I didn’t renew my contract, the bad bad person in California did, so you can take that off. Oh, no, that’s a corporate thing, I can’t do anything about that. Let’s look at plans…. oh…. you’re an old Alltel customer. Oh. Your plan is already way lower than anything new Verizon has. That is such a good deal you have for four lines, man, I would kill for that, I pay over $200 for three lines and sometimes more because my boyfriend really uses the data sometimes and…

Miss? Miss… I could really care less about your data-abusing boyfriend and your freakish high bill…. you mean, I can’t lower this at all? Only if you disconnect three lines and keep one phone only, hmmm…. with the early cancellation fees, that would be… oh…. $600. Would you like to do that? $600???? Ah, no. I calculate in my head. I have 6 months until I can turn off three lines. And right now, they are costing me $40 a month. That’s $240 bucks to keep and use them, right? Shesh. Well, in the meanwhile, I ask her, can she check one of the phones, because it has a bunch of photos on it that a friend who had the 4th line was using and he’d like back. And I can’t seem to get them off, tried a bunch of things. Oh sure, she can do that, no problem. She’ll transfer them to my phone which can email them to a computer. She leaves. Another gentleman comes over and we start to chat and he overheard that I was rural and had aweful internet service. He was rural too, but he had their new 4G service and it’s awesome and proceeds to lure me in with the siren call of faster internet and up to 10 gig a month in data! Oh my gosh… And it would only cost me $80 extra.

Hmmmm. I do hate our satelitte service with a searing anger only reserved for true evil. I work from home, and it takes me forever to do some stuff for clients… not to mentioned the measured service of only 250 megs a day download allowance… hmmm…. 10 gig? Oh and he’ll make me a deal, the little router thingy is only going to cost me $50… hmmmmm…. I’m thinking, wow, that would be nice. But I am afraid. Every gig over is $10. I am doing the math in my head…. 250 mg a day, 4 days would be a gig, 31 divided by 4, add 27.5, remove the cosign of 4 over the 10th power… faster speeds? like pages that load instantly instead of giving me time to go to the bathroom or let in the dogs? Oh my…. I think okay, yeah, maybe… ah… I’m caving, he’s smiling, oh yeah, a 2 year agreement? Hmmm… I feebly nod, and he starts to get it going but then NO! Oh, you have a back due balance. (First of the month, suddenly it’s late) He can’t process the new thing until the old balance is paid, hey, can I do that AND the device? Oh, no. I can’t not today. Oh. Then he can’t give me the awesome deal.

Chicky walks back with manager. Oh, they’re sorry, they accidently wiped out all 200+ of my contacts on my phone. I die inside. You’re kidding me? All? 4 years of clients, family, friends, repair guys, music contacts… gone? Did you get the pictures? No? Can’t because there is something wrong with the phone…. shesh, I said that in the first place, didn’t you listen to me? Agh!

So I think, God is telling me to get the heck outta this place. They can’t help me with the bill, they just wrecked my social life and made it so it will take me a month to get that all back in there and all, they can’t give me wonderful internet and they are trying to get me signed up with MORE debt and another contract.

I get home and in the calm of our home I figure out that their highest package of 10 gig is the same nearly as 250 mg a day. Thank goodness I didn’t fall for that. Yeah, it would be faster. And probably more reliable, but hey, spring is near and I’ll not be on as much and so that will be fine. I’m fine with it. And in September, I will ditch most of the lines and all will be well. I will keep just ONE line. Very limited and get the girls a pay as you go minutes phone for the house, for that now and then when I’m gone sort of emergency.

Ah…. what is wrong with customer service these days? Is it too much to ask for something that you’re paying through the nose for? I’m so beginning to think the Amish have it so much better. Technology is just so so… frustrating at times!

Well, I’m glad to report our budget shaving is working pretty well. Here is the total so far.

Storage Unit -$30
Website Hosting -$270
Car Insurance -$18
Internet -$20
Phone -$0

Thats a monthly reduction on fixed costs of $338 buckaroonies!

And as soon as I get this one website done (hopefully this weekend) I can turn off the last of the sites and net another $35 in savings a month for a grand total of…. $373!! A month! That is huge. $4,476 a YEAR!!!

And I have to report that since I used Soap.com I have not set foot in a dollar store all week long! I bought pop at a gas station and pet feed at Tractor Supply. No extra junk in this week’s spending. Nothing. No cute spring garden doo-dads, no magazines, nothing extra. I think that will help too, at least another $50 a month or more. It’s all good.

Thanks for all the good ideas and well wishing in the comments and emails! I do read them all and I just love some of the ideas. I love Snapple peach tea… and I looked online for how to make it at home!!! And I just made a batch… it’s pretty good, close and like a fraction of the cost for sure. And no plastic bottles! Yeah!

Can’t wait for the warmer weather… and getting the garden going, getting some of those to do cards down and done! We’ve having thunder storms today! I love it. It’s dark and gloomy but the sound of the rain and the thunder lets me know that we are getting so much closer. I’m working on a few cards today… and of course more this weekend! Heading to Hillsdale tomorrow unless the weather is just totally dreadful. And pretty much just staying inside for the time, getting more work cards done if possible!!!

– making an egg flyer and stickers for Maggie’s egg sales
– backing up photos and stuff off my old computer and adding to my newer computer (jessy and I switched)
– backing up all my work computer stuff
– a newsletter for a client
– email blast for Opry show on the 12th…
– finishing up the Hot Licks site so I can cancel the hosting and save that $35

Hope you have a full plate and lots of stuff planned to keep you busy!!!

Thanks for listening to my ramblings on… haha…. I’ll try and get some more interesting posts up this weekend… got a few good ones planned! Take care…

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Sorry…. false alarm!

No ice. No snow. Hardly any rain.

Yeah, we dodged the bullet for certain. Not that we mind, no no, not at all!

When we get ice, we get umpteen thousand branches falling down! Apparently we still need to do some major tree trimming around the homestead!

So all is good, calm, tolerably warm at 50 degrees and MUDDY. M U D D Y! We kept Cody and the sheep stalled up yesterday just so they wouldn’t totally destroy the yard with their little sharp hoofies. They didn’t mind. They got to stay in their jammies and had treats brought to them in bed. Might be able to let them out for a wee bit today, will see how the puddles look.

Nice thing is that the week ahead looks FABULOUS!!!

Saturday… Maggie and I are going to the Hillsdale Livestock Auction to sell our banties and hopefully get her first batch of turkey poults! Can’t wait… should be fun. We haven’t been there since last fall! Will be sure to take pictures and such!

About to go to town… kids are going up north to visit family, I have errands to do and we’re bringing in several dozen eggs for customers… having a sale… 2 dozen for $3! We have about 22 dozen eggs at the moment! The chickies have been super busy the last week!!!

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Ice Storm a’Coming…

I’m not much of a worry wart over storms and weather stuff. I’ve been known to stay calm during tornados and other scary stuff. And when people start worrying on the news about some new big bad storm, I tend to take note, stock up on Pepsi and ride it out. And usually, it’s really not much like the drum bangers and media folk want to make these things out to be.

Now, yes, I know, there are some really bad weather things and I’m really not making light of those things, just saying that I don’t usually get too worked up around here. Ohio is good for a tornado or two here and there, maybe a good dump of snow or heat wave, but we don’t have super bad weather much.

That being said? I do think we’re in for a good one soon. Yeah, it’s March in a day or so… but March can be a month of trouble, easy! I remember that we sealed the deal for the farm on March 25th… And we had another 6+ weeks of misery! It was raining, flooding, snowing and COLD… we were in this old house without heat and it was dreadful on more then one occasion!

So when I heard there was freezing rain and yuckiness coming, I told Maggie, we better move the sheep to the big barn so they can stay under cover all day. And lets give everyone some extra groceries, water and a bit extra sweet feed in their bellies tonight so they will be all nice and tucked in tonight and probably tomorrow. Even if we just get rain all day, there is no need for them to be out in it all day, tearing up the yard and getting filthy. There will be plenty of nice days for them to bask in the spring sunshine and nibble new grass.

We had to rig up some gates in the big barn, because it’s set up for chickens really, and free range chickens to boot. So we moved a couple big steel gates in there. One we just wedged between the big doors and the rooster coop, so that the wee sheep can’t get through the chicken door. (It’s this slightly big opening in the big doors, about 2 foot square that everyone comes and goes through. And I’m quite sure that Fergus and Molly could squeeze through there if they tried.

And then between the feed room and the main area of the barn, we fashioned up a nice tidy gate there. We drilled a couple holes into the wall, on either side of the studs and then used baling twine to make some super sturdy gate hinges! We’ll get some decent wire and do it up right soon enough, but that twine is super tough and a bunch of Shetland sheep would be able to push it down. I really don’t want them in the feed room, because they are likely to make a mess, and get into the chicken feed and such. No thanks! No sick sheepies around here ever again!

When we lured them in there with their night time snack, they all were a little perplexed and of course all the chickens that were thinking about roosting, they all were fluffed up and annoyed for certain, but then settled in to watch a little Sheep TV from the rafters. Angus and Fergus were head butting each other in play and Iris found a spot by the hay and laid down to nom nom nom on some fodder and politely consider the new digs. The plan is for them to be in there full time, but I need to rig up a little better system outside for keeping them around the outside of the barn. Spring? Where are you! I want to start digging post holes and making our last stage fencing plans a reality!

In Cody’s barn, we dragged this piece of wire fence in and stapled it on his work bench. I’m sorry I didn’t take pictures, but we were working hard and it was pretty dark in there anyways. Maybe tomorrow! But basically, this piece is about 4 foot square. And the openings of the fence are 2 by 4 inches in size. We laid it on the top of the workbench and stapled it in with heavy duty fence staples. And then we rolled it up to the ceiling and stapled it in there. In a corner. Picture one of those stuffed animal nets! Haha… it’s kind of like that. Low enough that Cody can stand at it and pull hay through the holes comfortably. We unfluffed a WHOLE bale of hay in there and stuffed it full. Now the little doodle can eat as much as he would like, and not waste a ton of it, pulling it all over the place. It’s a cheap hay rack and didn’t cost us nuthing really. The fence we found out back and a couple of those hammer in fence staples.

Cody, of course, was there watching us as we worked. When we got all done and started to stuff his little hay burrito with yummy hay, he waddled right over and began eating away, pulling little bits out and chewing away. He gave us a happy boy whinny of approval. And then Jack and Duke came bounding in and proceeded to make kitty nests in the fluffy hay! They loved it. Jack sleeps with Cody lot, they are pals. I think Jack was more impressed than Cody, but I was thrilled because now, hopefully, he won’t waste as much hay and it will slow him down a little so he won’t eat too much at once.

He’s a good boy and doesn’t founder, he can have a whole bale in there and if he doesn’t strew it all over the place and play in it, it will last him easily 4 or 5 days. I watch him very carefully for that, because I know ponies are prone to overeating and such, but he’s been doing fine. In fact, we all thought he was a little overweight when he first came here and now, he’s a nice trim and full dude, but not quite as portly. He’s getting a lot more exercise and such then I think he was getting as he was often stalled most the day. He get free fed hay and grass outside, and then a scoop of sweet feed at night as his treat. And he gets a carrot or apple here and there and usually a couple pony cookies too. He’s spoiled, but in the right way!

I gave all the chickens new hay in their nests and Miss Eleanor ALWAYS has to check them out as I’m doing it, it’s so funny. She inspects each one and does this funny little dance as she makes sure they fit her fanny properly. If we don’t dress up the nests, the eggs get dirtier and dirtier coming in the house. Plus I know the girls like that, don’t all chicks like their nests all fluffed and sweet smelling? Gathered up almost 3 dozen eggs today! They are sure going to town! I hope Maggie’s egg sign gets working soon… we have about 15 or 16 dozen eggs at the moment!!!

Well, we’ll report in and let you all know how we’re faring. I hope we don’t loose power, that is kind of a drag for sure. But we went and got water and kerosene, so we’d be okay for a bit. Time to stay in bed and read and crochet and nap! My favorite!!!

Nice thing about doing a little extra for the critters is that if it’s bad, you can sleep in and know they are all right. It’s it not bad, you can sleep in and know they are all right! (gg) WIn win situation, if you ask me!

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