Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunday/The Plan

First off, Suns were not playing championship basketball last night.  Stoudemire was out of it, dogged by double teaming which effectively shut him down, took out the point totals he might have scored and that was the end of that game before it ever started.  Hats off to the Suns, anyway, for a great season.   Rumors abound that Stoudemire will not be back as he will be an open free agent and apparently looking to move onto greener pastures.

Second, the oil gusher in the GoM.  It's amazing that these people/that company have been unsuccessful in stopping that oil from pumping.  They have tried one thing after another with no success.  The only thing that worked - a litte- was attaching that mile long pipe to the opening of the gusher and using it to pump some of the oil into a waiting tanker. 

Now, to the ponds.  I have finally come up with a plan.  I mean, I had a plan before, but once I acquired that much larger pond, that threw those plans out the window.  1st is to get the waterfall operational.  That is going to take some time, apparently.  Second, the new pond will be placed on the cement slab next to my side door, filled with water, a pump and filter attached to it.  All fish and plants will be transferred to that pond.  Then I will remove the 2 smaller ponds, fill them up with water out of ground and find out where the leak or leaks is/are.  Fix it, refill with water and this time make sure I have no more leaks.  They will be set in a temporary location and all fish and plants will be moved back to those 2 ponds which, at that point, will also be sitting above ground.

Drain the larger pond, use it to make an outline and commence digging operations.  It should not take as long to dig out the hole for the larger pond since I already have 2 holes and at least partial use of both to fit the pond in there.  Get the large pond set in the ground, under the waterfall, back fill around the sides, get the thing filled with water and get the falls going again.  Move all fish and most plants into that pond.  After that, pressure'soff to get anything else done.  Likely, however, that the upper pond I now have will be a feeder into the large pond as I currently have set up - as long as I'm sure the leaks are done with and I'm not going to encounter any more of them.  If I continue to have leak problems with the smaller ponds after this next, coming round of repairs, I will chuck them in the trash can and consider it lesson learned. 

IF I am successful at repairing the leaks, the other small pond will go in the ground out front.  It will be a plant garden type of thing.  It will have mosquito eating fish in it but that's it for fish.  Yes, we're talking a lot of work here to execute all of this, no doubt.  Heck, the waterfall itself is a chore to say the least.  Itwill be worth the effort once I am done, yes, but that is a ways off.  I am headed out therein a bit to continue with mixing mud and putting the thing together.  2cd tier coming up. 

Meanwhile, Memorial Day weekend. 3 days off.  into the 2cd day of it.  Time flies when you are taking time off of work - it just vanishes like it was never here.  I have a lot of cleaning chores I would like to get done around the house today as well as get the next step of the falls cemented into place. 

I was reading this morning about debt stress.  They did polls or questionnaires of people around the country to rate their level of stress.  Lots of people reporting high or moderate.  I don't really like to look at it as stress.  If I did, well, I would probably have been dead long ago as I have had financial issues for along, long time.  Life got better when I went back into trucking, yes, but it did not eliminate the problems.  If I were still living  in the old house paying $450 per month mortgage, then I wouldn't have debt issues at all.  Well, that house burned down and frankly, it was an old piece of junk that I wouldn't have been happy living in  anyway.  I am still working on paying down credit cards.  One is like $35 off from being done.  Another $100 or so and the third is around $250.

I willowe onthe car for another 3 years.  My son will go off to college in a year and a half or so.  Whether he stays in AZ or not, I dunno.  I'm simply looking at the things in the future that will drop off of the debt load and will free up some finances. I'm assuming that eventually my hours at work will be reinstated adding "additional" income, which really isn't additional, just going back to what it was before. House payments?  Unfortunately, a fact of life for me that I don't foresee ever going away. 

As long as I have tenants, I will have to go satellite or cable tv and I will have to have high speed internet available for them.  That monthly billisn't going anywhere anytime soon, either. I am working on reduing it some, however.  Water bill is pretty much a constant.  Around $95 per month - not bad considering that's water; sewer and trash pickup.  Really not bad considering all of the plants and trees around here.  I'm having to dump 3 or 4 gallons a day into the ponds because of the leak.  I bought a bio filter with UV light and a pump on eBay for a steal - again - I cannot do anyof the pond removal and switching around stuff until I receive those 2 items via UPS. 

I'm also going to contact SRP - if I ever remember to do so during their operating hours - and see about getting on one of their plans to reduce the amount of money being thrown at the AC system. 

I am always tring to think of ways to either reduce monthly expenses or increase monthly income - or both.  Getting rid of the dogs has been suggested more than once.  In a pig's eye I will.  If I have to get rid of the dogs, then that also means I'm at the point where I simply can't afford this place anymore and I am moving.  I switched dog food back to Purina.  It isn't near as good as the stuff I was feeding them before - Nutro which has beef as it's first ingredient instead of third down the line - but it made them affordable.  The store I love to hate - Walmart - is my source.  45 pound bag for $21.95 versus the 35 pound bag of Nutro I was getting for $23.95.  I feed them "good" scraps when I have them available from cooking chicken or a roast or something. 

I have my budget, to end this, in my head at all times.  I don't need to write it down, I have gone over and over and over it.  I don't do overdrafts at my bank, I know approximately what's in there.  If I get near zero, I simply don't spend money.  Overdraft fees are $39.99 for each.  No thanks.  The ex-Marine got his money early for next month and yes, he handedme a money order last night.  He hasn't been around - one of his friend's parents left town for 2 weeks and he has been hanging out over there.  He does not play around with giving me rent like he did a while back and got way behind.  I was not happy about that situation, but he DID get caught back up and now it's his first priority with his disability check every month - pay the rent first before hitting the bars or whatever.  Yes, the guy loves barhopping.  I don't really care, as long as it doesn't come home with him, which it never does. 

The temporary tenant said he's staying another week and maybe a day - when a place apparently is becoming available.  He is a no-drama person and pays his rent every Sunday - for a temp renter, he has been a dream, really.  I have another guy that has been calling for a room for 2 months now.  I have no idea.  He calls andcalls - do you have a room available?  Not yet.  I live very close to his work, but, there are other places that advertise with rooms for rent around here, I'm really not sure why he wants to come in HERE so badly.  He SOUNDS okay on the phone, but who knows?  If the Army reservist doesn't come back, the room is his, that's whatI have to say about that. 

The other female tenant?  No clue.  I'm guessing she is struggling with staying off the meth.  I think coming off of that stuff is a very hard road to go - I sincerely hope she doesn't fall back.  She has a lot of support and goes to meetings.  She hasn't seemed happy about much of anything for several days, again, I'm guessing getting off the drugs and financial dilemnas are taking their toll.  That's an on-going story, stay tuned for further developments.  One thing I definitely cannot afford right now is a non-paying tenant or empty rooms.  When the temp guy leaves - which would be 8 days from now, I really must find another temp person to take the room for a few weeks or I am going to be having some trouble making ends meet.  My dad's money - hopefully he will continue to send it - will go directly to electricity.

I write this stuff out occasionally in full detail to refresh my perspective of what's going on with my finances, what I need to do and where it's going.  I still have 2% going into a retirement account - my company automatically reinstates it for anyone that has zeroed it out at the beginning of each year, you can opt back out of it, but I am taking my own advice that I give anyone: you MUST have money going into a retirement account, a small amount is better than nothing.  I wish I could afford the full 15% every month, I'm nowhere even close to being able to afford that right now. 

Those are my debt struggles as they currently exist.  Money going to child support every month, forgot about that one.  that isn't going away anytime soon,either.  When I get freed of that payment, well, I will be in a much better standing financially.  When that goes away and the car payment goes away, I will have a LOT more money to work with.  In 3 years, when that car is paid off, it will have around 85,000 miles on the odometer - I am simply calculating that by the use I currently put it through - which isn't much.  Idont really GO anywhere except to work, the store and sometimes some outings for things off of Craigslist.  I fully intend on keeping that car and not getting into another car payment.  Fix it as itneeds fixed, yes, another car payment? No thanks. 

I am still toying with the idea of renting on my master bedroom setup and moving into one of the smaller bedrooms.  I toy with it and then let it go, mostly.  I could probably get around $600 per month - everything included - by doing that.  I let it go, usually, cause' it's my only place I can go to get away from everything if everything starts going haywire or I just want to be let alone.  I could do that in another bedroom, but - it's just not the same.  The tenant bedroom at one end of the house, my bedroom on the other.  I like it that way.

Anyway, time to get shoes on and go outside and continue on with the waterfall project.

Happy Sunday.

ben

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