Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I Do Believe in Ghosts!

Ghost Peppers, that is. I brought in my first 7 Naga Jolokias tonight. That might not sound like much, but I promise you they supply enough power to light a small city. Imagine the spiciest curry or salsa you've ever had. Now double the heat. That's what these puppies will do. Yabba dabba doo!

I also brought in enough habaneros to make a very nice Jamaican Jerk rub. I will make that tonight and coat some pork with it. It will marinate overnight and tomorrow the taste buds will tingle with Caribbean joy.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The $45 band aid.

About 4:00 this afternoon I received a very urgent call from my wife, asking me to come home right away, because she'd cut her toe, and it was gushing blood. I raced home to find her in the basement with her foot wrapped in a severely blood soaked rag. In order to maintain our G rating, I will not show photos of the rag.

It seems that one of the dogs knocked over a coffee mug which hit the ground and shattered. One of the shards flew across the room and hit Brittan on the big toe, slicing off about a third of her toenail and both slicing and puncturing the toe. The cut was deep and the bleeding was severe.

First I called the Doctor. They were closed. Then we went to the 'minute clinic'. We waited there about 40 minutes. The RN on duty said that the job was too big for her and we needed to go to "urgent care". We hobbled back to the car and I raced to the nearest urgent care, which, ironically is just a few blocks from my work. We arrived there at 6:00 on the dot. We left at 8:15 p.m. with a band aid and my wallet lighter by $45. See photo.

Actually, the Dr felt that since the bleeding was stopped by then that we'd do more damage by opening it back up. But she did give Brittan a tetanus shot. Which was why we went to the minute clinic in the first place. It's only two blocks from our house. But..... better safe than sorry.

That's enough adventure for one day. I was really quite concerned when I got home and saw all the blood. It was one deep cut.

On a related front, we met some of the nicest people at the Urgent Care clinic. Patients and medical staff alike wanted to see a demonstration of my Amazon Kindle. So I gave them a demo. What can I say, I'm a sales guy. I could have sold at least three of them, if I'd had some handy.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Remember Me?

Wow, I can't believe it's been like two weeks since I last posted here. Let's just say summer has been busy.

So far, it appears that our financial experiment with serious gardening is paying off. We have enough tomato sauce, regular and roasted, squash, zucchini, and hot peppers to get us through the winter and spring. We will have enough bell peppers too, but they have developed more slowly. We have a dozen beautiful cantaloupes ripening on the vines. We will freeze that. I can't wait to taste that garden freshness all winter long.

Green beans have been odd. We've eaten plenty, but we haven't put up a lot of them yet. But we should have a good late summer crop that will head straight for the freezer. Our herbs are doing well since we moved them from inside to the front porch.

I see big savings this winter. If I can bag a deer or two we will be really set. Ironically, we'll need a second freezer soon, which is, of course, an expense. But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Oh, I almost forgot, I started my compost pile today, too. It's a bit of a late start, but Georgia weather is mild enough that we should be able to compost pretty much all year round. Composting will save us on fertilizer and soil costs in the spring and in little ways like buying fewer trash bags during the year. A penny here, a dollar there, they all add up.

But the most fun of all has been the amount of stuff we've given away. I have taken stuff to work, Brittan has taken produce to some of the ladies in her mid week Bible Study. On Sunday afternoon, we took bags of beans, peppers, tomatoes and squash to 5 closest neighbors. That was a blast. It really is more blessed to give than to receive.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Credit Scores, Necessary and Evil

I hate the concept of the credit score. Dave Ramsey calls it, "an I love debt score." I tend to agree. What a credit score says is that we have debt and we manage it. Many insurance companies are now determining premium rates based primarily, if not entirely, on credit scores. Potentially, then, a person or couple, who have become debt free and are at a disadvantage in getting insurance with some companies. That is wrong on more levels than I can begin to explain.

Many employers, look at credit scores when considering potential new hires. If the credit score carries too heavy a weight, many wise and disciplined individuals will be passed over because their credit scores are declining.

Credit score requirements for mortgages have recently gotten much tighter. Now, it takes a score of 740 or higher to get the best rates. You can read about that HERE.

The really savvy money manager will read between the lines and see that the work around for this tragedy is a bigger down payment. It may take a little longer to save up a 30% or 40% down payment, but it will be worth it in terms of monthly payments and in the overall amount of interest paid because the mortgage will be lower.

Never finance fees. Never.

It drives me nuts to think that our economic system is so messed up that Credit Scores are the basis of so many important decisions. That's stinkin' thinkin' as Zig Ziglar would say.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New Article on Rising Credit Card Delinquencies

Credit Card debt is bad at any time, but in our current economy it's a disaster. I read two very interesting and sad articles today regarding the topic.

The first says that credit card delinquency is on the rise, along with tardiness on almost all other kinds of debt. Read it HERE.

The second article is a tragic story of one woman who has found herself with $60k in credit card debt. Yowza. It makes my heart hurt. Read the story HERE.

Please don't let this happen to you. Get on a spending plan and a debt reduction plan NOW! If not, IOU NO MORE, then get on another plan, but do it today. Take back your life. You can do it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Redoing the Spending Plan

It's important to re-examine the family budget regularly and tweak it when necessary. We do that all the time. For example, I'm going to go over the thing with a fine tooth comb this week to look for every penny possible and start putting it away for a different vehicle for Brittan. Her car is 9 years old, has 150 k miles and is starting to show some mechanical needs that could end up costing more than the car is worth. I think we can get another year or so out of it, so we have time. But it's mission critical to avoid car payments. Risk management is always important, but in an economy like the one we're currently experiencing, it's doubly important.

Plan for major expenses and budget for them. It's what we used to call, 'common sense.'