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Archive for April, 2013

Please, Don't be Cheap When it Comes to....

April 30th, 2013 at 02:30 pm

When it comes to Flea Control for your pets.

I think we could all come up with many other things that you should not skimp on, but this is forefront in my mind right now.

If you don't know, haven't read my info or my blog before let me say I am a veterinary nurse (RVT) and I work in a single doctor practice. (I have really interesting cases sometimes and I really should blog more about work, but that is for another time.)

Yesterday we had two separate clients bring in their elderly cats. One cat was an indoor only cat and the other was indoor with access to the outside. Both cats were being seen because they haven't been doing so well.

They were both COVERED in fleas.
Crawling all over these poor, old cats were nasty, bloodsucking fleas.

In my opinion impossible to miss. You could part the hair and see the fleas walking around. The cats' fur full of "flea dirt" - flea poop looks like specks of dirt.

Most young cats can groom off almost all their fleas. Not that they should have to do that, use flea preventatives and they are so much better for it. Many people will say they don't see fleas and that is a big reason why. But, an old cat (or dog) don't groom themselves as well as when they were younger and can get overwhelmed with fleas. Fleas suck blood and with a ton of fleas feeding on a pet it can cause anemia among other things.

The owner of the indoor/outdoor cat has been "using some drops she picked up *somewhere*".
She seemed surprised that they weren't working. (Really?! Do you ever pet or look at your cat?)
Her old kitty was very dehydrated and anemic. Not to mention how miserably uncomfortable I can only imagine she was.

The indoor only cat: "Shouldn't have fleas! She is an indoor cat!"
The cat was seriously covered with fleas. It doesn't matter to the flea where the cat lives.
Actually, inside is even better for the flea - nice temperature controlled environment.
Unfortunately, that kitty was in bad shape due to other problems and was euthanized. It made me feel so sad that the cat had to spend her last days/weeks/months being eaten on by fleas. Frown

As the days heat up flea populations will climb. Please don't be cheap. Use the "good stuff" and use it every month. Indoor or outdoor. Look online so you can educate yourself about what flea dirt looks like. It dissolves to blood when wetted. You can find flea dirt much more easily than finding a flea - unless your pet is severely infested.

The "good stuff" in my opinion and what I use is:
Revolution or Advantage for cats.
Comfortis, Advantage or Advantix for dogs.
Capstar (for cats and K9s) can be used for a quick kill and is great to use in combo with above products to get an infestation under control.

So to conclude, this is an area where I say money well spent when you buy the right product.

What item or service do you feel is worth the "premium price"?


April 28th, 2013 at 03:08 pm

I realized as I started this entry that tomorrow is my Blogoversary. Three years. It seems to have flashed past in a way, and in another it has felt longer (in a good way!).

Time has been the big topic around our house today. What started it was a conversation with DH about how long ago we had made a purchase of an expensive tool.

It was 2004? No, 2005? Or was it 2006?
It was before we moved to our current house.
Before the chicken house was built.
What year did we do that? What year did we get the hens?
(That brought on a whole other debate. I said 2008 and DH said 2006.)

It seems we mark time by important events in our life. Like "was it before we moved the first time?" Or "was that when DD was in preschool?" Or "it was after we bought the house."

Does that type of conversation sound familiar?

It brought up some good memories to think back on.
We had a good laugh thinking about when we brought our Lab "Maxx" home. It was December 2003. (Before the tool purchase and before the hens - Just so ya know. Wink )

And happy thoughts of back when we paid off our cc every month. (ugh, how did we let ourselves slip??)

And the not so great memories either. We recalled, briefly, several months in 2007 when our marriage was this close *(___)* to ending.

Ups and downs - that is life.

So, yeah all that history just trying to remember when a *something* was purchased.

After a search I did end up finding the paperwork/user manual on the tool and it was late 2005 when we got it. I bet it was an early Christmas present for DH.

Seems like it was longer ago than that, but not all that long ago either. Ha - Time is a funny thing..


April 27th, 2013 at 05:04 pm

The days have just been flying by here. We have been having beautiful weather and the seeds we planted in the garden two weeks ago have sprouted up. When they get a bit taller I will take a picture to share.

The chicks are much bigger now. They have almost all their feathers so no more fluffy downy fuzz. We let them out in the backyard every afternoon and they are so fun to watch. Once they are a little larger I will move the dog crate that is their home out to the coop and they can start acclimating to nights outside.

I received two more referrals on my Ting account - $50 more credit. Big Grin
A big Thank You to the folks using my referral code (if youíre reading this.)
I am so very happy I switched to Ting. Great service and excellent value.

Last week I changed my withholdings from 2 to 4 so I could squeeze a little more money into my weekly paycheck.

Then this past Wednesday my boss gave us each a brief review and a $1/hour raise. Big Grin Yay!

Now Iím worried with the raise I might not be withholding enough. What I will do is give it a few months then do a year-end-mock-up and see where we stand tax wise.

The plan for this weekend is relax, relax, relax. Our calendar is full for the next two weeks once May starts, so we've got to rest up.

We plan to have BBQ dinners tonight and tomorrow, so no "real" cooking to do and I love BBQ'd food. Smile

Learning New Things is Good

April 16th, 2013 at 10:06 pm

On Thursday afternoon my DH had set up a meeting with an insurance broker. (Our kids need health insurance, so this was a good thing for him to do.) I was happy he had taken the initiative to set it up, but silently to myself I was thinking "Ugh!".

Long story short the meeting went very well. The broker was knowledgeable and not at all pushy. He thoroughly explained HSAs and high deductable plans. What was really great was the spreadsheet he gave us ranking about 55 different plans by cost. Premium, deductible, maximum OOP etc. A wonderful spreadsheet tool.

I have it narrowed down to two plans both cost about $150/mo to cover both DD and DS. I will purchase through the broker. It doesn't cost us anything to do it that way and he was super helpful.

Afterwards I told my DH he did very well by setting up the meeting. Smile

DH has HSA compatible insurance so we are going to open an account at the credit union we use. It has the lowest account fee at $12/year. I figure we can save at least $12/year in taxes, so why not?

It would have been good for us to have the HSA earlier this year when I got my crown at the dentist and DD her eye glasses - Darn it.

My Day Off?? This & That

April 11th, 2013 at 02:27 pm

I have the day off today. My boss is out of town so he opted to just have the office closed.
I am happy to have a day to do what I want, but it doesn't feel long enough. Smile

I started by going to the grocery store this morning after dropping DD off at school. It was $176.
The total before discounts was $250, so I saved 30% which is what I average in savings when I grocery shop. I feel like that is typical, but maybe not. I could do better by using more coupons.
What percentage do you save on average?

After putting all the groceries away and clearing out the freezer (with DS's help) we worked in the garden.

We have four raised beds. I plant in two of them and DD and DH each have one of their own. This morning I "turned" the dirt in my beds and planted sugar-snap peas, purple carrots, spinach and a purple bell pepper in one box. The second box got a tomato plant, crookneck squash, two zucchini and a lemon cucumber.

The chicks are at least three times bigger than when we brought them home, but are still tiny compared to our adult hens. The chicks are still living in our bathroom. This weekend I think it will be time to move them to the more spacious dog crate. The crate will be in either DD's bedroom or in the livingroom.

Later this afternoon DH and I are meeting with a health insurance salesman about HSAs. The salesman is someone who is in DH's boss' business networking group. I am kinda *meh* about the whole thing. It is good to get information and I really like that my DH is making the effort to learn about financial things. Still, I'd rather be doing something else this afternoon.

Afterwards, DD must finish her final draft of her big report assignment.

Then a 4H meeting.

Then I can relax???

Eating Well. Waking Earlier.

April 9th, 2013 at 09:59 pm

So I am doing well at both "Challenges" nearly 10 days into the month.

Can anyone believe it's day 10 of April?

I weighed myself Monday and I have lost 3.5lbs in the past week. Yay!! Big Grin

I was thrilled to see progress. It really keeps me motivated. I have been very satisfied with the food I've been eating and have allowed myself some small treats too. Lots of veggies, fruits, nuts and meat. Staying away from grains and sugar. Limiting dairy. I'm not having as hard a time as I thought I would saying "No" to bread and sugar.

As far as the "Early to Rise" challenge I have been getting up at least 30 minutes earlier than normal every day. The best was an hour and 20 minutes earlier than usual twice last week. If DH goes to the gym tomorrow morning I'll be up about that early again.
The beautiful springtime weather certainly makes it easy to get up and going. Smile
The extra time has been used to put a sit-down breakfast together in addition to reading, coffee sipping, blogging or balancing Quicken.

We Have Bees!!

April 7th, 2013 at 12:35 pm

DD's 4H beekeeping leader (EM) captured a swarm last weekend.

DD set up her box and EM brought the bees to our house yesterday. We are all excited. Honeybees are so cool. Just amazing when you learn about what they do and how the live.

DD's 4H experiences have been so wonderful this year. It is such a great way to nurture a child's interests without spending a bunch of money. I also feel like it's a great place for social interactions. She gets to spend time with other kids near her age, with similar intrests, but not in a school setting. Actually, there isn't anyone in this particular club that goes to DD's school. I think that takes some of the "social pressure" off a bit.

The boxes, complete with frames and tops, a smoker, hive tool, frame grabber and feeder were all given to DD for free because they were donated to the 4H project.
To buy these items as a package would be about $185.

The bee leader, EM, is a sweetheart of a lady. Completely volunteering all this time to educate and suport the kids. She collects unwanted swarms to populate the hives so nobody has to buy bees.
A queen can sell for $25-$30. A group of bees like ours could cost $170.

We did buy DD a veil, a board for the box and some wax foundation for the frames. To get her started we spent $40 vs. the near $400. Big Grin

Here is the queen. She is the larger, pretty golden colored one. The golden color is special. EM told us she is the prettiest queen she has seen in many years. EM also believes she is a young queen so we might have her for five years or so.

I am enjoying going out to the backyard and watching the activity going in and out of the box. Smile

Speaking of 4H: Yesterday morning DD's cooking goup had a field trip to see a local ice cream shop make ice cream. Really a lovely, locally owned shop in our historic downtown. Everyone got free ice cream. I was naughty and tried an Affogato (not free).
The Affogato is two scoops of icecream topped with two shots of espresso in a latte mug. OMGosh!! SO amazing. Obviously you must love coffee - which I do! It might be my new favorite dessert.

Awesome Salad & My Green Smoothie

April 6th, 2013 at 08:47 am

As part of my healthier eating I made this wonderful spinach salad with green onion, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, hardboiled egg and leftover ham. What was really great about it is the dressing I "created" on the spot.

Citrus-Mustard Dressing
- One Tablespoon olive oil
- One to Two Tablespoons honey mustard
- Juice of one Clementine (Cutie)
- Dash of black pepper
Wisk together.

I don't use a lot of dressing so this was enough for two servings over large salads. I think this dressing will taste great with other types of meat too - salmon, chicken, steak, bacon bits. I want to try a few variations like using an orange or a lime or even a grapefruit. Maybe trying Dijon in place of the honey mustard.

Spinach Smoothie
- Spinach
- Coconut Milk
- Strawberries
- Frozen Banana
- Dash of Cinnamon
- Tablespoon of Flax

DH is a Pain (sometimes)

April 6th, 2013 at 08:29 am

Sometimes my DH is so very frustrating.
Don't get me wrong I love him very much, but there are times when I don't know if I can stay married to him. Sometimes he is an immature ass. In truth he has gotten a lot better over the years, so I guess there is hope he'll "grow" out of it. Wink

There are things he needs to take care of and I don't understand *why* he doesn't just do them. One is his National EMT test. He did great in his class, he has had his EMT in the past for years. Just take the damn thing already!

He has a fondness for good whiskey. Last night he drank too much which is about a once or twice monthly sort of thing. Let me be clear here and say he is not abusive at anytime, verbal or physical. What I don't like is the lame comments, lack of rational thought and thus the inability to have a meaningful conversation. He knows I hate this and that I worry he could end up like FIL who basically drinks every night. Not to a drunken stupor, but alcoholism just the same. I could not stand dealing with an "altered" spouse nearly every evening.

He had to get up at 5:30 this morning and I didn't feel the least bit sorry for him. In fact I hope he really feels like crap.

He will apologize for overdoing doing it - I know and I am glad he will, but he doesn't change his behavior.

He is a funny, kind, supportive man. He loves his family and works hard. Lots of good qualities 90% of the time, why do I let the other 10% bother me? I am not perfect.

New Roof = More Debt??

April 4th, 2013 at 04:41 pm

This morning I woke to the pleasant sounds of rain, but the very unpleasant patter from the drip inside our bedroom. Frown

The temporary patch job DH did held up for almost the entire rainy season. The weather forecasters claim this is the last big storm, but I can't say I trust them even more than 50%. At present we only have the one leaky spot, but this roof has got to be replaced.

In an earlier post I wrote about DH getting together with some of his buddies and doing the job himself. There would be the cost of the materials and the fees at the dump to haul all the debris away. I am not yet sure what the materials would even be because we haven't started to get pricing. If you read my other post I said our plan was to use the fifth payday in May to buy materials. If the materials cost more than that we are going to have to use the credit card to make up the difference.

This morning I was up early and it gave me some time to reflect on this major replacement that our house needs. It's going to be a big job. Demo of the existing roof will probably take one day if not a weekend. The new roof will likely take more than a day or two, but that will be easier, cleaner work.
The way I figure it my DH is looking at two solid weekends on the roof. I think he thinks he is up for it, but I need to be sure he is really committed to wanting to do it. I am not concerned about the quality of the job, but with how much time it would take. If we did it this way it certainly would be the cheapest option. (Option A)

Because this is getting to be a MUST DO item and I can't see us putting it off much longer I am liking the idea of hiring out. Just get it done and over - Period. Much less stress on DH (and marital bliss) to go this route, but more expense (roughly $6500).
Two thoughts I had this morning were:
Option B: HELOC. Lower interest rate and I think we'd get one, but have never checked into it, so??
Option C: CC. I hate this, but it's an option.

Bottom line is DH and I have got to do some material price shopping and some serious discussion. There is not an easy solution with this one.

Plans for April & Baby Chicks Pics

April 3rd, 2013 at 06:47 am

The biggest plan for DH and myself this month is improved eating. DH wants to drop some pounds for a physical test for his fire department and the life insurance we hope to get started this summer. I want to get serious because I have not started to work on my weight loss goal yet. If I wait any longer we'll be half way through the year. Worse even - I gained three pounds in March. Time to make an effort. Smile

We are cutting way back in the sugar department. We eat healthy foods mostly, but I love fats and sugar. Big Grin (I have the hugest sweet tooth! Seriously! I have dessert almost every night.)
SO, I am dropping breads, cakes, cookies, pie, etc. In addition to reducing my dairy to a tiny amount. So no cheese, ice cream, half & half, etc..

Monday and Tuesday we had oatmeal with fresh strawberries for breakfast. I made myself a big batch of quinoa and black bean salad that I have been eating for lunch in addition to nuts and fruit. Last night I made an awesome spinach salad with leftover Easter ham.

I am cat sitting again for a few days this week and earning $140. I'll be doing it again for the same cats in a few weeks I think for the same number of days.

I was surprised that their owner didn't leave me a check so I am not sure if she forgot or if she is planning on writing one check for both weeks. You can be sure I'm going to ask! Wink

We have four baby chicks. Young hens to "freshen" our flock of four older ladies.

I paid $14 for the chicks and $7 for their feed. We had the additional supplies (dishes, heat lamp) from raising chicks a few years ago.

They are about 11 days old now.
We have them in a brooder box under the heat lamp in me and DH's bathroom. I love that our family has the opportunity to raise animals. It is the type of thing I want my kids to remember years later and smile about.

Three days old:

Black Australorp chicks.

Golden (Red) Sex-Link chicks.