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Viewing the 'Just Thinking' Category

October 15 - Out of Town Again

October 17th, 2018 at 07:41 pm

October 15
$12 Fuel (hybrid)
Dinner: Out

We drove to the Bay Area to pick up our international traveler.

In-laws insisted on taking us out to dinner. I have no idea why! Was trying to get them to let us bring them dinner. They had spent 14 hours on an airplane.

But it worked out. Absolutely no traffic for 95% of the drive. We planned to stay there a couple of hours to wait out crazy long-distance commute traffic, before turning around and coming home. Going out to dinner was just enough time to wait out "crazy insane traffic." Though if they were too tired, it would have been nice to see my parents for a bit. But DL just wanted to get HOME.

Though I know DL(13) was absolutely exhausted and ready to get home, I told MH that I prefer not having to stop for gas in the a.m. again. The gas light came on just before we got home. We stopped to put in about 3 gallons of gas. I don't think we have any plans to go out of town or to use any gas the rest of the month, so didn't fill up beyond that. We stopped at the super cheapie gas station on the way home. (The two gas stations closest to our house just happen to be the cheapest gas stations in our region).

October 14

October 17th, 2018 at 07:35 pm

October 14
$122 Groceries
Dinner: Shepherd's Pie

I made some sloppy joes for lunch, which actually made lots of leftovers because the kids were not around.

MH did a grocery run.

We watched 'Singing in the Rain' though I really didn't have any time. 14 movies down. 86 movies to go! (We are watching the AFI Top 100).

I spent the rest of the day doing side work. I have 4 clients that hired me directly, while "old employer" mess gets sorted out. I will update on that, whenever I can get to it. Some good news, and then of course everything has to be drama or crazy.

October 13 - Vacation Day in SF

October 14th, 2018 at 10:49 am

October 13
$100 Segway Tour
$ 18 Parking SF
$ 5 Tolls
$ 70 Lunch
$ 20 Dinner
Dinner: OUT

MH owed me a raincheck, because he was working any time off I got this year. I mean, I think I took an unpaid week off in May and another week off during summer. Not sure if time off between jobs counted because I never ended up with any down time anyway. But had told MH at some point (May?) I really wanted to do a segway tour in Golden Gate Park. Just something fun to do. So we put a pin on that.

No idea how to pay for this out of the budget. Vacation fund has already been spent for the year. I mean, we have the cash. But just to say this wasn't particularly planned for. But given events of the last week this is now entirely moot. I will get to that in my next post. Short explanation: Will have some money windfall this month, and I will be working a TON.

We had already earmarked this day because though we were both pretty exhausted, the kids were going to be gone all weekend and it seemed a good of time as any. & now I know I am working non-stop for the rest of the month. Which was all the more reason to take a bit of a vacation day.

We started out in my favorite part of San Francisco (which is so easy to drive to also, no downtown madness) and we ate lunch at my favorite beachfront restaurant. (I just ate there with bff a few weeks ago). We were questioning this decision when we arrived around 1pm on Saturday and the usually infinite beach parking was total insanity. People double parking all over the place; we got trapped in the parking lot for quite a while because people were just sitting and waiting for spots to open up and no room to go around. I told MH I swore I'd been there on the weekend before and had never seen anything like this. Ugh! But we did find a spot near an exit and felt like maybe we could get out in less time than it took to get in.

The restaurant/brewery has a low cost lower level and an upscale upper level. Bff and I had decided to splurge on the upper level last time. On Saturday, the wait downstairs wasn't horrible but was wondering if it might take an hour to drive the 3 miles to our final destination, so we decided to go with the no-wait upscale restaurant upstairs. I told MH the food was really good; we had some money to splurge anyway.

We ate *very* well. We were feeling pretty pressed for time, but I looked outside and it looked like everyone had just disappeared. Tons of empty spots and no more crazy traffic jam on the main road. Phew! We had arrived in some sort of "what on earth have we gotten ourselves into?!" chaos and it was practically a ghost town when we left around 2:30. ???

We were so scared off of "insane mobs of people" that we took an exterior route to the Golden Gate park parking garage. (Google maps/Waze was showing me all sorts of slow traffic within the park). This cost us $18, but was probably worth it to ensure we got to our tour on time. Hindsight 20/20 we could have probably found free parking all day. All my usual hangouts have free parking, so this was the only place we paid for parking. $18 for a couple of hours.

We were pretty early, but by the time we found the meeting spot we were pretty much on time.

I've never ridden a segway before. It was somewhat terrifying. But it was fun and definitely a good place to do a tour like that. So many characters out and about, and I have never seen most of Golden Gate Park. But I think I was really wise to just sign up for the short tour to see if I even really like it. 3 hours would have been a lot! This tour was more like an hour. Was $50/each.

Afterwards there was some live music we stopped to enjoy. For maybe 5 minutes. We decided we should probably move our car and go find somewhere free (or at least reasonable) to park.

We headed over to the Sutro baths, which was close to where we started and is my absolute favorite area of the city. The old bath ruins, the beach, and then just lots of nature. We went for a nice hike in the area before heading home.







In the end, I had some initial doubts about what on earth we were doing there on a Saturday, but it ended up being a very pleasant day.

We stopped for some fast-ish food on the way home, and got home around 9pm.

Due to traffic, we went over the Golden Gate both ways. Which I prefer anyway (is a very pleasant drive, though a bit out of the way). We don't have our license plates yet so it was a free crossing. That is how we managed all that paying only $5 in tolls. We went over some other bridge that had no tolls (may also be electronic?) and then paid $5 at the last toll that we usually drive over on the way home.

We just went around all the traffic so didn't get stuck in any traffic.

Total fuel costs for this 225-mile trip? $13.61 (That's about $1 electricity, the rest is gas fuel. We averaged 45 mpg with the gas fuel).

That's good because we have to drive down to San Jose Monday to pick up DL. His flight arrives Monday afternoon.

October 12 - Childless Weekend

October 14th, 2018 at 10:14 am

October 12
$27 Fuel (hybrid car)
Dinner: chicken enchilada casserole

Friday was pretty uneventful.

I did need to make an unscheduled fuel stop because I was mostly out of gas after work trip. Though I don't need gas fuel to run the car, I believe it is important to have some gas in the car to keep everything working properly (uses the gas generator for some car function). I filled up all the way because we had two Bay Area trips planned in the next few days.

Thursday night we were going to go out to some event at the art museum. But we were both too exhausted. I was going to be supportive of MH, but was so relieved when he said he was too tired to go out. Phew!

The film production company he has been volunteering for was going to be showing some of their films and he wanted me to meet some of them, etc. Oh well...

By Friday we were definitely ready for a very quiet night. DL is still in Finland. MM(15) was whisked off to go camping in Tahoe for the weekend, with one of his friends.

No spending on Friday except for the fuel stop (which was really more of a work expense than a personal spending thing). I guess I'd consider it a no-spend day, in that regard.

Oh, and employer brought in lunch because most of us were out of the office Thursday and we had a computer system changeover (while we were out). Nothing was working Friday and everyone was freaking out. I personally didn't have much to changeover (boss didn't give me access to a lot of things before, knowing this change was pending) and bills/money (moi) was given first IT priority. So I wasn't freaking out too much. But I probably barely squeaked by without a lunch break and it works out because I was going to leave early on Monday anyway. I feel like I've already made up the time for that.

October 11 - Field Trip & Auto Reimbursements

October 14th, 2018 at 09:11 am

October 11
-0- Spending
Dinner: Tortellini with cream sauce

No spend day!

In the end we did a re-do of work field trip (was canceled prior week due to weather). Drove out to new home construction site about an hour out of town. Completely in the middle of nowhere.

One of the realtors took 10 of us out to lunch (our office + sales staff).

This is the tiny town:


As to the homes, WOW! Got to tour the models. It's a small home builder. Although we loved buying a new home when we bought our current home, and it was an exceptional deal (much cheaper than resale) given the circumstances at the time. We've been pretty "meh" on going that route again because it was a lot of work (lots of push back about every little thing, I know they HATED us because MH pushed back with every little change and whatever). Not sure I really want to go through that again. But more to the point, we've never owned real estate outside of a HOA and all the newer stuff is HOA.

In the end, this is something I will ask eventually and learn more, but my home builder employer seems to refuse to build with any HOAs. I guess my next question is how rare is it to establish a HOA later down the line.

So I don't know about the job (it's all good so far, but it is a very "economically dependent" kind of job, and who knows. Just being cautious as to the long term). I don't know how long the job will last, but I am really sold on buying one of their homes in the future. We may just do this again!

The home builder we bought from was very small and flexible, and this company is the same. To buy a custom home in our state would be infinitely expensive but these homes are really unique and they are willing to customize anything within reason. Which is some of what we did with our current home, but I think these floorplans are even better.

I told MH the little town was so cute, and the food was so good where we ate out, I might take him and the kids at some point for a weekend trip. I am curious what MH would think of some of the models and colors/styles of everything. We easily agree on about 99% of stuff, but home decor is like something we can never agree on. I am in love with some of the floors they had and I thought, "Probably MH will hate it." *sigh* So, first things first. Does he even like the layout?

In the end, everyone in my office had carseats (PITA to remove) and so I offered to drive. I will get a $45 auto reimbursement.

I spent about $7 on gas and will be reimbursed $45, so that is not a bad deal. Is not on the same scale as my last high miles job, but it works.

This reminds me... My first job out of college was all travel. I was putting around 25,000 work miles per year on my car. I had just bought a 10-year-old sports car (though very fuel efficient) for around $5,000. It only had 30k miles on the odometer? But the low price was due to the age of the car. I was earning around $1,000 per month in tax-free auto reimbursements, or about $12,000 per year. Seriously. Enough to replace my car several times over.

This is one of those things people have been really snotty (to me) over the years. Because they ASSUME. I've had people tell me they can't own such old and unreliable cars because they have to travel so much for work. *rollseyes* & look, it's been about 20 years since I have had this job. I have probably barely mentioned in my blog. If anyone on SA ever said this to me, whatever. I think it's a fair assumption. But when I was a couple of years out from that job, I was just always dumbfounded what people who barely knew me would assume. Because obviously I've never had a high miles job. ??? Why would anyone assume that? Because I drive old cars?

Anyway, so, this $45 reimbursement is not anywhere on that scale. But I am thinking that I may be able to completely offset *all* of my gas driving costs with work reimbursements, and that is pretty cool. I will take it!

20 years ago I had paid so little for the car in the first place that I was really able to leverage the reimbursements. In this case, I will be able to leverage somewhat my "super cheap fuel".

P.S. I have never in my life owned an "unreliable" car. I have owned some very old cars, but they were all perfectly reliable.

October 10 - Movie Night

October 14th, 2018 at 08:31 am

October 10
$ 12 movies
$ 36 Fuel (gas car)
Dinner: Chicken artichoke pasta

DL(13) skyped us again from Finland. They were able to see the Northern Lights their first night in Lapland.

MH and I went to a free movie screening. It was the "Hate U Give" movie. MH saw a rare super advanced screening of that one many months ago (probably not even the final cut) and said it was exceptional. But MM(15) didn't want to go two nights in a row. In the end, they chose to show it in a small theater. *sigh* It was pretty clear we'd be most likely stuck in the front rows (which I can't do). So we bailed at the last minute. MH had 3 movie tickets and he is still using Movie Pass. (He's been racking up free movie tickets because you can rack up theater rewards while seeing all the free movies with your movie pass, and I don't even remember the last time I went to the movies, it's been so busy).

We didn't wait to see for sure that we couldn't find seats because the cheapie theater was across the street from the theater we were at, and several movies were already starting. We just figured MH had already seen the movie and it was the kind of movie we would be willing to support financially and plan to take the kids to eventually. Let someone else see it for free in our place. We went across the street to see "A Star is Born".

Oh, but MH has a problem and wouldn't let me use the "free movie ticket" at the cheap theater. Save it for the expensive theater. Though he may have 3 more free tickets by the time I ever go to a pay-for movie again. *sigh* But that is my MH! So we paid $6 for my movie ticket (MH used his Movie Pass) and then $6 for a soda to go with the free popcorn. I hadn't really eaten a proper dinner and the smell of popcorn was getting to me while standing in line for free movie for like an hour. (That is always the catch with the free movies. First-come/first-serve; lots of waiting in line). I could not believe the cheapest drink was $6. Bottled water cost more, but needed something to wash down the popcorn. Next time I will bring a water bottle from home. Yeesh!

I think MH did the first fueling of the old gas car this month.

MM(15) took the PSAT at school today, for free. (His school just pays all of the fees).

That reminds me, I didn't even know that AP tests cost money. I saw some discussion about that during summer and I decided to ask school board friend about that. I didn't even know because it had been paid for last year. I didn't know if that was a school-wide decision or a district decision or what, so was going to ask friend who serves on the District Board. In the end, it came up in passing and MM(15) told me his school pays for all of the AP tests. (I guess I should have asked him!) One of his teachers also mentioned this during Back-to-School night this year.