Ok a lot of you probably remember through the years


I have discovered DR and tried to do things his way. Even a year or 2 before I discovered him I did a few things that I later realized were his way. Hubby would claim to be on board and then do something that derailed the train for a bit. However he has been getting better. For part of 2011/ 2012 he spent a year in Korea alone do to the military. Unlike his previous deployments this time he had a normal schedule. He went to PT and to work and then had other free time and the weekends usually free without us under foot. In order to make this work for us, he did his budget and came up with he needed X dollars to live on, the rest I got. I snowballed what I could, made no new debt, paid cash for everything as I went. Hubby did the same with his money, and found the time to go to the FPU in Korea. I was sad I did not get to go. However between DR, FPU and his own budgeting for a year, he came home with a renewed sense of getting out of debt. Now he wants to do it, talks about only paying cash, we made more sinking funds and our zero based budget leaves us about 30$ from payday to payday for things that come up that the sinking funds do not cover.

Now he has been wanting a smartphone, since in Korea that was the only kind they had, no call/ text phones. So he has patiently waited since June for our contracts to expire on the current phones, 2 did in Dec and the 3rd will at the end of Jan. So we did online research and it will cost about 100 extra a month to get 2 of the phones to smart phones and add a 4th line. The boys are getting to where they go in different directions so 1 shared phone for them doesn’t work anymore and we have no land line. Ok well in the past he went out and come home and said ok it will cost X next month instead of Y. Then I have to figure out how to rework the budget. GRRRRRRR. I usually managed to make it work.

This time though I asked him where he would like to pull the money from BEFORE he left to look at phones. Looking for him usually ends up with impulse buying. So I was prepared to get out the spreadsheet and rework the budget, cutting sinking funds or reducing them to make up for the higher bill. He thought about it and decided that he really did not need one yet. We have a bill that should be paid off buy summer that will free up 300 a month. He can wait til then and rethink it at that point. Which means even if it does go up 100 I still have 200 extra for the snowball, so win win for us.

Now just to see how long we can hold off on adding that 4th line. Right now its chilly out and the boys don’t go far for long and usually go together. It when its summer and they start running off in different directions with no school that I forsee an issue. However since they go to school M to T til 530 and F til 330, they don’t have a lot of time when we need the extra one. Usually on Sat & Sun they are with dad or I am with dad and that helps as well.…

We bought a composter a few months ago,


but I saved it “for Christmas.” My brother, who is mechanically inclined, bailed on us for Christmas, so the other day my son and I put it together.
We bought it at Home Depot, and all the reviews say the instructions are horrible (they are!) and it takes forever to figure out how to put it together, yada yada. SO I thought: why not film it as we are putting it together? I have become a YT devotee because I am a visual learner. So my DD16 filmed it, edited it, and uploaded it (none of which I know how to do. In fact, when our camera died (cheapo new batteries) she’s the one who figured out we could webcam it (i’m not even sure what that is.)
ANYWAY. She called me in to see the “pre-final” product (which is mostly what you see at the links below. There are a few typos that have to be fixed later) and HOLY MOLY !! The kid’s got TALENT !! I told her, you know, this could be a real side business for you….taking people’s raw footage, editing in fade in/out, music, credits, wording etc. There’s a lot of people like me who want to film stuff, but don’t know how to get it from point A to point B and have it look nice.
Then I thought: HEY EL !! This looks like something you could do !! Maybe create some flyers, maybe go to some photo shops in your area & offer services, maybe offer classes in how to do it? Just saying. Low entrance costs…..lots of opportunity. Even if you low balled it at $10-40 a project depending on what they wanted, boy that could sure be a cash business 🙂…

I want to return again for Christmas.


I believe they stayed open until 3am on Christmas Eve night/Early Christmas Morning. I know we stayed until well past midnight that night, but at the time we had teenagers who could handle staying up late. I loved that it snowed over the entire park at midnight, just magical indeed!
Thinking I want to return anyway, I have to get my fix of Mickey and Minnie. (Those of you who are Facebook friends, did you see my new Minnie Mouse phone case?)…

The first night we were there, the Magic Kingdom was open until 3 am


3 am! I kid you not! My husband was so excited, and I told him he was nuts. There was no way I was staying out until 3 am with the little squirts. We did get to tour Belle’s new deal (I don’t know what you’d call it, but both my children were chosen to be part of the interactive play), and we rode the new Dumbo rode endless times (there are now two of them and the play area for the little guys) after hours, but by midnight, my littlest one was hanging out of the stroller. It was time to go. It’s a huge advantage to stay on property to take advantage of the extended hours, even if you aren’t staying until 3 am! …

Oh yeah, any time it’s over two of us to fly we drive.


To fly two is about the same price as driving from OK. But sometimes you can catch great deals on SWA and fly for a lot cheaper. That’s usually around our spring trip or our Oct trip. When we do 4 trips in one year we go for the Christmas decorations on both ends of the 366 days the pass is good, then to the EPCOT spring International Flower and Garden Show, next is the EPCOT Wine and Cheese (which is at Halloween time generally—neat decorations then).
At the prices you are getting quoted for the rental I think that car we discussed last night would probably be a better option in the long run for you. Now how to protect Lugnut. Hmmmmm. …

I’m not much for resolutions for the new year,


I’m not much for resolutions for the new year, but I’ve decided this is the perfect time to sit my husband down and do a weekly budget review with him. He’s working his tail off this time of the year, but he takes Sundays off (the only day of the week). The Detroit Lions are out for the season, so I don’t have to worry about intruding on his football time (my husband doesn’t care about tv, but does like to to root for the underdog, and we do live in Michigan, so I get it). It’s ski season, so we’ll ski tomorrow, and we get home; hopefully, the twirps will be wiped out, and we can have an early dinner and play a mad game of Fish or Old Maid and then tuck them into bed, and I’m going to go over all the budget things with him. I’ve added some new ING subaccounts for the new year (whole house generator because we go without power quite a bit each year for extended periods, and a vacation to Great Britain the summer of 2014 – Peppa Pig and Thomas the Tank Engine amusement parks anyone?). Our direct deposits have obviously decreased with the updated payroll taxes. I’ve been juggling things back and forth, and now it’s time to let him see what’s going on. I’ve been telling him, but the black and white will probably resonate with him more. I’m going back to the cash envelopes. We have enough of everything (clothes, toys – I over bought for Christmas so I pulled stuff for Easter baskets and such, even food since I’ve been stockpiling and stuff is starting to expire). No more bargain shopping for stuff because it’s a good deal (this is my problem. The transparency will be hard for me, but good for us). He is not a spender, I’m more of the bargain shopper so that make me the spender, but he simply doesn’t care about money. He’s content; I freak out. I want to spur him on to push his personal business (he’s nationally known for what he does and doesn’t capitalize on his skills) and to leave his independent contractors job (which isn’t paying us diddly squat after expenses any more). I think the weekly budget review will help immensely and will give him the nudge he needs to pursue what he really loves (and is awesome) at doing. …

Because we are three adults we always stay at the value resorts


generally the All Star Music if we aren’t staying in Ft. Wilderness—our preferred place to stay. We are seldom in our room(s) except to sleep so luxury is not needed for us. The evening Extra Magic Hours are our favorite too. I think we’ve done the morning one ONCE in all the trips we’ve taken. Extended evening hours let us move at a leisurely pace and they aren’t as crowded as the early morning hours are because a lot of folks tire out and go back to their resorts.
I love the luxury of an annual pass too. That lets us park hop as we want, and go just half days when we want. That combined with the discounts they have for AP holders all the time just makes it worth the extra you pay for them. Plus then we tend to go 2-4 times the year we have them too. Drive down twice and fly down at least once when air fares are low. I can’t wait to get back to doing that. …

We love the extended hours so for us


and especially with our family situation, being able to stay later or show up earlier (well, that’s never happened! lol) is worth the price of staying at the resort. We always stay at the Contemporary or Animal Kingdom but did try the Caribbean over Thanksgiving, and actually preferred it. Never have we known Disney to give away swag, but my children scored a princess tiara and wand, as well as a pirate sword and patch (look, it was all Dollar Store stuff, but my children loved it), and daily balloons (no balloons allowed at the Animal Kingdom resort because of the onsite animals). Caribbean Resort also offers a Magical Express bus that goes directly to the resort, bypasses all the other resorts, so that is a plus for those who use this service (we didn’t for earlier stated reason, but know others that do, and this is why they prefer this “moderate” Disney property).…

I have an ADHD kid who is on a Ritalin patch


When he has a meltdown, we are leaving IMMEDIATELY. I’m not waiting for a bus. Plus my family is in the area, so we drive to see them. Believe me, if I didn’t have a child who I need to remove from situations when he’s overstimulated, nor family in Orlando and the Coco Beach area (I’m from Florida), I would certainly take advantage of the Magical Express. It’s a wonderful budget saver, and I fully endorse the useage of it, but it isn’t always the only option for families. I simply have to be self reliant. No choice.…

When we fly to Disney we stay on site


and use the Magical express for free. That way we don’t need a rental car, they pick up our bags and deliver them directly to our room and then when we leave they check our bags in for us at the airport. It’s a free service and I love it! The Orlando airport hit us with a pretty big airport fee the one time we rented the car from there as well. Tom who is currently trying to figure out the best way to pay off debt and still have a WDW vacation this year …

I wish I could recall who we used last year


when we were doing the Disney thing. I know I looked them up online because I wasn’t familar with them. People wrote horrible things about the company, but whe couldn’t have been more pleased. The staff was lovely, the car they gave us was a terrific upgrade (a minivan from a standard vehicle), and no hidden fees. Plus, Autoslash offers you online coupons on their site to apply immediately, and they lowered our rate a number of times, always offering us the chance to switch companies or to stay with the one we’d originally booked with, and it turned out well.
btw, looking at our Payless deal with Autoslash, we’d booked an upgraded to the moderate vehicle (can’t recall what was their terminalogy, but it was above standard, but less than deluxe). We had it while we were in Florida for a week over Thanksgiving and our initial charge was $146 and then they slapped us with the additional $26 fee (I just went back and double checked). We know we still got a decent deal. We could have fought the $26 additional charge, but just didn’t feel like it, but knew we got screwed (husband had brochitis, 7 year old had a 104 temperature, and I still had a younger child and was whipped, so I figured this was a $26 lesson to NEVER use Payless and to ALWAYS book at the airport so I can walk away if I don’t like the deal, especially since I always travel with my children and don’t need any additional hassles).…

Try Autoslash You don’t give them any payment info until you show up to pick up your rental.


They have online coupons to knock prices off. If a competitor drops their rates for the same vehicles, they will match their pricing or ask you if you want to switch your reservation. One caveat, when asked to select the rental company, pick the one that is directly onsite at the airport if at all possible. Last year when we flew to Orlando, we did that. The price continued to drop and drop (we never opted to switch to the competitors companies since the original booking car rental place would match the newly, lowered price). When we went to pick up our vehicle, the one we’d originally selected wasn’t available, so they upgraded our vehicle after we asked them what they wold do for us. It was then that we gave them our payment info and paid for the vehicle. Last month we flew back to Orlando. Again we used Autoslash only this time, selected a car rental company that was off site. They promptly tried to pressure us into getting all the extra insurance coverage (that we did not need). I wanted to walk, but my husband knew they wouldn’t put us back on their shuttle, and it was late at night, and he just wanted to get over to our hotel and check in. About a week after we returned the vehicle, they charged us an extra $25 or so for “damages”. I knew we should have walked after their heavy handedness, and had we been at the airport we would have. Bottom line, Autoslash was still cheaper, and a larger named companies are represented by them too (by the way, it was Payless who jerked us around. We’ll never use them again). …

I don’t have a specific answer for you


but be aware that different rental companies use different criteria if/when they find out you don’t have a credit card. I wrote up our experiences with Enterprise Rentals, and it was pretty ugly. I ended up cancelling that particular reservation. But some weeks later, we needed to rent a big van from U-haul to move some furniture, and I was concerned I’d run into the same problem. When we reached the point of how payment would be made, the guy actually proactively said “we take both debit and credit cards, so whatever you have is fine.” Our rental proceeded without any hiccups at all. So whatever vehicle you end up with, be aware that some but not all companies will frown on putting it on a debit card. If you find one is really giving you a hassle (and you can go back in the archives to see what sort of hassle I got from Enterprise), move on and see if another company is easier to work with.If you end up working with Enterprise, try not telling them that you’re using a debit card. If your card actually has “debit” printed on it, like mine does, you may not be able to get away with that because they’re supposed to look at it. But see what you can do in that regard. Also, try the U-haul and Budget folks for a big van with seats. U-haul was very easy to work with and it sounds like Budget might be as well. They also tend to have more locations than rental car places – we only have one rental car place in town and that’s Enterprise. But we have half-dozen U-haul places and three Budget places. They aren’t advertised under rental cars but rather moving companies. Good luck!…

Thanks Kathy for explaining it


I was trying to write something, but it didn’t sound right. I have a sister who “dated” 3 different dealers to get her fix. I tried to point out her addiction and was told that I was lying–this after the first 2 were arrested and the 3rd was fired from his job for dealing at work. I finally had to cut ties for the safety of my family.…

I think one of the things my folks have such a hard time with

loan money mortgage

in terms of my current job as a farmer, is the pay cut I took. I went from a string of “white collar” series of jobs – mortgage lender then software designer for the lending industry – to a decidedly blue collar job. What they utterly fail to understand is that while I was building the farm over time so that I could eventually work here, my professional job went away anyway. So even if I’d never had the ambition to farm and never switched over to that as my work, I would have had to switch over to something else regardless. The product which kept me employed for 10 years was discontinued, and that company wasn’t interested in keeping any of us on for other work. That entire team of people scattered to the four winds. Most of my previous colleagues ended up going back to school to get additional technical certifications; those who didn’t went into some other sector of the work force and most also took steep pay cuts. Had I tried to stay in that line of work and apply for payday loans no credit check needed, I would have been faced with that choice as well. But because the timing coincided with the farm coming far enough along to start generating income, I think my folks decided that I went from $30/hr to $10/hr voluntarily. Furthermore, my folks seem to think that those juicy $60K/yr jobs are still low-hanging fruit, ripe for the picking, for anyone who happens to stumble by. I’ve resigned myself to the idea that they’ll never quite wrap their heads around the idea that my white collar career is over. I think they’re still waiting for me to wake up and get tired of the “farmville” game and go get a real job. I mourn for all the folks out there trying to do exactly that. At least I had an alternative of my own making.…

Sadly, that’s one of the myths of addiction


“They don’t have money for anything else, so they can’t possibly have money for , therefore they don’t have an addiction.” We’ve actually talked about that aspect of addiction here before. It’s one of the hallmarks of addictive behavior – whatever money can be earned, stolen or traded, goes to feeding the addiction even if they’re out on the street as a result. When they lose their jobs, they start selling stuff. When they don’t have any more stuff to sell, they sell themselves. When they get into that life of crime to support their habit, that’s usually when they’re arrested for the first time. Then during the arrest processing, other symptoms of addiction make themselves known and slowly the truth is revealed.

It sounds like Sharon has a very good plan for having her daughter tested to see if that’s what’s driving all this recent bizarre behavior. And maybe drugs aren’t the issue in that particular case – sometimes self-destructive behavior is fueled by other causes. But lack of a job is certainly not an obstacle to continuing a drug addiction. Just go talk to all the jobless strungout wrecks out there who have already lost everything they’ve ever owned, and every job they’ve ever had. They’ll still manage to scrape money together, somehow, to buy one more hit.…

That is an outstanding way to get that


check done without having to drag her into a doctor’s office kicking and screaming. Perhaps a private word with her doctor is all that would be needed. I don’t know how things work when the person is an adult and is legally allowed to refuse treatment. But any doctor worth the title will recognize both the risks that possibility might pose, and the opportunities to get this checked. If nothing else, a series off clean blood screens would rule this out as the culprit.

And thanks for letting me share our experience. Last I heard, she was simply dating this guy that you weren’t sure about. Then suddenly all this other stuff had gone south, seemingly overnight. The similarities with my cousin’s experience were just too close. All during the time I wrote up my response, I wondered if I was pushing too far into stuff that isn’t my business. But so much of what you’ve said in the last 24hrs has been almost verbatim the conversations which my aunt/uncle were having back when Lisa’s slide first began. “What in the heck is going on with this girl?” No one could figure it out, until that bloodwork started coming back consistently positive for heroin. If one family can be spared that 12 years of hell her family had, and the various other forms of hell we’ve become aware of with other addicts in our circle of family/friends, then it was all worth it.

Please do keep us posted. And whatever else happens, I hope the little one is growing and maturing well.…

She is every month going to the doctor for pregnancy


related visits and she doesn’t have the brains to get clean to pass a drug test at the physicians office but it will be a subject I will bring up at her next visit. Yes… I’ve been to every doctor’s visit with her-that pain thing she can’t function with has her call me for every appointment and she is very insistent that I’m in the room during exams and consults with her OB

Whether they specifically test her for drugs I do not know, but it will be asked in about 3 weeks.

I am very interested in knowing how to detect drug use though, as there HAS to be something!…

The issue of “how are they afforded drugs” is often the first red flag that something is up in this category


No money for food, no money for housing or other normal utilities, no job (doesn’t want one or can’t hold one). Yet they always manage to scrounge enough to feed the habit. They often also manage to hang onto the car because that serves so many purposes – mini-home, shelter from the elements, way to get around, and one last-ditch effort at providing some form of “my place” when they’ve lost all their other retreats to safety.

But how do they pay for even that much? From what we learned with my cousin, and since then has been echoed with other drug addictions we’ve become aware of, is that most drug addicts don’t get arrested/jailed because of possession, per se. They get busted and jailed because of the petty crimes they do, to support their habit. If drugs, drug paraphernalia and/or blood tests during/after the arrest also show the presence of drugs in their system, then that only increases the # of charges against them. That’s what happened with my cousin. Her family only knew that she was sliding downhill for no apparent reason. It wasn’t until the arrests started that things started to add up and proof came in the form of bloodwork. And those arrests started to come in rapid succession, for a kid who’d previously been spotless in her grades and never had run-ins with the law. By comparison, a good friend of my brother’s, who only recently got over his own chemical addiction, was able to hang onto a professional level job. But he lost the house, the wife, the car, all his utilities were shut off, empty fridge, etc etc, because his entire take-home salary went towards his addiction. So even when good amounts of money are coming in, none of the needful things in life are paid for. Just the drugs. It takes over everything.

In the category of “fault”, this isn’t about failed parenting. Lots and lots of kids and young adults from “good” schools and “good” families and all those other warm-fuzzies end up in the same gutter, once they’re exposed to their first hits. We don’t know how Lisa got her first hit. It might have been at a party where kids were already drinking, at which point sound decision-making skills are out the window anyway, and maybe someone trotted out a sample, just for fun. Drug abuse drags everyone into the gutter, regardless of where they started. Arguing about whether the parents failed, etc etc, is frankly wasted effort. If drug abuse is what has happened with this situation, then “who’s at fault” is water under the bridge. She’s either on drugs, or she’s not. If she is, then the details of how and why that first instance occurred, are irrelevant. The task is to get her off them.

In terms of knowing whether she’s on drugs or not, there’s indirect evidence, and then there’s proof. You’ve already listed or hinted at a few of the more common indirect evidence – sudden loss of interest in activities/priorities, suddenly asking for significant sums of money, particularly to cover the basics, new friends (particularly a new boyfriend or girlfriend), no motivation, withdrawal from normal family and/or social life, good students and/or hard workers suddenly dropping out/not caring about their classes/jobs. While any one of those can be explained in other ways, when they come together like that, a new drug habit goes to the Top Three list of causes really fast. The only other two categorical causes on that list are death in the family, or sexual assault, either of which can lead to clinical depression and the desire to numb the pain and/or feelings of guilt, in any way possible. Any one of those three can send a previously well-adjusted kid right into the toilet behavior-wise. Other indications of drug abuse specifically, are changes in wardrobe/appearance, wearing sunglasses a lot to hide watery eyes, using Visine and other similar products a lot to hide bloodshot eyes, long sleeves if they’re injecting, perfume/cologne if they’re smoking, other new habits/dress changes to modify their appearance. But in terms of proof, that requires bloodwork. Frankly, I don’t know how long drugs generally stay in the system; it varies by drug but I think traces can generally be found up to 72hrs later. But it’s possible that a single blood test could be cheated on some of these drugs if the time interval between dose and test, was large enough. I know my cousin had to get regular blood tests while on probation to prove she was still clean.

I do know that sometimes kids will spiral down, without drugs or personal loss or sexual assult being the culprit. But such a drastic change of personality and/or life plans, doesn’t happen in a vacuum. There’s a causative factor in there somewhere. I also know that those types of problems are still considered taboo by a whole lot of folks, and in many instances it’s easier to simply chemically mask the issue than deal with it. So whatever is going on with your daughter, may or may not be drug abuse. But it’s something major. In terms of how to tell for sure, I can check with our therapist and see if an evaluation would flush out at least some clues or directions to pursue. But an evaluation by some type of professional – doctor, psychiatrist, etc – would probably be required to get a definitive answer. Sadly, from my little bit of experience with it, simply waiting for her to come to her senses or her brain to wake up again, might be a long wait for a train that ain’t coming. …

I honestly don’t know


How are they affording drugs? While I’m not there 24/7, I would rather take the blame for this than say she was on drugs. I take the blame for having plans for her future and not letting her be able to be who she want(ed) (s) to be. People told me that I should let her make her own future plans, not force college on her and not place great stock in her continuing our family business. I now here that she has succumbed to the pressure I applied, and for that I have to forever live with. Drugs? maybe….

I suppose anything is possible, but she is deathly afraid of pain (not necessarily a needle) but when she goes to the doctor and they draw blood, she passes out unless she’s in the prone position (been like this since she was younger). She fainted from vaccines through the years so I can’t see her shooting up. Smoking something…maybe.

Hummm…. Its not like she will admit it, so how does one find out and do something about it?…

Is there any way drugs could be involved here?


The more I learn about how bad this situation has really gotten, and how quickly, the more it sounds a lot like what we went through with my cousin. Bright girl, good student, had plans, had a future, and had the talent and motivation to go do something to achieve it all. Then Mr. Wrong came into her life either during senior year or first year of college, I don’t recall which. Our little branch of the family wasn’t directly involved, but even we heard through the family grapevine that she was suddenly spending a lot of time with this guy that no one liked. Then over a six month period of time, her life went from “future so bright you gotta wear sunglasses”, to dropped out of school, then unemployed and broke, then homeless, and finally pregnant. Turns out Mr. Wrong had introduced her to heroin. It was a long dive into darkness for her that lasted for 12 years. Six unplanned pregnancies and two prison terms later, she finally got it into her head (while finally off the drug long enough to have thoughts again), that maybe she could do something different with her life. Last I heard, Mr. Wrong, serving his own jail sentence, never did have any ambitions towards becoming a human being. But the divorce went through and finally she was free of his toxic influences in her life.

She has now been clean for almost 10 years, gets to spend time with her kids again, and has gone through at least an Associates’ level if not a Bachelor’s level degree in drug counseling. She is currently helping other young women get out of the rut she was in, faster than the 12 years it took her, and hopefully without serving time in the process.

When her parents were pondering what to do with that whole situation, they couldn’t figure out how their bright, ambitious, talented, outgoing daughter had suddenly turned into a lump with barely a pulse. It was the heroin that did it. Unless you’re absolutely positively sure that drugs aren’t involved, I’d put that out as a distinct possibility. Kids go into their various forms of rebellion, true enough. I certainly did. But a nosedive of this magnitude usually has some kind of cause, something big that might take some digging to uncover. And the kids will do anything to keep that covered. But this goes way beyond being dumb or rebellious. That’s my take on it anyway. I hope that’s not the case, but it would certainly start answering some “how did this happen” questions if it was. Harsh words, I know, but worth checking out.…

I signed up for some extra days at work

debt money

Time will tell if I get cancelled. I also cancelled the “insurance” we carried on our phones through verizon. Saves us $28+ a month. Every little bit huh?
I’ve been playing “ostrich” recently (think las 8-10 months), Letting DH handle the $$. He’s been doing pretty good w/it, our bills are pd on time, but there is NO money put towards the EF or debt. We make WAY too much $$ not to be making progress. We have a huge project that needs to be completed before we can really get started on the snowball, and I get soooo depressed and overwhelmed I stick my head in the sand and ignore it. I need to get motivated, but it’s super hard when your so depressed.…