Friday, February 23, 2007

School books and stuff

I'm sitting here watching the snow fall outside my window. It's the end of February, in California, and we have snow! I'm not exactly complaining but I really dislike the crazy weather. We went from the high 60's to snow over the course of 2 days. We are supposed to warm up to around 70 by the end of next week. It's just freaky!

We finally got our tax return and I should be happy but it's going toward more taxes. Some people get to take vacations or go shopping. I get to pay for the car registration and a supplemental property tax bill. I did get to take a little bit of it and order some much needed school books.

I have ordered from Rainbow Resource for the last 5 years. I've always been happy with their prices and service but this year I'm wondering if I shouldn't find another supplier. I ordered online 2 weeks ago. I called Monday to check on the order and I was told everything, with the exception of one book, was shipping out on Tuesday. Great news. The last 2 years I've ended up with backorders that were 6 and 11 months in coming. Then I noticed the amount they took out of my bank account was incorrect. It was too little. I called this morning to find that 2 of the books I ordered were out of print. They have the new additions, which cost a few cents more. I didn't receive an email or phone call from them; they just cancelled the books off the order. They straightened it out and agreed not to charge me shipping since my original order was over the amount needed to qualify for free shipping.

But wait, there is a problem with my address. We don't get mail at our home; the post office does not deliver here. So I put in the comments section of my order that anything shipped USPS (backorders) needed to be sent to the PO Box. They didn't read it and can't put exceptions in the system. They caught the backordered book that was shipping out today and informed me that in the future I should have everything shipped to the PO Box so there is no confusions for backordered items. Of course that means even though they offer FedEx ground I will have to use Book Rate USPS. We all know the Post Office puts book rate stuff on the back of a chicken and points it in the direction it's headed, that's why it takes 3-6 weeks! So instead of getting my order sent to my house I will have to wait until we can get to the Post Office. No big deal, right? Well our post office is open from 9-4 M-F. No Saturday hours, they say they are open for 1 hour each Saturday for pick-ups only but they aren't always there. So I could go weeks without catching them during the hours they are open, after all Paul has to work during the day. All of this because Rainbow Resource doesn't want to have to deal with 2 shipping addresses. Of course if they had everything in stock when I originally ordered this wouldn't even be an issue.

Maybe by the time I order my next shipment next year I will have forgotten all about this. Maybe they will even get their system updated so they can read the comments they ask for. The woman I spoke to even mentioned that this is an issue for a number of their customers, so why don't they fix it? Or maybe I'll just find a new supplier for books.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

What's important?

Before I start this post, once again, I just wanted to vent. I was forced to upgrade to the new version of Blogger this morning. I hate change. I typed out this post and hit "save as draft", when I went in to edit it, it was all gone! Eaten by this supposedly great new version of Blogger...Grrrrr!

Since Paul and I are trying to get our long-term goals hammered out we have been forced to think about what's important.

My previous comment that we wanted to move away from CA sparked an email from a friend who thought we were over the desire to leave. We thought we were over it too! Our friends are important to us, they are the family we weren't given by blood. But is that enough to make us stay in a place where we just aren't happy? The financial strain of living here is wearing, it will inevitably lead to burn out. We may be close (relatively speaking) to our friends but what good does that do when we can't afford to visit or join in on outings? Since we have been here our visits to church and our friends, which are one inextricably combined, have gone from weekly to once a month. We've gone from enjoying lunch out after church to no longer being able to do that. I'm glad that our friends have the opportunity to go out and enjoy the company of others, but we cannot. Paul and I live in a completely different reality. We are in a different part of our life (most of our friends are older) and we have chosen to have children. We have chosen to give up financial security to give the kids the security of having a parent at home to guide their education. I have chosen to embrace my vocation as a wife and mother in a traditional, some might say archaic, manner. Because we live in this other universe, we just don't have the means to participate in much else.

So once again this brings me back to wondering if staying here strictly to be near friends is an option? I can't say I have a hard and fast answer but the longer we are here the more I think it's not a good option. So that makes me wonder what is important? Everyone has different needs to consider. For us we know one thing that we cannot ignore, homeschooling laws. Wherever we move must have, what we consider, decent laws. That rules out at least 1/2 of the states, I can live with that. The other things we have thought about are: affordability, zoning restrictions, taxes, weather, and gun laws. I'm sure there are more but that's what comes to mind right now. California pretty much falls short on every one of our concerns, except for the homeschooling laws.

Luckily we don't have to make any hard decisions right now, even if we wanted to we can't move for some time. But being the planner that I am, I can't just ignore what I know is coming. Eventually we will be forced to make a decision on where to go next. If I'm lucky maybe our friends will want to follow us.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Since the Presbytera asked for pictures of the views from the newly enclosed deck I thought I would post a couple.

This one has our "peek-a-boo" lake view. It's really hard to see it right now since the lake level is really low, but if you look just to the right of the large boulders the lake is visible. The clothes line posts are also a new addition, we cemented them in yesterday and I painted the post purple, my favorite color. I figure if I have to hang the laundry out to dry I might as well enjoy looking at the posts while I'm doing it! I'm very excited about the posts, no more will our laundry be in the driveway strung between the tree and carport.

This one is the view of the back of our property. The trees are mostly dead from a fire that scorched the entire area a few years ago. We are getting ready to chop them down tomorrow for firewood.

The area we live in is just at the edge of the desert before you get into the forest. There is a lot of scrub and a few trees. The area used to be owned by the BLM and was sold in the 20's. The road up to the area is paved but is only wide enough for one vehicle in many spots. For the most part everyone is extremely cautious and courteous. A few miles further up the main road is USDA controlled forest. Extremely convenient for us since it is a firewood cutting site.

As of this afternoon we now have power in the new room. We were able to disconnect an outdoor outlet that we never used and extended the line into the room with two new outlets. We are very careful about the load we place on the entire system, using only fluorescent lights and few big appliances at any one time. The main box needs to replaced soon and we will upgrade the service at that time.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Deck views and goals

I was going to wait until everything was moved into the new rooms before I posted more pictures but then I realized I might never get there!

Every time I turn around I seem to be finding things that need to be moved, cleaned, or arranged so I gave up waiting.

Malachi's loft bed is the dividing line for his area. He has lots of space to play between his bed and the wall. When we finally went through all his tubs we found that he had a lot less than we thought, most of them were less than half full.

Here is the room that used to contain the table, Malachi's things, and the sofa. Now it's just a living room!

Cleaning and arranging have left me lots of time to think about what our goals are for the future. We have finally come to the realization that no matter where we live we are never gonna be comfortable financially. Each move has had the promise of a better income and each time it hasn't happened. Some of this has finally hit home because I just finished the taxes. We made less last year than before I got out of college 10 years ago! It seems so pathetic to think we are going backwards and not forward. At the same time I can look at the fact that we live in one of the most expensive areas of the country and we are making it, even if it is tight.

So I think we both have realized that it's time to make some goals that can be actually achieved. We both know that we don't want to be in CA forever, in fact the sooner we can leave the better. But soon might not be for a number of years so we want to spend the next few years figuring out where we want to try next. I'm hoping having a goal will help to make our time here more palatable.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


The deck is finally finished...almost. I say almost because we still have to paint and do trim work. Both of those things will have to wait until it's warmer and we have a little bit of extra money for the trim. But it's done enough to move Malachi outside.

We installed the carpet today and I have to admit this was the first project we have done that didn't take longer than we planned. We actually got it done in one day with time to spare!

The windows are great, there is lots of light and it really warms up that area. During the summer we can take them out and put screening in.

Oh and just so I don't keep you in suspense, that oval thing hanging on the wall is a train track. It's 4 x 8 so it's hanging there to keep it out of the way when it's not being used.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Deck Improvements

While Paul and I were gone for the weekend, my mother and her husband got the deck almost completely finished.

It's coming along nicely. We have carpet picked out and will install that later this week. The walls will have to be primed and painted before that happens, luckily it's been really warm so we shouldn't have a problem painting this week. Then we can move Malachi and all his stuff into his new room.