Ways to S T R E T C H that Dollar!

I know Rick's gonna blog this too, it was just one of those days and we talked about it all evening. All day today we jumped from one money-saving project to another and saved - and accomplished - a lot.

We don't usually know how we'll spend our Saturdays and today was no exception. I have a lot to do in my back yard to make it work for our "Big Event" coming up in a couple month (Rick says "Wedding! It's called a wedding!") and we were kind of intending to get to some of that. But I had people coming to look at the van around 9 so we got ready for that first. Once they left (said they'd let us know - that would be a "no") I cut Rick's hair, not a big savings but a savings nonetheless. Then Rick said he wanted to have his tires switched over to some new rims he bought about a month ago. I suggested a junkyard to do the work. So he called around, first some tire shops, they were anywhere from $60 to over $100 to do the job (that would be before tax), then he called a junkyard and found it would be $10 per tire. So he headed out to have that done. The first place he went was inundated with Mexicans waiting for the same good deal. Eventually, though, he got the job done for that $40 ("including" tax) by a woman at the neighboring junkyard.

In the meantime I was looking at rings. I went to a jewelry store to see what Rick was looking at yesterday. This was the third jeweler I've gone to. I was beginning to see what things were going for and that the yellow gold that I prefer is not easy to find in today's market. So I decided to check out the local pawn shops. When I got to the second one and had a sales girl there to help me I questioned how the whole thing worked. They have a staff jeweler that checks everything out and can give a fair description of what they have for sale. They have a 30 day money back guarantee so you can take your purchase to an independent jeweler for an appraisal. They had lots of yellow gold. And when I found a ring that was similar to the ring I was wearing I found it sold for a third of the price and then was half off that! I found a ring that matched the price of the original ring Rick bought and it was double the total diamond carat weight! That was it - we were shopping for a ring at Super Pawn!

When we got back together I told him of my discovery and we went shopping. We hit 2 different Super Pawns and I found a ring I liked at the second one. It ended up being a full carat and the seller kept dropping the price until it was the same as what we had just spent on a 1/5 carat (which was on sale as well, about 1/3 off it's original price) and is beautiful - I feel like a queen wearing it. Some of you will disagree but it suits me very well, it has everything I want and doesn't have what I don't want. We ended up spending about a third of what we were headed for and I like this far better than anything we could afford at the jeweler. Woohoo!

After Rick got back from the junkyard but before we went ring shopping his buddy Steve came over and brought an ethernet interface for his PDA, like a modem I believe, to be hardwired to the internet if necessary. He got 2 somehow so gave one to Rick. We went to Fred Meyer and Rick returned the rings he bought that I picked out a few days ago, then we decided to go to Taco Bell for dinner. We ended up back at Rick's watching a movie that Rick had copied off a library DVD or a friend's, free movie.

OK, to some people this would all be a lot of work or unnecessary searching. But it's one of the things we have in common. We're both frugal. We don't mind spending money, but not more than is necessary.

And now I got the *bling* baby!

A New Project

I have a new project to work on - I get to be a wedding planner again! I had a lot of fun with Denny's and Rachyl's weddings, they both turned out just great. I think Rach's was particularly nice but that probably had something to do with the fact that it was on a boat! This time I get to plan - MINE!!

Yep, Rick finally did it! "Popped the question", "went to Jared", "get down on one knee" - whatever you want to call it - he proposed! Whew - I was afraid I was gonna have to break up with him again! That didn't go over very well the last time. And it only lasted about a day. To be honest, though, this time was well spent getting to know each other. I've never had such a long courtship before but I can definitely see the advantages.

The proposal itself was nothing spectacular but it got the job done. He had the ring box cupped in his hands and said "I have something for you." He dropped the black box into my hands and I tried to read the lettering on it. It looked like it said "Ford Motor". I couldn't figure out what one would get in a little box from Ford. I think I finally figured out that it actually said "Fred Meyer", a local all-in-one department store walking distance from Rick's place that he is a loyal customer of. So I cracked it open and there was this pretty little silver band with a row of diamonds. I was still confused: "Maybe it's a friendship ring", "It doesn't look like an engagement ring". So I then asked "What is it?" He told me it was an engagement ring and that he decided it was time that we were engaged! I sat there dumbfounded and actually told him I'd have to think about it! In reality I had a few issues I wanted to discuss with him that I needed answers to before I entered into a committed relationship with him. I was gonna accept, that really wasn't the issue regardless of how he answered my questions.

We spent a little time visiting a few family members and making our big announcement yesterday. I had already texted my older kids and showed off my ring to my younger ones when I got home that night. But last night we popped into Denny's house to make the announcement more official. When we told his parents one of his Mom's comments was something like "Oh - no babies." That would be correct, no baby-making organs, no babies. Besides, we're too old, we're grandparents for goodness sake! But that is typically one of the goals of a newly married couple. This is a different type of marriage that takes place later in life. I don't need him to be a dad to my kids, they're all grown, the same with his kids. This is a totally selfish type of marriage - it's just for us. To be there for each other, to support each other, be companions to each other, instead of growing old alone. This may be one of the most important times in life to be married. When the nest is empty. We need someone to help keep that nest feathered, it's lonely and cold and difficult to do alone.

So now we get to have a wedding! I keep finding myself doing things the same way as all the other baby-boomers are, unintentionally. I want a "theme" wedding. I have a thing for the medieval look and have been to a few Renaissance Faires. So I want a Medieval-feeling wedding. Nothing over the top, just medievalish. Guests will be invited to come in costume if they like. Or just something close to a costume, the feel of medieval. My dress will be very medieval and I'll try to fix Rick up with something that he'll be comfortable with. There will be lots of candles and a large banquet table with meat (not venison and pigeon, more likely interesting bbq stuff) fruit, cheese, bread, etc. But the main theme of it will be "Fun". More than anything we want it to be fun. I would like to find someone that knows how to lead groups in circle dances to get everyone involved.

So - now the work begins. Besides making all the wedding plans we also have to work on making room for Rick to be able to move in here, there's no place for him right now. We have no definite time frame, just somewere around April or May.

An Uplifting Experience

Yesterday was my 2 day Jehovah's Witness Circuit Assembly and during the closing talk the District Overseer told the most uplifting experience. I don't want to forget it so I have to write it down somewhere - here.

Bob and Lorraine, a couple from a Great Lakes state, I believe it was Minnesota and the town I believe to be Elkton, wanted to help the brothers in Malawi. Apparently they had the means and the knowledge to go, acquire materials and tools and teach the local brothers to build their own Kingdom Halls. The plan was to go and build as many as they could for as long as they could, until the funds, etc ran out. So they contacted the Malawi Branch office. The branch, of course, was thrilled that someone would volunteer to do this but the timing was not the best - the new Branch office was being dedicated just as they were scheduled to arrive. So the branch mailed to them... 2 tickets to the dedication! Any of you involved in any building and dedication knows that these tickets aren't easy to come by, they're for only specific persons. So Bob and Lorraine were thrilled to be invited.

Bob asked if there was anything that the brothers needed that he could bring with them. He was told that if he could spare 2 of his 4 allowed suitcases for supplies he could bring one suitcase full of neckties and the other filled with pens and tablets. He was happy to comply.

There are only about 3000 JW's in Malawi. As it turns out a large part of the group invited to the dedication were all the brothers in the country. But there were problems with the local brothers being able to attend - they're all dirt poor. So the Society paid for their transportation, their plane, train, bus, whatever tickets they needed to get there! They were all put up dormitory style, men in one and women in another, with some staying in private homes. At the dedication they were all provided with 3 box meals.

Bob and Lorraine were happy to distribute their ties, paper and pens, and the brothers were thrilled to receive them. During the lunch break they were trying to visit with some of the brothers and the local brothers kept breaking out in song, in their beautiful 3 part harmony that they're so known for. The singing began, they'd stop eating and visiting to listen. The song would end, they'd start to eat again and the singing would break out in another area, all done without accompaniment or songbooks.

During the dedication they brought out the horrible atrocities that took place back in the late 60's and early 70's when the brothers were being tortured and killed for not buying political cards. Then the speaker asked for all the Malawi brothers who lived through that time to stand and nearly all 3000 stood up. After the session Bob wanted to get someone's story. He managed to get one to tell it and it went something like this:

The authorities had been rounding up and killing all the witnesses that wouldn't buy the political cards (which only cost about .25). They finally came to this brothers' village and rounded them all up. They lined them up by a bridge that was high above a river. One by one they asked the brothers if they would buy a political card. Each time they said could not, they had already pledged their allegiance to God's Kingdom and therefore could not buy a political card. They were put into a burlap bag, it was wired shut and they were pushed off the bridge. They either drowned or were killed by crocodiles. This brother was the last one in line. When it came time to put him in the bag the person doing it was a man the brother knew. The brother warned the man that t man knew what kind of person the brother was and that killing him would be on his shoulders, God knew what was going on. The man "accidentally" dropped his pocketknife into the bag. It was then wired shut and pushed off the bridge the same as all the ones before. The brother managed to find the knife and cut himself out of the bag. Then he found the bag that went into the river just before him, the brother in it was still alive. He managed to cut his bag open but the rest of the brothers had already died. So these 2 brothers swam to shore while hiding under the bridge and managed to escape into the bush.

I hope I got it right. Anyway, I feel better now that I got it down in writing.

the Kevin Episode

I guess since I mentioned it in my last blog it's only fair that I should tell you about it now.

Superbowl Sunday - beer, TV, food, men being boys again, maybe a little rough-housing, etc. That's how it begins. Add a dirt bike and some marital discord. Oops!

That's pretty much it in a nutshell. Shirley and Kevin had words. Shirley left. Kevin got on his dirt bike to do some more wheelies up and down the street. Add the beer and emotions, though, and the wheelies got a little more speed and ... CRASH!!

Almost right in front of Denny's house. The bike continued to run, no damage there. He wasn't wearing a helmet but didn't hit his head. He has some bad road rash, 2 torn tendons in his foot and a torn calf muscle - badly torn, nearly completely severed.

Weeks of recuperation. I hope it was worth it (that's a mom for you).

Weekend Update

Well, another weekend has past. No, nothing earth-shattering happened, just a pleasantly productive weekend.

I started the day by sleeping in til like 10. I keep telling Rick he doesn't have to let me sleep that late, I don't get up to go to work during the week so I can get up early to spend the morning with him. But - I slept in til like 10.

I got up and showered and found that what Rick wanted to do was go look for truck parts at the junk yard. I'm always ready for a trip to the junk yard. But I , of course, wanted to look for stuff for my car. Recently I was playing in the parking lot of a local Home Depot and broke my driver-side mirror.

We started at one lot that was strictly trucks, then moved to other ones and back to the truck one. I managed to find a beautiful mirror to replace my broken one for $25. I also picked up a nearly new flashlight, a clip-on sunglass holder (looks like a cockroach, I need to "personalize" it) and a couple pockets full of nails.

We got back to Rick's, he installed his new bowtie emblem on his truck grill and I installed my new mirror. I then vacuumed my car. In the meantime I got a call from the jeweler that was rebuilding my mom's sweet 16 ring - it also was ready. I had the band rebuilt and had a catch repaired, it is beautiful and ready for more long-term wear.

All these are things on my "to do" list. It's dwindling and I'm finding myself with not enough to do. I'm getting bored and lazy. I guess I need a job. Something to do. I would be going out in service but at this point I can't.

We got back to my place and installed the pressure switch into my hot tub that I bought the day before. We did that and then the tub immediately began to heat up.
We had a nice dinner down the street at the Draft Choice Sports Bar, burgers and beer. Then we enjoyed our time in a soothing 105 degree hot tub.

All in all a nice weekend. Except for the Kevin episode. But that's another story.

About Me

My photo
After 2 unsuccessful marriages I spent 12 years as a divorcee, only to fall prey to another man's wiles. We had a fun 5 years together and then he decided he wanted more freedom so once again I'm single.

So I'm freshly divorced at 57 and have 5 great kids and now 7 grandkids. My kids are still a major part of my life but I'm busy helping my aging parents on Kauai.

I've lived in California, Hawaii and Oklahoma before finally settling here in Washington. I love Washington and come back to visit family, friends and take care of my garden often but will be temporarily a resident of Kauai.

I've moved 30 times in my life (no, my parents weren't in the service, at least not since I was about 2) and finally planted roots when I got my little house that I've owned since '91.

My family are Jehovah's Witnesses, I've been one since '72.