Home > The Stuff of LIfe

The Stuff of LIfe

April 26th, 2015 at 12:51 pm

Yesterday I brought my car in for an oil and filter change. Note to self: Don't ever bring the car in to the dealer again. They're now charging $50 for an oil and filter change. The only reason I bring it there is because I always have to wait around while they do it, and they have a comfortable lounge area. Plus, I had wanted them to sync up the Bluetooth in my car with my new smart phone. Turns out the car was already connected to the phone, but i still have to figure out how to add contacts and then download the contacts to Bluetooth in the car. It's all a little confusing and I can't think of anyone I know well enough that I could lean on to help me with it. So ONE of these days I will actually sit down and read the car owner's manual. A painful process.

After escaping the dealer's I went to my mother's to see if her new door lock was really not working properly, or if it was my mother. It was my mother. The only difference between this lock and the one she had was that with this one, you use one key (with a special notch in it) on the top lock, and a 2nd key on the bottom lock. Before, my mother used one key for both locks, and this extra complexity is really, really difficult for her to understand.

I tried suggesting she just focus on using the 1 dead bolt lock and forget the other, but she won't remove the 2nd key on her key chain, so it will likely still throw her off. She took detailed notes about using the lock. Put key in vertical position. Turn left, Turn right. And so on. When she did the exact same thing with her old lock, but now that she has to think about it, it's a problem.

I got a new set of keys made for myself and also bought those little colored plastic caps you put on the top half of the key. I'm hoping that will help her remember which key goes in the lock. I had labeled the dead bolt key "Top" so she knows it goes in the top lock, but that label will probably rub off in no time. So the colored plastic might work better. It's exhausting having to spend so much time on such small details, especially the explaining of things over and over and over again. And then she gets upset when I lose my patience.

After that I went home and found that my handyman had already come and gone. He had cut and then nailed strips of vinyl wainscoting on the underside of a small roof that is over my front entry, supported by 2 columns. I was very pleased with myself for having found this wainscoting at Home Depot, as I wasn't familiar with what products might exist and what would be bendable enough to deal with the arc of the roof. Woodpeckers drilled 2 golf ball-sized holes in the old wood wainscoting and I was so happy that the new material looks pretty good because it has a scored surface just like real wainscoting. People apparently use this stuff for interior jobs, like a bathroom, but I thought it would be perfect for outside. As long as it doesn't sag or anything over time.

So the materials were about $72 and $50 for his labor. Next up: getting him to install new rubber treads on the basement stairs. I bought the contact cement and he needs to cut the treads lengthwise and depthwise, unfortunately.

Mid-afternoon I got an unexpected visit from my British neighbor, who seemed like he just wanted to talk. I was reluctant to invite him in becus my place gets so messy but he's had me over at his showplace home numerous times, so what the heck. We talked at the kitchen table for about an hour. He is still extremely money-challenged as he tries to get his toy business off the ground, deal with investors, one of whom (falsely) tried to sue him for embezzlement. Can't pay their taxes. And they are so tight on money he had to find another job, so he's training for a bus driver position. Their cow miscarried so still no milk and their overly food-oriented pig continues to torment them both.

After he left, my handyman returned and I was able to pay him and talk about the stair treads. Then he left, and I got in the car to head back to my mother's house since I knew she was going out to an art reception down the road. I wanted to take this opportunity to clear out a portion of the many piles of junk mail, 5-year old catalogs and publisher's clearing house pitches and so on littering her narrow little walkways. She won't even notice some of it is gone. Tough love, as so many people have told me.

I quickly filled up a single double bag of stuff. She gets too many solicitations for every non-profit in the world looking for donations, and my mother can't afford that. So I grabbed as many of those as I could find. I have to do this a little at a time.

After that, I headed to Trader Joe's and finally got home again around 6 pm. Watched another episode of the Sopranos in season 3. It was so long ago that I watched it that it all seems new, although I think I saw most of it except for the final season.

I am still working on charging $3500 on my US Bank card in 4 months. I am nearly at the 1-month mark and have already charged $1420 on it so I'm ahead of where I should be. For my trouble, I'll get $200 in gift cards.

As soon as I'm done with this one I want to try the Citi Thank You Premier card which has a much better offer. I think I had that card before, but it's been a long enough time that I would qualify again, I believe.

I took my friend out for lunch at work on Friday, a late birthday treat. I have to rein in the eating out spending; this month it came to $127, way more than I feel comfortable with. Under $50 a month would be more more reasonable. I tend to be overly generous when treating friends and dining out, I guess because I generally don't eat out that much or get together with friends, so when I do, I'm happy to do so.

Lots to do today but at least I'll have Tuesday to catch up on whatever I don't get done today as I'm working at home due to doc appointment. Seeing my neurologist for my annual MS checkup (annual as long as I don't have issues) and to see if I'm going to have to live with 3 numb toes on my one foot for the rest of my life due to nerve damage after a pulled hamstring (a real freak accident, climbing stairs) or what.

6 Responses to “The Stuff of LIfe”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    A thought on the mail currently coming to your mother's home. You might try going to some of the companies she's getting mail from and requesting NOT to receive mail in the future. You can opt out generally.

    Text is Opt Out Prescree and Link is
    Opt Out Prescree
    Text is Direct Marketing Association[/url}
    [url=]Catalog Choice and Link is
    Direct Marketing Association[/url}

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    Well, I'm not sure if my links are coming out.
    Look for DMA choice dot org
    Opt Out Pre Screen dot com
    and Catalog Choice dot org

  3. Carol Says:

    Any wild chance a locksmith could rekey your mom's locks to use just one key?

  4. snafu Says:

    We had 'free' oil changes from the dealership with a previous car and I disliked going there because they used a high school teen on an apprentice-like program paid by taxpayers while the dealership charged customers journeyman rates. Secondly, they always gave me a list of procedures/repairs needed that our mechanic said was still adequate and could wait until symptoms appeared.

    I've been following Dr Steve's suggestion to automatically check for an on-line coupon for most purchases and found it amazingly effective. For example, the oil change outlets like QuickLube, Minit Lube, Jiffy, Mr Lube etc. regularly offer discount coupons and have acceptable wait rooms for the short time you're there. CCF's suggestion to get your mom off all those mail and phone solicitations will do wonders to reduce junk mail. If Carol's suggestion to have a single key doesn't work out, I suggest using small, stick-on stationary dots or colored marker dot on door lock to match colored key cover to give your mom another visual clue.

    Have you looked for a 'How To' video on You Tube to assist in the process of downloading contacts to Bluetooth and syncing to your phone? Wonderful to find a product like wainscotting that solves a problem. Have you examined ideas to help keep your home 'company ready?

  5. PatientSaver Says:

    Creditcardfree, I've done that too.

    Snafu, that's a very good idea to get a color coded dot the color to match the color of the plastic key cover. I could probably find something at Staples. thanks for that idea.

    Rekeying the locks....this would require more intervention on my part to get the locksmith back, plus cost. I think we'll see how it goes with the color coding, but thank you.

  6. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I had to do that with my dad a bit - explain how to attach something to an email a dozen different times (and he'd write down each step as I explained it.)

    I hope the colored dots idea works for the keys!

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