Sunday, July 26, 2020

Goings On At the Working Towards the Final Beginning! Household

July has been a fairly ho-hum month.  Work is work.  Filed the last two regulatory filings on time and now in the discovery process.  I was assigned another large filing that has a September 25th filing date.  I've begun the project planning and I'll start those process meetings in the beginning of August.  Then we'll have hearings and a decision on those other two matters I manage with a final decision by the end of September.  Then I start work on those same two projects again for a November 1 filing date.  Ugh!  It is a grind.  I don't like working on these two filings.  The one lead project manager I work with on one of the filings is great.  The lead project manager on the other filing is a problem.  There is always conflict between my department and him and it drains me.  I have to work on the filing with the good project manager until June of 2022 and the bad one's program ends June 2023.  Not looking forward to three more years of his crap.

D#1 and her BF (24 and 25 years old respectively) have done the craziest thing that someone can do during these crazy times, especially at their age.  They put an offer on a house!!  I am beyond proud of them but I've gotta say it took me by surprise.  They hope to close by mid-August so we shall see how smoothly things go.  Deep down I am thrilled since they are putting some more permanent roots down near us.  That can change but for at least the next five years they will be here.  Since college they'd been talking about moving to another state and traveling Europe or Latin America dreaming of their future together somewhere else, so this very much caught us (gleefully) off guard.

Anyway, things are going relatively smoothly, all things considered.  

The garden is cranking out produce: zucchini, cucumbers, green beans (green, purple & yellow), herbs, the last of the lettuce and the beginning of the TOMATOES!!!!  So excited for tomatoes.  This week I started picking the cherry tomatoes (Bumblebee assortment variety) and I picked a red and a yellow Brandywine.  D#2 and her BF are coming for dinner tonight and we are making home made pizza so I think one of the pizza's will be a margarita with slices of fresh tomatoes and fresh mozzarella and basil.  YUM! 

Here is a picture of the giant random sunflower in the middle of my tomato bed.  Yesterday I found a huge bumble bee asleep in the middle of it.  LOL!

How is your summer going?   If you garden have you been getting tomatoes yet?

Saturday, July 11, 2020

July Garden Update

The gardens are doing fabulously!  It is so great working from home because I am definitely spending more time tending, weeding, watering and feeding than I otherwise would.  Between not having the commute, not being stressed and tired from dealing with people and being able to take 10-15 minute breaks outside with the dogs and weed a patch or prune or whatever, I am able to pay better attention to them.

I've harvested tons of lettuce, sugar snap peas, radishes, arugula and herbs.  My beets were a bust.  They started to bolt so I picked them.  The roots were lame but we ate the greens, which are yummy.  Always eat the greens of your root veggies if you can.  They are delicious and actually the healthiest part of the plant.  I also pickled the stems which taste like a cross between celery and beet.  Very crunchy, earthy and tasty as a pickle.
Lame beets.
Lettuces, spinach & chard.

Now I'm getting herbs, zucchini, cucumbers, some peppers and the the last of the peas. 
Lime green scallop zucchini, Anaheim pepper, cuke, sugar snaps & regular zukes.

Now onto new pictures of the garden.  The weather has been great for growing and yesterday Fay came thru and dropped a ton of rain so the plants will explode with produce in the next two weeks.  I am beyond excited!
Tomatoes, cucumber to the right in a random mammoth sunflower growing in the center.

Herbs, lettuces, chard, green onions, two sad eggplants being
 eaten by flea beetles and spent sugar snap pea vines.

Green beans, arugula, basil, garlic chives, green onions and some other herbs. 

Lemon cucumber, a variety of edible flowers and herbs and 
another random small sunflower.

Other side of the above garden showing the strawberries
and a couple of the lemon cukes growing.

Peppers, green beans, and zucchini.

Purple cone flower, bee balm, lemon balm, lavender hyssop,
chamomile, honeynut winter squash and blueberry bushes.
Wildflowers, milkweed, edible flowers, shiso, sunflower
that I actually planted, and runaway pumpkins steam rolling
over my flowering quince shrubs.

Happy pumpkins (red warty variety) and green beans somewhere back there.

More of the runaway pumpkins , flowering quince and two more sunflowers that I actually planted.

That whole side garden.  I actually planted sunflowers all along the
back edge, but only 3 survived the birds and bugs.

Baby pumkpin!!!!!

Now on to the pots of plants.  

Catnip - kitties and bees LOVE it!

Sad looking but productive little potted fig tree.

Bay leaf tree that I've had for probably 15 years.   
This comes inside in the winter. Fresh bay leaf cannot be beat. 
Highly recommend.

Bee balm, tomato, basil (can you tell I love basil) and lavender.

Lettuces, and yes, more basil.

What are you growing this year?  Are you successfully battling the slugs, birds, beetles and caterpillars?

I hope you enjoyed the tour and that your garden's are doing well. 🌿🌻🌿🌼

Friday, July 3, 2020

June Month-End Financials

No diatribes to spew today.  Its been a beautiful week and I am off today through Monday.  D#1 is coming over tonight to have a movie night and watch Hamilton with us.  She requested popcorn and Shirley Temples, of all things.  We are going to turn the lights out and the volume up and I am very excited to watch this movie with her.  Sunday she and her BF are coming over for burgers and dogs to celebrate the 4th on the 5th.  Not sure why but the LoML likes to do summer celebratory meals on Sundays regardless of when the holiday hits. We won't see D#2 and her BF this weekend but she popped by yesterday on her way home from work so I got my fix.  I'm going to spend the rest of the weekend doing some chores, relaxing with the LoML and puttering around my gardens, so I'm a very happy camper.  The perfect 4th of July weekend all things considered.

Retirement Savings Update:
I haven't really tallied our accounts outside of the 401(k)s in a while as I don't have easy access and only receive quarterly statements.  But I decided to rip the band-aid off and see the damage.  I haven't received the 2nd quarter statements yet so this is pretty much based on the 1st quarter performance.  The new current all-in total of all of our retirement accounts, minus my pension (until I receive those 2nd Q statements) is about $852,500, down about $29,000 from what I reported last month.  I expect it to go up fairly significantly once I receive the June statements but it will still be below the pre-COVID numbers.

I continue to contribute a little more then the max plus max catch-up for the month so I can try and take advantage of any potential rebound of the market, although at this point I'm not hopeful that a rebound will ever occur.   This country needs to get its shit together in dealing with this virus.  Wear masks and stay away from people and this will all go away.  Continue to  exercise your "constitutional right" to not wear masks and party in bars and at beaches and this shit show will just continue.  Whatever you choose, I'll be fine.  I'm still working and saving and could go on like this forever.  It will just extend my work life for a few more years. Maybe.

Mortgage Pay-Down Update:
With my July mortgage payment I paid an extra 3 principal payments:

January Balance:        $96,555.69 - 3.5 principal payments
February Balance:      $94,242.49 - 4.75 principal payments
March Balance:          $92,429.89 - 3.6 principal payments
April Balance:             $90,429.93 - 4 principal payments
May Balance:             $88,397.84 - 4 principal payments
June Balance:            $86,326.50 - 4 principal payments
July Balance:             $84,215.12 - 4 principal payments

If I keep up this average extra payment amount I should have this paid off by September of 2023.  If I throw my bonus and tax refunds at it I can get it paid off sooner, but we have some work to do on the house and I have other savings targets, like a new car/maintenance fund, emergency fund, and insurances sinking fund. And if this COVID situation continues I'm not sure I'll even receive a bonus next year.  We shall see.

Regular Savings:
I continue to sock away about $2,700 a month into our savings account.  I've completed my savings goals for our vacation fund and home maintenance fund.  Now I'm beefing up the the emergency, new car and home improvement funds.

How did your June go?  I hope everyone is keeping their heads above water. I definitely feel like it is going to be a long, long time before things even begin to go back to normal.  Happy Independence Day!   

Fall Is Too Early!!!

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