Part of our budgeting was redoing our TV watching - we got rid of the cable package and replaced it with the DISH package, saving over $100 a month it turns out. We got the "basic" package of 120 channels which sounds great until you start scrolling - because there are only about 10 to 15 we will watch. It starts to get expensive the more channels you order and you run into the same problem - you're paying for hundreds of channels and watching only a tenth of what you pay for. So we got a little device that streams Internet channels (Netflix, Hulu, Crackle, etc...) for a fraction of the price. I signed up for Netflix first and am encountering the same problem as we have with the channels - a lot of stuff but not everything I want. Hulu has the programs but not the movies, Netflix has the movies but not the channels. BUT they're only $8 a pop so we are going to get both. Of course the Budgeteer was chirping but I pointed out if we get both instead upping the channels it's WAY cheaper and really, for everything we want it's only $16 more a month, not to mention we can cancel if we find we're not using it. We're enjoying the Netflix because of the action movies - we've been happily (especially David) watching everyone getting kicked, chased, exploded and chased again. We're getting another Roku for upstairs and we'll be set for the winter. Speaking of which, the stinkin snow melted here, where we bought the house not so much. It's still snowing. Eww. Reuben has recovered from his outing yesterday - it's all superficial scratches and so forth - the breed is built for it. It continues to rain and be very cold, not cold enough for more snow but enough that you're chilly chilly no matter what. We got in touch with everyone back east which was a relief given all the dire hurricane news - Ray finally checked in today after his electric went back on - two day with no phone no heat. But he's fine and we will be seeing him over Thanksgiving again this year. I am taking the after off again which gives us a little time for traveling. Since he's only 5 hours away it's doable on a weekend.
Well, the first week of budgeting we did not do so well. We spent, including gas, groceries and a little bit of yarn $49,397.95. Hmm. And we didn't even go out for breakfast - not even once! But we are not planning on buying a house every week so hopefully this week will go better. Of course we're laying out for repairs, heat, etc but David is busy scoping - he's managed to hit two clearances for carpet so not including installation he's coming in under $200. Paint was clearance too and he's Craig-listing it for the fridge. He has a couple little jobs but nothing major until the house is up and running. But we are doing well with the budget over all - it's a good reminder of what we don't need. And I'm having fun with the DISH and the Roku - I'm doing a free month of Netflix and then will do Hulu Plus to see which I like better. I was going to sign up for both at once but there's only so much TV I can watch at once. Well, that's not true but I do have to work and sleep at some point. I'm off again this weekend, then on call again. I was glad I wasn't on call for the storm but here it's not been too bad. We had snow in Morgantown - how weird was that! but not much else. A lot of rain here in Pennsyltucky, a lot of rain. It's very cold too and I hate that - it's like you just can't get warm no matter how high the heat is. Reuben is currently laying on the couch wrapped in a blanket - since they closed I-68 David couldn't work on the house today he took Reuben hunting. Poor boy, his face is all skun up and he's cold, wet - he'll feel better tomorrow. He loves going and does well, but since he's so big sometimes we forget he's really a 9 month old puppy - and behaves his age. But it's good for him and his nose will toughen up. Pearl and her predecessors were always a mess the first couple of weeks, then they were fine. Did you realize tomorrow is Halloween? I can't believe it either. David is not sure if we should buy too much candy because last year we didn't get one trick or treater. So we'll pick up one bag and leave it at that. In knitting news I am on chart four and almost through it. Thank goodness.
This has been a work in progress - buying this house, renovating, having it reassessed and securing a higher line of credit. David did a great job - after one year our house in PA is now worth $50,000 more then we spent - Hooray for David. So - we are older and wiser and as of Friday, owners of two homes. David is going to renovate and we're going to be landlords again, but this time armed with knowledge. After the experience with the Freeloader in Lake Ariel we swore never again but we all know never to say never, don't we? We did get past the Freeloader, although I hope her cardboard box is leaking on her head when it rains stupid useless bitch - OK, maybe I'm not all the way over it. But David knows the eviction laws now and we will no longer be doing any Pity Rentals - no more trusting everyone to behave either! Anyhoo, the house is ours and David is happily employing the Art Of Destruction and then will reassemble. I'm sure Ron will make a few more visits and he thinks he has someone that wants to rent it already - he also has mentioned a couple of other houses but I told him to wait until we're through this one. I really had to laugh at the bar in the back - apparently it's legal to sell beer out of your house and this guy had a forty foot bar! David is pulling out the bar but will be saving the Men's and Women's bathroom, too funny not to. The rest of the house needs work of course, new septic, new heat, plenty of elbow grease and a new fridge maybe. I will be going over tomorrow after walking in Cooper's Rock with Reuben unless it rains, then we'll go straight over. I have decided to use Pearl's harness - I was in Petco today and couldn't find a blaze orange one, then realized it was silly to buy one that looks exactly like the one I have. And I know it's not the harness that will be difficult, it will be that first hike without my hiking partner of six years. They're talking rain tomorrow so we'll see. In other news the budgeting is going OK. We spent a lot of money this week, well buying a house and all (which David carefully noted in our budget book right between Oil Change and Cleaning Supplies) hopefully we can decrease it over the next few weeks. The Dish TV is helping - we're actually saving $100 a month! We got the basic - 120 channels and there's only a couple they don't have that I like so I suppose I'll live. We're still debating between Hulu and Netflix but it's not high on the Things To Do List. I did go to Bloomin Yarns and blew not only this week's allowance but next week's too - how ten years old is that! And I have to stick to it even though I personally feel yarn is a necessity, not a luxury. But I have been good, I did the grocery shopping today by myself, I think for the time being we will be taking turns, we seem to spend way more when we're together as I've mentioned before. If I'm by myself I'm not tempted to go out to lunch, I went right by the bookstore and Old Navy. Before I stop anywhere I ask myself if I really need anything there or I'm just stopping to see if I want to buy something. I did buy a pair of black pants today but that was all I bought - no funky shoes, no pocketbook, nothing else. Pants, in and out - back on the road.
What a test of strength! We officially went on budget on Monday - the same day I got a flyer in the mail that my favorite yarn shop which is going out of business, will be slashing everything to 50% off starting this week. Hmm. David and I have agreed on that we'll allot ourselves each $25 per week for play stuff - yarn, shotgun shells, magazines. so I may have to borrow against my allowance. Already. Three days in. Rome was not built in a day. So there. We've started a book that we write down everything we spend- even a milk run to the local convenience store goes in there so we can see where our money is going. Although it's main purpose is to keep track the thing it really does though is makes us think before we buy. In the past couple of days I've had to make myself drive by CVS when I have a little time on my hands for things I need or stopping at the grocery store for just one thing. When I was coming home from a supervisory visit I passed a little local market and found my car smugly sitting in the parking lot. I was about to get out when I asked myself WHAT did I need? Or was I just looking - and then buying yet more food I cannot possibly eat. It's the same thing with CVS, I go in for Tylenol, I come out with two bags. We've cut back on the grocery buying too for the past two weeks and the you can see what's in the fridge instead of everything just jammed in there. We're hopefully get DISH tomorrow which will cut our bills a bit more. The new furnace we put in last year helped a lot with the heating bills. I am not making my own soap or making my own clothes, although given my inability to sew that might have some entertainment value. It doesn't mean we will stop buying things but we are just going to have to be more picky. I need to buy Reuben a harness for walking, I'm planning on doing Coopers Rock pretty soon - I still have Pearl's but I think it's just too soon for that. I'll have to see if I can find another one in Blaze Orange, I have the dog wear that so if someone is hunting they won't be mistaken for a deer. We are adjusting to Pearl not being here, Reuben is quieter and you can see he looks for her - I find myself looking for her in the morning when we go out and I call Reuben to come back. It takes a minute for me to remember and to stop waiting for her. I will after awhile and so will he, but it does take time. We'll get another dog after the dust settles, we go to closing for House Number Two - I'm signing for David to be me at the closing as I don't have the time or patience for those sort of things. When we did the initial paperwork I signed and sighed my way through it, stopping short of laying my head on the table out of severe boredom and impatience, knowing Burger King was 50 feet away and I had been promised dinner. I will do anything for Burger King.
This week has been a bitch, weird stress, bad stress, elation and grief. It will be awhile before the grief of Pearl is past but it's not an all encompassing thing, we are good most of the time. And we had 5 months to get our heads wrapped around it, that this would happen. We are glad we made the most of it for her - we owed her so much. She saw her Jackson, went hunting, ate chicken and fish every day, we turned a blind eye to the stolen cat food. But it's that sneaky grief that hits you in the back of the knees when you're not looking - one picture, one accidental call of the dog that is no longer there and you're down for the count. We are waiting a little while to get another dog - we will but not right now. We do have some good things going on, we were able to get financing to buy a foreclosure - hopefully will be closing within the month and David will be self employed again. It's a little scary, but we've done the two house thing before and we're a lot wiser now. At least I hope we are. David has been working with Ron and Lisa of Howard Hannah, so it's been very enjoyable and pretty hilarious at times. They were the ones that sold the last house when we lived here - it's great when you can find good, solid dependable people. David is plotting and planning with a few backups in the event this falls through - we're no strangers to the Eleventh Hour and it seems to chime at least once during the course of events. Now we need to start budgeting a little -we redo that anyhow on occasion. Our biggest downfall is weirdly enough, grocery shopping. We love to do that, you'd think we'd both weigh about 800 pounds but we don't. We make a list, don't stick to it, come home with enough to feed an army and the next thing you know it takes both of us to shut the cupboards. Then we don't eat it because we can't get to it - or just flat out forget we bought two of them last week. So David went solo this week with a limited list and that is that. Because the other problem is we don't just grocery shop. We book shop, clothing, eat out, etc - it runs away from you quickly. David is also getting rid of the cable company, we are going back to Dish - its literally half the price. They have to make sure we can get a signal but I think one of our neighbors has it so hopefully it won't be a problem. We're also going to sign up for Net Flix because we have 400 channels and at the end of the day actually only watch about 25 of them, if that. And starting Monday we are each keeping track of what we spend on a daily basis because it's probably a lot more then you think it is. I'm going to start walking with Reuben next week, I'll probably do a solo walk first, I'm not subjecting anyone to my grief - I have not done any hiking this year as I knew it would break Pearl's heart for me not to take her but I miss it. I miss the solitude of me and my dog, the trees and the sun. I know the first couple of times will be hard - the memories are already making me cry. But you know what - someday I'll pass too, hopefully be missed. But that void will close and life will go on, I will be a pleasant memory too. I like to think Pearl is not in heaven, but she's racing around the Elysian Fields, sun on her back, pheasants bursting up. I know that's not the way things are but I hope to make it there too. And that's where I'll leave my blog today. I know I'll go on about Pearl but writing is my way of working through the grief, giving me a way to work it out for myself.
I don't blog on occasion for three reasons - either there's nothing going on, too much going on or nothing likable is happening. Pearl has been holding her own up until now, we had decided to keep her comfortable and not suffering. And right up until yesterday afternoon we had succeeded. Last night she had started acting a little off but was alright, we've had a little downtime before but she is always better in the morning. But this morning she would not come out from under the bed - I won't do details but at noon today our beloved Pearl, my hiking buddy, catfood stealing bossy pants dog finally succumbed to what we have been fighting. She went the way we wanted, comfortable with David and I there holding her, sitting on the floor on a blanket. Her vet Dr. Kenny who has been her vet since she was a puppy did it quickly and painlessly, she really did just go to sleep. But oh how I miss her already - we have had dogs before, but Pearl was truly special to us. She was Jackson's first real dog to raise and train, she hostessed more people in our home then Jackie O in the White House (whether they liked it or not), she hunted with David and hiked the woods with me. She never complained as we moved her from house to house, she slept on the floor with us on occasion and was always happy to ride shotgun. There is no such thing as Just A Dog, she gardened with me(well,actually she dug holes and ransacked the corn stalks but it's all in the interpretation), we've spent many happy hours sharing the chair Pearl snoring while I read. The days ahead will be hard, Reuben is already looking,knowing things are off. He will look for her outside, in the morning, no way for us to explain. On the way home I had to pull off, I was driving through Pearl's favorite area, the game lands oh this is hard! - I just cried and cried. As I pulled out and started down the road a pheasant erupted out of the bushes on the side of the road, flying over a field towards the meadow. I hope Pearl you are where you're happy, that the game is plentiful and you never stop running free.
The hunt started at 11 am - of course it was raining but we expected it to clear and a call found them already running the hunts. David gave Reuben medication to keep him from getting carsick, something we were all grateful for, especially Pearl who had to ride in the back with him. The ride up was beautiful, the place was On Point Outfitters in Confluence PA and if you ever get chance, go whether you're hunting or not. Especially for the fall leaves and just the drive, if we hadn't had the crew with us we would have stopped many times. If you're wondering what the vegetarian did on a hunt - took the pictures of course. Reuben was a bit skittish to start, he's been training with Pearl but that's not the real world. The first bird he flushed he went right in, but it made a noise and they both jumped and shrieked. But after that he caught on and was right on the money. Pearl flushed a couple - but we could see that as much as she wanted to, her body is no longer able to hunt like she has in the past. The place we went to was wonderful, David asked them to plant the field close in and the guy came to check on us a couple of times and would have given Pearl and I a ride back if we needed it. But despite things, Pearl hunted with David and the pest and even showed him up a couple of times. Two hours into the field and she was done, so I offered to walk her back to the truck and David took the pest off to hunt a little bit more. Pearl enjoyed the walk back, she was ambling along and snuffling - it was a little like our past hikes, just the two of us in the woods and the rest of the world at bay. Reuben will eventually be my hiking buddy but right now I can't even think about that. When we got back she ran to a car with the back open, I could see the back of her, tail wagging madly and I ran to get her - I was sure she was raiding some one's lunch. But she was making friends with a very wet black Labrador retriever, happily touching noses with him - since one of her pals is a black lab she considers them all friends. We sat in the truck for an hour while David finished up- she was exhausted but I could see she wanted to go back out but she was so tired she was shaking and cold. David and Reuben got one more, Reuben prancing around like dogs past, all jazzed up and no where to go. We hit a farm stand on the way back with a chatty old guy that handed out free popcorn with your pumpkins. Pearl and I ate it together, Reuben just snored all the way home -between the activity and the Dramamine he was out for the count. So, that's the hunting report - Pearl has been not too bad and we think that she (hopefully) will be able to do a little bit more if David just takes her for a short time and without Reuben Boobin bouncing along. But I was glad we did that today, it was actually a lot of fun I have to admit. I was happy to be a part of it, happy for her,but it was hard too, seeing the change in her and the changes ahead. But for now she's pretty happy, not suffering and continues to school Reuben on a daily basis on the fact he is not the boss.
I have not really talked (too much) about Pearl - she has her ups and downs, we are starting to lean a little more toward the down lately. We just had an incident where she was acting very strangely and it turned out to be a false pregnancy - aside from that she is sort of OK believe it or not, but we are entering the Play It By Ear phase, I know we'll know when it's time, but we're still not ready. Is anyone ever? We are still over a month away from opening day, Pearl's favorite time of year and she is truly one of those hunting dogs that lives for the hunt. But we know she can't do a full out at this point, what will a month bring? And David wants that last time with his girl - his hunting with Pearl and Jackson he'll tell you is one of his most cherished memories. Watching Jackson with the dog they trained, hours in the field doing what all three of them loved best. Everyday after school they would be down in the game lands, every Saturday, hours. So, there is a reasonably priced hunting preserve and David booked a half day, six birds - and I'm going too. Yes, the vegetarian is going on a hunt. With guns and stuff. The reason is he needs someone to man the camera as we are going to take pictures. I have no idea how to do my hair or what I'm going to be wearing, someone has announced it will be pants and not a nice skirt even if I do have something woodsy, or at least what I would consider a woodsy fashion statement. He is toying around with bringing Reuben the Carsick but we'll see. I am not thrilled about hunting but I will do it for them. And since my FAVORITE yarn store is closing their doors forever, I will have not much to do. Yes, you heard that right, another economic casualty, Bloomin Yarns where I've spent many happy hours will be shutting their doors forever. I went up and did some final shopping, happy for the good deals but not happy for the reason. It's scary how many little non-essential places fail, I could blame it on Obama I suppose. I watched the debates for awhile the other night but turned it off. Obama is the most ineffective, invisible president we've ever had. I could not tell you what his kids names are or what he did last week, he is just there occupying the seat for now. But Romney is SCARY and I will not vote for anyone with a religious agenda, Cotton Mather anyone? so that knocks out everyone but Boss and Roseanne. Not knowing what Obama practices or what his religious beliefs are in his favor in my opinion. It's like being a nurse - if I come in to take care of you what I do in my personal life does not matter, the president should follow suit.