Living, Learning & Loving La Vida Nueva

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dinner at Home

I am my mother's daughter;  I love to cook.  There isn't a part of cooking I don't like, except maybe cleaning the burners if something spills over.  As we finish putting the final touches on our new semi-temporary quarters, I figured I'd share a few photos from our first dinner on our new (borrowed) kitchen table.

All set and ready.  We are so grateful to our generous friends for loaning us their table while we are here.  Eating from a table sure beats eating on the floor.

One serving of fresh broccoli steaming, naturally, since I'm the only one of the two of us who will touch the stuff.  I just can't convince Jono that it really IS yummy!  

Four servings of smashed potatoes cooking in another pot.  No, that's not two for J, one for Mom, one for Kyle.  It's one for Mom and Kyle and the rest for J. 

Chicken Cordon Bleu in the pretty green baking dish my Grandmama gave me for Christmas.  Before you get too impressed, I must admit to buying the chicken ready-made.  My favorite grocery (Aldi) sells these little packages of yumminess for 99 cents a piece.  Can't beat that.

As usual, I have lots of help in the kitchen.  And eating my food.

Can you guess who's plate this is?

After cooking for 9 months in Mexico using a toaster oven, two electric burners, a microwave, and about 3.5 feet of counter work space, I feel like my tiny apartment kitchen competes with Paula Dean's. Basically, I'm in housewife heaven with four burners, a full size oven and enough space to cut potatoes without knocking half of them on the floor.   

We demolished this meal. 


Friday, December 17, 2010

Deposits, fees, deductibles, money suckers.....

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine life could cost so much.  How do people without a reasonable amount of liquid cash live in this world?  As J and I are trying to get settled in for some unknown period (approx 9 months?) of time, in order to have a baby and proceed with a mission board, I am astounded at how much MONEY everything takes!

We went to sign an apartment lease this morning.  There was a $35 application fee.  That is actually quite low compared so some $200 worth of fees we were told about at other apartment places.  But, really, an application fee?  Wait, you want to charge ME to sign my name saying I'm agreeing to pay YOU hundreds of dollars a month to have your roof over my head?  What kind of crazy world do we live in?  Who in their right and reasonable mind came up with the idea of a fee to charge someone filling out an application?!

While we were signing the lease, we were informed that we're required to pay a $600 security deposit.  Goodie.  I get to hope for the next 9 months that I keep the place clean enough to get my $600 back when I move out.  I promise I'll try my hardest.  I do understand this deposit (and at least it was that and not a FEE) and somewhat grudgingly signed the check.

Ahhh, utilities.  Yes, we all use them.  We have no other choice.  So I called the gas company and spoke with the kindest customer service agent.  Really, she was a doll.  She even waved the $150 deposit after she spoke on the phone with my dad (he has a perfect credit report and has used their service for years) who agreed to cosign for his married daughter and pay if we aren't good for the bill money.  Good thing HE trusts us.  Dear lady did tell me NOT to run the gas unless the electricity has been turned on.  So, I called the electric company.  She told me we needed to come into the office to fill out the application. 

I bet that means I get to pay an application fee. 

Before I hung up, she told me that I would need my Social Security card and driver's license.  Oh, and $500 for the deposit.  Um, excuse me, did you say five HUNDRED dollars?  Isn't that like 6 months of electricity anyways?!  Fortunately, we have good credit and they are going to run a credit report to see if they can graciously wave the deposit.  Jonathan even called back and a different lady told him it could either be a $200 deposit or a $500 one.

You mean we get to choose?  Hmm, wonder which one I'M gonna pick.  

Then there's the refundable $10 membership fee.  Wouldn't having refundable and fee in the same phrase constitute calling that a deposit? Regardless, after that we can either pay $65 to have the electricity turned on today (Friday) or $40 for next day service, which in our case means Monday since they don't flip the switches on Saturday or Sunday.  So, J called back to see how much it would be to turn it on Tuesday.  Same thing, $40.  Obviously, it's not a "next day" fee it's an "anytime" fee.  Seriously?  You want to charge me at least $40 to just TURN my electricity on?

Can I just come down and and flip it myself? 

What kind of money sucking game is this?  I think you have Boardwalk AND Park Avenue.  And I'm stuck in jail.  I quit.

Now we're looking into medical insurance.  We can't get anything to cover Kyle until after he is born.  They say we are declined since we're "expectant parents." 

So, I can just see it now.  As the Dr tries to hand Kyle over to the proud daddy, Jonathan is going to say, "Sorry, can't hold him right now, gotta run find some wi-fi to buy his health insurance!"  It's almost humorous; but, it's NOT!  We're looking at "cheap" plans.  That means we get to pay $185 a month and then still pay for everything else out of pocket up to $10,000 for Kyle if he gets deathly ill.  Jonathan better stay fit as a fiddle, or we're out another 10K.  If we were so bold as it try to get a smaller deductible, we'd be forking out $600 month.  What kind of poor newly weds have money for this kind of stuff?  No wonder people wait ten years to have kids.  Good thing I'm covered on my dad's insurance, or we'd really be up a creek.  Thanks, Obama.  Although I don't agree with it, it sure is coming in handy right now.


So, basically, our entire savings is either caught up in deposits or on hold in case we have to use it to pay our insurance deductible.

Oh, I forgot to mention, when I go for my first Dr visit (yes, I said first.  I'm 7 months pregnant and have only seen a Dr one time in Mexico) they are going to take a $225 deposit in case there is stuff my (dad's) insurance doesn't cover.   With their prices, I can't imagine $225 is going to go very far.  But, whatever.

(That's the sound of the money coming out of our bank account.)