I, too, read that and my first reaction was it isn’t so much the ‘financial’ stress as ANY stress

At least, that’s my inclination. Any sort of stress is quite distracting; so much so that one isn’t going to do as good a job on anything when their attention is splintered.
A budgeting buddy is always a very good idea, though, as in most aspects of life, second opinions are always food for though.

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Sorry to hear that she’s getting a hard time about it

but she should keep her head up and continue to do what she’s doing. She is learning invaluable skills which will last her a lifetime. I’ve met so many people – men who seem to like that I can speak “their” lingo and it puts them to ease with their conversation, and probably just as many women who like for me to give them a tip or a trick to encourage them.

She is the girl!

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I gotta keep it clean?

What I usually tell people, might offend some of you on the list.

Lets just say, that they will rob you blind and you’ll allow it. Liken them to prostitution – they are the pimp, extortionists etc.

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So, I mentioned awhile back that son #1 (age 12)

was hit by a truck while bicycling to school early April. The kids and I (I’m a widow) have a high deductible medical health plan so I was looking at a total of about $8000 out of pocket medical expenses for his surgery, hospital stay, ambulance ride, and other assorted fun.

Fast forward a few months. Son has recovered nicely (just biked off to first day of 8th grade – woo hoo!) and obviously the bills came flying in.

I paid off the tiny assorted bills easily. Called the ambulance company and just from asking, they knocked off 15% ($400). Same thing with the surgeon, knocked off 10% easy-peasy.

The hospital was the big one – copay of around $3600. I called and asked if there was anything they could do and i have a quastion – what is the easiest way of borrowing money?! well, they don’t do an auto knock-off by me asking but I can fill out a request. So I sent it in, along with some paperwork. They mail me back, want me to send copies of my last two paycheck stubs as well as my bank statements.

Well, here’s the thing. I can totally afford to pay the bill. I also have a really, really good job and am paid very well. There is no WAY on earth that I will qualify on the basis of need. No way.

So I almost said, forget it, there’s no point in filling this out, there’s no reason for them to knock down that bill. But then I thought, hey, even if they knock off $100 or $200, that’s a pretty good return on my time so I sent the paperwork. I also sent them a letter discussing what happened with my son, admitted that I can pay the bill but kind of thought it stunk that I had to (driver of the truck was 100% at fault), and also thanked them for the amazing job they did when we were at their hospital – great staff, everything was good. Then I waited.

I come back from a short camping trip (me and 7 kids!) to find a voicemail to call them and discuss my account. I get through and she said that they’re willing to knock it from $3600 to $569! I was very effusive in my gratitude and mailed the check that day.

So it really can’t hurt to ask for a break (and be nice while you’re doing it!).

And, because I know some of you are wondering, what happened with the other guy – why am I paying at all?

Other driver carried $100,000 limit on other driver expenses. My health insurance paid everything after copays/deductibles, but they’re going after that $100,000 settlement. Beyond the expenses they’ve paid so far (nearly $80,000), there’s another surgery in November and possibly more surgeries down the road depending on how his leg reacts to the titanium. My health insurance wouldn’t deal with me, pretty adamant that they’d recover all their money, so I had to involve a lawyer whom they did listen to. They’re now going to allow a split of the money from the other driver’s insurance – they get some, the lawyer gets some, we get some. I’ll be able to cover my direct expenses and a relatively small amount will go into a structured settlement with amounts released each year that son #1 goes to college. That will help defray some of the cost of his tuition.

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Jhon, kind of off-topic but wanted you to know

I was just bragging on you to a young girl just starting high school. She is the only girl in auto mechanics, no dad in her home to teach her anything, and she is getting a bit of a hard time about it. I told her of a successful businesswoman with a beautiful automobile who can do her own maintenance. This one is a determined little gal and have no doubt she can do it. It’s not the instructor giving her a hard time, it’s other students. Ha, never challenge a stubborn woman…that just fires em up.

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In 2008, we went from a house

home day care, and teenagers (in Michigan), to empty nest and an apartment (in Minnesota). We decluttered A LOT. We’ve moved two more times since then, and decluttered every time we moved. But somehow, the clutter keeps multiplying. And multiplying. And multiplying.

Besides yarn, my weakness is paper — cards, stationary, stickers, post-it notes. And if the sign says “Clearance”, I’m hooked! So I’ve learned to say out of those kinds of stores. To browse the web-sites, then delete. And to throw things away.

But I swear, it still multiplies!

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I love the books by Dan Aslett

I started with “(NOT) For Packrats Only” Very funny and encouraging!!! It has a lot of tips on how to clean out specific areas.
For me the magic was getting past certain types of emotional clutter:
“It was a gift!” Well, maybe I can gift it to someone who will USE it.
“I”m going to fix it!” No, I’m NOT. (how about a deadline?)
“It belongs to someone else” Get it to them. NOW
“I could use it someday”. No, it’s going to sit there and rot.
“It’s a souvenir!” It’s getting dusty and moldy. Take a digital picture of it and let it go.
“It was Grandma’s!” Grandma didn’t want to burden you with clutter. Pick one or two things you really love and let the rest go someplace where they will be truly valued.
Saving everything is hugely expensive in real dollar terms, when you start figuring how much you’re paying for the space and how much time and energy the clutter costs you. You actually save money getting rid of it even if you DO find yourself going out and buying something occasionally that was in your “I might use it someday” pile. And the new one is nicer and more useful. (and there will always be MORE yogurt containers and paper bags. And rubber bands ROT, go spend a dollar and get a bag of good new ones that won’t break)
My big weakness is *books* but between interlibrary loan and ebay and Amazon.com, I know that I can put my hands on any book I want in a matter of a couple days. So I am trying to cut down to only those books I will truly read again and love.

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Go down there

with a shovel and bunch of giant garbage bags, put everything in them, have a clean empty room then you can think, then unload each bag wherever you have moved them, one at a time.. gives a different perspective…

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Frank, you’ve posted pictures of your basement

have you ever seen the hoarding shows? The pictures I’ve seen don’t look like anything I’ve seen on those TV shows, including Clean Sweep.

If you get in there and start you should be done in an afternoon. No shovel required, I think you had a lot of boxes and no dead animals.

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My fiance and I are completely different on this

I am a perfectionist, so I feel like I cant start until I am completely ready, and have the time to get completely finished…to perfection. This translates into…nothing ever gets done.
My fiance is a do-er. He just jumps in head first and things get done.
I have been talking for YEARS about cleaning up my upstairs and setting up my son’s room up there. Literally years. “But I need to go through the stuff!” “There is no where to put the stuff I neeeeed to keep!” One word to him and we were up there. Took me kicking and screaming. Guess how long it took? An hour and a half. I neeeeeded to keep very little, as it turns out. ::sheepish grin::
Now its a great large room for a 17 year old boy.
One word of advice? Do it on a trash night. We went up, made piles, quickly without much thought, and straight out to the curb everything went. Some good stuff went, but I dont get a huge sentimental attachment to “stuff” so out it went. Everything else was put in organized boxes in the back attic area.

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Yes – the Flylady way

Not sure if it’s flylady.com or .net. I have lost some ground but never all that I gained. It took a couple of months. One room had been the catch-all junk room for YEARS, my daughter and I committed 15 minutes a night, were ruthless with ourselves and the stuff and in a week it was a habitable guest room. Last summer did the same for our garage, I renovate houses and after each job all the tools, leftover supplies etc. got piled in the garage – it was ugly. That took more like three days, 4-5 hours a day but it was a real priority for me and I was between houses.

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Last big decluttering session was when we wanted to put hardwood floors in

I had my kids do their rooms and I did the guest room, my room and 2 hall closets. What didn’t fit in the pod I had rented, didn’t stay. they had to leave room for the bedroom furniture that would be moved out after we left the house. I gave myself 1 week before I took the kids and left for 2 weeks and 1 week to unload the pod when we got back…total 1m rental on the pod
I think I got rid of the most before we left, but they were then stuck with the task of nothing could be on the floor except gym bags.
Need to declutter again….perhaps tiling the back room would work this way.

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I don’t follow her emails anymore

But I still use my timer. Whatever method you choose, Eldred, try setting a timer for 15-20 at a time. Take a short time in between. It is fun to challenge yourself against it and amazing what can be accomplished in that amount of time. You will be able to chip away at it pretty quickly.
The method of removing everything, sorting and reassembling can be pretty daunting, time consuming and will definitely need extra hands and preferably a sunny day. Not impossible. Maybe clear a lot in short bits and then do a final over haul?
Let us know how you do!

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Well, I know some on here have said they don’t like flylady much

but she recommends just doing one box or one bag at a time….or only working for a short while like 15 minutes at a time…then taking a break…you can work longer than that or maybe do 2 to 3 15 minute sessions per day….but she warns against trying to do too much at once and burning yourself out though, which is what happens far too often if we try to do too much at once.

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In my other life I teach organizing and decluttering

I have actually used a shovel to clear out a clients basement. It was a very big job!
An overflowing basement can take weeks or even months depending on the time devoted, the ability to let things go, and the quanity of “stuff”. Pick a starting spot in the room and work that section until clear. Used the do I use it, do I love it, does it make me smile principal. If soemthing does not meet these criteria, get rid of it. Keeping things for “someday” creates nothing but clutter and ultimately becomes a burden.

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Depends, on a great deal of factors

how many people doing it, how much stuff, how big house, etc, etc. What I always find works is a little a time, and keeping what you have done, done. If you have things you want to get rid of, do it then, not wait for a load, that type of thing.

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Has anyone ever gone through a

“Clean House” or “Hoarders” type of decluttering process? I’m not talking about a cleanup prompted by your basement flooding, or similar. I mean just getting tired of stepping over stuff every time you go into the basement, for example. How did you do it, and how long did it take?

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I’m so excited for you to be debt free

I know you will relax and enjoy life! Tell your DH not to worry. It will be the biggest present you’ve ever gotten when that last credit card is paid off. I know that Disney trip will be the most enjoyable one you’ve ever been on!

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CHEERS:

The new financial dh decided he wasn’t waiting for the return call on Thursday, and after getting voice mail for the second time he called the office directly and demanded to speak to someone, anyone to get it fixed NOW. Guess who came to the phone immediately—our “out of the office” advisor.
He did not even remember seeing us two weeks earlier, but then, we aren’t his only clients. Dh wouldn’t be put off and they went through the paperwork on the phone. The guy said he didn’t know why dh’s was so messed up and mine was fine, but he would fix it right then.
After the corrections were made he said that with the new numbers (which weren’t really new) MAY make my check go even higher. (It was already higher than I had expected according to the letter) because dh’s was going to and mine is a percentage. We’ll believe it when we see it. Sure hope it doesn’t go down. I like the higher number a whole lot better.
Supposedly he got all the dates worked out this time and the checks will come in February. Of course he had not a clue as to why we got the letters we did. He found it VERY strange I got an awards letter of sorts considering they had “disallowed” dh’s claim until March. We’ll see how it all goes. Let’s just say I was in a lot better mood by Thursday evening than I was on Monday night!
Now on to Best Buy. I can’t believe I actually have a cheers for them, but I do. You know we paid them off last week, but since it was just a few days before the statement cut off date we expected about a $10 interest fee to be on this month’s statement. The statement cut off at midnight on Friday and first thing Saturday morning I checked it. ZERO interest charged! I couldn’t believe it, but I definitely printed the statement in case I needed proof in the future. I celebrated by putting that $10 on our Little Chase bill, the one doomed next to die.
I love u-tube, how I ever got along so many years without it I’ll never know. I personally want to thank everyone who has ever put an instructional video on that site. To keep me from killing the world while trying to get the SS mess straightened out I decided it was truly time to get busy on making cards for our little card business. After all I had all the materials I needed, I had the equipment, including a new Cuttlebug, I had the programs I needed, but what I didn’t have was the proper education on all of it to tie it all together.
I am nearly bug eyed from watching so many videos (well I’m sort of bug eyed anyway due to the mess with my thyroid, but that’s another topic to address at another time). It started out simply with trying to learn all the best techniques to using the Cuttlebug and it segued from there. Hours and hours later I finally put the tablet down, walked away from the computer and turned utube off on my phone (yep I was watching the videos on all three things at various times).
Not to be out done dh had been watching videos too. Including ones on how to make embossing folders for the Cuttlebug for free out of cereal boxes—always the DR fan he wants to cut the cost of the embossing and I’m just fine with that!.
His first one was a very simple one for a single image, but he and ds are now designing one for our company logo for me to use with stationery and on some of our products. Thanks Utube!
Wednesday I pretty much stayed in our home office all day putting into action all I had tried to absorb from utube. I first started with the Cricut Craftroom program I had downloaded about 18 months ago from the Cricut Website. I won’t go into the details, but know it is a great way to save paper/cardstock when making cards and scrapbook pages. I love the program now that I have it figured out.
My first project was a Valentine’s card using the Cricut Craft Room, Cricut Machine, Cuttlebug , MS Word and my printer. Learning the technique for printing on the cards in the shapes I want is wonderful. Thanks again to utube videos.
IF I can figure out how to get into our photos section here on yahoogroups (anyone know a utube video on that since they “upgraded” everything?) I’ll post a photo of the finished card.
Friday dh decided I needed away from the house so we went “bargain” shopping, which turned into mainly window shopping. In fact we only ended up purchasing 4 small things at Hobby Lobby using sales and a 40% off coupon and some basic groceries from Sam’s that strangely enough included $20 worth of their “coupons” for the sale they have going on for items we normally buy.
One of which is the 2013 Turbo Tax. We want to get the taxes done asap so we can make certain we don’t over pay on our debt snowball and not have enough money put back to pay in. We figure we’ll have to pay in because we’ve been blessed with unusually large royalty checks the last few months and have been paying in automatically for last year’s much smaller amount. However, we paid in based on me still mystery shopping too and I didn’t do enough to even mention. So it may be a wash, we’re not hopeful of that however.
Saturday found me cruising Pintrest (I’d never been there—baaaaad idea, now I have the wants for more “toys” for cardmaking baaaad) and working on the budget until the first of March.
I know it sounds strange but money is going to be snug this next month and a half because not only am I trying to get rid of the little Chase bill, it is always snug in January each year. Last year we were hit hard in January with all sorts of “extras” and had to come up with nearly $4,000 extra from our normal budget. This year it looks like if we mind our p’s and q’s and I’ve calculated everything right all year we will just squeak through without needing extra. We’ll see. Murphy stay away.
Once everything gets rolling like it should 2014 should be a VERY good year in this household. Keep your fingers crossed.
So for a week that started out a bit down, it ended on a high note. My silver lining for the low note—at least we got alerted there was a problem with ss before the check didn’t come in February.

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TEARS AND JEERS:

Then Monday rolled around with the mail bringing news that brought tears to my eyes, and not good ones. There were two envelopes from SS one was for dh and it claimed that he had NOT been in communication with them and therefore they could not calculate his projected ss check. Uhhh! We made our appointment in mid November right after we got the first letter stating they needed to discuss numbers with him and went into the office on the 18 of December. How is that NOT in communication with them? Gotta love the guberment.
While it did not give a number of the check it did say basically he wouldn’t get one until APRIL! Even more disturbing it had his income for the last two years and estimated for this year much LESS than what he made/will make in each year. Which could HUGELY affect how much we get for the rest of our life! Remember my checks are based on a percentage of his and his are based on how much he pays in on his income.
Dh keeps a close eye on his reported earnings to SS after that employer didn’t pay taxes one year even though they were taken out of dh’s check. So he KNEW the correct amounts were in his file. He got on the web immediately and checked, yep his file on the SS webpage had the correct numbers so where did SS come up with these lower numbers, especially that much lower? He had also discussed the correct numbers with the man at the SS office on the 18th and the numbers at that time were the higher amount. What the heck?
These two things made me extremely upset to say the least. It was going to screw our whole game plan royally and I’d already made reservations for our celebration trip!
Then we moved on to my letter, expecting the same thing since I can’t draw until he does and they wouldn’t be able to calculate my amount without his.
Only mine had an amount and basically said I’d get the February check. How could that be based on what his letter said? Like I said GUBERment! I was so angry and frustrated, plus upset because this could really upset our snowball plans (plus other stresses this last few weeks) I blubbered like a baby for quite awhile.
Then I put my big girl panties on, looked dh square in the eye (which is no easy trick considering I’m barely 5’1” and he’s 6’1” and said “You WILL call and get this straightened out tomorrow RIGHT?”
He said “I was already planning on it.” That made me smile, not because he was going to handle it, but because before DR he would have not even considered making the phone call and would have demanded I handle it. Now he is very involved in our financial planning and things like this. We have discovered he often get faster results if he calls then if I do. Plus, after all it was HIS account that was in question and they probably would not have even spoke to me.
Of course on Tuesday he got sent to voice mail, that stated they’d call right back. They didn’t on Tuesday. Wednesday was New Year’s Day so we expected nothing, and that’s exactly what we got. Wednesday night dh said if they didn’t call him by noon on Thursday he was calling again. They didn’t, he did, voice mail again.
We had made plans to “drop in” without an appointment on Friday since it was a half day for him anyway if he couldn’t get hold of his advisor. We wanted answers and we wanted them NOW! After it taking them 18 months to straighten out his payback to ss in 2010/2011 we weren’t going to patiently wait. Goodness knows how long that would take!

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So as we quietly left Christmas week

we looked forward with great anticipation to the new year and especially February when the SS checks were scheduled, so we thought, to start at that time. We went to sleep dreaming of being cc debt free by late July at the very latest. In our dreams we celebrated by strolling leisurely down Main Street USA, in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World just shortly after we were cc debt free.

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As we were bebopping around

the house doing chores (boring) we chatted about our finances, a pretty usual topic these days.

Dh thanked me for working so hard and diligently on keeping us on track with DR then he added a but…

It seems he is concerned that once we are debt free that I have been so motivated and focused in on getting debt free that I won’t want to relax on the tight hold on the budget we’ve been running on.

I’m sorry, that was so silly I burst into a fit of laughter. I asked him if he had SEEN my want to buy list. He replied, “but you have wanted to buy that stuff for a long time and whenever extra money came in you could have bought at least some of the less expensive items on it with blow money, and you haven’t. I’m worried.”

I assured him I would have no trouble in us enjoying ourselves, on a budget specifically set up for that in the future.

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Oh there are some really cute ones on utube and probably pintrest too

I thought of you the minute I saw the embossing of them. Oh and with the cuttlebug you can make fancy edged quilling paper to put little paper flowers and such on picks…

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So you got a Cricut huh?

Now you need a Cuttlebug to emboss fancy cupcake papers and pennants with. LOL! Jan who hadn’t planned on sending the homework until Monday, but hit the wrong button by mistake ( the perils of doing more than one thing at a time).

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I am still in awe of what it is you do

SS Will fall in line by February or else there will be hell to pay. I love reading of your successes! As to the joys of Cricut, I use mine for cake decorating and can spend hours getting lost in ideas. You will love Pinterest.

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Despite the time and emotional break down of the jeers..the cheers are great!

I also knew you were going to go into Pintrest and maybe not come out until 2015 when I got the notice in my inbox that ” Your friend C.J. Patterson has joined Pintrest”.. LOL
My cousin Kelly got so many ideas for WDW when they took their family this year… she made mouse silhouettes on the outline of their state for tshirts, pillowcases…waterbottle holders… anyhow… when you get done with Cuttlebug ( I refuse to look because I will want one), look at the Disney Boards or No trace of plagiarism with www.writingfanatic.com, and then the cooking boards, and the frugal boards..and the….. you get the idea…

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What do you all think is a good age for children to

experience Disney for the first time? When they will remember their time, and enjoy the rides and other attractions?

How much in advance can you plan and make payment arrangements on the trip?

Wanna take my Pinky… Don’t mind putting it on the books now for 2020 (or some other year) if Disney will let me. Especially if I can lock in today’s rates for future years trips.

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I just do the free stuff to get points on the site when I watch tv

I also do all my Christmas and normal shopping from there. I also print my coupons from there too. Mainly I use it to buy stuff not in the budget like take out, cute shoes and ebooks. LOL It is mommy’s blow money. 😉

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Mypoints doesn’t require you buy anything to get points

Yes, you get more points if you buy things, but you also get points for reading e-mails and filling out surveys. Husband and I just bought a $160 Christmas present for ourselves, almost all with gift cards we got through points. (I had $150 worth of gift cards.) The only thing I “bought” was donating money to a charity that I was already donating to.

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Thanks for sharing

That sounds like a great thing. For me, I am tempted to order stuff for the points or bump it up to get free shipping at the site when I really should not spend the extra. Also, I am trying to buy as much as possible from local mom and pop stores. I don’t see how I can shop local and use the sites.

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I hope this is OK to post here

But I wanted to share with you all a great website called MyPoints. You earn points by shopping online thru their links. I learned about it from Bzzagent.com where I am a memeber (I can explain that more in dept if you want). I also earn points through Bzzagent. Anyway, the points you earn you can redeem for various gift cards. I tend to get the ones from Walmart for groceries or for paypal, when I then deposit into my bank account.
That is how I was able to pay our ER fund back. I cashed in a lot of MyPoints points for paypal that I then transfered that money to our ER fund.

For me this helps to supplement our income from time to time. But I warn you, if you are a person who would want to spend more $$ just to get the points stay away from MyPoints. Don’t let this tempt you. For me it isn’t an issue and I shop online for a lot of
stuff…..especially around Christmas.

If you are interested, let me know. I can send you a referral. I get 25 points if you sign up through me.

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My VW dealer wants to give me a quote to buy my 2010 Jetta

If I wanted to buy the exact 2014 model, it would be about the same as my 2010, but I don’t know what a fair amount of an offer would be for my 2010. Maybe your husband has some insight on values? Thanks.

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My husband would LOVE this conversation!

He works for a contractor in the VW call center as a product specialist. He is one of the biggest VW nerds out there so he LOVES his job….we wish it paid more, but it’s so perfect to fill his VW neediness every single day.
He got the VW Lego bus for Christmas from my I laws and spen the last week putting it together. :). Last year, we needed a new tent for camping, so for his birthday, we went in with family for him and got a VW bus tent. It is sooo. Awesome. 🙂

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Just as a bizarre side note

I was driving on I-5 sometime in 2012 and saw a van which had been redone in Scooby Doo style. Someone put a heckuva lot of time and effort into it. They very accurately recreated the van from the animated show. Then in the two back windows, they had a full-color, life-size image of Scooby and that long-haired teenager kid that was his pal. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, but I managed to get some pix (yes, as I was driving, not a good thing) just to prove that I wasn’t hallucinating. It was really a blast from the past, seeing that van. One part admiration that someone did such a good job on it, and one part “Yikes!” that they’d choose that particular van to re-create.

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