Make things E-Zier for yourself

I received a letter in the mail from the NYS Thruway Authority reminding me to renew my Thruway Annual Permit.  Since I’m on the Thruway between Rochester and Buffalo commuting to work, the Annual Permit Plan lets me drive between the Pembroke (48A) and I-490 Leroy (47) exits for free.  Without an E-ZPass, one way on that section of Thruway would cost me $1.10 cash, round trip $2.20.  The E-ZPass gives me a small discount of 5 cents on a one way stint.  (NYS Thruway toll schedule, with and without E-ZPass). With the Annual plan I save the entire $2.20 cost since the annual fee covers the toll for the first 30 miles or less per trip.  The Annual plan costs $88 for the entire year (the cost is pro-rated if you sign up later in the year) or a monthly cost of $7.

E-ZPass is an electronic toll collection (ETC) system that allows you to prepay your tolls, eliminating the need to stop at the toll plaza.  When traveling during peak times, having the ability to bypass the lines of toll collectors can be quite satisfying.  When you register for an E-ZPass, you will need to sign up to have payments taken directly from a bank account or you can have your credit card charged.  You will receive a toll tag which you place inside your car.  The toll tag is read by equipment at the toll booths which debits the toll amount from your account.

E-ZPass works outside of NY state as well, It can be used on roads in a lot of the northeastern states (see pic below).  When we took our summer vacation to Washington DC and Philadelphia this year we were able to use the pass on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and some highways in Maryland.

You will pay a deposit when you receive the tag which is returned to you when you turn the tag in.  If you sign up for the pass using a credit card, the deposit fee is waived.  There’s really no reason not to get an E-ZPass.  It saves time and it saves money and doesn’t really cost anything. And if you travel the Thruway a lot, sign up for the NYS Annual Permit plan and cut your costs even further.

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4 Cheshire Lane

East Amherst, NY 14041-1826 Christmas 2010

Dear Friends,

We wish you the warmest of Christmas greetings and hope this message finds you blessed with the happiness of family and friends and of happy memories of Christmas’s past.  We also wish you a Happy New Year with wishes that find 2011 a year of financial hope for all that have been adversely affected.

So, what has happened to Jack and Joan during the past 12 months? We have a new grandchild, Luke Ryder Heine, born to John and Lisa in Michigan in October, our 10th grandchild.  Jack retired from Fredwal in January when they closed the doors forever- his second retirement.  And we went to Florida in March and froze our butts as the North wind blew virtually every day.  Even the sun didn’t help as people in the know said it was the coolest March they remembered.  It did warm up on the day we left, 31 March, but we already had the car packed for the trip home.  Our new car, a Chevy Traverse, was a gas hog as it gave us about 21mpg going down and going home.  But it was cheaper than flying and renting a car. And no TSA screening.

Jack didn’t go to Florida with his brother Chuck this year as we are savings our pennies for our 50th anniversary in August- we have planned a cruise from Los Angeles to Tampa Florida via the Panama Canal.  It will be only our second cruise and it’s an area that Jack has not been there before.

During the time we were in Florida we set in motion the plans to do some re-modeling in the house:

This was to put in a granite counter-top in the kitchen and to remove our bar that we replaced with a cabinet wet bar with a granite counter-top.  Now the bar stools are gone as well as a place to rest your elbows.  A new cabinet went into the powder room and granite countertops were added there and in our bath.  Wow- that stuff is not only heavy but also not cheap.

And to top it off, we put in a new floor in the family room, Brazilian Walnut that is different shades of brown.  It is also harder than Oak which we thought was the hardest. Jack and our son-in-law Brad did all the work and it is beautiful. Jack was the “go-fer” for Brad who also did the kitchen and bar back-splash tile work.  He is very talented in this house remodeling business.  We added some colorful area carpets to complete the room.

Our summer was one of the best as to sun and weather.  The grandkids enjoyed the weekends in our pool but Jack had a problem.  Andrea’s dog, Caleb, all 70+ pounds, likes to play with a bike tire or tube, which he plays “yank” with Jack.  As he relaxed the pull with Jack, Jack was caught unawares when Caleb suddenly jerked the tire.  Result was a torn

rotator cuff in Jack’s right shoulder. Two and a half months of physical therapy were                                    required to get some mobility back.  No more playing yank with Caleb.  In May, Joan                 started having a problem that has yet to be diagnosed. She started to have a                              bloated and full feeling in her abdomen.  Then she fell on her back in a                                         freak accident in a restaurant. So far no    positive results from a                                       number of procedures and some drugs. More work with our                                                                   doctor is forthcoming.

In the meantime, our grandkids are growing with three now in their teen years and two in high schools.  The oldest, Westin (15) (parents Michele and Brad) and Amanda (15) (parents Sue and Ron) are now good high school students. Amanda’s sister Jenny is 13 and was active in Gymnastics until she sprained a foot muscle that is slow to heal.  Ron has just switched jobs as his former company is on the trading block and the future looked dead-ended.  Westin’s sister, Kendra, at 12, is  also a very good student. Our youngest daughter, Joanne, and husband Daryl, are both CPA’s.  Joanne is also an assistant VP for First Niagara Bank and Daryl works for the town of Amherst. Joanne’s former horse, Louie, died earlier this year, so now she has a new beautiful Chestnut, “Cooper” by name, and she is teaching her girls, Delaney (11) and Ella (4) to ride, while son Elias (8) is also starting to ride as well as play baseball and football. He also likes to fish with his dad in the small lake in the back of their house.

Number three daughter, Andrea, still enjoys her Vet work with dogs and cats. If you call her and she isn’t home you will get an amusing message from her answering service recording.  She also enjoys biking, riding for miles.  In the summer it isn’t unusual for her to make a pit-stop at our house which is 10 miles from her home.

Our son John lives and works in Michigan with his wife Lisa.  He has survived the problems of the financial breakdown to General Motors (and other auto companies) as a production engineer while Lisa is a technical illustrator and WEB developer.  John has three boys, Devin, who is 10 and quite an athlete in Baseball and Football, Ryan, just turned 2 and little Luke, just born in October.

Almost a year has passed since jack retired from Fredwal. He monitors the Fredwal e-mail because of a warranty agreement for Korea.  Back in August somebody at the China Lake Naval Air Test Center needed Fredwal radar targets and Jack explained it was no longer in business but he would try to help.  They needed a bunch of radar targets and Jack said he could help.  He received his first purchase order in early November.  His new company is called Amherst International LLC. Delivery is mid-February just before we leave for Florida.

Joan is a “work widow” again as Jack earns some retirement savings for that 50th wedding anniversary cruise through the Panama Canal in October 2011.

May we wish you the Merriest of the Season


Jack and Joan


6 thoughts on “Make things E-Zier for yourself

  1. Good post Michelle. I commute between exits 46 & 43 each day (similar tolls to your commute), and I’ve had the annual permit since I started making that commute a year & a half ago. For me, it basically pays for itself after about 2 months, so it’s a no-brainer. And, like you, we also use it when we make trips to PA to visit my parents. Since the trip between Rochester & the PA line requires you to essentially exit & re-enter the Thruway twice with the toll barriers in Buffalo, you actually get the 30-mile free passage twice each way!

    • Joe

      I didn’t even know there was an annual permit until l looked into it when I started my job. When I mention it to people most haven’t heard of it. It’s definitely worth getting the E-ZPass even if you don’t need the Annual Permit.


  2. I am an infrequent thruway traveler, but still find the E-Z Pass to be a great time saver. No worrying about money, and no waiting in line.

    The annual pass sounds great if you use the thruway for commuting. In reality you are not traveling for free, but you are getting a really good deal!

    • April

      I agree that E-Z Pass is worth it if you travel the Thruway even infrequently.

      I could interpret the savings with my commuter pass in two ways: spread the cost out over every trip I take or say that after $88 worth of trips they’re free. I average 22 trips a month on the Thruway so that is 264 trips per year, so each trip averages $.33. The normal cost for those trips is $1.10, so it would take 80 trips for me to break even, a little less than 4 months of commuting. Anything beyond those first 80 trips is essentially free. 😉


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