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This and That

July 25th, 2017 at 06:43 am

Yesterday I returned the compression sleeve with no problem. Then I went to the library and returned my DVD -- and checked out three more! The Dressmaker, The Skeleton Twins, and Grandma. Haven't watched any of them yet.

Later in the day I washed sheets, so, combined with my errands, I had three trips up and down the steps. And spent $1.50.

The hot water was restored very quickly after they realized it was just a breaker problem.

The outdoor temperatures have dropped and the weather is beautiful.

I got an email from my colleague which was copied to the new potential employer. I replied with a very brief summary of my experience, a request for more information, and my telephone number. No call yet.

This is my last day before pay day. I'm going to do my July recap later on, as I don't expect to spend anything today. I'm really looking forward to a clean slate tomorrow!

My knee continues to improve slowly, but now I have developed a shooting pain in my little toe, of all places! It doesn't sound like much to complain about, but it really hurts! It helps to ice it, but it took me a while to figure out how to do that. Finally put a little bag of ice cubes into the toe of a sock, which worked pretty well. I'm pretty sure this is nerve pain, while the knee pain is from injury. I'm tired of all of it!

Getting Out a Little

July 24th, 2017 at 06:16 am

I went out yesterday. I was very strategic. I took my laundry downstairs, then went straight to Walgreens and Jewel, then came home, stopping to tend the laundry before I went back upstairs. When the laundry was dry, I took my garbage down at the same time. That was only two trips up and down the steps.

At Walgreens I bought a knee compression sleeve, but I think I will take it back today. It actually makes my knee feel worse. That was $12. At the grocery, I bought Slide kitty litter with a coupon and rebate offer attached. I've already prepared the rebate request. So that will not only be free, but will earn me a dollar (because of the coupon). I also bought one can of cat food -- it's a new brand, and I want to test it with the kitties before I commit to it. And I got three free MyMixx items -- cucumber water, ice cream bars, and dressing. My total spending was $8 but I'll get $7 back. The MyMixx items were worth $7, so I added that to Snowflakes.

Today I need to wash sheets. I'll combine that with my trip back to Walgreens and a drive-by at the library to return my DVD.

My knee is feeling better, but it is not back to normal yet. When I get in the wrong position, I definitely feel that "catch" which is so painful. I just have to be patient and wait for the healing. I'm doing mild stretching exercises, but for the time being I'm forgoing the gym. Maybe tomorrow I can go do my strength-training.

I got a text this morning from a former colleague who asked me if I was interested in part-time work in Chicago. If so, she would recommend me to the person who contacted her. I am willing to at least investigate. I'm now awaiting a followup email which will tell me more.

This morning I was loading the dishwasher and noticed, as I rinsed the dishes, that the hot water wasn't working. I tried the bathroom sink, and sure enough, no hot water there either. I guess it will be a while before I take my shower. Hope it gets resolved today!

Day of Rest

July 23rd, 2017 at 05:00 am

Yesterday was my day of rest. I did not venture out at all. My knee is getting better, but healing will be a slower process than I would like.

But I think I can manage the stairs today, so I'm going to do some laundry and go to the store. I'm planning to get kitty litter, cat food, and some free MyMixx items, if they're still available.

I looked at knee compression sleeves online. I did not order one, but I may do so after payday on Wednesday.

I got a $2 cash settlement check (can't remember what for) so I added that to my slush fund, which definitely needs some pumping up. But this payday is going to be all about making ends meet, as I have to pay my property taxes and a Discover bill which includes the $884 car repair. I will have to tap my e-fund.

I've done several Pine Cone surveys this month, but the $3 payments go to snowflakes, which will go to my granchildrens' college funds.

I may sign up for an AARP driver safety course. I would supposedly receive a discount on my insurance. But I would also have to pay $15 for the course. I assume my discount will be larger than $15, but I think I will check with my agent, anyway! The course will not be held until next month.

Other frugalities: I made cornmeal pancakes for breakfast yesterday, and there is enough batter left over to make them today. I also made a tomato casserole for lunch, which will also be lunch today. Dinner was salmon and Ranch mashed potatoes. I ate all the salmon, but there are plenty of potatoes left for another meal. I may do a potato bowl, with a filling of peppers, onions and mushrooms.

I watched "Sully," which I borrowed from the library prior to BFF's visit. We never got around to watching it while she was still here.

I am using my AC minimally, despite high heat and humidity. I am able to stay pretty comfortable with fans and open windows. I am lucky to live near the lake, which keeps the temperatures about 10 degrees lower than neighboring areas.

Obviously, yesterday was a no-spend day!

Here We Go Again

July 22nd, 2017 at 05:44 am

I was watching the grandsons in the park yesterday and decided (foolishly) to shoot some hoops with one of them, when I felt a R-I-P in my knee. Any progress I had made is gone, and more.

I'm going to take the weekend to rest up and baby it before I decide whether I should go to the doctor. I know I didn't really break or tear anything, because I wouldn't be able to walk. But walking is painful, and the stairs more so. Today I plan to stay in all day and not even tackle the stairs, in hopes that will facilitate healing. And maybe tomorrow, as well.

I do have a full hamper of colored clothes, but laundry can wait. It's not like I don't have enough clothes to wear!

A larger urgency is kitty litter and cat food. If I were feeling normal I would get both today. I'm going to try to hold out until Monday.

So, the bright side is, no temptation to spend, and I should have a nice weekend reading and relaxing.

And I need to start thinking about what to do about getting into a first-floor condo or a building with an elevator. I love this condo, but it's clearly a problem every time I injure my legs, which I seem to be doing more and more frequently. Sigh.

Friday Morning

July 21st, 2017 at 04:32 am

Yesterday I was unpacking one of my purchases -- a bundle of 25 "velvet" hangers -- when I realized that three of them were cracked. I had bought them at T.J. Maxx. I took them back, intending to get a new pack, but they didn't want to do an exchange. They refunded the money, and told me I could then go buy a new pack. Well, I realized that at this time I'd rather have the money back in play, so I didn't get a new pack. Later. I do still need them, but that project can wait.

So that put $11 back into play. I spent $1.50 yesterday on laundry, so I have $36 in cash to make it till payday on the 26th.

I was invited to a baby shower up in Michigan for the wife of one of my nephews. That gift will come out of next month's budget. The shower isn't until late August.

I also got a solicitation for a donation to a scholarship honoring my friend P's retirement. I will donate to that in next month's budget as well. (I was not individually targeted; the solicitation went out to all former students.)

It turns out I will not be needing physical therapy; my knee has improved dramatically in the past few days and I expect to be completely back to normal soon. What a relief.

I still haven't gone to the grocery store. I had some leftovers from eating out with my BFF, and yesterday my grandson brought over a quarter of a watermelon. I got some free cherry tomatoes on a MyMixx deal, so I'm good in the produce department.

Today I'm going to watch the grandsons from about 9 to 1. Planning to make lunch at home and perhaps go to the park in the morning before it gets too hot.

My grandson's team lost their tournament game last night, so baseball is over for this year. I guess that will save me a little gas, as some of the games are 1/2 to one hour away. But I'll miss the free entertainment.

Visit Aftermath

July 19th, 2017 at 06:40 pm

BFF has gone home, and in her wake, my poor budget is on life support. Not her fault. We just had a lot of fun together and I lost my perspective and spent too much.

We both love to go Goodwill shopping, and generally I hold it down. But this time, I found so much stuff. Having a $5 coupon and 15% off for being a senior made it all seem sensible. But I spent a lot -- $102. Some of it was for gifts, but I also bought some brand-new boots, two blazers, three jackets, eight tops, two scarves and a bracelet. I love everything I bought. Strictly speaking, I didn't need clothes, but my wardrobe was looking tired, and I'm pretty excited about these additions.

But of course it was exactly the wrong time to do this. My variables budget is now 110%. (Because I also ate out, got gas and went to a movie.) That said, I still have $26 to spend before pay day, because of coming in under budget in past months. So I will just do my darnedest to spend nothing, though I think I MAY have to cave on kitty litter. And I'll have to do laundry.

So, six days of belt-tightening. I choose to think of it as exciting!


July 17th, 2017 at 05:25 am

After a truly awful night, with the worst knee pain I've had yet, I got up at 6 a.m., and now I'm waiting for BFF to arrive. I'm probably not going to be great company today!

I have a Baker's cyst behind my knee. I don't know how to get rid of it. I do have a physical therapy order (for sciatica, which hasn't been troubling me). I may just go in and tell them it is really my knee which is the problem. But PT costs $45 per session, and I have had such an expensive month, which will force me to use savings. I just hate the idea of adding more to it.

Yesterday I spent $11 on groceries and $28 on gas. I got three MyMixx items free which were valued at $11. Variables are now at 85%, with nine days remaining.

I found a dollar bill yesterday! The other bright spot is that the weather continues cool and beautiful. I'm taking a nice long break from AC.

Little Update

July 16th, 2017 at 06:05 am

After yesterday's baseball game, C and I went to lunch with our grandson, which cost me $7 at Subway. There is another game today, and then we will go into tournament. Baseball is wrapping up soon. Will have to find new entertainment!

BFF is coming tomorrow. I need to do some laundry today and just generally get ready.

I am scheduled for a lakeside walk this morning, but I am too afraid to rile my knee, which feels marginally better this morning. Prior experience tells me that the only thing that works is babying and time.

I have figured out that my phone works as long as I keep it in the kitchen, so that's what I'm doing.

It's still cool enough not to run the AC. Yay!

Grandson's Sleepover

July 15th, 2017 at 06:58 am

Actually, he is still here, so the sleepover is ongoing. Right now, he is watching "Spy Kids 2" from the library. Last night we watched "The Secret Life of Pets."

I didn't get by as cheap as I wanted to. We did end up getting a McDonald's lunch, which was $10 for the two of us. (We were on the wrong side of town at lunch time.) I got a Happy Meal for myself so my other grandson would get a toy, too.

We went to a garage sale and I spent .50 on earphones and a plastic dagger for my grandson.

I spent $6 on the book I had promised.

Later in the day, we decided to make a cake. I had a mix but no frosting, and no powdered sugar. I stopped in at Whole Foods, because it is right across from the library and bought a can of frosting there. Whoa! $6! No wonder I never shop there. And the frosting, while I am sure it is healthier than usual, was pretty gummy and hard to spread. But the cake turned out good and GS was pleased.

Even though I made up the sofa bed, he slept with me last night. Hope he slept better than I did!

Minimal spending, grandson time, and phone troubles

July 14th, 2017 at 07:51 am

Just put in a $1.50 load of laundry. Yesterday, I spent $4 on snacks at the baseball game.

Today I'm going to pick up one of my grandsons at noon and I'm going to keep him until tomorrow morning. Parents are meeting some obligations today and going out to dinner tonight. My other grandson will be with C., so each boy will get one-on-one grandma time.

I'm going to do my best not to spend, but I have promised GS that I will buy a certain book for him, and I do keep my promises. (This is a long-standing promise -- we have had to wait for the book to be published!)

Hoping I can keep him happy with time at the park (weather is lovely), DVD's from the library, and I'm going to take him on errands with me.

I've had a lot of trouble getting service on my phone lately. I have a Moto G smartphone, first generation, and my service is StraightTalk. Lately, it seems I never have "bars" when I am at home, unless I go out to the landing. I don't know enough to know what is wrong. Here is what I have done: power down and power up, unplug and replug the router, shake the phone (!), and check my settings (everything seems okay). I know I am getting to where I need a new phone, but would a new phone solve this problem? When I am outdoors, everything seems fine. I would assume it's something with the building, but I've been here four years without a problem. Is it a router problem? I believe my router is part of the xfinity box; should I call a Comcast technician? As I said, I'm just too ignorant of how things work.

No-Spend Day

July 13th, 2017 at 09:48 am

I think this will be another no-spend day. I checked the laundry baskets and can clearly wait another day. There is a baseball game tonight, but C. is driving.

I made my quarterly order from OTC-Essentials, thus putting $50 in my snowflakes. I ordered: Vitamin D, generic Zyrtec, band-aids, a bunion guard, baby aspirin and hydrogen peroxide.

I went to the gym this morning and walked on the treadmill. The walking club has a walk scheduled at noon, but there was no info on the meeting place, only "lakeside." (Big area!) And at noon, it is too hot to walk, in my opinion.

I'll spend the day reading, doing chores, and working my my mother's diary.

I made Jiffy corn pancakes for breakfast this morning. It was a cheap meal, and tasty. I learned that corn pancakes are much more fragile than flour, so flipping them is not easy -- also I need to lower the heat. But I will do this again.

For the rest of the day, I'll work on the leftover mac & cheese, and the leftover chicken soup. I am out of frozen vegetables now, so I'm relying on the veggies in the soup for my veggie intake! Plus, I'll add some canned mushrooms to the mac & cheese. I do still have some celery sticks and half an onion, and some applesauce. I suppose tomorrow I will break down and buy a little produce. I'll probably have to get gas, too.

Spending Today - $1!

July 12th, 2017 at 02:23 pm

I went to a children's movie with the grandsons and C. this morning, which cost me $1. They beat me there, and C. had already paid the kids' admission. The movie was "The Iron Giant." Very sweet.

Strong storms have gone through the area several times. Last night there was so much lightning in the sky it was a veritable light show. This morning the clouds were dark and moving fast, and made me think of tornado weather, but when I got out of the theater, it was quite clear.

I'm making chicken soup today in order to use up vegetables. It made a pretty large pot, so I'm going to be eating it a while. It's anything but soup weather, but I like soup anytime.

Finally figured out that the back exercises which I perform on my knees are making my knees hurt. I'm cutting those out. I don't need to create more problems while trying to solve one. Hope my knees will improve in the next few days.

I got a small medical bill for the labs -- only $8, but I'm still going to hold onto it till pay day, which is now two weeks away. Trying to keep the variables as low as possible, in light of all the extra expenses I've been having. Variables are at 74% right now.

In Mom's diary, she reports that she bought her first outfit for my brother -- a brown and white seersucker "bobbie suit." I looked it up, and it is basically the 40's version of a onesie. I love it when she adds these details.

More Fees

July 11th, 2017 at 08:26 am

So, I've already renewed my driver's license and I've replenished my tollway pass. Now I see that AAA has withdrawn their membership fee, another $58. Yikes. When it rains, it pours.

Yesterday I missed out on pizza day at Planet Fitness, but this morning I got my free bagel for breakfast.

Yesterday's baseball game was rained out after a few innings, so tonight's game will be a double-header, at least that is the plan, not confirmed yet. It is in a more western suburb, so it will be a late night for me.

Today I'm doing laundry ($1.50) but have no other plans to spend money.

Temperatures are going up again, so the AC is on.

I've gone back to working on my mother's diary. Nothing really interesting to report. I am now at the point in her life when she is realizing she is pregnant with her first child, my brother.

I was invited by an old friend at the College to attend a gathering in honor of the annual jazz festival in September. I told her I would. I need to get out more and meet new people -- even if they live too far away to befriend. Anyway, it's free dinner, in exchange for a dessert! Always a good deal.

This and That

July 10th, 2017 at 06:47 am

Yesterday was a no-spend day. I went for a walk with my walking club in the morning -- 50 minutes. When I do the treadmill at the gym I usually put in 30 minutes, so that was a bonus. Plus, I was outside in the sunshine soaking up that vitamin D!

When I came home I spent the day mostly reading, taking breaks to do household chores. I did do a $1.50 load of laundry, but I don't really consider that a violation of a no-spend day, since laundry has to be done. I may do more today.

Today is pizza day at Planet Fitness, so I'm going to try to plan my visit there to coincide with delivery time. I also have a baseball game to attend tonight, so the timing may not work out.

Decided to cut down on the wet food my cats get. They will only eat about a spoonful at a time, and they leave the rest and never go back to it. I'd like them to eat more wet food, but they seem to be limiting themselves. At least I always provide plenty of fresh water.

I hard-boiled six eggs and cut up a bunch of celery, storing the sticks in the fridge in a cup of water. I do have to take it easy on the eggs (even though recent studies indicate that eggs, while containing cholesterol, do not create cholesterol in the body the way fats do). I still want to be careful.

Still doesn't seem there is anything I need to buy.

My BFF is talking about coming to visit within the next two weeks, so that would wreak havoc on my budget. But if she does, I will explain that this is not a good financial time for me, and we will have to do things that are free/low-cost. She is not as strapped as I am, but she does understand about budget concerns.

We had rains last night and it's a cool morning. I haven't had the AC on for several days! It's all good.


July 9th, 2017 at 04:53 am

My test results came back, and my LDL has improved to the point that I no longer have to take a statin. I will be monitored, however, so I have to be ultra-careful with diet and exercise.

I can't tell you how happy it makes me to know I don't have to endure that ache in my muscles. If my knees would just shape up now, I'd be feeling pretty good!

Yesterday I got a free MyMixx deal, a single serving of Tai Pei broccoli & beef worth $2.50. I added $2.50 to my snowflakes.

I spent $18 on a haircut. The price has gone up again. I do get a 10% senior discount. I really like my stylist, so I'm not going to look around for a cheaper cut.

Today I'm taking a lakeside walk -- in fact, in about an hour. The temperature is nice, so it should be a great walk. We have storm warnings for later in the day, but the weather is great now.

Food stores are holding up great; I don't anticipate any shortages in the near future.

Life is good!

A No-Spend Day, Almost

July 8th, 2017 at 06:59 am

I woke up late this morning, with a headache (probably from sleeping with the ceiling fan on.) So I missed the morning walk with my walking club, making me feel a bit guilty. With my traveling and all, I haven't made it to the walks much.

But there's another one tomorrow morning, and it will be cooler.

Yesterday was a no-spend day, except that my tollway pass was automatically replenished to the tune of $40. It is still money spent, just not intentionally.

I got another blood test, this time to check my cholesterol while off the the statin. If it's high again (and I expect it will be) my doctor may be amenable to letting me try red yeast rice. However, my reading indicates that it may have the same side effects as a statin.

I had another pain-free night. I doing low back exercises, taking vitamin D, drinking apple vinegar tonic, and taking Move Free. I don't know which is the magic solution but I'm sticking with all of them.

Next month I have a $1100 shortfall coming up, and that's if I spend nothing till then! It is making me hesitate to get a haircut I need, but honestly, if I waited to get past this budget bump, I wouldn't get my haircut until August 23. I don't think I can stand that.

My savings are there to take care of situations like this shortfall; I just hate to have to use them.

Last night I was afraid I might have to replace my refrigerator, but it turned out that my freezer door was cracked open a bit. It is something I have to watch all the time; it doesn't like to stay closed. Anyway, that was a relief.

Errands and shopping

July 6th, 2017 at 02:46 pm

Today I got my driver's license renewed - $31. There was a Goodwill in the plaza, so I stopped in and spent $12 there. I got three bowls, a small platter, a pair of sunglasses, brand-new swim trunks for my grandson, and two small gifts to put away for Christmas, a pewter frame and a copper cookie cutter.

On the way home I stopped and got a free car wash. I got the coupon from my mechanic. It was worth $8, which I added to snowflakes.

Then I came home and rested -- I even took a nap! That was probably a mistake, since it makes it harder to sleep at night, but it sure felt good.

Variables are at 57%.

I think I'll be able to survive on what I have in the pantry and freezer for the rest of the month. No grocery shopping planned unless I run out of something vital.

After all my traveling, I'm really ready to hunker down at home and do nothing. So I think I'll get back and work on that....

Frustrating Ride Home

July 6th, 2017 at 05:17 am

After a delightful vacation in Michigan, our ride home was a disaster. We encountered lots of "slowdowns" and then, when I was just ready to turn onto Lake Shore Drive, Google maps steered me onto MLK Drive instead. I shouldn't have listened. That turn dumped us into downtown Chicago, and the tall buildings interfered with the satellite signal. Basically, we drove in circles until we finally figured out we had no reliable navigation and had to figure it out ourselves. Being in heavy, rush hour traffic didn't help. We finally made it, obviously, but we wasted a lot of time and gas, and the boys were scared and thought we might never get home again.

I also lost the loose molding from the side of my car. A brief look on the internet indicates it would cost $100-300 to replace, and that doesn't count labor to attach it. Common sense would indicate not to replace it, but I hate the way it looks.

The vacation itself was fun -- lots of swimming and boating and lots of good food. I also went antiquing with the "ladies" and I ended up buying some fabric to recover my dining room chair seats - only $10 -- and 4 English bone china mugs for $16.

Other costs: gas was $30, and food was $29. I also spent $19 on a birthday cake for DIL.

Today it's back to uberfrugal.

I think I will try to get my driver's license renewed today.

The good news is, after some really bad nights with pain in my legs, it appears that some back exercises that my doctor gave me have turned the trick. I had a very comfortable night last night. Perhaps I will not have to have physical therapy at all.

So, back to normal today! Hope everyone had a great Fourth.


July 1st, 2017 at 05:59 pm

I just got home from the second baseball game today. First game was a slaughter but we won the second.

C. did the driving, so today I spent nothing and didn't even use gas. Oh, I take that back. I spent $2.25 on laundry.

Next month looks awful, financially. I got my property tax bill - $615. I will also have to pay the car repair bill of $884 which I put on Discover. I'm feeling overwhelmed. I am getting through this month okay. I paid my bills. I have spent 32% of my variables budget (3 1/2 weeks to go!) My net worth has stayed stable. But next month -- I will have to raid e-fund savings and my net worth will drop. That will feel bad and I don't know how I will make it up.

I would like to join everyone else for an uberfrugal month, but I will have to do it only in part. I've already promised a restaurant birthday dinner for DIL, and I have the July 4 trip to my brother's coming up, which won't be expensive, but neither will it be free.

I will be extra careful on groceries, and I'll delay making appointments for vet, eyes, and dentist. I'll put off any wants. It's all I can do.


June 30th, 2017 at 07:43 pm

This is why you hate to take an old car in for a tuneup. It can cost $883. That was for the tuneup, an oil change, brake work, a replaced bolt, and something else I can't remember off the top of my head. I know I have to keep the car safe, but I miss the days when I had virtually no car repair bills.

I'm keeping this car until I get through my gap year (or until it literally falls apart!) So I'll do what I can to keep it going.

Other expenses today: $5 copay for the doctor, $4 for lunch, $8 for dinner. Because I went straight from the doctor's office to the auto shop to a baseball game, I was stuck with eating out.

But I did find a dime! I had to get on my knees and reach under a parked truck. Hope no one was watching!

My doctor has ordered more physical therapy. He feels that the pain in my legs is coming from my back. He's probably right, but I hate the $45 out-of-pocket cost per session. He gave me a handout of exercises and I'm going to try them on my own first.

There are two out-of-town baseball games tomorrow -- both in the same place, but one is at 8 a.m. and the other at 4 p.m. I'm sure at least the grandmas will go home between games.

But that means I'd better get some sleep, as we have to leave at 7:15 a.m. This retiree is no longer used to those early hours!

Busy Thursday

June 30th, 2017 at 07:08 am

Well, today brings another doctor visit. I will see my GP. Yesterday I felt so much better than I have for a couple of weeks! Yet, at night, the leg pain started up and I was awake well past 1 am. This is what I want to discuss with him.

Yesterday I picked up kitty litter at PetSmart for $20, saving $2. It was a big box; it should last the month.

Then I went to Aldi and spent $26. Bought 15 items, but what really matters is that they fit into two bags and I could carry them up the stairs in one trip. Purchases were brown sugar, salad, celery, frozen salmon, OJ with Vitamin D, cake mix, eggs, raisins, chocolate chips, applesauce, creamer, graham crackers, Ritz-type crackers, ranch dressing, and dry-roasted peanuts.

The cake mix is to make cupcakes for DIL's birthday. I'm trying to get the family together for lunch at a hibachi place (I have a Groupon), but scheduling is difficult. Hoping to get it done on Sunday. Her birthday was the 23rd (while I was in Florida). I hate to let too much time pass. I've got most of her birthday presents and they need to be wrapped -- one small gift from Amazon will not arrive till next week, however.

My semi-annual auto insurance payment is scheduled to be withdrawn tomorrow. That is why my slush fund is so low right now. Got to work to get that up, but unfortunately I have so many things to do -- auto tuneup and oil change, eye doctor, dentist, vet -- not even anything that's fun! And I want to replace my Skecher sneaker clogs, which are fraying and disgraceful.

Grandson won his baseball game last night. It was a dramatic ending! Just at the game was finishing up, a lightning warning sounded. We all had to gather our things and seek shelter. (There's a big senior center right by the field, so we imposed on them.) After about 20 minutes are so, the game resumed. It was the bottom of the sixth, our team was one point ahead, but we were in the field. Could have gone bad, but our pitcher struck out the other team's batter 1-2-3 and we won!

There is another game today and then the tourney begins on Saturday.

The Doctor Visit

June 29th, 2017 at 07:31 am

I met with the nephrologist, who was a very lovely young woman who was a a dead ringer for Amal Clooney! Anyway, she had nothing but positive news for me. She said my kidneys are healthy, no sign of disease. The blood and urine tests showed no problems other than the low D, which is not related. She said she believes the original high creatinine reading occurred because of my Advil habit (which I have quit). This is surprising news, because my GP was much more cautionary, but the nephrologist said he was showing an abundance of caution, which is certainly better than the opposite. She did tell me to continue my avoidance of Advil and Aleve. I am stuck with Tylenol which really doesn't help much with the pain I have. She advised me to try glucosamine/chondroitin to ease my joint pain. I didn't think it worked so great before, but I'm willing to try anything now.

She prescribed a high-dose vitamin D capsule which I take once a week.

The financial damage was: $50 for the copay; $13 for the prescription, $28 for MoveFree (I got a BOGO deal, and Schiff's MoveFree was one of the supplements recommended by Consumer Reports).

While I was at Walgreen's, I also picked up a package of generic "Poise" liners on sale for $5.

I will also work to add vitamin D to my diet. I can't have dairy products, but I can add salmon and fortified orange juice. I already get plenty of eggs, cheese and tuna, but I can eat them more often.

I went to bed feeling pretty awful last night. I am starting to feel I am dealing with some kind of bug or virus that is affecting my joints as well as giving me a headache. It feels like I have a fever, except that I don't have a high temperature. Weird. I do feel better this morning.

I see my GP on Friday, so I'll discuss these issues with him.

I'm going to my brother's house for the July 4 holiday -- at this point planning to go Monday morning and stay through the 5th.


June 28th, 2017 at 08:12 am

I got the results of my blood/urine tests, but I haven't met with the nephrologist yet to review the results. That will happen in about 3 hours. One thing I couldn't help but notice, though, is that my Vitamin D level is very low. I wonder if that has been what's causing my leg pain and general discomfort. I can hardly wait to find out. I haven't rushed out to get supplements because I want to hear what the doctor says.

This is pay day. I paid the mortgage. I am holding off on other bills, as the deposit is still showing as "pending."

I owe more than I have in checking, so I'm going to have to transfer some money.

Here is my June recap:

Housing: $1069 (includes two assessment payments)
Vacation/Travel: $564
Gifts/Charity: $173 (includes two birthdays)
Utilities: $155
Eating Out: $91
Groceries: $89
Phone: $52
Personal: $40
Medical/Health: $36
Gas: $25
Entertainment: $21
Vet/Pet Suppies: $19
Laundry: $11
Fares/Parking: $8
Car Repair/Maintenance: $7
Household Supplies: $1

Grand Total: $2361

I spent 71% of my variables budget.

This morning I spent $30 on gas and $27 on groceries. My ten items at Food4Less were: cereal, blueberries, wine, onion, bread, olive oil, mushrooms, peanut butter, pasta sauce, and sherbet.


June 26th, 2017 at 11:00 am

My vacation cost for this month, which includes last week and quite a bit of the expense of the previous trip, is $564. That does not come out of variables. Because so much of my spending this month was wrapped up in vacation, my variables ended up at only 68%. Of course, that is if I do not spend any more money before pay day on Wednesday. I will probably buy gas, but I can hold out on other things.

Here is how vacation costs broke down:

Food: $151
Car Rental: $313
Airport Parking: $72
Gas: $28

The car rental was for both trips, and covered one whole week and two airport trips. My mess up was not filling the tank on one trip before dropping off the car. It was pouring down rain, and I was rushed, and I thought, how bad can it be? $9 something a gallon, that's how bad. Never again.

The food was mostly stuff I bought on the road and a couple of dinners for the family.

I also spent $53 on the kids, which I did not count as vacation cost.

My son paid for the airline ticket, which I tried to pay back in food and treats.

It was a hard week. Not only were the circumstances hard, with a mom on crutches and two children under five, but my arthritis in my hips and knees kicked up big time and made things pretty miserable for me. Sleep was hard to come by. I loved having the time to get to know my grandchildren better, but I'm glad to be home.

This morning I got my testing done for the nephrologist appointment, which is coming up on Wednesday. I have a baseball game tonight. In between I'll do my unpacking and the usual rituals and getting things back in order.

I'm also glad to be back in cooler weather! What a relief! I could never live in such a hot climate!

Getting There

June 17th, 2017 at 01:23 pm

Today's my get-ready-for-the-trip day, and I've had a few roadblocks. For one, I fell back asleep this morning after I woke up, thus losing a chunk of time. (But I needed it -- bad night.) Then I realized my grandson had an away baseball game. Since I missed the last one, I wanted to come to this one. Luckily it was a short game. My son, grandson and I went out for ice cream afterward. This time I was treated!

So, I managed to get one load of laundry done and another is in the washer. I think I need to do one more, but I could probably get by without it.

I didn't get to the lab for the blood test, but I have several days to do that after I get back, before the nephrologist appointment.

I bought a gift card for Florida DIL, as well as a birthday card and two father's day cards. Total was $43. For buying the three cards, I got a free travel thermos, which I can actually use right now.

I also got two free snack packs in a MyMixx deal; I will take those on the road tomorrow.

My son gave me a lesson in driving a Toyota Prius, which I will be renting in Florida. Wow, it's so weirdly different. I'm glad we took the time to go over it.

I probably won't post again till the 26th, so I'll see you on the flip side!


June 16th, 2017 at 02:51 pm

I didn't think I was worrying too much about the ultrasound today. Maybe Thrift's news was on my mind, however. While I was having the procedure done, it seemed to me the radiologist was chatty and relaxed while she imaged my bladder, but she became quiet and intense while she was working on my kidneys. And it seemed to take a long time. When I was ready to leave, she told me I would be notified about the results in about an hour.

I was driving home -- only a few minutes, not an hour -- when I heard a text message come in on my phone, then another. I was imagining the first text as a notification of my test results, and the second as a request to make an emergency appointment right away.

When I got home, I looked at my phone, and I did have two text messages from the hospital.

I took a few minutes to settle myself down, and then I looked. Both were messages to look on the
medical group's website. I logged in. The first message directed me to the test results. The test showed that my kidneys were both normal in size, not swollen, and were not showing signs on retaining urine. The second message was simply a copy of the message sending the results to my nephrologist.

OMG! How did I get myself into such a state! I felt such a surge of relief, and I was so exhausted I curled up to sleep.

I know I have a long road ahead, dealing with kidney disease, but I'm not at the end of it yet!

Needless to say, I didn't even get the blood work done. I'll do that tomorrow.

I feel pretty silly considering what Thrift is going through today, but I do feel that awful news was playing with my mind.

In other news, I spent $7 on automotive tape which I used to reattach the molding which is separating from the side of my car. It was definitely a patch job. I don't know if it will hold up, but at least the molding isn't flapping any more. (I did this in the morning, before the ultrasound.)

Going to relax this evening and tomorrow will be a day of laundry and packing. Then I'll leave at the crack of dawn on Sunday.

Off Duty!

June 15th, 2017 at 03:27 pm

This was my last day (this week) of babysitting. Between yesterday and today I added $13 to my eating out, buying snacks at Steak N Shake & McDonalds. I'm at peace with that, those visits helped to break up the day -- also, I've learned it's much easier to eat out than to try to produce a meal in someone else's kitchen -- even one you know pretty well.

So tomorrow I do my medical stuff -- blood tests and ultrasound -- and on Saturday I'll do laundry and pack, and get the house ready to be unoccupied. That sounds funny, but when I leave for a trip, I always make sure to take out garbage, clean the fish tank, process any perishable food in the fridge, and leave a pristine cat pan -- as well as leave the house generally presentable.

And on Sunday I fly to Florida, to babysit my other grandchildren! This time, though, I'll just be backing up Mom.

My local DIL quit her part-time job at Pure Barre. Her other job in event planning is promising to become more than a part-time job -- at any rate, it was getting to be too much for her to juggle two jobs. This may translate into less babysitting, but it all depends on how the event planning goes. The business may be expanding into hosting a large venue, about 350 seats. Currently, the company manages events but does not actually own or manage any particular event space.

My legs are still hurting, but I can tell they are getting better. Yay!

Variables are at 52%. Eleven days left in this pay cycle, but seven of those days will be vacation and will be funded by a different budget. So I'm feeling good.

Tuesday Doings

June 14th, 2017 at 05:28 am

Yesterday I did make it to Planet Fitness at the right time to pick up a bagel. But I had already had breakfast, so I saved it for today.

After my workout, I went to babysit the boys. We went to a dollar showing of the Lego Batman Movie. It was $3 for the three of us, and $2.25 for parking. Had we been a little more prompt, I could have parked in a nearby garage for free, but I didn't want to miss part of the movie.

I also ordered my DIL's birthday present, some items she had on her Amazon wish list. The total came to about $55. Unfortunately one of the items won't be delivered until July 14 or so, so I'll just have to wrap up a picture and tell her it's coming!

Later in the day I went to GS1's baseball game. He made the winning run! He was all smiles, so proud.

The weather had turned surprisingly cool and I had to wear a sweater. I've had the AC off now since Monday night.

I've been asked to get more blood work done, and to get a kidney ultrasound. The ultrasound is scheduled for Friday. I suppose Friday will be the best day to get the blood work done, as well. I told DIL I would have to take Friday off from babysitting, and she was able to get my son's cousin to fill in. She's a rising 10th-grader, but I'm sure she will do a good job.

My legs still hurt, mostly focused in my hips and knees. I'm going without any painkillers, because I don't know for sure yet whether taking too much Tylenol may have caused the dip in my kidney function. So I just may be more aware of the pain. This is hard. Chronic pain is tough.

Library and More Sorbet

June 13th, 2017 at 04:16 am

Yesterday I took the boys to the library, where I spent $2 on books from the book sale, and then we went to a frozen yogurt place where I spent $16 on yogurt and sorbet. Time to cut back on the treats; I've shot that category.

The library was having a demo of the "Libby" app, through which I can borrow ebooks and audiobooks. I think I will use it, especially for audiobooks, which I like to listen to while driving long distances. Except I don't know how to connect my phone to a speaker in my car. I have an old car. I wonder if that kind of technology is only available on a newer car. Anyone know how to make a phone "talk" in a car?

For the most part, though, I like to read physical books.

I got my $25 gift card from my new Barnes & Noble Mastercard. I was going to use it for a graduation gift, but decided instead to give it to DIL for her birthday. Actually, both my DIL's have birthdays this month, and I have to get on it.

Today the boys and I are going to the dollar movie, which will be the Batman Lego movie. I've already got the candy treats -- when I bought them for our last movie, we got a double set because of a BOGO offer.

Today is bagel day at Planet Fitness. I'm going to go do some strength training on my core and arms this morning before babysitting, but I may be too early for the bagel delivery. My DIL has to go to work at 8:30.

Ice Cream -- Or, Make That Sorbet

June 12th, 2017 at 06:53 am

Yesterday after my grandson's baseball game, which was out of town (about 30 minutes away) I decided to treat my two grandsons and my son to ice cream at Oberweiss, a premium ice cream parlor in our area. ($15)

I got sorbet, because I'm lactose intolerant. I love it that they have the sorbet option. I got mango pomegranate and it was delicious.

My son put in my air conditioners last night. I guess I waited a little too long, because it seemed to take a long time to catch up.

I had a lot of trouble falling asleep last night, not just because of the heat, but because my legs were hurting. My latest theory is that I overdid some stretching and actually caused some injury. I'm going to really take it easy until they heal. I haven't till now -- I've been keeping up on my fitness schedule -- but I think my body is telling me to ease up.

I'm babysitting again today. I might be on for all week, not sure of DIL's schedule. When C gets back from her trip, things will ease up -- but she doesn't get back until the day I leave for Florida. Anyway, I am happy to help for the time being. My kids do so much for me, it's nice to be able to give back in a meaningful way.

So today will still be scorching hot, so there will be no outdoor activity today. Maybe we'll have another library day.

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