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October 23rd, 2016 at 08:23 am

Well, I bought the one can of cat food yesterday - .97. It didn't change the 100% in my spreadsheet. But then I got a new challenge. My grandson's baseball team won -- and they're in playoffs today. There may be two games, and the location is about a half-hour away. It would have definitely eroded my gas.

So I volunteered to stay home and take my other grandson to his soccer game -- someone had to do it anyway. Better that his parents get to watch the playoffs.

We'll see if I can get through the day without my grandson urging me to spend something. He's five. He doesn't understand about money, or the lack of it.

My Variables Budget

October 22nd, 2016 at 08:40 am

Sometimes I miscount on the variables budget, because I don't remember to record an expenditure. This month, because I was so close, I thought I'd better go through my receipts. Sure enough, I was off. I have actually already spent 100% of my variables budget -- no more, no less.

It would be quite a challenge to try to meet it, anyway. I have plenty of food, a half a tank of gas, and four more days. The biggest question mark is cat food. I have plenty of dry, but they clamor for the wet food in the morning. I have one can, which goes for two days. Hmmm. One more can would take me to payday. I could pick up a cheapo. Or I could borrow a can from my son, but I hate to admit to my silly money games. He would worry unnecessarily.

Half a tank of gas MIGHT give me two more round trips to work. But, if it doesn't appear to be stretching that far, I can take the El and the bus. Big pain, but already paid for.

I have to learn how to do this, because in my gap year, it will all be for real -- and if I don't save money now for my gap year, well, it will be an uncomfortable year.

I forgot to mention that the girlfriend trip to Key West is off. The other girlfriends are backing off from that destination -- flights and hotels are expensive. The latest idea is Asheville, and spending a day at the Vanderbilt mansion. That would work well for me -- I could drive to Asheville, and after the weekend is over, I could visit my sister, though I would have to figure out a place to stay. (My sister is a hoarder -- I can't stay with her.) None of this is decided, and it won't happen until January or February. Anyway, my point is, I won't have to have quite as much money put away for that trip.

Baseball game later in the day -- I will take along my workout clothes so I can go straight to the gym from the field -- that will save a little gas. And I'll pick up that can of cat food, too!

Working Blind

October 21st, 2016 at 01:25 pm

Well, I made it a short day at work, because I went without my reading glasses. Whoops! I didn't realize how very much I need them. I couldn't see anything on the computer. After struggling for an hour, I went to the gift shop to see if they had reading glasses. They didn't, but a very, very nice clerk loaned me a magnifying glass, which helped a little.

I managed to work 3 1/2 hours and finish one profile, and then I called it a day. I only have 14 1/2 hours to go on my contract, so I'm pretty sure I'll finish up next week. Realizing this, I decided to go ahead and renew my son's family membership while I could still get the discount. That will be a Christmas present (their current membership expires on 12/31.) It was $125 with my discount.

There was leftover food from a meeting this morning, so I got a free mini-bagel with schmear, some grapes, strawberries and melon. Also Starbucks coffee. I also brought home some fortune cookies in cute little boxes that were left over from an event. I'll give those to my grandsons.

Variables spending has now bounced up to 96%. I think I can successfully eat out of my pantry/freezer till payday, but I will probably have to fill up the tank again before Wednesday. And I'll have to buy cat food; at least a few cans. So it may be that getting in under 100% will be impossible. Still, I will try to come in as low as I can.

A Day at Home

October 20th, 2016 at 03:41 pm

I took the day off today (planned). The main reason was so I could go to lunch with friends and former colleagues. We went to a well-known, celebrated taco place, and it was definitely living up to its reputation! I got grouper tacos -- delicious. Total cost was $20.

I did FIVE loads of laundry today. I shouldn't have to do it again for a while! Total cost - $7.50. I got lots of exercise on the stairs.

I'm very, very tired today. I did get up unusually early, and my sleep was pretty restless. I went to Planet Fitness at 6! It was nice and quiet. And that reminds me, I also paid the $10 monthly fee. It is charged automatically to my Discover card.

The temperature is dropping fast, but I haven't heard the radiators come on yet. They have come on once this season, so I know the boiler is turned on. Hoping they will come to life tonight, so I won't have to shiver under my covers.

Variables spending is now at 81%. This is good, but I need to do better to make up for the huge overage last month. It will take some time to make up for that.

A Lakeside Lunch, and New Pants

October 19th, 2016 at 06:04 pm

I met my friend K. for lunch today. She knew how to get to the lake from the museum (through a tunnel!) so we went and sat lakeside and ate our lunches. It was good to catch up; we hadn't seen each other since last Christmas, I believe. It's amazing how time slips by.

After work I went to Planet Fitness, but first I went to Marshall's to get more workout pants. I don't want to get to the point where I can't go to the gym because I don't have any clean pants.

I make them double as pajama bottoms, so I needed "leisure wear" rather than "fitness wear." It was surprisingly hard to find them. But I did find 4 pairs on the sale rack. I don't think it was really much of a sale, since I paid $90. Ooh. That's $22 a pair. Well, I don't often buy clothes at retail stores, so the prices always amaze me. But resale shops are no good when you're looking for something specific. They only give up their treasures when you're just browsing!

My variables spending is now at 77%, with exactly one week to go.

I have tomorrow off. I'm going to have lunch with friends here in town. And I hope to get a lot of things done. The housework has suffered since I started working. And I have laundry to do again! But most of all I want to sleep without having an alarm wake me! I really don't like that any more!

Bucking Up

October 18th, 2016 at 04:05 pm

Slowly I am putting my worries behind me. I had a good day today. I worked a half-day, and had a free lunch at work. It was amazing! It was a buffet with salad (dark greens), mozzarella & tomato slices, squares of salmon (and chicken, but I didn't take that), tiny grilled cheese sandwiches, and tomato basil soup. I felt a little guilty taking advantage of it, since I am so soon to be gone, but I WAS invited!

After lunch I came home to go to physical therapy (free parking again!). I then walked over to my doctor's office to dispute a bill, only to find that it was for the physical therapy. Duh. It's a $5 copay every time -- I didn't know.

Then I went to the gym and did my strength training, and after I was done I walked over to Food4Less and bought some healthy food for my brown-bag lunch tomorrow: apples, raspberries, carrots and Havarti cheese slices. ($9)

I was invited to go out to dinner tonight with a professional group -- not the association I belong to, but an affiliated one -- and I was planning to go, but I was too tired. I stayed home and ate chicken salad. Cheaper, anyway.

Common symptoms of stage three chronic kidney disease are: fatigue, insomnia, and restless legs. What have I been complaining about right here for years? It's kind of nice to know that there is actually a reason.

I've adapted well to Tylenol. I've only needed it a couple of times, but it seemed to work. I used to think that only Advil could deal with my pain, but I stand corrected.

The shadow has passed; things are looking up!


October 17th, 2016 at 05:34 pm

I'm not sure if I'm feeling better today or not. I had to go to work, which got me moving and thinking about something other than my health. It was a high-pressure day -- I ended up working an hour longer than intended, because there is an event coming up. But, honestly, I also just sat there for an hour, too, because they had to load a newer version of Microsoft Office on my machine, and that's how long it took! I'm going to be nice and not charge them for that hour of non-work. Instead, for free, I got to listen to the IT tech tell me all about cars and the history of the Ford Motor Company.

My boss told me to work up an invoice, which was a surprise, because I thought I would do it at the end. However, it was a good thing, because I realized I was figuring my hours on a $20 pay scale, and I'm supposed to be getting $25 per hour. That cuts my hours down from 100 to 80. And it means I am more than halfway through already -- and I could even finish up this week if I really wanted to.

I emailed her an invoice for $1150, and the next one will be $850.

I had to do the invoice at home, because I had all the info on my home computer. Of course, it chose that moment to act up and pretend like it was going to die. I was afraid I wasn't going to get it going again, and I was about ready to throw it through the window. I also had some grief when I couldn't find a copy of my contract, either. (I did.)

My head is messed up, because I'm worried and stressed and just not myself. I need to settle down so I can get a good night's sleep and start fresh.

Keeping my diet in mind, I spent $3 today on fresh watermelon at the museum cafe.

I didn't make it to the gym, however. I was planning to, but my struggles with the invoice and the contract ate up my evening.

I think I'm going to bed right now and read.


October 16th, 2016 at 09:52 am

Why am I depressed? It's the weekend; I don't have to work. I had a pretty good day yesterday. Nothing pressing on me today except a soccer game to attend.

It is a gloomy day, but I think I woke up feeling depressed. I think it may be the reading I've done on Chronic Kidney Disease, or CKD. In trying to figure out the best way to handle it, I wandered onto websites that were frightening and depressing. It's starting to sink in that I have an incurable disease that is life-threatening if it worsens. I KNOW it is so much less than others have to deal with, believe me I do! And yet it's really knocked me for a loop.

Just the diet is confusing. There are many foods I have considered healthy that are on the "don't" list. I'm supposed to eat white flour instead of wheat -- no nuts or avocados, things like that. Lots of fruit, but no bananas, cantaloupe, oranges, pears, raisins. Must keep protein low. No oatmeal. White rice is fine. Broccoli isn't. What? Crazy! I have to read more and sort it all out to make sense of it.

Now, no one has told me to restrict my diet, and the diets I am reading about are for people facing dialysis and renal failure. So I'm overreacting; but on the other hand, I do want to know what is best to do to keep my kidneys from getting worse.

But back to financial stuff. I spent $9 on lunch yesterday -- I went out with the other grandma, and we had a very nice time. I took her to Hallmark so she could pick up some ornaments, and while we were there I found the perfect gift for my granddaughter -- two kitties, one of them orange, as she requested. The other is a black-and-white, like mine. Very nice quality. She will be disappointed that they are not alive, but this is the best I can do to fulfill her request. The two kitties were $34. This morning I spent $23 on gas.

Time to start getting ready for soccer....

The Weekend is Here!

October 15th, 2016 at 07:31 am

Yay - another weekend! How I love weekends, when I'm working.

My spending since my last entry was $1 for coffee and $33 at the grocery store. This time I went to Food4Less and bought ten items: blueberries, raspberries, kitty litter, tortillas, veggie dip, shampoo, apricot jam, 2 packages of muffins, and laundry detergent.

While on my doctor's website, I realized that I was not credited for a $5 copay I made ten days ago. I sent a message to customer service. It's only $5, but that could turn into an ugly scenario. Frustrating. Can't anyone do their jobs any more?

I went to get my orthotics fitting and the young lady at the front desk automatically asked for my $50 copay. I questioned whether I was required to pay $50 just for a fitting, and it turned out, she didn't know. So I didn't pay, but it's possible I could get a bill. Glad I asked, though.

Today it's kind of rainy, so I don't know if I'll be going to GS1's baseball game. I thought it was going to be at 10 like usual, but it's at 12:30. That gives me time to do some laundry, even if the game is on.

I'm going out to lunch three times next week! On Tuesday I'm going to a lunch at the museum. I won't count it as work time, but I'll get a free lunch -- plus I'll get to see some people I haven't seen in a while. On Wednesday, I'm having a brown bag lunch with a friend who lives in Hyde Park. On Thursday I'm signed up for a lunch with my professional association. For that, I may have to take the day off, since it's up here in Evanston and it's in the middle of the day. It would make little sense to try to work either morning or afternoon, what with the commute. We'll see how it works out with the work load next week.

This and That

October 13th, 2016 at 12:04 pm

Yesterday morning with the grandsons went very well. It only cost me $21 to treat them both -- and their dad, who came home early -- to pancakes at IHOP. That's because GS2 had an IHOP gift card and he was dying to use it! He was very disappointed that he didn't get the card back, though, as a memento.

This morning I got coffee at the museum. ($1) Once I got a look at my to-do list, I knew I needed caffeine.

This afternoon I am going back to the podiatrist for the orthotics fitting. I suppose that will be another $50. Just for the visit, not counting the actual cost of the orthotics. I don't know whether I'll be expected to pay for them today or when they are ready.

Variable spending is a 54%. Now that there is less than two weeks till payday, that's respectable.

I got two offers in the mail for new credit cards with bonuses -- one that pays $100 for $500 in spending, and one that pays $150 for $1000. Thinking about doing both. I would have three months to get it done, and I easily put more than $1500 on credit cards in a three-month period. I think I'll apply when I have another moment to sit down.

Edit: Almost forgot. I also spent $9 on postage; mailed a box of books to my sister.

Low-Spend Day

October 12th, 2016 at 05:50 am

I spent only $1.50 on laundry.

I had an appointment for physical therapy -- which usually incurs a parking fee. This time I went early and found a free parking spot several blocks away. It was a beautiful day and the walking was no problem.

Afterwards, I went to the gym and did more walking on the treadmill.

I even took coffee from home, and, of course, packed my lunch, as I always do.

Today I am taking the day off so I can watch my grandsons, who are out of school for some reason. Morning only. I think I will take them to IHOP; that is always a big hit.

I finally tackled my two bins of "too-small" clothing. I decided not to try them on at once -- too overwhelming. Instead, I sorted out the summer clothes and put them back for next year. The fall/winter clothes I hung in the closet.

My, oh my, I had no idea how many pairs of pants I had put away! I am wearing one today. I may be putting some back, depending on how they fit, and some, which have seen better days, will be donated.

I unearthed quite a few shirts, too, which I can wear to work.

I now have one empty bin, which I put away in the hall closet. I'm sure I'll find some other use for it.

Yesterday I was looking at my pants hanging in the closet and thinking how few there were. Now I'm thinking how many there are! No idea I had so much invested in pants.

Of course, my ultimate goal is to shrink out of all these pants, too. But it's nice to know that I don't have to worry about buying clothes at this stage. Only when I get really thin and fit, which will be so much fun I'm sure I won't mind the expense.

I'm getting fitted for orthotics tomorrow. My worry is that they will be bulky and I will have to buy new shoes. I'll cross that road when I come to it.

Feeling Better

October 11th, 2016 at 05:10 am

I started feeling better yesterday, though I did start to get congested again at bedtime. But I slept well enough -- woke up early, but basically made it through the night.

After work yesterday I went straight to the gym, but walked over to Marshall's (next door) beforehand. I needed to buy a lock so I could stash my bag in the locker room. I did find a nice luggage lock ($7), and I also found a baby shower gift for my niece. I got 12 Laura Ashley receiving blankets, a very soft crib blanket, and a Sandra Boynton book for $25. I feel a little guilty that I didn't even look at her gift registry -- what if she is specifying certain colors? These are all pink and gray. I guess I will look and return these items if they are all wrong. The thing is, these were all half-price on clearance. I can make my money go so much farther, and my gift so much nicer, if I don't have to be held accountable to a gift registry.

I did my workout and went home. Today I work till 12:30, then go to physical therapy, then the gym.

Tomorrow I'm going to watch the grandsons in the morning, and I won't go to work at all. I'm trusting that I will continue to feel better.

Variables spending is now 51%. Two weeks and a day till I get paid again, so I guess I'm not doing too bad.

Edit: I looked up her registry and it looks like she has a lot of pink and gray, as well as teal, and she doesn't seem to have a theme going. I'm sticking with what I bought.

Another Day of Feeling Low

October 10th, 2016 at 05:32 am

My cold is still doing a number on me. But I'm going to work this morning. As a contract worker, I can leave whenever I want, so if I start feeling bad I can take off. The bad part is that the commute is at least an hour each way.

Extra-strength Tylenol is helping.

I felt pretty low yesterday, but even so, I went out to lunch with my grandsons and their other grandma, followed by GS2's soccer game. I think the diversion actually helped, but I felt really tired afterward. The cost of the lunch was $19. Variables spending is up to 47%.

I cleaned the fish tank yesterday, but none of the other tasks I was planning on. I watched all the episodes of Designated Survivor and basically lazed out on the couch.

One thing I wanted to do was try on all the too-small clothes in my bin, but I just wasn't up to it. I want to save that for a time I'm feeling good.

Well, time to go. I have my lunch packed, my gym clothes packed, and the garbage bagged up to toss on the way. Wish me luck on my trip down the stairs!

Getting a Cold

October 8th, 2016 at 12:44 pm

Well, I thought I had a slight cold, and I thought it was mostly over, but today it is full-blown, and I realize it was just getting started.

Ibuprofen would help, but my doctor has banned it for me because of my kidneys. I bought some acetaminophen; we'll see if it does any good. I haven't had much luck with Tylenol in the past. I did take some generic Benedryl.

It probably didn't help, also, to sit outside on a cold day to watch my grandson's baseball game, but I did it anyway.

After the game I stopped at PetSmart ($12) and Aldi ($21). I got $24 worth of cat food at PetSmart with coupons. At Aldi I got: croutons, bacon bits, spring mix, Greek yogurt, mushrooms, 2 bottles of dressing, a whole chicken, ice cream, and the acetaminophen.

My variables spending is up to 45%.

I have to bear in mind that working will drive up my costs somewhat (especially gas), and I won't even turn in my invoice until the job is done. So I may seem to be spending more, but the eventual extra income will more than make up for it.

I put in 20 hours this week, which seems about right. If I continue working at the same pace, I'll fulfill the contract in four more weeks.

While I was at the baseball field, I stopped in at the adjacent senior center to go to the bathroom. They had a display of books to give away, so I grabbed one! It is a historical novel by Sharon Kay Penman, whom I have enjoyed in the past.

I did a load of laundry ($1.50) before I left for the game.

I still need to go to the gym, but I think I'm going to rest for a while first; maybe even nap. Thank goodness for weekends! Can't wait till all my days are weekends again!

Woo-Hoo! Friday!

October 7th, 2016 at 05:21 pm

It's tough going back to work after so many months of leisure!

But I only worked 4 hours today. I left early to get a bone density test.

Spending today was $1.21 for coffee and $23 for gas. Also had to pay $3.50 to park at the hospital.

I'm proud to say that even though I've gone back to work, I haven't missed a day at the gym all week. And I brown-bagged it every day.

I've been unofficially keeping a calorie count in my head, and I'm still eating in the 1400-1600 range every day.

Looking forward to a fun and relaxing weekend.

Plodding Along

October 6th, 2016 at 05:14 pm

I didn't have the greatest day today. But it was a low-spend day, only $1 for coffee. I should have brought it from home, I know, but when I did that yesterday, it leaked into my lunch bag, even though I had it in a tightly-closed thermos. I didn't feel like trying it again today.

I worked six hours today, and spent 3 more in heavy traffic both ways. This evening it was heavy traffic and rain.

I went to the gym when I got back in town; then I came home to find my computer not working, the internet taking a break. I was under the gun to get a document sent, so I was very upset that it wasn't working. Finally did it with the old unplug the router trick. I hate being so dependent on technology! Yesterday I thought I had lost my phone (it was in my car) and my panic was through the roof.

I called my insurance company today and finally got an answer -- orthotics are covered, though only 80%. So I made an appointment with my podiatrist next week. I'm sure it will be a big out-of-pocket expense that will make me unhappy. But maybe it will make my feet happy.

I have a bone density test tomorrow. I hope this doesn't bring on a whole new rash of appointments and problems. I am caught up on everything else, except for actually getting fitted with the orthotics and finishing my physical therapy. I even got my flu shot while I was at the doctor's.

Tomorrow's Friday! I'm so looking forward to the weekend.

Busy Day

October 5th, 2016 at 06:39 pm

What a busy day it was. I worked three hours this morning, then drove home and went to Planet Fitness. Then I went to physical therapy, then I grocery-shopped, and then went to the doctor, and then to the pharmacy. I feel like I've been running nonstop. I also did a load of laundry after I finally came home for good.

There is bad news and good news. The good news is that my doctor did not want to discuss diabetes. The bad news is that my kidneys are starting to function less efficiently, and I have inflammation. He wanted to put me back on a statin, even though my cholesterol numbers are acceptable. He put me on generic Crestor, which is still expensive -- it will be $44 per month. But it is the one least likely to cause the muscle spasms that bothered me so much at night.

So my spending today included the $44 for the prescription, as well as $29 at the grocery and $4 for parking. I shopped at Jewel and bought ten items: dishwasher detergent, creamer, shredded cheese, almond milk, eggs, a package of frozen pasta & peas, strawberries, a package of fresh melon pieces, a package of cut-up veggies, and sourdough bread.

Variables spending is already at 37%, and I have three full weeks to go. I'm discouraged.

Only Half a Day

October 4th, 2016 at 01:03 pm

I set the alarm for 5AM because I had to be at the podiatrist's at 7 (and he's a half-hour away.) Before that alarm went off, I didn't sleep well at all, so I woke up feeling awful. But I pushed on, got to the doctor, and then I was on my way to work before 8. Since I was farther north and west than usual, Google maps directed me on to 90-94, which was JAMMED! It was the worst commute I've ever experienced. I should have just gone back home and headed down Lake Shore Drive; I'll bet it would have cut my time in half.

I got to work at 9:30. As I worked, I felt worse and worse instead of better. Finally, at 1:30, I gave up and headed home. I feel bad because I feel like I'm letting down the person I'm trying to help. I'm sure she thinks I'm a slacker.

I have two more appointments tomorrow. One is physical therapy and the other is a followup on my labs. My doctor wants to talk with me, but he hasn't indicated why. I assume it's because my cholesterol shot up without the aid of a statin. But I'm also afraid that my sugar reading was too high, and the family curse of diabetes may be kicking in. I'm trying so hard to be healthy, but I seem to be going in the opposite direction.

I'm hoping a good night's sleep will make a big difference in how I feel.

The podiatrist cost another $50 co-pay. This is going to add up. What I need to do now is call my insurance company to see if they will cover the cost of custom orthotics. If not, he will fit me with pre-made ones the best he can. So at least there is an end in sight. I have to say, with his treatment and suggestions, my foot is feeling much better.

I need to do laundry and exercise and do some grocery shopping but none of that is going to happen today.

First Day of Work

October 3rd, 2016 at 04:14 pm

First day of work was fine and dandy. Had a nice, easy commute in. Found .27 in the parking garage. My boss gave me a .50 coupon for coffee, so I only paid .44 out of pocket! But tomorrow I'll try to take in my own coffee.

There were some glitches getting set up at first, and I was a little hazy about some of the things I have to do (it's been 10 months since I did this work!) But it's coming back; I think I will be able to pick up my pace tomorrow.

After work I went straight to Planet Fitness and did my strength training and treadmill. Then I picked up my free dinner, since it was pizza day.

I learned that my contract is for only $2,000, or 100 hours. While this is disappointing in terms of paying off my car repair, I'm actually glad I don't have to put in too many hours. I was picturing a scenario like last year, when I was cramming in work before the end of the year in order to fulfill my contract. This will be much better.

I'm going to just have to rebuild my savings the old-fashioned way -- little economies, mindfulness, and careful management. I can do it.

Now I'm going to lay out tomorrow's outfit and pack my lunch. I have a 7am doctor's appointment before work so it's going to be a long day. I'll turn in early, but first I'm going to watch last night's episode of Poldark!

September Recap

October 2nd, 2016 at 08:38 am

It was a sobering month. Since I've retired, I've gone happily along, paying my bills and kind of patting myself on the back for managing so well. But all along I've had luck on my side. In September I did not have luck on my side.

I've already reported that total spending was $7840. Here is how it broke down, along with some commentary.

Car Repair: $4798. Transmission, brakes, computer, wiper, and an oil change. I think there were a few other things, but I'm not going to look it up.

Housing: $1355. I paid my mortgage twice, because I didn't want to forget and miss it while I was in Florida. The assessment fees happened to hit twice this month. It is always withdrawn some time around pay day, so it is likely to hit on either side.

Vacation/Travel: $549. This does not include all of the Florida trip, since some of its costs occurred after pay day. It does include the little trip I made to Indiana to visit BFF.

Medical/Health: $322. Includes a dentist visit (with x-rays), a podiatrist visit, a prescription and my medical premium. And my Planet Fitness fee.

Utilities: $154. Pretty typical, though electricity was a bit higher, reflecting the use of AC.

Gifts/Charity: $143. A birthday, various donations, pre-Christmas shopping, and postage for mailing books to my sister.

Groceries: $112. The one category where I did very well.

Fares/Parking: $79. $40 went on my CTA transit card, which should last me a long time. It also includes my train fare to go pick up my car, and various parking fees.

Business: $60. The cost of a professional networking workshop.

Phone: $52. Standard.

Gas: $44. This will go up when I start commuting again.

Vet/Pet Supplies: $38

Clothing: $34. Various items bought at Goodwill -- smaller sizes, clothing for the cruise coming up.

Eating Out: $33. All small events. Biggest expenditure was lunch with a friend at a Chinese restaurant.

Personal: $27. Haircut & feminine hygiene.

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor: $18. Mostly decor and utensils for the house, all bought at Goodwill.

Laundry: $18

Entertainment: $4. Books from Goodwill.

I think October can be a very low-spend month, if I can avoid more bad luck. The mortgage is already paid, and so are the assessment fees. I did have to pay my condo insurance, but it is only $179.

I just bought some gas for $20.

I have a soccer game to go to, but otherwise it will be a day of rest and catch-up. I'm going to make a shepherd's pie from leftovers, since it's nice and cool and perfect for baking. I'm going to get my outfit ready for tomorrow and plan my packed lunch. I have a load of laundry to do.

Hope everyone has a great Sunday!

Back from "Vacation"

October 1st, 2016 at 09:15 am

Oy, just lost a big entry!

So here it is in a nutshell. I'm back. I spent about $600. My spending this month was $7840. I've got some rebuilding to do in savings, but I'm very grateful that a month like this doesn't throw me into debt the way it used to.

I had a great time, though it wore me out. Florida grandkids have endless energy.

Work starts on Monday.

Today I'm going to help out at GS2's birthday party, tomorrow I'm going to REST!

So far behind in calorie counting ... I think I've internalized some good habits and I'm not going to announce my counts any more (though I will still keep an informal count for myself). Still expect to lose weight and I will keep you updated on that.

Day Two Hundred Sixteen

September 24th, 2016 at 07:38 am

Calories: 1566

In a few minutes I have to leave for a baseball game. I've already been to the gym and the grocery store. I spent $34 at Food4Less for 9 items: crackers, pantiliners, kitty litter, cat chow, canned mushroom soup, frozen green pepper, 2 packages of muffins, and one box of nut bars. The nut bars are for my travels; the muffins, thinking ahead to work days (I'll freeze them).

After the game, we will hold my grandson's birthday party at the park. I got him a stack of books he can read by himself. He won't be excited, but I'm also providing gift receipts, so they can be exchanged if they are not quite right. I still need to get a birthday card -- also one for my cousin, whose birthday is Monday.

I reserved a taxi for tomorrow morning -- it will be $42 to go to the airport (including tip). I'll have to make sure I have the right cash, though I think this taxi service will accept a credit card.

I have to finish packing, clean the litter box, clean the fish tank, vacuum and take out the trash. So much work involved in travel.

I talked to my son yesterday, and he said my DIL will pick me up at the airport. I probably won't see him at all, unless he is able to finish his project early.

I really hate the day before travel -- does anyone else feel this way?

I probably won't be checking in while in Florida, so this is good-bye for a while!

Day Two Hundred Fifteen

September 23rd, 2016 at 08:48 am

Calories: 1333

My visit to the podiatrist was very productive. He gave me a removable pad to wear on the bottom of my foot to both pad the corn and correct my gait. He assigned some calf-stretching exercises. He also instructed me to take ibuprofen 3X a day -- three tablets at a time -- for 3 days. And ice my foot each evening. He wants to wipe out all inflammation to see where we stand then. Needless to say, my foot feels better -- and so does my hip and and my knee, and everything else that hurt even a little! Smile

He said that surgery is off the table -- it won't help. But I will probably get orthotics. He wants to see me in a week, but I'll be in Florida -- and then he's out of the office from Friday-Monday -- so the appointment was made for October 4. I made it for 7AM so I can go from there to work!

My co-pay was $50. I've hemorrhaged so much money this month it really doesn't matter.

This morning, after the gym, I went and got my labs done. I'm ticking off as much of the medical stuff as I can before work starts. I think the labs will be covered by my Medicare supplement.

Does anyone here use Uber? I have downloaded the app but never used it. Can you schedule a ride ahead of time? I don't want to fool around and get to the airport late. I'm wondering if I should just go ahead and schedule a taxi.

Day Two Hundred Fourteen

September 22nd, 2016 at 07:20 am

Calories: 1534

In a couple of hours I am going to the podiatrist -- first visit. I am going to have him look at my corn (which I've had for more than a year now) and I want to discuss the pain I have on the ball of my foot and in my toes. It is the same foot that was wrenched when my ankle broke, and I suspect it is all related.

Tomorrow I'm getting my labs done. I've also made appointments for physical therapy - pelvic issues. My PT appointments are on Wednesday and Friday afternoons, so I am going to set up my work schedule to have Wednesday and Friday afternoons free. I'll make any upcoming appointments on those days. I do still need to make a follow-up appointment with my primary physician, but that's in 3-4 months.

It will be interesting to see how much is covered by Medicare and my supplement. So far I have paid nothing out of pocket except a couple of $15 co-pays since I've been on Medicare.

It's supposed to be hot today, but so far it is not bad, and I just have the fans going.

I've decided what clothes to take to Florida and have them set aside to pack. I can't take the suitcase out until the last minute because my cats give me the evil eye.

Day Two Hundred Thirteen

September 21st, 2016 at 07:44 am

Calories: 1459

It's raining. It matches my mood. I'm feeling down. I think I'm worrying about money, and at the same time worrying about getting back to work and keeping that kind of schedule.

I elected to drive in and use the on-site workspace, rather than try to do it remotely. Remote didn't work well last time, what with the clunky equipment they provided and the weak connection. Also, this time I will be working in the same area as the other researcher, who will be a great resource when I have questions and problems. I will be able to work a lot more efficiently.

Of course, going in means using more gas, tying up time on the commute, having to pack food, etc. etc. etc.

I'm also going to have to figure out how to fit in Planet Fitness. I think I'm just going to have to go in the evening after I get home. I'm glad they're open all the time.

I would say I'm glad I have a vacation in Florida coming up, but I don't think I'll do much relaxing, what with caring for two little ones. My DIL will be there, but the idea is to take the burden off her....

See, I'm just in a sad, whiny mood. I'm going to work on getting out of it!

Day Two Hundred Twelve

September 20th, 2016 at 01:12 pm

Calories: 1632

Oy Vay! What a day!

Actually, it started last night. I went to election judge training. Everyone was nice, but we were packed into a FREEZING room, and information was just thrown at us, nonstop. Turns out there is MUCH to do, many steps to remember, and a lot of technology to master. Half the time I felt I didn't know what they were talking about. I wish they had explained a little more about the "why" and not just the "what." I can retain instructions better if I understand the purpose.

But I do have a big manual that explains everything, step by step, so I should be okay on the day, especially if I am teamed with someone who has done it before.

I'll have to help with set-up the night before, so it is more than a one-day thing. And I'll have to be there before 6am, to help get everything ready, and stay till after 7pm -- probably an hour after the polls close, to do all the necessary paperwork and packing up. It will earn me $195, but I don't think it will be easy money.

I won't know where I am assigned until I get a letter in the mail. I hope it's at my own polling place, but there's no telling.

So, anyway, at break time I was DYING for something to drink (something wet, not alcoholic!) I spent $1.25 for a diet coke, which I just about had to wrestle out of the vending machine.

That was just the beginning of my spending.

This morning I went to the gym as usual, but the sound in the back of the car was worse. I decided to go to Firestone after my workout -- to get the tires rotated, as I was planning, and to have the mechanic take a look at the back brakes.

Yeah, I've spent another $423 on the car. I am dealing with it this way -- this car was almost trouble-free for many years. It's been paid off since 2006, and I've enjoyed the luxury of having very little car expense. Now, all the repairs seem to be coming at once. I am paying my dues now for all those carefree years.

So I was sitting at Firestone, dressed in my stinky sweats, waiting to get the car back. I had my museum appointment coming up, and it started to look like I wasn't going to make it on time. I emailed my boss, but she didn't reply. The car was finally ready at the last possible minute. I drove home, pulled on some clean clothes, and drove to the museum, pulling into the parking garage at the exact moment I was supposed to be there.

My boss had been in a meeting, but I saw later that she DID reply -- just not before I had started my mad dash.

We had a good talk. I'm going to get my contract renewed. I'll start on October 3, and it sounds like I could work full-time till the end of the year if I want. They are that backed up and desperate for help. Once I get started, I'll see how the work goes and figure out how much time I want to devote to it.

I'll be working with the new researcher, and I could tell just from our few moments together that we will get along very well.

I spent $9 on breakfast and lunch, because of all this running around. Then I gave $10 to a homeless man! I know, crazy. I was just feeling grateful that I had the money to take care of all this expense, and I had the urge to help someone else.

I have used up all but $15 of the surplus I had in my variables budget, plus I'm taking almost $5K out of savings. Unbelievable month. May I not have another one like this for a long time!

Day Two Hundred Eleven

September 19th, 2016 at 08:12 am

Calories: 1454

Dang it, more car trouble? When I brake, I hear a gentle, rhythmic, thump-thump-thump in the back. I'll have to get it checked out, but I would like to wait until after the Florida trip.

I was confused about my days; my election judge training actually takes place tonight.

When I get done with this, I will add 1.26 to my snowflakes -- $1.25 for a free MyMixx item (Starbucks Refresher) and .01 found money.

Someone abandoned a basket of laundry in our laundry room about three months ago. It has sat there undisturbed all this time. Yesterday I decided it must be truly abandoned; that no one is ever coming back for it -- so I decided to re-wash it and donate the contents.

Would you believe there was a pair of workout pants in there? Very nice Nike pants. However, I believe they are too long for me, so I will probably donate them. What I will keep, however, are a couple of towels and a cat bed and a North Face fleece pullover -- which is also too big, and not at all new, but it will be good for layering this winter.

I hope this isn't the wrong thing to do -- I just can't see leaving it there to be ruined eventually.

I went to my grandson's soccer game yesterday. It looked like he started out enthusiastically and then just checked out. Turns out someone on his team had said something mean to him. Poor heart, he is so sensitive, and as I have said, not at all athletic. I just can't bear how kids can be so mean. And always to the nicest ones.

Day Two Hundred Ten

September 18th, 2016 at 05:30 am

Calories: 1607

I didn't get to the gym until late in the day yesterday, but I felt so much better once I did.

No spending yesterday.

This evening I go for training to be an election judge. It lasts four hours! The location is in a neighboring suburb, so I'll have to figure out the best way to get there. Driving, probably. I hope there is free parking. There was no training scheduled in my own suburb.

I will get paid for training, but it will be rolled up in my payment on election day. All together the payment is $195. The payment for training is $45. Apparently, some people work without getting trained. Maybe because they've done it a lot already?

Next year, after I see how this goes, I may apply to be an Election Coordinator. They get paid $500.

Have to do laundry today. I have a shortage of workout clothing, particularly pants. I need to get some sweats or yoga pants, but obviously, this is not the time, financially, to do that.

I would also like to get a pair of black clogs. I have black loafers that have served me well, but now they hurt the back of my heel for some reason. Increasingly, I like clogs because they will not hurt my heel -- and they usually have a nice wide box, so they don't aggravate my corn.

This, too, is something I have to wait for.

10 days until pay day (which will occur while I am in Florida). There will be more spending before then. I will have to Uber to the airport, and I've decided to pay $25 for my larger suitcase. That way I can haul along the clothing I've collected for the kids, as well as have room to pack a change of clothing every day. I don't want to be worrying about laundry when I'm taking care of two little ones. That will be challenging enough.

I'll probably be buying food at the airport as well, simply because I will start my day at 5 am and will arrive in Florida at 3 pm. Don't think I can carry enough food to cover that time span.

On Tuesday I start at the museum, so I am entering a busy time. I plan to do some relaxing today.

Day Two Hundred Nine

September 17th, 2016 at 11:39 am

Calories: 1370

I finally heard from the museum yesterday. My boss' daughter had been in a serious car accident, and that was the reason she did not get back to me, or respond to my emails.

I asked how she was doing, and she said getting better. Sounds like it was bad, and she didn't want to talk about it.

Anyway, I'm going in on Tuesday to talk about what needs to be done. I told her I am unavailable the last week in September, and she said that was no problem.

So whew, yes, I will make a little extra money.

I spent $45 yesterday for a fundraiser for my grandsons' school. The parents have shelled out so much for various fees and expenses; I felt like this was the least I could do.

I attended a baseball game last night and this morning -- both wins, and both times my grandson was chosen MVP! He is getting really good. This morning the coach called out to my son, "I love your kid! He's all business!"

Tomorrow it is soccer with my younger grandson. This will be a different story. As my DIL says, he's there for the outfit, snacks, and socializing. This one will never be an athlete, but he is a great kid -- very caring, kind and sensitive -- all traits so much more important than athleticism.

I have yet to go to the gym today, so that will get done later.

Variables now 144%. Auuuggghhh!

Day Two Hundred Eight

September 16th, 2016 at 09:00 am

Calories: 1362

I'm home from the gym, and from shopping at Aldi. I spent $25 and got my ten items: spinach, ground beef, corn muffin mix, ice cream, frozen asparagus, honey wheat bread, granola, canned biscuits, canned mushrooms, and white baking chips.

I got 5 lbs. of ground beef for 1.99 per lb. It is only 80% lean, but I will cook it off and drain it. Cooking and freezing it in batches will be one of my chores today.

This morning I made some peanut soup to have later. Yesterday I made chicken taco meat, and chicken barbecue, using up the remainder of two huge split chicken breasts I baked off the day before. Then I boiled the bones and scraps, creating the broth that went into today's peanut soup. Suddenly I have a lot of food on hand; I'll have to decide what to eat and what to freeze.

GS1 is playing baseball this evening and tomorrow morning. GS2 is having a Tae Kwan Do class after school, but now that the class has been moved to the school, I'm not sure if spectators are welcome any more. Anyway, my entertainment is set.

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