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December 12th, 2017 at 07:36 pm

It's really cold today. I wore my ski jacket; first time this year. I'm not quite ready to pull out the down coat yet!

I stopped at Food4Less after going to the gym, and spent $21 on two bags of groceries: carrots, sausage, cheese sauce, crescent rolls, mushrooms, Hawaiian rolls, tortillas, peas, peanut butter, and peppers. Outside the store I gave $2 to the Salvation Army bucket.

I came home and did a load of laundry. Even though I did two loads at BFF's, I still needed to wash my sheets and towels.

I also got online and paid $5 to my doctor's office. Apparently they undercharged me on my last bill.

I'm sticking close to home for the rest of the day. A number of packages are scheduled to be delivered today from Amazon. I have received one already, which needs to be wrapped. It's large -- I hope I have the paper for it!

I got $9.35 cash back from Discover.

I'm taking a short trip up to Michigan next week. I'm going to have lunch with my friend P and probably stay the night with my brother.

Variables are now at 83%. Two weeks and one day till pay day.

C's Memorial

December 11th, 2017 at 07:47 pm

I just got back this morning from my trip to Indiana. C's memorial was just lovely. It was held in an old Carnegie library turned art center. It was beautifully decorated for Christmas. It was the most ornate Carnegie library I've ever seen -- it even had a stained glass dome ceiling, really exquisite.

There was a lunch buffet set up and a room filled with round tables where the guests gathered. There were probably 100 people who came in and out during the day. My DIL had made a series of posters with pictures telling the story of C's life. Everyone mingled and hugged and laughed and cried, and it was just the perfect celebration. C would have loved it.

There was a lot of food left over, and I came home with some boxes of coffee and a sheet cake that we will serve at our Christmas gathering this Saturday.

Before and after, I stayed at BFF's house, and we did a little eating out and some Goodwill shopping. I spent about $27 on food and $16 on shopping. Gas cost me $25. My shopping yielded me a new hoodie, an AirBake cake pan, two more wine glasses and a soup tureen. The tureen doesn't match my dinnerware but it is in a white ribbed style that will go with it beautifully. I do have a tureen but it's going in the trash, as it's badly chipped. I've been keeping it for display with the broken side hidden against the wall, but it is unusable.

I did laundry at BFF's, and she sent me home with a bag of books, some T-shirts she couldn't wear, and a red plaid table runner that will be perfect for this time of year.

I came home really, really tired, but satisfied. I need to go to the grocery store, but I have enough to get by today, and I'm going to save that trip for tomorrow.

Expenses and Planning

December 8th, 2017 at 04:58 pm

My gas level was just getting too low for comfort, so I filled up this morning for $28.

Last night I paid $1 for parking at Tae Kwan Do.

This morning I snagged free parking while I went to the library and checked out Sue Grafton's latest book and an audiobook for my trip tomorrow.

Had cereal and toast for breakfast this morning. Lunch will be fried rice, and dinner will be ants on a log and yogurt.

After I come home from my trip to Indiana, I'll have to stock up a bit on groceries, but not till then.

I took gifts and the dentist visit out of my variables, and now the percentage used is only 64%. Would like to keep that very low, as the hit to savings is more than $500.

I'm going to be doing some traveling before my gap year hits -- planning a February trip to Florida to see my son, a road trip to New England with BFF and a girlfriend trip -- destination unknown. Both of the latter sometime in the spring. I'll be doing an uber frugal January to get ready. Good practice for my uber frugal year beginning in July.


December 7th, 2017 at 03:03 pm

Yesterday I had the boys for the afternoon. We had lunch at Chili's -- only $16 thanks to a coupon. $2 of that was for the entertainment device on the table. I managed to bring home some leftover hamburger and Mandarin oranges, which I will work into my menu today.

In the evening, my younger grandson had his promotion test and earned his yellow belt in Tae Kwan Do.

I slept late this morning -- until 8 am! Very unusual for me. I think I am in a catching up mode.

On Saturday morning I am leaving for Indiana. I'll spend the night with BFF, and the following morning we'll drive for another two hours to go to C's memorial. I am taking my laundry and don't intend to pack anything but an outfit for the memorial and underwear. (And toiletries, of course.)

I am a little worried about leaving my cat. I think I will have my DIL's neighbor check in on her, but I'll have to bring back a nice present.

It doesn't seem like a vet visit is in order -- she is just aging and fragile.

My gas tank is at 25%. I'm trying to hold out on a fill up until my Indiana trip, so I can fill up there at a cheaper price. Every little bit matters.


December 6th, 2017 at 01:05 pm

Yesterday was a big spending day. The dentist cost $282. They could not use the x-rays from my former dentist, as they were sent in a format they couldn't open. They were more than a year old, anyway. The good news is that my teeth are in great shape -- no issues, nothing to watch. I like my new dentist, too.

Then I spent $286 on Amazon gifts. My goal was to stay under $300 and to make equitable selections for the four people on my list. They should all be delivered on December 13. I made a note to stay home that day and watch for delivery -- I'm not giving them up to a porch pirate!

I also got a haircut for $17.

I still have a bit of shopping to do for the gathering on December 16. Gifts can be modest. I'm planning to make cookies. I'm also thinking of making jam, since I have some cute little jars. I haven't done it in a long time. I'm think about marmalade, actually -- PS's comment about looking for marmalade with real rinds in it got me thinking. Has anyone made marmalade? I never have, but it is surely no more difficult than other jams, right?

Dentist Visit Today

December 5th, 2017 at 02:26 pm

I'm going to the dentist today. It's been more than a year, due to to numerous reschedulings. I haven't been great about flossing, so I'm really afraid of what they'll find.

This is a new dentist, just a couple of blocks away. I used to travel back to the suburb where I formerly lived, because I liked the dentist so much. But it is time to change. It is too far to go.

I'm watching my cat Mystery. She's getting old -- I think she's around 18 -- and she's showing it. Last night she seemed to be lying in a funny position and she seemed kind of out of it. She seemed to be favoring one of her legs. I may take her to the vet tomorrow. Today's dentist appointment falls right in the middle of the walk-in period at the vet, and I don't think I can make it.

I went to the gym last night for the first time since Thanksgiving. It happened to be Pizza Day! So I got a free light dinner. I've had a lot of free pizza lately.

I forgot to report that I gave my son $100 as a graduation gift. I took "gifts" out of the variables budget, since they are going to have to come out of savings. It is a December thing. I'll never be able to cash flow gifts in December. My savings have remained stable throughout the year, despite occasional withdrawals.

So that puts the variables at 58%.

We'll see whether I can cash flow the dentist visit. I did have my x-rays sent, so I hope they don't want any more.

It has turned really cold and the radiators haven't caught up yet. Time to break out the sweaters!

Coming Back to Life

December 4th, 2017 at 04:12 pm

I did go to the recital yesterday. I stood in the back, away from everyone. I did have one coughing episode but got it under control. There was plenty of disruption, anyway, at the recital. It was held in a seniors facility, and half of the audience were residents. They were coming and going in their wheelchairs and such, and a couple of them brought their dogs! I didn't know there would be seniors there and that might have encouraged me to stay home, but I took every precaution not to spread my germs.

Both boys performed very well. The older one, who plays the violin, was approached by someone who told him he was AMAZING, and how old was he, anyway? He looks younger than his age, and his skill level is way up there, so he does seem pretty amazing.

Afterwards my ex took us all out for pizza. I probably should have bowed out, as I started fading out pretty fast and felt pretty rough by the time I got home. But I had a good night's sleep, and today, I think, I've finally knocked that headache, and my coughing is minimal.

My local kids finally decided on their Christmas plans. They are going to be here on Christmas Day and then drive down to Florida the following day. I think they are staying here for my sake, but also, I suspect, because the boys would like to have Christmas in their own home, like they always have. So I won't be alone after all, not that I was really bothered by it!

We're also going to have a pre-Christmas gathering with the ex and my nephew's family, a ham dinner and a gift exchange, on the 16th. My part in the exchange will just be small gifts for my ex and his wife and for the nephew's family. I'm also going to bring a vegetable dish and a Christmas cake that my grandson has asked for.

So Christmas is really ramping up now! And I have yet to buy gifts for my local son's family. I'm so sorry I wasn't up to speed on the Target gift card deal yesterday, because I think maybe picking out their own gifts is becoming the best solution for the boys.

Right now variables are at 84%, but so far I am including Christmas gifts in the total. But I won't be able to cash-flow all of them, so that category will eventually come out of savings, and the variables will go down. If that makes sense.

In other financial news, I learned yesterday that my assessment fee for the condo will go up 5% next year. That will raise mine from $374 to $393. It could have been worse. This will make the upcoming tough year even tougher, but I do have plenty of savings and I'm not worried yet.

Still Struggling

December 3rd, 2017 at 02:26 pm

I am supposed to go to my grandsons' recital today, but I don't know if I should. My cough is bad, and it could be disruptive to others. I could take a Mucinex D before I go. I took one yesterday evening and it really cleared me up. Unfortunately, it also pretty much kept me up all night! I forgot that it had that side effect.

I did a little spending yesterday. I mailed the Christmas package to Florida; it cost $21. Then I stopped at Walgreens and bought a bottle of Advil for $9. I'm not supposed to have Advil, but I've been told by my nephrologist that I can take it for short periods if I'm really suffering. I'm really suffering. It is handling the headache, which seems to be the worst aspect of this flu.

I ran out of Kleenex yesterday and started using a roll of toilet paper for my sniffles. I left it out on the ottoman last night and this morning I found it destroyed -- also a lot of cat vomit. I forgot that Iggy is a pica cat, but he didn't forget. I very carefully keep my toilet paper out of his reach, so it was really a slip on my part to just leave it out like that.

My little outing yesterday wore me out. A reminder that it takes a while to regain your strength.

I heard on TV that it is a particularly bad flu season, and that the flu shot is not very effective this year (I can attest to that!) Try not to get this, everyone. Wash your hands and get your sleep!

The Coughing Stage

December 2nd, 2017 at 12:50 pm

I have moved into the coughing stage. While it isn't enjoyable, it means I am moving through the cycle and this bug will eventually be gone. I got some sleep last night -- six or seven hours -- which hasn't been happening before. The congestion is breaking up.

I felt good enough this morning to start some laundry, take out the garbage & recycling, clean the litter box, and load the dishwasher. I am going to put clean sheets on the bed today. All these things will make me feel better.

I had to turn down a visit from an out-of-town friend. I haven't seen her since April. She is going to be in town for a few hours today, but I had to tell her I was too sick to do it. Even though I am feeling somewhat better, I don't want her coming to a sick house, and I'm sure I wouldn't be good company. We will have to make an effort to reschedule.

I want to mail my big package to Florida today. It's full of little things I have found for the kids through the year. All are wrapped and the box is ready to label and send. But it will mean going out and perhaps standing in a line. I hope I can do it. I'm going to rest before and after.

The $2K has been removed from my mortgage. What a relief.

Not Much Better

December 1st, 2017 at 11:17 am

In fact, yesterday was a worse day than the day before, and last night was awful. I am too congested to sleep and the constant headache is driving me bats. I have been a good girl and have only taken Tylenol. If there were ibuprofen in the house, I would have taken it, but it's not good for my kidneys. I don't think the Tylenol is doing much.

At least there is no spending on days like this. I don't even feel good enough to shop online!

I had a dentist appointment today, but I rescheduled for next Tuesday. At this point, I don't even know if that will be a healthy day or not! I am supposed to go to a flag football game tonight, but I think that is unlikely. I do sincerely hope I will be well enough by Sunday to attend my grandsons' recital.

I have so much to do, but none of it will get done until I am back to normal.


November 30th, 2017 at 12:17 pm

The combination of stress, being around lots of people, getting little sleep and being rundown has come to its inevitable conclusion. I'm sick as a dog.

I did nothing but lay around yesterday. I don't feel any better today.

I wish I felt good enough to go to the doctor. Not for this -- this is something that will run its course -- but because my hand is dramatically discolored; looks like bleeding under the skin, though there is no pain. I suspect a ganglion cyst has ruptured, but I'd like to make sure it's not something worse. However, I am not well enough to get to the doctor's office.

I have a dentist's appointment tomorrow that I will cancel today. I don't believe I will be well enough to go.

I still haven't bought Christmas presents for the local kids. They are on the fence about what to do for Christmas. They might take a trip on their own rather than going to my ex's. I am unsure about whether they want a gift exchange or not. If they are taking a trip, they might appreciate cash instead. So I wait for clarification.

My variables are at 80%. December is always a difficult month.

The insurance charge is still on my mortgage account. I submitted a transaction inquiry to the credit union. I was told it would be removed, but I am not trusting anyone any more, and I will remind them daily if I have to.

A Terrible Day

November 29th, 2017 at 02:18 pm

I'm almost embarrassed to talk about this, even though it is not my fault. I just can't believe how I've been screwed over. It's shaming.

I may have blogged about this before. My mortgage lender demands proof of building insurance (which is handled and paid for by my property managers). This year, I requested the property manager to fax the info TWICE because the first time they claimed they didn't get it. I assumed the matter was settled, especially since it was done twice. The mortgage lender never told me that the document faxed was considered insufficient. I just kept getting threatening letters. Every time I got one, I called the mortgage company and explained that I did not have the document myself and I was trying to get the property manager to send it. They would say, yeah, yeah, it's so hard to work with property managers, we have a lot of trouble with them, blah blah blah.

Well, long story short, the mortgage lender took out hazard insurance and charged me more than $2K. It has gone onto my mortgage balance.

I spent quite a bit of time on the phone yesterday with the mortgage company, but they are unmoveable. I did manage to get the property manager to send the document yet again, this time by email. I also got a pdf copy and I can see that the document is current. I don't know whether the previous two were.

I emailed the mortgage company and requested that the charge be removed, as the terms have been met, that I do not need additional insurance, and I have been trying in good faith for months to get this done. My emails and calls to them document that.

I don't even dare look this morning. I have done everything I can, short of carrying the physical document to the mortgage office and sticking it under their noses.

I am sick. You guys know what a $2K bill -- for nothing -- will do to my budget and my life. And the unfairness of it is devastating.

On top of that, I am physically sick, coming down with a bad cold, and I feel awful.

I was on a high yesterday, before this came to a head, because I bought myself a Christmas present -- membership to the Art Institute. Now that $95 expense is something I regret.

Has anyone ever heard of anything like this? I may have legal recourse, but it would cost more than the $2K, probably. Screwed!

Home Again

November 27th, 2017 at 04:42 pm

Hi all!

I got back from Michigan yesterday, my sister in tow. She will fly back on Wednesday morning. My brother bought the ticket.

We had a very beautiful holiday -- great food, family fun and togetherness, even good weather. On Friday my siblings and my SIL went to the country and planted a tree in my late brother's memory. It was a lovely drive and the setting for the tree is beautiful. It will grow on the property of a friend of my SIL's. After the planting we got a tour of the house -- it was built in 1877, a lovely brick home that needs lots of work, but will be something spectacular when they are done with it.

I spent $38 on gas, $30 on bread & butter gifts, $38 on food. I also spent $10 on a Christmas gift and $4 for new earrings. This morning I ventured out for groceries and spent $30 at Aldi and $7 at PetSmart.

Tomorrow my sister and I will go see "Murder on the Orient Express" (finally!) and we will go to dinner with my son's family and my ex's family to celebrate my son's graduation and birthday. Today, I think, will be a pretty laid-back day. I'm going to make some sloppy joes for lunch. I was hoping to make some split pea soup, with the ham bone my brother gave me, but Aldi doesn't have split peas. Or doesn't have them right now, anyway. So I'll have to make another stop for the split peas.

Since I'm stalled on the soup, I may try to use my $25 credit for Amazon restaurant for tonight's dinner. I've never done that before so I'm not sure how it works. I got the credit because I was okay with slow shipping on the Christmas gifts I ordered.

Still have to order Christmas gifts for my local son's family, and I still need that haircut, but I think I will let both wait until my sister goes home.

Things to Do Today

November 22nd, 2017 at 04:09 pm

1. Pack
2. Take laundry to car
3. Buy bread & butter gifts
4. Buy kitty litter
5. Clean litter pan
6. Order gifts for Florida kids
7. Clean fish tank & put in feeder block
8. Pay bills
9. Pick up sister at airport

My son defended his thesis and completed his Master's degree yesterday! It's official! I'm so proud of him. He has done this while working full-time and continuing to be an awesome father. There may be a celebration tonight. It may or may not happen, but I will have time, since I don't have to go the airport till midnight. I just can't celebrate too hard!

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving Day!

Day Before Pay Day

November 21st, 2017 at 04:31 pm

I've made it to the day before pay day. I don't think I will spend anything today, so I created my monthly recap:

Housing: 695
Medical/Health: 356
Gifts/Charity: 268
Eating Out: 136
Groceries: 94
Utilities: 65
Gas: 60
Phone: 52
Vet/Pet Supplies: 27
Entertainment: 20
Furnishings/Equipment/Decor: 18
Laundry: 12
Fares/Parking: 10
Clothing: 8
Household Supplies: 3

Grand Total: 1824

Variables: 94%

As expected, a big month for medical and gifts. Eating out was unusually high, but it does reflect some good times, not just runs through the driveup window. Utilities were low because the cable/internet bill did not fall within this pay cycle.

Expecting a quiet day today. Still using up food. I had oatmeal for breakfast; will have peanut soup and applesauce for lunch, and cheese quesadillas for dinner. I still have quite a bit of food in the freezer, but I'd rather not thaw anything only to have to (possibly) refreeze before I travel.


November 20th, 2017 at 07:37 pm

Not much financial news today. I just spent $1.50 on another load of laundry. I think I will do one more tomorrow, and that will be it before traveling to Michigan.

I'm using up stuff in my refrigerator, and it's looking very empty! I don't like to leave perishables in the fridge when I travel, even when it's only for a few days.

On Wednesday evening, just before midnight, I will pick up my sister at the airport and then drive the rest of the way to Michigan. Unless I feel so tired, that it will be safer to stop and get a room. I'm always okay with spending money if it is in the interest of safety.

Before I go the airport, I will get some pet supplies and perhaps get a haircut. It will be pay day, so I will pay my bills and do my Amazon shopping, too. But perhaps I should wait on the Amazon shopping. Delivery is so fast with my Prime membership. I don't want my packages delivered when I'm not here. I do live in the land of porch pirates.

Day of Wonder

November 19th, 2017 at 06:58 pm

Yesterday was a bit spendy, but a delightful day with my grandson. We went to Chili's for lunch, where we got two deals -- one, that game gizmo at the table was already loaded so my grandson could play free, and two, we got a free dessert which we shared. The free dessert came courtesy of an email I had received earlier in the day. The total cost of lunch was $18.

Then we went to see "Wonder" but the show was sold out. So I bought tickets for a later show, which took us out of the window for the matinee price. But my grandson had his heart set on it, and I wanted to see it too. The cost of the tickets was $20.

In between lunch and the later show, we hung around my place. He helped me bring up my Christmas tree from the basement, and I'm very glad to have that chore done. I probably won't decorate it till after Thanksgiving, but it's set up.

This morning I bought some coffee filters at Jewel ($2) and did a load of laundry ($1.50). I also picked up a free bag of Uncle Ben's flavored rice at Jewel, the value of which I added to my snowflakes ($3.49). Very soon now, I'll be cashing out my snowflakes for the grandkids' college funds. Even if I don't add to it, they will each get $265.

My variables now stand at 94%. I hope I will not have to spend anything tomorrow or the next day, so that I can come in under. I believe next month will be quite expensive, with more Christmas spending, a dental appointment, and some travel.

Free Chili; Passing on Haircut

November 17th, 2017 at 05:15 pm

I got another free dinner last night. After bringing my grandson home from Tae Kwan Do, my DIL gave me a bowl of chili. Today I'm going to have pan-fried salmon and a baked potato for lunch, and cheese quesadillas for dinner.

I was scheduled for a haircut today, but decided not to get it. Even though I have room for it in my variables budget, I don't feel that I really need it yet. I trimmed my bangs last week, and the shape seems to be holding up. Waiting till after payday will mean no haircut till after Thanksgiving, but I honestly think my hair looks fine, and heck, I'll only be seeing family anyway.

I noticed that my DIL had a new globe on her mantel, and it is just like the one I have wrapped up for her for Christmas. Sigh. I will have to take it back. She likes to collect globes, but I know she doesn't want duplicates. I'll try to get that done today, before the flag football game.

I lucked out at Tae Kwan Do last night, when I found a free parking place. That's two weeks in a row. I told my grandson he is my lucky charm.

Tomorrow I'm taking my younger grandson to see "Wonder." The older one will go with his class. Today I might finally go see "Murder on the Orient Express." Two movies in two days is something I haven't done in a long time! Hmmm, maybe I won't. I should wait till Bargain Tuesday, or Senior Day on Wednesday. Every penny counts!

What's an Introvert to Do?

November 16th, 2017 at 02:08 pm

As much as I like to be included in big family gatherings, I also suffer in them. Last night's birthday party for my grandson was a good example. I was in the middle of a long table, but it seemed like everyone was talking to someone else. I couldn't hear what anyone was saying, and when I did, I didn't understand what they were talking about. (TV shows they're watching and stuff on the internet). Big groups also seem to bring out the preening and showing off -- everyone trying to one up and grab the attention -- and I am so opposite; I was brought up to be humble and it is something I embrace. But if you're humble in a group, you're invisible. I don't mind not being the center of attention, but I do mind feeling invisible.

Of course, this particular group is dominated by members of my ex's family, and I will feel quite differently next week when the family is my own! I hope.

My legs hurt all night, and I wonder if the stress of my social discomfort added to the pain.

Anyway, financially speaking, it was a successful night, as my meal was paid for, and I have enough leftovers for another meal today.

I made an appointment with a new dentist yesterday, one that is within walking distance rather than 25 miles away! That appointment will come up December 1. Now I have to remember to cancel my distant appointment and get my x-rays sent.

I spoke to my brother yesterday and he will see to getting my sister home again after Thanksgiving. He may even be able to drive her, as he is going to Myrtle Beach, and her home is roughly on the way.

Looking over my variables yesterday, I realized I had forgotten to record several loads of laundry. The correct percentage is now 88%. Only five days to go.

Free Bagel and Money In

November 14th, 2017 at 05:37 pm

This morning I participated in Bagel Day at Planet Fitness -- yummy Everything Bagel from Panera, along with a cup of coffee. Schmear, too.

I got almost $11 in Discover cashback dollars, and I received $30 in Amazon gift cards today. They came from cashed-in points on a closed credit card. I will apply the $30 to my Amazon account. When I get paid, I'll be ordering from Amazon to finish up my Christmas shopping.

I usually don't mention it, but I continue to find small change, and I'm now working toward reaching $90 in cash picked up from the ground!

Meals today: more soup for lunch, and for dinner, I will make tuna/egg salad. I don't have any bread to make a sandwich, but I could put it in a tortilla -- or just eat it with a fork!

Someone threw away a partially-used roll of Christmas wrapping paper so I snagged it from the dumpster. I can't see that anything is wrong with it. I was lucky enough to grab it before any "dirty" garbage was dumped on top of it. It's actually pretty cute paper and I've already wrapped a present in it.

So -- all this free stuff and extra income, and no spending at all! That means I just increased my net worth, right?

It's So Quiet!

November 13th, 2017 at 10:14 pm

I went to the gym this morning and did my strength training routine with two new additions. I added exercises for my hamstrings and quadriceps. My legs are somewhat better now but I am definitely not back to normal. I wonder if this is normal now. I'm getting old -- and old people hurt!

I had a box of cheddar bay biscuit mix sitting in my pantry so I baked them this morning for breakfast. The spices were quite gray, and the biscuits turned out pretty unattractive, but edible. They'll serve for another breakfast tomorrow and I still have several to eat on the side. Glad I didn't save them for company, like I was planning.

For lunch I turned the chicken/broccoli/cheese goop into soup with a little broth. For dinner I'll have a repeat of the tortilla pizzas. So boring, but I'm using ingredients I need to to use up.

I redeemed $3 from Pine Cone; that is my only financial news.

The bright spot in my day was some email correspondence with man friend, whom I haven't heard from since August. We're planning to meet sometime after Thanksgiving and before Christmas.

Normally I would get the boys after school today, but DIL is taking the day off after working this weekend. So this is a long, uninterrupted, quiet day for me. I'm reading a good book. This is what retirement is all about!

A Gray Day

November 12th, 2017 at 08:03 pm

I went to the gym this morning, but otherwise it's been a quiet day so far. I don't expect to spend anything.

I have about $100 to last the next ten days. I'd like to spend as little of that as possible. I know that I will be eating out for my grandson's birthday on Wednesday, but it will be at a fairly inexpensive place. On Tuesday, I will get a free bagel breakfast at PF.

Though my pantry and freezer are emptying out, I think I will have enough food to last. Today I made a chicken/broccoli/cheese combo that I spooned over mashed potatoes for lunch. There's plenty left over and I think that will become soup in the coming days. For dinner I'm going to make pepperoni pizzas with tortillas.

I'd love to see The Orient Express, but I will wait. I'm trusting it will still be around after Thanksgiving. I'd also love to see Wonder with the grandsons. If they mention they want to go, I'll spend some of my remaining $$$ on that.

I'm holding off on the remaining Christmas shopping I have to do until after pay day. It will be Amazon shopping.

I'm feeling a little blue, but I suppose that's normal. The weather, which is definitely gray, is not helping. I'm really looking forward to Thanksgiving to boost my spirits.

Short Visit

November 11th, 2017 at 08:06 pm

My BFF is already gone, but we had fun. I spent $49 on eating out -- I treated BFF for her birthday -- and I spent $36 at Goodwill. I bought a set of wineglasses for myself, a couple of books, a Gap hoodie, some socks, some Christmas decor, and a couple of small Christmas gifts. I also filled the gas tank for $32.

Variables are at 87%.

The weather is cold and even snowy! I got a little lost winding around in the northern suburbs yesterday, but it was such a pretty drive, with the gently falling snow and all the beautiful houses, I didn't mind a bit! And I won't mind a bit if all the snow disappears now!

Now I'm going to do some laundry and catch up on my reading....

Yay! No Spending!

November 10th, 2017 at 01:16 pm

Yesterday I went to the gym and took my grandson to Tae Kwan Do. That was fun because he was so jubilant to get the news that he can progress to the next belt in early December.

I continued wrapping presents and got all the way through my gift stash basket. I kept track of what I gave to whom, so now I know what I need to get to equalize and fill in the spaces. The gifts in my stash are bargain things I've found throughout the year, many of them secondhand (but pristine).

Now I know I need to get one Amazon gift for each person, plus some small things for my sons. I'll wait for the next pay cycle to do that.

Now I'm waiting for BFF to arrive in about two hours. I'm not sure what we'll do today -- it will be a short visit, so it will be whatever she wants to do. She has to go home tomorrow in order to babysit on Sunday. I appreciate her effort to squeeze me in!

My variables are at 70%. That means I have $220 to play with. That should be easy in the remaining twelve days, but there will be spending today, I know.

I found out yesterday that my son's family will come to my brother's for Thanksgiving. I was hoping, but they hadn't committed yet. They didn't mention Christmas, but I will be fine with just a gift exchange and simple dinner before they fly to Florida.

Christmas Thoughts

November 9th, 2017 at 01:08 pm

Yesterday I went back to the gym after a brief hiatus, and it felt good. Afterwards I went to Panera and got a bagel. I thought I had to make only one more visit to qualify for a free "Pick2" Then I got an email saying I only had to make 2 more visits. Huh.

I took a different route home along the lake shore and listened to Christmas music on the radio. It was a happy ride.

I'm struggling with what to do over the holidays. I know I'm going to my brother's for Thanksgiving, but Christmas is a big question mark. My grandson let slip yesterday that my son & DIL are planning to go to Florida, which means they will celebrate with my ex's family. Even if invited, I don't want to have Christmas there -- I had enough miserable Christmases with that crowd when I was still married. Besides, it would be very expensive.

I also don't want to go to my brother's, as their Christmases always focus around my SIL's family. Another (expensive) option would be to go to my Florida son's, but he is likely to be involved with my ex-family, too, as well as hosting my DIL's family.

Basically, I feel like being the outsider in any setting will feel worse than being alone. I know a lot of people think spending Christmas alone is a terrible thing, but it is something I am considering. I have done it before, when plans had to be cancelled at the last minute due to weather. It wasn't terrible.

I think, if I spent Christmas alone, I would work out a way to make it meaningful.

I'm thinking about Christmas because I spent a big chunk of time yesterday going through my gift stash and wrapping gifts. Whatever happens, I want to be done in time to mail gifts, if I have to.

My BFF is planning to come up tomorrow for a short visit. I hope she really will, because there is a forecast for snow, and she is a very fearful traveler.

Big Medical Bill

November 8th, 2017 at 01:16 pm

Yesterday I got a $325 medical bill, most of which is the out-of-pocket cost for physical therapy. I won't be able to take it out of variables; it will come out of savings. Also, I can't wait until pay day; it is due before pay day.

That's my only financial news.

I took the boys to their music lessons yesterday. They didn't go to school, but DIL thought they were ready to get out of the house by 4:00 p.m. It was clear we were all not operating at full capacity, as music was left at home, and other music left at the music teacher's. Today I will need to go back to the music teacher's to get it so that GS1 can practice.

I spent about an hour and a half doing housework yesterday. There is still a lot to do. I find it helps to set my timer in half-hour increments. I work full-on for a half-hour, and then take a break. It would really be helpful for my mental state to get the place back in order.

Thank you again for all your nice comments on my posts about C. Taking care of C was certainly the biggest thing in my life these past few months, and it was helpful to me to post about it. I love the community we have here.

It's Over

November 7th, 2017 at 05:01 pm

C passed away yesterday morning. M and I were with her, holding her hand and stroking her hair. The end, when it came, was very fast.

There will be a memorial gathering and celebration sometime after Thanksgiving in her hometown. The date has not been selected yet. C was cremated yesterday, and there will not be a formal funeral. Her ashes will be spread according to her wishes.

All the family who is local went out for a late lunch yesterday at Buffalo Wild Wings, and it was a good time of sharing memories and just generally letting down. My contribution to the total cost was $16.

Today I'm just going to work toward getting back to normal. There is a lot of housework that has been neglected.

Thank you to everyone here on this site for your caring and support. You are the best!

The Shoes

November 6th, 2017 at 01:41 pm

This morning I finally ordered the shoes for my son's birthday. Two days in a row I tried to order on the DSW site, but it remains down. Finally I realized that since I "lost" my coupon, when I bought the shoes in the wrong color and and then returned them, there was no reason to stick with DSW. I ordered the shoes on Amazon. Total price was $47. They will be delivered in two days. If he doesn't like them, I think Amazon will be easier to deal with if he wants to return them.

Total gift spending this month has been almost $300. With three birthdays and some Christmas spending, that hasn't been too bad. November has always been a killer for me.

I am still well within variables, with spending at 67%. Two weeks and two days to go.

I didn't spend anything yesterday. M and I went to the Skechers outlet, PetSmart and Aldi on our break. M did some spending, but I did not.

I may save some money on food this month, since I end up eating at C's a lot.

Today is Pizza Day at Planet Fitness, but I've had a lot of pizza lately, so I doubt I will take advantage of it. I have not made it to the gym the last few days. It just feels too hard right now. Chores at home are suffering, too. I come home so tired. Luckily, I slept pretty well last night, so today should be a better day than yesterday.

Still Hanging in There

November 5th, 2017 at 02:34 pm

C's friend M, who is staying with her full-time, takes regular medication. When she came up, she brought the amount she thought she needed, but since C is hanging on longer than expected, she ran out. She arranged with her husband to mail more to her, but the mail was diverted somehow, and it came three days later than it should have.

Yesterday she was on the verge of driving to Indiana to meet her husband, when the package finally arrived just as she was going out the door. Big relief.

M and I went out to do some shopping yesterday while DIL stayed with C. I returned the shoes to DSW, but could not get a replacement in the right color. I have to order online, but the site is down. Nothing is simple!

We also went to Home Goods and Target. I bought Christmas gifts totaling $44, and kitty litter for $27. I also spent $33 on groceries for C's house. DIL says she will pay me back, but if she forgets, I won't say anything. It really isn't her responsibility any more than mine.

I also spent $6 at Panera, but M gave me $10, so that was more than covered.

Going back to C's today.

Thought I Did Good, But....

November 4th, 2017 at 12:46 pm

I actually blew it. After leaving C's last night I went to DSW to get the shoes that DIL recommended for my son's birthday. I found them on the clearance rack! Right size! And I had a $20 coupon which brought the final price down to $32!

But once I got home, I looked at DIL's email again and realized I got the wrong color.

So I'm going to have to go back and see if there is some way to make an exchange. Luckily, I still have plenty of time before DS's birthday.

Other spending was $4 for breakfast, but M gave me $10, so I'm ahead there.

C is continuing to hang in there. Yesterday she sat up quite a bit and had some lucid moments. So we continue taking care of her basic needs and making her comfortable. I spend pretty much every day there.

Yesterday I went through her refrigerator and froze a lot of food that people have brought. I also made some potato soup with leftovers. A few days ago we had to throw out almost a whole chicken, so that was a wake-up call.

Variables are now 47%. 2 1/2 weeks to go to pay day, but most gifts bought.

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