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Late Night Worries

April 27th, 2017 at 09:00 am

I woke up in the middle of the night last night worried about my license plate renewal. I knew it was time to renew, but I had not yet received a renewal notice. I got up and checked both my email accounts to make sure there was nothing lurking there.

So this morning, I got my registration ID card out of the glove box and renewed online with the information I had there. The ID and pin I used last year worked this year, and my plates are renewed. (I think I will actually get new plates this year). the cost was $103.

I noticed there was a provision for a senior discount. I checked into it -- it is the same benefit that provides free rides on the CTA for seniors. You have to come in under a certain income level. I didn't qualify last year, but I could reapply this year with the info from my 2016 tax form. I filled it out again, but again, I am just over. Kind of surprised -- I thought my income had gone down more. I guess it's good news, but I would like the free rides and the reduced license plate fee!

After the gym this morning I went to Food4Less and picked up ten more items: 6-pack of Jiffy muffin mix, 5-pack of Kraft mac & cheese, 5 lbs. ground beef, Vidalia onion, cheese pasta sauce, parmesan cheese, tortillas, hamburger buns, clementines and egg noodles. Total cost was $32.

Have to do some laundry, so I'll get a load done and then take a nap, because it was another bad night, and I have a Tae Kwan Do lesson to watch this evening. I don't know why I couldn't sleep; I just seemed to have too much mental alertness. Note to body: I would prefer mental alertness during the day!

Today's menu: Toast, cereal & clementine for breakfast. Cobb salad for lunch. Hamburger & asparagus for dinner.

Variables are already at 35%! Shocking!

It's Pay Day!

April 26th, 2017 at 11:38 am

Pay Day! Hurrah!

First thing I did was sleep in. Smile

Then I went to the gym, and from there, to DSW to get the shoes I wanted. DSW wasn't open quite yet, so I went to Panera and had breakfast. Since I get a free bagel, I ordered one with schmear and coffee, and the total was under $4. Could have just had the bagel, but since I was sitting in the restaurant, killing time, it seemed weird not to get a coffee to linger over.

When DSW opened, I went in and found the shoes right away. Very thankful my size was still there -- even though I had to take the display model. I had a $20 coupon to put toward it, so the total cost was $66. I inquired about the $5 coupon I was supposed to have for giving them my email address last time. She said it should have come by email. I don't think it did, but I told her I would look. If it was there, I probably deleted it, as I've been trying to clean up my mailbox.

Then it was off to Aldi. I bought 11 items: almond milk, granola, eggs, creamer, butter, bread, bacon bits, croutons, salad, dried cranberries, and crackers. I'll probably go back again tomorrow, since there is much more on my list. Total was $25.

Last stop was PetSmart, where I bought kitty litter for $21.

I was in spring cleaning mode yesterday. I mopped all the floors, cleaned the radiators, vacuumed, and thoroughly cleaned the closet where the litter box lives. What a mess that was. I've made a pledge to myself to buy only dust-free litter from now on, no matter the price. I looked online, and of course there are many varying opinions, but it looked like there was some agreement about Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Lightweight for Multiple Cats (whew!) It claims to be 100% dust-free. We'll see. I know the cheap Aldi stuff was very dusty, so I'll just have to abandon that.

Really pushed myself to get ahead of the rain -- then it didn't rain! I think we're still in for it this afternoon, though.

Oh, and of course, I paid my mortgage, assessment fees, and paid two credit cards in full. Variables are now at 16%.

Menu today: Breakfast - bagel, schmear & coffee. Lunch: Salad. Dinner: Scrambled eggs & asparagus.

I applied for another credit card -- the Barnes & Noble card through Barclay. Just because you get a $25 gift card for B&N after using it once. It also gives a discount on B&N merchandise (kind of like Target) so it might be handy to use for that. I often end up buying gifts there, though I don't buy much for myself.

One Day Till Pay Day

April 25th, 2017 at 08:51 am

I always love this day! I'm so excited to have money on the horizon!

I'm not going to spend anything today, so I did my April recap.

Housing - $695
Utilities - $196
Clothing - $194
Vacation/Travel - $184
Groceries - $85
Gifts/Charities - $78
Eating Out - $76
Gas - $53
Phone - $52
Medical/Health - $46
Personal - $46
Vet/Pet Supplies - $44
Entertainment - $40
Furnishing/Equipment/Decor - $35
Laundry - $24
Household Supplies - $6
Fares/Parking - $1

Grand Total - $1855

My variables came in at 97%. I need to do that a couple more times to even out previous overspending.

Notes on my spending:

Utilities were high because the electric bill came twice during this period.

Clothing included two pairs of shoes which were not bargains -- but were the right shoes to buy.

Vacation/Travel was the cost of an airline ticket for a trip yet to be taken.

Gifts/Charities included a birthday, Easter, and some donations to fundraisers.

Eating Out - all meals with friends and family; no solitary fast food!

Personal included a haircut and a special shampoo.

Entertainment - I saw three movies this month. At one I paid for my grandson, also.

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - I bought myself a new frying pan, and I also got myself some bowls and utensils at Goodwill.

Laundry - Unusually high. I didn't visit anyone with a washer/dryer and thus didn't get a "free" load. I seemed to wash a lot of sheets this time. Combination of company, and barfing cats.

I'm always pleased when the grand total is below $2,000.

Tomorrow, my "deal day," I'm going to go the DSW and get another pair of shoes, using a $25 coupon. I will go to Wal-Mart and use my $15 gift card. Later today I'll go through my coupons and such to see if there is anything else I want to do. For sure I will go to PetSmart and Aldi and beef up my dwindling supplies.

Today's menu: Breakfast: oatmeal w/raisins & brown sugar. Lunch: Bibimbap beef fried rice. Dinner: Tilapia & veggies.

Just have to add that my grandson was MVP at his game last night. He hit a triple, bringing in three runs and pitched a no-hit inning. He was beaming!

This and That

April 24th, 2017 at 10:42 am

Just had to transfer $374 from savings to checking. Not really a loss, but it looks like the assessment fee is going to hit about the same time as my SS deposit; I want to make sure if it hits first, it won't put me in the red.

After my good night's sleep the night before, I had a lousy one last night. I'm going to try get a nap before this evening's baseball game. Since I had to miss the last one, I want to be sure to make this one.

Saw a HUGE beetle walking around my floors in the middle of the night. Now I don't know if it was a dream or for real. If it's real, it must have come in where the pipes do. Hopefully, he went back down and is visiting one of the neighbors.

Today's menu: Migas w/red pepper, mushrooms & salsa for breakfast, Pizza for lunch, Tilapia and mashed potatoes/w mushroom gravy for dinner.

Got through October 1941 in the diary yesterday. Two of my uncles have reported to Fort Harrison, a former army base near Indianapolis. One was sent on to Georgia and one to Nevada. Mom is celebrating my father's $2 raise. She gave him a pen & pencil set for his birthday. She in turn received a "Henny Penny flower pot" from her in-laws when they returned from a weekend trip. I tried to figure out what that was on the internet, but I can't find one. Probably a pot with a chicken design. Or perhaps it was a strawberry pot planted with "hens & chicks" succulents. I remember some of those in my childhood. She always liked hens & chicks -- and plants in general.

They bought new cabinets for their kitchen -- probably free-standing. No price -- BUT, she did mention that she paid her yearly taxes - $7.01. Not sure what kind of tax. Wrong time of year for income tax, and they didn't own property. Maybe some sort of county tax. I would love to know more about what things cost, but she just doesn't go there.

Forgot to mention, I got my OTC order yesterday. To my surprise, there were two big packages of wipes -- I guess I accidentally ordered two -- so I took one down to the car. Helps to explain why the order so quickly reached the $50 limit.

Sticking Close to Home

April 23rd, 2017 at 03:14 pm

I am feeling much better today, after a good night's sleep. Other than a trip to the gym this morning, I haven't gone anywhere. I haven't spent any money.

I've got two days before my Social Security check is deposited (not counting today), and I've spent 97% of my variables budget. I thought it was lower than that, but I made a few underestimates. Anyway, I just want to come in below. I went over two months in a row, and I need to know that I CAN come in under when I put my mind to it.

Menu for today: I finished the bread pudding for breakfast. For lunch I made a mashed potato bowl with chicken, red peppers, mushrooms & turkey gravy. For dinner I will finish the macaroni au gratin.

For the next few days I have leftover pizza, frozen tilapia, mac & cheese, potato soup, canned tuna -- as well as plenty of frozen vegetables. I will be all right. But it will be nice to feel a little freer.

I've started looking ahead to see what I want to watch on TV, and it's keeping me from doing that aimless search on the remote. Today I watched a special on Auschwitz on PBS, and I'll watch Call the Midlife this evening. I've done some reading, some housework, including cleaning the fish tank, some work on the diary, and I also watched another episode of "Further Back in Time for Dinner" on my computer. I've gone through the 30's now. Very interesting. I like getting an idea of how my mother was living during the time she was writing her diary. Even though she was in a little Midwestern town, not England. I'm sure there were similarities, just the same.

In her world, there is not much to report. It is interesting to see my aunts and uncles appear, and to get a view of my grandparents as mother- and father-in-law. My poor mother can't figure out what to call them -- sometimes it's Mom & Dad, or Mom & Pop, sometimes it's "the folks", sometimes it's the M...'s, or Mr. & Mrs. M.

It sounds like they all spent quite a bit of time with each other, having dinner, going to movies and amusement parks, playing games, golfing -- all were living in various small towns just south of Indianapolis, very close to each other. I never realized before that my father and mother were the first married couple in the "young" set; all my aunts and uncles are either courting or very newly married.

Money is not mentioned very much. It seems they are doing all right, financially. My mother does mention that her aunt made her a dress for 30 cents. Hmmm, that wouldn't buy a button today. I expect leaner times will come with the addition of children (my brother will be born in 1942) and the privations of the upcoming war years. I have gotten through September 1940, so we are just a couple months short of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Terrible Night

April 22nd, 2017 at 09:26 am

Had a really awful night. My legs were aching and throbbing terribly and I couldn't sleep. Finally got up and took Tylenol, but before it could work, I had diarrhea, very similar to what I had a few days ago. This time I'm not blaming the food; I think my kidney disease is speaking.

When I was ready to go back to bed, I found that my cat had thrown up on my newly-washed sheets. I moved to the couch (which is really too small to sleep on). After tossing around on that, I moved back to bed, stripping the sheets and covering up the wet spot on the mattress pad with a throw. I will wash the mattress pad and sheets today.

I woke up at 7 am and all told, I think I only got a few hours of sleep.

I'm supposed to go to a baseball game in a few hours. Once I get through that (if I feel good enough) I can come back home and sleep more. May not make it to the gym today.

I made bread pudding for breakfast, and it was pretty delicious, and used only a few ingredients. It was the Betty Crocker recipe.

Not sure what I will eat today, considering the state of my digestion. I still have pizza and mac au gratin, as well as a little cooked chicken.

Today's free MyMixx deal is just a can of cola, so I won't be bothering with that.

Just going to stay home and enjoy a quiet day.

Nothing Much

April 21st, 2017 at 08:14 am

I got my free bagel at Panera this morning before my stint at the gym. Then I came home and checked out garage sales -- not much going on yet; I'm not going to bother. Just as well, since I really don't want to spend anything, anyway.

So it should be another nice lazy day.

Menu for today is leftovers: pizza for lunch, chicken fajitas for dinner. I already had the bagel for breakfast. So no cooking to do. I am toying with the idea of baking bread, since I am down to a bunch of ends in the freezer. Not sure if my yeast is fresh enough, though. If it isn't, there goes that idea.

I also might make bread pudding from all those ends.

Trying to think of anything I accomplished yesterday, but all I can think of is more transcribing in the diary. No new revelations there.

Hmmmm -- I wonder why I made an entry? Force of habit, I guess!

"Family is a Gift"

April 20th, 2017 at 08:00 am

Not much happened yesterday, and I did not spend anything other than $1.50 for laundry. (That is happening today, too.) In the evening I babysat the boys so mom & dad could go out, but I came just before bedtime, so hardly got to see them. I did get to see GS1's essay "Family is a Gift." It was very well-written and enormously touching, mostly about his fears for C's health and his appreciation of his whole family for their support and love. Gosh, he is such an amazing kid.

I transcribed three more months of my mother's diary. I am sad to see some patterns emerging -- my father going out and doing his own thing, my mother at home, going to bed early. I remember my father as being very distant from the family; he seemed to have no interest in interacting with the kids, especially the girls. Now, my father had MULTIPLE problems, not the least of which was alcoholism. I suspect that a lot of "going downtown" which is recorded in the diaries is "going out drinking." I am sad to see it happening so soon in their marriage; I guess I had hoped that they had some happy times before it all went sour. That said, they never split up -- they just had an unhappy marriage.

Today's menu: scrambled eggs with peppers & onion for breakfast, chicken fajitas for lunch, macaroni au gratin for dinner.

Yes, I did repurpose the macaroni salad after learning that no one else got sick. I added some white sauce and peas, put it in a baking dish and topped it with parmesan and bread crumbs and baked it in the oven. It's pretty good! And I had no reaction after eating some of it yesterday.

I got a notice from Kohl's yesterday that I had a small bill to pay, only $9. Even though there is plenty of time to pay it, I went ahead and paid so I wouldn't forget it. This does not come out of my variables -- the expense was recorded at point of purchase.

I am glad to have less than a week to go (finally!) before pay day. And nothing big on the agenda. Nothing on the calendar today. Tomorrow C and I may check out some garage sales. It's that time of year!



A Fun Day

April 19th, 2017 at 09:30 am

Yesterday was a good day. Somehow a good day always involves spending, though. On top of the $28 gas purchase I already reported, I spent $6 at the movies and $10 for dinner at Chili's. It's not a lot of spending, but I am getting very near my maximum for this month. 94%. At least I have only a week to go, and I can hunker down. I feel I have everything I really need.

I went to see "Going in Style" with C, and we both enjoyed it a lot, and then we went to Chili's for supper before GS' baseball game. We took a ride around the cancer center to see if we could figure out free parking for her, since she has to pay $3.50 every week when she gets an infusion, and she is on a budget as strict as mine. We found a street with free four-hour parking but it is a bit of a walk. I told her to be sure and call me if she ever feels like she can't make that walk. For now, she seems very well, though she is experiencing some of the usual side-effects of chemo.

The baseball game was the first of GS1's new season. He is on a new team. Even though he told me he is giving up on pitching, he pitched last night. He struck out two and walked two, so he did all right. It makes me so nervous when he pitches, but he assures me he is just fine. Sometimes I think he is more grown up than I am!

I ordered my free OTC items - $50 worth, which included generic Zyrtec, generic Tylenol, insect repellent, and Aloe Touch cleansing wipes. Added $50 to snowflakes.

This morning I made chipped beef on toast with the last of the corned beef (which had been frozen). I have another serving for tomorrow. For lunch, I'm going to bake a frozen pizza and sprinkle the leftover chopped olives on top. For dinner, I'll do something with the cooked chicken. Probably will make fajitas, since I have frozen peppers and onions in the freezer.

I am in a continual challenge to use up food, and it's not easy. It makes me wonder if others throw away a lot of food. I hear the statistics, and I know the spendthrifts do it big time, but I wonder if it's really a rarity to actively avoid food waste the way I do. Everyone in my family sure thinks I'm a little odd!

Of course, most people have other family members to help eat things up. Cooking for one is a challenge in itself!

I have nothing on my calendar today, so I'm planning to read, work on the diary, work on genealogy, do a little laundry, and tidy up in general. It will be rainy, a good day to stay inside.

Feeling Better

April 18th, 2017 at 09:47 am

Spent $28 on gas this morning, then, after the gym, went to Panera for my free bagel. I can get one every day this month, but frankly, it just feels weird to go in and ask for a free bagel every day. I've taken advantage of the offer twice.

Gas was $2.45, even with the discount I get from shopping at Food4Less. It seems we always have high prices this time of year because of some foolishness at the Midwestern refineries along with the switch to "summer blend." Don't know why they can't ever solve that.

Later I'm going to see "Going in Style" with C, and then we will go to our grandson's first baseball game of the season this evening.

I finally got over my bug, but I think I will take the advice to throw out the macaroni salad just in case. It's not like it's terribly expensive, anyway, and I have lots of other food to eat.

I took a little walk to the mailbox yesterday, but other than that, I missed two days of exercise. I'm glad I got back to the gym today.

I also need to get back to working on my mother's diary. I'll be starting on 1941, which should prove to be an interesting year.

The gas purchase pushed variables up to 91%, and the movie will push it up to 92%. But I still think I can make it.

Easter Dinner Backlash

April 17th, 2017 at 07:44 am

Well, Easter dinner was very good, but this morning I woke up with some real discomfort that you don't want to hear about, but it makes me wonder about food poisoning. I took some generic Immodium just so I don't get a replay. I haven't heard if anyone else got sick. Of course, I wasn't feeling well, anyway, so it may be I just had a bug and it finally manifested itself that way.

C. was not there because she was not feeling well. Of course, that makes me worry. I texted her about seeing a movie tomorrow, but I haven't received an answer yet.

Meanwhile, I'll just take it easy. No laundry has to be done today, and, while the house needs a good cleaning, it's not going to happen. Not today.

I will order my items from OTC Essentials today, since it's the second quarter of the year already. And I'll apply for that AAA credit card that offers a $100 bonus. That will be my financial work today.

I brought home the macaroni salad that was uneaten. I was planning to mix it with cubed chicken for some meals this week. Now I hesitate, even though I am sure it could not have been the culprit. I used all fresh ingredients, and it did not sit out -- the only time it was not in the fridge was when it was out on the table to be served, and that wasn't very long. There was a broccoli salad that might have been at fault -- or it may have just been my "bug." Hmmm, to eat or not to eat?

Happy Easter!

April 16th, 2017 at 11:47 am

I'll be heading out for the family Easter dinner soon. I got up early this morning and made the macaroni salad and brownies to take. Looks like they both turned out, except the brownies are a bit too baked on the edges. And I even cut short the cooking time!

I don't actually feel well, but I can't even say what's wrong. Just very tired and groggy, but I've been sleeping, and I'm not overexerting myself in any way. Hope it is something that passes and my energy comes back.

After yesterday's spending my variables budget stands at 87%. Ten days to go. I still have my $15 Wal-Mart card to get any necessities. Getting low on gas, so some money will go there. (But I can't get gas at Wal-Mart -- not mine, anyway.)

I've decided after next pay day I'm going to go ahead and get another pair of the Remonte sandals I bought recently. The same style comes in navy, which would look good with jeans and other blues and pastels. I feel I am going to be wearing those shoes a LOT, since most other summer shoes just won't work with the orthotics. I should have another pair to switch it up. And I have a $25 coupon this time. Or I could see if online is even cheaper.

That said, I did dig out some old Skechers which I wore while my ankle was healing. I tore out the liners and the orthotics do fit in those. They will give me something to change into as well -- but they are showing their age. They would be more for knocking around.

I got an offer for a AAA credit card, where I can earn $100 for spending $500 in 90 days. And the $100 is not a gift card, but cash. Pretty sure I'm going to do it. My snowflakes need a boost. I don't know if I'm going to be able to raise the $300 per grandchild this year, at the rate I'm going.

Can't think of any other financial news, so I'll check out!

Lazy Day

April 15th, 2017 at 02:24 pm

Today I went to a movie with my grandson - $13 for the two of us, plus $6 on treats. I spent $19 on groceries and I slipped two ten's into Easter cards which I will give tomorrow. So that's about $60, about what I was predicting.

I should be assembling the macaroni salad, but I came back from the movie tired and drained. No reason, either! GS was well-behaved and I was not stressed out at all. It could be the sudden surge of warm weather, making me lazy. I also took a walk in addition to my bicyling at the gym -- and I've eaten junk food all day, so I'm not even reporting on my menu.

Anyway, I will make the salad tomorrow. I have plenty of time before the 4:00 dinner. Just have to be sure it has time to cool in the fridge. For now, I am cooking off the rest of the chicken so I will have it to use in recipes.

I found a penny, and I earned $5.29 in coupons (which I add to snowflakes.)

I'm so tired, I think I will go lie down.

Quiet Day

April 14th, 2017 at 07:54 am

Had a very quiet day yesterday. A true no-spend day.

My experiment with making dressing from leftover rye bread was not terribly successful. I used a recipe that called for cornbread, and I think the sausage and apple would have been good with that, but the rye bread has a strong taste that is overbearing.

That said, I will eat it. This morning I drizzled some maple syrup on it, and it was better. I don't recommend anyone make it, though!

Today's menu: Breakfast - rye/apple/sausage dressing with maple syrup. Lunch - chicken medallions & veggies. Dinner - Bibimbap beef fried rice.

Tomorrow, when the free MyMixx deal comes out, I will also pick up a few items at the grocery. I need kitty litter, minipads, and, in order to make the macaroni salad for Sunday's potluck, black olives, green onions, sweet & spicy pickles and roasted red peppers. I am making the Pioneer Woman's recipe -- decided not to wing it with my own concoction -- not for company.

I'm also taking my grandson to a movie (if he has earned the right at home) and I am going to stick a couple of ten's into Easter cards.

All told, I will probably spend $50-60 this weekend.

I thought I got my license plate renewal notice in the mail today, but on closer inspection, I see that someone else's was mis-delivered. Still, I know mine is coming up. I got online but I can't pay until I have the pin number, so I just have to wait to get my notice in the mail. Or by email, if I have set that up. Can't remember.

I did my gym routine today, and I plan to get back in my mother's diary and do a little housecleaning. Love real retirement!

Travel Plans, Frugal Eating, and Mom's Honeymoon Days

April 13th, 2017 at 08:54 am

I can't look at individual entries today. I get the sad baby face. This seems to happen a lot. I hope that later I'll be able to click in and see what y'all have said beyond a couple of lines....

I was hoping to make yesterday a no-spend day, but I decided to go ahead and get my airline tickets to Florida. The money will not come out of variables -- travel expenses (except for little ones) come out of savings. I got a good deal - $184 round trip, which includes the cost of a carry-on bag.

I am flying Allegiant, so can't fly out of Chicago. I'm going to fly out of Indy, and BFF will cart me to the airport from her home. I'll stay with her the night before I leave and the night I get back.

I'm going to pay her $50 to schlep me there -- that would be the cost of a shuttle, which is so much more trouble and time. Parking at the airport would be $72, so I nixed that.

The flight will take me to Jacksonville, which is more than an hour away from Gainesville. My son said they could pick me up. I hate that, though, so I'm going to look into car rental, see if I can get a good deal. So far it looks very expensive.

As I have found in the past, the airline fare is only a portion of the expense, not even a large one.

But, hey, I made $3 yesterday on a Pine Cone survey!

It feels weird to no longer have an "extra" income. And the gap year is coming up! It starts July 2018. That will be a challenging time.

Today's meal plan: I had toast for breakfast, and for lunch I will have mac & cheese with a side of veggies. For dinner, I will make dressing out of rye bread, apples and sausage. I haven't tried this before. I'm also thawing a huge boneless chicken breast. If it's ready to cook, I'll have some of that with the dressing.

My fridge is looking quite bare, but the freezer is still pretty full.

I don't think I reported on yesterday's meals: I had apple pancakes & sausage for breakfast, quiche and an apple for lunch, and pan-fried tilapia with cauliflower & broccoli for dinner.

I am transcribing the entries chronicling my parents' first few months of marriage. My mother never mentioned what she ate before, but now she is, because she is cooking it. She has lamented burning the toast, a fried chicken dinner that was a "flop" -- and it sounds like they had waffles a LOT. They were given a waffle iron as a wedding present. I'm pretty sure I remember that waffle iron! It was a big, heavy thing! She also mentioned getting a silver pitcher from her sorority. I'm pretty sure it's now sitting in my cupboard. Because knowing my mother, I doubt she ever bought another one!

She also mentioned my father's draft number: 745. I didn't realize they even had draft lotteries back then. The war had not started yet -- it's about a year away. By then, my brother had been born, and my father was not called up. I believe both his brothers were, though. It will be interesting to read about that.

Laundry -- and Mom is finally married!

April 12th, 2017 at 06:25 am

Yesterday would have been a no-spender, but I decided to do a load of laundry. I know it must seem like I do tons of laundry, but the washers I use in the basement are small. Not sure what the capacity is, but when I visit my friends and family, and eye up their washers, they are clearly almost double the size.

I have four skinny hampers that I bought from Wal-Mart years ago. I put my dirty clothes in them -- one for whites & lights, one for darks, one for colors, and one for reds. When one of the hampers gets full, it fits perfectly in the washer. Sometimes it seems like every day one gets full.

Even though it seems like a lot to spend on laundry, it is cheaper than what I used to pay just for water in my former apartment, where I had a washer and dryer in my unit. It generally adds up to under $20 each month.

Yes, I've looked into installing a washer/dryer in my unit. I can't do it without either sacrificing my dishwasher, or making structural changes. (My unit is very small, about 800 square feet.) It is okay to do my laundry in the basement. The biggest problem is navigating the stairs, but since I've been working out, that is easier. It is also easier to get done when I am home all day, and not trying to do it on weekends or weeknights, when everybody else is.

Whenever I get low on quarters, I "buy" a roll or two at the grocery store or the bank. I keep them in a bowl in the kitchen. Every load takes six quarters to wash and dry. I also save quarters in my daily commerce, but since I rarely pay in cash any more, I don't get a lot of quarters. But as long as I stay on top of it, I hardly ever have to scrounge for quarters.

In order to cut down on my loads, I try to wear pants two days in a row (not always possible). Most of my workout wear doubles as pajamas. I hand-wash my bras. Still, always the laundry. My mother used to say I was either the cleanest or the dirtiest person she knew!

Well, I didn't know I was going to expound on laundry today. I guess there is not much else going on!

I did finally get to the point in my mother's diary where she and Dad married. She did not ever say anything about a proposal. She just started talking about buying housewares and furnishings, and looking for apartments. Then there was an "announcement party" and then the marriage. No description of dress, flowers, anything. Not even where the wedding took place. Did my grandfather officiate? Nothing.

But here is something interesting. They honeymooned in Chicago (which I already knew). I always thought they stayed in the Drake Hotel -- someone told me that, not my mother, obviously, because that was wrong. They stayed at a hotel called the Del Prado. Well, I looked it up. I couldn't believe it. It is just a few blocks from the museum, but here is something even funnier. When I stayed with my friend K in Hyde Park a few years ago, we were mesmerized by a vintage building nearby that was decorated with the faces of Indian chiefs. K didn't have any idea what it was, but we were all intrigued. Well, it was the Del Prado! Now an apartment building, but back then, a pretty luxuriant hotel. I can't believe how often I have walked in my mother's footsteps, unaware. It's not like we grew up in the same place!

So, I think my sentimental journey will have to include a tour of the Del Prado -- or at least a peek into the lobby!

No-Spender

April 11th, 2017 at 07:14 am

Yesterday was a no-spend day. Which of course means it was uneventful, too. I did get back to the gym (and went again this morning, so I can claim that I've gotten back in the routine).

I've gone through the perishables I had to use up, and I'm now using food from the freezer. Today I have pulled out chicken-french-fry casserole for lunch and potato soup for dinner. I'm going to add some cooked cauliflower to the potato soup. I also pulled out some frozen apple pancake batter for breakfast tomorrow. Today I had toast. I was hoping to get a free bagel at the gym, but I guess I missed the time frame.

I've been invited to a pot-luck Easter dinner, and I've decided to make a macaroni salad. I already have macaroni on hand, plenty of mayo, and some frozen veggies which I'll cook and chop up for flavor and color. If that doesn't pan out for some reason, I'll make brownies.

Oh, I guess yesterday was NOT a no-spender, since I sent Easter cards to my Florida grandchildren with a $10 bill in each. I think I can make it a no-spender today, though!

Children's Theater

April 10th, 2017 at 07:47 am

Yesterday's spending was $1.50 for laundry, and $10 to attend a play my niece was acting in. She is a middle-school student, but this was not a school play. She auditioned for a children's troupe and landed a part on her first try. The play was very professionally done -- not "kiddie" at all. I hope she will take part in many productions in the future!

Also got a free breakfast yesterday -- brunch at my ex's house (with other family members, of course). We played cards after the meal, and it was a good day.

Yesterday was our first really warm day, so I sat in the park while the grandsons played for at least an hour.

My budget is kind of slipping away from me - 79% gone and still more than two weeks to go. I do think I will be okay on food.

Easter is coming up, and I'm going to give each of my four grandchildren a $10 bill; not going to mess with buying Easter baskets, candy, etc.

I have promised to take one of my grandsons to a movie next weekend.

I will probably have to fill the gas tank before pay day.

Thinking ahead, I've made tentative plans with my Florida son to go down and stay for a week, probably the third week of May. My DIL will be recovering from knee surgery, and will need some help. Her father and her mother are also pitching in for other weeks. Since the timing is not firmed up yet, I can't search for airline tickets, but that will be an upcoming expense.

And, of course, my girlfriends weekend is just a few weeks away now.

But for now, it's time to go to the gym. I haven't been since BFF came on Thursday. I've been a very bad girl!

BFF "Weekend" Just Ended

April 8th, 2017 at 08:36 am

I say weekend, because it felt like a weekend. We kept thinking Thursday was Saturday, Friday was Sunday, etc.

We had a great time together. BFF left early this morning in order to make it to a medical workshop.

I spent $8 on a movie ("Gifted"), $24 on groceries, and $34 on eating out. At Goodwill I spent $19 on clothing (pants, capris and a bra), $4 on games & toys to keep at home, $11 on gifts & gift wrap, $9 on books, and $17 on kitchen & home stuff, which included a beautiful large bread bowl for $5. My big splurge was $165 for two pairs of shoes at DSW. I got no deal there (though the receipt says I saved $15 -- minor "our price" reductions, I guess). They are summer shoes that have closed toes and heels, so I can wear them with my orthotics. Just something I had to do. One pair beige, one pair black. One pair is Clark's, the other "Remonte" - not a familiar brand to me, but it is a very well-made shoe. These should last me a long time.

Of course my variables budget is somewhat blown up, now at 76% with two and a half weeks to go. I think I will postpone my dentist appointment, since it is only a checkup. I have no dental issues to be addressed. That will help me get through the month.

Anyway, it was a very fun few days and I have no regrets!

Today I'm keeping a promise to take my grandson to "Boss Baby." Hope I can stay awake, since I slept very poorly last night!

Doing some laundry now. My cat threw up on my bed -- and of course, I have company sheets to wash as well. Laundry just never ends.

No Spending

April 6th, 2017 at 06:25 am

No spending yesterday, though my medical premium was automatically withdrawn. No effect on my variables, as that is a fixed cost.

BFF is on her way to come up to stay with me a few days, an event I always enjoy!

My grandson called me last night to ask if I could take him to "Baby Boss" on Saturday. Since BFF will leave Saturday morning, I said yes! Hope the movie is better than I think!

I worked more on C's lineage last night. Since she is also a grandmother to my grandchildren, I wanted to get her family into our tree. Followed a really interesting line that goes back to the Boone family, as in Daniel Boone, though she is not a direct descendant (if the info is correct, she is a direct descendant of his first cousin) -- and the whole line is somewhat iffy; I see lots of conflicting information. Another line goes back (maybe - not proven) to Sir Thomas Hinton, who was in Parliament, and who was the major investor in the Jamestown colony, though he never left England. She will be blown away.

Back in my mother's world, she is buying stuff like a kettle and Glasbake (like Pyrex). She's not saying that it's for her hope chest, but I think she is nesting. She and my dad went to a "penny supper" so I had to stop and look up what that was. Apparently, back in the 30's and 40's churches would host suppers (prepared and donated by parishioners) where they charged nominal amounts for each food in the buffet. One thing was always a penny -- usually coffee or tea. The funds raised from the supper went to the church. It was a way to raise funds for the church when offerings weren't enough.

My dad's father was a minister, so it was likely a penny supper for his church.

Another interesting entry was about her trip to Lexington, Kentucky, with my dad and my grandmother. It was my grandmother's hometown. They went to Faraway Farm where Man O' War and other famous racehorses were stabled; they also toured the Henry Clay mansion and Mary Todd Lincoln's childhood home. And they toured Transylvania College (my grandfather's alma mater) and what she called State College -- probably the University of Kentucky. They also visited relatives -- and packed this all into a weekend! Looks like I've got another stop for my sentimental journey!

Yesterday's News and More Family Stuff

April 5th, 2017 at 06:12 am

Yesterday morning I woke up late (9 AM!) and didn't go straight to the gym, as I usually do. I didn't go to the gym until 6 PM. It was really crowded!

After the gym I stopped at Jewel to change out my expired transponder and buy cat food. It was crowded, too. I've gotten used to being able to shop at odd hours and have already forgotten what it's like to cram errands in after work.

Anyway, I stood in line at customer service for quite a while and when I got there, I realized I had left the transponder in the car. Duh! So I had to retrieve it and start all over again. At least the second time, the line was shorter.

The cat food was $11. I had a $1 coupon, and, since it was a large bag, it was already a lower unit price than what I usually pay.

I started working on C's line of the family tree yesterday. I have asked for her input, but we never seem to get it done, so I just decided to see what I could find in public documents on ancestry.com. I actually found quite a bit, and I've traced one of her bloodlines back to the early 1800's. And still lots of lines to investigate.

Also worked a little more in Mom's diary. I found an entry for the day her grandfather died. I didn't have the exact day in my family tree, so that was a good find. My mother was not close to this grandfather -- he was essentially divorced from my grandmother, even though they lived in the same house. They divided the house between themselves and lived separate lives. I remember my mother saying that sometimes she heard him coughing through the walls, but she had little contact with him. This grandfather is the most recent immigrant in our family tree. He was born in England in 1861. Family legend had it that he stowed away to come to America when he was a teenager. However, I have found his name on a crew list on a ship arriving from Liverpool in 1880, when he was 19. I can't research it any more deeply without buying the international subscription to ancestry.com. Could be a different person with the same name and birth year. Or it could be he really did stow away and was pressed into service on the crew. Anyway, his life ended on May 3, 1940, living separately from his family (yet just on the other side of the wall.) Sad.

Soup Day

April 4th, 2017 at 11:48 am

This morning I put a sliced onion in my little slow cooker along with butter, olive oil, salt & pepper. At the end of the day I'll make French onion soup from it, and I'll use up the end of the Swiss cheese.

For lunch I made potato soup and used up the end of the sour cream in it. (Made a sour cream/brown sugar dip yesterday which I had with apple slices.)

I think everything but the cheddar cheese is used up now, and that will go into quesadillas tomorrow.

What a time I had slicing the onion! I usually just do it the old-fashioned way, with a knife and a cutting board. But I decided to do it on my mandolin. Well, I found all the different blades, but I did not find the mandolin. I can't imagine what I might have done with it. I wouldn't have given it away without the blades.

Then I decided to try out the Kitchen Aid mixer attachment I got as a gift. It slices and shreds. It was pretty easy to attach, but it did a horrible job of slicing the onion. Pulverized it, really. I think the attachment might work well for other things, but it's too hard to position the onion correctly, and it's too small.

It really brought out the juices, though, and tears were streaming down my face before I was done. I'm going back to the knife and the cutting board!

Today was voting day for the mayor, aldermen and school board. There is also an amendment to raise taxes for the school district. I voted "yes" and I hope it passes. I would vote yes even if I didn't have grandchildren in school here. Good schools benefit everyone, and I know the schools need the funds.

I got a notice that I have to turn in my transponder for a new model. I can do that at the grocery store, so I will probably do that when I need to pick up something. I suppose that will be tomorrow, because I'm out of dry cat food.

I did another $1.50 load of laundry today, and that is my only spending. I hope I'm caught up on laundry for a while now.

After a few days off, I'm back to working on my mother's diary. No revelations, though, except it's starting to sound like my father is actually working in her office -- not the way I understood it. I thought he was a journalist and she was a secretary for some kind of business and they met because they went to the same luncheonette. She doesn't explain. She is so spare with her words, it's frustrating!

Still the Leftovers

April 2nd, 2017 at 11:55 am

My weight is creeping back on again. I could really tell this morning when I pulled on my pants. Oh, how I hate to diet again! But first I have to get rid of all this perishable food.

I ate mac & cheese for breakfast this morning. Maybe it's time to freeze what is still left. Never again will I listen to my grandson's advice to make TWO boxes. His eyes are bigger than his stomach.

There are still several servings of sausage & kraut to eat up. I learned today that it is pretty good with hot mustard!

Still have grated cheese to use up, both cheddar and Swiss. I may make French onion soup, using the Swiss, and I'll make quesadillas or grilled cheese sandwiches with the cheddar.

And I have quite a bit of sour cream. Not sure how to use that up. Maybe I'll make a mashed potato bowl, though that will only use a dollop. Making a dip would be a good use of it, but I have nothing to dip! And I am really trying to put off going to the grocery store, at least until BFF visits.

Before the St. Pat's party, I got some chicken noodle soup out of the freezer, and promptly forgot about it. It's still sitting in the back of the fridge. It MAY be good, but I'm not going to eat it. So I DO have to throw something away. That's a fail for me. Darn!

I spent $1.50 on laundry today, but no spending otherwise. Variables are now at 36%, with 31% of the pay cycle gone. Still some catching up to do. This is one of those rare 5-week months for me.

Yippee!

April 1st, 2017 at 08:13 am

My last check from the museum arrived! I put it into the slush fund this morning.

I didn't spend anything yesterday. Don't expect to today, either. C texted me to ask if I wanted to go to a movie with the grandsons. Then, before I could answer, she texted that one of them didn't feel well. So, no movie today, and that's okay.

I'm not even going to do the MyMixx deal today, because it's a BOGO for mustard, and I already have plenty of mustard (and don't use it that fast).

Not much planned for today -- I will read, clean the fridge and use up leftovers. I have plenty of food on hand, so that will keep my spending down the next few weeks.

I've watched the first two episodes of Back in Time for Dinner on YouTube, and I love it! Wish we had an American counterpart, though. British food and customs are a little different, though interesting. I'll watch another one today.

Time for breakfast -- I'm having scrambled egg, cheese and spinach on a tortilla. Using up! Lunch will be Polish sausage & sauerkraut, with mac & cheese on the side, as well as honey-glazed carrots. Dinner will probably be something from the freezer.


Quiet Day, Restless Night

March 31st, 2017 at 08:22 am

Had a quiet day yesterday. My only spending was a load of laundry for $1.50. I went out for coffee with DIL, but she paid. It was rainy and cold, a good day to cuddle up with a good book, which I did.

My new payment from TIAA will hit today. I don't know exactly what it will be, because I don't know how much they will withhold, but I am expecting it will be just under $300. My bank sent me another warning about my low checking balance, but it should be rectified today, when the payment shows up. The reason the balance is low is that the automatic payment to the gas company slipped in there. I've got money in savings, but I just don't want to transfer again. It is only a low balance, not overdrawn. And nothing else can possibly be automatically withdrawn until the 6th, when my Medicare supplement payment is withdrawn.

I had another awful sleepless night. I had coffee in the afternoon, so I suppose I can blame that, though I've also had terrible nights when I have had no caffeine at all. At least I don't have to go to work, or babysit! I can have another day cuddling up with a good book! And try to avoid napping so I don't have another sleepless night.

My BFF is going to come to visit on the 6th and will stay a couple of days. Really looking forward to her visit, but since it is before pay day, I will be trying to keep spending down as much as possible. Variables spending is at 35% right now with 26 days to go. And I have a dentist appointment to pay for. Which will probably be too high to cash flow, but I would like to try.

Our Day at the Museum

March 30th, 2017 at 07:26 am

It was certainly different to be a guest at the museum than it is to be an employee! But nice to be an employee, too, because I could just bypass all the lines with my handy-dandy badge. There is just so much there. We couldn't possibly take it all in. The boys loved it, especially the "Idea Factory" which was basically everything you can do with water (except get in it -- not allowed). They also loved the Mirror Maze, the robots, and the electronic screens where they could see themselves as butterflies, dancing animals, etc. Kind of like Snapchat, only huge.

I spent $35 on food, between the snacks bought ahead of time, and the ice cream at the museum. In hindsight, I spent too much on the snacks, but there are leftovers which will get used.

There was no cost for tickets or for parking, because of my status as an employee.

The boys were full-speed-ahead all day, but I was the one who came back exhausted.

Today I'm going to make some apple pancakes, do a load of laundry, and work more on my mother's diary. Other duties as they pop up!

Income!

March 29th, 2017 at 04:52 am

Yesterday in the mail I got a settlement check for $4.36 and a Wal-Mart gift card for $15. I would be even happier to receive my third invoice payment from the museum.

Speaking of the museum, I will be going there today with the grandsons. Hoping this will be a good way to keep them entertained all day.

I checked my pantry for snacks to carry, and I don't have anything that would interest the boys. So we may make a stop at Trader Joe's beforehand.

I had to transfer funds back into checking from savings because the balance got too low. That's because the assessment fee was withdrawn before I got the TIAA payment. (Still waiting on that.) I need to remember to keep about a $100 balance in checking. Or maybe a $1000 balance -- then it would be my slush fund. There is certainly no reason to keep it in savings, since the interest is almost non-existent. And I wouldn't have to worry about the possibility of incurring a fee.

Right now my slush fund is very low. I need to build it back up, but don't get many opportunities. I usually put random checks into the e-fund, which is at my credit union. I do that just for the ease of depositing by mobile phone. I could set that up for my bank, too, but haven't bothered.

Checked my Groupon account again and realized I also have a $15 credit for a restaurant in the area where I go to the dentist. So I'll use that in a couple of weeks when I go to the dentist.

My only spending yesterday was $1.50 for laundry and $5 for a birthday card.

Cost-Free Childcare!

March 27th, 2017 at 04:00 pm

Well, I babysat the grandsons all day today and did not spend anything. I made them lunch, and deflected requests to go to the arcade. To make up for the arcade, I made them milk shakes and popcorn in the afternoon.

On Wednesday I'm going to take them to the museum. I'm going to pack snacks, because the food there is expensive! But I will get in free, and so will they, because they are members. The major cost will be the gas to get there and back.

Getting back to my mother's life, I came to an entry where she went to Chicago for the first time! She went with my father (still not married to him) and his mother to visit with his aunts for the weekend. She even put the address in her entry, so I Googled it and found that it is about a half a block from the train line I commuted on every day -- probably could have seen it from my window! It is an area that is very sad and downtrodden now, but it looks like it was once a charming row of houses. She went to the Field Museum (which is not my museum) and did some unspecified sightseeing. She seemed excited to be in the big city.

She also mentioned several times, with excitement, that her uncle has received compensation checks. I was wondering about their financial situation, given that he was hospitalized for months with no apparent income, and underwent two surgeries and a long convalescence. Apparently he got some kind of compensation after the fact. She herself does not seem to worry about money, but she is working and living at home, and doesn't have any expenses. She seems to spend mostly on movies, clothes and gifts. She does not mention helping out her aunt and uncle, but then, it would be perfectly feasible that she did and saw no reason to mention it in her diary.

Sunday Doings

March 26th, 2017 at 05:22 pm

Whew! Another chilly day! And wet!

I just got back from visiting with C's friends at the local Hyatt House. They came up to surprise her for her birthday. DIL and I took them dinner (DIL made it; I just helped carry). It was a nice interlude, and I was amazed to learn that the suite at the Hyatt was only $108 per night and offered two queens and sleeper sofa, a beautiful kitchen and nice sitting area -- great views as well. This would be a nice option for when my family comes to visit, since my space is too small to host any more than one (on the couch!) This was way cheaper and way nicer than I imagined.

I got a free dinner as well, for the little bit of help I provided.

My only spending today was $9 for a Groupon for IHOP. Since IHOP is my grandson's favorite restaurant, I know it will be used. The $9 voucher will purchase $16 worth of food.

Speaking of Groupons, I realized when I got the voucher that I still have one for Tall Ship Adventures that I never used. I invested $15; and it is no longer worth $30, but I can still put the $15 toward a ticket. I think I would like to do that this summer -- maybe as a birthday present to myself!

I forgot to report yesterday that I spent $25 on gas, and $1.50 on laundry.

Tomorrow I will babysit the boys all day. DIL starts a new job tomorrow. She is keeping the old one, so she'll have two part-time jobs. Spring Break starts tomorrow, so the boys will be home all week. I'll sit for them on Wednesday, too; the other days are covered.

Spent the afternoon playing Smallworld with my son and my grandson. (Other grandson declined to play, and read instead.) It's been a nice day!

A Few Errands on a Rainy Day

March 25th, 2017 at 02:33 pm

I stopped at Walgreen's after going to the gym this morning. I had a $5 reward to use, and I bought a big round brush. It was a two-for-one deal, so I picked one out for C to add to her gift bag. Out of pocket cost was $8.

Then I went to Jewel to get the free MyMixx deals. They were especially good this week. I got a 22 oz. package of frozen fried rice ("Ling Ling") and a 16 oz. bottle of Sunny D. The total value was $8.99.

I also found two pennies in the very wet parking lot. It's a cold, rainy, dreary day. I'm just kicking back. I did some more work on Mom's diary. Sometimes her writing is very hard to read. Even though it looks fine, when you try to decipher the words, it sometimes doesn't make sense. I struggle with it. It doesn't help that she wrote in pencil and those pencil marks are now almost eighty years old!

Anyway, here is how she described a date with my dad in 1940: "G & I went to the city, mailed a card, chased around looking for mints, came home and looked at a magazine." Another time she went to his folks' house, where they had a "waffle supper, Chinese Checkers & Hearts." They clearly enjoyed the simple pleasures, though they certainly did their share of going to concerts and movies and restaurants, too. Oh, and she also said that when they went to see Garbo in "Ninotchka," G "almost had hysterics." I cannot picture that at all! My dad was always a chuckler. I'm not sure I ever saw him laugh out loud.


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