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Archive for August, 2013

A Setback for DS

August 30th, 2013 at 09:00 am

My son just learned that his new employers are moving the business to a different city. They must be very shaky and disorganized if they hire someone new one day and move the business the next, so it's probably just as well. Except that he is out of an income again! He is still expecting the airfield job to come through when their licensing is resolved, but needs something temporary. Sigh.

They do have savings, but I hate to see them burn through them. I hope something turns up soon.

I had a no-spend day yesterday, and I'm hoping to have a quiet, low-spend weekend. I'll be going to a cookout on Saturday, for which I'm making brownies, but other than that, I'll be doing laundry and catching up on housework and cooking. And sleep. Maybe I'll get more of the puzzle done.

Dinner with Friends

August 29th, 2013 at 06:53 am

That was my big expenditure of the day. $30 for a top sirloin that was a tad overcooked, but still, it was a wonderful social evening.

I didn't get home until 10 because the trains run so infrequently at night. I had to wait more than a half hour at each stop. And I can never just fall asleep right away, especially after a stimulating evening, so I didn't get much sleep before the 4:45 alarm. I'm beat.

I saw seven rabbits yesterday -- and not all together. I saw seven rabbits in seven different spots. And they were so fearless, they hardly moved when I got near. One of them appeared to be living on a narrow strip of grass and shrubs on the elevated track -- a little island in a land of concrete. How weird it seems. When I was younger it was very rare to spot a rabbit, but now they're everywhere!

Wild Trip Home

August 28th, 2013 at 08:19 am

Last night's commute was the kind you don't want to repeat too often. The train heading downtown was quite late due to police action at another stop. I arrived downtown just when my train home was scheduled to leave. I went running to the train, which I could see was still there and still boarding -- when I realized I didn't have my pass. I had left it on the other train!

Now, you have to visualize the downtown station. It's a big cavernous station with 14 tracks coming in, all in a line. I really didn't know which track I had arrived on, so I had to do some running around and questioning conductors just to figure out what train to check. I finally located the train just as it was closing its doors to clean up, and one conductor tried to throw me out, but the other one recognized me and heard my plea that I had left my pass on the train -- and not just this month's pass, but next month's too, tucked into the same holder. He told me to wait and he would do a quick check. And he found it! Glory be! Saved me over $100 right there.

Well, by this time, my other train was LONG gone. Not only that one, but the one scheduled after it. There was one more train heading north, but it doesn't stop at my station. Nevertheless, I took it, because I didn't know how late the next one might be. I called my son and left a message asking him to pick me up at the D station. He didn't get the message until later. So, I arrived at D station, on the hottest day of the year, wearing shoes that were already blistering my feet, and facing a two-mile walk home. (Oh, and I had no cash for a taxi.)

I did have a first aid kit in my bag, and I taped up my feet the best I could with band-aids. Still, only a few blocks later I knew it would be too painful to make that walk. But I was walking by a North Face store, and I had the inspiration to go in and look for a pair of thick socks. I found them -- SmartWool socks, which were $20 a pair. (!) I bought a pair and put them on and it was like magic. My feet were protected, and the walk was doable. I made it home, with one stop for a cooling bottle of 7-Up.

It was 7:00, and I had left work at 4:00.

More excitement this morning. I almost missed the train because I blew a fuse by plugging in my flat iron. After I reset it, the aquarium filter didn't re-start, so I had to prime the pump with more water to get it going, since I couldn't leave the fish all day without aeration. Made the train in the nick of time -- hair unkempt, no make-up, huffing and puffing.

This commute is getting to me!

In other news, my other spending yesterday included $6 for lunch, and $100 sent to my son in Florida, who broke his glasses and couldn't see to fly without getting new ones -- immediately. He and his wife are getting back on their feet but needed a little help with this one, and I was glad to do it. It is a loan, but I'm not going to stress about getting it back.

Tonight I'm meeting friends for dinner at a favorite Mexican restaurant. I'm really looking forward to a relaxing evening with good food and conversation! I hope I have no adventures to report tomorrow.

Whatta Day!

August 27th, 2013 at 06:49 am

Yesterday after driving to work and putting in a full day, I set out at about 4 to run some errands in my work town. The first errand was to mail a package -- 4 pounds of baby clothes for my granddaughter. The cost was $12. I had to wait in line to use the kiosk, but otherwise, no problem.

Then I went to Goodwill with a bag of stuff to drop off. What should have been a 5-minute drive took nearly an hour. First there was some kind of police action in the middle of the highway. They I got into a lane where someone was stalled. After I got around him, I sat in the turn lane for ... centuries? There were two turn lanes, one blocked off. We were turning onto a road that was down to one lane because of repaving. The really irritating thing was that drivers kept butting into our line, AND PEOPLE WERE LETTING THEM IN! Really? There's politeness, and then there's silliness.

Finally got to Goodwill, where I calmed down my road rage with a little shopping. I spent $16, and bought a pair of capris, a long-sleeved tee, a work blouse, a Santa ornament, a Blue Ridge pottery plate for my hutch, and a bud vase. Very happy with all my purchases.

Then it was back out onto the awful road again (not so bad this time, though) and on to get a haircut -- $15 including tip. I got a new hairdresser this time, and I liked her work. I will remember her name, because it's the same as my granddaughter's!

I didn't dare get back on the same road to go home, so I headed in the opposite direction till I found a main road north. On that road I stopped for gas - $30 -- and for a car wash -- $3. By the time I got to the road heading east toward home I was starving and couldn't wait another 30-40 minutes for dinner, so I went to McDonalds and bought the $1 cheddar onion burger and a small smoothie -- $3.77.

The traffic was still heavy and I don't even know what time I got home. I remember glancing at my watch after I'd chilled for a while (literally -- I hadn't left the air on), and being surprised that it was 9:30.

I wasn't ready for sleep and worked on the puzzle a while. Finally had a glass of wine and turned in.

A day like that makes me glad I usually take the train. Although it wasn't a BAD day, just a lot of frustrations.

Today it is supposed to get up into the upper 90's. I left my air conditioning units on -- low. It kind of makes me nervous, but if I don't, I'll walk into an oven tonight, and it would take hours to catch up. The cats will enjoy it. Smile

Monday Morning Check-In

August 26th, 2013 at 07:49 am

As always, it was a weekend that went way too fast.

On Saturday night, my grandsons slept over. Well, they slept; I didn't. There was a lot of moving around; let's just say it was musical beds.

My fatigue on Sunday, as well as the heat, made it difficult to do the things I had planned. For instance, I was supposed to bake for a work party today, but I didn't, so I ended up spending $14 on muffins on the way to work. I was planning to make lasagna -- that didn't happen either.

On Saturday morning, before the kids came, I went to Home Depot and spent $20 on single-edge blades, felt pads, and command strips. Then I went to PetSmart and spent $29 on cat food and aquarium supplies.

Finally, it was off to the grocery, where I bought two rolls of quarters, and made my ten selections. It was really hard this week. I ended up with:

Honey
Granola Bars
Almond Milk
Eggs
Cottage Cheese
Cream Cheese
Mozzarella
Wine
Watermelon
Green Pepper
Grand Total: $31

As I said, I was planning on making lasagna, but a quick look at the ground beef convinced me it was going to be meatless. And then it didn't get made! But I'll still try to assemble it this week, even if I can only do one step each night.

Other meals I have on tap are egg salad sandwiches, and chicken sandwiches (enough for two nights each); and in the freezer I have stirfry, pizza, and carrot soup.

Plus I have $15 toward an entree at BRAVO. I'm hoping they will let me just box it up and take it home.

Part of my Saturday routine has become using up or somehow processing all the perishables in the fridge. This week I had a cantaloupe which was unpleasantly hard and tasteless. I cut it into slivers and made a slaw with mayonnaise and dried cranberries -- still have two servings of that, and it's great! I also cooked and consumed my green beans.

I did only one load of laundry this weekend. I'm trying to wear my pj's two nights in a row. I love to wear fresh pj's but even I have to admit it's creating too much laundry.

I still had a free Redbox coupon from my McDonalds Monopoly adventure, so I rented The Call on Sunday afternoon. It was very good in the first half; kind of fell into cliched movie horror flick at the end, but I did enjoy it for free.

While the kids were at my house, I opened a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle. They're too young to really help, but it encouraged them to open their puzzles and work on them. I've completed the border -- filling in all the rest will provide for some entertainment this week! I forgot how much I liked jigsaw puzzles. This was a freebie, too. Got it from my work "library" and will return it when I finish it.

So, on to today. I drove today. Not only did I have to pick up treats, but I have a package to mail, and I just can't handle all that on the train. I will make the drive worth my while. I brought a bag for Goodwill, and I will get my hair cut at my "old" place, as well as get gas and a car wash.

This is the last week I can park on campus, as my sticker will expire. My new sticker will only allow parking at the free lots off campus, but then again, they're free! A $100 annual savings right there.

Last night I was feeling a little ticked that I had to drive around the block to find a space to park. I reminded myself that I was saving $60 a month, by letting my parking space go, and a few circles around the block sure weren't going to kill me!

Found 'Em!

August 23rd, 2013 at 07:00 am

The lost vouchers were at home, hidden in a bunch of papers I had taken out of my old bag. I actually went through those papers before, and somehow missed seeing the vouchers, so I'm really glad I took a second look!

I bought my ticket this morning for the reduced price of $105.

I also bought a kiddie smoothie from Jamba Juice ($3) so that I will have TWO "Planes" cups for the grandsons (who will be sleeping over tomorrow night!)

And last night I bought an Amazon card for $25 to give to the daughter of a friend -- she is awaiting a heart transplant in the hospital, and I'm sure her days are long and she could use some distraction.

Wouldn't you know it, though, I recover one thing and lose something else. I left my umbrella on the train last night. Tonight, during my train break, I'll investigate the lost and found to see if I can get it back. If it's not there, I'll get a replacement at Goodwill.

I got a call from one of my medical suppliers that my credit card number didn't work. Turns out, they can't process flex cards. I told her to re-bill me and I'll write a check. I think my flex account is close to maxed out anyway.

Getting close to the end of the month, and my spending is still under $2000! When my assessment fee hits, that will take it over, though. And I still have a grocery trip, and I expect there will be some garage saling tomorrow, too. But still, a pretty tame month, moneywise.

I Lost My Vouchers

August 22nd, 2013 at 09:51 am

Every month I take my train ticket receipt to the HR office and I receive $30 in vouchers for the next ticket. Well, it's time to buy my ticket, and I cannot find my vouchers! I've moved offices during that time, and I'm afraid that somehow they were lost in the shuffle. I've looked in all the logical places, and some illogical places, too. I need to do a thorough search at home, but I'm not feeling confident that I will find them there.

I really hate to lose $30. It's like losing money out of my pocket.

The HR office cannot reimburse me. It's in their policy. They did give me the serial numbers, so I can find out if someone else has used them, but I still don't think I would get reimbursed.

I just hope they are at home. Meanwhile, I'm going through a big stack of papers in my office, but I don't think they could possibly be in there.

I spent $3 yesterday on a salad at lunchtime. This morning I spent another $3 on a smoothie for breakfast. Last night's dinner was free -- a yogurt/fruit parfait bought with a McDonald's Monopoly coupon -- and today I ate the packed lunch that I didn't eat yesterday.

It's POURING outside, and I think we're getting a significant cooldown after a very hot day. I had to run my air conditioners all night. I'm glad I turned them off this morning AND left the windows closed.

The End of Summer

August 21st, 2013 at 06:49 am

Yesterday one of my train buddies reappeared -- he is a high school teacher, so he doesn't ride the train in the summer. It was nice to catch up. He had a very exciting summer of travel, while I didn't have much to offer (my week in Florida sounded pretty lame in comparison to Ireland, the Colorado Rockies, Sedona, and the Grand Canyon). Smile

Just another sign that summer is over.

Today the students are moving in. All the main parking lots are cordoned off so that they can park and unload. Staff members are ticked off, as they always are. I just contentedly walk in from the station.

There is also upset in our office -- our offices have recently moved to a new wing of our building. Well, there is still a lot of construction and setting up, and now several staff members are fighting bitterly over the division of space and what kind of cubicle walls should be installed. Sheesh! I'm afraid it's dredging up deeper feelings from a staff member who doesn't really want to be part of our team and feels demoted.

I feel like, isn't life hard enough, without getting bent out of shape about your office? If you can get your work done, it's good enough, isn't it? Apparently not.

I believe I had another no-spend day -- can't think of a thing I bought yesterday.

Last night I made a salad of lettuce, pepperoni, hard-boiled egg, cheese, and sunflower seeds. Yum. This morning I grabbed the last of the frozen pumpkin muffins for breakfast, and some frozen chicken stirfry for lunch. However, it looks like there is a "Taste" street event on campus today, so I might have to check that out for lunch. See if there are any freebies, or at least, cheapies. The stirfry will keep till tomorrow.

Just a Regular Day

August 20th, 2013 at 06:31 am

My only spending yesterday was $1.50 for a load of laundry. I am nearing the bottom of my quarter stash, so I'll have to remember to get some this weekend. Also have to remember to buy some water conditioners for the aquarium -- and felt pads for the desk chair. Hey! This is turning into an errand list!

My free meals seem to be continuing. Someone left muffins in the break room yesterday, so I took one for breakfast this morning. And lunch will be, in part, the leftover macaroni and cheese that my grandson didn't eat on Sunday. Okay, not really free, but certainly could have been garbage had I not made the effort to save it and tote it to work today.

I have earned $5 in Walgreens balance rewards -- I already had quite a few before signing up for the "steps" program, but the steps took me over the top. It is not clear how to redeem it -- perhaps just mention it when shopping at Walgreens? Or make an online purchase?

Yesterday my boss said something about planning for my replacement -- Yikes! It IS two years away!

The Weekend

August 19th, 2013 at 10:40 am

Third weekend in a row I've gone garage saling and I had great success! The grand prize was a sturdy desk and chair for $24 -- the bonus is that it fits perfectly in my space and looks great. I've been needing a replacement for my desk for years now. The old desk was a Target desk from Goodwill. I set it out by the dumpster with the IKEA chair and they were both gone the next time I looked. Nice recycling!

The new set really looks like wood, but it probably isn't. It's sleek and dark and the chair is very comfortable; just perfect.

But that's not all! I also bought a box full of beautiful baby clothes for $13, which I will send to my granddaughter. A new top for me for $1, some children's books for $1.75, some display bottles for $2. And I found a Razor scooter for my grandson for $10 -- like new and just the right size. And it's just like his brother's only smaller, with red handlebars! (The favorite color of the moment!) Success all round.

After garage saling we all (including DIL's mom) went out to lunch, where I spent $11. I think I startled everyone when I asked to have all the fruit and vegetables the kids didn't eat boxed up, as well as the onion and tomato slice from GS's hamburger! I used up most of it the next morning in an omelet with a fruit cup on the side.

So I am the cheapest woman alive. They already know it.

Later in the day I went grocery shopping with elder grandson -- he was a big help, and I was able to keep it down to 12 items, even with all the suggestions for great things to buy! (Like ice cream, cereal, candy bars....) He helped me scan and bag at the self-service line; quite the little grownup. (He's 6!) So, groceries were about $38.

$3 for laundry, $5 for a prescription -- that was the weekend spending.

On Sunday I made lunch for everyone -- fish sandwiches with sweet potato fries, and mac & cheese for the kids. Frozen yogurt for dessert, and then a game of Yahtzee. It was a good day.

Today I paid a $100 doctor bill.

I had my free breakfast and free lunch at work today; tonight's dinner will be leftovers from yesterday. Life is good!

Kind of a No-Spend Day

August 16th, 2013 at 07:12 am

Yesterday was kind of a no-spend day. It was pay day, so I did pay my bills (the few that aren't automatic). I also gave a co-worker $10 toward a raffle ticket -- I had already promised. I've done this once-a-year raffle for three years and have never won anything, but the cause is good, which is the important part.

I signed up for Walgreen's Step for Balance Rewards. It is a program where you earn reward points for walking, weighing yourself, and setting goals. I am doing the walking anyway, so why not get paid? And making myself weigh in every day is not a bad habit to get into.

I forgot to set the alarm last night. My inner alarm woke me up with just 15 minutes to get ready, but I did it. All but washing my hair, which really needs to be done, but it was more important to catch the train on time.

I really wanted to get breakfast in the downtown station this morning, but I resisted. I thought about how I'd just earned $3 from Pine Cone, and did I want to just turn around and eat it, or put it into savings? Eating lost out. I have oatmeal here at work, and leftovers from yesterday's lunch are already waiting for me in the fridge, so there is really no excuse for buying food.

It's Pay Day!

August 15th, 2013 at 07:12 am

More exciting than it's been in a while, because I actually have $300 to put into savings instead of everything being already spent.

I also sent $380 extra to my mortgage.

Last night the kids brought over my new train bag. It's so cool! Light, waterproof, with lots of pockets and dividers, and it's RED! It's also a shoulder bag, which will make it easier to carry. And the top zips shut -- an important factor. With my old bag, I couldn't shut out the rain.

Yesterday we had an ice cream social on campus. I skipped lunch -- not on purpose -- so the afternoon sundae was very welcome. On Monday, which is our kickoff day for the new school year, we will get a free buffet breakfast and a picnic lunch. Fabulous!

The weather is beautifully cool, making the walk to the station comfortable, and no air conditioning needed at home.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

What an Idiot

August 14th, 2013 at 08:25 am

That would be me.

While clicking through MyPoints this morning, I went to a site called UnlockYourLuck.com. Usually I just close the page immediately, but this time I looked, and I decided to try the "free" tokens they offered. Well, long story short, I "won" a $5 gift card for .01, which, incidentally, also got me a $79 membership on ZBiddy I hadn't asked for. I had foolishly given them my Visa card info to pay the .01 (all along thinking, wrong, wrong, wrong) so the $79 was charged to that card. I was notified in an email. I Googled UnlockYourLuck and read the comments of all the other people who had been scammed, and the lack of cooperation they got, so I just went straight to my Visa holder and reported fraud, and had my card cancelled. Whew. Missed a bullet.

Sometimes it's hard to distinguish the real deals from the scams.

Yesterday was indeed a no-spend day, as I thought it might be. Today I spent $3 on breakfast at McDonalds -- the McGriddle was free (Monopoly coupon); the $3 was for a frappe. Thank goodness the game is over; I've had enough of McDonalds for a while! I seem to have lost my free parfait coupon, but my waistline doesn't need it, anyway.

Tomorrow is payday; very excited I will be transferring money to savings for a change!

Good News

August 13th, 2013 at 10:09 am

At my doctor's visit yesterday, I had very good news. The cat scan showed no change in the nodule on my adrenal gland. I don't have to get the scan any more -- it's been checked enough! If it hasn't grown in this amount of time, it will not grow. That is good news on the health front AND the financial front!

My only spending yesterday was $9 to mail a package of books to my sister.

No spending so far today, and I don't expect to do any.

I drove to work yesterday, since I had to pick up treats AND go to the doctor. So I also brought in some wall art to hang in my office, and I brought some stuff to donate to Goodwill. I try to make every car trip count! But it really brought home how much easier the train is. The stop and go traffic is grueling on my nerves. And all you can think about is how much gas you're wasting while you're sitting there waiting for someone else to move.

I like the way some of you have your current "read" on your sidebar, so I'm going to start sharing that, too! I usually have two books going at one time -- one at home, one on the commute!

Birthday & Weekend Spending

August 12th, 2013 at 09:57 am

Yesterday was my birthday. My son and his family came over with a homemade cake and ordered my favorite pizza. Then they set to work and hung all the pictures in my condo. It was a lot of work -- took all afternoon, but the place now looks warm and homey. What a difference! They also brought me a picture of a new train bag they ordered for me -- it hasn't arrived yet! But it looks beautiful. Red leather with lots of pockets and dividers. It'll be great for my commute.

Now that the wall hangings are up I will finally post some pictures of my condo. Not today, though.

My Florida son sent me a Jib Jab of his daughter (who can't walk yet) dancing around. Very cute. I was so glad he respected my wish not to buy me a present. They need to get back on track now that he is working. I told him his new job was the best birthday present I could have.

So -- lots of spending has happened. I went to garage sales with DIL on Saturday and spent $24. Got a step stool, a cute wooden chair (free!), toys for the toy box, a Pampered Chef springform pan set (new), some colored bottles for my window, a beach bag, a purse, and a new boxed set of play food which I will save as a gift for my granddaughter. Later in the day I spent $24 at the grocery, and $44 at Kohl's for new underwear -- my birthday present to myself. I bought new panties online not too long ago, but I hate them. They are small and stretchy and the waistband rolls down like a window shade. I'm just going to keep them as back-ups, since I can't really give them to anyone else, having been worn. I am so much happier with the panties I bought yesterday.

On the day we hung the pictures, I spent $42 on new frames and command strips from Target. I spent $3 on laundry. Today I sent my cousin $34 for our annual family football pool, and $40 to pay her back for the dinner I had with her father at his retirement home, which automatically went onto her tab. I also spent $16 on donuts and cider for the office (our tradition here is to bring treats on your own birthday).

On Saturday night got dinner at McDonald's for $1.10, using a winning coupon for the fries and buying the cheddar-onion burger from the $1 menu.

I think that's it! I have a medical bill to pay, but it will come out of flexible spending. And I'm seeing the doctor today (followup on bronchitis) so I'll probably be generating a new bill as well.

Pay day is Thursday, and barring any surprises, I plan to put $300 into savings.

Things That Are Making Me Happy Today

August 9th, 2013 at 09:28 am

Well, first of all, it's Friday! The happiest day of the week in terms of anticipation!

I found a dime in the alley on the way to the station this morning.

I got an email from an old friend who had given up on love -- he is now engaged and ready to embark on a whole new life.

I got a free chess set for my grandson. We have a leave one/take one shelf at work that is mostly books, but games and puzzles, too. Someone left a chess set, perfect for a child. So I snapped it up and had my son give it to him -- and I got such a nice thank-you call from GS!

I got a free cucumber yesterday and I'm looking forward to a cucumber sandwich for lunch.

For my birthday this weekend, my son and his wife are going to come and hang all my pictures and order in lunch!

I have a free Redbox code and I'll get a movie tomorrow.

The weather is cool enough that I don't need to turn on the air conditioners.

My co-workers are taking me to my favorite hamburger place on Monday.

I just got a free brand-new book "Shut Up, Skinny B--s: the Common Sense Guide to Following Your Hunger and Your Heart." I'm going to give to DIL (after I read it first). There was a stack of them in the break room -- the HR department often gets on these promo lists and we get free stuff. Nice to be right down the hall!

But most of all, it's Friday! Smile

My 2 cents

August 8th, 2013 at 06:08 am

Added another .02 to my found money. One in the station and one in CVS.

I bought two birthday cards at CVS for $7. One was for a co-workers' birthday today -- the other was the perfect card for a friend, and I just hope I can put my hands on it when her birthday rolls 'round in January!

I did a load of laundry ($1.50) and this morning I bought breakfast at McDonalds ($5). Won a breakfast sandwich -- haven't checked the codes yet.

My son in Florida called yesterday with great news! He got a job giving helicopter tours in Tampa! Even though it doesn't pay a lot, it will be enough to keep them going, and it will be a great opportunity for him to build up more hours. He felt he had stiff competition for this job, so he is thrilled. For Mom, big sigh of relief.

My other son is back from his trip, so I am off cat & fish duty (except at home of course, where I am always on cat & fish duty!).

Corner Bakery Rocks!

August 7th, 2013 at 07:35 am

If you've read my blog at all, you already know that Corner Bakery is one of my favorites.

Well, today they proved that they have great customer service, too!

I got an email coupon for a free dessert since this is my birthday month. But when I printed it off, only the border and the logo printed -- none of the actual meat of the coupon. But there was a barcode, and I thought, what the heck, it's worth a try.

I went to the counter and explained and showed them the coupon. It was morning rush time and they were busy, but the supervisor took the time to look at the coupon, listen to what I had to say, then politely asked if I could pull it up on my phone. I told her I didn't have that kind of phone, and she told the cashier to just go ahead get me what I wanted. So I got my free muffin. I bought some coffee to go with it for $2. I can't believe how nice they were about it!

Love Corner Bakery.

In other good news, when I was throwing out trash I found a book sitting in the dumpster. It was right at the top, so I didn't have to dive. I'm not much of a dumpster diver, but I will take clean stuff in easy reach. This was a book by Gregory Maquire, author of Wicked (which I loved). It's based on the Cinderella story -- can't remember the title right now. But I'm delighted! It's in great condition, just a little shopworn! And yes, it appears to be clean; no nasty stuff on it.

I've decided not to renew my parking pass at work. It's $100 per year. I don't drive enough to make it worth while. There is a free lot a couple of blocks away, and I will get my free pass so I can use that. The lot is no farther away than the train station is -- and I understand there is even shuttle service, though I'm sure it is not very often!

Late Charges from Macy's

August 6th, 2013 at 09:52 am

I got a call from Macy's this morning -- an automated message to call their billing department. So instead of calling, I got online to see what the problem was. Turns out, I charged something for $8 on the Macy's card two months ago and didn't pay the bill. I'm faithful about my bills, so I know I did not receive one in the mail. And I check my email regularly, and I know I did not get a reminder. So I "chatted" online with a rep. I pointed out that my home address was formatted wrong (I have a 1/2 in my address which wreaks havoc with computers). In this case 1/2 was interpreted as 1 2. Which is enough to get the mail lost. I got that corrected, but the rep said I had to call the 800 number to get the fee waived. Well the lady who answered wouldn't budge. Or almost wouldn't budge. I did get a $9 reduction, but still had to pay $30 for an $8 item. Plus, I probably got a ding on my credit history.

She said I probably didn't get the online reminder because it went to spam.

Whatever, I'm not dealing with Macy's again. If I have to buy something there, I'll use my trusty Discover card. I probably only used the Macy's card because of a promotion, so I didn't get much of a deal, did I?

On the good side, I found .04 yesterday -- pennies in four different places!

I needed to return a Redbox DVD yesterday and decided to try to do it during my train break downtown. I located a Redbox only two blocks away -- at a Wal-Mart. What?? A Wal-Mart in downtown Chicago? It was in a regular building, not the traditional big box. It had groceries and produce. I thought, what a great place to pick up an item I forgot to get at the grocery. I'll remember that!

And I made it back to the station in plenty of time.

Hit $30

August 5th, 2013 at 01:30 pm

By that I mean, I have now officially made $30 by picking up money off the street. Only took two years! But heck, it paid for one month's electric bill!

I have moved into my new office. I'm not totally unpacked yet, but I've made quite a bit of progress. My new office is substantially smaller, but I have a lovely view -- plus when I leave the door open, I have windows on both sides, so it is very light. The plants I couldn't fit in have new homes.

I spent $27 on groceries this weekend, and $17 at McDonalds. Whoa, I'm really hooked; I have to stop. But I won a serving of fries and another Redbox movie. I rented Argo which was GREAT! Can't believe I waited so long to see it!

I am feeling so much better than I was on Friday, when I stayed home from work. I feel almost completely well. I'm still going to see the doctor, but for the four-week followup.

I've been checking on my sons cats and fish while he is on vacation, and on Sunday I did what I feared I would do -- I locked myself out. I was in his place, and decided to check for packages. I left the apartment door unlocked, but when I went into the vestibule, the door locked behind me. DARN! My first instinct was to go home -- but I didn't have my keys. I had nothing with me! So I realized I would have to wait for someone at his building to let me in. Someone came along pretty quickly, and she knew my son and his wife, so she was happy to let me in. That'll learn me. I have to be more careful.

I think I ruined my soup -- and chicken

August 2nd, 2013 at 09:34 am

Last night I pulled out the pot of soup I had made (chicken broth, celery, onion and carrots) and added pieces of a raw chicken breast. I set it on the burner and turned the gas on low. Then I forgot about it.

About three hours later, I discovered the soup sitting on the burner, unchanged, because the burner I had turned on was the one behind it.

In a rescue attempt, I heated it up for about an hour and put it back in the fridge. This morning I started to heat it again, but I don't like the smell or the way it looks. I think it's all a goner. I'll have to throw it out.

As much as I hate to waste food, I hate to risk my health.

In a completely unrelated event, I was unable to sleep last night -- I figure I got maybe a couple of hours the whole night. The main problem was my cough. It simply won't go away. I have phlegm in my chest that has taken up permanent residence. Either that, or everything I cough up is replaced immediately. I've been sick more than a month now and I'm feeling totally drained. I called in sick at work this morning, because I couldn't imagine putting in a full day feeling this tired and woozy. Unfortunately I was supposed to finish packing up my office today for the move, but I'll have to do it on Monday.

I will try to go to the doctor tomorrow. Frankly, today I am feeling too bad to even leave the house.

So, my goals today: I will throw out the soup, take out the garbage, and try to get some more rest.

Breakfast at McDonald's

August 1st, 2013 at 05:53 am

I stopped at McDonald's in the station this morning for breakfast. Since I'm playing the Monopoly game, I got two hash browns and a smoothie ($5). Won some fries -- the rest of the tickets were properties -- not the rare ones. I'll check the codes online shortly. I also found two discarded tickets at the top of the escalator, so I'll check those codes, too.

And I found a penny.

Otherwise, no financial news.

It's hard to believe it's August already. School starts on August 26, but the opening breakfast, which is kind of our official kick-off for the new year, is on August 19.

I'm already noticing the shorter days -- I'm waking up in the dark now -- and it's harder to get up. Hard to believe that in a few months I'll be walking in the snow again!