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Archive for September, 2014

Doctor's Visit

September 30th, 2014 at 02:24 pm

I had a doctor's appointment after work last night ($15 copay). We discussed my statin prescription, which has run out. My numbers have been so good, he wants me to stop taking it for one month and then get labs to see how I'm doing. But he also wants me to take a baby aspirin each day. I used to do that regularly, just got out of the habit.

When I went to the ER, the doctor there recommended a stress test because of my family heart history, even though the tests showed nothing. My primary doctor does not think a stress test is indicated, as I am showing no symptoms at all. I like his take on it better!

Then we talked about more mundane things. The corn on my foot, and the mole on my back. He recommended paring the corn and buying gel inserts. (I'll buy them this evening.) As for the mole (it is a harmless thing that has a special name -- I can't remember it) -- he froze it with liquid nitrogen, so I'm hoping it will fall off. It may be harmless, but it's ugly.

So I felt like it was a very productive, and cheap, visit!

I also got a notice of settlement on my ER visit. Nothing more is owed; insurance covered it all. Whooppee!! I guess I don't know for sure about the ambulance service, but I haven't heard anything about that.

I wrote a cover letter yesterday, but I am still holding onto it for editing. Wish I could just dash these things off, but I can't!

A Busy Weekend

September 29th, 2014 at 02:25 pm

So on Friday evening I went to the nearest Cracker Barrel -- in Aurora! (And it doesn't look at all like Wayne & Garth's hometown!) Unfortunately I got stuck in construction traffic, but once I got there, I had a nice quiet dinner. I mentioned to the waitress that I missed the senior menu, and she said I could order from the kids' menu -- it was pretty much the same! I had chicken tenderloins, biscuits, stewed apples and a sweet potato. All for $8.

Then I filled up with gas -- $37 -- and went home. Aside from $6 for laundry, that was all the spending I did all weekend.

I went to the library and checked out "W is for Wasted" (and I've finished it already). I saw that they also had the new book by Arnaldur Indridason, who does an Icelandic mystery series that I love, so I got that, too.

Saturday's birthday party for my grandson was a success. It was a beautiful day, and we gathered in a park beside the lake. There were children from his pre-school class (and parents) as well as family. The kids played games and the grownups chatted. Only two glitches -- the bees! And at the end of the day, one of the mothers had a drained battery, so we had to scurry around to get jumpers and get her back on the road.

On Sunday I did laundry, cooking, and housework. I washed my comforter successfully in the building's standard-size units, just had to spread it out, still damp, on my kitchen table. Cooking entailed making chicken medallions and mashed potatoes, chicken hot-and-sour soup, frying off a pound of bacon, and baking a cranberry nut loaf. Housework included cleaning the aquarium and cleaning the window shelves in my kitchen, which have been catching grease for a year! Nice to see them sparkle.

What I did NOT do -- write my cover letter. Can you say PRO-CRA-STI-NA-TION? Ugh. I must get on it.

It's another lovely day, but I hear changes are in store. I'll be glad my comforter is ready to put on the bed!

W is for Wasted

September 26th, 2014 at 01:52 pm

I've always been a fan of Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone series. So I was delighted to check out the CD of her latest, W is for Wasted, at a Cracker Barrel on my recent trip. But it contains 14 discs, and I had only a week to listen to it before it's due back. I've gotten through disc 10. I'm hooked on the story. But I have to go to Cracker Barrel tonight and return it -- which is nowhere close! It will be a bit of a ride. I've decided I'll just make it a treat and have dinner there, too. Then I'll have to find a copy of the book at a library so I know how it ends! Lesson: don't check out a BIG book on a short trip!

I've decided not to do it tomorrow, because I have the birthday party, and lots to do at home -- a ton of laundry, some cooking, some cleaning. All the stuff I don't do during the week.

I also have to get to work on applying for the university job. I want to take some time writing the best cover letter I can, since my resume is already completed and in the hands of the director. I'll submit the resume again, to HR, along with the cover letter, but as far as content goes, it's a done deal.

Forgetful Grandma

September 25th, 2014 at 01:10 pm

I bought a muffin and coffee at the station this morning. I'm going to have to bake something this weekend to stave off this habit. I have to say it does really help me get through the morning!

I was just settling down to listen to "W is for Wasted" last night, when my son came to my condo. It was my grandson's birthday, and I had ignored a call and a text! In my defense, the birthday party is scheduled for this Saturday, so I just didn't have it in my head that yesterday was his birthday. And I had the volume on the phone turned all the way down, so I didn't hear the messages come in. My son wanted to make sure I was all right and wanted me to come over for the pizza and birthday cake made for the "real" day.

I'm going to have to get better about remembering dates.

I had also started baking a meatloaf, which I took out of the oven and put in the fridge. I'll cook it the rest of the way tonight. I hope it will be all right!

The university job was finally posted yesterday, and the director sent me an email to alert me to it. That was so nice of her. So today I'll work on my cover letter and aim to get the application in tomorrow. I really hate doing that kind of stuff, and here I thought I would never have to do it again! But this job is good enough that it's worth trying for.

Feeling Better

September 24th, 2014 at 01:50 pm

Thank you for your supportive comments yesterday. Today I'm feeling better. All is not lost just because winter comes each year! Smile

I did a little grocery shopping last night ($20) and bought some little gifts for my grandson's birthday ($32). This morning I bought my train pass, at the new reduced cost of $79!

I checked my Discover card and I've reached the $2000 mark for this month, so it is no more spending until October. I WILL be returning the Sue Grafton CD to Cracker Barrel before week's end, which will prompt a refund on the card, but there is enough in pending charges to make up for it.

I will welcome the austerity of this coming week!

My grandson's birthday party is on Saturday, but my spending for that is done. So I'm just looking forward to a nice, quiet week.

The first week of October will be busy. I am going to a one-day conference, and will attend a board dinner for the speakers the night before. Then I am supposed to head up to my brother's house for his birthday on the weekend. That has not been confirmed yet, but it is something I really should do, if their plans allow.

Last night one of my co-workers was threatened with a knife when she went to look at a house to buy. The renter was apparently being evicted. She had quite a scare and doesn't feel safe now, since she filed a police report and her name is out there. I feel for her, and I hope the guy is locked up soon, for her peace of mind!

Winter is Coming

September 23rd, 2014 at 01:22 pm

Even though the days are beautiful now, I feel the slow and steady approach of winter, in the shorter hours, the crisp mornings, the tinge of red and yellow in the leaves. It is a time of year I love and that makes me feel sad at the same time.

I am struggling with appetite issues. I am hungrier. I can't wait until I get home in the evening to eat, and I end up getting fast food on the way. Today I brought a bigger lunch, hoping it will help. Yesterday I spent more than $10 on food I shouldn't have had.

And I am feeling more depressed. Little things get to me. I feel alone and unloved, even when I know it's not true. Sometimes I have to work really hard to bolster my self-esteem.

Anyhoo, I did a load of laundry last night, but still have tons to do. I will just have to work at it this week. Not only do I have the regular week's worth, which I didn't do on the weekend, but I have the clothes from Goodwill to wash, too. I never feel like it is really mine until I wash it.

And for a bit of humor -- I looked over the intimidating job description last night, trying to figure out what to put in my cover letter, when I realized it was the description for a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT JOB! What a relief. A similar title, but a totally different kind of work. Now I'm stressing about why the job I'm interested in hasn't been posted yet -- I don't think I could have missed it! I do have to remember that big universities move very slowly, with all their cumbersome bureaucracy.

Nice Weekend

September 22nd, 2014 at 02:32 pm

Had a great weekend in Indiana with my BFF. Spent $45 on food, $26 on gas, $7 on a movie (One Hundred Foot Journey), and $34 at Goodwill. They were having a $1 sale on selected clothing and I got some great stuff. Some is to give to my DIL's mother, who has lost weight. Some is for the grandkids. The one "decor" item I bought was a great little Santa figurine for my collection. It was also $1.

I also picked up $89 in expenses for my BFF, putting it on my Discover card, and she wrote me a check.

I rented "W is for Wasted" by Kinsey Millhone, from Cracker Barrel. It is so long, I am not nearly done listening. Guess I'll have to listen at home to finish it up!

Friday!!

September 19th, 2014 at 02:58 pm

The best part about working for a living is Friday. The promise of two days of freedom is intoxicating!

I will travel to Indiana tomorrow to spend the weekend with my best friend. We try to get together every few months, even though we live in different states.

It looks like I need to charge about $130 more on my Discover card this month to meet the $2000 goal. I think that will be easily done in my travels this weekend, especially since I plan to ask my friend to let me use the card for any activities! Plus, I still have the train pass to buy.

I have accomplished several planned tasks in this month's spending: bought airline tickets for my December vacation, as well as a ticket for my sister (will be reimbursed for most of it). Bought upholstery fabric for recovering my couch. Bought six tickets for a birthday excursion to Medieval Times. Bought replacement hardware for my kitchen cabinets. Bought cellular shades for my kitchen windows. Made a donation to my grandson's school fundraiser. Bought three pairs of shoes I badly needed. I also paid $100 to the hospital for my ER co-pay. The rest was charging all my groceries, pet supplies, household supplies, personal care, eating out, postage, Netflix, phone, and my usual charities. Although I have done too much eating out, and have driven the car too many times, for the most part I have been careful to find deals, and get the most for my dollar. So I am pleased overall.

Oh, and looking over my Discover bill, it looks like Spirit DID reimburse me for the cancelled flight, so that was a nice surprise!

The meeting I dreaded yesterday was not great, but not awful. There will be more of them as we move toward a campaign. I am so glad I am winding down my last year here.

RTA Card

September 18th, 2014 at 01:52 pm

Oops! Just wiped out my entry trying to save it! So, in short -- I got my RTA card, which will enable savings on my train pass to the tune of about $50 a month!

I have a meeting this morning which I dread. I girded my loins with a muffin and coffee at the station.

Going to visit BFF this weekend -- really need the face-to-face visit; she is my sounding board as well as true-blue friend. Will probably do that on Saturday morning, as traffic is terrible on Friday nights.

That's it! Much shorter!

The Heat is ON!

September 17th, 2014 at 03:08 pm

Finally, my building turned on the heat. I put my hand on the registers this morning, and felt warmth. Oh, joy! Last night I came home an hour early, not feeling well, and went straight to bed under a nest of blankets. I slept straight through, and I feel much better this morning! Almost human!

It is still cold at work, however. I can't wait for the forecasted warm-up.

Yesterday would have been a no-spend day, but I bought caramel corn at the station. It is very hard to ignore when I am feeling stressed, or down, or hungry! The smell permeates the building. It is irresistible. I will have to be stronger.

The job I have been nattering on about has finally been posted, so now I have the task of making the official application. The resume is done, but I have to fill out the application, write a cover letter and submit a writing sample as well. The job description is very intimidating -- I would never apply had I not been asked!



Pay Day, For Real

September 16th, 2014 at 03:03 pm

Today the paycheck was deposited in my account. Profuse apologies from the business office for the delay -- I'm just so glad that things like that don't affect me any more.

I made my mortgage and credit card payments. I did not "sweep" the extra into savings this time; I will keep it in checking for an expected larger credit card bill.

My DIL returned my car last night after work, and I drove her to the El. I really wanted to take her to her hotel, but she was insistent that she would be fine on the train, which went straight to the hotel. Since my granddaughter was already safely tucked away at the hotel with her other grandmother, I complied. My GPS then directed me back home on a main Chicago street, but not familiar to me. It was interesting to drive through neighborhoods in Chicago. They are not so far away from me, but the style of life is so different!

On the way home, I stopped at Home Depot to pick up some cabinetry hardware I had ordered online. Since I was also near PetSmart, I stopped and got fish food. Two errands done.

I goofed up at work yesterday -- didn't pick up a message on my phone (thought it was a vendor). So I didn't know that someone needed something from me. Had to play catch-up this morning and eat crow. Oh, me. I hate acting like a senior citizen! But things like this make me feel like I SHOULD retire, and not even think about a new job!

Pay Day -- Not

September 15th, 2014 at 02:25 pm

It's supposed to be pay day, but we got an email this morning that direct deposit will not happen due to a technical error. I don't think it will have any impact on me. I only pay my mortgage and credit cards on pay day, and I have plenty of time on both. Direct deposit is supposed to go through tomorrow.

It was so great seeing my Florida kids this weekend. I had more time with them than expected, because my DIL's aunt and uncle weren't available for their designated time. I had breakfast and lunch with them on Saturday, and brunch and some time in the park on Sunday. My son flew back yesterday, but my DIL and granddaughter are still here. I may see them tonight -- they have my car! But they may drop it off before I get home from work.

I spent $38 eating out, but some of that was treating. I also spent $27 on groceries, and $8 at a garage sale (copper pan and pj's for my granddaughter).

On Friday evening, I picked up the upholstery material. It was delivered in two rolls, even though I specified that I did not want it in two pieces. I called the upholsterer, and they said it should be okay as long as one piece was 10 yards, which it was. The fabric cutter gave me a little extra to compensate. After getting the fabric I got a to-go box from Cici's pizza ($6).

I also bought tickets to Medieval Times for six - $174. That will be my grandsons' main birthday present. I will get them each a little Lego set for something to open, however.

Our cold snap is continuing. I'm freezing at home, freezing at work. Neither place has turned on the boiler yet. I sure hope we return to more summer-like weather soon!

Ugh! Why Can't I Get Rested?

September 12th, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Had another night of sleeplessness, then got up feeling awful. I would have stayed home from work if I didn't have projects that have to be done.

I got a call last night that my upholstery fabric is in so I drove again this morning -- the store is about halfway between work and home and I'll stop on the way back.

I missed a call from my son in Florida, but got the most delightful voice mail from my granddaughter. Pure gibberish! I wonder if they knew she had the phone? The family will arrive late tonight, but I won't see them until tomorrow.

Last night I was walking by Walgreen's and saw a man selling Street Times. It is a magazine that is sold by homeless people, giving them a way to make a little money honestly. I only had a $20 bill, so I went into Walgreen's and bought a .29 popcorn ball, so I would have the correct change. The magazines are $2. They are actually pretty interesting. The man who was selling them seemed very sweet and not your typical image of a homeless person. I wish I could help them all.

Found .83!

September 11th, 2014 at 02:33 pm

Yes, I took my car to a local car wash and found .83 in coins around the vacuum. The cost of the vacuum was $1, so in essence I only paid .17!

I also went to a different Home Depot and finally got my shade. Interestingly enough, I paid only $37, about $4 less than what I paid at the other store. And it wasn't a tax difference. If anything, the tax is higher in Chicago, which is where this store was located.

I am still not out of the fast-food funk, though. I spent another $8 on dinner and breakfast. So tired, so hungry, so disorganized! I am still managing to brown bag my lunches, though.

I spent around $380 on airline tickets yesterday. However, I cancelled one this morning (wrong airport) and will make another reservation later today, so that total will change. This is for my trip in which I will drive my cousin and sister from North Carolina to Florida. I'll be flying out there to pick them up and then will fly home from Florida. My cousin cannot drive for medical reasons, and my sister shouldn't drive for dysfunctional reasons! This will be an opportunity to have a good visit with them and to also see my son in Florida. Also, I am hoping that my cousin will let me charge a lot of the road trip expenses on my Discover card and then pay me back! This won't happen till December.

I just found a deal to take the family to Medieval Times, and I'm waiting to hear if the expiration date on the tickets will be a problem. My grandsons are fascinated with knights and falconry right now, so this would be a great gift for them. They both have birthdays this fall. The tickets are good through November 15, but my son's family has such a busy schedule I have to check with them before I can make a commitment! Hope we can do it; I think it would be a blast!

Rain

September 10th, 2014 at 01:22 pm

It's a cool, rainy day, with more coolness to come. This morning I set out to the train station but instantly walked into a downpour. I knew I would be soaked if I walked all six blocks, even with my rain jacket and umbrella, so I drove instead. I'll probably regret that this evening. The drive home is always so much worse than the drive in. But at least I can stop at Home Depot again to see if the shade is in, and maybe I'll get the chance to vacuum out my car interior, which is badly needed.

Yesterday I indulged in cashew caramel corn at the station. I felt really bad after I ate it. Not that it wasn't delicious, but it wasn't what I needed, and not how I want to spend my money. This morning I bought breakfast on the way in, but at least I brought some chili for lunch. I'm a little off these days. The darker mornings are getting to me. I can't wake up, and the very thought that I will soon be commuting in the cold and snow is depressing. With my future employment in limbo, I don't even know if this is my last year or not! Not that I'm complaining. It's a great position to be in -- either I will get one of two great opportunities, or I will retire as planned.

But this is one of those days when I wish I just could have slept....

Long Day

September 9th, 2014 at 01:59 pm

I drove yesterday, with the intention of making stops on the way home. I wanted to get gas, get a manicure, and pick up the other shade from Home Depot. Accomplished two of those! Home Depot did not have the shade yet. This is the second time that I've gone back for an item that is supposed to arrive in a shipment, but didn't.

The gas was $33 and the manicure was only $8, which included the tip. I had a $10 gift coupon to use. I took my own polish in, and unfortunately forgot it when I left, so I had to take a lengthy backtrack in heavy traffic to go get it. It cost me $18 so it was worth going back for!

I got really hungry on the way home so I stopped at McDonalds and spent $3.

I arrived at work at 7 and got home around 7 as well. It was a long day. I didn't try to do anything once I got home -- I just fed the fish, filled up the cat's water and lay down to read. I should have done some laundry, but there was no way! I was bushed.

Today I'm looking into plane tickets. I'm going to fly to Asheville in December in order to drive my cousin to her second home in Florida. Then I'll fly back home from Florida. My sister is coming along, and I'm going to get her ticket to fly back as well. Now I'm just waiting to make sure that everyone agrees on the dates.

My Florida son is coming to visit this weekend! He and his wife will be spending most of their time with her family for some kind of event, but I will get a little time with them. I'm so excited! Every moment with my beautiful granddaughter is precious.

Spending

September 8th, 2014 at 02:56 pm

The spending has begun. Funny how uncomfortable it feels, how it feels like forcing myself! I've clamped down on myself so long, it feels curiously risque to spend money even on things I need.

To recap: I signed up to get a $400 bonus from Discover which I will earn by charging $2000 per month from September through January. I thought it would be a good opportunity to take care of some big ticket items I need to get anyway. I have the money on hand to pay the bill in full each month.

So this weekend I began in earnest. I decided I would tackle the problem of the couch. I have wanted to get it recovered since I got it (and I did go through channels trying to get it done for free. No dice.) The current fabric is a very cheap rough open-weave staticky acrylic that attracts lint and hair and then holds onto it for life. I went to a recommended upholsterer with pictures and measurements. She told me that the labor would be $800 and then there was the cost of fabric. She said that good fabric was $40 a yard, and I would need 15 yards. Well, this gave me pause.

So I went to furniture places to price the cost of a replacement couch. I didn't find anything. The fact is, my couch is perfect in size and shape, and the sleeper part of it is very comfortable. It's just the fabric I hate. Furthermore, I really had to look to find a couch that would fit through my door -- they are not easy to find. It is somewhere in between a normal couch and a loveseat.

So I decided to look for fabric on my own. I went to Jo-Ann's, and happened upon a 50% off sale for home decor fabric. It took several tries, but I found a suitable fabric that I could special-order (i.e. there was enough footage in the warehouse). It is REAL upholstery fabric, heavy and closely-woven. It is brick red in a subtle geometric print. With a coupon I got another 20% off, so I bought $600 worth of fabric for $245! I am so pumped. Yes, it will be expensive, but I'm just going to look at like a car repair. I'll finally get it right, after that unfortunate "crash" with the wrong godawful fabric.

So until the fabric comes in (one or two weeks), that project is on hold.

My next project was to replace some of my footwear. I walk so much that I have literally worn out two pairs of short boots (not snow boots) in the last couple of years. So I went to DSW and after much trial and error found a pair in both black and brown. I also bought a pair of brown loafers to replace the ones I scraped up in a fall. I will save the old loafers as "painting" shoes. The three pairs cost $158, which I thought was pretty good.

Then to Home Depot, where I tried to buy cellular window shades for my kitchen. I picked out two, which had to be cut to size. After the first one was cut, the second wouldn't come out of the box. Turned out it was damaged in some way. So I have to go back today and get another one, as there were no more matching shades, but there is a shipment coming in. I spent $100 on the one shade, and will spend another $100 on the second.

Other spending: $48 on groceries, $6 on eating out, and $10 on a trivet at Williams-Sonoma (to match one I already had). Then there was a little spending that DIDN'T go on the Discover card -- $1.50 for laundry, $1 for a garage sale basket, $3 tip for a haircut (used a gift card for the cut itself).

Later today I'll be buying plane tickets for a trip in December.

I'll get there, but I can see it will be a challenge to do it without spending foolishly.

Fridge is Working!

September 5th, 2014 at 01:22 pm

I plugged in the cord last night before I went to bed and this morning the fridge is working! So either tonight or tomorrow I'll get the food back in! I took the opportunity, while it was empty, to clean the interior. It wasn't badly needed, but it will be nice to put everything back into a fresh environment.

I walked to the station this morning in semi-darkness. Soon it will be dark. I can't believe how quickly the season is changing. I love fall, but I'm not looking forward to winter, especially since there are predictions it will be worse than last winter. Last winter was the worst I've experienced in the last thirty years!





More About the Fridge

September 4th, 2014 at 01:23 pm

So last night after I came home from work, I looked over the freezer situation. I threw out the sherbet, frozen yogurt and pizza, but everything else seemed like it was probably okay. Judging from the last time I opened the freezer, I don't think the meat had time to thaw completely.

BUT, as I was loading the dishwasher, I brushed against the fridge and it was HOT! Then I noticed that the refrigerator part was not as cool as it should be. I thought, oh no, new fridge on the docket, but I did some internet searching and found that the coils were most likely frozen because of the open door and the probable cure was to defrost and unplug the fridge for 24 hours.

It was 9 PM, but I called my son and asked if he could take some of my food. Lo and behold, he came with a friend and my nephew, and they emptied the fridge and freezer in a flash and took it all away.

The fridge is now sitting unplugged, doors open. I am very hopeful it will work again when I plug it in at 9 PM tonight. Then I'll load the food back in tomorrow. Sheesh!

That means I'll probably be eating out till then, though I did have breakfast this morning from food in my work fridge.

And this is certainly a good opportunity to get the fridge thoroughly clean!

On the way home last night I stopped at Goodwill. Since I had a store credit my spending was only .91. I bought a pair of pants for a friend who has lost a lot of weight, and a Wysocki puzzle still in its shrink wrap. Might use that as a gift or just enjoy it myself.

Then I stopped at Home Depot and returned the LED bulbs that don't work with a dimmer switch. That was $27 credit.

I found a penny last night, and a dime and a penny this morning. Over the weekend I found a quarter and two pennies. Love finding the bigger coins!

Relying on Your Expertise!

September 3rd, 2014 at 12:51 pm

This morning I noticed that the freezer door (on the top of my refrigerator) was cracked open. I looked in and felt around, and a lot of stuff was clearly thawed. There was "soup" on the bottom of the freezer that was probably sherbet. The pizza was soft.

I didn't have time to deal with it this morning, so I just closed the freezer door.

What do you think, is everything a loss? I had a lot of bread in there, which will be okay. Clearly the pizza, sherbet and frozen yogurt have to go. What about the meat and vegetables? I just read an article that indicates it is okay to refreeze meat. I don't want to make myself sick, though.

Speaking of being sick, I spent most of yesterday in the hospital emergency room. Turns out it was virtually nothing. I had what felt like a gall bladder attack, and I was starting to black out in my office. My colleagues called an ambulance. Even by the time they were wheeling me into the hospital I was feeling better, but they had to do their tests. They gave me two EKG's, two ultrasounds, and drew blood twice. In the end, nothing appeared to be wrong. The doctor said it might have been a spasm of the gall bladder.

So, I guess that's good news, but it was a wasted afternoon, and it cost me a $100 co-pay. And who knows what else I'll have to pay when it all gets sorted out. I'm pretty sure I haven't met my deductible.

So I'm scratching my head, thinking -- yes, I need to charge $2000 to my Discover card this month, but did the powers-that-be have to help out by emptying my freezer and sending me to the hospital? Smile

August Recap

September 2nd, 2014 at 03:12 pm

This was my second-lowest spending month this year. Only $1888 out the door. Unless I forgot to count something!

Housing: $677
Fares/Parking: $202
Insurance: $160
Utilities: $114
Groceries: $107
Clothing: $95
Personal: $88
Gifts/Charity: $82
Vacation/Travel: $73
Eating Out: $62
Phone: $51
Entertainment: $43
Gas: $38
Furnishings Etc.: $33
Vet/Pet Supplies: $27
Laundry: $15
Household Supplies: $9
Car Repair/Maintenance: $5

This month will be different; I will be trying to spend $2000 on my Discover card (in a strategic way, of course).

My first attempt was a failure. I charged my train pass on Sunday, thinking it would post on Monday or today, but it posted on Sunday. So it won't count.

On Monday I spent $67 at PetSmart and $84 at the grocery store. A chunk of the PetSmart bill was for a double-sided scratching post with a padded bed on top. I'm hoping the cats will entertain themselves and lounge there instead of on the couch. It will also give them easy access to their favorite windowsill, so they won't have to jump on the radiator. We'll see. So far they're ignoring it.

As for the grocery store, I bought about twice as many items as usual (23). I took advantage of some deals.

I'm going to have to take my LED sconce lights back to Home Depot. They do not work with the dimmer switch. They flicker constantly. So much for that -- it's back to incandescent!