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Archive for October, 2016

Recovery Mode

October 30th, 2016 at 12:28 pm

Well, I'm having a good day after an awful, awful night. Let me just say I am not taking another dose of Crestor. I'll do without until I see the fill-in doc on Tuesday; I sure hope she has a better solution for me.

I got my hair cut (I tend to do it on Sundays, because I know my favorite cutter at Supercuts is always there on Sundays). It turned out especially good this time -- people were even telling me on the way out how good it looked! Well worth the $17 (which includes tip).

I went to the gym, and then I went to the library (free parking on Sunday!) I bought 3 books for $1.50 and checked out an audiobook for my commute. This library has a constant book sale and the selections are always great. There are many readers in this community who share my tastes!

I was on my way to my grandson's soccer game, but I hadn't had any lunch (and it was already 1:45). So I went through Mickey D's drive-through. I got a Happy Meal, so my sandwich and fries were small, and I got apple slices and apple juice (and consumed them both!) I got to the game just on time, but then I noticed I had received a text from DIL -- GS was bowing out of the game, decided to attend a birthday party instead. So phooey. I could have skipped the fast food. It was $4.

Now I'm home, with plans to rest up. (Since I was still awake at 3:30 AM, I doubt that I got more than four hours of sleep.)

Things to get done, if I get some energy: mend some pants, clean the fish tank, mop the floors, vacuum. Tomorrow starts another work week, and I surely won't feel like doing anything then!

Oh, and I need to order my OTC meds, which I get free with my Medicare supplement. Can't let that $50 value slip by!

Saturday Stuff

October 29th, 2016 at 01:07 pm

Got my blood work done. Picked up a brochure describing a genome project. If I donate blood for it, I can earn a $5 Starbucks coupon. Think I might. Catch is, I have to make an appointment, and I work so far away.

At the doctor's office, I paid off a $36 balance.

I stopped at Jewel and got two free MyMixx items - yogurt and cinnamon bread. Free breakfast! With lots of cinnamon bread to spare. I also picked up pantiliners and a birthday card for my sister. $12. Yikes!

There was a woman panhandling outside the store and I gave her $4. I feel worse about the women than the men.

I did a load of laundry for $1.50.

I created my second invoice for the museum. That will make $2150 I've earned.

I've found .51 in the last few days.

I've done more reading on stage 3 kidney disease. It appears that risk of heart attack and/or stroke is greater than the risk of kidney failure. Got to keep doing heart-healthy things; keep my weight on the downswing. I am a bit unusual because most patients have diabetes and/or high blood pressure, and I have neither. I don't know if that's good or bad!

Are You Watching the News?

October 28th, 2016 at 04:25 pm

They're covering the story of an airplane fire at O'Hare. I was driving home from work today, when I was overtaken by a speeding police car and the SWAT vehicle (which looks like a big tank with flashing blue lights). Very intimidating. Turns out they were heading to the airport because of this fire. I suppose they sent the SWAT vehicle because there was the possibility it could have been a terrorist situation. Looks like everyone got out safely. It was amazing good luck that the plane didn't get airborne before the explosion.

But back to my life. I did return the night light, and I didn't spend any money today.

I almost cancelled my doctor's appointment, but decided not to. I suppose they must ask for a fresh new blood draw to be on the safe side. I called insurance to ask about coverage, and they said lab work costs a $20 copay and there is no limit on time between draws. So I'll do it, and see this replacement doctor on Tuesday. I really need to change my statin.

While I was on the doctor's website, I saw that I owe $36 -- $20 for my last blood draw, and $16 for my orthotics fitting. I'll take care of that tomorrow.

I went to the gym today, but wasn't good with my diet. The office was celebrating Halloween, and I indulged in a few mini candy bars.

I asked if heaters were allowed at work, and everyone chuckled and said, "No, but everyone does it." Well, I won't be the first. I'm very much aware I'm more of a visitor than a resident.

My newest problem: my mortgage holder is demanding a copy of my HOA policy. That's the policy that covers the building and exterior. Of course, I don't have that -- that policy is held by the property manager. We've been through this before. I thought it was resolved. Sigh. I probably won't be able to get anyone's ear until Monday morning. I'll also have to call my own insurer, because they are also saying my condo policy is expired. Of course I just paid, right on schedule. I'm asking again, does anyone do their job?

Reversed decisions

October 27th, 2016 at 05:30 pm

Today when I was leaving work I saw a display in the gift shop that caught my eye. It was merchandise connected to "Where the Wild Things Are." One of the items was a night light that has a picture of the moon, and the words, "I love you to the moon and back!" I bought it for my grandsons' room (for Christmas.)

I'm going to return it tomorrow. It was too much - $26 - and that was with my discount. It charmed me, but I don't think it will excite the boys. They probably feel they are too old for a night light. For that kind of money I should get something they really like.

I can tell them I love them for free! To the moon and back!

That's not the only decision I reversed today. I am trying to get my statin changed -- my doctor told me there was another one to try, if this one hurts me (it does). I contacted the office, but he is on vacation. The doctor who is covering for him will see me, but she insists that I have another blood test. I just had all my labs done about a month ago. I think it's a ridiculous request, and besides that, I don't think insurance will pay for the same blood work two months in a row. So I'm going to cancel the appointment. I'll wait until my own doctor is back, and we can continue the conversation we were already having.

I did do some frivolous spending when I bought a $3 hot chocolate at the museum cafe. Not to mention I shouldn't have milk and don't need the calories. My rationale is that I was freezing and I was feeling miserable. And it did do a good job of picking me up.

I came home very tired, but went to the gym, and afterwards went to Aldi, where I bought 11 items for $29: margarine, ice cream, kitty litter, toilet paper, sourdough bread, mac & cheese, coffee, creamer, crackers, granola and vinegar.

I worked the last hours of my contract today, so I'll create another invoice. I would do it tonight if I weren't so tired, but I think instead it will be a weekend chore. I asked about the new contract and I was told I would be issued a new PO number, and that was all I needed. I asked if the terms were the same. Yes. How many hours? Just turn in your hours, and we'll keep paying you. These people worry me. To be fair, the person I was talking to today was an admin assistant, and she probably doesn't know. All the bosses were out at a conference. I guess I'll go in tomorrow and just keep careful track of everything I do. I really don't believe they would try to cheat me, but they're very disorganized and loosey-goosey.

Since they asked about my Christmas plans, I would guess they're keeping me on till the end of the year. And I'll probably earn enough for that car repair, so it's all good.

Woot Woot! Pay Day!

October 26th, 2016 at 09:28 am

My SS check was deposited today and a new budget cycle has begun. I've already spent $736. $321 to my mortgage, $356 for assessment fees, $23 for gas, and $36 at the grocery (grapes, spaghetti sauce, apple, muffins, body wash, tuna, cat food, bread, spinach).

It turns out my variables spending last month was 102%, despite all my maneuvering. I found a $5 copay at the doctor I hadn't counted. Still, it was a good lesson in how you can avoid spending if you just try. I am now at 7% on a new month.

Here is the recap for October (which is over, in my budget world!)

Gifts/Charity: $218 (A birthday, and pre-Christmas)
Insurance: $179 (annual condo insurance)
Utilities: $163
Medical/Health: $146 (podiatrist, gym, doctor, scrips, physical therapy, monthly premium)
Vacation/Travel: $127 (the tail end of my FL trip)
Clothing: $90 (workout pants)
Eating Out: $77
Groceries: $69
Gas: $67
Phone: $52
Vet/Pet Supplies: $21
Laundry: $14
Household Supplies: $13
Fares/Parking: $13
Furnishings/Equipment/Decor: $7
Personal: $1

Grand Total: $1257

Wow, huh? This month did not have a mortgage payment or assessment fees because I paid the mortgage early, and the assessment falls so close to pay day, it can fall on either side. So it was a crazy low month; just what I needed.

It's suddenly very cold and rainy, and I wish I did not have to go out again, but I have to go to physical therapy.

I'm putting the finishing touches on the carrot soup, and also making spaghetti sauce for dinner. It's really smelling good in here!



Made It!

October 25th, 2016 at 04:48 pm

I got to work and back today with gas to spare. I'll fill up tomorrow when I go to the gym. In fact, I'll do a lot of things tomorrow, because I have the day off and it's PAY DAY! I'll do some grocery shopping, maybe get my hair cut. I have to go to physical therapy, too, which is why I have the day off.

I got my ballot in the mail today, so I was worrying needlessly. I do a lot of needless worrying. Smile I've also heard from the administrator judge about election day and have promised to help set up the afternoon before elections.

It was verified today that my contract at work will be renewed. But I don't know for how much. I assume another $1000 batch, but I would like to know. My boss wants me to just keep coming in; I'm a little nervous without a contract in hand.

I met my friend K for lunch again today. We talked more about the girlfriend weekend. Will probably put it off till March or April, and now Charleston is a contender. K brought me healthy muffins -- so sweet of her! Breakfast tomorrow!

One More Day

October 24th, 2016 at 01:34 pm

I got through today spending nothing (well, so far. It's early yet, but I'm not going to leave the house!) And it looks like I have enough gas to drive to work tomorrow. I'm going to try it. If the gas runs low, there are plenty of gas stations on the way. But if I get all the way home without having to fill up -- I've done it!! I've met the budget!

Today my boss asked me when I'm going to be around for Thanksgiving. I said, uh, I have 14 1/2 hours left; I'm not going to be here! And she said, oh, they're talking about another contract. This is the first I've heard of it. She wanted to know my Thanksgiving and Christmas plans. I told her I'm taking almost a week off for Thanksgiving, but I'll be around for Christmas.

I'm relieved and disappointed. Glad to have the money; not enjoying the work. And the office is so cold! I had the heat on full-blast in the car all the way home just to thaw out.

As I've said before, I've got to be grateful that my work is still needed and wanted. I never expected this. So I will work when I am asked, and squirrel away the money!

I got my assignment for election day. I will not be working in my own district, so I have to vote early. (I hope I'm not repeating myself) I sent in my application to vote by mail, but it's been more than a week and I haven't received a ballot. Wondering if I should just go to the early voting place. I certainly don't want to neglect to vote, this of all years!

I'm making some carrot soup and getting ready to curl up with a book and a blanket. I'm skipping the gym today! Don't want to use the gas it takes to get there.

Update

October 23rd, 2016 at 08:23 am

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

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

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

My Variables Budget

October 22nd, 2016 at 08:40 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

Working Blind

October 21st, 2016 at 01:25 pm

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

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

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

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

A Day at Home

October 20th, 2016 at 03:41 pm

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

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

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

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

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

A Lakeside Lunch, and New Pants

October 19th, 2016 at 06:04 pm

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

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

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

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

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

Bucking Up

October 18th, 2016 at 04:05 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

The shadow has passed; things are looking up!

Better?

October 17th, 2016 at 05:34 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Depressed

October 16th, 2016 at 09:52 am

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

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

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

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

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

Time to start getting ready for soccer....

The Weekend is Here!

October 15th, 2016 at 07:31 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

This and That

October 13th, 2016 at 12:04 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

Low-Spend Day

October 12th, 2016 at 05:50 am

I spent only $1.50 on laundry.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feeling Better

October 11th, 2016 at 05:10 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another Day of Feeling Low

October 10th, 2016 at 05:32 am

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

Extra-strength Tylenol is helping.

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

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

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

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

Getting a Cold

October 8th, 2016 at 12:44 pm

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

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

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

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

My variables spending is up to 45%.

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

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

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

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

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

Woo-Hoo! Friday!

October 7th, 2016 at 05:21 pm

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

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

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

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

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

Looking forward to a fun and relaxing weekend.

Plodding Along

October 6th, 2016 at 05:14 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

Busy Day

October 5th, 2016 at 06:39 pm

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

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

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

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

Only Half a Day

October 4th, 2016 at 01:03 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

First Day of Work

October 3rd, 2016 at 04:14 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

September Recap

October 2nd, 2016 at 08:38 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Phone: $52. Standard.

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

Vet/Pet Supplies: $38

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

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

Personal: $27. Haircut & feminine hygiene.

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

Laundry: $18

Entertainment: $4. Books from Goodwill.

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

I just bought some gas for $20.

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

Hope everyone has a great Sunday!

Back from "Vacation"

October 1st, 2016 at 09:15 am

Oy, just lost a big entry!

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

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

Work starts on Monday.

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

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