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Archive for November, 2016

A Stop at Aldi

November 30th, 2016 at 04:30 pm

It was almost a no-spend day -- I got as far as 4 in the afternoon -- but then I stopped at Aldi on the way home from the gym. I spent $14, bought lemons, ice cream, kitty litter, raspberries, and eggs. Since lemonade, iced tea and water are my only allowable cold beverages, I decided I would treat myself to fresh lemonade. The ice cream is to use in place of creamer. Aldi's premium ice cream has no additives or preservatives, unlike most creamers.

I'm taking tomorrow off so I can go to lunch with a couple of friends in town. It will be at a restaurant I've never been to, so I need to check out the menu and figure out what I can eat.

It's time to create another invoice. I am still $1000 behind in payment; I hope this does not become an issue. I am hoping the pay cycle is just that much behind.

Cyber Monday -- Just Another Day

November 29th, 2016 at 03:15 pm

Yesterday -- Cyber Monday -- was a big spending day for me, though I don't think I got any particular bargains. I ordered Christmas presents directly from wish lists. I spent $399 on gifts. That included a $75 discount -- $50 for accepting a new Amazon credit card, and $25 for using the MyPoints reward. I also signed up for Amazon Prime for $99. Maybe dumb, but I do expect to use Amazon more this year, and it has the extra advantage of streaming, which will be nice since I no longer have Netflix. And I saved on the shipping for the gifts I just ordered.

I pretty much finished shopping for my kids and grandkids. Still need to get some gift cards, though, and a few little things for friends and such. And I have one more package to send, with stuff I collected through the year. I hope I can enjoy the season a little more once these chores are over. I have yet to bring the tree up from the basement -- I think I'll have my son do it this weekend, when I make his birthday dinner. And get my grandsons to help with the decorating.

I also spent $14 on groceries, $2 on a prescription, $356 for my assessment fee, $3 on laundry, and $22 for my gas bill (natural gas, not gasoline).

Today I spent $4 for food at work. Nothing I needed; it was just craving and silliness.

I'm back in the swing of going to the gym now, though, which makes me feel good.

I found some kidney-friendly cookbooks to download from the DaVita site, and I've been looking through them for ideas. The diet is restrictive, but not Draconian. I just need to relearn what is healthy for me -- not necessarily what is healthy for everyone else. And I have to be careful not to gain back weight by pigging out on the few treats that are legal. For instance, I just ate a bowl of sherbet -- legal, yes, low-calorie, no.

Home Again

November 27th, 2016 at 05:53 pm

Got home late this afternoon. My time in Michigan was fun, and also exhausting. It was great to see family, but it's good to be home.

I spent only $19 on gas and $4 on road food. Oh. Except for the $585 I spent on a dishwasher. I ordered it from Home Depot online and it will be delivered next Saturday. It's a stainless steel Maytag (stainless steel interior, too), and is the second-highest recommended dishwasher by SweetHome.com. The highest recommendation, a Bosch, was just too expensive. This was not cheap, but within my means. It was 40% off, and the total price includes installation and parts.

The day after it's installed I'll be cooking dinner for my son's birthday, so it will get a good initiation.

I have the day off tomorrow! That's because I told them I would be traveling home today. But I decided to do it earlier, and I'm really looking forward to having a day to decompress.

I came home to another $1000 check in my mailbox from work. There is still one more in the mix, and I'm about halfway into another invoice. Since I MUST get going on Christmas shopping, this is good timing.




November Recap

November 22nd, 2016 at 04:50 pm

I get my SS check tomorrow, so today I'm doing my November recap. I spent 118% of my variables budget. Oy! There were things I neglected to count, so it's higher than I thought. On top of that, I had to make a $585 payment for the cruise which came from savings. It's been kind of a rough month. Here is the breakdown:

Housing - $677
Vacation/Travel - $585
Gifts/Charity- $200
Clothing - $116
Utilities - $115
Groceries - $111
Medical/Health - $103
Gas - $100
Eating Out - $79
Fees/Services - $75
Vet/Pet Supplies - $70
Phone - $52
Personal $27
Laundry - $17
Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - $15
Miscellaneous - $12
Household Supplies - $10
Entertainment - $8
Fares/Parking - $6
Grand Total - $2378

Tomorrow I head up to Michigan. I'm nowhere near ready, but tomorrow morning I'll just do what needs to be done and leave whenever. Just hope it doesn't get too late in the day, because traffic will be terrible. Since I have to drive around the bottom on the lake, there is really no alternate route.

Probably will not be checking in -- so everyone have an awesome Thanksgiving, and I'll meet you on the other side!

Weekend Recap

November 21st, 2016 at 05:22 pm

I had a really great time with BFF. But I did go over my budget. I don't care. You have to grab your good times when they come along.

My spending was not terribly frivolous. I spent $26 on gas, $48 on eating out, $7 on a movie -- "Arrival", $47 on gifts, $16 on household items, and $115 on clothing (which included two pairs of shoes). And today I spent $21 on groceries and $3 on breakfast. My variables spending is at 111%. My month ends on Wednesday, when I get paid.

December won't be any better, probably worse, since my Christmas shopping is not any where near done. I'll have to make up for it in the early months of 2017.

I did finally get my first check from the museum! Whew, so slow!

Doing laundry tonight, getting ready for my trip up to Michigan. My brother DID ask for cranberry relish, so I'll have to make that tomorrow.

Bummer

November 18th, 2016 at 03:09 pm

My dishwasher is full of water and it won't turn on. I had a rather expensive fix about a year ago (?) I'm not going to fix it again. I think it's old. I'm going to get a new one.

But I'm not going to get it right away, unless I find some great Black Friday-type deal. I'm going to wash dishes by hand for a while. After all, it's just me.

It was loaded (I guess I didn't notice the water in the bottom). So I unloaded it and washed all the dishes in the sink and set them out on the kitchen table to dry (on towels).

While I was at it I splashed a bunch of water on the floor, so I mopped the floor. Now I'm exhausted!

Not great timing, since I'm having company tomorrow. I don't think I'll cook dinner after all. And I only have $553 in the slush fund. I wish there were a little more. I haven't made enough money at the museum yet to pay for the car repair, let alone a new dishwasher.

On the good news side, I cashed in enough in MyPoints to get a $25 Amazon gift card. I did this at work and wrote the code down on a pad WITH the note "Amazon" and then left it on my desk which is in a fairly public area! Dumb. I was happy that once I got home I could still retrieve the code from my email and enter it on my Amazon account -- so even if someone tries to use it, it's already claimed.

I'm trying to get ready for my BFF. I did a load of laundry this morning before work. I changed the linens. I prepared my Goodwill donations (since we'll be going there.) I have five bags full. I'm putting things away, but really, she won't care even if it is messy, so I don't know why I'm worried. Tomorrow morning I'll vacuum; that's the big thing.

This morning I told my boss what is going on with my health. I just wanted her to know why I sometimes can't work as long as I said I would, and why I have so many doctor's appointments. She's very young, and she seemed a little freaked, so I had to stress that it's really more like a condition than a disease. I hope it was the right thing to do.

After beautiful weather, it's turning cold tonight. We may even see our first snowflakes. I'm not excited, but it's inevitable.

$50 to the Foot Doctor

November 17th, 2016 at 03:08 pm

I got billed $50 by the podiatrist. (The bill is online -- I don't get mail that fast!) It appears the charge is for the office visit. I may be okay on the orthotics. It looks like insurance paid in full. They were quite a bit cheaper than I expected them to be.

I wore them for six hours today (though most of the time I was not on my feet). Still having no problems. The people at the podiatrist's office were very insistent that I build up slowly, and that I might experience some pain or discomfort, but I think I'm going to have an easy adjustment.

I had a poor night's sleep last night and felt very groggy at work today. I did the best I could and put in four hours. My boss was out sick, so that made it easy to leave early. Hoping to sleep well tonight and be fresh (and more productive) tomorrow.

I got my $5 Starbucks coupon via email. I was hoping for a gift card, as I wanted to use it as a stocking stuffer. I think I may use the virtual coupon to buy a gift card, adding some cash to make it a $20 card. It would be a good gift for my DIL.

I really need to get going on Christmas shopping, but I still have my son's birthday to worry about. I think he may get an Amazon card, since I am so lousy at picking out gifts. With an Amazon card, he can get whatever he wants.

I'm not even any good at shopping from Amazon wish lists! One year I misread the page and bought my son "best sellers" instead of what was on his list. It was pretty funny.

I need to think about what I'll take to Thanksgiving, too. Last year my brother asked me to make cranberry relish. He hasn't asked for anything this year. I may just take pistachios for the snacking over the weekend.

Can you tell I am really low energy? I hope that will change as I get used to my condition and get more sleep. Or maybe my energy will come back when I stop working! But I'll work as long as they want me to; I can't turn down the money.

A nice, calm Wednesday

November 16th, 2016 at 04:50 pm

My only spending today was $1 for coffee. I keep saying $1, because I round up when I'm talking about my spending, but I actually only spend .71. The real price is $1.21, but every day I use a .50 coupon which is issued on my receipt. I wonder when they're going to stop doing that! Until then I will continue to get coffee for only .71. It's Starbucks coffee, too! I've been getting the Holiday blend.

I'm breaking in my orthotics a little at a time. The directions say only an hour a day to start. I've been doing a little more than that, but I haven't done a lot of walking on them. So far they feel fine to me.

I ran into my friend C. outside Planet Fitness. She just joined! She's a little freaked, as she's never had a gym membership before, but I reassured her that PF is welcoming and friendly -- and cheap! We're going to plan to go together sometimes.

Anyway, she told me she was advised by her doctor to get physical therapy for her knee. When she checked with her insurance (which is exactly the same as mine -- same company, same plan) they told her it would cost $40 per session. Well, I've had six sessions, and no one has asked me for payment. At one point, a clerk in the doctor's office said it would be $5 per session, but I was never even charged that. Now I'm wondering if I will get a bill now that the PT is done.

Yesterday I was feeling a little peeved because BFF was starting to cave about coming up this weekend. She is coming. Her DIL had asked her to babysit, but after some back and forth she finally said, no, it wasn't on her calendar and she had made other plans. She did this without any prodding from me, so I'm so glad I didn't say anything.

I had lunch with my friend K. today. We always brown-bag it, usually sitting outside the museum, but today she suggested that next time we walk to a Greek restaurant in the neighborhood. She wanted to be sure it was all right with me, both financially and for my diet. I found her consideration very touching. We will probably do that after Thanksgiving break.

I also signed up for a happy hour and a luncheon with my professional association. I figure I'm going to keep pursuing all my social and professional contacts as much as I can. It's easy to get kind of isolated when you're retired, and I don't want that to happen. Both events will take place in December.

No-spend day

November 15th, 2016 at 01:43 pm

Well, surprisingly, it's been a no-spend day. I picked up my orthotics today (wearing them!) and they said there was no charge. Well, I know that's not true; the insurance company told me they would cover only 80%. So I guess a bill will be forthcoming, but I didn't have to pay it today. So for now, my variables budget is safe!

I went to the gym, and I went to have my blood drawn for the genome project. They told me it could be a year before I had results. That's okay, I wasn't actually expecting results -- I thought I was just donating for the sake of science! I asked about the $5 Starbucks card, and the people at the lab didn't seem to know anything about that. So I'm hoping I will get it in the mail; if not, it's no great loss.

BFF is waffling about coming this weekend. (She always does this. She would like me to always come to her.) I'm holding firm. I'm the one who is working, and now I'm also sick, for heaven's sake! Her kids have asked her to babysit, and I'm sure they have a good reason, but this is a pattern. No plan with me is ever solid. She takes me and my gracious flexibility for granted. I'm not really angry, if it sounds like it. I'm just stating facts. Luckily, she is a really good person otherwise, and worth the aggravation!

So we'll see if I actually have company this weekend. If not, it will mean more time to rest, and I won't have to worry about cleaning the house, or cooking!

Some Spending

November 14th, 2016 at 05:47 pm

Today I went to work with not nearly enough gas in my tank. I had gone to the gas station on Saturday, but it was so crowded I got impatient and left, thinking I would fill it Sunday. Sunday I didn't drive anywhere (skipped the gym, bad me). By this morning I had forgotten entirely about the gas situation, but I thought I had enough to get to work. And I did. But on the way home, the needle fell to empty. I didn't dare push it (too many bad neighborhoods where I wouldn't want to be stranded), so I stopped at a Chicago station and paid $2.44 per gallon, a lot more than I would pay at home. $25 total.

After I got home, I went to the gym and then to Aldi, where I spent $27 on kitty litter, paper towels, a red pepper, a bag of frozen chicken breasts, a bag of frozen tilapia, croutons, vinegar, Red Lobster biscuit mix, and celery. With BFF coming this weekend, I thought I would make a Red Lobster meal, with the tilapia, a side of broccoli, and the biscuits.

I also bought a coffee today at work - $1.

I had a pretty good night's sleep last night. I woke up early, but the first time I looked at the clock it was 6, which is a decent time to get up.

Tomorrow I go get my orthotics. I'm also going to try to get the blood draw done for the genome study, which will earn me a $5 Starbucks card.

I found a quarter today.

Variables spending is at 67%, with a week and two days to go.

The birthday party last night was sweet. Grandson had asked for key lime pie for his birthday cake -- I had just the tiniest sliver. Otherwise the dairy in it would set me off. It was so delicious! I got tired early and left to hit the sack, but my grandson's innocence and happiness was just what I needed.

My New Normal

November 13th, 2016 at 05:19 am

My new normal is waking up at 3 am. I have a vague sense that something is wrong, and then I remember. My disappointment is crushing. My country is careening away from everything I thought it was. I can't go back to sleep.

I am just going through the motions in my life now. I'm going to ask my doctor about antidepressants, because I just can't do this.

Yesterday I was operating on about four hours of sleep, but I got a lot done. I went to my grandson's flag football game, I mailed my granddaughter's birthday present, bought two other birthday presents, bought a few groceries, worked out, made taco filling from scratch and did some laundry.

Spending was $125 all together, which brought the variables up to 61%.

I finally got the call that the orthotics are ready, so I made an appointment for Tuesday. They will probably cost me about $180 out of pocket.

Next weekend I will shop for new shoes to accommodate the orthotics (and because my shoes are worn out) and I was lucky enough to get a $40 coupon for DSW in the mail. BFF is coming up and we'll shop together. Between the orthotics and the shoes, it will probably shoot my variables budget -- well, I'll just have to make whatever cuts I can in other places.

I have been informed that assessment fees are going up 5%. That will be a $17 increase, or $213 per year. I've already adjusted my variables budget down, to allow for this extra fixed expense. The building is getting a new roof.

Tonight I'm going to my grandson's birthday party -- just a simple family get-together with cake and presents. I think there will be a lot of extra hugging.

Problems with the Blogs

November 12th, 2016 at 05:23 am

I don't know how to get help now that Jeffrey is gone, but I can't read any blogs -- just the first page with the short blurbs. Clicking in gets me the "Page Not Found" message. HELP!!

Getting Back on Track

November 11th, 2016 at 04:30 am

Well, it's been quite a week, but I'm starting to feel normal again, and hopeful.

Yesterday I got to meet Laura (Nebraska) as she and her husband made a swing through Chicago! Delightful. I wish I could meet all the bloggers; it's so much fun.

I spent $3 yesterday on breakfast and $6 on cat food. Variables are hovering around 44%.

I'm finishing up another invoice cycle at work today -- another $1000. Still haven't seen any of it, though.

It's turning colder, and a hard freeze is expected tomorrow. I'm almost looking forward to it, because when it gets really cold, the radiators stay on all the time. In this in-between time, they come and go, come and go, and I'm never really warm.

Through all of this -- going back to work, the election, the diagnosis of kidney disease -- I've remained faithful to the gym, and I'm so proud of myself for that. I've never been a gym person before, but now I understand how having a place to go to that is purely devoted to exercise makes all the difference. I'm so glad I found a place that is not expensive. That said, it seems that Planet Fitness has forgotten to charge me the annual fee. It was supposed to come through in October. Now we're almost halfway through November, and still nothing. I assume they will figure it out eventually, but till then I'll just watch the Discover bill.

Going to a pizza party at my ex's house tonight with the kids. My ex is a school superintendent, and after the election he wrote a very fine open letter to his students about welcome and inclusiveness. It's been forwarded a jillion times on Facebook now. I'm proud of him, and despite the differences and betrayals that split us apart, it's heartening to be reminded of the values we share, too.

Anyway, free dinner tonight! And a lovely weekend to look forward to.

A Wasted Day

November 9th, 2016 at 02:09 pm

Well, my day at the polls was a complete waste of time. Not only was it a long, long day, working hard with snarky people who showed not a bit of appreciation, but then it was capped by the worst nightmare I could imagine. I commented on another post, but I'll say it here, too. This waste of space will never be my President. And with that I'll let it rest.

Spending has been pretty lean. I did a couple of loads of laundry over the weekend, and this morning I bought breakfast for $4. Food was provided at the polling place (I guess that was the one good thing about it!)

Not much other news. I'm pretty sad and dispirited.


Election Setup

November 7th, 2016 at 04:39 pm

Today I and the other judges set up for Election Day tomorrow. All the equipment has been tested and stored. We're ready! Now I just have to get up early enough to get there at 5am tomorrow!

Turns out the site where I will be working has a large kitchen with a fridge and microwave, and everyone will get time off for lunch unless the polls are REALLY busy, so I really didn't have to stress about what to pack for lunch. But I'll take my snack bag, anyway.

I paid my wheel tax today -- $75. Wheel tax is kind of a residency parking sticker, but there's no sticker -- it's all done by computer.

No spending otherwise. Oh, except for my $1 cup of coffee at work. (I did work in the morning; election setup in the afternoon).

I went to the gym after setup and got my free pizza slice. I exercised, too, of course. In addition, I got in a good 30-45 minutes of walking when I walked to and from the polling place. I would do it again tomorrow, but it'll be dark, and perhaps rainy, so I'll drive. Just hope I can find free parking.

Be sure and vote tomorrow!

Flag Football, and Shopping

November 6th, 2016 at 06:09 am

Yesterday I went to see my grandson's first flag football game. Yep, no sooner is baseball done, than football begins. He is certainly a dedicated athlete.

I made two grocery trips before and after the game. The first was to Jewel, where I got a free MyMixx item -- popcorn snack worth $2.99 -- and nine other items: Banana chips, breakfast bars, dried apricots, granola, 2 Luna bars, blueberries, raspberries and an onion. $22. All the snacky things have been loaded into a bag to take to the polling place on Election Day. I'm not going to try to pack food that has to be kept cold.

The second was to Aldi. I bought 11 items there for $22, also. Biscuits, applesauce, spring mix, mushrooms, raisins, cream cheese, grape tomatoes, eggs, bagels, kitty litter and a package of bottled water. While at Aldi I made a quick diversion to PetSmart, where I bought fish food for $7 and two stuffed toys for my grand-dogs ($11). They will go in the Christmas package to Florida.

Variables spending is at 34%.

Had a so-so night, not as painless as the night before, but I feel pretty good today. I'm working on a load of laundry ($1.50).

Just talked myself down from going to DSW and getting some new shoes. I do need them, but it would be much wiser to wait until I get my orthotics, so I can get something I know they will fit.

Will be going to the library later to check out a new audiobook. I'll try to combine that outing with my visit to the gym.

Speaking of the gym, tomorrow is Pizza Day! So my plan for tomorrow is to work in the morning, come home and go to the polling place to help set up, then go to the gym for dinner and a workout. Then Tuesday is my long day at the polls -- which will only earn me about $11 per hour (counting the setup time, too). I'd be much better off spending the day at work, where I earn $25 per hour, but I didn't know I would be working when I signed up. But I'll do what I said I would do. And who knows, maybe next year I'll really need the extra money, and I'll be on the list.




Feeling Better

November 5th, 2016 at 06:02 am

Knock on wood, but the new statin seems to be fine. I'm not feeling any joint pain or muscle pain. I slept well last night. This is big.

Big expenditure today -- I'm going to take a $585 check to son's house to pay my share of the upcoming cruise. That seems awfully cheap; I'm not sure if there is more... It will come out of my slush fund, and will not affect variables.

I bought a book of stamps yesterday - $9. Did laundry for $1.50 (and again today).

After the gym today I'll stop at the grocer and pick up my ten items.

I'm coming near the end of my audiobook, so it's back to the library tomorrow. I also have to check out the polling place where I'm working (not sure where it is) and I need to do some birthday shopping and mailing. Glad I'm feeling better!

Woke up at 3:30!

November 4th, 2016 at 05:09 am

I got a good night's sleep -- went to bed around 8, but woke up at 3:30. I decided to get up and get some things done, as things have been getting away from me since my diagnosis.

I did a load of laundry, unloaded the dishwasher, cleaned the cat pan, washed my hair, packed a lunch, packed my gym bag -- I'm ready to go, but it's still a half-hour too early. Though it might not hurt to get on the road early this morning. I assume the Cubs victory celebration will affect traffic, even this early.

I got gas yesterday - $25. Also bought some coffee for $1. My new prescription was only $2. My variables are up to 25%.

K. gave me a HUGE Asian pear yesterday -- I'll be eating it for days!

I've noticed that I now feel a little nausea that comes and goes -- which is typical for this disease. My appetite is slacking off. I think I may have no trouble losing weight now. Just have to be careful to get my nutrition.

So far the new prescription is not making me hurt. But it's been one day.

Really looking forward to a restful weekend.

Just a Lot of Blather

November 2nd, 2016 at 06:03 pm

I had another bad night, not as bad as the others, but still ... just not getting enough sleep. After I got home from work today I had to lie down, I was so drained and exhausted, but then I had to get up again to go to the doctor.

This is the doctor who is subbing for my own doctor, and helping me out with my statin. At first she wasn't hearing me about the pain I am experiencing. I suppose it does boggle the mind that I have tried three statins and they all make me hurt. I probably sound like a whiner, but the pain is very real.

She settled on fluvastatin, which I haven't tried before, and which may have the advantage of being gentle on my kidneys. I will fill the prescription tomorrow.

I talked to my insurance company today and made sure they will send my info to my mortgage lender. They didn't have my loan number, so that was stopping the flow of information. That still doesn't solve the problem of the building insurance. I called my property manager, and I was given a number to call. I had to leave a message, but got no reply yet.

Spending today was $1 for coffee, $2 for parking, and $5 copay at the doctor's.

I'm going to meet K. for lunch tomorrow, so I have to figure out something for the brown bag. I do have apple slices. I may have to make a peanut butter sandwich. Or I could take some yogurt.

I didn't get to the gym today. I rarely miss, but the day was too crowded and I was too tired.

I got my free OTC medications in the mail today. I ordered Tyelnol -- regular, and PM -- menthol gel, Pepsid, lambs wool for my feet, and CoQ10. That was $50 worth!

I haven't heard anything about the orthotics. It seems like it's taking a long time to make them. I'd like to get that payment over with, and I'd also like to get some relief for my feet.

The teachers in our school district are threatening to go on strike soon. That means my DIL will need some help with babysitting, since she just recently got a part-time job. The timing isn't good for me, since I am working now, but I told her that if she can let me know on Mondays when I am needed, I can work it out in my schedule. The kids' other grandma also lives nearby, and she will help, too. She has a part-time job herself. My son can pitch in sometimes, too, as he can work from home on some days. We'll get it done. The best news would be, of course, that they decide not to strike!

Halloween

November 1st, 2016 at 04:42 am

Last night I went trick or treating with the grandsons (and their parents, and various other relatives and friends). It was a big group, and we had a lot of fun. It is so much fun to celebrate Halloween in our neighborhood. The neighbors really dress up their houses with all the spooky effects, and since they live in older, turn-of-the-century houses, they look fantastic!

I ended up walking quite a bit. I gave in went I felt I'd had enough, but it wasn't soon enough. My hips and legs ached tremendously, and I slept very poorly. Now that I can only take Tylenol, I don't get the pain relief I used to.

I think the Crestor is still very much in my system and working against me. Can't wait to get some relief. I hope they really have another statin that will work for me without causing pain.

Anyway, my sleep was so disturbed, I ended up getting up at 4. When I am up and moving around, the pain is not so bad. I don't believe I could have possibly slept more than a couple of hours. I hope I can stay alert today. I only have to work four hours today, but there is the commute, too.

So... I'm supposed to be talking about money, right? Not much to report. I didn't spend anything yesterday. Today I'll pay my wheel tax and renew my AARP membership. I have to get the insurance issue settled, too. I didn't have time to do it yesterday. I guess that's it!