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Archive for August, 2017

Just Got Home

August 31st, 2017 at 07:46 pm

I'm back from my short trip to Indiana. Here is what I spent:

Gas: $17
Food: $33
Goodwill Shopping: $53

Here's what I got for the $53:

Skirt for my granddaughter
11 Ball Jars
Gap Hoodie
2 casual jackets
Black leather jacket
3 pajama bottoms/workout pants
Bra
Santa collectible
Orrefors crystal vase
Book
Butter dish
Teacup
1 pair of socks

I am hoping to sell the Orrefors vase for a profit at some future time. But if I don't, it will be nice to have for flowers. I always use a pitcher now.

BFF and I usually go to a movie, but instead we watched a couple of them on HBO - Collateral Beauty, and Jackie. BFF somehow accidentally got signed up for premium channels -- we decided to take advantage until she fixed it.

We had only one restaurant meal, which was about $20. The rest was road food.

I remained sugar-free, and I have to say, I am not feeling very much craving for sugar -- more like just struggling to break habits. My legs definitely feel better. I have not had the burning feeling since the first day. I do think the sugar was adding to the inflammation.

My BFF said a friend of hers was suffering the same problem with inflammation, and she is cutting out sugar, as well as some other things. I am going to start with sugar, and so far it's been beneficial.

On the way home I passed a full bag of potatoes on the side of the road -- it looked like a 25 lb. bag! And later on, a big bag of plastic cups. I sure wished I could have stopped for them, but they were in places where it was hard to stop. I'm sure someone will manage to get them!

BFF did send me home with some fresh garden tomatoes. What a delight! I love "real" tomatoes in summer. And she gave me a nice top she couldn't wear. I only had a can of nuts for her, but I'll make it up some other time!

As always, it was a great, refreshing trip. We are now making plans to go to Ludington, Michigan, this fall, and to New England next spring/summer. It's always great to have something to look forward to!

My Houston relatives rode out the storm high and dry. I don't know how easy the days to come will be, but at least they didn't have to evacuate and did not suffer loss of property. What a terrible mess that hurricane has left. Redoubles my appreciation that all I have to deal with is blizzards and tornadoes

Free Soup!

August 28th, 2017 at 12:47 pm

It was another no-spend day, with a free meal to beat -- well, several actually! Because my DIL sent me home with a rather large container of purple soup. It was made with purple potatoes, purple cauliflower and purple carrots. No one in their family liked it. I haven't tasted it yet, but I trust that some seasoning might rescue it.

I'm afraid I have the reputation in my family as the one who will eat anything!

Just had a bad night struggling with tingling pain in both legs. Reading about the experience of others, I think that I should try cutting out sugar. (Which will be painful it itself -- I love sugar!) I think I can do it short-term, though, to learn if it's the problem. It would certainly be good for me in many ways if I could cut out sugar -- but life would be a lot duller, too. Actually, just the thought of it is depressing.

Since I'm getting on the road tomorrow, I hope I can sleep tonight.

I am concerned about those in Houston. My cousin lives there, and he is safe, but trapped in his home because of high water, which promises to get higher. We haven't heard from Secretary Saving, have we? I know she was planning to stay in place, and I would like to know that she is okay.

No-Spend Day

August 27th, 2017 at 12:59 pm

Saturday was a no-spend day. I went to my grandson's first Fall Ball game, and afterwards to the library, where I exchanged my Harry Potter book for the next in the series. Tonight we are having a pizza & movie night at my son's house -- we will be watching the first Harry Potter movie. (We are all reading the series.) Tomorrow school starts, so this is kind of the last party of summer.

This morning I am making the sloppy joe filling and spaghetti sauce. I don't think I will eat either one today, as I have more salad to eat, and I will be getting pizza tonight. I think the spaghetti sauce will go straight into the freezer. I'll have sloppy joes tomorrow and the remainder will go in the freezer. On Tuesday morning I will leave for three days in Indiana with my BFF.

I had to improvise on the sloppy joes, because I didn't have nearly enough ketchup. Luckily, there was some barbecue sauce in the fridge, so I think they will turn out well. Maybe tastier than usual!

I think today will be a no-spend day, too.

I intend to take it easy until I go out for dinner. I do have plenty of household chores to catch up on. And a lot of reading to do!

New Shoes!

August 26th, 2017 at 12:38 pm

I did go to the Skechers Outlet yesterday, and they had the shoes I've been eying online. The price was the same, with the added advantage that I got to try them on and there was no shipping cost. I paid $44, and I'm happy to have them. They are so comfortable!

I also got my haircut -- $17 even with the coupon! Price is going up. And while I was waiting for the outlet to open, I got a muffin at Corner Bakery for $2.

Once home, I did a load of laundry for $1.50.

My variables are up to 50%. But I think I have done most of my purchasing. I have a trip to BFF's coming up, as well as dinner in the city with friends, and an outing to the botanical gardens. And I imagine I will have to pay more medical bills.

I realized last night that I will have to pay my assessment fee twice this cycle. I already paid it, but it will come due again the day before I get paid again. Bummer. It will have to come out of savings, as the budget doesn't allow for a double dip.

I cancelled the rest of my physical therapy. I won't do any exercise until I see the doctor on September 6 and get the green light.

I have to report for jury duty on September 5. If I get chosen, and if the trial lasts more than one day, that will throw a wrench into some of my plans, but I guess the bright spot is that I would get paid a little. The worst part is figuring out how to get there (it's in the city) and where to park. I've tried to figure out mass transit, but it's too complicated -- two trains and a bus. Too many opportunities to screw up and be late.

Another Errand Day

August 25th, 2017 at 01:16 pm

Yesterday I did a little more shopping. I started out at Walgreen's, where I bought three bottles of conditioner. I got the third bottle free, and 1,000 points in rewards. Total cost was $14. These are large bottles. I'm set for conditioner for quite a while.

Then I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond and bought a drapery rod for $40. That was the price after a 20% reduction. I looked for cheaper options, but this one had the look and sturdiness I desired.

While at BB&B, I found a Christmas gift for DIL, a vegetable crisper/carrier. It was half-price; $6. I also bought a device to catch hair in my bathtub drain -- unfortunately it does not fit and I'll have to take it back today.

Then I went to PetSmart and got two more containers of kitty litter, using two $5 coupons. Final price was $20.

Finally, I went to Aldi and got 11 more items: eggs, syrup, salsa, hamburger buns, dark chocolate bar, frozen salmon, coffee, ground beef, shredded cheese, pizza and ice cream. Total was $41.

I still haven't bought much in the way of produce. I may do that at the farmer's market on Saturday.

I also got some gas for $27 and bought a sausage biscuit at McDonald's for $2.

So today I have to go back to BB&B -- and I'm going to stop at a new Skecher outlet which is on the way. I want to see if they have anything similar to the sneaker clogs I have loved to death.

Another goal today is to cook off the ground beef and make spaghetti sauce and sloppy joe filling.

And I need to get a haircut. I have a $3 coupon toward that.

Variables are already at 41%, and I'm planning to go see BFF next week.

Yesterday's Spending

August 24th, 2017 at 01:25 pm

I paid a $41 medical bill, spent $33 on groceries, $24 on pet supplies, $11 on postage, $36 on gifts, and $2 on entertainment.

The groceries: my 10 items at Aldi were bread, crackers, granola, vanilla wafers, butter, croutons, salad, mayo, honey, and almond milk. Then I went to Jewel to buy lactose-free creamer and sherbet.

The pet supplies were a container of kitty litter and a gravel vacuum. I had a $3 coupon for the kitty litter. But I forgot to bring an additional $5 coupon. The cash register spit out another one, so now I have two. Since they have an expiration date, I'm going to get two more containers today. The litter I like is on sale as well.

The gifts were an Amazon order for my grandson's upcoming birthday. He loves red pandas, so I got him a stuffed toy and a T-shirt that says, "Be Yourself, Unless You Can Be a Red Panda." Or something like that. By accepting the somewhat slower free shipping, I earned a $5 credit for Amazon Prime Now.

The $2 was for a PowerBall ticket, which yielded nothing but an evening of dreams.

Today, when I get going, I'm going to get a curtain rod for my "new" garage-sale curtains, and some more groceries.

My variables are at 20%.

Still feeling pretty good. I can tell my knee is not functioning correctly, but at least it doesn't hurt.

Celebration!

August 23rd, 2017 at 02:03 pm

Several reasons to celebrate today! First of all, it's pay day, and after paying my credit cards and mortgage, I have $184 extra in my checking account (that is -- not already targeted for utilities, assessment fee and my condo insurance payment). Usually I come closer to zero. I'm going to transfer $84 to savings. I like to keep a little surplus in checking for surprises. (The great majority of my spending is done on credit cards, which I pay in full.)

Second, I feel so much better! It's only because I'm taking an effective painkiller (375 mg of Naproxen), and I know the problems are still there, but what a relief. I did my blood work yesterday and hope to hear some illuminating results today.

Third, I really slept well! Which doesn't happen all that often any more.

Today I'm going to get 10 items at Aldi, plus make a side trip to PetSmart for kitty litter and a new gravel cleaner for the aquarium. I'm also going to get gas, and I have two packages to mail -- one for the shower I missed, and the other is a packet of greeting cards for my granddaughter, who gets "mail" at her preschool. My DIL will dole them out every Friday.

Until I get some word from my doctor, I am postponing all physical activity, including physical therapy and the gym. The stairs will be stress enough on my bad knee.

So here is my August recap:

Housing: $695
Property Tax: $614
Furnishings/Equipment/Decor: $281
Gift/Charity: $198
Utilities: $174
Groceries: $94
Vet/Pet Supplies: $92
Eating Out: $91
Medical/Health: $71
Entertainment: $58
Phone: $52
Gas: $29
Laundry: $14
Fares/Parking: $8
Household Supplies: $7
Fees/Services: $5
Personal: $2

Grand Total: $2485

This month was a bit high, mostly because of the semi-annual property tax and the new phone. I also contributed $100 to a scholarship fund.

I spent 96% of my variables budget.

Now I'm off to shower and start my day!

Cancelled My Trip

August 22nd, 2017 at 12:51 pm

I saw the doctor yesterday. He is concerned about what is going on in my legs and has ordered some blood tests. I'll get the blood drawn today. I have finally admitted to myself that I am not up to travelling and I cancelled my trip. This is very disappointing to me. Not only was I looking forward to visiting with my brother and SIL, but I was also looking forward to meeting my nephew's wife. I am going to have to mail the shower gift.

That said, I am relieved not to have to make the effort. I can rest today and work on getting better.

My doctor is checking to see whether the inflammation in my knee and hips is spreading into a systemic inflammation, which could be dangerous if it enters the bloodstream. He is also checking for gout. He is checking with my nephrologist to get permission to use NSAIDs, which would help with the pain. He also told me I should triple the Tylenol dosage I am using. He told me to postpone physical therapy until we have some answers.

I've been struggling with this pain since before July 4, and I'm at my wit's end. I hope I'm at the beginning of the end.

Yesterday I went outside to read at "eclipse time" just to experience the atmosphere, since I didn't have the glasses. But then I got so hungry, so I went to a nearby yogurt place for sorbet and fruit. The shop owner let me use his glasses! So I did get to see the eclipse as I ate my sorbet in the outdoor seating area. It was amazing! We didn't get the full eclipse here, of course, and it was somewhat cloudy, but it was a solemn and majestic moment. I'm glad I saw the banana in the sky!

Spending yesterday was $1 for breakfast and $6 for the sorbet. Not only are my groceries dwindling, but I find I am not feeling like cooking; it's too uncomfortable to stand for long. I will try to get the chicken fajita made today, as that will probably serve for two meals.

Tomorrow is pay day, and I can grocery shop and stock up, but I am not sure if I will feel good enough to carry groceries up the stairs.

My variables are currently at 93%, so I will come in under budget this month, no matter what I do today! And I'm planning to do nothing.

Monday Morning

August 21st, 2017 at 01:29 pm

Yesterday I went to my ex's (along with the kids and grandkids) for what he calls the Big Breakfast. It IS a big breakfast -- eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, fruit, fried potatoes, and all the fixins. We ended up talking around the table until about 2 pm. I ate so much I didn't eat anything else until I had some sorbet at about six.

My kids gave me a DNA test kit for my birthday. Yesterday I finally got it sent in. I know quite a bit about my heritage on paper, but it will be interesting to see if the science matches the genealogy. I am expecting a BIG percentage will be centered in England.

I went to the library to get the next Harry Potter, and I also checked out the movie of the first book. Won't be able to watch (with the kids and C) until I get back from Michigan, though.

At this point, I'm planning to leave for Michigan tomorrow morning. I am hoping my doctor will offer me some relief this afternoon. I had an awful night and it was the second one in a row. Sleep is elusive these days.

Yesterday was a no-spend day. I've got $103 left in the budget, which should cover the gas and a trip to the bakery I frequent up in Michigan. I like to stock up on bread there. Until I get on the road, it's going to be creative meal planning here. I'm running out of most staples. But I've got the ingredients to make chicken fajitas today, and for another meal I can have a hard-boiled egg, cheese cubes, and ants-on-a-log.

Really hope I feel good enough to get on the road tomorrow morning. It will be a long day, with the 3-hour ride up there, and the shower in the evening.

At least I will not be on the road during the eclipse! I do plan to go outside and just experience the change, without looking at the sun. I am actually not tempted to do that -- I know the news will provide plenty of footage!

Garage Sale Finds

August 20th, 2017 at 12:58 pm

Yesterday's garage sale-ing yielded a new glass pitcher for the fridge ($4), 10 greeting cards ($2.50), a book (.25), and a Mickey Mouse jacket (Disney brand) for my littlest grandson ($3). My eldest grandson came along and he bought an Android tablet for $2! And it works! I'm sure it is an old version, but it was virtually unused, and included the charger! I'll be interested to learn today what he managed to do with it.

Afterwards, we all went to lunch at Noodles & Company, where I spent $12. I was really disappointed to learn they no longer offer Indonesian Satay, which was my favorite. So I had potstickers and my grandson had mac & cheese. C paid for herself; she had Pad Thai.

We managed to avoid a parking fee by keeping our lunch under one hour.

It was a good day.

I came home and promptly fell asleep on the bed, taking a two-hour nap. Of course, that messed with my sleep last night. After hours of tossing and turning, and struggling with my (returning) pain, I got up and started looking up symptoms on the internet. I now think my stubborn knee pain may be septic bursitis, which has to be treated with antibiotics. I made an appointment with my doctor to discuss it tomorrow. This will cut into my trip to Michigan, but I need to get this problem resolved. The baby shower is on Tuesday evening, so I can still leave on Tuesday morning and make it. It will just give me less time with my brother.

Variables are now at 90%. Three more days to pay day.

A Bit of Spending

August 19th, 2017 at 11:43 am

Just a bit. I bought kitty litter and fish food at PeSmart for $22. Also some glue sticks and two cans of mixed nuts at Walgreens for $8 (after using the balance on a gift card). At PetSmart I earned a coupon for $5 off kitty litter next time. At Walgreens I was supposed to get 1,000 reward points, but I see on the receipt that I wasn't credited, so I'll have to go wrangle with them today.

The mixed nuts are a bread & butter gift for my brother, so were counted as a vacation expense.

This pushed variables up to 87%. Four days till pay day.

Today I've planned to go garage saling with C. I'm not looking for anything in particular, just for fun.

Remember I commented on a car-dwelling person always parked by Planet Fitness? The other day I realized it was a woman. I previously assumed she was a man, because she always wears a baseball cap, but when she got out of the car, I saw that she was was an older woman. Somehow that made me feel sadder. She apparently has a membership at PF, because I have since seen her coming out of the bathroom. My guess is she uses the showers. My sense is she is not a person like Tabs, who has a home. This is her home. So sad.

Improvement?

August 18th, 2017 at 11:49 am

I almost hate to say it and jinx myself, but my knee seems improved. I went to the gym yesterday to do my strength training, as well as a short stint on the bike. After that, I stayed holed up in my condo. I am seeing a difference now in pain and flexibility.

No spending yesterday. My variables are at 82%, with only four days to go.

On Monday I'm going to leave for Michigan. I think I will just make this a 2-day trip. It depends on what my brother and SIL are doing. They are retired, but they are usually busy with other activities on Wednesdays. At any rate, I won't be gone for more than 3 days, because that's as long my cats and fish can go without outside help.

After complaining about Pine Cone, I qualified for three surveys in a row, so I guess my complaints were unfounded! Nice to have that little bit of income for my snowflakes.

I am determined not to go to the grocery store before payday. I have plenty of food; however, I am finding it is not always the food I want to eat. I need to be a little more proactive about preparing meals, but with the knee pain I haven't felt like cooking. Maybe today I can turn that around.

On Sunday morning I'm going to a family breakfast at my ex's house, so that will help stretch my pantry!

Oh, and best news of all -- my phone fixed itself after I downloaded a system upgrade and I am now able to receive calls. Whew!

Son Went to ER

August 17th, 2017 at 12:36 pm

Last night when my son was biking home from work, he was cut off by a car, thrown off his bike, and he passed out briefly after the accident. A good Samaritan called for help, and he ended up in the ER. He only has a few bumps and bruises, and everything else checked out, but it was a bit of a scare. I went and sat with him for a little while as he was waiting to be discharged, more to keep him company than anything else.

I learned, through this incident, that my new phone is not ringing and is not even logging incoming calls. So when people are trying to contact me, I have no idea. Texting, however, works fine. I went through all the troubleshooting steps, but it didn't seem like any of them were the fix. But Motorola has pushed two system upgrades, so I am in the process of downloading and installing them. If the phone is still not working properly, I guess I have to call the company. Tired of this. So nostalgic for the days when stuff actually worked.

C and I took the boys to the $1 children's movie yesterday. I took the caramel corn I made for a treat. (Hidden away in my bag, of course!)

I had another PT session. The therapist seems frustrated, as I am clearly not improving as quickly as I should. I'm frustrated, too. He thinks it is osteoarthritis, but I'm experiencing a flareup, which should settle down in time. Weight-bearing exercise seems to be the worst trigger. But I'm stuck up here above three flights of stairs, and I can't help but aggravate my injury every time I go out, or go to the basement to do a wash.

I won't see him again until next Thursday, so I hope there will be significant improvement by then.

A Good Movie and Good Deals

August 16th, 2017 at 01:24 pm

I went to the movie yesterday on Discount Day, so paid only $5 for the ticket. On top of that, I had a free popcorn coupon. It was for the large size, which retails for $8! C and I did our best to eat it up, but at the end of the movie, half was left. I took it home and I made caramel corn, which turned out pretty good, if a bit sticky! Perhaps in humid weather you can't avoid the stickiness.

I also went to DSW to spend my $5 coupon. In the clearance section I found what I thought were three pairs of knee-high socks marked down to only $4. I bought them and sacrificed the extra dollar. (It was the last day to use the coupon.) Well, I got them home and unrolled them and - what? - they are actually two pairs of tights, and while they ARE large, they are GIRLS' large! Total fail! I plan to give them to BFF for her granddaughters (mine is too little.) If she is not interested, I may sell them online.

But another frugal win yesterday -- I stopped at Panera while waiting for DSW to open and got a free muffin. I didn't even know I had that on my Panera card, it was just a happy surprise!

Going through my inbox yesterday, I discovered I still have another $5 coupon at DSW for my birthday, so I'm going to try again. This coupon does not expire until the end of the month.

I'm going to the children's dollar movie today with C and the grandsons. That will only cost $1 each. Too bad I got the popcorn yesterday, it would have been good to have to share today.

Today's meals -- johnnycakes for breakfast, fried rice for lunch, grilled cheese for dinner.

Variables are at 82% and I have one week left till payday. In dollars, I have $156 to spend.

Back to the movie -- it was "The Glass Castle," which is a true story of a woman who grew up in a dysfunctional home. She dealt with an alcoholic father and a neglectful mother, extreme poverty, intermittent homelessness and a vagabond life. The irony is that the woman's mother was holding onto land which she could have sold for $1M, but she didn't because her father said she should never sell land. I had read the book, so I knew what to expect. It was inspiring that the children scrimped and saved to buy their way out -- also that the main character finally learned to be open about her past and accept the good with the bad. I recommend it -- and the book even more! The author is Jeanette Walls.

Spent $5

August 15th, 2017 at 12:47 pm

I was intending to have a no-spend day yesterday, but when I walked past a custom t-shirt shop, I saw a rack of $5 shirts for sale. They were mostly men's shirts with the Cubs "W" graphic. I bought one for my Florida son, to put in his Christmas box. I figured $5 was a pretty good price. And he loves the Cubs.

I had my first physical therapy exercise session. It was strenuous. At first I felt better, then later I felt worse. This morning, after a good night's sleep, I feel better again.

Today I'm going to the gym and then to DSW to use a $5 coupon. Planning on finding a pair of socks. Then, later in the day, C and I are going to see "The Glass Castle." I loved that book; I hope the movie does it justice. I'm going to get free popcorn; I got a birthday coupon on my theater app.

Didn't eat the salmon yesterday - I wasn't hungry at dinnertime - so I'll have that today, and probably my other meal will be fried rice. For breakfast, I may make johnnycakes, but I'm not hungry yet.

Anybody have solar eclipse viewing plans? Carbondale, in our state, will have the longest total eclipse in the U.S. But it's WAY downstate, and, anyway, I'm going to be in Michigan. If I didn't have other plans, I might be interested in viewing it -- such a rare event.

Ready for Winter!

August 14th, 2017 at 12:21 pm

My only spending yesterday was a load of laundry -- the basket of totes, scarves, hats etc. that my cat soiled. Not everything was washable. I lost three scarves and a pair of gloves. That's okay, I have plenty of both. The worst problem was the lint exchange -- white on black and black on white -- I should have never washed them together! But I got them all brushed and presentable. Good job done. Today I'm going to store them in their new home, the little chest of drawers I moved to the entryway, and I'll be all ready for winter.

Variables are at 80% and nine days to go. I do have a trip coming up, but if I'm careful, I should be able to come in under this month.

My DIL gave me a chicken carcass that she was going to throw away. I made broth yesterday, and I'll combine in with leftovers to make chicken rice soup today. My other main meal will be salmon.

I went to the library yesterday and took out the next Harry Potter and three more movies - "Extremely Loud, Incredibly Close," "Aloft" and "Aloha."

After waking up yesterday with no pain, I have to admit that it came back during the day, and I had kind of a rough night last night. I have physical therapy today; hope it helps and doesn't make me feel worse. I'm also going to go to Planet Fitness and work out on the recumbent bike, but gently, of course!

Sunday Morning

August 13th, 2017 at 02:35 pm

I went out with the kids to a Mexican restaurant yesterday in honor of my birthday. It was great. But the best present of all -- I got up this morning feeling something was strangely missing. It was PAIN! For the first time my knee feels significantly better. I'm not going to push it today, though I do need to do a load of laundry. Mystery got accidentally closed up in my hall closet and relieved herself in my basket of winter accessories and tote bags. I'm just going to wash everything and see what survives. That will mean at least three trips up and down the steps.

My son brought up the chest of drawers I bought at the garage sale. It's actually a little large for the space I was hoping to fill, so I put it in my bedroom, replacing a chest that's a little smaller. The smaller chest is now going in the entryway. I plan to put hats, gloves and scarves in the drawers.

Anyway, no spending yesterday!

My new phone is finally operational. It took a long time for the SIM card to be delivered. Since my son ordered it, it was delivered to his address -- BUT, even though it cost only $1, it could not be left without a signature, and at my son's house, everybody is on the move all the time. Well, finally this weekend he had the card in hand and he set up my new phone. I am happy to report that I can now use it in every room of my condo. Plus, I have TONS of storage now, so I downloaded and started enjoying the Scrabble game immediately.

I'm getting near the end of Harry Potter, and when I'm done, C and I and the grandkids are going to watch the movie. So I'm under pressure to get it done today! I'm going to the library today (materials to return) so I'll check out the second in the series.

Exciting stuff, eh? Life is good.

Garage Sales

August 12th, 2017 at 12:13 pm

Yesterday I hit the garage sales for the first time this year. C and I went together. I had some good luck -- at the first stop, I found a small chest of drawers for $5, a set of 7 placemats for $5, and a new set of curtains, which will look great in my bedroom, for $4. At the next I bought 3 figurines for $1 apiece. Two will go to BFF and one to GS2. At the third stop I bought a new jeans jacket for GD, $5, as well as a play iron for $1.

At about noon we got tired and went to IHOP to use my birthday coupon for a free stack of pancakes. We split the balance, so lunch was $4.

After I got home I got achy and supertired, so I took some Tylenol and went to bed; got up later feeling much better.

Birthday celebrating is being delayed, as my son was traveling yesterday and GS1 was at camp. I did get a package from Florida son -- a book I really want to read, plus a promise of "something else" to come today. And I got a nice long letter from my sister, which was wonderful, as we have been out of contact for some time. She tends to "disappear" when her life gets messy (it's messy a lot) so it was good to hear from her.

Variables have jumped up to 80% -- $171 left to stay on target -- 11 days to go.

Trucking Along

August 11th, 2017 at 02:04 pm

Just got back from the gym and PetSmart, where I spent $13 on cat food. That brings my variables up to 76%. I can only spend $200 before payday to stay on track.

I believe yesterday was a no-spend day. I did go to the gym yesterday, but spent the rest of the day at home.

Meals today: Steak bread for breakfast, grilled cheese for lunch, and chicken w/brown rice, quinoa & red pepper for dinner. This may change, as today is my birthday, and the kids might take me out today.

As befitting my birthday, I found .37 today -- .35 in the laundry room and .02 at PetSmart. Which reminds me, I need to go down and put my wash in the dryer. Too bad I didn't remember to do that on my way back from my outing! Oh well.

My Eyes and My Knee

August 10th, 2017 at 01:16 pm

My eye appointment yesterday went very well. I showed a little change in my distance vision but not enough to need glasses. The optometrist suggested I might get progressive lenses, though, so I wouldn't have to go back and forth with reading glasses. Really? Buy an expensive pair of glasses just so I don't have to put on reading glasses? Wouldn't even consider it. The appointment cost $20 - copay. That didn't seem right; I didn't think there was a vision option in my Medicare Advantage, but I didn't argue with them.

After the eye appointment I went to the physical therapist's and made an appointment for later in the day. After the evaluation, they signed me up for five more visits. I won't be paying that bill until they bill me. Usually that comes at the end of the series. But it will be $45 per session. Which I didn't think was so great until I saw the price chart and realized yesterday's visit would have been $261 otherwise!

The therapist is confident I will be feeling much better in a few weeks. He advised me to get an adhesive wrap, to use the bicycle at the gym five days a week, and to continue my strength training, while avoiding any movement that hurts. Also to use heat, not ice. He said my knees are structurally fine.

So, while I hate to spend this money, I'm glad I went, and I'm looking forward to improvement.

I bought the Ace bandage this morning with my Walgreens gift card, so it was free.

I signed up to be a mystery shopper yesterday. I am disappointed at the possible assignments, however. I would say 98% of them are for car repair, which I can't use right now. Well, nobody can, since the mechanics are all on strike! There were a few for retail stores, but so far away it wouldn't be worth driving to for the little money it pays. But I'll keep checking every day.

Variables are at 71%. I will have to buy more cat food before I leave on my Michigan trip on the 20th. I can't think of any other necessity, but I really want to see the movie "The Glass Castle" which is opening this weekend. And I still have my free popcorn coupon, which I couldn't use before because of app issues.

Meals today: Breakfast - oatmeal. Lunch - Pizza. Dinner - Cheeseburger. (Note: I didn't have the cheeseburger yesterday because the burger was still frozen.) Sides, of course, will be carrots and celery!

An Uneventful Day

August 9th, 2017 at 12:41 pm

Not too much to report today. I went to PF yesterday and did my strength training, as well as picking up my free bagel. I didn't go out any more, hoping the R&R would help my knee. I was feeling pretty good at the end of the day, but then took a wrong step and pulled something, so I can't say I'm really improved. Today I have to go out to go to the eye doctor, so I'm going to stop at the physical therapist's, too. I'm playing phone tag with them and I think it will be more productive to just go there.

Had a nice conversation with another gym member over our bagel breakfast. She works at the YWCA. Sounds like they have a great aquacise program that might be worth investigating.

Meals today: Biscuits & honey for breakfast, Cheeseburger w/veggie side for lunch, Carrot Soup w/ celery sticks for dinner.

I keep getting emails from Pine Cone to participate in a survey, but lately I'm not qualifying. It seems the only thing surveyors are interested in from people in my age group are opinions about incontinence supplies and Viagra.

I guess the potential employer is not interested in setting up a meeting. I seem to have dropped from his radar. I'm not upset; I don't really want to work, but with the budget so tight, I do feel compelled to follow up when the opportunity presents itself. I'm not interested in beating the bushes, however.

I watched "Testament of Youth" yesterday, which was a little slow, but beautifully filmed and acted. It was based on the memoirs of a woman who lived through WWI.

I started the first Harry Potter last night. Still can't get into such an exaggerated story -- I like realism -- but I'll keep at it so I can discuss with the grandsons.

Zoo Day

August 8th, 2017 at 12:33 pm

Yesterday was an impromptu zoo day. I heard on the news that the zoo was having a free day for kids, so I called C to see if she'd like to join me and our grandson in a trip to the zoo. It was an absolutely perfect day, and GS had a blast taking pictures of just about every animal on exhibit.

Financially, the day set me back $29 for admission for us two seniors plus $6 for an Icee. C paid for parking and kicked in an extra $3 so GS could enter the petting zoo area. We chose not to go into the petting zoo ourselves, but watched from outside the entrance. GS seemed to enjoy his independence for those minutes.

Physically, the day beat up my legs, even though I took great care to sit every time I could. Consequently, I had an awful night. I did manage to dispel a lot of the ache with a heating pad, but I couldn't take away the throbbing pain behind my knee. This morning it is better.

I am still not able to use the new phone. The SIM card did not arrive yesterday. My son is traveling for work today -- not sure when he will be back, but it may be Friday, so I may not get the phone operational until then. At least I am able to use my current phone; it's just inconvenient.

Needless to say, I did not take advantage of pizza day at Planet Fitness yesterday. I did, however, pack a lunch for the zoo trip, using up the last tuna patty and some carrots and celery, thus avoiding that expensive zoo food. I ate my leftover hibachi food for dinner. Today is bagel day at PF, so I will try to get in on that this morning. Lunch and supper will probably be salmon, with mashed potatoes and roasted veggies, and grilled cheese with carrot soup.

I got a $41 bill for medical services (ultrasound and lab work). I'm putting it aside to pay once pay day rolls around on the 23rd.

I'm firming up plans with old friends from the College to have dinner downtown on September 6. I'm also going to the botanic gardens with my professional group on the following Saturday, and the next day, to a barbecue. In two weeks I'm going to a baby shower for my nephew's wife up in Michigan. BFF is working on a trip for us up to Door County, where we will stay with a friend of hers. So a lot of socializing coming up! Which is good, but none of it will be free.

Variables are already a whopping 71%, and that doesn't even count the cost of the phone, which will come out of the EF. Nor does it count tomorrow's eye doctor appointment. The upcoming PT visits (if I ever get them scheduled -- that's another story) will probably come out of next month's budget.

Hibachi

August 7th, 2017 at 01:26 pm

Yesterday I went out to lunch at the local hibachi restaurant with DIL, C and one of the grandsons. I had a Groupon, which had unfortunately expired, but was still worth the $20 investment I had made in it. We split the remaining balance three ways and it came out to be $24 apiece. That was a bit more than expected. After thinking about it, I decided I'm going to offer some cash back to them, as this was supposed to be a "thank you" event and it turned out to be a bit of a splurge instead.

That said, the food was great, as was the "show."

Today is free pizza day at Planet Fitness, so I'm going to try to time my arrival accordingly. I still have a tuna patty and apricot chicken, as well as leftovers from yesterday's lunch, to eat up. I will probably freeze the chicken, as I think it will freeze the best.

I went to the library and checked out the first Harry Potter book, so I can catch up with my grandchildren. No, I've never read them -- fantasy is not my thing -- but they are really into HP now, so I'm going to try to keep up. I also checked out three new DVD's: Suffragette, Testament of Youth, and W/E.

I'm really looking forward to the arrival of the SIM card so I can get my new phone going! It's really annoying to have a phone that can only be used in the kitchen!

RIP Old Phone

August 6th, 2017 at 12:06 pm

I had my son check my phone settings yesterday, just to make sure there was nothing amiss, and then he helped me pick out a new phone on Amazon. It was delivered the same day, since I have Amazon Prime. However, it is still not functional, because the SIM card from my old phone doesn't fit in the new one. So a new one was ordered, but it probably won't arrive till Monday.

The new phone is a fifth generation Moto G. I currently have the first generation, so this should be a big improvement, especially in storage. It was $255. Ouch! I did get a $50 discount for being a Prime member. I decided to go with the newest and latest, in hopes that it will last a long time. I don't want to have to buy a phone during my gap year, which will begin next July.

The news about C is not good. Her chemo is not working. They gave her a prognosis of six months. She could try another chemo, but it comes with a lot of side effects and would only extend her life by a couple of months. I don't know what she has decided to do. I saw her yesterday, but we didn't discuss her illness. It is clear she prefers not to. I can't even imagine how hard this must be for her.

I had a very bad night last night with general leg pain. I'm going to try to get my initial PT appointment set up today. My eye appointment has been moved again, this time to Wednesday.

My older grandson is leaving for camp this morning. He'll be there for a week, and he's very excited. I'm going to go be part of the send-off team, when the buses leave from the Y.

I watched "The Danish Girl" yesterday and have one more DVD to watch -- "Hell and High Water." They are all due today.

I have a load of laundry to do. I'm going to take it down and put it in my storage unit when I leave for the Y. Then, when I come home, I can put it in the washer before I climb the stairs again. I'm going to do the bare minimum of stair-climbing today until I get my legs working properly again.

Meals today will be tuna patties and apricot chicken for lunch and dinner (both leftovers). Not sure yet about breakfast -- maybe granola. The apricot chicken turned out great, even though I had to substitute honey for the apricot jam. I had plenty of fresh apricots, so it was suitably apricot-y.

I had a second dinner last night. When I was at my son's house, working on the phone replacement, they were cooking hamburgers and fixings. Even though I'd already had the apricot chicken, I was talked into having a half a hamburger. (So delicious!) And I took some fresh corn, cantaloupe and tomatoes, so I don't think the calorie damage was too bad.

Phone Troubles

August 5th, 2017 at 01:48 pm

I think I need a new phone. I did verify with Straight Talk that everything is all right on their end -- my phone is activated, my account is up to date, cell tower strength is good in my area. I have checked settings numerous times according to solutions offered on forums. I have powered off and on, I have taken out the SIM card and put it back. I have moved the router and moved it again. I'm at a loss.

The only reason I hesitate to get a new phone, despite the cost, is that I am afraid it will not solve the problem, and then I will have spent that money -- which I really need for other things -- for nothing. That said, it is an old phone -- in phone years -- and I have a significant storage problem with it in addition to the signal issues, so it wouldn't be a total waste to get a new phone.

I have to enlist my son's help, though, so I don't order something I can't use. It's all so confusing. This stuff is really hard for seniors; younger generations just don't realize how hard, and how isolating it is. I'm feeling like an old fogey -- I really wish the world hadn't changed quite this much.

I did take the boys to the Emoji movie yesterday, which set me back $19, and afterwards we went to McDonald's, where I spent $7.

DIL took C to the doctor yesterday, and when I returned the boys she briefly told me it was not good, and teared up. I wish I knew more, but I could not ask in front of the boys. I will try to learn more from my son today. But even in this state of knowing nothing -- but knowing it is bad -- I am pretty depressed.

I did not make the apricot chicken yesterday since I ate at McDonald's, so I'll do that today. I also have two tuna patties to eat up or freeze (but they didn't freeze well last time I did this). I need to deal with the celery and carrots, too. So I guess I will be spending some time in the kitchen today.

Senior Moment

August 4th, 2017 at 01:15 pm

Yesterday I had a classic senior moment -- I arrived for my 12:20 eye appointment at 2:20. It was correctly written on my appointment card, but when I transferred the information to my Google calendar, I dropped the "1." Needless to say, they weren't thrilled to see me come in two hours late, without a clue that I had been a no-show.

I rescheduled for Monday.

Today I'm going to watch the boys for several hours while their mom takes C to the doctor. We may go see the Emoji movie, if they haven't done that yet. I have a free popcorn coupon!

My knee continues to be a mess, so after my eye appointment I'm going to set up some PT appointments.

I finally finished the tuna salad and mac & cheese yesterday! Today's meals: blueberry pancakes for breakfast, tuna patty for lunch, and apricot chicken for dinner. Yes, more tuna. I bought a big can, and I have to use up the rest of it.

Babysitting always throws a wrench in meal plans, so the reality may be a little different.

Did some laundry yesterday. Variables are now at 55%.

The cool has arrived! I love the way the house feels right now, fresh and crisp. No AC, no fans.

Little Economies

August 3rd, 2017 at 12:54 pm

Only made one financial transaction yesterday -- I returned the unopened bottle of glucosamine/chondroitin to Walgreens. Since I bought it more than 30 days ago, they gave me store credit in the form of a gift card. $14. I'm not counting it as a snowflake, since it was just a return on money already spent. I did adjust my tracking for last month. And of course the $14 card will help me get something cheap when another need comes up that can be met at Walgreens.

Oh, and one more. I filled out a rebate form for the wine I bought for DIL. I will get $3 back.

I also did my strength training yesterday, and I got a new card at Planet Fitness, because my original was so battered it wouldn't swipe any more! So I guess that is a sign that I am getting the use out of my gym membership.

Speaking of Planet Fitness, I've noticed there is a man living in a car who parks under a tree right next to the gym. I've seen him three or four times now. He kind of spreads his stuff out (drying in the sun?) so he really isn't trying to be surreptitious. Is it Tabs? Smile No, it's not a Prius. Whenever I see him, I wish him well in my heart. I hope he does not get harassed by the merchants.

Meals today -- would you believe I'm still eating mac & cheese and tuna salad? That's the trouble with living alone. I also think I will make blueberry pancakes for breakfast today to use up the last of the berries. I will probably finish the strawberries today, too. I expect that tomorrow I will make apricot chicken to use up the apricots. I've GOT to remember not to buy so many perishables at one time! After those are done, I need to concentrate on the celery and carrots. Not too excited about the idea of making more soup, as I have a big batch already made and sitting in the freezer.

Looking forward to a nice drop in temperature tomorrow! I've been pretty disciplined about not turning on the AC, but sometimes it just gets too uncomfortable. According to the weather reports, we will be in the 60's tomorrow! I'll probably be too cold. Smile

Errand Day

August 2nd, 2017 at 02:12 pm

Yesterday I mailed a package ($7), bought a baby shower gift ($40), and made a Walmart run, where I talked to the StraightTalk rep, then bought gift wrap & card, hangers and a bottle brush for $12. Then I stopped at the eye doctor's and made an appointment for Thursday.

The StraightTalk rep thought my phone problem was a Wi-Fi problem. He recommended I call customer service. I guess he is not customer service, but a salesman. I am still stumbling along with my phone. I can only get a signal in the kitchen and the bathroom, and sometimes in the bedroom. Never in the living room. Which is where I ALWAYS used my phone before -- and it's also where the Wi-FI is. Weird. I looked into cell phone extenders, but they are expensive.

The baby shower gift was two pairs of shoes from DSW -- one, a pair of Converse sneakers and the other, soft pink cowboy boots. They were on clearance, and I had a $5 coupon to apply. My sales receipt says I saved $24. I hadn't been thinking shoes at all, but I ran into these while I was looking for a way to use my coupon, and I decided to go for it.

After getting home, I relaxed the rest of the day.

C was discharged yesterday and she is feeling good. That new stent is doing its work. I haven't heard about the MRI yet. I don't press. She tells me what she tells me.

Meals today -- much the same as yesterday. I had biscuits & berries for breakfast, and will have mac & cheese for lunch, and tuna salad sandwich for dinner. Or the other way around.

I made a very nice fruit salad yesterday with blueberries, strawberries and apricots, and I will probably do that again.

So, no cooking today!

I got my electric bill. It was $55, which is higher than the usual $36 or so, but not too bad considering the AC usage.

Variables are at 53%. And three weeks to go! But I hope I have gotten most of the necessities out of the way. I still have to get gas, I have a trip up to Michigan in a couple of weeks, and the eye appointment to pay for, which will be out of pocket, since I have no vision coverage anymore. But at least they will give me the AARP discount!

No word yet from the potential employer. I assume he is slogging through email, and setting up a meeting for a potential backup researcher is not high on his list of priorities.

C is Better

August 1st, 2017 at 12:32 pm

C was feeling sick yesterday because, it turned out, the stent in her bile duct was blocked. The hospital was able to squeeze her in for a procedure to replace it yesterday afternoon. She was hoping to come home today, but they have scheduled her for a brain MRI this evening, because she has been having headaches. I assume she will be discharged tomorrow. We are all relieved, but, of course, hoping the MRI doesn't show anything bad.

It was a spendy day for me with the grandsons. I took them to IHOP for lunch because I had a coupon for a free stack. Even with that price break, it cost $24. For dinner, I bought pizza for $11, a "daily special." I also bought them gum and mints for $5, and I picked up a $10 bottle of wine for my DIL to enjoy after she arrived home from a week working in Vancouver.

The reason I took the boys out to eat twice? Because it really helps to break up a long day. And I wanted to keep them happily distracted from what was going on with their other grandmother.

Today we will probably go to the Emoji movie while DIL visits her mom in the hospital. Today is discount day at the movies.

Meanwhile, my joints continue to feel bad. The glucosamine/chondroitin hasn't helped, and in fact, I have gotten worse, and a cruise on the internet indicates that others have had that reaction, too. There is also some indication that g/c may make LDL cholesterol worse, so, bottom line, I shouldn't take it unless it is dramatically helpful. And it isn't. I have one unopened bottle I will try to return.

Meal plans today: oatmeal for breakfast, leftover mac & cheese for lunch, and a tuna sandwich for dinner. Sides of berries, carrots, celery, etc.