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Archive for October, 2017

Halloween

November 1st, 2017 at 01:13 am

Today was Halloween, but it really didn't feel like it. I didn't see the grandsons all day. Usually I go trick or treating with them. But today I stayed at C's house all day.

C's son was there also, as well as her ever-present friend M, who is going to stay to the end. The hospice nurse has offered an opinion that the end will come within the next few days.

Meanwhile, I was dealing with a few snafu's in my own life. I learned that my mortgage lender did not have a copy of my building owner's master insurance policy. It was supposed to be faxed on September 29. I notified the person in charge, and it was faxed again. I hope the problem is resolved. They are threatening to make me pay the insurance myself, at a punitive rate. Egads, I go through this EVERY DAMN YEAR! Can nobody do their job?

I also learned that I sent my Florida grandson's birthday presents to the wrong address last month (a former address). The gifts were never received -- no doubt stolen at the former address. Luckily, Amazon was nice enough to credit me the cost and I reordered. It did cost $5 more because some of the prices went up.

This was all my fault, because I didn't even notice that the account held my son's old address instead of the current one. I just clicked his name.

So, one problem solved for sure, and hopefully, the other one is, too.

And yet there is another one. I just updated my Excel, because I was prompted to, and now it is gone. Sigh. I hope it is there is the morning. I am too tired. A new computer may be in order, but I can't tell you how much I hate the thought of spending money on that. Thank goodness all my Excel files are saved on a thumb.

Another Day

October 30th, 2017 at 02:48 pm

Yesterday's spending was $28 for gas and $2 for Halloween cards. Today I'll stick two tens in the cards and mail them to my Florida grandchildren. Unfortunately, they'll be late, but hopefully, still appreciated.

Last night I picked up C's sister at the train station. I will go over there today, but now that she has two people caring for her, in addition to DIL, I will probably make it short. I spent most of yesterday there.

I made spaghetti sauce last night, and I will take it over today, along with the pasta.

I am assuming I will pick up the boys today, though DIL has not said yet. She may be off work and planning to do it herself.

I appreciate all the support that is expressed here. You are all so kind. I hope everyone understands I am writing about this just because it is my world right now; I'm not looking for kudos. In fact, I feel I am doing only what anyone would do for a friend, and my DIL and C's sisters and friends are the real heroines in this story!

Yesterday

October 29th, 2017 at 12:21 pm

The flag football game was indeed cold; I sat in spitting rain, also. Thank goodness the game went pretty fast, and was sweetened by 32-0 score in our favor. My grandson made three touchdowns, though one was not counted because of a flag on the play.

Afterwards the parents shared donuts and hot chocolate -- there was enough that I had a donut, too.

After the game I went to C's, and I spent most of the day there. Mostly I was talking with her friend M, who is putting in long hours there. C is not really capable of conversation any more, she drifts in and out of consciousness and she cannot speak very well. But she seems to be pretty comfortable pain-wise, and she sleeps a lot. She was happy to hear about our grandson's touchdowns, so she is not completely out of it.

I can't help but think the end must be coming soon, but I've never been through this before -- I don't know how long someone can last in this state.

DIL was with us for a while in the morning, but needed to go home. Later in the day, I talked with her on the phone and she was in tears, not emotionally capable of coming back. She is very strong, but then she breaks. I hope for her sake that her mother doesn't linger too long, so that her own healing can begin.

I spent $14 on lunch for M and me, and I also picked up some cider for M for $3. When I got home, I spent $1.50 on laundry.

I'm going back today, but I've got to gear up for it.

Saturday Morning

October 28th, 2017 at 12:28 pm

I went to a professional workshop yesterday afternoon, as well as a Happy Hour. I got to see some old friends and made some new ones, I hope. I don't expect to get any work out of it, but I did enjoy using my work "muscles" again and discussing issues with others in my field. Kind of gave my brain a jumpstart.

The Happy Hour served as my dinner, and it was free.

In the morning, I went back to Aldi and did some stock-up shopping: walnuts, canola oil, brown sugar, white sugar, tuna, evaporated milk, tomato juice, pasta sauce, beets, and chocolate chips. As you might guess, I'm getting ready for holiday baking and gifting. The total bill was $18.

The beets are going to go into the purple potato soup that is still in my freezer. I'm going to try to turn it into borscht.

I'm done with grocery shopping now except for picking up perishables and necessities.

It cost me $6 to park for the workshop. There is no way to park downtown free for any length of time. There are spots that are good for two hours, and a garage that will let you park free for less than an hour, but if you have to park for more than two hours, you are stuck. I didn't think about taking the train, which certainly would have been cheaper, and no cost out of pocket.

Today I'm going to my grandson's last outdoor flag football game. (It will continue at an indoor facility next week.) Unfortunately, it is very cold this morning and the temperature will not even hit 50 today. So I'm planning to bundle up!

A Long Day

October 27th, 2017 at 01:08 pm

Yesterday seemed like a long day, though I was home by 7:30. It seemed like midnight!

My spending was $17 for pizza for the kids.

I reminded my son that I was signed up for a workshop today, and he said he thought I might be able to go, but he would keep me posted. I still haven't heard anything, so I am planning to go, and I will leave if I have to. It's right here in town, so location wouldn't be a problem.

I was supposed to take the boys to join DIL at C's house last night after their YMCA activities, but she texted me not to come; it was not a good night. So I kept them until my son came home from work. It was a late night for him.

At this point, I don't know if C took another turn for the worse, but it sounds like it. That's why everything is up in the air today.

More of the Same...

October 26th, 2017 at 05:13 pm

I went to Aldi this morning after dropping off the boys and going to the gym. I spent $36 on ten items for myself: oatmeal cookies, croutons, ground beef, salad, almond milk, wine, cheese dip, peanuts, vinegar and granola. I also spent $10 on frozen pizza and ice cream to take to C's house -- not that she will eat it, but the caretakers will.

I also spent $1.10 on a sausage biscuit for breakfast.

Today I will pick up the boys and keep them until 6, when I will take them to Tae Kwan Do and basketball, and then home at 7. I'm planning to take them out somewhere for dinner before their evening activities.

I'm supposed to go to a professional workshop tomorrow afternoon but I expect I'll be needed for Grandma duty instead. I told my DIL about the workshop, but I am sure she's forgotten. Heaven knows there is too much on her mind. I may go to the first hour of the workshop and then skip out early when it's time to pick up the boys. Maybe I can get in on the Happy Hour afterwards, if my son comes home from work early enough. We'll see. I don't need to go to the workshop, but I would enjoy the social part of it.

Pay Day & October Recap

October 25th, 2017 at 03:16 pm

It's pay day. I paid my mortgage, my Discover bill and two other credit cards which I used for small charges, probably when I couldn't use the Discover card. I also have a medical bill to pay, but I haven't received an itemized bill. I could pay online, but nothing is itemized there. So I will wait.

My assessment fee will hit the bank any day now. I had a break this past month -- the assessment fee did not fall into the October pay cycle.

I went to Food4Less after my morning workout and spent $34 on ten items: bread, powdered milk, rolls, raisins, a sweet potato, creamer, orange juice, blueberries, raspberries, and butter. I'll shop again tomorrow at Aldi.

I took the boys to school this morning and I'll probably pick them up this afternoon. DIL is still with her mom. Today she will get a hospital bed delivered, which will make caring for her easier. C's friend is on the way up from Indiana to provide some much-needed relief for DIL, though DIL worries that the friend is not very strong herself. I have offered to do what I can, but C really wants only her closest family and friends to care for her intimate needs, and I respect that. I'm a relatively new person in C's life.

The weather has turned very cold and rainy and it is an unfortunately dismal backdrop to the pain and suffering.

Here is my October recap:

Housing: $321
Gifts/Charity: $280
Insurance: $206
Utilities: $158
Groceries: $111
Eating Out: $105
Vet/Pet Supplies: $59
Furnishings/Equipment/Decor: $55
Phone: $52
Entertainment: $40
Personal: $40
Gas: $22
Laundry: $15
Household Supplies: $14
Fares/Parking: 6

Grand Total: $1535

That's the lowest it's been in a while, and it includes my condo insurance and a plane ticket.
Hoping to get a nap today, as I had another bad night. That's three in a row. This is crazy!

No-Spend Day

October 24th, 2017 at 01:37 pm

Yesterday was a no-spend day, and today will be, too, unless something surprising pops up.

I picked up the boys after school, but it was cool and rainy and playing in the schoolyard was not an option (that's what we usually do). GS2 made plans to go to a friend's for a playdate, and I did the chauffeuring. GS1 came home with me. He did his homework on his new school-issued tablet. Neither boy mentioned getting a snack, thank goodness!

Today DIL is taking her aunt to the airport, and I am going to stay with C while she makes the trip. DIL is planning to stay with her mom tonight, so I assume that the friend who was staying will be gone, too. I am already on deck to take the boys to school tomorrow morning.

This is the last day before pay day. I have done a little better than I thought -- spending 108% of the variables budget for this month -- but in the overall scheme of things I have $10 of variables cash left due to underspending in previous months. This total includes spending $198 on an airline ticket. I am very glad I don't have to take that out of savings, especially since I had to pay my condo insurance this month, and that definitely comes out of savings.

Tomorrow I'll do my monthly recap.

Previously I said I had two birthdays coming up this month, but I have three! How could I forget my little granddaughter? Since I have to mail the gift to Florida, I'll order something from her Amazon list.

My shepherd's pie turned out only okay -- I think it tastes better made with beef rather than chicken. Anyway, I'll be eating it for several days; I made too much, but I was going with the ingredients I had to use up.

As usual, I'm really excited about starting a new budget cycle!

Sorry, I just realized someone asked about hospice for C -- yes, we have hospice, but they are popping in more than staying. That may change soon.

Bad Times

October 23rd, 2017 at 02:26 pm

I had a bad night last night -- pain, sleeplessness, restlessness. I still don't feel very good. My worry is that I won't be up to par for watching the boys after school, but it is something I must do. C continues to fail, and DIL is taxed more and more. C is no longer acting like herself, her confusion is taking over and she is even "combative." I am not sure what DIL means by that; I hope she means argumentative.

She still has her sister and her friend staying with her. There doesn't seem to be any point in my visits, because she doesn't seem to know me. So I will be on call for her caretakers (bringing supplies and food) and will be on call for child care. I may stay with her later when the sister and friend have to go home.

When C was in the hospital, they told her she probably had 4 to 6 weeks left. It has been 6 weeks. She is surely near the end, and how I wish it could be more peaceful, for everyone's sake.

Anyway, I will try to get a nap today. I'm not going to try to go to the gym or anything.

Sunday Morning

October 22nd, 2017 at 01:37 pm

C came to the flag football game yesterday, but she stayed in her car, along with her friend. When I stopped to say hi, she seemed confused. DIL says that her pain medication has been increased and is now in patch form so that her stomach doesn't get upset. The downside is that she is confused. She has even been having hallucinations, but DIL assures me that at least they are good ones.

After the game, I went out to lunch with my son, DIL and the grandsons. I shouldn't have spent the money, but it just didn't feel right to say no. We went to Chili's. I spent $15. We played Mars Attacks at the table and had a good time. We need times like this!

I also spent $1 on parking, but I found .12 under the parking meter!

I spent the rest of the day at home. I put together the bottom layer of the shepherd's pie; today I'll make the mashed potato topping and bake it. I also have half of my lunch from yesterday to eat.

I'll be doing a load of laundry today, too. I have only $8 till pay day!

Just Stuff

October 21st, 2017 at 01:12 pm

Spent $7 yesterday - $5 copay to the doctor, and $2 for parking. I was hoping to get out of the parking garage before an hour was up, so I could get free parking, but the doctor's office was busy and it took a long time to get my flu shot.

C texted me that she wasn't feeling well and was staying in bed. Her sister was with her. Today is GS1's flag football game, and I wonder if C will go. She was talking about it earlier in the week when she was feeling good, but now I'm afraid she's in another downturn.

After going to the doctor's I went to the gym, and after I came home I just stayed home, babying my knee, but I can't say that it feels any better today. I am bothered by muscle spasms as well as the knee pain, so I must remember to hydrate and stretch.

I'm planning to make shepherd's pie today (with chicken) so I can use up some carrots and celery.

I may do some laundry; just want to be sure I have a full load. I have only $24 left to spend, and I want to make it count.

My friend J emailed me that our former awful boss "Mean Girl" has finally found another job -- hooray for J, who has been stuck under her thumb till now! And J is in the throes of an awful divorce that has been a long time coming, but at least she is finally getting through it. I will be glad when it is all done and she is free. She has suffered too long. Anyway, we agreed that we would get together when we are both in better circumstances.

Thinking about expenses next month, I have two birthdays coming up -- my son's and one of my grandson's. I haven't made any decisions about what to get, but I am going to float the idea of getting shoes for my son. I have a $20 coupon from DSW. I would have to convince him to go look at DSW. He is an Amazon addict and doesn't like to shop at brick & mortar stores. As for my grandson, I will pick something from his Amazon list.

I have a dentist's appointment coming up, too, but I really want to switch dentists to one that is closer, so I need to do something about that.

And of course there is Thanksgiving, but that will be in the pay cycle following, so I'm not going to worry about that yet.

Going to the Doctor Today

October 20th, 2017 at 02:12 pm

I have an appointment in about an hour. This is a follow-up on my knee, plus, I will get my flu shot. I'm not even sure what I will tell him about my knee -- I have a different pain in a different place every day, and sometimes it's my other knee! And sometimes it's my hip! I think I'm dealing with generalized joint deterioration. I also have muscle spasms in my thighs, but I think that comes on with fatigue.

My upper body continues to be fine. Smile

I know I need to get into a place where I don't have to climb stairs, but the timing is so bad. My son may move somewhere else when he finishes his degree in December, but I don't know where! So I don't want to relocate somewhere here in town, because I don't know whether I would want to stay without their presence, follow them, or go back to my hometown where my brother is. Also, with my gap year coming up in July, it will be a bad time financially to look for a new home. It would be much better to relocate after my gap year is done, but that will be in August/September 2019.

I really hate the very thought of a move.

I managed not to spend anything yesterday. I have only five days to go before pay day.

Yesterday I made autumn soup (kind of a variation on refrigerator soup -- I used cheese sauce, beef broth, broccoli and carrots, and a roux to thicken it. It was pretty good! I'm going to finish it up today.

I also made chicken fajita filling. I had fajitas for dinner and will have another serving today. So no cooking today is necessary.

Money Still Dribbling Out

October 19th, 2017 at 02:20 pm

Well, I intended not to spend anything for a week, and then I spent $17. It was a combination of groceries and eating out. I bought groceries for C's friend, who is staying with her, and bought dinner for my grandson, who was hungry after school but didn't have time to go to my place.

I still have $31 left before I truly overextend, but life being what it is these days, it will be hard not to spend it.

C had a good day yesterday. She sat up and talked with us for hours and didn't seem to be experiencing much pain at all. Every day like this is a gift.

I got a product to try from Pine Cone. I can't say anything about it, but it is a product I use regularly, so I was happy to get a free supply of it.

My son and my grandson went to the Cubs game last night. I'm so happy they won! Even though the boys said they didn't care who won or lost, I'm sure it made a fun experience even more fun!

Money Out

October 18th, 2017 at 01:18 pm

It was a no-spend day yesterday -- NOT! It would have been, but I bought the airline ticket for my sister. It was $198, but that's only one-way. We'll figure out later whether we will send her home on plane or drive her. If I drove her home I would get to visit my cousin, which I haven't done for a couple of years.

I went to C's for a while and I watched a Harry Potter movie with her and her friend, but she was clearly not feeling well. Her sister is coming back tomorrow.

I went to GS1's baseball playoff game last night. They lost, so it was the last game of the year. It was a beautiful evening, though a little chilly. I threw a quilt over my shoulders and I was comfortable enough.

We're not finished with sports, though. There is a flag football game on Saturday, and basketball will start up soon.

I finished HP and the Half-Blood Prince last night, so I'll go to the library today to get the next, and final book.

Every year I buy Christmas ornaments for the boys that represent their Halloween costumes. They are going to be Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy this year, and I found some action figures online, which I am sure can be turned into ornaments. I put them in the Amazon cart but haven't paid for them yet. I'll wait till pay day.

As it is, if I manage not to spend anything at all until payday, I won't have to take the money for the airline ticket out of savings. It would put my variables at 101%, which is a pretty typical month. It's only a week -- I can do it, if there are no surprises.

Monday

October 17th, 2017 at 01:07 pm

Yesterday I picked up some groceries for $7 (eggs, bread, mushrooms and pepperoni). I have started buying plain cheese pizzas (frozen) that I can dress up the way I like -- or the way the grandsons like -- or both at the same time! I like the mushrooms; they like the pepperoni.

I also spent .55 on a McDonald's ice cream cone, just because, and $12 to mail two packages of books to my sister. Variables are now at 74%. Eight days to go. Frugal win -- I pulled into a parking space with 34 minutes left on the meter!

I took C some homemade chicken noodle soup yesterday, but I doubt that she will eat any. She is only occasionally having toast and tea now. She is failing fast, and it is hard to see. I pray every day that her pain will be managed and that she will not suffer. Yesterday DIL held her like a baby -- their roles completely reversed -- this is so hard.

I picked up the boys after school and they played on the playground for an hour and a half before they were ready to go home. When they got home, a fight broke out over something stupid. I know they are feeling the strain and don't even know how to handle their feelings. I separated them, and they quickly apologized to each other without my intervention. I made them do their homework and practice their instruments, and all was well when Daddy came home.

C's BFF is back today and will stay till Friday. I will be dropping in and running errands.

A Lazy Sunday

October 15th, 2017 at 09:18 pm

I've spent another day just hanging out inside. I did take several trips up and down the steps to do laundry, but otherwise I have rested.

I ordered my $50 worth of OTC supplies from OTC-Essentials (a Medicare Advantage benefit). I ordered two bottles of Tylenol, some cold packs, a digital thermometer, wipes, dairy supplements and Epsom salts. I added $50 to my snowflakes. I've also earned $9 from Pine Cone this month, which also went to snowflakes.

C's son is here and her sister is on the way, so I am laying low today. I may take her some chicken noodle soup tomorrow, if I can goad myself into making it tonight.

I had a poor night's sleep, but took a nap in the early afternoon.

The best news of all -- the heat is on! I opened all the radiators last night, and this morning I smelled that familiar burnt-socks smell when the radiators first come on. So nice to be comfortable inside.

No-Spend Day

October 14th, 2017 at 11:00 pm

Just a quiet, no-spend day. It's rained all day long, so I just stayed inside all day. I finished my audible book, made tuna salad, and didn't do much else.

I got $10 cash back from Discover and transferred it to my bank account.

I heard from my sister. It's been two years since I've seen her, so I'm trying to find a cheap flight for her to come at Thanksgiving. She never has any money. At all. Poor income, poor management, poor attitude. She won't ever change, so if I ever want to see her, I have to fly her in. I'm okay with it. It is what it is.

She told me about a host of problems -- husband's surgery, damaged floors, broken toilet, etc. etc. etc. She gets food from a food bank. She sees a psychiatrist -- I assume through some social agency -- but I have little hope they are really talking about what they should be talking about. She is an expert at diverting the conversation.

That said, I still want to see her, and I think a break from her grim routine will be good for her. But I'm not finding anything under $300, and that's too much for me. I set up an alert and I'm hoping for the best. My brother said he would help, which is good news -- he wasn't willing last year. Not that I blamed him -- we all have to come to our own decisions when we have a family member like this.

I haven't heard anything from DIL today about C, and I haven't asked. I assume she will call me if I am needed. I will check in tomorrow if I haven't heard anything by then.

Usually I don't mind a rainy day, but I'm ready for it to end. Part of the problem is that the boiler hasn't been turned on yet, so I'm cold in my condo. I've wrapped myself in a quilt most of the day. It's always like this in the fall, but I never get used to it. The good news is that when the boiler finally gets turned on I have amazing heat! I just have to be patient.

Not Good

October 14th, 2017 at 12:37 am

Today was a bad day for C; too much pain. Hospice needs to step up with a new plan. I stayed with her while DIL ran errands (C slept the whole time). C really wants DIL to be with her all the time when she feels so bad, but it's so hard for her to do that, emotionally as well as logistically. I feel so bad for all of them.

It was a good day money-wise, though. I spent nothing, and I got a $7 rebate in the mail. And last night I avoided paying for parking at the Tae Kwan Do lesson, so that was a win.

It's turned quite cool -- as it should in the fall. I've pulled out my comforter, and the extra warmth is helping me to sleep better. The air conditioners are still in the windows, and I really need to put them away, but they're so heavy, and my knees are so weak. I wish they were on wheels!

Thursday Stuff

October 12th, 2017 at 05:06 pm

Went to the gym and then got gas -- $22. The gas cost $2.38 a gallon, and my receipt shows I saved .03. What? I guess that's all I earned from Food4Less this month.

Then I spent a couple of hours with C and then came home to make lunch -- sausage rolls and tomato casserole.

Later today I'm picking up the boys from school, and since the weather isn't very nice, I may take them to visit C. We'll have to see how she feels, and if they are in the mood. I feel like a short visit will do them all good.

I learned that my gym payment has been going to the wrong facility. It wasn't anything I did -- I've never gone to any Planet Fitness but this one -- but a few months ago, when I got my pass replaced because the bar code was scratched up, the attendant did something that actually transferred my membership to another branch. So today I had to sign up all over again, and I've been assured I will have no extra fees. Believe me, I'm going to watch.

Variables are now 70%. I am cautiously hopeful I will come in under.

PetSmart Run

October 11th, 2017 at 05:27 pm

This morning I took the zucchini bread to C, went to the gym, and then went to PetSmart to stock up. I bought two boxes of kitty litter, a big bag of dry cat food and a box of canned food. Then I noticed that their supply of $5 Christmas kitties was in. That would be stuffed kitties, of course. I buy two every year for my son's labs, so I thought I would get it done early. I want to mail their Christmas box at the beginning of Decmember this year. So two kitties went into the cart, and the total was $70. Yikes! The litter was on sale, too!

Tomorrow I'll get gas, and I think that will take care of all the necessities for this month. Variables are at 67%, with two weeks to go.

It's cool and rainy. I don't intend to go out again today, so I put on tonight's pajamas! Might as well -- it saves on laundry.

I had zucchini bread for breakfast and just made sausage rolls for lunch. (Burned the sausage a bit, but it wasn't bad!) Dinner will be leftover tomato casserole. I still have spinach to use up, so tomorrow, for one of my meals, I'll make spinach-cheese quesadillas. I share this mostly so I will remember to do it!

No child care today; DIL is off of work, but I'm on tomorrow, for after school and for transportation to Tae Kwan Do. I've had a nice break, though!

Bagel Day

October 10th, 2017 at 03:31 pm

Today was bagel day at the gym! Hoorah! Love a free breakfast. Today's lunch will be BLT sliders and dinner will be tomato casserole. I also must make time today to make the zucchini bread, which I didn't get made yesterday.

On the way home I stopped at Jewel and bought some dishwasher detergent and a couple of packages of Command hooks -- $14. I have some pictures to rehang. One in particular has jumped off the wall several times, so there is something off about the frame. I would like to get this wall hanging reframed -- it is an old sampler, that either my grandmother or great-grandmother made. It needs to be preserved better, but that will be an expense down the road. Next month's big expense will be paying for my physical therapy, and after that is Christmas, plus a couple of birthdays.

On the bright side, I'm enjoying all the free entertainment that's coming my way. Now that the fall season has started, there is plenty of TV to watch. I'm listening to my audible book, and playing games on my new tablet. Of course none is this is completely free; I'm paying for services and devices that make it possible, but there is no out of pocket cost.

Well, I'd better start shredding that zucchini! I hope to make enough to take a loaf to C.

Columbus Day

October 9th, 2017 at 03:31 pm

Just got back from the gym, Food4Less, and McDonald's. At Food4Less I spent $13 on granola bars, sausage, rolls, raspberries, carrots, celery, and macaroni. At McDonald's I bought two sausage biscuits for $2. I thought it was a special deal -- didn't realize I could have bought one for $1. Oh well. The second went into the freezer. I was too hungry to wait to make breakfast at home.

I took C some chicken pot pie yesterday and we went to GS1's baseball game. It was a perfectly lovely day. Unfortunately, our team lost pretty badly. I think he has only one more baseball game, but quite a few more flag football games.

My variables are already up to 54%, so it's time to dial back and only buy necessities. I know some pet food/supply expenses are coming up, as well as a fill-up at the gas station.

Since today is Columbus Day, my son is home from work, and I won't have after-school duty. I've already done my obligations, so I'm home for the day. I think I will make some zucchini bread. And I have to do icky things like mop, vacuum and clean the fish tank. Later, though, later! Smile

Haircut & a Good Book

October 7th, 2017 at 03:57 pm

Got my haircut yesterday; it was my only spending. $16.50, including tip. I had a $3 coupon, but gave a $3 tip, so I came out even, really. The price of haircuts has gone up a bit, but I want to stick with my stylist.

I got an email yesterday that an audible book I had on hold from the library was finally available. I'm listening to it on my computer, because I don't know how to get it on my tablet or phone. I guess I would have to download the app and also get email on my devices. I kind of gave up on email on my phone some time ago, because I got so much junk; it was very annoying to be constantly "pinged" for another ad.

Anyway, it's a really good book -- The Chemist, by Stephenie Meyer. Turns out she is the author of the Twilight series, which never really interested me, but I like this, at least so far. It's a spy thriller; not a vampire to to be found. I rather enjoy just listening to a book. I can read without the cats trying to knock the book out of my hands!

Well That Was Weird

October 6th, 2017 at 03:30 pm

After all my complaining about my new tablet, I opened it yesterday morning to find that the immovable screen was gone and for the first time I got to see my home page. Everything seems to be okay, except that I see there is an icon for that kids' service, so it looks like they pushed it to me. It's free for a year, so I just have to remember to cancel it.

I downloaded Candy Crush and a Scrabble game -- I think it's just called Words. I'll investigate the e-reader part of it later. I am interested in the audible content, too; that would be handy for trips.

I washed a load of towels yesterday ($1.50), and in the evening I took my grandson to Tae Kwan Do, which cost me $1 in parking. So it was a pretty cheap day.

Today I'm going to get my hair cut.

I went to the gym early this morning -- as soon as I realized I'd left my phone in the car overnight! I decided as long as I had to navigate the stairs I might as well go get my workout done. Then I went to Food4Less and spent $11. I bought a bag of tomatoes and a bag of zucchini for .99 each. I also picked up a frozen pizza, a bag of popcorn, a bag of frozen soup veggies, and a can of Grands-type biscuits. I'm planning to make a chicken pot pie with the veggies and biscuits. Probably not till tomorrow, since the chicken needs to thaw. Today I'm going to have cheese quesadillas and spinach salad for lunch and dinner. I already ate a really good breakfast of fried eggs, broiled tomato, and a roll.

There is quite a bit of zucchini in the bag, so I think making zucchini bread is in my future.

I also stopped at Chase and picked up two rolls of quarters. I don't have to do laundry yet, but my quarter stash was running low.

No childcare duty today, so I plan to do more resting and reading. That's my version of R&R!

Frustrated!

October 5th, 2017 at 12:25 pm

I got my Amazon Fire tablet, but I am not happy. It is stuck on a screen that is forcing me to sign up for a kids' service and to make an account for a child. This tablet is for me; my grandchildren will never touch it. I don't want to do this -- even if the service is free (for a year, until they start quietly charging you.) I don't like this kind of back-handed selling. When I ordered it, I saw nothing about this except that it included "special offers" which I assumed were ads that could be swiped away. I literally cannot make this screen go away with signing up, and I can't use the damn tablet at all.

There is a tech number to call, but I'm steamed. I feel like returning it, but I've already entered my account information on it and I can't wipe it -- I can't do anything but look at that stupid screen demanding I sign up a child.

Time again to share how much I hate modern technology. The technology itself is wonderful, when it works, but the way it is handled to fool and bilk customers is shameful.

Has anyone else faced this problem?

In other news, I took the boys to Noodles & Co. yesterday to the tune of $21. I've got to stop this. I've got to start grocery shopping with the boys in mind so that I can feed them without going out. The good news is that they did not want to go to the movie I offered, so I wasn't out any more than I expected to be.

At least I came home with a small serving of mac & cheese that I will have for lunch. And C and her sister provided me with dinner last night. C is getting a lot of food from friends and neighbors and I think she is a bit challenged in using it up.

Today I'm off duty with the boys. They are going to my nephew's house after school to play with their cousins, which will make a nice break for all of us.

My knees are suddenly bad again. I can only assume I climbed stairs too much yesterday, but I am pretty much stuck with having to do that. I am planning not to go out all day today, so that they can settle down again.

My allergies are kicking up again, too, but that's because I've been lax about taking Zyrtec. Too much going on -- I'm forgetting to take care of myself. So I just took a dose, and I plan to do nothing today but relax and catch up on sleep if I can.

Feeling Better

October 4th, 2017 at 12:16 pm

Yesterday I had the opportunity to stay home all day after my morning workout. It made a difference. My knees are feeling better.

Today the grandsons only have a half day of school. Of course, they are dismissed at different times, because my younger grandson has swimming lessons after school. So I am picking up one at 11 and the other at 1. Then they will be in my care until DIL is off work at 4. I am thinking about treating them to the Lego Ninjago movie.

This evening I will have dinner with C, her sister, and my DIL.

Sleep was very interrupted last night. I fell asleep around 9, woke up at 11:30, read until 2, and then had fitful sleep until 5:30 this morning. At least I finally finished Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix. On to the next!

I really wish Banker Gurl would check in. I don't like it that she was in Las Vegas this weekend, and we haven't heard from her.

Too Much Outgo

October 3rd, 2017 at 03:43 pm

Yesterday after I picked up the boys, I learned that DIL had to go to the airport to pick up her aunt. I usually keep the boys until 4:15 or so, but yesterday I needed to wait until my son came home, which was more like 5:30. The boys were hungry after school, so I took them to Subway, and the three of us ate for $16. That was an unexpected expense. I could have taken them home and rustled up something, but frankly, I didn't feel like it.

Today I went to Walgreens to get my AARP deal on toiletries that I need. Well, I got SORT of a deal, because everything I bought was on sale -- but the cashier said that the AARP 20% discount did not apply because it was only for non-sale items. Darn. I might have done better had I picked out cheaper non-sale items and got the discount. As it was, I paid $24 for two large bottles of shampoo, two bottles of body wash, and a stick of deodorant. At least I will be clean and sweet-smelling for a while!

It seems to me I have received the AARP discount before on sale items (I never buy anything full price!) But I didn't have the fine print with me and couldn't argue.

At least I am getting close to my $5 reward. 710 points to go, out of 5,000.

I went on to the gym and did my modified workout.

As far as I know, I am not doing after school care today, so I plan to stick close to home and rest.

I had toast for breakfast, and I'm planning to have yesterday's Planet Fitness pizza for lunch, along with spinach salad. Dinner will be turkey manhattan, which, for you non-Midwesterners is a diner meal consisting of bread, turkey slices, gravy and mashed potatoes. Pure comfort food.

I slept very poorly last night and I hope I can nap today. C is with her sister now and is being well taken care of. It is heartwarming how her friends and family are pitching in.

Splurge Spending

October 2nd, 2017 at 01:31 pm

I certainly didn't like waking up to the news of carnage in Las Vegas. I know several of our own are frequent visitors -- I hope everyone in our group is safe and sound, and my heart goes out to the injured and families of the victims.

Yesterday I did my splurge spending for the month. I bought an Amazon Fire tablet for $54 -- it will be delivered tomorrow. My other splurge was $40 to attend a professional workshop. I don't expect I will be working any more, but the conference happens to be taking place in my suburb, and one of the tracks is being led by an old friend I would like to see again. So I guess I am going mostly for the social aspect.

I did not make the run to Jewel yesterday because my DIL needed to use my car. No great loss.

My other spending was $1.50 for laundry. I need to do one more load of towels, and then I will be caught up.

Today is pizza day at Planet Fitness. I'll try to make it there, but I will probably be watching the boys after school, so I may miss that window of opportunity. No matter, I need to go to the gym anyway, pizza or not. I took yesterday off, because I stretched too enthusiastically on Saturday, and my legs were really hurting yesterday. They still hurt today, but they are better. I have to remember to stretch very gently. My legs are so sensitive.

Forgot to say -- I also paid my annual condo insurance -- $206 -- it was withdrawn yesterday. It doesn't come from variables. Variables are at 38% now.

More Shopping and Phone Problem

October 1st, 2017 at 01:37 pm

Took C to GS1's baseball game, then afterwards went to the gym and then to Food4Less. I spent $13 for broccoli, peppers, tortillas, apple, raspberries and dinner rolls.

Today I'll go to Jewel to get my freebie and to buy popcorn.

On Tuesday I'll go to Walgreens for AARP discount day (20%) and get the toiletries I need. I think that will conclude my shopping for a while.

Variables are now 20%.

I continue to have problems getting calls on my phone. I don't know why a dead space has developed after years of adequate service, but I can't receive or make calls from my living room, which is where I am most of the time. It's not my service provider, either, because others with different providers have the same problem in my living room. So something external has changed -- some cell tower has been moved, or something like that.

I have decided to get a tablet, so I can use it for the games I like when I'm lounging in the living room, and I can leave my cell phone in the areas of the condo where service works. I think it's the cheapest solution. If I want to yack on the phone (which I mostly don't, I'm not a phone talker) I can do it in relative comfort in my bedroom.

My son said he thought I could get a tablet for about $50. Does that jive with you guys? I know nothing about tablets.

Today my grandson has another baseball game, and it is out of town. Last I heard, it was iffy if even he was going, because he's been invited to a birthday party he really wants to attend. If he plays, and if C wants to go, I will go, but otherwise I may sit it out. My knees are aching -- too much stretching yesterday? I feel like a day of relaxation is in order.

Have a great Sunday, guys!