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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!

Tomorrow is Not Promised

September 30th, 2017 at 04:11 pm

Pizza night was good. So funny about the Harry Potter movie -- we put the DVD in the machine, and on comes Polar Express! We took it out, looked at the label -- yes, it said Harry Potter and the Prison of Azkeban. I've never seen that happen before! Luckily, we also had Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on hand, so we watched that.

The pizza cost $20, and C and I both have two pieces left over for later.

This morning we went to GS1's football game, and then out to breakfast -- it was a very early game. My share of the tab was $16 including tip.

While I am spending these last weeks with C, I am not going to worry about costs like this if it means I can spend time with her.

This afternoon there is a baseball game. I hope to get a brief nap beforehand, and then after the game I should do my gym routine. I'm going to take my workout clothes along since the field is in the same vicinity as the gym.

How is it that these sad days are also happy? I guess I am appreciating the simple things, knowing that tomorrow is not promised.

Pizza Night

September 29th, 2017 at 07:24 pm

Tonight is going to be pizza night at C's house. I'm getting Jet's pizza for us and the grandsons, and we're going to watch a Harry Potter movie.

I went to Aldi again today to get 10 more items: wine, crescent rolls, tuna, OJ, shredded cheddar, chicken breasts, butter, apple cider vinegar, dill pickles, and spreadable margarine. This trip cost $35. (The wine is a box, and the chicken breasts are a large bag of frozen).

I still need to do more shopping. I have to buy personal items -- shampoo, body wash, deodorant -- and produce.

But at least I have enough on hand to make meals.

Today's meals are: Breakfast - johnnycakes. Lunch - vegetable beef soup & crackers. Dinner - pizza.

I did laundry this morning and went to the gym. Then I visited with C and made brownies for tonight's "party."

Variables are now at 18%. It goes quickly. I don't feel I've even done much yet.

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to pizza night! Jet's is my fave! And it's not even a Chicago-based pizza!

Busy Day

September 28th, 2017 at 11:56 pm

Well, it's been a busy day. I got up early and did laundry. Then I went to Aldi to get more groceries ($19). I bought nothing that had to refrigerated, because I was going straight to physical therapy afterwards (and it turned out they sat in the car all day). My 10 items: Bottled water, ketchup, oatmeal, peanuts, bacon bits, cheese dip, instant mashed potatoes, evaporated milk, coffee, and applesauce.

It was my last physical therapy session. I'm not perfect, but better, and my therapist gave a bunch of stretching exercises to do regularly at home. And I will!

Meanwhile, my DIL took her mother to the doctor (problems with the drain) and asked me to step in for story time at school. So I went to the library and checked out a bunch of recommended books for second graders. By that time it was past lunchtime, and I hadn't had breakfast, so I bought lunch at McDonald's for $5.

At two I went to the school and did my stint as a "surprise reader." My grandson was really surprised, as he was expecting his mom! It went okay -- I am not a great reader -- that is, I am a great reader, but not actor, or interpreter, and I found it difficult to show the pictures and read at the same time. It's quite a skill that storytellers have! But no one threw tomatoes at me.

After school the boys played outside for a long time, as the weather was so nice. Finally I packed them up and brought them home and made mac & cheese. Then I sent them home. (They are old enough to cross the street themselves now.) My son took the younger one to Tae Kwan Do, which was a relief -- I thought I was on duty for that, too.

So, C has had an adjustment to her drain, which was bothering her. I texted her and she responded that she was tired, but hopeful of feeling better.

I think I may deliver her favorite pizza tomorrow if she is feeling better.

I'm pretty tired; looking forward to an early bedtime.

Pay Day!

September 27th, 2017 at 03:47 pm

Pay day never felt so good! I paid my mortgage and Discover bill this morning. I donated $45 to my grandsons' school fundraiser. I did a load of laundry and went to Aldi for 10 items: eggs, almond milk, stew meat, bread, spinach, croutons, turkey slices, granola, dressing, and crackers. I'll be back tomorrow to get 10 more. This trip cost me only $14 because I had a $10 credit on my credit card.

Today's meals: Breakfast - johnnycakes. Lunch - turkey sandwich w/spinach. Dinner - Vegetable beef soup & crackers.

I also went to the gym. I'm going to get back into a steady routine, a little different than the old one. I'm cutting a couple of my strength training exercises that might stress my knee, and I'm cutting out the treadmill in favor of the bicycle. I'm only doing 15 minutes on the bicycle till I build my strength back up.

Last month's recap:

Housing - $1069
Utilities - $174
Gifts/Charity - $150
Medical/Health - $97
Groceries - $93
Gas - $82
Eating Out - $77
Clothing - $70
Vet/Pet Supplies - $59
Phone - $52
Vacation/Travel - $51
Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - $45
Personal - $30
Fares/Parking - $17
Miscellaneous - $12
Laundry - $9
Household Supplies - $9
Entertainment - $8

Grand Total - $2104

I paid my assessment fee twice this month, making housing high.

Utilities were a a bit high due to air conditioning.

Gifts/Charity - Two birthdays and some pre-buying for Christmas.

Gas was unusually high. I've been in the car a lot this month.

Clothing - a big chunk of that was a pair of shoes.

Fares/Parking - higher than usual due to hospital parking.

All in all, not bad. It was actually a little under average.

Variables spending was 110%. Hope to improve on that this month.

So -- those last couple of weeks were grueling, trying not to spend anything at all. Sometimes it felt good to be stretching my frugal muscles, but mostly it felt bad. I felt poor. I felt constrained. Lesson learned -- don't blow your whole budget in the first couple of weeks.

Last Day of My Month

September 26th, 2017 at 11:21 am

I get paid tomorrow, so this is the last day in my budget cycle.

It won't be no-spend, because I have promised to take C's friend to Merrillville, Indiana, today, where she will meet her husband and go home. I will have to fill up my tank, and I'll have to do it before I leave Chicagoland -- I don't have enough to make it to Indiana, where the gas is cheaper.

Since we're meeting her husband at 11 a.m., there will probably be a road food cost, too. I don't have the kind of food to pack right now.

A small expenditure yesterday -- I took older grandson to McD's for ice cream cones - $1.10. He was very hot after playing football in the schoolyard. Younger grandson was off on a playdate.

My assessment fee hit the bank this morning. That means I've paid it twice this month. It all evens out -- I only pay 12 times a year -- but it just makes this month seem harder. Glad to see it end.

Physical therapy -- I'm going to have at least one more session. I'm making progress, but I am not as far along as my therapist would like me to be.

I mistakenly went at 10 a.m. yesterday instead of 1 p.m. But there was an opening at 11, so I just stayed for it. I sat in the car (in a free parking spot) and read until it was time. I reflected on how, if I hadn't been broke, I would have gone home and come back at the later time, probably losing my parking space and using more gas. When the money runs low, it really focuses you.

Birthday Party

September 25th, 2017 at 12:24 pm

My grandson's birthday party was great. It was held at IHOP, his favorite restaurant. I couldn't believe it -- they were so crowded, and yet they handled our party of 12 quickly and efficiently -- both in seating us and serving us. I contributed $20 to the bill and ordered an entree that fed me for both lunch and dinner.

Afterwards we went to my son's house for the gift opening. My grandson has been grilling me for weeks about my gift, and I was so afraid he would be disappointed by a stuffed animal and a T-shirt. But he loved them.

So, of course the $20 really threw off my budget. I have two days left now, and I'm 7% over. But some things you just have to do.

I'm really getting low on food now. My freezer is almost empty; the fridge is mostly stocked with condiments, and even the pantry is clearing out. My meals planned for today are: eggs, soup & roll, and cheese quesadillas with Spanish rice.

All my laundry hampers are full. But I have plenty of clothes, so that's no problem except for sleepwear. Tonight I'm wearing my swimsuit coverup as a nightshirt -- and I'll wear it tomorrow night, too!

I have physical therapy this morning. I hope it will be my last session. Rest has improved my knee so much -- I think I need rest more than exercise right now. And each session costs $45, which I can ill afford. (I haven't paid any of it yet; it will come in a chunk.)

It will be another hot day, and tomorrow will be as well, but a cooldown is coming. I am running my AC, but not full-time. I was quite comfortable last night with the air off and the ceiling fan on.

When payday comes on Wednesday, I will be plenty busy with shopping, laundry and paying bills. I have to say I'm looking forward to it!

Another No-Spend Day

September 24th, 2017 at 12:36 pm

I racked up another no-spend day yesterday. I went to my grandson's flag football game in the morning. In the afternoon, he decided not to go to the baseball game. (It was way too hot; last week they called an ambulance for an overheated player.) So, good call. I spent the day resting and cooling off. I'm not hesitating to use the AC now.

At noon today I'm going to IHOP for my other grandson's eighth birthday party. Just a family party. I'll have to pay for lunch; I'll try to make it frugal. The gift is wrapped and ready to go. I was proud of myself that I found an appropriate birthday card in my stash of unused cards.

Today's meals: Breakfast - oatmeal. Lunch - IHOP. Dinner - soup & roll.

Counting today, three days to go before payday. Variables are at 103%.

Friday

September 23rd, 2017 at 11:53 am

After making the effort to go to the doctor's office for my flu shot, I learned I didn't have an appointment. I had made the appointment online, but the staff had no record of it. This was an annoyance, because it was a waste of gas, and my gas tank is getting low. Thank goodness I didn't get stuck for parking.

In the evening, I went to C's house. Her visiting friend made stir fry. I helped with the chopping, and when she realized there was no teriyaki sauce, I went to the store to get some. So I'm out another $2, but got a free meal. After dinner we watched the second Harry Potter movie.

My knee was bothering me so much I could hardly sit still. I don't know what triggered it -- the heat, stair climbing, standing too long? It could be any or all of those things. After I went home, my night's sleep was restless and short.

I don't think I'm going to beat this. I think I will have pain forever.

Today GS1 has a flag football game and a baseball game. And it's so hot. I wish they would cancel because of heat, but I'm sure they won't.

Anyway, I hope I can get a nap in between the games. C will try to join us for the baseball game. I hope she uses good judgment about how she is feeling. Last night she seemed tired and dispirited.

I complain about my knee, but I am definitely counting my blessings.

A Little Bump

September 22nd, 2017 at 12:31 pm

My no-spend run ended yesterday, but in a small way, not a big one. I wasn't able to find a free parking space when I took my grandson to Tae Kwan Do, so I paid $1.15.

Today I'm scheduled to go to my doctor's office to get my flu shot. Since it won't take long, I should get free parking in the nearby parking garage. The flu shot is free, too.

Today's meals: Breakfast - corny mac & cheese. Lunch - soup & toast. Dinner - salmon & potatoes.

With the adjustment I made to the variables budget, I'm now at 102%. Five more days!

I'm still doing fine holding off on laundry. I will run out of pajama bottoms, but in this hot weather, that certainly isn't a necessity!

Since my knees were both hurting yesterday, my physical therapist wants to continue meeting next week. I have two more appointments set up. But over the weekend I am ordered to rest, which is okay with me.

Even though the temperatures are climbing into the 90's, I have avoided turning on the AC. I have been doing okay with fans. And it does cool off at night. Still, I will be very glad when this unseasonable heat wave ends.

Still Slogging Through

September 21st, 2017 at 06:04 pm

I went to physical therapy this morning, and even though I was cutting it close, time-wise, I found a free parking spot. Normally I would not bother to hunt when I'm flirting with being late, but being on this self-enforced money diet, I am making the effort.

I got my electricity bill yesterday and it was higher than usual. Both electric and gas have slowly increased, so I found it necessary to rework my variables allowance. If the fixed expenses get higher, the variables must get lower.

I know that gas & electric are not really fixed in the sense that, say, my mortgage is, but I have chosen to limit variables to things I can control more easily.

Anyway, it was only a $10 monthly cut to variables, but it will make the challenge just a bit harder. Good practice for my gap year, when the cut will be deeper.

After really good progress, my knees are both hurting today. My physical therapist is prescribing rest over the weekend. I'm not sure what happened, except perhaps too much stair climbing.

Meals today: Breakfast - corny mac & cheese. Lunch - soup & breadstick. Dinner - potato bowl.

Only six more days, counting today, until my budget resets.

Another No-Spend Day

September 20th, 2017 at 12:30 pm

I got through another day without spending money. A week to go.

I took C to get her hair cut yesterday, which made her feel so much better. At about noon her friends from Indiana arrived; they took her out to lunch. I was surprised she felt up to it, but I think they gave her a shot of energy. In the evening, three of them needed a ride to a downtown station, so I took them. I used Google maps on my phone, but when we "arrived" we couldn't see the station, and we were in the middle of heavy traffic, with no place to really stop and look around. They decided to get out and ask directions and walk the rest of the way. We knew we were very close. I felt very bad leaving them there, but checked in with C to make sure they made it okay, which they did.

One of the friends is staying for a while. She has brought Harry Potter movies, so I think we'll have some movie nights.

I had another physical therapy session yesterday, and this morning, my knee feels pain-free. I know that won't last, as I move around and put weight on it, but it is such a good feeling. It is definitely improving.

I am working away on my food stores. Yesterday for breakfast I had corny mac & cheese; for lunch I had soup and a breadstick, and for dinner I had walnuts and cranberries.

Today I'm planning to have corny m&c, teriyaki salmon w/mashed potatoes, and cheese quesadillas w/veggies.

It is time to do another load of laundry. That is, one of my hampers is full. I keep four hampers going -- darks, lights, colors & reds. The colors hamper is full. However, I don't need to do laundry in the sense that I do have clean clothes to wear. Since I am scrimping so hard, I am going to wait until I actually have to wash in order to dress. I know I won't actually make it for another week, but I'd like to see how far I can go.

I made $1.80 on another peak savings day (electricity) so that went into snowflakes. I've also earned another $3 from Pine Cone.


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