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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%.


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.

Creeping Variables

September 18th, 2017 at 11:13 pm

My variables have crept up to 101%. I can only conserve cash as much as possible now. I do actually have $57 available, left over from previous months, but I still want to be uber-careful.

Luck was on my side today. I had to go to the hospital for a mammogram. It took less than an hour, so parking was free. Then, this afternoon I picked up the boys from school. They didn't even ask for a treat. I took them home and we watched the Simpsons -- after homework was done, of course.

So I have managed to spend nothing today.

Food is getting to be a challenge. Today I made a box of mac and cheese and layered Jiffy cornbread on top and baked. (It's a real recipe on the internet, except made from scratch.) Well, it actually isn't very good, but it will still serve for a few meals.

Here is what is still available:

Mac & cheese & cornbread
Peanut butter toast
Chicken vegetable soup
Meatless vegetable soup
Purple potato soup
Walnuts & cranberries
Cheese quesadillas
Salmon fillets

It's just that I so often don't feel like eating anything that's available.... I'm going to stick with the plan, though.

Tomorrow I'm taking C to the hairdresser and then I have physical therapy. I've also offered to get my grandson's bow replaced before he has music lessons tomorrow. I'll probably be picking the boys up after school and taking them to music lessons.

My older grandson helped me with my home exercises -- which require another person to provide resistance. He was really helpful!


September 17th, 2017 at 06:36 pm

Today I bought some cat food ($14) and filled a prescription ($13). That tips my variables just over 100%, and I have nine more days to go. Not surprised; C's setback has made budget-watching both difficult and trivial.

I also did another load of laundry.

I guess my goal for the rest of the nine days is to spend as little as possible -- but if C needs something, that is out the window.

C's company has left and she is napping. I may go over later, if she is up to it.

Tomorrow I have a mammogram, and on Tuesday it's back to physical therapy.

I believe I will be on duty all week for after school care, unless DIL makes plans for the boys to go to friends' houses. Everything is on a day-to-day basis now.

Baseball, ice cream & DNA

September 16th, 2017 at 10:03 pm

Just bought an ice cream cone at McDonald's for $1. No, I shouldn't have sugar, but after sitting out in the sun for a long baseball game, I felt like an ice cream cone was elevated to a "need."

C went to the game with me, along with her friend from Indiana. She did well, but seemed tired at the end. It was a long and boring game, and grandson did not perform very well. But at least it was a lovely day, though warm.

My inflammation is gone, so I am permitting myself small portions of sugar to see how I fare. If my legs start to ache again -- out it goes.

My DNA results came from Ancestry.com. I was not too surprised. I am 96% European (mostly English, Scottish and Welsh), and 4% West Asian (which encompasses Turkey, Syria, Armenia, Iraq, Iran and others). That was a bit of a surprise, but it is also marked "low confidence."

My son is 90% European, so he must have gotten a dash of something else from my ex.

The test was free to me; son & DIL bought me the kit for my birthday back in August.

I guess that's all that's happening!

Today's Accomplishments

September 16th, 2017 at 12:11 am

Today I did some laundry - $1.50 - bought some groceries - $9 - made lasagna and delivered it to C - went to physical therapy, and spent .50 on parking (because I got 23 free minutes on the meter!)

I am very, very tired, because I didn't sleep, but this evening I feel SO much better after the first day of my new round of physical therapy. It is clear I am on the right track now and I will get this problem fixed! The only catch is that I have to do a home exercise that requires the help of another person. I guess I will ask my son, since that person has to have some strength in the arms to provide resistance.

I signed up for four more sessions of PT, but I can cancel if the pain goes away altogether.

I also cleaned most of my refrigerator/freezer -- all but the shelves on the door. I'll do that tomorrow. Feels good. I should try cleaning more often! Smile

I'm going to turn in early and hopefully catch up on sleep. C is well cared for by friends today. I did visit with her a little and she seemed great. It is hard to believe we will lose her so soon. I'm back in denial again.

A Pretty Cheap Day

September 15th, 2017 at 06:33 am

C went home today. I sat with her in the hospital till her discharge, and DIL took over on getting her settled at home. She seemed much better and was very happy to be back in her own environment. Hospice was scheduled to begin at 5, but at first they will be a minor presence.

I picked the boys up after school. After they played for a while, I took them to Steak N Shake for kid shakes -- two for one, only $3. Around 5:30, my son picked up one of the boys and I took the other to Tae Kwan Do, then home.

My DIL bought me lunch today, and I got free parking at the hospital -- the gates were up!

I was too busy to make the lasagna, so that's on tomorrow's list.

Physical therapy re-starts tomorrow and I can hardly wait. The pain in my knee is taking over my life. I can't ignore it, and I can't control it. It's so annoying.

I got a bill from the medical system, but it was only $7. I was expecting to see the PT charges from last month. I guess they will lump them all together when I finish.

Another Day

September 13th, 2017 at 10:06 pm

When I visited C today in the hospital she looked and seemed so much better. It was hard to believe she has so little time. Today the grandsons are going to visit her. They have been fully informed of the situation by their parents. I left early to let them have their private time. I hope it goes well.

With any luck, she will be discharged tomorrow. She will go straight into hospice. We have met the helpers and they seem to be wonderful. In fact, everyone we have encountered at the hospital has been wonderful.

C's friends from home are beginning to arrive, starting tomorrow. I am going to make a pan of lasagna to help feed them. I can't really offer them a bed, other than my sleeper sofa, which is comfortable but offers no privacy. We'll see how it all goes.

Today parking cost $4.50 and lunch in the cafeteria was $8.

Continuing to focus on my little economies is comforting to me. Today I picked up a free bag of panty liners from Walgreens - value of $6.49 -- and I deposited an .87 check in savings. Yep, .87. That was my share of the class action suit against Seventh Generation. Those two amounts will be added to snowflakes.

I took my last super Vitamin D capsule. I see that I am eligible for 2 refills, but I am not sure whether I should. I think I am supposed to have my blood checked for Vitamin D levels before I do. I've had so many blood tests lately, it's not an appealing idea, but I guess I'd better get in touch with my doctor's office.

I woke up at 2:30 this morning and watched TV for a while. I did go back to sleep after an hour or two, and I seem to be functioning okay. Hoping tonight will be better, because tomorrow I am on duty for after school care and chauffeuring to Tae Kwan Do. I can't keep walking around like a zombie when I am needed so much.

Tiring Day

September 12th, 2017 at 11:33 pm

Oy vay, I'm so very tired!

I had a a poor night's sleep. Then I got up and went to Planet Fitness, mainly so I could have a free bagel for breakfast. (But I did bicycle and exercised my core.) Came home and showered and then I went to the hospital to visit C. I stayed until about 2; then I picked up the boys after school, took them out for burgers, and then took them to music lessons. Just got home at 6.

I spent $5.50 on parking and $10 on the burgers. Yesterday's hospital parking was $4.50. It's expensive, but the only free spots are too far away for me to walk comfortably with this darn knee.

Yesterday I filled up the tank (after getting my free pizza at PF.) $27. It's kind of funny that Pizza Day and Bagel Day came together, but that was because Pizza Day was originally scheduled for Labor Day. Yesterday's workout at PF included all my strength training except for anything stressing my knee.

The spending has pushed my variables up to 94%. Two weeks to go. But the circumstances are such that I am not worrying about money right now.


September 11th, 2017 at 04:08 pm

My son texted me this morning to let me know they are all safe, and they have suffered minimal damage. So glad that storm is mostly over. My son's half-sister, who lives in Venice, is also safe, though she is without power.

I visited with C for three hours at the hospital yesterday. I felt guilty upon leaving, thinking I had stayed too long. I shared this with my DIL, and she said, "You didn't!"

When I went to get my car out of the parking garage, it was closed and locked! In a panic, I went to the hospital concierge, and he told me how to get into it through the "hamster tunnel." Thank goodness once I was in there the exit door lifted to let me out. Unfortunately, I had to do a lot of extra walking and my knee was really hurting. But, hey, the parking was free!

I spent $17 on groceries yesterday -- blueberries, ricotta, mozzarella, spaghetti and sourdough bread. Now I can make either lasagna or spaghetti with my sauce. Not today, though; I'm going to finish the sloppy joes for lunch and have salmon teriaki for dinner.

An update of my "meals on hand" list:

Chicken vegetable soup
Purple potato soup
Salmon fillets
French onion soup
Grilled cheese sandwiches
Cheese quesadillas
Potato bowl
Blueberry pancakes (minimal syrup)

I'm planning to drop in at Planet Fitness this evening for pizza.

I just got back from the library. I got the next Harry Potter -- Order of the Phoenix -- and I checked out The Cursed Child for C. I also put the second Harry Potter movie on hold for our next movie night with the grandsons.

Afterwards I stopped at the physical therapist's and made an appointment for Friday.

I had to pay .50 parking at the library, but at PT, I happened to grab a metered space that had 52 minutes on it!

Planning to visit C again today, after lunch and after I rest my knee a bit.

Oops -- just realized I can't have pizza AND salmon for dinner. Guess I will have the salmon for lunch and hold off on the sloppy joes.

Nothing but bad news

September 10th, 2017 at 11:22 am

C's gall bladder was drained yesterday, and if she is feeling better she will be discharged today. However, her prognosis was altered to weeks only. We were all hoping and expecting that she would make it to Christmas, but apparently that is not to be. It is devastating news, even with all the warning we have received. I can't even describe how much this wonderful woman will be missed. I am finding it hard to deal with how unfair life is -- yes, I knew it was unfair, but sometimes is it so unfair, you just can't process it.

I talked at length to my Florida son last night. He has boarded up all his windows, stocked his fridge and pantry, has coolers and ice on hand, has trimmed off low-hanging branches, and has gotten the use of a generator. His wife's mother is with them. It was a planned visit that she decided to carry out before she realized how bad this hurricane would be. He said she's pretty scared, but she is helping to keep the kids entertained, and her presence will probably be calming to DIL.

My relations who live in Sarasota/Charlotte County have all evacuated -- they have moved in with family and friends who live farther inland and at higher levels. They didn't have time to make preparations, because they believed the gulf coast was relatively safe, so their properties are going to suffer.

I am watching the continuous coverage on NBC, and I probably will all weekend.

I didn't sleep well last night. Of course that's typical for me, but last night I was awake with worry.

I'm glad Amber reported in, and I hope everyone in our SA family who lives in Florida will be safe.


September 9th, 2017 at 02:11 pm

Well, everything is in turmoil around here. C was admitted to the hospital last night with intense abdominal pain. All I know at this point is that they are detecting a problem with her gall bladder.

I took care of the boys yesterday between the end of school and the time their father got home, as DIL was, of course, with her mom at the hospital. I bought them shakes at Steak N Shake -- only $4 as it was Happy Hour. Comfort food -- even though they didn't know anything!

Also on my mind is Hurricane Irma. The model I saw this morning put the path very near Gainesville. At least I know my son's family will be safe from the storm surge, but they are sure to get lots of damaging wind and rain. The new model also shows the landfall to take place on the gulf coast. I have quite a few shirttail relations living there, and I'm worried that they felt safe because the earlier prediction was focused on the east coast.

I finally got a diagnosis on my knee yesterday. It is pes anserine bursitis, and I have to sign up for more physical therapy. But at least I know what I'm dealing with. I declined a cortisone shot. The few that I've had were too painful to be worth it.

I also declined to pay my copay yesterday, explaining that I would rather pay my full medical online (which I will do after pay day.) I also got away with no cost for parking, because the appointment took less than one hour.

I was supposed to go with C today on a tour of the botanical gardens. That, needless to say, has been cancelled. I also tentatively cancelled my attendance at the jazzfest cookout tomorrow. It's an hour away and I'm not comfortable with being that far out of reach, the situation being what it is.

So all of this will have the silver lining that my spending will stay low as I bide my time at home and on call.

I am very uneasy on several fronts, but feeling grateful for my own health and safety at this time.


September 7th, 2017 at 09:21 pm

I spent $1.50 on laundry today, and paid a $7 doctor bill.

I have another doctor's appointment tomorrow. Now that the inflammation has calmed down, I can point to the exact spot on my knee that hurts. I hope this will help to figure out just what's wrong.

My variables spending is up to 83%, with 19 days to go. And another $5 copay will be made tomorrow.

I'm starting to think about how I can feed myself for the least amount in the days ahead. Here is a list off the top of my head of the meals I have available in the pantry or freezer. Some are already made, some need to be prepared.

Salmon Fillets
Sloppy Joes
Chicken Vegetable Soup
Cheese Broccoli Soup
Cheese Quesadillas
Apricot Chicken
Purple Potato Soup
Spanish Rice
Spaghetti (need an ingredient)
Lasagna (need an ingredient)
Peanut Soup

I'll have a free meal on Sunday at the cookout. On Monday and Tuesday I'll have a free bagel breakfast and a free pizza dinner at Planet Fitness.

In addition to the copay and groceries I have to figure on a tank of gas, a bag of cat food, $10 for parking, and probably $10 more for laundry. And there will probably be a surprise. There always is.

Two of my grandsons have birthdays next week, but the gifts are bought.

In other news, my son is heading home today in Florida. He's been on the road with his job. He will probably be in terrible traffic as he gets caught up among the evacuees. He and his family are staying put. They are in the north central part of the state, not close to either coast. And they live on very high ground. They are probably as safe as anyone can be in Florida. Still, I worry, this one is sounding so bad. I'll keep watching and hoping for the best.

Dinner Cancelled

September 6th, 2017 at 08:15 pm

My dinner downtown with friends was cancelled; one of my friends is not feeling well. We will try to reschedule in the next couple of weeks.

I was actually a little relieved. I didn't feel like making the trip downtown again, and for some perverse reason I always like it when any expected expenditure is put off. Maybe it won't even happen till the next pay cycle!

So instead I went to a matinee, "Tulip Fever." The reviews were terrible, but I love historical costume dramas. I didn't think it was too bad, and it was certainly beautiful to look at. Besides, I am interested in Dutch history, being part Dutch myself. It was Senior Day; it cost $7.

This weekend will be busy -- a trip to the botanical gardens on Saturday, and on Sunday, a cookout before the College's annual jazzfest. (I'm probably not going to the jazzfest itself.)

Variables are already at 82%; I've been too loose with my pocketbook this month. But I think I am set with most things -- I'll probably need another gas fill-up and probably another bag of cat food.

Despite the new phone, I still have a dead zone in my condo. My son's phone reacts the same way. I guess I'll have to look into a cell phone extender, because I really don't like limiting my phone use to the kitchen. But they're expensive, so I'll have to wait till next month -- which is actually the 27th.

Jury Duty

September 5th, 2017 at 09:20 pm

I was there until 2 p.m. and then dismissed. They didn't even interview me. Now I go back in the pool, and won't be called again for a year.

The drive to the courthouse was every bit as harrowing as I was afraid it might be, but I got there in time and didn't have to pay for parking. Coming home was worse, because when I was leaving the parking garage I couldn't turn left, as Google Maps was advising me, and had to go quite a bit out of my way. When I was finally going the right direction, the navigator directed me to Wacker Drive. Uh-uh. Wacker Drive is a "layered" road and I always lose my signal on it. Then I come out in the midst of tall buildings and my navigation goes nuts. So I navigated myself to 94, which goes to Wisconsin -- I knew that would steer me the right way, even if it was a bit out of my way.

I took my lunch, so paid nothing for food. I was paid $17.20. That went into my snowflakes.

Now I'm "on" again for dinner in the city with my friends tomorrow night. I'm going to take the train this time.

I'm very tired, even though it was a day of sitting. It was an interesting process. There was a huge pool of people, and they gave us group numbers upon entering. They chose three different groups to go to courtrooms for screening. We had a little video lesson on courtroom procedure hosted by none other than a very young Lester Holt. I had forgotten his roots were in Chicago!

I didn't realize before, but it was a state circuit court, not city or county. There were people from all over. It was also a criminal court. Had I been chosen, it probably would have been interesting, but I'm glad I have freedom instead.

Beach Day

September 4th, 2017 at 12:47 pm

Spent the whole afternoon at the beach yesterday with my son's family, C, and some of their friends. The boys had a great time in and out of the water. I mostly sat in a chair, along with C. It was fun, but the day got long for the grannies! At the end of the day, DIL made burgers and fixins for the family.

I didn't spend anything. I got my two free items from MyMixx (coconut water and coffee in a can).

I sacrificed my ice cream and sherbet to son's family. Not eating sugar is proving to be so effective in reducing my inflammation, now I just have to think of ways to get rid of the sugary things in my house.

This morning I am meeting friends for coffee at a nearby diner. Tomorrow I report for jury duty in the city. I am dreading that so much, but mostly I dread the trip into the city and trying to find the courthouse and parking. Once I get there, it is just a matter of biding my time. I'm planning to take a lunch and a book.

Garage Sales

September 2nd, 2017 at 08:43 pm

C and I went to garage sales today. I had some luck!

Ceramic Teapot (gift) - $7
Cinderella Ornament (gift) - $1
Paris Ornament (gift) - $1
Minnie Mouse wallet (gift) - $1
Book - .50
Beatrix Potter figurines - $10
Wooden Desk Organizer - $2

The Beatrix Potter figurines were $10 for 10. I figure I can sell them for $5-10 apiece. If I have no luck with that, I will give them to my niece for her daughter's room.

After the sales, we went to Panera for lunch, which cost me $10. It was a good morning.

I got a notice that I earned $2.60 for reducing my energy usage during Peak Savings Day. It was pretty easy, considering I wasn't at home!

No other news, financial or otherwise.

I, like Patient Saver, am worried about SecretarySaving. I hope she posts soon.

Moving Money

September 1st, 2017 at 07:00 pm

Today I took $600 out of my Chase checking account and moved it to my BOA account. Two reasons. I wanted to have enough money in my account so that when the second assessment fee hits, it won't bounce. I also need to keep $300 in the savings account -- my slush fund -- in order to avoid fees. New policy. I don't like it -- it means my slush fund will have to be higher so I don't encroach on the $300. But it's not really a loss of funds.

My only real spending today was $1.50 for laundry. BFF let me do a lot of laundry at her house, but I did not take my towels, and it was time.

Oh, wait a minute. I also spent $46 on a birthday present for my Florida grandson. Picks from his Amazon list -- kinetic sand, Play-Doh, a school bus, and a thermos. I'm very proud that I got this done before the last minute!

I put all my stovetop burners in the dishwasher and I'm running it now. I've tried before, but never with the new dishwasher. I hope it will get some of the crud off, and if I still have to hand-scrub them, at least it will not be quite as much effort.

My car is still half-full of stuff from my trip. I'm taking things up a little at a time, because I don't want to stress my legs too much. I figure I have two more trips up the steps to go. But I'm done for today.

The rest of the day I'm devoting to reading. I'm way behind in the family Harry Potter book club!

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
Santa collectible
Orrefors crystal vase
Butter dish
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.


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!

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