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Getting There

June 17th, 2017 at 01:23 pm

Today's my get-ready-for-the-trip day, and I've had a few roadblocks. For one, I fell back asleep this morning after I woke up, thus losing a chunk of time. (But I needed it -- bad night.) Then I realized my grandson had an away baseball game. Since I missed the last one, I wanted to come to this one. Luckily it was a short game. My son, grandson and I went out for ice cream afterward. This time I was treated!

So, I managed to get one load of laundry done and another is in the washer. I think I need to do one more, but I could probably get by without it.

I didn't get to the lab for the blood test, but I have several days to do that after I get back, before the nephrologist appointment.

I bought a gift card for Florida DIL, as well as a birthday card and two father's day cards. Total was $43. For buying the three cards, I got a free travel thermos, which I can actually use right now.

I also got two free snack packs in a MyMixx deal; I will take those on the road tomorrow.

My son gave me a lesson in driving a Toyota Prius, which I will be renting in Florida. Wow, it's so weirdly different. I'm glad we took the time to go over it.

I probably won't post again till the 26th, so I'll see you on the flip side!

Ultrasound

June 16th, 2017 at 02:51 pm

I didn't think I was worrying too much about the ultrasound today. Maybe Thrift's news was on my mind, however. While I was having the procedure done, it seemed to me the radiologist was chatty and relaxed while she imaged my bladder, but she became quiet and intense while she was working on my kidneys. And it seemed to take a long time. When I was ready to leave, she told me I would be notified about the results in about an hour.

I was driving home -- only a few minutes, not an hour -- when I heard a text message come in on my phone, then another. I was imagining the first text as a notification of my test results, and the second as a request to make an emergency appointment right away.

When I got home, I looked at my phone, and I did have two text messages from the hospital.

I took a few minutes to settle myself down, and then I looked. Both were messages to look on the
medical group's website. I logged in. The first message directed me to the test results. The test showed that my kidneys were both normal in size, not swollen, and were not showing signs on retaining urine. The second message was simply a copy of the message sending the results to my nephrologist.

OMG! How did I get myself into such a state! I felt such a surge of relief, and I was so exhausted I curled up to sleep.

I know I have a long road ahead, dealing with kidney disease, but I'm not at the end of it yet!

Needless to say, I didn't even get the blood work done. I'll do that tomorrow.

I feel pretty silly considering what Thrift is going through today, but I do feel that awful news was playing with my mind.

In other news, I spent $7 on automotive tape which I used to reattach the molding which is separating from the side of my car. It was definitely a patch job. I don't know if it will hold up, but at least the molding isn't flapping any more. (I did this in the morning, before the ultrasound.)

Going to relax this evening and tomorrow will be a day of laundry and packing. Then I'll leave at the crack of dawn on Sunday.

Off Duty!

June 15th, 2017 at 03:27 pm

This was my last day (this week) of babysitting. Between yesterday and today I added $13 to my eating out, buying snacks at Steak N Shake & McDonalds. I'm at peace with that, those visits helped to break up the day -- also, I've learned it's much easier to eat out than to try to produce a meal in someone else's kitchen -- even one you know pretty well.

So tomorrow I do my medical stuff -- blood tests and ultrasound -- and on Saturday I'll do laundry and pack, and get the house ready to be unoccupied. That sounds funny, but when I leave for a trip, I always make sure to take out garbage, clean the fish tank, process any perishable food in the fridge, and leave a pristine cat pan -- as well as leave the house generally presentable.

And on Sunday I fly to Florida, to babysit my other grandchildren! This time, though, I'll just be backing up Mom.

My local DIL quit her part-time job at Pure Barre. Her other job in event planning is promising to become more than a part-time job -- at any rate, it was getting to be too much for her to juggle two jobs. This may translate into less babysitting, but it all depends on how the event planning goes. The business may be expanding into hosting a large venue, about 350 seats. Currently, the company manages events but does not actually own or manage any particular event space.

My legs are still hurting, but I can tell they are getting better. Yay!

Variables are at 52%. Eleven days left in this pay cycle, but seven of those days will be vacation and will be funded by a different budget. So I'm feeling good.

Tuesday Doings

June 14th, 2017 at 05:28 am

Yesterday I did make it to Planet Fitness at the right time to pick up a bagel. But I had already had breakfast, so I saved it for today.

After my workout, I went to babysit the boys. We went to a dollar showing of the Lego Batman Movie. It was $3 for the three of us, and $2.25 for parking. Had we been a little more prompt, I could have parked in a nearby garage for free, but I didn't want to miss part of the movie.

I also ordered my DIL's birthday present, some items she had on her Amazon wish list. The total came to about $55. Unfortunately one of the items won't be delivered until July 14 or so, so I'll just have to wrap up a picture and tell her it's coming!

Later in the day I went to GS1's baseball game. He made the winning run! He was all smiles, so proud.

The weather had turned surprisingly cool and I had to wear a sweater. I've had the AC off now since Monday night.

I've been asked to get more blood work done, and to get a kidney ultrasound. The ultrasound is scheduled for Friday. I suppose Friday will be the best day to get the blood work done, as well. I told DIL I would have to take Friday off from babysitting, and she was able to get my son's cousin to fill in. She's a rising 10th-grader, but I'm sure she will do a good job.

My legs still hurt, mostly focused in my hips and knees. I'm going without any painkillers, because I don't know for sure yet whether taking too much Tylenol may have caused the dip in my kidney function. So I just may be more aware of the pain. This is hard. Chronic pain is tough.

Library and More Sorbet

June 13th, 2017 at 04:16 am

Yesterday I took the boys to the library, where I spent $2 on books from the book sale, and then we went to a frozen yogurt place where I spent $16 on yogurt and sorbet. Time to cut back on the treats; I've shot that category.

The library was having a demo of the "Libby" app, through which I can borrow ebooks and audiobooks. I think I will use it, especially for audiobooks, which I like to listen to while driving long distances. Except I don't know how to connect my phone to a speaker in my car. I have an old car. I wonder if that kind of technology is only available on a newer car. Anyone know how to make a phone "talk" in a car?

For the most part, though, I like to read physical books.

I got my $25 gift card from my new Barnes & Noble Mastercard. I was going to use it for a graduation gift, but decided instead to give it to DIL for her birthday. Actually, both my DIL's have birthdays this month, and I have to get on it.

Today the boys and I are going to the dollar movie, which will be the Batman Lego movie. I've already got the candy treats -- when I bought them for our last movie, we got a double set because of a BOGO offer.

Today is bagel day at Planet Fitness. I'm going to go do some strength training on my core and arms this morning before babysitting, but I may be too early for the bagel delivery. My DIL has to go to work at 8:30.

Ice Cream -- Or, Make That Sorbet

June 12th, 2017 at 06:53 am

Yesterday after my grandson's baseball game, which was out of town (about 30 minutes away) I decided to treat my two grandsons and my son to ice cream at Oberweiss, a premium ice cream parlor in our area. ($15)

I got sorbet, because I'm lactose intolerant. I love it that they have the sorbet option. I got mango pomegranate and it was delicious.

My son put in my air conditioners last night. I guess I waited a little too long, because it seemed to take a long time to catch up.

I had a lot of trouble falling asleep last night, not just because of the heat, but because my legs were hurting. My latest theory is that I overdid some stretching and actually caused some injury. I'm going to really take it easy until they heal. I haven't till now -- I've been keeping up on my fitness schedule -- but I think my body is telling me to ease up.

I'm babysitting again today. I might be on for all week, not sure of DIL's schedule. When C gets back from her trip, things will ease up -- but she doesn't get back until the day I leave for Florida. Anyway, I am happy to help for the time being. My kids do so much for me, it's nice to be able to give back in a meaningful way.

So today will still be scorching hot, so there will be no outdoor activity today. Maybe we'll have another library day.

It's Hot!

June 11th, 2017 at 09:29 am

But it's still not too bad inside, so I'm still holding off on my AC.

I went for my walking club walk this morning and I had such a nice conversation with one of the other members. Plus I reconnected with someone I met several years ago at a dinner event. Since we started at 8 am, it wasn't too hot. I did feel the exercise -- I walked for an hour. No Planet Fitness for me today.

After I got home I pitted my cherries and cut up my fresh personal-size pineapple (which is delicious!). Right now my cherry-chicken dish is simmering on the stove. This evening I'm going to roast some asparagus, and serve it with sauteed tilapia.

I reserved my rental cars -- decided to go with one car upon arrival and another upon departure, since it is not needed through the week. The cost will be just under $100. The catch is that dropoff is at the airport, so when I arrive, if my DIL is not able to pick me up, I will have to get a taxi. It will still be cheaper than keeping a car for the whole week.

Only a week to go, so it's time to be thinking about what I'm going to pack, etc. Hard to believe it's almost time to go down there again. Time really flies.

Laziness

June 10th, 2017 at 01:03 pm

I got up and went to the gym early this morning. I've been somewhat remiss about gym time, with all the babysitting. Then I stopped at Food4Less and bought cat food and a couple of clearance items - $14. Variables are now at 36%, and I only have a week to go before I leave on "vacation." I put that in quotes because it's going to be a lot of work.

Knees and legs still feel wonky, like I've pulled tendons, even though I know I haven't.

It's heating up. I haven't put in the AC units, and I don't feel like it today. Luckily, my building, with its thick brick walls, stays pretty cool as long as I keep the shades drawn, and I still feel pretty comfortable inside.

I've enjoyed having a lazy day (haven't even showered yet!) Tomorrow I have a morning walk with the walking club, and and an evening baseball game, the first travel game of the season. In between those two events, I plan to continue being lazy.

However, midst all this laziness, I did manage to get a load of laundry done.

I ate the refrigerator soup, and it was pretty good. I still have another serving. I was planning to make cherry balsamic roasted chicken today, but not feeling like doing that, either! Maybe I'll get the cherries pitted today so it won't be too much work tomorrow. And by then I'll know for sure the chicken is thawed.

I'll probably just make some cheese quesadillas instead.

No-Spend Day!

June 9th, 2017 at 04:38 pm

I finished up the week with a no-spend day. GS2 went to a friend's house today, and GS1 worked on his workbooks and his computer. I was off-duty at about 1:30.

Since I'd had a rough night, I came home and took a nap. Then I went out with my walking club -- and it was a beautiful day for it! We walked for an hour.

I made refrigerator soup from leftovers, and I was planning on having it for dinner tonight, but I'm pretty full. So it will be tomorrow's lunch. Today's lunch was free; I made mac & cheese for the boys at their house. And since they always have plenty of fresh fruit around, I ate some strawberries and an apple.

DIL will need me next week, too, and then I will go to Florida and do the same thing for my other grandkids! Don't feel sorry for me, I am living my dream. I love the time I spend with my grandchildren, even when they wear me out. I love really getting to know them as people. And hearing their funny insights and perspectives.

I think my statin is still messing with me, even though I've stopped taking it. Curiously, it's my knees hurting now. I can't think what else I might have done to make them so sore. Hoping all this stuff passes out of my system quickly!

IHOP

June 8th, 2017 at 03:22 pm

My only spending today was lunch at IHOP with the boys. I wasn't going to spend anything today, but here's how it went. While I was at their music lesson, I was cleaning out my bag and came across the IHOP groupon I purchased some time ago. I was running out of time to use it at full value, but it was for an IHOP that is pretty far away -- a city I never go to, well over an hour away. (At the time of purchase I thought it was for any IHOP.) So I thought I would stop at the IHOP that is on the way home from the music teacher's and just ask if there was any way they would honor it. Well, of course, no. But the manager said he would give me a 20% discount just for asking. The boys' faces lit up, and so we had lunch. It was $24, including tip.

I'm babysitting again tomorrow, and it has to be a no-spend day! At least it will be a shorter day, so easier to keep the boys occupied.

My DIL says she will reimburse me, but my feeling is that I should pay for stuff that is my idea. If she asks me to take them somewhere -- sure, she can pay. But not for things that are my choice.

Tired

June 7th, 2017 at 04:06 pm

Well, it's been quite a day.

It started yesterday when I got my test results from the doctor's office. The test showed a drop in kidney function and my doctor directed me to make an appointment with a nephrologist right away. Last night I felt pretty scared and sad. Today I have rebounded somewhat. I called the nephrologist this morning and made an appointment for June 28. I am still far away from kidney failure but it worries me to see change. I'll learn more when I see the kidney doctor.

I was planning to renew my driver's license, but when I got out the letter I read it more carefully and realized that after renewing, I would get a temporary license for fifteen days. I don't want to have a temporary license when I'm flying, so I'm going to wait until after the trip.

It didn't matter, because my DIL called last night and asked if I could babysit all day today. She has a job with irregular hours and she can't pin her boss down to a schedule, so sometimes she is caught up short. Add to that, her mom (C) is traveling now, so she doesn't have her to fall back on.

So I stayed with the boys and took them to a movie (Captain Underpants) and lunch (Buffalo Wild Wings), as well as the library. My day cost about $37. Then, after I was off duty, I went to the grocery and spent $11. Variables are now at 30%.

I'll be needed tomorrow as well. Tomorrow will be somewhat different, as I'll be taking them to their music lessons, and I don't plan on any outings.

I should do a load of laundry tonight, but I'm tired and it can wait another day.

Beautifying

June 6th, 2017 at 10:43 am

It was AARP day at Walgreen's, so I bought some beauty products I've had on my want list. I combined the 15% AARP discount with some other discounts. All in all I got $6 off a $40 order -- not earth-shattering but at least I didn't pay full price. I bought mascara, eyeliner, neck & chest cream, and eye cream. The latter two I'm trying for the first time. I got some facial masks for Christmas that I haven't tried yet, so one of these days I'm going to give myself a spa day! (At home, of course!)

I also went to the doctor's office and got my blood drawn. Hoping to hear good news in the next few days.

My variables are now at 23%, and once again, I'll be on vacation for a week of this month, which won't come out of the variables budget.

I've put it off for a few days, but I think I will make tomorrow my day to renew my driver's license. I have to go out of town, since we have no branch here -- Chicago would be the closest, but I'm not going there -- I think I will drive to a western suburb and maybe hit a Goodwill out there, too.

Really trying to step up my fruit/veggie consumption. Today I had a bowl of strawberries with my mini-bagel for breakfast, and lunch will be French onion soup, to which I'm adding LOTS of onions. Dinner will be spaghetti. I'll have Italian green beans on the side, but I'm also adding mushrooms and carrots to the sauce.

Tomorrow I'm going to stop at Jewel because there are specials on blackberries, cherries, asparagus and pineapple.

Finished a jigsaw puzzle today and it was so satisfying, and yet I have accomplished nothing! Wish I got a prize or something! But the reward is the pleasure in doing.

Quiet Day

June 5th, 2017 at 07:33 pm

I slept late and showered late. Didn't go to the gym until 4:00. When I got done at 5, pizza was served at Planet Fitness! So I had a free dinner, though pretty small, since I politely took only one piece.

From Planet Fitness I went to my grandson's baseball game. He was his old self, all recovered from his meltdown. His team lost, but it didn't bother him. It was his last league game this year and now travel baseball will start in earnest.

It was VERY COLD sitting on the bleachers! Surprising, since it was so hot yesterday. I ended up taking my other grandson home a bit early so we could both warm up. I took him to Starbucks for a warm blueberry muffin ($3). I found .93 there! Then I took him home, as mom and dad were already there.

I'm temporarily quitting my statin, as it is -- once again -- causing muscle cramps and pain. I have an appointment on June 30 to discuss next steps. I also arranged for a blood draw to check my kidney function. I'll do that in the next few days.


Sunday

June 4th, 2017 at 06:30 pm

I walked with my walking club this morning, this time walking lakeside and then taking a turn by the "biscuit factory" -- now a condo building. It was about a one-hour walk. Naturally, I skipped going to Planet Fitness since it would have been a treadmill day anyway.

It was rather hot and humid, but since it was only 8 am, it was bearable. It's really hot now. I haven't dragged out my air conditioners yet. I expect there will be a cooldown soon, and I don't want to rush the season. I should probably get my AC out when it's cool, anyway, so it isn't such hard work to lug them around.

Our windows were washed this week, and I already have bird poop on one of mine! I hope that rain will wash it off. I can't get to it.

I didn't do much today. My legs are aching; really bothering me. I'm going to make an appointment with my doctor and revisit the whole statin thing. It seems like I just can't take them without getting the muscle cramp/spasm side effect. I've tried four different ones so far.

I didn't spend any money and have no financial news.

Hoping the temps go down tonight. I had a rough night last night and this afternoon I fell asleep on the couch. I hope sleep will come more easily tonight.

Saturday

June 3rd, 2017 at 12:41 pm

I believe my total spending today will be $3 for laundry.

I went to my grandson's baseball game. After so many good games, he had a bad one today. His team won, but he hit two batters while pitching and was taken out. Then he struck out, and the third strike was an obviously bad call. He was devastated. He usually keeps his equilibrium very well, but he just lost it today. He was invited to a swimming party this afternoon, so I hope by now he is splashing around and over it all.

Last night was my first walk with the walking club. We walked most of an hour. It was supposed to be a lakeside walk, but instead we walked in my neighborhood (just west of the lake) in order to be in the shade. I was really tired! Our group began with six and only three finished -- our leader walked pretty briskly. There's another one tomorrow morning.

I found a big discrepancy in my check register this morning -- finally determined that I forgot to subtract my latest assessment fee payment. Glad it was so easy to figure out, and before anything bounced.

Guess that's all! Looking forward to a day of reading and relaxation!

This and That

June 2nd, 2017 at 08:50 am

Yesterday I was in charge of GS2 for half the day. (Mom was busy carting GS1 to his activities.) I picked him up from school, took him to his piano lesson, took him out for a shake, and took him to Tae Kwan Do. The shakes cost $4 -- it was Happy Hour at Steak N Shake so we got two for the price of one.

This morning, after gym, I filled up the tank - $25.

In a few hours I'll go to GS1's graduation -- 4th grade graduation, that is! That's a new one on me! I think it will be a fairly simple recognition ceremony. School officially ends Monday -- I expect I'll be doing some kid-watching soon while DIL works.

This evening I will go for my first walk with the walking club. Which reminds me, I went through the "goody bag" the club gave me and found a $10 gift card for Wheel & Sprocket. I'll give that to my son. I also got a pedometer -- which doesn't work, a water bottle and a T-shirt.

I haven't got back to the rental car search, but I'll try to do that today. A big thank you to Secretary Saving for providing discount codes!

I was planning to renew my driver's license, but the graduation ceremony is cutting up the day. So I think that will be a Monday thing.

Funny how busy I am in retirement!

Thursday Stuff

June 1st, 2017 at 09:12 am

After the gym this morning, I stopped at Food4Less and bought two more items: croutons and granola. $4. Realized I had a lot of salad to eat and I love the croutons on it. I've given up on making my own granola; it always turns out sticky or burnt.

LivingLarge reminded me in one of her comments how important it is to stretch along with exercise, and I've been quite remiss in that area. So this morning I took my yoga strap and did my stretching routine before and after my half-hour on the recumbent bike. I think this will make me feel a lot better. I'm going to stretch before bedtime, too.

This afternoon I'm picking up one of my grandsons from school and taking him to music lessons and Tae Kwan Do. There will be about two hours in between, and I'll have to give him dinner. I'm going to try to entice him with mac & cheese rather than take him out.

Just got a reminder that my driver's license is going to expire in August. Think I will take care of that tomorrow; I don't want to wait till the last minute, and it's always better to go the DMV near the first of the month. I'll be glad to get a new picture on my license, though they never get any better!

Back to the airport/car rental dilemma. After a lot of searching yesterday, I've come back to the same conclusion -- it will be best to reserve long-term parking at the airport and drive there. Nothing else is very much cheaper, and all the other options are quite a bit more inconvenient -- or more expensive.

The only other option still on the table is to drive to Lafayette, Indiana, park my car in a friend's driveway, and take the shuttle to the Indianapolis. That is $50 as opposed to $72 for airport parking, but it would mean bending to the shuttle schedule (only runs every two hours) and asking a favor of a friend whom I don't see often. I don't like the idea of popping up out of nowhere and asking for a favor. I also don't like the idea of waiting for the shuttle when I come back, which will be an evening arrival. I'd rather get right on the road for my three-hour trip back home.

So I think I've just talked myself into the airport parking.

Yet to be determined is the car rental in Florida. I'll be looking more today.

From now on, I'm going to remember what a hassle this "cheap" airfare is! Might as well have spent the money on a ticket that takes me straight from Chicago to Gainesville!

Trader Joe's

May 31st, 2017 at 09:29 am

I'm adding Trader Joe's to my grocery store rotation. It's a favorite of DIL, and I have tried it in the past but found it a little bewildering. But I know I just have to learn their stock and where to find things.

I have to say, it is a happy place to shop! All the shoppers polite and friendly, and the staff very helpful. I spent $25 on 10 items this morning: bread, coffee, biscuits, crescent rolls, cream cheese, butter, eggs, mushrooms, raspberries. I also bought one of their reusable shopping bags because I really like the size, shape, and durability. (And the style!)

With three 10-item shopping trips I am basically done. Now I will only get necessities as they crop up.

I have charged $500 on my AAA credit card and so have reached the amount needed to earn the $100 bonus. Now I want to switch to my Barnes & Nobles MasterCard. But I am having a devil of a time getting it activated. I thought it was done weeks ago, but I kept getting emails to activate it. This morning I got online and saw that all my info is there, but there is a hypertext to activate. (Perhaps I didn't get through the whole process before.) Anyway, I tried and tried to finish it up, but I kept getting an error message. I called customer service, and they said they were in the middle of an upgrade and to try a few hours later. I did that, but same thing. I'm going to call again tomorrow after I am sure that their upgrade is done.

I think it was Petunia who recommended AutoSlash for car rental deals. I did fill out their form and got estimates today, but they are all higher than what I paid last week! I wonder if cheapo places like EZ Care Rental are not included in their search. AutoSlash will continue to send new deals, and I have plenty of time, but I am definitely shooting for under $200!

It was also suggested that when I travel in June, I look for a shuttle to the airport rather than parking there. Here is the problem: the airport I am using is about 3 hours away from my home! There is an option to shuttle from a town about an hour away from the airport, but with my BFF out of town, I don't have an option for free parking at her place. I believe the airport's weekly parking rate was $72 last time I checked, so that isn't as bad as it is at some of the major airports.

If you're wondering why I would book a flight at such a distant airport, it is because Allegiant Airlines, which has very cheap flights to Florida, does not use big airports like the Chicago hubs. It has worked out well in the past to fly out of Indianapolis and to have the bonus of a visit with BFF, free parking, and a ride to the airport. But BFF will be traveling this time, so that plan isn't going to work.

The Dutch apple pie I made yesterday is awesome! Very high in calories, though, so I am going to try to give some of it away, even though I would like to eat it all!

Baseball game tonight. I'm back in the swing of things!

Getting Back to Normal

May 30th, 2017 at 09:50 am

After a week away from home, I needed to get some groceries. I hit both Aldi and Food4Less, getting 10 items at each place. Aldi: walnuts, salad, carrots, chicken, margarine, almond milk, apple pie filling, flour, syrup, vinegar. ($29) Food4Less: strawberries, blueberries, frozen peas, frozen green beans, roast beef, tortillas, sherbet, mini-bagels, tuna, salsa. ($18)

I bought the roast beef for French Dip sandwiches -- already have the buns -- and I got the apple pie filling because it was on clearance and I have a pie crust in the freezer to use up. I'm hoping I have enough crust to make a lattice top. If not, I'll do a crumb crust. If the pie turns out, I will share with the kids and C.

Variables are at 8% and include a $2 donation and $1.50 for laundry.

I called the courthouse this morning and got the jury duty summons postponed for three months. Yay! They were very nice about it, too. Now I need to start planning the June trip in earnest. BFF will not be available to take me to the airport, so I may just drive all the way to Indy and park the car at the airport. And I have to reserve a rental car in Florida. This time, I will be sure to use a company that is on-site at the airport.

Nothing on my schedule today, so I'm going to just enjoy getting things back in order and reading.

Almost forgot! I also went to PetSmart and used a 30% off coupon to get more kitty litter. That was $8.

Hello Friends!

May 29th, 2017 at 05:01 pm

I'm back from my week-long vacation in Florida. It was more work than vacation, though. Caring for two children under five and a DIL on crutches is quite a challenge. My son was there every morning and evening, of course, and was an amazing helper, but still -- it was very tiring.

It was also rather expensive, costing $341 above the cost of the airfare, which I paid last month. I spent $27 on gas, $86 on eating out (mostly takeout and road food), $17 on groceries, $15 for a movie, and $197 on the rental car. (Ended up keeping it for the whole week.) I also bought diapers for $25.

My fiscal month ended on the 23rd, so here is the monthly recap:

Housing: $695
Vacation/Travel: $399
Utilities : $157
Fees/Services: $103 (license plate)
Vet/Pet Supplies: $98
Groceries: $95
Furnishings/Equipment/Decor: $81 (dishes)
Clothing: $78 (shoes)
Gifts/Charity: $75
Phone: $52
Eating Out: $50
Medical/Health: $46
Personal: $35
Entertainment: $15 (book)
Laundry: $11
Household Supplies: $3
Fares/Parking: $2

Grand Total: $1995

Variables came in at 95%.

The monthly vacation cost is a blend of the earlier girlfriends' weekend and some of the Florida expenses. A chunk of the Florida trip's cost will go into next month's recap.

Now, you may remember that I promised to go back in June, when my son is at a conference and my DIL will be alone. The airfare is already booked and my son paid for it. Well, I come home today and find in my mailbox a jury summons -- FOR THE DAY AFTER I AM SUPPOSED TO FLY DOWN THERE! I haven't told my son yet. It is a standby summons, so it is possible I won't have to go, but I won't know until the night before, when I can call in. I'm trying to get my head around it, but it seems to me that I will have to cancel the trip and ask my son to try to find other help.

Has anyone ever had any luck getting excused? I can't call until tomorrow, because today is a holiday, but I looked at the website, and it sure doesn't look like they are very understanding.

Oh, and if there wasn't already enough bad news, I learned while I was on my trip that my boss at the museum was either fired or forced out. I have no idea if I will EVER be called back to work, seeing as she was the one who brought me on board. My gut feeling is that I will be cut loose. We'll see.

Friday Morning

May 19th, 2017 at 08:12 am

I stopped at Food4Less yesterday on my way home from the gym -- bought fresh fruit and paper goods for $12. Variables - 84%.

Today I will continue getting ready for my trip. I have my clothing picks set aside. I need to pack a plastic bag of toiletries and stuff everything in my suitcase. Without my cats seeing what I am doing -- otherwise they might protest with their bladders.

I arranged with C to do pet check next Friday - Sunday. My son will do it this Saturday - Thursday.

Tomorrow will be a full day. A walk in the morning with the walking club, then a baseball game, then a drive to Indy. Flying out on Sunday.

I will probably not be posting; I think I will be very busy with grandchildren, as DIL is still on crutches and not very mobile.

Just want to report that I LOVE the L'Oreal Rosy Tone Age Defense moisturizer! I really see a difference in my face! Now, I will admit that the novelty of a new product may be making me more vigilant about my facial care -- but whatever works! So now I will have to be on the lookout for deals, since it is not cheap.

Pay day will occur while I am gone, but all bills are automatic except for credit cards and my mortgage. I'll take care of those when I get home -- plenty of time before due dates.

Today I will do boring stuff like cleaning the fish tank, vacuuming, hit-the-high-spot dusting.

Starting to feel excited -- not dreadful -- about my trip!

Vacation Dread

May 18th, 2017 at 07:31 am

In a way, I am dreading my trip to Florida. I hate to be away from home for as long as a week. I would be okay if it weren't for my pets at home. But I worry about them. My son checks in on them every day (and sometimes brings the boys to play with them) but, on the other hand, he is not the animal lover that I am, so I don't think it's a priority with him. This time he is leaving town for the last three days, so I'm going to ask C to check on them. She has offered in the past. Of course, I hate to have to ask her, but perhaps she will like feeling useful.

Anyway, that's why I had a another set of keys cut yesterday ($8).

I also worry about the temperature in the house. I don't have a thermostat to set. At this time of year, comfort is controlled by open windows and fans. I have to leave the house sealed up for safety's sake. I suppose the cats will just sleep a lot if it gets too warm.

Also, for some reason I am nervous about flying this time. (This is something that comes and goes.) If I flew more, I would probably get used to it, but I can't shake the feeling that it is unsafe, and I love to get back on solid ground again.

I am flying Allegiant, which only operates at smaller airports, so I have to drive to Indy to fly. That has the bonus of getting to see BFF, but I have to inconvenience her with parking my car at her house and getting a ride to the airport. (Parking for a whole week at the airport is beyond my budget.) So I worry about that. And of course it adds about six hours of drive time to my trip.

On the other hand, I get to see my son, DIL and grandchildren -- and I haven't seen them since last September! So I must get over these feelings and start looking forward to the treat in store!

I also need to start thinking about what to pack. I'm taking one carry-on bag. I want to pack a couple of outfits for the kids and my DIL's birthday present, which is a necklace and two paperback books. I think I will pack three outfits for myself (capris and t-shirts), one pair of pj's, and one pair of shoes. I'll be doing laundry there, anyway. Minimal toiletries, too.

Variables spending is at 82%. Since the end of this cycle will essentially come when I leave on Saturday, I'm doing well there.

Anyway, that's my rumination about vacation preparation. Thanks for letting me think out loud!

Wednesday

May 17th, 2017 at 07:25 am

SIL did come down yesterday and she did have a thorough tour of my place. So glad I cleaned up! We went to lunch at a barbecue place and she insisted upon paying. Later on I spent $2 on water for the two of us.

The auction we attended was high-end. Lots of gold jewelry and precious gems. SIL really wanted to see the furniture sell, since she is wanting to learn how to price it, but after several hours they weren't even close to auctioning the furniture. I had to leave for GS1's baseball game. It turned out he couldn't play, because he got his finger closed in a door, so I texted her that I could go back and sit with her. She replied that she was leaving soon anyway.

But despite all that, it was a good day, and it was good to see her.

I not only got a free lunch, but a free dinner, since there were enough leftovers to take home.

Today I'm doing some laundry, and I'm going to get another set of keys cut. My son has an extra set, but I want C to have one, too. She will help with pet care while I am in Florida.

It's finally gotten warm, and I slept with open windows and ceiling fan running last night!

Tuesday Morning

May 16th, 2017 at 07:18 am

Got my hair cut yesterday ($16 with tip) and mailed my packages ($15). Variables are now 79%.

My SIL is on her way from Michigan and we will get together for lunch today. I'm vacuuming and dusting in case she comes in to see my place, but she may be on such a tight schedule that won't happen. Funny how my place always looks fine to me until someone comes to visit.

I finished 1941 in my mother's diary. On December 8, 1941, she simply wrote, "WAR IS DECLARED!" Of course, she also commented on the Pearl Harbor bombing the day before. At this point, three uncles are in the service. She mentions that my father was "on fire" to join the navy, and even went to talk to a recruiter. This is something I never knew. He did not serve. Perhaps I'll find out why -- but knowing my mom, she might not mention the reason. I always thought it was because he was married with a child, but actually my brother hasn't been born yet.

I'm looking forward to 1942 to see about the changes war brought in their lives.

I watched the second episode of Victorian Slum House yesterday. I believe the third is airing tonight. The incredible struggle of these families makes me appreciate my own circumstances.

I think I'm going to stop posting my daily menu, because I so often deviate from it! Just going to be mindful of what I eat -- get my fruits/veggies, watch the calories, eat enough to be satisfied but not stuffed. And of course be very mindful of using up food that needs to be eaten.

No cooking plans today, as I will go out for lunch, and dinner is an unknown.

I had to reschedule my dentist appointment because my grandson's 4th grade graduation was scheduled at the same day and time. My new appointment is November 27! They said they will call, though, if there are cancellations.

I guess that's it! Time to pull out the vacuum.

Monday

May 15th, 2017 at 08:13 am

Our cake party yesterday was in a lakeside park. It was windy, so we ate fast and took a windy picture and left! Once home, we all played Yahtzee (I won!) and watched one of the kids' shows, Ronia the Robber's Daughter. Good day.

No spending aside from what I reported yesterday.

Today I'm going to get my hair cut and mail my packages, so it will not be an NSD. Variables are at 74%. Only have to make it till Saturday, since vacation activities come out of savings, not variables.

My son bought my airline ticket for June 18. I'm feeling guilty and will offer to pay at least half. I think it turned out to be more than he expected.

My SIL confirmed she is coming to town tomorrow. We will probably have lunch and may spend a few hours together at the auction she is attending, but she won't be staying.

Today's menu: Breakfast - eggs & toast. Lunch - tacos. Dinner - Loaded cornbread, clementines.

Mother's Day

May 14th, 2017 at 12:29 pm

Well, so far it's been quite a day. Here is the spending:

$26 - Kitty litter & fish food. I know I said I was set on pet supplies, but I had a $10 coupon for PetSmart that had to be used today. Since I am buying more expensive kitty litter now, I have to take every opportunity to save.

$14 - Mother's day cards.

$10 - Registration fee for walking program. This is something C suggested doing, so I'm all in.

I also reserved a car for my Florida trip, but will not have to pay the $46 till I pick it up.

There may be a second Florida trip brewing. My son has to travel for work on the week of June 19 and my DIL is not recovering quickly from her knee surgery, so she doesn't want to be left alone. My son is offering to buy a ticket so I can come down again that week.

I also may get a visit from my SIL next week; she is growing an auction business and may be visiting an antique warehouse in my area.

This morning my DIL, C and I took a long walk (along with the boys) up and down the lakeshore. It's a beautiful day. Later we will have a little Mother's Day cake party.

Today's menu: Breakfast - just coffee & cream. Lunch - Sausage biscuit, applesauce. Dinner - Tilapia, mashed potatoes, clementines. And there will be cake.

Hope all you mothers out there have a wonderful day!

Saturday Stuff

May 13th, 2017 at 12:38 pm

I was leaving for the gym this morning and realized I had not yet labeled the packages I was planning to mail. So I'll do that on Monday. I don't like to go to the post office on Saturday anyway.

After gym I went to Jewel and got $3 worth of MyMixx stuff; added $3 to my snowflakes. Then stopped at Walgreens and bought the moisturizer I've been wanting - $15. I had a rain check; otherwise it would have been $21.

Then it was time to shower and go to the baseball game. It was a long game, but our team won. My grandson pitched and struck out five batters.

After the game C and I took our other grandson to Subway for lunch (GS1 was going to a birthday party). We split the cost; it was $11 for me. So it's been a good day and it's only half over!

Yesterday was quiet and uneventful. I did one load of laundry and then got inspired to organize my closet a bit more. I've isolated all the clothing that is too snug, but that I can realistically wear with a little gumption. I rolled all the pieces and put them in a plastic bin. I can go down a whole size (or more) and still have a nice wardrobe. I also made some granola.

Today's menu:

Breakfast - Odwalla almond milk shake, apple slices
Lunch - Black Forest ham sandwich w/spinach & tomato, chips
Dinner - Omelet, clementines

This and That

May 12th, 2017 at 08:28 am

Went to the gym this morning and then stopped at Food4Less to "buy" quarters. I got there before customer service was quite open, so I chatted with the attendant for a bit. She is one month away from having her first child. It was nice to have a pleasant conversation with a stranger -- something I don't do enough.

I went to my grandson's baseball game last night. It was awfully cold on the bleachers, and my jacket wasn't warm enough. But it was a good game; our team won, and my grandson hit a triple, bringing in three runs.

It was another day of no spending. Today I'm going to box up some books and a jacket I picked up at Goodwill, and send them to my sister and her husband. I'll mail them tomorrow. This is a bit of an expense for me, but I think they appreciate it.

Today's menu: Breakfast - sausage biscuit & applesauce. Lunch - Hamburger & broccoli. Dinner - cheese & crackers, clementines.

Wal-Mart Shop

May 11th, 2017 at 09:44 am

I almost forgot I had the $15 gift card from Wal-Mart! I went today after the gym and picked up the items I was worried about running out of -- dishwasher detergent, bread and creamer. I also bought some frozen peppers & onions which I will use in tacos and omelets.

Upon the advice of a friend, I downloaded the Wal-Mart app and scanned my receipt. They will do a price-comparison and refund the money saved in the form of a gift card. (I imagine that would take a while.) I don't shop at Wal-Mart that often, but truthfully, it isn't that far away, and it's brand-new, so nice to shop in. I might do it more -- especially since they bag the groceries in bags I can use for cat pan cleanup. Honestly, it drives me crazy that our "green" ordinance banning plastic bags has got me constantly on the look for something to use for the cat pan. The only thing I can buy are plastic wastebasket liners, which are too big and too heavy. I want those little flimsy bags! They're perfect!

Yesterday I made gingerbread cookies and they were so bad I threw them out. There were problems with the internet recipe -- when I was in the middle of it, I realized that the ingredient list and the instructions didn't match. And it included a teaspoon of "baking," which could have been soda, but which I included as powder. Also I halved the recipe, and I might have messed up. But I think perhaps the worst thing was that the corn syrup was too old. The stuff can last forever, but I think the taste changes. Bottom line, the cookies were too awful to eat. It felt good to throw them away, and I hate to throw food away. Today I'm throwing the corn syrup away.

Tonight the grandsons are both doing activities -- a ball game and a Tae Kwan Do class. I'll have to choose. I think I went with the Tae Kwan Do last time this happened....

I signed up for a luncheon with my professional group next week. It's downtown, but easily accessed by the El. It's an Afro-Portuguese restaurant -- should be interesting! I go to these when I can, even when I'm scrimping, as I am now, because it's a social outlet, and it also keeps me in touch with my field.

My utilities have gone up over the past year, so I adjusted my variables down a bit. Even more of a challenge! I'm at 63% now. Really only have to last till the 21st, because that's when vacation starts, and none of that will come from variables.

Weather's warming up! We may have spring after all!

Got Better

May 10th, 2017 at 06:42 am

I'm much better today -- in fact, I got better yesterday afternoon. The cold that I thought was brewing just went away. Weird, but good. Maybe it was just fatigue?

Had a very quiet day yesterday, but went to my grandson's orchestra concert in the evening. He is in the highest level orchestra now, so we have to listen to all the little ones before we get to his performance. Very hard on the ears. But thrilling to see and hear how well he is doing. He may be concertmaster next year -- the youngest ever!

He had apparently had a long day, because his cheeks and ears were glowing with fatigue, and his eyes were glazed. Yet he did not appear to miss a note -- sat on the edge of his seat and sawed away on his violin. I was close enough so that I could hear him individually, and man, has he gotten good! And he obviously takes such responsibility to perform well.

The disappointment of the evening was the behavior of the audience. They were so noisy! Surely at times the performers could not hear themselves! Some of was from the kids who were not playing, but it was adults, too! Thank goodness most of them left after the little ones played. I shake my head at the lack of civility. And I live in a "cultured" suburb.

On the financial front, yesterday was a no-spend day. I actually got a little extra income, in the form of a $6 payment from Pine Cone.

Today's menu: Breakfast - oatmeal. Lunch - tilapia & peas. Dinner - lasagna casserole & broccoli.

Not planning to cook today, but I may make some granola if I have all the ingredients.


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