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Archive for May, 2013

May Recap

May 31st, 2013 at 01:15 pm

I promise, I promise, I will not spend anything else today. So these are the correct numbers for the month of May. It was a killer.

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - $1537
Car Repair/Maintenance - $1163
Housing - $1039
Vacation/Travel - $384
Gifts/Charity - $206
Medical/Health - $190
Clothing - $146
Fees/Services - $139
Eating Out - $110
Fares - $105
Utilities - $95
Groceries - $89
Household Supplies - $67
Phone - $55
Gas - $42
Personal - $41
Entertainment - $36
Laundry - $23
Vet/Pet Supplies - $14

Grand Total - $5481

The highlights -- paid the balance on my rugs (they're installed, yay!); had an expensive accident/car repair; bought a plane ticket for a vacation in July; had a lot of graduation gifts; paid for a doctor visit; bought shoes and underwear; treated family twice when eating out; renewed my license plates and driver's license -- everything else is pretty regular. Lots of outgo -- my EF will be shot when the Discover card comes due.

A Morning Delay

May 30th, 2013 at 08:36 am

When I arrived at the downtown station this morning, I saw people sitting around and heard a voice on the loudspeaker. I knew it was about my train. How can it be that EVERY time there is delay, it is my train that is affected? It just seems to defy the odds.

I was very thirsty, and I couldn't find a water fountain, so I ended up buying a lemonade for $2. At least it was large and actually had a piece of lemon in it. After I bought it, I found the water fountain, so now I know where it is, anyway.

I got a call from the furniture store. As I expected, they denied my request for reupholstering my couch. At least I tried. I am sure I will get it reupholstered at some point, but first I want to get the car repair and rugs paid off, and get the savings accounts back to more comfortable levels. I have my second property tax bill coming up, too. It seems like every month I have some $1000 bill to pay.

Meanwhile, I'll put a blanket on the seat cushions and try to find something to drape on the top where my cats like to sit. Thank goodness I found the Shark handheld vacuum which does a pretty good job.

I forgot to bring my lunch today. I do have some peanut butter in my desk, and I picked up a packet of crackers in the station, and there are treats left over from yesterday. So I might be okay.

Party for Departing Student

May 29th, 2013 at 09:48 am

I have had an awesome student worker for four years. He started working for me his first week as a Freshman and now he is graduating. He already has a job lined up with the Department of Defense. He is really bright. What's more, he has always been a great help to me, always cheerful, always willing, always reliable.

So we're having a party for him today. I spent $19 on treats and supplies, and put $50 on a gift card. The rest of my department contributed too, but I did the most, since he works for me. I know he will appreciate it, but I think he is also going to be embarrassed. He's that kind of kid!

Other spending yesterday and today:

It cost me $7 to mail a box of books to my sister.

Spent $1 on paper towels.

Sent $20.13 for my cousin's daughter's high school graduation. Class of 2013. Get it?

And I also renewed both my license plate and driver's license for $133.

I found a Canadian quarter yesterday -- so disappointed! I also found a penny, which was legal tender. Smile

Back to Work

May 28th, 2013 at 07:28 am

Well, that long weekend sure went fast.

On top of the fun -- "cook-in" (as opposed to cook-out), playing games with my grandsons, etc. -- I got some tasks done, like really cleaning the fish tank. It finally looks crystal clear! And I swept and mopped my wood floors -- but still have to do the tile floors in the kitchen and bathroom. Did three loads of laundry and changed my linens (shamefully overdue!)

No spending yesterday.

Today I drove to work so I could get the state-required emission test done. With my long hours, I can never get it done in my own area, so I'm going to do it here at lunchtime. It may take a little longer than my lunch hour, but I arrived a half-hour early in case anyone notices.

I also brought a box of books to mail to my sister. Getting to the post office is something else I never get done at home. I don't even know where the post office is! But here in my "work town" the post office is easily accessible. I will stop there on my way home.

I received the panties I ordered, and boy, were they small! I washed them prior to wearing and they were even smaller. But when I finally wore one of them, I realized they are very stretchy, and they will do. Just not what I expected. So hard to order things online -- I'm old-fashioned enough that I prefer to see what I'm buying!

I had toast and a hard-boiled egg for breakfast this morning, and brought leftover seafood enchilada (with a fresh tortilla) for lunch. Tonight I'm planning on salad.

I bought no meat this week, but I still have frozen hamburgers (one box lasts me a long time!) I also have the makings for egg salad and grilled cheese sandwiches (as well as several more salads), so I'll be fine this week. I am really doing fine on my low-buy system. Even when I was carless I had enough to make do. Quite eye-opening!

Got My Car

May 26th, 2013 at 08:57 am

Picked up the car yesterday -- $1118. But that's better than having a gas tank with a hole in it. Now that I know the muffler is not good, I can hear how noisy the car is. I'll start making plans to get that done.

I charged it on Discover, as I usually do. However, within the same cycle, the second half of my rug bill will hit -- about $1000. That will mean hitting the EF to pay Discover off in full. As much as it hurts, I remind myself that I used to just charge things like that and plan to pay it off, oh, someday.... How good it feels not to go into debt!

We had lunch at a Mexican place, my treat, for $55. I bought gas ($42). When I got home I went grocery shopping. It was my first trip in two weeks and I only spent $42. I surprised myself with my restraint!

I think the cashier ignored the $1 off coupon I gave her. It's not on my receipt. Really, I have to stop shopping at that store. The cashiers are uniformly awful!

Grilling out at the ex's tonight. It's cold -- I hope we're eating in! I'm going to take some crudités and dip. I expect that not much will get eaten and I'll take most of them back! He always provides way too much food!

Don't You Love Fridays?

May 24th, 2013 at 07:02 am

It's a whole different feeling even coming to work on Friday. It's .... happiness!

I finally connected with my son last night and he and the fam will drive me to pick up my car on Saturday. My DIL is in a race in the morning, so it will be after that. We will find some nice place to eat as a treat/payment. I saw that a restaurant I used to frequent is still there (ironically, I used to live pretty close to the area where the car was towed). It was famous for seafood. I wonder if it's still any good. The tow guy also recommended a Mexican restaurant in the area.

After talking with the service department again, I have decided to wait on the muffler. Nothing is loose or in danger of breaking -- it's just something on the horizon. I'll wait a bit and let the dust clear financially first.

I have two more graduations coming up -- a young cousin, and my student worker. I will be writing checks for both of them, not sure on amounts yet. But I bought the cards this morning - WHAT? - $15! Lesson to self -- pay attention when you are buying Papyrus cards at the station. Or better yet, get nice cards somewhere else. Well, they are very nice cards. I do love the brand; wish they were not so high.

I also bought breakfast for $4, having nothing tote-able at home. I am covered for lunch and dinner, though. And tomorrow morning I can scramble some eggs before I get my car. I'll go grocery shopping as soon as I get home.

Yesterday I got next month's train pass for $105, saving $30 by using vouchers from work.

I also made a $40 credit card payment to attend a workshop, but I will be reimbursed.

Happy Friday everyone!

A chilly Thursday

May 23rd, 2013 at 06:39 am

Weather has taken a turn -- now it's cold and rainy. I'm a little relieved, since my air conditioner has yet to be installed.

I spent $1.50 on laundry yesterday -- otherwise a no-spend day.

The furniture inspection was very brief. He took a few pictures, said that my problems were typical for that type of material, and said it would be up to Carson's whether they would pay for reupholstering. He recommended a print rather than a solid color if I have it redone. I'm not holding out much hope.

This morning while I was walking to work from the station, someone who works at the College greeted me and then handed me a pomegranate smoothie. She had gotten a free one for some reason and was looking for someone to give it to. I didn't know her, though I knew her face. So I thanked her, and had a free breakfast! There was a leftover slice of pizza in the fridge from Tuesday's lunch, so I had that, too!

The Toyota dealer called to say the car is ready. The cost is a little more than quoted (isn't is always?) but he went into great detail describing how the old bolts had given away, blah, blah, blah. Looks like it will be around $1110. He also said that the muffler (which is original) will need to be replaced soon. I may call and just get it done, too, especially if I can't pick up the car till this weekend anyway.

It looks like I will need to get a ride. Even though the dealer would provide a ride from the train station, they don't have the personnel to do that in the evening, and the only stop is at 7pm. I texted my son to ask for a ride -- no answer yet, but I left my phone at home this morning, and also forgot to check messages, so who knows? He may have said, "Great, Mom, can't wait to do it!" Smile

I am missing a fish

May 22nd, 2013 at 07:21 am

Poor Dreamsicle, my fancy guppy. He has disappeared. What puzzles me is there is no body floating on top. Now I can't remember if I saw him when I came home from my awful weekend trip. I did a quick check for bodies at the top, but I don't think I did a roll call.

So what could have happened? I have only two theories: he died and the other fish ate his body, or, he jumped out and the cats ate his body. The day before I left, I scared the pleco while adding water and he made a huge leap which could have knocked Dreamsicle out of the tank.

Oh well, he had a good life. He was always first to the dinner table. RIP, Dreamsicle.

Today the rep from the furniture store is coming to look at the couch. I don't expect to get any satisfaction, but I do want to at least express my concerns. I AM finding it easier to clean the couch now that it is humid and now that I have a powerful hand vac. But I have to clean it often.

It is HOT in my condo. I'm looking forward to the cooler weather coming. I have a nice ceiling fan in the bedroom, which helps at night. I have two untried air conditioners in the storage unit which came with the condo -- I will need my son's help to get them installed. I have no idea if they are functional. May is pretty early to start air conditioning, so I am trying to tough out this little hot spell.

No financial news, other than the noontime pizza yesterday cost me $4 for my share. Oh, and I got a $34 reimbursement check from the insurance company. Ironic.

Oh yes! I finally got a call from the rug company! They will deliver the rugs on May 31.

Carless

May 21st, 2013 at 08:59 am

This will be a somewhat challenging week. Without my car, I cannot grocery shop -- at least not very easily. There is a Walgreen's within walking distance, but only the pharmacy is open now while they are going through an extensive remodel. Jewel is about a one-half hour walk away, but the weather is hot and/or stormy -- and I don't even get home until six.

I bought breakfast at Corner Bakery this morning ($3) and a group is ordering pizza here at work for lunch -- I'm not sure yet what my share will be. I have supper planned at home -- a hamburger and green beans. I can actually eat the same meal all week long, as I have enough. It's lunch that will be the problem. I will scour the pantry tonight to see if there is anything I can throw together.

No word yet on the car, but I'm not expecting it yet. I did check out Amtrak. There is actually a stop that is only about 15 minutes away from the dealer, so I think I will have no problem getting someone to pick me up. The fare is only $11. The only hitch is that the train only goes there once a day, and it arrives there at 7. Service closes at 7:30 on the few days it stays open in the evening, so it will be cutting it close.

I CAN probably get someone to drive me, but I would rather not. The traffic is awful on that corridor. It's a lot to ask. It's Plan B.

Just Got In

May 20th, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Just got home from my weekend with my friend in Indiana -- which was a little more interesting than it should have been, since I had an accident on the way down!

Not a real accident, but definitely a mishap. I drove over a big piece of metal -- couldn't dodge it -- and it pierced my gas tank. I didn't realize it right away, and lost power when all the gas leaked out. I had many helpers -- a young man who pulled over behind me, a state trooper, the tow-guy and eventually the Toyota dealer. The gas tank has to be replaced, and I won't get the car back for a week. But the worst part is that it will cost $1000 and change. Does anybody remember I JUST canceled collision & comprehensive? That seems to be my kind of luck!

I called my son to make sure the car was still worth the repair -- he looked it up on Edmund's and said it was worth $5-6K, so I authorized the work.

MY BFF came and got me and we went ahead with our planned fun weekend -- it was just a little longer than planned since I had to wait till this morning to get a train back to the city.

On top the expected repair, the costs for this weekend:

$2 laundry (Friday night)
$43 restaurants
$40 towing
$13 Goodwill
$8 Macy's
$20 Target
$7 movie
$21 train fare

Not bad overall. We ate all our meals out except this morning. The Goodwill shopping was 50% off and I found clothing for myself and for family. At Macy's $8 bought a bra, panties and a top because I used my ThankYou card and a 20% off coupon. At Target I bought a book and some cards. Got the senior citizen discount for Amtrak, but had to pay for the last leg home because my train pass was on my kitchen windowsill. Who knew I would need it?

So... I don't know how I will get my car back, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. I'm just glad to be home safe and sound!

Undy Stock-Up

May 17th, 2013 at 06:45 am

I got an email for 30% savings at Bare Necessities. Since I've been thinking about replacing my panties, I took them up on it. I bought 6 pairs for $41, which includes shipping. The last time I stocked up was when I lived in North Carolina, though I have bought the odd pair here and there. Anyway, they've lasted for more than four years, and I only have to get rid of them now because the elastic around the legs is giving out.

The furniture inspector is coming next Wednesday. They can't give me a time until the day before, so I'll have to take the day off. Maybe once I know the time I can also schedule my DTP shot, and maybe I can also get the emissions test done. There is so much I just can't do on weekends.

I did not make the asparagus-mushroom dish last night. I decided instead to combine the leftover cauliflower and dressing, put cheese on top, and bake it. Wasn't too bad. There is still some left, so tonight I will add beaten eggs and milk and bake it again. The endless meal! I need to learn not to make so much.

I don't want to waste the asparagus and mushrooms, so I will take them on my visit -- maybe treat my friend to a fancy omelet. She doesn't cook at all, and is amazed by any little thing I make.

Here is the meal plan for today:

Breakfast: Banana nut muffin, coffee
Lunch: Yogurt, peanut butter & crackers, green pepper strips
Dinner: Cauliflower casserole

I didn't get to the laundry last night, so I plan to do a load tonight and take the rest on my trip. Whatever fits in my big IKEA bag. I will head out on Saturday morning, because driving through the city on Friday night is a NIGHTMARE! Just not worth it.

Lottery Tickets

May 16th, 2013 at 06:18 am

Yesterday I was cajoled into joining a Powerball lottery pool and I offered to buy the tickets since there is a place in the station and I'm always looking for something to do on my break between trains. Well, the train was late (second day in a row), so I didn't have any station time. But since I had promised to buy the tickets I got in my car once I got home and went off to find a place to buy them. I ended up at the grocery store, where they had a machine. I had never used one before, but figured it out. It didn't return change, and I only had a five, so I after I bought the two Powerball tickets I bought a $1 Illinois lottery ticket.

Well, as you know, we didn't win the Powerball. However, my $1 ticket won me $2! Not sure what the lesson is there. Smile

So -- my personal spending for tickets -- $2 -- my winnings -- $2. Yay!

I was not really thrilled with the roasted cauliflower I made last night, and now I have leftovers. Not sure what to do with them. There's always soup, but they are a bit scorched, so I don't know how that would taste in soup. There is a "buffalo cauliflower" recipe that calls for hot sauce and butter -- maybe that would be a good way to re-use them.

The dressing wasn't a great success either, but mostly, I think, because I did let it bake long enough. I was getting pretty hungry.

My kitchen is a mess. The dishwasher is full of clean dishes and I've been too tired to unload it on top of the cooking, so all the dirty dishes are getting piled in the sink. I'll have to do it tonight.

Today's menu:

Breakfast: Banana nut muffin, coffee
Lunch: Peanut butter on crackers, green pepper strips
Dinner: Asparagus and mushrooms with rice and cheese

I should also do a load of laundry. My darks hamper is already full. I'm traveling this weekend, so won't be able to do laundry unless I take it along to do it at my BFF's. She wouldn't mind, but do I want to lug it?

I have to say, I'm really looking forward to retirement, because just covering the basics while I'm working and commuting is getting pretty challenging.

Speaking of the commute, I've started working on my novel on the trip. I write in a notebook rather than carry the computer. Not sure I'm getting quality work done, but the time sure does go fast!

Pay Day!

May 15th, 2013 at 08:51 am

Not too exciting, since it is mostly going to bills, but it will be good to have them paid and have a clean slate for next month.

Since daily reporting of my projected meals for the day is helping me to stay on track, I'll offer today's menu:

Breakfast: Banana nut muffin, coffee
Lunch: Cottage cheese, green pepper slices, granola bars
Dinner: One-half sauteed chicken breast, sourdough-onion dressing, baked cauliflower

I didn't do the baked cauliflower last night, obviously. Instead I had roasted asparagus along with the chicken and mushrooms.

I have to say for someone who doesn't like vegetables, I'm actually enjoying them. Maybe there's hope for me after all.

I'm having an "end of year" feeling -- so many around me are wrapping up the school year, going on vacation, or going on to other things. But here in the offices, we just keep going. In fact, next month will be our busy time, as we try to reach our fiscal year-end goal and process the influx of gifts. So even while I'm kind of letting go, I should be bearing down. A funny feeling. The warm weather is beckoning and not helping any!