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Archive for July, 2015

I'm Going to Be Bold

July 31st, 2015 at 06:32 am

I'm going to say that nothing will be spent today, so I might as well offer my July recap:

Housing: $677
Taxes: $501
Insurance: $282
Home Repair/Maintenance: $160
Utilities: $136
Groceries: $134
Household Supplies: $72
Fees/Services: $58
Gas: $57
Clothing: $54
Vacation/Travel: $54
Phone: $51
Personal: $49
Eating Out: $27
Fares/Parking: $22
Vet/Pet Supplies: $16
Laundry: $15
Gifts/Charity: $11
Medical/Health: $9
Entertainment: $8
Car Repair/Maintenance: $4

Grand Total: $2436

It's been a rough month as far as having to pay taxes and insurance, which are both semi-annual expenses. So I'm glad I still kept the total down to just under $2.5K.

My variables spending was at 92%. This included some "treats" like window-washing, new shoes, vacation, and a mani/pedi.

I was also very lucky this month that almost every time I ate out, I was treated! That won't last!

Another Day

July 30th, 2015 at 05:01 am

Well, it seems to be a pretty, low-humid day, so I'll be taking a walk. Soon, before the temperature rises. Yesterday I did not walk. It was just way too hot and sticky. This morning, the air is off and the windows are open. We'll see how long that lasts.

While filling out my papers yesterday, I realized that the questionnaire seemed to be a document for my boss to fill out -- lots of questions I can't answer. I emailed her and I'm waiting for her reply.

I went to the library yesterday (by car) and checked out three new DVD's: About Time, Enough Said, and Broken English. I tried to put in a hold for the next season of Outlander, but it is too early to do it -- it hasn't been published yet.

I'm taking the last chicken breast out of the freezer today. I'm looking forward to grocery shopping. It won't be a big stock-up though. It will be a ten-item shop. I have plenty of food on hand, just need the right items to make it all work!

Papers Came -- by Email

July 29th, 2015 at 07:52 am

I should have expected it, but I didn't. The papers I need to sign for doing the consulting job came by email rather than in the mail. That presented a problem, since my printer was running low on ink.

I had to go to Office Depot and buy new ink cartridges, to the tune of $60. (Hate the cost of those cartridges!) But I was able to print off the papers this morning just fine.

That spoiled my no-spending plan. I'm now up to 91% of my budget. This has actually been my highest-spending month since I began tracking this in March. And I still have two days left!

I have to go to the library today to return Outlander. I do not think I will walk. It's really hot and humid. I have my air conditioners on full blast.

Thinking again about my spending next month, I realized that the dentist bill will not have to be paid in August. I'll have the appointment on the 28th, but I'll pay with my flex card (I've been told it's good through the calendar year.) Even if it turns out it is not covered, there will be a lapse of time before it actually has to be paid.

First up will be the car repair. I plan to do that on August 1 to get it out of the way. I have to drive into the city on August 6 (I think) so I want it done by then. On August 6, I'm meeting the person who will eventually take over the Treasurer job on the board. I'll just show her how I do a monthly report -- just a first step for her.

Morning Walk

July 28th, 2015 at 06:43 am

I just took my morning walk. The early morning temperature is not too bad, but it is humid. I'm glad I didn't bother to take my shower first!

I checked out all the parking meters and parking lots, but no coins today. I think you have to be an early bird, like I used to be! Smile

I only watched two episodes of Outlander yesterday, so I will watch two more today. I also watched Grapes of Wrath yesterday, another great classic movie.

I'm wishing I could go to the grocery, if only for coffee, but I'm determined to spend no more this month. I have tea for my morning fix.

I will do a load of laundry, however. And that should be the last one for this month.

I've fallen into the habit of taking afternoon naps. I seem to fall into a coma after lunch. Of course, I never had this option before, but I am surprised -- I've never considered myself a napper. I stay up later, but my sleep is not disturbed.

I'm thinking about my spending next month. I will have a dentist's visit, which I expect will take up a big chunk of my variables budget. I am also planning to go up to see my brother again, and to visit my BFF in Indiana (or convince her to come here -- which is harder to do!). I need to have my air/fuel sensor checked -- it is making my "check engine" light come on. It could be a loose connection, or it could be that I need a replacement. I guess I'll do that first, and see how everything else falls out. Other things on my list: senior center fee, new aquarium plants, a car booster seat for my grandson, new walking shoes. Ah, there's always something.

No Spending

July 27th, 2015 at 05:29 am

I didn't even go out yesterday. Not that it wasn't lovely -- but it was too hot to walk, and I had no where I had to go. Staying inside means nothing spent!

I have four more days to navigate before I get a new budget. I have enough food, the cats have enough food, the fish have enough food -- I think I'm good!

Yesterday I went through my sock/lingerie drawers. I ended up throwing out a bunch of those hospital footies that I don't ever use. I transferred my pantyhose to the shoe bag (and frankly, I don't know if it's any good, I wear it so rarely). I made permanent space for my PurMist beside the bed. I have also figured out that if I just loop my yoga strap over the bedstead, I am much more likely to use it every night! The more regularly I stretch my legs, the better they feel.

Finances are kind of on hold. I won't know until next month when my Social Security payment will come, and I don't know exactly how much my stipend will be -- but I do know that it will come on the 15th. I won't rest easy until I know what to plug into my spreadsheet. Meanwhile, I just stick to my budget. I have plenty of money in checking so I am certainly not in any danger.

Today I plan to take a walk before it gets too hot, and then I will enjoy an Outlander marathon! I have the DVD for Season 1 from the library, and it's due on Thursday, I think. I also have new episodes of Last Tango and Poldark to watch. I don't watch very much on regular TV (I have a basic subscription) but I do watch the news, and occasionally there is a good movie. Last night it was Breakfast at Tiffany's, which I have seen a lot, but still enjoy. Even with all those very annoying interruptions.

Company Gone, Back to Normal

July 26th, 2015 at 06:55 am

I had a nice visit with my SIL. There were no real uncomfortable moments. I think I've learned how to politely stop the conversation from going into areas I don't want to discuss.

She even suggested that we take a weekend trip together, which is amazing, but I don't think that will happen.

My spending was not bad. I treated her at Sweet Tomatoes, which cost me $22 (got the senior discount!) We went to IKEA, where I spent $22 on a new saucepan to replace one with degrading Teflon. Then we went to Goodwill, where I spent $11 on clothes for the new baby and my granddaughter. I also got gas for $21 (the weekend involved a lot of driving around). In return, she bought my dinner at a vegetarian restaurant, and brought some wheat-free muffins for breakfast. (Which were heavy as a rock, but what the hay! Well-meant.)

My variables spending is now at 83%. I think I can hold out from spending these last few days of the month, so I can keep it there, or close.

It's very hot, and I've been running the air conditioning a lot. I would welcome another cool snap!

Clean!

July 24th, 2015 at 06:18 am

Wow, my windows look great! They've NEVER looked this good! It was really interesting, too, to watch them at work. How quickly they produced perfect results! It makes me wonder why on earth we even struggle with Windex and paper towels. That's obviously not the right way to do it. They mopped the windows with a soapy hand mop, then squeegeed for a perfect finish. Of course, they do it all the time, so knew exactly how to handle the squeegee. And I'm sure their squeegees were much better quality than we find at home stores.

The total cost was $160, well worth it to me.

My variables spending is at 74%. I'm very pleased. I've gotten my windows washed, had a little vacation, bought some shoes ... and I'm still within budget. Only a few days to go now. There will be some cost having my SIL here this weekend, but I don't expect that it will exceed my budget. We will eat out, but I am pretty sure she will insist on paying, especially since we will seek out a vegan restaurant to accommodate her diet.

My heel is feeling so much better now that I'm stretching my calves. Amazing what doing the right exercise will do! Stretching my IT band really makes a difference, too.

I didn't exercise yesterday, and today it is heating up again. I've probably already missed my window for a comfortable walk this morning. I could do a mall walk, but I have to get ready for company. And frankly, I hate to battle the traffic to get there. Maybe SIL and I will walk this evening. She will probably be here by late afternoon.

Waiting for the Window Washer

July 23rd, 2015 at 06:39 am

I'm so excited about getting my windows washed I woke up early this morning!

Just as well, I needed to clear all the windowsills, something I had forgotten to do. I have one kitchen window that is fitted with glass shelves, where I display colored glass objects. I put most of them in the dishwasher -- I will hand wash a few that seem too fragile. And later in the day I'll wash the shelves, which I have removed and have stashed under my hutch. It will be nice to have EVERYTHING sparkling!

My bathroom windowsill was just cluttered with stuff that I use a lot, and I just need to put it back where it belongs. The other windowsills I use to display a few things. I'm going to be more selective about what I put back! They were getting a little too cluttered.

Decluttering my decor makes me realize I need to decide if I am going to have a garage sale. If I do, I won't do it here, I'll go to my BFF's house which is in a better location, and where I would have help. But that would mean packing everything up and hauling it. On the other hand, if I donate to Goodwill, it's easier, but I'll lose out on the extra cash, which I can really use.

I know the last time I had a garage sale, I said to myself "Never again." Too much work for too little profit. But now I have more time..... more stuff .... it might be better!

What to do, what to do....

My Latest Ramblings

July 22nd, 2015 at 09:09 am

This morning I got my free flatbread sandwich at Corner Bakery. I bought coffee, so my breakfast was $2.28. I also had a coupon for a free cookie, too, so I got that to eat later.

Afterwards I went to the library to pick up the first season of "Outlander," which I had on hold. Once again I was early. (Why can't I get opening hours straight?) So I walked to the station, hoping to use the facilities, but that door was locked. So I went to the main room and looked at the books. There were two I liked the look of -- a Michael Connelly mystery, and a book called "Miss Garnet's Angel," by Sally Vickers, which got lots of praise on the cover and is "complex and haunting." With this "library" I don't need the real one, except for DVD's!

Then I walked back to the library to pick up Outlander. I had already parked two long blocks away, so the point I'm getting to, is that I did a lot of walking, plus some stair-climbing, since the station is on a platform -- and I first climbed up on the wrong side of the tracks, so I had to go down and up again. A lot of exercise! On the stairs I made sure to stretch out my calves, as Kiki suggested.

Last night my sister-in-law called to say she wants to come and see me this Friday and Saturday. The main reason she is coming is to pick up her son at the airport, who is flying in from Texas. She will take him back home to Michigan, but first will spend a little time with me. This is my late brother's widow. I don't see her very often, and while she is a very nice person, she is very conservative and religious, and it is sometimes a little uncomfortable talking to her. We have to skirt around a lot of issues about which we are in disagreement! Still, it is good to keep up this contact. I don't think she gets much from her own family -- she really seems to want to keep in touch with ours, at least in a nominal way.

All this is preface to saying, I will probably eat out when she is here. She is a vegan, and there are vegan restaurants around here, so eating out will be a treat for her and a way for me to get her fed. I am not a vegan cook!

She mentioned IKEA, too. I will have to be very careful around all that delectably-priced merchandise!

Another Walk Done

July 21st, 2015 at 06:41 am

Just completed another walk to the store. (It's about 30 minutes each way, so it's a big one.) I left earlier in the morning, and the day is cooler, so it was more comfortable than yesterday. And my foot doesn't hurt once I get going. It's after I've rested that my heel really hurts.

I spent $7 and got parchment paper, brown sugar, corn muffin mix, and a peach.

I did not find a single coin, or anything cool by the dumpsters, which is a disappointment!

Later today I'll make a Tex-Mex casserole. It's basically shredded chicken, peppers, salsa and cheddar cheese, topped with corn muffin mix and baked. I may call my kids to get some help eating it!

I have not been running the air conditioning at night. I sleep under a big ceiling fan, which keeps me comfortable. But I have been turning it on when I get up. Today I didn't. We'll see how long I hold out. So far it feels pretty good, and I like to open the windows and get fresh air.

Budget is now 55% spent. Paying for the window washing will change that. It is $5 for a small pane, and $8 for a large pane. I am guessing they will count each window as two panes. I think it will cost about $100. Which is fine with me; I'm very excited to be getting this done!

My Big Day (Not)

July 20th, 2015 at 06:53 pm

This morning I decided to walk to the post office and then to the grocery store to get my exercise in. I had a small package of children's books to mail to ex's daughter, who just had a baby. Unfortunately, I didn't check to see how early the post office opens! I thought it would be open at 8, but it opens at 9. So I had to carry the package to the grocery store, shop V-E-R-Y slowly, and hang around the store a bit before I walked back to the post office.

The package cost $4.22 to mail. The groceries were $19.05 -- eggs, tape, toilet paper, Kleenex and Zyrtec.

I have to go back the grocery tomorrow, because I realized I need to get a Jiffy corn muffin mix to finish a casserole. And I ran out of parchment paper today, and nearly finished off the brown sugar.

Once home, I did a load of laundry ($1.50). I made the potato pancakes again (and I'll have the last bit tomorrow!) I also made my granola, since it seemed cool enough to turn on the oven for a half-hour.

Someone was interested in my granola recipe. Here it is:

3 cups oatmeal
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix thoroughly and spread out on a baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes. Stir, and bake 5-15 minutes more, or until it turns golden brown. Let cool, stirring a few times as it cools.

I add dried fruit, nuts, etc. at the end. Or not.

My sinus headache was gone today, but now my heel hurts like the very devil. I thought it was plantar faciitis, but it is so concentrated in the heel, I'm not sure.

However, I'm planning to walk again tomorrow, if I can.

My variables budget is 54% spent. 64% of the month is gone, so finally, I am ahead. I would like to come in under budget as much as possible so I can keep adding to my cushion.

Oh, and I found a dime! And I witnessed someone else picking up a coin, which made me very jealous that I hadn't gotten there first! Smile

Not Much to Report

July 19th, 2015 at 08:28 am

There's not much to report today, but I like to stay in the habit of daily entries.

I brought up the 42-lb. bag of kitty litter this morning. With the dolly, it wasn't too bad. Reminded me that I should use the dolly more often. It has heavier wheels than my little cart, and therefore takes the stairs more easily.

I've had a sinus headache for days now, so I used the PurMist this morning. I feel a little better, but I think I will use it again this evening before bed.

I need to exercise today. Yesterday I stopped in at the senior center to inquire about exercise classes and fitness room access. The guy at the desk knew nothing but I got online to figure it out. It looks like, if I get a senior resident's membership of $30 per year, that will qualify me to get a fitness room membership for $115 a year. That's a pretty good price, but if I want to take a yoga class, for instance, there is an additional $90 fee for 20 sessions. Sigh. Not quite the bargain I was hoping for.

I think today, anyway, I will go to the mall and walk. It is way too hot and muggy to walk outside.

I had a delightful breakfast this morning of potato pancakes and applesauce. I love being at home to make meals and eat them on the spot, rather than all the prep and brown-bagging I had to do pre-retirement!

The museum job

July 18th, 2015 at 12:30 pm

I had a good meeting at the museum yesterday, and we came to an agreement that I can live with. I will be a consultant and will work 15 hours a week. That will include one day a week in the office and the rest done remotely. I will work on profiles while the full-time researcher pursues other projects. They will send me the papers to sign, and I won't begin till mid-August.

After I left, I realized that we didn't even talk about pay! I'll see what the papers say. I am sure I will at least get the going rate; she has always been a generous boss -- but if it turns out to be too low, I'll decline, or counter.

Since it is a contract job, there are no benefits, other than free parking, and free tickets for guests. But I don't need benefits since I am covered on Medicare et al.

I had lunch with my Hyde Park friend. She insisted on treating, and I'm wondering just how long I can work this retirement celebration angle! Smile

We ate at a Mediterranean restaurant, and I had enough leftovers to feed me breakfast, lunch, and dinner today!

Since I can't decide whether to put my earnings toward the mortgage, or save it for an overseas trip, I decided to divide it and do both. Otherwise, I will keep to the retirement budget I have set up. I'm not going to let this income get eaten up by little indulgences.

Today my son installed the air conditioners. Hooray! It's really hot and sticky here. Then we went to my grandson's baseball game, which was bearable because there was some cloud cover and an occasional nice breeze. After the game I went to PetSmart and bought a 42-lb. bag of kitty litter for $16. It's still in the car. I'm going to try to bring it up with my little dolly, but I'm going to wait for the early (cool) hours tomorrow morning.

I also did two loads of laundry today ($3).