I got back to decluttering yesterday. Since I am now working on paper, I don't really have stuff to give away, but I did throw away and shred a lot of paper yesterday. Today I need to do a lot of filing. I also got the shredder set up where it should be, under the desk. I eliminated the mail backlog box, which will force me to deal with daily mail from now on.
I found something very cool -- a little datebook in which my mother had filled in birthdays and birth years for everyone in the family. It was not up to date, of course, with younger family members not represented, but very nice to have. I transferred the info to a spreadsheet, but I'm keeping the datebook with my mother's writing. I'm going to send the spreadsheet to other family members so they can fill in some blanks.
Today I'm getting a mani/pedi and packing for the trip. I'm going to take my laundry. Not only is it much easier (and cheaper) for me to do laundry at my brother's house, but it makes packing easier, too. Luckily, my brother and his wife don't mind.
Calorie-counting will be a challenge, but I will do my best!
Archive for June, 2016
It was a somewhat emotional day yesterday, and I had cake to ease my sorrow. It didn't really make me feel better -- I need to take note of that!
Sadness issue was nothing new, just ongoing worry about my sister and the choices she makes. She asked for help (meaning financial help) to come visit this summer. My brother and I agreed to say no, as this is an ongoing problem -- and if we're funding travel for others, we'd prefer to help out our kids, who are also struggling. Still, it felt really bad to say no.
Other than that, it was a quiet day. No spending other than a load of laundry.
I checked my retirement account and it is not showing a lot of loss. Of course, only a small portion of it is invested in the stock market, since I am already retired. My sidebar shows the updated figures.
Looking forward to another baseball game today, and a mani/pedi tomorrow, in preparation for my lunch "date" in Michigan this weekend.
Yesterday was a good day. I got my haircut ($15) and it looks so much better. It's amazing what a difference an inch makes. My grandson's baseball game was the best yet of the season, even though they still lost. They are really the Bad News Bears, but it's not really their fault. Because of different league rules, theirs is the one travel team that is newly-formed and has to face teams that have been playing together for a year or more. It's a terrible disadvantage. At least GS still seems to enjoy it.
It's very cool today, and I'm going to wear long sleeves. A welcome change; I won't feel the lack of AC at all.
I've been stalled both on the decluttering and the writing. Hope I can get back to a normal schedule today.
Three more days, and I'll be on the road again, up to Michigan for the Fourth weekend.
Snowflakes have had a bit of a boost lately, with the arrival of my Choice reward, some found change, some surveys, and a couple of free refills on my prescription. Each grandchild will get at least $400 this year for their college funds.
Yesterday was going so well. I had a smoothie for breakfast and a salad for lunch. A handful of tortilla chips and lemonade for a snack. Then my son took us out for ice cream after the game, and instead of being careful, I ordered peanut-butter-cup ice cream in a waffle cone. I counted it as dinner, but it still took me way over. (Good, though!)
Today is supposed to be the hottest day of the week, though it isn't bad so far. I'm still making do with fans, and doing okay.
After yesterday's game, I stopped at Jewel and bought some coffee creamer ($3). I wanted to get some free MyMixx deals, but the shelves were cleared out. People are catching on and getting them early. That's okay, they were just drinks, which I really don't need, anyway.
I have another game today, but I'm thinking of getting a haircut beforehand.
My variables spending is at 11% and I have thirty days until payday comes again! But with all the food I have in the freezer, I should be able to cut down on groceries, anyway.
I haven't received a bill for the property tax yet. Our homeowner's association was supposed to be working with a lawyer to get our taxes lowered, and I haven't heard anything about that, either. I did get onto the assessor's website and determined that I don't owe anything right now, so I guess I'll just sit tight.
I indulged at yesterday's picnic, but I had had light meals beforehand, so it all turned out okay. It was a good time, a ton of free food, and lots of free activities for the kids, including a bouncy house, bags, and croquet.
The watermelon smoothie was good! There's so much water in watermelon that it is quite easy to pulverize. I just added a bit of almond milk and a small scoop of ice cream. I had another one this morning. Enough watermelon left for another one tomorrow!
I made the veggie burgers and Spanish rice and froze both. I've really caught up on the food now. Just have a lot of lettuce to eat, but it's salad weather anyway.
There's a baseball game tonight, but it's raining now, so we'll see. My grandson pitched at the last game and did poorly. He felt so bad and I felt bad for him. He's been practicing since, but my guess is he won't be on the mound this game.
Just as I was drifting off to sleep last night I heard a knock on my door. That's very unusual, as no one can come to my door unless they have a key to the building -- so it had to be a neighbor -- anyone else would use the buzzer.
I opened the door, and it was a neighbor with a police officer! Her unit and at least one other was burglarized yesterday. Shocking! The burglar broke into the main door and then broke into the units, so it was just a matter of luck he didn't choose mine! It was only third-floor units, probably because there was less chance of interference up there.
After they left, I heard a lot of banging; it sounded like neighbors were fixing their doors.
The odd thing is that when I came home from errands yesterday, I went through the main door and didn't notice anything.
It was unsettling, even though I wasn't affected. I checked my locks, but then, locks didn't help the neighbors, did they? Finally fell asleep late into the night.
In other news --
Yesterday was an errand day. I mailed three packages at the post office ($28). One held my Merrell shoes, which I am returning to the original store (in Georgia, not Florida). The associate I spoke to was not in the shoe department, which makes me a little nervous, but she assured me that I could switch for a bigger size as long as I included the receipt and the shoes were unworn. I included a letter explaining it all, so here's hoping.
I returned library books, and then went to Kohl's to spend my Kohl's cash. Took me a while to figure out what I wanted, but I ended up buying a rug that matches the one I bought on my trip. Only it's bigger. I placed it at the foot of my bed, and it really warms up the room. After my Kohl's cash it cost only $17 -- same price as the other, but it's about twice the size. The original price was supposedly $65.
Then I stopped and picked up some kitty litter at Aldi's ($5) and baby aspirin and batteries at Walgreens ($8, after using $5 in Walgreen's rewards).
That all took me out of the house the whole afternoon, which was apparently when the burglar struck.
I also did a load of laundry before I left ($1.50). Unfortunately, the machine I used leaked oil or grease or something on my laundry. The mesh of my sweater dryer was ruined, which is no great loss, as I have two others. But a good pair of capris was stained a little. I am treating them, and they'll be wearable for everyday, but still.... I reported the problem to management, and just got the generic reply.
Today I'm going to a community picnic. It's going to be hot, and I'll have to walk a bit to get there, which I'm already dreading! But it's a free meal, and a chance to socialize, so I'm going. The rest of the fam is going, too.
I never got around to making the Spanish rice or the veggie burgers yesterday, so that's on the list today. And I'm making a watermelon smoothie for breakfast! I'll let you know how it turns out.
I spent most of the day yesterday doing laundry and processing leftover food. More work to do today on both! I'm going to make Spanish rice and veggie burgers today. Yesterday I made guacamole soup and put most of it in the freezer. It's good!
I have a whole head of lettuce to use up, so I guess a lot of salads are in my future. And watermelon. I bought one-quarter of a watermelon and forgot to serve it. This morning I cut it into pieces so it will be easy to snack on.
In the evening I went to an out-of-town baseball game. While out in the western suburbs, I filled up the gas tank - $26.
The Merrell shoes I bought in Florida are a little tight. I tried them on without socks -- just those store-provided footies -- and that was a mistake. They really bother my corn. I'm going to find a Merrell dealer here to see if I have any recourse -- if I can trade them in for a bigger size. I can't go back to the place I bought them!
Also, my Kohl's cash has become available to use, so I might go there to find a use for it. Probably a gift, as I don't really need anything for myself right now. I also have a $5 Goodwill coupon to use, but I have more time on it.
I'm very sorry to hear about the vote in England; I'm sure it will hurt all our portfolios!
Lot of estimating in the above. The birthday dinner was not low in calories, and though I held back a little, neither did I deny myself.
I have lots of leftover food, and today I'm dealing with how to preserve it and use it up. I already froze the shredded cheese (which was ready to expire) and the cake. Guacamole is the next challenge. Looks like freezing is not a good option, but I can eat it on lots of things and even make soup out of it, which, I assume COULD be frozen.
Very thankful the dishwasher works. I've already done one load and it's almost filled again.
The party was a success; the food was a big hit, and DIL liked her gifts as well.
Laundry is really piled up, and I need to get to it. I think it will be my only spending today.
Here is my June recap, as promised:
Home Repair/Maintenance: 360
Vet/Pet Supplies: 9
Eating Out: 7
Grand Total: 1384
Because I switched gears on tracking this month, mortgage & assessment fees are not included. Vacation costs swallowed up a lot of regular costs like groceries, eating out, laundry and gas. So it was kind of an odd month. Unrealistically low.
Well, on to continuing the cleanup!
In all fairness, I must confess that the calorie count I reported yesterday was wrong. I said it was 1260; in fact, I accidentally deleted the count for a sandwich I ate, so it was 1590.
The dishwasher repairman came, and he was able to fix it. The cost was $275 above the $85 I had already paid. That was high enough to buy a cheap, new dishwasher, but I decided to go for the repair anyway. I'd rather not add to the landfill if I can break even. Anyway, I wanted to use it right away -- and when I do replace the dishwasher, I'll get a quality appliance like a KitchenAid or Bosch, which is considerably more.
I baked the birthday cake this morning and just took the layers out of the pans. I'll frost it this afternoon.
The birthday menu is:
Beef tacos (soft tortillas)
Chips with salsa and guacamole
Yellow cake w/chocolate frosting
Vanilla ice cream
Basically all I have to do now, besides frost the cake, is chop up lettuce and tomato, slice the watermelon, set out bowls of cheese, salsa, guac, sour cream, make the lemonade (in a punch bowl), bake the casserole (already assembled) and warm up the beans.
Housework-wise, I have to vacuum, and I still have to clean the fish tank! (I admit, I procrastinate about that.)
Okay, now to financial stuff.
Today is pay day. I paid the mortgage and all the credit cards. (I say all, because I made charges to Kohl's and Target cards this month, in order to get special deals.) Everything is paid off except Discover, because I accidentally selected the minimum payment instead of the full payment. I'll have to wait till tomorrow to pay the rest.
June will look like a very low-spend month when I do my recap, but that's because the mortgage and the bills will go on July's report, since today is essentially my July 1.
I'll do the recap later, since today I'll be pretty busy.
Still waiting for those storms -- I hope they don't materialize right at dinnertime, but if so, we'll deal with it!
It was too hot to eat!
Well, I had a bit of bad luck yesterday. I loaded up the dishwasher, pressed the button, and -- nothing. I checked the circuit breaker, tried several times choosing different cycles, canceled and restarted -- nothing. I looked online but quickly realized that none of the suggested fixes were anything I wanted to try myself. So I called a repairman. He will come this afternoon. I will have to pay $85 for a service call, but it will be applied to any repair/parts that are needed.
I'm kind of bummed, but in 3 1/2 years here, no appliances have needed work, and who knows how old the dishwasher is? The previous owner didn't leave a manual.
The worst part is that this is hitting just when I am preparing for the birthday dinner. I thought of postponing, but all the food is bought and some of it is ready. I can handle having a dinner without a dishwasher. I've been washing as I go since yesterday afternoon, and it's not too bad. I'll have a mess on my hands after dinner, but I have plenty of time to deal with a mess.
Best case scenario, it will be fixed this afternoon! I'm not expecting it, though.
I just hope I don't have to get a new dishwasher. I have the emergency cash for it, but I just don't want to go through the process, if you know what I mean! Shopping, installation, waiting and washing by hand while I wait ... yuck.
Yesterday was very hot and humid, and I am still living without AC. I had some discomfort but I managed; just didn't get much done. Best place in the house is on the bed, under the ceiling fan!
Today is much cooler; it's supposed to be a beautiful day. Storms tomorrow.
I have the taco meat prepared; the corn casserole is assembled and in the fridge and waiting for baking. I'll make the cake tomorrow; don't want it sitting too long in this humidity. I'll have a lot of last minute stuff to do before dinner, so I'll have to do the cleaning in the morning.
Today I'll clean the floors and the fish tank; both really need it.
Whew! Thanks for letting me organize my mind!
I did the rest of the grocery shopping yesterday, a little early, but I was already out looking for a cake cover, and decided to just get it done.
The groceries were $24 for sour cream, watermelon, lemons, tomatoes, guacamole, onion, and lettuce. I also got a jar of spaghetti sauce free with a MyMixx coupon.
I looked at BB&B for a cake cover, but they only had plastic sets designed for storage and transport. I just wanted a pretty topper to set over a cake. Then I went to Goodwill, to drop off my donations, and popped in to see if they had one. They didn't, but they had a plastic storage set for only $2. The plate portion was cracked, so I asked for a discount, and they gave it to me for $1.
Someday I'll find the kind of cake cover I want, and I'll toss this one, but this will do the job till then.
I also bought 4 books at GW, for $4. One for my grandson, and 3 for me to read and pass on to my sister.
I treated myself to a cone at McDonald's, since it was so hot. $1.39.
This morning I got online to order the GreenPan from Kohl's. The site would not accept my Kohl's cash, even though it states the beginning date as June 20. So I aborted the order, and looked around for where I could find it today. It turned out that Target had it, cheaper, so I still got it for $20. The only catch was that I had to drive 6 miles to go to the Target that had it, but that was okay. While I was out, I also picked up some cat food for $4.
So, between this and that, I did drive my variables spending up to 101%. But with pay day only two days away, I won't have to push it any higher. I think I did well with a pretty challenging month.
Next month will be challenging, too, but the insurance premium and property taxes I will have to pay will come out of designated savings. Other costs will be a trip to Michigan, a vet visit for Iggy (shots), and window washing. I should be able to cash-flow those.
It's really hot! I'm looking forward to cooling storms tomorrow.
I can't believe how well I did on calories, considering the eating I did at the carnival. But I did skip dinner. My main treats at the carnival were a crabcake sandwich and Italian ice. I also got into the caramel corn and cheesy fries that others bought.
Spending -- well, I spent $25 at the carnival, with little to show for it. Mostly went to activities for the grandchildren. They had a good time, though they got tired and crabby at the end. I understand, I was tired and crabby, too, though I held my crabbiness in.
I really can't stand for very long any more. I can walk, but just standing around and slowly strolling are murder on my hips and legs. I went home afterwards and immediately hydrated and took Advil. I still had a baseball game to go to. At least I can sit through that! But I didn't want my legs throbbing while I sat.
Hoping that weight loss will at least help if not solve this issue. And I should be more regular about stretching exercises.
Shifting to finance -- I am going to change my tracking from a strict monthly (1-31) schedule to a schedule that coincides with my payday, which is the fourth Wednesday of every month. So when I get paid on the 22nd, that will essentially be the first of July for me, since the bulk of July's expenses will come out of that payment. It is awkward to have a few days after pay day when I feel like I can't spend anything, because I am trying to come in under budget. The budget should really reset on pay day. So -- the only reason I'm explaining this to you guys is that you will see monthly recaps before the end of the month, which might look like I'm jumping the gun, or even worse, cheating!
Now I'm focused on the birthday dinner for DIL. My schedule: tomorrow I'll order the gift and grocery shop, Tuesday I'll clean the house, Wednesday prepare and serve the dinner.
And then on July 1, it's up to Michigan again for the July 4th holiday.
Everyone with a father, who is a father, married to a father, or has children who are fathers -- Happy Father's Day!
Yesterday involved more culling -- I finished going through my books and removed 8 more. Next stage is papers, which will be more involved. I've worked my mail stash down to one box, but there is so much more I have to address. Files, stationery, gift wrap, notebooks, random file boxes. It will not be fun.
Spending yesterday was $1.50 for laundry and $2 for Father's Day cards. I got one card in the mail, though it probably won't get there in time. The other I'll give to my son today.
Today I'm going to a street carnival and then, afterwards, a baseball game. I had a very poor night's sleep, so I hope I can manage to have a good time. Right now I'm not feeling so great. I don't know why I couldn't sleep. It was probably a combination of hunger, heat, pain, and overstimulation. (Late baseball game)
I'm going to take it easy today before I go to the carnival.
I'm starting to regularly come in lower than my target of 1400 calories. I hope this will make for faster progress, and not slow down my metabolism! Which is already very slow. Years of yo-yo dieting and a hysterectomy. What can I say.
Yesterday was busy. I went to lunch with friends. Because I am trying so hard to stretch my money this month, I ordered a grilled cheese and water for a grand total of $5.45.
After lunch I went to the library, returned KonMari, and checked out two new books.
Then I went to Aldi. I spent $35 and this is what I got: cake mix, coffee, 2 cans of corn, eggs, ice cream, chili powder, Jiffy corn muffin mix, 2 packages of flour tortillas, frosting, kitty litter, ground beef, can of refried beans, salsa, and tortilla chips. The ground beef alone was $10, but I got five pounds.
After I got home and unpacked the groceries I lay down for a minute and fell asleep! And this was after a good night's sleep. I guess the activity just tired me out.
I woke up in time to go to my grandson's Tae Kwan Do class. He is starting his second session. He is very proud to have three stripes on his belt!
In between all this, I also continued "tidying." I'm all done with the clothes, and starting on books. I removed 8 books from my bookcase. I still have to go through cookbooks and coffee table books. The nice thing is that I now have room on my bookcase to place library books, and the books I'm planning to send to my sister.
Variables spending is now up to 91%.
Today I have to go get Father's Day cards for my sons. Once again, I'm late. It won't be a problem for my local son, but the one in Florida will get a late card, I'm afraid. Anyway, it's first on my to-do list to go get cards and then mail the one.
I'm also going to do some laundry, change the bed linens, cook off the ground beef, continue my "tidying" and go to a baseball game.
Had to cancel a dinner with friends in the city -- it was scheduled on DIL's birthday. I'm glad I had a good excuse, because I was going to cancel anyway, due to lack of funds....
I forgot to mention, I did settle upon a gift for my DIL, and I can get it from Kohl's. The catch is I have to order online, and I can't do it till the 20th if I want to use my Kohl's cash. Obviously, I won't have the gift in time, but I'll wrap up a picture of it! She has asked for (on Amazon) an 8" GreenPan. Using the Kohl's cash, I'll be able to get it for about $30.
Anyway, I'm still hoping to come in under budget this month, or nearly so!
I have a big day planned today! I'm going to lunch with former colleagues (and I already know what I'm going to get -- a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato dipping sauce). I will swing by the library and return the KonMari book, as well as pick up a novel I have on hold. Then, after lunch, I will go to Aldi's and buy cat litter, and ingredients for the birthday dinner. I won't get everything for the dinner, just things that are particularly good to get at Aldi. Next week I'll go to Jewel and get the fresh and unique things. The menu is tacos, refried beans, cornbread casserole, chips & guac, watermelon, cupcakes and lemonade.
The book I'm picking up is the latest book in the Isobel Dalhosie series by Alexander McCall Smith. I "read" the four preceding novels while on the road on vacation, so I am anxious to finish off with this one! I love this character!
Yesterday's tidying yielded more stuff for donation: 1 pair of shoes, 2 sets of sheets, 5 dish towels, 2 coats and a wastebasket. I cheated and did some tidying in the kitchen -- I'm supposed to work in this order: clothing, books, papers, komono (stuff), sentimental items. Kitchen stuff is komono, but somehow the drawers just got to me yesterday so I did some sorting there. The stuff I got rid of I just threw away, nothing to donate. The main thing was rearranging how I stored things. I redid five drawers and the under-the-sink area. Feels and looks much better.
I found some insulated copper wire I had been saving because I thought it had some value. I stripped the insulation off (seemed hard at first, but got easier). In the end I had 9 ounces of copper, which is worth a little more than a dollar. Oh well. I don't think I'll take it to the scrap yard until I have other metal to take as well. It can easily be tucked away somewhere.
It was supposedly in the 90's yesterday, but I was still pretty comfortable without AC. Hope I can last till window-washing time.
Diet is going well -- little hunger, little feeling of deprivation. My clothes aren't falling off yet, but they are more comfortable.
I've been writing down my planned meals each morning. Even if I don't stick to it exactly, I come close. It helps me feel directed. Then at the end of the day I calculate the exact calories I've eaten and record that.
I also write down the things I want to accomplish. I don't always do them all, but it helps to keep me focused.
Yesterday I continued going through my clothes. I removed 8 sweaters, 3 sweatshirts, 9 tops, 3 sweatpants, and 7 t-shirts. Wow! I'm done with clothes EXCEPT for the collection of rarely-worn fancy and seasonal clothes that are in a side closet. I've gone through that fairly recently (though not with the 'spark joy' mindset) so I don't think it will be too bad.
I managed to clean out a whole drawer, where I put my handbags. They were just piled on the closet floor. This is so much better. I moved my cat's box into the vacated space. The box is just a cardboard box with a blanket in it, but the cats love it. I hope they will love it in a new place. The bedroom looks clearer now and I love it.
I still don't have a good place to store my tall boots, but maybe one will emerge as I keep organizing. Which reminds me, I still have to go through my shoes, too, before I'm done with clothes.
No spending yesterday.
My DIL wants to have her birthday dinner on the 22nd. I'd like to use my Kohl's cash for one of her gifts, but I can't use it till the 20th, so I guess I'll be shopping at the last minute. I do have a gift card for a local restaurant and a couple of skeins of good yarn already -- as well as a mason jar vase with a positive message -- I figure I'll get a few flowers for it and then have her take the whole thing home. I don't know what I'll get at Kohl's, but I'll look at her Amazon list to see if it gives me any ideas.
She has requested Mexican, which isn't too expensive, so next week I'll be buying the ingredients.
Maybe I'll actually make it through the month without exceeding my variables budget! I'm still at 86%.