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Archive for October, 2016

Recovery Mode

October 30th, 2016 at 12:28 pm

Well, I'm having a good day after an awful, awful night. Let me just say I am not taking another dose of Crestor. I'll do without until I see the fill-in doc on Tuesday; I sure hope she has a better solution for me.

I got my hair cut (I tend to do it on Sundays, because I know my favorite cutter at Supercuts is always there on Sundays). It turned out especially good this time -- people were even telling me on the way out how good it looked! Well worth the $17 (which includes tip).

I went to the gym, and then I went to the library (free parking on Sunday!) I bought 3 books for $1.50 and checked out an audiobook for my commute. This library has a constant book sale and the selections are always great. There are many readers in this community who share my tastes!

I was on my way to my grandson's soccer game, but I hadn't had any lunch (and it was already 1:45). So I went through Mickey D's drive-through. I got a Happy Meal, so my sandwich and fries were small, and I got apple slices and apple juice (and consumed them both!) I got to the game just on time, but then I noticed I had received a text from DIL -- GS was bowing out of the game, decided to attend a birthday party instead. So phooey. I could have skipped the fast food. It was $4.

Now I'm home, with plans to rest up. (Since I was still awake at 3:30 AM, I doubt that I got more than four hours of sleep.)

Things to get done, if I get some energy: mend some pants, clean the fish tank, mop the floors, vacuum. Tomorrow starts another work week, and I surely won't feel like doing anything then!

Oh, and I need to order my OTC meds, which I get free with my Medicare supplement. Can't let that $50 value slip by!

Saturday Stuff

October 29th, 2016 at 01:07 pm

Got my blood work done. Picked up a brochure describing a genome project. If I donate blood for it, I can earn a $5 Starbucks coupon. Think I might. Catch is, I have to make an appointment, and I work so far away.

At the doctor's office, I paid off a $36 balance.

I stopped at Jewel and got two free MyMixx items - yogurt and cinnamon bread. Free breakfast! With lots of cinnamon bread to spare. I also picked up pantiliners and a birthday card for my sister. $12. Yikes!

There was a woman panhandling outside the store and I gave her $4. I feel worse about the women than the men.

I did a load of laundry for $1.50.

I created my second invoice for the museum. That will make $2150 I've earned.

I've found .51 in the last few days.

I've done more reading on stage 3 kidney disease. It appears that risk of heart attack and/or stroke is greater than the risk of kidney failure. Got to keep doing heart-healthy things; keep my weight on the downswing. I am a bit unusual because most patients have diabetes and/or high blood pressure, and I have neither. I don't know if that's good or bad!

Are You Watching the News?

October 28th, 2016 at 04:25 pm

They're covering the story of an airplane fire at O'Hare. I was driving home from work today, when I was overtaken by a speeding police car and the SWAT vehicle (which looks like a big tank with flashing blue lights). Very intimidating. Turns out they were heading to the airport because of this fire. I suppose they sent the SWAT vehicle because there was the possibility it could have been a terrorist situation. Looks like everyone got out safely. It was amazing good luck that the plane didn't get airborne before the explosion.

But back to my life. I did return the night light, and I didn't spend any money today.

I almost cancelled my doctor's appointment, but decided not to. I suppose they must ask for a fresh new blood draw to be on the safe side. I called insurance to ask about coverage, and they said lab work costs a $20 copay and there is no limit on time between draws. So I'll do it, and see this replacement doctor on Tuesday. I really need to change my statin.

While I was on the doctor's website, I saw that I owe $36 -- $20 for my last blood draw, and $16 for my orthotics fitting. I'll take care of that tomorrow.

I went to the gym today, but wasn't good with my diet. The office was celebrating Halloween, and I indulged in a few mini candy bars.

I asked if heaters were allowed at work, and everyone chuckled and said, "No, but everyone does it." Well, I won't be the first. I'm very much aware I'm more of a visitor than a resident.

My newest problem: my mortgage holder is demanding a copy of my HOA policy. That's the policy that covers the building and exterior. Of course, I don't have that -- that policy is held by the property manager. We've been through this before. I thought it was resolved. Sigh. I probably won't be able to get anyone's ear until Monday morning. I'll also have to call my own insurer, because they are also saying my condo policy is expired. Of course I just paid, right on schedule. I'm asking again, does anyone do their job?

Reversed decisions

October 27th, 2016 at 05:30 pm

Today when I was leaving work I saw a display in the gift shop that caught my eye. It was merchandise connected to "Where the Wild Things Are." One of the items was a night light that has a picture of the moon, and the words, "I love you to the moon and back!" I bought it for my grandsons' room (for Christmas.)

I'm going to return it tomorrow. It was too much - $26 - and that was with my discount. It charmed me, but I don't think it will excite the boys. They probably feel they are too old for a night light. For that kind of money I should get something they really like.

I can tell them I love them for free! To the moon and back!

That's not the only decision I reversed today. I am trying to get my statin changed -- my doctor told me there was another one to try, if this one hurts me (it does). I contacted the office, but he is on vacation. The doctor who is covering for him will see me, but she insists that I have another blood test. I just had all my labs done about a month ago. I think it's a ridiculous request, and besides that, I don't think insurance will pay for the same blood work two months in a row. So I'm going to cancel the appointment. I'll wait until my own doctor is back, and we can continue the conversation we were already having.

I did do some frivolous spending when I bought a $3 hot chocolate at the museum cafe. Not to mention I shouldn't have milk and don't need the calories. My rationale is that I was freezing and I was feeling miserable. And it did do a good job of picking me up.

I came home very tired, but went to the gym, and afterwards went to Aldi, where I bought 11 items for $29: margarine, ice cream, kitty litter, toilet paper, sourdough bread, mac & cheese, coffee, creamer, crackers, granola and vinegar.

I worked the last hours of my contract today, so I'll create another invoice. I would do it tonight if I weren't so tired, but I think instead it will be a weekend chore. I asked about the new contract and I was told I would be issued a new PO number, and that was all I needed. I asked if the terms were the same. Yes. How many hours? Just turn in your hours, and we'll keep paying you. These people worry me. To be fair, the person I was talking to today was an admin assistant, and she probably doesn't know. All the bosses were out at a conference. I guess I'll go in tomorrow and just keep careful track of everything I do. I really don't believe they would try to cheat me, but they're very disorganized and loosey-goosey.

Since they asked about my Christmas plans, I would guess they're keeping me on till the end of the year. And I'll probably earn enough for that car repair, so it's all good.

Woot Woot! Pay Day!

October 26th, 2016 at 09:28 am

My SS check was deposited today and a new budget cycle has begun. I've already spent $736. $321 to my mortgage, $356 for assessment fees, $23 for gas, and $36 at the grocery (grapes, spaghetti sauce, apple, muffins, body wash, tuna, cat food, bread, spinach).

It turns out my variables spending last month was 102%, despite all my maneuvering. I found a $5 copay at the doctor I hadn't counted. Still, it was a good lesson in how you can avoid spending if you just try. I am now at 7% on a new month.

Here is the recap for October (which is over, in my budget world!)

Gifts/Charity: $218 (A birthday, and pre-Christmas)
Insurance: $179 (annual condo insurance)
Utilities: $163
Medical/Health: $146 (podiatrist, gym, doctor, scrips, physical therapy, monthly premium)
Vacation/Travel: $127 (the tail end of my FL trip)
Clothing: $90 (workout pants)
Eating Out: $77
Groceries: $69
Gas: $67
Phone: $52
Vet/Pet Supplies: $21
Laundry: $14
Household Supplies: $13
Fares/Parking: $13
Furnishings/Equipment/Decor: $7
Personal: $1

Grand Total: $1257

Wow, huh? This month did not have a mortgage payment or assessment fees because I paid the mortgage early, and the assessment falls so close to pay day, it can fall on either side. So it was a crazy low month; just what I needed.

It's suddenly very cold and rainy, and I wish I did not have to go out again, but I have to go to physical therapy.

I'm putting the finishing touches on the carrot soup, and also making spaghetti sauce for dinner. It's really smelling good in here!



Made It!

October 25th, 2016 at 04:48 pm

I got to work and back today with gas to spare. I'll fill up tomorrow when I go to the gym. In fact, I'll do a lot of things tomorrow, because I have the day off and it's PAY DAY! I'll do some grocery shopping, maybe get my hair cut. I have to go to physical therapy, too, which is why I have the day off.

I got my ballot in the mail today, so I was worrying needlessly. I do a lot of needless worrying. Smile I've also heard from the administrator judge about election day and have promised to help set up the afternoon before elections.

It was verified today that my contract at work will be renewed. But I don't know for how much. I assume another $1000 batch, but I would like to know. My boss wants me to just keep coming in; I'm a little nervous without a contract in hand.

I met my friend K for lunch again today. We talked more about the girlfriend weekend. Will probably put it off till March or April, and now Charleston is a contender. K brought me healthy muffins -- so sweet of her! Breakfast tomorrow!

One More Day

October 24th, 2016 at 01:34 pm

I got through today spending nothing (well, so far. It's early yet, but I'm not going to leave the house!) And it looks like I have enough gas to drive to work tomorrow. I'm going to try it. If the gas runs low, there are plenty of gas stations on the way. But if I get all the way home without having to fill up -- I've done it!! I've met the budget!

Today my boss asked me when I'm going to be around for Thanksgiving. I said, uh, I have 14 1/2 hours left; I'm not going to be here! And she said, oh, they're talking about another contract. This is the first I've heard of it. She wanted to know my Thanksgiving and Christmas plans. I told her I'm taking almost a week off for Thanksgiving, but I'll be around for Christmas.

I'm relieved and disappointed. Glad to have the money; not enjoying the work. And the office is so cold! I had the heat on full-blast in the car all the way home just to thaw out.

As I've said before, I've got to be grateful that my work is still needed and wanted. I never expected this. So I will work when I am asked, and squirrel away the money!

I got my assignment for election day. I will not be working in my own district, so I have to vote early. (I hope I'm not repeating myself) I sent in my application to vote by mail, but it's been more than a week and I haven't received a ballot. Wondering if I should just go to the early voting place. I certainly don't want to neglect to vote, this of all years!

I'm making some carrot soup and getting ready to curl up with a book and a blanket. I'm skipping the gym today! Don't want to use the gas it takes to get there.

Update

October 23rd, 2016 at 08:23 am

Well, I bought the one can of cat food yesterday - .97. It didn't change the 100% in my spreadsheet. But then I got a new challenge. My grandson's baseball team won -- and they're in playoffs today. There may be two games, and the location is about a half-hour away. It would have definitely eroded my gas.

So I volunteered to stay home and take my other grandson to his soccer game -- someone had to do it anyway. Better that his parents get to watch the playoffs.

We'll see if I can get through the day without my grandson urging me to spend something. He's five. He doesn't understand about money, or the lack of it.

My Variables Budget

October 22nd, 2016 at 08:40 am

Sometimes I miscount on the variables budget, because I don't remember to record an expenditure. This month, because I was so close, I thought I'd better go through my receipts. Sure enough, I was off. I have actually already spent 100% of my variables budget -- no more, no less.

It would be quite a challenge to try to meet it, anyway. I have plenty of food, a half a tank of gas, and four more days. The biggest question mark is cat food. I have plenty of dry, but they clamor for the wet food in the morning. I have one can, which goes for two days. Hmmm. One more can would take me to payday. I could pick up a cheapo. Or I could borrow a can from my son, but I hate to admit to my silly money games. He would worry unnecessarily.

Half a tank of gas MIGHT give me two more round trips to work. But, if it doesn't appear to be stretching that far, I can take the El and the bus. Big pain, but already paid for.

I have to learn how to do this, because in my gap year, it will all be for real -- and if I don't save money now for my gap year, well, it will be an uncomfortable year.

I forgot to mention that the girlfriend trip to Key West is off. The other girlfriends are backing off from that destination -- flights and hotels are expensive. The latest idea is Asheville, and spending a day at the Vanderbilt mansion. That would work well for me -- I could drive to Asheville, and after the weekend is over, I could visit my sister, though I would have to figure out a place to stay. (My sister is a hoarder -- I can't stay with her.) None of this is decided, and it won't happen until January or February. Anyway, my point is, I won't have to have quite as much money put away for that trip.

Baseball game later in the day -- I will take along my workout clothes so I can go straight to the gym from the field -- that will save a little gas. And I'll pick up that can of cat food, too!

Working Blind

October 21st, 2016 at 01:25 pm

Well, I made it a short day at work, because I went without my reading glasses. Whoops! I didn't realize how very much I need them. I couldn't see anything on the computer. After struggling for an hour, I went to the gift shop to see if they had reading glasses. They didn't, but a very, very nice clerk loaned me a magnifying glass, which helped a little.

I managed to work 3 1/2 hours and finish one profile, and then I called it a day. I only have 14 1/2 hours to go on my contract, so I'm pretty sure I'll finish up next week. Realizing this, I decided to go ahead and renew my son's family membership while I could still get the discount. That will be a Christmas present (their current membership expires on 12/31.) It was $125 with my discount.

There was leftover food from a meeting this morning, so I got a free mini-bagel with schmear, some grapes, strawberries and melon. Also Starbucks coffee. I also brought home some fortune cookies in cute little boxes that were left over from an event. I'll give those to my grandsons.

Variables spending has now bounced up to 96%. I think I can successfully eat out of my pantry/freezer till payday, but I will probably have to fill up the tank again before Wednesday. And I'll have to buy cat food; at least a few cans. So it may be that getting in under 100% will be impossible. Still, I will try to come in as low as I can.

A Day at Home

October 20th, 2016 at 03:41 pm

I took the day off today (planned). The main reason was so I could go to lunch with friends and former colleagues. We went to a well-known, celebrated taco place, and it was definitely living up to its reputation! I got grouper tacos -- delicious. Total cost was $20.

I did FIVE loads of laundry today. I shouldn't have to do it again for a while! Total cost - $7.50. I got lots of exercise on the stairs.

I'm very, very tired today. I did get up unusually early, and my sleep was pretty restless. I went to Planet Fitness at 6! It was nice and quiet. And that reminds me, I also paid the $10 monthly fee. It is charged automatically to my Discover card.

The temperature is dropping fast, but I haven't heard the radiators come on yet. They have come on once this season, so I know the boiler is turned on. Hoping they will come to life tonight, so I won't have to shiver under my covers.

Variables spending is now at 81%. This is good, but I need to do better to make up for the huge overage last month. It will take some time to make up for that.

A Lakeside Lunch, and New Pants

October 19th, 2016 at 06:04 pm

I met my friend K. for lunch today. She knew how to get to the lake from the museum (through a tunnel!) so we went and sat lakeside and ate our lunches. It was good to catch up; we hadn't seen each other since last Christmas, I believe. It's amazing how time slips by.

After work I went to Planet Fitness, but first I went to Marshall's to get more workout pants. I don't want to get to the point where I can't go to the gym because I don't have any clean pants.

I make them double as pajama bottoms, so I needed "leisure wear" rather than "fitness wear." It was surprisingly hard to find them. But I did find 4 pairs on the sale rack. I don't think it was really much of a sale, since I paid $90. Ooh. That's $22 a pair. Well, I don't often buy clothes at retail stores, so the prices always amaze me. But resale shops are no good when you're looking for something specific. They only give up their treasures when you're just browsing!

My variables spending is now at 77%, with exactly one week to go.

I have tomorrow off. I'm going to have lunch with friends here in town. And I hope to get a lot of things done. The housework has suffered since I started working. And I have laundry to do again! But most of all I want to sleep without having an alarm wake me! I really don't like that any more!

Bucking Up

October 18th, 2016 at 04:05 pm

Slowly I am putting my worries behind me. I had a good day today. I worked a half-day, and had a free lunch at work. It was amazing! It was a buffet with salad (dark greens), mozzarella & tomato slices, squares of salmon (and chicken, but I didn't take that), tiny grilled cheese sandwiches, and tomato basil soup. I felt a little guilty taking advantage of it, since I am so soon to be gone, but I WAS invited!

After lunch I came home to go to physical therapy (free parking again!). I then walked over to my doctor's office to dispute a bill, only to find that it was for the physical therapy. Duh. It's a $5 copay every time -- I didn't know.

Then I went to the gym and did my strength training, and after I was done I walked over to Food4Less and bought some healthy food for my brown-bag lunch tomorrow: apples, raspberries, carrots and Havarti cheese slices. ($9)

I was invited to go out to dinner tonight with a professional group -- not the association I belong to, but an affiliated one -- and I was planning to go, but I was too tired. I stayed home and ate chicken salad. Cheaper, anyway.

Common symptoms of stage three chronic kidney disease are: fatigue, insomnia, and restless legs. What have I been complaining about right here for years? It's kind of nice to know that there is actually a reason.

I've adapted well to Tylenol. I've only needed it a couple of times, but it seemed to work. I used to think that only Advil could deal with my pain, but I stand corrected.

The shadow has passed; things are looking up!