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Archive for March, 2017

Quiet Day, Restless Night

March 31st, 2017 at 03:22 pm

Had a quiet day yesterday. My only spending was a load of laundry for $1.50. I went out for coffee with DIL, but she paid. It was rainy and cold, a good day to cuddle up with a good book, which I did.

My new payment from TIAA will hit today. I don't know exactly what it will be, because I don't know how much they will withhold, but I am expecting it will be just under $300. My bank sent me another warning about my low checking balance, but it should be rectified today, when the payment shows up. The reason the balance is low is that the automatic payment to the gas company slipped in there. I've got money in savings, but I just don't want to transfer again. It is only a low balance, not overdrawn. And nothing else can possibly be automatically withdrawn until the 6th, when my Medicare supplement payment is withdrawn.

I had another awful sleepless night. I had coffee in the afternoon, so I suppose I can blame that, though I've also had terrible nights when I have had no caffeine at all. At least I don't have to go to work, or babysit! I can have another day cuddling up with a good book! And try to avoid napping so I don't have another sleepless night.

My BFF is going to come to visit on the 6th and will stay a couple of days. Really looking forward to her visit, but since it is before pay day, I will be trying to keep spending down as much as possible. Variables spending is at 35% right now with 26 days to go. And I have a dentist appointment to pay for. Which will probably be too high to cash flow, but I would like to try.

Our Day at the Museum

March 30th, 2017 at 02:26 pm

It was certainly different to be a guest at the museum than it is to be an employee! But nice to be an employee, too, because I could just bypass all the lines with my handy-dandy badge. There is just so much there. We couldn't possibly take it all in. The boys loved it, especially the "Idea Factory" which was basically everything you can do with water (except get in it -- not allowed). They also loved the Mirror Maze, the robots, and the electronic screens where they could see themselves as butterflies, dancing animals, etc. Kind of like Snapchat, only huge.

I spent $35 on food, between the snacks bought ahead of time, and the ice cream at the museum. In hindsight, I spent too much on the snacks, but there are leftovers which will get used.

There was no cost for tickets or for parking, because of my status as an employee.

The boys were full-speed-ahead all day, but I was the one who came back exhausted.

Today I'm going to make some apple pancakes, do a load of laundry, and work more on my mother's diary. Other duties as they pop up!


March 29th, 2017 at 11:52 am

Yesterday in the mail I got a settlement check for $4.36 and a Wal-Mart gift card for $15. I would be even happier to receive my third invoice payment from the museum.

Speaking of the museum, I will be going there today with the grandsons. Hoping this will be a good way to keep them entertained all day.

I checked my pantry for snacks to carry, and I don't have anything that would interest the boys. So we may make a stop at Trader Joe's beforehand.

I had to transfer funds back into checking from savings because the balance got too low. That's because the assessment fee was withdrawn before I got the TIAA payment. (Still waiting on that.) I need to remember to keep about a $100 balance in checking. Or maybe a $1000 balance -- then it would be my slush fund. There is certainly no reason to keep it in savings, since the interest is almost non-existent. And I wouldn't have to worry about the possibility of incurring a fee.

Right now my slush fund is very low. I need to build it back up, but don't get many opportunities. I usually put random checks into the e-fund, which is at my credit union. I do that just for the ease of depositing by mobile phone. I could set that up for my bank, too, but haven't bothered.

Checked my Groupon account again and realized I also have a $15 credit for a restaurant in the area where I go to the dentist. So I'll use that in a couple of weeks when I go to the dentist.

My only spending yesterday was $1.50 for laundry and $5 for a birthday card.

Cost-Free Childcare!

March 27th, 2017 at 11:00 pm

Well, I babysat the grandsons all day today and did not spend anything. I made them lunch, and deflected requests to go to the arcade. To make up for the arcade, I made them milk shakes and popcorn in the afternoon.

On Wednesday I'm going to take them to the museum. I'm going to pack snacks, because the food there is expensive! But I will get in free, and so will they, because they are members. The major cost will be the gas to get there and back.

Getting back to my mother's life, I came to an entry where she went to Chicago for the first time! She went with my father (still not married to him) and his mother to visit with his aunts for the weekend. She even put the address in her entry, so I Googled it and found that it is about a half a block from the train line I commuted on every day -- probably could have seen it from my window! It is an area that is very sad and downtrodden now, but it looks like it was once a charming row of houses. She went to the Field Museum (which is not my museum) and did some unspecified sightseeing. She seemed excited to be in the big city.

She also mentioned several times, with excitement, that her uncle has received compensation checks. I was wondering about their financial situation, given that he was hospitalized for months with no apparent income, and underwent two surgeries and a long convalescence. Apparently he got some kind of compensation after the fact. She herself does not seem to worry about money, but she is working and living at home, and doesn't have any expenses. She seems to spend mostly on movies, clothes and gifts. She does not mention helping out her aunt and uncle, but then, it would be perfectly feasible that she did and saw no reason to mention it in her diary.

Sunday Doings

March 27th, 2017 at 12:22 am

Whew! Another chilly day! And wet!

I just got back from visiting with C's friends at the local Hyatt House. They came up to surprise her for her birthday. DIL and I took them dinner (DIL made it; I just helped carry). It was a nice interlude, and I was amazed to learn that the suite at the Hyatt was only $108 per night and offered two queens and sleeper sofa, a beautiful kitchen and nice sitting area -- great views as well. This would be a nice option for when my family comes to visit, since my space is too small to host any more than one (on the couch!) This was way cheaper and way nicer than I imagined.

I got a free dinner as well, for the little bit of help I provided.

My only spending today was $9 for a Groupon for IHOP. Since IHOP is my grandson's favorite restaurant, I know it will be used. The $9 voucher will purchase $16 worth of food.

Speaking of Groupons, I realized when I got the voucher that I still have one for Tall Ship Adventures that I never used. I invested $15; and it is no longer worth $30, but I can still put the $15 toward a ticket. I think I would like to do that this summer -- maybe as a birthday present to myself!

I forgot to report yesterday that I spent $25 on gas, and $1.50 on laundry.

Tomorrow I will babysit the boys all day. DIL starts a new job tomorrow. She is keeping the old one, so she'll have two part-time jobs. Spring Break starts tomorrow, so the boys will be home all week. I'll sit for them on Wednesday, too; the other days are covered.

Spent the afternoon playing Smallworld with my son and my grandson. (Other grandson declined to play, and read instead.) It's been a nice day!

A Few Errands on a Rainy Day

March 25th, 2017 at 09:33 pm

I stopped at Walgreen's after going to the gym this morning. I had a $5 reward to use, and I bought a big round brush. It was a two-for-one deal, so I picked one out for C to add to her gift bag. Out of pocket cost was $8.

Then I went to Jewel to get the free MyMixx deals. They were especially good this week. I got a 22 oz. package of frozen fried rice ("Ling Ling") and a 16 oz. bottle of Sunny D. The total value was $8.99.

I also found two pennies in the very wet parking lot. It's a cold, rainy, dreary day. I'm just kicking back. I did some more work on Mom's diary. Sometimes her writing is very hard to read. Even though it looks fine, when you try to decipher the words, it sometimes doesn't make sense. I struggle with it. It doesn't help that she wrote in pencil and those pencil marks are now almost eighty years old!

Anyway, here is how she described a date with my dad in 1940: "G & I went to the city, mailed a card, chased around looking for mints, came home and looked at a magazine." Another time she went to his folks' house, where they had a "waffle supper, Chinese Checkers & Hearts." They clearly enjoyed the simple pleasures, though they certainly did their share of going to concerts and movies and restaurants, too. Oh, and she also said that when they went to see Garbo in "Ninotchka," G "almost had hysterics." I cannot picture that at all! My dad was always a chuckler. I'm not sure I ever saw him laugh out loud.

A Bit of Spending

March 24th, 2017 at 09:19 pm

I did some spending today. It's my newly-initiated monthly "deal day." I've decided to start putting aside coupons and promotions and not looking at them until after pay day. Then I sort through them and decide if I want to use them. I usually have a coupon from Kohl's and BB&B. I hit both today, getting a frying pan at BB&B for $17 (20% off) and a bra at Kohl's for $9 (30% off). I also went to DSW with a $10 coupon and got a wallet for C's birthday, spending $11 out of pocket. And it was haircut day; I spent $16 on the cut and $15 on shampoo. (No deals here, except the senior discount for my cut.) The shampoo I only buy a couple times a year. It's Paul Mitchell for platinum blondes. I alternate that with Head & Shoulders (and I only wash my hair every third day) so it lasts a long time. I also made a $20 donation to a fundraiser.

I won't do any more "me" shopping until my next deal day, which will be after my next pay day. Unless I shop at Goodwill; that doesn't count. But I only shop at Goodwill when BFF visits, which happens less often than once a month.

I realized today that I will have to get a different kind of sandal to wear this summer. When I was cruising this winter, I tried using my orthotics with sandals, and they slide around and work their way out the front. Not good. I need a summer shoe that is closed at the toe and heel. Espadrilles, maybe? Should have looked at DSW, but I hadn't thought of it then. Maybe flats with cut-out sides, or mesh. It's unfortunate, but I cannot walk comfortably without the orthotics any more. But that's a next-month project.

Today's spending has pushed my variables to 22%.

Missed the Meeting

March 23rd, 2017 at 04:48 pm

I didn't go to the downtown meeting last night, because I checked beforehand and found I wasn't registered! Apparently I put it on my calendar, but neglected to go through the registration process.

I was glad I had such a good excuse not to leave the house. I really wasn't up for it, and I saved some money.

Today I shopped at PetSmart and Aldi, spending $19 on cat food & litter, and $25 on groceries. My ten items at Aldi were: apples, spinach, mushrooms, toilet paper, butter (2), spreadable margarine, turkey gravy mix, mayonnaise and granola.

Have to buy a birthday present for C before Tuesday. I'm going to check out DSW. I have a coupon to save $10 on a $25 purchase, and they have nice socks, slippers, wallets, etc.

Forgot to mentally budget for the upcoming tune-up. Think I will put it off till after the next pay day.

Will put off the oil change till I go to the dentist. It will be cheaper in that suburb.

Tomorrow I will get my hair cut. Much-needed.

Today I will do some more laundry and make the quiche. However, I will probably not bake it till tomorrow.

Such is my busy life! Smile

Pay Day

March 22nd, 2017 at 07:01 pm

This morning I went to the gym, then to Food4Less (discount Kroger's), where I bought ten items for $24: Coffeemate (2, to use a coupon), cat chow, Polish sausage, pie crust, onion, pantiliners, strawberries, half & half, and bacon bits. I plan to make a quiche Lorraine, and Polish sausage with sauerkraut.

After I got home DIL called to let me know that C had a good medical report; her chemo is working -- at least it is keeping her stable. We all went out for lunch to celebrate, and C paid, because she said it was her party. We went to a very good taco place.

I came home and paid the mortgage and credit card bills.

I'm supposed to go to a professional group meeting tonight, but I'm kind of dragging my heels now. It's very cold, and I don't like walking around in the city when it's cold. I'll have to check how close the El runs to the cafe location.

I did get a load of laundry done. My variables spending -- for this one day -- is at 4%.

No real news in the diary, except that Mom has clearly settled on Dad as her steady -- but I knew that! Smile

March Recap

March 22nd, 2017 at 12:10 am

This was the last day in my pay cycle, so March is done, financially speaking. Here is the breakdown:

Housing: $695
Taxes: $449
Fees/Services: $229
Groceries: $176
Eating Out: $128
Household Supplies: $63
Medical/Health: $55
Phone: $52
Gas: $39
Entertainment: $33
Vet/Pet Supplies: $30
Vacation/Travel: $28
Laundry: $12
Furnishings/Equipment/Decor: $3
Fares/Parking: $1

Grand Total: $2186

I went 12% over on the variables budget. I'll try to make that up this coming month.

There were several driving factors this month. I spent a lot on groceries because I hosted a dinner -- and I did some stocking up. Eating out was high because I did more socializing this month than usual, and I also took my grandsons out three times. They are turning into growing boys with appetites.

I couldn't really help that my subscription and my I-Pass renewed at the same time.

Generally, entertainment is a really cheap category for me, but I saw three movies this month -- and at one of them I treated a friend.

And of course, I had taxes to pay. Could have waited till April, but I wanted to get it over with.

Today's spending was $6 to see "Beauty and the Beast," which was amazing! Such artistry.

I skipped the gym, saving my one clean pair of workout pants for tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow will be a busy day. I'm going downtown at dinnertime (riding the El) for a professional group meeting. Before that, I will go to the gym and go to the grocery. I will only get ten items, since that's all I can carry upstairs, so I'm going to peruse my list and choose the most important. I'm sure another grocery trip will be on the docket on Thursday.

I also want to get at least one load of laundry done. All my bins are pretty full.

As usual, it feels pretty good to know that pay day is imminent!

No-Spend Day #3

March 21st, 2017 at 02:01 am

Successful at spending nothing today, but I will spend a little tomorrow. C wants to go see "Beauty and the Beast" on Senior Day, and I will do about anything she wants.

I got a notice from TIAA today about my interest-only monthly payout. It will go down a little; I'll be getting about $45 less per month. While it's not a lot, my budget is already tight. I've made the adjustment in my variables budget. It will be a little harder to meet.

Looking at the things I'm scheduled to do next month, I realize I may have to do some juggling. I have a dentist appointment coming up, the cats need their checkups, the car needs an oil change, and I need a haircut. I also have Easter expenses. Something will have to give, and it will probably be the cats' checkups. That can wait till next month, but then I'll have my eye exam, and my girlfriend weekend getaway. Sigh. I know I have plenty of savings, but I just hate to use it for anything but true emergencies. Not to mention, my 16-year-old car could give out any time.

Not much new in the diaries. My mother mentions giving a ride to "Danny" -- that is my dad's younger brother, who outlived them all, passing away a few years ago at age 90. He was my favorite uncle. Mom and Dad celebrated their birthdays together for the first time -- their birthdays were only two weeks apart. Mom mentions having rabbit for dinner, and I thought of Lucky Robin! I think her rabbit was a wild one, though. She is working for the Red Cross after work, teaching Sunday School, and playing her violin at receptions. Also doing a lot of work for her sorority. Busy lady.

No-Spend Day #2

March 20th, 2017 at 02:04 pm

Again, spent nothing yesterday. I used a bit of gas going to the gym, but I won't have to fill up before pay day, so it doesn't matter.

I ate Reubens, potato salad, grapes and carrots again. Also working my way through the sherbet so I can free up more room in the freezer. Tonight I am going to babysit my grandsons while my kids go out, so I am going to take over a carton of ice cream.

There is only one Reuben left to eat today. Yay! But I still have a lot of rye bread, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and a bit of corned beef, not to mention the Thousand Island sauce I made. I'm not going to make more Reubens but need to figure out how to use up these items. The cheese I can use in a quiche. The TI sauce is great on hamburgers. The sauerkraut I can eat with Polish sausage or hot dogs. But I can't do any of these things until I can grocery shop again on Wednesday.

Went over to my son's yesterday and we played Splendor (a board game). We tried to get the grandsons interested, but they are only interested in video games now. I'm sure they are having fun, but I miss the shared experience of playing a board game together. They are not mature enough yet to realize they are missing something.

My grandson tried out for the travel baseball team, and he felt it went well. He is starting to figure out that he will not ever be a pitcher, but he is good at fielding and catching, and at hitting. I hope he is selected for the team; he enjoys it so.

No big changes in the diary. My mom is still dating both JB and Dad, as well as an occasional date with someone else entirely. She and her sister spent a week at a lake resort which I have also visited with my sons when they were small. I don't know if it even exists any more, but in my day it was a place with a variety of rides, pools, mini-golf, etc. She mentions "tobogganing" -- which must have been a water flume or something -- and dancing in the evening in the dance hall.

I really enjoy her descriptions of her clothing. She sewed a lot, and made most of her clothes. When she says she bought a new dress, she means she bought the material. But occasionally she gets ready-made stuff. She had an "old rose Sloppy Joe sweater" that she apparently liked to wear a lot. She also enjoyed wearing her "black & white gingham" -- a dress. She seemed to buy hats often, including a "doll hat." Turns out that is one of those little hats that perched on the side near the forehead. (No explanation how she got it to stay!) She mentions only once buying a pair of slacks. My guess is she only wore them at home. She also buys gloves, hose and purses a lot. It was a different world.

War has broken out in Europe, and she is impatient with all the "war talk."

I suspect I am reading about the happiest time in her life, and it is nice to see.

No-Spend Day #1

March 19th, 2017 at 02:03 pm

That was yesterday. I did not spend anything. I am not even doing laundry until payday.

I did make croutons, as planned. I only used half the loaf, as that seemed to fill up the baking pan I used. The croutons turned out great. It is pumpernickel bread that I am trying to use up, and it makes pretty good croutons.

I finished reading my book, and I'll be starting a new one today. Luckily, I have a nice stash from my last trip to Goodwill.

I'll be eating Reuben sandwiches again. It's like Groundhog Day! Same day over and over! Luckily, I really like Reuben sandwiches. I'm also working on the potato salad, grapes and carrots.

I will go to the gym later. My only challenge, so far, with not spending until Wednesday, is that I'm going to run out of clean workout pants. I'll have to come up with something else. Or maybe I can handwash a pair.

Now, to the diary. JB has reappeared and Mom is dating both him and my father, though from her tone I am getting the impression that she is only dating JB because she is feeling sorry for him. She is clearly getting more involved with my dad's family. My grandparents were very fun and personable, so I can see that they must have been a big attraction for her as well as the attraction to my father. She had a wonderful time with the whole family at a hamburger cookout in one of the state parks on July 4. Dad is driving now, so he must have come up with a car somehow.

She finally spelled his name right, but then reverted back, so she is still not sure.

Almost forgot! I got a check from the museum yesterday! It covered two of the three outstanding invoices. (This doesn't change my no-spend plan -- museum money is designated for savings.)

The Party's Over

March 18th, 2017 at 02:40 am

And it was a success! The food was good, the company was good, and it seemed like everyone had a good time! The only bad thing is that I have so many leftovers. For instance, I have a whole loaf of bread that won't fit into the freezer. (And there are already three loaves in the freezer.) The freezer has been reorganized and it is packed like a puzzle, so I'm just going to have to eat that bread. Maybe I'll make croutons, which can be stored in a bag.

I had about five half-sandwiches left over. I wrapped them in foil and will eat them the next few days. There's also a lot of potato salad, which won't keep, so I'll have to eat that. Most of the fruit was eaten, and all of the chips, but I have a lot of baby carrots left. They will be no problem to use up, however.

My nephew brought two pies, so we didn't even touch the ice cream I bought. I have five containers. (I would say half-gallons, but I don't think they are true half-gallons any more.) I bought five because it was cheaper that way. Since I cannot have much ice cream at one time, it certainly will last a long time! Perhaps my grandchildren will help me.

I am really committed to NO food waste, so this will be a challenge.

I progressed a little in my mother's diary today, but not too much, since I had a lot of prep work to do. And for some reason, I had a headache all day, but it went away before the dinner guests came.

It seems that while my mother's previous boyfriend took her to restaurants and movies a lot, my father seems to be taking her to musical programs, especially big band groups. They do not eat out at fancy places, but at diners. She has already met his parents (my grandparents) after going out with him one month. She has also met his brother, my uncle who died so young, and who I do not remember. In all the time she went out with JB, she did not mention his family.

It is also clear that JB loved to drive her around, but my father comes to see her on the bus. Neither one of them has a car. They don't live in the same town, so clearly getting together requires some effort and planning.

I also find it interesting that she is spelling his name wrong. He has one of those names that can be spelled two different ways, and she has picked the wrong spelling. I'm going to see how long it takes her to get it right!

Went Over the Budget -- and Dad Enters the Picture!

March 16th, 2017 at 06:45 pm

After the gym this morning I went to both Gordon's and Jewel to finish buying supplies for the dinner tomorrow. I spent more than I hoped to -- the real kicker was the cost of paper plates, napkins, plastic cutlery, plastic bowls, etc. They cost $38, even at Gordon's. But I'll probably have plenty left over for another day. I chose plain green, so I can use them for Christmas. Food cost $35.

I also picked up a prescription for $6.

So, my variables budget is 107% spent and I'm six days away from payday. I think I'll be all right spending nothing those six days; I'm just a little sorry I went over. If I had decided to use my own china, napkins, etc. I would have made it, but I opted for easy.

I heard from BFF. They are definitely going to the zoo on Saturday, so I'm out. It's a good thing, really. If they had gone to the museum, I would have tried to make it work, but even though I get in free, I probably would have ended up spending money for food.

So, to the diary. The very first mention of my father! Their first date was on March 25, 1939, and they went to see Vincent Lopez, a big band leader. Not clear whether they saw him in person or went to movie. My mother made no comment about my father other than they went together. The following day she wrote that she went out with "a bunch of kids from Edinburg." He was probably one of them, because that's where he grew up.

Looking forward to filling in a little family history!

Grocery Shopping and More Diary Updates

March 15th, 2017 at 04:01 pm

I just got back from round one of grocery shopping for my St. Pat's dinner. I spent $41 at Food4Less. I got some good deals -- 5 containers of Breyer's ice cream for $2.49 each, 5 packages of sliced Swiss cheese, also $2.49 each. I got the rye bread and the corned beef. Tomorrow I have to pick up sauerkraut, Green River pop, paper plates & cups, potato salad, chips, grapes, carrots. I figure I am roughly halfway there in cost. My variables are up to 96%, so I am really pushing my limit.

My BFF is planning to come to Chicago with her son's family this weekend. We made tentative plans to meet at the museum on Saturday. Now they are talking about going to the museum on Friday (when I am tied up for the party) and going to the zoo on Saturday. I told BFF I could have gone to the museum, since it is free for me, but I can't go to the zoo -- my budget is wiped out. It was hard for me to do. (Especially when I really do have money; it's just not designated for variable spending.) But I have to learn to stay within my limits; it will be so important later.

She texted back that nothing was set in stone; so, we shall see.

I had my wellness visit yesterday, so a $15 Walmart gift card will come in the mail eventually.

Now, for the diary update:

I was able to figure out the full name of Mom's old boyfriend,"JB", and he turned out to be pretty interesting when I did some research on him. He was the son of a local industrialist and he himself owned a string of movie houses. (Guess that explains all the movies!) He was 12 years older than Mom. He married in 1941 -- three years from the time I am reading about. He remained married to the same woman until he died in 2000. He died less than one month after my mother died! He was still living in the same house he grew up in. However, that was not surprising, for he lived in a gorgeous mansion that was known in town as "the house on the hill." An Italianate red brick house with a tower. Knowing my mom, that must have intimidated her somewhat. She grew up in very humble circumstances. She does not ever speak of meeting his parents; but perhaps they were no longer living.

I finished transcribing 1938, but read ahead a little in 1939. In January she obviously developed a crush on a coworker, who drove her home a lot and teased her at work. He was engaged, however, and he married in February. She doesn't let on any disappointment, but she does end her relationship with JB. No explanation, but she does not ever explain much, which is frustrating! A few weeks later she mentions JB was in a car wreck. Reading between the lines, I think he was upset.

Now I'm really interested to see how 1939 plays out!

Another Snow Dump

March 14th, 2017 at 12:55 pm

I woke up to another snow dump this morning. I'm staying in and it looks like a lot of others have decided to do the same thing. The cars parked up and down the street look like marshmallows.

Kind of regret I'm missing free bagel day at Planet Fitness, but caution is winning over cheapness! Anyway, I have bagels in the freezer. I'll nuke one for breakfast in honor of free bagel day. Smile

I got a reminder call from the nurse making the home visit, so, as of last night at least, she is still planning on making the visit.

I made the chicken french fry casserole yesterday, and it was pretty good! It yielded four servings, so I'll have another one today and freeze the other two.

Diary update -- I typed up two months yesterday. Mom is still dating the same guy -- they are driving all over the place in his "roadster." They went to Mammoth Caves and the Indiana dunes. Uncle is home from the hospital, improving daily. Mom is starting to worry that there may be a war in Europe. She was appalled by a terrible hurricane in New England. (I thought she must have got that wrong, but it's true; there WAS a terrible hurricane in New England in 1938!) I keep stopping and looking up places she mentions, especially restaurants. Some of them still exist, in some form. I will try to visit them in the future. One of them -- Nashville House in Nashville, Indiana, I HAVE visited! (I loved their fried biscuits and apple butter.) Yes, I think a sentimental journey is in the future.

The Diary -- and the Snow

March 13th, 2017 at 03:19 pm

Worked on my mother's diary last night, transcribing one more month in 1938. I am through July now. All her entries for July and many in June were about her uncle's stay in the hospital (apparently he was there more than a month!) He had two surgeries, but she didn't say what they were about. I was afraid I was going to be reading about his death, but, -DUH! I remember him, so of course he didn't die in 1938.

Her uncle was like her father -- she was orphaned when she was seven, and her aunt and uncle raised her.

I also went to the gym last night, ahead of the snow. We got the storm in the wee hours, and I am not going out today. However, we did not get the predicted seven inches. I am just staying in because the roads are a mess and my car is covered. I may just stay in until it melts. Why not? Of course, I do have to go out to buy the supplies for my party on March 17. But I think there is a good chance it will melt by then.

Tomorrow I'm getting a house visit from a nurse employed by UnitedHealthcare. It's just a wellness check. For doing this, I'll get a $15 Walmart gift card. It's also free bagel day at the gym, but as I said, I probably won't leave the house.

Oh boy

March 12th, 2017 at 09:33 pm

It's been a weekend of eating out, and just when I didn't need it, budget-wise. In every other way it was great. My dinner with my grandson at the seafood restaurant turned into dinner at home -- because the place was packed, jam-packed, so we ordered takeaway. My grandson order snow crab (!) and the funny part was that once we got home, I realized I did not have a seafood cracker, so we had to get creative about just how to get into those crab legs. We tried out several kinds of pliers and even a hammer. Too funny. He did get manage to get some meat, but it was hard and messy work. This morning I put a seafood cracker & forks on my Amazon wish list.

I ordered a shrimp basket for myself, which was much less hassle, but left me with a ton of fries. I'm going to make a chicken french fry casserole from the leftovers.

Then today, I had lunch with both grandsons, my friend C and my son, at a pizza place.

I shudder to say that I spent $57 altogether. Didn't need that, but on the other hand, it sure was fun, and I'll survive this bump in my budget.

Just to add to the (financial) misery, I put $1 in the parking meter before remembering that I don't have to pay on Sunday. So I guess it was a donation to the city coffers.

Since my grandson went home, I've just been lounging around, playing Candy Crush, reading a little, watching "Funny Face" on TV.

I haven't been to the gym yet, and I should get that done before the snow starts this evening. I might not want to go out at all tomorrow. They say there might be seven inches.

So far I haven't done any transcribing of my mother's diary, but I'll get that done this evening, too. I believe I may be coming close to one of the sad events of her life.

Saturday Doings

March 11th, 2017 at 10:59 pm

Saturday is my day to get freebies at the grocery through the MyMixx program. This time I got a bottle of sport drink, a candy bar and yogurt. I've already eaten the candy bar and yogurt. I also picked up some granola and some 7-Up. The 7-Up I got because it was on sale, and I will need it for the punch on Friday. The granola I got because I have a lot of almond milk to use up. Total spending was $4.

I did a load of laundry - $1.50.

I bought two boxes of girl scout cookies. $10. This was a splurge, but I do like to support the organization. And I like the cookies, of course.

My grandson is sleeping over tonight, and soon we will go to the restaurant of his choice. It's a seafood restaurant, but casual. I've been promising to take him there for a long time and now seems to be the time.

My variables spending is at 82%. The restaurant will probably foil my efforts to stay under budget, but sometimes you just gotta come through on a promise.

Late yesterday I got an email from the museum with a new contract attached, no explanation. I think I have to have this new contract in order to get paid; I think that's what's been holding everything up. I don't think it necessarily means I will be called back to work, but I think I can finally look forward to a check in the mail. I hope it is a big check that consolidates all three invoices!

I went to Goodwill today, but did not step inside. I took a bag of donations, plus an old microwave that was in my storage unit. After I came home I set up a new bag in my bedroom and already have two things in it. I am not much of a de-clutterer, but I do try to put something in the bag now and then, when I run across something I know I will not use again.

I typed up another month of my mother's diary this morning. No progress in her life, really, but she took a 400-mile ride with her boyfriend in his convertible. It sure sounds like she was having fun, which is good, because there were a lot of woes ahead of her. (My dad was an alcoholic, and had a very uneven employment record.)

In looking at the diaries, I figured out that she did not keep any from 1950 to 1980. That's an unfortunate big gap that pretty much covers my whole life at home. I know she was too busy, and I know there was a lot of turmoil, but I can't help but wish that time was covered, too. Oh well. She did keep a diary from 1980 until she pretty much couldn't handle it any more in the late nineties. She died in 1999.

Living in 1938

March 10th, 2017 at 05:58 pm

I found my mother's diaries! With it were some family documents and pictures, plus I found another box of pictures. I have lots to do!

So far I have transcribed her entries from Jan-April 1938. All entries are short and very focused on activities, not thoughts or feelings. Still, it is quite amazing to get a feel for her life at that time. She was 25, dating someone who is not my father, living at home and working full-time in some kind of office (maybe insurance?) She went to a movie almost every day, most of the time with friends. She ate out a lot, but mostly on her dates. She doesn't mention anything about costs, which I would find interesting. She does go on a bit about "bank night" at the theater every Wednesday, hoping to win a big jackpot over $100! She was very impressed when her boyfriend drove up in a new maroon Chrysler convertible.

She talks about her clothes, too, and I love the old-fashioned descriptions. "Sheer wool dress" - "sport oxfords" - "collars" that were apparently independent of the suit or dress she wore them with. "Hose" instead of stockings. "Printed rayon dress." "Green linen blouse."

She belonged to a service sorority called Tri Kappa, which was a big deal to her. One of the entertainments at a Tri Kappa party was a "mock wedding." She seems like a happy, but wistful young woman, biding her time until she gets married and starts her real life.

I can hardly wait to hear about how this boyfriend goes out of the picture and my father comes in. I can't remember what year they married, but I feel this diary is just before she met him.

Well, back to my life. After going to the gym this morning I stopped at the grocery and bought cat food. I only spent $3 because I had a coupon for $2.50. Then I went to Walgreen's to pick up my prescription. They were waiting for a backorder so they gave me only seven-days' worth -- a whopping thirty cents!

I forgot to mention yesterday that I got my car inspected for emission levels. My car passed. Now I have to renew my registration, but that will wait until after payday. They were so apologetic that I couldn't do it on the spot, due to computer problems. I had no intention of doing it then! I can't remember the cost, but it is somewhere upwards of $100.

I made tentative plans this morning to meet a friend at the museum next Saturday -- I will spend the day as a visitor, not as a worker. And we also made tentative plans to take the Frank Lloyd Wright home tour in May. I've always wanted to do that.

BTW, my nephew's wife responded that they will all come to the St. Pat's dinner, so I will have quite a crowd. I will try to get as much as possible at Gordon's, where not only can I buy in bulk, but I can get a discount because I work at a non-profit. Since I still have the badge, and I haven't been let go, I think that's legit!

Another Day

March 9th, 2017 at 05:20 pm

And another unexpected bill. My tollway pass was re-upped, $40 charged to my Discover card. Since I count everything at point of purchase, this comes from my variables budget, which is now at 80%.

I also (finally) washed that detergent-soaked comforter in water, in one of those big machines at the laundromat. The cost to wash and dry was $6.

I'm proud of myself for finally opening up a new storage area. There is a high shelf over my hall closet. It is behind a separate set of doors, which I could never open, because they were painted shut. Yesterday I got on a ladder and attacked those doors with a scraper blade and a hammer. I got them open and stored the comforter in there.

And I discovered a new problem. I can't open the doors very far because the ceiling light fixture is in the way. I could get a flatter fixture, but I would have to get small light bulbs, too. That's a problem for another day. I will just have to maneuver for the time being.

My goal today is to at least look at the storage unit in the basement and try to identify what's in what. I think my mother's diaries must be there.

I went ahead and invited my nephew's family for the St. Pat's dinner. They are a bunch -- two adults and three kids, possibly four, if the older daughter is home from college. But I felt I should not leave them out.

Now I need to plan the best way to assemble and cook the sandwiches. I have an electric griddle; it can grill six small or four large sandwiches at one time, and I think that will have to do. To make the rest of the meal easy, I'm going to get potato salad from Gordon's and will serve mint chocolate chip ice cream for dessert. And I'll have easy punch -- Green River soda and lime sherbet. And I'll have raw baby carrots on the side as well. Also planning to get green paper plates. The budget will suffer a bit, but now that I've decided to go ahead with it, I'm going to make it as easy as I can.

The only other purchase I will have to make between now and then is cat food. I only have enough to last three days right now.

Yesterday I got something free from Pine Cone, to test and evaluate. I can't say what it is, but it is an improved version of something I buy regularly, so I am pleased.

Today I'm continuing with my free/lost-cost meals, finishing up the pulled pork for lunch and having salami, cheese and crackers for dinner. Of course, with both, I will make veggies on the side, just not sure yet what I will grab from the freezer.

So that's another day in retirement-land!

Yesterday and Today

March 8th, 2017 at 01:38 pm

No spending yesterday.

Today I'm going to stop at the laundromat after going to the gym. I'm finally going to water-wash the comforter I bought at Goodwill and then washed with too much detergent in my friend's washer. It really needs lots of rinsing.

I attempted to find my mother's diaries yesterday, which necessitated doing some closet-clearing. I got waylaid into sorting tools. I got the toolbox cleared of everything except tools (imagine that!) and I sorted paint supplies and other supplies into two separate containers. Much better.

In so doing, I found some Command hooks, so I hung three pictures. I also switched out my grandchildren's pictures with the updates I got at Christmas.

So, delving back into the closet today, I pulled out the comforter (which I will store on an upper shelf in a different closet once I get it washed.) I can see the back of the closet now, but I don't think my mother's diaries are there. I think the container I'm looking at contains material. Many decisions to make there. Will I ever really make a quilt? Will I make placemats? (More realistic). Will I make Christmas bags? (As in gift bags, only fabric.) Not ready to let go of all this nice material yet, and with extra time looming, I might actually do these things.

I'm looking forward to another pulled pork sandwich today for lunch. For dinner, I'm going to start using up the salami and cheese I bought intending to use for packed lunches.

I did make a firm commitment to host a casual St. Pat's dinner on the 17th; got five, maybe six RSVP's. And two more people to invite. People before money, right?


March 7th, 2017 at 03:23 pm

I forgot that always renews in March. I have not used it much this year -- more at work than at home -- but I can't let it go until I can figure out how to save all the work I've done on my family tree.

It cost $189 to renew. That doesn't blow my variables budget out of the water, but it does take it to 74%.

Also, I promised to make Reubens for the extended family on St. Patrick's day. It has kind of become a tradition. So there will be a grocery bill coming up. Otherwise, I could probably make it through the next two weeks with very little shopping.

This morning I went to the gym and stopped at Chase on the way back to "buy" some quarters. Even though I don't need to do laundry yet, I'm glad I remembered to get quarters, because it's such an awful feeling when I NEED to do a wash, and I'm out!

Speaking of the gym, I went last night and got in on the free pizza. That was my dinner. Today I'll be eating pulled pork and sides that I brought home from my brother's. Love free food!

I signed up for another event with my professional group. It happens to fall on my next pay day, so it won't affect this month's budget. Plus, it's the kind of event where I don't have to buy a meal -- I can eat ahead of time and just get a drink, if that's what I want to do. The event itself is no cost.

Today I'm going to work on some projects at home. One thing I want to get started on is organizing my mother's diaries, and saving the text electronically to share with my siblings. That will mean finding the diaries, which will probably mean I have to work on organizing my most challenging closet, because I think the diaries are buried at the back of it.

I also have to catch up on my paperwork again. Sigh. It's my biggest organizational problem. I hate it. Right now I have a tall kitchen wastebasket full of mail. Yuck. I was caught up once, and I let it build up again.


March 6th, 2017 at 09:05 pm

I got back from Michigan this morning, and it was a pretty low-cost vacation. I spent $9 on food, and $19 on gas. Other spending, which I did not include in the vacation category: I spent $9 on a car wash, $12 on bakery bread, and $17 to fill up the tank a second time. I did not count the second fill-up as a vacation expense, because I actually had enough gas to get home, but chose to top off the tank because gas is so much cheaper in Michigan and Indiana than it is in Chicago.

I also brought home some pulled pork, pasta salad, cole slaw, and brownies and cookies. They were leftovers from a party my brother and his wife threw for some of my SIL's colleagues. AND I did four loads of laundry there!

My variables spending is at 48%, which isn't bad, considering I am two weeks and two days away from the next paycheck. Pretty much on track. And I have plenty of food and gas, and no planned purchases.

I had a good time in Michigan. I got to see my friend P; he treated me to a beautiful brunch buffet. As usual, great conversation bracketed by hugs. It is what it is.

I helped my SIL quite a bit with her fledgling auction business. She is very excited about it, but to me it looks like an awful lot of work for very little money. But she is the kind of person who needs to be busy. She would not be contented to read and relax, like I am.

No updates from the museum, either about future work or pay owed to me. I don't think I will agree to go back at this point, until the financial part is resolved.

Thursday Musings

March 2nd, 2017 at 01:49 pm

I picked up my grandsons at 11 yesterday and we went to their favorite pizza place, where they bake thin-crust pizzas to order, very quickly. I spent $28 there for three individual pizzas and drinks. The boys took half of theirs home, but I ate all of mine. It was LOADED with veggies and delicious.

Then we went to the library and spent quite a bit of time there. (My DIL texted me and asked if I could keep them a little longer so she could grab a late lunch after work.) After the boys and I checked out, we went to McDonalds and got shamrock shakes. Well, they did. I got a smoothie. Another $7.

I can't plan on a NSD today, because I have to get feeder blocks for the fish, and I'll probably get another canister of food while I'm there.

Tomorrow I head out for my weekend trip to Michigan.

I think, sigh, it will be a high-spend month. My variables are already up to 36%. And I haven't even taken my trip yet. A lot of eating out, and also some stocking up on groceries.

I got an email from my boss' boss yesterday, explaining that they are "setting priorities" and they will be in touch with me after a meeting next week. I interpret that to mean I'll be cooling my heels for a while. She also said they are working to resolve the finance issues (my payment). They owe me about $2800 now. It'll be a nice feeling when I get that.

I heard from my man-friend this morning (how about if I call him P?) and we are set to meet for Sunday brunch. Between lunching with him, meeting my new grand-niece and being spoiled by my brother's cooking, it should be a great weekend.

Once again, I'm just going to take my laundry instead of packing a suitcase. (I will check, of course, to see that I have a decent outfit for Sunday). It saves me a little money, a little work, and the trip to the basement. And my brother's high-efficiency washer/dryer is fun to use! Almost like no work at all.

Need to think of a bread & butter gift -- I should pick one up today.

Another no-spend day

March 1st, 2017 at 03:30 pm

Yesterday was a no-spend day, but today will not be. I'm picking my grandsons up from school, and they will be raring to get lunch (it's a short day). I figure I will be lucky to hold it to $30. After that, we will go to the library.

My payment from TIAA finally posted (it wasn't late; I was just impatient for it as I was waiting for it to pay my Discover bill). I scheduled my Discover payment for tomorrow, since it appeared as "pending." Kind of relieved, everything is paid now, except for the automatic withdrawals, which I don't have to worry about.

I started a jigsaw puzzle yesterday and I have the niggling feeling that I've done it before. Which isn't making me work any faster!

We had severe weather in our state yesterday, but it did not affect my area very much. I was mostly worried that hail would damage my car, since I can't park it under cover, but as far as I know we didn't have any. Just rain, thunder and lightening. Other areas farther west and south had tornadoes; it's sad to look at the damage done. I heard there were a few deaths, too, but I don't know whether they were here or in other states. Anyway, just feeling grateful to be spared.