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Archive for April, 2017

Craziness

April 30th, 2017 at 05:26 am

Well, in the middle of the night last night, I woke up and for some reason decided the heater in the fish tank was not working. In my groggy state, I forgot that the light goes out whenever the water is warm enough. I had it in my head that I had to get up first thing and go get a new heater at Wal-Mart (because PetSmart wouldn't be open at 6). Well, of course, it's working just fine. I could have slept more.

I'll go to the gym, and forgo Wal-Mart on a weekend.

Once again, it's really cold here, and it rained all day yesterday. The radiators are coming on but not staying on, so it's cold in here, too.

Yesterday I formed seven patties out of ground beef and put them in the freezer. Seven, because I have seven buns in the freezer. I cooked off the rest of the beef and drained it. Even though it was 75/25, there didn't seem to be a lot of fat when the draining was done. I divided the cooked beef into two containers and froze those, too. Later on I will use one to make a lasagna casserole, and I think I will use the other for tacos.

Today's menu: Breakfast - blueberry pancakes & sausage. Lunch - Potato/cheese soup, corn muffins & strawberries. Dinner - Tuna salad sandwich & peas, clementines.

I'll do a load of laundry today and I expect that will be my only spending.

Cold Saturday

April 29th, 2017 at 10:04 am

I think today may be a no-spend day.

I went to my grandson's baseball game this morning, but it was cancelled due to cold weather and the threat of storms. I was so glad I wouldn't have to sit outside in the cold!

I went to the police station to turn in some prescription drugs I am no longer taking. I only had a few bottles, but I am happy to let them handle their disposal.

Then I went to the gym and did my treadmill walking.

I checked out the MyMixx deal today, but it is something I don't want -- coconut water.

So I am going to spend this cold day doing indoor things I like -- reading, watching movies, and catching up on my mother's diary.

Need to start thinking about what I will pack for my trip. I know I need one nice outfit for dinner. I have one in mind, but I have to try on all the pieces to make sure they fit.

I'm getting my hair cut before the trip, and I'm also going to buy some of that rosy tone "age perfect" moisturizer from Walgreen's on May 2, Senior Discount Day. I also have a $2 coupon; hope they will accept both.

Editing to add today's menu --

Breakfast - toast, peanut butter & jelly
Lunch - salad, mac & cheese
Dinner - tilapia, broccoli

(Note -- I didn't have the mac & cheese yesterday -- too nauseous at dinnertime to eat.)

Another Grocery Trip

April 28th, 2017 at 11:07 am

Today was my third ten-item trip. From now on I will only buy necessities. Today's trip to Jewel cost $31 and I got: biscuits, cream cheese, cheddar cheese block, sour cream, crescent rolls, shredded Monterrey jack, toothpaste, sherbet, grape tomatoes, blueberries, and strawberries. Which is 11, but I figure if I come real close to 10, I'm all right.

Took a side trip to Barnes & Noble to check on a book my grandson wants. It won't be out till June, so no purchase there -- other than a stocking stuffer (Pusheen eraser) for $1.

Also swung by Panera and got my free bagel.

Came home to find my new AAA Mastercard in the mailbox, so I'll start using that now to earn the $100 bonus.

I made a reservation for next Wednesday evening at a local hibachi restaurant for my son's family, C and me. I have a Groupon (which I got almost free due to their class action suit) which will pay $40. We will split whatever is over.

The day after that I head off for my girlfriends' weekend -- which is really Thursday through Saturday. I have already reserved a $40 facial as part of our spa outing (that was about as cheap as I could go). Not a big spa person myself but I don't want to spoil their fun. Anyway, it will come out of my vacation budget so it won't affect the variables. Speaking of variables, they are at 40%. Eek!

Got a college graduation announcement from one of my young cousins, so I will send her the B&N gift card when I get it.

Still have my $15 Wal-Mart gift card to use. I'll use it soon, when my dishwasher detergent runs out -- and I'll get some other household supplies to get it up to $15. Shouldn't be hard!

Going to watch "Gardens of Stone" on TV today -- along with the Frasier episodes on Cozi in the evening. I've become addicted to Frasier. Wish they still made TV like that.

Oh, and I must report, I DO like the Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Lightweight for Multiple Cats. I am noticing very little tracking; dust seems to be very low. It's a keeper.

Menu today: Breakfast - bagel w/cream cheese, strawberries. Lunch - salad. Dinner - Mac & cheese, broccoli.

Late Night Worries

April 27th, 2017 at 09:00 am

I woke up in the middle of the night last night worried about my license plate renewal. I knew it was time to renew, but I had not yet received a renewal notice. I got up and checked both my email accounts to make sure there was nothing lurking there.

So this morning, I got my registration ID card out of the glove box and renewed online with the information I had there. The ID and pin I used last year worked this year, and my plates are renewed. (I think I will actually get new plates this year). the cost was $103.

I noticed there was a provision for a senior discount. I checked into it -- it is the same benefit that provides free rides on the CTA for seniors. You have to come in under a certain income level. I didn't qualify last year, but I could reapply this year with the info from my 2016 tax form. I filled it out again, but again, I am just over. Kind of surprised -- I thought my income had gone down more. I guess it's good news, but I would like the free rides and the reduced license plate fee!

After the gym this morning I went to Food4Less and picked up ten more items: 6-pack of Jiffy muffin mix, 5-pack of Kraft mac & cheese, 5 lbs. ground beef, Vidalia onion, cheese pasta sauce, parmesan cheese, tortillas, hamburger buns, clementines and egg noodles. Total cost was $32.

Have to do some laundry, so I'll get a load done and then take a nap, because it was another bad night, and I have a Tae Kwan Do lesson to watch this evening. I don't know why I couldn't sleep; I just seemed to have too much mental alertness. Note to body: I would prefer mental alertness during the day!

Today's menu: Toast, cereal & clementine for breakfast. Cobb salad for lunch. Hamburger & asparagus for dinner.

Variables are already at 35%! Shocking!

It's Pay Day!

April 26th, 2017 at 11:38 am

Pay Day! Hurrah!

First thing I did was sleep in. Smile

Then I went to the gym, and from there, to DSW to get the shoes I wanted. DSW wasn't open quite yet, so I went to Panera and had breakfast. Since I get a free bagel, I ordered one with schmear and coffee, and the total was under $4. Could have just had the bagel, but since I was sitting in the restaurant, killing time, it seemed weird not to get a coffee to linger over.

When DSW opened, I went in and found the shoes right away. Very thankful my size was still there -- even though I had to take the display model. I had a $20 coupon to put toward it, so the total cost was $66. I inquired about the $5 coupon I was supposed to have for giving them my email address last time. She said it should have come by email. I don't think it did, but I told her I would look. If it was there, I probably deleted it, as I've been trying to clean up my mailbox.

Then it was off to Aldi. I bought 11 items: almond milk, granola, eggs, creamer, butter, bread, bacon bits, croutons, salad, dried cranberries, and crackers. I'll probably go back again tomorrow, since there is much more on my list. Total was $25.

Last stop was PetSmart, where I bought kitty litter for $21.

I was in spring cleaning mode yesterday. I mopped all the floors, cleaned the radiators, vacuumed, and thoroughly cleaned the closet where the litter box lives. What a mess that was. I've made a pledge to myself to buy only dust-free litter from now on, no matter the price. I looked online, and of course there are many varying opinions, but it looked like there was some agreement about Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Lightweight for Multiple Cats (whew!) It claims to be 100% dust-free. We'll see. I know the cheap Aldi stuff was very dusty, so I'll just have to abandon that.

Really pushed myself to get ahead of the rain -- then it didn't rain! I think we're still in for it this afternoon, though.

Oh, and of course, I paid my mortgage, assessment fees, and paid two credit cards in full. Variables are now at 16%.

Menu today: Breakfast - bagel, schmear & coffee. Lunch: Salad. Dinner: Scrambled eggs & asparagus.

I applied for another credit card -- the Barnes & Noble card through Barclay. Just because you get a $25 gift card for B&N after using it once. It also gives a discount on B&N merchandise (kind of like Target) so it might be handy to use for that. I often end up buying gifts there, though I don't buy much for myself.

One Day Till Pay Day

April 25th, 2017 at 08:51 am

I always love this day! I'm so excited to have money on the horizon!

I'm not going to spend anything today, so I did my April recap.

Housing - $695
Utilities - $196
Clothing - $194
Vacation/Travel - $184
Groceries - $85
Gifts/Charities - $78
Eating Out - $76
Gas - $53
Phone - $52
Medical/Health - $46
Personal - $46
Vet/Pet Supplies - $44
Entertainment - $40
Furnishing/Equipment/Decor - $35
Laundry - $24
Household Supplies - $6
Fares/Parking - $1

Grand Total - $1855

My variables came in at 97%. I need to do that a couple more times to even out previous overspending.

Notes on my spending:

Utilities were high because the electric bill came twice during this period.

Clothing included two pairs of shoes which were not bargains -- but were the right shoes to buy.

Vacation/Travel was the cost of an airline ticket for a trip yet to be taken.

Gifts/Charities included a birthday, Easter, and some donations to fundraisers.

Eating Out - all meals with friends and family; no solitary fast food!

Personal included a haircut and a special shampoo.

Entertainment - I saw three movies this month. At one I paid for my grandson, also.

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - I bought myself a new frying pan, and I also got myself some bowls and utensils at Goodwill.

Laundry - Unusually high. I didn't visit anyone with a washer/dryer and thus didn't get a "free" load. I seemed to wash a lot of sheets this time. Combination of company, and barfing cats.

I'm always pleased when the grand total is below $2,000.

Tomorrow, my "deal day," I'm going to go the DSW and get another pair of shoes, using a $25 coupon. I will go to Wal-Mart and use my $15 gift card. Later today I'll go through my coupons and such to see if there is anything else I want to do. For sure I will go to PetSmart and Aldi and beef up my dwindling supplies.

Today's menu: Breakfast: oatmeal w/raisins & brown sugar. Lunch: Bibimbap beef fried rice. Dinner: Tilapia & veggies.

Just have to add that my grandson was MVP at his game last night. He hit a triple, bringing in three runs and pitched a no-hit inning. He was beaming!

This and That

April 24th, 2017 at 10:42 am

Just had to transfer $374 from savings to checking. Not really a loss, but it looks like the assessment fee is going to hit about the same time as my SS deposit; I want to make sure if it hits first, it won't put me in the red.

After my good night's sleep the night before, I had a lousy one last night. I'm going to try get a nap before this evening's baseball game. Since I had to miss the last one, I want to be sure to make this one.

Saw a HUGE beetle walking around my floors in the middle of the night. Now I don't know if it was a dream or for real. If it's real, it must have come in where the pipes do. Hopefully, he went back down and is visiting one of the neighbors.

Today's menu: Migas w/red pepper, mushrooms & salsa for breakfast, Pizza for lunch, Tilapia and mashed potatoes/w mushroom gravy for dinner.

Got through October 1941 in the diary yesterday. Two of my uncles have reported to Fort Harrison, a former army base near Indianapolis. One was sent on to Georgia and one to Nevada. Mom is celebrating my father's $2 raise. She gave him a pen & pencil set for his birthday. She in turn received a "Henny Penny flower pot" from her in-laws when they returned from a weekend trip. I tried to figure out what that was on the internet, but I can't find one. Probably a pot with a chicken design. Or perhaps it was a strawberry pot planted with "hens & chicks" succulents. I remember some of those in my childhood. She always liked hens & chicks -- and plants in general.

They bought new cabinets for their kitchen -- probably free-standing. No price -- BUT, she did mention that she paid her yearly taxes - $7.01. Not sure what kind of tax. Wrong time of year for income tax, and they didn't own property. Maybe some sort of county tax. I would love to know more about what things cost, but she just doesn't go there.

Forgot to mention, I got my OTC order yesterday. To my surprise, there were two big packages of wipes -- I guess I accidentally ordered two -- so I took one down to the car. Helps to explain why the order so quickly reached the $50 limit.

Sticking Close to Home

April 23rd, 2017 at 03:14 pm

I am feeling much better today, after a good night's sleep. Other than a trip to the gym this morning, I haven't gone anywhere. I haven't spent any money.

I've got two days before my Social Security check is deposited (not counting today), and I've spent 97% of my variables budget. I thought it was lower than that, but I made a few underestimates. Anyway, I just want to come in below. I went over two months in a row, and I need to know that I CAN come in under when I put my mind to it.

Menu for today: I finished the bread pudding for breakfast. For lunch I made a mashed potato bowl with chicken, red peppers, mushrooms & turkey gravy. For dinner I will finish the macaroni au gratin.

For the next few days I have leftover pizza, frozen tilapia, mac & cheese, potato soup, canned tuna -- as well as plenty of frozen vegetables. I will be all right. But it will be nice to feel a little freer.

I've started looking ahead to see what I want to watch on TV, and it's keeping me from doing that aimless search on the remote. Today I watched a special on Auschwitz on PBS, and I'll watch Call the Midlife this evening. I've done some reading, some housework, including cleaning the fish tank, some work on the diary, and I also watched another episode of "Further Back in Time for Dinner" on my computer. I've gone through the 30's now. Very interesting. I like getting an idea of how my mother was living during the time she was writing her diary. Even though she was in a little Midwestern town, not England. I'm sure there were similarities, just the same.

In her world, there is not much to report. It is interesting to see my aunts and uncles appear, and to get a view of my grandparents as mother- and father-in-law. My poor mother can't figure out what to call them -- sometimes it's Mom & Dad, or Mom & Pop, sometimes it's "the folks", sometimes it's the M...'s, or Mr. & Mrs. M.

It sounds like they all spent quite a bit of time with each other, having dinner, going to movies and amusement parks, playing games, golfing -- all were living in various small towns just south of Indianapolis, very close to each other. I never realized before that my father and mother were the first married couple in the "young" set; all my aunts and uncles are either courting or very newly married.

Money is not mentioned very much. It seems they are doing all right, financially. My mother does mention that her aunt made her a dress for 30 cents. Hmmm, that wouldn't buy a button today. I expect leaner times will come with the addition of children (my brother will be born in 1942) and the privations of the upcoming war years. I have gotten through September 1940, so we are just a couple months short of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Terrible Night

April 22nd, 2017 at 09:26 am

Had a really awful night. My legs were aching and throbbing terribly and I couldn't sleep. Finally got up and took Tylenol, but before it could work, I had diarrhea, very similar to what I had a few days ago. This time I'm not blaming the food; I think my kidney disease is speaking.

When I was ready to go back to bed, I found that my cat had thrown up on my newly-washed sheets. I moved to the couch (which is really too small to sleep on). After tossing around on that, I moved back to bed, stripping the sheets and covering up the wet spot on the mattress pad with a throw. I will wash the mattress pad and sheets today.

I woke up at 7 am and all told, I think I only got a few hours of sleep.

I'm supposed to go to a baseball game in a few hours. Once I get through that (if I feel good enough) I can come back home and sleep more. May not make it to the gym today.

I made bread pudding for breakfast, and it was pretty delicious, and used only a few ingredients. It was the Betty Crocker recipe.

Not sure what I will eat today, considering the state of my digestion. I still have pizza and mac au gratin, as well as a little cooked chicken.

Today's free MyMixx deal is just a can of cola, so I won't be bothering with that.

Just going to stay home and enjoy a quiet day.

Nothing Much

April 21st, 2017 at 08:14 am

I got my free bagel at Panera this morning before my stint at the gym. Then I came home and checked out garage sales -- not much going on yet; I'm not going to bother. Just as well, since I really don't want to spend anything, anyway.

So it should be another nice lazy day.

Menu for today is leftovers: pizza for lunch, chicken fajitas for dinner. I already had the bagel for breakfast. So no cooking to do. I am toying with the idea of baking bread, since I am down to a bunch of ends in the freezer. Not sure if my yeast is fresh enough, though. If it isn't, there goes that idea.

I also might make bread pudding from all those ends.

Trying to think of anything I accomplished yesterday, but all I can think of is more transcribing in the diary. No new revelations there.

Hmmmm -- I wonder why I made an entry? Force of habit, I guess!

"Family is a Gift"

April 20th, 2017 at 08:00 am

Not much happened yesterday, and I did not spend anything other than $1.50 for laundry. (That is happening today, too.) In the evening I babysat the boys so mom & dad could go out, but I came just before bedtime, so hardly got to see them. I did get to see GS1's essay "Family is a Gift." It was very well-written and enormously touching, mostly about his fears for C's health and his appreciation of his whole family for their support and love. Gosh, he is such an amazing kid.

I transcribed three more months of my mother's diary. I am sad to see some patterns emerging -- my father going out and doing his own thing, my mother at home, going to bed early. I remember my father as being very distant from the family; he seemed to have no interest in interacting with the kids, especially the girls. Now, my father had MULTIPLE problems, not the least of which was alcoholism. I suspect that a lot of "going downtown" which is recorded in the diaries is "going out drinking." I am sad to see it happening so soon in their marriage; I guess I had hoped that they had some happy times before it all went sour. That said, they never split up -- they just had an unhappy marriage.

Today's menu: scrambled eggs with peppers & onion for breakfast, chicken fajitas for lunch, macaroni au gratin for dinner.

Yes, I did repurpose the macaroni salad after learning that no one else got sick. I added some white sauce and peas, put it in a baking dish and topped it with parmesan and bread crumbs and baked it in the oven. It's pretty good! And I had no reaction after eating some of it yesterday.

I got a notice from Kohl's yesterday that I had a small bill to pay, only $9. Even though there is plenty of time to pay it, I went ahead and paid so I wouldn't forget it. This does not come out of my variables -- the expense was recorded at point of purchase.

I am glad to have less than a week to go (finally!) before pay day. And nothing big on the agenda. Nothing on the calendar today. Tomorrow C and I may check out some garage sales. It's that time of year!



A Fun Day

April 19th, 2017 at 09:30 am

Yesterday was a good day. Somehow a good day always involves spending, though. On top of the $28 gas purchase I already reported, I spent $6 at the movies and $10 for dinner at Chili's. It's not a lot of spending, but I am getting very near my maximum for this month. 94%. At least I have only a week to go, and I can hunker down. I feel I have everything I really need.

I went to see "Going in Style" with C, and we both enjoyed it a lot, and then we went to Chili's for supper before GS' baseball game. We took a ride around the cancer center to see if we could figure out free parking for her, since she has to pay $3.50 every week when she gets an infusion, and she is on a budget as strict as mine. We found a street with free four-hour parking but it is a bit of a walk. I told her to be sure and call me if she ever feels like she can't make that walk. For now, she seems very well, though she is experiencing some of the usual side-effects of chemo.

The baseball game was the first of GS1's new season. He is on a new team. Even though he told me he is giving up on pitching, he pitched last night. He struck out two and walked two, so he did all right. It makes me so nervous when he pitches, but he assures me he is just fine. Sometimes I think he is more grown up than I am!

I ordered my free OTC items - $50 worth, which included generic Zyrtec, generic Tylenol, insect repellent, and Aloe Touch cleansing wipes. Added $50 to snowflakes.

This morning I made chipped beef on toast with the last of the corned beef (which had been frozen). I have another serving for tomorrow. For lunch, I'm going to bake a frozen pizza and sprinkle the leftover chopped olives on top. For dinner, I'll do something with the cooked chicken. Probably will make fajitas, since I have frozen peppers and onions in the freezer.

I am in a continual challenge to use up food, and it's not easy. It makes me wonder if others throw away a lot of food. I hear the statistics, and I know the spendthrifts do it big time, but I wonder if it's really a rarity to actively avoid food waste the way I do. Everyone in my family sure thinks I'm a little odd!

Of course, most people have other family members to help eat things up. Cooking for one is a challenge in itself!

I have nothing on my calendar today, so I'm planning to read, work on the diary, work on genealogy, do a little laundry, and tidy up in general. It will be rainy, a good day to stay inside.