Home > Archive: June, 2017

Archive for June, 2017


July 1st, 2017 at 02:43 am

This is why you hate to take an old car in for a tuneup. It can cost $883. That was for the tuneup, an oil change, brake work, a replaced bolt, and something else I can't remember off the top of my head. I know I have to keep the car safe, but I miss the days when I had virtually no car repair bills.

I'm keeping this car until I get through my gap year (or until it literally falls apart!) So I'll do what I can to keep it going.

Other expenses today: $5 copay for the doctor, $4 for lunch, $8 for dinner. Because I went straight from the doctor's office to the auto shop to a baseball game, I was stuck with eating out.

But I did find a dime! I had to get on my knees and reach under a parked truck. Hope no one was watching!

My doctor has ordered more physical therapy. He feels that the pain in my legs is coming from my back. He's probably right, but I hate the $45 out-of-pocket cost per session. He gave me a handout of exercises and I'm going to try them on my own first.

There are two out-of-town baseball games tomorrow -- both in the same place, but one is at 8 a.m. and the other at 4 p.m. I'm sure at least the grandmas will go home between games.

But that means I'd better get some sleep, as we have to leave at 7:15 a.m. This retiree is no longer used to those early hours!

Busy Thursday

June 30th, 2017 at 02:08 pm

Well, today brings another doctor visit. I will see my GP. Yesterday I felt so much better than I have for a couple of weeks! Yet, at night, the leg pain started up and I was awake well past 1 am. This is what I want to discuss with him.

Yesterday I picked up kitty litter at PetSmart for $20, saving $2. It was a big box; it should last the month.

Then I went to Aldi and spent $26. Bought 15 items, but what really matters is that they fit into two bags and I could carry them up the stairs in one trip. Purchases were brown sugar, salad, celery, frozen salmon, OJ with Vitamin D, cake mix, eggs, raisins, chocolate chips, applesauce, creamer, graham crackers, Ritz-type crackers, ranch dressing, and dry-roasted peanuts.

The cake mix is to make cupcakes for DIL's birthday. I'm trying to get the family together for lunch at a hibachi place (I have a Groupon), but scheduling is difficult. Hoping to get it done on Sunday. Her birthday was the 23rd (while I was in Florida). I hate to let too much time pass. I've got most of her birthday presents and they need to be wrapped -- one small gift from Amazon will not arrive till next week, however.

My semi-annual auto insurance payment is scheduled to be withdrawn tomorrow. That is why my slush fund is so low right now. Got to work to get that up, but unfortunately I have so many things to do -- auto tuneup and oil change, eye doctor, dentist, vet -- not even anything that's fun! And I want to replace my Skecher sneaker clogs, which are fraying and disgraceful.

Grandson won his baseball game last night. It was a dramatic ending! Just at the game was finishing up, a lightning warning sounded. We all had to gather our things and seek shelter. (There's a big senior center right by the field, so we imposed on them.) After about 20 minutes are so, the game resumed. It was the bottom of the sixth, our team was one point ahead, but we were in the field. Could have gone bad, but our pitcher struck out the other team's batter 1-2-3 and we won!

There is another game today and then the tourney begins on Saturday.

The Doctor Visit

June 29th, 2017 at 02:31 pm

I met with the nephrologist, who was a very lovely young woman who was a a dead ringer for Amal Clooney! Anyway, she had nothing but positive news for me. She said my kidneys are healthy, no sign of disease. The blood and urine tests showed no problems other than the low D, which is not related. She said she believes the original high creatinine reading occurred because of my Advil habit (which I have quit). This is surprising news, because my GP was much more cautionary, but the nephrologist said he was showing an abundance of caution, which is certainly better than the opposite. She did tell me to continue my avoidance of Advil and Aleve. I am stuck with Tylenol which really doesn't help much with the pain I have. She advised me to try glucosamine/chondroitin to ease my joint pain. I didn't think it worked so great before, but I'm willing to try anything now.

She prescribed a high-dose vitamin D capsule which I take once a week.

The financial damage was: $50 for the copay; $13 for the prescription, $28 for MoveFree (I got a BOGO deal, and Schiff's MoveFree was one of the supplements recommended by Consumer Reports).

While I was at Walgreen's, I also picked up a package of generic "Poise" liners on sale for $5.

I will also work to add vitamin D to my diet. I can't have dairy products, but I can add salmon and fortified orange juice. I already get plenty of eggs, cheese and tuna, but I can eat them more often.

I went to bed feeling pretty awful last night. I am starting to feel I am dealing with some kind of bug or virus that is affecting my joints as well as giving me a headache. It feels like I have a fever, except that I don't have a high temperature. Weird. I do feel better this morning.

I see my GP on Friday, so I'll discuss these issues with him.

I'm going to my brother's house for the July 4 holiday -- at this point planning to go Monday morning and stay through the 5th.


June 28th, 2017 at 03:12 pm

I got the results of my blood/urine tests, but I haven't met with the nephrologist yet to review the results. That will happen in about 3 hours. One thing I couldn't help but notice, though, is that my Vitamin D level is very low. I wonder if that has been what's causing my leg pain and general discomfort. I can hardly wait to find out. I haven't rushed out to get supplements because I want to hear what the doctor says.

This is pay day. I paid the mortgage. I am holding off on other bills, as the deposit is still showing as "pending."

I owe more than I have in checking, so I'm going to have to transfer some money.

Here is my June recap:

Housing: $1069 (includes two assessment payments)
Vacation/Travel: $564
Gifts/Charity: $173 (includes two birthdays)
Utilities: $155
Eating Out: $91
Groceries: $89
Phone: $52
Personal: $40
Medical/Health: $36
Gas: $25
Entertainment: $21
Vet/Pet Suppies: $19
Laundry: $11
Fares/Parking: $8
Car Repair/Maintenance: $7
Household Supplies: $1

Grand Total: $2361

I spent 71% of my variables budget.

This morning I spent $30 on gas and $27 on groceries. My ten items at Food4Less were: cereal, blueberries, wine, onion, bread, olive oil, mushrooms, peanut butter, pasta sauce, and sherbet.


June 26th, 2017 at 06:00 pm

My vacation cost for this month, which includes last week and quite a bit of the expense of the previous trip, is $564. That does not come out of variables. Because so much of my spending this month was wrapped up in vacation, my variables ended up at only 68%. Of course, that is if I do not spend any more money before pay day on Wednesday. I will probably buy gas, but I can hold out on other things.

Here is how vacation costs broke down:

Food: $151
Car Rental: $313
Airport Parking: $72
Gas: $28

The car rental was for both trips, and covered one whole week and two airport trips. My mess up was not filling the tank on one trip before dropping off the car. It was pouring down rain, and I was rushed, and I thought, how bad can it be? $9 something a gallon, that's how bad. Never again.

The food was mostly stuff I bought on the road and a couple of dinners for the family.

I also spent $53 on the kids, which I did not count as vacation cost.

My son paid for the airline ticket, which I tried to pay back in food and treats.

It was a hard week. Not only were the circumstances hard, with a mom on crutches and two children under five, but my arthritis in my hips and knees kicked up big time and made things pretty miserable for me. Sleep was hard to come by. I loved having the time to get to know my grandchildren better, but I'm glad to be home.

This morning I got my testing done for the nephrologist appointment, which is coming up on Wednesday. I have a baseball game tonight. In between I'll do my unpacking and the usual rituals and getting things back in order.

I'm also glad to be back in cooler weather! What a relief! I could never live in such a hot climate!

Getting There

June 17th, 2017 at 08:23 pm

Today's my get-ready-for-the-trip day, and I've had a few roadblocks. For one, I fell back asleep this morning after I woke up, thus losing a chunk of time. (But I needed it -- bad night.) Then I realized my grandson had an away baseball game. Since I missed the last one, I wanted to come to this one. Luckily it was a short game. My son, grandson and I went out for ice cream afterward. This time I was treated!

So, I managed to get one load of laundry done and another is in the washer. I think I need to do one more, but I could probably get by without it.

I didn't get to the lab for the blood test, but I have several days to do that after I get back, before the nephrologist appointment.

I bought a gift card for Florida DIL, as well as a birthday card and two father's day cards. Total was $43. For buying the three cards, I got a free travel thermos, which I can actually use right now.

I also got two free snack packs in a MyMixx deal; I will take those on the road tomorrow.

My son gave me a lesson in driving a Toyota Prius, which I will be renting in Florida. Wow, it's so weirdly different. I'm glad we took the time to go over it.

I probably won't post again till the 26th, so I'll see you on the flip side!


June 16th, 2017 at 09:51 pm

I didn't think I was worrying too much about the ultrasound today. Maybe Thrift's news was on my mind, however. While I was having the procedure done, it seemed to me the radiologist was chatty and relaxed while she imaged my bladder, but she became quiet and intense while she was working on my kidneys. And it seemed to take a long time. When I was ready to leave, she told me I would be notified about the results in about an hour.

I was driving home -- only a few minutes, not an hour -- when I heard a text message come in on my phone, then another. I was imagining the first text as a notification of my test results, and the second as a request to make an emergency appointment right away.

When I got home, I looked at my phone, and I did have two text messages from the hospital.

I took a few minutes to settle myself down, and then I looked. Both were messages to look on the
medical group's website. I logged in. The first message directed me to the test results. The test showed that my kidneys were both normal in size, not swollen, and were not showing signs on retaining urine. The second message was simply a copy of the message sending the results to my nephrologist.

OMG! How did I get myself into such a state! I felt such a surge of relief, and I was so exhausted I curled up to sleep.

I know I have a long road ahead, dealing with kidney disease, but I'm not at the end of it yet!

Needless to say, I didn't even get the blood work done. I'll do that tomorrow.

I feel pretty silly considering what Thrift is going through today, but I do feel that awful news was playing with my mind.

In other news, I spent $7 on automotive tape which I used to reattach the molding which is separating from the side of my car. It was definitely a patch job. I don't know if it will hold up, but at least the molding isn't flapping any more. (I did this in the morning, before the ultrasound.)

Going to relax this evening and tomorrow will be a day of laundry and packing. Then I'll leave at the crack of dawn on Sunday.

Off Duty!

June 15th, 2017 at 10:27 pm

This was my last day (this week) of babysitting. Between yesterday and today I added $13 to my eating out, buying snacks at Steak N Shake & McDonalds. I'm at peace with that, those visits helped to break up the day -- also, I've learned it's much easier to eat out than to try to produce a meal in someone else's kitchen -- even one you know pretty well.

So tomorrow I do my medical stuff -- blood tests and ultrasound -- and on Saturday I'll do laundry and pack, and get the house ready to be unoccupied. That sounds funny, but when I leave for a trip, I always make sure to take out garbage, clean the fish tank, process any perishable food in the fridge, and leave a pristine cat pan -- as well as leave the house generally presentable.

And on Sunday I fly to Florida, to babysit my other grandchildren! This time, though, I'll just be backing up Mom.

My local DIL quit her part-time job at Pure Barre. Her other job in event planning is promising to become more than a part-time job -- at any rate, it was getting to be too much for her to juggle two jobs. This may translate into less babysitting, but it all depends on how the event planning goes. The business may be expanding into hosting a large venue, about 350 seats. Currently, the company manages events but does not actually own or manage any particular event space.

My legs are still hurting, but I can tell they are getting better. Yay!

Variables are at 52%. Eleven days left in this pay cycle, but seven of those days will be vacation and will be funded by a different budget. So I'm feeling good.

Tuesday Doings

June 14th, 2017 at 12:28 pm

Yesterday I did make it to Planet Fitness at the right time to pick up a bagel. But I had already had breakfast, so I saved it for today.

After my workout, I went to babysit the boys. We went to a dollar showing of the Lego Batman Movie. It was $3 for the three of us, and $2.25 for parking. Had we been a little more prompt, I could have parked in a nearby garage for free, but I didn't want to miss part of the movie.

I also ordered my DIL's birthday present, some items she had on her Amazon wish list. The total came to about $55. Unfortunately one of the items won't be delivered until July 14 or so, so I'll just have to wrap up a picture and tell her it's coming!

Later in the day I went to GS1's baseball game. He made the winning run! He was all smiles, so proud.

The weather had turned surprisingly cool and I had to wear a sweater. I've had the AC off now since Monday night.

I've been asked to get more blood work done, and to get a kidney ultrasound. The ultrasound is scheduled for Friday. I suppose Friday will be the best day to get the blood work done, as well. I told DIL I would have to take Friday off from babysitting, and she was able to get my son's cousin to fill in. She's a rising 10th-grader, but I'm sure she will do a good job.

My legs still hurt, mostly focused in my hips and knees. I'm going without any painkillers, because I don't know for sure yet whether taking too much Tylenol may have caused the dip in my kidney function. So I just may be more aware of the pain. This is hard. Chronic pain is tough.

Library and More Sorbet

June 13th, 2017 at 11:16 am

Yesterday I took the boys to the library, where I spent $2 on books from the book sale, and then we went to a frozen yogurt place where I spent $16 on yogurt and sorbet. Time to cut back on the treats; I've shot that category.

The library was having a demo of the "Libby" app, through which I can borrow ebooks and audiobooks. I think I will use it, especially for audiobooks, which I like to listen to while driving long distances. Except I don't know how to connect my phone to a speaker in my car. I have an old car. I wonder if that kind of technology is only available on a newer car. Anyone know how to make a phone "talk" in a car?

For the most part, though, I like to read physical books.

I got my $25 gift card from my new Barnes & Noble Mastercard. I was going to use it for a graduation gift, but decided instead to give it to DIL for her birthday. Actually, both my DIL's have birthdays this month, and I have to get on it.

Today the boys and I are going to the dollar movie, which will be the Batman Lego movie. I've already got the candy treats -- when I bought them for our last movie, we got a double set because of a BOGO offer.

Today is bagel day at Planet Fitness. I'm going to go do some strength training on my core and arms this morning before babysitting, but I may be too early for the bagel delivery. My DIL has to go to work at 8:30.

Ice Cream -- Or, Make That Sorbet

June 12th, 2017 at 01:53 pm

Yesterday after my grandson's baseball game, which was out of town (about 30 minutes away) I decided to treat my two grandsons and my son to ice cream at Oberweiss, a premium ice cream parlor in our area. ($15)

I got sorbet, because I'm lactose intolerant. I love it that they have the sorbet option. I got mango pomegranate and it was delicious.

My son put in my air conditioners last night. I guess I waited a little too long, because it seemed to take a long time to catch up.

I had a lot of trouble falling asleep last night, not just because of the heat, but because my legs were hurting. My latest theory is that I overdid some stretching and actually caused some injury. I'm going to really take it easy until they heal. I haven't till now -- I've been keeping up on my fitness schedule -- but I think my body is telling me to ease up.

I'm babysitting again today. I might be on for all week, not sure of DIL's schedule. When C gets back from her trip, things will ease up -- but she doesn't get back until the day I leave for Florida. Anyway, I am happy to help for the time being. My kids do so much for me, it's nice to be able to give back in a meaningful way.

So today will still be scorching hot, so there will be no outdoor activity today. Maybe we'll have another library day.

It's Hot!

June 11th, 2017 at 04:29 pm

But it's still not too bad inside, so I'm still holding off on my AC.

I went for my walking club walk this morning and I had such a nice conversation with one of the other members. Plus I reconnected with someone I met several years ago at a dinner event. Since we started at 8 am, it wasn't too hot. I did feel the exercise -- I walked for an hour. No Planet Fitness for me today.

After I got home I pitted my cherries and cut up my fresh personal-size pineapple (which is delicious!). Right now my cherry-chicken dish is simmering on the stove. This evening I'm going to roast some asparagus, and serve it with sauteed tilapia.

I reserved my rental cars -- decided to go with one car upon arrival and another upon departure, since it is not needed through the week. The cost will be just under $100. The catch is that dropoff is at the airport, so when I arrive, if my DIL is not able to pick me up, I will have to get a taxi. It will still be cheaper than keeping a car for the whole week.

Only a week to go, so it's time to be thinking about what I'm going to pack, etc. Hard to believe it's almost time to go down there again. Time really flies.


June 10th, 2017 at 08:03 pm

I got up and went to the gym early this morning. I've been somewhat remiss about gym time, with all the babysitting. Then I stopped at Food4Less and bought cat food and a couple of clearance items - $14. Variables are now at 36%, and I only have a week to go before I leave on "vacation." I put that in quotes because it's going to be a lot of work.

Knees and legs still feel wonky, like I've pulled tendons, even though I know I haven't.

It's heating up. I haven't put in the AC units, and I don't feel like it today. Luckily, my building, with its thick brick walls, stays pretty cool as long as I keep the shades drawn, and I still feel pretty comfortable inside.

I've enjoyed having a lazy day (haven't even showered yet!) Tomorrow I have a morning walk with the walking club, and and an evening baseball game, the first travel game of the season. In between those two events, I plan to continue being lazy.

However, midst all this laziness, I did manage to get a load of laundry done.

I ate the refrigerator soup, and it was pretty good. I still have another serving. I was planning to make cherry balsamic roasted chicken today, but not feeling like doing that, either! Maybe I'll get the cherries pitted today so it won't be too much work tomorrow. And by then I'll know for sure the chicken is thawed.

I'll probably just make some cheese quesadillas instead.

No-Spend Day!

June 9th, 2017 at 11:38 pm

I finished up the week with a no-spend day. GS2 went to a friend's house today, and GS1 worked on his workbooks and his computer. I was off-duty at about 1:30.

Since I'd had a rough night, I came home and took a nap. Then I went out with my walking club -- and it was a beautiful day for it! We walked for an hour.

I made refrigerator soup from leftovers, and I was planning on having it for dinner tonight, but I'm pretty full. So it will be tomorrow's lunch. Today's lunch was free; I made mac & cheese for the boys at their house. And since they always have plenty of fresh fruit around, I ate some strawberries and an apple.

DIL will need me next week, too, and then I will go to Florida and do the same thing for my other grandkids! Don't feel sorry for me, I am living my dream. I love the time I spend with my grandchildren, even when they wear me out. I love really getting to know them as people. And hearing their funny insights and perspectives.

I think my statin is still messing with me, even though I've stopped taking it. Curiously, it's my knees hurting now. I can't think what else I might have done to make them so sore. Hoping all this stuff passes out of my system quickly!


June 8th, 2017 at 10:22 pm

My only spending today was lunch at IHOP with the boys. I wasn't going to spend anything today, but here's how it went. While I was at their music lesson, I was cleaning out my bag and came across the IHOP groupon I purchased some time ago. I was running out of time to use it at full value, but it was for an IHOP that is pretty far away -- a city I never go to, well over an hour away. (At the time of purchase I thought it was for any IHOP.) So I thought I would stop at the IHOP that is on the way home from the music teacher's and just ask if there was any way they would honor it. Well, of course, no. But the manager said he would give me a 20% discount just for asking. The boys' faces lit up, and so we had lunch. It was $24, including tip.

I'm babysitting again tomorrow, and it has to be a no-spend day! At least it will be a shorter day, so easier to keep the boys occupied.

My DIL says she will reimburse me, but my feeling is that I should pay for stuff that is my idea. If she asks me to take them somewhere -- sure, she can pay. But not for things that are my choice.


June 7th, 2017 at 11:06 pm

Well, it's been quite a day.

It started yesterday when I got my test results from the doctor's office. The test showed a drop in kidney function and my doctor directed me to make an appointment with a nephrologist right away. Last night I felt pretty scared and sad. Today I have rebounded somewhat. I called the nephrologist this morning and made an appointment for June 28. I am still far away from kidney failure but it worries me to see change. I'll learn more when I see the kidney doctor.

I was planning to renew my driver's license, but when I got out the letter I read it more carefully and realized that after renewing, I would get a temporary license for fifteen days. I don't want to have a temporary license when I'm flying, so I'm going to wait until after the trip.

It didn't matter, because my DIL called last night and asked if I could babysit all day today. She has a job with irregular hours and she can't pin her boss down to a schedule, so sometimes she is caught up short. Add to that, her mom (C) is traveling now, so she doesn't have her to fall back on.

So I stayed with the boys and took them to a movie (Captain Underpants) and lunch (Buffalo Wild Wings), as well as the library. My day cost about $37. Then, after I was off duty, I went to the grocery and spent $11. Variables are now at 30%.

I'll be needed tomorrow as well. Tomorrow will be somewhat different, as I'll be taking them to their music lessons, and I don't plan on any outings.

I should do a load of laundry tonight, but I'm tired and it can wait another day.