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Archive for July, 2017

Change in Plans

July 31st, 2017 at 09:04 am

It turned out C was not feeling well, so I had both boys last night. And I will have them today until DIL gets home this evening.

I took C to the ER this morning. She is getting tests now, and I will know more in several hours. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. She is frightened. I am, too, but I am keeping calm for the boys' sake.

Later on we will go get pancakes at IHOP. No movie today, as I want to keep my phone on.

I spent $4 last night to rent "Angry Birds" from xfinity. This morning I paid $3.50 to park at the hospital. Variables are already up to 38%, but I am not worrying about that now.

Sunday

July 30th, 2017 at 06:07 am

After grocery shopping yesterday, I did no more spending. I spent the rest of the day at home, since my leg was acting up again. I did a lot of reading, and I watched "The Skeleton Twins," which was rather depressing. Guess I'm tired of indie films about young, privileged people contemplating suicide. Seriously, it was very hard to feel sorry for the characters in the film, who so clearly brought about their own problems.

One more DVD to watch today. "Grandma" with Lily Tomlin. Pretty sure it won't be depressing, but may be silly. After I watch it, I'll take them all back to the library and get more. I have put together a list to work from now, so I might make better choices.

Just watched a brief spot about the "Summer of Love" -- 1967 -- on the Today Show. I was between high school and college that summer and I was deeply influenced by that movement. Now it looks kind of silly, but it was such a breath of fresh air! Such an innocent, idealistic, hopeful time. I did not do drugs or get into any of the sketchy areas of that movement, but I remember fondly listening to the great music, growing my hair long and shortening my skirts -- all to the shock of my parents, who apparently thought I was going to continue watching Lawrence Welk and getting bubble haircuts. I remember really believing we could all band together and stop war and racism. Ah well. Now I'm cynical and tired, and I miss those days.

Tonight I'm going to have one of my grandsons overnight, and tomorrow C and I will take both of them to see "Emoji." Probably there will be some eating out as well. Both parents will be out of town for work -- Dad in Nebraska, Mom in Canada! But Mom will get home sometime Monday evening, so I don't expect the sleepover will extend to two nights.

Saturday

July 29th, 2017 at 08:24 am

Yesterday I went to PetSmart and spent $33 on cat food and kitty litter, as well as feeder blocks for the fish. It's been a spendy month for pet supplies, but I hope I'm done.

I have a 48-lb. box of kitty litter in the trunk of my car. It was a good deal -- $4 off and a $3 coupon to boot -- and it is the brand I like. But there's no way I can get it up the stairs. I'll have to enlist the help of my son.

This morning I went to Jewel and got two free MyMixx items -- a nutrition bar and ice cream bars -- and I got 10 other items as well: sourdough bread, cookies, laundry detergent, a box of wine, apricots, dried cranberries, celery, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. It was $48.

I haven't bought wine in quite a while, but now that I am off the statin, I can imbibe again. I only drink 5 oz. in the evening. It's good for my heart, so they say. It's also good for my spirit! Buying a box that I keep in the fridge is the cheapest way to go.

I also haven't bought cookies in a while, but it's too hot to bake, and I find myself trolling the kitchen looking for a sweet bite after meals. The trick is to keep it down to a bite.

I did a load of laundry yesterday, which involved three trips up and down the stairs. I also bicycled on the stationary bike at the gym for a half hour, and just getting out involved another trip up and down the stairs. Anyway, it was too much, both knees are aching. I know I should not cease exercise, but I'm having trouble finding the happy medium between rest and exercise.

As I recall from my other bout with knee pain, it was finally time that did the healing.

I got all my Amazon items delivered yesterday. I'm especially pleased with the cookie cutters -- one in the shape of an eagle, one in the shape of a cat's head. At Christmastime, I'm going to make cookies for the grandsons -- one is into birds, the other, cats. I already have one shaped like a fleur de lis. That will form cookies for my ex and his wife, who like to travel in France. Cheap gifts, but pleasing, I hope.

I still have two DVD's to watch. They are due on Monday, but I'd like to return them tomorrow, when the parking is free. So I may watch them both today. I already watched The Dressmaker, which was a little strange and dark, but I pretty much enjoy anything Kate Winslet does.

Friday Musings

July 28th, 2017 at 06:11 am

After the gym I went to Food4Less yesterday and bought ten more items: 4 packages frozen veggies, tortillas, biscuits, spreadable margarine, frozen pizza, vinegar and tuna. Total was $18.

Today I'll go to PetSmart for cat food and kitty litter. I also have a package of books ready to be shipped to my sister.

Meals today: Migas for breakfast, salad for lunch, Spanish rice for dinner.

It's supposed to be cooler today. Yesterday was comfortable enough to go without the AC, but I was a little warm at times. Today should be lovely.

Variables budget is at 25%. I've promised the Emoji movie for my grandsons, I have shower gifts to buy, a trip to Michigan in August, and I need to get my eyes checked. Plus a couple more grocery trips. I think all that will take care of the rest of the budget.

I do hope the eye exam doesn't lead to more expense. Last year I was told I had the very beginnings of cataracts. I am hoping little progress has been made in that area!

Amazon orders

July 27th, 2017 at 06:51 am

Yesterday I made my three orders from Amazon, in order to activate the $10 reward. Actually, there was a $7 reward already sitting there on another card, so I used that, too, so it was really four orders. I bought two large cookie cutters, which I will use at Christmastime, and fish food and aquarium filters. Total was $35, so with the discounts, $18. And it will be nice to be stocked up on fish supplies.

I have both soup and fettuccine Alfredo left over. I think I will combine the soup with rice to make Spanish rice, and I'll probably freeze that. I'll have the FA for dinner again, and I'll have salad for lunch.

This morning I am off to the gym, and then will go to Food4Less for ten more items.

I heard from the potential employer. It is a fundraising consultant business and the good news is that they have an office here in town as well as in Chicago. The interviewer said they already have someone for their current project, but would like to talk to me as a possibility for future projects. We were in the process of setting up a meeting, but he had to leave for a conference, so I am on hold. I don't expect to hear from him until next week.

I tried to buy a baby gift for the shower I am invited to, but when I looked at the Target registry (which was referenced in the invitation) I saw that it was all wedding registry stuff, nothing for babies. I could call the organizer, but I think I will just get something generic and useful, like diapers. In fact, there was a laundry basket in the registry; I may just get that and throw in a couple of boxes of diapers. This couple doesn't have a lot of money, and there are already three children from a previous marriage.

Variables are at 23%. I wonder if I can financially squeeze in an eye appointment this month. I am definitely due.

Pay Day Activities

July 26th, 2017 at 08:56 am

It's pay day, and I've done a lot this morning. I paid my property taxes, paid two credit cards in full, contributed $100 to a scholarship at my alma mater, and I grocery-shopped at Aldi. My ten items for $28 included: chicken, almond milk, granola, croutons, salad, butter, eggs, creamer, honey and carrots. I also stopped at Walgreens to spend my $5 rewards. I paid $2.50 out of pocket for two 48-ct. packages of panty liners.

My July recap:

Car Repair/Maintenance: $884
Insurance: $337
Housing: $321
Utilities: $164
Medical/Health: $132
Fees/Services: $131
Clothing: $81
Groceries: $76
Eating Out: $73
Gifts/Charity: $70
Vacation/Travel: $59
Phone: $52
Vet/Pet Supplies: $39
Furnishings/Equipment/Decor: $38
Personal: $23
Laundry: $17
Household Supplies: $8
Entertainment: $7
Fares/Parking: $1

Grand Total: $2572

It was my second-highest spending month this year. The first was February, when I also had big car repairs and paid property taxes. Can't do much about either of those.

Because I drew money out of savings, my net worth took a mild hit -- about $1500 less than last month. Hoping I can make that up soon.

I had potato pancakes and applesauce for breakfast. On tap for lunch is chicken tortilla soup, and for dinner, Fettuccine Alfredo with mushrooms.

One of my credit cards will credit me $10 if I add my card on Amazon and then make three separate purchases. I've already added the card, and today I will try to figure out three cheap and useful purchases to make. I won't have to pay shipping, as I am a Prime member.

I redeemed my $100 reward yesterday from my AAA credit card. It's actually $106, because of point credit for things I bought. I arranged to have it transferred to my bank account.

Knee is improving. I walked on the treadmill at the gym this morning with no ill effects. The pain in my toe has gone away.

I guess that's it!

This and That

July 25th, 2017 at 06:43 am

Yesterday I returned the compression sleeve with no problem. Then I went to the library and returned my DVD -- and checked out three more! The Dressmaker, The Skeleton Twins, and Grandma. Haven't watched any of them yet.

Later in the day I washed sheets, so, combined with my errands, I had three trips up and down the steps. And spent $1.50.

The hot water was restored very quickly after they realized it was just a breaker problem.

The outdoor temperatures have dropped and the weather is beautiful.

I got an email from my colleague which was copied to the new potential employer. I replied with a very brief summary of my experience, a request for more information, and my telephone number. No call yet.

This is my last day before pay day. I'm going to do my July recap later on, as I don't expect to spend anything today. I'm really looking forward to a clean slate tomorrow!

My knee continues to improve slowly, but now I have developed a shooting pain in my little toe, of all places! It doesn't sound like much to complain about, but it really hurts! It helps to ice it, but it took me a while to figure out how to do that. Finally put a little bag of ice cubes into the toe of a sock, which worked pretty well. I'm pretty sure this is nerve pain, while the knee pain is from injury. I'm tired of all of it!

Getting Out a Little

July 24th, 2017 at 06:16 am

I went out yesterday. I was very strategic. I took my laundry downstairs, then went straight to Walgreens and Jewel, then came home, stopping to tend the laundry before I went back upstairs. When the laundry was dry, I took my garbage down at the same time. That was only two trips up and down the steps.

At Walgreens I bought a knee compression sleeve, but I think I will take it back today. It actually makes my knee feel worse. That was $12. At the grocery, I bought Slide kitty litter with a coupon and rebate offer attached. I've already prepared the rebate request. So that will not only be free, but will earn me a dollar (because of the coupon). I also bought one can of cat food -- it's a new brand, and I want to test it with the kitties before I commit to it. And I got three free MyMixx items -- cucumber water, ice cream bars, and dressing. My total spending was $8 but I'll get $7 back. The MyMixx items were worth $7, so I added that to Snowflakes.

Today I need to wash sheets. I'll combine that with my trip back to Walgreens and a drive-by at the library to return my DVD.

My knee is feeling better, but it is not back to normal yet. When I get in the wrong position, I definitely feel that "catch" which is so painful. I just have to be patient and wait for the healing. I'm doing mild stretching exercises, but for the time being I'm forgoing the gym. Maybe tomorrow I can go do my strength-training.

I got a text this morning from a former colleague who asked me if I was interested in part-time work in Chicago. If so, she would recommend me to the person who contacted her. I am willing to at least investigate. I'm now awaiting a followup email which will tell me more.

This morning I was loading the dishwasher and noticed, as I rinsed the dishes, that the hot water wasn't working. I tried the bathroom sink, and sure enough, no hot water there either. I guess it will be a while before I take my shower. Hope it gets resolved today!

Day of Rest

July 23rd, 2017 at 05:00 am

Yesterday was my day of rest. I did not venture out at all. My knee is getting better, but healing will be a slower process than I would like.

But I think I can manage the stairs today, so I'm going to do some laundry and go to the store. I'm planning to get kitty litter, cat food, and some free MyMixx items, if they're still available.

I looked at knee compression sleeves online. I did not order one, but I may do so after payday on Wednesday.

I got a $2 cash settlement check (can't remember what for) so I added that to my slush fund, which definitely needs some pumping up. But this payday is going to be all about making ends meet, as I have to pay my property taxes and a Discover bill which includes the $884 car repair. I will have to tap my e-fund.

I've done several Pine Cone surveys this month, but the $3 payments go to snowflakes, which will go to my granchildrens' college funds.

I may sign up for an AARP driver safety course. I would supposedly receive a discount on my insurance. But I would also have to pay $15 for the course. I assume my discount will be larger than $15, but I think I will check with my agent, anyway! The course will not be held until next month.

Other frugalities: I made cornmeal pancakes for breakfast yesterday, and there is enough batter left over to make them today. I also made a tomato casserole for lunch, which will also be lunch today. Dinner was salmon and Ranch mashed potatoes. I ate all the salmon, but there are plenty of potatoes left for another meal. I may do a potato bowl, with a filling of peppers, onions and mushrooms.

I watched "Sully," which I borrowed from the library prior to BFF's visit. We never got around to watching it while she was still here.

I am using my AC minimally, despite high heat and humidity. I am able to stay pretty comfortable with fans and open windows. I am lucky to live near the lake, which keeps the temperatures about 10 degrees lower than neighboring areas.

Obviously, yesterday was a no-spend day!

Here We Go Again

July 22nd, 2017 at 05:44 am

I was watching the grandsons in the park yesterday and decided (foolishly) to shoot some hoops with one of them, when I felt a R-I-P in my knee. Any progress I had made is gone, and more.

I'm going to take the weekend to rest up and baby it before I decide whether I should go to the doctor. I know I didn't really break or tear anything, because I wouldn't be able to walk. But walking is painful, and the stairs more so. Today I plan to stay in all day and not even tackle the stairs, in hopes that will facilitate healing. And maybe tomorrow, as well.

I do have a full hamper of colored clothes, but laundry can wait. It's not like I don't have enough clothes to wear!

A larger urgency is kitty litter and cat food. If I were feeling normal I would get both today. I'm going to try to hold out until Monday.

So, the bright side is, no temptation to spend, and I should have a nice weekend reading and relaxing.

And I need to start thinking about what to do about getting into a first-floor condo or a building with an elevator. I love this condo, but it's clearly a problem every time I injure my legs, which I seem to be doing more and more frequently. Sigh.

Friday Morning

July 21st, 2017 at 04:32 am

Yesterday I was unpacking one of my purchases -- a bundle of 25 "velvet" hangers -- when I realized that three of them were cracked. I had bought them at T.J. Maxx. I took them back, intending to get a new pack, but they didn't want to do an exchange. They refunded the money, and told me I could then go buy a new pack. Well, I realized that at this time I'd rather have the money back in play, so I didn't get a new pack. Later. I do still need them, but that project can wait.

So that put $11 back into play. I spent $1.50 yesterday on laundry, so I have $36 in cash to make it till payday on the 26th.

I was invited to a baby shower up in Michigan for the wife of one of my nephews. That gift will come out of next month's budget. The shower isn't until late August.

I also got a solicitation for a donation to a scholarship honoring my friend P's retirement. I will donate to that in next month's budget as well. (I was not individually targeted; the solicitation went out to all former students.)

It turns out I will not be needing physical therapy; my knee has improved dramatically in the past few days and I expect to be completely back to normal soon. What a relief.

I still haven't gone to the grocery store. I had some leftovers from eating out with my BFF, and yesterday my grandson brought over a quarter of a watermelon. I got some free cherry tomatoes on a MyMixx deal, so I'm good in the produce department.

Today I'm going to watch the grandsons from about 9 to 1. Planning to make lunch at home and perhaps go to the park in the morning before it gets too hot.

My grandson's team lost their tournament game last night, so baseball is over for this year. I guess that will save me a little gas, as some of the games are 1/2 to one hour away. But I'll miss the free entertainment.

Visit Aftermath

July 19th, 2017 at 06:40 pm

BFF has gone home, and in her wake, my poor budget is on life support. Not her fault. We just had a lot of fun together and I lost my perspective and spent too much.

We both love to go Goodwill shopping, and generally I hold it down. But this time, I found so much stuff. Having a $5 coupon and 15% off for being a senior made it all seem sensible. But I spent a lot -- $102. Some of it was for gifts, but I also bought some brand-new boots, two blazers, three jackets, eight tops, two scarves and a bracelet. I love everything I bought. Strictly speaking, I didn't need clothes, but my wardrobe was looking tired, and I'm pretty excited about these additions.

But of course it was exactly the wrong time to do this. My variables budget is now 110%. (Because I also ate out, got gas and went to a movie.) That said, I still have $26 to spend before pay day, because of coming in under budget in past months. So I will just do my darnedest to spend nothing, though I think I MAY have to cave on kitty litter. And I'll have to do laundry.

So, six days of belt-tightening. I choose to think of it as exciting!

Uggghh

July 17th, 2017 at 05:25 am

After a truly awful night, with the worst knee pain I've had yet, I got up at 6 a.m., and now I'm waiting for BFF to arrive. I'm probably not going to be great company today!

I have a Baker's cyst behind my knee. I don't know how to get rid of it. I do have a physical therapy order (for sciatica, which hasn't been troubling me). I may just go in and tell them it is really my knee which is the problem. But PT costs $45 per session, and I have had such an expensive month, which will force me to use savings. I just hate the idea of adding more to it.

Yesterday I spent $11 on groceries and $28 on gas. I got three MyMixx items free which were valued at $11. Variables are now at 85%, with nine days remaining.

I found a dollar bill yesterday! The other bright spot is that the weather continues cool and beautiful. I'm taking a nice long break from AC.

Little Update

July 16th, 2017 at 06:05 am

After yesterday's baseball game, C and I went to lunch with our grandson, which cost me $7 at Subway. There is another game today, and then we will go into tournament. Baseball is wrapping up soon. Will have to find new entertainment!

BFF is coming tomorrow. I need to do some laundry today and just generally get ready.

I am scheduled for a lakeside walk this morning, but I am too afraid to rile my knee, which feels marginally better this morning. Prior experience tells me that the only thing that works is babying and time.

I have figured out that my phone works as long as I keep it in the kitchen, so that's what I'm doing.

It's still cool enough not to run the AC. Yay!

Grandson's Sleepover

July 15th, 2017 at 06:58 am

Actually, he is still here, so the sleepover is ongoing. Right now, he is watching "Spy Kids 2" from the library. Last night we watched "The Secret Life of Pets."

I didn't get by as cheap as I wanted to. We did end up getting a McDonald's lunch, which was $10 for the two of us. (We were on the wrong side of town at lunch time.) I got a Happy Meal for myself so my other grandson would get a toy, too.

We went to a garage sale and I spent .50 on earphones and a plastic dagger for my grandson.

I spent $6 on the book I had promised.

Later in the day, we decided to make a cake. I had a mix but no frosting, and no powdered sugar. I stopped in at Whole Foods, because it is right across from the library and bought a can of frosting there. Whoa! $6! No wonder I never shop there. And the frosting, while I am sure it is healthier than usual, was pretty gummy and hard to spread. But the cake turned out good and GS was pleased.

Even though I made up the sofa bed, he slept with me last night. Hope he slept better than I did!