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Archive for August, 2017

Just Got Home

August 31st, 2017 at 12:46 pm

I'm back from my short trip to Indiana. Here is what I spent:

Gas: $17
Food: $33
Goodwill Shopping: $53

Here's what I got for the $53:

Skirt for my granddaughter
11 Ball Jars
Gap Hoodie
2 casual jackets
Black leather jacket
3 pajama bottoms/workout pants
Bra
Santa collectible
Orrefors crystal vase
Book
Butter dish
Teacup
1 pair of socks

I am hoping to sell the Orrefors vase for a profit at some future time. But if I don't, it will be nice to have for flowers. I always use a pitcher now.

BFF and I usually go to a movie, but instead we watched a couple of them on HBO - Collateral Beauty, and Jackie. BFF somehow accidentally got signed up for premium channels -- we decided to take advantage until she fixed it.

We had only one restaurant meal, which was about $20. The rest was road food.

I remained sugar-free, and I have to say, I am not feeling very much craving for sugar -- more like just struggling to break habits. My legs definitely feel better. I have not had the burning feeling since the first day. I do think the sugar was adding to the inflammation.

My BFF said a friend of hers was suffering the same problem with inflammation, and she is cutting out sugar, as well as some other things. I am going to start with sugar, and so far it's been beneficial.

On the way home I passed a full bag of potatoes on the side of the road -- it looked like a 25 lb. bag! And later on, a big bag of plastic cups. I sure wished I could have stopped for them, but they were in places where it was hard to stop. I'm sure someone will manage to get them!

BFF did send me home with some fresh garden tomatoes. What a delight! I love "real" tomatoes in summer. And she gave me a nice top she couldn't wear. I only had a can of nuts for her, but I'll make it up some other time!

As always, it was a great, refreshing trip. We are now making plans to go to Ludington, Michigan, this fall, and to New England next spring/summer. It's always great to have something to look forward to!

My Houston relatives rode out the storm high and dry. I don't know how easy the days to come will be, but at least they didn't have to evacuate and did not suffer loss of property. What a terrible mess that hurricane has left. Redoubles my appreciation that all I have to deal with is blizzards and tornadoes

Free Soup!

August 28th, 2017 at 05:47 am

It was another no-spend day, with a free meal to beat -- well, several actually! Because my DIL sent me home with a rather large container of purple soup. It was made with purple potatoes, purple cauliflower and purple carrots. No one in their family liked it. I haven't tasted it yet, but I trust that some seasoning might rescue it.

I'm afraid I have the reputation in my family as the one who will eat anything!

Just had a bad night struggling with tingling pain in both legs. Reading about the experience of others, I think that I should try cutting out sugar. (Which will be painful it itself -- I love sugar!) I think I can do it short-term, though, to learn if it's the problem. It would certainly be good for me in many ways if I could cut out sugar -- but life would be a lot duller, too. Actually, just the thought of it is depressing.

Since I'm getting on the road tomorrow, I hope I can sleep tonight.

I am concerned about those in Houston. My cousin lives there, and he is safe, but trapped in his home because of high water, which promises to get higher. We haven't heard from Secretary Saving, have we? I know she was planning to stay in place, and I would like to know that she is okay.

No-Spend Day

August 27th, 2017 at 05:59 am

Saturday was a no-spend day. I went to my grandson's first Fall Ball game, and afterwards to the library, where I exchanged my Harry Potter book for the next in the series. Tonight we are having a pizza & movie night at my son's house -- we will be watching the first Harry Potter movie. (We are all reading the series.) Tomorrow school starts, so this is kind of the last party of summer.

This morning I am making the sloppy joe filling and spaghetti sauce. I don't think I will eat either one today, as I have more salad to eat, and I will be getting pizza tonight. I think the spaghetti sauce will go straight into the freezer. I'll have sloppy joes tomorrow and the remainder will go in the freezer. On Tuesday morning I will leave for three days in Indiana with my BFF.

I had to improvise on the sloppy joes, because I didn't have nearly enough ketchup. Luckily, there was some barbecue sauce in the fridge, so I think they will turn out well. Maybe tastier than usual!

I think today will be a no-spend day, too.

I intend to take it easy until I go out for dinner. I do have plenty of household chores to catch up on. And a lot of reading to do!

New Shoes!

August 26th, 2017 at 05:38 am

I did go to the Skechers Outlet yesterday, and they had the shoes I've been eying online. The price was the same, with the added advantage that I got to try them on and there was no shipping cost. I paid $44, and I'm happy to have them. They are so comfortable!

I also got my haircut -- $17 even with the coupon! Price is going up. And while I was waiting for the outlet to open, I got a muffin at Corner Bakery for $2.

Once home, I did a load of laundry for $1.50.

My variables are up to 50%. But I think I have done most of my purchasing. I have a trip to BFF's coming up, as well as dinner in the city with friends, and an outing to the botanical gardens. And I imagine I will have to pay more medical bills.

I realized last night that I will have to pay my assessment fee twice this cycle. I already paid it, but it will come due again the day before I get paid again. Bummer. It will have to come out of savings, as the budget doesn't allow for a double dip.

I cancelled the rest of my physical therapy. I won't do any exercise until I see the doctor on September 6 and get the green light.

I have to report for jury duty on September 5. If I get chosen, and if the trial lasts more than one day, that will throw a wrench into some of my plans, but I guess the bright spot is that I would get paid a little. The worst part is figuring out how to get there (it's in the city) and where to park. I've tried to figure out mass transit, but it's too complicated -- two trains and a bus. Too many opportunities to screw up and be late.

Another Errand Day

August 25th, 2017 at 06:16 am

Yesterday I did a little more shopping. I started out at Walgreen's, where I bought three bottles of conditioner. I got the third bottle free, and 1,000 points in rewards. Total cost was $14. These are large bottles. I'm set for conditioner for quite a while.

Then I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond and bought a drapery rod for $40. That was the price after a 20% reduction. I looked for cheaper options, but this one had the look and sturdiness I desired.

While at BB&B, I found a Christmas gift for DIL, a vegetable crisper/carrier. It was half-price; $6. I also bought a device to catch hair in my bathtub drain -- unfortunately it does not fit and I'll have to take it back today.

Then I went to PetSmart and got two more containers of kitty litter, using two $5 coupons. Final price was $20.

Finally, I went to Aldi and got 11 more items: eggs, syrup, salsa, hamburger buns, dark chocolate bar, frozen salmon, coffee, ground beef, shredded cheese, pizza and ice cream. Total was $41.

I still haven't bought much in the way of produce. I may do that at the farmer's market on Saturday.

I also got some gas for $27 and bought a sausage biscuit at McDonald's for $2.

So today I have to go back to BB&B -- and I'm going to stop at a new Skecher outlet which is on the way. I want to see if they have anything similar to the sneaker clogs I have loved to death.

Another goal today is to cook off the ground beef and make spaghetti sauce and sloppy joe filling.

And I need to get a haircut. I have a $3 coupon toward that.

Variables are already at 41%, and I'm planning to go see BFF next week.

Yesterday's Spending

August 24th, 2017 at 06:25 am

I paid a $41 medical bill, spent $33 on groceries, $24 on pet supplies, $11 on postage, $36 on gifts, and $2 on entertainment.

The groceries: my 10 items at Aldi were bread, crackers, granola, vanilla wafers, butter, croutons, salad, mayo, honey, and almond milk. Then I went to Jewel to buy lactose-free creamer and sherbet.

The pet supplies were a container of kitty litter and a gravel vacuum. I had a $3 coupon for the kitty litter. But I forgot to bring an additional $5 coupon. The cash register spit out another one, so now I have two. Since they have an expiration date, I'm going to get two more containers today. The litter I like is on sale as well.

The gifts were an Amazon order for my grandson's upcoming birthday. He loves red pandas, so I got him a stuffed toy and a T-shirt that says, "Be Yourself, Unless You Can Be a Red Panda." Or something like that. By accepting the somewhat slower free shipping, I earned a $5 credit for Amazon Prime Now.

The $2 was for a PowerBall ticket, which yielded nothing but an evening of dreams.

Today, when I get going, I'm going to get a curtain rod for my "new" garage-sale curtains, and some more groceries.

My variables are at 20%.

Still feeling pretty good. I can tell my knee is not functioning correctly, but at least it doesn't hurt.

Celebration!

August 23rd, 2017 at 07:03 am

Several reasons to celebrate today! First of all, it's pay day, and after paying my credit cards and mortgage, I have $184 extra in my checking account (that is -- not already targeted for utilities, assessment fee and my condo insurance payment). Usually I come closer to zero. I'm going to transfer $84 to savings. I like to keep a little surplus in checking for surprises. (The great majority of my spending is done on credit cards, which I pay in full.)

Second, I feel so much better! It's only because I'm taking an effective painkiller (375 mg of Naproxen), and I know the problems are still there, but what a relief. I did my blood work yesterday and hope to hear some illuminating results today.

Third, I really slept well! Which doesn't happen all that often any more.

Today I'm going to get 10 items at Aldi, plus make a side trip to PetSmart for kitty litter and a new gravel cleaner for the aquarium. I'm also going to get gas, and I have two packages to mail -- one for the shower I missed, and the other is a packet of greeting cards for my granddaughter, who gets "mail" at her preschool. My DIL will dole them out every Friday.

Until I get some word from my doctor, I am postponing all physical activity, including physical therapy and the gym. The stairs will be stress enough on my bad knee.

So here is my August recap:

Housing: $695
Property Tax: $614
Furnishings/Equipment/Decor: $281
Gift/Charity: $198
Utilities: $174
Groceries: $94
Vet/Pet Supplies: $92
Eating Out: $91
Medical/Health: $71
Entertainment: $58
Phone: $52
Gas: $29
Laundry: $14
Fares/Parking: $8
Household Supplies: $7
Fees/Services: $5
Personal: $2

Grand Total: $2485

This month was a bit high, mostly because of the semi-annual property tax and the new phone. I also contributed $100 to a scholarship fund.

I spent 96% of my variables budget.

Now I'm off to shower and start my day!

Cancelled My Trip

August 22nd, 2017 at 05:51 am

I saw the doctor yesterday. He is concerned about what is going on in my legs and has ordered some blood tests. I'll get the blood drawn today. I have finally admitted to myself that I am not up to travelling and I cancelled my trip. This is very disappointing to me. Not only was I looking forward to visiting with my brother and SIL, but I was also looking forward to meeting my nephew's wife. I am going to have to mail the shower gift.

That said, I am relieved not to have to make the effort. I can rest today and work on getting better.

My doctor is checking to see whether the inflammation in my knee and hips is spreading into a systemic inflammation, which could be dangerous if it enters the bloodstream. He is also checking for gout. He is checking with my nephrologist to get permission to use NSAIDs, which would help with the pain. He also told me I should triple the Tylenol dosage I am using. He told me to postpone physical therapy until we have some answers.

I've been struggling with this pain since before July 4, and I'm at my wit's end. I hope I'm at the beginning of the end.

Yesterday I went outside to read at "eclipse time" just to experience the atmosphere, since I didn't have the glasses. But then I got so hungry, so I went to a nearby yogurt place for sorbet and fruit. The shop owner let me use his glasses! So I did get to see the eclipse as I ate my sorbet in the outdoor seating area. It was amazing! We didn't get the full eclipse here, of course, and it was somewhat cloudy, but it was a solemn and majestic moment. I'm glad I saw the banana in the sky!

Spending yesterday was $1 for breakfast and $6 for the sorbet. Not only are my groceries dwindling, but I find I am not feeling like cooking; it's too uncomfortable to stand for long. I will try to get the chicken fajita made today, as that will probably serve for two meals.

Tomorrow is pay day, and I can grocery shop and stock up, but I am not sure if I will feel good enough to carry groceries up the stairs.

My variables are currently at 93%, so I will come in under budget this month, no matter what I do today! And I'm planning to do nothing.

Monday Morning

August 21st, 2017 at 06:29 am

Yesterday I went to my ex's (along with the kids and grandkids) for what he calls the Big Breakfast. It IS a big breakfast -- eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, fruit, fried potatoes, and all the fixins. We ended up talking around the table until about 2 pm. I ate so much I didn't eat anything else until I had some sorbet at about six.

My kids gave me a DNA test kit for my birthday. Yesterday I finally got it sent in. I know quite a bit about my heritage on paper, but it will be interesting to see if the science matches the genealogy. I am expecting a BIG percentage will be centered in England.

I went to the library to get the next Harry Potter, and I also checked out the movie of the first book. Won't be able to watch (with the kids and C) until I get back from Michigan, though.

At this point, I'm planning to leave for Michigan tomorrow morning. I am hoping my doctor will offer me some relief this afternoon. I had an awful night and it was the second one in a row. Sleep is elusive these days.

Yesterday was a no-spend day. I've got $103 left in the budget, which should cover the gas and a trip to the bakery I frequent up in Michigan. I like to stock up on bread there. Until I get on the road, it's going to be creative meal planning here. I'm running out of most staples. But I've got the ingredients to make chicken fajitas today, and for another meal I can have a hard-boiled egg, cheese cubes, and ants-on-a-log.

Really hope I feel good enough to get on the road tomorrow morning. It will be a long day, with the 3-hour ride up there, and the shower in the evening.

At least I will not be on the road during the eclipse! I do plan to go outside and just experience the change, without looking at the sun. I am actually not tempted to do that -- I know the news will provide plenty of footage!

Garage Sale Finds

August 20th, 2017 at 05:58 am

Yesterday's garage sale-ing yielded a new glass pitcher for the fridge ($4), 10 greeting cards ($2.50), a book (.25), and a Mickey Mouse jacket (Disney brand) for my littlest grandson ($3). My eldest grandson came along and he bought an Android tablet for $2! And it works! I'm sure it is an old version, but it was virtually unused, and included the charger! I'll be interested to learn today what he managed to do with it.

Afterwards, we all went to lunch at Noodles & Company, where I spent $12. I was really disappointed to learn they no longer offer Indonesian Satay, which was my favorite. So I had potstickers and my grandson had mac & cheese. C paid for herself; she had Pad Thai.

We managed to avoid a parking fee by keeping our lunch under one hour.

It was a good day.

I came home and promptly fell asleep on the bed, taking a two-hour nap. Of course, that messed with my sleep last night. After hours of tossing and turning, and struggling with my (returning) pain, I got up and started looking up symptoms on the internet. I now think my stubborn knee pain may be septic bursitis, which has to be treated with antibiotics. I made an appointment with my doctor to discuss it tomorrow. This will cut into my trip to Michigan, but I need to get this problem resolved. The baby shower is on Tuesday evening, so I can still leave on Tuesday morning and make it. It will just give me less time with my brother.

Variables are now at 90%. Three more days to pay day.

A Bit of Spending

August 19th, 2017 at 04:43 am

Just a bit. I bought kitty litter and fish food at PeSmart for $22. Also some glue sticks and two cans of mixed nuts at Walgreens for $8 (after using the balance on a gift card). At PetSmart I earned a coupon for $5 off kitty litter next time. At Walgreens I was supposed to get 1,000 reward points, but I see on the receipt that I wasn't credited, so I'll have to go wrangle with them today.

The mixed nuts are a bread & butter gift for my brother, so were counted as a vacation expense.

This pushed variables up to 87%. Four days till pay day.

Today I've planned to go garage saling with C. I'm not looking for anything in particular, just for fun.

Remember I commented on a car-dwelling person always parked by Planet Fitness? The other day I realized it was a woman. I previously assumed she was a man, because she always wears a baseball cap, but when she got out of the car, I saw that she was was an older woman. Somehow that made me feel sadder. She apparently has a membership at PF, because I have since seen her coming out of the bathroom. My guess is she uses the showers. My sense is she is not a person like Tabs, who has a home. This is her home. So sad.

Improvement?

August 18th, 2017 at 04:49 am

I almost hate to say it and jinx myself, but my knee seems improved. I went to the gym yesterday to do my strength training, as well as a short stint on the bike. After that, I stayed holed up in my condo. I am seeing a difference now in pain and flexibility.

No spending yesterday. My variables are at 82%, with only four days to go.

On Monday I'm going to leave for Michigan. I think I will just make this a 2-day trip. It depends on what my brother and SIL are doing. They are retired, but they are usually busy with other activities on Wednesdays. At any rate, I won't be gone for more than 3 days, because that's as long my cats and fish can go without outside help.

After complaining about Pine Cone, I qualified for three surveys in a row, so I guess my complaints were unfounded! Nice to have that little bit of income for my snowflakes.

I am determined not to go to the grocery store before payday. I have plenty of food; however, I am finding it is not always the food I want to eat. I need to be a little more proactive about preparing meals, but with the knee pain I haven't felt like cooking. Maybe today I can turn that around.

On Sunday morning I'm going to a family breakfast at my ex's house, so that will help stretch my pantry!

Oh, and best news of all -- my phone fixed itself after I downloaded a system upgrade and I am now able to receive calls. Whew!