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Archive for February, 2019

Panic!

February 28th, 2019 at 06:47 am

This morning I had a moment of panic when I saw that I had no internet service. I was planning to pay my property tax today online and it was close to the due date. But I went through the troubleshooting steps to reconnect and it worked. I paid the tax ($572) with no fee, yay! (Those who pay by credit card have to pay a fee.) I was having visions of having to take a check downtown -- it wasn't pretty!

I looks like I may have to transfer $60 from savings to pay this month's bills, but that is much better than I was expecting.

Yesterday was a bit spendy. I bought the socks I wanted - $66 for four pairs of FIT socks. Really pricey, but to me, they are worth it. And my socks have been wearing out on me fast lately. I am excited about getting to put on a pair today!

Then I went to Sam's and spent $40 on toilet paper and detergent.

By then it was near time to pick up my grandson and I hadn't eaten anything, so I stopped at McDonalds for a breakfast sandwich - $5.

So, with that little splurge, I am already up to 20% on variables. I didn't have much in extra funds to add this month, so I am working with a smaller amount. However, I did deposit almost $971 from refunds into savings, so overall I am doing fine.

I have a mystery shop to do today. It's an evening restaurant shop, and I may take the grandsons along, as it's a place they really like. That would mean I wouldn't earn anything, but it would be a really cheap way to treat them.

Tomorrow I have a house calls appointment -- wellness visit from UnitedHealthcare. After that's done, I'll head to Indiana to visit BFF. I hope the weather cooperates -- it sounds like I may have to deal with snow.

Recovery

February 27th, 2019 at 06:45 am

Boy, I was really sick yesterday! After saying I thought it was just food sensitivity, I started running a fever and ... well, I won't share the gory details, but it was awful.

And today I'm okay, so it was apparently just a 24-hour bug.

Today is pay day. I've paid the mortgage and scheduled my credit card payments.

Here is how last month shook out:

Housing: 1145
Car Repair/Maintenance: 234
Utilities: 186
Groceries: 145
Phone: 103
Gifts/Charity: 91
Eating Out: 68
Gas: 59
Entertainment: 47
Vet/Pet Supplies: 45
Medical/Health: 41
Laundry: 21
Personal: 16
Fees/Services: 1

Grand Total: 2202

Since this was a long pay cycle, I had to pay the assessment fee and phone bill twice. That will all even out. Everything else is pretty much in line. The groceries were a little high, but they were super low last month and I had some stocking up to do.

I'm planning on getting to the gym today (but I will take it easy). I also want to go downtown and buy some quality socks at an outdoor outfitter. I have a coupon that has to be used by tomorrow.

As soon as my social security deposit changes from pending to deposited I will pay my property tax.

Car Repair

February 26th, 2019 at 07:14 am

I took my car to the body shop yesterday. As it often happens, there was more damage than was apparent to the eye. So I will be going through insurance and will be paying the $500 deductible. Since I am planning to visit BFF this weekend, I won't actually take it in until next Tuesday, which is also better timing for the body shop, which is a very busy place.

After my consultation with them, I went to get my emissions test done because the site was very close by. I passed. This means I can renew my license plate with no problem come June.

Then I went and got my tank filled for $23. That puts my variables at 83%. I very much doubt that I will spend anything today, and pay day is tomorrow.

I had a very bad, sleepless night and this morning I had very bad diarrhea. I don't feel sick otherwise; I believe I am reacting to something I ate. I will throw away anything I ate yesterday, which unfortunately includes about a cup of homemade chicken salad which was very good!

Movies - Day 2

February 25th, 2019 at 06:22 am

My second day of movie-watching was much cheaper than the first. I stayed home. I watched "Roma" on Netflix for free, and I watched "BlacKkKlansman" on Amazon Prime for $5.99. I didn't have to go out and brave the strong winds that were embattling the whole area.

It is more fun to go out and see movies on the big screen. The viewing experience is much richer, I think. And it gets me out among people. I wouldn't want to stay in all the time. But it worked for me yesterday, except that I had to re-start "BlacKkKlansman" four times due to power blips. (That wind!)

Today I am going to go visit a body shop to get an estimate on replacing my bumper. I am sure they will have to order the piece and the actual repair will fall into next month's pay cycle.

In addition to the movie rental cost, I paid another $1.50 to wash a quilt that Iggy threw up on. Variables are at 79%, with only two days to go.

Movies

February 24th, 2019 at 04:38 am

I treated myself to two movies yesterday -- Bohemian Rhapsody and Vice. $17. Very different from each other and both good. I also spent $18 on lunch and snacks. Yikes! But it was a fun day.

I also made it to the gym and to the library.

Today I'm seeing "Roma" and "BlacKkKlansman." I will try to avoid buying food today. I should be able to do that because there is a bigger break between the two movie showings.

Variables are at 78% with 3 days to go.

I'll probably have to get gas today as well.

We are experiencing very high winds today. I can hear it rattling the windows. I'll bundle up! Thank goodness, most of the snow has melted and parking is much easier.

I Made It!

February 23rd, 2019 at 07:14 am

DS & DIL woke me up last night around 1 am. I was done! My last day was a little rough. My hip was hurting bad and I was very tired. I had to lie down a lot, but I got through it. The boys are allowed to play videogames on weekends, starting on Friday, so they were very happily entertaining themselves. When suppertime came, I told them I didn't feel good enough to cross the street and make supper at my house, so we worked together and made a kid-pleasing dinner of fish sticks and mac & cheese.

Part of what made me so tired was doing four loads of laundry, which involves taking a lot of stairs. The cost was $6. That was my only spending.

Because of the babysitting, I missed out on the Oscar week deal at the local theater. But I can still pick up the only four movies I haven't seen yet -- "Black Klansman," "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Roma," and "Vice." For "Roma" I will have to go to adjacent suburb, but I heard it's worth it. I plan to do it. I love the Oscars -- it's my Superbowl!

I will call a body shop about my car on Monday. A suggestion was made (a good one) that I order the part online and do it myself, with the help of my son and YouTube. However, the part is a BIG one -- it is the back bumper which goes across the back of the car and around the corners. And none of us are handy in that way, so I will bite the bullet. Probably use the EF rather than insurance -- I'd rather save insurance for claims for bigger problems than this....

Day 5: Last Day!

February 22nd, 2019 at 07:17 am

DS & DIL will be home tonight. I am wrapping up my week with the boys. On tap for today: we will have a spaghetti dinner at my house with games afterward. I have DS' house clean and picked up right now, and I don't want to mess it up again.

I am planning to do three loads of laundry today, combining my own with the boys'.

No spending yesterday!

GS1's performance last night was great! When he and his duet partner were warming up, they ran through their piece in full, and got spontaneous applause from everyone there! I have to brag, he is so talented.

I have received $24 in fees and $33 in reimbursements from mystery shopping in the last few days.

Variables are at 71% with only five days to go. I'm just going to lay low the next few days. With property taxes, car repair, and a trip to Indiana coming up, next month will be a killer. Oh, and my subscription to ancestry.com will also hit my credit card. I'm not ready to give that up yet.

Day 4 Grandma Duty

February 21st, 2019 at 07:28 am

Last night we had music lessons. I was planning on making chicken sliders for a quick dinner, but decided instead on hot dogs, which were even faster. We also had fruit.

While I was off duty I stopped at Aldi's and spent $3 on buns and bottled water.

Tonight GS1 is performing at his school -- it is a public performance prior to the solo & ensemble competition which will take place this Saturday. So it will be another night for a quick dinner. I think I'll make tuna melts.

And tomorrow, mom and dad come home! They won't arrive until almost midnight, so it will be a full day, but even though things have been going very well, I think we will all be happy to see them, and get back to normal.

Now, bad money news. I discovered a big crack in my fender yesterday, and I think it will have to replaced. I did scrape a pillar in a parking garage last week, but I thought there was no damage. Maybe I didn't notice the back, since I was focused on the side. Or maybe this happened in a parking lot, or on the street, where parallel parking is a collision course. I don't know. But it's got to be fixed. My guess is it wouldn't be worth going through insurance, though I'm not really up to date on how much a fender costs. I don't want to drive up the cost of my insurance -- it's high enough already.

Day 3 of Grandma Duty

February 20th, 2019 at 06:53 am

I got the boys to school a little late today. I could not get them to move it! Not a good morning. A fresh blanket of snow didn't help matters any. GS1 slipped and fell -- he was okay but concerned for his violin. Then the car had to be cleaned off after being totally clean yesterday.

My nachos dinner last night was pretty funny. I had brought some frozen taco meat from home, and bought a can of nacho sauce ($2). Well, the taco meat turned out to be something else -- I don't know what! Something that's been in the freezer so long I can't remember making it. Perhaps one of those refrigerator-soup experiments.

So I served the nachos without meat. The next challenge was the cheese sauce. I couldn't open the can! They have a can opener, but it's a different type than mine and I couldn't figure it out at all. The boys couldn't either. So I ended up using a bottle opener all the way around and peeling the lid off. Got it done, but what a mess. The nachos were just chips, cheese sauce, salsa and sour cream. The boys didn't seem to mind.

Today we have to go to music lessons after school. We'll get home around six. I'm planning to make a quick meal of chicken sliders with cooked chicken slices and Hawaiian rolls. I'll find something in their fridge to serve with them -- maybe applesauce or yogurt.

My hip hurt terribly last night and I took an extra Celebrex. I slept for about six hours, then woke up at three and suffered some more until it was time to get up at 7:30. I'm really looking forward to getting this fixed.

Day 2 of Grandma Duty

February 19th, 2019 at 09:15 am

Well, I got the boys off to school and now I'm home. It felt good to take a shower in my own place. I'm cooking some chicken now, which I will use tomorrow. The menu for the week keeps changing. Last night GS1 wanted to make pancakes for dinner, so he did, and he did a great job! Tonight I'm going to make nachos, because they have a whole bag of tortilla chips to be used up. I will supply the taco meat and salsa -- they have cheese and sour cream. I think I will pick up a can of nacho sauce when I go to the gym today.

Tomorrow I will use the chicken for chicken sliders. We'll be coming home from music lessons and so will need a quick-to-prepare meal.

DIL called last night and shared the news that GS1 made the baseball travel team, and so they will be traveling to Cooperstown this summer for a tournament. I have said that I will go, but now I need to be realistic and bow out. I'm not going to be able to afford that. Any traveling I do must be to Florida to visit my son's family there, whom I have not seen in more than a year now. And I will probably do that in September, when I my income will rise.

I spent $3 this morning on donuts. It is apparently an expectation to get donuts on the way to school if time permits. They had already eaten oatmeal -- oh well. Maybe tomorrow I won't rush them so much!

I have two more hours at home and then I'll go to the gym (and store) and from there pick up the boys. And I'll be back on duty again till tomorrow morning. I slept better last night, and I hope that continues.

DS and DIL will return on Friday, after we have all gone to bed. I'm enjoying my time with boys, but I will also be glad to rest and relax!

On Grandma Duty

February 18th, 2019 at 07:28 am

I slept at DS' house last night (not so well) and today is the first day of boy-watching. All going well so far. We had breakfast burritos, and there is a ton of leftover pizza for lunch. I may just do most of the meal prep here, as their fridge is loaded. I threw out 3 zucchini this morning, and there are bananas going bad. I'll make banana bread, but I'll probably do that at home while they're in school. No school today.

It's snowing like crazy! The only thing on tap for today is Tae Kwan Do, but I'm going to check to make sure it's not cancelled.

Feeding the Boys

February 17th, 2019 at 07:52 am

Here is all the food I have on hand. I have to feed myself and two boys for five nights, dinners only. I don't want to buy anything, but I can augment from the food store at my son's house.

Freezer

Bread crumbs
Bread
Hawaiian rolls
1 bun
Rice
Chicken breasts
Cooked ground beef
Sausage biscuits
Beef taco filling
Peas
Asparagus
Green Beans
Blueberries
Tomatoes
Peppers
Mixed Berry Smoothie
Ice Cream


Fridge

Butter
BBQ Sauce
Horseradish Sauce
Soy Sauce
Worcestershire Sauce
Taco Sauce
Salsa
Dijon Mustard
Yellow Mustard
Mayonnaise
Sweet Relish
Kosher Spears
Dill Hamburger Chips
Sweet Gherkins
Olives
Poppyseed Dressing
Ranch Dressing
Blueberry Jam
Minced Garlic
Chocolate Syrup
Biscuits
Crescent Rolls
Creamer
Beef & Chicken Soup Base
2 tortillas
Eggs
Almond Milk
Coffee
Cheese Spread
Stewed Apples
Carrots

Pantry

Baking Supplies (Powder, Soda, Salt, Cornstarch)
Flour
Sugar
Brown Sugar
Powdered Sugar
Old-fashioned Oatmeal
Granola
Raisins
Cranberries
Powdered Milk
Penne
Spaghetti
Egg Noodles
Chow Mein Noodles
Red Lobster Roll Mix
Crackers
Canola Oil
Olive Oil
White Wine Vinegar
White Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar
Maple Syrup
Honey
Peanut Butter
Tuna
Butter Spray
Walnuts
Popcorn
Cocoa
Lemonade Mix
Girl Scout Cookies

I am planning on making a chicken pot pie, making the sauce from a white sauce and using peas, carrots and green beans (as well as chicken of course!) in the filling -- biscuits on top.

I will use the ground beef to make Sloppy Joe sliders, using up the BBQ sauce. I will grind up some carrots for crunch and use the Hawaiian rolls as buns.

I will make tuna melts from the tuna, crescent rolls and mayo, using some cheese from DS' house.

I feel like I could do something with the taco filling, though I only have about a cup and half. I'm wondering if I mixed it with salsa and taco sauce, to make it wetter, and combine it with the penne or the egg noodles to make kind of a Mexican pasta dish -- would that taste good or weird?

Does anything else jump out at you?

No-Spend Day

February 17th, 2019 at 06:17 am

Yesterday was a no-spend day, other than running a load of laundry. Iggy threw up on his quilt, so I washed it along with towels, bathmat, etc.

Oh yes, I did spend .98 at a restaurant, which was the amount over the reimbursement I will get for the meal.

I went over to DS' to get the rundown on what to do this coming week. I now have a detailed daily schedule. I'm going to go over this evening to spend the night. Tomorrow is President's Day, so I'll just stay there with the boys all day. The rest of the week, I will go home while they are in school, so I can do my laundry, cook meals, feed the pets, etc. It will be tiring, but I think it will also be fun.

My girl scout cookies came yesterday! Yum!

Saturday

February 16th, 2019 at 06:16 am

DS gave me $40 yesterday to get the boys' hair cut. The actual cost with tip was $32.50. I applied the balance to lunch afterwards at one of their favorite places, a mom-and-pop frozen yogurt shop that also serves lunch. The lunch was $18 out of pocket, because, of course, we all got dessert.

Today I need to get to the gym, and I have a mystery shop to do -- free lunch.

I struck a deal with DS that he will stock the house with breakfast food and pay for hot lunches at school. I will provide dinners, which I will make at home, but may use some stuff from their fridge/freezer. I do not plan to ask for reimbursements for anything I happen to buy, because I think I am mostly well-stocked.

I'll get an activities calendar from him today. He leaves some time on Sunday.

I'm feeling a little unsettled about the murder spree in Aurora. Aurora is not particularly close to me, but I know some people who work there at the university, and it hits home. It's just so depressing that this keeps happening over and over and it seems like we can do nothing about it.

Childcare

February 15th, 2019 at 08:10 am

I'll be taking the boys to get their haircuts later today, but DS will pay. I was planning to watch them all day, but DS' work appointment was cancelled.

It turns out Monday is a school holiday, so I'll have them all day. And for the rest of the week, I'll be with them all night and after school. I'll come home while they're in school to get things done, including making our supper.

I'm going to go through the fridge & freezer today and make some plans for dinners next week. I know I have a bag of chicken breasts and a pound of cooked ground beef; I'm thinking I can do a lot with that if I have the right ingredients. I have a can of tuna, too, but I'm not sure if the boys will eat tuna salad.

I found a Starbuck's gift card yesterday, but when I looked it up, it wasn't worth anything. So someone probably just dropped it on the street, rather than bothering to throw it away. Darn! Smile

BFF is asking me to come visit the first weekend in March. It will be a nice respite after a week of childcare!