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Home > Archive: March, 2019

Archive for March, 2019

Net Worth Has Fallen

March 20th, 2019 at 06:29 am

I was doing a good job of keeping my net worth stable. It went down by $14K after I bought the car, but I was okay with that -- I had to have a car. Being in my gap year, I wasn't able to work at making it up, but I was keeping it on an even keel.

But now it has fallen again, because my condo was assessed at a lower value. In short, according to the assessor's office, it is worth about $8 less than I had it figured in my spreadsheet. Now, to be fair, I think I had personally assessed its value too high from sales of comparables in the area, and not from what the assessor said, because the actual change from last year is only $3K. But this assessment is supposed to be a fair market value, so I think I should adjust my spreadsheet. It is probably more realistic, as I do not see a lot of healthy sales in this area any more. It is probably what I would be able to get if I sold it.

Why did it go down? I am assuming that there are now more rentals in the building than there used to be, and that hurts property values.

At least I should see a drop in taxes. And I am not going to sell any time soon.

Yesterday was a no-spend day other than laundry. I did not make the Aldi trip, but I hope to get it done today. I'm going to use the $15 Visa gift card, and try to keep my purchases at that level.

I made some spaghetti sauce, but it cooked down to a pretty small batch, so I may just eat it rather than freeze it.

Today I'm going to make some granola.

After a lovely day yesterday, it's rainy and cold today. But it's spring!!!!

Soooo Sloooowwwwww

March 19th, 2019 at 07:33 am

Lordy, the site is slow today!

After getting my documents signed and witnessed yesterday, I went to the library and got more books.
Other than that, I didn't get a whole lot done. I was very tired from my sleepless night. I did make the mac & cheese. Today I'm going to start work on spaghetti sauce with some tomatoes I took out of the freezer.

I'm doing laundry, and I need to get to Aldi later. I'm also on tap to pick up the boys from school.

I just watched a clip on the Today Show about food waste in the US. 40% of the food produced is thrown away! It's criminal. So that reminds me to do something with the celery that is going limp in my fridge. I also have a bunch of onions which I'm going to carmelize, but the celery is closer to the edge. My little efforts may not do much, but at least I know I am not throwing away food that I have paid for!

I didn't do any spending yesterday, and my variables are at 78% with 8 days to go.

Monday Doings

March 18th, 2019 at 06:31 am

I just got back from the gym. It was really hard waking up at 6 this morning, but I know they mean business around here when they tell you to move your car. And I thought I might as well get the gym visit out of the way since I had to get up anyway.

I found a legal place to park just around the corner. The tree-trimmers are not here yet, but my street is blocked for the whole day. Hoping it will just be the one day.

After I shower and dress, I'll head to DIL's work to get my living will and durable power of attorney witnessed. After that I'm free. Probably. Monday is one of those days when I am not expected to chauffeur the boys. However, I am on call.

I just applied for a mail-in ballot for the April 2 election. In my city, it is just for school board, but of course the makeup of the school board is important to me, with grandchildren in the school system. In Chicago proper, the election is for a new mayor. It is a pretty exciting race, with two African-American women running for it. As they keep saying, history-making! But as a suburbanite, I don't get to vote in that.

Of course, on April 2 I will be too busy to vote -- I'll be having surgery -- hence the mail-in ballot request.

I had a terrible night's sleep last night, so I may take a nap, if my schedule allows.

My only at-home goal today is to get the mac & cheese made. I'll have a serving and put the rest in the freezer.

Another Day

March 17th, 2019 at 07:21 am

I had a terrible dream last night in which I lost my laptop, with all its information -- it was stolen right out from under me, and I couldn't get anyone to listen to me about what happened. It was such a relief to wake up and realize that everything was safe.

Aside from the cooking I had a leisurely day yesterday, with no spending. Today I'm going to do some laundry and some cleaning. I'm going to finish a book today, so I may go to the library and stock up, even though I have one more.

Tomorrow they are tree-trimming on my block and I will have to move the car before 7 am. I'll set the alarm and go to the gym; then later in the morning I'll go to DIL's work to get my documents witnessed and then get the copies distributed.

BFF is going to bring some sweatpants for me to borrow during recovery. I have several pairs of loose workout pants, but I don't want to have to worry about running out and doing laundry. She bought a bunch when she had hip surgery herself, and I don't think she has used them since.

My menu during recovery is shaping up: chicken rice casserole, French dip sandwiches, spaghetti, mac & cheese, chicken sliders. I'll also have sausage rolls and sausage gravy with biscuits for breakfast. All this will be prepared ahead of time and in the freezer. I will also have fresh things on hand, but of course, they won't be purchased till the last minute. BFF doesn't cook, so I want to have the food as ready-to-go as possible.

Baking, Cooking and Freezing

March 16th, 2019 at 10:16 am

I'm just hanging around home today. I've done some cooking and baking. I made blueberry pancake batter, sausage gravy, sausage rolls and banana bread. All for the freezer. And yes, I did dare to try banana bread again after my last fiasco. DIL gave me some overripe bananas so I decided to try again using an old tried-and-true recipe. The loaves are cooling now, and they certainly look a lot better than the last batch. I'm out of walnuts, so unfortunately was not able to make banana walnut bread, but I trust it will be good anyway.

I will take my living will and healthcare agent forms in to my DIL's workplace on Monday. Two of her colleagues agreed to be witnesses as I sign the forms. Then I'll make copies and get them to the doctor, hospital, and both my sons. And that will be done.

My grocery list is growing again, but at least this time I'll be able to use my Visa gift card and get $15 off.

Surgery is more than two weeks away, but it's starting to seem very close! I'll be so glad when it's all over and I'm on the mend.

A Rainy Friday

March 15th, 2019 at 09:14 am

I went to Sam's this morning after going to the gym. I was intending to buy only one thing, but ended up spending $62 -- $33 on groceries, $16 on household supplies, and $13 on personal care. Once I got there, I started thinking in terms of what I wanted to be sure I had on hand while recovering from surgery, and I thought I might as well do it now. That pushed my variables up to 78%! Yikes. With a week and a half to go, that's not great. But I do feel more prepared. Of course, I will have about a week between my next pay day and the surgery, so I will have more opportunity to stock up.

I put a chicken casserole in the freezer yesterday, and I am planning to make some mac & cheese for the freezer, too. With a little planning, I won't have to do takeout during recovery, and BFF won't have to cook. (She doesn't cook!)

I got a $15 Visa reward card for doing the wellness check. I tried to use that at Sam's, but it wasn't accepted at the self-checkout aisle. It asked for a pin. I was supposed to activate the card and choose a pin. Oh well, I will do it now.

It should be a nice, lazy day for me now. The only thing on tap is to pick up GS1 if the rain continues like it is.

Medical prep

March 14th, 2019 at 01:38 pm

Doctor visit went well yesterday. I had a bad moment when I thought I had waited too long to schedule my CT scan, meaning I would have to change the surgery date, but I got it done this morning and I'm still on schedule. I got an EKG yesterday, and blood work this morning. All this cost $5 copay and $4 for parking -- so far.

I took the boys to music lessons after school, and bought dinner for them at McDonald's for $6.

Filling the tank today cost $23.

I'm not near my computer right now but I think my variables are now at 60 percent.

The doctor had forms for a living will and durable power of attorney, so I can get those done at no cost. Just need to have a couple of witnesses when I sign.

Everything is looking good!

Going to the Doctor

March 13th, 2019 at 09:13 am

I've done my early-morning mystery shop, which meant a trip into the city, but it went okay I think. I spent $6 over the reimbursement for deodorant.

I also spent $4 for breakfast at McDonald's. Obviously, that was an impulse, but I was hungry and nervous about traffic.

In a few minutes I will leave for my doctor's appointment.

I called my lawyer in Indiana, and he advised me to get a living will drawn up by an Illinois lawyer. He said I could probably get forms from my doctor, so that's one of the things I'll address today.

I did learn that my two sons are both co-representatives in my will and both have power of attorney, so that was something I didn't even have to worry about. Believing that my older son was the single power of attorney was a false memory -- probably because at the time it was drawn up, my younger son (who is now nearby) was the distant one, living in Kansas. I do remember my older son sitting in the waiting room at the hospital with documents in hand while I was getting a hysterectomy. A long time ago.

Funny what the mind can do.

I'm off....

This and That

March 12th, 2019 at 08:58 am

Just went to Planet Fitness and got my free bagel breakfast -- and a workout, of course. Then went to Food4Less and spent $12 on groceries. That puts variables up to 53%.

I signed up for a drug store mystery shop tomorrow morning, and I'm waiting to hear if I am assigned. If so, I will have to do it early tomorrow morning, and then I have a doctor's appointment, followed by picking up the boys, and possibly taking them to music lessons.

This doctor's visit will be my pre-surgery visit with my family doctor. I will ask him about what to do about switching durable power of attorney. I have a bunch of stuff to read before I go to the appointment.

Just heard that Honda's are being recalled for an airbag defect. I did a VIN# search on a recall website and it said that my vehicle had no open recalls. But I wonder if I should keep checking, as the news seems to be breaking now.

Grocery Spending, and Legal Question

March 11th, 2019 at 10:14 am

I went to the gym yesterday and then to Aldi's, where I spent $45. Variables are at 52%, with 16 days to go.

Even though the temperature was warmer than it has been, the wind was high, and it was freezing! I was quite miserable loading and unloading the car, and I was happy to spend the rest of the day at home.

I made a comfort-food casserole with chicken, rice, mushrooms and cream of mushroom soup. It turned out very dry after I baked it. I'm assuming the rice absorbed a lot of the liquid. I think I'm going to try to rescue it by adding more liquid, maybe a combination of milk and broth.

I need to call a lawyer and find out about switching my durable power of attorney. Right now my older son is the enforcer, but he lives in Florida now and it makes more sense for the son who lives nearby to be the one who makes the decisions. Older DS is going to be vacationing at the Grand Canyon when I am in surgery and may not even be reachable. I'm sure nothing is going to go wrong, but I want to be sure I have my ducks in a row when the time comes.

Does anyone know if this is a simple thing to do, and will I need to pay a legal fee to have it done? My lawyer has long since retired, and her office is three hours away from me, so I'm not even sure who is going to take care of this. Should I just find a new lawyer nearby? I'm never in need of legal services, so I don't know the protocol.


March 10th, 2019 at 06:37 am

My car was ready yesterday, and DS took me to pick it up at around 11 am. It looks amazing! It looks better than the day I bought it. Of course, I had to pay $500 out of pocket, but I'm trying to let that go. That's what emergency funds are for.

I drove straight to the library and picked up some more books.

Today I'm going to go to the gym (after a week's break) and then to Aldi for a few groceries.

I babysat for the boys last night while DS & DIL went out to dinner with surprise visitors. It wasn't long, and I got a free dinner -- leftovers from Chinese takeout.

I made bread yesterday, but it was somehow cursed. Right from the beginning it was too dry, and I added water and oil after the fact. It turned out wrinkled and stunted. It tastes good, though! I may just call it artisan bread!

Still No Car

March 9th, 2019 at 04:37 am

Well, the car was not ready yesterday. They painted late in the day and it has to cure. They did not exactly promise that it would be ready today at closing (1 pm) but that is what I'm hoping for.

It actually turned out well, since I had a headache all day yesterday and no ride. Today, DIL is available to take me there.

I did a load of laundry yesterday, and I should be caught up on that for a while. Otherwise, it was a no-spend day.

I'm not exactly getting low on food, but there are gaps in my larder. I am running low on reading material, too.

I'm out of bread, and I plan to make some today. When I get wheels again, I will be mindful to only buy essentials. Variables are at 43%, with two and a half weeks to go.

Car Today?

March 8th, 2019 at 06:27 am

No spending yesterday. Hopefully, today is the day I will pick up my car.

I used the stovetop popcorn popper I bought at Goodwill. It was only $2.50, and I'm glad, because it wasn't worth much. I burned the popcorn and scorched the bottom of the pan (which is very hard to clean because only half of the top opens). I realized this was a user issue, but the noise of turning the spinner made it impossible to tell when the popping stopped. I don't know if I'll get it clean enough to use again. It was so thin and lightweight, the kernels burned very easily. What a disappointment.

I have another load of laundry to do today, but nothing else is on tap.

The temperature is rising, so that is happy news!

Some Entertainment

March 7th, 2019 at 05:41 am

Yesterday the boys had a half-day of school, so DIL picked them up and brought them here. I had plenty of spaghetti sauce in the freezer, so that's what we had for lunch. Afterwards we had a rousing game of Monopoly. They went home around 4.

My only spending was $1.50 for laundry.

With any luck, this will be the last day I am without a car. I am toying with the idea of walking to the body shop tomorrow when it's ready. It is 2.7 miles. The weather is supposed to be above freezing tomorrow. If I don't do that, I may take the bus, which will get me pretty close, though I will have to make a transfer. It would be the first time I used my ride-free permit.

That is trusting, of course, that the car will actually be ready tomorrow.

Today I really don't have to do much of anything, and that's all right with me!

Another Indoor Day

March 6th, 2019 at 04:35 am

I spent the day inside yesterday, and I did not spend anything.

The banana bread I made is a disappointment. It was too brown on the outside and not quite cooked in the center. I did alter the recipe a little, because I mistakenly added an extra egg and tried to make up for it by adding extra flour and sugar. Oh well. I sliced it up and put it in the freezer. Later on it may seem more appealing.

I also did one of my most dreaded tasks -- cleaning the aquarium.

No plans for today. It is still cold, and I still have no car!

Impulsive Purchase

March 5th, 2019 at 05:38 am

I bought a Google album yesterday. It was an impulsive buy. I just had an urge to save some favorite pictures that have been living on my phone. I know that people can make these albums themselves, but I am just not adept at that kind of stuff. Anyway, it was $17.

Along with the vacation and Goodwill spending this weekend, my variables have risen to 42%. It's way too early in the month for it to be this high, so I need to cut back to essentials. Now that I'm more than halfway through my gap year, I am feeling less tension about money, but I need to keep a little tension going!

I took my car to the body shop yesterday afternoon, because DIL was available to give me a ride home. It is supposed to be ready on Friday, when it will cost me $500. I'll take that out of savings.

After the passing of their cat, DS & DIL gave me all the leftover food and their Breeze litter box system. I'm going to use up my regular litter first, but I'm looking forward to the new system, which is very clean -- it uses pellets rather than clay litter, and the urine is collected in a disposable pad underneath the louvered pan. It will be more expensive to use, but I have a good head start with all the supplies they gave me.

Now I have four days at home without a car. I don't have any plans to go anywhere, because the temperature is still hovering around zero. I've got a lot of little things to get done around the house. Today I'm going to use up bananas and make banana bread.

Back Home

March 4th, 2019 at 06:12 am

I got back from my short trip to Indiana yesterday, heading home a little early because the weather started to look threatening. I drove out of the snow within about a half hour and the weather in my area was clear and beautiful. Today, however, the temperature has fallen below zero, so even though it looks good, it's bad weather!

My vacation cost me $39 for gas and food. BFF and I went to her Goodwill, which was having a half-price sale on everything. I spent $20 on clothing (two pairs of capris, two sweaters, three tops, one belt), and I spent $14 on stuff (large baking dish, stovetop popcorn popper, water bottle, vegetable keeper, pumice stone, nail brush, glass container with plastic lid, salt cellars, gift wrap & ribbon).

Variables are now at 39%. But I am taking in my car for repair tomorrow, and I will be housebound for five days, so that should be a low-spend period. I will buy a few necessities today, but it shouldn't be much.

My one regret is that I didn't get my car washed before the temperature dipped. It's too cold to do it now, so I have to take a dirty car to the body shop tomorrow.

I tried to perform a mystery shop yesterday in Indiana, but I went to the wrong location of a fast-food chain, so it was a wasted effort. Don't know why I didn't double-check the address! I was a little freaked out about the sudden heavy snowfall, so I will blame that!

More Spending

March 1st, 2019 at 05:26 am

Yesterday I noticed that my Celebrex bottle was getting low. Since I am travelling this weekend, and will be turning my car over to the shop when I get back, I decided I'd better get the prescription refilled immediately. I found a GoodRx coupon for only $17. I only needed 30 days' worth this time, since my surgery is taking place on April 2.

So I went and got it, and while I was waiting for it to be filled, I shopped and picked up $8 worth of groceries and $11 worth of greeting cards. My variables are now at 26%, and only a few days into the pay cycle!

I redeemed $20 from my BOA credit card and put it in the bank.

I signed up for a fast food mystery shop while I am visiting in Indiana. This will not only earn me a little cash, but will take some of the burden off of BFF to feed me while I'm there.

And I found a dime!