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Archive for July, 2019

Scones!

July 31st, 2019 at 04:29 am

I had a nice day with GS2 yesterday. We did not go to the movie, as it made the schedule too tight. So before his play date, we made some scones, which is something he has been wanting to do. They turned out okay, though I would have liked them to be a little firmer. He seemed pleased, and he ate three.

I had to buy some cream for the recipe, which was $3 at Trader Joe's. I also spent $2 on a StreetWise magazine -- basically a charity -- and I also got some batteries for $16. It was a BOGO deal and now I have enough AAA batteries to last the rest of my life, probably! I also gave $2 to a program to support teachers; got two candy bars in exchange, which will be our theater treat if and when we get there!

Today I'm going to take GS2 to view and tour the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile, which is visiting our town. It can only happen between 12 and 2, which pretty much takes out the movie, since showings are at 12:40 and 3:30. Can't possibly make it to the 12:40, even if we are first in line at the Weinermobile.

My guess is that he is going to be underwhelmed by the Weinermobile, but it is what he wants to do. Curiously, I saw the Weinermobile when I was exactly the same age -- nine -- and I've always remembered it. I remember I thought the driver was Oscar Mayer himself, and it wasn't until years later that I figured it out.

Variables are now at 76%, and four weeks to go, since this is a long pay period. And I don't even have the excitement of expecting a bigger paycheck at the end.

I was planning on hunkering down and spending nothing once DS & family are on vacation, but there will be something -- an old friend reached out to me yesterday, and we will meet for lunch in mid-August. We are meeting at a restaurant at the halfway point, which is about an hour and a half away. I am doing this despite my budget constraints, because I really want to see her. And since I am somewhat isolated here, with no close friends in the immediate area, I need the social stimulation. I am really missing my friend C who died a year and a half ago. I haven't found anyone who comes anywhere near filling that spot.

Doing Well

July 30th, 2019 at 04:51 am

My doctor gave me straight A's on my recovery. I was glad to know that the x-ray showed perfect alignment, because sometimes I get crazy thoughts about everything shifting inside. I told him I still have some pain, and after I described it he said it was muscular pain, and that it was normal. It will go away in about 8 months. My friend who had hip replacement before me said the same thing.

After my appointment I picked up GS2 at his mom's work. We went out to Noodles & Co., where I spent $20. I also stopped at Jewel and picked up almond milk for $4. I also had to pay .50 for parking. Variables are at 69%.

Today will be light work. I'll pick up GS2 at his gym at 10:30, make some lunch, take him to a movie at 12:40 and then to a play date afterwards. He is covering the movie -- he got $50 in AMC gift cards for his last birthday.

I went without AC yesterday until bedtime; then it was just too hot. This morning I turned it off and so far it's pleasant. The wished-for cold front seems to be kind of trickling in, but I'm hoping for a big change by tomorrow.

Doctor Visit

July 29th, 2019 at 05:08 am

I'm going to the doctor -- ortho surgeon -- this morning. I've already paid the copay online -- $50. That takes my variables to 64%.

I offered to babysit GS2 this afternoon, but DIL may take the whole day off. She will let me know.

Yesterday was a no-spend day, other than $3 for laundry. I was treated to a free breakfast after I helped send off GS1 to camp on a great, big bus. He will be there for two weeks. So it will just be GS2 and me until they all go on vacation on August 12.

The heat hasn't broken yet, but there is supposed to be a cold front moving in today. I turned off the AC this morning just to give the units a break. My electric bill is going to be high.

I got a funny text from my electric company telling me I earned $0 on my last peak savings day -- which just happened to be the hottest day of the year. Duh, not going to turn off my AC in grueling heat to earn $2.

After hearing the news about the Equifax settlement, I checked to see if I was affected -- I think maybe I did this before. It said I was. However, since I don't currently have a monitoring service, I had to choose that option rather than cash. I haven't had any problems with credit or identity theft, but you never know what's lurking out there, so I'm glad I will have some kind of help. I'm supposed to get an email explaining what to do to activate it, which hasn't arrived yet.

Sunday Musings

July 28th, 2019 at 05:22 am

I went to Jewel yesterday to pick up some things I can't get at Aldi. I picked up more than I expected to, and spent $47. The worst part is that I forgot almond milk, which I do need. So I'll have to make another trip.

I also went to the library, and on the way home, I saw a sidewalk sale at an antique shop. I stopped and bought two small fruit bowls for $2. I also had to pay $1 for parking.

Variables are at 53% with 3 1/2 weeks to go!

Once home, I stayed in, because it was hot, hot, hot. It's supposed to be hot today as well. I'll have to go out to see GS1 off on his two-week camping adventure, but that will be it.

Dido pointed out in a comment that Social Security pays in arrears, and that means I'm not really on my last month of low income. I will have another. I keep checking the website to see if my application has been accepted, and they keep saying it's processing. Surely they will get to it sometime? I filled out the application in the first week of June. I don't really care when the first payment is, but I would like to know that the change will happen.

An Excellent, Cheap Haircut

July 27th, 2019 at 05:55 am

I got my hair cut yesterday - $18. I had been toying with the idea of going back to the salon where I got a free haircut, courtesy of DS & DIL, for Mother's Day. It was a beautiful cut, but if I had paid for it, it would have been $65! That's a lot for a cut. Even so, I tried to make an appointment this week, and couldn't get one for two weeks! That decided me to just go back to my regular stylist at Supercuts. And she gave me a really good cut, so I've come back to reality. Repeat after me, I am not a rich lady.

I did not make it to the grocery or library -- will do that today -- but I did get my quarters. I need to do a load of towels, etc. today.

I got my free supplies from OTC-Essentals. This time I got a bath mat, Dairy Aid caplets, chewable Pepto-Bismal (generic), lip balm, acetaminophen, sensitive toothpaste, and eye drops. I realized I should have ordered acid reflux meds, because I'm quite low on them. I'll have to get them at Sam's.

But I did figure out I can drop one of my prescriptions, as I can get generic Flonase through this program. Right now I have a bottle and a half, so I should be good until the next time I can order on October 15.

Still no word from Social Security. When I look at the website, it says my August payment will be the same one I've been getting. Hope that changes soon.

I just paid $40 for hospital services -- bills are still trickling in from my surgery, and randomly appear on my online account. On Monday I will have to pay a $50 copay for seeing a specialist.

Guess that's it!

It's My Long Weekend

July 26th, 2019 at 07:15 am

My weekend starts on Thursday night, because DIL does not work on Friday. And on Monday, I have a doctor's appointment in the morning. I don't know yet whether DIL will take the whole day off or just the morning.

My doctor's appointment is with the orthopedic surgeon, and I assume it will be my last one.

Today I'm going to get my hair cut, if I can get an appointment. And I'm going to pick up a few groceries I couldn't get at Aldi, and "buy" some quarters for the laundry. And, at home, I'm going to clean the fish tank and vacuum and dust all over.

I may go to the library, too, because I finished another book, and there is another one on hold.

Yesterday was a pretty calm and frugal day. The boys went to the park twice, we played a game "Word on the Street," we had lunch (frozen pizza) and in between all that, they watched TV.

The lady who is looking out for the unit above came to my door yesterday and gave me a key to the unit. She wanted me to have it in case the management company wanted to get in, and she was unavailable. This was with the blessing of the owner, of course. She said that the PM's have been bugging the owner to do something, but he is on a work project somewhere far away, and he doesn't want his floor torn up when he is not there. I get it. I told her I had recently clarified to the PM that the leak is not active, and that I am fine with waiting until the owner can have input and supervise the work.

I got an email notice today that my checking account was low. I looked and it was $22 which is exactly what I have in my own record. It's really not a problem, because I'm getting my payment from TIAA any day, and nothing is scheduled to go out of my account till the 6th of August. But I transferred $100 from savings just so I won't keep getting the notice. Ordinarily I keep a higher balance in checking, but it's been a month of big bills, and I was resisting taking any more out of savings than I had to.

Some Spending

July 25th, 2019 at 04:38 am

With pay day comes spending. I bought $68 worth of pet supplies from Amazon -- cat litter pellets and pads for my Breeze litter box. Also from Amazon, $12 for a callus remover cream which had good reviews. I have a callus on the bottom of my foot which must push on a nerve -- it is so painful. I want it gone.

I went to Aldi with the boys and spent $57 on groceries. I had them pick out what they wanted for lunch and I was surprised by their choice -- tortellini with marinara sauce. Thought for sure it was going to be pizza or mac and cheese.

I also spent $3 on laundry. Variables are at 31%. There wasn't much to add into the budget this month, as I haven't been doing any mystery shopping or any other money-making projects. Last month's variables ended up at 127% -- for shame! But when I averaged the percentages for the last seven months, it was only 89%, so I'm really doing all right.

Here is my recap for July:

Housing: $1009
Insurance: $643
Medical/Health: $413
Utilities: $172
Eating Out: $134
Fees/Services: $99
Clothing: $95
Vacation/Travel: $91
Phone: $52
Groceries: $38
Gas: $29
Gifts/Charity: $21
Household Supplies: $19
Personal: $10
Laundry: $9
Entertainment: $9
Furnishings/Equipment/Decor: $6
Fares/Parking: $6

Grand Total: $2855

Housing was high because an extra $250 was added for my mortgage reset fee. Eating out was high because of my disabled kitchen and the extreme heat. Also because of the grandsons' cherished "eat-out day." But groceries were amazingly low!

This is my last month of eking things out on a super-low income. Next month my social security income will rise as I hit age 70. I hope. My application is still pending. For those who don't know my blog, I am switching from the spousal benefit to my own. I did this so I would get the full benefit I am entitled to at age 70.

Easy Come, Easy Go

July 24th, 2019 at 05:13 am

Pay day is here, and it's already pretty much spent. I paid my mortgage, throwing in $42 extra, paid my $515 property tax, paid my $412 assessment fee, paid my $837 Discover bill, and my $46 BOA Visa bill. I pay for pretty much everything with credit cards, but always pay in full. The Discover bill was high this month because there were some medical payments on it. I had to make a transfer from savings to cover it all, which doesn't feel good, but that's what it's there for.

It will be a lean month ahead, but I have to get a haircut -- it's long overdue -- and I have to buy some pet supplies. And my food stock is low, so there will be groceries to buy.

GS1 is going to camp for two weeks beginning next Monday. When he gets home, the family is going on vacation. So that means I will have GS2 for two weeks and then I am essentially done, because school will start after they get home from vacation. There will be some after-school care, but it will be different, as they will both be in schools within walking distance. I'm guessing that GS1 will walk home and take care of himself till his mom comes home, but GS2 will probably drop in at my house.

My property management guy called yesterday to check on how I'm doing with the leak. He didn't know that the water had been turned off upstairs and he was glad to hear that. He said that he has spoken to my upstairs neighbor, and that he will come home on September 7 and will then take care of it all. He seemed pretty sure I will not have to pay for anything.

Another Lunch

July 23rd, 2019 at 05:25 am

I ended up buying lunch yesterday after all. There just wasn't time between music lessons and the orthodontist appointment to go home and fix something. We went through the Steak N Shake drive-thru and I spent $20.

I also spent $1.50 on laundry, and $1.50 on parking.

I'm really ready for this pay cycle to end and get a fresh start. That will be tomorrow.

Today I'm going to the gym, and in the process moving my car for street cleaning. I have to move it by 9 AM and it will probably be challenging to find a parking place in a legal zone when I come home from the gym. But I can park anywhere after 1 PM, so I will manage. If I don't, it's a $30 ticket!

The hole in the ceiling has dried out well. I am still waiting for my upstairs neighbor to come home so we can discuss a plan to fix both areas.

We Are the Champions!

July 22nd, 2019 at 05:32 am

What a night! GS1's team prevailed and won. The score was only 5-2, but there was a lot of back-and-forth tension, as the other team was very good also.

It was so much fun to storm the field afterwards for hugs, pictures, trophy-awarding and general joyous celebrating. This team has hung in there through years of the being the losers. It is so amazing to see their determination rewarded like this!

I spent $3 on a hot dog. It was not very hot, and not much later, someone from the concessions stand went through the crowd selling "ice-cold hot dogs!" for a dollar apiece. I should have waited just a little bit!

Earlier in the day I made a run to the library to pick up a book on hold. I spent only .15 on parking since I only had to run in and out.

Today it's music lessons for the boys, and usually, it's eat-out day. I'm going to ask the boys if we can hold off till Wednesday, my pay day.

Temperatures have returned to normal, and it's so nice to have relief from that heat. I just have a few fans running this morning, and I probably don't really need them.

From Heat to Rain

July 21st, 2019 at 05:12 am

The heat wave broke last night when a storm moved through. Well, not through, because it's still here this morning. Now we're in a flood advisory, but I'm really appreciating the coolness. I've turned off all the AC and even the fans.

I was planning on doing laundry today, but I checked the hampers and none of them are quite full enough. So I'll be doing it in the next few days.

There is an evening game tonight -- doesn't start till 7:30. It is the championship game. We'll have to see if it's dry enough. The game isn't here, but in a town about 25 minutes away.

My grandson has already signed up for a "fall ball" league, so there will be more baseball coming up. My understanding is that the travel involved will be a little more extensive.

Yesterday was a no-spend day, and I expect today will be also.

Hot Game

July 20th, 2019 at 06:07 am

Last night's baseball game was very hot -- in more ways than one. First of all, the temperature was in the 90s and the humidity was high, and I only survived because the bleachers were in the shade and there was a breeze once in a while. I don't know how the boys stood it. Secondly, the game ended in a forfeit -- in our favor -- because a coach on the other side had a temper tantrum against the ump and refused to leave the field. So the ump called a forfeit. Man, this guy really lost it! What a bad example for the boys.

Yesterday was a no-spend day. Until I went out for the game, I just spent the day inside.

I'm using up food rather than going to the grocery. I tried to make a cheese sauce yesterday, but it clumped badly. I believe it was the Swiss cheese slices that did it. I don't know how to rescue the result.

I could do some baking, but it is too hot. My air conditioners are barely keeping up.

Four days till pay day.

Heat!!!

July 19th, 2019 at 05:27 am

Gearing up today for extreme heat, like many of you! So far, it's not too bad. I don't have my AC on yet, but I did have one of my units on all night, and I will soon put them both on again when it starts getting hotter.

GS1's baseball game last night was rescheduled for tonight, which I think is going to be worse!

The boys had a fine time yesterday at an indoor trampoline park. They jumped for two hours! Their mom & dad reimbursed me for the admission, so it was a no-spend day for me. I made them cheese quesadillas for lunch.

Today I'm going to go to the gym, then take the boys to their gym, and then I'm off for the day. I'll stay inside in the cool until baseball time in the evening. But I will hold out hope that the game will be rescheduled again.

No financial news. I'm just waiting for pay day, which is now only five days away.

Cancelled my Claim

July 18th, 2019 at 05:25 am

I cancelled my claim yesterday. The bylaws of my condo state that repairing/replacing drywall is my responsibility, and my ceiling is drywall. My insurance company could kick in for painting it, but it is about the same as my deductible, and I'd rather not have the claim on my record.

I'm just going to wait until my upstairs neighbor comes home, and talk to him about doing the repair as a coordinated effort, which is probably the best thing to do for the structure. Hoping he will step up and turn my repair as well as his into his insurance. The condo board president is firmly behind me.

So I'll just live with the hole for a while. I've had a fan on it for several days now, and I think it is drying out well.

We are being warned about violent thunderstorms this morning, and then record heat. Right now I have the air conditioners off, so I can run my dishwasher, but they are going on again when the dishes are done. (Such is life in an old building.) It is comfortable now. I am hoping the storms will not affect power.

Yesterday I spent $7 on shakes and $28 on gas. I made lunch at home for the boys -- turkey and cheese sandwiches -- which were not a big hit, but at least they ate some of it.

GS1 played in the first game of playoffs last night, and his team won, so there is another game scheduled tonight. I am concerned about the heat, and I hope they will cancel if it is as hot as they say it will be. Last night's game was interrupted by rain, but they were able to come back and finish.

Plodding Along

July 17th, 2019 at 04:50 am

I got a reply from my PM contact, and he recommended that I talk to my insurance agent. I did, and I started a claim. It is all so much more complicated than I thought it would be. I sent him a copy of our condo bylaws this morning, so he can determine where the responsibility lies. He told me yesterday that the owner above cannot be liable if he has not been negligent. He did leave his condo for an extended period of time without turning the water off, but I don't know if that is actually negligence in insurance terms.

The agent thinks that the PM company should cover it with their master policy, but that isn't what they are saying, of course.

If it turns out that I have to cover it through my own insurance it would only be a $250 deductible, and if that's what it takes to get it done, I'll do it. But I will let this play out and see if my agent can get the PM company to step up.

Yesterday was a no-spend day. I played Monopoly with the boys and made lunch with stuff from their fridge. I decided not to have them at my house because the kitchen smelled funky. Today it smells better -- or I am getting used to it. I am keeping the AC on so it will dry out. Not just for that reason -- it's hot, anyway.

Today will be another hot day. I may take the boys to the beach today.