Home > Archive: January, 2020

Archive for January, 2020

Check Is In!

January 31st, 2020 at 09:58 pm

Well, the lead story for today is that my refund check from the warranty company is already in my hands! The guy at the dealership called me this morning, and I went and picked it up. It is more than I remembered -- $874. This is going to help out a lot. I'll be able to pay all my bills this month without juggling money around.

I went to the doctor this morning. It was no charge, since it was my Medicare Wellness Assessment. Everything is fine, but I have to do some labs. That is where the issues pop up -- in the blood work. But at this point, my doctor said my health is excellent, even with the kidney disease. I'll probably go do the labs on Monday.

It snowed this morning, so rather than clean off the car, I rode the train to the doctor. By the time I got home, the snow on the car had pretty much melted. That's when I hopped in the car and went to pick up my check. Anyway, it's a bit of a savings every time I take the train, because it's free, and it doesn't take gas or parking fees. Plus I get in a 6-block walk.

Mail Fail - Again, But Different

January 30th, 2020 at 09:03 pm

I'm so mad. My neighbor has brought me three packages that were delivered to her address, not mine, because the labels were screwed up. Why? Because my address has a 1/2 in it. Oh yes. It contains the dreaded slash, an "improper symbol" that a whole lot of address formatting systems will not accept. So people on the mailing end get creative, and my mail goes to Timbuktu.

Three packages is bad enough, but this morning I learned that the $800 check from the warranty company was mailed to me on December 15, and I never got it.

How much else have I lost?

I can't even order a pizza, because it will get delivered next door, if I don't physically intervene with the delivery person.

My address is USPS-approved. It is a perfectly legitimate address. It's these stupid software companies that are messing me up, and there doesn't seem to be any solution, as long as they are allowed to refuse correctly formatted addresses.

I can get a PO box, but then I have to pay for it, and I have to go get the mail, and I even have to pay to park at the post office! I don't want to!

Anyway, I am having the check reissued and mailed to the dealership, where I will go pick it up. So I will finally get my money.

It Wasn't Pneumonia

January 29th, 2020 at 06:42 pm

Iggy has an upper respiratory infection, very treatable. He got an antibiotic shot, as well as a B-12 shot, and today he seems much more comfortable. His weight has gone up a little and his vitals are good.

While the vet was looking him over, she saw the tears in my eyes, and she quickly said, "Oh no, today is not the day!"

I am so relieved, and so happy to have more time with this sweet boy.

The vet charged me only for the injection, which was $50.

In the evening, I took the boys to music lessons and then to dinner afterwards at a local casual restaurant. It was $23 for spaghetti, two hot dogs and a hamburger.

This morning, after going to the gym, I went to Sam's and bought raspberries and blueberries. Their berries are -- the berries! So good. And they are good for the kidney diet, so I'm going to keep treating myself this way. $8 for 30 ounces.

Money In

January 28th, 2020 at 01:10 pm

Woo-hoo! A text message came in yesterday and I checked it to see who was reaching out. It was Allstate! My $500 had just been deposited into my bank account. Thank goodness! Now I wait for the $800 from EasyCare (auto warranty) and the $911 from the IRS. I may go to the auto dealer where I got the warranty today to ask if they would check up on it for me. They said it would be 60 days, and now it has been 80+ days. I just want to make sure it hasn't slipped through the cracks. As for my tax refund, the site says it may be 21 days.... It's always arrived quicker than that (electronically) so I am hopeful the wait will be shorter.

I got a Stir Crazy popcorn popper for Christmas, but as of yesterday I hadn't opened the box yet. Not because I wasn't interested, but I just hadn't been craving popcorn, and I was kind of putting off having to learn how to use a new appliance. Well, I did it yesterday, and I am so pleased! I didn't realize that I could pop just one serving. I used the built-in butter disperser, but found that a lot of the butter got stuck up at the top, so I'll use my old method for buttering -- put a chunk in a little Pyrex bowl and give it a quick turn in the microwave.

In a final note, I have figured out that Iggy's "cold" is pneumonia. I'm going to take him to the vet today, but I am prepared for the strong possibility that I won't be bringing him home again. I'm tearing up writing this, but I want to do what's best for him, and to give him relief, and peace.

Sleepless in Chicago, Again

January 27th, 2020 at 03:02 pm

I had a terrible sleepless night last night. I am on the fence about what to do about Iggy and not seeing any clear answers. I don't want to let go of him too soon, but I don't want him to suffer. I am deferring a decision at least one more day, unless something negative happens today.

Yesterday I spent $12 at the grocery. The cost of groceries has been creeping up steadily and I just can't keep it at the low levels I am used to.

I brought home some ham from the dinner last night and there will be ham sandwiches in my future to help out a little.

GS2 came over for a few hours yesterday while GS1 was trying out for the travel baseball team. He brought his tablet over and played games most of the time. Which I thought was fine because he is allowed videogames on weekends. Well, he told his parents we made jam together, and I unintentionally busted him. Oops! Pretty funny. I hope he is not in TOO much trouble.

I got my property tax bill in the mail, and the accompanying note says I can pay with a credit card without a fee. I might do that; I should be much better off to handle it next month.

I had a nice, long conversation with DS1 in Oregon yesterday. He had all good news -- Florida house sold in three days, kids loving the new house and school, everyone happy. I am planning a trip in the spring. The Empire Builder, an Amtrak line between Chicago and Portland, stops in Pasco, WA, which is pretty close to where he lives. Close enough that he could pick me up. I might really enjoy the train ride. It wouldn't be any cheaper than flying, though. But I hate to fly.

Taxes Filed

January 25th, 2020 at 05:00 pm

My taxes are so easy now. I only have to report income from TIAA (interest payment from my retirement account) and Social Security. And I had a small amount of interest from my savings account, certainly not much. So as soon as my statement from TIAA became available, I was able to e-file quickly. (And there was no fee for state filing this year. I don't owe them anything, anyway.) I'm going to get back $911, which is the amount TIAA withheld.

I was able to do this a week earlier than anticipated, so I will probably get the refund in time to alleviate all my anxiety about next month's bills. I was hoping to put this money toward the table project, but this is better.

Iggy seems to have a cold. He is sneezing all the time. It makes him eat even less. I am worried and watching him closely.

Today it is snowing again, and I'm planning to stay in. I will probably do a load of laundry, but that is just a quick run down the stairs.

Mail Fail

January 24th, 2020 at 03:03 pm

I noticed that my DS and DIL in Oregon did not yet cash the check I sent for their kids' college funds. I asked, and, indeed, they did not receive the check. It also seems they did not receive my Christmas package, only the gifts I ordered from Amazon. I put a stop payment on the check and I am sending a replacement today. I did the stop payment online and I am not sure what the fee will be.

It is so weird that neither mailing arrived. The package may have been stolen by a porch pirate. It makes me sad, because I put so much thought and effort into that package, picking up little items throughout the year, and wrapping and labeling each gift separately. In money terms, I probably lost between $100 and $200. I did not insure the package, so that was my bad.

They were living in an Airbnb while waiting to get into their house, so I wonder if that was a factor.

Today is Friday, sheets and towels laundry day. I am doing two loads, because Iggy messed up his quilt, and a towel that was in the carrier when he went to the vet. But the good news is, with all this stomach upset he's had, he hasn't messed up my bed, which is his usual favorite place to throw up! It's just time to do the sheets.

Later on, I will go to the library and get new reading material. I will try to beat the snow, which is going to start up again today.

My ex invited me and the kids and grandkids to come to his house for a ham dinner on Sunday. So that will be a free meal -- not that I really need it, because I am really stocked with food right now. But this will make my stores last just a little bit longer. He always overprepares, so he may press some leftovers on me as well. I believe he gets a free ham every year from his school corporation. Anyway, rest assured, I am not totally focused on just getting free food, it will be a fun gathering, good for the kids and grandkids. I hope we are setting a good example on how to get along, even when you have some painful history.

More Snow, and Money Woes

January 23rd, 2020 at 05:04 pm

It snowed last night, so this morning I had to clean off the car to go to the gym. It's still snowing lightly, very prettily. It was not too bad -- I count it as extra exercise.

Even though I am doing well on keeping low on my variables, I have to cut off spending entirely now because my bills next month are so big. I have to pay my property tax, and a credit card bill that includes my semi-annual car insurance. In fact, I had to adjust my car payment down to $200 from $300 so I wouldn't be in the red. I would rather do that than pull from savings, because my savings are only a little over $1000, which is uncomfortably low for me.

Add to that, the big CC bill aforementioned is due a few days before pay day, so I will have to pull the money from savings and then put it back. This is all so frustrating. I thought I would be doing so much better.

But I have plenty of food on hand, and I can begin spending again on the 12th, when my Discover bill closes. Just have to hunker down till then.

And who knows -- maybe someday -- I will finally get the money that is owed me from insurance and warranty cancellation? Another big frustration.

Free Day

January 22nd, 2020 at 02:48 pm

I like to open up the calendar and see a blank day. Freedom! I love it.

Yesterday I went to the senior center and put $65 onto my transportation account. I can use this debit card for things like Uber -- also, buses and trains, etc., but I will use it for Uber, since my senior benefit card covers local buses and trains. There was already $10 on the card -- not sure why -- maybe it was a benefit for opening the account? Anyway, with my $65 addition, the value is now $140. Now I just have to create an Uber account! I did this once and then deleted it because I never used it. But with this boost, I think I will use it now, especially for trips to the airport.

Then I went to Aldi and spent $37, and then to Jewel, where I got a few items not available at Aldi -- $12. I also gave a dollar to a guy standing by the door.

I came home and did a load of laundry. Altogether, with this spending my variables jumped to 68%. Still very good for this late in the month.

There were no music lessons this week (the teacher is in Florida) so I didn't have a dinner to pay for.

The weather continues cold, but there has been no more snow, and I have been able to get around and park with little aggravation. I am waiting for a warmish day so I can drive my car through the car wash. It's a mess!

Oh, I wanted to say -- part of my grocery shopping was $7 spent on a new spider strainer from Aldi. I had been thinking about how much I missed the one I had, which fell apart, and there it was! I don't usually buy non-grocery items at Aldi, but I am very pleased with this.

Iggy's Good

January 20th, 2020 at 03:14 pm

Iggy seems to be feeling pretty good, so the cortisone shot was the right call. Fingers crossed!

Today I was supposed to take GS1 to baseball coaching, but DIL forgot that DS is off work today, so he can do it. That frees me up to get some errands done, provided I can move the car away from the curb. (Mounds of ice to get through!)

I made sugar cookie dough yesterday and I will bake some today and freeze the rest. Otherwise, most of the day was spent reading and watching TV. I watched about half of "The Irishman" and I will get to the rest today. Very long movie! I also want to catch up on PBS' "Sanditon." I am a big Jane Austen fan.

The vet, and a winter blast

January 19th, 2020 at 01:38 pm

Yesterday Iggy was sick all morning. He had uncontrollable diarrhea and he was vomiting, too. I decided to forgo the memorial service and take him to the vet. The vet checked him out and gave him fluids and a cortisone shot. The latter is risky for his condition, so I am watching him. The bottom line is, it may make him feel better, but it may hasten his kidney failure. It can go either way. I know he is near the end anyway. I just want him to feel better. If he doesn't, I will let him go. I can't bear to see him suffer.

He does seem to be better today.

Before all that, we were dumped with snow, which then half-melted and became slush, and then froze when a deep freeze moved in. Driving and parking was terrible. Even walking was hard.

After cleaning off the car, I drove around so the spots I couldn't get to would melt. I got gas and went through the McDonalds drive-through. Finding a parking place afterwards was an extreme challenge. I finally scored a spot across the street that didn't seem too bad, but I don't know for sure whether I am frozen in or not. I don't have to move the car today, but I will have to take GS1 to his baseball coaching lesson tomorrow, so I am hoping I am not trapped in ice.

Money -- the vet cost $120, gas was $15, and a lunch at McDonald's was $4.

It will be cold all day -- in the teens -- but it will moderate as the week goes on. I have all my radiators on full-blast but they are having a hard time keeping up with temps like this.

Snow Day

January 18th, 2020 at 01:46 pm

We got a dump of snow last night, but I hear snowblowers and shovels going even as I speak.

I am supposed to go to a memorial up in one of the northerly suburbs. I don't know how the roads are. I hope I can go because this man was married to a friend, another baseball grandma, who is suffering from Alzheimer's. It's so sad. I don't know what is going to happen to her now; he was taking care of her. He had skin cancer, but it was very unexpected, and it took him fast.

I shopped at Sam's yesterday, spending $28 on groceries. I also spent $19 on a bottle of salmon oil, which I will use on Iggy's food. I hope it helps. He is having trouble pooping. He is so uncomfortable.

I returned rejected cat food at PetSmart and they gave me a $28 gift card.

Variables are at 39%.

Cold Weather and a Cough

January 17th, 2020 at 02:24 pm

Yesterday was a pretty leisurely day, until the evening, when I took the boys to baseball coaching. The facility where it is held is not heated well at all, and the waiting room was frigid! I have to do it again on Monday, which is supposed to be very cold, so I am planning to do a drop-off and then return to pick them up. I'll find a Starbucks, or something.

I am dealing with a chronic cough, so I am tackling it on several fronts. Nasal spray intermittently through the day, humidifiers and misters scattered around the house, a pot of water on low on the cooktop, and lots of drinking (water!) I got out my PurMist appliance but didn't use it last night as I was eager to just get to bed after taking the boys home. But I will make that a daily habit, too.

Of course I will also talk to my doctor about it, but I won't be making an appointment with him until I complete my House Calls visit (from UnitedHealthcare) on the 30th. That way my appointment will be free.

Today will be rather busy. I will go to the gym, then to Sam's for a few things, then to PetSmart to return cat food, and then home to do laundry and make meatloaf.

No spending in the last few days.

Oops, I forgot! I did get the senior freeze form in the mail and I'm sending it back today. There are three exemptions that are available to me, and two of them will become automatic, but there is still this one that has to be redone every year. So I did it!

Property Tax

January 15th, 2020 at 04:40 pm

Disney Steve's post reminded me that I had not yet received my tax bill, either. I got online and saw that it is due March 3, so it could still arrive, and I can pay online if it doesn't. I put it in my budget for next month so I won't forget.

I was also wondering about my exemptions -- senior homestead, and senior freeze, both of which I have to apply for every year. The site said they would be reflected in my second payment in July, and that I am supposed to be mailed the forms in January. I'll be watching for them.

In other news -- today is pay day!

I paid off all the credit cards and thus put an end to my Christmas splurging. I don't have a lot left over, but enough to get through. I also paid my second "car payment" -- actually a credit card payment, but I am paying off the debt from my new car on a 0% credit card. Only 8 more to go and that is gone. I am pleased that I did not have to take anything from savings.

And of course, I paid my mortgage.

My variables are only 33%, so I am doing well on that.

I took the boys to Noodles & Company after music lessons last night, and the tab was $21. I brought home half of my meal and I'll have it for lunch today.