Home > Archive: February, 2020

Archive for February, 2020

Gnarly Bread

February 29th, 2020 at 12:33 pm

My main goal yesterday was to make bread. It's been almost a year since I've done that, so I wanted to make sure the yeast was good. I proofed it with water, sugar and flour. It responded, so I went ahead with the recipe, but I goofed up when I didn't add enough water. I tried to add water after I had started kneading, but it didn't work very well. In the end, the bread is edible, but quite ugly. It rose, but it was never smooth. Oh well, I will eat it anyway.

It was time to renew a prescription, so I walked to the drugstore. The prescription cost me $15 and I got in 6000+ steps for the day.

My gas bill was automatically subtracted from my account, and it was much less than I had estimated. That freed up some money, so even with the cost of the prescription subtracted, I still have $304 available.

Today I'm getting my election training. I'm going to pack some peanuts, an apple and a chocolate bar to get me through. I also have bottles of water in my car. I'm also going to take along some hand sanitizer, since I will be a large group. I'm not freaked out about coronavirus, but it won't hurt to be cautious.

Later in the day I'll do my February recap. It's been quite a month, financially.

Uneventful Day

February 28th, 2020 at 01:07 pm

Yesterday was a pretty uneventful day. I went to the gym and then came straight home. The car wasn't too badly buried and was pretty easy to scrape clean. I did a load of laundry. I surpassed 5,000 steps.

I did not make bread. After the laundry was done, I sat down to relax and ended up relaxing the rest of the day. I am reading the Song of Ice and Fire series and watching The Walking Dead, so there is plenty of distraction available.

Today there is nothing on the agenda, so I should be able to get to that bread-making. I am really missing having bread available, so that should get me going.

Tomorrow I will have election training from 9:30 to 1:00. Add to that the time to commute, which will add about a half hour each way. I'm going to pack a lunch, and eat a good breakfast before I go. Fingers crossed that the new system will be user-friendly. It couldn't be worse than the old one!

13 Days

February 27th, 2020 at 01:01 pm

I spent $2 yesterday on candy which a neighbor was selling. It came out of cash, so the $280 is still intact.

As planned, I did take the train to the bank and "bought" a roll of quarters. It was just an exchange of paper money for coins, so not an expenditure.

Later in the day I walked to the dentist's office and changed my cleaning appointment to the 18th.

Between these two errands and just walking around the house, I reached 6,700 steps yesterday.

Today is a gym day, and I'll have to clean off the car, which will give me plenty of exercise in itself!

Food stores are still holding up well. I am running out of bread, so I will make bread today. I haven't done that in quite a while -- hope the yeast is still okay! If not, I have some in the freezer.


February 26th, 2020 at 01:39 pm

The snow arrived on schedule, but shifted south, so we only got a couple of inches. The cars look like cupcakes, but the weather doesn't seem to have slowed anybody down.

It was snowing when we left music lessons, and the boys were amenable to just driving through at McDonald's. I bought cheeseburgers for them, nothing for me. The total was only $3.73, and I paid out of my cash. They will not have lessons next week -- it is a makeup session, and they have nothing to make up. So I don't have to worry about dinner next week.

I only reached 3200 steps yesterday, so I will have to get out today and make up for that. I have been averaging 5000 steps and I want to keep that up. It's supposed to be blustery, so I will have to bundle up. I need to get some quarters, so I may take the train to a stop near my bank.

14 days. Somehow it seems better now that it is only two weeks.

15 More Days

February 25th, 2020 at 04:39 pm

15 days to go! I did a load of laundry yesterday, and I will do one today, but the cost of that is not coming out of the pot, since it is coming out of cash. I actually gained a little in the pot, with a Pine Cone payment. Now I have $280 to get me through.

We were supposed to get slammed by a snowstorm last night, but so far there is no sign of it. Now they are saying it will start around 6 tonight. That's about when music lessons will finish up. If the snow is heavy, dinner will be a drive-thru at McDonald's because I won't want to be out any longer than I have to. Cheap, too!

This and That

February 24th, 2020 at 01:53 pm

16 more days of spending as close to nothing as I can get.

I am planning to go up to my brother's in Michigan on the 15th. He won't be there -- he is still in Florida -- but my nephew will be there, and I can overnight there. The real reason I want to go is that I haven't seen my man friend since Thanksgiving; it's just been too long.

Yesterday's walk was 4500 steps. I had a water bottle with me, which I used, but I couldn't push myself any further than that. Even though the weather was nice. But I feel like it's good that I'm just doing it. My statin, by the way, has not been bothering me. Hope that keeps up.

As part of my walk, I went to the library and checked out two more books. I am reading the Songs of Ice and Fire series. I hope the author gets the final book out by the time I am ready for it!

I ran out of creamer yesterday so this morning I made a homemade variety out of almond milk and syrup. It was pretty good! And it is phosphorus-free, which is important for my kidney diet.

Today is a gym day, and it is laundry day for sheets/towels. This time I have to wash a quilt that Iggy threw up on. Along with a couple of towels, that will be the whole load.

We are supposed to get a winter storm tonight. I hope it doesn't get deep enough that I have to move my car for street plowing. That will make it difficult to take the boys to lessons on Tuesday.


February 23rd, 2020 at 02:53 pm

I took a walk yesterday and logged 6,000 steps for the day. I did not enjoy the walk, just had to force myself every step. I finally figured out I was dehydrated. I drank a lot of water when I got home. I will not set out without a water bottle again.

I looked up the balance on my Discover card and it was larger than I thought, so my available spending money for the next 17 days is only $270. I still think I can do it.

My car is due for an emissions test. I was going to do it on Monday, just to get it out of the way, but it occurred to me that I should put that off till after the 11th, too, in case they find something that needs to be repaired. I need to just think this way till I get through this time.

This is going to be another nice day, so I will be taking another walk -- with a water bottle! On Monday through Wednesday we will be getting snow -- or rain, if the temperature is warm enough. I may do some inside walking then, though I dislike the tedium of a treadmill.

Election Work

February 22nd, 2020 at 02:42 pm

It was a no-spend day yesterday other than $1.50 to run a load of laundry. It was also a gym day, and I got in 5800+ steps.

I did sign up for training for election work. It will take place next Saturday, up in one of the more northerly suburbs. Once that is done I'll be assigned for election day on March 17, and perhaps for early voting at one or two nursing homes (two-hour stints) on March 13. If I do get three different assignments, I will make $330 altogether.

I figure if I go through the training, and I just don't think I get it, I can decline the assignments. My experience with training is that it is rushed and poorly executed. Maybe this time will be an exception. And they do give you reading material, which I can study if I feel unsure.

It is supposed to be unusually warm today and tomorrow, so I plan to get in long lakeside walks.

As I've said before, my plan is to get through the next 18 days spending less than $340. I also have about $50 in cash above that. I realized yesterday that my dentist appointment will fall in the middle of that, and, while I do not owe any more for the crown, I am scheduled for cleaning and checkup at the same time, which will cost above $100. I'm going to ask to move the cleaning portion of the appointment to a date beyond the 11th. Might as well not shoot myself in the foot.

I have plenty of food in the pantry and freezer. I'm not sure I'll be able to go 18 days without going to the grocery store, but I'm sure gonna try. I do have three dinners with the boys that fall within that period, but with any luck the last one, which is on the 10th, will not show up on the credit card until the next cycle. I think I have enough of everything - pet supplies, household goods, etc. -- to get through this. So I'm just going to look at this as a stay-at-home vacation in which I will putter around, read and relax!

Security Measures

February 21st, 2020 at 02:31 pm

Yesterday I copied all the cards and ID's in my wallets (I have three) and filed them away. Now I'm ready, if someone steals my stuff! Why do I have three wallets? One is a little one that fits in my pocket; it contains my most-used credit cards and membership cards. The second is a large one that also contains my checkbook. It holds my driver's license, medical cards, AAA card, library card, ride-free card, and one store card. My third wallet is a zippered case that holds my loyalty cards/punch cards and a few credit cards that I rarely use. The only reason I carry them at all is for backup in case I don't have the little wallet with me. (Sometimes I forget and leave it in a pocket -- bad habit!)

It was too cold to walk; I just couldn't convince myself to go outside. But I got some things done at home. I made a pizza from scratch; I caramelized a batch of onions to make French onion soup; I vacuumed and did some general tidying up.

Today I'm going to the gym, and I will have to do a load of laundry. I also plan to finish up making the soup.

I am reconsidering my decision not to work at the polls this year. They are begging for help, and raising the price they will pay. My hesitancy is that they have rolled out a new system, and I was barely keeping up with the old one. But there's no denying that I could use some extra money right now. It's just one bad day, right?

Pay Day

February 20th, 2020 at 12:53 pm

Yesterday was pay day. I paid my mortgage, my property tax, my Discover card, and my "car payment" to AMEX. I still have $2230 in checking for utilities and assessment fees, when they come due, and then to apply to next month's bigger bills, which include paying for the crown and car repairs.

It looks like if I can keep my spending under $340 from now till the 12th, when my Discover card closes again, I can pay off my bills next month without touching savings. I also have some cash, about $50, which will help out.

Pay day is also my reminder day to change the pellets in the litter box and to thoroughly clean it. Also to replace my razor. Done and done.

I took a long walk yesterday to a nearby cemetery and walked around looking at the stones and names. It is a very old cemetery and many stones were unreadable. There were quite a few elaborate mausoleums. Very interesting. But it was very cold and I turned back home before I had seen much of it. I got in about 6,200 steps.

I had a terrible dream last night in which my wallet was stolen, and I was trying to figure out how to cancel my credit cards. I was glad to wake up and realize everything was fine. But today I'm going to write down all the information I need, just in case it ever does happen in real life.

Cheap Dinner

February 19th, 2020 at 01:33 pm

Dinner out with the boys last night was pretty inexpensive. I had a $5 coupon for Corner Bakery, and I used the balance of my gift card from the House Calls program, so I only paid $7 out of pocket. I had soup, and the boys had mac & cheese and linguine with meatballs.

My prescription was cheap as well -- only $3 -- but the CoQ10 is not cheap. I did remember this from previous flirtations with it. I bought a double pack of 100 mg tablets because it was the lowest unit price. The total price was $41. If it turns out to be effective, I can get it cheaper by going to Sam's and by using the OTC program through my Medicare Advantage plan.

I did a little research on the supplement, and it seems it has a lot of potential benefits besides helping with muscle pain, so I am encouraged about using it. No pain so far, but I've only taken one statin tablet!

After my gym session yesterday, I stopped at Sam's gas pump and spent $16 to fill up the tank. My variables are at 66%, but with $1800 in extra expenses looming over me, doing well in variables is not too exciting.

Anyway, today is payday, so I'm going to take care of business after I wrap up here!

Another No-Spend Day

February 18th, 2020 at 03:14 pm

I had another no-spend day yesterday. In the afternoon I took a walk that took me over 6,200 steps. It was snowing in a very wet way, but it wasn't cold or windy, so it wasn't too bad. One of my feet got a little wet, so there must be a leak in my boot. That is a problem to be addressed later.

This time I walked a very big circle in my neighborhood and I saw lots of interesting houses and buildings I hadn't noticed before. Many houses that made my tongue hang out it in envy! I have to remind myself that I doing much better than I ever thought I would, and I am grateful for my cute little condo.

Today is a gym day, as well as a music lesson day, and I will get some gas at Sam's, so this will not be a no-spend day.

Also, my doctor sent a prescription to Walgreens for simvastatin, and also recommended that I take Co-Q-10 to help with the muscle pain. Wish me luck.

I'm feeling blase about money now that my upcoming bills are so high and there is really nothing I can do about it. I know this is a blip and I will get past it, but sometimes it feels like making an effort is not working. Pay day is only two days away, but I am not excited about it. All the money will go to bills and then saved for next month's bills. I don't see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Two Things

February 17th, 2020 at 01:24 pm

I got two things done yesterday that I had to push myself to do -- I cleaned the fish tank, and I took a walk that exceeded 5,000 steps. In fact, I got 6,700 steps in. I walked along the lake shore and saw some amazing ice sculptures which had naturally occurred between the water and the trees. Professional photographers were taking pictures. The skies were blue and it was springlike. A guy walked by me in a Hawaiian shirt -- but it really wasn't that warm.

I also went to the library and got some new books.

It was a no-spend day, and I'd better have a lot more of those.

Today, however, I'm washing sheets and towels. I had designated Friday as the day to do this, but Monday is turning out to be a better day.

Otherwise, I have no particular plans, other than to get in another walk. Retirement is awesome!

A Coupon for Car Repair

February 16th, 2020 at 03:16 pm

I had a $20 coupon for the car repair, so the final bill was $767. $20 is $20. Glad I dug it up!

After getting the car back, I went to the gym, and then to Aldi, where I spent $50. I got some really exceptional deals on valentine candy and cookies, which went in the freezer. The candy -- chocolate Dove hearts -- I will eventually chop up for making chocolate chunk cookies. Each bag (9 oz.) was only .73 apiece. The cookies, only .49 for 4.4 oz., will be good to have along on music lesson days, to offset requests for dessert after dinner.

The car repair bill went on Discover, so I will have a huge bill next month, what with the crown already on it. I'm trying not to worry about it. I think I will still have enough to pay it in full, as long as I am very careful and I do not have any more emergencies thrown at me. But I will have to dig into savings.

Getting the table redone is starting to seem like a distant dream.....

Car Repair

February 15th, 2020 at 12:20 pm

Well, yesterday I cleaned off the car (not an easy task, but made easier by the snow broom I bought at Aldi -- what a good purchase that was!) But I no sooner got on the road than I noticed the tire light was on. I drove to Midas and they checked it out. There was a puncture in one tire and a leak in another. One tire had to be replaced and the other repaired. But more seriously, my front brakes were dangerously impaired, and my back brakes needed some maintenance. I actually knew about the brakes, because they were mentioned at my 30,000-mile checkup, but they were filed at the back of my mind. I decided to get it all done, including replacing the cabin filter, which I also declined to have done at the previous checkup.

Since it was going to take a while, I walked to McDonalds and bought breakfast with my gift card, so it was free. Then I caught the bus home, which was also free. I watched the boys all afternoon; they were out of school for teacher conferences. My car is ready, but DS & DIL came home too late for me to make it to the shop on time. I'll be picking it up this morning. I did get word that it will be $787. Yuck. But glad to have the car in safer condition.

The boys and I made mac & cheese and brownies, and we had a good time.

It was bitterly cold, but I was bundled up, and in the process of walking to McD's, the bus stop, and home, I made my 5,000 steps.

I was planning to get to the gym yesterday, which didn't happen, of course, so I must go today.