Home > Archive: April, 2020

Archive for April, 2020

April Recap

April 30th, 2020 at 01:00 pm

I won't spend anything today, so I did my April recap.

Gifts/Charity: $1251
Housing: $774
Groceries: $180
Utilities: $154
Vet/Pet Supplies: $126
Fees/Services: $55
Medical/Health: $54
Phone: $51
Household Supplies: $24
Personal: $21
Clothing: $16
Laundry: $15
Entertainment: $9

Grand Total: $2730

The month is skewed by the donation of my stimulus payment to my DIL's business. I do not ordinarily give at that level!

Groceries are higher than usual. I have not been in a grocery store for two months, so my groceries have come from Walgreens and shopping that DIL did for me. Both mean higher prices than usual. And I am keeping more stocked up, making sure I don't run out of essential items.

Pet Supplies are also higher than usual, because I stocked up on cat food and litter supplies. Should be good through next month, at least.

Fees/Services: My Sam's Club membership fee hit, and I gave $10 to AdBlock.

Medical/Health: Premium, prescriptions and a small copay for lab work.

Household Supplies: Includes toilet paper ordered from Amazon that I haven't gotten yet. Also detergent, paper towels, paper plates and toilet paper from Walgreens.

Personal: No haircuts, but I stocked up on pantyliners and hair conditioner.

Clothing: A pair of sandals, ordered yesterday.

I am feeling good about my spending and about the provisions I have on hand for getting through the coming month.

Yesterday was pretty uneventful. The weather was miserable, so I didn't get out for a walk, or even to take out the garbage. I hung my grandkids' pictures, did some shredding (that seems to be endless), watched my shows, did a lot of reading and game-playing on my phone. A typical pandemic day.

New Shoes

April 29th, 2020 at 11:55 am

Remember the shoes (booties) I sent back because of poor fit? I did get reimbursed. I wanted to exchange them for a larger size, but apparently that cannot happen without me initiating a new order. I have lost interest in winter shoes, for now anyway, so yesterday I ordered a pair of sandals. Only $16 after all the markdowns and deals. I just happened on this pair in an ad -- they have a closed toe and heel, which I need to keep my orthotics in place. They are Earth Shoes, and I am hoping they will be comfortable.

My other spending yesterday was $1.50 for laundry. Variables have risen to 63% -- still awesome! I will be able to transfer $400 into savings.

It rained yesterday evening and all last night, and it's still raining. It's supposed to be rainy today and tomorrow. I guess that will keep me happily inside. I'll be making blueberry pancakes for breakfast to sweeten the deal. Smile

Street Sweeping Again

April 28th, 2020 at 12:37 pm

It's another street-sweeping day -- the other side of the street. Of course, I'm parked on the wrong side again and so must move my car. I'll drive it around a bit to give it some exercise but I don't plan to do any errands today. Just going to let the month play out....

I did some laundry yesterday, and will do a load today, also. No cooking to do today (other than warming up). I guess I'm really on top of things! I'm still quite well stocked and I can put off shopping for a week or so. But if DIL asks, I will give her a short list.

I am feeling quite content as long as I don't listen to all the arguing and haranguing. I know what I'm going to do -- stay home -- so I'm not interested in arguments. I turn the news off after about an hour in the morning and I let the house be quiet. I am avoiding my Google feed, too, which is full of contention. I am watching a few series, which I catch later in the day -- "Anne with an E," "World on Fire," and "Baptiste." I started a new book yesterday, and I have five more waiting. I am getting really good at Candy Crush! Smile

I found frames for the grandkids' pictures, and I'll be putting them up today. I didn't have to order any. It turns out I have a good stock of picture frames! In fact, I have been constantly surprised during this period how much I find that I didn't know I had. I wouldn't say I'm disorganized, but I tend to forget what I have put away.

There is still a little painting I could do, but I'm no longer in the mood. Maybe it will come back!

Where Are the Masks?

April 27th, 2020 at 07:54 pm

Yesterday I took a walk on the access road that goes beside the lake. There were too many people on it, and I had to keep zigzagging to avoid getting too close to others. All in all, it was more stressful than it was worth -- but it was nice to see the lake. So blue and calm!

At least half of the people I saw were not wearing masks, which was disheartening. In our state they are now required. It may be that they are not required for outdoor use -- I'm not sure about that -- but it just seems like there is a growing lack of compliance. I think people honestly think they can wish the virus away. Ignore it away. If only! I am worried about what will happen this summer and fall, especially with other states, which are nowhere near ready, prematurely opening up for business.

I'm not taking a walk today. Don't want to be out there with the idiots.

This morning I washed my shower curtain, liner, mat and towels. I was reminded how much I hate my shower curtain hangers, which are really hard to open and close, and as soon as the month turns, I will order a new set from Amazon. I'm waiting, because I would like to end this month where it now stands, with only 60% of my variables spent. And nothing taken out of savings, unless you count the transfer of my stimulus payment to my DIL's business. But to me that is not a personal expenditure. It is the way I am choosing to stimulate the economy with my stimulus payment.

Popcorn Report

April 26th, 2020 at 12:50 pm

I made popcorn yesterday with fresh kernels -- Pop Secret Jumbo Popping Corn -- and it turned out great! So it was the popcorn, not the popcorn popper. That's a relief! I wonder why there is so much bad popcorn out there. I have had a lot of bad luck with it.

I took a walk yesterday to the one tiny library that is still operating. I returned six books and took away five books, which are all sitting in quarantine right now. They are an assortment of mysteries, thrillers and family sagas. Not my usual authors, but I'm taking what I can get these days.

I managed to squeeze in that walk when it wasn't raining. It pretty much rained all day, and it was cold. A very dreary day. Good for staying inside.

I'm going to eat my last serving of tuna macaroni salad today. Woo-hoo! I'm thawing some ground beef, with which I am planning to make more sliders, and some spaghetti sauce. Those should get me through the coming week.

I am not too concerned with the projected meat shortages. I still have a couple of packages of chicken in the freezer, in addition to the ground beef I am thawing. After those are gone, I have plenty of peanut butter! And I will switch over to more of a vegetarian diet. I have plenty of frozen vegetables. I just got a box of wet cat food from Amazon for Iggy yesterday, which will last a long time.

I will continue to be staying at home through May. Though our curve is allegedly flattening, it is still pretty bad out there. More and more, I feel I am becoming accommodated to this lifestyle. I do not find it difficult. I don't really feel isolated, because I am in touch with others daily through email and texting and the occasional Zoom. I am keeping house better than I ever have, I'm stretching food better than I ever have, and I am feeling more gratitude for what I have. I think a lot of the gratitude comes from having been so frightened when my Oregon DIL got so sick. Now that we are on the other side of that, it seems like any other "hardship" is pretty much nothing.

Yesterday's Spending

April 25th, 2020 at 01:03 pm

I mailed the book package to BFF yesterday, including a couple of extra books because there was room in the box. It cost $11 to print off a label. I also refilled a prescription for $20 -- went through the drive-through.

In bigger news, my DIL accepted the offer of my stimulus payment to go to into her business. She had to talk it over with her partners first, hence the delay. I sent it yesterday by Zelle. It feels so good to do this! She is so grateful.

Our lockdown (somewhat relaxed) is going to continue through May, so her business needs all the help it can get. But I am glad the lockdown is continuing; our cases and deaths are still going up, not down.

No big plans for today. It's going to rain all day; I might try to walk between the raindrops. No cooking today, because I'm STILL eating the tuna macaroni salad!

Yesterday the Stir-Crazy that I got for Christmas failed to pop about half of the kernels. The machine got a lot of bad reviews on Amazon. I'm going to try it again today with fresh, better quality kernels; hoping that is the problem. Otherwise I'm going to dump the machine. I know from the reviews that West Bend won't honor a refund beyond 30 days. Sounds like they replaced a good product with a much cheaper model. Too bad for us. Shame on them.

This and That

April 24th, 2020 at 12:35 pm

I did a load of laundry yesterday. So far I've spent $12 on laundry, with just under a week left in the month. I usually spend near $20. I'm not doing it as much, because I'm wearing pajamas all day more often. Cheaper and more comfy. But I do shower and put on fresh pj's daily. Otherwise I would get depressed.

I finished "The Mirror & the Light" last night and today I'll box it up to send to my BFF. She says I don't need to do that, but I think I can figure out how to print a label at home and just drop the package off. It gives me something to do and she'll enjoy having something new to read.

I'm still eating that tuna macaroni salad! Enjoying the bagels for breakfast.

I did more paper sorting and today I have a batch of them to shred. The good surprise was I found some great pictures of my Oregon grandchildren that I had lost track of! I'm going to look around the house for some frames. Maybe I'll have to order them.

Today is a hair-washing day. What excitement! (I do it every three days.) So far my hair is looking fine. I trimmed my bangs once and the rest is pretty much one layer, so it is just growing longer and keeping its shape. Maybe I'll keep it longer when this is all over. Change is good, right?

I got the table set upright again. Finally realized that if I took out the leaves it might make a big difference. It did. Duh. While it was on its side I took the opportunity to vacuum well in an area that too rarely gets it.

Fun Morning

April 23rd, 2020 at 12:40 pm

Yesterday I had to move my car for street sweeping. Okay, I didn't really HAVE to; it's voluntary for the time being. But I was feeling stir crazy.

First I drove to the library, just to see if I could put my checked-out books into the streetside return bin. It was closed and locked, with a sign saying "Please keep your materials until the library opens again." That answered that question.

Then I went to Walgreens, intending to do the drive-through thing, but they have changed their system. Now you are supposed to order online and then they collect the stuff and have it ready when you drive through. Sounds like a good plan, but many things are unavailable online, even if they are sitting in the store, and you can't order them.

So I put on my mask and went in. There were not many people there and I was in and out fast. I spent $38. I know I said I didn't need more groceries this month, but I had some wants. I was delighted to find peanut butter cups, as well as toilet paper! OMG! I added 9 rolls to my stash. Maybe the toilet paper shortage is finally ending. I also bought coffee, ketchup, mustard, relish, crackers and cashews.

I wanted to give the sweepers time to do their job before I tried to find a parking place. It's much tougher now, with everyone at home. So I took a drive up a major lakeside road and drove through several of our fanciest northern suburbs. It was so quiet and empty. Haunting. Most of the time I was the only one on the road. There did seem to be a lot of lawn activity -- not by the homeowners but by landscaping companies.

Eventually I turned back home and stopped at Panera on the way, where I ordered bagels, cream cheese and bread from my car, and they brought it out. $14.

I came home and found a parking place across from the park. I walked through with my bags, and who should I see, but my grandsons again! They must spend a lot of time in the park. These surprise visits have been so energizing! I was very pumped up when I got home.

In the afternoon I decided to fix some hardware on the bottom of my dining room table. I tried lying underneath it, but I just couldn't get to the area I needed to get to. So I had the bright idea of turning over the table, which I did, and I got the screws put in. But then I couldn't right the table back up again. It's a very heavy table and it's going to take two people. It's lying on its side now, like a beached whale. Trying to decide whether it's worth asking my son to come in and help. It's not like I need to use it right now.

I might just end up calling the refinisher to see if his crew can move it to his shop. He might still be working, since he can probably work in isolation. I'm mulling it over. I have the money, but my first priority is helping DIL with her business, if she needs it. And she is mulling it over.


April 22nd, 2020 at 12:24 pm

I made a tuna macaroni salad yesterday rather than a casserole. After looking at recipes, I decided it was the best thing to do. Besides the tuna, there is cheese and hard-boiled egg in the salad. I augmented the mayonnaise dressing with some salad dressing that needed to be used up.

It turned out really good, but there is a lot of it. I'm going to be eating it for a while.

I took a walk yesterday and who did I run into but my grandsons! They were in the park and ran over to see me. They stopped at a safe distance and we talked a bit. I so badly wanted to hug them! There are some big hugs coming when this is all over.

I also took some pictures. Here are a few of the best:

Bank Visit

April 21st, 2020 at 11:58 am

When I looked up my bank's hours on the phone, I was surprised to see that my branch was temporarily closed. There was a branch open in a nearby suburb, but it did not open till 10. I got there about 9:50 and waited in my car till it opened. Others had the same idea and there were about 8-10 people who were waiting to get in.

Once the bank opened, we lined up, distancing ourselves from each other so the line went out the door. Inside the bank, there were markers on the floor delineating where to stand. Staff enforced the distancing. Anyone without a mask was turned away.

A staff member asked each one of us what our business was, so we could be streamlined for the quickest service. Since I wanted quarters, but wanted to use money in my account, I was directed to the ATM to get cash. Then I sat in one of the lounge chairs while they went in back to get the rolls of quarters for me. I asked for $40 worth, which should hold me for at least two months.

All in all, it was weird, but also comforting that they were taking so much care to protect us.

When I got home, I saw a young mother with little children standing on the sidewalk, talking (at a distance) to an older woman with a dog. Overhearing their conversation, I realized the young mother was a stranger to our area, looking for a place to buy cookware. She was stuck in an AirBNB due to the virus, and she wanted to cook for her children rather than get takeout all the time. Well, there is no place within walking distance to buy pots and pans. I told her I had a frying pan I could give her, and I went and got it. Meanwhile, the other woman was taking down her address info so she could deliver some of her cookware to her. It was heartwarming to see how nice people can be. A crisis like this makes you want to pull together.

I battled a headache all day, but I managed to do some laundry and clean the fish tank before I just gave up and went to bed.

Today is a hair-washing day. Whoo-hoo! And I'm going to make a tuna-macaroni casserole. After the news about temporary closures at meat-processing plants, I'm planning on making more meat-stretching casseroles. I'm still well-stocked though, and should be good for another month except for incidental purchases.

Nothing Day

April 20th, 2020 at 11:37 am

Had sort of a blah, nothing day yesterday. I didn't feel very good, mostly due to a bad night's sleep, I think. Started to feel better as the day went on. Since I think I already had the virus, I am not worried about this little blip.

I talked to Oregon son yesterday. He was very upbeat. They are all done with the virus at his house. Everyone is on the mend and feeling much better. As an essential worker, he has gone back to work. He mostly works outside, but they maintain safe distancing and wear masks when they have to be inside. On the home front, they have taken possession of their second house and he was working on spiffing it up a little. He says it is almost ready to rent, but doesn't know if there will be tenants right now. His original plan was to have it ready to AirBNB during rodeo season, but it is likely there won't be a rodeo this year.

I didn't paint anything yesterday, and I think I'm done for a while. I think I'll let the few things that could use it remain in shabby chic mode for a while.

I didn't do any cooking either, just pulled some wet burritos from the freezer. I'll be having them again today.

DIL went to Target and asked me what I needed -- I had her get me some coffee creamer, but I was pretty much stocked with everything else.

So today I'm going out to get quarters at the bank. I'm kind of excited. I'll get in the car and everything! But I'm going to make it as safe an expedition as possible.

Other than that, it's time to clean the fish tank, and it's sheet/towel laundry day. So, a busy day on tap!

What Is This?

April 19th, 2020 at 12:51 pm

I have been calling this a plant stand/wine rack, but I really don't know. Does anyone know what this is? It doesn't have the curved cutouts you would expect on a wine rack. It is too lightweight to handle a plant. What is it? Is this why it was in the alley?

Anyway, it looks better in blue. I'm going to take it back to storage and figure out what to do with it later.

In addition to painting this piece, I painted the top of my dresser. The top was scarred and overall in bad shape. The new color blends in well.

I made some macaroni salad yesterday, using dressing that needed to be used up. I also made brownies, but I overbaked them. They are not burned, just hard. Oh well, I will eat them. Too many good ingredients went into them to waste them. I wish I had some ice cream to kind of soften them up, but I don't.

Other than that, I didn't do a lot. Today I'm going to do a load of laundry, and then tomorrow I will go out and get quarters so I can do more laundry in the future. I think I can make it real quick at the bank -- wearing a mask, of course.