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Archive for May, 2020

Walgreens and May Recap

May 31st, 2020 at 03:24 pm

My prescription was $3, and I also spent $16 on groceries at Walgreens. And I will admit most were wants, not needs. I could have ignored that siren call, but I didn't.

Today I'm going to be taking it easy. The only job that really has to be done is cleaning the fish tank -- and even that I could put off another day. Maybe I will.

I'm not going to spend anything today, so here is my May recap:

Housing: $774
Furnishings/Equipment/Decor: $749
Groceries: $197
Utilities: $169
Home Repair/Maintenance: $93
Household Supplies: $92
Phone: $51
Eating Out/Takeout: $34
Entertainment: $33
Medical/Health: $32
Fees/Services: $25
Gifts/Charity: $16
Laundry: $15

Grand Total: $2,247

Variables: 78%

The F/E/D expense was mainly the new computer, but also shower curtain rings, a clock, the quilt set, and a picture frame.

Groceries were highest yet this year.

Home Repair: the cost of the new microwave handle plus shipping, and the service fee for the appliance repair technician.

Household Supplies: printer cartridges, paper goods and hand sanitizer.

Eating Out/Takeout: all Panera

Entertainment: a book, and Netflix

Medical/Health: Premium, and two prescriptions

Fees/Services: license plate renewal

Gifts/Charity: a birthday gift and random donations

Zero categories: clothing, vet/pet supplies, gas, fares/parking, personal, vacation/travel. As well as taxes and insurance, but they are usually zero categories except for a few months.


May 30th, 2020 at 11:13 am

The appliance repair technician was scheduled to come yesterday sometime between 2 and 6. He didn't come until almost 7. Of course, I was just hanging around home anyway, but it felt like a wasted day, because I didn't really want to get started on anything that might get interrupted.

I paid a service call of $70, and he reassembled and tested the microwave and reset something on the air conditioner that got it working. He did not charge me for labor because it went so quickly. He seemed to be a very nice guy and was very apologetic for being so late. He said they have been overwhelmed by customers needing help to repair appliances affected by flooding.

So woo-hoo! I don't have to buy an air conditioner! And the microwave is working great, and the new handle is so much better than the old one. Metal, not plastic.

It's nice and cool today, so I don't even have to use the AC.

I'll be walking to Walgreens to refill a prescription. I have to do a load of laundry. No cooking -- I'll be eating salad and warming up mac & cheese. It will be an ordinary pandemic day.

Repair Fail

May 29th, 2020 at 12:46 pm

The new handle for the microwave arrived yesterday, and I was feeling energetic so I set right to making the repair. I found a good video on YouTube. But I had some major problems.

First of all, the previous owner, it turned out, had superglued the old handle to the screw inside the door. I had to literally tear up the handle to get it loose, and I really didn't think I would ever get the screw out. At some point I decided I would have to buy a new microwave anyway, so I aggressively tore into it and I finally did get the screw free without damaging the door.

The real fail came with reassembly. I got the new handle on the door with no problem, but I could not get the door back on the microwave. I made numerous attempts and finally gave up. I even googled phrases like "how to get Frigidaire microwave door back on" and that's when I found warnings that DIYers shouldn't even mess with microwaves and that the machine would have to be tested for leakage once it was reassembled. Nothing about this was mentioned on the YouTube video!

So I called an appliance repair service, and someone will come out today to put the door back on and test it. I am also going to have him look at the air conditioner to see if there is a simple fix there.

It's always something.

Otherwise the day was pretty uneventful. I took a walk in the morning and exchanged books in the tiny library. I watched a few episodes of "Poldark".

The new quilt set arrived in the evening, and it's great! Here is a pic, with Iggy photobombing in the background (red chair).


May 28th, 2020 at 12:09 pm

The result of my antibody test is negative. That doesn't mean I didn't have a mild case, but it does mean that I did not develop detectable antibodies. I'm a little disappointed, but I was planning to continue being very careful anyway.

It was warm enough yesterday that I decided to turn on my air conditioners. But one of them would not turn on. I checked the cord and the outlet, and they were fine. I looked up troubleshooting, which suggested getting to the internal control panel and checking the fuse. It looks like I can't get to the control panel without removing the case, and I'm not going to do that. I don't have the strength to lift the unit.

It was a cheap machine, and I am going to replace it with a better one. But I'm going to wait until my Discover card enters a new cycle. That is less than two weeks. Meanwhile, I set up a floor fan to push cold air from the living room toward the back of the condo, and it worked okay. I will have to refrain from using the oven for the duration.

Luckily, after today we will have some cool weather before it heats up again.

Tests and Errands

May 27th, 2020 at 12:35 pm

I was out most of the morning yesterday, first to get my two tests, at two different locations, and then through the Panera drive-through and finally, a 20-minute shop inside Aldi. I spent $14 at Panera for bread, bagels and cream cheese, and I spent $48 at Aldi. I was so focused on social distancing and getting out fast, that I forgot three things on my list. Well, one I can't get at Aldi -- popcorn kernels. The other two were spaghetti and maple syrup. I can probably get through the month without those.

I got my results from the chest x-ray very fast -- no problems. Everything was "unremarkable." So that's good, but I still don't know why I have a persistent cough.

It may be two days before I get results from the antibody test.

Variables are at 64%.

It's quite warm, but I haven't turned the AC on yet. I haven't reached that degree of discomfort yet.

Memorial Day

May 26th, 2020 at 11:17 am

I can't express how great yesterday was. We met in the designated park -- it was almost empty! We found a shady spot under a tree and set up -- six feet apart. We ate our brown-bag lunches and talked for three and a half hours! The boys rambled around as we talked. They had their skateboards and frisbees. The weather was perfect, as long as we stayed in the shade. It was such a good day. I hope we can have more of them.

DIL gave me a Revlon One-Step hair dryer. It was too big for their short haircuts. I can't wait to try it out -- which will be this morning!

It was a no-spend day. I had been planning to go to Panera afterwards, but since we stayed so long, I just went home afterwards. I didn't want to have to use a public restroom!

Today I get my tests done, and will probably make my Panera run afterwards.

My friend P, who has been diagnosed with Parkinson's, has just learned that his daughter, son-in-law, and grandson have all tested positive for COVID-19. So far, it appears they have light cases. But this is scary stuff. He has not been as vigilant as I would like, and I am afraid for him. For instance -- he just hosted a visit from his two sisters, even though their state is still under a no-travel order. Now I wonder if they are all at risk.

New Handle on Order

May 25th, 2020 at 12:54 pm

I took up Rob's suggestion and looked online to see if I could order a new handle for my microwave. I did find it without much trouble. With shipping, it is costing me $23. I hope I can figure out how to install it.

I just put in a load of laundry. I am several hours away from our SD-BYOE (socially-distanced bring-your-own-everything) picnic in the park. I am going to pack a peanut butter sandwich, an apple and some cookies -- water, too, of course. Nice and simple.

I didn't sleep well last night, and it was probably from excitement!

I walked to Walgreens yesterday and bought coffee creamer ($4) and hand sanitizer ($5). My variables are now at 58%, and it is almost the end of the month.

It is almost warm enough to turn on the air conditioners, but I am going to open the windows instead.

The new quilt set is due to arrive on Thursday. Thanks to everyone who complimented it! I'm very pumped!

Memorial Day Plans

May 24th, 2020 at 11:15 am

I ended yesterday's entry by saying I had no Memorial Day plans. Well, now I do. DS & DIL are planning a socially-distanced bring-your-own-everything picnic for the immediate family at a local park. They chose a park that is NOT by the lake (because that's where most people will go) and that has plenty of green space, but not many picnic tables. We will find an open area and set up chairs. I'm so excited! The only fly in the ointment is that it will be hot. Summer clothes and sunhats will be in order.

I also mentioned yesterday that I was interested in replacing throw pillows. I started looking around online and somehow morphed into bedspreads, and I ended up buying one! It is actually a quilt set (Laura Ashley) with shams, and the cost was $83. Even at that price it was 25% off.

I have been looking for a new bedspread off and on for some time. At present I have a comforter, which is so old I can't even place when I bought it, and it is springing holes on a regular basis. I've had trouble finding one I like, though. I like vintage prints, and the spreads I have seen in stores are either too gaudy or too plain. This one is just right!

This morning I used the microwave (to warm up Iggy's food -- isn't he spoiled?) and when I pulled on the handle a piece chipped off. I can still use it, but I will have to be very careful now pulling on the handle, because it's loose on the bottom. It's one of those over-the-stove built-in microwaves, and I don't want to have to replace it. Especially not for a broken handle, but I can't see how to fix it. The piece that chipped off doesn't even fit, so I think other bits must have been lost without my noticing. Or perhaps before my time.

Virtual Doctor Visit

May 23rd, 2020 at 02:59 pm

My virtual doctor visit went well. It was a video call, so we could see each other as we talked. My doctor advised that I get a COVID antibody test and a chest x-ray. The test is scheduled for Tuesday morning, and, since the x-ray is a walk-in, I'll do that the same day. It is not the same location, but I like to bundle my outings, so to speak. I will probably make a Panera run the same day as well.

I got ten hours of sleep last night! I guess my body finally demanded it. I feel so much better. Wish I could just sleep on a regular basis.

My Amazon order arrived. I have put my son's picture back on the wall. The frame is much flatter than the others -- that's what happens when you can't really see what you're buying -- but that's okay; it doesn't look terrible. Also, the clock came in black rather than red. That was a disappointment, but I didn't want to mess with a return and exchange, so I hung it up, and actually, I think the black probably looks better than the red would have.

Next, I want to replace my throw pillows. There is no hurry, since no one sees my living room but me, but the current batch is old and tired. I should wait, though, until I can see the pillows in person. I'm learning just how deceiving those online pictures are.

I hear that libraries are allowed to open in June, but it will be up to the individual library. I hope ours does. I will have to be careful, though. I suspect it will be inundated. Our community is a big supporter of its libraries. But the very thought of being able to pick out books I WANT to read! Intoxicating!

I have no Memorial Day plans. Until I get the antibody test (and get the result I'm hoping for) I will continue to shelter in place. I'll bet the parks will be packed with people bending the rules!

Post Office and Upcoming Doc Visit

May 22nd, 2020 at 01:21 pm

Yesterday I walked to the post office to mail a book to BFF. The postage was $3. Along the way I gave a dollar to a man who asked for help.

When I got home, I made an appointment with my doctor (for today) to discuss the cough that has been hanging on too long. Well, my doctor's nurse heard "cough" and did not want me to come in. We will do a telephone visit. His nurse recommended a COVID test. I tried to explain that I probably already had COVID in March, based on the symptoms, but was unable to get tested at that time due to the test kit shortage.

I have a feeling that my doctor is going to insist on a test now. I would be more interested in an antibody test. We'll see what he says.

I had a very bad night and feel pretty awful today, so I guess it's good I'm talking to the doctor.

Online Shopping

May 21st, 2020 at 11:39 am

Yesterday I ordered a new frame for DS's graduation picture, a supply of Command strips, and a kitchen clock. All from Amazon; total was $47. I am trying to keep up on household things, even though no one will be coming around. My kitchen clock has been nonfunctional for some time, and I keep glancing at that blank space on the wall to see the time. I can always look at the stove instead, where the time is displayed, but I like a wall clock. I ordered one with a red case; it should look really cute in my kitchen. These purchases bring variables to 44%, with ten days to go.

My printer is being temperamental. It's only four years old, but probably replacement is inevitable, and I hate to do it now -- especially since I just replaced the expensive ink cartridges. It is not grabbing the paper very well. I tried cleaning it internally according to directions I found online, but it is still unreliable. Sigh. I hate electronics. They never last.

Today I'm going to walk to the post office to mail a book to BFF. That will be my big outing!

Pay Day

May 20th, 2020 at 04:37 pm

Pay day is here, and I had a few challenges with the new computer. Even though I keep a list of ids/passwords, apparently the one I had for Chase was out of date. I tried the "forgot password" route on their website, but that took me to a page that wasn't working. I had to call to get online, and it took two different people to get it done, because I was cut off the first time. Very frustrating.

But now everything is paid, and I still have a nice balance in checking. I'll keep it there, because it will go toward the cost of the computer next month, when that bill comes due.

After seemingly endless rain, we have a nice day here. I took a walk to the tiny library and returned two books. I picked up one more that looks only passable, and I noticed that most of the books there I've already read or passed over. So it looks like that free book source is drying up.

I still haven't quite finished "Anne with an E," but I've also picked up "Poldark." I watched it on PBS, but during Season 4 my watching got spotty, and soon I gave up because PBS doesn't keep its episodes up very long, and I lost the thread of the story. So I'm beginning with the start of Season 4 on Amazon Prime, and I'll be able to watch till the end of Season 5, the end of the series.

Food is holding up well -- I am eating mostly from the freezer now. I'll get back to cooking when that supply dwindles.

Our state is opening up slowly, but my county is the hardest-hit and it will be the slowest to open. I'll continue to be very judicious about how much I go out even then. I don't mind a simple life. I do mind not being able to see my family, but I know, in time, that will happen again when we are all safe.

It's Here!

May 19th, 2020 at 12:22 am

I'm typing this now on my new computer, which I got set up, basically, without TOO much trouble. I can get to the internet and I can get to my spreadsheets, which are on a thumb. I'll worry about the rest later.

The mouse that came with it didn't work at all, so I just hooked up the old one and it's fine. I don't like to use a laptop without a mouse.

I don't think my devices (i.e. this PC and my phone) are properly synced. I downloaded the required app on my phone, but it wants me to select "Send notification" on the YourPhone app on my PC. I can find the app, but no such link. I guess I can live without it for now.

I uploaded some old pictures and documents to Google Drive, but really there wasn't too much I wanted to save. Most of my important documents are on the thumb.

It was easier than I thought it would be, but I'm not sure I'm completely out of the woods yet!

Other than that, not much happened today. I decided against going to Sam's tomorrow, since I realized I had more detergent than I thought. So instead I walked to Walgreens for a few groceries -- they were $14. I did a load of laundry. My variables are now at 38%. Of course, that does not count the computer, which will come out of savings.