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Archive for July, 2020

July Recap

July 31st, 2020 at 03:36 pm

It's the end of July. I won't spend anything today, unless I buy something at the baseball game tonight (and that hasn't happened yet all year.) But if GS2 is there, and the ice cream truck goes by -- I might get something. If so, it'll go on next month's spending record.

July was a very expensive month. Here is how it played out:

Home Repair/Maintenance: $1375
Housing: $774
Car Repair/Maintenance: $683
Insurance: $656
Taxes: $330
Utilities: $179
Groceries: $148
Fees/Services: $96
Furnishings/Equipment/Decor: $64
Phone: $51
Personal: $42
Vet/Pet Supplies: $41
Medical/Health: $26
Gas: $18
Laundry: $12
Entertainment: $9
Eating Out/Takeout: $7

Grand Total: $4511
Variables: 51%

The home repair expense is the first half of the ceiling repair -- which hasn't been scheduled yet! But we discussed August, so I expect to get it scheduled soon.

Car repair: replacement of the coolant system.

Insurance: semi-annual auto insurance payment

Taxes: second semi-annual payment of property tax

Groceries: my average this year has been $140, so it's pretty much on target, but I would like to reduce this.

Fees/Services: AAA membership

Furnishing/Equipment/Decor: a new lamp

Personal: Deoderant, pads, conditioner

Vet/Pet Supplies: pads for litter box

Everything just seemed to fall on me at once. Thanks to a generous gift from my ex, I am afloat.

No plans today aside from the baseball game. This is not a tournament game, but a makeup game from a previous rainout.

There will be no baseball this fall -- nor flag football -- due to COVID restrictions.

Another month down. Maybe we are one month closer to the end of this pandemic.


July 30th, 2020 at 02:17 pm

Why is it when virtually nothing is going on in your life, and just two measly things are set to happen, they happen at the same time? My appointment to pick up my books at the library is at 10:10. Then I get a notice that the gas company is going to turn off the gas at 9:30 and they want to relight pilots in each unit after they make their repairs -- so residents are advised to be available.

I can't really figure out how to change the library appointment, so I'm going to keep it. It should be very fast. I am betting that the repair will take some time. If they miss me, I can arrange to have them come out and relight the pilot. I don't need gas. I can work around it. The only thing I use gas for is the stove.

I was planning to take coins to the bank, since I am going to be out anyway, but now I won't, since I will want to get home fast. I have a jar full. I hope the bank has a counting machine, because I can't find my roller papers. Maybe I don't have any any more.

It has cooled off a little, so it is reasonably comfortable without the air conditioning. That's good, since I need to run the dishwasher.....

Last Regular Baseball Game

July 29th, 2020 at 04:16 pm

Yesterday's game was a win, and cool and breezy to boot! It was the last game in the regular season. Tournaments start next week. That means that baseball could end soon, if our team loses.

I thought it was cool enough last night to leave the air off, but I didn't sleep well. Now it's getting sticky again. I'll turn the air on, but I wish I didn't have to. The units are so noisy. I love the peaceful quiet when they are off.

I used some leftover cheese and mushrooms in an omelet this morning. I have just enough lettuce for another salad, and I will make some tuna salad for sandwiches. That should get me through today, and part of tomorrow.

I am taking up Wink's grocery challenge. Is it Wink? Are East Coast Saver and Wink the same? Anyway, I would like to spend less on groceries, too. It's been kind of out of hand.

One of my books is ready for pickup at the library. I had to make an appointment to pick it up. That will be tomorrow morning. I will stay in my car, in the designated spot in the underground garage, and they will bring it out to me. Interesting.

Panera and Sam's

July 28th, 2020 at 04:32 pm

I had to move the car for street sweeping at 9, so I decided to run errands. I went to Panera and used my gift card to buy bread and bagels. I got a great deal on the bagels -- they were selling a baker's dozen for $6.99. I also bought a breakfast sandwich and coffee. I was planning to sit outside to eat, but the tables were not shaded and the view was the parking lot. The restaurant was almost empty, so I ate inside for the first time since March.

Then I went to Sam's, where I bought strawberries, apples, blueberries, granola, creamer and Drumsticks! Okay, that last was a total splurge, but I have been having nostalgic cravings for them and I just sort of ran into them on the freezer shelf, where they were saying "Buy me! Buy me!" Can't wait to treat myself to one. Total cost was $40.

I bought gas for $18 while I was there. Variables are now at 45%.

I stopped at a tiny library and returned three books, and took one. I wasn't expecting to do that, since I can now put books on hold at the real library, but it was a favorite author, Hilary Mantel.

Now I'm just resting before the game -- which won't happen till 6. The temperature is cooler and the humidity is lower, so it should be a pleasant evening.

Brutally Hot Game

July 27th, 2020 at 02:30 pm

Yesterday's game was very hot indeed. I found a spot in the shade; then moved about halfway through because the shade had moved. There was a brisk breeze that helped a lot. Still, it was very, very hot. I was exhausted just from sitting in the heat.

After the game was over and our team tromped the other, I treated myself to a lunch from McDonalds' drive-through. A chicken sandwich and a large Sprite were $7. I ate in the car as I was driving home. I really enjoyed it. I hadn't had any take-out food for quite a while, and I get sick of my own cooking.

After I came home, even though I had left the AC on, it took me quite a while to cool off adequately. I just read and watched a little TV. I got a surprise call from my sister, who almost never reaches out. She is seeing a therapist who gave her a homework assignment to get in touch with her family. We had a good conversation, one which, I hope, will encourage her to keep it up.

Today I'm doing that load of laundry that wasn't quite big enough yesterday. I have the air off this morning, but I think the humidity is going to force me to turn it on again. And we haven't even gotten into August yet!


July 26th, 2020 at 03:43 pm

It's going to be a scorcher, and here I am going to a baseball game at high noon. Really counting on finding shade.

I found an exercise routine on Healthline -- a bodyweight routine scaled for beginners. Since I have been away from the gym so long, I think I'm back to being a beginner. Some of them look pretty challenging. I will tackle my first session after I get back from the game.

I did not do the laundry yesterday as I had planned; I didn't have quite enough for a full load, and I'm not going to do anything but full loads.

I started a new book from my tiny library cache. No word yet from the library on the holds I placed, but the staff probably isn't working today.

I made biscuits this morning, and I ate a couple for breakfast along with a dish of applesauce. Tomorrow I will make a white sauce with chipped beef, which I will pour over a couple more. I may go through a drive-through for lunch today, since I will be out at lunchtime and in the neighborhood of all the fast food places. Dinner will be a salad.

I ran the air all night and slept well. This morning I turned it off, but now, three and a half hours later, it's probably time to turn it on again. I had to turn it off this morning so I could run the dishwasher. Having both of them on would have blown a fuse.

Another No-Spend Day

July 25th, 2020 at 05:00 pm

Logged another no-spend day; my variables are at 37% with a week to go.

The days are passing pretty quickly but I am feeling a general lack of accomplishment. For one thing, I haven't exercised much because of the heat. I'm going to try to change that; just find some simple daily exercises I can do inside. Non-bouncy ones, so I don't drive my downstairs neighbors crazy. Most days it's been too hot even to take a short walk. I've been doing the housework, slowly, but haven't worked on any projects. I don't operate well in summer.

I'm going to do a load of laundry today.

I am finally ready to return "The Stand" to the tiny library -- maybe early tomorrow morning when it's cool again. The heat is cranking up after a few pleasant days. I placed five books on hold at the public library. With any luck, some will be ready soon.

Baseball in the City

July 24th, 2020 at 02:31 pm

Yesterday I ventured into Chicago for an evening baseball game. It was a little hairy getting there -- and finding parking -- but the park where the game was held was beautiful, green and shady. Unfortunately our team lost, but only by four points, so it wasn't a disgrace.

I had milk and cookies yesterday -- that's A2 milk. I did NOT have a reaction, so I may indeed just be intolerant of the A1 protein, rather than lactose-intolerant. I didn't much care for the taste, but maybe after drinking almond milk for so long I have forgotten the taste of real milk.

The real takeaway here is that I can use the A2 milk for cooking and baking, even if I don't care to drink it by the glass. Almond milk does not substitute well in recipes -- even the ones that say it works. It's not the same.

AND, an update on the carbon litter pads -- I forgot to turn the tray around yesterday and I think that was because IT DIDN'T SMELL! I did it this morning and I did not notice any particular odor. So I'm saying, it works! However, I have to say the improvement might be due to the drop in temperature and humidity instead. I'll have to see if it performs this well in hot weather.

Nothing on my calendar today, so I'm going to wear PJ's all day and do a lot of reading! I'm finally getting toward the end of "The Stand." I have to say, it's not what I expected. A small portion of the book was dedicated to the pandemic (which killed off most of the population in a week, so quite different than our pandemic); most of it is about the aftermath, and now, a standoff between supernatural forces of Good and Evil. Not sure this book would be everyone's cup of tea, due to the graphic content -- and it is so very long (I have the uncut version) -- but it is always interesting.

A Win!

July 23rd, 2020 at 02:05 pm

First of all, last night's baseball game was awesome! My grandson made the winning run in overtime with a steal to home. It was very exciting. I actually broke a blood vessel in my thumb from clapping! (Just looks like a bruise.)

The company that manages the free OTC items called me yesterday with a problem with my order. One of the items is out of stock. I need to figure out something else to order today.

I got a notice from my insurance agent that I had earned $98 for using the DriveWise program. I think it will appear as a credit on my next payment, which will not be until January!

I inserted one of the carbon pads into litter box yesterday. I am not noticing any odor today. Usually when I walk past the closet where it is kept, I get a whiff. So far, so good.

My grandsons' school district has decided to begin the school year with online instruction. "Enhanced" in some way -- I don't know the details. I asked my grandson last night how he felt about that, and he said it was good. He said the only thing he misses about school is the social life, but he hopes to do more Zooming and such in the fall. DS and DIL are very relieved.

BFF, who lives in Indiana, texted me that her school district is opening up fully but mandating masks for children older than 8. As she pointed out, the ones younger than 8 are most likely to be, well, unhygienic. It's curious. Indiana is one of the states surging, now reporting more cases than they had in the previous peak in March/April. This will probably make it worse. BFF is very glad she is retired and no longer teaching.

There is another baseball game tonight; this time 45 minutes away. I'll have to get gas.

Shopping at Walgreens

July 22nd, 2020 at 01:33 pm

Yesterday I spent $38 on food at Walgreens, and $42 for toiletries/paper goods. It was more than I expected to spend, but I bought many items in duplicate in order to take advantage of a lower unit price.

Variables are now at 32%.

My little fan, which I use to dehumidify the bathroom, didn't work when I turned it on yesterday. I moved it to a different outlet and it still didn't work. Later in the day I became aware of a quiet background noise -- the fan was running! Apparently I hadn't turned it off. So maybe it will continue to work for a while and I won't have to replace it right away. It's probably something I will order online rather than pick up at a store.

I sat down and ordered my free OTC items yesterday -- this time I got Vitamin D, 2 containers of Tums, Pepcid, and generic Lactaid.

And that reminds me -- I am apparently not one of the people who is helped by A2 milk. I will have to just drink a glass of it to be sure, but I am having reactions to food made with it, like cream of tomato soup.

I got an email from Walgreens saying my statin prescription is due to be refilled. They do this so early -- I actually have almost a whole bottle, and it's not because I have neglected to take it. Anyway, I decided to switch to Optum-RX, which is a mail order prescription service through my Medicare Advantage plan. Through that, I can get 3 months' worth for $0.00. Can't beat that. My statin is cheap, but free is better. I will see more significant savings when I switch my other prescription, gabapentin, but it is not due for refill yet.

It remains nice and cool. I'm really glad -- not only do I get to have the windows open rather than running the air, but tonight there is a baseball game. Should be perfect baseball weather.

Today's Plans

July 21st, 2020 at 01:37 pm

Today I'm heading out to Walgreens to pick up some groceries and toiletries.

I'm also going to sit down and make my summer order of free OTC items, which is a benefit of my Medicare Advantage plan.

Yesterday I was vacuuming in the dining room and I knocked off the edge of the table! It's fallen off before, but I thought I had repaired it. I rescued the hardware and set it aside with the slat that came off. Table repair/refinishing is now a bigger priority, but of course I have to get the ceiling done first, and that won't happen until August. Oh, this is all happening so slowly, and there is so much to do.

It has turned nice and cool and I haven't had to run the air much. I even slept without it last night. The electricity bill is pending now in my bank account, and it is only $35, much less than I was expecting. It must mostly reflect the time before the weather turned so hot.

It's been a nice no-spending period, but today's trip to Walgreens will change that!

Oh yes, the carbon pads for the litter box came -- in fact, my nice neighbor brought the package right to my door! -- but I won't be testing the pad until the current one has to be replaced, and that will be tomorrow. I will let you know, Dido, and anyone else using the Breeze litter box system.

Long Day

July 20th, 2020 at 03:35 pm

There was a baseball game scheduled yesterday, but morning storms made the field too wet, so the game was cancelled. Therefore, I had a long day of being inside. I did a lot of reading.

My one excitement of the day will be getting the new litter box pads from Amazon. Fingers crossed!

I have been watching "Turn" on Netflix. It's rather gory, and half the time I don't exactly follow what's going on, but I really like that period of history (early America) and the settings and costumes are spot on. I once lived in Williamsburg, Virginia, so I am very attuned to that era.

And I just started watching "Breaking Bad," mainly because DIL likes it, and it got so many Emmy awards. I have to admit the first episode has got me interested, although the subject (high school teacher making meth) is not exactly up my alley.

No cooking planned for today -- I'm already set with stuffed pepper casserole to warm up for lunch, and a beef and cheddar mini-sub for dinner (with soup). Breakfast was blueberry pancakes and bacon. I'm eating good!

Today's housework will be vacuuming and mopping in the dining room. My new method of one room at a time is working well. But I don't clean the whole room in one day. I usually devote two or three days to it, so I don't have to do too much. I much prefer this to my old method of panic-cleaning everything because someone is coming. This way the house is reasonably tidy and clean all the time.

No laundry today. I will switch out towels but no washing linens till next Monday. Saving those quarters!

This and That

July 19th, 2020 at 12:05 pm

I ordered 100 pads for the litter box from Amazon on Friday -- $41 after using a coupon and my cash back from the Chase Amazon credit card. I ordered carbon pads this time, which are supposed to control odor better. They should arrive on Monday.

Variables are at 28%.

We have been experiencing record heat -- heat indexes above 100 -- and I have been running the air most of the time. I do give it a rest in the morning, when the coolness has built up overnight.

Yesterday evening I attended my grandson's baseball game. I was worried that it would be too hot for the boys to play, but it didn't seem to affect their performance. There was a gentle rain about halfway through that helped a lot. I was sitting under a tree, and there were breezes, so I was not particularly uncomfortable.

The high school in my city published a proposal for school this fall -- 100% e-learning. There may be pushback from parents who want the school to babysit, and students who want to socialize, but I think it is a good thing. Clearly the virus is getting worse. The school, large as it is, cannot accommodate 4000 students and keep them socially distant. It would be a petri dish of disease. I hope the lower grade schools follow suit.