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January 20th, 2019 at 06:07 am


Winter Wonderland

January 19th, 2019 at 06:00 am

Well, they weren't kidding. We got snow. It looks like about 4-5 inches out there, and it's still snowing.

Blowing and drifting will come later, along with lake effect snow.

I'm so glad my car is in the city garage. If I really need something during this brief spell (the car has to come out on Monday) I can walk to Walgreens, which is four blocks away. It's one of those big Walgreens which has a food section.

Now I hope that we will not lose power. The snow on the wires looks heavy.

I'm thinking it will be a good day to bake bread, and maybe make cookies, too. We'll see how energetic I feel! It might just be a good lazy day, too!


January 18th, 2019 at 10:12 am

I got up early this morning and went to the gym before my 9:15 doctor's appointment. It was just the Medicare wellness appointment, which is free through my supplement. It did give me the opportunity to talk with my GP about my upcoming surgery.

After the doctor I went to Panera for my free bagel. I bought coffee this time and ate in the restaurant. Since I had a little money left on a gift card, the coffee was only .47! Then I stopped at the library and got two more books. I'm sure that with the storm coming, I'll be doing a lot of reading.

I spent $2 on parking.

Yesterday I went to Goodwill and bought three pairs of pants -- two pairs of jeans and one pair of classic black pants. Total cost was $16. I wanted to get through this gap year without buying clothes, but my pants are really wearing out. These three pairs should hold me.

I transferred my shampoo, conditioner, body wash etc. into the bottles I ordered and set them in the bathtub caddy. But I jostled it too much and it fell off the wall! I can't get it to stick again. I'm going to live without one for a while because all the bottles fit nicely standing in one corner of the tub. I need to evaluate the best kind of caddy for my situation because I've struck out with the pole (ceiling too high) and with the suction cups (won't stick to a textured wall). I'm looking at one that hangs from the shower curtain rod. But I might just do without. I just need to find a place for the poof and the razor.

I got a $24 payment from mystery shopping, half of which is a reimbursement. Variables are at 61%, with five days to go.


January 17th, 2019 at 06:34 am

I just put in a load of laundry, and later today I'm going to do a mystery shop at a restaurant, then pick up the boys.

The big snowstorm that is predicted will hit us hard on Saturday. I am toying with the idea of parking in a garage, which costs $11 per day. I'm not even sure that overnight parking is permitted, though, so I have to investigate more.

My afternoon with the boys yesterday was cheap. We went to the library, and I paid $2 to park. I could have moved the car after the first hour and got by scot-free, but I decided not to. I didn't want to leave the boys alone and I didn't want to pull them away from what they were doing.

I made them lunch at their home (their decision) which meant fish stick sandwiches. They didn't care for them so much, but it was the easiest thing I could find in their freezer. I much prefer cooking at home.

My package from Amazon arrived yesterday, so today I'm going to fill the bottles and rearrange storage in the bathroom.

Variables are at 58%, with only six days to go! I'm going to stick with using up food in the freezer and pantry, even though I might have some weird meals. I would like to put off buying groceries and gas, and have a really low-spend month! But the snowstorm might mess up that plan, especially if I decide I should park under a roof!


January 16th, 2019 at 06:58 am

I couldn't sleep last night, so I got up and read my email. I found out that I owed $14 to the doctor, so I went ahead and paid that online. Then I saw a notice that some people were getting money back on overpaid taxes. I looked up my record, and I am not one of those people. But I did learn that my first property tax payment will only be $572, compared to $800+ last year. It isn't due till March 1, so payment on that will wait.

I also learned that my tax statement from TIAA won't be available till January 31.

Today I'm taking care of the boys for the whole afternoon. Not sure yet what we will do, but a movie is a possibility. So is going to the library. I'll be feeding them lunch, so I've got some beef stroganoff casserole thawing. As well as some Hawaiian rolls, which they love.

DIL will take them to music lessons after work, so that will save me another trip.

My cat threw up a hairball on my bed yesterday, so there was more laundry to do. Luckily he didn't get ALL the layers.

I ordered 120 Dairy Aid caplets, 90 allergy tablets, and two packages of 48 aloe wipes from OTC-Essentials. All free.

Cheap Lunch

January 15th, 2019 at 06:29 am

I performed a mystery shop yesterday, evaluating valet service at a hospital. I was required to hang out in the hospital for at least a half hour before getting my car back and going home. At first I went to the Senior Center, where I was told they had a TV and coffee. Well, the TV was blaring Fox News, and the coffee was gone. So I kept going till I found the cafeteria. I ended up buying a large slice of veggie pizza. It was only $2.79 and it was delicious.

Other than that there was no spending yesterday. I earned $2.55 in a cash back award from Discover, so the pizza was almost paid for!

No plans to spend today, but I will be ordering some OTC meds from OTC-Essential, which is free.

Cabin Fever

January 14th, 2019 at 06:06 am

Yesterday was one of those days when I didn't go out at all. I will admit I felt a bit of cabin fever. Today I'll be going out to do a mystery shop, so that will get my juices flowing.

I spent $23 on Amazon for some household things and fish food. I ordered two sets of plastic bottles for shampoo, etc. The larger 6" size. I don't intend to use them for travel, but in my shower. Since I've been shopping at Sam's, I have HUGE containers of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. They are too heavy to store on the wire rack in my shower, so I'm going to transfer smaller amounts to the bottles instead. It will require a little more labor, but I'll be glad to get those big bottles out of my shower space. The storage rack threatened to come loose the other day -- I don't want it to fall.

Variables are 57%. One week and two days to go.

Easy checkup

January 12th, 2019 at 12:49 pm

I had an easy checkup at the dentist -- no problems found, and I was even complimented on how well I care for my teeth. But it was x-ray time, so the visit cost $184. I'm going to cash-flow it rather than take it from savings, so my variables are 54%. That includes $7 I spent for groceries at Sam's this morning.

I didn't make it to the gym yesterday, but went today. Then it was a stop at Sam's, and another trip to the library -- I am just burning through books! Returned two and got two more. The library is near Panera, so I went there and got a free bagel. I almost forgot I am eligible for one every day for a couple of weeks. I've probably missed a week's worth. That's okay, it's not convenient to run there every day, and I am still trying to work my way through freezer food.

Then I came home to find my Social Security benefit statement for 2018, and my W-2 from the College. The other day I said I would not get a tax statement from the College this year. That was wrong -- I got my last payout in June, and of course it will count as income for my 2018 taxes. Don't know what I was thinking.

So, anyway, I have two documents. Now I need the one from TIAA and my interest statement from the credit union, and I can get started on taxes.

I found a quarter today, so, folks, I only need to find .18 more and I will have hit the $100 mark! Woo-hoo!

It is snowing like crazy today and everything looks like a picture postcard. But we are only supposed to get a couple of inches, so I assume it will taper off soon. Anyway, I'm in the for the day.


January 11th, 2019 at 06:50 am

I have a dentist's appointment today -- just the semiannual checkup. It's also a gym day, but I'm going to do that in the afternoon rather than the morning.

I spent $13 on two decks of cards yesterday. I had promised my grandsons I would get them two more decks so they could play a game which requires six decks. Well, I let them come into the store with me, and little did I know that Bicycle now sells special decks which are of course more costly. They picked out a "Stargazer" deck and an "Archangel" deck, and they seemed genuinely happy. They offered to pay the difference with their own money, which was nice, but I decided it was not necessary.

In the evening I went to the annual concert in which GS1's orchestra plays along with the high school orchestra. It was beautiful; a pleasure to listen to.

I'm doing a load of laundry today. No other spending expected. Variables are 31%, with less than two weeks to go.

Homestead Exemption

January 10th, 2019 at 06:47 am

I checked it out, and I do not have to re-apply for the homestead exemption. With that and the senior exemption combined, I should save $750 on my property taxes.

No spending yesterday. Also, I did not have to take the boys to music lessons, so I saved on gas. It would be great if I could make this tank last till payday.

I'm looking forward to doing taxes this year. It should be so simple. There is no extra income to report, which complicated things in the past, when I was getting a payout from the College and was working on contract at the museum. Of course, there is mystery shopping etc. this year, but I don't think I've made enough to have to report it. I think I will get a respectable refund.

I did get the fish tank cleaned yesterday, but in the process created a big puddle on the floor, when I failed to realize the tube was not connected to the bucket. Yuck. Because I've been rearranging storage, it took me a minute to find my junk towels. But I got it cleaned up, and nothing looks worse for wear. I will make it a priority, when my income goes up, to get my carpets professionally cleaned. (Not much went onto the carpet, but still ...)

No plans for today, other than picking up the boys and washing my hair (not at the same time). Smile Should be a day to get a lot of reading done. I'm reading the latest Barbara Kingsolver novel, "Unsheltered," and I love it.

This and That

January 9th, 2019 at 05:28 am

I did a load of laundry yesterday, and that was my only spending. Variables are 29%.

I am gradually working my way through the freezer food. Yesterday I finished up the green bean casserole. Today I'm working on pumpkin pie and chicken penne casserole.

I set up another restaurant mystery shop for the 17th.

There isn't too much on my plate today. I do need to clean the fish tank, and it would be a good day to catch up on some housework.

We are supposed to experience a big temperature drop today. I could feel it already when I got up -- I turned on the radiators, and soon it will be toasty.

I have an ailing Christmas cactus that used to sit on a console table above one of the radiators. I decided the off-and-on heat might be contributing to its ill health, so I moved it to the center of the dining room table. It is farther from the window now, so I am compensating for the light by leaving the ceiling light on more. All this to say, it might affect my electricity a bit, but I would like to save this cactus. I've had it a long time and it has sentimental value. It used to bloom profusely, but it has not in the last few years.

My annual application for the senior property tax exemption came yesterday. I filled it out immediately and dropped it in a mailbox. It's one of the most important things for me to do, financially. I also need to apply for the homestead exemption. I can't remember if that comes in the mail, so I will explore the county treasurer's website.

I just heard the weatherman say "wind chill factor in the single digits." I'm so glad I no longer have to go out on mornings like this if I don't want to!

Monday Stuff

January 8th, 2019 at 06:37 am

It was back to chauffeuring the boys yesterday, and I'll be doing it again today. Happy work!

I'm also going to go to the gym, not just to work out, but to get my free bagel breakfast.

I did a mystery shop at a children's shop yesterday and spent $12.90, $10 of which will be reimbursed. I bought a shirt for one of my grandsons, which I will save until his birthday comes up. That was my only spending. The payment for this shop was only $4 (which of course I won't see for a month) but the proofreader of my report gave me a score of only 9 out of 10, for "grammatical errors." Second time this has happened! I haven't made copies of my reports in the past, but I will now, because I would really like to know what they consider to be errors. I have already reverted to a simple "Dick and Jane" style of writing for them -- not the conversational style I use here -- and now I really wonder what the heck they're talking about. I was an English major, and I wrote extensively in my career. I do know grammar! (Yes, I know I use incomplete sentences here -- the aforementioned conversational style -- but I don't do that on the reports.) My suspicion is that the proofreader doesn't really understand punctuation rules, so I will drop the use of semi-colons, too. Sheesh!

I went to the library and got two more books. I'm so happy to be back in the swing of using the library -- I find so much great reading so easily! For a while I was buying books at Goodwill, because I wanted to pass them along to my sister. Goodwill raised their book prices, though, and actually finding something good became harder and harder. And I don't feel like I need to pass along books to my sister any more, since she has inherited some money, and she is richer than I am. (Until she spends it all, but that's another story. A sad and frustrating one.)

Quiet Day

January 7th, 2019 at 06:58 am

I spent a quiet day at home yesterday. I decided to not even go to the library, as I got so far along in my book, I might as well wait until I finish it and then go and get fresh reading. I will do that some time today.

I signed up to do a mystery shop today. It will only pay a $4 fee, but I will get a $10 reimbursement on an item in the store. It is a children's store, so it will be a gift for the gift stash.

Today is pizza day at the gym, so I may try to stop there at the appropriate time. I'm not sure whether I will be on grandma duty today. Usually DIL does not work on Monday, but since she has just come back from a vacation, she might feel the need to go in.

I watched the heartbreaker Bears game yesterday evening, and then the Golden Globes. I was pleased that Green Book got the recognition it did. And now I want to see Bohemian Rhapsody. I'm hoping my local theater will do an Oscar movie week this year, though it's looking like I've already seen some of the contenders this year (which is unusual!)

My Medicare supplement premium was withdrawn yesterday; that's the only financial news. Looks like they are back to withdrawing $26 after bumping it up to $27 last year. Woo-hoo! Savings!