I had to laugh at an encounter with a student group yesterday. I ran into them in our library coffeeshop, and they were surprised to see me, asking if I didn't have Fridays off. It's a week until the end of the semester--nobody has a day off, even on weekends.
But yesterday was filled with staff meetings, class scheduling issues, and then a wonderful few hours evaluating freshman research projects. We've been encouraging veteran instructors to help their students develop research projects and mentor them. I looked at projects from history, English, and psychology which were all so well done and interesting. And there was food! I cannot tell you how welcome a huge plate of vegetables and a lovely urn of coffee is in the middle of a day like that.
Two more student meetings followed--then off to the History Department to see my husband receive his award--where there was MORE FOOD. I think I should have been a historian--what lovely people, gracious and charming.
And then home to grade more projects of varying quality. So these late semester days are different, but bless the folks who order in food to keep us going.
Our DD did her first stab at the college entrance exams this morning. No news for weeks, but she can breathe a sigh of relief that it's over for a bit. And she's been made the head of costumes for their upcoming production of Mamma Mia.
Back to grading and how to improve this assignment next time.
I had to laugh at an encounter with a student group yesterday. I ran into them in our library coffeeshop, and they were surprised to see me, asking if I didn't have Fridays off. It's a week until the end of the semester--nobody has a day off, even on weekends.
Yes, I sold a game for $8. We had a duplicate, and more than the cash, I'm happy to move it on out. I have much more to go, but I can feel the semester about to wind down even if there are almost two weeks left. My pot of soup made over the weekend was a nice no-work dinner tonight.
I stopped at CVS on the way home from work for some chocolate to fill up the Advent calendar
Still patching in some London bits. We've always taken the tube into London from Heathrow as it's the cheapest, but it can be a hassle with big suitcases, depending on the final destination. I hemmed and hawed over the Paddington/Heathrow express as it's pretty expensive unless you book significantly ahead. But I found we can take the non=express train right to Paddington for only a few quid more. And the airbnb isn't far from there, so I think that's the right decision. We have a long list of things to do before then--and it's only two weeks!
Our bank balances are looking better. DH and I both got paid on our regular jobs and my adjunct job too. We're still going to have to juggle a little, especially with Christmas and the London trip.
I finally see some light at the end of the term. I should be finished grading everything except final projects by tomorrow. And I plan on a very early night tonight.
We had a comforting meal of leftover Swiss steak tonight. It's one of my childhood favs, and it seemed perfect on the cold wet weekend. Glad I made enough for leftovers. Soup on the stove for tomorrow.
There will be a dentist bill in the near future. I have a troublesome tooth that needs dealing with and I hope to get it taken care of this week.
Oh--almost forgot our big fun news: My DH has been working on a masters in history. There's no economic justification for it, but it's been a part-time thing for several years. The big news? His paper won the best graduate paper of 2018 complete with a $400 prize. Very proud of him.
This seems like a good day to stay in and grade papers or update the online grades. That will happen, but not before the semiannual trivia tournament. We've lost our amazing player, but are still hopeful.
And today is payday, so that's excellent news. I'll be taking a look at what can be replenished from the recent drain to savings. And it's 17 days to London. Still more planning to do there, but getting very excited.
Because we won't be home for Christmas, I'm doing minimal decorating around here, but did pull the Advent Calendar out and filled the first two days. I'll have to replenish that tomorrow.
I continue to have mixed feelings about my evening adjunct job. On one hand, I love the different demographic and the literature classes. The pay, while minimal, always comes in handy. On the other hand, I'm exhausted teaching until 10pm and then teaching again at 8am the next day. It's hard to wind down.
There may be a halfway solution. I could try to limit teaching there to summer months or just an occasional class. I thought I'd do it for a single semester, but it's now been 12 or 13 years. I've been so fried lately that I really want to step back and re-evaluate.
Oh man, it's been 21 days since I've posted?
Here's a short (?) summary:
We bought a new-to-us car. We'r big believers in quality used cars, and this one is a fancier, newer version of my wrecked car. I love it.
Shelling out the difference between the blue book value from the wrecked car and the cost of the new car has made things a bit tight around here. We paid cash, but I've emptied many a pot to find that cash.
The semester is over in 2 1/2 weeks.
We stayed in Cheeseland for Thanksgiving and had dinner with my office best friends--and her boss,, the undergrad chair, and an assortment of others. Wow--meeting people's partners is always interesting.
Need to do some London planning--by the end of the week. I've already booked two plays and a Christmas carol sing-along at Albert Hall. And a family event. And a lunch with London colleagues. Maybe I don't need to book more? But I want to!
I've taken on an odd assessment project that I'll learn more about on Thursday. It's a limited amount of work for $1500. I'd rather not, but hey, we need to dig out of the car situation.
Two weeks later, I still have the repair shop's loaner vehicle. The body shop still has my car. We still don't have the accident report from the city. We've been back and forth with the repair shop and have, I think, come to some sort of settlement. The total damage is more than the blue book value of the car, and they offered to either have the vehicle repaired or give us a check for the amount of the repairs.
We've decided to write the car off, but are waiting for them to draw up a document exempting us from any legal liability concerning the accident. So we've begun the process of looking for a new (used) car. All of that is frustrating.
Apart from that it's been busy. I've just paid for the ACT fees for DD and another round of ACT prep subsidized by the school district. Work is very busy.
DH is adjusting well, I think, to his new job but still doesn't like being on the 23rd floor. My adjunct class has also begun. It's small but interesting. The class is "Bestsellers," and this week we're reading _Hidden Figures._ They struggled with _Lincoln in the Bardo_, but I expected that at an open enrollment institution. I'm trying to stretch the grocery budget with soups and pantry cooking to cover some of our car expenses.
Piles of grading and conferences with the athletic academic advisors tomorrow on the precarious status of their students.
It's been a swell couple of days around here. Sunday morning on the way to church my car died. Three times. I was able to get it restarted and home, but have been driving my DH's beater (and I do mean beater) ever since. My car is no showroom special. It's a Volvo station wagon with a cool 153,000 miles on it, but I love it. Today it went to a new auto shop. We got an estimate on it and scheduled a repair for Friday. It needs about $800 work. However, on the way to pick up my husband, the shop's driver got into an accident with my car. Not sure whose fault it is, but it was a multi-car accident and we're waiting on the police report and condition of the car. In the meantime we have a loaner.
So, I know usually the insurance follows the car, but is this a special situation? Should the shop's insurance or the at-fault driver pay? Should we call an attorney?
I've called my insurance agent and left a message, but I don't know much right now. Advice?
Not much time to write lately,and I miss you all. School is very busy, many meetings, some challenging students, and the usual pile of grading and prep.
DD is also busy with school, theater, and friends. I'm so glad we bought the Harry Potter Sunday movie package together. We just saw the 6th one on Sunday, and it's a nice time for us to sit down together, chat on the way, and just plain relax. It was parent/teacher conferences tonight, and they all love her. She's doing very well. She's got three AP classes, two languages, and a full slate of theater assignments. Honestly, her life exhausts me.
We drove to her school together this morning at 6:45 as we baked two coffee cakes for the French Honor Bake sale and she couldn't balance it all. I headed to school right after that. That's the kind of schedule we've been handling lately.
I have a weekend filled with grading and prep, but hope to get outside some. I need to tackle garden clean up. DH is hanging in there with the new job, but they've only paid him for a week so far. His ear checkup is tomorrow, so hopefully he can go back to the gym and start more normal activities.
Two months to our London trip!
It's a cold and wet day here. And busy. I'm heading to Seattle to meet my BFF on Thursday and feel like I have thousands of things to do before then. In the meantime, DD and I are off to see Hank Green speak at the university tonight. Y'all might be more familiar with his brother, the YA author, John Green. DD is a huge fan and we culdn't turn down a chance to see him at the university tonight.
We're trying to eat through the freezer contents, but this may be a week for getting through rather than making progress. Back to grading and writing quizzes.
All seems to be going well at DH's new job. He's having a bit of trouble with his fear of heights as the new office is 23 floors up. But I hope he'll gradually get used to it. And again, he loves their free lunch, And he's using his university transit pass to get him on the bus and back for free. He's become cheap to have around!
I've also been pretty cheap this week--spending only on a couple cups of coffee and not much else. We also have piles of CSA veggies so grocery spending has been minimal.
I have a large pile of grading to tackle, and instead, spent the morning on university "service" evaluating Fulbright grant applicants. It's very fun to see what other folks are doing, and I always enjoy the others on the panel.
We've got theatre tickets to see "In the Heights" tomorrow night from the season package I bought DH for his birthday. DD is a huge theatre geek, and she's going with us. It should be fun.
The autumnal weather is making me want to bake. I see a pumpkin loaf or cake in the weekend's forecast.
Happy Fridays to all of you.
We jumped though all the hoops, got DH's degree verified, and waited, waited, waited, but he began the new contract today. He said it went very well, and he's very happy to be back at the company where he worked for 15 years. The atmosphere is so much more his style, very casual and conversational. He saw loads of people he knew--and they started off te day with balloons at his desk, a Starbucks card, and a cookie. I figure it will take us a little over a month to regain our bearings. But finally we're back on track. No spending other than coffee here.
Hmm--It's been a week or so since last I blogged, and what a busy week it's been. DH had more interviews, but has taken the contract at his former employer that he left about 20 months ago. It's a great hourly rate, and honestly, he really likes it there. We think he starts on Wednesday after all the checks. Glad we got his drug test in before his surgery.
So yes, he's also had ear surgery. Last Thursday we drove to a hospital about an hour west of us at (ugh) 4:30 a.m. for his stapedectomy. He's never had any surgeries or much medical, and he was a nervous wreck. But all went well, and I think he was a bit sobered by folks getting pacemakers, stents, and much more serious things. We'll know in a few weeks how successful it's been restoring his hearing. Right now his ear is full of packing which will be removed on Friday
School started for DD; all's well there. School also started for me, and while my classes seem fine, my new administrative function is headache inducing. There are plenty of my colleagues who would rather not speak to one another, so they've decided I'm their intermediary. Because I'm in charge of class scheduling, I've had everything from pleas, to demands, to outright anger about next semester's schedule. All of a sudden I can see who the easy folks are, and who is decidedly difficult. It's going to be an interesting time.
This afternoon DD and I bought a Harry Potter package at the local theater. We got tickets for 9 shows--all the Potter movies and Fantastic Beasts for $27. We go the next eight Sundays. I really enjoyed seeing HP1 on the big screen. So much grander than DVDs at home.
It's fun for us to hang out too--if there's a week I can't go, she can always take a friend.
I've been busily using our garden and CSA veggies. Friday night it was Southern Tomato Pie, followed by Croatian Chicken last night, and tonight veggie curry.
Time to ramp up a bit of frugality. We've been too lax lately.
It looks like DH may have a job offer! And he's got another interview for a different job at the same place on Tuesday. No definite thing yet, but it looks better.
Busy day with meeting after meeting at the university.
More when we know more.
Oof--we had big crashing storms last night. No real damage here, but hours and hours of thunder, lightning, and torrential rain. A community just north of us had 10" of rain. And it's like the jungle out there again tonight with its hot and humid temps.
I spent half the day at a class on our new digital learning platform. It seems simple enough to use, but the transition will be difficult for lots of people. We have a choice of starting now, spring semester, or next fall. I've chosen to start with it in the spring after some kinks are worked out.
My DH has another phone interview tomorrow, and his ear surgery is a week from Thursday. I've canceled class that day--not my favorite thing, especially during Week One, but he'll need me there.
We had a lovely day Saturday in Chicago with a tour of the University of Chicago for our daughter, the Frank Lloyd Wright Robie house for all of us, lunch in Hyde Park, and a short field trip to Navy Pier for our ongoing history project. We came home exhausted, but rallied to go out for cheeseburgers. We needed a getaway, and it was good for all of us. Three of us in the house all day every day lately has given us summer cabin fever as the heat and mosquitoes have made the patio and neighborhood not as pleasant as I'd like.
Today's spending was $2 for coffee to get me through that three-hour tutorial. Seemingly hundreds of meetings for the next few weeks will require more.
I've cashed $25 out of Swagbucks which will continue to go to my big goal.
My DH is a moody soul sometimes, and unemployment has not helped him. He's still finishing up his summer independent study, and he's put WAY more into it than need be, but it's good for him to have something to focus on--especially since he really has to wait out the ear surgery before he can start anything.
And I'm busy with my back-to-school prep and our daughter's stuff too. He's been very reluctant to go into uberfrugal mode, and while I was a bit ticked off at him at first, now I see he's a person that needs a few creature comforts to help him through this. I've loosened the grocery budget, started to make a bit better meals, and started looking at UJK airfares for Christmas. He needs something other than the pre-surgery wait and the job wait. He did the presurgical physical today, and the doc filled in all the details for his annual wellness rebate. I'm in the middle of the "wellness activity" now mandated to earn the rebate of $150. The guided meditation option has almost put me to sleep the last couple days. But heck, it's $150.
We're off on a little field trip tomorrow. I'll fill in the details when we return.
Dh had a phone interview with his former employer of a few years ago. He did contract work for them for 15 years, and though the work was not scintillating, they're a solid place.
The plus sides are many: it's a downtown location and he LOVES the bus. And he gets free bus fare with his history tuition. They also have free lunch. Unbelievable, I know, but he ate free for years. And he knows and likes a lot of people there. He's much more social at work than I am, and he'd like to be back there. The interviewer told a mutual friend that he thought it sounded positive. Fingers crossed there's another interview.
Our DD and I went to a free event from the local theatre company. They're doing "In the Heights" in September and we got to sit in on a few songs and hear all about they're upcoming productions. And they had free food.
DH also has lunch with a contracting company tomorrow. Free food is the theme of the day!
Just got an e-mail from my adjunct job, and they've canceled the class that begins on 27 August. It's way underenrolled. Bleah. It will be fine, but we could use that paycheck this fall.
I need to think about some strategies to get through DH's unemployment more comfortably. He does have an interview next week, so fingers crossed for that.
Well, I took a look at August's upcoming bills, and tried to face what I think I already knew. It's going to be tight until October 1.
DH got paid yesterday, and will likely have one more reduced check. I'll get a check from my adjunct class on September 1. Although it seems like I've been working all summer on my regular university stuff, my contractual period doesn't start until Monday, and I'm not paid until October 1. But I'll have another adjunct class starting on 27 August which will mean a check from them on 1 October.
In the meantime I just paid DD's school fees. She's taking three AP classes so the fees for them were included in the $515 I paid. Our household insurance hit my credit card at $1200. And my DH's annual life insurance is another $760. I spent a fair amount on our trip to MN. Ugh. August is our most expensive month
We certainly have enough in savings to cover all this and much more, but I'll breathe a little better when the unemployment starts or even better, if he gets a new job soon.
His resume is all updated and posted, and he's been in contact with lots of his old colleagues at his job before this one. I don't doubt he'll get a new job, but I do hate the uncertainty.
I'd committed to doing health and hygiene kits for the AODA treatment house sponsored by our church. It's our favorite program, so yesterday DD and I went out to see how well we could tackle the list. I scrounged up coupons, checked thekrazycouponlady site, gathered registered rewards from Wags, and EB from CVS and we did pretty well. I think I need bankergurl to advise, but we went to Walmart (yuck, I hate Walmart), but managed free shampoo, ziploc bags for a rebate from SB, and 88cent shower caddies. We got free toothpaste at Wags too. I found a bag of toothbrush covers in the bathroom to check that item off the list as well as some bars of soap. We're about halfway through the list. It's satisfying to be able to do this and made me feel good.
Today is our CSA box. I foresee yet more summer squash, but we did enjoy the fresh bean salad yesterday. I think it'll be roasted veggie enchiladas tonight.
I've been doing all my cash anxiety items--daily SB, mypoints, scrounging for stuff to sell, watering the new crop of chard, lettuce, and beets. I also started the mandated 21-day meditation for my $150 wellness rebate that accompanied my health screening. But also streaming Aretha Franklin as a tribute and mood lifter.
Well, here we are one week into DH's unemployment and I'm grumbly. Not just at him, but at students, administrators, my new teaching hires, and myself. I think I need an attitude adjustment. Maybe a long workout tomorrow.
DH has been working on finishing his summer class. He's paid until 8-20, so is ready to file for unemployment. I spent the morning getting things for my new hires and their fall semester and the evening finishing the last summer class. In between I wrote a syllabus for the class that starts in two weeks. That all has made me more grumbly.
DH has started his unemployment application, and I'm happy to see he's been going to the health club. He asked if we should cancel it, but it's cheap and keeps his mood up.
I cashed out some Swagbucks, filed for a flex reimbursement for his hearing tests, and did a quick pantry/freezer inventory. I'm going to try to limit grocery spending to $25-35/week while he's unemployed. We have a full-ish freezer and weekly CSA deliveries, so not much to buy. And I may try to sow some radishes, carrots, and spinach where the blight has destroyed my tomatoes.
My major purchasing quandary is our UK airfare for December. We've paid for our airbnbs, so there's no question we'll go. I need to look into all our air miles and see if I can patch one or two flights together out of those.
Despite many too-long driving days, DD and I enjoyed our road trip, particularly lots of hiking and friend time on the North Shore of Lake Superior. We were not especially frugal, but managed a tour of the University of Minnesota, an overnight with my brother, my aunt's funeral, three days of lovely hiking, West Side Story at the Guthrie Theater before we arrived just in time for me to teach my evening class last night. My DH met us in the parking lot, ready to take the cooler and DD home. But then the not-so-good news: he got laid off without warning yesterday afternoon as part of a corporate reorganization. They gave him two weeks of severance pay, and out the door he (and three others) went.
He was pretty shook up, and I can't say last night was my most successful class ever after that news. But onward, right? He's been there 18 months, and the stress has been pretty awful. Tomorrow he'll start the unemployment process, and we'll do a financial review. But he's on my health insurance, so no worries there. Honestly, as worrying as it may become, I'm sort of relieved. He could use some time off, and his ear surgery is in a month. As usual, my first impulses are all about a fridge inventory, a review of the bills, and then a renewed focus on my job. I've got a full schedule of teaching in addition to adjunct classes through the end of the year. With some minor belt tightening, we should be fine. Remind me of that, please, should this drag on.
Well, I was longing for a road trip for the summer, but be careful what you wish for? We got the news Thursday that my 100-year-old aunt had died. We were very close when I was kid, and I took the train to visit them in Montana a couple of times. We saw her last fall for her 100th birthday party in Fargo, ND. This is also the week that DD and I were headed to northeastern MN with my Minneapolis girlfriends to spend time on the North Shore of Lake Superior. DD and I were also planning on a stop in Minneapolis for her tour of the University of Minnesota, an evening with friends with dinner and the theater.
It means a lot to all my family that we make the trek, so our revamped plans include leaving tonight after my class (ugh), stopping tomorrow morning at the U of M, driving to my brother's lake home in central MN, then the next morning to Fargo for the funeral. That afternoon we will drive across Minnesota to the North Shore where I will drink lots of wine and collapse in a heap. I hope we'll have great weather, can hike, reconnect with friends, and just enjoy life and being outside. We've tacked another day onto the end of the trip so we can use our theater tickets, but that means we will probably arrive back to Cheeseland just in time for me to teach next week's class.
As the North Shore part of this was planned as a girls' trip, and the logistics for DH to accompany us were headache-inducing, DD and I are on our own. We headed to the library Saturday, got an armful of audio books, and I'll pick up maps and other stuff today at AAA. I got an oil change and refilled my tires yesterday.
I was planning on leaving my car in the Twin Cities and driving up north with my girlfriends, but I can't see a way for that to happen. Glad I was able to rearrange the theater, but not looking forward to the drive. I probably should not have totaled the miles and times on Google maps. It's 23 hours and 46 minutes of driving and 1452 miles.
Lots of issues at work too. Hope to get those settled before I leave tonight.
I am so wrong, says the woman who spent $800 on rugs today. And I had coffee drinks, bought a crate of peaches, and a bunch of craft supplies.
Truly I was planning on buying new rugs for the dining room and family room. Would you be shocked if I told you our dining room rug was bought in the 1980s? It's done its duty. And the family room rug is part of my vast redecoration scheme in there. More on that as it develops, but I did look at paint colors and get a bid on the painting. We'd attempt it ourselves but it's a vaulted ceiling and a huge room. You'll see it's on my 2018 goals.
The peaches have become a summer ritual for us, but this year half of them will go to my friend whose husband's kidney comes out tomorrow. If you're a praying sort, keep them in your prayers. please. And the craft supplies (slime--eww) were for her son who is making slime with friends tomorrow to keep him busy.
I'm really pleased with the rugs; they were part of the Bon-Ton going out of business sale and were supposedly 70% off. I think that's a dubious figure but I really like them. Much jazzier than my usual traditional taste.
I made a huge Greek salad for dinner to use some CSA veggies and will shortly head off to bed with my new library book.
A little Hamilton reference for y'all. In the eye of the hurricane it IS quiet. But man, so much going on for so many around us. My DH's ex-professor and now friend seems to have either a stroke or a mental breakdown. He's been calling us all hours for days; sometimes calling 40 times a day. We've contacted his estranged family and the local police because he seems to be in real trouble. And we've had to turn off the phone.
You may remember a few weeks back when I asked for advice about a colleague/friend struggling with money. She's had a tough road--a son with childhood leukemia, a husband with half a kidney removed from cancer, her own gallbladder out, etc--now her husband's cancer is back. We've spent the last couple of days trying to allocate her classes to other teaching colleagues and help with a childcare and meal rotation.
In the midst of that I got a FB message from a cousin and my elderly aunt is fading fast. They expect perhaps a few days left for her.
And then there's my DH's sister whose physical and mental stability have really gone downhill.
But we have good news through of all the pain and trouble around us. Our Friday appt with DH's ear specialist went very well, and we will schedule him for ear surgery in September. They're confident it's a bony overgrowth and that they can correct his quickly diminishing hearing with laser surgery.
And we had a lovely however wet day working on our history project in a nearby town. We also enjoyed a tour of a WW2 submarine. We are such history dorks. An hour on that sub convinced me a life under water is not for me. What brave sailors those were.
My DD has been taking an ACT prep class along with her summer French conversation. And we've been trying to get to the gym almost every day. These balanced with too many summer university meetings (for which I am NOT paid) have made things hectic. She needs to be driven to all of them--too far to bike. This morning looked particularly hectic with a dog groomer drop off, water zumba, and picking up a friend. But halfway to the groomer's, we got a text that zumba canceled, so we canceled the friend. Normally this would have us a little upset, but those hours crammed in before her classes now feel like a gift.
Yesterday was too hectic--my Tuesday morning teaching hangover from a late class, two meetings, lesson drop-offs, my DH working late from home until 10, and trivia with my trivia buddy. Trivia was a disaster. Neither of us know anything about Formula One racing or country music, and normally we do pretty well. I had a fun time chatting with him, but there is just too much going on.
So onward. I've got a few hours of work and can fit everything else in, including the gym with a bit more breathing room. All this running has meant lots of gas spending, as well as coffee shop spending since no one seems to want to meet at the university. We need a vacation from summer vacation.
Ugh--it's been like a steamroom here the past few days, but the humidity is supposed to lift today. We had our usual round of groceries, laundry, and cooking this weekend. I'm ready for a bit more excitement.
I did get a closet reorganization done. I still need to do DH's closet, but despite earlier promises, he hasn't been too eager. He spent $100 on shoes over the weekend, but because this was at the local Bon-Ton store closing, he got THREE amazing pairs of shoes--Nunn Bush and Cole Haan for that price. I spent nothing. I really need nothing at all.
Keeping up with the CSA veggies with a stirfry and a big pot of minestrone for DH's lunches this week. Off to the gymn- It's going ot be a busy day with lots of appointments. More on that later.
Well, I've finally hit five percent on my big goal, but am now faced with another goal. My best friend is having a "milestone" birthday" next year and wants to go to the Cote d'Azur. Hmm. Maybe a lottery ticket.
My UFM has gone off the rails. I have plenty of excuses, the major one being my daughter's 16th birthday yesterday. I guffawed through articles about what to do for a 16th birthday that included new cars, trips abroad, and a cake made of rolled up dollar bills.
But DD was hesitant about her birthday plans, and decided at the last minute what she'd really like is a whole day with her BFF, especially since the BFF recently moved back near us. I was just the driver and offerer of options. They decided on an hour or so at Target where they bought nothing and looked at everything, followed by a trip to the amazing ethnic grocery next store where I bought olive oil, and they spent 35 minutes looking at imported squid, Polish candy, Mexican peppers, Turkish grape leaves, and just about everything else you can think of. I remember very well loving trips like that with my friends when I was that age. On to the Humane Society where I fell in love with a dog and they fell in love with a cat. Lots of petting but no adopting. We then had lunch in Milwaukee's funky third ward followed by more odd shopping. They spent, I kid you not, 60 minutes looking at succulents. Then we all had pedicures, paddled boats on the lake, followed by dinner at PF Changs and more d**m shopping for them.
I kept up my cheerful demeanor, but by the end of the evening, I let them shop and goof around while I sat in a comfy chair at Barnes and Noble. DD loved the day; it'll take me days to recover. And today won't be frugal either as I'm meeting DH for lunch to cheer on English football. Frugality will resume, but it's likely to be next week. Hey, she's only 16 once.
Long-time readers (man, you all are so patient with the minutiae of my life) may recall some of my concerns about my colleagues/friends. Most of my university teaching friends have doctorates, some masters' degrees, but our pay is not so great. Everyone I know picks up extra work wherever we can--adjunct jobs, freelance editing, you name it. And the salary issue is worse for those whose spouse is also teaching for us. I won't go into my political rant, but we've had issues all over our state university system. The issue is, of course, compounded by the fact that many financed grad school with student loans.
I have a core group of about six women who I'm close to, and of those six of us, four of them struggle mightily with money. They are all married, each have two kids, and work very hard, picking up extra work where and when they can. But during a lunch on Friday, three said that apart from the mandatory state pension withdrawals, they had NO retirement savings, nothing in IRAs or the 403b the university offers. That made me feel really sick. I'm the oldest of all of them, but the rest are about to turn 50 soon. So, here's my question. Do I just completely butt out? We agreed years ago that if we sub for one another on an adjunct job, we pay the sub. One of them owes me $200 for a sub job, and I would so love to walk her through signing up for a 403b and depositing say $100 of the $200 she owes me in that account. They've had so many medical issues, a child with leukemia, broke parents, you name it. It's a head/heart issue. I want them to be ok. But it's too interfering, is or isn't it?
It's been a hot day here, but we've managed to make it a Frugal 4th so far. Most of the frugality has come from cooking. This is a strange thing to admit, but despite being 1000 years old and cooking a lot, I've never made pancakes without a mix before. I've always had Bisquik or Krusteaz around, but not today. I'd promised DD red, white, and blue pancakes, so found a recipe online and stirred some up. We decided they were a great success, though a bit putzy. I may make up some dry ingredients ahead and store enough for a few batches for us. I wonder what other surprises the Ultra-Frugal Month will offer? I also stirred up a batch of granola, made potato salad for tonight's dinner using some of the lovely garlic scapes from the CSA along with some radishes, and roasted some CSA beets.
DD is off to Summerfest, our big music festival, with her friends, so the Old Brit and I will have the day to ourselves. I have lots of prep work for my upcoming class as does he. The midweek 4th doesn't seem quite as festive to me. But still fun and time to think about ways to make the country better for all of us.
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