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Holding Pattern

February 23rd, 2017 at 02:11 pm

That's how I feel: we're in a holding pattern until DH starts work on March 6, and gets paid. There are plenty of other things for me to do--lots of work, lots of decluttering and treadmill time I should be considering, but we're just holding on for now. And we're in that tail-end of winter period where it's just waiting. The false spring is over, and we're back to gray.

I do have lots of activities going on this weekend--a work ceremony tomorrow, student meetings, lots of grading, a retirement party for a former colleague. I wonder if I didn't often fill these sorts of gaps with a little recreational shopping or travel and that's why I feel sort of in stasis?

My Brit friend who has gone to Nice with me a couple times is headed there this week with her cousins. I'm staying put here in Cheeseland. I see big pots of potato soup and chili in my near future.

DH's car repair showed up on his credit card, but it's not due for a month, so I won't have to transfer cash. I don't see anything in his orientation material about when they start paying him, but I'm hoping it's within two weeks of starting. I cashed another $25 out of Swagbucks, as I've been running those darn videos as I grade papers. Spending today was $8.49. The university won't spend any cash on our awards ceremony tomorrow, so I volunteered to bring a flat of bottled water. It was $2, but I had to buy a few other things to get that deal--all things we needed like cereal and pasta sauce and all cheap.

Maybe an NSD?

February 22nd, 2017 at 01:48 pm

It's a gorgeous day here, but I spent most of it inside my office and in the classroom. Nothing like 70 degrees in February to keep attendance down.

But I came armed--coffee in a travel mug this morning, quiche and strawberries in my lunch bag and plenty of tea in the office.

I hung around so I could talk with a nurse practitioner about editing her capstone project. She was lovely, it sounds like an interesting project, and we negotiated a lower rate than I usually charge since it sounds like an easy project. She hope to get half of it to me by spring break. It won't be a lot of cash, but we are trying to build a solid relationship with the nursing school, so this may also help me get to know some of them better.

On the way home I deposited my flu shot reimbursement and DD's babysitting money. Wednesday is our spaghetti night, so it's been an easy day with only one problem with a student who seems to appear and disappear all the time. We'll see if he can straighten himself out. Off to write tomorrow's exam.

A Slight Complication

February 21st, 2017 at 04:43 pm

Against my advice, DH decided to tell the unemployment folks he turned down work. The fact that he turned down and accepted work on the same day doesn't seem to matter to them, so they're holding his unemployment payments until it goes to some sort of committee. Now it will be at least a month until he gets any unemployment, but if they rule in his favor, he'll get the back payments.

So we remain on a tight budget. I could move money from savings, but I'm determined to hold tight until his first paycheck. That should be mid-March. I get paid in another week, and my long overdue flu shot reimbursement arrived today. The insurance company still owes us for two more. I bought dog food today and filled up the gas tank totaling about $48. I have noticed how little day-to-day spending we've done. Another $20 on groceries, a couple of takeaways, regular coffee (even the cheap stuff) add up to maybe $500 or so a month. And I've done NO unnecessary clothes shopping, no house purchases except for DD'2 $10 FB desk chair.

I have three recommendation letters to write tonight for students. I wish them well, but I hope the job-hunting and recommendation season ends soon. I could spend hours weekly on these.

DH had lunch with a former colleague today; an expense but good for networking. Over 100 more people at his old firm got laid off today alone, including the woman who laid him off.

Free, French, and Fun!

February 19th, 2017 at 03:03 pm

DD and I just got home from seeing a cute French film, Belle et Sebastien II. Our university is hosting a French Film Festival, and all the films are free. It's also free to park on Sunday. We did buy a good looking cake in support of a youth program in Haiti. All the Francophone countries are showing films so there's quite a wide range. As a bonus, DD gets French extra credit for going. I'm going to try to go to a few more while it lasts.

We did the weekly shop yesterday, but I blew the $50 budget buying another 99ct/lb turkey breast and more milk than usual--but we just about hit $70.

DD had a great time at the anime convention. We're going to have to get used to her being out later. We feel like old fogeys (sp?), but she has a much better social life than we do. We watched more of The Crown, and I graded papers.

On Wednesday I'm meeting with a nursing doctoral candidate looking for dissertation editing help. That could be a nice bonus. I'm not sure I need more work now, but I can put some other things on autopilot. No other spending to report--but am scuring the Target ad for other things we need.

Finally Out of the House

February 17th, 2017 at 10:47 pm

So, I left the house for the first time since the death cold grabbed me on Tuesday. I went to a meeting at school, stopped for a cheap frozen turkey breast and a loaf of bread and came back home. Total spending $11.42. It was a brown-bag meeting so I packed a lunch, made coffee in the office, and managed to take two of the spare bagels left from the earlier meeting home.

We also gave DD $40 for making the dean's list at school. She's heading off to an anime convention tomorrow with friends. My other budget triumph was a batch of very good stuffed shells made with the $1 sale cottage cheese and some leftover shopped spinach. I made enough for leftovers, but alas, we ate them all.

Our Blu-Ray player been having issues finding our wireless network lately. We've tried lots of tips, but while the Blu-Ray itself works, the receiver wasn't, so DH hooked up the free Roku we got as a public TV bonus gift. Works like a charm now, so we finished watching the pretty good-Aussie series, "The Code." We only made it through the first season, but I liked it.

Lots of grading yet to do, and a fair amount of cooking and errands tomorrow. Anyone have Presidents' Day off? Not me!

Targeted

February 16th, 2017 at 09:59 am

I need some inspiration from my SA buddies. I did a textbook review for a publisher, but instead of sending cash, they all seem to be using Tango giftcards lately. I thought the most useful one would probably be Target, and I hoped they'd just let me apply it to my redcard, but after a lengthy chat session with the very nice rep, it seems you need to use them every time you shop either on your phone or through target.com. Ugh

I know me--if I let it linger I'll forget all about it, so I like to use at least a chunk of it on Target.com. We have no pressing needs, so I think I'll spend some on laundry detergent (man, am I fun), my DH wants an air compressor to keep our tires inflated, and we cold probably use a new set of sheets. But it's $300. Maybe I could set a weekly reminder to buy whatever we might use and that is on sale?

Other ideas from you brilliant minds?

Hey Robin?

February 15th, 2017 at 06:11 pm

We haven't heard from you for a week or so. You ok?

Drum Roll? Nah.

February 15th, 2017 at 10:19 am

After lengthy discussion, it seems clear the DH wants to take the regular job, not the contract with the possibility of it turning into a job. He's very slightly concerned he'll be bored, but he always keeps himself entertained outside of work. It also has the shorter commute--probably a minimum of 15 minutes each way --which adds up and is aggravating.The other folks keep calling him back, but I think he's decided. They don't need him though, until 6 March, which means we'll continue on a somewhat spartan budget for a while. I think the smaller paycheck compared to the other job is not much of a concern. He just needs to keep an eye on his spending. Lots to think about, but he's about to call them and accept.


We continue to eat through the freezer and pantry. Here are some embarrassing revelations. Yesterday DH ate chili from the basement freezer that I have NO idea of its age. But he said it was fine and appears to still be alive. I really should be better about labeling. I'm much too sporadic. And I found a box of alphabet pasta in the far recesses of the cupboard. I'm relatively sure that we have had it for years. I'm throwing it in the latest batch of soup. If you don't hear from me, well, you'll figure it out. Dry pasta has a long shelf life though, right?

I'm home with this awful cold--drippy nose and miserable. I got as far as getting dressed and picking up my bag this morning before giving up and going back to bed.

In other minor financial news, I cashed $25 out of Swagbucks and found 2 cents in the parking lot yesterday. And I read a capstone project to keep that cash coming.












Well, Let's Call It Flux.

February 14th, 2017 at 12:29 pm

Just as DH wound things up last night and we both sat around our precious kleenex boxes whining about our colds, he opened his e-mail to yet another job offer.

We spent some time discussing it then and some more time in the morning. Pluses? It's closer to home saving him several hours a week in commute time. He likes the people, and they're eager to have him. They have a solid benefit package and it's not a contract; it's a "real" job.

Minuses? The other job would expand his skills more, is a bigger company with slightly higher pay. And he's committed to the other contract agency at least verbally.

The unknowns at the first offer trouble us. He doesn't want to get into the instability of another contract. Often the benefits offered by agencies in terms of salary and vacation disappear when full-time work is offered. They hired him without meeting him in person and he has no idea what it's like. But it is more money--enough to make us think a while.


We're still unsure. And I'm eating lots of chocolate to help my cold and my decision making. I'm sure it must help.

He's asked for a day to consider, but we'd like to tell the agency soon if he decides to turn them down.

Ugh--Lots of Spending

February 13th, 2017 at 12:38 pm

Today my DH took his car in to have a few things fixed. We planned on spending about $500, but things were worse than we thought, and by the time I got home from school, he had spent $1500 on it. I'm not sure that beater is worth $1500, but I guess he felt he needed to have a car ready to drive to work next week. This was not helped by the massive head colds we both have developed. I think we could have taken a couple days and bought a used car. We have the cash for it--but we both feel lousy and he just went ahead with it. He's trying to talk me into swapping cars with him. Uhmm- no. No. I am not a car person, but I picked my car out, care for it, saved for it, took on an additional class for it, and as much as we're partners he cannot have my car while I drive the huge monstrosity he wanted. Penny wise, pound foolish. Ugh.

Second ugh? Last night the dog came in from outside and began retching. This continued for a couple of hours in varying degrees of distress. By 11 p.m. we took her to the emergency vet where the symptoms magically disappeared. This morning she was considerably better with still an occasional coughing retching episode. I think she ate a burr and it's stuck. I pulled one out of her paw earlier. She's eating fine and acting mostly fine, and I'm hoping it will just subside. But the emergency vet is always a fine place to drop more cash. This of course contributed to our worsening colds with little sleep.

Sometimes the best thing for this sort of day is a hot bath and maybe a nap. DH is napping but I have class planning. And dinner. And maybe laundry. Glad i don't have a class tonight and hoping for an early night myself.

Four Jaunts

February 11th, 2017 at 03:37 pm

I've turned into such a homebody lately, but it was great to get out last night and today.

I went out with university friends for drinks and appetizers. Someone gave us a card for 25% off for educators, and the six of us made good use of it. Happy hour wine specials and absolutely fabulous crispy Brussel Sprouts with goat cheese and honey. Honestly, they were fabulous. We also ordered a plate called Middle East peace with hummus, babaghanoush and beautiful warm pitas. It was lovely and fun. Lots of worries about our jobs, but so good to get together and reassure and help each other. I paid way more than my share to help some of the others, but it was only $23.

Today I bought a hot pink desk chair off a local FB list for DD. She's been making do with a raggedy old chair that needs paint and a new seat cover, and this was adorable and $10.

Yes, you can see that I've been loosening it up a bit.
But not too much. We needed a little breather.

Today the three of us drove out to where DH's new job will be on the 20th. It is a bit far, but I'm really hoping for a car pool buddy for him. We then went together to the grocery store which is usually a recipe for disaster, but I think he's really gotten behind my stricter shopping. The local grocer had great loyalty coupons this week and we spent (drum roll) $44.16. Ok--we still have a few things in the freezer, but most of it was shopping with a detailed list, electronic and paper coupons, and attention to the special offers.

We got through Season 4 of Homeland last night and are #98 (no kidding) on the waiting list at the library for Season 5. I see an evening of work and Netflix ahead of us.

Soup!

February 10th, 2017 at 11:41 am

Lately the moment we finish eating one batch of soup, I start another. Gone is the veggie soup; we're on to slow-cooker potato which smells fabulous right now.

DH is at his interview and will stop and take the pre-employment drug test on the way home. This is yet another interview for a job other than the one he's accepted. Worth talking to people, right?

CCF's list got me thinking about my pantry/freezer progress which has been pretty darn good. A couple weeks ago I bought 10 lbs of potatoes because they were 59cents for the entire bag. We like potatoes, but not that much, so we've been throwing them in soup and having the occasional baked potato with toppings for lunch. But I swear they're multiplying in the pantry. Today's soup used six of them. I also pulled out a jar of mincemeat. Put mincemeat in the lima bean category for me, but the old Brit loves mince tarts, and sometimes his mean wife actually gets around to making some. It seemed too putzy this week to make tarts, so I used the bar recipe on the jar and froze half. I only wish I liked them. I'm making a batch of brownies too with chocolate chips since I seem to have an abundance of them--particularly the mini ones that DD used to like in pancakes. The pantry looks much better, but I could and will work through it for another month or so. Lots of pecans to use, so maybe more granola?

I'm very slightly loosening the purse strings--drinks out with friends tonight and maybe a small Valentine treat for all of us. But though we've mostly managed to live on my salary, we still have ground to make up once DH starts work on the 20th. It's an ongoing mission.

NSD Yesterday

February 9th, 2017 at 01:31 pm

Y'all know I have a traveling bug, but I just turned down a weekend in NYC with friends--partially needing to make up for the one-salary stint, but also it's too tight a weekend for me in May. I'd have to leave the last day of the semester, and by then, I really need downtime more than a big city jaunt.

I had a weird "visual anomaly" for the past two nights that I was worried might be a retinal tear, but the opthamologist now says is a migraine event. I've never had what I'd consider a real migraine, but after the exam yesterday and pupil dilation, I had a whopper of a headache.

I haven't spent a dime since Saturday, but DD had a dental co-pay today that DH paid. I'll get that cash back from flex. I am going out with friends for drinks tomorrow, and although he's committed to the job offer, DH has another interview tomorrow.

Job Offer!!

February 7th, 2017 at 03:24 pm

Well, it's not his dream job, and it's sort of a longish commute, especially for my public- transportation- loving DH, but it's a solid offer. The minute he hemmed and hawed, they raised their offer. It's a contract position at first, hopefully leading to a regular position in a few months. He's now contacted his other possibilities and told them he has an offer. They've given him three days to think it through. If the other closer jobs don't respond by then, he'll certainly take it.

He is not overjoyed about the commute, and we may have to consider another car sooner rather than later as his is quite the beater, has no a/c, and needs a new emergency brake. All of that is do-able, and I've already talked abut audio books for the commute. And we all know it's easier to get a job when you already have one.

I wish he was excited about it, but I think he's quietly happy. And if he can get settled into it now, he should be able to start a graduate class in the fall if there's something good in the evenings and online. The money is even slightly better than what he earned before which helps balance the longer commute.

I'm starting to feel a bit relieved, and eager to see how the next few days pan out.

Monday Monday

February 6th, 2017 at 05:21 pm

Good classes today, but on the way to school I noticed my gas gauge appears stuck. I thought I had more than a quarter of a tank, but it read empty on the gauge--and the digital display.

After teaching I headed home--and voila--the gauge seems to be working again. But just in case, I filled the car, noted the mileage, and will track it in case it stops again. I also stopped at CVS for some 17 cent toothpaste. Yep, that's some fun.

More dire news from the university about demographics and enrollments. I think I'm ok, but the dip in the birthrate 18 years ago is not helping us. DH and I ate leftover taco dip on tortillas for lunch. It didn't look pretty, but it was tasty. We ate leftovers for dinner with a nice salad.

Best news--I got a haircut. And color. I was starting to look like, well, Wolfman Jack maybe? I have lots of hair and it needed attention.

DH's phone interview went well, and he has another tomorrow. We remain cautiously optimistic.

Spending out of pocket was 11.73 for toothpaste and gas. Haircut provided by gift card from last week.

Back in the 50s

February 5th, 2017 at 07:17 pm

My grocery bill, that is--not the temperatures. The budget was not helped by my DH spending another $55 at the liquor store, but we were out of many things. He's starting to chafe at the restrictive budget a bit. I ran our numbers, and if we indeed put away enough for property taxes, DD's 529 and small contributions for both our IRAs, $200 month for groceries, and our other misc bills we have $300/month discretionary spending. That figure is without an adjunct income from me or DH's unemployment, so I guess we have a little wiggle room.

That said, I'm starting to fret a bit, but there's not much I can do except encourage on this end. I'm not ready to adjust my withholding or my pension contributions yet. I'm not sure that small economies are going to help me breathe a lot easier. I think we need a job offer. DH has another phone interview tomorrow.

I also think I to do a better job of self care. I've been having too many late nights, not enough exercise, and too many sweets. I have a haircut tomorrow, it's Monday, and I'm going to be better. Stamina is called for.

Free Bagels and a NSD

February 2nd, 2017 at 12:53 pm

Bruegger's Bagels was celebrating their birthday this morning, and I popped in for three free bagels. I (really) ate one in the car on the way to the university but saved the other two for DD who loves their Asiago bagels. Such a simple thing but a nice little treat for still very-frugal me.
My non-frugal office mate scolded me for not going out to lunch with DH while he's unemployed telling me I had no bills. Excuse me? No mortgage maybe, but plenty of bills still.

I had very good classes today which is always fun, and best news of all, my adjunct university offered me a summer class. It's composition--not my favorite subject, but still. That means I'll have summer cash when my regular university salary is over. That gives us a lot more breathing room and we could probably make it even if DH doesn't get a job. But I think he will. Still, a relief.

Yep, Another NSD

January 31st, 2017 at 02:44 pm

Here's some good things that have happened today.
DH had a lunch interview with a company that has branches in LONDON! He said it went very well. They want to see him again next week.

I spent nothing today. Again. I may have officially kicked my coffee shop habit (at least for a bit), and love my kettle.

I stopped at CVS hoping to use some coupons, but they didn't have what I wanted. I did pause briefly at their moisturizers as it is cold and dry--but walked out without spending a cent.

DH made oatmeal this morning, and it boiled it all over the stove top which made the burners all spark continually. I thought we were due for another expensive repair, but he managed to fix it.

I got an e-mail from a textbook publisher asking me to review a new book for $150. Yes, please.

Last night I made chili, and it's all ready for heating up tonight. Gees, that makes me so happy.

The congestion seems to be sort of clearing from my foggy head. And I'm halfway done with my teaching week.

Monday Musings

January 30th, 2017 at 06:23 pm

I'm still struggling with this cold and congestion. I'm mostly fine, but despite the neti pot, steam, lots of hot baths, Vicks, it keeps coming back. It seems to really be going around here, and it's making me drag a bit.

Today was another NSD. I'm SO happy I brought the small old electric kettle to work. On Mondays and Wednesdays my classes are back to back in the same building as my office. I had to leave the classroom for a bit as I was coughing a lot while they were working on a project, but between classes I could run upstairs, make a big mug of orange tea and rehydrate for the next class. My office mate was skeptical--she rolls her eyes sometimes at my frugality--but this morning she was making tea with it and has brought several boxes of various teas to the office.

I'll do January UFM budget totals tomorrow or Wednesday. I did get a check from my adjunct university for evaluating their capstone projects, so that'll be a nice boost to the account. DH has a luncheon interview tomorrow. We had cauliflower cheese for meatless Monday dinner, and I've made a cranberry apple crisp with some cranberries from the freezer. As I said, I think we'll continue uberfrugality (with some room for a few things) until DH gets a job. Maybe it's not uberfrugality then--just frugality?

One small worry. The dog yelped when I scratched her ears earlier and did the same to DD. I cleaned her ears with some peroxide, but worry she may have an ear infection. Some new snow has made it very pretty today--if still cold.

Onward

January 29th, 2017 at 03:03 pm

Yesterday's grocery bill went back into the $50s, but I came home with plenty of meals. And the checker--a young man about 21--was impressed with my coupons. I love it when they say, "Wow!" I hope they don't coach them on that because I was happy to hear it. Our local supermarket chain was bought by Kroger about a year ago, and they seem to be getting better.

Here was yesterday's uberfrugal fun. DD needed a one-piece swimsuit for her swim classes which start tomorrow at school. Target seemed the best bet, but it's steps away from Costco. She HATES going shopping with me, but I told her we'd go to Costco, price bread flour, and eat a bunch of samples. We ate about a dozen samples, decided the big bag of bread flour was too big, and found a swimsuit there--avoiding Target altogether. So--free lunch, cheaper swimsuit,and a quick trip to the supermarket. And I thought of you all at the supermarket as I was buying edmame as right next to them was a package of what I would call lima beans but which were marked butter beans. The darn things are haunting me.

So, we had stir-fried chicken, broccoli, and pineapple last night with rice. We'll have fried rice tonight with quick dumpling soup and eggrolls. I saw the dumpling soup in an old issue of Midwestern Living at the library and it looked so good. I love having fresh ginger and cilantro around--especially in the and winter. I also made pancakes for brunch and a dozen extra for DD's breakfast this week. She pops them in the toaster and eats them plain. And I made a loaf of bread in the bread maker--long shelved in the basement to use up the whole-wheat flour. I have two opened bags of it in the pantry so we're eating it all.

We did spend some cash as I'm due for a haircut and color--actually a few weeks overdue. My local salon had a deal where if you bought a $100 gift card you got an extra $20--you just couldn't use it the same day. I'd already made an appointment for about 10 days out, so I'll have enough (almost) for two appointments. I touch up the greying roots myself, but the cut and color is something I am unwilling to budge on.

DH and I have decided to really clean out the pantry except for staples. It probably should be an annual event as we have lots of bits of things. I probably would NOT do it in January again, but we'll continue pretty much uberfrugal until he gets a job.

Still no sunshine here--it must be at least a week without sun and it's pretty darn cold.

Another NSD

January 28th, 2017 at 06:36 am

We've been oh so darn frugal. And I'm pretty darn sick of it, but that's just too bad. Yesterday was a no-teaching day, but did have one long and trying meeting. Perhaps my tremendously stuffed-up head didn't help. Anyway, I've got a new opportunity at the university which I'll detail as it proceeds. It's not what I would have wished for, but it could be pretty interesting.

Yesterday I made turkey broth with the remnants of the turkey breast. We had three dinners and two lunches from that lovely thing--and now the soup to come. Since I have frozen potstickers, I think we'll go Asian and add some bok choy, edamame, and some red cabbage. I've got a couple Asian-themed meals planned for the NY celebration. There's a bottled stir-fry sauce and some water chestnuts in the pantry. Like CCF, I have rice that I'll make into fried rice. Looks like the weekly grocery trip will be on for today. I mostly need fruit and veggies as we're still plowing through the freezer.

Yes, the freezer still has a long way to go as does the pantry. I made bread from a mix yesterday, and we made a pizza from the remnants of the stuff in the fridge. I fried up mashed potatoes into patties for lunch with some eggs. The pizza was good, but not sure about my potato patties. But we ate them.

DD starts a swimming unit at school on Monday and needs a one-piece swimsuit. I guess that probably means Target. Just glad I don't have to buy one myself--especially after our uber-frugal (and uber-starchy) meals of the past month. I'll use the Redcard and should look for coupons before we head out.

I've started a new book, The Essex Serpent, which I'm liking, and have a day full of laundry, budget totaling, and course planning to do.

Bean There; Done That

January 26th, 2017 at 08:58 pm

Ignoring all the confusion and chaos around us, this blogger has sought to find the real truth behind the lima vs butter bean debate. This is what the always infallible internet has to tell us:

"Butter bean is a term that some use for particular types of lima beans; the only difference is in regional terminology. The lima bean is a domesticated legume with the scientific name of Phaseolus lunatus that gets its name from its place of origin, Lima, Peru. Some in the American South and the United Kingdom call particular types of lima beans “butter beans.”

Dried lima beans that are more flat and yellowish than the common rounded and green variety are often called “butter beans” in Southern States. In the South, lima beans and butter beans are considered to be two different types of bean, however, in their scientific name is the same and they are not two distinct species of bean.

The culinary terminology used in the United Kingdom differentiates between lima and butter beans more in line with the Southern United States distinction, where lima beans that are dried, larger, and light yellow are referred to as butter beans and the smaller green bean is called a “baby” or “junior” lima bean. These distinctions do not change the scientific terminology, and the two common terms used for the lima bean are often interchangeable regardless of regional or culinary preferences.


All of this marvelous knowledge comes from reference. com which cites the USDA. Scientific knowledge is important. Perhaps even more riveting than all of this is that I got my husband to eat about 25 percent of them in his lunch. Expect further updates tomorrow.

Januwearying

January 25th, 2017 at 03:20 pm

Still uberfrugal and today was a NSD. My classes went well despite oncoming cold. DH has had it for a week so I guess it's inevitable I'd get it.

Yesterday we got a refund of $147 from the dentist which went into the bank this afternoon. DH had a good phone interview and lots of other leads. I think things are picking up for him. We'd love to see a job offer.

No other news to report. No BBQ sauce spills. I should turn the turkey breast bones into soup and should bake some pumpkin bread. We'll see how much zip I have left.

And speaking of eating it all up, somewhere along the line DH bought a bag of frozen lima beans. Honestly, I'd have to be in some desperate straits before I willingly ate lima beans, and all the recipes I see for them have cream of something soup or ham bones or something like that in them. Anyone have ideas? Should I just combine them with canned baked beans and have him eat them? You're all invited over for a lovely ladies lima lunch.

Continuing About the Same

January 24th, 2017 at 03:39 pm

But with some hopeful lights. DH had another phone interview today that he thought went well. And someone from his small group at church forwarded his resume to some of his contacts.

I began teaching my Health Science Writing classes today. They seem like a nice and varied bunch, and the classroom is much better than my MW classroom. I also made a mug of tea in the office hotpot instead of picking up my usual coffee. It will do just fine.

My only spending today was on antiperspirant for DD's gym bag supply which I bought from CVS with ECB and a coupon. I also picked up some milk while there to get the ECB bargain. Total outflow $5.37 with $1 ECB. More leftovers for lunch punctuated by a big BBQ sauce accident. DH and I were eating leftover pork tenderloin on buns. He decided to shake up the BBQ sauce, but I had already taken the top off. Several cupboards, the kitchen rug, the counter tops, floor, and dog all got quite a spattering.

Such is January in Cheeseland.

Day One

January 23rd, 2017 at 04:58 pm

of Spring semester that is. Although the weather is mild-ish, it's very gray. I taught two classes today in a small room that is supposed to hold 28 students but had 22 chairs and not much room for more. Latecomers had to step over everyone else. It's not ideal, but it will do. Only one real issue--a student who I had to tell twice (really?) to put his laptop away. I hope that's the end of that because if it continues, I'll ask him to leave. Everyone else seems fine. Another first day tomorrow with two more.

DH had an interview this afternoon. He has a bad cold but pressed on which I think was a good idea. He's not sure how it went but he was there for 90 minutes which I think is a good sign. A different phone interview is scheduled for tomorrow.

DH and DD are both at church now. She's babysitting and he's at the small group. My spending today consisted of $12 for a new grade book. The university used to furnish them, but no more. I ordered it from Amazon using a gift card received at Christmas, so I spent nothing out of pocket. I also filled up the car for #27. We had =no shock here= leftovers for lunch and leftover turkey from yesterday's turkey breast for dinner.

I was thinking today that we may try to continue the uberfrugality until DH gets a job. I do need a haircut so that will have to be in the mix, but everything else can wait.

I finished The Underground Railroad which I indeed recommend even if it is harrowing. And we're continuing to watch Homeland. I feel really boring, but between DH's cold, plenty of odds and ends to do around here, and uberfrugality it seems more like stasis that anything. Thank goodness for the library.

That's More Like It

January 21st, 2017 at 06:01 pm

My grocery bill, that is. I scoured the ads, gathered the paper coupons and clipped the e-coupons. I made the meal plan for the week, inventoried the fridge and the freezer, and came in at $36.61 Hooray! We have become VERY good at eating it all. Veggie burgers last night with the tail end of a bag of frozen fries, crudites and dip. We're finishing off the ginger cake too. Tonight was pork tenderloin with onion marmalade, rice pilaf and some lovely fresh green beans. Lunch is the rolling inventory of leftovers.

Other tasks today included running into the university to copy my course calendars and spending an hour dejunking and rearranging the office. I donated five older textbooks to the book donation box, re shelved others, and pitched more piles of papers. Our office is still a disgrace as the university lacks the cash for repainting it. We checked the records, and it hasn't been painted in 27 years. We have ugly water-stained ceiling tiles, but we are about # 9782 to have them replaced. Perhaps in the spring my office mate and I will repaint it ourselves. In the meantime, I'm trying to scrounge plants and hang some more artwork.

Very inspired today by the women's marches around the world. We are mighty.

Lifted by La La Land

January 20th, 2017 at 09:11 am

DD and I used the $5 Thursday movie special for a January mood brightener. I loved La La Land--not sure it's for everyone, but I thought it was worth seeing on the big screen as the cinematography is spectacular. And we got free popcorn with the tickets which together with the water bottles from my bag made for a lovely evening. Maybe not technically uberfrugal, but cheaper than therapy.

Our planned trip to see the eagles feed has been postponed due to the horrible weather. It's been raining half the morning. I used our $5 bagel credit for 6 bagels--another deliberate mood lifter. And I narrowly escaped a stupid multi-car backup in the parking lot. The bagel shop is next door to Starbucks and a breakfast diner, and as I entered the lot six cars were all backing out simultaneously. I knew it wasn't going to end well, and indeed it didn't as unbelievably four of them collided. I'm glad I hung back, but there was lots of shouting in the parking lot.

So, my plan for the day has been changed to tidying the family room and office, doing laundry, and maybe some quiet reading time and a DVD or two.

In the interest of eating it all, I made cheap soup from bratwurst, potatoes, carrots, and some onion. I've used this recipe before as I usually have those pantry staples, but added a handful of leftover frozen chopped spinach from Wednesday's stuffed shells. Honestly, I would normally throw that single handful out, but it worked well in the soup. And there's still some for lunch today.

DH has an actual interview on Monday. I'll prep him over the weekend.

Still Uberly Frugal

January 19th, 2017 at 09:22 am

And still cabin-feverish. I had a fun day out for us all planned tomorrow driving west to see the eagles feed on the river. But now DH has a cold and I'm not sure that will happen.

I'm also sad--sad that for the first time in four years I am not bound for London on this third Thursday in January. I've heard from lots of my former students today, and we're all sad together. It doesn't bear thinking about and while it's probably for the best, it doesn't make me feel any better knowing that.

I am not happy either at the dire financial hardship of many of my friends. There's likely to be some serious downsizing at the university, and the bleak situation there coupled with politics, no London, no job for husband is making me blue.

I'm not a weepy person--at least not anymore--but I think I need a few days to myself to get my head back on straight. I just want to be quiet and maybe have some drinks with my BFs. If this continues, I may drive to MN one weekend soon and hang out.

But we remain uberly frugal. Yesterday the car tire needed a new valve, but it was our only spending and was $40. DD got another babysitting gig at church for next Monday, so she'll have some spending money soon. We ate leftovers for lunch and stuffed shells for dinner courtesy of the almost forgotten cottage cheese from the fridge and frozen spinach in the freezer. Maybe I'm a shark--I need to go forward.

Hi Ho!

January 17th, 2017 at 05:37 pm

I cooked and baked for about half the day yesterday. I made bean salad, quiche, two batches of granola, and two loaves of peach bread. Lots of things went from freezer to the oven. I was pretty beat after all that, but bagged up granola for gifts, wrapped up a loaf of peach bread, and finally delivered gifts to our university admin staff who make life possible. One lot of granola and a loaf of peach bread went to my struggling colleague whose classes have been cut and more awaits another.

The worst part of the day was the meeting from hell with one of my most miserable colleagues. Man alive, after a dozen years of working with her, I'm amazed I'm still standing. She makes the simplest decisions long and agonizing. Our meeting should've lasted 15 minutes and somehow she dragged it out to an hour and a half, making everyone annoyed and impatient along the way.

But honestly, I was happy to get out of the house and off to school. I like to work. I had lunch with an unemployed colleague who insisted on buying lunch with his gift card, but I had a BOGO coupon, so I had a lovely lunch for free. I did errands, went to the bank, picked up milk and got EB at CVS. My office mate bought me lefse. I'm doing pretty well. I wish I could make things go as well for everyone else. Very minimal spending after a NS Day yesterday.

Best of all? The textbook publisher finally paid me the $1000 they've owed me since September.

BTW--I'm very sick of Swagbucks but penny by penny, the cash keeps rolling in.

Joy in Packerland

January 16th, 2017 at 09:19 am

Sorry,NJDebbie,but there is lots of joy in Wisconsin this morning after that amazing Packer game. And we didn't even eat all the game time snacks because we were too nervous during that last quarter. But, they will be out for next Sunday's Atlanta game.

Except for the church offering, it was a NS day with new movie titles from the library and several new books--including--to my delight, the Colson Whitehead book that has received such raves. I love the library, especially now as we're being uberfrugal.

Speaking of uberfrugality, I may need to have one day with a little leeway. We're planning to head to western Wisconsin this weekend to watch the eagles feed on the river. It will be a good day for a lunch out. Maybe I can use the cash from the boot/skate sales.

Meal plan for the week is done. It's going to be a meatless Monday with a quiche for dinner--leftovers to DD's lunch this week. Taco Tuesday and spaghetti Wednesday as per usual.

We finally got the Christmas tree down, and I've chosen some unloved ornaments to go in the donation bag. I'm also making granola bags for my buddies without full teaching loads. I have lots of oats and dried fruit, so no outlays there. In other exciting plans, DH and I will clean the carpets, and I have meetings at school beginning tomorrow.

Happy MLK day! We're spending some time today to act on his words: "The time is always right to do what's right."


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