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Archive for March, 2009

Tummy Taming

March 30th, 2009 at 07:36 pm

First--I want to salute all of you going through tough times, in ND, those of you without jobs, and other worries. I'm impressed with everyone's mental strength.

I find myself worrying about all sorts of things lately--one of my husband's colleagues has been asked to take a 40% pay cut, and others have been asked to take a 30% pay cut. He hasn't found out his numbers yet, but the whole thing makes me anxious. My usual anxiety monitor is a sour stomach, which seems omnipresent lately.

We have an good emergency fund, and we've created a back-up budget, but still my stomach gurgles.

I'm trying to think of ways to distract myself--getting library DVDs to watch over lunch, garden planning etc. I need to build more joy into my life and not focus on all the bad news.

Small Bulwarks Against the Tide

March 27th, 2009 at 02:15 pm

Unhappy news of the day: It looks as if my university teaching job will be at 3/4 time for the foreseeable future. That's 3/4 pay for probably at least the next year. The university has failed to tell anybody about this, but has just gone ahead and changed the schedule. It stinks there, but I guess I should be happy for the job. And I'm very happy I had so many years at full time, since it will eventually help what little retirement payouts I have left.

Happy news then? The most excellent church rummage sale in a long time--I bought DD a garbage bag full of clothes--including NWT Gymboree pants and shirt--all for under $20. For that she got five new dresses--three Gymboree and a Hanna Andersson--not that I'm label conscious, but they'll have good ebay resale when she's done with them, two pairs of pants, tights, tops, toys, you name it.

I'm ignoring the weather forecast and hoping like Sleeping Beauty to reawaken when spring actually arrives.

Today's Odd Saving

March 19th, 2009 at 02:13 pm

Our roadside mailbox has been wobbling and threatening to fall off for about 6 months. We really needed a new post and a better fastening system to make it sit up nice and straight. We've been talking about doing it for weeks, but just haven't got to it.

This morning our municipal garbageman hit it with his truck and by late afternoon, a city crew of three came out, set and installed a new post and reattached the mailbox much nicer than we would ever do.

Pennies from heaven? Or at least from the village....

The Darn Flu

March 18th, 2009 at 08:28 pm

or the bubonic plague, I'm not sure which it is. Last week my students coughed all the way through their midterms, and true to form, I ended up with their flu on my break week.

I'm not sure which is worse--to be sick when I should be off enjoying myself, or to be sick wyhile I should be working.

I tried to teach my evening class last night, but had to let them go after 2 1/2 hours. I could hardly talk and today my voice is completely gone. I ventured out for an hour today to buy groceries and go to Walgreens for some meds, but other than that, I've been home since Sunday night. If any of you want to know how inane daytime TV is, let me know.

hack, cough wheeze......

Another Cheap Getaway

March 13th, 2009 at 08:23 am

Last weekend we booked a couple days in a downtown Chicago hotel for $54/night complete with a fridge, pool, and great location right off State Street. I'm grumbling about nothaving a "real" spring break this year, but although this is no Orlando, it'll be nice to get away for a few days.

I used a great site to help me decide on the Hotwire Hotel offerings. It's called betterbidding.com. They helped me identify the hotel by the amenities offered before I bought it. I highly recommend them.

So we're off to Chi-town armed with snacks, beer (hey--maybe this is like my students' break!), wine, and the membership card from our science museum to get us in free to several Chicago museums.

My frugal self solemnly swears to come back and list stuff on ebay and balance my checking account. And try to figure out how to help those ailing retirement accounts.

tighter belts

March 9th, 2009 at 11:38 am

The word has just spread at DH's job that they're cutting salaries. No official word yet on the numbers. I guess better a lower salary than no job.

I plan on spending (ha!) spring break decluttering the basement and listing ebay items. This morning I freecycled a bunch of toys to a lovely woman with 9 (!) kids.
The delight on the little boy's face when he saw the bag of toys was immensely heart-warming.

We roasted a turkey breast over the weekend. For me, this is one of the easiest cheapest most delicious meals we all love. I predict at least two more meals from it (at 99cents/lb) before it becomes soup.

A Bit of Good news

March 7th, 2009 at 02:40 pm

For months it had seemed as if my transmission in my 111K miles car was about to go. It chugged, it lurched, it was obstinate.
While I was in NYC last weekend, we took it to the transmission specialists recommended by our usual mechanic. He cleaned it, flushed the fluid,and refilled it. He said we didn't need to replace and found nothing wrong.
Since then (knock on head) it's run like a charm--no problems, no chugging, no lurching.

What's "Shovel-Ready" at your house?

March 6th, 2009 at 10:50 am

After listening to endless discussion on construction projects that are "shovel ready," I've decided we have three projects at that point.

1. Central Air conditioning
2. Basement Remodeling
3. Tankless Water Heater

We're ready to roll and to hire people on all three of these when the government decides to give us an economic stimulus.

What are your shovel-ready projects?

Lots of uncertainty

March 5th, 2009 at 10:49 am

My DH is a software developer and every day, it seems, people at his company are being laid off. We've developed an emergency plan to live on my (lousy) salary if we must, reduced many of our expenses, and we have a nice size EF.

Yet there are things we've planned: our summer trip to the UK, a new dresser, a basement remodeling, etc.

All of these things are sort of on hold, but I'm not sure what we should spend on, and what we shouldn't spend on.
I suspect lots of us are in the same place right now. Should we hoard completely or should we spend little bits?

I wish I had an answer--it's just one of the things that lodges in my head for days at a time.

Back from NYC

March 2nd, 2009 at 12:11 pm

And man, did I have fun!
We went to the opera, a play, a jazz club, shopping, the Circle Line boat tour, a couple museums, and walked, and walked, and walked.

I think I did OK budgetarily. I bought a City pass and a transport card for the subway and the bus and used it almost all the time. Breakfast (and cappuccino!)
was free at the hotel, and I always took a coffee to go with me.
I bought a few things but was mostly restrained. And I made the hotel clerk VERY happy with the leftover days on the transport card.

I'm not sure I would've made any monetary decisions differently. But I would've brought an extra pair of feet to replace the ones I wore out. Ouchouchouch