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Archive for September, 2010

For the next 45 minutes...

September 28th, 2010 at 07:14 pm

I'm going to take photos for ebay, list items there and on Craigslist, and fill in my flex spending forms for reimbursement. I need some sort of kick for this--so I'm giving my fun fund 30%.
I'll check in later and let you know what I've accomplished. Wish me luck!

A Little Cash

September 27th, 2010 at 07:59 pm

We added a little cash to the coffers yesterday. My book club moderation paid $120, and except for the offering envelope at church we spent nothing.

Saturday's only expense was ANOTHER new pair of shoes for DD. She has outgrown all of her shoes, and we've purchased 4 new pair in the past month--PE shoes for school, one casual pair, school shoes, and new slippers. And she still needs dressy shoes. I freecycled a bunch of her old shoes, but I've got a bag of outgrown sandals and more to give away.

School is so busy right now, I'm missing bargains right and left, but until my eight-week class is over, that's going to be the story. I barely have time to sleep, eat, grade, and do some class prep.

It's been chilly here--my car temp read 40 degrees this morning, but we've held off on the heat so far. Long may it last!

Dull But Productive

September 24th, 2010 at 06:51 pm

That's my day: dull but productive. I'm grading papers on line, doing laundry, and in the breaks in this fast-paced action, decluttering a little. All that means it's a cheap day which is good.
DD has two "late start" days at school next week, and for the first time, she's going to the Y's before school care. DH can't take both mornings off, and neither can I. But it is expensive, and I'm a little annoyed at how many breaks in the schedule there are.

Tomorrow: School Rummage Sale! Man, my life is one thrill after another!

A Good Day at the Grocery Store

September 23rd, 2010 at 01:30 am

I frankly haven't had much time for diligent coupon use lately. If we HAVE groceries, it's a triumph. But I managed to pull it together today and did very well, mostly because of the double coupons. The checker rang everything up, then looked at me when he announced the total, and asked, "Can that be right?" More than half the stuff I bought was free--soup, crackers, snacks, yogurt, etc. I love it when it works and I can actually get to it.

No other money news to report--just trying to get through the week and catch up over the weekend. I've been working on decluttering, and I'll need to do some ebay listing pretty darn soon.

Health Club Happiness

September 21st, 2010 at 09:59 pm

Before DH and DD came along, I was a regular at my local health club. I worked fewer hours, weighed less, and had much more energy. Middle age, longer work hours, and the increasing demands of the family (and lots of laziness) have made me reluctant to join another one, though boy do I need it. Money was also a reason to hesitate.
But last Saturday we took a look at the fancy schmancy club by our house and fell in love. They have a great pool for DD, lots of machines that I can use, free trainer sessions, lots of classes, a beautiful locker room, and reduced rates on massages. We took out a one-month trial membership. DD and DH have been swimming a couple times already, and today after teaching I went to a session with the trainer. She was upbeat, fun, and spotted my "issues" immediately. The key question is, Will we go enough to justify it?

On principle, I'd prefer the Y, but this is less than half a mile from the house. The Y is miles and miles away.
I'm giving it a month, and then we'll re-evaluate. But for now, I love it.

Walmart CEO Comment

September 19th, 2010 at 07:42 pm

Just read an interesting comment from Bill Simon of Walmart in Al Lewis's Sunday WSJ column.

"You need not go further than one of our stores on midnight at the end of the month," Mr. Simon said.
"It's real interesting to watch. About 11 p.m., customers start to come in and shop, fill their grocery basket with basic items, baby formula, milk, bread, eggs, and continue to shop and mill about the store until midnight, when...government electronic benefits cards get activated and then the checkout starts.
"The only reason somebody gets out in the middle of the night and buys baby formula is that they need it," Mr. Simon said. "We are open 24 hours.... If you are there at midnight, you are there for a reason."

Another brief but telling reminder that though we're eagerly awaiting my first paycheck of the school year, we're not in this situation.

DH did comment on the rather lean checkbook balance this morning. But our cupboards (literal and metaphorical) are full. For this we are truly grateful.

Here's the link to the article:
http://tellittoal.newswires-americas.com/

Kids' Fads and Cash

September 16th, 2010 at 08:23 pm

Or perhaps I should call this entry "Kidz Fadz and Cash"? DD has now officially hounded me into buying a package of Silly Bandz. But I made her spend "her own money" on the other two packetz. Our local card store is selling these for $3.99 and the clerk tellz me she can't keep them stocked fast enough.

For those of you spared this over-priced wackiness, see
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/18/AR2010071802974.html


I guess I'm glad I only spent $3.99. Sigh.

Tipping Bad Service?

September 15th, 2010 at 07:55 pm

Last night we went out for a little family birthday celebration. We ordered a shared appetizer and two drinks, plus food for DD.

The server brought the wrong wine (even the wrong color!) for my husband, and the appetizer never showed up. I told the server when he delivered the entrees about the appetizer's absence, and his remark was "I'll take it off your bill." No apology, no explanation, no offer to take the food back and get the appetizer. Later he came by and told us it was his fault, and he could get them to "bring it out quickly," but it was halfway through our entree!

He also forgot the bread, and was obviously a little undone by his mistakes. In a case like that, how much do you tip? Nothing? Ten percent? More?

Sometimes it's just not worth it to go out....

Some Small Budgetary Leaks

September 14th, 2010 at 09:54 pm

I had a parents' meeting at DD's school today--planned for 11 am. The teacher seemed a little surprised that only half the kids' parents could be there. I'm not surprised at all. But indeed to be there, I had to let my class out five minutes early, pay for parking in the university ramp, rather than park in my usual off-site free parking, and drive slightly more than the speed limit to be on time.

Other parents had to take more time off work, and the school has already had a day off in the less than three weeks school has been in session. They have two "late start" days, when they don't begin until 11 am, at the end of the month.

We're doing a small family dinner out tonight for my b-day. it's a quiet birthday, but that seems perfect right now.

Busy busy busy

September 14th, 2010 at 04:01 am

Yep, this is the first full week of school for me--with four days of university teaching, plus my evening class tonight. The house, I'm sorry to say, does NOT run smoothly in my absence,-- and I'm still a little irritable about the babysitter situation. We won't see her for a while, but I fully intend on straightening things out with her.

So I'm busy: special events at DD's school, students wanting meetings, a presentation project, my promotion packet, and all the house stuff. It always takes DH a couple of months to switch from summer--when I do most of the housework, to fall--when I expect him to step up.

In light of all that, sometimes the best thing to do at the end of an unsatisfactory day is to take a bath and go to bed. Sounds like a plan!

A Bit Outraged

September 12th, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Despite an otherwise pleasant weekend, I'm more than a little unhappy with our babysitter. She's in her late twenties and very smart, but has problems holding down jobs, mostly, I think, because she's so bossy.

I normally don't mind her bossiness, though we did have words several years ago when she decided to tell me how she didn't approve of how I loaded my dishwasher. Since then, well, she has her moods, but everything was fine until last night.

DH and I went out for my birthday, then to a club to hear some jazz. This is high living for us. Our usual Saturday night is something off the grill and a library rental DVD.

When we got home, the sitter announced that she'd decided to "clean out" the freezer. We'd bought some rotisserie chicken and veggies for her and DD for dinner, as well as cake. But she was looking for a popsicle in the freezer and decided that some of the things in there should be thrown away.

I always freeze chicken scraps, bones, vegetable parings etc for homemade soup stock. She emptied all those bags and threw that away. The frozen bananas for banana bread--also gone. That made me pretty mad, but today, I realized she'd also moved five or six packages of meat from the freezer to the fridge, and now it was all thawed and needed to be cooked immediately. So much for my peaceful Sunday. I've been braising beef, frying sausages, and making stock. If she appeared on my doorstep right now, I'm afraid I might stick her head in the stock. Has anyone run into this odd control freak behavior from a sitter before?

She's great with DD, but man alive, I've had it with her right now.

Another check off on the goals list!

September 11th, 2010 at 03:40 pm

The carpet installers came yesterday and the carpenter came today to finish off our basement project. It's officially done! Done and paid for!

Next step is moving the treadmill in and next weekend, a trip to IKEA.

Hooray!

A loooooooooong month

September 9th, 2010 at 03:10 am

September is such a long month for us. My university paychecks don't start until October 1, I forgot to submit my project approval forms for my reading job, and we have a lot of expenses to start off the school year.

In other bad news, the university coffee shop has increased its prices due to wholesale price increases, but David Bach's latte factor aside, my daily coffee is a small price to pay for alertness and sanity.

I need to complete my flex spending reimbursement to free up some cash, but this first week of school has worn me out. I have 135 new names to learn and way too much early prep. Cash is trumped by sleep tonight.

No Sign of the Recession

September 6th, 2010 at 10:25 pm

Today DD and I went to the mall. That, in and of itself, is noteworthy. Except for the outlet mall, I haven't been to the large mall here for more than six months, I'm sure. There's a smaller one nearer our house, but this is the "big" mall.

To put it concisely, it was jammed. Macy's had a huge sale, but I waited several people deep at each register. Everyone did seem to be shopping the sale and using their newspaper coupons, but man, it was crowded. I'm pleased with my home purchases--a really nice mattress pad, nicer than the advertised ones, found in the clearance bin for under $13, and an adorable set of Tommy Hilfiger pink sheets for DD's room--printed with white scotties for under $18 with the coupon. We needed both items, and they were both good quality--all cotton and very pretty. DD also got some school clothes, but I find myself thinking that clothes for 8-year-olds look a bit too much like clothes for 17-year-olds. I bought conservative looking tops, but still, some of them look pretty trashy to me. I must be getting old.

We got more things done--yard work and my most wonderful husband volunteered to do the shower clean-up. It looks fabulous.

Now on to ribs, corn, and coleslaw! It's been a good good weekend.

The Whole "To-Do" List Done?!

September 5th, 2010 at 12:58 am

We got an amazing number of things done today, from all our usual Saturday errands to lots of other errands.

While DH and DD picked up the tuned-up bike at the bike shop, I hit the hardware store, the post office, and the library. I bought a shower head with a spray shower for our master bath, in the hopes it'll help keep that shower clean. I used a $10 off coupon, and thus got my grass seed for patching the bare spots almost free. My ebay sales and the the Amazon trade-in went to the post office. The weekend's entertainment all came from the library DVD section--including a number of very good British crime series we've been watching.

Our biggest triumph was the carpet outlet. Home Depot has been giving me fits about laying the carpet, and we've had several disputes with them. I decided to can them and go to the local store--in business for 80 years. The salesman was so easy to deal with, and he scheduled the install for this week! I could've kissed him--he made it all so easy. Then on to the farmer's market for loads of veggies and Office Depot for a grade book. In the current insanity, the university no longer provides them. How they expect us to take roll electronically in a classroom without a computer is beyond my wits.

We also rented a cottage ALREADY! for next year's holiday in the UK. We've been scoping out this one for quite awhile, and they only had one week available for next summer--so we took it. I also got laundry done and started a pot of stock from last night's chicken bones. Is it the cool weather? Or did the planets just align to make everything super easy today!

Amazon Trade-In?

September 4th, 2010 at 01:24 am

Today I listed one of the textbooks I unearthed in the office, and lo and behold, Amazon offered me a couple bucks more than the going price for it.
It listed originally for $45, but a used copy was selling for $19, and Amazon offered me $22 postage paid.
They don't offer cash, but an Amazon gift card (almost as spendable as cash in our house). Has anyone else used this? It looks as if they're trying the system on textbooks. But I'm happy to send it to them (or their clearing house) immediately without the problem of listing it.
I'll let y'all know how it goes, and I'm adding the $22 to my ebay totals.

Sharing the Wealth

September 3rd, 2010 at 07:14 pm

It's not really wealth, but I spent a lot of time this morning in my university office. It's a horrible office,cramped, dirty, and tiled, and I've been there 15 years. I share with another instructor, and we've got lots of stuff. If the janitorial staff clean it twice a year, we're doing well. The state budget cutbacks seem to have hit our cleaning staff hard.

But I got scrounging today and donated an extra (circa 1969) yellow steel desk to one of our teaching assistants who has no desk, making room for a surplus (again 1969) gray steel bookcase I scrounged from the janitor's surplus furniture haul. A co-worker donated an old typewriter table that will house our PC. She got a lamp left by a former office mate, and we got a free calendar from the bookstore. An hour with a roll of paper towels, some picture hangers, and some Windex could really help the place.

I cleaned out files, emptied three ring binders never picked up by students, and gave them to our office manager who was happy to have them. I'm no economist (actually I did an econ minor in college), but it seems as if there's enough stuff to go around here--we just need to reallocate it!

and finally...Go!

September 3rd, 2010 at 01:03 am

My university teaching started up again today, and they seem like they're a decent bunch.

It's still a month until I get paid, but thankfully our expenses are just groceries and coffee(salvation of all overworked instructors). I saved 15cents on my daily coffee by bringing in my own travel mug, but almost left it in both classrooms today. I'll need to review my 403b contributions and my flex spending account. I should probably file my flex spending reimbursement requests over the weekend too.

I sold some shoes of DD's today and an outfit on ebay, so will try to get them in the mail. More stuff out!

I'm looking forward to the weekend and getting all caught up.