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Archive for May, 2011

Reboot

May 31st, 2011 at 05:39 pm

After a fun weekend that had a few too many dollars spent and a few too many calories ingested, it's time to reboot the diet and budget. I started both out this morning by enrolling in a program offered by my health insurance plan. They will send those who enroll a $50 gift card if 15 points are completed. I got eight points for doing the health assessment and will get a walking and exercise program set up to earn enough points for the card. Two birds, I hope.

There's plenty to do around here today, and DD only has eight more days of school left, so I'm going to try to get as much fall class planning and research done while it's quiet here.

I sold another book, so I'm adding $14 to my ebay fund.
Friday I gave some friends a couple of books to help with my decluttering.

Culling and more culling

May 26th, 2011 at 08:21 pm

I'm so pleased at how much I got rid of today!
I gave our toddler travel bed to a co-worker, our old fax machine to another one, and was going to donate a strange bust of Shakespeare to the department office, but I dropped him--and the bard's head went rolling down the street. For a moment I was upset, but then it all seemed very funny. I picked up the head and put it over the department mailboxes. It's lovely.

I took a large bag of books to Half-Price for the lofty sum of $5.50 and stopped to get the Walgreen's freebies of the week and an anniversary card for DH. It's our 10th anniversary today.

I really want to get rid of more, more, more! Decluttering becomes a habit after a while for me.

An Archeological Dig

May 25th, 2011 at 08:06 pm

That's what my home office is--a dig site. Everything gets thrown in here when I'm doing an emergency clean, I got tons of my mom's stuff in here, the dog's crate, and so many books, I'd rather not discuss them.

My cast-off books aren't worth much on Amazon, so I'm torn between donating them to our local library or dumping off a load at Half-Price books. But I've made a big bag, mostly of once-read novels and books I used to teach, but will never again. I moved our "travel" section downstairs, have found a new owner for the fax machine and the toddler bed, but I must admit, it's still too full and a little depressing.

I'm going to take a break, head to the grocery store,and start again after dinner tonight.

Way too many clothes

May 23rd, 2011 at 03:40 pm

I bet many of you can tell when school ends for me. I'm always purging stuff and cleaning in a one-month frenzy. Yesterday I finally hauled out a big bin of DD's summer clothes, and as always, she has way too many. I don't buy her lots of clothes, but she is growing very quickly, and in her lankiness, many things (particularly shorts and skirts!) are way too short.
One of her British cousins is three years older, and we always get lots of hand-me-downs from her, so we sorted through clothes last night. About half of last summer's things are salvageable, but I'll have to deal with the other half. i wish I could truly just put them all in a bag and take them to the Salvation Army or Goodwill, but I always seem to resist that. That said, I freecycled a large bag this morning--and they're already gone--to a woman starting as a foster parent. That was VERY satisfying. Some other clothes should probably be ebayed or sold on Craigs list, so that's on my agenda this week.

Not Necessary, but Fabulous

May 22nd, 2011 at 03:22 am

For the past few years (oh man, nine years!) we've been making do with an IKEA dresser. I never liked it, but got a great offer on my antique dresser when we moved.

But we were both pretty tired of it, and DD has been putting up with the free dresser I trash picked and repainted before she was born. Her dresser is WAY too small for her, the drawers stick, and only about half her clothes fit into it.

That said, it was time for a dresser. I've looked, and looked, and looked some more at estate sales and resale shops, and two years ago found a new Amish-made dresser that I fell in love with. We have a short wall in our room which complicates finding the right size dresser too. We resisted the dresser for years, but as DD's clothes get bigger, so does the need for a new one. Today, I bought it. I found the same dresser cheaper at a different store, they did a pretty-good deal on it (after I said I'd think about it and suddenly $200 fell off the already discounted price). I'm thrilled and happy, and in four weeks DD will get our IKEA dresser and we'll have a wonderful cherry swoon-worthy new one.

I'm thrilled; truly thrilled.

I resisted

May 20th, 2011 at 03:16 pm

Please again reassure me (and DD) that we are not the only folks on the planet without cable TV.

Here's today's story: I've decided to so a systematic evaluation of all our bills and started this morning with the phone bill. We have cheap-o "pay-as-you-go" cell phones, so it was the DSL and home line I considered. I called ATT, and of course, they tried to get me to bundle with a TV package for about $20 more a month than we pay now. But I wanted less, not more.

The call continued and eventually (20 minutes in) they came up with a package that is $25 less than we pay now. I resisted the cable TV package and instead of paying $240/yr more, I think I saved $300. I'm happy and can do without the cable as can DH. DD is another matter!

Canada Bound!

May 20th, 2011 at 01:52 am

But not until next fall. My conference proposal got accepted and we're all going to Montreal. Today I found a Canadian penny on the sidewalk, so it must be a sign.
We've never been to Quebec, so I'd welcome all suggestions. it'll be mid-October when we're there.

Still working on dejunking around here. I expect I have a solid week of it ahead.

Some Good News

May 18th, 2011 at 04:06 pm

We e-mailed a bunch of friends and relatives about our UK trip yesterday. We always stay in London and few days and then head to a rental place near my in-law's home. Usually after a week there, we head out and explore another part of the UK.

After reading an interesting article in the NYT, we've decided on East Anglia this year, and wonder of wonders, one of our friends has a holiday cottage there (or her mother does) where they think we can stay for free! This doesn't seem like such a big deal in the US, but everything I've looked at was over 100 pounds a night for the three of us. This will be great news to the travel budget if it works!

Pheww...

May 17th, 2011 at 07:17 pm

I've just clicked on the "submit grades" link, and I think I'm done with the semester.
I've spent the morning returning library books, taking the dog to the groomer, returning a redbox film for my night class, and ordering some books that I'm requiring for my fall classes.

Any hour now I'll be ready to start cleaning our home office. Or the bedroom. Or the family room. Or the bathroom. Or DD's bedroom. I've got plenty of housework to catch up on, but am actually looking forward to it. Maybe I am my mother: I love a clean house.

On the financial front, I read some editing projects, took a couple of surveys while I was grading, and am scouting (not very well) for some UK lodging bargains.
I've also sold a book which I'll post tomorrow.


Doesn't Feel Like the First Day Off

May 16th, 2011 at 06:03 pm

I was expecting an easier day today since this is my first day of my university break. But all that needs to be done around here and my evening class seem to be keeping me running.

I've got quite the full program planned for my evening class tonight, so it doesn't feel like I've had the day off at all. And off to an essay award judging in a few minutes too.

Like Annie, I'm singing "Tomorrow, Tomorrow..."

Need Grocery Store Diversity

May 14th, 2011 at 09:38 pm

Our city is dominated by one grocery store chain--and it seems lately they've divided their stores into upscale and not upscale. The non-upscale one closer to our house has gone from bad service and stocking to worse. I never leave there without muttering how bad they are, hos many things they're out of, and how they can't seem to stock things without blocking the aisles completely.
I'm always unhappy when I leave there.

But it's close, and it's cheap.

We need more grocery stores!

A Spectacular Sunset

May 13th, 2011 at 02:32 am

It's been a wacky weather day, but we had a gorgeous sunset. Lots of rain in beautiful sunshine and very steamy humidity.
Today was the official last day of classes, and I said goodbye to the last of them today. I proctor a competition for students tomorrow, so I'll see some again, but most are just gone.

I had a celebratory lunch with an old friend, and am finishing up grades now. We bought our UK tickets last night too. From Chicago, Virgin saved us over $1000 vs BA on three tickets, and over $500 on American. The prices were still ugly, but I needed to get it done.

Stay tuned for summer plans and decluttering.

Rainy Day

May 12th, 2011 at 01:18 am

Lots of rain and hail here, but it didn't start until I returned from school. I said goodbye to three sections of students--and some of them I was sorry to see go. Others--not so much.

I was late going to bed last night. It took lots of time to get my grades figured, and so I was late this morning. I contemplated saving some time by parking in the U ramp, but parked in my super-secret street spot and made it, copies in hand, with plenty of time. I was happy to have pocketed that $6.

Off to peruse UK airfares again. Ugh.

Two Days Left

May 11th, 2011 at 12:29 am

There are two teaching days left at the university! Though I'm still buried in work, I feel the delight that will be mine very soon! I have lots to do over the summer, but a good month before DD's school break starts.

I haven't looked hard for summer work, and the editing I did last summer is over, but I have two new classes to plan for fall, and my evening class runs until the end of June.

I've done some preliminary planning about things we need to get done, and I hope I can avoid the week of vegging out I usually do when the semester's done.

Budget crunching will wait until next week, and I'll post some summer goals then!

Unattractive Air Fares

May 4th, 2011 at 03:17 am

We're at the place again where we're booking our UK holiday for the summer and are aghast, to say the least, at the airfares. There's nothing on our dates for under $1200 each. DH's mum isn't well, and those summer dates are the only times that work for all our work and school schedules. I really am angry at all those teaser airfare ads. They are so deceiving.

I am officially Grumpy--

Back from Orlando

May 3rd, 2011 at 02:01 am

We relented and took DD to Orlando for a fast four-day break. I'll freely admit it was as much for me as her since I spent my break ill and tackling single parenthood since DH was in England.

The airfares were cheap, the condo was super cheap, the car rental inexpensive, now if I could've just ducked those theme park tickets. Since we've "done" Disney a couple times, and because DD has become a Harry Potter maniac, we went to Universal for a day. I'm not much of a ride fan, but I thought the Harry Potter and the Forbidden whatever was terrific. I really enjoyed the stroll through Hogwarts too. But the rest of Universal was not as good.

The SeaWorld tickets allowed two days for the price of one, and I thought it was the best bargain there. The shows were terrific. We bought groceries and ate every breakfast and two of the three dinners in. Not as much damage as might have been done.

So now we're home and I'll need a few days to dig out and recalibrate the May budget. The "eat from the pantry/freezer" challenge will begin!