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Archive for June, 2011

Furniture Tales

June 29th, 2011 at 11:43 pm

It's been a spectacular day here, the kind you dream about in February. I spent a chunk of the day finding homes for a bunch of my mom's things--extra sheets, kitchen linens, that kind of thing. I took advantage of the weather and hung some laundry outside.

But my excitement of the day has been the arrival of our new cherry dresser. I knew I'd like it, but it is so much prettier than the models were in the store.

So I'm spending the rest of the day sorting through our old dresser's contents, pitching some things, and rearranging others. That dresser is going into DD's room to replace her 9-year-old trash-picked chest. I painted it when I was pregnant with her, and we'll all be glad to see it go. I think I'm replaying my childhood. I didn't have a stick of new furniture until I moved to my first apartment--and neither does DD. She has a second-hand (but very pretty) four poster bed, an estate sale desk, and now our old dresser.

We brought my grandmother's rocking chair home from my mom's too. She brought it from Sweden--and for more than 100 years old, it's in great shape. Now to find a place for it!

Catching Up

June 28th, 2011 at 07:35 pm

We're back from five days in Minnesota for my mom's funeral, cleaning out her apartment, and winding things up. I'm so thankful (again) to have such a great brother. He's the executor of her estate and is so diligent and careful about everything.

The funeral was lovely and meaningful. Years ago she chose a picture of herself she particularly liked--having a great time at my dad's retirement party. We put that on the memorial folder, my sister-in-law found someone (only in Minneapolis!) to sing her favorite hymns in Swedish, and we had a lovely lunch afterwards. The only thing missing was having her there.

We brought a car full of her things home that I need to go through. Anyone need some plastic hangers? ;-)

Again I'm struck at how few tangible things are left.
And how much the intangibles mean.
Thank you all again for your kind words during all this. It's much appreciated.

Back to the Blogging

June 18th, 2011 at 01:53 am

I'm still kind of off from the events of the week, but I've decided to do as many normal things as possible, to help me feel a bit more centered. So today DD and I worked in the garden, I hung some laundry, and we went to a movie at the library. We cut rhubarb from the garden and found some wild strawberries on the side of the house. I also talked to the funeral director about an obit for my mom. My brother and I wrote one--about 20 lines long and the Minneapolis paper wanted (eek!) $600 for it. So I'll shorten it tomorrow.

I decided to cash in some money from MyPoints toward a $50 Paypal deposit. I'm still hoping to get my balance equivalent to a couple of mortgage payments. I did some capstone project evaluations and have decided to take some money from the paltry little Upromise account and put it into DD's 529 plan. Nothing big, but it's made me feel a little more normal.

Going through Mom's papers, I found the payment card for my parents' wedding rings. They were married in October 1942 and paid $82.50 for their rings. Isn't that sweet? My dad paid them off at about $5/week in February 1943. I'm not sure why I find that so poignant, but I'm happy my Mom kept the card.

Here's to My Mom

June 15th, 2011 at 05:27 pm

I lost my mom yesterday. I saw her about a week ago in Minneapolis, but she was very weak, and indeed I sat in the car afterward and prayed that she'd have the strength to let go.

I know I got my practical side from her. She was raised without much money, and she worked hard all of her life to help my brother,dad, and me. We used to poke fun at her frugality, but she taught us all many valuable lessons about loving, giving, and indeed saving.


She was one of a kind, loving friends, family, food, and fun. So here's to my mom.

Serendipity

June 13th, 2011 at 05:30 pm

Last week when I was at the MN Landscape Arboretum, we spent about 30 minutes admiring the iris. I've always loved iris, and have often thought about putting a few in our garden, but balked a bit at the cost.

This morning DD and I went out for a long walk, and in a very expensive house I always admire, a lovely man and his gardener were dividing iris when he asked me if I'd like some! We got the car and I came away with about six big clumps of lovely purple iris!

Let's hope this is the theme for the day!

A Very Productive Weekend

June 13th, 2011 at 01:24 am

I feel very good about everything we got done this weekend. I did indeed finish cleaning DD's room, and today we did lots of overdue yard work including putting together two new raised bed gardens and digging out a sprawling shrub and lots of weeds. I'll be reaching for the ibuprofen tomorrow, I bet.

Some of DD's outgrown clothes went to a freecycler today. Actually, I never even listed them on freecycle. This woman has been such a reliable freecycler, that I just e-mail her directly now when I have girl's clothes. She always shows up and loves DD's clothes. None of them are worth selling on ebay or Craiglist, but they have plenty of wear left in them.

May I just gloat a bit about how nice DD's newly clean room looks? We did a great job. We flopped on the couch last night and watched a Brit thriller on Netflix. Such a good feeling about all that work accomplished and very little money spent except on DH's birthday celebration.

Digging Out in the Child's Room

June 11th, 2011 at 07:25 pm

I've spent two hours already in DD's room and am taking a short break. We're reorganizing her closet and preparing for redecorating her room. I had a huge pile of clothes that just went with DH to the charity shop. Another pile of my mom's things went with him too. I'm determined to get DD's stuff done today, and DH is also taking returns back.

Slow but sure progress there.

DH really enjoyed his birthday gifts, especially _The King's Speech_ DVD which we watched after returning from dinner last night.

Back to the excavation site--

Happy Birthday DH!

June 10th, 2011 at 05:39 pm

Yep, the old man is a year older. DD and I bought him some small things as we're economizing a bit here. I got some cheap books from his Amazon wishlist (which is PAGES long), a gauge for the gas grill's propane tank, a pizza stone, and a few other things.

Tonight we're taking him out to dinner to celebrate. He's very easy to please. Growing up poor meant they usually got socks and underwear and one very cheap toy for their birthdays.

I'm going to list some more Amazon things this afternoon, really I am...

End-of-School-Year Gifts

June 9th, 2011 at 05:24 pm

I suspect we've had this discussion before, but I'm wondering how much, if anything, folks spend on gifts for their kid's teachers and other school staff. A mom at school shocked me this morning when she said she bought a (eek!) $100 gift card for her son's teacher.

I had DD write a thank-you note and gave the teacher a $20 gift card. The bus drivers each got a small Target gift card too. Am I too cheap?

More progress on the deluttering! I spent half an hour in the basement laundry room clearing things up and throwing misc junk away--and lo and behold--I found DD's long-lost Hello Kitty camera! She'll be thrilled.

I've also listed a couple of books on ebay. Slow but steady, I hope.

Ebay Sales

June 8th, 2011 at 09:46 pm

Today I shipped off my four ebay sales totaling $66. Not spectacular, but they were just taking up room in the closets. I'd like to list some more later tonight. I've started my closet reorganizing and am enjoying my new basement storage closet. I got rid of about 10 pieces of my clothing and three of DH's. The pile is getting huge so I'd like to drop them off at the charity shop tomorrow.

Here's to more delcuttering and a cooler day tomorrow!

A Complete Inventory

June 8th, 2011 at 04:19 am

I really need to do a complete financial inventory. I know many of you do them on Quicken or on a spreadsheet, but I think we need to rebalance our retirement portfolios, check on DD's college savings and figure out where we're at.

I spent lots of time today writing promotional material for my new fall class and starting the website for a couple other classes. We only went out to go to piano lessons and a quick run to Walgreen's. The rest of the day was spent clearing things up and doing laundry. It looks like another hot day tomorrow, but I've got lots of errands including some much needed grocery shopping.

Decluttering and Puttering

June 7th, 2011 at 01:54 pm

It's very hot here. We live pretty close to Lake Michigan, and although it's much cooler by the lake, when I arrived at my evening class last night, my car thermometer said 102. I'm looking forward to a quiet day with some decluttering and puttering around the house. DD only has three days left of school and while I love her around, I'm easier to amuse than she is.
I've still got many garden and yard chores to do, but they might have to wait until it's less humid.

Two of my ebay items sold last night, and one has already been paid for. So, I'm adding a whooping $5 to my totals, and I'll be eager to add more tomorrow.

Here's to a quiet day!

Let's Ignore My Good Intentions

June 6th, 2011 at 04:09 am

Yeah, I was intending to pack a lunch on my weekend trip to Minneapolis, but I didn't. At least I was good for my health and got a salad about halfway there. I split the dinner tab for my friend's birthday with another two friends, so it wasn't too bad--and we had a splendid weekend together.
I've been friends with this woman since we were in second grade, and let's just say that's a very long time ago. We had a grand weekend, walking talking, visiting the U of M landscape arboretum, and just catching up. She's a great friend, and it was well worth the twelve hours in the car. I got to see my mom too, which was good.
On the way home I stopped at the outlet malls in the Wisconsin Dells which did some damage to my budget, but I think I've got a solid summer work wardrobe now. I bought some pants at Banana Republic, tops at Eddie Bauer and found a great sale for DD at Gymboree. Not cheap, but satisfying and likely worth it.
Good intentions resume tomorrow as my ebay sales ends.

Trip food

June 3rd, 2011 at 03:03 pm

I'm off to Minneapolis in a couple minutes and think perhaps I should pack some food. I usually stop halfway for lunch and (gasp) outlet shopping, but
I could and should forgo both. DH is always very sure that a packed lunch is the way to go, but then coos about how terrific Culvers is after we're there.

I may make a bargain with myself that if I pack a boringly low-carb veggie lunch, I can spend the $6 at the outlet mall. Temptation, you're everywhere!

Got a Little Busy

June 3rd, 2011 at 03:24 am

In response to last night's anxiety, I got a little busy today. I did three loads of laundry and hung them outside, made chicken broth with the remnants of a leftover rotisserie chicken, listed five things on ebay and one on Craigslist. Three of my ebay items have bids. I'm always surprised at what I can find to sell--from old Turbotax programs to vintage eyeglasses. I'm also happy to report the garden yielded its first fruits (uhmm veggies) in the form of a dozen or so radishes tonight.

I'm headed to Minneapolis this weekend to celebrate a friend's birthday and to visit my mom, and so made a load of food for DD and DH. Bean salad, berry muffins, and a chocolate cherry cake will make them happy I'm going.

I bought an Old Navy half price groupon because I KNOW it'll get used, but to try to stem some of my nerves, I'm going to try to raise enough extra cash for two mortgage payments in case the job situation does hit DH. Now if I could just find a groupon for a half price family room at a decent London hotel...

Some Sleep Lost

June 2nd, 2011 at 02:15 pm

DH's job situation is still unsettling. He's under a lot of pressure there, and last night, for the first time, wondered out loud about job security. That got me thinking (and fretting and yes, worrying) late into the night.
We've tried hard to live on his salary alone, but most of my part-time salary goes into the general fund and we spend it. My full-time salary goes into savings, and we have a solid 20K in savings at all times. When that fund gets higher, we do needed home updates. We have a small mortgage and enough money in our UK savings to cover that. We have adequate insurance and solid retirement and college funding. We have no consumer debt.
But still I worry. I don't get paid at the university again until October. At 3am I was spinning scenarios of how to save more and spend less. Yikes, I think I'm going to need a nap today after I implement some of my ideas.

Ebaying

June 2nd, 2011 at 12:51 am

I finally got a few ebay items listed: mostly some kid's clothes and a few vintage magazines and odds and ends. I listed low starting prices as my goal is mostly to get rid of these things. I have another load of books to take to Half Price too as the office cleaning continues unceasingly. I'm hoping t oget the Craigslist photos done tonight to sell more of DD's clothes. Look for a photo of my clean office sometime next week.

One of those nights

June 1st, 2011 at 02:31 pm

Last night was one of those bad nights--not horrible, just irritating. Yesterday afternoon we decided we really needed to attend the funeral for a friend's mom. We don't know them all that well, but they always seem like they really need/appreciate our relationship.
The funeral was way on the other side of town, through a huge road-work zone. It took us longer than we thought, but we managed to get there on time. DH changed into a clean shirt at the gas station, but managed to get oil on the shirt in the station restroom. Then DD dropped a piece of cake on her new dress at the coffee after the service. We got lost coming home, then arrived home only to remember that DH's car was still at the park and ride from his morning commute. What should have been a 25-minute trip took us over an hour all together.

Then DH misplaced the manual for his new circular saw and tore the house apart looking for it. He's having some issues at work, and his anxiety level is really high. After 90 minutes of looking for the manual, he was driving me so nuts, I decided to evacuate the scene and do some laundry. There was no talking to him, but sure enough, the manual surfaced this morning under the Sunday paper.

So--I'm hoping for a calmer day today. When DH is that wound up, he needs the calmest home I can muster. I think dinner on the patio and a cleaner house might help him.

I'm hoping to get a walk in after grocery shopping and cleaning. CB has inspired me!