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Archive for August, 2012

Plugged Into the Outlet

August 29th, 2012 at 08:36 pm

The child and I spent our last real day of summer vacation at that traditional summer funhouse, the outlet mall. We went out to lunch, bought shoes for her, a few too many clothes for me, jeans and pjs and tops for her, a vest and some chinos for DH. It was swell. I bought nothing very extravagant, used outlet coupons, and feel no guilt whatsoever.

Tomorrow is full of errands, meetings, tutoring, copying, and then the Common Read. I really need a day to myself to get things up and moving, but that will happen very soon.

Still no word from the bank about clearing the check from my bro. I was really hoping we could get 'er done Friday, but it looks unlikely.

I Sold It

August 28th, 2012 at 07:10 am

We drove to Minnesota over the weekend, visited the attorney, and sold my parents' lake home to my brother and his wife. We spent the weekend there, and I think I've worked through my issues with selling it.

I don't really want to own it, but it holds so many memories that I'm happy he has it. There's so much upkeep on a lake property, and he has the time and inclination to do it. They have their boats there, and we had a great time eating, drinking, playing cards, and tootling around the lake with them.

I deposited the personal check from him in the bank yesterday and am waiting for the bank to clear it. I have the feeling they won't clear it before September 1, so I'll end up paying my September mortgage payment. I asked the manager to see if they could clear that amount by Friday, and he said he'd call, but nothing yet.

In less lucrative news, I started a new class last night with only four students. I've never taught a class that small, but I have taught that Women and Literature class six or seven times, so it should be ok.

I also attended a seminar for our Common Reading Experience program at the university. They're reading Persepolis, a graphic novel about growing up in Iran during the Islamic revolution. I'm enjoying it a lot, and I do hope my incoming freshman do too.

Lots of meetings this week and lots of back-to-school shopping for DD. Again, a big thanks to all of you for helping me through the house selling quandry.

Thought it Through

August 22nd, 2012 at 11:41 am

After a long chat with DH last night, we've decided to sell the lake house to my brother. I'd like to keep a big chunk of the money intact, but I think we will pay off the mortgage and do some things around the house I've been planning. I'm going to hold off on the second half of the windows, the fireplace refacing, the new carpets, and the bathroom remodeling. We need to fund that out of our regular savings over the next year.

But that said, we'll pay the mortgage (wow),get my rugs rebound, and recover the chair that needs it. My biggest indulgence will be a cleaning service a couple of times a month. I really hate to clean, but so love a clean house. And it will really be necessary when I go to England and DH is fending for himself.

So, I feel better about it. Last night's dream featured my mom --and I honestly think she was giving me her approval.

Still Thinking

August 21st, 2012 at 07:15 am

I had many stragglers taking their final exams last night in my evening class. The class officially ends at 10, but the security guard kicked us out at 10:40.
These students really struggle with their writing, and many of them come to school after working all day, so I appreciate them really concentrating on the exam.

But with getting home so late, DH was already asleep and we didn't have time to talk over selling my parents' lake house. It's been spinning in my mind what we could and should do--we'd certainly pay off our mortgage first thing, and probably spend a bit on repairs around here. My 25-year-old wool rugs need rebinding and cleaning, and we have a chair badly in need of reupholstering.

But I guess I'd like to bank the rest. Just paying off our mortgage would save us about $600/month, and we could split that into retirement savings and savings for a UK property. And retirement--and DD's college savings.

I guess it's a good problem to have. I thank you all for your input yesterday. I think I need to sit down with friends and think about what my parents would want and their many gifts to me.

Pondering Selling My Mom's House

August 20th, 2012 at 09:58 am

My brother and I jointly own my mom's lake house. We had it appraised after she died, but I haven't been there much. My brother goes often as it's only a couple hour drive for them, but for us, it's almost 8 hours.

My brother, bless him, is a peach. He's fair and business-like, and just called to see if I want to sell my half to him. It would be a nice chunk of change, and we'll almost certainly do, but I guess I still feel some grief about it. We'd still be welcome there, and I think it's not that I really want to still own it, it's that I just wish I could turn back time and have my parents still there.

The money would be great. We could pay off the mortgage, and then start banking that money for home improvements and retirement savings. I wish I wasn't so emotional about it. Bleah.

Workshopped

August 17th, 2012 at 07:46 pm

We had a workshop at the university today, and besides being very good--albeit depressing about the state of instructional staff-- had excellent food.

This may not seem remarkable to most, but we hardly ever get food. Virtually every seminar I've been to in 15 years asks us to bring our lunch. But this was funded by a grant--so there was a terrific yogurt bar this morning and great salads. But man, I heard horror stories about people STILL not knowing what they're teaching in two weeks, about the business school cutting contracts to avoid paying benefits, about the total lack of institutional support for huge sections of the school. Yet--a very good lunch.

Lots of Spending Yesterday

August 16th, 2012 at 08:04 am

We finished up the school supply shopping yesterday, and bought lots of groceries. The bulk of the school supply shopping was at Target (with that 5% Redcard saving), with a few specials picked up at other places. DH and I were commenting on how many more supplies seem to be required every year. I suspect it's the impact of school budget cuts.

I've got a workshop at the university tomorrow, so today is my weekly lunch date with DD. We're headed to the art museum in a bit and will have lunch there overlooking the lake. I'm am so proud of what a geek she has become. We spent an hour last night watching a PBS special on rats in areas of India. When it was over, she went to the atlas to look up that part of India, and we talked through the differing regional ethnicities in India. One of our friends is from that region of northern India, and so we had a special interest.

I've turned down all offers of activities this weekend, and want to spend the weekend here in the garden and cleaning in prep for school. Man, I feel like my mom.

Small Triumphs

August 14th, 2012 at 03:03 pm

I've had some small but fun triumphs these past few days. The hotel in Minneapolis had free newspapers, complete with the coupon sections, and my next door neighbors at the hotel threw theirs out, so I've ended up with three coupon sections. Sunday evening when I got to the airport, there was little choice at the smaller terminal, but I had a couple of bags of Sun Chips and some hummus from a giveaway on the downtown corners. It was the perfect snack; better than the $9 sandwiches and free. Plus they gave me a handful of coupons for the hummus, which when doubled will make it almost free.

I sold an old textbook over the weekend and a light fixture that didn't sell at the yard sale. Add $70 to my clutter sales!

Today DD and I visited the local botanical gardens. She had a free pass from the summer reading program, and I saved $1 with my AAA membership. I am strangely pleased with all of these!

Back From Minnesota

August 13th, 2012 at 01:46 pm

I spent a lovely weekend in Minneapolis with my dearest Minnesota grrrrlfriends. I've known one of them since second grade, and the other one is probably my best friend, so it was a terrific weekend. Usually airfares from MKE to MSP run about $250-300, but I got a great $96 airfare and a hotwire rate on a 4-star hotel that ran less than that.

It was pure luxury to stay in a downtown hotel, go walking by places where I worked for years, places that all held so much history and so many memories for me. And to top all that off, we had a terrific time. The weather Friday and Saturday was terrific. We had cocktails, walked, and chatted on Friday afternoon--then dinner. Saturday we walked to Loring Park, ate a great breakfast at Loring Kitchen, went to the sculpture garden, then got the fun rental public bikes and rode through downtown to the Stone Arch Bridge and St Anthony Main. We shopped a little in the late afternoon, and I got some great bargains.

Saturday night we heard terrific jazz and had a great meal at the Dakota, followed by breakfast yesterday, a wonderful free day at the Minneapolis Art Museum including a Rembrandt exhibit and tour and terrific woven works at the Swedish Institute. So much fun!

I'm not sure I calmed my tummy with that eating and drinking, but it sure was fun.

To top off my glorious weekend, I came home to an e-mail this morning asking if I wanted to teach an overload section this fall. Indeed I do! That'll help with the deficit around here and enable us to cross some items off our lists.

Good all around!

A Bit Better and Blogoversary

August 9th, 2012 at 09:34 pm

I'm certainly better today although my meals have been limited to yogurt and a piece of bread. But I think I'd better continue the yogurt diet into tomorrow as I'm very burpy. Yuck.

But much has been accomplished despite being in somewhat slow motion. I've written letters of recommendation for students, counseled friends, paid bills, transferred cash, returned and received library books, donated a box of books to the library, and planned the upcoming weekend in Minnesota. Heck, I even dropped off four-year-past-its-expiration Tylenol PM at the police station. Why on earth do they need to see an ID for that? And why do they need to summon a police officer to take it? Anyway, it's gone from the medicine cabinet and not in the watershed.

But Minnesota here I come--right back where I started from! Looking forward to a weekend of fun with my pals. DH and DD are holding down the homefront in my absence.

Sunday is my blogoversary! I've learned so much from so many of you--and laughed so much at so many stories. Thanks for all of it!

En Sofa

August 8th, 2012 at 07:39 am

Of the past 24 hours, I've spent 23 either in bed or on the sofa. Most of my university friends have got hit with a Noro-like virus, and while I've been super queasy and achy, they got it much worse with vomiting and all the rest. So hoping I dodged it.


Nothing else to report. I'm hoping I can get some minor work done today.

Slow Going and an Unpleasant Exchange

August 6th, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Not a bad day, just slow going. Lots of rushing around to try to get the dog to the groomer, get the stupid U-verse box to stop screeching, plan for class, touch up my hair--boring errands etc.

Our state fair is happening directly across the street from my evening class, so the college blocked the parking lot. I wasn't sure I could squeeze my car through, so I moved the barricade perhaps two inches--and the security guy came out of his car--lurking in the air conditioning with the motor running--and started yelling at me. I showed him my parking pass. but he started in on me claiming I had plenty of room and if I'd been careful, I wouldn't have to move the barricade. I got really angry and started yelling back at him. Not my finest moment. I offered to move the barricade back, and we got into it again. "Stupid women drivers...Don't you touch that barricade; it's my job. " I was one second away from some very unpleasant language--but instead let loose with "Well,good for you." Only the thought students might be watching saved him from a torrent of further abuse.

But the class calmed me down--and we spent a lovely four hours on Zora Neale Hurston and my favorite James Baldwin story. I was half tempted to report him but figure tempers have been frayed with the heat and other things.

So, that was that. No spending today, but bad diet choices. There's always tomorrow.

Such A Sad Day Here

August 5th, 2012 at 09:24 pm

I imagine most of you have heard by now of the terrible shooting at the Sikh temple in south Milwaukee. Our heart goes out to everyone involved, especially our Sikh friends and neighbors and the policeman who was wounded. It's been hard to think of anything else, and it puts my minor worries in perspective indeed.

I'm still struggling with my cold and slept late and napped again this afternoon.

Good Enough

August 4th, 2012 at 09:42 pm

I made $100 today at the garage sale. It's awfully hard to figure out what sells sometimes. The really good girls' clothes didn't sell, but one woman bought all my skirts. No one bought my good Timberland hiking boots or the vaguely equestrian flat black boots, but most of my books went as did picture frames--and mom's mink stole. I can say this; I've made $100 easier many ways. But some stuff that was cluttering up my basement and office is now cluttering up someone else's basement. And the good leftover clothes will be photographed tomorrow and head to ebay listings. I've made a huge pile for Purple Heart who are picking up next week.

All in all, it was fun. With kids there were 15-20 people. I made a big pasta salad, the kids were sticky with lemonade, and we're all a little richer and a little less cluttered. DH is happy to get things out of the basement, and I have a clearer sense of what I need to divest.

Good enough, I say.

Productive Day Indeed

August 3rd, 2012 at 09:39 pm

Although I was lamenting the cold that sidelined me for two days, I got a lot done today. First--further excavations into the basement for more garage sale merchandise. I'm hoping my mom isn't reaching out from the grave to chastise me for this, but I'm selling her 1960s mink stole tomorrow. I've had little luck on ebay, and I'm tired of it in my house. I've also learned this valuable lesson: I should not be allowed in IKEA unsupervised. I buy too much, and it's too far for easy returns. Much of it is going on the block tomorrow.

I also took a very tired (post-sleepover) DD out for her second round of mystery shopping pancakes. Mission accomplished there. We made two returns-one to Kohls to return the extra nightgown and another to swap out a birthday gift she didn't want.

I hope tomorrow's hot weather doesn't keep garage sale traffic down. I want the stuff gone.

Now for some sleep--