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Archive for May, 2014

More Dripping, Some Draining

May 29th, 2014 at 11:19 am

One of my ebay items sold last night, so I'm adding $5.52 to my bathroom fund. I still have another item listed, and I got the book sold mailed.

I'm off to the garden center to get the summer plants purchased and hope to only use the $75 in gift cards I have.

I've shut the door on the guest room until I get the planting done, but have agreed to go garage saling with a friend tomorrow to help buy some things for our returning from Germany friend. It sounds like a fun day, a bit frivolous, but very fun.

I also checked the IRS site, and our refund should be in the bank tomorrow. Hooray! I'll update the bathroom fund then.

I finished the JK Rowling mystery and really enjoyed it. I'll need another library trip over the weekend. DD and DH are very busy with school, and I spent hours last night on a conference proposal. I think I need to get in the sunshine!

Drips

May 27th, 2014 at 10:40 am

I hesitate to call the teeny amounts I've found for my bathroom budget snowflakes. They are more like teeny drips, an apt description for such a rainy odd day.

I did a bit of shopping over the weekend, and actually did quite well with coupons. DD has been very interested in, of all things, tortoises, so we took her to see some at a local pet shop. Interestingly, their patio was FULL of giant tortoises returned after their former owner didn't realize how big they get. Some were huge, too big for DH to lift. But we enjoyed watching them.

Besides the usual groceries and Claritin purchases, we got "Monuments Men" from Redbox. Any one else see it? I thought the idea behind the story was fabulous, but the writing just didn't do it justice. Still, it was worth the $1.20. We also had lots of fun at the library where I got the JK Rowling mystery written under her pen name, Robert Galbraith. The story is set in London, and all my favorite places are referenced again and again. I'm halfway through and enjoying it.

DD went to a sleepover Saturday, and DH and I had an impromptu anniversary dinner as we weren't expecting to go out. We had a lovely time. Going through the stack of papers he left piled in the guest room, I found a four-month old check which I deposited. I'm not sure they'll honor it, but I figured it was worth a shot. I'll credit it to the bathroom fund if it clears. It's a refund from the dental insurance, so cross your fingers.

Yesterday I returned some sandals I didn't need, but bought some others for DD. Still, it was $50 credited to the Mastercard. I also succeeded (ha) in spending Kohl's cash on tee-shirts and summer shorts for DD. She's growing so fast we seem to need new clothes every season. But amazingly, Kohl's took two coupons and the Kohl's cash, saving a lot.

In other boring drippy news, I sold a book for $8 on Amazon, and listed several things on ebay, one of which has a bid. The week clears after my class tonight, so will get flowers and veggies planted then.

The Great Closet Cleanout

May 23rd, 2014 at 03:38 pm

While the rest of our house (except the basement) is clean and organized, my DH dumped everything he didn't know what to do with in our guest room while I was gone. Consequently there were stacks of magazines, unpacked Christmas presents, things inherited from my late friend, mutual fund reports, and things too various and odd to mention. On top of all that, the closet is my "gift" closet. Except about twice as much goes in as comes out.

Faced with that mountain and my yen for the bathroom redo (ignoring the periodontist for the weekend), I've recruited my university gals for another rummage later this summer. I've got a towering pile, and discovered to my amusement and somewhat shame, a lovely new set of sheets purchased for the guest room that I'd completely forgotten about. I planned on 45 minutes in there, but was there most of the day. And I figure I'm about half done. I listed a couple books on Amazon, and some of the rest will go on Craigslist before the rummage.

DD had the day off school and spent it with the Girl Scouts at a local waterpark. Her day was more fun than mine.

However, I got the state taxes mailed, deposited a rebate check (watch that burgeoning bathroom fund in the sidebar!), and mailed the latest book sale. I'll get there, to that clean decluttered place again, it's just going to take a while.

First Posting Good News: Then the Dentist...

May 22nd, 2014 at 04:26 pm

The tax refund good news was fun while it lasted, all 10 or so hours of it. Then I went to the dentist. I have bad gums; blame my mother and her bad gums. So I get my teeth cleaned every 3-4 months, but about 8 or 9 years ago had gum surgery. And now it's flared up again and after talking with the hygienist about the state of one tooth, I'm booking the periodontist. Ugh. Last time it cost a fortune. I've got my flex spending account, but I'm really dreading the appointment.

In the "drop in the ocean" news, I listed a book on Amazon which sold in five minutes.

Sigh.

Finally Did the Taxes--Good News

May 22nd, 2014 at 08:33 am

We filed an extension since we were out of the country over tax season, and yesterday, after pondering the need for more cash, I finally got to the taxes. It's good news there. Because I only got half pay in 2013 while in London, we seemed to have dropped a tax bracket and are getting a good refund. That won't happen again this year because on my online teaching, but I think we're about 25 percent of the way to funding the new bathroom, carpet, and maybe, (gulp) a water heater. The fireplace facing will have to wait, and we'll need to be pretty scrupulous with other spending.

The water heater situation looms. We've been in the house for 11 years, and were told the water heater was 10 years old when we moved. It's recently started to not heat as well, and we've received conflicting advice about draining it. It's situated poorly, not as near a floor drain as I'd like. The weekend's tasks will include toting up some estimates on that, the bathroom, and the carpet.

Bean and veggie enchiladas were assembled last night from misc fridge findings. I'm still in a bit of a post-London funk. The London office and classrooms are right around the corner from the Waterstone's book store on Torrington Place. I did a google image search of it this morning and almost started to weep. It's an amazing building and a brilliant bookstore. I really miss it.

But I'm glad to have the taxes done, glad to get a nice refund, and hope to come up with some ideas to make the budget stretch.

I Need More Money

May 21st, 2014 at 07:31 am

How's that for a headline? Right now my desires are outpacing our income. We really need new carpet in the family room and office. It was cheap carpet put in by the previous owners and it's not only worn and fraying, it's stained. I keep cleaning it, but it's a losing battle. My office carpet was originally in our living room, but 10 years ago when we installed hardwood floors, we moved it in here. It's at least as bad as the family room.

I also really want to re-do our 1960s bathroom. We've done some interim remodeling along the way, getting rid of the truly horrible tiled vanity top, but the pink-beige wall tile and yellow beige floor are awful. I dunno, minimum bathroom remodel is what $10,000- 15,000 with ceramic tile?

And then there's the fireplace refacing. And I'd like to do some traveling this summer. And we need to top up our retirement savings. And, and, and.

DH's college classes have not helped the budget. He adores them, and they've made him very very happy. But they're expensive.

Besides the regular teaching, I've got three evening classes stretching from now to the end of October. I need to figure out a way to rustle up a couple more thousand without touching savings. Hmmm. What to do.....?

Meetings and More Meetings

May 12th, 2014 at 07:07 pm

Yikes. I'm still grading hours and hours a day, but to add to the load, my week is chock full of meetings. Really? Every instructor I know is working full tilt, and I have an obligatory 4 1/2 meeting? And another one on Wednesday? And two shorter ones tomorrow?

In a reminder of how time flies, I just got an e-mail from the institution that runs my evening adjunct classes congratulating me on my 10 years there. What? That job sort of got dumped on my lap when we needed extra money for a garage roof. I've been at it ever since though I often swear I'm going to quit. I started a new class there last Tuesday and did a couple more capstone projects for them over the weekend.

We spent a nice Mother's Day with a lovely lunch out, a trip to the garden center for herbs and a hanging plant, and new shoes for my DD. She has again outgrown all her shoes, and is now wearing a woman's size 7-8. I'm hoping she can get by with Teva sandals, athletic shoes, and one pair of dressy sandals for the summer.

Lots to do once I get done with all this grading, but I suspect it will be Friday at the earliest.

Making a List

May 5th, 2014 at 03:05 pm

This looks to be a much busier week than I'd like. The class I've inherited begins tomorrow night, and while I'm done with the syllabus, I have no class plan at all.

My online class is wrapping up but I have 20 students whose final projects need reviewing. That takes about 45 minutes for each project.

Our house is still a disaster post holiday. It needs a big blitz.

I three appointments tomorrow at the university, two about the possibility of London again next year.

The yard needs some attention too.

Did I mention the laundry? Yikes.

And that arm-length list of stuff to do from restarting the newspaper, doing the taxes, signing DD up for camp, and 20+ others.

But I do have good news. Both DH and I have lost 5 lbs. I'd like to lose another 20 and have been pretty darn good about my diet.

My plan?

Attack the house in 15 minute periods.
Attack the list in similar periods.
Attack the laundry while watching Jack Bauer tonight.
Write up a class plan tomorrow morning from 7-9.
Read three student projects tonight.
Read three more tomorrow afternoon.

Taxes can wait until my online class is over as can the necessary review of our financial situation.

Off for the first 15-minute attack.

Sorting it out

May 1st, 2014 at 06:44 am

Though we've been home a week and are we're mostly over the dread jet lag, I'm still a bit overwhelmed with how much there is to do. The house is clean-ish, but I still have a large suitcase to unpack, piles of mail to sort, and lots of planning to do.

The office and family room carpet that we've needed for years is now really tatty. I think that's our first spending priority, then a new laptop for DH, then the bathroom remodel. I need to go through those savings accounts and our retirement accounts to see where we're at. DH is very good at small-picture saving, but never looks at the future planning, so I need some time with that.

Though I filed a tax extension, I still have to actually file our taxes. I have insurance claims to file, two weeks left of my online class, and to boost income, have volunteered to do an eight-week evening class beginning (eek!)on Tuesday. Lots more university duties loom too.

I can't say I've been distracted by the fabulous weather; it's still 40 degrees and raining. And I'm on a diet. Ugh. I may need 15 minutes with photos from Nice and the English countryside.