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Archive for May, 2016

Spendfest Sadly Continues

May 30th, 2016 at 06:39 pm

Yep, we're just racking it up here. Yesterday the dog tore her CCL (like a human ACL), and we spent three hours and $285 at the emergency vet. While we're going to get a surgical consult, I think we're going the non-surgical route this time. Everything I've read indicates small dogs do as well without surgery as with. All of this after I took DD and a friend to Chocolate Fest and dropped $50.

I think I'm going to go clean and finish the garden work to make myself feel better about the spending. Between funeral airfare, French camp, tree cutting, various school graduation expenses, and now the dog we're near the $5000 mark.

Your Opinions, Please

May 26th, 2016 at 10:11 pm

I hang out with a bunch of women at my university. There's a group of about 6-7 of us who celebrate each others' birthdays, go out for drinks, and generally try to support each other. As, I suppose, with any group, there are some of them that are much better friends of mine than others.
One of the women I've known for 20+ years--since we were in grad school together. We are not close friends, but I see her often, and I respect her work, if not how she lives her personal life. She has lots of issues--hoarding, irresponsibility with things like parking fines thus getting her car towed,overdrafts, having her power disconnected for nonpayment etc. She and her husband and small boys live a very chaotic life. That said, I also think I harbor some resentment toward the chaos as she'll let people "help" her which doesn't help at all.

Before her boys were born we were all concerned about the state of her house as they are quite serious hoarders. Six of us spent the day cleaning and hauling and shredding--and it was awful. Their cats had used that room as their litter box--and several of us were ill afterwards. I swore I'd never do that again as it's pretty nasty still. Yet other friends spent days cleaning their kitchen last year--because she "needs" the help. They too were ill after removing moldy food, tons of dishes, overflowing recycling--and were a little upset that I wouldn't help. I've helped people with hoarding issues before, and I've been nothing but frustrated--but they thought as she was seeing a hoarding counselor(?!) it would take this time. Of course it's horrible yet again.

But here's the current issue: this woman has just had a fairly serious health issue and major surgery. She's also revealed all of this on FB and welcomed an outpouring of love and support. Another friend has started a "take them dinner" site, and I've happily signed up for several meals. And now another friend has secretly circulated a plea for donations for them although the medical part is completely covered, and she has the summer off from teaching. Something similar happened five years ago when they had their twins.

I find myself really torn. I honestly like this woman, but find so much of her behavior and her husband's behavior really egregious. I'm trying to figure out if I'm being petty and nasty or if I should just pony up $20 and consider it an effort toward good feelings and best wishes. I wish I had a generous heart toward this situation, but I just don't. Advice please?

Spending Spending Spending

May 25th, 2016 at 12:44 am

In stark contrast to last week, this has been both an expensive and a sad week. We lost my father-in-law on Friday, and we're all dealing with it. The fuel pump went on my husband's car on Friday morning. My daughter was confirmed on Saturday so that was happy, but also a bit expensive with a new dress, dinners, and a gift. So, all these bits of life have added up to lots of spending. Although we'd all like to fly to the UK for the funeral, that's probably not practical. After hours of searching I've found my DH a flight for $1250 through BA. But he'll need to take a week off work, so that will all add up. The fuel pump was $500, and yes, the French camp payment is rapidly approaching. My daughter's outgrown all her summer shoes, I spent $150 at Costco on various necessities, and we had a tree taken down for $900. I think I'd better stop adding it up as it's making me a bit ill.

Cheap Weekend

May 16th, 2016 at 03:16 pm

One way to have a cheap weekend? Tackle house tasks you've been putting off? My Dh is done with his spring class, so he's now available for many chores. He's started cleaning the basement, I spent some time dejunking various spots and we had a fabulous time yesterday digging out creeping bell flower. If you want to know exactly how fun that was, google it.

Our big evening out consisted of $5 tickets to DD's school musical. She ran the stage crew. We have several more evenings of that kind of fun ahead of us as the band concert and spring sing are happening soon. And there's plenty more garden work to keep us busy--despite the SNOW flurries we saw Saturday.

We've been getting by remarkably well on freezer and cupboard stores with just a few trips for milk and fruit and veg. Our Meatless Monday menu looks like it'll be a Southwestern bowl burrito.

Happy weeks to you all!

More Montreal Planning

May 9th, 2016 at 06:21 pm

My BFF has booked her airfare to Montreal with ai rmiles. We don't have enough, so I guess I'm going to have to bite the bullet and pay mine. But we did find an airbnb that is cheaper than the hotel, has good reviews, and lots of space. This will be our first time in airbnb, and I'm sort of glad we're doing it together. Between the shared expense of that, I hope now that it can come in with airfare under $850.

Among other considerations are DD's French camp arrangements. I've told her friend's mom that I'd drive up there, and she said she'd pick them up. This is a long drive--maybe between 9 and 10 hours. But the thing is they have a program on the final morning, and I'd like to see it. But it means 20 hours total driving and at least one overnight motel. And I hate to drive that far by myself. DH would happily come, but he'd have to take a day off work, meaning about $500 in lost wages. I think I'll get over my desire to see the program, three tanks of gas, a motel stay and several meals out. Gees, when I add it up it's pretty nasty. Let's save that money to camp next year or college.

We had a nice Mother's day brunch yesterday--simple but fun-at a local place. I dug up the raised beds, seeded some chard and radishes, and look forward to the bounty. Over the weekend I sold some clutter on FB too.

Summer Planning

May 6th, 2016 at 02:53 pm

I spent a good chunk of yesterday planning a friend's "milestone" birthday. She lives in Minneapolis, so I'll drive up there in June. With my BFF, we got the invitations e-mailed, the menu sorted, and I have a gift already--happily from my overflowing gift closet.

I also went through photos trying to figure out how to incorporate them into the party. We're just doing some potted annuals dressed up with raffia and candles in mason jars for decorations--both inexpensive reusable items. Beside the gas to get there, I plan on spending about $75-100 on throwing the party. It's at her house so I'll stay with her.

The more expensive item yesterday was paying the deposit for DD's French camp. I charged $300, but we still have (ugh) $1685 to go. I'm driving both her and her friend to Northern MN, so that also will have to be budgeted for.

And then there's Montreal. I'm hoping to slide in with airfare and shared hotel under $1000. The meals will be extra, but most of the hotels provide breakfast. We're also very good at buying and bringing snacks and water.

Good thing that except for the French camp deposit I only spent $1.75 yesterday on a gallon of milk.

Missionettes Accomplished

May 4th, 2016 at 02:45 pm

Surprisingly everything went according to plan yesterday. I got my new purse for $8, and I like it. DH and I got to our wellness assessment, completed it in record time, and found we're about the same as last year. We both need to lose 10 lbs and eat somewhat better. We've been walking after dinner for a while, so I hope that will help. And we're looking forward to the $300 incentive sometime this summer. After I deposited him back at work, I went out to my adjunct job to drop off some UK gifties for my friends there. I just brought home some tea and canvas bags from Primark for their teenagers who like them much more than the 1.50GBP I paid. And I got the travel authorization process moving. DH's car repair came in under $900, so the car lives on.

Along the way though, I heard several stories of how tough things are in higher ed right now. Our director of Intl Ed has deserted the floundering ship that our state university system now is. She's taken a job in California after 20+ years here. She's originally from our English Department so I've known her for years, and we're all sad--as is she--to see her go. And I met a colleague who is thinking of early retirement before our massive cuts take place next year. She doesn't want to leave, and will be a big loss to us as we have no one with her expertise--and won't be allowed to hire anyone either. And my adjunct job looks bleak too. I have a summer class in late June, but they're ready to let go of some of their classroom space as enrollments suffer. It made my $8 purse seem like a very wise buy.

Slightly Larger Potatoes

May 3rd, 2016 at 02:57 pm

Here are our major financial matters for today:
DH's car is currently at the shop under investigation. Again, hoping it's something minor. In related news, while I was away we found a new Volvo mechanic for my car. He's unbelievably close to us and half the price we were quoted for most repairs. But he just does Volvos, so that leaves my husband's clunker ineligible.

I'm selling a book today, and buying a purse. How's that for excitement? My black purse has started to look really tatty after four winters of hard London use. The lining is ripped, the strap is fraying, it needs to go. I am not a designer purse fan, but I want something reasonable, attractive, and workable. Voila--the local FB list offered a brand new Franco Sarto bag for $8. So that's on my list for this morning.

I also need to go to the university to drop off my expense reports--and best of all--go to the annual health screening. I'm picking up DH and we'll both eventually net $150 each for doing this.

My MN girlfriends are thinking about a trip to Montreal this summer, and I'm eager to go. We'll see how it pans out.

I've been fasting because of the health screening and am now REALLY hungry. Maybe I should pack some fruit for after the blood work.

Sunshine

May 2nd, 2016 at 06:21 pm

After a very rainy weekend, we have some sunshine today.

Despite the rain, we had a nice time. The child had a confirmation retreat so we went to dinner and saw "Eye in the Sky." Both were very good. And we caught up on sleep which had been eluding both of us this week.

In financial news I'm thrilled to report that our trivia team (I play twice a year!) won second place in the local tournament and sixth place in the state. That means $48 each. Very exciting. And I sold some of DD's clothes for $10. I'm adding both to my junk money fund.

We're a bit concerned about my husband's car which seem to be leaking everything lately. I hadn't planned on a car purchase this year, but he drives it very minimally--mostly to the bus and back, and it would just mean another banger car. If the repairs run more than $1000 we've agreed it will go. Cross your fingers that it's something simple.