<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Archive: July, 2018
 

Archive for July, 2018

Not Quite the Road Trip I Had in Mind

July 30th, 2018 at 07:10 am

Well, I was longing for a road trip for the summer, but be careful what you wish for? We got the news Thursday that my 100-year-old aunt had died. We were very close when I was kid, and I took the train to visit them in Montana a couple of times. We saw her last fall for her 100th birthday party in Fargo, ND. This is also the week that DD and I were headed to northeastern MN with my Minneapolis girlfriends to spend time on the North Shore of Lake Superior. DD and I were also planning on a stop in Minneapolis for her tour of the University of Minnesota, an evening with friends with dinner and the theater.

It means a lot to all my family that we make the trek, so our revamped plans include leaving tonight after my class (ugh), stopping tomorrow morning at the U of M, driving to my brother's lake home in central MN, then the next morning to Fargo for the funeral. That afternoon we will drive across Minnesota to the North Shore where I will drink lots of wine and collapse in a heap. I hope we'll have great weather, can hike, reconnect with friends, and just enjoy life and being outside. We've tacked another day onto the end of the trip so we can use our theater tickets, but that means we will probably arrive back to Cheeseland just in time for me to teach next week's class.

As the North Shore part of this was planned as a girls' trip, and the logistics for DH to accompany us were headache-inducing, DD and I are on our own. We headed to the library Saturday, got an armful of audio books, and I'll pick up maps and other stuff today at AAA. I got an oil change and refilled my tires yesterday.

I was planning on leaving my car in the Twin Cities and driving up north with my girlfriends, but I can't see a way for that to happen. Glad I was able to rearrange the theater, but not looking forward to the drive. I probably should not have totaled the miles and times on Google maps. It's 23 hours and 46 minutes of driving and 1452 miles.

Lots of issues at work too. Hope to get those settled before I leave tonight.

Did I Say It Would Be a UFM?

July 24th, 2018 at 08:26 pm

I am so wrong, says the woman who spent $800 on rugs today. And I had coffee drinks, bought a crate of peaches, and a bunch of craft supplies.

Truly I was planning on buying new rugs for the dining room and family room. Would you be shocked if I told you our dining room rug was bought in the 1980s? It's done its duty. And the family room rug is part of my vast redecoration scheme in there. More on that as it develops, but I did look at paint colors and get a bid on the painting. We'd attempt it ourselves but it's a vaulted ceiling and a huge room. You'll see it's on my 2018 goals.

The peaches have become a summer ritual for us, but this year half of them will go to my friend whose husband's kidney comes out tomorrow. If you're a praying sort, keep them in your prayers. please. And the craft supplies (slime--eww) were for her son who is making slime with friends tomorrow to keep him busy.
I'm really pleased with the rugs; they were part of the Bon-Ton going out of business sale and were supposedly 70% off. I think that's a dubious figure but I really like them. Much jazzier than my usual traditional taste.

I made a huge Greek salad for dinner to use some CSA veggies and will shortly head off to bed with my new library book.

In the Eye of the Hurricane

July 22nd, 2018 at 02:33 pm

A little Hamilton reference for y'all. In the eye of the hurricane it IS quiet. But man, so much going on for so many around us. My DH's ex-professor and now friend seems to have either a stroke or a mental breakdown. He's been calling us all hours for days; sometimes calling 40 times a day. We've contacted his estranged family and the local police because he seems to be in real trouble. And we've had to turn off the phone.
You may remember a few weeks back when I asked for advice about a colleague/friend struggling with money. She's had a tough road--a son with childhood leukemia, a husband with half a kidney removed from cancer, her own gallbladder out, etc--now her husband's cancer is back. We've spent the last couple of days trying to allocate her classes to other teaching colleagues and help with a childcare and meal rotation.

In the midst of that I got a FB message from a cousin and my elderly aunt is fading fast. They expect perhaps a few days left for her.

And then there's my DH's sister whose physical and mental stability have really gone downhill.

But we have good news through of all the pain and trouble around us. Our Friday appt with DH's ear specialist went very well, and we will schedule him for ear surgery in September. They're confident it's a bony overgrowth and that they can correct his quickly diminishing hearing with laser surgery.

And we had a lovely however wet day working on our history project in a nearby town. We also enjoyed a tour of a WW2 submarine. We are such history dorks. An hour on that sub convinced me a life under water is not for me. What brave sailors those were.

Cancelation Means Relaxation

July 18th, 2018 at 07:44 am

My DD has been taking an ACT prep class along with her summer French conversation. And we've been trying to get to the gym almost every day. These balanced with too many summer university meetings (for which I am NOT paid) have made things hectic. She needs to be driven to all of them--too far to bike. This morning looked particularly hectic with a dog groomer drop off, water zumba, and picking up a friend. But halfway to the groomer's, we got a text that zumba canceled, so we canceled the friend. Normally this would have us a little upset, but those hours crammed in before her classes now feel like a gift.

Yesterday was too hectic--my Tuesday morning teaching hangover from a late class, two meetings, lesson drop-offs, my DH working late from home until 10, and trivia with my trivia buddy. Trivia was a disaster. Neither of us know anything about Formula One racing or country music, and normally we do pretty well. I had a fun time chatting with him, but there is just too much going on.

So onward. I've got a few hours of work and can fit everything else in, including the gym with a bit more breathing room. All this running has meant lots of gas spending, as well as coffee shop spending since no one seems to want to meet at the university. We need a vacation from summer vacation.

A Steamy Weekend

July 16th, 2018 at 05:57 am

Ugh--it's been like a steamroom here the past few days, but the humidity is supposed to lift today. We had our usual round of groceries, laundry, and cooking this weekend. I'm ready for a bit more excitement.

I did get a closet reorganization done. I still need to do DH's closet, but despite earlier promises, he hasn't been too eager. He spent $100 on shoes over the weekend, but because this was at the local Bon-Ton store closing, he got THREE amazing pairs of shoes--Nunn Bush and Cole Haan for that price. I spent nothing. I really need nothing at all.

Keeping up with the CSA veggies with a stirfry and a big pot of minestrone for DH's lunches this week. Off to the gymn- It's going ot be a busy day with lots of appointments. More on that later.

Five Percent?!

July 12th, 2018 at 01:50 pm

Well, I've finally hit five percent on my big goal, but am now faced with another goal. My best friend is having a "milestone" birthday" next year and wants to go to the Cote d'Azur. Hmm. Maybe a lottery ticket.

AN UFM Fail but a Birthday Success

July 11th, 2018 at 08:30 am

My UFM has gone off the rails. I have plenty of excuses, the major one being my daughter's 16th birthday yesterday. I guffawed through articles about what to do for a 16th birthday that included new cars, trips abroad, and a cake made of rolled up dollar bills.
But DD was hesitant about her birthday plans, and decided at the last minute what she'd really like is a whole day with her BFF, especially since the BFF recently moved back near us. I was just the driver and offerer of options. They decided on an hour or so at Target where they bought nothing and looked at everything, followed by a trip to the amazing ethnic grocery next store where I bought olive oil, and they spent 35 minutes looking at imported squid, Polish candy, Mexican peppers, Turkish grape leaves, and just about everything else you can think of. I remember very well loving trips like that with my friends when I was that age. On to the Humane Society where I fell in love with a dog and they fell in love with a cat. Lots of petting but no adopting. We then had lunch in Milwaukee's funky third ward followed by more odd shopping. They spent, I kid you not, 60 minutes looking at succulents. Then we all had pedicures, paddled boats on the lake, followed by dinner at PF Changs and more d**m shopping for them.

I kept up my cheerful demeanor, but by the end of the evening, I let them shop and goof around while I sat in a comfy chair at Barnes and Noble. DD loved the day; it'll take me days to recover. And today won't be frugal either as I'm meeting DH for lunch to cheer on English football. Frugality will resume, but it's likely to be next week. Hey, she's only 16 once.

How Much to Say?

July 8th, 2018 at 07:50 am

Long-time readers (man, you all are so patient with the minutiae of my life) may recall some of my concerns about my colleagues/friends. Most of my university teaching friends have doctorates, some masters' degrees, but our pay is not so great. Everyone I know picks up extra work wherever we can--adjunct jobs, freelance editing, you name it. And the salary issue is worse for those whose spouse is also teaching for us. I won't go into my political rant, but we've had issues all over our state university system. The issue is, of course, compounded by the fact that many financed grad school with student loans.

I have a core group of about six women who I'm close to, and of those six of us, four of them struggle mightily with money. They are all married, each have two kids, and work very hard, picking up extra work where and when they can. But during a lunch on Friday, three said that apart from the mandatory state pension withdrawals, they had NO retirement savings, nothing in IRAs or the 403b the university offers. That made me feel really sick. I'm the oldest of all of them, but the rest are about to turn 50 soon. So, here's my question. Do I just completely butt out? We agreed years ago that if we sub for one another on an adjunct job, we pay the sub. One of them owes me $200 for a sub job, and I would so love to walk her through signing up for a 403b and depositing say $100 of the $200 she owes me in that account. They've had so many medical issues, a child with leukemia, broke parents, you name it. It's a head/heart issue. I want them to be ok. But it's too interfering, is or isn't it?

A Frugal 4th!

July 4th, 2018 at 12:48 pm

It's been a hot day here, but we've managed to make it a Frugal 4th so far. Most of the frugality has come from cooking. This is a strange thing to admit, but despite being 1000 years old and cooking a lot, I've never made pancakes without a mix before. I've always had Bisquik or Krusteaz around, but not today. I'd promised DD red, white, and blue pancakes, so found a recipe online and stirred some up. We decided they were a great success, though a bit putzy. I may make up some dry ingredients ahead and store enough for a few batches for us. I wonder what other surprises the Ultra-Frugal Month will offer? I also stirred up a batch of granola, made potato salad for tonight's dinner using some of the lovely garlic scapes from the CSA along with some radishes, and roasted some CSA beets.
DD is off to Summerfest, our big music festival, with her friends, so the Old Brit and I will have the day to ourselves. I have lots of prep work for my upcoming class as does he. The midweek 4th doesn't seem quite as festive to me. But still fun and time to think about ways to make the country better for all of us.

World Cup Lunch

July 3rd, 2018 at 09:14 pm

We had a lunch out today--not ultra frugal, but I did have a coupon, and who can deny an England fan a chance to see his team finally break through the knock-out round. What a match!

I did sell two games on FB and made a swift $10. They're already gone; it's so satisfying to declutter and make some cash. And I got to the gym. An all-around good day.

Update on UFDay

July 2nd, 2018 at 06:30 pm

The frugal feeling is in full flower. I've got rotisserie chicken bones in the crockpot with some veggie scraps to make a batch of broth. Dinner was all from the CSA box with the addition of the last of the rotisserie chicken--an excellent strawberry spinach salad. And the NS day got even better when I listed some basement clutter on FB and sold the first thing for $5. Another is being given away tomorrow.

The UFM Begins and a Fun June Ends

July 2nd, 2018 at 09:55 am

We spent the weekend in Madison so DH and I could work on his history project and DD could tour UW Madison. Great hotel with some nice dinners out, but it was sweltering which put a damper on some plans. We met up with a former student, swam in the hotel pool, and enjoyed their lovely free breakfasts as well as the huge Farmers' Market. As an employee of UW Madison poorer sister campus, I was blown away by their fabulous facilities and beautiful setting. I go there at least once a year, but am always impressed--as was DD. Their offerings tick a lot of her "want" boxes.

We came home to a very warm day, but managed to unpack and get some laundry in before our power blew out with a strong rainstorm about 4. No electricity until midnight, but everything appears to have survived in the freezer and fridge.


Today's plans include a trip to the gymn, DD's French lessons, some meal prep for the week, and perhaps dinner with friends. Thankfully I have a gift card just waiting to be redeemed for dinner. My dear friend is headed back to AZ on the 5th, and I'm eager to see her again before she goes.