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.
Viewing the 'Castles and Hovels' Category
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.
Well, it has been relaxing--especially since my department's part of the grant fell through. I thought it might; we just weren't the best fit. I just wish they'd have figured that out before 10 hours worth of meetings. So DD and I have been hanging out, and I've really enjoyed it.
We even enjoyed cleaning the closets today. She found an old state quarters map, and was thrilled to pop out the quarters and add them to her cash stash. No luck on jobs yet. Having a summer birthday sort of hampers that. We've spent some money on summer fun. We joined the local gym and have been every other day. We took a free water zumba class which was pretty funny. A bunch of older ladies, me, and mu daughter in the pool dancing to "You can Leave Your Hat On" had me laughing all day. And DD is also taking an advanced French conversation class to keep her French up over the summer. She loves French, and may very well do some sort of international something. I think it's in the genes.
We sold some clothes from the closet purge this afternoon too and took the rest to the charity shop. All in all, a very satisfying rainy solstice. We've also been making great use of the library; she has a stack of books, and so do I. Tonight we watched the last Star Wars; last night it was My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I think we're doing a darn good job of balancing lazy and productive. I am planning an ultra-frugal July, but we have so much stuff in the freezer, it shouldn't be too hard. And the CSA starts next week too. My new class starts in 2 1/2 weeks, so I've been writing the syllabus. More to do, but only tackling one job at a time. The weekend looks like it will have lots of World Cup, a Scandi midsommer celebrations, and probably the art museum with friends tomorrow. Not sure I could tackle this much leisure all the time, but it's nice to have a few weeks of it!
Many of you will remember last year's discussion of paczki. I need to remember to buy some tonight or get up early to find some tomorrow morning.
But paczki aside, it's still cold, snowy February around here. Between last week's car bill and the gas bill, it's still cold, snowy, and frugal February too.
My DD had a snow day on Friday, we had a low-key weekend of library visits, Olympics viewing, and paper grading. All that was punctuated with soup making, crisp baking, quinoa salad prep, and brushing snow off the car every 15 minutes or so.
To increase motivation today, I closed out a small saving account with a teeny balance which will go to the UK House fund when it actually transfers. I seem to be in super-slow winter mode with lots of eating and lazing about. This needs to stop, and will, I vow, by Wednesday. After all, there's still some cranberry apple crisp left.
Not much willpower required as we're in a quiet zone right now. I'm finally almost over my cold, and only spent some cash on groceries over the weekend. We went nowhere else and did nothing. How's that for boring? DD has school exams coming up and rejected the offer of a movie. I'm working on a conference talk and spent a good part of the weekend doing a lit review. Later today I'll put it all together, create a PowerPoint, and an annotated bibliography. I love these projects so I'm happy as can be.
Tomorrow I'll go glasses shopping and spent some time at the university working on my annual review and next term's projects. It will be good to get out!
Leftovers loom for lunch (how's that for headline?), and perhaps for dinner as well. I tried a new pot roast recipe from Cooks Illustrated that was pretty darn good, so I'm looking forward to the dinner leftovers. I need to do some intensive tidying around here too. DH and I are still working on our jigsaw puzzle--a Monet sea scene. I feel a little dorky saying it, but we're enjoying doing it together.
January quietness hasn't turned into January blahs yet--probably because It's so nice to have a break from the classroom. Two more weeks of this bliss to come.
My ravaged budget will need more than one week, but I'm starting with one. The groceries left over will help us through this week. More on the French soon--fun, but budget destroying. And sleep destroying.
Leftover soup for lunch. Leftover tacos for dinner.
List a few items for sale, and come up with a plan.
I thought the brilliant new bathroom (aka the budget buster from hell) would be done today, and I could share pictures. But something funny happened today; at least I think it was funny still. I came home to the dumpster gone, the floor protection all rolled up, and the bill on the countertop. But no bathroom mirror. So I gave their office a call, the receptionist put me on hold for a loooooong time, and I finally got the master carpenter who assured me the mirror was coming on Friday. I honestly think they forgot to order the mirror. Everything else has been sitting in our living room for 7 weeks, and the carpenters sounded a little flustered.And the junior carpenter mistakenly drilled a hole in the tile today when he was hanging the shower curtain rod, so the crazy tile setters are coming back tomorrow. As much as I'm eager to get in there, the extra couple of days will, I hope, mean I can wait for the cash DH transferred from the UK to hit. A long day full of students and endless meetings, but I brought my lunch and only spent the requisite $2 on coffee.
We roasted a turkey breast on Sunday, have had two dinners from it, and lunches all week. Thankfully we have another in the freezer because semi-austerity is going to have to continue for a while. CSA veggies tomorrow will help too. In a effort to keep my big goal coming, I transferred $25 from Swagbucks and am adding on the trifling interest for September. Very eager to start paying myself back for the bathroom.
My second consecutive NSD day hopes were dashed when my friendly carpenter wanted the second part of the bathroom cash. I expected him to ask for it a week ago, so perhaps I earned a few cents interest on that $8000. Ugh. But things are progressing in there.
My class started last night with nine students. It's beginning composition and usually we read a variety of essays from a textbook assigned by the university. I've decided to tweak it and make the readings all essays about people and their relationships with money. They're all adult learners, so why not talk about money, right? We'll see how it goes. I pulled a bunch of essays off the web, but would welcome anyone's suggestions for more.
The bright spot is more junk is leaving my house. We keep throwing random things into the dumpster, and the red wagon has been picked up as has the light fixture. Count that as $20 in. I've just listed a small table which has sold too!
DH and (briefly) DD and I spent the bulk of the afternoon cleaning the garage. We got a lot done, and happily I found a few things I can sell. I'll try to get them listed tomorrow. But what a yucky job. We tossed a bunch of wood and pipe found in the garage, recycled garden pots, threw away big sheets of plastic, folded tarps, and sorted all the various types of garage-dwelling liquids. We have two shelving units in there and have always rather slovenly just put all the various things on either shelf. I wiped down the shelves and separated the garden stuff from the automotive stuff. It looks much better. After a shower and a drink, we complimented ourselves on a job well done.
I've been curious about how much it costs to run the dishwasher after your earlier post, CCF. Here's what I found from the SF Gate:
Multiply the wattage of your dishwasher (most models fall in a range between 1,200 and 2,400 watts) by the number of hours you run it each day. Divide this number by 1,000 to find the number of kilowatt-hours the dishwasher uses. Multiply this number by your cost per kilowatt-hour to come up with the daily cost of running your dishwasher. For example, suppose your dishwasher is rated at 1,800 watts, you run it for two hours a day and your electricity rate is 13 cents. Multiply 1,800 by 2 to get 3,600 watt-hours, or 3.6 kilowatt-hours. Multiply this figure by 13 cents, resulting in 46.8 cents. So it costs you just under 50 cents a day to run your dishwasher.
Those are pretty much our Dishwasher wattage and costs per kilowatt hour. Fifty cents a day.
Last night we got a call from the bathroom contractor that, while not unexpected, has turned my budget sieve into a budget sinkhole. The toilet in the family bath they’re re-doing has been leaking and many of the floor boards are rotten. All was revealed when the tile came up. That wasn’t too awful, but taking off the drywall also revealed that our ensuite shower—located just behind the family bathroom—was leaking from the dial and had been doing so for some time. The drywall was completely soaked, the joists and lath were rotten through and through. The only real cure is to tear out that shower as well.
The previous bid on that bathroom was way too high for us, so I’ve asked their designer to try to find ways to bring that price down. We could live with the current vanity and sink; the sink is an attractive marble-look Corian, and while the vanity could benefit from a paint job, it’s mostly fine. I’d consider installing some sliding shelving baskets in there ourselves to make better use of the space. But no matter what, it’ s going to be a chunk of change. I’ve been resisting an uber-frugal month, but we certainly need to cinch things in. A tighter food budget only does so much. I wonder if I can find some things to sell? I’d look for extra editing work, but I have a full class load and my evening class from Monday until Christmas. Thinking, thinking, thinking.
I've needed at least one or two new tires for a while, but over the weekend, we decided to take a look at all of them, and one was very bad. So today out went $573 for four new tires. That included free installation, and I'll get a $60 rebate. Looking at the fine print it appears it's not a cash rebate, but a gift card to one of several retailers--Best Buy, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Home Depot, Staples, or Target. So now my Target gift cards just keep on piling up.
I've also paid the insurance today, transferred more money out to pay the bathroom remodelers tomorrow, and it looks like there is some damage to the bathroom floor that will need addressing before the new one goes on.
Good thing we've got tomatoes.
Not me, just the bathroom! Our bathroom contractors showed up at 7:30 this morning and spent the day taking out the sinks, toilet, vanity and wall tile along with removing the light fixtures and towel bar for reuse. I'm giving the relatively new and nice Kohler faucet to a friend; she may also take the light fixture. While I'm still a bit anxious about the cash, we're also excited. DD and I watched the eclipse at the university. We have a widely respected astronomy department, and the director of the planetarium is a real treasure. We were able to buy glasses there for $1, and had a great time sitting with friends. Lots of them constructed box viewers, brought picnics, and enjoyed the humid afternoon.
I do have a bumper crop of tomatoes. It may be time for a caprese salad. While I've enjoyed the tomato canning of years past, I'm probably going to pass this year. The semester is sneaking up on me, and I'd rather get prepped. We had BLTs for dinner tonight with some coleslaw. Any one have some fabulous summer easy dinners to share? I have the August menu blahs. I can figure out how to use my CSA veggies but am uninspired otherwise.
Back from the UK and sorely missing it already. DH and I always sit down after trips and figure out what went right and wrong. Apart from our first-day mishap and a few rainy days without much done on the Isle of Wight, everything went very well. The car was a perfect size for the four of us, my daughter’s buddy was a great traveler if a bit overwhelmed sometimes, we saw LOTS of old friends, ate plenty of great food, and I had a glorious day to myself in London. We went to the theatre three times—the Globe, a participatory Alice through the Looking Glass, and the Bob Dylan play I so much wanted to see. I reconnected with my old colleagues and had a wonderful lunch with them.
Our best “new” thing was the great airbnbs—all so different and so fun. The London flat was convenient, in my favorite neighborhood, and large enough for all four of us comfortably. The a bit-too-small cottage on the Isle of Wight overlooked the river and sea, offered great views of fireworks and the Red Arrows, and was right next to a “floating bridge” aka small ferry connecting both sides of the river. The girls rode that free half a dozen times a day just for fun. We had a beach BBQ with friends too. The final airbnb was in a small village inside the London commuter belt but close to our friends in Windsor. The granny annex was in a gated home with spectacular views from the adorable leaded glass windows over the village church steeple and all the way to Windsor Castle. It was gorgeous and made me feel like I was living in a British novel seeing that church steeple outside the windows. Every airbnb left us coffee, tea, a pint of milk, and bread.
Now to gather myself together to take the next steps towards paying some bills, readying the bathroom for the Monday remodeling, prepping us all for school, and figuring out where to go from here. August is a nasty month for us with the next bathroom installment due along with the annual home insurance, DH’s tuition, school supplies, car insurance, and life insurance. In other financial news, DH’s siblings have sold the UK house to his brother. We’re working out payment schedules now. That cash will go into the UK savings for our home there. The village airbnb gave me a lot to think through about the costs in somewhere not quite in central London, but charming and cheaper.
Oh my word--I wish I was one of those people who entertained without stress. My poor DD. This was her first birthday party at home in years, and she must've caught my nerves. She was awake at 1am the night before fretting over having chosen what she feared was the "wrong" flavors for her ice cream cake. She worried about the guest list; she threatened to cancel. My maniacal cleaning probably didn't help. For some insane reason she thought she should invite friends from 5-11, plus I had to drive 45 minutes south to pick up her friend who has moved. So how did it go? Fabulous. People told her it was the best cake they ever had--a Baskin Robbins Oreo ice cream cake. Four pizzas, endless bags of snacks, our new patio lights, games and chatter until their parents hauled them away. One girl slept over and they weren't up until 11. Her first party with BOYS.
DH and I sat outside for much of it, admiring our new patio lights and enjoying a nice bottle of rose'. I'm exhausted, but the whole thing probably only cost $125 or so. England in 12 days.
Yesterday I stuck to my grocery $30 as we didn't need much. I got a free can of beans, and thanks to a generous soul leaving a coupon in the freezer case for skinny cow ice cream bars that doubled, I also got free ice cream bars. We did spend a bit of cash on more London tickets. I bought tickets for DD, her buddy, and me for something called Alice's Adventures Underground. I opted for the matinee to save 15GBP each which I promptly spent on tickets for the London Eye that night. We've done it before, but my DD was about 5 or 6, and she'll be 15 tomorrow.
I went to see a friend's new house today. Very cute house and I'm again amazed at the difference paint makes. I spent another 43 cents on ginger for our stir-fried pork tonight, and then came home and cleaned closets. It was actually fun. I've got some more household tasks tonight--but they'll have to wait until after Masterpiece Theatre!
It's my DH's birthday, and we're going out to dinner tonight. I'm going to make a fruit tart for dessert, and spending more than I should on his gift--but will combine it with Fathers' Day. He loves the symphony, and we rarely go, but am buying a season package. At about $300, it's more than I would ever spend on a birthday, but it's a seven concert series, and combined with Father's Day, well, still expensive, but heck.
It will make him happy at least seven times and will be a fun night out for us. I count it money well spent.
We worked in the garden this morning. It was hot, I'm sunburned and stiff,but the planter box--about 12 feet long and under the picture window--is all planted, watered, and ready to roll. Except for one more hanging basket, I hope my garden spending is done.
I always feel like I spend too much at the garden center. But speaking with my Mn girl friends last weekend, I think I'm being too tough on my budget. We have a big patio, a raised bed garden, several flower beds, and the front of the house to plant. There was hardly anything here when we moved in, and I've gradually added, divided, and added more--mostly perennials
But I like pots of flowers on the patio, at least two hanging baskets, and I'm forever fussing with the front. I tend to buy at least a flat of annuals, potting mix, and a few annuals along with more perennials. It does add up, but I usually buy small plants. I'm often a bit torn between patience/frugality and wanting instant garden gratification. That hit home today as I've torn out the vines that used to dominate our front planter box, determined to give it a bit more light and zing. I bought the smaller reduced price plants--but really wanted to buy the $10 size. I've started from seed in the past, but usually am so busy in the spring. I've also gratefully received divided plants from others, but still long for instant results. I guess I should be glad that after three years, my mailbox day lily and the snow on the mountain are finally fabulous. How much do you guys spend on yard/patio, etc?
We had our planning meeting with our daughter's BFF's family on Saturday night to talk through England planning. I think her mom really wants to join us! But it's all systems go--and I booked flights Sunday, and after looking at hotel prices in London, booked a two-bedroom airbnb for six nights instead. The airbnb also gives us plenty of options for breakfasts in, access to laundry facilities, and other meal options. It's a self-contained flat with a full kitchen etc. And--it's in my old neighborhood in London so I know the shops and transport very well. I thought about exploring a new part of the city, but finding a two-bedroom with three beds for under $200/night was a triumph. Now, of course, the girls want a day trip to Paris. DH would prefer to have a day to himself in London, maybe with his brother or BFF, so we'll trade off who has the girls so I can have the following day with my London colleagues.
Real life also progresses here. I spent more than I wanted to at the garden center, as usual. We spent Saturday clearing the raised beds and doing lots of weeding and chopping. I also drove DD to Half Price Books where happily we bought nothing and got $12 for her outgrown books. I'm making several boxes for the upcoming garage sale. Lots of things can go. Plenty to do!
I spent the morning at school proctoring a competition exam. I got some grading done while watching over the testers, said goodbye to more students, and came home and to promptly fall asleep for an hour. The endless sitting and grading is starting to get to me.
I looked all set for a NS day, but saw on a "bargain" website that Macy's had sheets on sale. We really need new sheets for our bed, but I may've also bought sheest in a London pattern for either DD's bed or the guest rooms. They were adorable, in a pretty blue that matches both her room and the guest room--and not so steep at $17/each. I also bought them through Swagbucks so will be getting a 6 percent rebate on them. The king-size sheets for our room were significantly more, but both sets of ours were in sad shape. As that sort of thing always does, it got me thinking maybe I should paint our room. It hasn't been painted since we moved in 14 years ago. The trouble is it has a deep red/burgundy carpet that doesn't go with much. We painted it a deep tobacco color, and I am very sick of it. I think I'd like a pretty gray since the woodwork and trim is white. ideally I'd like to recarpet, but that could wait.
See what happens when you spend some cash? You start thinking of more ways to spend more.
On a thriftier note, I sold eight of DD's books. I'm taking a $1 commission and giving her the other $7. I'm eager to get more posted, but those stacks of papers still need to be read.
Here's some good things that have happened today.
DH had a lunch interview with a company that has branches in LONDON! He said it went very well. They want to see him again next week.
I spent nothing today. Again. I may have officially kicked my coffee shop habit (at least for a bit), and love my kettle.
I stopped at CVS hoping to use some coupons, but they didn't have what I wanted. I did pause briefly at their moisturizers as it is cold and dry--but walked out without spending a cent.
DH made oatmeal this morning, and it boiled it all over the stove top which made the burners all spark continually. I thought we were due for another expensive repair, but he managed to fix it.
I got an e-mail from a textbook publisher asking me to review a new book for $150. Yes, please.
Last night I made chili, and it's all ready for heating up tonight. Gees, that makes me so happy.
The congestion seems to be sort of clearing from my foggy head. And I'm halfway done with my teaching week.
Ah, yes, it has been over a month since I've posted. Between DD's 5:45 alarm and a full load of classes, I'm pretty beat when I get home. Things are as busy as usual at the university, and overall, my students seem fine. I've managed to finish up the summer's freelance work, keep teaching my evening class, and get a very few things done.
I could easily spend $8/ week on coffee, especially between classes. I've been holding my office hours in the library coffee shop which only adds to the temptation, so last night I unearthed an old electric kettle for my university office. My office mate and I have decided to do either instant coffee or tea there. We both feel a little broke.
Our state budget woes continue, and while I have a full load scheduled for spring semester, she doesn't. Last fall I sort of fell into the habit of stopping at the grocery on the way home to fill in for the week and pick up lunch. But that's off my list too--either lunch from home or lunch at home almost every day. Thankfully with two classes each day beginning at 8am I can usually go home--unless there's meetings or other appointments.
I've transferred some cash that was sitting in Paypal into my online savings. Most of the cash was from Swagbucks which I let run in the background while I'm grading papers. I spent nothing today and picked up the CSA veggies--some of which went into the spinach, broccoli, red onion, red pepper quiche. We also roasted some carrots with thyme--delicious. I feel very boring, but seem to be on track.
My DH's employer called yesterday and asked for a meeting. He's an IT contractor, so meetings are rarely good as they know he'll be off the clock to meet. The company where he's been working is facing their usual sporadic financial challenges, and they want him to take a $1/hr pay cut. There is really no choice, and frankly, the $1 didn't sound awful--but it does add up to almost $2000 a year.
At the dog's physical therapy appt this morning, I realized again how much we pay for her anti-inflamatory. I did a quick check and found I can buy it online for $55 cheaper.
Now for a place to find that other $1945! I don't think I can work more. My full time 4/4 teaching load is plenty, and I'll have an adjunct class until mid-December. I'll try to crunch the grocery budget a bit.
The CSA really keeps us fed through the summer. We had the most brilliant panzanella salad last night using some drying up Italian bread and a load of veggies. Maybe we'll try a credit card offer or two?
I spent yesterday with our Center for Intl Education. They've received the bad news that our academic department is no longer willing to pay faculty salaries when they teach studies abroad. This comes from all the budget cuts we've been faced with at the university. So, they'll need to raise costs to students, even though we teach courses in our subject area abroad, just as we would at home.
I spent some time brainstorming with them about how to cut costs. The drop in the exchange rate will help for now. But mostly I came away sad--sad that I can't go again for another fours years, sad that fewer students will be able to afford this, sad at the devaluing of university education into some sort of trade school.
I also came away determined to really stockpile cash and cut back--smarter spending on everything. My overflowing closets and cupboards are testimony to impulse buying. I've become so much better, but we still have so much excess.
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!
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.
My first blog entry since coming back to the grey,cold Midwest is indeed full of small potatoes. I'm digging out from a mountain of unopened mail, events and a house that both need some organizing.
In budgetary matters, I'm working our way through a mountain of food that is the usual response to my DH's trips to Costco. We just happen to have 20 sleeves of Oreos, 36 containers of applesauce, and enough Mandarin oranges (?) to feed most Mandarin speakers. While I'm happy to use up the applesauce and oranges in DD's lunches, some of those Oreos are going to the university tomorrow. Our learning platform has been down half this week, and many of my colleagues need a cookie.
I've made a swift $25 off Swagbucks that is assigned to DD's French camp fund, listed some things on FB lists, and taken a couple of textbook surveys totaling $30 in Amazon gift cards.
This weekend's fun includes taxes. I've filed for an extension, but need to face the music soon. Yes, real life is grand.
So, it's been still a very busy and very fun time here in Fantasyland. DH and DD were here for Easter week, and we had loads of fun. I talked DH into spending the bulk of the week in his hometown to max out his time with his 90-year-old dad, and DD and I had a grand time in London--walking everywhere. She requested a trip to Forbidden Planet, a couple of fun walks, a trip to Kew, and she got to sit in on my increasingly raucous classes (spring fever!). We went up to the 35th floor of a London skyscraper for breakfast, saw a stately home (for free!) and rode the bus all over. We ended this trip by meeting friends who traveled to Normandy with us via the overnight ferry.
We got a room on the ferry both ways and spent two jam-packed days in Bayeux, Caen, Arromanches, and the D-Day landing sites and museums. We splurged a bit on a tour guide, but divided it between us, and agreed it was well worth it for all we learned. We saw the Bayueux tapestry, the cathedral, had a gorgeous hotel, and just plain enjoyed ourselves. DD spoke French to the waiters and was very pleased she was understood. Very fun for all of us.
Yesterday I went on the student trip to Brighton which was also fabulous. I'll close with a photo from Omaha Beach and count on your support when I'm back to real life in a week. And snow. And taxes.
It's been a lovely few weeks in Londontown, punctuated by a trip to Nice with my girlfriends. I'm really trying to relish every single moment. It's going to be tough to go back to real life in six weeks.
Amazingly Nice didn't cost too much. It's off season, and I shared a room with my Minnesota girlfriends who flew over to join me. Six nights with breakfast and a balcony overlooking the Med cost less than $300 each. With the flight under $100 (thanks to my BA Avios), and the wonderful bus system there, it was just dinners and some misc. spending. We went back to Eze on a day trip, also Villefranche and the fabulous Rothschild villa and gardens, and Antibes and Vence all on the bus. A seven-day bus pass cost 15 Euros (less than $20), and with the enormous breakfast buffet, we rarely ate lunch--just coffee or wine and pastry.
I've had two no-spend days since coming home Sunday, but am off to the National Theatre tonight and will have dinner there too. Next week my students are coming here for dinner ( I think), so there will be a little more grocery spending. They are such super-nice girls; my best group ever.
They were in Scotland while I was in France, and one of the California students slipped at a castle and had a compound leg fracture. She's still in the hospital there. Ugh.
In my very charmed life, I'm trying to decide whether to go to Rome next weekend with a friend. Hotel and airfare is about $500, but I came home with a cold and I'm kind of tired. I'm also fretting a little about money--though I don't think I've spend much--certainly less than in previous years. May all decisions be so nice. I'll post a photo from Eze--a hilltown outside of Nice.
I forgot how much work teaching on line is. It's always anxiety-provoking for me because it seems like it's never done. Everything takes twice as long to prep as in a traditional face-to-face, but I'm officially going to quit whining and keep grading.
My prospective dogsitter came over today to meet the dog. She's a trusted, much- liked former student, and she'll stay here with the dog while DD and DH are in the UK with me. Everything seems good on that front.
I've decluttered a bit in the past few days and (hooray) sold two books--one through my FB lists and the other on Amazon. They're the first sales of the year for a big $14. I've also started some London tasks like calling my bank and Credit card companies with travel alerts.
Lots to do!
I've been trying to balance minimal household chores, cooking, and family time with the mountain of grading that is staring at me. Despite some frustrations, it's going pretty well.
We spent some time over the holiday discussing whether we could afford French camp for DD again this year. Those numbers and our weakening water heater has brought on another round of belt tightening. Oh, and there's the plane tickets to the UK for my father-in law's 90th. I've reset the frugal daily spending, making an impromptu dinner at home after Saturday's post-holiday driving, parked in the free zone enabling a long walk to class today, and brought my own coffee. If I can make that work for the next few weeks, we'll call the water heater fund started. Maybe Swagbucks can kick in $100.
It's all about the balance.
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