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Viewing the 'Castles and Hovels' Category

Balancing Act

November 30th, 2015 at 11:27 am

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.

Painting Done

August 29th, 2015 at 09:25 pm

We've finished painting the office walls--two coats and while I may've chosen a darker shade of gray in hindsight, I think it will look really nice when the trim gets painted white and the desk goes in.

I've been using a rickety old computer desk for 16+ years, and I will NOT be sad to see it go. I'll advertise it as free, but will be happy to donate it to Goodwill. I still have one bin of books to shelve, and I hope they all fit since I'm down a large bookcase. I really wanted a lighter feel in there, but could possibly be swayed into using a black folding shorter bookcase we have in the basement if push come to shove.

I wanted to spray my file cabinets today but it poured all day, so they can wait for the morning. And I bought a vintage kitchen metal cart (love!) on a local FB list for $35 which will be sprayed the same turquoise and serve as my printer cart. It feels like it's all coming together though it's still a huge mess. But I'm finally excited about it.

Two of the books from my stash sold today on Amazon--one for $20 and the other for $5, so I'll add that to my totals.

The rest of the day was spent cleaning my daughter's room. Man, what a morass. But two big bags from her room and an old sleeping bag went to the charity shop already. I'm going to try to sell some shoes and other stuff I unearthed. We also bought her a new comforter--backordered--but a shout out to the lovely manager at Blood Bath and Beyond--he wangled us a great deal and it will arrive in a week.

Baby Steps

August 22nd, 2015 at 09:20 pm

I'm cleaning the office getting ready for the carpet install. Some solid dejunking has happened with 14 books to the library, two bags of old electronics to Best Buy recycling, three books sold on FB and another book sold on Amazon trade-in. I also took a big bag to Goodwill today. There's lots more to do, but my fabulous husband has pulled up the carpet and pad and cleaned off the floor in there. We probably have at least one or two more big bags or books to donate or sell.

No real other news. I played trivia today with some colleagues, spent $3 and got a tee shirt. We treated ourselves to dinner out after the big cleaning mess. But no more meals out for three weeks.

Feeling Very Off-Track

August 16th, 2015 at 08:19 am

I've been feeling very off-track lately. It seems like I'm not getting much done and am behind in housework and self care too. The house needs a solid pick-up, and I find a very full fridge and freezer hard to deal with. I think I officially have August-itis.

Causes? Uncertainty about DH's job (always and again), impending semester with lots to do, August-afflicted child who sleeps too late and hates the heat, travel hangover, delays in bathroom remodel bids, massive canning days that put off everything else, horrible edits and capstone projects that frustrate me, too many social obligations. I feel stuck.

Plan? Tomorrow (heat and aforementioned social obligation today) must be devoted to catching up. I may have to build in a reward to the child for helping me. Maybe even build in a reward for myself.

It's time to get financially back on track too. Back-to-school shopping was expensive as child now requires adult sizes. Yesterday I spent (ouch)$250 on jeans, pants, and shoes for her. The only upside now is if she outgrows those three pairs of shoes, I can wear them.

Tomorrow demands a list. Getting on that today. Wish me luck to get unstuck.

Carpet Ordered, Peaches Purchased, Package Shipped

July 29th, 2015 at 03:58 pm

The three big things on the to-do list for today all got done. I ordered the office carpet: Shaw's Functional in a grey called "Operative." https://shawfloors.com/flooring/carpet/details/functional-j0060/effective

I also made it to the peach truck where the growers from Georgia sell from the back of the truck, bought two crates of peaches, then into Menards for more jars (on sale). Friday I have two friends coming over to make peach jam. It should be a fun day.

The shipped package was a bit of good financial news. DH's professor gave him a bunch of things from his office as a gift including an unopened Woody Allen box set. I like Woody Allen films, but not enough to own a box set, so I sold them on Amazon trade-in for $37. I may have made more if I was willing to wait to sell them, but they're just taking up space so have been shipped already.

I'll add that to my totals when Amazon credits me. I did use the healthcare assessment Visa gift card for the carpet deposit, so it sort of seems free.

Goal Fulfillment on the Horizon

July 27th, 2015 at 09:48 am

The carpet store is coming today to measure my office! We're about to get a goal checked off the list!

I'm planning on using the prepaid Visa that I got for the health assessment for 1/3 of it and am hoping to convince DH to use his too.

In other thrifty news, we're having zucchini "zoodles" from the garden for tonight's dinner.

As I expected, the textbook editor was pretty upset with the supplementary writer's work. I suspect he'll be fired as it seems he reused many of last edition's questions without checking the material appeared in this edition. I'm not happy that he's so bad and will likely lose the contract, but it's really sloppy work. It probably also means another delay--just when I was hoping to get the bulk of the work done this summer.

Weeding--Ugh

July 26th, 2015 at 10:00 pm

We came home to an overgrown garden after more than a week away. The darn invasive campanulas needed a lot of attention so after church I spent two hours in the various gardens. I pulled campanula, wild carrot, sedges, and countless other things and tomorrow will try the white vinegar treatment on the driveway crack weeds. I hate weeding, just like I hate cleaning the house but love it when it's done.

I also spent a lot at Costco yesterday including a case of wine and food for yesterday's group/community dinner. We had excellent Asian food, and my Korean beef was very good, I must say.

After three hours sorting my textbook edits, I think they need to have a firm word with the supplementary material writer. I found far too many errors. I'll be eager to see what the content editor and project manager say.

More tomorrow on end-of-summer plans.

Some In, Some Out

June 15th, 2015 at 09:39 am

I got my closet reorganized this weekend, and it's paid some dividends. Besides being much neater and more pleasant, I sold a shoe rack that I'd been using as a shelf in the closet, a bunch of scarves, and a shawl, as well as old shutters that have been sitting in the garage for years. That whopping total was $17, a large bag for the charity shop, and a much better closet arrangement.

Both my daughter and I had pedicures yesterday, a somewhat frivolous expense but totally mood lifting.
Now summer can officially begin. Rain, rain, go away!

Let's Call It a Stupid Day

June 2nd, 2015 at 10:33 am

I'm not quite sure what was going on with me yesterday, but all sorts of minor things just went wrong. DD and I heard a clunk yesterday morning, but I could find nothing that fell off anywhere. Later in the afternoon I went downstairs carrying too much--the bread machine and two laundry baskets, missed the bottom step and wrenched my ankle. Then I discovered what clunked--a brand new giant bottle of laundry detergent had fallen off the dryer top, split and spilled all over the floor.
After getting that cleaned up and muttering up soap dollars down the drain, I hobbled back upstairs and needed a shower to get all the soap residue off, promptly breaking off the shower head.

So--$25 for a new shower head, $20 worth of detergent gone, a slightly swollen ankle, and a really cranky self.

Thankfully my evening class went very well, DH got a new shower head, and things seem less precarious today.

In other financial news, I set up DD's Washington trip account and paid the first $99 on it.

Folding Flurry

May 17th, 2015 at 05:56 pm

I feel like I'm swamped--so much to do, but much of it is self-created work as I'm trying for more and more FB sales, so I'm finding, taking photos, listing, replying to inquiries, and packing things up. While the first round of this was mostly kid's stuff, this time lots of it is my clothes. I'm rarely a planner when it comes to clothes and when I find a style I like, I tend to stick with it. The last few years I've worn a lot of cardigans with camisoles to teach. So I've probably bought too many. Axe probably, I have too many.

Inspired by some of the Marie Kondo ideas, I went on a folding spree last night, fished five rarely worn tanks and camis out of the beautifully folded drawer--and was able to consolidate two heaping drawers of stuff into one gorgeous drawer of origami camis. I feel a little crazy just typing that. I washed them and took photos, listed, and have sold three of the five. Out also is going a rocking David Bowie tee, another cardigan, and a peach top that is more tent than top. All sold awaiting pick-up.

I Kondo-ed DD's horrible top and pants drawers this afternoon, switching their order, and I'm over-the- moon excited by how wonderful it is. And also very tired. I'm listing some of her outgrowns tonight.

In between this odd flurry of wackiness, I bought plants, spread mulch and compost, planted another crop of lettuce, tomatoes, and filled six planters.

Although I feel like going to bed at 8, I need to finish laundry and grade tomorrow's homework responses. And pull together a quick PowerPoint for our discussion. Hopefully I can stop folding for long enough to do that.

Completely Pleased with Myself

May 15th, 2015 at 08:24 am

I phoned ATT this morning to try to find a better plan. The first guy wouldn't budge on the rate, but as I hemmed and hawed about dropping them, he transferred me to "customer retention" who have given me a $50 credit and saved me $13/month on our plan.

If I could just get my 89-year-old father-in-law on Skype, we could drop the international plan!

Total annual savings on this is $206. And special shout out to CCF who keeps me motivated.

Cleaning Up

April 30th, 2015 at 07:12 pm

I spent a long time today sorting through papers and getting unnecessary papers ready for the shredding fest on Saturday. Sorting papers always makes me evaluate our spending and saving, so I think there will be some changes in our accounts coming up.

Another splendid day with no spending--but with some small FB sales which I'll add to our totals.
Less clutter=more clarity

More Stuff Out, Some Cash In

April 27th, 2015 at 04:41 pm

I sold a few more things on FB, and donated others today. I'm happy to have all of them leave my house!

Since I've been home I've rather unconsciously changed how I do meals, buying fewer things, and making a more concerted effort to use things up. I honestly think it comes from having a smaller fridge in London. My DH loves a really full fridge, but I have a hard time finding things and like a more pared-down selection. I'm happy with it, and I've heard no complaints from the eaters in the household. We've slowly been working our way through our freezer stocks as well. I'd like to empty the fridge freezer and clean it and the chest freezer. On that note, we had Trader Joe's frozen croissants this morning! Not very punishing is it?

Because I went to the university to do a teaching observation this morning, I got a bunch of errands tackled on the way home. Tomorrow's tasks include starting a serious look at our net worth. That will help us talk more about a move.