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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.


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.

Progress Made

April 24th, 2015 at 07:59 pm

We had (gasp) sleety snow here this afternoon, and it was a perfect day to stay in and clean. Not that I'm sure there ever is a perfect day to clean, but it had to be done.

I spent most of the day cleaning the guest room--and vowing to not buy a single gift for anyone until I work my way through my giant bag of gifts. I have far too much stuff. I tend to buy things on vacation or weekends away and forget about it, meaning to give it as birthday and Christmas gifts, then buy more. But I've put it all in one place, and virtually every gift for the next year is coming out of that bag.

I've also made a huge bag of things to sell---mostly books and odds and ends. And speaking of selling and decluttering, I offered up a box of Christmas crafts, and some of my mom's older Christmas stuff on FB, and sold it all to a woman who is " sick crazy about Christmas." I was very happy to get a grocery size bag out of my house. I also sold some books--and all of this has been picked up, so I easily made my goal of getting rid of ten things. It's not a lot of money, but I'm happy to have it and not have all that stuff. I didn't spend a dime, and actually made some money. Not a day full of rip-roaring fun, but very satisfying. If I could tackle a room a day--or at least a couple of them a week I'd be richer and less encumbered. It's worth a shot.

Not the best of days

April 23rd, 2015 at 08:56 pm

It's been kind of a frustrating day here in lots of ways, many of them vaguely financial. DH's car needs at least a new muffler if not a whole new exhaust system which they want $1500 for. Ugh. He likes this garage, but I think they're too expensive, so we went back and forth on that a bit. He doesn't drive much--some weekend errands and just to the bus in the morning, so that seems a lot to spend on that car. The A/C quit working last year, but they want $1000 for that, and we've mutually decided it's not worth it. Then, after much consultation about selling some patio chairs, my potential buyer found others. Now the dishwasher appears to have clogged or something and is leaving sediment all over the dishes. We've rinsed out the water jets and will wait to see how it behaves, but I ended up with three sinks full of dishes.

I still have a couple of FB sales pending, but am sort of frustrated with the process right now and will concentrate tomorrow on other things. I think the tree pollen must also be bad because I'm a bit thick.

But there have been good things--I read two capstone projects, made a good quiche and excellent pumpkin chocolate chip muffins--all from the freezer and pantry. Onward--

Easy Cash

April 21st, 2015 at 07:01 pm

I sold some kid's clothes over the last week via a FB group, and today saw someone wanting to buy iron patio chairs. We replaced our patio chairs a couple years ago and have exactly the chairs she's seeking gathering dust in the garage. I'm going to inspect them tomorrow, and hopefully have them out the door by the end of the week.

More decluttering was done in the office and master bath. I listed a couple books on Amazon, but my ebay items failed to sell. I also have a box of postcards (gees, maybe I am a hoarder) that a co-worker's daughter would like, so I hope to get them out the door soon too.

We've just received the information about DD's school trip to Washington DC next year. It's a groaning $1200+, and of course, all her friends are going. So--in a burst of inspiration, we're doing the 52-week savings plan which will fund it nicely. There are also fundraisers along the way, but if we have overage, she can use it for spending money.

And today was a NS day!

The New Shoes and Other Updates

August 23rd, 2014 at 07:45 am

The cute new shoes have arrived. I'm tickled.

Other than admiring the shoes, I'm spending the weekend mired in the freelance project accuracy checking. The material I'm checking is a disaster. It seems like it was written far too quickly, and I'm giving it a fairly scathing critique.

We're also in the process of moving books off our big set of bookcases to ready the room for the new carpet on Monday. I hope to sort through and divest some, but I'm fairly sure only mine will be sorted. As snafu knows, my DH will never surrender a book.


Working and Thinking

August 13th, 2014 at 10:36 am

Not sure whether I said, but I took the freelance accuracy checking gig. It pays well, but entails fairly serious work checking chapter and web content for a textbook I use. The publisher wants a quick turnaround on the content, so I'm working all day today on it. Or most of the day. I expect it to take several weeks of on and off work.

I also filled in for a colleague in his night class yesterday. He always pays me cash, so that'll be a couple hundred. And I took the garage sale money to the bank.

I also filed the flex spending reimbursement for $750 of my periodontal surgery. I need to take photos of various leftover garage sale items for listing on Craigslist and ebay. Maybe as a break from all this detail work.

It seems I have plenty of financial stuff to do. I had a long chat with another colleague about teaching more than a regular load. I'm rarely in favor of that; my teaching load is heavy, and to do a good job, I really can't take on much additional work, but she is teaching way too much. She and her husband are trying to save for a down payment on a house. They live in a two-bedroom rented duplex now, and have two children. To give the kids their own rooms, they've moved their bed into the living room. Both her husband and son have had serious medical problems in the last several years, and I'm worried about her taking on so much. I'd like to do something to help, but can't think of quite what. I was encourage to hear that her parents (who are also struggling financially) are moving into the flat below them. That will at least help with the babysitting.

As August Ticks Down

August 6th, 2014 at 06:57 am

Hey! I just noticed one of my 2014 goals is carpet for the family room. I think I'm about to tick that goal off my list. DD and I stopped at a couple carpet stores, and I looked on line for a bit, but a local chain has just expanded to our area and seems to have the best deals I've seen. I chose a couple styles yesterday for our very large family room, then sent DH to look on his way home. Happily he chose several of the same, so we're about ready to roll on it.

The room is big, so the carpet, even with discounts, will run us about $2000. But we'll do the removal ourselves. It should be quite an adventure as we have four huge bookcases along one wall that will need to be emptied and moved.

In other boring news, I'm headed back to the periodontist today to get my stitches removed. Tonight will be devoted to rummage sale organization.

Happy Shopping Except...

July 5th, 2014 at 11:55 pm

Oooh, I had a good shopping day today. I bought some nice groceries on sale at Target and even remembered my coupons. More grocery shopping followed that, all with great deals and double coupons on a few things. I'm not a huge Kohl's fan (blasphemy here in Cheeseland), but I picked up a cute black tee for very cheap after joining their new loyalty program. One more card to try to keep track of....

Yesterday DH and I did a walk around our house looking at trees that needed trimming, bare spots near the fence that needed something, and lots of other areas that needed a couple hours weeding. So after the football today, he trimmed shrubs, and I stopped at the garden center for some drastically reduced hostas. Hooray! Just what I wanted. Except for the third time in six days I was overcharged, this time for $10, and none of the clerks could figure out how to do a price adjustment. Twenty minutes later they finally figured it out. I'm very happy I brought the thermal bag for my frozen groceries, or I would have a car dripping with not-so-frozen yogurt soup.

I love these three-day weekends. We seem to get so much done. We finished some Netflix series that we've been watching, got most of the laundry done, and actually feel ready for the week ahead. Well, except for that weeding.

DH had a fraud alert on his Chase card Friday, and it indeed was fraud. This is his third Chase card this year. We expect the new card Monday.


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.

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.....?

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.


February 1st, 2014 at 01:55 pm

Hooray! DH's interview went well, and they offered him the contract. He's happy to be going downtown again as it's a shorter commute, and he loves to take the bus. Good all around.

I headed out early, scoping out a route from my flat to the Eurostar Station at St Pancras. A friend is coming over the end of the month and we're going to France, so I wanted to see the most direct route. No problem at all, a very easy bus ride to a tube station on the Picadilly Line. I'll also go that way next week to get DH and DD at Heathrow.

It was fun being at St Pancras. It's a beautiful station, and I enjoyed seeing people rushing off to catch their train to France and watching folks come in. It was so much fun, I bought a coffee and just sat for a while.

Then off to the Tate Britain. Last year many of the Pre-Raphaelite paintings I like were down as the Tate was being remodeled, but I spent a lovely day there and also saw a great photography exhibit.

This may seem silly, but I'm missing my bird feeder at home. We have magnificent backyard birds, frequently 4 or 5 cardinals at once, and sometimes even hawks. So today I bought a small bird feeder and some seed. I have a small patio out the back and thought it might be fun. I can always bring the feeder home if I want. It'll be interesting to see what kinds of birds might appear.

Some quick grocery shopping on the way home, then back here for dinner. This will be a very busy week, so I need to get some work done tonight.

Planning for Productive Weekend

September 27th, 2013 at 08:14 am

I have loads to do. Paper grading is looming, and I've just finished commenting on 27 pretty awful assignments.

Maybe it's the thought of DH's job instability, the upcoming conference talk, or even (yeah!) London that makes me want to hunker down, clean the house, make soup, and prepare. Maybe it's fall?

I'll know by next week whether I'll have enough London students to go this year. But I'm cautiously optimistic. We took quite a financial hit last year as I was on half salary while there, ironically working at least as hard as at home. But I've volunteered to do an online version of one of my regular offerings in addition to the London classes. Since I'm teaching that class now, I've been trying to compose the online class for spring term at the same time. I'll regret not having the luxury of just focusing on London, but if I get everything up and operating, it should be less painful.

So, the dishwasher is humming as is the washer. Next step might be the slow cooker.

An off topic addendum: I hate banks. The $10K that I moved to Chase for their $150 bonus has earned me a whooping 14 cents in 90 days. And reading about their trading scandals and executive pay have not further endeared them to me. As soon as the bonus hits, the cash is going into the credit union.

Decluttering Continues but More Junk Added

July 18th, 2013 at 07:30 am

My super-decluttering powers continued yesterday as I found that a local Goodwill has drive-through drop-off. They were pleased with the aquarium (me too!) and the converter boxes. I am SO pleased to be rid of another big bag of stuff. I have more outgrown clothes to give to a friend at school tonight too.

However, more junk was procured at Target yesterday, albeit useful junk. A distant Target had all their 4th of July stuff half off. So why did I buy $20 worth of that? We're having a combined birthday party for DD and (long-suffering) DH this weekend with an American/British theme. Fortunately for me, all the red and blue cups, plates, tablecloths etc were half off. I'd already bought some, so the full-price ones will be returned, but pleased as can be that they're cheaper now.

A bit concerned that as I age (rapidly, this week) I'm taking on my mother's obsession with garbage pick-up. After my class last night, I was on the curb at 11 hauling stuff out. Pre-party or post-decluttering nerves? Not sure, but at least it's out.

Happy Decluttering but Unhappy Husband

July 16th, 2013 at 09:34 pm

I had a fabulous time today doing the dread basement cleaning. I have no idea why I enjoyed it so much, but I suspect it had something to do with the weather. Cleaning a cool basement in 100 degree weather is nice. Or maybe it's just me taking a stand.

Some of the back story on the basement: We redid it a few years ago from a very 1960 rec room to a nice white space with a little built-in bar/sink, a huge wall of closets for out-of-season clothes and a big space for DH's books and papers. Short version: His paper hoarding and book collection was way out of control. Any flat surface is immediately covered with his junk. I fight back upstairs, but I'd really let the basement go.

But my dear daughter really wanted a space long promised to her, and I have to say, I just got sick of his mess. I knew he'd have the hoarding anxiety attack when I told him I was doing it. He had LOTS of warning, and I promised to straighten and rearrange, but not throw any of his "stuff" away.

But frankly, it's my house too, and I'm done with it. I swear he was on the verge of going through the recycling bags to check every bit of three-year coupons for traces of treasure. He started to argue with me about getting rid of the remotes for the TVs we recycled. But tomorrow they're going to Best Buy where the TVs went to die.

I'm not having it; the clutter is stagnating and depressing, and if he needs therapy to deal with it, well, the insurance will cover it. Any one else remember the "Twilight Zone" episode where the murder rate spiked in the 100 degree heat?

Basement Dejunking

July 13th, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Oh my, DH and I spent some serious time in the basement last night getting rid of junk. It wasn't always as bad as it is now, but DH really tends to hold on to things. I had a heckuva time convincing him to let go of an old-style TV, a VCR and a huge chunky old computer monitor. The VCR went to the Salvation Army with a big bag of toys DD has outgrown, and the monitor and TV went to Best Buy for recycling. But he's upset about it. It burns him that things purchased in the last 20 years are worthless. But they are. And they're taking up space.

It looks MUCH better, but the next round of dejunking is going to have to be done when he's at work. He doesn't miss it when it's gone, but the process is really difficult for him.

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