Let's start with the biggest anxiety reliever. DH's contract runs into at least the end of 2013. They sort of casually told him this on Monday after we'd been fretting at the impending end-of-October date. And since they have more money in 2014, it'll likely be extended again. Pheww.
Yesterday a colleague and I had a meeting with our dean about salaries. Our department chair is nice but useless and, as he says" doesn't want to spend HIS capital" arguing for us. Thanks a bunch. Three additional colleagues and I all missed a $2000 salary increase because we "went up" for our tenure equivalency early. The salary bump came six months later, and we were not eligible for it. The university so rarely moves on any of these issues, no one even whimpered publicly. No one except for my colleague who was madder than hell. As it turns out, the dean see our point that it penalizes seniority rather than rewarding it and is pushing our case. Since it was all going so swimmingly, I asked if they could do something about me being on half salary while in London. She was genuinely shocked about that and promised investigation there as well.
So, nothing definite out of it yet, but I'm cautiously optimistic. Cross fingers, please.
Then I narrowly dodged a $65 immunization last night. The school wants 11-year-olds to have a booster tdap vaccine right now. I figured we'd save the doctor visit and went to Walgreen's, but they don't honor my insurance for "medical" vaccines, whatever that means. They were happy to do it for $65, and there were other parents there all grumbling about it. I called our doctor this morning and she'll have it in the office on Tuesday morning-no fee or co-pay. I'm thrilled.
No other big news. DD and I went to Noodles last night for dinner as I had a coupon for a free meal. I'm shocked at how many people and their kids eat dinner out all the time. We spent under $6 for both of us with my birthday coupon, but the couple behind us who confided that Thursday is their Noodles Night spent $54 for themselves and two kids. Eeek.
Viewing the 'Offspring' Category
Let's start with the biggest anxiety reliever. DH's contract runs into at least the end of 2013. They sort of casually told him this on Monday after we'd been fretting at the impending end-of-October date. And since they have more money in 2014, it'll likely be extended again. Pheww.
I think all I've bought in the past three days is some yogurt for DD and two cups of iced coffee at school.
It's just too busy for much else.
Another full day of teaching today with little prep or grading done. I had that iced coffee with a prospective London student. I think we have 15 now that have started the applications.
Tonight we attended the middle school (or Muggle school as we call it) parents' night. I'm always happy to hear other people's kids lose as many assignments, spend as much on lunch, and are chronic dawdlers like mine. But I'm not sure I needed 160 minutes there. We got nothing else done tonight. Yikes.
In further financial news, I sold a book for $90 and saved a mint at CVS. Their stooopid coupon machine wouldn't print, so the cashier gave me double off. Isn't that nice? I paid for ALL of my purchases with coupons and extra bucks. Such thrills!
Sure of imminent budget disaster, we embarked on a shoe buying venture today. First, the foot measuring. DD has gone from a Girls' 3 to an adult 6 1/2 over the summer which explains the fit of her Tevas.
My predictions were correct as we left Infamous Footwear $230 poorer than when we entered. Yet that staggering total includes Clarks, already half price, PE shoes, and Bear Traps in a size up. We used every trick in the book: BOGO half off, coupons, loyalty cards, codes, and every other shenanigan I could pull. I did ask if I could stack shoes in the back for a couple hours for another 10%, but to no avail.
Cinderella's mom also got a pair of acceptable work shoes and a deeply discounted pair of summer wedges since I have had no new shoes this year.
So we got the Shoe Blues but alotta sole.
A $1.70 thanks to CreditCardFree who alerted me to the Target cartwheel app that you can just print out. I have a severely dumb phone, so no smart phone apps for me. But after turning off all the Facebook share stuff, I saved $1.70 on things I had already planned to buy--most of which I had Target coupons, manufacturer's coupons, or both for. And of course, that 5% RedCard savings.
It came in especially handy since DD seems to have left her last wearable swimsuit somewhere and has been invited to a pool party tomorrow. She's oddly between sizes, and I didn't want to spend a lot on a new suit. Between that, school supplies, and a fair amount of groceries, and allergy meds, the savings helped. As my mom used to say about people who scoffed at her coupons, "If you saw it on the floor, you'd pick it up, wouldn't you?" I am by no means an accomplished couponer, but every little bit helps.
We had huge downpours today which slowed down my errand list. Yet DD and I had our traditional Friday lunch out. We alternate choices, and today was hers: Culvers.
We stopped at Office Max to get a few school supplies, including most of their specials. She needs a new calculator this year which they had for $15.99. Our next stop was the ever-tempting Target where we got more school supplies, a cute jean jacket for her, and a few grocery items. A big shout out here for DD who spotted the identical calculator at Target for $6 less. Plus, of course, the savings with the Red Card.
I used several good Target coupons and got a $5 gift card as well as returning some party items from last week. All in all, good savings, good shopping.
I'm reading an older Kate Atkinson novel which I also like. This is part of the Jackson Brodie detective series, and it's a good summer read.
Our state income tax refund finally arrived yesterday. What a relief. We did file late because I was in London, but it's been months. It's almost $700 and I'd like to divide it up into Roths and DD's college fund. That, coupled with a few rebates, will at least get some things rolling.
My study abroad debriefing session is today. Not sure what that all entails, but I'm eager to get going on next year's recruiting. I also need to find a better text for my advanced professional course.
The weather looks a bit scary. Big storms forecast for this afternoon.
I took a little break from my money blog here last week to get some much-needed tasks done. DD had a writers' camp at the university, and I used every minute she was there and all of the rest of my free time to get some research done on an article I've been trying to get written.
Most of the days were spent in the university archives, and I'm such a geek that I LOVE archival research. But I think I have just about everything I need now to start writing. It was an expensive week. DD and I ate lunch together, and despite my determination to bring our lunches every day, I caved and we ate in the university cafeteria twice--then had a Friday lunch date as we always do in the summer. But it was fun, and it was great to see her all excited about writing.
I'm off to go strawberry picking this morning, but I am happy to be spending most of next week home to catch up on everything that didn't get done last week.
We got our second chimney bid finally, and it was more than 3K higher than the other bid. This guy said we needed a new chimney liner too. I'm frustrated with the process, and will go with the first bidder. I've had such a hard time getting anyone to bid, that I'm not pursuing this further. The first bidder is highly rated also on Angies List and works with our roofer. Good enough, I hope.
I spent all day Friday with DD and two of her friends. They did lunch, a library movie, with the time in between spent at Barnes and Noble reading books to each other. She really had fun--and so did they.
It wasn't my dream day, but I'm glad they all enjoyed themselves so much.
Saturday was not so fun--lots of errands and shopping and more bids on the chimney and exterior painting. It's going to be an expensive summer for the house.
Today we had a quiet day with special treats, gifts, and foods for DH. It was a spectacular day here and we all went swimming in the municipal pool. A really lovely summer time.
My DD's school year. Getting up at 6am. Homework supervision. Our bedtime book, Inkheart, which we loved.
What's beginning? Summer vacation! Library reading contest. Fun times with her girlfriends. Our "sandbucket" list. My diet (ugh but necessary)
Other things continue as usual with little to report except another ebay sale for $9
I've been offered a PT one evening a week tutoring job for a couple months this summer. The pay is good, and I'm thinking about it. But with my other class, it means two evening away from home in July and August, which is not my ideal. But I'll be spending most days with DD, so perhaps three extra hours away wouldn't be so bad?
I'm just not quite sure.
In other news, the decluttering continues. Tomorrow I'm dropping off books at a local charity with some also going to Half Price Books. And DD seems to have outgrown virtually all her summer clothes, so I've made a bag of them for a friend. Tonight I pitched several lone earrings.
There are about a dozen things that all need doing at the same time time, so some decisions had to be made. First, some sad news. One of my old high-school friends who always struggled with depression had died. They suspect suicide, but we're broken up about this.
The funeral is tomorrow in Minneapolis, but I don't think I can do an overnight trip and another 12-hour drive by myself only three weeks after returning.
I investigated airfares (staggering) and even the megabus, but the time is the major factor.
I also have a departmental meeting today that I should attend,but the dog's pre-surgical consult is at that time, and I'm trying to spend extra time with DD as she is really struggling with her math.
I will go in to the university today and start putting up flyers for next year's study abroad session as I promised.
But today is family and dog first.
Following the sage SA advice, but still chuckling about the ironing jokes, I've purchased a Rowenta iron on sale at Target. And yes, I saved 5 percent with my RedCard.
Yesterday was very productive. I went to the bank to deposit the flex spending checks, (w)Al green's for my husband's instant coffee fix earning Balance points along the way, Noodles for a free pasta lunch courtesy of a coupon received, then the charity shop to dump off donations, Target for the iron, then finally the grocery store. It seemed like one of those charmed days where you actually remember your shopping bags, your coupons, and get great deals.
Then DD's science project hit. Yuck. We spent four hours helping her paint, assemble, and label mini-amusement park rides demonstrating Newtonian laws. Other students had two weeks to complete this, but she was under a time crunch because of our holiday. Thankfully we all avoided shouting and slamming doors, but there were a few almost tears. And it's done.
DD and I abandoned other errands to go see President Obama today. The virtues of living in a swing state? I've never felt so desired in my life. It was a long day of waiting and listening to speeches--but I think it's great for a kid (and her mom) to see the President of the United States. We spent nothing on it, found free parking, then went to a friend's post-Halloween party.
Tomorrow to the errands--after a round of teaching Sunday School.
I can't say I had a fabulously fun day today, but man, I got a lot done. I'm all prepped for the week, papers almost all graded, and even some laundry done.
It was a beautiful day here, so when DD went to a friend's house to play, I sat on the patio and read in the autumnal sunshine. It doesn't get much better.
This evening we grilled steaks, watched Wallendar, and I read a couple capstone projects; one passed, but one failed.
Being caught up will make tomorrow easier. It's my long day--and our school district has Jewish New Year off tomorrow, so DD has to spend the day at the university with me.
In some financial news--DD has decided to play the flute in the school band. As we were on the verge of heading toward the music store, we heard from friends that their daughter had given up flute, and asked if we'd like hers. Wow! Flute rental was $20+/month, so I'm pleased as heck. They were given it on the condition that they give it away when their daughter was done--so on it goes!
All told, both DD and I had successful first days back at school. I only had a single class today, so it was a fast one for me.
DD's bus didn't show up until after we left to take her to school. We didn't want to risk lateness on the first day, but I spoke to the bus driver this afternoon, and she assured me they'd be more on schedule tomorrow.
I did a few errands after my class. I purchased a paper attendance book since the university doesn't provide them anymore, deposited some checks, and returned a few library books.
I suspect I'll be wiped out tomorrow with four classes back to back from 8-2. If I can make it to the restroom, grab some water, and down some string cheese, I'll call it successful.
I spent $13 on school supplies, and $1.75 on coffee. No other news to report!
I feel like we should have done something spectacular this weekend--especially today--but we spent the morning deep cleaning our bedroom. We took the bed apart, vacuumed underneath the bed, behind the bed, behind the dressers etc. Everything in there got washed, then we moved onto DD's room.
Is this a sign of age that rather than whooping it up over the holiday weekend, we clean? Probably.
I did some minor grocery shopping, we grilled steaks, and got every one all spruced up to begin the school year. This will be almost an hour earlier rising for DD. I hope she doesn't crash tomorrow on the first day of middle school! I hope I don't either, but I only have one class tomorrow. Mondays and Wednesday are the heavy days with four classes back to back.
I hope to get a walk in before heading to the university. I've been such a slacker this summer, my good habits need to kick in.
The child and I spent our last real day of summer vacation at that traditional summer funhouse, the outlet mall. We went out to lunch, bought shoes for her, a few too many clothes for me, jeans and pjs and tops for her, a vest and some chinos for DH. It was swell. I bought nothing very extravagant, used outlet coupons, and feel no guilt whatsoever.
Tomorrow is full of errands, meetings, tutoring, copying, and then the Common Read. I really need a day to myself to get things up and moving, but that will happen very soon.
Still no word from the bank about clearing the check from my bro. I was really hoping we could get 'er done Friday, but it looks unlikely.
We finished up the school supply shopping yesterday, and bought lots of groceries. The bulk of the school supply shopping was at Target (with that 5% Redcard saving), with a few specials picked up at other places. DH and I were commenting on how many more supplies seem to be required every year. I suspect it's the impact of school budget cuts.
I've got a workshop at the university tomorrow, so today is my weekly lunch date with DD. We're headed to the art museum in a bit and will have lunch there overlooking the lake. I'm am so proud of what a geek she has become. We spent an hour last night watching a PBS special on rats in areas of India. When it was over, she went to the atlas to look up that part of India, and we talked through the differing regional ethnicities in India. One of our friends is from that region of northern India, and so we had a special interest.
I've turned down all offers of activities this weekend, and want to spend the weekend here in the garden and cleaning in prep for school. Man, I feel like my mom.
I'm meeting with my university gals this afternoon to plot our garage sale strategy. I can tell it's almost August and still two months from payday by everyone's growing enthusiasm for this project. We're all broke.
At my evening class last night I ran a colleague who is joining in our sale. She's just pulled a slightly dinged DVD player from the classroom garbage hoping to sell it Saturday.
In another communal venture, we've decided to "shop" in each others' kids' outgrown clothing piles after the sale and then regularly from now on. Everyone is tickled and relieved.
DD and I walked again this morning after a "mystery shopper" breakfast at McDonald's. Neither of us is too fond of McD's breakfast, but she ate the pancakes and I'll make a breakfast burrito from the eggs tomorrow. DH hates wasting food so I'll bet I can get him to eat the biscuit. I did feel a little odd snapping photos of the breakfast, but heck, it was kind of fun. I haven't done one of these in years, and I'm not sure how regularly I'd do it, but for a change....
This afternoon DD went to her first day of Church Vacation Bible School Challenge. It's supposed to be a combination of Survivor, Amazing Race, The Apprentice, and Top Chef. She'll attend three afternoons and have an all-night challenge. All this for the $35 fee.
While dropping her off I ran into another mom from school and told her I didn't know they attended our church. She said they didn't, but her kids go to four or five different churchs' summer programs. Man--I've been paying $150+ for the great nature camps, but what a bargain this is!
DD and I have also started a fitness challenge--walking 2 miles every day and doing some other floor exercises. After one walk, I can't tell you how much better I feel. Looking forward to increasing zip!
DD and I spent yesterday with friends picking strawberries and peas. I made jam and froze berries, and have more to do. But those peas were pure heaven. I wish I would have planted some in our garden.
In further slight progress towards decluttering goals, I divested my office of a towering stack of DD's clothes and had a heartening discussion after our post-picking picnic lunch with friends about the need for us all to curtail restaurant meals in favor of monthly potlucks. I love going out, but we're all still reeling from the state paycuts. Most of my university friends have cut all kids' summer camps and other activities, so we're going to have to make our own fun.
My late ebay buyer is still late. I've now contacted her twice after the initial invoice. One more day and I'll open a claim.
In happier news, I've located a free voucher for Noodles. DD and I are heading there for lunch tomorrow since it expires soon!
It's been a sleepy Sunday. I slept late and we didn't make it to church. I blame the heat and a bit of a hangover from Friday's event. It wasn't a drinking hangover, just four hours in the car.
Leaving my Friday night documentation class, I got caught in a horrible traffic jam at 9 pm. There were three, almost consecutive accidents on the freeway. Nothing looked too bad, but it slowed traffic into a construction zone that eventually ground it to a halt. My normal one-hour drive, annoying at the best of times, turned into almost three hours. That coupled with the time to drive there in the afternoon was a real day spoiler. I took this documentation class as a favor to the administration, but I won't travel to that campus again. It's too far, and Friday night is not ideal. But last week was the last one.
DD and I did indeed create our sandbucket list. She wants more swimming lesson, crafts, reading, the library book club, etc. We've planned out special exploration days too. The next two weeks we're on our own until her various half day camps start. I'm trying to make these days both fun and frugal. That said--picnic tomorrow after swimming lesson.
No--not my hoodlum friends, but the session we attended at the library last night on e-books. Leave it to DD to drag us to a "Friends of the Library" meeting where everyone was at least 15 years older than me and the old man.
But we got the drill on downloading books from the library site, came home, and now have two library books, one on each Kindle.
It's again a testimony to my DD's inbred geekiness that she did a huge happy whooping dance about getting a library book on her Kindle.
It's her last day of elementary school today, and I'm not sure whether I'm happy or sad. What a trip.
I've got a bit of freelance work today, then the garden, maybe a nap, and the Popsicle party after school. Watching ebay auctions and hoping for the best.
Despite the long drive and lots of talk about documentation and citation, Friday night didn't go too badly. The other instructor was clearly not prepared for the evening, but I always have too much stuff--so I passed out examples, did samples, and spent time with each student helping with their projects. I think I can get through three weeks of it just fine.
Saturday morning we three did a school fund-raising run-walk. MY DH was less than enthusiastic, but we had fun and got some exercise. And lots of gift cards, coupons, and vouchers for free food and travel mugs. Perhaps it was the run tee-shirt with the big cupcake on it that made him doubt he'd wear it again?
Saturday night DD had a sleepover birthday party to attend. She'd heard from the b-day girl a short list of what she'd like for a gift, and apparently there was some grumbling from other moms about the price of the gifts. But we stuck to our budget with a gift card and a few little trinkets.
That sleepover meant DH and I had the evening to ourselves--and we made the most of it. First to a tapas place that we loved--then a movie. Wow--that much fun without paying the babysitter. I'd have sprung for the expensive gift for the b-day girl!
Yesterday at church we sang my DH's mom's favorite hymn--and since we'd both lost our moms since last Mother's Day--it was particularly meaningful to be together and remember them. Then we went out to lunch, weeded the lawn, and did some home chores. All that dining out is really unusual for us--and we ended up eating frozen eggrolls last night with the sleep-deprived DD snoozing on the sofa. It sounds odd, but it was very fun.
Yes, I can make it to spring break in eight days.
I wish my break held lots of fun like it did in the days when DH and I were dating and I flew to London for the week. These days if I can get lunch out with a girlfriend, it's a triumph.
I'd really like to go somewhere for break, but I'm halfheartedly committed to saving everything I can for new paint on the house trim, new windows, and new bathroom tile. But really, I'd rather go to London.
But there is good financial news. Our mortgage continues to shrink although I've stopped major prepayments when we worried about DH's job.
I resisted buying lace-up boots as suggested for DD's "Pioneer Days" simulation, but this afternoon while she was at dance class, I zipped over to Target. I figured they'd have nothing but sandals and spring shoes, and I was almost right. There, staring right up at me from the clearance rack was one pair of girl's lace-up boots reduced from $25 to (yeah) $7.28. In her size! It made my day--not too tough since the rest of the day was spent grading papers and prepping my online class.
Eight days, baby.
It was a bit of a flurried week, but Friday's snow was more than flurries, I guess.
DD had a friend over for a sleepover on Friday, and the three of us went to see "The Lorax." I'm continually amazed at the behavior of some children--which of course precipitated a lecture to DD on Saturday.
DD's friend is actually one of our favorites. She's a very nice little girl, and we like her whole family. The movie theater has a full restaurant attached. I've never been there before, but had a Groupon for it, so off we went. At full price, the three 3D tickets would have been $30. We ordered a pizza--then DD's friend asked if we were also having appetizers--and could she have a root beer float. One set of mozz sticks and two root beer floats later, my DD was struggling. She's not the world's biggest eater, but DD's friend cruised right through all the food, asking before the film started if we could also go for ice cream later.
Food at the theater with tip $42. Another $10 at the ice cream shop where friend wanted a waffle cone--then a big waffle cone dipped in chocolate, then asked if she could have anything she wanted. I reined it in a bit, but she did end with a double waffle cone topped with sprinkles. DD and I were about at our limits. Yet we had lots of fun. But has anyone else been faced with this?
I kept thinking about my mom's lectures to not ask parents for more things--and I always send cash with DD. But I think we're in the minority.
On Saturday I headed to the grocery store, graded papers, and then went out with some friends. Of the five of us, one friend (who insisted on paying for a favor we did her last fall) is in bankruptcy, another is in the middle of a short sale on their home, another is months behind on rent. Yikes! I felt strange and prosperous.
DH and I had a long discussion about how people deal with money stress. I'm a natural withdrawer. If things are tough, I tend to retreat, get quiet, and work through it. But the gloom of the economy--particularly among my academic and house-poor friends--makes many of them search for cheer with meals out, weekends away, and other "treats" that make things tougher in the longer-term.
Tonight--after a 10-week term off, my evening classes begin again. I can't say I'm excited, but the cash infusion looks satisfying.
Our school district offers a "Love and Logic" Parenting class that some of the parents we know have enjoyed, so I spent a whooping $8 on the workbook and went over there this morning. I think it was a good opportunity to connect with people--and I found that although those skills seem to come naturally to me in the classroom, I need to apply them more consistently at home--not getting in the middle of always intervening etc. The class runs for six weeks, and I think I'll enjoy it.
The rest of the day will be spent on the study abroad job app. No other news to report. I'm looking forward to a good first week back at school!
It's two days before the semester begins and I'm cleaning and clearing. I love to start the semester with a clean house and everything ready to roll--but the best mislaid plans...
My dear family always reminds me of when DD was three, and I was completely prepped for the semester. I was on time, ready to take her to childcare, syllabi and first day materials copied and ready to go in the back seat next to her. I was VERY pleased with myself as I;'m not normally that serene. About halfway there, DD says to me, "I think I'm going to burp." Since she rarely announced anything like that, I raised an eyebrow--and 30 seconds later, she vomited all over my course materials and herself. No way could I take her to childcare, the phone was in the back seat too, and I had class beginning in 40 minutes. I drove to DH's office, called him from the lobby, he jumped in the car, and we drove to the university--then he took DD home. I did have to explain the lack of handouts to students whose reaction was similar to the one you're probably having now. But indeed, the worst of the semester was over that first day!
I'm hoping for a calmer one on Tuesday.
When I stumbled from my toasty bed at 6, the thermometer read minus 5. In my Minnesota days that wouldn't have seemed too bad, but I've become a southern Wisconsin softie.
All my goals got crossed off yesterday as it was a pretty darn productive day. I got lots of class prep done--though I despise the Desire2Learn system we use for online classes. It's the most non-intuitive piece of... . Oh never mind. I made bean soup for a million, got the laundry done and my flex spending claim filed, completed my annual self evaluation, and thriftily used up all sorts of leftovers.
Can someone counsel me (CCF? Lauras?) about tempestuous tweens? DD seems to be going through a crazy time, but everything I read says it's normal. Lots of drama, tears, fights with friends, fights with us, feeling "pressured" about school work, etc. But man, either I'm going to have to send her to a faraway French convent school, or I'm going on the lam. The drama of it all is so exhausting.
Today's goals (if I decide not to go on the lam) include groceries, drugstore, and the beginning of the application process for the study abroad job.
I also curse Amazon for the free "Threadwords" on DD's Kindle. Time bandit!
Weary of being in the house and wearier still of my cold, DD and I did some shopping yesterday. First stop Target. Lots of great deals with those TGT on-line coupons and returned a few Christmas things. Thrill of the trip? A new ironing-board cover. They seemed to have lots of cute things, all of which I resisted. Then on to Blood, Bath, and Beyond (The Simpsons gets full credit for that name) to replace DD's broken jewelry holder which DH stepped on two days after Christmas. More joy there: It was on sale, and I had a coupon. Famous Footwear followed with frequent buyer credits and a sale bringing the $44 shoes down to $6.49! One more stop at CVS where we met the mom of one of DD's friends. DD's friend has been having problems being bullied on the playground, so we invited her for a playdate next week. The school has a no-tolerance policy, but some bullying is creepy intimidation. These girls say nothing to the little girl, just follow her and glare at her. She walks away, they surround her and do it again. I felt so bad for her mom too--big dark circles under her eyes from worrying about the situation. Anyway, we bought enough to get rid of my expiring EB and get a great deal on dishwasher soap.
I've looked up the site for the will, and intend to work on it tomorrow. And that's about the size of it. Cold, Cold--go away!
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