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Rain Rain

October 1st, 2018 at 11:49 am

It's a cold and wet day here. And busy. I'm heading to Seattle to meet my BFF on Thursday and feel like I have thousands of things to do before then. In the meantime, DD and I are off to see Hank Green speak at the university tonight. Y'all might be more familiar with his brother, the YA author, John Green. DD is a huge fan and we culdn't turn down a chance to see him at the university tonight.

We're trying to eat through the freezer contents, but this may be a week for getting through rather than making progress. Back to grading and writing quizzes.

Finally!

September 24th, 2018 at 07:56 pm

We jumped though all the hoops, got DH's degree verified, and waited, waited, waited, but he began the new contract today. He said it went very well, and he's very happy to be back at the company where he worked for 15 years. The atmosphere is so much more his style, very casual and conversational. He saw loads of people he knew--and they started off te day with balloons at his desk, a Starbucks card, and a cookie. I figure it will take us a little over a month to regain our bearings. But finally we're back on track. No spending other than coffee here.

Crossing My Fingers

August 30th, 2018 at 08:37 pm

It looks like DH may have a job offer! And he's got another interview for a different job at the same place on Tuesday. No definite thing yet, but it looks better.

Busy day with meeting after meeting at the university.
More when we know more.

More Scrounging

August 17th, 2018 at 03:40 pm

Just got an e-mail from my adjunct job, and they've canceled the class that begins on 27 August. It's way underenrolled. Bleah. It will be fine, but we could use that paycheck this fall.

I need to think about some strategies to get through DH's unemployment more comfortably. He does have an interview next week, so fingers crossed for that.

Where We're At

August 16th, 2018 at 09:26 am

Well, I took a look at August's upcoming bills, and tried to face what I think I already knew. It's going to be tight until October 1.

DH got paid yesterday, and will likely have one more reduced check. I'll get a check from my adjunct class on September 1. Although it seems like I've been working all summer on my regular university stuff, my contractual period doesn't start until Monday, and I'm not paid until October 1. But I'll have another adjunct class starting on 27 August which will mean a check from them on 1 October.

In the meantime I just paid DD's school fees. She's taking three AP classes so the fees for them were included in the $515 I paid. Our household insurance hit my credit card at $1200. And my DH's annual life insurance is another $760. I spent a fair amount on our trip to MN. Ugh. August is our most expensive month

We certainly have enough in savings to cover all this and much more, but I'll breathe a little better when the unemployment starts or even better, if he gets a new job soon.

His resume is all updated and posted, and he's been in contact with lots of his old colleagues at his job before this one. I don't doubt he'll get a new job, but I do hate the uncertainty.

I'd committed to doing health and hygiene kits for the AODA treatment house sponsored by our church. It's our favorite program, so yesterday DD and I went out to see how well we could tackle the list. I scrounged up coupons, checked thekrazycouponlady site, gathered registered rewards from Wags, and EB from CVS and we did pretty well. I think I need bankergurl to advise, but we went to Walmart (yuck, I hate Walmart), but managed free shampoo, ziploc bags for a rebate from SB, and 88cent shower caddies. We got free toothpaste at Wags too. I found a bag of toothbrush covers in the bathroom to check that item off the list as well as some bars of soap. We're about halfway through the list. It's satisfying to be able to do this and made me feel good.

Today is our CSA box. I foresee yet more summer squash, but we did enjoy the fresh bean salad yesterday. I think it'll be roasted veggie enchiladas tonight.

I've been doing all my cash anxiety items--daily SB, mypoints, scrounging for stuff to sell, watering the new crop of chard, lettuce, and beets. I also started the mandated 21-day meditation for my $150 wellness rebate that accompanied my health screening. But also streaming Aretha Franklin as a tribute and mood lifter.

Grumbly

August 13th, 2018 at 08:27 pm

Well, here we are one week into DH's unemployment and I'm grumbly. Not just at him, but at students, administrators, my new teaching hires, and myself. I think I need an attitude adjustment. Maybe a long workout tomorrow.

DH has been working on finishing his summer class. He's paid until 8-20, so is ready to file for unemployment. I spent the morning getting things for my new hires and their fall semester and the evening finishing the last summer class. In between I wrote a syllabus for the class that starts in two weeks. That all has made me more grumbly.

Odds and Ends

August 9th, 2018 at 12:13 pm

DH has started his unemployment application, and I'm happy to see he's been going to the health club. He asked if we should cancel it, but it's cheap and keeps his mood up.

I cashed out some Swagbucks, filed for a flex reimbursement for his hearing tests, and did a quick pantry/freezer inventory. I'm going to try to limit grocery spending to $25-35/week while he's unemployed. We have a full-ish freezer and weekly CSA deliveries, so not much to buy. And I may try to sow some radishes, carrots, and spinach where the blight has destroyed my tomatoes.

My major purchasing quandary is our UK airfare for December. We've paid for our airbnbs, so there's no question we'll go. I need to look into all our air miles and see if I can patch one or two flights together out of those.

In the Eye of the Hurricane

July 22nd, 2018 at 02:33 pm

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

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

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

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

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

Cancelation Means Relaxation

July 18th, 2018 at 07:44 am

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

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

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

A Steamy Weekend

July 16th, 2018 at 05:57 am

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

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

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

Five Percent?!

July 12th, 2018 at 01:50 pm

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

Midsummer

June 25th, 2018 at 09:53 am

We had a very fun time yesterday at the Scandi Midsummer festival. They raised the Maistang, we made flower wreath crowns, and joined in some wacky circle dancing. It cost nothing, but we did have a quick lunch between church and the festival. Lots of world cup viewing going on here, and we're continuing our library movie binging, reading marathons, and gym workouts. More dejunking today too.

Another Fun Day

June 22nd, 2018 at 08:53 pm

I went to the gym this morning, DD and I had our second Friday summer lunch out at Noodles, then headed to the art museum to see some friends. We had a lovely time, saw some beautiful Goya etchings, a few of my favorite O'Keefes, and a Rembrandt etching too. They lent us magnifying glasses to see the detail on the etchings, and it was great to see some old friends and some art. I bought a pizza for dinner. Man, such leisure. We got free parking, I found a dime, and collected cash for my clothing sales.

I do have some work to do tomorrow, but am enjoying being lazy.

Almost Done

May 18th, 2018 at 02:30 pm

I'm almost done with all my grading and admin. It'll be done tonight. I've also been busy on a grant application. It's the first time I've been part of such a huge team, and it's very interesting work. One of my fun tasks for the evening is assembling the names for the "excellent student" letters our department sends out. It's far too easy to remember the bad students, and I enjoy putting together the names of the great ones. Our department chair sends out letters to them. For many of them, it's the first recognition they've received since high school, and I've heard many tales of their moms posting the letters on the fridge.

I have a lot of digging out to do--much decluttering and planning, but that will be fun along with some gardening. I don't have another class until July, but it's a class I've never taught before so that will involve some planning. We've also got to tighten the belts a bit--the dog somehow got conjunctivitis and that's another sizeable vet bill.

Tomorrow is service day at our church so we've been assigned to help clean the warehouse at Lutheran Social Services. They house furniture and household good for families they resettle. It'll be good service hours for DD and necessary and inspiring work for us.

Glad to be back on track here. Also happy that my big goal has had some $ added to it.


April Showers but the Wrong Kind

April 9th, 2018 at 12:44 pm

Yes, snow showers here too this morning. I am darn done with snow. Seems like lots is going on here. Despite the raise, my DH is still halfway thinking about looking for a new job. Oddly, he's the only man on his team and many of the others have worked together for over 15 years. It's not the best fit for him although he likes the work. They've lost the other two men they hired too. Our DD is busy busy with another theater production, and I have 31 days left of the semester. My students are flat tired, but for me, by the end of the week, the bulk of my heavy grading will be done.

I have a mini getaway to Madison later this week for a professional development event. I'm going with a colleague and springing for a single room for a little extra luxury.

Speaking of springing--DD and I went shoe shopping on Saturday. We got tremendously good buys with local store coupons and ended up with (eeek) four pairs of shoes. I have a weakness for summer shoes. But four pairs --with the coupon--were cheaper than two pairs without. I know--kind of a lame excuse, but it's good to treat yourself a bit, right?

Already I'm formulating plans for summer break. Lots of work to do around the house. I tried a bunch of new recipes with some success. Somewhere I read about a whole chicken in the crockpot which was no better than meh. The website said it was as good as a rotisserie chicken, but it was far too steamed or boiled tasting for us. We'll use up the bits for tacos, but wouldn't make it again. A very simple bean soup for DH's lunches was much better as was a breakfast casserole using the ends of the Easter ham.

Off to prep for my evening class. Monday is a very long day at our house!

Marching Through March

March 28th, 2018 at 07:43 pm

Hello SA friends: I'm still running behind, but had a happy moment last night as I created my schedule for the rest of the semester. There's something lovely about typing "Last Class" on May 10. My evening adjunct class has started up too, and seems to be going well.

Not a lot of financial news except plenty of things on the "to-do" list. I still haven't done our taxes, we have an appointment to get DD's passport renewed tomorrow, and we're planning summer vacations.

I battled a cold for too many weeks this winter, and have decided many things need to take a back seat to getting plenty of sleep and eating right. I'm also enjoying DD's break, while rarely happening at the same time as mine, is still fun. She is slightly unhappy that so many of her richer schoolmates are on huge holidays, but I do remind her she had almost three weeks in Europe last summer. But the French club is in Martinique, several in Mexico or Florida, and another in Paris with yet another in Argentina. Sometimes I wonder about living in an affluent area--lots of comparisons for those of us whose pockets aren't quite that deep.

We spent a cool $200 at the vet in a couple days as the dog seems to have eaten something that inflamed her gum and caused her a lot of pain. I did declutter a bit and donate some books, and sold some others.

Lots more to do, but spring is almost, sort of, kind of, here.

Resurfacing Soon

March 12th, 2018 at 01:53 pm

Between my eternal cold, the busy semester, and other demands, I am very much looking forward to resurfacing here and elsewhere.

See you all on Friday when break starts!

Drips In, Gushers Out

February 5th, 2018 at 07:02 pm

We had a busy day as DH drove me to work, drove himself to work, then got the call that DD was coming home from school ill. And by then he had to pick me up. So it was a putzy day. Some good news as the folks who installed the garage door 15 years ago were able to fix it for $99 vs the $400 new one quoted. The major kick was, of course, the car repair. The car sounds great now and runs great, but man, they are pricey. The "recently returned from the Dominican Republic vacation" tan on the mechanic didn't make me feel better about it either. Needless to say, we're actively looking for a new mechanic. I cashed out $25 in SB which will go to the big goal. I'll update when it arrives. Actively NOT thinking about the stock market as we'r long-termers.

Lots of snow here, and lots of soup made over the weekend. Mondays in February.

Car Repairs and Class Complications

February 2nd, 2018 at 07:02 pm

Three things on my mind today. The first is the car repair which, as always, turned out more expensive than I thought. Lots of potholes and a 10-year-old 143K mile car meant new bearings, suspension, struts, and all that. With a few additional things thrown in it will be $1700. Ugh, but it had to be done. Then there's the option to teach a whole set of new classes next fall which sounds wonderful. Except that four classes might mean four preps which is crazy-making. What to do? Then my sweet dog seems to have injured her leg a bit and we all fret about her. I've given her some Rimadyl and how that will help. I was going to hang out home all night, but university buddies pulled me out for happy hour drinks and apps. It was lots of fun for $15.

Some Frugality and Lapses

January 22nd, 2018 at 05:25 pm

We decided not to have an official date night before the symphony Saturday night and had dinner at home. I can't say it was a good idea. It just put a damper on the evening and made me feel cranky and deprived, so we got a glass of wine at intermission--then ran smack into my boss. DH's tuition is due again, and our electric garage door has broken and is apparently not worth fixing. But I did officially start the 52-week saving program X2 to fund London. Since I had a fair amount of cash I saved bigger weeks instead of starting with $1. Then this morning on the first day of class it was pouring rain. I just couldn't face walking my usual four blocks in the rain, so spent $5 on parking. But we have been good about eating through the freezer and pantry.

DD's passport needed renewing so I had photos taken at CVS today and used extra bucks. Some small economies I guess. Back to it.

Thinking About the Year Ahead

January 4th, 2018 at 10:42 am

We've started the uber-frugal month around here, but so far it's been no problem at all. We all got cold after Christmas, and mine struck last Sunday cancelling our NY plans. We have gift cards for CPK and the movies so we've rescheduled NY Eve to next Saturday night. We did get started on a jigsaw puzzle, and I've managed to keep up with normal housekeeping and cooking, but not much else.

For the New Year, we've started to make some plans, but they're not much different from last years. I need to lose some weight, ideally about 20 lbs. We need to pay ourselves back for the bathroom remodeling. We'd like to spend Christmas next year in England. I've started to make travel plans with friends for some mini-getaways. I still have many house plans, but DH and I need to sort them out.

The only spending for the year so far has been an eye exam for DD and me. My prescription increased very slightly, and DD apparently has the eyesight of a sniper, according to the optician. New glasses for me. Plans to follow.


I'm thinking so much about Thrift, her writing talents and her determination. Please know we're all pulling for you.

Checking In

December 29th, 2017 at 12:10 pm

Yeesh--a busy 10 days since last I checked in. Christmas was super busy--driving to Minneapolis, a hotel stay, two days of family, brunch with friends, another day spent mostly driving home. We had one quiet day home now both DD and DH are down with my brother's Christmas cold. Since then I've been make juice drinks, soup, and trying to avoid getting sick myself. I ran out to the library for books and movies, for groceries, and to pay the property taxes. I finished my grading and have spent lots of time sorting, clearing, and doing laundry. Here are my lessons from the holiday. Make dinners ahead and freeze them. Next fall will be a make one/ freeze one marathon. Buy as much as possible in one go. I honestly bought 80 percent of my gifts--very happily--at Marshall's. Third lesson--my DH's anxiety issues make it difficult for us to stay in a single hotel room. When he can't sleep, we are all miserable. I think I'd like to spend next Christmas in London with the Brit family. We'll get an airbnb and relax. Christmas has become a hassle for us, and I want it to be peaceful and wonderful.

In other family news my sweetest nephew is moving from Minneapolis to a huge fancy job outside of Oakland. We'll miss them--but what a cool job with so many opportunities for both him and his wife.

Hoping everyone recovers quickly. I need to take some stock of what's in the house to prepare for our Uber-frugal month I'm looking forward to it!

Perspectives

December 16th, 2017 at 05:48 pm

Oh, I was cranky all day. I committed to cooking and serving at the AODA house tonight, and with the end of the semester and Christmas, and so much to do, I was whining to myself all day. I spent two hours with my least favorite co-worker proctoring a competition which was only lightened by a couple of my students wishing me a fond farewell--one with a lovely handwritten thank you note. Then I was scheduled for a nasty two-hour meeting with of all things, textbook salespeople. Halfway through it dawned on me that the reason we were having this rah-rah meeting for this company was that my boss has just published a text with them. What a pain. At least they bought lunch--but I am NOT ordering their texts. Half my co-workers caught on too, and everyone was mad. I rushed home to finish the pies and veggies, and slice the bread, pack it all up and gather the family to drive over to the halfway house.

But yu know what? Two minutes with 16 men who are struggling with addiction, have spent time in prison, have lost their families, jobs, and senses of self who were so happy to see our chicken and rice casseroles, peppermint pies, kale and squash and green beans, and my whole stupid whining vanished. I have nothing to complain about. They are lovely guys trying their best to turn their lives around. They are so grateful for dinner, a roof over their heads, and someone to talk with. We had a lovely time. This was our second time there, and we'll schedule this every couple of months. Life is good. Plus--I'm going to finish the grading on 3/4 of my classes tonight. I sure am.

Thick Headed

December 12th, 2017 at 07:17 pm

I am determined to get this cold out of my head and chest by the weekend. I'm sick of being so thick headed. Wrapping it up in all my classes and I'd love to get everything graded and set before this weekend too.

I had a productive meeting with the dept chair today. He has promised me a new literature class in the fall and will try to iron out some various issues. I'll elaborate on them if it actually gets done.

I spent a bit too much on fruit today, but made a great dinner with items from the fridge and pantry. I've also spent a lot on parking this week, but feeling lousy has necessitated parking close. It's only two more days.

Back to yet another glass of water to help keep the head clear.

Lots of Sleep and Postponing the Day Away

December 8th, 2017 at 09:33 am

I was indeed pretty worthless yesterday. I made one class a drop-in day, and had almost a dozen students with questions and feedback requests. The second class had presentations and I sent them home afterwards. I normally park about six blocks from the university and walk, but feeling so lousy, I splurged on $5 worth of parking on campus. I came home and napped, we ate leftovers, and DD and I decided to move our fun downtown Chicago day to week after next. I'll be done with school then, and I just couldn't think about going anywhere last night. I had lots of sleep, and feel significantly better. If I'm feeling up to it, I'll try to tackle some laundry and finish grading today--and maybe get some cookies made with DD tomorrow.

I'm looking forward (really!) to an uberfrugal January with many of you. In the meantime, I'm going to have a reasonably simple Christmas. My cheap-o wreath needs to have a bow attached, we still haven't bought a tree, and decorating can't really commence until I tackle the piles of grading and laundry. But I'm going slow. I've added $50 from SB to my Big Goal.

It Figures

December 6th, 2017 at 07:18 pm

Saturday night out with friends we all commented that we hadn't yet had a bad cold--sort of atypical for a semester. And yesterday afternoon I had that --here it comes moment--and it's been worse since.

I have a few easy days at school listening to presentations, but will probably need to reschedule mine and DD's day away.

I managed to make a good pasta bake for dinner and correct a few presentations, but think I'm pretty worthless now. An early night is in order. Only spending was $2.30 for a mug of herbal tea. I bought a pizza stone last night for mu SIL's Christmas gift on Amazon through SB last night.

Dollars for Doughnuts

December 5th, 2017 at 06:44 pm

I stopped at the grocery this morning to buy a couple dozen doughnuts and some clementines for my classes. They had a scheduled walk-in work day today. Looking up with a bag of clementines over my arm, who did I spot but my work BFF office mate, also slung with a bag of clementines and two dozen cookies. Not good for the budget, but we all try to help students who are almost as tired as we are through these last weeks.

I've been listening to a Walter Isaacson audiobook. Today's selection was about Time's Person of the Century, and I'm just struck with the stature of some of the people he discussed--Jonas Salk, Alexander Fleming, Rosa Parks, FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt, Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa, Chinese students in Tiananmen Square. I'm weary of the news, of all the heroes with feet of clay, of all the blatant disregard of common decency in public life. Granted none of those people were perfect, but the struggle toward fairness, decency, democracy seems so lost to me. I'm weary of the world, I think.

The Planetarium

November 26th, 2017 at 09:40 pm

We have a lovely planetarium at my university run by a fabulous astronomer. Ever since DD was about 8 or so, we make it a habit to go to their special shows a couple of times a year. Usually they're Friday and Saturday nights with special shows for things like meteor showers and the eclipse. Today they started a Sunday show and although their prices have risen from $2 to $5, it's a lovely way to spend some time. This one was on the Colors of the Cosmos. DD, her BF, and I loved it. They then talk through the stars in the current night sky, what to watch for, and take questions. I think I only retain about 15% of it, but I really enjoy it.

As we drove home, we passed a shopping center jammed with cars, and I couldn't help think I'd much rather look at stars than be in a crowded mall.

Chicago Laura, I hope your DD has visited it!

Oh, My Aching Budget

November 9th, 2017 at 07:27 pm

We seem to stagger from budget drain to budget drain lately. Today DH walked out to the car to find a puddle of brake fluid beneath it. But the money will sort itself out, just more slowly than I wanted. We just need to keep other spending under control.

After my classes today, I picked up the penultimate CSA box. Lots of goodies in there that will keep us stocked up for a few more week. I'd also volunteered to roast, debone, and freeze turkeys for the shelter Thanksgiving meal so I have the turkey bones to make more stock. Back to the reliable budget staple: soup.

My office mate--and university BF--is struggling with her own budget woes. Her DH works under contract at the large insurance company where mine used to work before the big layoffs of a year ago. They just bought a house, spent a lot fixing it up, and today learned her DH has also been laid off. She's been applying for other jobs as we're all discouraged about salary issues, so as much as I'd hate to see her go, she could use a better-paying job.

Drips Only

November 2nd, 2017 at 03:20 pm

Even with an pretty darn frugal week, I'm a bit discouraged with the slow progress of my big goal. I got my last paycheck from my adjunct class yesterday, and I think most of it will have to go in the general fund, not into my big goal.

Maybe I can list a few things for sale this weekend to help make those tiny drips a bit bigger.

I had lunch today with a former London student. She's from our consortium school in Wyoming, and it was so fun to see her again. I last saw her in April 2015 in Russell Square. We have had many happy class sessions together. She's graduated and is considering our university for her Masters in Library Science.

Cool and cloudy here all day. Very November-y

I added $75 from Swagbucks and an additional $3.80 in interest to the big goal


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