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July 27th, 2022 at 04:19 am
I guess the countdown to my last day at the university should begin. I think we're at 16 days.
I spent the day reviewing applications for one of our open positions. Man alive, people need a class on employment communication. One of our applicants had a picture of blue bird on top of her CV while another named the wrong university, not ours, as the one he was applying to. But it does make them easier to sort through!
I also handed off a bunch of paperwork to my friend/colleague/ aka workhusband who is taking over my job. That was very fun. And I threw away (unbelievably) sets of overhead slides. Have I been doing this too long?
In financial and decluttering news, I offered a bunch of my dissertation books to an online colleague for free and got them mailed. He's sending me the postage. And in a kind of strange ebay sale, I've been holding on to a pair of my mom's "fancy" eyeglasses from the late 1950s and early 1960s. They were kind of funky cat's eyes shape, and I toyed with the idea of wearing them myself. But my mom was a much smaller person than me, and well, they're not really my style. However, the aluminum frames were popular on ebay, so I listed them and got an almost immediate offer. Does it seem creepy to you that I sold them? She was a practical soul, so I don't think she'd object. They're packed, mailed, and gone now. Other than that postage, I spent nothing, bringing coffee to my university office.
July 22nd, 2022 at 04:36 pm
I spent a lovely week away with friends in Northern Minnesota to celebrate my pending retirement as well as another friend's accomplished retirement. We hiked a lot, had some lovely wine and cocktails and dinners, and best--spent some beautiful moments watching the moon rise over Lake Superior. One of these women has been a friend since 2nd grade. No friends like old friends.
I then headed toward home meeting some university friends in a town on the Mississippi where one of their kids is thinking about attending university. I love them all, but man, traveling with others that get up at different hours, spend WAY more money on food and drinks, and don't like the outdoors is not my thing. I did spend some happy hours at a minor league baseball game, in a bookstore where I resisted buying anything, and walking through the marsh and along the river. I find it hard to imagine that someone's ideal weekend on a beautiful July day could be holed up in the hotel watching TV. But anyway, each to their own.
It's been a hot one here, so I'm decluttering, selling books and rearranging crud. Spending has been limited to groceries. So many odds and ends to accomplish as again we count down to when DD returns to Scotland. Absentee ballots, doctors' appointments, money mgmt--I feel like we've done this all so many times before.
Wishing you all cool and breezy weekends!
July 11th, 2022 at 01:16 pm
It was our DD's 20th (eek) birthday this weekend, and although no one except maybe Jeff Bezos would describe it as frugal, it was lovely. We spent Friday night at the Brewers' game on an absolutely stellar evening with an exciting game. Saturday DD worked, but she got free tickets to Summerfest, so we met one of her friends there. I was concerned about paying mega$$ for parking, but she found us a Spothero spot for $5. Honestly, I had a hard time planning her "real" birthday yesterday with her somewhat boring parents. But we've always enjoyed the Chicago river boat trips, the European city boats, etc, so I thought, why not try the river boat architecture tour right here in Beer City.
It was a spectacularly gorgeous day, and we really enjoyed the narration, learning more about the place where we've lived so long, and just being on the water. We topped it off with dinner at a local Italian place and an ice cream cake.
That was the weekend, with more activities than we've had the last month or so combined. Time to rein in the budget just a bit, reducing where I can. We have leftovers from yesterday--and a heckuva lot of cake which we'll share with friends. Tomorrow I'm headed to northern Minnesota to spend a couple of days with my best friends, followed by a weekend along the Mississippi with my university friends. Packing a lunch for tomorrow, staying with friends for a few days, and I'll pick up an audio book at the library before I go.
And I am again aware of how much I've enjoyed this site over the years. I see more than a few of you on other sites, including Frugalwoods too--and am grateful for the friendship from the Lauras, Scottish Sarah, and so many of the rest of you. It's always funny trying to explain who y'all are to my family--although as my DD casually tells my DH--"That's one of mom's blog friends. " It's a pleasure and a privilege to know you.
July 7th, 2022 at 02:40 pm
As we transition from my university insurance to my DH's, I'm again grateful for how good the state insurance was/is. The pay was certainly awful, but great coverage. I spent half yesterday filing for my accumulated sick leave to be escrowed towards future insurance in what can only be described as a blizzard of paperwork. But I've filed for it, and I'll have to wait 7-10 days to see whether they've accepted it.
In other news, I've spent all my remaining FSA cash on new glasses. Happy I could use it all, but man alive, glasses are expensive. Now we have to learn an entire new bewildering insurance system with DH's insurance. And their wellness incentives seem absolutely crazy. Do I want his employer to have access to my fitbit and phone? Grrrr.
DD had another allergist appointment as we try to squeeze every last doctor appointment into the next month and a half. I've booked her also at the dentist and eye doctor.
More on that front as we progress!
July 4th, 2022 at 12:09 am
Well, our DD is home from her whirlwind European tour--14 countries, one by accident as they missed the Copenhagen stop and spent 20 minutes in Malmo, Sweden. She has some serious replenishingof her bank account to tend to. And predictably our grocery spending has gone up.
What have we done--some minor decluttering and book selling, some travel planning for the first week of September when she returns to Scotland, making some dr appts to use up my flex spending and taking advantage of my paid deductibles before we switch to DH's insurance.
I have a lot to do, but am taking this day off to sort of soak up summer, have a patio dinner and relax. Happy July to all of you!
June 26th, 2022 at 02:45 am
My DH and I had a load of errands to do today, and our local "fancy" grocer was on the way. They had some great specials this week, so we stopped in. A little history: DH will eat anything pretty gratefully. He does like an occasional Saturday night steak dinner, but he's not a fussy eater. He rarely--and I mean every other month or so--goes to the grocery store. He's busy, and I often stop on my way home from the university.
He's heard me rattle on about grocery prices, and listens to the news, but nothing like seeing it first hand. So we bought a few things, mostly on special, pork tenderloins for the freezer, his steak for tonight, assorted other items. This happens to also be the store where our DD has her part-time job and gets a 10% discount on everything not on sale. I wasn't paying much attention to the totals, but knew with the meat purchases it would be pretty high. So when we got to the register and the total came up as $82.XX, he blanched, and just looked at me. We paid, and off we went.
When we got to the car, he said, "Was that right?" and examined the register receipt. Nothing like a little first-hand experience. It was a revelation for him.
That brings us to another stop for today--the local Menards to look at replacement shutters for our damaged exterior shutters. I somehow thought they'd run us about $100-200 for a pair of wooden shutters. Much to our surprise, they have be ordered, and would run about $1000. Between that price and poor DH's sticker shock at the grocery store, we're going to try to repair them outselves next weekend with the help of a YouTube video or two!
But we were successful at taking two loads of old paint, paint thinners, and various other nasty chemicals to the Hazardous Waste drop-off site this morning. Such an exciting Saturday...
June 22nd, 2022 at 05:55 am
I spent two hours tonight at a zoomed state retirment seminar. Ugh, I'm so zoomed out. Zoom meetings, zoom with students, now zoom HR sessions. I'm not sure I learned anything new but it was pretty well done. I need to have another meeting with the benefits people at my university as they have other parts of the plan under their control. I'm hoping for an in-person meeting there.
I walked my usual route before 7 this morning to avoid the heat as it hit 100 here today. My class went pretty well, though the not-so-swell students are lagging while the good ones are almost done. In the afternoon I decided to take advantage of the cool basement and ready a box for the hazardous waste disposal scheduled for Saturday. We have lots of old paint cans and dried up ends of solvents that I'd love to get out of the basement. And during the boring bits of the zoom seminar, I sorted through files and tossed a lot of copies and excess junk. Not exciting, but satisfying.
I've been reading the Slough House novels by the British writer, Mick Herron. They're spy novels, which I sometimes like, but he's an excellent, very literary writer. If you like that sort of thing, they're a good sumer read--and all from my frugal friend, the public library.
June 17th, 2022 at 05:14 pm
Yeah, that's what we always say here in Beertown. In fact "Cooler by the Lake" used to be the Summerfest motto.
I was happy to turn off the a/c last night and open things up. I still have the east-facing blinds drawn, but it looks like a great weekend. Despite the gorgeous weather, or maybe because of it, I'm getting a little stir-crazy. I've spent far too many hours grading online papers and updating content. One week until the class itself is done, but with residual grading, of course. Four, or maybe five of my 25 students have not logged in this week. I do think the accelerated summer pacing is hard for them, and who knows what kind of other issues they face.
I've been throwing away rafts of teaching materials and finding miscellaneous things to sell on FB. I think most of my serious canning days are over and sold 12 jars this morning, awaiting pick-up.
Our DD is now in Prague after lovely days in Vienna. She'll be home in 12 days.
No big weekend plans--more grading, some gardening and more decluttering. I need to pick up a Father's Day gift from DD to DH.,DH and I worked on a project when he got his Master's degree about local soldiers killed in WW1. We still have some things to explore on that topic and have decided to spend some time over the weekend on it. We both love it, so it could be quite fun.
I'm hoping some of the online banks will soon raise their savings account rates. I'd like to make a bit more on the emergency fund.
June 14th, 2022 at 03:55 am
It was my DH's birthday on Friday, and we decided to keep it pretty low key. I bought him some summer shirts on sale at Old Navy with their Old Navy promo cash, and we went out for Mexican food. It got a little chattier than I anticipated as a former student was seated next to us. I had her in one of my adjunct literature classes years ago, and I'm a bit embarassed to say I hardly remembered her. But she remembered the class, introduced me to her whole family and we had a nice talk.
But as usual with me and DH, we ate so much chips and salsa, that we each had half a plate of food left. So that was Saturday lunch. But there was still a lot of beans and rice left today, so into a tortilla it went for lunch. Our fabulous next-door neighbors brought over a strawberry pie for DH too. I'm eyeing up the last piece for tomorrow's breakfast. Hey--it's full of fruit, right?
My summer class is still chugging away. Nine more days of it. I tried not to look at the stock market again today. I may take another break from the all-too-depressing news for a few days--and eat strawberry pie!
June 9th, 2022 at 06:51 pm
After almost 3" of rain yesterday, I'm happy to see the sunshine. My garden was looking a little tired of the wet too.
I have some errands, including a birthday gift for DH and plenty of grading to do. Online classes-bleah. Summer online classes-double bleah. but only a bit over two weeks to go. I'm eager to get into serious decluttering and planning, but too much grading hovering over my head. Soon!
DD is in Rome now, and they've had a great time. She and her BF have alternated picking the places to stay, and I they've had quite the variety including great hostels in Spain and London. The one in Venice also looks fantastic, a far cry from the shabby hostels of my long-gone youth.
Hope your June days are beautiful too!
June 6th, 2022 at 10:11 pm
Is it really summer? I'm bundled up in a sweatshirt, jeans and warm socks.
We had a low-key weekend, which was fine with me. My Friday pineapple upside down cake came out fine, and my friend's kids LOVED it. I was so pleased. The cauliflower soup was also a hit which makes me feel good.
I spent some time Saturday scanning medical receipts to submit to my FLEX account and organizing papers. This impending retirement thing is starting to feel real, so we need to take a closer look at DH's company health insurance. I can escrow my unused sick leave from the university to buy health insurance later, so that's our plan for now. But DD's allergies and xolair shot could be an issue. I also listened to a Suze Orman webinar on retirement during these (ugh) challenging times. We seem to be doing everything ok-ish, but I am thinking about moving some of DD's 529 account money into I bonds for her fourth year of school. Because we paid half of her tuition out of pocket, there's some squoosh room if we withdraw it now.
But the Suze Orman webinar made me a little uncomfortable. I know it's challenging now for a lot of people, but I need to find a way to keep that in mind without worrying too much. I can become a little too wound-up about things (to say the least).
Food seems easy this week. Black bean and rice stuffed peppers, chicken soup, and hopefully some decent grilling weather. Friday is DH's birthday, so we'll go somewhere for Mexican. He's easily entertained! DD is currently in Spain, and we're loving her pictures.
We had AT&T come out and install faster internet this morning. The tech was super! She told me her story of being in her late 40s and returning to AT&T after being away for seven years. She was lured back by their offer of 100% retirement vesting, including her prior years there. Props to her for scrambling up ladders in the rain. What a smart woman. But annoyingly, for her first 20 minutes here, they also sent out a salesperson who tried VERY hard to sell us AT&T TV and cell service. Their new rate saves us $10/month on internet, but I practically had to shoo the salesperson out of the house.
But $10/month savings is good news!
June 2nd, 2022 at 06:54 pm
My DH has to take something to share at his choir social tonight. I almost bought something yesterday but decided to scour the cupboads. We're going retro as I have a pineapple upside cake mix that , while still in date, needs to be used. I honestly don't remember buying it. Wish me luck getting it out of the pan!
It's day three of my summer class, and so far, it's been quiet. Their first assignment is due tonight so tomorrow will be a grading and prep day. Great zoom call today with US and UK friends about the queeen's jubilee. Our UK friends live in Windsor, so whiel it's crowded in town, they enjoyed the Red Arrow flyover today.
No other real news--back to decluttering!
June 1st, 2022 at 03:28 am
It's been a spendy week, our anniversary dinner out, some "fun" food for the weekend, and the garden plants. Like all of you, I'm a bit aghast at the cost of restaurant meals. We only go out for a "fancy" dinner on our birthdays or anniversary, and although we had less expensive (and lovely) fish entrees, a $38 pork chop was on the menu. It was a really nice new restaurant, but still, $38 for a pork chop? Who knows? Maybe it was stuffed with $5 bills?
But today my summer class began, I met a friend for coffee (and I had a free one from my punch card!), returned some library books, and even got a load of laundry on the line. DH cleaned out the A/C thinking we might need to have it on, but thankfully, it seems like it's cooling off now. And although DH's carpool isn't quite what he had in mind (she leaves at 630am), so far he's hanging in with it. I predict it won't last long. Since he's only in the office three days a week, he hasn't readjusted to an earlier schedule, and it's affected his sleep. But so far, so good. And he's been enjoying the free lunches at the office.
I have to go into the university for a planning meeting tomorrow, but hope to combine it with a few errands including a Goodwill drop off.
May 26th, 2022 at 04:44 pm
I spent an hour this morning filing some Flex spending reimbursements. I'd gotten behind on that since the paperwork is a bit fussy, but the totals were over $100 with DD's allergists and various prescriptions. I likely have more to do, but that's a start.
I got a much-needed haircut yesterday, but couldn't get a color appointment until (eek) July. I'm not the most skilled colorist and without DD doing the back of my head, I was not enthusiastic. But I bought a Madison Reed color kit which I've had success with before, and spent a good hour on it this morning. I don't like doing it; I have thick hair and it's a process. The results are fine, I've saved $50 or so, and am presentable for a while.
Now off to another meeting; they're endless in these weeks after classes are over.
May 25th, 2022 at 04:11 am
I had coffee with one of my instructors to tell him I was leaving. I'm a huge fan of who he is as a teacher and as a human. He does a lot of film work as a sideline, and has the coolest ideas. He's so interested in everything that our planned 45 minutes of coffee turned into 2 hours.
Since I was already out and about I thought it was about time to buy some tomato plants and annuals for the patio. Yikes, inflation has hit there too. I ended up with smaller tomatoes for cheaper which I may live to regret and tried to be very strategic with purchased annuals, supplementing them with some things started from seed. But man, sort of moderate to meh geraniums were $8-10. All the cheaper ones left at our local nursery were salmon, and I wanted hot pink and white. But another woman and I teamed together to sort through 50 flats, searching for red for her, and my white and pink. I love to find someone else on a mission like me. And we succeeded.
DD and her BF are safely in Scotland, recovering fron jet lag with a walk in Holyrood Park and a trip to her favorite ramen place. Her parents ate leftover pasta for dinner and enjoyed watching the baby bunnies who are unfortunately nested in our front planter box. But they're adorable and likely have their eyes on my new plants.
May 23rd, 2022 at 09:35 pm
Pheww--It was a long weekend of grading final projects and figuring final grades.
I did manage to slip away for a couple hours to see the Downton Abbey movie with DD. I can't say it was the best movie ever, but it's always a lovely escape to Downton for a little while. And speaking of DD, she's left for her European jaunt today with her BF. They'll be gone almost five weeks and covering way too much territory. They start with a couple of days back in Edinburgh where thankfully they can stay in her dorm room with her BF in another dorm room for free. Most of the rest of the time they're staying in hostels and a few days with family friends. Yeah, I am a little nervous about two 19-year-olds wandering a big continent, but I like to think they're careful girls.
Lots of odds and ends to clean up from the semester, and my summer class starts in a week. But I hope to take some time with the garden, the house, and some additional planning before the next class begins.
I've been combing through the guest room closet--a sort of catchall and gift closet. I sold a set of sheets that I bought on impulse for the guest room, so will send that $25 and some misc refunds to savings soon.
May 21st, 2022 at 01:50 am
I got my final retirement date from the university today. They'd orginally told me August 21, now they're changing it to August 11. I'm not sure it matters as I'll just do a bit of clean-up, perhaps sit in on some candidate interviews etc between when my summer teaching ends in late June and then. The university health insurance continues until the end of August when we'll switch to DH's health insurance.
That switch may take some getting used to. He has a variety of plans from which to choose, so we'll need to look those over more carefully, especially now that DD is getting more intensive allergy treatments. I'm busily booking dentist and a variety of doctor's appointments as we've already hit the copay with our current insurance.
I've decided to take the lump-sum incentive as a 403b contribution. I will hit the upper limit for those almost exactly with the incentive. Because I don't want that settlement money exposed to current volatility, I changed my mutual fund selections today and will temporarily stash that in a money market fund. We're considering all sorts of possibilities including keeping a base in the US when we move to the UK. It will be nice to have that money a bit liquid.
I can also escrow sick leave to buy into the state insurance plans later which I will do once I hear all the options. I have some time to decide that and have any appointment with the state benefits people later in June.
Lots of decisions! And still...lots of grading to finish.
In simpler news, it was a no-spend day, I hung a load of laundry outside and DH and I ate leftovers for lunch and chicken burgers and a cucumber salad for dinner. I'm itching to do some house things, but back to the grading. Grades due on Thursday, but man, I'd like to finish this sooner.
May 18th, 2022 at 11:29 pm
Today was indeed a one-off. I had a sit-down meeting with my boss and told him I was taking the retirement incentive package. I'll teach a summer class but my last day at the university will be August 21. I turn in the papers tomorrow. Because I've always had impeccable timing, this has coincided nicely with the giant stock market sell-off.
But heck, DH's job is going well, the university pension will almost be as much as my current take-home pay (minus, of course, the health insurance and 403b contributions. I'll delay any other withdrawals from investments as long as possible and Social Security for years. Except for traveling, we're pretty lean livers. I'm forever grateful that DH grew up eating whatever was put in front of him and never wasting food. DD's education is pretty well paid for,and she's decided to be an RA her final year at uni to save on rent and food.
So here we go. I've got a series of benefits meetings with the HR folks, lots of house cleaning and clearing, and a complete inventory of things to do.
And yes, I did find a penny at ALDI today!
May 13th, 2022 at 08:28 pm
We took advantage of some reduced price movie tickets last night to see "The Duke." I know I'm a supergeek, but I thought it was charming with Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren set in 1960s England. I'm so delighted to see a movie for adults without a Marvel superhero in them.
It's going to be a weekend full of grading for me. Hope you all have a good one!
May 11th, 2022 at 02:33 pm
Hello my SA Friends:
Yeah, it's been a couple of months. I spent a wonderful 10 days in London and Scotland visiting DD.
She's home now finishing up her last final of her sophomore year and working part-time. She has an internship this summer and is plotting another trip. She clearly has my wanderlust.
Unfortunately I returned from Scotland and immediately got COVID, but both DH and I recovered pretty well.
And now I have nine days to decide whether to take my retirement incentive or not. I'm certainly leaning that way, trying NOT to look at the stock market. DH (he's such a youngster) will continue working, and I can switch our health insurance to his. But the prospect of not teaching after so many years leaves me a touch sad.
I looked at a couple new London neighborhoods with a friend, and we're trying to plot whether we can indeed be transatlantic. As soon as I can finish up the semester's grading, I'll make a final decision.
Hope you're all well! As I focus on financial matters, I hope to be back here more often.
March 13th, 2022 at 06:23 pm
Oof, I've been out of touch for a while. Blame the university, personal concerns, general weltschmerz. But we're ok here. We recently had to say goodbye to our wonderful almost 16-year-old dog, and are still feeling that pretty badly.
But money things are fine, and I'm contemplating a retirement buyout from the university. I'm again frustrated with them and will certainly look at their offer. I need to submit an indication of interest next week.
Will read some blogs to catch up, and hope you're all well.
November 15th, 2021 at 03:43 am
Yes, with four or so weeks left in the semeser, I'm in my usual mire of grading and planning and not much else. The dog saga continues as now we're wondering if her issues might be an ongoing ear infection. So we're off the antibiotics and trying ear meds hoping that will help her jaw issues. She hangs on and seem to eat only in the afternoons and evenings. She's kind of herself sometimes. --some wagging, some dancing around. I'm going to try taking her to the park after school tomorrow to see if that perks her up.
Tomorrow is my scheduled booster shot. I'm glad to get it as I'm headed to Minnesota next weekend to see a bunch of friends and the numbers--especially outside the Twin Cities are not good. In other snooze-inducing news I spent a small fortune at the grocery store and on an oil change. I've had to dip into savings short term to cover this month's remaining tuition bills, hosing for DD, and the new range. But we should be able to pay things back over the next few months.
Which brings me to the somewhat unexpected news about DH's job. He's been a contractor at a large local firm for almost 20 years--with a blip of about a year at another company. The last two years have been his happiest there, still a contractor. And now it finally appears they're offering him a job. So we'll see what they offer. But while we would've been overjoyed at the news for years, it's now sort of "meh." We want to move to London. But this will at least offer some stability while we prepare for that.
November 6th, 2021 at 02:47 am
Well, we've had another good day with the dog. She's still struggling to eat, but I've cooked her a chicken breast and found meatballs are the perfect method of getting the antibiotics in her. She even went for a little walk today. Crossing our fingers and hoping for the best.
It was a busy day with the opening of a new writing lab in our business school. It's nice to see corporate sponsorship for something like writing. But it meant I'm behind in grading and planning, so much of the weekend will be devoted to that. I've been trying to get a decent walk in every day and am listening to Roger Whitney, aka the Retirement Answer Man. I think his podcasts are aimed for people with a bit more income and assets than we have, but they're interesting. Anyone else listen to him?
It will be back to 60 degrees here tomorrow, so hoping to get a few tulip bulbs in and perhaps a pot of soup made.
We've also booked our DD's flight home from Edinburgh the first week in December. Her exams are all on line the following week, so we'll have a good stretch with her home. She's really settled in there and loves the university. I'm so proud and relieved that the semester has worked out so well for her. She'll head back there in January. I'm hoping to use some air miles to pay for her next flights.
Happy Friday everyone!
November 4th, 2021 at 03:57 am
Let's start with the good news: Our 15 1/2 year old dog is still ticking, still wagging a little. Now the saga: Thursday she went to the vet for a bad itch that didn't seem to ever go away. Treatment --claritin and see us if it gets worse. Friday she started strangely trembling and in a lot of pain. Diagnosis--bulging disc in her back which needs rest and a strong pain reliever. Saturday morning after one dose of the pain pills, she couldn't walk, seem overdosed and unfocused. When the drug wore off, she ate a little something and then sort of revived. By Sunday and Monday she seemed much worse. Lots of accidents, no food, running a temp. I spent a good hour googling at home euthanasia. By Monday night I was convinced it was not a back issue, but instead an infection. We were up all night with her.
Yesterday morning it was back to the vet. My husband had to carry her in, but while she was there, a huge abscess burst which was apparently the source of the infection. Either it was not there at the previous appointments or they missed it. Since then she's been on antibiotics and has really perked up. She's still struggling, but she's eating and is bright eyed. Please don't ask the total of the unused drugs and bills. But she's worth it if she still wants to hang in there.
Oof. There will need to be cutbacks
October 29th, 2021 at 04:25 am
About six weeks ago, our 15-year-old range gave up the ghost. I ordered one from Best Buy which was supposed to arrive last week--but didn't. Now they are having issues tracking it down. Since September we've been making do with the gas burners which still work and a toaster oven. Today I went back to Best Buy, cancelled the original order, and ordered a different one for delivery on Saturday. They seem very short staffed. Another gentlemen was also in the appliance section and said he'd been waiting 20 minutes for someone to help him. I finally rounded up a couple of staff, but I'm fondly remembering the days when staff would follow you around and try to help. Cross your fingers that this one actually comes.
I withdrew a bit more money from DD's 529 to help with the tuition bills, bought some Halloween candy which I'm trying hard to resist, and picked up the last load of seasonal veggies from the CSA. Excited to try a new recipe for a trio of vegetable salads like the ones I remember from Germany--a carrot, a beet, and a celeriac one. I may even make the cucumber one too.
School is busy, but it's midterm.
October 20th, 2021 at 10:00 pm
Nothing like the middle of the semester to get me mired in thought. I'm thinking about good students, bad students, disappearing students, and fraught committee work. I'm also thinking about retirement. I posted a question on the forums after learning some of my friends are either already taking Social Security or planning on taking it early. Has the advice changed on that?
Other things on my mind are the tuition bill juggling for DD's fabulous Scotland education. She's having a grand time after a few blips. But DH and I need to make some decisions about whether and when we might move to the UK.
And then I think about mundane things like food budgets and decluttering and whether we should redo a bathroom here. I should think about cleaning the house, but just thinking about that was made me decide to go for a walk in the wondrous autumn weather while it lasts.
September 16th, 2021 at 04:28 am
Yeah, that's how I feel all the time with our DD gone to uni. It's so quiet. No Taylor Swift blasting all over the house, no Phoebe Bridgers going long into the night, no endless phone calls. I do video chat with her a lot, but those other 23 hours are eerie.
In money news, I took a bunch of my university gals out for dinner. It's an annual tradition my mom started as a way of showing her friends how much she appreciated them. We had a lovely patio dinner on Saturday night, and it was great to see everybody. Our usual coffee shop grading and office hours have sort of dried up. After teaching hours masked, we all want to hunker down in our offices, shut the door, and unmask for a bit. Another reason to all get together.
Day to day spending has been minimal. I've become a library regular again, deciding to read all the Ian Rankin Rebus mysteries in order for the fun Edinburgh setting. Lots of cooking happening here too and much decluttering. I've made appointments for free flu shots, the dentist, and an eye check.
We've paid the first installment of DD's housing, and I'm tapping into the 529 as her tuition bill is coming up. Not much else new. It's very busy at school, and I have tons of committee work this year. I mostly stagger home, make dinner, watch the news, and start the process for the next day. More money news coming soon.
September 7th, 2021 at 09:48 pm
I have no idea why, but I've had Sinatra singing "September Song" in my head for days. I guess it must be back-to-school time.
We're at Day 2 of masked instruction, and despite my qualms, it's going ok. Cross your fingers that it continues to go ok. All of our staff is nervous, students are unsure, but we're there and we're doing it.
In non-university news, our DD is safely ensconced in Scotland. We had a wonderful trip despite less-than-wonderful flights. On our flight out, the Chicago PD had to haul off the jerk in front of me for hitting a flight attendant and then refusing to mask. His horrible behavior delayed us two hours which meant 200 people missed their connections in Dublin. Part of me wishes they could've jettisoned him out at 35,000 feet. But I don't have enough good things to say about Aer Lingus. They were not my favorite airline before, but they sure are now. They handled things so professionally and even comped us meals and a hotel room for 8 hours so we could shower and nap before the next connection. And the paperwork for this trip was immense. But despite all that, we did it!
We had a great time in Edinburgh and environs, going all around and to the Scotish border abbeys and to Stirling, then back to the area where DD and I stayed last year with a trip to southern England for five days to visit DH's family. DD is handling thing brilliantly. She's signed up with the NHS, has a UK bank account, got her phone straightened out,and has been meeting people and exploring every day. Uni starts in another two weeks, and she's encountered the fun of adulting, realizing that despite making meals today, she'll have to make them again tomorrow!
The trip reinforced our desire to move back to the UK, so we've been decluttering and making a plan.
That's it for now. After all, it's September which means I have work to do!
August 6th, 2021 at 02:26 am
I feel like I made about 100 stops today--all errands. I bought a new family room rug on FB. I love it. It's a year old, sells for $800 on Overstock and I paid $75. We hauled it home, set it out in the sun to air it out, and brought it in. Lots of fun! DD and I went to pick up our CSA veggies, went for a pre-flight COVID test, dropped off veggies that won't keep or get eaten with a friend, returned library books, went to the bank, got coffees, then came home made lunch and hung laundry on the line. After lunch we picked up prescriptions, bought a few things at the drugstore, replenished our mask supply and zipped up and weighed one of DD's bags. Happily it both zipped and came in underweight.
We're awaiting the COVID test results and then will try to figure out how to upload them to the various flight portals. Off to finish laundry and do some housekeeping!
August 2nd, 2021 at 11:17 pm
I spent much of the day untangling messes at the university. Three of "my" lecturers have found mre lucrative jobs, and we're facng our usual budget constraints. Another quit this morning, so I'm scrambling for class coverage in a month. Instead of hiring new people, we're going to try to offer overloads. After the furlough cuts of last year, I've had a good response to my offers. And I keep thinking about retiring.
But enough about work headaches, we're nervous but excited about returning to Scotland. DD has found affordable (?) housing in one of those new privately run sorta dorms. She'll have her own room and bathroom but share a kitchen and common space. So far her new kitchen/pod mates include a girl from Trinidad, an Irish girl, and three boys from Aberdeen. Sounds chaotic, but I think she's up for it. We managed to cash flow her tuition last year and without housing costs, the year was under budget. We're going early as my close friend (from second grade!)is getting married in northern Minnesota at the end of the month. While we'll be gone two weeks, we'll get a chance to see DH's family and friends at the other end of the country too.
We'll need to get DD a phone plan, a bank account, and an NHS doctor. She'll need things for her room and the kitchen--most of which will be purchased there.
No matter what, it's kind of an expensive trip. Airfares from Chicago through Dublin to Edinburgh are cheap-ish these days, but parking, airbnbs, trains, meals, etc, it all adds up. But I'm focused on only one meal a day out and looking very much forward to it. My English husband has never been to Scotland, so while we won't be able to fit everything in, it should be fun--and great to go away. Sadly for me, my only moments in London will be the tube changing trains in Kings Crosss and emerging at Waterloo. I may leave the family with the bags during the hour layover and go out and gaze at the Thames from Waterloo Bridge--sighing deeply.