My spring break is ending, and DD's is starting. I always wish they were the same week, but they never seem to overlap.
In financial news, we've been looking at the totals for DD's France trip when she graduates. She's aiming to pay 25 percent or more and have some spending money. We'll chip away at it with the installment plan.
It's been a cheap-ish break for me. I went to Minneapolis last weekend to see my BF, but got a great deal on a hotwire hotel. Parking for the weekend cost more than just about anything else. BF and I went to see a band we like, toured a model home, and planned our trip. I also got a couple hours to visit with my brother and his wife.
DD has a lot of work hours this week as they're teaching her to frost cakes. Sweet, huh?
I'm also teaching my night class which is a good source of extra cash, but I am so tired the next day. I've thought a lot about giving it up, but will teach through June.
I cashed in some Swagbucks, mostly earned from online shopping and put it toward my big goal.
Seven weeks left in the semester and seven weeks to France.
My spring break is ending, and DD's is starting. I always wish they were the same week, but they never seem to overlap.
The last month has sort of been a whirlwind, and it's good to be back reading everyone's blogs on SA. It's been extremely busy at work as we're trying very hard to hire for two new faculty positions. We have eight candidates chose; the seventh came on Thursday to speak, and the eighth arrives Monday. All of this has meant lunches, lectures, campus tours on top of the usual mayhem of the semester. And this is my first semester writing employee annual evaluations. And we've hosted professional development sessions. And my part-time class starts Monday.
And that's just my work. Our DD is enjoying her new part-time job with all the thrills that go with a paycheck and bank account. She is tired. She's also been very busy with theatre as they have two more performances of Mamma Mia. There have been a couple of weeks of craziness as she tried to balance that with school work, 6am meetings of the French Honor Society, bake sales, you name it. We are both longing for spring break.
DH is enjoying his class and his contract has been renewed for another three months. Although we odn't like the uncertainty of contract work, he is making more money than he ever has. That's been a good thing. And he still has free lunch and bus fare there from his student bus card.
We are pondering a trip to France for DD. Her French teacher is from Lyon, and the advanced French students are offered the opportunity to travel to a Francophone country every two years. The cost is, well, yuck. It would be Summer 2020 as she graduates. They've offered us ways to reduce the cost including hosting a French student for a few weeks this summer and deciding early. These would save about $350--about 10% of the cost of the trip. We will sit down and talk this through in the next two weeks as she'll have to write the application letter in French which might take a bit.
She is also looking at more colleges, including British universities. So much to think about.
In the meantime, I'm thinking about France too. Two months before I take off with my BFF.
With 10" of new snow overnight, we're all home again. I think this is a good opportunity to get a lot done--caught up on grading, laundry etc.
I spent nothing yesterday as I brought my coffee, and made a great big pot of soup from Thanksgiving turkey stock. I have another turkey in the freezer, and this might be the perfect weekend to roast it.
No real money news, but would like to get the taxes done this week and get a bit ahead of the game.
Back to it!
There was a fair amount of spending today, mostly on necessities. DD spent the morning at ACT prep, but headed to Target with me for khakis for her new job. They also wanted brown shoes, so DSW had a comfy pair. And then groceries. All in all I think we spent over $200 on the combination. Little bits of savings with red card and coupons, but not much.
I'm headed to brunch with my university friends. I'm eager to see them and catch up. I haven't been AT work since last Tuesday--and that was the only day last week with the snow and cold cancellations. I'm going to drop off the results of my decluttering either this morning or tomorrow.
I'll have lots of errands this week and need to plan easy portable meals. DD is working after school from 3-7, and DH is out two nights. Sounds like me and the dog will become besties for a while.
I thought I might run Swagbucks this month as it's a short month, but after 20 minutes on their site, I may just not. Not enough bang for the buck.
Enjoy the Super Bowl, folks.
Goodbye, January. The ghost of you will reappear in our heating bills, but it's nice to close the door on that cold, hard month. And it's nice to get paid. I also hope we can move on from all of our car bills, dental bills, etc.
In fun news, my DD opened a bank account today. She started her after school jojb orientation. Between that, the theatre, and all her schoolwork, she is going to be very busy.
I haven't spent a dime in days, but did contribute today to a friend's nephew's gofundme page. He's 27, has two children, and has just been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
It's time to buckle down for a serious pantry/freezer cleanout. I'd like to spend as little as possible this month--just milk and fresh fruit and veg. That's all for tonight.
I led a brainstorming session with colleagues today, spending only$2 on coffee. But then there was the follow-up dental appointment where the hygienist had me somehow convinced that I needed additional lab work to help determine the cause of my periodontal disease. To the tune of $150. I'm glad I decided on the fancy/expensive dental insurance this year. I have a feeling it's going to be an expensive year for my mouth (again).
A thrifty dinner of cauliflower cheese ensued. DD had a phone interview for a job this afternoon. She's eager for her first real job at the advanced age of 16. I hope it works out.
We've paid both visa bills completely,so our travel bills are all accounted for. It's going to be a bit tight for the next month as my contractor husband won't get paid for while we're gone.
I haven't taken many steps toward frugality since we've been home, but we could take some steps towards eating through the freezer. Instead we've been doing some cleaning and decluttering. We thoroughly cleaned our fridge, have worked our way through the closet, and I'm cleaning the office and downstairs closet later this week.
Next weekend I'm off to Minnesota for a weekend with my best friends. One, a friend since second grade, has recently bought a house on the north shore of Lake Superior and is working half time in the Twin Cities. So we're all headed up north of Duluth where the temps should be below zero all weekend. I'm cold just thinking about it.
In the interest of frugality (ha), I've used gift cards earned from textbook reviews to buy a new jacket. I'm going to need it if we're snowshoeing this weekend!
I also need to load in 2019 goals. Many of them will be unaccomplished 2018 goals. It was that kind of year.
Ok, it may be raining right now, but what a lovely time we're having.
We arrived Wednesday, found the airbnb with no problem, got settled in, went for a walk by the Regents Canal and got some groceries. It's quite a spacious two-bedroom in a nice area of London, but I do mss the "old neighborhood."
Thursday, I had lunch with a study abroad friend, we did a little stint at the British Museum, than a dinner at home to recoup a bit.
We tried to see the WinterWonderland in Hyde Park, but it was just too crowded. Friday we were off to see the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree, catch up with some friends, and then headed to the Southbank to see their European Christmas Market--which was much less crowded, free, and fun. Friday night was
the Barbican to see Macbeth. Meh--but worth it to see Eccleston, at least for me.
Really fun day with a long walk in St James's Park with family yesterday, lunch, a chance to see the new great nephew too. DD and went to the National Theatre to see Hadestown--her Christmas present. It was wonderful--and walked and walked on Bond Street and through Piccadilly to see lights. Very fun day.
Today we mt friends for lunch in Hampstead, did a long walk, and came heme stuffed and suitably tired. The airbnb has been good with both a washer and dryer. We've spent little except on food as the theatre tickets were all bought ages ago. We;;, maybe a few books at my favorite bookshop.
I've also managed to keep up with the project grading I took n to help pay for all this. It's fun assessment, and so far, not bad at all.
Happy Christmas to all my SA Friends!
I had to laugh at an encounter with a student group yesterday. I ran into them in our library coffeeshop, and they were surprised to see me, asking if I didn't have Fridays off. It's a week until the end of the semester--nobody has a day off, even on weekends.
But yesterday was filled with staff meetings, class scheduling issues, and then a wonderful few hours evaluating freshman research projects. We've been encouraging veteran instructors to help their students develop research projects and mentor them. I looked at projects from history, English, and psychology which were all so well done and interesting. And there was food! I cannot tell you how welcome a huge plate of vegetables and a lovely urn of coffee is in the middle of a day like that.
Two more student meetings followed--then off to the History Department to see my husband receive his award--where there was MORE FOOD. I think I should have been a historian--what lovely people, gracious and charming.
And then home to grade more projects of varying quality. So these late semester days are different, but bless the folks who order in food to keep us going.
Our DD did her first stab at the college entrance exams this morning. No news for weeks, but she can breathe a sigh of relief that it's over for a bit. And she's been made the head of costumes for their upcoming production of Mamma Mia.
Back to grading and how to improve this assignment next time.
Yes, I sold a game for $8. We had a duplicate, and more than the cash, I'm happy to move it on out. I have much more to go, but I can feel the semester about to wind down even if there are almost two weeks left. My pot of soup made over the weekend was a nice no-work dinner tonight.
I stopped at CVS on the way home from work for some chocolate to fill up the Advent calendar
Still patching in some London bits. We've always taken the tube into London from Heathrow as it's the cheapest, but it can be a hassle with big suitcases, depending on the final destination. I hemmed and hawed over the Paddington/Heathrow express as it's pretty expensive unless you book significantly ahead. But I found we can take the non=express train right to Paddington for only a few quid more. And the airbnb isn't far from there, so I think that's the right decision. We have a long list of things to do before then--and it's only two weeks!
Our bank balances are looking better. DH and I both got paid on our regular jobs and my adjunct job too. We're still going to have to juggle a little, especially with Christmas and the London trip.
I finally see some light at the end of the term. I should be finished grading everything except final projects by tomorrow. And I plan on a very early night tonight.
We had a comforting meal of leftover Swiss steak tonight. It's one of my childhood favs, and it seemed perfect on the cold wet weekend. Glad I made enough for leftovers. Soup on the stove for tomorrow.
There will be a dentist bill in the near future. I have a troublesome tooth that needs dealing with and I hope to get it taken care of this week.
Oh--almost forgot our big fun news: My DH has been working on a masters in history. There's no economic justification for it, but it's been a part-time thing for several years. The big news? His paper won the best graduate paper of 2018 complete with a $400 prize. Very proud of him.
This seems like a good day to stay in and grade papers or update the online grades. That will happen, but not before the semiannual trivia tournament. We've lost our amazing player, but are still hopeful.
And today is payday, so that's excellent news. I'll be taking a look at what can be replenished from the recent drain to savings. And it's 17 days to London. Still more planning to do there, but getting very excited.
Because we won't be home for Christmas, I'm doing minimal decorating around here, but did pull the Advent Calendar out and filled the first two days. I'll have to replenish that tomorrow.
I continue to have mixed feelings about my evening adjunct job. On one hand, I love the different demographic and the literature classes. The pay, while minimal, always comes in handy. On the other hand, I'm exhausted teaching until 10pm and then teaching again at 8am the next day. It's hard to wind down.
There may be a halfway solution. I could try to limit teaching there to summer months or just an occasional class. I thought I'd do it for a single semester, but it's now been 12 or 13 years. I've been so fried lately that I really want to step back and re-evaluate.
Oh man, it's been 21 days since I've posted?
Here's a short (?) summary:
We bought a new-to-us car. We'r big believers in quality used cars, and this one is a fancier, newer version of my wrecked car. I love it.
Shelling out the difference between the blue book value from the wrecked car and the cost of the new car has made things a bit tight around here. We paid cash, but I've emptied many a pot to find that cash.
The semester is over in 2 1/2 weeks.
We stayed in Cheeseland for Thanksgiving and had dinner with my office best friends--and her boss,, the undergrad chair, and an assortment of others. Wow--meeting people's partners is always interesting.
Need to do some London planning--by the end of the week. I've already booked two plays and a Christmas carol sing-along at Albert Hall. And a family event. And a lunch with London colleagues. Maybe I don't need to book more? But I want to!
I've taken on an odd assessment project that I'll learn more about on Thursday. It's a limited amount of work for $1500. I'd rather not, but hey, we need to dig out of the car situation.
Two weeks later, I still have the repair shop's loaner vehicle. The body shop still has my car. We still don't have the accident report from the city. We've been back and forth with the repair shop and have, I think, come to some sort of settlement. The total damage is more than the blue book value of the car, and they offered to either have the vehicle repaired or give us a check for the amount of the repairs.
We've decided to write the car off, but are waiting for them to draw up a document exempting us from any legal liability concerning the accident. So we've begun the process of looking for a new (used) car. All of that is frustrating.
Apart from that it's been busy. I've just paid for the ACT fees for DD and another round of ACT prep subsidized by the school district. Work is very busy.
DH is adjusting well, I think, to his new job but still doesn't like being on the 23rd floor. My adjunct class has also begun. It's small but interesting. The class is "Bestsellers," and this week we're reading _Hidden Figures._ They struggled with _Lincoln in the Bardo_, but I expected that at an open enrollment institution. I'm trying to stretch the grocery budget with soups and pantry cooking to cover some of our car expenses.
Piles of grading and conferences with the athletic academic advisors tomorrow on the precarious status of their students.