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Archive for November, 2020

Thanksgiving Etc.

November 28th, 2020 at 03:05 am

A Thanksgiving like no other, wasn't it?  My family opted for traditional food; my husband is such a staunch traditionalist in so many things.  So we've got turkey--and more turkey.  We finished up the roasted veggies, mashed potatoes and gravy--and perhaps because we all had pie for breakfast, the pie is gone.  Did a late afternoon Zoom with my Minnesota family, including a nephew in California.  It was lovely to see them, but I will admit that the USPS commerical with "I'll Be Home for Christmas" elicited some tears. 

My DD tells me her favorite singer, Phoebe Bridgers has done a remake of "If We Make it Through December" which I think I need to hear.  Lots of school work and lots of planning to come.

We did get a few things tackled around the house.  We had shutters on the dining room windows since we moved in, and they've always made the room dark.  My DH has hated them forever, so we unfastened them from the wall, and last night I ordered lighter curtains.  I'll need to do some paint touchups in there, but was really pleased with the huge selection of curtains available on line.  I loaded them and some old doors from the basement rehab years ago and took them to the Habitat Restore this afternoon.  I also stopped at the local garden center and bought their doorbuster $8 Frasier Fir wreath.  I've saved last year's bow and pine cones, so I wired them on and hung it up.  It was very satisfying to get all of that done.   I guess that's what happens when you don't grade papers for a day!


Costco, Sigh

November 21st, 2020 at 08:32 pm

I used to love Costco.  My DD and I would make a morning of it, shopping, sampling, and splitting a hot dog.  But I find pandemic Costco simultaneously wearying and worrying.  There are too many people there for my taste and I feel lots of (self-imposed) pressure to get it all and get it right.  I think I might be done with it for a while.  But I spent a small fortune there this morning buying everything from Thanksgiving food to Christmas gifts for the rehab home we sponsor.  Then I bought gas.  Then I picked up more stuff from the Target pick-up.  And frankly between the grocery store pick-up and the Target pick-up.  I think I can skip Costco until we're done with the pandemic. 

My friends and I spent some time yesterday trying to figure out why meal planning was so much more difficult now.  I think we figured it out.  I used to stop once or twice a week on my way home from school to pick yp a few things needed for dinners.  That doesn't happen any more so we're eating lots of the same meals over and over.  I guess I need to do more planning.  But at this point in the semester, nothing is planned except school.  Less than a month to go.

Isn't that a big whine about having so much food?  I should be (and am) a bit ashamed of myself.  Glad the sidebars are updated.  Glad my friends and family are mostly healthy and employed.  Glad my students are mostly ok and mostly passing. 



Flush That Cash

November 18th, 2020 at 05:01 pm

Since March, my DH has been mostly living in the basement.  His office shut down and he has been working from home 9-5.  Plus all his grad classes moved online and his thesis prep and his approximately 200,000 books are all downstairs too.  Other items downstaris include the laundry room, furnace, water heater, freezer, canned goods, and way too much other storage along with the treadmill.  And a small bathroom. 

Now the toilet down there has started leaking around the seal.  He's an ambitious but somewhat inept DIY-er and shut off the water, drained the tanks, and was ready to replace the seal which is about 40 years old.  Then he got stuck.  The seal was a mess, he's frustrated, and it's taking away from his work time.  he's paid by the hour.   So we've called the plumber.  They can reseal and replace the original old toilet, reseal and replace a new toilet we buy, or reseal and bring their own.  After a bunch of hours evaluating, we've decided they should do the whole darn thing.  Their estimate is about $750.  I guess I'm thankful they can't come until early December; we have two lovely bathrooms upstairs, and early December means another pay period before they'll want their cash.

This afternoon I'm taking a look at how much money I'll need to transfer from DD's 529 plan to cover her tuition, 2/3 of which is currently on my credit card.  As my dear father-in-law used to say, "So much spending out."

Despite our three-person and one small dog Thanksgiving, I got a 15lb turkey for 37cents a lb.  This was after I'd bought a turkey breast, but we'll cook the big one and save the breast for later.  I couldn't pass up that much turkey for that little cash. 

That's my spending report.  Back to work to finance all this.


Soup Time

November 11th, 2020 at 09:23 pm

Yeah, it's 45 degrees out, I've got wild rice in the cupboard, and a budget that needs a little help, so, as usual, it's soup time.  I love the Instant Pot wild rice soup I started making last winter, so will start a pot as soon as I get offline.

I'm trying very very hard to pay DD's tuition bill without moving money from her 529 plan or our savings.  I think I'll be short, but not by much.  And since they let me put it on the credit card with no additional charges, the cash back feature will repay it.  Trying hard for zero spending until the next card date rollover early next week.  So soup it is!

I went to my university office to work today; it's quiet as a tomb and not much more cheerful.  But I put the lamps on, turned on some music and got stuff done.  Unfortunately the kitchen was locked up, and my tempting casserole leftovers were not nearly as nice stone cold.  But we got through it. 


SUPER market Specials

November 6th, 2020 at 09:56 pm

I'm such a dork but I did a big happy dance when we got the grocery flyers on Wednesday.  Our "fancy" supermarket chain is opening a new store so has fabulous specials at all their stores.  I walked out of there with two gallons of milk for 99cents each, a $5 rotisserie chicken, 18 eggs for 99cents and #5 of potatoes for 99cents. 

In other decluttering news I got rid of a giant electric palm tree.  I'll bet most of you have never had to say that?  It was a gift from our next door neighbors who did theatre set design, but I was just tired of it, so gave it to a local teacher who is using it for room decor in his art classroom.  I also took a bunch of books and things like old lunchboxes, popsicle makers, and unused mugs to Goodwill.  I sold three books for $7 and gave away two more. 

It's been a couple of lovely days and this has distracted me from checking election returns every 15 minutes or thinking too much about the coming winter, the flu, COVID, etc.  The free flu shot on Tuesday helped too. 

Happy weekends to all!



Holding the Line on Spending

November 5th, 2020 at 01:26 am

We're trying to make November as frugal as possible.  Some of this comes from the desire to pay DD's tuition without dipping heavily into her 529 plan, while some of comes from wanting to accomplish a few home improvements. 

We'd like to knock out part of a kitchen wall and put in French doors onto our patio.  it's a bit complicated as there would be masonry work, moving electric switches and a heat register.  We also got a bid on a new front door.  I expected the French doors to be expensive, but over $3000 for a new front door and storm/screen door seems excessive.  I may need to get a new bid on that. 

So frugality!  Lots of leftovers eaten in the past few days and the only spending for the month has been $140 on ear drops for the dog's infected ear and the vet appointment. 

I'd like to update my blog statistics to show a deposit to the 100K goal, but can't seem to update those.  Anyone else have control panel issues?



Lots to Consider

November 2nd, 2020 at 05:23 am

It's been a busy time; online teaching, well, I find it draining.  It's more computer-based work than regular teaching with none of the fun.  But we're getting it done.

The biggest news there is that the university is struggling with their budgets and I've been informed I may be eligible for an early retirement package.  If they do offer it to me, we'll need to sit down and see what that would do for/to our budget.  I really am not eager for an early retirment, but I may take it.  I'd like to have more freedom than I have, and we're again talking about moving back to the UK.

Not much other news:  One of DD's friends came for the weekend.  Her university has same-day testing, and she was tested before she arrived. She stayed with us because her whole family--who she hasn't seen in a month have all tested positive.  So it was either another weekend in her dorm room, or a weekend with us.  We were happy to have her.  Lots of treats purchased, but we also have lots of leftovers. 

We're supposed to have some warmer days this week, so looking forward to going out for some longer walks.