yes, it's raining and Monday, and all the semester meetings begin this week. Where the heck has the summer gone?
Well, a month was devoted to our French exchange student, a week recovering from dental surgery, and another month to (TMI ahead warning) my bout with cyclospora, lots of antibiotics, and more knowledge of my GI system than I ever wanted to have.
Last week I finally got my DH and DD on vacation to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons. Yes, we spent more than I would have liked--renting an extra motel room two nights as my DH's snoring was keeping us all up and cranky. But we really enjoyed the parks. What a gift to the nation and to the world. Thank you Teddy Roosevelt and all the wonderful park staff we met. Both of those parks were SO unlike our Midwest home, and we were overawed with the majesty of them.
Our new floor has been installed in the family room, but we're still sort of camping as our painter can't start until next week.
Lots of readying for school ahead. We need to plan effectively for best use of time and money.
Viewing the 'hit the road, jack' Category
yes, it's raining and Monday, and all the semester meetings begin this week. Where the heck has the summer gone?
or was it food poisoning, I'm not sure, but the last five days have been mostly attending to digestive matters. I'm still not right, but am better every day. I have not been out of the house since Thursday, so except for some upcoming travel reservations, have spent very little. And I don't doubt the grocery bill will drop since I haven't eaten much, skipping dinner every night. Today went better, and I made a double batch of the NYT summer minestrone, freezing one large container for a later dinner.
On the financial side, I've sold a half dozen more books, including my DD's ACT and SAT prep guides. Lots of things are lagging but that's the way of the world, I guess.
DD and I have a MN jaunt planned for Thursday, so hoping to be at full speed by then.
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!
It's been a swell couple of days around here. Sunday morning on the way to church my car died. Three times. I was able to get it restarted and home, but have been driving my DH's beater (and I do mean beater) ever since. My car is no showroom special. It's a Volvo station wagon with a cool 153,000 miles on it, but I love it. Today it went to a new auto shop. We got an estimate on it and scheduled a repair for Friday. It needs about $800 work. However, on the way to pick up my husband, the shop's driver got into an accident with my car. Not sure whose fault it is, but it was a multi-car accident and we're waiting on the police report and condition of the car. In the meantime we have a loaner.
So, I know usually the insurance follows the car, but is this a special situation? Should the shop's insurance or the at-fault driver pay? Should we call an attorney?
I've called my insurance agent and left a message, but I don't know much right now. Advice?
Oof--we had big crashing storms last night. No real damage here, but hours and hours of thunder, lightning, and torrential rain. A community just north of us had 10" of rain. And it's like the jungle out there again tonight with its hot and humid temps.
I spent half the day at a class on our new digital learning platform. It seems simple enough to use, but the transition will be difficult for lots of people. We have a choice of starting now, spring semester, or next fall. I've chosen to start with it in the spring after some kinks are worked out.
My DH has another phone interview tomorrow, and his ear surgery is a week from Thursday. I've canceled class that day--not my favorite thing, especially during Week One, but he'll need me there.
We had a lovely day Saturday in Chicago with a tour of the University of Chicago for our daughter, the Frank Lloyd Wright Robie house for all of us, lunch in Hyde Park, and a short field trip to Navy Pier for our ongoing history project. We came home exhausted, but rallied to go out for cheeseburgers. We needed a getaway, and it was good for all of us. Three of us in the house all day every day lately has given us summer cabin fever as the heat and mosquitoes have made the patio and neighborhood not as pleasant as I'd like.
Today's spending was $2 for coffee to get me through that three-hour tutorial. Seemingly hundreds of meetings for the next few weeks will require more.
I've cashed $25 out of Swagbucks which will continue to go to my big goal.
My DH is a moody soul sometimes, and unemployment has not helped him. He's still finishing up his summer independent study, and he's put WAY more into it than need be, but it's good for him to have something to focus on--especially since he really has to wait out the ear surgery before he can start anything.
And I'm busy with my back-to-school prep and our daughter's stuff too. He's been very reluctant to go into uberfrugal mode, and while I was a bit ticked off at him at first, now I see he's a person that needs a few creature comforts to help him through this. I've loosened the grocery budget, started to make a bit better meals, and started looking at UJK airfares for Christmas. He needs something other than the pre-surgery wait and the job wait. He did the presurgical physical today, and the doc filled in all the details for his annual wellness rebate. I'm in the middle of the "wellness activity" now mandated to earn the rebate of $150. The guided meditation option has almost put me to sleep the last couple days. But heck, it's $150.
We're off on a little field trip tomorrow. I'll fill in the details when we return.
Despite many too-long driving days, DD and I enjoyed our road trip, particularly lots of hiking and friend time on the North Shore of Lake Superior. We were not especially frugal, but managed a tour of the University of Minnesota, an overnight with my brother, my aunt's funeral, three days of lovely hiking, West Side Story at the Guthrie Theater before we arrived just in time for me to teach my evening class last night. My DH met us in the parking lot, ready to take the cooler and DD home. But then the not-so-good news: he got laid off without warning yesterday afternoon as part of a corporate reorganization. They gave him two weeks of severance pay, and out the door he (and three others) went.
He was pretty shook up, and I can't say last night was my most successful class ever after that news. But onward, right? He's been there 18 months, and the stress has been pretty awful. Tomorrow he'll start the unemployment process, and we'll do a financial review. But he's on my health insurance, so no worries there. Honestly, as worrying as it may become, I'm sort of relieved. He could use some time off, and his ear surgery is in a month. As usual, my first impulses are all about a fridge inventory, a review of the bills, and then a renewed focus on my job. I've got a full schedule of teaching in addition to adjunct classes through the end of the year. With some minor belt tightening, we should be fine. Remind me of that, please, should this drag on.
Well, I was longing for a road trip for the summer, but be careful what you wish for? We got the news Thursday that my 100-year-old aunt had died. We were very close when I was kid, and I took the train to visit them in Montana a couple of times. We saw her last fall for her 100th birthday party in Fargo, ND. This is also the week that DD and I were headed to northeastern MN with my Minneapolis girlfriends to spend time on the North Shore of Lake Superior. DD and I were also planning on a stop in Minneapolis for her tour of the University of Minnesota, an evening with friends with dinner and the theater.
It means a lot to all my family that we make the trek, so our revamped plans include leaving tonight after my class (ugh), stopping tomorrow morning at the U of M, driving to my brother's lake home in central MN, then the next morning to Fargo for the funeral. That afternoon we will drive across Minnesota to the North Shore where I will drink lots of wine and collapse in a heap. I hope we'll have great weather, can hike, reconnect with friends, and just enjoy life and being outside. We've tacked another day onto the end of the trip so we can use our theater tickets, but that means we will probably arrive back to Cheeseland just in time for me to teach next week's class.
As the North Shore part of this was planned as a girls' trip, and the logistics for DH to accompany us were headache-inducing, DD and I are on our own. We headed to the library Saturday, got an armful of audio books, and I'll pick up maps and other stuff today at AAA. I got an oil change and refilled my tires yesterday.
I was planning on leaving my car in the Twin Cities and driving up north with my girlfriends, but I can't see a way for that to happen. Glad I was able to rearrange the theater, but not looking forward to the drive. I probably should not have totaled the miles and times on Google maps. It's 23 hours and 46 minutes of driving and 1452 miles.
Lots of issues at work too. Hope to get those settled before I leave tonight.
We spent the weekend in Madison so DH and I could work on his history project and DD could tour UW Madison. Great hotel with some nice dinners out, but it was sweltering which put a damper on some plans. We met up with a former student, swam in the hotel pool, and enjoyed their lovely free breakfasts as well as the huge Farmers' Market. As an employee of UW Madison poorer sister campus, I was blown away by their fabulous facilities and beautiful setting. I go there at least once a year, but am always impressed--as was DD. Their offerings tick a lot of her "want" boxes.
We came home to a very warm day, but managed to unpack and get some laundry in before our power blew out with a strong rainstorm about 4. No electricity until midnight, but everything appears to have survived in the freezer and fridge.
Today's plans include a trip to the gymn, DD's French lessons, some meal prep for the week, and perhaps dinner with friends. Thankfully I have a gift card just waiting to be redeemed for dinner. My dear friend is headed back to AZ on the 5th, and I'm eager to see her again before she goes.
Back from my little five-day jaunt to Bodega Bay with my Minnesota girlfriends. Man, we had fun. We got a VRBO right up from the beach, walked through Armstrong Redwoods, drank wine, hiked to a lighthouse and all around. It wasn't extremely cheap as it was a friend's birthday, but it was a lovely trip and really helped clear the mind and get me ready for summer. I used airmiles for the flight, and that always feels so good.
We had an interesting talk about retirement goals and our next travel plans.
Back to reality later today.
Updating interest on UK House Fund
I feel a little wacky, but last night we finalized out Christmas plans. Unusual for me as frequently I don't know what we're having for dinner until 3 some days. But I love to plan travel.
We've decided to go to England for Christmas--a week in London in an airbnb and another week with friends in my DH's home island,also an airbnb. The last few years at my brother's home in the Twin Cities have been fun, but it's a precarious icy drive with lots of planning and a hotel stay since they've downsized. This is in lieu of our summer UK trip, and we're looking forward to a lovely London Christmas. We miss our UK friends too.
We still haven't figured out summer vacations here. Tonight perhaps. I also need to do some budget adjusting as I'm still in the "just our of school" mode. But I've got a load of laundry on the line, one more in the washer, and actually have thawed some chicken for tonight!
We had more than an inch of rain overnight, and it's cold and blustery. I came home from school, googled a recipe for kale and potato soup, and found my inspiration with the Pioneer Woman Olive garden potato soup knockoff. Luckily i had Italian sausage in the freezer. I added a few leeks from last week's CSA box, and it looks delicious. I subbed fat-free evaporated milk for the cream to cut the fat.
Cleaning out the fridge is one goals for the week--mostly in preparation for the French girls' arrival on Tuesday. We had an info meeting last night, and I certainly hope we don't get the ones who smoke and drink! But before then, I need to get ready for our road trip to Fargo for my aunt's 100th birthday. It's been so busy at school, I haven't had a moment to think about anything. Eeek! Lots to do. I'd better get on it!