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Feeling Very Off-Track

August 16th, 2015 at 08:19 am

I've been feeling very off-track lately. It seems like I'm not getting much done and am behind in housework and self care too. The house needs a solid pick-up, and I find a very full fridge and freezer hard to deal with. I think I officially have August-itis.

Causes? Uncertainty about DH's job (always and again), impending semester with lots to do, August-afflicted child who sleeps too late and hates the heat, travel hangover, delays in bathroom remodel bids, massive canning days that put off everything else, horrible edits and capstone projects that frustrate me, too many social obligations. I feel stuck.

Plan? Tomorrow (heat and aforementioned social obligation today) must be devoted to catching up. I may have to build in a reward to the child for helping me. Maybe even build in a reward for myself.

It's time to get financially back on track too. Back-to-school shopping was expensive as child now requires adult sizes. Yesterday I spent (ouch)$250 on jeans, pants, and shoes for her. The only upside now is if she outgrows those three pairs of shoes, I can wear them.

Tomorrow demands a list. Getting on that today. Wish me luck to get unstuck.

Checking Things Off the List

July 9th, 2015 at 09:43 am

I had my London de-brief meeting yesterday, and they've asked me to do the program again. I'm undecided, but leaning that way. Lots of things to discuss with the family first.

My DD is still at French camp, and I'm missing her a lot. She's my partner in crime in the summer. But I'm getting a lot done. On the way home from yesterday's meeting I dropped a big bag at Goodwill. Then I stopped to deposit checks from a friend and for the root canal reimbursement. For the life of me I can't figure out what and how they're paying. It seems the endodontist has received half the amount, and I keep getting tiny check for other portions of it. I'll wait until next week for the endo to reimburse me, but I'm not sure what else they're actually paying me for. Honestly, it's like putting tiny shards of tile together to see what kind of sculpture they form.

I've been dragging my feet on closing my Wells Fargo checking. It means moving my paycheck direct deposit and my IRA direct debit, but I moved the direct debit a while back, and since I don't get paid again until October, it seemed like the ideal time. I figured it might take 15 minutes but 90(!!) minutes later, they finished it up, and I walked out with another check to deposit in our joint checking. Check that one off. Now to fix a few other direct debits.

I also need to spend some time on the phone setting up dental and doctor appointments. And some more decluttering--and a long walk. I've also blocked off a couple hours to write next fall's teaching materials.

Our CSA box had turnips this week. Anyone have fabulous (stop laughing) turnip recipes they'd like to share?

Road Weary

July 7th, 2015 at 09:57 pm

I am home again after driving 1200+ miles to take DD and her friend to French camp. The trip taught me a few things including that my DD is pretty low maintenance. Her friend is not. My DD is used to our rules about food, stopping, buying junk, etc, and it was interesting to see their differences.

We spent $100 on Sunday's hotel, had a lovely dinner with some of my Minnesota friends at a place where kids eat free on Sundays. Again, my daughter was a star. Free breakfast the next morning saved us some cash as did the car snacks in lieu of lunch. I stayed with friends on the way back who made me an excellent dinner. So gas, hotel, and some road food was all that I spent--and I even managed to stay out of the outlet stores.

It's very quiet in the house without the kid around. I hope she's having a grand adventure.


June 24th, 2015 at 10:22 pm

It's actually been a productive day, but such a drag. I packed up lots of the books we sold, an ebay sale, a book given to my husband by his history professor, and (the most exciting!) two boxes of Swiffer wet-jet pads from our busted Swiffer. Everything except the professor's book and the ebay sale was sold on FB, and the other two delivered to the post office.

But most of the day was spent reading truly horrible capstone projects, most of which I failed. They have a new advisor this term, and his students are not getting good advice from him. I failed more than half his projects. There's only so much bad prose a person can handle.

DD and I did take a little trip to Target for some camp essentials for her: stronger insect spray, a new flashlight, that kind of thing as well as some fill-in groceries. That was a swift $50, even with the Red card.

I need more fun! Perhaps tomorrow?

Steering Back on Track

June 1st, 2015 at 11:31 am

After the Door County expenses, now comes DD's summer camp expenses. So, to keep things as much in line as possible, we're going to need some simple weeks with limited spending. We have lots of food around, and not a lot of obligations. DD and DH have been going out to Noodles or some such place on the nights I teach. It's more cash, but I feel strongly it's better for them. They spend more time in conversation rather than hurrying back to their respective screens.

DH is flying back to the UK to see his dad later this week. It's another slightly optional expense, but his 89-year-old dad is failing and they need time together.

So, as you can see, we need to hold it down. I'm always looking for ways to economize and stretch. Hit me with some new ones! This is the week to try things!

Folding Flurry

May 17th, 2015 at 05:56 pm

I feel like I'm swamped--so much to do, but much of it is self-created work as I'm trying for more and more FB sales, so I'm finding, taking photos, listing, replying to inquiries, and packing things up. While the first round of this was mostly kid's stuff, this time lots of it is my clothes. I'm rarely a planner when it comes to clothes and when I find a style I like, I tend to stick with it. The last few years I've worn a lot of cardigans with camisoles to teach. So I've probably bought too many. Axe probably, I have too many.

Inspired by some of the Marie Kondo ideas, I went on a folding spree last night, fished five rarely worn tanks and camis out of the beautifully folded drawer--and was able to consolidate two heaping drawers of stuff into one gorgeous drawer of origami camis. I feel a little crazy just typing that. I washed them and took photos, listed, and have sold three of the five. Out also is going a rocking David Bowie tee, another cardigan, and a peach top that is more tent than top. All sold awaiting pick-up.

I Kondo-ed DD's horrible top and pants drawers this afternoon, switching their order, and I'm over-the- moon excited by how wonderful it is. And also very tired. I'm listing some of her outgrowns tonight.

In between this odd flurry of wackiness, I bought plants, spread mulch and compost, planted another crop of lettuce, tomatoes, and filled six planters.

Although I feel like going to bed at 8, I need to finish laundry and grade tomorrow's homework responses. And pull together a quick PowerPoint for our discussion. Hopefully I can stop folding for long enough to do that.

A Few Financial Issues Faced

May 9th, 2015 at 07:53 pm

Part of my real and financial housekeeping has been to look hard at all of our upcoming expenses. We both tend to just throw money in a pile, try not to overspend, and hope to find the money in the pile when we need it. Indeed if we want to use some of my nest egg for an English property, we're going to need to examine our domestic spending and goals. That means looking at our spending even more carefully.

My DH doesn't spend a lot on frivolous things, but also never compares prices or thinks about long-term planning. That's just not how he is. Our retirement planning has been my task, and I've done pretty well with it. We also have set aside some money for DD's college expenses, but not really enough. DH had the advantage of a free British university education (no longer the case there), so hasn't really thought through what DD will need. I spent some time running college calculators the past few days, and it's clear we need to save more. Although he fidgeted through the discussion this morning, he actually lasted through the whole thing--culminating in our increasing our 529 contribution significantly.

I'd still like to get a new water heater and a new bathroom in the next year, but I can see I'm going to have to find a bit more freelance editing work over the summer, be more vigilant about expenses, and keep selling clutter.

My current small steps have helped, but I'm committed to examining all our bills--from finding a better phone plan to increasing our insurance deductible on the older car.

Easy Cash

April 21st, 2015 at 07:01 pm

I sold some kid's clothes over the last week via a FB group, and today saw someone wanting to buy iron patio chairs. We replaced our patio chairs a couple years ago and have exactly the chairs she's seeking gathering dust in the garage. I'm going to inspect them tomorrow, and hopefully have them out the door by the end of the week.

More decluttering was done in the office and master bath. I listed a couple books on Amazon, but my ebay items failed to sell. I also have a box of postcards (gees, maybe I am a hoarder) that a co-worker's daughter would like, so I hope to get them out the door soon too.

We've just received the information about DD's school trip to Washington DC next year. It's a groaning $1200+, and of course, all her friends are going. So--in a burst of inspiration, we're doing the 52-week savings plan which will fund it nicely. There are also fundraisers along the way, but if we have overage, she can use it for spending money.

And today was a NS day!

Real Snow but Few Flakes

November 25th, 2013 at 06:50 pm

This was one of those days you had to push through. About 11 last night as I was finishing up some work, DD started vomiting. Twice we got her cleaned up and re- situated, then she'd start up again. Eventually around 2 she settled down and slept. But of course we were up hours after that, cleaning up, washing sheets, figuring out who could stay home. At 7 she woke up and insisted on going to school. She was giving a presentation on Jonas Salk and was very excited about it. Yet by lunch she was queasy and came home again.

So, little work was done. DH stayed home, dozed while she was at school, then worked online for a bit.
I zombied through my classes, stopped at CVS, then took over the afternoon shift. She seems better but has eaten only a bit. And nothing like a vomiting kid to make you feel queasy yourself. I'm opting for an early evening.

We had a couple inches of snow here this morning which screwed up everyone's commute, so to optimize a speedy exit, I again spent $7 in the ramp. No more!

Lots of Financial News for a Change

October 18th, 2013 at 09:53 am

Let's start with the biggest anxiety reliever. DH's contract runs into at least the end of 2013. They sort of casually told him this on Monday after we'd been fretting at the impending end-of-October date. And since they have more money in 2014, it'll likely be extended again. Pheww.

Yesterday a colleague and I had a meeting with our dean about salaries. Our department chair is nice but useless and, as he says" doesn't want to spend HIS capital" arguing for us. Thanks a bunch. Three additional colleagues and I all missed a $2000 salary increase because we "went up" for our tenure equivalency early. The salary bump came six months later, and we were not eligible for it. The university so rarely moves on any of these issues, no one even whimpered publicly. No one except for my colleague who was madder than hell. As it turns out, the dean see our point that it penalizes seniority rather than rewarding it and is pushing our case. Since it was all going so swimmingly, I asked if they could do something about me being on half salary while in London. She was genuinely shocked about that and promised investigation there as well.

So, nothing definite out of it yet, but I'm cautiously optimistic. Cross fingers, please.

Then I narrowly dodged a $65 immunization last night. The school wants 11-year-olds to have a booster tdap vaccine right now. I figured we'd save the doctor visit and went to Walgreen's, but they don't honor my insurance for "medical" vaccines, whatever that means. They were happy to do it for $65, and there were other parents there all grumbling about it. I called our doctor this morning and she'll have it in the office on Tuesday morning-no fee or co-pay. I'm thrilled.

No other big news. DD and I went to Noodles last night for dinner as I had a coupon for a free meal. I'm shocked at how many people and their kids eat dinner out all the time. We spent under $6 for both of us with my birthday coupon, but the couple behind us who confided that Thursday is their Noodles Night spent $54 for themselves and two kids. Eeek.

Not Spending Much

September 12th, 2013 at 09:16 pm

I think all I've bought in the past three days is some yogurt for DD and two cups of iced coffee at school.
It's just too busy for much else.

Another full day of teaching today with little prep or grading done. I had that iced coffee with a prospective London student. I think we have 15 now that have started the applications.

Tonight we attended the middle school (or Muggle school as we call it) parents' night. I'm always happy to hear other people's kids lose as many assignments, spend as much on lunch, and are chronic dawdlers like mine. But I'm not sure I needed 160 minutes there. We got nothing else done tonight. Yikes.

In further financial news, I sold a book for $90 and saved a mint at CVS. Their stooopid coupon machine wouldn't print, so the cashier gave me double off. Isn't that nice? I paid for ALL of my purchases with coupons and extra bucks. Such thrills!

Shoes Blues

August 23rd, 2013 at 02:16 pm

Sure of imminent budget disaster, we embarked on a shoe buying venture today. First, the foot measuring. DD has gone from a Girls' 3 to an adult 6 1/2 over the summer which explains the fit of her Tevas.

My predictions were correct as we left Infamous Footwear $230 poorer than when we entered. Yet that staggering total includes Clarks, already half price, PE shoes, and Bear Traps in a size up. We used every trick in the book: BOGO half off, coupons, loyalty cards, codes, and every other shenanigan I could pull. I did ask if I could stack shoes in the back for a couple hours for another 10%, but to no avail.

Cinderella's mom also got a pair of acceptable work shoes and a deeply discounted pair of summer wedges since I have had no new shoes this year.

So we got the Shoe Blues but alotta sole.


August 19th, 2013 at 02:34 pm

A $1.70 thanks to CreditCardFree who alerted me to the Target cartwheel app that you can just print out. I have a severely dumb phone, so no smart phone apps for me. But after turning off all the Facebook share stuff, I saved $1.70 on things I had already planned to buy--most of which I had Target coupons, manufacturer's coupons, or both for. And of course, that 5% RedCard savings.

It came in especially handy since DD seems to have left her last wearable swimsuit somewhere and has been invited to a pool party tomorrow. She's oddly between sizes, and I didn't want to spend a lot on a new suit. Between that, school supplies, and a fair amount of groceries, and allergy meds, the savings helped. As my mom used to say about people who scoffed at her coupons, "If you saw it on the floor, you'd pick it up, wouldn't you?" I am by no means an accomplished couponer, but every little bit helps.

Rainy Day Activities

July 26th, 2013 at 09:36 pm

We had huge downpours today which slowed down my errand list. Yet DD and I had our traditional Friday lunch out. We alternate choices, and today was hers: Culvers.

We stopped at Office Max to get a few school supplies, including most of their specials. She needs a new calculator this year which they had for $15.99. Our next stop was the ever-tempting Target where we got more school supplies, a cute jean jacket for her, and a few grocery items. A big shout out here for DD who spotted the identical calculator at Target for $6 less. Plus, of course, the savings with the Red Card.

I used several good Target coupons and got a $5 gift card as well as returning some party items from last week. All in all, good savings, good shopping.

I'm reading an older Kate Atkinson novel which I also like. This is part of the Jackson Brodie detective series, and it's a good summer read.