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Not Quite Every Day

January 10th, 2019 at 09:30 pm

I had hoped to be blogging every day this month, but that's a little harder than I thought it was going to be. Most of the time I forget until after midnight, but today I remembered.

Tomorrow is payday and so today I sat down with the grocery ads and went through to see what the sales were. They have been awful for the last 3 weeks, but redeemed themselves this week. I was pleasantly surprised by the meat sales. Boneless skinless chicken breasts and thighs are both on sale for $2.99 a pound. New York Strip Steaks are on sale for $5.99 a pound. We usually get the sirloin ones, because they go on sale at $4.99, but when strip steak is just $1 more per pound for a far superior cut, I will go for it. They also have grass fed beef on sale for $4.99 a pound so I am going to stock up.

They have a couple of pork sales going on as well, but I need to see how big they are, whether or not they have bones, and figure out what they mean by half cut chops. I have never seen that term before. They are both really cheap, one was $1.69 a pound and the other was $2.49 a pound, but those prices may even out depending on bones and I'd rather have boneless if it is a roast. If there is bone in a chop it needs to be on the edge. So we'll see on that one.

They have a pasta sauce I like but don't usually buy because of price on sale for 3 for $5, so I am going to check out the ingredients and see whether or not it has soy in it. If it doesn't, than I will go ahead and get some tomato based ones and some Alfredo ones. While I can make Alfredo sauce, it requires having cream on hand, and it is just easier to have jars on hand.

My son's special peanut butter is on a very cheap Friday only sale, so I will probably get four jars of that, too.

We are very low on cheese, so I will have to go to Winco. They have the best cheese prices in town. Since I'll be over there I'll stop at the Dollar Tree and stock up on soup, too. Fortunately all the grocery stores I shop at are on a pretty close loop. Two miles unless I include Costco and the Food Co-op, which is an additional mile, but still easily on that loop.

DH is taking the truck over to get an estimate on repairs tomorrow. They are a body shop that will bill my mother's insurance directly, but also one that is highly recommended in this town. He'll get an estimate on how much it would cost to paint the whole truck, too, since I want to start saving for that and I have not got a clue on how much that will cost. He also has a dentist appointment tomorrow for a cleaning. Good thing he only has to work until 11 a.m.

Still sticking to the meal plan really well. I don't really like the tater tot casserole my family loves, though, so I had tuna fish spread (no bread), a big salad, and finished off the canned pineapple from earlier in the week. Normally I'll make myself fish and chips on a night like this, but I didn't want to put forth the effort after all the cleaning I did today.

I'll clean out the fridge tomorrow before I go shopping. It's not bad, but someone spilled something in there that looks like juice and didn't tell me and it will need a bit of scrubbing and it is easier to do that before all the new stuff goes in and gets in the way.

I'm not sure if I'll do a one day shop or a two day shop. It really just depends on how well my body is doing. My joints have been hurting the last two days so I may not be able to do it all in one go.

Minor (Very Minor) Surgery Plus Instant Pot Recipe for Alliecat79

January 8th, 2019 at 08:28 pm

I took DD to the dentist today. She had to get the webbing clipped on that part of your mouth where the lower lip connects to the gum. It was starting to pull down the gum line on her two lower front teeth too far. It could have eventually exposed the roots of the teeth and she might have lost them due to them not being stable anymore. It was just a quick snip and a couple of stitches.

I am not sure how much it will cost us. Probably $50 for the co-pay, but they didn't collect anything while we were there. I wish our previous dentist had brought this up before. The new guy seems a little more on the ball. I mean, when he pointed it out to me, you could really see where the damage was being caused, it is an obvious thing that a dentist should have noticed before this. Unless maybe it wasn't as obvious and just got really bad in the last year.

I did actually break my no take out rule. I bought my daughter two milkshakes because she wasn't allowed to eat solids for the rest of the day and she wanted something cold to numb it. I really didn't want to go to the grocery store because it was raining hard, so we went to DQ.

I also spent $27.33 on prescriptions today, including a numbing mouth wash from the dentist for her. That came out of the medical account, though.

We still have not heard anything from the gyno's surgery scheduler. Hopefully we will hear from them this week. I know the doctor wasn't in her office for the last two weeks, but everyone was supposed to be back on Monday. The insurance company was probably pretty much closed down between Christmas and New Year's as well. If I don't hear from them by Friday I'll give a call on Monday.

I am still waiting to get a bill from DS's sleep study. It looks like it will be around $400 based on what the insurance company sent me for what they covered, but I'd like to get the bill so that it can be taken care of. The insurance statement only came on Monday. Everyone is behind because of the holidays, I think.

Mom called her insurance company today and has a claim number we can use. We will take the truck in soon to get an estimate and then schedule repairs. Fortunately, the damage is just cosmetic except for the bumper and while the license plate is dented in badly, it is still readable. We will leave that until we get new plates. Washington state requires new license plate numbers every 5 years (and they wonder why we are running out of numbers on our plates. They used to just be six digits and now they are seven because of this rule. Well, actually, we better make sure a new plate would even be attachable. I'll mention that to DH so he can mention it to the repair guy.

I did change my meal plan tonight since DD can't eat solids, to penné pasta with chicken sausage, since she can't eat the chicken sausage or tomatoes. I have a ton of sausage in the freezer that used to be something she could eat, but she can't anymore.

Oh, Alliecat79, this was a super easy Instant Pot meal. Just take two pints of diced tomatoes with their juice and add them to your pot, then dump in a box of penné pasta, then put in two jars of spaghetti sauce covering the pasta. Put an inch of water in each jar, put the lid on, shake up, and then dump the contents into the pot. Between that and the tomato juice there is enough liquid to make the steam so adding more is not necessary. Cut up some sausage links and put on top. On the manual setting, set the time for 12 minutes. Do a quick release when done and then stir it all up. That's it. (Sometimes I throw in a couple handfuls of frozen zucchini, too). Oh, and make sure you spray the liner pot with olive oil before you start. It makes clean up much easier.

Car Accident

January 8th, 2019 at 02:08 am

Don't worry, no one was hurt. We weren't even in the truck when my mother backed her SUV into it. She knew it was there. She saw it when she got in, but she had forgotten about it when she went to back out, which makes me think she didn't even look behind her as she backed up, and she must have really hit the gas because the amount of damage done to both vehicles was pretty bad. It put a six inch crack in our bumper and bowed it. It put a massive dent in the license plate, and it scratched big chunks of paint off the front of the truck.

The rear of her SUV actually fared worse. I am surprised that she is actually taking responsibility for it. She said she would call her insurance company. The last time she backed into one of our vehicles and left a big dent, she tried to play it off as nothing. At least the one time DH Scraped her old truck with the van, we offered to pay for it, but they popped the dent out for free. But this time she is going to pay for it. I just hope she doesn't have a super high deductible.

I hate to think what is going to happen to her insurance rates after this, though. True, it is her first accident in years (that I know of), but still she is 79 years old.

And that's another thing. Is it time to be thinking about taking the car keys away? I mean if you notice there is a vehicle parked behind you as you get into the car, but then forget about it by the time you back out, does that mean you shouldn't be behind the wheel anymore, or that you just spaced it.

Sometimes I think the driveway is cursed. This is the fifth accident in it during the last 30 years. I know they say most accidents happen close to home, but this is ridiculous.

When we take the truck in to be fixed we're going to get an estimate on how much it would cost to get the whole thing painted as well. The roof and the hood are both in pretty bad shape with flaking paint and rust starting. It was a bad paint year for Toyota Tacoma's that year. Body shops and mechanics can tell how old the vehicle is just by looking at the mess the paint is.

I had thought about not running it through the insurance to make it so her rates wouldn't go up, but you know, if she isn't driving safely than maybe her rates should go up, and it'll be a reminder to her to literally watch where she is going. I hope she just doesn't blame us for when it inevitably does go up. We had nothing to do with it. We were both in the house.

All's Quiet on the Home Front

January 6th, 2019 at 11:54 pm

DD is doing much better now. Thanks for all the supportive comments. They gave her IV fluids because she was dehydrated and the doctor agreed that it was a gasteroparesis flare up that caused an adrenal crisis due to not keeping down her meds. So we did everything right. She was there for a few hours, but her blood work came back okay on the cortisol levels, the shot did what it was supposed to do. Her iron levels are improving now that she has been able to eat very lean beef again, so we got confirmation of that. They did do the dumb pregnancy test despite her not needing one.

My birthday present from MIL has arrived yesterday, though my birthday is not until February 12th. She said I did not need to wait to use it if I didn't want to. I got a KitchenAid hand mixer in ice blue, which is really a minty green/blue color. They didn't have it in teal, which seems to be a discontinued color for KitchenAid. It is the color of my stand mixer, my toaster (Oster), and my Keurig. So I went with a color that will compliment the teal.

Today I ordered the birthday present that comes from DH (but will also be using some of the money I got from MIL for Christmas). It is a Dash 1400 watt blender in Aqua, which is also really a minty green/blue color in reality. Unfortunately KitchenAid does not have a blender in ice blue, so this was the closest I could come. I think this is a better blender anyway, more on par with a Vitamix, only slightly better. It was on a very good deal today and what I have been considering purchasing for a good long while. So, no, it's not an electric apple flinger situation.

We have been getting by with a cheap Ninja blender for the last couple of years, but it is one of those ones that you have to hold down to make it blend the entire time you blend it. And it is not that great with frozen things or ice. With this DD should be able to eat vegetables and fruits again that are not acidic. They have to be very pureéd or liquified so there are no long fibers that she can't digest.

You can also make soup in it as it has a soup function. This way she can get back to some healthier food options. And also I can make more low carb veggie soups. And we might be able to do a smooth pureé cauliflower and see if she can tolerate cauliflower that way. We've had to avoid the brassicas, but just maybe she could eat them this way.

I have been slowly investing in quality kitchen appliances the last few years after having cheap ones that break easily and have to be replaced for most of my marriage. I use them all the time, too, so it is nice to have dependable ones. It's not like I really need anything else anyway and cooking and baking make me happy so this has been working by having them be my gifts. I don't have to come up with unscheduled money for them, but I still get to add to my needed (and wanted) appliances/gadgets collection.

I am glad I took my time with these purchases and was able to wait until they came in the colors I liked and were good, high quality items that will last me for years.

First ER Visit of 2019 and Counting

January 5th, 2019 at 09:59 pm

DD's in stage 2 of an adrenal crisis. I had to give her a shot of cortisol because she couldn't keep the pills down for 24 hours and then DH took her to the ER because she has to be monitored for a while to make sure that she comes out of the adrenal crisis and that the cortisol doesn't send anything into overdrive (sort of like adrenaline would).

This is the first time I have given a shot to a human. It wasn't hard, but it was weird. I've only ever given them to rabbits when the herd needed Ivermectin and that is an under the skin shot, not a muscle shot. This was a muscle shot. I need to get used to it, though.

Before she left for the hospital I had her renew her shot prescription so we can get a replacement into her emergency med kit as soon as possible.

At least we have the money in the medical account to cover this when it comes due. That is a lot less stress on us than all of last year. I'll keep adding to the account, too. I had thought about maybe cutting my contributions since it is funded, but I think I'll continue on for a while. If it turns out we don't need it I will use it for debt payment, but for the time being it can just go into the medical account, at least until after her surgery (assuming the insurance company approves it). I'll stress less that way.

This visit will be the first thing on her deductible this year. It should just be around $753, since there won't be any need for tests, just monitoring. That will get her 3/4 of the way through her deductible. I hope they don't make her take a pregnancy test. They do for almost every visit, but since this one shouldn't involve radiation or narcotics in any way and we know what is going on, they don't need to.

They probably will, though, even though this should not be a diagnostic visit at all. Just another unnecessary expense for celibate women. They don't believe her when she says there is no chance. They tried to give me a pregnancy test when I went in pregnant with DS for the gash in my knee that I needed stitches for and they tried to do one after my hysterectomy. I pitched fits both times. I understand why they do it, but she's been too sick for the past 8 years to even go on a date, so it feels ridiculous. It costs somewhere in the $80 ballpark, so it just annoys me. Not like I can do anything about it, though.

Anyway, hopefully everything will be just fine. This is the first adrenal crisis she's had since being put on the cortisol. I am just glad that DH was available to take her. I am still a little under the weather, though worlds better, and I get sick every time I go to the hospital, plus the waiting room chairs and the in room chairs screw up my hips and tailbone for days afterwards. DH keeps me updated with texts so I have almost a play by play of anything going on without having to expose myself to the flu or the plague or whatever version of the creeping crud is going around town.

This and That

January 2nd, 2019 at 11:41 pm

They were having a 20% off plus free shipping deal on Vitamin Shoppe today so I went ahead and reordered my vitamins. We were out of Vitamin D (without soy) almost and we take a lot during the winter months here due to SADS. I ordered 6 bottles of it, 2 bottles of Vitamin A (without soy), 2 bottles of fish oil (that does not have polysorbate-80 in it), and a big bottle of Vitamin C (without soy). I spent $123.08 after the discount was applied. I should be set for some time on vitamins.

I started work on the novel again. I wrote about 1008 words and I plan on getting back to it when I finish posting here. I am going to try to post every day this month and I am running out of today, so thought I'd hop on and do this quick.

Still holding strong on cooking from the meal plan and not eating out.

I worked on decluttering my room a bit today. I am taking it one section at a time. I am overcoming years of packrat tendencies, but sometimes it is slow going. I am just sick of living a cluttered existence, so one of my goals for 2019 is to put an end to that. We have been working towards it for a while now.

DS will be getting some more cooking lessons this week and next. He'll be learning how to make the tater tot casserole, homemade pizza from scratch, pork carnitas, chicken shawarma and homemade pita bread, and the sausage/bell peppers/onions stir-fry dish. He is really enjoying the cooking lessons and was bummed that we had to stop in December due to my illness.

I think that about covers it.

Two Week Meal Plan

January 1st, 2019 at 12:57 pm

I have a goal of no eating out for the next two weeks and then will hopefully continue that for the whole month. I'll take it one step at a time, though, and the first step was planning out all the meals for the next two weeks. Part of me wanted to do the eat from the pantry challenge that some of my youtube buddies are doing, but part of me did not want to add that on top of my recovery. I am still weak from that illness and still very tired. I don't think I should make things extra difficult at the moment so I'm not.

I will need to pick up a few items at the start of week two, like plain Greek yogurt and dill for the Tzatziki sauce, more organic iceberg lettuce, and more potatoes. I usually only buy 13 pounds of potatoes a week, because that is all that will fit in the storage bin and since we eat a lot of potatoes, that usually doesn't make it the full two weeks. It might make it ten days, but sometimes only a week. It depends on whether or not I make hashbrowns or potatoes O'Brien for breakfast or not.

We don't eat much in the way of bread, and two of us can't eat beans or lectins (inflammation for me, gasteropaeresis for my daughter), so potatoes are one of our main carbs around here, along with rice, and sweet potatoes, with the occasional pasta.

Day One:
Chicken and Green Beans Stir-fry (has onions)
Rice
Home Canned Pears

Day Two:
Ribeye Steaks
Baked Potatoes
Broccoli
Canned Pineapple

Day Three:
Spaghetti with Ground Beef
Salad
Oranges

Day Four:
Pork Carnitas
Cole Slaw
Apples

Day Five:
Air-Fried Chicken Legs
Roasted Potatoes, Bell Peppers, and Onions
Green Beans
Oranges

Day Six:
Chicken Tater Tot Casserole
Broccoli
Home Canned Nectarines

Day Seven:
Beef Pot Roast
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Broccoli
Oranges

Day Eight:
Homemade Pizza with Pepperoni, Sausage, Ham, Yellow Onions, Bell Peppers, and Spinach
Cole Slaw
Canned Pineapple

Day Nine:
Pork Roast
Baked Potatoes
Home Canned Pears

Day Ten:
Chicken Zucchini Alfredo Bake
Apples

Day Eleven:
Fried Codfish
Fried Potatoes
Cole Slaw
Home Canned Nectarines

Day Twelve:
Chicken Shawarma
Homemade Pita Bread
Homemade Tzatziki
Cole Slaw
Home Canned Pears

Day Thirteen:
Cheeseburgers with Homemade Buns
French Fries
Salad
Oranges

Day Fourteen:
Sausage with Bell Peppers and Onions
Salad
Apples

2018 Hits and Misses (I Don't Like the Word Fail)

December 31st, 2018 at 11:44 pm

Hits:

We paid of $10,750 on our last debt, the Monster Mom Loan. And that was only from April to the end of the year, as we weren't able to make any payments the first quarter of the year due to an $8000 hospital bill that nearly wiped out our savings.

We were able to pay all of our medical bills in full without taking out any more new debt or having to pay any interest. I did have to play with the credit card a little to manage that, but we paid it off before the interest would have come due. MIL helped us with a few of them, but we still paid over $20K out of pocket this year on medical expenses. I haven't figured out the full total yet as I am still entering things into the spreadsheet.

We found some doctors who took my daughter's medical issues seriously.

We have no new debt.

We have a fully funded medical account for 2019.

I started working on a novel and stuck with it.

Misses:

We ate out far too much. Yes, it was due to illness, usually, but sometimes it was due to failure to plan. We spent an average of $200 a month on eating out. Some months nothing was spent at all, but the other seven months more than made up for that.

My weight loss was a general failure. Although I was doing well before I caught the plague, I gained back all I lost while sick.

Exercise went by the wayside as well due to a lot of inflammation. I am slowly learning what causes the inflammation and trying to avoid it. Sometimes it is food, sometimes it is repetitive stress. I hope to slowly reincorporate exercise again this year.

I can't think of anything else and am just barely getting this in under the wire of 2018.

Two Week Grocery Spend

December 30th, 2018 at 10:08 pm

So we got stuff from every store this time. First time I have had the energy to do so. Not all in one day. We did this in two days, Friday and Sunday. There is still a limit to what my body can tolerate even on a good day with the rheumatiod arthritis.

Our first stop was Winco where I spent $143.60 and purchased the following:

1 bag of hamburger patties (20 ct)
1 bag frozen corn on the cob (4 ct)
1 5 lb bag of French fries
1 5 lb bag of Tater Tots
1 quart of Strawberry Yogurt (Zoi Greek)
1 bag of baby spinach
2 pounds of shredded cheddar cheese
1 box Eggo Strawberry waffles
3 packages of chicken legs (14 ct per package)
1 lb of bacon
2 packages of ribeye steaks (2 ct per package)
1 8.8 lb pork shoulder roast (will cut into 3 roasts)
2 bags of Funyuns
1 party size bag of Lays Potato Chips
2 Mrs. Grass Noodle Soup (2 ct per package)
1 package Dave's Bagels (5 ct)
1 package Oroweat English Muffins (6 ct)
1 loaf Naked bread
1 quart minced garlic
2 jars Miracle Whip
12 oz granulated garlic
1 can Winco French cut green beans
1 red bell pepper
2 lbs fresh green beans
2 yellow squash
2 zucchini
1 green cabbage
2 cucumbers

The pork roast was .98/lb, but they were all 8 to 10 pounds, so I got one that was almost 9 pounds, so we will cut it up and get 3 roasts out of it. I got the canned green beans to try out. Winco brands have been about 75% hit and 25% miss for us, so I only ever get one new item of a type to try. We are almost out of what I canned this summer, so if we like these I'll get a few cases. They are only 50 cents each.

Next up was Trader Joe's where I spent $114.57 and I bought:

2 reusable grocery bags
8 bags of chicken fried rice
2 bags of roasted potatoes and peppers
6 bags of frozen chicken Alfredo Fettucine
1 bag of frozen sliced leeks
2 packages uncured beef hot dogs
1 box cod fish nuggets
1 bag organic string cheese
1 2 lb bag of organic colorful carrots
1 tube of ginger paste
1 chunk of St. Andre triple cream Brie
1 iceberg lettuce
3 lb bag of Mandarin oranges
5 lbs of organic red potatoes
8 lbs of organic gold potatoes

Next stop was Haggen, where I spent $30.55 and bought:

1 bottle of Wok Mai Hoison sauce
1 log of chevré (soft goat cheese)
1 chunk of Merlot Parmesan cheese
1 bottle of ground ginger
1 1/2 gallon of milk

Then today we went to Costco first and bought some household stuff but that comes out of the household budget, and only one food item that came to $8.49.

1 quart of Strawberry Jam

Since we were on that side of town we swung by the Food Co-op and spent $21.97. I bought:

1 8 oz jar of minced ginger
1 1/2 gallon of eggnog (only DH drinks this)
1 dozen duck eggs

The eggnog has $1.75 bottle deposit which we will get back when we return the bottle to the store. It is from a local dairy that does all of its milk, buttermilk, and cream in glass bottles. DH just likes that brand of eggnog better than anything that comes in a carton. If he hadn't been with me, I wouldn't have bought it. Duck eggs are due to me having a chicken egg allergy. They are expensive, but they are so big I generally only eat one at a time, not two.

Finally, we went to Safeway and spent $37.64 on:

2 lbs Dietz and Watson London Broil deli meat
1 lb Dietz and Watson Homestyle turkey deli meat
1 orange bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper

The deli meat is pricey, but it doesn't have additives and preservatives and it was on sale for half price. I stock up and freeze some when it goes on sale because the normal price is $13.99 a pound, so $7.99 a pound is a much preferred price. Fortunately it goes on sale about twice a month.

So that is everything I purchased and I spent a total of $348.33. That leaves me with $51.67 to buy milk, bread, lettuce, and spinach next week. Now I need to sit down and make up my meal plan.

Payday Report for 12/28/18

December 30th, 2018 at 09:33 pm

$268.74 Tithe
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
__75.00 Household Envelope
_900.00 Dental Crown
__61.74 Life Insurance DH
__60.46 Life Insurance Me
_100.00 Blow Money Adults
_120.00 Allowances
_500.00 Monster Mom Loan Payment
-----------
2485.94 Total Money Out

Mom Loan Milestone

December 28th, 2018 at 04:10 pm

Well, when everything was said and sifted, I had a spare $500 left this month, so I made an extra loan payment to Mom today. And that brings me to a milestone goal of getting the loan down to $25K! I didn't think I was going to accomplish that this year, but we are squeaking in just under the wire.

$25,500.00 Balance Forward
-__,500.00 Payment Made
$25,000.00 New Balance

I Have a Hard Time Spending Money on Myself

December 28th, 2018 at 02:00 am

Today was a pretty decent day. Yesterday sucked and I thought I was going to get super sick again, but it passed by this morning and I had a lot more energy than I've had in weeks. DS and I spent some time cleaning up the living room and kitchen. More work needs to be done. It's been almost a month since I've felt up to doing anything, but at least we made some progress.

DS and I went to Lowe's today and bought a new microwave. Our old one has been having issues for a while of not heating food evenly and taking too long to defrost and overheating food in a shorter amount of time than it should be. We only had to contribute $16.31 to the cost of the microwave. The other $200 came from MIL. It was the money she gave us when she bought SIL a chrome book. She likes to keep things even between DH and SIL these days.

This is a nicer microwave than we've ever owned. It has 2 cubic feet of capacity, which will be really nice. I've always worried about big things touching the sides or top of the microwave while defrosting. We had some pretty big cuts of things from the hog we got last year and I could definitely defrost a 14 pound ham in this thing if necessary. And two whole chickens side by side.

It does have that stupid quick time thing that I hate. I prefer to just punch in the time I want to use instead of having to push a button first to program an exact time. I hate that if you just touch the 1 it takes off cooking for one minute. But the only microwaves that didn't have that feature were .7 cubic foot dorm room ones that were so tiny you would be lucky to make a large TV dinner in them. But otherwise it is lovely and I can deal with that issue.

It is also completely black. I don't like the combination black and stainless ones, I don't like white, I don't like black and white, and I don't like straight stainless (which cost $50 more). I was happy to find a fully black one in our price range. The only thing that would make me happier is if I could have found one in teal to match my toaster, Kuerig, and KitchenAid stand mixer.

I still haven't spent any of the $200 MIL gave me for Christmas. I have been thinking about getting a hand mixer for those smaller baking batches where I don't want to do the much bigger one. They don't have one that matches the stand mixer. Teal has been discontinued unfortunately, but they do have Crystal Blue, which I like, but I think will clash. *sighs* So probably I will get onyx black.

Then I want to get a new liner pot for my Power Cooker XL. I am thinking of getting a stainless steel Instant Pot one. I've used the one from the IP in the PCXL to test it and it works perfectly. I also want to get a lid for the pot so I can just put bone broth in the fridge until I am ready to strain it, and not have to worry about something getting in it by accident. I once shut the fridge door to hard and the ketchup bottle ended up in my bone broth, so yeah.

I'm not sure what else I want, though. Maybe an otovent, since the last time my ears were blocked was a nightmare. Maybe a couple of sweaters from Woman Within. They have long ones that go down to mid-thigh. My butt is always cold in the winter so it would be nice to have a sweater or two that would help with that.

Or I could get a new Fitbit. Did I tell you guys that I accidentally flushed my first one? Or at least that is what I think happened, about two months after I got it. I was so mad at myself.

I have been saving up my allowance for the last few months, too. Except for the occasional double cheeseburger or taco, I don't spend my allowance on anything. I might just keep all the money to have to pay an editor to edit my book when it is done. But I really do want to get at least the liner pot. The sweaters can come out of the clothing envelope.

I have a hard time spending money on myself. I am okay with spending money for things that benefit the whole family. I am fine when I just give MIL a list and she buys me stuff, but when she gives money I tend to hold onto it. I will likely at least keep it until my birthday in February and then combine my birthday money into it and then decide what to do from there.

$6K Coming

December 24th, 2018 at 12:04 am

MIL is going to be giving us $6000 before the end of the year. I am going to put it into the medical account so that we will have the money to pay for DD's surgery. It will be nice to start the year without having to worry about having to scrape up money for the deductible and out of pocket max.

I will continue to deposit money into the account each payday as well, but with this money, I don't have to worry quite so much that we will have enough in there to meet our needs. We will.

Maybe DH will get that raise that his boss is trying to get for him. I know it is unlikely, but it would be wonderful if it happened. He has made a very big, positive impression at work, gone above and beyond the call of duty, and saved a project that no one thought could get done on time, and his boss would really like his pay to reflect that. He has worked there a year now, but only 6 months as permanent so it still may just be too soon. But I can hope.



Hope is a Wonderful Thing

December 21st, 2018 at 06:34 pm

I would have updated yesterday, but with the violence of the windstorm here yesterday, we were having power surges and so I shut down the computers and internet box for most of the day. We didn't lose power ourselves, but my MIL did and had to spend the night in a hotel. She has it back today, though. The damage is pretty bad in places.

I am really glad we zip-tied and used rope to secure our Christmas standees to the deck or we would have lost them all. The zip-tied ones stayed in place. The one tied on with rope was blown off the deck, but was still attached to it. We are in for more of the same in the next couple of days, but today has been still. At least it wasn't like the tornado that touched down in Port Orchard, but there for a while, I wasn't sure.

I am just glad that DD's appointment at Virginia Mason was the day before and we weren't driving in that stuff. The appointment went really well. The doctor prescribed a nerve pain drug for her that is working very well already. She also, and this is what I still have a hard time believing, agreed to do a laparoscopic surgery on DD. We have been trying to get a gynocologist to do this for 6 years. She said she will try.

With DD's weight issues, and the way that you have to be tilted with your head down during the surgery, there is still a chance that they might have to stop if breathing becomes an issue, but that if there isn't one, they will go forward with the surgery. So hopefully there won't be any issues and they can go in and see if there really is endometriosis and take care of it. The doctor thinks there is based on all her symptoms and on the fact that we've eliminated everything else.

I am so glad I looked into Virginia Mason. I wish I'd thought of them when the UW said no. Then maybe DD wouldn't have had to suffer all these years. Apparently its a familiar story that UW turns overweight people away. It also helps to have found a practice that specializes in this disease.

Even if nothing comes of the attempt at surgery, just having the nerve pain medicine is such an improvement in her quality of life already that it may help to make her a functional human being again.

The surgery scheduler will be calling next week after the insurance has been approved. I still can't believe someone is going to try to help her. This weird feeling of hope is something I am not used to anymore, but it is nice to be cautiously optimistic for the first time in forever.

And Away We Go

December 19th, 2018 at 10:14 am

Well, we are about to head down to Virginia Mason to see if the doctors there will actually do something about my daughter's high likelihood of endometriosis, or if we will yet again be faced with another set of doctors who are too worried about getting sued to do a surgery on a patient who is higher risk.

I don't hold out a lot of hope, to be honest. We've just heard it so many times. But these doctors do specialize in it and they've had to have had patients with my daughter's issues before, so maybe. Keep your fingers crossed for us today. Prayers for a doctor willing to do something would be greatly appreciated.

Monster Mom Loan Payment with Chart

December 18th, 2018 at 06:15 pm



$26,000.00 Balance Owed
-__,500.00 Amount Paid
---------------
$25,500.00 New Balance

$500 to go to hit the next milestone! Looking forward to that one.

The Money Arrived

December 17th, 2018 at 05:18 pm

The money made it safely back to our checking account from the PayPal hack. I am still pretty annoyed with PayPal for letting this happen in the first place. Now I can go ahead and write out the rest of the bills, the tithe, and fund the funds I need to fund from Friday's paycheck. I held off to be sure the money would come through.

I am checking the account daily for a while just to be sure everything is safe. I hate this feeling of violation. We are so careful with our finances. It makes me furious that other people, other companies, are not careful with our finances. We have worked so hard to keep our credit clean and never be late with payments and to see that put in jeopardy leaves you with a sickening, sinking feeling in your stomach.

Paypal is very useless with its customer service. We were just really lucky to be able to solve everything ourselves, because they have their heads so far up their collective nether regions when it comes to helping people it is ridiculous. We were told there was nothing they could do about any of it and they weren't going to file anything with their fraud department since the money was still sitting there. I mean, seriously, you'd think they'd want to track these things, but no. They don't really care at all. We won't be doing business with them again.

On the plus side, I am feeling better today than yesterday. No more cracking in my ears. I still am exhausted and needing to sleep a lot, but the runny nose is less today than yesterday. I hope to have shaken this off by the end of the week. It would be nice to be fully well before Christmas. Even though we don't really have much planned, everything will be low-key, it would be much better to not spend the day in bed too sick to do anything.

I am not sure if I will make my dietbet now or not. We had a lot of takeout while I was too sick to cook and the sodium made me gain a few pounds back. I am hoping it will come off with homecooking for the next week, but I'm not 100% sure I'll get there. We will be down in Seattle on Wednesday, which means we will probably have one meal out if things take to long. We will pack a lunch, though, and hopefully that will be enough if we don't get stuck in rush hour traffic on the way home. Her appointment is at 2:45 and will likely run an hour, so I doubt we'll likely be leaving right at 4:00. Not the worst time, but not the greatest, either, to be on the freeway.

Identity Theft Again

December 16th, 2018 at 07:55 pm

The last several days have been pretty awful and not just because of my cold, although that was bad, too. My ears blocked up on the 12th and only cleared this morning. If I thought I was dizzy and the world was spinning before, every time I tried to pop my ears it also felt like I was on a sail boat in rough water. I have had spinning before, but never up and down dizziness. I had to just close my eyes and sit still for several minutes and wait for it to stop. It is nice to be able to hear properly again. I'm still not over this thing, but it is down to a runny nose now and tiredness now, which is a huge improvement.

The bad part, financially is two-fold. One, someone used DH's Best Buy account to order a laptop. They swamped his email with Russian subscriptions to try to hide the message from Best Buy, but DH has it set up so that certain emails always go to the top. It was ordered by some guy named Todd Peterson in Oregon. DH was able to cancel it and changed the password on his Best Buy account. They had charged it to a credit card number that looked familiar, but wasn't one of our current credit card numbers. I think it might have been one of our numbers before we were issued new cards with new numbers due to identity theft six months ago. If so, I'm not sure how he managed to even order it. Anyway, it got taken care of it, but it was worrying.

Then we found out DH's Paypal account had been hacked. Someone changed the main email on it to a different one, but left his as a secondary. They also changed the language to Spanish. They had also withdrawn $1000 from our checking account, which I normally would have caught much sooner, but I've been sick and doing the bare minimum with finances. Fortunately the money was still sitting there in his account and once he was able to get into it and change it back into English he deleted that foreign e-mail and changed his password, set it so his phone had to be texted for anything on the account could be changed again, and deleted all cards or checking accounts from Paypal.

I went on to Paypal for myself and everything looked fine for me. As with all instances of identity theft so far, they have had to do with DH's info. I changed my password just to be on the safe side and set it up with my phone to be texted if anyone tried to change anything and then DH transferred the $1000 to me and I transferred it back to our checking account. Hopefully it will be there on Monday. Fortunately we had enough money in the account to cover everything we had paid out. I will be making it a priority to be checking our checking accounts every few days now, even when I feel like death.

So while it was a major hassle, at least no money was permanently stolen from us. The third thing that happened is the new computer DH bought is not working after a week. He bought it directly from HP and it quit functioning a week in. He decided to do a reset to factory settings and it erased the drive. So he's been trying to get HP support, but they have very limited hours and no one is there on weekends. Seems like a poor way to run a business in this day and age. He is going to send it back and either get his money back or get a new one.

I am hoping they will just give him a new one. I was worried about him buying it from them direct instead of through Best Buy, where we at least have Geek Squad protection. Of course, that was before the Best Buy hack. He did it because he could get a better computer that way for the same money. Not better if it doesn't work.

I hope this is the last we see of this nonsense, but I realize we may very well be dealing with this for some time. Stupid companies that can't protect our information. That $1000 could have caused a world of hurt if we'd lost it.

Found Out About the Bonus

December 11th, 2018 at 04:34 pm

So DH's end of year bonus will be $1600 in cash, but that is before taxes, so not sure what it will be afterwards. Bonuses get taxed weirdly, I believe at 25%, so we'll only see $1200 of that, though some of it will come back in our tax refund. He will also get 1 percent of all wages earned put into his 401K with 100% matching, since we haven't hit 5% of income on our own yet. That will only be based on his earned wages since becoming a permanent employee, and he became one in July, I think.

His last paycheck says he has earned $37,192.50 since becoming a permanent employee, and it is probably going to be calculated after Friday's paycheck. So we should end up with something over $800 extra into the 401K. Nice little chunk of change. It's been a few years since DH has worked with a company that did bonuses. If it is calculated after the last paycheck of the month than it will be closer to $1000.

My cold seems to have moved up into my head now. After driving yesterday I decided I don't want to drive today in the storm we are having. I thought I was ready to drive yesterday, but I had trouble focusing and ended up running a red light. Thankfully it was at an empty intersection and no cops were around. That is the first time in my life I have run a red light. So clearly I am not clear-headed enough to drive yet. I will wait until Thursday before I try again assuming the cold continues to vacate the premises and I am not a dizzy-headed mess.

Tonight for dinner I am making beef pot roast in the Instant Pot, steamed potatoes in the Power Cooker XL, and broccoli in the microwave. No baby-sitting, no fuss, very little mess. It is nice having two electric pressure cookers when I don't have a stove. It makes things much easier for me.

I hope I am with it enough by Friday to do the banking and the grocery shopping. We are getting low on some items and with DH heading out to MIL's after work to work on cleaning out her attic and garage, he isn't able to do the shopping either. I'm making due, but it would be nice to have fresh greens again. I have enough potatoes, carrots, and plenty of onions to last the rest of the week, and I have canned green beans, and there are oranges and apples, so we won't go without. But it isn't salad. I might have cabbage, though. I could do cole slaw instead if I do.

I have a ton of canned, frozen, and freeze dried foods, but sometimes you just want that fresh produce factor in the middle of winter. We are getting low on bread and milk, though I think it will just make it to Friday. I am meal planning carefully, but I think we will pull it off okay.

Turned the Corner

December 10th, 2018 at 03:39 pm

This is one of the worst winter colds I have ever had, but I think I have finally turned the corner. I got up and got dressed for the first time since December 2nd. My cough is up in my throat now instead of my lungs or bronchials. I still definitely have a lot of mucus and am pretty tired, but I think I could drive today without being a risk to others. I haven't even been in a car since the 1st, let alone driven.

I even started a load of laundry, there is a huge backlog, though DH did his work clothes, but I have to take it slow. I am still a little dizzy when I bend over, so I reckon DS will have to take the clothes out of the dryer and bring them to my bed so I can fold them. But I am not dizzy when I am upright. It was so bad there for a while that being upright was too much.

There is talk of a Christmas or year end bonus at DH's work. I know when he filled out paperwork to become a permanent employee there was a sheet about a company bonus that goes into the 401K. I don't know if it all goes in or if some can be gotten as cash. We could use cash for medical bills. I don't even know if he will qualify, because while he has worked for them for a year, it has only been 6 months direct, so I'm not counting any chickens. It would be nice, though.

Considering the job he is doing, he should get one, but I don't know how these things work. They are pretty eager to hang on to him. His boss has put in for a raise for him, so keep your fingers crossed that he gets one.

He has been getting rumblings about slope work. One company even asked if they could put him in on their bid. DH said no for now because he really doesn't want to go back to Alaska. He likes where he is at. But it would be a possibility. I don't really want him to go away again. We spent the first twenty years of our marriage with him gone so much for work, now that he is home I have gotten used to it.

I know I could get used to him leaving again, but there is so much I can't keep up on anymore. That's why we don't have chickens, or turkeys, or ducks anymore. And why we've cut back significantly on the number of rabbits. I am even debating on whether or not I want to plant a garden this year. If I do, I will probably only plant a few beds.

Mom and DS want to put up Christmas lights, so DH went and dug out some of our standees (stand alone lights). We have our polar bears, our train, our seal with a present on his nose, our Season's Greetings, two presents, and our giant snowflake. We need to get a cable to secure the seal to the porch. Everything else will be zip-tied to the deck rail or up to high for someone to get without a ladder, but I am not losing that seal to theft. It was too expensive.

I have no idea why Mom wants to put up lights this year, except that there are tons of houses on our block who have put them up and our house looks pretty dark and naked without them. One of our next door neighbors doesn't have anything either, but that is pretty much it. She isn't the type to keep up with the Jones's normally.

I don't know when they will actually get put up though. DH and DS have been helping MIL to clean out her attic and garage to get ready for the exterminator to come, new insulation to be laid, a new breaker box put in, and a new furnace and AC to be installed. She's getting $40K of work done. FIL was a pack rat and there is a lot to get rid of. So far they have hauled away 1013 pounds of garbage. DH is finding tax files and paperwork from the 70's. We have a roving shredder business that you can get to come by and shred all your old paperwork and MIL is thinking of hiring them.

I haven't been able to help at all, although considering how much dust and rat droppings and loose insulation there is, that is a good thing. With my asthma it is just not a good idea, even with a mask on.

They are going out again tonight after DH gets off work and hopefully that will be the end of it until the weekend. DH didn't get any rest this weekend at all because he was out there. I am worried he is going to come down with my cold, because he has started coughing, but that might just be in reaction to all the dust. I don't like it when he burns the candle at both ends. He is getting some help from his sister and her boyfriend, so it isn't just my guys.

I just don't want him to get sick and have to stay home from work. And I need him to be well to drive us down to Virginia Mason on the 19th. I hate driving in Seattle traffic. I've done it a couple of times because in the past DH was in Alaska, but it is something that scares me because they drive worse in Seattle than they do in Orange County. In Seattle, no one knows what a blinker is, people zip back and forth between lanes even when there is no space to do so safely, assuming the lanes aren't at a standstill. Pedestrians jaywalk constantly despite having plenty of cross walks. And don't get me started on the bicyclists, who apparently don't like to use bike lanes, but would rather take their lives and yours into their hands and act like they are immortal. Even the bus drivers are a little nuts.

Almost all the streets are one way and half the time you can't go around the block for several blocks. People block intersections so badly that I've sat through five or six light cycles before it has been clear to go. The drivers are so aggressive, too. So yeah, DH needs to be well for that, because I am currently not up to that challenge.

Update Complete with Nasty Cold

December 6th, 2018 at 06:04 pm

On Sunday I woke up with a cough that progressively moved lower and lower this week until I sounded like a deep bass male. For the record I'm a contralto on a normal day. I no longer sound like a man, but my voice is in the tenor range. I am still coughing like crazy. I did write a chapter on Saturday, but haven't touched the book since. I find it better not to write when I'm taking this much cold medicine.

I have managed, barely, to make dinner the past 2 nights, thanks to the Instant Pot and a supply of beef and pork roasts. I am managing to eat one meal a day and the rest of the day I am just drinking bone broth, which thank goodness I had made on Saturday. I need to make more but the idea of it is a little overwhelming.

I've been sleeping a lot, and binge watching Say Yes to the Dress on Hulu. I don't generally like reality TV shows. Dancing with the Stars is the only one, really. I'm not terribly into fashion either. But this show is like candy. No substance, but some really beautiful creations. It's like art with fabric as the medium. Better yet it is completely mindless so I didn't have to focus on a plot at all, because honestly, I couldn't right now if I tried.

I did manage to take a shower and that's all I'm going to manage today. It wiped me out, but it was worth it. I'll have DH pick up take out tonight. Probably Polynesian so there will be some vegetables in it. All I want to do is crawl back into bed, but I'm trying to stay upright for a couple of hours until DH gets home and can change the sheets. The idea of doing it by myself is exhausting.

I hope this starts to go away soon. It hurts and I was just starting to feel really good after a week on the diet. Well, I'm still on the diet and I've lost a lot, but once my appetite comes back, I'm not sure what will happen. Currently I am .9 lbs from my dietbet goal weight and it hasn't been quite two weeks yet. I have been off the Pepsi for a week as well.

I can already see a huge difference in our grocery budget. Pepsi was starting to take a huge chunk out of it. DH is off it, too, so we aren't buying it at all. I can't believe I let myself get addicted to it again, but at least that is over.

DH's office Christmas Party is Saturday. I won't be able to go and I feel really bad about it, because we had to RSVP. It's a catered buffet. Although they are serving alcohol which usually means someone will make an idiot of themselves. I'm going to tell him to ask his mother to go. I think that she would enjoy having an evening out with her son. I was really looking forward to it, too. We haven't gone out for a night away from the kids in ages.

DH had to order a new cushion for his c-pap mask, so that was $67.95 out of the medical fund. I ordered two prescription refills today, too, but don't know the cost of that yet. Otherwise we haven't been spending. It's hard to spend when you can't leave your bed. Not impossible, Amazon exists after all, but harder.

DD has an appointment at Virginia Mason with a doctor that specializes in endometriosis on the 19th. My goal is for us to be well by then. DD has the cold, too. Although we are still going even if we aren't. I am going to get the name of the anesthesiologist who worked on her for her gall bladder surgery before we go to prove that there is one that is willing to do a laparoscopic surgery for her. Then it'll be a question of convincing the doctor.

DD doesn't care about the risks. She has no quality of life, so to her it is worth any risk to try to get this taken care of. She can't work, she can't go to school, she just exists in a pain-filled lump. I remember these symptoms well from my days with this disease. But I didn't have to fight for treatment because I was at a normal weight. Hopefully this doctor will be compassionate enough to try. None of the ones around here are, but then again, they don't specialize in this disease.

Productive Morning

November 28th, 2018 at 02:20 pm

I woke up very early this morning, at 4:30, and couldn't get back to sleep so from 5:30 to 7:30 I worked on editing. I rewrote a significant chunk of chapter twelve and added a scene to the end of chapter eight. Then I went through chapters 13, 14, and 15 and did a proofread, then a line edit, so at the moment the book is edited right up to the start of chapter sixteen, which I hope to finish writing today. If I get ambitious or into the right flow state, I will start chapter seventeen.

I paid a doctor's bill of $253. It was for the initial consult with DS's sleep doctor. He did spend an entire hour with us, but still, ouch, new patient visits are getting expensive. We won't know anything real about DS's sleep study until the techs have had a chance to read the results. That could be a couple of weeks yet.

At 8 a.m. I went back to bed and slept until 12:30. I have another doctor's bill to pay but have to wait until Friday to pay it. It is $125 and I only have $112 left in the medical fund after all the bills I have paid this week. But I'll be putting in the standard $400 deposit on Friday and then hopefully a little extra.

DH hasn't had a chance yet to straighten out the hospital bill. He probably won't until Friday when he only has to work a couple of hours. Since he can go in at any time on Friday, I recommended he use the morning to clear this up and then go into work.

I hope he gets more overtime soon. I would really like to fill up the medical account in preparation for the deductible starting over in January. I hate it when things are a struggle. I just want to get more than our heads above water. I'd much prefer waist deep or wading levels than this constant treading of water.

Maybe once I get this book done and self-published I might be able to earn a little something on it that will help with this situation. Here's hoping.

Not Much New Here

November 27th, 2018 at 07:57 pm

The diet is going well so far. Famous last words, though. It always goes well in the beginning. I've lost 5.6 pounds.

Yesterday I wrote 5664 words on the novel. That was two chapters, plus 882 words into the next chapter. The day before that I wrote one chapter of 2500 or so words. So after a 27 day stall I've put out 4 and 1/3 chapters.

I didn't spend any time on it today, mostly because my right wrist hurts, but I did spend a bunch of time watching writer videos on youtube. I am learning a lot. I've been writing for a long time, but I find there is always more to learn.

I think there are a few books I want to get on writing, too, but that will have to wait until I have more money. Or maybe that is what I can get from MIL. They are ebooks, though, so she'll have to give me cash. I'm not sure you can buy an ebook that is delivered to someone else. Maybe if we buy from my account and use her credit card? Anyone bought an ebook to be delivered to someone else?

I made a payment to the dentist yesterday for DH's crown. It was $473. I owe an additional $400, so will pay $200 this coming payday and another $200 the payday after that. Ugh. HR signed us up for the wrong dental plan, which is why the crown wasn't covered. We still don't know why the dental insurance said that it was covered at 50% during pre-approval, though.

We also have to resubmit a hospital bill to the insurance company because something went wrong somewhere. Another ugh. I wish people could just do their jobs correctly. We should only owe half of what it says. DH is working on sorting it.

All of the OT money is going to be eaten up, though. It's annoying. Just when we finally feel like we are pulling ahead we fall back again. And who knows how much DS's sleep study is going to cost. At least $1000, possibly much more. They kept him for a second day for further study so I am pretty sure that means they found something. His dad will be picking him up in about five minutes to bring him home, so hopefully they will be able to convey things properly. I am just too wiped out today to go pick him up and talk to them myself.

On the plus side, after getting further info from the doctor, the insurance company decided to authorize the enbrel. Now I have to find the paperwork she gave me about it, because it has the phone number of the pharmacy that mails the drug out and the info for the discount card. I kept track of it until it was denied the first time. I know I didn't throw it away, though, so after a bit of serious looking it should turn up.

DH and I got the HBO add on package for Hulu and have been working our way through Game of Thrones. He's watched it before, but I resisted due to the language, violence, and nudity. I finally gave in a while ago and now we are down to the last episode which we will watch tonight. Then nothing more until April. It is very good. There is more violence on The Walking Dead and I think there was actually more graphic nudity in True Blood.

I have also been watching Westworld on my own because I really enjoy the actors Ben Barnes and Evan Rachel Wood. But the amount of nudity in it is astonishing. I mean I know the robots aren't humans, but you'd think some of the human techs would be uncomfortable with people that look like humans just walking around like that all the time. I don't care whether you are human or a robot, if you have your stuff hanging out casually, it is going to embarrass me and make me uncomfortable. But the story is so good. I think it would be better without the gratuitous nudity, though.

I think HBO, Netflix, and a lot of show makers today could do with leaving just a little bit more to the imagination. The stories they are telling are intricate and could easily stand on their own and the majority of the language and nudity just don't further the plot. A good story-teller can convey it all without these crutches. They simply choose not to because they think shock value is more important in drawing viewers than the story. They are wrong. I am watching the story in spite of all that stuff, not because of it.

Household Purchases and Building a Desk

November 24th, 2018 at 06:05 pm

DH has made a couple of household purchases this week. He spent $20 on a cast iron heating duct cover for the bathroom floor. The heating duct in the bathroom is really close to the toilet and sometimes gets stepped on. It is really poorly placed and it should have been moved when the remodel was done a few years ago, but they didn't do it.

We have broken the last two plastic covers in a relatively short amount of time. This one is solid. You can literally stand on top of it with no issue whatsoever. Not that we will on purpose, but the fact that we can without it breaking is wonderful.

Then today he picked up a box of screws and spent $12. He needed it to assemble the desk he and DS are building. DH got two gorgeous desk top pieces about a year ago free from a store that was at the end of a close out sale and just wanted to get rid of them. They had been trying to sell them for $5 the week before, but there had been no takers.

So they built legs for it and DS sanded them and stained them a really pretty dark blue that will match the curtains and bed spread in the room. They will finish the assembly today and put it in his room. The only thing it won't have yet is a pull out keyboard drawer. DS will be purchasing that and attaching it once he has saved up the money for it. We paid for the wood to make the legs, the stain, and the screws. I told DS that if he wanted the drawer he had to pony up the money himself.

The great thing about this is they were able to cut the legs to the exact right height for DS to work comfortably at it. Sometimes when you are tall the desks are way too short. As for the other desk top, DH put it on top of an old high sewing table he'd inherited years ago for his own desk. It looks great and gives him much more surface area. He didn't even need to attach it so many out on that one at all. Not bad for free.

Food Holidays

November 23rd, 2018 at 07:37 pm

Well, I've successfully made it 2/3 of the way through the food holiday gamut. I did not indulge in Halloween at all and I had a very balanced plate of food on Thanksgiving (no desserts, my carbs went to stuffing and potatoes, which I'd always rather eat).

However my day to day choices have sucked this year, I'm eating poorly and I'm back on Pepsi (sugar kind, not corn syrup kind), and all my clothes are tight. The store where I usually clothes shop is going out of business soon so I wouldn't even be able to buy new clothes. And I shouldn't. I have plenty of clothes one size down, so I signed up for a $30 Dietbet.

It will hopefully give me motivation to get back on track every day of the week. It starts on the 25th. I wavered a bit on choosing the one I did and one that starts on the 26th. The one I chose has less players and a smaller pot, but that always feels more intimate than being lost in a horde.

Mine's called The End of Year Showdown with Cristinadown100 and is a 4 week Kickstarter. I need to lose 13.5 pounds in that amount of time. I should be able to do that because I'll be getting back off the soda and that is usually ten pounds of retained water right there.

Normally I don't like to do Kickstarters, I like to do the Transformers which last six months, but I don't have that amount of money in my blow money envelope. I always like to prepay the entire six months because then you get one month's discount. So the plan is to do the Kickstarters. leave the money in, and hopefully earn enough to pay for a Transformer.

Thanksgiving was okay this year. MIL bailed the night before, which was disapointing, because I'd bought a ham specifically for her. She decided to spend the evening with her daughter instead, even though they are doing a Thanksgiving for that side on Saturday and SIL will be there. I don't know. It was very hurtful. The kids and DH were not happy.

It's the same kind of favoritism she often shows towards her daughter over her son and her children over ours. I should be used to it by now, but I'm not, because it hurts my family. I am choosing to not make a fuss, though. MIL has been very generous to us financially this year. I guess it is okay if she just wants to throw money at us and not see us. I'm not sure what that means for Christmas, but I'm bracing for a repeat.

I did find MIL a lovely gift for Christmas, though. It is a beautiful blanket with a carousel horse on it. She collects carousel horses and music boxes and it has gotten harder and harder to find her one she doesn't have or that plays something other than the carousel waltz, which she has come to loathe. DS ordered the camera he wants with his Christmas money so that should be here soon. I have purchased part of my own gift which is a queen size electric blanket. The other part of my gift is season 11 of The Big Bang Theory.

DD wants to get an electric blanket like the one I got for me and a really good heating pad. DH is narrowing down what he wants and then he'll order that and Christmas shopping will be done for the year. We don't exchange gifts with my side of the family. We quit years ago. I will likely make some fudge for my mother, though. We are on budget, so I am thrilled. We might even have $50 left.

I don't think I am going to make a turkey with all the trimmings for Christmas this year. Tearing up the bread for the stuffing and doing all the stirring for the gravy did a number on my wrists and I'm not sure I want to repeat that any time soon. Even with DH and DS peeling and chopping the potatoes, it was just too much.

I think things are just going to be very low key. We'll go out and look at lights this year, though. We skipped that the last two years and I miss doing it. Although it'll probably be a few days before Christmas. So many people go away for the holidays that you can miss some really good displays if you wait until the day of or the night before. I just want to keep it all simple. I'm tired of putting out effort, to be honest.

Pre-preparing for Thanksgiving

November 20th, 2018 at 07:52 pm

I took the turkey out of the freezer on Saturday and except for a bit in the center it is thawed out. So one more day and it should be fully defrosted. The ham is also thawed. I'll be making the picnic ham in the crock pot, 4 hours on low with one cup of water. It comes out perfect that way every time.

Tomorrow I will be tearing up bread for the stuffing and making it so that all I have to do on Thursday morning is put the stuffing in the bird.

DH and DS are on potato peeling and chopping duty. That is the hardest one for me to do with my hands the way they are.

I am going to do the green beans in the instant pot from fresh. They turn out beautifully that way and I can do them ahead of time and then just keep them on warm.

We are keeping it very simple this year. Ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, gravy, and sliced oranges. Normally I do corn, but last year there was a lot of corn left over and this year my biggest corn eater can no longer eat corn, so I'll just eliminate it and save myself the extra step. I need DH to find out if his mother wants a can of cranberry jelly. None of us eat it and I can't remember if it was her or FIL who liked it.

I haven't decided about desert yet. I might ask mom to make an apple or blueberry pie (she has home-canned pie filling on hand and I think I have TJ's frozen pie crusts in the freezer) or I might make pumpkin cheesecake. I have to get out to the store and see if I can find the right kind of graham crackers for crust. Trader Joe's is the safe brand (or Annie's graham cracker bunnies) but if I go, I have to go early as their parking lot is a nightmare after eleven on a normal day. I can't even imagine how bad it will be the day before Thanksgiving. I also need to get some Yukon gold organic potatoes there.

Then I have to go find the safe type of plain cream cheese, which is at the food co-op. Having kids with allergies is so much fun. At least there are versions of things I can use, though.

I need to go through the freezer and pull out all the bread heels I've been saving for the last six months and let them thaw out tonight for making the stuffing tomorrow and then see if I need to add anymore bread in. I have an extra loaf if needed since we buy two loaves at a time. I already have sage and poultry seasoning. I don't know when they stopped putting sage in poultry seasoning, but it irritates me that they quit. It's been at least four years now since I've been able to find a brand with sage in it.

I am going to make up frozen TV dinners again with the majority of the leftovers. They are very convenient to have during the winter. I have many days during the cold season when I don't feel like cooking, so if I can just whip these out we all have a good home-cooked meal anyway. I can do both turkey and ham dinners, too. We will be making an extra five pounds of potatoes so we will have plenty for these TV dinners, too.

Aside from that I also have planned a regular night of just leftovers, then leftover turkey casserole, turkey noodle soup with warm ham sandwiches, and some turkey enchiladas to use up leftovers. I might make loaded baked potato soup with ham instead of bacon as well. We'll see what is left. I will also dice up leftover ham to use in omelettes and egg bricks. I will freeze the diced ham and take it out as needed. I will dice up some turkey for salads, as well.

If I plan like this going in, then I don't waste and that is important when you are using an expensive organic turkey. Well, that is important period. No need to throw any food dollars out the window.

Payday Report for 11/16/18 Plus Lots of Miscellany

November 16th, 2018 at 06:00 pm

Been a while since I felt well enough to do one of these, but things are improving with the rheumatoid arthritis this week after about three weeks in full inflamation mode and I am typing with relative ease again, which is why I've been posting this week at all.

We had some overtime this week, 10 hours. All of it went to DH's crown, because it turns out our dental insurance didn't cover any of it, even though it said it would when they did the preauthorization. DH is going to talk to HR at work, because the plan they say they have they don't. So that means we have to come up with another $700 or so out of pocket.

I was able to put $600 into the medical fund instead of the usual $400 this payday, but that means that all of that will have to go towards the crown. Fortunately with this deposit there is $961 in the medical fund. We won't have the breathing room I had hoped for, but we will be able to pay for the rest of the crown.

I have done the budget for December and I am including the extra paycheck for November 30th onto that budget and not the November budget, since it is paying for December things. So on 11/30 I can put $400 into the medical fund and on 12/14 I can put in $700, and on 12/28 I can put in $900.

DS has a sleep study on November 26th (at least if they don't reschedule again) and I am not sure how much that will cost us. The family deductible is $2000 and DD has met $1000 of it (her limit), and I know I have met some of it. I think maybe $500. I know DD has met her out of pocket max, but I think that has a per person as well as a per family, too.

So I don't know for sure whether or not we will have any money left for next year's deductible. That $1500 for the crown instead of $750 is blowing us out of the water. Plus DH wants to get new glasses. He's more than due. At least the vision is decent, but it'll still be around $200. He's getting cheap frames no matter what. Nothing fancy. He's already cost us too much medical money with that crown, even if half of it had been covered.

Here's what went out today:

$319.93 Tithe
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
_600.00 Medical Fund
__75.00 Household Envelope
_596.31 DH's Crown (plus additional from last payday)
__61.74 DH Life Insurance
__60.46 Me Life Insurance
_100.00 Blow Money Adults
_120.00 Allowances
_100.00 Clothing Envelope
_100.00 Christmas Envelope
_172.84 Computer Fund
----------------
3051.38 Total Money Out

DH purchased his new computer online today, so the computer fund is now wiped out. I'll start over in December, but I think at only at $50 a month. We were doing $100 because DH's was on it's last legs and it really felt like a race to the finish line on whether or not it would last until we had the money. His was five years old.

We all have newish computers now. Mine is the oldest at barely two years old and it is still in excellent shape, so there is no urgency to build the fund back up. Still, I want to have something going in there, and it is possible a phone could go and have to be replaced, though it is doubtful. I don't think any of them are a year old yet. Maybe mine. But it is serviceable. Who knows what the status of my computer will be in another year and having the money sitting there to replace it if it goes kaput is always the better option.

Monster Mom Loan Paydown with Chart

November 16th, 2018 at 05:28 pm



I threw another $500 at the Monster Mom Loan today.

$26,500.00 Starting Balance
-__,500.00 Amount Paid
------------
$26,000.00 Balance Remaining

Two more months and it'll be $25,000 left, which is a big milestone achievement for us. I am so looking forward to it.

Medical Money and Cystoscopy Results

November 15th, 2018 at 05:49 pm

The good news is that at least the insurance covered the cystoscopy 100%. There will be ten hours of overtime on tomorrow's paycheck. It is earmarked for the medical fund, though some of it may have to go to pay for DH's crown since the dental insurance, which said they would pay 50%, denied it when it was actually billed. DH has to look into that and also see if he was signed up for the wrong plan and correct it for next year, because he needs another crown.

The dentist says we can do a payment plan, but I am not down for that. We'll pay outright with the OT if we need to. Fortunately there will be another 10 hours of OT on the next paycheck, too. Again all earmarked for medical. I want to build up the medical fund so that when the deductible starts over in January we have plenty of cushion to cover it. I had hoped to have the full deductible amount in there by January, but the dental issue may make that impossible.


TMI Medical:

Well, according to the urologist, there is nothing wrong with my daughter's bladder. No reason for why she peed blood for weeks and why it is still leaking. At least the bleeding has stopped. But the pain hasn't. I am going to call them tomorrow and see if there is a pill or something she can go on that might stop the leaking issue. Otherwise, I think they are done with us. Which sucks, because there is obviously an issue.

I am not sure where to go from here. I am still convinced she has endometriosis and it is strangling her organs from the outside. Endo does not show up on anything. The only way to diagnose it is to do exploratory laparotomy and they won't do that due to her weight because all the gyno surgeons in my state are chickens and more afraid of a malpractice lawsuit than failing to help their patients. And she can't lose weight due to the hypothyroidism and gastroparesis and adrenal issues.

Having dealt with endometriosis myself until the hysterectomy at 33 and knowing that her paternal grandmother also had it before hers, and knowing that they now know it runs in families and since she has all the symptoms, I am pretty darn sure. I just don't know what to do about it. I mean, she did just fine with the gall bladder surgery even though it had to be in the hospital instead of the surgery center so it isn't like surgery can't be done on her. It's an issue of won't.

We have gone to specialist gynocologists in Seattle and they won't do it, either. All they want to do is give you a pill or an implant and send you on your way. But that doesn't always help. It might prevent new stuff from growing, but it doesn't make the old stuff go away and stop strangling organs if adhesions have formed on them.

The endocrine doctor suspects PCOS, but since her pain was never confined to ovulation, I think it is endometriosis. They have many of the same symptoms. When I first was diagnosed, they tried to push PCOS, but I knew what I had based on the limited research I could do (pre-internet, y'all, I used books). And I was right. And I am 99.987% convinced I am right this time. But being right doesn't matter if doctors can't be bothered in treating you because of your weight.

/Rant.

My mother is still not speaking to my son, which is making the house extraordinarily peaceful. She is acting just fine with everyone else. DS is actually relieved. She can't argue with him if she's not speaking to him. We'll see how long that lasts. She'll need him to do something for her sooner or later and I'll push it if she tries to get DH to do it instead, but not before that. I'll say he's too tired and she needs to ask DS instead. DH has been working a lot of OT so it is true.

She needs to stop with the silent treatment. It only punishes her, not her intended target, and it is outright childish. And it only works as a weapon if it bothers the person you are doing it to. I think she wants him to apologize, but since he isn't the one in the wrong, I'm not going to make him. She needs to be the one to do it, but I can count on one hand the number of times my mother has truly apologized for something she has done, so I am not holding my breath. And by truly I mean saying she is sorry for what she did as opposed to I'm sorry you feel that way, which is not in any way, shape, or form an apology. It's an apology dodge. And she doesn't even do those ones often.

This is going to bug me for a bit, but whatever. I am not going to fix it. They may be my monkeys, but this is not my circus.

My Mother is Frustrating Me but I Refuse to Let Her See It

November 14th, 2018 at 06:31 pm

My mother keeps making snide remarks to my son. I have told her in the past that if she has issues with something she needs to talk to me and DH about it, not bring DS or DD into things they have no business being in.

Well, for years she has thought we weren't paying our fair share of the utility bills. Now I know we have been overpaying our share all along. Not because she would show me any of the bills, though, but because I found them and went through them on numerous occasions to make sure we were actually paying enough. I never wanted to be underpaying and made sure we never were.

She was complaining to my son about it yet again, so he said fine, to give him all the bills, and he was going to work it out mathematically, and for some reason she did give him the bills. He added everything up and divided it by five. And sure enough, we are overpaying by $96 a month. And that is for winter numbers. In the summer we are overpaying by close to $200 a month.

And I don't care about that. I know she has a limited income and I've agreed to pay $500 a month plus pay for the internet and the garbage in full. That is our agreement. But now all of a sudden that it has been proven to her that we are actually paying most of her share (her recent contribution to a month of utility bills was less than $35), she can't complain about it anymore. Instead she is picking other fights and bringing up old things that were long ago settled in her favor and that she agreed to move on from.

But she's not doing it with us, she's doing it with DS. I keep telling him to not engage. All he has to say is "Grandma, I don't want to argue with you." And keep repeating it. After saying it four or five times, he needs to say, "Grandma, do you just want to argue? Because I don't, so I'm leaving now."

But instead he keeps engaging. She is not someone you can engage with, because if you do, she then goes into martyr mode if you prove the opposite of her point with logic. It's basically if you don't agree with her opinion than she's never going to speak to you again. Although this only holds until she needs help with something, like getting stuff down off medium and high shelves (she's 5 foot 2) or carrying things in from the car or something goes wrong with her computer. Then she's talking again.

When you refuse to engage, though, it ruins her fun and it drives her crazy. However, it works and she stops doing it. My son can't stand to lose an argument or walk away from one, though. He doesn't understand that it just makes everything worse and then she ends up lashing out at the rest of us for no reason.

She likes to throw out comments like, "I'm sorry I ruined your lives." And I'm just like, "What? No one thinks that." We think she makes our lives more difficult than they need to be, but no one says that to her. We think she makes her life more difficult than it needs to be, too.

She just gets ideas in her head and then thinks they are right, like that we haven't paid enough on utilities, even though we have always overpaid. I don't think she'd be happy unless she was paying nothing and we were still overpaying so she could just keep the extra money, to be honest. But I still don't care, because $500 is what we agreed on. It's gone up as we've lived here as bills went up, which is fine, it is also what we agreed to.

Maybe she's embarrassed because it has been proven what she's been thinking is wrong or because she knows in her heart that she is actually taking advantage of the situation and does this to try to shift her guilt. I don't know. I don't feel like she is ripping us off because we pay the amount we agreed to and I have always felt if she needed that little extra help, it was fine. What I'm not okay with is being harassed over something that is not true and then her switching to something else because it was proven not true. Especially when it is something she claims to have let go of.

The woman has a special talent for driving me crazy. I have a special talent for not letting her see that she is driving me crazy. Which drives her crazy. My little bit of revenge against the crazy, I suppose. I wish she would just grow up already. Too bad you can't tell your mother that, but I am too tired to deal with the kind of shenanigans that would invoke. It all has to slide off. I need my energy for me. So I vent here and not with her and keep the peace. I always keep the peace. Stoic in the face of unreasonableness. Steadfast in having the truth on my side. And petty enough to know it will all drive her right up the wall. You have to have something, though, right?


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