I got the fajita kits assembled and each bag contains enough for a dinner for four, plus four lunches, so that if I make the fajitas early enough in the week, the leftovers can be used for 2 lunches for DH and 2 lunches for DS. So now the freezer is getting pretty full again. There are 5 bags of fajita mix and 7 frozen casseroles.
We also got the rabbit meat cut up today. All of it except the abdominal flaps were cut up for stir-fry, sectioned up, and frozen. The flaps will be ground when we do the next butcher. Flaps are only good for going into the grind for burger or for making jerky. They are too tough otherwise for enjoyable eating. But we do try to use as much of the animal we butcher as possible so as not to waste what they gave up their lives for so that we might eat, and we have enough jerky, so burger it will be.
Here is my meal plan for the week:
Middle Eastern Spiced Rabbit Legs
Strawberries (from out garden last year)
Zucchini Rounds (if I can find good zucchini)
Skilled Lasagna with Sausage (Homemade Hamburger Helper)
Beef Stew with Potatoes, Carrots, and Parsnips
I got the fajita kits assembled and each bag contains enough for a dinner for four, plus four lunches, so that if I make the fajitas early enough in the week, the leftovers can be used for 2 lunches for DH and 2 lunches for DS. So now the freezer is getting pretty full again. There are 5 bags of fajita mix and 7 frozen casseroles.
So we were finally able to make a loan payment to my mother. We have no consumer debt, but we still owe Mom some money. It is a no interest loan. I think we have only paid $1000 on it this year. But today I was able to make a payment of $250.
$35,000.00 Starting Balance
-__,250.00 Payment Made
$34,750.00 New Balance
I also restarted the College Fund with $100.00
$000.00 Starting Balance
+100.00 Deposit Added
$100.00 New Balance
$1647.79 Paycheck Amount
+_100.00 Best Buy (18 months same as cash)
+_500.00 Emergency Fund
+_120.00 Car Insurance Fund
+_100.00 College Fund
-_250.00 Mom Loan Payback
Amount Leftover: $46.96
The extra money will simply carry over to next week. I don't have much left to pay this month, but the Citi card is due on the 3rd. We put all of our groceries, storage, and some of our medical on that. So the next two paychecks will be earmarked for Citi and the other first of the month expenses. It is a little weird getting used to budgeting on a weekly basis instead of a monthly one, but we'll stay out ahead of things and do just fine. The micro-manager in me will be very happy.
We purchased a new computer for my son on the 18th months same as cash no interest plan at Best Buy. He needed it for his homeschool, his old one is 8 years old and was so boggy it was nearly useless at this point, he wasn't able to do his math program on it or his French, because it kept crashing. He wanted a more expensive computer than our budget allowed, so we worked out a deal. $500 of it was our portion and how much we spent on my daughter's last computer, then additionally part of it is his Christmas present and part of it is his birthday (in March) present. Then he is paying me back $250 out of his allowance for the next 10 weeks. So I will be making payments of $100 a month until that is paid off, maybe more if I get impatient.
I made my first loan payment to my mother in a long time. It was only $250, but I feel so good about it. I also restarted the College Fund. Only $100, but that is something. It was nice to be able to tithe again. With no income coming in, there is no money for tithing. The Car Insurance Fund is for us to save up 6 months to make the payment in full, but I got started on it late, so instead of $80 a month for 6 months, it will be $120 a month for 4 months, since it is due in March.
I feel like I am on track and making progress again for the first time in forever.
Yesterday was DH's first paycheck at the new job and I am a little excited to finally be able to add money back into the Emergency Fund. Watching it lose money as we had to live on it has been pretty devastating to me, considering how hard I worked to build it in the first place. But now, at least for a few months, we can add to it again.
$17,804.90 Starting Balance
+__,500.00 Deposit Added
$18,304.90 New Balance
$1695.10 to go to hit my milestone goal of $20,000 and $695.10 to go to hit my mini-goal of $19K. Monday I have to deposit my coin jar and a reimbursement check from Verizon so it'll go up a little. It is so nice to be on my way again. I feel energized.
We have been doing very well at keeping our food expenses down by sticking to the meal plan. I have been making some freezer meals, both ready made casseroles and uncooked crock pot meals that just need to be dumped into the crock pot. I need to make some more of the latter. I have the ingredients for 3 or 4 bags of fajitas, so I will make those tomorrow.
I used both a casserole and a crock pot bag this week when my sinus infection was at its worst. We did, however, get take out tonight for the first time in a while.
This afternoon I made up a huge batch of breakfast burritos. It took 24 eggs, 2 cups of cheese, 3 bags of tortillas and 2 pounds of sausage. It made 36 burritos. I individually wrapped them in foil and then put them in freezer bags, except one bag which went into the fridge. My husband and son eat these for breakfast almost daily. That should last them a fair while. DH dips his in picante sauce.
Here is this week's meal plan:
Two Cheese Braciola
Pizza Macaroni and Cheese Casserole
Baked Potato Soup
Spanish Rice with Sausage
Roasted Middle Eastern Spiced Chicken
Brined Pork Chops
Fried Potatoes with Onions and Bell Peppers
I did some looking and if we go with a facility that is about 15 minutes away, we can get a storage unit that is 12 x 30 for $200. At least if it is available. That means that we could drop to one unit. Right now we are paying $252 for the large unit that is 10 x 25 and $130 for the small unit which is 8 x 10, so a total of $382 a month. That would be a savings of $182 a month. Wow, I really wish I had got on the ball sooner.
Then we could work on winnowing down what we have and hopefully eventually get a 10 x 20 for $170 instead.
We might get a discount on the first month as well. I know that most storage units seem to have a move in special where you get one month free if you sign a six month lease. I still need to do a bit more looking, though. There might be something else that has better prices.
Our one year of special internet pricing expired. No more $71.82. They bumped it up to $120, but DH went in and talked to someone and got it down to $90. I am not pleased, but it is better than $120. I hate living in a town where there is only one company for fast internet. The others are slow and cause constant buffering.
I have still been quite happy with Ting. We have had a very reasonable bill each month since switching. I am so glad we took the plunge.
I earned a $53 commission for November from Thrive Life. That is quite a step up from the $13 commission from October. I am not sure when that will be deposited in my account, though. I didn't realize until last week that they did not have my direct deposit information. So hopefully that will show up soon. It will go into savings with the rest of my earnings for this year. I want to open an IRA with what I earned this year and put in every cent. It is not much, but I think I will end up with around $500 between them and my youtube channel.
I am really so glad that I got involved with Thrive Life. It has made my life so much easier to not have to peel and chop things every day for dinner. I know freeze dried foods are not for everyone, but I have been so pleased with the quality of the products. And if I only ever could buy one thing from them and nothing else, it would be the diced onions. No more crying when I cut onions, no more dealing with onions that go bad or sprout before I can use them, no more pain in my hands all night after cutting up several cups worth of onions. So worth it.
We have a leak in our storage unit roof. It ruined my husband's table saw and his small ratchet set. They are full of rust. It ruined one book, 2 pop up tents (the play kind), some old school report cards, a box of papers that just needed to be shredded, a video cassette cabinet (empty), an end table's feet so basically the whole thing, and possibly an original Jabba the Hutt action figure's outfit, but we are not sure on that one. It didn't look moldy, but it was soaked so we will have to dry it out and see. The rest of the action figures were just plastic, no clothes, but the whole case was full of water.
We videoed everything. There were several boxes that had mold on them, but no water damage and no damage to the books inside. We threw out some stuff while we were going through the boxes, too. Just some stuff that never should have been packed and put in there in the first place as we did the final clean out of the house. We took one pickup load of stuff to the dump and recycled an old computer monitor that was from 1994. It was an IBM brand monitor from a 286 (I think that was what it was called) computer from the early 90's. I know it ran windows 3.1. I don't think IBM has made hardware in two decades.
All in all there wasn't too much damage and our $2000 of insurance (no deductible) on the unit will cover the costs. I told DH I want to look for a new storage facility further from town, since they are cheaper. They have been raising the rates on this unit consistently every six months for the past few years and now the roof leaks and they don't know when it will be fixed. We have a 20 gallon tote under the leak at the moment.
When we do move to a new storage facility we will be going through every box and throwing out what needs to be tossed and donating what we thinkg is good enough to donate and hopefully we can get everything in one unit instead of the two we currently have. There is some furniture in there we will never use again and I don't know why we didn't get rid of it before.
Well, yes, I do, we were too attached to our things. And then inertia set in. I know there are a lot of toys that the kids didn't want us to get rid of at the time we moved, but now at 21 and 17, they could care less about so those can be donated, or ebayed depending. There are some boxes of clothes that no one will ever wear again, but of course we always thought we would, but we will never weigh what it would take to get into those clothes again and then some of them are children's clothes, too.
We have gotten by without any of the stuff in there and while I care about the photo albums and the books, there is so much that just doesn't matter to me anymore. When you live in 1000 square feet of space for almost 8 years you eventually become less attached to clutter and excess. I just wish we'd done this years ago.
We've done a pretty good job of dealing with our Thanksgiving leftovers. Dinner Friday was simply a repeat of the day before. I made up 12 TV dinners for the freezer. I made a big batch of turkey noodle soup. Word of warning, if you use purple carrots in your soup, your soup will be purple. Tasted great, though. Then I diced up the remainder of the meat, which was about 2 cups worth, and froze it and will make stir-fried rice with it in a day or two.
I still have to deal with the bones. I froze them, but I plan to make turkey broth with them this week and then can it. Any remaining meat on the bones will fall off and then I can pick it out and freeze it, either for a casserole or more stir-fried rice. In the past I have made enchiladas with leftover turkey, too, but we had so much stuffing and so many potatoes that I thought it was wiser just to make up the TV dinners, since we are trying to get away from buying store bought emergency TV dinners completely. There was absolutely no wasted food from our Thanksgiving this year. I feel great about that.
Slow Cooker BBQ Meatloaf
Chili Beef Noodle Skillet
Hearty Beef Casserole
Turkey Fried Rice
Brined Pork Chops
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Chicken and Veggie Stir-fry
Turkey Fried Rice
The dates and times have been off on the blogs for several weeks now. Right now I will post this on November 23 and it will say it is November 24th. The time used to be concurrent with whatever time zone you were in as well, but it now is half a day or so off. I think the code is broken somewhere.
DH got the job he interviewed for. It is only a three month job, though, hence the goodish but not full-on good part. He will start in two weeks. I figure if it gets us through February, then we'll have our tax return to live on for a while. There is a possibility they would keep him on for other jobs after that. Someone had told him before he left the slope that there would probably be a job for him in April. Probably and possibly are not something I hang my hat on, though.
He will make enough for us to do pretty well for 3 months, and I will bank as much as I can. We'll still be living with austerity measures, though I will start paying the kids an allowance again once we get a paycheck and we will have a small Christmas after all. He hasn't run the numbers yet, he's waiting on one piece of info about medical deductions so he can give me pretty precise data. Then I can make up a preliminary budget and know more firmly where we stand.
We should get his first unemployment check tomorrow and there will be at least one more. We are putting that money in the bank. If we have to, we will use it for COBRA. If not, we will use it for living expenses.
I still don't feel very secure about the future, but at least I have something of a plan for the next several months. Prayers for something longer term and more secure would still be appreciated, though. I am so glad we don't owe anything to any creditors. I can't even imagine the state I would be in if we did. Well, absolute panic, probably.
I got my first commission check from Thrive Life. Well, I haven't actually gotten it yet, but it is there once I send for it. It's $13. Not much yet. I make about 2.5 times that with youtube each month. But I won't turn it away. Right now they are having their Black Friday sale through the 27th, so a lot of stuff is marked down. I wasn't going to order much, but now that there is an income that will be coming in, I will make one big order and then drop down to $50 a month minimum for consultants, which we easily use. I just want to take advantage of their sale prices for meat now.
I have some interest from some cousins and other family members, so we'll see if that amounts to anything. We are going out to my MIL's house tomorrow for a Thanksgiving meal that I won't be cooking. My niece, who works for a catering company and is going to school to become a home economics teacher, will be making everything but the turkey. MIL knows how to do a turkey, but DH is going out to help her around noon to get it in since she can't lift it and then coming back home.
We will all go out after we put the ducks away for the night, which is at sundown. It works out nicely because SIL (I don't know if her boyfriend is coming or not) and other niece's fiance don't get off work until 5:00 and sundown is 4:30, so the kids will have a chance to get washed up and changed and we will probably still get there before anyone else besides niece and MIL. Assuming I feel good enough. I am on the upswing, but I am still weak and exhausted.
Then we will be making our own Thanksgiving dinner my way on Thursday with an organic free range turkey, organic mashed potatoes and gravy, and my homemade stuffing, plus my home canned green beans and corn. I think I will skip the pumpkin cheesecake this year and do a chocolate cream pie the easy way, graham cracker crust, chocolate pudding, and whipped cream, but only if I feel ambitious. Which I don't, at the moment, so maybe no desert at all. We'll see.
The funeral on Wednesday was beautiful. I was able to speak, which was a good thing, because neither DH nor SIL could manage, though MIL did. I got a lot of compliments on what I said, which was nice, because I did not go in with a prepared speech. I don't like speaking in public, but I didn't feel it could go by without one of us saying something.
My favorite of DH's cousins did not attend. Her grandson, who is only 5, has a brain tumor. They biopsied on Tuesday and found out it is a very aggressive cancer and the tumor was the size of a tennis ball. Wednesday he had the surgery to remove it and they were able to get it all, but they still had to see if it had spread to the bloodstream. I am at such a loss. I am so tired of cancer hitting my family. This year has been a horror.
I am still pretty sick, but Thursday was my worst day. I think I have turned the corner with this cold, but I've been wrong before and gone on a second downswing. Hopefully not this time, though. Unfortunately, both kids are down with it, and DH started sneezing like crazy today. He's dosing on vitamin C. I hope he can keep going, because I am not at the stage where I can do any of the household or farm chores. Well, I did manage to fold one load of towels and one of clothes and then had to rest before I could put them away.
DH's interview was on Friday. He was supposed to be interviewed by two people, but the second one had a death in the family and couldn't be there. So the first guy said he needed to talk to the second guy when he gets back and see if he felt he needed to interview DH, too, or just go based on the first guy's opinion. He wanted to know if DH could start immediately, so I guess that is promising, but I'm not getting my hopes up yet.
DH and I went down to pick up our turkey today. We asked for one in the 13 to 16 pound range when we ordered a few months ago, and it is 15.07 pounds. I also picked up some sausage since we didn't get any with our pork. They had chorizo, which I was excited about, because I've never been able to find a chorizo without some bad additives in it. So one day next week I will make chorizo con huevoes with rice for dinner. Or possibly for breakfast with cauliflower rice.
I also picked up some roasts for canning. The roasts from our beef all have bones in them and I like them for pot roast dinners, anyway. But I want to can some meat for stews and chuck roasts available at the farm have no bones so are easier to cut up. In the winter I like to have stew once a week and we've been out of canned beef for a couple of months now.
We're also going to juice up a bunch of the apples we got when we went to the orchard a while back. I clearly got too many. If I juice it, I can can it and it will be shelf stable. That is a relatively easy task, but it will still have to wait until I feel decent enough to do it.
I was really hoping to do a better job at blogging with daily blogs this month, but I just haven't had the energy, so catch up posts a couple times a week are just going to have to do it for now.
DH has a job interview Friday morning. It is for a local company, as in our city, so the commute would be short. He'd even be able to take the bus if he wanted to as it is on the bus route. Another company an hour away has expressed some interest as well, but aren't interviewing for another couple weeks. That company tends to be slow to move. Anyway, prayers that the interview goes well and DH is offered the job would be appreciated. I just hope it isn't one of those things where they have to interview so many people, but they have planned to hire in-house from the start. Those are so frustrating.
I am sick. First I had a horrible stomach bug that lasted about 10 days and now I have a sore throat, am completely stuffed up, and am running a fever. The lethargy is pretty bad. I can't seem to sleep well, so it is taking forever to get better. It may be a sinus infection. I hate to go to the doctor right now, though. The COBRA paperwork finally arrived, but who knows how long it will take for them to actually process it. So currently we have to pay out of pocket. COBRA is retroactive, so we'll be able to submit anything paid out of pocket eventually.
If DH is hired and the insurance starts after one month we may not do COBRA at all. We have 60 days to start it and we can do it on day 60, so even if something major happens along the way they will have to pay it. COBRA will be $1500 or thereabouts a month and that is with dropping vision and dental.
I really hope he is hired. Our remaining savings will not last long and we are still recovering from the last bout of unemployment and paying for our medical insurance for 9 months.
The funeral is on Wednesday. There will be a viewing followed by a short graveside service. I am afraid I am going to get even sicker standing outside in the cold, wind, and rain. After the graveside service, there will be an indoor memorial. Then after that a catered family get together. DH and I are taking separate vehicles. That way DD and I can come home when we need to since we are both so sick and DH can be there for MIL longer with DS, unless DS wants to come home, too. He is starting to get the cold.
I would love to visit with the extended family, but I am afraid I would get everyone really sick. As it is, I will barely be functional enough to attend the funeral. My head is so full of snot and it is hard to focus.
Earlier in the week when I was feeling somewhat better, I made some freezer meals. Instead of making one casserole for dinner, I made a triple batch and froze the extra two. So I now have two pans of enchiladas, two pans of baked ziti, and two pans of chicken and broccoli/cauliflower casserole in the freezer. I don't have the stamina or energy to do full on once a month freezer cooking, but it is close to the same amount of work to do 3 at a time than it is to do one.
I'm going to do some taco rice bakes, some lasagnas, some hamburger casseroles, some carnitas, and some pork fried rice when I feel a little better. Ideally, I'd like to have 15 days of frozen casseroles ready to go. I'll do some individual turkey dinners as well after Thanksgiving, but those never last long.
I have some days where cooking is just not an option, either due to rheumatoid arthritis or just being sick or just being exhausted, so being able to go to the freezer and pop something in the oven is wonderful. I get the aluminum pans at The Dollar Tree unless they go on sale elsewhere. I don't have enough casserole dishes to tie them up in the freezer for long amounts of time. It is an expense, but it beats the expense of take out easily.
If anyone has some casserole recipes that don't contain mushrooms or cream of mushroom soup and freeze well, I'd love for you to pass them on to me.
I'll be making two new recipes this week for our dinners. The First is Curried Chicken Chowder. I have the leftovers of a whole roasted chicken I made the other night so that will be going into it. It doesn't use much in the way of curry ingredients, so it is going to be pretty mild.
The second new recipe is Greek Baked Ziti, which is honestly not all that different from my penne pasta with sausage recipe, except some of the herbs, but enough to change it up. I will do a triple batch of this and put one in the freezer for us and a couple small ones for my MIL.
Both recipes come from the Southern Living Special Collector's Edition Make-Ahead Meals magazine.
I will also do a double batch of enchiladas so we can put an extra one in the freezer. I want to start building a stock of freezer meals for those days when I am just too exhausted to put anything together.
Pork Spare Ribs
Home canned pears
Curried Chicken Chowder
Greek Baked Ziti
Mild Beef Chili (no beans)
Home canned pears
BBQ Pork Chops
Fried Potatoes with Onions and Bell Peppers
Southern Fried Rabbit
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
My father-in-law died about half an hour ago. My husband has been with him all day, except to come home, shove in a sandwich, and go back. Then at nine p.m. he came and got us and the kids and I stayed until nearly midnight. DH stayed with his Mom and sister and aunt (FIL's sister) and his eldest grandchild. It was peaceful. He never woke up while we were there.
We told him he could go, that everything was taken care of, that MIL would be looked after. I got a moment to kiss him on the forehead and tell him I loved him. DH and MIL are holding up pretty well. SIL and niece not so much. My son is doing pretty good, feels a sense of relief and a lot of sadness. My daughter is having a harder time and hiding in the shower so she can fall apart in private.
I've been crying off and on for days now, but tonight was so hard. I was lucky enough to be blessed with in-laws who love me like a daughter. And a father-in-law who made my own father's passing easier, because I still had someone to play that role in my life who felt like a dad to me.
We all feel like DH was laid off for this reason. So he could be home to spend time with his dad the last few weeks of his life and to be there for his mother. Just like the last time we felt like it was so he could be here to drive them to the cancer facility in Seattle and pick up the slack around their house, chores, grocery shopping, all of that.
He has been there when he needed to be there and it has made a world of difference to him and to his family. The worst is yet to come, though. He'll hold it in for a while and then he'll collapse with the grief for a while and then he'll move stoically forward because that is what he does. And I'll be there for him every step of the way. Because that is what I do.
Last night we had something of a build up of leftovers in the fridge. I had some leftover spaghetti sauce with sausage in it from spaghetti night. And I had half a can of tomato sauce left from meatloaf night, so I combined those together. There wasn't enough meat in it for 4 people so I grabbed a cup of my freeze-dried sausage and rehydrated it.
Meanwhile, I looked through my pasta and ended up deciding on some shells I had. The shells were left from some Annie Bunnies shells and cheese that I stole the cheese powder packet out of to make cheesy popcorn one night, since it is a clean cheese powder. I cooked the shells in the microwave and by the time they were done, the sausage was fully hydrated.
I combined all of the ingredients together and poured them into a greased baking dish. Then I used up the last bit of Parmesan cheese, the last bit of extra sharp cheddar, some mozzarella and some regular cheddar on top. So I have two less almost empty cheese containers in the fridge now. I baked it at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes covered in foil and then for 5 minutes with the foil off.
It was a really good dinner and about 10 times easier to make than lasagna, but tasted just like my lasagna. Everyone was well pleased with it and except for some gravy, there are now no leftovers in the fridge.
If anyone wants to know how to cook pasta in the microwave, the trick is to heat the water first and then add the pasta for the regular amount of cooking time. Oh, and you need a plate over the top of the bowl you cook it in and to add a bit of oil and salt to the water. It works great for shells, macaroni, rotini, penne, and farfalle (bowties). Also, the wide egg noodles. I have not tried spaghetti, but I would imagine you'd need to break it in half or thirds and stir in the middle of the cook time.
What kind of leftover meals have you all made this week?
DH has been laid off for two weeks now and so far we are keeping the budget tight. No more allowances for the kids, no eating out, no frivolous spending. And there have been a couple of nights where grabbing burgers would have made life so much easier. But we are resisting.
DH is having to do a lot of running for his parents and of course is spending as much time as he can with his dad. They are going to try to get him into hospice today. He has a hard time staying awake because of the high dose of painkillers and his words are sometimes coming out the opposite of what he means, like saying up for down.
It started snowing last night. We haven't even had a frost up to this point and it was only supposed to get down to 35 degrees and be raining. So we got out the heater for the rabbit shed so their waters don't freeze and the heat lamp and heated water fount for the duck coop. Then we went into the garden and harvested the celery, the remaining tomatoes, and the acorn squash.
Today or tomorrow I will go gather the rose hips, since they taste sweeter after the first frost, which this qualifies as. I will be making rose hip syrup or jelly, I haven't decided yet. Rose hip syrup was made extensively through the U.K. during WWII. Because of rationing and the inability to import citrus, and because rose hips were free and could be gathered from the side of the roads, syrup was made so that they would have a source of vitamin C, especially for the children. It is higher in vitamin C than anything else.
In fact some areas paid people to go out and pick the rose hips, I think it was around a pence for a pound. It was a way to earn extra money during war time. Also some people made and sold the syrup as a way of earning money. The extra money was often used to buy rationed food items on the black market.
I have only dried the hips for tea before. This will be my first year making jelly or syrup.
A couple of days ago the nursing home sent FIL to the hospital because he had a rash spreading all over his body. Turns out it is MRSA. And they did a scan of his lungs and the big cancer tumor is now 6 inches and their is a smaller one as well and they are almost completely filling one lung. The other lung is clear. They are talking about putting in a breathing tube. Right now he is just on oxygen, but if it worsens the tube will go in.
I'm not supposed to go up there right now because I have a cold and it is really hard. Same with my daughter. My son was able to go up with DH, though. If it gets worse I may go up anyway with a breathing mask on. And it sounds like it is going to get worse.
In a lot of ways, this is worse than when my own father was dying. His mind had gone years before. But FIL is still completely in his right mind. He is close to giving up because it has just been so hard. It is heart-breaking.
I still don't know what MIL is going to do. She doesn't know how to do anything financially. She's never worked and I don't think she is capable of it. The life insurance will be enough to pay off their house and their regular bills, but I don't know about the hospital bills at this point. We can't afford to take care of them.
Plus, emotionally, I don't know what she will do. They have been married 50 years. At least she is driving again, but that took a lot of doing. She doesn't like to make phone calls and deal with stuff, but she is going to have to.
Oh, plus, their disability insurance is breathing down their necks trying to make them prove that he is disabled beyond the point of working at any job right now. I've complained many times in the past about how sucky Aetna is, but this is a new low. If MIL even knew where the paperwork was for certain things, trying to deal with that wouldn't be so hard.
Please, if you are part of a married couple and one of you is clueless about all the finances and paperwork, have a conference with your spouse and get it so you both understand everything. This is not something you want to be dealing with at death's door.
Please pray for my FIL, MIL, DH, and SIL. Right now is the hardest time of their lives and I am helpless to do a single thing.
I think the phrase reduce, reuse, recycle needs one more addition. Remake. Today I remade a pillow. I have several old flat pillows laying around and I really needed a new big fluffy pillow, because I have to sleep with one between my knees as they are so bad. I've been sleeping with two lately and then one always slips during the night and I wake up.
So I found an old pillow case that was pretty faded and then I cut open a couple of the pillows, pulled out all the batting and proceeded to pull it apart and fluff out the really worn down bits. I stuffed the batting into the old pillow case until it was very full and bulging and then I hand sewed it shut. I made the stitches big enough to be picked out later if I need to add more batting in the future when it gets flattened down again.
I still have several old pillows and some other faded pillow cases, so I can make a few more of these. I don't know why I never threw the pillows out, but I always figured I'd have a use for the batting one day. Maybe for a quilt or something. But this works. Now my daughter wants me to make one for her, too. It maybe took me an hour to pull all the batting apart and stuff the pillow and was easy enough to do while listening to a podcast.
I have something I needed and I didn't have to spend any money for it. Anyone else done something like this lately? How have you remade something or used it in a new way?
DH was laid off on the 20th and returned home on the 21st. Today is the last paycheck. Time to put our heads down and hope and pray that the $25K in savings will be enough to get us through until he finds another job. I really wish they had kept him on until the 28th like they'd first said. With cutting the time, it meant there was nothing extra to put into savings after all, and we will have to draw for December expenses in late November.
This is going to be a rough road to go down again. This is one of the worst times of the year to be trying to find work in his industry.
I won't bring in much with Thrive Life, but I'll get something. I bring in a little with the youtube channel. But it is so little as to make no difference. I wish I wasn't disabled. I'd go work at McDonald's if I could stand that long.
On the agenda this week is using up some things that were in the freezer. One is sugared strawberries as it can't all go for jam. I'm not going to make that much jam. I have some leftover picnic ham so that will go to the ham and potato soup. I found some diced poblano peppers so those will go into the chili. I plan to make French bread for making into garlic bread this week and cloverleaf rolls as well.
If I have to cut something due to my RA, it will be the French bread as I can buy a loaf and turn it into garlic bread myself. I don't like the garlic butter they use at the grocery store bakery. I think it is actually margarine based on the taste. Several of these dishes will be made with Thrive Life freeze-dried foods. If you are at all interested in seeing what they have to offer, I put my link on the sidebar under sites I enjoy.
Fried Potatoes with onions and bell peppers
Ham and Potato Soup
Beef and Sausage Chili
Broccoli and Cauliflower Bake
Garlic Butter Roasted Chicken
Home Canned Pears
Hearty Beef and Veggies over Egg Noodles
We picked up the majority of our pork order today. The hanging weight on the hog (the amount after it has been gutted) was 245 pounds, so at $500 it worked out to $2.04 per pound. The bacon, ham, and sausage links will not be ready for another 7 to 10 days. Curing takes longer.
So anyone who has not purchased this way before can get an idea of what you get, this is what we have so far.
6 packages of spare ribs (at least 4 pounds each)
2 loin roasts (at least 2 pounds each)
3 shoulder roasts (at least 4 pounds each)
42 pounds ground pork
12 packages of pork chops (48 chops)
4 packages of pork steaks (16 steaks)
What is to come:
42 pounds of sausage links
I'm not sure how much bacon, but quite a bit
Now they told me that each hog has 2 hams of about 17 to 18 pounds. I am having each ham cut in half, so they should be 8 to 9 pounds each. Every time we make up a ham, I will can the excess in cubes in pints and half-pints. Then on pizza night, a half-pint will be perfect and on ham and potato soup night a pint will be perfect.
Actually, come to think of it, I am supposed to be getting some shanks, too. They were not in what I got today. I thought I had told them not cure those, but I can't remember for sure and they might have done so, which would explain why I didn't get them today. Curing will make them ham-like, too. No big deal if they were cured, but I need to remember to make sure they are in the second half of the order.
I am going to be making jam and pie filling with a lot of the frozen berries that were in the freezer. I needed to get them out of the way for the pork. A lot of these berries are from last year. I plan to make strawberry jam, blueberry pie filling, blackberry jam, and maybe bumbleberry jam, too (which is a combo of blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, and blueberry). Or syrup. We'll see. And then if I can find the frozen plums, plum sauce and plum butter.
But strawberry is first up, because it is DH's favorite, we're out, and he keeps buying it. He won't have to do that if we make it at home and keeping him out of the grocery store is always beneficial to our budget.
Not one to raise, thank you very much, one for the freezer. A woman on my farm group is selling pork and originally she was just selling halves, but she was offering them $250 for a half. That includes slaughter, cut, and wrap as well. So I asked if it was possible I could get a whole one for $500 and she said absolutely. The hanging weight on one she just did was 130 lbs per half, so 260 pounds after all the waste is removed.
It could be as little as 200 pounds, but at just 200 pounds it still works out to $2.50 a pound. At 260 pounds it works out to $1.92 a pound. So the likelihood is somewhere in between the two, but maybe it'll be a bigger one, as she said they were getting rid of the feed burners first, which tend to be the biggest ones.
And they were fed a soy free diet, which is important with my daughter's soy allergies. You are what your food eats. What they were fed was barley, whey, corn, and vegetables. So I am pretty happy, even if it is not organic.
With this purchase I feel like we can go at least 9 months without having to buy beef or pork, possibly even a year without having to buy pork unless we run out of bacon. Well, we might run out of hamburger, too, but I can get a big box of that for $300 if it comes down to it. It makes me feel much more secure. I will be canning a lot of the pork, just because we mostly like pulled pork for various recipes. We still don't have enough chicken, but I've been working on that. We have plenty of fish and plenty of rabbit.
I'll be canning squash, too. I wish I could can it pureed, but that is not considered safe. I have to can it in chunks. But squash can sit for months before it has to be dealt with. I know we'll be fine when it comes to food now. It is just everything else that I still have to worry about.
I have been getting strongly back into meal planning mode. Since we'll be going mostly to eating from the pantry after DH gets laid off, I want to already be back in the habit of following a meal plan. However, I'm not assigning meals to the days of the week, so I can have some swap around days. This gives me a little more leeway based on how I am feeling on any given day. Some days when my RA is acting up I am too exhausted to do more extensive cooking or we just don't feel like a certain food on a certain day, I don't feel locked in. As long as it all gets made in a week, it doesn't particularly matter. I also allow myself to do a breakfast for dinner if any of the planned meals just doesn't happen. Pancakes and ham always go over well here and they are super easy to get on the table.
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Rabbit Stew with Potatoes and Carrots
Five Spice Crispy Duck Breasts
Peppers and Onions
Teriyaki Flank Steak
Beef Pot Roast
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
$1867.89 American Express (in full, as per usual)
__475.00 Best Buy (Paid off 12 months same as cash)
__102.13 Life Insurance for DH and Me
__500.00 Mom's Utilities
__196.35 BoA MC (in full, as per usual)
___20.00 Food Bank donation
A little of this money was carry over from last payday. I did also reorder two boxes of checks, but forgot to ask them how much. It doesn't show up in my bank account until the day they are shipped, not the day they are ordered. It's usually around $15 for a box. We don't go through checks very fast since we started putting almost everything on the credit cards and just paying them off, but I wanted to get it out of the way before we have to start living on our savings again. It's not like they won't get used eventually.
This coming week my daughter has a physical therapy appointment and I have one. My son has his physical. My PT is $90, but I don't know how it will work for DD. I pay my own out of pocket because it is no longer deemed medically necessary, but it is what keeps me walking so it kind of is. What they really meant was the insurance didn't want to pay for it anymore and they didn't think there was anything further they could do, despite the facts that the sessions keep me from being crippled. Every time I have to skip a week things get bad. I've tried to not go and I end up using my cane and curled up in pain must days, so I deem it necessary. Don't know what will happen once we can't afford it anymore, though.
We have a $30 co-pay for regular doctor visits and $40 for specialists. I have no idea where her PT will fall, because sometimes specialists are not considered specialists. So it could be $70 out for them or $80.
Also, I know in the past that this company likes to wait until the full set of therapy is done before charging it, but I don't like that as it means a big bill at the end instead of paying as you go. But that was back in 2011 so things may very well have changed since then. I will have to wait and see, but I will ask about it when I take her to the first appointment.
I have no other spending that needs to be done this week, so other than going to the grocery store to get milk, we should be good.
I did the math and I think I've got a fairly good grasp on where things are right now. If DH works through the 20th, which is what they are thinking right now we will come out of things with about $7000 once all bills are met for October. If he goes through the original end date of the 26th it'll be around $10,000. If it goes longer, and with DH's experience with these things winding down, it often goes a lot longer than the PIC's think it will with all the last minute stuff that has to be done, then we will have more. Who knows?
Right now, though, I can guarantee $7000 for November and December. One silver lining is that they are paying his return home ticket, because they really aren't firm on his last day and there is no way he can buy a ticket without a firm date. So they will buy him his last minute final ticket.
That $7000 should cover all of November's expenses, plus some of December's. We do have to pay for my daughter's tooth implant, which will be $650 and my son has to get wisdom teeth x-rays to see if they need to be removed or not. If they do, that'll probably be $1000. It was $800 when my daughter had hers out 5 or 6 years ago, so I am assuming inflation.
So I'm not sure how far into December that $7000 will go, due to those upcoming expenses, but at least a little ways, before we will have to touch the Emergency Fund. If he can work until the 26th I think we can do 2 full months without having to touch savings.
We are going on lock down for expenses after October. No eating out, no computer games or downloadable music or all the things DH and the kids like to nickel and dime. No allowances for the kids. Just basic expenses and a jacket for my husband. The kids and I all have coats now and good shoes. No snow boots, but my work boots are insulated and we usually only have snow for a few weeks.
DD and I got our coats through a coupon that if you spend $100, you get $50 off. Our two coats together came to $137 so we got the $50 off, bringing the cost to $87 or $43.50 each. Both jackets are waterproof and warm and we got them big enough that we can wear sweaters underneath if they need to be warmer. They cost a little more since they are both plus size and waterproof.
DS got his on a clearance sale from JC Penney. Original cost was $120, but it was on a 50% off sale, which brought the price down to $60, but I had a gift card I'd earned from something a while back, so that was $20 off, and then when they rang it up after that it came out as just under $30 not $40, so I think there was an additional discount somewhere or else they made a mistake. Or it is possible they were doing the no sales tax weekend.
DH will probably have to order his from a magazine unless Freddy's has his size. He has a hard time finding coats that fit as he has a very long back and broad shoulders and needs a plus size as well. So probably the big and tall magazine.
I am determined that we all focus on weight loss during this job loss. I think that we all ate our emotions during the last one. Well, my son isn't in the same shape as the rest of us and he's already been working on losing weight and building muscle so I think he will just be happy to have the rest of us along. I have been trying, but it is just so much easier for me to have the whole family on board.
DH and I have been talking about school. If he doesn't find another job soon, we may just have to suck it up, take out loans and have him get his BA in electrical engineering. I hate the idea of student loans with a passion. We didn't use them the first time around and I hate to use them now, but his 20 years of experience and an AS and several glowing letters of recommendation seem to hold no weight to hiring people who think the expensive piece of paper that says BS on it is the end all and be all of life.
I don't know, we'll figure it out.
I'm having a hard time figuring out whether I am having bad side effects from the methotrexate or I've just caught some stomach bug. I really wish these things were easier to discern. In case it is the drug, I talked with the doctor's MA and she has altered my dosage and has me taking 5 mg of vitamin B-9 instead of 1 now. I don't know if it was a coincidence or not, but I didn't throw up today, so...either the uptick in B-9 is controlling the nausea or the possible illness has run its course.
I take my second dose tomorrow, so I guess if my symptoms get bad again within 24 hours, then the medicine is probably suspect. I started feeling yucky the morning after taking the drug for the first time.
DH screwed up his Ting phone, so now all he can do is message me via google hangouts when he is in a place that has an internet signal. It looks like we won't be able to talk on the phone at all while he's gone. He can't get the signal to change it back until he goes south. What a pain. If he'd left it with GSM instead of changing it to CDMA he'd have something. What a hassle. Still our bill this month is only $37, so once it is all sorted out things should be fine.
If I can figure out how to turn the microphone on on google hangouts then we can video chat. The problem with him not having his own phone for a couple weeks is that if anyone tries to respond to a resume he's submitted, he won't get the message, because when he switched between the two it deactivated his voice mail. So frustrating when he needs to find new work to realize there is a possibility he won't get the calls now.
My mother is driving me crazy. She has a 5000 square foot house and my family of four is relegated to 1000 square feet and she seems to resent every inch of it that we take up these days. I so wish we could get out of here. This wasn't supposed to be a permanent situation. She isn't happy unless she is complaining and she is complaining constantly. If it's not about us, it is about politics.
The problem for her is going to be when we do move. She isn't going to be able to afford her bills, because we pay everything right now and that will not continue when we do leave. She doesn't get it. We pay the electric, the gas, the water/sewer, and the garbage. I don't think she realizes just how hard that will be on her fixed income. She owns the house and it is worth $500K, maybe more, especially in this neighborhood, but that is not accessible money.
I think she's also mad at me because I said I would not take care of her by myself again if she has another replacement surgery (either knee, hip, or shoulder) during the first two weeks. That she would have to go into a nursing home during the first two weeks of recovery because I can't handle going through it again and I won't. It wrecked my back, it wrecked my health, and it wrecked my knees. I went into a flare that was super painful for me and everything was so swollen it hurt just to be alive. Not to mention that she was really mean during that time because she resented having to be taken care of. I absolutely will not put myself through it again. And Medicare will pay for it so she won't be out any money.
I think she thinks if she goes to a nursing home she won't be coming back home again, which is utter nonsense. I would not do that until she is at the point where it is necessary, and that certainly is not now. If she had stayed in the hospital the 3 days she was allowed to it would have been a lot better for me. But the doctor told her she could go home after 24 hours if she wanted to. Well, of course, she wanted to, but it was bad having her home before I was prepared to have her home.
I will have a word with her doctor the next go around, that is for sure. I supposed I could force the issue since I have her medical power of attorney, if it comes down to that, but I'd rather she just come to her senses of her own accord.
If we didn't live here, she'd have to make other arrangements because it is not like my sisters will step up. She doesn't seem to believe in my auto immune disease or that with rheumatoid arthritis it is extremely painful to do the things I had to do to take care of her. Or that only getting 4 hours of sleep a night was something I could function on for 3 weeks. So no, not doing it again. I value my sanity too much.
The days keep flipping between really warm and nice and very cold with rain and wind. Every time the barometric pressure rises or falls dramatically and it does a number on me. For some reason I have always been sensitive to pressure changes. I know a few other people that are, but it seems a relatively rare thing. Today was particularly bad and had me skirting the edges of a migraine for several hours.
Every time I think it is time for me to just pull the garden out and be done with it, it warms up again. I am still getting zucchini, though it has slowed way down. The acorn squash is slowly ripening. There are a few cucumbers, but I'm not sure how much longer those will last. There are tomatoes. And the herbs, even the basil, are still going strong. The Brussels sprouts are ready.
I'm pretty tired of the garden by this time of year, but I don't want to give up on free food. I did replant some lettuce and blood veined sorrel, but it isn't big enough yet to harvest. I'm not sure it will become so, either, but it might.
My mother is pushing for us to get rid of the ducks, but I don't want to. At least not at this time. Saying good-bye to the turkey and chickens was enough for right now. I may be ready in another month or two. It'll be harder than the others, though. The ducks have such personalities and are just so much fun to watch.
Still, I am not looking forward to another cold winter of trying to keep their water thawed. I do have a heated waterer for drinking, but that doesn't give them anything to swim in and so they tend to get pretty dirty when their little pools keep freezing over.
I think I'm holding on out of emotional reasons. It feels like I'm giving up on a dream. Which in many ways, I am. But I've been slowly coming to the realization that the full on urban farm has just been too much since my fall last year and the double sprained ankles.
It's not a lot of fun recognizing your limitations. But recognizing them, I am, slowly but surely.
On Thursday I had my appointment with the Rheumatologist, so that was a $40 co-pay. She is pleased that the medicine I've been on for 2 months is helping to the extent it is, but she thinks we could see more improvement to get my quality of life back close to where it was before things got so bad. She prescribed methotrexate, which is only taken once a week. The most common side effect is nausea, which I don't do well with, but so far no sign of it. The dosage gradually increases every two weeks until it gets were it needs to be. I am to continue to take the hydroxychloroquine as well.
The new prescription cost $36.09, plus I have to take vitamin B-9 with it, only that one is daily. It is a prescribed vitamin, but it was only $2.79. I also renewed my rescue inhaler because I am trying to build up a supply and it allows me one a month. I don't need a bunch, but it would be nice to have 3 or 4 extra. With the way the smog was this summer I needed it a lot more than usual. That was $50.
On Friday I had my appointment with the Opthamologist, another $40 co-pay, and I had all kinds of tests done. The did several photos of the eye and then an extensive visual field test, then health checks for glaucoma, etc. And the baseline scan of the retinas to make sure the hydroxychloroquine was not turning my retinas yellow. It can in 20% of the population. So far there is no discoloration in mine.
The torn spot in the retina has healed very well. He said the scar tissue from the repair is nice and healthy and this will be my last follow up from the laser surgery and I didn't have to come back again for a year. I was there for two hours. I almost had an asthma attack while there, because when they dilate your eyes they move you to this dimly lit room instead of keeping you in the exam room and tying it up.
About 10 minutes after I went in, they brought another lady in. I'm not sure what she had on. It smelled like layers of fragrance, but not floral. Like she probably had used scented body wash, scented shampoo, scented lotion, aerosol hair-spray, and then perfume on top of it and they all clashed and none of them smelled good. It smelled more like chemical air fresheners.
She was so heavily made up that her skin looked the color of a peach, except her cheeks which were creme rouged in orange and her lipstick which was coral. Her hair dye matched her lipstick. It was like someone used all the bad Avon samples from the 70's or something. So her makeup products might have added to it. The heavy-handedness was not doing her any favors. It was caked in the creases.
I think she could have been a very beautiful older woman with different, more natural choices or even a naked face, but was so afraid of being old that she tried to hide it all with pancaking on the foundation, etc. Why are some people so afraid to just let their face be their face? Why can't women just allow themselves to age like men?
I started reacting as soon as she walked in, but I thought I was going to be okay, but after two minutes I had to get up and leave the room. I used my inhaler, which helped with the breathing, but also felt a headache starting behind my eye from the cacophony of fragrances, since I am so freaking sensitive to inhalants.
So I discretely flagged down someone and told them quietly that I was going out to the main waiting room, and could they let whoever needed to know where I was, because as judgey as I can be in my head or when I rant on here, I didn't want her to feel bad that she was making it hard for me to breathe. Although, maybe I should have, because wearing that much scent anywhere where you are going to be around people, like a waiting room, is wildly inconsiderate. Especially in an office that has signs saying it is a fragrance free zone.
At least the regular waiting room had circulating air. It was way too bright, but I thought it was better to breathe and stave off a possible migraine, so I sat there with my eyes closed until they called me back again. My breathing was really affected by the wildfires this summer. It has not fully recovered since and I am more sensitive than ever to things that trigger it.
On the bright side, my hips did not hurt from sitting in all of the uncomfortable chairs for two hours. Thank goodness, or I might not have been able to get anything done today.
My new glasses came in, so I went over to pick them up today and it is taking some getting used to. It's usually a rough 24 hour adjustment and then a continuing minor adjustment for the next 10 days or so when I get a new prescription before my eyes feel normal again.
After that I stopped at The Spice Hut and picked up 2 oz of vanilla powder and impulse bought 2 oz of pumpkin pie spice. I usually make my own, but they had a little jar of it you could smell, and it was so wonderful, I wanted some. I'll use it at Thanksgiving when I make my pumpkin cheesecake. I spent a total of $12.02. Vanilla powder is a little pricey, but so worth it and I needed some for a recipe I want to try next week.
I do have to get my son a new coat tomorrow. His shoulders are getting so broad. But after that and the two medical bills I need to pay, I shouldn't have to spend anymore money this week. The two bills are $61.15 and $16.97 respectively.
I did get another bill for $477.78 for the new c-pap machine (deductible should be met after this), but that will come out of next payday. It'll be a day late, but they don't charge interest unless it is 60 days over and that will put me at 31 days. I asked if this was okay and they said fine because I always pay my bills. I would have charged it if not and then just paid it off, but this way is much easier.
Maybe one day the medical bills will end. That would be a good day.
I am a safe driver. I have a 29 year record of driving with no accidents. I always use my signal when turning or when changing lanes. I don't run red lights. I don't block intersections. I don't drive like an idiot. I am starting to think I am the only one.
I have been encountering an extraordinary number of unsafe drivers lately and it is really wearing me down avoiding these close calls. Just within the last three days, I had an oncoming car make a left hand turn from the right hand turn lane when I had a green light and if they had been in the actual left hand turn lane would have had a must yield on green sign they ignored.
At the same intersection I had someone in the oncoming left hand turn lane suddenly speed out in front of me while I was making a right hand turn on my green light. They came all the way across two lanes of traffic to the lane I was turning into. It is illegal to turn into that lane directly from their lane. But it was the fact that she didn't yield and almost hit me when I had already started my turn that makes me so annoyed.
This light has protected green arrows before it turns solid green, so it is not like they won't get a turn to go. They just don't want to have to wait through the light if they miss their arrow. I think it is time to remove the left turn yield on green signs and make it illegal for them to do so at that intersection. It already is for the cross street because there used to be so many accidents there. There are less now, but there are still a lot.
The people turning from that side also have a tendency to block the intersection so that people can't go straight during the green light. It's illegal to make a left hand turn if you can't clear the intersection. So many people need to go back to remedial driving school. If they put a police car there a couple of times a week, the police department would no longer need to keep trying to get money for a new jail. They'd have it made in tickets in less than six months.
I usually avoid this by taking another route, but that road is completely shut down right now, due to construction that has been going on for months to repair a bridge and stabilize the alternate road. Which is also causing back ups on the main road because more people are forced to use it.
The other intersection is nearer my house where people coming from the hospital think it is okay to get into the left hand turn lane and cross the intersection from it to go directly into the next block's left hand turn lane, even though at that end it is a left hand turn lane for the oncoming direction.
Unfortunately, this means they are preventing people from getting into the opposite left hand turn lane to turn onto my street. And even if you signal that you are trying to get into that lane they just keep coming across the intersection or honk at you when you attempt to get into that lane. Sometimes they even block the intersection from the left hand turn lane.
I can't tell you how many times I've nearly been hit by these illegal moves and I am super conscious and careful at all times that this will happen at this intersection. Park a cop there for a while and ticket like crazy and they will have no money worries for a long time.
When I can avoid that intersection, I do, but when the hour around when the school lets out is in play, looping around and coming from the other direction is even worse. You've got a bunch of illegally parked cars on both sides of the street, parked smack up against stop signs making it impossible to see cars coming from either direction until you are halfway into the road, and of course loose children running around not being monitored by their parents.
All this to say that my safe driver's refund check was deposited. 18 bucks plus change does not seem like much compared to what I deal with to be a safe driver. But it is better than nothing.
I spent the day canning and as much work as it is, I now have an additional 24 pints of potatoes on the shelves and Mom has 8 for her. It goes a lot faster when two people are doing the work, but even so we were at it for 4 hours with only a five minute break.
I hope to do 20 more pounds in a couple of days, but it depends on whether they have any at the no-spray farm or not. I am still trying to track down more green beans as I'd like to put up another 20 pounds. And I'll need to track down some sweet meat squash as I did not grow any this year, though I've got acorn squash growing. That doesn't keep for 10 months, though, just a few. Sweet meat keeps a long time.
I put in a pretty large order of freeze dried foods. I've been cooking with some of that fairly frequently, especially the chopped onions, celery, carrots, and bell peppers. I find it much easier on days that I have arthritis flare ups or exhaustion caused by the auto immune stuff, that I can still cook without having to peel and chop things, I just have to rehydrate it first.
I will probably do one more order next month when their semi-annual sale is on. That is the time to order the freeze-dried meats because the discount is substantial. They work great in chili, spaghetti, and tacos. And in soups. I like this company a lot as it is all non-GMO certified with almost everything coming from North America, most of it the US.
I'll have to put it on hold after that until DH gets another job. We should be able to pretty much weather six months without having to go to the grocery store except for greens once the garden dies.
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