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Archive for March, 2019

Quick Grocery Trip and New Drug Regimen Begins

March 28th, 2019 at 11:41 pm

I had to spend DH for milk and ice. He spent $7.99. Yes, I know I can make my own ice. I don't. It's one of the luxuries I allow, since I have trouble cracking ice cube trays with my RA.

Speaking of my RA, I started Enbrel last night. It's a pen type injector. I was really nervous, but it was simple. It hurt a little when the needle went in, but far less than a regular shot. The medicine itself did not hurt.

It's not supposed to take effect for a month, but some people have had it take effect immediately. I think I am one of those people, because I slept all night on one side. Usually I wake up a couple times a night to switch sides because of the pain. I'm not saying I am pain free, because I am not, but it was easier to get out of bed this morning than any time in recent memory.

I did have one side effect, though. I threw up this morning out of nowhere. I was perfectly fine, then ate a string cheese, and 30 seconds later got all the signs I was going to throw up and then did. There was a lot of bile, but fortunately I had drunk a lot of water, so it wasn't as nasty as it could have been. Vomiting is a side effect of the drug, as it has been with almost every RA drug I have tried. However, I've been fine the rest of the day.

Also I had more energy today than I have had in ages. I am still a little sick, but I had enough energy to do two loads of dishes and 4 loads of laundry. I have not had the energy to do that since I was on steroids for that really bad sinus infection. I also made dinner, including slicing an onion. Some days I can't cut things up. This was not one of those days.

So I am cautiously optimistic. We will see. Even if I still hurt, if I am not tired all the time that will be a drastic improvement. I am used to living in pain. Having the energy to get through a day is worth more to me than being pain free. But hopefully that pain will get better each day with this drug. And I won't get any of the scary bad side effects.

Garden Shopping

March 26th, 2019 at 01:40 am

I bought my onion plants today. They should arrive the week of 4/8. I bought 3 bunches of candy sweet onions (it was cheaper to get 3 than 2), 1 batch of redwing red storage onions, and 1 batch of Patterson yellow storage onions. Each batch contains 50 to 60 plants. This should be enough onions for the year. I have had really good luck with storage onions. I have bought the candy sweets the last couple of years and they last a long time, at least six months, at which point I've used them all up, generally. At least what I didn't freeze. So I thought I'd grow them this year. They are my all time favorite onion.

But sometimes you don't want a sweet onion. I like red onions on salads. The kind I got two years ago, the Wethersfield reds did not perform well. At all. So I am trying another long term red storage onion. They are a smaller onion, but I have a hard time getting through regular sized red onions before they go bad as I am the only one who eats them and you can only eat so many slivers on a salad before you start sneezing your head off.

I usually get copra keeping onions for the yellow non-sweet onion, but they are always so small, so I thought I'd try the Pattersons this year and see how they are. They look bigger from the photos. The copras have lasted as long as a year, with just a few sprouting. I hope the Pattersons do as well. All told I paid $83.05 with shipping and taxes. Not bad for a year's supply of onions. Some of them I will grow just to the scallions size as we use a lot of those, too.

I think they are all hybrids, though, so if I save seed it might not be true, but you never know. I find planting onions from seed to be tedious, though, and I feel the plants do way better than the seeds or the bulbs.

I need to get out in the garden and weed a couple beds, though, so I have them ready for when the onions arrive. I need to go slowly and not do too much at once, but I think I can do about 8 x 2 feet a day without stressing my body too much.

As I have stated before, I am keeping it pretty easy this year. Two tomato plants, 8 peppers, lettuce, spinach, radishes, scallions, onions, kohlrabi, broccoli, zucchini, a yet to be determined form of winter squash, and herbs. Possibly cauliflower for Mom and maybe a few carrots, though I don't have much luck with them. I want to do cabbage, but it takes up a lot of space, so I don't know if I will, and they are so cheap at the store, even for the organic ones, it really isn't worth it. Mom will be planting potatoes, corn, and green beans, enough for both of us is the plan.

Hand Me Ups

March 24th, 2019 at 04:56 pm

I was just given several t-shirts, tank tops, and one long-sleeved shirt by someone who has gotten too heavy for them. They are younger than me, so I call them hand me ups instead of hand me downs. I was just saying I needed to buy a couple of t-shirts to get me through until I am in the next size down, but now I don't have to. They are all in great condition, too. I like it when life works out like that.

The only one that might not work for me is a yellow tank top. I don't wear yellow well. But I guess I can use it around the house or in the garden where I won't be out in public. Now all I need to buy for myself is a cardigan and some socks.

So far I have kept the weight off that I lost while super sick. I am still sick, can't seem to shake the runny nose and throat cough from post nasal drip, but I am pretty functional. I am going to go ahead and go to the doctor this week, though. I think my flu may have turned into a sinus infection and that is why I can't seem to beat it.

My legs swelled up after my second day of grocery shopping, but what is really great is that they did not swell like they used to when I was eating the food with the nitrites and nitrates. Of course I have also lost nearly 18 pounds, so maybe it was all in my calves? No, most of it is in my stomach that I have lost, but maybe it still helps me to swell up less. I never felt like my skin was going to burst like a sausage. My ankle and knee joints hurt all day yesterday, but are somewhat better today.

I get my first enbrel delivery on Tuesday. I am hoping that will make a big improvement in my RA symptoms. It takes about a month of use to see a difference, though, they say. I'll be taking it in addition to my hydroxychloroquine. I'm not thrilled about the long term possible side effects of enbrel, but if it does help with the pain and inflammation, then I guess I can worry about those later. I'm 49. It's not like I'm going to live forever anyway.

Emergency Fund Update

March 22nd, 2019 at 08:05 pm

So I am going to start at least putting the change into the EF again. I made a deposit today of $15.50 in rolled coin. I am not really saving for the EF right now while we pay off that last debt, but I think if there is any extra money left in the envelopes when it is time to refund them, I will go ahead and sweep that money into the EF. It's not much, but it feels like something.

$3501.45 Balance Forward
+__15.50 Amount Added
-----------------
$3516.95 New Balance

My next mini-goal for the EF is $4000, so I have $483.05 to go to hit that.

Payday Report for 3-22-19 and 3-8-19

March 22nd, 2019 at 04:00 pm

I need to get back in the habit of doing these again. I had a little bit more money go out than was in the paycheck, but was in the checking account. The actual amount of pay for the two week period is $3274.62. It is quite a substantial raise.

$327.46 Tithe
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
_300.00 Medical Fund
__75.00 Household Envelope
_441.41 Automatic Payments
__61.74 Life Insurance DH
__60.46 Life Insurance Me
_100.00 Blow Money Adults
_800.00 Monster Mom Loan
__95.00 Allowances Kids
_100.00 Holiday Fund
_523.67 Citi Visa
-------------
3284.74 Total Money Out

So for the previous pay period the amount was 2687.71, but we also had the tax refund of $1349.00, so I combined those together for the budget and the total was $4036.71. I messed up the tithe by a couple of dollars but rectified that in the 3/22 budget.

$401.70 Tithe
_400.00 Utilities to Mom
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
_300.00 Medical Fund
__75.00 Household Envelope
_280.00 Chiropractor Family Plan
_108.91 Internet
__74.54 Garbage (We had extra pick ups and it's a 2 month bill)
_567.14 Car Insurance
__50.00 Car Maintenance Envelope
_100.00 Gas Money
__90.00 Allowance DS
_200.00 Clothing Envelope
_100.00 Laptop Fund
_500.00 Monster Mom Loan
-------------
4036.71 Total Money Out

And yes, I do save money each month for car insurance, but I just left that in savings, because it was easier to pay it out of the income tax refund than to wait three days for it transfer between banks. It can be part of the EF now.

Figuring Out the New Budget

March 22nd, 2019 at 01:55 am

The paycheck hit the account early. Usually it isn't in there until eight a.m. So I went ahead and did the budget for the end of March (and what I didn't do out of last time's paycheck because I was sick) and then closed out the budget for the month. After that, since this paycheck did have the new amount with the raise on it, I changed my budget template to account for the increased money and then I set up the April budget.

So it looks like we will have $1177.54 more in each paycheck. Now some of that will go to increasing the tithe amount to keep it at 10%, but the rest is all going to be thrown at the monster mom loan. If we are careful, I should be able to make payments of $700 the first payday of each month and $1300 the second payday of each month. At least barring any unforeseen circumstances.

I would have actually been able to make a $1000 payment this time, but I doubled the clothing budget as DH ripped out yet another pair of pants. He does this by getting down on one knee and then stretching forward to pick something up. I tell him not to do it, but he keeps doing it. And it always rips outside the seam so it can't be repaired. So he needs to get a couple of pairs of pants, DD needs a new cardigan (she gets called so easily even when it is warm out), I need a new cardigan and possibly a couple t-shirts. I need to go through my closet to be sure, but I think I need at least two.

I paid off the credit card (which I do monthly), but it was high this time because of all the take out while I was super ill. So if not for that I would have been able to make a $1300 loan payment this payday.

I am feeling a lot better. I still have a runny nose and a cough, but I have been able to sit up all day for 2 days running, and I was able to make dinner three days in a row now, so there should not be anymore take out, except for the weekly meal that MIL pays for if we choose to have it.

I am still not super hungry. The flu really killed my appetite. I've lost 17.4 pounds total since the 6th. Not on purpose, but I'll take it. I am up to one meal and one snack a day, but will try to get up to one meal and two snacks tomorrow. But eating is still a chore. But I really need to make sure I am eating at least 1200 calories.

I went grocery shopping today. Just one store and I used up the rest of last payday's grocery budget. I will do more shopping tomorrow with the new grocery budget. I figured it would be easier on me to just do one store today and one store tomorrow, than try to do two or more stores in one day. I don't have the stamina for it. I did make it through the shopping without having to use my inhaler, so I've vastly improved since the last shopping trip.

So at Haggen I spent $192.43 and bought:

Aspargus
Green cabbage
Scarlet carrots
Daikon
Red grapes
Oranges
Green bell pepper
Red bell pepper
Strawberries
2 beef chuck roasts
3 family sized packages of sirloin steaks
1 pork shoulder roast
1 package chorizo sausage
1 sliced ham chub
1 sliced turkey chub
Popcorn
1 loaf of Naked bread
1 package of Naked hamburger buns
4 jars of Classico Alfredo sauce
4 jars of Miracle Whip

The last two items were on super good sales, but you had to buy 4 to get the sale price. That's okay, though. The MW will last us until the next big sale and at $2.99 it was half price. The Alfredo sauce I use at least twice a month for Chicken Fettucine Alfredo and at least twice a month for the kids' pizzas (DD can't eat tomato sauce anymore). I make them a chicken parmesan bacon pizza with Alfredo sauce. It's honestly just like the one from Pizza Hut only no tomatoes. The kids say it is actually better. Probably because I cook my crust to crispy, unlike PH.

I still have to make up a meal plan for next week. I will be making pizzas tomorrow, burgers and jo-jos on Saturday, and pot roast on Sunday. I'll work on next week's meal plan after I've finished all the grocery shopping.

Another Loan Payment

March 22nd, 2019 at 12:56 am

$21,000.00 Balance Forward
-__,800.00 Payment Made
-------------
$20,200.00 New Balance

Next payday that first digit will be a 1. So close I can taste it.

Loan Payment

March 20th, 2019 at 01:58 pm

I forgot to post that I made a loan payment to the monster mom loan from the last paycheck.

$21,500.00 Balance Forward
-__,500.00 Payment Made
-------------
$21,000.00 New Balance

Friday should be the first payday with the raise on it, assuming no one screwed up in payroll. Then I should be able to start making some serious headway on knocking out this loan.

Update During the Sick from Heck

March 19th, 2019 at 06:27 pm

The last time I posted was on the 6th. 13 days later and I am still sick, though on the upswing. This thing has kicked my butt so hard. I've lost 15 pounds on the too sick to eat diet. The first week I was sleeping about 22 hours a day. Then days 8 through 10 I was sleeping about 18 hours a day. Now I am sleeping about 15 hours a day. I've been able to sit upright for a couple hours a day for the last 3 days. I still have a cough, but it is in my throat and that stupid runny nose this whole time.

I am trying to eat now, but it is still a lot of work. I am trying to get in at least one meal a day, but I am just not that interested in food. Eating should not be such a chore. This illness is worse than the one in October that threw me down so hard. I do see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I wish I wasn't just so exhausted. It's viral so there is nothing I can do but treat the symptoms.

It has been really nice outside the last two days, in the high 60's, and I would love to be able to get out into the garden, but even folding a basket of towels winds me. Getting my hands in the dirt always makes me feel recharged, but I think I have to have at least a quarter of a charge in the first place, so it will have to wait.

It is hard to believe a little over a week ago we had snow. There is pollen all over the car windows. The purple crocus have been up for about four days and today I saw my first yellow hyacinth. I see the tulip leaves pushing their way out of the soil, too.

I managed to get all the bills paid two days ago when I could think enough to write out checks. The day before that DH took me to the grocery store, but I had to use my inhaler halfway through. Normally I wouldn't have gone, but we were out of so many things and DH doesn't shop well on his own. He comes back with things we don't need and that are junky. We only did the one store, because I had no stamina.

We have been getting a lot of take out. I guess it was good that we had the tax return to spend. I just haven't been able to cook much at all. I hate that we spent all that money on it, but so be it. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

What has been really nice during this time is that I have not had an RA flare up. Usually when I get sick I have one, but I guess my body decided it was only going to deal with one thing at a time this time around. It may be just a coincidence, but I also stopped eating a food that had nitrites and nitrates in it when I got sick and haven't had swelling symptoms at all since. I am too afraid to try that food and test it out, because I really don't want to swell and be in pain. It's not worth the chance.

So that's why I've been so quiet. I really wasn't on the computer much, other than I had audio stories playing when I was awake. I was too sick to watch anything and too sick to read, but listening to stories I could handle. I do bless all the people on youtube who tell stories, especially the ones who do voices and add music and make it interesting. Hopefully as I get stronger, I can get back to my normal life again.

It's Snowing Again--Bah!

March 6th, 2019 at 06:58 pm

I'd say bah humbug, but that seems particularly a Christmas season thing, although quite frankly it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in this winter not so wonderland. It's not snowing as hard as last time yet, but it is sticking and there is about an inch and a half and no sign of stopping.

Most of the last batch of snow had melted a couple of days ago except for the huge piles that were plowed in grocery store parking lots. Now it starts all over again. I really dislike snow. I am not one of those people that looks out the window and thinks oh, how pretty. No, I am one of those people who looks out the window and says, crud (or something slightly, but not significantly, stronger), this is going to be a pain in the butt.

DH has been home sick for the past two days and even my mom is sick. Those two never get sick. I'm glad DH has sick time accrued and that things are not particularly hectic at work right now. The rest of us are sick, too. I had two days of feeling better and then went right into this runny nose thing with a voice that sounds like James Earl Jones is using me as a ventriloquist's puppet. I don't feel like death, I just sound like it. I think I am actually the least sick of everyone today.

I am more than ready for spring, but I don't think spring is ready for Washington state. Getting snow in March is a rarity, but we have gotten it as late as early April twice in my lifetime. I am so done with this. I want spring and I want it now, please and thank you.

We can't pick up the truck until tomorrow. All the work was done, but then a recalled part came in so they asked if they could keep it and do it in the morning so that we don't have to bring it in again. I just hope the snow isn't so bad tomorrow that we can't retrieve it.

We just got a notice on a recall for our 2011 Toyota Sienna on the propellant for the airbag, so we are going to have that done when we get the oil change for the van as well. Might as well do both at the same time. Apparently when the propellant gets old it can explode on impact and shoot metal fragments out through the air bag, causing injury and death. So apparently this has happened. Yikes. Weather permitting, we'll get this done next week.

Housebound

March 4th, 2019 at 11:52 pm

I don't like being housebound. With DH having to drive the van, I have no way of going and doing anything and it is a little frustrating. I need to get my glasses adjusted because I fell asleep with them on again and rolled over on my face, I need to go cash some checks at the bank, and I need to make some doctor appointments, but I can't do any of that until the truck is fixed. It is going in on Wednesday, but I don't know if it will be a one day repair or take a couple. I hope it is only one day, because I want my mobility back.

We've only been a two car family for less than a year and a half after many years of only having one and already I have forgotten what that was like. I feel like I'm being a baby about it, having a case of I want, I want, I want. It really does curtail your freedom, though. If I weren't disabled, I could walk to a lot of places, but even walking the two blocks to the bus stop is difficult right now. Actually the walking isn't the problem so much as the standing and waiting. Moving isn't nearly as bad.

Back before my injuries and my rheumatoid arthritis, I could have walked the two miles to the doctor's office, even when sick. Now even walking the six blocks to the store is out of reach. Maybe it is just that not having the van right now is piling on top of my not being able to do much with my body.

I am going to have to cut down on my gardening this year. Even with two foot tall raised beds and the ability to pull up a chair to garden, it was hard in 2018 and I think it will be harder this year. Maybe I'll just grow peppers, tomatoes, salad fixings, and onions. Those give me the biggest bang for the buck without a ton of effort throughout the season and the least worry about pests. And of course the herbs, which come back every year. I am just going to have to realize that my limitations are getting stronger as I age and adjust my life accordingly.

I am considering getting a mobility scooter or an electric trike bike. Then I could at least go to the store. I would only need the electric motor on the trike bike on the way home as it is downhill all the way to the store. But perhaps the mobility scooter is the way to go. It would be nice to be able to go out in the neighborhood again when the weather gets better. They are pricey though. Even the used ones. We'll have to see.

Cleaned the Fridge

March 3rd, 2019 at 03:10 pm

I didn't fall asleep last night until around 3 a.m. Ugh. But I cleaned the fridge since I was so awake. And I was very pleased that I didn't have to throw anything out. I have been focusing on getting leftovers used up to reduce our food waste and it seems to be paying off. I do have all the leftovers sitting on one shelf, though, so that they are easy to be aware of and don't get shoved to the back of the fridge.

Between this and eating down the freezer, I have been able to not spend the entire grocery budget for the last two paydays. Admittedly, there are still 5 days left until the next payday, but I think there will still be a little left. I'm not talking a ton. The first payday it was only $15, but usually I spend right up to the line. This time it looks like it will be closer to $50. It would be more, but we are out of ketchup and since they are on sale I am going to stock up and get 3. DH eats a lot of ketchup.

So far I have not decided what to do with any extra money. Maybe just throw it in a jar to save up for a side of beef. That way it is still going towards food.

Meal Planning for the Week

March 3rd, 2019 at 01:58 am

I have still been working away at using up the food in the inside freezers and planning my meals around that. I still have lots of frozen zucchini that I am working my way through and lots of packages of sausage so I will incorporate that into one meal this week. I do throw a handful of the zucchini into my baked omelet a few times a week for breakfast.

I am working my way through all the ground turkey as well, so there will be a couple of meals using that this week. I actually used some in Saturday's spaghetti, too. I think after this week I will have used up all the ground turkey, which has been in the freezer at least 3 months and it doesn't seem to last as long in the freezer as beef or pork.

Sunday:
Beef pot roast
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Leftover Normandy vegetables

Tuesday:
Turkey Tacos
Pico de gallo

Wednesday:
Turkey/Beef Meatloaf
Leftover mashed potatoes and gravy
Green Beans

Thursday:
Chicken Fajitas
Salad

Friday:
Penné Pasta with Zucchini and Sausage

Saturday:
Homemade Pizza
Homemade pull apart bread

MIL is Generous

March 3rd, 2019 at 12:48 am

So DH was out at MIL's on Friday helping her with some banking stuff in her city and he spent a bunch of time out there talking to her. I guess he brought up all the stuff we are going to have to do with the truck and MIL offered to pay for it. She said that FIL had been planning to have all that stuff done and just not ever gotten around to it. I guess she felt bad because we inherited a truck that has turned out to have all these issues.

So she says she wants to pay for not only all the things that have to get done when DH takes it in next week, but to have the paint issue fixed as well. Which means we actually get to use our tax refund for something else and not truck repairs.

MIL doesn't have to worry about money at all anymore and she has been so generous to us. This is why I want to work so hard to get us out of debt and on our way to financial security. So we don't have to worry in the future and can afford to be generous in our old age.

I am feeling a little better now. I came down with a virus that had me throwing up for two days straight, which was probably why I was dragging so hard this week. Everything has stayed down today, though, and I'm not nearly as exhausted. Still tired, but normal tired. Which for me is still probably more tired than 80% of the population, but any improvement is better than none. Tomorrow I might even be able to eat a vegetable.