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Archive for October, 2019

DD's Liver Tumor and My Jury Summons

October 21st, 2019 at 08:36 pm

I got a call from the gastro doc's office today. DD had her second MRI with a different contrast last Wednesday. The results came in on Friday. Well, they called me today and said they wanted her to see the doctor. She usually just sees the P.A. But they wanted her to see the actual doctor and they wanted her to see him tomorrow.

I am trying to not freak out. It is seriously hard to even get an appointment with just the PA, like six weeks out usually, so I was surprised they were able to do this so fast. It makes me worry that her tumor has grown. Maybe he just wants to schedule a biopsy or maybe he wants to do surgery. I don't know. She's been in a lot of pain in that area lately though.

I would just like them to take it off her liver. Preferably by the end of the year so that it is completely covered since we hit our out of pocket max back in June or thereabouts. If it is in Jan we will have to come up with $4500 for the deductible and out of pocket max. We will have about $2000 by then, unless MIL gives us more money. We would have more if it weren't for the glasses for three of us and the dental work for three members of this household who don't take care of their teeth like I do.

The new lenses for DD and myself came in today. We had problems with the coating coming off in patches, so they sent for new ones and then just popped them into our frames when we went in today to get them.

I got summoned for jury duty. This is (I think) the 20th time in 30 years. My doctor is writing an excuse and will have it for me tomorrow. I have numerous health issues that will prevent me from serving, plus I'm practically a full time caregiver for my disabled daughter and I do not need this right now when we're going through this liver tumor thing.

I wish they would quit putting me in the pool. I have known people who are in their 70's and 80's who have never once been summoned. I have always listed my illnesses and disabilities. They should keep them on file and realize I am not a good candidate. They always accept the doctor's excuse.

If I was able, I would love to serve, but as it is, it would cause so much pain to sit for that long without moving and I would have to be on painkillers and muscle relaxants, which would keep me unfocused. Not a prime jurist at all.

Meal Planning for the Week

October 21st, 2019 at 08:20 pm

I am back on the meal planning band wagon after being sick. We ate out too much again while I wasn't feeling up to things because of my cold. Part of my problem is when I am sick, if I haven't planned what to make, I am too tired to figure stuff out. If I have a plan, I can at least not have that task to deal with. It seems like such a small thing, but mentally it is huge when you don't feel well.

Day One:
Carne Asada soft tacos
Pico de gallo
Salad

Day Two:
Baked Chicken
Corn on the Cob
Broccoli

Day Three:
Meatloaf
Baked Potatoes
Green Beans

Day Four:
Beef Chuck Roast
Acorn Squash
Broccoli

Day Five:
Spaghetti with Zucchini
Meatballs
Cole Slaw

Day Six:
Sirloin Steaks
Roasted Potatoes and Bell Peppers
Green Beans

Day Seven:
Pork Shoulder Roast
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Cole Slaw

Grocery Spending Tracking

October 20th, 2019 at 06:39 pm

Yesterday I went grocery shopping. We ended up going to 7 different stores, because the stores were out of things that I wanted to buy. It was super annoying. Although I ended up with 7,356 steps yesterday, which is three miles. Usually I do about 3000 steps, which is my goal until I get stronger. So it was a lot of steps and I woke up having lost 2.1 pounds. Apparently I burned 3800 calories yesterday. I guess when you are lapping big stores and going up and down a lot of aisles, you do that.

Anyway, our first stop was at Costco. I spent $139.60 there, but $19.99 was out of the clothing budget for a pair of sweat pants for DS and $14.69 was for garbage bags which came out of the household budget. And then tax was $3.02. That tax goes with those because we don't have tax on food. So $37.30 was non-grocery spending and $101.90 was grocery spending. I bought:

3 4 pk steamer bags of organic frozen broccoli
2 Caesar salad kits
1 jar organic strawberry jam
1 8 pk of organic corn on the cob
1 package carné asada
1 bag Bibigo organic chicken potstickers
1 bag Bibigo beef mandu dumplings

After that we drove to Fred Meyer #1 $106.32. $3.14 of that was for a magazine and tax which comes out of my allowance and the actual grocery spending was $103.18. The first 3 items are for my daughter, who is sick. I bought:

1 gallon of vanilla HD ice cream
2 bags of Fritos
3 bottles of Sierra Mist sugar version
4 jars of Rao's Chicken Noodle Soup (expensive, but good and clean, no soy, no additives or preservatives)
4 2 packs of Mrs. Grass Noodle Soup
1 bunch cilantro
5 hothouse tomatoes
6 opal apples
6 jazz apples
2.5 lbs of cod fish
2 10 lb bags of ice
1 Woman's World magazine

Then we went to Fred Meyer #2 and spent $57.70. I bought:

2 loaves of Naked potato bread (on sale)
8 jars of Rao Chicken and Gnocci soup (expensive)

After that we went to Haggen #1 and spent $36.59. They were out of the sausages I wanted. I bought:

1 18 ct bag of cowboy cookies
2 loaves of pumpkin bread
1/2 gallon of Simply orange juice
1 18 ct bag of chocolate chip cookies
4 mountain rose apples (new variety, these things are pink inside, and taste like sweet tarts candy, won't be buying again)
1 big bag of red grapes

Next we stopped at the grocery outlet and spent $8.76. We went in looking for steaks, but they didn't have any good prices so left without them. I did buy:

1 organic red cabbage
2 bags of garlic croutons
5 kiwis

After that we went to Safeway. They were out of the sausages I wanted so we didn't buy much there. I spent $13.96 there. I bought:

3 packages of uncured pepperoni
1 package of beef sticks

Haggen #2 actually had my sausages, though not as many as I would have liked to buy. I spent $33.37 and bought:

1 18 ct bag of snickerdoodle cookies (yes, a lot of bags of cookies, but they are for the whole month, some went in the freezer)
3 packages of Hempler's breakfast sausage
2 acorn squash

So I spent a grand total of $355.46 out of a $400 grocery budget. I have $60 left in my grocery envelope for fill-ins and a couple more packages of sausage, because I had $10 leftover from last payday.

Now I need to make up my meal plan for the week.

Retirement Update

October 19th, 2019 at 01:26 pm

Retirement is now sitting at $22,151.40. I can't tell you exactly how much it rose since the last update because all those were wiped out in the great SA Failure to Back Things Up incident, but I know it is up about $2000 since mid-September. I'm happy with how well it is doing.

Hello, Murphy, My Old Friend...

October 18th, 2019 at 08:59 pm

...you've come to walk with me again. The dishwasher is busted again. Mom has had it repaired half a dozen times, but the thing is garbage. I've been trying to get her to let us buy a new one for ages. She wrecked it when she decided to wash freshly dug up potatoes in it because she read it in a magazine. Well, it tanked the machine and we have had nothing but trouble ever since. Not that she would ever admit that's what did it, but it started right after that.

Well, I finally convinced her to let us buy her a new one. We use it more than she does. We generate the most dirty dishes. It just wasn't an expense I was prepared for so I am going to dip into the emergency fund for it. It's either that or the medical fund and I don't want to do that. I'll just make a smaller loan payment next month so I can pay back the EF.

Debt Payoff--Monster Mom Loan Payment

October 18th, 2019 at 12:54 pm

$13,000.00 Balance Forward
-_1,000.00 Payment Made
------------
$12,000.00 New Balance

It's getting closer and closer to debt free.

Getting Ready to Go Grocery Shopping

October 18th, 2019 at 10:09 am

I am working out my meal planning and my shopping list for the next two weeks. It's payday so it is shopping day. The sales are really crap this week, but I've got a lot of meat in the last two weeks that were on terrific sales. So I think my focus is going to be on getting some codfish, breakfast meats, fruits and vegetables. We want to go out to the u-pick apple place and pick up some apples on Saturday.

We really like the Hempler's breakfast sausage so I am going to stock up on that for the freezer. All of the frozen brands seem to have TBHQ or TBX in them and that makes 3 out of 4 of us react badly. And we might go to the farm on Saturday to get bacon as well. Nothing compares to their bacon and we can put down a down payment on a turkey for Thanksgiving while we are there. I have ham.

I do need to get a few of the 4 packs of broccoli steamer bags from Costco now that they are carrying them again, some strawberry jam, and some prosciutto.

I'd also like to get a couple acorn squash. I've been craving it and I didn't grow any this year. If the farm stand is still open I'd like to get a garlic braid, too. I want to plant some garlic this fall. Last year I didn't make it out there in time and missed the garlic. I could order it, but theirs is so good and keeps for about 9 months.

I really need to do a freezer inventory. That always helps with meal planning, and not buying stuff we don't need.

I Haven't Felt Like Posting

October 17th, 2019 at 12:06 am

I think I'm still kind of reeling from having lost so much of my blog and I know everyone else feels that, too. I've had a bit of a what's the point attitude, because I have no clue if they are actually going to start backing things up or if this can happen all over again. It's not like they communicate things to us. I always have to go asking and quite frankly I'm tired of it and still kind of angry. I think I'm just going to have to force myself through it and try to blog anyway.

But really nothing is happening. I spent 5 days in bed with the most recent version of the plague. I've gotten dressed, brushed my hair, and made food for the last two days (which was a big deal, actually) and still had a bit of a cough and a runny nose and laid down a few times, but it is on the upswing. I think. I go back and forth. Autoimmune diseases complicate the healing process. Physical therapy about killed me, but I didn't want to cancel.

I hope this is not a bad flu year as I am allergic to the flu shot. Not that it seems to work these last few years anyway. They used to seem far more effective.

I've been working my way through the Star Treks. I started with Voyager, because that is my favorite (Tom and B'lanna forever), then moved on to Next Gen and now I am on Deep Space Nine. Netflix has Enterprise and the original, so I will probably do those next. I'm less of an original fan but I did like it. Honestly, I was more of a Battlestar Galactica/Buck Rogers fan when I was little. I will probably work my way through the Next Gen movies after that, then the originals, and then the new stuff. I've seen it all, except the most recent new one, but I am enjoying immersing myself in this universe again.

I have also been watching Raising Dion. It's about a child who comes into his superhero powers. Only he's about seven or eight years old and doesn't have any control and they go wild when he can't get a handle on his emotions. The acting is very good. I especially like his mother, but the little boy is great and it has Jason Ritter, who I have a soft spot for on account of his father. I'm four episodes in. Netflix really has some great Originals.

I had a major freak out today when I thought I had lost several chapters of my book. I have eleven written and I thought I'd lost everything after halfway through chapter three. It's been so long since I looked at it and I was ready to start writing again, but wanted to reread it first. I forgot that I had renamed the file. I realized it when I went to my back up portable hard drive and found the other title, then went back to the laptop and then sure enough it was there under the other title.

I don't save to the cloud because it has been hacked so many times I don't trust it. I had forgotten for a minute that I had saved it to the hard drive, so sheer blind panic ensued.

Not much else going on. Oh, we purchased 60 pounds of Kerrygold grassfed butter ahead of the tariffs. Hopefully that will be enough to outlast them. It was $330 but we had it and since the tariff is 25% it was worth it to me to get that in my freezer.

That Rant Ended in a Different Place from Where it Started

October 9th, 2019 at 08:17 pm

Sometimes I get really annoyed with the online places I shop begging me to do reviews immediately. Amazon is the worst offender for this. Don't get me wrong, I will review products, but not two days after I get them. I want to use a product for at least a month before I review it. Take my sheet set for example. If I had reviewed it after the first day I used it, I would not have had the experience of the pillow case hem unraveling yet. I don't like to jump the gun. Sometimes they send you more than one review beg for a single product. SMH I do love the sheets otherwise, though.

I did sew up the pillowcase today. I just hand sewed it as it was only 8 inches. I also sewed up the little hole in the thumb tip of my stretchy turquoise gloves. I did it from the inside and you can't even tell from the outside. I was careful to use really tiny stitches so I wouldn't feel them rubbing against my skin.

It is amazing to me how many people don't even know how to sew up a small hole, a seam, hem trousers and jeans, or put a button back on. They don't have to know how to make clothes, but just to fix them would cut down significantly on how many things get thrown away for basic fixes. I've seen people throw out jeans for a belt loop that has come out on one side.

I think we really did a disservice in our schools when home economics was eliminated as a required course. Everyone should know how to do some minor mending of clothes, work a household budget, pay bills, and cook some basic foods.

Of course I feel the same way about shop class. People should know how to do basic woodworking repairs (work a drill, a screwdriver, a hammer, a dremel tool) and even some metal working (soldering and stamp engraving) so you can do some basic repairs and have a little bit of fun with things. They should know how to replace a lock or a door knob or replace a screw.

It's sad how much practical knowledge is missing from today's education. I've never seen dumber highly educated people than what is being churned out of colleges today. I mean, sure they can do whatever thing it is they studied for expertise, (well, some of them can), but they can't balance their bank accounts.

They have no idea what the Constitution actually says but are willing to spout off about what they think it says for hours (on TV or YouTube no less). They ignore science when it suits them but tout it when it doesn't, and selectively tilt their statistics by only interviewing people they know will agree with them, to make them mean what they want them to say and not what the numbers actually say.

They have no idea where their food comes from. Some don't even realize potatoes are grown under the ground or how meat is raised (I swear some think it just appears in the grocery stores by magic) or that most eggs are laid by hens that have never seen a rooster and therefore can't be a murdered baby chick. They couldn't sprout a seed in a paper towel let alone plant a garden.

They don't realize that when the power company says they are turning off the electricity for 5 days and has been warning them about it for weeks so you can stock up and be prepared, that it'll all be okay because they can just order uber eats. You know, from the restaurant that has no power to cook food either, using gas from the gas station that has no power to pump its gas.

Or they'll just pick up ice from the store (that has to shut down while the power is out because even if they could have their freezers and fridges on, they have no way of accepting payment on non-working cash registers), to keep their food in a cooler. That they have no way of cooking because they don't have a grill or didn't buy charcoal or propane.

Life smarts need to be taught just as much as book smarts. I hope this turns around, but I really don't see it happening. All we can do is make sure our own children learn and if they have kids, that our grandkids do.

New Fitness Tracker and Physical Therapy Update

October 7th, 2019 at 06:39 pm

I went ahead and used some of my allowance that I have been saving to buy a new fitbit. It cost $108.50 with tax. I ended up getting the white one since my son has a black one. It's easier to not get them mixed up if we accidentally leave them in the bathroom after a shower that way.

I really like it so far. I especially like that it tracks the heart rate since the doctor wants me tracking my heart rate since I've had some incidents of racing heart. If I can just look down at my wrist when that happens I can know immediately what is going on.

I also like that I can read my text messages on it or get buzzed when someone is calling me. I keep the volume on my phone turned off most of the time because the ringing can sometimes trigger a migraine. I've tried a ton of ring tones and there is just something about the pitch coming out of the phone that does it. I also keep it in my purse so I wouldn't feel it vibrating if I set it to that.

It's also waterproof so when I go to the pool I can keep it on. That's what I liked about my last one. I hope this one last longer. It is better constructed.

So far I have hit my steps every day since I got it. My steps aren't super high, though, since I am disabled. But I am doing more each day and have already been able to reset my step goals once.

We have finally started working on walking at physical therapy. For the first 8 weeks it was strengthening and stability exercises. At my session on Friday we started working on walking. Since I started using the proper walking technique I am doing so much better and able to walk further without a cane. My goal for this week was to walk to the end of the block and back, which is actually a typical block since our block is two blocks long.

Plus I got my new shoes and they are really nice. They cost $80, but they are 4E in width and for the first time in my life my feet don't feel jammed into the toe box. They also have a high front of the foot and Velcro(TM) fasteners which are easier on my arthritic hands.

When I get orthotics they will fit in them, too. I am hoping to be able to get them made this month. They cost $400, though, and insurance does not cover them at all. My PT, my Chiropractor, and my Podiatrist think it will make walking easier and help me to not have so much pain because I'll be in better alignment. I have been thinking about it for a couple of years now and am ready to get them.

I have a PT appointment tomorrow and I hope I will show a lot of improvement. I have been consistent with doing my exercises and I think it shows.

Blah Blah Blah (I hate coming up with titles)

October 4th, 2019 at 11:32 pm

I don't think I'm going to try to recover any of my missing posts. I write so many blog entries in a month that finding them all would be a massive undertaking and I honestly just don't have the energy to do that at this time. Even if I did find them, I wouldn't want to just dump them back into the blog. That's okay for maybe 10 entries, but I would likely have 100 or more. So I am just going to accept them as gone and move on. At least for now.

I am going down tomorrow to meet my grand niece for the first time. It is her first birthday party. I'm not looking forward to the drive, but it will be nice to see my sister and my nephews and niece and the baby. I am not looking forward to the drive there and back, though. It is always so hard on my body to be in the car for long periods of time. I'm already in an RA flare due to the weather.

Today was payday. It's pretty much on auto pilot at this point. I don't know if there is much point in my posting my payday reports. I haven't in a while. At first it was mostly to keep me on track on the budget, but I've been doing really well with it for a year now and don't think it is really necessary anymore.

Yesterday I took DS shopping for sweat pants. It took us 4 stores to find one pair that wasn't paper thin or didn't cost $55 a pair (When did Penney's get so expensive) or wasn't unraveling at the seams. Why is it so hard to find thick sweat pants of good construction anymore? We found one pair at Kohl's that was on sale for $19.56. The selection everywhere for men's sweats is garbage. There is barely anything as compared to women's sweats and the colors are almost non-existent.

Or you'll go to Target (where I hate to shop) and their sizes are their own compared to everyone else's so nothing fits that should. When my son is a large in every store but not even the XL fits at Target, you know they are screwing with sizing. I thought they only screwed around with women's sizing. Men's used to be standard.

We are going to stop at a store in Burlington on the way back from the party and see if they have anything there. It is a store we used to have here, but our branch of it closed, and we used to have really good luck there with clothes. If not, we'll have to try some sporting goods stores to see if they have anything. I don't want to spend $55 a pair for Nike or Adidas. DS doesn't give a hoot about brand names and they are far from reasonable.

I am seriously thinking about digging out my sewing machine and learning to make clothes once and for all.

Missing Blog Archives Info from James

October 2nd, 2019 at 03:15 pm

Can you all comment on this entry so that we can get it up high into the most talked about entries category so that more people will see it and be able to know what is going on?

I did ask on the forums if we were going to get the last chunk of our blog archives back and the answer is no. SA got hacked and the data was deleted. Here is what James had to say:

What happened was we got hacked - someone broke in to the server and deleted the data. The only viable backup we had was from April, so...I'm really, really sorry about this, I think that work is probably gone.

My tech guy will be undergoing some retraining as a result of this debacle. Apologies again. I know your work is valuable and your time is important.


So I would recommend that you spend some time backing up your entire blog. This could happen again.

I spent about an hour today working on backing up my blog entries. So far I have April of 2006 copied into Word. I am doing them individually instead of pasting the whole month archive page since it runs backwards. It's a little more tedious that way, but then when I find another blog platform to copy them to, it will be a lot easier for me.

Laura (Keeping it Frugal) has a post called Whew! if you haven't seen it. Comment on there if you want to join her new forum as a meeting place for us if the blogs go down again.


Vacation was Fantastic

October 1st, 2019 at 06:16 pm



Well, mostly fantastic. The place was beautiful and the evenings were so quiet and peaceful and restful. Unfortunately there was no sleeping in as the neighbors started mowing their lawn at 9:15. Who mows their lawn at 9:15 on a Wednesday morning? Then the other neighbors started doing construction with a bulldozer around noon, but that ended at 5:30. We left the cottage to pick up dinner at 4:00 though so we missed at least an hour of it.

We spent a couple hours on the deck when we got there Tuesday afternoon. They had this lovely little seating area with a couch and two chairs with pillows around a coffee-sized picnic table that was under a covered area. The tide was in so you couldn't see the beach at all until around 1/2 an hour before dusk and then there were a couple of feet of it. But the water looked amazing.



After dinner (which was Subway, but there were limited options) on the deck we sat in the hot tub and watched the sun go down over the sea. It was one of the most relaxing things I've done in a long while.

We didn't do much on Wednesday, but we managed to get all six episodes of Good Omens watched Tuesday night and on Wednesday. But it wasn't a vacation to do much anyway, just one to refresh with. We had brought food for breakfasts and the tide was out in the morning. The beach went out quite a ways at that point.

We went and grabbed a pizza at a place called Figaro's, which wasn't anything to write home about, was a decent middle of the road pizza. They had a great salad, though. You could get up to four toppings on your salad, anything you could put on a pizza so I chose bacon, cheese, green peppers, and red onions and the greens were mixed so a lot of variety in flavor. It took me two days to eat it.

Oh, for the other meal I made T-bones. They were so big we didn't have anything else with them. After dinner we went out and sat in the hot tub again, watched the sun go most of the way down, got dressed and then sat on the deck and watched it go the rest of the way down and then watched the lights across the inlet twinkle and the clouds reflected on the water. After it was too cold to stay outside we went inside and I taught DH how to play Parcheesi.

The cottage was tiny, it had one bedroom, one bath, a kitchen, and a living room. The living room had a pull out bed. It also had a sectional couch, an ottoman, and a table, so you can imagine how little room there was. DH and I were almost tripping over each other and they say it can sleep 6 with the sectional. I don't know how you'd breathe with that many people in the house. If they were all little kids maybe and you spent all your time outside.




It was well-decorated with some old-fashioned paintings and knickknacks, but there were too many of them. Too much surface space was taken up with stuff and since it was, there was nowhere to move the stuff on the bedside tables. One table was completely taken up with a big CD player and lamp and the other had a clock and lamp with barely enough room for my C-pap machine. DH had to put some of the stuff on the floor to use his machine. It didn't really need two bedside lamps or any really, since you could reach the light switch from the bed.

I did have to unplug the Glade plug-in as soon as I figured out what was making the smell. I had thought it was cleaner at first, but when it didn't dissipate I went on the hunt. She left us flowers and cinnamon rolls on the kitchen counter.



The last morning we walked on the beach, but I kind of regretted that due to the amount of mud that left on my shoes. Thick black mud and the deep squelching kind. I still haven't gotten it all off yet and I've cleaned them twice. We saw a lot of shells washed up and even a couple dead crabs. There weren't a lot of birds, just one or two most of the time. We did see the fish leaping to eat bugs at dusk, which was cool.



The most important thing was that it relieved so much stress, it was relaxing, and my mind set improved dramatically. We are talking about going back for a couple of days in March for our 25th Wedding Anniversary.

But I am nitpicking, because the overall experience was just what I wanted. I don't think a whole week there would be a good idea for one or two nights it was great.

On the way home we stopped at Red Lobster and got the Ultimate Feast. I ate the shrimp and lobster and brought the crab home for dinner. I also had baked potato soup for my side because they make a fantastic one. I was disappointed in the broccoli, because they seasoned it with red pepper and it was too much. We had a $6 toll for the Tacoma Narrows bridge on the way home, but not on the way there.

All in all, we spent under $500 for the entire vacation. There was a $150 damage deposit but that was refunded the day after we got home. I was very pleased with the whole experience. I will try to insert a few photos.