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Archive for November, 2019

Monster Mom Loan Payment and Rambling

November 30th, 2019 at 06:57 pm

I had expected to pay $800 this payday towards the Mom loan, but I ended up paying $1000. I had forgotten that since this was a 3 payday month that the last paycheck of the month would be bigger as they don't take any medical out of it. So that extra $200 went towards this loan instead. That means a total of $1500 was paid on the loan this month. By the end of December the loan will be down to 4 digits.

$11,500.00 Balance Forward
-_1,000.00 Payment Made
$10,500.00 New Balance

I have rejiggered the budget again and think that as long as we keep our eating out spending under control we can continue to pay $1500 a month. I just have to keep telling myself that I'd rather be out of debt than to buy a pizza. It doesn't always work, but it works more often than not. I have all the ingredients for making pizza. I do not need to buy one from a restaurant.

Plus I have started back on a diet yesterday, and eating out always makes my weight go up, so that is another incentive to stay out of restaurants and cook at home. I would like to be under a certain weight by my 50th birthday mid-February. I think I can do it if I stick to no restaurant food.

I am thinking about doing a dietbet once I am a few days into eating better again, but I don't know. I am still doing my physical therapy exercises and need to get back to walking. The weather turned beautiful but cold again, so since it isn't raining, I need to start again. Just lacking a bit of motivation.

My Sister Might Move In

November 25th, 2019 at 09:36 am

My sister (who is 61, I'm 11 1/2 years younger) hurt herself on the job a while back and can no longer lift the elderly out of their beds or help load them into vehicles for transport. Right now she's going through a thing where the doctor evaluates her for whether or not she can resume this duty or not. Sister says not. If the doctor says she can and they make her, her condition is going to get worse. This is one of those work claim doctors, not one that you know and trust, and those always seem to be slanted towards the employer and not the employee.

If she can't do the job anymore, she'll be let go, in which case she will have to move in here. She'll be okay when she turns 62 next September and can start drawing social security, but until then, things will be difficult. Even a job at McDonald's requires you to lift 40 pounds.

So we have started cleaning out the upstairs. There are two rooms up there, plus a storage room, and two closets, and they are pretty roomy, but they are chock full of junk. The goal is to get one room cleaned out more quickly so if she suddenly can't make rent she has somewhere to go, and then work a little more slowly on the other one. They need to be cleaned out anyway. Mom has a lot of junk up there that she just doesn't need. Extra furniture and just boxes full of junk and stuff she has been storing for my niece and my nephew that should have gone to their homes long ago as they are 38 and 40 respectively.

But there's also a lot of stuff from my grandma who died when I was 27. And there's still a lot of my dad's old clothes and he's been gone for years. And by old, I don't even mean the clothes he wore, I mean clothes from when he was in high school or young adulthood (like suits) that he wouldn't have even been able to get into for a couple of decades before he died. There are also dresses my mom has from when I was a kid that she would have to lose 100 pounds to wear and are hopelessly outdated. I know where I get the pack rat gene from.

I think, honestly, that my sister might move in when she retires anyway. Which is good, because it means when we move out, Mom won't be alone. I really don't think she should be alone anymore. She says she's fine, but she's not. She's forgetful. Not dementia, yet, but sometimes she makes me wonder. She's mostly careless forgetful.

I don't know if sister will contribute to expenses or not, but I don't really care. Even if she is still working her income is not great. Above minimum wage by a few dollars. We don't mind covering that if that is what she needs. You take care of family, you know? I know they will go up if she lives here, though, because the upstairs isn't serviced by the gas furnace and she would have to use electric heat during the cold months, which are many here.

She's easy enough to get along with and she and Mom get on well, so I think it would be good for both of them if she comes.

Retirement Update

November 22nd, 2019 at 01:10 am

$14,790.27 401K
+_9,427.88 IRA
$24,623.04 New Balance

It's up by $595.41. $376.96 to go to hit $25K. Hopefully if things continue to do well, just our contribution and work's contribution will put it up over that on payday. So close!

Meal Planning for the Week

November 19th, 2019 at 08:05 am

Day One:
Pork chops smothered in onions
Baked potatoes

Day Two:
Carne Asada
Pico de Gallo
Stir-fried cabbage, onions, bell peppers, and carrot shreds

Day Three:
Chicken Fajitas
Leftover stir-fried veggies

Day Four:
Baked Potatoes

Day Five:
Beef Stew with potatoes, carrots, and parsnips

Day Six:
Homemade pizza with pepperoni, sausage, bell peppers, and onions

Day Seven:
Chicken Shawarma
Naan bread
Stir-fried cabbage and onions

Freezer Inventory

November 16th, 2019 at 12:23 am

Last night my son helped me to inventory 3 of our freezers, the mini chest freezer, the spare fridge freezer, and the tall upright we split with my mother. We do have a massive chest freezer in the garage and our main fridge freezer we still need to go through, but the big one is mostly meat and butter and I have a rough idea what is in there, since I have it divided up in compartments, two of chicken, 1 of beef, 1 of pork,1 of lamb, 1 of vegetables, 1 butter, and 1 of fruit. The main fridge freezer is a big mess, but is mostly not meal making food. It is ice, ice cream, fruit bars, dumplings, fish nuggets, and more the quick fend for yourself foods I get for the kids. And lots of ice packs. That one really just needs to be reorganized.

I made room for turkeys by restacking and tidying up, although we did throw some stuff out. It was from 2014, 2016, and 2017 respectively, and at the bottom of the mini-chest freezer. I am going to buy 3, one for Thanksgiving, one for Christmas, and one for Passover. This is the only time of year Trader Joe's carries the organic turkeys, so I plan ahead. We can't afford the fresh off the farm ones anymore, but I still want to be sure my food isn't raised on soy or GMO corn, so I budget for the TJ turkeys which aren't as expensive, but are still much more than standard.

I also had more homemade premade meals than I thought. There was 3 mac and cheese, 6 chicken mac and cheese, 2 mini meatloaves (serves 2), 7 Alfredo chicken (no noodles), 1 baked penné (serves 2) and one pork roast dinner with potatoes and gravy. There was also a bag of cooked sausage crumbles for making breakfast burritos, skillet scrambles, and egg bakes, 1 package of seasoned shwarma chicken ready to be dumped into the crockpot or pressure cooker and 1 package of beef carnitas the same. I didn't realize I had any of those left. I need to make up more. I wish I had known because we spent a lot of money eating out the last 3 weeks and there could have been more easy at home meals if the freezers had been organized.

How much money did I waste on out to eat food, you might ask? We spent $566.97 on eating out the last 3 weeks. I was sick and I was (and am) in the middle of a flare for my two lovely autoimmune diseases, but I really still have to make the effort to cook. I feel a little better today so I am going to try to get some more freezer meals made up after we go grocery shopping. Although the shopping may wipe me out. I will get DS and DH to help with making premade meals.

Dinner tonight is already planned as sausage, peppers, and onions, all of which I found in the freezers last night. I like to do something very easy after expending so much energy shopping. I have to pace myself. It's just the way of it when you are dealing with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. I can't do all of what I did before, but if I pace myself and plan ahead, I can do more than I have been doing.

I did find a lot of things I was planning to buy, like bagged bell peppers and onions, roasted potatoes, and a bunch of ground meat (beef, lamb, turkey, chicken) that I was going to buy to make meatloaves and meatballs for the freezer and now I don't have to. And 3 packages of sausage links for breakfasts, too. That means there is the money to buy the 3 turkeys.

I've got my meals planned out until Sunday and then I need to sit down and do a meal plan for the next week. I don't think I posted a meal plan this week because I didn't make one.

Dinner on Saturday will be steaks, roasted potatoes, and a cabbage stir-fry. Dinner on Sunday will be onion smothered pork chops, baked potatoes, and broccoli. I do have apples if anyone wants fruit. At least I feel like the cold is mostly over and I can actually feel up to cooking again.

Payday Report 11/15/19

November 15th, 2019 at 11:23 pm

Okay, so I am going back to doing my payday reports. I was thinking I didn't really need to be accountable anymore, but we have spent so much on eating out the past couple of months that I think I was just fooling myself or fooling you guys, I don't know. It's more I didn't want to be accountable than that I didn't need to, so I'm back at it. I have a couple hundred dollars in checking so that is why the total amount listed below does not match with the 10% tithe if anyone is doing the math. I still have most of that to carry over for next payday, too, if I don't spend it on something stupid.

$327.28 Tithe
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
_400.00 Medical Fund
__75.00 Household Envelope
_600.00 Automatic Payments (4 phones, Hulu, Netflix, Storage)
_280.00 Monthly Chiropractic Family Plan
_100.00 Blow Money Adults
_120.00 Kids' Allowances
_566.97 Citi
3369.65 Total Money Out

Monster Mom Loan Payment

November 15th, 2019 at 11:10 pm

I was only able to make a half payment this payday, but the other half will be next payday. I usually like to do it all on one payday, but because this is a month with three paychecks and because I am fully funding the Holiday/Gift Fund for Christmas next payday, I am breaking it up. $1000 is the minimum I will pay in a month on this loan. So $500 now, but hopefully $800 next time is the plan. It will be $500 for sure, but I am going to try to squeak a little more out this month. If we keep our eating out to a minimum, than I think $800 is what we can manage.

$12,000.00 Balance Forward
-__,500.00 Payment Made
$11,500.00 New Balance

Another Diagnosis

November 11th, 2019 at 11:58 pm

Well, for once this diagnosis is not for my daughter, it is for me. I have been officially diagnosed with fibromyalgia on top of my rheumatoid arthritis. So my compromised immune system is even more compromised than they thought. I have always felt my immune system was non-existent.

She's going to have me get an MRI on my hands to check for something. To be honest, I was having a hard time focusing on what she said because of how much pain I am in today and I also have a cold so my head is just too full to think.

I have crashed and burned with NaNo. I just have so much pain in my hands I don't want to type for long periods of time. I am thinking about getting a voice to text transcriber and try writing that way, but I haven't even begun to look into the cost of those things.

After my appointment with the rheumatoligist, I went to the lab for a blood draw. They took four or five vials. She's running tests for more things and doing a repeat test the insurance likes to have done every year.

I'm so tired. I slept well last night, too, but every bit of me just wants to crawl back into bed at 4:00 in the evening and forget about doing anything else, like making dinner, for the rest of the day. I wish I could find a way to not be so exhausted all of the time. It makes me not care about money at all. Just spend it and get take out is not an attitude I like coming from myself, but it is there more and more often. Ugh.

JAMES! Issues with the Site Related to Norton Saying it is Dangerous

November 8th, 2019 at 11:47 pm

For the last 24 hours Norton wouldn't even show me this site existed, then when it showed the website again it blocked it, calling it dangerous. I finally had to go in and turn off the safe search to not have the message come up every time I tried to go to a new page and to post. I tried to go to the forums, but it won't let me post there at all. The new topic button does nothing when I push on it.

Norton is saying the threat from here is phishing and that the owners have to do something about it before they will relist it as a safe site, but I can't even contact them because the new topic thread won't open for me, nor the contact info. Is this happening to anyone else who has Norton? It seems like many of you were able to post just fine yesterday. Can someone contact James with this info? I am hoping he will see this post, but he doesn't always see the blogs.

Meal Planning for the Week and Thinking Ahead for the Pantry

November 7th, 2019 at 05:45 am

I forgot to post my meal plan on Monday. As usual, I am free to switch things around as the whim strikes me, but since we've already had the first 3 meals on this list I may just go in order. Who knows? I think for the rest of this month I am going to be cooking a lot from the pantry and freezers. I am hoping to stick to just buying bread, milk, lettuce, and a few other fresh veggies or fruits. I don't need any regular meat since the freezer is well stocked now.

However, the reason I want to not buy much regular food with the grocery budget this month is so I can buy several organic turkeys while Trader Joe's has them available. One for Thanksgiving, one for Christmas, and one for Easter. I also want to buy lots of potatoes while on sale for the holiday, because I'm down to only 8 pints of canned potatoes and we love making baked potato soup using canned potatoes, it is just such a major short cut for me. I'd like to can at least 120 pounds of potatoes, even though I will likely only be able to do 7 quarts per day. We will save so much money this way.

Day One:
Baked Ziti with Meatballs

Day Two:

Day Three:
Pork Roast smothered in Candy sweet onions
Acorn Squash
Green Beans

Day Four:
Sirloin Steaks
Fried Potatoes

Day Five:
Beef Stew with Potatoes, Carrots, and Parsnips

Day Six:
Homemade Pizza with pepperoni, ham, sausage, bell peppers, and onions
Cole Slaw

Day Seven:
Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Cole Slaw

Retirement Update

November 5th, 2019 at 05:48 am

Since October 19th our retirement has gained $1471.64. We only put in $220 every two weeks and the company matches 100% up to a point, so only $440 was contributions and matching in that time period. That is quite a huge gain in 2.5 weeks, a little over $1000. I know some of it was the IRA, but not near as much as was the 401K.

$14,255.93 Total in 401K
+_9,367.11 Total in IRA
$23,623.04 New Balance

$25K is getting closer and closer. I cannot wait until we are out of debt and can bump this up to 10% instead of 5%.

NaNo Progress (Not Finance Related)

November 4th, 2019 at 11:34 pm

So I started the month at 44,270 words on my novel. The goal this month is to write 50,000 words and hopefully finish or come close to finishing this book. I got off to a slow start but am picking up speed. I did do some plotting and figuring out that I needed to insert a scene to make something make more sense and add a few sentences here and there for an additional character who hadn't been in an early scene. So that took a lot of skimming around the first day and I wrote it the second. The second day was a bad rheumatoid day, but after that I am doing mostly fine.

Word counts so far:
11/1 = 0
11/2 = 266
11/3 = 2037
11/4 = 1624

I am behind schedule by 2745 words, but I think I will be able to catch up, maybe even tonight, but definitely between now and the 7nth, while staying on track daily. I did a one hour writing sprint today already, I think I probably have another one in me. If so I will update the list.

Total word count so far is 3923 and I need to be at 6668. I can catch up now that I am in the flow again, although I will probably have to ice my hands tonight.

Virginia Mason Update

November 2nd, 2019 at 05:52 am

We had the consult with the VM hepatology department for my daughter's liver tumor and it looks like we just get to play wait and see some more. Since DD is at no risk of getting pregnant in the next few years, and because her Prednisone dose is so low they do not think it will encourage tumor growth we just watch it for now. They don't generally like to operate until the tumor is 5 cm and hers is 2.7 cm. They are going to have her liver enzymes checked and in 6 months she will get another MRI and then in a year another one, just to keep monitoring it.

I'm not getting great sleep right now so I've been doing a lot of crashing during the day. I think I'm still worried, because to me a tumor has no business being in her body. And maybe it just takes me back to my own. I have lived with systemic diseases for all of my adult life and now my daughter is having to do the same thing and sometimes it is just so much to handle.

Okay, well, I've been procrastinating doing NaNo all day, so now that I've gotten this post taken care of, it is time to get to work.