DH's boss has put in for a sizeable raise for DH. I know he just got one in December, but his responsibilities have increased by a large margin...a margin that was not required for his job or the last raise. The last raise was completely swallowed up by inflation. I had to double, and then raise by another $50, our gas budget. Electricity, gas, water/sewer, and even garbage have all gone up.
He said that if the raise goes through, DH will probably fall down on the floor. About the only thing that would make me fall down on the floor would be $150K. But anything more would be fine, especially if it will cover DD's COBRA (still waiting on the appeal, but who knows?) while we try to get her on disablility or find a cheaper insurance that will still cover her medications. And maybe let us bump up our retirement contributions. At least we will be able to claim a significant amount of medical this year and that was before paying for COBRA, which starts in August.
Right now we are at 16% and I would like to be at 20%, maybe even 25% one day. Even if I can only go up to 17% or 18%, that will help. I haven't looked at retirement since the freefall started. I really don't want to, either. I am hoping in November we will see a sea change and all these people willing to throw our money away on other countries and not take care of us here so we can recover in our own economy and infrastructure, get voted out. I'll certainly vote against Patty Murray. She stopped being the Mom in Tennis Shoes she originally campaigned as when I was young and is now just another rich career politician who has strayed so far from what she used to be, I just want her gone. And I like her opponent. But I digress.
I've been able to stay within my food budget only because I don't have to buy much in the way of meat, mostly just chicken and the occasional pork. DH caught the limit on spot prawns and was given more by some of the others again. They tried to catch Pacific sand dabs, which are in the flounder family, while they were out there but only caught little ones that they threw back. There is not much meat on the little ones. Still both prawning trips have been more than enough to cover the gas to go out. These ones are super expensive to buy. So we'll get a few meals out of those. I am really looking forward to crabbing and salmon seasons and we may try to catch some river trout, too, since there are some fishing areas in our local parks.
So mostly I am buying produce right now and it'll be a while yet on when I can replace much of those types of groceries. Right now I am getting scallions and the first peas are ready to be picked today. I've got some herbs to harvest from and I am still picking strawberries. The raspberries are starting to turn color. So I am able to supplement a little. Plus I'm pulling the elephant garlic today, now that I've had 7 days in a row with no rain or watering. That helps them dry out some before being pulled and put on a ventilated drying rack for about 2 weeks and then I can cut off the greens and trim the roots and they can go into a box for dry storage in my coldest cabinet that seldom gets opened. I think the Music garlic is ready, too, but I'll have to dig down and check.
Once all the garlic is out I can plant carrots, radishes, and 90 day parsnips. Those are all great things to plant after garlic or onions. The onions are starting to swell, but they have several weeks to go. Maybe in another 2 weeks I can ring them and then their growth will take off significantly. And I'll be able to use the sprinkler and just handwater once this garlic is out.
I've got baby zucchinis starting and saw my first tomato (small and green) yesterday. My cucumbers are still really small plants. My lettuce has bolted and my spinach, too. My herbs are big enough that I can start to harvest them. But that's still not a lot of fruit or veggies. We finally got the green beans planted, but they haven't come up yet. I will be getting the sweet potatoes in today. We'll have to do a peusdo greenhouse when the weather starts cooling off in the fall, since it took so long for DH to get the grow bags filled for me. They are up on pallets to keep them off the ground for when the ground starts getting cold.
I am considering dumping the hog lady since she keeps having her butcher dates pushed back and I haven't heard from her in some time, and going with another beef. Almost all that is left is hamburger. Any new hamburger I get I can put through the grinder on a fine grind, mix with some ground chicken, some tallow, and with herbs and spices, run it all through again, and make sausage with it. I can make mild Italian and I can make breakfast sausage. And if I ask for the navel cut with the new steer, then I can make beef bacon as well, unless they will make the bacon and the sausage for me at the butchers. They might not if the equipment for that is dedicated to hogs only, but it doesn't hurt to ask. It might be, to keep kosher. I know they will do kosher or halal when asked.
I need to do a stock up on herbs and spices at Costco this weekend, particulary salt, pepper, granulated garlic, paprika, and chili powder. I also want to get more tomato sauce, some PH water, some TP, Ziplocs, some oil for the fryer, some olive oil, rice, stir-fry veggies, and some golden kiwis. Maybe one or two more items, but I'll have to check.
I don't need to buy anymore fruit this week, as I still have strawberries to pick, a watermelon, 2/3 of a melon that was not labelled in the store, but tastes like a cross between cantaloupe and honeydew with a yellow rind, 2 small pineapples, some grapes, 3 nectarines, 1 peach, and 4 kiwis. I might get Rainer cherries, though. They are my favorite now and only have a short season. But we don't really need it. As for produce, we have two zucchini, 1 English cucumber, a head of lettuce, 1 green cabbage, 2 Napa cabbages (for cabbage rolls), 1/4 of a huge bag of frozen stir-fry veggies, 2 packs of frozen broccoli, carrots, potatoes, radishes, 4 yellow onions, 1 red onion, and a head of garlic. Also, home canned green beans, canned corn, and a can of water chestnuts. I think we should be fine, so I'll take the opportunity to stock up on some long-term food storage and longer-lasting pantry items, while saving enough money for week two of this grocery budget.
I had raised the grocery budget to $500, but I have popped it back down to $400 every payday, due to the increase in gas prices. It had to come from somewhere, so I am economizing more and sticking more firmly to meal planning and eliminating take out to more than once a payday and one of those meals MIL pays for. We have all but eliminated prepared foods and are cooking mostly from scratch, now that I am feeling better. It took a lot for me to recover from that last fall. My scab has almost completely fallen off and now I just have to work on keeping the scar tissue from pulling the skin tight, but using cream on it 3 times a day. I still have some pain from the fall, but I'm down to just using Ibuprofen at bedtime, so it is obviously better.
It was hard to keep a good attitude through the healing process, because it has set me back, but I can still feel the higher dose of the stuff used to control my hypomania and death spirals (as I like to call them, not really death, just dark dives into misery) is doing it's job to keep me on a more even keel. I still don't have a formal diagnosis other than hypomania and depression. No one's come out and said bipolar, though. Which is okay, because let's face it, I don't want to go on lithium. I will likely be going up another 50 mg on my current drug the next time I see the doctor. I feel it is the final step, because my outlook on life has improved tremendously over all.
I'm need to call in to physical therapy this week and get myself rescheduled. I think I will need a new assessment, though, because my range of motion and the flexibility I was getting has now become less and so is the amount of time I can stand or walk with an assistance device and definitely without one and the pain is pretty bad unless I sit rather quickly. I had been cane free for 8 weeks before this accident. It's so frustrating, but I will put my head down, muddle through, and get stronger again. I did it once, I can do it again. I'll call the doctor, though. I never got an x-ray of my lower back after I fell and I want to make sure I haven't done further damage, before I do. I was so concerned with the pain my arm when I went to the hospital, I was completely unaware of other pain. It wasn't until the next morning that I felt it and kept hoping it would get all the way better on it's own, but maybe it can't. So we'll see. We'll see about a lot of things.