Home > Archive: June, 2023
Archive for June, 2023
June 25th, 2023 at 10:12 pm
Last night I started a ten day process on getting the freezer full of individual frozen dinners for me to have ready to heat and eat like TV dinners, only homemade. I am eating healthier by avoiding takeout now. I have always read ingredients and have been having some of the cleaner, healthier geared ones, which are still full of sodium, something I have to be careful with. If I cook it myself, I can avoid putting in a ton of salt and if I make it gluten free, I can avoid a lot of the fillers put into food.
I cup up one of the store bought turkeys that was in our chest freezer. We had bought one for Halloween and one for Christmas, but of course we got hit by Covid the week of Thanksgiving and I was still pretty sick the week of Christmas, we all were still exhauted and dragging, so we cancelled both holidays except the gift giving part at Christmas where MIL came in to our house and she and my mom kept a nice safe distance across the living room from us.
Anyway, cutting up a turkey is a lot harder than cutting up a chicken or a rabbit, but I got most of it done. It was worth it in the end because it was an organic turkey with no ingredients other than turkey. I did have to have my husband come and split the breat in half, because I chose not to keep it whole and I chose not to filet it. I like roasting them, and in order to fit them in our little pressure oven, I have to cut them in half or they will touch the ceiling. I keep the skin on and the bone in because it gives extra flavor to the bird. Then after it cooks, I will filet the breast meat from the bone and slice it.
I did the legs, thighs, and neck last night for dinner and there is a lot of that left, too, and enough drippings to make stuffing and gravy. So after I put one half of the turkey breast in to pressure roast, I'll start one of the Instant Pots going with two of the back pieces that were quite meaty, the wing tips, and some other scraps that came off, cover it with filtered water, and seasoning, and make stock.
Then I'll prepare my stuffing on the stove and put it in the oven for an hour (yes, I know it is technically dressing when it isn't inside the bird). While it is baking, I will make gluten free no salt gravy with lots of herbs, while my husband makes a box of Instant potatoes (just potato flakes) for me (they do better in TV dinners). Then I will take a break for dinner while everything cools and then put the other turkey breast in to pressure roast.
After dinner I will start assembling turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy in the big compartment and either frozen green beans, or frozen mixed veggies in the small compartment. If I have one with two small compartments and one large, I'll put the stuffing in the second one. Frozen corn, and frozen carrots would work, too, if you don't mind the whole dinner being frozen carbs beside the protein. So would peas, but not in my world. Peas are meant to be an ingredient used sparingly in rice or soup, not an entire serving by itself.
By then the stock should be done and I can strain it into another pot. The bones can be picked free of any meat and then put back into the Instant Pot with the bones I saved from the thigh and leg meat. I will be using some of the broth for the liquid as I make the gravy on the second batch, since I won't have potato water from making the gravy and I will use gluten free flour, so the meals will remaining gluten free.
With any remaining meat, I will do turkey tip bowls and soup. You know how you have steak tips in gravy? Well, this will be turkey tips in gravy over mashed potatoes, with corn and cheese mixed in and then a green vegetable can be added like a can of green beans, frozen broccoli, or a salad, along with a biscuit or two. I will make some up and put them in the freezer so they can warm them up when they want them. It's basically a famous bowl from KFC only without it having crispy chicken in it. They like those. My version will be gluten free.
I plan to repeat this with meatloaf, a mix of roasted sweet potatoes, turnips, potatoes, and parsnips, and then for the non-root veggies, zucchini, summer squash, or green beans. I will vary the meatloaf between ketchup, BBQ sauce, meatloaf gravy, and plain. If I have some plain ones, my daughter can have one of those. These meals are mostly for me, but this way she can have one or two. She is the only one who can't fend for herself.
Now I have also cut the wings in half, so I have two flats and two drums from that. They are large enough for the drums to be two meals and the flats to be one meal, so I will fry those up to make three meals. I will season them with sazon and I will do sweet potato wedges and green beans for those. I will air fry those and then warm them up in the air fryer.
For another one, I am going to buy a bag of gluten free chicken strips that I like and fry them up and divide them into the TV dinner trays and add mashed potatoes and green beans.
I think if I have the energy I will make turkey and sausage meatballs with my sauce over gluten free pasta, bake it, and then put it in aluminum containers to warm up.
I'd also like to make up some steak tips in gravy, baby potatoes, and zucchini and summer squash.
My son has promised to help, but we all know how that goes. I just don't want to fall back on store-bought TV dinners (except the chicken strips, which are pretty clean). I don't want my family eating out, either, so I need to make sure there are family frozen dinners for them, too, like a ham dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans, cheezy ham and rice bake, turkey enchilada bake, a family size meatloaf dinner (in the freezer already), a ravioli bake (in the freezer already), spaghetti and meatballs, and taco mix, maybe some pizza blanks. Just enough to keep them going for a week to ten days.
I'll lay out recipes for my son and make sure he understands them and the ingredients he may need to buy, in case my heart is worse than expected and I take longer than a week to recover from this. He is a good cook and I've taught him a lot, but he tends to stick to stir-fries a lot because they are easy. After I am better, I will have my own individual meals for a while and I can serve them some of the things I don't like, like Chicken linguine Alfredo and not have to cook a second meal for me.
Eventually, I want to make enough meals that anyone can grab a TV dinner and eat it if they don't like the main meal or if no one wants to cook. Take out is expensive. Store-bought TV dinners are expensive. This way is the cheapest way to do it and I won't feel like the dollars in my food budget are just slipping through my hands or worse, the Citi card being used too much to buy takeout because we are tired or unprepared.
I do pay it off in full each month, but has gotten to be a bad habit and I am worried we are slipping further and further into bad habits and one day buying food like this might push us to the point that we will have a month where we don't have enough money to pay the bill in full. It's a slipperly slope. I still guard against that every day, but I don't think I am guarding as hard as I should be these days. It's a slippery slope and I need to get back off the mountain and go back to using the credit card only for automatic payments and at Costco for cash rewards, as was intended.
I need that extra money for other things right now, namely the bathroom rebuild. I know some of the spending can't be helped with my heart being so underpowered and my husband working so many hours, but I am just going to have to put my head down, take it slow, and try harder.
It's a nice beautiful day, so I am going to go keep my husband company in the garden and if I have the stamina, pull some weeds. The beans are surrounded and need some help or they will surrender.
June 24th, 2023 at 05:49 am
Our new net worth is $207,517.35. This is a combination of factors, but since it involves the new ESOP contribution, I can't get specific about numbers. I am excited that we turned the next big numer on the old odometer, if money were miles, on the trip to becoming a millionaire. $200K is a big one.
June 24th, 2023 at 05:00 am
DH has been working between 80 and 90 hours a week since April 23. Unless I have to slow him down when he starts getting hollow eyed. Or when he got sick a couple weeks ago and he took 1 day off. I won't let him work through the weekends, since the only reason I agreed to this was that he helped me in the garden on the weekends, since he was supposed to take two weeks off of work in May to get the garden going. Well, the garden still hasn't really gotten going very much, because he's been too tired.
They do give them meal breaks (lunch, dinner, second dinner), regular breaks, and "oh, my gosh, my head is going to explode, I need to do a lap around a building or two to clear it," breaks. They can snack at their desks whenever they want. Some of them are working 110 hours a week.
Unfortunately, with my heart and him going down with some kind of bacterial infection in his leg so that he was unable to do much more than eat, sleep, and otherwise work from 8 a.m. until 10 or 11 p.m. and not being home until midnight, and my son hurting his back, we ended up having a lot of food delivered for 3 weeks. That was very pricey, hence the Citi bill. $800 of that is for automatic payments that are put on the card, but the rest was takeout food. I didn't use $250 of the grocery budget so that got redistrubuted into my other envelopes. Anyway, this is how the paycheck got disbursed.
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
__75.00 Household Envelope
_800.00 Bathroom Replacement Fund
_150.00 Gas Money Envelope
2367.05 Citi Card Payment
__95.47 DH Life Insurance
__80.74 My Life Insurance
__48.71 DH Long Term Care Insurance
__50.00 DH Spending Money
__50.00 My Spending Money
__60.00 DS Allowance
__30.00 DD Allowance
June 18th, 2023 at 05:49 am
The long and short of my appointment with the cardiologist is that I am going in to the hospital on July 7nth for an angiogram, which may or may not turn into an angioplasty or if things are very, very bad when he gets in there, open heart surgery. But he thinks it is a blockage he can clear or just put a stent in.
He was concerned enough to get me on the schedule as fast as he could, making an opening for me where there wasn't one, though, on his own schedule since the hospital had a free OR, because the flow rate had dropped from 45% to 43% between appointments with the lung doctor and him, based on the tests I did there and there has been no change in the enlarged chamber.
The risks of the angiogram are stroke, heart attack, and damage to the artery for the big 3 and those are 1 in 1000 risks, and then there are a litter of smaller ones. But I can't keep living like this. It's not living. So if it has 999 out 1000 odds that I'll get through it just fine and improve my quality of life, I want to do that.
Meanwhile he gave me 4 meds to take, nitrogycerin when I feel any squeezing or pain in the heart, baby aspirin, a second blood pressure med with a non-sulfa based diurectic, and a beta blocker. So that is where I am. I still tire easily, but I am starting to feel the beta blocker working and am not having as much squeezing. I don't know if these are forever drugs or not It still happens, but not just because I change positions. And I am sleeping better because my heart is not working as hard. Even my fitbit and my c-pap tracking app agree with that. So that's as much as I know right now.
June 8th, 2023 at 05:28 am
So you may or may not have noticed that I haven't posted for a month and there is a reason for that. I've had a series of tests on my lungs by pulmonary, and the breathing test showed that I couldn't blow out as hard the second blow as the first blow and then we waited and the same thing happened. There were other test with the breathing and they weren't that great, but the damage wasn't really to the lungs, despite the shortness of breath that had been a near constant and the cough I can't ever seem to get rid of or my oxygen saturation being only 1% above COPD since 2020.
They had previously done two tests on my heart a couple of weeks before the breathing tests. So I got the results of those as well as of the breathing tests on the day of the breathing tests.
An electrocardiogram (ECG, but sometimes referred to as an EKG) was first. It was where they put some leads on you and monitor the electrical signals that make the heart beat. That one was simple and painless and wasn't stressful at all.
The second was an echocardiogram (you will hear it referred to as an echo on medical dramas) where they stick a transducer wand into your rib cage and press up hard under and into your breast and you really want to smack the technician because it hurts and you think he's going to break something. I ended up with bruises. It transmits and recieves sound waves that bounce off the heart and created an image and a sound on the screen. He was having trouble with it making an image, so they ended up having to inject me with some chemical (gave me hives an hour later, had to take 6 Benadryl) to make it more visible or something. Then he wasn't digging so hard into me. It probably isn't so hard with men or flat-chested women.
Anyway, the news wasn't good. I have an enlarged right chamber of the heart and my left chamber has a flow rate of 45% and it is supposed to be 55%. She said I may have a blockage and maybe it can be removed or maybe they will have to put in a stent. First they would have to do a stress test and since I can't do a treadmill test because of the hip and discs in my back, they will have to use chemicals to induce the same thing in me. Oh, joy, more chemicals.
So they referred me to cardiology and I figured great, that'll be 3 months before I hear from them, because that's how long it took when I had to get the heart monitor and then an additional couple of weeks before I actually got an appointment to get it fitted and it turned out to be a big ball of nothing, even though I was absolutely sure something was going on with my heart. Because there was, just not something that could be picked up on a monitor, hence me going to pulmonary.
But no, cardiology called me that night with an appointment on the 14th, which kind of freaked me out, because they moved that fast, which made me think it was even more serious than I was thinking, based on how long it took before. But we were still under Covid restrictions before, so maybe it doesn't mean anything that I got an appointment in two weeks.
Anyway, the pulmonologist thinks the damage was either caused by Covid itself or possibly by a rare side effect of the vaccine I took, which was supposed to be the safest one, since I had these tests done back when I was fainting and my heart was fine then. That was chocked up to be the aural migraines. But those two debilitating bouts of Covid and maybe the two minor ones are the more likely causes of the heart thing in my mind. The vaccine could have thrown in its 2 cents worth as well, something about people with autoimmune diseases being more prone to that. I think. And I was kind of shocked, you know?
Most of the time when a viral infection damages the heart it does heal with time, but they know so little about Covid still, this version of it that was deliberately made worse and worse so they could study it, but seem to know nothing about the long term effects of it. What little they do know isn't good, she said. I don't want to jump the gun, but it is hard not to think about it. I've read some of the reports, because I'd rather go into this with my eyes open.
And it might not be Covid at all. It could be my rheumatoid arthritis drugs damaging my heart. Because they can. So I might have to go off those and just live with constant pain. Of course, I do anyway, but if I have to go off them, I'll have to live on pain pills and my doctor is super stingy with them.
The only really bright spot lately is that I found a prescribing nurse psychiatrist for my son and he's put him on a higher dose of his meds and they are extended release and he is doing so much better. Once all this heart stuff is figured out, I will go and see him, too, because my meds are not right, either.
It's a lot. It's really a lot. It seems like there are only four or five people left on the blogs anymore. But if those of you that are left could keep me in your prayers and thoughts, I'd appreciate it.
June 8th, 2023 at 01:11 am
Just thought I'd give an update on how my other funds are doing, too. Some of them are funds that are much shorter term, some of them are long term, and some of them are very long term and won't be included like the medical fund or the garden fund, because those are rolling funds, money in and out constantly, at least at this time of year with the garden fund and always with the medical fund.
$2500 Bulk Meat Fund This is earmarked for our steer which is due to be butchered in July. I allowed for a few hundred more than last year since the cut and wrap fee has gone up slightly per pound and the kill fee has gone up $10.
$400.00 Car Maintenance Fund This is for things like brakes, oil changes, line flushes, wind shield wipers, fluid replacement, air filters, cabin filters, new tires, engine work, etc. Some of the minor things we do ourselves. Things that are necessary to make the car run.
$50.00 Car Expenses Fund These are things like registration with the tabs for the license plates (just got done paying so it is low), paint job, body work, detailing. Basically cosmetic things that will make the car look nicer, but aren't necessary. I put registration in here just because I didn't want to make a whole envelope just for it.
$480.00 Fishing Expenses Fund This fund pays for licenses and gas for fishing. I am not sure if we are going to be doing any fishing, shrimping, or crabbing this year. DH has a bad bacterial infection in his leg and it is causing him a lot of pain and swelling. Plus with all the overtime, I don't know if he can take the time off. So this money may end up getting swept up into the House Expenses Fund.
$1100.00 House Expenses Fund This covers things like Repairs, Insurance, and Taxes. Since the latter two are covered for some time yet, everything I am saving here is going towards the bathroom repair.
$600.00 Summer Things Fund This is for buying a pop up canopy, a propane grill, and eventually, maybe next summer, I'll start saving for a hot tub. I'm not sure if I'll even buy any of this stuff this year. The B.C. wildfires have already started and they are sharing their smoke with us down here. I figured we'd have another month. Now I don't know if we'll even get the rest of the garden in, because you can't work in that even with masks on. And with DH's leg, we weren't able to rototill the last patch of land we need for the tomatoes. And this was supposed to be my big tomato and pepper year. It's been windy a lot the last couple of weeks so hopefully it will blow this stuff out to sea,
$65.00 Hawaii Trip Fund This is a far on the horizon trip. I am not saving large amounts for it at all. Usually $5 to $10 a payday. I just want to feel like I'm putting something towards it. If the bathroom hadn't happened, I was going to start saving up in earnest for this at the start of next year.
$65.00 Electric Vehicle Fund Like the previous fund, this is a far on the horizon fund. Both vehicles we have are functioning perfectly and we plan to drive them until they can't drive anymore or the parts to fix them are no longer available. Or Washington outlaws gas vehicles altogether. When that time comes I want to be able to purchase a vehicle in cash. Two would be nice, but by then we might need a truck anymore. 2030 is when we can't buy new gas powered vehicles in my state anymore, but I bet used ones won't be far behind. Unless there is a very big change in our leadership and we break away from the lockstep of California and Oregon or we get a huge influx of centrists or republicans, I don't see gas powered vehicles continuing on much past 2035 or 2040. In 2040 I'll be 70 and won't be wanting to drive much anyway and it will probably all be AI driven cars anyway. But I have to wait for the bathroom to be fixed and I will start saving for this equally with the Hawaii trip.
$60.00 DD's Phone Fund This is just DD's contributions so far. I will be contributing, just not yet. We are doing DS's phone first since his fell apart and he took a loan from MIL to get a new one. We are contributing $500 towards his and $500 towards hers, but I wasn't expecting it and it wasnt in the budget yet. Hers was planned for this month, but had to become his. Hers still works, though, just the battery is only at 50%, but she never goes anywhere when she's not with me and it last through waiting at the doctor's office so she's still good. I will be able to make my full contribution towards her phone in July and then she will have to save up the rest and add in her birthday money. To be honest I might contribute more to her, since she doesn't make as much as her brother does doing chores since she is disable and can barely do anything.
$60.00 DS's Phone Fund Again this is just DS's contribution so far. I will make a $150 contribution on Friday and then on the payday after that $350, so our contribution will be done in June for him.
$11.00 Furniture Fund This will start off by going for a new adjustable bed frame and mattress in the full size, and then will go toward a recliner that lifts you to a standing position. I am downgrading my bed from a king to a full and then will add a recliner. DH sleeps in his own room because he gets up very early for work and I have bad insomnia, it takes me forever to fall asleep, so if I get woken up that's it for me. And I can't run on 4 to 6 hours of sleep. I can barely function on 7 to 8, because even with a c-pap machine I don't get enough sleep. And he's a tosser and turner which also wakes me up. So there is just no point in my having a king size bed.
Plus, they have ruined by bed by sitting on it and creating a wallow, so that when I raise the feet it is lopsided. Also, it is the side of the bed I sleep on, so my legs go down into it and it is hard on my hip. The other side of the bed is too close to the window and I'd have to walk sideways to get into bed that way and because of my hip I can't walk sideways. So the wallow is why I want to get the chair, too, so that they can sit in the chair instead of my bed. Well, and I want it for when I need a change, because of my hip and tailbone. Then anyone coming in to talk can sit in my computer chair. It wouldn't be so bad if my husband and daughter didn't weigh so much, but it is a lot of weight to put in one section of the bed, day after day, when beds are meant to have the weight distributed and the foot is usually the weakest part of the bed frame.
Anyway, those are all my current funds. At least I am earning interest while I save up. It's still not much, but it is much better than it was. I don't know if I trust the banks enough yet to put it back into C1-360. My credit union is nice and safe. Between these funds and the almost $10,500 of my emergency fund, well, that is a lot to lose for me. I can't remember if it was last week or the week before when the government seized another failing bank, so that stuff is still going on. They are keeping it much quieter, but it happened. So I am still willing to forego the higher paying account for the time being.
June 8th, 2023 at 12:08 am
I updated my sidebar. There has been some serious progress made in DH's 401K since the last time I upated retirement and of course that has propelled net worth forward a great deal. DH has been working 80 hour weeks since the last week of April, so that has doubled his contributions and it has doubled the amount that his work has put in as well. So 3/4 of the rise is due to contributions.
The rate of return for the year isn't great compared to any time in his working life except the two Obama years in a recession and last year (also was in a far worse recession by definition even though they won't call it one), but it is almost 8% for the year at the moment, which I will happily take over the negative of last year, or the 2% and 3.5% we earned during those two Obama years, which at least were still positive.
I remember how excited I got when our net worth hit $100K and then $150K and now $175K. We will soon be closing in on $200K. I know they say once you hit the first $100K stuff starts to pile up more quickly, but it is really weird to see it. Usually at the end of June is when they dump in more company stock, too. I'm not sure how much DH will get. You get a certain percentage just for working there, based on how many years you have worked there, but it doesn't vest for 3 or 4 years, and then you get bonus shares on top of it based on how many hours you have worked beyond your regular hours, and how high up in the company you are, if you have gone above and beyond your duties, etc. And sometimes there are bonus shares if someone has retired and sold back their shares, which you have to do when you retire.
Anyway, DH is now fully vested in both his company stock and his 401K, so it is all his. He loves his job and he isn't going to leave it, but if he suddenly had to he could roll over the full 401K and sell back the full amount of stock. That's always a good place to sit.
I also updated the Emergency Fund. It was off by $500.01. That was a payment to the mold guy.
I had a great dream last night that my mother won the lottery, the biggest jackpot ever recorded, and we never had to worry about money again. A nice retirement was assured. Wouldn't that be piece of mind?