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Payday, Plans for Beef, Plans for Garden, Seeking Fertilizer for Next Year

September 7th, 2022 at 03:40 am

Payday has come and gone and I have re-funded all of my envelopes, funds, and sinking accounts.  I had money left in my grocery envelope, quite a lot actually, so I started my savings for the next beef, hencetofore to be known as "Beef Envelope" because I am fancy like that, with $208.  We just didn't buy that much.  Part of that was bad sales at the grocery stores both weeks, part of that was picking up our hog, part of that was having a lot of produce to go through from the previous pay cycle, some of it long lasting, like cabage, and melons.  There just wasn't too much need.  Based on how much it cost in July of 2021 to buy a whole steer, which was $2,955.64, I need to save up at least $3000.  And since that was 2 years ago, I probably need to build in an additional raise of .50/lb on the farmers side of things and .10/lb for the cut and wrap and $10 added to the kill fee, just to be on the safe side.  That was what it was for the hog.  So I need to set aside $3500 total for the steer.

On top of that I have raised the grocery budget by $100 to $500 a payday with the new raise DH got and with most of our meat taken care of now we had a lot more freedom at the grocery store.  Maybe I didn't need to do that, but it gives me plenty of money to put in the Beef Fund.

The only meat I have to buy now is chicken, turkey, deli meats, and fish, unless he ever gets to go fishing again this summer.  Work has been crazy and the last fishing trip was unsuccessfull for the guys who coud make it because the fish were still too small.  DH couldn't, because we were all down with something so bad he was afraid to leave us alone in case someone needed to go to the hospital (nobody did).

They didn't go out over the holiday weekend because the guy who own's the boat, his mother had hip replaement surgery earlier in the week and was coming hom the friday before.  Those first few days after are a 2 person job/challegne/nightmare.  Then it calms done enough that one person can handle it. And if not than he can work from home for the bad times.  They are very flexible with hours as long as you meat goals on time, show up for meetings even if on Zoom, and do your walk downs at the right time.  So hopefully, next weeked we can still get coho salmon.  It is my favorite.

Anyway, the garden is doing very well.  Last night I harvested 10.4 pounds of tomatoes from the garden bringing the tomato total up to 14.4 pounds for the year.  There were 3 more zuccchini, briging the weight totoal up to 3.8 pounds.  They were nowhere the size of the frst one, more like normal sized.  I weeded the zucchini finally and I'm sure it will appreciate not having to fight for light.  There are lots of healthy litle zuchchini on most of the plants.  I did have to take a couple of dead ones off one plant that had been completely shaded out by weeds, so now maybe it will flower again.  I also transplanted the nasturtiam away from the cucumers, and one day later they are liking it already.  I did pick my first two cucumbers.  They are small, pickling cucumbers, so their weight was .7 pounds.  I was starting to think I'd get nothing off those vines at all.

I think I am going to transplant my pepper plants away from the tomato plants and give them a batch of rabbit manure and see how they do with full sun and not fighting the tomatoes for resources.  I just have to hear back from the rabbit rescue place about rabbit manure.  The other two bunny farmers I've called ghosted me after a couple of days, so trying to find something more reliable now.  If not, I guess I'll just have to go with stinky fish emulsion or try to find a stables that is open this weekend for manure removal.  It was so much easier when cow manure was available in the stores instead of having to hunt sources down on my own.

If worst comes to worst we are off to the beach to harvest as much dead seaweed as will fit in the back of the truck to dry out, break up with our hands, and bury in the garden beds.  The nutrients in that will feed the beds for a couple of years.  That is included in his gathering license for shellfish, and they really don't care if you are just collecting the dead stuff if you have one or not, but safe side so he'll have it on him.  I'll just go to keep him company and to have some time away from the kids.

I really hope the fertilizer industry gets back on its feet soon so they stop taking up all the organic stuff because that is all that is left.  It makes it really hard for us gardners.  And then they have huge crop failures and we can't make up for it the way we might, because we don't have the inputs that were available to us before because big ag took it all.

I'm sorry if this comes off all fragmented.  I think the hamster on my brain fell off his wheel today.  Anyway, I am going to put as much aside as I can within limits to save for the beef to meet that goal, put as much aside as I can to refill the EF, and extend my garden season as long as possible while preparing the beds for next  year.

You Take the Good, You Take The Bad

August 12th, 2022 at 04:25 am

Just before leaving for my son's eye appointment he came down and handed me an envelope from Regence, our health insurance company.  It was a thin business envelope, not the oddly sized explanation of benefits envelope.  I didn't want to open it.  About a week ago we had gotten one just like it saying they had received the appeal.

I decided not to open it and we headed off to get his eye exam and new glasses picked out.  He's also going to get contacts for the first time, so we will have to make an appointment to have them teach him how to use them and take care of them.  It's going to be interesting.  Insurance did not cover frames this time, just lenses and they won't cover contacts.  The exam, retinal mapping, $10 co-pay, and additional contact lens measuring came to $100.  I think that we pay more at the next appointment.

Anyway, they were having a 20% off sale on glasses, so with our insurance and that, his new glasses came to $210.  So we came out of there pretty good, I thought.  When my daughter and I get glasses our prescriptions are so bad it costs a lot more.  Even with the lower cost frames under $200, and insurance for the lenses, we still pay around $400 to $450 on a year that covers both.

So that was a good thing and we headed home to face that envelope.  I opened it up and I burst into tears.  I hardly ever cry unless I am watching something heartbreaking on youtube or a show.  I've got a real tight control on my emotions, but I just couldn't keep it in.  I had to read it four times to believe it.  She has been approved to stay on our insurance for 5 years!  5 years.  I thought it would only be one, but 5 years!  Then she'll have to go through exams again, but man, 5 years!  You cannot imagine the relief I feel about this.  No COBRA, no $753 monthly payments, just business as normal.

When I told DD, she also burst into tears.  You can't imagine the stress this has lifted off us.  It was like it evaporated away into nothing.  My husband and son are also so relieved and DH felt his stress, at least over this, lift in much the same way.  I don't think we really have to worry about all this in 5 years, either because her diseases are degenerative.  She won't get better, she'll get worse or if she is lucky stay the same, but to not have to worry about medical getting yanked out from under her is just amazing.

After that we went to the chiropractor, I told him about the spondylosis at the L2 and L3 that showed up on the x-rays I had on Monday, so we add that to the L4 and L5 degenerative discs in the treatment program.  Now that I've been cleared to do physical therapy again, I called to try to get scheduled, but they want me to get a new order from the doctor.  *sighs*  More work for me.  Hopefully I can just message him through the portal since I just saw him and get a new order sent without having to go in again.

After that, DS and I put soaker hoses on the green beans.  They have really perked up since putting on the shade cloth.  Some I thought were dead for sure are standing up and putting out new green leaves.  I am so happy.  I am going to poke some seeds into the ones that all the sprouts died in, just to see if they'll be ready in time to pick before the cold seasons, but at least the sun didn't kill them all.

Then DH got home and told me that his Great Aunt had died.  So I cried again, because I loved her a lot.  She's been doing poorly for a while and we knew it was coming, but she's been an instituion in this family.  Her older brother lived until he was 105 years old, so we thought maybe she would, too.  DH couldn't remember if she was 97 or 98, but she almost made it.  Her husband has been gone maybe 10 or 15 years now, so she's been alone for awhile.  One daughter lives in the mid-west and the other is an hour away, so one was near and some of the grandkids and they were taking turns to check on her.  It is for the best with the pain she was in, but I will miss her.

At least I have a nice dress I can wear to the funeral.  It's not exactly subdued, but it isn't a riot of colorful flowers, either, like what I usually buy.  Just a nice summer dress with sleeves and not a sundress.  I don't have any appropriate shoes unless I wear my boots and it has been way too hot to do that.  Funerals aren't exactly a place to wear flip flops and they don't make sandals in 4E width.  DD has a nice dress, too, it came 2 weeks ago.  I am focusing on the minutiae because I really don't want to think about it.  I'm not heartless, just discotiating.

My new wardrobe came and I'm happy it goes well with some of the pieces from my old wardrobe as well.  And everything is true to the colors they showed in the photos.  So I'm happy with that.  I finally have nice clothes again, not washed out, overly worn, incorrectly sized clothes.  It's a silly thing to be happy about on a day that has put me through the emotional wringer.

I need to get my tears out now, so I can be there to support my husband and MIL and my favorite of DH's cousins, her youngest daughter.  I'm not close with the older one, but I'll be there for her, too, if she needs me.

This is bringing up thoughts of my own mother who turns 83 at the end of the month. She is getting frail and more forgetful and I see her mortality every day now.  We need to pay for her to get a will made.  It needs to be done sooner rather than later, while she is still in her right mind.

It was such a good day, until it wasn't, but I am still riding high on the good news and maybe on the increased dosage of the drug that controls my hypomania and depression.  Maybe now I can allow myself to breathe again.

I'm well ahead on my reading goal for 2022.  I finished Child Zero on the tenth and it was a good book.  I'd give it 4.5 out of 5 stars, and the knock down was because incredibly excessive swearing.  Like you would be hard pressed to find a page that didn't have swearing in it if there was dialogue and sometimes when they were just thinking.  It was so bad it kept throwing me out of the story.  But I soldiered through and I really liked it.  Chris Holm is no Michael Crichton, even though they are comparing him to that author.  Not nearly enough medical details to even come close.  Still good though.

I started reading City of Orange, but I couldn't stand it, so turned that back into the library.  It is rare for me to not stick out a book, but yeesh.  Ten pages in and I felt like I was being tortured by bad writing.  Now I'm reading Summer at the Cape, but I'm not sure I'm really in the mood for book four in this series right now.

I have more books on hold, but they are taking forever.  I may have to actually go into the library to find some instead of purusing GoodReads.com and hoping the library carries whatever I am interested in.  I'm in the mood for a YA thriller or vampires or werewolves or something supernatural.  Just kind of fun, mindless things with overwrought teenagers, but well-written.  It's a guilty pleasure.  And they don't tend to have explicit love scenes.

Well, my son just took the pizza out of the oven so I guess it is time to finish this off.  Hope all is well with everyone.  You've all been pretty quiet.

I Didn't Think I'd Be Able to Ever Move Again

May 19th, 2022 at 02:06 am

Last night was rough.  I did a lot of new exercises at physical therapy and even though it was in the pool it totally kicked my butt.  45 minutes of non-stop exercise was only possible with the decreased gravity.  By the time I got home everything hurt so bad.  I made it halfway to the house before I had to sit down in the chair at the bottom of the ramp and put the bag down.  It was so heavy with a wet towel and suit in there.  And I forgot my phone so I couldn't call DH to come out and get me.  So I sat there about ten minutes until I could go into the house and send DH out for my bag.  That's how weak I was.

I wasn't able to move my arms enough to make dinner.  They just felt like lead.  It felt like a full on fibro flare with the RA kicking in just for fun.  So we got Mexican.  I had a single tostada de ceviche.  They make it with tiger shrimp and it is really good with lots of tomatoes and onions.  And then I had a rectangle from a chicken quesadilla.  I also got 1 beef enchilada with rice, but I was too exhausted to eat it, so it went in the fridge for today.  I figured I would be able to eat it all since I hadn't eaten all day (yes, bad, I know).  And the rest of the family only ate 1 triangle each of the quesadilla, so there are still two left which I will probably have for lunch tomorrow.  We spent $80 for the four of us.

I took a hot shower after dinner and that helped, but DH had to come wash my hair since I wasn't able to lift my arms above my head.  I still had a good bit of pain going on so I took half a hydrocodone and it knocked me out and when I woke up I felt a lot better.  I can still feel some soreness, but it is just muscle soreness and not fibro.  It hurts to raise my hands above my head, but I can.

The hands still hurt, but they always do after a lot of work.  And not near as much as yesterday as I am typing fairly easily.  I will probably have to avoid that exercise in the future due to how hard it was on my hands.  It was using a mini-kickboard, holding it upright underwater, and pulling it towards me and pushing it away.  It builds the core, but so do a lot of other things, so we'll figure something out.  I have PT again on Friday so we can talk about it then.

I am able to make dinner tonight so we have steaks thawing.  I am going to cook the steaks rare and have green beans, and French fries.  It's a fairly simple dinner.  If my hands were better I'd be making fried potatoes, but French fries will have to do.  I have been making a lot more meals, but yesterday just threw me for a loop.  I will be making a crockpot meal on Friday so that I won't have to worry about making dinner when I get back from PT, it will just be there and ready.  We have beef ribs which work really well with low and slow cooking, so I will just throw them in there with some potatoes and sweet potatoes and then all that will need to be done when I get home is micro-steam a bag of broccoli.

DS and I went out to "shop" the freezer and brought in some steaks and roasts, Canadian bacon, and a pack of hotdogs.  I only had 16 pounds of butter, so I need to do a major stock up.  Last year I bought 60 pounds of butter and 8 of those in there were bought recently, so we went through a pound of butter a week, so I guess I planned pretty well.  I like spring and summer butter when the cows are on green grass and not hay.  I get grass fed butter and there is a world of difference between that and conventional, but also between summer and winter butter.

DS and I need to do an inventory of what is out there and of what is in the mini-chest freezer.  It is easy to see what is in the upright.  I need to see what we need to eat through and how much space we will have in the house and how much we will have in the garage.  I know some of what is in there is crab bait chicken and turkey breast and that will be out of there as soon as the dungeness season starts.  They have freezer burn, so this is a great way of not wasting the meat.  It'll get us through the season and it sure beats buying crab bait, especially at today's prices.

I had regular therapy today and we talked about how I don't like change and how I want to cut my hair and I've wanted to cut it since before the pandemic and things have been open and without masks for quite some time, but I don't do it.  Part of it was my salon went out of business, but something else was affecting me and I knew it.  So she asked if anything from my childhood might be affecting me and I realized that Mom made me get pixie cuts when I was a kid, because she didn't want to deal with the work of longer hair.  I wasn't allowed to choose my own hair cut until I was in the third grade and then I grew it long.

And even though I have had it short at various times in my life it was because I wanted to.  Now it is below my waist and full of damage and i need to get it cut.  And you know what?  My mom keeps saying that I need to get it cut.   Constantly.  And I haven't, because I still resent her very much for forcing me to have a style of hair that I hated for so many years.  Or that one time she made me get a perm.

So, now that I realize the only reason I am not doing it is to spite her, I think I can finally get past this and cut my hair to a couple inches below my shoulders and be done with it.  I've found a salon after much looking, so all I need to do is call tomorrow and schedule an appointment.

It's good for me to be able to realize what this is and get through it.  This is not the only aspect of my life that Mom affects this way, unfortunately.  And all of it relates back to having no bodily auntonomy when I was younger.  So steps were taken today to help me realize this and I feel a lot lighter.

Alright, well I better get to making dinner now that the steaks have sat out for an hour and are at room temp.  Then after dinner I will work in the garden a little.  Instead of getting a whole load of dirt, I've realized that we have a bunch of totes that we were growing in for the last two years that have dirt in them.  I weeded several of them yesterday and I managed to screen all the dirt in one to pull out roots and other things, like the peanuts our crazy squirrel couple bury all over the place.  Two of the peanuts have roots on them, so I put them in a large pot and we will see what becomes of them.

Last year there was one that grew and actually formed some peanuts.  Of course, I didn't know what it was until I'd pulled it out and it didn't take to being replanted and died.  I didn't even know peanuts could grow here, but apparently they can.  And these one's hadn't formed any other nuts on them so they have a better chance.  I'll have to look up their needs to see if they need special care and make sure I planted them at the right depth.

Okay, really going now.

 

 

 

Retirement Update

February 17th, 2022 at 02:06 am

Our 401K has started to creep back up, but our IRA is all over the place, but mostly not recovering or going down on average in a week.  Still, it's overall, better.  It's up to $71,159.77, which is a rise of $525.77.  That brings net worth up by the same amount to $129,285.26.

I feel uneasy about how much we have lost this year.  Our income on the 401K is -4.42%.  On the IRA it is -5.16%.  Not numbers that make me feel all warm and fuzzy.  But we're holding.  We either wait out this administration or we hope that something changes at the midterms that opens American oil back up.  Closing it down so much is what is causing a ton of this economic turmoil and inflation.  I've seen it before twice in my lifetime.  You may not agree, but that is my experience.

Turning Covid from pandemic to endemic and opening the world back up would also help a lot.  We are going to have to just live with it like we do the flu eventually.  It can't stay this way forever.  Esepcially when politicians and celebrities flout the rules at super spreader events like the superbowl and fundraisers.  Either we all wear masks or no one does.  And since they won't, there is not much point for us to keep it up unless we want to.  Being vaccinated has not stopped me from getting it and spreading it to my family who is also vaccinated.  Twice.  But at least we didn't die.

I've got to get my 3rd booster scheduled though and for the family as well.  Just waiting out the dregs of this head cold so that we are all healthy enough to do this.  Might have to do it separately as one person gets well.  Otherwise, I'm not sure how it will get done.

It's a little scary seeing Canada turn into a facist regime.  Real facist, not "I don't agree with your politics so I will call you a facist" facist.  The livestreams are scary at times.  But that's all I will say about that, because if I start spouting off on what's going on in Ottawa with that sorry excuse of a PM, I'll never stop.

This and That

January 11th, 2022 at 02:03 am

I've been trying to get my brain together enough to do a goals post for 2022, but right now I am just really scattered.  DH flew off to California yesterday for work.  He'll be back on Saturday night.  His flight went well and he called me when he arrived and then again when he got to the hotel.  He has to go to a different area of California in February for a week, too.  I really hate that.  I know he used to be gone all the time for work only a few short years ago, but I am no longer used to that.

I had a therapy session today and it went well.  I'm still not sure if the anti-depressants are working or not, but the therapy is helping.  I'm starting to understand where some of my stuff comes from and how it affects me when dealing with other people in the present who do something similar to people in the past.  I really dislike doing therapy over the computer, though.  In person visits are much better where I don't have to worry about anyone possibly hearing what I am saying.

One of the tasks on my list is to find out where DH stored the car window washing fluid and then look up in the manual where the tank is for that.  I am pretty sure I know where it is, but I think I've only filled it once since we bought the car in 2011.  I'm not even sure I know where the hood release is, though I imagine it is down by the gas tank cover release button.

Tomorrow I need to pick up milk, but I think I have enough empty milk bottles to return that it'll cover the milk and get some change back.  I have four milk bottles and each has a $2 deposit.  I am so glad there is a local dairy that has glass containers for their milk and cream and half and half.  It sells through the one line of stores or you can go out there to buy it on certain days of the week, but I tend to go to the store because that is a 5 minute drive max and the other is 20 minutes there and 20 minutes back.

We need to take the Christmas lights down.  While we aren't the only people on the block with them up still, I feel like their time has come.  Friday and Saturday are supposed to be dry.  It's supposed to rain pretty hard on Tues, Wed, and Thurs, but there might be breaks in the weather like today when there wasn't supposed to be one.  We were doing other things, though.  We will get the Christmas tree taken down in the meanwhile.  I'll start on it tonight after dinner.

I need to fold a basket of towels, too.  My shoulder and upper arm are doing better than they were and so the folding motion is much more tolerable to do.  DH got a lot of the knots out before he left.  I don't want to get far behind again.  Right now there is just one clean basket of laundry and very little dirty laundry and I'd like to keep up with it now that I can.

I also need to do some spot cleaning.  Because of my back I have a hard time doing everything at once, but I find if I pick a spot and do five minutes, it gets there bit by bit.  My spot cleaning for today is the bathroom counter and sink.  A full wipe down of the dust and hair (my hair is almost down to my hips now and gets everywhere) then cleaning, rinsing, then drying off.  I might have to do it in two sessions a couple of hours apart, do the counter first and then do the sink second.  At least DH did the mirror last week so that still looks good.

We are going to take the glass shower door off our bathtub and replace it with a rod and shower curtain.  The glass door is just a collecting space for gunk, especially the runners.  With the shower curtain we can just toss it in the washer when it needs it.  And it will make it a lot easier to clean the bathtub.  With the doors gone I can just sit on the rim of the tub and reach a lot easier with a long handled brush.  It has been the hardest thing for me to clean because of that darn door.

We'll have to fill in some holes where it was screwed into the tub, but we plan to eventually tear out this tub and build a tiled bench to sit on and then make a tile walk-in shower with a six inch lip to keep the water from running onto the floor.  We would probably keep the shower surround and just build the tiles up to it.  Maybe one day we could finish it, but I am thinking of what we can afford to do now.  It will be much easier for DD and for me, with our disabilities, to get in there.  It already has one handicapped rail, but it isn't in the best location for the bench, so if we do end up doing the whole thing one day we can put it in a better location.

My spot clean for tomorrow is to break down a bunch of cardboard boxes and to fold up a bunch of paper grocery bags for recycling and put away the canned goods that are still in some of those paper bags.  DS will help with that one.  I need him to rejigger our canned food rack.  One of them was set for an unusual size can that we not longer get, and then one was tiny for those little spiced ham cans, but I can no longer get the brand I like since Covid, so we don't really need that row at all.  I think if we rejigger it we can have one regular sized row for soup.  I have a bag of soups needing a home.

Well, I'm off to make dinner.  We are having beef stew tonight from home canned beef, home grown and canned potatoes, and home canned carrots.  I've been putting it off.

I wonder if they've fixed the time stamps yet?

True date:  1/10/22

True time:  6:01 p.m.

 

 

What a Busy Week

December 5th, 2021 at 01:07 am

There were appointments every day this week and man was it exhausting.  I had two physical therapy sessions, one regular therapy session, one doctor's appointment for me, and one doctor's appointment for DD, who has bronchitis and a negative Covid test.  I've been put on prednisone for 10 days to try to help with some of the inflammation I've been having due to the rheumatoid arthritis acting up so much in this cold weather swing, so I am feeling semi-decent, even if I do look like a puffer fish.

Last night DH and I to Costco and did a big shop.  I used the ride on cart and we filled that basket, plus the basket of another shopping cart.  I haven't been to Costco in months.  We spent all but $50 of the grocery budget in one go, but I have lots of fruits and vegetables, some carne asada and two types of raviolis.  And 4 cases of PH water, which was nearly $50 of the cost. 

And 2 cases of Charmin.  It's the first time they've had Charmin in a couple of months according the cashier.  They had a limit of 5, though we only got 2.  We might go back for more later.  I like to keep 5 cases in the house during cold and flu season and we were down to one.  Charmin is the only TP we can use that doesn't have some harsh agent in it that causes a rash.  Well, that and MD but we can't find that anywhere for the last few years.  They might not make it anymore.

I was really excited to find some uncured paleo bacon (no sugar) and some uncured paleo Candian bacon.  And also a turkey and a roast beef deli meat pack with no sugar.  I am going to restart my diet on Monday.  I am not doing paleo, I just like to keep my high carb intake down to one meal a day, no more than 60 grams, and the other meals to be no sugar with lots of low carb vegetables.  I got a couple of salad kits, a Ceasar (won't eat the dressing or croutons, but others will) and a chopped Meditarrean salad mix that had a lot of crunchy veggies in it like cabbage, broccoli slaw, carrots, and non-romaine lettuce.  So I will mix those together.  I love salad and I make a simple dressing that has very low carbs, but tastes good.  I also stocked up a little on Kerrygold butter both salted and unsalted.

After that we headed out to storage with the truck to start bringing in our outdoor Christmas decorations.  The elk takes up almost the whole bed of the truck, but we were able to put the flat large ornament under it and tuck some other small things around it.  We had the bottled water back there, so there wasn't a ton of extra room.  Tonight we will be going back out to bring in the lamp post, the icicle lights, all the the other things like the star, the angel, the Cardnial, the Santa face, and the candy canes.  Plus the extension cords.

After we got home with the elk and put the groceries away and rested, we headed out to Lowe's.  We picked up a large room space heater for us and another one for Mom.  It has made a tremendous difference and I am no longer worried about the pipes freezing.  We heard from the furnace people and it might actually be two more weeks.

We picked up some more lights while there and got a new standee yard decoration.  This was a bear dressed in a band uniform sitting on a drum, so we call him a little drummer bear.  I try to buy one standee a year.  And we bought new lights for the bushes, because the solar ones just did not work well last winter.  Too much bad weather and too little sunshine.  We forgot to buy clips for the gutters though so we will go get those tonight when we go back out to storage.  Then hopefully tomorrow we can get the decorations up.  It's supposed to snow on Monday, so I'd like that done first.

At some point this weekend I'd like to go look for a freezer, too, now that the money has been refunded to us.  So thankfully that whole freezer saga is done.  Only took them 5 months.  If we can at least get one ordered that would be nice.

Oh, and we bought an electric blanket for DH since his quit working.  It should be here from Amazon on the 6th.

It has been spendy, but everything was either budgeted for or was saved up for, so it's all good.

I hope DH gets a decent Christmas bonus this year.  It would be cool if we could dump some more money into the EF.  They generally give a cash bonus and a 401K bonus.  Or you can choose to have the cash bonus go into your 401K, too, in which case the government doesn't get their greedy little paws on a huge chunk of the bonus (bonuses are taxed higher).  Last year the take home bonus was around $500, I think, but the year before it was $1500.  They supposedly did a lot better this year than last, so I am hopeful.

They are supposed to give out raises at the end of the year, too.  Not everyone is getting one, but it was strongly implied at DH's performance review that he would be.  I don't think any raise could keep up with runaway inflation right now, but anything would help.  It's not like DH doesn't have a good income, but when you put 15% into retirement and tithe 10%, that only leaves you with 75% to live on and that does make it tight sometimes.  It is like how we were living when we were paying down debt for the most part.

I guess that is the trade off, though.  Sacrifice now, so we don't have to sacrifice when we are in retirement.  I guess it just feels super tight because we had to set aside most of the money MIL gave us for medical expenses instead of just being able to use it.  But DS needs braces and DH needs a crown and I need a new mouth guard because mine is starting to crack.  Mine will only cost $400 though.  The crown will be $1500 and the braces I don't know yet, but I've got $6000 set aside for that.  I hope it won't cost that much, but that is what we paid for DD, although her teeth were way worse.

We need to get DS separated from the grocer's union so he can go get a restaurant job.  Did  you know that if you take a non-union job after joining that union that they can sue you?  That sucks.  He does not want to go back to work at a grocery store.  All the fast food places are hiring and they are non-union.  The McDonalds nearby is over $15.69 an hour for regular shifts and $16.69 for overnight shifts.  He was making $17.79 at the grocery store, so that's not too big a cut.  Plus he won't have to go outside much.  He had to get the carts at the grocery store and was always getting soaked, even with the rain jacket.

If he can get a job there it would be ideal.  Either that or the DQ that is a block away from the McD's.  He needs to start earning money so that he can get a car and then start saving up for school to become an electrician.  But first he has to get his GED.  Now that he is properly medicated for ADHD and BiPolar, he's got a chance of focusing long enough to do that.  Although I think McD's also has a program for getting your high school diplomma so he might be able to do that, too.  I'd prefer that to the GED, but at this point I just want him to finish.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

September 27th, 2021 at 01:22 am

MIL dropped the bomb on us this week that she'd be giving us $10,000 soon and her daughter and her new husband (long, long time boyfriend) the same.  I was surprised, since she already gave us $6000 this year, plus paid for DD's liver tumor removal surgery.  I guess now that her daughter is married, she can give more money because the gift isn't just going to one person, it is split up in a couple.  She didn't do it before since they weren't married and wanted to keep it fair.  The amount you can gift one person is $13K, so she couldn't go over that, but now she can give each couple up to $26K a year, since half would go to one and half would go to the other.

I know there are a few things that need to be done that are small.  My husband, son, and I all need new computer chairs.  My husband might get a better desk since the working from home thing doesn't seem like it will be stopping any time soon.  I'd like to get an adjustable bedframe.  I've been saving up for it and can pay for about half, but it would take me another year to save for the other half, since it is $1500, plus tax, plus delivery.  Because of my disk issues, it would really make my life a lot easier to be able to sit up in bed and elevate my legs and it would help me to get out of bed on the really bad days when the rheumatoid arthritis is acting up.

I'd like to set aside $2000 towards DS's braces, I've got $3000 saved.  I'd like to set aside $2000 for a family vacation, just to rent a place on the waterfront next summer for a week or so.  I'd like to put $3000 aside for next year's medical deductible, and then anything else would go into the emergency fund.  I may not need to set aside as much for orthodontia as I think as DS will qualify for medical insurance in another month and his has orthodontia, but no dental plan I've ever seen pays for more than half of that.  In which case, if I don't need to save that, then that money will move into the EF as well.  So that's the good.

The bad is I hurt my hand.  It is in a spot where I have a habit of pressing my hands together and it is super painful right now.  I don't know what I even did to it, I was just cracking my knuckles and it felt like a blood vessel exploded and now it feels like a massive bruise.  It hurts a little when I type too long, but mostly it's because I keep acidentally touching it.  It looks bruised and swollen, too.  My daughter thinks I might have rolled a tendon or something.

As for the ugly, there has been a lot of drama this week.  My middle sister is being a drama queen (a consistent pattern of hers) over my Mom using tough love on her son and us backing her up.  This is the same sister who quite literally had to sell her house and move across the state into a one bedroom condo with her husband to get him out of the house, because he wouldn't move out, so Mom said he could live here a year if he did certain things he has not done.

Sister tried to manipulate me for information and when she didn't like the answers I gave her, tried to turn it around on me that I was blaming her for everything she has ever done in her entire life somehow.  I've only ever blamed her for two things in her life that she was responsible for and that was when we were kids, and I wasn't really blaming her this time, so much as saying this action of yours is why this is happening.  You did it so either undo it or deal with it.  Only more tactfully, because she's high maintenance.  I don't play the blame game, but I do expect people to take responsibility for their own actions.

She was always a master at turning things around on people to make them believe that they were in the wrong when she was.  Despite the fact that I have seen her do this in every relationship she has ever had, you don't grow up with a narcicisst and not sometimes fall under it.  She almost got me this time, but I realised the steps she was using and realized this was her and not me.  One, try to control, two, manipulate, three, gaslight, four, tantrum, five, play the victim, six, silent treatment, seven, hold a grudge, eight, martyr her way out and repeat.  She's on step six at current.

I hope she gets some therapy and grows up.  For someone who wanted to be nothing like either of our parents, she is the perfect product of the worst sides of both of them.  I'm just weary of giving her space in my head.  I'm tired of her turning on me every time I disagree with her, like I can't have opinions of my own.  So I have decided to go no contact with her.  She adds no joy to my life and I am tired of being the only one who tries to maintain the relationship.  It's no longer worth it.  I'm just done.

It's a big step and I know once she gets through her cycle she'll be back, but I just can't be there when she is.  I'm done.

 

Catch Up Post

August 5th, 2021 at 12:31 am

So I am dragging my sorry self back in to post.  I had a bad weekend with my thigh muscles being absolutely on fire and it made it hard to focus on anything else.  No blogging, no writing at all.  It started to pass on Sunday morning and except for some occasional shooting fingers of fire it is much better, though the side and front muscles all feel like a massive bruise and are tender to the touch.  This is all from a massive psyatic nerve pinch.

I ordered some of the special eye drops my daughter needs for her Sjogren's disease, almost $53 for a 90 pack.  Then my son's specail inhaler, which is not covered by our insurance but is discounted under the Walgreen's prescription helper card, was $168.  They are suspecting reactive airway disease and he'll be seeing an allergist/immunologist in October.  His condition really kicked up after that big sickness we had on March of 2020 (suspected Covid, might have been a bad flu), which none of us bounced back from for about six months.  I will be glad when Friday gets here and I can dump another $500 into the medical fund.  Hopefully some of that can go towards orthodontia savings, because that has been stuck at $3000 due to having to buy a new walker for my daughter and one for myself, which fortunately I have only had to use 3 times so far.  Most days I can get by with my cane and once in a while I have a really good day and don't need anything, although those are becoming rarer.

It looks like my son will be working 20 hours a week with his new job, at least until the high school kids go back to high school, whether in person, or more likely, back to video as it is looking like we might be heading back into lock downs.  Then it is likely he will be moved to full time.  Hopefully he can cope with a mask, because they reinstituted them this week for their vaccinated employees.  He has his inhalers, although he had to keep them in his locker as they could react to some of the chemicals they have for cleaning.

The library has also reinstituted them for everyone coming in.  That's true of all city buildings.  I'm suspecting they know something the general public does not yet, and that they will probably be making everyone wear them inside again soon.  Honestly, I've been debating it myself.  I was planning on it for the cold season anyway, because I still ended up with a lot less colds, despite the fact it is hard on my asthma.  I'm not looking forward to it, but I know what a bad case of Covid did to my BIL more recently and I do not want it to happen in my immediate family.  Although they are saying this delta variant isnt as hard on the vaccinated, they do still get sick.  And since I know how long it took me to feel normal again after what we suspect was Covid last time, I don't want to go through anything like that again.

I finally feel up to cooking tonight and am thinking about thawing out some steaks from the grass fed organic whole beef we purchased, making some fried potatoes to go with, and baking some yellow zucchini from our garden.  I've picked two so far, but haven't eaten any yet.  The cucumber and lettuce was really good, though.

My goal for the rest of the week and next week is no eating out.  We've really got to reign that in again.  It causes too much careless spending and takes a dent out of the money I want to save each month, if not wipes it out completely.  I wish I could get back that focus I had when we were paying off debt.  I know it is not as bad as it could be.  We are contributing 15% to the 401k, after all.  But I do want that EF to grow from 3 months to 6 months and it is not going to happen if we don't put it in check.  It's been over a year that we've been debt free.  And I feel like we've wasted a lot of it due to this kind of nonsense.  I need to get my motivation back.

Although one place I do have my motivation back is my diet.  I am off the soda and caffeine again and back to my diet.  I've lost 5.2 pounds so far.  I really need to do this to get the pressure off my psyatic nerve.  The orthopedist/neurosurgeon said it'll probably take about 50 pounds for a significant difference, but even a few pounds will make a small difference and I'm thinking it has made some in the last couple days, at least with the fire, if not the numbness.  I also feel a little difference in the disc pain, too, so here's hoping I keep my motivation, although pain is a very big motivator.

Tomorrow is DS's day off, but he has a dentist appointment and an appointment with the sleep doctor that I have to take him to and then hopefully we can make it to Whole Foods.  Not much of a day off for him, but stuff has to get done.

I found out Whole Foods carries a grape jelly that is not made with corn syrup.  Grape jelly is my favorite, but I cannot have corn syrup or I get really sick, so I haven't had it in ages.  Since the last time I made some and I can't remember when that was.  I also want to get some of the gluten free Jovial pasta.  The closer store only carries the spaghetti and the penne, but they are always out of penne.  Whole Foods carries a lot more choices.  It's just harder to get over there since it is so out of the way.  I might see if they have any duck breasts while I am there.  It's been a long time since we have had duck.

I need to go through the new sales ads and see if there is anything good at Fred Meyer since it is right across the street from Whole Foods.  We won't be able to do our typical grocery shopping trip on Friday this week as DS is working, but we don't need that much anyway, just fresh fruit, chicken, deli ham, deli turkey, and maybe some fish if any looks good and it isn't too expensive.  I'm not sure when DH and his boss are going to be able to make it out fishing, but I hope it is soon.

All right, that about wraps it up.

 

Unexpected Expense

July 19th, 2021 at 08:17 am

I had to purchase a new phone.  My phone has not been holding a charge.  I will charge it in the evening and turn it off and by morning it is down to 44%.  Turning it on trying to use it, would see it turn itself off after 20 minutes.  So the only way I could really use it is if it was plugged in all the time, which kind of defeats the purpose of a cell phone.  It was also getting really hot all the time, which we later found out was the battery.  It was pretty deformed.

I ordered a new battery which was $18 and DH tried to install it, but he ended up destroying the screen by pushing down on it too much.  He also stripped a couple of the screws and it wouldn't turn on properly, then it wouldn't turn on at all.  It was completely bricked.  The cost of replacement screen was enough for me to say screw that, I might as well get a new phone.  So I ordered one and a new phone case and that cost just under $310.  I had more than that in my allowance folder, so I didn't have to scramble to pay for it.  I did pay the extra to get it here earlier.  Still won't be until Wednesday.

I finally got the clothes I've been waiting on for ages.  I had ordered 4 summer nightgowns back at the start of June and 2 ( expensive) bras.  The nightgowns were in 2 packs and on clearance.  I've thrown out the ratty old ones that I've sewn up a few times.  The new bras are fantastic, so I might order two more when I've got a little more money in the clothing envelope.  They were over $50 a piece.  Worth it though for the fit and comfort and cooling panel.  I'm glad I decided to try a new style.  I don't remember what I paid for them, but I used money in the clothing envelope.

My jeans are starting to get pretty ratty, too.  I have some nice ones one size down and some sweats in that size, too.  I really don't want to buy new ones, so I am back on the diet wagon.  Hopefully this time I will stick to it.  Mostly I am in shorts right now so it is fine, but that will be over soon enough, so I've got two months to go down a size.  I can do that.  I've done it before.

I did pretty well on my writing this week.  I set a goal of writing 5000 words.  I had two days where I didn't write and 2 days where I kept getting interupted while trying to write, but I got some serious writing in on other days and hit my goal.  I had a total of 6181 words from last Sunday to Saturday.  I'm going to post here for accountability.  I did write today, but that will be on next Sunday's post.

Sunday: 901 words

Monday: 41 words

Tuesday: 0 words

Wednesday: 1634 words

Thursday: 0 words

Friday: 195 words

Saturday: 3410 words

My goal for this week is 6500 words, so if I do around 930 words a day I can hit that.

Thursday I had a massive fibro flare, but finally got to start the medicine the new orthopedic doctor prescribed on Wednesday of the week before.  It only took a week and a day for his office to pull their heads out of their butts and actually get it sent to the pharmacy.  I was supposed to start it the day I saw him, and I called 3 times about it over the course of a week.  The last message I left was a tone full of firm, polite, restrained annoyance (still obvious, but not like I was going to go off on anyone, or what I call Mom tone, which is a balancing act when not using it on children.  It worked and they finally called me back on that one within 15 minutes.  I was very polite to the person I talked to, who was quite apologetic, and I had the meds in my hand within two hours.

They work.  It knocked my fibro pain down to half the first day and 3/4 the second.  It is also helping with the nerve pain in my leg which was what it was prescribed for, but he said it should help the fibro pain.  I started on one pill a day and now I'm on two pills a day and in a couple of days I'll have worked up to three pills a day, which is what he wanted me on.  You just have to build up over a few days to see how you react and that the higher does doesn't make you to drowsy to feel anything.  I don't feel any more tired than I normally feel, so I don't think that particular side effect is one I got.  I don't feel I have any side effects from it at all.

He wanted me to start pool therapy for my back and hip, but that won't start until October since they are booked so far out.  I am scheduled to see a pain management specialist in August, but if this nerve medicine drug keeps working, I may not need anything from him.  I haven't taken hydrocodone since the day I started it.  I haven't needed it.  I can't believe how much better I am feeling.  I certainly have a lot more motivation.

Not much more going on.  I did get a big stack of books from the library.  I'm on a theme right now of romances by the lake or the sea, usually with some woman renovating a cottage or a lighthouse or a B&B and hiring the sexy handyman or contractor or having a helpful single neighbor man to do his part.  It's totally a trope, but it is one of my favorite, as they tend to be pretty light and airy summer reading.  Currently reading a lighthouse one.  I'll dive back into space military sci-fi with a strong female lead in the fall, then mountain lodges and home for Christmas stories in the winter.  I tend to read apocalyptic stories in the spring.  Not sure why.  It's a weird pattern with me, but I like what I like when I like it, so oh, well.

Lost my Silver Lining

July 6th, 2021 at 08:54 am

We had a nice Independence Day.  The fireworks were beautiful and they had quite a few new shapes that I had never seen before.  They also had some that were this intense shade of orangey-yellow that I've never seen on a firework.  

Today was nice and peaceful.  DH had the day off paid since the holiday was on the weekend and it was one that the company pays for either the Friday before or the Monday after if the day falls on a weekend.  He gets seven federal holidays and one floating holiday (which we usually take the day after Thanksgiving or the week of Christmas depending on our plans).

I have managed to write 1848 words so far this week that I kept and 503 that I deleted.  I am still kind of having to force myself to do it by using a writing sprint to get me started, but I am managing.

Most of the day I spent watching a Turkish drama called Kadeslerim which is very good if you don't mind bawling your eyes out.  Even if the subtitles aren't the greatest in the first episode, they get better after that.  I had to look up some expressions being used because in English they seem inappropriate to the circumstances, but they meant something else in Turkish that went with the plot.  Fortunately I found a list of twenty common Turkish expressions and it helped my understanding a lot.  The actors are amazing, the emotion conveyed was very impactful, and everyone is very beautiful.  I really, really want to see the bad guy get his.  If you don't mind reading your shows, this one is worth watching.

I filled out my paperwork for yet another jury summons.  I am not kidding when I say they constantly call me.  This time my doctor put in the note that I would never be able to serve in my condition.  I don't know if that will be enough to remove me from the summoning pool.  You would think with 3 degenerative diseases that cause permanent issues with sitting for long periods and as many doctor's notes as I've sent in they wouldn't continue to call me year after year.

It feels like harrassment of the disabled at this point.  I know it isn't, I know it is automated, but it still feels that way.  I have been summoned 14 times now.  You know how many times my husband has been summoned?  Once, and they didn't end up needing him.  My mom and MIL?  Never.  My son?  Once, but Covid happened.  All people who can serve and would be capable of serving and want to serve.

Heck, if I were capable of sitting that long and not on two powerful painkillers, I'd love to.  But these medicines make it hard to concentrate or focus and I cannot go without them or I don't function.  I am just so frustrated.  Every time I have to go see the doctor (major extra expense on year's the deductible has not been met), get a doctor's note which I generally have to go back for a day or two later, and spend my own stamp (minor extra expense, but it bugs me it is not postage paid for something that is not optional) to send it in.  Any extra trips, driving or walking, are just so bad right now, I really resent it.

I am almost at the point of giving up my garden.  DS has to do most of the work right now.  Maybe things will get better after I see the neurosurgeon this week.  Maybe he can put me on something else or give me injections or something.  The numbness in my thigh is now all the way down the outside and has moved to about half of the front.  I feel completely useless.  I'm even having trouble cooking every day.  At least I can still type.  Not sure what I will do when I lose that ability.  Well, that got depressing.

 

General Update

July 4th, 2021 at 03:00 am

This was not a good week.  Mom has got it into her head that she wants to give us the house now, like next week, using a quit claim deed.  I keep trying to tell her she'll get smacked with a massive gift tax if she does it like that.  She's going to go see someone she said is an elder lawyer.  I'm not even sure what that means, unless what she means is an estate planning lawyer.  I told her she needs to ask him about the unified estate tax credit instead, but she isn't really in a listening mood.  I would prefer she just write her will and leave it to us there.

I'm not terribly thrilled about this turn of events, because I don't think we can afford the property taxes this year.  I'm trying to save up for DS's braces and get the EF fully funded, then save up for next year's medical deductible.  Plus it is looking like DD has a torn miniscus.  She has an MRI coming up soon to be sure.  Then she'll likely need surgery since it is pretty much a given that physical therapy doesn't work for a torn miniscus if it is so bad you can barely walk.

I finally got an appointment with the neurosurgeon.  It should not take a month to get a referral through, but my doctor's office had their heads up their butts and it took nearly 3 weeks for the referral to be sent, when it was supposed to take 1.  Than another week and a half before the neurosurgeon's office got their end sorted.  It's at 9:30 in the morning, so that is going to suck.  It is very hard for me to get moving in the mornings due to the fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.  Plus I am a night owl not an early bird.  It's in a week so at least I don't have long to wait now.

I had a couple of days where my back pain was so bad I was crying, but it has at least eased off.  Those days coincided with the temps of 92, 97, and 100°F in our heat wave.  Mom gave in and let us put an air conditioner in our (not really a kitchen) kitchen window.  It's the only window in the house that will work with our unit from the old place.  It didn't do a ton, but enough to make it liveable.  It was still 80 degrees in the house and we had to use all the fans we had.  But at least we could go to the kitchen and cool off and DD's room, which is opposite that window, was comfortable so we would go in there a lot, too.

It's doing better yesterday and today and I can reach with my right arm again.  It's down from a 10 to a 7 with pain levels so it is bearable with medication.  DS has been watering the garden, but I haven't really been able to even go outside.  I may try tomorrow.  At the very least I will walk to the end of the driveway where DH will set up chairs and watch the firework show over the bay.  It was cancelled last year due to Covid, so I was very happy to hear they are doing it like normal this year.  It is always so pretty and we don't have to deal with traffic or any of the negative aspects of city events like crowds, smokers, overly perfumed people, bratty kids, and drunken adults.

I don't think we will do a BBQ or anything for Independence Day.  It really depends on how hot it is to be playing with charcoal and fire.  I do have steaks, so we could.  Just not sure it is worth going to all that effort right now.  I'm not up to it, but DH might be.

I have started writing again after a six month block.  I'm not sure I really like any of it yet, but the point is to get back in the habit of daily writing.  I was doing pretty good until the pain got bad and had to stop, but I have started back up again as of today.  We'll see if it leads anywhere.

We got a dividend check in the mail from Louisianna Pacific.  A whopping 51 cents for 3.1 shares.  I am actually thinking about getting some more maybe next year.  We can sign up for a $25 a month autowithdrawal if we want to.  It has always paid a dividend and that has been steadily rising over the years.  We used to Drip it, but they discontinued the Drip about seven years ago.  It'll go to the EF eventually, but I am not going to make an extra trip to the bank to deposit it.  It can wait until next Friday when I do the payday stuff.

Not much else going on.

 

Retirement Update

June 26th, 2021 at 07:07 am

Retirement has gone up to $58,000.69, a difference of $1136.27 since last payday.  All of that was contributions from DH or work, except $52.27  It was a rough two weeks, but the IRA finished ahead of where it was last payday by $15.31.  I hear the next six weeks are going to be very bumpy for the stock market.  I hope it is just a rumor.

I am really missing the stock market from the 3 years pre-Covid.  I have a feeling the only reason we will be moving forward at all this year is going to be mostly due to contributions, not gains.  Oh, well, we hold as always.  No panic selling.  Keep treading and we'll keep our heads above water.  This won't last forever and the recovery period will gain ground eventually.

Tomorrow I get to ditch the darn mask.  It's due to be 100 degrees F and I need to go grocery shopping, so thank goodness.  I finally feel like myself again.  The Moderna vaccine was really hard on my fatigue levels, both times.  I was exhaused for 12 days each time.  I had horrible bone aches after the second shot for 36 hours.  But those were my only symptoms.  I have waited out my time, so now, in my state, the fully vaxed only need them in medical facilities that require them.  It'll be weird to show my face again, but it has been lovely seeing other people's faces the last couple of weeks.

One Year Debt Free

June 16th, 2021 at 01:41 am

On the 12th we passed our one year debt free mark.  It has been an interesting year.  The freedom that comes with not having the oppression that debt provides is remarkable.  While not much else has changed here, attitudes have.  Tension levels have.  Loosening the reins is something allowable.

Are we as far ahead as I had hoped we would be?  No.  And Yes.  Medical bills continue to be a thing we have to plan for.  The unexpected always has a way of rearing its ugly head.  Yet at the same time, we have paid them all as we went.

We have taken on 15% retirement savings for the last half year and succeeded and that is something major that I thought we'd really struggle to do, but it is no different than living with a large portion of income that went to debt each month, so I feel like we were training for this.

Did I save as much money into the EF as I wanted?  No, but we are still quite a ways ahead.  Part of that reason is that I decided I wanted to bulk purchase meat.  Part of that reason was that we ate out far more than intended because we had the freedom to.  And part of that reason was replacing a lot of items that we simply put off replacing while we were in debt.

We were able to fund all the sinking funds that I planned for without it being difficult.  At no time did we have to put anything on a credit card because we hadn't saved up ahead of time.  While we do still use our credit card, it is only for convenience and autopays and is paid off in full every payday.

We have increased our net worth substantially in the last year.  At no other time in our married life can I say that.  My goal for 2022 is to refocus on getting the EF up to six month's expenses, but we will have to see how it goes.  The rest of this year's would be deposits will be going to saving up for DS's braces instead.  I have $3500 and need to save an additional $2500 before we can move forward.  That I am hoping to achieve by year's end. 

MRI Results Came Back Fast

June 7th, 2021 at 04:32 am

My MRI was pretty awful.  I don't generally get claustraphobic, but I've never been in the smaller machine before, I've always been in the open one.  They put me in head first, but it hurt my shoulders so much (severe RA in them) that they pulled me out and turned me around and put me in feet first and I had to put my arms over my head, which was also uncomfortable, but was way better, plus I could see out of the machine a little bit and that calmed down the panic of being so enclosed.

I was in so much pain by the time I got off the table that it has taken me until today to recover.  I had no strength or grip in my right arm yesterday, which happens sometimes when the shoulder stays in a position for too long that is bad for it.  It was back today, though.

The doctor's nurse called me with the results.  I have moved from mild to moderate diagnosis via x-ray to moderate to severe via MRI degenerative disc disease with changes in the plates.  So I am being referred to a neurosurgeon.  That doesn't necessarily mean surgery.  There may be other things that can be tried first that is not physical therapy.  Pain management and cortizone shots while I try to lose more weight.  If I can manage the pain better I can walk around better and get some real exercise.  It's always been hard for me to lose weight from just dieting alone.

After trying those, we might consider a nerve block, but I want more info on that.  Failing that, surgical intervention may be required.  It may be required from the start, though.  That's what the referral is for, to find out.

I haven't done anything in the garden the last two days except keep my son company while he picked strawberries.  I needed the fresh air and while DS is willing to do the work, he likes having someone to talk to while he does it.  No photos yet for LAL.

I watched the US Nationals Gymnastics.  It's kind of a forgone conclusion anymore who is going to win with the women, which kind of takes the suspense out of it for me.  I enjoyed it anyway.  Simone is fun to watch and has so much power, but she really doesn't seem to ever stick the landings.  She excels so much that it doesn't matter, but after all these years, I would expect her to get better at that.  And her artistry is almost non-existent.  The men stick their landings a lot better than the women did.

I really liked Suni.  She has more artistry in her little finger than anyone else and she stuck her landings more often.  And that's with coming back from a foot and ankle injury.  She was just beautiful to watch, so graceful and not so much about the power, though she is clearly very strong.  Her floor routine and her balance beam were so pretty.

I see a lot of potential in Jordan.  She's got better artistry than Simone, but Simone barely has any, just depends on her power.  Her routines are not as difficult or complicated, but give her a couple more years and she might be able to challenge even more.  I am looking forward to the Olympics.  I don't watch much, but I do enjoy men's and women's gymnastics.

I liked watching the guys, too, but it is all about power and strength there.  So it's cool and fun and impressive, but more about skill than anything.  I prefer artistry.

Not much else going on around here.

It's My Blogoversary

April 11th, 2021 at 05:38 am

It was 15 years ago that I started this blog.  It took a little over 14 years and 2 months of that time to get out of debt.  I really never thought I'd wake up one day and actually be here.  It was all so overwhelming.  We kept plugging and kept plugging and even took on new debt in there a couple of times, but eventually we stopped that and got where we needed to be.  The freedom from it is like no other.  And I don't think I would have made it without this blog and all the support I have recieved along the way.  Thank you for thinking my blog was interesting enough to give me nearly 83 million visits along the decade and a half I've been here.  I appreciate it.

Changes

March 22nd, 2021 at 01:50 am

My eldest sister moved out yesterday.  Not without almost coming to blows with Mom.  I say that, but I don't mean they would have physically fought.  It was a pretty strong verbal one, though.  My sister had a small stack of things she did not want to send with the movers and my mother wanted them to go with the movers instead of waiting a couple hours for my sister to come back and transport them in the car.  Mom couldn't get it through her head that my sister didn't want to send her personal documents, jewelry, laptop, and other most special items with the movers and wanted to move them herself in her car.  Some things you don't want to risk having misplaced, buried by boxes, or stolen.  It's like she's trying to slam the door on her on the way out.

Eldest sis will be much happier out of here.  Mom's been really petty and vindictive about her staying here even though she was invited to stay here.  They just don't get along well and it isn't my sister's fault.  She's never been able to get along with Mom since she hit high school on.  Even at 61 she can't.  I don't blame here, though.  Mom picks at her constantly.

She will be living in a small efficiency apartment 2 miles away.  It's a cute little apartment complex with one on the corner that always goes all out to decorate for the holidays.  I love driving past there to see whatever new thing they've got up.  Right now it is still leprechauns, but won't be much longer. Probably won't see anything else until they decorate for Easter.

Anyway, sis is safely out of Mom's war path and things seem to have settled around here.  My nephew (from my middle sister) is still living here, but I think he is getting close to proposing to his girlfriend.  She isn't allowed to live here, not even if they get married, so he would be moving out.  He's not got a job, though.  He has been living on his savings since he moved in here and could probably do so for another year.

I think he needs to get going on his life, though, get back into the work force., move out and marry this girl.  He'll be 30 in April.  We have fully reopened here, so it really is time for him to go get a new job.  It's one thing when a sixteen year old wants to play video games all day, every day.  It is kind of sad when someone his age actually does it for six months straight.  He doesn't help around the place, which is mostly what irritates me.  If you live in a household, you should contribute to it.

I have qualified for the Covid vaccine and so has my daughter, but not my husband and son.  I'm not sure when that will happen though.  DD needs to get a lumbar puncture soon due to issues with her spinal fluid putting pressure on her brain and eyes.  And I will be having the full roto rooter now that I'm over fifty.  I'm scheduled on April 20th.  I should have had it done last year, but Covid happened.  Not really looking forward to not eating for 24 hours and drinking that junk that makes me sick.  I've had an endoscopy before, but never a colonoscopy.

I need to schedule a mammogram in there at some point, too.  I haven't had one since I was 45.  Once we know when the lumbar puncture is, we can figure out when to get the vaccine.  Plus DH and I are going away for a little vacation on the 23rd of April to the cottage by the sea.  I need to get away from here and recharge by the water for my own mental health.  So it might not be gotten until May unless we can fit both injections around everything else.  I'm not really in a rush unless they start requiring it to enter businesses or something.  We go out so little, just to grocery shop and go to the appointments.  But we will get it when we can figure out the time.

Or I may go sooner and we wait a little more for DD.  Might not be a bad idea if we have a bad reaction and go down for a day like some people (my physical therapist had to go to bed for 24 hours after her second shot, but no one else she knows who got it has), to not do it on the same day so I can take care of her if it happens to her.  People with autoimmune dieseases like us are a little more prone to that reaction.

I have to go and pick up my new lenses tomrrow for my glasses.  They didn't measure right and the reading portion is so small I have to tilt my head up, but then look down through the bottom to even read.  Either that or literally hold them up an inch.  So no, that was getting fixed.  I had to go back 3 times before they would do it, kept trying to adjust the arms to fit better, but it didn't.  I do get one free remake with what I purchased, so hopefully nothing else bad happens.  I had a lot of issues with the coating on the last pair.  I will just be glad to have it sorted out and see if I can read comfortably again.  If not, I may just get a pair of prescription reading glasses made with my old frames.  But hopefully not and it will all just go well.

All is Quiet on the Western Front

February 27th, 2021 at 05:48 am

There has not been much going on here these days.  We haven't spent any money and we haven't gone anywhere other than to appointments.  I am keeping my mind busy, though.  I decided to learn Italian.  I have been at it for five days and am thoroughly enjoying myself.  I have absolutely no problem with getting the accent right according to Duolingo.

I had learned French in high school and Spanish in college, but I never really enjoyed them.  I always wanted to learn Italian, but it wasn't offered.  I just love Italy and Italian food and really want to go there some day.  I am finding I am picking it up quickly and I really like learning it.

My knowledge of the two romantic languages I have learned does help some, but it also hinders a bit.  Especially when words are virtually identical, but pronounced differently like the Spanish and Italian word for chicken, pollo.  The first is like poyo and the second is like polo.  There are quite a lot of words that are similar to English, though.  Banana is spelled the same but pronounced differently.  Carota is carrot.  Pesce is fish which is the first part of pescetarian, but is said pesha.  It's kind of cool.

I hope I continue to like it.  It is work, but it really keeps my mind active.

DS is learning French (but he likes it), DD is brushing up on her Japanese, and DH is doing Irish gaelic.  I figured it was time I joined them.  And if we ever get to travel we can visit a good portion of the Western European countries and Japan and get around fairly well.  I had thought about learning Welsh, but the spelling would have killed me.

Retirement Update

January 20th, 2021 at 03:09 am

Since December 18th our retirement accounts have risen by $1826.64.  So it's been a month.  $880 of that was our contribution and $110 was what work contributed.  It is so nice to have work contributions again.  So $990 was what was put in altogether.  $836.64 was profit.  It will be nice to see it rise much more quickly now, since the $990 will be every payday from now on.

Assuming the stock market doesn't tank tomorrow.  I just want this whole transfer of power thing to be done and over with without any violence so that normal Americans can get back to their lives without worrying whether or not the country will go off its rocker.

And please, no political comments on this post.  I will just delete them.  I don't care who you were for or against and I don't want to hear any negativity about either side.  We are all Americans and the majority of us just want to be a whole country and have a peaceful transition and get on with it.

This and That

January 17th, 2021 at 06:07 am

My daughter came home from the hospital last night.  They got all of the tumor.  We have to wait a week or so for the biopsy results, but it did not appear to be cancerous.  She is doing well, eating soup and Welch's version of Jell-O, which has no artificial dyes in it.  She's a little high on the pain medicine, but that's kind of how she reacts to it.

I started physical therapy on Friday.  They can't do much with me because of how inflammed I am right now, but they started an electrical stimulation thing called a tens machine and did that over the L-4 and L-5 vertabrae on my back.  I think it made a small amount of difference, but it is early days.

The pantry challenge is going well.  We still have not gone to the grocery store yet.  I have only repeated one meal and that was because there were leftovers.  I have salmon and spot prawns thawing in the fridge, both of which my husband and son caught.  DD thinks those will be easy for her to eat.  Her jaw and throat are pretty sore from having a breathing tube in during surgery.  So easy to chew foods are on the agenda for a couple of days.  We have a lot of seafood in the freezer, but it is getting close to the time when it needs to be used up by.

I finally succeeded in finding some dye free, fragrance free shampoo and conditioner.  I am hoping they are good products.  I still can't find a body wash like that that doesn't use coconut oil.  We make do on the castile bar baby soap that is fragrance and dye free, but sometimes you just want a liquid body wash.

If that new stimulus Biden wants passes that will give you money for all dependents not just children, we will be getting quite a lot of money.  DH made a mistake when he was trying to figure out our taxes early.  Turns out we will owe somewhere in the $900 range, not the over $2000 he'd originally thought.

If so, and if this stimulus comes quickly I figure we'll open a spousal IRA for 2020, which may be enough to get rid of that tax bill, and see about getting a new ceiling in the tiny bathroom.  If it doesn't pass or we don't get it, then I guess we will just have to save up to fix it.  First off I will need to price everything, but I think DH and DS can do it themselves.

It should only require two pieces of the moisture resistant drywall and rental of a drywall lifter, and some tape, some mud, and some paint.  We have plastic sheeting to keep paint from dripping onto the floor, tub, sink, mirror, and shelves.  We saved everything our mattresses were wrapped in.

I got my first seed order today from Victory seeds.  I am really excited about starting to plan for the new garden.  We are completely redoing it with cinderblock raised beds that we will use mortar on to make a permanent structure.  The wooden beds just fall apart too quickly and I don't want to throw away anymore money on this.

I have another order coming from Fedco and I have to order a couple more things yet, but not much.  I am just waiting on one of the companies to put up its seeds for the year, which should be any day now.  It's just the type of broccoli and the type of lettuce I want.

Not too much going on here.  I have slowly been working my way through the novel I am reading and am about 80% done.  I can't read like I used to since the concussion a few years ago and because of the floaters in my eyes so I mostly take 3 to 4 weeks to read a large print novel these days.  I set my goal on Goodreads to 12 books read for the year.  I listen to a lot of audio stories and books, though, but I don't count that as actual reading.  I do read quite a bit online, but I have to put the magnification up pretty high.

I've now lost 13.4 pounds, but I gave in and ate gluten today, still within the confines of my diet.  It was breaded cod fish.  We will see how I feel tomorrow.  I don't react like my kids do, but it usually makes me feel bloated.  At least I made it halfway through the month.

 

It's Snowing

December 22nd, 2020 at 01:34 am

I have to admit it is pretty and it makes the Christmas lights look even prettier, but I am not the world's biggest fan of snow.  One day snow is just right, in my opinion.  Then it can melt and go away.  The roads were bad and we went early to the chiropractor to try not to be on the roads after dark.  I am bummed about missing the "Christmas star" today, though.  Jupiter and Saturn were in alignment for a couple of hours today and were supposed to create the effect.  Won't happen like that again for another 80 years.  Hopefully it is on youtube somewhere from a place that had clear skies or maybe NASA has it.  Not quite the same as seeing it in person.

I think it will probably all melt tomorrow based on the weather forcast and I can go get done what I wanted to get done, namely, buy the standing rib roast, and yellow potatoes for Christmas dinner.  Tomorrow is the last day of the sale.  I have corn and green beans, so we are set for that.  We'll probably need some egg nog and some more milk, too.  And I want to pick up some PH water, too as it helps with the heartburn.

So today was obviously a no spend day, but only because I had to put it off.  We did finally get the Christmas tree put up.  It has lights but no ornaments and I'm not sure I'm going to bother.  It looks pretty as it is and I am just really tired.  No one else seems to want to do it, so I'm kind of meh about it.  I wasn't even going to bother with a tree, with my sister and her stuff here there really isn't room, but got pestered about it by my mother.  I just don't have the energy to put them up and take them down, and my back still doesn't like me reaching so that's the way it is going to be.  I can't do it all by myself and I won't.

Spending Thoughts, Saving Thoughts

December 2nd, 2020 at 02:34 am

One of the things I've noticed this year since paying off our debt is that I have gotten a little too free-spending.  Or maybe it just seems that way.  Well, I know it is with eating out, though we've cracked back down on that, but I am wondering about whether or not I truly am on other things.

Maybe it is just because we went so long without replacing things and upgrading things that now that we have the money, I am just getting what I put off getting.  I've replaced all of my pans, gotten an electric citrus juicer, bought clothes and shoes, and of course all the mattresses and I'm about to buy a freezer that I've been saving for and have the money for a propane grill so when we are ready to get it we can.  I mean, I budget for, and save for these things and I limit what I get in any one month, but lately it seems like we are having packages arrive daily.

I know some of that is Christmas gifts coming and some of it is gluten free food I can't get locally and vitamins and whatnot, but I can't help but feel like it is out of control.  Only I don't think it is.  I just think it is allowing us to get things after not for so many years while we tackled the debt.  Maybe I just feel guilty for spending, period.  Is this a thing that happens once you are debt free?  Is it just because I have loosened the purse strings?

Replacement mode does seem to be winding down now.  I will be saving for a new knife set, though, and then new pots and then we should be good for a long while, I think.  They are pricier than I've had before, but the pots are made in America and the knives are made in Germany, and they are higher quality.

The thing is, I still want to build the Emergency Fund to three month's salary and eventually to six and maybe even eventually to a year after that.  I feel like I can't do that while I am in replacement mode.  I am adding some, but I feel like I could be doing so much more.  I do plan on buckling down in January and making consistent deposits to the EF.  And we do plan on raising our retirement contributions in January as well.

I guess we will be moving on from this soon, but the feelings behind so much spending have been building up.  It probably is quite normal.  I just want to rein it back in for 2021.  The focus really needs to come back and move into that gazelle intense phase again.  That seemed easier to do when we were paying down debt than it is to just save.  I have to get over that.

 

I Made It

November 27th, 2020 at 04:05 am

It was a long day, but I am glad it is done.  Thanksgiving went pretty well despite Mom's early day sniping.  She actually behaved quite well during dinner and was verbally thankful for all my efforts.  The gluten free stuffing was so good.  I was worried, I'm always worried when I try something new, but it worked and everyone loved it, including my Mom and sister.  And the from scratch gluten free gravy came out really, really well.

I've taken all the turkey off the bones, and have gallon bag of white meat, one half gallon bag of dark meat, and one bag of bones to make stock with.  I have two large takeout soup containers full of gravy and one full of pan drippings for making more gravy.  I have enough mashed potatoes and stuffing for two more dinners for the whole family or several individual homemade tv dinners.  All the corn got eaten and only a small amount of green beans were left.

Tomorrow we will have leftovers as is and then I think I will make turkey taquitos, turkey enchiladas, turkey soup, and leftover turkey tater tot casserole on Saturday.  Some of those will go in the freezer for future meals.

MIL didn't end up making it in.  She didn't sleep well and decided she just wanted to stay home and rest.  That's mostly what I wanted to do today, too.  I got the stay at home part.  But the food was sooo good.  I have really learned to make gluten free yummy after a year of effort.  It was worth it, but I don't think I even want to move tomorrow.  We'll see if I even can.

I think I forgot to mention, I completed my Christmas ordering yesterday.  It is nice to have that done.  Now to hope everything actually arrives on time.

A Moment to Breathe

November 27th, 2020 at 12:10 am

I finally had a moment to sit down and breathe.  It's been a crazy couple of days with doctor appointments and trying to get the house in order.  Well, half order, half chaos.  Yesterday I made desert and the really cool thing was I made my own pumpkin puree from a sugar pie pumpkin.  I just put the whole pumpkin in the Instant Pot, set it for 12 minutes, did a natural release for 5, and then a manual release.

The pumpkin was so tender I was able to cut it with a butter knife and then very easily scrape out the strings and seeds.  So much easier than trying to do it the traditional way.  I put the pumpkin in the blender with a half cup of water and pureed it to the perfect consistency.  It was nice to have that option as I haven't been able to find canned pumpkin in months due to the shortage.  I ended up with enough for my desert and enough to put in the freezer for Christmas to do it again and then my daughter ate the last 1/2 cup.

I used Snickerdoodle gluten free cereal (Safeway store brand) to replace the graham cracker crust for my pumpkin cheesecake bars and they came out beautifully.  They taste really good, too.

Also last night and baked a loaf of gluten free bread and then combined that with a store bought loaf and tore those up to have ready to make the stuffing this morning.  I got that done first thing and into the bird.  It got into the oven around 1:00 p.m.  Should be done by five.  I finally got about 8 pounds of Yukon gold potatoes peeled, cut up, and in the Instant Pot.  I love making them there.  It is so much easier than boiling them on the stove and having to babysit them.  The mash very easily, too, much easier than just boiled.  They should be ready by the time the turkey comes out and I make the gluten free gravy.

And while I'm making that I can heat up a quart of our home grown, home canned green beans and a can of corn.  I don't get super fancy anymore with Thanksgiving.  We've streamlined.  We don't do rolls when we already have bread stuffing.  We don't do sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes.  We don't do cranberry sauce.  We don't do ham.  I make one desert, cheesecake bars, not 4 kinds of pie (pumpkin, chocolate cream, key lime, and blueberry) and two types of fudge, and no fruit plate just little oranges, and no veggie plate.  It's just too much when I have no help except DH.  And no one seems to miss all the extra effort.

In about a half an hour I'll need to get back to it, but right now it is nice to just sit and relax for this little while.

Uneasiness and Planning Next Year's Enclosed Raised Bed Garden

November 3rd, 2020 at 01:24 am

Well, all of the ballots in my family have been registered as received by local officials.  Ain't the internet grand?  Right now 3 out of 4 have been marked as signatures verified.  DS didn't get his in until Saturday night and the rest of us got them in on Wednesday, so that is probably why.

We have done all the grocery shopping we are going to do and now are prepared to hunker down for the week and/or month.  I am hoping nothing bad happens, that people accept the results of the election with dignity and grace, but since that didn't happen last time, I have little faith it will happen this time.  Hopefully it will just be tantrums again and not rioting, but the last several months with the riots springing up constantly, I again, just have little faith.

The downtown businesses are prepared to board up and will be armed on election day and the week following.  I don't know if it will come here, but someone blew up a mailbox about 8 or 9 blocks away the other night so hard it ended up in four pieces, one of which landed on the roof of the home.  I believe the mailbox was at the street and not on the house like many here are, but don't tend to be on that street since the houses are set so far back.  I can't verify it through a news source, but the rumor on the neighborhood blog is they had a political sign in their yard.  I really wish the reservation would stop selling dynamite to people who are not part of the tribe.  It's really getting to be an issue.

I just want this week to be over.  It's like sitting on the edge of my seat all the time and waiting for the country to explode or not explode.  We are as prepared as we can be with the resources that we have.

I did get 14 quart jars of chicken canned and we will grind the rest of it tonight for the freezer. I still haven't gotten the garlic planted.  My body is killing me from cutting up all the meat.  I hate rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.  It takes days to recover from things like this that are so simple for other people.

DH and I have started planning next year's garden.  We want to build a large rectangular raised bed garden with enclosed fence.  Two foot wide raised beds will horseshoe around the inside of the fencing and then the side with the door in it will have a sitting bench on one side of the door and a potting bench on the other with a sink I can hook a hose up to for rinsing vegetables and watering plant starts.  Then in the middle section will be one long raised bed that you can walk all the way around.  We will also fence over the top to keep out racoons and squirrels.  That will protect everything but the strawberries from the deer and rabbits, too.

As for the strawberries, I want a hinged cage to go over those.  One that will lift up from either side so I can pick one side, then the other, easily, without having to take the whole cage off to do it.  Since it is an eight foot bed, taking the cage off is awkward for me to do on my own.  With hinges, half can rest on the other half and then be pulled back down into place with very little effort on my part.

As for the inground garden, I'd like to expand it enough to double our potato yield and mom wants to double our corn yield.  The green beans were just right this year, so that area is fine as is, just needs to be ammended and covered with a tarp for the winter.  I think we will probably plant corn on the far side of the house in the narrow area between the house and the fence and that will be Mom's project.  It gets a lot of sun there and should do just fine.  Personally, I wouldn't waste the ground growing corn again if it were just up to me.  We've grown it there before and the roots are shallow enough not to interfere with the French drain.

I will continue to grow my herbs in big containers, but next year it will be one type per container, except my big rosemary bush.  I want it in the ground as a permanent feature.  It is about 3 feet tall right now and quite tree-like.  And basil will get two big containers.  We have been self-sufficient on herbs that can be grown here for 3 years, but I can always use more basil, especially since it won't overwinter and the growing season for it is only 4 months.

I have been trying to sell the last two rabbits, both bucks, but winter is usually not a good time.  Most people don't want to feed animals through the winter and want to aquire them in the spring before breeding time begins in earnest.  They are quite beautiful so once people want them again, they should go quite quickly.

 

Orchard Visit and Harvesting in the Garden

September 21st, 2020 at 07:39 am

The air quality is back to normal here as of yesterday and thank goodness. We still have the new air purifier going because the house still feels a little smokey, even after cleaning the duct work and the furnace filters (has a cooling function, but not air conditioning). It is working really well. We got a Japanese made Zigma, which can do 1580 square feet. It's very quiet and it is doing its job well. After 3 days, I think we will be able to turn it off tomorrow.

Yesterday we went out to a U-pick apple orchard, but we didn't actually U-pick. The apples we wanted that are ripe right now were Tsugaru and those ones are 3/4 of a mile from the parking lot. Honeycrisp was also available for U-pick and those ones are a 1/2 mile walk. Now they do have a tractor train, but because of social distancing they only fill every other car and only one family group per car. The line to wait would have been an hour.

Instead we paid the extra 10 cents a pound and walked out with 11.7 pounds of Tsugarus (my favorite apple) for fresh eating for us and 7 pounds for Mom. I spent $33.17 and Mom spent $20 even. She didn't go, we just got them for her. I did break my gluten free thing for the fresh apple cider doughnuts. They weren't as good as I remembered and I'm swollen today, so that wasn't worth it.

We picked corn and beans today and yesterday. We got 31 ears, five of which we gave to Mom. There was probably a canner load of green beans. I'll be canning tomorrow. Tomatoes, too, since I have a ton of ripe ones in the house. Raccoons had gotten into the corn, because some of the stalks were pulled back and partially eaten. There isn't any more mature corn out there and I don't know if we'll get the rest or not as it may be too hard to keep the raccoons out now that they have found it.

We'll be eating corn this week quite a bit and I'll freeze a few ears. I don't know if I want to bother with corn next year. I know my mom does, she wants more than we planted this year, but she didn't really help with the garden much this year at all. Maybe two hours total of helping to weed and get stuff in the ground.

Preparing the ground for corn is not on my priority list and is a job that requires my son and I to do most of the work. He is likely to have a job next spring and I don't want to do it myself. I'd rather give it to things that will last all winter, like potatoes, carrots, onions, and green beans (canned). We never plant enough corn to can it and if we did we wouldn't be able to plant anything else. Mom is really good at planning work for other people to do.

We had to buy a hand rail for the inside steps where we are going to be putting a ramp. They are so expensive, it is ridiculous. But trying to design one was driving DH insane so I just said to go ahead and order one. It will be easy to install and it will be done. That was $335.71.

As to things that are completely irrelevant to my life and finances, I finally got around to watching the first episode of the new season of Dancing with the Stars on Hulu, my one reality show. My favorite pairings are Nev Shulman and Jenna, Justina Machado and Sasha, and Jennie Mai and Brandon. Justina's personality is so much fun and she moves really, really well. Nev seemed like a natural. I thought Vernon (the football player) and Peta Murgatroyd had a very good chemistry and balance between them and he had some natural grace..

The basketball player was, as they usually are, awkward on the dance floor, and too, too tall for a natural posture with his dance partner. They had the best costumes, though. The ice skater, Johnny Weir was a natural, but I always feel skaters have an unfair advantage. He's a little untrusting of having a partner since he is a singles skater. You can see it and feel it, but once that has passed I think he has a real chance to win. The others were good but didn't stand out to me.

There was a lot of good potential with most pairings, but the cat lady needs to go. She got the lowest score so she likely will. It was weird not having a real audience and to see the judges so far apart from each other. I was very pleased to see Britt had made it out of the troupe and into being a pro. I've noticed her in the troupe the last few years and was hoping she'd get the promotion at some point. Her smile always seemed the biggest, she was the most energetic and enthusiastic, and I don't think I've ever seen a black female pro in competition on this show before, just males like Brandon and Keo, both two of my favorite dancers.

I wish Whitney and Lindsay were still on, but they are both Australian so may have had issues with travel like Len, who isn't judging, but will pop on via satellite a few times, it looks like. I am still ticked that Tom Bergeron is gone, but I haven't liked a female host since Brooke so I wasn't sorry to see Erin go. Tyra Banks does not seem at ease with the role of host, a little like she is trying too hard to be liked. I hope she settles down into a more comfortable rapport with everyone. It might have been a lack of audience. She just seemed really nervous. Hopefully she will get over that in the next couple of weeks.

It was a great episode, though, and a nice bit of escapism. I am surprised they let them make it though, with the Covid restrictions, because no one is wearing masks and the partners can't social distance from each other obviously. It's nice to see it, though.

Quiet Week and No Motivation

August 6th, 2020 at 01:01 am

There really is not that much going on this week financially. I am pretty much in a holding pattern waiting for payday, which is Friday, to come. Then the bills get paid, the funds get funded, the groceries get bought, and I settle down to wait for the next payday. Lather, rinse, repeat. I guess that is life for all of us these days. I really just want to go do something and there is nothing we can go do because none of the fun stuff is open. I miss our former world so much these days.

Heck, I'd be happy with the library being all the way open so I can go browse books. Using the online catalog is not the same. In real life browsing, you discover some of the best books by accident. You really can't do that on their system. And I can't use the library recommendation page, because all the books there are political and suck. It is weird because the book store is open to the public, but not the library. How is it different? Maybe volume.

Since becoming debt free on June 12th I seem to have lost my motivation. I know we need to be saving for things, but the more life unravels, the more I think we may never move away from here while Mom is alive. She can't be left alone anymore. I mean, she can for a few hours, but someone needs to be here on a daily basis. I don't know if we should be worrying about saving for a house. Maybe instead we should just be socking it to retirement and the EF. It's a tough decision, but we will always have this house to live in, even after Mom dies. We will only own 1/3 of it, but the will stipulates we don't have to move out until we want to, but make interest free payments to my sisters on their portions until it is paid or we sell the house and they get their remainders.

We did some looking at freezers and while we can order them, they won't be available until November or December. I don't figure we will have the money by then and when we do have the money, it will be several months further out at that point. So definitely no buying a beef this year.

Knowing we can't buy another freezer as soon as we have the money is going to change how I store food, though. We will can a lot more chicken and beef so I don't have to worry so much about the space I do have and may be able to get a lamb and a half a hog. And of course as much fish and shellfish as we can catch and freeze.

Sorry, I'm rambling all over the place. I have no focus. I really need to decide what I am going to do, so I can retarget my goals and find the oomph to follow them.

It's Not the End of the World, but You can See it From Here

April 3rd, 2020 at 05:16 am

I cracked my daughter up today when I started singing "This is the dawning of the age of Apocalypse." I've been listening to so many parody songs about Corona virus that I am quite surprised no one has done this one.

Yesterday I sold that rabbit in the grocery store parking lot and then we went in and did a shop. I was able to find chicken so I bought 8 family size packages, 4 of legs and 4 of wings, about 3 pounds per package (bone in). We eat chicken twice a week usually so I was very happy to have that. There were no thighs though, which is my favorite, but I guess you take what you can get these days. And we found elbow macaroni, both regular and gluten free. I took 4 of the regular and one gluten free. There were about 15 boxes of regular and 2 of gluten free, but lots of spaghetti, egg noodles, and a dozen boxes of penné. I haven't been able to find any macaroni in weeks, so that made me happy, too.

I was thrilled to find a tomato sauce that was not Hunts. I've never been able to stand Hunts tomato sauce or ketchup. It's so sweet and cloying. This was the store brand but the organic version. They had 8 cans and I took them all. We use 2 cans in our macaroni so that is four meals worth. They did not have non-organic sauce that was not Hunts. They also did not have tomato paste except the most expensive kind that comes in the tubes. But I have paste. There were several cans of diced tomatoes. Nowhere near full, but way more than sauce. I still have tomatoes I canned last summer, so we don't need them. They did have several types of ketchup, too. We got 3 bottles of our preferred brand which is enough to get through the month. DH and DS use a lot of ketchup, but they may need to start cutting back.

We got enough milk for the month. I was able to get organic non-fat but DH had to go standard for his 2%. Their use by dates are May 5th. They did have the bottled milk, but they aren't accepting bottle returns until the Apocalypse is over.

They had the Laredo Stagg chili. We got all 11 cans. There was a ton of chili in the other flavors and brands. They must have just gotten a shipment in because chili has been one of the foods that have been consistently low last month, it was one of the first things to go after toilet paper, tissues, rice, and beans. DS eats a can for lunch each day when we can find it. He doesn't like any other kind of chili but homemade which I make when we can't find the can.

There is still no toilet paper, but we don't need it. I was just checking for others. I did manage to find a small box of Puffs. They had about 20 but with a limit of one or I would have gotten 2. 2 small boxes equals one big one. Still, with my skin as sensitive as it is during allergy season, I was happy to even find one. We still have 3 boxes at home, but with 3 of us with severe allergies we go through it fast and who knows when I will see it again.

I got 3 cans of chicken and stars. They had 2 flats, but I am the only one who eats it and only when I have a queasy stomach, so just wanted a couple on hand. They didn't have chicken noodle, cream of mushroom, and cream of celery, but did have one flat of tomato soup. Didn't get any of that though as I have tomato soup that I canned last summer. Just heat up and add milk. And we still have cream of mushroom for DH.

I did get some fresh fruit. I got strawberries that were in plastic containers, grapes that were pre-bagged, and some green bananas. They did have yellow ones but we still had 4 ripe ones from the last time I bought green bananas. I also got a lettuce for week one and then a cabbage for week 2 for greens and some bagged celery and bagged green onions. Normally I hate buying so much plastic, but it is a little safer now than open bins of fruit. I am using gloves, but still.

DH will likely have to go back after 2 weeks for fresh fruit and greens, but that's a quick in and out. We have enough other foods for the rest of the month, like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and radishes, which last a long time. I am really hoping to stay out of the store myself until May. I am so incredibly grateful for that sale on sirloin steaks and chuck roasts in early February right before I got sick. I stocked up big time at $3.49/lb for the steaks and $3.99/lb for the roasts and we didn't eat any of it, because I was too sick to cook in February and early March and we kept getting takeout. Ah, takeout, remember that? Seems like a hundred years ago.

We have some pork, bacon, sausage, a little lamb, 2 20 pound turkeys (one is for Easter) and a 14 pound ham. I will cook that ham eventually then bag it up into portions to use in pinto bean soup. There are also two salmon that DH caught last year. So other than chicken we just didn't need to buy meat. I am a bulk buyer by nature, as I buy a lot at really good sales and then we eat off that for three months or so. I obviously can't do that now, there are limits and rightfully so, but I am so grateful I could do it then.

I have this habit of bulk purchasing because my father went on strike twice when I was a kid and because my mother had done this, we had food while my dad couldn't work at the mill. He took a job at a gas station, but that was an enormous pay cut. I have always remembered this and it came in very handy to have this habit when we lived in the mountains and going to a store was a one hour expedition just to get there. Then when DH lost his job a couple years back and couldn't find a new one for 10 months, we had plenty of food to get through it. And now this disease comes. If we go into a full lockdown until the end of April we are good. Right now we can still go to the store and the doctor and the pharmacy, but that may change if things get worse. I hope they don't, but practically, I think they will.

The garden is coming along slowly but surely. Of course we can't plant yet, but when we can I want it to be ready to go, go, go. Hopefully we can get some work done on it this weekend.

Tomorrow is payday. We still have a payday. DH still has a job. I feel so awful for those who don't, but so much gratitude that DH does. And it looks like DH is going to be getting that promotion. They have started having him sit in (on the phone) on the meetings so he can be up to speed when the other guy retires. We had thought that was going to fall through and go to someone else, but apparently that was never the case. The old guy who has the job now will be retiring in a few months and is more or less just working a little and taking his sick leave and then vacation days after that while the virus is so bad so DH is already taking over some of that work, too.

I hope all is well with everyone out there in SA land. I know not everyone is in a good situation. I wish all of you were close enough to help if it gets bad enough. All I can do is pray for you and pray for the rest of the world. Except for Adam Schiff. He can f right off.

Library Excursion

January 12th, 2020 at 05:36 am

I finally made it to the library today to do my favorite thing, save money on books. I picked up four novels and 3 cookbooks. The one that I am interested in the most is Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I can tell already that this will highly likely be a book that I actually buy if we like the end product of the recipes. I have three weeks to make these recipes and make that decision. It's a $30 book so not a decision I will make lightly.

It's a real catch all of gluten-free baking. I have been baking homemade breads and pastries for decades, but this is like learning to be a good baker all over again. The skill set is different. Fortunately this book seems to teach the skill set along with the recipes. Probably one of the reasons it is so highly recommended for beginners on Amazon. This is really something I want to get good at, because a loaf of Udi gluten free bread is very expensive, is only half the number of slices of bread as a regular loaf of bread, and those slices are also smaller. Making my own will save a lot of money in the long run, even if the ingredients are still quite expensive compared to wheat flour. I am finding bulk sources, though, to lower those costs.

I also have an apocalypse fic to read for pleasure, which is one of my favorite genres. I was supposed to read it last month for my book group, but the person who had it checked out had it overdue for 3 weeks despite my hold. Rude. Can't wait to take that into the bathtub and escape life for a while. I think one of the reasons why I like this genre so much is that they always have it worse than me, so I end up being grateful for my life even if it is one lived in chronic pain. Because, you know, at least I have electricity and the internet.

Slowly Getting Better, Some Budget, Some Medical, Some Planning, Some Rambling

January 7th, 2020 at 09:56 am

I am still exhausted, but DS and I had enough stamina to get dishes done today. We got 4 loads done. Everyone was sick for the past week, even DH, though no one as bad as me. I took it in fits and starts, though. It is the first productive thing I have done, besides make dinner, in a while. Tomorrow I will try to tackle laundry. There are at least 3 loads of towels to fold (DH did manage that much) and I need to put away the pile of clean clothes on my bed. I am done with the prednisone but I never got the energy rush of the previous times. That's a bummer because I have been only getting a few hours of sleep due to it. It would have been better to be productive, but Oh well. I just have 4 days left on the antibiotics. I hope that kicks it.

DD has been off wheat for 6 days now and continues to improve. DS's acne is clearing up. Neither one is having stomach issues at all and DD has not felt the constant nausea she's had for the past couple years, either. Can it really be so simple that this was what made her digest so slowly and painfully and bloat to a rock hard stomach? She doesn't have celiac at all, they tested for it, but obviously she does have an issue with wheat, otherwise stopping it would not have been so positive for her. If this is all it takes to stay out of the ER and stop spending so much of our medical budget on it, that's a miracle in itself.

Speaking of medical, it's weird to start having to spend for it again. We maxed out in July, I think it was, and everything had been free since. I know a few months of DD's physical therapy, which she starts on Wednesday will eat up a large portion of the deductible. Our HSA card is not working as they said it would. They said we could start using it on January 1st, up to the full amount of the yearly draw, but when DH tried to use it for 2 prescriptions, less than $25 total, but it didn't go through. He's going to try to get that sorted out tomorrow. We may just end up submitting everything each month, which will be a pain, but whatever.

Once I see what the exact new amount is of the Friday's paycheck on Thursday (things will change a bit due to the HSA withdrawals), I can complete my 2020 budget template and my January budget. They are pretty much the same, I will just be adjusting a bit. I think it is around $113, but it will also affect that amount of tax taken out, so I've got it roughly, just not perfectly. I prepared that part before Christmas, I think.

Tomorrow I will catch up the Medical Fund savings account by entering it all into the spreadsheet. I've let is slide, just making sure there was a hefty balance on the things we did buy, mostly OTC meds. Nowhere near the balance of nearly $2000 (haven't transferred the other $2000 in there, still in the online account), but now I have to reconcile the account. Which is fine.

DH and I really need to get on the ball to figure out our 25th Wedding Anniversary getaway. I was too tired to look at places, but it's mid-March, so maybe tomorrow. He has done some preliminary looking. All I really know is I want to be near a view of the water.

I also want DH to take me out to dinner for my 50th birthday mid-February. It will be a week after my mother's shoulder surgery so the kids will stay home to take care of her. I want a good ribeye or prime rib, a sweet potato, and either mixed veggies or their salad. Not their broccoli, they don't cook it long enough, and no bread. I don't want to have to cook myself so we will just go to Outback one county over.

I need to try to get myself to the library tomorrow. I haven't had a book since before Christmas, not that I could focus for long, but it has still been driving me crazy. I was so out of focus, I could not even concentrate on a movie plot. Watched a lot of mindless stuff, like Say Yes to the Dress, I Didn't Know I was Pregnant, and Paternity Court on Youtube. Yesterday, I was finally able to switch to documentaries and a movie (action adventure, so straight-forward plot).