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It's Snowing Again--Bah!

March 6th, 2019 at 06:58 pm

I'd say bah humbug, but that seems particularly a Christmas season thing, although quite frankly it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in this winter not so wonderland. It's not snowing as hard as last time yet, but it is sticking and there is about an inch and a half and no sign of stopping.

Most of the last batch of snow had melted a couple of days ago except for the huge piles that were plowed in grocery store parking lots. Now it starts all over again. I really dislike snow. I am not one of those people that looks out the window and thinks oh, how pretty. No, I am one of those people who looks out the window and says, crud (or something slightly, but not significantly, stronger), this is going to be a pain in the butt.

DH has been home sick for the past two days and even my mom is sick. Those two never get sick. I'm glad DH has sick time accrued and that things are not particularly hectic at work right now. The rest of us are sick, too. I had two days of feeling better and then went right into this runny nose thing with a voice that sounds like James Earl Jones is using me as a ventriloquist's puppet. I don't feel like death, I just sound like it. I think I am actually the least sick of everyone today.

I am more than ready for spring, but I don't think spring is ready for Washington state. Getting snow in March is a rarity, but we have gotten it as late as early April twice in my lifetime. I am so done with this. I want spring and I want it now, please and thank you.

We can't pick up the truck until tomorrow. All the work was done, but then a recalled part came in so they asked if they could keep it and do it in the morning so that we don't have to bring it in again. I just hope the snow isn't so bad tomorrow that we can't retrieve it.

We just got a notice on a recall for our 2011 Toyota Sienna on the propellant for the airbag, so we are going to have that done when we get the oil change for the van as well. Might as well do both at the same time. Apparently when the propellant gets old it can explode on impact and shoot metal fragments out through the air bag, causing injury and death. So apparently this has happened. Yikes. Weather permitting, we'll get this done next week.

TL:DR Soy Rant plus No Egg Waffle Recipe?

February 21st, 2019 at 12:31 am

Why do they have to put soy in everything? I mean, they are putting it in things like ice cream now. Even Alden's Organic Ice Cream has soy lecithin. When I pay that much for ice cream, I want it to be real ice cream. They are putting it in french fries. I am glad I found a french fry slicer at Value Village (thrift store) the last time I was there. I'll be making our fries from now on since both the store brand and the Ore Ida brand have soy.

It is in almost every convenience food. I am just so happy that the TJ's fish nuggets don't have soy. But a lot of TJ's food does, so I have to very carefully read the labels even there now. I think their fries are clean, but they are expensive and you don't get a lot. It's much cheaper to buy the 5 lb bags of russets and make my own. As long as I have DS's manpower to push them through the little machine.

It is frustrating to deal with an allergy in a grocery climate that seems to have gone soy mad. Products that were previously safe, like Lay's plain potato chips, now have soybean oil. It used to be sunflower or safflower oil. And yes, we don't need potato chips, but sometimes you just want to snack on a chip and I do get sick of it just being tortilla chips.

Nearly every bread has soybean oil in it. We have found Naked bread and Dave's bread which are clean of it, and of course I make our own bread often, but some days I just can't knead dough due to my RA. There's a lot I can't do on a daily basis anymore because of my RA. Crackers are ridiculous. And yes, I can make those, too, but some days I can't roll dough and I just want something for my soup.

I do cook 90% of stuff from scratch, but I like my 10% of processed foods for those days I can't, and it is looking more and more like it will have to be 98% if we are avoiding soy. Plus DD can't eat eggs, which is not quite as hard to avoid, but it does put a limit on what I can bake that she can eat, too.

Does anyone have a good waffle or pancake recipe (or both) that doesn't have eggs in it? And that actually tastes good without anything on it. Because I have made some that are virtually tasteless without egg. I don't want to have to dump a ton of sugar in the batter, although that may be the way I have to go.

Deeper and Deeper, We're Buried Alive

February 12th, 2019 at 05:24 pm

There's 18 inches of snow on the ground, and it is still snowing, but less consistently, which means that if I want a birthday cake I am going to have to bake it myself and I'm sort of the mindset of, well, ehh. Maybe peanut butter cookies as they are easy and I am already making bread. DH has been able to get out to go to work, but not many are able to get in. Some of the stores are closed, so even if I sent him for a cake, the stores might not even be open and I don't want him driving more than he has to right now.

Of course, this means we have spent no money since Sunday. Not that I planned to buy much, but I did want to get a new electric skillet and have the money in the household envelope for it. Those things really don't last long and the last one we got I was never fond of anyway, as it made a weird noise the whole time it was on. But now the coating is all scratched up. I have no idea how as we only ever use wooden or silicon cooking utensils in it.

I'm actually just thinking of getting one of those induction cook tops so that I could just use my cast iron pans or stainless steel on it and be done with this non-stick nonsense altogether. It costs twice as much as a skillet and I'd have to wait until the 22nd to order it when I put more money in the household envelope, but we've gone without for two weeks now, we can go another two, plus time for shipping. I've been considering doing this a long while. Since we just bought TP, body wash, and shampoo and conditioner, there isn't anything else I will be needing the household category for next payday except maybe tissues, so there will be plenty of money in there then.

Maybe I'll make cupcakes. I can do those in the Nuwave. Or maybe I'll just be happy with my bread and pick up a discounted Valentine's day cake the day after instead. They are always half price then. Or skip it altogether.

I'm not really that into it this year. I'm 49. Next year is more of a milestone. Although I did have one milestone of sorts, DH and I both did. They gave us the senior discount at the hospital cafeteria. DH is balding and grey and I haven't colored my hair for the last year or so, so my grey streaks at the front temples of my hair are quite visible (they used to be ash blonde streaks in a sea of auburn when I was younger). I didn't notice until I was looking at the receipt. So that was the first time we've been given a senior discount. Maybe I can order off the IHOP's senior menu now. They always have way too much food in the regular part, so I usually give DH half my pancakes and he orders accordingly. Not that we go there much anymore at all.

Sorry, this is so stream of consciousness today. Nothing much better to do while I wait for the bread to rise.

Trying Not to Be Frustrated with the World

February 1st, 2019 at 06:11 pm

Despite the fact that it has been since July, it still feels strange to not get paid weekly. I mean, we budget for two weeks and it isn't like anything needs to be done during that time period after the bills are paid, but maybe that is the problem. I am so used to being hands-on on a weekly basis and now it is like it is set for cruise control and I'm there, but there is nothing for me to do unless I see an accident coming up ahead.

DH and I have started watching the Financial Peace University videos. We had started a while back and then life got busy. We decided to restart from the beginning and I am glad we did, because they have completely revamped the presentation. And what's really neat is that DH knows one of the guys in the video doing the testimonials. He worked with him up in Alaska.

We took a big step and cut up all but one credit card. DH is cancelling them, too, but the idea of cutting them up just seems so huge and something we have really both been resisting. We are keeping the one for auto pays, as I've had them double charge too often. Yes, they fix it in a couple of days, but if you double charge on a debit card and there isn't enough money to cover that, you get fees and it is such a mess to sort out even when it isn't your error. I feel more secure having the auto pays on a credit card for that reason.

Now you could say that we could just keep extra in the checking account, but we run a zero based budget, so that makes it difficult, as we don't keep a huge cushion in there. I know we can do it, but I'm just not sure we are 100% there yet. There is also the fact that with the debit card they can put a hold on your account. A hold on a credit card with a huge limit is not that big a deal, but a hold on money in your checking account is.

I know that I am justifying. I just think that when we only use it for travelling and auto pays and it is paid in fully each month, and we are as disciplined as we are, we can handle it. One day when we have enough money to have a large cushion again, we can go fully to debit, but that will not be until after the loan is paid off and we've saved at least 3 months of expenses. We will get there, but we are not there yet.

Personally, I want to do the part where you stop all retirement contributions until you are out of debt, because I think we'd be out of debt by the end of the year that way, but DH is against it. He's the one who wanted to do Dave Ramsey in the first place, but he doesn't actually want to "do" Dave Ramsey. Just the parts he agrees with. I get all his arguments, I agree they make sense logically, but I just want to be out of debt.

I don't mind doing retirement while saving up the full EF, but I want to be done with this debt. It frustrates me, because I feel like if you are only doing things halfway, it'll take twice as long, if not three times as long. I am so tempted to call Dave's show and ask him what to do about this. Of course he'll tell me to get rid of that last card, but he'll also tell DH to knuckle under to the plan. I think maybe some straight-talking from the man himself is in order. Or maybe I'll just email him.

We have been debt snowballing for as long as I've been blogging here. Not on the Dave Ramsey plan, just debt snowballing. And having a small EF. And it worked, but I don't think it worked as well as it could have if we'd been all in and had refused to take on any more debt (like the car purchases we made along the way). And we still aren't all in. We're 3/4 of the way in. Well, I'm 3/4 of the way in. DH is 1/2 of the way in. And while he is more of the free-spirit than I am financially, he still qualified as a nerd on the financial nerd vs. free spirit test. One more point and he'd have been a free spirit, though. I only had one free spirit point and seven nerd points.

In other news, I signed up for my Enbrel co-pay card. It should be here in a couple of days and then I can call the mail-order pharmacy and get the shots shipped to me. I am really hoping this will help me function better on a day to day basis. I'm not thrilled with the side effects of the drug, but the side effects of RA are at this point making it worth taking the risk to see if it helps. It may not even help.

In other, other news, the Girl Scouts are out with their super aggressive cookie sales and behaving as badly as ever at a store near you. I will be so glad when cookie season is over. Meanwhile, I will shop in the mornings instead of the afternoons, and see about making a small contribution to Campfire USA. I've never had a kid from there block the doors, grab my cart, and shout that I had to buy their cookies because they were almost at their goal. No, entitled munchkin, I do not.

I got the shower and tub cleaned today. I still need to do the sliding doors and the little shelves, though, but I will do those when I shower. It's easier. I used Barkeeper's Friend. It is amazing. We are keeping up with the kitchen so far and not letting it devolve into chaos again. Tomorrow's goal is to clean off the top of the bathroom vanity, clean the bathroom sink, and sweep the bathroom floor. Well, that's my goal.

DH's goal is to get the little section between the fridge and the cabinets cleaned out and to clean behind the fridge. And then if either one of us still has energy to take care of the armchair that has turned into a catch-all. We will get organized this year if it kills us.

The Money Arrived

December 17th, 2018 at 05:18 pm

The money made it safely back to our checking account from the PayPal hack. I am still pretty annoyed with PayPal for letting this happen in the first place. Now I can go ahead and write out the rest of the bills, the tithe, and fund the funds I need to fund from Friday's paycheck. I held off to be sure the money would come through.

I am checking the account daily for a while just to be sure everything is safe. I hate this feeling of violation. We are so careful with our finances. It makes me furious that other people, other companies, are not careful with our finances. We have worked so hard to keep our credit clean and never be late with payments and to see that put in jeopardy leaves you with a sickening, sinking feeling in your stomach.

Paypal is very useless with its customer service. We were just really lucky to be able to solve everything ourselves, because they have their heads so far up their collective nether regions when it comes to helping people it is ridiculous. We were told there was nothing they could do about any of it and they weren't going to file anything with their fraud department since the money was still sitting there. I mean, seriously, you'd think they'd want to track these things, but no. They don't really care at all. We won't be doing business with them again.

On the plus side, I am feeling better today than yesterday. No more cracking in my ears. I still am exhausted and needing to sleep a lot, but the runny nose is less today than yesterday. I hope to have shaken this off by the end of the week. It would be nice to be fully well before Christmas. Even though we don't really have much planned, everything will be low-key, it would be much better to not spend the day in bed too sick to do anything.

I am not sure if I will make my dietbet now or not. We had a lot of takeout while I was too sick to cook and the sodium made me gain a few pounds back. I am hoping it will come off with homecooking for the next week, but I'm not 100% sure I'll get there. We will be down in Seattle on Wednesday, which means we will probably have one meal out if things take to long. We will pack a lunch, though, and hopefully that will be enough if we don't get stuck in rush hour traffic on the way home. Her appointment is at 2:45 and will likely run an hour, so I doubt we'll likely be leaving right at 4:00. Not the worst time, but not the greatest, either, to be on the freeway.

Not Much New Here

November 27th, 2018 at 07:57 pm

The diet is going well so far. Famous last words, though. It always goes well in the beginning. I've lost 5.6 pounds.

Yesterday I wrote 5664 words on the novel. That was two chapters, plus 882 words into the next chapter. The day before that I wrote one chapter of 2500 or so words. So after a 27 day stall I've put out 4 and 1/3 chapters.

I didn't spend any time on it today, mostly because my right wrist hurts, but I did spend a bunch of time watching writer videos on youtube. I am learning a lot. I've been writing for a long time, but I find there is always more to learn.

I think there are a few books I want to get on writing, too, but that will have to wait until I have more money. Or maybe that is what I can get from MIL. They are ebooks, though, so she'll have to give me cash. I'm not sure you can buy an ebook that is delivered to someone else. Maybe if we buy from my account and use her credit card? Anyone bought an ebook to be delivered to someone else?

I made a payment to the dentist yesterday for DH's crown. It was $473. I owe an additional $400, so will pay $200 this coming payday and another $200 the payday after that. Ugh. HR signed us up for the wrong dental plan, which is why the crown wasn't covered. We still don't know why the dental insurance said that it was covered at 50% during pre-approval, though.

We also have to resubmit a hospital bill to the insurance company because something went wrong somewhere. Another ugh. I wish people could just do their jobs correctly. We should only owe half of what it says. DH is working on sorting it.

All of the OT money is going to be eaten up, though. It's annoying. Just when we finally feel like we are pulling ahead we fall back again. And who knows how much DS's sleep study is going to cost. At least $1000, possibly much more. They kept him for a second day for further study so I am pretty sure that means they found something. His dad will be picking him up in about five minutes to bring him home, so hopefully they will be able to convey things properly. I am just too wiped out today to go pick him up and talk to them myself.

On the plus side, after getting further info from the doctor, the insurance company decided to authorize the enbrel. Now I have to find the paperwork she gave me about it, because it has the phone number of the pharmacy that mails the drug out and the info for the discount card. I kept track of it until it was denied the first time. I know I didn't throw it away, though, so after a bit of serious looking it should turn up.

DH and I got the HBO add on package for Hulu and have been working our way through Game of Thrones. He's watched it before, but I resisted due to the language, violence, and nudity. I finally gave in a while ago and now we are down to the last episode which we will watch tonight. Then nothing more until April. It is very good. There is more violence on The Walking Dead and I think there was actually more graphic nudity in True Blood.

I have also been watching Westworld on my own because I really enjoy the actors Ben Barnes and Evan Rachel Wood. But the amount of nudity in it is astonishing. I mean I know the robots aren't humans, but you'd think some of the human techs would be uncomfortable with people that look like humans just walking around like that all the time. I don't care whether you are human or a robot, if you have your stuff hanging out casually, it is going to embarrass me and make me uncomfortable. But the story is so good. I think it would be better without the gratuitous nudity, though.

I think HBO, Netflix, and a lot of show makers today could do with leaving just a little bit more to the imagination. The stories they are telling are intricate and could easily stand on their own and the majority of the language and nudity just don't further the plot. A good story-teller can convey it all without these crutches. They simply choose not to because they think shock value is more important in drawing viewers than the story. They are wrong. I am watching the story in spite of all that stuff, not because of it.

Medical Money and Cystoscopy Results

November 15th, 2018 at 05:49 pm

The good news is that at least the insurance covered the cystoscopy 100%. There will be ten hours of overtime on tomorrow's paycheck. It is earmarked for the medical fund, though some of it may have to go to pay for DH's crown since the dental insurance, which said they would pay 50%, denied it when it was actually billed. DH has to look into that and also see if he was signed up for the wrong plan and correct it for next year, because he needs another crown.

The dentist says we can do a payment plan, but I am not down for that. We'll pay outright with the OT if we need to. Fortunately there will be another 10 hours of OT on the next paycheck, too. Again all earmarked for medical. I want to build up the medical fund so that when the deductible starts over in January we have plenty of cushion to cover it. I had hoped to have the full deductible amount in there by January, but the dental issue may make that impossible.


TMI Medical:

Well, according to the urologist, there is nothing wrong with my daughter's bladder. No reason for why she peed blood for weeks and why it is still leaking. At least the bleeding has stopped. But the pain hasn't. I am going to call them tomorrow and see if there is a pill or something she can go on that might stop the leaking issue. Otherwise, I think they are done with us. Which sucks, because there is obviously an issue.

I am not sure where to go from here. I am still convinced she has endometriosis and it is strangling her organs from the outside. Endo does not show up on anything. The only way to diagnose it is to do exploratory laparotomy and they won't do that due to her weight because all the gyno surgeons in my state are chickens and more afraid of a malpractice lawsuit than failing to help their patients. And she can't lose weight due to the hypothyroidism and gastroparesis and adrenal issues.

Having dealt with endometriosis myself until the hysterectomy at 33 and knowing that her paternal grandmother also had it before hers, and knowing that they now know it runs in families and since she has all the symptoms, I am pretty darn sure. I just don't know what to do about it. I mean, she did just fine with the gall bladder surgery even though it had to be in the hospital instead of the surgery center so it isn't like surgery can't be done on her. It's an issue of won't.

We have gone to specialist gynocologists in Seattle and they won't do it, either. All they want to do is give you a pill or an implant and send you on your way. But that doesn't always help. It might prevent new stuff from growing, but it doesn't make the old stuff go away and stop strangling organs if adhesions have formed on them.

The endocrine doctor suspects PCOS, but since her pain was never confined to ovulation, I think it is endometriosis. They have many of the same symptoms. When I first was diagnosed, they tried to push PCOS, but I knew what I had based on the limited research I could do (pre-internet, y'all, I used books). And I was right. And I am 99.987% convinced I am right this time. But being right doesn't matter if doctors can't be bothered in treating you because of your weight.

/Rant.

My mother is still not speaking to my son, which is making the house extraordinarily peaceful. She is acting just fine with everyone else. DS is actually relieved. She can't argue with him if she's not speaking to him. We'll see how long that lasts. She'll need him to do something for her sooner or later and I'll push it if she tries to get DH to do it instead, but not before that. I'll say he's too tired and she needs to ask DS instead. DH has been working a lot of OT so it is true.

She needs to stop with the silent treatment. It only punishes her, not her intended target, and it is outright childish. And it only works as a weapon if it bothers the person you are doing it to. I think she wants him to apologize, but since he isn't the one in the wrong, I'm not going to make him. She needs to be the one to do it, but I can count on one hand the number of times my mother has truly apologized for something she has done, so I am not holding my breath. And by truly I mean saying she is sorry for what she did as opposed to I'm sorry you feel that way, which is not in any way, shape, or form an apology. It's an apology dodge. And she doesn't even do those ones often.

This is going to bug me for a bit, but whatever. I am not going to fix it. They may be my monkeys, but this is not my circus.