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Thermostat Wars, Covid, and Weight Loss

November 22nd, 2022 at 05:50 am

I have about had it with my mom and the thermostat.  She keeps jacking the heat up to 75°F.  Last night it was like being in a sauna.  You know when you are in that stage when you are too tired to get up and half way through the house to go turn it down, but you can't really sleep because you are boiling so you lie there and lie there and lie there until you finally force yourself to get up and then turn it down to 70°F because it is 38°F outside, and 68°F makes my arthritis act up in the winter (but not the summer, somehow?).

Then the minute she gets up she jack it right back up to 75°F because she's cold.  And you want to know why she's cold?  Because she sleeps with her bedroom window open, because if she doesn't she's too hot to sleep.  Maybe the reason she is too hot to sleep, and so are the rest of us, is because she turns to furnace up to the temperature of when I first want to start using the A.C. in the summer.

During the day, if the rest of us are cold we put on long pants, long sleeved shirts, sweaters, and either slippers or shoes before we think about turning the heat up.  My mom will wear her short sleeved shirts and her mid-calf pants, maybe socks, maybe not.  She won't think about putting on better clothes so we can keep the furnace down.  If we tell her to put on a sweater, she'll put on the thinnest sweater she owns.  I mean, it's a spring cardigan that is so think you can almost see through it.  She has thicker sweaters.  When she sits in her chair all day watching tv she has a stack of throws next to her to pull over her when she gets cold, but she'd rather turn the heat up.

I just know when the gas bill comes she's going to throw the world's biggest fit about how high it is.  She only pays ten percent of it, too, but you'd think she paid the whole thing by how she squawks about it.  It's going to be bad, because natural gas prices have been skyrocketing even without her sudden need to this year to live in a sauna.  She keeps this up and that bill is going to double and we can't afford that.

I just had it out with her that if everyone else is in the house is having to put on tank tops and shorts, than she is wrong about the heat and she needs to turn it down so people can wear regular winter clothes and she needs to dress appropriately for the winter.  I know it is technically fall still, but the weather is winter weather here.  She even has a little space heater that will warm up just her area and doesn't use a lot of electricity that she refuses to use because that takes up electricity.

I can't get it through her head that natural gas is a lot higher than electric right now, that it's not two years ago when it was the other way around, and that she needs to realize how bad things are going to be this winter with gas prices.  Stuff flips around every so many years, and she says she knows this, but she still keeps jacking that thermostat up.  And it'll be us making up the difference on the bill because she's on a fixed income.

Okay, end of rant.  She just got me worked up today.

DH hasn't been feeling so good for the past few days.  He called me from Lowe's Saturday night and said he really didn't feel good.  He'd been fine when he left the house, but he had to stop after getting what we needed, wood glue, and couldn't go look and see if the had a couple more lines of Christmas lights that matched some we bought last year or to take pictures of any standees and text them to me.  I said fine, get the glue and come home.

By the time he dragged into the house he looked like a different person.  He insisted on fixing the wooden railing that he broke that leads up the short set of stairs from one part of the house to the other and then I made him go to bed.  He's been in there pretty much since except to eat and he's barely been eating.  A couple cans of cream of mushroom soup, a can of chicken noodle, lots of water.  And sleeping otherwise.  We had a couple covid tests on hand so I had him take one and it came back positive.  So I took one and it came back negative, but my nose had some blood in it that got on the swab which can cause a false negative.  I've just been dragging hard since yesterday, but I don't seem to have any symptoms but extreme fatigue.  But the kids seem to be going downhill now, too.  And we have no more test kits and I am too tired to drive to go get some.

DH is going to call the doctor's office tomorrow and see what he needs to do, since it is early enough to get on the Covid meds still, and they will probably want to do their own rapid test to confirm and then if they do and it does, I will call them, too, and ask if I should still come in for my appointment on Wednesday about blood sugar testing or wait and make an appointment for the week or two weeks after Thanksgiving.  If so, that'll give me a little more time to lose weight.

And speaking of weight I have lost ten pounds.  Today was a bit difficult because I was dragging so hard I did not want to cook.  I resorted to instant mashed potatoes, microwaving a pack of gluten free brown gravy, using a frozen steamer bag of broccoli, and dumping out a jar of chuck roast into a bowl and warming it up and calling it good.  It was not the most gourment of meals, but it had protein, low carb veg, and starch.  I refuse to give up on my nutrition now that I have got my diet back under control, though.

No fruit today.  I had grapes the past two days with dinner, just 12, and it just felt like I was eating straight sugar, within 5 minutes I felt light-headed and dizzy and like I needed to go lay down before I fell down.  So maybe it is just the grapes and I need to try something else, or maybe it is fruit entirely.  I will try a half cup of blueberries tomorrow with my dinner.  If they trigger it again, I think fruit will just have to be a very rare thing.  I can get everything fruit would give me from bell peppers and tomatoes and squash anyway.

We have cancelled our Thanksgiving.  I may make it on Saturday or Sunday if I am feeling up to it, but Thursday is out of the question.  It is too much work right now to do alone and I can't even drive to the store to buy the bread for the stuffing and I don't feel up to making 4 loaves of bread, either.  3 for the stuffing, because the loaves are smaller, and 1 to eat, because we are out of bread.  I don't even feel like walking out to the garage to get potatoes, I'm so tired.

Well, that's about it.  Good night, everyone.  I'm going to bed.

Groceries in Bulk and Piecemeal

November 2nd, 2022 at 11:42 pm

I know I haven't posted my payday report for last payday yet.  I have it on the agenday.  This is more of a brain dump, rant, food prepping/canning to save money in the long run, sort of thing.

I went through the grocery ads online this morning.  I can't really do them with the paper in my hands anymore, becaues the mail delivery has gotten so bad that for an ad cycle that starts today, I have gotten them as late as next Monday, but it is usually Friday or Saturday.  They should be coming in the mail on Tuesdays.  I guess if they didn't have 20 pounds of straight to the recycle bin politician flyers to deliver for the past few months, not to mention Christmas catalogs no one ordered, maybe we'd get the rest of our stuff on time.

They didn't even deliver the mail on Thursday.  I know because Mom put out a letter to be deliverd on Wednesday night with the little flag up and the flag was still up at 9:00 p.m. and our letter was still in there to be picked up.  Then on Thursday we put the letter back out in the box and when it still hadn't been picked up by 6:30 p.m. took it back out and the mail showed up at 7:00 p.m.  That was annoying.  We didn't get any mail on Friday or Saturday and none picked up, so they are obviously not coming to even look if the flag is up for outgoing mail.

We ended up taking our letter to the post office on Monday, since we can't rely on our carrier.  Our mail is supposed to be delivered by 2:00 p.m. according to the delivery schedule and has been up until September when it started fluctuating wildly.  I put in a polite, but formal complaint, too.  It should not take me that many days to try to mail a letter, it shouldn't take that may days to get the grocery ads, and I'm not sure we're getting all of our regular mail, either.  I haven't got my statements from my one credit union that only does snail mail twice this year and Mom has had the water bill go missing once and the garbage bill twice.  So I mentioned that, too.  You hear about carriers just tossing mail when they don't want to deliver it.  I wish they'd toss the political flyers, not the real mail.

Anyway, back to the grocery ads, there weren't a lot of good sales.  I guess after two good weeks of sales I wasn't expecting much.  There were a couple of buy one get ones where they don't tell you the  price.  I don't pay attention to those, since they are usually full price, they just jack up the price of the first one so it covers the price of the second.  And I'm not going to make an extra trip to the store on the off chance I am wrong for a meat that I am iffy about to begin with.

So while that store did have a good salmon sale, it was for Atlantic salmon, which no, not when I live on the Pacific and that is so much better.  And a decent t-bone steak sale, but not when I have very good sirloin sale steak in my freezer.  There are decent produce items on sale, but I'm not sure it was enough to being me in.  They had good pork items, but since I have half a hog in the freezer we have barely made a dent in, there is no point in that.  So the main 3 stores are just meh this week.  I'll have to buy produce somehwhere, but that's all I need to buy.

Which means I'll be going to Winco.  I've been wanting to make it over there anyway, since I want to stock up on canned green beans and get 40 pounds of Roma tomatoes to make spaghetti sauce to can.  If they don't have 40 pounds available I will take 20.  I can get 20 more from another store if I have to.  I also want to get some fresh peppers to make some chili this week and they have the biggest choice in peppers, and some cilantro.  And they have bulk herbs and spices and wild rice blends.  And everything is just so much cheaper there with that kind of stuff.

I plan to go to TJ's as well, to see if they have turkeys yet.  No one is advertising turkeys and the one place I did see mention of it was with one store saying to order your turkeys now.  This would be a store that normally would be doing one of those things where if you spend $150 you'd get a free turkey by now.  So I'll look this weekend if they don't have turkeys.  I'll probably switch to one of the back up plans, either the Cornish game hen plan or the duck plan.

Yesterday was the last day of the .99/lb sale for chicken thighs.  It'd been selling out every day like crazy so every day we've gone it has already been wiped out by 9:00 a.m.  Mom got there at 7:30 a.m. when they opened yesterday and was finally able to get what I needed, which was 40 pounds or 8 value packs.  I figured I'd lose at least 5 pounds to skinning and deboning.  It filled 3 gallon sized Ziploc baggies, so maybe more than that.  At least I can use that to make bone broth.

It wasn't as bad with the chuck roast last week, which they at least had until 5:30, before they sold out, but .99/lb chicken is way easier to stock up on for some budgets than $3.99/lb chuck roast.  The butcher says people are really worried about the gas shortages and whether or not truckers will even be able to haul food next week the way things are going, so they are stocking up like crazy.  They are worried about even having fuel for their own gas stations over on the east coast by the end of next week for their store brand.  We are more protected here because of the refineries, but even so it'll come here eventually if things don't change soon.  Crazy times.

I spent from 9:30 p.m. until 1:30 p.m. skinning and deboning and cutting up the chicken for canning.  I ended up sleeping in, because I am on day 2 of caffiene withdrawal, but tomorrow I will get started on canning the chicken and getting a bag of bones in each Instant Pot.  I'll have one more bag of bones to do after that, but I will have some beautiful broth when I finish.  It should be 21 quarts or so, but I am not sure how I will actually divvy it up yet.  I know I want some in pints and some in 24 oz and some in quarts, so we'll see how it goes.  I might actually divide the bones up into four batches.  I think there is enough and then I could have 28 quarts' worth, however I do it up.

Pints are great if you just want to pop one, warm it up and drink it.  Doing that was great for me when I was so sick I couldn't eat.  All I could do was drink and barely that.  It got at least a little nutrition and hydration into me.  The 24 oz size is what I use in a batch of homemade enchilada sauce.  1 quart is what I use to make soup or to make skillet lasagna or sometimes 2 if I make a double batch.  Sometimes I will make my pasta in it if I am doing it in the Instant pot. It makes a fantastic macaroni.

I picked that cucumber finally and one green and one yellow zucchini.  The plants aren't dead yet, we haven't had a frost.  There are still a couple veggies growing really slowly.  The green beans did die when it hit 37, but they aren't planted two feet off the ground.  We are still having days in the 50's with a few sunny hours between rain showers, so I guess I won't give up on them until they give up on themselves.

Pardon My Rant

May 20th, 2022 at 04:52 am

Gas hit $5.29 a gallon cash price and ten cents more for credit cards.  Diesel hit $5.49 per gallon.  So the cost of food will go up even higher now.  I hope you all have been paying attention to me for the last couple of years, but especially this year, when I told you to stock up on food, meds, and personal care items.  I have not been wrong about this yet and it is going to get worse before it gets better.

Did you know that in Washington state they are uncovering an extra digit on the big digital gas signs with the amounts on them, because they are anticipating $10/gallon gas coming up?  Some gas stations have run out of gas entirely.  I hope they suspend the gas taxes here like they have in other states.  We are not a living wage city for the most part and we are sprawled so it is not easy to get across the city on a bicycle or on foot and the climate is not conducive to it most of the year.  The bus system is already packed and they don't have enough buses to run anymore of them, so they can't just add more runs.

Some of the McDonalds in my state are starting to offer $20/hour to help offset gas prices so employees can get to work.  And you know what that means, right?  The food there is going to go up to compensate.  And it will go up to compensate higher delivery costs because of the gas prices.  It's a vicious circle spiraling ever higher and out of control.

The same thing is going on at grocery stores and stuff clearly isn't getting delivered on time so sits in the warehouses too long and gets put out on the shelves when it shoud be chucked out.  And we get to go through rotten, moldy produce to hopefully find something edible, when two years ago we would have turned our noses up at the very thought.

Meanwhile our infrastructure crumbles, our manufacturing isn't done at home so shortages abound, the Fed prints money out of air that we can't back up, and raises interest rates causing inflation to get worse, the stock market tanks, and our administration does whatever it can to sucker punch our energy independence over and over again and then blames the last year and a half on Putin and not their own policies.

Dustbowl states believe a new Dustbowl type of situation is coming and the lack of fertilizer won't help.  There's too much rain except where their is too much drought.  Basic supplies and animal feed are in short supply, meaning meat prices will go up a lot more and many will not be able to afford it anymore.  Welcome to being a second world country, America, where you can't even find baby formula.  If things don't change soon, this is the beginning of the New Great Depression, make no mistake.

 

 

 

A lot of This, Some of That

March 2nd, 2022 at 01:10 am

I woke up feeling better today.  I slept in until 11:30 instead of 3:00 p.m. and was far less stuffy.  My voice still is scratchy when I talk, but my throat doesn't hurt.  Let's hope it's not a false spring situation where everything is starting to bud and then boom snow, like last week.  That's how this illness has been.  I know it is technically still winter, but you get my point.  But I got up, drank my water, and did my physical therapy exercises, plus some arm exercises I do to strengthen my shoulders.  It only takes 15 minutes, but when I am well I do them twice a day, so I get 30 minutes of exercise a day.  As I improve, I can start doing them 3 times per day.

After that I made lunch.  And not just soup.  I made stir-fry, which involves chopping things.  I don't remember the last time I made real food not out of a can and I didn't even do much of that the last 6 weeks.  DH did a little cooking, usually spaghetti, but mostly it was take out.  And I could really feel how detrimental that was to my body.  Not to mention how detrimental this has been to our bank account.  I mean, if it wasn't for the overtime we wouldn't be breaking even.  When I think where that money could have gone...well, I try not to, because that dog has already bitten someone.

After this recent bout of illness I am determined to change my health through proper nutrition and whatever exercise I can do.  I can't continue on this way with my weight.  I am literally killing my body.  My nutritionist has said to cut out a lot of carbs, but fat from dairy, tallow, lard, schmaltz, duck fat, goose fat, or healthy oils is fine. So when we do get our pig, I will get and render the leaf lard.  I'm going to make some ghee to make the butter shelf stable.  My nutritionist says that the government did the USA a world of hurt with it's old dietary recommendations for diabetics, people with heart disease, and extreme obesity.  That's why so few people actually got better on those diets and why so much more medical intervention was required.  Maybe 10% improved with a low fat diet.  I've believed that for a long time.

So I am cutting out sugar except on birthdays or holidays and replacing it with fruit, but only one serving of fruit a day.  And lots of vegetables and good quality protein.  If I have a starch it'll be a potato, sweet potato, winter squash, nuts, rice, or brown rice pasta.  I'm not the biggest fan of rice, but the family does like it.  Brown rice pasta is good, though and we have a lot of it to get through before I buy regular pasta again, if I can even find any.  The store shelves have been pretty bare of spaghetti or anything other than a few boxes of elbow macaroni, according to DH.  Pasta's not an end all for my family, though, and I can make noodles from scratch if I feel up to it.

I think I will try to avoid flour for a couple of weeks until the ball is firmly rolling and may then have it once a week in place of a starch, mostly so I can still have a slice of pizza here and there.  Depends on how good I feel.  I make a good gluten free pizza, though.  Either way, I pile on the vegetables and meat and cheese on my pizza anyway, and roll it quite thin, so it is pretty balanced, and add a salad.  In the summer I might allow corn, but it is extremely sweet and a grain so I'd have to be careful.  I will allow corn tortillas, but limited to once a week or less.

I would also like to eat more seafood.  We still have quite a bit of salmon and bags of spot prawns in the freezer that I need to get through before those seasons start up again and we'll have new stuff to put away.  DH has talked about maybe going for mussels, clams, and oysters this year and and also get the add on for gathering seaweed.  Seaweed is great in the garden when you are building new beds or for your compost heaps and is easy to harvest after a high tide as there is lots of dead stuff.  It doesn't have to be alive like for eating, it can just be what washes ashore.  He'll need to lose some weight, though, to be agile enough to do much of that. 

One day it would be fun to go for geoducks, (prounounced gooey ducks for non-coastal Washington and Oregon people), which I believe is the biggest of the clams in the world.  We'd have to buy a clam gun, though.  Which isn't an actual gun, but you can look that up if you are interested in knowing what it is.  It would be useful for other clams, too, but I'd have to look up the regulations on that.  It might be allowed only for geoducks.  My son would have to do the actual getting down in the sound and sticking your arm down the hole the clam gun leaves, but he says it sounds like fun.

I've been reading and thinking about growing my own peppercorns.  The same plant produces white, black, pink, green, and red peppers.  It depends on the level of maturity of the peppercorns.  It can be grown indoors, so I am thinking of trying it in a pot this summer that can be brought in when fall starts.  That may have to wait until next year.  The next time DH goes out fishing or prawning, I will have him bring back a couple of gallons of salt water as I want to try making salt, too.  As many spices and herbs as I can grow or forage, is what I think.  Has the salt shortage hit your grocery stores yet?  I have a good amount in my preps, but I want to know I can make it.  My food storage may be great, but I can't think how miserable it would be without herbs and spices to season it with. 

I have decided the family is going to eat like me or fend for themselves.  We all need to lose weight and this is how it is going to be.  I'm sick of their bad food habits dragging me down every time I try to get my diet under control.  I won't buy junk.  My son is on board.  The others are paying it lip service.  We will see.  I don't want to fail this time.  I can't afford to anymore.

Today was a beautiful day and 55 degrees F.  I did take a short walk out to the garage and back.  It doesn't sound like much, but it's a start.  Maybe tomorrow I can do to the end of the driveway and back, weather permitting.  That's even longer.  I know that sounds sad, but for someone with two deviated discs in her lower spine, it's a lot of progress.  And I'm back to no cane.  So yay, me.

Also, I noticed the garlic was up about 3 inches and last week's snow didn't seem to do it much harm.  It was only here a day, though.  It looks like every single bulb I planted came up, so kudos to Fedco (for the Music garlic) and the grocery store (for the elephant garlic).  There are only a couple of weeds in the raised beds, which I will pull next time I go outside.  I didn't want to get my hands dirty and my garden gloves and shovel were on the porch.

I need to think up a meal plan with this new diet.  Good, healthy, tasty food that doesn't make us feel like we are giving anything up.  Tonight's dinner, at least, I know.  Rib steak, yellow potatoes, and green beans.

 

Payday Report for 11/12/21

November 13th, 2021 at 11:16 pm

The actual amount set aside for car insurance money each month is $167, but I had $36.00 in savings set aside for garbage since garbage is a bill that comes due every 2 months.  Instead of transferring $167 into savings and then $36 out, I just put $131 in and used the $36 that was then already in savings towards the car insurance fund.

I have changed the amount of money I am setting aside every month to $45.  Garbage collection has gone up.  Not as much it appears, but when nephew moved out he left a lot of garbage behind.  We had to get set out cans every week for a month instead of every 2 weeks.  We ended up bagging up 4 more bags of it and taking it to his new apartment so he can throw it in the dumpster.  I shouldn't have to pay extra for his trash when he has a way of disposing of it that is included in his rent.

At least it won't happen again since he is gone.  But without extra cans the bill is now in the $82 range instead of the $72 range due to the rise.  So I am putting aside $45 a month so I will have $90 with a little extra as buffer in case we do an extra can for our own as sometimes happens.  Extra cans are $12 plus additional taxes.  We only tend to have an extra can once in a 2 month cycle.  The room nephew lived in is still a mess and he left a lot of his clothes in the closet that he will need to come and clean out.  My sister did not raise a man, she raised an irresponsible little boy, who doens't clean, doesn't cook, and doesn't know how to get by in life. 

My sister always figured he'd have a wife for that, but I don't know too many women in this day and age who are interested in playing Mommy to a grown man.  I guess that is the difference in generations though.  My sister, well, both my sisters are so much older than me they are boomers, and I am generation X.  And my middle sister definitely has that women do everything mentality, cook, clean, bank, and work, while the men rest and relax in their off hours.  Only nephew only had off hours while living here.

Anyway, that went off on a tangent.  Here is the payday report.  Remember I operate on a zero based budget where every dollar is allocated for.

$277.26 Tithe

_500.00 Utilities

_400.00 Grocery Envelope

_500.00 Medical Fund

__75.00 Household Envelope

_310.00 Monthly Family Chiropractic Plan

_118.18 Internet

_107.68 Garbage (Every 2 months

_131.00 Car Insurance Fund

__50.00 DH Spending Money

__50.00 My Spending Money

__60.00 DS's Allowance

__30.00 DD's Allowance

_163.51 Citi

-------------------------

$2772.63 Total Money Out

The actual amount set aside for car insurance money each month is $167, but I had $36.00 in savings set aside for it since garbage is a bill that comes due every 2 months.  Instead of transferring $167 into savings and then $36 out, I just put $131 in and used the $36 that was then already in checking.

I have changed the amount of money I am setting aside every month to $45.  Garbage collection has gone up.  Not as much it appears, but when nephew moved out he left a lot of garbage behind.  We had to get set out cans every week for a month instead of every 2 weeks.  We ended up bagging up more of it and taking it to his new apartment so he can throw it in the dumpster.  I shouldn't have to pay extra for his trash.  At least it won't happen again since he is gone.  But it is now in the $82 range instead of the $72 range due to the rise.  So I am putting aside $45 a month so I will have $90 with a little extra as buffer in case we do an extra can for our own as sometimes happens.  Extra cans are $12 plus additional taxes.

Payday Report for 10/1/2021 and Long Update

October 2nd, 2021 at 04:39 am

$277.23 Tithe

_132.00 Grocery Envelope

_310.00 Monthly Family Chiropractic Plan

_118.18 Internet

__36.00 Garbage Fund

_167.00 Car Insurance Fund

__50.00 DH's Spending Money

__50.00 My Spending Money

__30.00 DS's Spending Money

1601.98 Citi

---------------

2772.39

We had a lot of money in the grocery envelope still from last payday, mostly because DH keeps forgetting to grab it before he goes to the store and uses the credit card again, so I just made up the difference of what I usually put in there and put the rest of this payday's grocery budget towards the Citi card.  DD doesn't get spending money this payday or next because I didn't make it over to the credit union today so I let her use the credit card to make her planned purchase and to pay me back she just won't get any until the 29th.

Since DD's new adjustable full size bed frame was charged, and she needed it for medical reasons, the $500 I usually put towards medical each payday also went to the Citi card, since we charged that.  Next payday's will, too.  I also put the household money towards it, since I still have money in the household fund to meet needs in that category and we have enough toilet paper, shampoo, soap, dish soap, dishwasher soap, and laundry detergent for about two months.

The monthly family chiropractic plan went up by $30 a month.  It has been five years since he has raised that, so it was not unexpected, especially since he warned me a few months ago it would be, he just wasn't sure at the time by how much.  Internet has gone up by a penny the last few times, so I finally adjusted the budget template to take that into account.

We still have quite a bit left on the credit card, but we have paid more than the amount we needed to not have interest charged and it will be paid off by the end of this month, also before any interest is charged.  It's just been such a rough month with me not being able to cook, but today we ate leftovers and I am trying again to cook tomorrow.  My sacral illiac joint has finally decided to stay in place, so a lot of the excruciating pain has subsided.

I still have no stamina from having Covid again, and I hope the exhaustion I had the first time lifts sooner this time than last time.  Every day is a little better, but no day is really good yet.  I have to wonder how much worse it might have been if I hadn't been vaccinated.  And had antibodies of my own.  Even though I can go out in public now, I don't think I could make it through a grocery trip yet.  So I just keep sending DH for necessities and we keep getting take out.

Tomorrow I will try something easy, though, which is pot roast and baked potatoes in the Instant Pot and green beans in the microwave.  That is very little hands on time, other than seasoning the roast, washing the potatoes, and adding butter and salt to the green beans.

DH did buy me salad ingredients and the missing ingredients I needed to make Italian dressing, too.  So tonight I will try to get the lettuce cut up, the carrots peeled and sliced, the radishes sliced, the red onion sliced, the red bell pepper sliced, and the cucumbers peeled and sliced.  The cheese is already shredded and so is the chicken and I have cherry tomatoes from the garden that are washed.  I did manage to put a chicken in the Instant Pot last night to make broth, but DH had to add the filtered water since carrying that much from the filter in the laundry room was still too much for me.  Anyway, then I can easily throw a salad together.  I'll make the dressing tomorrow.  I think it is just trying to do it all in one go, which will be bad for me.

But I have to stop getting take out, not just for financial reasons.  I've put on fifteen pounds since I got really, really sick in late July.  It makes everything hurt so much more.  And the soda I've been drinking to get some caffeine to counter the exhaustion also has been bad.  So real, homemade food, and healthier food is a must now.  I've just got to pull it together and force myself to do this.

DD had her ultrasound today and the results also came back today through the patient portal.  I am surprised how fast they are sometimes there.  She does not have a hernia or a limpoma or hematoma or a surface tumor, so no one really knows why there is a big round lump pushing her skin out there.  One other possibility is there might be a tumor  too deep for the ultrasound pushing it forward, but that should have showed up on her liver MRI in the beginning of August if that were the case, I would think, unless it was too far away, but considering where her liver tumor was located, I don't think it is.  I'm not sure what the next step will be.  We won't hear from the gastro place until next week some time when they review it.  But the technician confirmed that she could see the bulge and it wasn't just our imagination.  Or it could have just grown since that MRI in the last two months, which it definitely has, but what the heck is it?

I did get some good news, though.  A disabled child can stay on DH's insurance after age 26, so we need to fill out some paperwork and so does her main doctor, but since she has all of the things, she'll qualify.  That is such a major relief.  She doesn't turn 26 until August of next year, but it has been something I have been worrying about for the last couple of years as diagnosis after diagnosis has come in.  We will start the ball rolling to see if she can get on disability, too.  That will help in paying the medical bills that aren't covered by insurance and give her a small income, too, so she doesn't have to rely on us for every little thing she needs.

She has at least 3 things that will qualify her for that, possibly five, but the secondary adreanal insufficiency is the big one that alone should qualify her for it.  It's really just a matter of filling out the paperwork, being automatically denied, appealing once or twice, and then she should be able to get it.  She's way worse off than the BIL who is on disability is, he only has the same disc issue she has, and none of the diseases.

The insurance was the real issue for us.  Disability would just be nice for her.  It would be enough to set aside for the electric wheelchair she will likely need in the next couple of years.  Not sure how we'll transport it, though.  Not sure we could afford a used wheelchair van.  But that's a worry for future me to deal with.

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.

USPS Lies

January 14th, 2020 at 02:35 am

I hate it when USPS flat out lies about attempting to deliver a package. Got an email 10 minutes after their supposed attempt to deliver. There are five people at home. Our road is free of ice. The driveway and sidewalk are shoveled. There was one person sitting in the room attached to the front door. The front curtains were still opened and you could see the person who was sitting there. It was obvious people were home from the three vehicles in the driveway. The door bell never rang and no one knocked. No attempt was made to deliver this package. This is not the first time this has happened, either. I hate when stuff comes by USPS because they are just such liars. I know the truth. They over-committed someone to deliver and had too much stuff and ran out of time. It's like they think we are stupid.

That Rant Ended in a Different Place from Where it Started

October 10th, 2019 at 04:17 am

Sometimes I get really annoyed with the online places I shop begging me to do reviews immediately. Amazon is the worst offender for this. Don't get me wrong, I will review products, but not two days after I get them. I want to use a product for at least a month before I review it. Take my sheet set for example. If I had reviewed it after the first day I used it, I would not have had the experience of the pillow case hem unraveling yet. I don't like to jump the gun. Sometimes they send you more than one review beg for a single product. SMH I do love the sheets otherwise, though.

I did sew up the pillowcase today. I just hand sewed it as it was only 8 inches. I also sewed up the little hole in the thumb tip of my stretchy turquoise gloves. I did it from the inside and you can't even tell from the outside. I was careful to use really tiny stitches so I wouldn't feel them rubbing against my skin.

It is amazing to me how many people don't even know how to sew up a small hole, a seam, hem trousers and jeans, or put a button back on. They don't have to know how to make clothes, but just to fix them would cut down significantly on how many things get thrown away for basic fixes. I've seen people throw out jeans for a belt loop that has come out on one side.

I think we really did a disservice in our schools when home economics was eliminated as a required course. Everyone should know how to do some minor mending of clothes, work a household budget, pay bills, and cook some basic foods.

Of course I feel the same way about shop class. People should know how to do basic woodworking repairs (work a drill, a screwdriver, a hammer, a dremel tool) and even some metal working (soldering and stamp engraving) so you can do some basic repairs and have a little bit of fun with things. They should know how to replace a lock or a door knob or replace a screw.

It's sad how much practical knowledge is missing from today's education. I've never seen dumber highly educated people than what is being churned out of colleges today. I mean, sure they can do whatever thing it is they studied for expertise, (well, some of them can), but they can't balance their bank accounts.

They have no idea what the Constitution actually says but are willing to spout off about what they think it says for hours (on TV or YouTube no less). They ignore science when it suits them but tout it when it doesn't, and selectively tilt their statistics by only interviewing people they know will agree with them, to make them mean what they want them to say and not what the numbers actually say.

They have no idea where their food comes from. Some don't even realize potatoes are grown under the ground or how meat is raised (I swear some think it just appears in the grocery stores by magic) or that most eggs are laid by hens that have never seen a rooster and therefore can't be a murdered baby chick. They couldn't sprout a seed in a paper towel let alone plant a garden.

They don't realize that when the power company says they are turning off the electricity for 5 days and has been warning them about it for weeks so you can stock up and be prepared, that it'll all be okay because they can just order uber eats. You know, from the restaurant that has no power to cook food either, using gas from the gas station that has no power to pump its gas.

Or they'll just pick up ice from the store (that has to shut down while the power is out because even if they could have their freezers and fridges on, they have no way of accepting payment on non-working cash registers), to keep their food in a cooler. That they have no way of cooking because they don't have a grill or didn't buy charcoal or propane.

Life smarts need to be taught just as much as book smarts. I hope this turns around, but I really don't see it happening. All we can do is make sure our own children learn and if they have kids, that our grandkids do.

It's Snowing Again--Bah!

March 7th, 2019 at 02:58 am

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 08:31 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 13th, 2019 at 01:24 am

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 2nd, 2019 at 02:11 am

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.