Where did March go? All of a sudden, I'm working on April.
I had almost 40 dollars left in the utilities fund for this month, so I added it to the found/saved money. I, also, had some change we've been finding along the way when we walk. I had enough to get to the next couple of 20 dollar levels and put that into the dryer fund. With the warmer/wetter weather and needing a water delivery, I suspect the utilities fund will be back to smaller overages if any at all. I'm working on that.
I clobbered the food budget for the month. We've been eating a lot of fresh salads and vegetables and fruits. I, also, have had to clean out the hurricane pantry and baking supplies and replace some things. We usually spend approximately 200 dollars a month on food, but this month is was more than doubled. On the flip side, we hardly ate out at all. And, then shared or with coupons. I think our eating out came to less than 30 dollars total. Maybe, that's why our food budget is higher. We'd just run our errands and then return home. Ws weren't on the road this month, so we weren't eating elsewhere either. I still have a freezer full of stuff to eat up before hurricane season starts. You don't want fish or ice cream in the freezer when it dies for two or three weeks.
I was also amazed at the fact that I didn't put ANY gas in my car in March. We did take Hubby's truck to do errands on the weekends, but my other errands were bunched up and spaced out. I didn't have but one trip in the car to another town for a doc visit, but I filled up the end of February and now have half a tank left. I was out yesterday to mail a package and was going to fill up for the holiday weekend, but decided to wait until April. It is the principle of the thing. I know that some months I don't use a lot of gas, but I've not straddled a whole month to see it in black and white. If it had been a goal, I probably wouldn't have been able to do it.
I've been leaving the air off as long as possible. It doesn't get that hot in the house, but the humidity is building outside, and it is going to get uncomfortable inside. Especially at night. I'm going to have to break down and use it. It has been fun watching my electric bill slide downward. It is leveled, but the "real" cost is shown. Now, the gas bill goes down, while the electric goes up. One time in another home during this time of year, my gas was unused and electric way down so the company came out and changed my meter. They thought it was broken. Not the fact that I wasn't using much. That was pretty funny to me.
I usually don't get Spring Cleaning fever, but this year, I'm cleaning out. I've been working on a long needed redo of the laundry room. Where does all this stuff come from........
Where did March go? All of a sudden, I'm working on April.
The Spring festival season has begun. And, with it comes other stuff like cookoffs and such. The news was talking about a chili cookoff that included frog leg chili. I'd almost go try that out for fun except for the fact that here it would be so spicy that my head would blow off.
We always budget one night at one local festival for the food. The food sponsors are local organizations and are manned by volunteers and all the money goes to local groups. So, we always try to make it one night to get our favorites and to see what else people come up with. You can buy almost anything on a stick, including cheesecake. And, fried everything, including twinkies and snickers and oreos. The food is expensive, but some of it is pretty good. I have to stay away from the spicy stuff, but I can manage to find some interesting stuff to eat. Funnel cakes are always fun because they coat them in sugar and cinnamon, and then you try to eat them in the wind. We look like snowmen after that. I often put a bottle of water in my jacket pocket so I don't have to pay for the drink. I can then order more actual food. It is always interesting to see who you'll bump into that you haven't seen in a year or two. You'll usually find someone you know at the food row. Funny how we all look older.....
Hubby's office wasn't in the plans. I had tried valiantly to keep my "stuff" out of the room. I had even envisioned adding in cable so he could watch ballgames while he listened to his music and worked or played his games. But, then the printer went back in there and then the filing cabinet since I file most of the stuff I print. I still tried my best to keep out of there. Then, after a weekend of events with the kids, we came home with a couch.
DS and family had gotten new living room furniture for Christmas and wanted to know if we wanted one of their old couches. It had rained every other time we could go get it, so I had plenty of time to figure out what I would do with it. My "office" and project work space is out by the kitchen in a rather large enclosed porch area. Since so much stuff was migrating back to Hubby's office, I was clearing out a lot of junk. I had a rug out there and an extra little table and the second television. And, room. For a couch. A long time ago, we'd had one out there. So, we brought this one back and gave it a try. And, it works. It is like that old thing that if you change the furniture, you want to change the drapes and the rugs and everything. Well, I only wanted to remove the "office" and perhaps make the whole space into a sitting room/bedroom for company. One of our spare bedrooms is the office and the other is being converted from storage to a space for grandkids to stay. It has lots of toys and books and a cat. The adults have to camp. I'm trying to figure out how to use Hubby's office during the day and disappear like smoke during the evening hours. It also means facing up to the fact that I have to finish my projects. That might be a bonus to the situation....
to my dryer fund. I took a cue from ImaSaver and added in the extra left from my utilities budget to the February coupon/found money totals. That made me reach the next 20 dollar tally for the year, so I added that to the dryer fund. I thought about adding in any extra from the whole budget, but I should put that on debt.
I'm skipping the BIG library book sale in a neighboring town tonight. It would cost me 15 dollars to get in the preview night and then the books are about a dollar apiece. I usually find some awesome buys, but I've bought a bunch of used books this month. I'm calling it even. I've also swapped a bunch, so I have no reason to get more. The last year or so at the sale, I stocked up on books for children and my bookcase in that room is full. Sigh, I just love browsing, but I end up with way too many.....
Utilities extra 11.00
Found money/coupons/sales 2.00
because of Campfrugal's entry. Thank you, Campfrugal, for my trip down memory lane. My kids roll their eyes at my stories. I was raised on a mini-farm. We grew all our veggies, and my grandfather raised our meat. We had eggs delivered on Fridays and milk on Mondays. We went to a store for things like toilet paper and chips maybe every two weeks. We made our own cookies and drank our ice cold well water. I can remember my first grocery shopping in college. I had to buy things that we'd always had in the freezers. My inlaws were amazed at the fact that I'd hardly ever gone to a restaurant and so didn't know what to order. We picked blackberries from one of our fields, and Dad grew blueberries after I left home. My other grandmother had apples, and her pears put store pears to shame. Sometimes, we'd get amazing peaches from Mom's boss. One of my neighbors grew strawberries and raspberries--he'd share the raspberries with me. The other neighbor grew popcorn. We'd often sit outside with BIG bowls of popcorn and iced tea. We made our own ice cream on the weekends. I, too, can remember a neighbor's pigs getting out and the roundup, roosters crowing in the mornings, chasing down a horse or two that ran off, and one mule chase for two elderly ladies. Needless to say, my upbringing was a little odd to most of the kids in school. I loved it!
sometimes works out in crazy ways. I've worked up our taxes, and we should be getting a smallish refund. I'm not sweating it because next year DD probably won't be able to be counted so we'll lose that on our taxes. Then, we'll probably break even. However, I often don't send it in til March. Yesterday, a horrible event happened in Texas. A man flew a plane into an IRS building in Austin. The mess looked horrible on television, not to mention those poor people inside. My taxes go to Austin. I wondered if that was the building. Can you imagine all the people that have sent their information in only to have it burn up in that disaster? I suppose that procrastinating once again on the tax return might have helped me not to have to restore the paperwork. But, I feel the most for those people and families involved. It is so tragic.
I went to the grocery store for the first time in two weeks yesterday. I had been out of town babysitting DGD for a week, then eating out of our freezer. There, I ate food I brought with me for breakfasts and their food they left for us for lunch and dinner. So far this month, we've only spent about 150 total for groceries. Got a couple more things to get, but I think we can finish more out of the freezer. That total doesn't cover toiletries and paper goods. With coupons and savings, I added a bit to the February total.
Today is baking cookies day, but I haven't gotten started. In the spirit of finally getting some sun and a couple of days of warmish weather, I've been sort of spring cleaning in the book boxes. It's driving the kitty nuts because the books are stored in her room. All this moving stuff around in there is messing with her day. I'm procrastinating there, too. I'm supposed to be priming kitchen cabinets......
in the found money department. I only went to the Post Office. A lady about five people in front of me dropped a coin and left it. By the time I got up there, no one had bothered to pick it up so I did. Hey, a dime is a dime. So, ten cents starts off February.
Got more of my tax documents in today. I hope to sit down soon and look it all over. I certainly hope the bottom line is good news. I would really like to have a smidge of a refund to add to our debts.
We ate out last night with a gift card given to us at Christmas. We're not counting that toward the dryer fund because we wouldn't have gone there nor spent the money if not for the card. But, thanks anyway to the inlaws!
I've got to start planning the freezer cleanout before hurricane season starts. I've already been going through the supply pantry to find any outdated or close to being outdated foods and using them or tossing. I am hoping that we will then need minimum groceries for February. Then, we'll start stocking up starting March. A few items at a time. I used to have that stocking up money in the budget. Now, I'm going to try to incorporate it into the regular groceries.
It is such a dreary day, I think I'll go read a book for awhile.....
Found money .10 total
is doing me in. Can you really save money on store bought baked goodies when the smell of baking in your house lures both you and Hubby to warm cookies? As a kid, I baked cookies on the weekends for our family. Now, I am rediscovering how enjoyable that is in the winter. Warm kitchen and the smell of cookies. Sigh. I make it a point to eat one of the first batch and one of the last. Hubby is having a harder time of it.
I was filing away a few receipts and found that I had saved about 7 dollars in sales and coupons in the last couple of weeks. Coupled with the 41 cents we found on our walk yesterday, that makes 7.41 to add to our January total. Hubby is really good at this finding money thing. He finds most of it.
I was so excited about hitting our debt harder this month. Then, we got a tuition bill from DD. Sigh. When DS started the per credit cost was about 50 dollars. Now, the per credit cost is almost 250 dollars. No wonder we are going around in circles on this. This is the last semester though. Then, perhaps I won't feel like I'm around and around the same ground......
Coupon and savings money 7.00
Found money .41
because I've made my goal for January of adding at least 20 dollars to the dryer fund. I counted up all the change from the Frog which includes the found change from quite awhile. I ended up with 9 dollars to add to the fund plus a 1936 Liberty head dime. Pretty cool. Note to self...pay closer attention to what coins are in the Frog. You don't know what you might actually find in there. Then, when I went to the store, I saved with coupons and sales at least another 3 dollars. I'm a beginner on the coupon stuff. So, I added 12 dollars to the January total which made the total over 20 dollars. I added the 20 to the dryer fund. I had been putting some extra money in there for a bit before I got the idea to get consistent. It is now up to 100 dollars.
I have decided to ask Hubby to let me count his change before he adds to the Frog. Most of the time, he keeps it. But, most of what he keeps are quarters. So, if he is going to add to the Frog and I am going to be adding found change to the Frog, we don't want to be counting some of it twice. So, I am going to count it when it goes in instead of when it comes out. Mostly, because I don't always put the found change in the Frog. Sometimes, it ends up in the car change thing or purse. This way I can be consistent...and sorta honest with myself.
I went to the doc to pay for some documents they filled out for me, and they returned the self addressed envelope I had given them. Anyone know how to get an unused self stick stamp off an envelope?
because you've made me think. Hubby and I got into a conversation over a restaurant dinner (I had a coupon and we shared!) to set the parameters of our challenge. I thought that the coupons for things like the dinner which we probably wouldn't have done without it wouldn't be counted in the challenge. But, the things we would need or buy or things on sale that we would normally use anyway we'd count. We wouldn't count sales from some stores that we knew weren't sales at all compared to other stores but just handy at the time. Like Hubby's cokes. At the regular market they are often on "sale" but I know that their usual price at another place is that price anyway. So, it isn't really a "sale" at all. Sound confusing? It is going to take some time to sort out and get into a habit.
But, to explain things in the conversation, I referred to Ima. I told him about her challenges, and that she physically puts the money in an account. I told him about her envelope method and that she puts the extra into these accounts. I then told him that over the last few years, I have watched her save 15 to 20 thousand dollars each year. His mouth dropped open.
Unlike Ima, I'm going to have to use the extra over the budget for debt repayments. But, we are going to save the change, coupon money, and found money and when it adds up to 20 dollars, we'll put it in the dryer fund.
One day, when all is paid off and the kids totally on their own.....I'm aspiring to be another Ima Saver.....
Found money .23
in our neck of the woods. Yesterday, I walked out with the dogs and nearly couldn't breathe. The air was heavy with a horrible odor. We get this sometimes with a refinery/chemical company, but not like this. I was really worried something had happened out there. We're not near anything, but with the right weather conditions it can get a little rank out there. I called the emergency notification line but there wasn't anything major reported by any plant in any of the expanded area. Hubby went outside and told me it was a refinery-like smell rather than chemical. I finally thought to get online and found out that a tanker had run into a barge in a canal passage not even near where we live. The smell was from crude oil that had leaked. Most of it had been pumped out or contained. But, if that is what a small amount of spilled crude smells like even at this distance, I can't imagine what it smelled like nearby. Hubby said it was sulfur so I figured it was a heavy sulfur crude and it was. The hydrogen sulfide is toxic, and I believe flammable. They did evacuate a bunch of people, but said there was no danger. The breeze that kicked up yesterday and today has dissipated what we had hanging around here. I was impressed with the response stuff, and they have a ton of people cleaning it up. We were very lucky I think. It could have been a very big disaster.
On another breathe easy note, Hubby doesn't have to have any more surgery at this time. He's on a medicine/exercises/new type of pillow, splints on the hands regimen. So far, the exercises have helped his shoulders and the splints his hands. The meds have helped his legs, and we just got the pillow. We're working on it. The doc said it wasn't one thing this time. He has several issues at once. We go back in six weeks and we'll find out what he thinks of our efforts. Other than that, the MRI gives him a couple of places to watch.
We took a walk yesterday at the mall since outside really did stink. It was part of the exercise regimen. We promptly found 14 cents. Finding coins was something we used to pass the time during the exercise part of his surgery recuperation. We are just too curious this time to see how much we find total. So, I decided to keep track here of found money and coupon savings. Might motivate us even more. The coupons are only for things we will actually use. I'm thinking of putting the money in the dryer fund. So here's the start:
found money .14
total day one 17.39
when a visiting kiddo leaves. DD and Fiance visited for a couple of days this weekend, and I sure appreciated all the technical help they gave me. Our kiddos always help me with the electronic gizmos that I have questions about (like what on earth am I doing). I get a crash course on stuff they do as easy as breathing.
We spent a little on eating out as we were all on the run at times. I had snacks and breakfast and drinks but we ate here and there. We often shared things though, so it shouldn't be too bad. We shopped for a couple of needed things, but most I got on sale. They talked themselves out of all things they saw and that is good. They are doing a better job of control than I am. We did find out that Fiance is going to be out of a job by the summer. That's both a relief and a worry. He doesn't like where he is, which is sad because he's a very easy going guy. But, they also have no idea what's next. We will be supportive of whatever they decide to do.
Hubby is having such mixed results with the medication they tried him on that it will be a relief to revisit the doc and find out what was supposed to happen. That will happen this week. Having company made the time move faster. What is getting confusing is that they don't feel that this time the things with the hands/shoulders and legs/feet are the same problem. So, we may be addressing two issues at once. To top it off, he had to go out to the plant one night and work all night to help fix something then all day, so he's been so tired and bodily wore out that we can't tell if that affected some of the results.
Why is it that they put all the multitude of instructions on the steroid medicine on one bottle in such fine print that neither one of us can really read it without a magnifier? We finally read it off the accompanying paper and made marks on the bottle in large print to remember how many pills on which days. We could make out the words, but the numbers were almost impossible. Sixes look like fives when they are that small. And, vice versa. We also needed the help to remember what day we were on. Sheesh. I have trouble remembering why I walked into a room. This getting older is getting more funny by the day. You have to laugh. What else can you do....
just might work better for me. I tend to save up and try to pay things in big chunks. Sometimes, when the month rolls around, I forget what I had planned from last month. I could blame it on my ADD or something, but I'm not going to let myself get away with that. I have finally joined the recent century and learned bill pay. Wow, the things you can do with that. I've already been sending little chunks of money WHEN I HAVE IT and watching balances go down. No more waiting until the statements come and wondering if I am still following the original plan or have I already changed my mind for another one. Sheesh. No wonder I wasn't getting anywhere.
Hubby got an expense check a couple of days ago in between the running back and forth to the Big City for medical tests. The check was for mileage for meetings. It always covers gas and then there is a little bitty cushion because mileage is a bit over gas costs. For now. Gas is going up, so I'm not sure how long that will work out that way. I took the little remainder and put it on a credit card. Instantly done. Wow. Wonder why it took this old dog so long to learn this new trick.
I'm thinking that this will also keep me thinking about each purchase. I do it anyway, but mostly to see if this purchase will fit in the budgeted amount for that category. Now, I'm wanting to hang on to the money because I can put it somewhere more useful right now. The debt balances. It might be a slow road, but a tortoise I am....
happened to the gas in the truck? We got into the truck to pick up my prescription today and no gas. Hubby had made sure it had at least half a tank when the freeze hit three days ago. And, we've only gone one place since. Last night, we went out to pick up a salad he wanted at the deli. I almost had a no spend day, but he wanted it and at this point in his stressful waiting period I wasn't arguing. And, we had half a tank of gas then. Last night, the alarm went off late, but I figured the black cat next door set it off again. But, today the gas tank is empty. Zip. On "E." The only thing we figure is that someone siphoned the gas out last night and set off the alarm. It has gone off several times lately, so I think they've been trying to figure out how much they can do before it goes off. It is usually pretty sensitive. We went down and filled it up. It would have been awful to find it empty in the early wee dark hours and 25 degrees tomorrow. But, we figure we lost at least 30 dollars of gas. We went down and bought some locking caps. We'll put them on tomorrow when we can see better. I guess I'll have to ask the elderly neighbor next door if we can put a light on that side of the garage. There isn't one because that's where her bedrooms are. Sigh, I guess this is better than the vandals that smashed our windshields or messed with the tires. We've also had the neighbor's car stolen. We've had egged cars and scratched paint. Sheesh. Well, it got rid of one of the things on my list for hurricane season. I've always had to put my car in the garage (which right now is full of stuff to work on the house) during hurricane season for the reason that gas is often hard to find or expensive if you've gotten several storms in a row. I've worried that someone would resort to taking what gas they can find...even out of our cars. I wanted to get these caps for awhile. I kept wondering why I seemed to have lost a few gallons lately in the car. I don't drive much in town so I couldn't figure out why my gas seemed to be lower than it should be. There are a bunch of kids renting across the street who have a ton of people coming and going and throwing stuff in the yard at times. Maybe, it isn't even someone from the neighborhood...just passing through as a guest. So, we'll try this. Punched a little hole in my gas budget, though.
We don't do resolutions in January. We set goals for the year. Sometimes, it seems just to survive something with a happy face. This year we were really optimistic. We have DD finishing college and her wedding. And, we have the ton of college debt to make disappear. We spent last year saving because of economic uncertainty and the job layoffs at the plant. This year was debt. Plain and simple. Then.....
Hubby's legs and feet got worse really fast this time. We've got an appointment with the surgeon next week, but I'm pretty sure we'll have the deja vu deal of surgery for the same deal in the same time of year. Actually, our appt. is a week later than two years ago. This is too weird. I think part of our stress comes from hoping that something can be done. One of the docs last time said that he'd be permanently disabled if they didn't relieve the pressure or irritation on his spine. Last time, we knew it was a couple of discs and some bone. I am thinking that the more difficult surgery they decided not to do at the last minute might be in the picture this time. At least we know the doc and have trust in him. However, we know the more difficult surgery takes longer in the hospital and longer to heal with more pain. We don't have that much sick time or vacation time to use and DD's wedding will use some. Maybe, we can work something out.
Then, we got the news that DD's fiance probably won't have a job after June. They aren't getting married for awhile after that, but with her just graduating and him no job....this is getting to be a frustrating first week of the new year. My goals are crashing down all around me.
On another front, we made it under budget for Christmas. I have already started next year's Christmas fund. And, I've finally paid off Windstorm insurance and have started the fund again for next year's. I also owe about 1000 on the truck. I can't wait to see a zero on another line in the budget. Or better yet, remove the thing from it altogether.
I guess this means also that the house repairs are in limbo again. Not only will we need the money for the surgery stuff and deductibles, but Hubby will not be able to do the outside repair stuff that needs to be done. And, with the wedding and final school expenses we won't have money to hire it done. I'm still trudging along on the inside repairs, but maybe I can hire DD's fiance this summer to help me outside......
I fell off the blog wagon. We had the ole move the wedding up six months thingy with DD that put a crazy spin on the summer and fall. But, she eventually moved it till next year. Whew! I am still in debt a whole lotsa money, but working on it. I still don't have a dryer or most of cable stations. Makes me feel like I'm back in the olden days of my youth. Kinda interesting though. We have to plan more. We did see ourselves following our budget so well that we combined categories and now just keep track in bigger bunches. Still on budget, just not any better on debt. Sigh. We haven't added to debt except for wedding and college expenses...and oh yeah, the dang car keeps me stressed by breaking down on trips. But, I've always gotten where I was going or back home so that good people can fix her up. I want to keep her on the road for a couple more years at least. Sometimes, it feels like she has as many miles on her as I do.....
We had the gang over for Thanksgiving. They decided that it would be better held here. But, THEY did ALL the cooking. Man, was that fun! But, they left all the leftovers, and now we have a fridge full of food. I made a list of around seventeen meals we could make out of all the leftovers. Hubby said to start prioritizing what to eat first. The rest could go in the freezer I guess. Kinda full already though. Will make for some interesting meals as we work our way through it.
I've gotten most of my Christmas shopping done. Staying pretty much on budget...hope I can keep that up. I pulled out all the wrap out to use up this year. My plan is to finish up and not step into stores or browse online. Since we are ALL trying to be frugal this year (most of the kiddo persons are teachers--man, teachers don't get the credit they deserve...very long days and weekends with salaries that don't reflect that!) so we are all getting creative with gifts. Or trying to think outside the box with gifts. And, I kinda like that. And, my brother just had his first start college and his second get to driving age. Boy, is his fun just starting!
I try to get all my books used or swapped or something. I have been doing pretty good with my book "hobby." One of the few times we actually went to the bookstore and bought a new book Hubby and I bought the SAME book on the same day at two different stores. We definitely need to work on our communication. I am returning mine. I just regifted a whole series to DS. Feels good to recycle some of the ones we won't be keeping. I've also gone through a bunch of clothes and recycled them to relatives who actually do wear them. I am beginning to enjoy this mindset. I feel like I'm not consuming as much, and I'm recycling stuff that can be used. Except that Hubby's old chair has GOT TO GO. Or be dealt with somehow. We are getting an older couch from DS that will be perfect on our back enclosed porch. Just need something to crash on out there. And, either Hubby or someone passed on a weedeater to them. We seem to do a swap around the family sort of thing.
I am getting fed up with the debt. I know that it is just not being dealt with, and most would just say buckle down and get it done. That's what I'm going to do next year. Freedom year. Wonder what it feels like....
I got home and retrieved my vitamins for the eyes. Don't tell my doc I forgot to take them with me....
They are called I*Caps with Lutein. Those are the yellow ones. Except if you smoke. Then, you take the greens ones without Vitamin A. Or something like that. Since I don't smoke, I guess I didn't listen too well to that part. The red ones are the regular ones. I found them at Walgreens, and sometimes they are on sale. He told me to take one twice a day, but I haven't been doing that until I find out how my stomach will take to that much. So far, I haven't had any problems with them. He told me to take them now and forever because they've proven that they can help prevent macular degeneration. And, since I have a family history of it, he's hoping to prevent it from happening to me, too. Since he is a prominent eye surgeon in this area, I am taking the vitamins!
I haven't talked to my Dad about what was in the shots that he has been taking. I don't think he's on any different medicine, just the shots. I'll have to ask again. He's been able to arrest the degeneration and is now being monitored without any more shots at this time. However, the damage has been done. He's the type that won't go to the doc unless he absolutely has to. But, I have to admit, he was so brave and all about having shots in his eye every few weeks. That would have made me nuts.
My grandfather lost a lot of his eyesight to the degeneration, but until my Dad got it I don't think I had realized what had happened. I am thankful that there is a treatment now, and I sure hope it helps your father, too!
I sorta wandered off on an extended blog vacation. But, I see the effects of this community every time I pay off a bill or work with my budget or make do with something. I learned a lot here. We're still deeply in debt, party due to DD's continuing college expenses--every semester the college seems to cost more. But, we've made tons of small changes that are beginning to add up. And, had plenty of "DUH" moments.
We stayed pretty much on target with the Christmas budget. We paid off a loan in January. We cut down services. We reevaluated discretionary stuff. Even the kids are getting on the bandwagon.
I decided to really look at the items in my budget. One thing was cable. When our cable company started charging us a 99 cent fee for mailing us a paper bill, I thought about the cost of it altogether. I made a list of the actual channels we watch and how often. It was eye-opening. We only watch a handful of channels and maybe a show a night. If that. I was all set to cancel it completely, but Hubby wanted to keep the major local channels for the in depth hurricane coverage they provide. If we cut to basic, we'd have about five "real" channels to watch that didn't involve school lunch postings or the House of Representatives. Information channels seem to take up almost half of the basic channels. But, Hubby had a point so we started out by cutting down to the minimum. And, we found ourselves actually making a list of what to watch and then planning other stuff. That's funny. We had no clue as to our watching preferences before. We missed shows we liked because we didn't keep track of when they were on. Now, with five channels, we have a list and then watch other stuff on the internet. And, then added netflix at the minimum and watch tv or movies with that. Even with Netflix added, we still save half the cost of our cable.
Then, we cut some of our landline services. Again, we need to keep it because it often works after hurricanes when cells are spotty or you can't charge up your phone. Hubby was able to call us from our landline after Ike when we couldn't get his cell phone. But, we had not looked over the cost of all the stuff on it. And, the cost on their online site was cheaper than what we were being charged. Between these two bills alone, we were able to save some money. So, I am looking elsewhere in the budget.
Funny thing was the expanded cable was cut off after I left to visit one of the kids. Hubby was actually watching a sports event when it went off. The guys at work found out and were jokingly taking up a collection for him. They'd already collected five dollars in jars before he put a stop to it.
I still haven't replaced my dishwasher or dryer. I still wash dishes by hand and hang my clothes. My electric bill has gone down some and so has the water bill. We don't eat out anymore except for Hubby's lunches with co-workers. He works such long hours during these tough times trying to keep the plants open that I don't begrudge him that break. Besides, I can tease him about spending more on them (they trade off paying) than he does on me each month. We swap books or buy bargains. We buy very little in clothes. We work on the house (STILL have hurricane Rita damage--sheesh) or visit the kids. DD has taken charge of her budget and her keeping track and budgeting better has saved us money. She's talking about getting a job while she finishes school. DS and family have started making their own cutbacks. We're learning from each other and simplifying life again.
Decluttering more stuff from the attic and long forgotten places helps me realize just what I do have to work with. Easter was relatively frugal. We did buy some eggs to fill with on sale candy for Grandbaby and reused baskets from years ago. DD brought finger paint and sponge brushes and I found an old box of patterns that had survived the water attack from Rita. We even dug up old construction paper and glue sticks and had fun! We splurged on a little sand box, but combine that with some sand, a bucket and shovel, and a bunch of little cars and dinosaurs from the attic and a few sticks and we had a ball. Cheap fun!
We've set targets to lower our expenses to a lower percentage of our take home pay. The rest goes to debt repayment. We've paid off over 15,000 dollars in the first quarter of this year. We're trying to balance a mounting dental bill for Hubby, college and wedding expenses for DD, and repairs to the house. I think all in all we're as anxious as everyone about the economy and the problems in our area, but we're enjoying life's little moments a whole lot more. Taking things a baby step at a time.....
Can cars get flu? The truck went into the shop a couple of weeks ago to get fixed up. Cost 270 dollars. Not too bad. Three days later, DD's car died an hour after she made it home to be in a wedding. Pretty amazing that she made it home and then poof. Grateful, we took it to the shop, and she took my car back to school. Cost of repair was almost 1500 dollars, although the guy felt sorry for us and decided to throw in a bunch of free labor for going ahead and also replacing the spark plugs. Now, Hubby wants to put the truck back into the shop to finish other work needed. Estimated cost 575 dollars. And, my car's air conditioner fan is making a funny noise. And, this last weekend we found out that DS's door latches don't work. He is still using one of our cars. All in all, it's pretty good since all our cars have 100,000 miles or thereabouts. Oh, and we also replaced the windshield on DD's car for the third time. They gave us a discount since that is the only car we have to bring in every couple of years to replace the windshield. My auto repair fund total is usually 1,000 dollars. Kind of decimating that right now. I'm just grateful I have some of the money I need. And, grateful that it didn't all go crazy during hurricane season. That would have been really stressful.
The windstorm insurance guy came around and took a look at our roof. I had told them we hadn't initiated any insurance stuff. We'd been very blessed during this one. He came anyway to just check it out and gave us a thumbs up on the roof. Then, he said we'd get a displacement check for the evacuation. That money will go into a fund for next year's evacuation. I know, sounds pessimistic, but four storms in three years kind of makes you think that way. I just want to be prepared. The money will go toward kenneling the pets.
We've paid off two more credit cards. Just took a deep breath and transferred money out of our savings and paid them off. Didn't hurt as bad as I thought it would. Actually felt pretty good. Wish it had been the last two. We're working on it.
I haven't been online in awhile. Been on ladders scrapping off wallpaper and priming and painting rooms. At the rate I'm going, it will be a very long process. But, we are trying to stay on budget. We've been trying to not go overboard and really think about everything we are doing. And, so far, labor is free. I just can't do plumbing or wiring. With the tremendous damage around here, I probably won't be able to find a plumber or an electrician for years. I couldn't even get on a list for an electrician for a long time after Rita. Meanwhile, I can get a lot of painting and stuff done for very little cost plus a little elbow grease.
We've contacted the parental units and had a talk about Christmas. We Old Folk decided to get small remembrance gifts within a limited budget amount and give the majority of Christmas to the Young Folk. Not only are the parental units facing harder times because of the economic stuff, but the Young Folk need more because of budget cuts in their jobs and so forth. We've been doing this within the sibling ranks for a few years, and, boy, do things get creative sometimes. This will be fun. And, help the Young Folk at the same time. Win/win situation.
I'm going to have to do a lot of reading to catch up. Hope all are well!
My Hubby that is. That song was sure a long time ago.
During Hurricane Ike, I worried a bit about elderly neighbor. I was sure that her son would take her out, and I hoped she would go. I also pondered how to reverse the roles she has assigned to DD and me. There is an early, early entry on Big Jan, Little Jan that is more explanatory, but the gist is that she has switched identities between my DD and me. I am now my DD, and she is me. I oftened wondered who she thought Hubby was. Especially since I call him by his first name when talking to her. Was he my dad now?
After Ike, she had returned before me. Hubby was already here, and she called to ask for help one day. Her windows were still boarded up so she couldn't see outside, and also her outside back lights were damaged. She couldn't tell if it was safe to take out her garbage. So, Hubby went over and took her garbage out for her and offered to remove the boards on the windows. She didn't have him remove the boards, and her son came yesterday and did that for her. While Hubby and I were talking about being glad she could now see outside, he told me that he is now my brother. She caught him off guard with the question while he was over there taking out the garbage. He just agreed with it. So, now we are brother and sister living in the same house and our mother is not at home right now. We'll just have to be very careful of being too affectionate in the driveway. That would be a mighty strange brother/sister relationship to her. I can't wait to tell DD she has a son, also....
or hurrication as someone called it. I evacuated August 30, the day before mandatory evacs for Gustav. Headed out to DD's with truck and boxes of paperwork and the dogs. I'd found a kennel there that would take the munchins. Hubby stayed behind to finish boarding the house and to shut down the plant. He'd bring out the kitty. Fortunately for us, but unfortunately for others, Gustav went elsewhere. Meanwhile, Ike was brewing and all indications at that time was sending it to Florida or the East Coast. Well, we've been here before. Hubby said to just stay put because it is difficult to actually tell where those things are headed when they are brewing up. They tend to have a mind of their own until well established, and even then, they can move all over the place. We had a feeling of deja vu when they said middle of Texas coast. Same scenario for Rita. We watched as it crept up the coast closer and closer to our area. I bought more hurricane supplies for DD's, and DS and family evacuated to DD's since the eye was going over their new digs. They didn't want to take a chance with the baby. The scary part was finding out about the storm surge the night before. I then found out that Hubby was ill and having a hard time getting out. All of us at one point was going to head into the storm area to retrieve him. I was so scared. He finally was able to leave about the time the winds were picking up on Friday. When the doorbell rang a couple of hours later, he was standing in the doorway with the cat carrier. I practically knocked him down in the driveway because I was so glad to see him. We dropped off Kitty at the kennel and "hunkered down." We had six people, a baby, and a DD's little doggie in a two bedroom cottage. The next morning, the power went out, but since DD is in a little gully, the winds went over us. A day or so later, Hubby took the truck because of the water and headed home as a first responder. Cells were sketchy, but he was able to tell me he arrived safely. The plant had accommodations, food, gas, and medical help for the twenty or so that remained inside. The weather cooled off twenty degrees cooler than after Rita, so we were able to open windows and hang on for the few days power was out. DS and family went home after about a week when their power was restored. Our power at home was restored after a week, also, which is amazing considering almost 100 percent of the customers in our area were out of power. Our home only lost one shutter. But, in the towns all around us there is enormous damage. The flood surge decimated whole communities. A town to the east of us only has 14 houses without flood waters. Friends and co-workers have lost so much.
I returned the day before yesterday since my doc called and wanted to get me in for my meds appointment. I brought the car back this time and only had room for half the stuff and Kitty. I'll have to go back for the doggies. Kitty has stuck to me like glue since she was without us for over a week. The doc's office was running on a generator, and there was a lot of tree damage around his area. Blue roofs have returned. I saw dozens and dozens of electrical workers all along the route and in the towns. They are from everywhere. I saw signs on their trucks ecouraging Texas and even one convoy from New Jersey flying the Texas flag. I almost wept. I wish we could thank each person who has come into the area to help including all the rescue people, the volunteers giving out food, the firefighters from other areas ripping out the damage from fellow fireperson's homes and the police that help with all the other issues. Traffic is crazy without working lights. Tree people are here lifting trees off houses. Truckers brought in trucks full of supplies donated by others. I know that our area does this often for others, but seeing it for yourself is so touching. I saw a makeshift sign on the highway that thanked some of the people helping. I wish they knew how much we appreciate it. For the few stories of complaining and all, there are thousands of grateful people.
I haven't begun to figure out the finances. I called before Ike to get 30 day waivers from those who would give it to me. Today, I'll go and retrieve the mail and start piecing together the bills and stuff. I know I spent on extra food and things we used for the storm since my supplies were here sustaining Hubby. But, now we can use things up and move on. I do need to pay the kennel which will run close to a thousand when all is said and done. They've been wonderful. Taking the pets out and playing ball with them, and little doggie got to see her first cow. According to them, she went nuts. I am starting a kennel fund for next year's season. That seems to be our biggest expense in all this.
All in all, it is surreal to me because we weathered it well. I am hoping to help out with what we can for those who took such a hit. I haven't been reading the blogs since I spent so much time playing with the grandbaby or watching the news online when I could get power. We swapped melting ice cream with a neighbor for his extra screens so DD's house could be opened up to the air. We laughed some. Played cards by candlelight. Took cold showers. Prayed for those back home. I'm looking forward to catching up on the blogs. Unpacking all the stuff we put away. Perhaps we'll find some ways to help out there. The people are strong here. They'll make it back. But, right now, they are hurting and sad. It affected more than the vacation homes on the beach. Whole communities that had never flooded have been badly damaged. But, they will make it. We'll all be there to help them where we can. I look forward to seeing what everyone has been up to on here. A special thanks to Boomeyers who sent me some encouraging emails. I know all of you were thinking of us. For those of you who were also affected, I hope things are okay. I missed you guys.
Now, on to planning for the holidays. Wow.....
We had a storm this morning and the power flickered on and off once. Then, the sun came out; and a little while later, the power went off and stayed off. Huh? I waited awhile, but nothing happened. I couldn't check on anything about what was going on. I finally used my cell phone to call Hubby who had happened to go to work on his day off to catch up on some things. He looked it up online and found out that a good chunk of town was out. So, I opened up a couple of windows and did things like dishes (water is heated by gas) and waited it out. It clouded up again and misted a bit so that helped some. But, the humidity finally got the better of me. It was so sticky. I finally got the battery fan out of the hurricane supplies and set it up. I sat by the window and read for awhile. But, even my hands got really wet holding the book pages. I kept trying to think positive. I was saving a few hours of electricity. Just when I got to the point where I was about to drive around and find not a cool spot, but a DRY spot, the power came back on. All in all, about three hours out. I still have no idea what happened or why we lost power at all. We did have some "tropical funnel clouds" during the storm. They had just told us that they usually don't make it to the ground, but it is pretty daunting to see them popping in and out of clouds. Maybe one of those things hit something after all. And, the power shutdown cascaded down in several places. There are a couple of things I decided during this time. Electricity is a gift. I need a backyard overhang or roof over a section of yard so I can sit outside in times like these and still be out of the little mistylike stuff we got during that time. My fan is too small. And, I need to figure out a way to get some cross breeze going when we lose power again. Or, I just need to learn to deal with humidity. Later, I went to the post office to get my mail and a couple of other places to pay a bill or two. I had to sit awhile in the car because it was later on Friday than I usually go. I turned off the car to save gas, and opened a window. After the sticky afternoon at home, it was easier than usual. Maybe I'd gotten used to it a little more than I thought. I did think of something else. I hadn't heard the neighborhood this quiet since Hurricane Rita. No air conditioners were running. You could hear doors open and shut on the neighbors' houses. It was kinda peaceful and eerie at the same time. Reminded me of when I grew up in the country. Except for the humidity....
RED is the color I saw when I got a letter informing me my credit card interest was going variable instead of fixed. At least that was the one I was paying off.
Green is the color of my phone, too. My new plan is almost $15 less per month and gives me more for the bucks I do spend.
Silver and copper are the colors of the coins I collect almost every day. I never realized how many coins are on the ground! I almost have enough to roll another batch.
Blue is the color of my favorite mug. The pottery type one that DD brought me back from a trip. I make my own drinks for pennies. Right now, I am enjoying a nice cup of tea.
Orange is the color of our kitty. She requires little maintenance, but gives richly in return. Purrs, games, and hair all over my computer.
Yellow is the light I let in every day and leave all the lights off. I don't think I use lights much at all during the day. I love the big windows...except during hurricane season. Then, they are a pain. We're going to try a new approach to covering them this year.
White is the color of the primer and paint that I'll be seeing way too much of in the next couple of months. I am repainting my kitchen cabinets myself. This could take awhile, but will save money.
Brown is the color of the earth. I have been working on my "green" thumb this year and seeing how many plants I can keep alive. I want to try to plant a vegetable or two next year. I haven't been brave enough to try the fall planting season here. I still collect water from my shower to water the outside plants. Not only does it save me money (my water bill was down a few bucks more again), but it reminds me to water them each day to get rid of the container of water.
Brown is also the color of the teddy bear that DD made years ago that sits and watches over me while I type. Makes me smile.
Pink and purple are the colors that remind me of my grandbaby. She's a cutie!
Black is the color of my bottom line in the future. I am determined that my finances will soon go from red to black.....
I forgot in my last entry to answer you! We fared great during the storm. We got a bunch of wind, but we had a stronger thunderstorm a couple of days before that. I understand about the disparity in the rain. DS and family moved northwest of us and got pounded all afternoon. We worried more about DIL traveling home thirty minutes from her workplace that we did about the weather here. It was wonderfully cool though. But, the season for us is just starting to ramp up. We've had three storms in four years here. At least, two of them were fairly small. I sure hope that we all get a breather for a couple of years. Stay safe, Suz.
A casualty of the storm was our baby robin. We found him in the bushes after the thunderstorm on the weekend before the bigger event. His mama was sitting on a branch with something in her mouth for him. We worried about the neighborhood cats, and we got paper towels so we wouldn't leave a scent, and Hubby chased him around until he caught him and put him back in the tree branches. We knew he'd be back down after the tropical system. We could hear him cheeping and mama calling after the storm. Back in the bushes again. We waited too late. One of the cats got him. What upset us was it didn't eat him right away. Just killed him and left him. I miss the songs they sang. I don't think we get too many robins here. Someone said that it gets too hot. We had a cooler spring so maybe that was why they were here. I think mama robin was the one who pooped on Grandma. We usually have bluejays in that tree. They don't poop on you, they dive at you. I truly enjoyed the music this spring. Thank you, mama robin. So sorry about little one....
Been slowly painting the wainscotting in the dining/kitchen area. Which is a big area. And, the stuff has lots of little grooves. This is taking awhile. I am getting at least two sections done at a time. It is taking primer and two coats of paint, but it will be fresh and clean when finished. I'm about halfway done. I forgot to use my Lowe's gift card when I bought the paint. I'll have to use it on the paint for the upper part of the room. I know it would have been smarter to start at the top, but the wainscotting was unfinished and needed to be at least primed before removing the upper wallpaper, priming and painting the walls. And, I just needed to feel like I got something finished. I have plenty of plastic sheeting somewhere for protecting the wainscotting from my mistakes while painting the wall.
We spent a lot of money Sunday on replenishing hurricane supplies that got used for one reason or another. But, it was still much less than it could have been.
Yesterday, I went out to my car to get out some books I bought at the library sale this weekend. And, the locks wouldn't work. I used the key and then tried the locks from the inside. Nothing. And, a funny clicking sound that the car had made before when the cable to the starter went out. Oh dear. Not during the peak weeks of the hurricane season. Hubby took a look and went off to the store to get a battery. While replacing it, he discovered it was the other cable that had broken. It wouldn't connect well to the battery. Since the battery I had was almost three years old, we decided to keep the new one and off to the store he went to buy replacement parts for the cable. I'm so glad this was one repair that he could do himself. The other one had to be done at the shop because it was buried under so much stuff. I am grateful that I've learned here to have an auto repair fund. It took care of battery and parts. And, a trip to the ice cream shop took care of Hubby working in the heat to fix my car so I won't panic.
I did give Hubby a choice of where he'd like to go to get ice cream. I have a hard time paying almost five dollars for a thing of ice cream for myself. I tried to get a lower cost yogurt, but they were out. And, I've had too much sugar recently anyway. So, I mooched a little of his ice cream. Well, he DID get two spoons....
We're facing another possibility of a tropical system clobbering our area with rain and wind. I read the local news that a lot of people are out getting ready. One mentioned that someone ahead of them spent 500 at the store. I'm not being smug, just grateful. Since being on this site, I don't have to make that whopping all at once purchase. You guys have taught me to take it a little at a time and work it into the budget. Just look at what you did!
We finally made it to DS and family's new digs this past weekend. We could go because most things were done. If it was going to be a whopper or if we'd cut it close getting home, we wouldn't have gone. Getting gassed back up and readying the house if too close would have been a nightmare. So, we debated and decided we could safely do both within the time frame. After our return on Sunday, we gassed up and got the remaining medicines refilled. Bought a new small radio and a loaf of bread. Oh yeah, and more toilet paper. Hubby is having a long day at work readying there and has promised to ride it out with me at home. I am not really afraid of this one, but I am leery of trying to board a broken window by myself in the wind. Anything larger and we board up in advance. No need to take any chances.
So, I have the eerie situation of a normal day. I'm finishing laundry from the weekend and watching the weather. Other than preparing for damage or a power outage. Or putting away some papers I've gotten out. This is just plain weird.
My Hubby thanks you.....
The Kitty no longer attacks my arm while I'm on the computer or holding a cup of something. She's got a new game. She laid low for a long time, and then started attacking the bed while I'm making it up. She lands right in the middle of the bed. Poised for attack. I wonder if that is a comment on my bed making skills. But, she's caught me offguard a couple of times lately and made me jump. I can just imagine her cracking up.
I may be jumping the gun here, but I'm going to post a gain of 700 dollars on my challenge total. I know that, technically, the month isn't over. We switched to a regular monthly cycle here since I'm paying things as they come in. That way, we don't have things that migrate from one month to the other just because they are at the end of the month. Almost all of the challenge money went to additional debt payment. Last month was such a mess budgetwise with so much going on that I didn't even try to see what the final results were. I could go back and try to finish reconstructing it all, but most of it is still packed for evacuation. I think I'll just forget it and move on.
I knocked the lever on the bottom of my office chair on a box while packing files and dropped myself rather suddenly. Recently, the Kitty has been rubbing her head a lot against that lever. She sort of rocks the chair, but I can't help but wonder what she is really up to......
I paid off a store credit card this weekend, so I have another card to close. Also, I have set a goal on the sidebar to put an extra 500 dollars a month towards repayment of debt. This month, we were able to meet that goal. I guess not going to visit the kids had a silver lining. The gas and food monies contributed to that goal. Another goal I had was to get the card we are targeting below 2000. I have been reading of others setting goals and decided to give it a try. I need to set some for August. Wow, this year is moving on.
Why do I get the dirty jobs? The kitty finally quit throwing up. We got rid of her food thinking something went bad in it. And, she quit throwing up. That was a relief. I thought another trip to the vet was coming. Then, Older Dog threw up one night. Got rid of a box of treats that might have been the culprit. We went back to our old treats and no more problems. Guess who spent their time cleaning it all up? Hubby did pass me the towels.
It was a short weekend as Hubby had to work on Saturday when the plant had a malfunction of sorts. I spent the time repainting the inside doorbell box that had never been painted. Don't know why I put off these little projects forever. Hubby did have time to help solidify our paint choices for the rest of the inside of the house. The outside will hopefully get painted this fall. I'm sure our neighbors will throw a party when we get it done.
I've got a bunch of birthday stuff to mail off to various family members. I need to just sit down and get it done. I usually try to get things like that sent ahead of time, but most of the recipients were on vacation recently. I didn't want their gifts to be sitting on their doorsteps until they got back. But, now, the putting it off syndrome has kicked in. I need to work on at least one today.
Eating out is getting ridiculous. We were running a couple of errands yesterday, and I got hungry before we were finished. I usually bring a high protein bar in my purse and have a water with me. I thought we'd just sit down and have a small sandwich or something and chill for a bit. Two little sandwiches and a drink came to 10 dollars. Way too much. Won't be suggesting that again. I'd rather have put that on the debt and eaten peanut butter......
They just sent me an email that the big library that has the book sale I go to in the spring is having another sale this fall. I'm in a dilemna. First, I only budget for the spring one. Second, I really need to continue culling out books. The good thing is that I like to browse and find hardbacks for Dad. They are only a dollar, and since his diagnosis with macular degeneration, I've tried to find inexpensive hardbacks to send to him for reading. He really loves to read. And, the hardbacks are easier because of the larger pages and print. I know I probably won't be able to resist going. At least the first day. I'll use anything for an excuse to buy books, won't I?
Trying to get all the bills in a pay as they come in situation means that I'm paying some of them twice this month. It will make a mess of my budget sheet, but it will all work out by next month.
The medical stuff continues. DD is going to the dentist today for a mouthguard. If this works, then the medical issues should slow down some. The only other thing that we have to adjust to then would be the extra doc visits we both have to make for the ADD meds. And, I have to travel to the next town to get my prescription from the receptionist once a month. Seems that they can only write it for a month at a time. Unless, I go to three month mail order, but the insurance says it will only send one month at a time and you have to order each month. But this saves you one co-pay every three months. Since this med is not generic, then that would save almost 150 a year plus gasoline. However, I am a bit concerned about medicine being in transit and us being on the road out of town for a hurricane and gone for three weeks again. It would be a mess. I think I'll wait til our season subsides a little around October. Try for the three months through the end of the year. Meanwhile, I still have to go every three months now instead of every six months to see the doc. Additional co-pays. It is worth it. And, I'll just have to make a day of it when I go. Take some books to the used bookstore or something.
I'm back to buying groceries again since I've almost cleared out everything from the freezer. I found some ground turkey in there that I'm going to make into something today. But, I think our grocery budget will be going up a bit. We've been cutting down on portions, too. I need to lose ten pounds, and Hubby needs to lost twenty. It is so frustrating that he loses weight so easily. Sigh.
I've pulled the credit card files that I am targeting back out of the evacuation box. I'm not going to let myself off the hook. I need to keep on working on them.
If nothing else, getting rid of all the debt should make my box a whole lot lighter. Not to mention my stress load....
For someone in the weather information community to say "Hello, Dolly." Sure enough, one of them couldn't resist and has already written it about the new storm. We're still in watch mode, but I think we'll be okay for this one. We might get some needed rain here as it spreads out this week. We didn't even mow this weekend because our yard is getting quite crispy.
Hubby is going slightly stir crazy. Most of the preparations didn't involve him too much except to help make decisions and move things for me if needed. He did make a run to the store and then helped with the other errands. He had already taken care of getting gas and putting air in the spare tires. But, today, he's going nuts.
He asked me if he could move the desktop computer off my desk to his office desk. I had wanted to do this for about a month now, but hesitated to add anything to his desk. He is so neat. Hardly anything is on his desk. I didn't want to put anything there. He asked to move it in there so he could use it for games and such. His work laptop is for just that. He always has to wait until I'm not working on anything at my desk. I practically threw it at him. I was so very glad to get rid of the stuff on top, the thingy under the desk, and all those darn cords! We did invest in a smaller monitor a little while ago, and that helped. But, the rest of the computer is almost a decade old. And rather big. DS upgraded it a bunch when he had it, so it was still fairly usable. It just took up so much room. I spent a while happily untangling cords and getting them to him to hook everything back up. I think cords are like hangers. They seems to multiply and grow longer and more tangled the longer you have them. I'm now inspired to clear off the rest of the junk on my desk and make it easier to use. There has been a couple of silver linings to this preparation mode we've been in. Decluttering pens and pencils may not make a big dent, but decluttering is decluttering.
I think I will start on a home project this next week. I need to prime and paint the wainscotting in the kitchen/dining area. This will also make me finish decluttering the stuff I've gotten out to go through. And, I happen to have a gift card from the home improvement store to get the paint. I wanted to work on some decluttering in the attic this week, but it is so very hot. I might bring things down one at a time and in the evening hours. This decluttering is getting addicting....
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