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This and That

September 9th, 2019 at 10:52 am

Life has been so busy lately, and I have not had the chance to write to read all of your blogs.

Work things are going fine - it's getting really really busy both at my regular job as the summer comes to an end, as well as at my SE job. I turned away a client today because I have no more room till October for new people. I think I'll be able to net $3000 in my SE job this month after taxes and expenses. This is my last month working full time at my regular job. So, I think September will be my largest income for a few months while I build up more clients in the SE job.

I got a thingy in the mail for Key Bank - $400 to open a checking account. Needs a $500 deposit within the first 60 days, and no other requirements as far as I can tell. It does have an account maintenance fee, but that can be waived by maintaining a $500 balance. I'm thinking I might apply for that, and then close it after 6 months. Closing it sooner than that earns an early termination penalty.

I applied for the Equifax Settlement since my data was compromised. I also am glad I am systematic about things because I have the receipts and things from when I froze my credit immediately after.

I temporarily unfroze my credit at the beginning of 2019 when I started to look for houses. I had them all set to freeze again on 10/1/2019, so my goal for this month is to run all three reports and to check to see if there has been any unusual activity before they all get frozen again.

It has been cool and rainy here this past week. This means that some of my plants are starting to get moldy. I took out some plants this weekend. My tomatoes still have plenty of green tomatoes, but I am out there each morning harvesting any that are ripening. I took out my peas, and the sweetmeat squash that gave me ZERO squashes, and dug that garden bed over. I also added a bunch of dry leaves and half my compost barrel into it and mixed it all in. My harms hurt after that! But, it is ready for the winter. The leaves will finish composting, and then in the spring, I will add some composted chicken or steer manure to it, and it will be ready for another season. I have two other garden beds, and once I have taken the tomatoes, peppers, beans, and lettuce out, I will similarly prepare them for winter. I think I might plant some kale and cauliflower for winter crops in one of those beds.

Eating has been good off-and-on. I am eating mostly low-carb although there certainly have been days when I don't. Also, while I am eating low-carb, I don't think it's very low-calorie. :-( More fine-tuning to happen. But, my blood glucose numbers are better than they were last month. I also have been doing some physical activity most days this month, and plan to keep doing that. Today is square dancing (every Monday for 1.25 hours)

I also restarted doing my daily self-care practice. I don't know why I ever stop doing it, because I do get out of the habit every so often. Basically, I create a monthly calendar with one item of self-care each day. The goal is to complete the activity for the day no matter what. Some things I have already done this month are: go for a walk by the river, gave myself a pedicure, a face mask, had coffee with a friend, had brunch with another friend, wrote in my journal. Today's was to not be on my phone while I was on the bus. I looked out of the window and did some deep breathing instead. It was wonderful.

I'm counting days to this weekend when I go away on my mini-vacation. I have been waiting for a couple of months for this break. Since I work on Saturdays for my SE job, on the occasions when I get a 2-day weekend, I am ecstatic!

Off to catch up on other blogs now...

Friday Updates

August 16th, 2019 at 02:13 pm

I don't really have any major updates. Just thought I would list a few things:

1. Bought a birthday gift for my brother-in-law, and used the $70 gift balance I got from applying for the Amazon Prime card. So, the total came down to $37.14. Nice savings.

2. I got a check from a class action settlement I had joined about 2 years ago. It was a measly $4. But it's something. Maybe that will pay for a coffee someday. Deposited it. I love mobile check deposits. Why didn't they invent that years ago??

3. Listed my old car on FB Marketplace (free) and on Craigslist ($5). KBB said $987, and I listed it for $950 OBO. Already got one interested party contact me via. Craigslist.

4. I purchased a bed online, and did not opt for the "expert assembly", thus saving $85. I have a friend coming over today, and we both will put it together. I usually am good at putting together furniture on my own, but this is large enough where I could use an extra pair of hands. I'll make dinner and offer some of my garden produce as a thank you.

5. This was my busiest week in my SE job. Next week will be packed as well. I have decided to not take on any new clients for the next month. I have mixed feelings about this. I am happy because people keep wanting to hire me, so I feel more and more confident about leaving my full-time job. I am anxious because I go down to 0.8 FTE in October, and am putting some pressure on myself to fill up those slots before it's even the end of August! Also, I am still really trying to get the hang of this variable income thing and appear to be tending towards overloading myself whenever possible to offset the slow weeks. I know it will all work out in the end. Being able to say no to additional clients feels like a privilege to have, and is a milestone in my new business.

6. Picking up my new car today. I'll charge the 1045.24 in repairs to my credit card so I can get the points, and then pay it off before the next billing cycle. Can't wait to drive in it later this afternoon.

7. My tomatoes and beans are going nuts. My counter is getting fuller and fuller with produce, and I am going to spend some time this weekend processing and freezing or maybe canning some of it. The zucchini, squash, and snap peas are slowing down. My sweetmeat squash looks like it won't yield anything. I'm also going to plant kale and cauliflower this weekend for winter crops. I also have a low-bush blueberry that I want to transplant into a large pot. What's the best time to transplant blueberries? Anyone know?

Have a lovely weekend.

Updates

August 9th, 2019 at 10:26 am

Now that my car was temporarily fixed, and buying a new car has been postponed, my EF stands at $5,419.16. My goal for the year was $6K which I will definitely hit. Maybe I can aim for $10K in EF by the end of the year. We'll see if that happens...

My goal before I quit my job is to have a new-to-me car, and $10K in EF. I only need to achieve that by April of next year, so I have time.
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I'm starting to harvest tomatoes. Lots of Genuwines, one Early Girl (not so early after all), and lots of cherry and grape tomatoes. I have plenty of zucchini still. I have harvested 73 this year - and have more on the way. Also started to harvest some beans and chilli peppers. And two orange bell peppers.

My garden veggie wish list for next year is:
1 zucchini
1 patty pan squash
1 yellow squash
1 row of Snap Peas
2 Genuwine Tomatoes
1 other slicing tomato, variety TBD
3-4 bell peppers of varying colors
1 Thai pepper
1 Cayenne pepper
1 other hot pepper, variety TBD
2 eggplants
1 row of beans
2-3 varieties of lettuce

I will also be growing all the herbs that I am growing this year (thyme, basil, Thai basil, oregano, mint, stevia). I might add marjoram to that mix as well.

Next year, my 7 raspberry canes will also fruit. As will both my blueberries (only one fruited this year)

What I can't finish eating, I will can or freeze for use over the winter months.

If you know of other easy to grow veggies, let me know.
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I got 3 new clients in my SE job this week. And one new person starting next week. That will make next week my busiest week since I started the SE job. Next week, I will be working 56 hours between my full-time job and SE job. I think I will feel like a nut at the end of it. I can't wait to go part-time in October so that I can have some more work-life balance. But, this is a good problem to have, and I am grateful.
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The massage membership that I chose to pay for has really been paying off. It's $120 a month, and $20 in tips for two massages per month. I already notice a marked improvement in my posture.

I am also doing some yoga and gentle stretching on a few days a week to help release my tension and pain. The funny thing is that I don't actually realize that I am in pain until I am on the massage table and the therapist is easing my pain.
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I have been bringing lunches every day most weeks and this helps in saving money. I had lunch planned with a colleague today, and we were going to go out to lunch, but he is out sick and I didn't bring anything to eat with me. So, I might end up buying a lunch today. I don't mind spending money on myself when I am out with friends, so I wonder why I have so much resistance to the idea of spending money on lunching on my own.
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I finally bought a new bed and some new bath mats. I bought the bed online. It has excellent reviews, but is also quite economical - $252.85. It will be delivered by the 20th of next month. This is something I have been putting off for a while. I got rid of my old American-style tall bed when I moved because I wanted to get a lower bed as is usual in my country. My mattress is just on my box-spring right now, and is at the height that I want it to be. When my new bed comes, I will donate the box-spring. Again - I don't know what the resistance is to spending money on myself. I replaced my guest room bed as soon as I moved, but am buying my own bed (which is used significantly more) only now - 4 months after I moved.

Car and Other Updates

August 3rd, 2019 at 11:52 am

Well, the mechanic replaced the fuel filter and the spark plugs. Cost me $290.xx which I thought was very reasonable. I found this mechanic on Google and just went based off the reviews - a small local business. The people were friendly and wonderful too. So, hopefully this will be my regular place.

Anyway - the car runs better now. It goes up inclines fine and does not have as much trouble speeding up after stopping. There still is a slight lag, but nowhere near what it was before. I hope this will make the car last another 6 months or so. My plan is to purchase a new car then. This is a really old 1994 Honda Accord. 275,000 miles on it. I don't take it out of town usually. I had been thinking of replacing my car anyway. It's about time I did so. I have a hard time with change. And, since I know so little about cars, I feel like I am particularly gullible and will end up buying a lemon. I will ask some friends to go car shop with me.

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Paid off the cruise balance from budget savings. So, I didn't have to dip intro my travel fund for that. Yay! Not so with the ticket to Florida where we embark on the cruise. It cost me $692.xx. GRR!!!

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Harvested my very first tomato of the year. The variety is "Genuwine" and it is very pretty. The plant is laden with tomatoes, so I will have plenty more soon. And some of my red plum tomatoes and yellow cherry tomatoes are starting to ripen as well. As is my orange bell pepper.

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I can't wait for the end of the year when I will be done with my consumer debt altogether.

Tight Budget

July 23rd, 2019 at 04:59 pm

I talked with my supervisor about going part-time, and it went well. The plan is to go to 0.8 FTE starting in October, and then 0.6 FTE in January. And then to quit altogether in April. Simultaneously I will be increasing hours in my SE job.

I sat down and went over my budget with very conservative estimates of how much I can make each month. I generally take home about $200-$1000 more than I estimate from my SE job. Underestimating has been helping thus far.

Anyway, with the conservative estimates, I can accomplish the following:

1. Pay off my last credit card (another $9400 to go)
2. Pay off the cruise (another $120 to go)
3. Purchase ticket to go to Florida for the cruise (~$700)
4. Save $6K in EF
5. Keep making ~$235 extra each month towards mortgage
6. Purchase some furniture for the house (new bed and couch, and a few end tables) ~$1800
7. $1500 for the rest of the year for gifts, Christmas, birthdays, baby showers, etc.

If I do all those things, then I will be living paycheck to paycheck, but won't go into debt. Here are the things that I wanted to do, but won't be able to:

1. Purchase a new to me car (~$6K)
2. Bring up EF to $10K (another $4k to go after Dec)
3. Install a ductless heat pump (~$6k)

Here is my plan:

1. Put any extra income over what I estimate towards a car fund currently at $0
2. Check into the local utility board's incentives for ductless heat. The last time I checked, they had a $500 rebate as well as 5 year interest free financing for ductless heat pumps. I could take out an interest free loan and then once I have purchased a car and got 10K in EF, pay off the loan in the next 3-4 months after that. I don't like to go into debt again, but 0% interest is something that I can deal with. And I really don't want to put off installing the heat pump until next year.

I've lived paycheck to paycheck before, and can do it again. The difference is that this time it will be by choice whereas before it was because I needed to pay off debt and did not have much of a choice. This feels infinitely better.

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Garden updates:
1. Squash are still producing like nuts.
2. I've been harvesting Sugar Snap Peas daily for the past week
3. Tomatoes are plentiful, but all unripe. I noticed the start of some blossom end rot on some, but will treat them with some calcium tomorrow, so hopefully that will take care of it.
4. Two fruit on my sweetmeat squash have fertilized, so I will have at least two.
5. I've had an explosion of bell peppers on my orange bell pepper plant, all babies except for two that will be ready any day now.
6. Thai pepper has tons of green peppers on
7. My beans finally have flowers. I hope I will get some beans off them before the season is out.
8. I got a couple handfuls of blueberries of my small blueberry bush
9. Lettuce and herbs are doing great, and I am using them regularly.
10. I'm getting ready to sow second rounds of beets and lettuce, and also kale and maybe some leeks.

Updates

July 15th, 2019 at 10:00 am

I went on vacation and then things got busy and in the way of blogging.

Overall, I am doing well. Keeping under budget, and making good financial decisions overall.

I'm on track to pay off my last remaining credit card (currently at 0% APR) by December

Also on track to have EF at $6000 by the end of the year.

I am also making small extra payments towards the mortgage. I won't start making larger principal payments until mid-next year.

The cruise is nearly paid off just from savings from my monthly budget. I paid $400 towards it this month, which leaves a balance of $119.36 which I am sure I will be able to save from next month's projected budget. Doing this feels like a challenge of sorts - and makes me more motivated to find ways to save. This leaves extra money from my travel fund to put towards my airline ticket to Florida from where the cruise departs.

The garden is doing well. My squashes are still doing wonderfully well. I've harvested 45 zucchini already. Next year, I think instead of 4 yellow zucchini, I will plant one yellow zucchini, one green zucchini, and one pattypan squash. My snap peas and some tomatoes are also doing great. Two of my tomatoes look stressed and don't have any fruit on them yet. The rest are doing great. My beets succumbed to beet leaf miner. And for some bizarre reason my beans don't have a single flower on them - I have 6 pole beans and not a single flower or fruit. I don't know what is happening. Lettuce and herbs are doing great. I harvested all my radishes. My hot peppers and bell peppers are also doing well. My sweetmeat squash vine has 7 baby fruit on it. I don't know how many of them will actually be viable, but I anticipate getting at least three.

Tomorrow, I am going to talk with my supervisor and let her know that I want to quit my job by March of next year, and work out a transition plan to cut back my hours and train a replacement for my position. I am both nervous and excited. I have not had any new clients in a little while at my SE job, but I have to keep reminding myself that this is summer - and is a slow time. My plan is to have paid off my credit card, have $10K in EF, and another $10K in a global sinking fund, and have a new-to-me car purchased before I leave my current job for full time self-employment.

This and That

June 24th, 2019 at 11:35 am

I am leaving on Friday for a week long vacation to visit my sister and her family. I always seem to have wayyyy too much to do in the days leading up to a vacation. I don't know why! I made a list of the things that I need to do before I leave so that I don't miss anything important.

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I have zucchini coming out of my ears! I planted four yellow zucchini plants, (one turned out to be a hybrid yellow/green), and they are producing really well. I have already harvested 8 zucchini and given away six of those to others. I cooked the other two and they were wonderfully delicious. By the looks of it, it looks like I will be harvesting 1-3 zucchini every day from now on.

I have two small bell peppers on my orange bell pepper plant. The purple bell pepper has no sign of flowers yet. One of my radishes is breaking the top of the soil and they will all be ready to harvest in about 2 weeks tops. The tomatoes and hot peppers have plenty of flowers, but no fruit yet.

I have a couple of friends who will come and water my plants that aren't connected to the automatic timed watering system. They can also harvest the zucchini as they need to be harvested so that I don't come home to 20 monster sized zucchini and a spent plant.

I'm keeping track of how many zucchini I get per plant. I'm calling them 1, 2, 3, and 4. The tally so far is 3-5-0-0. That's because 3 and 4 were transplanted a week after 1 and 2.

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Had a nice potluck on Saturday with friends. We made taco bowls. I provided rice, beans, lentils, chips. The others provided toppings. It was nice. I love my friends.

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I have $700 from my paycheck deposited into an account that I use for household and regular expenses. Utilities, gas, phone, groceries, eating out, and discretionary spending (this month - cosmetics, movie, massage, haircut, eating out, and clothes) come out of this account. I had $100 left over, so I put that towards the balance due for the cruise. New balance is $519.36. I'll do this again the next two months - add any leftovers towards the cruise balance, and then pay the remainder off in September from my travel sinking fund.

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Cashed out credit card rewards points for a $50 Amazon gift card. I love credit card points. I use a credit card for expenses and pay it off each month so I don't accrue interest, but I get points. I don't spend a lot, so I don't get a lot. But, every few months or so, I will get enough to redeem a gift card.

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Next month, I am returning $1300 to my sister. A few years ago, when I was broke and in credit card debt, my sister gave me money - a few hundred here and there on about 4-5 occasions to help me pay back the debt. She said it was not a loan but a gift. She said it was because I had helped her with similar small amounts when she was a student, and this was her paying me back. But, I kept track of what she gave me and intended to return it. It was $2300 in all. I was going to give it all to her because she has a new baby and her expenses have grown. But, she said that she was planning on giving me $1000 as a housewarming gift. So, we agreed that I'd just give her $1300 instead. I'm adding another $200 as a gift for the baby because my sister said she was taking all this money and adding it to the baby's savings account. My sister is the sweetest. I love her and am grateful for her.

June 13th, 2019

June 13th, 2019 at 11:20 am

I am getting a composting tumbler this afternoon. For free. From my local Buy Nothing group. If you haven't heard of this, the Buy Nothing Project (https://buynothingproject.org/) are local groups where you can offer items that you don't want anymore. Prevents things ending up in landfills, and if someone else can use it, then that's great. I have given and received many things on my local group. Most recently, I gave away some DVDs, hangers, some plants, landscaping rocks, curtains. I have received a shredder, plants, a few knick knacks here and there. It's wonderful - I highly recommend it. It's frugal as well as saves time since you don't need to carry the stuff to the dump (like my rocks or plants), or to a donation center. The person you are giving it away to will come and pick up. I have a rubbish bin composter, but as things break down the material gets packed down and it's kind of a pain to aerate it. So, this large tumbler composter will be very very welcome. Online they sell for $90-$150.

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My garden is doing really well. I can't believe how much it has changed since last month. Compared to two months ago, it is unrecognizable. Isn't nature wonderful? I take a few seeds worth under a cent each, give them some soil, some water and sunlight, and they provide me with wonderful food that I would have paid a lot of money for at the store. I will share pictures of my harvest later this year.

I also set up an irrigation system on a timer, so this has been saving me a lot of time in the morning. I still need to water things in containers and one or two areas of my garden manually, but that is infinitely less time consuming than doing the whole garden each morning.

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I got two new clients in my SE job. Just when people start leaving for the summer and I get a gap on my schedule, I got a couple of new folks. I'm still not at full capacity, but I have more hours each week than I had anticipated having over the summer months.

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I went and got the massage that I got through Groupon. The massage therapist was really, really good. I ache in a good way today. Yesterday night and today, I have so much relief from pain that I didn't even know I had before I went in. He has a membership rate of $120 for two 60-min massages/month. The contract is a year long. My sister does something similar with Massage Envy and likes it. I think I am going to go for it. It's $120 more to budget than I had anticipated, but here are the reasons I want to sign up: (1) I can afford it, (2) If yesterday's feeling of relief was any indication, I clearly need it, (3) I am at a sedentary job all day and evening. With my job and the SE job, I work nearly 12-hour sedentary days with tense muscles, (4) Self-care is on my list of things to actively practice, and (5) What is all this money for really unless I spend it on myself? So, I think I am going to do it.

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I got a statement from m y mortgage company showing an escrow shortage. I called them and they said that their estimate of the property taxes was low, so this is the shortage. My property taxes don't actually change till October. But, they said my state does an "escrow analysis" in May each year and this reflects what they were short. I have no idea what all this means. Have any of you come across this? I was under the impression that my payment would only change each year when the property taxes change in October (in my state). I feel a bit helpless knowing next to nothing about mortgages and home purchases.

June 3rd, 2019

June 3rd, 2019 at 10:37 am

I'm back from my weekend. It was so relaxing. I had almost forgotten what it was like to not work 10-12 hour days. I slept in, we played board games, ate good food, had good conversation. I love my friends. One of them was very moody - she tends to be someone who complains a lot anyway, but on this trip it felt like she was particularly grumpy and about 90% of what she talked about was complaints. At the end of the weekend, the other three of us felt more relaxed and rejuvenated, but this friend didn't sleep well the last night and on the morning we left was even more grumpy than at the start of the weekend. I hope that there isn't something bothering her that she feels she cannot talk with us about. I know she's really unhappy at work, but that's been the case for years and this time it felt like there was more than than going on.

I ended up spending $90.08 on top of the accommodation for gas, meals, and a souvenir. I considered going to the resort spa for a massage, but it was $125 for an hour long massage, and I figured I could just wait and get a cheaper massage back in town. My body really aches and I think I need a massage. Maybe Groupon has a good massage deal going on. I'll check. Anyway, I came in at $9.92 under the budgeted amount. Yay me!

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I have my first little yellow zucchini on my "cube of butter" plant. One of my raspberries is looking like it won't make it. I don't know why - the other six are thriving, and they are all in the same location and get the same kind of attention from me.

When I was watering the raspberries yesterday, I saw a mouse! I don't want a mouse infestation. I hate mice and rats and was quite upset. But, I am glad I found it before I have veggies and they destroy them. I didn't catch the one yesterday, but I have ordered a set of traps online, and hope that I can catch any that are around. I wanted to get chickens next year, but I believe that attracts more mice who come for the chicken food. So, I am now rethinking that. Have any of you had mice in the garden? How did you deal with them?

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This weekend was my final weekend of food "recklessness". I have diabetes and last year through diet and exercise, I managed it well enough that my doctor took me off Metformin. However, with the upheaval of moving and traveling early this year, I went completely off the rails and have not even been checking my weight or blood sugar because I want to avoid dealing with how much I might have backslid. Starting today, I hope to get back on track. It's so hard to cut back on carbs, but I have done it before, and I will do it again. This is also for financial reasons - so that I am not spending on junk food, but also so that I don't have to spend money on expensive medical care.

Exciting Updates

May 27th, 2019 at 02:53 pm

I ran my washer and dryer for the first time. I did two loads of laundry. It rained most of the weekend, so I could not hang dry my clothes. They both work beautifully. There is a medium rust spot at the top of the washer, and a friend of mine said you can do something to fix it, so I'm going to do that so that it doesn't get bigger or ruin my clothes. It is so convenient to have a washer and dryer at home.

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I had my friend and her husband over for dinner on Saturday. We had a really good conversation about money and finances. Her husband is really interested in retiring early too. They are both on Dave Ramsey's Baby Step 2 and making good progress. I don't follow Dave Ramsey myself, but do a lot of things like he recommends. Anyway, he recommended a finance book called "Money - Master the Game" by Tony Robbins. I'm thinking of reading it. If any of you have read it, please let me know if you would recommend it too.

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I had so many leftovers, and the following day, I invited another friend over and we made a meal of the leftovers. We then went for a walk around the neighborhood. It had stopped raining and the sun came out briefly, so there were a lot of people about. We passed a house with a container garden outside - at least 30-40 large containers growing well. We stopped and said hello to the couple who were outside. It was a lovely conversation, and they said they typically give away a lot of their produce since they have too much. They asked me to stop by later in the month to get some of their harvest. My own garden is about a month behind theirs. But later in the year, I think we could do a fair amount of produce exchange.

Another funny thing on the walk was a little kid who was about 7-8 years old was biking past us. He stopped to tell us that he had a lot of "killer ants" at work, and that if we stopped by his "workplace" at 10am on Wednesday, he could give us a bunch of them. Kids have such amazing imaginative and inventive inner lives. We got a big chuckle out of it.

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Okay - I saved the most exciting thing for the end. This does involve spending money, but it was a fantastic deal. Last month, I entered a local drawing thing for a free cruise, and was one of the people who won. I got a certificate with a list of what I could opt for. It was with Norwegian Cruise Lines. I knew it would not be completely free - I would have to pay airfare to the port, fees, taxes, and gratuities. Anyway, I called and booked a cruise for my sister and me to go to the Caribbean for her birthday in February. It's a 7 day cruise to the Caribbean, ocean view room. With the taxes, fees, pre-paid gratuities, it was $720 for both of us!!! I went and did a mock-booking on the website for the same option, same cruise, dates, room category, etc. on their website at it was $2536. A savings of $1816!!! I am delighted. It is one of the things that I had planned on doing anyway - take my sister and myself on a cruise as a joint birthday present for her 36th and my 40th birthdays. So, this is a wonderful way to do it.

And the even nicer bit is that she had the same idea because we have talked about a cruise before, and she's booking another cruise for my birthday next year in July for her, her husband, baby and myself to go on a cruise to Alaska! I love my sister. I am grateful that I have a wonderful relationship with her. When I told her I was taking her on a cruise, she burst out laughing and told me she was taking me on one too. We know each other well. Neither of us have ever been on a cruise, and now we will go on two in 2020. It makes me happy each time I think about it. :-)

May 24th, 2019

May 24th, 2019 at 08:45 am

I can't think of what to call this post since it's just little updates, and I don't want to call all my posts "This and That". So, the date it is...

My free washer and dryer arrived. They have a few scuffs on them, but they look great altogether. They're about 5-8 years old, I think. I ran a dummy wash to clean out the barrels and it seems that both of them work. I will do a load of laundry this evening, and then we'll see how they work.

When I purchased my house, I thought it was really weird that the latch on the fence was on the outside rather than the inside. So, anyone could get into the yard from outside, but I couldn't get out from the inside. So, when I extended the fence, I naturally changed this and the latch is now on the inside. Well, last month, I got a letter from the local utility board that the person who came by to read the meter could not get in to read the meter which apparently is located in the back of my fenced in house. So, they estimated based on past use (by previous owner) that my electricity + water + sewage bill was going to be $123.59. I am not going to put the latch back on the outside for anyone to be able to come in. So, I called the utility board, and they said I could call and find out when the next two meter readings are, and just leave the fence unlatched on those days. The meter reader would shut the fence behind him as he left. Yesterday was the first day. When I got back home, the fence was latched, so I assume he came and took the reading and shut it behind him. I think this system will work. I imagine this month's utility bill will be adjusted up or down based on what my actual use was. I won't know until the month following that what my actual bill at this time of the year will typically be.

I'm looking forward to the long weekend. This is the first time in a loooooooong time that I will have a "full weekend". I work on Saturdays at my SE job. On Sundays, I usually am doing chores and cleaning/grocery shopping/meal prepping/cooking. So, often it feels like I don't really have a weekend. On weekends when I do take the Saturday off, it's usually because I am going out of town or something like that, and so often that feels unrestful as well. I do work this Saturday, but will have Sunday and Monday off, and am really looking forward to resting and relaxing in addition to the chores.

I'm having a couple of friends over this Saturday evening for a game night. When we meet, we typically don't do a full dinner, but just have a variety of snacks and appetizers and make a meal out of that while we play. It's a lot of fun.

Other plans over this weekend are to finally fully plant my garden beds, dig up and move the tree hydrangea, plant peonies and a couple of other flowers, get caught up on paperwork for my job, watch a movie, have my best friend over for tea or a walk, and to watch a movie.

This and That

May 19th, 2019 at 07:42 pm

I just did my accounting for the weekend, and I had a relatively frugal weekend. The only spending was on the free-ish plants, lunch with my friend (the leftovers gave me enough for two more meals), grocery shopping, and some shopping for seeds/plants.

I also did accounting for my SE job since some payments posted this morning. If all goes as expected, it looks like I will take home $500 more this month than last month.

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I'm having a friend over for dinner this evening. This is the second time I've hosted someone in my new house, and it makes me happy each time to do so. For three years prior to that, I lived in a dingy apartment with almost no light, and I rarely had people over. Mostly, my friends who had more space were the ones who hosted. Now I want them to come over - I have the space to entertain. I also have another couple of friends coming over this weekend. However, I did not want to cook on a weeknight - I almost considered ordering in. Then, sound fiscal judgement prevailed and I went grocery shopping. Menu for today is fairly simple since it's dinner on a weeknight:
* Cucumber, Carrot, Sesame Salad
* Tofu/Veg Stir-fry w. Rice

My friend is bringing dessert.

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Immediately after I bought my house, I impulse shopped a lot of garden things. One of the things was two hydrangeas. I wanted hydrangea bushes in my front yard, and was at Walmart and saw bareroot pink hydrangeas. $5.97 each. I bought two. Impulsively. Without doing my research. I am an idiot!

I planted both. One died. The other is struggling. For some reason, it took me this long to research what kind they were. It turns out they are tree hydrangeas. GRRR. That's not what I wanted. I wanted the bushy kind. So, now I will have to dig this out and put in the right kind. $11.98 wasted. Do your research folks...

Someone on a local gardening group was giving away bamboo stakes. I got about 2 dozen of odd sizes. I used the tallest ones to make supports for my beans. I also made a trellis for my snap peas with them. I still have about 10-ish left that I might use to support other plants. I love free garden things. :-)

My honeysuckle died - I think it went into shock since we had two weeks of really hot days right after I planted it. So, I dug that out. However, my sweet peas are thriving, so I transplanted half of them to the honeysuckle trellis. My friend who is coming to dinner tonight gave me the sweet peas as a housewarming present. She'll be glad to see how well they're growing. I should have an abundance of fragrant flowers later this summer. I want to be the kind of grownup that has cut flowers in her home every day. Growing my own flowers will help me do that frugally.

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Over the weekend, I got my annual statement for my retirement account from work. There was a loss of $834.48 this past year. I still have a little more than last year in the account due to the meager contributions that were made this year. But, looks like they invested in the wrong things. This is the first year since I have been vested that the retirement account shows a loss. So, it's not that bad, I guess.

Free-ish plants for my garden

May 18th, 2019 at 03:20 pm

I went for a walk and lunch with my friend L. As we walked back, I noticed that there was a little plant exchange gathering going on in the neighborhood. We stopped and asked what was going on, and it turns out people were exchanging plants. Since it was about to rain, they were wrapping up. They invited us to join and take what was left. I left with a small pot of succulents, a tomato start, thyme, oregano, two currant starts, eight irises, and two winter squash starts. They were also taking donations, but all I had on me in cash was $1.32. I gave them that. I felt bad, but they said that they just wanted to get people to garden. The donations were for the local homeowners association. I’m not part of the neighborhood and don’t have the HOA, but my friend is and pays the dues, so I was reassured. Next year, I’ll bring them plants to share as well.