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Archive for November, 2016

Accounting (Nephew Visit Almost Over)

November 28th, 2016 at 05:38 pm

My nephew leaves in a little over a week, so I looked again at the financials so that I could see how we did with an extra kid in the house!

Not bad actually...
- nothing left over from the food budget, but that's ok
- my MIL gave us some $ for his train ticket to LA and to take him to places we wouldn't normally go, so that really helped! And it meant that we could do fun things with him. Sometimes just D went so that we didn't have to pay for ourselves.

I hope he's had a good time here... it's hard to tell with a quiet, British teenager. I think he really liked LA... we hiked to the top of the Hollywood sign which was fun. And Thanksgiving was full of my 20- and 30-something nieces and nephew and their boyfriends/girlfriend.

We went to Harry Potter at Universal, too, and that didn't impress him or F. They'd both been to the studio tour in the UK, and that was so much cooler (I agree). Food was better, too. And Universal was so expensive! None of us were interested in the rest of the theme park, either. We ate at the Three Broomsticks; total scam (including the wait in line, overly expensive not-that-great food and the uncomfortable chairs). We didn't get butterbeer because we'd had it in the UK at the studio tour.

The train was fun, though!

And it was good to see my parents.

Now we need to look toward Christmas! F and I sang carols all the way to school. And we need to get the tree down! F's present is mainly going to Meghan Klingenberg's soccer camp, and then some small things. I am going to be careful about spending because November was spend-heavy (nephew, dental cleaning, car repair, stitches in my finger).

Random Thoughts

November 18th, 2016 at 03:37 pm

Lots of random thoughts:

- Finished filming my video to re-certify to teach my weightlifting class. D came to help me film, and he did the class... he said it was hard!!

- I did the filming despite my finger being bandaged up. Could have asked for and extension, but I really wanted this to be over! I hope I pass the first time, otherwise they charge to re-review.

- My mother is doing the Thanksgiving shopping, and I'm doing the cooking. Finger should be ok by Thursday. I may have to bring a few ingredients, but I don't want to since we're going on the train (carry-on only of course!)

- My nephew wanted to buy some gifts for family back home... D had to go with him since I'm such a bad shopper.

- Did a bunch of internet research on the Harry Potter thing at Universal... F already has a wand from our UK trip, so I don't think we need that. And we're setting aside $ for lunch in the park. Since both F and my nephew have been to the studios in the UK and had the butterbeer, we can skip that, too. Hopefully it won't be too expensive...

- We have roommettes, so our meals on the train are paid for.

- We're going to Fantastic Beasts tomorrow... IMAX 3D... not inexpensive tix, but F and I haven't been to the movies in about a year (Pele movie!) so we can splurge. And my MIL has given us some money so that we can show our nephew a good time.

- Frugal dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches and pan fried courgettes with garlic.

- Owe $21,851 on the mortgage... so close.

- I am bringing mashed potatoes to the 5th/6th Thanksgiving Feast at F's school... frugal and easy to make.

$260 Mistake

November 16th, 2016 at 05:05 pm

Oops! I cut the heck out of my finger. As soon as I did it, I knew I'd need stitches. I walked from work to the urgent care a block away (convenient!) and it was a long process. And it hurt until the lidocaine.

Five stitches and $260 later I was back at the office.

On the plus side:
- I didn't cut the nailbed (which means my nail will continue to grow with no problem)
- It was a clean slice (doctor was happy with me - easy to sew)
- Modern medicine!
- I didn't feel the stitches due to "digital block"
- I don't have to do dishes for a week
- Left hand!
- I took an Alleve and it doesn't hurt much
- My brother is a doctor and can take the stitches out at Thanksgiving - no dr visit required!!
- D is making dinner - pasta with lemon, garlic, peas and turkey bacon - yum!!

So... there you go.

Oh - and my wonderful neighbor is taking me out to lunch tomorrow!

Very Frugal Sunday

November 13th, 2016 at 05:26 pm

Today we drove down for Day 2 of F's soccer tournament... brought food from home (leftovers, sandwiches, etc) so we didn't spend anything.

Got to hang out with my good friends...

... and the girls WON first place - U13 Girls. We are so, so proud of them! F is exhausted.

Came home and finished vacuuming, did a load of whites, and went to the store.

Our grocery bill is about $15 more than normal with my nephew here, but that's not bad. He didn't come to the tournament... maybe not that much fun for a 15 year old boy? But I wish he had... one of F's teammate's sister was there and she's 15 also. I talked to her and she's going to see if he can shadow her at school one day just to be around other teens. He's shy and will probably be a little freaked out, but once he's there, I think he'll enjoy it!

At the tournament, I brought cake for F's teammate who, like me, can't eat gluten. She was so happy. And she's such a nice girl, one of F's best friends on the team. My current goal is to be as nice to everyone as possible.

Ran into my friend whose politics are different from mine down at the tournament, and I gave her a big hug, and she gave me a big hug back. I really like her, and I hope she really likes me, and we're going to maintain our friendship, and that means a lot to me.

And finally - Mahi Mahi burgers and fries for dinner. I better get cooking...

How We're Saving Money While Spending Money

November 12th, 2016 at 04:24 pm

Sometimes you have to spend some money, right?

1. My nephew is visiting from the UK for a month. We love having him! We want to make his stay really fun! Food budget will be a little higher (although he doesn't seem to eat a lot) and instead of eating out, we're getting treats out (like ice cream etc.) to splurge a little.

2. F had a soccer tournament this weekend. We have to drive to ABQ two days, but we bring a nice picnic.

3. One of her friends can't eat gluten (like me! I have celiac) and when I was talking to her today, she said she hadn't had cake in a long time... she said the gf cookies are ok, though. Aaaack! I am baking a cake tonight and bringing some to the soccer game for her. It's homemade, not expensive, but this little girl is such a cool kid, she deserves a treat!

4. My husband took our nephew to our city's very strange and wonderful art/haunted house/performance exhibit thing (no idea how to describe it) called Meow Wolf. But F and I have been there tons of times, so we're staying home. No need to buy two extra tickets for no reason. And they D and our nephew can bond.

5. Tomorrow we'll go on a hike through Tent Rocks. Cheap entertainment! And the weather is beautiful, so we should take advantage.

Also... we need to save up for the IMAX tickets to Fantastic Beasts!!!

A little bit financial, but mostly getting the past week off my chest

November 11th, 2016 at 03:08 pm

I don't want to come on here and talk politics... I'm trying to use this space to talk mostly about finances.

Here's the stuff about finances:
- we are closer to paying off our mortgage
- sold a couple of things on Craigslist $70
- got a rebate check from the energy company
- my nephew is here, but he doesn't eat very much and he's vegetarian, so the grocery bill is not very much bigger

The financial stuff seems less relevant this week, so this where the politics starts. My first and last post on politics. So stop reading now. Really.

How I spent election night: up in my 11 year old daughter's room hugging her as she cried. She wasn't crying because her candidate didn't win. She was crying because she was afraid that someone was going to "come get us" because we're Jewish. I promised that wouldn't happen. She was worried that people would know that I voted for Clinton and punish me for it. I described the democratic process. We talked about other presidents I didn't agree with in my lifetime. I told her that her life would change very little, and that it would be important to do good things for people who will be affected.

I don't think any of them ever actively courted racists (and the KKK!!) to get votes, though, but I didn't discuss this with my daughter. I live in a very liberal city, and I only am friends with one Trump supporter. I wanted to ask her how she can support him when she herself isn't a racist (and has at least one Jewish friend). I wanted to ask her what she'd tell my daughter.

I watched Van Jones (who I really admire) talking to voters in Gettysburg and I do think there needs to be a dialog. But now that they've won this election, I'm not sure Trump supporters want this dialog now.

Not every Trump supporter is a racist, surely. But by courting racists, they have given them legitimacy. And by allying themselves with racists, they've said that it's ok.

Here is what I'm NOT telling my daughter: I am worried, too. I am worried about the climate, rejection of science, our national parks, clean energy. I am worried about women's and LGBT rights. I am particularly worried for Muslims and immigrants and hispanic people. Black lives matter to me! And I am worried for myself and my family; I am worried that I might one day have to make a decision about when is the right time to use my Canadian passport and uproot my family before it's too late. I like to think I'd have more foresight than some of my ancestors did, but I'm scared I will ignore warning signs.

I don't hate most Trump supporters, I just don't understand; and I'm disappointed because all of the values that I think are non-negotiable, they don't agree with or don't think are that important. And they don't understand me either, and probably think I'm being melodramatic. But, these are the things I'm thinking about, and if you read this even though I warned you not to, I'm sorry if I offended anyone.

Air Bag Recall

November 3rd, 2016 at 04:14 pm

Have any of you had an issue with the Takata airbag recall? I got the recall notice on my car in July, and it said that until I visited the dealer to get the passenger airbag replaced, no one should ride in that seat.

My dealer said the part wouldn't be in until September, and later made an appt. for me to replace it in October saying the part was now in. I brought the car in, except the part still wasn't in, so even though I showed up for the service appt. they couldn't fix it. I had decided to combine the visit with an oil change, and even though I wouldn't even have come in if the part wasn't in yet, they made me pay for the oil change. I think they should've comp'd it.

I called Nissan USA last week and they said the part wouldn't be in until late December! That is 6 months without the use of my front seat. It hasn't been a big problem, but my nephew is coming to visit, and we need all four seats now.

Nissan USA is giving me a voucher for $250. I wish it was cash, but it has to be used for service or on Nissan's website. There is a big service at 75,000 miles, and I think I'm close, so I guess I'll use it for that.

Save Here, Spend There

November 1st, 2016 at 04:57 pm

I've been saving and spending, saving and spending.

Spending:
- Spent all of my birthday money from my mom... F's room looks fantastic! And we are still waiting for her new beanbag chair. She does her homework on the floor - I think she'll love the beanbag. I always wanted one as a kid, and was afraid to ask for it. I showed one to F, and she was so excited! She was afraid to ask, too! (Like mother, like daughter).
- Snow boots for F - her feet are now my size! I couldn't put this off much longer; the weather is starting to turn.
- Going to Pittsburgh for soccer camp (indoor!) just after Christmas.

Saving:
- Needed a sign so that people stop confusing my house with my neighbor's. She put in a fence on her side of our shared driveway which makes it look even more like the driveway is just mine, so recently there has even been more confusion. I didn't want to pay for a sign, and my neighbor didn't offer to help pay for it either, so I hand-painted it myself. My neighbor even emailed to say it looks great! So that was definitely a savings!
- Dinner tonight is tostadas... very frugal!
- I am snuggling under the covers instead of turning the heat up!