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Jan 18

January 18th, 2017 at 08:22 pm

So far so good on my Dietbet gameplan. Essentially it consists of:
No white flour foods (except Thursdays)
No foods that are solely junk (except one small treat on Thursdays - unless this becomes a slippery slope)
When buying something with added sugar (like spaghetti sauce) look for the one with the least.
Track actual food eaten on Myfitnesspal - goal - between 1600 - 1800.
Increase veggies consumption.
No soda.
No dairy or eggs - exception Thursdays.
Strength train 2x a week.
Get at least 7k steps 4x and 9k steps 2 days.

Thursdays I'm allowing exceptions (and major holidays like July 4) within reason. Mainly so I can eat what DH fixes for dinner, but also to leave room for one thing I'm craving each week.

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Thank you everyone for your comments on the post I deleted. I felt it wasn't a post I wanted left up for too long.

On that note though - I took the advice a number of you gave, and came up with this plan:

When I get home this is my routine:
*Feed cats
*Put away items from day
*Put together gym bag
*Prepare lunch and breakfast for next day (unless Fri.)
*Clear out sink / empty dishwasher
*Clean litterboxes
*Set timer for 15 minutes and do something
*Get something to eat
*relax Smile

I think this is something I can actually stick to doing. (Of course, this doesn't include laundry, etc.)

I'm thinking of proposing something similar to DH - only he'd be exempt from the 15 minutes if he did something major that week like mowing the lawn or snowblowing.

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Ugh Pact. This is an app that I use to track veggies/food tracking/workouts. I usually make at least $10/month up to as much as $16.

A few weeks ago I missed my veggie pact by 1 item (I'd eaten the right amount, but didn't get the photo uploaded in time.)

So now I'm back and forth emailing them because they aren't going to pay me for last weeks Pact because my Paypal agreement expired. I wasn't told of a problem. My first inkling was when I couldn't edit my pacts for this week.

I'm thinking I'm going to get back to the $10 cashout, and then be done with it. I hate to lose the extra money, but it sure would b one less thing to worry about.





My Lunch, Won Two Drawings

January 3rd, 2017 at 06:18 pm

So yesterday I tried doing two things at the same time in my InstantPot - a method referred to as pot in pot. I put 4 sweet potatoes on the little rack that comes with it, and then a pyrex dish with a cup of brown rice,some seasonings, and water. I cooked it for 25 minutes, and then about two hours later, took it out.

Perfect. Smile

I had made beans on Sunday in the IP.

So, this week's lunches will look like this: sweet potato, beans/rice, frozen veggies, apple.

The smaller container holds Triscuits and hummus. I had been buying the little $1.19 box of hummus/crackers at Aldi's. But then last weekend I found container at Walmart.

So, less waste and less money! (I did buy hummus, though I plan on making my own - once I can figure out what's wrong with my food processor.)

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The gym was stereo-typically full of people today. Thankfully I was still able to get a treadmill. Smile
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My Fitbit wasn't syncing today. thankfully, resetting it worked. I'm almost to 10k steps - that would stink to lose that!

(I try to do my stretch days for Stepbet on Monday/Tuesday so I have them out of the way.)

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I won 1k points from PointsClub this weekend from liking a FB post and entering a sweepstakes code. I'm halfway to a $25 gift card.

I also won 20 coins from ReceiptHog for one of the receipts I added in December. I'm close to a $20 PayPal on it.

Not a whole lot, but I rarely win anything, so it felt kind of cool to win two drawings within a few days of each other.

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I managed to go to Dollar Tree 2 days in a row without buying a candy bar or slice of pie, etc. I wouldn't have gone the second time, but DH really wanted some of the spicy beef burritos. (Got frozen fruit the first trip.)

No more grocery shopping til Sunday!

Freaking Out a Little ... taxes ; 2016 Joint Spending; 2017 Goals

January 1st, 2017 at 02:29 pm

So .. DH brought me his 3rd paycheck for December this morning when he got home along with the paystub.

I'd printed out my paystub at work last week.

Then after getting some more sleep ... I got on TaxAct and entered our info as much as I could without all the forms.

OMW! I really hope that once I have the proper forms it will look a lot better!

To buy our house, I sold some stocks and took a distribution from my ROTH (all contributions/5+ years old.)

Our combined income just from our jobs this year was a little bit more than I had figured when deciding how much to sell, but that doesn't account for the huge tax bill.

Nearly $4k between Federal and State!

They are showing the stock sale as Interest income and not Capital Gains!! If it were just capital gains, almost all of it would be taxed at 0%. (Possibly all of it.) So this just doesn't make any sense to me at all.

If this really is the case ... then there goes our fence. Ugh.

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I seem to have deleted my budget for the first few months of the year before DH and I started joint budgeting. So ... these figures are for July - December - once we'd both moved into the house and totally combined finances.
Immediate Obligations
Mortgage - 2633 (loan payments only)
Extra balance payments - 200
Natural Gas - 217 Average - 36.27
*Electric - 819.29 Average - 135.40
*This included a missed payment due to moving, etc. prior to July - so really, 7 months worth.
*Phone 484.84 Average - 80.70
*This includes a $200+ bill for DH when he was still in his apartment without WiFi
Internet/Cable - 365.65 -- Avg - 60.94
Water - 214.60 (billed bi-monthly) Avg - 35.77
Netflix (4 months) 42.74 - Avg - 7.14
Groceries - 1903.90 Avg - 317.32
Car Gas - 1554.80 - Avg - 259.13
True Expenses
Oops Tax (Accident Ticket) -- 151.95
Car Insurance (DH only - 6 month prem) 177
Car Maintenance - 1351.51 --- Avg - 225.25
Clothing (minus my $170 purchase) - 182.74 Avg - 30.38
Computer Replacement - 284.88 Avg - 47.41
Phone/Garmin Replacement - 173.81 Avg - 28.97
Home/Yard Maintenance - 2311.10 Avg - 385.20
Household General - 1039.23 Avg - 173.17
Medical - Non Deductible - 146.97-- Avg --24.50
Pets - Cats - Food/Litter - 375.63 -- Avg -- 62.60
Pets - Cats - Medical - 542.28 --- Avg --90.40
Pets - Non Cats - Food/Shelter - 114.62 -- Avg - 19.10
Pets - Non Cats - Medical - 38.54 -- Avg - 6.42
Quality of Life
Vacation - 237.28 -- Avg --39.55
Fitness (gym memberships) 293.76 -- Avg -- 48.96
Just for fun
Laura birthday (includes concert) - 165.77 --Avg -27.63
Scott Birthday - 103.94 Avg - 17.32
Date Night (eating out/take out) 226.84 -- Avg - 37.81
Debt payments
Student Loan (5 months) - 261.05 -- Avg -- 43.51
Medical Debt payments - 2390 -- Avg - 398.33

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DH has been talking more and more about needing to find a different job which won't be so hard on his knees/hips - something like a night auditor at a hotel. I'm okay with that, but I'm thinking that to prepare for the drop in income once that becomes necessary, that we need to scale back on some other things to create a good buffer.

I'm not really sure where we can cut back much though. One area I'm going to try is to cut back on grocery spending. Maybe see if DH would be willing to set the thermostat to 60 degrees (heat) (is at 65 now.)

We've got some big expenditures in 2017 though ... fencing our yard / removing trees/bushes / purchasing a winter vehicle someday for DH / an extended roadtrip to CA to see Grandma/brother, etc.

Plus, we have the goal of eliminating the student loan debt by December. Approximately $4200.

I'd like to say, well, let's just live on one of our incomes and put the rest into future savings. But ... just filling up the categories of immediate obligations puts us slightly over what DH brings in. That's before putting money into car replacement/ car maintenance/ house maintenance, Pets costs, etc.

The only way I can see us actually being able to put away significant amounts is if DH actually starts to sell his electronics.

Tonight is our budget meeting for January/2017. So, this may be a large point of discussion.

----
Okay, my 2017 goals. (so far)

Financial:
1. Pay off DH's student loans by December. (Approx. $4200)

2. Reduce average grocery spending to $250/month

3. Discuss the amount of needed buffer for DH to take a different low-paying job with less stress on knees, etc.

(Car costs and gas costs would be exponentially smaller with a night auditor job .. but the income would probably drop at least $5 - 6 /hour.)

Health:

1. Increase fruit/vegetable intake to an average of 35 servings a week.

2. Reduce added sugar - Buy/eat added sugar items only 2x a week. No more than one servings worth.

3. Reduce processed foods / foods that come in packages. (Not sure how to make this a measurable goal)

4. Do 30 minutes of strength training each week.

5. Complete 8 StepBets successfully.

Home/Self:
1. Create a doable cleaning schedule and DO IT.

2. Actively play with the cats ten minutes a day.

3. Limit computer time during the work week after work to two hours. Limit computer time on the weekend to 3 hours. (Not including budgeting time.)

4. Don't get sucked in to Mama Drama.

5. Less Overthinking/Guessing negatively/More Positivity

6. Keep an active lookout for a different job.

Stomach Flu ... Happy end of 2016 to Me

December 31st, 2016 at 12:01 pm

I had just pretty much gotten over the cold this week, and was looking forward to a long weekend where I was feeling good and would be able to get some things done.

Then ... last night around 7 p.m. the stomach flu hit. I was up and down pretty much all night long. I finally managed to get to sleep around 5 a.m. I just got up about noon, and am still having ... issues.

DH brought me a Sprite when he got home from work, which I sipped at, and seemed to help a little bit. (I'm not considering this a break in my no soda rule - the soda I *enjoy* is Coke/Pepsi - the Sprite is for medicinal purposes.)

I illogically was wondering if it was food poisoning (ate at Texas Roadhouse Thursday night) or as a result of eating too much of a new chocolate brand that I'd gotten at CVS on sale Thursday ( Hershey's chocolate layers 2 for $4). But I'm pretty sure it is stomach flu.

At any rate, I think (even though I know it probably wasn't the culprit) I think I'm ready to give up chocolate. I can't just eat a single serving - I go overboard. Sometimes even when I don't even really like the taste of it ...

Not quite how I -was hoping to end 2016.

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I'm very frustrated with Pinecone. I got locked out of my account due to the robot verification thing. It got reset, and I tried again - only to get locked out AGAIN! I can't do surveys and I can't cash out. UGH!

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I need to update our budget today, but I already know we overspent in groceries.

I need to see if I can take back the food processor I bought at Aldi's without a receipt. I made homemade cinnamon rolls last week, and when I went to use it to make powdered sugar, neither DH nor I could get it to work. So I ended up making them into pecan rolls instead (brown sugar sauce)

I'm within 40 receipts of being able to cash out for a $100 gift card from receiptPal. Probably by the end of January.

I had to call CVS on Friday yet again because the thing with switching my info to a new card STILL was messed up. The lady I spoke with said she'd give me $13 extrabucks as kind of a sorry, and it should be fixed by Monday. I'll believe it when I see it.

I've started watching Land Girl's on Netflix - almost done with the second season. It's a great diversion while on the treadmill. Smile

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DH works tonight, but tomorrow we're planning on going to IHOP. Hopefully I'll be up for it by then.

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Kari has been letting DH actually pet her without immediately growling or running away! This is huge progress. She's still not getting along with the other cats ...

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One thing I hope to accomplish this weekend is to figure out a gameplan for food. I've kind of contemplated signing up for the Clean Foods Dirty Girls mealplan for one month at $29, but am not sure just yet. If I could get DH on board for it, it would make more sense. But that isn't likely to happen .. so ...

We really need to get the grocery spending under control. I think maybe I'll just assume that 2/3rd of it can be spent by me, and so when DH decides to go shopping, it isn't an issue.

--
I don't know how I'm going to get my steps in today. I may have to forfeit the $35 for the Stepbet. Frown Frown You have to have a doctor's note to not forfeit - and I doubt that stomach flu would work. Sigh. I guess I'll do some walking in place or something.

DH and I Sick ... Financial doings

December 22nd, 2016 at 04:58 pm

DH has been pretty sick the past few days - bad coughing, etc. Tuesday night we went to the CVS minute clinic near us to see if he had strep throat. Thankfully he didn't! (I catch strep EASILY.)

I haven't been feeling too great myself. Took today off, since the next six work days pretty much everyone will be gone, and I CAN'T take off no matter how sick ..

Spent some on cough syrup, oj, etc.

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I came across this link on Facebook yesterday - most of the things were ones I'd heard of before, but there were a few new ones.

http://www.frugalforless.com/35-work-from-home-gigs-that-pay-you-once-a-week-or-daily/

One I signed up for is PointsClub. So far, so good. The surveys pay even if you don't qualify. The main thing is to visit the site every day without fail, so that when you DO get a qualifying survey, it pays out more.

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I got an advert for Barclay Mastercard - spend $500 in 90 days, get $200. I had to wait for them to go through my credit monitoring service (provided through Blue Cross Blue Shield for free), but got my approval email on Tuesday. Once I get the card, I'll pay $500 towards DH medical debt. Boom! There's our $200. Smile (Which will be put towards student loans.)

Now I just need to wait a little while and find another deal like this for a spend $500 get $100 (or hopefully $200!) to finish off the medical debt.

I called to find out what percentage deal the hospital offered for paying if off all at once - a measly 10%. Yeah. No. 20%, and we'd be talking. Just with this one credit card deal I shaved off more than 10%! (There's a balance as of now of $1632)

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I bought 3 pairs of leggings from Amazon, and also a Bissell hardfloor steam mop. They should be here by Saturday or Monday. (Used gift card money/rewards points.)

I got quite a few compliments on my dress/sweaters from my shopping spree at work. Big Grin In fact, the lady who is on light duty had been looking for clothes for her youngest daughter who is a BBW like me Smile and hadn't thought of Lane Bryant or JC Penny's. She went there and found several items her daughter LOVES. Her daughter said (through her mom) "tell the lady you work with that I LOVE her!" LOL

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I'm so glad this is an off week for my stepbet. I would have forced myself to get my steps in, but definitely wouldn't have enjoyed it.

From my last stepbet I earned $11.90. My current stepbet (which starts for real on Monday) I only paid $35 to join (emailed a coupon!) So, I'm essentially starting off with a $5 bonus. Smile Hopefully I'll be feeling better by Monday.

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Bing had some issues this past weekend with points crediting. I guess enough people complained (me included!) so today they put out a 1,000 point clicker as an apology. When you click on it, you're taken to a page full of images with a variety of Sorry's on it. I thought that was pretty cute. Smile

Birthday, Day Off

December 16th, 2016 at 07:23 pm

Thursday after work I stopped at CVS to pick up the photos I'd ordered. (Although I figured out tonight that I'd ordered them from Walgreen's instead. Oops.)

When I got there, the cashier told me they hadn't had any orders come in. I was flabbergasted - the app had told me they'd be ready by 10:18 p.m. the night before.

She called a couple other stores to see if they'd been sent somewhere else instead. (Meanwhile, I had to keep telling people that I wasn't in line.)

Finally we decided that they must have just not gotten sent. So I decided to reorder them. Hassles.

Finally got them ordered. The lady told me she wasn't sure how long it took for the order to process. I waited about ten minutes, and then decided I'd have to get them later.

About three minutes later, I got a phone call telling me they'd just printed! So, I turned around and picked them up. The cashier gave them to me at no charge!

(Which I now feel bad about, because as I checked my hotmail account tonight for Mypoints emails, I found an email from Walgreen's telling me my order was ready. Apparently I ordered from the Walgreen's app instead of the CVS app. I was sure I'd ordered fm CVS because I had prescriptions to pick up there ...) Oy Vey.

DH was happy with the photos, and we got the card mailed out after the restaurant.

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Billy's was good again - good food, good service - but not quite as special as last year. I'm not sure why really - maybe because we had high expectations set from last time?

We remembered to ask the waiter to take some photos this time. I also took photos of our dishes.

DH had a rack of lamb:

I had "Vegetarian Surprise" brussel sprouts, squash, carrots, pasta with some kind of cream. Lots of it. Smile

This is us in front of the Christmas tree.

When we got home, DH sort of started our first fire in our fireplace. (BTW - the chimney cleaner charged $150.)

He's planning on youtubing himself on how to get a better fire for next time. Smile

Still, it was nice to have our first fire in our fireplace. Big Grin Even if it didn't last long, or put out much heat.

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I had planned on doing Hacksaw Ridge and then some shopping, and then Brake's Plus today. In the end, I decided to skip the movie - due to forecasted bad weather coming. The shopping was a bit more important.

I ended up purchasing 8 sweaters, a pair of dress pants, a hoodie (with a zip pocket for keys/card!, a dress and a couple pairs of tights for about $170.

I've gotten really tired of being cold when the wind blows up the stairs and through the bottom of the window into my office. I had planned on seeing if I could find one cardigan to just put over my normal tops ... but just couldn't find anything neutral enough.

I'm VERY happy with what I bought. Especially the dress (Lane Bryant) and the sweater/pants/hoodie from TJ Max. The other 6 sweaters came from JC Penny's.

I also bought some clearance thermal curtains from
Sears, which came out to $2 after my shop your way points.

Then I made a stop at Aldi to get some Almond Milk and a few cans of beef ravioli for DH.

Next up was Best Buy. I talked to someone in the computer department about my catblocking frustratio. I left with a 10 foot power cord and a vga extension cord. After setting it up tonight, I believe it's going to be beautiful. (I put my monitor on top of an empty box.)

Finally was Brake's Plus. Due to the road conditions, he couldn't test out my brakes fully, but he thinks my issue might be the ABS brakes. He told me to come back next week after the roads clear up. My front and rear brakes are in good condition.

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Now I'm home and don't plan on going anywhere til Sunday. Poor DH though - he has to be out in it tonight and Saturday night. I hope people tip well - delivery drivers are out there when most people prefer to be bundled up safe and warm at home.

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I got birthday/Christmas money from my aunt.I'm giving half of it to DH for his fun money, and the rest to mine. Good thing to he, since I pretty much decimated my spending money today. Big Grin

I also *finally* cashed out of Inbox Dollars. A check for $27.20 will come eventually.... That took painfully long to accumulate.

Phone Frustrations, etc

December 14th, 2016 at 08:35 pm

DH told me on Monday that he wanted to send his stepdad a card with a few photos from the wedding. He had supposedly hurt himself that morning and didn't come.

I was surprised, but happy to do it.

So on the way home tonight I stopped at Walgreen's to use their photo kisok.

When I opened the app, my phone which was at 24%, went dead. The photo lady told me I could plug into the kisok and charge my phone while using the kisok.

So .. I tried that. My phone wouldn't charge. Finally, the lady let me use a charger plugged into the wall. My phone came back on at 24%! Then went dead as soon as I opened the app.

Again, I got my phone ack on. But this time just tried using the kisok. But I couldn't get my phone to connect to it.

At that point I gave up and came home. Where I placed an order at CVS which I'll pock up tomorrow. I got 12 pictures (2 sets of 6) for $2 after a coupon.

I hope DH likes the photos, because so far they've been a royal pain.

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I'm looking forward to our dinner out tomorrow night. We'll be eating at one of the oldest restaurants in Lincoln - Billy's. We went there last year for my birthday, and both loved it. So now for a repeat. Smile
(We have a restaurant's.com coupon for $25 off - good thing, because it's not cheap.)

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On Tusday there was a fire in Omaha at one of Sprint's substation's? It knocked out cell and data service in Omaha, Lincoln and surrounding areas for most of the day.

It also affected us at the bus station - the gps system to track the buses is based off of Sprint's towers. It basically made it so what is already a finicky program, nearly unusable.

Here's hoping it'll be working tomorrow!

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I'm taking off Friday. I plan on seeing Hacksaw Ridge in the morning (matinee), go to the ABC and see if they have Wham yet, shop at shopkpo for some sweaters, and take my car to have its brakes checked. Mostly fun stuff, with something necessary thrown in. Smile

Got Our First Property Tax Bill, etc

December 11th, 2016 at 11:48 am

I hadn't been sure just how much it would be, so I'd been setting aside $150/month for it. Looks like that was underestimating a bit. Our first payment is due in March for $1106 and the remaining $1106 is due in August.

I currently have $900 set aside for it, so by March we'll be fine. However, we won't be ready for the August payment at our current savings.

We need to save $1300 more by August. So instead of $150/month, I think we should be putting aside 163/month. Maybe I'll make it 170/mo to have a round number. Smile

Starting in September, we'll need to save $185/mo (rounding up)

I can pay online - so will have to find out if there is a CC fee and if I can find a good sign up bonus to negate it. Smile

*We don't have an escrow account.
------

I got a "refund" check from my former Internet company which had charged me for a month of service I hadn't asked for. Of course the check is in my maiden name - misspelled. I don't know if I can cash it, and am not sure it's worth the hassle for $15.xx *They over credited me somehow.

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Speaking of banking hassles ...

On Friday I stopped at our credit union to deposit DH's paycheck and tip money into our joint account. I've done this nearly weekly for almost 8 months!

As soon as the teller looked at DHs check, she said "we don't have a signature on file for him, nor an id!" What are you talking about lady?! He signed a whole bunch of documents and had his id scanned when we opened our account! Besides, I'm DEPOSITING the check into our JOINT account - not cashing it! Plus, look at our balance - do you really want to tick me off?

Ok. I didn't say all of that to her ... Smile

She left and got someone from the back who showed her how to find his signature from the opening documents. Then tells me he needs to come in so they can get his id.

I scoffed out loud and told her - good luck with that. Besides you should have his id on file already. It's not our fault if you don't have it in the right places!

The only think I can think of is that she was a newbie teller. Or maybe it's just that branch that has annoying tellers. I've had two annoying interactions with the credit union - and both have happened at that branch. I only go there because its close to Planet Fitness!

If it weren't for the 2.5% interest rate .. I'd seriously be looking elsewhere.

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One week left for my current Stepbet. I'm not sure if I'm going to take a little break or not yet.

I'm still holding strong on the no soda. However, my junkfood/chocolate consumption is really, really bad. So bad, I've gained back at least five pounds.

I wish I could find the same willpower with chocolate that I'm having with soda. If I could, it'd make my exercise more beneficial.

Sigh. Maybe turning 41 on Thursday will be a turning point. Probably not.

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Big non-surprise - got an email letting me know I wasn't hired for the job I interviewed for. Sigh. It'd be a bad time to leave my boss now anyway. We're still getting everything worked out with the new routes and tweaks to the schedules.

Had a new light duty person start on Friday. Just as I was enjoying having my space back. She's nice and all ... but will be there at least a few months...

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Spent more money at the Vet. I managed to get a urine sample for Kari - the vet said it looked better, but the UTI wasn't cleared up. When I told him what a difficult time I'd had gyving her her pills, he suggested an injection. So .. that's what we did. Not sure if i's helping any yet or not.

One of our cats has taken to bullying her. Multiple times I'm startled awake to the sound of her mountain lioness scream as she's chased through the house or cornered.

I really wish I knew what to do to make it better.

Phone cozy?

December 5th, 2016 at 08:00 pm

Does anyone know if there is such a thing? My phone keeps dying on me when I'm outside for more than 30 or 40 minutes, and it's not even that cold yet!

I've improvised by putting two knit gloves over it, but that's a pain when you need to use it.

I can't be the only one who's ran into this?

What I'd *really* like to find is something that is all weather proof with an easy open sleeve to access the touchscreen. Good for cold and for rain. Something that works WITH my phone case on.

If knew how to knit, I might try to come up with something myself. Sigh. My grandma really tried to teach me.

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I took the bus to Walmart tonight - DH is using my car until his brake lights get fixed. I needed to get a new litter box and popcorn - will be trying to contain Kari in the office tomorrow to get a urine sample.

I'm not sure she's that much improved .. multiple antibiotic doses didn't get taken properly due to her stubbornness...(most of the meds did finally get in her, due to MY stubbornness, but not exactly as prescribed ...)

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DH has told me to get whatever vacuum, rug cleaner and hardwood floor cleaner I want.

I'm looking at these three:


For hardwood laminate floors:
https://www.amazon.com/Hoover-FloorMate-Deluxe-Cleaner-FH40160PC/dp/B00CM220CK

For vacuuming:
https://www.amazon.com/Rotator-Powered-Lift-Away-TruePet-NV752/dp/B00X7R1FZ2/ref=sr_1_8?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1480896891&sr=1-8&keywords=shark+vacuum

For carpet cleaning:
https://www.amazon.com/Hoover-FH50150-Carpet-Basics-Cleaner/dp/B01M99J1ME/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1480898057&sr=1-1&keywords=hoover%2Bcarpet%2Bcleaner&th=1

DH thinks that they all look disposable and won't last long. (but also that all current machines look like that - plastic)

The vacuum I had before (and only let go because finding bags for it was nearly impossible) I'd bought in 1997, my dad replaced some belts on it in 2006? and it was still going strong up til 2016 when I used my last bag.

I doubt I can find something with that kind of longevity . especially not for the $100 I paid for it nor the much more frequent usage needed now. (1x a week versus maybe 1x a month? I hate vacuuming. Always have. Do it only as a necessary evil.)

I'm wanting to get something for my hardwood laminate floors first - the dust mop? the previous owners left works ... but is a pain to clean.

So ... any thought on the ones I'm considering? Do you have something else that you swear by? I need something that just does its job without a lot of fuss. Cleaning isn't something I do because I want to ... so the easier it is, the more likely I'm actually going to do it...

Our Christmas Gift 2016 and 2017, etc

December 2nd, 2016 at 07:32 pm

DH and I had our December budget meeting Thursday night. I d smhing pretty cool to discuss with him.

The rewards points for the Chase Freedom account had finally hit - and I redeemed for $182!

As we'd discussed before, all credit card cash rewards would be pt towards debt. So I added the 182 to the 300 already allocated for December.

The exciting news was that due to DH making a bit extra in November, we had a little extra play money to decide on. The balance left on the medical (no interest) debt and the balance in our repayment category was just over $200!

So ... DH and I agreed to use the bit of extra to completely fill up the debt repayment category - as our Christmas gift to each other.

Then, in January we;re going to focus on our 2017 gift - paying off the student loans!

I plan on using CC bonuses to help with that (which is why the money is just sitting for now. Ready for action.)

We really could pay them off more quickly if we cut back on some things .. but I'm okay with a year from now. Smile

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I had to call CVS again today - my new card hadn;t arrived yet, and my app missing all my coupons ...
Turns out that whomever I talked to last tine messed up. The person I spoke with today was able to fix it, and help me change the card in my app.

I think they sent me $3 as a sorry ... Smile

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Crazy busy week at work this week. Free bus fare ended on Thursday. So EVERYONE came to buy their December pass this week, Around $2500 in sales just at our office. (Normal in a week - maybe $800-1k)

--
Kari was a pain the first two days of pills, the expensive grain free wet food which she used to chow on - she turned her nose up at. So ,,, Friskies Pate it is.

I bought a pill grinder .. since I'll be giving her the lysine for the forseeable future. Much easier than the back of a spoon.

---
I have 3 spaghetti squash ... I'd never had it before - and neither DH nor I were too impressed with it (just roasting and eating the strands) I don't want them to go to waste ... but haven;t found a interesting recipes for them yet,

Any ideas?

Fitbit, etc

November 28th, 2016 at 06:07 pm

My Fitbit one's cover for the metal piece has been missing for months. It wouldn't be an issue if it weren't for the holes it's making in some of my clothes.

This weekend after making yet another hole, I decided it was time to look for a replacement.

I had been thinking about upgrading to the one with GPS, but just don't want a watch like gadget. So, sticking with the One.

I started looking at replacement clips - $15 on Amazon for a non-knock off.

Hmm... do I really want to spend my fun money on that?

Then I decided to call the CS for fitbit. After I explained the situation, the rep checked to see if my One was under warranty. Nope. But then she said that as a one time courtesy, they would send me a new clip!

Sweet! A ten minute phone call saved me $15 (and from more holes in my clothes!)

---
On Friday I accidentally left my CVS card at CVS. I only realized this when I got an emailed receipt.

Someone had decided to take it and use it. Frown

I went to CVS on Sunday and was able to use up a number of coupons/extrabucks so the so honest person with my card couldn't use them.

Today I spent about 15 minutes on the phone getting my old card deactivated, and my new one ordered.

What a pain!

--
So I attempted to vacuum on Sunday and proceeded to have a melt down. The vacuum's hose was totally blocked.

DH came to the rescue - although it ended up with him dismantling half of the vacuum.

I have always hated vacuuming. This vacuum has made me hate it more.

It was a wedding gift, which was timely due to both of our vacuums dieing ... but it's not up to a pet household.

So ... we are bidding on a Rainbow vacuum system with an aquamate attachment. For a short stint many years ago, I tried my hand at selling Rainbows. They're good machines - and priced right when bought used. If its hose gets clogged up, it won't require a cordless drill to dismantle it!

By the time the vacuum was unclogged and reassembled, and I'd vacuumed the upstairs, I had two hours before I had to return the Rug Doctor. (Partly why the melt down.)

It took over an hour to just do 3 rooms and the bathroom. Ugh.

I'm not really even sure it was worth it or not. Maybe once the carpets are completely dry it'll seem more so.

---
Oh - as I was leaving to go get the RD, I had put a load of laundry in the washer. I was in my car, ready to pull out, when I remembered that I had clipped my Fitbit to my nightshirt! Which was in the wash.

I don't know the last time I moved that fast. Smile

The shirt was towards the bottom, so it was a miracle that the Fitbit still works!!

DH asked me last night if I have a reputation for being absent minded at work too... Smile

Sick Kari :( ,Rug doctor?? etc

November 25th, 2016 at 07:44 pm

I took my cat Kari to the Vet today. She has another UTI. Frown The vet said that sice it's her 2nd one in a short time, that we should start using only distilled water, give her l-lysine pills, and switch to Iams or Science Diet. He said that if it keeps happening, then we'll have to go to a prescription diet.

I hate it when my furkids are feeling poorly. Frown

Question - What is the best way to have a continual source of distilled water? I bought 3 gallon jugs tonight, but that probably won't be enough or more than a week! I'd hate to be generating that much trash st for water.

---
We are on the lookout for a rug doctor, or something of similar quality. DH says the ones in the store are way subpar to the ones you rent. We need to be cleaning our carpets at least once a month ... renting a RD will get old fast.

Any suggestions?

Also - we almost bought a snowblower today from Tractor Supply, but DH found out that the engine was made in China, and the warranty isn't being honored. He wants electric start and self propelled? The ones he was looking at on Sears and Ace was a $600 Craftsman. But he feels worried about the engine ...

---
DH made his first turkey - a 14lb one we got for "free" using grocery store rewards points.He was very happy. I got a tofurkey roast. Ugh. Won't get that again.

I did do some shopping today - got e clothes at Goodwill's $.99 sale, got my oil changed at Walmart (shopped), used a $10 survey reward at CVS to get some freebies, etc. Basically what I would've done Saturday night if I hadn't had today off.. Smile

The Concert / The Leaves

November 18th, 2016 at 08:19 pm

So ... the TSO concert.

I wish we'd left before the end of the intermission. Then I'd only have positive things to say.

DH had told me TSO was a metal band with a penchant for Christmas music. I'd watched a youtube video of one of their shows - which actually was exactly what they did for the first part of the concert. I had liked it well enough to put up with the guitar riffs, etc.

What neither DH nor I were expecting was the second part of the concert. No Christmas related music at all. In fact, most of the songs sounded a lot alike..

Then there was this one song where the lead male was singing very weirdly. Another song where the female backups were doing some weird chant like thing in another language.

The piece de la resistance though came towards the end (good thing it was the end) when on the video screen they had these scenes of multiple women in white slip dresses doing weird dances ... and then the tarot cards showed up.

That was it for me. (I realize that a number of people on SA use tarot cards. For me personally, they are something that makes me completely turned off from any musician, movie, book, etc containing them.)

Definitely was a two-time visit. (first and last)

DH wasn't too thrilled with it either.

Oh well, overall it was a nice evening out.

----
I was at Planet fitness walking on the treadmill when DH called me. He told me to not be surprised when I came home to find the leaves in front of and on the side of our house (and our neighbors house) cleaned up.

Great. I had tried to casually suggest to DH a few weeks ago that we needed to do something about the leaves. That our neighbors were going to complain.

DH's response was that the leaves were great fertilizer, and besides our yard wasn't the worst one in the area....

We never got any kind of notice or warning, but the only logical thought is that the city came by and cleaned it up. And will be sending us the bill.

I suppose I should have just pulled up my big girl panties and cleaned up the leaves myself .. but DH does so little as it is ... maybe it was a little passive aggressive on my part - to just say, fine, we'll do it your way. I was expecting a warning or notice or something so I had something concrete to show DH - yes! something has to be done or else we'll be paying an outrageous amount for somebody else to do it!

Now all that's left is to wait for the bill to arrive ...

Ugh.

---
In other news ... we had our first snow flurries of the 2016-17 winter season this morning. None stuck of course. Smile (More urgently need to get a snowblower! Something we were going to get once we had a vehicle in which to carry it ... which of course has not been bought yet. We also need a ladder so the gutters can be cleaned out - and possibly so that I can get up on the roof and clean out the chimney. Of course we have no way of getting a ladder home ...)

Interview, Soy Curls, Concert!

November 16th, 2016 at 07:22 pm

I had my interview on Tuesday afternoon. I ended up NOT changing clothes because by the time I found a parking spot, I only had time to put on makeup and skeedaddle.

There were two interviewers - my potential boss and a potential co-worker.

The job sounds so way up my alley! I *think* they liked me ... hopefully my many "you knows" and "ums" didn't turn them off. Frown

I'd have to learn a lot of new computer programs - one of the aspects of the job is being a Jill of All Trades - so I could take over any responsibility in the office if someone's sick or on vacation.

I sent both of them a thank you note today (handwritten) through Interoffice mail. Smile (Hoping that wasn't a faux paux - using IO mail to send a note ...)

--
About two months ago I bought an 8 oz package of a product called soy curls. It sat in my cupboard till about three weeks ago when I finally decided to make something with it! I did a recipe called "Barbeque'd soy curls"

I made the mistake of telling my DH that they tasted nasty just plain and rehydrated. He wasn't willing to try them, even after I told him that the recipe was decent, when you added some mustard and cheese ... Smile

I ate 3 meals out of it, and then froze the rest. This past weekend I reheated it and ate a 4th meal of it. There was still a good bit left (plus some broccoli.) I'd planned on eating it tonight for dinner.

So tonight I came home, fed the cats, cleaned the litter boxes, put my lunch together for tomorrow, got the dry ingredients ready for my smoothie, emptied the trash in the bathroom and office, started a load of laundry ... and then opened the fridge to get my dinner.

Only it was missing!

My DH apparently saw it in the fridge and wondered what it was, and then ate a few bites ... and the rest was history. Smile So, I guess I will be getting some more Soy Curls. Smile (I had planned on not getting them again.)

-----
Tomorrow night is the Trans Siberian Orchestra Concert!!!!!! I'm just a *wee* bit excited. Big Grin

We're going to be in a hurry, so will be doing a quick stop at a Hardee's for dinner. It will still be a treat, because L town has no Hardee's. (I love their Mushroom Swiss burger w/o the burger. DH teases me he's going to contact them to find out what the sauce is made with - I told him NOT ON HIS LIFE to ruin it for me like he did with cornbread stuffing (uses chicken broth ...) For some things, I'd just rather not know. Smile

----
I forgot to mention - I won $9.67 in my Stepbet, and just started a new one on Monday. It's amazing how motivating losing $40 of my limited spending money motivates me to get my steps in! Big Grin

Chicago Trip

November 12th, 2016 at 12:28 pm

DH and I got back around 9 pm on Friday. The main purpose of the trip was to buy a car.

Guess what? We didn't buy a car. We looked at a grand total of .. drum roll please ... 1 car. On the way home in Davenport, Iowa.

We even spent an extra day there than we'd planned - due to neither of us looking forward to driving back Thursday night. Good thing too, because both of us were in bed sound asleep by 9 pm on Thursday ...

We accomplished two things - DH bought a sub woofer (focal something or other) which he says he'll make 3x what he paid (assuming he ever gets around to actually *Selling* anything ...) and I had the privilege to meet one of our Chicago SA'ers. Smile (I forgot to ask you if it was okay to say we met!)

That almost made the trip worthwhile by itself.

So ... we spent a total of about $300 on our 3 day trip - 2 nights at a below average Motel 6 where we had to PAY for wifi - which only worked on ONE device, eating out, and gas.

We both started the trip out a little bit on the sleep deprived side - me due to staying up late watching the election results (gag!) and DH just couldn't get to sleep. We were both pretty fried by the time we had to do another 8 1/2 hour drive back home ...

I am so completely tired of the car search. There's no way I'm going to do another trip like this - where we're spending all our time either waiting for Craigslist people to email us back or call us back ...

And it may be that I won't be able to take any more vacation days nor sick days for 6 months or so ...

I got a call for an interview for the library office specialist position!! It's on Tuesday at 4.

Now I just have to figure out how to get away from the office an hour early ... I'm not sure if the doctor visit excuse will work because my supervisor knows that I had a doctor's appt on Wednesday morning.

Also, I really would rather not lie. I'm going to try just saying I had an appointment come up unexpectedly (which is true) - but knowing her, she's going to want more info.

This is the only day I can do it, because she's going to be out for a week and a half with her husband's hip replacement surgery.

.... If I can get away for this, I'm planning on getting a haircut at an actual hair salon and probably a manicure too. I'm also trying to figure out how to deal with my wardrobe. If I go to work dressed nicer than usual with makeup, etc., AND have a mysterious "appointment" that will be a dead give away.

If it's meant to be, it'll work out.

Anyone have any idea - if you are switching positions, but still within city government, you start a new 6 month probation. But I'm not sure if that probation is the same as when you are hired initially? For example, would I lose my health insurance for 3 months??? And my retirement benefits? etc? I obviously can't ask this of anyone I know in the office ...

A Few Days Left of Stepbet - Learned Something

November 4th, 2016 at 07:40 pm

Just 3 days left of my Stepbet. It's looking like the earnings will be around $10. I'm planning on doing another one, but not until after DH and I get back from Chicago.

Yes, we are officially going to Chicago next Wednesday and Thursday. Driving. Partially to buy DH a car, and partially for a quick get away. I'm thankful Friday will be a holiday for me. Sleep!

---
Something sad at work today. One of the new employees who I really liked was let go. She was within her 6 month probation period. Frown Not sure why.

---
At work I learned something else today - about copiers.
When you put paper into the drawer, you should do it "seam side" up. (the seam referring to the paper covering the ream of paper.) You also should do something called "fluffing" the paper (i.e. adding air pockets.)

All to avoid something like this:


(Kind of beautiful in its own way I think ...)
----
Still going strong on the no soda ... though I had a real test a few days ago - the first day the bus routes changed. STRESSED OUT! But I persevered and bought some carbonated water from family dollar instead. (and ... chocolate.)

---
Only 13 days till Trans Siberian Orchestra!!

---
The other day we had a backpack come in to Lost and Found, and inside it was a Nevada Barr book - one I hadn't read!

I picked it up from the library today. Big Grin (on CD so I can load it on my phone to listen to while walking or in the car.)

---
I bought some parsnips today. I plan on making them for dinner on Sunday. Smile I've never had them, so it should be interesting.

I also bought a bag of fresh cranberries last week. I put about 1/4 cup of them in my smoothie on Wednesday. Blegh! Yesterday and today I only put 3 or 4 ... much better. Smile

---
DH emptied out the transmission fluid from his Honda (which he drove through high water last May?) in an attempt to get it working again. It didn't work.

So now he's on the hunt for a used transmission. He thinks he may have found one two hours away for $150. He just needs to find out if it's vtech or not?

If he can get the car going again for $500 or less, then it should be worth it. Otherwise, he may be ready to sell it. (It's a 2001 Honda with around 149k miles.)

Computers and Cats!

October 29th, 2016 at 07:32 pm

Thank you everyone for your comments on my last post. DH and I had our budget meeting for November Thursday night (since I'm going to be gone most of Sunday.) We also discussed the grocery situation and meals. I think we came to a workable solution, but time will tell.

Almost finished with week 5 of the Stepbet. Currently looking at about a $5.56 profit. So .. not much, but it definitely has motivated me to move more consistently.

---
I'm really getting frustrated with the computer and the cat situation..

More often than not, as soon as I sit down at the computer to work/relax, I have anywhere between 2 - 4 cats join me. On my lap or on the desk directly in front of the monitor. It's a constant battle to keep them from blocking my view.

Then there is my monitor itself ... the monitor was a refurbished monitor and is at least 7 years old. It worked fine up to about 2 months ago when I came home one day to find splotches on the screen and a blue line square that wouldn't go away (it did go away about 36 hours later.) The best we could figure out was one of the cats sprayed the monitor, and the display control button kind of spazzed or something.)

The blue line is back today. Plus the little box about adjusting the brightness. It makes surfing the Internet miserable (combined with fighting with cats who like to sit in front of the monitor - one who especially likes to play "chase the cursor")

Add to this my keyboard constantly drops letters or sometimes whole words!

We only have $150 (as of November) in the computer replacement category. My CPU is a bit more than 5 years old. I've reformatted it twice, but am still having issues with performance.

The only idea (temporary) I've had is to figure out a way to raise the monitor so that the cats can sit on the desk and NOT block the screen. It's just that the cord is already maxed out stretched, and I'm not sure how I could make sure the monitor would be on a stable surface.

Ugh!

--
Tomorrow I will be getting between 4 - 5 hours of overtime! My boss and I will be putting the new route maps and schedules in 67 buses. The new routes start on Tuesday.

We've had them available in the lobby for about a week and a half now - I've had to refill them just about every day. We have two signs clearly marking Current and Effective Nov 1, but, people don't read. Which is why we aren't putting the new stuff on til the day before - even though people have loudly been complaining about that.

--

After I'm done with the bus overtime, I'm going to go spend a few hours helping to serve drinks at a many nations food festival.

Then on Monday, I'm spending a few hours sitting at the book giveaway table at our Halloween alternative program.

Tuesday night I'm going to crash.

Groceries ... Suggestions?

October 21st, 2016 at 06:51 pm

So last night DH and I were discussing what we were going to do for dinner. Thursday nights are his night to "do" dinner.

(Background - We only have two nights a week where we can have dinner together. Sundays I have the most energy, so that's my day. Thursdays I have little energy, so that became his day. I am vegetarian, leaning towards vegan. DH is meat and potatoes and tolerates veggies and "fake" meats.)

DH half-teasingly suggests pizza. To which I remind him that I do NOT want pizza again, at least not for a few weeks. I suggest that we make something at home. He tells me that we don't have anything that he can make anything with! So I suggest - bean burritos, or spaghetti, or fried rice w/veggies. All of which he rejects for various reasons.

We ended up ordering from a Chinese restaurant. So, I got my veggies, and he got his chicken.

---
Today when I got home I told him that I'd like to hash out the groceries thing on Thursday.

Based on several comments he's made, I'm not sure if the way we're doing things is really working or not.

He eats a lot of his meals from 'bad orders" at the place he works at. Rarely does he buy stuff from the grocery store to make at home.

I of course get all of my food from the grocery store ... I ask him often if I can get anything for him, and try to get things that I think he'll eat.

But then ... he says there's nothing he can make anything with in the house.

So ... based on knowing we only eat two meals together each week, and have quite different views on what constitutes "good" food ...

What, if any, suggestions do you all have? How can we figure this out so that he feels like there is food he can make stuff with in the house (and which may be slightly healthier than the restaurant fare)?

I'm tired of having take out be the defacto go to when its his turn to figure dinner out.

We spent nearly $60 on take out last month, and are on track to spend more than that this month. I really don't like that - it feels like we are going backwards. (When I first moved out here, we were eating out almost every single day. After about three weeks of that, I told him that my unemployed wallet and my waistline couldn't handle that anymore. So, that's when we started doing a meal 1x a month only. Which held til our honeymoon and moving into the house... Now it's 1 or 2 x a week!

Good and Bad

October 18th, 2016 at 06:25 pm

When I got home from work today and checked the mail, I found a check for $23.41 from one of those settlement things - Linked in. Yay!

But then just as I was getting ready to go for a walk, I saw that I'd missed a call from DH. I called him back, and found out that my SIL might be needing a liver transplant!

She has had hepatitis for a long time, and drinks/smokes quite heavily. So .. it's not really shocking, just really sad. She's about 9 years older than DH. Frown

I haven't really spent that much time with her, but the few times we have, I like her. We just don't have much in common (other than loving my DH.)

---
I stopped by Ace Hardware ($24) on the way home to pick up a drill bit and a stud finder. I needed the drill bit to put up the removable showerhead, and the stud finder so we can get the mirrors hung.

Our house doesn't have drywall, it has plaster. So we were told we had to do something with tape? whenever we hung anything.

I wanted to get the cat tree project finished tonight before DH came home, but couldn't figure out how to change out the drill bit (I'm going to be attaching it to the brick wall near the fireplace.) DH kind of told me Sunday night, but I guess I wasn't paying close enough attention.

Like I told DH, I've just not done projects like this. My brother or my dad always did them for me. Hanging pictures and screwing the table legs on are about the extent of my handiness (oh, fixing the toilet tank thing too!) (I was ecstatic when I figured out how to use the drill to unscrew a screw = you know, reverse direction? Big Grin )

Still Kicking

October 17th, 2016 at 06:17 pm

So, it's been about 9 days since my last entry. It's been busy and tiring and stressful ...

But ... I'm still doing well with no soda, and fairly well with the DD. Almost finished with week 3 of Stepbet.

Last week I had several pizza indulgences which I think my system did not like at all. Hence being sicker than I have been in a long time this weekend. I'm only now really recovering.

I've told DH I want to lay off on any pizza for a good while. And cheese. Not sure if it was the cheese, the grease, the white flour, or bad pineapple topping ...

I hadn't really wanted pizza the last time, but DH *really* wanted it, so I gave in. Ugh.

--
We were going to go to Denver on Sunday for a car, but DH didn't get enough sleep, so we scrapped the idea. I was so glad because I really didn't feel like driving there and back in one day. At all.

I just wish a car would magically appear within an hours or less drive that was PERFECT for what he wants.. So this car search would be over.

This coming Sunday DHs work is having a 2015 Christmas party ... catered by Outback Steakhouse. Yuck. DH actually wants to go (to the first part at least - second part is a party bus - double yuck.) So ... I'll eat something before we go and see if they have some kind of non-alcoholic non-soda drink ... dreaming, right? Smile (water of course ...)

The following Sunday I have 3 - 4 hours of overtime at work putting new schedules on the buses, and then I'm volunteering at a local church event celebrating world food cultures. That's going to be a long day.

Last week I went out to IHOP by myself, and then I went and saw Sully. I really needed an evening out.
(I liked Sully, although there were parts of it I was going ... come on already! Part of it may be that it was pretty late and I was tired though ...)

DH and I had a pretty frank health discussion. He told me that he pretty much has decided to not really make any changes in his habits yet ... because he has time. My insisting/nagging/conjoling him to at least try something different obviously would not work ...

He also told me he'd rather take a pill than do a diet change.

So ... I guess that's it then. I can't force him to do anything. Sigh.

--
So ... today I found a job possibility with the city ... pays $2.50/hour more. Same hours. Working at the public library - doing some of what I do now, but adding in a lot more MS Office type work. Not a librarian position (those all require weekends, which I can't do.)

So ... I'm applying.

I don't know how I'd get off for an interview if it came to that. The next two months both of the people who cover my responsibilities when I'm gone will one or the other be gone more than they're here.

I guess if it's meant to be, it'll work itself out. the money sure would come in handy.

DD 32/33 - This and That

October 7th, 2016 at 07:22 pm

I think I'm getting into a pretty good routine now. Most days 70-80% of my food consumption is whole grain/fruit/veggie/nuts/low-processed. Now at over a month without soda.

I saw something on the YNAB forum today called a My Soda Pop (or something like that.) For $75 you could get this reusable kit to make your own carbonated water/juice/soda. Same idea as the soda stream machine, but more environmentally sound. I was interested in it til I saw the price ...

Step Bet - Week 1 (ends Tuesday)
1/2 stretch days, 2/4 active days

---
I went and looked at my American Express card offers after seeing what CCF posted. I had the Boxed offer a cable/internet offer. These will help me get to the $25 cash out (currently sitting at $16.)

At boxed I bought toilet paper and Madras lentils.

---
Our poor kitty Baby, the oldest of the brood, doesn't seem to be feeling too well. Thursday night he lost his lunch, and then wasn't interested in the wet food dinner. This never happens. He's a true chow hound.

I made a vet appointment for Saturday morning. I hope it doesn't take too long, because I'm supposed to be doing an announcement for my Sabbath School group at the beginning of service. (Not looking forward to ... but am not going to have to say a word - just be moral support to my teammate.)

I'm wondering if we are saving enough towards the vet category ...

----
DH and I both had dentist appointments this week. DH didn't think he'd have any issues since he's not had a cavity in 50 years ..... So, when it came time to renew dental insurance this year, I dropped it for both of us.

Wishing I hadn't now.

I had a clean bill of teeth health. My DH on the other hand has a receding gum line. He'd mentioned this to me, but I hadn't realized that was the same as gingivitis.

So ... at his appointment they wanted to do what is called a "deep cleaning." Something which would take at least 2 2 hour appointments and cost $150 after insurance. And this is only AFTER he gets clearance from his family doctor (blood pressure) and his orthopedic doctor (shoulder replacement.)

He feels it would be way too stressful to accomplish this before October 31 (end of plan year.) So ... we are going to hold off on it til next plan year. Hopefully he'll have his blood pressure better under control by then too. Sigh.

---
DH and I had a long discussion Thursday night. It ended with me saying that IF he found a vehicle that just absolutely SINGS to him, then I would be willing to move a certain amount of money out of the fence fund. (Also, IF he'd commit to keeping the vehicle meticulous so good resale value later.) I did also make sure he realized that it *could* mean that the fence wouldn't happen right away next spring - unless he sells some of his electronics.

This coming week we are going to be going on a short excursion for car hunting / short get-away. Either to Chicago or Denver depending on which area has the most possible cars to look at.

It'll be nice to get away even if just for a short bit. (2 days) Hopefully we'll come back with two cars so the car search will be over for a few years... (This is why I prefer to buy newer models, so that I can buy once and not have to deal with the search again for a LONG time.)

---
On Sunday we are going to be signing our wills! Also, our DNR statements. It will be good to have that all done. And for free too. Smile (My church's larger organization, called a Conference, has a trust and wills department that does this for church members - all they ask is that the church is remembered in some small way in the will.)

---
I've borrowed a bunch of books on DIY foods, "easy" vegan cooking, etc from the library. So far 3 books into it, and I'm not terribly impressed ... I am thinking of getting a nut milk bag to make my own milk and butter. DH may roll his eyes a bit ... we'll see though. Smile

I went shopping at HyVee tonight - picked up bananas, apples, brussel sprouts (at Dh's request!), chia seeds, and a couple other things I don't remember. $22.xx

---
Oh! DH gave me a nice surprise Thursday. When I got home, I found out that after his dentist appointment he had stopped at the local ABC (Adventist Book Center) to see if they had my fave Wham. Big Grin They didn't, but he brought home some other TVP product for us to try.

I was really surprised because I wasn't sure he'd really heard me when I'd asked him if he'd stop by there sometime if he was awake and out during their hours .. because I was really craving me some Wham. He heard and he remembered. Big Grin

DD 31 - Step bet / Planet fitness

October 4th, 2016 at 05:59 pm

DD day 31 = about an 80% with moderate chocolate consumption.

--
I decided yesterday to do something called Stepbet. It's put on by the same people who do Dietbet. The thing I like better about Stepbet is that the outcome is much more controllable.

What do I mean by that? Well, on Dietbet you had to le a certain percentage of your starting weight in order to win. So many factors could workgainst you to make it not work out. Whether or not you were doing the work or not.

With Stepbet however, it's completely up to you whether or not you make your step goals. You don't have to rely on your fickle body, or worry about female hormones, water weight, etc. , etc. You either do it, or you don't.

So, I put up $40 of my spending money saying that I will meet my step goals for the next five weeks.

Tomorrow is the first day that the steps count. They connect to whatever you use to track steps, and come up with an Active Day goal and a Stretch Day goal. You have to meet the Active Day goal 4 x and the Stretch Goal 2x each week.

My Active Goal is 6,675 steps.
My Stretch Goal is 8,775 steps.

Today I'm at over 7k steps, so if the bet had already started, I'd at least have an Active Day in. Smile

I don't want to lose my $40 Smile In fact, I don't want to lose my $40 + whatever else I might get from the pot. Smile

---
My meeting today at Planet Fitness plays into the Stepbet. I met with one of their trainers to design a plan. I told him my goals were to walk/run a 5k in 45 minutes or less, do one real pushup, and one unassisted pull up by Thanksgiving. (I want to do a 5k in the Turkey Trot.)

He put ogether a plan for me mixing cardio/weights. If I follow that (plus make sure I'm more conscious at work about getting up out of my chair and moving around) I think I'll do this with no problem. Smile

DD 28/29/30 - Planet Fitness!

October 3rd, 2016 at 06:20 pm

DH must actually be listening to all my talk about Dr Greger, etc. Sunday night I was saying how I still feel so tired all the time, etc. He said, "You know what to do. That plant based, whole foods diet." If I hadn't already been laying down, I probably would've fallen over in shock. Smile

He pointed out that the ravioli and bread the church ladies brought us Friday night weren't whole wheat, and had cheese.

Good point DH.

Staying strong on the soda. Doing decently on the DD - still at about 70-80%.

Avoided free pizza today at planet fitness.

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Planet Fitness .... I was going to sign up just for the $10 plan. But my co-worker told me about the wonders of the hydromassage....

Long story short ... I signed up for the $20 plan. The massage options are worth that alone.

I also made an appointment to meet with a trainer to put together a plan tomorrow (part of membership)

On Sunday I went to the other gym ... even with Sunday traffic it took 30 minutes one way to get there. Not going to work.

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I spent a bit of money on Sunday and today. Petco, Aldi's and Dollar Tree.

At Petco, besides restocking the canned food, I bought a "black light" ... yes, we have two residents that don't always use the appropriate place. I had $10 in rewards and a 10% off coupon. $43.xx

At Aldi's - almond milk, beans, lemon juice, etc. Also a mat that is supposed to be used to keep rugs from sliding - but I'm using on our dining table - to keep the tablecloth in place when cats run across it. I also bought a fall wreath. $37.xx

Dollar Tree today - frozen veggies/fruit/chicken nuggets/veg empanadas, etc. Found a coupon for the chicken. $12.89

DD 25/26/27 - September Spending, October Budget

October 1st, 2016 at 04:05 pm

Still doing pretty well getting my daily dozen in most days. (At least about 70 - 85% level.) Still holding strong on no soda.

I'm working on my meal plan for this week, and plan to get some Kale to try out Ceejay's kale chips, and try out Kashi's idea too.

I found a recipe for making baked apple slices in the oven (rather than the dehydrator) so might try that too.

My grocery budget for the first week at least is going to be helped somewhat by a generous gift from my church's ladies group - a belated housewarming/wedding gift. My walking buddy brought it over last night - two kinds of ravioli from Trader Joe's, organic marinara sauce, veggie meatballs, salad mix, can of black olives, two baguettes, a set of measuring spoons and cups, and a silicon spatula. All in a container which can be used as a serving dish.

Pretty neat. Smile

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Okay, September wrap up:
Mortgage - 526
Extra Principal - 25
Natural gas - 26
Electricity - 139
Phone - 52.27
Water/Sewer - 86.82 (bi-monthly)
Internet/Cable - 54.95
Netflix - 10.71
Groceries - 296.91
Car gas - 274.49 ($50 or so for MN trip)
Tithe - 130
Giving - 30
Car Maintenance - 129.48
Clothing - 23.45
Phone/Garmin replacement - 25.93 (new Garmin warranty, back-up phone DH)
Household - general - 46.95
Pets - cats - food/litter - 70.95
Pets -cats - medical - 24.39 (felliway dispenser)
Pets - non-cats - food - 13.49
Fitness - 41.85
Laura birthday/entertainment (trans siberian) 108
Date night / eating out - 63.85
Catifying - 15.87 (materials to attach cat tree to wall in living room)
Laura fun money - 19.39
Student loan - 51.38
Medical debt - 178

Money was set aside for multiple categories not shown above .. because nothing was spent in them for now. Smile

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We had our October budget meeting on Thursday night. It was kind of fun due to my 3rd paycheck and overtime hours. Smile We put $200 into each of our spending money categories (been getting about $40 each), an extra $300 into repaying medical debt (actually have enough to pay half of it in full right now - just need to find a card DH would qualify for with a $1k spend and good sign up bonus, or even a $500 spend with good sign up bonus ...) We also allocated extra to some other categories.

DH agreed to do a $100 extra principal payment to the mortgage after I explained to him how making the little boost payments would save us huge amounts of interest / time in the long run.

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DH made the commitment to only one 20 oz soda per work night, and I have made the commitment to not taking more than one servings worth of chocolate/junkfood into the office at a time. This will be helpful to both of us.

Ok, I need to get my walking clothes on and get out there before it's dark. Smile May go ahead and do some grocery shopping tonight too. (Since I did some cleaning last night before my walking buddy came over ...)

DD 23/24 - Thinking About a Dehydrator

September 28th, 2016 at 07:54 pm

Still going strong on no soda. Smile

The light duty person has been diagnosed with per-diabetes and high cholesterol, so we have been doing a lot of talking about diet, etc. She's a big meat eater, so I suggested she may want to try cutting back on meat by using it as a condiment to her meals, as well as cutting out/back on dairy and eggs.

I've been doing fairly well with the DD. The one item I'm having trouble with is getting my greens.

That's partly why I'm thinking about getting a dehydrator - so I can make Kale Chips (maybe spinach ones too?) Then I can use them to dip in my homemade hummus. Taking care of greens and beans! Smile

I'd also like to do dried apples like my dad's friend Pete does. Every time I go out to CA, I come home with bags of died apples. So addictive. Smile

I found one on Amazon for $50 I like, but plan on checking Craig and FB first. DH thinks that's a good idea in case I end up not really using it. Smile

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I got an email from the Achievmint app today telling me how many points I'd earned. I've been ignoring them because I thought that I'd earned the max number of rewards. But today I decided to see why they kept sending me emails.

Well, I guess they restructured their program so that even people like me (who earned $200 from them) could continue to earn rewards in $10 increments. I'm halfway to the next $10! Guess I'll start tracking my water again. Smile

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Also last night I decided to look at the Bounts store ... and was able to snag a $10 CVS card! I tried to get a second one, but it wouldn't let me add it to my cart.

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I stopped at a Dollar Tree yesterday (Tuesday) and was disappointed to find that most of their frozen vegetarian selections weren't available anymore. Frown At least they had a good selection of frozen fruit.

I also bought 4 plastic canisters to put rice/beans/quinoa, etc. in. I need to buy some more, and also find my sharpie so I can label them. Smile

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I got a reply back from N e l n e t. They didn't answer whether they accept 3rd party checks or not, but they told me here to send a payment ... So, I guess we can try and see?

DH needs to recertify for the IBR plan. If it's based on 2015 taxed income, he should be okay still. By next year when it'd be based on both of our incomes together, we'll already be in student loan repayment focus so it won't matter. Right now we are focusing on the medical debt.

(Citi gives the option of sending rewards money to either a student loan or a mortgage. Otherwise, I'd send it to the medical debt. The medical debt has no interest, but the interest on the student loans is negligible, and the mortgage isn't bad either. I just want the medical debt gone first. Even if it doesn't totally make financial sense. Smile )

DD 21.22 - Vegas Out, etc

September 26th, 2016 at 05:27 pm

Now I am at 3 weeks of no soda!

I got home from grocery shopping on Sunday, and then went out for a walk. Just as I was getting to the house, DH calls me to find out where I was.

We ended up going to check out some more cars around town, and in Home Depot to check out week whackers, etc.

By the time we got back home, the majority of the time I'd planned for cleaning/cooking was gone.

So ... DH cleaned out the kitty boxes (bleach) while I got dinner on and did a few of the cleaning tasks I'd planned.

Dinner was eaten about 9 p.m. That's not late for DH, but is way late for me.

After dinner/cleanup/conversation, DH asked me to help him figure out the blood glucose meter. Yes, the thing I had gotten him nearly six weeks ago.

What a bizarre and un user friendly contraption that thing is! Finally about midnight DH had had enough and decided to try to find some youtube videos to figure it out. I was beyond exhausted.

Today I managed to get my lunch put together, and breakfast made, so that they were both within the DD guidelines.

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Why is the Vegas contest idea out?

Well, on Sunday before I went grocery shopping, I stopped by the gym to do my initial weigh in and to ask some questions I had from the packet.

The guy who I talked to had no idea what was in the packet. For example, the packet stated that you could another facility, but would just need to have proof of that. He told me you could ONLY work out there.

So today I emailed the main contact person to clear up the confusion. He said the same thing! Even though the packet contradicts that.

This, plus a few other things, led the light duty person and I to agree to forget this whole thing.

I am thinking about joining Planet Fitness, which would only be a short distance out of my way on the way home from work. And only $10/month. DH thinks this would be a good idea as well.

DH also suggested that maybe I could go use the gym membership I already have (and have to pay til March) on the weekends when traffic wouldn't be such an issue. He's got a good point. Now, just to do it.

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I'm probably going to go to bed not too long from now. I've a massive sinus? headache, probably partially triggered by the short night's sleep.

DD 20 - updating budget / Habits

September 25th, 2016 at 09:52 am

DD 20 (Saturday) was a bit of a wash. I had my regular morning smoothie and toast ... but then had a craving for pizza and chocolate ... and gave into it. Didn't get much other of the DD (daily dozen) foods in.

Today is a new day. Smile

-

I spent a little time updating the budget last night. I was thinking that we were going to be getting kind of close to the limit on our groceries, but even after double checking that all receipts were entered, I found that we had nearly $140 left! No way we would need to spend that much in the next 7 days.

So, I moved $70 of that to paying for the Trans Siberian tickets (my birthday category only had $15 in it ... the tickets were $108. Needed to whack some moles ...) I found a few other places I could WAM (move money) from, and fully covered that category.
I would have waited to buy the tickets until I had them funded normally, but by buying them when I did, I saved $40.

I can hardly wait for November 17! Smile

I've had a pretty lazy start to the day so far. After DH woke me up coming home this morning (4:30 a.m.) I managed to go back to sleep til nearly 9. I love Sunday mornings. Smile The cats weren't so happy about my staying in bed til 9 ...

In a little while I'm going to go to the gym to do my initial weigh in for the Vegas Trip Contest, and then go do some grocery shopping. Probably Aldi's, HyVee and SuperSaver.

Then I need to clean/bleach a couple of the litter boxes, sweep, vacuum, clean the bathroom, mop the laundry room ...

I'm planning on doing a simple dinner tonight I think. A Chef Boy'r Dee pizza with a side of broccoli and beans. That'll make DH happy and me happy too. (And won't take 3 hours of prep time.)

I'll bake some sweet potatoes for my work lunches this week, and portion out some of the beans I made last week. (How long are cooked beans okay in the fridge?)

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I read an interesting post on the blog No Meat Athlete about how to really make lasting habit changes. http://www.nomeatathlete.com/limitless

I don't believe personally in meditation/mindfulness, but I would like to get back into the habit of spending time daily reading/thinking about the Bible. Usually when I go for my walks, I listen to the podcast Brian Hardin's Daily Audio Bible, but it's easy to let my thoughts wander (especially when he's on the chapters with long lists of names ...)

Ten habits I would like to incorporate in my life:
1. Daily Bible reading (physical book) Start with 5 minutes, and slowly increase to 30. (Read Sabbath School quarterly??)
2. Memorize one Bible verse a week. (Use Memorise?)
3. Play the piano daily. (Start with 5 minutes, and work up to 30.)(Purchase iPad piano app?)
4. Practice Spanish. Start with 5 minutes, and work up to 20 minutes using Duolingo or other sources.)
5. Wake up an hour earlier. (Start with 5 minutes ...)
6. Daily flossing (much better about this, but could be even better.)
7. Practice releasing stress through other means than chocolate. --Say "Oh Well" -- Chew gum --- .....?
8. Spend time daily doing something to make the house more home like (other than daily cleaning the litter boxes) Start with 5 minutes, work up to 20.
9. Average 7,000 steps daily. Or, 30 minutes of movement daily. (Start with average of 4,000 / 5 minutes movement and work up.)
10. Make contact with one family/friend (other than Grandma) 2x a week. (Start with 2x a month, and work up.)

Habits 1 and 2 kind of go with each other, so I think I'll make those my focus for September/October.

What are some habits/small changes that you might like to focus on?

DD 17 - 19; Short Road Trip, Vegas Contest

September 23rd, 2016 at 07:32 pm

I'm still managing to stay away from soda. I'm finding out again, like other times I've managed to go more than two weeks avoiding it, that it gets to where I'm not sure why I wanted it in the first place. I'm at that point now - where a sip of DHs Cherry Coke doesn't even tempt me.

As far as the Daily Dozen - I'm still doing fairly well with it. I think I may modify it a bit ... such as making beans a 1/2 cup per day UP to 3 servings. Eventually I may work up to 3 servings daily, but most nights all I want is something simple like a bowl of cereal and maybe some fruit. When it gets colder, it'll be easier too ... soup or a sweet potato w/beans, etc.

DH didn't like the spaghetti squash too much. We have 3 mo I'm going to try making a spaghetti squash "pizza" and see if he'd go for that. I had lots of leftovers to eat this week because DH wasn't too keen on any of what I made on Sunday. I'm going to have to toss some of it, because I couldn't even eat it all.

One thing going to work on this weekend is coming up with a meal plan mainly using what we already have on hand, but using it in a different way (to make it more palatable to DH.) He was mentioning to me that he thought we shouldn't be buying more perishable items until we used up what we have. (I didn't say that if BOTH of us were eating them ....)

*Exercise - Fallen a bit short on this this week, due to 2 days of evening meetings and a road trip. Got in a 30 minute walk today though!

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DH may have found his winter vehicle - just an hour away! Thursday when I got off work DH called me and asked me if I wanted to take a road trip to O city to see the car. Although I was pretty tired and really wanted to get a walk in, etc., I said yes.

It's a 98 Subuaru - not sure how many miles - $1400. Needs new tires and a driver's side mirror and the windshield replaced. DH was supposed to call the dealer today to talk to them - I forgot to ask him if he did or not.

I really hope this car is workable. A 1 hour road trip is much preferable to a 12 hour roundtrip!

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One of our local gyms is running a contest starting on Monday for a trip to Vegas. You enter as a team of 4, and earn points based on exercise, tracking food, weight loss, participation in nutrition events, etc. You get free access to their gym for the duration of the contest.

The winning team of 4 gets a 3 day/2 night trip to Vegas. Airfare and hotel only.

So ... I got the light duty lady to agree to partner up with me - we'll be assigned two more people.

Doubt we'll win, but it'll be fun anyway. Smile

(This contest is mainly a marketing gimmick to get people to join their gym - it's a new company taking over the locations a defunct gym.)

It's free. Smile (Although you can earn more points by buying stuff at some place, or also by scheduling a chiropractic consultation / visit (sponsors).) I may go ahead and do the chiropractic thing - check to see if a visit would be covered under insurance. Smile

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I ended up getting 6 hours of overtime this week! Two meetings from 5 - 7, and then a 3rd meeting I wasn't supposed to be at initially, from 3 - 5. Due to my union contract, that 30 minutes of OT HAS to be 2 hours. Big Grin

2 of the meetings had about 125 people each, and one had 49 .... lots of twiddle the thumb time at that one.

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I received my signup bonus for the AE Charge card - 25000 points plus another 1000 for my "purchase." (paid medical debt) Let's just say I'm underwhelmed at the choices.

Most likely we're going to go with using it as Amazon credit. 26,000 points translates into $182 at Amazon.

Or we may keep it around in case we do some traveling, and then we could use it on a more dollar for point basis at hotels com.

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I'm going to try contacting N e l n e t again tonight to see if they accept a 3rd party check. I've already sent them two emails through my husband's account (that I set up for him online ...) with no response. (student loans)

DH and I agreed that if we don't get a response within two weeks this time, that we'll send the $600 in rewards from Citi to the mortgage instead. That'd be more than a one-month payment. (The mortgage company responded to my inquiry within about 6 hours!)

Once that finally clears out the rewards points, then I'm going to check into having that card changed into the Double Cash back card (that doesn't have an annual fee.)

DD 16 - Houston, there's been a delay

September 20th, 2016 at 07:22 pm

No Soda. About an 80% on the daily dozen. Chocolate bought and consumed.

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The day didn't start well. I tossed and turned more than slept. Then when DH got home he tells me he's decided his car is "safe" for a 6 hour shift, so wouldn't be using mine. After a 2 hour "discussion" he promised to come straight home and change cars if he had the slightest hesitation about the wheel bearing. (DH got home about 3:20 a.m.)

As soon as I turned the lights on at work, I had a customer - one of the agencies. I later found out that I gave them the low income version instead of the full fare. I was blurry eyed and a bit foggy AND had two calls on hold before I'd even logged in. uGH.

After lunch I found out that the route changes are being postponed til November 1. Citing that the city budget has not been passed.

This is a mixed blessing. On one hand having more time to finalize prep will be very helpful. On the other hand, we have spent a massive amount of time advertising an Oct 3 start date. Now we get to explain that there's a new start date...

BTW - if anyone has an interest in bus driving, we are looking for drivers. ASAP.

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I helped out the first open house about the new routes tonight. 120 people showed up! Less than 7% sounded disgruntled, and of those, most of them we were able satisfy them.

It was actually kind of fun. Tomorrow I get to do it all over again. 4 hours overtime, thanks much. Smile

DD 15 - DH Saves the Day! , etc

September 19th, 2016 at 06:42 pm

Day 15 of no soda.
Had a Kit kat gifted to me by the lady doing light duty. I'm a milk chocolate gal - rarely dark.

I think I got an 87% today. Lots of leftovers from dinner.

I think DH and I are both getting tired of roasted veggies. I need to come up with something else. Not salad. He won't eat salad. Veggies have to be cooked.

---
So, how did DH save the day?

Well last night I was afraid I had fried my blender and my InstaPot. The blender would be a horrible loss due to daily use, and the InstaPot, I'm just starting to figure out what to do with it.

I'd tried everything I could think of. DH had me try plugging the blender in another outlet, and it worked! So then we thought that the outlet went bad.

But when I plugged something into it, it worked!

So, we thought maybe just the IP had fried.

But then DH made the wonderful discovery (which he will tease me about forever) - the removable plug in cord was NOT plugged in to the back of the pot!

Crisis averted. Wooh!

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Of course, on the other hand .. since DH hadn't made an appointment to get his car looked at (the wheel bearing fixed) and had just let it go and go (he did buy the needed parts ...) he tells me on Saturday he needs my car.

It probably will be most of this week before it can get fixed.

Ugh.

And of course this week just so happens to be when I have two evening meetings in a row after work.

Thankfully my boss said she'd be ok with me riding with her to the meeting, and taking me home on Tuesday. Wednesday won't be an issue since DH doesn't work til 9 PM.

But still... Ugh.

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I needed a few stamps to mail something, and since after I got home, DH had the car, I walked to the next closest gas station which sold stamps. (I called first!) Got a good 35 minute walk in too.

On my way home, a lady that I've seen quite a number of times on my walks was in her driveway unloading groceries with her son? She said hi to me and asked me if I lived in the area. I told her that I lived just around the corner. Smile

She then told me that if I ever wanted a walking partner, just bang on her door after 3 pm and she'd throw on some shorts and go! COOL!

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Something else pretty good. I got a call from my doctor's office about my blood work. They said that my platelets had improved a good bit, and to stay on the iron supplements - they seemed to be working!

I need to call back and make an appointment for another retest, and also ask what the numbers were. I hate how they don't give you a copy of the results unless you ask. It's so annoying. I want to track these things myself!

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So, I've been pretty frustrated with one of my paid to exercise apps - bounts. It works fine, but I haven't been able to redeem for a reward in a LONG time. I have enough points for at least $15 worth of rewards.

But they are all out of stock. Except one - Crutchfield. A $25 reward. I need another 2k points or so for.

I had been wondering why I'd even want that. But then I got a catalog in the mail today (or I should say DH did) and it was for ... Crutchfield! I browsed through it and at first thought everything was WAY out of my price range and nothing I'd really want.

Then ... then I saw it. A little device you plug into your stereo which works to make your stereo bluetooth compatiable. That just means that you can listen to your iPhone music without any cords connecting to your speaker system. $50.

This is a goal I can work towards. Smile

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Something else I forgot!
DH agreed to go to a real concert with me! Trans-Siberian Orchestra on Nov 17. It'll be an early birthday celebration for me. Smile Thank goodness the guitarist he likes is in this particular group (I guess they divide the group into two to cover more territory.)

Now I just need to buy the tickets! Big Grin


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