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Archive for October, 2016

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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 ...

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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.

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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.)

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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.)

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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

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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.

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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

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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 ...)