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Keeping it all together

April 3rd, 2015 at 03:38 pm

This was a very trying week.

Both my parents have been having medical issues; my dad, physical ones and my mom, mental ones.

It would be too lengthy and involved to get into the details here, but it was bad enough that I asked my boss to let me work from home today, and all of next week, so I could make the kind of highly personal phone calls I need to make (related to getting care for my mother) from the privacy of home, not my cube where 10 people would hear everything.

My boss is very accommodating, and agreed. I'm pretty sure that when I asked her to meet with me privately in a meeting room at work that she thought I was going to give notice and quit. So when I merely said I wanted to work at home for a week, she readily agreed and was no doubt relieved. Smile I also got out of having to go to a quarterly "team" meeting out-of-state, a real pain in the butt because this time I would have to rent a car just to make a 3-hour trip up there, and then drive another 3 hours home. Due to the start time of the meeting, it would mean a very early start, and driving home at rush hour. I was stressing about it and just not wanting to go when I had so many other things on my mind, so she made it easy on me and didn't make a fuss about it.

I like my boss. I can't say I know her very well, as far as her personal life, but over the past year-and-a-half we've developed a kind of rapport and an understanding that seems to work well. She's learned she can rely on me to get a quality job done, quickly.

I wasn't able to make much progress on stuff related to my mother, though, because a lot of places are closed becus it's Good Friday.

Aside from those quarterly meetings, which I disliked from the start, I am enjoying my job. Lately I've been writing marketing collateral for the bank to talk up our student loans. Marketing is my background and so doing this all came very naturally to me; it adds some nice variety to my customer communications writing, which is probably 70% letters, 20% emails and 10% online banking messaging, statement stuffer messaging, statement stuffer inserts and that sort of thing.

I did have a lawn guy come out to give me a price on weekly mowings. I've done it for 19 years myself, but it's getting too much for me. He said the best he could do was $45, which includes trimming and blowing. Still, over the course of 26 weeks from mid-April thru October, that's over $1,000.

I had another guy here a week ago, when there was still too much snow on the ground,and he said "$40 or $45." But he wanted to return to look at the terrain when the snow melted, which it mostly has. If I can get him back here and agree to $40, I'll go with him. It's a pretty big new expense just for lawn mowings, but not only would I be GLAD to not have to have this particular physically challenging exercise, but it will save me SO much time better spent doing other things. So the money will be WELL worth it, although I will try to get it for the least amount of money possible. I am actually kind of excited at the thought that I could enjoy a summer without having to worry about lawn mowing.

I'm also still mulling over my 3 quotes for the redo of my front stairs, landing and stone retaining walls, plus a new, 8-foot diameter, circular landing done in pavers which should be very attractive and really enhance curb appeal as you approach the front door. I'm mainly negotiating with one of them and he plans to bring his father over again next week to doublecheck his measurements and give me his final best price. I know he wants the job and I believe they can do a good job, but I want to get the price below $10,000. After he gives me his very best price, I'm going to ask if he could discount further if I pay in hard, cold cash. This often works.

I will likely get it done sometime in April or perhaps early May, although this worries me as I have a lot of spring flowering bulbs that I will have to relocate at the worst possible time, during their bloom or imminent bloom. There is a fairly large azaela (well, about 2.5 feet wide and high) that could be saved, but I'm not sure if I want to as there's vinca and poison ivy tangled up under it. There are also 2 small mountain laurels that could be sacrificed if need be, as the deer nibble them to death and they don't look like much. But I also have a pile of perennials, mainly my prized autumn joy sedums, that will need to be dug up, temporarily stored under the shade to left of garage, until the work is done and I can put them back where they were.

Yet another "project" is my mother's heat system/heat pump, which plumber says needs some parts replaced to tune of $450. My mother wanted me to look around for someone who would do it cheaper, but quite honestly, for $450, I don't have time. It's bad enough I have to schedule these things for her and even possibly arrange to be there when he arrives. I'm not sure how long I can keep this up. I JUST DON"T HAVE TIME to chase prices on everything.

On the agenda this weekend, I'll be using $5 in Kohl's cash on something that doesn't get me to spend more when I don't really need anything. So a pair of socks will do.

I also redeemed $75 in wellness incentive rewards from my health insurance provider, Cigna, on $40 gift card at Whole Foods and $35 for Red Lobster, where I plan to take my mother. After signing up for Red Lobster email, I also earned a free appetizer or drink, which we can use when we do lunch there sometime soon.

Easter will probably be just the two of us. After an argument with my sister where I asked her not to come to family get-togethers with her bad attitude, she said she just wouldn't come, period. I doubt that after all these years she could change her attitude even if she tried, so I didn't bother to argue about it. So I'm just planning on picking up a whole chicken and some sides at Boston Market and that will be our Easter dinner. Afterwards, I might take my mother to Whole Foods, since she expressed an interest after I took her there once, a year ago, and I have that gift card now to use. I don't shop there regularly due to their prices, but if I see an opportunity to treat myself, like with my wellness incentive redemption, I will. Being vegan, I find very little at to buy at standard supermarkets.

I was excited to see that my local GP's office has added an acupuncturist to their roster. It was this same GP practice, basically 1 doctor and the APRN, who sent out surveys to their customers not once, but twice, attempting to gauge interest in a practice where you pay a whole lot of money upfront so you have 24/7 access to the doctor himself. This is a really elitist kind of practice that you see in affluent areas.

Apparently enough people who responded dissuaded him from pursuing that route, and I was happy to see that later, they added 2 more docs to their practice that enabled them to offer evening hours. And now they've got the acupuncturist. I was thinking how great it would be to see the acupuncturist for a possible 5 for 1 combo treatment: anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia and hot flashes, but unfortunately, I checked with my insurer and they don't cover acupuncture at all.

After work, I vacuumed the house.

3 Responses to “Keeping it all together”

  1. Kiki Says:

    Could you get away with twice a month instead of weekly grass mowing? That is what i am going to be doing starting next week. Then I only pay $70/month.

  2. PatientSaver Says:

    Kiki, I've thought about that, but you know, in the dead of summer there are periods when it's so hot the grass doesn't grow, but probably for most of the other time, the grass needs to be cut weekly. I can't just call them on an ad hoc basis to tell them not to come, it has to be a regular schedule....i suppose i could try the ]every other week schedule and see how it goes, but that means i'll probably wind up doing some mowings myself.

  3. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    That is good you have such an understanding and flexible employer. I hope the situation with your parents improves. {{hugs}}

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