I did my expense report a little early. I'm in the hole for $324 this month, meaning expenses exceeded income by that amount. Bummer. That hasn't happened in a while.
I had a lot of atypical expenses all the way around, including my $150 annual borough tax, a $196 tab for framing mom's art, I blew $100 taking dad out for Father's Day, my $149 Ancestry.com membership, $160 in co-pays for physical therapy, Waldo's $330 vet bill and oh yeah: $438 in groceries this month!
I think I may skip doing my monthly investment report. I don't want to see how much I lost, on paper.
Archive for June, 2016
I did my expense report a little early. I'm in the hole for $324 this month, meaning expenses exceeded income by that amount. Bummer. That hasn't happened in a while.
Here's a better picture of one of mom's shades on my window. Still like? I do!
I'm just wrapping up 2 loads of laundry. Also had a big salad for lunch with a chopped hard-boiled egg and some delicious miso scallion sesame seed dressing i really like a lot.
I have fun plans lined up for this weekend with dad and my friend R., who expressed an interest after meeting my dad for the 1st time at my mother's funeral to do something fun with him.
So my dad has asked me twice for us to take a drive down to the city where I work or some other place along the shoreline where the fishing boats go out. He likes to go bass fishing.
He just wants to scope it out with me, not go out on the boat that day. So R. expressed an interest and willingness to do the driving if I meet him with dad at a commuter rest stop on the way down to work. It's convenient for both of us so he wouldn't have to do extra driving to pick us up where I live, and after showing dad where I work and the waterfront, the touristy area where the fishing boats go out, we'll do lunch somewhere and tour some of the beaches on Long Island Sound.
It's all new to dad who has spent his retirement years on the Jersey shoreline.
Happily, the little brown bunny I've been seeing is still around. I was reading up on Eastern Cottontails and see their home range is usually about 1.4 acres, so it seems my yard is their existence.
Interestingly, they don't dig their own digs but reuse other animals, burrows, such as woodchucks. Well, I certainly have a lot of those! And I have plenty of dense cover and escape routes for them.
May you prosper and multiply! I say that after 20 years of nearly no bunnies.
Finally, we're getting a little rain tonight,and more for tomorrow is expected. We've had weeks of perfect summer weather, but it's also been very dry, and my lawn is showing it.
In the meantime, the offering of a small dish of raisins has been enjoyed by somebody, not sure who. I left it in the driveway near the robin nest. Didn't want to put it too close to the nest in case it attracted predators, like crows, but near enough they may get to it first.
I would love to see the smart and fearless Elizabeth Warren as Hilary's running mate.
Countdown to the long weekend begins! Only 1 more day in the office.
One of the very last things I took from my mother's condo, after the buyer had already committed to the purchase, was my mother's handmade window shades.
I always liked them and I know it was a lot of work for her to make shades for all the windows in her condo. So I took them, not being at all sure they'd be the right size for my windows.
This morning as I lay in bed trying to decide on the day's agenda, it suddenly occurred to me that I should delve into the shades which were dumped in my basement 9 months ago. The longer they sat down there, the more dirty/dusty and possibly unusable they'd become.
That spurred me into action and I'm happy to say, I got my 2 front, east-facing windows covered. These windows have been problematic for me because while I have wood shutters covering the bottom, I chose to leave the tops bare. No privacy issues here. Yet the summer sun is quite strong and pours in these windows from sunrise to about 1 p.m., and ever since one of the giant pine trees in the row along the road came down in a storm, there's a big gap in the middle of that row of trees and even more sun hits the house. Good in winter, not so great in summer.
When you don't have central air, covering up sunny windows is very important. These should help the house stay cool
Here's what it looks like now:
This is the front window in the living room. Do you think it looks funny to have bottom half shutter, top half blind? Be honest.
I'll try to take pix this afternoon when sun changes position so you can get a better view. One of the dining room windows had a white lacy curtain on top, but I think it looks too granny-like:
I like a more contemporary look.
The fabric is a nice canvas type muslin or something, off-white, and she used a wood beam at the top, which I screwed into the wall, and little wood dowels that span the width of the curtains for the rows between the square-shaped blocks.
Her condo windows were much wider than mine, but not as long, vertical-wise. I had to (bravely) cut the wood beam at top in the middle and then I had 2 shades that covered my windows pretty well width-wise, but are about 5 inches too short. That's why it's good I already have the shutters up, becus you'd never notice they were short and I would never have them down all the way.
So I have 2 curtains up and would like to do the 2nd window in the dining room. That would still leave me with enough curtains to cover 3 more windows but I may stop there due to their being short and just save them in case I do ever move.
Looking at these shades more closely I now realized, in my mother's sewing supplies, why she had so many small white plastic circles. She used them to thread the strings in back of the shades. I thought they were very cleverly made. She used velcro to attach the top of the shades to the wood bar at top, which in turn is screwed into the window.
In other news, I found a new place for "Celebration."
I moved this piece from mom's condo last May, and it was so big and bulky my handyman and I just parked it in front of an old wood chest I have, and there it stayed, blocking the chest and taking up a lot of space. But I've had so many other things to attend to. Now that a big chunk of the artwork has been donated, I was able to move Celebration from the living room to the dining room hallway. It doesn't seem in the way there.
For the first time I was able to get a really good look at the baby robins today. Each time I'd looked before, mama Robin was on the nest, and I didn't want to disturb her. This time, I'm guessing she was off hunting. Still couldn't see much with the naked eye, with all the mountain laurel branches in the way, but with the binoculars, wow, what a difference. I was able to see there are 3 baby robins, and after just 1 week since fledging, they are pretty big. The 3 were all sitting there with their mouths wide open and I could see clear down their throats! Waiting for food to arrive.
By next weekend, they should be ready to leave the nest, and I'm very anxious for them to do so becus then I can clean all the leaves that have collected on the patio below them, hang up 3 new macrame plant hangers in the shade of the rhododendrons and prune some nearby boxwoods. And vacuum my car, and water some plants. I've been trying to not make a lot of disturbance in their vicinity.
So for the rest of today, not sure what I'll do. I was trying to push myself to visit Promisek, a garden that is only open 1 day each month in the summer. But I'd be perfectly happy spending the day cooking up something good for the coming workweek, reading, tending to my garden and what not. Which is what I'll probably end up doing.
I'm taking this Friday off from work which means I only have to drive in to the office 2 days and work at home the other two. Sweet.
1. Drove up to gallery to collect 3 pieces she framed for me. We always have a nice talk when I go up there. I also gave her some of my mother's art supplies I thought she could use, including a large roll of plastic to wrap framed pieces in, and panes of 12 x 16 glass. I am trashing and recycling some old used metal frames.
2. Stopped at the organic farm and bought a head of lettuce. The Farmer's Market begins this Tuesday for the season and now that they're open til 6 pm, I can scoot over right after work (on a work from home day, conveniently) and browse the market, which they've expanded to include homemade foods and food vendor trucks.
3. Stopped at Bed Bath & Beyond, wanting to use up the $55 balance on an old gift card. I spent it on one of those new outdoor garden hoses that's made of a very lightweight fabric that is a heck of a lot easier to drag around than the rubber hoses. It was very expensive for what it is, but I think it will be worth it becus I HATE dragging heavy 100 ft. long hoses around the driveway and lawn.
4. Filled up the gas tank at BJs.
5. Stocked up on cat food at WalMart, plus cat litter.
I had a bit of a scare after bringing Waldo back from vet becus even after he got his allergy shot and was breathing so much better, he wasn't eating all day Friday, so he missed getting both his meds. I spoke to vet and scheduled another visit for Tuesday for full body x-ray to look for cancer. I was very worried.
Then, like magic, Waldo appears famished by Saturday afternoon. Vet had said the shot, which is a steroid, increases appetite, but maybe it takes a while for this particular effect to kick in. He seems like his old loving self again. So I'm pretty sure, as long as nothing else changes again, that I can cancel the Tuesday afternoon appointment with vet.
My mind is still foggy as it's only 5:30 a.m. but i caught the headlines: Britain has left the EU, which I think is a big mistake. Already, world stock markets, which soared in anticipation of a "no" vote," have begun tumbling.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has resigned. Unbelievable. The future of the British Empire is in doubt, as Northern Ireland and Scotland have voted to remain in the EU.
It's going to be a rough day on Wall Street. Hang tight.
From the AP:
LONDON (AP) -- Stock markets crashed, oil prices tumbled and the pound fell to a 31-year low on Friday as Britain's unprecedented vote to leave the European Union shocked investors and dragged the region, the world's largest economic bloc, into a new era of uncertainty.
Investors rushed to dump European shares as soon as markets opened, following earlier drops in Asia, and Wall Street was set to fall sharply amid concerns about the economic consequences of the vote. The move could drain confidence among companies and business in Britain and the wider EU, which some fear could even face more defections.
Britain's decision to leave the EU launches what will be years of negotiations over trade, business and political links with the EU, which will shrink to a 27-nation bloc. Above all, it creates uncertainty, which is toxic to businesses looking to making investments or consumers looking to make purchases.
It could also threaten London's position as one of the world's pre-eminent financial centers as professionals could lose the right to work across the EU. The U.K. hosts more headquarters of non-EU firms than Germany, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands put together.
Waldo's appointment was scheduled for 3:15 today, but I had no idea if I'd be able to catch him and get him in the carrier.
I knew I had just one chance to get a very quick and squirmy cat becus after that, he'd be too frightened to let me near him.
Around 1 pm I got my chance as he was on TOP of the bed, not under it. I scooped him up and got him in the carrier. I hate having to do it that way becus he is so trusting and then I do THAT and he deeply mistrusts me for weeks.
Now I had a very unhappy and vocal cat in the carrier 2 hours ahead of schedule. I called the vet's office to see if i could come earlier, but the vet was in surgery.
so poor Waldo wailed for 2 hours straight and shook the gate of the carrier in a big way.
Very stressful. Vet checked his blood and said he doesn't have kidney disease, which is what I suspected since he spends a lot of time sitting in front of the water dish and he does throw up a lot.
He agreed that being all congested due to allergies could be why he hasn't been eating becus he can't smell his food.
So he did the bloodwork and urine sample will be back tomorrow. I got some antibiotics becus his white cell count was high and it's possible he has a UTI. He also got his allergy shot.
He seems to be breathing easier. He did eat, but not a lot.
Now I'll have to figure out a way to ensure he gets both his hyperthyroid pills 2x daily plus the antibiotic. Easier when I work at home, not so easy when I don't have time to watch him. I have to be careful Luther doesn't come up and eat his medicated food when I'm not looking. So I'm constantly picking up and putting down plates.
The bill was $330, which hurt, but what are you going to do. It's my Waldo.
It was a little chaotic in the vet's office so i never really got to ask him if his kidney function is normal, why the throwing up and why is he sitting in front of water dish all the time.
I hope this was all a false alarm. He is 15, so I thought this might be it.
9 pm UPDATE: Waldo has forgiven me. He's been very relaxed and affectionate and he is breathing so much better. His whole demeanor seems to have changed.
In other news, I posted something on a local tag sale site that hadn't sold in my tag sale, and it was picked up today. That brings my tag sale total to $150. I will probably keep trying to sell certain things piecemeal, altho i already have the car loaded up with a 2nd batch of stuff going straight to Good Will or dump tomorrow. I need to make room for my future.
I'm worried about Waldo. Made an appointment with the vet for tomorrow afternoon, but I'm not at all sure I'll get a chance to grab him and put him in the carrier. All I get is one shot and after that he'd be too terrified to let me near him.
I finally got him to eat a few small mouthfuls tonight by sharing my Alaskan wild sockeye salmon, his favorite meal.
If you remember I mailed a letter to someone on the board of directors at Masonicare asking him to intervene on my behalf with all the people over there who allowed this outstanding bill for the month to month rental of the wheelchair they lost.
He did promptly send my letter to the president of Masonicare, who in turn contacted a certain someone at Masonicare in my town and magic has happened. Today I got an emailed letter which I'd requested stating that I'm not responsible for this bill. They also said the amount past due would be paid this week.
He was pretty nice and I was very appreciative. I'm sure I have few fans at Masonicare becus I raised such a stink, but if I hadn't, this 6-month-long saga would have continued even longer. I need to move on with my life.
Yesterday someone came over to the house to look at my garage sale leftovers and bought a few things, so my total now for the sale is $130. I brought some items to Good Will this a.m. on my way in to work and put some things in the trash as well.
There is so much more still in garage, but I need to stop and figure out how to dispose of it. No rest for the weary.
I got a heads up on an upcoming assignment at work I'm actually interested in, that will engage me. Writing 2 white papers for the bank's Healthcare sales team. To be perfectly frank, writing direct mail stuff (letters and emails, mainly) is not that challenging, and the marketing stuff, well, I've done it for years. I like something i can dig my teeth into and takes some writing finesse.
The baby robins have finally hatched. The ones in the nest just outside the sunroom and directly above my new sitting area on the paver driveway. I've tried to avoid that area entirely so as not to alarm them, but chipmunks, known to eat bird eggs and even fledglings, live nearby. But anyway, they are very, very quiet. I hear crows overhead every morning, and they of course would kill them. So it must be a survival instinct.
It takes 2 weeks to fledge and so I've marked my calendar to watch when that happens so I can prune some shrubs in that area, hang 3 macrame plant hangers I bought a while ago and use my blower to clean all the fallen leaves there.
I can't really look at the nest from inside the sun room without them seeing me as I peer from behind the blinds, which I lowered to give them privacy and so the cats wouldn't freak them out. I left one blind up just a little so I can periodically check on them but I don't have a great view.
Yesterday I got the state of CT estate tax return from accountant (or his assistant) and there were 3 different careless mistakes I caught, any of which would have surely caused the probate court to reject the filing and cause delays. One was to list and count my mother's condo as an asset upon death when I had already sold it months earlier, thus greatly increasing the size of total estate (and my probate fees). The 2nd mistake was not checking one question "no" in a series of questions that were all marked "no." The 3rd was using a form for people who died in 2011! Geez.
Becus we were just days away from the deadline, I decided to run down to the court to hand-deliver it in person.
Now I have to wait until mid-July to file the next form.
I am toying with the idea of getting 2 or 3 quotes for central air conditioning, although I hadn't planned on doing that this year, or even at all, necessarily.
I had my garage sale yesterday, 9 to 3. As usual, I had most people coming in the morning. Even though I said "No early birds" in the ad, I had at least 3 groups of people arriving as early as 8 a.m. while I was still setting up, which was annoying and a little disrespectful. I could see people showing up 10 or 15 minutes early, but to arrive an hour early just tells me they are accustomed to disregarding the seller's request, and so on behalf of all tag sellers, I turned them away, knowing I was likely turning away possible sales.
Dad came over and sat with me for a few hours, which was nice.
Even though I had all kinds of big stuff I dearly wanted to get rid of (a twin headboard, some large foam core and poster board sheets, a mat cutter) and a bunch of photography equipment (tripod, studio light stands), I mostly sold the stuff priced for less than $5, like quite a few spools of thread (.50 each), a fair amount of low-priced jewelry and so on. I also sold some stuff that I frankly thought was worthless, like a glass florist vase that I "painted" by pouring paint inside the clear glass, or 2 pieces of plexiglas sheets.
I did sell 2 pieces of my mother's art. I felt a little guilty selling them at a tag sale, but I know my mother's style pretty well, and these 2 pieces seemed like unfinished works and in fact were not signed. She could have been experimenting with something or she just never got around to finishing them. A young woman immediately noticed them upon arriving and was very excited to get them, so that made me happy too.
And yes, after feedback from all of you, I did last minute launder and then put out the twin comforter my mother used for 3 months. It sold for $10 (value about $20).
So I grossed $114 and my newspaper ad was $10, so net was about $104.
After the sale was over, dad came back after having gone home and I took him out to an early Father's Day dinner at a new British/Italian restaurant in town.
The garage sale was probably not worth it. Now I have to clear out the stuff in garage that I spent so much time arranging. I will now trash some things, donate stuff to Good Will but will still hang on to unsold stuff that I still think I should be able to sell (given the right venue), like the photography stuff.