Home > Archive: July, 2022

Archive for July, 2022

Woe Is Me

July 31st, 2022 at 02:38 pm

July expenses and income do not look pretty.

I'm in the hole for the month for $9,400. Partly because a) I had no earned income this month; my first paycheck with the new employer will be delayed as they pay once monthly (!) and you have to wait up to a month after submitting your bill for the first month's work. and b) July is traditionally the most expensive month of the year for me because that's when I pay my car insurance, homeowner's insurance, semi-annual property taxes and, oh, yeah, estimated quarterly taxes were paid a week late.

Today, for the first time in probably decades, I had to redeem $2,000 from my Vanguard money market account (a taxable event for which I had to pay withholding), just to make sure I can cover the 2nd/final payment of $3,600 to my contractor for the board and batten work he's doing in my downstairs, and (together with what's left in my checking account) to cover me until September, when I have an $11K CD coming due. I shouldn't have to rely on that CD money since by then I should have started getting paid by my new employer, but just in case, I will have it.

Hopefully, this redemption (something I'm just not used to) will be a one-time thing until I retire 100% in 2 years' time. I guess things would be ok now if I continued doing this, but mentally, I'm just not ready to start any kind of drawdown in my retirement savings.

As far as liquidity goes, I do also have about $60K in the Vanguard MM. I had greatly added to my balance in that account a number of months ago, knowing that as a young senior it would be good to have that cash available to avoid withdrawals from other Vanguard accounts with true market exposure during a market downturn. So I'm glad now to have done that. I still have to pay taxes on those redemptions, as if they were income, but I'm not shooting myself in the foot by cashing out a stock mutual fund, for example, when its value is depressed.

As far as my downstairs renovation, my guy is coming on Monday for what I hope will be his final day; the painter he works with is also coming to start work prepping the walls for painting. If all goes well, the whole job will be done by week's end, or  maybe a day sooner, which would be a good thing given the forecast of record high heat in the high 90s again.

(The contractor has been in and out, in and out of my house all day long for weeks now as he cuts the boards outside in my driveway. I'm working upstairs, so have to have the central air on, and was surprised my electric bill was not higher than the $126 it was.)

In my last post I wrote about losing both my driver's license and my prescription sunglasses not once, but twice. Well, guess what? I've found both, the 2nd time around, and I'm embarrassed to say where they were. Both were in my purse. I had checked my purse more than once for both, and somehow, I think, the sunglasses in their hard case were not felt or seen and maybe slipped into the bottom recess of the purse. The driver's license just mysteriously showed up, again, in my purse. This happened after I spent $30 for the replacement license and another $65 for replacement sunglasses. But , oh well. Now with 2 of each, there'll be less chance of losing both.

This is what I get for continuously removing the driver's license from my wallet and sticking it into a back pocket so I don't have to worry about a purse being stolen from either my car or the gym locker when I work out; I also do this sometimes when I head to the store and just don't feel like carrying a purse.

As for the sunglasses, I'd read that you shouldn't leave them in a hot car as the heat can damage the tint on the lenses...which means I am continually bringing them inside, bringing them out with me, and it's that much easier to lose track of them.

Everything else is pretty much business as usual. I feel like I've passed up a LOT of social events this year, either over Covid concerns or it was just too darn hot...a memorial get-together for the late  husband of someone in my gardening group; my friend's party, my cousin's pool party, even a group walk...There was even someone from online whom I was about to meet for lunch until I asked if he'd been vaccinated. Apparently, he didn't like the question (because he wasn't vaccinated) and he called it off, saying he no longer felt we were "compatible." Good riddance. Since when are vaccines political?

But yesterday, I did accept an invite from another gardening group friend, this time for late August. I also have tickets to a garden tour with another friend the same day; hopefully we can go in the morning.

My big accomplishment this month was a colonscopy; I was overdue, but what was holding me up was having a designated driver. One of my friends is now fully retired, and could take me there. Everything was fine.

I've been harvesting lots of kale, zucchini, cucumbers and now, tomatoes. Also picked some small eggplant yesterday. Wineberry season has come and gone. The baby bunny born in my raised bed is now often seen grazing on my lawn with its mother.


Lost & Found

July 22nd, 2022 at 06:31 pm

Several months ago I lost my driver's license and could not find it. Finally, I spent $30 for a replacement license. Today I was doing laundry and guess what was plastered up against the glass door? My driver's license.

It was a load of towels with one pair of pants that I wear exclusively to do yard work. They are white and I wear them so I could easily spot a tick if one were to crawl on me. I never wear those pants anywhere, except.....i vaguely remember needing to pick something up from my Buy Nothing group and deciding to go since no one would see me anyway, so I didn't bother changing from my work clothes but did grab my driver's license and slip it in the back pocket.

Sigh. Now if I could just find my missing pair of prescription sunglasses. It's the 2nd time I've lost them this season. Looked high and low, finally caved and ordered a replacement pair today from ($65 for progressive, no line lenses...will never go back to brick and mortar opticians).

We're in the middle of a prolonged heat wave here in New England. Things are expected to moderate by Monday. In the meantime, I am hunkering down indoors, only venturing out after 6 pm to pick wineberries in the yard and do walks in the neighborhood. I may tackle painting my basement walls white tomorrow, seemingly a good task to undertake in the cooler basement. I've painted it before, but not completely.

I had to move a bunch of my potted nasturtiums to another, more shaded spot as they most unhappy, and extra watering did not seem to help. Had to remove the solar bubblers from my bird baths becus the water was evaporating so fast, the little motor in those things was running without water, which wears them out faster.

I' ve scheduled a colonoscopy for myself for next week. Have to do a covid test 2 days prior. When my friend did this recently, the one who's driving me to mine, she tested positive and had to reschedule, although she never had any symptoms. She thought it might have been a false positive. Sure hope that doesn't happen to me. I'm doing a bunch of pills instead of liquids this time around. Wish me luck.

Yesterday I concluded Progressive's "Snapshot" program where you can save on your car  insurance with safe driving/tracking. It went on for an entire year (!) and in the end, I only saved $100, which was disappointing. I had an ongoing score of an "A" for quite a while, and ruined it all (down to a B+) in a single driving trip, when I had driven my friend to HER colonscopy, was hungry waiting and decided to go to nearby Burger King for impossible burger, just 5 minutes away but i got horribly disoriented and had failed to make note of her medical center's address, so got a bit frazzled cus they called while i was trying to find my way back and said she was ready, and anyway, i stepped on the brakes too hard a bunch of times turning this way or that way. As it was, my premium still increased (tho I have never filed a claim in my life) as they do every year, just a little less with the driving incentive savings. Next year, I'll likely need to shop around again becus they only offer good rate when they're trying to lure you from a different insurer.

Decided to renew my job search as I'm still unhappy with the current new job. It's entirely unpredictable when I'll get work, and it's considerably less than the hours they promised at the onset. I also greatly dislike the once month paycheck, which I didn't learn about til after accepting the position. Only found 1 job to apply to so far; this may take a while.


Odds and ends

July 17th, 2022 at 08:26 pm

The India job is going so so. I'm not crazy about it, let's put it that way. The work itself is very tedious and repetitive. When I've asked specific questions about the job, since I'm still new, they take days to reply, if at all.  I'm still not clear on basics like when I can expect to get work, and just learned my hours are NOT 6-10 pm as I was told, but that I could actually do the work as soon as i get it, as long as i turn it in the next day. That's good, cus i was afraid i'd get sleepy working much past 9 pm.

The time zone difference makes it more challenging to get a prompt answer, but anyway, I'll feel better once I get paid. I don't like having to wait a month for a paycheck, and there's also a one-month lag time from the time I bill them and the time i get the money direct-deposited, so i actually have to wait 2 months for my first check!

Meanwhile, my colleague from my old job has been in touch with me, and like the owner, when he laid me off asked, wanted to know if i'd be interested in returning should work pick up again. I would, but 1) i'd need some kind of assurance i wouldn't be laid off again in 3 months or 6 months; a 1-year contract would be pretty nice, and 2), I'd like a big fat raise becus the rise in the cost of living is just crazy and I am overdue for a raise anyway. But who knows if any of that will come to anything. I'm still settling into the India job, so we'll see.

Wineberry season is in full force here so I've been picking....Garden-wise, I'm also picking (and blanching/freezing) kale, string beans, round zucchini squash and cucumbers. I have tons of green cherry tomatoes.

I also had a nest of bunnies in the raised beds, the one with the tomatoes! Not sure how many there were, possibly just two of them. I only discovered this when I returned from the Cape and found a dead chipmunk under the tomato plants and nearby, an injured baby rabbit, eyes still closed. I was able to bring it to a rehabber; bunny was still alive 2 days later when i called to check on it. There was at least 1 other bunny, which popped up out of the dirt when i tried, carefully, to water my tomato plants. It has since left the nest and I see it sometimes now with mama as they help themselves to a diverse menu of greens here. I enjoy having them here, but worry about their safety. They don't seem too smart, letting me get within 5 feet of them before they take off; if I was a predator, they'd never make it.

I've been seeing a doe with her fawn here pretty much daily, as she likes to browse in the pachysanra for the little apples that fall from my last surviving apple tree. I'm afraid the tree is not in great shape, so she may run out of apples soon.

I have a lunch date with a gentleman I met online this week at one of my favorite restaurants here in town. Don't know what I think about him yet but he was pleasant enough to talk to on the phone. He has a full beard. He makes wine and grows his own grapes on his property. He lives within a half-hour drive from me...amazing. He's retired, used to own his own business. We'll see. I'm surprised he suggested lunch; most men these days want to meet for coffee first, and I can't say I blame them given how astronomical restaurant prices have become, and then if it doesn't lead to a 2nd date, it's kind of a waste. He's vegetarian, like me.

I'm getting some work done in my house, and most of my downstairs has been in total disarray for 5 weeks now. He should finish this week, but then his painter comes (not immediately) to paint everything, and that itself (prime + 2 coats) should take at least 4 days. Sigh. It should look great when it's done but I've crammed most of the furniture in the family room so they could work and I'm tired of living this way.

The walls in this old house were in very bad shape, and in the downstairs, there were 2 layers of old wallpaper UNDER paint, which I didn't realize til I started noticing how my fresh paint job never lasted that long and started cracking. Since there's probably lead paint under there, I decided it would be best to cover everything up rather than ripping everything out. Less mess, less dust. The contractor is doing his interpretation of board and batten.  He did the living room, a little back hallway, my dining room and now, the last part, my stairwell going upstairs, should be done this week. It will really dress up otherwise plain walls and solve a problem at the same time. I even thought it would be great if i could have him back next year to continue the board and batten look in my upstairs hallway, which is really like 2 very small rooms.

I thought his price was pretty reasonable. He's SUPER neat and relatively quiet, but since he works solo, progress is very slow. He's a local guy and I trust him, but at the same time, would rather  not leave him alone here for hours at a time; i've done it a few times but would rather not, so while the work is being done, it really kind of ties me down here.

I was hoping he'd done before the heat waves here in the Northeast begin, since he's in and out like 20 times an hour to cut boards and so on, but yeah, our first big heat wave is this week. I'm working upstairs, always a good 5 degrees warmer, and so I've been putting the AC on, not super high, though, at about 78 degrees. It's enough to at least dry the air out.

I drove a friend to her colonscopy a few weeks ago; I'll be asking her to do the same for me once I have it scheduled. The consult is this week. I'm overdue for one but never had anyone to drive me. Now D.'s retired so she has the time.