Home > Archive: November, 2022

Archive for November, 2022

A small victory, but lots of big bills looming...

November 29th, 2022 at 04:11 pm

Greetings, all.

I'm feeling very happy that after my Internet bill rose from $39 to $52 due to 2 promotions expiring, the rep on the phone was not only able to lower my bill, but to reduce it further, to just $32 a month, a price that will be good for 1 year. (I know that many of you are going to tell me you pay much more. Smile )

That feels like a minor miracle, given how everything is going up in price these days.

However, I have so many looming big expenses coming up, just at a time when my income is shrinking (due to lack of work from employer).  These expenses include about $650 in car maintenance (I will use my AAA member 10% discount at the car dealer); half of my annual property taxes, $3,383, due by the end of December; my estimated Q4 federal and state income tax (due Jan 15) and, down the road, the possibility of needing 1 or 2 crowns for cracked teeth, to the tune of up to $3,200. That one's not a definite, at least for right away, but something to keep on my radar.

Guess I'm gonna have to tackle the car maintenance first. I had tried getting a price from the local station near me, but they failed to call me back as promised, so eh. They don't accept the AAA member discount, nor do they have anywhere for you to sit and wait, which is likely what I'll have to do. So the dealer it is.

I am still spending time with M., the man I met online back in September. I usually see him every week, but he's very frugal, like I am, so aside from that first time we met at a riverfront restaurant, he usually has me over for dinner, or vice versa, and sometimes we do food shopping trips to outlet stores, Asian and Indian markets and the organic farm stand in Millerton.

He and I cooked a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner for us and my dad at his place. It was probably the best Thanksgiving dinner I ever had. I made a really good cranberry-blueberry salsa and vegan ice cream for dessert, and his turkey (I got it for free from BJs) with mushroom gravy was the best. However, we forgot to put the stuffing on the table and so that was a bust.

He didn't want any of the leftover turkey as his fridge was packed, so I took it all home and made turkey soup a day or two later.


I'm pleased to report that my Christmas shopping is almost done. I only bought for 5 people; I will have to pay additional shipping to mail presents to my 2 cousins, and of course my father will complain that I bought him anything at all, but he will be getting a pair of slippers.  M. is (agnostic) Jewish and he's a big foodie like me, so I was thinking what fun it would be to buy him small gifts for each day of Hanukkah, but he said no, that's just for the kids. Nevertheless, I got him several things for the kitchen, including a much-needed knife sharpener, a large bamboo cutting board, a silicone garlic roll and a mushroom jerky sampler (delicious). I'll also be making bird treats for him to put in his feeders and hang from his trees. Smile Plus some "Men Don't Stink" soap.

Luther and I went to see a new vet this week; I had a copy of his chest x-ray from last year, a video of Luther having a coughing fit and the other vet's records. This vet said that asthma and lung cancer look very similar on film but that treatment would be the same, steroids to reduce inflammation. I know Luther's days are numbered. At 16, though, he's doing okay, and the meds are making him eat more, which is a good thing becus he's always been a fussy eater and his weight had dropped from 10 lbs to 8.something. The steroids have reduce the coughing fits, from 3 or 4 times a night to just 1 that I'm aware of. We will need to taper down, though, so I hope his improvement lasts with the reduced dose.

Yesterday I got the tree up and piles of Christmas decorations out, many of which have memories of loved ones no longer here. Hung the big wreath above the garage, so it's the first thing you see when you come up the driveway. Right now I'm recharging batteries for the candles that go in my windows.

Good morning!

November 15th, 2022 at 02:02 pm

Mouse in House

I  noticed my last entry here was about a mouse, and, well, I seem to be repeating the mouse tales since the weather has suddenly turned cold after a very warm autumn.  I had 2 traps set behind a little secret door to nowhere at the top of my basement stairs; I can always reliably catch mice there cus it's right next to the furnace flue, and its warmth attracts the mice.

I noticed the other day that one of the traps was missing, and I peered around a pillar as far as I could crane my neck, but couldn't find the mouse or trap, but now I know for sure it's somewhere as I'm noticing the smell in my office, directly above, and also the downstairs hall off the kitchen, right next to the same area. I'll have to investigate again, this time with a stick or something.

Portfolio Scary to Behold

Well, compared to a year ago, my overall portfolio is down about $131,000, and that's being pretty conservatively invested, 50/50 stocks/bonds. I'm trying not to do any unnecesssary spending...

Job Woes

...but the fact is, I've been living partly on savings for day to day expenses due to the fact my p/t Indian job, which I've had since August, is giving me maybe 9 hours of work on average each week when it was supposed to be 20. I did ask them for 2 things: 1. to let me know on those days when they won't have any work for me, and 2. to honor my 2 days off, days they assigned to me. Not doing either one has wreaked havoc on my personal life as I'm afraid to go off and run errands or do other things if I think they may send me work. I need to turn it around in 24 hours, so I Iike to get on top of it quickly.

After I complained about it (nicely), they are still doing exactly the same thing, and they never did respond to my original complaint! Yes, I'm looking for other work to either supplement or replace this job, but the fact is, it's difficult to find p/t work at the rate of pay I'm earning, and I won't return to f/t work. I may just need to stick it out for another 1.75 years until I pick up Medicare. My old employer, the pharma agency, has said I'd be their first choice to to hire back if work picks up, but I'm not counting on anything.

Miscellaneous Saving Opportunities or Scores

In the meantime, I'm always on the lookout for opportunities to save money somehow.  My US Bank card is offering 20% cash back on any spending between now and year's end. I'm preparing to apply for  a Capitol One $200 cash back bonus card, but one of my credit bureau acounts is inaccessible and I need to unfreeze all 3 before I apply.

I was able to sell about $1750 (that's net of 30% commission) of my mother's art through a local gallery in recent months, much of it to a single person who truly has become a "patron" of my mother's art.

By spending $150 at BJs during a certain time period (not much more than I'd usually spend), I scored a free turkey, which I'll be picking up at the end of the week. I am still eating largely vegetarian, but the man I've been spending time with has offered to cook a late Thanksgiving dinner for me and dad a few days after Thanksgiving, so I am giving him the turkey as I'll never want to eat that much turkey; I may ask for some leftovers to make turkey soup, but that's it.

Gushing About Garlic

Now that we've had a hard frost, I was able to heavily mulch my garlic with a layer of leaves for winter protection; I had one last spare piece of plastic fencing (I routinely use plastic fencing to deter deer from nibbling my rhododendrons and mountain laurel), and I lay the fencing over the leaves on the raised bed; it nicely covered about 90% of its length and should keep the leaves from blowing away in heavy winds.

I maybe tried growing garlic once a long time ago, and decided to give it another shot with a hardneck variety from Spain.  Most of my leaf raking is done, and my attached garage is stuffed with overwintering annuals like geraniums, lantana, gazania daisies, nasturtium, mint, coleus, angel wing begonia and a fig tree seedling I have high hopes for.

I've decided it's better for me to park the car in the driveway during a snowstorm, because I can park it further down the driveway, saving myself a good 20 feet (or more, if I park on the slope) of snow shoveling. So I'l be able to avoid opening up the big garage door, and I've got a large window on the south side that lets in a lot of light. I water lightly, like once every few weeks or less.

Connection From the Past

Those of you who know me from years ago may remember my frequent mentions of my old friend R., who died maybe 3 or 4 years ago. Some time ago, I joined a Facebook Slovak genealogy group, although I am not actively doing family tree research right now. I came upon a post by someone in the Slovak group who shared R.'s last name and seemed to live in my area. I left a comment on his post, and sure enough, it's a cousin who said he wil PM me soon. I am curious to learn who he is; R. mentioned his extended family from time to time, but I don't remember any specifics.