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...
...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.