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. )
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. 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.