Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Tending to the quotidian...

Yesterday, after finally falling asleep mid-morning, I only slept a few hours before dragging myself out of bed.  Woe unto she who does not take her gastroparesis medication.

When I am feeling wretched, I oft try to deny the state of being by the pursuit of productivity.  Yesterday, my goal was to tend to the tasks I ear-marked for the beginning of the month, even though April had not yet started:

  • I went to the post office to mail my state taxes and the packages I had been accumulating, since I needed to mail my sister the tax return that I sent in for her.  I also made up two gifts of herbs from the second round of dried herbs that I did.  These I let dry much, much, much  longer and I think they are better.  I sent packets of rosemary, sage, thyme, and oregano. 
  • I went to the donation center and dropped off three grocery bags of books for adults and two garbage bags of clothing, shoes, and purses.
  • I went to the bank and stocked up on $1 bills for future use of "free" valet parking.
  • I scheduled Amos' annual exam, shots, and had the vet add a note to get the city license completed then, too.  April 29th is his "torture" date.
  • I called the insurance company about the lab bills that are still in error.
  • I filed all the paperwork that was in my filing bin atop the filing cabinet.
  • I updated my medical expenses spreadsheet.
  • I backed up my entire computer.
  • I adjusted the "Highlander" savings account from "repair" to "repair and taxes," raising the monthly automatic deposit from $25 to $32 so that I am saving monthly to pay for the annual registration on the car.  I also updated my electronic register program.
  • I adjusted the "Amos" savings account from "repair" to "repair and maintenance," raising the monthly automatic deposit from $10 to $25, which will cover his exam, shots, and heart work medication. I also updated my electronic register program.

The latter two changes were ones I had been thinking about.  April is the most expensive month for me as far as fees and medications and exams and such.  I thought that I really should save up all year long for that vehicle registration fee (this year $79) and for Amos' vet bill.  The vet bill itself is low, but his heart worm medication (a packet of 12 doses) is more than the exam and shots together.  Too bad that I did not think of this sooner.  The changes I made will help me with the puppy care and tax bills in 2016, not 2015.

I do admit that I like the thought of being able to just pay a bill, willy nilly and guilt free, from an account that I put small amounts in each month in preparation for that bill.  I like that thought a lot!

Maybe folk would think it odd that I now have so many small savings amounts moved to separate accounts each month, but I am hoping it is a way to even out my expenses more.  I also set up my dream savings amount (divided monthly) going to my main savings account in the hopes that I will continue to be ever more penurious and end the year with more "savings" than I started.  Realistically, that amount might be just going right back into checking, but I do have the transfer set up in the hopes I can find ways to collect those extra pennies.

Take today.  When I went to use my grill the other day, I discovered the igniter had stopped working, most likely from the grill being knocked over.  Lighting the grill by lifting up all the parts (which I've done three times now) is rather annoying, so I started thinking about replacing my now 15-year-old grill.  BUT I have absolutely no budgetary room for new grills.  After days and days of drooling over possible new grill options (lower cost 2-burner ones), I decided I should just order the part, as I did for the heat tent. However, just as I was about the click the confirmation button, I decided to go out and see if I was going to be able to figure out how to install the new igniter.

Removing the grill rack, heat tent, and bottom tray, I got to the igniter end that is near the burner assembly, but saw no way to access where it attaches to the knob.  After stewing over the matter for a while, I went to the basement to fetch my magnifying sheet and studied the tip of the igniter.  When I turn the knob, there was a spark, but no flame.  I finally noticed that the spark was against the space between the holes in the burner assembly instead of in front of one of the holes. I very carefully bent the tip of the igniter until it was in front of one of the holes and ... voila! ... the igniter lit the grill.

No new grill for me, but also no scrimping and saving to accommodate a new grill.

Another scrimping victory is that Tim found a source of free mulch that he is going to use in my beds.  It is all natural and ground up, not quite the lovely dark brown color I adore, but it is free.  That will save me half of the money he was going to charge for mulching.  That means, if all goes well, my mulching costs will be 1/4th of what I've spent in years past on a gazillion of those heavy bags.

Free mulch is good because I was surprised to learn that my real estate taxes are nearly $100 more than last year.  I never received a bill, and each time I logged onto my account, the payment details were there (checking account info), but not the tax bill.  The first half is due May 11th and finally I was able to actually view the tax amount, though not the actual bill.  GULP.  It is a very good thing that I have a healthy cushion built into my "house" savings account.

Today, I worked on culling more children's and young adult books.  I think that there is a chance that I could now take all the books from the basement "bookshelf" (a stacking of old boxes) and move them upstairs.  I am just not quite confident to start the process of hauling books up two flights of stairs.  Anyway, I was far more successful with that than with getting anything out of the attic or basement.  I had accumulated some empty boxes of things that I had acquired (like the sewing machine) and thought I might need or could use mailing something.  I am a bit chagrinned to admit that I took 11 empty boxes out to the recycling bin and cut them down.

I was right. The attic is lean and mean.  And, for the most part, so is the basement.  I just cannot throw out perfectly good office supplies, so they remain in their boxes on the shelves.  I did re-discover than on that wall of shelves and boxes, two are empty. I left the empty boxes so things would look ... even.

I asked Firewood Man if he could track down some book boxes for me to use to make the donation, whenever I finish culling and find a place to take the books.  The current books-to-donate count is 263.  That seems such a small number compared to what I have left in my collection.  Since I am keeping the bestest examples, I thought that maybe as friends with children visit, I might pass on a few of those.

Oh, speaking of mailing things ... one of my "household" purchases this month are envelopes to use next month (and in the future).  I bought small padded envelopes so that I could mail out samples of my roasted seeds.  [Yes, I might possibly be overly proud of them.]  If you are thinking that you are a near-and-dear-one in need of a roasted seed sample, feel free to let me know.  Right now, I am thinking that I need to go treat myself to another serving!

Okay, I took a break from writing. I just had to know.

Yes, I could empty out the "bookshelves" from the basement livings space.  I was able to do so by putting all the multicultural picture books in the picture book bookcase that had an empty shelf, putting the multicultural biographies into the informational bookcase, and then to put the multicultural young adult books in the YA and middle readers bookcase.  In order to do so without having to move the antique books back up on top of the case, I had to add to the pile of book donations pictured above.

I thought I had six total, but I had eight.  Eight what?  Eight copies of Aesop's fables.  Yes, I really wanted to keep them all.  I decided to keep just one picture book version and one full collection version.  I actually still have a bit of space in the fantasy and folk tale bookcase in the living room, the formerly Christian fiction bookcase in the upstairs hallway, and the "Myrtle's Favorites" bookcase in my bedroom.  Plus, I want to see about weeding out a bit more of the not-exactly-stellar fantasy books in my bedroom, the ones I do not re-read as often.

However, I am so very, very, very exhausted.  Going up and down staircases is terribly difficult for me, much less doing so whilst holding a rather heavy stack of books.  I would have a Dr Pepper to comfort my weary self if ... and I really am loathe to admit this ... if I did not find them not quite as tasty as I used to do so.  I feel as if I have betrayed my soul with that.  SIGH.

I still need to vacuum.
At least the silver is still bring and shiny.
Thank you, Hagerty's.


gbkulp said...

I think I need a roast seed sample!

Myrtle said...

You totally are on the list, Becky!