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Archive for July, 2020

This & That

July 29th, 2020 at 01:24 pm


I completely gave up last last weekend (no idea where to begin). Finally decided, Meh, will just dive into the minutiae on Monday.

Then... last week was just completely overwhelming. & so it continues. (Accidents, tragic deaths, medical scares, etc.)

We had the first COVID-19 positive at my job. Not really relevant because it wasn't in my 5-employee office. But... My boss was completely MIA (being super cautious) and it was just a super weird week.

{Employee was very mildly ill and has recovered}.

Last week was pretty slow at work (compared to average), and Monday was the most peaceful I ever remember (with people actually in the office). ??? Super weird. Large problems had suddenly resolved. I was really liking yesterday. I thought, "If only we could get MH's unemployment squared away." He's owed about $5,000 that seems to be lost in space.

Edited to add: I know we will sort out eventually. I just don't have any high hopes that it will be any time soon.

When I got home, MH told me he had called the unemployment office. I told him, "That sounds useless." Since all I have heard is you could call literally 1,000 times and never get through. But... He reached a semi-helpful human that said she was aware of the glitch he got caught in, and the only way to get out was to call. So... I guess it wasn't completely pointless? Not holding my breath, but they have been notified. (The person on the line couldn't personally help him, but knew exactly what was wrong: a computer glitch).

MH also took the cat to the vet for annual shots on Monday.

And... MH also got some quotes for some shower repairs. The more I get caught up around the house, the more I Feel like I am adding two more to-do list items for every one item I cross off. I think it's just this in-between stage. As the house gets in order, I am adding projects to my list. I also had an incredible ability to not "see" things while bogged down by infinite bigger problems. But... As long as MH is unemployed, it's easier to get through some of these items.

We did make it to the last 8 movies (of Top 100 list). In no particular order, still have to watch:

Raging Bull
Star Wars (only one I've seen)
Blade Runner
Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid

We were able to pick up Shane & Nashville from the library (curbside pickup) and a few others we already watched. I don't entirely understand why but it sounds like we had for several weeks. (Maybe a new shutdown?). I don't know, I just borrow digital content anymore. MH is the one who takes the time to actually go to the library. So we may knock those out this weekend and get those returned to the library. We don't need to be hogging up all these movies we have.

Thai Basil Chicken

July 4th, 2020 at 02:03 pm

Thai Basil Chicken

Text is and Link is

I have never attempted to make any Thai food before.
O.M.G. So Good!

Traditionally this is a very spicy dish. MH literally only picked up one pepper. ??? I don't know. As I have learned from Indian cooking, just throw in a little extra cayenne, seems the easiest way to spice up these type dishes. We had discussed ahead of time we would obviously need more than one pepper, but he forgot. So I would like to try again with more peppers, and will work on dialing up the spice. But this recipe was flavorful and mild.

P.S. We only used one pound of ground chicken. I am going to have to double this recipe for my household.

Chicken Fajita Sandwiches

July 4th, 2020 at 01:47 pm

Chicken Fajita Subs

Text is and Link is

MH worked full-time during May (for the first time in 18 years...). He did all the grocery shopping for us (doing one trip mid-month) but I brainstormed a lot of the meals because I (and the kids) were going to be doing all the cooking.

Mostly, I would pat myself on the back. It seemed *very* overwhelming, but we kept everyone fed and it was easier than I imagined it would be. Especially because this is probably the hardest time of all to keep my boys fed. So... They were happy and fed, and by some miracle I kept them satiated. (I can't take much credit at all. MH has a good system and so we might actually survive if anything ever happens to him).

Then... MH stepped back in and as he keeps making some of our meals I am just, "Duh, why didn't I think of that!?" & he has a weird recipe system anyway, so I am making an effort to print out my favorite recipes for my recipe book. So that I can remember and find said recipes. I feel a million times more prepared if I ever have to take over meal planning again.

This recipe is *so good*. By itself I don't know if it's that exciting, but the mix of the cheese and the mayo and the chicken just makes it amazing.

Butter Chicken Recipe

July 4th, 2020 at 01:18 pm

I realized that I don't think I shared this recipe:

Butter Chicken

Text is and Link is

I tried this recipe, and DL (my budding chef) recommended adding 1 tsp of cayenne pepper and 1 tsp of cumin. It was so close to our favorite Indian cafe's recipe I can't believe it.

I was intrigued by the meatball take on butter chicken, but in the end we abandoned the meatballs and it tasted better with just crumbled meat.

Finding this recipe around the time the quarantine started, is maybe a reason I currently feel somewhat "meh" if we ever eat out again during 2020.

Last Week's Post, School Updates

July 3rd, 2020 at 04:11 pm

My attempt to get caught up and finish my not-finished posts. This is #2 for today:

MM's college class is going well. He chose a challenging class to test the waters at his #1 college choice. He is over the moon with that. He likes his first taste of college, which is a class that is actually challenging.

MH was finally able to find a decent and reasonably priced webcam (in stock). Apparently we had only one in the house. So if anyone else needed it, we've just been moving it from computer to computer. Which is fine and has worked in the interim. But the new one arrived in the mail last week and he handed down the older webcam to MM(16). Now MM doesn't have to go fetch a webcam for every class and skype call.

School is shaping up for DL's very small (and more flexible) school. They are being realistic that they will probably be shut down Oct/Nov/Dec. This is a public charter school. In addition to their small size, I think they just have a lot more autonomy and are used to thinking outside the box. But the small size is most definitely making it easier. They will have no problems social distancing in the classroom.

MM's school, in contrast... UGH! This is the only non-charter school my children have ever attended. I had concerns about the change and red tape when he started high school. But... To-date it's been fine. I really thought the change would be a lot more jarring. So... It's not the school. For the public public school, it's the district. They are behaving like a 2yo right now. I am not sure what all is going on, but it is politics. Once they sort that out, then the high school itself (the very large high school) might have a couple of weeks to figure it out? I don't know, it's obviously a mess. I have a pretty good idea what DL's school year will look like and I have *no idea* what the public public school will do. The large high school also just doesn't have the space to socially distance.

DL(14) is my emotional child who probably needs the structure of school. I am so glad his school is being so productive/useful and getting it done. MM(16) will roll with whatever. So for us personally, I guess is working out as best it can.

I hesitate to even say it, but I seem to be getting some peace on the *work* front. Everything else, not so much. Last week was not peaceful whatsoever. It's still infinite bad medical stuff, still too much to even remember. Mental health, biopsies, etc.

Mid-Year Financial Update

July 3rd, 2020 at 02:46 pm

A quote from my blog May 10, 2020:
I commented in another blog that we aren't experiencing any +/- in our spending. A lot of it is having a bare bones budget to begin with. We are clearly using a lot less cell data (on wifi 100% now) but that might save us $4 this month ($1 per line). My commute has decreased a little bit, so my electric fuel spending might be $20 instead of $25. It's just stuff like that.

Other comments I apparently made elsewhere:
--Our grocery spending has only gone up with kids home 24/7 and inability to shop more carefully (just making do with whatever we can find). {We can no longer find family sized peanut butter, just as a random example. I have no idea when we will ever get our generic TP back}.

--Although I hadn't noticed any difference in our monthly spending, I expected more of our annual expenses to decrease (things like auto insurance or vacation spending).

As the year is half way over, I decided to sit down and see how things were shaking out compared to last year.

Income: Same as last year
Kind of hard to believe, because I was working two jobs the first half of 2019. But the lack of side income in 2020 has been offset by a raise, stimulus, and large unemployment checks.

So... pretty much all the extra income without the extra work.


Auto Fuel (Electric) -$14 (as expected; driving about 20% less)

Auto Fuel (Gas) -$300
What surprises me about this is that MH hasn't gotten gas since April 1. ??? Though he drove to work every day in May!? I expect he probably only drove to work 3 days per week (used electric car the days I worked from home) and his commute is only 3 miles each way. It makes sense. Usually he does a lot more trips back and forth dropping off and picking up kids. It may be a very short commute, but it is a lot of back and forth. This is not just a short term gain. This will be our reality very soon, once both kids are self sufficient drivers. I honestly don't know how much we will be even driving DL(14) to school this next school year. No doubt this will save a lot of wear and tear on our gas car (more of the bigger "annual savings" that I was envisioning). Current school plan for DL is to only have to be on campus 2 days per week, and they are expecting to (realistically) be closed one quarter during peak flu season. He turns 15 next week, so we get off easy during our last year of "driving kids around".

Groceries +$600
Up $200/month since pandemic, which makes sense.
Offset by spending $250 less on school lunches

Honestly, I am surprised that's it. It feels like our grocery spending is completely absurd. I think this is offset by a lot of "doing without and making do".

**Fuel/Food spending ends up being a wash**

Vacation Spending -$2,700
$2,700 was our entire 2019 spending (spent during the first half of 2019). I expect to spend -$0- this year.

Edited to add: Our annual family camp trip was canceled. 😞 We have decided to go to the family cabin for a weekend, near Tahoe. It's awful that we don't remember the last time we took the kids there. They are excited about it. No firm plans yet, but probably some time this month. It won't take much planning. It's in the same vicinity as camp, so we figured it was the next best thing. Cost to us will be: -$0-. Maybe $5 for fuel to get there and back. I am not going to bother recording that $5 under the "vacation" category. 😉

Medical Expenses -$6,600
Last year we had spent $4k on braces and we usually max out our medical deductible on MH's MRIs. I think in this case he is just not due for an MRI yet, but I also expect they may be pushing off less "medically necessary" appointments.

Other Expenses ~ Breakeven

Net worth and assets are stagnant. Which is better than I hoped for a few months ago.