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Archive for February, 2024

Movie Update - 2/20

February 21st, 2024 at 04:31 pm

Movie production expenses = $130.  Most of that was buying sympathy flowers for someone on the cast or crew.   Purchases had died off for a while but a $20 purchase showed up yesterday and MH confirmed it was for props.  

Eating out = $274

That's for 18 out of 22 days.  Well on track with the $500 gift money we allocated for food.  MH has skipped a couple of meals (due to time) and has been treated out to a few meals.

Everyone is getting tired and tensions are rising.  MH is trying to smooth things over.  That seems to be how his role is shaping up.  But as people are venting to him, they are paying for his meals.  It's not anything major but just seems to be getting worse as people are more exhausted.  

Transportation: $20

Unchanged and this is probably all that he will spend.  

Everything continues to be going pretty well on the movie set.  🤞🏼 

Total movie investment:  $6,000

We set aside $3,000 gift money to cover the hotel, airfare and all of the above.  We invested $2,000 cash.  & MH will lose ~$1,000 of wages re: time off.

As of today, feeling like it's very much worth it.  Still don't have any expectation of making any of this money back.  (Too many things would have to still go right.)  To this point, things have gone as well as could possibly be and we are feeling very happy with this investment.  If nothing else comes of it, it was an amazing opportunity.  

One More Week of Groceries

February 19th, 2024 at 02:56 pm

DL(18) baked potatoes Thursday night and I made black bean wraps on Friday night.  I made 5 wraps.  DL ate 4.  I might make again on another night.  Saturday I baked some parmesan red potatoes and ate the 1/8 cup or whatever of rice left.  That's when I realized the black bean wraps were gone.  It worked out because I wasn't that hungry and DL had Chipotle (his friend took him out).  DL ate all his curry and the fridge is getting empty.  I suppose his appetite is also ramping up.  He just wasn't hungry at all when he was sick.  As I type this out, I realize he is probably just resuming a more normal appetite.  This may be the only reason I got away with not cooking anything most of last week.

DL(18) told me he is not sick of lentils, that he doesn't care for beef, and he really loves fish.  So I decided to add salmon to the menu this week.  I told him that kind of screws up my meatloaf plan but he said he was fine with the meatloaf.  I just don't know how many leftovers of that he will eat. 

I made a grocery list.  I picked two of my favorite recipes and added lentils back to the list.  It was definitely a "turn off my brain" kind of week re: planning but also willing to dip my toe into recipes I have not made much. 

Sunday - Mini meat loaves & mashed potatoes (with horseradish and chili sauce) 

               & will cook up some hambuger patties with the third pound (to the freezer)

Monday - Thai Chicken (basically a chicken noodle salad)

Wednesday - Salmon & rice (per DL request)

Friday - Indian Spiced Lentils (for MM to eat this weekend and to take home).  & maybe black bean wraps, baked potatoes or baked cabbage

Saturday - baked potatoes or black bean wraps for lunch?  (We all have various dinner plans/parties that night)

I've got some ideas for Sunday/Monday night.  MH will be back but won't be in any shape to cook.  I might just go back to the store Wednesday to pick up the salmon and some canned food (beans and corn) for our crockpot chili.  Maybe I won't even need to grocery shop next weekend.  I will try to get us through next Monday night and then will pass the baton back to MH.

Both my kids are leaning more vegetarian over time.  I checked in with MM(20) and I was surprised he wouldn't eat the salmon.  That is new.  So I will try to have some vegetarian options for him.  We have a lot of meatless recipes but the lentils is the only thing I can come up with (off the top of my head) that makes a lot.  Enough to keep MM satiated.  If he's only going to eat one meal with us, that should suffice.  I was relieved when DL(18) told me he would welcome another batch of lentils, too.  & that is one other thing that MH will be happy to eat when he gets home Sunday.  But anyway, MM(20) will be home and grazing and constantly hungry, so will have some other filler foods if he needs.  & I just love roasted cabbage so it's a good excuse to make.  It would be way too much for just DL and I.  But with MM here, we might get through a whole head of cabbage.

Here is my grocery list for today:

The store had no Asian salads whatsoever last week, so will try again.  

I will pick up some beef if I can find the unicorn of beef on sale.  Just feeling optimistic enough to put it on the list, after last week.  If not, I won't worry about about it.  

Update:

I spent $73 at the grocery store.  It was a pretty light grocery run.  But I found more beef!  Salads were well stocked today so DL(18) will be happy.  My one splurge was some sort of red cake balls.  They were in the 50%-off Valentine section.  They looked decadent and everything else was kind of "meh" (or just too over-priced, even at 50% off).  I then quickly saw (the one package) was in the wrong place.  They were red but I guess they weren't keen on taking 50% off of those.  I decided to keep them in my cart.  I will probably just end up taking them to work.  It was $10 but I figured whatever, because I have one less mouth to feed this month.  

Totaly grocery/household spending February:  $657 out of $850 budget.  (Note:  includes some movie purchases that I have just absorbed in grocery budget.)

Really the only thing on my list is some canned beans and corn (for chili) and the salmon.  I will presume that I have $43 to spend on Wednesday.  (I don't think I will spend that much, but will see what comes up.)  That leaves $150, if I want to pick up a few more things next weekend or if MH wants to do a grocery run.  Even if MH picks up some groceries, I presume it would just be to get through 4 days (through March 1).  But I don't know what he may find lacking, when he gets home.  I can see my shopping tapering off as I am well stocked with the things that I like.

Edited to add:  I just checked the chili recipe; we have everything on hand except kidney beans.  I chose it because it's a simple crockpot recipe (that I've maybe made once or twice).  I didn't realize it was such a 'using what we already have' recipe. (Side note: the secret ingredient in this recipe is salsa).  When I checked to see if we had any kidney beans, I found a stash of granola bars.  I set out a couple of boxes that DL(18) will probably appreciate.  It wasn't on my radar because I can't eat crunchy/hard food right now (re: ortho treatment).  DL(18) didn't care enough to add to the shopping list, but he will eat them. 

2024 Credit Card Tally

February 17th, 2024 at 04:40 pm

2024 TALLY:

$766 Capital One Venture (Moi)

------------

$766 TOTAL *ONE-TIME REWARDS*

**In addition, various monthly rewards that I will tally at 12/31

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We hit the $4K spend on this credit card and so the bonus appeared shortly after.  It took just under 2 months.  I charged two months of health insurance, one airplane ticket, and one hotel week.  I wasn't thinking about it and didn't realize the hotel would charge in smaller chunks.  It looks like they are charging one week at a time.  It just happened to be enough to hit the bonus.  I was otherwise planning to charge some car insurance.  We have a couple of more months but I wanted to earn the reward in time to pay for the hotel.

There is a $95 fee on the card, but we spent enough we earned other reward points (more than just the $750 bonus).  The other rewards so far offset the fee.  The total tally will probably be another $40, bringing the total reward closer to $800 (net) on this card.

I had applied $45 rewards to airfare.  Was able to apply $800 rewards to the $800 hotel charge.  Minus $95 fee = $750 Net.

One reason we are doing so well on movie budget/spending is that the original plan was that I was going to fly out too.  I think it's official that I will not bother.  MH might get some time off tomorrow but is otherwise working 15-hour days.  He skipped dinner the other night because he needed sleep more than food.  Anyway, tomorrow is his only day off and the weather took a cold turn in Ohio.  It's for the best.  I really need the 3-Day weekend to regroup at home.  

Note:  Edited to add $16 more rewards (re: next chunk of hotel charged)

Mid Week Grocery Shop

February 16th, 2024 at 03:32 pm

I had some time to breathe Wednesday.  🙄  Work, chores, drama.  Work, chores, drama.  That's how the weekend went, and so I completely gave up on any grocery shopping.

I got past a big work deadline Tuesday.  & I was determined to come up with a shopping list that night.  

Menu plan:  Not much planned.  I thought I'd be eating burritos for days (should get through that).  As I wrapped up for bed Tuesday night, I saw that DL(18) ate *all* the burritos.  So that's like 4 my-sized servings I don't have to get to.  Anyway, before that I was just planning to make black bean wraps on Thursday.  & maybe have DL(18) make baked potatoes on Friday.  That is still the plan.  (I ended up being too tired to do any dishes or cooking on Wednesday night.)

DL(18) is feeling a lot better, so he made a big batch of curry.   He's into some rice and beans curry thing.

Shopping List:

Pretty much everything on the list is stuff we ran out of, expired, or that DL(18) requested.  Just trying to break shopping out into smaller chunks.

& a cough suppressant for DL.  I think I forgot to write that down, was a last minute add to the list. 

I will get some muffins or something, to get us through the week.  Dr. Pepper is my thing, will grab while it is on sale.

I grabbed the mail Monday and ground beef was supposed to be on sale with a digital coupon (per sales ad) but I couldn't find this sale or coupon anywhere online.  Which is fine.  I will ask MH about that before the weekend shop.  We don't need any meat but I will buy more if it is on mega sale.  

I am looking forward to the 3-day weekend.  I can tell now that I am mostly going to give up and just keep it simple that last week.  But would like to put some more thought into grocery/meal planning next week, more than I was able to this week.

Grocery final results:  My 'smaller run' ended up being $108 (with tax).  

I could have sworn that sales prices changes Monday or Tuesday, and I checked the date on the mailer.  But it ended up confusing because some of the sales I was looking at had changed between menu planning and shopping.  MH forwarded me the sales/coupons Wednesday morning and I saw the beef deal and confirmed he had clipped that coupon.  Of course, the beef is always cleared out when it's under $3/pound.  So I got lucky that they even had any. 

I went to the bakery first and picked up some fresh sourdough and some garlic parmesan craft butter.  This seemed extremely decadent.  Because I went off list with basically my first purchase, I *felt* like I was very "off list" this shopping trip.  But I looked through the receipt and I guess that was the only thing.  It was a $7 splurge.  It's just so funny psychologically to feel like I was splurging too much, but I had MH in my head because he would never spend $5 on craft butter.  & he is wrong.  O.M.G.  It was so good...  

Oh wait, I did also pick up some yogurt.  It was on sale and it will still be on sale this weekend.  But I thought DL(18) might appreciate because he has been eating through the yogurt.  Okay, I feel better that there was something else (to make me feel like I was way off list).  I think that was it. 

I suppose next week's shop has the potential to be lighter too, because we are all stocked up through this Wednesday.  Just 3 more days to run out of more stuff, and I don't have any major cooking planned.  The theme next week will clearly be ground beef.  Was already thinking of making a 2-pound meatloaf (that makes a lot of leftovers).  Accordingly, I just put the 3 pounds of meat in the freezer.  Instead of separating it into pounds like we usually do.  So I guess I am committing to that.  I can always make some hamburger patties and freeze for later (pound #3) if the idea of cooking more meat sounds "meh".  So yeah, pretty much stocked up and have more meat than we can possibly need for the next 2 weeks.  (Still have all that chicken in the freezer, plus whatever beef MH had already bought on mega sale last month).  I might just focus on shopping for meals this weekend and can do a produce/snack run mid-week.

Off the top of my head, meatloaf on Sunday and am thinking of making Thai chicken on Monday.  (Wanted to make at least one chicken dish; this is one of my favorites).  Thursday or Friday will try to find a big vegetarian meal because MM(20) will be home this weekend.  If nothing else I can make lentils again and send him home with the leftovers.  (That ended up being so simple and YUM).  & the next Saturday and Sunday I will try to make a couple of meals that MH likes.

I think the above is more than ample.  Black bean wraps (tonight) will last us a couple of days.  Will have a lot of meat and chicken leftovers for the work week.  & then can start ramping up food when MM(20) is home and for when MH gets home.  MM will probably just eat one meal with us (Friday night).  But if I do the big batch of lentils thing, it will give him some food to take back with him.  I usually don't like everything that MH cooks and am used to eating more sandwiches and scrounging for food.  I will scale back next week.  There's always deli sandwiches or pancakes or whatever if I do not make enough meals.  We have some deli meat that we need to get through.  Not that I expect to get to any of that with all these planned leftovers, but I will err on not planning any meals Tues/Wed/Thurs.  Which I guess is the same as what we did this week.  DL(18) ended up baking potatoes on Thursday.  That can be another filler meal.  That might be a good request for next Friday night (he's got some new technique that is very good).  I'd need to get more potatoes because MM(20) thinks that 3 or 4 potatoes is a serving.  

Movie Accounting - 2/13

February 14th, 2024 at 03:36 pm

Just going through the credit cards and seeing where we are at.

I am throwing the little convenience store type purchases into 'groceries'.  A - I don't have to feed MH from grocery budget this month.  B - I have no idea if these charges or for him or for production.  Though it sounds like all of these purchases have been for the movie so far.  Total movie expenses absorbed in grocery budget = $12.

Movie production expenses = $108.  Most of that was buying sympathy flowers for someone on the cast or crew. 

Eating out = $208

That's for 11 out of 22 days.  Well on track with the $500 gift money we allocated for food.  I'd be fine if MH went over this and we had to tap grocery budget or vacation budget.  But...  MH is being cheap.  On the plus side, he told me that someone's mom is home cooking meals for the movie set, so he is pretty happy with that.  He's getting breakfast at the hotel and some sort of food most days.  I think he is very happy with the quality of food on set (he had very low expectations; doesn't care for pizza or convenience foods.)  But if he is still buying a meal out every night (at midnight), I can see that he's not happy with the quantity of food.  

Transportation: $20

MH's sister visited last weekend and apparently he paid for an Uber.  He had a day off to go out and about.  He also met my sister for dinner.  I am just realizing that my sister clearly paid for that.  Which sounds fair.  (If MH is the one paying ~$3,000 to be in their neck of the woods.)  MH won't have any time to meet them again and I am surprised my sister even showed up for the one dinner.

I think the producer insisted on picking MH up from the airport and my BIL is going to drive him back to the airport.

Hotel

MH finally got someone to take him up on the couch bed offer.  He has some actor staying with him this week.  Will see how that goes.  

I hadn't thought about it but the hotel is charging chunks over time, re: extended hotel stay.  Makes sense.  This is perfect because they charged just enough for our $750 travel reward.  The Hotel charged something like $800.  I should be able to offset with the $750 reward, before the amount is due.

At this point, I'd say we can probably manage all of the expenses with our $3K gift money + $750 credit card reward.  (Will likely pay $2K for the hotel, $500 for airfare/transportation & $500 for food).  Didn't really expect that, but am happy that spending has been so minimal.  I can probably absorb the movie expenses in our budget.  I told MH the $5 here and there was not bothering me at all and of course we can cover that (don't want to bother to try to get reimbursed with money that doesn't exist).  & I told him I was cool with the flowers if it wasn't every day.  Anyway, that $108 and whatever else, can just absorb in our grocery budget probably.  Or can just land in the 'MH is not home spending any money whatsoever' budget space.

Everything has been going pretty well on the movie set.  🤞🏼

Lord knows I don't have any time to spend money.  It's all just work, chores, drama over here.  I know I am not as efficient of a shopper/cooker and I have a lot of sick expenses for the sickie.  Picking him up some cough medicine today.  But also, I have not had time to spend $1 otherwise, so there is also that. 

February Spending & Planning

February 11th, 2024 at 08:14 pm

Overall, no idea what to expect this month.  It's going to be a weird one.

I think MH should mostly be fed on set.  Though he doesn't expect to be well fed and we presumed he would buy dinner every night at the hotel restaurant.  

In theory, I'd expect to spend less on food at home.  But we are already up to $450 spent on groceries this month.  This amount includes MM's monthly grocery allowance.  & MH did a grocery shop around the last day of January.  We had spent the January grocery budget and I think some of that was to stock up before he left, so that is also why it is so high already.  I just pushed it to February, presuming it would be a lower spend month with only 3 people to feed.

Note:  This includes $208 groceries purchased this week so far.

On Monday MH encouraged me to go to the store to pick up chicken on sale.  My first reaction was, "Like hell."  This was going to be a work hell week and I was scrambling to meet a deadline.  In addition to adding all the cooking and dishes to my plate.  But I finally decided a work break would be nice, to save a bajillion dollars. Chicken was $14 for 2.5 pounds.  Bought on sale for $5.  Bought 3 packages.  Spent $15, saved $27.  

I refused to let MH cook ahead for us.  DL(18) is the more picky one who does his own thing a lot of the time.  & MH always makes way too much food when he does that.  But he's insisting on going through the sales and clipping the electronic coupons or whatever.  I personally made my grocery list before looking at the sales, and there wasn't anything that swayed me or looked interesting.  Except I noticed we were due a free cake mix, so I picked that up.  & I guess MH will remind me if random one-day deals pop up.  He had got some email about the chicken.

Shopping List:

Notes on shopping list:  It's an unusual shopping list because I can't eat any hard food re: ortho treatment.  So it's skewed to the softer side of things.

Clearly MM(20) eats most of the bread.  We struggle not to waste bread, without him.  But anyway, all the bread was old and stale and so I started anew.   

The grocery run was $150.   I ended up picking some other produce and breakfast pastries.

Menu Plan:

With the busy work week, I just turned off my brain and went with all the stuff I can make in my sleep.  I might want to try new recipes or dig out stuff MH doesn't care for as much, during the next couple of weeks. 

I started with burritos (old family recipe) because it makes a lot of leftovers (for lunch during the week, or if I want to skip a night of cooking.)  I don't think I have ever made the crockpot lentil recipe but it makes a *lot* of leftovers. 

Note:  We don't generally eat out.  So there is no eating out expected or planned.  

Things went askew on Tuesday.  DL(18) ended up sick on Tuesday and requested a bag salad from the store.  I picked up a couple and I grabbed some popsicles while I was there.  (He had mentioned only cold food sounded good and he had a sore throat).  & I bought the smallest bottle of tylenol I could find.  It will expire before anyone uses it again.  I didn't expect DL(18) to want our use the tylenol, but it beats scrambling in the middle of the night because there's no meds in the house. 

DL(18) didn't want chow mein, and salmon no longer sounded good.  Which is fine.  I usually view a weekly menu as more of a 'food we can make' list and am not that set on the days.  Just didn't expect it to get so out of whack so quick.  I ended up making chow mein for lunch on Wednesday (had leftovers on Thursday).  & I made potatoes for dinner on Wednesday.  I ended up finding some leftover meat in the fridge I had forgotten about and that only had another couple of days left.  So I ate that with the potatoes.  DL(18) decided not to eat potatoes after telling me they sounded good.  So we had leftover potatoes on Thursday and I made a half batch of pancakes.  I thought Friday would be a good leftover day (it was) and salmon was Saturday dinner.

On Wednesday I went to the CU to deposit some cash, next to the grocery store.  There was already 10 people in line before they opened.  Nope!  I think while I was there I was going to see if I could get salmon for the weekend, or I don't remember what I was going to do.  But I just turned around and didn't bother.

Thursday I asked the sickie if anything sounded good.  He requested baby carrots, so it was drive #5 to the store.  While there I picked up the salmon and some muffins.   I usually do homemade baked goods but I am exhausted after nightly cooking and dishes, and shopping (in addition to a very busy work week.)  Also, I am not going to make baked goods for just 2, and so there is also that.  Too used to baking for a bigger crowd.  I can revisit when I have more brain power, but for now the baked goods section is a nice treat.

Note:  Tried the CU at 4pm Thursday (while there) and there was no line.  

So that's how I spent $208 this week already.   Today I will regroup and plan for a new week.  Or maybe not.  I am very behind schedule (work was too crazy) and so I may just menu plan during the week and shop on Wednesday morning.  I've got one meal left to cook and 3-4 'already have stuff on hand' meals that I was thinking about.  & then the planned lentils leftovers...  & still haven't finished food from this past week.  But I'd like to do a small grocery run on Wedneday a.m. versus a very big run next weekend.  The theme this week might just be 'getting through what we have.'  

I looked at the credit card.  I was going to say that I thought MH was too busy to spend any money.  But after radio silence for a few days, I see that he made a Walgreens and a Office Depot purchase.  I am guessing the Walgreens thing was personal (who knows) but I know the Office Depot thing was props for the movie.  I expect very little personal spending but he may be contributing here and there to movie props or whatever is needed.  They started filming on Wednesday.  

Vacation Spending & Planning

February 2nd, 2024 at 03:09 pm

I expect it to be a bigger travel year and didn't want to exhaust the travel budget with our January 1 trip.  So I decided to use MH's paycheck to cover the Pasadena trip.  I looked at the total today and we spent about $1,300.  Most of that was for the hotel.  Hotel & food.  MH should be able to cover the $1,300 with his January paychecks. 

{Edited to add:  So okay, this is taking me forever to post.  Yes, MH's January paychecks covered the Pasadena trip.}

MH is also taking some unpaid weeks off work in February, so it will be a slow start on the savings side (for 2024).

Ideally, I'd like to carve out (some of) future in-law cash gifts to offset the loss of timeshare.  (Which I guess they decided to keep?  Lord knows...).  Ideally.  But this year is one-off with MH jetting to Ohio for 3 weeks.  I set aside $3,000 of gift money to pay for the hotel and airfare.  Maybe not all of it, but should cover a chunk of the expenses. 

After setting aside the money, MH told me he had been offered a couple of free lodging options.  But with the gift, he eventually decided to go ahead and get a suite.  In the lower cost locale it was just very affordable.  Fingers crossed, but it's about $100/night for the suite and he can walk to set.  (I hope the plans don't change and he is able to save the money on transportation.)  He then has a couch to offer up if they need more room for cast or people traveling from the west coast, which it sounds like they do.   

I was initially going to support MH and would also be able to see my sister.  But my sister is being extraordinarily difficult (per usual) and MH doesn't think he will have any time for me.  Seriously, I may just show up and sit in a hotel alone for 3-4 days.  It sounds kind of pointless.  (Weather is just the icing on the cake.  I would enjoy a solo trip if not for the extreme weather.) For now, still very undecided and just keeping it loose. 

January we are doing the traditional San Francisco sketchfest thing but instead of one long weekend the shows were more spread out.  I don't think it will save us any money.  We usually just stay at a free timeshare.  We easily spent $100 on dinner and the train last Thursday for show #1.  MH received some birthday money to cover that, but we may do the same thing 3 more times. 

We usually do more staycation-y things with our vacation money, so this is relevant re: vacation spending.  I usually pull these expenses from our vacation fund. 

That's all the vacation-y stuff.

2024 has been full speed into the drama, unfortunately.

MM(20)'s roommate got off the RA waitlist, so that's a whole thing.  MM insists his roommate will pay rent the next 5 months but I am not as convinced.  I think maybe during a transitionary period, but I don't seriously expect he will continue to pay rent for the rest of the lease.

The Girlfriend's sister got COVID and ended up in the ICU.  She has a rare autoimmune disorder and was doing very poorly with that, after COVID.  Their poor parents.

The girlfriend has developed a temporary heart condition, most likely brought on by severe illness last fall.  Her long term health prognosis is good (shouldn't have any long term heart damage) but she is rendered disabled in the short run.  Mostly bed ridden.  She could be sick for months or years. 

My BIL is really struggling with this bout of COVID.  He has undiagnosed health issues, and also isn't handling COVID well.

My mom's health has taken a sudden bad turn.  

2024 is going about as I expected, but didn't realize it would start out so dramatic.