On Household Admin

A couple weeks ago, we had an unusually heavy “household admin” week in our household. Mainly because I bought my husband a shiny new smartphone to use for some tracking he can do to save some money on insurance. Sucks, but every little bit helps, especially given how much insurance costs.

That triggered a slew of organizational updates on my part. He offered to do the grocery shopping Saturday since my day was *jam-packed*, and asked if we could share the grocery list on my cell to his so he’d have it to shop with. The app I was using isn’t all that easy to share, so I went out and found one that is, installed it on both of our phones, and started re-populating my normal lists (enough that he could shop easily). The new app even has the option of item photos, so I’m pretty happy with the upgrade, and now we can both add/cross items off the lists. If you want to check it out, the app I settled on is aptly named Our Groceries. I did pay the $5 to unlock my side of it, which gets rid of ads and allows photo-adding. The unlocker isn’t required to view photos on the list, just to add them.

I also re-subscribed to the Cozi calendar we’d tried sharing awhile back, and I’d gotten lax on using (I’ve been using ToDoist instead and will keep using for my general daily “to-do” lists). Transferred all my calendar items over there, and made sure the birthday reminders were still working, so now we can put that on his new phone as well, and he can have a copy of the household calendar and use it to schedule his own appointments. He already gets reminders via email, but now he can get them as phone notifications if he wants (that’s how I get mine). I know, this is old hat to most people, but some of us just have to take a little more time and ease into such things.

In any case, while I was revamping things and getting everything all moved and set up, I was thinking about how much time it takes to do just basic household admin tasks…like making a grocery list, updating a calendar, balancing the budget.

Technology like the apps we’re using makes it far more efficient, for sure – once I have a master grocery list set, it takes 10 minutes or so to go through and add what I need to that week’s store lists (as opposed to writing one long-hand from scratch every week…which never works for me because I *always* forget things – having a master list jogs my memory). The calendar app will set up automatic reminders so we don’t actually have to check the calendar once we schedule appointments, but we do still have to enter the appointments and set reminders.

I don’t really know of any budgeting software that balances itself properly. Even the ones I’ve used that will import from your bank need to be checked/confirmed, because they’re not always spot-on, in my experience. It takes me about twenty minutes to balance the budget weekly, which isn’t too bad, but add to that actually paying the bills, shopping list maintenance and calendar/appointment maintenance, and it’s a good solid hour per week I spend doing “admin” tasks for the household. And I only do the minimum – there’s a lot more I could be doing if I felt like spending the time.

Then there’s the mail. Five minutes or less to toss junk mail in the recycling bin, but what about all the other stuff? Shredding, filing, action items…I could probably spend another hour (or more) every week just dealing with mail items. And I don’t, generally speaking, which means it piles up in our mail center until it hits critical mass and we absolutely have to do something about it.

Needless to say, I was thinking about how older well-to-do families used to employ a secretary/household manager to take care of such things in earlier times. Maybe they still do (anyone out there?). But I wonder if someone could make a job out of that. Offering their administrative services in hour-long chunks to people who just need someone to update the calendar, make appointments, pay bills and balance the budget, shred/file mail, and make a shopping list based on a master list and what is/isn’t in the pantry/fridge. It’s not a huge time savings, but when you work all day and have other things to do…every little bit is more time to do what you want to, rather than what you have to.

Control freak that I am, I’m not sure I could hand those things over even though I don’t particularly want to do them myself (I can’t even bring myself to hire a house-cleaner for deep cleaning every other week, which would be a really smart thing to do and probably good for our allergies). But it’s kind of fun to dream about doing so.

Would you ever hire a household manager to take care of admin tasks? Or are you the kind of person who keeps up with them well enough on your own?


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On Reading, Time, & Creativity

It’s been a long, very busy couple of weeks, and things are just starting to get back to normal (though I hesitate to say that, because you know what happens next…). Hence the no blogging thing. I don’t really know how to describe it, and I haven’t really been in a “funk”, so to speak, just…treading water and trying to get my routines back to where they should be. Only every time I think it’s gonna happen, something else happens, and I get waylaid, and then my routines get all screwy and I don’t get anything done at all.

It’s annoying.

The other thing that’s annoying is picking up a box of books free from a former co-worker who was cleaning out her shelves, and staring at the box in my living room wondering when I’ll ever have time to read them all.

I used to be a voracious reader. A typical paperback would take me two, maybe three nights to finish…maybe four if it was incredibly thick. Now the same size books take me weeks to finish, and it’s generally because I short-change my very limited reading time with writing or just getting ready for bed (after staying up too late writing or whatever). Fifteen minutes a night is okay for short stories and such, but it really stretches a novel out to turn-around times bordering on the ridiculous.

Needless to say, I’ve been having trouble sitting down and writing, too. There are some writers out there who insist they just don’t have time to read, but I firmly believe that reading is important for writing – they go hand in hand. You have to fill the well, so to speak. Creativity in, creativity out. And I’ve definitely been neglecting my “well”.

What to do, what to do? The obvious answer is to read more. But when?

Well, I’m not sure. I have a few ideas, but need to see if they’ll work with existing routines, which is not always as easy as it sounds. But I have a feeling that if I get back to reading more, writing more will come naturally as well. Or I hope it will, anyways.

Books I have currently in progress are: a short story/poem collection by Neil Gaiman, and “About that Kiss” by Jill Shalvis.

What are you reading? And if you’re a writer, do you think how much (or little) you read affects how much or little you write?


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Alternate Reality: Preview Mode

Tomorrow, it’s back to work after 5 days and a weekend off. No major catastrophes, no major outlay of “vacation” time for work issues…I think we might be on to something with this whole “taking partial weeks off” thing. Or it could just be the time of year, too. Whatever works, I say.

I was mostly productive, though not as much as I thought I’d be. But that’s to be expected, so I guess that makes it a wash between expectations and reality. I got some extra cleaning done, I learned how to create my own print book templates properly and reformatted the book I’ve been wanting to for months now. I still need to create another template and reformat the cover again for a mass market version to distribute, but that will be much easier now that I’m not fumbling around with the formatting in general, and know how to set and use styles in Open Office. Sometimes all it takes is the proper tools.

I caught four shiny Treeckos for Pokemon Go community day, and evolved one plus a couple “normal” into Sceptiles who are supposedly the best grass-type fighters for raids (we’ll see). At the same time, I didn’t play much Pokemon Go on account of the whole “go” thing, which I didn’t do much of aside from daily dog walks and the normal weekend errands. I am, at heart, a homebody. I’m perfectly content to stay home for days on end without seeing anyone but the dogs and my husband.

I did get back to Batman: Arkham Asylum for a night. One of the battles I had to fight was *intense*, and I was actually a little sore the next morning from tensing up during the five or six (maybe more?) times I had to try before I finally got through it.

I also subscribed to Starz for awhile so we could watch American Gods and Gnomeo and Juliet. The initial episode of the former is trippy, the latter is hilarious. I never did make it through the American Gods novel…gave up – it’s a doorstopper. But the show has me intrigued enough to watch a few more episodes, at least.

Gnomeo and Juliet is just adorably cute, and now that we’ve seen that (and agree we need an army of garden gnomes to make our yard look better), Sherlock Gnomes is up next on our movie “to-watch” list.

It’s interesting how quickly I settled into a routine of sorts this time. Most of my vacations are unorganized because I have so much to do, and I plan my time so tightly that it’s overwhelming. Either that, or I have a vague idea of things I want to do, and then plan nothing, so I do nothing. This time, I had a few concrete goals/priorities, but kept them limited by design, and the rest was just “if I get to it, great, if not, great”. I settled into a nice routine of working in the mornings (on my book stuff and then cleaning when I needed a break from sitting), walking the dogs after lunch, and then errands or more work/cleaning trade-offs in the afternoon. A loose, comfortable routine that I could maintain indefinitely if I had the chance.

Someday (20 yrs down the road, *sigh*), this will be my life. And it will be good.

Alas, tomorrow it’s back to the hustle and bustle of the day job/work-week routine.


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The Excess Vacation Hours Vacation

As of tomorrow, I’m on vacation until next Wednesday to burn the excess vacation hours that I’m not allowed to carry over into the new year. Why Weds to Weds, you might ask? Psychology, my dear Watson.

It seems like every time I take a traditional week off (Monday- Friday), I spend the better part of at least one day troubleshooting something for work via email or phone. When I only take a few days off in one week, I rarely get called on to help fix something (or if I do, it’s quick). So, I’m trying something new, and taking Weds – Fri off this week, and Mon – Tues off next week. That still gives me a full week off, but no full “work” weeks, so we’ll see if I end up troubleshooting or not (there is network maintenance going on this weekend, so the potential is there, but…). Call it an experiment.

What’s the plan for this vacation? Catch-up, mostly. I need to make dog food for the week, since I spent this past Sunday not feeling well (my own fault – too many days in a row last week of poor dietary choices…though I’ll admit, I enjoyed every last “choice” at the time). I need to take the Subaru in for some recall work if I can get it scheduled – wiper motors and airbag replacement. Murphy-dog is due for his rabies shot, which normally I wouldn’t redo in a dog his age (he’s around 9-10 now, best guess), but he’s a pitbull, and people are people, so…better law-abiding in his case (I can’t re-license him unless he gets the shot, even though they’ve been proven to be effective far past 3 yrs). Hopefully he won’t suffer any averse affects (I’ve seen more issues of the tumor-causing kind with vaccines in older dogs, unfortunately).

Aside from those things, I hope to do a lot of writing-related tasks I never seem to get to. Formatting, cover art, editing…and some new words too. My horror alter-ego has a short story in progress to add to the “Death by Veggies” line, and I’d like to get that finished, and I’d really like to make some good headway on a couple of other novels I have going. So, definitely writing, after I get the dogs walked so they’ll sleep and let me be.

The only other thing I really want to do (aside from some gaming, hopefully) is “spring cleaning”. I suck at cleaning. I find it incredibly boring, so I do the absolute minimum. Most adult women and a fair amount of adult men would run the other way at the state I keep my house in. I can’t tell you the last time my blinds have been dusted. Definitely not this year. Probably not last year either. Maybe not even the year before that…

That said, I do occasionally get the desire to “clean all the things”. It passes quickly, but I did buy a dust-mop for the kitchen floor (it’s laminate, and I hate it, and have ruined more of the finish every time I try to clean it), a new scrub brush for the bathroom, and I have plenty of microfiber cloths and rags on hand. The plan is to do one major thing in each room every day of my vacation…like cleaning all wide wooden blinds in the living/dining room. Or washing down all the kitchen cabinets/walls. And wiping down the bathroom walls/ceiling (don’t ask). And then I want to add hard floor cleaning to a monthly maintenance schedule.

Yes, I know people clean their floors more often. I vacuum once a week, even the hard floors. Baby steps. We don’t eat off my floors. Obviously.

So…that’s the plan for my “vacation”. Be all adult-like and do the stuff I keep putting off because I just don’t wanna (or in the case of writing, just want some focused time for). Seems like as good a use for the time as any, especially since they’re vacation hours I didn’t plan on using until later.

Next year, a trip, but for now…spring cleaning. Errands. Maybe a little Pokemon. Good times!


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Tea Drinker in a Coffee Shop

Yes, two days late. Or approximately seven (4 large) cups of tea…

Confession: I always feel guilty going into a coffee shop and asking them what they have to drink that’s not coffee. I mean, it’s a coffee shop. Their whole reason for existing is to sell coffee, presumably to people who…well, like coffee.

I am not even in the vicinity of their target audience, having disliked even the smell of coffee since the day my mom let me try it in high school. Needless to say, it’s pretty rare I actually go into a coffee shop (because hello – the whole shop smells like coffee and they never have what I’d consider “good” tea), but in our society, it’s nearly impossible to have a family or friends or other various groups who don’t want to occasionally meet for…coffee. In a coffee shop.

Writers like to meet in coffee shops too, but I don’t meet up with other writers often, so that’s not really much of a concern for me – at least not at this point in my life.

Alas, there are occasions when I find myself at the counter of a coffee shop, trying to find the tiny part of the menu with the non-coffee drinks and trying to decide whether it’s worth the calories to just go with the sugar-laden pre-mixed chai (or whatever the non-coffee latte flavor happens to be), or brave the extremely limited sure-to-be bitter/oversteeped tea selection, hoping whatever flavor they’ve mixed in will make it somewhat drinkable. The only other options are generally bottled water, juice, or energy drinks, none of which are any more appealing in that situation.

Sometimes, the sugar-laden drinks win out, and while I enjoy them immensely, I end up regretting the “fuzzy” feel in my mouth for hours afterward. They do remind me to brush my teeth though, so there’s that.

And if I’m going to subject my body to that kind of serious sugar-shock, I may as well go ahead and get one of those lovely scones for a small bit of balance. Blueberry is my favorite, or a plain scone, though that’s not normally an option. Cranberry is good, or something lemony. Heated, always, because cold scones are dry, and even the sweetest liquid confection can’t fix that kind of dry once it hits the back of your throat. Trust me on this one.

The last time I was in a coffee shop was a couple months ago, while I was out playing Pokemon Go and running errands one Saturday. There was a magikarp in a gym I wanted, and the only way to reach the gym was to go inside the coffee shop. I had a hot cup of mediocre yerba mate and a cold blueberry scone for the privilege of sitting by the window and raiding the gym to get the magikarp.

Next time I feel the need to capture a pocket monster from that particular gym, I’m definitely going for something sweeter and a warmed-up scone…


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Guilty Motivation & Ebook Sale

Doing my taxes this year made me feel guilty. I took a loss on my business, and I hate doing that. Normally if I only claim web hosting fees, I can at least break even, but like so many others, my sales fell off a virtual cliff this summer and were never able to drag themselves back up.

I need to publish, and I need to do some gentle promotion, and I haven’t been making time for any of that. I have gotten into a better writing habit, and I’m slowly finding a few bits and pieces of time here and there that I can allocate to writing as well. So I should have something new *to* publish by the end of the year, if not sooner.

I need to turn a profit this year, no matter how small. Mostly just to prove to myself that I can. I’ve been working on my writing style, trying to be more descriptive and move a little slower through my various “worlds” so as not to leave things out. I think I’m getting better as a writer, but now I need to get back to that pesky habit of actually finishing stories and publishing them.

I also need to do some clean-up work on my older books. Smashwords says my covers are too small on all the first books I published, so those need new covers. They also need new, better blurbs, and I’ve been studying blurbs for awhile now, and have a better idea of how to craft them. Again, something that just takes time, and time on my butt, at that.

It’s a little overwhelming to think about, but I need to just pick an “update” project and work on it alongside my writing drafts until it’s done. I need to update the formatting on The Time Stone (the chapters are screwed up), so maybe I should do that first.

The reason I keep putting these off? Because I’m afraid of how much time it will take. Thing is, pretty much everything takes less time than I think it will – it’s just getting started that’s hard.

So…time to just do it.

Did you know that it’s “Read an Ebook Week”? In honor of that, all my ebooks are marked off 25 percent at Smashwords for the week. Yes, that means a couple of them are even free. If you’d like to take a peek, click on the Smashwords link below. Or if you want to check out my alter-egos (they’re on sale too), use this link.

Are you reading an ebook this week? Which one?


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Stuff & Things, Things & Stuff

What have I been up too in lieu of blogging, you might ask? Well, a rather varied list, actually:

– Taxes (got ours done)
– Knitting (finished my class block and the prep rows for the next one)
– Crochet (two cowls special-ordered by someone my mom works with…done and delivered)
– Dog food (my control-freak nature took over, I cancelled our deliveries & planned extra weekend time to make it myself from now on)
– Writing (a little here and there, but hey, progress is progress, however slow)
– Working (naturally – pays the bills, keeps the brain hoppin’)
– Way less Pokemon (because…sub-zero temps do not entice me outside, for any reason)
– Animal Crossing (because…so cute I’m in constant fear of sugar-shock)
– Batman: Arkham Asylum (because it’s both fun and frustrating)
– Budgeting (which is not fun, but less frustrating over time)
– Trying to stay warm in frickin’ sub-zero and single digit temps (Second coldest Feb. on record…yay?! I’ll take our normal 30’s and 40’s back, please)

Honestly, I’m kind of stuck again, even with all of that going on. I live in this constant state of wanting to do and be more than I am, but having to choose where my priorities need to be, and not liking my choice because it doesn’t really feel like much of a choice at all. But it is, of course. I could completely upend my life and go with “option B” at any time. I really don’t want to, though.

I suspect it’s going to be this way until I retire from the day job (or decide that my health, pets and family don’t matter anymore – I don’t see that happening anytime soon). I’m guessing that a lot of other people are in the same boat, so I try not to complain too long or loud about it. It’s just…the state of my head, to borrow a phrase from Shinedown. Sometimes that holds me up far more than I should let it.

Some days are worse than others, and being out of my vitamins for a few days this weekend combined with the ongoing stress of crazy cold weather/cabin fever all around doesn’t help. My attitude will get better – it always does. A major perk of being a perpetual optimist.


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Attempted Derailment & The High “Road”

I think the universe is scoffing at my need for routines and habits, as well as the progress I’ve made on my financial well-being. It was bound to happen, I suppose. It would just be nice to have somewhat longer periods of success before life decides to kick the tires on the new automation and test the new security measures.

Last Saturday, the dog food delivery didn’t show up. Yes, I order fresh food weekly for the dogs and pay a company the big bucks to make it so I don’t have to. But when the order doesn’t show up, and tracking says it won’t be here for three more days, which means the order will be ruined, the dogs still have to eat until the replacement order arrives (nearly a week later).

I didn’t have much choice but to run out to Costco, buy the ingredients and make a week’s worth of meals for the dogs myself. Half the cost, sure, but also a few hours of time that I normally use for other things (like housekeeping and blog-post writing). Needless to say, my Sunday was completely derailed, and my very carefully planned out budget very nearly with it, until the company agreed to move my next order out a week (so I wouldn’t have to pay for that on top of the ingredients I had to buy).

Monday night, the hubby noticed one of the headlights on the Subaru was out. Just when I thought I was all good with the budget. But since it’s dark more often than not, and we had to drive through a highly patrolled area to get to the bar where he was playing pool Wednesday night, and I already have a warning from when the other headlight went out last summer/fall…I decided I needed to get it fixed asap.

Made an appointment with a shop close to work (since our normal mechanic’s shop burned down just before Christmas) and dropped the car off Weds after lunch, thinking it would be around $70 for the fix (if you haven’t tried to change the headlight on a 2012 Subaru outback, google it, and you’ll know why I didn’t want to do it myself).

Guys called me back half an hour later, said it was just a loose connection, and that I owed ’em $10.

Whew!

So my budget is still intact (though I did put off paying a bill so I’d have money for dog food, headlight, whatever if needed), despite a couple notable attempts to derail it this week.

Yes, I’m aware that’s why I need a savings stash. I’m working on it. I just paid off one of two minor lines of credit planned for payoff this year, which feels pretty good, and we’ll see how the budget looks when I balance tonight.

Next week, taxes. *sigh* I’m doing them early this year, so we know how much we need to save up to pay by April 15th. We always owe the feds and get back from the state, but I dare say it’ll be worse this year with the tax “cuts” from last year. So, better to know early, I guess.

In other news, I’ve recently started walking the sky bridges downtown for an afternoon break. The route that starts in my building goes around 4 blocks out through buildings and parking garages, and I’m quite enjoying it. That route is never busy, there’s no traffic or waiting for lights, it’s enclosed, so while it’s chilly when not in a building, it’s not as cold as wandering around at street level, and as a bonus, I can catch pokemon and hit a few stops and gyms all along the way. If I want to hit the bookstore or the bank or the bakery, they’re all stops along the way – just drop down to street level from the appropriate building, and everything’s right there.

There’s definitely something to be said for getting up and away from your desk during the day – even just for 10 minutes or so to clear the mind and get the blood pumpin’. Taking this quiet, “high” road is perfect for an introvert like me, and a good way to wake up and get a little extra exercise.

And more fun than shoveling snow, which is what I’m doing today for exercise (I’m off work – burning excess vacation hours). It’s been a very mild winter, so I’m trying not to complain, but…I am ready for spring. And so are the dogs (who *need* to get out of the house this afternoon – they’re going nuts being cooped up inside).


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Slowing Down to Make Progress

We’re getting our share of the polar vortex this week, apparently. Though it’s not nearly as bad as the midwest got last week – more like normal “winter” here. So, while I’m not enjoying it (or having two restless dogs stuck inside for a good week), I’m doing my best not to complain too much. It’s a good thing I have extra eye drops at home. Nothing beats sub-zero temps with even colder wind chills to make your eyes water and then dry out even worse than normal while thawing. Ugh.

I’ve talked a lot about financial and routine changes lately, and something that is benefiting from the routine changes is writing. I’ve been a lot more disciplined lately (in a lot of things), and that has had the very good side effect of doing late-night chores a bit earlier, and getting back to my office earlier as a result.

Also, given the lack of ability to just “buy stuff” when I want to in order to do/learn/organize things, my mind tends to be more focused on the here and now, rather than what’s happening (or what I think should happen) in the future. I still plan, and still look ahead, but there’s less immediacy to it, if that makes sense (because anything that requires a purchase of some sort is not happening “right now” or even “next week” anymore…there’s a waiting period for everything).

Ironically enough, while I’m more conscientious about money and spending, I’m less concerned about…well, pretty much everything else. When forced to wait and/or plan far ahead for nearly everything, it actually removes a source of mental stress – there’s no point in worrying about or planning for something that isn’t happening anytime soon.

And that leaves me with more mental energy & head space to spend on other pursuits.

Like writing.

It still takes me a little while to get into a story when I sit down most nights, but that’s okay, because I’m sitting down earlier. I’m using my Neo, which isn’t optimal due to the darkish screen, but it’s easy on the eyes and the keyboard is a million times better than the one on my laptop. Not being on the laptop also keeps me away from distractions, though I do need to remember to upload my writing to the laptop once a week (which I keep forgetting to do). Luckily, the Neo does hold quite a bit of writing, so I won’t run out of space anytime soon. But keeping scenes and chapters organized is easier in my writing software.

One of my “indiscretions” back in November was to pre-order the Freewrite Traveler (I’ll be done paying for that this month), which is basically the modern version of my Alphasmart Neo. The screen is e-ink and not backlit, and the keyboard is manual with Cherry MX switches. It won’t ship until this summer, but I’m looking forward to it both for the lighter e-ink screen that I’ll be able to see better in my dim office, and also for the fact that it will connect to wifi and upload my writing sessions automatically (the Neo requires an old printer-to-usb cable connection, and acts as a keyboard emulator).

Until then, the Neo works just fine, and I’m really glad to have it. I don’t think I’d be nearly as productive working on my laptop and fighting the constant cursor jumps due to the too-flexible case (not to mention the crappy keyboard).

I am going to have to work on my computer set-up, but not until I get my longevity bonus this spring (May). Hopefully I’ll have at least one draft done and ready to format and cover by then. Whether I do or not will probably determine how much I’m willing to spend to upgrade my set-up. So, we’ll see. Lots of potential writing time between now and then.

I think my next feat needs to be finding some time in which I can edit, format, and create cover art for books. Time that isn’t normal writing time and also doesn’t require more screen time on weeknights, which means a few hours on the weekend, preferably.

I have a few ideas, and a book that needs reformatting (not to mention several that need new covers). If I could get the one book done by the end of February, I’d be happy with both the progress, and having a new time slot mapped out for that kind of work.

And that would be great progress.


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Discipline & Re-calibration

Self-discipline is an odd thing. The amount of discipline I exercise is sometimes directly proportional to the resources available to me. Which makes me wonder if what I’m doing is actually practicing discipline, or just being forced to appear disciplined because there are no other options available. Sometimes, that’s true, but speaking in recent terms, I do still have the option to make less optimal choices, and I’ve been avoiding that for the most part. Which is a very good thing, though not always the easiest choice.

I’ve been making a lot of choices that directly impact my spending, and while I’m trying not to impact the dogs or hubby any more than necessary with that (it’s not their fault I wasn’t managing my money well last year), I have made some decisions that require change for them too. Not backwards changes, just different. Like making dog treats instead of buying jerky and commercial dog bones. And hubby having to suffer through a few weeks of burnt toast edges (I did far better this week, thankyouverymuch) while I relearn how best to make toast in the oven (my toaster oven died, and I won’t be replacing it for a while due to “budget cuts”).

I’ve also been very cognizant of the grocery budget and sticking to a tight, smaller budget while shopping, and the thing that strikes me the most is…just how much stuff I often buy that we really don’t need. I’ve always been kind of a food-hoarder, and I like a wide variety of foods. Since I don’t menu plan, I often just buy a bunch of things that sound good, and keep what I’ve always referred to as a “well-stocked” refrigerator, freezer and pantry. So you would think that with buying less, the stocks would be waning, right?

They’re not, generally speaking. I mean, the stuff we eat/use all the time does, of course, but I restock those even when watching the budget. But we still have a too-full fridge, a too-full freezer, and a too-full pantry because there are things in all three that just aren’t getting eaten. It’s become clear that I need to do a fridge/pantry/freezer clean-out spree one of these weekends, and start over. There’s every reason to have a good stock of staples in the house, but no reason whatsoever to have so much food we’ll never get around to eating.

I also have an “overstock” of vacation hours at work I need to use or lose before March 31st. Perhaps a day or two of that should be earmarked for kitchen cleaning/decluttering/reorganization.

I’ve been more disciplined about screen time lately as well, with good results – namely, my eyes aren’t bugging me as much or as badly. I’ve been working on my knitting block in the evenings after a certain point, and that is far easier on the eyes. I didn’t get any writing done last week, but this week, it’s back to the Alphasmart with its non-backlit screen for my writing time. Considering I was using that time for ordering stuff I’d forgotten to order (tea, supplements) online, and updating my to-do list before bed last week, going back to writing is a nice change for both the eyes and the brain.

Interestingly enough, forcing myself to be more disciplined in financial matters has had the unintended side-effect of being more disciplined in other ways as well. Which makes sense, really – the more I tell myself “no” or “you have to wait” or “you don’t need that”, the easier it is to just wait or pass things up. I learned that as a child, of course – my parents were not indulgent in the least (and couldn’t afford to be), but somewhere along the way I’ve morphed into more of an instant gratification mindset, and I don’t think that’s a good or healthy thing, mentally speaking.

So the financial recovery process is also a sort of “re-calibration” process, and I like where both are going. Cheesy as it sounds, I think it will help me to be a better person all around, and I’ve already noticed some good results in that I’m getting more things done on time, organizing and prioritizing my time better. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get those two “resolution” books finished and published this year. We’ll see…


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