Simple Sunday

It’s been a nice week although weird again with the holiday in the middle of the week. I kept thinking Thursday was Monday. Oh well, it seems that we’re back on course and today is Sunday.

We did a shop a Costco on Friday and didn’t overdo it. I bought extra coffee and TP so we won’t need to ‘run’ down there for those things. We are eyeing a new TV though. Ours is about 8 years old and still works but the sound quality isn’t the best. There are some sales for the super bowl so if I think we can swing it, I will.

B’s last SDI was this last week too. He did get a notice to have his doctor fill out a form about not returning to work, so I’m not sure if they would extend his benefits to use up the little he has left or if it’s just paperwork. What I read is the maximum award is 12months, so we’ll see. We’ll try and do that next week although he sees his doctor on Tuesday and I’m sure it won’t be in the mail by then.

This month will be the big test of how we do without the SDI. I know it’s going to be an adjustment. But at least we have no big bills in January just the car tags for the old van. Still, that’s $150. I have been saving quite a bit of the SDI so that I know I won’t be adding to the savings.

Also, we had to call on his Cobra as, just as expected, the Noxafil prescription came in at$1200.  This amount was the Medicare Part D prescrpiton plan that I’m not planning on using that’s why we’re paying the Cobra amount. I am not paying that much money when last month it was 0.00 co-pay.  So he called and the Cobra payment letter was just going out. So we did it online and then now we have to wait for it to get activated by the prescription plan. After that, we still don’t know what the co-pay will be since we haven’t reached any yearly deductible.  It’s all unsettled right now but next week we should know and hopefully, it’ll be resolved.

Plus we know that within a few months Noxafil will be reduced or eliminated so then we will cancel the Cobra and just use the Medicare Part D as all his other drugs are Tier 2. I think it’s only Noxafil that is Tier 5. What a Fucking scam is all I have to say.

Today is a gym day and we will go for our walk shortly.

Flylady zone is the kitchen and I’ll start that today but finish tomorrow.

I made a new recipe last night from another blogger( Teresa Kasner)

She lives along the Columbia River in an old beautiful farmhouse. Her pictures are outstanding. So the recipe was for Chicken with potatoes and spinach in a creamy parmesan sauce. It was good.

This week is Clinic for Barclay and our overnight trip. Plus whatever stress with the prescription stuff comes up.:(

I started a list of projects for the year and we’ll see how far we get.

  1. to drop the wood stove to floor level so that the footprint is lower and less of an eyesore. We built the platform specifically so we wouldn’t be bending to put wood in but it does take up a lot of floor space. This won’t cost a lot except added stove pipe( which is pricey) but we won’t need a lot. And some stone for the floor. Our woodstove is quite efficient and we will keep it for a few more years. Eventually, we will put in a gas/propane stove. But that’s maybe 5 years out still.
  2. We will be replacing windows in my daughter’s room. This will be maybe @ $1000 as it will be 2 windows replacing one large one. The Anderson windows we bought last summer are great and very energy efficient. So that ended up @ $800( I think).
  3. I’d like to also replace the bathroom window. Same size but just more energy efficient. All the windows in the house we’re replaced when we remodeled but they are now 25 years old so an upgrade will be nice.
  4. I don’t think we will get to any bathroom remodel this year.
  5. I think we are going to try and redo some of the kitchen. The biggest thing is the counters and sink( pipes underneath) really need to be redone. Getting a new pantry system from Ikea will be first on the list as that will be freestanding.

There’s always garden work and yard work. That’s kinda ongoing.

Barclay’s official retirement date is January 30. That’s 25 years. It’s hard to let go of, I think, because of the way it all happened with him getting sick. But how incredibly lucky we are for modern science that has given him a new chance without cancer. Even I can’t say that, although I have been extraordinarily lucky that my Myeloma has responded to treatment. Well, it is what it is.

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This was our dinner the other night. A small piece of filet mignon and a Beyond Meat sausage( which are delicious BTW).

 

 

As 2019 comes to a close

It has been a year of highs and lows.

Lots of things were awful with B’s diagnosis and then being transfusion dependent. Lots of chemo visits weekly. But in spite of that, there have some great things. His brother was a 10/10 match for the BMT and that was amazing.

Being at UCD med center in the BMT unit for a month was hard, very hard, but it all went way better than expected. Staying at the Kiwanis in our friends RV was also great and made the whole experience of having to be there almost 3 weeks delightful. Being able to be just minutes from the clinic made it all worth it.

Recovery and gaining strength and energy back has been slow but sure. B is doing amazing and he is almost 7 months post-transplant.

There has been no major graft vs host although he must remain vigilant as that can happen even down the road.  Now he is tapering off immunosuppressants and that means less prescriptions. He will still need his vaccinations sometime next year.

So the year really was a mixed bag of emotions but overall I feel very positive about it. We did fine financially with the extra GoFund Me and the SDI. This week will be his last SDI and I am totally grateful to have had NOT to worry about money. After my transplant in 2006 and that following year, we were in serious,serious debt and it was awful. There were no GoFundME things or networks to receive financial help. I did have 2 friends that were very generous and that was a blessing.

At the end of this year, I feel grateful for my health and my children’s health. Both of my children have excellent jobs that they earned this year.

B will also officially retire as going back to full time just isn’t going to work for him. I will miss the paychecks and being able to travel with him, but honestly, he is 69 and with everything that has happened, life is just too short to go back to a job even if it’s only for another year. Who knows what will happen and he has this chance to retire. Social Security will be tough but hey, so what! We have struggled before and made it and if we can only do so much then so be it. Actually, I’m just grateful we have the little we will have coming in as it will cover our basics.

WE didn’t do any traveling and that was okay. We are planning something once a month for  2020. Next month we are planning an overnight to Chico where B has a free room at one of the nicer hotels downtown. We are planning to have dinner at a place I’ve wanted to go forever called the Red Tavern. I can’t remember where I read about it over 5 years ago, but it’s supposed to one of the best restaurants around.

House wise, we didn’t do anything major except outside and tree removal.  We did replace two windows and they look great. Next year we will replace a few more windows in the bathroom and kitchen and my daughter’s room as well. Next year, we hope to work on the kitchen and do a minor remodel( mostly the sink and counter as it is 25 years old this summer and the sink connections are pretty rusty.

So life keeps on keeping on and it really is a wonderful life.

Things to think about for 2020

I don’t do goals so much anymore and I try to avoid putting myself in the position of expectation on myself. I do like lists of things that I would like to do or things that need to be done.

I like Flylady as it gives me a focus on weekly chores.  And I like grocery lists and menus. I also like budgeting and do that daily and weekly and monthly. I also have annual bills tallied. ( This might be the challenging area once were on SS solely).

Now that SDI is ending money will be different.  I have saved as much as I felt I could but there were some big expenses in 2019. We had over $6000 in medical bills. The trees were almost $5000. Plus travel and other expenses during B’s transplant. We were very blessed to have the GoFundMe account which covered Kiwanis’ house for 3 weeks and other expenses.

Overall, financially, 2019 was good. We didn’t rack up any CC debt related to medical bills or anything related to the transplant. I used CC to pay things but was able to pay in a timely manner.

In 2020 we will need to be ultra frugal as there won’t be bonuses, or extra money coming in. Honestly, I ‘m not sure how it will play out but it will one way or the other.

We’d still like to take down the big tree in the back of the house and that will be upwards of $5,000 as it will need a big crane. the other big thing will be, do we want to redo the bathroom so it is ‘age ‘friendly. We plan on staying here so a walk-in shower seems prudent.

I’m also figuring that I’ll be starting Velcade sometime in the next 6 months so that’s weekly trips to Sacramento. Lots to think about.

Frugal Friday

It’s been a nice week. Very low key overall. The weather is cooler but still no rain. I guess I’m ready for some rain and we do it need it as things are quite dry.

The small fall garden we planted has given us some lettuce and chard and even a few radishes my daughter grew in a # 10 can. Too funny but they were the best radishes yet. We’ve had 2-3 nice salads and that saves a bit from buying store-bought.

I’ve been to the gym a few times to keep up on weights and treadmill but have been coming straight home and not having to go into Safeway. That really does save money. I think the Walmart pickup has really been excellent as I can see the amount of what I’m buying and planning meals too.

 Today I’m heading to Costco so that won’t be too frugal. This list includes Vanilla which for some reason is exorbitant.  It’s been that way for a while. Last year when B was still working I had ordered vanilla beans and made my own extract. But that is used up now.

I’m planning on getting a Costco pizza for dinner which is a money saver since it’s $10 for a huge pizza. I end up freezing some but that’s okay.

The year is winding down and I’m glad that 2019 will be over. It’s been a hard year with everything. B still hasn’t decided about going back to work but I think it’s about 90% that he doesn’t want to deal with all the stuff again. We’re not sure how the disability payments will go in January. They’re due to end Dec 31st so if there’s an extension, I don’t know yet. It’ll be harder with just SS $ but I think it will work although Costco’s trips will be MUCH smaller:)

Frugal Friday

No, not really. Although we haven’t been spending money carelessly. Our grocery budget is our biggest variable expense. I budget $200 a week for everything including pet supplies, non-food items, wine, food and misc. That seems to be a good amount for us.

But when you factor in Costco trips like in August, I definitely go over.  The Costco trips are often items that last a few months if not more. I’ve tried separating out non-food and then I get all confused and lose track of what was what so if I just lump it all together it works better for me.

For August I’m trying out $125 a week and I’ll see how that goes.

We aren’t going on any trips this year due to the medical stuff so there are no expenses there.

We also can’t eat out as B can’t have restaurant food yet. Although I have gotten him In an Out french fries and a shake as he needs to gain back about 20lbs. So we don’t really have an eating out budget. I have gotten a pizza or two so there’s that.

We also don’t have any big projects around the house but there are a few things. We absolutely need to fix our step coming out the door. It is awkward and has two levels so he and our daughter will put down a new concrete step that covers both and goes out farther. We wanted to build a deck out level from the front door and then a step-down but a deck would probably run us $3-5,000. So not now.

We’re on the fence about getting more trees down. I think we will call and see about at least 2 and get an estimate. We still have too many trees that are very big around the house.  But that too is a very expensive project.

We still have co-pays on the medical side too and the GFM is being used for that but it’s getting low.   The $6,000 from the beginning of the year is almost paid off. The transplant co-pays haven’t even shown up yet. Yikes, that could be scary.

Well, all in all, we’re doing okay.

Frugal Friday on Saturday

This week was okay budget wise.

We did go to Trader Joes and I haven’t decided whether to make that part of my May grocery bill or just call it for April which now sits @800. This includes all food, non-food, cat food, and alcohol( which is just wine for me as B is not drinking at all with his treatments.)

I’m leaning just calling it for April and just moving forward.  The only extra bills were the medical co-pays. One was for $500 and the other $350.  That’s just medical and part of how we’ve budgeted the GFM money.  All other bills are done and the budget is set for May.

We’ve sent in the long term disability forms but really don’t know how they would calculate that.  It would be nice but I’m still not sure even how that works.

I went to Target and got a fan since now the weather is getting warmer. I also picked up cat food and some cloth napkins we needed.

We did go to Home Depot for more garden supplies but I consider that seasonal expenses especially for the garden which will produce veggies. That was @ $130.

Tomorrow is a gym day and B needs platelets. So I’ll go and then wait at Starbucks for him as it usually is a shorter infusion.

Dinner is Greek Chicken Souvlaki.

 

Simple Sunday

We are out early for B to get platelets. But he isn’t done so I’m sitting at Starbucks waiting.  I’ve already been to the gym, Safeway, the bank, and the car wash so I guess I’ll just chill till he’s done.

We had our first BBQ last night. I did salmon I bought at Whole Foods last week. It was good.

Tomorrow I need to go to the Apple store as I ordered the wrong Ipad cover and I don’t want to send it back. r just go there and exchange. My daughter is going to come along and then we may go to a few stores. I may go back to Whole foods for a few items for this week.

We don’t celebrate Easter but do celebrate the pagan celebration of spring. Of course, Easter started as a pagan celebration and then somehow Christians turned it into palm Sunday and then Easter.  I love that Easter is still predicted by the first Sunday after the full moon in April. Of course, Passover is celebrated too.  And Of course, Jesus was a Jew, not a Christian as there was no such thing.  The first gospels weren’t even written for 70 years after Jesus’ death. Ahhh, real accurate I’m sure. Ask any 70 year old what happened all those years ago. Hmmmm.  thought so.

 

Oh well, enough of my Atheist cynicism.

Our week ahead looks pretty good. Regular labs for B and then I have the dentist on Tuesday.  That’ll be long and I’m not looking forward to my mouth being drilled and yanked for a few hours. But I have to do it while we have dental insurance.  I’m going to schedule a different appt for the Invisalign scan but hopefully this week. Then all I need to do is order my prescriptions so I have enough while the new insurance to is processed which I was told needs to be after Medicare approves me. I’m going double check to see if that’s accurate but I’m assuming the social security guy knew what he was talking about.

I’ve done a menu for the week and I don’t need a whole lot. Maybe some veggies which I could get at Whole foods tomorrow.

Also, the budget is done for the month.

We’re very proud of our son, Zephyr who will be graduating from Sac State in May. No student loan debt and it took incredible focus and fortitude to drive that 4 days a week. It’s an hour or more drive on way. We’re planning on giving him some money as a graduation gift.  Then he can buy what he wants.

For those following Flylady, we’re in the bathroom zone. I had my daughter use some leftover paint and redo the ceiling. One of the great things about loving a paint color is when you need to touch up it’s so easy.