Sunday, August 30, 2009

Finally, an Update

Wow, I haven't posted in forever. It's been a combination of all the previous reasons (Blogger issues, exhaustion, resistance, not wanting to blog when I'm not doing what I ought to be doing) but I really have to get over myself and just get back to it.

Anyway, I'm coming up on my birthday, Dear Child starts Grade 1 on the 1st, my new Executive Director arrives a week later and work is about to go crazy. Fun!

At least DC got to do 2 weeks at day camp before it ended in early August. She loved it and wants to do more next year, so I'll have to plan for that.

We went to the PNE the other day and had a great time although it cost about $100 all told. Oh yes, plus I entered the draw for the prize home (5 tickets for $25, including a draw every day for a car). It's a great house, very suitable for us, and this year it's supposed to be set up on a lot just outside of Kelowna (about an hour and a half away from where our rural home is). If I won I'd sell the lot (worth about $275,000 for the bare lot) and buy land in our area with that money. Then we'd have the house assembled where we actually want it. No, I'm not likely to win, but it would work out very well for us if I did.

I finally had impressions taken to replace my "flipper", the retainer-with-a-tooth that our Dog tried to eat a few months ago. It'll be ready tomorrow evening. I hated how discoloured my teeth were (which was really noticeable when you looked at the tint of the fake tooth) so I've been using special toothpaste and Whitestrips for the past several days. Maybe it's just because I'm about to be another year older, but I've felt the compulsion over the past few months to pull myself together a bit. Hence the new glasses, the new flipper, wearing lipstick (usually go "natural"), going to the physio.

This is one of the two times of year that I tend to do an in-depth look at how various aspects of my life are going (my birthday/Rosh Hashana time and the secular New Years). I'll do that privately (much of it is too personal for me to put down here) but there will likely be some new goals for me to discuss shortly.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Spending Money We Ain't Got

I don't have much in the way of cash to throw around but I've sure been spending a lot this past couple of days!

First of all, we bought a garden storage shed yesterday from Home Depot. It's going to be delivered Friday and we hope to get it up either before Shabbos or on Sunday. They say it can be assembled by 2 people in 1 hour, but we'll see! With tax and delivery, it was just a hair over $1,000 and getting it was a bit of a story.

We have more stuff to store than fits comfortably in our place and, in order to be able to clear the area where the foyer floor still needs to be done, we bit the bullet and decided to buy a shed. Among other things, the kids don't want Hubby's bike hanging out in the laundry room anymore and it needs to be somewhere protected from the elements, seeing as he rides it to work every day. We went to the closest Home Depot with the girls and looked at all the sheds. They have them all set up on a corner of the parking lot and Dear Child and the 4 year old had a great time checking them all out! We tried to buy the one we wanted but it wasn't in stock at that Home Depot. The sales associate pulled up the stock at all the other stores up on the screen and we saw that Burnaby had the most, with 6 in stock.

We went home, called Burnaby, and ordered it over the phone. Five minutes later the guy we talked to called back. Our Home Depot card didn't have enough room on it! The store was closing so we had to go in the next day (when I had all 3 girls) to ask for a credit limit increase. Now, our card always had a $2,000 limit and we've had 3 or 4 "Do Not Pay" deals on it at various times but currently we just have the $500 worth of bathroom fixtures on there that won't come due until January (it was a 1 year deal, where most of them are for 6 months). So, how did we not have enough room on the card?

Well, I'd heard of people's credit limits being lowered and that's exactly what Home Depot had done to us without any fanfare at all. Our $2,000 limit had been whittled down to $600! Now, we don't carry a balance on this card as regular revolving credit because the interest rate is an insane 28% but we have made very good use of the "Do Not Pay" feature repeatedly, by charging renovations on it and then paying the card in the week before the offer comes due. Home Depot hasn't made any money off us in interest but we've bought well over $3,000 worth of stuff from them in the past 2 years.

Anyway, we had to go ask for an "increase" back up to $1,600 and we got it. It took an hour of our time, what with driving out there and back and it meant standing around with 3 little girls stuffed in a cart, complaining, but it's done.

On a similar note, my $2,000 limit at IKEA was cut in half some months ago. Other than the time I was carrying the cost of the mirror that I was trying to return on it, I normally charge small amounts on this card and pay it off in full (it's also 28% interest) when it's due. This last statement there was a notice that IKEA is changing their card provider and this card was only good for purchases made before August 2nd! What a neat way to deal with everybody all at once! They still have to pay their balances on this card but nobody can charge anything further unless they apply again through the new provider. Very clever.

However, back to me and the money I've been spending. Today I went to see a physiotherapist who specializes in sports medicine and a lot of neat things like acupuncture about my shoulder, which has been killing me. I injured it almost 20 years ago in a car accident and have adhesions under my shoulder blade.. Recently it's been hurting inside my shoulder when I make very small motions with my arm and I finally decided to look into it.

The physio was very thorough and it turns out I have a lot of damage, both from the accident and how I've been compensating for the injury over the years as well as from a low back problem. I have a vertebra that's missing the projections that hold it in place that's caused me serious back pain and weakness or tingling in my leg off and on over the years. He said I hold myself way out of line because of all this and it's not going to be easy to change it because I've been doing this for so long but I have to really start working on it because things are just going to get worse as I get older. Right now I'm having shoulder problems and the migraines are starting to come back. Next it's likely to be worse issues with my back and leg. I always knew if my back moved significantly that I could become a paraplegic (L5 is the vertebra that the nerves for your right leg run through) but he also said that I could start having bowel and bladder issues too. Uh, no thanks. I'm not interested in a wheelchair and diapers.

So, the alternative is to really develop the core muscles and hold the back in place with them. Of course, he's telling this to the girl who hates exercise with a passion (remember when I belonged to that gym?). The only exercise I ever liked was fencing and Tai Chi sword (at least 10 years ago) and he told me gently that, at this point in time, my right arm is in no shape to hold a sword.

I'm going to have to go back weekly and I had to go to a pharmacy and buy a couple of items to use all the time from now on. The first is a pair of core shorts. They look like bicycle shorts, but have that kind of Playtex "Cross Your Heart" technology, except that the bands of elastic cross over the front of your abdomen and around your sacrum. It holds you in really tight and he said to wear them all the time.

Then, there's this funny Sit Fit thing that I have to sit on at work. It's kind of like a whoopee cushion, round and partially filled with air, but the air stays in and you kind of wobble on it if you don't sit up all nice and balanced. So the physio and the new goodies set me back to the tune of $200, weekly appointments are $50 (although most of that will be reimbursed by my extended medical) and I still have a cute little belt (made by Obus) to buy that I'm supposed to wear when I'm lifting (no not Olympic lifting, lifting kids in and out of car seats, etc.).

I'm the girl who never buys stuff for myself and look at me now! Cute clothes and a vacation would have been a lot more fun!

Monday, August 10, 2009

It's Been A While

It's been a while and I really don't have a good excuse. The weather has been hot, I was away for the August long weekend, I haven't been sleeping well and I've been reading compulsively but not blogging, or even commenting very much.

And I don't really feel up to doing any kind of an update right now. I'm tired and I have 4 girls all day tomorrow, now that camp is finished. I'm just feeling kind of unmotivated and rebellious but I wanted everybody (the handful of folks who possibly haven't given up on me yet) to know that I am still around. In a way I feel like I really need a vacation.

I just can't afford to go away and I have responsibilities too, both family ones and work. But I'm feeling very flat and being away last weekend wasn't enough. For one thing, I had both Dear Child and my 4 year old granddaughter. Plus, I had to come home just about the time I felt like I was accomplishing anything.

I'm looking forward to going again (not sure which weekend though) because I want to put together the bookshelf I bought at IKEA and took there. Then I want to go through a couple of the boxes of memorabilia there and put out stuff on display on the shelves. I think that will feel nice. But what I'd really like is some alone time and I know that's not going to happen because, wherever I go, I'll have DC with me at the very least.

Anyway, my apologies for being in such a grumpy mood.