September 2018 Progress Report

It was the best of times, it was the mediocrest of times. (NOTE: not a real word)

Budget Planning

My dearest, oldest friend laughed when I told her about the no-spending challenge. To paraphrase, she thought I was just asking for trouble. After paying for a transmission repair, dry cleaning, and bandages and ointments, I agree! That’s not including the waste of money on groceries like beans and grains I cannot eat on restricted diet.

I will not go into the details. Suffice to say that my savings account dropped drastically.


I need a plumbing inspection, a survey, and an estimate on a shed. Due to budget constraints, I contented myself with collecting papermill boxes (free!) to serve as weedblockers when I transplant plants.

I also gathered acorns to put out for the squirrels this winter. Bonus: fewer seedlings sprouting from various and sundry places.

American Life Cleaning VS the Middle School Mafia

Faithful readers may remember that last year The Young Human Factory shuffled the duties of employees, resulting in my new position as a Quality Control Inspector for the self-same hooligans that terrorize the neighborhood. This year, there are MORE widgets stuffed into my room.

They are like adorable deranged monkeys on Kickstart, Redbull, and whatever bad-idea beverage they can get their paws on.

Case in point: Last year, a boy got in trouble for picking paint off the walls while a substitute was covering the class. This year, while I was in charge of the room, one of the teeming horde continued the deconstruction. It dug through the blah beige of the Nineties, through the turquoise of the Eighties, and down to the Seventies’ persimmon orange.

I had to halt the production line and proclaim a Bold New Strategy(tm) of historic site preservation before anyone passed the psychedelic Sixties and reached deep enough to break through the brick and into the Tenth Dimension.

On the flip side, they say thank you and please and I spend only a couple hours each day contacting their progenitors, the discipline officer, and law enforcement.

But as a result, I come home and achieve little besides daily chores. Better luck this month!


Doggone it!*

Yesterday I found myself with dog poo on my hand and dress. Before I ran errands, I decided to retrieve the trash bin. The garbage man (aka sanitation worker) flips it upside-down so it doesn’t roll into the street.

Unfortunately, he flipped it into a fresh dog pile beside my mailbox. Right next to my mailbox, as a matter of fact.

This is the second time in a month that a dog walker decided to let his/her precious pooch dump on my lawn and didn’t clean up.

On hot days I can smell it on approach – yesterday was cool and I have a cold –  making every trip to the mailbox a delight. I won’t even explain what happens when a low-profile pushmower meets a pile. Neither pretty nor perfumey.

Just to add insult to injury, there is a rarely-mowed wooded lot right across the street. So there is an easy way to avoid inconveniencing homeowners.

I was going to type “neighbors” instead of “homeowners”, but there are so many dog walkers coming from other streets. The road dead ends into wooded marshland and it’s a pleasant low-traffic walk (or ATV track for kids). There are also a lot of newcomers to the area, and some courtesies have to be learned by experience.

I know the futility of teaching adults manners, so I cleaned myself and the mess up. Then I sprayed the area with animal deterrent (smells pretty to me). I don’t want to find any surprises in the autumn leaves.

*This title is one of many substitutes for curses and vulgar English phrases. It’s like when a dad says “miércoles” instead of that other word because the baby repeats everything she hears.

August 2018 Progress Report, part 2

black calculator near ballpoint pen on white printed paper

Photo by Pixabay on

This is the budget report.  Some people of my acquaintance consider discussions of money to be vulgar, so they are free to skip this.  Others have started debt-free living, minimalist budget challenges, and similar projects. I hope my readers might find it interesting or (I hope) give me constructive criticism.

I took a “baseline reading” of my usual monthly expenses in preparation for a so-called year of no spending. I didn’t curb my spending; the expenses would show typical spending. However, as soon as I started writing everything down, it seemed as if all sorts of expenses popped up.  Continue reading

August 2018 Progress Report, Part I

I had possibly the worst circumstances I’ve ever had for progressing on my goals. The antibiotic I took at the beginning of the month made me photosensitive and lightheaded. The final one gave me side effects that interfered with digestion and sleep.

As much as possible, I rolled with the punches. Wide awake at 2 am? Time to spackle the bathroom walls. Too dizzy to stand on a ladder? Work at the table.

In the end, I got quite a lot done. Continue reading

July 2018 Progress Report

woman using space gray iphone x

Photo by on

What did I do before a bullet journal?

I am planning to replace the shed, so everything from specs to easements are in one place. It doesn’t matter if I add information on a page much farther; it’s listed in the index under “shed.”

I bought a hanging calendar for upcoming appointments and events.  It is a plain Blue Sky spiral-bound calendar, July through June 2019. It’s replacing the four-month “future” section of the journal.

The Cycle Is Broken

I didn’t know what to do with myself after this school year ended. Part of it was mental fatigue, but the other was an overwhelming To-Do List.

The Young Human Factory has been saved by the voters, and my schedule will be slightly less hectic come September.

In the meantime, I have two work projects, three house projects and two personal projects. Honestly, I didn’t accomplish much in July because of sickness and related lethargy.

The Mortgage Is Slowly Ebbing

I enjoyed seeing how much the mortgage dropped since July 2017.  A monthly extra payment means even the regular payment reduces a greater and greater percentage of the principle. At my current pace, I’ll have it paid off by July 2022.




Wardrobe Hunting

Shortly after The Factory closed for the summer, I subtracted items from the dresser and closet: the stylish watch I never wear, worn-out shoes, etc. Then I made a little list of items I lacked: ankle socks, dressy shoes, closed-toe espradilles, and a blouse to dress up or down. And just like previous years, I wrote down “formal spring/fall coat.”

The shoes and socks were easy to find. I was extremely picky about the blouse; there are so many choices.

The formal coat, on the other hand, was a rare beast. Continue reading

House Unbound

close up photography of brown rabbit

Photo by Flickr on

My apologies for the length of time between posts. I was more-or-less homebound for a few weeks, and out of sheer boredom tore apart La Casa de Tontería (aka ThecHouse of Nonsense).

My dermatologist took a biopsy of a growing spot on my shin. It was benign, but the site became infected during a visit to my parents. (Especially annoying because I refrained from swimming to avoid dirty water.) The doc at Urgent Care prescribed a strong antibiotic.

The wound wasn’t healing properly after ten days of antibiotics, so my doctor prescribed an even stronger antibiotic. The caveat? A little thing called photosensitivity.

Photosensitivity is no joke, my friends. I slathered myself with SPF 45 sunblock but still managed to get sunburned in partial shade at 3 pm!

Long story short: I am healed, and the garden is so very ugly. While I hid indoors, the weeds flourished. A pair of young rabbits have also taken over the back yard, much to the excitement of Willow, the neighbor-dog. I quite like them, especially the dumb bunny who has only the mildest fear of the ponderous creature that surveys the yard (aka me).