La Casa de Tontería: Mine!

Having debt bothers me. A mortgage loan for a house is called “good debt,” but I never thought so. Consistent monthly payments were better than the arbitrary rent-increases that set me packing, but the niggling thought of foreclosure was always there. The more I improved La Casa de Tontería (aka The House of Nonsense), the more I wanted to own it outright.


With penny-pinching and do-it-myselfing, I planned to pay off my mortgage in December.
At the beginning of work-from-home, I turned the inside of the front door into a central planning center for tasks and bill deadlines. The up-to-date loan statement, posted next to the calendar, often caught my eye. The dropping interest portion pleased me – except when I compared it to other monthly expenses.


Today I went into the bank and, after comparing mortgage and savings account balances, paid it off. Finally La Casa de Tontería is truly mine.

Putting the Middle-Man Back In

Please forgive the delay between posts. I was in a lovely place with spotty WiFi and, at the best times, WordPress had endless loading patterns.

This past week, I returned to brick-and-mortar stores. Having items delivered to my doorstep wasn’t saving money nor helping my community. Plus, it’s difficult to judge something like color and fit online (although fitting rooms are still closed).

It was a rather strange experience to have no Canadian visitors, to avoid other people like the literal plague, and to smile despite a mask (“invisible” smiles are high on my list of Things I Hate About Covid-19). The current coin shortage has forced me to use a credit card, putting a new wrinkle in budgeting. But there was the clearance rack (replacing workout clothes was $4.35 cheaper than anticipated) and the book I wanted was in a logical spot despite the rearranged, distancing-pattern shelves.

As for The Young Human Factory, we’re waiting to hear from the governor about what stage we’ll be in for the reopening. We are using a “middle man” regardless: lessons via live chats and online assignments). Ugh.

Project Complete: Reindeer Glasses-Holder

This project grew from disparate things:

  1. Paint pens from a going-out-of-business sale
  2. A badly-painted “freebie” Christmas decoration
  3. An online ad for an outrageously-priced eyeglasses holder
  4. Recurring incidents of “lost” or knocked-around glasses

     

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    Christmas decoration (after removing plastic wreath from neck).

Despite lumps of epoxy and nicks in the paint, it had promise. Its weighted legs meant it wasn’t going to fall over when I bumped the nightstand, and its well-felted feet meant no worries about setting it on furniture. 

It was a perfect project for brain-frying quarantine, particularly during the dreary days of flooding rain. I  laid out junkmail flyers on the table next to my daily workspace. Between bouts of staring at the screen,  I played around with the paint pens.

It took me roughly four weeks to finish. 

Voila! A deer for all seasons. 

Volunteer Columbines

It’s hard to believe that theses beauties came from one scrawny plant that sprang out of the daylilies a friend brought me. And I nearly “weeded” it out!

In the background is two-thirds the front of La Casa de Tontería. The windows are my “office” (blinds drawn) and the guestroom. To the left is the short porch which runs the length of the living room and entryway.

Covid Cooking

My friends, M’e the Fashionista in particular, have been sharing recipes to try during the stay-at-home order. Unfortunately, they tend to have unavailable ingredients like flour and cream.

My recent foray into the grocery store consisted of buying eggs and searching the discount meat bin. Finding a package of beer brats for $2.24 means I have something tasty to add to the usual frozen vegetables (zucchini, green beans, and peppers, usually).*

Mostly I make do with whatever is in the cupboard, whether it’s canned salmon or a jar of pickled peppers. My current favorite dessert combines the following ingredients:

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First, make the instant oatmeal, and then add pumpkin and chopped nuts to taste. Easy peasy.


* Yes, I’m still following the plan of The Year of Mindful Spending. It’s ironic that I’ve spent more on books since the shutdown – children’s books for The Young Humans, most of whom had never read Treasure Island, Call of the Wild, or other classics.

The Accidental Stockpiler

One of my brothers joked about people stockpiling toilet paper because of coronavirus. It’s absurd because TP is produced in the US and Canada, not overseas. It’s even less understandable than buying up all the dust masks in the land.

I laughed, then I thought about it: how much toilet paper do I have?  Chain pharmacies offer me limited-time discounts and use-as-cash coupons. Whenever they do,  I buy staples like laundry soap, bleach, toothpaste….

Also, when the regional Kmart went out of business this fall and I had to use my “points,” I bought a package…. or was it two?

Well, I checked. I have three unopened 12-roll packs in the linen closet!

Good grief.

Gardening Temptations

bloom blossom flora flower

NOT the garden of La Casa de Tontería aka The House Of Nonsense. Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

Tracking expenses this month, I noticed that Winter has no dampening effect on the gardening bug. During the thaw before New Year’s, I visited Migardener garden store for inspiration (and vegetable seeds), used a Christmas gift card to purchase planting bags, and began reading the bonsai book a friend gave me. I’m waiting on this month’s orders: daikon radish seeds, a paper pot mold, rock-wool, and a sower.

I like to blame peer pressure. Continue reading

Toolset: Mending

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Old and new tools in the sewing box

I’ve written recently about how cheap clothes make it easier to toss them than to mend, but a globalized economy creates an environment in which even little things are outsourced.

The photo above illustrates the point. The American-made crocheting needle, which dates from the ’80s, was in my first “emergency” sewing kit.  I neither crochet nor knit, but it’s my “sweater-saver.” When a sweater is snagged, I poke the needle through from the back, twist the errant yarn around it, and draw it through to the reverse side.

The darning needles and thread-cutter came from my late maternal grandmother’s carefully-kept cache. The needles were imported because, as everyone knew, Sheffield Steel was high-quality. I can attest to their strength, since I’ve used them on denim and suede. (Note: If you look on the left side of the package, you can see Grandma paid a dime for the package. Quite an investment!) 

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