Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Where I've Been the Past Couple of Months

I haven't been blogging much lately, and it's a bit surprising that *this* is the week I find time to do so -- as this is the week of everything: dance class picture day, extra-long church choir practice, first grade performance, two different Girl Scout events, First Communion, plus work, chiropractor's appointments -- and snowstorms.

Yes, snowstorms. Well, at least one - Monday night into Tuesday. To go with the one from last Thursday. To go with ... let's just say we've written off April for spring in Minnesota. These are not dustings; these are several inches of accumulation. And apparently, according to our local weatherman's blog, the entire Mississippi flyway's population of robins are trapped in the Twin Cities by the weather -- those migrating are afraid to go any farther north (and, with parts of northern Minnesota getting 20 inches of snow last week, who can blame them?).

On the plus side, as we've been trapped inside, I've been doing some "spring" cleaning. And threatening discussing with the family the need for home maintenance so things like the coat closet, living room, child's room, etc., do not again become disaster areas. Still haven't made it to some of the other areas of the house that really need organizing -- I think getting things in order, and keeping them that way, would really save me time that I could use for other things I want to do. Decluttering has been a part of this, too: so far, we've given three bags of adult clothes to the local thrift store that supports our local food shelf; Freecycled a bag full of my husband's holey jeans so that someone could use the denim fabric; and taken a load of stuff to the spring kids' consignment sale in our town.

The consignment sale is also this week. Of course. I had my daughter go through her spring/summer clothes to see what she needed -- but she hasn't been able to actually get them out and wear them yet, with the weather. I'm hoping to find her some pairs of shorts at the sale, which is mostly what she needs. Her outgrown clothes mostly go to my niece; it's more outgrown equipment and toys that we're consigning -- plus a few things from the neighbors with a girl about three years older, who are moving and giving some of their outgrow stuff to us. We're keeping some of it; some of it is waiting for my daughter to grow into it -- and this situation has both its good and its bad aspects.

One of the good aspects, of course, is the saving money portion of this. This past month or so has not been good to us in that arena. I got rear-ended in one of the March snowstorms on my way to work, which totalled the car (back windshield completely broken out; whole back end of the car was caddywampus). So, we ended up having to buy a new-to-us car. We used the insurance settlement plus a generous loan from my mom to pay off my husband's car, so we don't have two car payments, and the newer car's payments will be lower than we had been paying, but still, it was a chunk of change for a down payment (and now we need to build the emergency fund back up to where it had been).

Also, due to all the discombobulation, my being without a vehicle, etc., we haven't had very well-planned meals or grocery trips, which means my husband has been making frequent ad-hoc trips to buy things here and there, which is not good for the budget, as he has no concept of not buying things at full price (I never buy cereal without a coupon, for instance, but he will buy a giant box of it ...) I also have been a bit skittish about driving in snowstorms in either the miniscule rental car they stuck me with, or the new car, and literally, almost every time I actually have time to do groceries, there is a snowstorm.

Luckily, the insurance has covered the cost of doctor visits (I hit my head in the accident and had to be checked out a couple of times -- no concussion, no skull fracture, just a big lump); chiropractor visits (up to a point, and then we'll evaluate); and the rental car for a time.  

While I was stuck at home for a week with no vehicle, did I get to rest? Of course not. I was either working from home, or having to engage in ridiculously vigorous house cleaning because, in the midst of all this, lice came home from school.

Also, we made an unplanned trip to Iowa shortly thereafter, to attend the funeral of my husband's cousin. She had been living in the Twin Cities, and we had been having fun doing family things with her last year -- the State Fair, the zoo, our daughter's dance recital, etc. -- and looking forward to hanging out with her more this year. But when she went to her convent's annual meeting at the mother house right after Christmas (obviously, she was a nun), she went to the doctor and pretty much never came back to Minnesota. She had a hysterectomy in January and was put on hospice care in March. I don't know, but I can't help but wonder, since she was one of those people who took care of everyone else, if she ignored symptoms for a long time or something. We will miss her.

The funeral was the Tuesday of Holy Week (she was even considerate enough to pass away in time for easier scheduling; one more day and they would have had to postpone the funeral due to all the other events/priests' obligations), held at the convent, and was our daughter's first funeral experience. So I've also been spending time the past month explaining death to a six-year-old.

Also, recently, our school had spring break. We went on a (previously planned and budgeted for) family vacation, to St. Louis, which was fun. We needed it.

So, that's where I've been the past couple of months.