Shopping done and got some good deals on meat

January 30, 2015

I spent a bit more shopping at Albertson’s but I got a great deal on some boneless country style pork ribs and 85/15 hamburger “family paks”. While I spent a bit more money than I had anticipated I got a good start at refilling the freezer with meat and I have to admit I was getting a bit tired of chicken. I find I’m sort of craving fresh veggies and for the last two dinners we have had BLTs and then tacos. I enjoy having someone else to cook for and with Mom here at the house I get mostly feedback on the meals I prepare.  Plus I get to cook which I like doing and Mom does the dishes that I don’t like doing that seems like a fair trade of work.

I picked up a 5 pound bag of shredded cheese  and with the hamburger, I can make up some of my real Home baked Mac & Cheese and some mini-meatloaves for the neighbor family with the husband that got burned last week. Both of these items are easy to reheat or freeze until they need a quick meal. It may not be a lot, but their time and energy is focused on the burn victim not meal planning. So I think that the meals will be appreciated.  My meat loaf is about average in taste, not bad but not great. The baked mac & cheese recipe is really good if I do say so myself.

I added a couple of 12 packs of tissue paper and an 8 pack of paper towels. While tissue paper usage has been about what I figured for two females. Mom really goes through the paper towel faster than I ever thought could happen.  It does not help that two of her three dogs are older and have a hard time finding the doggie door to go outside.  I have some good news though Diana the peke is starting to eat wet dog food again!  I accidentally bought wet food with gravy and she scarfed it up, so I am very happy. She is very thin as she slowly stopped eating after taking the carprofen for pain and inflammation. Just like some people, dogs  can have stomach upset from NASIDs like naproxen and Ibuprofen.  Diana is a small peke and while she has never been fat or a chow hound like some dogs, for her to going off her feed for a couple of days is kind of scary. I want her to eat as much as possible without making herself sick.  I suppose I’m  hopeful about her being on the mend because she is starting eat at least soft dog food and does not need to be hand fed.   The Band-aid antiseptic with lidocaine topical pain reliever seems to work well for Diana’s sutures as well as Bear’s small foot injury he acquired yesterday. You don’t want to use it more than a couple of times a day but I think this Band-aid product has a place in your 1st aid kit for both people and pets. So far the dogs don’t seem to like the taste or the feeling of the lidocaine and don’t lick the injury area.

I stopped by True value and added a couple more of the 60 watt equivalent LED bulbs.  While I’m buying these bulbs on sale they are a bit pricey on up front costs. I believe they do make a huge difference on your electrical use and I like the light much better compared to the CFL spiral bulbs. I suppose because I don’t have a lot of background noise in my home I tend to notice the hum and frequency flicker of the CFL bulbs. I don’t really care for the blue tinged light of most CFL bulbs.  If you want to use CFL’s that is cool but I much prefer the LED type bulbs for light and I am slowly replacing all of the CFL  and regular bulbs with LED bulbs. While at True value store I stopped by the 50% off sales rack and picked up a small combo rechargeable flash light/night light for $8.50. The night light is a a soft orange color light but the flashlight is a bright white light when lifted off the charging cradle.  While not an adjustable light for security it should work quite well for a fire or power outage. I’d like to add a couple more for the main areas of my home. While many of prepare for a SHTF, Economic collapse or the Zombie Apocalypse, a house fire or Mama Nature sending a flood or storm that takes out power is about the worst disaster most of us will face short term. Those disasters tend to happen with regularity.

Trust me a sewage drain backing up or going without a water for several days is a disaster for you personally. FEMA is  not coming to aid you and that water main leak is your problem as far as the city in concerned. Be ready for those issues and try to have cash on hand to pay for them, because they will happen.

 

 

 


Shopping lists, savings plans and getting on top of stuff.

January 29, 2015

I stopped by the Dollar tree and picked up a case, stylus/pen combo and a cleaning cloth for my new kindle fire.  The case isn’t exactly what I wanted, but the case has room for a note pad and the cardboard backing adds a bit of protection.  I like how I have everything contained in one bag that is ready to grab and go. Staples has a laptop pad/docking station I want to take a look at to see if it will work with my plan of a few laptops, tablets and building a server plus LAN for the neighborhood idea. I know it is doable I just need to educate myself using civilian stuff and get the parts.  I can add a couple of the 60 watt equivalent LED bulbs on sale from True Value. I think those bulbs have had a very big impact in our overall energy costs after Mom moved in. I’m not saving money but I’m not spending as much as I anticipated.

I stopped by the new Harbor Freight store and it was filled guys shopping.  The store setup looks good and I found a couple of solar lights I might be able to get without busting the bank. I miss having a Big Lot’s store but Harbor Freight isn’t a bad replacement store.

I have restarted my 52 week cash savings plan and $15 dollars is in the envelope for Jan.  along with a few dollars in the “extra” cash savings envelope. While I’m a bit peeved that I’m not doing better at cash savings, paying the small bills ahead has been working quite well overall. Heck I handled a vet bills of almost $400.00 without a lot of robbing Peter to pay Paul. My plan is to get cash “rich” in my small way and try and get all my re-occurring bills paid forward at least four-six weeks, by the middle of March.  Cash will be “king” at least for a little while if the SHTF. My planning is trying to build up a bit of cash for at least one month’s worth of expenses and then go for 3 months and then 6 months. Can I do it? I have no idea, but I know if I don’t try I will fail.  The PTBs are starting to get a little freaked out about the global economy. I think March/April time frame there could be a crash. But if we get into summer we should have a few more months to stock up. The next “crash” time historically happens at the end of Sept.- Nov. time frame. My time frames are based on history, not traders or charts,  so if you can do that sort of thing more power to you. I would appreciate a “heads up”  and I won’t call you names if you guess wrong because the “markets” are so manipulated that they resemble a casino at best!

For myself, other than my mortgage and my personal loan for the wood stove (paid off this year) I would stay/get out of debt and stay away from any “paper investments” like stocks and bonds and buy tangible goods that preserve your wealth.


Diana is putting on weight and the kindle fire arrived today

January 27, 2015

It seems that Diana is putting on a little weight. She is just a little wobbly but is out of pain, though the staples and her incision probably itch like crazy. She does have a little seepage around the staples but the Band-aid antiseptic/topiocal pain killer once a day, seems to help reduce the itch.  I have to say that Diana is much more interested in what is happening around her and is now joining us in the livingroom rather than just staying in the PC room under my  desk. Mom’s peke Bear is doing better and adding a bit of weight as well.  One nice thing about Bear is he seems much more relaxed here at the house and not as proned to his little anxiety attacks.  With the chickens giving us about 5 eggs a day it seems that the animals are happy.

One thing I have learned is I really under estimated paper towel and tissue paper usage. While we have plenty for our use, I need to get busy on stocking up if I want to use these items for barter or simply helping out a nieghbor if times get tough. It is very convient that Albertsons has both paper towels and TP going on sale this week and I can restock what has been used, as well as add more to my stockpile.  I am glad I am learning this now rather than after all the stores get cleaned out.

The kindle fire arrived today and I really like it! The kindle fire is a 3rd generation warehouse deal for about $88.00.  I will try and replace the screen on the old kindle keyboard so I have two devices for reading books and with the fire tablet I have games along with movies and tv shows for entertainment. One nice thing is Amazon Prime is still $99.00 for a year so my entertainment costs stayed the same.  I’m looking to get a couple of newer laptops and then build a server to store all my data. While I can’t build a new internet I can build a a solid LAN (Local Area Network) for the neighborhood that will be great for communications as well as entertainment.

I’m sure some will say that I’m silly about trying to run a LAN or use a tablet or PC if there is an EMP or a CME like the Carrington event of the 1850’s . I will admit that I’m not sure if my electronics will survive in my “faraday cages”. But I figure it is worth trying and a EMP, Coronal Mass ejections are somewhat rare events. There was the internet before google and face book. Heck my job in the army was provideng cell phone and network connections over radio links in th middle of nowhere. What has been done once can be done again! I’m not depending on electronics as I have hard copy and books, but if a LAN or WAN is possible I want to make it happen!

Things have a been a bit crazy around here and all of my plans for the first part of this year got shot to hell. I have a plan for creating a fairly substantial emergency cash fund as well as pay a couple of bills ahead of thier due date.  I whine, piss and moan but my head is still above the waterline and I’m doing okay overall.


It has been just slightly crazy here at Casa de Chaos!

January 25, 2015

Diana the peke is on the mend from her surgery. The cyst just grew like crazy after her “heat” and really took me by surprised. I am trying a couple of things to keep her comfortable. Instead of an E-collar I’m using some newspaper around her neck to limit her ability to lick the incision. There is a Band-aid prodoct that is an antiseptic/topical analgesic (lidocaine) that seems to help with her discomfort and itching.  This product is made for children so the lidocaine % is very low and should work well for the animals. FYI, Diana was given “carprophen” as an anti-inflammatory/pain killer and it put her off her food.

Mom had to take her peke “Bear” to the vet for an irritated glands/anus. It does not look like cancer but Bear’s heart mummer has moved to stage three in 3 months. The vet is kind of iffy on any timelines but suggested he has another 6 months or so. We have both contributed substantially to the Doggy doctors this week. Though I will say the cost was resonable considering that Diana had surgery and we got some pet drugs and stuff.  Some good news is the chickens are giving us plenty of eggs and enjoy having the back yard to scratch around in the leaves and garden beds. I have stored three, 18 count egg cartons with mineral oil for Mom and I. Now some of the (future) eggs can go to Mom’s friends and bartering.

Needless to say with all that has happened, with unexpected costs so far this month, life has been a tad stressful financially. Overall I think we did very well on limiting electrical costs over December by adding the LED light bulbs to mitigate the additional use of the dryer, hot water and Xmas lights. The water/trash bill is up about $10.00 over 2 months so that isn’t too bad over all.  If you are looking to save on electrical costs I would recommend adding LED bulbs when you find them on sale!  I really like the LED’s color compared to the CFL bulbs and the LED bulbs don’t flicker or need time to warm up to produce light.  A person could replace one 100 watt bulb with fifteen, 40 watt equivalent bulbs for the same electrical power cost.   That is a huge savings on your power bill!

The weather and the “aftermath of moving Mom seems to have caught up with us both physically. Usually SW Idaho is cold, clear and dry in winter but we have been dealing with fog and inversions, though it is relatively warm this winter.  I know I tend to be solar powered and standing in a sunbeam that comes through a window can make my day.

FYI: A neighbor had a gas can explode in his hands! Thank goodness a neighbor ran over to check on the explosion and got the explodee in a shower cooling the burns right away! He has 50% burns over his body, some 3rd degree and he has been moved to a burn center.  Lungs are clear and the victim is on solid food and can move the body, so that is good.  It is sort of scary but it has been good how the neighborhood helped them out in this little disaster.  It will take some recovery time from 3rd degree burns and they will need a bit of assistance for months.  While I can’t help a lot with money, I can help with some of the mental aspects and cooking, yard work and the general mish mash of keeping a household going.  I have been smashed down physically and it was a big deal having someone take me shopping.

Last but not least my kindle screen broke this week. While I have plenty of books, I sort of miss having the kindle.  I found a good deal on a used kindle fire (3rd generation) and a replacement screen for my kindle keyboard. Forty dollars is not a bad price for a new screen for my keyboard kindle and I think I’m capable of installing the new  kindle screen.

Things have been a little difficult, but overall we are getting on top of stuff financially. We have plenty of food and heat and are paying all of the bills.  We are not prepper/survivalist or financially aware because it is the “cool” thing or trendy.  We simply slog through paying our bills and try to make ends meet every month.  Such is life.


Wow, felt good today and got some things started for 2015!

January 21, 2015

CIDP can be a bit goofy as you tend to live with pain. Today I woke up and I felt great and had not realized just how bad I hurt until the pain stopped.  CIDP can be dealt with but sometimes it is like “life” is hitting you with a hammer. Gosh it feels good when it stops!  It does not last, but I certainly enjoy it when the pain stops for a few hours. I flipped the bed mattress when I changed the sheets and that has helped the bed be comfy. Rest and good sleep is seems to be a very critical item on how good I feel.  Heck, even the coffee tasted better after a good night sleep.

Stress has been kicking my butt.  Having Mom move in is great and I love being able to pay her back, but there are some adjustments to be made with a new room mate. Be it parents, kids or just starting out. I’m not liking the extra costs but Mom has helped me so much getting things done around the house as well as doing the dishes when I get on a cooking binge.  I think Mom and I have a very unique relationship not found in most parent/child relationships. Mom treated me with respect as a person.  We tend to divide up workloads and areas of responsibility pretty quickly, and so far no one has any “butt hurt” about what is happening.  Given time, waiting for the divorce to work through the courts I’m sure we will need to make some adjustments.

I moved up Diana the peke tumor/mammary cyst surgery date for the 21st of January. Her tummy seemed to be upset by the pain killer/anti-inflammatory medicine the Vet prescribed.  I’m not knocking the Vet, as it can take a dose of meds to get on top of any physical problems with dogs. Diana is moving well but her tummy is a bit upset and her mammary cyst got very large this last heat cycle. Diana’s weak legs are taking care of and on the 21st the mammary cyst/tumor will be removed.  After that it should just be supportive care, making sure Diana is as healthy as possible and happy.

I’m trying to hold onto cash and build an “emergency fund”.  I hate having to re-work financial stuff because I have an Emergency. Though I can get by on what I have prepared in goods and skills,  some time you need to pay cash for the stuff you need done.  There is no reason to beat yourself up if you make a mistake or guess wrong on some stuff prepping.  Everything is a “teachable moment” and if you screw up simply say “I won’t do that again” and move forward.

I cleaned some of the Beeswax I got a couple of months ago. Yes, call me names and call me irresponsible, but the beeswax is cleaner compared to my first cleaning using a double boiler set on low and using a tight weave cotton cloth and metal strainer.  Placing the beeswax in a tightly woven cotton bag along with the strainer in a pan over a double broiler made a big difference in the end product.  The wax is much lighter in color and I assume much cleaner over all.  Using this method with the tightly woven cloth as a filter I a get a very nice light yellow color in the the beeswax. Just using a strainer/sieve the wax is a bit darker and not a cleaned.  I have not tried to sell any cleaned beeswax at the local “Farmer’s Market” myself, but my Aunt checks out the market costs regularly and says clean real beeswax  can go for about $5.00-$8.00 per oz. depending on quality of cleaning.  This is a great niche tho fill if you have time but not a lot of physical stamina for a simple job. Of course you could make “real” bees wax candles once you clean the wax and I use the clean beeswax in my salves.  Heck even if you don’t sell anything at the Farmers market you will learn a skill you can use yourself.

Sorry I have been a bit under the weather with health issues and a bit of financial stress.  I hope I am  getting on on top of  my “issues” and will start posting daily or every other day.  I have been knock for a loop with Diana the peke and getting tossed under the bus with this divorce.  Such is life!

 


Starting to feel better

January 16, 2015

Both Diana , the peke and I are starting to feel better today. Diana is on her 3rd day with out her pain pill and she is much steadier on her feet. She was off her feed for a couple of days, I think the pain/anti-inflammatory pill upset her stomach so I’m feeding her by hand. She is starting to eat and it seems her appetite is improving. Jan. 27th Diana will get the mammary tumor removed and hopefully that will help finish up her recovery.

This flare has been tough, mostly due to physical and financial stress I created for myself. Now that I’m feeling better and making some positive plans on the financial area there is less stress. It’s  easy to get all doom & gloomy when you don’t have a plan or any control of what is happening in your life. I am so glad that God gave a generally positive and optimistic outlook on life. When things get tough, I may have some down time but I usually bounce back mentally in a few days. Don’t get me wrong it takes a lot of work to stay positive. I just seem pre-disposed to doing the work rather than some people that are more cynical or stoic personality types.

I have been cooking and trying out new recipes as well as buying a new cookbook. I don’t know about you  but I love pork & seeds from a good Chinese restaurant so I did a Char Sui or BBQ pork roast in the rotisserie using mostly authentic ingredients for the marinade. I substituted “cooking sherry” for the traditional Chinese wine and left out the red dye. The roast turned out very good though the roast should have marinated 24 hours rather than the 6 hours the recipe stated. One thing I have noticed is the rotisserie is great for cooking any roasts that get freezer burnt. I cooked up a prime rib on Christmas that I thought might of been a little freezer burnt but assumed I was wrong when it tasted great. The pork roast I used for the Char Sui was freezer burnt, but after cooking it on the rotisserie you could not taste it. I have read that you can use a pressure cooker to save freezer burnt meats. I can confirm that a rotisserie will also save any beef or pork roasts with some freezer burn.

If you want to add a rotisserie to your cooking options I would get the biggest one you can afford. I have the Ronco “compact” rotisserie oven that I bought at a second hand store for the princely sum of $3.95. That oven will handle up to a 6 pound bird or roast with no problem.  Most of the smaller combo-type rotisserie/toaster ovens have a hard time handling any chunk o meat over 3 pounds because of size. The rotisserie oven is a great way to add flavor to fight food fatigue as well as be a way to cook electrically via your generator if the power goes out.


Recovery mode

January 13, 2015

It seems I’m having a flare of the CIDP now that I have time for it.  Starting at the end of October doing the harvest and moving Mom along with the Holidays it has been awfully busy. Now add the stress of the divorce and Diana getting sick and I’m sort of stressed out both mentally and physically.  Money is a little tight but still doable. I really kick myself that I did not start and keep up my “emergency cash fund” in 2014.  I got a little lackadaisical about saving money, because I was in good shape for normal stuff and did not plan for a ” cash emergency”.  I have been buying a bit of extra silver while it was on “sale” and overspent a bit on that as well as power tools.  I would have been fine dealing with Diana getting sick or moving Mom in, and working on the plumbing/repair tools. Doing all of those at the same time has left me just a little “cash poor” at the moment and I really don’t like that feeling.

It is not all bad because when things get “nasty”.  I often find the  purpose, direction and motivation to fix the things I did not anticipate.  Having 3-6 months of cash on hand would have dropped the stress level a lot. Now I have to save money as well as pay some extra bills at the same time.  That is life just tossing you a curve ball, if you are lucky you can live and learn.  Sometimes as little as an extra $20.00 in cash can make a huge difference in your attitude, no matter if you spend it or not. We all have to start somewhere and using the dollar a week method starts with $15.00 in January seems doable to me. Perhaps you are a percentage of your gross or net earnings works for you. If you suck at saving like I usually do, you might pay ahead on some bills, debts and utilities. Whatever works for you, I think you need to start getting busy building up that buffer this year.

If you haven’t got your 3-6 months of basics stored you need that first. That is you water, food, shelter, sanitation, medical needs and security. It’s up to you how you want to meet those needs. I will only give you my methods for storage and give you links to other ways of doing things.  My system might not work for your situation. If you live in an urban area on the 5th or 10th floor a BBQ for cooking or running a gas generator is out for fuel storage.  You could do a thing with a solar power and a small battery jumper pack for a light and charging some small electronics. A small butane burner, Kettle BBQ or Hibachi grill might work great for cooking in a limited space.  Heck I have boiled water on a small sterno stove in an Aluminum quart sized water battle in less than 15 minutes.  Add a couple of Igloo jugs and thermoses for holding hot water and you are living large in a grid down situation! Heck if you have to boil water to make it safe you might as well store that heated water as long as possible.