Mary Beth Writes

1. The most effectively frugal thing I did last week -- was have a cold. I walked some of those beautiful days… but other than that I stayed home with my germs.

Botanical Gardens

Actually, the cold started on the way home from meeting our daughters at the Botanical Gardens north of Chicago. Walking there was gorgeous.

2. I did a lot of writing last week. It is a gift to be able to do the thing one wants to do. Passion seems like such an important word; I’m not all that comfortable saying we all have to pursue our passions – but percolating along at the tasks we like and need to do, having enough time to do them well, pulling off a good project. That’s sort of the point of being Mindful Chickens, I think.

3. I took everything out of our most crowded closet and “went through” it all. Isn’t that an oddly passive phrase for such an active process? To “go through”…

I found 5 jackets to donate to the church coat drive. One of them is a homely white marshmallow of a winter jacket that I found for Len for $15 at least 15 years ago. It was a helpful for walking the dog after dark as there were no streetlights where we lived. I’m not a big Marie Kondo person, but I did say thank you to that jacket.

This weird Battery Medic jacket was something our son liked when he was in high school. I think I’ve held on to it long enough -- as he’s now past 30.

The kids, once they were teenagers, rarely adored thrift shopping yet they knew if they came with me I’d pretty much buy them anything they wanted. If they wanted NEW things, we expected them to buy those items themselves, which they did. It’s interesting to observe them now to see how that worked out. None of them thrift shop very much.  Our son buys and sells high end bikes and bike parts for himself which either costs hundreds, or saves thousands, depending on how you look at it.  

I think one of the values they figured out was that if they wanted nice things, they were going to have to get good jobs. None of them are in stunningly lucrative careers (none went into finance) but all have figured out how to pay the bills while building some assets. The girls have cool clothes, but they aren’t clothes horses.

Which is another funny phrase, and with that we shove on.

3. Added a little water to extend my hand cream, crème rinse, and birthday whisky.

I love the Outlander books. Jamie and Claire are always drinking a “wee dram of whisky.” For my birthday I said I wanted to compare Irish and Scotch whiskey/whisky (the Scots are too cheap to put a not-needed extra E in there). So that’s what I received, two bottles of whiskey! I like the Scots Scotch a wee bit better, you can taste the smokiness in it - but both are awesome for this nagging cough.

4. When three adorable girls (5th graders?) came to our door selling ridiculously expensive junk for their school, we hesitated. We didn’t want to spend $20 for any of it. We asked them if they would give our money to their program. They solemnly nodded yes so we gave them $5. Only God knows what those kids did with the donation, but I’m betting they gave it to their teacher.

5. Paid the bills mostly using our cash-back rewards credit card. As soon as we can arrange it in 2018, we will be going on some short get-aways. Our motel bills will be paid with cash back dollars.

Oh Ashland (Wi) I miss you….

Loon Lake, Copper Falls

6. Len apparently has been thinking about this for a year. There was a micro-line of light and space beneath our front door. This weekend he took the door off the hinges ( I helped, it was heavy!), put new weather-stripping on the bottom, then re-hung the door using much longer screws which will keep it from hanging slightly off-center.

Len says when he fixes little things like this on an old house (all our houses have been old) he feels as if he is spiritually communicating with the old husbands who lived in this place over the past hundred years. That someday, if there is a heaven, he will stand around with these other guys and they will all talk about doors and plumbing and why did that one guy put that shelf up so high in the garage and did that outlet in the corner ever work right?

What did you do to be a Mindful Chicken lately? Are you getting your house ready for winter? Any tricks the rest of us should know?

Comments

Smiling at the husbands gathering together in heaven. Loved the Jaime and Claire reference. I don’t like whiskey. I do like the thought of drinking it on a cold night, a tiny bit in a sturdy glass. Our house is almost ready for winter, but I don’t think we have any tricks , we just plug along.

First, you're absolutely right, I obsess over talking to other people who fixed something just the way they wanted. Why in the world did they want it that way? Second, the delight of fixing something the second time, where you get to remember what you were doing the first time you fixed something, and wondering why you did not do it right the first time. Third, homeowners who fix things need not be male. Someday, someone who owns the old house on Newhall in Waukesha is going to wonder who did all that with florist wire?

I have no idea what you are talking about. With the florist wire. That is easy to manipulate and one can cut it with normal scissors. If you can't fix it with florist wire, you haven't used enough of it yet.

Add new comment

Mindful Chickens - The Snickerdoodle Edition

1. When we were sick in January (with flu and cold) Len used the CVS card that I had signed up for last year and then barely used.  He bought several OTC medicines plus a cool-mist vaporizer using that card, which saved us 20%. That was helpful.

2. While I was under the weather I signed up for Starz in order to binge-watch an Outlander season.  After I watched TV for two days I canceled the subscription, thus paying nothing.  This is the third year I have done this.  Why do they let me do this??

Frugal Stuff/ Flu edition 1/22/2018

1. I donated blood Friday morning. This is a free mini-checkup every two months; they take your pulse, temperature, blood pressure, and check your hemoglobin levels (iron). They send your blood to be checked for various diseases such as Lyme disease, West Nile, and Zika.

DO NOT donate blood in order to determine if you have a disease or not. If you think you might be ill, go to a doctor or clinic and deal with it. 

But, if you (like me) need an extra reason to be generous, the screening to give blood is not a bad perk.

Two Piquant Recipes, No Waiting

This is not a recipe blog. You may sometimes wonder what kind of blog this is, but I bet you have figured out we’re not here to cook. Still, sometimes I come across amazing recipes and today I want to share two of them,by referring you to the sites where I found them.

How do I find these sites, you ask? 

Simple. Google the name of two or three ingredients you would like to use up. This takes you to recipes that use those foods; you decide if you want to try them.

Health Insurance when you are laid off

Pals, I was reading letters at a website I look at often. A woman wrote that her 62-year old husband had been unexpectedly laid-off from his job. She said she didn't know where to begin to think about health insurance (and a lot more).  I talked to Len.  Man, we have been here.
This is what Len wrote. This answer is too long to post on someone else's website so we are sharing it here. 
...
Says Len:
You are in a difficult situation.

Mindful Chickens - Frugal Stuff 1/11/2018

1. We bought a car!! We bought our (former) 2006 Mercury Milan and 2004 Ford Ranger around 2006-2007.  Len is a very good vehicle dad – they lasted this long. The truck is still reliably chugging along; we sold it to a neighbor. However it became apparent a few weeks ago that the Milan could no longer take care of itself. Sigh. 

We talked about what kind of car we wanted in the past few weeks. Len did on-line research, finding cars we might like to try.  We decided we would spend part of two days test-driving these several makes of cars.

"Must-Haves" 1/10/2018

A friend (Thanks, Carol) tweeted this.  

“The term “must-haves” is profoundly unsettling to me.”

For those of us trying to live both frugally and thoughtfully – Yup!

I looked into the website she was responding to; it was coupons for:

Ad Promotion