Monday, December 26, 2011

Survived the long weekend

I was lucky and got some cranberry walnut (yeast bread) from the mark down bin at Walmart Saturday. I made french toast using eggnog on Sunday. Urban market sold Louis kemp crab and lobster delights for 79 cents for each 8 oz pkg. I bought 5- I am hypothyroid and hate most fish- I will eat this however but is usually too pricey.

We had a long weekend this week and its another next. I am not a big family person . I would rather be working.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Facing Thanksgiving

My new place doesnot come with an oven. So cooking a turkey is out. But my boss always does a dinner for us at work. So I am debating how much I really want to cook and how much I want the day to myself.
So I came up with some plans that will take care of food beyond the holiday. ( I already volunteered to work Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving-I am still paying old bills and I like not being totally broke all of the time. )
Plan A: Buy the dinner package from Urban Market the small one is $29.00, the large one $39 for an extra $10 they will cook it first and I have only to reheat. Pros : I like their food - they cook clean .
Cons: its a little pricier than I want to spend for just me. Only dessert offered is pumpkin pie- which is not a favorite.

Plan B: Be thankful and have my favorites. Not less money ( by much) but I could for almost the same amount get a mixed box of fried chicken (which includes 2 sides and biscuits) from the chicken place down the street the day before the holiday. Pickup extra sides from the BBQ place at the busstop. $12.00 for the chix , $5.00 for the extra sides. Plus $2.00 for Urban Market's Mac and cheese which I love, and a large mixed salad with extra bleu cheese $5.00 Total $24.00 before dessert but I am planning to see Breaking Dawn on Thanksgiving ( New place is 2 blocks from the theater) and Steak and Shake is open. So I could get dessert there after the movie ( I don't do concession stand -its is way over priced) . Pros: I would have more food for 30.00 than for the 39 but probably not as healthy .(con)

Plan C is I could make my lemon rosemary chicken breast on my Foreman. ($3.00), buy the bread and 2 sides from the chicken place $5.59 , 3 extra sides from bbq place $5.00, Mac and cheese and salad from Urban $7.00 and still get my dessert from Steak and Shake. Pro: Healthier than Plan B , more cost effective than Plan A. Total without dessert: $20.00 Con: More clean up and prep.

This is unique this year as I have only been here a month as of Thanksgiving. My kitchen is tiny . With all the hulabaloo over the move , I would like to enjoy the day. My paying job is high stress. I admit to being a workaholic. I am not into the whole family drama thing- I used to get sick as a kid before Thanksgiving from stressing out. I will call the family but that is a short shot ( I live too far away ) , then I have the day to myself.

Its all about choices. Have a happy one.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Chef Ramsay

Say what you will about Gordon Ramsay- The fact remains that he knows his business. One of the practical applications of his knowledge is minimalize waste/control costs. I was particularly impressed with a challenge that he gave to contestants on Hell's Kitchen - to turn something into something else.

This weekend, I had the opportunity to do just that. The deli section of Urban Market had markdowns on Saturday. I picked up a ton of things (3 shopping bags) for $19.67. It included meat loaf (3 slices) , corn,mashed potatoes, salad mix in a bag, 2 cobblers- apple and blackberry, chicken fettacini, egg substitute, chicken breast-uncooked ...I turned some of the meatloaf and veggie sides into a skillet shepard's pie and had enough for 2 meals-for $1.21. Last night , I made a pan grilled chicken and vegetable  salad for dinner, cost was $1.30 and was wonderful. I intend to repeat that this evening. I haad cooked 2 chicken breasts last night ,knowing how I feel when I have worked all day. While you might not live around an HG Hills/Urban Market, check out the markdowns and cook them or freeze them when you get home. Its not only about what we earn but how much we keep.

Friday, October 21, 2011

We have arrived and are unpacking

The first two nights that Maxie and I spent here, I barely slept- it was too quiet. After 6 years of being awakened by some hoo-ha who was either just getting off of work or coming in from drinking- it felt really weird to be allowed to sleep as early as I wanted and sleep throught the night. I think that I like the experiance. I should have left years ago. The rent is higher- I should be able to offset that by continuing the practices such as Urban Market that I started months ago. Plus my utilities are included in my rent- for moderate months , I am paying $104 a month more. If utility costs continue as they did last winter, I will pay $58 less during the more severe months and be warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Allowing for 6 moderate months and 6 severe months- the actual difference works out to $23 more per month. Idealistic model - will see how it goes.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Last night was the last night that I will sleep in this apartment

There are 2 days remaining today and tommorrow. I am coming along nicely  and after I finish this, will take down the computer until Monday night, I have already marked the wires and positions . Moving from 900 sq ft to 300 sq ft means cut,cut and cut again . Maxie is sitting in the patio doorway and why I could be moving the chair outside, I want her to enjoy her last hours here as well. She is already stressed with the move which got worse after I took out the couch. She does have windows in the new place . It won't be the same.

There is a line that Arina sayd to Henri ( married vampires in my work in progress) that sums up how I felt when I woke up this morning. " I don't want to get up, the minute my feet touch the floor , we belong to the world and all of this is real." So for some hard core evaluation :

I knew that the client was leaving even before they announced it- my employers did not want to hear it. Whatever caused the initial problem , had snowballed before I even felt it. That client is now totally reorganizing- managers with whom we had dealt for years are being moved away from liablity . In a normal economy , I might have looked for a new job. This is not a normal economy , at least not until now. We were told that our department was not to blame. It was our department that suffered. One woman was released from her job, I thankfully was moved to another dept., only one of the owner's moms is still working our old biz. Starting Tuesday, I have to up my game for being out, even though I took it as vacation time.

My employer although I was unhappy with them for refusing to look at the obvious- has been supportive . One can forgive alot when they put their money where their mouth is . I have 2 great clients and am determined to make them shine. I have a loan which has no particular paydate - asap- small but stopped the inevitable for awhile. It wasn't to be. Everytime we solved a problem - the players escalated the stakes. The stakes eventually got too high.

Two factors were major:

- Nashville Electric service added fees to offset any energy savings I effected. I cut my bill by over $30 , only to have them tack on an adminstrative fee of roughly the amount of the savings.

- I was never far behind on the rent- but it takes time when you work partly on commission. We had a change of management , and I thought that the guy who had been assistant twice seemed ok. I know him now for a liar. The last time that we spoke , we discussed what I could pay- I knew that I had a commission (small) and said I could come up with $1000 to be followed with $400 per month repay and the monthly rent. We would have been paid in 90 days. He said he could work with that- he took the money - and sent me to the attorney anyway. When I complained about the lie- he said not to worry that the attorney would take the plan. I spoke with the attorney- there had been no such accomodation . They wanted it all in 14 days which was not possible, So I took an agreed judgement and made arrangements to move. The landlord has stayed away from me- and I do not seek him out. I did get a smaller payment per month . Tempting as it sounds, I am not going to drag it out .

-Why this is a good thing:

They donot use bonded repair people but whoever- usually when you are not home.

Screening leaves a lot to be desired - as in they don't do stringently enough. We had an upstairs neighbor who brough critters (insects) and even though they were evicted, we battled them for months. There are many who have been to jail.

Along the same line, TN law requires 24 hours notice before they can enter an apartment. Management here did that about 65% of the time. My vet and I suspect its part of what killed my 13 year old cat, Daisybunny - they came in to spray unannounced, she was loose, was scared of strangers , hid and got sprayed. How do I know? They never locked my door properly invalidating my insurance and putting my goods at risk. I keep the dates on a calendar.

No consideration for the schedules of the tenants- one of my neighbors who works nights , found workmen wandering around her apartment while she was sleeping. She moved yesterday. There is more consideration for the service companies that the management co pays than the tenants who pay them . This seems skewed to me.

So see you on the other side later this week. Time to finish the packing.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I had to go out this afternoon for cat food, another container for books , and trashbags. I decided in the middle of all of this to stop for a cup of coffee, I ran into a woman who used to take the bus with me from Metrocenter here in Nashville (Its the center of nowhere-its so distanced from downtown that its Roswell Southeast.)

She had been out of work since'09 and is about my age. She is living at the Salvation Army shelter. Cigna lost the contract for the area in which she worked-and she has been unable to find another job. My question is how can any religion or philosophical enity claim to honor their mothers and fathers - i.e. their elders and not only warehouse them in nursing homes but put them on the street? Does this strike anyone else as a paradox , maybe hypercritical? I am going to the Imperial Palace compared to that . This is a woman who worked hard all of her life- as have I and most of my friends- but there are days, like today , where it feels scarey and unappreciated . No American should be allowed to drop so far. Not when they are willing to work.

" I complained about having no shoes , then I met a man who had no feet..."

3 Days Remain

When I took my baby dragon lamp from my home office to work, I felt that the apartment was no longer mine. It feels happy at my job, so there it will stay . The art work , the bulletin boards, all gone. I am not doing storage this time- economic times being what they are - I am not comfortable committing beyond my hourly income.

Lori from work is getting the 3 bookcases. I also have 2 childrens books (she has grandkids) , a game and a rotissaire she can have - she doesn't know about that. When Amazon pays me for sold used books this week , I am also going to give her $20.00 for helping me move tomorrow. Goodwill comes on Monday for the rest of the usable furniture. I had been thinking about replacing the living room suite before this and am now glad that I did not. I still am taking alot of stuff with me for my smaller space. Much of it is books that I am selling on Amazon.

I went to the dollar store yesterday for frozen pizza- I had gone to get another plastic container for books to be sold. They were over priced at Home Depot - I think I paid 4 dollars for them last time  now they wanted 12 . No Sale. As I sat outside HD , a truck pulled up and the driver came over and spoke with me. He knew me from my job- but he knew me from when it paid more than it does now. He is a contractor and is very disgruntled with the Presidential policies regarding jobs. It should never had to wait. It should have been first. I think that Bill Maher ( to whom I have become addicted) said it best " It isn't that Obama did not recognize the problem but that he failed to treat it with the Urgency of Emergency that FDR had done ." I agree. His reelection looks like New Montgomery Street in SF after it crosses Broadway in North Beach. ( If you have never seen it, it is a large hill  almost straight up and down-bring oxygen and climbing gear. ) Many have tried , few have succeeded .

I was putting things out yesterday , as were some of my neighbors as there are 80 of us moving from here over the next 30 days - and the ragpicking vultures actually parked their cars and pawed through the trash . We are not allowed to have yard sales  in the complex. I just wanted to scream- People , have a little dignity and get out of the dumpster. I believe in working hard and being frugal but that is too much and is low. Its one thing to see me carrying something to the dumpster.  and ask if you can have it, but quite another to jump in the dumpster and pull it out. I believe that the energy changes once in the dumpster and becomes that of decomposition not composition. Like dragging a dead body home.