The Good, The … oh F****

Well, now.

First the good stuff.

I have awesome brothers.  I phoned my younger brother today and asked if I could borrow their van for about a week.  Just until it warmed up and I could get our own van to the garage next week.  He said yes, and this allowed me to do the shopping for the month.  We have FINALLY been able to stock up on the basics and necessities.


By the time I got all that shopping done, taking into account things like our internet is going to be basically doubled, having to renew my Costco subscription, and the electric bill coming in…

We’ve got a whole $38 outside of budget.

Which means, nothing to go towards fixing the van.


On the plus side, we shouldn’t actually need to go anywhere other than a medical appointment, the weather is supposed to warm up after the next few days (our van might actually be okay in the warmer weather), and we are well stocked.  We also have until the middle of February to complete things like transferring our vehicle registration and insurance, IDs, etc.

First, let’s back up a bit.

I got through to my brother this morning and explained our situation.  Thankfully, he and his Lady Fair each have a vehicle, and she’s on holidays until after New Year’s, so they were okay with our borrowing their van for the next while.  So I walked over to pick it up.  Yes, it was still about -26C, but it’s just a quarter-mile, and I was well bundled in a down filled coat, boots rated to -40C, a hat I recently crocheted for myself in addition to the hood, and mitts I borrowed from my daughter (since I couldn’t find any others).  A lovely walk.

Until, part way there, I realized something.

I should have worn two pairs of pants. LOL

My legs were getting pretty numb by the time I got to my brother’s!  But he invited me in while the van warmed up and we had a bit of a chat, which was nice.

Getting feeling back into my legs was also nice.

I also got to see some of his outside cats.  I guess ours aren’t from his place, after all.  He’s got about 7 more!  Plus their gorgeous, fluffy dog who is just loving this cold weather.

The dog also followed me to our place when I drove back!

Before heading to The City, I made sure to give our outside cats food and warm water.  I wasn’t sure how they would take to having the dog over, though I knew he’d visited when my husband and younger daughter were the only ones here.  Especially when I saw him trying to sniff at one cat hiding behind a saw horse (why do we have a saw horse by the side of the house?  I have no idea), who was hissing at him.

It turns out they are just fine together.  All he wanted to do was sniff them.  Very thoroughly.  Aside from the shyest ones, they basically ignored him in favour of food and water, until his sniffing their butts got too pushy.  Then they just gave him annoyed looks. It was quite funny.

Normally, I like to have one of my daughters with me when I do the Costco thing, because I hate shopping, and they help keep me sane.  I decided to let them sleep in and just headed out, with only a quick stop at the post office – where our first electric bill awaited.  *sigh*

I was expecting to get our rebate check from Costco, which had to be re-sent, since it went to our old address.  Which it shouldn’t have.  We got our mail rerouted, beginning on moving day.  It wasn’t in.  That that meant I was paying full cost to renew our membership.  Usually, the rebate is enough to cover the cost with some left over, though not this year.  Ah, well.  I was told it could take 10 weeks for a re-send to be processed.

When it came to the shopping itself, I cut to the chase and used one of the flat carts.  Those get pretty hard to steer when they’re full!  Especially since it also included a couple of big bags of dry cat food, a case of wet cat food, and two things of cat litter.  We’ve got both the inside cats, and the outside cats, pretty much covered for the month.

Still, not everything we need can be got at Costco, and for some things, getting bulk sizes is just too much, no matter how good the deal.  So after getting home and having the girls help me unload (they didn’t know I had borrowed my brother’s van until I pulled up to the house!) and grabbing a quick bite to eat, it was off again to town to a regular grocery store.  A much smaller trip, but one that allowed us to play a bit of Pokemon Go, afterwards.

By the time all that was done, it was suppertime, and a pork roast awaited us in the slow cooker.

Yes, I was finally able to use one of my slow cookers, find a place to plug it in – we have a major shortage of outlets – and get it going last night.  Oddly, no one noticed it during the day, while I was gone, so it was untouched by evening!  It made supper nice and quick.

Only then did I feel ready to open up the electric bill.

It wasn’t as bad as I was afraid it would be.  I was expecting closer to $500, but it was just over $400.

Still, insane.  Our old electric bills rarely went over $100, and that was in the summer, when we had an air conditioner running almost constantly.  I was expecting high bills, though.  This house is far from well insulated, and with this cold, the furnace is going almost constantly.  Add in all the water we were heating while the hot water tank was broken, plus our normally heavy electrical usage (3 desktops, a laptop, and 4 phone chargers, just for starters), high bills are going to be the norm.  At least for the winter.

So I paid off some bills, then recalculated our budget for the month, based on the changes that happened.

We went from having a potential surplus that should have been enough to pay for repairs on the van, barring there being something major wrong with it, to…

Yeah.  $38.

But that’s okay.

The important thing is that we still have a budget for my husband’s prescriptions, and we are now well stocked with the basics.  My husband has been wanting to get a sourdough going again, too.  The challenge is to find a warm spot for the starter to bubble away undisturbed.  There aren’t too many warm spots in this house.  It’s been many years since we’ve had a sourdough going.  Plus a big enough container that we won’t need for anything else.

This could be fun!

The Re-farmer




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