Friday, September 05, 2014


Grab a cuppa!  
Let's have a nice, long chat.  ;)
I told you I have been so enthralled by the clouds lately. 
The humidity may not be BFFs with my bones... 
...but it creates fascinating cloud art... 
...drifting across the horizon. 
We've had dark clouds heavy with moisture, too. 
Some storms.
Had a doozy where the tornado siren went off at 4am.  What a light show!  
The thunder and siren sent Miss Karma running...but I was too tired to see where she went.  Probably under the bed or in her stroller--LOL! 
No, I never bothered to "take safety". 
Have had a hard enough time getting any sleep recently as it is--LOL!  Stayed snuggled in bed and listened for that rumbling train sound...just in case. 
I especially love the contrasting dark and light clouds. 
Anyways, Karma was totally over it by morning. 
Lazing about in her chair. 
This is a shot from pre-wild storm.  Let's just say I forgot to bring in her box and it is now soaked and saggy.  After it dries off it shall likely (finally) head off to the dumpster.   
It's been kind of crazy since we last talked.  Mostly just with "stuff" requiring a lot of patience and phone time.  Let's see...Caroline brought the lamp and bulbs from IKEA on Tuesday! 
I'll wait for Leah, our tool girl, for the construction.  ;)  Caroline said it looked pretty good on the sales floor.  Nice!!
Okay--what follows is a lot of boring money, IBS, fish, pain, and internet talk.  Feel free to scroll down to Ian pics from his Mama if you don't want to hear about it.  I didn't have too much fun going through it, so I don't blame you if you want to skip it--LOL!  But this is real life, folks...and I'm going to talk turkey.  ;)  It wasn't anything terrible...just the piddly stuff that kind of wears you down and sucks up your days--LOL!
Okay, here we go.
First of all, Caroline forgot that I get my SSD check ($831.00) on the 3rd of every month and cashed the check I gave her for the lamp after she left here on Tuesday the got a $35.00 overdraft email that night.  Therefore I couldn't order groceries this month...not that I am ordering much at all over my EBT card this month (obviously with my big furniture and lamp purchases)...but you do need cash for the delivery fee ($7.50) and anything taxable (like toilet paper, toothpaste, and cat food).  Well, I had $36.19 saved to cover my approximate $20 for Cashwise...and that was now gone.
I get $125.00 a month on my EBT card.  For those of you who have never had to deal with food stamps...that's about $31.20 a week or $4.45 a day for food...which is why I eat a lot of oatmeal, rice, pasta, homemade bread, and frozen veggies--LOL!  It can be done, of course, but I usually do spend an additional chunk of my check for groceries, too, because it's a lot easier to get by decently with around $50 a week these days.  But any months I make big purchases...well, let's just say I eat a lot more oatmeal and hotdishes--LOL!  And an EBT card will not cover anything least not up here in MN or ND.  So you have to have cash for TP, tissues, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, laundry soap, dish soap...and anything whatsoever to do with Miss Karma, of course. 
The stress (whether you believe you're stressed or not) shows up immediately when you have IBS--ROFL!  So I didn't eat the next day and once I figured I could actually stay on the phone (I refuse to hold conversations from the porcelain throne) I called the bank...that afternoon.  ;)  (TMI, I know...but this is my life.)  I did get a sweet young woman who listened and gave me back my $35.00!  Whoohoo!!  Whew!
So I go to order from Cashwise...
Well, I don't think I mentioned the hassle that occurred last month.  Cashwise has switched over to a new website that no longer takes EBT cards...which I've been using for over eight years ordering from them.  We used to type in the EBT card number and the passcode in the delivery instructions box every month.  Well, I guess that's illegal--LOL!  They'd been using our EBT cards illegally for all these years and the federal government was not happy.  (I found a lot out when I talked to a nice young woman in Cashwise Delivery, a lady from corporate headquarters, and the manager at Cashwise last month.)  
[Aside: also found out that when they switched over the website they used the inventory for a different store that had thousands and thousands less items than ours does in Fargo.  So quite a few things I used to order are not online yet.  The nice young woman was trying to manually upload them--by herself.  But a team from corporate was going to take over so she didn't have to anymore.  She told me that you can write items you want that aren't listed in the box...but then I don't know the cost.  And, as you have gathered by now, I live quite hand-to-mouth and need to know exact that's not really a good option for me.]
Anyways, last month they still had the old website running, so I was able to use that one to make my order and sneak and use my EBT card.  But they weren't sure how long it would still be functional.  The corporate lady was wonderful and told me that they were trying to either get EBT scanners for the delivery people so they could scan them at your home...or were trying to find out if there was a way to have you enter your EBT card securely online--like a charge card.  That was the last I heard and I was able to fill my cart during the month, so I thought all was well for September.
But when I went to check out...nope!  Couldn't do it.  No deliveries available at all.  Period.  Not even boxes to write instructions.  Website done.  Or half done.  Why it still lets you fill your cart is beyond me because that is ALL you could do.  Silly programmers.
So, with hope...I found everything I by one...and entered them into my new cart on the new website...thinking maybe I would be able to enter my EBT card securely, right?
I knew we weren't legally allowed to write it in anymore.  So...had to call Cashwise.  Got the nice young woman again.  Old site is gone.  They haven't got the EBT scanners yet.  Hopefully still this month...maybe.  When they finally get them, then you can just write in the box the exact amount you will be scanning on your EBT card.  Note--the new website does not mark with an asterisk which items are you have to know or guess.  Interesting.
So far...
I hate the new website.  
For just a couple examples: say you add 10 fresh potatoes but then decide you need an even dozen.  Well, you can't just add two and click like we could before because it just says the item is already "in cart".  You have to delete the 10 potatoes, but that doesn't take away the "in cart" you have to go add something else to the cart and then come back to potatoes and then it will finally let you add your 12 potatoes.  So don't hit a wrong amount!  And you can't even see the full cart and which items you have chosen as you go have to go into the checkout page to clearly see them listed.  You have to go back and forth...back and forth.  *sigh*  
I'm sure eventually they will fix glitches like that...and I am just cranky because I can't order groceries until they get scanners for the delivery drivers...and even with the new corporate team of web-wizards they still don't have my Quorn (fake meat) products back online yet.  *sigh*
Don't worry.  I have stocked my pantry again since the great diet disaster of 2014--LOL!  Leah will get me some almond milk and eggs.  That's all I really need to have this month.  Now you can see why I stockpile (especially dry goods like toilet paper) whenever I can--LOL!
 Meanwhile...I set out water in an ice cream pail and moved the remaining 3 tetras and 1 ottocinclus (yes, one otto died somewhere along the way).  They survived the night, so I posted them on freecycle.  Nothing.  So now I am going to clean the bowl (which needed it anyways) and set it up again.  Unless I get an email soon, looks like I may be stuck with the fish.  But I am not going to try to save snails this time.  Really.  I am really going to try not to save snails.  Really.   
Finally my year is up this month for Century Link internet!  I am supposed to have 7-10 Mbps (whatever that means) but I rarely ever have 5 and continuously all day long it drops to zero...nothing.  You may remember me having the Century Link lady here several times last winter trying to fix this problem.  Well, it never went away.  In fact, the last couple months have been worse than ever.  
So, I am in the process of going back to my old provider, Eventis, on the 10th!!  Can hardly wait!  Saving $20 a month is not worth it if you're getting horrible service.  It bounces up and down like a yo-yo.  Usually puts you on pause kind of on Netflix streaming most of the time, but if it's down to zero for long enough it bumps me out completely.  Pages won't load on McLap...takes me twice as long to post a blog.  I will not miss you, Century Link.  But I think Dagan took the wireless router back and now I need it before they come on Wednesday.  I hope he can find it!
Speaking of Netflix streaming...those first ten series they were going to drop in about a month...the red drop date disappeared?  (I bet they will still be gone, though.)  And I already have six more series show up with a drop date of about a month away and a movie with the usual one week's notice.  Too busy.  I think I am just going to delete them all right now so I don't have to look at the red warning dates--hehe!
The good news is (besides getting back on Eventis)...because I saved sooo much money on the desk ($90.00!)...I ordered a Franklin Covey Planner!!  For a couple of years now I have three places where I have lists going.  My desk calendar, a weekly checklist (been doing since 2005), and I added a weekly To Do list a couple years ago.  In light of all the shifts going on around here, I decided to combine them all.  This is a huge change for OCD-me, let me tell you.  I have used the same desk calendar since 1999 when I moved here and started college!  I've had the weekly checklist I made up and print off...ever since I moved here to Fargo!  I am excited to figure out a whole new system.  
This means I will not only be checking in with my calendar and lists every morning, but every evening, too.  (I will have a weekly and a daily calendar in my new set-up!)  Well, this is exciting news to me, anyways.  I didn't think I would be doing this until January, you know.  But since I unexpectedly had the money and had already arranged to not be spending much at Cashwise...well, I went for it.  I remembered they happen to have calendars from Oct-Sept!!  Whoohoo!  I am really excited and will show you everything when it arrives.  :):)
My three library books are due Monday and I have been either so busy or feeling too dang crummy to even crack a one of them.  Not one!  I emailed Pam to tell her that if she can renew them, fine--but no more books right now.  I need a library break, I guess.
I haven't even worked on the tote.  But I have been slowly clearing off spots for all the desk and file cabinet surface stuff to be stored--from Phil to the pen cabinet to the printer.  Already moved the Underwood.  I want to be ready whenever Dagan and Leah can make it over to take the desk apart so I can put it on freecycle or call New Life (this place that helps homeless people get on their feet) to pick it up.  In fact...if I call New Life they would take the lift chair, too...and some things from the garage...
See how my brain has been running lately?  Hard to shut it off so I can get to sleep--LOL!
Speaking of McFamily...
I have some pictures of Ian that I swiped from Mama's dropbox--hehe!  
 With Mama's permission, of course.  :)
Check out the nerd-shirt!
Star Wars, Baby!!  ;) 
Ian is starting to really grip those toys...
...and I love his laugh! 
He goes on regular evening walks with Mama and Daddy around the neighborhood.
And isn't this a great bath pic?!  
What a cool baby tub for the sink! you so much!! 
So, that is what the last three days have been like.  I'm hoping for a much quieter and more productive weekend.  How's life been treating you?  Well, I hope.  Probably see you again on Tuesday.  :):)
"May the sun bring you new energy by day; may the moon softly restore you by night; may the rain wash away your worries; may the breeze blow new strength into your being."
Apache Blessing


  1. we've been getting some 'beautimous' clouds here, too this month.

  2. You talked in the first part of your post about going back & forth. It made me think of my grandmother who used to talk about going forth & back--I guess she figured you had to go there before you could come back. Makes sense to me!!

  3. Ian is growing so fast! It's amazing to see, and those are great pictures. I love the bath tub for the sink. And I commiserate with you concerning all the website glitches you're dealing with. Hope it all gets sorted out before too long. You sound like you need to take a break and chill for awhile, get your mojo back! Sending you lots of love. :-)

  4. I am so glad to find you again ~ A new beautiful baby ! Gorgeous photos and so glad to see Karma again ~ Happy Weekend to you! Be well!

    artmusedog and carol (A Creative Harbor)

  5. Oi! So many problems with Cashwise. You must be worn out. The sight of Ian makes me feel better, so I know photos of him help you. The Star Wars shirt is hilarious.


  6. Love the Star Wars shirt! Ian just gets cuter and cuter.

    Yep, sounds like a stressful week. I hate dealing with things over the phone any more, but sometimes it can't be helped. And websites that don't work properly - errrrrr.

    Hope the coming week is much less stressful!

  7. Those were impressive storm clouds. What an amazing view you have!!

    Loved Karma's comfortable pose on the chair. She didn't look like she wanted to move.

    Ian is growing up so quickly! Before long, he'll be walking.

    That's good that the woman refunded the $35. That can make all the difference in the world in terms of making it from one month to another, can't it?

    Do you have Fare For All in your area? We have it in the Twin Cities and I know it has locations throughout Minnesota.

    At any rate, you can get a box of produce for only $11 and a box of meat (though I think you said you don't eat meat) for about $15.

    There's a big warehouse in New Hope that's open every other week on Mondays that has a wide variety of items that can be purchased at a fraction of what you'd pay in the grocery store.

    The best deals are on the produce and meat...not that great of a savings on shelf-stable items.

    It may be worth looking into to see if there's a location near the border and/or if North Dakota offers a similar program. It has really helped us stretch our budget - especially when things have been particularly tight.

  8. The Cashwise thing sounds like a real problem. They need to get that new website running properly so people can order what they need to order and pay for it they way they need to pay. I can see how that would be very stressful.

    And yes, I know all about stress and IBS flare ups. I have a major problem with that going on right now myself. Doctor's appointments and hospital tests to try to figure things out. It may be a bit more complicated than just IBS with me, tho. Another test to try to detect it is to be scheduled soon. It's not easy living life when you can't venture far from a bathroom, and when you do, you wish you hadn't.

    I hope things settle down for you soon. I hope your stresses calm down so life can be a little easier for you. Thank you for sharing the pictures of your precious grandson. He is adorable. He is also growing like a weed so be sure to take it all in as best you can. One day soon, he'll be a 5-year old and going to kindergarten like my first grandson. (he loves it, by the way. lol)

    I hope you had a good weekend. I'm not sure when you'ill see this, but it'll be there when you get your internet back. *hugs*

  9. Groceries get more expensive by the week. I hope Cashwise gets straightened out soon...does anyone else deliver?
    Those photos of Ian are wonderful:)

  10. Sorry to read about your internet woes. Welcome to my world. Mine buffers and I wait and wait. I've never been able to use YouTube and Hulu takes 2 hours to see a 45 minute show (truth).

    I had to reread your food allowance and was shocked. We in KS pay tax on EVERYTHING, not just TP, etc. And my grocery bill averages $25.00/$30.00 for TWO weeks. Summer is easier, because I eat out of my garden, but in winter I make huge pots of soup and freeze some for later. I spend about $25.00 every three months on Bleubeard's food, but his sandbox digs cost me that about every 2 months. Of course, I get to eat out once every two weeks with my fried Sally, for which I normally allocate $10.00. It sounds like you eat a LOT better than I, because I eat a lot of ramen noodles, which I get 28/$6.50 at Sam's, where I also get Bleubeard's food and sand.

    Hope you get your food problem sorted. Now that your car is running, you might want to see if you could get them to assemble your order and pick it up yourself.

    Loved the photos of Karma and Ian. He's sure curious, isn't he?

    Will miss you if I don't see you for T. But will expect lots of photos on your return to blogland and the internet.

  11. Ian is so precious!!

    I love that Yoda shirt!! :)

    I am so glad your bank refunded the overdraft charge - the amount is "legal thievery" in my opinion.

  12. Dear Rita, this posting really made me aware of how living on a limited budget can really limit options and be a hassle even at the best of times. I wonder that the stress of it all doesn't have you in pain most of the time. I so admire your fortitude and your feistiness. Peace.


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