Saturday, May 12, 2018

I Did NOT Change My Mind

This is a rant.  Because I am SICK OF IT.

To the many doctors who would not tie my tubes in my 20s because "You will change your mind" or "your husband will want kids" and to all those others who told me that I would change my mind, or die alone and sad (as if people WITH kids don't die alone and sad), or that I am selfish (that's rich!) for not having or wanting kids:  BITE ME.

I did NOT change my mind.  I didn't spawn and I'm glad.  I love it.  It's my favorite thing.

Those doctors sentenced me to 23 years of birth control pills and condoms.  I always use a minimum of 2 birth control methods.  No mistakes.  No accidents.  I spent thousands of dollars and untold hours to avoid pregnancy and unwanted children.  As if the world needed more unwanted children.  The world does not need any more children. 

What made those doctors think that I would marry a guy who wanted kids? And that it would be MY JOB to have them just because some asshole wanted some?  There are plenty of breeders out there for those guys.

What made those doctors assume I would get married?  To a guy?  I didn't.  And I'm fine.  Quite happy.

As for dying alone and sad; well, I suppose I COULD die happy in a a group but that's pretty rare.  Most people are the only one in the room croaking at any given time and very few are happy about it.
I know many people who did have kids.  Most of those kids don't want their mother or father dying in the living room in a hospital bed full of feces and urine.  Most of those kids moved on and are trying to lead their own lives (selfish little bastards...if one follows the above logic anyway).

How selfish is it to have children in order to avoid your own fear of death?  More selfish than me NOT having children and just dealing with the idea that some day, I'm going to die and that at some point before that, I will probably crap my pants and have no one at the ready happy to wash me down?  According to my accusers, I should have had a kid and made it super dependent so it would stand me up in the shower and hose me off  (Mom:  I will totally hose you off if you need it because I know that is NOT the reason you had me.  You were young and stupid, that's why you had me).

One woman in particular who accused me of being selfish and of changing my mind later (mind you, I was WELL into my 40s at the time so that ship had seriously sailed) had gone to great lengths and tens of thousands of dollars in infertility treatments and adoption procedures in order to make her family.  Good for her.  She invested in getting what she wanted:  children.  She did not see that as selfish but me NOT bringing unwanted children into the world, she does see that as selfish.  To her I say:  BITE ME. 

To the fish and other beings poisoned by the decades I spent peeing out excessive estrogen from the birth control pills:  I am sorry.  I did consider this when going on the pill.  The other option was destroying you through bringing kids, who may have produced ever more generations of children to decimate the limited resources of our planet and kill you that way.  If I'd been given the tubal ligation when I asked for it in my 20s, I would have saved enough to retire on and saved the planet. 

Instead I was patronized and told that I would change my mind and it wasn't reversible and on and on and on.  Even at Planned Parenthood where they were happy to prescribe the pills or an IUD or jam tubes of estrogen in my arm.  Anything but tying the tubs.  To them I say: BITE ME.  BITE ME. BITE ME.   


I declare today, the day before mother's day to be
"Happy People Who Did Not Overpopulate the Planet Day"

A series of cheesy/sappy cards will be coming out soon.
Appropriate gifts include anything but a giant vase of dead flowers.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Oh's new bees!!!

The title is for one Miss Carol who had been wondering about the bees.

The bees are dead. Long live the bees.

The bees I had died.  ALL OF THEM.  Dead.  Deader than a door nail.

Best use of the phrase and a pretty accurate representation of midwestern curmudgeonhood.

Anyway.  Many many beekeepers around here lost many many bees.  Lots of dead bees.  It was a Bee-pocalypse.

But the grant that got the group of us started with bees thought we should soldier on and they got us more bees.  So far 2 hives are set up.  One is carniolans which I had before.  One is saskatraz.  Hybrid with some canadian cold hardy stock in the background.

Soon we get more bees from a local guy with his "survivor queens."   Those are queens that have made it in local conditions and god only knows who the baby daddy is.  But he's local.

I had 2 of their hives before but they were AGGRESSIVE and died out.  One may have had a laying worker because the population petered out and they were a**holes!  A hive needs a queen to stay organized and calm...well, calm for bees.

The ones I have so far are doing well.  The carnies have stopped bothering with the sugar syrup supplement.  There are tons of dandelions out and yesterday the hawthorn trees started to bloom along with some random shrubs that may be small hawthorns.  That means plenty of food for them.  I fed the saskatraz again since they had emptied their syrup jar or it all leaked out.

Both hives are pretty calm.  I can feed them without disturbing them much or opening the hive at all so I didn't suit up or even put on the hat and veil (that's the face screen thingy that keeps bees out of your face and hair and hopefully from going down the cleavage).  I won't try that with the local bees.  They are hardbitten redneck bees who will cut you just for looking at them (or so they were last time...we'll see).

Monday, April 30, 2018

Oh Honey...It's a Good Thing You're Pretty...

So I went to a local "outfitter" store (which has sold it's soul and become a purveyor of overpriced over "hacked" outdoor campy stuff and kitchen stuff for people who don't really camp or cook).

I needed butane for the wee burner to heat water for coffee and tea and a wash.
It's CHEAPER at restaurant supply stores, but I shan't be at one of those for a week or two. I just needed a can or a few to get me to my next big stock up.

I picked up 3 cans and the total with tax was $9.51.
I handed the clerk dude a 20$ bill.  Before I could grab a penny out of the penny tray on the counter, he had pushed in "$20" on the register.  It told him that my change was $10.49.  Because the register can do math.

The clerk dude however...well, it's a good thing he's pretty. I said "Here's a penny."  He stared dumbly.   I said "Then the change will be $10.50."  He said, "Yeah....     ...."
Then he told me that he couldn't take it because he already put in that I gave him 20$ and it would throw his count off at the end of his shift.  Then I said, "....    ....."   I had no reply.  Finally I said, "No, it won't but just give me my change."

I KNOW most people don't count change back like in the old days.  But to not understand that putting 1cent in the till and taking 1cent out of the till would result in a balanced till...well, as I've noted in the title:  It's a good thing he's pretty.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Testing Testing: Basic Economy on United Airlines, GEG to SFO

So, I'm cheap.  BUT I like to travel.  Well, I'm thrifty and I have itchy feet.  Same difference.

Last year I visited my favorite Aunt* in Bodega Bay, California but I was sick. Sick sick sick.
I've been trying to get back there and see if the place is just as good when one is not just sleeping, drinking tea, and taking showers.

It is.

Back to cheap.  I mean thrifty.

To make this trip, I put an alert on google flights (which I like) for a reasonable ticket.  A notice came up that I could get a ticket on United for a doable price.  Of course when I went to buy it, it was "Basic Economy"...the new steerage only with less food.

It is a big risk because there are tight restrictions on changing or refunds.  Those restrictions are: NOT.  No changes. No refunds. No nuthin'.
If the car breaks down on the way to the airport, as far as I could tell, that would just be too bad.

This was my best shot to test the fare in general because it was a vacation and missing it would be sad, but not a major life challenge.  If I missed the return flight, SFO is a big place and I could probably get SOMETHING to get me home.  I flew out of Spokane because that is my best possibility.

I did have to get a hotel near the airport before the flight out.  That is normal.  It's 2 hours from my house to the airport in perfect weather.  I try to take the first flight of the day on a given airline because that flight will have an airplane.  GEG can be foggy and icy and seems to be an airport that is not on the top of the service list if there are shenanigans elsewhere in the country.  Sometimes the planes don't come in.   It was a surprise that I had to get a hotel room on the return flight. It was supposed to get in at 9pm ish.  I can JUST make it home before falling asleep if I get in at 9pm.  The flight was rescheduled about 2 days after I bought it to come in at 11pm or later.  I went in to the system to try for something better but the system said, "Seriously, you are in steerage with the cattle.  Suck it up." or something like that.

I booked the most reasonable hotel I know of that doesn't have bedbugs (Quality Inn, Liberty Lake, WA, 71$ tax included)

Now for the "Basic Economy" portion of our blog.
I LUCKED OUT.    One can not pick one's seat on that ticket.  Unless one pays 25$ to check a bag, one may not check in online.  One may take a personal item on the flight (small backpack OR briefcase OR purse, pick one or none.  NO regular size carry on.  NO checked bags without paying at least 25$ per direction).  The personal item MUST go under the seat in front of you.  You may NOT use the overhead bin even if all the overhead bins are empty.

I usually travel with a backpack that is about the size allowed.  So I used that and underfilled it a bit to allow for squishage if they made me test it in the carry on and personal item tester thingy at the gate.

I went through the online process as far as it would take me and then just showed up the full 2 hours ahead for my outbound flight.  I went right to the counter.  It was 4am so no line.  Then RIGHT through security.  That was a good idea.  Minutes after I went through apparently security got backed up.  People missed the flight.  It was supposed to be 100% full.  I was randomly assigned a window seat which was fine and the people in the other two seats in my row were stuck in security.  After take off, a woman from the sardine like row behind me moved up and took the aisle seat.  Not bad.  Plenty of room for me.

ALSO!  The new thinner padding on the United steerage seats means more leg room. I have a 34 inch inseam (long legs at 5'6" tall..) and a flat butt.  If I had a bubble butt I would still have been OK in these seats.  

I was allowed to have the "snack" and a free beverage.  Just like the regular economy people.

On the return flight, check in was a bit tougher.  SFO is a bigger airport and it was later in the day.  There was no line and NO ONE at the counter other than the "premiere" counter.  So, I went to a kiosk.  That is allowed.  BUT (there is always a big 'but'), to finish check in even at the kiosk, I had to have an agent come use a badge to confirm that I am not sneaking on a real carry on.  There were 3 agents having a long chat about 10 feet from me.  My credit card was in the machine and it told me that an agent would come.  They just kept chatting.  I had to go get them, turning my back on my credit card in the machine.  I don't like that.  Finally one came and grudgingly did his job.  Sorry to interrupt your day with my shitty ticket.

Then, on through security.  Since I was in boarding group "go to hell"...I mean "5" (keep in mind that group 1 is AFTER military, people needing extra time, people with kids, anyone who paid more for a ticket, anyone with some sort of premiere membership etc etc etc so functionally one is in group 20 or so.  They hadn't started boarding yet but it was close and I ran to the bathroom and right back.  When I get back, there is no one in the gate area and the door to the flight is open so I ask the gate agent if the flight to Spokane is boarding.  He says "yes."  I say "which groups?"  "all of them".  The flight was 25-30% full.  EMPTY.  I had again been assigned a window seat.  Just behind the wing.  The attendants kept announcing that the "economy plus" seats are ONLY FOR THOSE WHO PAID FOR THEM and they'd be happy to let us PAY to sit in a slightly less shitty seat.  No one did.  I ended up with a whole row to myself and sat sideways with my feet up for the whole flight.  Again...just dumb luck.

I got the snack and the attendant gave me the whole can of gingerale.  That is rare these days but I think he just wanted to not have half a can to pour down the tiny sink in the galley.  The miniature bag of pretzels is awaiting adjudication by the Guinness book of world records as "World's Stingiest Freebie."  The same service as the rest of economy.

So basically Basic Economy on this United flight worked OK.  I would not do it if I needed to check a bag or have a full size carry on.  The extra fees would outstrip the savings.  I would not do it if I needed to actually get somewhere on a particular date.  Nor in winter when the odds of getting stuck on the way to the airport are fairly high.

It was fine for this or for any other non-crucial flight but the savings are minimal and the risk of being uncomfortable, inconvenienced, or out of the ticket cost are a bit high.

*All my aunts are my favorite.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

What Do "Regular" People Spend on Groceries and Food????? ???

So, I was listening to the radio last night.  The little solar powered (also a dynamo crank if there isn't sun) that my sister bought me years ago.  Still works although the handle broke off the crank and the broken end digs into my hand.   ANYWAY, listening to the radio.  The John Tesh show.  I can only get about 3 stations and it was that, music I loathed, or christian radio.  I can tolerate the 1980s power ballad line up on that show if not the "info for your life" bits he does.

An advertisement comes on with little Johnny Tesh's voice.  Marketing some pre-packaged-DIY meal/food delivery thing.  The selling points were "only 10$ a plate" and "faster than waiting for expensive delivery food."

I would not put "only" in front of "10$ a plate."  That would mean spending 30$ a day per person on meals.  Coffee trips, snacks, and meal time/other beverages not included.  900$/month for just your meals.   If it's only supper, still 300$ a month and you've got a lot of eating left to do.

My monthly grocery budget for high end organic food is under 200$. I spend about 50$ a month dining out for work lunches or treats and 20$ a month is currently in the "coffee out" budget so I can have a coffee with a friend about twice a month or do a drive through espresso if I'm on the way to an especially crap meeting.

270$ a month.  That's all meals, beverages and treats.  OK, in fairness, the 1$ popcorn at the local independent 2nd run theater goes in the "entertainment" budget line.  I see an average of 6 movies there a year so $270.50 a month if we're being totally honest.

What do "normal" non-thrifty people spend on groceries and food????

Do the people subscribing to these services sending them prepackaged meal kits think they are saving $$? 
Are they saving $$?

How much can they spend on food?

And what of the waste (much of it while the meal kit is being prepared and put together in the factory)?
What of the packaging?  How much food-packaging trash do these people haul out of the house (or pile on the floor if they are judgment)?

I've been being "lazy" by buying bag-o-salad which I find wasteful and feel guilty about.

I've checked some online resources for "average food budget" and I come in low for my income-level, and will be cutting back to afford some other things this year. 

Most sites note that people eat many meals at restaurants, as take-out, or delivery.  That wouldn't seem to be true in rural areas but maybe it is.  If so, the 10$ a plate wouldn't seem AS bad to those who buy restaurant and delivery frequently.  And the level of food and packaging waste would not be as dramatic as it would for me.

To each her own I suppose.

I like to cook and I don't mind butchering chickens, gardening, canning, and doing dishes.  Those meal delivery kits are not for me.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Fresh Friday Frugalities

I felt like alliterating.

Here are a few frugal things I've done lately:

1) If I got it, I eat it.  I've made do with the food on hand.  When I've gotten down to the point where that was not working well enough (e.g. yesterday I was down to sardines, balsamic vinegar, mustard and tomato paste), I find something to work with what I've got and make a few more meals.   I got bread and bag-o'salad.  I can have sardines on a salad dressed with the vinegar.  The bread can go with the end of a jar of jam and one of the emergency nut butter packs in the car and voila...sandwich.  The bread and salad were both on sale.   As a treat, and because it was on sale, I got 1lb of sliced roast beef to take the edge of the series of sardines and pj&js.  The grand total was 11$ and with existing pantry stock, it was about 8 meals with bread and sardines left over for another day.  Then I just ate the bread...oops.

2) Alternated which car I'm driving.  I have the truck now.  I jockey the vehicles so I do about 1 fill up per rig per week.  This keeps the batteries from running down in the cold/wet weather and makes me more conscious of planning when to buy gas and where. 

3) Setting "No Spends" goals each month.  This month I'm shooting for 11 days with no active spending.  I'm still burning gas and heating wood and eating food, but by making sure I have many days a month where I do not buy anything or pay bills, it makes me more thoughtful about when I do spend

4) Paying off the credit card twice a month.  This makes double sure I don't pay interest or fees.  When I'm on paying the balance, I also check the number of "reward credits" and when there is the minimum usable amount of reward credits, I trade them in for cash back on the bill.  I use the credit card for fuel, airline tickets etc. 

5) Paying cash for groceries and general household expenses (TP, baking soda and vinegar for cleaning, laundry costs).  I get 200$ cash each time I get paid and that generally lasts me until the next paycheck. 

6) Taking my change in to the bank and trading it for folding money.  I have little change sorter thingies I got at a thrift store.  Each night I'm home, I put my change into these.  They are sized so that once full, that stack goes in a coin roller (which I get at thrift stores).  The rolled coins go in a little tin.  When the tin is full, I go to the bank and get 20$ or more in folding money.  I often put the quarters right into the laundry kit since I go to the laundromat.  Rarely have to buy quarters at the laundromat.

7) Actually use those hotel soaps.  Since I shower at the gym all winter, I use the little hotel soaps.  I wrap the bar in paper towel bits or put it in the little box it might have come with, between showers and it goes in the gym bag in the car.  The gym does have shower gel/shampoo in a wall dispenser in the showers. I use that in a pinch but I end up with full-body itchiness.  I think it's just Tide or maybe some liquid version of Ajax.  Pretty harsh stuff.  I also actually use the hotel lotions.  I keep one in a coat pocket (I have lots of coats...) since my hands are crusty dry all winter.

That's enough for now and are things that all came into play within the last week.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

No 'Poo Update

It's getting toward 10 years of no shampoo.

Since I'm mostly showering at the gym, especially in winter, it's kind of a pain to do the baking soda and vinegar rinse.  It takes a while and I hate to have the shower running for 20 minutes.  In the summer, using a bucket or big bowl of water, it is easier to get my hair wet (natural oils repel water...probably one of the reasons head hair evolved was to keep the brain warm and keeping cold rain/snow off the head helps with that) and I don't have a shower running the whole time.  Shutting the shower off at the gym and hanging out in the stall just raises questions.

So, the system no is to mostly just rinse the heck out of the hair while scrubbing my scalp with my finger tips and nails.  This is followed with a some diluted vinegar in a reused small dish soap bottle scavenged from work.  I can squirt this all over my hair and work it through, let it rest in there while I finish up showering, then rinse and finish with a cold rinse.  I step to the side of the main stream of shower water and just put my head in for the cold rinse.  Fortunately the gym has big shower stalls with room to hang a towel and clothes and get dressed...and to step away from the water during the cold hair rinse.

I brush it well every couple of days.

In the last week I've gotten multiple compliments on my hair.  Apparently this is working.  

I do the rinse bit once a week or 10 days.  Partly because I'm lazy and partly because I'm not out working in dusty conditions while sweating.  Winter is good for that.

I am also keeping my hair braided most of the time including at night. My hair tangles easily and in the past I've had whole chunks of hair missing from coat-collar length down due to tangles and rats from rubbing on coats and shirt collars. Even in a pony tail it was suffering snarls and breakage.  Keeping it braided seems to prevent those issues.

It's braided overnight because in the winter I wear a hoody to bed.  Or sometimes a hat.  It's warm when I GO to bed, but not always when I wake up so the head cover really helps.

The braiding, less washing, brushing, etc, has resulted in longer hair than I've had in a while.  I haven't had a cut or trim since 1989 so the length is related to the health and breakage alone.