Friday, December 21, 2018

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

First, I'd like to thank everyone again.  The outpouring of support and encouragement during this whole mess has been a huge blessing in mine and my family's lives.  Thank you!

I've spent the last two weeks trying to get over that darned kidney infection while also dealing with two kids home as their schools were shut down due to the earthquake damage, aftershocks and various health things with the kids.  Alvah has been a challenge since the earthquake.  He's been kind of bipolar.  One minute he'll be happy as a clam and then suddenly he's unhappy with the entire universe and starts hitting himself and others.  It's been unsettling to say the least.  It doesn't help that his eczema has been going nuts since the earthquake.  Armina's allergies have also reared up in a huge way.  SHE has eczema now, which she hasn't had since Kindergarten, her eyes are swollen and puffy, she's got a sore throat...the poor thing is just in pure allergy Heck right now.  This is NOT a good time to be allergic to dust :(.  Poor kiddo.

In the middle of all of the earthquake clean up, Alvah's Medicaid got denied due to his mental health professional's office and the state having an argument over who the release of information form was supposed to go to even though my care coordinator had sent in at least two blanket release of information forms to the mental health office it's frustrating beyond belief as everything could have been avoided if someone had called ME or my care coordinator in the month everyone was kicking a can down the road that happened to impact my kid in a bad way.  I had no knowledge of it at all until the doctor's office called me a few days after the earthquake and asked me to go in and sign another release of information form in person so they could fax over Alvah's records before the state cut off his LEAST two weeks later then they should have by their own admission.  I rushed over and signed them within an hour, but it turns out it was already too late as when I went to refill his medications I found out his Medicaid was turned off.  The pharmacy, bless them, was able to run his Clonodine through on a discount card thing and I was able to afford to refill it, but I've been rationing out the store of Risperidone we have as that stuff is 400.00+ to refill it.  Even with a discount card I'm not sure how much that would hurt to refill.  My care coordinator is trying to work voodoo behind the scenes to get things rushed through and turned back on, but for now we are in Medicaid limbo.  Thank goodness Alvah's therapist's office was okay with back billing Medicaid once it got turned back on.  Please send up a prayer that it gets turned back on quickly for the sake of my anxiety.  I have nightmares about suddenly having to pay therapist bills out of pocket as that'd run anyone into the poor house very quickly.

We've heard nothing from the disaster relief inspectors, but they've been busy, unfortunately, having to condemn a bunch of buildings and homes in different areas.  My husband and I went to do some last minute Christmas shopping for the kids yesterday (since we had literally yesterday to get it done since both of the kids were actually in school) in Eagle River and we were able to see some of the damage Eagle River suffered first hand.  We stopped off at where the Salvation Army used to be (it was there before the quake) only to find the building surrounded by caution tape and a couple of huge obvious cracks running down the building and a sign on the door saying only authorized personnel could enter.  The Eagle River McDonald's has been closed since the quake and we're not sure if it is even going to reopen it's been down so long (obviously it's not a good sign if something is closed that long).  A lot of buildings had boards where windows used to be, including Carrs in Wasilla when we stopped off to get some groceries today and we could see where a part of their sidewalk sank as they had cones around the area to keep people from walking where the ground might be unsafe. 

It's actually kind of surreal walking around and seeing the damage and things and you stop and just send up a prayer thanking the Lord that you and your family are still here. 

I did, though, call the disaster relief office today and made sure our application was in the system and we were on the list.  Depending on the electric baseboard heat has been kind of rough.  It keeps the pipes from freezing and things, but downstairs gets pretty darned cold at night and we're all having to bundle up a bit to keep warm.  I'm dreading seeing what my electric bill is going to be after running the electric heat all month.  My husband is hoping that the disaster relief will help us pay for the electric bill in the time it takes for them to get here and inspect and things, but I figure worse comes to worse I'll just have to let it go for now, wait, and then redo our budget billing after we have the furnace in working condition again.  I'm going to HATE to see what that bill would be per month, but it's the best I can do to keep on top of that expense.

But, yeah, let's get to the money saving things that happened this week.

1.  I finally managed to get all of the broken glass (I HOPE) off of my kitchen counters.  MAN that took a lot of cleaning.  Glass dust is really hard to get out of crevices and things.  And I wanted to make sure that the counters were clean, clean since we were going to make Christmas cookies and the LAST thing you want is to run across a little piece of glass while doing something like that.  Which we did get that done (yay!).  I didn't have time to make gingerbread houses yet, but I'm hoping to wrestle time to do that somehow. 

This weekend is going to be dedicated to getting Christmas gifts sewn downstairs (if the sewing machine works *fingers crossed*).  I was going to try and do them earlier, but it took me all week to get the den mucked out, things put away and such to the point I could actually get TO my sewing table.  So, hopefully that'll get done.

I did find while cleaning the floor that the linoleum took a terrible beating and is actually cut and/or dented in places where I have realized that mopping the floor isn't going to be wise as I'm worried it will leak through to the sub floor, trap moisture and we're going to end up with mold issues.  So, I'm down to cleaning the floor on my hands and knees, carefully, and wiping the floor dry after I'm done.  Not fun, but it is what it is.

2.  My husband and I managed to put in the new toilet.  It's been wonderful having a working toilet again and much to my surprise Alvah was able to figure out how to flush it immediately, so that was good.

3.  My mother-in-law gave me a Red Robin gift card for my birthday at the end of the month.  I still have a gift card with some money left on it from earlier in the year, so by combining the two cards together I think we can at least eat out for my birthday.  The kids will certainly enjoy getting to eat at their favorite "fancy" restaurant :).

4.  My Jolly Time anniversary popcorn bowl took a beating in the earthquake and wouldn't even sit right on a flat surface.  It's still got some bends in it that I'm afraid to bend out since the bowl is enamel coated metal and I don't want to crack the enamel, but after some careful work I managed to get it to at least sit on a flat surface again to the point we could at least eat popcorn out of it.

5.  I rebuilt my bread box...kinda.  The wood is splintered on the inside in places, but I got it to go together enough that it holds together and the door will shut...kind of sticky, but it shuts.  I will probably have to replace said bread box at some point in the potentially near future as it's pretty whomped on, but for now it works.  I use my bread box constantly, so I'm glad I was able to get it back together again.

6.  My husband and I took advantage of free dump days at the dump for people who needed to dump earthquake debris.  The Burough actually waited quite a while before opening the dump for free, so a lot of people had already paid to dump their stuff, but we weren't able to get to the dump for a while after the quake due to my husband's work schedule, getting the hot water heater replaced, putting in the new toilet, etc.  Taking advantage of the free dump saved us a ton on dumping fees just from the sheer weight from broken glass and things we took in.  I was really grateful that we had that available and ended up having to wait longer than we had hoped to dump some of the multitudes of earthquake debris we had.  We still have more we'll have to pay to dump, but we're definitely grateful for the free load we got to dump.

7.  We took advantage of a free event that was a lot of fun and the entire family got to attend.  My son's classroom Christmas party.  It happened to be at a time after my daughter was out of school for the day, so we, as well as all of the other families in the son's class, were able to show up and have fun with the kids.  It was a lot of fun and we got to take home a few new Christmas ornaments from the crafts they were doing in class and a new piece of Christmas artwork for the walls. 

I also took the opportunity to say "sorry" to Alvah's teachers and therapists as the gifts I had put aside to give to them this year got destroyed in the quake.  I felt bad as I try to give something to them every year, but it just wasn't going to happen this year. 

8.  I managed to get my spice cabinet pretty much cleaned out.  I still have a bunch of spices and things that are under the lazy Susan shelf that are working their way out slowly but surely and I'll have to vacuum them as they work their way to where I can get to them, but for the most part I THINK I found and cleaned up the majority of the damage.  It's been depressing opening it up and knowing that even the containers I have left, a lot of them lost a lot of stuff that was in them, so I'm carefully rationing what I have left until replacements come in and things.  Except cinnamon.  Somehow that all survived and I have tons of that left.  So, that's something I suppose.

I found while cleaning the kitchen that a bunch of my cabinets came out from the wall in the quake and there are definite gaps, so my husband is going to have to spend some time this weekend screwing my cabinets back into the wall.  At least they held.  That's definitely something to be thankful for.

9.  I started to try and find a replacement dough hook for my mixer as my other one got hit and bent in the quake.  Not having much luck (the mixer hasn't been made in years), but I'm hopeful my husband can bend the dough hook back so it's close enough to true to work right.  Here's hoping or I might have to buy another mixer so I have something to mix bread dough in.  Yes, I use my dough hook THAT much.

At least I finally got the glass cleaned out of the mixer *knock on wood* and we were able to make cookies with it and not worry about eating broken glass.  That was a good thing for sure.

10.  I made sure to use all leftovers the last few weeks.  We have some things in the pantry we need to use up because they got coated in Teriyaki sauce or something similar and I don't want sticky things sticking around in the pantry because...well bugs for one and because mold for another...not to mention the potential to attract mice.  So, I took a couple of meal's worth of chicken bits we had left over from different meals, combined them together and made Chicken Helper with them.  It worked and I didn't have to worry about the chicken going to waste.  Tonight we used up a little bit of cheese that we had left over,  a little bit of sour cream we had left and some leftover taco meat and corn chips and made nachos for dinner.  Worked great and used up a bunch of stuff we had to use up.

And there you go folks.  Some of the ways we saved money this week.  At the moment my exhaustion is suffering from exhaustion, so I'm going to head to bed so I can get up super early tomorrow and get to work on gifts.  I hope your week went well.


  1. Hang in there kiddo - you have made great progress. Hope everyone gets to feeling better.
    Merry Christmas

  2. My goodness, you've certainly had a time of it. I'm happy you're able to find the positives in the situation, but I wish you didn't have to. Wishing you and your family a happy, peaceful holiday.

  3. I’m thinking about you guys! What a mess to have to clear away. The moment I heard about the quake, I thought of you and hoped you all were ok.

    Please show us the gifts you make even if it’s after Christmas. I know you’re busier than ever. I loved your deughter’s gifts.

    I always look forward to your posts and read each one even though I don’t comment frequently.

    Merry Christmas

  4. I've never realized all that is involved in earthquake damage and aftermath. What a mess and what a HUGE amount of work to clean it up. Your kitchen looks great in the photo!

    Hope the heating situation gets straightened out quickly. That's a necessity!

    Best wishes for a very Merry Christmas