Let’s see what this week holds in store for me.
I had the day off work today. I woke up what felt like early for me but was 7 am, a little later than usual. Not as horrendously late as yesterday though. I did ten lessons on Duolingo which is about twice as much as I normally do.
I had received an email from Google which mentioned their changes to Google Drive documents, and it made me wonder what I had still in storage. I deleted everything, but a few things I downloaded first and saved on my computer. It felt good to clear up some digital clutter.
I put on a wash load and later put it out. I also updated next year’s finances spreadsheets. Yes, I already have them prepared. I need to prep 2021’s expenses and food budget spreadsheets though. I then left the house to get my hair cut. I had miscalculated how long it takes me to get into town and arrived twenty-five minutes early. I went to Boots and bought a face wash, but I also had to spring for a single-use paper bag, which was 7p, bringing my total costs to £5.06. I then headed to WH Smiths and bought this month’s Runner’s World magazine and two pads of paper. £14.88. I put that transaction on my credit card because I had had a weird notification on one of my latest credit reports that said something about my credit limit. It panicked me into thinking my account had been scammed, though when I logged into my account and checked it the balance was as I suspected on £0. Still, I thought a sure-fire way to see that the credit limit was fine was to use the card and see the purchase go through. Which it did.
I considered going to Lush to buy some more Ultrabland, but there was a queue that would have taken me too long to get served before my haircut. I headed to the salon. I considered getting a nice haircut, an actual style, but in the end, I settled for just a tidy up. I figured I needed a low maintenance hairstyle in case there are more lockdowns and the salons close. I don’t want to get a haircut I have to maintain every ten weeks as I just can’t afford that. It has been over a year since I last had my hair cut, which is only partly covid’s fault.
My hair felt much happier after I had the four or so inches taken off it. I had £40 on my account with the salon so I only had to pay an additional £10 extra. This felt like a win since I had budgeted £20.
Back at home my flatmate fancied going to the bakery I went to on Saturday, which made me want to go too. I was sensible and ordered half of what I had on Saturday. We went first to a nearby bookshop so he could pick up a gift for his girlfriend. At the bakery, my flatmate treated with for no other reason than his declaration of ‘Merry Christmas’.
After our bakery treats lunch my flatmate went upstairs to paint and I began baking Christmas delights. I have never successfully made mince pies, and most years I am so put off by earlier experiences that I don’t bother. This year I thought I would give them a go. It was my most successful attempt…but that isn’t saying anything. I jazzed up the store-bought mincemeat with some cranberries and orange juice. I only made five mince pies so I had a load of mincemeat to use up. I decided to make a fruit loaf cake with it. That also wasn’t a complete success. I mistakenly thought it was cooked and it was only when I went to cut a slice that I discovered it was still raw on the inside. So, I had to shove it back in the oven. I also made gingerbread with some stem ginger, the dough for that was chilling in the fridge for an hour beforehand. They were rather lovely and were the most successful of the three bakes.
Once again, the bakery lunch was so filling that neither my flatmate nor I could be bothered to make dinner so I had a sandwich and he had some Quorn nuggets with salad. We were watching a WWE NXT takeover pay per view event – War Games. I was due to speak to my Dad and Step mum after 8 pm but my step mum messaged me just before 8 pm to ask to change the call to tomorrow because she was having a bit of trouble with Dad. He had a stroke on New Year’s Eve 2019 and although he is a lot better it has still had a lasting impact on our lives. I became worried about my step mum. I wish there was more I could do to help, but there’s not a lot I can do due to the restrictions of lockdown.
I decided to just relax for the rest of the evening.
I needed extra sleep this morning and thus woke up at 8:50 AM with a 9 AM meeting to go into. The joys of working from home are I can be at my desk instantly. I was able to finish a tricky piece of work that had been bothering me since the week before. I took a late lunch and ran 5km during it which felt lush. I wanted to go for a run today and was so glad I had taken the chance to. I then had a shower, finishing with three minutes of cold to invigorate me.
My flatmate went to the shops during the day and came back with 2 posh pizzas, more alcohol-free beers, milk, bread, and a bag of poppadom crisps. Although we could see we had been charged the right prices it still felt like the £14.80 total was too much for those things. We had gone to an expensive Tesco extra instead of the bigger Tesco Metro. It does make a difference in the prices.
After work, I did 10 lessons on Duolingo, same as yesterday, which means I am making great progress. I want to get on to level three before I go on my Christmas annual leave. That way I can explore the next level freely during my annual leave and make great progress with it.
I had 2/3 of one of the pizzas for dinner and then went upstairs for my counselling session. It was good to work through some issues. I feel so much happier than I do the week before. This session wasn’t as tough as last week. I then listened to a few songs on YouTube before my Dad and Step mum phoned me on Facebook messenger. It turns out yesterday wasn’t much to worry about. It was good to see them in good spirits. We discussed Christmas. I want to try and travel down a bit earlier to see them at Christmas to look after them both for when my step mum goes into the hospital.
After that, I listened to a few more songs on YouTube and remembered to pay my counsellor for the session today. I usually forget to do it on the day and do it the next day instead.
I then went on Amazon. I had £25 in Amazon vouchers from a side hustle burning a hole in my account. I had put off spending them as I didn’t have a burning desire for anything. I had decided on a whim today that I wanted to start collecting Tom Waits albums, so I added a few to my basket. Then I remembered that Good Gym is organising a fancy dress social run in a couple of weekends and I wanted to make an effort. I wanted to get a Mrs. Claus outfit but most were too overtly sexy. There was an affordable one that seemed a sensible length but the sizing options looked weird and I didn’t want to risk buying the wrong size. I then found another option – a Christmas tree dress. I liked it because it was silly and wasn’t trying to be sexy in any shape or form. I can’t pull off sexy outfits convincingly. I then needed to spend 1p extra to get free postage and packaging. The only option was to add the first Tom Waits album ‘Closing Time’ to the order to bring it up. After my vouchers and free postage and packaging, I spent £2.98.
My flatmate came to check on me. His girlfriend had come round to stay at ours and he just wanted to make sure I was alright. He also wanted to see that I was done with my calls because they planned to play guitar and the N64 for a bit and didn’t want to disturb me. I came downstairs with him to make a tea and then retreated to my room. I wrote for a bit whilst listening to BBC 6 music and drinking a lemon and ginger tea. I then decided to read my kindle. My goal is to finish the four books I have started at various points this year before 2021. Pointless life goals.
Today wasn’t a good day.
My mum passed away in July. At the time we believed it was a heart attack. The autopsy revealed in September that she had passed away from an acute tramadol overdose. There were then court proceedings to determine whether it had been accidental or intentional.
Today I received an email from my Uncle who had written about today’s news regarding my mum’s death. Due to miscommunication, this was the first I had heard about there being news. My cousin, a lawyer who had been representing the family, phoned me, and told me the news.
My mum’s death had been ruled as accidental. That was a blessing. Some important things had come out though. My mum did not have a tramadol prescription. It had not been administered by her doctor. The most likely scenario is that a well-intentioned friend had given my mum some to help with back or tooth pain.
The dosage of tramadol that killed my mum has been fatal in other cases, but it was at the lower end of what a fatal dosage could be. My mum had suffered from alcoholism and substance abuse for several years and was a small, petite, woman. The autopsy also revealed that an artery in her heart was clogged. Therefore, the tramadol dosage might not have been fatal if she was in a stronger state. It was a combination of her being perhaps weaker than we knew and the tramadol.
I spent a lot of today crying. I am trying hard not to think too much about it, because I know I will drive myself crazy if I think along the lines of ‘what if?’
I considered doing some retail therapy to cheer myself up, but I knew that would be self-destructive behaviour. So, I didn’t.
I was able to distract myself enough with TV and magazines to be able to go to bed in a relatively calm state.
I had been planning to send out my Christmas card email to this side of the family today, but it felt a bit ill taste too. I will save it for tomorrow.
I woke up in a good mood. As I’ve said before I believe in the transformative powers of a good night’s sleep.
I wanted to run, but also had some chores to do. I had to pick up my prescription, and we needed some things from the shops. I would be working late as a result of starting late, so I couldn’t pick up my prescription after work.
In the end, my flatmate said he would be going to the shops. I set out at lunchtime for my 5km run, having warmed up for 15 minutes on the exercise bike first. It was a beautiful run. I have found a very happy, comfortable pace. Admittedly it is slow, nowhere near the times I used to do, but it is a pace that makes every run feel glorious and wonderful. There are geese by one of the bigger parks on my usual run route and I have been trying to take a photo of six in one shot as a sort of ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ vibe. No such luck.
After my run, I carried on a little and walked to the pharmacy. I was really lucky that there was no queue. I was cutting it fine to eat lunch as well in these ninety minutes, so I picked up some ready to eat things from a Sainsbury’s Local. I bought reduced sushi, a chocolate milkshake, and a yogurt and granola pot. They came to £3.34. On the way home I bumped into my flatmate who was going to the shops. He later came back with five tins of soup, a pasta meal, Pepsi, Marmite, a beef patty, Flora, a Pot Noodle, two packets of instant noodles, crackers, cheese rolls, strawberries, and a cucumber. He spent £15.32 on the food budget.
It took me a little while to complete work today, but I did get some done by the time I had to finish.
I decided to change my train ticket or travelling back at Christmas, and I made an expensive mistake. I didn’t think I could rearrange the tickets I had already bought so I bought new ones for £45.65. I then found out I couldn’t refund the tickets I already bought, and I could have changed the travel arrangements after all. I don’t know why I didn’t check first, I think I must have just been distracted. That was very silly of me. I’ll still look into it to see if there is anything I can do. Perhaps I can refund the new tickets?
We had burgers and wedges for dinner and watched some TV. It is Taskmaster day, the highlight of my TV viewing week. Today’s episode didn’t disappoint at all.
I have been trying to select what I want for Christmas from my flatmate. I have been having a bit of a confidence crisis, especially regarding what my body looks like. I decided that a weight loss book might make me feel like crap, so I selected some well-being books instead. I chose Matt Haig’s ‘Notes on a Nervous Planet’, Julia Samuel’s ‘Grief Works: Stories of Life, Death and Surviving’ and Maggie O’Farrell’s ‘I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death’. I look forward to reading them all, later on, once I received them of course. In my research for other books to choose I discovered that the two Anna McNuff books I don’t have were very reasonable on Kindle. As a treat, I bought both for £5.98. I had decided to seek out adventure books, and Anna McNuff fits that perfectly. She recently ran around the whole of the UK with one important distinction – she did so barefoot. None of her three books are about that adventure though, which is incredible that she has already had three significant other adventure books. She is so cool.
I went upstairs to read Runner’s World magazine before bed.
I woke up naturally at 5:30 AM and decided that that was a reasonable time to get up. I have been waking up at all sorts of strange times this week. I caught up on some admin tasks I had been putting off, which ranged from checking my emails, doing surveys, and filing away my paperwork. It didn’t take as long as I thought it would. I then did five lessons on Duolingo, I want to complete the level I am on before the 21st December, that way I can indulge in lessons on my Christmas break.
I later paid the price for waking up at 5:30 AM and felt very sleepy. My flatmate came upstairs to say he was going to the local shops and did I want to join him. I was fighting sleep so I thought the walk might wake me up. I then remembered I was running low on deodorant, so I picked up two Mitchum’s in Superdrug. They were on offer, two for £4.
The walk did do me good and I was able to be more productive in the afternoon.
In the evening my mood dipped. I was filled with self-loathing towards myself. When my flatmate went to his girlfriend’s I couldn’t think straight from how much I hated myself and went to bed. I hoped a good night’s sleep would sort me out.
I woke up late, and I had a Good Gym mission to get to. I was about 15 minutes late, which is horrendous by my standards. I stayed a little later to make up for it. I was cutting back brambles and ended up with lots of cuts on my hands, despite wearing gloves. After the mission, I ran back down to the way I would end up to go home but then added on a run around the park. I didn’t find it very easy. It was quite hard truth be told even though it was only 5km. I had a relaxing shower at home and did my weekly beauty maintenance.
I then tidied up the house, which always seems to take longer than it should. My flatmate and his girlfriend came round briefly before going back out again. After they were gone, I was able to do the hoovering, and finally, the tidying up was complete. I then headed to the shops. First Savers, where I bought more laundry scent beads and a handwash refill for £3.49. Next, Tesco, where I bought bran flakes, a 1kg peanut butter tub (should a runner buy anything less than 1kg?), Actimel, French onion soup, spicy parsnip soup, washing up liquid, orange juice, plain flour, 4 x plum tomatoes, three ginger tea, conchiglie pasta, farfalle pasta, bananas, salted butter, 4 x spaghetti Bolognese spice mixes, apples, eggs, and a frozen pizza. I was upset when I got home and saw it was the plum tomatoes I bought. I had meant to buy chopped tomatoes. I make this mistake quite a lot! I know I can just blend them, but it is annoying.
That shopping came to £32.74.
Back home I did some Duolingo, then I started making a cake. This cake will be a slow process. First, I have to cook some cut orange pieces in a pan of water over medium heat for two hours. So, I cooked my frozen pizza for dinner whilst they were in the pot and watched “Muppet’s Christmas Carol”.
After Muppet’s Christmas Carol was over, I put on “It’s a Wonderful Life” and left the oranges to cool. I would make the cake tomorrow.
After my Christmas movie double bill, I went to bed as I had another Good Gym mission in the morning.
I woke up at a more sensible time today. I had breakfast, warmed up, and then ran to the mission. We would be building a shed. It would be an outside task. It is cold and it is raining. My hands froze at various points. There were fewer of us at the mission than usual so building the shed was hard work, but we did more of it in a quicker time even with fewer people. There were four of us by the end. That is the final shed for that particular charity and I was really happy I could be part of it.
The other three had to go to Screw Fix, and as fun, as Screw Fix is, I decided to run back home. I tagged on a lap of my local park so it was about 11km in the end that I had run in total. I had a quick lunch, then changed into some dry exercise clothes as my other ones were wet from the rain. I then did a two-hour cycle on the exercise bike whilst watching Die Hard.
My flatmate came home about fifteen minutes before the film finished, and he had a virtual catch up with his friends soon. I tidied up the kitchen, then had a lovely hot shower. I took my laptop upstairs and did Duolingo. I came downstairs about ninety minutes later to eat the dinner my flatmate had prepared. We watched Taskmaster and then His Dark Materials. It was too late to finish making the cake, I merely pureed the orange slices today. I would make it tomorrow. I was very sleepy and went upstairs to read before bed.
I declare that the week is over!
FOOD AND HOUSEHOLD SHOPPING = £70.95 (MY HALF = £35.48)
PERSONAL SHOPPING = £46.24
COUNSELLING = £35
CHRISTMAS = £45.65
TOTAL SPENDING THIS WEEK = £162.37