The Popcorn Files

OK, so how did I manage to make it weeks without posting? And I just started? WHO KNOWS?

The truth is I’ve been kind of lazy. I’m not preoccupied by school (I’m fortunate enough to have a light schedule this term and only have to go in 3 days a week – 2 after this week) or exercise or cleaning (ha!) but I’ve been making some good progress on a few small goals.

1) We received a supplemental financial aid check due to me dropping a course the first week of the term. This is gone already on our final car payment + associated fees (YES!!!) a new rear bike tire for me, some school related purchases (one textbook that you have to bring with you to a national exam, so there’s no avoiding the purchase, a lab coat for clinic, and some dressmaker’s pins for a facial points project involving a styrofoam head) and — wait for it– a $20 air popper from Amazon! I feel like this is the score of the century! Especially because those offered online from the big box stores were upwards of $30 and I got this with free 2-day shipping, so good for me. Next stop: Union Square greenmarket for some organic popcorn, straight from the farm.

I’ve managed to spend only about $250 on groceries so far this month, which (if the trend continues) means we’ll hit about $500 for the month. I’m not quite sure how I achieved this, but several bags of dried beans have been cooked in the past two weeks, and I’m sure this is somehow related to the overall grocery savings. In other news, my son told me yesterday that he thinks he has iron-deficiency anemia due to lack of meat. LOL. I told him to eat more greens — their iron is just as accessible and easily processed as long as he’s receiving adequate vitamin C (more fruits and vegetables!). He was obviously thrilled with my advice.

The grocery savings was somewhat (not entirely) offset by a ginormous electric bill, which made no sense at first since we’ve had a really mild May and June and have turned on the air conditioners maybe twice, during a mini heatwave.

However, we had a refrigerator crap-out (it was running all the time and frozen things started to melt) that I think might account for the high bill. It turns out that mice (eeeeew but yes, that’s NYC apartment dwelling – there are nasty uninvited critters all over the place, no matter how much people deny it**) had been taking the insulation out of the back of the unit and using it for nesting. Gross. But the landlord sent over the refrigerator fix-it guy and things seem to be functioning normally; now we just need competent exterminators who come more often than once a month. *SIGH*

Sidenote: I researched natural mouse repellants after this incident. Did you know that mice hate peppermint oil and vinegar? Who knew? So I soaked several cotton balls in apple cider vinegar and strong peppermint tea (I didn’t have any peppermint essential oil but I’ll pick some up this week) and tossed them in back of the refrigerator, in back of the stove, and in the vicinity of the known mouse holes, which are filled in with steel wool. We’re in a large apartment building and it seems that the mice have made a network from apartment to apartment. Anyway, I haven’t seen any since placing those cotton balls, but the sources I read say that the effect wears off unless you refresh it. Just thought I’d share in case anyone else has rodent issues and wants to avoid traps and nasty chemicals.

So, humans 1, mice 1.

In the meantime, I’m psyched about the bike tire purchase. This means I can implement my long-pondered plan to become a half bike commuter.

I say half because I live about 15 miles from my school, which would be fine if I lived on pretty, winding, smooth country roads, but I don’t. I live on pothole riddled Bronx streets which are treacherous not only for the poor road conditions, but also for the crazy a-hole drivers all over the city. I am fortunate enough to live within close proximity to the NYC Greenway system, which is both safely car-free and freshly paved, but taking it means I have to go a few miles out of my way and the trip could verge on 20 miles one-way. Since I’m not a fast rider anyway, and city traffic means lots of lights and delays, that means it might take as much as 2 hours to commute (plus, I haven’t ridden in a while and 30 to 40 miles a day seems like a lot). So my big plan is to take the train in, with my bike, chain the bike up outside, and ride the bike home. This will actually only work on Fridays (Mondays I have a night class, and no, I won’t be riding my bike home through the potholed streets of sketchy areas of the Bronx at 10:30 pm) but it will be decent practice run for fall, when my schedule changes dramatically. I figure I can save about half of my commuting costs and get some great exercise in at the same time.

Alright. WALL OF TEXT. Evidently I had  a lot to say there. Next time, I will discuss my personal snowball credit payment method and the ripoff that is payment protection, but in the meantime, have a great day, avoid the critters, and enjoy those dried beans!

**Second sidenote: During a period of unemployment, Mr. Frugalacupunc found a temporary position with an exterminator. He said rich people have roaches, rats, mice and bedbugs just like everyone else. Ewww.