MMXX: Augustus.

On top of my Digestive Madness (trademark pending), I also had a wretched toothache last month. I’m falling apart, friends! I have a consultation coming up with an endodontic specialist, as I may or may not need a root canal. But at least I’ll know one way or another.

Our health insurance changed companies last month, but I was able to confirm that my GI is considered in-network on the new plan. What a relief! I should be able to schedule my next medical test pretty quickly now. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

MMXX: EIGHT

LEARNING

I took a survey of personal strengths for an online course earlier this summer, which turned out to be pretty accurate in my case. My top four strengths were listed as love of learning, creativity, curiosity, and humor. Since “love of learning” was my primary strength, I decided to keep track of what I’m learning. I worked on three things in August: I started studying Norwegian on the Duolingo app (just for fun), continued with the Coursera class I started earlier in the summer, and finished a quick workshop on Udemy to help improve my rewriting and self-editing skills.

MAKING

I made another face mask from fabric scraps and sewed a giant patch on our sofa cover (more below). I also baked some blueberry muffins that were delicious despite being gluten-free and almost fat-free. I can’t wait until I can eat regular food again, but I’m grateful for the few recipe gems I’ve found with so many dietary restrictions. Those muffins were tasty!

WRITING

I didn’t get as much written in August as I had hoped, but I worked some more on a short story and sent out my newsletter a few times.

Connecting

Although I’m not as affected by lockdown as all of the poor “hot extroverts,” I’d been concerned about how little social interaction I was getting. I made it a point to stay in contact with more people last month. I sent a letter to my friend Liz, a birthday card to my best friend from elementary school, had long phone chats with Liz and Thumper, texted a few times a week with Tanzy, and had a great phone chat with my Dad. I texted Mom almost every day, too. I’m in the planning stages for my annual Halloween tea party now — only this year, we will be meeting over Zoom. I ended the month in a much better place emotionally, and I think that being mindful of how much I need to talk to other people helped.

Household

After I discovered a big hole in our sofa cover, I calculated that Lennox had spent approximately 900 extra hours on the sofa since late March. That much butt-friction was just too much for it! (It was several years old already, to be fair.) I patched it up, so it’ll do for a while. We also replaced our 25-year-old Dutch oven for a low-end Calphalon pot. (I can’t lift the cast iron ones, so no Le Creuset for me.) I also replaced our soup ladle, as our old nylon one fell onto a hot burner and partially melted. (Oops.)

MONEY MATTERS

My Personal Spending
I had a good spending month! I’d intended to buy a couple of sewing patterns and to stock up on basic colors of thread, and I only went $1 over my plan.

August Budget / Actual Amount Spent
Books $25.00 / $20.48
Audiobooks $25.00 / $24.29
All Sewing $35.00 Planned / $36.05
Clothing $0.00 Planned / $0.00

Household Spending
We spent more in August than in the last few months. We spent about $50 more than budgeted on groceries, though almost all of that was a large stock-up on gluten-free flour. My preferred brand had been mostly out of stock since the run on all things flour-related in the spring. I thought I’d better get a fair amount while it was available! We also purchased the Dutch oven I mentioned. Everything else on the new budget seems to be holding steady, thankfully.

How I saved money in August:

  • I downloaded a free Kindle book.
  • I downloaded an Amazon First Reads title.
  •  I ordered thread from Wawak, saving about $23 over JoAnn Fabric’s full price.
  • I read 16 ebooks from the library and one Prime Reading title.
  • I listened to four Audible titles I already owned and had listened to at least once before. I mean, I re-read books — why not re-listen to them, too? All four were Georgette Heyer novels that I return to from time to time.

How I made money in August:

  • I started working through a backlog of admin tasks for my day job.
  • I got a regular client up to date. She’s usually a monthly gig, but we’d gotten months behind due to the pandemic. I knocked it out within a week and was paid immediately.
  • Another client paid a bill for five months of work.
FINAL THOUGHTS

Despite having a rough month on the physical side, I think I ended the month feeling better emotionally. My therapist often reminds me that I manage to accomplish a great deal despite my limitations — sometimes more than people without these limitations. I don’t always remember that, and can be my own worst critic. It’s especially hard to remember when I’m dealing with so much physical pain, but all I can do is persevere.