Friday, November 24, 2017

Happy Taco Day!

Happy Thanksgiving! 

We had brunch and tacos instead of traditional foods this year, and it was wonderful. Today when we set up our Christmas tree, it was so warm outside I had the window open at one point. Very strange for Minnesota!

I didn't participate in #BuyNothingDay this year. I've been needing a better winter coat, and time to go shopping for one without kids, so I went this afternoon. The mall looked absolutely packed, but I skirted around the edges and checked out some consignment shops instead. They were far less busy but still had great deals, and I came away with a perfect Lands End down coat plus a couple other items for just $60. 

Peanut did pick up a couple of Black Friday specials in the technology department - we've been slowly wiring the whole house up to be a smart house. Now we have Google Home minis on every floor as well as a chromecast. They are purchases we would have made eventually, so I'm glad he saved money + got Target gift cards for future purchases. 

We recently had our house appraised by the mortgage company to get rid of the PMI we've been paying for the last six years. The home inspector said two wonderful things to us - our home value has increased by $50,000 over what we paid for it (!!!) AND out of all the houses he's been in, he'd never seen as many books as he saw in my house. And I bet he didn't even realize that my bookshelves are double- or triple-shelved! As a lifelong book lover, that made me very happy. 

Our internet bill went up by $30/month because we ran out of some promotional period, so Peanut called them and complained and it went back down to about where it was (but now we have a month of two extra TV channels or something, which we won't use, but they had to get added to get the discounted price). It will be much harder to negotiate these kinds of deals if net neutrality ends. 

Our dryer started squealing and then stopped working. Peanut took it apart and discovered a melted plastic part that had damaged the motor. He price-checked some dryers and decided to order a new motor ($120) instead of a new dryer ($500). I suspect that there are cheaper new dryers out there than $500, but I also much prefer the idea of repairing than replacing it. I'm inspired by The Frugal Girl and how she always takes her appliances apart to keep them running instead of defaulting to replacement. In the meantime, we are air-drying everything, which is also working fine - we actually considered not repairing or replacing, but just living without a dryer altogether. I already line-dry all of my clothes except socks and underwear, but heavy things like towels tend to take a very long time to dry in our basement. We also tend to do laundry infrequently but then do six loads in a day which wouldn't be possible without a dryer. Still, we might explore using the dryer much less even when it is working again. I used the dishwasher a lot when I stayed home, but Peanut only runs it once a month to keep the seals in tact, and instead uses it as a big drying rack. There's no reason we HAVE to use those appliances just because we have them. 

Thinking ahead to Christmas (of course), I feel like this is the year that we are finally going to get out of the rat race. We've been whittling back our Christmas shopping for years, going from everyone in the extended family exchanging gifts to just for the kids + a white elephant for the adults to just the for kids to now I think it's just grandparents (I mean Santa) giving to the kids, and my generation giving a group photo to the grandparents (a tradition now in its third year). Peanut and I buy very little for our own family celebration - we haven't exchanged gifts in eight years, I think, and our kids get so much from everyone else. They already have too many toys, more than they could possibly play with. I have a couple things laid up from consignment sales that I might bring out, plus a candy bar for each of them. Really, that's enough. We do help them to buy small gifts for each other and for us, though, so that they can learn how to be good gift choosers. But I think Christmas has been so overdone that people are starting to pull back from it. Maybe that's just my perception, because even the people in our family who used to want to exchange gifts with everyone are not wanting to do that anymore. Do you feel like Christmas is becoming less about gift-giving the last couple of years, or has it stayed about the same for you?

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