Wake up feeling like I have been hit by a truck. I can’t tell if it’s the weather or the work stress. Grumble grumble. In any case I spend a good part of the morning wrapped up in blankets and scrolling through Jameela Jamil’s Instagram for gems like:
At some point I get my weekly local food delivery. I changed over from my pseudo CSA to this service because it allowed me to get fish, dairy, grain, and veggies all in one go rather than just produce alone. I get pizza dough, apples, beets, butternut squash, salmon, cilantro, greek yogurt, spinach, and a bazillion red onions. ($59)
While I cook, I eat some of my leftovers from last week: bok choy, roasted mix vegetables, and peanut pork pan fried noodles. From what was sitting in the fridge and the new delivery I make up some beet carrot salad, pan fried salmon, roasted butternut squash with leftover rosemary, chopped spinach, and caramelized onions to use for a pizza sauce later in the week.
As much as I dread going outside, I make a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up my new obsession: Spendrift cucumber water. I also get a trifecta of mozzarella, pecorino, and ricotta cheese for pizza and fancy oat and sea salt soap bars because apparently I am fully a millennial now and these little luxuries unironically #sparkjoy in my life. What have I become… ($24.13)
In the evening I visit my friends for board game night, bringing my beet carrot salad as a side dish offering. I forget to bring Lactaid pills and we’re eating spinach lasagna with bechamel sauce so I run to the CVS to buy some ($12.21) We end up playing rummy cube and they feed us spinach ricotta lasagna and an almond torte. Nomnomnom.
Daily total: $95.34
Laze around on the internet all morning, too cozy under my warm blanket to make myself breakfast. At some point I muster up enough energy to make pizza with my husband. The toppings include: caramelized onions sauce, mozzarella, ricotta, pecorino, gouda (leftover in the fridge), basil, and spinach. The crust could probably have used a wee bit more precooking but otherwise it is quite tasty.
After pizza and Jeopardy watching– apparently Netflix added the championship episodes from like three years ago– I go for a run at the gym. By the time all that’s done it’s only like six in the evening, but I’m feeling exhausted and potentially depressed from the perpetual overcast weather, so I do my evening prep early and head to bed.
Daily total: $0
I woke up with godawful fits and starts between midnight and two, but managed to sleep again through seven in the morning. I get ready and check my work email: 31 messages since Friday evening. Not terrible. Except three of them are actually tasks that I need to do “immediately” because the founder said so. Sigh.
I get to the office and realize I left my key card at home. Ugh. Our desk space requires a badge and is separate from the kitchen and bathrooms, which means I’m going to have an annoying and awkward time.
For lunch I eat peanut pork noodles, beet and carrot salad, and some chopped spinach.
I start to prep salmon for dinner and then drop the pan– fish, hot oil, and all– right on the floor. Today is just not my day. I end up eating what amounts to a carbon copy of my lunch.
My husband’s therapist sends us an email in the evening, letting us know that his insurance doesn’t cover their sessions, retroactive three months. So we owe her ~$1200. He really likes seeing her and it’s made a big difference for his wellbeing so we’re not going to drop it, but I find this notification long after the fact really annoying and unprofessional (like, you know, most medical billing). We can handle that sort of one-off expense without much trouble, but for a lot of people that’d be a real emergency. It looks like she’ll take my employer’s insurance, so we’ll probably switch him over to my plan going forward as part of open enrollment.
Daily total: $0
My morning, like most, is filled with back to back meetings. I take a quick break to load up on Indian buffet food before our organization-wide “Here’s the state of things” meeting. ($15) Surprise surprise, we have infinite prospects and work to do and are slow at hiring. Also we’re moving offices. In two weeks. Thanks for giving us a lot of heads up, management!
One of the mid-level folks from a perspective customer is in town for the holidays. I buy some a bunch of desserts from the patisserie downstairs to welcome her, which I’ll get reimbursed by my employer later. We chat a bit with one of my direct colleagues and one of our founders. It sounds like they’ll make a decision which way they’re going in a week or so. Given that she’s bothering to visit our office, it seems like good tidings for us? This would be a really big account with a lot of interesting work directly affecting my day to day, so I’m hopeful.
By the time dinner rolls around I’m still pretty full from my Indian food. More Jeopardy, cucumber Spendrift, and trying really hard to turn off my angry and addled brain.
Daily total: $15
Relatively slow day at the office because of the upcoming holiday weekend. Which means I can finally catch up on everything (or, well, some of the things).
My grand-boss invites me out to Au Bon Pain for lunch where I order a turkey sandwich. She pays. We chat about how my work is going, all the projects coming up, how short staffed we are, etc. We also talk about the banal personal stuff: kids, spouses, etc.
I head home early because the office is basically empty and most of my afternoon meetings have been cancelled. My in-laws are planning on ordering pizza for dinner. The combination of carbs, marinara, and cheese often gives me a stomach ache (which is why we made white pizza earlier in the week) so I let them know I’ll probably eat leftovers at our house before we drive over.
More noodles, salad, and cucumber water for dinner. I’m intent on NOT bringing my laptop to the in-laws’, so I try to finish everything up work-wise before my husband gets home. We then drive over and watch even more Jeopardy, this time with teen contestants.
My mother-in-law mentions to me how in retiring she’s worrying about money for the first time. I’ve worried for years that they weren’t saving enough, but had been told repeatedly that they had “more than enough.” From back of the envelope calculations, it sounds like she has her house paid off, about a half million in assets, and $4-5k a month coming in between Social Security and her pension. Plus she and her husband plan to do some part time work as well. So they should be in a pretty comfortable place, at least as long as their health stays good. But, man, it’s a far cry from what they’d made their savings out to be. It makes me frustrated in hindsight by how much they supplemented by husband’s lifestyle for so many years rather than prioritizing their own savings.
Daily total: $0
I snack on olive oil crackers and Kerrygold cheddar for lunch. The holidays are delicious. My husband and I help with some Thanksgiving sides and keep his cousin’s children entertained with board games before dinner. The final spread includes: turkey, rolls, butternut squash, sweet potato casserole, Brussel sprouts, cranberry sauce, cookies, and pumpkin pie. Nom nom nom. A really nice, chill day.
Daily total: $0
I have the rest of the salmon and some leftover turkey for lunch, on top of salad and chopped spinach. Leftovers: a blessing and also– after a week of repeats– kind of a curse.
I don’t manage to drag myself away from reading and watching travel planning videos to Japan (we’re hoping to go next year as a last hurrah before babies) until three in the afternoon. I go to a nearby Japanese street food restaurant for some gyoza and croquette combination bowl. The meal is served with a side salad, but it’s only until I’ve snarfed down half of it that I realize I should ask what type of lettuce they used. It was green leaf, thankfully, and we (me, the shop owner, and the staff) had a good laugh at both my greedy eating and impotent worrying. Ha. ha. ha. ($17)
I feel like sitting at my favorite tea shop and read the rest of the evening away, but they’re full up. After checking a few of my favorite bakeries to find them closed for the weekend, I make a last stop at the one nearest home and pick up a tiny (fits in the palm of my hand) pumpkin loaf. ($5). Once I get home, I pan-toast it with butter and share with my husband for dessert. Nom.
The evening is spent chilling out, mostly reading Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee. It is fine, but much less of a compelling read than Pachinko. Also more videos about Japanese food, because apparently I am hungry forever.
Daily total: $22
Total spending: $132.34
Looking back on my diary, it’s clear I was really depressed this past week. Having grown up in the sunny Southwest, the overcast weather really does a number on me mentally. Also, I’ve been investing myself too much in my work, emotionally speaking. Taking my laptop home night after night is a huge red flag that I’m spiraling. Going forward I’m going to endeavor to avoid that behavior and, instead, add structure to my weekday evenings so they aren’t wasted away on television/other poor decompression methods.
How was your Thanksgiving? How much do you think is “enough” to retire regularly?