Week 8: When Free Isn’t

1. I had a slip-up this week. My son got hurt at school (he’s fine), and I had to take him to an urgent care centre to get patched up. The visit to the doctor was free (O Canada!) but we had to wait four hours to be seen. I hadn’t eaten and had come straight from work, so I bought a coffee and a muffin while we waited. It could have been worse, I suppose.

2. While the medical care is free, the parking isn’t. Between that emergency visit, a specialist appointment I had a couple weeks ago, weddings, and trips to the airport, I estimate that I have spent $30 in parking fees since the beginning of September. With a little more planning, I could have avoided most of those. We in Halifax are relatively lucky to have ample street parking available much of the time, not to mention free meters on weekends. Our recent trip to LA reminded me how much I used to have to think about parking when I lived there.

3. You know that place in your town that lets you borrow books for a long time for free? Well, the books aren’t free when you don’t return them on time. I’ve been carrying a balance at the library for a while now. Did you know that you don’t have to pay your late fees at the Halifax Public Library if they are under $10? I knew it, and I exploited it for a good long time. My son took a field trip with his class to the public library last week, and I didn’t want to hold up the borrowing process when Madame had 18 library cards to deal with, so I figured now was the time to settle up. I owed $8.90 between my card and my son’s card. Totally avoidable and a vestige of past bad habits.

4. Yesterday, I spent a chunk of the day in the kitchen making soup for lunches, oatmeal breakfast cookies, and Sloppy Joes for supper. I feel I have perfected my whole wheat roll recipe, but my bun-forming technique needs work. Tell me about your buns. How are they formed?

5. I spent only $11.27 on groceries this week, but some of that was on a Dairy Milk, which is prohibited. I was cranky and I wanted chocolate. It was a mistake that did not precipitate another one, so I have accepted it and moved on. I spent $44.81 on gas, and drove more than usual due to the injury at school. I stayed home most of the weekend to make up for it. I also had the pellet stove professionally cleaned for the start of the season, which cost me $125. I hate, hate, hate cleaning the pellet stove, so this is a worthwhile expense for me once a year.

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