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Archive for November, 2006

Succeeding as Lazy Saver

November 30th, 2006 at 08:34 pm

I'll freely admit it to everyone here: I'm a lazy saver. It's not my fault, you know, it's because I work with computers.

How's that, you ask? The concept of elegant design. Ask anyone in computers what 'elegant design' means, and they'll give you this wonderful schpiel about something that is beautful and effective and concise. What they're really saying is the best way to do something is the way that gets it done right and fast, taking up the least amount of time and energy. This is the backbone of the techology industry, and being a tech-head it is my backbone too.

When I was a trainer, I actually taught this concept to people. When you're working in customer service, being goaled on how many seconds you're on the phone with a customer (!), you need to get your job right and get it done fast. And pleasantly, otherwise you'll lose points on your Quality Assurance Monitoring form.

Perosnally, though, I don't like the word 'lazy'. Too negative. I prefer the phrase 'time effecient'. So, instead of calling myself a lazy saver, I should say I am a 'time effecient' saver.

I'm not going to try to fool you into thinking my tactics save me the absolute most money. They won't. Saving the most money takes a lot of time and effort, and I send great kudos out to the uber deal finders on this site. I'm just not one of them. You will, however, be able to save a significant amount of money. For example: I shopped tonight and saved over 44% without a single mail-in rebate or newspaper-clipped coupon. Could I have saved more? Oh heck yeah! Would it have taken a considerable amount longer? You betcha!

First things first: save your change! Easiest thing in the world to do: pay cash for stuff and save your change. If you're adventurous, save your dollar bills, too. Over the course of a month I have found I save right around 25% of what's in my pocket by not spending change or ones. It also makes me consider my purchases a little more thoroughly, too. How often would you buy a $1.50 cuppa coffee if it resulted in another $3.50 becoming untouchable?

This next tip only makes since when you realize that I pay cash for everything but bills, and in my wallet I have two sections: my money and house money. My money is my allowance, my pocket money for the week. House money is grocery money for the week and a small weekly slush fund for things like a box of nails, a refill on the grill tank, etc. I will loan the house money during the week from my allowance if a great deal pops up out of the blue, under the condition that the house pays me back the next week. I will not, however, do the reverse; once the allowance is gone, it's gone. This saves me money because if I find a great deal on something in the grocery store (like fryers 49c/lb and sirloins $2.99/lb like they are this week), I can stock up without worrying about running out of 'house money'.

My other 'trick' is to pick my stores and stick with them! In any given week I shop at two grocery stores (Bloom and Publix), two drug stores (CVS and Walgreens), and one natural food store. I'm also particularly lucky because all of these are within 4 miles of my house. I have customer cards for the 3 stores that offer them, and all 3 of them offer me extra coupons based on my spending amount. The more I spend at a particular store, the more I get in coupons. For me, this combined with the price of gas makes it ineffecient to go out of my way for most deals.

The sales papers for 4 of my 5 stores are available online. 2 come out on Sunday, 2 on Wednesday. On Wednesday, I will compare all 4 paperless copies and determine which deals are worthwhile. I will do my shopping whenever it's convenient Wednesday-Saturday.

I keep the same basic grocery list of staples from week to week and add to it based on the sales papers. If there's something on the generic weekly list I don't need, I cross it off with a BIG black marker so I won't glance at the item and pick it up by mistake! I find it helpful to print this generic list en masse so I can grab one and have it with me when I go through the sales. This way, you can include the 'normal' price you're willing to pay for your weekly staples on the list. Also, all of my standard weekly list items come from the same store, so that if there aren't any super specials I just go to one place, I'm in I'm out I'm done! Unless, of course, one of my pet stores has a staple at a great bargain, which I'll know, since my list will tell me what I'm willing to pay as a normal price!

If you're not a coupon clipper (and I'm not), one must also pay attention to other sources of coupons. My favorites, in no particular order, are the Walgreens salespaper, my CVS receipt, aisles of the grocery store, and smack on the package I'm going to buy.

Walgreens coupons requiree no clipping: just note which items require coupons and grab one of their sales papers as you walk in the door. Often, since the coupon isn't clipped, they'll also let you take the paper with you resulting in the possibility of another visit a little later in the week! CVS gives Extra Care bucks for certain purchases and CVS coupons as you spend. In the past week I've been to CVS 3 times (only 2 were planned), spent less than $35, and have gotten $17 worth of coupons on my receipts. When I'm cruising through Publix, I'll grab the coupons they have in their aisles for items I know I buy (cereal, creamer, pudding, organic soup, shampoo), and stash them. They're manufacturers coupons, so I can use them at any of my 5 stores.

And don't forget the coupons on the stuff you're already buying! For instance, Hefty zip bags almost always have a coupon on them where I shop. Not ZipLock, Hefty. I went into the store today intending to buy the ZipLock bags that were advertised on sale. I walked out with the Hefty bags that were on unadvertised special with a coupon on each box. Knowing which brands frequently come pre-couponed makes it easier to save money.

And speaking of unadvertised sales: take a look around the store when you're walking, folks! I'm sure we're all aware that not everything that's on sale is in the sale paper. But, when you're so focused on making budget and sticking to the list, it's really easy to miss some awesome deals out there! This strategy takes some will-power, otherwise you might be tempted to buy every BOGO you see just because it's a good price. We all know better, but it bears repeating that a deal is only a deal if it's something you will actually use. Or be able to give as a gift. Or possibly resell for profit...

I have also been a time efficient saver by shopping with my mom. She's a frugal frugie, too, so we compare who can find the best deal. And sometimes there are offers for a better deal when you spend X amount of money. Your choice: spend more than you need to by yourself, or buddy up with someone and pay for everything on one ticket. Mom and I did this the Saturday before TG and that's how we got our 20 lb turkey for free. Plus, with the buddy system, your customer card will get the credit for the bigger purchase which means you might wind up getting more coupons in the future! Rock On!

What about you: what are your tips for being a 'time effecient' saver?

Article Link: Five Steps I Took That Helped Me Become Financially Independent

November 30th, 2006 at 11:50 am

Well, folks seemed to like the last article link to Violent Acres, which was in fact Part 2 in a series as Fern pointed out. I thought Part 1 was ok but didn't grab me, but the last one and this one did.

Again with the blunt, again with the language. I think for a lot of SavingAdvice.com folks, #2 about investing in what you enjoy might be the most meaningful section in this one.

Five Steps I Took That Helped Me Become Financially Independ...

Article Link: Four Rookie Mistakes People Make that Keep Them Poor

November 29th, 2006 at 01:14 pm

Warning on the use of vulgar language, so those who are offended don't follow the link.

For those who aren't, this is FUNNY and BLUNT and TRUE!!!

Four Rookie Mistakes People Make that Keep Them Poor

Invasion of the Hubby Snatchers!

November 29th, 2006 at 07:27 am

My husband has been taken over by an alien intelligence, I just know it. How else can one explain the weirdo turnaround in his behavior since just before Thanksgiving?

DH did dishes last night while I cooked dinner. This is the 3rd? 4th? time he's done dishes since 11/21. This is abnormal behaviour for my spouse as 11/21 is the first time I remember doing dishes in this house since we moved in 7/21. I'm starting to get creeped out by it. Thankful, but creeped out.

He has cleaned up the area around his chair (nicknamed the 'throne' by baselle!) at least every other day, sometimes more.

We talked about finances after dinner last night (second night in a row!) and DH asked what the interest rate is on my car. I told him, he pondered for a minute, then said we should probably pay off the car after we pay off his Honda Card...


When I mentioned a month ago we should pay off the car after paying off his Honda Card because it would save us over 7k in interest, he literally said "But you can't think of it that way, it's not going to help to think about the amount you're paying in interest." VERBATIM.

Either DH has been taken over by an alien intelligence, he has been possessed by a financially responsible being, or someone on SavingAdvice.com has started sending him threatening emails Big Grin

Or perhaps I'm starting to wear him down. All the subliminal tapes I'm playing at night while he's asleep might be kicking in!

Granted, his progress in certain areas is a little slower than I'd like. For instance, we're making more than minimum payments on the Honda Card, hospital bill, and money owed his parents. His idea for paying off the Honda Card is to cut the payment to his parents down to the minimum required and throw the extra $50 per month to the Honda Card. All well and good in theory, but it'll take us over a year to pay off just that one card that way...

Another thing he's not catching on to: house money vs my allowance money. I pull out my allowance, grocery money, and a small amount of 'house money' every week. As the budgeter, I control the house cash, and when we go do something, he assumes the house is always paying. For instance we went on our weekly monday-night chinese food pilgrammage, and he wanted to eat my leftovers I was saving for lunch. He was trying to be funny and said "This is house money, which means we're both paying for it so I can eat some of yours too!" And I had to look at him and say "No, actually, this is coming out of my allowance, because the house is out of cash until Friday." The initial response? Blink blink. Then he pulled out his wallet and chipped in from his allowance, which was nice.

The moral of this story is he hates hearing that the house is out of cash. More specifically, he hates when I say the house is out of cash and anyone is around to hear it. I guess he gets embarrased because he assumes anyone who hears it will think we're broke. Apparently I need a euphamism for 'the house is out of cash' that I can use with DH so he'll know what I mean but won't get embarrassed.

"We're driving on empty"
"All our cash is tied up in the market till Friday"
"We're outta checks with no ATM card"
"I wrote the grocery list on the benjamin in my pocket, and don't want to spend it"

Any suggestions?

What's WalMart like in Argentina? (aka Homemade Dulce de Leche)

November 28th, 2006 at 12:09 pm

Dulce de Leche is literally translated as 'sweet from milk'. For those who aren't familiar, dulce de leche is a a smooth, creamy, caramelly gooey instance of pure heaven! I could eat the stuff with a spoon. Oh, who am I kidding: I HAVE eaten the stuff with a spoon!

When I was in Argentina last year, the stuff was EVERYWHERE. Not that I minded, but it was exceptionally noticeable. Take my trip to the WalMart just outside of Cordoba.

PAUSE: This was before I started boycotting Walmart, but even if it wasn't I would have to have gone. It's like a car wreck: I couldn't help but look!

So, in the Cordoban WalMart the signage looks pretty much the same but is in Spanish. It was a bit surreal, as a lot of the signs here have Spanish on them too, so it was like WalMart from home got dropped off on the other side of the world!

First thing you come across is a small appliance and electronics section. After currency conversion a coffee pot was about $50, a microwave close to $300. To put it in perspective, the call center reps I was training were making about $300 per month...

The back of the store is one giant wall of wine, beer, and liquor. Cannisters were sold in sets of three: 'cafe', 'te', 'yerba'. Coffee, tea, and herb. No, not that kind of herb! Yerba is slang for mate, a tea-like drink that is popular in Argentina & Uraguay. 'Bitter is Better' they say... And while I was tempted to have a cannister set with a specific place for 'herb', I had visions of customs not quite seeing the humor.

Anyways, mayonnaise and peanut butter were in the tiny 5 shelf 'import' section of the store, because nobody buys them. Dulce de leche, however, has an entire aisle to itself. Think of the bread/PB/jelly/condiment aisle at your WalMart, and that is how much space was alloted to dulce de leche.

Creamy, caramelly goodness as far as the eyes could see. Talk about some folks who like their dulce de leche!

Anywho, this rambling preface is simply my way of introducing the easiest way I know to make dulce de leche at home. I believe this to be a fairly authentic method since several Argentine friends confirmed this is how their grandma did it. The result is something that tastes like a cross between caramel and a Sugar Daddy lollipop.

1. Get a can of sweetened condensed milk. DO NOT OPEN, but take the label off.

2. Place a pot on the stove, put the unopened can in the pot (probably don't want to use non-stick otherwise it'll get scratched). Add enough water into the pot to cover the can.

3. Bring the water to a boil.

4. Boil the can for 90 minutes on one end. Turn over with tongs, boil for another 90 minutes on the other end. NOTE: you might want to add water periodically during all 3 hours of the boiling process.

FYI, when and if you attempt this you'll probably want to make a couple of cans up at once, as it'll use the same amount of energy as making 1 can. I just opened a can I made last Christmas and it was good, so it'll keep a while.

So, after you've boiled your can/s for 3 hours (1.5 on each end), you have 2 choices. Open a can now when it's molten, or let the can cool on the counter for a few hours. If you open the can when it's hot the dulce de leche is easier to work with but hot enough to burn. If you wait till the can is cooled, the opposite is true. Your choice here.

If you open the can when it's hot, use a mechanical can opener you can submerge in water for cleanup! When opening a hot can, the 'carmel' will spurt up about 6 inches or so out of the can when the pressure is released, so be ready!

If you open the can when it's cool, you'll need to spoon the 'carmel' out, or use a knife to loosen the sides like you would tomato paste.

So, what does one do with homemade dulce de leche?

My sister and I make carmel pie, for one. Take 1 graham cracker crust, fill with 1 can of 'carmel', allow to set in the freezer, top with whipped topping. YUUUUUMMMMMMMMMM!!! She mixes apple pie fillig in her carmel, I mix toffee bits into mine. Get creative and use chocolate, PG, different kinds of crusts, or poor man's mouse (pudding mixed with whipped topping).

I drizzle warm carmel on cookies and sprinkle toasted coconut on top. I make homemade turtles by mixing nuts with the carmel, dropping spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet to set in the freezer, and then toping with chocolate.

Heat it up and drizzle it on ice cream and/or pie.

And my favorite: eat it straight with a spoon!

Dear Beemer Butt Munch:

November 27th, 2006 at 08:23 pm

Just because you're driving a Beemer doesn't mean you can ignore all traffic laws, not to mention common decency!

Today during my 20 minute lunch hour, I went to get a cuppa joe. I was happily sitting at a red-light in the right-most left turn lane listening to NPR, and you Mr. Beemer Butt Munch were on my right in the 'go straight' lane. There was traffic everywhere.

When our light changed, I and the car to my left both began making our left turns when you, MR. BEEMER BUTT MUNCH, gun your engine and make a swinging left turn in front of me from a NON-LEFT TURN LANE!!!

You are a lucky rat bastard that I know how to drive and do it well, otherwise me, you, and the car to my left would have all wound up on the news tonight. Bad news for you, Mr. Beemer Butt Munch, because the county sherrif, a state trooper, and a SLED agent are all loyal cigar store customers!

I know for a fact you saw me. I drive an 'Egg Yolk Yellow' Ford Focus, for cryin' out loud, how could you not see me?!??

Granted, I know this car does not scream "EFFECTIVE DRIVER" or "FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE", but beleive it or not that is WHY I DRIVE IT! I drive this car so my property taxes will be lower, my gas bill will be lower, and I can afford a $250 deductible and 100 grand in liability coverage in case I ever happen to run into a MR. BEEMER BUTT MUNCH such as yourself.

I admit, I was sorely tempted by you today, Butt Munch. I had a golden opportunity 5 feet from my front bumper. My car would have been totalled, but I have GAP insurance which would have paid off my loan in full. Your car would have been totalled, but me, the guy to my left, and the 50 other cars at that intersection (NOT TO MENTION THE FREAKIN' TRAFFIC CAMERAS) all would have stated it was your fault.

I could have made your life miserable today, Mr. Beemer Butt Munch, and I chose not to. Next time, why don't you try and do the same?

Giving Disappearing Gifts

November 27th, 2006 at 10:07 am

Don't remember where I stumbled across this concept, but I know it was last summer or fall at some point. I was reading up on environmental conservation, and one of their suggestions for the holidays was giving 'disappearing gifts', or gifts that typically don't come in a lot of packaging and don't wind up cluttering up your house. As soon as I read it I heard the echo of my mother saying "Please, don't give my anything I have to dust!" and I knew I had found my calling!

I don't take the disappearing gift concept too literally: if I find a 'thing' that will be absolutely perfect, I will of course get it. But more often than not, I will purchase the ephemeral. Here's what I mean.

* My parents: gift certificate to their favorite restaurate, a Black Friday deal flash drive for dad and a cert to her favorite stylist for mom
* DH's parents: car rental and gas money so they can make a trip to see family in the middle of December (otherwise they weren't going to go)
* My sister & her DH: a bottle of their favorite tequila and a cert to their favorite sushi restaurant
* DH's sister and her boyfriend: a neato knife block and a cert to the new natural foods store

Lots of things can fall under the heading of a disappearing gift, some more obvious than others.
* gift certificates of all sorts
* food and beverage
* candles
* bird seed
* animal treats (for pet owners, obviously!)
* subscription to a cleaning service/yard service/garbage service, etc
* a weekend getaway at a hotel
* subscription to NetFlix (or similar)

I'm trying to find more and more ways to bring the 'disappearing' concept into the rest of my holiday celebration. I've found Christmas cards made on recycled paper impregnated with wildflower seeds. After the holidays, simply toss the card in your yard and in the spring you have a patch of wildflowers! Don't know if I'll buy some yet, but I like the thought. Wish I could find wrapping paper that did the same!

Could there be such a thing as Money Karma?

November 26th, 2006 at 11:43 am

I don't know, I'm starting to think it really could exist. Maybe it's just my mind picking up on otherwise random coincidences, but it really does seem that the flow of money is smoother now that I'm paying closer attention to the little details. Even the things I have no control over.

I happily let my family host TG at my house (knowing full well the possible hitches), and was rewarded with more leftovers than any human could ever hope for. I also got a free pound of coffee out of the deal!

Friday, I decided to roll up the bulk of the money from my 'Change and Buck Bucket', as it's getting close to time to deposit it all. Everything I save for the first 7 weeks is going towards Christmas (so 1 more week to go!), and everything I save in the month of December is going in some lucky Salvation Army Santa's bucket.

Anyways, I rolled up $52 in change from only 6 weeks of saving, plus I've saved over $100 in ones, not to metion the reimbursement check I tossed in the mix. DH's eyes bugged out and he asked how long I'd been 'stashing cash', and when I told him it was only a month and a half, he got out his own change to roll it! His sister and her boyfriend came over Friday night to play poker, and he started bragging to them how I'd saved all this money in just a month and a half... I lost my $10 buy-in (came from my allowance, so no biggie), but DH came out $15 ahead.

We invited the same folks over for turkey soup last night and afterwards we all were going to go to a local auction (merchandise and bulk food). My cost in the turkey soup, cornbread fritters, butternut squash, and roasted potatoes and onions (TG leftovers) was maybe $5. In return I received 3 kinds of desserts from the SIL and boyfriend, plus a free pineapple!

The auction was great. Not the best I've been to, but still enjoyable. Some of the deals I couldn't participate in due to lack of freezer space were 3lb bags of peas for $2 and 50 lbs of pork loin for $45. Wow! Here's what I did get

$4 for 1 qt of marachino cherry halves(holiday budget)
$3 for 3 Christmas tree candle holders and 30 cinnamon scented candles (holiday budget)
$6 for 2 new long sleeve Ts for DH
$3 for 6 various Avon lotions, salts, and sunscreens (holiday budget)
$1 for 7 snack size bags of SunChips
$5 for a 5lb food service tray of Stouffers salsbury steak (grocery budget and dinner tonight!)
$5 in grab bags (cause you get raffle tickets)
$6 for munchies and beverages for me and DH the 4 hours we were there.

Total spent: $33

At the end of the night, the very last item given away in the raffle was a $20 bill. GUESS WHO WON? Therefore, I actually only spent $13...

Money Karma: what do you think?

Stashing Cash Wk 6

November 25th, 2006 at 08:23 am

I started stashing the change and dollar bills from my allowance 10/12. Here's my progress:

  $245.49 total as of 11/16
- $  0.00 reward for 1W1G (gah the holidays hit!)
  $ 20.00 dollar bills
  $  5.75 quarters
  $  3.10 dimes
  $  0.15 nickels
  $  0.73 pennies
  $ 29.73 total this week
  $275.02 total as of 11/23

Why I Shopped on 'Black Friday'

November 24th, 2006 at 03:10 pm

I have already written this post once, and my mouse decided to kill it with an inadvertant back-click. ARGH!!!

Long story short, I was all set to not go shopping today. It was a tough choice, because my state has made this a tax-free weekend for all retail shopping, and of course every little bit counts! But I was resisting temptation and was going to order the flash drives I'd found at Office Max online.

But the store no longer had them online. DOH! That's OK, I could go tomorrow, right?

But, then I told DH I couldn't order what I wanted online. He had been watching hunting shows all morning, you see, and was apparently itchin' for a life or death thrill. His eyes lit up and he said "Wanna risk going to the store? Think we could make it?"

I looked at him, and agreed as long as we didn't take my car. No way I'm going to risk totalling my vehicle for a stupid sale. He looked a little depressed at that statement, since my 2 door 5 speed is a blast to drive, but I held firm.

We left the house at 1p, hoping the hardcore shoppers were breaking for lunch. We got back home just before 3, and managed to hit 4 stores! They actually weren't crowded: the traffic in the parking lot around the shopping centers is what took the longest.

$79.99 - $55.00 instant rebate = $24.99 2 gig flash drive from Office Max, present from holiday fund
$79.99 - $55.00 instant rebate = $24.99 2 gig flash drive from Office Max, DH bought himself one w/ his allowance
$49.99 - $30.00 instant rebate = $19.99 1 gig camera card from Office Max, I bought myself one w/ my allowance
$2.49 coin wrappers, also w/ my allowance
$10.99 cat litter (finally) from PetSmart, grocery fund
$29.99 - $6.00 20% off coupon = $23.99 present for inlaws Bed Bath & Beyond, holiday fund
$43.22 - $12.44 sales and clearance items = $30.78 health food store, grocery fund

Total spent: $138.22
Total saved with sales/coupons: $158.44
Total saved on sales tax: $6.92

Everything except the allowance purchases were planned spending, and hey, that's what the allowances are there for!

Technically I should include 5 $9.99 MagLights we asked someone to pick up for DH from Lowes this morning, but I don't know what the regular retail is on these nor have I written the check for them yet. This will complete the gifts for his all-boy set of co-workers, though.

All in all, not an overly traumatizing experience.

Thanksgiving Saga: The Finale!

November 23rd, 2006 at 06:03 pm

I have proof!

DH cleaned up the den. Not just his chair, but the whole den! Even the 14 ft. canoe made it outside!

This is my kitchen in its 'retro' splendor. Notice counter space is a premium, and the big gaping hole where the oven should be (currently houses the microwave).

The next 2 pics show a total of 2 kinds of stuffing, 3 kinds of cranberries, 3 dessert pies, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, roasted potatoes and onions, asparagus pie, cheese biscuits, black olives, deviled eggs, and stuffed celery. The 'table' under the red cloth is a corner desk we got free from a friend about a month ago. The table under the ivory cloth is from the kitchen, a 4 ft round we got free from a previous boss of mine.

And here's the turkey! Rather, turkies Big Grin

Bird came out 30 min ahead of schedule at 2:30, and we didn't eat until 4 b/c folks were late. Didn't matter, it stayed warm in it's aluminum foil blankie. The turkey was FANTASTIC and DH is a convert: says it's how we'll do every turkey. Even Dad ate some of the skin, which he apparently rarely if ever does.

And, um, here's my 20 POUND TURKEY after 7 people ate dinner and took home leftovers. WHAT THE FOO?!??? Guess they weren't lyin' when they said it was yummy!

Thanksgiving Saga: Part 2

November 23rd, 2006 at 11:17 am

OK, are you ready for this?

I'm done, except for a shower. That's right, 45 minutes ahead of schedule! Woohoo!!

Thermometer says the turkey is at 170 at the thigh, so only a little bit more to go. The den is AMAZING; I don't think it's looked this good since we moved int. DH was productive while I did dishes Wink

Table-like areas are all staged in the dining room, and I rolled my buther block island in there for us to carve the turkey on. Seriously, this bird is so big I don't have a platter that'll hold it. My roasting pan barely held it!

I just stuffed the celery, DH added potatoes and onions to the roasting pan about 20 minutes ago, and now it's a waiting game.

If the turkey tastes half as good as it smells, I'll be in hog heaven all weekend log!

Hope everyone is having a very merry!

Thanksgiving Saga: Part 1

November 23rd, 2006 at 05:22 am

Alright, the marathon has begun!

Because of my odd situation for this TG, I'm going to try and post updates in here as the day progresses, rather than dump it all into one large post. We'll see how it goes!

So far TG has cost me just over $15. Woohoo!!! DH and I went to the store last night and got onions, garlic, celery, and stuff to make stuffed celery. Since the turkey was free, and that is my only other contribution, things are looking fiscally fine so far.

We took the turkey out for a 'test drive' on the grill and buddy did we get lucky! One roasting pan + one rack + one 20 lb turkey = just barely fits onto my grill.

Ability to cook the meat: CHECK!

DH and I decided to turn the water on in the downstairs bathroom to make the toilet function for the day. The water is off b/c the toilet is leaky and damaging the subfloor, but one day of use isn't going to cause more damage than what's already there. We also went to Home Depot to get a shower curtain rod for the tub down there (as the cat box currently lives in that tub and isn't very pretty). Since we needed the rod anyways, I'm not counting that as a TG expense.

Ability for folks to, um, take care of business: CHECK!

DH replaced the light fixture in the kitchen last night. Took longer than it should have b/c the wiring in our house is older than we are. It was nice of him, since we've had the light and the bulbs for it sitting in the dining room floor since July. After the light fiasco, we cleaned up/cleared out/created organized piles in the living room and dining room.

Ability to walk in the house and easily find one's way to the food: CHECK!

All that's left so far as making the house presentable is washing what's left of the dishes and cleaning the den. That'll be fun: the den is the home of THE CHAIR (and it's entourage of cans, dishes, papers, etc). I think I'm going to be busy in the kitchen while DH works on that!

Other items on the agenda include setting up a table like apparatus in the dining room and covering it with a table cloth so that we may graze the food as we see fit. Folks can eat wherever they sit, party style. I figure since we're not eating anything that requires a knife to cut, it shouldn't be an issue. As for the heat: I'm going to start a fire in the woodstove in a few minutes to knock the chill off, and raise the blings/curtains to take advantage of today's sunshine. Once folks get here, it'll warm up fast.

Ability to stuff our faces in relative comfort: CHECK!

Otherwise: it's now almosr 8:30 EDT. I need to start turkey prep about 9 and have it on the grill by 10 in order to have it off the grill between 2:30 and 3, and ready to eat between 3 and 3:30.

So far, so good. We'll see how it progresses!

Thankful and Sharing a Laugh

November 22nd, 2006 at 11:56 am

Too many things to list here, without doubt, but off the top of my head these are the things I am thankful for:

* Health and happiness.
* Loved ones (blood related or otherwise).
* Finding a wonderful little house to buy and being able to do so within a month of first seeing it.
* Finding a job that I enjoy and am good at right when my severance was ending from my previous position.
* The encouraging words and continuous inspiration from this site.

OK, now that I've gotten the sappiness out of the way, time to share a laugh!

I called my mom last night regarding the rest of our Thanksgiving plans, location, etc. She and my sister have decided that TG should be where the turkey is, and the turkey is in my fridge. So, ready for the laugh?

I will be cooking the turkey when I have no oven, serving dinner for 6 when I have no dining room table, and playing hostess in a home that has no actual heat or functioning public restroom (the working toilet is in the master bath upstairs).

Laughing yet? Big Grin Glad someone is!!!

Headline: DH Gets an 'E' for Effort

November 21st, 2006 at 06:39 pm

Hey, at least he tried, right?

Several days of the week DH has to go to work by 6:30 and gets off around 3 or so. Today was one of those days. Bear in mind he works 5 minutes from the house, so on days like today he could easily be home by 3:15 (or before 3 if no one is watching him!)

I got home from work today at 5:45 and found my DH in the kitchen doing the dishes. WOOHOOOOOOO!!!! Gents, in case you didn't know, few things will make most wives happier than the site of their husband elbow deep in suds at the kitchen sink!

I became bewildered, though, when I realized that though DH had been home for 2.5 hours and was cold enough to sit in his chair under a blanket, he at no point made a fire. It was 53 in the house when I walked in.... As my family says CTRL-A Brrrrrr shit!.

And that is why DH gets an 'E' for effort (because he made the effort to do the dishes) but doesn't get an 'A': because he didn't think to actually take care of the important stuff first (like preventing hypothermia). For those that are curious, this is the first time I've seen DH do dishes in this house, and we moved in exactly 3 months ago today. Hey, maybe that's why he did 'em!

Ideas for Homemade Gifts

November 21st, 2006 at 07:33 am

'Tis the season for gifting and such
If you're like me, you might buy too much!

So here's a small list of nice things to make.
Since I have no oven, there's nothing to bake! Big Grin

Microwave Peanut Brittle

Cream Cheese Mints (think butter mints)

Chocolate Dipped Whatever (pepermint sticks, pretzels, store-bought butter cookies, spoons)
I use a chocolate glaze recipe whenever I dip stuff

No-Bake Cookies: These are p-nut butter, and can be dipped or spread with the chocolate glaze above

Spice Mixes:
Jerk Rub
Rice Seasoning Mix
Cajun/Creole Mix

Infused Oils

Herbed Vinegars

My Weekend in Review, Too!

November 20th, 2006 at 10:26 am

Sorry, Blueknitter, I couldn't come up with anything better. Not trying to steal your title, I promise!

Just a few highlights from this weekend.

The house was a wreck when my mother came over. DH made a valient effort to appear industrious by starting his laundry when she arrived. Apparently this effect snowballed, as he finished all of his laundry by Sunday night. Sweet!

Mom and I headed out about 11 or so, and got caught at a light where traffic was blocked by cops. We were worried there was an accident, but it turns out we got there right as the Toys for Tots motorcycle ride was getting underway. We got to spend 15 minutes watching every imaginable kind of bike flow out of the designated parking lot and onto the main thoroughfare. Folks were dressed up, bikes were decorated with tinsel, there was even a Santa bringing up the rear! It was absolutely awe inspiring, there had to be several hundred bikes participating. The sound was indescribable. All these people in cars around us were acting all irritated, like the thought the bikers were just out galavanting around up to no good. I hope they saw the news coverage and felt bad, but I doubt it.

First stop was the ATM. When I pulled up to the drive-up ATM, there was a Captain Morgan's mini-bottle perched on the ledge. How stupid do you have to BE?!?!?? Even better: the ATM gave me $155 in FIVES!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG, my mom and I about died laughing, my wallet was absolutely bursting!

Stopped at PetSmart to get catfood. They still didn't have the litter I liked. We stayed there 2 hours because they were adopting out Death Row dogs (to be put down today if not adopted). Neither one of us has a fenced yard to be able to properly care for a dog right now, but we stayed that long to make sure the one dog least likely to get adopted found a home. Tears my heart up to see animals facing the end like that, and I hated that I couldn't help more. Yes, I cried in PetSmart. Almost crying now, and I'm sitting at my desk at work...

Finally left PS and got to the grocery store WAY behind schedule. Total spent between my mom and me $87.56. Total Savings (not counting reduced for quick sale meat) $51.50!!! Included in that savings is our FREE 20 POUND TURKEY! It's friggin' huge...

Was late to my meeting with the gentleman writing the book. The dear man tried to do some of the formatting himself, and has virtually undone everything I had previously fixed. 368 pages worth.... Oh dear....

Tried to avoid a headache after that meeting, so DH and I ate Mexican for dinner. 2 people plus tip less than $18.

Passed the new StarCrooks on the way to dinner. They opened on Saturday, so DH and I both flipped the store off from the comfort of the truck! After dinner it was off to the cigar store. Talked to my dad about StarCrooks and the Local-Hero-Coffee-Shop. A friend of our family owns the bakery that provides Local-Hero their muffins, and my former BIL is their delivery guy (jeez, I just realized how mob-like my family sounds!!!). Anyways, we're going to see if Local-Hero would be interested in partnering up w/ our cigar store. Basically, folks get a receipt from Local-Hero and bring it in to the cigar store, dad'll pay them their sales tax back. Encourage people to shop local, maybe bring in some more foot traffic to our store...

Yesterday was a no spend day. Mostly because I felt like a slug and did my best live to my full slug potential. Breakfast was coffee, lunch was breakfast (bacon and flapjacks), dinner was imprompteau spaghetti.

I did rake leaves for about an hour, but that only resulted in 3 piles of leaves and a desparate need for a tarp and a bigger compost heap. Seriously, there's no way I can compost the 5 years worth of leaves on my property, so some will have to be put on the curb. Guess that's why this coming weekend is a long weekend Big Grin

Adding to My List

November 20th, 2006 at 06:56 am

Had a few things pop into my head to add to my list

* I drive a stick, it's what I learned on. The mileage is better, it's more fun, and truckers and buses full of high school boys all stare in wonderment when I zoom down the highway Big Grin  

* My boss is only a few years older than me, but is an ex-marine and a former Ultimate Fighter. Lotsa good stories.

* I had a mild form of scarlet fever when I was in fifth grade.

* I represented my state in the 1989 Nationa History Day competition in Washington DC. They mixed up my scores with someone elses, so I will never know how I would have placed.

* I really like plants but have never been a successful gardener. Depressing!

* When I get angry I feel it physically, not just emotionally; it's like a big pit of angry energy. Once my physical energy is spent, I no longer feel as angry. In the past I have dealt with this by focusing my physical anger on crunches and pushups: during my senior year in high school, I was up to over a thousand crunches a day. Now I am considering get an 80 lb body bag to hang in my back-yard.

Today's Strategy

November 18th, 2006 at 06:38 am

I have a love/hate relationship with weekends. I love them because they abound with time and possibility. I hate them because I usually wind up doing mundane meaningless crap I don't feel like getting to during to week.

And thus the segue into today's strategy Big Grin

My mother is coming over at about 10 this morning, so that's in 40 minutes. I've given up getting the house straightened, the dishes done, or the floors swept before she gets here. Luckily, my mother keeps a plaque on her wall that says "My house was clean yesterday, Wish you could have seen it!", so I don't think she'll mind too much! That, and I'm secretly hoping this will shame DH into getting his butt in gear and helping around the house. Unfortunately, the liklihood of this happening is slim to none, and slim just walked out the door...

*sigh* Not gonna start the housework rant again. All it does is get me frustrated and depressed and feeling like a single mom. Which is weird, as I'm 28 with no kids.

Anywho, my mom is coming over because we have a plan of attack for Thanksgiving shopping. Woohoo, attack attack! My favoritist grocery store has a special till Tuesday: buy $50 in groceries, get a free 10 lb turkey. While I could easily find $50 in stuff to buy, I don't need $50 in stuff. So mom and I are heading to the store together to shop to TG and put all our bits onto one ticket, to make sure we each only get what we need and can still hit the $50 mark. Pretty frugal, no?

I also will hit 5 other stores at some point, though perhaps not today. Walgreens has my deoderant BOGO (one week after CVS, I wonder if it's about to be discontinued?). Publix has Coke products on sale, CVS has Kashi cereal on sale, and I need cat food from PetSmart. Oh, and coffee from Garner's. Sounds like a lot of driving around, but all are within a 4 mile radius. I love living near downtown! I would also love living in the country, but that will have to wait for a time in my life when I'm able to run errands during the week, not just on the weekend.

This afternoon will be spent in a meeting. Yes, a meeting, on the weekend. Grrrrrrrrrr.... I'm helping a cigar customer/friend format a book that he is going to publish, which is pretty cool. Even get to do the cover design myself, also cool.

Not cool is the fact that said friend, brilliant as he is at financial forecasting, is about 80 yrs old working on a 6 year old PC and has no real clue what he's doing when it comes to computers. Let's put it this way: there are 75 tables in the book, and he made them all look like tables by lining text up using spaces, rather than actually creating tables. FORMATTING NIGHTMARE!!! Plus he's using a older version of Word, which winds up messing most if not all of the formatting corrections I make during any given revision.

Absolute frustration in 10... 9... 8... 7... You get the picture. Not a particularly fun way to plan on spending a Saturday afternoon.

And thus is the outline of today's strategy. Tommorow? Who knows about tomorrow: it too abounds with time and possibilities. Most likely, though, it will involve a trip to Home Depot for an axe/maul combo and some serious leaf raking. yay =/

Who are you, and what have you done with my husband?

November 17th, 2006 at 09:42 am

Frequent readers may recall my husband is, um, fiscally challenged. Perhaps a more apt description is to say, given the opportunity, money slips through his hands like water through a sieve. It's a classic love story: saver meets spender, saver marries spender, saver goes through boughts of wanting to throttle spender within an inch of his life. Nothing too abnormal.

Well, we all know that earlier this week DH found a great deal on golf clubs and actually put them on layaway with his own allowance. Deep down inside I did a mighty fist-pump and hissed Yeeeeeeeeessssssssssssss!!! I tasted victory, and it was sweet.

Since then, there have been a few interesting developments, and I'm now starting to think that a little tiny grey alien has taken residence inside my husband's brain and is controlling his every action.

Exhibit A:
DH mentioned in the last week or two he'd be interested in going to one of the NASCAR racing schools. We researched it, found the program he'd like, and I told him that it might have to be his birannimas present for the whole year (birthday + anniversary + Christmas) and I'd need till June to save for it. No problem. A day or two ago, though, he oh-so-casually mentioned that the more he thought about it, the more he might want LASIK as his birannimas present for 2007. Um, excuse me? He's choosing Lasik (something practical and likely to save us money in the long run) over 35 laps at Lowe's Motor Speedway riding 600 horsepower? Something's wrong.

Exhibit B:
Last night when he came home from pool, he mentioned that a friend of ours might be interested in buying our canoe. This is the canoe that is sitting in my den right now, the one we bought in September after he told me he'd wanted one for 20 years (he's 27, so I suppose it is possible he did actually yearn for one for 2 decades). The kicker? His next statement was that we could take the $500 from the boat and put it towards the Lasik fund. He actually used the word 'fund', without any prompting or pointed looks. This is supremely odd behavior for my spouse. When we moved out of our rental house in July, DH took our $500 deposit refund and bought his 6th (7th?) gun with it before I knew what happened. Now he's volunteering to sell something he's wanted for 2 decades and put the proceeds into a 'fund' for a practical birannimas present?!?? I almost checked him for a fever...

Exhibit C:
I sent DH a wish-list of camera stuff I would like for Christmas. Items, pictures, prices, model numbers, the website, and the shipping costs. Pretty up-front, but that's the way it's got to be sometimes. There were actually 2 lists: one was all Sony bits since I have a Sony camera (aka the actual WISH list). The other was a lesser known brand with decent reviews where all the bits come with a 10 year guarantee (aka the THIS'LL DO list). After shipping, the Sony list came to $90 over the alloted 'spend on Tina' Christmas money and the other list was $9 over. After reviewing the list, DH found a third option: an off-brand that had a lifetime guarantee but was waaaaaaaaaaay cheap and had no good reviews that I could find. DH's argument was that he could get me more bits for the buck, so to speak. I asked him if he would buy a cheap pool cue just because it had a lifetime guarantee as opposed to a well-made cue that cost more, and he promptly said 'No!'. After a few seconds he asked if I would be happy with the Sony bits; I of course said "Yes, but it's more than what the house has allotted for my Christmas gift". "I'll take care of it" he said...

Is it possible, just maybe, that my husband is starting to see the 'method to the madness', so to speak? That one must consider value over price, that owning something does not mean it brings you joy, that there can be greater satisfaction found in a practical life-changing choice than in most frivolous splurges?

Part of me wants to believe that there is actually a shift taking place, but the other part of me thinks this might just be a phase and things will revert back to pre-alien normalcy at any moment.

Dammit man!

Thoughts on lists, life, and the stoopid weather channel

November 16th, 2006 at 06:18 pm

Yes, the Weather Channel is STOOPID! I say this because last night, and again this morning, they listed the weather in my area "High 54, Low 55". WHAT THE FOO?

For those that are wondering, 'foo' has been used in programming text books since the beginning of time to represent whatever the variable de jour is. I find FOO makes an excellant non-offensive expletive when around children, the highly religious, and in my blog where I'm still trying to maintain a sense of decorum. In real life, my language is unfortunately not so sanitized...

I keep going back to everyone's list to catch up on all the comments. See, folks keep adding stuff in the comments that ought to be on the list. Like getting stabbed with a pencil, Price's scented candles, or the fact that I now feel like the only non-Asian violin player here. Big Grin On a side note, I find it interesting that I apparently had no ethnicity assigned to my fellow blog-mates. At any rate, I'm having a BLAST reading about everyone. Someone mentioned it being vouyeristic, and I kinda agree. But at the same time, I think it makes every seem so much more human. I'm debating about starting a category in my blog for 'My List' so that when I think of things to add, I can put them there and folks can peruse at will. Maybe we could lobby Jeff'n'Nate to have a 'My List' area like there is for the $20 challenge.

For those that like the trick of hiding the personal information in the blog (so others don't have to read it if they don't want to), change the color of your text to match the white background.
[color= white]Type Your Stuff Here[/color] Just take out the space in "= white". The text becomes visible when you type CTRL-A on your keyboard, or when you highlight it with your mouse.

Try it here!

And, to tie this back into finances somehow (desparate attempt to remain on topic, yes?): I'm tweaking yet another way to view my budget. It's still in the early phases, but I'll post more when I get it finished. Right, like it'll ever actually be "finished" Stick Out Tongue

Stashing Cash Wk 5

November 16th, 2006 at 01:58 pm

I started stashing the change and dollar bills from my allowance 10/12. Here's my progress:

  $ 94.73 total as of 11/9
- $  0.00 reward for 1W1G (haven't braved the car wash yet)
  $ 94.73
  $ 26.00 dollar bills
  $  3.75 quarters
  $  1.60 dimes
  $  0.35 nickels
  $  0.22 pennies
  $150.56 total this week
  $245.49 total as of 11/16

Dammit Man! I broke down, here's my list... UPDATED W/PERSONAL STUFF OPTIONAL!

November 16th, 2006 at 10:15 am

Stupid peer pressure!

"Make a list, everyone else is!"
"But I don't wanna..."
"Sure you do. All the cool bloggers are doing it..."
"But what if my list is stupid and boring?"
"Make something up!"

After that conversation with myself, I felt a little better about making my list Big Grin

Some of this is personal, but the text is written in white so you won't be able to see it/get offended by it unless you follow the key commands given Big Grin

So, who am I?

Iím the only person I know who actually did have to walk uphill both ways to catch the school-bus! I grew up in a rural mountainous area, and our driveway was almost half a mile long, and was in fact uphill whichever way you went.

Never had a lot of friends when I was younger: everyone knew I did well in class & assumed I spent all my spare time studying. Ironically, I just absorb really well and usually just did my homework between classes.

Played soccer for three years in high school on the men's varsity team, since we didn't have a women's team. In the south soccer is a spring sport, so I was out there with all the football players who used soccer as a training regimen. OUCH!

Took ballet, tap, jazz & modern dance from age 8-15. Was up to about 8 hours per week, plus teaching ballet another hour or 2 per week.

Moved out at age 16 to attend my stateís science and math magnet school 180 miles away. There were 65 in my graduating class, we were the largest theyíd ever had. 23 of us were national merit scholars, and as a class we were offered a total of over 7 million in scholarships. Since we were required to keep track, I know my personal total was right around a quarter million in offers; sadly, I sometimes feel I accepted the wrong one.

Majored in Psychology with a minor in Violence Studies. The plan was to go to a joint PhD/JD program and work as a behavioral scientist/feeb, but we all see how that worked out.

Played the violin for about 8 years. I gave it up after one grueling and embarrassing rehearsal with the Atlanta Youth Symphony.

Click Ctrl-A on your keyboard to see the personal stuff that is included below

I have been asked to marry every man Iíve slept with. Not that there are that many, but enough for me to find it very oddÖ

Did actually marry one of them: DH (duh, right?) My first, his second. We got married the day before I flew out for a month in Argentina. Frequent readers may find this interesting: his first marriage ended because she cheated on himÖ

I am an American Mutt when it comes to heritage, although German and Cherokee are the most prevalent.

I speak butchered Spanish, but find I can read and understand about 50-60% of any romantic language.

Since I was so active as a youth, I now have marginally bad knees and higher than average muscle mass. All height-weight charts say Iím overweight verging on obese, even though I am a size 8 with pokey collarbones and visible ribs. This also makes me say ďDammit Man!Ē

I love taking pictures. Iím getting pretty good at it, and Iím hoping the list of lenses along with shipping charges I put together for DH will be enough of a hint as to what I want for Christmas Wink DH puts it this way: he could take a picture of a rock and there it is, yup, thatís a picture of a rock. I take a picture of a rock and itís like itís artÖ. See, you all knew I stuck around for a reason!

I love to read, but I get sucked in very quickly. When I first moved back to SC and didnít have a job, I was up to 3 books or 900 pages a day. For a month. Needless to say I literally cannot afford my reading habit if I had to actually buy books.

OK, I think Iím going to quit now and go read other peopleís lists!

To the Tune "I Feel Pretty"...

November 16th, 2006 at 07:18 am

Everyone, sing along to the tune of "I Feel Pretty..."


Yes, instead of snotty I did almost go with something that would in fact rhyme with 'pretty', but I thought the better of it Big Grin

I'm actually not that wonky this morning, but the song 'I Feel Pretty' started snaking its way through my head yesterday morning. The more I thought about it, the more it annoyed me, and I decided that stupid song is way too freakin' chipper!!!

So, I wanted an antedote, and the above jingle is what I came up with.

Yummy Tea at Home

November 15th, 2006 at 08:07 am

Well, my 'coffee shop at home' post went over well, and apparently has gotten at least one person off of a tea kick. Sorry! Stick Out Tongue So, to make up for it, I decided to create a 'Yummy Tea' post.

First of all, my absolutely favorite teas come from Stash Tea. They're available at some grocery stores, you can order online, or get a catalog. An absolutely HUGE variety of teas: black green white blend herbal, loose or bagged, organic or not. It's like the Sears Wishbook of tea.

Next is determining how 'into' tea you are. When I'm in a tea mood, I want a couple of mug fulls and therefore making it a cup at a time gets a bit annoying. I bought a French press tea pot at an outlet store a couple of years ago and it's perfect for me.

OK, interesting ways to prepare tea... These are some of my personal favorites, but any others you'd like to add in the comments are of course appreciated!

Black Chai: I like this just about any way I make it!!! One of my favorites, though, is to warm up vanilla soy milk for steeping the tea. It comes out creamy and just a touch sweet, and is an easy way to work soy milk into my diet.

Orange Cider: I threw this together when I was sick a couple of years ago and have stuck with it ever since! I was brewing Constant Comment (aka orange spice), and it wasn't 'orangy' enough for me. So I heated up 2/3 OJ to 1/3 water plus some cinnamon in a mug in the microwave. You'll have to stir occasionally to get the cinnamon to mix in. Once hot, steep a bag of tea in the liquid, then add honey to taste. YUM!!! Get creative, and think of other juices you could use to give your tea some extra oomph: cranberry, apple, and mango all come to mind as tasty candidates.

The Classic Hot Tottie: Good when you're starting to feel sick or when you're going to spend a quiet evening at home next to the fire. Basically, hot tea with honey and lemon juice and a splash of whiskey/bourbon/scotch. Cheaper than Nyquil!

One Week, One Goal #5

November 15th, 2006 at 07:50 am

By 10p Tuesday 11/21 I will...

Stick to the cleaning schedule I created for One Week, One Goal #4.

Ramble: Technology, Money, Duh-Huh, and Surprise

November 14th, 2006 at 12:37 pm

Lot's of stuff rolling around in my head today, so rather than a post here and a post there, I figured I'd dump it all into one rambling meaningless entry. Much easier for folks to skip that way if need be Wink

The Discovery channel has a show called 'Modern Marvels' where they pick an item, event, or person and talk about how history has changed as a result of *insert noun here*. Last night was the telephone. I used to train CS for a national phone company, and actually met DH when he worked at that same place.

Anyways, having both worked for a phone company DH and I were interested in the show, although a lot of it was not-new information. What struck us was the first transatlantic phone call wasn't possible until 1956 (about 70? 80? years after the invention of the phone), but less than 20 years later transatlantic calls were being bounced off of a satellite. 80 years to string a cable across the pond, then 20 years to figure out how to bypass the cable altogether...

The next thing that got me thinking was the introduction of touch tones. What do you think: would the internet have been invented if there hadn't been touch-tone capability? The more I thought about it, the more I started to really believe that home computers, internet, cordless phones, cell phones, PDAs, GPS, and so much more really owe their existence to the simple little invention of touch-tone calling.

It was an interesting train of thought, and one I jumped off of until the SA site was temporarily unavailable earlier today. This happened shortly after the internet went down in my office; when the internet goes down, so does our phone system.

These two things pointed out very clearly to me that I am without doubt a computerized person. I work at a software company on a computer all day, my job requires internet access to solve problems and access systems all around the world. The phones require internet service. My preferred personal methods of entertainment are computer and internet based. I worked my way through college at both an internet start-up and as part of the IT department.

I can honestly say, without doubt, that I wouldn't be where I am or even who I am without computers. The only thing that has affected my life as much as computers are my parents.


Any rate, moving on in my rambling post to money. I think DH is maybe, perhaps starting to get it a little!!!

His first wakeup call was when he found out I'm saving $ from my allowance to buy part of his Christmas present (that's part of what I've decided to do with the change and buck bucket). He felt bad and said I should just use more house money. I calmly explained that I was using as much house money as was budgeted, and since I'd decided to get him something more expensive it was my responsibility to cover the difference.

Now, imagine the Wimbledon announcer saying "FIFTEEN LOVE, TINA"

Next came his realization that, even though I get less allowance than him and am even saving some of my allowance, I always have more allowance left than he does. "THIRTY LOVE, TINA"

Last night was the culmination of those and other small revelations on his part. After dinner (which the house allowance paid for), we went to a sporting goods store. He wants golf clubs... I held my tongue, not a peep from me! He didn't say much as we were looking around but I got the feeling he was waiting for the 'house' to volunteer to pay. It was hard, but all he got was silence on my part. "FORTY LOVE, TINA"

He found a great deal on some clubs: buy 1 get 2 free. For the quality, it was a steal and a half! I still managed to keep quiet. "MATCH POINT, TINA"

After he pondered for a while, he looked at me and said "I wonder if they do layaway? I'm pretty sure I can get enough out of my allowance ever 2 weeks to cover these..."


The Duh-Huh is just something funny that happened at work. Today is November 14th. We have a client with some pretty intricate software/database/website stuff we created and support when it messes up. I get a ticket from this company saying Such-and-Such report is supposed to run 2 times a week on Wednesday's and Friday's, and the last time it ran was 11/10. Therefore, the report hasn't run properly on 11/15 and 11/17....

OK, who can spot the 'error' that was causing this? ....


As a 'thank-you' for making it through my rambling post, I am going to tempt the blog police by posting something ugly and shameful: pictures of DH's pumpkin colored chair and the area around it...

VIEW AT YOUR OWN RISK. Sorry in advance, blog police!

One Week, One Goal #4: Results

November 14th, 2006 at 08:28 am

Read about My "One Week, One Goal" quest here

Also, visit the new thread "What is Your Goal This Week?" to see what other folks are doing!

The Goal:
By 10p Tuesday 11/14 I will...

Finish last week's goal of organizing the pantry! Also, I will create a viable schedule for reining in the household chores.

The Result:
The pantry is close enough! I'm fighting a losing battle with this, b/c DH like sto put things back any old place he reaches first, so I'm pretty much shifting stuff around on a daily basis. I'm going to mull this over to find a better system for the future, but for now I call it done!

As for the cleaning schedule, I went back to the site that gave me my original jumping off point for my old house. I like the theory of it, and while I would love for my home to be spotless it's pretty much just me cleaning up after an adult (me), a child in a grown man's body (DH), and 3 cats. ACK! I never thought I'd say this, but I almost wish I had kids I could give chores too!! I'm including my new schedule below. For those that are curious, I made my 'busy' days the days DH usually spend at home together as I'm hoping he'll ask me why I don't sit down and relax a little bit. Cheesy I know, but I've about run out of options! Thursday's are his pool night, and I've decided to take that as my 'me' night, and therefore there will be no extra cleaning going on.

The Reward:
I'm going to treat myself to a car-wash and a vacuum. Yes, it's for my car! Otherwise, I'd never have the $0.75 needed to vacuum out my car since all my change goes in the bucket!

BA Sinks
Wipe stovetop

BA Sinks
Wipe stovetop

BA Sinks
Wipe stovetop
BA Mirrors
Clean shower
BA mop
Dust-mop Upstairs
Straightening up

BA Sinks
Wipe stovetop

BA Sinks
Wipe stovetop

BA Sinks
Wipe stovetop

BA Sinks
Wipe stovetop
Shake out Rugs
Dust-mop Downstairs
KIT Sweep
Straightening up

Dusting - 1x every other week
Spot-cleaning walls etc. - 1x every month
Dusting out of reach - 1x every month
Washing walls - 1x every year
Dusting blinds - quarterly

DOH! (Subtitle: I Hate Homer Moments)

November 13th, 2006 at 01:43 pm

Yup, I had a Homer Simpson moment. You know the ones: where you slap your hand on your head (or feel like you should) and wonder "Where was my head?!?".

I was updating my check register with the last round of automated payments, and couldn't figure out why my register and the bank's website were different. Granted, I round all my checks up to the next dollar which means my register is always going to show a little less than the bank, but not almost $200 worth! Kept looking and looking and looking...

Turns out I had decreased the $$$ amount on 2 of my automated payments on the bank website, but hadn't decreased them in my budgeting software. DOH! For those that are wondering, I had been paying double/triple/quadruple the minimum payment on a lot of my debt until last month, when I changed the strategy to saving as much as possible until the end of the year to create an EF and pay for Christmas/property taxes on the house.

Hey, I only bought the house in July, so it's not like this was a budgetary line item I had been ignoring... Christmas, however, is a different story. I choose to stick my fingers in my ears and and sing LALALALALALALA while everyone asks why I've not been saving for Christmas all year long. I've got two letters for you: DH!!!

At any rate, the mystery was solved, I felt much less stupid, and all was well with the world.

On the brighter side: my lunch out and coffee this afternoon cost a lot less than expected. The burrito lady rang up my order, punched my card, says "Now you have enough punches for a free entree!" credited part of my bill, then got out another card and punched it too!! WooHOO! PLUS I had filled up my punch card for the Local-Hero Coffee Shop, and got my coffee for free. Monster Heavy D Taco, chips, cheese dip, drink, and coffee for $2.55 instead of $7.64.

Frugality, thy name is Loyalty Cards!

Why I Live in the South!

November 13th, 2006 at 05:11 am

Here it is, about a month from official winter, and below are pictures of my rose and camillia in my front yard. I love livin' in the south!

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