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Archive for April, 2007

Shopping Spree at Goodwill

April 27th, 2007 at 02:54 pm

Well, close enough to a spree.

See, it's close to the end of the month and I still had $60 of my allowance left burning a hole in my pocket. Add to that the fact that DH and I are going to Atlanta this weekend, and I had the urge to do a wee bit of shopping.

Not just any old shopping, though. I hit the Goodwill warehouse that's three miles from my house. This is where the stuff from all our regional Goodwills winds up after it doesn't sell for a few weeks.

You walk in and grab rolling bin lined with a huge plastic bag (basically looks like a big blue trash can). The place is filled with row after row of tables piled high with clothes in no particular order. The only way to find anything is to dig, and the piles are easily shoulder deep (or more!).

There's no dressing room, so having a good eye or a tape measure is a must. You put your items in the bin as you wind through the tables and other customers. When you're done, you take your bin to the checkout stand where they roll it onto a scale and charge you for your items by the pound. Here, everything is sold at 99 cents per pound.

I got there last night at 7:30 and was out at 8 when they started to close the checkout lines. Only half an hour to dig! I walked out with a pair of pants from the Limited, a pair of Dockers ladies shorts, and ten shirts from various name-brand designers.

My cost? $4.95!!!!!

Since you can't try anything on there, I headed home to see how I actually did. The pants are great but the shorts are just a tad snug. Out of ten shirts, five are wonderful finds and 3 are just OK. The other 2 might wind up being a loss, who knows.

Even so, with 1 pair of great pants and 5 good to go shirts, I still come out at less than a buck an item.

I LOVE MY GOODWILL!!!

I Buy Produce at the Flea Market

April 22nd, 2007 at 04:24 pm

Yup, you read correctly: I like to buy produce at the flea market.

Perhaps some background info would help... I live in an area with a booming Latino population. In our area, a lot of immigrants are small business owners, and the business of choice for many Latinos here is produce distribution. My best guess is they have a network of friends and family who own farms in the Southeast region and they gather and sell it, but I'm not really sure.

At any rate, there is a rather huge flea market in our town that is very centrally located to one of our main Latino communities. It caters to the regular flea market crowd, of course, so there are still rows upon rows of people selling all kinds of stuff. But, in the back quarter of the market, near the parking lot, it's like stepping into a street market from Central America. I love it!

There are hats, crafts, music, and food vendors among other things. In my trip yesterday I counted 4 produce vendors on the one row I visited, although I'm sure there are others in the areas I didn't visit.

So, you're probably asking: WHY bother going to the flea market to buy produce? Isn't it easier to just go to the store?

Sure, it's easier. It's not nearly as fun, though. As an added bonus the flea market produce is significantly cheaper. Most importantly, though, their produce is BETTER than just about anything I've found in any grocery store. Better, cheaper, and more fun? I'm so in!

As an aside, the other nice thing about the flea market produce is the variety. The rest of this entry is about pretty standard fair produce, but had I wanted to I could have could have bought mangoes, papayas, agave cactus leaves, mini-bananas, and a bunch of other things I've never really had before.

I went yesterday because my father was hosting a pot luck at his cigar store, and I wanted to bring pico de gallo, guacamole, and black beans. FYI, I bought the black beans at Publix in a can so they're not covered in the rest of the entry Big Grin

So, here's my haul from the flea market yesterday.



This includes 10 limes, 6 lbs of tomatoes, 5 avocadoes, 5 jalepenos, 2 poblano peppers, 2 onions, and a bunch of cilantro. My total was $18.

To give you an idea of what this would have cost in the grocery store I frequent:

10 limes @ 3 for a buck on sale = $3.33
6 lbs of tomatoes @ $1.99/lb on sale = $11.94
5 avocadoes @ $0.99/ea on sale = $4.95
5 jalepenos @ $1.99/lb on sale = $0.50
2 poblano peppers @ $2.99/lb on sale = $1.50
2 onions @ $0.99/lb on sale = $1.24
1 bunch cilantro @ $0.99/ea on sale = $0.99

That adds up to $24.45 + $0.74 in sales tax. Plus I would have to find all the items on sale, not to mention that the prices above are the best ones from two separate grocery stores, not just one.

And the best part? The flea market has produce in whatever stage of ripeness you want. Since this was all going to be eaten the day of purchase, I was able to get 6 lbs of perfectly ripe (and YUMMY) tomatoes, 5 avocadoes that slid out of their skin, and cilantro that looked like it might have been picked that morning.

The funniest part? There was less dirt in the cilantro from the flea market than in the stuff I buy from a regular store!!

Think Someone Tried to Break In

April 12th, 2007 at 02:32 am

Bluh.

We got home tonight at about 6:30 and immediately noticed that the cover was gone from DH's motorcycle. Uh-oh... The bike has an alarm on it with a bump and tilt sensor, so we're having a bear of a time figuring out how they got the cover off without setting off the alarm, but such is life.

Walked in the house and all was well until DH went to the back door. While the lock was still turned properly in the knob, the door itself was no longer latched. Luckily we have a chain at the base of the back door.

At this point he promptly rushed me out of the house, got his 45 out of the truck and checked out the house inside and out. Everything's in place that we can tell, the only thing missing is the $65 weather cover which we will now have to replace.

First thing we thought: why couldn't they take the motorcycle, we'd get 50% more than we paid for it?!?? At least we have a sense of humor, right?

So, battened down the house and headed out to price a new back door. The one we have wasn't damaged but is old and needed to be replaced before next winter for energy effeciency purposes, so the option was to install a deadbolt in the existing door or go ahead and replace the door.

Also bought a 3 pack of battery operated door/window sensors. The only real possible entry points for our house are a window in the back about 4 feet off the ground and that back door. All the other windows are too high off the ground except for 3 in the very front of the house, and those came with decorative/protective wrought iron gratings. Plus they're in the front, like I said, so two of my three retired neighbors can see them...

The good news, everybody, is that this is where money karma rears its wonderful head again. See, I sat down and did the final draft of my taxes, and will owe about $400 less than I had budgeted. Good news, since the cost of a new door, deadbolt, 3 pack of sensors, lockbox for our keys, and possibly a small safe will be, oh, right about $400! Gotta love money karma!

Update on "Things I'm Not Gonna Buy"

April 10th, 2007 at 06:40 pm

At the beginning of the year I posted a list of things I didn't need to buy any more, at least until I used up what I currently have on hand.

Lotion.
So far so good: I haven't bought any. Woohoo!!! I might have to buysome new sunscreen in case what I have expired, but that's it so far.

Lip Balm
Ditto the lip balm! I actually used up a tube to the very end without losing it. Believe me, it's a feat...

Ink Pens
Not a single new pen all year! I have bought mini-sharpies for DH to use at work, but that's it.

Note Pads
None here either! But, I did buy a Day Timer kinda thing that I can keep notebooks in, along with a calendar and contact list. This way, I can carry around the notebooks I have all to meetings etc without looking utterly disheveled.

Shoes
Bought a pair of brown boots and black heels in February, but have set aside 4 pairs of shoes for Goodwill to make up for the 2 pair I brought into the house. Not too bad, seeing as I had 'allowed' myself hiking boots, dress boots, and a pair of heels in the original post...

Nail Polish and Care
Nope, none! Still need to throw out the stuff I have, though, since all it does is take up space.

Makeup
Bought a new mascara. Still not satisfied, but for a buck at Dollar Tree it's still not a bad deal: easier to put on than the $5 a tube Mabelline stuff, and looks better too. Just doesn't stay on my lashes real well: makes me look slightly racoonish after 8 hours. Bah!

I Didn't Fall Into a Black Hole!!!

April 10th, 2007 at 12:22 pm

I promise!!!

Really, I have been in the blogs and forums just about every day, but I didn't realize just how long it's been since I've posted anything of my own. Sheesh, what was I thinking?

On the financial front, things are pretty much on auto-pilot. This is a beautiful thing in my world, as it means the only things I actually have to keep up with are 1) the monthly check to my inlaws and 2) grocery money. Everything else is set to pay itself.

I've held onto my tax money as long as possible, so now it's time for me to finish the paperwork, write the man a check, and watch my bank balance deplete horrifically. At least it will be done and off the list...

Easter was interesting (in a good way) and a bit stressful (actually, also good). Anyone remember the Thanksgiving fiasco? Well, Easter turned into pretty much a replay of that. No body else wanted to have it at their house, so mine got nominated. Seeing as we had cleaned out and canceled a storage building between TG and now, the living room and dining room were a freak show of junk. In order to clean it up, we needed to finish out the attic space we have upstairs. Technically it was finished out 30-40 years ago, but it was in bad shape with insulation peeking out and what not, so it needed a redo.

So, Friday my office closed early and DH and I started demo and got 2/3 of the plywood up on the walls and ceiling. Not bad for 5 hours of work! Saturday we went to his parents house to pick up a carpet remnant, and he finished the other 2 walls and layed down the carpet whilst I went about making the den and kitchen publicly presentable.

Once the attic was finished, we began the great junk migration of 2007. GAHHH!!!!

In other news, Easter dinner consisted of a free Honey Baked Ham. DAd had a gift cert for a 7 lb ham and they were out. Instead of downgrading us, the cashier pulled out an 11 lb ham, marked it as 7 lbs with a green sticker, and sent us on our way. That was a $70 ham!!!

Maybe that's why everyone wants to have holiday meals at my house: I always wind up getting the entree for free Big Grin

Other than that, I've been dealing with contractor's drama with regards to the website I was asked to work on. Not the site itself, that's turning out fine. But, the customer's webhost was being miserable, and we had to jump ship. Since I couldn't find a place for her site that had all the features I needed and the pricing she wanted, I did the logical thing: created my own web hosting site. GAH!!!!

Actually, I can't really complain. So far I'm enjoying the experience of getting everything set-up, and it's something good for me to learn. While I only have the one client now, I have a handful of folks locally who are looking for a new home online that I might be able to grab. Combine that with what I would pay for hosting my sites at another company, and it starts to make sense.

So, anybody looking for a place to host a website? Big Grin

April's Fools and the Power of CSS

April 1st, 2007 at 04:44 pm

So, how's everyone liking the new blog design? HAAAAAAAAAAhahahahahhahaaa!!!! Good to know Jeffrey and Nate still have a sense of humor...

At any rate, you've now been introduced to the power of Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS. All CSS does is tell browers how to display information (ie colors and placement), but it doesn't change the information itself. All your blog data is there safe and sound, waiting for Jeff and Nate to change the style sheet back. Ya'll are going to change it back, right!?!??