30 Day Simplicity Challenge- Day 9

My husband has a theory.  He claims he knows exactly, within a few hours, when I’m going to get my period.  He claims that when I’m clumsy, when I’m making dinner and I drop things, my period is on the way. If he hears a spoon drop and he yells out, “Period’s coming”.  Methinks he’s the town crier or something.

It’s kind of nice that someone else keeps track of things like that.

It’s laughable when he does it these days, though.  As soon as something hits the floor, he’s informing the world of my impending bleed.  But lately, eight months to be exact, that bleed hasn’t shown up.  I gladly stopped all birth control around that time and thankfully, my period is among the missing.

So last night, when I dropped the fork I was using to flip the burgers, I had an epiphany.

Why am I constantly dropping things?  Why do all my tights and pantyhose have runs up the sides?  Why am I always tripping and sometimes falling?  Why do I spill things and why am I always losing stuff? It’s obviously not all because of my period…

Epiphany? Because I’m always rushing.

Yup.  This is what I came up with- I need to slow the fuck down.  And here goes the challenge for today:

DAY 9 of 30:

Move purposely.  Take care.  Slow down.  Become Grounded.

After I dropped the fork and saw the light, I tried something.  We were having French fries with the burgers and I inevitably, always, certainly drop a fry or three whenever I transfer them to a bowl from the cookie sheet.  Dogs hang out by my feet whenever I scoop up fries because they know.  This time, I took a deep breath and slowly spooned the fries off the cookie sheet into the bowl.  Spoon by spoon, I concentrated and moved with a purpose.  And I didn’t drop one.

This actually gave me joy.

The brain and the hands sometimes work against each other and rushing around makes matters worse.  At the age of 52 (going on 53) have I finally learned I shouldn’t bumble through life?  There is no shame in moving slowly as long as you’re moving with a purpose- and that’s what I was lacking- purpose. So, I will:

  • Try not to reach for things without contemplating what’s in the way (coffee cups, plants, soda cans, yogurt- all things I have knocked over on my desk and at home.)
  • Take care when dressing so nothing gets ripped or poked through.
  • Walk slowly and with care so that I don’t trip over my own feet or the cracks in the sidewalk.
  • Contemplate all movement so nails don’t get broken, fingers don’t get scraped and zippers don’t get stuck.

Think how simple life will be when nothing has to be cleaned up, sewn up, picked up or untangles. This will be a fun experiment with the added bonus of not hearing MR yell from the living room.

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Willy Wonka and My $9.00- Day Two and Three

I’m determined to have moths fly out of my wallet next time I open it.

MR and I agreed last weekend that we would think about our purchases and wouldn’t spend foolishly.  I had to remind him that buying coffee at 7-11 when it was already made at home was unnecessary.  I got a look.  Seems I’m the one who’s going to do the penny-pinching.

So I sent him to the store for milk and sauce.  He paid.

Yesterday I wrote a check (my last) for SEPTA, the special-education PTA.  I would have had to do it eventually, so I spent the $10 now.  It’s for a good cause.  Other than that, I haven’t spent a dime.  I did FIND $0.15 yesterday.  Woohoo.

As for eating up our stash, a pork loin from the freezer for the family and black beans and rice from the stockpile for me, with plenty left over for lunch tomorrow.  This week has been pretty easy, food wise.  The weekend may be harder since we’re going out to the beach house to be chased by zombies.  I’ll just have to pack smart.  And cheap.

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While I was doing the dishes tonight, I watched one of my favorite movies, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”.  You know, the first one with Gene Wilder.  I was home all alone, watching this movie that I’ve seen around 100 times.  And even though I’ve seen it that many times, there are things that have always bothered me, such as:

-How did Willy Wonka know Augustus Gloop was not going to continue on the factory tour? There are not enough seats in the “Wonkatania” in the next scene.

-“Invention is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation and 2% butterscotch ripple.” Willy Wonka must have failed math.  Mrs. Teavee does point out, however that it does add up to 105%.  Was she a teacher?

-Shouldn’t Violet’s clothes remained the same while she grew into a blueberry? They should have split open and she should be round and naked.

-Willy Wonka must not have been too attentive- Charlie and Grandpa spent a considerable amount of time in the bubble room and no one noticed they weren’t there when they went into the next room

-Why are there no female Oompa Loompas? (None in the newer Johnny Depp version, either.)

-Why is Veruca Salt the only kid that gets a song?  Charlie singing “I’ve got a Golden Ticket” with Grandpa doesn’t count.

-“Children are disappearing like rabbits”.    Huh?

-Does Mike Teavee like TV because of his last name or is this a weird coincidence?  What nationality is Teavee anyway?

Snozzberries are dicks.  Those kids licked dick-flavored wallpaper. Ew.

-There are WAY too many sexual references in this film.  Almost pedophilistic.  Yeah, I just made up that word.  Think Gobstoppers (you can suck them forever, they never get any smaller), “small boys are extremely springy and elastic. So I think we’ll put him in my special taffy-pulling machine.” (taffy-pulling small boys?), “Here it comes!  Here it comes”, as they shoot out of building and then  there’s that perverted looking Gobstopper machine- thrusting up and down. Thank goodness it goes over the kid’s heads.

-Why didn’t any of the Oompa Loompa actors get any credit at the end?

Okay, I know some of these ponderings are straight out of Roald Dahl’s imagination, but that doesn’t mean I can’t question his sanity as well.  If you follow me on Facebook, you would have seen many of these observations posted.  I got bored and lonely.  As one of my peeps asked me, “Where’s your Ebert, Siskal?”

I need an Ebert.  And a few more thumbs-up for this crazy, wonderful movie.

 

 

Still have $9.00- Day One

I wasn’t planning on posting every day, or at least so soon, about my 28 days of No-Spending, but I was proud of myself. Still have $9.00 in my pocket, didn’t spend my allotted $0.32!  My savings yesterday were:

Breakfast- this could range anywhere from $3.50 for an iced coffee and bagel with butter to $5.00 for iced coffee and an egg and cheese sandwich, all from Nick’s Coffee Cart on 48th and Park.  Since I made iced coffee the night before and brought it with me, along with yogurt and cereal, I saved an average of $4.25 on breakfast.

Lunch- this averages about $8.00 a day since my cheapest lunch would be falafel over rice from the Halal cart and my most expensive would be Tuk Tuk Boy at $11.  Even the cafeteria lunch falls between those prices, so we’ll say I saved the $8 because I brought salad and leftovers from the night before.  Water here is free, as is coffee.  At least we get that…

Transportation- I saved $22 because I didn’t take the LIRR.  I know if I bought a weekly, or even a montly it would have been cheaper, but working from home one or two days a week kept me on a daily ticket.  My Metrocard was already paid for, so my commute- as annoying and degrading as it is- was absolutely free.

So I saved about $34 on my first day alone!  And that’s just on basic stuff.  Pretty flippin’ good!

What made this sweet revelation even sweeter was that I got a check in the mail from Optimum!  I was due a slight refund when I switched to Verizon.  This gave me an idea to check out where else I can save- I’m already looking into the car insurance situation. Maybe I can get some discounts elsewhere?

Dinner last night was gathered from the big freezer downstairs and the deep recesses of my pantry closet.  I made Kielbasa for Zombiegirl and MR and sweet potato pancakes from a Manishewitz mix I’ve had for about 5 years.  Disclaimer: I am checking expiration dates and so far haven’t found anything dangerous.  I was pretty disappointed in the pancakes, don’t think I’ll be buying a mix again.  See?  Tried something new and gained 6 square inches in my pantry.  I will have to do a small shopping trip tonight since we’re out of milk and apples and bananas.  So, if it ain’t on the list, we ain’t buying.

That being said, I just ran out of checks (yes, I still write checks) and went online to order more.  $21.00!  Screw that- I’m going to see how long I can hold out to reorder.  Not a necessity.

I needed rubbing alchohol to clean a something I was making.  I made do with vodka.  Not a necessity.

I didn’t have pink ribbon for the thing I was making. Before this challenge, I would have run out to buy pink ribbon.  I used the orange instead and it looked adorable!  See, not a necessity.

After a long commute home on the bus, I needed a little “somethin’ somethin'” to take the edge off.  We’re out of beer so I finished off the half bottle of Moscato in the fridge.  Beer MAY be a necessity, but I can make do with something else for the time being.

It’s all about priorities.

 

 

Trainwreck

My cup runneth over with F*CK You’s.  So many and so vile that it may end a few relationships if I actually wrote them down and published them.

Bitter.  Resentful.  Hateful, even.  It would not be pretty.  I have emptied the shelf at Duane Reade of Black Cohosh, it’s that bad.

Instead, I’m going to post things that I’ve found on the Internet that I want- no, NEED.  Things that will make my day a little brighter and maybe turn these furrowing frown marks into a wisp of a smile.

I need more zombies.  And more gnomes.  This satisfies both desires:

Nom, nom, nom.

I’ve decided I’m going to start collecting snippy t-shirts to wear to soccer games and grocery shopping.  Here are two I MUST have:

When I’m PMS’ing, in a foul mood or just down in the dumps, I usually turn to chocolate.  Someone tell me where to buy THESE:

Nom, yum, nom.

Mix and match.  Insert and stack.  Experiment with different flavors.  Pure genius.

Even though I haven’t had bacon in over a year, I still want these in my stocking for Christmas:

Nom, nom, oink...

I’ve tried the Roomba and all it did was end up getting clogged with dog hair.  On the upside, it terrorized the dog, which is always fun.  If I had this, I could run it every day and my floors would be pristine, my family could stop ingesting dog hair and it would probably still chase the dog around:I sleep like the dead.  Nothing wakes me up once I’m out.  But in the morning I pay for sleeping on our 14-year old mattress. So, since I’m wishing, I might as well wish for this organic beauty:

The Bloggess’s red dress.  Because I’m worth it.  And if I keep saying that, I might be.

Alas, I won’t be buying any of these things any time soon.  Unless I can scrounge up a coupon or two…

Extreme Couponing. This Means War.

I’ve been hinting around this blog lately that I’ve been couponing.  My friends and family have been giving me their extra Sunday coupons and I have to say I AM OBSESSED WITH THIS SPORT.

Yes, couponing as sport.  It could happen.  It gets mighty tense in the store aisles when there aren’t any bargains left on the shelves or when the people behind you in line start sighing loudly because your damn coupon just won’t scan.  It’s competitive- just how early does one have to get up to make sure the item she wants is still there and not sold out?  It’s physical- my coupon binder weighs a TON and my hands are cramped from cutting all those coupons out.  And it’s mental- it’s all about the hunt to get the cheapest price.  I would love to see a show pitting coupon champs against each other trying to save the most money.  Throw these Mormon mommies in a store with their coupons and watch the blood run and the hair-pulling begin!

I haven’t become as bad as some of the people featured on the show “Extreme Couponing”.  I don’t have hundreds of boxes of cereal stockpiled (I have nine…) and I never buy anything that I wouldn’t use.  Seems a lot of people are doing just that- buying craploads of one item and reselling them on eBay or at flea markets.  Although tempting, I refrain.  If my family doesn’t use it, or I can’t donate it, I won’t buy it.   There’s no sense having 300 cans of cat food if you don’t have a cat.  Just saying.

Couponing isn’t just about clipping the coupons and using them before they expire.  Oh no.  Any extreme couponer will tell you how to maximize the value of the coupon so you receive the lowest price on brand name items.  Now I’m finding that I can get brand names cheaper than the store brands.  It’s all about the preparation.

First, find a website that matches up the weekly store circular ads to the coupons you’ve clipped.  My favorites (and I may regret telling some of you this) are The Krazy Coupon Lady and For the Mommas.  The brains behind these websites do all the work for you- they list the weekly store deals and let you know if there are any coupon match-ups, either from the Sunday paper or the internet.

On a side note, I had no idea the internet had so many coupon sources.  Even Target has it’s own coupon source, which is great because you can use Target coupons in conjunction with manufacturer’s coupons.  Suh-weet!

I’m fine with all the coupon prep.  I use a spreadsheet to list all the items in the various stores I’m interested in and the coupons I have (or need to print).  I usually shop at Walgreen’s, CVS, Target, Stop N Shop, Pathmark and King Kullen.  Rite Aid is too confusing (sorry Mia!) with all their UP! Rewards and the videos you need to watch before you can print out their deals.  I stay away from Walmart, too, mainly because I don’t like the clientele at my local store (there’s a REASON why there’s a website called People of Walmart) and their prices fluctuate too much across the country so what some people are getting a deal on in Utah or California, I can’t find the same price in New York.

Besides, Walgreen’s, CVS and Target all pay you to buy their items.  Why wouldn’t I want to shop there?  Extra Bucks, Register Rewards, Gift Cards- when I see these noted in the circulars it’s like I died and went to coupon heaven.

I’m usually ready to go to the stores on Wednesday, by the time my prep work is done.  Not only am I armed with my coupons, the circular and my store cards, I also have a detailed battle plan.  In order to maximize the savings, you can’t just buy everything in one big transaction.  It has to be carefully choreographed into smaller transactions so you can receive cash back (Extra Bucks, Register Rewards, etc) on the first items to pay for the next items in your transaction.  There is a time restraint in CVS- you can’t use the Extra Bucks for 24 hours (I think) but in Walgreen’s, you can use them immediately.  Last night Beena and I had a total of four transactions, using Register Rewards from the first sales to pay for the subsequent sales.

Whew.  It’s exhausting.  And this is where my stupid comes in…

I get extremely nervous the minute I step up to the register.  I don’t know, I feel like I’m doing something illegal, getting away with something.  I end up babbling to the clerk incoherently with the word “coupon” scattered here and there.  The last few times I’ve gone I managed to overlook a few crucial coupons because I put them down in the cart and forgot about them or some of the coupons didn’t scan causing me to break out in a sweat and start looking shifty and suspicious (in my mind, I’m sure).  Instead of asking for the manager, I defer to the mighty wisdom of the register and slink away.  All the organization going into the preparation is derailed by my chickenshit attitude and lack of organization in the store.

For example, these were the things I wanted at Walgreen’s, and this is how it went last night:

  • Kellogg’s cereal- buy 4/$10, get $5.00 Register Rewards (RR).  Use manufacturer’s coupon $1.00 off 3. Final price $1.00 each.
  • Coffee Mate was $1.50 each.  Use internet coupon for $0.55 each and $1.00/2 Walgreen’s coupon.  Final price $0.45 each.
  • Crayola Washable Markers- $2.00 each, get $2.00 RR.  This makes this item free!
  • U by Kotex pads and tampons- buy 2/$7.  Use (2) $1.00 off coupons and 2/$2.00 off Walgreen’s coupon.  Final price $1.50 each for 18 pack.
  • Crest Mouthwash- buy at $3.99, receive $1.00 RR.  Use $2.00 manufacturer coupon.  Final price $0.99.
  • Scope Mouthwash and Crest Toothpaste- buy 2/$6, receive $3.00 RR.  Use (2) $1.00 manufacturer coupons.  Final price $0.50 each.
  • Wisps- $1.99.  Use $0.50 manufacturer coupon.  Final price $1.49.
  • Goody Hair Clips- $2.00 each, get $2.00 RR.  Free!

Battle plan:

  • Purchase cereal, hair clips, markers, mouthwash and toothpaste first to get all the Register Rewards.
  • Next, purchase pads and tampons, coffee mate and wisps, use RR from previous transaction and pay practically nothing.
  • Beena purchases markers, hair clips, mouthwash and toothpaste for next trip to Walgreen’s.
  • Total for the night should be $45.98 (not including tax) minus $10.60 in coupons, which equals $35.38.   Take away the RR (not including the ones Beena accumulated) – $13.00- and my final outlay should have been $22.38, with $7.00 RR to use the next time.

The best laid battle plans often get blown up and shot down.

Actually, it wasn’t that bad.  I was totally frazzled at this point because we walked around looking for the Goody Hair Clips (they never got them in) and tried to figure out if the cereal were the right ones on sale.  Why don’t the stores mark things better?   I was trying to sort everything out on-line, when I ran into Mia and we started talking about how I broke her child (long story).  I was also letting the people behind me go first (in order not to piss them off) while corralling all the coupons together.  I cut Mia off probably in mid-sentence because it was our turn and all my coupons were scattered all over the place (sorry Mia 😦  ) and I grabbed the wrong set of markers and Beena started yelling at me and I started sweating and babbling to the clerk.  Needless to say I forgot to use the CoffeeMate coupons I printed and the Scope Mouthwash coupons wouldn’t take, even though the item and the coupon matched.

I need to get more organized in the store.  I’ve already decided to leave my pocketbook home and just take my wallet.  My binder comes with me no matter what, so I’m thinking I need to attach some clear pockets to the outside of the binder to stash the coupons in after I’ve selected the item in the store.  Maybe a few of them to represent the different transactions…

Maybe I’m sounding like a raving lunatic right now.

Lunatic, yes, but… I don’t have to buy mouthwash for a year.  The females in the household could probably go through menopause and not have to worry about running out of  feminine products.  (Dad, the Playtex sample that came to your house was NOT a sports bra…they were tampons.  Playtex makes those, too.  Thanks for letting us use your address.)  Toothpaste is stacking up like cord wood ready for a long winter and our family will not stink for quite a while thanks to all the deodorant we now have.

It’s crazy, yes, but totally worth it.  As I horde accumulate items, I don’t purchase them again until we’re down to two or three left.  I don’t even clip the coupons- I leave them for John’s family (we exchange).  Even the trips to the stores get cheaper and cheaper as I buy less and less and use more and more of the cash they’re giving back.  I envision next year just buying essentials- meat, produce, but not milk because I buy that on sale too and freeze it.

My grocery/personal care bill next year should be miniscule.  But only if I go into battle wearing full armor and an attitude.

And follow the battle plan.

Dear Stop & Shop

This is a letter I sent to Stop & Shop via email…

Dear Stop& Shop Decision Makers:

I love your store (West Hempstead # 2552), really, I do. You’ve given me a (small) selection of soy products- cream cheese, yogurt and milk when I asked. You even have a whole aisle of healthy, natural choices that appeal to my vegetarian organic side. Your produce is fresh and plentiful.

You made shopping easier (and fun!) with the handheld self-checkout device. You’ve even partnered with my daughter’s school for bonus bucks! Very admirable, dear Stop & Shop.

But you confuse me.

Yesterday, I picked up a bottle of your brand “Clear Splash Naturally Flavored Raspberry Blackberry Sparkling Water Beverage.” It was on an end cap- it was a total impulse item. I think to myself – this sounds delicious! It’s sugar free, sodium free, calorie free, caffeine free- everything you would want in a “water beverage,” right? I couldn’t wait to try it.

Whoa. Way too sweet.

Sweet? How can that be? Zero calories, zero fat, it’s water…how can this taste so sweet?

I check the ingredients…carbonated water (ok), citric acid (ok), potassium citrate (ok), aspartame (o…what?)

Aspartame? In sparkling water? Are you kidding? I’m drinking DIET WATER?

What are you thinking, dear Decision Makers? Putting this poison into a “water beverage” to sweeten it up? I wanted WATER. With a little FLAVOR. I didn’t want a sugary, cloying sweet soft drink laced with poison- if I wanted that, I would’ve grabbed a Diet Coke (okay, not really).

Please rethink your decision to continue making this product in this fashion. I want to check out the other flavors, but I’m pretty sure what I’ll find. I’ll probably find I won’t be buying this product again, and telling all my friends not to buy it either.

Thanks for listening to your customers.

Sincerely,

Me. (I signed my real name when I sent this to Stop & Shop)

…And Your Mother Dresses You Funny

Ugh- I hate this layout. My last layout had these funky Photobucket ads that were embedded in the 3-column layout that I like. According to New Tips for Bloggers, I took out the offending Photobucket link. When I viewed my blog, everything was reversed color-wise and it looked like ass. I tried almost all morning to put 3-columns back on another template, and Blogger wasn’t having it. So I’m stuck with this. When I get home, I’ll look for another template that doesn’t make me wince everytime I open it.

I’ll post about the weekend in a bit- we went to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and out to Riverhead. It was out in Tanger Outlets in Riverhead that I decided to take steps to get rid of my fat, bloated body. Beena, Zombiegirl and I had a blast buying clothes for Zombiegirl for camp, and Beena’s upcoming trip. I desperately needed new stuff, so I got in on the fun and bought pants, shirts and a new watch. When I got home, everything fit (if I squeezed my jumbo belly into them) but they just didn’t look right.

(But Mamasoo- you’re a vegetarian! You should be nice and slim since you eat all those veggies! WTF?)

Yes- key word there is SHOULD. I gave up meat, but didn’t give up cookies, nuts, candy and chocolate. And ice cream. And how many calories are in a Boca Burger anyway?

Soooo, I kick started my diet with a SlimFAst for breakfast and lunch, and these all natural capsules from SlimQuick. They help:

  • Reduce excess water retention. This I definitely need. I look like I’m 5 months preggers when I’m bloated two weeks before “that time.”
  • Balance female hormones. Oh. Yes. My hormones need balance. I’m like a madwoman half the time- cranky, irritable- just ask MR. And some of my co-workers.
  • Reduce stress. Need I even comment on this?
  • Increase metabolism. I thought it was the crappy weather that had me wanting to lie on the couch in my stained sweatpants inhaling trailmix (well, picking out the M&M’s in the trailmix) and watching Wipeout. Guess it’s just my crappy metabolism.
  • Increase energy. I walk to and from the bus stop and/or train station. Then I’m exhausted when I get home/to work. Maybe this will help.
  • Provide Antioxidants. Who doesn’t need a few more antioxidants in their life?

These magic pills are all mostly natural, with Acai berry, green tea, pomegranate, Chaste Tree Extract (can trees BE chaste?) and brown seaweed. Pretty expensive little pills, so I hope they work. After two and a half weeks, I’ll go back to eating sensibly. I just need that kick start to be able to zipper those shorts I bought at American Eagle!