Archive for the 'Shopping' Category

Soft Tissue My Butt

Getting things back to normal around here has been my priority lately.  I spent the past couple of days cutting out the grocery coupons that piled up during tax season.  The fact that I often have to pay full price for things when I’m working full-time is just another of those pesky costs of working.

Another thing I’ve been busy doing is restocking the cupboards and cabinets.  The supply of toilet paper was getting dangerously low.  My excitement was a little over-the-top when I looked through the Sunday ads and saw that this was the week CVS had Scott paper products on sale–Scott towels and Scott toilet paper.  “I’m so pumped,” I yelled.  “This makes my day!”  Big Daddy and Middle Son J just kind of looked at each other like they often do when I speak.  They just don’t understand.

Anyways, my heart started beating even faster when I remembered cutting out some coupons for Scott toilet paper.  This could be one of those savings home runs!  I haven’t avoided the 40-hour-a-week rat race all these years sitting on my laurels, you know.

I dug up my CVS card, grabbed my wallet, and scooped up my paper products coupons.  Then I noticed that every single Scott toilet paper coupon I had was for their crappy Extra Soft tissue.  If  I wanted soft toilet paper, I wouldn’t be buying Scott.  They’re the master of real toilet paper.  That’s how they made their fortune.  Strong.  Durable.  Unscented.  Some things are just better when they’re a little rough and hard.  ; )

Manly blue-wrapped butt paper

I live in a house full of guys.  They don’t want that soft perfumey crap.  For those that prefer to pamper their butts, there are a huge variety of toilet papers out there to choose from.  And you know what?  Most of them do it better.  I’ve bought the Extra-Soft Scott.  It leaves behind a Hansel-and-Gretel white trail of crumbs, moreso than say Charmin or Cottonelle.  Even worse, they try to sell you the extra large extra soft rolls so that you have to use an enclosed adapter so that the roll will fit on your toilet paper holder.

Purple-is-for-girls wrapper

Guess what, Kimberly-Clark?  If you have to endlessly entice consumers to buy your extra-soft tissue with coupons, maybe they don’t like that product.  Save us all some money, drop the extra-soft garbage, and lower the price on your good-ol’ standard toilet paper.  Even with the coupons on the extra-soft, people still buy the rough and ready variety.  When there’s a good sale, I’m sometimes forced to buy the soft stuff because the other is sold out!  Rethink your strategy, KC.  America’s butts are counting on you.

Coffee Pots for Dummies

About a year and a half ago, our old cheap basic Mr. Coffee coffee maker fizzled out and died with no warning.  Being my typical thrifty self, and also in a hurry to replace the source of my caffeine intake, I headed out to the closest bargain outlet to find a new coffeemaker.  Ollies is nearby, and usually has a good supply of reasonably priced quality housewares.  Since it sells close-out items, you’re never quite sure what will be in stock, but I am pretty flexible.  If it works, and is cheap, I’ll be happy.

Apparently, Ollies does not get a good supply of coffee makers.  At just about any given time they have lovely Farberware pots and pans, chef grade ceramic casserole dishes, and soft 200 thread count sheets.  But the supply of  coffee makers is usually very limited.  I got the only brand they had, some Cafe Belmondo close-out that had been part of some coffee promotion at one time.  For $20, how bad could it be?  And I didn’t feel like going to the other side of town to deal with the Wal-Mart crowds.

At first, the coffee pot seemed decent, although Big Daddy rolled his eyes at the no-name brand.  “Look, it has a timer.  We can set it before we go to bed and have coffee waiting for us,”  I pathetically argued to get his endorsement.  This was not the best argument since Mr. Wizard already has much of our household running on timers, and the old coffee pot was one of those items.

Before long, the digital read-out on the clock disintegrated, making it impossible to set the timer.  The replaceable mesh filter still allowed coffee grounds to get into the finished product so we had to buy the weird cone-shaped paper filters.  I used to be able to place the Mr. Coffee pot in the dishwasher, but since the lid didn’t come off this new gadget, I had to wash it by hand.  The spout dribbled coffee onto the counter every time we poured.  But the most annoying thing of all was…the damn thing turned off after two hours.  Whether you’re done with your coffee drinking or not, the stupid machine stops warming your pot of brew.

More than any other flaw and feature, the two-hour shut-off is the one thing that annoyed us most.  We like to enjoy our coffee throughout the day, not gulp it down in an hour or two.  I have a thermos carafe, but that’s just one more pain-in-the butt thing to wash.  And Big Daddy actually likes the taste of coffee that has been cooking all day on the warmer.  I should have asked for a new coffee maker for Christmas.  In fact, I saw one for about $10 at Wal-Mart while I was Christmas shopping.  I could kick myself for not buying it.

Saturday I got a 10% off coupon from Ollies.  Today I used the last of my cone-shaped coffee filters.  This perfect storm convinced me to try my luck again at buying a coffee maker.  There was another no-name brand, and it had the stupid two-hour shut-off.  Then I spied a Black and Decker model.  It was factory serviced, but who cares?  The filter basket was round, and it was a brand name.  There was no mention of it shutting down after two hours.

I brought it home and set it up.  I ran water through it to clean out the dust before I use it.  And then I read the booklet that proudly mentioned that it automatically shuts off after two hours!!!

Is this a law now?  Do they think we’re all too stupid to turn off the coffee pot when we’re done?  I realize most of us Americans are too stupid to understand the health care issues without them being properly explained by our elected elite, and soon they’ll have to limit our access to junk food and such because we’re too dumb to realize it’s not good for us, but really!  Taking away our steamy midday cup of java?  This is really a low blow.

R-R-R-Really?

Big Daddy and I were winding down the evening watching an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that he recorded on DVR.  Actually, he was watching while I was flipping through the last section of the newspaper, so I thought he was joking when after fast-forwarding through the commercials, he said he saw a Barack Obama Chia head. We went back to look for it.  I thought it had to be some kind of joke, maybe some kind of SNL-type skit.  But no, it’s for real, folks.  And just in time for the holiday shopping season!

chiaprez And there is Fearless Leader!

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia! 😀

The Behinder I Get

It’s been a busy week, y’all.  What makes it worse, every time I do something anymore, my poor old body needs a nap.  The week in brief:

Wednesday:  My very first venture into a casino.  I started out with my usual piss poor luck and zipped through a couple $5’s and a $20, while the little old ladies next to me were striking it rich.  At the Wheel of Fortune machine, I didn’t get one spin, but the guy next to me said I was bringing him luck.  He’d never hit so much.  Great.  After a great free lunch (cost us only the tip), I found a machine that liked me.  I had no idea what I was doing, but it kept flashing and dinging, and playing catchy little tunes.  I had started out with a spare penny voucher and $20 free play from the casino, and I cashed out at $54.

Thursday:  College starts on August 31 for Middle Son J.  While he was in Germany, I reminded him many times to set things up, like make sure he tries to get housing for the school year and to schedule his classes.  Obviously, he did nothing.  NADA.  So here it is, the middle of August and he has nowhere to live.  The housing office informed us there are no vacancies in the apartments he was hoping to live in, nor do they have anything in the dorms, which he really didn’t want to live in again.  He tried to schedule classes, but everything was closed.  Schnikey!  His advisor had the day off, so J e-mailed him of his plight and asked if somehow he could help him get in some of the classes he needs.  This was how I spent my Thursday:  making sure J was taking care of business (contacting the school and friends about getting housing), and catching up with the housework I didn’t do on Wednesday.

Friday:  I got a $10 coupon from JC Penney last week.  Ten dollars off anything, with no minimum purchase required.  Naturally, I had to cash it in before it expired.  I spent the day clothes shopping for me, and grocery shopping for the family.  I would have bought more at Penney’s, but unfortunately, they don’t seem to carry enough stock in my size.  There were plenty of size 6’s, though. Don’t they realize that anyone small enough to wear a 6 is probably shopping in Juniors?  They had a lot of bigger Misses sizes, too.  What about us women in the middle, with birthin’ hips and a little mommy pouch?

Saturday:  Big Daddy, Youngest Son, and I drove an hour away to Meyersdale to ride on the bike trail.  The two guys and a friend of Big Daddy’s had ridden it earlier this year, but they had done a 60 mile ride.  We planned a shorter version this time, and rode 25 miles.  I knew I could do this since I went 34 miles on another trail last year but what I didn’t realize was this ride was a steady 1% uphill grade.  Thank goodness it was downhill all the way back.  I’ll have to do this again sometime so I can get pictures.  It was an awesome mountain view at the end of our ride, but none of us had a working phone with us  to snap a photo.  When we finally got home, I slipped into a coma.

Upsides: I didn’t realize I actually came out ahead at the casino.  I missed counting a $20, so I actually WON about $12 by the end of the day!

Middle Son J’s advisor sent an e-mail back with his entire schedule made up.  No hassle.  No begging for classes.  All ready to go.  Tomorrow, we’re going to go look for an apartment for him.

I actually did find a few cute things at Penney’s.  Four items to be exact–and for only $29!shoppinggg

We were starving after our bike ride and stopped at a restaurant to eat.  I didn’t even worry about the calories.  I figured I’d burned enough.  On the way home, Big Daddy stopped at a bakery.  He can’t pass a bakery up without stopping.  I had a cherry-filled square and a peanut butter blossom with my coffee this morning.  That helped alleviate the muscle pain from yesterday’s cycling. 😀

From Red To Blue

I try to be a good little Capitalist.  I really do.  I believe in Capitalism.  In its purist form, it most efficiently meets the needs of the people.  Good products are desired; good producers are rewarded.   Throw in a few rigorously enforced laws to ensure product and worker safety and environmental protection and we have our own little Industrial Garden of Eden.  Busy workers providing safe products to happy consumers.  Job seekers free to come and go, paid exactly what their ambition and skill level are worth.  I tried to do my part today to keep those idealistic wheels turning.

I’ve had a 10% discount coupon for Home Depot hanging on my kitchen bulletin board for weeks.  It expires later this week.  I’d like to upgrade my rusty old patio table and chairs.  I’d like to buy a couple more of the really nice chaise lounge chairs I splurged on a couple of years ago.  We want to take advantage of the energy credit and buy a more energy efficient basement door.  I wanted to help the economy and spend, while getting some good deals with clearance sales and my coupon.  I even managed the impossible — to drag Big Daddy shopping to help me lug the goodies home!

The private sector did not end up getting any of my money today.  I found one chaise lounge made exactly like the two I have, and would have eagerly bought it, but they changed the color scheme and it wouldn’t match.  The selection of table and chairs was meager, and of course, in the preferred color scheme of this year, which seems to be black.  The couple styles of doors they carried did not have a window that would look good with the windows on our garage doors.  I couldn’t even find a wooden picture frame at Target that wasn’t black.  We left both stores empty-handed, except for the coupon that was begging to be used.

Instead, I supported the public sector with my hard-earned funds.  I was trying not to burn out my brakes cruising down the hill that leads out of our plan earlier in the day.  The cop said I was doing 41 mph in a 25 mph zone.  I told him it’s really hard to go 25 mph down that hill.  I knew he didn’t much care but he was very nice about it.  He said  he was only going to cite me for failure to obey posted traffic signs instead of a regular speeding ticket, which would save me about $50 and not give me any points against my driving record.  It was my very first traffic ticket.  Big Daddy said I was lucky to have gotten off so easy, but it was better when I was young and cute and got off with a verbal warning.  The only ones that seem lucky to me are the ones who are getting my money:  $10 to EMS, $30 to Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund, $10 to Judicial Computer Project/Access to Justice, “costs” of $34.50, while the fine itself was $25.  There is no such thing as a bargain in the public sector.

Making Money Or Cleaning House?

I’m not on vacation or anything, although after this week I could probably use one. I haven’t been writing (or reading) much because this Saturday is our second annual community yard sale. And this year, I’m legitimately participating.

Although last year, I did sell some items and then gave away a lot of stuff I didn’t sell, I still ended up with a bunch of plastic crates still filled with some pretty good stuff.  I stuffed them under our pool table downstairs and figured that if Oldest Son actually does move out on his own, he could use a lot of these things.  If not, they were all cleaned and tagged for a future yard sale.  There are also some really nice books and Lego and Duplo sets that I am optimistically saving for grandchildren-to-be.  But then, the two younger sons got ambitious and decided to clean out their bedrooms.  Suddenly, not only did I have the crates nicely stored under the pool table, but I ended up with piles of boxes stored in the middle room of our basement.  So this week, I spent a huge chunk of time going through these boxes, ruthlessly throwing out the unusable junk, and readying the expendable treasures for the sale this Saturday.

I’m not doing this to make a huge amount of money.  For all the hours it takes setting up, I’m actually making nothing.  But I’m cleaning out the basement and that’s HUGE!  This actually gives me a deadline and a purpose to go downstairs and organize and sort for hours.  And truth be told, I must have some merchant blood in me because I actually enjoy the day of the sale, sitting in the sun and chatting to the shoppers.

The person actually making some money is the entrepreneurial young woman that organized these sales.  This was a great idea, and I think she’s going to continue to set up this annual sale.  This year she’s charging each participating household $10, which is cheaper than if we tried to put an ad ourselves in the paper (@ $20+ for a three-day ad).  She is doing all the work of printing maps, placing directional signs, and advertising.  She’s earned every penny and more not only putting out the money for the local newspaper ad, but also setting up notices on Facebook and craigslist.  There are over 60 houses participating in our housing plan and the adjoining plan, so the crowds should be coming.  This area has always been a popular area for garage sales, and in this economy, a lot of people are looking for bargains.

I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow because if it does, the sale will be next week and I’m getting tired of all the stuff set up in my garages.  I want to be able to use them to park my cars in again.  Most of all, I want to be done with this so I can get back to my normal blog reading and ranting schedule.  Wish me luck!

Giving With No Regrets

I must venture out into the frozen tundra today.  Earlier this week, when I heard the temps around here would be plunging into Arctic Circle territories, I made sure I stocked up on everything we needed so that I would not have to go any further than my mailbox at the end of my sidewalk.  But, alas, I must be a brave little butterfly and leave the warm cocoon with its roaring fire and snuggly dog.  I’ve got a job to do.

I better be right in my strong assumption that my sibs do not know about this blog — because if I’m wrong, I’m toast.  It’s not because I plan to say anything bad about them (because I do love them, as a big sister should), but I am about to divulge a secret.  My bro is having a surprise party tomorrow for my sister-in-law.  It’s one of those milestone birthdays.  I’m bringing my spectacular calico beans (at my brother’s request) and I have all the ingredients I need.  But what I do not have is the gift.  Although we don’t get extravagant around here with gifts, I certainly do not plan to show up with no card or gift for my lovely sis-in-law’s big day.

As with all my family members, sis is hard to buy for.  If  she wants or needs anything, she goes out and buys it.  She has very specific taste.  She knows what she wants, and she doesn’t clutter up her life with much else.  One thing she does enjoy is scratch-off lottery tickets.  She got $20 worth one time and was in gambler’s heaven scratching them in the hopes of revealing a big life-changing winner.  One problem with this idea is that someone else has already bought some for her.  I don’t want to be a copy-cat.  But there is a more selfish reason why I won’t go that route.  What if I buy her the BIG gazillion dollar winner?

It’s not that I would begrudge them a life of luxury.  It’s not that they wouldn’t share at least a little of the wealth.  I’d be happy to see them win.  Just not on the ticket that I bought.  If that ticket had been in my grubby little hands and I gave it away (even to a beloved family member), I would kick my ass to the other side of the country.  I still have kids in college.  Big Daddy is slowly dying working for Satan.  My kitchen is a country-blue stenciled 1980’s nightmare!  I need that winning lottery ticket!!

Since it would be just my luck that the only winning lottery ticket I ever buy would be the one I give away,  I’m just not going there.  My sister-in-law loves big bold costume jewelry.  I just hope I can find a piece that screams her name.


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