Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Life In The Slow Lane

I have read and heard it on many reduce the amount of gas your vehicle uses you should drive slower. In fact even airlines have announced that in order to save on fuel cost they will be flying the planes at a lower speed.

I have taken this suggestion to heart and have been driving around 55 to 60 miles per hour during the "whopping" 26 miles round trip commute to work instead of the usual 70 that is posted . I have seen a slight decline in my fuel consumption, but let me tell you about the unexpected side effect!

I have become so much calmer when I drive. I am not trying to keep up with anyone else and not trying to beat anyone to the next landmark. If they start tailgating me, since I know I am going slower than the speed limit and it is only a two-lane road, I will pull over and drive on the shoulder. (I know this is probably illegal, but here in the Texas Hill Country it is encouraged and expected.) I can see more of the scenery around me. I actually see flowers instead of just the color of the flower. I am noticing little things that I never saw before. (This of course includes roadkill. I can now tell you just what exactly that critter have to take the good with the bad!) It is nice to just putt along and sing along to the radio.

One thing that I want to take into consideration is the fact that I have to roll with the windows down because my air conditioner doesn't work. You would think that would make the drive horrible, but really it is not too bad and we are talking south Texas people.....temperatures in the mid to high 90's and around 70 to 80% humidity. In fact I think the window down is part of the reason I feel calmer. Slowing down, a "breeze" in my face, the radio blaring to be heard over the wind, and me singing along at the top of my lungs makes for a very enjoyable drive. :)

Call me crazy, but it works.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wal-Mart on a Tuesday

When I looked into the refrigerator over the weekend pretty much all I could see was, well, the refrigerator. In other words, we were out of food. We suffered on through Tuesday when I finally had the time to go to Wal-Mart.

So armed with my food list, coupons (I LOVE coupons!), and my good friend Angie, off to the store I went. I was very happy to have Angie with me and even more happy that I didn't have to take Frankie, my husband. You have no idea how glad I was not to take him. He was just as glad to not have to go! Plus, having a friend go with me, as opposed to going alone, helped me feel braver about taking pictures. Aren't you so lucky!

Now, may I please present to you, Wal-mart on a Tuesday!

Angie and I started off in the pet section. I had two GREAT coupons to get $2.00 off a Nylabone for each of my dogs (making them around 50 cents each and making my dogs very happy). Unfortunately, they didn't have any. (Sorry puppies, Mommy will look again before the coupons expire.) I did find something hysterical on this aisle:

Look familiar?

Now this pre-packaging calorie control has trickled down to our fat pets. Seriously, if your dog is overweight, should you be feeding it snacks in the first place?? Back to the picture, I don't think you can see it but it says "8 Grab -'n-Go Pouches Inside". Um....ok.....that is important and needed because....?? Can someone tell me why anyone would need a "grab and go" snack for your dog?

There are other things that make me stop and go....huh? For instance:


Are the people who eat pop tart like food, the same ones who are really concerned about it being organic? I just don't know. Do you?

The next section that required a picture is not a "huh?" section but a "whoa!" section. These are the buy in bulk economy tubs (yes, tubs would be the right word to use here) of food. This picture is for my husband, who loves this section. (Look Frankie, see that big can of cheese....try to contain yourself!) He just likes to look at the huge quantities of food in one gigantic jar and dream of all the possibilities. Is this a guy thing or just a Frankie thing?

Beyond the gigantic food section was the canned tomatoes. Let me tell you about the coupons I had. They were for Muir Glen organic diced canned tomatoes. A can of the Wal-Mart brand diced tomatoes cost 48 cents. Muir Glen cost $1.12 for the same size. So, almost needless to say, I had never bought them. But enter the coupons...oh the glorious coupons. $1 dollar off any size or variety of Muir Glen product. ONE DOLLAR! You just can't beat paying only 12 cents for a can of diced tomatoes, let alone ones that are organic and even fire roasted! Wouldn't you just love that price? Go here to get it! (There is a small download and usually you can print the coupon twice if you use the back button.)

I have been finding some great printable coupons online lately. But sometimes, even with a coupon things cost more than I want to pay. Instead of letting those coupons go to waste I will leave them near the product so that some one else can use them. Angie thought that was very benevolent and wanted me to take a picture for an example.

Now, after all that and after standing in front of the Kashi products for a good five minutes trying to decide which product to use my $2 off coupon on (When Frankie heard this he was even MORE glad he didn't go), I was ready to check out and so was Angie. We hunted for the shortest line....which on a Tuesday evening wasn't too hard...and unloaded. I told the checker that I had coupons as she started to ring up my purchases and I went ahead and swiped my debit card.

She got done and said, "Your total is $73.67." right as I said, "The coupons!"

Too late....the process was through. She sighed. I sighed. Angie sighed. I am sure the lady behind us sighed.

I wasn't about to say, "Nevermind, I will just use the coupons later." No way, no how...and you will see why. She called a manager over who said that cashier was going to have to ring them up all over again. I, of course, already had them all bagged and in the cart, but I was willing to take them all out. Angie and I told the lady behind us to go ahead and check out. I didn't want her to have to sit through that again.

The manager wanted to try it a different way and had me go to customer service with her. They went through all my coupons and checked the receipt to make sure I had actually purchased the product. Then she rang up every coupon and gave me the cash. All totaled, I got back $25.45!!!! TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS FROM COUPONS!! I was shocked. I knew I had a lot, but I didn't realize it was that much. I was very ecstatic in a way that only saving money can make me! :) That bill of $73.67 just dropped to $48.22 and I had purchased 41 items.

It was the happiest moment of my life! :) OK, maybe there are a few things that were better, but this rates pretty high!

That rounds up my Wal-Mart on a Tuesday story. I know that I like to read about ordinary people doing ordinary things, so I hope that you enjoyed this blog. Seriously, if you got this far something held your attention. :) Please feel free to add comments and have a great day!

Friday, May 16, 2008

It's Potty Training Time Again!

Yep, it is that time again for potty training....but guess what. I don't even have kids...hmmm explain that one! Ok, I will. I have a cat you see. A very strange cat named Pan.

We potty trained him once. Here is the story if you want to read it. Since we only have Pan again, I want to go back to a no litter box household. Pan is now at the stage where an aluminum roasting pan gets placed down in the bowl of the toilet. (If you are interesting in the other steps, here is a good link. It is not quite the same method I used the first time, but it is close.)

So I went to the store today to buy the pan for Pan. (hehehe!) The lady checking me out asked me what I was planning to cook in the pan. I smiled and laughed a little, slightly embarrassed about what I was about to say.

I leaned in and said, "I am not going to cook anything. I am teaching my cat to use the toilet." She just looked at me and didn't say anything. Then when I left she gave me a strange look, almost like she was mad. I didn't say anything else either, just got my purchases and left. I did find it extremely funny and wanted to laugh, but I don't think the cashier would have joined in!

I bet she thought as I left, "There goes another weirdo!"

Oh if she only knew! LOL!

Friday, May 9, 2008

The United States Postal Service

I read many blogs written by Americans living in Italy and through them I have heard many bad things about the Italian Postal Service. Most of the complaints are about packages being very delayed, and there are even complaints of packages being opened with food that was sent missing. I am grateful for the United States Postal Service being fairly reliable.

So it really cracked me up yesterday when my husband received a card in the mail. It was originally posted marked back in March! Here is the envelope with the explanation to the delay. I have never seen this stamp before, but since they have a stamp then this must happen more than I think. Absolutely priceless!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Lane Pepper

I have a prayer request that comes from my friends in Rocksprings, Texas.

Lane Pepper is a nephew to one of the members of the Rocksprings church of Christ. He is a young man in his twenties and suffered with cancer not once but twice. With surgeries and radiation treatments he and his wife, Paula, thought they would never be able to have babies. To amazement of the doctors, she became pregnant. However, at the last doctor's appointment they found a cysts on the baby's brain. They are performing regular sonograms in the event that the cyst continues to grow and then delivering the baby early would be the safest option. They will not know the effect of the cyst on the baby until birth, but the potential effects can include severe mental disability. Paula is due in early August.

On top of that worry, Lane has been experiencing back pain the past several weeks, which caused the doctors to perform and MRI. The results revealed that he has a 30 cm (1 foot) tumor in the same place in his abdomen from which the other one was removed in January (The prior tumor was 7 cm, so this one is over 4 times the size of the last one). Lane will soon begin intensive chemotherapy that was described as consisting of "lethal doses of chemo." This chemo treatment is supposed to be extremely painful and, because it is so potent, will probably necessitate a bone marrow transplant.

I don't know this family personally, but I know they need prayer, more now than ever. If you would please stop what you are doing and say a prayer for them asking that their baby can have a healthy normal life, that Lane's treatments will be effective and bearable, and that both Lane and especially Paula will continue to be strong through these hard times they are going through.

When you say these prayers believe in your heart that God can hear you and has answered with a resounding, "YES!". (Mark 11:24 - Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.) Also, remember to thank him for all the blessing that he has given to YOU in your life.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I Have Regrets

First, I would like to make a confession.

Io sono una fifone. I am a fraidy-cat.

It is sad, but true. I had a wonderful oppurtunity to practice my Italian with some REAL LIVE Italians yesterday, five men to be exact. They were at my work, in my building, on my floor, right around the corner from my desk AND I knew about them, but I did nothing. I got too flustered to even say hello in ENGLISH!

I have spoke with an Italian before, so what was was my problem this time?

Almost everyone at work knows about my obession with all things Italy and someone even said to me as I walked by, "Jennifer, these guys are from Itlay!"

With a big stupid grin on my face all I could say was, "I know. I could hear them." as I walked back to my desk.

I regret this.

Thank you for your time.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Questionable Answer

I was tutoring a 9th grader yesterday in Algebra and he was working on a puzzle worksheet. The worksheet came from a book filled with puzzles that ask a joke and then the student has to solve math problems to find the answer. Usually the punch lines are VERY corny, which makes me giggle and the students groan. (I know I am a nerd...I can't help it.)

I looked at the question on this puzzle and then the answer. I was a little surprised by the answer. I don't know if this was really a very appropriate joke to put in a clean-cut corny math puzzle book.

This puzzle question was: "Why did Gyro go into a bakery?"

The solution and punch line was: "Just for the smell of it."

Am I just being too uptight? What do you think?