Thursday, January 27, 2011

Help! I'm stuck in a pair of Spanx!

So, yesterday I went shopping for my wedding lingerie.  Not the fun, cheesy, 80s, "come to mama" lingerie that you get to wear on your wedding night, oh no.  I went shopping for those torture devices that you wear underneath your wedding gown.  The ones that shove all of your imperfections into God knows where and makes you look less than human.  Goodbye, flaws; hello, Spanx!  Anyway, I tried on a girdle at Meijer.  Who in the hell invented these things?  Even Wikipedia doesn't know.  Eff off, girdle.  Well, I know where all of the bits go that the girdle squishes.  It goes above and below the girdle!  If you ever want to look like a pound of sausage stuffed into a 1/2 pound casing, this is the way to go.

Have you ever tried something on in the shop and actually laughed out loud in a crowded dressing room?  Yeah.  That was me last night.  Laughing HYSTERICALLY.  I put this girdle on, and then put some dress I found over it to check out the "smoothing effects" of said girdle.  If "smooth" means "creating lumps beneath the breasts and stomach where there were none before," then this thing was successful.

On to Target, where they have some Spanx.  Unlike girdles, I KNOW who invented Spanx.  It was one Sara Blakely.  I now know with whom to express my disbelief.  I found this....thing.  It's like a onesie for an adult.  It goes all of the way up to the boobs and then down to the mid-thighs like shorts.  It was a medium, but looked like about a size 18 months.  Anyway, I put this thing on.  Kind of.  I think I did it right.  Anyway, smoothing, yes.  Breathing, no.  Also, I couldn't get it off.  Seriously, dudes.  I'm in the Target dressing room, all "HAAAALP!! I'M STUCK IN A PAIR OF SPANX!"  Other ladies and young girls are laughing at me.  The Target employee, instead of helping me, called more Target employees to come witness the hilarity.  As it is, I got stuck in the Spanx, and I had to wiggle myself out of them, and no one wants to deal with that on their wedding day.

Oh! Class is beginning!!!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Jeeeeeeeeeez, Louise!

I wonder where that phrase came from.  The Little Man has taken to saying it all of the time, and I'm muttering it to myself right now as I sit in the lovely Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis, Tennessee, taking a break from massive homework overload and getting angry at people on the Internet.

Why am I angry, you ask?  Check out this little gem on my local MomsLikeMe site.

"My 14yr old daughter has always been one to speak her mind but now is getting her in trouble at home because she being disrespectful to us.  She blames me for pety things that arent even my fault like me forgetting to remind her that she wants a bag of chips at store because she forgot.I useually take her to school a little early so if her friends want to buy her breakfast she has time to do that,but now husband is laid off and says I cant do that anymore because we have to watch our gas since I work .....she got mad.This morning I was going to take her to school and get gas in car but when I felt how cold it was I didnt want to stand outside to pump gas so my husband took her to school and got gas in car.....well she sent me atext and said since I did not take her  that her day is ruined.I will admit, she is spoiled rotten,the last born,but is it just me.....just her,or could she have a type of autism?Why I ask this is because there is autism on both sides of family." (sic)

Spoiled, ungrateful, parent-made brat.  So, "could she have autism?" is clearly the correct direction to go.  Is this REALLY what people think autistic humans act like?  REALLY?!  I'm flabbergasted. 

I am going to have to look at something really cute to curtail the upset.  Luckily, at this hotel, in about half an hour, I can go down into the lobby, and they will unroll a red carpet that leads from a large fountain in the lobby to the elevators.  Then they will ring a bell, and a bunch of awesome ducks that live in the fountain will line up, walk down that red carpet, and climb into the elevator to go upstairs for lunch and a nap.  Super cute.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

GIMME THOSE COUPONS!!!! McGyver style.

Listen, recycling Dumpster.  I SEE those coupons in there, and I WILL have them!

So, I had to take the paper recycling today, and I threw it in there, and lo and behold, there are two new SmartSource booklets sitting right on top of someone's discarded Indy Star.  Well, I want them.  So, I open the top door and reach in to grab them, and I'm about an inch too short.  So, I stand on my tippy toes and make myself REAL long.  I still can't reach them.  I WANT THOSE!!  So, I have to go into McGyver mode.  If I can open the Dumpster door all of the way, then I can just hike myself up and lean over and grab them.  Sounds pretty easy.  Except I'm not tall enough to open the door all of the way.  I tried with all of my might to throw that lid open, and it just came down every time.  Once I missed catching it, and it hit me in the noodle.  That was enough trying for me.  I just need to be a little bit taller!  So, I went looking for something to stand on.  My recycling basket is a thin wicker basket that I would have fallen through.  There were several cardboard boxes that looked full of stuff in the bin, but I couldn't reach those, either.  I had nothing sturdy or tall in my trunk, so standing on something was out.  Then I thought, maybe I have some tweezers in my purse.  All this time, this dude delivering Pepsi to the Kroger is in his truck, munching away on his sandwich and laughing hysterically at me.  THANKS, BUDDY!  COULD YOU GIVE US A HAND AND MAYBE JUST HOLD THE LID OPEN OR SOMETHIN?!  Anyway, I didn't have any tweezers.  Then, I decided if I could just prop the lid open high enough not to whack my noggin or my back on it, then I could hike myself up and grab them with a quickness.  So I propped the lid up with my recycling basket and went for it.

I whacked both my noggin AND my back on the lid, knocking my recycling basket off the edge, and closing myself halfway in the bin, with my legs and butt dangling out.  I am STILL about 1 cm from being able to reach the coupons, and now the Pepsi guy probably has his delicious cola beverage flying out of his nose from laughter.  Yet, he still does not offer to help.

So, I decided to make some homemade extendo-arms and grab the coupons that way.  I propped the lid back up with my basket, grabbed a book and my ice scraper from the car, leaned in there and grabbed the first coupon booklet with my extensions.  SUCCESS! COUPON BOOKLET #1 IS MINE! MWWWWUUUUUAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA!!!!  VICTORY!  So I leaned back in to grab the second booklet and get out of there with my dignity intact (aaaahahahaha).  As it is, I dropped my ice scraper in the Dumpster, and when it hit the coupon booklet, they all slid down out of reach again, especially since my left Go-Go-Gadget arm had just fallen in.  All hope was lost, dudes.  And now I NEED that ice scraper.  IT'S WINTER IN INDIANA!  I had to call in reinforcements.  Eric was on his way home from church, and I asked him to stop by the Kroger recycling bins, please.  I needed assistance.  I'd explain when he got there.

Eric showed up...all 6' many inches of him.  He reached right in there and got my ice scraper AND the other coupon booklet, no problem.  I explained the situation.  He says he'll still marry me anyway.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Random stuff, school, couponing, funny stuff the kids say

I don't have too much on my mind tonight, just some little randoms.

First, when we were at the doctor's office today, Little Man and I were playing with some plastic dinosaurs while we waited for the nurse.  I was saying "run, dinosaur!!!" to his dino, and he looked at me in all seriousness and goes, "Karen.  No.  *sigh*  These are FAKE dinosaurs."  You know, with the "duh, idiot" look on his face.  All y'all parents know the one.

He and the Big Man have also been watching Eric play Halo on the Xbox, and so now they take their Omagles and make guns out of them and play "the shooting game".  They are all the time in there yelling "Slayer!" and "GAAAAME over".  Hilarious.  I don't really like them playing gun games, though.  I don't like the implied violence.  Mostly, though, I hate the "pppsth, pppsssth" sounds they make the guns have.  It sounds too much like spitting and makes me want to vomit up my ralphy chunks and other slang terms for vomiting.

Little Man and I have had a really great couple of days together since the Big Man went back to school.  He got a new little girlfriend at school, and he's been showing off for her with good behavior.  I was the last parent to pick him up on Tuesday, and she wouldn't let her mom leave until I got there so that they could walk out together.  They were comparing the temporary tattoos they had gotten today and giggling.  Little Man's little dimples as he shyly says, "byyyyyyye, Annika" was so cute.  He's been super duper helpful, too, vacuuming the floor and listening.  I haven't had to put him in time out in a few days, with the exception of a small one Tuesday morning that he came right down from because he did what I asked right away.  It's been so nice.  I've found when he isn't listening that I've been calmer, as well, and when I don't flip out, he's less likely to go into full meltdown mode and earn his famous, screaming for 90 minutes time outs.  We've done a lot of watching Handy Manny and playing outside in the cold for 5 minutes so that we can get good and freezing and enjoy 30 minutes of hot chocolate time to warm up.  It's just been so wonderful.

Also, my school starts Tuesday.  I've got all of my textbooks, and I'm ready to go and totally excited.  Three of my five classes have silly-buses posted already, so I've already started on quite a bit of reading.  Taking a small break from it now, actually.  At the moment, I'm reading something that isn't required called "The Political Science Student Writer's Manual".  I just finished "Writing a Research Paper in Political Science," and I think I'm going to be well prepared for the papers I'm about to start writing.  This semester marks my very first 300-level PolySci class, and my first honest-to-goodness research project on Middle Eastern Politics.  I am infinitely excited about this.  I also have an Intro to International Relations class, which is a 200-level PolySci core class.  It has parts of a full research project, but not a full one like I expected, so it is a bit of a relief to know that I'm only putting one foot in the water instead of jumping in head first and trying to do two large projects in one semester.  My three online classes are Personal Health, which is a gimme class with not many assignments but a large amount of reading, Intro to Human Geography, which is rather interesting, as I've already read the first couple of units.  I like learning about my consumption and carbon footprint.  And my third class is a prereq for my Master's in Library Science, and I am SO EXCITED TO BE A SENIOR!!  It's a simple computer technology class specifically for libraries.  Technically called Computer-Based Information Tools.  I think I get to learn how to use library databases and the like.  Very helpful in conjunction with a research-based class like Middle Eastern Politics.  It's gonna be a wonderful semester, even though I no longer have my 4.0.

Speaking of that.  I had to regroup and find a new goal.  My new goal is to not drop below a 3.8, and the reasoning is simple.  In order to be accepted into the master's program for library sciences at IU, you have to have a high GRE score, UNLESS, you have a higher than 3.8 GPA.  If you've gotta 3.8, you don't have to take the GRE, and that seems like a reasonable goal.  A 4.0 in political science at a major university is, actually, a rather unreasonable goal, though it's a bit of an embarrassment that a Children's Lit class took me out of the running.  Well, I took myself out.  I got too ambitious with a paper that I knew I only had a week to write, and I turned in something that I knew was crap.  A 3.8 GPA is definitely more reasonable.  Plus, if I don't have to take the GRE, I save money, and we all know I love saving money!

Speaking of, COUPONS!  I've been inundated with questions about my couponing from here, IndyMoms and FB.  I'm thinking about getting together at an IHOP or something one day and having a workshop and asking Alisha Ferguson to help me, since she's the reason I coupon and use Swagbucks now, and she has loads more experience than me.  Maybe sit down and have a little Q&A session and do some practice shopping.  Hit up a place with free WiFi and bring a bunch of laptops and make a little game out of deal finding.  That may help me make some more friends, too, and if I'm talking about stuff I know a little bit about, then maybe my Asperger's won't get too much in the way.  It's when I have to do small talk that's the problem and I become inappropriate.  Most of the women that would go know about my Aspie status anyway, and they'd probably cut me some slack.  I don't mean to offend people or hurt their feelings.

As for the folks that can't meet up with us because they're too far away, I could put some couponing hints here in my blog or on FB for y'all.  The first step is to get a hefty stash of coupons and pick one store to begin using them in.  Subscribe to the largest Sunday paper in your city, and check out the coupons every Sunday.  If they are for good stuff you will use, then head out to Dollar Tree and pick up a few more papers.  Make sure to check that the coupons are in the papers before you buy them.  I clip everything, and not just the stuff I'm gonna use.  I clip it for trading purposes, though I haven't done a successful online trade, yet.  Once you have a good stash of coupons built up, you are good to go.  They will need to be organized however you wanna do it.  I have a binder, and they are all alphabetized by brand name in plastic baseball card sheets.  My binder has pockets in the front and back.  I put coupons I'm going to use for a specific trip in the front and coupons that are too large to fit in my baseball sheets in the back.  Some people use zipper pouches and tab them for category.  I may switch to that method soon.  I can't remember all of the brand names for some products.  You can get more coupons by dumpster diving, too, if you aren't scared of the looks.  For pete's sake, though, have some dignity.  Wear gloves or something.  And go into the recycling dumpster, not the nasty food dumpster.  Mondays and Tuesdays I've found are the best days for this.  People throw their Sunday papers in there, coupons and all.  Also, you can write directly to the manufacturer's of your favorite brands and tell them how much you dig their stuff, and they will send you free coupons.  There are online trades at places like We Use Coupons, and you can trade coupons you don't want for coupons you do.  You can also buy coupons on eBay or use clipping services.  There's a list of them on the same website.  There's also a really great coupon database there that you can search.  If the product has a coupon out, it will be on the list, and it will tell you where to get it.  Lots of coupons can be printed right off the net.  If you need a bunch of printable coupons, go to the library to print them so you don't waste a ton of ink and because most of them only allow you to print 2 from your computer, but the library has a bunch of different computers that you can get two each off of.

Anyway, that's my first coupon tip.  Get loads and loads of coupons.

I'm gonna try my first New Year's Resolution trip at Meijer tomorrow morning after dropping the Little Man off at school.  If all goes well, I'll be getting a month's supply of food for our family of 4 for around $52.  I didn't add the tax up because here in Indy, some food has tax and some doesn't, so I have no clue what is gonna be taxed.  I also hit up a Kmart sale today and got 26 lbs of meat for $26, and I got a little bit of the month's stockpile during the trip from Hell that I last wrote about for $32.  All in all, that should come up to around $110 to feed a family of four for an entire month.  That's a nice chunk of savings from the $400 we used to spend.  Hopefully it works out, and I won't have to shop again until February.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My first big couponing shopping trip...a huge failure and a huge success all at the same time

How's THAT for an extremely long title.  So, my New Year's resolution is to cut our grocery bill by 60%.  I started couponing a couple of months ago and got it to where I save around 40% a trip, sometimes 50%, but I want it a little higher.  I also want to go on one big trip a month instead of going once a week.  So, I decided to start that today.  It takes a little more planning, and since this was my first time planning this way, it took HOURS.  First, I ran outside in my robe and slippers in the cold to get my Sunday paper and clipped all of the coupons.  Then I went to Dollar General to buy 3 more Sunday papers, but instead of going there, I had to take the paper recycling first since the first coupon clipping extravaGANza filled up our paper basket.  While taking the recycling, I spotted some coupons in the recycle dumpster, so I snagged those, too.  Since I got those, I only bought one extra paper instead of three.  Woot, +1, win, and all of that other slang that means that that rocks.

So, hours of clipping (Eric helped some when my hands hurt), and then I perused the new Meijer ad, noticing that Yoplait was on sale 10 for 5 bucks and that they had a few things 10 for 10 bucks with the 11th free.  Now, I don't normally shop until Thursdays, because my matchup blog, Bargains to Bounty, is in Detroit, and their sales ads are a few days ahead of ours.  Their sales start Sunday, but ours don't start until Thursday.  I find it convenient because that means I can get the matchups on Sunday to begin making Thursday's list.  As it is, it's been a couple of Thursdays since I've shopped because of the holidays, and I got all outta routine and turned around.  I clipped my coupons, alphabetized and organized and placed them in my binder, and then went to BTB to check out the matchups.  What I saw there had me goin all nutso.  There was my Yoplait sale and the 10/10 with the 11th free stuff.  WTF!  So, I checked my Meijer ad, and sho' nuff, it says that sale ends on the 5th (Wednesday), so I made my list, which was massive, since I would like for this to be my ONE shopping trip of the month.  It took a really long time.  Hours, really, to get it all done.  And I haven't even gotten to the level of comparison shopping, yet.  Right now, I shop Meijer exclusively, but as I get better and more organized, I'd like to be able to compare Kroger and also Dollar General, since I didn't even know until today that they accepted coupons.  Not only do they take manufacturer coupons, but they also take internet printables, AND they allow you to stack DG coupons with manuf. coupons.  They also have this crazy policy that if the coupon doesn't say "one coupon per transaction", you can use as many as you want, which is a policy I've not heard anyone allow before.  Like, if you buy a can of soup for a dollar, and you have 2 manuf. coupons for .50 off a can of soup, you can use both and get the soup for free.  Nuts.  Anyway, as soon as DG goes into my rotation, they're SO goin down.  Not that the store will mind.  They make money on manuf. coupons.  The manuf. reimburses them plus 3 pennies a piece for shipping.

I got off track.  So, my list, it was enormous.  More enormouser than any list I've ever made, and I decided that since I was somehow a week behind and confused with my sales for the holidays, I better head to Meijer at 9 p.m. and get this trip done sans children when the store is relatively empty so that I can deal with the Uscan without anyone behind me.  I was all excited.  Too excited, really.  I forgot to put on my coat.  Girlfriend was cold.  Dudes, it is 15 degrees out there.  Anyway, I gotta front row spot, grabbed my 20 reusable bags and my list and my binder and shivered my way on into the quiet, serene, empty Meijer.  I shimmied my way over to my totally free Colgate to find...*GASP*...this is NOT on sale!  This Colgate, it was supposed to be FREE.  It was supposed to be on sale for 1 dollar, and then I have .50 off coupon that will double to 1 dollar, and *poof* free toothpaste!  I have several coupons!  DEAR MEIJER:  GIRLFRIEND WAS STOCKING UP!  HAVE A SALE, YEAH?

So, I got a little frustrated, but I put my not-free toothpaste back on the shelf, removed my Colgate coupons from the "use for this trip" section of the binder and placed them in the "C" (for Colgate, if you don't follow) section.  I moved on to the batteries.  They had one set of these stupid rare A123 sized batteries for freaking TEN DOLLARS left in the damn store.  So, I'm all upset that they cost so much, even though I have a coupon for a dollar off.  They're for the smoke detector that comes with our security system at home. That flippin dick kitchen can't just take a couple of .50 AA's like a normal smoke detector?  Sheesh.  That bubblehead is gonna drive up my average!

Anyway, we need the detector working to sell the house, so I bought the ultra-rare, in mint condition, new in box A123 batteries.  Short, fat, effers.

So I moved on to the yogurt.  YAY! SALE IN FULL EFFECT!  I bought 34 of them.  There were slim pickins.  I hope the kids like mint chocolate grasshopper flavored yogurt.  Kidding, of course, though they did get a lot of lemon *gag*.  Then I moved on to something else that I can't remember in the yogurt aisle that was SUPPOSED to be 10 for 10, and it WASN'T.  I was all flustered.  So, I didn't get that, either, and then I had to mark it off the list, and then subtract the amount of them that I was buying from the total number of 10 for 10s that I was buying and readjust my 10 for 10s because I had exactly 66 items on the 10 for 10 with the 11th free list.  I made sure that my 10 for 10 was in a multiple of 11 to make sure I got 6 items free.  Blah, this knocked me down to 60 items, so I had to remove another 5 items to bump it down to 55.  Hassle, and the beginning of TOTAL ASPIE MELTDOWN 2011.  It's only 2 days in to the year, people!  TAM 2011 didn't take long to get here.

The next two 10 for 10s were fine, but then the next, like 10, weren't.  I felt like I was gonna explode in the store.  Good thing no one else was there.  I was seconds away from sweeping all of the pickles off a bottom shelf and curling up there to rock myself into a tizzy.  HOURS of work, and none if it was worth a damn.  My neat and beautiful list was now full of red pen and stars and WTFs, and I'm in need of an autism intervention.

I decided to intervene myself, and herein lies the huge success of the operation.  That kind of meltdown is not something that I can stop, not easily anyway.  Usually, I just go into the bathroom and let it happen, cry, throw things, shake around and rock on the floor, whatever I need to do to let it out.  This time, though, I made a solid decision.  I had to be a little weird, but hey, the store was empty.  I went over to the Glade candle aisle and just opened a few jars of vanilla candle and stimmed my sense of smell a bit to calm down.  Then I calmly rewrote my list and figured out what happened.  What happened was that a few of the items that are on sale this week were also on sale last week, the yogurt and a few of the 10/10 items.  I saw that in the ad and thought I was missing the sale I needed.  In reality, those items, plus the rest of the big sale that I matched for will start Thursday, just like always.  I wasn't a week behind.  The ad confused me because it had a rolling sale happening for a couple of weeks in a row.  When I go on Thursday, everything on my list will match.  So, I made the decision to not purchase any of the 10/10 items today, even the stuff that was on sale, and just get it all on Thursday.  That way my 66 items are still intact and I won't have to rework that list.  I also will wait until Thursday to get the other sale items that weren't on sale yet, but I decided to enjoy the quiet Meijer at now 10 p.m. and get the yogurt since it was already on sale and those blasted batteries, since they are ultra rare, and I'd have to go to eBay surely if I did not purchase them straight away, and a few other items that weren't going to be on sale Thursday, but we needed them anyway and I had coupons for them that were expiring today.

I cleaned up my little vanilla haven and went on my way with a new plan.  Let me reiterate.  I have NEVER been able to change a plan on a dime like that.  Never.  Especially not with as much work as I put into it.  I am giddy enough about it that I can't sleep.

Anyway, much to my surprise, some of my necessities were on sale THIS week!  I got my toilet paper for less than planned and also my dishwashing soap.  Good times!

As it is, my first transaction was 28 yogurts, and it had a 45% savings.  I could only do 28 of the 34 because I had 5 coupons for it, 3 for .40 off six and 2 for .50 off 8.  Meijer only doubles the first two like coupons, so if I would have done all 34, that last .40 off six would not have doubled.  Plus, I wanted a separate yogurt transaction because Yoplait is a Catalina right now.  If you buy 20 of them, you get a 2 dollar off your next order coupon, and I wanted to use that on the rest of my stuff.  So I used 4 of my yogurt coupons, plus a $1 off my order coupon that I got last month for a Catalina, which brought my savings up pretty well.

Then I rang up the rest of my order, and minus the batteries, which aren't staples, my food/toiletries bill was 32 dollars with a savings of 20 dollars, which is about a 40% savings.  Normal for me.  For that I got 34 Yoplait, 6 double rolls of Angel Soft, 6 bags of lunch meat, dishwashing liquid, 2 gallons of milk, 4 Kraft mac and cheese (no funny shapes), 2 Campbell's Chunky soups and 2 bags of cereal.

On Thursday, I will finish my large trip, and my cost estimate there is 53 dollars, and all of that (the 53 plus the 32 I spent today, so 85 bucks), should last our family of four an entire month.  When I met Eric, his grocery bill was 100 a week, or 400 a month.  I'm taking him from 400 a month to around 100 a month when it comes down to it.  We don't have a large freezer, so I am still going to have to go to the store to get meats and probably one more gallon of milk.  I buy the large bags of chicken when Meijer puts them on sale for 6.99.  I get however many will fit in our tiny freezer at the time.

As it is, that's 75% savings for us since I moved in if I can pull this off!  HOLY CRAP!  This is what happens when I don't have a job!  We'll see what happens when school starts next week.  See if I can keep it up.

Stay tuned! Don't touch that dial!