Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bye, Bye 2011!!!!

As this year comes to a close, the re-evaluation process needs to start. I need to analyze my goals from 2011, what got accomplished and what didn't, I also need to plan for new ones for 2012. This will be a big year for us. Princess will graduate from high school and head off to college.

But today, I don't want to do that. I just want to sit back, relax and enjoy the first stressfree day I've had in a long time. Today, I am happy and joyful and full of optimism about the future.

Farewell 2011! And a bright, happy "Hello!" to 2012! Y'all stay safe tonight!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Back to Reality

I hope each and every one of you had a wonderful, peaceful and blessed Christmas. Ours was wonderful. I spent the days leading up to in a flurry of baking, cooking, cleaning and last minute trips to the grocery store. The fabulous thing about having a teenager that drives is that you can send them with a list to pick up those last minute things. The not so fabulous thing? Even with a list they forget something!

I spent yesterday relaxing and getting the house back in some semblance of order. Its not the
re yet, but its slowly is getting there. I also went out to Target to get slip covers for my hand-me-down den chairs. I got several Target gift cards for Christmas and this is what I wanted them for. I also managed to pick up a couple of ornaments for next year gift giving, but passed on the Justin Beiber and Spongebob gift wrap (that's all that was left that late in the day). I will keep my eyes open over the next few days for paper I like because although I only had to purchase ribbon and gift tags this year, my paper is stock is now very low.

Today, I head back to work after 6 days off. Its hard to get motivated this morning. I'm drinking my coffee and wishing I could just snuggle back in bed! Cold, rainy weather isn't helping my motivation either!

I hope you all survived the insanity of the Christmas season with joy, laughter and love. Now, back to the real world!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Well, That Was a Close One!!!!!

Sunday morning, Murphy paid a visit in the form of a car that wouldn't start.....not the happiest thing a week before Christmas. Yesterday morning, my Dad picked me up to take me by the mechanic's place to drop off the keys and then take me on to work. We got there a little early before they opened and my mechanic walked out saying he was just about to call me since my car was sitting there. I explained to him what was going on, gave him the key, asked him also do the preventive maintenance while he was at it,  and went on to work.

Shortly before lunchtime, I got a phone call...... he'd retested the battery and it wasn't showing as well as it did when it was tested the day before. He felt they have a better machine in his shop for testing. Good news was that since I had gotten it there, it was still under partial warranty, so only $25 for the replacement. He also replaced a valve that should take care of that belching exhaust, $18 for that and he was waiving the labor because he felt his guys should have noticed the corrosion on the battery when they did my last oil change. He had a coupon for me for the fuel system cleaning, and were doing the transmission servicing. Total damage, with tax, was $166.88. Phew! I had budgeted $200 for the two maintenance services (mainly because I couldn't remember exactly what they quoted me before but knew it was over $150 but below $200 and gave some wiggle room!).

So, $33.12 under what I'd planned even with Murphy coming into the picture!!!!!! I am SO relieved.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Murphy Arrived For A Pre-Christmas Visit

My weekend was humming along nicely, until Murphy decided to show up for a visit. Yesterday morning, I hopped in my car to head our for a quick errand. I put my seatbelt on, put the key in the ignition and "whirr, whirr, whirr, whirr", but it didn't turn over. Took the key out, put it back in and tried again. Crap. One more time. Same result. Ugh. Ironically, I had just been telling a friend of mine that I needed to take the car in this week for transmission service and fuel system cleaning. Perhaps I put that off too long?

Anyway, so I called my Dad and he came over and looked under the hood. There was some corrosion going on around the battery and the connector cables, so he cleaned those off well, then took the battery out and took it to AutoZone to have it tested. The battery was fine and dandy. He put it back in and we tried to crank it again. Same result. This means it needs to go into the shop. So we decided to go ahead and try and get it over there, even though they were closed. Thought it might be easier to get it up and going then instead of stressing over it on Monday morning. So, after several attempts to jump start, it finally cranked with a massive belch of exhaust and I drove it over to the shop.

My Dad will pick me up this morning and take me over to the shop to give them my key, as well as to discuss the potential problems. I SO did not need this right now --- of course do we ever REALLY need it?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tis The Season to be Stressed!

This Christmas season has seemed to fly by faster than most. I'm not sure why that is. My Christmas Shopping is completed. The decorations are up. But nothing has seemed to so incredibly smooth. Perhaps it was getting the cruds right at Thanksgiving which had me somewhat down and out for 2 weeks and that are still hanging around a bit even now. Maybe its starting a new position at work. Maybe its the fact that I haven't walked in the door before 8 p.m. except one single night for 2 weeks. And when I do, I'm exhausted. What ever it is, it seems to be speeding up the countdown to Christmas. Or at least my timeline.

I have cookies to bake. And sausage balls. And sweet potato biscuits. And cheese grits. And casseroles. And various other things. I haven't made a recipe list. I haven't made a shopping list. I'm not even sure if I have flour in the pantry, much less the other required ingredients!

I haven't wrapped the first present. I haven't even checked my stock to be sure I HAVE the appropriate wrapping. Sigh. I need an extra 12 hours in each day for the next week. THEN maybe I'll feel caught up. Anyone else feeling the time pinch this year?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Celebratory Shopping

Earlier this week, the Princess sent me a text from school exclaiming that she'd pulled a 96 on her final project for a class she has been struggling in! Whoop! An hour later, she sent me another text stating she'd maintained her final grade in another class and would therefore get to exempt that exam! (Exams tend to hurt rather than help the Princess's grades so exempting is a cause for high fives all around). A few minutes later she sent yet another text requesting her favorite dinner in celebration. I did a quick mental check and new I had most of the ingredients at home, so even though it would require an unplanned trip to the store, I said sure.

So, here is what a got:

Milk Bone Dog Treats (no that is not part of the celebration dinner, I promise!)
Wine (celebratory for me, not the Princess)
Publix Sour Cream
Publix Crescent Rolls
2 Simply Potatoes Hashbrowns
Bic Razors
Sesame Seeds (on clearance for $1.25)

Spent: $15.90
Saved: $11.67
That's 42% for an "on the fly" trip. Not too bad!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Facing Facts

I met a wonderful friend for dinner last night. We took the chance to catch up on everything that is going on each others lives. This friend, Rescue Girl, has always been super successful and in the past couple of years has really become heavily involved in animal rescue. As I've watched her posts on FB, I've always admired and marveled at how much passion, time and energy she devotes to giving animals a second chance. I also knew that she was putting some of her own money towards the cause she so ardently believes in. Since Rescue Girl has always been so successful, I just thought she'd found a great outlet for her time and energy.

After the check came, the talk turned towards finance. I was paying for mine with my debit card and Rescue Girl was paying with cash and I remarked that I needed to get to a cash basis, so that I'd really feel the pinch when I paid for something. It was then that she said she didn't have a choice, her credit cards were gone. I then said something about that being my goal too and that's when she told me that her credit cards weren't gone by choice, that she was in real financial trouble -- the close to losing her house kind of financial trouble. My mind flashed back to the numerous fb posts showing her very flashy car filled with huge bags of dog food for donation, the numerous nights out on the town she posts, all things that appeared to show a hugely successful person living a really fun and fulfilling life. I asked Rescue Girl if she had a plan, and she just said "it will all work out". I was astounded. This super successful friend whose drive and energy I had always admired was in a deep hole -- and basically just thought it would work out. I tried to press a little more, but she changed the topic abruptly. Sigh.

I hope she will see that these kinds of things usually don't just "work out",  That there needs to be a plan, and it needs to be put in place asap. There's really not much I can do except to suggest ways to make a plan if she asks, and to definitely be sure we don't meet up for any more dinners out, maybe pizza at my house instead?! You can't make someone face reality if they don't want to, all you can do is be there and help out when reality finally sets in. I'm hoping it sets in sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tis The Season To Be Spending

It seems, no matter how well we plan, December always seems to be expensive! I always try to keep the spending under control, but it always seems to creep back up there. Hectic schedules end up with little in the pantry and the "easy" option of drive through. Friends wanting to get together end up with yet another excuse to eat out.

This week is the perfect example! The calendar crept up on me and I remembered that I needed to bring something for a pot luck get together last night. I had hoped to leave work early to throw it together yesterday afternoon. My previous position had that sort of flexibility. Two days into a new position without the same flexibility, and I just couldn't do it. So I ended up running by the store and grabbing a $8 pie!

Tonight, I'm meeting a friend for dinner as our holiday get together. We've been trying for weeks and it just hasn't happened! Yikes. So, I'll be spending there too. And tomorrow night, we'd planned a month ago to have our departmental Christmas get together. That was before we were all reassigned, and before I felt like I'd been throwing money at restaurants for weeks. However, since I plan to return to this department, I can't blow it off. I really need to go for professional reasons, and I also need to go for personal reasons --- I really really really like those I work with and my boss too!

So, tis the season --- for restaurants to get all my money! Fa la la la la, la la la la!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

One Down, Many More To Go

So yesterday started Day 1 at my new postition. I got to work a smidge early, reported in to my new supervisor who said my trainer would be with me shortly, moved my stuff from my old desk to my new desk, and was all ready to start my new job. I booted up the new computer and logged on. And it wasn't set up properly. My email wasn't linked. The software system wasn't there, my access systems weren't there. My trainer came by and had some stuff come up so we went over a few things, including my computer that wasn't set up right. We notified IT and I waited. And waited. We finally got started a bit around 11 a.m., but until then I just sat there and checked facebook and played games on my iphone. I had nothing to do.

Once we did get started it was somewhat a blur of new systems, new acronyms, new processes. By the end of the day, my brain was mush. I can see that this new job isn't going to provided the "today is a new day with new adventures" variety that my previous job did. It is going to be harder to be motivated to do it without the adrenaline rush my old job did. But I'm thankful that our powers that be wanted to be certain they could me so found a place for me instead of pinkslipping me. Now I just have to find the motivation factors internally, because I don't think the job itself is going to be providing that kind of push. But its okay, I have a job, I have a paycheck and I have really good benefits. And for that I can find my own motivation!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wish Me Luck

Today I start my new position at work. I'm nervous, I'm frazzled..... so much so that I didn't even hit "snooze" this morning! It is an odd thing to wake up and know that although everything has changed, it really hasn't changed quite that much. I'll still dress the same. I'll still leave the house at the same time. I'll still park in the same place....but now my desk will be in a different spot, I'll have new immediate co-workers, I'll have a new supervisor, and I'll be learning all new stuff. It is kind of a "yikes" and "phew" all rolled into one!

So wish me luck today as I start this brand new adventure. I'm so lucky in so many ways. I'm so thankful in so many ways. But dang it, I'm nervous! Happy Monday!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I Think I'm Finished!!!!!

Yesterday, I spent the entire day Christmas Shopping. And I think I'm finished. I started out, list in hand, budget in hand at 7:45 yesterday morning. The rest of the day became a blur of ringing cash registers, swiping debit cards, traffic frustrations and shopping bags. I was getting tired late in the afternoon and wanted to just go home! But I had a final stop to make and knew if I did that, I would not have to fight the crowds again, which would only get worse closer to the big day, so I persevered. And I finished.

I've got a mound of shopping bags that need to sort through and match up with my list. I'm pretty sure I didn't exceed budget on any of the gifts, but I need to double check. I also need to have the Princess try on a few things --- these aren't part of her Christmas, but really, when I find Ralph Lauren skinny jeans marked down to $15 in her size and she wears jeans almost every single day, its foolish to pass them up without at least giving them a try. They can go back to the store if they don't work.

Today will be spent sorting the gifts and labeling who gets what --- and cleaning the house. I have a busy week on tap so I need the house to be sparkly. I'm totally happy though that it looks like I can spend at least part of this Christmas season just enjoying it!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Adventures During My Absence.....

Last week, before the need for a pity party hit.... I took a much needed sick day to get some rest and get over the crud that had been plaguing me since Thanksgiving. It turned out to be a very good thing. We had another pup spend the night due to an unexpected cold snap and the morning of my sick day, I was in the kitchen making a bagel and cream cheese for my breakfast. Visiting pup and Thing 2 were having a grand time playing. Let me make it clear, Visiting Pup is a VERY sweet dog and they seemed to take to each other like long lost friends. They were romping around the house, just having a ball. And then, they apparently started playing too rough. And boom! A fight broke out. Which I got to break up. Fun. After I pulled them apart, I surveyed the damage.

Visiting pup was fine, not a mark on her. Thing 2, however, had a gash on her head. She thoroughly got her behind kicked by a pup half her size. At first I thought it was a scratch, but when I went to clean it.... I could see that it needed more medical attention than I could provide. So I loaded her up and took her to the vet. Four staples, antibiotics, pain meds and $75 later, we came back home. The rest of the day went without incident although the pups ceased to romping around the house.

Needless to say,I wasn't really expecting the additional $75 in vet expenses this month, but when you are a pup lover, it is sometimes to be expected. Thing 2 has healed well and the staples have been removed and she now sports a rather rakish scar. Still, not an experience I'd care to repeat.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Groceries! Finally!

So, I have been woefully neglectful on shopping lately? Coupons? Haven't clipped them worth a flip in over a month? Sale shopping? Nada. Taking pictures and blogging about my groceries. Haha. Apparently not. But I finally went to the store yesterday evening and here is what I got:

10 Powerades
2 Publix Froxen Pizzas
1 Bag Beggin Strips
2 Pillsbury Ready To Bake Cookies
1 Flipz White Chocolate Covered Pretzels
1 Coffeemate Creamer
3 Ramen Noodles
2 Knorr Sides
1 Bag Arborio Rice
2 Publix Diet Lemon Lime Sodas
1 Barbers Frozen Chicken Entree
2 Hormel Compleats
1 Busy Chewnola Bone

Spent: $36.94
Saved: $29.90 or 43%

A New Start

Monday will begin a new phase for me, which will likely be temporary, but in this case temporary means anywhere possibly from 6 months to 2 years. My job, which I adore, has undergone some massive changes. Due to some changes that are beyond my control, my supervisor's control and even the executives' control, my position is being temporarily eliminated due to changes in the company's contract. This is incredibly difficult for me as I LOVED what I was doing and in fact I have never had a job that paid so well, provided such good benefits, provided the in-deparment comraderie or provided me with such personal satisfaction. We knew there were massive changes coming since August. Since the abrupt changes have no end in sight currently, upper management had two choices: lay us off or reassign us. We are hopeful that these changes will be temporary --- whatever that means when dealing with bureaucracy.

Other departments within the company that weren't as affected by the changes need additional staffing. Our department was pretty much consumed with busy work for the past couple of months in order to stay busy. I am very thankful that instead of laying off our department, upper management chose to reassign us. And it will be okay. Nevertheless, the last week has been an adjustment of immense proportions. It is hard to let go and to readjust my thinking.

I have a job. That job isn't going anywhere, and in this economic climate, I can now (after a pity party), let go and move on to the next phase extremely grateful.

So sorry for the long absence, it has been difficult transition. Monday will start a new chapter. And I think that will be a very good thing.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


I swear, this has seemed to be the longest week ever! In addition to STILL having the lingering cruds it has been drama drama drama filled. Drama is NOT my friend. A total week of upheaval that I haven't even fully processed yet. I'll write more about it later, once I fully have some sort of mental grasp of it all.

On the budget front, well, that's just gone to hell. I haven't done a decent grocery shopping in ages --- in fact I had to stop at the store yesterday and get a pack of TP at FULL PRICE-- ugh. However, down to roll in the house, 2 girls in the house --- well you do the math! That was a necessity! Lack of groceries, feeling like crap and other drama have also conspired me to be lazy in the kitchen and we've resorted to more takeout than I care to admit.

I'm feeling a smidge better today and I'm hoping to get the house in complete and total order, finish the decorating for Christmas AND get some grocery shopping done this weekend. Here's hoping.

Y'all have a fabulous Saturday!!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Still Hanging On

This crud just doesn't seem to want to go away. It has been a full week now and I've still got the icks. I've been struggling through work, and at night, I just want to veg. Last night I got the first decent night's sleep in a week. Maybe that means I've turned a corner? We will see, I suppose. In the meantime, I'm behind on Christmas decorating, shopping, cooking and every other preparation I can possibly make. Sigh.

And I have major writer's block if you can't tell. Unfortunately, when I'm sick my brain appears not to work much either. I hope all of your preparations are coming through fabulously! For me, the focus is on getting healthy and hopefully getting back into the groove.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Time to Get Back to It

I keept saying that, but it doesn't seem to be happening. I've been absent the past few days because I didn't have an internet connection where I was staying over Thanksgiving. I had every intention of posting yesterday, but I seem to have picked up the crud while I was out of town. I basically could barely hold my head up yesterday, which, having to make a 4 hour drive home was NOT FUN. Still feeling pretty much like crap today.

So, let me recap my week:

Wednesday: Drove to South Alabama, dropped the Princess off with the StepMom for her to spend a little time with them. Went to where I was staying and crashed out.

Thursday: Thanksgiving. Hit CVS for some of their Black Friday Deals (which I will post about later). Then, went to my Uncle's for a HUGE family Thanksgiving! It was great to hang out with the family, and to stuff myself to misery. After that feast, we went to my cousin's (different side of the family) and hung out for a while.

Thursday Night: Went to the Outlets and scored a couple of sweet deals for the Princess's Christmas. Then went to Target --- or rather TRIED to go to Target. In the area where we were, there is only one Target serving a HUGE area. So, the line was insane! At 12:30, it was still wrapped around the parking lot. We decided we'd rather sleep so we ditched it.

Friday: Got up and begin the long drive home feeling like crap. This necessitated frequent stops to keep myself awake (we even stopped at a Target and I took advantage of a couple of the deals that were still available). Finally got home, picked up the pups, and took a short nap.

Friday Night: "Christmas" with my brother. He won't be able to come home at Christmas this year, so we celebrated early. Main problem? I felt like hell in a handbasket and so did the Princess, so we left before dinner was even served.

Today: Still feel like crap, so I'm taking it easy for now and debating on what I should do as far as watching the Iron Bowl (Alabama/Auburn game).

So, that's it in a nutshell. Not very exciting and feeling like crap. Here's hoping that changes soon. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What to Do? What to Do?

Trying to make a final decision about my Thanksgiving Travel plans. Should I drive back on Thanksgiving night? I HATE driving at night (especially 4 HOURS!)and I tend to get very sleep doing so. Plus I want to do some midnight shopping. I could do the Target shopping here. I could stay at my Thanksgiving destination Thursday night, take a few hour nap in the evening, and then get up and hit those sales that I'm so excited about at midnight (outlets and Target), then come back to where I'm staying, get some sleep and then hit the road coming home on Friday. Both options have their pluses and minuses. And I'm not sure which to do.

Either way, I won't be missing out on family time lest you think that I'm ditching family stuff for shopping. Our gatherings tend to break up between 3 and 4 on Thanksgiving Day, so either option is NOT infringing on the family time. What to do? What to do?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Things Are Looking Up

I had every intention of posting yesterday, but time just got away from me. A busy weekend to be sure! The side gig event was good, not stellar, but good, but even better.... I found my lost tote bag! Somehow, it got wedge between the passenger seat and door --- when I had checked through the car multiple times, I had been going through it from the drivers side. Doh! I feel EVER so much better now!!!! That is a huge relief!

Yesterday, I made a big long to-do list and managed to cross each and every thing off of it. Can't remember the last time THAT happened! The house is clean, decorations are ready to be put up and I'm starting to peruse the Black Friday ads. Most of my Christmas shopping is done --- except for the Princess. I really wish she'd get me a list SOON! I've perused the Target Black Friday Ad a good deal. At first, I didn't think it was so stellar, but upon further review --- it is actually pretty good ---- and there are some LOW prices for things Princess will need next year at college! I don't want to make college needs her Christmas, so I think I need to look at stuff rer nowally closely and make good and NOT SPONTANEOUS decisions!

I'll hit the grocery store tonight for the final things I need for Thanksgiving cooking. I'm thinking Aldi may be the way to go if they aren't completely cleaned out. I can get in and out of there quickly AND save a good deal of money. I just have to go over my grocery list one more time.

For now though, I'm going to drink my coffee then get ready for work as I admire my super clean house! Y'all have a great Monday!!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Losing It

At this point, I can't really decide if I'm losing my mind or if I'm just so overwhelmed with all I've had going on that I'm just really disorganized. Probably a little of both. I do know this though, I've set my side gig back hugely and all it took was a few minutes of inattention.

Wednesday night I met some friends for dinner. As always, I had my side gig tote bag with me (you never know when an opportunity might present itself!). Had a GREAT dinner with friends and really enjoyed the camraderie. It was the first night this year that I'd been out and about and it was really actually cold. So in addition to my tote bag, I also had my purse, my coat and a scarf. And then I had a go box because I really only picked at my dinner. So when it came time to go, I paid my check, gathered up my stuff, made a quick stop at the store and then got home and unloaded the car. Laptop, gobox, groceries, purse..... I put away the groceries, checked email, and went to bed. I woke up Thursday and got busy with my day. Thursday evening, I went to go get my tote bag so I could get my contacts out of there and make some phone calls. Where is the tote bag? Did I leave it in the car? I went to search the car. No bag. I looked all over the house, no bag. Crap. Well, maybe I left it at work. So, I got up Friday morning and searched the car again. No bag. Maybe its at the office. Got there, no bag. (Smack myself in the forehead --- the restaurant!) At lunch time, I headed over there. They haven't seen it. I leave my name and number and say I'll be back after work to talk to the owner (known him for years so thought he may have seen it and put it aside for me). Came back after work... still no bag, he hasn't seen it! UGH!!!!

Those four solid days of business building I did? GONE. History. Every single one of those contacts was IN that bag! I hadn't had a chance to put them in my computer yet. I am SO FRUSTRATED with myself! I normally don't go around losing things. I may misplace them at this disaster I sometimes call a house, but I never leave stuff other places! I am just so ill with myself.

So, today is a new day. I've got another side gig event planned today, and while I know it doesn't have the possibilities the other one did, I can at least go forward with it and try not to dwell on the lost opportunities that were in that bag!

Wish me luck!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Publix Wednesday Shopping

I did some quick shopping this week -- I wasn't thrilled with the sales, but it was nice to have a chance to get back into some couponing since I've been so neglectful the past few weeks. Here is what I got:

2 V8 Fusion
3 Coffee Mate Creamers
1 Publix American Singles (penny item!)
1 Sargento Shredded Cheese
2 Ragu Pasta Sauces
2 Betty Crocker Muffin Mix
1 Mueller Pasta
2 Disney Gummie Vitamins
1 Publix Diet Lemon Lime Soda

Spent: $21.05
Saved: $33.31

That's 61%!!!! Woo Hoo!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Back to Normal

Well, techinically, that will start tomorrow, I guess! Today will be anything but normal because I am worn slap out. I worked all day yesterday, then had a side gig meeting last night until almost 9, then spent another 3 1/2 hours on the computer working on the side gig. Went to bed around 1, then was up at 5 because the Princess had basketball practice at 6 a.m. (ouch). I will now work all day, then go to another meeting tonight and really don't anticipate walking in the door until 9 again. Sigh. On 4 hours of sleep. Sigh again.

BUT I will go to bed at a reasonable time tonight --- and then hopefully be back in business tomorrow! I have a fully functioning kitchen sink again and that makes me incredibly happy! You never really realize exactly HOW much you use the sink until you don't have use of it! My house is looking respectable, although definitely not perfect. The Halloween decorations are finally put up (two weeks late) and I made a passing nod to Thanksgiving with a wreath on my door. We travel for Thanksgiving, so this weekend I will begin the process of decorating for Christmas. I won't put the outdoor decorations up until after Thanksgiving, but I can go ahead and get a start on the inside --- with 4 trees planned to go up in my teensy tiny house, it will take a bit of time and its easier on me (and my shopping and football schedule) if I don't wait to do it all after Thanksgiving. I figure if I can get small portions done in advance, then Princess and I can really enjoy the whole trimming the big tree!

So that's my plan for "normal" such as it is!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Still No Sink

Saturday, while I was in a mad flurry of washing serving pieces and cookware from the tournament, my sink clogged up. I plunged it to no avail. I tried chemicals WHICH I HATE DOING. That at least cleared the clog enough for it to drain out --- slowly --- but it was still backed up. That necessitated a call to dear old Dad who came by yesterday to try and clear the drain.

First, he tried snaking it. That didn't work.Then he took the pipes apart (and let me just say that sink drain pipes are G-ROSS). The clog wasn't in the pipes under the sink. We, well rather, HE discovered that there was a sediment build up in the pipe that goes into the wall. A hard crusty sediment that has apparently built up over time (likely years and years). And he didn't have tools with enough power to clear it. So.... its time for a call to to a plumber to fix the problem.

So, I have now been two full days without the use of my kitchen sink. We switched to using paper plates and such for the time being (I rarely use paper so I was glad that I had picked some up at some point when I got them free or nearly free because of coupons) I had Princess Penelope pick up take out from a local italian place on her way home last night for dinner.

The plumber will come today and we should be back in business. Of course I have a meeting tonight so I won't be able to get the kitchen back in order until roughly 9 p.m. Sigh. I'm ready to have my sink back!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Time to Regroup....

The last two weeks have been a complete and utter whirlwind, starting with Halloween night. On Halloween, I volunteered at the Police Department giving out candy. The next night I had a parents meeting for basketball (which is where I volunteered to run the hospitality room). The next night, I was cooking up a storm and getting supplies in order to work the side gig for four days straight. The next four days were consumed with working the side gig. After that, I worked non stop during my "home" hours preparing for the tournament. Then I did the tournament. After I got home yesterday, I started the mad frenzy of cleaning all the serving pieces, and cleaning the kitchen which was a disaster.

That was not successful, as the sink decided to clog up. Crap. My Dad is coming over today to take the pipes apart. In the meantime, I have a kitchen full of dirty dishes. Laundry is piled up. I haven't even taken my Halloween decorations down yet. My yard is covered in leaves. I haven't even glanced at my vaccuum cleaner which I set on fire a couple of weeks ago to deal with it. And I have NO CLUE where I stand financially this month.

Time to make a list. Time to get things in order. I'm just going to pretend the kitchen doesn't exist until my Dad comes to deal with the sink problem. The Halloween decorations are coming down in a matter of minutes before my neighbors vote me "Redneck of the Year". I'll deal with the leaves on the front walk so no one slips, but the leaves can be dealt with next weekend since after all, more are just going to fall. We need clean clothes. We need groceries. I need to pay bills. And the house needs to be cleaned, top to bottom. THOSE are the priorities.

Wish me luck.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Shopping Outside the Norm

This week's grocery shopping is completely different from what is normal for me. To start, I hadn't been to the store in almost two weeks. Add in that I had to get a TON of stuff for the hospitality room for the basketball tournament (since we had VERY LITTLE parent response). I didn't have time to price compare, so I went to Aldi to pick up what I needed --- I knew I could get in and out of there relatively quickly and since most of the stuff I was buying wasn't matching up to the grocery flyers, I also knew that I would likely spend a lot less. So this is what I bought:

3 cans kidney beans
6 cans Tomato Sauce
3 cans Diced Tomatoes
6 blocks Cream Cheese (on sale for .89 -- stock up time for me!)
2 boxes wheat thin crackers
1 Pomegranate
Ground Beef
3 Bell Peppers
1 Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread Mix
2 Bags Rolls
2 Sliced Mozzerella
Sugar Cookie Dough
Alfredo Sauce
Chocolate Frosting
Shredded Cheddar
1 lb Sliced Ham
Corn Chips
Chili Powder
2 lbs butter
Coffee Creamer
Sour Cream
3 Zucchini
2 lbs. Macaroni
2 Bags Baby Carrots
1 Bunch of Flowers

Spent $69.66

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Response, Please!!!!

No, not y'all.....but the parents of our girls basketball program. I mentioned last week that I had lost my mind and volunteered to run the hospitality room for the Girls Varsity Basketball Tournament. Since then, I have sent numerous emails and made numerous phone calls only to get VERY little response. Out of 28 parents contacted, at this point exactly 5 have responded and agreed to bring food for the hospitality room. Exactly ZERO have agreed to help with the labor end.

I know that "giving" is down everywhere. I get that. I know that I personally have to carefully consider where my money goes and the best use for it when it comes to giving. But, COME ON, this tournament raises funding for the program that your child participates in and you can't make a freaking plate of brownies? Or give 2 hours of your time to work the hospitality room, concession stand or gate? I actually had one parent tell me that she was just too busy to do anything because in addition to her full-time job, she is giving a dinner party Saturday night (funny that the signature line of her email indicated she worked for a bank so I know full well she is off work on Friday!).... I very sweetly and somewhat sarcastically commiserated, "Oh, I completely understand being busy..... as a single parent working a full-time job and another side business, I do empathize, but in order to have a successful tournament we need to have participation from all families in the program. Can you at least send some brownies or cookies?" She finally agreed to send some drinks. Gee, thanks, enjoy your dinner party.

I guess it just astounds me that parents aren't quicker to step up to the plate to do something that will, in the long run, benefit their child and the program they are involved in! I'm not asking for a lengthy commitment, I'm asking for a tiny fraction of time --- and really, if they are just completely unwilling, at least have the gumption to respond so I'll quit wasting my time trying to contact them!

Okay. End of rant!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


What a week/weekend it has been. I totalled up the hours I've worked in the past week on the side gig and the regular job and it comes out to.... 76 hours from Monday - Sunday. No WONDER I'm exhausted and to top it off, am now battling the sinus crud.

Some highlights and lowlights from my week:

1. I made enough working the side gig deal to cover my financial investment, so if the leads and bookings I got pan out, then it was WELL worth it. Right now, I'm pretty darn pumped about the possibilities.  (Highlight)

2. Saw tons of people I hadn't seen in years including friends from high school, sorority sisters and even present day friends --- all who said, "I didn't realize you were doing this!" (Highlight)

3. Thing 1 and Thing 2 threw a couple of parties while I was gone --- they got into the leftover Halloween candy (fortunately not much chocolate left), ate a bag of cookies and learned the fine art of knocking over the garbage can. (Lowlight)

4. My beloved Alabama Crimson Tide dashed their NC dreams with a shoot themselves in the foot performance against LSU (we need a kicking game, desperately!). (Lowlight)

5. My brother came home from Tampa to attend the big game --- which due to my work schedule necessitated me getting up at 5 a.m. to meet him for breakfast on Sunday morning. (Highlight --seeing him. Lowlight: 5 a.m.)

6. Princess Penelope picked up some of my slack around the house with my crazy work schedule this weekend. While it wasn't in perfect shape, at least it wasn't pull my hair out bad! (Highlight)

7. I'm really excited and totally pumped up about growing my business! Can't WAIT to see what's in store! (Highlight)

So, that about covers it --- I'm WAY behind on reading what's been going on with everyone else! Hope to catch up on that soon!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Day 3

Time to get ready for Day 3 of the side gig event. My feet are aching. My back is aching. And I'm tired. But, I still have much to do! I haven't yet reached my goal for the side gig event this weekend. I need a big push today since time is starting to run a bit short. Yesterday the booth was a bit on the over crowded side and since I'm not the type to push I didn't have quite the day I'd hoped for yesterday. Ill need to raise the bar a bit.

 However, new day, new possibilities. I'm really looking forward to a bang up day! And then of course this evening, I'm hoping for a WIN in the big game (Alabama/LSU for those of you that aren't into college football!)!!!!! Wish me luck!!!! (and Roll Tide!)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Achy Feet And All of The Rest of Me

I worked 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. on the side gig yesterday. Got some GREAT leads, some great sales and had a fabulous time. Even ran into some old friends! The feet are killing me! I finally dumped myself into bed last night around 11:30 and I'm back up and at it again --- ready for round 2 --- another long day ahead! I'm really really hopeful that the hard work I'm putting in this weekend will pay off in the long run! Again, wish me luck!!!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Working That Side Gig

For the next four days I will be working my side gig HARD! Our sales team has set up a booth at Christmas Village at the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center. I'm hoping for lots of leads and good sales to really work up the business on the side --- since I'm taking vacation time to do this, I'm trying to make the most of it by working 12 hour days for the next 4 days. My feet are going to be screaming!

I'm really excited though and spent most of last night on prep work and planning, plus doing other administrative tasks associated with the side gig. I finally fell into bed around midnight last night and was back up at 5 this morning. I'm not sure how well I'm going to do putting in a 12 hour day with only 5 hours of sleep, but I "think" I'm up to the challenge! Still not sure if my feet are though!

I have to be honest though and say that Saturday, I'll only be putting in 10 hours --- Bama plays LSU in a #1 vs. #2 matchup --- we take our football seriously and there is NO WAY I'm missing watching that game! (Yes, you have my permission to roll your eyes at me now! ha!)

Wish me LUCK!!!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's Official --- I Have Lost My Ever Loving Mind

So this evening we had a parents meeting for Girls Basketball. Princess Penelope plays Varsity, so they had a meeting to discuss schedule, practices, grades, concession stands --- all that stuff that goes along with it. No problem, I've heard it all before and was in fact a little sentimental that this was the last time that I was going to sit through one of those meetings. Then they get around to talking about the Veterans Day Tournament we are hosting -- which tips off in 9 days. And they mention that they need a volunteer to head up the hospitality room. Silence.

Before I actually consciously knew what I was doing, I pulled out my cellphone and sent my boss a text asking for that day off. WTH? She texted back immediately that would be fine. So, before my brain could register the "Are you completely nuts?" -- I raised my hand and volunteered. To run a hospitality room for all of the visiting coaches and refs. To organize a group of parents (most of whom could not be bothered to show at the meeting) to bring food and man shifts in the room. To cook and organize and drive myself into an insane frenzy for three solid days.

It's Official. I've lost my mind.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!!!!

I hope you all have a truly spooktacular day!!!!!! I'm still trying to come up with a costume for my volunteer gig at the police department! Here's hoping the creativity bug bites me in the next 8 hours!!!!
Have a fabulous and safe Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Watch Those Due Dates

For the past 11 1/2 years, I have been with the same cell phone carrier. I've always been happy with them, but lately, not so much. My lack of satisfaction started last January when I had to replace one of our phones. I went in to the cell phone store and got one, it had an advertised rebate and the salesperson told me exactly what to do and gave me the forms and everything else I needed, and told me I had 90 days to submit for the rebate - I added that date to my calendar in the store. Sounds good right? I procrastinated around a bit and went to fill out the rebate information to submit, 32 days after I bought the phone. That's when I realized that I not only did the sales person tell me wrong, as the form said I had 30 days, but the rebate had expired on 12/31/10! Four days before I bought the phone! Strike 1.

Then, I needed another phone for the other line. I went in to get it, and the first phone I got wouldn't "unlock" my SIM. They ordered me a new one, but never called if/when it came in so I didn't get that phone. They said I could get one for $9.99, but I had to pay an $18 "upgrade fee" for a phone that was not nearly as good as the one I had. I'd lose my ability to buy the phone I wanted at a reduced rate later on. Or I could claim the "insurance" and get that same phone for a $50 deductible. Yes, that makes TONS of sense! I ended up buying the same phone for $30 at Best Buy. Strike 2.

So, I get online to pay my phone bill today. And I noticed that my bill was "past due" and the next month's payment was listed on there too AND a late fee. WTH? Ever since I've been with this carrier my bill has been due on the 2nd of each month. Today is the 30th. So there's no WAY the bill could be late. So, I looked closer. The due date had changed to  10/23. I looked at last month's statement. It was due on 9/28, but I had paid on that date so it didn't change anything. I looked at the month before, and the month before. Apparently, back in May the due dates had started changing, but I never noticed it. I wasn't paying late, but barely on time. Eleven years with the exact same due date and NOW they change on me, it never even occurred to me that it would suddenly change. Its definitely my fault, for not looking closer at the bills. I was checking the charges, but not the due dates. Crap. I'm thinking this may be Strike 3.

Yes, I should have looked closer, but its very frustrating to me that after 11 years of being totally happy with the way this company has done business with me, their WAY of doing business has drastically altered. I've been less than satisfied on several other occasions this year, but haven't dwelled on it too much. However, when my contract is up, I'm definitely looking into other carriers. I'm just not a happy camper.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Setting the Vacuum on Fire

So I have been in a cleaning frenzy since about 6 a.m. -- Why? Because I've got a house full of people coming over tomorrow and the house needs to be sparkly. So, I removed the couch cushions and got busy vacumming underneath them. Apparently, when I moved something I managed to knock a dust cloth onto the floor, and in moving the vacuum, put it right on top of the dustcloth without noticing. The vacuum attempted to suck up the dustcloth. And I was oblivious. Until smoke started pouring out.

Joy. I turned off the vacuum and unplugged it from the wall and removed the offending object. And the smoke continued to billow. I'm not sure if I've just seriously messed up the belt (its kind of a rubbery smelling smoke) or if I've melted the inner workings. Either way, this was NOT something I planned on.

The Princess is heading over to BFF's house to borrow her vacuum so that I don't have to worry about trying to get that handled today. Its frustrating because with either a repair or a replacement I wasn't planning on this expense at this time!!!! And I LOVED my vacuum! Its lasted longer than anyone I've ever had! Okay, I'm going to go sulk a bit more now.

Oh, and just so you know, the moral of this story is to not start vacuuming before you've had a full pot of coffee. Because apparently, you just end up setting stuff on fire. Sigh.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Shopping for Staples

I tend to do a lot of coupon shopping. It works for us, but there are obviously times that you just can't everything you need with a coupon. With grocery prices not just creeping up but blasting up like they are rocket propelled, it really does "pay" to do the grocery shopping at multiple stores instead of just one. Sunday afternoon, I'm hosting a pre-holiday "Open House" for my side gig. So, I needed to pick up some items specifically for the foods I'm serving there. I could have gone to a higher priced grocery store, and would have paid dearly. Instead, I had an hour between work and another meeting last night, so I made good use of the time, traveling from work to Aldi, getting in and out of there, home to put everything up and to my meeting on time. It was a quick trip, and I had a list -- which definitely made it easier. My point is, that if you can work the extra grocery trips into time that would otherwise be a bit wasted, it can definitely pay as my estimation of the savings for this trip, versus paying regular grocery non sale prices is close to $20. Not bad for "rush hour" savings! Anyway, this is what I picked up:

1 Quick Oats
1 Whole Chicken
1 Baking Soda
2 Dried Cranberries
3 Cream Cheese
1 Bag White Onions
2 Bags Chocolate Chips
1 Shredded Cheddar
2 Yeast Pack Strips
1 Bunch Celery
1 Box Golden Raisins
1 Wheat Thins

Spent: $30.61

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Filling the Freezer

Generally speaking, I don't normally buy a ton of multiples even when I'm shopping the sales, four of the same item is "usually" the most I purchase at a time with the exception of canned goods. I'm quickly realzing however, that with the costs of food skyrocketing it would be to my benefit to stock up as much as space and finances allow --- especially on those items that seem to get devoured (aka pizza, chicken fingers and other junk food) when Princess and her friends are hanging out over here. With that being said, this week's Publix trip called for a massive reorganizing of my freezer!

So, here's what I picked up:

3 Pillsbury Grands Biscuit Sandwiches
6 Totino's Stuffers
2 Tyson Chicken
2 Tyson Quedadillas
10 Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks
2 CoffeeMate Creamers
1 Airwick Candle
4 Campbells Soup
1 Publix Peanut Butter (Penny Item!)
3 Ramen Noodles
1 Keebler Cookies
2 Grands Biscuits

Spent: $52.88
Saved: $81.45 or 61%

I've got an Aldi run planned for later this week to pick up produce and hopefully I'll have time to post that! How's your grocery managment going this week? Are the rising prices making you re-think and re-organize?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Unplanned Expenses

Don't you hate it when unplanned expenses creep up on you? Take this past Saturday, for instance, I now need to purchase new gloves since all of ours are seemingly MIA. And then I found another expense that I wasn't planning for. As I was getting ready, I was trying to decide which shoes to wear -- I really needed something that was going to be warm enough for the cold gametime temperatures, but that wouldn't have my feet all icky during the day. I pair of leather ankle boots fit the bill. Problem is, all of my boots have high heels (I'm 5 feet tall, so I usually have heels on!). So I sent the Princess a text letting her know I was borrowing her flat ankle height boots, she said that was fine so I went to put them on. Problem was, the sole and boot were separating --- and I don't mean just a little --- I mean about a four inch gap!

Princess had mentioned that she "needed" new boots, but hadn't showed me what was actually going on with hers, so I had assumed her "need" was that she just wanted new boots. Apparently, I was wrong. I put on a different pair of shoes to wear to the game.

So last night, right after work we had to go out to a hotel for a information session put on by her first choice college. The hotel happens to be attached to a mall. We left home early because rush hour traffic can be a real pain in the you know what and arrived about 30 minutes early. That was plenty of time to go into one of the department stores --- which lo and behold had a 30% sale on boots! Plus, you could text them for a coupon code for an additional 20% off, which would put the boots at close to 50% off! We looked at the boots and the Princess found the pair she wanted at $80 regular price. After all was said and done, I paid $43 and change for the boots. Still trying to figure out where I'm going to trim expenses to cover those, but I'm happy with the deal we got on the boots. And since they are something she will literally wear until they fall apart, I really can't complain.

Back to number crunching, I suppose!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Tale of 3 Gloves

So, this morning we've been preparing to head to Tuscaloosa for the Alabama/Tennessee Game. We've been beyond excited! Princess has already left with some friends (and their parents) and I'll meet them down there later today. As she was getting ready, it occurred to us that while the temperatures will be nice during the day for tailgating, that won't be the case for the actual game itself. We're looking at mid 60s today and low 40s tonight. A twenty degree shift minimum.

So, I went to the drawer where I keep hats and gloves. And I found 3 single gloves. No mates. And both of my two favorites were not in the drawer! WTH? Of course since the last time I had gloves on was probably in FEBRUARY, I have NO CLUE where the gloves are. Princess managed to borrow a pair from the friend she was riding with and I was at least able to put together a right and a left glove that are both  black so that at least my fingers will be cozy. But sheesh! New gloves were NOT on my shopping list this winter!!!!!!

I THOUGHT I Was a Morning Person

In my adult years, I've always considered myself a morning person. Generally speaking, I'm much more productive at work between the hours of 8 and 2 than from 2-5. That is completely opposite from most of my coworkers who often can hardly speak until after 10 a.m. but function really well in the late afternoon. We have an unspoken system, I take the hard stuff in the mornings and the deal with that type of stuff in the afternoons. It works for us and makes our department function pretty seamlessly.

However, after three straight mornings of waking up at 4 a.m. for no reason whatsoever, I'm starting to doubt this morning person thing. Apparently, I don't function well when its dark outside. And the almost three hours between waking up and the sun rising are becoming wasted hours. And to add insult to injury, I'm completely worthless in the evenings by 8 p.m.! Ugh.

I have gotten a few things accomplished so far this morning. A load of laundry, some paperwork and the dishwasher is running. All in all though, I am completely frustrated with my new and completely unwanted sleep schedule. I have a HUGE day ahead as I will be heading to Tuscaloosa for the Alabama/Tennessee game and I need to shove a bunch of chores in before I hit the road. And if I don't find some energy SOMEWHERE, its just not going to be pretty! I'm hitting the coffee hard, but even that doesn't seem to be clearing out the cobwebs. Sigh. I really want to sleep like a normal person!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Stocking Up on Halloween Candy and Other "Essentials"

It's that time of year when we can stock up on all that stuff that is completely terrible for us! Like CANDY! Publix had several different kinds of candy BOGO this week. We get very few trick or treaters at our house, so each year I volunteer at the Police Station for their Halloween Event which provides a safe place for kids to do their trick or treating --- Princess Penelope is far beyond the age of wanting me to take her trick or treating, so this way I still get to have the fun of it! The event has a tight budget and couldn't provide a fun trick or treat alternative without the help of donations, so I picked up a couple of bags. Other than that, the sales this week were kind of "meh". I'm hoping next week will be better as certain items are getting low and I'd really rather not pay full price! So, here's what I picked up today:

1 Smart  Balance Milk
1 Pack Nestle Toll House Cookies
2 Bailey's Coffee Creamers
2 Reynolds Baking Cups
1 Wonka Assorted Candy
1 Hershey's Assorted Candy
2 Eight O'Clock Coffees (RAIN CHECK!)

Spent: $23.84
Saved: $25.71 or 52%

Thursday, October 20, 2011

4 a.m. Is Not Fun

4 a.m. - that's the time my eyes opened this morning. I stared at the ceiling for a while. I pulled the covers over my head. I rearranged my pillows "just so". And apparently, I wasn't going back to sleep. Normally, as soon as I stir a bit in the morning, Thing 1 and Thing 2 are pouncing on me ready to go out. Apparently, even THEY thought the hour was ridiculous. But after tossing and turning for a while, I decided sleep wasn't happening so got up to start my day.

And the start to this day is COLD. I caved last night and turned the heat on. I was kind of pouty about that because I was still thrilled with my el-cheapo power bill and I know that now the utilities will be creeping back up. It would have been nice to enjoy that just a bit longer. So now the debate begins. What temperature is optimal for us? I have no problem piling on extra clothes and blankets, but at some point you do need the heat to not be completely miserable. So, what temperature will work best? What do YOU set your thermostat on in the winter (or fall)?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Not Ready for the Cold

Over the weekend, I was commenting on how much I was really enjoying the completely mild temperatures we've had lately. I've been able to continue air drying my laundry, I haven't turned the heat or AC on in over a month. All in all, its just been fabulous! To top off my enjoyment, my power bill arrived Monday and I was so excited (yes, I'm a dork that gets excited over a power bill) --- but the bill was only $62 and change! That's $95 LESS than the previous month! So, definitely something to get excited about!

And..... apparently I spoke too soon! This mornning I woke up to 46 degrees. Rain last night ushered in a cold front and now this southern girl is lamenting the loss of those gorgeous temps and perfect days! The heat hasn't kicked on yet, as apparently the house held enough of yesterday's heat for it to not need to come on, but I don't see that continuing. I'm also afraid I'm going to have to turn on my dryer when I do laundry this weekend. I just don't think I'll have enough room, or SPACE to dry it all by air in any decent kind of time frame. But, I'm going to give it a shot!

For now though, I'm going to bundle up this morning, because to me, it just dang COLD outside!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cleaning Out Doesn't Have to Mean Throwing Out

I've been doing a lot of cleaning out and decluttering lately. My kitchen cabinets were overstuffed and just about bursting at the seams. It was hard to get to ANYTHING I needed. Plastic containers with no lids. Sports waterbottles with leaky caps. Five -- count them FIVE cheese graters!. Four completely different sets of mixing bowls (not counting my super big stainless bowl or the one that attaches to my Kitchen Aid mixer). Five pie plates (and I rarely make pie). Silicone bakeware that I never use. Sheesh.

So I've cleaned out the cabinets --- gone are the mismatched plastic containers. And the waterbottles. Good riddance. The other stuff was divided up into what I use and don't use. The stuff I use was reorganized back into the kitchen cabinets and drawers. The rest was divided up. The bulk of the duplicates went into a plastic storage box. This stuff will be saved for when Princess Penelope gets her own place. While she will not have an apartment her first couple of years at school, the dorm we are hoping she gets will have a kitchenette and she will need some basic kitchen equipment there. It seems foolish to have duplicates now and get rid of them to only turn around and buy them again in a year or two or even three. So that stuff is now in a storage box clearly labeled --- Princess (kitchen) which has found a home in the basement.

The rest of it has been divided into a box for donation and a few things are going to a friend who has just gotten a divorce and is starting a kitchen from basically scratch. The easiest thing, of course, would be to just throw it ALL in a box and haul it up to the curb for the city to take off to the dump. But, that would be SO wasteful! More crap in the landfill, more people purchasing new, more manufacturing, etc. So, by taking the time to sort it all out now, I'm giving the Princess a head start for when she has her own kitchen, I'm helping out a friend on a tight budget, and hopefully I'm helping out someone else that might need a cheese grater when they are shopping at the thrift store. And all of that stuff is staying out of the landfill until it has reached the end of is useful life.  That is hopefully a win-win-win-win for all.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Way Too Much To Do.....And Not Enough Time To Do It!

This weekend has come and gone SO fast, but its been a really good one! Friday night, I pretty much piddled around the house, straightening here and there, but for the most part, just chilling out. Saturday, I got most of the laundry done --- washed, dried and folded. Cleaned the rest of the house from top to bottom, save for the office and Princess Penelope's room (she's on her own in that disaster! but she got it done, too).

After my cleaning fit, I met friends to watch Alabama stomp all over Ole Miss then came home and went to bed. This morning, the pups actually let me sleep all the way to 7:30 ---- whoo hoo! I got up, had my coffee, read my paper, and then got busy again. Last load of laundry done. And I started working through the disaster I call my home office. At the beginning of the day, you couldn't walk through it. Now, while not complete, you can see the floor! We made about 15 trips up to the curb for "stuff" to be picked up by the City. And I also have four big boxes full of "stuff" to take to the Salvation Army. I've got a huge box full of stuff to be shredded (my shredder and I are about to become BFFs!). And the garbage can will barely close.

After I finally cleaned and sorted just about all I could, I got busy on dinner --- which has now been consumed and cleaned up. And all I can saw is "whew!" I am worn out! Hope y'all had a fabulous weekend!!!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

What's Going Right

Fall is definitely setting in around here with cool nights and mild days. This is the first year I can remember in a while though that it seems like we've actually had a true fall --- where the temps didn't go straight from hotter-than-hades to cold-as-a-you-know-what in a matter of days.

The fabulous temps are having a positive effect on my power bill. Well, I hope it is, I haven't gotten the bill yet. But I really think it must be having a good effect because we haven't turned the AC on except once this month. Same goes with the heat --- we've only had one morning where it was cold enough inside the house when I woke up that I was tempted to turn the heat on.We got through that though and as of yet, I still haven't turned it on!

The good temperatures have also made it possible to continue to air dry our clothes. Four and a half months and I still haven't turned the dryer on! I'm still not sure how long I'll be able to continue that once the really cold weather comes into play. Space is very limited inside for air drying and I don't exactly relish the thought of CONSTANTLY having clothes hanging all over the house. However, I'll experiment with it some and see how much tolerance I do have!

We've also had enough rain this month that I haven't needed to water my gardens outside. My fall bloomers are doing great without any help from me. Given the astronomical costs of water and sewer service around here, that is a definite blessing!

With grocery prices constantly rising, utility rates rising, and the absolutely wicked costs of Princess Penelope's senior year, I'm completely thankful that the weather, at least, is giving me a break!

Y'all have a fabulous weekend! I'm going to hang some clothes up to dry!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Grocery Shopping For The Deals This Week

My grocery shopping often looks very unbalanced. Let me assure you that I don't consider this type of trip to be balanced or enough to sustain use every week. I don't always blog every trip to Aldi I make (which is where I get most of our produce) because I don't my blog to just be showing my grocery trips. When I do blog the grocery trips I generally do my BIG trips to Aldi and my awesome coupon saving to Publix. I also have a nice stock of fruits and veggies in the pantry and freezer. That being said, this is what I got this week at Publix taking advantage of sales and coupons:

3 Half Gallons Hood Simply Smart Milk (this is ultra pasteurized so it will last quite a while)
1 Soft Soap Hand Soap
2 Propel Water 6 Packs
1 Emerald Almonds
2 Glade Candles
1 Crystal Light
3 Kibbles N Bits Dog Food
4 Bailey's Coffee Creamers
1 Publix Gummi Bears (penny item!)

Spent: $28.26
Saved: $38.03 or 57%

One thing I found interesting was that when I added it all up, if I had paid "regular price" with no coupons for just the milk and dog food (which would qualify as very basic and necessary groceries) I would have spent just about the exact same amount. So by combining the coupons and sales, I got the soap, propel water, almonds, candles, coffee creamer and gummi bears too! Not a bad deal all in all.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

$10 Here and $10 There Add Up

In addition to all of the graduation expenses that have hit me hard this month, I've been nickel and dimed quite a bit, too. We started off the month with a Lee Jeans Day for Breast Cancer at work. A $5 donation, and you get to wear jeans to work. This is completely "optional" but I'm also well aware that it is noticed by the powers that be who participates in the various fundraisers. so I participated. Then we also had the United Way pledge drive. And of course I participated in that too --- that will start as a payroll deduction in January. Also this month we have a canned food drive. All are worthy causes, no doubt about it, but those, combined with other things this month are eating into my bottom line deeply. (I have a separate budget category for the causes I regularly contribute to, so these are over and above my normal level of giving).

Next up, we have departmental birthdays. For each person in the department that has a birthday, we each chip in $10 and the birthday boy or girl gets a nice wad of cash. While it is fun to get that wad of cash, basically we are just getting back what we put in over the course of the year (unless of course someone leaves after they've had their birthday so they are no longer contributing) so I really see no point in it. Trading money to me just has no purpose. Each year I try to be the voice of reason, but majority rules. This month we have 2 birthdays, so there goes another $20. Add in 2 funeral plants for extended family members of a coworker and another former coworker and there's another $20.

I know I sound completely UNGENEROUS (is that a word?). But I do give to causes I find worthwhile over the course of the year --- I budget it in. I also give a lot of time to worthwhile organizations over the course of the year, too. Giving, to me, is an important part of a balanced life. I'm just not sure I like this month's "Giving Til It Hurts" phase. We're only 13 days in and I've put out $55 in unplanned giving. (Yes, I forgot about the birthdays this month and didn't include them in my budget!)

And wow, this post sounds SO much more stingy than I intended.... I'm just trying to figure out where I'm going to cut my budget to absorb those things I hadn't planned for --- my "Misc" category was already consumed, and then some, with the graduation expenses! Back to tweaking the budget!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


We sat down and tallied it all up last night and wrote the check. The final cost for the cap and gown fees, the announcements, namecards and tissue inserts came to $241.11. That's $8.89 less than I expected! Yes, I know, in the grand scheme of things, $8.89 isn't much but it is SOME savings! That's $8.89 that I don't have to come up with from somewhere else. And that's a very good thing.

That's $8.89 I can put towards debt this month since I didn't think I was going to be able to make the full debt payment I wanted to make. My minimum due per month is $150, however, in my quest to get out from under that debt before the Princess goes off to college, I'm currently putting $500 per month towards it --- and hoping that after this debt free Christmas, I can hit that harder because the $500 per month will NOT get that debt eliminated by August 2012, however short of never leaving the house, I can't cut any more than I have from the budget!

And in other related news, I spoke with Princess Penelope's step-mom last night when we were tabulating up the final numbers for how many announcements they wanted to send. She told me she was going to run her numbers this week and send me a check to help cover some of the costs. That makes me VERY happy because I didn't even ask! It will be fantastic to have some relief from some of these costs. I don't care if it's $10, $20 or $50, that's $10, $20 or $50 that I can put towards my debt. So.... Yea!!!!! And here's hoping!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Replanting Alabama

Yesterday, I spent my afternoon planting trees. One of my friends, Singer Girl, works for a local television station. That station teamed up with the local board of realtors for a project called Replanting Alabama. The goal for this project is to replant trees in areas that were hit hard by the April 27 tornadoes. On that day, the tornadoes came in waves throughout the state. Although many know of the devastation wrought on the afternoon and evening of April 27, not as many know of the ones that came through that morning. So, Singer Girl rounded up some of her friends to participate in the project. Given that I actually love to plant things it was only natural that I said "Sign me up!"

The Cahaba Heights area, southeastish of Birmingham was hit particularly hard just shy of 6 a.m that morning. If you look at the houses in the background of this picture, before the tornadoes, you could only see the ones that directly faced the street. You certainly couldn't see the sky in the background. This neighborhood was built in the 1950s-1960s and had a very well established canopy of trees. That is definitely not the case now.

So, yesterday this group of volunteers planted 25 trees. And next Sunday, 25 more will be planted, and the Sunday after that, and the next one. Its a small thing, and it will take years before these trees mature to the point where they actually fill in for some of those that were lost on April 27. But its a start.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

College Acceptance and Reality Setting In

Yesterday afternoon the mail arrived later than normal for a Saturday. I was getting cleaned up to go and watch the Alabama/Vanderbilt game with friends when I saw the mailman stop in front of the house. I scooted out to the mailbox and pulled out a big stack of mail. There amongst the bills and junk mail was a big fat envelope from the admissions office of Princess Penelope's first choice school. Princess Penelope was not at home and was a good hour away at a Pumpkin Patch with friends. I laid the envelope on the dining room table. And there it sat, taunting me. I finished getting ready. And still it sat there.

I tried to call the Princess on her cell phone, but alas, she had no service at the Pumpkin Patch. I tried again. And again. And still the envelope sat there. I knew that I would be leaving the house before the Princess got home. So I tried Princess's friend's cell phone. No answer. Crap. The envelope still sat there. I finally gave it and began to open it just as the Princess called back on her friend's phone. So, I opened the envelope --- a quick scan and the word "Congratulations!" popped out! She had been accepted to her first choice! Squeals from both of us abounded and sent Thing 1 and Thing 2 into a flurry of barking and jumping (can't blame them since minus the barking I was doing pretty much the same thing!). The Princess and I chatted on the phone and then she hung up to get back to the business of the Pumpkin Patch. A minute or two later she called me back, asking me not to tell her Dad because she wanted to. I stood in the kitchen and started trying to call my friends since I couldn't call family because Princes wanted to. And you know what?!?!?! No one answered. So here I was, ready to burst, and NO ONE was answering the phone! Couldn't post it on Facebook because family might see it. So, I posted it up on Google+ since my friends group is much smaller there!

Anyway, after posting it up, one of my friends asked me on Google+, "And how is Mom?". And that's when reality set in. I looked back over the information in the envelope and gulped audibly. This is going to cost a very pretty penny. Time to get serious regarding scholarship searches. Time to buckle down with the spending. Time to start researching laptops. Time to start putting aside the college essentials. Time to figure out exactly how we're going to pay for this. I've got some money put aside, but not nearly enough to cover 4 years at a reasonably priced state school. Time to figure this all out. I know we can do it. Its just a part of getting us there.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Saturday Shopping at Aldi

My cupboards were getting bare on basics so a quick run to Aldi today was definitely in order. I love shopping there because although I simply ADORE the Publix sale prices, often times their full prices are a bit heavy on the wallet. Another plus with Aldi is that since it is so small in terms of square footage, I can get in and out of there in a pretty short amount of time.

So, here is what I picked up:

2 Boxes Dog Treats
2 Shells & Cheese
1 Pumpkin Quick Bread Mix
1 Frozen Pizza
2 Boxes Toasted Ravioli
1 Bag Frozen French Fries
4 Bags Shredded Cheese
1 Refrigerated Pie Crust (have a new Pampered Chef recipe I want to try out!)
Flour Tortillas
Swiss Cake Rolls (did I mention I was hungry when I went)
Nutty Buddy Snacks (ditto)
Light Sour Cream

Total Spent: $46.96 --- Saved??????

Nice Weather = (hopefully) Lower Power Bills

During the Summer, I made quite a few adjustments in how we were consuming power. My house was built in 1957 so the energy efficiency is terrible. Add to that that we have relatively no shade on the house and that generally equals outrageous power bills in the summertime months. This summer, I made a few adjustments that I think really helped keep the power bills down: I air dryed all of our clothes (and so far, I'm continuing this), I cooked more in the microwave and toaster oven than in the oven, we wore tank tops and shorts around the house, and we made better use of fans than we have in years past.

Those efforts helped generate summertime power bills than I've seen since I moved in to this place. And now moderate temperatures are helping me to keep those efforts going. While it is still getting into the 80s in the afternoons, the cooler overnight temperatures are cooling the house off sufficiently that we aren't having to turn the air conditioner on during the day. And although we've had a couple of nights were the temperature went down into the 40s outside, we've only had one morning where we were tempted to turn on the heat, but we just gritted our teeth and got through it. The still warm days are letting me continue with air drying the clothes, although it is taking longer than when it was 100 degrees outside. I'm continuing the practice of cooking as little as possible in the large oven and still relying on the microwave and toaster oven (with a family of just two, it can be very easy to cook small things in the toaster).

I've really been happy with the way this has worked out, and my budget has certainly appreciated it! Any suggestions for reducing our heating bills as the temperatures continue to cool will be most welcome!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Of Bedsheets and Togas

Yes, bedsheets and togas were what kept my mind occupied last night. Each week during football season, the high school has a different theme for the pep rally and the students dress up accordingly. So far this year they've had tie dye, cowboy, pajama, mix match, hip hop and the list goes on. Also, every year, they do a "Honor Thy Senior" Friday --- which for some reason they do not do the day of the Senior Pep Rally which features the Seniors in a more prominent role. (That was last Friday --- and yeah, it makes no sense to me, either).

As part of Honor Thy Senior, the Seniors dress up in togas. (Yeah, still not making a lot of sense to me, either, but I just go with it). So, when I got home from work yesterday, Princess Penelope told me we had to make a toga. Fun. So I scoured the linen closet for a white sheet. I managed to come up with one, a twin bed sheet, which is not ideal, but the only other white ones were the 406 thread count egyptian cotton sheets on my bed (which were a gift, by the way) and those were NOT going to be transformed into a toga! If you ever have to make a toga -- skip the rest of the internet and go straight to youtube --- it will save you TONS of time.

So we wrapped, and adjusted, and rewrapped and readjusted and finally got that twin size sheet into a suitable toga. Then there was the olive wreath or whatever it is that goes on the head. My first thought was to go snip some rosemary and wrap it with wire and such to make the wreath. However, it was now almost 10 and I didn't feel like trudging out to the garden, so i improvised. We had weighted balloon anchors that were covered in green mylar and green mylar palm leaves that needed to be thrown out. So I snipped the leaves off, wrapped them around green pipe cleaners, stapled them securely and ended up with a sparkly wreath thing. It works, and for all that she's a pretty mature for her age teen, the Princess still likes the sparkles so it got a thumbs up from her.

Now, to rewrap that toga again!!!!! Fun.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Phew! That Was Close!

Last week, I posted about how I only had $100 left til payday and after meeting a couple of obligations, that had me down to $63 to last roughly nine days. I figured out that I also had an additional $24 coming in due to expense reimbursements at work. That gave me a grand total of $87 to stretch for NINE days.

It really was not easy! Over the course of those 9 days I spent $63.81 on groceries (two publix runs and an aldi run for apples and cheese), $10 on gas (had to add a bit yesterday as I was woefully low) and $10 on eating out. That comes out to $83.81 --- $3.19 left.

It was tight, but I made it through. Barely. One thing I figured out is that when you are hyper aware of your spending, you really really second guess those impulse purchases and whether or not you really need to make those trips to the store. Or to the mall. Or to the bookstore.

Today is payday so I can breathe again. I promise, however, that I"m not going to go all crazy today. Although, I probably do need to actually fill up my car with gas!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Weekday Grocery Shopping

Did a quick trip to Publix after work today to take advantage of this week's penny item --- COFFEE! As I was going past the clearance rack, I noticed that they had Nivea Lip Balm on clearance - 2 for $2.99 --- and I had a coupon for $3 off 2 --- that means free lip balm!!!!!! Woo hoo!

Anyway, this is what I picked up today:

1 Angelsoft Toilet Paper
2 Mueller Pasta
3 Quaker Instant Oatmeal
1 Publix Cheddar Cheese
1 Dove Antiperspirant
1 Stouffers Famil Sized Meal
1 Velveeta Shells & Cheese
6 Campbell's Condensed Soups
1 Publix Coffee (penny item!)
2 Nivea Lip Balm (FREE!)

Spent: $26.41
Saved: $36.68 or 58%

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Spook-tacular Fun!

I simply adore Halloween! I have always just loved decorating for Halloween almost as much as I do for Christmas! However, in the past year or so, I decided I didn't want quite so much hassle, and I also realized I was not using all of my stuff, so I started scaling back a bit. Not a ton, but a bit, and I promised myself I wouldn't purchase anything else until I was out of debt. (I think I fibbed to myself a bit).

Anyway, I spent part of Sunday afternoon getting the decorations up and out. I always have so much fun doing it, and thought I'd share a bit. The trio of ghosts coming out of the pumpkin was added to our collection when we moved into this house five years ago. Princess Penelope had ALWAYS wanted the inflatable yard decorations, but previously we had lived in a condo and so therefore that was impossible. We love our ghosts!

The bushes adorning the front of the house have orange lights twined through, with several sets of "peeping eyes" blinking out. I love the effect of those!

This throwback to yesteryear guy was my fib to myself. I found him at a garage sale this summer (along with a similarly styled Frosty the Snowman) --- got the pair for $5! I LOVE kitsch!

My mom picked up this smiling terracotta jack o' lantern at a arts & crafts show when I had my first apartment my junior year in college. He has followed me around for the last 20 years! He's one of my absolute favorites! He's seen a lot of Halloweens.

And last, my all time favorite -- Baby Boo! (Who I realize needs an iron taken to him!) My Mom made him for me the same year she bought me the jack o' lantern. We had one on our front door every year when I was growing up, so my Mom made one for each of us and our homes. He brings back  a lot of fabulous memories of both my own childhood and Princess Penelope's. Every time I consider putting something else up on the door in October, I always go back to Boo.

What's around your place this month?

The Costs of the Senior Year


Yesterday at Princess Penelope's school, they had a full class assembly just to go over ordering the graduation announcements, name cards, cap & gown and the various and sundry other items. Princess Penelope brought home the information packet and I thought I was going to have heart failure. Just to get the basics we will be spending approximately $250 --- the cost of renting the cap and gown alone is $60. Wow! They really have you where they want you, don't they? And I'm not talking ordering the foil lined envelopes or deluxe name cards or return address envelopes! I'm talking about JUST ordering the very basics.

And of course its all due on October 12 --- yes, just over a week to come up with that kind of cash. Time for some serious number crunching as I wasn't expecting it to be quite this much! Jimineez!!!!!!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A New Month and (hopefully) a New Attitude

Today is October 1. Woke up to a cool, clear, crips morning and I must say it feels fabulous! I also woke up feeling renewed and revived! I'll be heading off shortly to work an event for my side gig and I'm really excited about it! I'm truly hoping that today will jump start my month and make it really profitable! I could definitely use the extra income!

After that I'll get some things done around the house and then head off to watch football with friends. Part of my chores today will involve making a Get It Done List. I've got so many things that NEED doing that I'm almost overwhelmed by it all. I look around and start a task, then get side tracked and then finally give up. That is over! OVER I tell you! I'll make the list of what needs to be handled, then I will cross those tasks off as they are completed! Hopefully that will help my focus.

For spending, I have a new attitude, too! I am going to track every single penny --- last month was just way too out of hand!

So, new month, new attitude, new excitement about the side gig ---- Happy October Everyone!!!!!!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Grocery Shopping on a Scant Budget

For this week's trip to Publix I had to be very careful with my spending. That was proving to be difficult as the sales were very good this week, and I had coupons for everything, except for the wine and milk. (What a combo, huh?). I made a very careful list and even included the coupons and tax so I knew for certain exactly what I was going to be spending before I got there. I didn't make it to the store on Wednesday because I got tied up with something else so I therefore missed the penny item (which is just as well because it was Vanilla Wafers again and I still have an unopened box in the pantry!). Another thing about shopping on Thursday - it made it a lot harder to find the sale items. A lot of things had been shelf cleared in their normal slot, but I was luck and found them on endcaps. EXCEPT for my coffee. They were out of my particular flavor, but I got a raincheck for it, thankfully - I wasn't sure if they would issue a raincheck when they had other flavors left, but the girl at customer service was totally nice and was happy to issue it.

A quick trip to Aldi tomorrow for some produce and cheese should round it all out nicely!

Anyway, this is what I got:

2 Gortons Fish
2 Chef Boyardee Spaghetti & Meatballs
2 Snackwells Cookies
3 Hamburger Helper
2 Snackwells Cereal Bars
2 Pillsbury Grands Biscuits
2 Ragu Pasta Sauces
1 Diana's Babies Frozen Chocolate Covered Bananas
1 Aunt Jemima French Toast
2 Stouffers Family Size Meals

Spent: $32.40
Saved: $42.03 or 58%

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Whoops! I Forgot!

In my freakout about having only $100 until next payday , (well, $63 if you count what has to be taken out) I completely forgot something! I will be getting a $24 expense reimbursement on Monday! $24 isn't much, but since that will increase the money I have to stretch-til-payday by 30%-ish (no I can't do actual math this early in the morning), I'm positively giddy!

That means I've got a little breathing room. That means that if I need gas, I can get some! That means I CAN actually pick up some coffee this week since its on a great sale at Publix. (and yes, I consider coffee a necessity to my life -- caffeine addiction, anyone?)

Yea!!!!!!! I'm going to go have a second cup NOW!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Some Good News: Health Insurance

Health insurance is a necessity. I have employer provided health insurance. A certain amount is deducted from each of paychecks to cover my portion of the premiums. I never include this in my budget because it is actually money I never see. It goes out of my paycheck before said paycheck ever hits my account.

That is perfectly fine with me. I don't have to keep track of it, I don't have to think about it --- its just there. Generally, this time of year, we get an e-mail from HR informing us that our portion is increasing. While I'm never thrilled, I also know that my employer has absorbed much more of the premium increase, so I never complain. I have a job. I have health insurance, and considering the times, I feel lucky to have both.

This year, however, was different --- different from each and every year since I've had employer provided coverage. Yesterday, we got an email from HR informing us that our premiums this year were actually going DOWN. What? Huh? They are going down? I had to read the email twice to be sure I read it right the first time! Yes, the premiums are going down approximately $5 per paycheck.

I know that's not a huge amount, but that's $10 per month --- $120 a year! I can do a LOT with an extra $120 this year. So now my dilemma begins.... do I add that to my debt repayment? Do I adjust my savings deductions to have that amount put in savings in the event of worst case scenario with the job? Or do I let it get absorbed into the rest of my monthly budget and give myself some wiggle room?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

$100 Til Pay Day

My budget has gone awry. I really have to sit down and do some serious number crunching. Looking at my bank account, I have realized that I have $100 until my next pay day, which will be on October 6! All the bills are paid. That's a good thing. And techinically, I have $300 until payday, but $200 will come out on the 3rd, so I'm not counting that as money I have to stretch for the next 9 days.

I'm just a tad bit freaked out about it. $25 of that will go towards Princess Penelope's allowance. Another $12 will be to pay for something I ordered a month ago. So that puts me down to $63 to stretch as far as I can.

And wouldn't you know it..... Publix has all of our regular stock up items on sale starting tomorrow. I was aniticipating a big grocery shopping, but that will definitely be on hold. I'll peruse the sale, see what I can get for next to nothing and that will be it. I have about half a tank of gas in the car. Which, if I truly limit where I go, I should be able to stretch. I have money in savings, but my goal here is to not touch that at all.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Trying to Get It All Together

I'm generally a homebody. I work full time and generally when I'm off of work, I like to be at home. Lately that hasn't been the case nor has it been possible. Several weeks of going, going, going have left me frazzled and my house.... well its pretty much a wreck.

The past 14 days have been unbelievably busy. I've had side gig meetings, meetings at the school, dinners out with friends. I've also gone out of town twice, well technically three times. Once to South Alabama for my grandmother's 90th birthday. And then this weekend, I went to Tuscaloosa for the Alabama/Arkansas game, left Saturday morning and came back Saturday night. Then, since Princess Penelope spent the night in Tuscaloosa with her cousin, I went back to Tuscaloosa yesterday to pick her up.

The problem with being on the go so much is that it plays absolute havoc with the budget. More traveling and running around means more gas burned. More traveling and running around means more meals not eaten at home. More traveling and running around also means more little incidentals picked up along the way. All of this translates to a very beleaguered budget.

It also translates to exhaustion and a lack of focus. Cureently, and for roughly the last two weeks, my house looks like a tasmanian devil went through it. It is a disaster area! And I can't stand it. All these things are piling up and I really haven't been able to focus on them. Time to make a list. And get some stuff crossed off.
I have GOT to get this all together... its making me crazy!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Might Have to Start Using the Dryer Again

With two people in the house, air drying everything this summer has been pretty easy. With three to four loads to run each weekend, the air drying method went smoothly. My deck has ample space for the drying rack and clothes seemed to dry fairly quickly in the summer heat. Now that things have cooled off a bit, clothes are taking much longer to dry on the deck and everywhere else. (I also use the showere as a place for air drying many of our clothes, but it too can only handle so much at one time!)

I don't know that this is going to be a viable option for us for the fall and winter months. The process seems to take much longer. And while I could adjust my laundry schedule to doing a load almost every evening, I don't relish the thought of having racks of clothes about the house every day of the week. On the weekends, it has worked fine, but during the week. Well, that just might make me crazy. I have a hard enough time keeping up with all that needs to be done on a day in and day out basis sometimes. Racks of clothes, well, that's just not going to help me keep things looking the way I want.

Any suggestions for keeping this up as the weather cools off? I really hate the idea of going back to using the dryer on a regular basis!