What I've Been Reading Instead of Cleaning My House

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Coupon Woes -- Revisited

Have you ever had the experience of just being sick of your hair? It never looks good, it's a source of never-ending frustration and you've just had enough. You make an appointment with the hairdresser to cut it all off.

Of course, the day of your appointment, you hair looks BEAUTIFUL! It's never had such body, such shine, it's gorgeous! What do you do? Cancel the appointment? Still get it cut off?

I'm having the same experience with this whole coupon thing. Yesterday I printed off my shopping list and brought out all my coupon inserts. After one and a half hours (literally), I had all my coupons cut out and sorted. I complained to Nigel the whole time, "This is it. I'm cancelling my newspaper subscriptions. This is too much work."

Then I go to the store and as always it takes FOREVER to shop and the pizza coupons don't match up with the pizza that's on sale and some other coupon-hording women have bought up all the yogurt (like I need more yogurt).

I was dreading going to the check-out stand because my cart was beyond over-flowing. "Oh great, this is going to cost a ton," I thought to myself.

Total = $162.77

But then I had the store sales and special offers (they were doing "buy 10 of these various items, get $5.00 off your bill" -- I had bought 40 of those items).

New Total = $85.04

Then I gave the cashier my HUGE stack of coupons.

Final Total = $59.74

So from $162.77 to $59.74!!! I bought 48 products and paid just a little over $1.00 for each one (which is quite a feat considering that I bought three things of Tide liquid detergent).

Hm, maybe I'll give the coupons another chance.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Coupon Woes

About three months ago I started this new grocery shopping method.

At first it was really easy. Get newspaper, pull out coupon sections, file them away by date, check the Web site that matches the coupons with store sale items. I was getting great deals with very little time or effort put into it (and the $20 plus that I saved with the coupons each week more than made up for the $15 a month newspaper subscription).

What I didn't realize is that the more coupon inserts I have, the more time it takes to figure everything out.

There's searching through the stack of coupons, flipping through all the pages, then realizing that I ALREADY used that coupon three weeks ago. Snapdragon! (That's my new swear word)

The worst part is when the Web site is wrong (which is often). Either the store doesn't have the exact item that the coupon is good for or they make mistakes on exactly how much money you'll save (like confusing FREE with $1.00 off -- quite a difference when the item costs $7.00).

Very rarely do I find a super great deal. I'm also finding myself buying stuff I normally wouldn't buy if it weren't for the coupons. Plus, it seems like the good deals are on the SAME products every week. How much cereal, yogurt and shampoo can one person use? Come on!

Now I'm at the point where I dread getting my newspapers. I don't even want to get the coupons out of them. I just stare at them in their little red wrappers and hope they'll disappear.

Oh well. Anyone want some yogurt?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Too Immature for Maturation

The elementary school's "maturation" program was yesterday. The school strongly encouraged parents to attend.

Frances STRONGLY encouraged that I did not.

Why not? Just because I threatened to yell out:

"Excuse me, nurse? When should I expect my daughter's tail to fall off?"


"OK, enough talk about periods. It's the proper use of the semicolon that I don't understand!"

The only thing I remember from my elementary school's maturation program was the boy sitting next to me breaking a thermometer in the middle of a movie called something like "Betty Finds a Hair."

I remember the school nurse being concerned about the broken glass. In those days, NO ONE cared about a little mercury poisoning. In fact, the school nurse would put mercurochrome on our cuts and scrapes (because you really want those heavy metals to go DIRECTLY into your blood stream). In fact, they even marketed games to kids with mercury in them. Does anyone remember this one?

If you were really cool, you would break the toy open so you could play with the mercury in your bare hands.

Maybe it's a metaphor for maturation classes in the pre-AIDS days. We didn't know back then what could hurt and potentially kill us.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

It's All Greek to Me

Yesterday Nigel and I went out to lunch at a new Greek restaurant in town. I had heard that it was run by actual Greek people, so I was pretty excited. (The other night we went out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant and there wasn't a SINGLE Chinese person in the place. Not one! No Chinese people eating, working or cooking. With over 1.3 billion Chinese people in the world, I don't even see how that's statistically possible)

Sure enough, the men working there were very Greek, there were Greek flags everywhere (though they neglected to take the Bavarian cuckoo clock from off the wall from the prior restaurant's decor), and the food was delicious.

The best part? This was listed on the menu:


I could just see myself saying, "Why yes, I would like a side of homos with my pita." This is probably the first time in my life I wish I had one those camera phones.

You've got to understand, I love things like that. Maybe it's because of the girl in my high school from Taiwan who had her "Charlie Brown & Spoopy" book bag. Or maybe my Japanese roommate in college and her "Happy New York" sweater. Or my neighbor from Brazil and her son's "Winnie The Puff" teddy bear. Or my husband's tres leches birthday cake from the Mexican market down the street that said "Hoppy Birthdoy."

I think it brings me such joy because I am SOOOOO terrible at other languages. I'm in awe of anyone that can come to a different country and learn another language. I have taken years of French, German, Japanese and Chinese and I can't say a word in any of these languages. I come from a long line of people who can't speak another language. Case in point: many years ago my parents went to Germany to visit my brother in the military. They even took German language classes in preparation for their trip. Once there, they were at a shop counting out their money and my father went from counting in German to Spanish to English to APACHE! Yes, Dad, when you can't remember your German, go for Apache! That's the universal language ALL Europeans understand!

I just hope that the Greek restaurant doesn't change their menu. I think it's perfect just the way it is and will certainly bring me back for more (food and smiles).

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Yet Another Reason Why I'm Mad My Kid's Speech Therapist Moved Away

A recent conversation at our house--

Frances: Here's our school's Scholastic book order. There's a book I want about people who have vanished.

Lois: Oh, like Amelia Earhart?

Frances: Yeah, and some author vanished, too.

Alice-Grace: Kids in my class at school have vanished.

Lois: They have?

Alice-Grace: Yeah. Luis, Omar, Maria, Jose...

Lois: Do you mean they're Spanish?

Alice-Grace: Yeah, that's what I said. Vanish.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Like most of you, one of my new year's resolutions has been to eat healthier.

Cut out sugar? No way. Say no to fast food? Yeah, like that's going to happen.

I'm not going to cut anything out. Instead, I've decided to ADD good food into my existing diet and make better choices.

For instance:

Salad at McDonald's -- grilled instead of crispy chicken.

Meatloaf -- I added two cups of chopped cabbage to one pound of ground beef (when it cooks down, you can't see it or taste it).

Creamy Chicken & Rice -- plain yogurt instead of sour cream and brown rice instead of white rice.

Snacks at work -- nuts instead of M&Ms.

French toast -- whole grain bread instead of white.

So far, ADDING good food is a lot more fun than TAKING away the bad food. Hopefully, I'll retrain my tastebuds so that I'll crave the good foods. Yeah, I don't think so, either. But I'm still willing to try.