Sunday, July 30, 2006

Crash Course #4 On the Home Stretch...

Hello again!

We finally made it! We're on to the last installment of Attila's Crash Course on Sticking it to the Man.

Click here for Part One, Two and Three.

How do you save money on groceries between promotions and on fresh stuff?

The trick is really simply about planning ahead and having a good idea what/how much stuff that you use on a weekly basis. And then think larger.

How many gallons of milk do you go through each week? Loaves of bread? Salad?

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that stores do know what coupons are being offered, and in most cases, there will be a sale of that item some time during the life of the coupon. That will give you time to get together multiple coupons of things you use most often.

There really aren't that many coupons for things like fresh meat or fresh fruit and veggies. Sometimes you'll find them in your Wednesday newspaper or sales circular. In our part of the country, we get coupons for things like Foster Farms or Tyson Chicken from time to time.

So I go with store brands and the sales. This is also where belonging to a club that offers bulk goods or places like SuperWalmart might come in handy.

A gallon of store-brand milk runs 3.99 here. My guys drink about a gallon and a half to two gallons a week (it's 1% so it's all good! LOL).

About once a month, our store has a 2 for $5.00 sale on milk. The "sell by" date is usually around 10 days ahead (and products are generally good for 7 days after that).

So I buy 4 gallons.

Sales on fruits and vegetables rotate pretty frequently, depending on the season. If stored properly in your refrigerator, they can actually last for a few weeks. One exception is pre-bagged salads. They turn into slime pretty quickly. Another exception is bananas.

If there are items that you use regularly, like mayo or salad dressing, why wait until it's gone to buy one more bottle which may or may not be on sale at the time? If there's a good sale and you've got coupons, stock up. Unopened they will last for months in your pantry.

The same goes for blocks of cheese or wrapped American singles. Unopened, their expiration date is months ahead. Don't be afraid to stock up in advance. Unfortunately, the same doesn't really apply to shredded cheese. I've had some go moldy on me before ever opening them.

If you find a really great meat sale, think ahead. Once in awhile, our store will offer a 10 for $10 sale on bulk 1 lb rolls of ground pork, turkey, breakfast sausage, Italian sausage and hamburger. When this happens, I buy as much as my budget and space allow.

Does your family eat turkey at times other than Thanksgiving or Christmas? Usually around these holidays our store offers turkeys for around $6.99 with a 20 dollar purchase. Limit one per visit. I always go back and get another. I do this both at Christmas and Thanksgiving. It's also a good time to stock up on pantry purchases of Stove Top or dry mashed potatoes because this is when the great coupons and sales are. They last for months.

Right before and after St. Paddy's day, there are usually really great deals on corned beef. If I can get them for 79 cents a pound, I'll buy 3 or 4 of them to eat throughout the year.

Fresh meat/seafood sales also rotate frequently. One week they may have chicken on sale. If you were feeling like eating a steak, hopefully you've already got some in your freezer from when they were 50% off! If it's a great sale, buy as much chicken as you can fit in your budget.

By buying only on the rotating sale schedule, we've got a freezer full of a variety of meat and seafood at 50% or more off.

Be sure and rewrap the tray-packed items in foil and label/date them. Too many times I've pulled out a roast that has been freezer-burned because somehow a hole got poked in the wrapper. :-(

This week, our store is having a big sale on eggplant. This doesn't happen in the winter very often. The guys love eggplant parmigiana, so I'm going to make 2. One to eat, and one to freeze.

And all I need to buy is the eggplant. I've already got the sauce, the Italian sausage, the Shake 'n' Bake and the cheese.

Between promotions, I usually shop on Monday or Tuesday before the new sales week on Wednesday.


Because sometimes the store is out of stuff. Yes, that's right. They're out.

Then I can get a rain check.

When I get the rain check/s and the clerk asks me how many I want, I always say "10". I might not buy 10, but it's nice to know I can if need be. Rain checks are usually good for 2 weeks to a month.

Why do I want one?

In the terms of fresh meat items---unless you are there bright and early the day of a great sale or right after they restock, by the time you get there, everything will be pretty well picked over. I just don't have time to do that. If you can get these items in the next week, you'll be able to get the size/cuts you want.

It will also give you time to get additional coupons together for the other rain-checked items.

Other Stuff

When the guys were little, I usually shopped at Walmart or thrift stores for clothes. They were growing so fast, and my budget was tight.

Alas, as they got older, they got pickier and more brand-conscious.

And yes, I admit, Hubby and I like nice things too.

But you can't buy a BMW on a Pinto budget, unless you want to overload your credit.

So some years ago, I tried to figure out how to get "stuff" for almost wholesale, or at least for an incredibly fabulous price.

Hubby and I have a very large extended family. Not only do we have our own children to buy yearly things/gifts for, but siblings, nieces and nephews, parents, etc.

It really puts a hit on the wallet.

I still shop at places like Walmart and Target for socks and underwear. It's hard to beat their prices. Unfortunately, I have to drive down into the city to do that, and I don't always have the time.

A couple of the great bargains I've found online in the past few years include:

Brand new Gap Khakis and Jeans with the tags on for $7.50 a pop (plus shipping). Got some for my sons, hubby and brothers.

6 brand new Eddie Bauer sleeping bags for 15 bucks a holler to give to all the men in my life for Christmas.

Buying all of our friends and family George Foreman grills for 11 bucks each.

Calphalon Saute pans for $7.99.

Anybody can do it. All you need is a little organization and the willingness to Christmas/birthday shop all year round (an added benefit for me is no more rushing around at the last minute during the holidays which are stressful enough)!

Start with your trusty notebook. Who do you have to buy for during the next year? Holidays? Birthdays? Anniversaries? Baby gifts?

What are their sizes? If you're buying for kids, it's usually best to go up a size or two because they grow so fast. Likes and dislikes?

Find an online coupon site. My favorite is
Clevermoms, but there are others out there.

These sites have comprehensive lists of companies that are running coupon promotions. They provide you with a coupon code for things like "20% off" or "$25.00 off a purchase of $100.00", etc. Copy the code and use it at check-out.

If you don't see a coupon code for a favorite store listed on one of the sites, just google the store you're interested in, with "coupon code" or "promotional code" or even just "code" and see what pops up.

Here's how it works.

I got a coupon code for the Gap for an offer of $25.00 off a purchase of $100.00. Then I went to their sales page.

At that time, they were listing Flat Front and Pleated Khakis at a clearance of $9.99. They had several pairs of jeans at a clearance of $9.99 as well. Regular price was around $39-49 bucks.

Armed with my list of everyone's sizes (sons, hubby, brothers), I bought 10 pairs of jeans and khakis, plus a pair of boxers that were on sale for 3.50 to push it over 100.00. And I had a 25.00 coupon.

So everybody got 2 pairs of really nice jeans and/or khakis for their birthday, and I spent less than 20 bucks on each person. They felt special and my wallet wasn't screaming.

I have a list of favorite stores that I go to every couple of weeks to check out their pages. You never know what fabulous find is going to hit the clearance aisle or when, so you have to check regularly. They include:

Eddie Bauer
Bargain Outfitters
Pacific Sunwear (for all those skater clothes---LOL)
Smart Bargains
Coldwater Creek

If I see anything interesting, I'll look for coupons.

It really takes very little time if you have your preferred stores already saved in your favorite places.

A few months ago, Hubby's nephew became the proud new daddy of the family's first great-grandchild.

I had a 20% off coupon for Macy's and went to their babies clearance page.

Found a gorgeous 3-piece Ralph Lauren suit that was originally $79.00.

Paid $13.00 for it.

If I can do it, anybody can do it! Get saving!

P.S. If you've got kids and plan for college in their future, I highly recommend checking out UPromise. If you shop through their link, you can get 1-10% back of what you spend in addition to all of the other savings for a college account.

Thanks to everyone who sent in their money-saving tips!

Quinn sent in a link for Freecycle. Check it out!

The Blair Bitch sent in the advice for finding free coupons on the internet and gave us the link to Cool Savings, Coupon Surfer and .

Jodi emails companies and tells them what she likes or dislikes about their products. They send her coupons!

She also sent links to a couple of interesting sites---The Grocery Game and CNN Money/Grocery Bills. They're a great read!

Many thanks to all of you for stopping by and checking out the crash course. Special thanks to Mr. Fab for getting the ball rolling.

Talk atcha later!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

My Kid is Top Drawer

Well, we're back from concerting.

The big kid came through it without any weird scars, holes or tattoos, although my older brother DID have to haul him out for some fresh air at some point. Too many hot, sweaty, stinky bodies slamming up against each other tends to make one a little nauseous.

I really debated with myself about whether or not to blog about this. Kevin pointed out that I've already blogged about the kid's butt once, so how could this be worse?

He's got a point.

Which brings me to:

Sharing a Hotel Room with Your College-age Son

Rule #1 Pack him a pair of jammies. Don't expect him to do it. Just pack them.

When the guys were little, they used to run around in their underoos. Little kids do that.

When they hit puberty, though, Management set up a new rule.

In the morning, all of the men in the house must put some pants on before coming into the kitchen.

There are some things I just don't need to see over my morning cup of coffee. The national news is bad enough.

There were complaints. I just woke up! Can't I get dressed AFTER I take a shower?
It's not fair!

Fair, schmair. You don't see ME walking around with my naughty bits popping out all over the place.

I offered to sew the flies of their boxers shut for them. That went over like a lead balloon.

So, pants it is.

Anyway, after a very hot, very long drive to the big city, we checked into the hotel room. My brother wasn't due to pick up the big kid for a couple of hours, so he decided to take a nap.

I turned the air conditioner on (oh joy!) and the kid decided to use the facilities. He came out of the bathroom wearing nothing but his boxers. And flopped on the bed.

Flopped all OVER the bed.


"Aiiighghghgh!!!! Put your jammy pants on!"

I didn't bring any.


I didn't bring any.

"Then get under the blanket!"

It's too hot!

"Then put your pants back on, dammit! Show some consideration!"

C'mon Mom, at least I'm not sleeping naked!


I did get to have my quiet evening alone, with my book and room service. Even got my bubble bath. It was heaven!

Big brother dropped the kid off around midnight. He was exhausted but had a great time.

This morning I got up bright and early, got packed and ready to go. I shook big kid's foot through the blanket.

"It's time to get up! We've got a long drive."

Nooooooooooo!!! He rolled over onto his stomach and pulled a pillow over his head. Five more minutes, please!!!!

Five minutes later I went to his bed and poked him. "C'mon, sleepyhead!"

No response.

So I pulled the blanket off of him.

And did a double-take.

There was a big gaping hole in the back of his boxers. Did he tear them while moshing?


"Honey, did you know that your boxers are on backwards?"


What in the world? Was this some sort of teen-age fad that I'd never heard of?

"Is there some reason why you have them on backwards?"

His voice was muffled from under the pillow.

Geez, Mom, I was just trying to be considerate!


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Got a Hot Date...

I'm off for a couple of days.

Lest anyone thinks that my name "Attila the Mom" is synonymous with "Attila the old fart Mom", let me inform you:

I'm driving the big kid up to the big city to go to see the Unholy Alliance Tour and the band Slayer.

Except that I'm not actually going. But it's the thought that counts, isn't it?

My brothers and I have had a running deal for about 4 years now.

I'll buy the tickets if either or both of them are willing to have their hearing destroyed and accompany my son.

That way they can relive their misspent youths, and I can be sure that the kid has a somewhat sensible companion in the mosh pit who also happens to be a safe driver.

Over the years they've all gone to Ozfest, Ear-splitting Crap Masquerading as Music Fest, Addled Old Rockers with Man Boobs and Saggy Upper Arms Fest (wait a minute--I think I have that confused with Ozfest--my bad), My Face Has 48-piercings and 37 Tattoos but My Mother Still Thinks I'm Cute Fest and We're Really Devil Worshippers Who Eat Babies in our Dressing Room Fest.

A couple of years ago, a concert-goer got so excited over the FESTivities that he pulled down his pants and pissed all over my older brother's back.

You get the idea. The kid likes thrash. And bless my brothers.

In the meantime, I'll be alone in a fabulous downtown Denver hotel, with room service and central air conditioning. I'm going to be able to take a long, hot bubble bath with no one knocking on the door asking, "Honey, have you seen my keys?" (check in the last pair of pants you wore), or "Moooooom! This pair of socks don't match!" (Look in your drawer. I'm sure you'll find an identical pair in there).

I have a hot date with a detective named Lucas Davenport and unlimited Snapple on ice.

Oh Bliss!

I know I've neglected all of your blogs, and I deeply apologize. These last couple of weeks have been insanely busy for me. When I get back I'll finish the "Crash Course" and give you guys some undivided attention.

Be good!


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Flow of Current Events

The other day I was driving the big kid down the mountain to his summer college classes in the city. A beautiful scenic stretch which we go through lasts about 15 miles---with no strip malls, no 7-11s, no traffic lights. It's a great time to talk about all kinds of things.

This time he asked me a somewhat political question, and I was delighted that he was taking an interest in current events instead of listening to his iPod.

Politics is an issue we try to tread lightly around in our house. Except for Sunday mornings, when Hubby yells at the talking heads on the TV. Sometimes I stick around for the entertainment value, but usually I find something else to do.

Hubby and I have what you might call a mixed marriage, although we both have come closer to the middle after almost 14 years together.

What do you think of the President's veto on stem-cell research? asked son.

...and I was off to the races! With a captive audience, no less!

I yabbered on about how I didn't see why women who elect to have abortions (which are currently legal) couldn't donate the embryo to science if they wanted to, how I didn't understand why umbilical cord cells couldn't be utilized more (I would have donated ours), how there is a slippery slope and the worry that embryos would be created simply for tissue, yada yada yada.....

Mom? he interrupted in a serious voice. I really need to talk to you. Please don't be mad.

My stomach did about 5 flip-flops.

Oh no.

He's going to tell me that his college girlfriend is pregnant. Or she had an abortion. What happened to that industrial-sized box of condoms we bought him? Did he work his way through them? No wonder he did so poorly in class, the knucklehead! He was having sex when he was supposed to be studying. I'm going to KILL him for messing up his life this way!


I gulped.

"What?" My voice sounded weak.

I really need to poop.


I need to go to the bathroom. Really bad.

I raced the last 7 miles down the mountain and pulled into the nearest convenience store.

"Here." I shoved a handful of dollar bills at him. "Buy something when you're done. You can't use their facilities for nothing." He crab-walked as quickly as he could manage into the building.

While waiting, I closed my eyes and breathed a sigh of relief. I couldn't get over how worked up I had become!

My very next thought was:

When he gets out here I AM GOING TO KILL HIM for scaring me like that!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Crash Course Part 3: Putting it to Work

Welcome Back!

If you're just coming in at this post, go here and then here first.

My friend The Blair Bitch brought up a very good point in comments.

"Why pay for coupons online when you can get them for free? There are tons of free sites that I use and that can easily be found."

I think that's a fabulous idea! Any way you can get your hands on coupons is great!

I just don't always have/want to spend the time. I pay for coupons mainly for the convenience, and found that this is the best way for me. I like that I can find what I want by looking at one or the other sites I listed, make a couple of clicks and have 50 or 60 bucks in coupons delivered to my door already clipped and organized. I don't mind paying $4-5.00 for someone else to do the heavy lifting. :-)


Now that you have your basic tools at hand, let's get down to work. This installment is going to be pretty long, so bear with me.

Last time, I asked you to suss out the long-term promotions that might be offered in your Wednesday Sales Circulars. I offered up a couple that were consistent in my area.

Let's start with the "If you buy $70 dollars of 'selected products', you'll get $10 off on a future shopping trip".

This promotion has been offered by our Kroger/King Soopers/City Market franchise about 5 times a year.

What they don't always point out is that you can do this up to 50 bucks.

You just have to buy about $280.00 of "selected products".

Don't freak out. Have I ever actually paid $280 to get the $50 bucks off? Oh HELL no. This is where the "process" kicks in.

As I said previously, stores KNOW what coupons are being offered. In fact, you'll probably have coupons for a good number of those "selected products" in their promotion. They WANT you to use coupons. They get reimbursed by the manufacturer.

These promotions usually run 2 to 3 weeks. The "selected products" will stay the same, which gives you time to get all the coupons you need and make a couple of trips to the store (since new coupons come out every Sunday).

Here is the kicker. The Holy Grail. The reason you can get stuff for a couple of bucks and tax.

If one of the "selected" items is on sale for $1.99, and you have a $1.00 coupon---you'll pay 99 cents for the item, but will be counted for the $1.99 towards that $280.

Does that make sense? If not, let me know in comments.

Here is a representative example of previous endeavors to show how it works. I tried to make a table, but Blogger's system just defeated me. Click on it to make it larger.

The original price was $322.05, I actually paid $78, at a savings of about 76%. But better yet, I received $173.63 in credit towards my promotional credit goal of $280.

Explanation for some of my choices?

Everyone will ALWAYS need toiletries, cleaning supplies and garbage bags.

Unless they're completely anti-social, smell funky and live in a cave. ;-)

These items require no special care except space. They don't expire. You could stick those suckers under your bed if you had to.

Since you will ALWAYS have a need for them, you can get them OUT of your grocery budget for the next 6 months or so.

Plus there's the bonus of the extra "bucks" that go towards your promotion total.

No one in my family has any weird scalp conditions, or special hair needs due to coloring or perming. All we require is something that will CLEAN our hair. If we only spend 13 to 30 cents a bottle on shampoo, it's more than a deal for us.

This is approaching what I mentioned about "expanding your horizons" in my last post.

My Hubby has it stuck in his mind that Charmin Bathroom Tissue is the "ONLY" toilet paper for him.

I'm willing to concede the Mitchum anti-perspirant thing because yes, to me, it works better on our type of stank than other brands.

But TP? You have to be kidding me! All I require is that it's soft and doesn't fall apart in my hand mid-wipe. I've gotten free packages of Cottonelle, and put the rolls in his bathroom, and he's never known the difference (or maybe he's too scared to complain--either way, it's all good).

A lot of it is just a mind-set against certain products.

Take, for instance Hamburger/Tuna/Chicken Helper, which is also on the above list.

If you're sneering, believe me, I've been there! Anyone my age (Gen X) was probably served one of the barfworthy original three Hamburger Helpers which included beefy roni, cheesy beefy roni, and some sort of beefy roni with a side of powdered sour cream as children.

These Helpers aren't our parents' Helpers any more. There's a big selection now.

I'm busy. I don't have a personal cook/housekeeper like Carol Brady did.

I don't always have time to make side dishes from scratch. Or anything else, for that matter.

These make a good base even without the beef/tuna/chicken. I saute some veggies and throw it all together.

If you look at Lipton Pasta/Rice Sides, or Pasta Roni in the box, you'll see that they only serve 2. Or 2.5.


The Helpers serve 5. What's the better deal if you can get the Helpers for less? All you have to do is jazz it up. The Alfredo Tuna Helper minus the tuna (or even with) is great with onions and mushrooms. Or broccoli. Add a little fresh garlic...mmm you get the picture. Or throw in some sauteed shrimp or scallops.

Now let's put it all in action!

When you get your Wednesday circular, and you see a promotion, check out and see what coupons you have on hand for the "selected items". How long does the promotion last? If it's 2-3 weeks, you have time to work with.

Keep in mind that in the following Sunday paper, there's a VERY good chance it will contain coupons that will be relevant.

So do you order coupons now from the coupon-clipping service, or on Sunday?

It's hard to say. You might want to go to their websites and see what/how many they have in stock. If it's a big name franchise that's running the promotion across the country, the coupons might go fast. Or not.

Remember that it will take 4-5 days for any coupons you order to get to you.

Next, sit down with your notebook and make a list. How many of what product will you have to buy to meet whatever goal you have? How will you store it? How many coupons can you get your hands on?

If you're working with a pal to rack up those promotional dollars, you might want to share the same Value Card. Don't forget to split the savings as well. ;-)

Buy More Save More Promotion

Our Kroger chain started the above promotion a week or so ago. If you buy 2 or 3 of an item, you get a store coupon for $1.00 off your next visit. If you buy 4-5, you get $2.00 and so on (there are different offers for different "selected items"). It runs until August 1. I got out what coupons I had, and made my first trip to the store.

Of the "selected items" I got (click on the left receipt):

6 packages of Pillsbury Toaster Strudels and Scrambles, because they were on sale and I had a ton of coupons.

I know it's junk, but the guys love them, and I have lots of freezer space. ;-)

I also bought 6 packages of Lender's Bagels and 9 Cans of Pillsbury Grands biscuits.

A service organization that Hubby belongs to is hosting a brunch and his contribution is Biscuits and Gravy for 40. Since I already have about 10 rolls of bulk breakfast sausage (bought at 50% off!), all he needs is milk and spices when the time comes and he's good to go!

I'm a real sucker for good coffee. I love Seattle's Best Breakfast Blend. They had it on sale for this promotion, and I had coupons, so I splurged and bought 3 of them. I know it screwed up my percentage, but hey! It's coffee! I bought some 8 0'clock bean coffee as well, which wasn't part of the promotion, but they were Buy One Get One Free, and I love their Columbian.

Also bought a whole bunch of those Snackpack puddings. Even thought I didn't have any coupons, they were 50% off and the little guy loves them. Plus they don't have to be refrigerated, so they can be stored in the pantry.

Anyway, although I only saved 39% off my order (all that damn coffee!), I also walked out of the store with $22.50 in coupons towards my next purchase.

Since Number One Son had to be in the city to take a biology test, I decided to run over to one of the stores in the same chain that double coupons so you can see that the savings "really" isn't enough to make it a deal breaker.

I got all kinds of good stuff. I folded the receipt on the right where the coupons were, simply because it was too long for the scanner.

The only thing that wasn't on sale was the Electrosol, but I had a 2.00 coupon that was about to expire and it was too good to go to waste.

Also, there was one of the freak in-store deals that happen from time to time (which is why you should always bring your album of coupons with you!). I guess they're discontinuing these particular items, but they had some Mrs. Smith's pies marked down to $1.87. I had 3 $1 coupons, so I grabbed them.

As you can tell, I only saved about 6 dollars with doubling. If I didn't already have to be in the city, it wouldn't have been worth making the trip.

I also walked out with $6. more in cash coupons.

Since I've been doing this for awhile, my freezers and pantries are full of staples and meat.

All I really need to buy on a weekly basis is fresh stuff (milk, fruit, veggies, bread, etc).

So how do we apply this to fresh stuff and items between promotions?

Stay tuned!

Keep sending in your money-saving tips and tricks. I'll post them with a link to your blog in the last installment!

And thanks for dropping in!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Peee Yeeewwww!!

As much as the cartoon character Pepe Le Pew tried to epitomize romance, you could hardly get away from the fact that he was a skunk.

The lovely Brenda at What's Up Down South had a run in with one recently and boy oh boy, do I relate!

We used to have next door neighbors who my husband called The Clampetts (will write more about that later!).

They actually allowed a family of skunks to make a nest in the insulation in their garage instead of calling the Division of Wildlife to remove them. Parked their cars outside. Left the garage door open for easy access.

They aren't our neighbors anymore (will write about that too!), and the new neighbors who replaced them are just having fits.

It seems the offspring haven't actually flown the nest. They've all migrated and started families of their own close to home. And it's all on our next-door neighbor's property.

The skunks stay away from us, at least during the daytime. We have dogs who are vigilant and noisy. But at night, when the skunks venture out, there are a ton of predators roaming as well, such as foxes and owls.

Up here in the mountains, it seldom gets really REALLY hot during the summer. So there's no need for central air-conditioning. We just leave our windows and enclosed deck doors open and have fans. At night everything usually cools off considerably.

Almost once a week or every other week this summer, we've all awoken choking on heavy, oily skunk stank in the wee hours of the early morning. Once I even threw up. We wake up and race to close every window and door before it permeates the whole house.

So here lies the dilemma. Do we close everything up every night (and be hot and stifled) or keep everything open and hope for the best?

Thursday was our wedding anniversary. Hubby and I waited an appropriate time for the boys to fall into heavy sleep and got down to getting romantical.

Much to my delight, Hubby was kissing his way up my arm, ala Gomez Adams, when suddenly he stopped.

His nose quivered.

"Did you fart?" he asked bluntly.

It was those freaking skunks again! We ran around and closed everything up. What a way to ruin a mood!

It's hard to feel sexy when everything smells like a cross between dirty socks and ass.

I curse you, Pepe! I curse you!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Crash Course Part 2

If you're coming in late to this fiesta and wondering what this is all about, please go here first.

To everyone else, Welcome To Attila the Mom's Crash Course on Sticking it to the Man.

Otherwise known henceforth as Screw U.

Just kidding.

In our last installment, we covered a lot of things, but the most important was:

1) Stay Organized

Your time is money in this endeavor, so the better organized you are, the less time you will waste fumbling around looking for stuff. If you invest the couple of hours on the outset to get your stuff together, the rest is pretty much cake.

Now let's go on to:

2) How to Get the Right Coupons

Here are some notes on coupons...

I know it's obvious, but it still has to be said. Don't clip coupons for things you will never ever use. People really do that (said Attilla the Mom sheepishly)!

Clip for things you are sure to use.

Clip coupons for things that you "might" use if the price is right. Even clip for things you thought you'd NEVER use but might be willing to try out if the price is REALLY right!

I'll include something about expanding your horizons in the next installment.

It really isn't worth buying 3 Sunday newspapers for the coupons, unless there a whole bunch of fabulous ones that can be doubled or tripled at your local store. What's the use of spending 1.50 on an issue for a couple of great 50 cent-off coupons?

If you've got local friends or relatives you can hit up for their discarded coupons, do so only if it's convenient (think time=money).

Now clip them all out and put them in your organizer.

Do it while you're watching your favorite TV show. Try to do it on Sunday! Will explain later!

In the future, use this time to move the the old coupons to the top.

Next step:

It really does pay to hook up with a coupon-clipping service.

What is a coupon-clipping service?

There are a bunch of them online. They clip zillions of coupons and offer them for a tiny "handling" fee (plus a small processing fee and shipping).

Most are legitimate Mom and Pop businesses.

Some are scammers, or high-end operators. They want you to pay a "join-up" fee for like $99.00 dollars, or require you to pre-purchase "vouchers" good for X amount of coupons from their service.

Run away. Run far far away. In my humble opinion, if you can't pay as you go, it's NOT a good thing.

I use two different companies and like them for different reasons (I'm sure there are other good ones out there if you look). This way, you only get the coupons YOU want, and depending on availabilty, as many as you want.

The Coupon Clippers is very organized, and it's easy to find what I'm looking for because they're listed by product-type. The only drawback is that for the most part, you have to buy a minimum of 5 of each coupon.

I don't mind. Their time is money and they have to make a living too.

This is the quantity thing I was talking about before, and explains why it might be good to team up with a pal or another couple.

The Coupon Master only requires a minimum of 3. They're a little tougher to browse---everything is listed alphabetically and not by product-type.

However, their customer service is absolutely the best. And they're really fast.

Note: Don't pay for priority mail. First class only takes about 2-3 days in the continental US. Priority mail will NOT get it there faster.

Both companies accept Paypal and Visa/Mastercard. I think you can even send them a check or money order in advance and open an "account" with them. Go take a gander and familiarize yourself with them.
Also check out their FAQs---especially their list of abbreviations (Like "DND means "Do Not Double" or NED means "No Expiration Date"), so you won't be caught with your pants down when trying to reach the finish line.

One really GREAT thing about these services is that you can get coupons for things that weren't necessarily offered in your own regional coupon inserts. I love it when I find this stuff!

I'll come back to this when it's time to put it in action in the next post.

Large grocery chains know which coupons are coming out on Sundays. In the majority of the cases, they WILL have a sale on an item during the lifetime of the coupon.

If you've planned ahead, you won't need the item/s immediately. It won't hurt to hang on to a coupon until a few days before expiration.

One of the notable exceptions is Mitchum anti-perspirant. Coupons are infrequent, sales are infrequent, and in my neck of the woods, the two seldom meet. Since it's the only thing Hubby will use, I've been confounded time and time again!

Don't worry too much if your store doesn't offer double or triple coupons. Mine don't. Sometimes if I have a whole bunch and there are some great sales that make it worth it (since most stores limit the doubling/tripling to 3 of each coupon) I'll hit them if I'm down in the city. The receipts I showed in the last post were just plain coupons. With the price of gas the way it is, I pay about 8 bucks for a round trip, and it isn't worth the hassle.

Sometimes I'll cut out the rebate coupons and use them if they are for $5 to $10. Basically it takes a little more effort than I'm willing to put out for $2.39 minus my stamp and envelope. If you've got the inclination, go for it!

Hopefully by now you've got your hands on the Wednesday sale circulars from your major grocery stores (In our area, I call them the big three---Albertson's, Safeway, and Kroger/King Soopers/City Market). Sit down and and study them for a minute.

Do they have any extended promotions? The ones I most often see are the "Spend $70 on selected items and receive $10 off a future shopping trip" or the "Buy More Save More". If you buy 3 or more of selected items you'll get coupons for money off future visits.

Kroger USED to have a promotion that said if you bought X amount of selected items you could get 20 cents off a gallon of gas at one of their affiliated stations. Haven't seen THAT one in awhile, although recently, Safeway had a promotion that offered 10 cents off a gallon at "their" gas stations.

There are some that offer movie tickets, but I don't bother. I just want cold hard cash. ;-)

These are the promotions (not the movie tickets!) that will save you the big bucks if you work them correctly. Take a good look at what their "selected" items are.

Spend some time going over the circulars. Hopefully if you do this each week, you'll get an idea of what items go on sale most often on a regular or semi-regular basis.

I guess I should say that for the most part, the things I'm talking about are boxed, frozen, canned or packaged in some way (hence, the coupons). I'll hit the "fresh" stuff up soon!

Catch up with you for the next installment in a couple of days! I'm working on one of the "Buy More, Save More" promotions as we speak, so I hope to be able to show it in action.

Later Gator!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Revenge of the Cranky Admissions Lady

Bahahaha! Nightmare and Carmachu and Miss Keeks---you guys were right. You can't "mess" with the bureaucracy.

I logged into the college system with my new handy dandy Student ID number a couple of hours ago, and pulled up my account.

My "permanent address" is now the one I've actually been living at for the past 10 years.


But my name? Ye Gods!

I'm listed as Attila S. Mom.

"S"? WTF? Where did that come from?

So I called down to the admissions office and asked about it. The cranky admissions lady said I would have to come down in person and show them my driver's license.

I said, "You took a photocopy of it yesterday! What did you do with it?"

There was a pause.

You still have to come down and fill out a form.

Is there some kind of sadistic vibe going on here, or is it just my imagination?

Now I know what a cat toy feels like!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Quick College Dilemma Update...

I finished my last bit of testing this morning. Whew! Now I'll have time to get caught up on all your blogs and lives.

Here are the results...

I tested out of the English requirement. I "think" I have to pay for the credits to get them, but it was a hundred degrees in and out of the building, and the heat might have gone to my head. Or maybe it was just relief. I'll find out.

I scored high on the "arithmetic" portion. Woohoo.

I completely tanked on the Algebra in my Accuplacer.


I don't understand it. I took Algebra in high school and again in college. I didn't LIKE it, but I did well.

I won't be 40 for another 6 months. Early dementia? CRS? I sat in front of the test and it was like Greek. I didn't remember a freaking thing.

I'm hoping that in the first couple of classes it will all come back to me and maybe I can test out this too.

Yesterday I called the MAIN campus admissions office to complain about my name/address stuff. They said that the clerk was wrong, all I have to provide is a driver's license and to fill out the change of address form. I did that today.

But--my credits are still gone with the wind. The person I talked to pointed out that most colleges only honor them for 10 years. Like that would make me feel better. ha ha

In today's market-driven climate, I think community colleges should go through their books and send out ads. "It's almost 15 years! If you don't take a class today, you'll lose everything forever!"

I know, wishful thinking!

Plus, they'd probably send my notice to my ex-father-in-law's house (my--koff-permanant address!) and I'd never see it!

Thanks again everybody for all your support.

You guys are the greatest!

Cheap Doesn't Have to be a Bad Word

A few days ago our friend, Mr. Fabulous posted his grocery receipt on his blog Pointless Drivel (PG-13--No violence, but he sometimes writes about his nethers, lemurs, his nethers, raspberry jelly and his nethers. Often in the same sentence!).

Another blogging buddy of his had commented that Fab could post a grocery receipt and people would STILL love him and leave comments.

So Fab put it to the test.

The first thought that went through my head was "Olive Loaf? Who in the heck eats Olive Loaf?"

Why not buy some head cheese while you're at it? Or some liver puddin'?

My second thought was, "Dude---you spend wayyyy too much money on groceries!"

So I was feeling snarky and sent him an email entitled, "Ha! My grocery receipts are better than yours!" and included this (click on them to make them larger):

We shared a couple of emails back and forth, and I confessed that these were my personal best---usually it's more between 60-80%.

Fab very graciously asked if he could blog about it if I wasn't going to.

I said, "Sure why not? I never figured people would want to read about groceries!"

Guess I was wrong. From all the nice comments on his blog and the emails I've received, I guess people do want to know how to save a lot on their groceries!

Or would like to, as Mr. Fab would say, "Stick it to the man!"

Well, it's not really like that.

Companies put their offers out there to be used. And if you use them the right way, the savings can be enormous. There's nothing illegal or shady about it. Anybody can do it.

You might say, "I don't want to waste the time clipping coupons!"

First of all, neither do I. I hate wasting time.

It's not a lifestyle choice. I don't reuse bath water, or turn my underwear inside out, or wash Ziplock bags, or practice the myriad of other penny pinching but time-consuming tricks that are out there.

I just found a fairly easy way to save money so our family can spend it on other things. Better things. Like college. Or a great vacation.

If you invest a couple of hours in the very beginning to get organized (and stay organized!), it takes about an hour a week.

That doesn't include time spent actually going to the store, but you were going to do that anyway.

I promise.

I do it most of it in front of the TV, watching a favorite show.

So what's an hour of time in front of the TV worth to you? $25? $50? What about $100?

Second of all, it isn't just about cutting coupons. It's about coordinating the different offers local stores have to optimize your savings.

Holy cow! I sound like an infomercial!

Because this is a multi-tiered and lengthy process (explanation-wise), I'm going to have to spread it out amongst a number of posts over several days. I think 4 posts might just cover it. So check back over the next week or so.

The last one will cover stuff other than groceries (new name brand or designer items at bargain basement prices--perfect for gifts!).

If you would like to share your own tips and tricks, please send them to me in email, with the url to your blog. I'll post them all with a link to you in the last installment!

So let's get started.

Who will this help?

Mostly families of 4 or more, simply because quantity is involved.

I don't mean quantity as in "buying-10-pound-jars-of-Miracle-Whip-which-will-expire-before-you-can-finish-it-unless-you-eat-bowlfuls-for-supper" kind of quantity. I'll explain in the next post.

If you're single, or a couple without children, you might think about hooking up with a pal or two to do this with.

I have no idea what the set-ups are outside the US, so this might not work in other countries.

Here is what you need:

1. An organizer for your coupons. I don't like the traditional ones, because they only give you one space for each type of product. It's a drag (and a big time waster) to have to shuffle through a handful of cereal coupons to find one for Special K.

Especially if the store is crowded and some lady is bumping your ankles with her cart because she wants you to get your crap and get moving.

I use a photo album. Not the big huge ones, but the ones with 2 windows for pictures per page. I make tabs every few pages labeled "Laundry Detergeant", "Frozen Desserts", etc. Then I put different brands in different windows so I can see everything.

This falls under your initial investment of a couple of hours to get organized.

And people either think I'm an auditor or a professional shopper when I walk in the store with it and get the hell out of my way.

2. A big freezer space. Better yet, a separate freezer. Mine is big enough to hold a body or two (like those belonging to ladies who bump my ankles with their carts).

3. Large pantry storage space.

4. Large bathroom storage space (under the sink will do, or a linen closet).

5. A Sunday paper.

6. A value card for all your local grocery store chains.

7. A Wednesday paper. Yes the whole paper---not just the store sale inserts! I'll close with an anecdote to explain why.

8. A notebook and pen

9. A Paypal account or a credit card, which will be explained in the next installment.

A few months ago, there was a coupon in my Wednesday newspaper for $10.00 off of this extra special Angus beef at a large grocery store. It was in the Lifestyle section where you'll find lots of interesting coupons for local stores that you won't find on Sunday.

It was good for any of their fresh beef products. The only caveat was that you had to buy a minimum of 10 pounds. No "one coupon per customer" rules.

I don't usually shop at that store, because their stuff is a little more expensive on the average, but when I looked at their sale circular, I saw that they were having a 3-day beef sale over the weekend. 50% off selected items. If I bought the "family pack", I suspected, it would be another buck a pound off.

I called my husband and ordered him to beg, borrow or steal 2 more Wednesday papers on his way home.

I bought 30 pounds of Rib Eyes. They were a little over a pound a steak, so there were 24 of them.

I know it's a lot of meat. But with family, entertaining, and the many tail-gating parties hubby goes to before football games, it's a good price in the long run. Since we live in a very dry climate, we're able to age our own beef in our freezer. Wrap 'em up individually in foil, label and date them, then toss 'em in.

Of course, I had to get rid of one of the bodies first. ;-)

Originally the steaks would have cost $9.99 a pound for a total of $299.70. With 50% off, plus the dollar a holler off for the family pack, plus $30 dollars in coupons, I paid $89.70, with a savings of about 70%.

And I didn't even get a chance to sit in front of the TV!

Stay tuned for the next installment!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Feeling More Than a Little Annoyed

Thanks so much for all of your kind and supportive comments today!

I want to vent just a little here. It will be short and sweet.

Well, maybe not sweet. And not so short.

I was accepted to college by my junior year in high school. I had been an advanced placement student, and the only way I could actually test was if I was applying to college.

So I applied to a fabulous women's college in Virginia and lo and behold! was accepted.

I got a great score on my AP exam and started college with a number of credits already under my belt.

Eventually I was homesick and transferred back here (with credits) to my home state at the community college. I went to school, I fell in love and got married when I was 18 (no comments from the peanut gallery, please---I thought I was a grown-up!).

Although I got a job in the magazine industry, which was my ultimate goal, I kept in with my studies sporadically.

I had Number One Son a month before I turned 20. Then the Little Guy when I was 23. I always "planned" to go back to school to finish my degree, but it just never seemed to be the right time.

The story of oh-so-many women's lives.

Now that I'm going back, I called the admissions office and asked about my previous credits.

Well poo.

Since it's been longer than 15 years, my credits are gone with the wind.

Ok, I accept that.

So I applied from scratch.

I go to test today for placement and get a printout of my information.

I'm identifed by my previous married name, and my "permanant address" is my ex-father-in-law's house. Which he hasn't owned for at least 12 years.


I go to the admissions office.

Let me set the scene. There is NOBODY there, but me and two admissions ladies.

What is this? I ask. This isn't the information I spent 20 minutes filling out! My name has been X (my new married name) for over 10 years!

Plus I'm not applying for financial aid so there couldn't be any tie-in with that.

The admissions lady is totally uninterested in my dilemma. This is what you're listed in under our system.

Me: Well how do I change this?

Admissions Lady: You have to bring us a divorce decree or a marriage certificate.

Me: You have GOT to be SHITTING me! How in the world is this YOUR business?

Admissions Lady (getting up out of her chair and looking around wildly for help from her co-worker, who sits there looking amused)*: It's just our policy!

Me: So how the heck do I prove a "change of permanant address?"

Admissions Lady: You have to fill out this form!

And sort of "throws" it at me.

My big bitch is this.

If they still have me listed under the info I had over 15 years ago, why in the hell are my college credits invalid and non-transferable? Did Algebra really change that much since then?

I need a hug.

*The college has been heavily promoting their "Women's Re-Entry Program". I suspect I'm not the only pissed off divorced mom they've had in there with that freaking policy.

Hitting the Books

I'll be away for a couple of days taking some placement tests for my new career as a college student, as well as trying to test out of a few subjects for credit.

I swear, it's been 20 years since I've taken Algebra, and I don't think I've used it once!

Oh well. I could always take "Mathmatics for the Liberal Arts".

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Asinine Ads

I don't know about you, but sometimes I'm absolutely baffled by various commercials on TV. Perhaps I'm just not "edgy" enough to appreciate them.

I prefer to think that those commercials are just downright stupid.

Makes me feel better about myself.

Ok, I must confess up front that there was one I was a complete dork about.
It was the All State Insurance Commercial.

Their spokesman is the authoritative guy who played President Palmer in 24, and is now one of the stars of The Unit.

For months, I watched various All State ads, and the spokesguy would say at the end, "That's All State, Stan."

Finally I said to Hubby, "I just don't get it. Who the hell is 'Stan'? Is it some kind of inside joke I'm missing?"

He laughed his heinie off.

Doh. It's "That's All State's STAND".

Aren't I a weenie!

That pest-control commercial where a face comes out of the wall and talks to the homeowner about termites drives me nuts.

If it happened to me, I certainly wouldn't sit there and have a civil conversation with said face.

I'd run out of the house screaming my damn fool head off.

If I was sound asleep in bed and woke up next to some big-headed plastic-faced guy in a Burger King's costume, I'd probably do the same thing.

I sure as hell wouldn't accept a breakfast sandwich from him!

And what about Quizno's? Forget about the creepy talking baby named Bob, or the Spongemonkeys.

Before that there was the ad where one guy was eating a faux--koff--koff---Subway sandwich and his friend (they were talking about toasted bread) said, "Were you raised by wolves?"

There were two versions of this commercial. Cut away to Number One---the first guy was running around howling with a pack of wolves.

Cut away to Number Two---he was laying on the ground with his mouth on a wolf's tit making sucking noises with the other wolf puppies.

That's supposed to make me want to buy a sandwich?

You have GOT to be freaking kidding me!

And speaking of Subway...they continue to employ the overwhelmingly untalented and monotone Jerod (who lost a buttload of weight a few years ago eating Subway sandwiches) to flog the low-fat subs.

His inspiring novelty value wore off a long time ago, at least for me. He makes me want to run into the nearest Subway and order the triple-club with extra cheese and mayo while shouting, "Take this you boring f*ck!"

Well, not really. But...

Now they have Jon Lovitz hawking the high-fat subs. Jerod on one hand, Jon Lovitz on the other.

What to do? What to do?

I feel like going over to Quizno's and asking for a Philly Cheese Steak with a side helping of wolf tit.

Just on principal.

Any commercials that make you scratch your head?

Friday, July 14, 2006


That Wenchette Rhonda tagged me the other day...

So let's keep it as short and painless as possible:

Five Things in my Refrigerator:

1). Hubby's ultra-expensive-can't-start-the-morning-without-2 0z.-double-chocolate-low-carb-low-cal-high-fiber-meal-replacement drinks. They're stored next to 12 bottles of his Heineken. And the cardiac-arrest-inducing table cream we use for our morning coffee.

2). 4 bottles of half-used Kraft "Light Done Right" Ranch Dressing. I put them next to the salad bowl at dinner. The guys look in the fridge for salad dressing. They don't see it, so they go to the pantry and open a new bottle, which then has to be refrigerated.

Or there's 2 inches left in the bottom and it's too much work to turn it over, shake it and squeeze. You should see all the shampoo bottles in their shower.

3). 3 half-used bottles of ketchup. See above.

4). A big bottle of V-8, expiration 2003. The minute we throw it out, one of the dogs will get skunked. It's a fact. I can't bear to buy a new big bottle when we never opened the old one. I'm cheap. I can't help myself.

5). Diet Peach Snapple. I used to have Plumogranite, but those Communist Bastards discontinued delivering it in the mountains. Feh!

Five Things in my Closet:

1). 42 pairs of Hubby's shoes. Imelda Marcos has nothing on him! I rotate my 4 pairs on a regular basis, so they're close at hand (meaning you can find them somewhere on the bedroom floor). He has a pair of 30-year-old white Florsheims I've never seen him wear, so you get the idea.

2). A big crate of old bathroom reading material. I think there's about 8 years of The New Yorker stashed in there. I also recently found some Time Magazines and Cosmos from back when Reagan was president. Wonder if there's an ebay market for any of them?

3). All of the suits and ties Hubby stopped wearing 8-9 years ago when he dropped out of the corporate world and opened his own business. He wears them about 2 times a year. Everything else is enshrined in plastic. His crap takes up about 7/8ths of the closet.

4). I think our wedding video is stashed in there somewhere.

5). No holiday or birthday presents. The kids have gotten smarter, and that's the first place they look, so we hide them someplace else.

Ditto with our handcuffs and leather crotchless underwear.

Just kidding.

Five Things in my Purse:

1). My wallet, if I can find it.

2). A tampon that got so beat up that the paper covering tore off and it's big and puffy.

How embarrassing is that?

3). A zillion grocery receipts that I saved because they had local coupons on the back that I never get around to using.

4). About 15 grocery lists.

5). Foof. Nothing makes you feel more confident than a tiny spritz of Chanel.

Five Things in My Car:

1). My keys. Can't lose them if they're sitting in the tray. Unless, of course, Hubby moves or uses my car. Then who the hell knows where they'll end up?

2). An ice scraper. I know, I'm so boring.

3). A book. Just for my car. I take it with me to any appointment where I have to wait for something (tune-up, doctor, dentist, school testing).

Needless to say, I always forget what went on before, because I have other books I read in the house, so I have to start at the beginning to remember what I read. I think the current book has been in my car for about 6 months.

Don't ask me the title. I have no idea. Must not be that good.

4). Some tapes for when the radio reception due to weather/mountains is bad. Currently---Indigo Girls, Fleetwood Mac and Santana.

5). A notebook and pen. In case I have to write something down for future reference.

I'm going to tag Kevin next, simply because I'm dying to know what he carries in HIS man-bag.

And I'm going to tag Brenda!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

From the "That Takes Some Stones" File

From time to time over the years, when the kids were playing grab-ass in the other room (usually while I was in the bathtub, up to my elbows in flour, or otherwise not immediately accessible) and I heard things (furniture, toys, books, bodies) being tossed about, I've been known to holler:

"Don't make me break my foot off in your butt!"


"Don't make me rip your arm off and beat you over the head with it!"

I admit it.

As a mom, I'm a cross between Roseanne and Lois from Malcolm in the Middle.

I'm not proud of it, especially because both boys take everything almost literally.

But at least they'd stop whatever they were doing and pause to wonder how I'd live my life without my foot.

Would I need a cane? Would I get a peg leg? Would I be a Superhero like the Bionic Woman?

I'm no hero.

So when a guy actually tears his wife's arm off in real life, I find myself stunned as a mullet.

Especially when his attorney stands in front of a judge and claims his client is "a hero"!

I'm serious! It really happened!

Stephen Humphrey and his wife Brenda were arguing in their truck after a night of drinking (nothing good can ever come from that).

Humphrey pulled over and ordered his wife to get out of the vehicle. She reached back in to get her cellphone, and he took off.

Brenda's arm got tangled in the seatbelt, and she was dragged a ways before her feet got caught under the rear tires.

Her arm was ripped right off.

Stephen Humphrey was charged with third-offense drunken driving causing serious injury and operating a vehicle with a suspended license, also causing serious injury.

His attorney insists that his client isn't a criminal. He's a hero! He stopped and took his wife to a hospital before she bled to death!

Boy, does that take some stones.

On an odd note, police weren't able to recover her arm.

Neither one remembers what road they were on, and nobody has stepped forward with the missing limb.

Also missing are her flip-flops and a Styrofoam cooler.

Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Hungry dogs/coyotes/wolves in an urban area?

Some wino who happened by and said, "Hey! Free arm!?"

A kid who thought it was cool and stashed it in his room until his mother investigates because it smells worse than usual?

Eek. The possibilities are endless.

And more than slightly revolting.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Wish Me Luck!

In the last couple of months I've written a bit about my oldest son and his struggle with his medications (and subsequent breakdown) this last semester at college.

I'm really happy and relieved to report that he's doing much better. He's been taking classes at a local college a couple of times a week this summer semester to make up for some of the credits he lost and is doing quite well.

He's decided that he doesn't want to go away next year. He wants to stay home (probably so he can have his own personal butt-inspector who will make him strawberry shortcake and hot wings), and commute to the local college from here.

There's only one problem.

Number One Son doesn't drive.

And when I say "local college", I don't mean it's actually here in town. We live in the mountains and the college is down in the city.

I've been driving him down two days a week because it's summer, and I don't have to work around Little Guy's school schedule.

There is no transit system (not even a Greyhound) between the mountains and the city. There is no formal car-pool network either.

We have him signed up for an intensive one-on-one driving course, but it doesn't start until the end of August, so it will be at least October before he can try for his license.

Sooooo....guess what?

I'm going back to college!

Yep! I've applied, and am meeting with my faculty advisor this afternoon before registration.

I always wanted to go back to school to get a Paralegal Certificate, but marriage, babies, working and life just got in the way over the years.

I've been looking at Number One's books and assignments and telling myself, "I could do this. I could do this."

Suddenly I wondered..."why am I NOT doing this?"

Hubby is supportive. I thought Number One would feel squicky about it, but he's thrilled. It turns out that we have a few required classes in common, and I figured we could take them back to back (he could take one semester and I'd take the next so we wouldn't have to buy new books).

Nope. He actually wants to take them together.

After the first buzz of motherly elation, a thought occurred to me.

I bet he thinks he can copy my homework.

If so, he better think again. Hmph.

Wish me luck!

Monday, July 10, 2006

You Can Get EVERYTHING at Walmart! I Mean EVERYTHING!!

I just had to write something about this funny happening at Walmart.

A couple of months ago, on a message board I belong to, everyone was posting their good/bad/odd experiences at Walmart. There was a heated debate about how Walmart goes into small towns, swallows up what business the old mom and pop stores have, how they treat their employees badly, etc.

People posted a rash of recent weird Walmart articles reported in the news including the lady who was unloading her groceries and had her toes licked by some nutjob who was hiding underneath her car.

A couple of weeks ago, Brittany Miller of Ogden, Utah came out of Walmart with more than she expected.

A baby.

She was shopping with her grandma, went in the bathroom and Whoa Nellie! started to give birth.

Employees sent out a 911 call, and an EMT happened to be across the street.

He used fresh towels from the Martha Stewart nevermind, that's Kmart (but I'd bet Martha would use the PR if she could! She'd probably show us how to make the placenta into lasagna and string a tennis racket with strands from the umbilical cord) and shoelaces to tie off the cord.

The full-term 6 pound, 1 ounce baby girl was just fine. She was named Kalie, nicknamed "Marty" after Walmart.

The mother, Brittany, "had no pain, nothing".

In fact, she didn't even know she was pregnant.

Ok, well I've heard stories about this since I was a teenager.

Scary legends about women who give birth without ever knowing they're pregnant. In some cases I'm inclined to believe it. Stranger things have happened.

The version I heard was from a woman who worked with a woman who knew a woman who was a waitress in a restaurant.

Apparently the woman who was known by the woman who told the woman who told me gave birth in the toilet, had no idea (there was no explanation of what happened to the afterbirth), and obliviously got up off the pot and went back to work.

She was only made aware of it when someone noticed a blood trail that led to her. Then everyone raced back and found a baby in the toilet.

My first thought was..."Well eww, gross! Was she one of those nasty slags who crap in public toilets and just walk away while never bothering to flush?"

Did she at least wash her hands before going back to serve food?

My second thought was, "If I plopped out a 7-pound *turd*, I think I'd take the time and LOOK at it before flushing. Maybe give myself an "atta boy!"

I'd probably take a picture of it and send it to the Guinness Book of World Records!"

I guess I'm just demented that way.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Parents Behaving Badly

For the life of me, I couldn't decide whether this incident should be filed under Asshat of the Week, or Parents Behaving Badly. The menfolk in my home took a vote.

Asshat got the boot.

On June 30, a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper brought 22-month-old Calob White home.

His parents weren't even aware their baby was missing.


How do you NOT know where your baby is at 10:00 in the morning?

Witnesses called the police when they saw a man driving a motorcycle with a baby seat strapped to a tote on a trailer hitched to the back. He was apprehended 4-8 blocks away.

Are you with me now? WTF?

Daniel White, the baby's great-uncle, was arrested and charged with first-degree child endangerment, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Apparently he decided to take the baby to visit his brother, but forgot to inform the parents or use legal safety precautions.

The car seat was strapped to the trailer with a single nylon rope.

"He didn't see the reason for it not to be OK," said Sedalia Patrolwoman Victoria Kottman. "He indicated he had done this with his own son."

"They (the parents) were extremely shocked and upset that their uncle had made such a bad choice," she said.

"We thought he said he was leaving to find some Cherry Garcia!" they exclaimed in horror.

Ok, I made that last part up.