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Archive for February, 2008

A no spend/no fresh air day

February 29th, 2008 at 12:22 am

Mini Me is home sick so I went no place and spent nothing today. In fact, aside from a mad dash to the mailbox, I can't say that sunlight ever touched me.

I did get a workout on the treadmill this afternoon. As I've said before, I hate running on the treadmill, but there is one good thing about it -- an excuse to watch TV.

We don't have cable and don't really get television reception where we live. But we do have free access to DVDs from the library. I rarely even watch those, though, because I can usually find a bunch of other ways to fill my time. However, I've been curious about the show Lost, so I got the first season from the library and have been watching it whenever I find myself on the treadmill. It's great for making one want to jump out of their skin every now and then.

People tend to find it surprising that we don't have cable and/or watch TV on a regular basis. Initially, when we got rid of it, it was very much a money-saving decision. Now it's more a lifestyle choice.

1, 2, 3, 4....

February 27th, 2008 at 08:43 pm

Kim was right! Dieting and budgeting are a lot alike. I'm sitting here counting out nuts so I don't go over in the calorie department like I'm counting pennies....

Speaking of calories, yesterday was a total bust on that front thanks to an impromptu Chinese dinner out. (NOTE TO SELF: Must STOP impromptu dinners out!) But today is looking better.

I have been working out like a mad woman when I'm not working on making money. I used to work out religiously 6 days a week, but haven't been as good about it the last two years due to some health issues and plain ol' laziness. The last week has been a good reminder of how much I enjoy it.

On to other things...

Today would have been a no spend day if not for Mini Me having an evaluation with the eye doctor. That set us back $101, which is in addition to the $97 a week we pay out of pocket for actual vision therapy. Personally, I'm ready for a little "check book therapy," so I'll be glad to see vision therapy come to an end sometime in the next three months.

The plan is to temporarily put the bulk of the vision therapy money toward the new car fund. I say "temporarily" because Mini Me is one costly kid. She's got some serious learning differences that we're still working on getting diagnosed, so we're always paying for something related to that. Right now it's vision therapy and OT. This summer it'll be a private tutor, who thankfully isn't as expensive as the vision therapist. God only knows what it'll be in the fall.

A Housekeeper's Cheaper than Divorce or Death

February 26th, 2008 at 10:17 pm

Today was Hazel the Housekeepers' day to come work her magic on the hovel we call home.

It's been suggested that I drop Hazel the Housekeeper and put the $80 I spend on her every two weeks toward debt payoff. In the end, I don't think it's worth losing my marriage or life over, so Hazel stays.

My husband has a very demanding full-time job and is working on another degree in his "free time." As I've whined about here numerous times, I work two jobs, which equate to more than 40 hours a week -- plus I have a 7 year old and two dogs to pick up after, not to mention the countless hours of volunteer work I do.

If my husband and I were to clean the house, it would take a full day, which is something neither of us has available to give up at this point in our lives. In the days when we did have a day to give up for cleaning, we would bicker over who was going to clean the bathtub. Now, it's a no brainer. Plus -- and here's the big clincher -- I have issues with chemical smells and asthma, so it's better to leave the cleaning to a professional and skip the whole gasping and wheezing part of the experience.

Hazel is not the greatest of maids, but she's better than the alternative -- living in filth or lying dead from an asthma attack. (Plus, I love walking into the bathroom after she has left to find the perfectly folded towels....)

Stepped on the scale and a challenge addition

February 25th, 2008 at 09:10 pm

I got the glass grinder shipped today, so I'm adding $75.57 to the challenge for a total of $3,603.83.

I also weighed myself this morning as promised and was pleasantly surprised to find I weigh 145 pounds instead of the 150 I thought based on my last encounter with the scale.

The weight times 10 formula isn't going to work for me since I am fairly active, so I figured out my calorie requirements using an online calculator. This is what I came up with:

To maintain my weight, I need to consume: 1730 calories on sedentary days, 1799 on light activity days, 2076 on moderate activity days and 2352 for very active days.

To lose weight, the numbers are: 1230 calories for sedentary, 1299 for light activity, 1576 for moderate activity, 1,852 for very active days.

Now my problem is figuring out what qualifies as moderately active and very active. My guess is most days I fall in the moderately active category. I alternate running with swimming. And the duration varies from 3 to 6 miles on the running, and a half mile to 1 mile on the swimming. And, I'm not always consistent about working out every day. (Any trainers or dieticians out there want to chime in here, feel free....)

The good news is I'm never sedentary and only "lightly active" a couple times a week when I do little more than walk from here to the corner to meet the school bus.

Gosh, this weight management stuff is almost as confusing as financial matters....

Will I starve to death?

February 25th, 2008 at 05:07 am

After reading Kim's blog and finding myself in awe of her incredible weight loss, I've decided to start counting calories again.

I should probably preface this by saying I'm not really over weight. I just want to clean up my eating habits while shedding a few inches here and there so even at my ripe ol' age I can still wear a bikini this summer. I'm 5 foot 7 and the last time I checked I weighed 150 pounds, so tomorrow I'm going to weigh myself again and then multiply that weight by 10 and try to keep my daily calorie intake at that amount.

I do run and swim regularly, but I also spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer and a little time noshing on Doritos and Ding Dongs (if the mood should hit me).

What does this have to do with finance? Well, by cleaning up my eating habits, I will be saving money by not buying things like Ding Dongs and -- ultimately -- saving money on health care costs.

My big concern, though, is that even when I was trying to keep my calorie intake at 1,700 calories a day (just a random number that I came up with based on some article I read) I felt like I was always hungry. Anything less than that and I may start gnawing on my nails....






A little more for the challenge

February 24th, 2008 at 08:01 pm

Sold one of Mini Me's dresses on eBay and made $6.86 for the challenge. My new total is $3,528.26.

I'm also waiting for a rather large auction to close later today and with any luck the winning bidder will come through with the cabbage fast so I'll be adding that as well. That auction is for my glass grinder, which someone is going to get a really good deal on.

I still need to sell my light table and the sheets of glass I have stored in the basement. My guess is it's best to just sell it locally and have the person pick the glass up since it'll be a pain to ship. I know stained glass supply companies ship glass all the time, but I'm not a stained glass supply company. ...

A new house isn't in my future but 'dunch' is

February 24th, 2008 at 04:09 am

Today while killing time until lunch, my husband and I decided to look at model homes. This little outing reinforced my belief that we're not moving until they back the hearse up to the front door and wheel us away to the morgue.

At 3,000 square feet (including the finished basement), our house is the perfect size for our family of 3 humans and two dogs. Best of all, it's perfect for when we're old and decrepit, and the kid has abandoned us. It's a ranch that is set up so one can live on the main floor if need be (i.e. two laundry rooms -- one upstairs and one down).

Also, the rooms are all really big (better to maneuver in the wheelchairs and walkers when the time comes for that); and while we have great neighbors, we can't reach out and touch their homes -- or even see their homes in most cases.

This is huge with me. I just can't justify buying a home for a half million dollars only to find that the neighbors can see into the whole house.

So, we're staying put until death comes knocking....

As for lunch, we budget for one meal out a week so we usually make it Saturday lunch. My husband has this thing about lunches out on Saturdays. He thinks they're "decadent." Personally, I just know lunch is cheaper than dinner and Saturday is as good a day as any to eat out. We usually eat a little later lunch (Mini Me refers to it as "dunch") and then we skip dinner, so in our own sick, twisted way we're saving money.

(And before you get on me about dining out with all that debt over there on the left, remember my goal is to still live my life while paying my debt off so this is one luxury I'm not giving up.)

Speaking of debt, I made an extra $400 payment to one of the credit cards today with the challenge money I got in the mail. I also put $96 into my tax savings account. And I put the rest into our travel account.

Too busy to post more than a challenge addition

February 23rd, 2008 at 10:31 pm

The booming business is just overflowing these days, but I did get an extra $960 check to add to the challenge. The new total is now $3,521.40.

I'll post more later when I have a moment to come up for air.

Extreme Home Makeover ... kind of

February 20th, 2008 at 04:12 pm

Since Hazel the Housekeeper didn't come last week, I decided I couldn't live with the filth so in between the two jobs and the kid I've been doing some serious power cleaning. In the process, I started compiling a list of things that needed replacing or fixing.

Tops on the list were a couple of table lamps from the master bedroom. We've had these lamps since we bought our first house way back in the early '90s. Over the years, the lampshades got ripped, the paint became chipped and the bases became wobbly. Yet, we never got around to replacing them.

Then, yesterday, while running on the treadmill in the basement family room, I found myself staring at two lamps that are rarely used and look brand new. The basement family room has become Mini Me's toy emporium. We rarely hang out down there as a family and the overhead lights are the only ones that are ever turned on.

When I was done with the run, I hauled the two lamps upstairs and replaced the bedroom ones with them. Surprisingly, they really looked nice; and I was even more pleased last night when I got home from the office job and my husband had them turned on. It's amazing what some not-so-new light can do for a room. Best of all, I didn't have to spend a dime for my little makeover....

No Spend Day

February 20th, 2008 at 04:35 am

I feel like I got absolutely nothing done today, but I also had a no spend day so I guess that's good. ...

What constitutes an emergency?

February 19th, 2008 at 03:40 am

Another blogger here asked: "Do you consider your emergency fund to cover serious emergencies or 'life happens' type of things?"

Good question and the answer would be ... both.

We actually have two emergency funds. The first one is stashed away in hard-to-access places and contains about $18,000 (depending on what the stock market is doing). It is for true emergencies, which in my book is something like the loss of a job.

The second one is much smaller (but growing) and resides in a money market account that we can access easily. This account is for not-so-dire emergencies, such as the hot water heater breaking or plumbing backing up.

My husband and I often have debated dipping into the big emergency fund. He thinks the need for an oil change for his car constitutes an emergency, while I think you better be bleeding and near death or financial ruin before touching the emergency fund.

Fortunately for me, most of the emergency fund is in the form of my personal stocks and bonds, so my husband can't access it without my consent or a judge's authorization....

Karma

February 18th, 2008 at 09:08 pm



Despite being an overly educated, rational, fact-based person, I'm also a strong believer in karma -- what goes around comes around and all that other stuff about good and bad juju.

So the other day when Mini Me fed 50 cents of her own money into a snack machine for a pack of Lifesavers at the rec center and the machine proceeded to then spit out about $10 in quarters, I talked to her about how the right thing to do was to take the money to the rec center cashier and explain what happened since the money wasn't hers.

We had this conversation while about 5 boys who were slightly older than Mini Me surrounded us in awe of all the quarters we were holding. I'm pretty sure I heard one of the boys sigh and say "Oh, man...." when I started in about "doing the right thing."

So Mini Me took the money to the cashier and left with her pack of Lifesavers as the gaggle of boys took their turns trying to hit their own snack machine jackpot. As we left, I told Mini Me, one day your good deed is going to come back to you in the way of good karma.

I was reminded of this today when I went to the automated postal machine to mail some sea glass that I sold on eBay. I actually had two bags for sale and only one went. Instead of relisting the second bag or just hanging onto it, I decided just to combine the two bags and give the winning bidder all of it -- even though the person hadn't asked for it or even know I was sending it.

Of course, I didn't think about the weight difference, so shipping was more than I had listed on my auction. If I sent the package with the extra seaglass, shipping alone was going to cost all the proceeds the buyer had sent -- plus a big 50 cents out of my own pocket.

I was standing at the postal machine lamenting this and decided "what the hell." I've made some decent money on eBay over the last month -- about $300 -- so giving someone a freebie seemed like the right thing to do. Now, here's hoping some good karma comes my way.....

A trip to the mini mart

February 17th, 2008 at 11:09 pm

A while ago, I started seriously clipping coupons to make the most of my grocery money each month. A friend referred me to the Grocery Game and I've been hooked ever since.

Each Saturday afternoon, a new list of my local sale items is posted along with detailed instructions on the quantity to buy using which coupons. I print out the list and based on what's on sale and what I already have, I make up a weekly menu. Then I go shopping. (In my case, I shop from home and pay $10 extra to have my groceries delivered since this virtually eliminates impulse shopping, which is huge with me; plus there's the time factor, which is also huge with me.)

For our family of three humans, two dogs and a fish, I try to keep my spending at about $100 a week (including food, cleaning products, and personal care items). Most weeks I come in way under that amount. (Just to give you some idea of the savings, in my pre-couponing days,I could easily blow $200+ a week at the grocery store.)

A lot of serious couponers will buy multiple papers just for the coupons and they'll make multiple shopping trips to multiple stores to buy large quantities of sale items.

Sorry, but I'm not that much of a savings freak. I get one paper each Sunday and I make one shopping "trip" a week to one store, plus an additional stop every two weeks at Whole Foods for dog food and tea. And one stop a month at Costco for things like soymilk and Starbucks coffee for the caffeine fiend. (By the way, after I started shopping with coupons elsewhere, the Costco bill went from $300 a month to about $100 a month.)

Also, when I first started using coupons, I was buying a bunch of crap that I normally wouldn't have. This happened once or twice and then I realized the money I was saving on junk food wasn't worth the resulting heart attack that was sure to happen if we ate it all. So instead, I started stocking up on healthy things that I knew we would use.

For instance, the last two weeks my grocery store has had a sale on beans -- kidney beans, great northern beans, black beans -- they were all on sale for 44 cents a can. Since we eat a lot of beans, I bought 24 cans of them over the last two weeks. I then stored them in the basement Mini Mart (or as my daughter calls it, "the snack aisle"). They joined a case of soup, which my daughter loves; a bunch of tuna; cereal; fat-free popcorn; and various varieties of canned tomatoes -- all bought at drastic discounts or even free in some cases. (And, yes, I still buy the occasional box of Pop Tarts. Man, woman and child can not live on healthy food alone. ...)

In addition to the basement Mini Mart, we have the upstairs drug store. At last count, I had 20 bottles of shampoo, 12 tubes of toothpaste, and enough deodorant and feminine hygiene products to last a lifetime.

So that none of the food stuff goes bad, I make sure to rotate the older stuff to the front of the shelves each week. I won't buy sale stuff even if I know we'll use it if my shelves are already full. And, at least once every month or two, I try to skip grocery shopping entirely and plan our meals based solely on what we already have in the house.

The system isn't perfect. I know there are others out there spending a lot less on grocery shopping (like this woman). But it works for us....

More for the challenge

February 17th, 2008 at 01:52 am

I got a check from Pinecone today, plus some money from an eBay sale so I'm adding $5.97 to my challenge. My new total is $2,561.40.

The eBay money was NOT from the woman who said she was going to pay me yesterday (weeks after the auction closed). This was for something else. I still haven't received payment from that lady, so I relisted the item today. She apprently has a history of winning items and then not paying.

Just slightly annoyed and other things on my mind

February 16th, 2008 at 03:25 am

So last night someone who won some eBay stuff from me a few weeks ago -- but who still hasn't paid me -- emailed after I filed a dispute to get my fees reversed. Mind you, this was the first I had heard from the winning bidder, who assured me that she would be paying for the item today. She did point out that her Paypal account is closed, so I wonder how she's going to pull that off. Now that it's getting fairly late and I still haven't received payment from her, my guess is she's not going to come through.

This really irks me. I, of all people, know people buy stuff they can't afford. But I have yet to stoop to this level of "debting" in my compulsive ways.

Onto other things ... I avoided working at all today, which was kind of nice. Working mostly at home, I can easily fall into the trap of never taking time off, but today I gave myself permission to not even look at any work-related stuff on my computer.

I will have to get back to the booming side business tomorrow, but I'm not returning to the "office" job until next Tuesday so I'll have plenty of time to get caught up.

A simply nice Valentine's Day

February 15th, 2008 at 03:04 am

Since my husband and I celebrated our anniversary last week -- yes, we got married on Valentine's Day; you can all go "ahhhhhh, how cute" and I'll smile nicely and try not to barf -- tonight we took Mini Me out to an early dinner following her candyfest/party at school.

We got to the restaurant before 5 p.m. so we were able to get a table without even waiting. A few years ago on Valentine's we tried to go to the same restaurant -- a popular Cajun place that doesn't take reservations -- and couldn't even get in the parking lot.

Today was particularly nice because my husband took off work early to attend Mini Me's school party. He also bought us both flowers that he picked up at the grocery store. We agreed not to exchange gifts since there's nothing we really need, so he kind of cheated but I'm not complaining.

Blah....

February 14th, 2008 at 12:21 am

Due to illness, work and all-over malaise the past few days, my house is a mess and I'm a mess.

Mini Me stayed home yesterday so rather than deal with housekeepers and sick kids, I canceled Hazel the Housekeeper for this week. My intention was to clean the house myself yesterday, but of course I didn't. I worked for part of the morning, then took a long nap with the walking germ factory and then worked some more last night. (Hazel's not scheduled to come back for two more weeks, so I'll either have to get off my butt and start cleaning or live with this mess for a while.)

Meanwhile, because I didn't come home from work until late and was a little wired when I did get home, I decided to watch a DVD and found myself still awake early this morning. As a result, I've been mentally fuzzy all day.

For example, I had a hair appointment this morning and on a whim cut all my hair off -- on only one side of my head. I've kind of got this Flock of Seagulls/Rihanna/Posh Spice thing going right now.

At first I thought "Cool!" but having slept on it for 30 minutes after falling into a heap after the hair appointment, I'm not so sure I like it. Luckily, I own some very sharp scissors so I can always even it all off if it comes to that.

I'm trying to get motivated to work some more tonight, but all I want to do is go soak in a hot bath (and get all those nasty little hair remanants from my shearing off of me so I'll quit itching)and then follow that up with an early bedtime. Yes, the winter blahs have set in....

A quasi no-spend day

February 12th, 2008 at 11:21 pm

I've been home with a sick kid all day, so I put my husband in charge of dropping Beauty -- of Beauty and the Beast fame -- off at the doggie spa and picking her up. Thus, a no-spend day for me personally....

I did get some business-related work done today, but for the most part Mini Me and I spent the day lying in bed and watching Underdog and Peter Pan. We also got her Valentine's Day cards done. The poor kid has missed every Valentine's Day party for the last three years because of nasty colds, so I'm determined to get her healthy by Thursday so she can get back to school.

I do have to stop in at the "office" job later today, so now I'm just waiting for my husband to come home to do the big hand off of responsibility.

Another challenge addition and the tax man did not cometh

February 12th, 2008 at 03:49 am

I made another $13.20 on eBay today after shipping. That adds up to $2,555.43 in the challenge.

We were supposed to visit the rock 'n' roll accountant tomorrow to get our taxes done, but we have yet to receive my husband's W2 from his previous employer. The HR department said they mailed it, which I think they probably did; but it never got to our mailbox (or it did and someone walked off with it). I had some other mail disappear in the last few weeks, so I'm thinking of setting up a sting operation in my front yard to find out if the culprit lives in the 'hood. (BA, I might need to borrow that big flashlight and some handcuffs from you.)

Meanwhile, my husband and I are now trying to coordinate schedules to figure out another day that we're both available to go to the accountant. For the first time ever, we may be filing on April 15....

I've been tagged again!

February 11th, 2008 at 04:47 pm

Debt Kid (who I just love, by the way, despite the whole thing with his mother) just tagged me; but instead of the usual, this time the rules are:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

I love books, so I can handle that. The nearest book that actually has 123 pages in it (we have a lot of Mini Me's books lying around) is How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else by Michael Gates Gill. Here's the excerpt:

"The corrider smelled of bull piss and human sweat. I could hear screams but also cheers behind me. I was not in the mood to play."

So now I'm going to tag:

We Need to Be Debt Free
Where's Mommy's Prozac
Give Me Back My Five Bucks
Thrifty Mommy
Frugal for Life

Bean counting

February 11th, 2008 at 12:56 am

The grocery store had a deal on beans, so I restocked the basement mini mart shelves with them today. I also bought 12 cans of diced tomatoes that were on sale so I'm thinking black beans, rice and tomatoes will be on the menu in the next week or two....

The original bill came to $166.19, but after coupons I ended up paying $110.18, which includes the delivery fee.

My mom might be crazy, but....

February 10th, 2008 at 05:42 pm

Yes, my mother is certifiable at times, but she is a great cook, who won't let her kids leave her house without taking home a week or two worth of groceries.

This was the case last night when we went over for dinner. In addition to bringing home enough salmon to feed my whole block, we landed a huge vat of mashed potatoes (Mini Me's favorite), a Hefty bag filled with rice, a bushel of brussel sprouts (YUCK!!!!), and half a chocolate cake (to make up for the brussel sprouts).

She also gave Mini Me about five pounds of chocolate for Valentine's, which I've confiscated and hidden. And, she gave me a turtleneck sweater that she wore a few times and decided she didn't like.

My sister also got into the giving mode and pawned off some running shoes that are too small for her. Unfortunately, they're too small for everyone in our family, so if my husband can't get someone in his family to claim them I plan on selling them on eBay since they've only been worn twice (why my sister doesn't return them is beyond me.....).

All in all, it was kind of like Christmas in February for us last night -- without all the debt.

Yet another addition for the challenge

February 10th, 2008 at 04:12 am

I just got around to picking up the mail and found a freelance check for $1,260 so I'm adding that to the challenge. That almost doubles my balance, which is now at $2,542.23.

I have to say that participating in the challenge is really helping my debt payments and savings. Before, I would have just blown through that extra money on God only knows what. But now I'm carefully divvying it up between savings and debt repayment. It's a great way to hold myself accountable.

A challenge addition

February 9th, 2008 at 09:45 pm

I just picked up a check for $61.25 from the consignment place where I take Mini Me's clothing after she's outgrown them. I'm putting the money into the challenge, so my new total is $1,282.23.

I am celebrating and staying within my budget!

February 8th, 2008 at 09:48 pm

The earlier posting on this topic must have been aimed at me. Tonight my husband and I are going out to celebrate our anniversary at a fancy schmancy restaurant.

Now before you start flinging mud at me for not staying at home to eat Ramen noodles (which I love, by the way), let me say that my husband and I have already saved up a wad of cash for this outing and the little pink envelope is ready to go. We both are serious foodies, who have cut back on the fine dining drastically over the last few years of economic stupidity.

However, since we have survived 13 years together, we feel like we can afford to take this one evening to blow some bucks on something that we both enjoy.

Yes, I could probably stay home and make something just as delicious in my own kitchen, but there's something to be said for having someone else do the cooking and cleaning (plus we did the stay-at-home thing the last two anniversaries....)

I kind of miss the dryer -- like I miss the ozone layer....

February 8th, 2008 at 04:11 pm

It finally appears to be warming up enough today that I can do laundry -- good thing because going commando lately has really sucked....

I managed to get a load of jeans and socks done before Mini Me left for school and hung them out to dry when I got back from the bus stop. My fingers and toes are now frozen. There's something to be said for using the dryer down in the basement....

I'm off to the volunteer gig for the morning. With any luck, the clothes that are now outside on the line will be dry by the time I get back so I can toss some more stuff up.

I can hardly wait to see the electric/gas bill for this month. It better be good....

Challenge money and other odds and ends

February 7th, 2008 at 09:00 pm

I started the day off by making another $12.61 on eBay so that brings the challenge total to $1,220.98.

That was followed by a one-hour commute to the "office" job this morning. Every so often, I have to leave my nice, cushy office location, which is five minutes from my house, to drive to another part of town to put in an appearance. After spending three hours at the location across town, I took a wrong turn coming out of the facility and ended up in another state practically. I finally worked my way back to the booming side business (and the even nicer and cushier office located in my house) to find a pile of work waiting for me (told you business was booming....) and an email from the Adult Kid saying he might be getting back together with Girlfriend #301.

There's nothing intrinsically wrong with Girlfriend #301 -- if you don't mind the trashy look -- but the Adult Kid admits he's not in love with her so I'm wondering why he's wasting his time. But he is an adult, supposedly, so I'm just going to let him make his own bed and lie in it for a while (until they break up again, which they undoubtedly will....)

Meanwhile, I was flipping through a catalog the other day and saw these. Does anyone else see something sexist about them? Why not just slap some rags on the bottom of my husband's feet and have him walk around the kitchen with a spray bottle of cleanser????

More challenge money

February 7th, 2008 at 12:52 am

Despite predictions that it wouldn't sell, someone bought my husband's brand spankin' new -- and drastically ugly -- jacket on eBay, so I'm adding $13.29 to the challenge. The new total is $1,208.37.

No spend day

February 6th, 2008 at 06:53 pm

While my blog was going to the dogs, I forgot to mention that I had a no spend day yesterday. Of course, it helped that it never got above 10 degrees and the sun didn't shine so I didn't feel like leaving the house.

Today's a different story, though. I spent $68.70 on dry cleaning (paid with cash) and I splurged on lunch on the way back ($6 also paid for with cash). Later today, I have to do a drive-by visit to one of the "offices" I sometimes hang out at so I can cash in on their retirement benefits. The main "office" job (not the "home office" job, which is entirely different) is very formal and I have to dress "professionally" when I go there. It's kind of like going to someone's very formal dinner party -- without the food and drinks. The office I'm going to today is much less formal (think kegger in the back of the trailer park) and I can wear jeans, which I'm opting to do today. However, I had to get the rest of the outfit out of the dry cleaners (plus my husband's suits) -- thus the pricey day.

This blog is going to the dogs....

February 6th, 2008 at 03:57 pm

I've decided I need to lighten things up here, so I'm going to write about two loving family members who could care less about whether I pay my debt off -- my dogs, Beauty and the Beast (not their real names.)

Beauty and the Beast are polar opposites.

Beauty is a purebred Bichon Frise show dog (except she's never been shown).

The Beast is a mix between a warthog and rabid hyena.

Beauty is 2 years old and the Beast is beyond ancient even if you're counting in human years (which we are).

And, to really illustrate how opposite they are, the Beast is the type of dog to sit loyally by your side for weeks when you drop dead and your body is left to decay undiscoverd in your basement while Beauty would eat your face off should you dare to lay down in a prone position with your eyes closed even for a second.

When we got Beauty, the vet told us that Bichons were prone to allergies and tear staining (the red streaks you often see under the eyes of white dogs). He suggested we feed her an all-natural diet and stick to bottled water for her.

So, while Alpo was fine and dandy for the Beast, I went in search of a low-cost natural diet to feed Beauty. I ended up choosing Wysong Synorgon chicken and rice canine diet. At $5.99 for a 4-pound bag, it was only $2 more than what I was paying for the Beast's food. (And, best of all, it's supposedly made of human-grade food so I could eat it should I be forced to eat dog food in my old age.)

As for the bottled water, well, what's the difference between bottled water and water from the filtered tap???? I say absolutely nothing....

Now I've got two dogs and two diets. Anyone who has two dogs knows feeding one the equivalent of Doritoes for dogs and the other organic health food is not going to work. Beauty turned her nose up at the good stuff and went straight to the Beast's bowl for dinner every night.

To solve the problem, I've now got two dogs eating an all-organic diet. Every now and then, I swear the Beast looks up at me with his sad little eyes and pleads "Where's my cheap junk food? This healthy stuff is for the dogs!!!!"


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