Thursday, July 1, 2010

The sounds of my evening.

The ceiling fan is whirring.

The robins are tooting.

The bottle rockets are screaming.

Have a happy, safe and grateful 4th of July!

Advice to the retail public from the other side of the counter.

1. Please stop trying to leave your credit card with me while you "run over next door." I won't rip you off and others on staff won't rip you off, but I can't guarantee that every establishment will be that honest. Credit card fraud. Have you heard of it? Yes, well, know that you are putting yourself at big risk.

2. Please stop leaving your very big, expensive bag on the counter while you roam off to other places. I realize that the size of bag to carry these days competes with a diaper bag designed for 4, but really I don't want to have the responsibility of having to watch it or being accused of dipping in. Take your big ole bag with you, please. Those are the times that I'm extra thankful that we have cameras and one pointed right down to the counter.

3. When your credit card isn't signed, I am going to ID you. When your credit card says "Please ID or See ID," I am going to ID you. Please don't be surprised. When I ask for your ID, please be kind and pull it out of your wallet. Showing it to me in the little window isn't helpful. Just so you know, I do compare your face to the one on the ID and I look at names, too. That means that I need to have the ID held up to compare. Oh, and the little window isn't big enough to show all of the type on the Ohio drivers license. I don't want to touch your wallet. I don't want to be accused of being all handsies with your money. Please just pull the ID out.

4. I realize that the little eraser is far too large and heavy for you to carry, but know that our counter is only so large. Not only are we trying to help other customers, but to keep track of your little items is sometimes difficult. When you just deposit them on the counter, people shop through them and I have to tell them that they are someone else's things. Just carry them with you. We have baskets. I promise that they are very nice and you'll look really cool carrying one.

5. If your total is $39.00, please don't hand me just $35.00 and try to trip me up and hope that I don't catch that you still owe me more money. That isn't nice no matter where you shop or how regular of a customer you are.

6. We use a marker to check all of the bills $20.00 and up. This is not to offend you. I was unknowingly given a counterfeit bill by a previous employee who had just picked it up from the local bank. It looked legitimate. It marked wrong. Know that it can even come from the bank counterfeit. Don't worry. I don't think that you have a press in your basement. Do you? ;)

7. Please stop sending your children in with your credit card. I will catch it and I will decline it. If you really want them to use your credit card from time to time, please have your credit card company make them one with their name embossed on it. It will make everyones lives easier. Sending a permission slip doesn't work. You know, they could have written that themselves. Just FYI.

8. Wives, please get a credit card in YOUR name. I know that your husband is the head of the house and I get that, but you get ticked at me for asking and I'm only doing my job.

9. We cannot take Canadian coins. I know that some of their money looks like ours and as I was told recently, "I got it here in the states," but I cannot take it. It is not our currency and we do not get money for it. Like my coworker said, it is like trying to spend the Euro here. That doesn't work, either.

Happily, we were busy with holiday retail traffic today. We had a lot of out of staters, out of the country folk and new area visitors. Busy is a good thing.

Smiles in my day:
- The fact that K- has been calling the blimp the "Best Day Blimp." A good accidental substitution for Goodyear, yes? :)
- I have 5 days off in a row. Oh how I'm looking forward to it! (No rest, though.)
- Walking up to the call of "peter-peter-peter-peter." (A Tufted Titmouse.) Hubs reports that when he does a program for the kids, they always laugh at the poor Tufted Titmouse's name. Perhaps at the time of the birds naming, half of the name didn't carry the meaning that it does in modern day society.
- We have a ton of Ground Cherries on and K- is constantly on the look for the ripe ones. She loves them!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A smidgen of this and a dash of that.

A miscellaneous post, that is. Amelia Bedelia would be proud, though.

Since my wonderful bosses decided to give us a lovely PAID! holiday on Monday, I've decided to send Hubs and K- off on the boat and I'm going to paint. I'll start scrubbing the walls and cabinets on Thursday. I haven't needed to scrub the walls in the other rooms (the bathroom was stripped of wallpaper, so that one doesn't count). We don't smoke, so it was never a problem, but the kitchen is the kitchen. The walls need scrubbed. My friend Heather is on stand-by with tools and tile stuff to help me to install a back splash whenever that day comes.

Barnes & Noble has made me irritated. First, I got two e-mails that they canceled two of the books that I ordered. Though they are still listed on the website as available, they aren't. Of course, they were ordered during free ship weekend and now they don't have free ship available any longer. That means that to replace that gift, I'll need to pay shipping. No thank you. I e-mailed and asked for a free ship coupon because of their inability to ship something listed for sale and I've heard nothing. Today's e-mail? One of my items is on a 30 day extension because it is not available right now. I have one more order that I haven't heard about. (Yes, I placed three orders during free ship weekend but I only spent about $55.00 and quite a few of those are gifts. Some are reading incentive books for K-.) Has anyone else experienced similar issues with Barnes & Noble online?

Oh, sweet heavens! The windows are open for the FIRST TIME! in weeks! I'm excited to sleep with the windows open. I'm thrilled to have freshish air flowing through our home. I'm happy to give the box a break. I'm happy that the humidity isn't such that the air is raining as you walk through it.

I need to return some sandals to Land's End. Hubs' mom bought them and K- has only worn them about a month. The pink over coating on the sandal near the strap openings is coming off. This past winter, I had to return a dress that K- wore once and the entire sleeve cuff was coming unraveled. They did so happily and apologetically. I expect that they'll do the same this time, too.

Another story of unraveling, I bought K- a shirt as we sped through Super Wal the other day. Again, not a terribly huge fan of the Wal, but Lowe's was right next door and I flew through for a few things. It was only $3.00, she really loved it and I told her that was fine. (She doesn't have a lot of short sleeve shirts. She mainly has tank tops.) She wore it once, it was washed in a small load and the hem of the shirt is coming out. I went back through the garbage, retrieved the tags and I'm having Hubs take it back. (Yes, I have the receipt.) It was only three dollars, but that's not the point!

The tomato near our back door is almost 5 feet tall at this point.

We had a message on the answering machine that K- won something this past week from the library. We ran up there so that she could get her prize. She really wanted to pick a cheesy bag of plastic pirate money, but I told her that I wanted her library prize to be a book. We narrowed it down to Stanley in Space or Ivy + Bean. She chose Ivy + Bean and if she likes that as well as Junie B, we'll probably begin to collect those books, too. I have 4 Junie B books coming from B&N to use as reading prizes. (Read 5 books, earn a Japanese eraser or a Junie B.) It seems to be going well. I may need to restock.

Speaking of reading, I went over K-'s sight word stack this evening. I believe that there are about 300 words or more in the stack. It took us 30+ minutes to go through them, and I did use that as time towards her summer reading challenge for school. She did really well. She only slid back on a few words (less than 5) so I really can't argue. (I figure that she read for 30 minutes straight and as it wasn't in book format, it was still reading and in the summer, I'll take what I can get!)

I'm bushed. Must get off to bed.

'Night all!

Smiles in my day:
- Sprinkled in above.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tales from the Trenches: Unthankful for free

On Saturday, K- and I went to Lowe's for the building clinic. We make it 97% of the time that they have workshops scheduled. This week was a monster truck. It was nice and heavy. It rolls very well. A rather lovely project.

We got in, built the truck, got the patch and certificate and headed out through the parking lot. There was what I presume was a grandfather and his granddaughter having a discussion.

"You know, the cars for the truck to run over, I don't know how long those will actually last." (They were paperboard cars that you build, the car runs over them and you refold them.)

"Well, I'm not so certain about these stickers. I just don't know." (The medium weight slick stickers to decorate the outside of the truck with.)

Really? I'm surprised that they didn't complain about the design on the patch that you get free after having built the project.

I know that at work, we give out a free ornament to each FAMILY (though there are folks who abuse that) and people have complained. One year, they tried something new. They gave out something different. Of course, we had a few complaints:

"If you are going to be giving things out like this, I'm just going to stop shopping here."

It is a free ornament. It is thoughtful. We don't buy ugly, funky stuff. Get over it.

For the folks who complain about free items, they are free. Your taking advantage of them is purely optional. You do not have to fill your home with them. You do not have to enjoy them. You can say, "No thank you." Please keep your ungrateful comments to yourself.

There are plenty of times that I have declined free items that I would not or could not use. We declined a load of brown mulch this weekend from the neighbor. He got a little over zealous on ordering mulch and got way too much. We declined for several different reasons including the biggest reason-- we have black mulch. We also have mulch that is chunkier and not shreds that just won't last. See? It was a thoughtful gesture and as we thanked profusely for being asked, we respectfully declined the load of unmatching mulch. It isn't that hard. (By the way, this was the other Mike, not the Mike who gives us all of the electronics. We have Mikes that lives on either side of us.)

There are more examples that I could probably talk about, but oh. my. heavens.

Question of the day:
Have you run across someone completely thankless for something that was nice and free? Do tell!

Smiles in my day:
- All the rain that we are getting makes up for the watering that I haven't been doing. I've been watering the plants next to the house, but I've left the perennials to fend for themselves. They've been just fine and my water bill thanks me for it. Our rain gauge measure 2" in the last 24 hours.
- K- and Hubs went bowling today. What a riot. She went all prepared with a turquoise tank top, matching terry cloth shorts, a fabric headband on like a sweat band around her forehead, knee high socks and worn out brown shoes from school. Ah yes. She is a fashion plate. And yes, she won.
- The Amish gentleman was here replacing a lifted board on K-'s swing set tower when I arrived home. Realizing the time, I quickly packed him a dinner to go. Thankfully, I had turkey tenderloin, carrots and potatoes in the crock pot. It was 6:30 PM, he still had probably about an hour and a half before he arrived home and he was very thankful! We were grateful that he did a board replacement.
- I GOT A RAISE! It has been a long time, since my boss' have been a bit more conservative due to the economic environment all of us have been experiencing. I was so excited! I still am!
- My boss' decided to make Monday, July 5th a paid holiday. I will be painting part of our kitchen and getting paid for it. HOORAY!!!

Have a great day!

Have a great day!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Embracing baking soda

No, this is not a paid product review. Just my own personal thoughts here.

I've been working toward using some more natural things in our home/life. The turn of the year brought me to the conclusion that I would switch from deodorant with aluminum to something more body friendly. I started using Tom's of Maine Lavender Deodorant.

At first, I was pretty pleased. The smell was great. It seemed to work well enough. By the end of the day I could tell that I had overrun the effectiveness, but it was winter so it didn't matter right then.

I found myself digging near my underarms.

The effectiveness was lasting for a markedly shorter period of time when the warmer weather came.

Then I noticed it. Tom's of Maine actually burnt the area encircling my underarm. My underarm was the donut center to a very red, dry and large itchy area. Oh, it did not feel good and definitely wouldn't work for bathing suit season. I switched back to Dove Deodorant to clear the mess up. I used Dove for a few months and decided that I would try an aluminum free deodorant again.

My sister suggested Arm & Hammer Essentials Natural Deodorant. She found that it worked very well for her, particularly during warm days, and was effective for about 12 hours before a need of re-application came up.

I'm happy to say that I've been using it for about a week and find that the same is true for me. A bonus? No underarm burn! At $2.99/stick, it is a bargain!

I also buy Arm & Hammer laundry detergent. I figured that it wasn't probably 100% natural by any stretch, but went on the hunt for some more answers on that. Surprisingly, Arm & Hammer is being sued for not disclosing the ingredient listing of their cleaning products. Seventh Generation and companies of the like are in compliance, but sadly Arm & Hammer (according to this report) is not. Still, the detergent feels light and fluffy like baking soda. It doesn't seem gummy like the Surf detergent I was using previously. I have no problem with it dissolving in even cold water, which again was a problem that caused me to ditch Surf. (It wasn't a problem all along, I believe that they changed formulas and Sam's Club started carrying a different scent that I was allergic to.) It cleans our clothes well, isn't overly perfumed and is a bargain at $11.86/box (145 loads.)

I was talking to my organic chicken farmer friend and she reports that she has just started using baking soda to replace cleanser and other cleaners. My question-- does it naturally disinfect? I need to go on the hunt for more information.

What about you? Do you have a love for baking soda or other natural cleaners? Do tell.

Smiles in my weekend:
- Having a few weeks worth of breathing before 3 straight weeks of summer camp starts.

Have a great day!