Saturday, August 28, 2010

What Dominion giveth, US Bank taketh away.

I phoned Dominion the other day to discuss the excessive amount that I have tucked away in budget payments.  They agreed and they decided to have me skip my budget amount for August, then run a budget payment of $40.00 until the amount is gone.  We'll re-evaluate it in the winter. 

Believe me, that time is coming up quick and the budget excess will be eaten up quickly when it does come. 

So, that left me with a happy extra $115.00 in my account, right?  Um, no.

I got the mail today, thumbed through, found a few cards and an envelope that says in red capitals, "TIME SENSITIVE ESCROW INFORMATION ENCLOSED."  I was on the phone with my friend.  "Oh, goodie!  I hope that I get another check like I did last year!"

Um, no. 

Basically what it said was that I had an escrow shortage of $88.12.  I know that we passed a library levy and it may be partially a generalized increase in property tax.  Home values dipped for a while and I believe that they rebounded a little.  It makes sense and I'm not arguing about it, but there goes a hunk of the extra I thought I had.

Ooo!  To add more fun into the mix, my husbands car decided to blow a power steering line, get a leak in the gas line tubing somewhere and needs another brake replaced.  Since the power steering and gas replacement parts are dealer-only, we paid the dealership that we hate and I thought that we fired $256.00 for the parts.


On another small financial bit, we've been readying K- for the beginning of her very first soccer season.  I admit that I went into this not knowing what shoes or socks or whatever else she might need.

They may have seen me coming.

After dinner Thursday, we followed my in-law's to a big box sporting goods store.  We went in, found the shoes and though the first pair weren't in stock, a comparable pair were and that was good with me.  I told the girl that we needed socks.  She grabbed some, told us they were the right size and we went onward.  I found shorts and a dry fit shirt.  (Think cheap version of Under Armor.)  I was so tired from hospital duty with mom and I was in a glazy haze.  The bill ended up ringing to $31.00ish, I signed and I went on my way.  I always check bills before I leave and I was so tired that it escaped me. 

I got home and found that I was overcharged on two of the three items that I purchased. 

I went to another store, found shorts for $8.00 cheaper and I decided to take everything back.  When I went to return, I decided to check out the socks to see if there was a size of sock that would work for more than just this year and there were.  They were on clearance and spanned size for a couple of years.  They were $3.00 cheaper than the socks that the associate handed to me.  I was an idiot.  I didn't even double check.

When I reached the register, I explained to the gentleman that I was returning two of the three items because of being overcharged.  "Well, I can get you a sale price on those."  "No, I'm sorry but you've lost the business."  "What about 50%?"  "Uh, no."  "What about 80%"  [I was stunned.  I didn't mean to be car dealershipping the guy.]  "Uh, I'll take the shirt for 80% off." 

The shirt ended up ringing for $3.00 when the original price was $15.00.  I was able to get the clearance socks for $3.97 instead of $5.99 (though the original pair purchased were $7.00) and I found shorts at another big box for $4.00 instead of $11.99.  By taking the stuff back and politely complaining, I saved myself $20.00.

We did cruise by the local Hallmark to get a little somethin' somethin' for my mom.  They had 75% off, with an additional 20% off this weekend.  The items we bought her would have been $24.00, but they were $5.11.  Who knew we could take a giftie for so cheap?

So, have you found any good deals or any bad register goofs lately?  Feel free to share or vent.

Smiles in my day:
-  Mom continues her road to recovery.  We went to visit her today and she had her hair pinned up (it had been flipping in her face) and she put make-up on while we were there.  She said that she ate a decent dinner (clear liquids, of course) and that her nausea seems to be letting up a bit.  I was glad to hear that.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Haiku Friday: Oops

A simple fleece coat,
Fluffed with bath towels,
A very bad move.

2 hours later, the lining to K-'s winter coat was restored to its sea green self.  Sheesh.  All I was trying to do was to knock the wrinkles out from hanging on the line, but I didn't consider the lint stickage issue until after I pulled the atrocity out of the dryer. 

Smiles in my day:
-  Mom's surgery being a success.  No cancer.  Surgery took 1/2 the time, because nothing was there to complicate it.  It's a good thing.  My sister and I have a plan in place to flip back and forth to the hospital to see mom, all the while the other sib is watching the kids.  I love it that we can work things out that way.
-  My brother hung out with my dad and me today.  You know, we are quite the hilarious pair.  We were keeping a mental log of how many men were carrying their spouses bags today.  We were at 4 1/2.  The jury was still out on one.  We couldn't decide who the needlepoint belonged to with that one either.  I just had to keep poking my brother.  The last one was an older gentleman with a Vera Bradley bag slung over his shoulder.
-  People that we know were able to save their house-- once again-- from foreclosure.  They were 6 days shy of Sheriff's sale.  The last time, they saved it within just a couple of days.  Their economic state is looking up for them and we only wish them the best.  They have a family and we really didn't want to see them displaced. 
-  I came home to a prize on my table.  A friend dropped a little birthday treat off with an invite to a "School's In" Celebratory Tea.  A lovely idea!  She left me some wonderful Jelly Bellys and Lavender Vanilla tarts for my tart burner.  They smell wonderful!
-  Another friend came by last night to drop off a birthday gift. (Because what's better than celebrating all week long?)  She made me a little butterfly stool.  She made it for the outside, but I told her that I'm going to use it in my studio.  She came with chocolate and I have to seriously say that I've never seen anyone pile in York Peppermint Patties faster and more than Heather.  The girl is thin enough to blow away in a breeze and it was hilarious to see her slamming the peppermint patties back.  I had to send her home with the remaining.  She was almost hugging the package!  She left me with a package of Special Darks.  Mmmmm.
-  The in-law's took us out to dinner to celebrate my birthday this evening.  I admit that by the time I got there, the day had been so long at the hospital that I couldn't even finish my cup of soup, but it is wonderful and will be eaten for lunch tomorrow.  They talked me into going to Dick's Sporting Goods to pick up what we need for K-'s soccer that starts on Sunday.  When there, they insisted on buying her soccer cleats. 

I'm tired.  My bed is calling my name. 

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mom- The Update

Mom is okay.  She is groggy and in pain, but the surgery took only 1/2 the time that it was scheduled for.  The growth that they thought was a fibroid turned out to be a solid NON-CANCEROUS tumor and we are praising God to the end of the earth for that. 

When I told her that the doctor told us that her insides were beautiful and that she did a great job, all she said was, "Yoga." 


Thanks for praying for mom.  If you would like to continue to pray for her regarding her recovery, that would be much appreciated.  I'll let y'all know how she is doing.

Mom's date with a knife.

My mom is due to have a hysterectomy at 11 AM.  By everything that I hear, it is expected to be routine.  She does have a fibroid that is growing by leaps and bounds each day.  Good news is that she had whatever cancer blood screen test that you need to have and her count came back fabulous.  She's spent the day prepping as you would for a colonoscopy, since the surgery is very nearby all the digestiveness.  It's a routine thing to do is what mom said. 

Her surgery is to take a few hours.  I'll be at the hospital all day with my dad and brother.  I'll pop on in the evening to give y'all the scoop. 

Until then, prayers for mom, please.


Smiles in my day:
-  My prayer warriors.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tales from the Trenches: A shared coupon

Mom gave me a $10.00 off $10.00 coupon for JC Penney's tonight.  We have what I call the "free-standing JC Penney" down the street.  It is in a little strip mall and really doesn't fit the strip, but we have it and a few times a year I go in.

I looked at uniform pieces and what not.  Truly, there was nothing overly stunning that K- needed to have.  We have her set with that stuff, so I decided to look for tights or shoes.  No tights, but they had a rack of clearance shoes.

I was able to get her a $30.00 pair of tennis shoes that were marked to $11.99 for a whole $2.13 (including tax.)  I bought the next size up.  She has three pair of size 1 and she's not quite in them yet.  I figure that the shoes aren't going to expire and for $2.13, I'm happy to put them up and wait.

Smiles in my day:
-  Brownies, cake and ice cream-- all the day before a cholesterol test!  :O
-  The temperature is 66 F right now (10:10 PM Mon night) and that is delightful sleeping weather.  There is a breeze and Thursday is supposed to be 72F as a high!  Fall is truly my absolutely favorite season and I feel it around the corner.  HOORAY!  It's been a really hot summer!

Have a great day!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Christmas Project: Canning Pearsauce

The pear tree at my sister's house was overflowing.  I got the call and ran out with K- to pick.  With four extra little bodies, we picked a Rubbermaidish tote half way full.  That should be enough!
The tool that made most of it happen.  This is my apple/corer/peeler/slicer.  (Obviously, this is during use.  Don't think I keep it gross like this in the cupboard, please!)  Now, to do pears on the ACPS, it's a bit trickier.  These were pears that were a little misshapen, so their cores didn't exactly always go through the middle of the pear.  Some were rather wonky.  The peel didn't always peel off either.  That's okay.  I tossed it all in the pot.  It's a little extra fiber, right?
Pack the Crock Pot full, put it on low (or in the case of this one where Keep Warm is more like low) and go to bed.  I actually had another big Crock Pot going just like this.
The two Crock Pots combined cooked down to this.  I added some brown sugar, cinnamon and pure vanilla extract to taste.  I can't give you a recipe, but I can tell you that I also used Bartlett Pears.  Toss and taste.  Toss and taste.  Just make sure to use a new spoon each time you taste.  When you can, you can never be too careful.  With this one, sight isn't going to tell you what it is going to taste like. 
Don't forget to put your jars in your canner to sterilize before you start everything else.  It takes forever and a day to get this puppy boiling.  You can toss a dash of vinegar in the water to keep the glass from getting the occasional fog thing.  (I read that it can do that from the canning pot and I have had that happen.  This time, the glass stayed crystal clear.)
This is when the staff photographer, K-, stepped in.  She wanted to watch, so I let her take pictures.  Yes, I did crop some, but she did a great job.  Here I have my jar filling funnel and the almighty jar grabbing tongs. 
Start filling!
Here comes the lid while suspended from the handy-dandy little magnetic lid grabber.  (Remember that the kitchen is still being painted and spiffed, so excuse the giant basket of snackies and crackers.) 
All filled and ready to go back into the canner to be processed.
Here they are in their hot bath ready to have the lid dropped back down.  Once the water boils, I start to time the processing.  I allowed these to process for 20 minutes.  Is that longer than what I should?  Probably.  I think that these would be 16 minutes or so, but I would rather go a hair longer and not risk losing any of my hard work.
Here we are.  4 quarts and 5 pints.  Christmas gifts for my family.  I didn't get to do pearsauce last year and when I got the call about pears from my sister on Friday, I knew that I had to go.  When you get the call, it is like the call that your best friend is in labor.  If you don't go right then, you are going to miss it!  Pears don't hold long.  At least not the unsprayed and old tree variety. 

Whenever you can pearsauce (or applesauce), you can never stick to a hardcore recipe as the ripeness varies.  Just stick to the same ingredients and tweak it until it tastes right.  Generally, I like to put some craisins in (nice color), but I didn't have any this year.  My sister told me not to run out for them.  She said that she was sure that it would be just grand without.

That was my big accomplishment this weekend! 

Smiles in my weekend:
-  My people decided to celebrate the changing o' the digits with me a day early.  They woke me on Sunday morning with a Dairy Queen cake in hand.  K- bought me some lovely jewelry.  Hubs bought me a Butterflies of Ohio book (which came in real handy since K- and I were able to see and capture a picture of the rare-to-us Variegated Fritillary on Saturday), the Blu-Ray disc of Ferris Bueller's Day off and a gift certificate to the A. I. Root Candle Company.  They took me to The Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Botanical Gardens and to spend my gift certificate at Root.  (They have an outlet and I totally scored on huge jar candles!  Tangerine Lemongrass, English Lavender, Oceana and Amaryllis & Orange in the 22 oz Queen Bee Jars.  600 hours worth of candle burning!  :)!!!!! )  To end the trip, Hubs stopped by my favorite Chinese restaurant and we got some take-out.  It was a wonderful day!

Have a great day!