Sunday, October 31, 2010

Crisis Averted

I have just returned from the grocery store, a place where I went without my wallet.  "Is not a wallet a very important thing to take to the grocery store?"  you ask?

"Why yes," I reply. 

I was very disappointed with myself, but I came up with a solution used more often than it should be - my emergency cash.  I have kept $10 in the car ever since driving to Ohio on Route 80, where unbeknown to me, it becomes a toll road.  I was without cash, the ATM at a rest stop was out of money, and I had to request a bill for $3.50 sent to my home from the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The emergency cash has been a great solution for similar events, but lately has been used to purchase more Chinese food at non credit card taking shops than I care to admit.

Today, I hoped to buy as a minimum a pound of ground beef and two cans of tomato sauce for a casserole, and if possible, some chicken or beef to toss into my fajita making kit for later in the week.  And maybe some peanut butter.  Luckily, I was able to get the meat, the sauce, and a can of refried beans - but only if I used the "club card price".

I have a club card.

In my wallet.

And I usually use all fake-ish information on the application, a trick I learned in college when I wished to own the free tee-shirt offered for filling out a credit application, but not the gas card.*

So the point is, that I know the information I put on the application for my card at the grocery store was valid and rememberable - like I probably used my work number.  (Ironically, even if the information was true at the time, I have had like five phone numbers in the last eight years as I have moved from place to place.  And updating my information on a card that is really only used by The Man to determine how often I buy Colgate brand toothpaste is not high on my priority list each time I move.)

The cashier - who was wearing curlers and looked as though she hadn't showered - asked for my card, and I explained that I did not have it as I entered my work number on the thing and handed her the $10.  "It's $14.02," she said.  "Do you have your card?"

"I told you, I do not have it, but I entered the number on the keypad," I said.  She asked for the number again and re-entered it.

"It's not working," she said.  "$14.02 please."

"Look, I need to use the card," I said.  "Can you just use the store card?"

"You can fill out an application if you don't have a card," she said.

Ok, breathe.  "I have a card," I said, "I just. don't. have it. with me."  I tried to be patient.  I was beginning to get annoyed, because I could see the freakin' store card right there on the register, and this woman who doesn't care enough about her job to take a gosh darn shower before work won't give me a stupid discount that is actually the true price of the items I wish to purchase.

I was about to get angry when she explained that by giving her fake information on a form I could get items for the price listed on them, when two guys behind me said I could use their cards.

Crisis averted.

The cashier handed me the change for my $10, and said, "You saved $4.52 on your purchase today, Ms. ah, Marks."

Yeah.  Great.

It was on the way home that I realized she was probably dressed in her pajamas for Halloween.


*They are on to this trick, so you have to use information you will remember in case they quiz you.  For instance, I lost out on a South Park Frisbee when I was not able to repeat the phone number I had just written on my application.  I have since refined my technique and received many free items, but not one of those cards is on my credit report.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Where Have I Been?

I have been...

...making excuses.  My most common excuse of late: I-Can't-Blog-Because-I-Have-To-Go-Into-Another-Room a.k.a. I-Need-A-Netbook.  It would be totally cool to multitask - I could watch LOST and blog about it at the same time.  I could blog at lunch time.  I could blog in the shower.  (They're waterproof, right?)

I could blog in a plane
  I could blog on a train
    I could blog while driving
       I could blog while scuba diving

The thing is, this Netbook has become my excuse for a lot of things.  If I had a Netbook, I could track my calories and restart my dieting.  If I had a netbook, I'd be able to skype with my sister and eat dinner at the same time.  If I had a Netbook, I would solve all the world's problems, run for office, and effectively manage my time before breakfast.  And my facebook statuses would be off the hook y'all.

But alas.  Apparently I am not meant to own a Netbook because I have discovered that they go on sale often, but only people who pay attention to things like sales, and the times of sales, are eligible to purchase sale items.  This makes perfect sense, I suppose, but I wish I could just go into a store and buy the item that just two hours prior was priced fifty bucks cheaper.  I wish I could pay with money, in the store, the price that the item costs, instead of having to follow up with a letter including my receipt and a UPC symbol in order to receive a check for the amount I overpaid, which then has to be taken to my bank and re-deposited.  I wish I could buy a Netbook without a sticker on it and within 50 miles of my home.

Allow me to explain.  Attempt #1 to Buy a Netbook was at a newly opened HH Gregg Store that is approximately 4.5 miles from the house where I live.  I did not get around to buying the Netbook until later in the day, and when I arrived at the conveniently located store, I was told they were sold out.  The guy said he would take my money and my name and add me to a list of potential Netbook Owners maintained within the store, and IF a Netbook came to the store, I would be called so I could go and pick it up.  And if a Netbook did not come to the store I would be refunded my money.  If you are thinking this is a retarded plan, you would be correct.  I just want to buy a freakin electronic device, not adopt a puppy.  So I asked the guy if I could just buy it online for the sale price.  He looked at me in wonder and said he hadn't thought of that, but sure, it could work. 

So, crazy kid that I am, I went online for Attempt #2 and found the Netbook and added it to my cart and entered my name, address, favorite ice cream flavor, and pet's name (I am not making this up) before I was given the option to ship or pick up in the store.  I decided to pick up and avoid shipping charges, and entered my zip code so it would find the nearest store for me.  The nearest store was Wilmington, DE, a decidedly inconvenient 60 miles or so away.  It turns out the 30 or so stores between here and Delaware* are all sold out.  And shipping fees were so much that it would negate the sale price altogether.

No Netbook for me.

Attempt #3 began a few weeks later when Adam told me he saw Netbooks for the reduced HH Gregg price at Target of all places.  I should have known because Target has all I could ever want or desire, but I hadn't thought of that.  So, to Target I went.  There, I found a silly display of a cardboard Netbook with a price tag marked "clearance" that said $211 !!  Giddy up!  I went the the counter to tell the worker to get me a Netbook from the back and she said all they had was the display.  Display?  It was just a fake Netbook made of cardboard, right?


It was an actual Netbook with a sticker on the screen, intended to show a person what the real screen (located just under the sticker) would look like.  "Is that a sticker?" I asked, "Or just one of those removable plastic peel off deals?" 

"Oh, it's a sticker," she replied, and then demonstrated how the sticker would not come off completely, and the screen would need replacing.  "It came to the store this way," she explained.

"'s $211 and the screen will need replacing," I said.

"Yep," she agreed, "and there are holes in the keyboard from where they screwed this plastic cover plate over the top so you can't press the buttons on the display."

I couldn't decide if the Netbook adoption list was dumber or not.

I plan to get the Netbook on, gulp, Black Friday.  And by golley, it better be under $200 and sticker free.

*Every time I tell this story, I am told that I could have had so-and-so's brother's uncle's roommate pick it up and they could transport it here when they're in town for the next gun convention or antique car show.  I appreciate the sentiment, but I still maintain that picking up in Delaware is inconvenient.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Where Have I Been?

I have been... for jeans.  Ugh.  It is painfully apparent that my generation is no longer "in".  Thus, we are not the target audience for today's fashions.  My generation has lived through the eighties.  We wore blue eye shadow, and tied our faux pearl necklaces into knots.  We folded up the cuffs of our acid wash jeans the "cool way".  We had Swatch watches and big hair, and we donned more than one pair of pastel colored socks all bunched up.

We learned our lesson.

In my quest for jeans I have gone to store after store, not realizing that the fashion gods have once again decided that "skinny jeans" are a sensible trend for a country overtaken by obesity.  Perhaps it is an indirect ploy to get America dieting again, but trust me:  the interim is not going to be pretty.  It will consist of millions of fat people in stretchy pants.

I am strongly in favor of a simple system wherein we downplay the awfulness of our most prominent body parts by drawing attention to parts that aren't so bad.  I long for the days when jeans were larger at the shins, thus making the thighs look thin by comparison. 

But the days of sensible fashion are apparently in our past.  I figure I can go with the flow, but I maintain my stubborn refusal to buy anything larger than a size 12.  I have been to more stores than I want to admit, taking my 12's from the rack - no use even pretending a 10 might fit past mid calf.  Calmly, I have exhaled all oxygen from my body and attempted to tuck sections of butt flab back below the pantline before beginning the sit test.

For you men out there (how I envy you!):  the sit test is why those benches are placed in dressing rooms.  Oh, since you don't need to try things on (you suck!), trust me - there are benches in dressing rooms.  A lady who has decided that her potential purchase is, in fact, zipable without causing excessive* numbness in her lower extremities, will then need to test her range of mobility.  Thus, she will attempt to bend her knees and sit on the bench without ripping the potential purchase.  Assuming this is successful, she will carefully examine herself in the mirror checking for malfunctions.

A common malfunction in my case is the butt crack, hangin' out for the world to see.  Another one is the shins, revealed when the pantleg creeps inexplicably above the knee.  Somehow, jeans that were the correct length in the standing position are approximately four inches shorter on each end when sitting.  A girl has to look very carefully for these and any number of malfunctions, flaws, and deformities.

After a long and arduous search, I am proud to say that I have purchased a pair of jeans.

I tore off the price tags and modeled them proudly for Adam.  "What do you think?" I asked.

"They look a little tight," he said.

This is why a girl should never ask what her man thinks.

* minor numbness is unavoidable

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Earliest Memory

I was two years old when mom and dad left me.  I don't actually remember when they left, but then they came back.  And they brought this:

 Yikes.  I remember they came in through the garage - where they used to park the car - and my first baby sister, Tiffany, was carried in a blue, white, and yellow blanket crocheted by my grandmother.  She wasn't much fun at first, then she was cool.  For a while there, she was SO uncool and we fought ALL the time.  Then, she became cool again.  And now, she's not only my sister, she's my best friend.

Today, that memory is 30 years old. (Yikes again.)

 Here's to many years of looking at something slightly away from the camera:
...To our years of terrible dancing (These are participation awards)....

...To the 80's (eek!)...

...And to Birthdays!!

Happy Birthday Tiff!  My only sister, until...

history repeated itself!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Where Have I Been?

I have been...
...watching LOST.

I never watched it when it was on TV.  I always heard you needed to know the whole story, and I hadn't been aware of the show until it was three years in.  We aren't much for TV 'round these parts, which sometimes makes it surprisingly hard to relate to people.  I guess most folks assume it's something we all have in common, but 90% of the time, when a conversation starts, "Ohmygod, did you see (insert name of hot TV show here) last night?"  I say, "Ummm...never heard of it."

And I never saw "Katrate Kid" either.  Deal, ok?


Sorry, I got a little emotional there.  I do sometimes feel like I am disconnected with the world because I don't watch television every night.  And yet, I feel like I watch a lot of TV. lately we started watching LOST.  It was on our Netflix options through the Wii, and we were pretty much immediately hooked.  We watched season one in about 15 days, and we're on to season two.

All I can say is, now I know.

And I really hope Shannon doesn't die...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Where Have I Been?

I have been...
...building a shed.  FOREVER.  Ok, ok.  Only for the last three weekends.

We looked at the cute little wooden sheds, complete with flower boxes and real working windows and opted for a do-it-yourselfer vinyl kit.  Why?  You ask?

Personally, I would have opted for the Amish model - super cute, complete with flower boxes, and, most importantly - built by Amish.  I would even have opted for the Lowes model, which is only slightly less superior because the Amish do not, as a general rule, work at Lowes.

This because I have come to grips with the fact that I work 40 hours a week, and do not have time, tools, or patience to build my own shed.

My better half, however, has not come to terms with this.  He is in denial, and perhaps does not see the piles of building materials in the basement, purchased nearly a year ago, for a project we have only barely started.  Perhaps he does not remember how it took me 14 hours to put up curtains, or how it took him an undetermined amount of time* to install an electrical outlet.

But, I did not wish to argue, and so we compromised.  We bought the kit.  Day one was spent buying the materials.  Yes, it took five hours to go to the store, buy some large heavy stuff, drive the rented truck to the house, unload the large heavy stuff, and return the truck.

Day two left us with a false feeling of fulfillment and accomplishment.  We built the floor base, except for a few joists and the plywood topping.  We were keeping the weight down as much as possible, since we would have to carry it down to the yard.

It took nine more days before we managed to have time for the shed, and about 13 hours to get the stupid platform level and mounted on its foundation.  We tried a few methods - tying strings to corner posts, and pouring water down a hose.  Adam especially liked this one - the water would have to be at the same elevation at each end.  We worked at it diligently for about an hour, with the end result - mud.  Oh, and we decided the string was not to be trusted.  In the end, we cut one post, then used the 24' ladder and a level to figure out the length of the other posts.

It was another seven days before we got the plywood on, and we embarked on kit instruction #1 - getting the track in place and square.

I was excited to finally have gotten to "step two" of the kit instructions - begin assembling the walls.  The walls are vinyl plastic sheets about two feet wide, which slide together to create the full width.  The picture in the book shows two happy people - one on a ladder, and one holding up a wall panel.  The second panel is lifted above the first, guided into interlocking slats, and it slides effortlessly down to the ground.

In much the same manner, we attempted this.  It slid a bit before it got stuck, and Adam had to bang the top with a rubber mallet.  Each hit moved the panel about 1/4 of an inch, so after 250 or so hits, the panel was down and only slightly damaged from the banging.  Breathlessly, he mentioned that this method is very tiring.  So we got a few beers, and pondered.

We introduced soapy water, oil, and brute force into the equation.

And, three hours later, we had all the panels put together.

Someday, I hope to add a roof.

* (not finished yet...)