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Did you remember to change your clocks?
And check your smoke alarm batteries?
How about the carbon monoxide detectors?
We’re all electric so we don’t have them)
No mini-Y2K issues here, from the early springing, but I was rather annoyed to have to change the computer and cell phone manually.
I wasn’t sure I remembered how to change the time on the cell, because I’ve never done it since the initial set-up. When we fly to Texas, it even knows when we’ve crossed time-zones and changes automatically!
The good news is that the clock in my car will show the correct time again for the next six months or so.
I put a new CD player / radio / clock in the car last winter and, while I evidently managed to spring it forward last spring, I never
bothered figured out how to fall back.
It was a loverly springish day here in our little corner of the world. Low 50s, sunshine and just enough snow and ice still on the ground to really make you appreciate it.
We took the dogs for a walk and they visited with a couple of neighborhood kids for a good while.
The little boy, who is probably around six or so, said that he’d seen us (ok, he’d seen the dogs) walking before, but I didn’t recognize him. I’d not seen the little girl before either. She is evidently the boy’s next-door neighbor (they were at her house) and seems to have cerebral palsy or something similar.
The dogs were really good with both of them. I was really worried about BigGaloot jumping on the girl, but he didn’t. I held onto him pretty tightly at first, but then he settled down and let them pet him, and then chased a stick for the boy (on leash) a bit. PerfectPup just stood there while the girl petted her for quite a while.
After we’d been there for several minutes, a woman came out of the house. I was a little worried that she was going to ask who the hell we were and why the hell we were letting our vicious beasties maul her children.
Instead, she said “You don’t know what it means that she’s (the little girl) standing next to a dog. She’s usually terrified of them.”
Aaaawwww! Yea us! Yea our doggies!
When we got home, I fixed lunch while Shrike went on poop patrol. After lunch, I went out to help her, because she wasn’t even close to being finished.
Oh. Good. Golly.
I don’t think
we’ve she’s scooped poop since it got cold outside and, up here in BlueState, it’s been cold for quite a while. Possibly not since we I hosted a barbeque out there in September!
Did I mention that we have two dogs? Weighing a total of about 130 lbs? Who are both (evidently) full of shit?
We don’t have an actual poop-scooper on a handle, so we were crawling around on our knees (carefully!) scooping it with tiny shovels, and put it into empty dogfood bags (seems appropriate that it should go back from whence it came).
I think we used three bags, and they were all pretty heavy by the end of it.
After the poop-fest we bathed the dogs, which also hasn’t happened all winter.
PerfectPup handled it pretty well, especially considering that it takes for-fucking-ever for each step (wetting, lathering, rinsing, drying) because she’s got so damn much fur.
Then we tried to bathe BigGaloot. Ha ha ha.
The irony is that he loves to splash around in water and will often hop into the tub while I’m filling it for myself. (Only when his feet are good and muddy, of course.) But, the actual bathing? Not so much.
We did manage to dyke-handle him into the tub, and keep him there long enough to rinse the worst of the mud from his feet . . . and legs . . . and belly . . . and chest. (Did I mention that it’s spring and snow’s been melting?)
Of course, since we’re smart that way, we had pretty much stripped down before we started, which was a good thing, because we were soaked (and muddy) by the end of it, requiring a whole ‘nother shower for us!
That means that if I get pregnant within the first six months or so that we’re trying, the kid could be in kindergarten before we have to buy lightbulbs again.
I have this image of a bulb (finally) burning out and the kid freaking because s/he doesn’t know that’s even possible.
I’ve had a big day today. Armed with a stack of coupons and information from the newspaper circulars, I went grocery shopping – and then some. I hit three different grocery stores, to get things that were on sale at Weis and Food Lion, and to fill out the rest of the list, as much as possible, at Aldi – which is crazy cheap.
We often get Lowe’s gift cards for birthdays and Christmas and the like, so I gathered them all up (7 of them, some new, some partially used) and bought as many compact fluorescent light bulbs as I could.
They are quite an investment at the beginning, but they last forever (literally, like 6 or 7 years) and use way less electricity, so they more than pay for themselves.
Plus, there’s that whole “saving the world” thing.
Our goal is to replace all the bulbs in the house with these, and I got enough to do most of them:
42 60-watt bulbs (7 packs of 6)
4 25-watt small bulbs for a fixture in kitchen
3 yellow “bug lights” for outside
Total Price: $120.59
Gift Cards: $104.65
Paid: $15.94 paid
(I actually intended to pay less than $5 but the Visa gift card that I had for about $12 wouldn’t work. Not sure what’s up with that?)
I still need to get some reflector bulbs for 4 floodlights outside, and some 40-watt (or so) with the regular-bulb shaped cover, for the lamps where the shade clips directly on to the bulb.
I’ve only been in Aldi once before and I wasn’t too sure about it, but it’s cheap as hell and I figured that most things are probably going to be about the same quality. I hope.
Here’s what I got:
Tomato Sauce – 5
Cream o’ Something Soups – 8
Cornbread Mix – 2
Fake Spaghetti-O Type Stuff – 2
Beef Jerky – 2
Wieners 3 lbs (for dogs)
Tortellini – 2
Total Price: $35.05
Just looking at the items for which I’ve got prices from other stores, we saved at least $16.00 by shopping there. That was about ½ the items on the receipt, so I’d say we probably saved at least $25 or $30, over Food Lion or Weis.
I won’t give you the whole list, but I will hit the highlights
Regular Price: $2.79 / 16 oz bottle
Weis Club Price: Buy One, Get One Free
Coupons: $1 off one, $1 off one, $1 off two
Paid: $2.58 / 4 16 oz bottles
Ziplock Gallon Bags
Regular Price: $2.35 / 20 bags
Special Box: 24 for the price of 20
Weis Club Price: $2.00 / box
Coupons: Two, both for $0.55 off one – doubled
Paid: $1.80 / 48 bags
Coffee – Breakfast Hour Decaff
Regular: $8.09 / 39 oz
Weis Club Price: $6.99 / 39 oz
Coffee – Folgers Gourmet Something-or-other
Regular: $3.87 / 11.5 oz
Coupon: $3.00 off any size
Paid: $0.87 / 11.5 oz
They had our kind of cat litter on BOGO, but were out, so I got a rain check for that. It will be 4 bags for $7.78.
Original Total: $115.97
Weis Club Savings: $12.09
Coupon Savings: $12.40
My finaly stop, where I hit mostly the MVP 3-Day Sale items (Friday March 9 – Sunday March 11). This was awesome, because almost all the items in the 3-Day Sale are brands that we buy anyway – and this week’s newspaper had coupons for every one of them!
They are all paper products and cleaning supplies, which won’t go bad, so I stocked up.
Tide Laundry Detergent
Regular Price $13.99 / 200 oz
MVP 3-Day Sale: $9.99 (limit 2)
Coupon: $1 off 2
Paid: $18.98 / 400 oz
Bounty Paper Towels
Regular Price: $7.69 / 8 rolls
MVP 3-Day Sale: $4.99 (limit 2)
Coupon: Two – $1 off
Paid: $7.98 / 16 rolls
Charmin Toilet Paper
Regular Price: 7.49 / 24 rolls
MVP 3-Day Sale: $4.99 (limit 2)
Coupon: Two – $1 off
Paid: $7.98 / 48 rolls
I did a similar thing with the Dawn and Cascade (MVP 3-Day Sale, plus $1 off 2 coupons for each).
I also picked up a couple of other items that were on MVP sale this week, including:
Kraft Shredded Cheese
Regular Price: $8.06 or $7.76 for 3 8 oz bags(I mixed 2 kinds)
MVP Price: $5 for 3 8 oz bags
Coupon: $1 off 2 8 oz bags
Paid: $4 for 3 8 oz bags
Original Total: $111.24
MVP Savings: $25.14
Coupon Savings: $9.00
Total for the Day (not counting light bulbs): $203.45
Total Savings (including Aldi estimate): $74.63 = 26.8%
All in all, not a bad day’s work.
A couple of weeks ago, we had Shrike’s family over for Easter. This was the first time some of them had seen our new house, and the first time any of them had been here for more than a quick tour. It was also the first time we’ve hosted a family shindig at all.
We were supposed to be hunting Easter Eggs in the backyard, but it rained all day, so we ended up hiding them in the house for the kids. Later, they (with some help from Shrike’s mom) hid them for the grown-ups.
Last weekend, PerfectPuppy played hooky from her doggy class and we took her to watch a dog agility trial in Frederick, MD, about an hour away. She was very well-behaved and it all looked like a lot of fun, so we’re thinking of signing her up for a puppy agility class that starts next month, if it fits our schedules.
The next day she was scheduled to be spayed but, in what can only be described as an incredible act of uterine self-preservation, she went into heat that day. Although, in retrospect, she was probably already starting to bleed a bit when we were at the trial, luckily it takes a few days before things really get going, so she didn’t attract any unwanted attention while we were there.
Monday morning, when we figured out that she really was in heat, we tried repeatedly to call the vets office, but couldn’t get through to them. So, we headed on over there, and when we arrived, I went into check on whether it would be a problem. As it turns out, they won’t spay them when they’re in heat, because the uterus is full of blood, increasing the risk of bleeding during the surgery.
That very day, we got a letter from the shelter that we adopted her from, fussing at us because we haven’t sent them proof that she’s been spayed. That figures.
On the work front, we’re both still at the same jobs, but my situation has changed a bit. At the beginning of 2003, my boss sold the company to a larger company, but thing stayed pretty much the same, other than who was signing the checks.
However, in February of this year, all of our operations were moved over to the headquarters of the larger company. It hasn’t been too bad, but has been something of an adjustment.
The bigger change, however, will be coming in a couple of weeks, because my boss is leaving the company; April 30 will be his last day. I will continue to handle all of the website and database design and development, and will also take over all of the development-related client interactions and all of the development-related server stuff that he does now, too. Basically, other than billing, everything from “Hey, I want a website,” to launch will be my job. Should be interesting.
In April, we decided that we were close enough to being ready that we should stop by a local Real Estate company that was holding free “How to Buy a Home” seminars each week and get more information. Wow, what a great marketing ploy. The seminar turned out to be the two of us and a Realtor, and within a week, we were looking at actual houses.
After visiting fourteen houses, ranging from “The Wacky Shack” where we had to bite our tongues not to laugh as the owner showed us the “improvements” he’d made, to the “one that got away,” with the gorgeous ceramic tile and tub for two (nevermind that it didn’t fit any of our other criteria), on Memorial weekend, we visited number fifteen and fell in love.
Given what we’d already learned about how quickly houses were going in our area, we didn’t want to wait long to make an offer. We went out to dinner to discuss it, although we’d really already made the decision. We called our Realtor from the restaurant, met her at her office and wrote up the offer that night.
The next day, we were at the grocery store, buying food to take to a party that night, when my cell phone rang. It was our Realtor, calling to ask if we’d be okay with closing at the end of June and renting the house back to the owner for a few weeks, because her new house wouldn’t be ready until August. We said that would be fine, and she accepted our offer.
When the previous owner moved out at the first of August, Iimmediately went to work stripping wallpaper in the kitchen and master bath. Throughout most of August, Shrike spent her days bringing boxes over and unpacking what she could, before going to work in the evenings. When I got off work, I went straight to the house and worked on the walls for a few hours.
We both worked on the kitchen walls for the last week or so, when Shrike was working the day shift. We got both rooms stripped, cleaned, spackled, sanded, taped and primed just in time for some friends to come help us paint on the Sunday before Labor Day.
I had actually painted the bathroom the night before, so that was all taken care of. We painted the kitchen, while our friends J and L, along with J’s 15 year-old daughter a-different-J, painted the bedroom.
On Labor Day day, after a few tests and a few additional trips to the hardware store, I finally worked out a faux technique I liked and did that below the chair rail in the kitchen and on one entire in the living room, while Shrike painted above the kitchen cabinets and we both worked on various final touches.
On Tuesday, we went to BeachTownInOtherState with Shrike’s family. We had a great time and would’ve loved to have stayed longer, but had to come back Wednesday, because the new furniture was delivered on Thursday.
After a weekend to finish packing and other final preparations, we actually moved in the next Monday. Now, we just have to finish unpacking!