Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy Cat



Harvey loves his dogs.  They haven't decided what to do about him rubbing all over them but they don't try to eat him either.  That's progress.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Preparer

"We would like to meet with you please. We know what you did and we would like to express our gratitude in person. "

Sitting here minding my own business, trying to work in a sea of cubicles where far too much noise was permeating the grey walls that surround each of us. I look up; look around to see if some "friend" is making an attempt at humor. I find no one looking back at me.

"If you could meet us on 13th street, we would appreciate it."

Click.

Why do I always get the weirdos?

I find myself searching frantically through my brain. Whose voice was that? What are they referring to? Actually contemplating heading to 13th street was almost as unnerving as seeing the two people headed to my desk. Straight out of a scene from The Matrix, a very serious man and woman dressed in black with sunglasses on (yeah, inside a building, see what I mean? Weirdos. What did I do?

"Greetings.” Mr. Not-Gonna-Crack-A-Smile says to me. No hand extended to shake mine. How very Howie Mandel I think. "We are here to make sure you get to 13th Street uninterrupted. "

"Can you explain what this is about? It’s a little crazy that I am just supposed to get up and leave with two strangers. "

"I understand your concern. It's about the cab ride. "

Crap.

The reality of those words sets in, heavy on my chest. Yesterday I reacted based on impulse and emotion with little thought to the outcome. I was already regretting it.

I took a deep breath, gathered my things and headed to the transport area. I kept thinking over and over "Man. You. Are. Stupid. "

Cursed really. I have what are quite possibly the dumbest super powers EVER. I can't heal the sick, reverse time, or snap my fingers and transport. No, I am blessed with two things. 1. I can immediately sense good versus evil. 2. I can make you think you are someone other than what exists in your own reality.

SEE? DUMB!

Okay, maybe not number 1 because that kind of comes in handy when dating. Number 2 causes me nothing but trouble. It was REALLY funny the day in 6th grade that I convinced my brother he was a bullfrog all day, not so funny when my parents got a call from his kindergarten teacher because he was sitting in the water fountain asking for flies with his Kool aid for snack. They grounded me that day until I turned 18 and did the same many times after.

So when random people jump in my cab when I am trying to get to work, you can probably understand how bad habits quickly surface under stress. Just as I am about to give my destination to the driver, a fat, old guy jumps in the front seat babbling about some radio DJ he just met.

“Excuse me, this cab is taken.”

“So sorry miss, he was my favorite baseball player back in the day and now he has a show I love. I got his autograph, look!” He shoves a baseball with Sharpie scribbles in my face.

“Nice. Okay, I don’t mind sharing but…”

Slam, the back door closes and I look over and a man has joined us in the backseat. Older, fair skin, hair, eyes and a black suit. My heart races, he is a preparer.

“Sir, if you will just step out of the cab, I will get you to your destination safely.” He gently whispers, attempting to influence him and gain control.

I respond without thinking, pushing ahead of his thoughts and effecting an immediate change.

“Oh thank you, are you a fan? I just arrived at work but for your generosity, here is a baseball I just signed.” He promptly hands the ball to the preparer and jumps out of the car on his way to what he thinks is his radio show job.

“You will regret this.” He whispers to me on his way out of the backseat.

Not the people I want angry with me. Ugh. Most people have powers; most people don’t have powers that would directly result in pissing off the other side.

Of course, I hadn’t thought, just reacted, at the time. Now these people are escorting me to the transport system and thanking me.

“He was one of our greatest scientists and advocates for learning to block the other side from influencing humans. They have been targeting him for a long time but we lost him when he ran into the building. We didn’t know he was a fan, or that he would ever break routine. Your flip in the cab allowed us to catch up with him when he came back in the lobby. This however, created another problem. One for you.”

“Me? I am low man on the corporate totem pole, how do I have a problem from the other side?” Shock and panic spread through my mind quickly. I didn’t like the way this was going.

“They see you as a threat to their progress. They have sent a preparer to kill you.”

Friday, April 9, 2010

More Money Saving

As I mentioned before, the sites Opinion Outpost and Swagbucks continue to produce well for me and are worth repeating again. Currently my budget on books/cookbooks/CDs/DVDs is gone, I don’t get them if they aren’t free. Since both sites allow you to purchase Amazon gift cards (where I found the Prime deal to be too good to pass up) I get everything shipped for free. I am also finding Amazon to be a great place for deals on cookware and other kitchen stuff so if you have never compared prices before, it may be your quickest way to save a few bucks with virtually zero effort.

While we talked a bit about couponing, I have had questions, often followed with the “I just don’t have time” statement. I am busy too but I promise, once you learn how it works, it will take no time at all. To help, I thought today I would provide an example of my effort yesterday. While I tend to go straight to Coupon Geek or My Dallas Mommy (great for local stuff in DFW but A LOT of little kid stuff that doesn’t really apply to me), I have learned to do searches weekly as well. Yesterday it took me roughly 20 minutes to go through the list of three stores, opting instead to get everything at Target that I needed this week because the price was comparable. I do a search for “Target weekly deals 4/4/10” and get my list. First rule of thumb, if something is free, grab it. (Even if you don’t use it nor know someone that will, it can always go in a box for food bank/shelter donations). Second, if it’s cheaper than $2 and you have enough for multiples, stock up. Currently, I am stocked up on cleaning supplies and Lysol from sales several months ago. This is important for items that are at times pricey or stuff that you use ridiculous amounts of. The great thing about Target these days is they offer their own web coupons in addition to the manufacturer coupons you may already have. This was my haul yesterday:

2 lbs of Butterball Healthy Turkey sliced fresh at the deli
4 cartons of Tropicana 50
3 pints of Archer Farms Ice Cream
4 GE Energy Smart compact fluorescent bulbs
1 No Touch Lysol soap dispenser
1 Air Wick I-Motion oil dispenser
1 Dove antiperspirant
1 Right Guard antiperspirant
1 Fusion razor


If you are a regular grocery shopper, you will notice that those are some of the most expensive items at the store. My total came to $78.96 before I handed over my coupons. My only error in this trip is for whatever reason I did not have a coupon for Butterball deli purchases (I try to never buy anything that I don’t have even a small coupon for). After coupons, my total was $36.84.

Basically, I got $42.12 for free. So let’s add this up and calculate it in terms maybe everyone can understand—20 min of time researching deals and pulling coupons in advance, 5 mins of drive time each way, 30 mins in the store paid me $42.12. How many people do you know that make $42.12 an hour? Just imagine if you can pull that kind of savings in on each trip to the store? I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I can afford not to. It allows me to have things that normally would be out of the question on my budget and allows me to spend more time with my kids than if I was working 10 hours a day out of the house. The benefits are endless.

Along the same idea is saving money by taking care of yourself. If you haven’t heard about the NeilMed sinus nasal rinse, go get one. If you can tolerate the sensation, you will have no allergy issues this year and get rid of colds as soon as you feel them coming on. I cannot overemphasize the effectiveness of these. The idea of going drug free through allergy season is reason enough to try them. To complement that, I would highly suggest the addition of supplements to whatever you are already taking in the form of garlic capsules, Emergen C and chamomile tea for the same reasons. We escaped flu season in this house, I believe as a direct result of the use of these products which is always remarkable to me with a little monkey still in elementary school.

For women and your business and professional development, the best singular source I can mention to you where you can get tips and free, quality advice is from Tory Johnson. A long time contributor to Good Morning America, Tory has a great site and social networking that’s out of this world. I participated in a call I found out about on LinkedIn this week in which she handed out GREAT information for a 45 minute session. Of course, she has a great book and retreats that you can participate in but for your initial bump of information and inspiration if you are looking to start or expand business, you can’t get better information anywhere.

Finally if you are still part of the “I must eat out every week”, My Dallas Mommy has a great list of places where kids are free or half off on a regular basis.

Save a few bucks this week, you will feel better and it gives you room to breathe!

Good Morning!


Kiwi says hello...:)