Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sobering day

  Not exactly a good day at the workplace.  More layoffs announced. Fortunately, I'm not among them. (At least not this round ... next time, who knows?)

    Just another reminder that economically, especially in some industries, things are still dicey.  Time to look again at the contingency plans and to take stock of where things stand financially at the casa de chaos.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Repair project: mini blinds

    I find myself fixing the strangest things ...

    The mini blinds in one bedroom served us well ... until BB came along.  
     Smart boy  learned that if he wants to look out that particular window, he can just shove down a couple of slats with his paw.

     Unfortunately, the slats had become a bit brittle from age and sun ... two of them snapped at the spot where the guide rope threads through.

     I have some ideas about replacing the blind ... but I'd like the windows to look presentable till I get it done.  So...

      Simply taping the slats back together didn't work ... not enough surface.   So I cut two  thin pieces of lightweight cardboard to use as a brace ... taped one on each side of the slat.   Much better.

      It's not the most elegant fix, but unless someone's looking very closely, it's not noticeable. (And if someone is looking that closely from the outside, I'm calling the police!)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Well, that worked out well

I had a prescription to fill, and since I have a high-deductible plan. I figured I’d be paying the full cost, since I hadn’t hit my deductible yet.

I know the drill:  I checked prices and dug up a coupon that would bring the price down to $58 at one of the big chains.  Not great, but certainly better than the $123 or more at other stores.

The pharmacy tech checked the coupon, then asked if I wanted to run it through my insurance.  Sure ..  if if nothing else, I could apply it toward the deductible..

She ran the numbers and said  “You know, with your insurance, the cost is $24.”

Sometimes, things work out better than expected.

(Though I'm a bit worried that I'm going to get a letter saying, 'Oh, we made a mistake. You owe us $100.')

Monday, July 22, 2013

Not so empty

Just thought I'd share how much sunscreen I managed to scrape out of two "empty" tubes.  Amazing, isn't it?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fall? Wait a minute!

    It's mid-July ... it's 90 degrees, but I'm seeing signs that the season  is heading toward the inevitable change ......

  • The school uniforms are out in the stores; I see  sales on school supplies, too.  (I'm not completely surprised; some schools in my community will go back in early August.)
  • The canning supplies are appearing.   Last month, I couldn't find pectin anywhere.  This weekend, I found it at three different stores.  I would, however, like to find some jelly-jar sized lids ... seems like most places just carry jars.
  • Got a postcard from our favorite orchard ... some varieties of apples will be ready to pick this coming week. 
Any signs of fall in your area?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Oh boy, beans!

    Green beans, that is.   

     In my mini-garden report, I picked close to a pound of  Italian, wax and regular green beans this weekend.  

     The Italians are all going in the freezer ....but definitely looking forward to having the rest with some meals very soon.

   On the weather front, it's now hot ... and may stay that way for a bit.  I suspect I'll be going through the saved rainwater very quickly.   I also suspect that's going to be it for the lettuce, which lasted longer than I expected due to the cooler, rainy weather .

Friday, July 12, 2013

Here we go again

Gas prices managed to drop somewhat in my area after the July 4th holiday, but were soon on their way back up.   And when I saw that the price of oil jumped $3 a barrel on Wednesday, I knew we were headed for trouble.

     Right on cue, prices jumped another 20 cents overnight - $3.75 in my neighborhood.  And apparently it's not going to get any better for a while. 

From USA Today; 
Prices at the pump — up 4 cents the past week to a national average of $3.52 a gallon — could climb another 15 cents or higher over the next two weeks. 
"It's getting ugly,'' says Patrick DeHaan, senior analyst for "First and foremost, the political problems in Egypt are driving crude oil prices, but there has also been a sharp drop in oil supplies the past two weeks. This is coming at a time when demand is at its annual July peak."

       Not comforting news ....  here's the story, if you're interested:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

June's freebies

An interesting month ...

2 Shampoo and conditioner
Body wash
6 Taster’s Choice coffees
7th Generation lotion
Collagen tablets
Starbucks iced coffee
Gevalia coffee
Olive oil
Import Fanta orange drink

Monday, July 8, 2013

Check those detectors

  My public service announcement of the day:

  Learned something today:  The smoke/carbon monoxide detector started what I thought was the "My battery is dying" squawk.   So, replaced the battery, and it began squawking again.

    So I tried another new battery.  Still squawked.  So, when all else fails, read the directions.  I discovered the squawks meant that the detector had reached the end of its  life and needed to be replaced.

  Got to admit, I didn't know they had a shelf life, but apparently the chemicals that detect CO2 break down within 5 to 7 years.

The scary part is that smoke detectors apparently have a shelf life, too.  About 10 years.  Mine are well past that, though they still scream when I burn something on the stove.

So, please check the dates on your smoke and CO2 detectors ...  if it's time, go replace them.  It's a small expense toward keeping yourself and your family safe.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Today's physics quiz:


      Q: If a plastic container falls out of the freezer and shatters when it hits the floor, how far will the pieces of the container fly?

        A:  About six feet in every direction ... give or take an inch or so.

        And how were things at your house today?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July!

A safe and happy holiday to everyone!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Markdown deals

I've been noting the increases in meat prices, which makes me a bit nervous because my  freezer stocks are starting to go down.

I did, however, managed to find some nice deals in the markdown bins ... aided by a couple of rare coupons for fresh pork.

At my usual supermarket, I picked up a roughly 4 lbs package of country ribs marked down to $6.21; the $1 off coupon brought it to $5.21, or about $1.30 a pound.

My next scores came when I stopped into a regional chain supermarket here to grab their loss leader for the holiday -- ground beef at $1.79 a pound.   I realized pretty quickly it was markdown day!   So, I also snagged:

  • A 2 lbs package of loin cut chops  for $3.28, and used another coupon to get it for $2.28.  These were really thick chops -- managed to get 5 servings from them!
  • 2 packages (about 2 lbs each) of turkey drumsticks, one for $2.40, the other for $2.52.  They've been baked, and I plan to strip off the meat for various dishes, then use the bones for broth.

Monday, July 1, 2013


No matter what the size, it's always nice to get those first ripe tomatoes of the summer!   

Salad anyone?

(And BTW, Happy Canada Day to my friends there!)