Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Officially 26!

We were 26 years old when we got married and now we've been married for 26 years.  People say it's hard work, but for us, it's easy. It is far easier to be married to the right person than it is to go it alone.  We don't work at it at all.  When I say it's super easy, I mean it.  Especially because I think I shackled the nicest boy in the world to me.  But because we agree on politics, religion, children, finances and food, we never have a reason for discord.  And he buys me nice cakes too...
We had take-out sushi and champers on our anniversary last year too.  This year there was one particular roll that we both loved.  And we upgraded the soup to a spicy curry "Tom" soup.  Not sure what it was but it had "Tom" in the name so I was willing to pay extra for it!

Tommy also went to his knee doctor and got shots for both knees.  He has an appointment with the surgeon in October and they think they want to do his right knee first -- not both.  I saw the x-rays and they were ugly.
The pup enjoyed our day too.  She is an  idiot but she is a good girl in some respects.  We could put that entire tray of sushi on table and walk away.  She wouldn't even think of touching it.  But we make a mess when we eat that kind of stuff and she gets to lick the table "clean."  Don't worry, we sponge it down after that.  But her "treat" for not begging for food is that she gets to clean up.

I know some folks think that the main reason to get married is to have a family.  All we ever wanted was a dog and a comfortable life -- and we got it.  It makes the years go by fast when your life together is what you want rather than what you're stuck with.  OK, finding the nicest guy on earth helps too!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

25 + 364

Tomorrow is our 26th wedding anniversary.  The dog got hosed tonight as I went out shopping instead of taking her for a swim.  This is what I bought home and assembled.  It's a firewood rack and it has a cover that zips in the front.

I had wanted to get TBG a kayak but the ones I saw were between three to five hundred dollars.  That is a bit much to lay out if my job is ending next month.  If I am employed at Christmas, he'll get one for sure.

Jimmy Jam has a number of small things to do in the yard and he's supposed to build an area to hold wood.  Who knows when that will happen.  Even if it does, having this extra storage option will help.  I found this at Big Lots where I went to stock up on paper goods for a family picnic we'll be attending this weekend.  I had visited Gander Mountain and looked up kayaks on line.  A good one that will be stable enough for The Big Guy won't be cheap.  It doesn't mean he'll never get one, it just means it has to come at a time that we don't need a cushion in our accounts.

Our big plans for tomorrow are to have take-out sushi and champagne for dinner.  Tommy is getting injections in both his knees and formulating a plan to schedule his double-knee replacements in the Spring.  I didn't marry an old guy... but I ended up with one.  That's OK -- he's a keeper!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ready for the Fall

I will wear white after Labor Day but don't generally like to wear deep, dark, rich colors in the warm weather.  Now that Labor Day has passed and the temperatures have dropped, I'm happy to be able to wear my dark burgundy shiny shirt and dark stockings.  My ensemble in grey got positive reviews today and I'd just been dying to wear the tights for months it seems.  
I've also been eager to get more wear out of these shoes.  They're not the footwear I want to sport on days where I'll be doing too much walking as they are a bit higher than usual, but I can deal with them!  I don't have meetings to walk to tomorrow and am now wearing parking lot shoes in order to preserve the heels on my pumps.  That means these will be fine in the office.  Isn't that print just wild?  While I picked out the burgundy tights, I would really like to wear my floral net stockings. That wasn't my first choice since the weather is cooling down.
Deep colors and rich jewel tones just call out for colorful bling.  I'm mixing this fashion necklace with garnet, gold and some citrine. While this is a long necklace, my plan is to double it to chocker length.  Having to wear a name badge ruins the effect of any long necklace I want to wear.  That won't kill me as I also think its good to have a bright shot of reflective color near your face -- especially at my age!
Here's a better look at how the jewelry ties into the ensemble.  I try to walk a fine line between standing out, being stylish but not look like Peg Bundy.  I did pull off a "Peg" combination last week which means I can't try that for another two weeks.  Even us envelope pushers have rules...

I think I will cover this up with a long green suede jacket as outerwear.  I've already switched out of my summer purse.

Even though fall doesn't officially get here until next week...I'm getting this party started!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Discount Hound

There is just not enough time in my life to clip coupons, but that doesn't mean I don't take advantage of them.  If I'm sent one or it's at the end of my register receipt, I'll determine if it's worthwhile to use.  I try to combine coupons with discounts and not buy stuff we don't need.  If a discount is under 20%, I don't bother with it.  Well, if it's a high ticket item I'd be buying anyway and there are other compelling reasons, I might bite.  But I'm pretty picky about discounts too.

We shop at CVS a lot because of the extra value thing.  It is comical how long their register receipts are and how many inapplicable coupons I get from the in-store printer.  In spite of that, I spend probably two hundred dollars a year there.  While I don't stock-pile, I do use their store coupons and periodic discounts to buy our HBA staples.  Every so often there's serendipitous find worth splurging on.

This month a 20% discount coupon came in the mail.  I use those to buy staples and other things I will eventually need but rarely go on sale.  Today I spent 47 bucks (pre-tax) on things I needed.  My savings were at 31%, which is fine for me.

I don't know what others consider their "HBA" staples, but for us, it's mouthwash & toothpaste (we are set, so no need this time), moisturizer (we needed facial moisturizer so I got some), wet wipes, antacids, deodorant (stocked up on with last big coupon), paper products (we are in a good spot now), lip balm and mascara (neither of which are important to TBG).

When I am determining how to maximize my 20% off coupon, I look at ways to save on things that are not on sale but still a good deal.  At CVS, many of their store brands offer an extra small savings if you by two instead of one.  I took advantage of that with the lip balm and mouthwash.  In general, the store brand is cheaper so I will buy it even if there isn't a discount (like the antacid) -- but if I can find a package with extra volume (say, 25% more free), that's going to tip it in my favor.  If not, I just buy the largest size.  This week, I also had a $2 off coupon for the mascara.  The moisturizer and cleanser was buy one get the other half off.  That excluded my 20% deal -- but the sale saved more money anyway.  Both were items I needed -- they weren't surplus.

The leggings were a serendipitous find.  I had to throw a couple of pairs out this month because they were worn out.  CVS had these as a B1/2nd 50% off and each had a two dollar peelie.  These were not something I went in there to buy but the price was right.  They will be getting more on Tuesday in "denim" and I'm going  back to see if they have the peelies.  If they do, I'm going to grab a few more.  Leggings are wardrobe staples for me and if I can get them for seven bucks a piece, then that is a good deal.

There was one coupon worth using on my mile-long register receipt and that was $2 off moisturizer.  I'll use that on a CVS brand combined with some other special.  If a good discount or special doesn't crop up by the time that coupon is set to expire, I won't sweat it.  I just refuse to agonize over coupons and feel like I'm losing money if I don't use them.

I know there are a lot of serious coupon users out there and I applaud you. If I had the time, I might do more myself.  But the method I use is quick and easy and it saves enough money to be worth it.  That's good enough for me!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Thrifty with Dough

I took some time this morning to mix flour.  We are having dinner guests and I'm making pizza.  I use a mixture of white, white whole wheat and whole wheat flour for my dough and also add a little bit of wheat gluten.  It's easier if I mix it up in advance but haven't done that lately as this summer there was not a whole lot of pizza going on.  I've also been too  busy to do much baking.  
It was cool enough to run the furnace.  Of course I take advantage of that warmth for my dough.  We're paying for it anyway.  This pot has my dough in it and it's on a shelf over a heat register.
I still have no clue if I'll have a job after October but don't want to give up hope and also don't want to slack on keeping my wardrobe in good shape.  I spent four bucks on these thrifted shoes because they match the tights I've been buying all summer.  I wear a lot of black and have a grey skirt too.  I did also get a pair of black pumps.  I'll need to clean this pair up a bit but they had nearly no wear showing on the soles and if I wear them out at work I'll get my money's work. If I'm out of work, at least I didn't pay retail for them.

I am glad my week of covering for an on vacation colleague is over.  There were a lot of things that I learned and now know even more about what's going on.  One group I worked with had a hard time and was pretty angry with us at the start of the week but I wrangled them around and they invited me out for drinks on Friday so I went.  It's a lot less stressful to learn in the course of your job than it is under pressure but I think I did fine.  At least I did everything that was expected of me and probably a little more.  Don't know if that will help in the long run but if I start interviewing again the stuff I did will be legitimate work experience.

My goal is always to turn something good out of even the smallest thing.  Shoes, tights, flour, hot air, I don't care. I'll wring every last bit of value out of it that I can!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My Out of Control Inbox

My inbox is turning into a monster.  And Monster dot com has something to do with it.  That is one of the more annoying aspects of a job search.

This week has been super busy learning the intricacies of a job of a colleague who is on vacation.  I also have a few new writing assignments.  The project I was hired on for still needs my services too.  There is no requisition for a full time position for me but I sure am doing a lot of work!  The good thing is that I am learning a lot.  All of my organizational knowledge will be walking out the door at the end of next month and there are at least a few people who think that is a bad idea.  If that translates into someone finding an opportunity for me, I have no way of knowing!

If nothing else, I've now become indoctrinated, experience on and produced quality procedural documentation on a technical product I hadn't used before.  This means I've picked up yet another transferable skill which should help me if I move on.  I can't believe how much my skills set has advanced with this position.  I hope that is translatable into currency as I seek out my next opportunity.

We did say goodbye to my colleague today and I really hope he lands something good soon.  I've been contacted by a few recruiters and have to take some time to follow up.  As it is, just dealing with my inbox each night is a killer.

So pardon the bland blog post tonight, but I had a monster to deal with!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Junk Food Dinner & a Tacky Shirt

We haven't had a frozen burrito dinner in a while. I didn't even try too hard to make it healthy.  No side of fresh veggies/salad.  But there are some fresh sliced tomatoes.  The rice has fresh corn from the cob.  As usual, I cut the boxed mix of yellow rice with a half cup of white and chicken stock to cut down on the sodium.  I was tempted to just suggest we dine out but had a reason to be frugal as I'm spending "expendable" cash elsewhere.
The co-worker I am so fond of has reached the end of his contract and tomorrow is his last day.  He always wears preppy shirts so we teased him that he needed to wear a Hawaiian shirt on casual days.  Actually, every day is casual day and it's special on Friday because we can wear jeans.  He wears Polo everything.  I got him a tacky shirt as a parting gift.  We'll probably go out to lunch tomorrow.  When I spend extra on stuff like this or extra meals out for lunch, it means I have to make sure we eat at home.  I am also trying to get back into a more economical mindset since my contract has only a month and a half left.

The good news is that this shirt was half off on clearance at Target. I wanted to buy one new so thrifting was not an option.  An extra bonus is how truly hideous the thing is!