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Home > Archive: July, 2009

Archive for July, 2009

Bad Drumsticks and Other Observations

July 12th, 2009 at 04:28 pm

When I went grocery shopping at the local store yesterday (grand re-opening), I bought two packages of Drumsticks ice cream. Last night we opened the package and they tasted well....a bit odd. Cone was soft and texture was different. Sophie the dog got mine. Everyone noticed the difference but at least no one got sick. I figured that I would call the company on Monday. Well, I went to the garage freezer to check the other box and found that the expiration date was 1/12/09!!!!!!! That does explain why the drumsticks tasted like soft cardboard. So I just took the full box and the empty box and my receipt back to Vons. The manager was very nice and offered me two new boxes. Turns out that all of the type I purchased (Vanilla Fudge) were expired! He hauled off about 10 boxes. He was at a loss as to why that happened. He gave me two vanilla boxes instead. I did not bother to ask about the expired goods policy - I was happy to get more ice cream. I was also happy they pulled the expired product from the case. Now Sophie the dog is not so happy. DD and I had to each try a Drumstick to make sure they tasted fine -- they did! Yum.

I have decided (for the never ending time) to try to declutter and get rid of stuff that we do not need. I am waiting for the local ARC to advertise another pickup so that I do not have to drive anywhere. I have lots of baby/kid's clothing of DD (and some of DS) in the garage loft that I always saved in case were had more children. That did not happen (and probably won't) Then I wanted
to save them in case we adopt a child. Well, DH is not as keen on that idea as DD and I are. I hope this position will change. Plus, now I realize that if we do adopt, it will not be a baby - rather a girl from 6-9 years old. So, those clothes won't fit! So, my game plan is to give those away except for a few select pieces for my "future grandchild." Keep in mind my 11 year old DD plans on having 5 children! Smile Plus a career as a lawyer and having a farm! Smile

I also am looking at all those plastic cups that everyone gets from fast food or amusement park type places. I need to get rid of those! I know they can be used to gardening starters, and such, but I have sooooooooooo many. Any suggestions for these? I do not want to donate them if that is not appropriate. I am considering using Freecycle to give those away. Hopefully I will have a taker.

It has been HOT here in SoCal this weekend and we have been in the pool both days. Sophie the dog also joins us (big black Lab) and even Spot the cat has been in the pool. We did have to put her in; but surprisingly enough -- she did not seem to mind. She actually stayed on the first step for a few minutes! Other cats I have had will try to scratch my eyes out if I bring them anywhere near the pool! Also, funny is that once Spot climbed out of the pool, Sophie came over to lick the water off! I will have to take a picture of the dynamic duo and upload it!

Have a great rest of weekend!

I Won A Gift Card!

July 11th, 2009 at 07:20 pm

Yipee! Our local Vons was remodeled and their grand re-opening started yesterday. They mailed out coupon booklets and new club cards for additional savings. For the next 30 days, each time the card is used, one will save an additional 10%. Plus, there are a few free offers with the new card - FREE dozen eggs, FREE cereal, $5 off beef, and 30 cents off per lb of bananas. I rounded up a few coupons and went at 8 am in case of a crowd. No crowd. Store was nice and new looking. Store prices and fair to middling - good on the specials, and extremely high on other items. They also advertised that 300 $25 gift cards would be given away randomly today only at the register (that's why I went today instead of tomorrow). I got bananas, cheese, top sirloin steaks, ribeye steaks, eggs, cereal, ice cream, and other stuff. The bill before card and coupons was $147. After $45.00! And to my pleasant surprise I won the $25 gift card!!!! The card is a Safeway card -- I will use on return trips to the market. I still have lots of coupons I did not use because 1) I did not need those items at the moment and did not want to stock up items that might be perishable; and 2) Those items were bot on sale (I can wait for a sale). But all in all, a savings kind of day!

Got Rid of a "Loved" One

July 7th, 2009 at 06:49 pm

It was finally time to say goodbye. For years DH has cared for our "loved" one but no to no avail. The 1991 Nissan has finally bit the dust and went to the junk man! I bought this car brand new for about $8K out the door. DH has painstakingly maintained this vehicle - changing the oil, brakes, etc. But now the damage is not worth the cost of repair. Seems the timing chain is off (I am not the best with car lingo) and can barely run. Smog is due in Sept. and she always seems to fails the test. The cost to repair is too excessive. Even to reap the $1000 that the lovely state of CA offers for vehicles that don't pass smog. Too much effort. Car does not qualify for the Cash for Clunkers Program because it already is cash efficient. But all in all, I think I got my money's worth. About 245,000 miles on the original engine and mileage was about 35 miles per gallon (estimate was about 28). DH used it for the last few years as his work car. So, I got $175 and the battery (DH gave the junk man a core so that there was no penalty) and a refund of $162 coming from cancellation of the car insurance. We had debated whether or not it would be a good time to buy a car. The answer could be debated both ways. DH would like a hybrid or something similar at some point but would like to wait until the technology has been around a bit longer. So we decided to wait. DH has shifted his driving to one of our other vehicles (a Dodge) that had been primarily stored in the garage. The Dodge is a 2005 model with 6000 miles total. No payment is good! Plus with a possible retirement coming I do not want any additional monthly expenses. When I retire I will lose my daily commute of 20 miles each way. I plan to ride a bicycle with cargo trailer locally for shopping, etc. to save even more.
Off the car topic, does anyone have any quick ideas for my 11 year old DD for summertime? She is basically home with DH during the day. I do have a camp scheduled for her at the end of the month. We will have some family camping time in August before she starts middle school. Soccer will start in August. I am trying to restrict her "electronics" time -- TV, Nintendo DS, and Computer time can be brain-draining not enhancing if done too much! She is also reading books from the library but is complaining that she is too bored. Most of the activities that I think of are things that we do together. DH is not the type to take on crafts. So I am looking for things she can start on her own. I did ask her to make a list of things she likes to eat as well as things that she might like to cook. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Update on Retirement Possibilities

July 5th, 2009 at 02:52 pm

The latest update is....no update. Rumors still abound to what the final offerings will be. My DB has spoken to the CAO's office regarding the group that I fall under. The current proposal for my group offers a severely reduced retirement. He spoke to a "brilliant" person with the CAO and pointed out that if they want my group to retire that such a penalty would not be offered. So, Mr. Brilliant is looking into what the original intent of the proposal is and seeing if there could be a change. I asked DB if the city councilfolk actually knew about the impact of "my" proposal. He did not know, but thought at least one would not care. One interesting tidboit I found out is that one of the councilmen is currently collecting a pension from prior service of over $10K per month (the $ is actually much higher) plus his council salary. Seems he probably does not care about those who could possibly retire early and collect nowhere near that amount. So, as they say, time will tell. The longer the wait the better for my anyway. But meanwhile, I did a tentative analysis of gross versus net pay. Seems I have been living on less than 40% of my gross pay. Deductions includes taxes (about 18%), 457b, savings, pension contribution, childcare, medical savings plan, etc. So it appears that I probably could easily live on a pension with the penalty. I still would like to save a minimum of 20% of the pensioned salary if possible. I did get a 3% raise on July 1st (go figure). But this will be the last raise for years.

Stay tuned........