Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I'd like to speak with the manager please...

Today we had lunch at Red Robin. I am not sure what their deal is, but that particular restaurant has by far the worst service of any establishment we frequent. You'd think we'd have learned our lesson by now...given that we've had the joint on 3 month boycotts at least 5 times now. I guess our need to keep punishing ourselves stems from my love of their Chicken Tender salad--my tummy growls just thinking of it. Anyway, back to my griping.
I hate hate hate their small tables where you are an inch away from the smelly guy to your right and two inches away from the loud talker on your left. But, I could deal with the tables if the wait staff was even mildly competent, or if not that at least pleasant in their inefficiency. I always leave ranting to Andy about how I will write letters to their headquarters outlining my complaints and plans for helping them make amends to the dining public . Of course, my follow through leaves much to be desired, and judging by today's experience, they have not gotten any of my suggestions via telepathy either.

Today, the waiter rushes over before we've even sat down and stands there staring at us as we try to get Chase strapped into the high chair. (Which by the way is quite the endeavor as he's a squirmer who prefers slouching to sitting straight) I look up with what I hope was a polite "could you give us a second look" and said, "diet coke please". He's back in like 3.5 seconds with our drinks, and then huffs at us when we're not ready to order. So to seek his revenge, he decides not to return to get the order for 10 minutes--but hey at least we had our drinks. Then our waiter did the following: brings Andy a milkshake with no straw, rushes off before we can even ask for a straw, forgets the french fries, brings me honey mustard instead of ranch, forgets to bring a straw when we finally got the opportunity to ask for it, and leaves the check for us to sign without a pen--of course rushing off before we can ask for one. Now, none of these things would send me over the edge at any other restaurant, except that at this particular Red Robin, this is the service that you get nearly EVERY TIME you walk in the door. Good times were most definitely not had by all. Even Chase looks annoyed. It appears that we are in for another Red Robin free three months. Anyone know where I can get my Chicken Tender Salad fix until then?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

You mean I didn't win? How can it be??

So, I didn't win PowerBall last night. Have to admit I'm a little bummed. Sure the chances are 1 in 98 gazillion, but I'm just that special damnit.

In other news, Chase has been a holy terror the last three days. Andy was in Vegas from Saturday-Tuesday under the guise of attending a business conference, so rather than stay at home all alone with Chase, I headed to WV. (read: so my parents would take care of Chase and I would watch while eating bonbons)Noodle was a dream baby all day Saturday, Sunday and Monday. All happy and smiling and talking. Barely cried at all. Took naps even. Angel in the making.

Then on Tuesday the dream ended and the nightmare began. He was awake from Cumberland all the way home. That's two hours of constant fear that he's going to let loose one of those high pitched shrills of death he's mastered. Remember, I'm all alone in the car with him, so if he does that, I've got no one to help me out. He did cry a bit, but luckily I avoided the glass shattering kind of crying which is good considering that we were surrounded by glass in the car. I thought once we were home, and he could move around, all would be good. HA! The kid would not stop screaming, would not take a nap, would not smile--nadda. I figured he was just tired from the trip and Wednesday would be better. Not so much. More constant fussing. More today too. Not interested in naps, and if I try to walk away he screams like someone is piercing him with a hot poker. I don't know if it's teething, a cold, or he just has to even out the good with the bad...3 exceptionally good days = 3 horrifically bad days kind of thing. Here's hoping tomorrow will be a better day.

Here's a funny...on the way to my parent's house on Saturday, I had to stop at Sideling Hill to use the restroom. Now this was a mean twist of fate b/c when we go to Kingwood and Andy is driving, I never have to stop for a potty break. But get me alone with a baby, and by golly I have to pee like no one's business. Ever tried to pee in a public restroom holding a baby?? Fun stuff. That's not even the funny part. You see, it was very windy up on that hill. And I had been trying to look like one of those mothers who has it together enough to be somewhat fashionable, so I had a scarf tied around my head. Well, that scarf is now blowing around I68 somewhere east of Cumberland I imagine. That's what I get for trying to look presentable.

Oh and here's something kind of strange. I was talking on the phone with my high school friend Amy yesterday. She mentions in passing that she had come across a picture of us at X-fest, and that our friend Tina was in it too. Here's a semi accurate convo recap:

A: What ever happened to Tina?
L: Not sure. I haven't talked with her since Andy's senior year at WVU. I know she got married. She lives in Seattle I believe.
A: Married? Huh
L: Yea, some guy she met at Disney when she did that internship thingy.
A: I liked Tina.
L: Yea, I should really get around to looking her up and dropping her a line. Hey remember that guy at X-fest who said Zima makes you IM-PEE-TENT??
A: What a tool...

Anyway, guess what was in my inbox this morning...the very day after this conversation?? An invite to be Tina's friend on MySpace and a message from her. How weird is that? She must have ESP, or be Pyschic--or maybe she has my phone tapped. Maybe she has my whole house bugged. Tina?? Can you hear me?? If so, send chocolate. Over.

Alrighty, that's all I have to say right now. I know this was just one long ramble, but you have to remember that I am working on a 72 hour hangover that didn't involve any alcohol...someone pass the Excedrin. If you have read this far, I will reward your dedication with a picture of Chase getting a bath in Grandma's sink.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Mission: Coupon Redemption Phase 2 complete

Alrighty...for those of you who were wondering, here's what my week 2 of coupon madness looks like. I still have one stop to make this week. My "stockpile" is growing steadily. This week, a few of the things that I stocked up on were cereal, pasta, rice, soups, cookies, breakfast bars, toothpaste, paper towels, tp, pledge, fabric softner, a little meat for the freezer and healthy choice frozen meals. Oh and Breakstone Cottage doubles which were delicious! They were so good, that I made a second trip to HT to get more--with coupons of course!

Harris Teeter

Trip One:
Retail Price of purchase: $168.71
Store sales discount: $73.01
Coupon discount: $18.15
Total saved: $91.16
Total spent: $77.55
% Savings: 54%

Trip Two:
Retail Price of purchase: $12.30
Store sales discount: $3.39
Coupon discount: $4.00
Total saved: $7.39
Total spent: $4.91
% Savings: 60.1%


Retail Price of purchase: $164.82
Store sales discount: $39.57
Coupon discount: $37.98
Extra Care Bucks (like a rebate) $15.00
Total saved: $92.55
Total spent: $87.27
% Savings: 56.2% Math slightly wonky due to rebate that will show up later

Food Lion

Retail Price of purchase: $60.00
Store sales discount: $23.84
Coupon discount: $11.59
Total saved: $35.43
Total spent: $24.57
% Savings: 59.1% --Scored FREE apple turnovers here because they were mismarked. :-)

Future Hero (Hiro)?

At six months, Chase is 16lbs 140z and 26.5inches tall. He's rolling over like a champ, loves to eat his fruits and veggies and is a Mr. Grabby Mcgrabbyhands--if it isn't nailed to the table, he'll have it in his mouth in 3.5 seconds. The other day at Target, he grabbed a toy off the shelf, and since I was sure he meant to grab that particular toy, I let him keep it. (the spoiling continues)
His latest lyrical achievement is the squeal of glee...differing from the baby pterodactyl as it lacks that certain birdlike squawk we've come to know and love. However, being Chase, he can't make this new noise without at least a little twist. He squeezes his eyes shut as if he must concentrate very hard on the creating just the right pitch. He looks like Hiro on Heroes when he's trying to time travel. It's really quite comical. He also loves to purse his lips together to blow raspberries. Basically he's like all boys...anything he can do to make noise he will. Here are a few pictures demonstrating his squealing technique.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Step away from Photoshop...

Last one this week I promise.

Nifty Thrifty Deals

I joined the Grocery Game a week or so ago. Basically, the service searches through a coupon database to tell you which coupon to match with which store's sale for the "rock bottom" price. The idea is to create a "stockpile" of items that you need by buying them at the lowest possible price. The database keeps track of all the coupons from earlier weeks, but it won't show up on your list unless you can combine it with a store sale to get a significant percent off of the regular retail price. It usually takes a few weeks, but if you follow the program you can end up saving 50-60% off of your grocery bill. You know me and my obsessive nature...I'm all gung ho right now. We'll see how long it lasts before I get bored with it all. Here is what I have done so far.
I went to Harris Teeter on Sunday. I had lots to buy, and sadly most of the things were not on the list as "rock bottom" prices. Still, I saved $104.83: $70.35 in VIC card savings and $34.48 in coupon savings.

Today after getting my icky gray hair covered with a lovely shade of brown, I went on my first "cherry picking" excursion. Cherry picking is where you only buy the rock bottom stuff. The whole idea of the game is that after you've been doing it for 12 weeks or so, you will have built up a large enough stockpile that you should be able to mainly pick the cherries when you shop. Of course, you will still have to buy your fresh items that you need such as milk and produce. (although some people freeze milk when it's a good price...not really my thing) I cheated a little and got a couple of things that I needed that weren't rock bottom, one wasn't even on sale. Here are today's results:

Retail Price of purchase: $39.91
Store sales discount: $8.09
Coupon discount: $10.30
Extra Care Bucks (like a rebate) $9.00
Total saved: $27.39
Total spent: $12.52
% Savings: 68.6%

Best deals: FREE Crest ProHealth Toothpaste, FREE Excedrin, FREE Reach Toothbrush

Food Lion (yes I braved the Lion for my deals)
Retail Price of purchase: $24.12
Store sales discount: $4.99
Coupon discount: $11.78
Total Saved: $16.77
Total Spent: $7.35
% Savings: 69.5%

Best deals: FREE Electrasol tabs, Spray and Wash for $.70

Retail Price of purchase: $29.31
Store sales discount: $12.32
Coupon discount: $8.05
Total Saved:$20.37
Total Spent: $8.94
% Savings: 69.5%

Best deals: FREE Electrasol tabs, Lysol Antibacterial Kitchen Cleaner $1 , Light bulbs $.75

I know that you're sitting there thinking that I am making all of this up, that I can't possibly have saved this much money. Or that I bought random things that I'll never use. Well, I'll add in a picture of the actual receipts later on if I can figure out how to work the scanner. (or figure out how to get Drew to work the scanner)

I love looking at my receipts to see all of the bargains I scored. I can't imagine why Drew says that I have too much time on my hands...

Somebody stop me...

Since you twisted my arm...I went ahead and purchased a few kits. This little number only took 10 minutes. I'm on a roll baby.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Random flashback

Remember Square One on PBS??We were just watching Family Guy which mentioned the Electric Company which made me remember Square One. That was a really long, rather pointless sentence wasn't it? Anyway, I remember my fifth grade math teacher Ms. Rosier would let us watch it in Math class. I loved Mathnet which was a spoof of Dragnet--actually the whole show was one giant parody. You can read more about it at wikipedia. Here's the link
Gotta go try to slow down Drew's inhalation of the chex mix now...

Round 2 goes to...

Mellon!! I'm improving my ability to maneuver in photoshop. This lovely creation only took 30 minutes. I am still just working with the most basic applications of the program. Keeping things simple is what helped me to stay away from the cookies this go round. (york peppermint patties are another story) I am almost ready to actually purchase a digital kit soon instead of recycling the free one I have been using for the hundredth time. (ok, third)
You'd like to see me use some different colors and patterns right? So really, I'd be purchasing the kit for YOU not ME. Yes that's it, that's the story.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Mellon vs. Adobe Photoshop Round 1

Many of you know that I recently condensed my scrap space to make room for the noodle and all of his noodle accessories. Given my now smaller stock pile of scrapbook supplies, I decided that I should look into the world of digital scrapbooking. It's really pretty cool. You can purchase kits that have all of the toys of my hobby in digital form. They've got patterned paper, ribbon, buttons, journaling blocks, just about anything you could possibly want. Once you've chosen your elements, you import the designs into photoshop, add your photos, manipulate, and print. Easy as pie, right? So this morning while Chase was jumping away in his jumperoo, I began my indoctrination. Two hours, several grumbles, 3 drafts, and one chocolate chip cookie later, I had this. This pie is not so much easy as it is humble. I must admit that round one of the digital scrapbook slapdown goes to photoshop. But, I'll get you next time, Adobe, next time! I might need a couple more cookies first though.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

For the Mama

This post is for my mommy. She wanted to see how the table linens she got me for Christmas look in my dining room. Snaps to me for having all of my Christmas decorations down and put away before Valentine's day.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Let's goooooo Mountaineers!

Here's Chase wearing the sweater that Jenn made for him. He's ready to cheer on the Mountaineers in the Gator Bowl. Let's hope we win this one. Let's go 'Eeers!