Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Glorious Pens

So I realize I haven't mentioned much about my new job since I've started nearly two months ago. All I will say is that it's government-related. Partly because I don't actually know how much I should say on a blog like this, and partly because I like the suspicion and intrigue that will ensue after vague comments like that. (...and partly because, well frankly, there's not much to mention.)

However, I will tell you that every so often I'm reminded of some specific TV representations of government offices...

Like one day this week, when I overheard one person barter with another co-worker to exchange a much-needed highlighter for a pen refill... all I could think of was the 30 Rock episode where Jack takes a position with Homeland Security and spends some time in DC with guest star Matthew Broderick:

Jack Donaghy: Cooter, look at this place. This can't be what you want in life. Haven't you ever thought about leaving?

Cooter: Of course. Every day. Every day for two years. Look at these resignation letters...they're written in ketchup, dirty rock, leak water... But now you're here. You're here and everything's gonna be better. Now we've got pens. Glorious pens! 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Manic Monday

Today I woke up at 6:25.

I usually wake up around 5:45 and leave my house by 6:35. It was a very Manic Monday kind of morning. (And no, I wasn't in the middle of a dream, kissing Valentino near a crystal-blue Italian stream.)

So around mid-day when I finally started to wake up and started thinking about what I didn't feel like making for dinner tonight, I made the executive decision that we'd use our 'free steak dinner' coupon we recently got in the mail and go to Outback for dinner. After several months of  severely trimming down our budget, we had kind of forgotten how nice it was to dine out once in a while (don't read that wrong... I don't by any means consider Outback Steakhouse 'fine dining', but at the rate we've been going we pretty much consider Taco Bell a fun and fancy treat). It was a relaxing and mess-free finish (well, maybe not for the waitress and busboy at Outback) to an otherwise crazy start to the week.

And now, here's what Nora's been up to lately:

Friday, September 23, 2011

Frugal Friday: Tip #61

In this week's edition of A Cheapskate's Guide to Frugal Living...

Tip #61: Cut your own (or better yet, your spouse's) hair.

A trip to the hairdresser can cost you a pretty penny these days. Why not grab some scissors and try your own hand at barber-shoppery? Well I did, and while I myself wasn't willing to be the guinea pig for my first haircut, my adventurous (or apathetic) husband was.

Here's how it went:

Nick: I really need a haircut.
Me: I'll do it for you.
Nick: Ok.
(the next morning... Saturday morning, aka College Football day, mind you...)
Nick (as I begin cutting): You have no idea what you're doing, do you.....?
Me: No, not really, I've never done this before.
(snip snip snip)
Nick: Are you done yet? This is taking forever.
Me: It's been like 5 minutes. I said I've never done this before. Chill out.
(snip snip snip)
Nick: This is taking forever.
Are you done yet?
Are you cutting all my hair off?
You'll never make any money doing this.
Me: I said chill out... is this how you talk to the hairdresser when you go out to get your hair cut?

...and after only 1 hour (3, if you ask Nick, but he's known to be a liar about these things), voila! A beautiful haircut with only a few little patchy spots that you could easily argue are *stylistic choices* or *artistic flair* or my personal reasoning, *one of those neat haircuts when people get designs shaved into the sides of their head.*
It's only been a couple weeks, and it's filled in quite nicely and could almost pass as a real haircut. Another skill to add to the resume.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Introducing... Frugal Friday: A Cheapskate's Guide to Frugal Living

So guess what? I've decided to make a new addition to my blog. Every Friday (and maybe a few days in between), I will be posting new tips as part of a series I'm calling "Frugal Friday: A Cheapskate's Guide to Frugal Living."
I will include this disclaimer only once: this is not to be taken seriously. If you've ever read this blog before, you'll realize that my musings are at most (or all) times sarcastic, ill-informed, cynical, and/or ridiculous (or all of the above). However, although these tips are not intended to be taken seriously, you have every right to implement them at your discretion. I won't tell. Or judge. After all, I'm the one who writes this nonsense.
I will also, on occasion, share some useful information with you mentioning any great deals I may find, so you, too, may share in the glory of living like a cheapskate. 
And one more disclaimer, or rather, an addendum to the first disclaimer: these tips are gathered from ideas that pop into my head throughout the day under various circumstances, therefore they are brought to you in no particular order and without much filtering.
So now, without further ado:
Tip #104: Save money on bathroom supplies by saving your dirty business for the workplace.
Tired of buying ginormous packages of toilet paper and literally flushing your hard-earned money down the drain? Cut your toilet paper budget in half (or more!) by only going #2 at work. Think of how much more toilet paper is used by #2 versus #1... why not secretly shift that expense to your office supply budget? And who will know? And even if they were to somehow find out, who would approach you or discipline you for such an act? Don't worry - the awkwardness or embarrassment of that situation on their end will totally outweigh the awkardness and embarassment on your end as you stink up the employee restroom each morning. What about weekends, you may ask? Well I come back with, how important is saving money to you? Surely you can endure a couple of short days of discomfort if it means only having to buy that small 4-roll package of toilet paper at the 99 Cent Store  rather than the 36-roll mega pack at Costco on your next shopping trip. And another budget bonus: you'll save money on air fresheners as well.

...aren't you just so excited to find out what other awesome penny-pinching tips may be in store for you?

You're welcome.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Football & Funerals

That's what our week and upcoming weekend hold for us.

Last week we lost a very dear family friend of ours, Shari Delgado. It was sudden and mostly unexpected, and it hit our close-knit group of family friends pretty hard. Shari battled both diabetes and Multiple Schlerosis for many years, and also experienced several seizures in the recent past - she definitely did not have an easy life, and missed out on a lot of things that a healthy 36-year-old would normally be blessed with. But, you would never know it by talking to her. Shari undoubtedly will always be one of the most inspirational people I have ever known - she had every reason to feel sorry for herself, yet she never, EVER did. Many people in her situation would have grown bitter, angry, resentful, or depressed at best... but not Shari. Shari was probably the most cheerful person I've ever met in my life, always smiling, always thinking about everyone else before herself. And that's how we'll always remember her.

Tomorrow Shari's family and friends are celebrating her life with a reception honoring her memory. I was asked to sing as part of the celebration, and was hesitant at first, for fear that it would be too emotional and too difficult. But that feeling only lasted a brief moment until I realized how much Shari would have enjoyed it and appreciated it... and if she lived day in and day out and dealt with everything life threw at her, I could handle singing one song in her honor.

This week has also been a busy one for Nick's football schedule, as he'll be a referee for games three days this week (pretty much the most you can do in a week... another good sign that he's doing pretty well with it). After each game, he comes home and tells me that it's hands-down the most fun he's ever had making money. I'm really happy that he's found a side-job that he really loves, and so far I really haven't minded the nights that he's away, since most nights I'm able to see my Oma after work since she watches Nora for us on those days anyway. The loss of Shari has again reminded me that we all only have so much time in our lives to spend with those that we love, and I remind myself of this each time I go to Oma's house. We have dinner together, talk, and laugh at Nora as she runs around the house with tupperware and fresh-picked cherry tomatoes from the garden while she dances to polka music. Tonight will be the third night this week that I'll be over there, and I wouldn't miss it for the world.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Lesson in Gardening

For those of you wanting to try your hand at gardening, specifically growing a vegetable garden, here's a brief lesson.

Grow stuff like this:

that's a cucumber.

Not like this:

that's a pepper. supposedly.

For a more in-depth lesson, you should probably ask my Oma. I'm clearly not an expert.

I do have a vegetable garden... it's just not what you would call 'productive.' If you're looking for beautiful, huge, delicious cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and an assortment of other fresh home-grown vegetables, you should go see Oma. However, if you're in the market for miniature jalapeno peppers, you've come to the right place. But you better hurry, we sell out quick here. Probably because there is only 1 pepper.