Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bah Humbug!

Hello everyone! I've missed blogging but there just hasn't been much time for driving about chasing WIFI when there is so much work to be done. My husband and I have been picking up as many shifts as we can and the putting all spare money into car repairs. Nothing major has happened, we just make sure to maintain our beloved '94 Honda Accord so we can keep him as long as possible. We just replaced an axle and will be having another one replaced tomorrow. After suffering through most of the summer thinking we couldn't afford to get the air conditioner fixed, we found out it was a worn hose and had that repaired. Next up is an oil leak repair but we have to save up a few hundred and get a day off because that will be a big job. We also will need tires fairly soon. Regular maintenance and not ignoring needed repairs keeps older cars on the road longer.

Disorganization kills! I haven't paid a bill late in several years. I've been in control and organized. Recently my sister visited and she wanted to shop for the babies one day so we went shopping. I hate the hoopla surrounding the winter holidays so I tend to avoid stores completely during this time. I grabbed what I was going to buy for the grandbabies so I wouldn't have to go to the store again until January. Since I wasn't prepared for a shopping trip, you guessed it, I didn't have cash on me. That was okay because I had a credit card I hadn't used in a long time and I was buying a just a few things so I could pay it off in full when the bill came. Well, the bill came and was placed on a random piece of furniture and then fell behind it. I ended up paying it off nine days late and am thoroughly disgusted over it. That's a $25.00 fee for being sloppy and a hit to my credit. I'm foot stomping mad at myself over this but the bill was paid and I will completely ignore the stores until well after the holidays.

I've worked retail in various positions for two decades. You see the very worst of human nature during the holidays. I've seen fist fights, public beratings, sighs and eye rolls in line when it just isn't moving fast enough. I hate seeing people becoming even more rude and angry. Many seem to have this expectation of how things are supposed to be, and they just get angry at the world when things go wrong. Running all over town to try to create the picture perfect Hallmark, Martha Stewart, Jimmy Stewart, Norman Rockwell holiday will only stress you out. Let go of the crazy expectations and just have a good time your own way, after all you can never please everyone.

Stores drive me insane in November and December. Places become packed with crazed shoppers and those awful holiday songs are playing at full blast everywhere you go. As you push your buggy and hum along just remember the workers are not listening to a few songs while trimming the tree and eating cookies, no we are bombarded with the same set of songs all day, every day we work, over and over. We go mad by the end of the season.

I don't understand Black Friday. It is just stuff. No amount of stuff is worth my camping out in a parking lot and fighting other people. It isn't even worth pushing through crowds to get something I really want. I'll buy what I need in October and skip shopping in November and December. That's how I keep myself sane.

My eldest daughter and my son recently found a home in the neighborhood that they can afford to rent. It is walking distance to her work which she needed because she doesn't have a car. January first my youngest daughter and her baby can move into the bedroom and the house will be a little less crowded and hopefully a tad more quiet. I wish them well and hope it really works out for them. It's been a rough year for everyone.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Zilch Nada Zip Zero

That's what I owe, nothing. November 17, 2011 I mailed my last payment to the last company I owed. I've been looking forward to this time for what seems like forever. I predicted an earlier payoff but then things happened and it didn't work out. I'm not saying I'll never need credit again, however, I'm going to enjoy this debt free status while I'm here. If you see a woman with a silly grin on her face walking past the shops without stopping, that would be me.

Good luck to all of you traveling the same path of debt reduction. It will happen, and your day will be grand as well. ;)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I am privy to "top secret" information that I am definitely not supposed to know. It was lucky that one of the lower level managers overheard a conversation and came to me with the information. I am stunned at this point, just numb and wondering what to do first. This changes my plans to some manner. The store I work in will be closing in January. According to the conversation it's a done deal and they will not be telling the employees until the end. There have been lots of corporate visits and locked door meetings in the managers office. You can tell something is up.

This month I will be debt free, so I have finances in line. My savings are not big enough to sustain me for a prolonged period in my current housing. I don't have a fancy place, just a cheap rental house. I would definitely have to downgrade if I were to survive a longer period of unemployment.

I had a job offer as soon as I mentioned this to a friend of mine. She said she knew how I worked and I would have the part time job in a second but it is in another county and I would have to purchase another vehicle first. I know this position will probably be filled before I have a vehicle lined up. There are a few other part time positions here and there but none close to home. Savings will have to give way to more transportation and we may have to move.

The last family meeting we had, I suggested a move out date of October 2012 and everyone agreed. They are not ready yet. I have to consider my son and daughter who have jobs here but not enough money saved to move on. This is a dilemma I didn't anticipate. I was expecting to keep doing the same thing until October and then make plans to do something completely different.

I've worked part time for so long, and the hours have been so low that unemployment would not be enough to live on if I were unemployed for an extended period. I feel I have to make some fast changes to stay afloat.

I've always been the one at the counter cashing the unemployment checks for my customers and offering words of encouragement. I've always said, "This is a great job during the recession because people still eat." My stomach is in knots and my mind is reciting that famous speech/poem "First they came..." because that is how I feel at the time.

First they came for the construction workers,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a construction worker.

Then they came for the factory workers,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a factory worker.

Then they came for the office workers,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't an office worker.

Then they came for me,
and there was no-one left to speak out.

I know, totally tacky to steal that quote. It was from a much more devastating time and my worries are tiny compared to what was faced by so many back then. That just sums up how I feel about the situation in general. I have been affected by the recession previously but not as much as so many others have. So many more have lost work and not been able to find work. Many have lost their savings, their home, their health. I feel I've been almost smug thinking it wouldn't happen to me. I felt safe in my little nook waiting for better times to arrive so I could jump off into something else. Now I have to rethink everything and create swift new plans.

I'm at the edge of the pool of unemployment dragging my big toe through the water, waiting to dive in. Those of you already having a swim, "How's the water?"

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Random Stuff

So far so good, life is much calmer and a bit quieter at the working poor household. Family members are not up til three  in the morning chatting on the computer, or watching movie after movie. One person even tidied the living room without being asked! A few are still mad at me, but they can just get over themselves. This was a call for household help from an exhausted matriarch (Am I old enough to be called a matriarch?), and the savings from getting rid of that bill can be used towards those scary heating bills that I know will be coming. It does get cold in Central Florida and my usual one space heater in the bedroom will not work with babies in the house.

I was happy to see that Kmart was doubling coupons last week. No-one doubles coupons where I live so when they choose to offer this once or twice a year it's a big deal. They didn't have great sales to match but they were doubling so I shopped. I picked up some household cleaners and paper products. Most of it was products that I actually use that I was running low on. A few were items I wanted to try. I didn't do too bad but I noticed I actually do better at regular grocery store buy one get one free sales. I don't think I'll be lured to the next double coupon event unless I really need something.

The baby had her first big bath today in her new pink tub. She was pleasant throughout the entire experience. It did take two of us to get the job done. Grandmother to hold her fairly still and mother to scrub. The baby has long skinny arms and legs that wriggle constantly whether upset or happy. Luckily, she's happy most of the time.

I found an older RV for a third of the price of the one we were wanting to purchase before. Hey, I can look can't I? It looked like it was in really good shape, but my husband isn't ready to start looking again yet. When we do find one we have to be careful, we don't have much money, and neither one of us has any mechanical abilities. Therefore, we can't be looking at fixer-uppers.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Extreme Measures

I have a little problem in my house where everyone is not working together at a steady pace to keep the household running smoothly. I'm extremely frustrated with this, and feel like a fraud. I've written about house sharing situations and how to deal. It has worked out for the most part. Lately, however, there has been a distinct lack of co-operation. I am deeply exhausted and something has to give.

I'm going to be horribly mean. Yes, my decision will make it more difficult for me to pursue my interests, but I have to do something. Tomorrow morning I will be canceling my cable, Internet, and home phone. I will be forced to keep minutes on the track phone, and to blog at the library or a parking lot with WiFi after work. My husband will really miss his football. Perhaps without the electronic distractions all members of the household will find time to pursue work and help keep the house somewhat clean. I'm not asking for perfectionism, just to have the house comfortable and for everyone to show up at work.

That's enough of me griping. I just wanted to explain what is happening so when mail is unanswered for a few days you know why. I'm already down to once a week (if that) writing. In the fast paced world of blogging I'm surprised that readers keep coming back. A big "Thank You" to everyone who stops by my little blog.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wasting Time

First an update. Daughter and granddaughter are home and doing well. Also, my husband still has a job for now. Still trying to catch up on sleep, and create a positive living environment in our cramped quarters. Life is exhausting.

Thank you to all who have read, lurked, commented, or e-mailed. I appreciate all of you even if I don't respond in a timely fashion.

I really don't have the energy to write at this time, but there are plenty of topics being covered elsewhere. Feral Homemaker wrote an excellent article about work and how some workers are becoming slavishly devoted to their jobs in order not to be fired. She's right when she says you can be fired anyway.

My advice, go in, do the best at whatever it is that you do, then go home. Do not put in free over time, or work yourself into medical problems. A job does not define you. Some employers are taking advantage of the workers who are so worried about being unemployed that they will do anything to prove their loyalty.

Economize, follow a tight budget and boost your savings if you can. Be ready for emergencies because there is no guaranty that you will escape the next layoff.

Read her original post here:

Single Mom Rich Mom dared to ask the question of bloggers, "Are we wasting our time?"

I like to think with my blogging that I am opening a conversation each day (or each weak or month) and connecting with others. I daydream and wonder sometimes if I will ever have one of those "a ha" moments when I realize all of this was leading up to something big. Then I fall asleep or drag myself into work. Have to be realistic.

Read her thoughts here:

Monday, October 3, 2011

She's Arrived!

It happened on 10-02-2011 at 12:21 pm. Second grandbaby came kicking and squalling into the world at six pounds and three and a half ounces and a month early. Sadly her lungs needed a little more help and she had to be transferred to another hospital an hour away. It looks like my daughter will be discharged today so she can be reunited with the baby. She felt no contractions until the end when the baby was slipping out.

My eldest daughter and I had our work schedules covered so we could be here for her. My husband needed today's morning shift covered so he could be there for the grandbaby. His new boss complained and said he couldn't do it. My husband said his grandbaby was in the hospital and it was important. He never takes time off from work unless it is vital. The boss complained and said it was a huge bother, then said his boss was not going to be happy but they would try to cover it and call him back. They never called back, so my husband had to call them instead and they said the owner hired someone new to cover the shift. We'll see if he still has his job when he goes back.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

More Musings from the Hospital

For the Time Being...

I'm sitting in here again, day six. Even though the work hours are very light at this time because business is down, I gave today's shift to a co-worker. I still haven't had a proper nights sleep. I'm really feeling it today. I have no energy and almost feel drunk. If I don't get sleep soon....

It is hard to see your child in a hospital bed, even if they are 21 and just resting and waiting to give birth. The doctor has estimated the babies weight to be around six pounds, and after the ultrasound they did when she arrived at the hospital they let her know it's a girl. The waiting is the hard part. Her room is in front right by the nurses station and she has already watched several families come through the door, scream for a while and leave the next morning with a newborn mewing softly like a kitten. I'm exhausted and she is bored. My husband is tense and sleep deprived as well. There is just too much to do, too much to be accomplished, and too little money coming in to the household.  Okay, that's enough of me complaining.


I should never had said anything when I did, but a year and a half ago I bragged about becoming debt free within a few months. I was so excited about my shrinking debt that I had to share. The bills were dwindling, the student loan was finally off my back and there was just one credit card. That's when Chloe (our dog) became even more ill. She needed hospitalization and more frequent medication and a very expensive specialized diet. I'm not complaining because she needed it and it had to be done, she was family after all. Too frequently there wasn't enough cash to cover her care and quite a bit of it went on credit. We even opened a new account for her final hospitalization thinking a miracle would be performed that would buy us a little more time with her. I'm not upset I used credit at all, I just feel I may have jinxed myself a bit by calling myself almost debt free too soon.

I keep track of my total debt each month and I can almost taste it. When I saw $1500.00 in black ink I smiled. Soon after I was giddy when I wrote the figure of $1200.00. Now it is at $869.00 and I am trying to get rid of it as soon as possible. I can't wait to see zero.

RV Lust

I know that I will never remain debt free forever. There are some large ticket items that I may need to purchase on credit. Recently I decided to see how good my credit was and see if I qualified for a loan. I know, I really should reach zero first, and there is a lot going on in my household, but... I have wanted an RV for a long time.

I want an RV with a burning passion. I wouldn't mind living small, and I want more travel in my life. We can do the types of jobs we do anywhere. Also at this point with a full house, a night owl two year old, and soon to be a squalling newborn, it would be really nice just to park it in the driveway and get a full nights sleep.

We went to the dealership just to look, and then we fell in love. We test drove, discussed, and then decided to fill out the paperwork just to test the waters and see what shape our credit is in now. We had a bankruptcy in the past because of a bad housing decision, and poor budgeting choices. I had no idea where we stood credit wise. Turns out we were at 710 and 719, not bad but still too close to the bankruptcy so we were turned down. They said if we tried again in a few months we could probably be approved. It's okay because it's nice to know we are almost where we want to be.

I plan to try again in six months to a year and have it paid off before we do any extensive traveling. It may keep us here longer in the land of no jobs and low pay, but I don't want to take a chance and go anywhere when I have more than just a few thousand in debt to keep up with, unless of course I have a fabulous job waiting for me.

My husband tells me to stop lusting over RV's. He tells me I stare at them when we pass one on the road, and I need to quit. Sigh, I'll have one one day.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Well, There is Actually More to the Story

When youngest came back home she was pregnant and due on October 31st. I thought I would have more time to write about this,  but she went into early labor and has been at the hospital for the last three days.

They have given her three different medications to stop the contractions. The first didn't do much, the second made her sick, and the third has slowed them down a bit. She is four centimeters dilated and they are trying to keep the baby in her as long as possible. That paired with her not really noticing when the contractions occur means she will stay in the hospital until she gives birth.

The first few days I was off from work and able to spend most of my time at the hospital. Today my husband and I both had to work and I felt awful for not being able to be there for her, even though she is feeling better now. Luckily other family and friends took turns visiting and she was never alone for long. I work early tomorrow morning and then I will spend most of the night in the hospital with her. I am filled with worry, and I really  miss sleep.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Living Penny by Penny

I am in fact still here. Life gets bogged down in the minutia of scrambling for daily existence sometimes. When work, poverty, the heat, the noise, whatever gets me down it's impossible to concentrate on much of anything.  My life lately has consisted of working, cleaning, and purchasing the items we need to survive at the lowest possible price I can find. Living life penny be penny can get you down sometimes but usually it is a challenge that I am proud to have just about mastered.

The bills are paid, we have a place to live, we have food to eat, why complain? I'm not complaining, we have it better that so many others who have no job at all, and others who have lost their homes. We know how to survive on smaller salaries. We've even managed to add to our savings during a recession. Not everyone can claim that. I am grateful.

I just about gave up on couponing when we had an empty nest. We were purchasing much smaller quantities of everything and adding very few processed foods to the pantry. Things have changed now with a full house, the combined eating and cooking habits of six adults, and the scarcity of free time. I have restocked the pantry very carefully so the bills would still be paid on time and we could continue adding a bit to savings each week. I'm couponing more now than I ever have before.

I've found a new way to use coupons that takes a lot less time to do. Let's face it couponing is a chore that can steal too much of your time. After I read my Sunday paper I look through the coupon inserts with a pen and a 3 by 5 index card. I write small and keep track of the coupons I might use. I write the amount of the coupon, the item description and the expiration date. When done I tape the index card to the front of the coupon insert and file it in an expandable file. The end of the month cleanup is a breeze. I simply pull out the section of coupons that will expire and toss them in the recycling bin.

This has freed up so much time! I simply browse through the sales circulars and make a list for each store I may shop at. After my list is complete, I look in my folder, read the card on each circular and clip only the coupons I will be using. As I clip each coupon I mark through it on the index card so I don't look for it again. Some weeks the sales are great and I buy a lot and other weeks I purchase only milk and produce. Either way, I only spend about an hour deciding and preparing for a shopping trip and I save at least fifty percent off the regular price. This is still nothing like the Extreme Couponers on television.

I decided to keep track of how many coupons I used for the month of August so I could decide if it was worth it or not. With the increased family to feed I have started purchasing four Sunday papers when there are good coupons in them. So I could spend up to sixteen dollars each month on papers alone, and then there is ink and paper for online coupons, but I don't use as many of them. I did quite a bit of shopping in August, there were good sales and my pantry was depleted. I used $126.89 in coupons for the month. I included store coupons for dollars off in that figure. I didn't include the 3 ten dollar gas cards I obtained for free with a purchase at CVS. I also didn't include the online coupons linked to my reward cards in that figure.

I've learned three new things about shopping this past month. First I've learned that when CVS says you get a free gas card with a thirty dollar purchase of certain items, that is a pre-coupon price. You can still get that gas card when your order drops to $23.00 after coupons. I've learned that coupons, for now, are still worth it for me. I've also learned that it isn't a myth that you can get virtual coupons linked to your store savings card. I'll give a proper link for that in an upcoming post.

I watched a few Extreme Couponing shows last week. In one episode a huge donation was made to charity. It was thousand dollar order and they paid around fifty dollars for it. That just doesn't happen in real life shopping, at least not at that scale. It can happen in small amounts here and there. I bought four bottles of bathroom cleaner for fourteen cents each. I also paid $1.84 for three bottles of laundry detergent and twelve rolls of toilet paper. I imagine an extreme couponer would have ordered extra coupons, obtained the sales fliers early and ordered huge quantities of product from the store.  I was happy with the few of each item that I purchased. I don't have the spare room to store the stuff, and the spare time to prepare for gargantuan shopping sprees.

The past month may have been rough. There were weeks with too much work, and weeks without enough hours, the heat was brutal, the air conditioner was not working as well as it should, but we survived. I feel as if I've suffered through and overcome another horrid Florida summer.  I feel this way every year around this time. Welcome Fall!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Putting a Hold on Impulsive Jumps

The economy is not improving, I don't care which paper you are reading or which expert is in your ear. There may be a few real estate deals to be had for those with spare funds, but rents are remaining the same in my area. Gas, groceries, insurance, and many other living expenses are inching up each month yet everyone lucky enough to still have a job has the same wage as before.

My son is weighed down by student loans, an uncompleted education, and the stresses of retail management. Eldest daughter is balancing full time work and motherhood. Youngest daughter has returned home stressed after a failed attempt to share a home with friends. It seems a perfect time to revisit an old post.

Handy Hints For Communal Living

When you are on a frugal path with a goal you have to stay the course until your goals are met. If you jump too soon any small setback can put you right back where you were before. Keep your skills fresh, remember these times will not last forever, celebrate small victories, and plan out your future without losing sight of your goals.

Things are working out so far here, everyone is pitching in to help out, and someone is always here to entertain Grandbaby. Side note: every time I try to write a post, or do any reading on my computer Grandbaby comes into the room, gives me a kiss, smiles, sits next to me, and says, "I watch," next thing I know I'm clapping along to "Yo Gabba Gabba."

Realistically I will be here for up to two years until everyones goals are met. I'm reworking my room a bit now and turning it into more of a retreat for my husband and I. This doesn't involve money as I am just deep cleaning and moving furniture about. I'm getting rid of some furniture that just takes up too much of the limited space. Next I will tackle the common rooms, before attempting a massive garage clear out. Reorganization of our small house will make it easier for all to get along.

My one remaining debt is shrinking, and my savings are growing gradually. We'll just be that much further ahead when everyone else catches up. If you are paddling toward shore and feeling discouraged don't stop and try to stay on the lilly pad. The lilly pad will crash, keep on paddling all the way until you reach shore, you'll be glad you did. Plan, and be ready for the better times ahead.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Double Rainbows, Grandpa Pizza, and Dancing With the Hired Help

It's been a rough week. I feel worn out and beaten down. I caught a horrible cold, missed some work, and spent three days in bed. My lungs still hurt and I'm still exhausted, but I'm heading back to work in the morning.

Bear with me, I'm still groggy so I'm having a bit of a ramble today. We all went to the store a few weeks ago. My daughter needed clothing for her new job. It was late in the afternoon and we were lucky enough to get rain. My daughter ran in with the baby and I was a bit disappointed because I wanted to point out the rainbow for him. My husband and I lingered in the parking lot a bit longer to gaze at the rainbow. It seems I saw them more frequently in my childhood. Perhaps that's due to an ever present drought. The rainbow was strong and complete, and became a double rainbow before we went inside. Beautiful.

Grandbaby loves pizza. He doesn't, at his young age, look down on his grandpa for working such a lowly job. One evening my husband called me after work to ask if I needed anything. Grandbaby was sitting on my lap and when he heard Grandpa's voice he smiled and pointed at the phone and said "Pizza." When my husband arrives home at night Grandbaby and dog run to the door to bark together. When I open the door and he sees the car he yells "Pizza pizza!" He also wears the uniform hat any chance he gets. Whenever we introduce a new food to the baby I suggested that we cut it in a triangle shape and call it pizza.

I know I've discussed work before but I've never wanted to get so specific that someone figures out who I am and where I work so I can be fired, but sometimes corporate ideas are so stupid that you have to vent. I take my job seriously. I do the best I can possibly do. I consider myself quick, efficient, and kind, and I have never had any problems or complaints. I work in a grocery store and as I myself am a shopper I think I have an idea of what people want. I want to get in, find what I need and get out. I want fresh product on the shelf, plenty of sale items to choose from, and a quick checkout. I do not want entertainment. I don't want to be followed about while I shop. Get in, get out, that's me.

We have someone new in corporate. He has new fresh ideas to take us to the next level in the shopping experience. He thinks we need a heart shaped bulletin board in our break room to share our great ideas about doing good things at work. He thinks we should do videos and photos of employees at work and post them to the company website. He suggested employees use their smart phones for this which really amuses me because a previous communication warned employees that cell phone use on the sales floor both ON and OFF the clock was forbidden.

They also want us to fist bump and high five each other when we pass on the sales floor. The worst idea ever--they want us to drop whatever we are doing when our new store song is played over the intercom several times a day and dance and sing. I was hired for customer service and cashiering. I will not leave my customers waiting in line while I dance. Fire me. This is not a Texas Roadhouse, or a strip joint. It is a grocery store, ask a few shoppers what they actually want, better yet go back to school.

This is in a store that needs some improvement. Dairy products are often found a week or more out of date, equipment breaks down, proper rotation isn't always followed, sale stickers are left on the shelf from the previous week, and I suspect product in some departments is relabeled with a new date so they can sell it past the sell by date. It's not pretty. You could add a few employees so there would be more time and attention spent pulling products and setting up the sales. You could stop freezing the pay raises of your lowest paid employees. You could hire someone just to inspect the store on a daily basis to ensure there are no out of dates. But no, you have the best idea, a little song and dance will fix all that.

One last note, company loyalty and pride is never forced. It is earned after learning how to treat employees fairly and doing the right thing. It is earned after treating your customers well. Song and dance? No thank you, I'll go elsewhere where I will be appreciated, dignity intact.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Thinking Bigger for a Better Future

Whenever one tosses about ideas for a brighter future, whether it is ideas for food, education, housing, politics, health care, etc. there is always someone telling you how it won't work and why. Of course many new ideas will not work in the current framework. You have to imagine there are new choices and less hindrances. You have to think outside of our reality occasionally. Dreaming is good. It's the first step.

My first dream is for government to bring Kiss to their legislation. No, not the rock band, but the old phrase "Keep it Simple Stupid." When I hear of a 500 page proposal to allocate extra funding to education that includes buried deep within funds for a bridge in Wyoming, and on page 362 funds for a casino in Delaware it infuriates me. They don't know what they vote for because they don't have time to read the whole thing and if they do muddle through it there is just so much.

I want the language and length of these bills simplified so all may read and understand. If something is put to a vote by the people they should know what they are voting for. If the newspaper feels the need to print a full page describing what four proposals mean then those proposals need to be rewritten. There is no reason to hide your real intentions behind murky language. Keep it simple so everyone, including our elected officials, can make an honest decision.

We live in a country of excess. Most manufacturing is automated. We have enough whatsits for every man woman and child in our nation. We also have a great divide between a few "have it all's" a larger group of "have enough's" and a greatly increasing group of "have none." Imagine a world where the resources are redistributed more evenly. I'm not advocating taking from individuals who have worked hard to get where they are. Bear with me, I'll try to explain.

From the perspective of the poor, where would you be if basic food, health care, and housing were already there for you. Would you feel elevated, more of a human being, more worthy? With time freed up that was previously used for basic survival in a world that didn't care, what would you do? Would you volunteer in a community garden, pursue further education, spend more time with your children? Would you work part time for a little extra in life or would you keep plugging away full time? What would you change?

In "The Overworked American" Juliet B. Schor describes a time during the Depression when a 30 hour work week was proposed so the work could be spread out between more workers. Some companies may have done this for a while but big business was definitely against this. Most corporations look at how they can gain from their labor not how they can improve the well being of their work force.

It's time to take the power from the few elite and the corporations. We should have regularly scheduled interviews with normal everyday citizens in the offices of our elected officials. Why do we allow lobbyists who represent corporations visit and gift our officials? Why do corporations have this power over American policy? It needs to change!

Future planner Jacque Fresco known for his "Venus Project" has given much thought to these problems. He is well known for designing buildings and cities of the future. While he shows great detail in his work and it appears like something from a science fiction novel he has also put just as much time into designing a theoretical future society. He proposes a resource based economy where the citizens have control and corporations no longer exist. He acknowledges there will be transitional phases, but to hear him describe it, it seems perfectly feasible.

Fresco proposes we already have the resources for all citizens to live well. Why should a few have an overabundance while others go without basic necessities? His cities would use power from wind, sun, wave or water. Without money and corporations clinging to the old way of doing things, the old way that pollutes our earth and lines their pockets, there would be nothing blocking the use of new technologies. Without a money based society, all citizens would benefit. It's not something that could be transitioned to overnight but it is fun to read his ideas and imagine what life could be like.

In "For Us The Living" Robert A. Heinlen describes daily life in a future Earth society. Basic needs are seen to and people are free to study and work as they wish. Imagine if you were able to study what interested you and choose work based on your passions, not what your earning potential would be. Would there be fewer disgruntled workers?

As for jobs that no-one particularly enjoys, imagine if job sharing was available at all levels. Citizens appear at the factory or field for a four hour shift. No-one is required to toil for twelve or sixteen hour days, six days a week for just a basic living with hardly any family time. That job will be split between four to six people. More people work and there is plenty of time left for creative pursuits, education, gardening, family celebrations, or gathering with neighbors. There may be a few that choose a shoddy life spent in front of the television with just the basics covered but I bet the majority would pursue the life they could only dream about in a conventional society.

Now readers, its your turn. Sit back, shut your eyes, transport yourself 60, 300 or 500 years into the future and tell me what you see.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Thanks to Hulu I just realized a second season of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution has already started. I never watch regular television, but if I can catch something on my time on the computer I will watch the occasional show. I was horrified by the first season. Children in a elementary school had no idea what a tomato was. Many could not distinguish corn from broccoli. It was really sad, and amazing too. It opened my eyes to how corporations have changed our nation, how much control we have given over, and how helpless many of us would be in a large disaster or emergency.

I truly feel inspired to make a few changes in my own kitchen. I already do a lot of from scratch cooking. I visit a fruit stand to get a good price on vegetables, although I really can't afford organic meat. I would love to be able to do this but the price is too high at this time.

I recently purchased "Jaime's Food Revolution" cookbook and have been joyfully trying new recipes each evening after work. The chicken leek stroganoff was okay, the spaghetti Bolognese was amazing, and today's burgers were so delicious even the grandbaby who doesn't eat hamburgers normally gobbled one up. I've been having fun.

I bake from a cookbook not a mix, I make my own white sauce for soups instead of relying on a mix or store bought cans of soup. I am usually good about preparing things myself although sometimes there are a lot of work hours, and mixes for things are on sale, and the budget is tight. I will admit I have never mastered gravy, and spaghetti sauce has usually come from a can or bottle then doctored up with seasonings and vegetables. I'm going to make steps to stop this. I enjoy being in my kitchen too much and I owe my family better. I have the skills to do better.

I wandered about after work gathering what I needed for dinner that night and randomly read a few labels for products I had recently purchased out of thrift or laziness. Second ingredient high fructose corn syrup, third ingredient corn syrup, and that was on just one jar of pasta sauce. Added together what are all of these products doing to us? I deserve better as does my family.

After the extreme success of the spaghetti Bolognese sauce I will be making my own pasta sauces instead of just dumping a jar in a pot to heat.

This is one show I can get behind 100 percent. We really need better food education in this nation. We say we are rushed, tired, poor....but we really need to wake up. Thank you Jamie Oliver for inspiring so many of us to do better.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Grocery Store Chatter

The Extreme Couponing chatter will just not die down. Customers in the checkout line will mention it each day, some in amazement of the show and others wishing their coupon skills were better. We now have one or two extreme couponers of our own. I witnessed one the other day making a purchase of 75 Powerades. I didn't see what her final price was because I was on the counter.

I do use coupons myself but not to such extremes. I do not need 150 candy bars at once, nor do I need 80 boxes of pasta, and 50 bottles of ketchup would spoil before we used them. I only buy two newspapers and do not feel the need to climb into a dumpster for more. I do typically save 60 to 70% off the bill with sales and coupons. Last week I purchased a gallon of milk and a large bag of popcorn for 68 cents but that does not happen every week. It was a small purchase as well. It usually is just a random small purchase, not nine carts full of groceries for 50 cents. No TV cameras will follow me about for my shopping.

My dad was the coupon and rebate king. He would visit family and bring laundry detergent, shampoo, cereal, and other household goods as gifts. After his death I was told he did this for extended family and friends as well. My niece said he would show up with a huge box of stuff and say, "Here, I got this for a quarter."

As well as chatter in the store I also get several phone calls a week at the store. People will call and ask what our coupon policy is. Dozens have called asking when we have double coupon days. We have never had double coupons but they insist that it says we do on the Internet. I don't know of any stores close to my area that ever have double coupons.

Like it, hate it, or just plain fascinated by it, I don't see the interest in Extreme Couponing waning any time soon. It is still a big topic of conversation.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Very Brief Update

Thank you to everyone who took the time to comment on my previous post. I've let way too much time pass before writing again but life is busy and I'm afraid this will just have to do for a while. The back is better. It was a muscle pain that passed with time.

I received the best of care while I was under the weather from the dog, aka Nurse Sasha. She sat by my side the entire time giving me deep soulful looks almost willing me to get better. If she had opposable thumbs I'm sure she would have gone into the kitchen to prepare a cold drink and make a snack as well.

Life is very full at the moment so please forgive me my quiet times. I don't know how full time bloggers manage to keep up with daily posts. I'm behind on everything but I'm not going to beat myself up over it. It is what it is. I can only do so much, I have to attend to life first (the physical one not the virtual one.)

I hope everyone is doing well. I will return very soon.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Brokeback Mother

I hurt my back and I have no idea how, I just woke up one morning and could barely walk. This means I have missed a few days of work and spent my days shifting one eighth of an inch one way or the other trying to find an ounce of relief from the unrelenting pain.

This is not the first time this has happened although the other times there was a definite cause. The first time it happened I thought I was dieing so I splurged on an emergency room trip. They looked at my spine to see if everything was lined up properly, gave me an x-ray, then told me I had some torn muscles and sent me home with some painkillers. The first painkiller knocked me out for eight hours straight and made me weird and groggy for a long time after that so I never took them again. All I can do is bear with the pain and wait for it to pass. Gradually it is getting better.

This is not an enjoyable break from work. Times like these remind me of the precarious spot I perch on as a part time worker with no health insurance. If something actually were to go wrong, what could I do? There are no sick days, not much of vacation time, and no affordable health care.

To tell the truth if I were to become seriously ill, I would have no options. My personal catastrophic health care plan is a copy of "Final Exit" by Derek Humphry. If my health were to decline to the point that I could no longer find any joy in daily details then I would like to leave on my own terms. This would only be if there were no other way. It really isn't to be taken lightly.

The reason this comes to my mind, is the health care topic. There are millions of workers with no health care. Many people live in poverty, or slightly above. There are no checkups, and family doctors for these people. They try to get by as best as they can. If it hurts take some aspirin and slap a bandage on it. You can't miss work, they're having a sale on egg biscuits, or that convention group will be checking in, or you'll be replaced. Without health care there are no regular checkups so when something is found it is often too late.

The current model is not working. It's time for new ideas, new ways of looking at the world. Let's rework the entire system to find something new and beautiful where no group is excluded.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Seeing is Believing

Georgia has always been a place I've traveled through on my way to someplace else. Besides a brief weekend in Atlanta with friends and a day trip to the zoo my impression of Georgia has been from images flashing by my car window and scents drifting through the vents.

Many parts of Georgia are very beautiful. I love the areas thick with large pine trees and red clay soil. Driving up the coast through Northern Florida and Southern Georgia has been unpleasant. I can't stand the sulphur smell. People from the area say they get used to it but I don't see how.

As a child riding in the back seat of my parents car I remember seeing a billboard for the Ku Klux Klan. It frightened me. Whenever I thought of Georgia for many years it conjured up images of the Klan and remembrances of sulphur scent.

I've been wanting to take off for a while but my kids need help now. No-one longs to move as much as I do, and I try to control my wanderlust.

I do these addictive internet searches for jobs, cost of living comparisons, and available housing. I find random spots based on available jobs and cost of living and start dreaming. I then irritate my family to no end. I tell them what the weather is doing in Oklahoma, or how much the average rent is in Oregon, or which stores are hiring in Ohio. Eldest daughter said she would like to move to Georgia or South Carolina. I researched both states and found an area in Georgia that had available jobs and fairly cheap rent. I needed a break quite badly at the same time and decided to check it out.

The get away was much needed. We rented a quiet cabin and it was nice despite the bee sting. We relaxed and fed the ducks.

I tried to ignore the swastika carved on the inside of the cabin door. Don't they check the place out and get rid of hateful graffiti. When I read the local paper I noticed that they pointed out the skin color of anyone that did wrong unless they were white. "An eighteen year old black woman" scratched a police officer. The fifty year old who was arrested for having a meth lab in his house was listed by name and age only.

We passed several homes with rebel flags flying in the front yard. One home had a sheriffs vehicle parked under the rebel flag. If I were a little braver I would have run down his driveway and knocked on his front door to let him know the war was over. My husband said that would be a very bad idea. I hate racism.

On our first night away my son moved back home temporarily. That was on my mind. Youngest daughter is going through great drama of her own. That was on my mind. I tried to relax.

At first we spent some time just driving down random roads. There were hills and trees and pretty homes out in the country. Flower beds were blooming, there was no sulphur smell at all, and it was slightly cooler than Florida. There were no rentals available right there on the drive, so we decided to collect the addresses of several homes in the area that we could afford.

I made a list, mapquested directions, and away we went. We were immediately depressed when we found that first one, after the second one we gave up altogether. the housing we could afford was in an area where ten out of twelve houses were boarded up, there were bars on the doors and windows of any businesses in the area, and we spotted four individuals openly dealing drugs on random corners.

We decided to leave a day early and check on youngest daughter on the way home. My worries are many now. We've decided that temporarily at least we cannot make a final decision on a move when all of our children need us. We have food and shelter for them, a soft place to land, but we do not have money to send when they get into a jam. We will be unable to help at all if we spend our savings on a move. As much as I want to go, I am not finished here. This darn motherhood, it never ends.

That's not to say if an opportunity presents itself we won't take it. I'm still searching. I feel like life is slipping by terribly fast and we are just treading water where we are. It was good to find out that Georgia wasn't quite what we were looking for before a move was made.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Everyone Has an Opinion

I watched TLC's "Extreme Couponing" with my daughter a few weeks ago. We were both amazed. My daughter thought it would be fun to do this and donate giant stockpiles to food banks. This caused me to picture her in a green hat with a jaunty feather and tights laughing as she carelessly tossed bags in an overladen cart, a sort of modern day grocery store Robin Hood.

After watching this show I kept thinking I would write a blog post about this because it was so bizarre. Many of you have watched before and beat me to it.

I do use coupons myself. I get some terrific deals and sometimes even come home with free products. I only buy what I will use before it expires. I don't buy stuff just because I can get it for free. If an item is free but I don't use it, I don't need it.

I don't have to write anymore about this as many of you have already done the work. Like De-ette, I couldn't help but picture some of the shows participants as future guests on the Hoarders show.

Fabulous & Frugal

Pamela had many of the same ideas. She wrote about a woman on the show who bought a huge stockpile of diapers for a baby she hadn't yet conceived.

Feral Homemaking

Judy noticed that many of the items promoted with coupons were not the healthiest option.

We May be Poor but We Are Happy

Sharon also saw the Hoarders connection. She has fancy videos to illustrate her post. :)

Midlife Mom Musings

Being a professional, Donna Freedman had inside information. She reminds us that producers look for exciting images and sometimes leave out part of the story for more dramatic television viewing. Read her post for the other side of the story.

Surviving and Thriving

Paula reminds us to collect our coupons in an ethical manner. Stop pestering that newspaper delivery person!

Monroe on a Budget

Some seem to think that the manufacturers and retailers are going to place restrictions on coupon use because of this show. I work in retail and I was unaware of a way to get credit for coupons that weren't actually used. Jill Cataldo explained why gang cut coupons are a problem.

Jill Cataldo

I don't know if a TLC show will have that much of an effect on sales policies in stores. After all, not everyone has rushed out to add members to their household after watching Sister Wives.

Congratulations Donna Freedman

Big congratulations to Donna Freedman of the "Surviving and Thriving" blog and MSN Money. Surviving and Thriving turned one year old on April 29th

To celebrate Donna is having a gargantuan giveaway lasting two weeks with 21 prizes. The top prize is a $100.00 gift card. There are more gift cards, a coffee gift pack, and books galore. Go check it out and hopefully win something. Good luck.

To enter: 1)Leave a comment on her post.
2)Subscribe to her site via email or RSS.
3)Sign up to follow Surviving and Thriving on Twitter or Facebook.

Congratulations Donna!

Enter here.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Vacation, Working Poor Style

I really haven't put much writing time in this month. I do feel guilty but we are in the midst of changes. My husband and I are currently on a little vacation, a much needed break. We can't really afford the typical vacation so we are doing this working poor style.

One way to trim costs on a vacation is to skip eating out all the time. Yes, we brought a cooler to save money, although we aren't perfect so we are eating out a little bit. One of the biggest costs beside transportation are hotel fees. We opted for a rustic cabin rental in a KOA campground instead. I stayed at one before and really enjoyed it. The cabin has two bunk beds, a full sized bed, a desk and a chair, and a window unit air conditioner. There is electricity and WIFI. You can't be severely addicted to television when you stay in one. There is no television and the WIFI isn't fast enough to HULU.

The last cabin I rented was about fifteen feet away from the restrooms and showers. I was slightly irritated this morning when I had to walk all the way around the pond for the restroom. The Canadian geese attempted to cheer me up with a hearty greeting But I was still in a foul mood. (Horrible pun intended.)

Last night when we checked in there was a giant mutant wasp/hornet/bee thing on the window shade. I used to raise tarantulas, and am kind to all creatures. I even carry spiders out of the house for my husband. He wanted it out of the room. I told him it was in a difficult spot to catch because of the window shade and we would most likely get stung trying to get out or damage something in the room. We made the bed, walked all the way around the pond to the restrooms, and came back. I sat down on the edge of the bed and bolted up immediately.

We turned on the porch light and the inside light and I stood in the doorway to our little cabin rubbing my butt furiously while my husband tried to get the injured mutant wasp/hornet/bee thing out of the room. After a tussle with the mutant my husband lost track of him and we couldn't find him again. I slept lightly, jumping at every small noise, certain he was going to find me in the middle of the night to finish the job. It was a rough start for our all too short vacation.

Like always it is a dual purpose vacation. We can have a bit of fun each day, but then we also have to look for jobs and rental properties because I am thinking of moving up here. It looks promising so far, now if I can only get my husband to stop singing the Bumble Bee Tuna theme song and referring to me as his little bumble bee. He also opened the door to the cabin this morning and said there was someone to see me. I thought one of the geese had wandered up to the porch but no it was a giant mutant wasp/hornet/bee thing. If I could only train one to bite him on the butt too...

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Great Wind of 2011

While we didn't officially have a tornado, there was still damage in our area after some recent storms. Trees are down, and power lines and power poles, and a huge billboard. Our mail box was tossed in the street and our neighbors siding was ripped off their house. We lost electricity for ten hours and there are still many in the county with no power on day two.

One person from our neighborhood was on his way home when the storm whipped in. He just made it home and pulled in the driveway when a large tree fell and crushed his truck. One second one way and the tree would have crushed him in the cab instead of the truck bed. One second the other way and the tree would not have hit the truck.

It was slow today at work because it was still storming this morning. However, people started trickling in to purchase ice to try to save their food, propane or charcoal to cook with, and batteries. Fried chicken from the deli was also very popular today.

Whenever anyone started complaining I gently reminded them of Japan. As soon as they though of it they said, "You know what, this isn't so bad."

We sat in the living room and talked and we took early naps. Later at night one of those giant power trucks stopped right in front of our house and sent a man up in the bucket to repair a line. We opened the curtains and the grandbaby fresh from his nap pointed and cheered for his very own Tonka truck show.

It is not too bad to lose power in a warm state. I would hate to lose power in Michigan or Nebraska. I would die. Here, I am fairly well prepared for an emergency. We have food, water, batteries, candles, and charcoal. I could probably survive for an extended period, perhaps a month. How long could you go without electricity?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Oh, that's all? I love you."

When I was little I had a big brother. He was grown and mostly out of the house but he was around for periods of time up until we moved when I was approximately ten years old. I had other siblings, one sister who ran away when she was almost eighteen and I hadn't met yet, another sister much older than I who was more like an aunt at the time because of the age difference, and another older brother who took great delight at the time in picking on his younger sibling.

I so loved my eldest brother. He cooked me special meals, stood up for me whenever someone hurt me, and brought me presents when returning home.

We had two houses on my parents old property. We had the old house and up the hill we had the new house. The old house was a beautiful old farm house that came with the property when they purchased it and the new house was the one my dad built himself. My dad had worked in many aspects of construction and they were able to build and fix up properties, saving a tidy sum along the way. However, this won't be a frugal post about saving money, learning a trade, or property improvement and real estate. It's much more personal.

When my brother was not in a big city far away from our acreage he stayed in the big upstairs bedroom in the old house where I was born. The rest of us lived up the hill in the new house which my brother referred to as the shoebox for it's basic shape and lack of interest.

I clung to my big brother and tried to spend every moment with him. We cooked together and hung out in his room. I used to sit on the natural stone slabs that were placed in the hill as stairs and wait for him to realize I was waiting. I listened to the sounds of his radio drifting down and caught glimpses of him dancing past the windows. Eventually he would feel my little eyes boring into him and say, "Hey, how long have you been down there? Come on up."

We listened to albums, we played games, he read to me, and tucked me in at night. He cooked crab cakes and shrimp for us. We made Christmas cookies but we didn't have any cookie cutters so we had to cut all of those shapes out with butter knives.

Once he got into a huge shouting match with our dad. Well, it really wasn't a match because our dad was doing all the shouting. I don't remember what it was about because it was long ago and I was very little. What I do remember is hiding under the kitchen table while the voices escalated. When it became really severe I jumped out and yelled at my dad, "I love my brother! Leave him alone!" I was sent to bed for my efforts. My brother came in quietly later to comfort me. I didn't understand why I got in trouble.

When I was a small shy child in first grade a high school kid molested me on the school bus. It was horrible and I was scared. I told my parents and my eldest brother. My parents had issues of their own I suppose. They didn't know how to conduct themselves sometimes, mostly they just retreated. My mom said, "Why didn't you just hit him with your lunchbox?" That's a sentence that has certainly stuck with me for life. My father just gave me a disapproving look like I had done something wrong. My brother looked at them and shook his head, he looked at me and then he took off through the woods in the direction of the the house I had described as the place where the guy had his bus stop. No one ever mentioned the incident again in my house, but nobody ever touched me again on the bus. I shudder to think of how things would have turned out if I didn't have his help there. I'll never know what he did.

I was in high school when my brother told me he was gay. It didn't change my love for him one bit. I was out of my parents house when I learned he had AIDS. When he died I was living in a detached garage with no bathroom or kitchen with my three small children. We had to walk to my parents house next door for facilities. I had nowhere else to go, no job, no money. I couldn't be there for him in his final days. I couldn't afford to make the trip when he died. I was heartbroken, yet I had to go on for I was in survival mode. I found out he passed one afternoon and that evening I had a midterm exam in Sociology. In a fog I went to class, telling no-one of my inner pain and carried on.

My mother, ever private, told me if I had to tell anyone at all to tell them it was cancer and not to mention AIDS. This was when there was such an uproar over AIDS on every news channel. I also found that my parents had prejudices of their own. My mother actually gave me a lecture on why I shouldn't have anal sex. Can you imagine anything so embarrassing? Mother, I'm a straight female, I don't think you need to worry about that.

Fast forward a decade. I had completed my two year degree but not pursued it further because I had settled for retail management. I bought a house and worked 40 to 70 hours a week. The children were older and finances had improved (so I thought at the time) but we were deep in debt.

My son wanted to talk to me alone. He seemed so nervous. My thoughts immediately turned to what he may have done. I was so worried until he finally said, "Mom, I'm gay."

I laughed and gave him a big hug, "Oh that's all? I love you." I said, "I was afraid you were going to give me bad news." My son had officially come out at thirteen with no shouting matches, no threats, and no tears. I didn't take on a cloak of prejudice from my forebears. I only kept the love.

My dad came to the house to discuss his financial plans. He was gifting each grandchild with a small amount of money for college or vehicle expenses. He said, "I guess I will still give your son some money even though he's gay. You're letting him be like this? It killed your brother you know."

"No dad," I snapped angrily, "Being gay didn't kill my brother. AIDS killed my brother!"

I loved my brother and I love all of my children. I will always love them. I'm proud my son felt safe, and loved enough to come out and state who he was at thirteen. I know from experience, from conversations with my brother and son and friends that it is not a lifestyle choice. You are born that way.

I wish I could rid the world of prejudice and hate and ignorance and silly feuds and war. Life can be way too short. Gather all the love you can. After all, love is all you can take with you.

In a perfect world people would just be accepted for who they are. It breaks my heart to hear of teen suicides, and bullying, and to hear about kids who have to hide who they are around their families. I wish all children were allowed the confidence to live as they want to live.

If you've read this far, I'm giving you homework. Go hug your children/siblings/spouse/parents...Give huge bundles of love to everyone important to you. Life is all too fleeting. Love unconditionally, it's important. Please teach tolerance and share love.

Thank You!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Line Skippers and Other Angry Folk

Why are so many shoppers so ridiculously angry? They hate it that one person is in line ahead of them, they hate it that the prices are not the same as they were in 1973, they hate it that we don't employ enough people so we can follow them about and cater to their every whim, and sometimes they really just hate me.

I know enough not to allow their anger to spill over and ruin my day. I'm pleasant and I just laugh it off. I can endure anything for five to ten minutes. Roll your eyes, grunt, and insult the other shoppers or the employees all you want it won't affect my mood. If that is what you've been trying to do you've failed miserably. But you just enjoy your gloom and doom. You do enjoy it don't you? I mean that must be why you do it. Why else would you wallow in a bad mood like that day in and day out?

I seem to be having all the angry people all at once. Maybe they are more tense because living is getting more difficult for them at the end of the month, and perhaps they are just simply mean spirited people.

Several people have tried skipping in line this week. Some have said they didn't know there were others in line and others have said that they were in a big hurry or had somewhere very important to be. Why do you go shopping in the first place if you know you have an appointment on the other side of town in ten minutes?

I was waiting on a lady today. She had one simple and short request. She forgot her coupon and needed a refund. It only took a moment but the man behind her slammed his groceries on the counter and cussed. He looked at her again and rolled his eyes and cussed some more. I rang him up quickly and without comment. As he was leaving he decided to insult the previous customer some more by saying, "That lady was way too old to be trying to dress so young." She looked properly clothed to me. He was just looking for something to hurl out there and that was the best he could do.

Speaking of dressing, there are always interesting wardrobe choices in a grocery store. Many, many people shop in their pajamas. One lady came in and did her weeks worth of shopping in orange fluffy slippers, bright red pajama bottoms, and a yellow tshirt that said "Insane Asylum" across the front in bold letters. She topped her ensemble with a thick pink terry cloth bathrobe. She's worn that outfit a few times.

I was working as a cashier the other day and noticed several of my regulars from the service counter were choosing my line to purchase their groceries. I've been exclusively on the counter for a few months now and it was nice to have a change of pace. One of my regulars with a concerned look leaned forward lowered her voice and asked, "You didn't get demoted did you?" It's also really nice when someone has your back.

I have one more day to go before a much needed day off. I feel completely drained, utterly exhausted. I'm looking forward to getting more done around the house and figuring out something fun to do as well.

I'll leave you with this until next time: There is nothing cuter than a two year old in a diaper, his belly decorated with barnyard animal stickers, strutting down the hallway in a pair of high heels.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Waiting Time

I'm still spending time decluttering and baby proofing the house when I'm not at work. Three bookcases are finally complete and I'm left with three more to go. I must tackle those seldom used kitchen cabinets next. Those cups on the top shelf that I haven't touched in three years, do I really need them? I don't think so. This really isn't the most fascinating stuff to write about, so I haven't.

As I've stated before, no matter the state of your finances, you must find joy in your life. We took the grandbaby to the library and to the beach to walk the small pier. While he watched the sun set at the waters edge we watched the happiness on his face. When we arrived back at home we watched the grandbaby get really stuck in to an ice cream cone. Small pleasures for frugal folks tackling their debt.

I plan not to shop in April. Our pantry is stocked and we need no household goods. Besides milk, bread, sandwich meat, produce, and juice we won't need a thing. It's a good place to be because I hate shopping. We plan to take the grandbaby to the zoo and the dog for a checkup and updated shots. Other than that we don't need a thing, so all extra money will go to savings.

I'm still planning a Florida escape (from not to) and it may just be possible before the major heat settles. I dread the summers here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Some Sort of an Update

The only decision I've made so far is to hold off a little longer. I tend to be too impulsive sometimes when I get an idea to do something. I've realized I have a very emotional connection to my current debt because almost all of it was built up from Chloe's medical bills. I charged her final hospitalization and her cremation. I want very much to be rid of this remaining bit of debt, but I also want to have as large an emergency fund as possible.

Many of you were right, emergencies do happen. My car broke down shortly after writing that. It was a small bill and nothing major to worry about, but it still happened. It was enough to remind me not to be impulsive and give it a longer think. Something else may come up.

Thank you to all who took the time to comment on the previous post. You were all right, and all of your ideas made perfect sense, especially when the car broke down. Those in favor of getting rid of the debt immediately made perfect sense too and I will eventually. There's only a bit left to pay off and then I will be done. I just need to keep enough in savings so I can reach it for those emergencies that do come up.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Decision

As you know, I've been saving like mad. I want to move. There are no opportunities here. The job market is terrible. I don't have skills or experience to land a dream job elsewhere and the job market is pretty much dreadful everywhere. However, there are areas hiring more often for service type jobs in which I do have experience.

I was planning to move this spring. It may not happen as soon as I thought because we have made other changes. These changes that popped up are quite pleasant indeed. I love spending time with my eldest daughter and grandbaby. We were missing out on a lot being several states away. We were missing out on his spontaneous dancing whenever there is music, his extreme love of blueberries (just hand over the blueberries and nobody gets hurt), and his love/tease relationship with the dog. I'm glad I was still here and able to help my kids when they needed it. I have no regrets.

Here's the decision. I have the emergency fund, and I have my remaining debt. I could cancel my debt in one fell swoop and still have a little bit left over. I could put away much more in savings over the next few months being debt free and build up the savings again and not have to pay any more in interest. I just won't have my instant escape fund if anything pops up, I will be stuck here. We have jobs, we have shelter, we have family. Everything is good, so why am I worried?

I've been able to create this cushion at the same time as paying way more than the minimum amount due on my bills. My husband and I have done this together each with a part time job making little more than minimum wage. It is something to be proud of. I am proud. I also know that I can build up my savings again. I have skills now, so why am I worried over this? I could be done with this and call myself debt free right now. DEBT FREE!

I think what worries me about reducing my savings is that I won't have it there just in case. Just having it sit there gives me imaginary options. If I wanted to I could pay my bills ahead of time and take a month long camping trip through several states. Without the savings I would have to go into more debt for a week long vacation.

I also realize my debt free status could very well be short term because realistically I may have to use credit at some point in the future, although I will consider all other options first. On the other hand I may be able to avoid the credit monster completely.

So here's where I need the help guys. I'm taking this weekend to consider it, and on Tuesday I'm either going to transfer a large chunk of savings to checking and pay off everything and breathe a little easier, or I'm going to keep plugging away as usual and give the credit company even more interest but have a larger emergency fund available just in case.

I'll be honest, I'm leaning sixty percent in favor of being done with it and just forty percent in favor of how I've been doing it. I know I can build it back up, even sooner without the debt payments. I just need some positive energy and comments, lots and lots of comments. Please chime in and tell me what you would do. I know it is my husbands and my decision, I just don't want to rush into it without considering every angle. Give me your thoughts, please really, the dog is sick of me talking it over with her and she doesn't have an opinion one way or the other.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Slim Pickings

I have a theory that due to this never ending recession more and more people are turning to coupon use as a way to save money on their grocery bill. The manufacturers and marketing people are onto us. They know we look for BOGO(Buy one get one free) sales, and match two coupons with our purchase to get the items for a third of the original price or less. There have been less and less usable coupons each week in the Sunday newspaper. I've looked online for coupons as well and haven't found one worth printing for months. With the shorter expiration dates they usually expire before a good sale comes along.

I don't put all my time into chasing sales but I am determined to pay the least amount possible for those items we use in our home every week. If eggs are $2.00 in one store but $1.00 in another, I will pick them up for $1.00 when I go past that store unless it is out of my way. I will stock my pantry with non-perishable items that I use when they go on sale. The money I don't spend on household and grocery items at full price can go towards car repairs when needed, or savings, or debt reduction.

I really like a certain brand of stain remover for my laundry. It sells for $2.99 a bottle. I ran out but I knew it goes on a BOGO sale regularly. Sure enough the following week it went BOGO. I also had two store coupons for $1.00 off and one manufacturers coupon for 50 cents off. It would have cost $11.96 for four bottles. The BOGO sale saved me $5.98. I also had $2.50 in coupons. My final price was $3.48 for all four. That's only .87 cents per bottle. That was worth it.

On another note, I gave away all my large cooking pots, thinking I wouldn't need them in my empty nest. My largest pot was three quarts and that was fine for the two of us. On one of my previous trips I stopped by the Le Creuset outlet store in South Carolina and bought one pot to try. It is now my favorite piece of cookware. I've made the best soups and bean dishes ever in my little green pot. I just received a postcard from them advertising my green color on sale for 30% off. I just had to go, I love that store.

My daughter and grandbaby went to visit youngest daughter and my husband and I went to Orlando to find the Le Creuset outlet store. I love the one in South Carolina. It's in a quiet stand alone store with big trees all around and a gas station nearby so I can browse while my husband gases up. The Orlando store is located in the Orlando Premium Outlets on International Drive. It is a bustling metropolis of it's own. There are places for currency exchange everywhere, buses and trolleys, and a train ride and games for children. It took forever to find the store I wanted.

There were people rushing about everywhere with massive amounts of shopping bags from all the upscale boutique outlet stores. Some were dressed in the latest fashions and others were dressed in workout shorts, tennis shoes, and fanny packs ready for a full day of it. I noticed one major thing. We were the minority. I heard lots of voices, and heard many snippets of conversations but very very few were in English. I can't imagine shopping on holiday. I hate shopping. There were large groups of people from France and Brazil and Japan but very few from America. Is this a sign of our continuing recession or just a coincidence?

I returned home with a five quart oval pot in blue. It had a bigger discount than the green and my husband liked it. When my daughter saw the receipt she gasped. I said, "Hey, we're older and we can afford to splurge occasionally on items we really like and these pots will last forever. We'll probably pass them on to the grandbaby one day."

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

All Squished In

Daughter and grandbaby have arrived and son is almost completely moved in. So far so good, it's actually working out. We had space for most of the stuff, and we have a little storage available in the garage thanks to our decluttering and donation frenzy. Of course, there wasn't much because what she couldn't squeeze into that one car she left behind.

Grandbaby arrived cursing like a drunken sailor on shore leave after a year at sea. (Thanks baby daddy.) He's only two so the phase won't last. As soon as we are over our sporadic fits of giggles we'll correct him.

We didn't know how dog and baby would get along. This was a concern because in this small house there are no extra rooms to separate the two. There were a few minutes of sniffing and how-de-do and then baby brought out his play balls and the dog brought out her bone and her favorite squeaky toy. They are instant best friends. Grandbaby grabbed the dogs favorite squeaky toy (a blue football) held it out and said, "Mine!" and then jumped on the bed with it and said, "Ha ha." He held onto that ball all day and went to sleep clutching it that night. She only just got it back today. They are going to be just fine.

With all of this going on, my husband and I haven't much time to ponder anything else. We were excited because I managed to get a Sunday off and were planning to go on a long overdue day out but my brother left a day early and Sunday was the day when they arrived at our house. That's okay, I'm not complaining. It was still a good day. A few days ago, however, my husband called me at work and said, "Hey, guess what we both forgot?" For the life of me I couldn't think of a thing. He then said, "Happy late anniversary!" Oh well, there's always next year.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Funny How Things Work Out

Still busy, but I'm able to see things falling into place around here. The mold has lost the battle and the dust is slowly subsiding. The library is busy sorting the two carload donation and the local thrift shop is busy pricing their new items. Soon I will be able to sit and write in my home with no distractions, um well, that was until I received a phone call today. Things are changing again.

I was doing all of this extra cleaning and organizing, first because I let some of the regular chores go too long, and second because I knew there were changes ahead for me. We have an empty nest and the economy is bad. I was looking forward to a move and a new job. I wanted a new state and new opportunities.

My son asked to come home for a few months so he cold save towards getting his own apartment. We told him we'd be glad to have him and he has been dropping by before or after work to clean and move his stuff into the extra bedroom little by little. He bought new curtains yesterday, and tomorrow he will help me clean the carpets.

My eldest daughter has asked before if she could stay with us but has always changed her mind. This time her lease was up and she hadn't found work and she finally had enough. Ten minutes after I spoke with her my brother called me for a recipe. When I told him the news he immediately volunteered to drive up to get her. He was able to take a few days off on short notice and leaves in four days.

Now on top of completing all of my cleaning projects I have to get the house baby proofed in a few days. My daughter has to pick through an entire house of belongings and pick just a few bags and boxes of the most important bits that she can shove in the back of a small hatchback car and leave all the rest. We have our work cut out for us.

I have to rearrange my house and my thinking. I just bought two big office chairs. I was going to just keep them at the kitchen table since I usually do my writing there. Sticky fingers however, will ruin them, so I have to move them to the bedroom if I can fit them. I also have to clear the bottom book shelves, place the knife block out of reach, and make sure no cleaning supplies are on lower shelves anywhere.

Goodbye empty nest and hello recession style living. There will soon be four adults and a baby in a two bedroom home. There is a possibility that the youngest may have to come back as well. We can make it work, we just have to be organized and thrifty. We also have to communicate often and well.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Stuck in Scrubbing Mode

I'm tackling all those big chores that have piled up. To be honest at the end of the day I just can't think of anything to write. Work, come home and scrub, or, wake up then scrub and then get ready for work. They wanted me to work a sixth day again this week and I asked them to please find someone else. I'm exhausted.

Today is closet scrubbing day. It's really gross but mold collects along one wall of our closet. I removed all the clothes the other day. In a few minutes I will scrub the entire closet clean. Tomorrow I will wash the clothes and put them back when everything is dry. This is one of the big annoying chores that I put off for too long. I did convince my husband to get rid of a lot of clothing, so there will be a lot less to put back. I got rid of a huge pile of shirts and skirts that I haven't worn in a long time too.

We made forty dollars by recycling some aluminum that had been taking up space in our garage. We still have a few more bags as we couldn't fit everything into the car. Next time we drive that way we can make another ten to twenty dollars.

In the midst of my cleaning a few days ago I received a phone call from an old friend. She had called me the month before to offer me a part time job in the store where she works. It is in the next county so I declined for the time being but I did consider moving and working there if my husband could find employment. She called me this time to vent her frustrations because she just found out her store will be closing and April will be her last month. She told me it was the hardest thing to gather her employees and tell them they would not have jobs after April. It's still very difficult to find employment here. I'm glad I didn't rush to move now. I'm saving for a bigger move this Spring or Summer. I still have no idea where, but not knowing is half the fun.

On technical notes, there is a lot I need to learn about blogging. I plan to get the pesky household chores out of the way, so I don't think about them all the time. I must quiet my guilt over the extreme dust in the bookshelves, the stained carpeting, and the pile of laundry. I want to fix the blog, learn a bit more about how to do things properly, and buy a camera that will work well with it so I can glam it up a bit. To be honest, I just slapped it together without learning much and ran with it. I hear others are patient and have a cue of articles waiting so they never have a long silence. I want to put more into it. I enjoy being here.

Now your turn. What big projects are you working on? And, are jobs still just as hard to find in your area?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Back on Track?

Add a six day workweek, family drama, one messy house full of incomplete chores, work horror stories, and one frazzled blogger and you get no posts for a loooong time. Sorry about that. I am continually behind.

I owe two bloggers an award acceptance post. I am working on that and it will be coming soon. Michele and Connie, please be patient. It will hopefully be done this weekend.

I haven't checked my e-mail or logged into my site for a week. I've missed reading some terrific posts at the blogs I usually read. As I've said before, it's why I don't have a blog list. If I don't keep up with everything regularly I feel intense guilt. Silly, I know, but that is how my mind works.

Thank you to all of you who stop and read and comment, or lurk, or follow, or subscribe. I am thankful for each and every one of you. Sometimes I am amazed by the number of comments on a post that I didn't see the value in myself. Occasionally I will moan to myself over a teeny typo, making much too big a deal out of it. No-one has popped in yet with a scathing correction, and for that I am grateful too.

This is my first effort at getting back on track today. Hopefully, there won't be as long an absence in the near future but you never know what life throws at you.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Just Another Day in the Life of the Uninsured

I went to bed one day last week quite worried. I was having terrible chest pains that shot through my shoulder as well. I tossed and turned worried about possibly losing my battle with debt or even my life if I waited too long for medical attention.

I woke the next morning still in pain, but got ready for work anyway as usual. I did ask my husband not to have a drink while he watched his football game just in case I needed to go to the hospital. He wanted me to call in but it was too late for that.

It's funny, after three days of underlying worry each day I remembered what probably caused this pain. An elderly neighbor had dropped by to borrow my phone. I didn't want my daughters dog to try to jump all over her so I picked up the wiggling 65 pound dog and put her in the bedroom. It was that night that the pain started so I most likely pulled a shoulder muscle.

The pain lessens day by day. Funny how it's possible to get hurt and just not realize it at the time. I'm glad I remembered the dog incident, it eased my mind.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Meeting Goals Slowly

My goal is to pay off my debts as rapidly as possible and place as much as I can in savings at the same time. I'm careful to keep just enough cash to cover normal weekly expenses so I never have to tap into savings.

Savings grows with my excitement. I put all my change in a jar. Every few months I roll the change and deposit it in savings. Sure it may take a little time but I love seeing it all add up, plus I hate to take the time to pay for stuff with change. I never want to be the one holding up the line while I search the bottom of my purse for a nickel.

Groceries and gas are paid for with cash. Leftover cash at the end of the week is deposited into savings. On the day before payday when I get the urge to buy a little something it's usually easy to talk myself out of it when I picture which figure I can write on the deposit slip.

Being more responsible with money allows my husband and I the chance to sit back calmly and observe others. We sometimes discuss the choices of others and think of ways we could improve the situation. We don't sit about judging others, we just recognize mistakes now in others that we've made ourselves in the past. We would have had much easier lives if we would have learned our own lessons earlier in life.

An elderly customer came through my line with her husband. He's on disability and she just retired from her part time job. They have no savings and they barely get by. She had canned soup and potato chips in her order that were BOGO (buy one get one free) but she only had one of each. I explained that our store did not offer items for half price when they were BOGO and I offered to get another of each item so she could get the second one for free. She said she only needed one. The BOGO items usually have a long shelf life, but she couldn't understand it. They will keep.

I have a well stocked pantry. I always have the baking staples flour, sugar, brown sugar, yeast, and loads of spices. I also have plenty of boxed and canned goods that were bought on sale.

Here lately, I've been pretty much ignoring the sales and slacking on couponing. I'm at a point where everything is stocked up enough that, except for perishables, I don't need to shop. For the past month I've spent less than $30.00 a week for groceries. This past week I spent $16.00. I just don't need much of anything.

The money I would have spent on food is going into savings. I'm also slowly shedding my debt. It's a good place to be.

After saying all the above, life isn't just about living as a pauper and fighting debt. It would be very sad if it was. We do have fun, we are just more choosy about what we do. It's like television viewing. I recently asked my husband to turn off the television because it was too much of a distraction. He sometimes likes to flip through watching three or four shows at once and driving me mad. We enjoy it more when we tune in for just a few shows we really like and then turn it off.

We do go out and do things sometimes. We even spend money on occasion. Instead of eating out and going to the movies weekly, we pick low cost things to do like canoeing or going to the beach. Sometimes we do more. This is life - you have to live it.

Recently we went to the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Tampa and attended the Chocolate Festival there. This was a splurge for us. We've been in a rut lately and lamenting about how we never do anything. The chocolate festival was crowded but fun. There were all sorts of vendors displays and classes. Our tickets included a movie in the IMAX theatre which is always a treat.

We already spent money on tickets, and a lot of money on a few gourmet cupcakes to bring home, and we had a dog waiting for us with her legs crossed so we opted for dinner at home.

We came home, walked the dog, and together we made the most exquisite pizza I've ever had. It was a great evening. We're already planning our next trip. My husband wants to visit the newly opened Dali Museum, and I have a list of a few places I want to see. Whatever your financial situation at the moment, I'm hoping you make the time to find joy in your life, no matter how small.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Faulty Towers vs Reality

A few years ago I found a job in a hotel. Working in a hotel was something I had never done so it was an adventure to me and a chance to add something completely different to my resume. Some low wage workers, just like actors, don't want to be typecast into only one type of role or job.

I loved working there most of the time. I learned new skills and truly like the people I worked for. I worked the overnight desk position. I checked in a few guests, did the night audit, and then the next of the night was mine until I set up the breakfast. It was the first job I ever held where my manager told me to bring a book, set up my computer and relax after my work was done. You don't get that with other jobs. Restaurants want you to stand at attention during slow times when there isn't any cleaning to be done. Retail workers must be on their feet at all times and will be reprimanded if caught chatting or leaning, even if it is only for one moment. This was a different world.

Now, I will tell you the dark side. There must be a down side after all. One thing I learned about hotels was all the different types of travelers. I had traveled for business and for vacations before. Some workers live in hotels almost year round. Truck drivers, construction crews, road crews, utility company workers and many others travel from one work sight to the next. Their companies often choose a mid-range hotel to put up all the workers. When I was a retail manager we were often put up in higher range hotels when we had training or meetings. They needed rooms for two to four districts worth of managers and ballrooms for lectures and dinners.

I learned that drug dealers also travel from hotel to hotel to conduct their business. You would know that you had one when you would see the traffic coming into and out of the room on cameras late at night. Some would not care what kind of attention they attracted and would have loud parties. Some workers warned me that one of my guests would conduct his business in the back parking lot while he carried a loaded gun openly. We had to kick him out. The police warned us to be careful because they knew him to be extremely dangerous.

One night some young people were partying in a room. One guy who came to visit the two girls who rented the room became upset. He slammed their door and punched every single light fixture on his way down the walk way. There was broken glass and blood everywhere.

Speaking of blood, on another night when I came to work three people were sitting on the bench by the check in window when I clocked in. The evening shift person left and I locked up. I watched the people out front because something wasn't right. I looked out and one of them ran away and there was a big knife and a puddle of blood on the sidewalk. The police came and the ambulance picked up the injured man. He slit his own wrist because his wife was at our hotel with another man.

I learned a useful skill at that hotel. How do you get large quantities of blood out of concrete? You pour straight bleach on it and scrub and rinse with lots of water. It's a skill I have used at my current job. I had a customer who had to pick up money from Western Union. He filled out the paperwork and then he proceeded to bleed. He bled on the counter and on the floor. Instead of taking care of it he continued to bleed until he collected his money. I grabbed surgical gloves and the bleach and cleaned for quite a while after he left. What is wrong with people?

Oh by the way, the cheating wife and the new man called to say their air conditioner wasn't working. They exchanged keys for a new room. We called the old room and her kids answered so we kicked them out for scamming so they could get a free room for the kids to sleep in while they partied in their own room.

One more thing that happens in hotels unfortunately is what is referred to as a crack whore. This is a deranged, drug addled and unkempt woman who frequents hotels but doesn't get a room of her own. The woman will walk up and down the walkway, knocking on doors at two to three in the morning looking for business. They look for hotels where large numbers of construction or road crews are staying, hoping to earn a little money from men who are far from home. Once again, you have to put your book away and call the police. Before I moved I got a room in the hotel where I worked. We had the moving van packed and we only had a few hours to sleep before we took off early in the morning. Sure enough, as soon as we fell asleep there was knock on the door.

Well there you have it. More strange stories from life in the lower class. Hey, If I hadn't have worked there, I wouldn't have known. This was a clean decent hotel too. It happens everywhere.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Temper Tantrums, They're Not Just for Children Anymore

By working retail you get a view of humanity. You watch children grow up, you see couples feud, and see your elderly customers go through medical dramas. Quite often you are a witness to odd or bad behavior. Small children prance through the aisles tossing candy in shopping carts when parents are distracted. Occasionally one when denied a treat will throw himself on the floor for a full body temper tantrum.

You see a lot of wardrobe disasters as well. One young girl came into the store one night in a black push up bra, a black thong, high heals and a see through white tee shirt worn as a dress. If she was my daughter she would have dragged home and locked in her room. Years ago a woman used to shop in the grocery store each week wearing the same outfit. She wore a black one piece swimsuit with the sides cut out to make it almost a two piece. She also weighed more than three hundred pounds. She would walk through the store doing her weeks shopping while her extremely thin man sauntered proudly next to her. I'll never forget him walking along and holding one of her rolls that hung out the side of that stretched too far swimsuit.

You see a lot of men popping into the store with no shoes and no shirts. When asked to leave sometimes they resort to shouting. I saw one man run in to pay for a pizza. He stood at the counter in shorts, no shirt or shoes and handed the worker his money. Then he had an itch. It was a deep and personal itch. He then proceeded to stick his hand down the back of his pants and tend to his itch. I bet they were sorry they didn't send him back out but sometimes they just get quick service to get them out quickly with no argument.

There is one elderly lady who shops occasionally who shaves her eyebrows completely off and draws them back on in the middle of her forehead with a purple eyeliner pencil. I have to bite the insides of my cheeks to keep a straight face when I wait on her. Another lady comes in with a makeup disaster. I call her Marilyn Manson's grandmother. She has black eyeshadow, thick black eyeliner and the heaviest mascara I've ever seen. She also wears black blush painted on in a thick oval circle on each cheekbone and black lip liner. Whatever dark lipstick she wore that day is usually worn off. She is probably in her seventies so the overall effect is very shocking. One day she asked me where the restroom was. Later she came through my line and there was a terrible smell. She held out her hand for her change and there was poop smeared on her palm.

Speaking of poop, that happens too. On "Little Britain" there is a character that pees in public and doesn't seem to notice. She holds conversations in a store and pees on the floor, it really is hilarious I can't give it justice, however this happens in real life as well. We had an incontinent shopper who always rode one of the motorized shopping carts. She would ride it out to her car and expect a bagger to ride it back into the store. They would always have to clean and sanitize it first because the seat would be covered in pee.

A produce person in another store went into the back room to work and found a female customer squatting over the floor drain and using the restroom. She said she thought she was in the restroom. Really? You keep cabbages and carrots in your restroom at home?

In one large store someone was pooping in the sink in the men's restroom. They had no idea who until one day a manager walked in and found a little old man crouched over the sink caught in the act. I don't think they knew what to do because he was just obviously out of his mind.

A second hand store had a customer referred to as the poop pocket bandit. They came in weekly and put little chopped up bits of poop in the jacket pockets. They finally caught them one day and discovered it was a disgruntled former employee.

You don't think the world is this twisted? Think I made it up? You only see the retail world in fifteen minute glimpses. Stay for several hours, several days a week and you will be here long enough to catch the bigger stories, see the weirdness. We see the good and the bad.

Those temper tantrums the kids have? That's a normal part of life. How you handle it as a parent will help determine the character of the child for the rest of his or her life. Don't give in. I have a feeling some of my older customers throwing adult tantrums were indulged too often as a child.

One customer comes in and tries to cut in line every time. He feels I should run his lottery tickets before the other five people already in line are served. I remind him there is only one of me and therefore only one line for everything. One day before the holidays we were understandably very busy and lines were longer than normal. He was next in line but the woman in front of him was buying lottery for the first time and had some questions. I patiently but quickly waited on her but it wasn't good enough for him. He threw himself across my counter and shouted "Oh for the love of god, for crying out loud, what is wrong with people." I ignored him as he banged his head on my counter and finished waiting on the other customer. When it was his turn he stuck his finger in my face and said, "You are great, but you have some of the worst, most selfish, rude customers on the planet." I just smiled and ran his tickets quickly. I didn't tell him he just described himself.