Sunday, June 24, 2012

Left behind... Dr. Peter Funny Bunny Wig

I have been randomly photographing what I find interesting and left behind while thrifting. These are from the past month.

This bunny is bigger than it looks, a good 2-3 feet tall. 

The Father's day present for a dentist. 

I was tempted by this doctor's bag, but the price killed it for me. I am not a doctor, but thought it would be funny to carry around with my fake stethoscope and needle from my old Halloween doctor costume. Or carry it to work with psychological tests and books inside. 

Again the price tag killed this sale. i think they wanted $30. But it is a light up funny Family Guy item. 

I can see why  this is not for sale. It is far too cool for even a thrift store to let go. How cute and tiny. 

I have a strange fascination with mannequins and heads with wigs lately. 

This mannequin looks like she has a lot of drama in her life. She sat high atop a rack of clothes. 

Save some $

I read far too many blogs. I was checking out The Nonconsumer Advocate’s post about 50 Ways to Save Money. Now.

It made me think of how many ways I save money. Not that I am an authority of how to save or much of anything else. I figured I would work on my own list from hers and add my own. Katy’s are still in black. Mine are in red. All of them I do.

50 Ways to Save Money. Now.
by KATY on JUNE 21, 2012 ·

1.    Always look for the deals on groceries etc. Store brands are just as good. Know your prices. Also join free savings clubs etc.
2.   Vacation close to home so you can drive instead of fly.
3.   Give to thrift stores. Better than throwing away and someone else can save money.
4.   Recycle. Cans can be turned in for cash. Many items can be recycled to save the earth.
5.   Choose a hairstyle that does not require frequent trims.
6.   Repair instead of replace. This goes for appliances, furniture, clothing, whatever.
7.   Borrow infrequently used tools and supplies instead of buying. (Also make sure to lend.)
8.  Bank at a credit union instead of a corporate bank. You’ll most likely save on fees.
9.   Wear the clothes you already own instead of buying new stuff all the time.
10.  Cook from scratch and save restaurant meals for special occasions (I am not good with not going out to eat at least once a week).
11. Make sure you have a few easy meals on hand for those nights when takeout dinner is calling your name. There’s nothing wrong with serving scrambled eggs and toast for dinner.
12. Buy items that are not disposeable, that can be cleaned or used again and again. I have a mop that can be washed in a washer.
13. Foster your relationships with like minded friends. They won’t make you feel bad about sticking to a budget.
14. Pack your own work and school lunches.
15. Replace expensive recipe ingredients with inexpensive options.
16. Don’t be a snob about older electronics. You will survive without the newest iPhone.
17. Learn how to mend and de-stain your clothing. If half your wardrobe is out of commission, you’re missing out.
18. Batch your errands whenever you drive.
19. Drink water or homemade iced tea instead of soda.
20. Know how the sales run in the grocery stores. Chicken and beef on sale different weeks, periodically veggies etc.
21. Follow a budget.
22. Pay attention to your household’s food waste. Eat what you have, and stop buying the food that you tend to waste. (I don’t waste food. Leftovers always are in the fridge if the boys don’t eat it all)
23. Be willing to own less stuff. There’s less to buy, organize, clean and look at.
24. Go through what you have periodically to reduce and what can be given away or sold.
25. Eat at in-laws house one dinner a week.
26. Take advantage of your town’s free offerings. Parks, hikes, concerts, plays, it’s all there! (I love festivals cause they are FREE)
27. Don’t assume that all coupons are for junk food. There are tons of great coupons for pasta, organic food and healthy products. Keep an open mind. (I don’t use a lot of coupons, but I try to improve on this all the time)
28. Sell unused items online.
29. Sign up for payment plan with electric company.
30. Pay bills online to save a stamp.
31. Learn to use a paintbrush. Outdated furniture and kitchen cabinets can gain a modern vibe for thousands less than buying new. And chances are that your old stuff is better constructed than new stuff anyway. (I love to use spray paint to revive old things)
32. Switch companies to make a deal, such as cable or cell phones etc.
33. Shop at the grocery store with a list so not to increase cost with extras.
34. Have inexpensive hobbies and interests.
35. Have days you stay home. Save gas, money and utilize what you already have – recorded shows, Netflix, board games, video games.
36. Store your leftovers in see-through containers. You’ll be less likely to forget about what lurks in your fridge.
37. Don’t feel bad about accepting other people’s generosity. You can reciprocate in your own way.
38. Don’t be fooled into thinking that expensive shampoos, cosmetics and body products are better than the cheap-o stuff.
39. Turn down your hot water heater, furnace and air conditioner. You will adjust.
40. Only stock up on cheap deals if it’s something that you use frequently.
41. Embrace second hand items. Thrift stores are your best friend. (YES!)
42. Learn to say no to your kids. (the nephew and husband should count for this one)
43. Don’t hire out what you can do for yourself. Mow your own lawn, clean your own house and cook your own food. (We do not pay for any of these services. The husband does all home and car repairs.)
44.  Adopt a mixed-breed pet instead of buying a purebred animal. Or if your have to have a pure breed, look into a rescue organization that specializes in that dog. (All our pets are mutts, the best kind)
45. Don’t live in the city and have to pay for water and sewage.
46.  Allow for imperfection in your life. Your house is not a magazine and your kitchen is not a restaurant.
47.  Live in an area with lower property taxes.
48.  Get a car with good gas mileage and that is dependable.
49. Ignore The Joneses. Chances are that they’re deeply in debt from all their conspicuous consumption.
50. Read frugality blogs like The Non-Consumer Advocate for ideas and inspiration! (I read lots of blogs for hints. I am always willing to learn.)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Vacation Week Recap

Last week was our vacation week. I was supposed to go north and visit the family, but plans changed due to money. So we decided to do things in the state. We had a few adventures.

Saturday we just drove south. We ate at the Northgate Diner in Ocala again. The boys at a ton of Biscuits and Gravy. It was a very inexpensive meal with lots of good food. The people are so nice. It seems like most everyone who goes there are regulars.

Then we went to some thrift stores. The nephew is all about thrifting so I get to do more of it now. He managed to find the “hipster” knitted hat he’s been looking for. He also found a bunch of different kinds of dice for his collection he recently started. Of course the nephew and husband found more things than I did. They seem to have that ability. We keep buying games. Saturday it was a game of chess that tells how to move the pieces. The husband is learning so he can play the nephew. I found a card game called Sting. From the makers of UNO it is dubbed “Rummy gone wild.” I think it  could have been even simpler. We played a couple games and ended up playing our own way.

The husband found more poker chips. To add to his interesting finds I think he found the deal of the day… 6 old bowling pins for $20. Now he wants to get 4 more so he can play at home. We ended up using yet another Groupon for bowling at a place that is very close to the house. He ended up talking to the guy working there and he may hook him up with some pins. The husband is always getting hooked up. It must be all that charm. The bowling pins are very cool and well worn. He tried to look up how old they were and thinks they are older than 1998.

We ate again at Cody’s, just a different location. It was pouring rain by then and we were just happy to get up out of that. We ate at the location in The Villages – the HUGE retirement community in north central Florida. I felt like we were too young to be there. Also it is like being in a Disney World community… cute store fronts and everything is clean. They ride their golf carts everywhere. It is very surreal. I thought I was in The Truman Show.

We played a couple games at the bowling alley Sunday after a day of cleaning the house. Cleaning stops for no vacation (especially if you are at home). The husband and nephew creamed me in bowling of course. I did get one strike. Yeah me! We also learned that every Sunday they have $1 games of bowling. Also I learned that the nephew agrees with me, we want to own a pair of bowling shoes.

Monday night we went to my first baseball game. Subway was giving away a deal if you bought a family pack meal thingy you got a voucher for the Jacksonville Sun’s baseball game. We got it the other week and figured we would use it on our staycation. For the fourth person we brought the father in law. We all went out for pizza for dinner first. I got in one thrift store before hand. The nephew used his last few bucks on a board game filled with dice. I found a home 8 track player that I just had to get. More than I usually would spend at a thrift store, but it was an interesting find. The home 8 track player we bought months ago stopped playing the 8 tracks. When the husband took it apart to fix it he found that it had been water logged. He said it wasn’t worth fixing. So of course I find another one.
I looked up the Toyo model I found online and cannot find anything that looks like it. It is a split system and everything works. I am so excited. The thrift store even threw in free 8 tracks. They had two boxes full. I had some of them and others weren’t my kind of music. I ended up with 6 tapes for FREE.

When we took the 8 track player home it did work. The husband says it needs a new drive belt. I found where you can buy them online. Sweet! Both speakers work and it is quite loud. I told the husband it should only play old music. 

Toyo 8 track & am/fm radio

I also found an Ink Blotz game. It cracks me up. It reminds me of the Rorschach test at work. That is based on a German children’s game where they look at ink blots. The husband was holding them up and getting us to guess what we saw. The object of the game is to match the other player’s guesses. It is gonna be a hard game.

We made our way to the Baseball Grounds at Jacksonville. We got there way too early, but got a good parking spot. There were all sorts of people. A lot of families. It rained off and on. We ended up one of maybe 5 families/groups sitting in the voucher/cheapest bleachers. If we go again we are definitely paying for the seats under the roof. We had fun watching the game. The husband distracted me half way through when he decided we should go on the casino boat that was advertised between innings. The father in-law and nephew jumped on that idea. The in-laws 51st anniversary is coming up. I guess we are going out to sea to gamble. The prices were not bad either.

We managed not to get soaked or struck by lightning. We spent way too much on drinks since they don’t allow you to bring in outside food or drink. It was fun though. Now the boys are playing with the Wii baseball and bowling more often. I find reality better than the virtual.

Jacksonville Suns vs Jackson Generals


Some intermission type game

Yup, the Suns lost that night

Tuesday we were bums. I slept in until 10 am – something unheard of in my home with dogs who feel I must awake early to let them outside. 

Wednesday I had an appointment in the afternoon. Then we went to Dave & Busters. I killed on the trivia game and won a bunch of tickets. We played a little of everything. As usual I go to play games and we end up collecting tickets. The nephew got a Domo stuffed "doll" and the husband got a huge pen. 

Thursday we went to Tampa. I found a half price Groupon for The Florida Aquarium (I know, I didn't know they had a state aquarium). We took the nephew and the father in-law. It was a smaller aquarium, but nice. There were a ton of kids groups. Some kids would point out things to me. It was cute. We took pictures of everything. We were big kids. I even touched a starfish. The father in-law touched the sting rays. 

This is the owl's expression when the husband is trying to get in close for a picture with his phone's camera (Mr Instagram). 


Rock lobster

The father in-law trying to make friends with the fish. 

After the aquarium we went to the Yuengling Brewery. We have talked about going for a while now. I figured since we were in Tamps we should check it out. There were a bunch of people on the tour. The brewery is in what used to be a Schlitz brewery. It was about 1950s or so. The building was awesome. They took us through the process of making beer. I loved the lab. It reminded me of when I was in science class. There were a ton of beakers and containers. Then we saw the assembly line. It looked like the beginning of Laverne & Shirley with the bottles going through. At the end you get  a couple free samples. I don;t drink beer, but the boys do. They got to try types they hadn't tried before. I got a Yuengling magnet. It was my only magnet all week of travels.

We hit one thrift I thought sounded good from the bunch that came up on my phone. It was a Hospice thrift store, which are usually nice. This one was too ritzy for us and too expensive. We found nothing. We ended up eating at a Pub & Grill we found. Our other choice was closed. At least we tried something different. The boys got free beer there too since a beer rep was in the pub giving away free samples. They scored a lot of free beer that day.

Friday I didn't feel good. I think the pub food poisoned me. I even took a nap, which is not like me. The nephew went to hang with his friends for the weekend. 

Saturday the husband and I went grocery shopping. We had free lunch with the in-laws from when the mother in-law complained about the poor food at Arby's. Come to find out they are closing that location. I tell the mother in-law she complains and they shut places down (this is not the first time and she is very picky). That location always seemed sad and pathetic. The customers and staff tended to look like they wanted to commit haricari. We also heard about how her stove caught on fire. She was innocently boiling potatoes and it just went into flames. Now they have to go through the insurance company to get a new one. 

Not actual fire, just a dramatization.

Sunday we spent fathers day with the in-laws. They cooked burgers on the grill since there is no stove. The husband watched the Nascar race while I did research for my presentation at work. I changed my topic to guilt since that topic kept coming up with me the last few weeks. 

Today I went back to work. Everything was slow today - computers, people. Then I started feeling bad again. I went home sick. I think it was the fire extinguisher potatoes. Ok, I am sure the mother in-law did not give us potato salad sprayed with a fire extinguisher. It just sounds more dramatic that way.

Friday, June 15, 2012

One Year

One year ago today my mother died.

Mom circa 1993

She had multiple medical problems and lived the last 10 years of her life in a nursing home. She was 75 years old. What killed her was Parkinson’s Disease. She suffered from Bipolar Disorder, so we thought the delusions were due to that. We didn’t know enough about Parkinson’s to know it is the dementia that gets them in the end.

My mother and I had an odd relationship. From when I was in elementary school I was more the parent to her than she was to me. I feel like I raised myself. My mother was suffering from depression for years and years before she was given a diagnosis. I remember her when I was little just lying on the couch or in her bed, always saying she had to rest. Allegedly she tried to kill herself with an overdose of aspirin when I was 5.

I knew there was something wrong with my mother during my childhood, but it wasn’t until I was almost 16 that I knew what it was called. Manic depression was what they called it back in the 80s. She was admitted to a CSU due to her bizarre and manic behavior. All my life my mother was depressed and now she was a different manic person. She was prescribed Lithium, one of many future medications.

She wasn’t able to work. She struggled to raise 3 kids. She tried her best. I had the opportunity to leave when I was 16. I knew that I had to get away in order to live my life. It was a tough decision to move hundreds of miles away at a young age. I would visit and call. A couple times I moved back, but it never worked out.

My mother was not just a mentally ill person. She went through a lot in her 75 years. She survived a very abusive marriage. She had three children. She worked hard. She always tried to help other people. She was funny. She loved her 7 grandchildren. She was sweet and caring.

About 6 months before my mother died I had my last conversation with her. I didn’t call when she was delusional. It was too upsetting. They also took her phone away at the phone because she kept falling out of bed reaching for it. I am sure she was miserable not being able to talk to everyone. That last conversation she was lucid and I caught her up on what she had missed while she was in the hospital. It was a good conversation. She was ready to die. She was tired. She almost died months prior. She was in pain and suffering. She said she wished she had gotten to know my husband better. That was sweet.