Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Coffee Chat - The Never Ending Project List

Good Afternoon all.  I'm a little early this week...I was just too hot and tired and weary after grocery shopping today.  I think I'm still suffering from post holiday brain muddle.  Aside from the most simple routine housework, I seem only to have accomplished the completion of reading another book, this time Maeve Binchy's Minding Frankie.  And truly that is pretty much it.

Well never mind that.  What did I do over the Memorial Weekend?  Since we were just back from our trip, not a whole lot.  Chance went back to work on Saturday.  I went to synagogue and then was asked to visit friends.  They offered the enticement of grilled burgers and who doesn't want a good grilled burger?  While they went off to the store to buy ground beef and buns, I went to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions.  I was puzzled that the clerk appeared with only two when there should have been three refills.  It took a bit of convincing and spelling our last name three times to finally convince her that indeed I was missing a refill.  She looked and found it hiding on another shelf, misfiled by someone earlier.

Our friends have just built out a porch on the front of their home.  A beautiful BIG screened in porch.  At present the intent is to have a living space at one side of the porch and a sort of workshop set up for the man of the house on the opposite side.  The porch overlooks a large lake of grass (which was filled with water last year, now the man of the house has to mow it!) and the lovely little lake house that was last summer's project.  Despite the heat of the afternoon we went out after dinner and sat on the porch and thoroughly enjoyed it. 

On Sunday I visited Granny.  I was surprised to find her watching TV.  She hasn't really watched TV now in the past five years which was puzzling, because all my years of memory she watched TV most afternoons having a real fondness for her 'soaps'.  She followed mostly those stories featured on CBS and she spent many an afternoon with hand sewing, shelling peas, or some such work while the soaps went on.  Then she turned off the tv for two hours until the evening news came on.  Shut it off again after an hour of news (local and national) and then climbed into bed to read until she fell asleep each night.  About five years ago she refused to watch any tv at all. 

So it was a surprise to find her watching TV.  A re-run of "Golden Girls" was on and she laughed appropriately at all the jokes.  In honesty, aside from saying "Hi, how're you?" to me, she pretty much ignored me.  That was okay.  I sort of looked her over and realized she was alert, her eyes shining bright.  She had a little skin tear on her leg, but her skin looked much better than it had in a long while.  As I was watching her, the show moved to morning and the girls gathered in the kitchen for breakfast.  "Would you like coffee?" one of them asked and Granny turned to me and looked at me hard.  "I miss having coffee with you every morning, Granny."  "Yes.  I miss that, too.  I love you." she said.  I told Chance that for that moment I could see Granny clearly knew who I was and understood and remembered that we loved to start our days together.  And just as quickly as that moment came, it was gone again and she was absorbed into the television show once more, then babbled about something totally off the wall.  But it was enough. 

I guess that's why I keep visiting.  Chance thinks these visits must be terribly hard on me and he's so right.  It is hard.  I don't go because there's unfinished business between Granny and I or because I feel lonely without her (though I do) but because at some point in most visits there's always a moment when she recognizes me and I see her for a moment or two looking out at me, before she disappears again.  I guess I go in remembrance of what we've been to each other all these years:  a grandmother and granddaughter, a mentor and her pupil, friends, kindred spirits.

After I visited with Granny I went to the dollar store and bought something I'd seen in earlier visits.  It was a galvanized beverage tub.  I'd sort of planned this cute country landscaping about the house which included galvanized buckets and tubs of various sizes filled with plants on a bed of mulch.  Sort of movable landscaping and container gardening.  Well I've priced galvanized tubs and buckets and frankly the tubs are a wee bit out of my budget range this year.  However, this tub was very reasonable and had the added bonus of a stand that lifted it off the ground, so I thought that might be perfect for the back deck or either side of the front entry.  I bought the last one at the store and deeply regretted not buying another one earlier.

I also bought a Sunday paper, though I knew full well there would be no coupons in this past weekend's paper.  I'm so glad I did because the Walgreens ad showed the same tub $2 less than what I'd paid for it at the dollar store!  I got my second tub today.  I guess I'll have to get Alan to put the silly legs together because they will not stay together when I do them. 

I spent Sunday afternoon planning my shopping, sorting coupons, matching coupons to sales, etc.  I hadn't organized coupons in a couple of months and my files were a mess.  I admit being partially inspired by the episodes of Extreme Couponers I'd watched while on vacation.  Only partially as I have no desire to stockpile more food than we can reasonably eat in a year's time nor to spend hours upon hours clipping coupons.  However, that show has inspired me to return to the limited coupon clipping and usage that I have done in the past.  After all, it's money saved and there's no denying that, is there?

Once upon a time I used to be able to write a check to the store for the pre-coupon amount and they'd give me the coupon money in change.  I'd put the amount in savings.  Nowadays, stores are funny about that.  They act a bit as though I were robbing them in some way when they pay me out in actual cash.  So now, I just pay the post coupon amount and call it well done, but I do miss holding that savings in my hand and watching it build in our vacation fund, or spending it upon household items we'd needed.

Well all this extreme couponing has taken it's toll in many ways.  There are outcries of all sorts about coupons usage overall, and stockpiling and stores feel they are being cheated, though I can't imagine why when the manufacturer coupon and their sales are all meant to coincide and they get their money all the same in the end.  About the time people realized we really were in a recession (despite assurances we weren't), seminars were being held in church groups and other public forums to promote the usage of coupons and sales to save money for families that were struggling.  That's nothing new, of course, it's just that now more people had the information at hand to save bigger sums of money.  Now with the new television program on, stores are putting up warning signs.  "No printed coupons."  "Coupon flyers given out at manager's desk.  Only one per customer."   I'm really surprised because really there are more customers out there who do not care to clip a coupon, see it as a waste of time, etc, than there are customers who use coupons.  And I'd say more than three fourths of those who use coupons are about like myself.   They hope to get a few more groceries for their money than they could without coupons.  I consider it average to save 33% on a shopping total.  It's a high save day if I total 50%.  And I don't really work hard at it either.

Today I saw an extreme couponer in action.  Big thick baseball card notebook file of coupons on hand.  I watched as she filled and then pushed three buggies to the checkout and took a fourth one off to fill.  She'd left teen children in charge of the filled buggies, along with cash and a handful of coupons.  Now seriously, I have NO idea if she needed 2 dozen packages of Fig Newtons or two dozen boxes of cereal.  For all I know she has ten kids.  I do know I admired her shopping skill and my interest was piqued, but mostly I was too intent on my own little zippered bag of coupons and the sales I'd meant to stock up on.  But I do admit when I got to checkout I wondered what her totals had looked like, even while feeling pretty proud of the savings on my own buggy full of items.

Gee, I kind of got off subject didn't I?  I was telling you about my Memorial Day weekend.  Mama's birthday was Sunday.  I'd asked her to dinner on Monday as I knew she'd likely be at loose ends that day too.  Of course, as it happened she had two or three invites following mine, but she wouldn't break our day out together.  We drove north to the foothills and had dinner at a restaurant she likes there.  The views are just lovely and I took out to see the old covered bridge that is just off the main highway outside of the town there.  It was hot but a beautiful day and we thoroughly enjoyed our couple of hours away.  I took her home and then came back home myself.  Gracious but it was HOT outdoors!

Projects.  That's what I started the subject title out with.  June arrives tomorrow...Oh just a quick aside.  This morning Chance warned me off shopping as 'It's the first of the month you know.'  I was already filled with dread over the idea of going out in the heat to shop and those words just sent shivers down my spine, because the first day of the month is a really hard day to shop in our area, as is the third of each month.  Well I decided I'd beat heat and crowds and I was ready to leave home before the clock hit 7:30.  I arrived at my first shop at 8:00am on the nose.  I worked all day long under the premise that today was the first of the month.  Despite the handful of coupons which expired today, May 31, in my hand.  I even flipped over all the calendars in the house to show June!  Imagine my sense of how silly I was when I suddenly realized at 4pm this afternoon that today was May 31~  and no I don't blame Chance at all.  He may have been wrong for a moment but I was wrong all day long! lol

So June, projects, etc.  Here's where I am at present.  I'm trying to spend slow and steady and stick within our usual spending limits without touching savings or lowering our checking balance.  Frankly that's hard but I'm managing very well with it.  It's hard, not because it makes the budget tighter but because I have so many projects going at once, indoors and out and nearly all require some sort of material to work with in order to complete each project.  All that said, slow and steady, slow and steady.  Outdoors, we've almost cleared the one overflowing flower bed and mulched out a section that has never been  planted.  I have 8 bags of mulch under the carport now awaiting Alan's arrival this week.  All the trees in the main portion of the yard have been trimmed.  Now we'll start on the hundreds of branches, limbs and brier twigs that come at us from the sides of the yard. 

I bought the two tubs to plant for the front entry, either side of the steps but other than two tea roses haven't a plant to go in them.  So that project is on hold until next pay period when I buy more mulch and plants. 

On my slate also for this month is the sawing off of two tall stools in two varying heights.  I plan to paint them both a pretty bright color and use them to elevate potted plants on the back deck.  I have a table and chairs, a glider and a piece of metal work that requires painting for that deck and two pillow covers to fill with pillows and that project is finished.  I think we should be able to do that this month.  I'd also like to put a fresh coat of paint on the shutters at that end of the house and new coat of paint on the flooring, though that could wait until July as the front porch needs paint far worse than the deck.  I also have a flag to hang.

So I'll plan to paint the front porch, touch up the storm door and one railing, pot a few flowers (just need the plants) for the ironing board and pot the two tubs meant to go either side of the front steps.
I need to replace one of the plant hangers that broke last summer and get two ferns or baskets of greenery of some sort.

I want to continue mulching around the perimeter of the house and around a few trees that are nearest the house.  It's so very dry that I have no plans at present to buy  any new plantings to put out.  I'll be quite pleased simply to have empty but mulched beds about the place at present.

Outdoors projects will require a few purchases but I have all the materials I need to work on the indoor projects.

Indoors: I want to finally get things hung on the back entry wall.  I also wish to paint that back entry shelf.

Laundry area: paint the letters which say WASH DRY IRON and rearrange the things hanging upon that wall.

Guest bedroom: Complete the curtains for that room and paint the side table. 

Guest bath: Hang the new shower curtain and put a coat of paint over the primered vanity.  Paint the bathroom and guest bedroom doors.

Master bedroom: make valances and another set of pillow shams for the bed.  I do want to buy some big buttons to decorate the ends of the first set of shams I made (and incidentally close the ends as well).

Living Room: Declutter, rearrange and cool and calm the room.  Make slipcovers for three chairs. (I may have to buy material to complete this project).

Dining Room: Paint the chairs (will need to buy spray paint) and recover the seats.  I do have the material on hand for that project.

And I certainly think that is more than enough projects to be running at once don't you?  Of course that doesn't include the usual housework, meals, following behind Chance when he wants me with him, writing, and sleeping and reading.   

Talked to Kay this evening for nearly an hour...She doesn't call so often anymore but when she does she chats away 90 to nothing, as we say here in the South...though that sounds downright odd when you read it.  Anyway, she talked and talked and talked and we interrupted each other because we had so much to share, both afraid we'd forget what we wanted to say before we got a turn to speak.  I miss my girls and boys sitting about chatting away.

Chance is in and has just asked if I minded if we had company over tomorrow.  Funny enough it happens to be the same couple I was going to ask him if he'd like to have come over, so I guess we were thinking alike on that score.  Now to plan a meal of some sort.  Chance wants burgers...I bought ground beef today and could whip up a batch of bread dough tomorrow morning and possibly get buns made before dinner.  I wonder if he'd been terribly disappointed if I made up an alternate menu?  I have a funny feeling he would...

Well dears, guess I'd better end for the evening.  I've enjoyed our coffee chat.  Talk to you again next week!


Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

Well you have lots to keep you busy! That Extreme Coupon show is interesting to watch. I'm surprised that more don't talk about donating their excess stuff. I just remember the one where the woman bought like 20 bottles of mustard I think, and the husband was trying to only get to buy a few because they don't use mustard! Then she bought everyone on the shelf, leaving not one for anyone else that might actually use and need some mustard. I was just disgusted by it all. I think some of them have a hoarding problem.

Isn't the heat something! I try to work outside in the early morning (although it's pretty warm by then too)and work inside in the afternoon when it too hot to be out. Sometimes I go outside to work a bit after dinner. It's hard to even be outside to spray paint something without sweating!

Have a good weekend!

Deanna said...

I just wrote a post about my summer reading list and included the Binchy book you mention. Did you enjoy it? I usually like her books and this sounded good.

I've seen two episodes of Extreme Couponing and it is rather interesting to watch. On the other hand, when I look at the items they buy I realize that virtually none of those things are ever on my shopping list. I used to clip some coupons but as we've transitioned to almost all natural/organic/unprocessed foods and eco-friendly toiletries and cleaners, there just isn't much left that they offer coupons for. Our local paper is about worthless so we finally stopped getting it and therefore rarely have any coupons available. I do admire the work and skill those folks exhibit, however.

I agree with Manuela that some of them seem to have a hoarding problem but I appreciate the ones who donate extras.