Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's Not Just a Sticker on My Car

Heavy stuff...

Please take a moment to watch. It's not about politics, it's about whether or not we can continue to stand by and do nothing.

That sticker is not coming off my car until this stops.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Maybe They Just Don't Wash Them!

Spring is here, and Spring Cleaning is in full force at my house. This weekend has been productive, and I'm thrilled with the results. There's just one thing that's bothering me a bit. It seems that folks in the greater metropolitan area where we live do not have as much use for coin operated laundries as did people in Southern California.

Let me be clear. I know that coin laundries are often associated with neighborhoods that have a large percentage of renters, or near college campuses, or in poorer areas. The part of CA where we lived was none of the above. We lived in Orange County (and no, there was never a "THE" before "O.C."), and one could find a nice laundromat at almost any major intersection.

When trying to locate a coin laundry in our current location, these were the results we found:I don't want to get too detailed about our exact address, but suffice it to say that we live in the general area of that map where there's not a single laundromat for miles and miles. What's up with that?

Now we have our own washer and dryer. Everyday laundry is not the issue. I'm talking about something very specific...washing pillows, comforters, and heavy blankets.

Am I to assume that everyone living south of the 202 and west of I-17 has their own industrial size washer and dryer, capable of cleaning king-sized duvets and pillows? Are we the only folks in the East Valley who don't cheer at the thought of having to drive 20 minutes to wash our larger bedding items?

Here's a thought: the part of the greater Phoenix area where we live includes the cities of Mesa and Gilbert, strong LDS communities. Does the Mormon Church have communal laundry facilities for its members? I know they've got fantastic canning and preserving get-ups, but if they've got secret, members-only laundromats I may have to start talking seriously to those sweet young men who stop by on their bicycles!

Here's the other possibility..

Maybe people in Phoenix just don't wash their quilts, blanket, and pillows.

Can you say "dust mites"?


***For the record, we DID wash our blankets and pillows today. Rather, my husband did. I made him drive miles and miles to the nearest laundromat because it had to happen...we DO wash our bedding!***

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Ultimate Stickiness

Ok, I started this blog over a year ago because I was really feeling stuck. I was not happy in my job, I didn't (and still don't) like where we live, and my life circumstances had taken me to a very lonely and isolated place. I was so busy just getting through each day that I could never find time for myself, let alone my friends or outside interests.

I went back and read some of my posts from the past year and can't help but feel thankful for all the ways things have improved. There have been some major bumps along the way, but overall I think I've done a fairly good job of living up to my blog's title.

With one exception...

One huge, suffocating issue that keeps me feeling more "stuck" than anything else (now that I ditched my teaching gig)...

Home ownership. Or more precisely, my inability to get us into a home of our own. Our timing has been famously off for the past ten years. It's been a series of missed opportunities and risks not taken.

I have beaten myself up for a decade over the fact that my children have yet to experience the simple joy of picking out a paint color for their bedrooms because, you know, we're just renting.

As a teacher, I often overheard colleagues make comments about this family, or that child. How little Patrick is below grade level and struggling and oh, what do you expect, they're renters...comments that unintentionally lump all non-home-owning parents into one big group of undereducated, ignorant losers who don't read with their children or support their educations. These were coworkers and friends who I love dearly, but whose comments sometime really stung. They reminded me of all the ways that I - with my Master's degree and full time job - felt like just another loser parent.

Spending most of the past ten years in one of the costliest real estate markets in the nation did not help. Neither did the fact that I was a teacher (with massive student loans hanging over me), and my husband was a social worker (ditto the loans for him as well). Two well-educated, hardworking, criminally underpaid professionals trying to make a difference in the lives of others. Yeah, we couldn't buy a house in California. Losers.

We relocated to Arizona in 2006, in the hopes of finding ourselves in a more affordable situation. It was a bit of a mistake. Again...bad timing. We hit the very top of the housing market with the timing of our move.

Here's where it gets good though.

Something kept us from pulling the trigger on purchasing a home in 2006. A gut feeling perhaps? A nagging voice in the backs of our heads that said this was not a good idea? Yes, it was something like that.

Thank God we did not!

The market tanked in a bigger way here than just about anywhere in the country. If we had purchased in 2006, we'd be so upside down on a mortgage it would be scary. I guess someone was looking out for us.

So now here we are, with a favorable market and a great loan option available to us thanks to my husband's status as an enrolled member of a Federally recognized Native American tribe (thank you Section 184!). We are approved!

Now the fun begins. We want to take a few more weeks to clean up some loose ends with old medical bills that were misreported to the credit bureau in order to guarantee we get the lowest possible rate, but soon we will be shopping for a home of our own!


Monday, March 16, 2009

"Not me!" Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

(For those of you Not Me! Monday veterans I beg you, be patient. I am a newbie. The learning curve is steep and my sleep reserves are low. Is there some sort of grace period for first-timers...?)

This week I did not decide to leave my son's hopelessly overgrown, bushy hair uncut for just a few more days, in order to camouflage both the bruise on his hairline he got from falling off the back porch (Friday) and the goose egg on his right eyebrow from whacking his forehead on the corner of my desk (Sunday). I am not worried about strangers at CVS calling Child Protective Services on me because he clearly looks abused and neglected.

I did not go visit an ailing neighbor in the hospital on Wednesday primarily because, five days into Spring Break, I really needed a break of my own from my darling children. I simply went because I appreciate my wonderful neighbor and only had her needs at heart!

I did not do a happy dance when my husband reminded me that he would be camping with his Fathers' Group on Saturday night in support of the group members participating in the O'odham Unity Run
. I mean, I would never be thrilled at the idea of a night with my Cal-King bed all to myself, with no snoring. I adore my husband and feel as though there is no oxygen when he leaves the room...

While my husband was away from Saturday morning until Sunday afternoon, I did not rely entirely on take-out food for lunch and dinner. I would never feed my children anything but the most natural, organic, healthy and wholesome foods. Even our drinking water is 100% pure organic raindrops, collected by 100% organic fairies from 100% organic lily leaves. I did not experience some strange flashback to my college days, when I was entirely too lazy to cook for myself.

Nope, not me!

Love it, love it LOVE IT!!!

All this for $1.62...and they gave me $17.98 to spend next time! I so love my CVS.

  • Irish Spring Body Wash: $4.99-$0.50 coupon
  • Colgate Max White Toothpaste: $2.99-$0.75 coupon
  • 2 Dove Deodorants: $7.00-(2)$1.00 coupons
  • Dry Idea Deodorant:$2.99-$2.00 coupon
  • 2 Dove Hair Care products: $8.00-(2)$1.50 coupons
  • Bic Soleil razor refills: $6.99-$2.00 coupon
So, my total was $22.71 after coupons, but I also had a CVS coupon for $5 off my $30+ purchase (which this qualified for, since I gave the $5 off coupon first - before the other coupons brought down my total). Now I was at $17.71. I had $17 in Extra Bucks from previous purchases to use, so that brought my total after taxes to $1.62!

The best part is I earned an additional $17.98 in Extra Bucks to spend next time, so it's almost like they paid me $16.36 to buy this stuff.

Now I need to assemble another box of stuff to take to the Family Resource Center. I'm stockpiling so much free and almost-free stuff from CVS, we're running out of room. Time to donate again!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I Challenge YOU!!!

Ashley threw this one out there on her blog, so being the joiner that I am I had to jump on board. It also seemed like a good way to break my "blogger's block".

Making handcrafted items is a dying art, but they are so fun to make & get! So, here's a little game to encourage the handcrafting to live & thrive!! The first {5} people to leave a comment on this post will receive, at some point during the year, a super-duper handmade gift from me. What it will be and when it will arrive is a total surprise! The catch is that you must participate as well-before you leave your comment here, write up (or copy & paste as I did!) a pay it forward post on your blog to keep the fun going. Then come back, let me know you're going to play, and sit back and anticipate the arrival of your gift! Remember that only the first FIVE comments will receive a gift from me, so be quick!

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations: 1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make! 2. It will be done this year (hopefully sooner rather than later.) 3. You will have no clue what it is going to be.

C'mon, you know you wanna play!